Keelan Balderson, Contributing Writer
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced today at the fluffily named “Friends of Syria” conference, that Britain will only recognise the anti-Assad side of the conflict, as “legitimate representatives” of the country’s people ; meaning hundreds of thousands of citizens loyal to the Assad Government will now be ignored and effectively treated as enemy combatants – typical of the biased reporting so far.
Hague fails to address evidence that members of the opposition include Al Qaeda terrorists, that armed rebels are covertly directed by Western forces, and suspicions of CIA death squads deliberately used for destabilization.
Since the beginning of the violence, Western media has been reluctant to report any deaths at the hands of the armed rebels, preferring to call them activists or opposition. Anyone loyal to Assad is cynically labeled part of the “regime” or “Assad’s forces”.
The number of fatalities in the conflict, according to sources in the Syrian opposition, was 8,976, updated to 22 February 2012. The number includes 887 military defectors, and does not include members of the government security forces .
This has two major problems. Firstly, the opposition are obviously going to have a pro-opposition bias. Secondly, it implies that every single civilian is a member of the opposition, and anyone loyal to Assad must be a member of the Government forces and should be glossed over.
This is an extremely disingenuous way to create statistics.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (one of the few groups that do count pro-Assad deaths), is a complete shambles and cannot be trusted. Apart from professing their opposition to Assad, suggesting immediate bias, they’re also based in Britain and meet with the Government , who has demanded regime change – further corrupting their coverage. On top of that, it’s not even clear who operates the organization.
Initially the media claimed it was run out of a two-bedroom terraced home in Coventry by one man alone, who would otherwise run a clothes shop; this gentleman’s name was said to be Rami Abdulrahman (or Rami Abdul Rahman, or Rami Abdelrahman). The website Syriahr.org now claims that he is in fact called Osama Ali Suleiman, and he merely used the name Rami Abdulrahman, a pen-name that the website claims to have been initially used by all “SOHR members” .
Syriahr.org claims that Abdulrahman was able to wrest control of the SOHR website Syriahr.net in August 2011 by changing all the passwords and that he proceeded to make himself the chairman of the SOHR, upon which an organisation claiming to be the ‘real’ SOHR created the rival website Syriahr.org . This new website Syriahr.org then proceeded to launch a smear campaign against Abdulrahman, claiming he only had a “very modest level of education”, condemning his “lack of professionalism” and even alleging that he is a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party .
Yet the media still go to these people as a reliable source for statistics and intel!
Here’s what’s-his-name standing proudly outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in November, after meeting Mr. Hague:
In reading between the headlines it’s clear that there are a substantial number of regular citizens who support Assad and are not being fairly represented in life or death. Those who have picked up arms to defend their country and the Government are invariably labeled by the media as Militiamen, which although is perhaps an accurate term, brings about negative connotations when written alongside opposition, activists, or the manipulatively named Free Syrian Army.
Is the point where they pick up a gun, the point where their opinion and death no longer count?
Nir Rosen a reporter for Al-Jazeera, who spent time with the opposition fighters states :
Every day the opposition gives a death toll, usually without any explanation of the cause of the deaths. Many of those reported killed are in fact dead opposition fighters, but the cause of their death is hidden and they are described in reports as innocent civilians killed by security forces, as if they were all merely protesting or sitting in their homes.
This misinformation has a deep impact on the psyche of the Western public, who are essentially told Assad is using an army against peaceful activists and random civilians.
Rosen makes it clear that deaths are on both sides:
Every day, members of the Syrian army, security agencies and the vague paramilitary and militia phenomenon known as shabiha [‘thugs’] are also killed by anti-regime fighters.
How often do we hear about these deaths on the hourly news cycles?
In today’s briefing Hague vowed to “…intensify our links with the opposition.”
We, in common with other nations, will now treat them and recognise them as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
This implies that the majority of the Syrian people are with the opposition. But with biased death-tolls and a lack of anything tangible, it’s more likely Hague’s wishful thinking, rather than a fact.
While this meeting of Western leaders was taking place, about 200 pro-Assad demonstrators approached the hotel to make their voices heard. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided not to turn up on time because of the commotion .
Does that sound like unanimous support for the opposition?
In October 2011, The Telegraph reported on a rally of thousands of pro-Assad civilians, although they chose to use the sly wording of “Syrian state television has shown pictures of thousands of pro-government demonstrators…” , perhaps to imply some trickery was going on.
In November Euro News were a little less cynical when reporting on more mass, pro-Government rallies:
Mirroring these 2011 protests, last month hundreds of thousands of pro-government citizens took to the streets to reject calls from the Arab League and UN for Assad to step down before the planned elections .
One protester, Malek Ali said : “We are here to denounce the Arab League decision that came in compliance with the Western schemes against our country.”
What Western schemes might that be?
As documented many times on this site, prior to 9/11 an Israeli linked clique within Right-Wing US politics, known as the Neo-Conservatives, wrote of an ideology known as Full Spectrum Dominance.
The idea was to promote US hegemony over the Middle-East . As outlined by General Wesley Clarke, the Bush Administration which contained Neocons Dick Cheney (Vice President) and Donald Rumsfeld (Secretary of Defense), had decided that countries such as Iraq, Iran and Syria were to be invaded, long before there was any evidence to warrant such aggression. Evidence eventually presented against Iraq by the Anglo-American establishment, turned out to be lies, and we see the same lies being perpetuated against Iran today, over their nuclear program.
Although Obama plays the role of a Democrat, his actions speak louder than words. At no point has he changed the path set by the Neocons. Not only did he continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but along with other Western allies he oversaw the campaign against Libya, yet another country on the empire’s list.
In this context it makes sense why the West is happy to use dodgy death stats, and have pledged their sole support for the Syrian opposition, despite hundreds of thousands of Syrian citizens vocally backing Assad. Syria was on the list to invade as well, so impartiality goes out of the window.
There was always an agenda, and now the biased media is being used to spin an excuse for regime change; whether that be a UN peace-keeping mission, a NATO bombing campaign like Libya, or a covert coup.
Who really are the armed rebels?
There’s no doubt that there was and still is a peaceful protest movement within Syria that wants reform. The fact that there is real opposition, makes a coup d’état by those behind the Full Spectrum Dominance agenda less conspicuous, and helps draw wider support from the Western public, who have a very superficial view of the conflict. Now the conflict is in full swing with both sides are gunning it out, promoting reactionary responses that we simply must go in and help. The problem is, Western interventions usually turn in to a cloaked form of Imperialism, where the once-sovereign state, ends up a satellite of the West and beholden to Western corporations. They get to play free, but their destiny is not in their hands.
Although there is anecdotal evidence of a tough state crackdown early on, which has become the crux of the argument against Assad; what the Western media initially ignored were Assad’s claims in his interview with Barabra Walters, of “terrorists” and “extremists” fomenting the violence.
‘Not everybody in the street was fighting for freedom,’ says Assad . ‘You have different components, you have extremists, religious extremists…like-minded people of Al Qaeda…from the very first few weeks we had those terrorists they are getting more and more aggressive, they have been killing. We have 1,000– over 1,100 soldiers and policeman killed, who killed them? peaceful demonstrators? This is not logical.’
While the word of Assad alone should be considered biased, this idea that there are extremists within the opposition stirring up violence is a continual theme that is now acknowledged by leading Western officials, which should add weight to Assad’s claims.
On February 16th, the Washington Post reported:
Members of al-Qaeda have infiltrated Syrian opposition groups, and likely executed recent bombings in the nation’s capital and largest city, the United States’ top intelligence official said Thursday…comments came just days after al-Qaeda leader Aymen al-Zawahiri released a video message urging fighters in Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon to mobilize against Assad.
If Al-Qaeda are present within the opposition, isn’t it careless to give weight only to the opposition’s view on things? When did we start trusting Al Qaeda? Do we replace Assad with a fundamentalist Muslim regime like what is now torturing citizens in Libya ?
…The remarks by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper are the most definitive to date from a senior Obama administration official on al-Qaeda’s efforts to insert itself into the Syrian uprising.
Rather than inserting themselves, what if they’ve been there since the beginning like Assad stated? Surely a proper investigation should take place before we make the grave mistake of backing an armed extremist regime over peaceful opposition and pro-Assad citizens?
But then again perhaps this was the Western Imperialist plan all along.
According to former CIA officer, Phil Giraldi , the Western leaders have been seeking a coup the whole time, right in line with the Full Spectrum Dominance agenda. It’s the West that are partly responsible for the bloody civil war playing out right now!
NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as U.S. proxy. Ankara’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davitoglu, has openly admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya….Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers, a skill they acquired confronting Gaddafi’s army. Iskenderum is also the seat of the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of the Syrian National Council. French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and U.S. Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers.
…The frequently cited United Nations report that more than 3,500 civilians have been killed by Assad’s soldiers is based largely on rebel sources and is uncorroborated…Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained, and financed by foreign governments are more true than false.
His intelligence is further backed up by DEBKA File, an Israel based independent intel outlet . They claim MI6 and British forces “manage rebel communications lines and relay their requests for arms, ammo, fighters and logistical aid to outside suppliers, mostly in Turkey.”
Israel of course is not off the hook, with reports of Israeli-made arms reaching the opposition .
What appears to be taking place is a hijacking of a legitimate protest movement by Western imperialists, who are covertly fomenting a civil war by arming and directing opposition rebels; some of whom are Al Qaeda terrorists. As this escalates the international community are seeking some kind of intervention, or at least a stepping down of Assad, so the goal of regime change can be reached.
If the CIA and MI6 et-al. are supporting Al Qaeda, why would Clapper admit Al Qaeda were infiltrating the Syrian opposition?
It’s part of the propaganda war. The Western mainstream media has never broken from the script that Al Qaeda are the enemy of the West. In admitting their presence in Syria, it actually gives the Imperialists a back-up reason for intervention. To get those darn terrorists!
In truth, the stance on Al Qaeda is much more complex. Clapper and his colleagues have used them as a proxy army as far back as the late ’70s through the ’80s, when the original Mujahideen were armed and trained by the CIA to fight the Russians . Islamic extremists were then backed by Western Intelligence agencies during the ’90s conflict in the Balkans . The recent NATO campaign against Libya was also supported by Al Qaeda linked rebels , who Giraldi claims have been flown from Libya to Syria for the latest black-op.
The Snipers are the Key:
From very early on during the Syrian protests there were reports of Sniper attacks picking off civilians. The Western media claims that these are Government forces targeting peaceful opposition activists, but one has to wonder what benefit the state gains from taking out random targets, including children.
Comic book evil does not cut it as an explanation. If anything, it impassions the legitimate opposition and offers the perfect reason for the West to demonize Assad and spark regime change. It does not help the state.
There is no physical proof of who the snipers are, or who they are working for. Naturally they operate from rooftops out of the way of prying eyes.
It’s possible they’re neither Government nor opposition, but outside forces with the aim of destabilization. To get everybody blaming each other and to cause chaos.
Independent journalist Webster Tarpley visited Syria at the tail-end of 2011, unlike a lot of Western commentators who report from the sidelines, based solely on opposition stats. He claims:
Average everyday Syrians of all persuasions are saying they are being shot at by snipers. In Homs in particular people claim there are terrorist snipers, who are shooting at civilians; men, women and children, blind terrorism, random killing, simply for the purpose of destabilizing the country…what we are dealing with are death squads, terror commandos…this is a typical CIA method.
The director of the Canadian-based Center for Research on Globalization, Michel Chossudovsky, makes similar claims:
Although Tarpley and Chossudovsky’s claims of death squads may seem wild, and Russia Today may have its own agenda. (However the reader should be reminded that it’s not Russia invading half the world). We know the CIA and MI6 et al. are on the ground, and we know there’s an agenda for regime change. The idea should not be rejected from a deluded stance that the West doesn’t do bad things like that. The West is responsible for well over a million deaths in wars of aggression in the past decade alone.
Evidence of the method can be found if one looks for it.
In 2002, the CIA attempted to overthrow Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, in a military coup. On the 11th of April 2002, a march towards the presidential palace was organized by the US-backed Venezuelan opposition. Snipers hidden in buildings near the palace opened fire on protesters killing 18. The Venezuelan and international media claimed that Chavez forces were behind the killing, thereby justifying the military coup presented as a humanitarian intervention. Chavez fled for his safety, but as renowned journalist John Pilger points out :
Within 48 hours, he was back in office, put there by the mass of the people, who came out of the shanty towns in their tens of thousands. Defying the army, their heroism was in support of a leader whose democratic credentials are extraordinary in the Americas, south and north. Having won two presidential elections, the latest in 2000, by the largest majority in 40 years, as well as a referendum and local elections, Chavez was borne back to power by the impoverished majority…The episode was a journalistic disgrace…the snipers almost certainly included agents provocateurs.
Video evidence now clearly shows that the image of supposed Chavez supporters sniping the opposition, was in fact a carefully cropped piece of propaganda, that when widened showed it was actually Chavez supporters trying to go after the phony snipers!
Pilger further reported on death squads in Iraq, which were also used for destabilization :
The real news, which is not reported in the CNN ‘mainstream’, is that the Salvador Option has been invoked in Iraq. This is the campaign of terror by death squads armed and trained by the US, which attack Sunnis and Shias alike. The goal is the incitement of a real civil war and the break-up of Iraq, the original war aim of Bush’s administration.
In Libya whose NATO-backed rebels contained Al Qaeda linked extremists, the media ran with apparent footage of pro-Gaddafi snipers shooting at innocent opposition protesters. When the full video was leaked to YouTube, it actually showed Gaddafi supporters with their green flags fleeing from the shooting, which implies the rebels were actually targeting peaceful civilians, or they were third-party death squads causing destabilization.
Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Philip Alston, reported on CIA and other Western backed death squads targeting civilians in Afghanistan, who were widely acknowledged, even by well-informed Government officials, to have had no connection to the Taliban .
There is clear brutality on both sides, and innocents in-between, but with Hague only recognising the opposition, where does that leave the hundreds of thousands of vocal (and many more non-vocal) pro-Assad citizens who are up against Al Qaeda terrorists, and possible CIA death squads?
If you read between the lines, there are patterns and methods used time and time again. Why would Syria be any different? Why do we fall for the assurances of our leaders that this time it really is about bringing peace, freedom and democracy? Has that ever proven itself to be true?
As the agenda moves forward, the overthrowing of Syria leaves Iran a virtual sitting duck. The Al Qaeda forces in Syria can then be used as a proxy Army in the Iranian destabilization agenda, alleviating the West from carrying out an overt attack, which would give them bad PR. The presence of Al Qaeda can later be used as an excuse for overt Western intervention.
The only thing blocking these chess pieces falling into place are Russia and China. If they don’t stand their ground now it could later spill in to a second cold war.
The investigation continues….
This article first appeared at Wide Shut.
Keelan Balderson is an independent journalist, documentary filmmaker and Internet radio host from the UK. You can listen to his WideShut Webcast every Monday at 8pm GMT on Resistance Radio. Please support his work by visiting his website: WideShut.co.uk.
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