Eva Bartlett outlines the most egregious purveyors of absurd Syrian war propaganda in the West

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© Delil souleiman / AFP
Damaged buildings in the Syrian city of Raqa

As if we have no memory, corporate media continues to recycle accusations of starvation, chemical weapons, and more, in the propaganda war on Syria.

In Syria, there never was a “revolution.” Instead, it was a premeditated war on Syria by foreign powers (namely the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Israel) who armed even Al-Qaeda (something Qatar recently admitted).

In support of the conflict comes some of the most egregious war propaganda, endorsed by media, Hollywood celebs, and faux human rights groups. The following is a brief outline of some of the most obvious hoax personalities and purveyors of misinformation on Syria.

Al-Qaeda’s rescuers

Irrefutable documentation reveals that the group known as the White Helmets and portrayed as “neutral, volunteer, rescuers,” are obscenely-funded by Western nations, work solely in Al-Qaeda and co-extremist areas, and have been present to clean up at executions. Yet, we are expected to believe they rescue civilians. People from areas liberated of Al-Nusra and cohorts described them as “the Nusra Front’s civil defense.”

Corporate media did not bother to investigate this transparent propaganda construct. Instead, they lobbied for Al-Qaeda’s rescuers to get the Nobel Prize.

While the group didn’t get the Nobel, they did receive an Oscar, and actor George Clooney’s endorsement. Even though he is busy being a celebrity, by now, he surely cannot claim ignorance. One wonders whether he will have the gall to continue his support for Al-Qaeda’s rescuers.

Funny terrorist spokesman

American former comedian Bilal Abdul Kareem was embedded with Al-Qaeda and other “moderates” in eastern Aleppo, promoted their narrative and interviewed Saudi terrorist Abdullah Muhaysini. Yet, corporate media like CNN have presented him as an “independent” source of credible information on Syria.

As Aleppo was being liberated of Al-Qaeda and company, Abdul Kareem claimed civilians did not want to go over to ‘regime areas.’ However, on many occasions before liberation, civilians did try to flee to government areas. In November 2016, I interviewed one family who managed to escape, along with over 40 other people. This particular family had tried twice before and were forcibly prevented by the “moderates” in the district of al-Halek in Aleppo.

When I returned in June 2017, in eastern Aleppo, I spoke with residents who had come back when peace was restored. I also saw hospitals turned into terrorist headquarters, using basements for Sharia court prisons.

Following the expulsion of Al-Qaeda and other “moderates,” over 100,000 people from eastern Aleppo chose to stay in government-secured areas, celebrating the liberation of their city.

Starvation in Syria?

The “Assad is starving civilians” theme has been recycled for years, from Damascus to Aleppo to eastern Ghouta. In 2014, a month after the Old City of Homs was secured, I met civilians who told me of terrorists stealing every last morsel of their food. I heard the same in Aleppo, and also this June in Madaya and al-Waer, Homs. When I visited Madaya, people told me: terrorists hoarded the food aid and dramatically inflated the prices to rates civilians couldn’t afford.

I saw a bomb factory, tucked away behind an apartment building, and remnants of the food aid which Ahrar al-Sham and Al-Qaeda had hoarded, and I visited some of their makeshift prisons used to torture and try civilians in Sharia courts. In al-Waer, life was trickling back. People spoke of starvation due to the terrorists, and of relief that their rule was over.

When “rebels” fire mortars into civilians areas, corporate journalists like to claim the Syrian government was the perpetrator. On a November 2016 day when two mortars hit Aleppo’s Castello road, less than 100 meters from where I stood without a helmet or flak jacket, the NY Times wrote that soldiers blamed “rebels” and “rebel groups denied it.” Yet, there was no disputing that the shells came from an Al-Nusra area.

In April 2014, after an elementary school was mortared by terrorists east of Damascus, killing one child, the BBC later reported, “the government is also accused of launching them into neighborhoods under its control.” On a recent social media post, I noted this deceitful journalism, and the BBC could have easily learned about the trajectory of mortars and from where the mortar in question could only have come: the “moderates” east of Damascus.

Channel 4 and Guardian deceptions

In a hotel in Aleppo in July 2016, I shared an elevator with Channel 4 reporter Krishnan Guru Murthy, without knowing who he was. I would later become very familiar with Channel 4 and Guru Murthy’s relentless anti-Syria propaganda and romanticization of the terrorist factions in Syria, white-washing their crimes, relying on Al-Qaeda and other very partial sources.

Guru Murthy produced a report embedded with the Nour al-Din al-Zinki faction, who he deemed “moderates,” although some months prior they had savagely beheaded Abdullah Issa, a Palestinian boy. Not initially a problem for Channel 4, they did later remove the incriminating video.

Not featured on Channel 4 or other corporate media reports were the nearly 11,000 civilians killed by the bombing and sniping of “rebels.”

I wrote about these attacks, and the over 4,000 Aleppo doctors disappeared by the media, along with hospitals and schools attacked by “moderates.” Corporate media was busy claiming “last doctors” in Aleppo.

When Krishan Guru Murthy, in July 2017, returned to Aleppo and interviewed MP Fares Shehabi, Guru Murthy refused to “get into history” over his lies, much less to acknowledge that the “moderates” he propagated about were Al-Nusra.

In April 2016, the Guardian reported that a Syrian or Russian airstrike “completely destroyed” the Quds hospital in Sukkari, Aleppo. The Guardian later claimed civilians were being treated in the same hospital after a chlorine gas attack, not researching that the sole chlorine gas factory in Syria had been taken over by Al-Nusra in 2012.

The original lie about Al-Quds’ destruction came from Médecins Sans Frontières, which claimed Quds had been “destroyed,” reduced “to rubble.” Since the Guardian was complicit in reproducing the lie, why didn’t the Guardian at least go to see the Quds hospital after Aleppo was secured? I did.

In June 2017, I stood inside the intact hospital. It was never destroyed.

I also met the boy, Omran Daqneesh, who, according to the Guardian, was injured by a Syrian or Russian airstrike in 2016. Mohammad Daqneesh said his son was only mildly injured, and not by an airstrike. He blamed media and those affiliated with the White Helmets for using his son in propaganda.

America’s fake war on ISIS

In June 2017, the American-led coalition illegally attacked Syria, shooting down a Syrian plane. America did so admittedly to protect its proxy forces, the Kurdish SDF, which the US is using not to fight ISIS but in its continued attempts to destabilize Syria and control its oilfields.

In September 2016, the US-led coalition waged a nearly one hour attack on a Syrian military position in Deir ez-Zor, enabling ISIS to take over the post.

In May 2015, convoys of ISIS streamed through hundreds of kilometers of open desert, taking over ancient Palmyra. The well-equipped, high tech, US-led coalition, offered no resistance, something which even Robert Fisk, openly sour about his dislike of the Syrian government, noted.

America has also “accidentally” delivered weapons to ISIS and has long sought to use a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria, aka Islamic State, as per a declassified US DIA document. One can always listen to John Kerry speaking in September 2016 about how America watched ISIS flourish. Excerpts include Kerry saying “We were watching. We saw that, that Daesh was growing in strength. And we thought Assad was threatened.”

ISIS terrorist bedfellows with Israel

In July 2017, the Washington Post reported on an Israeli attack on Syria, citing Benjamin Netanyahu as saying they had attacked Syria “dozens” of times. Mint Press News reported on Israel giving medical treatment to over 3,000 terrorists. A 21st Century Wire article said the preference of Israeli politicians was even for an ISIS victory in Syria.

According to the Times of Israel, ISIS has opened fire on Israel and apologized. This is the jihadist group, ISIS, which doesn’t attack the natural target, Israeli regime occupying Palestine, but instead, collaborates with it.

Unbelievable memoirs

Eight-year-old Aleppo girl, Bana al-Abed, is incapable of speaking or writing in English, and has recently miraculously published her memoirs. For those not familiar with the shameful exploitation of this girl by her mother and terrorist father, I wrote about it in July 2017, also noting: “The Bana narrative features an endearing child who causes otherwise rationally-thinking people to uncritically-accept transparent war propaganda rhetoric.” Rhetoric included calling for WW3.

Bana has been promoted by fiction writer J.K. Rowling, who shares the same sponsor: the Blair Partnership. Critiques on Amazon reveal that thinking people aren’t buying brand Bana, in spite of her UN appearance and rehearsed speech about children dying from bombs and hunger (which the United Nations retweeted, as all good neutral and credible institutions might).

The above examples don’t even begin to cover the depth of war propaganda on Syria, but they do serve as warnings to consider from where corporate media are getting their claims, and what agenda their claims serve. Hint: it isn’t an agenda of bringing peace to the Syrian people. Maybe it’s time to start believing us “Russian propagandists“: you know, those who actually go and speak to Syrians, instead of citing Al-Qaeda affiliated sources.

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Eva Bartlett on Syria (interview with Syriana Analysis)

Eva Bartlett Part 2: What was life like in Syria under the USA’s “moderate rebels” control?

Syria War Diary: Order Returns To Western Cities, Civilians Recount Horrors Of Rebel Rule

In revisiting Madaya and al-Waer after their reclamation by the Syrian army, it soon became clear from Bartlett’s conversations with residents, just how distorted the reporting of corporate media about their fate under “rebel” control had been.

HOMS, SYRIA — In the last year, the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Madaya have become familiar to the international community as they have become subjects of heavy propaganda amid corporate media coverage to justify a so-called “humanitarian” war. Another area used in the war propaganda was al-Waer, a district of Homs occupied by the Western armed and financed “moderates” of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria), Ahrar al-Sham, and terrorists showing allegiance to Daesh (ISIS).When I again visited Syria in June 2017, Aleppo, Madaya and al-Waer had been restored to peace, following the evacuation of these armed groups. I was able to visit these areas and speak to residents about the reality of life under the rule of these factions.

In Part I of my coverage August 2017 article focused on Aleppo and the life of civilians there under “rebel” occupation — which included many dangers, deprivations, and horrors, not the least of which was susceptibility to extra-judicial trials and executions.

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Related | Syria War Diary: What Life Is Like Under ‘Moderate’ Rebel Rule


Here, I look at Madaya and al-Waer, again from on the ground, to give a voice to Syrians who have been marginalized by the Western corporate media, which has instead glorified the insurgency.

 

Stability with reconciliations

This frame grab from video provided by Syrian Central Military Media, shows Syrian rebels about to be released as part of a government deal to evacuate over 10,000 residents from Madaya and Zabadani, near Damascus, Syria, April 12, 2017.

This frame grab from video provided by Syrian Central Military Media, shows Syrian rebels about to be released as part of a government deal to evacuate over 10,000 residents from Madaya and Zabadani, near Damascus, Syria, April 12, 2017.

During my visit in June, I met with Syria’s Minister of Reconciliation, Dr. Ali Haidar. Established in June 2012, the Ministry has successfully dialogued with tens of thousands of armed Syrians to enable and facilitate return to their civilian lives.

According to Haidar, in Madaya and al-Waer stockpiles of food and medicines were found in buildings occupied by armed groups. Large quantities of weapons and ammunition were also found—notably foreign-made weapons—including from the U.S. and Israel. While Western media has not reported on this, Israel’s JPost in April 2016 reported on another incident: the capture of a vehicle containing Israeli mines coming from southern Syria.

Map of Syria showing the ICRC's presence and the location towns of Madaya, Foua and Kefraya. (Map: ICRC)

Map of Syria showing the ICRC’s presence and the location towns of Madaya, Foua and Kefraya. (Map: ICRC)

Haidar explained to me that an agreement was reached at the end of 2015 that included Madaya, nearby Zabadani, and the Idlib villages Foua and Kafraya. That 2015 agreement saw over 450 people from the four areas evacuated by agencies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The evacuated included injured, ill and elderly from Foua and Kafraya, with some of whom I met in August 2016 to hear about their experiences.

According to a report compiled in the Reconciliation Ministry, and explained to me in our June meeting, 3,000 people, including 950 militants, left Madaya for Jarablus or Idlib on April 15, 2017. Another 600 militants laid down their arms on April 19, staying in Madaya. As of June, 20,000 people had returned to Madaya.

In a June 2014 interview, Minister Haidar told me that over 10,000 Syrians had reconciled and returned to their civilian lives. According to his office, as of June 2017, that number was over 85,000.

 

Media explosion on Madaya

Anti-Syrian government activists hold up placards during a protest in front of the European Union embassy in Beirut after harrowing pictures in the media of emaciated children were blamed on a siege of the town of Madaya by Syiran troops.(AP/Hassan Ammar)

Anti-Syrian government activists hold up placards during a protest in front of the European Union embassy in Beirut after harrowing pictures in the media of emaciated children were blamed on a siege of the town of Madaya by Syiran troops.(AP/Hassan Ammar)

Adjacent to a munitions factory used by armed groups in Madaya, I found packaging of an ICRC-supported food parcel, a remnant of repeated aid convoys sent into the town. As in eastern Aleppo, in Madaya armed extremists hoarded food and medicines.

Owing to the presence of Ahrar al-Sham, al-Nusra and other groups, from around mid-2015 Madaya was under Syrian military siege. As noted in Part One of this series, siege is a common tactic of wars past, and one that the United States employed in Iraq (for example, the more than four-year siege of Sadr City).

The military sieges came with offers of amnesty to those armed Syrian men who hadn’t committed bloodshed, or safe passage to another area of Syria for those who refused reconciliation, including the non-Syrian extremists. During the siege, the Syrian government did continue to send in aid to Madaya, and continued to also approve the provision of aid from the ICRC, UN and other bodies, including in October 2015.

In December 2015, the ICRC was back in Madaya for the evacuation of injured or ill.

The family of Marianna Mazeh, a south Lebanon girl, have expressed anger that her photo was circulated on sites claiming she was a starving child from Madaya in Syria.

The family of Marianna Mazeh, a south Lebanon girl, have expressed anger that her photo was circulated on sites claiming she was a starving child from Madaya in Syria.

In his January 2016 statement, Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari, confirmed this October 2015 aid delivery, and noted:

“On December 27th, we asked the resident coordinator to send immediately convoys of humanitarian assistance again to Madaya, and to Kafraya and al-Foua. The UN did not send. … Huge humanitarian assistance and medical assistance was distributed inside Madaya, October, December and now (January).

The main problem is that the armed terrorist groups steal the convoys and trucks, and they deviate them to their own warehouses and storage. And then they resell it to civilians at prohibitive prices that the civilians cannot afford it.”

Overnight in January 2016, Western and Gulf media, in chorus, started campaigning that the Syrian state was starving civilians in Madaya. The same media made scant to no remarks about the terrorists occupying the hillside town. Some reports used photographs of emaciated people not from Madaya, nor even from Syria — including a pretty Lebanese girl whose parents objected to the media’s exploitation of their daughter — in support of the “starvation” claims.

Watch | ‘Fact Check on Madaya’

Those behind the sudden media upheaval included none other than Saudi terrorist Abdullah Muhaysini, known for his support to al-Qaeda and recruiting of new terrorists. In early January 2016 he also called for the annihilation of Foua and Kafraya.

A cached article noted that Muhaysini had “appealed to the media to highlight the disaster in the region.” Another article, in Arabic, cited Muhaysini as using the hashtagged phrase “Madaya is Hungry”.

When, in mid-january 2016, Syrian reporters and RT reporter Murad Gazdiev entered Madaya with another shipment of aid, residents spoke of the starvation caused by the terrorist occupiers, as residents of eastern Aleppo and al-Waer later would: The terrorists stole the food aid and sold it at prices too obscenely inflated for civilians to afford.

Watch | Inside Besieged Madaya: ‘Militants sold us 1 kg of rice for $250’

On the ground in Madaya, June 2017

Life on the streets as I entered Madaya on June 13, 2017. (Photo: Eva Bartlett/MintPress News)

Life on the streets as I entered Madaya on June 13, 2017. (Photo: Eva Bartlett/MintPress News)

There was normal life on the streets of Madaya when I visited last June. Small grocery stores and other shops were open, residents and children filled bottles at the central water fountain. A sense of calm prevailed, with Ahrar al-Sham and al-Qaeda two-months departed.

Entering a small shop selling clothing, I was welcomed and offered apricots from a pail on the counter. The Madaya-Zabadani region is known for its rich agriculture and tasty fruits. It is also an area to which people from Damascus and environs would retreat in the summer, to picnic on farmland or to eat at one of the restaurants along the road leading to the towns.

According to Madaya’s mayor (mukhtar, in Arabic), the main armed factions that had been present were the terrorist groups of Ahrar al-Sham, al-Nusra and the FSA. The shop owners also maintained that ISIS terrorists had been present in Madaya.

I asked if they had seen ISIS themselves. Their reply: “ISIS killed a civilian outside the shop.” As it turned out, when the man was shot, residents were protesting the presence of ISIS in the town.

I asked whether people had protested the presence of other militants. “Yes,” they said, “there were protests against the armed groups, and in support of the government, asking the government to come to Madaya. ISIS killed three protesters and another seven were injured.” Indeed, I had seen a video of Madaya residents marching in support of the Syrian president and against the armed factions.

The Mayor of Madaya, standing near buildings once occupied by "moderate rebels" who sniped and fired mortars on the road below.

The Mayor of Madaya, standing near buildings once occupied by “moderate rebels” who sniped and fired mortars on the road below. (Photo: Eva Bartlett/MintPress News)

To my question whether Western media was right, that the Syrian government had starved them, the four men answered ‘no’ in unison, talking over one another to make their point.

“It was not the government that starved us, it was the armed groups,” a middle-aged man said.

“The government provided us in Madaya with supplies that would have been enough for 20 years,” a younger man exaggerated, making the point there was ample food in the town. “We received aid convoys, but the armed groups would steal the supplies and monopolize them.”

He said he had sold his car in order to buy overpriced food from Ahrar al-Sham and al-Qaeda: “They sold us a kilogram of rice for 100,000 Syrian pounds.”

At current exchange rates, this came to around US$200.

An older man nicknamed Abu Sharif said repeatedly that militants had hoarded food and extorted civilians, and added:

“After the Syrian army entered, they found 50 storage units of food, also medicine. They are still uncovering storages.” According to this man, the militants also stole jewelry from women, and forced them to dress fully covered. “They called us ‘kuffars’ and said we weren’t real Muslims.”

The mukhtar maintained: “The siege from the Syrian army had the effect that the terrorists started surrendering themselves at Syrian army posts.” Indeed, SANA reported in June 2015 that 11 armed men had turned themselves in and — even prior to the siege, in August 2014 — over 250 militants had joined the reconciliation process:

“The siege was on the militants, if they hadn’t been here, there would have been no siege. There’s no siege now, everything is open.”

 

Prisons, civilian shields, and a bomb factory

A marking of Ahrar al-Sham, the dominant Islamist rebel group occupying Madaya, in an area of modern apartments and villas.

Crude graffiti bearing the symbols of Ahrar al-Sham, the dominant Islamist rebel group that once occupied Madaya, in an area of modern apartments and villas. (Photo: Eva Bartlett/MintPress News)

With the mayor, two villagers, and my driver/translator, we drove from the town hub and along winding roads leading to an area of attractive apartment homes at the edge of the town.

Stopping the car en route, the mayor pointed at a small school, one of six in the town. A few stories high, its walls had been blown out, presumably by Syrian army shelling. “It’s an elementary school. The militants occupied it and took it as a stronghold and fired from it,” he said, saying that terrorists had occupied all of the town’s schools.

In his investigations, Aleppo journalist Khaled Iskef highlighted why armed groups had occupied schools. According to a former fighter for the Shami Front whom Iskef interviewed, “Terrorists use schools because the infrastructure is solid and they have cellars to use for munitions storage and prisons.”

Watch | Khaled Iskef’s report highlights armed rebels occupying schools

Madaya never had a hospital, only a small clinic, which the locals said terrorists had closed to the public. The regional hospital for the area is in nearby Zabadani. Yet, by November 2016, reports on Madaya’s nonexistent hospital includedd this headline from the Qatar-funded Middle East Eye: “As Madaya’s last hospital closes…”

This is the same ‘last hospital’ theme that abounded in propaganda around Aleppo.

The town did have a small medical clinic, though. In the media spin around Madaya, purportedly heroic non-MDs were treating the citizens of Madaya, including one dentist and one veterinarian.

According to the mayor and other men I spoke with, though, only terrorists and their families were treated or given access to medicines. Given that this accusation was later widely heard from civilians in liberated areas of Aleppo, and given that the terrorists in question were al-Qaeda and Ahrar al-Sham (which the U.S. Congress lists as a terrorist group in its own documents), it is highly unlikely that the Madaya people who alleged this were not telling the truth.

Madaya’s mayor said he knew the two “hero doctors.” Of the dentist, the mayor said he benefited from helping the militants. “He could get whatever he want[ed] from them, like food and medicine, and he became famous in the media.”

The video on this hero doctor was Netherlands-produced (a country which supports the ‘opposition’), and featured a Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) board member. SAMS purports to be a “nonpolitical, nonprofit, professional and medical relief organization,” but supports al-Qaeda-occupied areas in Syria. Their own website notes meetings with the State Department, Homeland Security, and other establishment policymakers, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry — all deeply involved in the U.S. war on Syria.

In addition to occupying schools, “moderate rebels” occupied apartment buildings and the luxurious villas, turning some into prisons. Standing next one apartment, the men told me that it and buildings across the road were used by the occupiers to bomb and snipe the Madaya-Zabadani road below:

“The civilians living below were like human shields for the terrorists. The army couldn’t shoot at the terrorists easily because they’d risk hitting the civilians.”

The outside of a villa used by rebels as a tunnel entrance. The idyllic mountain view was marred only by the signs of battle: an empty swimming pool lightly littered with rubble, and a villa beyond, roof and walls blown out by shelling. (Photo: Eva Bartlett/MintPress News)

The outside of a villa used by rebels as a tunnel entrance. The idyllic mountain view was marred only by the signs of battle: an empty swimming pool lightly littered with rubble, and a villa beyond, roof and walls blown out by shelling. (Photo: Eva Bartlett/MintPress News)

I asked how life was in Madaya before 2011. “Madaya was a tourist’s paradise,” the mayor replied, smiling, eyes closed, remembering. “People who came from outside of Syria would come to Madaya,” to enjoy the environment of natural beauty.

Further on among the hillside dwellings, we stood near an apartment that had been occupied, one floor turned into a prison to hold locals until their fates (including execution) were decided in terrorists’ Sharia trials.

Nestled behind the apartment, out of view, was a factory where terrorists manufactured mortars and rockets.

Watch | Hidden factory where mortars and rockets were manufactured by terrorists

Above that factory, one of the food storage caches was found after militants had left Madaya. The mayor said, “Last time the army found a storage with more than 400 cartons of food.” Syrian authorities filled five trucks with medicine hoarded by the armed groups, he said.

Walking gingerly over rubble, not yet cleared by engineers of any unexploded ordinance, we reached the bomb workshop, a single ground-level room. Equipment and materials for manufacturing explosives still lay scattered.

Down the lane, another villa had also been used as a headquarters and prison until it was hit by Syrian army shelling, forcing the “rebels” to relocate. Another mass food storage was found in a neighboring building, the mayor said.

Entering the relocated prison through a hole blown into the wall, I walked past a room containing a cooking stove and refrigerator, both booby-trapped by terrorists to kill whoever tried to move them. I had learned of this tactic in 2014 in the old city of Homs.

Watch | Our visit to the relocated prison

“They left booby-trapped explosives in the houses, all over, even behind paintings on the wall,” I was told. Similarly, in Maaloula in June 2016, I was told: “They rigged houses so that when someone opened the door, an electrical trigger with a small charge would detonate and explode a gas canister.”

Two rooms, metal doors welded onto the entrances, had been used as cells. In the middle of another room, a metal bed frame with a piece of cloth tethered at one end. “They interrogated and tortured people here,” a former FSA militant said. An unwilling participant, he said he was forced by other militants to join, and that he was among the first to take the government-offered amnesty when peace was restored to Madaya in May 2017.

In neighboring Buqayn, Ahrar al-Sham transformed the municipality building into a prison, fortified with sandbagging and bricks. The dank cells were sealed with the same solid metal doors.

A soft-spoken employee of the municipality, limping as he walked, came over to tell me how he was shot at close range. Leaning on a crutch with prayer beads wrapped around the handle, he explained his injury. Recounting that terrorists had shot at the truck he and three others were in, he said, “the driver was killed and we were all injured. … We were subject to shooting many times.”

Watch | Municipal employee describes being shot by terrorists as part of intimidation campaign

The reason for the attacks? To intimidate them from returning to work at the municipality. Three surgeries later, still needing another, the man said his wounded leg is now seven centimeters shorter than his good leg.

Below and beyond the village, in a sitting room away from the June sun, a farmer-turned-soldier, still wearing his military uniform, spoke of why he took up arms in support of the Syrian army:

Life was good here, we were living well. When things turned violent in the area, I and other men from the area volunteered to support the Syrian army.”

He and others warned Madaya locals not to fall for the political game that originated from America, Israel, Turkey and others, he said — also pointing out that sectarianism was never a way for most Syrians, that it came from Saudi Arabia and other outside forces:

If you came and visited our home, slept in our home, we never asked what religion you were.”

As I left, he insisted on giving me bags filled with cherries and other fruits grown on his land.

 

Al-Waer at peace

A Syrian family embracing after arriving from Jarablus, in Aleppo province, to their old neighborhood of al-Waer, in Homs, Syria, July. 11, 2017. (SANA via AP)

To the west of Homs lies the suburb of al-Waer. In December 2015, when a truce was holding, I had stood at a Syrian army checkpoint on the western outskirts of al-Waer, speaking with residents as they crossed back into the district with food from outside and bags of bread from the industrial-sized bakery to the side of the road.

Trucks loaded with eggs, meat and medicines waited to enter the district. Zakariya Sha’ar, a doctor bringing medicine, mentioned the presence of non-Syrian militants, including Saudis, Tunisians, and Chechens, among others.

As I stood on the road, less than 100 meters from the checkpoint of the militants, I was cautioned to step back: “It’s not safe, at any moment they could do anything, break the ceasefire.”

 

Inside the bakery, I saw locals producing the bread that would go into al-Waer. I was told the wheat was provided by the Syrian government.

Watch | Footage inside the al-Waer Bread Factory, Homs

Syrian Minister Ali Haidar told me that armed groups had gathered in al-Waer due to its large population, around 300,000 people:

They [the armed groups] entered al-Waer, closed it off, and turned it into a zone to fight the government. The large number of civilians made the government unable to start a direct battle against the militants. Therefore, we remained around the neighborhood.”

According to Haidar, the Ministry started attempts at broaching reconciliation at the end of 2013, and reached an agreement at the beginning of 2014:

However, the large number of the militant groups in al-Waer, the internal disputes among them—and most importantly the control of al-Nusra over other militant groups—hindered the project after we had begun.”

The reconciliation effort began anew early 2016 but, again due to the presence of al-Qaeda, was delayed for a year — hampered by “external directives, mainly Qatari, to leaders of militant groups to hinder the project,” Haidar said, “[in order] to cause problems outside al-Waer.”

When from March to May 2017 the evacuations did finally occur, no UN personnel were involved, Haidar said, only the Syrian Red Crescent, Russian military police, and Syrian security personnel. As with evacuations elsewhere in Syria, militants left with light arms.

According to a detailed breakdown (provided to me at the Ministry of Reconciliation) of the 11 evacuations from March 18 to May 21, the final tally of militants who departed from al-Waer was 4,937, with a further 750 who chose to reconcile and stay in the district. Of the departed militants and their families, Minister Haidar maintained that at least 70 percent were not from al-Waer but from other areas of Homs and elsewhere.

“Immediately,” Minister Haidar told me, “we started the plan to return the locals to al-Waer.” As of June, there was a plan for the return of 50,000 people to al-Waer over the next couple of months.

 

Visiting secured al-Waer

Riding in a local taxi along the broad streets of al-Waer, the driver had spoken glowingly about the area's infrastructure. (Photo: Eva Bartlett/MintPress News)

In a local taxi, I approached the district with a journalist from Homs. Driving along smooth boulevards, Hayat and the driver took turns telling me about al-Waer, nicknamed “New Homs.” It was known for the green spaces and parks, the good infrastructure, she said — and impeccable infrastructure, the driver interrupted, saying “life was so good here.”

As the taxi entered al-Waer, a housing complex came into view, and apartment buildings further along, all studded with gunfire and holes from shelling. The car paused in front of a building where a boy of perhaps 12 years shoveled rubble from in front of his home. The buildings to the left of him were blackened from shelling.

A boy, about 12 years-old, clears rubble from outside of a home in al-Waer. Many homes targeted like this had been used as headquarters by the militants occupying the district. (Photo: Eva Bartlett/MintPress News)

 Some minutes later, we passed an empty lot with shells of buses pocked with gunfire. Further along, another bus, windows blown out, was parked across a road formerly leading to a Syrian army checkpoint. Walking along the streets, Hayat pointed to an intact multi-story apartment building, and another with shelled upper-level rooms.

“This building had civilians. That building had militants,” she said, indicating that buildings not used by militants were not targeted.

This is a difference many journalists willfully overlook, choosing instead to speak of physical destruction in general terms, ignoring and negating the presence of terrorists — whether high up in sniping and shelling vantage points, or bunkered safely below ground, as I saw in Bani Zeid, Aleppo last year — and the efforts made to confine destruction to these targets.

A green bus filled with passengers passed by, characteristic of those used in the evacuations in eastern Aleppo. They were also used in al-Waer, along with other buses, for the evacuation process. Today, as in Aleppo, the buses are back to city services. There was some life on the streets otherwise: an older man bicycled down one lane, and a child crossed the other in the distance.

In one small shop, a young clerk was reluctant to talk about life under terrorist rule, as was his father. Possibly the family supported the militants.

Another shop, unfurnished save for a faded plastic poster of a horse and another of a mother and child, was stocked with items that had been long-absent for most people. Sugar, flour, detergents, eggs, a variety of cigarettes, an array of chocolate bars and cookies, and bags of potato chips, instant noodles, and other non-perishable food items filled the shelves.

The shop owner said they had suffered from hunger. “The armed groups wouldn’t give us anything at all,” he said. “The opportunists, you mean,” remarked an older man, a friend, who had walked in. The latter continued: “One kilogram of salt reached 8,000 Syrian pounds (US $16), one bag of bread 3,000 pounds (US $6).”

A small shop with shelves no longer empty after militants left and the military siege was subsequently lifted. (Photo: Eva Bartlett/MintPress News)

A small shop with shelves no longer empty after militants left and the military siege was subsequently lifted. (Photo: Eva Bartlett/MintPress News)

I asked about the bakery I had seen in 2015, and whether bread in fact regularly entered the district. “Yes,” said the second man, “it did,” but the militants would sell it at the inflated prices he had mentioned.

A man selling cigarettes on a street corner, his makeshift table stacked with cigarette cartons, said he hadn’t left al-Waer during the presence of the militants — it was and is his home.

“Life was very, very bad. There was no food, they used to take the food for themselves,” he said of the armed groups, continuing with the same complaints as the others I’d spoken with: “They would sell it to us with a price they decided,” he said, citing similar exorbitant prices for flour, sugar, and basics.

A father of six children, he worried about their future after so many years of war. We parted with his last words:

But now the army is here, they are doing good, hopefully everything will return back to how it was.”

Further on in the district, three men worked clearing rubble from around a home badly damaged on the ground level. They waved and greeted us as our taxi stopped, but went silent and refused to speak when noticing my camera. A level up, a woman’s face peered out a small hole in the wall, then her hand reached out and gestured to come upstairs.

After reconciling with the Syrian government, former militants clear debris as they rebuild their homes, and their lives. (Photo: Eva Bartlett/MintPress News)

After reconciling with the Syrian government, former militants clear debris as they rebuild their homes, and their lives. (Photo: Eva Bartlett/MintPress News)

She was one of the many who left al-Waer, departing in 2013 and renting elsewhere in Homs. She said her life prior to 2011 was wonderful, and was strongly optimistic for the future:

“People are coming back home. Although many houses are destroyed, they are inhabited. If they are destroyed, we’ll rebuild them. What matters is that we’ve got rid of those bastards,” she said of the militants dubbed “moderate rebels” by western media and politicians.

The men below, it turned out, had been militants, but took amnesty and reconciled with the state, and are returning to their lives.

This was hard for me to process: living in the same building is a family evidently patriotic—the woman’s brother is in the Syrian army and she herself praised both the army and government—and the very former militants the family fled from, men who took up guns against both the government and in many cases civilians.

I asked if she knew her neighbors well. “Of course,” she answered. “But some people were brainwashed by others about ‘bad people, oppressing people.’ So, there were guys who joined those bastards,” she said of the militants.

As we spoke, one of the men came into the room. We shifted the conversation to casual talk about her family. After he left the room, she explained quietly that he was keeping an eye on her, what she might be saying to me. I was again struck by the strangeness of the situation, and when he had left, asked her if she wasn’t afraid to be living above the men.

“The state is here, we aren’t afraid. They’ve provided everything for us, are helping us, mash’allah,” she replied.

I stopped on the stairs leading from her apartment, listening to the call to prayer coming from the nearby mosque, watching as life trickled along the streets of the badly damaged district.

Watch | Pausing to listen to the call to prayer from nearby mosque

The sounds of shoveling rubble below were both a reminder of the militants who had been a part of this destruction and of the fact that they too want to rebuild and get on with life.

 

Epilogue

Syrians arriving from Jarablus, in Aleppo province, to their old neighborhood of al-Waer, in Homs, Syria, July 11, 2017. (SANA via AP)

Syrians arriving from Jarablus, in Aleppo province, to their old neighborhood of al-Waer, in Homs, Syria, July 11, 2017. (SANA via AP)

When at the Ministry of Reconciliation later, waiting for my meeting with the Minister, I saw many women and some men also waiting to talk with someone at the Ministry, about their loved ones, militants who had left another restored district, Qudsaya, for Idlib in October 2016. The militants wanted to come home.

The minister’s office also told me at the time that 72 families had already returned to more-recently secured al-Waer, from Jarabulus.

On July 11, Syrian state media, SANA, reported: “Fourteen buses carrying about 150 families, including 630 persons from the residents of al-Waer neighborhood, have arrived in Homs city coming from Jarabulus.” The report noted that this was the fifth group of families returning from Jarabulus or Idlib, and that many more families were scheduled to return.

Top photo | Syrian children buy vegetables in the town of Madaya in the Damascus countryside, Syria, May 18, 2017. (AP/Hassan Ammar)

PATREON: YES, PEOPLE EXIST IN PYONGYANG

A common comment I’ve gotten on the fraction of photos/videos I’ve posted from North Korea (as I continue to sift through hundreds of them) is the lack of people on the streets. Bearing in mind that I haven’t yet posted videos and photos from busy places like the metro/subway system and public places, I’m sharing these screenshots from a video of a busy public square near the train station, a square that was filled with people, mostly sitting, each time I passed it.

If you’d like to see the video now, consider following me on Patreon. 

See: Yes, People Exist in Pyongyang

UK Column News converstion with journalist Eva Bartlett, recently returned from North Korea

Mike Robinson and Patrick Henningsen with today’s UK Column News, including a conversation with investigative journalist Eva Bartlett, recently returned from North Korea.


PHOTOS FROM A WEEK IN THE DPRK

Children in Pyongyang Orphanage before performing drumming. August 29, 2017.

From August 24-31, I visited the DPRK (North Korea) as part of a very small delegation interested in hearing from North Koreans themselves about their lives, the US sanctions and incessant war manouevres, their history and more. A sample of photos and videos, with more to follow soon.

Please bear in mind that this country is among the most vilified on earth–along with Syria and formerly (now-destroyed) Libya, to name a few. Western media does not speak of North Korea’s people, nor of the amazing infrastructure, free housing and medical care, impressive agriculture and green energy, and the many things the people of the DPRK have done so well which I’ll elaborate on over the coming days.

Pyongyang, and much of North Korea, was leveled in the 50s by US bombings, with reportedly just one or two low-level buildings standing. After destroying and murdering in DPRK, America slapped sanctions on the country. How the people have continued, and made huge advances, is worthy of respect. The absurdly cartoonish “news” one hears in western media about North Korea is meant to detract from America’s crimes against the Korean people, and to garner support for yet another American-led slaughter of innocent people.

One high school student commented something to the effect: “Why doesn’t anyone put sanctions on America?” Too true.

I’ll be adding more photos to this album as internet and time allow, with hopes of offering a starkly different view than the corporate media rendition of North Korea.

**A few good resources on North Korea and the US aggressions:

1. Michel Chossudovsky’s overview, including citing western media sources acknowledging the US destruction of North Korea:

“After destroying North Korea’s 78 cities and thousands of her villages, and killing countless numbers of her civilians, [General] LeMay remarked,“Over a period of three years or so we killed off – what – twenty percent of the population.” (See War Veteran Brian Willson. Korea and the Axis of Evil, Global Research, April, 2002)

According to Dean Rusk, who later became secretary of state, the US bombed “everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another.”  

It is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8 – 9 million people during the 37-month long “hot” war, 1950 – 1953, perhaps an unprecedented percentage of mortality suffered by one nation due to the belligerence of another.” (See Brian Willson. Korea and the Axis of Evil, Global Research, April, 2002)

Even Newsweek tacitly acknowledges that the US committed extensive war crimes against the Korean people:

Screenshot Newsweek 4 May 2017

While Newsweek in this article is telling the truth, more generally the US media has failed to inform Americans regarding the extensive war crimes committed against the Korean people by successive US administrations.

Collective Memory of the People of North Korea

It is not in America’s collective memory as pointed out by Newsweek, but it is certainly in the collective memory of the people of the DPRK.

There is not a single family in North Korea which has not lost a loved one during 37 months of extensive US carpet bombing (1950-53). Put yourself in their shoes.

Pyongyang capital of North Korea, in 1953, almost entirely destroyed by U.S. bombing during the Korean War.

*

2. Stephen Gowans’ “Washington Considers Military Action Against North Korea to Force Regime Change
“In addition to direct military action from 1950 to 1953 against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the country’s official name), US aggression has included multiple threats of nuclear annihilation, and the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons into South Korea until 1991. Re-deployment is now under consideration in Washington.

Most US nuclear threats against Pyongyang were made before North Korea embarked upon its own nuclear weapons program, and constitute one of the principal reasons it did so. The country’s being declared an original member of the Bush administration’s Axis of Evil, along with Iraq and Iran, provided an additional impetus.

…North Korea has additionally been menaced by annual US-directed war games involving hundreds of thousands of troops, carried out along North Korea’s borders. While US officials describe the twice yearly assembling of significant military forces within striking range of the DPRK as routine and defensive, it is never clear to the North Korean military whether the US–directed maneuvers are defensive exercises or preparations for an invasion. “

*

3. The International Action Center: “U.S. troops have occupied south Korea since 1945; 28,500 are still there. There are 38 U.S. military installations in south Korea, plus one militarized golf course. (lifeinkorea.com) The golf course is the station for the first Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in south Korea, a U.S. radar system opposed by the Korean people, in the north and south, as well as China.

Every year, the U.S. carries out massive war exercises in and around the Korean peninsula. This year’s Operation Key Resolve/Foal Eagle, which began in March and continued until April 24, has involved hundreds of thousands of troops from the U.S. and south Korea.

The south Korean news agency Yonhap reported on March 13: “The U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six will join the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises between the two allies for the first time, along with the Army’s Rangers, Delta Force and Green Berets.” Yonhap quoted an unnamed military official as saying, “A bigger number of and more diverse U.S. special operation forces will take part in this year’s Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises to practice missions to infiltrate into the North, remove the North’s war command and demolition of its key military facilities.”

*

4. Christopher Black’s “North Korea: The Grand Deception Revealed

“In 2003 I had, along with some American lawyers, members of the National Lawyers Guild, the good fortune to be able to travel to North Korea, that is the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, in order to experience first hand that nation, its socialist system and its people. The joint report issued on our return was titled “The Grand Deception Revealed.” That title was chosen because we discovered that the negative western propaganda myth about North Korea is a grand deception designed to blind the peoples of the world to the accomplishments of the Korean people in the north who have successfully created their own circumstances, their own independent socio-economic system, based on socialist principles, free of the domination of the western powers.

At one of our first dinners in Pyongyang our host, Ri Myong Kuk, a lawyer, stated, on behalf of the government, and in passionate terms, that the DPRK’s Nuclear Deterrent Force was necessary in light of US world actions and threats against the DPRK. He stated, and this was repeated to me in a high level meeting with DPRK government officials later on in the trip, that if the Americans would sign a peace treaty and non-aggression agreement with the DPRK, it would de-legitimize the American occupation and lead to reunification. Consequently there would be no need for nuclear weapons. He stated sincerely that, “It’s important that lawyers are gathering to talk about this as lawyers regulate the social interactions within society and within the world,” and added just as sincerely that, “the path to peace requires an open heart.”

It appeared to us then and it is apparent now, in absolute contradiction to the claims of the western media, that the people of the DPRK want peace more than anything else so they can get on with their lives and endeavours without the constant threat of nuclear annihilation by the United States. But annihilation is what they in fact face and whose fault is that? Not theirs.

We were shown American documents captured in the Korean War that are compelling evidence that the US planned an attack on North Korea in 1950. The attack was carried out using American and south Korean forces with the assistance of Japanese Army officers who had invaded and occupied Korea decades before. The North Korean defence and counter-attack was then claimed by the US to be “aggression” which the United States manipulated in the media to get the UN to support a “police operation,” the euphemism they chose to use to carry on what was in fact their war of aggression against North Korea. Three years of war and 3.5 million Korean deaths followed and the US has threatened them with imminent war and annihilation ever since….”

*
Related:

I had an interesting encounter with a Korean man I had met when exiting the flight from DPRK on August 31st. Then we had just exchanged some brief words. Later in Beijing, we met by chance and spoke about North Korea.

As it happens, he had visited 28 years prior, and as it further happens he was born in the south and lived 20 years of his life there before America. He speaks the language and on this recent trip interacted with North Koreans one-on-one.

In sum, he was very impressed with the changes since he’d been there nearly 3 decades ago. And while he was born in the south, and lives in America, he does not support the US rhetoric around the north.

Hopefully we’ll have a proper interview/talk when both back at respective homes.

Related

EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN IN PROPAGANDA WAR AGAINST SYRIA CONTINUES

Still image from a video being filmed in Egypt, purporting to be in Aleppo, Syria.

In December 2016, filmmakers in Egypt were arrested in the process of staging an Aleppo video with two children: the girl was meant to look injured, and the boy was to vilify both Russia and Syria.

Even the corporate media reported on it, including: “The girl’s dress, covered in red paint, was what caught the attention of a police officer driving by, the ministry said.”

The incidences of fakery and hoaxes, however, does not end there.

Also in December, the scene of a ‘Girl running to survive after her family had been killed’ was said to be in Aleppo. In reality, it was a scene from a Lebanese music video, which someone at some point clearly chose to depict as in Aleppo, for the same anti-Russian, anti-Assad vilification purposes.

In November 2014, a clip dubbed ‘Syrian hero boy’ went viral, viewed over 5 million times already by mid-November. The clip showed what appeared to be a little boy saving his sister from sniper gunfire, and was assumed to have been in Syria.

The Telegraph’s Josie Ensor didn’t wait for any sort of verification of the video which she cited as having been uploaded on November 10, the next day writing: “…it is thought the incident took place in Yabroud – a town near the Lebanese border which was the last stronghold of the moderate Free Syrian Army. Experts tell the paper they have no reason to doubt its authenticity. The UN has previously accused the Syrian regime of ‘crimes against humanity’ – including the use of snipers against small children.”

On November 14, the BBC brought on ‘Middle East specialist’ Amira Galal to give her expert opinion on the clip. She asserted: “We can definitely say that it is Syria, and we can definitely say that it’s probably on the regime frontlines. We see in the footage that there is a barrel, it’s painted on it the Syrian army flag.”

Once again, the so-called ‘experts’ got it wrong. The barrel which Galal referred to had a poor imitation of the flag of Syria painted on it, the flag’s color sequence out of order. The clip she was so certain had been filmed in government areas of Syria was actually produced in Malta by Norwegian filmmakers.

From Video to Twitter Hoaxes

In the propaganda war on Syria, there are convincing lies, and then there are the blindingly clear hoaxes. In the latter realm, the Bana al-Abed Twitter persona takes first prize. The child is being abused by her own family who have seemingly forced her to pretend she can speak English (she cannot).

*Twitter link here

We were meant to believe that sophisticated and nuanced tweets, often calling for Western intervention, are coming from an English-illiterate seven-year-old girl or her mother — whose husband was a militant in Aleppo.

In a detailed article, Barbara McKenzie looks at the campaign which uses the brand Bana for war propaganda. An excerpt includes:

“Bana, the little girl supposedly tweeting from Aleppo, but actually the front for an account run from London, was selected to be the empathetic face of the campaign for a no-fly zone in Syria. Her account was tailored to create the impression of perpetual bombing, perpetual war crimes, on the part of Russia and the Syrian government.”

Bana not only tweeted with impossible frequency from eastern Aleppo, defying any internet lapses those of us who have gone to Aleppo have experienced. Whatever the actual explanation for her alleged preciousness and high-tech abilities, the child was clearly exploited, and continues to be.

Her twitter account continues its advocacy for Western intervention in Syria. Not at all suspicious.

Real Poster Children Brutally Beheaded, Sniped, Starved, Maimed

Effective war propaganda tugs at the heart strings, using many tactics, including adorable children in threatening situations, or dead, and comes hand in hand with condemnations for crimes committed, allegedly, by the villain(s) being caricatured. In the following instances, children being injured or murdered did occur, but the condemnations were muted or not at all.

A few weeks prior to the photo of Omran Daqneesh going viral as the poster child for suffering in Syria, terrorists of the Nour al-Din al-Zenki faction beheaded a boy said to be around 12 years old.

Although the decapitators filmed the entire savage act, posing for gleeful selfies as they tortured the boy prior to murdering him, leaders and media in the US took little notice of the horrific slaughter. Ten days after the questionable events which led to the light injury of Omran, two young boys in the Idlib villages of Foua and Kafraya were shot in their head and neck respectively by a sniper from Jaysh al-Fateh terrorists in the village of Binnish close by. The injuries were serious. They were rendered even more serious given that the villages had been completely surrounded and fully under siege by terrorists since March 2015.

In April 2017, a convoy of children, women, elderly and ill being evacuated from Foua were attacked by a terrorist explosion, with reports over 200 murdered, including 116 children. The attack included luring with potato chips and filming children in the convoy before later blowing them up and claiming to be rescuing them. Not only did these terrorists murder civilians and children, but they staged the scene to then look like heroes.

Indeed, in the West this massacre was called a “hiccup” and little denunciation was made about the vast numbers of dead, let alone the injured.

In October, 2016, Press TV was one of the few outlets to report on another adorable Aleppo boy, Mahmoud, “a six-year-old Syrian boy who was born without arms, and recently lost both of his legs after stepping on a mine planted by militants in Syria’s Aleppo.” The report includes scenes of Mahmoud showing his resilience, adjusting to life without any limbs. But for corporate media, Mahmoud’s were the wrong villains.

Terrorist bombings and snipings have killed children in schools and homes throughout Syria over the years, including the October 2014 terrorist car and suicide bombing of the Akrama Al-Makhzoumi School in Homs, killing at least 41 children by conservative estimates, or up to 48 children by other reports, along with women and other civilians, as well as attacks on Aleppo schools, as I detailed earlier.

In Aleppo and in Damascus, I have visited numerous hospitals and seen endless poster children of suffering in Syria. The differences between these children and those which Western and Gulf media present us, is that these children were murdered, rendered critically-injured, or maimed by the bombs, mortars and snipings of terrorists which the West presents as “moderate rebels”, so their stories will never be front page, much less heard.

The Bitter Truth

The Western and Gulf media work in lockstep with the narratives emanating from Washington on Syria. It is not coincidental that certain photos and stories of Syrian children go viral, while other more damning photos and sordid realities get no notice period.

*Twitter link here

Regarding the Omran case, we now know that he was not gravely hurt as media tried to imply, that his family have gone back to their lives in Aleppo, and the exploitation and lies around Omran cannot continue.

When I met them on June 6th, they showed no signs of the duress which terrorists and their backers—which include Western corporate media—claim. Instead, some neighbors were over, discussing media fabrications around Omran.

However, the children who are believed to have been exploited and used in the 2013 Ghouta chemical weapons fabrications remain missing and have not gone back to their lives, nor have their families in the Latakia countryside.

In March 2017, physicians with Swedish Doctors for Human Rights, after examining a White Helmet’s video, wrote:

“…Swedish medical doctors, specialists in various fields, including pediatrics, have revealed that the life-saving procedures seen in the film are incorrect – in fact life-threatening – or seemingly fake, including simulated resuscitation techniques being used on already lifeless children.”

The article noted that Dr Lena Oske, a Swedish medical doctor and general practitioner, said of an adrenaline injection shown in the video, “If not already dead, this injection would have killed the child!”

While in al-Waer, Homs, on June 9, 2017, speaking with a woman who had returned not long after the last terrorist had been bused out in the government’s reconciliation agreement, she told me a story of her friend from the area. Bearing in mind that this is second hand information (and that I didn’t have time to stay another day to meet the friend in question), I’ll leave her words and this 2012 link as food for thought regarding the use of children, alive or day, for war propaganda against Syria:

“In 2014, my friend’s son, Louay was leaving his school. A mortar fell on the street nearby and he was hit with shrapnel. The Red Crescent took him in an ambulance to al-Bour, a nearby aid association, which couldn’t treat him, so he was taken to a government hospital in al-Zahra’a. They tried to save him, but he died.

They took him back to al-Bour where they cleaned him for burial. While my friend was waiting, people from al-Bour carried him onto the street yelling the regime killed him, look what the regime does to children.’”

Later, she saw on both al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya footage of her son, with men blaming the “regime” for killing children in Syria.

But she didn’t agree. The government helped her son and tried to save his life. He was 7 years old.

RELATED:

Meet Aylan & Omran: Child victims used for Syrian war propaganda, Jun 12, 2017, RT Op-Edge

MintPress Meets The Father Of Iconic Aleppo Boy, Who Says Media Lied About His Son, Jun 9, 2017, MintPress News

CNN #FakeNews Amanpour Challenged to Interview Aleppo Boy’s Father – #NewWorldNextWeek, Jun 15, 2017, The Corbett Report

Weaponization of Children!

Created on Wednesday, 07 June 2017 07:28

The sinister schemes and aggressions against Syria have been prepared and enacted on the ground once the greedy colonial forces found their fabrications, lackeys and traitors ready to destroy the only secular cradle of civilization in this part of the world. The terrorists and their backers aimed to distort, spoil and destroy every aspect of Syria’s civilized life using every means of distortion and fabrications, particularly mainstream media (MSM).

“Syria has been exposed to a media attack; media, notwithstanding its importance, cannot outdo the reality. They might be stronger in space- satellite transmission-, but we are stronger on the ground than in the space. Still, we want to win on the ground as well as in the space.” said H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad in press statements following the casting of his vote  in Syria’s New Constitution referendum, February 26  2012.

Once again, the lies and fabrication made by the terrorist organizations and the US-UK-financed White Helmets as well as the media outlets supporting them about events in Syria continue to be exposed.

A new revelation came on Tuesday after the five years old boy Omarn Daqneesh, whose photo in an orange ambulance seat spread across the Main Stream Media (MSM) in August last year to be exploited against the Syrian government, appeared again to belie the reports and images circulated about him being injured in an alleged airstrike by the Syrian army.

The boy’s new appearance uncovers the comic play performed by the so-called White Helmet and used by western and Gulf states late last year to harm the reputation of the Syrian army and provoke an international resolution against Syria.

 Hamda Mustafa, News Department Head at the Syria Times, quoted SANA’s  interview with the father of Omran Daqneesh to uncover the details of the lie made by the “White Helmets”. He stressed that his child was kidnapped from him by a terrorist group as he was injured in a blast in Karm al-Qaterji area in Aleppo. The terrorist took photos for the dusty-covered but unharmed child Omran in order to exploit them against the Syrian army. These photos and videos were published in the enemy’s media outlets.

“I and my family were in al-Qaterji neighborhood when our house was damaged in an explosion. Despite my wounds, I carried my child Omran, who was luckily unharmed, and left as fast as we could fearing another blast,” said the father.

He added that a number of terrorists took Omran from him, put him in an ambulance, started to take photos and videos for him and publish them claiming that the boy was injured in a Syrian army airstrike. He reaffirmed that Omran wasn’t injured and that all the published images were fake and were a false play performed by the terrorists.

Omran’s father revealed that the foreign-backed terrorist groups offered to pay him a large amounts of cash to spread lies about what happened to his son and to make interviews attacking the Syrian army. He said he refused and insisted to stay in Aleppo and not to surrender to their request despite threats and the huge pressure put on him.

The MSM outlets, which made Omran’s photos a fatty meal in the past, stand today blind and deaf after their lie and attempt to trade with childhood in Syria to save the terrorists was uncovered and they will ignore of the new revelation about Omran Daqneesh, who is now living with his family in Suleiman al-Halabi neighborhood.

Nessa Beeley, the British investigative journalist, wrote to the 21st Century Wire

Omran has been found alive and well in East Aleppo. Syrian & Lebanese media have been interviewing the father of Omran Daqneesh the traumatized boy that graced the covers of virtually every media outlet in August 2016. Omran’s bewilderment reduced news anchors to tears and tipped the world over the edge of rational thought and into the realms of sentimentalized chaos. To the West, he became the symbol of intervention. We almost went to war over Omran. 

Omran’s dad tells how “rebels” traded w/blood of his son & how he was offered money 2 do interviews & attack the govt.

Why are the corporate media not rushing to Aleppo to interview and investigate, after all Omran was one of the most effective icons of the media war on Syria, his photograph even winning the Getty award for the most “Defining Image” 2016. Despite the fact that the photo itself was taken by Mahmoud Raslan, a supporter of the East Aleppo child beheading gang, terrorists Nour Al Din Zinki who decapitated and tortured Abdullah Issa publicly and videoed the entire brutal act, one month before the photo of Omran went viral and precipitated all manner of outrage from the International Community.

You would think, after all the outpouring of emotion, that these media hacks would be overjoyed to hear of little Omran’s wellbeing. You would  think they would be clamouring for an interview with the family to finally investigate the background to his appearance in the back of an ambulance in East Aleppo. Instead mainstream media has done no more than its usual copy-paste excercise in damage limitation.

The Telegraph was one of the first of the corporate media to run the story, one feels very reluctantly and not without the familiar twist which enabled a dig at the Syrian government. Failing to expand upon the glaring fact, that Omran’s family had been staunchly pro-Syrian state and pro-Syrian army from the beginning, which may have provoked the attacks upon them, from the NATO and Gulf state-funded extremists embedded in East Aleppo. Also, barely mentioning the fact that the family fled to Syrian Government held west Aleppo for safety. But investigating those aspects of the story is seemingly a step beyond the comfort zone for modern corporate media hacks?

 “In a short interview clip posted by Alloush, Omran’s father tells the TV presenter that he did not hear a plane above his house before the strike and said he rejected offers to leave Syria by parties wishing to damage the reputation of the country’s armed forces. He said that he changed his son’s name and his hairstyle to evade individuals who threatened to kidnap him and accused rebels of intimidating him.”

Both media outlets have powerfully underpinned the UK propaganda war on Syria. In the case of Omran, both outlets milked the pathos of his August 2016 photo to optimum effect, whipping the UK public into an anti-Assad frenzy, designed to enable the much desired, No Fly Zone.

How can the Guardian possibly conclude that the family may have been coerced into the interview when they, themselves, tell us that the family had been under threat from the “rebels” not from the Syrian Government. The Telegraph tells us that:

In fact we know, from conversations raging across social media, that Omran and his family are now under threat from the various extremist factions, members of which are already putting prices on heads and calling for the murder of Omran’s father. Of no concern to corporate media who resolutely cling to the narrative that the Syrian government is the source of all evil in Syria, not the NATO and Gulf State funded extremist brigades. They cant spin that reality to serve “regime change” so it ceases to have any importance.

However we look at this situation, it is marvelous that Omran is safe and sound and still in Syria with his family. The corporate media in the west failed him. They allowed him to be exploited for the propaganda that is exacerbating the suffering of the Syrian people and prolonging the war against Syria. They failed to question the narrative fed to them by known criminal elements embedded in East Aleppo and affiliated to the NATO and Gulf state armed, funded & equipped extremist factions.

The horrific torture and beheading of Palestinian child, Abdullah Issa, one month before Omran’s bewildered image went viral, did not provoke an equivalent outrage or international condemnation.

“The images of little Omran, put out by jihadist support groups, gained widespread attention from the western media, which has backed the sectarian gangs through more than five years of brutal terrorist war. On the other hand, video of the murder of little Abdallah Issa was largely ignored, or scorned with claims that the boy was really 18 years old, or a spy for the pro-Syria Palestinian militia Liwa al-Quds.” ~ Tim Anderson

“What is perhaps most disturbing about the comparison between these two stories, is the cynical abuse and weaponization of children that is being supported by the NATO-aligned media machine. This is a calculated use of one child as a psychological instrument to promote and legitimize war, while the torture and cold-blooded execution of another is marginalized to protect the U.S. agents who perpetuate that war.” ~ Vanessa Beeley, Journey to Aleppo Part I

Despite the smiles for camera, Omran’s eyes bear the scars of his ordeals and the trauma he has been forced to live through. This is, ultimately, what we should be protesting most vehemently.  In Syria, tens of thousands of Omrans go unnoticed by our media, our governments and our NATO-aligned NGOs, including the UN. Too many children in Syria have been exploited as propaganda pawns in the geopolitical chess game being played by the NATO and Gulf state oligarchs and oil barons.

The corporate media in the west is guilty of mass deception through distortion, omission and misdirection.

Dr Nafeez Ahmed on #FakeNews:

“Yet there is a giant elephant in the room: the fact that the crisis of fake news began inside traditional media. In fact, the most egregious cases of fake news have been promulgated by traditional media institutions. And it is precisely the mass disillusionment and breakdown of trust with traditional media institutions that has been the biggest driver of all. News consumers are fed up with being lied to — they no longer have trust in the ability of prevailing media institutions to tell the truth.”

Eva Karene Bartlett , the renowned Canadian peace activist and freelance journalist, wrote that the story of “the boy in the orange chair”, “the boy in the ambulance”, another “White Helmets” ‘rescuee’ …is built on a mountain of lies.

This afternoon, the father of Omran, who had had enough of the media lies about (and abuse of) his son, spoke out for the second day in a row, setting the record straight.

Among the things he told me: his son’s injury was small and insignificant, very light, not worthy of the head bandage unnecessarily wrapped around Omran; he heard no airplane and did not agree to monetary attempts to coerce him into saying it was an airstrike; he refused and further attempts by media to photograph and misuse his son; he was at ease and back to life in his home in Aleppo.

More soon on the lies of the western and al-Qaeda affiliated journalists and on the incredible Syrian journalist who brought the truth to light.

#WhiteHelmetsAlQaeda

Janice Kortkamp, the well-known transparent US freelance and peace activist, wrote that the image of Little Omran from Aleppo, the boy in the orange chair, was seen ’round the world. His dusty bloody face was shown on every major news media channel and newspaper as “the face of the victims of President Assad and Russian bombing against civilians in Aleppo.”

You were told by the nightly news that we must help these victims. We must end their suffering: by sending more weapons to the “freedom fighters” in Aleppo; by bombing more in Syria; by imposing more sanctions.

But this story was a lie…just like the rest you’ve seen on the nightly news about Syria.

The truth is that Omran’s family supports President Assad and the Syrian Army and always considered the “rebels” in control of eastern Aleppo to be terrorists.

That Omran was injured but not badly and not by an airstrike as there were no aircraft heard flying overhead. His older brother Ali was killed. The terrorist-photographer set up the photo and Omran was not treated. His sister was so angry at the terrorist-camera man she batted away his camera when he turned it on her.

That the terrorists used Omran for their propaganda against his father’s wishes. That the terrorists had offered him thousands of dollars to make a film denouncing President Assad and the Syrian Army. He refused to make such a video. Refused the money. $8000 in Syria is a fortune.

The father cut Omran’s hair and changed his name and the family escaped to west Aleppo to be safe from the terrorist “rebels” supported by the US and our allies.

So here is Omran. Safe with his family in government controlled, unified Aleppo.

Don’t believe what you’ve been told about Syria.

Syria is not a civil war, but a US/allies orchestrated regime change coup that has been using terrorist proxy militias to do our dirty work.

Jonathan Azaziah, the founder and Editor-In-Chief of Mouqawamah Music, wrote Talk about a bombshell! The White Helmets lied through their rotten teeth! Omran al-Daqneesh, the infamous “Orange Seat Boy”, is fine as kind! He’s living in liberated Aleppo with his family! He’s being protected by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA)! And IT JUST SO HAPPENS that his parents and other kin are staunch supporters of the Syrian government. MADNESS!

Flashback to last August. The world was taken by storm as photos of a dust-covered boy in an orange ambulance seat spread across the Zionist media like a wildfire being fueled by gasoline spills. That boy of course was Omran. Plastered on every TV channel, every website and every front page of every newspaper, the boy, it was claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked, US-UK-Soros-financed White Helmets, had been wounded in air strikes launched by “the Assad regime” and “imperialist Russia”. His family, the White Helmets claimed further, were heavy backers of the “Syrian revolution”. Omran’s photograph was taken by a CIA-Turkish-Qatari-backed Harakat Noureddine al-Zinki terrorist who had previously been involved in beheading 12-year old Syrian-Palestinian boy Abdallah al-Issa in Aleppo’s Handarat.

Fast forward back to present day and the revelations about Omran Daqneesh have laid waste to this fictional narrative that the Takfiri-connected White Helmets concocted and forced down the collective throat of the globe through their Zionist media overlords. And this TRUE STORY is barely receiving any coverage at all in the mass press and wherever it is being reported, like the UK Telegraph for example, there are quite blatant attempts being made to downplay and deflect the deceptions of the past. Above and beyond the devastating info that Omran’s dearest ones are partisans of the Syrian Arab Republic’s government and military, Omran’s father revealed that terrorist groups offered to pay him gargantuan amounts of cash–presumably delivered by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey–to spread propaganda against democratically elected Syrian President Dr. Bashar al-Assad as well as the SAA.

He would refuse to entertain this treachery and despite the hasbara blitz, his support for his leader and his army never wavered. This didn’t mean things never got difficult however. Omran’s father was forced to shave Omran’s head and change his name just so his son would longer endure anymore vulturous exploitation at the hands of the “moderate rebels”. In more succinct terms: The Daqneesh family most certainly did suffer. But it wasn’t because of Damascus. In fact, it was Damascus which rescued them. Their tormentors, from A to Z, were the very groups that MSM told the world were “fighting for freedom” from a “brutal dictator”.

The story of Omran Daqneesh is much like that of Alan Kurdi. Or Hamza al-Khatib. Or the chemical weapons attacks in Ghouta in ’13 and Idlib just a few months ago. Or the Houla Massacre. Or, in reality, the entirety of the war on Syria. A lie gets told. It proliferates thanks to the pernicious efforts of the global Zionist media and a network of “activists” linked to the NGO-Human-Rights-Industrial-Complex of Soros, the NED and the US State Department. Then months or sometimes years later, when the dust settles, the cameras have moved on their next batch of Zioganda, and the public is no longer paying attention, the truth will come out but it will swiftly get swept under the rug.

Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

alibrahim56@hotmail.com

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