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THE HOULA MASSACRE: Opposition Terrorists "Killed Families Loyal to the Government"

Detailed Investigation

by Marat Musin 6/1/12


Global Research Editor's Note

This incisive report by independent Russian journalist Marat Musin dispels the lies and fabrications of the Western media.

The report is based on a chronology of events as well as eyewitness accounts. Entire pro-government families in Houla were massacred. The terrorists were not pro-government shabbiha militia as conveyed, in chorus, by the mainstream media, they were in large part mercenaries and professional killers operating under the auspices of the self-proclaimed Free Syrian Army (FSA):

"When the rebels seized the lower checkpoint in the center of town and located next to the local police department, they began to sweep all the families loyal to the authorities in neighboring houses, including the elderly, women and children.

Several families of the Al-Sayed were killed, including 20 young children and the family of Abdul Razak. The people were killed with knives and shot at point blank range.

Then they presented the murdered [corpses] to the UN and the international community as victims of bombings by the Syrian army, something that was not verified by any marks on their bodies."

We call on our readers to forward this report far and wide, post it on facebook. .

The massacre in Houla is being blamed on the Syrian government without a shred of evidence. The objective is not only to isolate Syria politically and economically, but to develop a pretext and a justification for waging an R2P humanitarian war on Syria.

The US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has hinted that if the Security Council does not act, the US and its allies may consider "taking actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of the [uN Security] Council.”

This report by Marat Musin confirms that crimes against humanity are being committed by terrorist militia.

It is essential to reverse the tide of war propaganda which uses civilian deaths as a pretext to wage war, when those killings of civilians were carried out not government forces but by professional terrorists operating under the helm of the US-NATO sponsored Free Syrian Army.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, Montreal, June 1, 2012


In the weekend of May 25, 2012, at about 2 PM, big groups of fighters attacked and captured the town of Al – Hula of the Homs province. Al-Houla is made up of three regions: the village of Taldou, Kafr Laha and Taldahab, each of which had previously been home for 25-30 thousand people.

The town was attacked from the north-east by groups of bandits and mercenaries, numbering up to 700 people. The militants came from Ar-Rastan (the Brigade of al-Farouk from the Free Syrian Army led by the terrorist Abdul Razak Tlass and numbering 250), from the village of Akraba (led by the terrorist Yahya Al-Yousef), from the village Farlaha, joined by local gangsters, and from Al Houla.

The city of Ar-Rastan has long been abandoned by most civilians. Now Wahhabis from Lebanon dominate the scene, fueled with money and weapons by one of the main orchestrators of international terrorism, Saad Hariri, who heads the anti-Syrian political movement “Tayyar Al-Mustaqbal” (“Future Movement”). The road from Ar-Rastan to Al-Houla runs through Bedouin areas that remain mostly out of control of government troops, which made the militant attacks on Al Hula a complete surprise for the Syrian authorities.

When the rebels seized the lower checkpoint in the center of town and located next to the local police department, they began to sweep all the families loyal to the authorities in neighboring houses, including the elderly, women and children. Several families of the Al-Sayed were killed, including 20 young children and the family of the Abdul Razak. Many of those killed were “guilty” of the fact that they dared to change from Sunnis to Shiites. The people were killed with knives and shot at point blank range. Then they presented the murdered to the UN and the international community as victims of bombings by the Syrian army, something that was not verified by any marks on their bodies.

The idea that the UN observers had heard artillery fire against Al-Houla in the Safir Hotel in Homs at night… I consider nothing short of a bad joke. 50 kilometers lie between Homs and Al-Houla. What kind of tanks or guns has this range? Yes, there was intensive gunfire in Homs until 3 am, including heavy weapons. But, to give an example, on the night of Monday to Tuesday shooting was due to an attempt by law enforcement to regain control for a security corridor along the road to Damascus, Tarik Al-Sham.

After a visual inspection of Al Hula it is impossible to find traces of any of fresh destruction, bombing and shelling. During the day, several attacks by gunmen are made on the last remaining soldiers at the Taldou checkpoint. Militants used heavy weapons and snipers made up of professional mercenaries were active.

Note that once, the exactly same provocation failed at Shumar (Homs) and 49 militants and women and children were killed, when it was organized just before a visit of Kofi Annan. The last provocation was immediately exposed as soon as it became known that the bodies of the previously kidnapped belonged to Alawites. This provocation also contained serious inconsistencies – the names of those killed were from people loyal to the authorities, there were no traces of bombings, etc.

However, the provocation machine is running all the same. Today, the NATO countries directly threat to bomb Syria, and a simultaneous expulsion of Syrian diplomats has begun … As of today, there are no troops within the city of Al Hula, but there are regularly heard bursts of automatic fire, nonetheless. Moreover, it is unclear whether the militants are fighting with each other, or whether supporters of Bashar al-Assad are being cleaned out.

Militants opened fire on virtually everyone who tries to get closer to the border town. Before us a UN convoy was fired upon and two armored jeeps of the UN observers were damaged, when they tried to drive up to an army checkpoint in Tal Dow.

In the attack on the convoy a twenty-year-old terrorist was spotted. The fire was directed on the unprotected slopes of the first jeep, the back door of the second armored car was hooked by a fragment. There are wounded among those accompanying.

According to a wounded soldier:

“The next day, UN observers came to us at the checkpoint and as soon as they arrived, gunmen opened fire on them. And three of us were injured. One was wounded in the leg, the second – in the back, and I was hit in the hip.

When the observers came, they could hear a woman who was standing next to them and cried, the woman stood and pleaded the observers’ help – to protect her from the bandits. When I was wounded, the observers watched as I fell, but none of them tried to help. Our checkpoint no longer exists. There are no civilians any longer in Taldou, only militants remain. Our relationship to the locals was excellent. They are very good to us; they called on the army to enter Taldou. We were attacked by snipers.”

Unfortunately, many of the militants are professional snipers. 100-200 meters from our group TV-crew, militants attacked a BMP that went to replace soldiers at the checkpoint. During this a soldier – draftee got a concussion and slight tangential wound in the head by a sniper bullet. Looking at the pierced Kevlar helmet, it seems he did not even realize that he survived by a miracle.

Snipers kill up to 10 soldiers and policemen at checkpoints each day. It is true, that the daily casualties of law enforcement agencies in Homs were dozens of victims daily. But, unfortunately, at 10 am, six dead soldiers were taken to the morgue. Most were killed by a shot in the head. And the day had just begun…

So, these are the names of those were killed by snipers in the early morning hours of May 29:

1. Sergeant Ibrahim Halyuf

2. Sergeant Salman Ibrahim

3. Policeman Mahmoud Danaver

4. Conscript Ali Daher

5. Sergeant Wisam Haidar

6. the dead soldier’s family name could not be clarified

The bandits even fired an automatic burst on our group of journalists, although it was clear that this is a normal filming crew, consisting of unarmed civilians.


After Friday prayers at about 2 PM on May, 25th a group from the Al Aksh clan started firing on a checkpoint of law enforcement officers from mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Returning fire from a BRDM hit the mosque, and this was the very aim to lead to a bigger provocation.

Then, two groups of militants led by the terrorist Nidal Bakkour and Al-Hassan from the Al Hallak clan, supported by a unit of mercenaries, attacked the upper checkpoint on the eastern outskirts of the city. At 15.30 the upper checkpoint was taken, and all the prisoners executed: a Sunni conscript had his throat cut, while Abdullah Shaui (Bedouin) of Deir-Zor was burned alive.

During the attack on the upper checkpoint in the east, the armed men lost 25 people, which were then submitted to the UN observers, together with the 108 dead civilians – “victims of the regime”, allegedly killed by bombing and shelling of the Syrian army. As for the remaining 83 bodies, including 38 young children, they were from the families that were executed by militants. These families were all loyal to the government of Syria.


with a law enforcement officer:

“My name is Al Khosam, I am a law enforcement officer. I served in the village of Taldou, the district of Al-Houla, a province of Homs. On Friday, our checkpoint was attacked by a large group of militants. There were thousands.

Q: How do you protect yourself?

Answer: A simple weapon. We had 20 people, we called support, and when they were coming for us, I was wounded, and regained consciousness in the hospital. The attackers were from Ar-Rastan and Al-Hula. Insurgents control Taldou. They burned houses and killed people by the families, because they were loyal to the government. Raped the women and killed the children.”

Interview with a wounded soldier:

“I am Ahmed Mahmoud al Khali. I’m from the city Manbej. Was wounded in Taldou. I come from a support group that came to the aid of our comrades, who were stationed at the checkpoint.

Militants destroyed two infantry fighting vehicles and one BRDM standing at our checkpoint. We moved out to Taldou in a BMP, to pick up our wounded comrades from the checkpoint within the city. We drove them back in the BMP, and I filled in their place.

And after a while the UN observers came. They came to us, we led them to the homes of families who were cut by thugs.

I saw a family of three brothers and their father in the same room. In another room we found dead young children and their mother. And another one- an old man killed in this house. Only five men, women and children. The woman raped and shot in the head, I covered her with a blanket. And the commission had seen them all. They put them in the car and drove away. I do not know where they took them, probably for burial.”

A resident of Taldou on the roof of the police department:

“On Friday afternoon I was home. Hearing the shots, I came out to watch what was happening and saw that the fire came from the north side, towards the location of army checkpoint. As the army did not respond, they started to approach the homes, were subsequently the family was killed. When the army started to return fire, they used the women and children as human shields and continued firing at the checkpoint. When the army began answered, they fled. After that, the army took the surviving women and children and brought them into safety. At this time, Al Jazeera aired pictures and said that the Army committed the massacre at Al Hula.

In fact, they killed the civilians and children in Al-Hula. The bandits did not allow anyone to carry out their work. They steal everything that they can get their hands on: wheat, flour, oil and gas. Most of the fighters are from the city of Ar Rastan.”

After they captured the city, they carried the bodies of their dead comrades, as well as the bodies of people and the children they killed to the mosque. They carried the bodies in KIA pickups. On May, 25th, at around 8 PM, the corpses were already in the mosque. The next day at 11 o’clock in the morning the UN observers arrived at the mosque.

Media Disinformation

To exert pressure on public opinion and change the positions of Russia and China, texts and subtitles in Russian and Chinese languages were prepared in advance, reading: “Syria – Homs – the city of Hula. A terrible massacre perpetrated by the armed forces of the Syrian regime against civilians in the town of Houla. Dozens of victims and their number is growing, mainly women and children, brutally killed by indiscriminate bombing of the CITY.”

Two days later, on May 27, after the residents’ stories and video recordings made showed that the facts do not support the allegation of shelling and bombing, the bandits’ videos had undergone significant changes. At the end of the text appeared this postscript: “And some were killed with knives.”

Marat Musin, Olga Kulygina, Al-Houla, Syria

Original text / source: http://maramus.livejournal.com/86539.html

video: Russian




The translation is based on the impressive work of Soldatovich and Elena. Thank you very much for the translation of this text about the recent events near the Syrian city of Homs and in the area of al-Houlah.




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So obscure supposedly independent journalists working for an obscure media outlet make all sorts of claims either unsupported or supported only by two interviews with supposed witnesses whose whose faces are completely obscured and we can’t even tell where they are let alone in Houla or even in Syria. One is “a law enforcement officer” and thus obviously a regime loyalist the other an unnamed “resident of Taldou” who was “on the roof of the police department” and thus presumably also obviously a regime loyalist. The main page of the YouTube channel is graced by Assad’s portrait. I’m so convinced!

As for the supposedly independent journalists, Marat Musin is associated with a supposedly non-governmental Russian organization called “the Russian Committee of Solidarity with the peoples of Libya and Syria” and participated a press conference held by RIA Novosti, Russia’s state run news agency originally set up by the Communist Party under Stalin and seemingly works for a Russian state run institution the Russian State University of Trade and Economy.


The UN and every reputable media outlet say the survivors blame the Syrian government or groups aligned to them and that the town had been shelled by the Syrian army before the massacre. It seems that every genocide has its deniers: their was no Armenian genocide, the victims were rebels or collateral damage, there was no Holocaust, a few hundred thousand Jews died due to Allied bombing of German infrastructure, Serbia did not kill large numbers of Bosnians etc. etc. Why should the events in Syria be any different? Each of these crackpot theories has enough 'useful idiots' to spread them around.

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My post had at bottom a link below the ++++ symbols. (see link below ++++ ) The BBC is not obscure but its not independent. BBC is considered by many establishment genuflectors

as "the" scouce. To me in all truth ,the establishment media and Frank Colby have a strong equivalency in unreliability and an agenda driven perfidy.




Marco di Lauro whines: "Somebody is using my images from Iraq as propaganda against the Syrian government to prove the [Houla] massacre. I am really surprised that an organization like the BBC cannot be bothered to check sources and is ready to publish any image sent by a citizen activist, or journalist or whoever they are."

This below a sampling for I could list scores and scores more of BBC unreliabilty.

see http://www.globalres...ext=va&aid=8626

see http://www.globalres...xt=va&aid=14198

see http://www.globalres...ext=va&aid=3456

see http://www.globalres...ext=va&aid=1820


The overuse and misuse of Holocaust analogies is a insult/disservice to the memory of the survivors and illuminates the poverty of ones debating position.


The critical components of pointing to the Holocaust in contemporary ethical discussions are understanding how to make a proper analogy and harboring appropriate motivations. The Holocaust comprised so many diverse crimes on such an enormous scale that invoking it broadly does not say much. Rather, if it is to be used to productively and respectfully advance a discussion, it would be better to point out a specific aspect, compare to something specific today, and then explain why the analogy holds.

That is quite different from what occurs. Much of the time, the analogy is not so much an analogy at all, but rather an attempt to vilify someone or something that is disliked. When someone makes that type of accusation, you have to wonder: what does he actually mean? Does a Nazi simply imply a person whose ideology we disagree with? What makes the opponent Nazi-like, and why?

When used in this way, the Nazi analogy constitutes the worst form of rhetorical exploitation. Acutely aware of the emotional reaction it will evoke, those who use it do so intentionally to get that reaction – to garner political gain and convince people to join their side. A Holocaust reference is brandished as the ultimate tool of persuasion, as an opponent cannot argue. If something is anything like Nazism, you win the debate.

But by conflating one of the most heinous crimes against humanity with any agenda found disagreeable, those who use the analogy are exploiting a tragedy. They are taking vile advantage of the victimization of others for political profit.

As Dr. Caplan put it, “Because its misuse diminishes the horror done by Nazi scientists and doctors to their victims, it is ethically incumbent upon those who invoke the Nazi analogy to understand what they are claiming.”


Critics of the Nazi analogy say it trivializes the experiences of the victims and is grossly insensitive to survivors and their descendants. I could not agree more.

But I would argue the problem runs even deeper. What those who exploit the Nazi analogy fail to appreciate is that their words shape public behavior and understanding. Speech influences how we think, how we react, and whether we judge something as acceptable or not. Language shapes norms.

As a result, by persistently misusing the Nazi analogy, the pundits are doing more than speaking in error. They are distorting history. Inaccurately invoking Nazism creates a moral and emotional distance from the Holocaust that has evolved into something more dangerous: a distance to the truth. For those who have not properly learned what the Holocaust was, this can be their introduction to it. Intentionally or not, the abusers of the Nazi analogy are paving the way for false understanding.

What happened with the overuse and misuse of the Nazi analogy over the years is that it ceased carrying the rhetorical force it initially had. We react differently. The fact that we don’t respond with repulsion anymore – that a student can say a professor who gave him a bad grade is a Nazi, and no one bats an eyelash – means the pundits generated long-term impact beyond offending. We are becoming desensitized to the horrific experiences of the victims. By making the analogy a part of the lexicon, those who abuse it are devaluing the Holocaust.

If there was any good that came out of the recent Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke scandal, it was that it showed collective moral outrage works. Limbaugh hurled terrible insults upon a woman and the public rightly reacted, leading to significant losses in his sponsorship. Yet in the same rant that caused the backlash, he also accused Fluke and others like her of being “Feminazis.” To that, most of us kept quieter. If only we had reacted to the term with similar condemnation as we did to the word “slut.” The victims of the Holocaust can be restored the respect they deserve.


My grandmother had a plan. When I was old enough to understand, she would sit down and tell me about her experiences in Bergen-Belsen and those of my grandfather in Buchenwald. She had a profound awareness that it was important to pass on these stories, even though recounting them caused her pain. She knew the significance of documenting truth, even through the grief of reliving her utter humiliation, victimization, and loss. My grandmother believed in the value of speech.

Seventy years after parents, siblings, cousins, and nieces and nephews of my grandparents were shoved into the gas chambers, the few in my family who escaped them are no longer here to tell their story. As the same is happening to the last remaining survivors across the globe, the world is losing primary sources to speak up, correct false comparisons, and promulgate a historical truth.

For those whose voices were taken from them, I humbly offer mine. But I worry it’s becoming a lonely endeavor.

To those in the public spotlight: I plead with you to be aware that your words have a ripple effect. To reflect on the impact of what you say before you say it. To set the bar for discourse that is conducted with civility and respect.

To the rest of us, my hope is that we continue speaking out in the face of verbal abuse. To realize that collective action makes a difference. That our words, too, matter.

In commemoration of the six million Jews who perished. In loving memory of family members I have never known, but will never forget. For my grandparents, may they rest in peace.


About the Author: Ilana Yurkiewicz is a first-year student at Harvard Medical School who graduated from Yale University with a B.S. in biology. She was a science reporter for The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina via the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship and then went on to write for Science Progress in Washington, DC. She has an academic interest in bioethics, currently conducting ethics research at Harvard after previously interning at the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Follow on Twitter @ilanayurkiewicz.

More » http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/unofficial-prognosis/2012/04/19/in-honor-of-holocaust-remembrance-day-the-misuse-and-abuse-of-the-nazi-analogy-in-modern-bioethics/

Edited by Steven Gaal
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My post had at bottom a link below the ++++ symbols. (see link below ++++ ) The BBC is not obscure but its not independent. BBC is considered by many establishment genuflectors

as "the" scouce.

No one disputes that over 100 people were massacred in Houla, other media outlets have posted images of the bodies. So the BBC had no reason to intentionally use images from Iraq. You cited an obscure source whose claims contradict that of the UN and every reputable media outlet in Houla, your source based his version on the accounts of two witnesses tied the Assad regime.

To me in all truth ,the establishment media and Frank Colby have a strong equivalency in unreliability and an agenda driven perfidy.

Resorting ad homs is low enough already but you stoop to ad hominem by proxy, you can’t refute by debunking of your post so you drudge up my dad.

The overuse and misuse of Holocaust analogies is a insult/disservice to the memory of the survivors and illuminates the poverty of ones debating position.

I agree but in this case it was appropriate, the Holocaust was one of several genocides I cited which has/had its deniers, you are denying the Houla Massacre was carried out by forces tied the Assad regime.

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The UN a house of cards and lies.

=================================== + HOUSE OF CARDS +

How Corrupt Is the United Nations?

By Claudia Rosett ,

Tuesday, April 4, 2006


Recent years have brought a cascade of scandals at the United Nations, of which the wholesale corruption of the Oil-for-Food relief program in Iraq has been only the most visible. We still do not know the full extent of these debacles–the more sensational ones include the disappearance of UN funds earmarked for tsunami relief in Indonesia and the exposure of a transnational network of pedophiliac rape by UN peacekeepers in Africa–and we may never know. What we do know is that an assortment of noble-sounding efforts has devolved into enterprises marked chiefly by abuse, self-dealing, and worse.

Seen by many, including many Americans, as the chief arbiter of legitimacy in global politics, the UN is understood by others to be the only institution standing between us and global anarchy. If that is so, the portents are not promising. The free world is grappling with threats from the spread of radical Islam to North Korea's nuclear blackmail and Iran's pursuit of nuclear bombs. The UN, despite its trophy case of Nobel prizes, has failed so far to curb any of these, just as it failed abysmally to run an honest or effective sanctions program in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Currently it is gridlocked over matters as seemingly straightforward as cleaning up its own management department.

In the effort to address the UN's manifold problems, there have been audits, investigations, committees, reports, congressional hearings, action plans, and even a handful of arrests by U.S. federal prosecutors. There have been calls for Secretary-General Kofi Annan to step down before his second term expires at the end of this year. Solutions have been sought by way of better monitoring, whistleblower protection, the accretion of new oversight bodies, and another round of conditions attached to the payment of U.S. dues. On top of the broad reforms of the early 1990's, the sweeping reforms of 1997, the further reforms of 2002, and the world summit for reform in 2005, still more plans for reform are in the works.1 To its external auditors, internal auditors, joint inspections unit, eminent-persons panels, executive boards, and many special consultants, the UN has recently added an Office of Ethics–now expected to introduce in May what will presumably become an annual event: "UN Ethics Day."

Is any of this likely to help? Behind the specific scandals lies what one of the UN's own internal auditors has termed a "culture of impunity." A grand committee that reports to itself alone, the UN operates with great secrecy and is shielded by diplomatic immunity. One of its prime defenses, indeed, is the sheer impenetrability of its operations: after more than 60 years as a global collective, it has become a welter of so many overlapping programs, far-flung projects, quietly vested interests, nepotistic shenanigans, and interlocking directorates as to defy accurate or easy comprehension, let alone responsible supervision.

But let us try.

One clear sign of how badly things have gone with the UN is the difficulty of tallying even so basic a sum as the system's real budget. Nowhere does the UN present a full and clear set of accounts, and statistics vary even within individual agencies and programs.

The UN's current "core" annual budget is $1.9 billion–but the "core" is itself but a fraction of the actual budget. Around it are wrapped billions more in funding provided by "voluntary contributions" from private and corporate donors, foundations, and member states, including, to a large extent, the United States. These sums are shuffled around in various ways, with UN agencies in some instances paying or donating to each other. For instance, the UN Development Program (UNDP) operates with its own "core" budget of about $900 million a year but handles about $3 billion per year–or, depending on whom you ask and what you count, $4.5 billion per year.

According to Mark Malloch Brown, the UN chief of staff who has just been promoted to the post of Deputy Secretary-General, the total budget for all operations under direct control of the Secretariat comes to roughly $8-9 billion per year. Adding in just a few of the larger agencies like UNDP (at, let us say, $4 billion), UNICEF ($2 billion or so), and the World Food Program ($2-3 billion) already brings the grand total to somewhere between $16 and $18 billion, again depending on whom you listen to and what you count. On UN websites devoted to procurement, where the idea is not to minimize the official amount of UN spending but on the contrary to attract suppliers to a large and thriving operation, the estimate of money spent yearly on goods and services by the entire UN system comes to $30 billion, or more than 15 times the core budget of $1.9 billion on which reformers have focused.

Staff numbers are likewise a matter of mystery. The new ethics office proposes to offer its services to 29,000 UN employees worldwide. That number is well short of the total staff of the Secretariat plus the specialized agencies alone, which, according to Malloch Brown, consists of some 40,000 people. And that figure itself does not include local staffs–such as the 20,000 Palestinians who work for the UN Works and Relief Agency (UNWRA) or the many employees, some long-term, others transient, at hundreds of assorted UN offices, projects, and operations worldwide, or the more than 85,000 peacekeepers sent by member states but carrying out UN orders and eating UN-supplied rations bought via UN purchasing departments. Whereas the number of UN member states has almost quadrupled since 1945 (from 51 to 191), the number of personnel has swollen many times over, from a few thousand into somewhere in the six figures.

Little of this system is open to any real scrutiny even within the UN, and no single authority outside the UN has proved able to compel any genuine accounting. Moreover, even though there can no longer be any doubt that the scale of the rot is large, the UN's top management continues to insist to the contrary. Take the central scandal of recent UN history–namely, Oil-for-Food. Last October, Paul Volcker's UN-authorized probe into Oil-for-Food submitted its fifth and final report on that relief program, which in its seven years of operation had become a vehicle for billions in kickbacks, payoffs, and sanctions-busting arms traffic. By January of this year, after first having declared that he was taking responsibility for the debacle, Kofi Annan was spinning a different story, telling a London audience that "only one staff member was found to maybe have taken some $150,000 out of a $64-billion program."

This was an artful lie. The staff member in question was Benon Sevan, whom Annan had appointed to run Oil-for-Food for six of its seven years. If indeed Sevan took no more than this relative pittance, then Saddam Hussein scored the biggest bargain in the history of kickbacks. According to Senator Norm Coleman's independent investigation into Oil-for-Food, the real figure for Sevan's take was $1.2 million. Clearing up this discrepancy is difficult, however, because Sevan, who was allowed by Annan to retire to his native Cyprus on full UN pension, is outside the reach of U.S. law and has denied taking anything.

In any case, the corruption hardly ended with Sevan. Instances that appear to have slipped the Secretary-General's mind include another member of his inner circle, the French diplomat Jean-Bernard Merimée, who by his own admission took a payoff from Saddam while serving as Annan's handpicked envoy to the European Union. Within the UN agencies working with Annan's Secretariat on Oil-for-Food, Volcker confirmed "numerous [further] allegations of corrupt behavior and practices," embracing "bid-rigging, conflicts of interest, bribery, theft, nepotism, and sexual harassment." He also noted that the UN lacked controls on graft, failed to investigate many cases, and failed to act upon some of those it did explore. Finally, Volcker calculated that UN agencies had kept for themselves at least $50 million earmarked to buy relief for the people of Iraq.2

Nor do the sheer monetary amounts even begin to convey the extent of the damage done by UN labors in Iraq. Annan's office had the mandate of the Security Council, plus a $1.4-billion budget, to check oil and relief contracts for price fiddles, to monitor oil exports in order to prevent smuggling, and to audit UN operations. In the event, Oil-for-Food spent far more money renovating its offices in New York than checking the terms of Saddam's contracts, and ignored the smuggling even when Saddam in 2000 opened a pipeline to Syria. The result of what Annan now placidly describes as "instances of mismanagement"–as if someone forgot to reload the office printer–was that Saddam skimmed and smuggled anywhere from $12 billion (according to the incomplete numbers supplied by Volcker) to $17 billion or more (according to the more comprehensive totals provided by Senator Coleman's staff).

And what did Saddam do with those profits? What Annan describes as "instances of mismanagement" did not simply entail theft, corruption, and waste. They enriched and supported a tyrant and a mass murderer. Saddam used his UN-blessed loot not only to build palaces and buy luxury cars but also to provide patronage to loyal Baathists, reward Palestinian suicide bombers, and restock his arsenal, conventional or otherwise. When CIA chief weapons inspector Charles Duelfer went to Iraq in 2004 looking for weapons, the money trail took him straight to the UN relief operation, which, as he would report, had become a shill for an arms and illicit-money network that reached through Syria to Belarus and Russia. The network was buying "milk" from a Chinese weapons manufacturer, contracting for "vehicles" and "detergent" with Sudan, and negotiating for missiles with North Korea.

And that is only Oil-for-Food. Since last summer, the UN has been bedeviled by a bribery scandal centered in its procurement department, which handles the Secretariat's buying of everything from paperclips to peacekeeper rations. In August, a UN staffer named Alexander Yakovlev pleaded guilty in federal court to taking hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of bribes, involving possibly hundreds of millions' worth of tainted contracts–many of them in force to this day. In September, Vladimir Kuznetsov, the head of the UN budget oversight committee, had to step aside under federal indictment as Yakovlev's co-conspirator in wire fraud and money laundering. With the scandal still spreading, a number of other UN employees are now under investigation in cases involving something on the order of $1 billion in UN contracts.

There have also been cases in which, although no corruption has been alleged, clear conflicts of interest have been disclosed. Thus, Volcker found that in 1997, Maurice Strong, a longtime UN Under-Secretary General, accepted a check bankrolled by Saddam in the amount of $988,885. Strong (who has denied knowing where the money came from) was then serving as chief coordinator of UN reform, no less. Another top adviser to Annan, Giandomenico Picco, was discovered to have served in late 1999 and early 2000 as both a UN Under-Secretary General and chairman of the board of a company called IHC Services.3 The company had close ties to the bribe-taking Yakovlev and signed millions of dollars in contracts with the UN while Picco was running one of Annan's pet projects, the Dialogue of Civilizations.

Then there is the saga of Annan's son, Kojo, who turned out to have received more than $195,000 from a major UN Oil-for-Food contractor, Cotecna Inspection, after he had formally stopped working for it. In investigating Kojo's UN-related ventures, Volcker came across the paper trail of a by-now famous green Mercedes: in 1998, Kojo had saved some $20,000 by buying this car at a diplomatic discount in Germany and shipping it duty-free into Ghana, all under the false use of his father's name and diplomatic privileges and of the UN seal.

Oil-for-Food has been described by Annan and his aides as a mistake in a good cause; such, they suggest, is the occasional if regrettable cost of doing the world's humanitarian business. Structurally, however, Oil-for-Food was not an exception. It was a template of what the UN has become.

A hallmark of Oil-for-Food was that it was funded not by an assembly of UN member states but directly by Saddam as a function of his oil sales. This effectively bypassed the UN's version of the appropriations process, and was hardly the kind of setup envisioned when the organization was founded. As U.S. Ambassador John Bolton has noted, "It is the member states who are supposed to control the money."

Nevertheless, the UN negotiated terms with Saddam under which the Secretariat would collect 2.2 percent of his oil revenues to cover its costs in running and monitoring the relief program. With oil sales topping $64 billion, that meant $1.4 billion for the Secretary-General's administrative spending over the seven-year life of the program. In other words, the UN Secretariat was being paid big money by Saddam to supervise Saddam–an intrinsic conflict of interest that surely played a part in the expansion and easy corruption of the program. On top of whatever bribery he managed to deploy, Saddam became for a time one of the largest direct contributors to the Secretariat's budget. Publicizing itself as Saddam's probation officer, the UN in effect became his business partner.

But Saddam was only one, if the most virulent, of the many questionable business partners the UN has acquired over the past decade or so. These days, "partnering" at the UN goes far beyond enlisting the help of Angelina Jolie to visit refugees or of Bono to lecture Americans on development policy. Under Annan's management, the UN has been avidly seeking liaisons with foundations, non-governmental organizations, and private business–especially big corporate donors endowed with ready cash. This has been hailed in many quarters, including in Washington, as an innovative way of funding good works. It is rather more alarming than that.

The star example of today's UN partnerships is the Secretariat's cozy arrangement with the media magnate Ted Turner, who in 1997 made a landmark offer to donate $1 billion to the world organization. The pledge reportedly caused Jane Fonda, Turner's wife at the time, to weep with joy; as for Annan, he welcomed the deal as "a model to demonstrate my commitment to engage the private sector in a concrete manner." Turner said he hoped his example would inspire others–and it has.

Whatever Turner's ultimate aims may have been in undertaking this deed of seemingly astounding generosity, one of its chief beneficiaries has arguably been Ted Turner himself. For the past eight years, in exchange for the rather less than $1 billion disbursed so far, he has enjoyed a seat at the head table of what is supposed to be an impartial public institution, wielding access and influence beyond that of many actual UN member states. Like the UN's 2.2-percent commission under Oil-for-Food, moreover, Turner's funds flow through the administrative channels of the Secretariat without even the minimal checks that might be provided by the budgeting process of the General Assembly.

To dispense his largesse in tax-deductible form, Turner set up a Washington-based non-profit organization, the UN Foundation, stipulating that he would turn over his gift through this foundation at the rate of $100 million per year. (Since then he has halved his annual disbursements, thus stretching out the arrangement even longer than the projected decade or more.) At the same time, and as part of the same gift, he set up a sister organization, the Better World Fund, which describes itself as "a key advocate for the UN on Capitol Hill." A portion of Turner's gift to the UN thus goes not to the world's poor but to lobbying efforts in Washington to extract more dollars for the UN from U.S. taxpayers. Over the past eight years, according to the UN Foundation, the Better World Fund has devoted more than $110 million to this effort.

Of course, Washington is home to many lobbying groups. But Turner's setup is so intimately linked with the UN Secretariat as to make it hard to distinguish where the one ends and the other begins. Thus, to handle Turner's gift, the UN created a special in-house division dedicated exclusively to interacting with Turner's foundation and reporting directly to the Secretary-General. This division is called the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships, or UNFIP. According to the head of UNFIP, Amir Dossal, the relationship between UN and UN Foundation officials is "pretty much a seamless exercise," with Turner's Foundation often involved from the inception in shaping UN projects that it then pays for. UNFIP staff, who evaluate these projects as UN insiders for the approval of the Secretary-General, have their salaries and expenses paid not by the UN but by Turner's foundation.

Since the arrangement began, some $600 million of Turner's own money has flowed into UN causes in this way, plus another $350 million from other donors contributing via his UN Foundation. (The total of $950 million includes the $110 million spent by the Better World Fund in lobbying Congress.) This has allowed the Secretary-General to control, through UNFIP alone–and in concert with the wishes of Turner's foundation–what in many ways qualifies as an annual slush fund of more than $100 million.

Many of the projects involve worthy causes like sending malaria medicine and measles vaccines to children in poor countries. But others approved by the Secretary-General have directed millions in Turner money to departments within his own Secretariat, including in some cases his own executive office. Featuring as opaque one-line items in UNFIP's sometimes tardy public reports, these endeavors have included $1 million for "Strengthening the UN Secretariat"; $1.9 million for "UN Dialogue with the Global South"; $994,875 for "Supporting UN Management Reform"; $1.9 million for the Secretariat's department of public information (on which more below); $117,600 for a "Multi-Stakeholder Meeting on Best Practices in Partnerships"; and $319,988 for "Strengthening Public-Private Partnerships"–a somewhat reflexive exercise, one might think, for what is already a highly muscular public-private liaison.

In general, oversight at the UN is conducted by the organization's internal audit department, whose director is named by the Secretary-General and whose reports until this year have not been disclosed even to member states. According to a secret internal audit submitted in 2003, UNFIP appeared to be operating "without legally established functions and organizational structures." Specific irregularities in the program's conduct included the release of $1.2 million in Turner-foundation money to Annan's executive office in a manner "constitut[ing] a breach of internal controls." Small stuff, perhaps, when measured against the overall size of Turner's gift, but a significant sum to be sloshing around within the single most influential office at the UN.

In September 2001, Turner intervened even more deeply in UN matters, giving $31 million from his separate, family-run Turner Foundation (devoted to the environmental "totality of the planet") to the U.S. State Department to cover a portion of U.S. arrears on UN dues. This was greeted by many, including then-U.S. Ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte, as a selfless act of philanthropy. But the reason we had fallen behind in our dues was not any lack of resources but the fact that Congress–which is supposed to control U.S. funding for the UN–had been trying to lever better behavior out of it.

Why the State Department accepted the money is a question unto itself. But from the UN's point of view, splicing Turner's millions into the process meant that, as long as the organization could find wealthy private patrons in tune with its policy preferences, it could afford to be that much less answerable to a powerful member state and its democratically elected representatives.

Increasingly, since the Turner pledge of 1997, the UN has been inviting wealthy patrons around the globe to collaborate with it as "partners." Some of those answering the call have signed on through Turner's foundation. Of these, a number are governmental institutions. They include the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. (no doubt an instance of Taiwan trying to get a foot in the door at the UN in any way it can), the World Bank (an instance of the UN system paying itself), the U.S. Agency for International Development (an instance of the U.S. government funding the UN via Turner's foundation), the government of Akwa Ibom state in Nigeria (itself a recipient of World Bank aid), and the American Red Cross. Others are private foundations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which since 1995 has given more than $380 million to the UN, more than $50 million of that through Turner's foundation. And Turner's foundation has also collaborated on some projects with the Open Society Institute of the financier George Soros, whose global network of foundations and institutes has its own roster of projects jointly funded with the UN.4

In 1999, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Annan proposed a "Global Compact" between the UN and business leaders. To join, a company is required to write a letter, addressed to the Secretary-General, "expressing support for the Global Compact and its principles." Thereafter, it is required to publish in its annual report "a description of the ways in which it is supporting the Global Compact."5

According to the UN, the Global Compact has by now amassed more than 2,400 participants in 50 countries. They are invited to host outreach programs involving UN agencies, to promote UN causes, and to contribute in cash or in kind to UN endeavors. No doubt many do so for entirely worthy reasons; but the utter balkanization of UN agencies, offices, operations, budgets, and organizational charts makes it virtually impossible to know for sure. In a 352-page book published in 2002 on "Building Partnerships," the UN itself acknowledged that there is "inconsistency, both within the United Nations system and more widely, on what constitutes the private sector." It might be more accurate to say that under the stewardship of Annan, there has been a considerable blurring of the lines.

Characteristic of this is the UN's increasing willingness to franchise out both its name and its official emblem. Back in 1946, as that emblem was about to be approved, the first UN Secretary-General, Trygve Lie, stressed the importance of protecting it from abuse for "commercial purposes." In 2000, as part of the UN's grand plans for "public-private partnerships" in the new millennium, Annan issued lengthy guidelines in which he stipulated that the UN could in fact authorize use of its emblem by a business engaged in promotion or fund-raising for the UN itself–as long as "generation of profit by the business entity is only incidental." This raises intriguing questions about who in Annan's graft-ridden UN might be qualified to judge whether commercial profits are "incidental" to humanitarian work–and who could possibly keep track.

And that brings us to a feature of the UN system, mentioned early on, that has helped to shield it from thoroughgoing investigation. Since its founding, the institution has added untold numbers of agencies, funds, commissions, programs, "ad-hoc bodies," and "other entities," to the point where most of the UN's own personnel do not know who reports to whom, or how. The Secretary-General himself, when questioned last year by the Volcker commission, professed not to understand his own chain of command.

To anyone seeking to capture fresh turf at the UN, creating one of these new bodies has long been a favored path. The Secretary-General appoints or at least nominates the heads of most of them, but each has its own board, its own agenda, and in many cases its own program for soliciting funds. To name just a few of the better-known ones: UNICEF (founded in 1946); the World Food Program (or WFP, 1961); the UN Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD, 1964); the UN Development Program (UNDP, 1966); the UN Environment Program (UNEP, 1972); the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS, 1994), UN-Habitat (1997); the World Tourism Agency (UNWTO, 2003); and so forth.

Many of these overlap. Most, when probed, open onto ever-receding vistas of regional offices, working groups, and the like. The offices are scattered around the globe, from New York to Rome to Nairobi to Tunis to Madrid to Bangkok and beyond. Periodic efforts to streamline and harmonize the system tend mainly to paint yet another layer on top. Typical of this is one of the Secretary-General's latest initiatives, launched just this past February: the "High-Level Panel on System-Wide Coherence in Areas of Development, Humanitarian Assistance, Environment." Among its fifteen "high-level" panelists is a senior fellow from Turner's UN Foundation.

Another example, launched last fall, is Annan's so-called Alliance of Civilizations. This grand-sounding initiative is in fact a rather restricted project of Spain, Turkey, and 20 unelected "eminent persons" picked by the Secretary-General, most of whom (like Nafis Sadik, a special adviser to Annan and a director of Turner's UN Foundation) have already spent years on the same UN conference circuits. Instructed to come up with an "action plan" to "bridge divides," the Alliance has so far served mainly as a vehicle for Annan to resurrect as a "special adviser" his former chief of staff, Iqbal Riza, who "retired" in early 2005 after Volcker's discovery that he had shredded three years' worth of UN executive-suite documents potentially germane to the Oil-for-Food investigation.

There is almost no way to hold the UN accountable for most of what goes on in this growing empire. No national legal jurisdiction applies to the UN network and no media corps has the resources, or for that matter the interest, to deal with the entire network. Despite a Secretary-General who wields more control than anyone else in the system, accountability ultimately does not reside with him, either. In fact, there is no procedure at the UN for impeaching or firing the Secretary-General.

There is, however, a tremendous machine for glossing over anything that goes wrong. The Secretariat fields a department of public information with an $85-million annual budget and more than 700 employees, about half of whom staff UN public-relations offices in more than 100 countries worldwide. On top of that, a public-relations staff is employed by each of the many agencies, commissions, and so forth. All of this promotional activity is further supplemented by the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), founded in Luxembourg in 1946 and now boasting more than 100 national chapters. The American chapter, UNA-USA, fields more than 175 community-based chapters and organizations, with nearly 20,000 members.

Bringing these various strands together is a dizzying array of interwoven boards, working groups, and staff positions both within and around the UN. To give a few quick examples: Ted Turner, of the UN Foundation, sits on the board of the UNA-USA. Maurice Strong–chief coordinator of the 1997 UN "reforms," which among other things created the framework for the Turner-dedicated UNFIP–then became a charter member of the board of Turner's UN Foundation while serving as a special adviser to UN Secretary-General Annan, and is also a past president and current honorary president of the WFUNA. Paul Volcker, when tapped by Annan himself to head the Oil-for-Food investigation, was serving not only on the board of directors of UNA-USA but also as a director of its business council–which advertises itself as a networking resource for businesses interested in getting a piece of the billions in UN contracts handed out every year. Only when the media finally discovered and questioned this potential conflict of interest did Volcker resign.

Asked in a recent interview about the dangers of collusion between big business and a public institution like the UN, Mark Malloch Brown declared indignantly that the UN was doing "God's work," and walked out.

Is it? The question is important because, in the end, the amount of money lost to waste by the UN, or skimmed through graft, or dumped wholesale into agencies, commissions, and alliances that serve mainly themselves, or devoted in the UN's name to select private crusades, arguably counts less than the kind of agenda all this money supports.

The founding purpose of the UN was to bring peace and prosperity to the globe. As to the former, the UN in the age of terror has been in most ways useless and in some ways positively dangerous. The lesson that Saddam Hussein quickly grasped was that the UN lends itself to money-laundering. With its big flows of funds across borders, its many contractors and public-private partnerships, its gigantic bureaucracy and lax controls, its diplomatic immunity, and its culture of impunity, the UN operation is a prime candidate not only for graft but, as Charles Duelfer discovered, for arms deals masked as medicine and soap. Further protecting those arms deals, and the rogues and tyrants making them, is the fact that in its capacity as a deliberative body, the UN has repeatedly urged appeasement in the face of real threats to world peace and just as repeatedly tried to constrain those (like the U.S. and its allies) willing to act to remove them.

If there is any priority that the UN, with its mandate for peace, might be expected to stress, it is preventing rogue regimes from getting nuclear bombs. But as a practical matter, the organization has behaved for the most part as a spectator. Its record with Saddam Hussein is too well known to bear repeating. In the case of North Korea, admitted as a member state in 1991, the UN has responded to Kim Jong II's nuclear-weapons program mainly by kicking the problem over to the U.S. and making itself irrelevant. On Iran, the UN "debate" has served mainly to buy time for the mullahs while the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Mohamed El Baradei, the head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, ponders the "uncertainties" of Iran's nuclear program.

On matters involving Israel and the Palestinians–unlike nuclear proliferation, this may be the UN's one genuine obsession–hypocrisy has been outdone only by mischief-making and blatant anti-Semitism. UN programs set up to help the Palestinians over the past half-century have not only failed to produce decent lives but have helped create a culture of entitlement and violence–fueled in large part by the UN's own anti-Israel agenda. The UN condemnation of Zionism as racism in 1975, finally repealed in 1991, was followed by the grotesque transformation of the UN's 2001 Durban conference on racism into an anti-Semitic festival. The UN Security Council invites totalitarian Syria to take the chair, but democratic Israel has never been so much as allowed to hold a seat.

Then there is peacekeeping, which since the end of the cold war has been a boom area for the UN. Here again the expansion of UN missions has brought everything from widespread allegations of corruption to drug-dealing to rape and the sexual exploitation of hungry children–"Sex-for-Food," as the columnist Mark Steyn has aptly put it. In large parts of the undeveloped world, the appearance of blue-helmeted forces has come to signal a warning: stay away, and keep your children away.

But neither have those blue-helmeted forces been visible when and where they might actually be needed. Provided with manpower plus a budget that ought to qualify the UN itself as a formidable military power, the organization stood passively aside during the massacres in Rwanda and Srebrenica and has yet to act in the case of Sudan. Indeed, it has yet to muster even the integrity to kick Sudan off its Geneva-based human-rights commission, which has doubled as a clubhouse for the world's worst regimes. (Current members include China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Zimbabwe.)6

As for disaster relief, the record is similarly deplorable. When the tsunami hit Asia in December 2004, the U.S. and countries like Australia rushed to help the victims. The UN rushed to help itself. Demanding exclusive rights to direct the aid effort (and the money), UN officials warned loudly of a health crisis that never materialized, denounced the U.S. as "stingy," and promised transparent use of funds. A year later, the Financial Times reported that, from what little could be gleaned of the UN's largely incomplete or secret accounts, the organization's expenditures on overhead (i.e., travel, hotel rooms, lavishly funded international talk-fests, and the like) were triple those of private charities.

If such is the general nature of the UN's contribution to peace and humanitarian assistance, its contribution to global prosperity is a similar story. The simple and true recipe for wealth is liberty framed by the decent rule of law; the great lesson of the last century, learned at horrific cost, is that central planners and state development schemes are a brew that tends not toward prosperity but toward dictatorship and economic immiseration. In 1990, that lesson seemed briefly to have been learned: as the Soviet Union headed for collapse, the global aid profession was atwitter over the newfound virtues of privatization. But in the sixteen years since then, the UN, in the name of "sustainable development," has fostered a comeback of command-and-control planning, courtesy of the same bureaucracy that cannot even account for its own expenditures.

An enormous amount of UN activity now revolves around the so-called Millennium Goals, which aim to cut world poverty in half by the year 2015. This noble-sounding goal serves as a framework for calculating to the last decimal point a set of targets for which the UN system then decides how resources should be apportioned. UN agencies, agendas, working groups, and a never-ending succession of conferences, declarations, and plans testify to a determination to control the global climate, horn in on the Internet, and–à la Oil-for-Food–impose a UN-supervised income tax on the entire developed world. Where once the Soviet agency Gosplan issued five-year plans for an imprisoned people, the UN now aims to administer and profit from fifteen-year plans for the entire human community. Think of it as planetary socialism, supported and financed in "partnership" with private capital.

The United Nations was founded as a forum of governments. As we had ample occasion to learn over the decades, this arrangement presented quite enough problems of its own. Now the UN, in contravention of its own charter, is rapidly evolving into something larger, more corporate, and more menacing: a predatory, undemocratic, unaccountable, and self-serving vehicle for global government. Like the Soviet Union of old, the UN is unwieldy, gross, inefficient, and incompetent; it is also so configured as to reach deep into the national politics of its member states and, by sheer weight and persistence, to force at least some of the worst of its agenda upon all of us.

There will never be enough John Boltons to counter all of this–not that it was easy to come up with even one. Indeed, with notable exceptions, generations of American officials and policy-makers have been content, sometimes for reasons of state, sometimes for reasons of convenience, to look away from the UN's multiform deficiencies and derelictions while occasionally indulging in minor punitive measures like withholding a proportion of our annual dues–akin to docking a delinquent's bus money while continuing to pay for his liquor and his car. For many others in public life, and for many ordinary citizens as well, the institution itself, as the very embodiment of the multilateralist ideal, is still held in nearly sacred regard.

All the more reason, then, to force ourselves at long last to take a hard, undeceived look at what the institution has in fact become, put aside the lengthy and futile quest for its reform, and begin to think more concretely about how, with or without it, we can best work to advance the interests and values of ourselves and other members of the civilized world.

–March 8, 2006

Claudia Rosett, a journalist in residence with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, is at work on a book about the United Nations in the age of terror. Her article, "The Oil-for-Food Scam: What Did Kofi Annan Know, and When Did He Know It?," appeared in the May 2004 Commentary. In 2005 she won both the Mightier Pen award and the Eric Breindel award for excellence in opinion journalism.

1 The latest, announced by Annan as this article was going to press, is aimed at cleaning up management; revolutionary though it sounds, there is no guarantee it will be implemented, and in any case it stops well short of what is needed.

2 There is also the mystery still surrounding more than $19 billion's worth of oil revenues supposedly doled out by the UN to victims of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Internal audits released last year under pressure from Congress warned of overpayments of up to $4 billion. Volcker promised to investigate, but never did.

3 The discovery was made by me and George Russell of Fox News.

4 In the words of Mark Malloch Brown, who headed the UN Development Program from 1999 to 2005, Soros and UNDP "collaborate extensively." In fact, Malloch Brown lives in a house on Soros's estate outside New York City. This potential conflict of interest was never disclosed by the UN or Soros, and even after it was revealed in the press, no documentation has been forthcoming to show that the relationship is at arm's length.

5 The original terms of the compact included some anodyne language about human rights, labor standards, and the environment; in 2004, perhaps inspired by its own mishaps, the UN added a proviso that businesses should work against corruption. This has been a source of bemusement to investigators of graft in the UN's procurement division, not least because one of the major contractors embroiled in the bid-rigging scandal was a member in good standing of Annan's Global Compact.

6 UN promises to "reform" have translated into a plan to replace the Human Rights Commission with a "Human Rights Council," a largely semantic exercise. Attempts by Washington to hold out for genuine reform of this body central to the United Nations mandate have turned into an occasion for UN officials and others to criticize not the world's worst human-rights offenders but the U.S.

Claudia Rosett is a journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Contact Claudia Rosett at claudiarosett@hotmail.com or read her blog, at claudiarosett.pajamasmedia.com.

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The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has been blatant in its support of rightwing forces, including the Haitian police, and has been systematic in carrying out human rights abuses against the poor people of Haiti, supporters of Aristide and his Lavalas party, writes Ben Terrell.



One Year Later: UN radiation studies are Bogus! Did not conduct independent tests, used faulty & out of date data from Japanese government!

May 25, 2012



======##### PART TWO #########


Media lies day and night about Syria. PURE 100% fakery..

see http://counterpsyops...disinformation/

Edited by Steven Gaal
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New Round of Civilian Massacres: US-UN Maneuvers Against Syria Upon Baseless Activist Hearsay

by Tony Cartalucci 6/8/12



Eyewitness account: Media lies about Syria


by Natalia Mihailova 6/7/12



CONFRONTING IRAN, "PROTECTING ISRAEL": The Real Reason for America's War on Syria

by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky 6/8/12


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is calling for an R2P humanitarian military intervention in Syria to curb the atrocities allegedly ordered by the government of president Bashar Al Assad. In a twisted irony, Clinton recognizes that while "opposition forces" are integrated by Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists, the government rather than the terrorists is held responsible, without a shred of evidence, for the ongoing massacre of civilians.

Amply documented, these sectarian killings and atrocities are being committed by foreign mercenaries and militia which are armed and supported by the Western military alliance.

The killings are carried out quite deliberately as part of a diabolical covert operation. The enemy is then blamed for the resulting atrocities. The objective is to justify a military agenda on humanitarian grounds.

In US military jargon, it's called a "massive casualty producing event", the historical origins of which go back to "Operation Northwoods", an infamous 1962 Pentagon Plan, consisting in killing civilians in the Miami Cuban community, with a view to justifying a war on Cuba. (See Michel Chossudovsky, SYRIA: Killing Innocent Civilians as part of a US Covert Op. Mobilizing Public Support for a R2P War against Syria, Global Research, May 30, 2012)

"Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.

The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro." (U.S. Military Wanted to Provoke War With Cuba - ABC News emphasis added. This Secret Pentagon document was declassified and can be readily consulted, See Operation Northwoods, See also National Security Archive, 30 April 2001)

In the logic of Operation Northwoods, the killings in Syria are carried out to "create a helpful wave of indignation", to drum up public opinion in favor of an R2P US-NATO operation against Syria.

What lies behind this outburst of humanitarian concern by "the international community". Is America coming to the rescue of the Syrian people? What is the real reason for America's war on Syria?

This question is addressed in a lead article by James P. Rubin, a Bloomberg executive editor and former State department official under the Clinton administration. The article appears in this month's Carnegie Foundation's Foreign Policy Magazine under the clear-cut title: "The Real Reason to Intervene in Syria"

In an unusual twist, "the answer to the question", namely "the real reason" is provided in the article's subtitle: "Cutting Iran's link to the Mediterranean Sea is a strategic prize worth the risk.".

The subtitle should dispel --in the eyes of the reader-- the illusion that US foreign policy has an underlying "humanitarian mandate". Pentagon and US State department documents as well as independent reports confirm that military action against Syria has been contemplated by Washington and Tel Aviv for more than 20 years.

Targetting Iran, "Protecting Israel"

According to James P. Rubin, the war plans directed against Syria are intimately related to those pertaining to Iran. They are part of the same US-Israeli military agenda which consists in weakening Iran with a view to "protecting Israel". The latter objective is to be carried out through a pre-emptive attack against Iran: "We're not done with the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran" say James P. Rubin.

The military roadmap to Tehran goes through Damascus. The unspoken objective of the US-Israeli sponsored insurgency in Syria is to destabilize Syria as a Nation State and undermine Iran's influence in the region (including its support of the Palestinian Liberation movement and Hezbollah). The underlying objective is also to eliminate all forms of resistance to the Zionist State:

"That is where Syria comes in, says James P, Rubin. It is the strategic relationship between the Islamic Republic and the Assad regime that makes it possible for Iran to undermine Israel's security. Over the three decades of hostility between Iran and Israel, a direct military confrontation has never occurred -- but through Hezbollah, which is sustained and trained by Iran via Syria, the Islamic Republic has proven able to threaten Israeli security interests.

The collapse of the Assad regime would sunder this dangerous alliance. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, arguably the most important Israeli decision-maker on this question, recently told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that the Assad regime's fall "will be a major blow to the radical axis, major blow to Iran.... It's the only kind of outpost of the Iranian influence in the Arab world ... and it will weaken dramatically both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza." (The Real Reason to Intervene in Syria - By James P. Rubin | Foreign Policy, June 2, 2012, emphasis added)

US-Israeli War Plans directed against Syria

Rubin candidly outlines the contours of US military intervention in Syria, which are to be implemented in close liaison with Israel. A diplomatic solution will not work, nor will sanctions: "only the threat or use of force will change the Syrian dictator's stance" says Rubin:

"U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has been understandably wary of engaging in an air operation in Syria similar to the campaign in Libya, for three main reasons. Unlike the Libyan opposition forces, the Syrian rebels are not unified and do not hold territory. The Arab League has not called for outside military intervention as it did in Libya. And the Russians, the longtime patron of the Assad regime, are staunchly opposed." (Ibid)

Washington's first step, according to James P. Rubin, should be to work with "its allies", the Arab sheikdoms --Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey-- "to organize, train, and arm Syrian rebel forces."

This "first step" has already been launched. It was implemented at the very outset of the insurgency in March 2012. The US and its allies have been actively supporting the Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorists for over a year. The organization and training consisted in the deployment of Salafist and Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists, alongside the incursion of French, British, Qatari and Turkish special forces inside Syria.

Sidetracking the UN

Rubin's proposed "second step" is to "to secure international support for a coalition air operation." outside the mandate of the United Nations. "Russia will never support such a mission, so there is no point operating through the U.N. Security Council" says Rubin. The air operation contemplated by Rubin is an all out war scenario, similar to the NATO air raids conducted in Libya.

Rubin is not expressing a personal opinion on the role of UN. The option of "sidetracking" the UN Security Council has already been endorsed by Washington. US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice confirmed in late May in no uncertain terms that "the worst and most probable scenario" in Syria might be the option of "acting outside of the UN Security Council's authority".

"In the absence of either of those two scenarios, there seems to me to be only one other alternative, and that is indeed the worst case, which seems unfortunately at the present to be the most probable. And that is that the violence escalates, the conflict spreads and intensifies, it reaches a higher degree of severity... The Council's unity is exploded, the Annan plan is dead and members of this Council and members of the international community are left with the option only of having to consider whether they're prepared to take actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of this Council." Actions outside UN Security Council Likely in Syria - Rice | World | RIA Novosti, May 31, 2012

Rubin also points to "the reluctance of some European states" to participate in an air operation against Syria: "this [military] operation will have to be a unique combination of Western and Middle East countries. Given Syria's extreme isolation within the Arab League, it should be possible to gain strong support from most Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia and Turkey. U.S. leadership is indispensable, since most of the key countries will follow only if Washington leads."

The article calls for continued arming of the Syrian Free Army (FSA) as well carrying out air raids directed against Syria. No ground operations are to be envisaged. The air campaign would be used --as in the case of Libya-- to support the FSA foot soldiers integrated by mercenaries and Al Qaeda affiliated brigades:

"Whether an air operation should just create a no-fly zone that grounds the regimes' aircraft and helicopters or actually conduct air to ground attacks on Syrian tanks and artillery should be the subject of immediate military planning. ...

The larger point is that as long as Washington stays firm that no U.S. ground troops will be deployed, à la Kosovo and Libya, the cost to the United States will be limited. Victory may not come quickly or easily, but it will come. And the payoff will be substantial. Iran would be strategically isolated, unable to exert its influence in the Middle East. The resulting regime in Syria will likely regard the United States as more friend than enemy. Washington would gain substantial recognition as fighting for the people in the Arab world, not the corrupt regimes." (Rubin, op cit)

While the participation of Israel in military operations is not mentioned, the thrust of Rubin's article points to active cooperation between Washington and Tel Aviv in military and intelligence affairs, including the conduct of covert operations in support of the opposition rebels.

"Coming to the rescue of the Syrian people" under a fake "humanitarian" R2P mandate is intended to destabilize Syria, weaken Iran and enable Israel to exert greater political control over neighboring Arab states including Lebanon and Syria, as well as extend Israel's influence throughout the region.

A war on Syria is also a war on Palestine. It would weaken the resistance movement in the occupied territories. It would reinforce the Netanyahu government's ambitions to create a "Greater Israel", initially, through the outright annexation of the Palestinian territories:

"With the Islamic Republic deprived of its gateway to the Arab world, the Israelis' rationale for a bolt from the blue attack on its nuclear facilities would diminish. A new Syrian regime might eventually even resume the frozen peace talks regarding the Golan Heights. In Lebanon, Hezbollah would be cut off from its Iranian sponsor, since Syria would no longer be a transit point for Iranian training, assistance, and missiles. All these strategic benefits combined with the moral purpose of saving tens of thousands of civilians from murder at the hands of the Assad regime ... make intervention in Syria a calculated risk, but still a risk worth taking." (Rubin, op cit)"


RELATED // short video and article


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LOL the many witnesses who say the killers were tied the the Assad regime = "meaningless hearsay" but the witnesses who say they were tied to the rebels are reliable. If the Assad regime has nothing to hide was doesn't it allow foreign journalists into the country and intimidate the few who are there. They recently arrested a Brazilian reporter. And why do they so limit the number and movement of UN observers. They are obviously the ones with something to hide.

As for the Rubin article nowhere does he say the Assad regime is not a brutal one and of course he's just a journalist and has not worked for the State Dept, where he was a spokesperson nor a policy maker for 12 years.

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Propaganda War: Houla Massacre Committed by US-NATO Sponsored “Free Syrian Army”. But They Accuse Syrian Government


by Thierry Meyssan 6/9/12


NOTE: On the radio I heard an hour ago the journalist reported that, "We were let into the town (Houla) by the rebels". As the article states below, "The Syrian government lost control of Houla many weeks ago. Syrian magistrates are therefore unable to go to Houla, and even if some journalists are able to do so, this is only with the permission of and under close surveillance by the FSA."



[The] 108 bodies were laid out by the Free ’Syrian’ Army [1] in a mosque in Houla. According to the rebels, these were the remains of civilians massacred on 25 May 2012 by pro-government militia known as ‘Shabbihas’.

The Syrian government appeared completely shocked by the news. It immediately condemned the killings, which it attributed to the armed opposition.

While the national news agency, SANA, was unable to provide details with certainty, the Syrian Catholic news agency, Vox Clamantis, immediately issued a testimony of some of the events formally accusing the opposition [2].

Five days later, the Russian news channel Rossiya 24 (exVesti) aired a very detailed 45-minute report, which remains to date the most comprehensive public inquiry [3].

The West and Gulf States who are working towards a “regime change” in Syria and have already recognized the opposition as a privileged interlocutor, have adopted the FSA’s version of events without waiting for the report from the United Nations Supervision Mission (UNSMIS).

As a sanction, most of them have resorted to a prearranged measure, namely the expulsion of Syrian ambassadors to their respective countries. This does not represent a rupture of diplomatic relations, as the rest of the accredited Syrian diplomatic personnel will remain stationed where they are.

The United Nations Security Council adopted a presidential statement condemning the massacre without indicating who was responsible. It furthermore reminded the Syrian government of its responsibilities, namely the protection of its people using proportionate measures, that’s to say without the use of heavy weapons [4].

Contrary to this, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay endorsed the allegations blaming the Syrian authorities, and demanded that the case be transferred to the International Criminal Court.

French President François Hollande and his Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius have announced their intention to convince Russia and China not to obstruct a future Security Council’s resolution authorizing the use of force, while the French press is accusing Russia and China of protecting a criminal regime.

Responding to these charges, Russia’s First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrey Denissov expressed regret over France’s “basically emotional reaction” – devoid of analysis. He reiterated that the steadfast position of his country, in this case as for others, is not to support governments, but peoples (it being understood that the Syrian people elected President al-Assad at the last constitutional referendum).

The United Nations Supervision Mission went to Damascus at the request of the Syrian government. It was received by the opposition who control this zone, and was able to establish various observations to be used in writing its status report.

At an internal press briefing, the President of the Syrian investigation Commission into the massacre read a brief statement revealing the initial elements of the current investigation. According to him, the massacre was carried out by the opposition as part of an FSA military operation in the area.

Aware that the findings of the UN Supervision Mission report may backfire on them, the Western countries requested that the Human Rights Council in Geneva (which is under their control) set up another investigation Commission. A report from this body could be produced quickly in order to impose a version of events before the Supervision Mission is able to draw its own conclusions.


How can we know what happened in Houla?

Press agencies and Western foreign ministreis immediately blamed the Syrian government for the killings, before any investigation could take place. (see link for photo)


Two main factors are impeding the work of investigators. The Syrian government lost control of Houla many weeks ago. Syrian magistrates are therefore unable to go to Houla, and even if some journalists are able to do so, this is only with the permission of and under close surveillance by the FSA.

There is however one exception: a team from Rossiya 24, the 24-hour Russian news channel was able to move around the area without an escort, and produce an exceptionally detailed report.

The official Syrian Commission claims to have collected several witness statements, but has declared that these shall only be presented to the press once the final report has been established. At present, the identity of these witnesses remains protected by investigation secrecy. However, several of the accounts were broadcast on public television on 1st June.

The investigators are also in possession of videos provided exclusively by the FSA.

Lastly, since the FSA amassed the bodies in a mosque and began burying them the very next day, it was not possible for UN observers to carry out forensic assessments on many of the dead.


Voltaire Network ’s conclusions

Victims of the Houla slaughter.(see link for photo)


Houla is not a town, but an administrative area made up of three villages, each with about 25,000 residents but which today lie largely abandoned. The Sunni market town of Tal Daw has been under rebel control for many weeks. The Free “Syrian” Army had imposed its rule there. The national Army was securing transport routes by maintaining several posts on roads within the area, but did not venture beyond these roads.

Certain individuals kidnapped children and attempted unsuccessfully to extort ransoms. [5] In the end, these children were killed a few days before the Houla massacre, but their bodies were brought by the Free “Syrian” Army to be laid out amongst the others.

In the evening of 24 May, the Free “Syrian” Army launched a very large-scale operation to reinforce its control over the region, and to make Tal Daw its new base.

In order to do this, 600-800 combatants from various districts gathered in Rastan and Saan and proceeded to launch simultaneous attacks on the military bases. At the same time, a team was fortifying Tal Daw by installing five anti-tank missile batteries, and purging the town of some of its inhabitants.

The first victims in Tel Daw were a dozen people related to Abd al-Muty Mashlab – a legislator of the recently elected Baas party who was appointed Secretary of the National Assembly; following this, the family of a senior official – Mouawyya al-Sayyed – was killed. Subsequent targets were families of Sunni origin who had converted to Shiite Islam.

Other victims included the family of two journalists for Top News and New Orient News, press agencies associated with Voltaire Network. Many people, including children, were raped before being killed.

With only one of the Army’s bases having fallen, the assailants changed strategy. They transformed a military defeat into a communication operation, attacking the al-Watani hospital and setting fire to it. They took corpses from the hospital morgue and transported them along with those of other victims to the mosque, where the bodies were filmed.

The theory of a single massacre perpetrated by pro-government militia does not stand up to the facts. There were battles which took place between loyalists and rebels, as well as several massacres of pro-government civilians at the hands of the rebels.

Then, a scenario was staged by the Free “Syrian” Army where corpses originating from these various earlier situations were mixed together.

Indeed, the existence of the “Shabbihas” is a myth. Whilst there are certainly individuals in favour of the government who are armed and capable of committing acts of revenge, there is no structure or organized group that could be termed as a pro-government militia.


Political and diplomatic implications

Lamia Chakkour, Syrian Ambassador to France. (see link for photo)


The expulsion of Syrian ambassadors by Western countries is a measure that was planned well in advance and therefore well-coordinated. Westerners were waiting for a massacre of this type before carrying out this action. They ignored numerous previous massacres that they knew had been perpetrated by the Free “Syrian” Army, and seized on this one believing that it had been committed by pro-government militia.

The idea of a coordinated expulsion did not emanate from Paris, rather from Washington. Paris in principle gave its agreement, without having examined the legal implications. For in practice, Lamia Chakkour is also the Syrian Ambassador to UNESCO, and cannot therefore (according to the terms of the accord de siège) be expelled from French territory. Further to this, even if she were not accredited to UNESCO, her French-Syrian dual nationality means that she cannot be expelled from French territory.

These expulsions were coordinated by Washington to create the illusion of a general movement in order to put pressure on Russia. Indeed, the US is looking to test the new international balance of power, to size up Russia’s reactions and to find out how far they will go.

The choice of the Houla affair, however, has been a tactical error. Washington seized upon the affair without checking the details, thinking that nobody would be able to verify it. This was forgetting that Russia has moved into the country – with over 100,000 Russians currently residing in Syria.

Of course, they did not deploy a high-tech anti-aircraft defense system just to discourage NATO from bombarding Syria; they also set up information bases including troops that are able to move around rebel controlled areas.

In this way, Moscow was able to shed light on the facts within a few days. Their specialists succeeded in identifying the 13 members of the FSA guilty of these killings and gave their names to the Syrian authorities. With this, not only did Moscow not waver, it has hardened its stance.

For Vladimir Putin, the fact that the West wanted to make the Houla massacre into their symbol shows that they are out of touch with the reality on the ground. Having withdrawn the officers in charge of the Free “Syrian” Army, the only information available to the West comes from their drones and satellites observing what is happening. They have become vulnerable to the lies and vaunting of the mercenaries they have deployed on the terrain.

For Moscow, this massacre is just another tragedy like many others that Syrians have been enduring for the last year. But hasty instrumentation on the part of the West shows that they have failed to develop a new collective strategy since the fall of the Islamic district of Baba Amr. In essence, they are but acting on guesswork, which is allowing others to gain the upper-hand.

Thierry Meyssan


Translated from French by Katy Stone.

[1] Voltaire Network has chosen to write FSA with ’Syrian’ in inverted commas to indicate that this militia is largely composed of foreigners, and that it’s commander is not Syrian.

[2] “Irreversible divisons in Syria,” VoxClamantis, 26 May 2012.

[3] Global Research translated to English the transcript of extracts from this programme, see “Opposition Terrorists “Killed Families Loyal to the Government”“, Voltaire Network 1 June 2012.

[4] “Syria: What the Security Council Said”, by Thierry Meyssan,Voltaire Network, 6 June 2012.

[5] This is currently a security problem in the country. Many of the thugs that had been recruited to swell the ranks of the Free “Syrian” Army were demobilized due to lack of funding. Remaining in the possession of arms provided by the West, they are turning to crime – mainly kidnappings for ransom.

Thierry Meyssan is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Thierry Meyssan


################################ GEE REBELS ARE EVIL ,Colby likes them .......????


http://www.rt.com/news/syria-journalist-rebel-trap-436/ ALEX THOMSON

Syrian rebels tried to get reporter killed in anti-Assad propaganda bid – report

Published: 09 June, 2012, 04:01

Edited: 09 June, 2012, 07:51


Syrian rebels posing for a picture during the funeral procession of a man killed in violence in Silkin in the northwestern province of Idlib on June 6, 2012. (AFP Photo / Shaam News Network)(Journalist Alex Thomson reports that Syrian rebels set him and his crew up to be killed by Syrian troops in a bid to show Damascus in a negative light.

­Thomson, a chief correspondent for Channel 4 news, says he and his group were deliberately given incorrect directions by a group of Syrian rebels. As a result, their car entered a free-fire zone, where the road ahead was blocked off, and started receiving shots presumably fired by the Syrian army, who thought the vehicle belonged to rebels.

“Suddenly four men in a black car beckon us to follow,” he wrote on the channel’s website. “We move out behind. We are led another route. Led in fact, straight into a free-fire zone. Told by the Free Syrian Army to follow a road that was blocked off in the middle of no-man’s land."

They then tried to escape the attack by driving onto a nearby side-street, but it turned out to be dead end. Eventually, they returned to the road where the group of rebels had seen them off.

“Predictably the black car was there which had led us to the trap. They roared off as soon as we re-appeared,” Thomson noted.

Thomson said he was sure the rebels were eager to get him and his crew killed in order to have the international community blame Damascus for the death of Western reporters.

“I’m quite clear the rebels deliberately set us up to be shot by the Syrian army. Dead journos are bad for Damascus,” he stated.

Thomson’s mission to Syria was unique in a way, as he was reporting on both sides of the conflict, interviewing both Assad loyalists and rebels. In fact, he was in the country on a legal visa, issued by the Syrian government.

The reported incident comes just days after as many as 78 people were killedin the village of Mazraat al-Qubair in the Hama province. UN monitors that tried to asses the massacre were shot at.

‘Both sides involved in very dirty tactics’

RT did an extensive interview with Thomson on the details of his ordeal, and the situation in the country in general.

RT: What you are basically saying is that rebel forces set you up to be shot at by the Syrian army?

Alex Thomson: I have no doubt in my mind what happened, nor independently, does the very experienced cameraman I was with, and, perhaps more importantly than that, neither does the driver or the translator we were working with have any doubt at all that we were deliberately led out of that town, which the rebels knew was dangerous. We were led there in a car with four men. Two or three of them were armed. They told us to go down a route which looked dangerous to us, but we trusted them, we said we would go down the route and turn. We turned and found it was blocked. That was a roadblock which they had to have known was there. There was nobody around and at that point we were forced to turn the vehicle around in a free-fire zone and were duly fired upon. We were definitely exposed to a dangerous situation. And I have absolutely no doubt they did it deliberately. When we reappeared, still alive, the car full of men saw us, turned round and drove off at speed.

RT: So the car you were in, the Syrian army had no way to tell that you were foreign journalists?

AT: We did have a small sign in the windscreen saying press. We did not mark the car up with large letters saying TV or anything like that. There were very few journalists in this area. We were the only ones, so I think we were moving under conditions of reasonable safety.

RT: Why did you trust the rebel forces in the first place?

AT: We had no reason not to trust the rebel forces any more than we had any reason not to trust the Syrian army. By and large, when we spoke to Syrian people on both sides of the war, they were pretty honest and pretty straightforward in their assessments of the situation. That was the situation in places like Homs, on both sides, in Houla, on both sides. It was certainly the case on one side in al-Qubair. But when we got to the rebel side of al-Qubair, there was something different and for the first time, we encountered a degree of hostility and suspicion about us, because they had never seen foreign journalists who had a visa from Damascus, who were in the country legally, not illegally. And that immediately aroused suspicion on their part.

RT: So most foreign journalists are there illegally?

AT: That’s a fact. Most foreign, Western journalists who cover the war from the rebel side are smuggled in from Lebanon and so forth illegally to the country. It is very unusual, almost unheard of, to do the kind of things that we were doing, which is to go from Damascus, cross the lines with the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and talk to both sides.

RT: So can it be that your willingness to talk to both sides was the reason why the rebels wanted to set you up?

AT: That’s certainly possibly the case. There was another journalist in al-Qubair, an American freelance photographer, who had been there for some weeks; I don’t imagine that he would have been treated in that kind of way because they would have had a great deal more trust. To be fair to the rebels, you’re not looking at a credible and well-organized army with a very well-organized command and control structure. It was almost like there were groups of different men in the town who controlled different areas, different streets. There was a lot of rivalry. And I think, as much as anything else, we got involved in their turf war, with different groups of soldiers fighting with each other, jostling with each other around our car, not sure what to do with us, not sure how to treat us, not sure quite what we were doing there. We caused a lot of confusion to that extent and they weren’t used to that.

RT: Are there any grounds to believe that the Shabbiha were impersonating the rebels that misled you?

AT: No, I didn’t make a mistake on that. You can argue we made a mistake listening to what these guys were telling us. You can argue we made a mistake leaving site of the UN, although later these guys forced their car between us and the UN, and the UN drove off and left us as they said they would do, I have no problem with that. There is no way that these were some extremist Shabbiha. We were inside the town, in the streets, in areas completely controlled by the Free Syrian Army. They were all FSA people there. The idea that some bizarre could have wandered in to this situation unnoticed is ludicrous.

RT: Couldn’t rebels just kill you themselves and make it look as it was Assad’s forces?

AT: Yeah, of course they could. But in order to do that, the guys who actually did this would have had to physically taken us, probably in another vehicle, in order to do that, because they would have probably not been able to do that with other guys watching. Don’t forget, most of the people who were in that town were very welcoming to us, very helpful, giving interviews. A lot of them were very cool and very relaxed with us. It was just this one group who suddenly decided to do what they did.

RT: So the rebels are not united? Are there different groups doing different things, basically?

AT: Not exactly. What I mean is, you have the regular Free Syrian Army who are organized as you would expect a national army to be organized. They have a coherent command and control structure. They know who is in charge of their unit. That unit knows who is in charge of the area. The area knows who is in charge of the region, and they know who the boss man is. It works. They’re pushed, they’re under stress, they’re losing men, as this is a civil war. It is not the same when you cross to the other side. Clearly you are dealing with a much less coherent force. The only arms I saw them have were sniper rifles, AK-47s, and the very occasional rocket-propelled grenades, so they are not heavily armed. They are deeply motivated. They are prepared to die for their cause, and they are quite clearly giving the Syrian army a run for their money, but in no sense are they organized like a conventional army.

'Dead journalists are bad for Damascus'

RT: Can you elaborate on your statement that dead journalists are bad for Damascus?

AT: My point is, dead journalists are bad for Damascus. When Marie Colvin, the British journalist got killed because she was in a building which was shelled by the Syrian army in Homs, that was an appalling propaganda blow for the Damascus regime. You don’t have to be very clever to work out that the deaths of any journalist at the hands of the Syrian army are going to be an appalling blow, again, for President Assad. That’s going to reflect all the way to Moscow and all the way to Beijing. Clearly that is going to be a bad thing in terms of propaganda. So the motivation for the rebels to pull a stunt like that seems to be very obvious. I’m not angry about it, I’m not upset about it, this is a war and these things will be done. Both sides are involved in very dirty tactics in this war. This is a nasty and dirty war on both sides.

RT: How much violence have you actually seen personally?

AT: I’ve seen dead bodies in Houla which the UN didn’t know about. I’ve seen mass graves of men involved in a fairly extensive firefight close up in the south of Houla. I’ve watched the Syrian army at various distances shelling Homs every single day, shelling Houla almost every single day.

RT: So are Assad’s troops mostly responsible for this violence?

AT: No, it’s a war. Both sides are responsible. I think the Western media is rather naïve because they constantly blame the Syrian army for killing civilians. That’s true because the Syrian army are to blame for shelling civilians, but it’s equally true that the Free Syrian Army is very largely fighting its war in built-up, populated, civilian areas. They're not exactly using civilians as human shields but if you fight in those areas, civilians are going to be killed, and that is a question which is not put to the leaders of the Free Syrian Army with the frequency that it should be, in my opinion.

RT: Is it really possible to investigate who commits atrocities such as the latest Hama massacre?

AT: It’s extremely difficult. For the UN, the answer is probably, no, not really. They don’t have the means to conduct a forensics investigation; they have no equipment, they have no training, they have no expertise to cordon off the area, to treat it as a crime scene. They haven’t the personnel or the time or the resources to make extensive inquiries. For example, when we were in Houla, everybody in Houla says that the militia who came and conducted the massacre in which 108 people died, most of them women and children, came from villages to the west of the town, which are Alawite villages. When we went to those villages, we very quickly realized that nobody had come to those people. Neither the Syrian army in the framework of their investigation that they carried out, nor the United Nations, because the Syrian army and the Syrian government isn’t that interested, but equally, I know the UN do not have the capacity to do it. So the answer to that is no.

RT: So what’s the point of the UN observer mission?

AT: I’m not sure what the point is. But the other thing I should add to that is that blame lies also with the Syrian government, which has denied access to human rights groups who would have a capacity to do an investigation into these things. But equally, they would be going into a war zone where their safety would not be guaranteed by any means. As for the purpose of the United Nations mission, it’s very easy to say that these things are pointless, but I’ve personally witnessed, for instance, the UN setting up local ceasefires. They did one at al-Rastan, for instance, which worked, which made a difference on the ground. A lot of people say that their intervention has made a difference. A lot of people say there is never any shelling when the UN are there, that the shelling only begins when they leave town. Their effect is marginal, but it’s not true to say that their mission is entirely pointless. When you look at Houla, even with the resources at their disposal, the UN did produce a very swift, interim report about what happened there.

RT:You said the UN observers didn’t protect you. Why is that?

AT: Why should they? It’s not their job. It’s not part of their mission. When you follow the UN convoy, the UN make it very clear, they’re not there to protect you. They can’t protect you. They have no weapons. If you get into trouble, you’re on your own. That’s a perfectly reasonable arrangement. I have no problems with that. I have no problems with them observing that we were in trouble, and driving off and leaving us. That’s entirely fair enough.

RT: So you have no protection while you are there?

AT: No, I have no protection.

Edited by Steven Gaal
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LOL an article from the "hunt the Boeing" nut not much reason to read any furthur. The efficiencies of the Russian report were addressed above, the Catholic church news service report is contradicted by those from the UN and other media outlets. Syria's Christians tend to favor Assad, this could have colored who spoke to them and /or their reporting.

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LOL an article from the "hunt the Boeing" nut not much reason to read any furthur. The efficiencies of the Russian report were addressed above, the Catholic church news service report is contradicted by those from the UN and other media outlets. Syria's Christians tend to favor Assad, this could have colored who spoke to them and /or their reporting.

COLBY end ++


COLBO, have some coffee and wake up, for Natalia Mihailova is not Alex Thomson. NOTE Alex Thompson's story dovetails and

is complimentary to her story and also the "hunt the Boeing" commentator's reportage of the facts. I dont support him on Boeing/911 , but did agree with his Libya writings,so I take him not as a "nut" ,on Middle East issues. The BBC/UN have been shown by me in posts #5 and #8 this thread above , to be unreliabe news outlets. What I heard on the radio that (post #8 above) , "We were led into the town (Houla) by the rebels", confirms that Syria isnt in control of Houla as

Mihailova , Meyssan report and compliments Thomson's report of being led (controlled) by rebels.

Edited by Steven Gaal
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LOL an article from the "hunt the Boeing" nut not much reason to read any furthur. The efficiencies of the Russian report were addressed above, the Catholic church news service report is contradicted by those from the UN and other media outlets. Syria's Christians tend to favor Assad, this could have colored who spoke to them and /or their reporting.

COLBY end ++


COLBO, have some coffee and wake up, for Natalia Mihailova is not Alex Thomson. NOTE Alex Thompson's story dovetails and

is complimentary to her story and also the "hunt the Boeing" commentator's reportage of the facts. I dont support him on Boeing/911 , but did agree with his Libya writings,so I take him not as a "nut" ,on Middle East issues.

Mihailova’s story is weak one obscure person tells us her obscure friend told her x, y and z. Thompson seems credible by all he has was an anecdotal story he also said “Both sides are involved in very dirty tactics in this war. This is a nasty and dirty war on both sides.” As for Meyssan he has nothing to add but his spin. The questions you’ve dodged are, “If the Assad regime has nothing to hide was doesn't it allow foreign journalists into the country and intimidate the few who are there? They recently arrested a Brazilian reporter. And why do they so limit the number and movement of UN observers? They are obviously the ones with something to hide.”

The BBC/UN have been shown by me in post #5 this thread above , to be unreliabe news outlets.

LOL one of the main complaints of the author of the article is that it is too anti-Israel, by that standard you and just about everyone you site are “unreliable” , another is that is has not come down hard enough on North Korea. Since your source didn’t site and sources you have not shown anything. The a few other links also bitch about the UN being too anti-Israel, another about a former UN official being too chummy with Gadaffi. LOL you pretty obviously didn’t even bother to read the stuff you spammed, you just Googled UN Lies and posted whatever came up, or are becoming a neo-con? I didn’t see anything about the BBC.

What I heard on the radio that (post #8 above) , "We were led into the town (Houla) by the rebels" confirms that Syria isnt in control of Houla as Mihailova , Meyssan report and compliments Thomson's report of being led (controlled) by rebels

Supposedly the FSA retook the area.

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LOL you pretty obviously didn’t even bother to read the stuff you spammed, you just Googled UN Lies and posted whatever came up, or are becoming a neo-con? I didn’t see anything about the BBC. END COLBY

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ REPLY

I READ EVERY ONE FOOL !! I TOOK EXAMPLES THAT YOU WOULD LIKE (UN ANTI-ISRAEL)...gee,you are not so bright because u have a ANTI-GAAL Bias.


Supposedly the FSA retook the area. END COLBY

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ REPLY

FSA Controlled area last two weeks.


I didn’t see anything about the BBC END COLBY

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ REPLY

STEVE GAAL WROTE The BBC/UN have been shown by me in posts #5 and #8 this thread above , to be unreliabe news outlets. DID YOU MISS POST # 3 ?? Soooooooo dumb , sooooooooooooooo......


Thompson seems credible by all he has was an anecdotal story he also said “Both sides are involved in very dirty tactics in this war. END COLBY

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ REPLY

GEE anecdotal ???????? the REBELS WANTED HIM DEAD !!!!! .....gee BIAS BIAS BIAS..........

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LOL you pretty obviously didn’t even bother to read the stuff you spammed, you just Googled UN Lies and posted whatever came up, or are becoming a neo-con? I didn’t see anything about the BBC. END COLBY

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I READ EVERY ONE FOOL !! I TOOK EXAMPLES THAT YOU WOULD LIKE (UN ANTI-ISRAEL)...gee,you are not so bright because u have a ANTI-GAAL Bias.


LOL not taking you seriously is a sign of stupidity? Rather vain aren’t we now Steve? So do you agree with the authors that you cited that we can’t trust the UN because it is biased against Israel, too weak against North Korea and a high level employee was too friendly with Qadaffi? Really?

Supposedly the FSA retook the area. END COLBY

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FSA Controlled area last two weeks.


OK I’ll just take your word for it!

I didn’t see anything about the BBC END COLBY

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STEVE GAAL WROTE The BBC/UN have been shown by me in posts #5 and #8 this thread above , to be unreliabe news outlets. DID YOU MISS POST #5 ?? Soooooooo dumb , sooooooooooooooo......


LOL despite totalling out at well over 10,000 words there was not a single reference to the “Beeb” in either of your posts. Soif my missing your supposed references to the BBC in then would have made me “Soooooooo dumb” what does say about you when you are still insisting you made some?

Thompson seems credible by all he has was an anecdotal story he also said “Both sides are involved in very dirty tactics in this war. END COLBY

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GEE anecdotal ???????? the REBELS WANTED HIM DEAD !!!!! .....gee BIAS BIAS BIAS


You need to check the meaning of the word “anecdotal”. :)

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SORRY POST # 3 above.NOT #5 BBC corrected,


The United Nations and the Houla Massacre: The Information Battlefield

by Ronda Hauben 6/12/12


At a press conference held on June 4 marking the beginning of China’s presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of June, Li Baodong, China’s Ambassador to the UN, observed that there are different versions of the facts of the Houla Massacre. “Now we have different stories from different angles,” he noted. “Now we have the story from the Syrian government, and from the opposition parties, and from different sources.”

Since the Security Council has “ a team….on the ground,” he said, “We want to see first-hand information from our own people.” He hoped this would make it possible to put the different pieces of information together and to come “to our own conclusion with our own judgment.”(1)

The expectation was that Joint UN-Arab League Envoy Kofi Annan would be able to provide further information from the UNSMIS Observer mission when he came to speak with the Security Council on Thursday, June 7. It was anticipated that Annan’s presentation would help to clarify the facts of the massacre. (2)

On June 7, however, instead of providing new information from such an investigation, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and several of the other speakers at the Informal General Assembly (GA) meeting put the responsibility for the Houla Massacre on the Assad government. This was also the dominant response of the nations that spoke at the Informal GA meeting even though there had not yet been any adequate investigation into facts of the situation. (3) Also, there were claims of a new massacre.

Some of the member nations that spoke at the Informal GA meeting, however, objected to coming to such a conclusion, especially, in the absence of an adequate investigation.

In his comments referring to the massacres in Houla and on the outskirts of Hama, the Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said, “Clearly these are the most serious crimes that require a reliable detailed investigation.”

Other nations including Venezuela, India, Cuba and Nicaragua expressed similar views. The Venezuelan Representative told the Informal GA meeting, “We suspect the fact that these criminal acts happen to coincide with these debates at the UN. We have to wonder to whom does this benefit at this time?” He urged that, “an independent and transparent investigation into these massacres must take place and we must find convincing clarity.”

India’s Ambassador to the UN, Hardeep Singh Puri, noted that the attacks against civilians and security forces in Syria “have intensified over the last few weeks and have taken a significant toll.” Also he drew attention to the sharp increase in the number of terrorist attacks in different parts of the country.” He “condemned all violence, irrespective of who the perpetrators are,” and called for the “cessation of all outside support for armed groups and serious action against the terrorist groups in Syria.” And he asked that the crimes, “including the recent incident in El Houleh, are fully investigated and their perpetrators brought to justice.”

After comparing what has happened in Syria with what had happened in Libya, the Nicaraguan Representative called for “an exhaustive investigation of these crimes and to bring the guilty to justice.”

The Cuban Ambassador noted that the “information is fragmented, imprecise and the object of frequent manipulation.” He denounced what he saw as the “complicity of the major broadcast media which are used to confusing reality and not accepting the responsibility for their acts.”

During his comments, which were twice cut off by the UN video transmission system, Ambassador Bashir Ja’afari, the Syrian Ambassador, asked how the Secretary General of the League of Arab States could render a judgment about who is responsible for the Houla massacre when such a judgment contradicts the report of the United Nations observers on the ground, and investigations of that atrocious massacre have not yet been completed. The massacre, he emphasized, had been condemned by the Syrian government.

Ambassador Ja’afari announced that, “Syria is ready to receive a commission of inquiry of states known for their independence and for their respect for the UN charter and for their refusal to interfere in Syrian internal affairs.”

Later in the afternoon, after the Security Council’s informal briefing with Kofi Annan, there was a media stakeout at the Security Council. One journalist asked Ban Ki moon, “Mr. Secretary General, what steps have you taken to comply with the request of the Security Council on 27th of May through the press statement to investigate fully, independently and transparently the killing in El Houleh?” The UN Secretary General did not answer the question. (4)

It is notable that as Ambassador Li Baodong had recognized during his press conference on June 4, several different narratives have been used to describe the Houla massacre. These offer different explanations of the circumstances under which it happened and therefore what the implications are for the future of the Kofi Annan 6 point peace plan.

Those nations encouraging an investigation into the details of the Houla massacre want to determine the lessons from it toward solving the crisis in Syria. Those who were quick to jump to conclusions based on superficial information are helping to fan the flames of the conflict.

What are these major competing narratives?

Western and Arab Media Narrative

The narrative that is being spread by much of the mainstream western and Arab satellite media is a narrative that blames the Assad government for the Houla massacre. At first that media claimed that the people killed, including the women and children, had been killed by shelling from Syrian troops attacking the town.

In examining the videos and photos put online or provided by the opposition making these claims, however, it became evident that many of the victims, particularly the women and children, had been killed at close range by bullets and knives and not by the shelling of heavy weapons by the Syrian military.

It soon became obvious that only 20 of the 108 who were killed may have been killed in combat fighting over the checkpoint and that the circumstances of these deaths were not yet determined.

The opposition and the western and Arab media supporting the opposition, like BBC and Aljazeera, etc. had to quickly change their narrative. They invented a new force allegedly used by the Syrian government, the shabbiya, which they claimed is a pro government militia. (5) The shabbiya allegedly came into the homes of people and killed them at close range.

Russian News Team Narrative

A Russian news team interviewed people after the massacre. The explanation compiled from these interviews represents a very different narrative.

Their account noted that Houla is an administrative area, made up of three villages. It is not the name of a town. Some of this area had been under control of armed insurgents for a number of weeks. The Syrian army maintained certain checkpoints. This account explains that on the evening of May 24, the Free Syrian Army launched an operation to take control of the checkpoints, bringing 600-800 armed insurgents from different areas.

At the same time that there was the fight over the checkpoints, several armed insurgents went into certain homes and massacred the members of several families. Among the families targeted was a family related to a recently elected People’s Assembly representative. This family and another family that were killed were said to be families that supported the Syrian government. “Other victims included the family of two journalists for Top News and New Orient Express, press agencies associated with Voltaire Network,” reports the news and analysis site Voltairenet.(6)

Template for Media Warfare

At a press conference held in Damascus shortly after the Houla massacre by Joint UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, a question was asked which provides an important context to keep in mind when trying to determine what happened in Houla.

The journalist asked: I am a Russian living in Syria and reporting for various Russian online sites. What is happening in Syria reminds me of what happened in Yugoslavia that led to its division. We have sources that tell us that the Pentagon is preparing for war. If that happens, what do we do? What do Syrians do and what does the Government do? (7)

Annan’s response was that he had no information of the Pentagon “preparing for war.” Nor did he have any indication that what was happening in Syria would be a repeat of “what happened in Yugoslavia.” Despite the fact that Annan dismissed the journalist’s question, the question provides an important perspective toward understanding what is happening in Syria.

Looking back at the form of media warfare used to prepare public opinion for the NATO aggression against the former Yugoslavia, a template emerges that reflects a pattern in these events.

In this media warfare, the mainstream western media was used to spread stories about the alleged “responsibility for” massacres in order to demonize certain forces. This demonization served to justify the NATO bombing of their country. Hence the Russian journalist’s question to Kofi Annan raised an important and serious concern.

In his book “xxxx’s Poker”, which analyzes the role of the media in the Yugoslav war, Michel Collon writes “Information is already a battlefield, which is part of war.” He writes that in 1991 the Slovenian government created a “media center which unleashed a flood of disinformation to international correspondents.” (8) This disinformation created a false narrative about what was happening and about who was responsible for the violent acts that killed many innocent people. The false narrative was then used to provide the justification for foreign intervention on one side of the conflict.

Also Collon documents the use of US public relations agencies to help mold public opinion in favor of the Croatian and Muslim nationalists and as media warfare against the Serbs. In a striking way, Collon shows how “a massacre happens unexpectedly each time certain Western powers plan to escalate measures against the Serbs.”(9) He proposes what could be considered as the template used to create the climate of public opinion justifying the escalation of the attack on Yugoslavia.

Here are the components of the template he presents(10):

Step 1: Preparation of a more or less hidden agenda

Step 2: Images that shock Public Opinion

Step 3: Groundless and Wild Media Accusations Without Investigation

Step 4: Western Objectives are Achieved

Step 5: Corrections to Erroneous News Reporting: Too Late and No Impact

Collon argues that shocking events were “staged” for the international media so as to make possible a planned escalation of the attack on Serbia. The Houla massacre bears a striking resemblance to the incidents that Collon refers to in the 1990s that set a basis for the escalation of the aggression against the Serbian government.

Is this current rush to judgment, both at the UN, and in the mainstream western and Arab media but another example of support and encouragement for armed aggression against a sovereign nation, as in the Yugoslavian situation? Is it but a signal to the armed insurgents willing to carry out horrific deeds to achieve their goal of foreign intervention, that they should go ahead with their cruel agenda? These are questions that need to be asked as they may help to explain the underlying motives of one of the narratives.

The failure of mainstream western and Arab satellite media and of a number of nations at the UN to acknowledge that there are different views of the underlying cause and implementation of the Houla massacre impedes the urgency with which the needed investigation and analysis are to be organized.(11) Such an investigation is critical to identify the actual problems and to understand what is needed to solve them.

It is important to acknowledge that there are two major narratives about the events of the Houla massacre. Such an acknowledgment recognizes, as Ambassador Li Baodong did, the need for evidence to determine what is an accurate narrative of the Houla Massacre. There are a number of blogs and news sites on the Internet where netizens contribute articles and comments that are helpful toward analyzing what is happening in Syria and at the UN and whether the actions at the UN are helpful or harmful for resolving the crisis in a way that is in line with the principles of the UN charter. There are examples of a substantial new netizen journalism developing on the Internet which is taking up the needed work to investigate the facts of the Syrian conflict so as to understand what is needed to contribute to a peaceful resolution.(12)


(1)Video of Press Conference marking the beginning of the Chinese presidency of the Security Council for the month of June.


(2)The press statement issued by the UN Security Council on May 27 called for the Secretary General and UNSMIS “to continue to investigate these attacks and report the findings to the Security Council.”

(3)See for example the summary by Moon of Alabama, http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/06/the-syria-discussion-at-the-un-general-assembly.html

(4) “Joint press encounter with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Kofi A. Annan, Joint UN-Arab League Special Envoy on Syria and Nabil El-Araby, Secretary General of the League of Arab States.”

(5)See for example the account by AP: “The assault came nearly a week after 108 people, many of them women and children, were killed in the area. Activists said government forces first shelled the area on Friday, then pro-regime fighters known as shabiha stormed the villages. The Syrian government denied its troops were behind the killings and blamed ‘armed terrorists’.”


(6)See for example: Thierry Meyssan, “The Houla Affair Highlights Western Intelligence Gap in Syria”,


See also: Wassim Raad, “The Set Up Massacre and the American Fingerprint”


In German see for example Mathias Broeckers, “Der Hula-Hoax”


and Rainer Hermann,“Abermals Massaker in Syrien” in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, June 7, 2012.


(An English translation FAZ is available at Moon of Alabama blog:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/06/prime-german-paper-syrian-rebels-committed-houla-massacre.html )

(7)Transcript of JSE Press Conference in Damascus, 29 May 2012, p. 4. For video see: http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/unsmis/

(8) Michel Collon, xxxx’s Poker, International Action Center, New York, 2002 p. 45.(This is an English translation of the book which was originally published in French.)

(9)Ibid., p. 28

(10)Ibid., p. 26.

(11) The Human Rights Council has passed a resolution calling for an investigation into the Houla Massacre. Several sources, however, document that the Human Rights Council only considers information supplied by activists in support of the armed opposition. See for example “UN Commissions report on Houla? But they only talk to Syrian opposition – by phone”, May 31, 2012

“Anti-war campaigner Marinella Corregia worries the HR commissioner talks only to its sources: the opposition.”


(12) A few of the English language web sites providing news and analysis of the Syrian conflict toward a directed peaceful resolution include:

Moon of Alabama


Centre for Research on Globalization




Syria News




The 4th Media


A version of this article appears on my netizenblog: http://blogs.taz.de/netizenblog/2012/06/12/un-and-houla-massacre/


The expression anecdotal evidence refers to evidence from anecdotes. Because of the small sample, there is a larger chance that it may be true but unreliable due to cherry-picked or otherwise non-representative samples of typical cases.[1][2]

Anecdotal evidence is considered dubious support of a claim; it is accepted only in lieu of more solid evidence. This is true regardless of the veracity of individual claims.[citation needed]

"IN LIEU OF SOLID EVIDENCE." SOLID EVIDENCE IS A PLOT TO KILL HIM WHICH HE FIGURES OUT. AND THE KEY HERE is that other Journalists are being killed in REBEL areas. !!!!!!!!!!


Edited by Steven Gaal
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SORRY POST # 3 above.NOT #5 BBC corrected,


LOL so IF my not finding the supposed reference to the BBC in post #5 would have made me “Soooooooo dumb , sooooooooooooooo......” what does that make you who insisted there was one even after I pointed out your error? I already replied to your rubbish from post #3, if making a mistake makes one a xxxx what does that tell us about you who indicated articles from the Pakistani newspaper named “The Nation” were really from the eponymous American magazine?

The United Nations and the Houla Massacre: The Information Battlefieldby Ronda Hauben 6/12/12
If there was any new relevant information in that article I missed it.
The expression anecdotal evidence refers to evidence from anecdotes. Because of the small sample, there is a larger chance that it may be true but unreliable due to cherry-picked or otherwise non-representative samples of typical cases.[1][2]Anecdotal evidence is considered dubious support of a claim; it is accepted only in lieu of more solid evidence. This is true regardless of the veracity of individual claims.[citation needed]"IN LIEU OF SOLID EVIDENCE." SOLID EVIDENCE IS A PLOT TO KILL HIM WHICH HE FIGURES OUT. AND THE KEY HERE is that other Journalists are being killed in REBEL areas. !!!!!!!!!!
Amazing that after bothering to look up the meaning of the word you still can’t figure it out, this was a single incident (i.e. “small sample”) the anecdote was not directly relevant to the events in Houla and even your source indicated “Both sides involved in very dirty tactics”
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