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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Fake Adra massacre photos expose bloody hands on Left

This can also be considered Item 12 in the series started in Through the Looking-Glass: Viet Cong Terrorism and Syria

Timed to coincide with the beginning of a new assault on Aleppo by helicopters carrying barrel bombs, an assault that has so far cost more than four hundred lives, the world of pro-Assad media began chortling about an ugly new massacre of civilians, some of who had their heads cut off, that had just been carried out by the terrorist opposition in Adra, Syria. Although the BBC News reported that "An attack by Islamist rebels has left at least 10 people dead over the past two days in the Syrian town of Adra," 13 Dec 2013 the pro-Assad, Russian state funded, RT reported a much bigger story:
‘Whole families murdered’: Syrian rebels execute over 80 civilians...
15.12.2013 19:18
Over 80 civilians in a town northwest of the Syrian capital of Damascus have been executed by Islamist rebels, sources within the Syrian military told RT. Many others were kidnapped to be used as human shields. More...
As you will see from the investigative reporting done below, we have every reason to question the veracity of this RT report, or any of the evidence being promoted to prove Assad's opposition has committed atrocities in Adra, or even whether the claimed massacre has taken place at all.

If this turns out to be the case, it won't be the first time the Assad PR people brought out phoney claims of "rebel atrocities" to divert attention from their own intensified killing. On 24 December 2011, the regime needed to change the subject from the massacre it had carried out 20 Dec in the village of Kakar Quaid, Idlib Province, when suspiciously, a pair of suicide attacks, predicted only days before by the foreign minister, happen in Damascus, and just after the Arab League observers had come to town! Ammar Abdulhamid wrote of this on Christmas Day, 2011:
It’s amazing how “terrorist” attacks in Syria always occur at a time when it’s very convenient for the Assads to have them. Pleeease! Some of us were not even fooled the first time around, to be fooled now.
Most of the photo comparisons below were documented earlier at @lopforum Syria Statistics & Collated Articles in Alleged Adra Massacre Collated Media. I made a few additions or substitution where I found better material. Mainly I contributed the formating and the text.

An Essay on uruknet.info titled Questions about the evidence of the alleged Adra Massacre asks some good ones:
What is an "official source"? RT told us that their source was an escapee, does this official refer to the same thing or is there a different source? The source appears to report that 200 people were killed according to their 'sectarian affiliations' but how can that source estimate this number? Also the source then appears to have stuck around til the evening to watch the government 'burned the homes of some government officials'? Would this source have done that after watching 200 people be executed?
After almost three years of bloodshed it should be clear to everyone that killing large numbers of civilians is a major component of Bashar al-Assad's strategy for defeating any opposition to his dictatorship and remaining in power. His concocted stories about terrorist massacres done by his opposition are another component part of his strategy for staying in power.

He can use these stories, whether real, false flag or completely made up, to scare most of the Christians, Shia, Allawite, Kurds and other minorities into supporting him for fear of these sectarian atrocities.

He can use them to morally condemn the revolutionary opposition and have a chilling effect on support for them.

He can use them to make his own brutal regime sound more acceptable by comparison.

Most importantly, it gives those outside of Syria a good excuse to look the other way and do nothing while the Syrian government slaughters thousands of Syrian civilians. "Its a civil war" and "Both sides commit war crimes, etc."

This anti-revolution propaganda campaign is being conducted by the Assad Regime because it directly supports its main strategy of wholesale slaughter. Those on the Left that uncritically promote stories like this from RT and SANA aid Assad's main strategy and they have a lot of blood on their hands.

Leave the Matrix! See what is really going on....

Warning Graphic Violence in Images Below!

On 12 Dec 2013, Al Alam posted a video just below the title of its headline story "Syria rebels attack Adra homes, piles of bodies." This screenshot, taken ~00:18 into the video does show a pile of bodies. The article says:
According to Al Alam reporter Mazen Salmo, militants from the terrorist Jaysh al-Islam group and al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front attacked Adra on Wednesday and started killing people, family by family.

A video showed piles of dead bodies in houses, among them children, who were killed during militants’ attack.
The problem is that this same image of a pile of bodies was provided to this Algerian website by the Syrian news agency [SANA] as the image of people massacred by "terrorists groups" in Homs back in April. The accompanying description was translated by Google to read:
Homs / A terrorist group has carried out a massacre against number of citizens in a previously removed farm in the district of Deir Baalbé in Homs.

The terrorists committed their crime with composure before mutilating the bodies of victims in the farm that has been transformed into a place of torture, where authorities found sharp metal tools and chemicals to make explosives.
The offer of this same image as proof in these two separate massacres, that the Assad regime alleges its opposition committed, raises serious questions about whether either alleged massacre has occurred.

These next two falsely labelled images are in a Syrian News Channel broadcast on the so-called Adra massacre that can also be found on You Tube where it has over 16 thousand views.

This screenshot was taken ~ 01:15 into the YouTube video where it is claimed to show people massacred in Adra in December 2013.
Here is the same image of dead bodies from tHE rHizzonE in May 2013 where it is said to show "Free Syrian Army massacres being ignored by the media" in Homs.

Apparently they felt so ignored that they thought it safe to recycle the same images for another massacre.
This screenshot was taken ~ 01:18 into the YouTube video were it is claimed to show children massacred in Adra in December 2013.
Here are the same dead children. Here it is claimed they were massacred by the FSA in Homs eighteen months earlier in May 2012.

This picture was published 17 December 2013 10:07pm under the headline "Adra massacre: Militants show photos of those they beheaded:"
Extremist militants have posted photos of people they have beheaded in Syria’s Adra, located near capital Damascus.

Survivors have been describing unprecedented levels of atrocities committed by the extremist militants who attacked their town to kill.

But here we see the same photo, dated almost a year earlier [29.12.2012] on the badly named Syria Truth website where it claimed to be FSA members killed in four days of fighting in Homs. According to the Google translates it says "What it shows is the effects of a firefight." Apparently it is clip art to them and shows whatever "rebel massacre" they are promoting at the moment.

This tweet and photo was published 18 Dec 2013 by RT under the heading "Russia condemns Adra massacre, calls on world community to react." The RT article says:
Those who managed to flee the violence in Adra and reach Damascus say they saw the militants slaughtering Alawites, Druze, Christians and Shiites indiscriminately. Fearing their interviews might do harm to their relatives still in the occupied town, the fugitive survivors asked not to reveal their identities.

The tweet claims to show Tartous loyalists massacred at Adra being buried and even sarcastically asks where are pictures from the burials of the sarin gas attacks in Ghouta, implying that if you don't show pictures, it didn't really happen.

The problem is that RT's funeral pictures are fake. They were published earlier, 23 Nov 2013 in Suriye Gercekleri and said to be a funeral of soldiers killed in a suicide attack, in al Nabk.

RT is usually careful to put some space between itself and the lies it tells. It will put on commentators who give their opinions as facts and it will use a lot of here say. In this case it uses anonymous witnesses and fake pictures embedded in tweets.

One of the most grotesque aspects of the reported massacres at Adra were the stories of rebel beheadings. This is a picture al Alam ran to document this under the headline Adra massacre: Militants show photos of those they beheaded.

Here is the same beheading picture on another pro-Assad site. The problem is this was on 02 Dec 2013, almost two weeks before the events in Adra and is used to illustrate beheadings the regime claimed took place in the predominantly Christian town of Maaloula.

This image was promoted as a picture of the alleged "rebel massacre" at Adra in al Alam and RT Arabic among other places.

The problem here is that the Daily Beast already used this photo three months ago. They said it was "Bodies of Syrian rebels lie on ground where they were killed during an ambush by Syrian forces near the Damascus suburb of Adra, Syria, August 7, 2013, according to the Syrian official news agency SANA. (SANA/AP)"

Sadly these false stories, backed by this false proof, was happily spread far and wide by many held in high regard in the "antiwar" or "anti-imperialist" movements. For example AntiWar.com ran this piece only days after the alleged massacre was reported, so how much "fact checking" could they have done?
Syrian Islamists Execute 80 Druze, Alawites and Christians in Adra
Locals Blame al-Qaeda Faction for Massacres
by Jason Ditz, December 16, 2013
The brief rebel-offensive against the Damascus suburb of Adra, and the Syrian military is once again in control. As usual, it was the civilians that bore the brunt of the clash, with reports of mass kidnappings and 80 civilians executed by the rebels before they were ousted.

The rebels, identified as al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra faction by locals, began targeting Druze, Alawite and Christian residents early on in the siege of the city, kidnapping them en masse. More...
Those that promote this stuff, like Jason Ditz and AntiWar.com, should know that they are in the brutal business of helping a fascist regime use murder as a weapon of mass suppression and cover up its crimes.

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

RT comments show genocidal mentality still with us

The story of Bashar al-Assad's Christmas barrel bombing of Aleppo, which has gone on for ten days now, has finally gotten so big that even RT can't ignore it!
Over 360 killed in Syrian army airstrikes on Aleppo - activists

December 24, 2013 17:15
Syrian warplanes have killed at least 15 people in Aleppo, raising the death toll to over 360 during the past 10 days of bombings, activists said. The opposition says it will not attend the Geneva-2 peace talks if the regime continues to launch air raids.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said the airstrikes hit Aleppo’s opposition-controlled Sukkari district on Tuesday, killing eight civilians and injuring several others. Government forces also bombed the city’s Marjeh neighborhood, which resulted in the deaths of five civilians - including three children. More...
While I consider the publication of the RT piece something of a breakthrough, I am truly terrified by some of the comments that have been left by some RT readers. They show that the mentality that has been used to justify mass murder on huge scales in the past is alive and well in the twenty first century. Sadly, some on the Left are allied with this fascist mentality:
PeaceKeeper 24.12.2013 19:08

Terrorist Risking Population by hiding among them and using them as Human Shield. God willing all Terrorists may be buried alive in this kind of rubble.
1ns1de J9b 24.12.2013 18:54

No one can live within those extremist strongholds unless they support the extremists. So in reality there are no "civilians" ; in such areas.
Gary David 24.12.2013 18:29

More naked apes killing other naked apes. Homo Sapiens capacity for love being surpassed by the instinct to kill. On with the body count! Just blaming one group of naked ape people isn't going to fix a darn thing.
Saied_RF 24.12.2013 17:52

'SOHR' has little credibility. Because all of his sources are only oppositions and terrorists. The false claim of high casualties in the Aleppo's air raid is only a distraction in order to conceal the heinous crimes of terrorists, especially Al-Qaeda.

They can never conceal the barbaric crimes of these western back mercenaries particularly in Damascus suburbs('Adra' city) and also the massacre in 'Lattakia" .
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Monday, December 23, 2013

Syria: What does the Media mean by "rebel held areas?"

It means they are using the language and taking the stand of the Assad dictatorship. Let me explain why I say this by telling you a little about my weekend.

On Saturday I went to an event on Pico Blvd in Mid-city organized by the Syrian American Council in Los Angeles. The main attraction was two activists from Syria. Razaniyat Ghazzawi, a Syrian activist and blogger and Raed Fares, the man who lead in the creation of Kafranbel's famous banners, demonstrations and political cartoons. Kafranbel is a small town of about 30,000 - before the conflict - that was unknown, even to most Syrians. Today it has become world famous as a center of art and culture for the Syrian Revolution. It is what the media would call a "rebel held area." [revised as per comment from Razaniyat]

Raed Fares at Sunday's event
As Raed Fares and Razaniyat Ghazzawi described what I might call the arc of the revolution. They told of the first local protests in the wake of the Arab Spring with numbers in the dozens but those numbers grew especially fast because Raed Fares led in the creation of colorful banners, many of them in English, cartoons and artwork to promote the struggle against the Assad regime. As their numbers grew, so did attacks on the peaceful protests. But the people were undeterred.

“In April 2011, we launched a revolution in Syria,” Raed Fares said through an interpreter. “Don’t call it a civil war; it’s a revolution.”
As the struggle intensified, eventually they formed up a Free Syrian Army Brigade, from among the men of Kafranbel, and attacked and cleared the Assad Regime checkpoints. As soon as they cleared the town of all regime forces, Assad's airforce started bombing the town three times a day. It was regular, they told us the times but I didn't take notes. They were also cut off from the grid. The only electricity has been from gas powered generators and gas is hard to come by. The incessant bombing has taken its told, the city has been reduced to rubble and hundreds of people have been killed and practically every one has sustained some kind of injury. Still they won't give in to the regime.

Protest in "rebel held" Kafranbel | 6 Dec 2013

They found they had to re-invent civil society themselves, with mixed results. Raed Fares said "We tried a military council and that fell apart, we tried a local council, and that fell apart." They've had to rebuilt schools and clinics, do without the help of Damascus, and tend to the needs of their community. Now their latest problem is the ISIS, or Da'āsh, the Islamic fundamentalist group. They said they don't intend to trade one master for another. Still they soldier on.

They call their city a liberate it area, because they have removed the regime controls on the ground and are free to organize things the way the local community desires. The regime calls it a "rebel held area" implying that an invading army of foreign jhadists has taken over the city at gun point and the NATO mainstream media agrees because you will never hear them refer to any liberated areas in Syria, they are always "rebel held areas" that need to be brought back under control. The last thing the chiefs of NATO want to see, even in Syria, is autonomous communities running their own affairs. So they spend this fiction of "rebel held areas" which then in turn, allows Bashar al-Assad to blame the wholesale bombing of "rebel held areas" on the "rebels" who are using the otherwise loyal citizens as "human shields."

When the mainstream media uses the phrase "rebel held areas" they are selling us the prospective of the master, in this case, the prospective of the fascist dictator Bashar al-Assad. And most of the US Left just laps it up!

Since writing about the origins of the phrase "Viet Cong," I have been thinking about how they shape the language to build support for a certain political view. But then, how could it be otherwise? It just depends which view, that of the master or that of the slave, because they have different and conflicting interests.

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Why the US military should make the AK-47 its standard

The answer to that is both simple and obvious: Because it is the best!

Let's face it, when you are going into combat, when you are going to be facing opponents who are similarly armed with some sort of automatic assault weapon, you want the very best automatic assault weapon in the world.

When your life is on the line, you want to be driving a Ferrari not a Ford.

That's what your family would want for you.

And the very best general purpose automatic assault weapon on the planet is the trusty old AK-47. The jury has been in on that for a long time. The voting has been done by men,..and women, who bet their lives on it.
Even during Vietnam War, and that was 50 years ago, a many a GI was happy to get his hands on the trusty AK-47. It didn't jam so much. What would you pay for a gun that didn't jam so much when you're out in the jungle?

Since then it has been adopted by about 50 countries, and every gangster, terrorist, revolutionary and mercenary that is not so beholding to a particular national capitalist group that he isn't free to chose his own weapon, has chosen the AK-47. We don't even have to have that debate.

Therefore if the rulers of our military really lose any sleep over the safety of our troops, as they claim, they should "bite the bullet," seems the appropriate phrase, and arm our soldiers with the best. They can make it here, maybe they can even make it better, but they should license it from Russia or China or do whatever they have to do to make it legal and pay due respect to Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947, more commonly referred to as the AK-47.

I don't think it was an accident that Mikhail Kalashnikov invented this weapon, just as I don't think it was an accident that his legendary weapon was invented so soon after World War II in Russia. Mikhail Kalashnikov was a brilliant gun designer and he was in a position to synthesis those extremely hard won [12 million military dead in USSR] lessons of infantry combat under some of the most extreme environmental conditions. He understood how to make it simple and he understood how to make it work.

Mikhail Kalashnikov was also a poet. He died today, age 94.

Aleppo school bombed as more killed by Assad in 8th day of slaugher in Syria

Thanks to Assad's brutality in the 21st century, we all know what we we would have done had we known about the great holocaust of the 20th century while it was happening.
  • The mainstream media would have covered it up and not reported it even if film and testimony were available at the time.
  • Our government would have done nothing to stop it because we are not in the business of humanitarian intervention.
  • The Left would have demanded that our government do nothing in the name of "humanitarian intervention."
  • The anti-war movement would have said it is not our fight and opposed any our foreign intervention.
  • Democracy Now would have ignored it.
I know, without a doubt, what I would have done. What would you have done?

This is not Civil War. This is simply Murder

Peter Clifford reports, 23 Dec 2013 14:05 GMT:
President Assad’s genocidal barrel-bombing campaign on Aleppo province continued over the weekend, killing an estimated 93 people, in addition to the 200+ killed in the previous 5 days.

These Children Got a Special Delivery from Assad at Their School

The total of those injured now well exceeds 1,000. At least 28 of the latest deaths are thought to be those of children.

Over 2 days, Assad’s aircraft have dropped at least 25 barrel-bombs on 5 different districts, hitting a school, a market and a line of 10 vehicles including a bus. All those inside the bus were killed.

Hassoun Abu Faisal, an activist with the Aleppo Media Center said, “The medics say they are removing people in parts; they aren’t sure how many there are.”

The main districts affected were Hanano, Al-Ahmadiya, Sakhour, Baideen, and Ard al-Hamra, plus the countryside villages of Marea and Atarib.

In Marea children were hurt while classes were in progress, and in Aleppo city itself 2 of the victims killed were ambulance workers rushing to help the injured.

These Children Got a Special Christmas from Assad at Their School
Elementary school bombed while classes were in session.

More bombs hit Bab al Nayreb in Aleppo just minutes ago | 23 Dec 2013 7:05am pst

This little boy calls for his rescued sister in a collapse building | 20 Dec 2013

This little boy was found alive under the rubble | 21 Dec 2013

This child didn't make it | Marjah, Aleppo | 23 Dec 2013

AP is reporting:
Aleppo Air Strike Death Toll Raised

By DIAA HADID 12/23/13 08:57 AM ET EST
BEIRUT (AP) — Government forces widened a bombing campaign in rebel-held areas of northern Syria on Monday, striking one of the main border towns near Turkey and killing 15 people, said activists.

The attack on Azaz was the latest attack using powerful but inaccurate "barrel bombs" on the northern city of Aleppo and its surrounding towns and villages, said an activist who goes by the name of Abu al-Hassan Marea. He said residents in the town told him that 15 people were killed in the strike. Another activist group, the Local Coordination Committees, gave the same death toll.

The Azaz attack suggests the government is expanding its range of targets a week after it began an unusually heavy air offensive against Aleppo on Dec. 15., dropping barrel bombs on rebel-held areas from helicopters. Aleppo, Syria's largest city, is divided into government-and-rebel-ruled areas. More...
Vehicles burning after the airstrike on Hananao | 22 Dec 2013

A train in the Al-Muslimiyah neighbourhood| 22 Dec 2013

Al Jourm Houria reports:
300 dead in 8 days of air raids on Syria's Aleppo

Syrian warplanes have killed more than 300 people, including 87 children, in an eight-day bombing campaign against rebel-held parts of the northern city of Aleppo, a monitor said Monday.

"From December 15 to 22, 301 people have been killed, including 87 children, 30 women and 30 rebels," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists and witnesses on the ground to track the civil war.

Opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad accuse his forces of dropping explosives-filled barrels on rebel-held areas in an effort to demoralize their supporters and turn them against the insurgents.

A security source told Agence France Presse on Monday that the army had adopted the tactic because of a lack of ground forces, and argued the heavy civilian toll was because the rebels were in residential areas. More...
The Assad Regime is suffering from "a lack of ground forces" because so many have defected. Its just not that easy to get Syrians to kill other Syrians even though Assad does all he can to stoke sectarian hatred. So even with the foreign intervention of soldiers from Iran, Iraq, Russia and Hezbullah, he can't kill fast enough without using his airforce.

Shahba Press Agency playlist on attacks on Aleppo | 20-23 Dec 2013

Marrjah, Aleppo | Students describe when school was bombed | 22 Dec 2013

AFP is reporting:
Syria bombards Aleppo, killing hundreds

The vicious air campaign has seen regime aircraft drop barrels of TNT onto rebel-held neighborhoods.
23 Dec 2013
BEIRUT - Syrian warplanes have killed more than 300 people, including 87 children, in an eight-day bombing campaign in the second city of Aleppo a month before planned peace talks.

The vicious air campaign has seen regime aircraft drop barrels of TNT onto rebel-held neighborhoods -- a tactic widely condemned as unlawful -- flooding hospitals with victims, according to activists, medics and other witnesses.

The attacks come as President Bashar al-Assad's forces have advanced on several fronts in recent weeks while Western nations have been preoccupied with Syria's chemical disarmament and preparing for January peace talks. More...

More homes destroyed by Assad's warplanes and missiles | Sukhari, Aleppo | 23 Dec 2013

Vietnam: American Holocaust [DVD]The bottom-line is I still really need your support. I often think that if I got a nickel for every time someone watched Vietnam: American Holocaust, I would be on easy street, but even though Google runs ads against it, they won't allow me to, so after 460,000 free views on YouTube, I feel that I am being forced to withdraw it to the pay-per-view market.

More than I ever have before. I need your support to help Linux Beach continue the work of getting out the news and views that may not turn a profit but are part of a dialogue that is essential for humanity going forward. If you are in a position to make a contribution is this work, no matter how small, I urge you to do so. You may make a contribution safely via PayPal to Linux Beach here. Tax deductible contributions towards the completion of our film in progress, Vietnam: People's Victory, can be made through our fiscal sponsor, "From the Heart." Checks can be made to "Linux Beach" and sent to the address below. Even if you can only afford to buy a DVD, that would be a great help. Don't you know a school or library that still doesn't have a copy of Vietnam: American Holocaust, or anything else that tells the anti-war side of that story, on its shelves? That film, graciously narrated by Martin Sheen, which Ron Kovic called "essential viewing for all Americans" is available at Amazon, and all my titles, including the two new ones, are available at Linux Beach.

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas

Clay Claiborne

Linux Beach Productions
116 Rose Ave #9
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 581-1536

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Through the Looking-Glass: Viet Cong Terrorism and Syria

The "Viet Cong" was an entirely American creation. I don't mean that the armed wing of the National Liberation Front which, together with the North Vietnamese Army, defeated the US military and made Vietnam whole again, was an American creation. That was entirely created by the blood and tears of the Vietnamese people beginning with their Declaration of Independence in 1945 and known for the first decade of its existence as the Viet Minh.

Today, the Viet Minh is known only to careful students of Vietnamese history. Just about everyone else in the literate world knows them as the Viet Cong, or simply as the VC. That term, "Viet Cong," was the creation of a US Army Psychological Operations officer by the name of Everest Bumgardner, and the true origins of that label is now so lost to us that a Google search for "origins of the name Viet Cong" doesn't even find what I am about to tell you in the first few pages of search results, if it is to be found at all. Fortunately, it is preserved by Neil Sheehan in A Bright Shining Lie, John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam, p.189:
Around this time, Bumgardner remembered, USIS discovered that “Viet Minh” was an appellation of patriotism and that Diem was doing the Communists a favor by identifying all Viet Minh as Reds. The American psychological warriors invented the term "Viet Cong," an abbreviation of "Vietnamese Communists," and persuaded the Saigon newspaper to start substituting it for "Viet Minh" later in 1956.

Bumgardner recalled how difficult it was to get Diem to say "Viet Cong" consistently instead of "Viet Minh." (Americans assumed the new term was derogatory because in their dictionary "Communism" was a synonym for "evil.") Diem was not the only one who had difficulty growing accustomed to the USIS artifice. As late as the spring of 1959, Maj. Gen. Samuel Myers, the returning deputy chief of the MAAG, spoke with satisfaction of the Denunciation of Communist Campaign to a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He boasted that "the Vietminh guerrillas...were gradually nibbled away until they ceased to be a major menace to the Government."

The term "Viet Cong" eventually did come into common usage within the American community and the Saigon government by the early 1960s, as a result of hard work by Bumgardner and his colleagues.
Obviously the US PsyOps warriors enjoyed much more success than the violent ones because even though the US lost the war, it is remembered that they lost it to the North Vietnamese Army and the "Viet Cong" or "VC," few people even remember the name Viet Minh.

While such propaganda tricks as Bumgarder's word games played a role, the foundation of America's strategy for winning the Vietnam War was sheer military power. First President Johnson and then President Nixon assumed it would win the war for them. It was simply and coldly a matter of slaughtering enough of the opposition. They both assumed that if they killed enough people, the opposition would cry uncle and give in, but they were wrong.

This is also President Bashar al-Assad's strategy for defeating the revolution in Syria, and like the American Presidents, who together killed more than three million Vietnamese, Assad finds it most efficient to create this carnage with something his opponents don't have, air power. In Vietnam, the US dropped the equivalent of 640 Hiroshima-size nuclear bombs on that country. They also used chemical weapons in the form of Agent Orange and like Assad, they used cluster bombs, jellied gasoline and incendiaries to burn crops and starve the civilian population.

At the time, the US media did little or no reporting on this aerial terror campaign of "Death from Above." For example, Nixon's illegal air war against Cambodia, which took 800,000 lives in that small country, was kept secret from the American people and the world until well after the war. Of course, it wasn't a secret to the Cambodians.

What the media and the government did talk about was alleged Viet Cong terrorism. There was no end to the reporting on the "VC terrorist." This 1965 article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch will give you the flavor of such news coverage [Friday June 25, 1965]:
Forty eight (48) are killed as Terrorists Bomb Saigon Restaurant- 18 Americans Among Dead - 100 Wounded.

Terrorist bombs shattered a floating restaurant on the Saigon river here tonight and killed at least 29 persons, including eight Americans.

Two big explosions sounded almost simultaneously from the river bank. Witnesses said they believed that as many as 50 persons may have died in the crowded restaurant, the My Canh, and on the riverside boulevard nearby.

Police said that 17 of the dead were Caucasians, and presumably most of these were Americans. Of six Viet Namese dead in the initial count, most were women. A United States military spokesman said the dead included five U.S. servicemen and three American Civilians. He said 30 persons injured were targeted at American installations. One hundred or more persons were wounded.
In sheer power the blasts were exceeded by several others, including the bombing last Christmas eve of an officers hotel and the bombing in March of the United States Embassy. Although Viet Namese police patrol the Saigon waterfront, the My Canh restaurant has not been regarded as a likely prime terrorist target. There were no American military police near the establishment when the blasts occurred. The scene is about 500 yards from the U.S. Embassy, which is heavily guarded since it was damaged March 30 by a terrorist bomb that killed 30 persons.
While there is little doubt that the Viet Cong did carry out what could be called terrorists attacks, we have every reason to doubt the veracity of such one sided reports.

Here is a bit of the narrative from my film, Vietnam: American Holocaust:
PRU was the enforcement arm of the Phoenix program and the Phoenix program was the CIA organized program of assassination and terror in Vietnam. Among other things, Americans on these teams would often carry out operations while dressed to look like the Viet Cong.
When Martin Sheen first read those lines in the studio he added "That was very true. I met one of those guys. Nuttier than a fruit cake. But they were so self destructive."

This means we must take news reports like the one offered to us by the Post Dispatch above with something like a table spoon of salt because we don't really know if the described terrorist attacks took place, and if they did, we don't know who was really behind them. But as Bumgardner knew all to well, effective propaganda is as important as bombs in winning wars and we can guess that blowing up restaurants and the like benefited the US and the Saigon governments a great deal more than it did the National Liberation Front.

We see a similar pattern in Syria today. Assad is covering a massive bombing campaign against civilians by reporting one grotesque terror attack after another which he charges are carried out by his opposition while keeping quiet about his own air assaults that are doing a lions share of the killing, and sadly many on the Left are only too happy to repeat uncritically each new report from Russia Today or the Syrian government news service as though it were gospel.

Is there any reason to doubt these reports? Consider these ten items:

Item 1
The Assad regime has a long history of collaborating with Islamic terrorists and other extremists. This type of activity started with Bashar al-Assad's father, Hafez Assad. In the 1970's and 1980's Syria and Syrian occupied Lebanon became a safe haven for some of the most violent terror groups in the region and beyond. This is what the US State Department "1995 Patterns of Global Terrorism" had to say about Syria:
Syria provides safehaven and support for several groups that engage in international terrorism. Spokesmen for some of these groups, particularly Palestinian rejectionists, continue to claim responsibility for attacks in Israel and the occupied territories/Palestinian autonomous areas. Several radical terrorist groups maintain training camps or other facilities on Syrian territory and in Syrian-controlled areas of Lebanon, such as Ahmad Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC), which has its headquarters near Damascus. Syria grants basing privileges or refuge to a wide variety of groups engaged in terrorism. These include HAMAS, the PFLP-GC, the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Japanese Red Army (JRA).

The terrorist group Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) continues to train in the Al Biqa' (Bekaa Valley), and its leader, Abdullah Ocalan, resides at least part-time in Syria. The PKK in 1995 conducted with limited success a violent campaign against Turkish tourist spots frequented by foreigners, as well as other terrorist violence in Europe.
Item 2
During the US-Iraq War, Bashar al-Assad provided safehaven and ran the "rat-line" for al Qaeda fighting in Iraq. Speaking of the 2003-2011 Iraq War, Rowan Scarborough, writing in the Washington Times says:
Mr. Assad allowed al Qaeda operatives to set up a “rat line” through his country and into northeastern Iraq. Hundreds of young terrorists, many recruited from North Africa, took airline flights into Damascus and joined networks ready to sneak them across the border.
Thousands of al Qaeda recruits moved through Syria into Iraq in the mid- to late 2000s, said a former military intelligence official who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss what he did in Iraq. In some instances, the U.S. intercepted 10 to 20 in one group trying to make their way to the homes of a network commander.

“Inside Syria, they moved from safe house to safe house,” the former official said. “They crossed the border at check stations where they had sympathizers or paid off dirty guards.”
[Retired Army] Gen. [John M.] Keane, recalling briefings he received in Baghdad, said the Assad regime actively promoted the flow of terrorists into Iraq.

“Syria intelligence services facilitated the movement of al Qaeda fighters from Damascus airport to the eastern border of Syria,” he said.

At Damascus airport, he said, they were easy to pick out: “Bearded. One-way ticket. Very little luggage.”
For the purpose of this discussion, the ethics of Assad's use of al Qaeda to combat US imperialism in Iraq is besides the point, which is that the Assad Regime has enjoyed close contact and a good working relationship with some of the same forces, and even some of the same personalities, that it now claims are 80-90% of the people it is now fighting against in Syria.

After the US withdrew from Iraq, Assad had these al Qaeda terrorists locked up, saying they were a threat to state security. He also announced that he was now a willing partner in the US "War on Terror" and began cooperating with the CIA's torture and special rendition program. Using Seymour Hersh as a conduit, he sent a message to Obama [6 Apr 2009]:
Assad, in his interview with me, acknowledged, “We do not say that we are a democratic country. We do not say that we are perfect, but we are moving forward.” And he focused on what he had to offer. He said that he had a message for Obama: Syria, as a secular state, and the United States faced a common enemy in Al Qaeda and Islamic extremism.
After mass democracy protests broke out in March 2011, he declared an amnesty and released them from prison. In fact, between March and June of 2011, Assad declared three separate amnesties. Al Jazeera reported, 21 Jun 2011:
Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president, has ordered a new general amnesty for all crimes committed in the country up until June 20, in another apparent attempt to calm months of protests against his rule.

The state news agency, SANA, announced the move on Tuesday, nearly a month after Assad issued a similar amnesty for all political crimes.

"President Assad has issued a decree granting a general amnesty for crimes committed before the date of June 20, 2011," SANA reported, without giving details.

The president ordered a reprieve on May 31 for all political prisoners in the country, including members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Hundreds of detainees were released, according to rights groups.
That last was a big deal because in Assad's Syria, mere membership in the Muslim Brotherhood could get one the death penalty. Bashar al-Assad said these amnesties were meant as concessions to the democracy movement, but that explanation just doesn't stand up to scrutiny because while he was releasing Islamic terrorists and even common criminals from his prisons, he was shooting unarmed peaceful protesters in ever increasing numbers.

It is recognized that some of those released in these amnesties eventually found new homes in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIS] and al Nusra Front, and given his past cozy relationships with these people, it is very easy to imagine that some of them became his covert agents and are working for him still.

Farid Ghadry, a Syrian writer from Aleppo, summed up the situation recently, 19 Dec 2013, in a piece titled "Assad is al-Qaeda:"
During the Iraq War, Assad trained, supplied, and facilitated al-Qaeda’s terror against US troops causing over 4,400 casualties and 32,000 wounded. In response, the US chose not to confront him. Not one shot was fired to weaken Assad with the exception of one raid on the Syrian-Iraqi town border of Bou Kamal that netted an al-Qaeda facilitator recruited by the Assad regime to wreak havoc on US troops. Most people have forgotten how and by whom US troops were killed in Iraq.

Forward to today’s civil war in Syria where Assad, fearing US threats to strike him, re-deployed the same Iraqi tactics by empowering and inviting the same al-Qaeda he trained to join the war in Syria against his rule. This was a high price gamble Assad reasoned would scare once again the Americans into submitting to the threat of al-Qaeda as they did in Iraq. Never forget that Assad is the arsonist and the firefighter both at once. All those voices screaming “better Assad than al-Qaeda” are but fools who fell for Assad’s ploy once again.
Item 3
Abdullah al-Omar is a defector that claims he worked in the press office of the presidential palace in Damascus, as part of a 15-person team under the direction of long-time government spokeswoman and presidential adviser Bouthaina Shabaan. After he defected in Sept 2012, CNN conducted a four hour interview with him and reported:
Until he defected and fled the Syrian capital last month, al-Omar said, the bulk of his work consisted of lying.

"Our job was to fabricate, make deceptions and cover up for Bashar al-Assad's crimes," he said.

It is impossible to independently confirm al-Omar's claims. The fact that he freely admits to a career as a government propagandist makes him a somewhat unreliable whistle-blower.

However, the editorial director of a pro-rebel media organization who asked not to be named for security reasons confirmed to CNN that he knows al-Omar worked for Syrian secret police.

"He is the biggest informant for the Al Jawiya," the Syrian journalist said, referring to Syria's much-feared air force intelligence agency. "He was a very strong informant who worked for the palace and worked for Bouthaina (Shabaan)."

During a four-hour interview in Istanbul, al-Omar described in detail some of the propaganda methods used by pro-government media.

During the government's artillery bombardment of the rebel-held neighborhood of Baba Amr in the city of Homs, loyalist women were brought in and disguised as locals for government television interviews, he said.

"The women would say that the massacres against men, women and children were perpetrated by armed gangs, when it was actually the Syrian regime, security forces and the Shabiha" -- the pro-government militia -- "who were behind these horrendous acts," al-Omar said.

These claims are backed by the accounts of residents of Homs, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal at the hands of Syrian security forces.

"I remember that day as if it was yesterday, when state TV showed Assad parading through Baba Amr, not a single resident was from the area," said a native of Homs, now exiled to neighboring Lebanon. "They brought them from neighboring towns from the countryside so they could pretend he was getting a hero's welcome, that he was greeted as a beloved leader, when in reality everyone in Homs knew he was behind the destruction of every house and the killing of every innocent civilian on Homs and every other city in Syria."
Al-Omar said al-Assad worked out of an office about 30 meters down the corridor from the room where the press department was stationed. He claimed the beleaguered president was obsessed with foreign media coverage of Syria.

"Bashar al-Assad has 16 TV screens in the meeting room, in his office, and also in the press office," the defector said. "Most news channels on the top row of the TV screens were Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, BBC, CNN. ... He considered media people his first enemy. He hated them more than the revolution of the Free Syrian Army, especially the foreign reporters who enter Syria, because these were people who were showing the true picture and truth about what's happening in Syria. ...

"He would get very angry and swear, cursing the secret police and security forces saying, why can't they find out where these reporters are, capture them and 'bring them to me so that I can kill them.'" [Al Jazeera video now blocked in the US]
Item 4
Adham Saif al-Din, writing for Asharq Al-Awsat, 4 Jan 2013, spoken to an anonymous "Syrian regime media defector, who previously worked at the pro-Assad Addounia TV" and reported:
Al-Arabiya published a video, leaked by the same media defector, which shows a young Syrian woman – her features blurred to protect her identity – relating the story of how she was kidnapped by Syrian rebels in the city of Harasta in Rif Dimashq governorate. Following this, we see a clip of one of the young men confessing to his part in this kidnapping; the only problem is that the story is a complete sham. In fact, the compete video clip shows the young Syrian woman – her features uncovered – relating the same story, only this time smiling and stumbling over her lines.

The Syrian defector informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “the scene will have been pre-prepared at one of the security branches. Following this, Syrian state media correspondents will go to record confessions with the speaker being prompted in what he must say to harm the Syrian revolution and revolutionary forces.”

He added “the large number of security branches and their lack of coordination means that sometimes blatant contradictions appear on television such as with regards to the killing of Sarriya Hassoun, the son of Syrian Grand Mufti Ahmed Badreddin Hassoun. Syrian state television broadcast the confession of two separate terrorist cells – telling two different stories – regarding Sarriya Hassoun’s death. Of course, both stories highlighted the aspects that the Syrian regime wanted highlighting.”
Item 5
Nawaf Fares, formerly Syria's ambassador to Iraq, defected in July 2012. He was interviewed by James Bay of Al Jazeera live on Inside Syria. Among the many interesting things he said was that all the large explosions in Damascus were not the work of terrorist but of the regime. He said the explosion that struck the intelligence headquarters, most people got a 15 minute notice to get out of the building. that's how he knew it was the work of the regime. He said they had also done this sort of thing in Iraq. [Al Jazeera video now blocked in the US]

Item 6
From my blog post Senior Syrian Officers Defect, June 2012:

And with these defections, more of the gory details of the Assad regimes crimes came out, as with this June 3 report in Al Arabiya News:

Syrian air force officer defects, tells horrors of Houla massacre

A senior Syrian military officer decided to defect and join opposition forces after witnessing hundreds of pro-regime militiamen massacring more than 100 civilians in the town of Houla one week ago, a newspaper reported on Saturday.
However, the witness account of Major Jihad Raslan to the UK-based Observer online newspaper, defied the Syrian government’s propaganda and “made-up” scenarios.

Raslan’s account is considered to be the most important of the testimonies to have emerged since the massacre.

Raslan, who served until last Saturday in the Syrian Air Force in the strategic port city of Tartous, said he had been in Houla on leave when the town was shelled just after 1 p.m. last Friday. It was then invaded by a civilian and gang-like militia, known as the Shabiha, he said.

Raslan said he was in his house, around 300 meters from the site of the first massacre in the village of Taldous, when several hundred men, whom he knew to be Shabiha members, rode into town in cars and army trucks and on motorbikes.

“A lot of them were bald and many had beards,” he told The Observer. “Many wore white sports shoes and army pants. They were shouting: ‘Shabiha forever, for your eyes, Assad.’ It was very obvious who they were."

“We used to be told that armed groups killed people and the Free Syria Army burned down houses,” he said. “They lied to us. Now I saw what they did with my own eyes.”
The Assad regime has insisted all along that "terrorists" committed the Houla massacre and Mother Agnes-Mariam has backed it up on this, just as Assad's nun has backed his story that jihadist terrorists used sarin gas in Damascus in August. The UN, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch all looked into the Houla massacre and came to the conclusion that the regime did it, nevertheless the regime stuck to its story as expressed in this New York Times headline: Assad Condemns Houla Massacre, Blaming Terrorists.

Item 7
Al Arabiya News Exposes Assad Phony Terrorist Arms Seizures

All Voices has provided this English language description of the video:
Syria - Corrupt Syria Cops sell Video Clip of themselves planting fake arms evidence to smear pro Democracy movement. - 15000 lira was earned by one dirty cop who sold a hidden video of other dirty Cops opening packages of brand new weapons and then putting them in a pile with a bunch of weapons allegedly seized from the pro Democracy protesters. Yes - The Syria Security forces are so dirty they even will make hidden videos of each other committing crimes and evil acts and then sell the video for money.
Item 8
I broke this story myself when I showed that a photo which many Assad supporters, like the FARS News Agency, were claiming to be of children massacred by al Nusra in Tal Abyad, Syria on 5 Aug 2013, was actually a picture of children killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan a year before and credited to Daniel Berehulak of Getty Images and published on 23 July 2012. See BREAKING NEWS: Fake Photo Exposes Assad Regime Lie about Rebel Massacre in Tal Abyad

Item 9
Iran's PressTV Promotes Fake Syrian Rebel Massacre Video is a blog post I wrote about another false charge of Islamic terrorism in Syria made this August by Assad and friends:
The PressTV video does depict the very ugly scene of three men being burned alive but this didn't happen in Syria, and it wasn't done by "the al-Qaeda-affiliated group al-Nusra Front militants" as the pro-Assad propaganda outlet claims.

That video came from Iraq and was posted on-line 09 April 2011, almost two years before the events PressTV claims it is showing. It shows up as a link in a posting to the Islam Watch website on 9 April 2011 with the title Islamic Barbarism: Gays Burned Alive in Iraq. The link leads to a video posted on Zandiq.com.
Item 10
Writing for World Affairs, Michael Weiss criticizes the snap conclusions made by the Assad regime and Guardian reporter Jonathan Steele that al Qaeda has behind a Damascus bombing that took place just before Christmas two years ago on 23 Dec 2011:
Steele might wish to revisit the Assad regime’s narrative that Bin Ladenist forces are now setting things off in Damascus in coordination with not only the Syrian opposition but the United States and Israel. Surely a Guardian contributor will have found it suspicious that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem last week predicted that an al-Qaeda attack would occur in the country on the eve of the much anticipated arrival of an Arab League team of observers. Al-Moallem’s deputy, Faisal Mekdad, wasted no time lamenting his boss’s prediction come true: “On the first day after the arrival of the Arab observers,” Mekdad told the BBC shortly after the explosions were reported, “this is the gift we get from the terrorists and al-Qaeda. But we are going to do all we can to facilitate the Arab League mission.”

I love the use of the word “facilitate” in that sentence. As the prominent Syrian oppositionist Ammar Abdulhamid writes on his Syrian Revolution Digest blog, the whole purpose of Friday’s al-Qaeda Surprise story was to distract the world from witnessing yet another massacre in Idleb Province, this one focused on the village of Kafar Ouaid, where an estimated 95 people were killed in the time it took for Western eyes and ears to train on Damascus.
The timing of this attack in relationship to the arrival of Arab League observers has a troubling similarity to the timing of the August sarin gas attack in relationship to the arrival of the UN chemical weapons inspectors. Weiss continues:
According to the Syrian state media, suicide bombers drove two cars rigged with explosives to points just outside two hard-to-reach facilities: the State Security Administration building and the Military Security base in Kafarsouseh, a neighborhood in central Damascus. These facilities are preceded by several military checkpoints, and any person or vehicle desiring access to them will need to carry a special permit. Cars also tend to be searched thoroughly before being able to roll right on up to the doorstep of secret police headquarters.

When a terrorist attack is perpetrated, it takes oodles of man-hours of forensic analysis and data-gathering to determine the party responsible and the methods used. Not so in Syria. The regime’s Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported in an impressive 13 minutes that al-Qaeda was the culprit and that a man called Munir al-Binjali “conducted” the attack. The only problem is, al-Binjali is alive and well in Saudi Arabia, not blown to bits in Damascus.

Ah, but temporal contradictions are no match for Baathist logic. Syrian television cut straight to one of its many dolled-up talking heads, who reassured a troubled nation of the “arrest of the terrorists who blew themselves up today.”
While al Qaeda is usually in the habit of taking credit for its attacks, especially when they are as audacious as this one, upon hearing that they were being blamed, the al-Qaeda–linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which are based in Lebanon, issued a communiqué stating:
“The mujahideen have no connection whatsoever to these sinister bombings [in Damascus] … Those who are truly responsible are the beneficiaries, the Assad regime and its intelligence agents.”
There is much more, but these 10 items should be enough to discourage anyone from just taking the Assad Regime's word that the terror threat to Syrians is coming from the sources the regime claims.

Epilogue: Back to Vietnam

Colin Powell is now best remembered for advancing President George Bush's false claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before the United Nations, claims that were used to justify a war that cost something like a half a million lives, but he had blood on his hands long before that.

My Lai is the best known American atrocity of the Vietnam war. It involved the mass murder of over four hundred Vietnamese civilians by a US Army company in what must be called terrorism by United States forces, but at the time it was reported as the righteous killing of 128 "VC" terrorists with only 20 civilians falling into that unfortunate category of collateral damage. So you see, when the Assad slaughters civilians and reports that it was only terrorists that they had to kill to protect the people, he is taking a page right out of the American playbook.

This My Lai cover story began to unravel because a courageous 21-year-old soldier by the name of Tom Glen wrote a letter to the top general in Vietnam, General Creighton Abrams. Colin Powell, then a 31-year-old major, was assigned to investigate further and he whitewashed it, contradicting Glen's letter and saying "In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between Americal Division soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent." The true facts, as we know them today, came out because an investigative reporter by the name of Seymour M. Hersh did his job and published his findings. While the US is entirely capable of carrying out massacres and has done so far too often, to its credit, its reporters don't have to defect and worry about the safety of their families, before they tell the truth.

Wars need more than a continuous supply of ordinance to sustain them, they also require a continuous supply of lies and fabrications, at least on the side that is waging an unjust war, and every war has at least one party without justice on its side.

The view that both sides have committed war crimes, both sides have committed atrocities, has emerged as the principal excuse for not interfering with the Assad Regime's slaughter of its own people for demanding a government where people don't have to defect to tell the truth. While there is no doubt that there is some truth to the charge that "both sides have committed war crimes" because that is a cliché applicable to absolutely every war without exception, the scales of injustice are not nearly so balanced as Assad and his supporters would have you believe.

"Truth is the first causality of war" is another cliché because at least one side in every war must resort to lies to sustain it and as we can see from the above examples, the Assad regime has had to regularly resort to the most outrageous lies to justify and coverup its crimes. Wars are fought with both the pen and the sword. Therefore, all those who publish and repeat Assad regime propaganda stories as though they were facts, without having verified them quite independently of the usual unreliable sources, must be considered a part of Assad's war machine with much blood on their hands. Sadly, this includes much of the US Left.

UPDATED: [23 Dec 2013]
I have just been made aware of this:

Item 11
The National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces reports:
Assad Admits to having Groups Fighting “Within the Ranks of Opposition”

Press Statement
Syrian Coalition
Istanbul, Turkey
December 5, 2013

Arab newspapers reported that lawyers from the Jordanian bar association stated that during a meeting, Assad mentioned to them that he has “allies and fighters working for him even within the ranks of opposition.”

These remarks, by the head of the regime, shed light on some of the violations that took place in liberated areas. Some groups with agendas, that do not serve the Syrian people’s interests, still work for the regime and receive support from it, while claiming to be fighting against it. These groups continuously take actions that have adverse effects on the revolution. Furthermore, they pose a threat not only to Syria but to the whole region. More...

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Abandoned by World, Aleppo faces 7th day of Bombing

A Message from Friday Protest in Kafranbel to International Community | 20 Dec 2013

Two representatives form Kafranbel will be speaking in Los Angeles this weekend. See Kafranbel is coming to LA - Meet the Revolutionaries for details.

There is no terror like that which falls from the sky. This is something Americans were quick to overlook while their planes rained down death on Vietnam and their news papers screamed about "Viet Cong Terrorism." They are overlooking it again today, in Syria, instead choosing to focus on a handful or religious fanatics waging a sectarian war because obviously bringing religion into war is completely un-American.

Aleppo has been subjected to continuous bombing by Bashar al-Assad's war planes every day this week, six days straight, and will likely face another pounding tomorrow. The carnage I wrote of on Monday, that took the lives of 28 children and a large number of adults on Sunday was only the beginning of this most recent "Death from Above" campaign. Seeing how little protest the people of the world have had to offer, Assad has felt free to continue his campaign, and so he has.

This is not civil war, this is simply murder.

In spite of that, you can be sure that plaster falling from the ceiling of a London Theatre will receive more coverage than bombs falling on an Aleppo hospital. Such is the bankruptcy of our modern world.

And so I must post another blog and do what the well heeled US media refuses to do, report the news.

Al Jazeera had this report yesterday:
Regime air strikes pound Aleppo for fifth day
Doctors Without Borders says bombardment has killed about 190 people in northern Syrian city since December 15.

Syrian warplanes have bombed northern Aleppo for a fifth consecutive day, with opposition activists alleging that government forces dropped barrel bombs - barrels filled with explosives dropped from helicopters - on the city and several nearby villages.

The attacks on Thursday killed at least 11 people in two villages, among them four women and two children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"I think it is trying to make the population turn against the rebels, so that the people themselves expel the fighters," Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Britain-based Observatory, said.

One Syrian security source denied that barrel bombs were used, but another said the Syrian military prefers such weapons over missiles because they are cheaper, according to the AFP news agency.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, Doctors Without Borders said that government air strikes had killed at least 189 people and injured 879 others in Aleppo since December 15.

The US this week drafted a UN Security Council statement condemning the government's increasing military offensive on Aleppo, but the proposed text was blocked by Russia, diplomats said.

Russia, the Syrian government's main ally, wanted all references to the regime stripped from the statement so the US decided to drop it, according to diplomats at the UN. More...
As with the numerous sarin gas attacks that have ravaged Syria in the past year, Russia demands that the world body not say who is responsible for this carnage. They want the UN to say they have no idea who's aircraft are dropping these bombs. The problem here is that only one side in this conflict has an air force. So it will be interesting to see how Sy Hersh, Robert Fisk and the other "Reporters following Orders" use their weasel words to create doubt about Assad's responsibility for this latest slaughter.

Morning Bombing by Assad's Thugs on The Town of Al-Baab | 20 Dec 2013

“Oh Allah we have only you” Aleppo al-Bab Road | 17 Dec 2013

As in the Vietnam War, "Death from Above" is a daily occurrence in Syria | 20 Dec 2013

The ICRC has issued this news release today:
Syria: All parties must end attacks against civilians

Damascus/Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is alarmed by the number of civilian casualties reported in Aleppo in recent days. The organization is calling on all parties to comply with the rules of international humanitarian law.

"Over one-hundred civilians have been killed in markets, a bus station and elsewhere in densely populated areas," said Magne Barth, head of the ICRC delegation in Syria. "Local hospitals already struggling to make do with limited supplies of medicines have been overwhelmed by the influx of casualties since last Sunday." More...
Assad's war planes attack Sekkari in Aleppo today | 20 Dec 2013

The BBC is reporting:
Aleppo strikes 'overwhelm' hospitals

17 December 2013
MSF called on all parties in the conflict to stop targeting civilian infrastructure
Hospitals in the Syrian city of Aleppo have been overwhelmed with casualties after a wave of air strikes which killed more than 100 people in recent days, Medecins Sans Frontieres says.

Indiscriminate and sustained attacks by government aircraft had caused significant damage in areas populated by civilians, the organisation warned.

Bodies are being lined up in front of hospitals for collection by relatives.

On Tuesday, warplanes stepped up their air strikes on rebel-held districts.

Eighteen people, including two children, were killed in the Shaar and Maadi areas, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group.

On Sunday, 76 people, including 28 children, died when barrel bombs were dropped on three eastern areas, the group said. More...
Barrel Bomb attack on Aleppo District of Sukkari | 19 Dec 2013

Local people dig dead victims out from under the rubble in Aleppo Province | 19 Dec 2013

A strike just before Friday prayers | 20 Dec 2013

Smoke billows from yet another barrel bomb attack in Aleppo province | 20 Dec 2013

Syrian warplanes dropped barrel bombs on the Anadan area of Aleppo | 20 Dec 2013

Assad Bombs on Homes Kills More Innocent Children in Minbaj, Aleppo | 19 Dec 2013

Colateral Dammage from Aleppo Massacres | 20 Dec 2013

Not only is this a crime against humanity, it is a blood-guilt for the US and every people that could do something about it, but doesn't. The examples of the US refusal to bomb the rail lines and crematoriums of Auschwitz, or its silence as Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds, come to mind. The shame this time is that the "Left" took to the streets and joined with some of the worst right-wing elements to demand that Assad's carnage not be interrupted. Absolutely despicable!

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Assad Barrel Bomb Kill 28 Children in Aleppo

This is Aleppo | 122 Dead, 28 Children | 1st Holocaust of 21th Century | 16 Dec 2013
Are you a holocaust denier? This is not civil war, this is simply murder. Or would you consider, Warsaw, when the Jews fought back against the Nazis in the ghetto "civil war?" Saying stupid things like "both sides committed war crimes" while washing your hands of it?

Forced from their homes, even their country, by the "world community's" failure to restrain Assad's murderous assault on his people from the air, many more are now freezing to death in the snow.

Every night this winter Syrian kids will freeze to death | 16 Dec 2013

AP has this report:
Syrian airstrikes pummel rebel areas

BEIRUT (AP) - Syrian government aircraft pounded opposition areas in the northern city of Aleppo and near the southern border with Jordan on Monday, a day after airstrikes killed at least 76 people, while the United Nations issued a record appeal for $6.5 billion to help the millions of Syrians uprooted by their homeland's civil war.

President Bashar Assad's air force is his greatest advantage in the country's civil war, and he has successfully exploited it to stem and even roll back rebel advances across the country. Human rights groups say Syrian military aircraft have carried out indiscriminate air raids that frequently hit civilian targets, such as hospitals, bakeries and residential areas.
On Monday, a day after government helicopters dropped barrels packed with explosives on several Aleppo neighborhoods, the Britain-based Syrian observatory for Human Rights on Monday said the death toll from those strikes had risen to at least 76, including 28 children.

The government frequently uses barrel bombs, which contain hundreds of kilograms (pounds) of explosives and cause massive damage on impact. Amateur videos posted online showed the aftermath of Sunday's airstrikes: buildings leveled by the explosions, rubble-strewn streets and smoldering wreckage of vehicles.

Another activist group, the Local Coordination Committees, said at least 12 neighborhoods were hit and put the death toll at 83. It said that number is likely to rise because of the large number of wounded and the lack of sufficient medical supplies.

The main Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, condemned the strikes, and accused the government of "waging a barbaric campaign on the city of Aleppo through which it seeks revenge and the spread of chaos."

In a statement, the Coalition also said it has documented the names of 103 people who were killed and more than 350 who were wounded in Aleppo, in addition to 21 who died in the town of Dumeir in Damascus suburbs in air raids. More...
Aleppo neighborhood Alanizarat after Sunday's bombing | 15 Dec 2013

This is how the very badly mis-named AntiWar.com reported the story:
Barrel Bomb Strikes in North Syria Kill 37, Including 16 Children
Bombs Targeted Rebel-Held Districts

by Jason Ditz, December 15, 2013
Syrian barrel bomb strikes hit six different districts in the northern city of Aleppo, killing at least 37 people, including at least 16 children. Large numbers of people were also wounded.

As Syria’s civil war has dragged on, Syria’s military is relying more and more on barrel bombs to hit entrenched rebel targets. The makeshift munitions are just oil barrels full of explosives rolled out of the back of a helicopter.

The bombs are powerful, but extremely inaccurate, and tend to careen off target quite often, which in densely populated territory is a recipe for high civilian casualties.

This is the second major round of barrel bomb strikes in metro Aleppo this month, with a previous round targeted at a rebel headquarters likewise missing, hitting a nearby market and killing around 50 people
I reported on that earlier attack here, Assad kills 50 civilans in Al-Bab with Barrel Bombs, and while AntiWar.com may have thought they killed those 50 people, only 3 of which were fighters, by accident, that's not what the official SANA new agency said. They reported "Syrian army units destroyed the headquarters of an Islamic (rebel) tribunal in Al-Bab in a special operation," without giving further details.

Now, I don't claim to be a rocket scientist, or any kind of weapons expert, but AntiWar.com's excuse for Assad's barbarity defies belief. We aren't talking about dumb bombs dropped from the stratosphere by B-52's. These are barrels filled with explosives and dropped from helicopters. Helicopters don't fly that high and the pilots can see exactly what they are bombing. I have to believe that it would take one hell of a strong wind to blow them off course.

It is clear to any honest observer of this war that the Assad regime has been deliberately targeting civilians, but here we have the so-called AntiWar.com, ready to excuse Assad's carnage, of course the article never mentions Assad, as an unfortunate accident. Does AntiWar.com have no shame? Is this the state of the so-called "antiwar" movement that such voices are still considered members-in-good-standing?

Aftermath of Assad elementary school bombing in Aleppo | 16 Dec 2013

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