A SYRIAN LEADER TELLS HIS COUNTRY’S STORY: AN INTERVIEW WITH SAA GENERAL HASSAN HASSAN

In Gaza

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Eva Bartlett sits down for an exclusive interview with the head of the Syrian Arab Army’s Political Administration, General Hassan Hassan.

August 5, 2019, Mint Press News

For years, international headlines spotlighting Syria have claimed that the Syrian government, army, and its allies were guilty of a variety of atrocities. Yet as time has passed, many of the accusations levied at government and its allies have been shown to have been either falsified, staged (as in the case of allegations of chemical attacks in eastern Ghouta), or actually committed by the myriad terrorist groups operating in the country.

For their part, Syrian leadership has maintained from the start that the demonstrations in their country were not peaceful, from 2011 and on. Media in the West and the Gulf vilified Syria’s leadership, featuring story after story of government-imposed violence while ignoring or whitewashing the violence of the burgeoning armed groups flooding into Syria.

From as early as 2011, armed groups were throwing civilians from rooftops and committing beheadings, kidnappings, and massacres. The year 2011 alone saw multiple massacres of civilians and security forces committed by what the media called “unarmed protesters” and later by the “Free Syrian Army.” This was the same year that many in the media were insisting that a “peaceful revolution” was underway.

Since that time, those same armed groups, as well as the many iterations they spawned, have starved, tortured, imprisoned, murdered, maimed and even harvested the organs of Syrian civilians, in addition to killing Syrian and allied soldiers and journalists and destroying much of the country’s infrastructure.

To give a voice to the often ignored “other side” — those Syrians that have been working to defend their country since 2011 —  Eva Bartlett interviewed the Syrian Arab Army’s Head of Political Administration, General Hassan Hassan. General Hassan’s shelves and large wooden desk are covered with stacks of books, family photos, and various homages to the country he serves — the general holds a Ph.D. in geopolitical studies. The following is a transcript of Bartlett’s interview with Hassan following the 74th anniversary of the founding of the Syrian Arab Army.

 

Eva Bartlett (EB) | I would like to begin by asking you your thoughts on how honest Western and Gulf media’s reporting on Syria has been, especially regarding their choice of lexicon — for example, regarding the Syrian Army, the Syrian Government, what they call rebels — and the events in Syria in general.

General Hassan (GH) | Media has been one of the weapons of mass destruction used in this war on Syria. The biased media, in addition to the takfiri [Salafi] fatwas — especially the fatwas — have been the weapons that contributed most to the destruction taking place in Syria, including the destruction of human beings, vegetation, civilization,…everything.

President Bashar al-Assad emphasized more than once the necessity of countering the rhetoric used. I can elaborate for two or more hours on the terms used. However, I will limit myself to some examples.

The Free [Syrian] Army is among the lexicons used. What “army” and what “freedom” are they talking about? Every army is known for its discipline, hierarchy, fighting strategies in both defense and attack, and the cause it fights for.

The so-called Free Syrian Army has none of these qualities, except for the ability to kill. The media tried to put into circulation the term Assad’s Brigades or Assad’s Forces. Our army is the Syrian Arab Army, which includes in each of its formations soldiers from all Syrian governorates, with no exception.

I’ll give you an example. Almost three months ago, the militants supported by Turkey targeted a Syrian army position to the north of Latakia. Twelve soldiers were martyred as a result. Each soldier is from a different governorate. This is the Syrian Arab Army.

They used the term “defection.” There is no defection in the Syrian Arab Army; defection did not really occur in the Syrian Arab Army but there are some cases of soldiers running away. The term “defection” is used when a brigade or a squad defect from a certain army. Until now, the Syrian Arab Army has not witnessed what might be called defection even within its smallest units.

In order to spread the idea of defection they resorted to unsophisticated lies. In 2012 they said that General Mohammad al-Rifa’i, commander of the Fifth Squad, had defected from the army. This lie was circulated through the media. Yet, Syrian TV interviewed the general, who had retired in 2001, 11 years prior.

Gangs would stop civilian or military vehicles on highways, hold soldiers hostages, film them and force them at gunpoint to declare that they had defected [from the army].

I’ll give an example available from the internet of their lies regarding the term the Free Syrian Army. Anyone can check the Free Syrian Army term through Google. We type Abu Saqr al-Asadi — right here, I have typed Abu Saqr al-Souri [the Syrian]. We now find [the result] “face to face with the fighter Abu Saqr al-Asadi who ate the heart of a soldier.” (Abu Saqr is also transliterated as Abu Sakkar, as per the BBC article referred to by General Hassan).

That was in 2013 when he was filmed cutting into the chest of the soldier and eating his heart. It is here on Google from the BBC Arabic website. This is not a Syrian media outlet. It is a Western outlet. It is not a pleasant sight to watch him chewing the soldier’s heart.

Abu Saqr al-Asadi was a fighter in the Al-Farouq Brigades, which was an armed rebel organization formed by the Free Syrian Army. When he died he was a member of the Nusra Front. So, he was a member of the Free Syrian Army, used to be with the Farouq Brigades, and then joined the Nusra Front.

I could speak for hours about the issue of lexicon. For instance, they talked about what is called the armed opposition. How could opposition be armed?! Opposition is a political term. Opposition is a political party that did not win elections. Such a party plays the role of opposition in the parliament. These militant groups want to govern the country, the people and everything by armed force. Does this sound normal? Never was there a term called “armed opposition,” except when they spoke about these terrorist gangs.

 

EB | So in the article you’ve just shown, the English version, the BBC did not report it as an act of carnage. They humanized Abu Saqr and asked him what drove him to do such a desperate act?

GH | This is the media war. Either they say he is violent or they say he is an angel; hasn’t he demonstrated how he cut out an organ and ate a piece of it? When the BBC describes a man who ate the heart of a dead soldier as a peaceful man, how then would they describe beasts?

 

EB | Regarding events in Syria in 2011, both Western and Gulf media called it a peaceful unarmed uprising for many months, even for up to a year. Do you have an example of attacks by what the West called unarmed protesters against the Syrian army, police or security forces in 2011?

GH | In 2011 they said the reason behind the first spark was that the army, or another security body, pulled out the nails of some children in Dara`a. Over the past eight years, it has become clear that all of the armed groups are equipped with video cameras and live-streaming devices. Can any of them provide us with a video of one child whose nails were pulled out? Where are these children? Why couldn’t the media that fabricated such lies film the pulled-out nails?

Let’s go back to the peaceful uprising. On April 10, 2011, less than a month after the beginning of the so-called uprising, an army convoy transporting soldiers back to their homes was intercepted on the highway from Tartous to Banias. Nine people were martyred: two officers, five warrant officers, and two civilians. They also fired at the ambulances that tried to reach the wounded.

Other examples are the Nawa massacre in Dara`a, the Jisr al-Shoghur massacre, and the Asi River massacre — where they live-streamed the dumping of people into the river. All these massacres were perpetrated before the end of June 2011.

That is the peaceful [Arab] spring the Western and Gulf media talked about.

Are these examples enough, or should I cite more? It’s important to me that Western readers know how many lies and how much deception there has been, especially by the media.

I’ll give you another minor example. Usually, the BBCAl-Jazeera and France 24, etc. would broadcast that an explosion took place in a certain area. However, there was no explosion. But 15 to 30 minutes later an explosion would take place in the same area. It was like a code to the armed groups to carry out the explosion.

I’ll provide you with a more comprehensive example. When the area of Ma`raba [near al-Tal, a suburb of Damascus] was targeted by the Israeli enemy, cameras were focused on the targeted area even before the missiles hit.

 

EB | So, they were ready?

GH | The cameras were aimed at the area where the missiles were supposed to hit. At the moment that the missiles hit the targeted area, members of armed groups began cheering “Allahu Akbar… Allahu Akbar.” This was documented by their cameras; definitely not Syrian media cameras. At the same time, armed groups in eastern Ghouta attacked Damascus from seven fronts.

As an ordinary person — not as a military figure– I could tell it was a role carried out by three. First, the one who carried out the aggression, and that is the Zionist entity [Israel].

Second, the media outlets that were assigned to broadcast the aggression before it was carried out.  And third, the armed groups who attacked Damascus. Therefore, the cameraman and those militants are substitute recruits of the Israeli enemy. I cannot call them but the substitute army of Israel and the United States.

According to confessions by Israeli and American officials, including previous U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ISIS was made by America. Later on, ISIS was classified as a terrorist organization.

Thus, those terrorists made in the U.S. are the rebels of the peaceful [Arab] spring later circulated in the region by means of the foreign media outlets.

 

EB | According to Israeli media, Israel is fighting terrorism, Muslim extremists. However, there are reports of Israel treating militants or terrorists in Israeli hospitals. Can you please outline Israel’s role in the war on Syria?

GH | Everything that has taken place in Syria and in the region — all the blaze erupting in the region,  under what they falsely called the Arab Spring — serves the interests of Israel. These are not my own conclusions; rather, it is the Israeli media who talk about this. The Israeli prime minister appeared on television when he visited wounded terrorists, injured while fighting the Syrian army, being treated in Israeli hospitals. This is number one.

The other issue is that every time the Syrian Arab Army is making an apparent advance, Israel conducts an aggression [airstrike]. When Israel is unable to achieve its objective, it seeks the help of the United States, just as it did when the U.S. Air Force targeted the Tharda Mountains in Deir ez-Zor as the Syrian army was en route to clear Deir ez-Zor of terrorists.

I hope that you underscore the following statement: Those who sponsor terrorism don’t fight it.Israel is an entity based on both killing and falsehood. When Palestine was already inhabited, they claimed that Palestine was a land without people and wanted to give it to people without a land. Thus, the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, gave what the U.K. didn’t own to those who didn’t deserve it.

In 2019, Trump did the same and gave the Golan to Israel as if Trump inherited it from his own father. Who gave Trump the right to give other people’s property to others? The issue here is that international law needs power to protect it. Unfortunately, the United States is still the superpower of the world and the financial and economic despot of the world. U.S. officials are indifferent to falsehood, humanity, law or human rights. All this means nothing to them.

I would like to remind foreign readers that Iraq was destroyed under the pretext of having weapons of mass destruction. The whole world still recalls Colin Powell when he presented what he called a satellite image as evidence of Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction. When Powell left office, he admitted to U.S. media outlets that that moment was the darkest in his lifetime. The question is: When did he admit it? How many innocent victims were killed as a result?

How come a sovereign state was occupied without international legitimacy? American officials don’t care about this. Wherever the U.S. has interfered around the world, the result has been more killing, destruction, and suffering and successive U.S. administrations are competing to serve Israel.

 

EB | Syria has been accused of using chemical weapons against civilians. Does the Syrian army use chemical weapons against civilians?

GH |  An official mission came to Syria and demanded that the Syrian government carry out an official investigation. They delayed for years before the mission arrived. And those who came submitted an untruthful report.

Syria signed the agreement and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) visited Syria and checked all places and the existing stockpile [of chemical weapons] was destroyed on a U.S. vessel. Accordingly, The OPCW announced that Syria was chemical weapons-free.ve

The Syrian Government has been accused of using chemical weapons many times, in eastern Ghouta and in other areas. Under this pretext, [th U.S. and its allies] launched their aggression on Syria. Syria affirmed many times through statements by Syrian officials, both before and after the agreement was signed, that Syria does not in any way intend to use chemical weapons and that Syria has not used nor will it use chemical weapons.

After the declaration of this organization [OPCW] that Syria is free from chemical weapons, how could Syria use something that it does not have? Despite evidence that chemical substances and weapons entered into areas under the control of militant groups in Syria through Turkish borders, investigations were not resumed.

There are a number of videos showing how the armed groups were the ones using chemical weapons themselves. Each time Syria was accused of using chemical weapons, the Syrian army was on the verge of finishing a military operation. Is it logical they’d use chemical weapons — which would prevent the declaration of victory?

With regard to their claim of using chemicals in Ghouta, the areas there are interconnected. Those who use chemical weapons cannot protect themselves. When those terrorists used chemicals there, both the civilians and the military were hit, as was the case in Khan al-Asal and elsewhere. This was exposed in the [UN] Security Council by Bashar al-Ja’afari.

Syria does not possess chemical weapons. Syria has never used chemical weapons before. Syria cannot use a chemical weapon for a simple reason, or for two reasons in fact: Ethically, Syria does not believe in using chemicals [weapons]. This is number one. Second, Syria does not own chemical weapons.

 

EB | The Rukban Camp is near the U.S. base of al-Tanf. One question is about the U.S. relationship with ISIS in that area and whether or not America has been fighting ISIS in the area. Also, according to Western media, refugees evacuated from Rukban to centers in Homs, for example, are taken and thrown in prison.

For example, the Canadian Globe & Mail, citing a Qatari-based organization, said that from 2017 to 2019 around 2,000 Syrians who returned to government-controlled areas (in general and not from Rukban specifically) were detained and 784 are still in prison. How would you reply to accusations that people returning home were detained or forced to serve in the Syrian army?

GH | In relation to ISIS and the U.S., I can say that a mother does not eat her own son. ISIS is a U.S. product, according to American confessions. However, America sometimes becomes a cat and eats some of its own kittens when they become a burden.

America uses ISIS, fights with ISIS, not against ISIS. Whenever the role of some armed ISIS fighters comes to an end, the U.S. abandons or gets rid of them. The U.S. does not care whether those members get killed or not.

However, when the U.S. needs them, it sends helicopters to evacuate them, just like what happened when Deir ez-Zor was liberated. American helicopters would land and evacuate ISIS leaders together with their families and fly them somewhere else.

Rukban Camp is within the sight of the Americans in the Tanf base. U.S. surveillance can distinguish a hen from a rooster on a street anywhere in the world. How is it that ISIS members are able to move at the Tanf border without being observed by the U.S. military there? How can the U.S. convince the world that it is fighting ISIS when the latter’s members move freely under U.S. observation?

Four months ago, I was working with the Head of the Russian Reconciliation Centre, General Victor Kopcheshen. He told me that the Russian government received an official reply from the Americans that they would not allow any Syrian or Russian to come close to the 55-kilometer line around Rukban Camp to help evacuate people from the camp.

Less than four months ago we first began evacuating a few hundred [people] from Rukban. Now, the number of people who returned from Rukban Camp has exceeded 15,000 (As of July 31, that number has reached 17,458 according to Russia’s Ministry of Defense). Can anyone provide me with the name of even one person who left Rukban and got detained? These claims are flagrant lies.


Author’s note | 

I asked officials at the UN about the accusation that the Syrian government was imprisoning former residents of Rukban, I detailed their reply in a separate article for MintPress:

“David Swanson, Public Information Officer Regional Office for the Syria Crisis UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs based in Amman, Jordan, told me regarding claims of substandard conditions and of Syrians being forcefully held or mistreated in the centers that:

‘People leaving Rukban are taken to temporary collective shelters in Homs for a 24-hour stay. While there, the receive basic assistance, including shelter, blankets, mattresses, solar lamps, sleeping mats, plastic sheets, food parcels and nutrition supplies before proceeding to their areas of choice, mostly towards southern and eastern Homs, with smaller small numbers going to rural Damascus or Deir-ez-Zor.

The United Nations has been granted access to the shelters on three occasions and has found the situation there adequate. The United Nations continues to advocate and call for safe, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian assistance and access to Rukban as well as to all those in need throughout Syria. The United Nations also seeks the support of all concerned parties in ensuring the humanitarian and voluntary character of departures from Rukban.’

Hedinn Halldorsson, the Spokesperson and Public Information Officer for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) based in Damascus, told me:

‘We looked into this when the rumours started, end of April, and concluded they were unfounded – and communicated that externally via press briefings in both Geneva and NY. The conditions in the shelters in Homs are also adequate and in compliance with standards; the UN has access and has done three monitoring visits so far.’”


GH | I would like to stress a point concerning military service in the army. Several presidential decrees have been issued. Any Syrian citizen [living] abroad who wishes to settle his status and return to Syria can benefit from those decrees, which invalidate any other verdict issued against that Syrian citizen.

These decrees do not nullify a Syrian citizen’s rights nor their duties. Syrian citizens who return to Syria are still Syrian citizens and therefore still have the duties of Syrian citizens. The decrees granted them a grace period of six months to settle their legal status.

For example, a person who lost their official ID, or army service registry or anything, can settle their legal status during this period. It is a normal official procedure to call for duty those who are subject to mandatory or reserve military service. This procedure has been applied to all Syrian citizens in all provinces, not only those who return.

I cannot say just respect the rights and ignore the duties. Everyone is equal before the law. They have to obey what Syrian law states and the majority of them are loyal and doing their duties enthusiastically.

But the people who have their status settled do not have the right to commit a crime. If I had a son living abroad who returned and settled his status, does it give him the right to commit an offense against his neighbors or to kill somebody or commit a crime? The law is the law and must be adhered to.

 

EB | Western media say that Iran and Russia’s presence in Syria is an attempt to occupy Syria and control it. What are the roles of Iran and Russia in Syria?

GH | Before I answer your question, let us decide what logic we’re using. Are we using the logic of international law or the law of the jungle? Who has the right to speak in the name of the Syrian people? It is only the Syrian state that has the right to speak in the name of the Syrian people. No other side has the right to speak for them. Surely, those who are speaking in the name of the Syrian people do not know the Syrian people. It is really strange that the governments of those who kill the Syrian people are acting as if they were advocates of the Syrian people.

According to international law, it is the right of any state to defend itself when such a country faces hazards endangering its own existence. Such a country has the right to defend its existence and sovereignty by using all means possible. In this respect, this country has the right to rely on its relations with friends and allies as well, no matter whether those allies are Russian, Iranian or any other ally. Neither the U.S., Israel nor the Gulf states have anything to do with this. It is a matter of Syrian sovereignty.

The other thing has to do with the military presence of any country on the territory of another state. Such a presence can be legal in one of the following two cases: when invited by the state concerned, or through a resolution issued by the [UN] Security Council. Otherwise, such a presence is an occupation.

Therefore, there is no reason for the Syrian state to be ashamed of its stance on the presence of Iran or Russia in Syria. The Syrian State declares its stances clearly and explicitly: that the presence of Iran, Russia and Hezbollah is based upon an official invitation by the Syrian government. Thus, their presence is legal according to international law. Can anyone in the West — or the media outlets who claim to be neutral — convince any Syrian citizen that the U.S. presence or the Turkish presence is legal?

The Syrian State says they are forces of occupation. There is no [UN] Security Council resolution allowing them to be present in Syria. So what is the meaning behind their presence? They are using the law of force, rather than the force of law. Thus, they are referring back to the law of the jungle and not to the force of international law.

Those occupiers support terrorism, created terrorism, and are still financing it according to a confession made by the former Qatari prime minister that his country spent $37 billion to arm and finance armed groups in Syria. The Qatari PM confessed that his country and the armed groups had agreed to destroy Syria. Yet, they disputed when things went out of their control. They paid the armed groups to hunt the prey. However, they disputed among themselves when the prey escaped.

 

EB | Syria welcomed Palestinian refugees and has supported the Palestinian resistance. Could you please explain the role of some Palestinians in the events in Syria within the past few years, whether in fighting terrorism or supporting it.

Will Hamas Challenge Fatah in the West Bank?

GH | The Syrian State does not deal with people and does not take stances based on reactions. The Syrian state has its own constants and principles, and it [continues to] adhere to these constants and principles even in its ninth year of war. Syria still believes that the cause of Palestine is the central cause of the Arab world.

So, when some Palestinian groups choose to affiliate themselves with the Muslim Brotherhood rather than being loyal to the Palestinian cause and to Syria, it makes Syria [even] more committed to its principles. Especially as these days, the world knows well that the Muslim Brotherhood [has become] the basis of evil since they’ve adopted terrorism.

The Palestinian cause remains the central cause. Syria will always take interest in the Palestinian cause, in spite of the fact that some [Palestinians] were eager to be part of the war on the Syrian State. Even though weapons that were supposed to be used to fight Israel were used in the war on Syrian citizens.

The Syrian State is now recovering and history will remember those [Palestinians] as traitors. History will show that Syria has been, and will be, loyal to the Palestinian cause.

The Yarmouk Camp is back under Syrian sovereignty. The camp is now free from those who carried weapons and used them against Syrian citizens, whatever names they used — ISIS, Nusra or otherwise — and regardless of their nationality, Palestinian or otherwise. All of them are now gone, thanks to the sacrifices made by the Syrian people the heroism of the Syrian Arab Army and the wisdom of our leader, President Bashar al-Assad.

 

EB | Some Palestinians remained loyal to Syria, including in fighting terrorism, like the Quds Brigade…

GH | Yes, of course. Surely. There are loyal people even inside occupied Palestine. Not all people are ungrateful to those who help them. Not all people bite the hand that is stretched out to help them. Only traitors bite that hand.

 

EB | When eastern Aleppo and eastern Ghouta were being liberated, Western and international media said that the Syrian army was massacring and raping civilians there and that both the Syrian and the Russian militaries were bombing hospitals. Now, they are saying that 29 hospitals in Idlib have been targeted. What would you say about these accusations?

GH | We have liberated eastern Ghouta. We have also liberated eastern Aleppo. In both locations, a number of field hospitals were shown on television with piles of medicine. This implies that these hospitals were not bombed. This is very briefly.

The other point is that when a building is selected as a command center for armed groups under the pretext of its being a hospital, does this mean we should let those positioned in eastern Ghouta target Damascus on a daily basis with their shells?

Didn’t the world watch those angels of mercy, when they entered Adra industrial town, burning people alive in ovens and throwing civilians off fourth and fifth floors?

We’re talking about war here, we’re talking here about armies of terrorists equipped with light, medium and heavy weapons and empires of media around the world, in addition to the regional and world powers supporting them.

It is the duty of the Syrian State, before being its own right, to provide the Syrian people with protection against terrorism. The problem with the national Syrian media is that it does not reach the West.

Crossing points are identified as corridors for the exit of civilians before any military operation gets started in a populated area. Such corridors are then equipped with ambulances, medical services and every other need. Who targeted the nurses, doctors and civilians on their way out when citizens were evacuated from eastern Ghouta?

Has anybody seen the photo of the Syrian soldier carrying an old woman on his back and a child on his arm? That soldier knew he could drop as a martyr carrying this heavy load. Other soldiers fell as martyrs while they were helping civilians escape.

That number, 29 hospitals, is a lie in itself. It is more than the number of [national] hospitals available all over Syria. Do they allocate a hospital for every twenty or thirty people? This is illogical.

There is also something strange about all the field hospitals that we discovered. Saudi, Israeli and U.S. medicine was found in these hospitals. How did such medicine reach the terrorists? Did it come from underneath the ground?

And those who had been targeting Damascus and Aleppo are all of sudden depicted as angels of mercy, peace and freedom advocates calling for democracy?

It’s worth pointing out to people in the West that it has been proven that only a limited number of the fighters in armed groups came from western Europe and North America, while tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, came from other countries.

The Turkish president declares that such terrorists are free to leave Syrian territory whenever he gets upset with Europe or the U.S. Subsequently, EU countries and the U.S. get so horrified at the possibility of those terrorists returning home.

The EU countries and the U.S. do not want any of those terrorists to return. Why is it that they do not want them to come back? Are they not their own citizens? They say that such terrorists will spread terrorism, so they spread terrorism there while they plant roses and flowers here? Is it okay for terrorists to spread terror here while they’re forbidden to return to their own countries?

Briefly, these are the types of lies spread by the West.

I’m calling on each and every citizen of Western countries, as I am absolutely sure that they have pure human emotion, not to believe the Western media. I want them to be certain that their governments have participated in the killing of the Syrian people and in the killing of Syrian children. Their governments participated in the killing of Syrian women and the killing of the Syrian elderly and convinced them [Western citizens] that they were promoting something else [freedom].

 

EB | Recently, journalists from CBS and Sky News were in Idlib. I believe one of the two groups, Sky News, claimed that it was targeted by the Syrian army. Could they be reporting independently of al-Qaeda or any of the other terrorist groups in Idlib? They claim they are not [embedded] with al-Qaeda. Is this feasible? Is this realistic? 

GH | It’s a funny question. You’re a journalist. Surely, this is not the first time you have visited Syria. Have you faced any obstacles while entering Syria as a journalist? Do any Western or European countries accept the entry of foreign journalists illegally into their countries?

Sky News, the BBC, and Al Jazeera teams conduct live transmissions while embedded with armed groups — the terrorists. I wish that the mental power of the Syrian soldiers could become super advanced so that they can order shells to avoid foreign correspondents who are side by side with terrorists. The army is responding to attacks launched by terrorists — soldiers and officers of the Syrian army cannot give orders to an exploding shell to avoid this or that.

The most important question is this: What are they doing there? How did they enter? Who is in control in Idlib? Isn’t it the Nusra Front? How are they [the journalists] allowed to be there? They are there under the protection of the Nusra Front. They are under the protection of an internationally-designated terrorist organization. Their countries should hold them accountable for communicating with terrorist groups before asking why the army is targeting them.

 

EB | How can Idlib be liberated when Turkish forces occupy northern Syria and there are civilians in Idlib, in addition to the 70,000 al-Qaeda and other terrorist fighters?

GH | There were civilians and armed groups in Homs. There were civilians and armed groups in Ghouta as well. There were civilians and armed groups all over Dara`a.  All these regions have been liberated. The majority of citizens remained there while the terrorists were wiped out. Idlib is no exception. Eastern parts of the Euphrates are no exception either.

Each square centimeter of Syrian land is part and parcel of Syria as a whole. It is the duty and the right of the Syrian State to eradicate terrorism.

Unless under an invitation by the Syrian government, any foreign military presence on the Syrian territory is a force of occupation. The Syrian State is entitled to face such an occupation with every possible means.

The Syrian State has opened the door wide for reconciliation. The Syrian State trusts the wisdom of Russian and Iranian friends and relies on its relations with Turkey.

Surely each Syrian citizen, civilian or military, wishes that not even one drop of blood be spilled. This does not mean to yield to occupation in any way.

Idlib will be freed either through reconciliations or a political agreement. Otherwise, the Syrian State will find the means to liberate Idlib in the same way it liberated all other regions. I am absolutely certain — not as an officer but rather as a citizen — I know how Syrian citizens think; they believe that Idlib will be freed, as will each and every inch of the Syrian territory.

The presence of U.S., Turkish, or any other occupation force does not mean such a force is a destiny that cannot be faced. As long as we [the Syrian State] spare no effort or means — whether military, political, economic or diplomatic —  to win this war [against terrorism] by God’s will, and I hope it is not going to be through military action. But if things reach a dead-end, Idlib will not remain under occupation.

 

EB | Can you speak to the importance of liberating Idlib, not only for Syria’s territorial integrity but also for the villages in Northern Hama that are affected by terrorists in Idlib? The media is not talking about Mahardeh, Sqailbiyeh and other places being attacked by terrorists.

GH | When Mhardeh and Sqailbiyeh are targeted, as a Syrian citizen, I do not see these two towns as less important than Damascus. Likewise when the neighborhoods of Homs were targeted.

All areas inhabited by Syrian citizens under the control of the Syrian State have been targets for those armed terrorist groups that are supported by the West, which claims it is standing by human rights and cares about the interests of the Syrian people.

For Syrian citizens, the liberation of each centimeter, or rather each grain of sand, is as important as the liberation of Idlib. Of course, the existence of armed groups in Idlib leads to abnormal circumstances that cause dysfunction in citizens’ daily lives. Thus, it is important to liberate Idlib to guarantee the return of normal life in Mahardeh, Sqailbiyeh and other areas.

At the same time, it is important to end the occupation by the U.S. and its allies.

I hope that each European or American citizen will ask: Why do Syrian citizens return to areas that have been liberated? Why do citizens welcome the army? Why do citizens — except those who are held hostage by terrorists — flee from areas under the control of terrorist groups?

The civilians residing in terrorist-held areas are helpless hostages. A year ago all of the neighborhoods in eastern Ghouta were populated by terrorists. If the Syrian army had been shelling civilians in the past, why not do now? Why are people now living in peace there?

These are questions that I put forward to people living in the West. I hope they are human enough to ask [themselves] these questions.

 

EB | Regarding misinformation from international media on the Syrian Arab Army, portraying them as murderers and rapists. Can you speak about the sacrifices of the Syrian Arab Army throughout these eight years of war?

GH | I will answer your question with a question. Syria is an area of 185,000 square kilometers. According to United Nations documents, 360,000 armed terrorists infiltrated Syrian territory.

I would like to draw an example other than Syria. I’ll give the U.S., the superpower of the world, as an example. Let’s suppose that 36,000, rather than 360,000, terrorists infiltrate any state of the United States. That’s 10 percent of the number of terrorists who made their way into Syria. Let’s also suppose that such terrorists are supported by world powers. What would have happened to the U.S.?

The achievements of the Syrian Arab Army are not ordinary; these achievements are miraculous accomplishments.

The two greatest armies in modern history have failed to achieve what the Syrian Army has accomplished. In Afghanistan, fewer than 10 percent of the number of terrorists in Syria were able to defeat two armies: the Red Soviet Army and the U.S. Army.

But, the Syrian Army defeated such terrorism. According to military theory, any fight between an army and terrorist militia of armed gangs will end with the armed gangs winning. This has been evident throughout military history.

For the first time in the history of humankind, a traditional army has defeated armies of militant groups. The Syrian Army fought battles that can be classified as new in military science. The Syrian Army fought above ground and underground battles in addition to their battles against the media war, intelligence war, information war, economic war, gang and street-to-street wars. Despite all of that, the Syrian Army achieved victory. Therefore, can we imagine the magnitude of the sacrifices made in this respect by the Syrian Army?

In the first months of this war, the Syrian leadership realized that the terrorists wanted Syrians to be used to seeing blood everywhere. So, soldiers were forbidden from carrying weapons, even handguns, when they went to areas of so-called demonstrations to prevent demonstrators from destroying infrastructure.

For months the soldiers confronted the militants knowing that they could be martyred. However, the discipline of the Syrian army pushed the soldiers to do their missions without carrying a weapon.

Let any Western citizen imagine how it would be for a soldier with no weapons facing armed militants to stop them from destroying infrastructure and targeting civilians.

This is the Syrian army. The Syrian army cleared most of the Syrian regions occupied by the fiercest types of terrorism ever witnessed in the history of mankind.

 

EB |  Thank you very much for your time and for the interview in general.

GH |  I also would like to thank you all for what you’ve done so far and for all of the questions you raised. I kindly request that you share my replies with foreign readers.

Personally, I think your role as an objective journalist transcends the traditional role of journalism. It reflects an ethical responsibility of telling the truth about what you’ve seen. If you want to help the Syrian people, the greatest help you can offer the Syrian people is to tell the truth you have seen with your own eyes, not just what is said all over the internet.

Again, anyone can look up Abu Saqr al-Souri and see how he ate the heart of a dead soldier. He was a member of the so-called peaceful group of the Free Syrian Army, when he was killed — he was with the Nusra Front. This can be enough to convey the message.

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We Are All Liars

By Theirry Meyssan
Source

Propaganda is a means of spreading ideas, whether they be true or false. But lying to ourselves is nothing other than refusing to admit our faults, attempting to convince ourselves that we are perfect – running away.

Turkey illustrates the paroxysm of this attitude. It persists in denying that it tried to get rid of the non-Muslim minorities, in several waves, during the space of a generation, from 1894 to 1923. The Israëlis are not too bad at this themselves, pretending that they created their state in order to offer a dignified life to the Jews who survived extermination by the Nazis, when in fact Woodrow Wilson agreed to found the state in 1917, and that today in their home land, more than 50,000 escapees from the death camps live miserably below the poverty line. But the Western powers are the only ones to build consensus on their lies, claiming them to be revealed truths.

The Normandy landings

We are presently celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings. According to the almost unanimous Press, it was here that the Allies launched the liberation of Europe from the Nazi occupation.

Yet we know this is untrue.

The landings were not the work of the Allies, but almost exclusively that of the British Empire and the US Expeditionary Force.

It was not aimed at « liberating Europe », but at « marching on Berlin», in order to grab those shreds of the Third Reich which could still be poached from the victorious Soviet armies.

The invasion was not welcomed with joy by the French, but on the contrary, with horror.

Robert Jospin (father of ex-Prime Minister Lionel Jospin) denounced, on the front page of his newspaper, the Anglo-Saxon importation of war into France. The French buried their 20,000 dead, killed by Anglo-Saxon bombings, which were only intended as a diversion. An immense demonstration gathered in Lyon around the « head of state », ex-Maréchal Philippe Petain, to refuse Anglo-Saxon domination. And never, absolutely never, did the head of La France Libre, General Charles De Gaulle, accept to participate in any commemoration of this sinister invasion.

Normandy landing
Normandy landing. Omaha beach

History is more complicated than a Western movie. There are no « good guys » or « bad guys », but men who attempt to save their own with as much humanity as possible. At best, we were able to dodge the drivel of Tony Blair who, during the commemorations of the 60th anniversary, provoked the anger of the British Press by pretending in his speech that the United Kingdom had entered the war to save Jews from the « Shoah » — but not to save the gypsies from the same massacre. The destruction of the European Jews did not begin until after the Wansee Conference in 1942.

The Tiananmen massacre

We celebrate the painful anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. We read continually that the cruel Chinese Imperial régime massacred thousands of its own citizens who were peaceably gathered in Beijing’s main square, only because they were asking for a little freedom.

Yet we know this is untrue.

The sit-in on Tiananmen Square was not that of the Chinese among themselves, but an attempted coup d’état by partisans of ex-Premier Minister Zhao Ziyang.

Dozens of soldiers were lynched or burned alive on the Square by « peaceful demonstrators », and hundreds of military vehicles were destroyed, before any intervention by Den Xiaoping’s soldiers was implemented against them.

china-tiananmen-photo-gallery
Chinese troops and tanks gather in Beijing, one day after the end of a “pro-democracy” color revolution on Tiananmen Square, June 5, 1989

The US specialists of the « colour revolutions », including Gene Sharp, were present on the Square to organise Zhao Ziyang’s men.

The European Union

We have just voted to nominate our deputies in the European Parliament. For weeks now, we have been bombarded by slogans assuring us that « Europe means peace and prosperity », and that the European Union is the pinnacle of the European dream.

Yet we know this is untrue.

Europe is a continent – reaching « from Brest to Vladivostok », according to Charles De Gaulle’s phrase – and it is a culture of openness and cooperation, unlike the European Union, which is no more than an anti-Russian administration which continues the march on Berlin in the wake of the Normandy landings.

The European Union is not peace in Cyprus, but cowardice in face of the Turkish military occupation. It is not prosperity, but economic stagnation, while the rest of the world develops with increasing rapidity.

The European Union has nothing to do with the European dream that existed between the two world wars. Our ancestors harboured the ambition of uniting the political régimes which served the general interest – the Republics, in the etymological sense of the word, in conformity with the European culture, whether they were situated on the continent or elsewhere. Aristide Briand therefore spoke in favour of Argentina (a country of European culture in Latin America), but not the United Kingdom (a class-based society).

Et cetera, etc…

We stumble on like the blind

We have to distinguish truth from falsehood. We can be pleased that Hitlerism failed, but without necessarily believing that the Anglo-Saxons saved us. We can denounce the brutality of Den Xiaoping without necessarily denying that in this bloody fashion he saved his country from the return of colonialism. We can celebrate the fact that we were not dominated by the Soviet Union without necessarily boasting about being vassals of the Anglo-Saxons.

We continually lie to ourselves in order to mask our cowardice and our crimes. And then we feign surprise that we are unable to solve human problems.

The Hospital They Didn’t Bomb

By David McIlwain
Source

Douma_hosp_panoramic_s_ca2db.jpg

When I first set eyes on Douma Hospital a year ago today, it came as something of a surprise. As the scene of the notorious alleged chemical weapons attack only a month earlier, I was already quite familiar with its emergency ward, shown in “activist videos” around the world.

Viewers of Russian and alternative media also got to see more of the same ward when their reporters visited it soon afterward in search of some verification of the claims before they led to the US-led missile strikes on Damascus of April 14th.

The emergency ward looked like so many others that we’ve seen pictured over the last seven years in those videos “that can’t be independently verified” and – for all we would know – mightn’t even be in Syria, and mightn’t even be in hospitals.

Well, maybe Douma hospital is different because you just can’t miss it – as is clear from my photo! Somehow this public hospital, serving the local community with free healthcare for many years, remained in operation throughout the occupation of Douma by the violent extremists of Jaish al Islam – who were described to James Harkin of the Intercept by local residents as “ruling with an iron fist”. More to the point, the hospital building evidently didn’t come under attack from the Syrian air-force, despite its terrorist occupiers.

Harkin visited Douma looking for evidence to support – or counter – the chemical weapons claims some months after the event, and released a comprehensive analysis of his observations with other analysts in February this year.

His report, and the slickly produced video accompanying it, appeared to pre-empt the final release of the OPCW’s report from their Fact Finding Mission to Douma, conducted in late April 2018. Most significantly the authors of the Intercept’s report concluded that the video scenes taken in Douma hospital’s emergency ward were “likely staged”, but they nevertheless echoed the public conclusions of the OPCW that two chlorine cylinders had been dropped on nearby apartments and killed 35 people.

Both the Intercept’s conclusions and those of the OPCW leadership have now been shown to be not just mistaken but criminal fabrications, following information from the OPCW itself, and analysis from the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media. The details of the engineering assessments of experts from the OPCW who visited the site showed quite unambiguously that it was not just the hospital scenes that were “staged”, but that the Chlorine gas cylinders could not have fallen from the sky, dropped by the Syrian air force. As they described it:

…the dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders and the surrounding scene of the incidents, were inconsistent with what would have been expected in the case of either cylinder having been delivered from an aircraft. In each case the alternative hypothesis produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.”

The “alternative hypothesis” being that the cylinders were moved into their respective positions manually – “staged” in other words. The Working Group has drawn the many conclusions that follow from this piece of simple scientific analysis, and very serious consequences must follow for those organizations and governments who collaborated on this massive deception and the war crimes that accompanied it.

That is not the immediate focus of my article, however, which remains on the “unmissable” Douma Central Hospital that wasn’t bombed, and the elaborate campaign of disinformation and lies that has surrounded it. As Western governments and their puppet media once again fire up their “juggernaut of lies” about the Syrian and Russian governments moves to clear the remaining areas of Western Syria from Al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups, the talk of “bombing hospitals” is once again to the fore.

This interview by the ABC’s Fran Kelly with a Dr. Samir Al Taqi from the Orient Research Centre in Dubai gives the essence of the new campaign, both in her questions and his answers. It includes the claim that “twelve hospitals have been destroyed in recent days”.

Not coincidentally, a renewed barrage of disinformation alleging ongoing serious human rights abuses by the Syrian government has been launched by Western media, led by the New York Times former Beirut correspondent Anne Barnard.

As key actors in the development of these false narratives about Syria that saturate our media, James Harkin and his associates, Eliot Higgins from Bellingcat and Eyal Weizman from Forensic Architecture now have a lot to answer for, as their seemingly impartial and honest assessment of the Douma incident is shown to be an elaborate deception, contrived both to suit the interests of the Intercept’s sponsors and to maintain the pretence that this is “investigative journalism” of the best and most trustworthy kind.

But like the deception by the OPCW leadership, who simply omitted that most important part of their investigations in Douma, Harkin has left the six-storey hulk of Douma hospital out of his article, replacing it with a “makeshift underground hospital”:

Douma was a blackened shadow of its former self, many of its buildings still listing or reduced to charred metal and concrete, but a whole new city had been quietly carved out beneath it. Our first stop, a few yards from al-Shuhada Square, was at the mouth of a 3-meter-wide underground tunnel, reinforced with corrugated steel and concrete. It had been constructed by the Islamist rebels several years back, according to a soldier who walked us through it. He told us that hostages held by Jaish al-Islam had done the building. In total, it stretched for more than 5 kilometers and was broad enough to drive a truck through.

The tunnel had been set up to access a makeshift hospital emergency ward, whose spartan facilities were arranged over a single floor underground. Five meters below ground and reinforced by 13 meters of sandbagging above that, the hospital was still functioning when I arrived.

Robert Mackey, talking in the Intercept video also gives the impression that Douma had been mostly reduced to rubble, yet rows of apartment blocks over the street from the hospital are still occupied and little damaged. But the photos Harkin uses to illustrate his report show only the tunnel entrance and a view of Shahada square showing neither the hospital building nor the apartment blocks.

All these elements are visible in my photo, with the Shahada sq monument on the left and the hospital entrance on the right. This doubles as one of the main entrances to the extensive tunnel system, machine excavated and reinforced with prefabricated steel sections.

Giving Harkin and his colleagues the benefit of the doubt is now out of the question, so we can only conclude that his failure to describe or illustrate the Douma hospital building was an integral part of the Intercept’s disinformation package. It was even a fundamental part, and to reveal its un-bombed presence would have blown a hole in the whole pretense of “honest journalism in the fog of war” that the Intercept assumes.

Readers of the article might then have asked, not just why the Syrian or Russian air-force didn’t bomb the hospital, controlled by the militants they were fighting, but why they hadn’t bombed it in the previous five years? Those readers have been told repeatedly that “Assad” wants to kill civilians who support the “rebels”, and destroy their hospitals and schools, so why didn’t he do it here in Douma, which has been one of the most troublesome opposition-held areas close to the capital?

Might those readers then start to wonder if they have been spun a tale by their trusted journalists and that they should listen to some contrary viewpoints?

So for anyone of them listening here, this is the story of the hospital they didn’t bomb, and it’s quite simple. Just like the M10 hospital in Aleppo, used as a center of military and surgical operations by Al Qaeda and the White Helmets, its role as a public hospital serving the local community kept it safe from attack by the Syrian Army.

Contrary to everything the victims of Western media lies have been told, the Syrian army and its allies have gone to extreme lengths to avoid civilian casualties in their campaigns to liberate communities from their violent extremist occupiers. You could say it was all about “winning back hearts and minds”, and the evidence of life now restored in Ghouta and Douma shows that.

Countless Syrian soldiers have lost their lives in this fight to protect those communities from the foreign-funded and armed militants and terrorist groups, and each one is no different from our own citizens who have lost their lives in similar terrorist attacks, but for one thing – they are our terrorists.

It is a chilling, and frankly disgusting thought, that the violent psychopaths of Jaish al Islam who secured their release from the siege of Douma the day after they staged the chemical attack, are now being cheered on by Western NGO’s and media to commit more murders of Syrian soldiers and the villagers they are trying to protect in Idlib. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted this in last week’s briefing:

Over 30 Syrian service personnel died in Idlib last week following a series of heavy attacks by Al-Nusra militants. The terrorists also fired mortars and missiles at towns and villages near the Idlib de-escalation zone, resulting in civilian deaths. According to incoming reports, the terrorist groups there are planning an offensive on Syrian government forces’ positions in the provinces of Hama and Aleppo.

And the “hospitals” that were bombed? Do we really think that the Syrian or Russian air-forces would waste their bombs on civilians, when there are armies of Al Qaeda terrorists attacking Syrian soldiers and villages on the frontline with missiles and car bombs, and even chemical weapons and cluster bombs?

Can we believe anyone who tells us that – now?

Kill Them Over There, Not Here, Please.

By Jeremy Salt
Source

brenton tarrant Netanyahu f0f4b

All of us must stand against hatred in all of its forms.

Barrack Obama

Israel mourns the wanton murder of innocent worshippers

Benjamin Netanyahu

White supremacist terrorism must be condemned by leaders everywhere

Hillary Clinton

People of all faiths must condemn these attacks and call out those who encourage Islamophobia.
                                                                                             Madeleine Albright

These are excerpts from some of the messages of condolence sent to New Zealand by ‘world leaders’ after the Christchurch massacre. There is no point in giving more names because all politicians and public figures would say the same, as they should, given the monstrosity of the crime.

Obama, Netanyahu, Clinton, and Albright have been chosen because they have been responsible for acts of murder infinitely greater than the slaughter of 50 Muslims in New Zealand.

The victims of their crimes and the crimes of their political predecessors in the past three decades run into the millions. Brenton Tarrant terrorized Muslims in two mosques in one country. They have terrorized Muslim populations in a number of countries. He has violated New Zealand law. They have violated international law. He will be punished but they never are.

Obama, Netanyahu, Clinton, and Albright have never uttered a word of remorse for the crimes they have committed. Not once has the head of any western government expressed regret for the millions of people killed in Muslim countries over the past three decades, not with Brenton Tarrant’s semi-automatic firearms, but bombs, missiles, and tank fire or, in the case of Syria, with the armed gangs set loose like attack dogs.

When asked whether she thought the ‘price’ paid for the first Gulf War (1991) and the decade of sanctions that followed, which took the lives of 500,000 children, was worth it, Madeleine Albright replied: ‘We think the price is worth it.’

For these governments and politicians, the price is always worth it as long as someone else pays. Even now there is nothing but estimates of how many Iraqis were killed or died as a result of the two wars launched against their country but the figure hovers around three million since 1991.

On top of this are the millions of wounded, many disabled for life, and the children born with deformities because of the use of uranium-depleted weapons.

Senior UN officials described the war and decade of sanctions against Iraq as genocide. No horror was expressed in the media for the enormous crimes that had been committed almost wholly against Muslims, men, women, and children as innocent as Brenton Tarrant’s victims.  Except on the margins, no demands were ever made for those responsible to face justice.

Every Tuesday Obama sat in his office and signed the death warrant for Yemenis or Somalis targeted in drone missile strikes that were totally illegal under international law. Thousands have been killed in these attacks, many if not most of them civilians, men, women and a lot of children. They are all Muslims. Did any of the politicians sending condolences to New Zealand and condemning terrorism ever bend their heads in shame at the killings in Yemen or Somalia and demand moral accountability and legal responsibility?

Has even one of them condemned Benjamin Netanyahu for the crimes committed against Muslims in Palestine, for the massacres of the innocent by sniper fire, missile strike, and artillery fire? Is the killing of Muslim children somehow different in New Zealand and Palestine?

After the destruction of Libya, Hillary Clinton laughed when told Muammar al Qadhafi had been killed, most brutally. This was her war, Obama’s war, a war of deceit that was carried on for seven months, destroying the most developed country in Africa and killing thousands. They were all Muslims. What else did Libya represent but Clinton’s ‘white supremacist terror,’ the same terror that has been delivered across the Muslim world by western governments for the past 200 years.

In Syria an estimated half a million people have been killed in a war orchestrated by western governments and their regional ‘allies.’ Their weapons of choice, the terrorist groups they have armed and financed, have assassinated, massacred and slaughtered in every way possible, thinkable and unthinkable.

Nearly all of their victims have been Muslims. In the face of this slaughter their paymasters, procurers, and enablers have remained morally mute, save for trying to blame the Syrian government for the war they initiated.

Over decades these enormous crimes have forced millions of people out of their wrecked countries. They have fled in all directions. Many have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach the presumed safety of Europe. Boats headed in the direction of Australia, only to be turned back at sea or for the desperate people they were carrying to be locked up in ‘detention centers’ if they managed to slip through. Many sank and many men, women, and children drowned.

Australia was a willing participant in the wars that destroyed their homes yet refused them entry, abusing them as ‘queue jumpers.’ They were locked up behind razor wire in the middle of the desert so the Australian people could not see them and feel sorry for them. All were Muslims and many were children, treated as cruelly as the adults.

No matter how many millions of innocent people are killed in the Middle East, the designation of terrorist is reserved for Brenton Tarrant or the Islamic State, not for the western governments and the gangs they and their regional allies have employed in Syria to do their dirty work.

The same media that has covered up the monstrous crimes committed against Muslims in the Middle East can now talk of nothing else but the danger of white supremacists, not the far greater danger that Muslims around the world have always faced from western governments.

Brenton Tarrant, the Islamic state, Israel, the US and its ‘allies’ and the armed groups they are sponsoring in Syria are all joined at the hip. Terror is terror whether state or individual. Brenton Tarrant now has to face the consequences of what he has done. The politicians who have destroyed Middle Eastern countries don’t.

There is a law for Brenton Tarrant. There is no law for the politicians. Tarrant will be jailed for life for the murder of 50 Muslims. Politicians responsible for the deaths of millions of Muslims never seen the inside of a jail.  We have a system of international law but only in theory. In practice, when the massive crimes of the powerful are involved, it does not work. It is broken.

Claud Cockburn (father of Patrick) called the 1930s the ‘devil’s decade.’ The devils were human, of course: nationalist socialists and fascists destroying Spain, Italian fascists poison- gassing Ethiopians and Japanese fascists slaughtering Chinese. Now, since the 1990s, we have had nearly three devil’s decades.

Today’s western liberal democracies – as they are called – are doing exactly what the fascists did in the 1930s. Instead of Spain, we have Syria. Instead of Guernica, we have hadFallujah. Country after country has been destroyed by these liberal democrats in their grey suits and pastel ties. Do they really need to wear black or brown uniforms for people to recognize them for the killers that they are?

In their pursuit of power, they have no more respect for international law than the fascists and national socialists did in the 1930s. They have no respect for human life over there.

Yet when it comes to the killing of Muslims over here, they, and their outliers in the media are shocked, appalled and outraged at this senseless act of terror. Brenton Tarrant is a sick, depraved and twisted individual but so is Benjamin Netanyahu and so are the politicians responsible for the deaths of millions of Muslims in distant countries. Over there, not here, and that is what counts.

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