Canada’s mandatory Covid-19 hotel stays are not ‘internment camps’ but they are costly forced detention

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Eva Bartlett is an independent writer and rights activist with extensive experience in Syria and in the Gaza Strip, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013). She documented the 2008/9 and 2012 Israeli war crimes and attacks on Gaza while riding in ambulances and reporting from hospitals. In 2017, she was short-listed for the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. The award rightly was given to the amazing journalist, the late Robert Parry [see his work on Consortium News]. In March 2017, she was awarded “International Journalism Award for International Reporting” granted by the Mexican Journalists’ Press Club (founded in 1951). Co-recipients included: John Pilger and political analyst Thierry Meyssan. She was also the first recipient of the Serena Shim award, an honour shared with many excellent journalists since. https://serenashimaward.org/laureates/ Since April 2014, she has visited Syria 14 times, the last time being from March to late September, 2020. All of her writings and videos on which can be found here: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/syria/syria-my-published-articles-from-and-on-syria-2014-2017/ and here: https://www.youtube.com/user/InGazaUpdates/videos A more detailed account of her activism and writings can be found here: https://ingaza.wordpress.co

-by Eva K Bartlett

Feb 10, 2021, RT.com

Since at least October 2020, some Canadians have been concerned about rumours of Covid-19 “internment camps.” In reality, there may be no barbed wire or gun turrets, but a number of travellers have experienced detention firsthand.

Last October, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about this. His reply didn’t address the specific claim at hand, instead he spoke generally of “noise and harmful misinformation on the Internet,” and bizarrely urged people to resist “people who would sow chaos within our communities and our democracy.” (I shudder to think which foreign interference he imagined.)Earlier that month, Ontario member of provincial parliament (MPP) Randy Hillier had asked the province’s legislature about potential “internment camps,” referring to a federal government call for expressions of interest regarding “quarantine/isolation camps throughout every province and every territory in Canada.”

These camps fall under Canada’s Quarantine Act (2005), which specifies that the country can“designate any place in Canada as a quarantine facility.”

So fears of “being confined as a prisoner,” the standard definition of “internment,” can be laid to rest, right?

Well, while a temporary, mandatory, expensive hotel stay certainly isn’t the same as being kept in an internment camp, it is the 2021 plan for travellers flying to Canada, even if they “test negative” for Covid-19.

And many are rightly complaining that it is unlawful and goes against Canadians’ rights, including that those whisked away to secret locations are not given the right to legal counsel, much less right to contact families/friends.

At the end of January 2021, Canada decided to suspend flights to/from Mexico and Caribbean countries, and, effective February 3, implemented the three night stay-at-your-own-expense (or do jail time) hotel quarantine policy for travellers entering Canada with “positive tests” (or the “wrong” negative one). These rules were extended to travellers flying from the US, Central and South America as well.

Trudeau, on January 29, said the cost was expected to be more than Can$2000 (US$1575).

Further, as noted in the government’s news release on these measures, a violation of the quarantine instructions “is also an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to serious penalties, including six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.”

Whereas until recently it was enough to provide a negative coronavirus test, now travellers to Canada must provide specifically a “negative COVID-19 molecular (PCR) test” or do hotel time at their own expense until receiving such a result.These new measures have already been trialled on passengers who have recently flown to Canada.

In one instance on January 30, a panicked mother (Rebekah McDonald) spoke of her son being taken away to a quarantine facility, saying, “They won’t let me talk to him. They won’t let me see him. They won’t tell me where he’s going.”

As it later turned out, while the son had complied and done a Covid-19 test (two, actually, the antigen and the PCR), he only had the paperwork for the former, and unbeknownst to him, Canada demanded the latter.

He and others likewise sent to hotel prison could be forgiven for missing the January 7, 2021 Transport Canada update specifying that antigen tests would not be accepted. Just two months prior, Government Canada listed antigen tests as a test for Covid-19. In Ontario some days later, a passenger (Steve Duesing) also arriving with a negative test was shuttled to an approved quarantine hotel, apparently itself isolated from the public, with a “detention centre feel to it,” to wait for the Government Canada approved test results.

More recently, another passenger (Neil McCullough) subject to Canada’s arbitrary and draconian new rules spent 11 days in hotel isolation, because paperwork for his test didn’t list the clinic’s address.In the latter case, there was an additional element of totalitarianism: according to McCullough, he and the woman in the next room he tried to speak with were allegedly both informed by the security guard that their quarantine period “would restart” if they didn’t stop talking about their experiences.

Rules for thee, but not…

The government paints its measures as precautions to limit the “spread” of Covid-19, but when numerous government officials themselves have repeatedly violated the regulations, it is clear that they don’t believe in the need for such rules.

This is not about “public safety,” but is about control of the populace.

Patty Hadju, Canada’s minister of health, is quoted as valiantly saying:

“No one should be travelling right now. Each of us has a part in keeping our communities safe, and that means avoiding non-essential travel, which can put you, your loved ones, and your community at risk.”

However, let’s recall that Hadju three times in April 2020 flew “between Ottawa and her home in Thunder Bay,” at a time when she advocated that “now is not the time for gatherings with family and friends. Connect with others with a phone call or video chat instead.”

And actually, she did more of the same in the following months, amounting to at least 11 flights.

The PM himself violated “the rules” over Easter last year, when he took his family, staff and a motorcade across provincial lines to the summer residence (after telling Canadians to suck it up and stay home).

Time will tell if the PM, health minister, and cohorts in positions of authority also violate these newest measures.

Legal action against Trudeau government

The Government Canada page on the new mandate notes that travellers will need to do the PCR test on arrival to Canada (in addition to having already just done it in order to arrive in Canada in the first place). So, according to this logic (and I use that term lightly), even if one has jumped through the absurd 2020 hoops and adapted to the early 2021 hoops, they’ll still need to do expensive hotel time upon arrival in Canada.

In any case, since the PCR test being pushed by Government Canada has long been shown to be unreliable and generate false positives, it thus becomes quite plausible that Canada’s preference of that test is because it will generate more “cases” and thus rack up fear of the pandemic.

An aside: The $2000+ for the three-night stay at government-approved hotels goes towards, Government Canada says, the test, the stay, and “all associated costs for food, cleaning and security.”

And although stays at hotels near airports are never cheap, in this case the food seems to be bordering on prison fare. A photo of Duesing’s Radisson meal shows a skimpy sandwich in a styrofoam container.

On February 3, the Justice Centre For Constitutional Freedoms published an update that it is “preparing to file legal action imminently,” regarding Government Canada’s mandatory hotel quarantine, noting they had “received hundreds of emails” since Canada announced the new travel measures.The Canadian Civil Liberties Association views these measures as an affront against civilians’ rights:

“The quarantine rules will almost certainly impact those who travel to care for ill relatives or attend funerals, those who travel to receive specialized medical care, and those who have health conditions that will make isolating in a hotel a particularly challenging and potentially dangerous proposition.”

In a follow-up video on February 3, McDonald reflected on the lack of accountability for her son’s detention, with no means to speak to anyone to ask for information or help.

Likewise, McCullough was met with vagueness during his unlawful detention of 11 days.

“When I asked the health nurse who I could call, they just answered, ‘the department of health’ … I had no rights. No one to call, no one was accountable, no option to do anything but go along.”

While Canada’s forced quarantine at travellers’ expense program has been temporarily paused, it is allegedly scheduled to rebegin in the weeks after February 14.

So yes, while these stories of being forcibly locked away with no access to lawyers are happening in hotels and not internment camps, the people being locked up aren’t citizens living under the shining democracy of Trudeau’s fantasy world.

Canadians are right to be worried about what comes next, including potentially outsourcing the 11 federally run (non-hotel) quarantine sites to a “third party service provider.”

As with the government’s other totalitarian Covid-19 policies, Canadians have no say in the matter, as their lives become increasingly controlled, and destroyed, by these policies.

The Navalny Protests Charade: More Western Interference & Disinfo on Russia


 By Eva Bartlett 

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-Eva K Bartlett, January 30, 2021, Moscow

Western mass media and hypocritically-indignant Western representatives are again busily claiming Russian peaceful protesters have been brutalized by police in demonstrations across Russia on January 23.

The sloganeers demand the release of the unpopular petty criminal and Western flunkey, Alexei Navalny, arrested upon returning to Russia for having broken Russian law.

The CBC recently glorified him as, “a 44-year-old lawyer turned anti-corruption crusader,” while the BBC laughably referred to the felon as “President Putin’s most high-profile critic.”

Yet, Navalny at best has an insignificant modicum of popularity among Russian teens perhaps persuaded by Tiktok videos or by Soros and NED recipients’ propaganda, and otherwise from Western regime-change type pundits of the sort who have steadfastly whitewashed al-Qaeda in Syria, promoted the Venezuelan Navalny (Guaido), and generally don’t miss an opportunity to toe Washington’s line.

Mass media and Western talking heads omit Navalny’s criminal record, and his extremist views.

In his January 19, 2021, article, Finian Cunningham wrote:

“Navalny is a convicted felon, found guilty of fraud and embezzlement by a Russian court in 2014. But his jail sentence had been suspended with the condition that he report regularly to Russia’s prison authorities. A normal condition.

For nearly five months, however, he had sojourned out of the country as a de facto guest of German authorities. That’s a brazen breach of his parole conditions. And the Russian prison service was right in issuing him a warning at the end of last month that violation of his suspended jail term risked the sentence being converted into detention behind bars.

It’s a sovereign matter of Russian laws that on returning to Russia at the weekend Navalny was arrested and is now in custody awaiting court proceedings in coming weeks on whether to revoke his suspended sentence.

There are good grounds to believe the Russian blogger-cum-media-activist is funded and directed by Western intelligence services. Everything about his gadfly campaigning smacks of orchestration as an agent provocateur.

The way that Navalny has coordinated closely with Western media and intelligence outfits like Bellingcat to peddle the story that he was allegedly poisoned with Soviet nerve agent Novichok is strong evidence of his provocateur function. And the way that Western media routinely “report” the alleged poisoning as if it is fact is demonstration of how such media are totally dominated by propaganda service to geopolitical agenda.

When Navalny was treated in a Russian hospital after apparently becoming suddenly ill on August 20 onboard a flight to Moscow from Siberia, the doctors found no poisons in his system. The medics said the apparent illness was due to metabolic shock from possible misuse of his own medicines for diabetes, depression and perhaps excess alcohol.

Conspicuously, days later after he was airlifted for further hospital treatment in Berlin, then the German authorities announced they had detected poisoning with nerve agent.

No evidence has ever been presented by the German authorities or other NATO laboratories in such a way that is independently verifiable.

Russia has been denied access to any of their alleged data in order to verify, yet Moscow is condemned for not carrying out a criminal investigation into the alleged poisoning….”

Off Guardian, on January 22, highlighted the timing around Navalny’s return to Russia and the new Biden administration, noting:

“…three days before Biden’s inauguration, Alexei Navalny (having supposedly only just survived the poison the FSB placed “in his underpants”), returned to Russia. Where he was promptly arrested for violating the terms of his bail.

He knew he would be arrested if he returned to Russia, so his doing so was pure theatre. That fact is only underlined by the media’s reaction to his 30 day jail sentence.

Yes, that’s thirty DAYS, not years. He’ll be out before spring. Even if he’s convicted of the numerous charges of embezzlement and fraud, he faces only 3 years in prison.

Nevertheless, already the familiar Russia-baiters in the media are comparing him to Nelson Mandela.

…On the same day as Biden’s inauguration, the European Parliament announced that Russia should be punished for arresting Navalny, by having the Nordstream 2 pipeline project closed down. (Closing this pipeline down would open up the European market to buy US gas, instead of Russia. This is a complete coincidence).

It doesn’t stop there, already Western pundits and Russian “celebrities” are trying to encourage street protests in support of Alexei Navalny…”

It has to be stressed that Navalny does not have any strong support to speak of in Russia, contrary to screaming Western headlines.

A September 2, 2020, Off Guardian article noted:

“Alexei Navalny has never held any elected office, his political party doesn’t have a single MP in the Duma, and he polls at roughly 2% support with the Russian people.”

The article went on to note the utter absurdities of the claims that Russia had poisoned Navalny. It and  another Off Guardian article are excellent counters to the evidence-free claims emanating from Western hypocrites.

That the January 23 protests occurred speaks more to Western interference in Russian affairs, with the clear goal of fomenting unrest in Russia, than any massive support for a failed, would-be, opposition figure.

Police Brutality?

On the day of the protests, I went to Pushkinskaya Square, the site of the planned Moscow pro-Navalny protest, arriving two hours before the 2 pm start time, and standing roughly five hours in the cold until after police had slowly cleared most of the square.

Arriving by metro just after 12 noon, I waited for the protest to begin and scrolled Twitter to see what was being said about the matter.

In doing so, I came across a 12:16 pm tweet by BBC correspondent Kriszta Satori claiming that the police had sealed all of the metro exits into Pushkin square nearly two hours prior to the unsanctioned protest (though she even got the protest start time wrong seemingly believing the protest started at 1 pm).

As I had just arrived to the square by metro, I knew the BBC correspondent, a “senior broadcast journalist with over 30 years of experience” (!), was lying, unsurprisingly.

So, I went back down into the metro, filming the doors where people exited the metro proper into the underground passages, and then filming two of the open exits into the square, with more people arriving via those non-closed exits.

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Video 1.  Video 2.  Video 3.

Back again in Pushkinskaya Square, waiting in the cold for the protest start, I observed the growing crowd. It pretty well matched how author and political commentator Dmitry Orlov later described the protest composition in St. Petersburg:

“Here in St. P. about 3000 people showed up to demonstrate yesterday. For a city of 5 million that’s around 0.06% of the population.

Of these, at least 1000 were bloggers, journalists and photographers there to cover the event; at least 500 were undercover police dressed as protesters and there to prevent outbreaks of violence; another 300 or so were street fighters paid through USAid, NED, various Soros-funded NGOs and other foreign sources; another 300-400 were underage schoolkids who showed up because they were told there would be a party by TikTok and YouTube videos; some of the rest were the usual disgruntled idiots who always show up for any sort of protest; and the rest were just random gawkers who had nothing to do on a Saturday.

So, is Navalny really an “Oppositionsführer”, as the Germans insist on calling him? Draw your own conclusions.”

Noting his overview was conjecture, not hard data, Orlov added:

“I put the picture together by listening to Russian cops grouse about not getting the weekend off. The only difference between St. P in Moscow is that in Moscow the crowd was 5k instead 3k, adding up to 0.04% of the population rather than 0.06%.”

The crowd I saw in Pushkinskaya Square indeed was a sea of young self-appointed “citizen journalists”/social media activists, in fluorescent vests, presumably to appear as accredited press, and some older protesters. Many of those not filming or taking selfie videos held red placards which had been handed out to participants (I saw one young man doing so).

Not that that is uncommon in protests anywhere: organizers often bring signs and flags for protesters to hold.

But this had the stink of a Soros-type would-be colour revolution.

Forgive my cynicism, when the West has been for ages attempting to foment unrest in Russia, and Soros and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) pour money into programs about “Supporting Democratic Institutions” “Leadership Training”, “Media for Civil Society”, “Amplifying Independent Media”, “Independent Video Reporting”…and other colour revolution type interference in Russian affairs.

Before the protest officially began, police milled about, people in the square not visibly perturbed by their presence as they stood nonchalantly close by. Many of the citizen journalists/vest wearers angled to get photos of footage of police in the square. This is something I noticed before the start of an August 10, 2019 protest I observed. More on that later.

Footage I took on August 10, 2019 protest.

At 2 pm (on January 23), authorities began broadcasting a recording announcing the protest was illegal and that people should leave. Beyond that, police took no immediate measures to clear the square.

The protest was held without permission, thus illegal under Russian law. This is not particular to Russia, in most Western countries we need permission to hold protests and are not allowed off the protest route, are flanked by heavy police presence.

That’s if we are allowed to protest, which in the good old democratic West has become illegal in many countries under absurd and unnecessary “Covid measures”. But let’s not talk about that…

It was well over 1.5 hours of lackluster protesting—periodic bouts of politically-unsophisticated and uninspired chanting—before the first police movements to clear the square, which amounted to police locking arms and walking forward, to push people back.

Even then, after the first push it still took until around 4pm before most of Pushkinskaya Square was emptied of protesters.

*Around 4pm, most of Pushkinskaya Square cleared.

Were Israeli or Western tactics used, the square would have emptied fairly quickly under a barrage of tear gas, rubber and live bullets, stun grenades, pepper spray, water canons…much of which I’m familiar with from protests against Israeli land theft and protests against the Israeli siege on Gaza.

Here is a compilation I put together of scenes before and during the protest. Note the intervals when an area has been cleared. Police & protesters stand around in close proximity to one another, police not “attacking” protesters, protesters standing close enough to police to indicate they don’t actually fear “police brutality”.

Watch the body language, laughter even, of some of the protesters. Is that normal in a situation where one fears getting brutalized?  https://www.youtube.com/embed/etqRZOeX0ks?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

In the August 10, 2019 after-protest I observed (the first was legal, the second was not), when police were clearing the square in Kitai Gorod, the protesters and those filming were so unafraid they also were laughing. Even people being arrested were laughing. Not generally a common reaction to fear of being beaten by police.

At the time, I asked a friend from Moscow about this:

“They are fully aware the police won’t do anything extreme unless they themselves turn to something extreme.”

This person also gave me some personal insight:

“Some of them are paid to protest and antagonize. When I was a student in 2001, there were people who offered something like $15-20 to protest for 2-3 hours in front of the State Duma holding whatever banner they give you.”

Kitai Gorod, August 10, 2019
Kitai Gorod, August 10, 2019

In some localized incidents, police violence apparently did occur in protests on January 23—often, if not usually, with a back story:

-Like the police man who apologized to a woman he had kicked, saying:

“I am sincerely, deeply sorry, ma’am. Please believe me, the situation was very difficult for us. Literally, five minutes before, they poured liquid over my helmet, my visor was still fogged over. I swear to you, when I understood what happened, I was in shock, it’s a tragedy.”

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-Or the scene of Russian police beating protesters with batons, where, if you slow down the footage as I did, you can see protesters (or provocateurs) attacking the police first:

However, what I saw in Moscow last week, and also in Moscow on August 10, 2019, in no way merited the screeching and finger wagging of Western pundits and media.

Where Is The Media Outrage And Tears For Western Police Brutality?

I could write pages about Western police brutality against protesters, but for the sake of brevity will give only a few examples.

*From Vanessa Beeley’s article on police brutality against Yellow Vests protesters

In France, yellow vest protesters were routinely met with police brutality, including the use of weapons prohibited for crowd-control operations, resulting in 10s of protesters losing an eye, others losing a hand, and many deaths.

In her February 2019 article on the Gilet Jaunes (Yellow Vests) protests, Vanessa Beeley wrote of:

“…19 GJs who have lost an eye to the “sub-lethal” LBD40 bullet launcher that is being liberally used by security forces during GJ protests across France. The LBD40 is the evolution of the notorious “flashball bullet,” 10 times the velocity of a paintball. The modern LBD40 launcher is a very accurate instrument with a “red-dot” laser pointer sight that ensures pinpoint targeting of civilians.”

…While it is classified as a “sub-lethal” weapon, when used in violation of police regulations, at close range and in unstable crowd environments, it is lethal and capable of terrible damage to a human body — particularly the face, which appears to be a favorite target of the national police in France.

…Previous investigations have revealed that the GLIF4 grenade, or “grenade de desencerclement,” has also been condemned by an internal French police laboratory inquiry and recommendations have been submitted to the Interior Ministry for the banning of their use in crowd-control operations. The GLIF4 contains 25g of TNT, emits 165 decibels, and may contain CS or tear gas in powder form or 10g rubber pellets released upon detonation. These grenades have been responsible for the amputation of hands, hematomas, and the formation of necrotic tissue among the GJ demonstrators.

…Despite all the evidence of the traumatic effects of these weapons upon civilians, the French Council of State ruled that the LBD40 was a necessary instrument of “self-defence” for the forces of “law and order…”

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There was the recent clear targeting of a woman with a high-velocity water cannon in the Netherlands, leaving her with a fractured skull and needing 15 stitches.


There were the reports of sustained police violence against protesters at Standing Rock in late 2016, including these accounts:

“All of a sudden there were these bright, blinding spotlights, so you could see each other, but you couldn’t see [the police]. Every once in awhile you could hear someone scream who had been hit by a rubber bullet.”

“I was tear gassed over 15 times, which made it hard to breathe and left my face burning for hours,” recalls Cheyenne, a young native woman from Michigan. “I got hosed down with a water cannon in freezing temperatures leaving me hypothermic, and I was slammed into a barbed wire barricade out of panic caused by the police after a flash grenade was thrown and caught fire to a field.”

Another young native man from the Ojibwe nation said “He shot me with a rubber bullet right in the belly button, and when I showed him that he had hurt me, he just smiled and shot both my kneecaps”.

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And, on the same day as the many protests across Russia, in the heart of the USA, a Tacoma police man drove his SUV into protesters and over at least one man, because he allegedly “feared for his safety”.

But again, what I’ve seen at three different protests in Moscow (two of which were deemed illegal) is considerable police restraint, & crowd control tactics NOT involving: water canons, tear gas, pepper spray, stun grenades, or any of the violent methods employed by Western nations, much less the shoot to maim or to kill tactics of Israel.

Peaceful Protesters?

Although from what I could see the protesters in Moscow were largely peaceful, there were also incidents in the protests where individuals and mobs were violent against other protesters and against police.

Across the square from where I stood, an anti-Navalny protester scaled a lamppost, apparently with a placard against Navalny. He was punched and, to the cheers of protesters, pulled down from the lamppost, then beaten and kicked by at least two among the protesters.

In St. Petersburg, a man punched a police officer, knocking him to the ground.

Protesters attacked police in Vladivostok.

And in Moscow, protesters snowballed then mobbed a security services car, breaking into it and gouging the driver’s eye out.

And this:

“Peaceful protesting women. January 23, 2021 Moscow, intersection of Strastnoy Boulevard and st. Bolshaya Dmitrovka.”

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Of the violence in January 23 protests, 39 law enforcement officers were reportedly injured.

Media Tactics 2019 and 2021: A Protest or a “Walk”?

In the few protests I’ve observed here, aside from the nature of the protesters, protests and police, I’ve noticed some repeatedly deployed media tactics. I mean, aside from the predictable glaring hype, hysteria, and framing of police before protests even began.

The 2019 protests had been occurring over the issue of the Moscow Duma election, an issue so gripping that vast numbers of youths came out to stand in the square together quietly, save the periodic and short-lived chants which quickly dissipated.

While reading about the protest later on Twitter, I came across this thread.

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It certainly helps explain the apparent apathy I felt among protesters there.

On August 10, having arrived by metro and foot to Sakharov Prospect, long before the (sanctioned) protest was due to begin, I saw the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)’s resident correspondent Chris Brown and producer Corinne Seminoff among the sea of journalists and fluorescent vested quasi-journalists.

In the second of two protests that day, the latter being deemed as illegal as it was after the protest hours and off the protest route, Brown tweeted footage of Russian police marching toward the square, with the sole word, “intense”.

Which makes me think he either doesn’t get out much or, more likely, he is a fraud.

The CBC decided to run with the explanation that this protest was merely a large group of people taking a walk, and not a protest.

But that isn’t what I saw. I followed people continuing from the sanctioned protest on eventually to Kitai Gorad, chanting and still holding placards, where then riot police arrived and began arresting people.

The funniest thing about Corinne’s tripe was when I later found an interview with her colleague, Chris Brown, who I had noticed standing beside her in the Kitai Gorad square, in which he specifically described the scene as including people holding placards.

Back to the January 23, 2021, protest and that BBC tweet I mentioned at the beginning, claiming metro exits were sealed. That stellar correspondent of 30+ years experience also employed the “walk” lexicon. Clearly a marketing directive from the folks behind team Navalny to paint scenes of Russia police rampaging around arresting pedestrians.

Team Navalny’s propaganda is that shoddy. Actually, it’s worse.

Navalny: Russia’s Guaido

Without even delving deeply into Navalny’s history of extremist views, it is clear he fulfills the same role as the unpopular “opposition” figure (and non-President of Venezuela), Juan Guaido.

Both are propped up by the West as supposedly popular opposition figures; neither are. Both are used by the West to demonize the governments they in no way represent. And both almost certainly receive financial and other favours for their work on behalf of Washington.

When in early 2019, Western media and talking heads’ focus was on Venezuela, alleging chaos in the streets (after US sabotage of Venezuela’s power grid), I went to Venezuela to see for myself.

I walked the streets of Caracas, and with local Venezuelans went to different areas of Caracas, including some of the poorest barrios where—if there’s going to be chaos and food shortages, you’d expect it to be there.

I saw Venezuelans working together to help one another during the power outages, waiting patiently to collect spring water, and even in the hills of the largest slum, Petare, which I visited with a local and a friend on his motorbike, I saw signs for fresh cheese, meat, and produce.

During my few weeks there, I also saw massive protests (video) in support of the government, filled with people who were very politically-aware, and didn’t support Guaido. I spoke with average citizens, including in the poorest areas. They could articulate very clearly what they are fighting and why they support Maduro.

I did try to observe opposition marches, but they never materialized. I even hopped on a motorcycle taxi and spent a few hours going to areas where opposition protests were due to happen and instead found pro-government protests in one district, and a few handfuls of opposition supporters in two others.

I left Venezuela knowing that mass media and Western politicians’ renditions of reality was utterly distorted in favour of backing a puppet to implement America’s destablization plans.

Which is precisely what they’re doing with Navalny.

Navalny’s Piss-Poor Propaganda

The shocking aspect of all of this blatant propaganda (and cheerleading of criminals propped up as valiant opposition figures) is not that it occurs, but how poor team Navalny’s (and Guaido’s) propaganda is.

It has ranged (looking only at the past six months) from lying about being poisoned by Russia (via Novichok in his undies, no less!), to fanfare around his arrest (which he returned to Russia precisely for), to team Navalny’s “peaceful” and “police brutalized” “freedom walks”…to their seminal work, “Putin’s Palace”, their alleged expose of Putin’s grandiose lifestyle.

The latter was such a poorly-constructed propaganda piece it was quickly deconstructed by people spotting the photoshopping, and more recently by people going to the site in question and learning that it is the unfinished construction of a hotel, not a finished and fine palace.

As they have dutifully promoted the Russian “police brutality” narratives, so did journalists and “human rights” pundits gleefully promote the sham exposé, without questioning how Navalny, supposedly ill from poisoninghad the strength and ability to create this lie.

In Conclusion

Given how much air time team Navalny and their lies get in the media, it seems fitting to end with an English-subtitled clip from a video debunking the palace narrative, with thanks to Valentina Lisitsa for subtitling.

Richard Medhurst: “BBC ATTACKS JOURNALISTS CHALLENGING NARRATIVE ON SYRIA AND WHITE HELMETS”

Richard Medhurst 🇸🇾🇵🇸 (@richimedhurst) | Twitter

By Richard Medhurst 

December 4, 2020

The BBC has released a new radio podcast titled Mayday: Investigating The Life And Death Of James LeMesurier. It attempts to tell the story behind former British army and intelligence officer James LeMesurier, co-founder of the “White Helmets” in Syria. While the BBC claims that its new Radio 4 series seeks to “explore the true story” behind the so called “Syria Civil Defence”, its correspondence with journalists critical of the group shows this wasn’t the case.

The BBC contacted Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett and British journalist Vanessa Beeley. In emails provided to me last month, we can see how the BBC in its attempt to reach out to them, prepared a list of smears and allegations. The state funded broadcaster accused them of being conspiracy theorists, called them “tools” of the Syrian and Russian governments and refuted their reporting which implicates the White Helmets and its founder James LeMesurier as working on behalf of Western governments seeking regime change in Syria.

BBC's Chloe Hadjimatheou writes to Eva Bartlett about the White Helmets.

The e-mail sent to Beeley even included a chilling, veiled threat of legal action by the British government.

BBC's veiled threat of legal action towards Vanessa Beeley and her comments on the White Helmets.

Following this correspondence, I interviewed Vanessa Beeley. You can watch the interview here on YouTube. I also spoke with Eva Bartlett via e-mail. You can read her answers to my questions below.

Because their reporting differs so drastically from the official Western narrative– exposing a grim and dark reality about the White Helmets—Bartlett and Beeley have been the targets of various hit pieces, smears and accusations. Both journalists spent time living in Syria, reporting extensively on the group’s activities. Owing to their expertise on the matter, they have also given testimony at the United Nations on several occasions.
Chloe Hadjimatheou, the BBC journalist who contacted Bartlett and Beeley, has never been to Syria.

The White Helmets claim to be an impartial civil defense organization, manned by volunteers who film themselves rescuing victims from the rubble. The group has played a substantial role in shaping the Western media’s narrative on the war in Syria, accusing the Syrian and Russian governments of indiscriminately bombing civilians and hospitals, as well as chemical gas attacks like the one in Douma in 2018 – which was later proven to be staged and part of a cover up by the OPCW.

The White Helmets have received international praise and accolades. The group was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Netflix produced an Oscar-winning documentary about them and the organization has received millions in funding from Western governments, including the United States and United Kingdom.

While the above makes the organization sound like an accomplished and noble endeavor, the reality on the ground is quite different. The White Helmets have been found to operate in areas controlled by Al Qaeda and other jihadist elements, sharing offices in the same building, and videos implicating its members in executions and war crimes.

Leaked documents in September reveal how the White Helmets and its contractor ARK, founded by Alistair Harris, a former British diplomat, were part of an elaborate slush fund and propaganda network run by Western governments. Not only were these contractors bankrolled by nations openly seeking regime change in Syria and working closely with mainstream media to paint the Syrian and Russian governments as evil— but also to rebrand the Syrian opposition as more “moderate” and the White Helmets as impartial, humanitarian actors, while whitewashing their close collaboration with ISIS and Al Qaeda groups in opposition-held territory.

White Helmets founder James LeMesurier is himself a former British army and intelligence officer. Through a non-profit that he established called Mayday Rescue, he secured funding for the White Helmets funneling millions from international donors. In 2016, LeMesurier was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by the Queen. Despite the widespread coverage and portrayal of the White Helmets as a grassroots volunteer group—the fact it was created, run and funded by the same countries bombing Syria and seeking to overthrow its government is rarely reported, if ever, in mainstream media.

In November 2019, LeMesurier was found dead in Istanbul after apparently falling out of a window, which Turkish authorities ruled a suicide. This came just a few days after LeMesurier admitted to donors via email that he had defrauded them and was scared of further audits—after a Dutch auditor was flown in to examine financial records. LeMesurier was paying himself and his wife (also a British diplomat) enormous cash bonuses on top of their monthly salary of €24,000 each. LeMesurier even used money from the organization to pay for his own wedding. Following these revelations and his death, the Guardian and other Western outlets blamed a “war of disinformation” as having contributed to his apparent suicide.

When one realizes how much money and effort has gone towards promoting the White Helmets, it becomes apparent why Western governments, and their media outlets are so protective of their propaganda tool – viciously attacking anyone who counters their narrative or exposes their inner workings.

The BBC’s claims about Beeley and Bartlett are laden with smears, wild accusations and personal attacks. The majority of the questions do not even reference their reporting or make any attempt to verify and scrutinize their coverage. The veiled threat of legal action is of particular concern, especially when the United Kingdom is detaining journalist Julian Assange for publishing documents revealing major war crimes by the United States.


Interview with Eva Bartlett

Richard Medhurst: What’s the first thing that went through your mind when you read this e-mail from the BBC?

Eva Bartlett: Oh how original, British state-owned media want to repeat character assassination smears which other corporate media already did years ago.

It also occurred to me that the BBC has the time/resources to re-hash an old slander theme, but not to cover the Julian Assange hearings, and that this new slander is a new and dangerous attack on press freedom.
The timing of this pending smear coincides with continued backlash against the whistleblower experts of the OPCW who spoke out against the OPCW report on whether a chemical attack occurred in Douma in 2018. I suspect that this is one reason for the new smear on those of us who reported from on the ground in Douma, collecting testimonies from medical professionals and from civilians. These testimonies contradict the claims of the West about a chemical attack being perpetrated by the Syrian government.

RM: Is this the first time Chloe Hadjimatheou contacts you?

EB: Yes.

RM: Did you reply directly to her e-mail or any of the allegations she presented?

EB: Initially I didn’t replay to her email, as experience has taught me these sorts of predetermined character assault email queries don’t intend to fairly air my side of the argument, but are more about being able to say they reached out to me before publishing their smear. In late 2016, I was targeted by a number of Western media and “fact-checking” type sites at a time when I was doing a speaking tour in the US and had very limited access to net. At the same time, my email and messenger inboxes were flooded with around 1000 messages (most of them supportive), including some from Channel 4 News and Snopes, which I didn’t see until some weeks after the fact. However, given the nature of how these corporate entities run their smear campaigns, I believe that even had I seen their messages/emails and replied, they would not have fairly published my replies.

That belief is based on the nature of the smears that ensued, which frequently made use of logical fallacies/strawmen argument to incriminate me in whatever slurs they were making. You can find examples which I pointed out when making a collective rebuttal to Snopes, Channel 4 and Canadian media.
Based on the knowledge that these state-funded entities don’t play fair, I didn’t intend on replying. However, prior to the Monday deadline for Chloe’s story I will send the following:

Chloe,

You asked for a clarification or comment to your hostile email to me, yet you did not make clear whether you would publish in full my reply. Will you? If you do not do this as requested, I will say I attempted to meet your request for replies but you declined to publish in full. Kindly let me know whether you intend to follow professional standards and include my full reply, which I will send depending on your reply.

For the record: my travels to and around Syria, and elsewhere, are at my expense and supported by those who have followed my journalism for years, or even more than a decade. I am not funded by any government (but you are, aren’t you, working for British state-funded media). If you or the BBC publish anything insinuating that I receive funding from any government, I will seek legal counsel.

My writings for RT are mine alone: I pitch opinion articles to them on a per piece basis as an independent freelancer.However, you seem to be unaware that I, as a freelancer, contribute to/have contributed to a number of other platforms, including Mint Press News, Oriental Review, Dissident Voice, Inter Press Services, and a host of others all detailed on my blog.

It is completely disingenuous of you to imply my writing is anything other than my own views, and it is libellous of you.

In the mean time, feel free to peruse my bio, it is quite extensive, with on the ground experience from Palestine to Syria, to eastern Ukraine. And in fact, my journalism has not only won the support of countless readers online, but also merited being awarded by the Mexican Press Club in 2017 and being shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism that same year.

By the way, my support has increased exponentially even prior to you/the BBC running a character assassination piece on me, as people became aware of your intentions.

I have my own questions for you: Have you ever entered Syria illegally? If so, how many times? Who did you pay for protection from terrorist factions while in Syria (it is well known, well-admitted, by corporate journalists who have entered Syria illegally that they must pay a protection fee in order to avoid abduction by one of the terrorist factions)?

How can you justify turning a blind eye to the fact that countless White Helmets members have openly expressed support to terrorist groups in Syria, let alone been members of said groups, holding weapons, standing on the bodies of dead Syrians? Can you honestly claim you were unaware of these facts?

How do you explain the presence, throughout Syria, of White Helmets headquarters next to or in close proximity to headquarters of al-Qaeda in Syria, Faylaq al-Rahman, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, and other terrorist groups? How can the White Helmets be deemed as neutral when working side by side these terrorist factions?

P.S. Why does a prominent and published journalist with the BBC feel the need to hide her tweets? What are you afraid of the public seeing? Do you feel this is professional of a journalist to hide their Twitter output, and indeed much of their identity?

Regards,Eva

RM: Do you know of anyone else besides you and Vanessa who were contacted by BBC?

EB: The Working Group on Syria have had a series of exchanges with Chloe/the BBC.

RM: What do you make of this assertion that you and Vanessa are somehow not journalists? What’s the point of that statement?

EB: That is a clear attempt to discredit our work and credibility, which is ironic as it comes from one of the least credible media institutions existing.

My journalism has been crafted by going to the place in question and speaking with the people in question, something I began doing in occupied Palestine in 2007, where I stayed for 8 months (see my bio for more on that), then Gaza for 3 years (and two wars) collectively, from 2008-2013, Syria 14 times since 2014, Venezuela, Donbass, and elsewhere.

If journalist credentials are established by going to journalism school and joining one of the corporate owned institutions, then this speaks volumes as to just why the media these institutions produce is inevitably riddled with lies and war propaganda, or is copy-paste media.

My articles are as often as possible supported with videos, which I myself subtitle.

I don’t need to tell you, a journalist and researcher yourself, the difference between researching a subject intensively on your own (and also gathering information from primary sources on the ground) and the kind of journalism that these corporate hacks do. It’s night and day. I had just left Aleppo in late 2016, having already been there three times prior, at great personal risk and meeting Syrians bombarded and starved by terrorists occupying parts of their city, and returned to North America to see media reporting Aleppo had “fallen” to the “regime”.

The use of such lexicon like “fallen” for a city whose people that had known endless suffering, starvation, executions, imprisonment, and torture precisely due to and by the occupation of parts of the city by terrorist groups shows just how manipulative corporate media has been in their reporting on Syria.

I do not strive to be equated with the “credentials” of Western corporate and state funded media. My credentials lie in the years of on the ground reporting I’ve done from the places I mentioned.

I can give countless examples of how the media reported falsely that something had occurred in Syria, and how I reported honestly on what really transpired. One example is that of Omran Daqneesh, whose face was splashed across the front pages of international media in 2016, said to be the face of human suffering in Syria.

In June 2017, before any Western media reported the truth (not that many other than my colleague Vanessa did), I met Omran and interviewed his father on the allegations that his son had been injured by a Russian or Syrian airstrike. Mr. Daqneesh stated definitively there had been no airstrike and that the media had exploited his son.

A last point: while the BBC and others before them strive to imply Vanessa and myself are not journalists, the bulk of the work we have done over the years is to give voice to Syrians who the same corporate and state-backed Western media has rendered voiceless.

RM: Do you believe this is a targeted smear campaign against you, Vanessa and anyone who challenges the official narrative on the White Helmets? Why now in 2020?

EB: It is definitely a targeted smear. That much is evident from the tone of the questions the BBC hack sent to both Vanessa and myself, questions full of negative and misleading insinuations about our funding, affiliations and intentions.

Russia’s Ministry of Defence has periodically reported in recent years of having intelligence information that terrorist groups in Syria, and the White Helmets, are preparing to stage another fake chemical attack. The MOD did so anew, on October 14.

I believe this new round of smears against not only Vanessa and myself but against prominent and credible voices who have spoken out about the crimes of the White Helmets is intended to discredit us prior to a new staged chemical attack which will then predictably be blamed on the Syrian government.

RM: When the BBC writes that you are “pro-Assad” and “Russia state funded media promotes your conspiracy theories” they’re accusing you of essentially being in the pockets of these governments. Where is the proof for any this? Are you surprised at all that they are attacking you?

EB: I’ll answer that with a question: would the same media write “pro-Obama”, “pro-Clinton” about journalists? Unlikely? Would journalists be lambasted for noting that Obama was the president of the US, as Assad is of Syria? Unlikely, and in fact I’m sure you are aware that prior to 2011, there was positive media reporting on President Assad.

Using terms like “pro-Assad”, “Assadist”, “conspiracy theorist”, etc, are all old means of attempting to blanket discredit the person in question. I feel no need to defend my position which is that after 14 visits, some quite lengthy, to Syria since 2014, and speaking colloquial Arabic, I am confident in stating the president has considerable, if not massive, support.

That said, that recognition has absolutely nothing to do with my writing. My focuses have been on giving voice to Syrians disappeared by corporate media, highlighting the terrorism they endured by groups the West dubs “rebels”, and calling out war propaganda. Very little has focused on the president.

As for “Russian state-funded media”, whereas that is true of RT, it is also true of the BBC. But here’s a major difference: unlike BBC journalists who go to Syria, I pay all of my own expenses; I do not have a state-funded translator or research team at hand; I do my own video editing and subtitling. Vanessa and myself are one-women teams, self-funded.

Journalists of the BBC and other such corporate/state-funded media who bother going to Syria inevitably, in my experience, have a massive support team to do all of which Vanessa and I do ourselves. And yet their reports are factually incorrect and ignore civilians’ voices.

In April 2014, I was in Syria for my first time. Terrorists in eastern Ghouta shelled Damascus, as they did all of the time, for years. One child was killed and over 60 injured. I saw BBC journalist Lyse Doucet in the French Hospital just outside of old Damascus. She was asked whether she would convey the truth. She nodded yes (I filmed this conversation). In an article she later wrote, Doucet wrote, “the government is also accused of launching them into neighborhoods under its control.

As I noted in an article: 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.

That’s just one example. If I go through my writings from Homs, Aleppo, Madaya, al-Waer, eastern Ghouta, Idlib…I could almost certainly find a BBC propaganda report stating the opposite of the realities I heard/experienced.

At the bottom of each RT opinion article there is a disclaimer that the opinions don’t represent those of RT. And it works both ways: not every article published on RT reflects my opinions. But RT remains one of the few platforms which will publish my views without censorship. Find me one example of Western corporate media which would do the same.

RM: Isn’t it ironic the BBC accuse you and Vanessa of partiality, refuting your research on the White Helmets, yet they can’t provide any evidence that the things you reported are false?

EB: This is unsurprising. Their mode of operation is clearly character assassinations, strawmen arguments, lexicon to denigrate, and an avoidance of the facts which are easily accessible.

Their interest isn’t in purveying truth, it is in burying it, and burying their own culpability, for they are guilty many time over of war propaganda, meaning they have the blood of Syrian civilians on their hands.

In 2019, I interviewed internally displaced Syrians who had languished in the Rukban camp for years and were being transported to a temporary shelter in Homs. When researching for my article, I came across numerous Western media reports relying on “unnamed activists” for their information on conditions in Rukban. Dig a little deeper and you find those activists had terrorist affiliations or were supportive of terrorists.

This is something I found time and time again. For example, when eastern Ghouta was being liberated, NY Times and other Western media relied on sources clearly supportive of Jaysh al-Islam and al-Nusra.
The BBC have had access to government-controlled areas of Syria, on many occasions. Yet they consistently choose not to report narratives that would counter the war propaganda. Talk about partiality.

RELATED:

On the British State-Funded BBC’s Pending Smear

Eva Bartlett: ON THE BRITISH STATE-FUNDED BBC’S PENDING SMEAR

Distorting Facts in the United States’ Wars / Eva Bartlett, Canadian journalist

Eva Bartlett: ON THE BRITISH STATE-FUNDED BBC’S PENDING SMEAR

Source

The British state-funded BBC, which has a history of perverted war  propaganda against the people of Syria, a history of whitewashing the  crimes of terrorists in Syria, a history of flat out lying about events  in Syria, has decided to launch another smear against myself, Vanessa Beeley, researchers of the Working Group on Syria, a former ambassador to Syria, and others.

This is not just another character assassination, though, this is a serious threat against journalists and those speaking truth against establishment narratives. Thanks to those who have tweeted or spoken about this revolting attack.

On Twitter, Jonathan Cook lent his support.

Vanessa Beeley spoke on UK Column News about the matter.

And others on social media have expressed exceptional support to the journalists, academics and others targeted in the pending smear.

Following is the hostile, journalistic integrity-devoid email sent to me by a British state-funded hack (who is such a cowardly hack she hides her Twitter feed).

Since I frankly neither expect Chloe/the BBC to republish the entirety of any reply I give them, I’ll paste here the basic reply I sent–which I would elaborate on in depth were I to receive the BBC’s word that they would publish my full reply in full.

Chloe,

You asked for a clarification or comment to your hostile email to me, yet you did not make clear whether you would publish in full my reply.

Will you?

If you do not do this as requested, I will say I attempted to meet your request for replies but you declined to publish in full.

Kindly let me know whether you intend to follow professional standards and include my full reply, which I will send depending on your reply.

For the record: my travels to and around Syria, and elsewhere, are at my expense and supported by those who have followed my journalism for years, or even more than a decade. I am not funded by any government (but you are, aren’t you, working for British state-funded media). If you or the BBC publish anything insinuating that I receive funding from any government, I will seek legal counsel.

My writings for RT are mine alone: I pitch opinion articles to them on a per piece basis as an independent freelancer.

However, you seem to be unaware that I, as a freelancer, contribute to/have contributed to a number of other platforms, including Mint Press News, Oriental Review, Dissident Voice, Inter Press Services, and a host of others all detailed on my blog. It is completely disingenuous of you to imply my writing is anything other than my own views, and it is libellous of you.

In the mean time, feel free to peruse my bio, it is quite extensive, with on the ground experience from Palestine to Syria, to eastern Ukraine. And in fact, my journalism has not only won the support of countless readers online, but also merited being awarded by the Mexican Press Club in 2017 and being shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism that same year.

By the way, my support has increased exponentially even prior to you/the BBC running a character assassination piece on me, as people became aware of your intentions.

I have my own questions for you:

Have you ever entered Syria illegally? If so, how many times?

Who did you pay for protection from terrorist factions while in Syria (it is well known, well-admitted, by corporate journalists who have entered Syria illegally that they must pay a protection fee in order to avoid abduction by one of the terrorist factions)?

How can you justify turning a blind eye to the fact that countless White Helmets members have openly expressed support to terrorist groups in Syria, let alone been members of said groups, holding weapons, standing on the bodies of dead Syrians? Can you honestly claim you were unaware of these facts?

How do you explain the presence, throughout Syria, of White Helmets headquarters next to or in close proximity to headquarters of al-Qaeda in Syria, Faylaq al-Rahman, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, and other terrorist groups? How can the White Helmets be deemed as neutral when working side by side these terrorist factions?

P.S. Why does a prominent and published journalist with the BBC feel the need to hide her tweets? What are you afraid of the public seeing? Do you feel this is professional of a journalist to hide their Twitter output, and indeed much of their identity?

Regards,

Eva

Chloe sent a similar but more detailed email to Vanessa Beeley, which Vanessa deconstructed at length on Twitter.

Chloe also previously harassed members of the Working Group on Syria,  Propaganda and Media–the group of academics and researchers whose scrutiny into the alleged Douma chemical attack led to the initial OPCW whistleblowers to speak out (long before others belatedly chased those leaks).

In a meticulously-compiled report exposing Chloe’s whitewashing details around the alleged Douma chemical attack, the Working Group detail the nature of the correspondence (harassment) from her/the BBC.

Since the loaded questions in her hostile email take issue with my perspective and reporting on the White Helmets, I detail below my reports which address issues pertaining to the White Helmets and their crimes against Syrian civilians.

 Organ theft, staged attacks: UN panel details White Helmets’ criminal activities, media yawns

 Meet Aylan & Omran: Child victims used for Syrian war propaganda

 Syrian civilians from ground zero expose chemical hoax

 Torture, starvation, executions: Eastern Ghouta civilians talk of life under terrorist rule

 Decision to bring White Helmets to Canada dangerous and criminal

 Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over

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

Regarding the boy in the ambulance (Omran Daqneesh), I met him and interviewed his father in mid 2017.

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

The BBC, on the other hand, repeatedly purveyed the lies & war  propaganda that Russia/Syria had airstruck his home. Fake news.

SYRIAN CIVILIANS’ SUFFERING:

However, my writing on Syria is not *only* on the White Helmets. In fact, most of it is on the suffering of civilians under terrorist rule or attacks, something the BBC and other Western corporate or state-funded media actively ignore, but which I have been doing since 2014.

Where is the West’s compassion & condemnation following terror attacks in Middle East?

 In Aleppo, US and Saudi-Backed Rebels Targeted ‘Every Syrian’

 Hadar: A Village Under Siege by Syrian Rebels and Israeli Forces Alike

 Mhardeh: A Call from a Martyred Christian Town for Syria’s Full Liberation

 Voices from Syria’s Rukban Refugee Camp Belie Corporate Media Reporting

 The Caesar Act: The Latest Western Attack on Syria Didn’t Drop From a Plane

 Order Returns To Western Syria, Civilians Recount Horrors Of “Rebel” Rule

 US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target

 Western leaders, screw your ‘Sanctions Target the Regime’ blather: Sanctions KILL PEOPLE

 US exceptionalism: Exploiting certain Syrians, ignoring others

 UN Feigns Outrage Over Eastern Ghouta While Terrorist Rockets Rain on Damascus

 US-Backed Terrorism in Syria: A First-Hand Account of the Use of Mortars Against Civilians – Global Research

 Media Black-Out on Arab Journalists and Civilians Beheaded in Syria by Western-Backed Mercenaries – Global Research

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/liberated-homs-residents-challenge-notion-of-revolution/

 Devastation…and Inspiration: Recalling Liberated Ma’loula

 University Hospital, Damascus: Meeting Victims of Western-backed Mortar and Rocket Terrorism February 24-26, 2015

 SYRIA: The Children of Kafarya and Foua are Crying in the Dark – 21st Century Wire

 Eva Bartlett: Overcoming savagery, treachery, Maaloula’s heroic defenders fight for the future — Sott.net

 Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors — Sott.net

• • •

…and aside from that, my writing focuses on the war propaganda of British and other Western state-funded media like the BBC [tweet]:

“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.” –From: Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda — RT Op-ed

Or the repeated accusations against Syria:

Сorporate media continues to recycle accusations of starvation, chemical weapons, and more, in the propaganda war on Syria.

and years of NATO propaganda:

Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria

-by Eva Bartlett, Oct 10, 2015, Dissident Voice *republished at Global Research, Syrian Free Press, Sott.net, World News, Uprooted Palestinians…

Or the Guardian’s whitewashing of terrorists in Syria:

How the Mainstream Media Whitewashed Al-Qaeda and the White Helmets in Syria – Global Research

or the Guardian’s giving a platform to terrorist propaganda:

Guardian, Atlantic contributor acts as a Syrian terrorist mouthpiece on Twitter, and if you don’t…

or the global media exploitation of a girl being exploited by her own parents

Exploitation of Bana al-Abed: Parents use child to whitewash terrorists in Aleppo

or the ad nauseam repetition of war propaganda, from Aleppo to eastern Ghouta

‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’

My reporting from around Syria over the years was funded by myself, unlike Western-funded media operatives who lie about Syria, and has included a great deal of personal risk from mortars and terrorist snipers.

For example, when I went to the state hospital in Dara’a, the city was being mortared by terrorists. Getting to the hospital involved shooting down a road (in a taxi) with terrorist snipers 100 m away. Much of the hospital was destroyed or inaccessible.

· Twitter thread with videos from inside the hospital.

Al-Qaeda’s rescuers never speak of their buddies’ bombs on Dara’a streets, including the day I visited in May 2018. Dara’a hospital is battered from their “freedom” bombs and is extremely dangerous to get to, due to snipers. Nope, just hysterical accusations, as per norm. 

Dara’a hospital, heavily targeted by terrorist mortars. Terrorist sniping makes it impossible to reach the pharmacy.

Or standing on Castello Road (without body armour) when it was repeatedly mortared by terrorists in November 2016. https://mintpressnews.com/aleppo-how-us-saudi-backed-rebels-target-every-syrian/222594/

or like leaving Aleppo via Castello when the road was being mortared by terrorist factions, in August 2016 [videos]

or on 2 different occasions being fired at by terrorist snipers [tweet]

In closing: any questions on my credentials, read here and decide for yourself: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/about-me/

US SANCTIONS ARE PART OF A MULTI-FRONT WAR ON SYRIA, AND ITS LONG-SUFFERING CIVILIANS ARE THE MAIN TARGET

Eva Bartlett

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years). Follow her on Twitter @EvaKBartlett

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target
Syrian refugee patients from the makeshift Rukban camp, March 1, 2017 ©  AFP / KHALIL MAZRAAWI

July 13, 2020, RT.com

Eva K Bartlett

The US is waging multiple fronts of war against Syria, including brutal sanctions, while claiming concern over the well-being of Syrian civilians – the vast majority of whom are suffering as a direct result of US policies.

On June 17, the US implemented the Caesar Act, America’s latest round of draconian sanctions against the Syrian people, to “protect” them, America claims. This, after years of bombing civilians and providing support to anti-government militants, leading to the proliferation of terrorists who kidnap, imprison, torture, maim, and murder the same Syrian civilians

Just weeks after these barbaric sanctions were enforced, cue American crocodile tears about Syrian suffering, and claims that Moscow and Damascus are allegedly preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid. More hot air from American hypocritical talking heads who don’t actually care about Syrians’ well-being.America trigger-happily sanctions many nations or entities that dare to stand up to its hegemonic dictates. The word “sanctions” sounds too soft – the reality is an all-out economic war against the people in targeted nations.

Sanctions have, as I wrote last December, impacted Syria’s ability to import medicines or the raw materials needed to manufacture them, medical equipment, and machines and materials needed to manufacture prosthetic limbs, among other things.

Syria reports that the latest sanctions are already preventing civilians from acquiring “imported drugs, especially antibiotics, as some companies have withdrawn their licenses granted to drug factories,” due to the sanctions.

In Damascus, pharmacies I’ve stopped into, when I ask what some of the most sought-after medications are, hypertension medications are at the top.

But sanctions have yet another brutal effect: they wreak havoc on the economy.

The destruction of Syria’s economy is something US envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, boasted about, reportedly saying that the sanctions “contributed to the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound.”

The website Sanctions Kill notes:

“Currencies are devalued and inflated when sanctions are levied. Countries are pressured to stop doing business with targeted countries. Sanctions violate international law, the UN charter, Geneva and Nuremberg conventions because they target civilians by economic strangulation, creating famines, life-threatening shortages, and economic chaos.”So youhave Western hypocritical talking heads pretending they want to get aid to Syrian civilians while literally cutting them off from medicine and the ability to purchase food. 

Resource theft and arson

But these crimes against humanity don’t suffice for America. The US occupation troops and their Kurdish proxy forces (the SDF) are plundering Syria’s oil resources to the tune of $30 million a month as of last October, according to Russian military estimates.

In early July, SANA reported another convoy leaving Syria to Iraq, loaded with oil thieved from areas under US occupation.Terrorists and US proxy groups are also thieving Syria’s cotton, olives, wheat, and flour.

Further, Syria accuses the US of deliberately setting fire to crops using Apache-dropped thermal balloons.

Civilians from affected areas near Turkish occupation posts likewise blame Turkish forces for setting fires and firing live ammunition upon those who attempt to extinguish the fires, farmers literally watching their livelihoods go up in flames. The Hasakah Agriculture Directorate director likewise blames Turkey for arson of the crops.

Turkish occupation forces are also accused of cutting water supplies at Alouk water pump station, depriving one million people in the Hasakah region of drinking and agricultural water, with no condemnation from the Securit Council.

The poverty and suffering Syrians are enduring these days is unbearable, with prices of basic goods doubled and tripled from just a few months ago, turning what were affordable items into luxuries, particularly for the 7.9 million food-insecure Syrians.

But alarmist Western media and representatives omit the context: the nearly 10 years of war on Syria; the deliberate targeting by terrorists and by US and Turkish occupation forces, and Israel, of Syria’s infrastructure; the looting of oil, wheat and cotton, even allegedly stealing parts of an Idlib power plant for scraps sale in Turkey.Likewise, Aleppo’s heavy industry was thieved during the years when terrorists occupied the industrial zones of the city. Heavy machinery was reportedly trucked in broad daylight to Turkey.With all of these factors, of course there is poverty and a chaotic economy.

A safe resolution rejected

Recently, the UNSC passed a resolution to maintain one humanitarian border crossing from Turkey into Syria, the Bab al-Hawa crossing.

Prior to that, Russia had proposed a resolution enabling the safe delivery of humanitarian aid from within Syria.

On July 11, Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN issued a statement again noting the need to phase out cross-border deliveries, as the Syrian government has regained much of the territories previously occupied by terrorist factions, and deliveries must be made from within Syria.

The UNSC resolution that passed, however, continues the delivery of aid via Turkey, delivering to the hands of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups occupying Idlib. It is with these people the US aid ends up when delivered, from Turkey, not from Syrian territory.

Given that the US has supplied weapons to anti-government extremists in Syria before, it is not illogical to believe they hoped to funnel still more weapons in under the pretext of “aid” deliveries.

Russia’s statement also noted the lack of UN presence in the Idlib de-escalation zone, saying: “It’s not a secret that the terrorist groups, listed as such by the UN Security Council, control certain areas of the de-escalation zone and use the UN humanitarian aid as a tool to exert pressure on [the civilian] population and openly make profit from such deliveries.”

This is what Russia and China opposed, not the delivery of aid. 

Those are details which US Ambassador Kelly Craft slyly omitted when she spoke of callousness and dishonesty being an established pattern. Her verbal guns were aimed at Syria and Russia, but her choice of words perfectly describes US policy towards Syrians.

One only needs to look at US policy towards displaced Syrians in Rukban Camp to see that the US has actively worked to prevent aid deliveries there and prevent Syrians from being evacuated from there. Or the lack of US outcry at Turkey’s prevention of humanitarian convoys from reaching Idlib areas, which while scheduled for last April still hasn’t been successful.

On the other hand, on July 4 the WHO acknowledged the Syrian-Russian delivery of 85 tons of medicines and medical supplies from Damascus to Al Hasakah. On July 9, the Russian Reconciliation Center noted that 500 food packages (2,424 tons) were delivered to Idlib province and Deir-ez-Zor province.

I wonder how many tons of actual aid the US would send…

In case it isn’t yet clear, America is weaponizing and politicizing aid, as it tried to do in Venezuela last year. American representatives posture and bellow, and Russia and Syria quietly go about actually delivering aid to needy Syrians.

The Russian post-resolution statement also critically noted the brutal impact of sanctions on Syria, which, as detrimental to Syrians’ wellbeing as they are, somehow don’t merit the feigned concern of representatives like Craft.

The statement said:

“These coercive measures seriously undermine not only the socio-economic situation in Syria, but also impede activities of many humanitarian NGOs that are ready to help the population in territories controlled by Syrian official authorities.”

If America truly wanted to alleviate the suffering of Syrians, all sanctions against the country and people would be immediately lifted.

SEE ALSO:

The Caesar Act: The Latest Western Attack on Syria Didn’t Drop From a Plane

As Syria struggles to recover from over a decade of US-imposed conflict, it faces a new deadly threat in the form of sweeping sanctions under the Caesar Act.

Western leaders, screw your ‘Sanctions Target the Regime’ blather: Sanctions KILL PEOPLE

As Syria Struggles Under COVID-19 Lockdown, America’s Scorched Earth Policy Ensures Food Insecurity -by Vanessa Beeley–Guilty until proven innocent (again): UN report on alleged Russian ‘war crimes’ in Syria is based on ‘We Say So’ & unnamed sources

UN Security Council adopts Syria cross-border aid resolution, but refuses to address humanitarian costs of sanctions

Guilty until proven innocent (again): UN report on alleged Russian ‘war crimes’ in Syria is based on ‘We Say So’ & unnamed sources

Covid-19 gives cover for US-led coalition to keep up pressure on Syria

Russia & China veto Western resolution on keeping Syria-Turkey border crossings open, but Moscow’s counter-proposal fails

ROBERT INLAKESH ON HIS DOCUMENTARY, “STEAL OF THE CENTURY: TRUMP’S PALESTINE-ISRAEL CATASTROPHE”

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Robert Inlakesh is a Documentary Filmmaker, Journalist, and Middle-East  Analyst

I recently spoke with him on his visits to Occupied Palestine nd in  particular his two-part documentary, “Steal Of The Century’: Trump’s  Palestine-Israel Catastrophe” , the first part of which he released on  June 5.

Watch part 1

Twitter: @falasteen47

Facebook/Youtube: Robert Inlakesh

Robert’s Patreon

THE CAESAR ACT: THE LATEST WESTERN ATTACK ON SYRIA DIDN’T DROP FROM A PLANE

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Eva Bartlett

As Syria struggles to recover from over a decade of US-imposed conflict, it faces a new deadly threat in the form of sweeping sanctions under the Caesar Act.

by Eva Bartlett, June 19th, 2020, Mint Press News

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Wounded Syrian soldiers, Talib Mu’alla (left) & Inad Ahmed (right)

Talib Mu’alla served as a soldier in the Syrian Arab Army before he was wounded in Aleppo in 2014. As he described the multiple shots he took to his body, I thought it remarkable that he survived.

“A shot (bullet) to my chest, a shot to my stomach, three shots in my spine. My chest, stomach, and intestines ruptured, and I lost a kidney. I was also shot in the right side of my face,” he recounted. “I fell into a coma for 25 days, then woke for a few days and fell back into a coma for another 16 or 17 days. It took two years for me to be able to walk again.”Talib was discharged from the army after his injuries and has since joined an auxiliary of the army. “From  2011 until now, I haven’t taken off my uniform. And I won’t take it off until the war is finished,” he said.

The media’s monsters

As a consequence of the war on Syria, there has been immeasurable loss: the destruction of historic places like Palmyra, Maaloula (the ancient Aramaic village northeast of Damascus), Aleppo’s souqs; and the destruction of city districts in the fight against terrorism. Aleppo’s souqs were being carefully restored when I traveled to Syria in March. Yet, there is still much rebuilding to do and thanks to the Caesar Act, that just got harder.

More appalling than the destruction of Syria’s historic places is the human loss, civilian and military alike. Regarding the latter, little concern is meted out by Western press over the deaths and maiming of members of Syria’s national army. On the contrary, the Syrian Arab Army is portrayed in Western media and by Western politicians as murderers and thugs personally belonging to President Assad and not to Syria.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and indeed countless videos and anecdotes of Syrian soldiers putting their lives on the line in order to protect and save civilians from terrorists are available for any who wish to see them. The army is a conscript army but also includes career soldiers and men and women who voluntarily joined in order to defend their country.

Last August, I interviewed the Syrian Arab Army’s Head of Political Administration, General Hassan Hassan. He noted that the Syrian army “includes in each of its formations, soldiers from all Syrian governorates, with no exception.” This defies Western media’s portrayal of the Syrian army as “Assad’s army” or their claims that those fighting “rebels” (terrorists) are only from the Alawi sect. These types of claims are put forth in an attempt to create the illusion that in Syria, it has been President Assad and “his forces” against disenchanted Sunnis, an utterly false claim.[Read: A Syrian Leader Tells His Country’s Story: An Interview with SAA General Hassan Hassan ]

This sectarianism exists largely in the minds of those backing terrorism in Syria, be they Saudi, Turkish, Qatari, or Western leaders.

When I asked General Hassan to speak more on the army, he replied:

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. 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?”

On various trips to and around Syria over the years I’ve encountered Syrian soldiers in hot zones where terrorists linger nearby and in liberated areas, at checkpoints and in hospitals. Many are young, and others are grey-haired, proud to be serving in the defense of their country and citizens.

Palmyra, July 2016
Aleppo, November 2016

Many drive taxis in their off-hours to compensate for the meagr salary they receive, a salary that doesn’t compare to the hefty salaries paid to members of Gulf and Turkish-backed armed militants.

Together, and with the help of Syria’s allies, they staved off some of the most heinous and powerfully-backed terrorists the modern world has known, but at a great price.

The numbers of wounded soldiers, particularly critically-wounded, are not published, so it is hard to gauge just how large their numbers are. However, given that the war on Syria has raged for nearly a decade, with soldiers fighting well-armed terrorists from around the world–terrorists with the backing of the U.S.-led coalition in Syria — the numbers of martyred and maimed can only be tragically-high.

Wounded veterans prepare for life after war

Given that the U.S. government frequently criticizes the government of Syria for not taking care of its citizens, it’s worth reflecting on the shameful manner in which the U.S. neglects its own veterans of war. But in Syria, a myriad of associations work with war-wounded soldiers to provide prosthetic limbs and rehabilitate them after their injuries, giving them life skills to work or start their own businesses.

Jerih al-Watan (The Wounded of the Homeland), is a veteran support program founded in 2014 by the Syrian Presidency with the support of the Syrian Trust For Development and medical experts. The aim of Jerih al-Watan, according to its Facebook page, is “providing adequate care and appropriate rehabilitation to secure a decent life for the wounded,” from the army, popular defense forces, and internal security forces.”

Jerih al-Watan focuses on physical rehabilitation, social and psychological support as well as vocational training for jobs ranging from construction to food production.

The latter is what I saw last week when I traveled to the Qardaha region in northwestern Syria. A region I had not previously visited, Qardaha is a paradise that the average person may not associate with Syria, as many mistakenly imagine the country to be all desert. It is not, of course.

Traveling a familiar route from Damascus to the coast, I passed rows of greenhouses and the citrus and banana trees that are prevalent in the Tartous and Latakia region and finally moved up along a road lined with pine trees and wildflowers, winding up through the mountainous hills of Qardaha. Photos of martyred soldiers appeared when passing through Qardaha itself, as they do all over Syria.

I reached the training point, where, in the evening, a gorgeous pink sunset descended over the layered hills, the sea in the distance.

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Soldiers were receiving training in the skills of cheese and yogurt making, staples of the Syrian diet. They were first shown how to make the products, then had a hand at making them themselves. The final results were the delicious spice-colored yogurt balls and black-sesame-laden cheeses that are ubiquitous in Syria’s restaurants.

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With these skills, the soldiers are able to start a small enterprise and support their families.

In between training sessions, wounded soldiers sat chatting in the shade. With their permission, I spoke with some of them about their injuries and feelings about having served in the army. With injuries ranging from vision and speech impairments to difficulties walking or loss of hands, I was struck by the graceful confidence of the injured soldiers.

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Instead of wallowing in their injuries, they looked to future prospects, improving their knowledge to improve their lives.

A reservist in the army, Ayet Yusef was wounded in 2013 while serving in Aleppo. “We were attacked at 2 am by armed terrorist gangs. A clash occurred, during which I was wounded by shrapnel in my left eye. I lost sight in that eye. But after treatment, it is now fine.” Yusef, like most wounded soldiers I’ve met, is proud of having served, and even prouder of his injury. “We raise our heads to the sky. We were in the Syrian Arab Army and that is an honor for us. And if they now asked me to serve again, no problem,” he said.

Another soldier, 30-year-old Du’a Ijna, had difficulty speaking as he explained how he was injured in 2011. “We were on patrol in Khan Sheikhoun (Idlib),” he recalled, “A terrorist group attacked and I was wounded by shrapnel to my brain. That affected my hands, legs, and speech. I was paralyzed for a month and a half, but after physiotherapy, it got a little better.”

Jaafar Badran was injured in 2016 while serving in Aleppo. His injury left him without his right hand or left leg. “We resisted the terrorism, and there will be martyrs and wounded among us, and that’s okay. What matters is the country returns to stability.”

Inad Ahmed was injured while serving in Tulul al-Himr, al-Qunaytra. “I was shot in my spinal column, and for three years I couldn’t walk.” Ahmed now walks with a severe limp but speaks with a smile. “I have to be optimistic about what I’m going through and keep looking ahead. What happened happened.”

Just beyond the training location, a beautiful sunset burst out and I thought about the many wounded soldiers, some whose lives were disrupted forever, others who overcame major injuries to the point they could walk, or at least hobble, again. They were all gracious. Some on the shy side, others — including men whose injuries were the worst — gregarious and humorous. Spending time with them was humbling, but also reaffirmed what I already knew about the army: they are some of the most courageous people I’ve met and those who write lies about them should hang their heads in shame for being so far from the truth.

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Post-training photo of the group of soldiers who received vocational training. Photo | Eva Bartlett

Initiatives like this, teaching and encouraging economic self-reliance, are more critically-important than ever these days in Syria. After over nine years of war and relentless sanctions on the country, Syria’s economy is as shattered as the cities formerly occupied by terrorist groups. Neither would be devastated had the U.S. and allies not launched its clandestine war against Syria, but they did, and the economic war on Syria will only worsen.

The Syrian Trust, a nonprofit national development organization headed by the first lady of Syria, has been quietly helping soldiers with rehabilitation and prosthetics as well as giving them training, even supplying machinery and other equipment needed for small businesses.

In November 2016, after having visited Aleppo for the fourth time just weeks before the city was finally liberated from the array of terrorist gangs occupying its eastern and southern regions, freeing the people of the hell on earth they’d endured for years — I was back in Damascus and visited the Hamish Hospital in Barzeh, where Jarih al-Watan was manufacturing prosthetic limbs performing physiotherapy for wounded soldiers.

There, I saw many soldiers going through differing degrees of physiotherapy and rehabilitation after having been injured. Many were without one or both legs, others missing hands and arms.

I met Ali, a 30-year-old soldier who lost both his legs in a mine blast a year prior on the Khanasser road to Aleppo. The first time I went to Aleppo in July, the taxi driver told me that Da’esh (ISIS) routinely creeps onto the road at night to lay mines and the SAA in the morning has to clear them so the road is safe for civilians and transport trucks.

Ali was a slight young man, and emblematic of the stoic, strong nature of Syrians fighting this war against terror and for their country. Ten days after losing his lower legs, Ali was walking on artificial ones. When I met him, he was finishing physiotherapy and wants to go back to defending Syria.

I am discharged from the army but I want to go back. We want this war to be over.”

He isn’t the only gravely wounded soldier I’ve met who wanted to return to service. In May 2018, Syrian soldier and incredible photographer Wassim Issa was gravely injured in a terrorist landmine blast that blew off both his lower legs and left him in a coma for two days. When I visited him in the hospital three days after his injury, he was sitting up in bed wearing a huge smile at my visit. Although I already knew him to be a courageous and gentle man, I was surprised at how upbeat he was, having just escaped death and lost his ability to walk.

In subsequent visits over the years, Wassim maintained his positivity that he would walk again. Indeed, by October 2018 Wassim had been fitted with prosthetic limbs and done the needed physio in order to walk again.

On one of my visits, he told me: “I don’t need money, I don’t need a house, I just need peace for my country.”49115126_10161491800425651_446505113624772608_n

A screenshot from a news report shows Wassim Issa in January 2019 via the Facebook page, “Here Lattakia

I met Captain Ali, a Syrian pilot and soldier who was injured five times (more, actually, but he only counts the major injuries), several times in Latakia in July and August of 2016. He was shot by a sniper, the bullet going through his arm, sniped through his hip, shot in his head (requiring 26 stitches), received shrapnel in his chest, and finally lost his left leg to a Da’esh suicide bomber.

Captain Ali was awarded the Russian Medal of courage for his work in the Latakia countryside. He also had stories of the helicopter he was flying being hit on three different occasions but not being downed.

His personality was a mixture of humility, confidence, humour.

Captain Ali in Latakia hospital, 2016

*Meeting with Captain Ali in a Latakia hospital in 2016. Photo | Eva Bartlett

And in Aleppo this past March, I met Ahmed Abo Alkef, 29, in then recently-liberated al-Zahra’a, Aleppo. Alkef joined the army in June 2010 and was close to fulfilling his conscription service when he was shot in the head by a terrorist sniper, leaving him in a coma for several months.

He is now paralyzed on one side of his body, the bullet still in his skull. Like other soldiers I’ve spoken with, Alkef without hesitation to my question replied he is proud of serving in the army and proud of his injury, life-shattering as it is.

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Ahmed Abo Alkef, half-paralyzed by his injury after being sniped to his head.

In the Barzeh Center physiotherapy training hall, Ali walked with a young man who appeared to be around the same age, also missing his lower legs.

At the prosthetics factory, the Director, Dr. Yousef Sarraj, stressed that in his experience 25 percent of those patients they treat request artificial limbs specifically with the intent of returning to the battlefront to defend Syria, including the ten officers who are currently waiting for limbs so they return to the battlefront.

While there, the power briefly went out and roughly 20 seconds later, the generators kicked in. Dr. Sarraj noted: “We can overcome problems of power, but we can’t overcome the problem of getting raw materials for the prosthetics.”

Unsurprisingly, Western sanctions on Syria include prohibiting key materials needed in prosthetic limbs manufacturing, including (among many things) resin, the primary material used in the manufacture. According to Dr. Sarraj, to acquire 100 kg of resin would take around one year.

Meeting the needs of sanctions-ravaged Syrians

In addition to its work with injured soldiers, the Syrian Trust For Development also focuses on providing micro-credit, assisting disabled Syrians, supporting children with cancer, rural development, supporting families of missing persons, supporting victims of sexual violence, culture, and heritage, and children’s and women’s issues.

In October 2016, I visited a community center in Barzeh, Damascus, supported by the Syrian Trust. The community center manager, Ahmad al-Khodr told me the center had opened in 2015 and served a diverse community.

“There is a lot of political and religious diversity here in Barzeh, as many people from all over Syria left their homes, due to the war, and settled here in Barzeh. In this community center, you’ll see a small glimpse of Syrian communities around the country. Every day there are more than 400 beneficiaries here, between children, men, and women.

Barzeh and nearby Aysh al-Warwar had big battles. The FSA (Free Syrian Army) was there for a long time. In 2014, there was reconciliation here between the Syrian army and the FSA. This community center is very near the region under truce. So this place is more diverse than other regions of Damascus (in terms of political leanings).”

He explained the Trust’s approach to assisting those in need:

We study the cases to know what are the needs of the people here. We visit their houses. We don’t implement any plan without knowing what is needed and knowing that the plan will meet their needs.

We have a law department which, among other things, helps people who have lost their identity papers during the war.”

Vocational training is offered at the center, including teaching women to sew and men to paint homes.

Sewing training at Barzeh community centre

We also support them with courses on how they can start their own businesses, how to market their products and business. After the workshop we provide them money to start their own businesses, some are loans and others they don’t need to repay. After the courses, we connect the beneficiaries with factories or places of work. And others start their own small businesses.”

Khodr explained that psychological support is offered to women whose husbands were martyred or kidnapped by the FSA or other terrorist groups and to victims of domestic violence. “We teach them to know their rights,” he said.

Children also received psychological support, and for children who have left school because of the war, the Trust gives them special classes to get caught up enough to return to schools.

“This applies to children up to baccalaureate level. We also have classes for people who never studied, elderly who don’t know how to write or read. They receive a certificate from the Syrian government.”

I asked about the women whose husbands might have been members of the FSA or other terrorist groups. “Aren’t you worried that the women will earn money and give it to their husband, to the fighters?”

Khoder replied, “The people who live here are very poor, very in need. They want to live, eat, sleep in peace, they won’t be giving their money to fighters, they need it simply to live. Here we work with beneficiaries as people, not numbers. Other NGOs (UN etc) you’ll see them working in high-class clothing. Here we work with them as brothers and sisters. We work with them whatever their religious or political view. We work with them as humans. They are our brothers and sisters in Syria.”

This last point, about how the Trust deals with those it helps, I saw for myself when Trust employees were talking with the injured soldiers receiving vocational training. They indeed took an interest in the soldiers’ lives, engaging with them as fellow Syrians, to the point that when it was learned that it was the one year birthday of a soldier’s daughter, a cake was procured and we visited the family.

Over the tabbouleh and kibbeh the family offered, as the birthday girl wobbled around the room charming all, the grandfather, himself having served many years in the army, spoke with pride about his wounded son’s service. The personal insights gleaned from conversations and from seeing the state of homes helps the Trust to assess their needs, even needs not mentioned by recipients themselves.

More misery from the West: increased sanctions

In 2020, it’s no secret, and no longer debatable, that the misery Syria’s people have faced for almost a decade—the relentless, savage, terrorism of civilians and military alike—is a product of Western, particularly American, covert and overt meddling.

Western countries use forums like the United Nations as well as government-funded media to further their goals and distort the reality about events on the ground in Syria. The West supports terrorist gangs who have slaughtered and pillaged since the war on Syria started in 2011. In fact, the West and its Gulf allies instigated the non-revolution, flooding money and weapons into Syria before the first protests even emerged.

AsI wrote in 2015:


In 2002, then-Under Secretary of State John Bolton added Syria (and Libya, Cuba) to the “rogue states” of George W Bush’s “Axis of Evil,”…meaning Syria was on the list of countries to “bring democracy to” (aka destroy) even back then.

Anthony Cartalucci’s “U.S. Planned Syrian Civilian Catastrophe Since 2007” laid out a number of pivotal statements and events regarding not only the war on Syria but also the events which would be falsely-dubbed the “Arab Spring.” Points include:

  • General Wesley Clark’s revelation of U.S. plans to destroy the governments of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.
  • Seymour Hersh’s 2007 “The Redirection” on NATO and allies’ arming and training of sectarian extremists to create sectarian divide in Lebanon, Syria and beyond.

The 2009 Brookings Institution report, “Which Path to Persia?,” on plans to weaken Syria and Lebanon, to later attack Iran.

Further, asreported:

  • U.S. funding to the Syrian opposition began flowing under the Bush administration in 2005.
  • Since its founding in October 2011, the Syrian National Council has received $20.4 million from Libya, $15 million from Qatar, $5 million from the UAE.

Former French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Roland Dumas, in aJune 2013 TV interview spoke of his meeting (two years prior) with British officials who confessed that:

Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned….”


The Caesar Act

The recent passage of the Caesar Act is the newest level of criminality targeting Syria, even the name of the act is based on a lie. An implementation of yet further brutal sanctions against the people of Syria, it will cause immense suffering, all under the premise of targeting Syria’s leadership and helping Syria’s people. The flawed and hypocritical logic is one which the U.S. has applied to tens of nations who have refused to cower to its hegemony.

Even U.S. envoy for Syria James Jeffrey has acknowledged America’s intentional destruction of Syria’s economy, allegedly stating recently that the sanctions, “contributed to the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound… the Syrian regime is no longer able to manage an effective economic policy… due to the economic crisis that is also affecting Lebanon. ”

In the same statement, Jeffrey claimed the sanctions will “protect” Syrians, a comment far from reality.

Recall that after the sanctions-induced murder of between one million-one and a half million civilians in Iraq, the Western narrative of sanctions as merely targeting leaders of nations has long been exposed for the malevolent lie that it is.

The website Sanctions Kill notes that “Sanctions are imposed by the United States and its junior partners against countries that resist their agendas. They are a weapon of Economic War, resulting in chronic shortages of basic necessities, economic dislocation, chaotic hyperinflation, artificial famines, disease, and poverty. In every country, the poorest and the weakest – infants, children, the chronically ill and the elderly – suffer the worst impact of sanctions.”

In Venezuela, sanctions led to the deaths of 40,000 Venezuelans in 2018 alone.

Heavily-sanctioned for years, Syria faces the same risks.

As Syrian-American activist, Johnny Achi, told me:

The sanctions on Syria have been imposed since I could remember. Firstly in 1979, when the U.S. first designated Syria as a state sponsor of terrorism for its roll in support of the PLO and the Palestinian cause.

‏In 2004, a new set of sanctions was imposed by Bush the son after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and after Syria refusing to kneel to the demands of the new world order.

Since the so-called “uprisings” began in March 2011, the Obama administration intensely pursued calibrated sanctions to deprive the Syrian government of the resources it needs to quell the terror and violence inflicted on the Syrian population by Obama’s supported Nusra and ISIS terror groups, and to pressure the Syrian president to give in and resign, “to allow for a democratic transition as the Syrian people demand.” Which could not be further away from the truth, since President Assad, by most Western reports, continued to enjoy no less than 70% popularity amongst all Syrians.

All these sanctions up to the new Caesar Act were bearable since Syria has always pride itself of being self-sufficient economically and never needed help from the international community, and refused to be in debt to the IMF or the World Bank.

The Caesar Act of 2019 came in direct response to the series of victories by the Syrian Army against terrorists across the whole country, setting the stage to the final battle of Idlib, the terrorists’ final hotbed.”

Under the sanctions levied by the Caesar Act, Syria cannot import vital medications or the materials to produce them, including for cancer, hypertension, and other critical ailments. Sanctioning Syria’s ability to import medicines, medical equipment, and among many other things, materials for rebuilding, is criminal and an act of terrorism.

As I wrote in a December 2019 editorial for RT:


When I was in Syria last October, a man told me his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer, but because of the sanctions he couldn’t get her the conventional treatments most in the West would avail of.

In 2016, in Aleppo, before it was liberated of al-Qaeda and co, Dr. Nabil Antaki told me how –because of the sanctions– it had taken him well over a year to get a simple part for his gastroenterology practise.

In 2015, visiting Damascus’ University Hospital, where bed after bed was occupied by a child maimed by terrorists’ shelling (from Ghouta), a nurse told me:

“We have so many difficulties to ensure that we have antibiotics, specialized medicines, maintenance of the equipment… Because of the sanctions, many parts are not available, we have difficulties obtaining them.


In 2018, Syria’s Minister of Health told me that Syria had formerly been dubbed by the World Health Organization a “pioneer state” in providing health care.

“Syria had 60 pharmaceutical factories and was exporting medicine to 58 countries. Now, 16 of these factories are out of service. Terrorists partially or fully destroyed 46 hospitals and 620 medical centers,” he told me.

I asked the minister about the complex in Barzeh, targeted with missile strikes by the U.S. and its allies in April 2018. It turns out that it was part of the Ministry of Health and manufactured cancer treatment medications as well as antidotes for snake or scorpion bites and stings, the antidote also serving as a basic material in the manufacture of many other medicines.

Syrian-American doctor Hussam al-Samman told me about his efforts to send chemotherapy medications to Syria for cancer patients in remission. He jumped through the various hoops of America’s unforgiving bureaucracy to no avail. It was never possible in the first place.

We managed to get a meeting in the White House. We met Rob Malley, a top-notch assistant or adviser of Obama at that time. I asked them: ‘How in the world could your heart let you block chemotherapy from going to people with cancer in Syria?’

The U.S. and allied Western countries imposing the sanctions on Syria should be imprisoned for their crimes against humanity and their support of terrorism in Syria. Yet, there is never justice and the criminals run the show.

Fares Shehabi, a Syrian member of Parliament from Aleppo, highlighted the attack on his country’s economy in 2011:

…when EU backed “rebels” began a systematic campaign of burning & looting thousands of factories in Aleppo, including my own!” The EU, he continued, “sanctioned the Syrian economy to make things worse for our people!”

The latest round of sanctions against Syria, which came into effect on June 17, will target not only the people but also Syria’s ability to rebuild the country. This includes rebuilding the city of Raqqa, utterly destroyed by the U.S.-led coalition in Syria, whose presence is in violation of international law and of Syria’s sovereignty.

“Sanctions Kill” also notes, that, “Currencies are devalued and inflated when sanctions are levied. Countries are pressured to stop doing business with targeted countries. The first sectors affected are generally medicines, cost of food, power, water treatment and other essential human needs. Sanctions violate international law, the UN charter, Geneva and Nuremberg conventions because they target civilians by economic strangulation, creating famines, life threatening shortages, and economic chaos.”

According to the World Food Program, “7.9 million Syrians are food insecure – an increase of 22 percent in just one year. Syria is in the grip of a severe economic crisis, and this is driving levels of food insecurity. Rising food and fuel prices and a depreciating informal exchange rate are making it more difficult for families to access the food they need.”

This is precisely what is occurring in Syria, which, with the help of its allies, is attempting to rebuild. US sanctions will hinder the rebuilding process.

The other day I was chatting with a college student, Naji Kaskas, about how this new round of heightened sanctions affects him. He said:

I started working this year, my savings are in Syrian pounds. Now, they’ve lost half their value, or more. This Caesar Act, what it already has done to us is to contribute to the collapse of the Syrian currency.

We’re unable to buy food like chicken and meat, now, they’re way too expensive. Even milk. We’re not living a normal life, we have anxiety because our future is not stable.

Before, 500 Syrian pounds were equal to US$1 (Note: before 2011 it was around 50 Syrian pounds to the dollar). Now, it has reached 3,000 Syrian pounds, so our salaries are much less now.”

Jordanian political figures denounced the heightened sanctions appropriately as “economic terrorism”, calling them “one of the most dangerous types of crimes against humanity.”

Syrian-American activist Johnny Achi has been back to Syria countless times during the war, including since early 2011. He has seen the effects of the war and also the effects of the sanctions. He told me:

These final sanctions have broken the back of Syrians, whom after 10 years of war are exhausted, resources depleted, and simply put, were looking forward to the rebuilding process and the economic recovery. And that is precisely what these sanctions are meant to stop. Any country, or entity that attempts to help Syria gets back on its feet, will too become a target of the brutal US sanctions.

In a nutshell, what they could not take from us by force, they’re trying to take by punishing and starving an entire population.

But we will always remain resisting. After all that we’ve been through, and all the sacrifices we paid, we have no choice but to continue to live free or die free.”

Indeed, the people of Syria are fighting for their country, families and future, at great personal expense. Meanwhile, the US does everything in its power to destroy their future, country and livelihoods.

Who is really the terrorist state here?

AMERICA’S MEDDLING IN VENEZUELA HAS NO BOUNDARIES. AFTER A FAILED COUP ATTEMPT, TRYING TO INSTALL A BOGUS PRESIDENT AND IMPOSING CRIPPLING SANCTIONS, WILL IT EVER BE HELD TO ACCOUNT?

May 21, 2020, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

America’s meddling in Venezuela has no boundaries. After a failed coup attempt, trying to install a bogus president, and imposing crippling sanctions, will it ever be held to account?

Venezuela is back in the news again, just weeks after yet another failed coup attempt that was almost certainly backed by the US. This time, it’s the American sanctions against the country that are making the headlines – measures that caused US company AT&T to shut down satellite TV provider, DirecTV, thereby depriving Venezuelans of a number of foreign channels.

The irony, of course, is that while it’s US sanctions that are the cause of this shutdown, had it been President Nicolás Maduro who closed DirecTV, you can bet Western media headlines would be screaming about censorship of the media (although most were rather quiet when Estonia shut down Sputnik.).

The impact of this latest development will be a major inconvenience for most of Venezuela’s poorest – another example of how the sanctions are not merely targeting the administration but the people themselves. US sanctions against Syria, Venezuela, Iran and a long list of other targeted nations have deprived them of access to vital medicines, medical equipment, income and more.

As I noted in a prior article, the Center for Economic and Policy Research estimated that a staggering 40,000 Venezuelans died in 2017 and 2018 due to sanctions. This shameful statistic lends weight to former UN expert Alfred de Zayas naming sanctions as a form of terrorism, “because they invariably impact, directly or indirectly, the poor and vulnerable.”

So well done, America, for adding another layer of misery to the heap you’ve already created.

The plan to abduct Maduro

Just a couple of weeks beforehand, on May 3 and 4, Venezuelan forces had prevented 60 paramilitaries on two speedboats – including Americans – from carrying out their plan to kidnap Venezuela’s president and replace him with Juan Guaido, who the US and Canada have been attempting to install as president since early 2019.

Guaido, the self-appointed ‘interim president’, was aware of the plot, which involved a contract of $213million according to documents that have entered the public domain. The US and Canadian authorities were most likely in the loop, too. 

Guaido first announced himself as ‘interim president’ in January 2019, to the surprise of most Venezuelans and with no election. Most countries rejected this breach of Venezuela’s sovereignty, with only a smattering of Western terrorist supporting countries that advocate regime change – and some nations that they bully – endorsing him. 

A month later, there were failed Western-backed attempts to ram ‘aid trucks’ (loaded with wires and nails) through Colombia’s border with Venezuela, the goal being to vilify the government for failing to accept what was clearly not aid (and was not coming via a proper channel either).

In March, the unpopular Guaido was booed and fled from a pro-government area in Caracas, ironically with Venezuelan security protecting him from an angry crowd. In the same month, I tried to see the supposedly massive pro-opposition rallies I had heard of in the capital, but instead came across huge pro-government demonstrations

In April, Guaido and a violent right-wing opposition leader, with the backing of the US, attempted a coup— an attempt clearly rejected by masses of Venezuelans. Fast forward to January this year and Guaido failed to be re-elected as president of the country’s National Assembly.gwedo

Guaido attempted to scale a fence before the vote took place. His claims that he was barred from entering have been disputed. (Reuters) via Venezuelanalysis.com

In spite of the absurd amount of backing Guaido has received from Western governments, it seems even some opposition within Venezuela don’t want him, and would prefer to return to dialogue with Maduro’s government.

Perhaps this was down to Guaido staffers’ alleged involvement in embezzling ‘humanitarian aid’ funds. Photos taken with  Colombian drug traffickers and paramilitary leaders probably didn’t help his cause, either.

After so many Guaido false starts and flops, and their failure to bring him an iota of legitimacy, surely it’s time for the US and Canadian administrations to accept they are flogging a dead horse?

What’s the UN doing?

On Tuesday, Venezuela’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Samuel Moncada, tweeted: “May 20 at 3:00 pm, the UN Security Council will debate the situation in Venezuela. The meeting was requested by Russia after the terrorist armed attack carried out from Colombia on May 3. We will denounce to the world the aggression against our people.”

While I do of course support Venezuela’s desire to denounce the attempted coup, and the bloodshed that could have prevailed – including of civilians – had the paramilitaries been successful, forgive me for being cynical that justice will prevail.

After all, history has shown that nothing is done when the US and allies commit war crimes in Syria. Likewise, they have never been held accountable by the UN for what they did in Iraq. And what about the war crimes of Israel against Palestinian civilians, and the Saudis against the Yemenis?

Sadly, I don’t have an answer as to what’s a better option than attempts for justice and accountability via the UN.

But I know this much: this won’t be the last failed attempt to overthrow Venezuela’s government, and it won’t be the last time the country and its allies have to condemn immoral and illegal US and Canadian acts.

So vile are these governments that even now, while the world is focused on dealing with Covid-19, they are scheming to bring more misery to the people of Venezuela. They should hang their heads in shame, but they’ve got none.  

RELATED LINKS:

My Venezuela 2019 Youtube playlist

-Venezuelan woman: “We didn’t vote for you, Guaido. Trump, stop f*cking us over. [VIDEO]

-Reminder of Corporate Media Lies on Venezuela [VIDEO]

Venezuela isn’t Syria… but America’s war tactics are the same

US is manufacturing a crisis in Venezuela so that there is chaos and ‘needed’ intervention

Western leaders, screw your ‘Sanctions Target the Regime’ blather: Sanctions KILL PEOPLE

Canada and the Coup Attempt Against Venezuela, by Arnold August

DAMASCUS WALKS, APRIL 26-28, STORES RE-OPENED, LIFE IN STREETS

Eva Bartlett

During my hours-long daily walks all around Damascus, I’ve been delighted to note (as always) the calm and people interacting as normal on the streets, but also the re-opening of stores. That started over a week ago, with shops (non-essential) re-opening on alternate days. As of some days ago, they are allowed to open daily till 5 pm.

The government continues to find ways to both take precautions and help people survive economically.

For my thoughts on Syria’s dealing with C19, see this post

Related content:

COVID19 READING/LISTENING

Source

Eva Bartlett 

Since there is a lot of excellent content out there on Covid-19, I won’t attempt to replicate it myself, but will instead share what I’ve found to be informative and imperative information.

I know that the issue is divisive, however, I offer these links with no agenda other than concern for all of our futures, and find it beyond surreal that some refuse point-blank to consider narratives than those offered by our benevolent governments and world bodies…

Variety of links at my Patreon post (set to public), because formatting here is a pain in the ass.

*Note: Anthony Fauci, one of the world’s leading experts on infectious diseases, and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID),  and one of the most trusted medical figures on Covid19, was one of the main voices behind the notion that COVID-19 is is considerably more dangerous than the flu. On March 11, 2020, he stated: “The flu has a mortality rate of 0.1 percent. This has a mortality rate of 10 times that.”

Yet, a paper he co-authored a couple weeks later (March 26) states:

“If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic  cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the  case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that  the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more  akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality  rate of approximately 0.1%) …”

So here is leading infectious disease expert retracting from his initial alarmist statement and saying what many other experts not given major platforms are saying.

GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT (AGAIN): UN REPORT ON ALLEGED RUSSIAN ‘WAR CRIMES’ IN SYRIA IS BASED ON ‘WE SAY SO’ & UNNAMED SOURCES

March 7, 2020, RT.com

A UN-mandated report, which accuses Russia of war crimes in Syria, heavily relies on anonymous sources and lacks evidence, but also smacks of deliberate disinformation that is halting the eradication of terrorism in Idlib.

Earlier this week, the The Independent International Commission of Inquiry into the Syrian Arab Republic released a report largely lambasting Syria and Russia in their fight against terrorism in Syria. Corporate media were quick to echo allegations of Russian “war crimes” in Syria, all while diminishing the crimes of terrorist groups against Syrian civilians and soldiers.

The report does passingly acknowledge that Syria, Russia and allies are fighting “armed opposition groups, including Hay’at Tahrir” (al-Qaeda); the rest of the document reads mainly as a litany of accusations against Syria and Russia.

In the “mandate and methodology” section, the report notes that its information is based on “233 interviews conducted in the region and from Geneva” as well as from governments, NGOs, and UN reports.

So a report based on testimonies taken in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon or by phone, is again negating the masses of Syrians in Syria who would like their truths to be heard, the terrorism they have endured to be known.

I scoured the 24 pages of the report, but even in the annexes I could find no transparent and credible sources, only the following vague terms repeatedly referred-to: Witnesses, civilians, NGO, rescuers, medical teams, first responders, flight spotters, and early warning observers.

As Western media has largely focused on two accusations of Russian war crimes, I’ll address these here.

Russia War Crime – Accusation One

The first of two major accusations against Russia is of conducting airstrikes on Marat al-Numan, Idlib, on July 22, 2019, allegedly killing 43 civilians and targeting a market.

Details for this claim are provided by the unnamed sources mentioned above. Quite possibly, information was also provided by the usual suspects, like the one-man (Rami), UK-based “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,” and the terrorist-affiliated White Helmets fake rescue group, which, by 2020, should need no introduction.

The commission refers to flight spotters, “civilians who monitor aircraft flights to provide…advance warning prior to an air strike.”

But who are these civilians? Do they use the early-warning radar systems like those provided to the White Helmets? Are they neutral observers? Or the usual sources embedded with terrorists that we are meant to believe as credible?

The report claims it had obtained “satellite imagery, video footage and photos” regarding the alleged airstrikes. Yet none are included in the report.

It claims it “obtained flight communication intercepts conducted in the Russian language.” 

How did it supposedly obtain these intercepts? How do they know they are authentic? How do we know, since the alleged intercepts are not shared in the report?

Russia has emphasized that “Russian aviation was not used in this area on July 22 and did not fly there.”

Russian Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy noted that reconnaissance two days after the alleged attacks showed, “the allegedly destroyed market is completely intact and functions as usual.”

Given that Syria is surveilled by the intelligence services of the US, Israel, and Turkey, is it really plausible that Russia would be so careless as to broadcast their moves over airways?

So, for claim number one, we are presented with a number of unnamed sources. There is no transparency as to who these sources are, what their allegiances are (civilians or members of al-Qaeda or other armed groups in that area) and no visual evidence presented.

Just the words of the commission. Trust them.

Journalist and blogger Vanessa Beeley, who was last week in Marat al-Numan, told me “I can categorically say that the White Helmet centers in Marat al Numan were next door to Nusra Front, as always.”

Keep that in mind when watching their dramatic footage of the alleged July 22 attacks.

Accusation Number Two

The second claim concerns a Russian airstrike on a refugee compound near Haas, Idlib, on August 16, 2019, allegedly killing 20 people.

The commission’s segment on this accusation is long, with details about why people came to live in that compound, on the agricultural fields surrounding the area, that children played in summer in an open area of the compound, and that there was a kindergarten and schools, and also a prayer room!

All this detail paints a very intimate picture: we can imagine the setting and the subsequent horrors.

But whereas the report is quite long on such details, it is scant on one rather important thing: evidence.

It relays what purported events took place, but again gives no specifics on who the cited sources are or on why they should be credible, given that Idlib is under the control of al-Qaeda.

Having myself looked into previous anti-Syria war propaganda, including articles by the New York Times, I have found that, time and again, sources cited inevitably display allegiance to terrorist groups.

For claim number two, the report again refers to intercepted communications “in the Russian language,” a claim which stands against that of Russia’s Defense Ministry on its pilots’ communication policies.

Again, no supporting visuals are included in the report.

In fact, in the entire 24 pages, a sole photo is provided: a detailed map of Syria.

We are simply meant to take the word of the commission.

It’s possible that the UN commission also relied on the report of Human Rights Watch. However, that report is also replete with anonymous sources and devoid of names and evidence.

Based on all of these vague points, the UN commission concluded “reasonable grounds to believe” the guilt of Russia having committed war crimes.

Since when do we need more than that, right?  Think WMD Iraq

Commission’s Track Record of War-Crime Reports

You would imagine since the commission’s mandate is to report all war crimes in Syria since 2011, it would be replete with massacres committed by terrorists, including the incessant beheadings, rapings, public executions, torture, the underground prisons (including under hospitals), the caging of civilians and use of them as human shields.

Scrolling through the commission’s archives, one finds only reports echoing the war propaganda popular at any given time, vilifying the main parties fighting al-Qaeda, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and other terrorists in Syria: Syria and Russia.

The latest report covers the period from July 2019 to January 2020. Yet, while briefly admitting the presence of al-Qaeda in Idlib, the report does not highlight the terror of civilians targeted by al-Qaeda & co in areas they control, something which colleagues and myself have done.

And nowhere could I find reports of the terrorist bombings of civilians in Aleppo city, which have occurred routinely, long since the liberation in late 2016 of Aleppo City until only recently, when Aleppo’s countryside was restored to peace, all to the silence of corporate media.

Accusations of war crimes are a serious matter, requiring solid, transparent, evidence. From what the UN has presented, there is no clear evidence. Instead, there is a lot of “we say so,” and otherwise a reliance on sources and witnesses not named and quite possibly al-Qaeda-affiliated. In what court of law would such sources be considered acceptable?

The UN, US, and Western media play a guilty-until-proven-innocent game when it comes to their accusations against Syria and Russia. But it is they who have proven time-and-again to be guilty of war propaganda and of whitewashing terrorism in Syria.

Related:

‘Sorry, but it’s fake…again’: Russian military debunk NYT report on bombing of civilians in Syria, December 3, 2019

Excerpt:

“On Sunday, the leading US newspaper came up with a heartbreaking story of a housing complex for families displaced by the Syrian conflict being bombed in what the Times called a Russian airstrike in August. The journalists then stated that they were able to trace the air raid back to the Russian Air Force using “eyewitness photos and videos,” and claimed to have a trove of flight logs and cockpit tapes.

…Responding to the accusations on Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry has highlighted flaws in the report – perhaps the most glaring of which is that Russian pilots neither receive commands, nor report on their mission mid-flight, Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov argued.

“As frustrating as it can be for the masterminds behind this fake, but we have to say it once again: passing of coordinates to Russian bomber pilots and reports on task execution are not made by voice openly on air”

In fact, it is not the first time the Russian military has refuted claims that appeared in America’s newspaper of record. The Defense Ministry issued a similar correction following another damning piece by the same outlet in October. That story accused Russia of bombing UN-protected hospitals, some of which turned out to be militant hideouts tucked away in caves in the Idlib province. Konashenkov also questioned other evidence presented in the Times’ latest report, calling it “primitive and ill-defined” and adding that “In Russia, it is called a shot in the dark.”

INTERVIEW ON GEORGE GALLOWAY’S THE MOTHER OF ALL TALKSHOWS

In London for a new round of Imperialism On Trial (February 25, info here), I was on George Galloway’s The Mother Of All Talkshows Sunday night to discuss Syria.

George gives an excellent introduction on the nature of systematic, paid-for, organized, deliberate, war propaganda on Syria, to deceive people and whitewash the nature of the heinous, criminal, actions of the terrorists dubbed by the west as “rebels” who have beheaded children, among other crimes.

He kindly points out that I and others who have been telling the truth on Syria are being vindicated on a daily basis.

During the interview, I noted the media portrayal of what is happening in Syria (incessant demonization of Syria and Russia), and that Syria has a legal right to fight terrorism, and an obligation to the Syrian people to do so. 

Later, I came across an article eloquently outlining this perfectly. Author Stephen Gowans, in his recent article on Idlib, wrote (excerpts):

Erdogan wanted to run Idlib through his Al Qaeda proxies to gain leverage in order to shape the outcome of post-conflict talks on a new political arrangement for Syria. [6] This would allow him to further his Islamist agenda in a neighboring country—he had taken numerous steps to Islamize his own country—and to acquire profit-making opportunities in Syria for Turkish business people.

Erdogan’s plans were soon brought to fruition. By February, 2018, Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the US campaign against ISIS, could call Idlib “the largest al Qaeda safe haven since 9/11.” [7] The veteran foreign affairs correspondent Robert Fisk would refer to the Syrian province as a territory teeming with “the Islamist fighters of Isis, Nusrah, al-Qaeda and their fellow jihadists.” [8] In September, 2019 The New York Times’ Eric Schmitt said that Idlib province contained “a witch’s brew of violent Islamic extremist groups, dominated by the larger Qaeda-linked organization Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly the Nusra Front.” [9] Hayat Tahrir al-Sham would control 99 percent of Idlib and surrounding areas. [10], creating what Cockburn dubbed an “al-Qaeda-run mini-state” [11]—behind which sat Erdogan, on the Sultan’s throne.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and Al Qaeda are one and the same. After undergoing a previous rebranding as Jabhat al Nusra, Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch morphed once again, this time into HTS. As the Syrian delegate to the United Nations, Bashar Ja’afari, explained to the UN Security Council in May,

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham … is the Al-Nusra Front, which itself is part of Al-Qaida in the Levant, which in turn is part of Al-Qaida in Iraq, which in turn is part of Al-Qaida in Afghanistan. Therefore, we are all talking about Al-Qaida, regardless of its different names; all are designated by the [UN Security] Council as terrorist entities. [12]

The Washington Post described Hayat Tahrir al-Sham as “an extremist Islamist group that began as al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria and has tried to rebrand itself several times during the war.” [13] The New York Times says Hayat Tahrir al-Sham “is affiliated with Al Qaeda,” [14] while The Wall Street Journal lists the group as “a branch of al Qaeda.” [15]

But of Western mainstream journalists, Cockburn perhaps describes the group best. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, he wrote in early 2019, is “a powerful breakaway faction from Isis which founded the group under the name of Jabhat al-Nusra in 2011 and with whom it shares the same fanatical beliefs and military tactics. Its leaders wear suicide vests studded with metal balls just like their Isis equivalents.” [16]

“In September 2018, Russia and Turkey brokered a cease-fire agreement for Idlib to forestall a military offensive,” explained The Wall Street Journal. “The deal required that” Al Qaeda fighters “withdraw from a demilitarized buffer zone along the front line.” [21] Rather than withdrawing, Al Qaeda expanded areas under its control. [22] while continuing to carry on its fight against the Syrian military. The jihadists attacked Syrian army positions, targeted the Russian airbase at Khmeimim, and shelled towns and villages, “killing civilians and forcing more than 10,000 to flee,” according to the United Nations. [23] Turkey stood by while its proxies violated the cease-fire, failing “to meet its commitment to disarm” its fighters. [24]

In response, the Syrian army, backed by its Russian and Iranian allies, launched an offensive to liberate Idlib. It has done this because Al Qaeda’s attacks have never stopped and because the government of Syria has an obligation to protect its citizens and control its own territory.

When Ja’afari addressed the Security Council in May he asked:

When will it be recognized that the right we are exercising is the same right others have exercised in confronting terrorist attacks against the Bataclan theatre and the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, as well as terrorist acts in Niece, London, Boston and other cities? The terrorists that members have confronted in their own countries were not equipped with Turkish rocket launchers and tanks. [25]

Apart from glossing over such inconvenient facts as the true character of the “armed opposition” and Erdogan’s connection to it, the US news media have failed to address a number of key questions.

First, is it legitimate for a government to use force to recover territory occupied by an armed enemy, even if the use of force endangers civilians or sparks their flight? If the answer is no, then the Allies acted illegitimately during World War II in liberating Europe from Nazi occupation, for their project was impossible without endangering some civilians and creating refugees.

Moreover, if civilian casualties and their displacement were acceptable consequences of US forces taking Raqqa from ISIS—the US defense secretary at the time, James Mattis responded to concerns about the effect of the US siege on civilians by noting that “Civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation” [26]—how is it that they are an unacceptable in the case of Syrian forces liberating Idlib from Al Qaeda?

A still more basic question is, Is it acceptable to respond in force to attacks from an enemy? The answer is obvious, which may be why it is never asked, for if asked, Syrian military operations against continued Al Qaeda attacks would have to be accepted as legitimate, rather than falsely portrayed as acts of aggression against Syrian civilians.

Third, is Turkey’s presence on Syrian soil legitimate? The answer is categorically in the negative. The invasion of Syria by Turkey and the occupation of part of Syrian territory by Turkish forces is no different in law, politics, or morality than the Nazi invasion of Poland, France, the low countries, the Soviet Union, and so on. It is clearly illegal, and an affront to the ‘rules-based international order’ to which the United, Turkey, and other NATO countries so conspicuously and hypocritically profess allegiance. The invasion and occupation have been carried out in defense of Turkey’s Al Qaeda proxy, and to advance the interests of Turks and Islamists against the interests of Syrians and secularists. Erdogan is no hero, but a villain, whose hands are as maculated by the blood of Al Qaeda’s Syrian victims as are those of his Al Qaeda proxies.

Finally, what are the costs of Al Qaeda’s continued rule over three million Syrians in Idlib? Are they greater than the costs in civilian casualties and displacement of bringing that rule to an end? The US news media have been generally supportive of the immense costs in blood and treasure Washington has incurred to wage its war on Al Qaeda in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen. While noting the civilian cost of driving ISIS from its strongholds in Iraq and Syria, the US news media have never denounced the US war on ISIS as a humanitarian horror story, a term it uses to denounce Syria’s war on Al Qaeda. Instead, ISIS itself is portrayed as a humanitarian horror story, and efforts to undermine and defeat it are welcomed. This should be true too of Syria’s war on Al Qaeda. It is Al Qaeda that is the humanitarian horror story and it is the actions of the Syrian military in undermining and defeating it that ought to be welcomed and met with approbation.

The Syrian military advance to recover Idlib and liberate it from Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization which has imposed a harsh regime of religious intolerance and Islamist despotism on three million Syrians, has not been welcomed by the US news media. Although the campaign is praiseworthy on multiple levels—it recovers national territory held by proxies of a foreign aggressor, and aims to liberate millions of people who have been tyrannized by a rule imposed on them by an organization made up of thousands of foreign fighters—US media, betraying their commitment to US geopolitical agendas, portray the commendable as indefensible. We ought to applaud the actions of the Syrian military, along with those of its Russian and Iranian allies, not deplore them. These actions are blows against reaction, oppression, and foreign aggression, and in defense of democracy on an international level, as well as in the furtherance of the welfare of the Syrian people.

RELATED LINKS:

Words of former special envoy, Brett McGurk

Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over 

En route to Abu al-Duhour, Idlib (VIDEO)

American Journalist Killed in Turkey for Revealing the Truth Regarding ISIS-Daesh (Serena Shim)

Liberate Idlib and Syria: The Martyred of Mhardeh Speak Through the Ones They’ve Left Behind

Aleppo City’s Countryside Fully Secured, Syrians in Aleppo Celebrate The End of Terrorism

Aleppo MP Fares Shehabi on improved life in Aleppo since liberation (June 2017 VIDEO)

CNN recycles 2018 lies as 2020 lies on Syria

Eastern Ghouta rebuilding

How the Mainstream Media Whitewashed Al-Qaeda and the White Helmets in Syria

A Personal Reply to the Fact-Challenged Smears of Terrorist-Whitewashing Channel 4, Snopes and La Presse

Under Fire from Ukraine and Misperceived by the West, The People of the DPR Share Their Stories

Accused of Treason and Imprisoned Without Trial: Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky Recounts His Harrowing Time in a Ukrainian Prison

Eva K Bartlett Patreon

ALEPPO CITY’S COUNTRYSIDE FULLY SECURED, SYRIANS IN ALEPPO CELEBRATE THE END OF TERRORISM

Ibrahim Mohammadon Sunday

For the first time since 19-07-2012
#Aleppo city is free of terrorism

#Syriab_Arab_Army 🇸🇾✌🏻💪🏻❤️

Image may contain: sky, tree and outdoor
Image may contain: sky, cloud and outdoor

In December 2016, the Syrian Arab Army, Russia & allies liberated the northern Syrian city of Aleppo of the al-Qaeda and equally-heinous terrorists who had occupied and terrorized civilians in the city since 2012.

In the years subsequent, Aleppo to a large degree returned to peace, with rebuilding occurring in the hard-hit Old City, with displaced Syrians returning (contrary to the lies of UK Channel 4, among other war propagandizing media).

Yet, civilians since that Aleppo’s liberation continued to be terrorized by the presence of terrorists in the countryside of Aleppo.

Last year (January 2019), visiting Aleppo, I returned to the Lairamoun industrial district in the city’s west. I had been there in November 2016, had seen the nightmarish underground prison of the Free Syrian Army, used to hold Syrian soldiers and civilians alike, a true dungeon replete with suffocating solitary confinement cells.

In January 2019, I went to a factory 500 metres from al-Qaeda snipers. Aleppo MP Fares Shehabi explained to me how the factory owner and workers defied the existence of terrorists at close proximity and re-opened the textile factory.  As he spoke, he took me to a door which, when opening, exposed us to potential sniper fire–the sniper fire the courageous factory workers were exposed to.

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Al-Qaeda stronghold near Lairamoun, Aleppo, 400 to 500 metres from textile factory

Shehabi’s powerful words include:

“This factory is on a front line in the war against terror. 400 to 500 metres away, the Tajik Brigades of the Islamic Turkistan Army, a branch of al-Qaeda in Syria.

This factory was rubble two years ago. We rehabilitated it. We are doing this as a message of defiance against all who conspired against the people of Aleppo, against the economy of Syria. The enemy was sniping at us , launching mortars, when we were fixing this factory to work again.

Show me one place in the world with a production situation like this, a factory being rehabilitated under these circumstances.

This is why they out us under sanctions, this is why they consider us enemies.

How can I be an enemy of freedom and democracy if I want our people to work, to make money, my country to have a production economy, and I don’t yield to al-Qaeda gangs in close proximity to me.

…imagine the difficult situation in which these heroes, the factory workers and owners, had to go through in order to defy al-Nusra and defy Turkey, and rise up again from the ashes. This is a real example of how you rise up, undefeated.”

Eva Karene Bartlettabout 12 months ago

After filming Fares Shehabi / Faris Shihabi speaking powerfully about the courage and resilience of a Lairamoun factory owner and its workers 100s metres from al Qaeda snipers,
[see: https://www.facebook.com/EvaBoBeeva/posts/2344877145522266 ]

Firas Darwish explained some terrorist graffiti left on the outside of the factory: a terrorist sniper nicknamed Abu Mohammed, proud of head shots. …See More

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Fares Shehabion Sunday

هكذا كانت #حلب في أسوأ ايامها عام ٢٠١٣..!

عشنا في حصار كامل في كل شيء و فقدنا اكثر من ١١ الف شهيد مدني و ٦٠ الف جريح و لم نستسلم و لم نتخاذل و لم نفقد الامل للحظة لا في أنفسنا و لا في جيشنا و لا في قائدنا..!

اليوم نعيش حلم اصبح حقيقة..نعيش معجزة صنعها هذا الجيش الجبار و الذي لولاه لكنا جميعاً في خبر كان.. …See More

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In November 2016 I wrote of the terrorism Aleppo civilians experienced that month and in prior months:

My article on the November 3 terrorist attacks noted:

On the afternoon of Nov. 3, after meeting with Dr. Mohammed Batikh, director of Al-Razi Hospital, the victims of terror attacks which had begun a few hours prior began to arrive one after another, maimed and critically injured. The vehicle bombings and bombardment of Grad missiles, among other attacks, left 18 people dead and more than 200 injured, according to Dr. Zaher Hajo, the head of forensic medicine at Al-Razi Hospital.

The body of a civilian who was killed in the Nov. 3 attacks in Aleppo. Nov. 3, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

The corridors and emergency ward at Al-Razi Hospital, one of two state-run hospitals in Aleppo, quickly became clogged with the injured and grieving family members. In one crowded interior corridor, one of the wounded screamed out in pain: “Ya, Allah! Ya, Allah!”

In another corridor, a 15-year-old boy with a cast on one leg and bandages on his head, said the mortar attack which injured him had killed his 4-year-old cousin and left his 6-year-old cousin with critical injuries.

In a front room, a mother wailed for her son who had suffered severe injuries. She screamed and pleaded for someone to save him, her only son. Not long after, though, the news came in: the 26-year-old had died. Her son, a doctor, was not the first medical professional to die in terrorists’ routine bombings of Aleppo neighborhoods.

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Dr. Nabil Antaki, a gastroenterologist from Aleppo, with whom I met on my trips to Aleppo in July and August, messaged me in October about his friend and colleague, Dr. Omar, who was injured on Oct. 6 when terrorist factions unleashed an attack on Jamiliye Street, killing 10 people. Just a few days after the attack, Dr. Omar, too, died.

At the morgue behind Al-Razi Hospital on Nov. 3, inconsolable family members leaned against the wall or sat on the pavement, coming to grips with the deaths of loved ones.

One 14-year-old boy had been there on Nov. 2, when his father was killed. On Nov. 3, he returned when his mother was killed. Both of this boy’s parents are dead, both killed in terrorist attacks on the city’s New Aleppo district.

A man spoke of a 10-year-old nephew who was shot in the head by a terrorist sniper while the boy was on his roof.

A woman and her children leaned against an iron rail next to the door to the morgue, weeping over the death of her husband, their father, who was killed while parking a car. When the man’s mother arrived, she collapsed, shrieking in grief.

The body of a civilian who was killed in the Nov. 3 attacks in Aleppo.

And in the midst of all of this, all these women and children, a car arrived at the morgue with the body of yet another victim of the day’s terror attacks, Mohammed Majd Darwish, 74. His upper body was so bloody that it was unclear whether he had been decapitated.

Near the morgue, Bashir Shehadeh, a man in his forties, said his family had been displaced already from Jisr al-Shughour, a city in Idlib. His mother, some of his friends, and his cousin have been killed by terrorist factions’ shellings. He said enough was enough, and called on the SAA to eliminate the terrorist threat.

Al-Razi’s Dr. Batikh said a private hospital, Al-Rajaa, was hit by a mortar attack. “They cannot do operations now, the operating room is out of service.”

One of the most notable attacks on hospitals was the December 2013 double truck bombing of Al-Kindi Hospital, the largest and best cancer treatment hospital in the Middle East. I have previously reported on other attacks on hospitals in Aleppo, including the May 3 rocket attack which gutted Al-Dabeet, a maternity hospital, killing three women. On Sept. 10, Dr. Antaki messaged me:

Yesterday, a rocket, sent by the terrorists, hit a maternity hospital in Aleppo in Muhafazat Street. Two persons working in the hospital were injured. No death. But the point is that it is a hospital and it was hit by a rocket.”

Dr. Batikh and Dr. Mazen Rahmoun, deputy director of Al-Razi, said the hospital once had 68 ambulances, but now there are only six. The rest, they said, were either stolen by terrorist factions or destroyed.

Aleppo’s doctors continue to treat the daily influx of injured and ill patients in spite of the dearth of ambulances and effects of Western sanctions which mean a lack of medical equipment, replacement parts, and medicine for critical illnesses like cancer.

According to the hospital’s head forensic medicine, Dr. Hajo, in the last five years, 10,750 civilians have been killed in Aleppo, 40 percent of whom were women and children. In the past year alone, 328 children have been killed by terrorist shelling in Aleppo, and 45 children were killed by terrorist snipers.

Humanitarian Crossings: Shelling of Castello Road

Less than 100 metres away, the second of two mortars fired by terrorist factions less than 1 km from Castello Road on Nov. 4. The road and humanitarian corridor were targeted at least six times that day by terrorist factions. Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

On Nov. 4, prior to our 9:30 a.m. arrival at the Bustan al-Qasr crossing and until our departure an hour later, no one had been able to cross from the area just beyond crossing, which is occupied by Jaysh al-Fatah militants.

Two weeks prior to our arrival, journalists had reported that terrorist factions heavily shelled the crossing and areas around it starting in the early morning.

A Syrian general at the crossing confirmed that shelling had taken place on Oct. 20, adding that three police officers had been wounded. A journalist in the delegation asked the general what he would say to Syrian civilians like Bashir Shehadeh, who demanded that the SAA eliminate the terrorist factions.

“We need to be patient, because the civilians there are not able to leave, they are not guilty,” the general replied. “We don’t work the way that the terrorists work.”

Regarding the amnesty decree issued by President Bashar Assad in late July, the general explained that terrorists who want to be granted amnesty could lay down their arms. Those who choose to go on to Idlib would be granted safe passage by the Syrian government and army, in coordination with the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

According to the general, when two militants arrived at the Bustan al-Qasr crossing about two months ago, they surrendered their arms and proceeded under amnesty.

Five months ago, he said, 12 civilians crossed there, were treated in Aleppo’s hospitals, and returned to their homes in terrorist-held eastern Aleppo.  

At the Castello Road humanitarian crossing, the large green buses which were said to be evacuating militants from areas of eastern Aleppo in recent weeks were there again, waiting to ferry away more. Ten ambulances, three buses, and 14 minivans were lined up in anticipation of any civilians or militants trying to leave terrorist-occupied areas, whether for safe passage elsewhere or to settle in government-secured areas of Aleppo.

Ten ambulances wait at the Castello Road crossing to treat anyone exiting via the humanitarian corridors established by the Syrian government and Russia, including militants who lay down their arms. Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

George Sire, 25, an anesthesiologist at Salloum Hospital in Aleppo, was one of the volunteers who arrived at the crossing with five of the private hospital’s ambulances, at the request of the Syrian government.

When speaking with a Syrian commander about permitting men who had used arms against Syrian civilians and soldiers to lay down their arms and reconcile, he said they are sons of the country and urged them to reconcile.

At around 1:30 p.m. the first shell struck, hitting near Castello Road. About 10 minutes later, while I was being interviewed, a second hit, this time considerably closer, within 100 meters — close enough, in fact, to create a cloud of dark smoke over the road. It prompted security to usher me away from the road and move our delegation away from the crossing.

I later learned that another five shells targeted the crossing, injuring a Syrian journalist and two Russian soldiers.

No one passed through this or any of the other seven humanitarian corridors that day.

And:

“Last Friday, I visited one of Aleppo’s main public parks, a once-beautiful park where fountains danced to the songs of Arab greats like Oum Kalthoum, and simple cafes were full.

Now the fountains are dry, the main one littered with rubble from one of many terrorist shellings of the park, and one of the main cafes out of commission after being hit by a terrorist shell roughly a year and a half ago.

While people do continue to frequent the park, the risk of being killed by a mortar or rocket remains, as pretty much everywhere in greater Aleppo.

I had read about the July 22, 2016, terrorist rocket on the park which killed civilians while they were in the park on a summer Friday.

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Photo via Pierre Le Corf

SANA news reported on that day that: “Eleven civilians were killed, among them a child and two women, while 44 others were injured in terrorist attacks with rocket shells and sniper bullets on neighborhoods and the public facilities in Aleppo city on Friday.

…eight civilians were killed and 34 others injured in a rocket shell fired by terrorist groups on the public park.”

In November, a local took me to the area where the murdered woman was sitting when the rocket’s shrapnel killed she, another woman, a child, and injured nearby civilians.

The park was busy this Friday, not as busy as a hot summer day would have seen it, but still had people sitting on such benches or on the plastic chairs of the cafe behind where the murdered women had been sitting.

Walking around the large park, we saw evidence of shelling…on the pavement and in the small plots of grass. Some were like the small holes in the pavement that I’m used to seeing in the Old City of Damascus, ravaged by terrorists’ mortars. Others were mini-craters in the grass, including one near a cafe which was hit apparently about a year and a half ago.

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Speaking with local security there, they estimated that between 40-50 shells have hit the park in the past few years. The number could be greater, or less, but the fact is the park has been targeted, as have public places around the city of over 1.5 million people, who on a daily basis facethis mortar/rocket/Grad missile/explosive bullet/gas canister terrorism.

This park in summer would have not only been a spot to try to briefly escape the hell of 6 years of foreign war on Syria, but would also have had many displaced Syrians who have fled terrorist-occupied areas to government-secured areas, many of whom during the day sought refuge in the shade from blistering heat.

Without electricity for years, thanks to the terrorist factions who control the area where the power plant is, Aleppo residents who can afford it buy power by the ampere. Many can only afford the basics–some light bulbs and power for their fridge.

From a photo essay I published in mid-2016, after my second Aleppo visit:

The power plant lies in areas controlled by terrorist factions. For years, Aleppo residents have suffered from a lack of power, and compensate by purchasing generator-supplied electricity. Not cheap, some opt to buy just 1 ampere worth, which according to Aleppo resident Nabil Antaki costs around 4000 Syrian pounds a month (roughly US$8) . Two amperes will run a small television. Four amperes, a fridge, small television and a few bulbs.

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Many others can’t afford that, period. I remember the suffocating heat even on an August visit to Aleppo, staying in a friend’s place without electricity or water…the desire to be out in an open place where one could breathe, sweat less, was strong…

In the canal running through the park, a boy around 14 years old stripped to his underwear and dove in, swept down river by the quick current, scrambling out and up the wall to dive in anew. When we passed the river a little later, a girl had joined in. I asked whether this would be frowned upon and my friend laughed at me, “We are not al-Qaeda here.” (I remembered the words of a man who I’d spoken with the night before, who spoke of al-Nusra in occupied eastern areas forcing women and girls to cover even their wrists and hands. This girl would have no freedom in areas occupied by the West’s “rebels”.)

Scenes like these, of seeming normalcy, can be shattered in an instant, with the fall of a mortar or shell fired by terrorists which the West deems as “moderates” and whose crimes Western leaders continue to ignore.

Eva Karene Bartlettabout 3 years ago

Last Friday, I visited one of Aleppo’s main public parks, a once-beautiful park where fountains danced to the songs of Arab greats like Oum Kalthoum, and simple cafes were full.

Now the fountains are dry, the main one littered with rubble from one of many terrorist shellings of the park, and one of the main cafes out of commission after being hit by a terrorist shell roughly a year and a half ago.

While people do continue to frequent the park, the risk of being killed by a …See More

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Small public park in Aziziya. People who are displaced frequent such parks, to get out of the small apartments or government-supplied shelters they live in.12

From Aziziya district, on July 4, half a kilometer away, the explosion of a terrorist-fired bomb. Around 5 pm, this is a busy time when streets are packed with cars and pedestrians; terrorists know they can kill and maim more civilians when attacking at these busy hours. Minutes later, an anti-aircraft explosive bullet landed roughly 15 metres away from my Aziziya venue. Had it landed on one of the parked cars, there would have been many casualties. A day later, such an explosive bullet killed the mother of an Aleppo friend, at her home. Photo: Eva Bartlett

In that 2016 photo essay, I wrote also about the villages of Nubl and Zahra’a, north of Aleppo:

Hell Cannon-fired gas canister bombs litter the countryside around Aleppo and on the route to Nubl and Zahra’a. These, and larger variations, are what Western-backed terrorists have rained down on the city of Aleppo, as well as besieged Foua and Kafarya in Idlib governorate. Manufactured locally, fired upon civilians daily, gas canister bombs get virtually no mention in corporate media, although their impact is deadly.

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The roughly 65,000 people of Nubl and Zahra’a villages, under siege from terrorist factions of the so-called FSA, al-Nusra, and affiliated factions for three and a half years, were on February 3, 2016, liberated from the choke-hold which strangled them. Zeinab Sharbo, 25, and Mounthaher Khatib, 26, each have young children who suffered for want of food and basic elements of life, and who were traumatized by the terrorists’ bombing of the villages. Although corporate media, when deigning to mention the villages, usually focused on their predominately Shia composition, Sunnis also live in the villages. According to Zeinab, “Sectarianism wasn’t a problem before, we were brothers and sisters, we intermarried with neighbouring villages.”

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Abdul Karim Assad, 7, has painful face disfiguration from a terrorist-fired mortar which burned his face. Under siege at the time, the boy was only treated with basic medical care in a barebones hospital in Zahra’a. The boy is not originally from Nubl, but from Idlib, from which his grandfather fled when terrorists invaded. He is another poster child for the terrorism inflicted upon Syria.

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Aleppo’s over 1.5 million residents are depending on trucks from outside of the city to bring in the basics of life. Unable to use the main highway, and now unable to use the paved Ramouseh road, trucks travel an extended distance over many rough dirt roads to enter Aleppo from its north.

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The Dabeet maternity hospital, the inside destroyed and outside badly damaged on May 3, 2016, by terrorist rocket fire, is one of numerous hospitals targeted by terrorists in Syria. The May 3 attack killed three women. A week later, the hospital was hit by terrorist mortar fire. Aleppo’s Kindi hospital, destroyed by terrorists, was one of the largest cancer hospitals in the region.

*

Back to the present.

The Press Office of President Assad on February 17, 2020 published his latest speech, addressing this restoration of peace to Aleppo and the need to do so in Idlib. Syriana Analysis has subtitled this speech:

Partial transcript of recent speech by President Assad:

“When Aleppo city was liberated at the end of 2016, I said that what was before the liberation of Aleppo city will not be the same as what will be after that, and I based that on my knowledge of where the members of our Armed Forces are aiming with their hearts and minds. I based that on my conviction that the patriotism of the people of Aleppo and their fealty to their homeland and the homeland’s army will overturn the calculations of the enemies.

“This is what happened, but Aleppo had to pay a great price equal to the greatness of its people and the patriotism of its position; years of violent and barbaric shelling that affected most neighborhoods, tens of thousands of martyrs, injured people, orphans, people who lost children, and widows. Years of siege without water or electricity or other life necessities, all for Aleppo to kneel and for her people to surrender.

“With every treacherous shell that had fallen, the enemies’ hopes would grow that Aleppo would become another Aleppo, one that never existed throughout history, an Aleppo that does not constitute with its twin Damascus the wings by which the homeland soars; rather an Aleppo whose people would stand with traitors in front of masters, kneeling and prostrating themselves before them, beginning for a few dollars and much disgrace.

“That was in their dreams; but in our real world, with every shell that fell, fear fell and the will to challenge grew. With every martyr, nationalist spirit grew and faith in the homeland became stronger. In our real world, it remained the real Aleppo, the Aleppo of history, nobility, and authenticity. And because it is so, its people did not settle for steadfastness just in the sense of bearing of pain and suffering and acceptance of the status quo; but rather in the sense of work and production that persisted throughout the years of the siege despite the conditions that contradict any economic sense.

“Despite that, this city kept contributing – even if at a bare minimum – to national economy, and I am confident that this type of steadfastness which reflects a concrete will and a deep-rooted sense of belonging is what will raise Aleppo from the ashes of war and restore its natural and leading position in Syria’s economy,” President al-Assad said.

President al-Assad added “It is true that liberating the city in 2016 did not achieve the desired safety for the city at the time, and it remained under the threat of treacherous and cowardly shells, and it is also true today that victory in one battle does not mean victory in the war, but that is by the abstract military logic which is based on endings and results; however, by national logic, victory begins with the beginning of steadfastness even if it was at day one, and by that logic, Aleppo is victorious, and Syria is victorious. We are all victorious over the fear they had tried to instill in our hearts, victorious over the delusions they tried to instill in our minds, victorious over fragmentation, hatred, betrayal, and all those who represent or bear or practice these qualities.

“However, we are fully aware that this liberation does not mean the end of the war, or the failure of schemes, or the disappearance of terrorism, or the surrender of enemies, but it certainly means rubbing their noses in the dirt as a prelude for complete defeat, sooner or later,” the President affirmed.

“It also means that we must not relax; rather we must prepare for the coming battles. Therefore, the battle to liberate the countryside of Aleppo and Idleb will continue regardless of some empty sound bubbles coming from the north, and the battle for liberating all Syrian soil, crushing terrorism, and achieving stability will also continue.”

His Excellency went on to say “Our Syrian Arab Army will never hesitate to carry out its national duties, and it will be as it always has been: an army from the people and for the people. Throughout history, no army has emerged victorious unless the people are united with it in its battle, and when it is united with the people in their vision and cause, and this is what we have witnessed in Aleppo and other Syrian cities, where you embraced the army it protected you, defended you, and made sacrifices for you.

“While we are experiencing times of joy, we must remember that these moments have been made possible by years of pain, heartache, and sadness, for the loss of a dear one that gave their life for the lives and happiness of others. As we bow in honor of the greatness of our martyrs and injured people, it is also our duty to stand in honor of the greatness of their mighty families. If victory is to be dedicated, then it is dedicated to them, and if anyone should receive credit for it, then they deserve the credit. I salute them for the children their raised, and salute their children for their sacrifices. I salute every one of the heroes of our great army and the allied forces begin them. I salute the strength of their bodies in the cold and frost as we bask in warmth and safety.”

President al-Assad went on to salute “our brothers, friends, and allies who stood shoulder to shoulder with the army on the ground and were guardian eagles in the sky, their blood intermingling with the blood of our army that was spilled in Aleppo, Aleppo the faithful to its homeland and history, which will never forget the blood of those who made sacrifices for it, and which will return as it was and stronger.

“Our beloved people in Aleppo, I congratulate you on the victory of your will, the will by which we will wage the greater battle: the battle to build Aleppo. By the will of all the Syrian people we will build Syria, and we will continue liberation, God willing.”

If you haven’t already read it, consider reading my January 2019 compilation:

Turns Out President Assad Was Right About Terrorism in Syria; Turns Out He Has Massive Popular Support in Syria

Eva Karene Bartlett about a year agoTurns Out President Assad Was Right About Terrorism in Syria; Turns Out He Has Massive Popular Support in SyriaIn the workshop of a Sunni Syrian, with his Christmas tree, Imam Ali photo, Quranic calligraphy, and photo of President Bashar al-Assad .See More

because corporate media has been lying to you, not Syria’s president, not Russia.

-Related: US to grant $35 million to promote its fake news bubble in Syria & control local media

2017: ‘US WENT AHEAD & BOMBED SYRIA, NOBODY DEMANDED INVESTIGATION’ – EVA BARTLETT

Interview I did in mid 2017. Still relevant, with all the nonsense war propaganda on Idlib… [Related: On Syrian hospitals being bombed…or not…]

I spoke on what I’d just seen/heard in Syria: civilians telling me they were starved by the terrorists the West dubs “rebels”, whose crimes the West whitewash.

I’d just been back to eastern Aleppo, and been to al-Waer and Madaya, areas propagandized on by lying corporate media.

Related Links:

Syria War Diary: What Life Is Like Under ‘Moderate’ “Rebel” Rule [eastern Aleppo, starvation, militarization of hospitals]

Order Returns To Western Cities as Syrian Civilians Recount Horrors Of “Rebel” Rule [Madaya & al-Waer]

Caught in a lie, US & allies bomb Syria the night before international inspectors arrive [2018]

Torture, starvation, executions: Eastern Ghouta civilians talk of life under terrorist rule

Voices from Syria’s Rukban Refugee Camp Belie Corporate Media Reporting

Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over

US to grant $35 million to promote its fake news bubble in Syria & control local media [first published at RT.com]

Those Who Transmit Syrian Voices Are “Russian Propagandists”? Monitors of ‘Fake News’ Negate Syrian Suffering

*Israel’s widespread use of White Phosphorous on Palestinian civilians:

“next time it will hurt more”: Israeli threat against surviving family members of White Phosphorous attack

White phosphorous mutilated and murdered family members [photos and video]

the attacked Wafa rehabilitation hospital

Long-burning fires: White Phosphorous on Sheikh Rajleen

Documenting Israel’s use of White Phosphorous and widespread destruction

PALESTINE, SYRIA, WHITE HELMETS AND BANA AL-ABED – TAREQ HADDAD SPEAKS TO EVA BARTLETT

Eva Bartlett

CONTACT INFO: evakbartlett2017@gmail.com

An independent writer and rights activist with extensive experience in Syria and in the Gaza Strip, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013). 

Very pleased to have been a guest on the program “Conversations”, hosted by courageous and principled journalist Tareq Haddad.

He writes:

“Former Newsweek journalist Tareq Haddad speaks to Eva Bartlett, an award-winning independent journalist and activist. They discuss Eva’s early history, including her early days in Gaza and the West Bank, and how she transitioned into journalism in addition to addressing the large backlash and smears she faced.”

Please consider supporting his podcast:https://www.patreon.com/tareqhaddad

https://www.paypal.me/tareqhaddad

Also, support his share of the podcast on Twitter.

CONVERSATION-RELATED LINKS:

A Personal Reply to the Fact-Challenged Smears of Terrorist-Whitewashing Channel 4, Snopes and La Presse

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Stealing Palestinian Land in Susiya [August 2007 post from Susiya, occupied Palestine]

Susiya Grandfather Under Attack by Illegal Colonists [September 2007]

Introducing Susiya: a beautiful landscape marred by illegal colonists [September 2007]

Further Susiya posts

Nablus After the Israeli Military Invasion [July 2007]

Breaking Fast Under “Curfew” (Lockdown) [October 2007]

Collective Punishment in Balata and Nablus [November 2007]

Azzoun: village under israeli assault and lockdown [December 2007]

My 2007 posts from occupied Palestine

Personal Reflections from occupied Palestine

Overview of what I witnessed in the West Bank, occupied Palestine

Free Gaza Movement [which sent 5 boat trips to Gaza in 2008]

November 2008 boat to Gaza: how I got to Gaza

*GAZA MASSACRE (2008/9):

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December 2008 posts (scroll down)

January 2009 posts (scroll though)

February 2009 follow-up posts

videos

Israel’s widespread use of White Phosphorous:

White phosphorous mutilated and murdered family members [photos and video]

“next time it will hurt more”: Israeli threat against surviving family members of White Phosphorous attack [follow-up on the family I met in Shifa hospital]-the attacked Wafa rehabilitation hospital

Long-burning fires: White Phosphorous on Sheikh RajleenDocumenting Israel’s use of White Phosphorous and widespread destruction

some of the Israeli war crimes:

widespread attacks on Gaza leave nearly 300 dead, hundreds seriously injured (start of the war on Gaza)

Israeli army kills Palestinian medic with dart bombIsraeli Sniper Targets Uniformed Medics: what I witnessed in Gaza

Another funeral bombedShifa ICU: a glimpse of hospital critical injuriesinjured, denied access: Israeli soldiers shoot woman in stomach and keep elderly hostages

While eating chips and chocolate, Israeli soldiers assassinate 2 and 7 year old“They killed me three times”: Palestinian father on Israeli army murder of family members including infant girl

All we’ve got left of him: parents speak of their Israeli-drone-struck youthBurning al Quds: one of Gaza’s remaining functional hospitals bombed in Israel’s war on Gaza

Updates from runs with medics; grief of husband of drone-struck womanIsrael bombed the news building I was in

Israel’s ceasefire violations:

It’s a ceasefire…just not on the beach, not in your home: Israeli soldier shoots 7 year old boy in head;

Continued Israeli shelling, F-16s and drones after the ceasefire

*GAZA MASSACRE 2012:

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Gaza under israeli bombs: day 6 since Nov 14

Killing before the Calm: Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Civilians Escalated before Cease-fire

Zionist drones and warplanes pollute Gaza’s skies immediately after 9 pm “cease-fire” [VIDEO]

Israeli Soldiers Fail to Cease Firing on Palestinian FarmersThe Flattening of Gaza [with photos]

The Civilian Toll of Israel’s BombsAfter the Zionist bombing stopped (again)

*OTHER GAZA LINKS:

Observations from Occupied Palestine: Gaza [many links within this article]-213 Palestinians murdered by Israeli soldiers during Great March of Return, with 36,134 injured (including being shot in the eye) since the demonstrations began on 30 March 2018, according to OCHA as of January 23, 2020.
UN predictions fall short: Gaza uninhabitable todayDirty Tricks: Israeli Soldiers Shoot Deaf Palestinian Farmer, 4th Farmer Shot in 3 weeks

*SYRIA RELATED LINKS:

-on the Guardian White-washing the White Helmets: How the Mainstream Media Whitewashed Al-Qaeda and the White Helmets in Syria

*on (some of) the BBC lies/war propaganda on Syria:Fabrication in BBC Panorama ‘Saving Syria’s Children’

From my “Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda“:

“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.”

*Other examples of Western media lies on Syria:

US to grant $35 million to promote its fake news bubble in Syria & control local media

‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’: West’s war propaganda on Ghouta crescendos

Faked concern: Haley & corporate media bleating about Idlib civilians, ignore terrorists’ presence

Organ theft, staged attacks: UN panel details White Helmets’ criminal activities, media yawns

Voices from Syria’s Rukban Refugee Camp Belie Corporate Media Reporting

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

–From my “Exploitation of children in propaganda war against Syria continues“:

“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.”–Guardian, Atlantic contributor acts as a Syrian terrorist mouthpiece on Twitter, and if you don’t like it you’re a Russian stooge

*on Syrian elections 2014:

what I saw/heard at Syrian embassy in Beirut: Syrians Flock to Vote in LebanonSelection of articles on the elections (and terrorist attacks)-From my: “US-Backed Terrorism in Syria: A First-Hand Account of the Use of Mortars Against Civilians“:

“…in the three-month period of April, May and June 2014, terrorist-insurgents fired 994 mortars on Damascus and environs, 426 of which were fired in June (see list of locations hit and number of mortars below). On June 3, Election Day in Syria, the terrorist-insurgents fired 151 shells on Damascus, killing 5 and maiming 33 Syrians…”-A week after the elections, Syrians celebrating outcome in Homs*My 2014 reports from Homs & Maaloula:-from my “Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution””

“…Abu Nabeel explained that the insurgents mined the area before leaving. “They left booby-trapped explosives in the houses, all over, even behind paintings on the wall.”

In the courtyard of the Jesuit church sat a lone plastic chair adorned with flowers and a photo of Father Frans van der Lugt, the Jesuit priest assassinated on April 7, 2014.

Nazim Kanawati, who knew and respected the Jesuit, arrived moments after the 75-year-old priest had been shot in the back of the head.” We were surrounded and under siege. This was the only place we could go to. Everyone loved it here,” he said.

“Father Frans was a peace-maker and played an important role in arranging the evacuation of civilians from the Old City during the siege. He was trusted by both sides, and didn’t distinguish between Christians and Muslims. He was concerned with humanity.”

…Although he chose to stay in the Old City, Father Frans was critical of the insurgents. In January 2012, he had written: “From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.”

“People in Homs were already armed and prepared before the protests began,” said Kanawati. “If they hadn’t been planning for the protests from the beginning, the people wouldn’t have had the quantity of arms that they had.”

…No one expected the priest himself to be killed, Kanawati attested. “Someone who was probably in his twenties came here, his face covered, came and ordered Father Frans to go with him. Father Frans refused. So the man told him to sit on this chair, and shot him in the head.”Abu Nabeel added another piece of information regarding van der Lugt’s murder.

“Three or four days before Father Frans was killed, the Syrian army had targeted a vehicle filled with explosives, which the insurgents were planning to send into the city. Many of the insurgent leaders killed were less extreme that the foreign insurgents, and had been protecting the church. After their deaths, the other insurgents went to the church and demanded Father Frans hand over the valuables residents in the area had left with him for safe-keeping. He refused, so they killed him.”

Mohammed, a Syrian from the Qussoor district of Homs, is now one of the reported 6.5 million internally-displaced Syrians.

“I’m a refugee in Latakia now. I work in Homs, two days a week, and then return to Latakia to stay at my friend’s home. I left my house at the very end of 2011, before the area was taken over by al-Nusra and al-Farooq brigades.”

He spoke of the sectarian nature of the insurgents and protests from the very beginning in 2011.

“I was renting a home in a different neighbourhood of Homs, while renovating my own house. Just beyond my balcony there were protests that did not call for ‘freedom’ or even overthrowing the ‘regime’.They chanted sectarian mottos, they said they would fill al-Zahara – an Alawi neighbourhood – with blood. And also al-Nezha – where there are many Alawis and Christians.”

“My aunt lives in another neighbourhood nearby. She’s Allawi and her husband is Sunni. Because she is Allawi, the ‘rebels’ wanted to kill her two sons. I chose Bashar al-Assad, so they said, ‘we will kill you, because you chose him.’”

The windows and door handle to the home of Aymen and Zeinat al-Akhras were missing, but the house itself was intact. Zeinat, a pharmacist, and Aymen, a chemical engineer, survived the presence of the armed men and the resulting siege on the Old City.

Every space in their small sitting was filled with the books and boxes fleeing family and neighbours, entrusted to the Akhras siblings who chose to weather the storm.

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…“I dropped to 34 kilos. Aymen told me to weigh myself. I got on the scale and said, ‘What’s 34 kilos?’. A ten-year-old weighs more than that! And Aymen was 43 kilos. For a man, 43 kilos,” she said laughing.

…“Thirty-eight times they came to steal our food. The first couple of times, they knocked on the door, after that they just entered with guns. The last things they took were our dried peas, our cracked wheat, our olives, finally our za’atar (wild thyme). We started to eat grass and whatever greens we could find in February, 2014, and that’s all we had till Homs was liberated,” Zeinat said.“The last time they came all we had were some spices. I was putting the spices on the grass and weeds that we were eating at that point, to give them some flavour. They even took the spices. They didn’t leave us anything…”–Devastation…and Inspiration: Recalling Liberated Ma’loula[2016 article: Overcoming Savagery and Treachery, Maaloula’s Heroic Defenders Fight for the Future ][2018 article: Damascus Trade Fair and Festival of the Cross Mark the Return of Peace to Much of Syria ]-Regarding Zahra’a (Homs) terrorist attacks: Where is the West’s compassion & condemnation following terror attacks in Middle East?On hospitals being bombed in Syria, and those not

*On Douma/Ghouta Chemical Hoax, and Reality of Life Under Terrorist Rule:

No attack, no victims, no chem weapons: Douma witnesses speak at OPCW briefing at The Hague (VIDEO)

Real ‘obscene masquerade’: How BBC depicted staged hospital scenes as proof of Douma chemical attack

Syrian civilians from ground zero expose chemical hoaxTorture, starvation, executions: Eastern Ghouta civilians talk of life under terrorist rule

Lies, Newsweek and Control of the Media Narrative: First-Hand Account, by Tareq Haddad

‘Brazen disinformation’: Syria narrative managers defend Douma chemical weapon hoax as OPCW comes under attack

Worst lie since fake claim sparked Iraq war? OPCW report behind Syria bombings was altered, whistleblower tells UNSC

Twitter thread on OPCW revelationsUN On Khan Sheikhoun – Victims Hospitalized BEFORE Claimed Incident Happened

US TO GRANT $35 MILLION TO PROMOTE ITS FAKE NEWS BUBBLE IN SYRIA & CONTROL LOCAL MEDIA

Fake News Media

January 24, 2020, RT.comAlthough Western media has a shoddy track record of lying on Syria (and Libya, Iraq…), the US State Department will pump $35 million more into future war propaganda on Syria, under the guise of promoting honest reporting. 

A US State Department grant, “Support for Independent Media in Syria,” is unabashed in stating one of its main goals is “to advance U.S. Government policy objectives in Syria.”

That is probably the sole honest clause in the grant description: that it is in the end about US self-serving, hegemonic objectives in Syria.

The description goes on to claim these goals include the defeat of ISIS—although the illegal US-led coalition has attacked Syrian army positions on numerous occasions, ensuring the advance (not defeat) of ISIS in those areas. One of the most glaring instances being the September 2016 repeated attacks on the Syrian army in Deir ez-Zor province, which saw ISIS take over the region.

The US assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, recognized in the region as the man responsible for the near-defeat of ISIS, is another notable example of the US goals being to prolong, not defeat, ISIS in the region.

With their grant, the US plans to “advance human rights and promote tolerance and dialogue between ethnic and religious communities,” which is again morbidly laughable given that the US has been supporting wahhabi and other extremists whose human rights track records include caging, torturing, raping, and starving civilians, and public executions.

It wouldn’t be American policy if the State Department grant didn’t include mention of countering “Russian disinformation” and ending the presence of “Iranian forces and proxies in Syria.”

However, removing Iranian forces isn’t within America’s right to do; Syria invited Iran, Russia and other allies to actually fight terrorism in Syria, as opposed to the US-led occupation forces. And as discussed, it isn’t Russia that has the track record of disinfo on Syria, that honour goes to America and allies.

Western outlets in chorus promoted the accusations of Syria/Russia preventing food and aid into eastern Aleppo (even Reuters reported“rebels” had stockpiled aid) and Madaya and eastern Ghouta (none was true).

Western media sold the story of Russia/Syria bombing the home of Omran Daqneesh (didn’t happen), of the al-Quds hospital being “reduced to rubble” by Russian/Syrian bombing (didn’t happen), and a litany of other grotesque war propaganda stories.

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[READ: MintPress Meets The Father Of Iconic Aleppo Boy, Who Says Media Lied About His Son ]

[READ: Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda ]

Suddenly we’re meant to find credible journalists who embed with al-Qaeda and whitewash their crimes, and media which have on many occasions used photos not even in Syria to accompany sensationalist war propaganda stories. 

CNN and western media got it wrong about Omran Daqneesh, but I haven’t even seen any retractions for this lie.

And yet the US wants people to believe that the independent voices and Russian and Syrian media who actually reported factually and honestly on these and other issues…are not credible. 

The US wants people to live in a fake news bubble, where the narratives are controlled by the war mongers. And, strangely, America seemingly wants Syrians to be subjected to media that reports opposite of the reality they are living. As if after nine years of enduring Western (and Gulf) media’s lies Syrians will suddenly believe them and decide to overthrow the president they elected (and support)? America is grasping at straws…

The OPCW Truth Bombs

Western nations accuse Russia of disinformation around whether Syria used a chemical weapon in Douma, eastern Ghouta.

In April 2018, Western media pounced on and promoted the White Helmets’ lies, shedding crocodile tears over civilians allegedly exposed to a chemical agent, at the same time ignoring or mocking the testimonies of 17 Syrians from Douma (including the boy starring in the White Helmets’ hoax video). 

Turns out the body tasked to examine this accusation omitted from its final report key findings that poke massive holes in the (West’s) official narrative around Douma. Not one, but many revelations have been leaked about the critical omissions of the OPCW  report. 

The only ones taking this seriously are mainly Russia, Syria and independent researchers. In the face of these recent revelations, most Western media have largely thus far been silent.

Similarly, Western media didn’t cover the December 2018 panel detailing damning findings on the White Helmets’ association (and membership) with terrorist groups in Syria, and their involvement in staging chemical attacks and in organ harvesting…

[READ: Organ theft, staged attacks: UN panel details White Helmets’ criminal activities, media yawns ]

In the State Department’s quest for truthful reporting, one of the issues to be protected seemingly at all costs is of course the White Helmets (and the chemical hoaxes they help stage).

Anyone who has seriously researched the White Helmets, much less bothered to interview Syrian civilians about the fake rescue group, knows their footage and claims are as credible as the words of nurse Nayirah, Colin Powell, or the entries of Wikipedia.

Journalists who bothered to interview medical staff in Douma following the chemical hoax were told that doctors were treating patients with normal wartime injuries when “strangers” (including White Helmets members) entered yelling about a chemical attack, creating a panic (and demonstrating a lack of medical skills), and filming the scene with then 11 year old Hassan Diab.

[READ: Syrian civilians from ground zero expose chemical hoax ]

Diab was one of the Syrians dismissed by western media when he testified to the OPCW that he had not been subject to a chemical attack but had been used by the White Helmets. For Western media, only some children are credible (exploited)…when it suits their narrative.

One such youth, Muhammad, gained notoriety when eastern Ghouta was being liberated. Like the Aleppo child Bana before him, the Ghouta teen had an account in his name on Twitter (the dodgy logistics of which I raised in my last article) and was busy parroting the accusations.

Incidentally, Ghouta (to the silence of media which claimed concern in 2018) is rebuilding, in peace.

In any case, I get the feeling people are tired of lying Western media, chemical hoaxes and the antics of the White Helmets. I certainly see propaganda apologists getting called out on Twitter more than prior, and people are extremely skeptical of chemical weapons accusations.

As Vassily Nebenzia said of the OPCW official report on Douma: “Humpty-Dumpty, as we know, “sat on a wall, had a great fall and all the king’s horses, all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again”. I mean, that is exactly what happened to FFM report. Exactly.”

RELATED:

‘Truth is the 1st casualty of war’: Syria’s East Ghouta battleground distorted by MSM propaganda 

‘Brazen disinformation’: Syria narrative managers defend Douma chemical weapon hoax as OPCW comes under attack

Torture, starvation, executions: Eastern Ghouta civilians talk of life under terrorist rule 

THOMAS RÖPER ON HIS “ANTI-SPIEGEL” WRITINGS, AND ON LIFE IN RUSSIA VS. RUSSOPHOBIC STEREOTYPES

Thomas Röper is the creator of the Anti-Spiegel, a website that examines content produced by the German news site Der Spiegel for lies or misinformation.
We discuss his work, and also life in Russia, where he has lived for over 20 years.
Worthwhile listening for those wondering if perhaps the 24/7 anti-Russia rhetoric emanating from Western media and political figures might just be a bunch of nonsense.

*Apologies for the tech problems in first half, getting accustomed to the recording program.*

Follow Thomas’ work at the following links:

https://www.anti-spiegel.ru/https://twitter.com/SpiegelAnti

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC93mqUPbNmHZhl4fAVvZWpQ

CONVERSATION-RELATED LINKS:-Why I was in a police station filing a complaint:“Canadian journalist critical of protests attacked by Foreigner (American?) with anti-Russian slogans”

The dialectic of the Moscow Protests Hoax‘Fancy’ coups: US-backed workshops exposed as revolution masterclasses [VIDEO]–«Почувствовать себя в игре»: как организуют протесты в МосквеThe Interference of the West in the Affairs of Russia Through the Moscow City Duma Election

Twitter has been on a narrative-control rampage, removing or censoring legitimate accounts that are critical of US-led wars, propaganda and lies. Facebook and Instagram have increased their Big Brother policing, too.

anuary 17, 2020, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

Twitter has been on a narrative-control rampage, removing or censoring legitimate accounts that are critical of US-led wars, propaganda and lies. Facebook and Instagram have increased their Big Brother policing, too.

Attempts by American-based social media behemoths to silence or censor voices critical of the establishment-approved narrative is nothing new, but this trend seems to have intensified lately. 

Just in the past several days, following the criminal US assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, Instagram and Facebook have been removing posts supportive of Soleimani, even profile photos honouring the general, allegedly to comply with US sanctions, a truly absurd explanation for the narrative control.

On January 7, it was reported that Twitter had suspended numerous Venezuelan accounts, including those of the central bank, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, public media, political leaders, the Finance & Oil ministries.

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*Tweet here

It returned to normal some days later but, at the start of January, the account was again no longer available. Admin used a backup account with a dramatically smaller following and, although after about a week—and many Twitter protests later—the account was again restored, it has not since tweeted and thus appears to be restricted.

In mid-2019, the account of the Russian embassy in Syria disappeared not long after tweeting about the White Helmets, terrorists, and war propaganda. This, again, begged the question of what ‘Twitter rules’ had been violated.

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*Tweet here

These aren’t some isolated incidents, they’re part of a systematic purging by the NATO-aligned social media corporations who bleat about alleged “Russian propaganda” but are themselves the (transparently poor) masters of propaganda.

Many anti-war voices have been scrubbed from Twitter and Facebook, including the prominent anti-war voice of Daniel McAdams – Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity– who was banned from Twitter for using the word “retarded” to describe a Fox News host, something I’m sure many people would think an insufficient and mild description of such corporate media entities…

Accounts Calling For Genocide A-Okay on Twitter

While accounts like McAdams’ are taken down allegedly for reasons of political correctness, other accounts can call for genocide and destruction with no repercussions.

Take the rather no-name lobbyist Jack Burkman, who, after the US assassination of Iran’s beloved General Soleimani, tweeted about the “need to burn every major Iranian city to the ground.” His tweet actually included “Load up the [chemical weapon] napalm.

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On several more occasions, Burkman tweeted about destroying Iran, including his tweet on the firebombing of Dresden and his desire to “replicate the campaign against Iran.” Some of those tweets have been removed, but his account remains active, without restrictions, as though he hadn’t violated Twitter rules on multiple occasions.

Then there is the President of the United States, who, after having General Soleimani illegally assassinated, went on to threaten to destroy 52 Iranian cultural sites. That tweet remains up on Twitter, in spite of surely violating rules on threatening violence (and not only against a person but a nation). I mean, most normal people consider threatening to destroy places somewhat violent.

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*Tweet here

On the other hand, allegations about genocide risk being censored, as happened to Mint Press News’ editor in chief, Mnar Muhawesh, whose video on the US-Saudi led war on Yemen was deemed “child nudity” by Facebook.

Muhawesh protested: “This is false. Images show skeleton, dying children wearing diapers.”mn

*Tweet here

Terrorist Accounts, Exploited Children, And More Twitter Restrictions

Accounts abound on Twitter and Facebook that are openly supportive of suicide bombers, ISIS and al-Qaeda.

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*Tweet here

I’ve found Western corporate journalists citing terrorist-supporting accounts as “media activists” in areas militarily surrounded by the Syrian army, as was the case when eastern Ghouta was being liberated, although the ‘activists’ allegiance to Jaysh al-Islam and al-Qaeda was easily identified.

[READ: ‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’: West’s war propaganda on Ghouta crescendo ]

And there are accounts representing the terrorists themselves, whose graphic content certainly ought to be deemed violations of Twitter’s rules, yet so many of these accounts remain intact.

Twitter serves as a platform for war propaganda, that’s fairly clear. But there’s a point that some people might not know about Twitter and Syria: Twitter doesn’t recognize the Syrian country code, thus you’d need a non-Syrian phone number to open an account.

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*Tweet here

So how do all these poster children like Bana al-Abed (one of the chief faces of war propaganda in the lead-up to the liberation of Aleppo in late 2016) and those which popped up later in eastern Ghouta and then in Idlib get accounts?

Keep that in mind when the war propaganda again resurges around Idlib and the children holding English posters and hashtagging #SaveIdlib pop into your feed. More exploitation of kids, and Twitter the perfect platform.

READ: Exploitation of children in propaganda war against Syria continues

In researching for this piece last week, I came across a recent article announcing a new feature Twitter would test, in its valiant efforts to quash trolls: limiting who may reply to tweets before sending a tweet.

This smacks not of cutting out trolls, but of making echo chambers more impenetrable, so war propagandists can back-slap one another without allowing intelligent voices to poke holes in their lies.

But in the end, perhaps even that doesn’t matter, because at any moment your account can be zapped. Nestled in Twitter’s terms of service is this line: “We may suspend or terminate your account…for any or no reason…” This means any protest over suspended accounts is thus a waste of time after all.

This is total narrative control, and it’s only getting worse.  

FAULT LINES RADIO ⚡️ NOW: TWITTER STILL BUSY BANNING THE LEFT, RIGHT… AND YOUR NEWS ALTERNATIVES W/ EVAKBARTLETT

On Fault Lines yesterday, we discuss Twitter (and social media in general) censorship.Watch HEREAlso HERE (the last 30 minutes)Related Links:–Social Media Censorship Reaches New Heights as Twitter Permanently Bans Dissent: Mnar Muhawesh speaks with journalist Daniel McAdams about being permanently banned from Twitter, social media censorship and more.–Twitter Suspends Dozens of Accounts of Venezuelan OfficialsViews of Sputnik Representatives on West’s Smearing & Censoring of Russian Media

MEDIA HAVE BEEN SPREADING PROPAGANDA AGAINST SYRIA FOR YEARS – JOURNALIST

Dec 31, 2019, RT America:

“Fallout continues from recent Wikileaks revelations, which confirmed that the OPCW had been pressured to alter its report to cover up evidence about the alleged April 2018 chemical attack in Douma, Syria. Investigative journalist and on-the-ground reporter Eva Bartlett joins In Question to discuss.”

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I thank Robert Thorpe for his summary of the interview:

“Steadfast Canadian journalist Eva Karene Bartlett, who has spent months on the ground in many parts of Syria since 2014, discusses Western propaganda designed to mislead people about Syria, demonize the nation in support of Western efforts to overthrow its sovereign government, and the defacto complicity in terrorism of the US, British, Canadian and other NATO governments.

She raises the issue of the recent resignation of Newsweek journalist Tareq Haddad’s from the publication over the censorship of his coverage of recent leaked internal OPCW documents which show that the senior management of UN sponsored organization produced fraudulent reporting of the non-existent alleged gas attack (a White Helmet false flag) at Douma used to justify US, French and British missile attacks on Syria.

Related/Mentioned Links:

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