Ever since the start of the Syrian crisis, the Western corporate media has presented the public with a number of human symbols of “Assad’s brutality” and the Syrian government’s “Crimes against humanity.” One by one, these symbols have been revealed to be the frauds that they are whether it is “Syria Danny,” “Gay Girl In Damascus,” “Little Omran,” or others.
One of the more recent propaganda stunts is the use of a seven-year-old girl named Bana al-Abed. Bana’s alleged Twitter feed has been used and cited by the Western media as not only a tired symbol of the “evil Assad government” but as a rather transparent tool of anti-Syrian propaganda. However, as time moves on, the little Twitter star is being revealed for being much different than what is presented by Western media outlets. In fact, it is rather clear by now that Bana is not a precocious little girl just trying to survive the war but that she (her social media profile) is actually an adult(s), adult terrorist(s), and perhaps a network of people not only connected to terrorist organizations but also to Western intelligence.
Bana’s propaganda story began in September, 2016 when a supposed seven-year-old girl began allegedly tweeting from Eastern Aleppo (terrorist held area) about the tragedy of living under “Assad’s day to day bombing” and “war crimes.” The official narrative regarding Bana is that she lived with her parents and two brothers and that her mother, Fatemah, manages her Twitter account. Her father, Ghassan, allegedly worked in the “legal department of the local council.”
Bana’s First Tweet
Bana’s first tweet was simple enough and poignantly framed to gather attention from Westerners who still have hearts, albeit hearts that only bleed when they are told. “I need peace,” her tweet read. After that, Bana tweeted around twenty times, each time complaining about Assad and Putin’s “war crimes” and demanding that both men be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
As Barbara McKenzie wrote for 21st Century Wire in her article, “Syria: Child Exploitation: Who Is ‘Bana Of Aleppo?”
Wee Bana hit the ground running on 24 September with about 20 tweets, and has continued at a good rate ever since, managing over 120 on 4 October (including retweets). I myself used twitter for weeks before I used hashtags and I was slow to learn the jargon. Bana, however, was up to speed from the beginning, and over the first two days we got #Aleppo, #HolocaustAleppo #MassacreInAleppo #StopAleppoMassacre. She is well up on acronyms like POTUS and OMG. Followers were impressed with Bana’s command of English idiom:
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To have mastered English contractions like ‘I’ll’ and idiomatic expressions such as ‘horrible dream’ at the age of seven puts Bana in the genius category. The problem is, when cute Bana was videoed, it became apparent that she wasn’t a child prodigy at all, in fact she couldn’t put two words of English together if not rote-learned. It was clear that whoever wrote the tweets was nothing to do with the small actor reciting, eg. on her 1st day of tweeting (yes, that was all set to go from the outset too):
Bana’s Real English Skills
McKenzie is right to question Bana’s English skills which seem obviously non-existent to anyone who watches the interviews with her attempted by foreign media outlets in English. It appears Bana’s only English words are “Save the children of Syria.” In one video produced from just such an interview, Bana can be seen being prompted by her mother in answering questions posed to her. At one point, the interviewer asks her “What do you like?” to which she responds “Save the children of Syria.”
So the question then becomes, if Bana can’t speak English, who is authoring her Tweets?
Aside from her lack of English skills, one need only look at the fact that her mastering of the English language as it appears on Twitter is much more advanced than any normal seven year old. This is in addition to the fact that she is able to reference historical facts that few adults (in the Western world at least) are aware of as well as intelligent (albeit wrong) geopolitical analysis. It does not take a highly educated investigative reporter to discover that the Bana Twitter account is entirely fake and nothing more than propaganda.
The Bana Twitter Community
“After three weeks Bana was following 51 people,” writes McKenzie. “None of them would be an obvious pick for a seven year old girl: without exception they were politicians, corporate media or social media activists. Most of them could be considered sympathetic to the war on Syria; many of them have strong links with terrorist groups.”
Iyad el-Baghdadi, Louisa Loveluck, Julian Roepcke, Sophie McNeill – all determined supporters of the Syrian ‘revolution’, are very familiar to pro-Syrian activists who spend any time on Twitter. Bana is also following the pro-terrorist National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces and the White Helmets – the fake humanitarian organisation that presently has a petition calling for a No-Fly (i.e. NATO bombing) zone in Syria. A particularly sinister choice is @IranArabSpring, which is focused on regime change in Iran, presumably by the same bloody route.
One of the first to be followed by Bana, and typical, was the Australian journalist Sophie McNeillwho was instrumental in promoting the Madaya hoax/beatup in January 2016. The story went that inhabitants of Madaya, a town besieged by the government, were starving and that it was all the fault of the Syrian government who were preventing aid from reaching the town. In fact many if not all the photos were fake, aid for three months had gone into Madaya in October, and the chief problem was terrorists selling food at exorbitant prices. Many of the others followed by Bana are likewise involved in pushing misinformation on the Syrian war.
Bana built-up a huge following within days, reaching 65,000 by 3 October. A very large proportion of the followers appeared to be fake accounts, which again suggests that very savvy people are managing the project.
The corporate media, however, have without exception taken Bana to their hearts, with poignant articles free of all doubt appearing in the Telegraph, the Guardian, and on all the main television channels. The New Statesman went on the attack against the many people who have made fun of the account.
I highly encourage accessing Barabara McKenzie’s article “Syria: Child Exploitation: Who Is ‘Bana Of Aleppo?’” for a sizeable sample of Bana’s tweets.
Bana’s Connection To Terrorists And Terrorism
Tim Hayward of 21st Century Wire has written an insightful piece regarding Bana’s family entitled “Bana: The Heartbreaking Story Of Child Exploitation, Propaganda, And Media Falsehood,” where he sources the work of Syrian journalist Khaled Iskef, who lives in Aleppo. Ever since the liberation of East Aleppo, Iskef has been able to travel to the Eastern portion and investigative a number of elements of the war that had previously gone unreported.
In this latest video, Khaled takes us on a short walk around the Alabed house and environs, accompanied by Nour Al Ali doing the filming and photography. They show us into the Alabed house, and then into the Al Nusra headquarters adjacent to it.
The proximity of the house to the Al Nusra headquarters is demonstrated – each a few meters from a shared street corner. This explains why the house was in an area being bombed. About 100 men were quartered in the basement of the adjacent building, according to a local witness interviewed.
We learn about the Alabed family. The paternal grandfather was running a weapons dealership and repair workshop for Al Nusra and other militant groups; his sons worked there; one of them had served a criminal sentence, even before the war, for gun smuggling; and we are shown a photo of the now famous granddaughter at about 3 years posing with a serious-looking weapon that is as big as her.
Her father Ghassan worked as a lawyer, before joining the armed groups. We see photos of Ghassan, armed, with the militant factions Al Nusra and the Islamic Safwat Brigade. We see documents showing he served in the Sharia Court based in the ‘Eye Hospital’. Amidst other papers strewn about the abandoned house is one that indicates he was ‘assistant director of the Civil Registry of Aleppo Council’ – a “rebel” organisation with links to foreign states and armed groups in the governorate.
Another document shows he worked as a military trainer and investigating judge for the Islamic Safwa brigades. Prior to 2015 he had been working with ISIS in the Sharia court in the Eye Hospital. We see a photo of him brandishing an AK47 beneath an ISIS flag; and another of him in the midst of an armed Asafwa group. We see him with four brothers, each holding a serious weapon, outside the store.
Also lying around is a dog-eared piece of paper with one of Bana’s famous #StandWithAleppo messages on.
Outside, and a few steps just around the corner, we are taken into the basement. We are now inside the headquarters of Al Nusra. There we see rolled militant flags, Turkish supplies, and a prison.
On this and the other videos there is much more to see. So I recommend them. They don’t have the slick production values of Channel 4 and the other corporate media outlets. What they do offer is honest and dispassionate testimony. Or as dispassionate as a participant observer can be under the circumstances.
As a resident of Aleppo, Khaled is visibly affected by the whole situation. He expresses something close to despair about “the exploitation of children in politically motivated attempts to distort the image of his government.” His fellow citizens in that part of town have confirmed on the video that they had been human shields for the militants.
Khaled also has a word about the little boy Omran who, photographed in the orange-seated ambulance, was another major media sensation in the West. We meet Omran today in videos with Khaled (and others, like this and this). He is in Aleppo, back in his original home, not Turkey. He was thrust into the world’s media spotlight against his family’s wishes. His family is glad Aleppo was liberated from the likes of those that created the propaganda for #Bana.
The Purpose of the Twitter Account
Barbara McKenzie, who has covered the Bana Project at length says there is no doubt that the whole show is a scam and that it is nothing more than propaganda aimed to promote the NATO narrative of the war and to demonize the Syrian and Russian governments as well as Assad and Putin individually.
The sympathies of the Bana Project are totally with the extremists who are terrorising residents of eastern Aleppo, shelling western Aleppo, and are in imminent danger of being forced out by the Syrian Arab Army and allies like Hezbollah and the Palestinian Al Quds brigade.
From the first days Bana accused Assad and Putin of perpetrating a holocaust, a massacre, of carrying out a bombing campaign using cluster bombs, phosphorus, thermite bombs, and of course barrel bombs. Since then the account has continued the theme of bombing and Assad/Putin culpability, along with constant calls for the world to do something, ‘to stop the bombing’.
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No mention is ever made of the terrorists who mow down demonstrators in the streets of eastern Aleppo and prevent humanitarian aid reaching the area. Bana’s family may be in a position to repeat the dubious claim that Russia bombed a school in Idlib, but show no interest in the atrocities caused by hellfire cannon directed by terrorists at western Aleppo. When young swimmer Mireille Hindoyan was killed by a terrorist shell in the Armenian quarter in western Aleppo, the Bana Project, along with the Independent (UK), smoothly implied that this was due to Russian bombing.
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The purpose of the Bana Project is to create in the outside world a conviction that Russia and Syria are committing serious war crimes by recklessly bombing civilians [eastern Aleppo]. In fact both Russia and Syria have denied that they are bombing in Aleppo, and given that Syria has launched a massive land operation to take Aleppo it seems most unlikely that the alliance is bombing at the same time.
The Defense Of Bana By Other Propaganda Outlets
After Bana’s role as patsy for the propaganda mill, a number of media outlets and typical terrorist-supporters like BellingCat have run to the defense of the shadowy adult running the Bana Twitter account. Of course, all of their defenses center around three straw man arguments they have created themselves. For instance, the defenders seek to disprove the idea that 1.) Bana does not exist 2.) Bana herself is a terrorist 3.) Bana does not live in Aleppo. Personally, I have never heard anyone argue the first two claims as they are ridiculous. Thus, the claims are likely the result of people like Bellingcat himself who wish to create a straw man, debunk it, and then claim intellectual victory.
The third, however, is legitimate. There is little way to know for sure at this point, but one question that must be asked is how Bana and her family were constantly able to tweet from East Aleppo when there was no power where she was supposed to be located? Indeed, the independent journalists who traveled to East Aleppo during that time all reported extreme difficulty in accessing the Internet, if not outright impossibility. Thus, it is hard to believe that the Bana Twitter account had access to the only Internet and power supply in the entirety of East Aleppo.
At the end of the day, Bana, who mainstream media outlets, never missing a chance to pimp the holocaust, have named the “Anne Frank of Syria,” is just one more in a long line of propaganda figures produced by the U.S. State Department, Western-backed White Helmets, and the corporate media. Ironically, it is now being reported that Bana is preparing a book of memoirs, no doubt a vomit-inducing pamphlet that will be shoved down the throats of Westerners in order to pull on what little heart strings they have left. The evidence is clear, however, where Bana al-Abed may be, she is most certainly not on Twitter.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future Of The World Depends On The Outcome. Turbeville has published over 1000 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.
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Image Credit: Barbara McKenzie