As we developed technology and emerged from the jungle, it became one of the fundamental tenets of civilized social behaviour, one of the top ten commandments, if you will, that murder is to be prevented and the murderer punished. One can see a trend towards a general enlargement of those basic protections against murder until quite recently. A hundred years ago, the then most recent technological leap in mass murder, the use of chemical weapons, poison gases like chlorine and nerve agents like VX and sarin, was declared outlaw, and that prohibition was generally respected through another world war and beyond. We can only wish that nukes had been treated with similar disdain. After that second world war, and the holocaust that saw more than 6 million civilians murdered with industrial efficiency, the world declared never again would it allow state run mass murder.
In the Syrian conflict, we may be seeing a sorrowful reversal of this anti-murder trend. Certainly, we have witnessed the return of the state use of chemical weapons to commit mass murder. The Syrian government has been using prohibited chemical weapons to kill its own citizens, including children, since December 2012, and continues to do so today and tomorrow. The world looks the other way and no one steps forward to stop these murders. Assad can most likely enjoy another Springtime of killing with gas and no one stopping him, like a serial killer before there was law enforcement.
In a world where the US state of Oklahoma will go to barbaric lengths to make sure its murderers are not only tried and convicted but executed anyway they can manage it, state mass murder is an everyday occurrence in Syria, as demonstrated by another school bombing reported by AP today. This sort of thing is not civil war, or anti-terrorist war, or any kind of war waged without criminal intent. This sort of thing is simply murder:
The Aleppo Media Center said 25 were killed, most of them children.
Airstrike on Syrian school kills 19, activists say
30 April 2014
BEIRUT (AP) - A Syrian fighter jet struck a school with a missile in the northern city of Aleppo Wednesday as teachers and students were preparing an exhibit of children's drawings depicting their country at war, killing at least 19 people, including 10 children, activists said.
Bulldozers removed rubble from the smashed building, with children's drawings and paintings scattered in the debris, according to activist videos of the government airstrike on a school in the opposition-held eastern part of the city. One of the drawings showed a hanging skeleton surrounded by skulls with a child nearby being shot by a gunman in a ditch. The child has a speech bubble written above her head in broken English that partly reads: "Syria will still free."
In another video by opposition activists, the bodies of 10 children wrapped in brown and blue sheets are seen on the floor of a hospital ward while a woman screams in the background.
The videos appeared genuine and corresponded to Associated Press reporting of the events. More...
|Ein Jalout school was flatten by the attack|
|Inside Ein Jalout school. Blood on the desks|
|Chips & Candy Bars in Blood - after the bombing of Ein Jalout school|
This is how we should allocate all these deaths that have occurred in Syria since people first took to the streets in peaceful protests in the beginning of 2011 and we now have dramatic new insider testimony as to how Bashar al-Assad decided to use murder as his chief tool in meeting the protests.
On Monday NORIA published the testimony of General Ahmed Tlass, who was a senior police chief with 20 years experience in the Syrian regime before he defected. This is how he describes the beginning of what would become the Syrian Revolution:
What is known as "the explosion of March 15, 2011," actually began several years ago in Syria. In the months preceding the revolution, writings – leaflets and graffiti – had emerged, either distributed or drawn on walls, around Damascus and on the walls at the Ministry of the Interior. There was no mention of regime change. All people wanted was the implementation of genuine reforms and they demanded the rights and freedoms that they felt deprived of. For a long time in our country, young people and students, between 18 and 30 years old, had suffered from unemployment. They were unable to establish a family life. We had also for a long time, a large population of prisoners. They were not criminals but opponents. Their families did not understand why they had been arrested and they demanded to be released.He notes that from the beginning, the regime was presented with two fundamentally different approaches to the mass protests:
Some members of the intelligence services thought that it would be better to let these demands find expression to ease the tension. They were not in fact unfamiliar with this multiplication of leaflets and posters. Others felt on the contrary, that it was preferable to put an end to a movement that could expand and radicalize as soon as possible.Tlass tells us Syria is really run by a state within the state, in which Bashar al-Assad personally controls the most important functions:
I must say a few words here about the decision making process in Syria. Everyone has heard of the Crisis Management Division, established at the beginning of the uprising and placed under the formal authority of the Assistant Regional Secretary of the Baath Party. Everyone also knows that the Syrian Ministry of Defence develops plans regularly to protect the country from aggression. What nobody knows, however, is that there is another instance of decision. It does not officially exist. It does not include the Minister of the Interior, or the Minister of Defence. It never acts in broad daylight but in the shade and this is where the decisions are made.So how did this committee without a name, headed by Bashar al-Assad, elect to handle the protests?
It is here that strategy is defined, not with the Crisis Management Division. It consists of officers from different services, selected one by one, by name, who are specifically assigned to their tasks and who work at the Presidential Palace. This committee, if one can call it such, since it has no name, is headed by Bashar al-Assad in person. And it is his will that prevails.
In the spring of 2011, it would have been possible to contain the protest movement that later developed in the country. But for this to happen it would have been necessary to listen to the protesters’ demands, in Daraa, Homs, Hama, it would have been necessary to bring reasonable answers that would have allowed them to believe in a resolution of their grievances. Instead, violence was used against them. A violence that their behaviour did not justify.He goes on to describe how violence "erupted" in Hama in 2011:
In Homs, the General Mounir Adanov, Deputy Chief of Staff, and a general named Ali, a deputy director of the Military Security whose name I cannot recall, had been asked to restore order. But some radical Alawite officers, I am sorry to speak in a way that I disapprove, "wanted blood". The former gave instructions not to open fire unless express orders from them were given. The latter therefore petitioned the local Police Chief, General Hamid Mer’ei. He refused to give them a power that was not in his prerogatives to give. I must add immediately that as a result of his refusal to give the order to fire on the demonstrators, General Adanov and the other General, were later dismissed for "health issues". Their extremist colleagues had got them, and they were publicly bragging about it.
General Ali Habib, the Minister of Defence, who had refused to give the army the order to enter Hama, after opposing their entry into Daraa, experienced the same fate for the same reasons. It was said he was "sick". I saw him afterwards. He was in fine health. All the other advocates within the government of a moderate strategy were gradually marginalized.
To illustrate my point, here is what happened in Hama. The people of this city were peaceful and friendly. I know this because I lived and worked there for many years. They refused to resort to arms, the same as the people of Homs and other cities too. Traffickers and traders, whose names I know but I do not want to mention here, offered them weapons at any price that suited them. But they refused. They wanted to make a stand with words and not violence. They had rights and they maintained their claims that they wanted to be heard. They did not want to express themselves in armed confrontation. And they were willing to accept the consequences of their decisions. On July 1st 2011, the day of a huge gathering attended by perhaps half a million people, they unfurled a huge Syrian flag. They also erected a gallows for the "criminal" Bashar al-Assad, which they later removed.This order to commit mass murder came from this shadowy state-within-a-state, criminal even by Syrian law, that is headed by Bashar al-Assad.
I was there that day, on the terrace of the local Baath party headquarters, along with the political, administrative, military and security heads of the city. Governor Ahmed Abdel-Aziz was there, a very respectable man, the Commander of the Police, General Mahmoud Sa’oudi, the head of Military Security, Mohammed Muflih and the branch secretary of the Baath. Men responsible for ensuring security were gathered downstairs, in the same building. They watched the protest. The Governor had expressly forbidden anyone to open fire. All the previous protests had been held in peace. In fact, after the demonstrations, young people returned to the protest spots with brooms to clean up the streets.
The protest happened in front of us without any incident. None of the protesters were armed. But when the crowd reached Orontes Square, about 300 meters from where I was standing, gunfire erupted. According to an investigation by the police to which I had access, it came from twenty people, 22 to be precise from the Military Security, who had been joined by one member of State Security. All were Officers and all were Alawite Kurds. They had been transported to Al-Yaroubieh, then dispatched and hidden in different places. Mohammed Muflih was as startled and angry as I was regarding this unjustifiable intervention. It violated all instructions and it resulted in dozens of deaths. Since none of us had authorized this intervention – who had given the order?
So, the 23 men I mentioned above were transferred elsewhere without any proper investigation, and most importantly, without being condemned for what they had done. The same thing happened in Homs, a large number of peaceful citizens were killed in identical conditions.Tlass's state within a state is nothing less than a criminal gang, headed by the Assad family, that is running a country and this criminal gang is even today, after three years of carnage, being allowed to commit mass murder into the six figures on its subject population. The prospects for humanity are not good if that is what passes for rule of law on this planet.
Young people gathered on April 18 for a sit-in in the centre of the city, at the base of the old clock. All officials involved in security were at the Police Head Quarters, close by. Envoys went to negotiate with those who occupied the square to convince them to evacuate. They were a few thousand demonstrators, between 5,000 and 10,000 perhaps. They refused to leave. In the middle of the night, we held a meeting with General Mounir Adanov, who was already there, to decide what was to be done. We asked the young people once more to leave the square, taking any route they wanted. But while talks continued, officers of mukhabarat jawwiyeh – the Security Service of the Air Force – which had been dispatched from Damascus to "disperse the thugs" began to spray the crowd with bullets. They killed dozens of people. They were obeying orders to shoot on sight that were given by senior security officials.
Once again we are speaking about invisible forces, but powerful enough to give direct instructions to the members of their organization. These members are agents from diverse intelligence services. They can also come from other departments, such as Education. It is, no more no less, as I have said, a state within the state.
Tlass also tells us about Assad's history of using false-flag attacks, as could be expected of a criminal gang. This practise of staging attacks and blaming the opposition must always be remembered when considering the claims of the Assad regime about deaths caused by the revolutionaries:
I must now say a few words about the indiscriminate attacks that occurred in Damascus at the end of 2011 and in early 2012. I can confirm that all these spectacular operations were carried out by the regime. And if not all of them, very nearly all of them. You can take this as reliable and corroborated information. Either way I will only speak here of attacks for which I have first-hand information, transmitted by officers who conducted the investigation. I’m not talking about ordinary officers, but members of the secret cell I mentioned previously.Although Assad was forced to give up most of his most portent chemical weapons stores in return for a waving of consequence for nine months of sarin use, it is becoming increasingly clear that he has more recently returned to committing mass murder with chemicals. This was reported in The Telegraph Tuesday:
The first attack took place December 23, 2011, outside the headquarters of the Kafr Sousseh State Security. Others followed, on March 17, 2012, outside the headquarters of the Air Force’s Intelligence Service, the mukhabarat jawwiyeh, and in front of the Criminal Safety Department.
Regarding the attack against the Air Force’s Intelligence Service, it should be noted that the building was empty. It was guarded, but in advance of the attack, it had been emptied of its furniture and the occupants evacuated. As surveillance cameras attest, the minibus that exploded in front of its wall was parked there for two days before it exploded… We were presented with the bodies of 25 victims on the television. Two or three, at most, were killed in the attack. Unfortunately they were just passing by. Some residents of the nearby Christian area – Qasaa – had been traumatized by the sound of the explosion. Others were injured by flying glass. But none of them had been killed. As soon as the Minister of the Interior reached the scene with the heads of various intelligence services he inquired to the losses suffered by the Christians. When he heard that no Christians had died in the explosion, he exclaimed: "What, there are no Christians among the victims. That’s impossible – none of them are dead?" as if, in fact, the operation had failed because its objective was to terrorize the community by killing some of its members!
One of the attacks on the 23 December 2011 had targeted the headquarters of the so-called Far’ al-Mintaqa of the State Security (General Intelligence). Minutes after the explosion, General Rustom Ghazaleh, head of this branch, was on site. State media claimed the operation had killed 45 people, a record. But I can assure you that the majority of people believed to have died at that time were in fact killed elsewhere and otherwise.
Also on Tuesday, the Guardian reported:
Syria chemical weapons: the proof that Assad regime launching chlorine attacks on childrenExclusive: Scientific analysis of samples from multiple gas attacks in Syria shows Assad regime still launching chemical weapons attacks on children, The Telegraph can reveal
By Ruth Sherlock
29 Apr 2014
President Bashar al-Assad is still using chemical weapons against civilians, a scientific analysis of samples from multiple gas attacks has shown.
In the first independent testing of its kind, conducted exclusively for The Telegraph, soil samples from the scene of three recent attacks in the country were collected by trained individuals known to this news organisation and analysed by a chemical warfare expert.
Our results show sizeable and unambiguous traces of chlorine and ammonia present at the site of all three attacks.
The use in war of “asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases” - both of which can be produced by chlorine and ammonia - is banned by the Geneva Protocol, of which Syria is a signatory.
The attacks, which in some cases used canisters marked with their chemical contents, were conducted by helicopter. In the Syrian civil war, only the regime has access to aerial power, making it now certain that the recent chemical attacks could only have been carried out by the regime, not the opposition. More...
These new poison gas attacks have been going on for some time now, since February, and yet they have received little notice in the US mainstream media, there has almost been a media blackout on these attacks. Why is that and what will Bashar al-Assad conclude from the silence?
Chemical weapons body to investigate claims of chlorine gas use in SyriaUS and France believe gas has been used at least nine times since February, killing scores and wounding hundreds
By Martin Chulov
29 April 2014
The global body supervising the surrender of Syria's chemical weapons is to investigate fresh claims that a less dangerous – but still lethal – chlorine gas has been used in recent attacks on opposition areas.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has announced it will investigate allegations that chlorine has been used at least nine times since February, killing scores of people and wounding hundreds more.
The move follows intensive lobbying from the US and France who have both indicated in the past fortnight that they believe the Syrian government has been responsible for the attacks.
Activists have chronicled the aftermath of all the incidents and, in some cases, shot video of helicopters dropping large explosive barrels that emitted noxious clouds across areas in which residents showed symptoms of being exposed to gas. More...
There is a Holocaust in #Aleppo #Save_Aleppo #SaveAleppo #Syria #سوريا pic.twitter.com/S20Jfm2Mt7
— كلنا حمزة الخطيب (@HamzaAlshaheed) April 4, 2014
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