Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 11, 2012

The State Department Lies With Its Satellite Pictures Of Syria - No Artillery "Deployed"

There is A note from Ambassador Ford on recent events in Syria which shows a satellite picture of Homs, Syria, titled "Security Operations Escalate in Homs" and "Bab Amr Neighborhood". The picture was allegedly taken on February 6, 2012 though the copyright mark says "© 2011 Digital Globe".

A deeper look at the ambassador picture reveals that it does not show what its labels say. In fact the picture shows only ambiguous stuff from the very border edge of Bab Amr not from within the city.

There are additionally satellite pictures at the State Department's website allegedly showing "operational deployment" of Syrian artillery.

Analysis of the State Departments satellite pictures, which were promoted by news agencies and various papers, clearly shows that these pictures of artillery guns "operational deployed against XYZ" were all taken of guns training within military barracks or well known training areas and not in active deployment.

(A Google Earth KMZ file with the localities of the State Department pictures and the military areas marked is provided below.)

There is so far no proof that any artillery has been deployed at all though it is known that mortars have been used by the rebel side. The State Department obviously knows what the pictures really show but is trying to use the lie of artillery deployment against the rebels as a pressure argument for military intervention.

The ambassador's picture:


Certain areas of the picture are marked as "Fires", "Military vehicles" and "Smoke". But when one compares the bigger version of the picture with older pictures of those places from Google map and Google Earth all marked areas seem to be outside of Bab Amr and depict nothing that is obviously of military nature.

The place marked as "Fires" is actually at a bend of canal outside of the city and what the picture shows as burning seem to be on or, away from the city, right next to a canal (Note: the north adjustment in the picture as well as the following ones shown by the north arrow is different from the Google maps where north is always towards the top. One has to use Google Earth or ones brain to correct for that.) in a agricultural zone with a bit of industry. I can not identify any building that could be burning there so that might as well be trash or some agricultural stuff that is going up in flames.

The part marked "Military vehicles" points into an agricultural area with few houses and only small roads. The magnification actually shows a place some 750 meters north-west of there on the M1 highway crossing "Homs Western Entrance". There are clearly some twelve trucks standing in a row on the highway in the ambassador's picture but it is not clear why these are supposed to be military especially as some of them seem to be of light color and not camouflaged.

The part labeled "Impact craters", "Burning Buildings" and "Smoke" do not seem to show such. The "Impact craters" are on the south site of a red-brownish mud soccer field and even the largest magnification and comparison to earlier pictures in Google Earth shows no differences between them and no obvious craters there. The alleged "burning building" on the north-east side of the soccer field seems to be no building at all but smoke coming up from the parking lot north and next to the "Vegetables and Fruit market". Is someone burning the daily trash?

All three places marked in the ambassadors satellite picture (yellow pins) are well outside and on the western edge of the actual build up area of Homs and of Baba Amr. They show no obvious "security operations". Why they should be relevant in a million people city is not comprehensible.


The State Department has an additional set of pictures labeled Artillery Support To Government Security Operations. The first is the map that shows the geographic position of the eight satellite pictures of Syrian artillery positions that follow.


Using the State Department map and Google Earth, which latest pictures of those areas are generally from March 2010, I tried to find out where the eight pictures of artillery positions state provided were actually taken.

The first position marked Graphic 2 is some 10 kilometers south-south-west of Al Zabadani. I can not identify the equipment (badly) shown in it. The position seems to be on this hilltop, probably at this bend (mentally turn that 90° to the right to adjust for north to the right as in Graphic 2). This seems to be part of an older military position and training place as the old dug out position and impact craters in the area show.

The position marked Graphic 3 and Graphic 4 are some 15 kilometers south of Al Zabadani. The older pictures in Google Earth/Map show an obvious military training ground just in that place. There are dug out field positions typical for tanks or artillery. These positions have no obvious common orientation and are therefore likely just training positions.

Graphic 3 shows four tracked howitzers probably 2S1 M-1974 Gvodzika (Carnation) 122-mm Self-Propelled Howitzer of which Syria has some 400. Its exact position can be identified. It is clearly within the military training ground. The exact position of Graphic 4, which shows four field guns, can also be identified. Graphic 4 is labeled "Artillery Operationally Deployed Towards Az Zabadani". But these guns are on a military training ground. They are probably D-30 2A18M 122-mm Towed Howitzer of which Syria has some 500 pieces. The towing trucks needed to move these guns and their ammunition are not visible in the picture and there are no ammunition pits next to them.

The D-30, like the S21 Gvodzika, has a maximum effective range of 15.3 kilometers. The grounds they are standing on is 15 kilometers away from Al Zabadani. No military would operationally deploy artillery pieces with a maximum range of just 15+ kilometer against a target that is 15+ kilometers away. One wants to be much nearer to the target to have a better chance of actually hitting something and some flexibility to range beyond the target when needed. These are thereby very likely artillery units which are just training on their regular training grounds, NOT units deployed against Al Zabadani.

Graphic 5 is supposed to depict an area 7 to 8 kilometers south of Halbun. Oh, how convenient, that is the north eastern edge of another huge military complex though this time with barracks and parking lots for trucks and other equipment. The complex is north of the city Qudssaya. The current sat picture shows the guns between young trees. As the Google Earth pictures I am working with are older I can not find those young trees and the exact position of these guns.

Onto Graphic 6 some 10 kilometers south-south-east of and "Operationally Deployed Against" Rankus. That depicted place is right here (like always adjust for north orientation) in the mid of a military area which includes barracks, parking lots, repair shops, training areas and ammunition depots. The barrel shaped roof on one building in the picture is easy to identify. The "two legged" guns in the State photo are likely M-46 130mm Towed Guns of which Syria has some 750 pieces. The State photo shows four of them set up in a row but just some 10 meters apart from each other.

If one wants to shoot such guns one does not deploy these just next to each other on a flat parade ground. The muzzle blast (and noise) these guns make is pretty big and loud and any military manual will say that the minimum distance between deployed-for-fire guns should be 50+ meters. This also because any counter fire or simple misfiring should hit just one gun and not also blow up its neighbor. The guns in the picture are hauled out for inspection, basic operation training or maintenance. The are not "operationally deployed" artillery.

Graphic 7 is some 12-13 kilometers east-south-east of Rankus. Fly there with Google Earth and you land right in the mid of, yes, another military installation just north of the town of Heleh. (If you wonder why there are so many military bases around remember that the ones so far are all around the capital Damascus and that Syria has an aggressive neighbor not so far away from there.) The position shown in Graphic 7 is here and even two year old satellite pictures Google provides shows tank tracks on the well used grounds. A sign that it is very, very normal to have those vehicles driving and standing there.

Graphic 8 is supposed to show a Stalin organ type of truck in an area 10 kilometers south east of Homs. Oh wait, there is a big military installation there which has hundreds of trucks. The actual place where the sat pic shows the truck is here which seems to be a workshop or dry training area. (Note the north orientation given in Graphic 8 is a bit off. The north arrow should point towards the bottom right, not to the right.)

Last but not least Graphic 9 mapped as some 15 kilometers east-south-east from Homs.

In fact it is just 100 yards north from where Graphic 8 was taken and within the same barracks and training complex.


Graphic 9 clearly shows a military training ground. There are many dug out U-type emplacements that shield from the front and the sides and allow to pull out to the back. They point into various directions. There are also blast holes in the ground likely from the earlier use of training ammunition in the area. The guns shown are out in the open, not camouflaged and with no ammunition stacks or the like visible nearby.

Lucky guys, these Syrian artillery soldiers. They always seem to "operationally deploy" just a few hundreds yards away from their barracks and without doing any of the laborious digging and ammunition hauling that needs to be done on real deployments.

So while the State Department says these picture are showing guns "operationally deployed against XYZ" I say that's a lie and bullshit. As a former tank officer who has trained on shooting ranges together with tracked and towed artillery I am pretty sure that all those artillery pictures shown by the State Department are pictures of regular military training and maintenance missions on military barracks and training grounds and not pictures of "operational deployment" against anyone.

It seems that the State Department simply ordered unclassified satellite pictures from Digital Globe, checked the well known training grounds of the Syrian military and where they found inevitably some small artillery units doing their regular training made up the story that those guns are "operationally deployed" against Syrian rebels.

The pictures out of Homs so far showed only indirect mortar fire, not heavy artillery fire from big guns. The suppressed report (pdf) by the Arab League Observer Mission said that the rebels used mortars against the regular Syrian troops and that it were such mortars that killed a French journalist.

44. In Homs, a French journalist who worked for the France 2 channel was killed and a Belgian journalist was injured.
It should be noted that Mission reports from Homs indicate that the French journalist was killed by opposition mortar shells.

There is so far zero proof that the Syrian government has deployed any artillery at all against the rebels. The State Department satellite pictures are surely no such proof and the pictures of damage in the cities as shown in the various videos or pictures are so far not of a level that would be consistent with the use of heavy artillery.

For those interested in checking my analysis here (right click and save file) is a KMZ file for Google Earth with the various places mentioned above marked under StateDepSyriaSat.

Posted by b on February 11, 2012 at 18:52 UTC | Permalink


b, the 'Graphic 4' link points to the 'Graphic 3' image.

I'm still reading it through. Impressive work.

Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 11 2012 20:43 utc | 1

The fighting has spread to Lebanon.

Hillary the Horrible will probably find a way to spin that as "Assad killing his own people with artillery..."

Posted by: JohnH | Feb 11 2012 23:02 utc | 2

I'm glad you've started on image interpretation, b. It's the only way of understanding the situation in Syria.

Myself, I've been working on the ground videos. Zero destruction until about 2-3 days ago. Since then numerous videos showing some house destruction. Could be mortars, but not very heavy ordonnance.

Evidently there's been a change of tactics, not surprising considering the arming of the opposition.

I have to say that I sense that your post could be at the beginning of a tide rising against intervention. Never mind what Obama says, actually executing an intervention would be difficult. We'll see.

Posted by: alexno | Feb 11 2012 23:09 utc | 3

More f*ckery is afoot...

Top general killed in Damascus ambush...

Posted by: CTuttle | Feb 11 2012 23:40 utc | 4

This ploy is remarkably similar to a ploy used by Powell and Cheney to lie us into Gulf War I in 1990, when the photographs of Iraqi troops alleged to be amassing at the border were actually taken at an earlier time, during a much earlier announced training exercise. To refresh your memory, from the Christian Science Momitor of September 6, 2002 :

In war, some facts less factual

Posted by: erichwwk | Feb 11 2012 23:50 utc | 5

This seems a much more sophisticated set-up than the drivel mounted by the Bushes for their Iraq wars. I think it means that the stakes are much higher this time -- and that the consequences of fuckup for the empire will be much severer. And notice that it coincides with moves by Congress stooges to foment an *independent* (of Pakistan) Baluchistan. They are after total control from Lebanon through to the Indian border.

Posted by: JohnE | Feb 12 2012 0:12 utc | 6

Escobar: Exposed: The Arab Agenda in Syria

good work b...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 12 2012 0:29 utc | 7

The Angry Arab has a post up about the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood which is pretty damning.

Incidentally, none of the explosions they set in the late 1970s and early 1980s, nor the murders of a couple of hundred of Syria's best academics and doctors (was that addressing an Israeli request?) was claimed by them, and they often issued statements denying their act. Many would consider their tactic to be dishonest. This is not how it is viewed by them. The statement by the Prophet that "War is deceit" whether he said that or not, is taken to heart. All what one has to do is to presume that in any encounter one is at 'war,' and one can then lie all the way to heavens!

Given their past history, do they regard it as acceptable to murder innocent civilians (which they appear to have already done to produce videos for al Jazeera) to advance their position? Could this mean that the bombardment of Homs could, in part, originate with the Muslim Brotherhood? We know they have the mortars and it mostly seems to be mortar fire that is killing people and doing the damage. And finally, they seem to be funded by the Qatari and Saudi governments who most likely are funding AQI.

Posted by: blowback | Feb 12 2012 2:41 utc | 8

Thanks for the satellite pic, b.
© 2011 Digital Globe is certainly a peculiar authenticity tag for a 2012 image.
It's a bit fuzzy and begs the question ...
"Where's Colin Powell when we need him?"

Talking of Colin Powell, it always amused me that Bush II pronounced Colin as if it were 'colon' not realising, perhaps, that wherever there's a colon there's an asshole - in Powell's case a lying asshole.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 12 2012 3:10 utc | 9

ok, i am going to send some tweets out. this needs attention.

Posted by: annie | Feb 12 2012 3:54 utc | 10

Invaluable analysis, b -- thanks much.

What's horrifying is that apparently the administration thinks it can get away with this kind of lying and misrepresentation. Wow.

And, of course, just one more way that Obama is just Bush III.

Posted by: jawbone | Feb 12 2012 4:05 utc | 11

I just wrote a new blog post... Cry "Havoc!"

Any input from you barflies is always appreciated...! 8-)

Posted by: CTuttle | Feb 12 2012 5:25 utc | 12

@ThePaper @1 - Thanks, link corrected

Posted by: b | Feb 12 2012 6:04 utc | 13

Guten Morgen, b, from the Isles...! ;-)

Posted by: CTuttle | Feb 12 2012 6:10 utc | 14

I'm not sure the copyright mark disproves the picture was taken on Feb 6.

In the United States, the copyright notice consists of:

the © symbol, or the word "Copyright" or abbreviation "Copr.";
the year of first publication of the copyrighted work;
and an identification of the owner of the copyright, either by name, abbreviation, or other designation by which it is generally known.

Posted by: Calig | Feb 12 2012 6:29 utc | 15

@Calig - the copyright mark is not important.

Though if you are right with - "the year of first publication of the copyrighted work;" - how please can a photo made Feb 6 2012 have been first published in 2011?

Anyway fact is that the pictures do not show what the ambassador and State Department say what they show.

Posted by: b | Feb 12 2012 6:40 utc | 16

@ 15.
I'm not sure the copyright mark disproves the picture was taken on Feb 6.
With due respect, that doesn't compute.
By your own (bold) definition, the image could only have been available, and first published, on or before Dec 31, 2011.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 12 2012 7:13 utc | 17

Joining with Obama and Clinton: new video message from al-Qā’idah’s Dr. Ayman al-Ẓawāhirī: “Onward Oh Lions of Syria”

Posted by: b | Feb 12 2012 10:55 utc | 18

Al Qaeda and the US (with the rest of the increasingly powerless western powers) on the same boat. Well, isn't that the historical rule rather than the exception? They have been exporting radical Islamism around all the world for more than half a century to combat one supposed 'enemy' or another in the name of 'democracy' and 'free markets'.

Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 12 2012 11:42 utc | 19

There would appear to be ground imagery from the Homs / Baba Amr strikes. I make this to be taken from the south end of the stadium at about 34°42'55.34"N 36°41'18.42"E (stadium seats can be seen at 2:01) overlooking the canal that runs ENE / WSW, with multiple impacts in the vicinity of 34°42'46.53"N 36°41'7.56"E working South. It's difficult to say given the quality of the imagery, but I tend to think they have worked this target before. Video is here:

Posted by: JustPlainDave | Feb 12 2012 13:35 utc | 20

((There is so far no proof that any artillery has been deployed at all though it is known that mortars have been used by the rebel side))

Could you please link to your source for "morters have being use by rebel side"!
Thank you

Posted by: Revlon | Feb 12 2012 15:07 utc | 21

@Revlon - in the piece above I linked the Arab League Observer Mission report. The observers say they saw rebel mortar use. If you quibble with that please ask the observers.

Posted by: b | Feb 12 2012 15:21 utc | 22

@JustPlainDave - I agree with your interpretation of that video. Though difficult to say what was fired from where and what the actual target was. Just explosions on the ground?

Judging from the sound (difficult)it seemed to be fired from relatively short range and on a relatively flat trajectory without any real precision.

I have no good idea what that was.

Posted by: b | Feb 12 2012 15:44 utc | 23

Dear B
The Arab Observers report acknowledged the presence of "armed groups"
The Arab observers had no capacity to verify the identity of such groups.
While the regime claimed they were terrorists, the rebels counterclaimed they were Shabbeeha; a local name for regime's paramilitary thugs.
The Arab observers had no authority to question armed groups to verify whether they belonged to the regime or to the rebels.

Thank you for your reply

Posted by: Revlon | Feb 12 2012 16:34 utc | 24

Pretty damn damning, if you ask me.

Incredible work.

Posted by: Qifa Nabki | Feb 12 2012 16:49 utc | 25

JohnE- The Empire wants control of Baluchistan so that it can insert itself between Iran and Pakistan, which is no longer the friend it once was. Pakistan has already agreed to build the Peace Pipeline, with the intention being to deliver Iranian gas to India. Such side deals are not acceptable to the Empire, which needs to control the route and "protect" it.

In addition, Baluchistan can serve as a transit route for Central Asian energy across western Afghanistan to Gwadar. Again, the Empire needs to insert itself to "protect" this route.

Posted by: JohnH | Feb 12 2012 17:15 utc | 26

There are days here when the debate and info is awesome. Thanks b,and all.

Posted by: ben | Feb 12 2012 17:15 utc | 27

hey, could you deconstruct this as well , it's all a conspiracy after all

Posted by: what not | Feb 12 2012 19:36 utc | 28

That's an easy one, what not. You see, it's obvious that the holes in the buildings were created by the Puppet Resistance Supplied and Educated by Empire (aka "Free Syrian Army") from firing mortars at passive government troops from inside of the houses.

How's that for MoA armchair forensics?

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 12 2012 20:33 utc | 29

"MoA armchair forensics"

I'm all for armchair forensics; much more comfortable than standing up forensics, whereas outdoor forensics has the problem of ants crawling on the blanket on the grass; I wonder if the Fbi and the Cia at least have stools in the labs where they analyze evidence

Posted by: claudio | Feb 12 2012 23:21 utc | 30

It's clearly indirect fire coming in from a pretty decent angle. From the size of the explosions and the time between them, the most likely explanation is that the target was being worked by a single battery of tube artillery. Can't tell from the imagery whether it's 152s or 122s. Could maybe be rockets, but I think that's a good deal less likely (trajectory seems off and they'd have to be deliberately not ripple firing them).

Posted by: JustPlainDave | Feb 12 2012 23:59 utc | 31

oh that's clear then @slothrop, for I thought they were damaged by fireworks during massive celebrations of Bashar's reforms. Moving on...

There is so far zero proof that the Syrian government has deployed any artillery at all against the rebels.

should I laugh or cry, I'm just surprised someone on my Twitter timeline, who's apparently a PhD candidate, actually took this seriously and bothered to post it.

Posted by: what not | Feb 13 2012 0:11 utc | 32

OT: Props to Nicki Minaj for her 'high church' parody entrance on the Grammy Awards red carpet tonight, but credit where due, Sinéad O'Connor went there first.

Posted by: Watson | Feb 13 2012 0:36 utc | 33

sure looks like those little houses were destroyed by something other than fireworks. Seems to be proof of something. Perhaps the Syrian stooges of Empire are destroying their own homes for photo opportunities?

You'll notice that the same perspicuous attention to forensic examination wasn't applied by b to the Egyptian revolution.

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 13 2012 0:54 utc | 34

Thanks for the work. Mainstream journalism is a copy fax machine of government declarations, sometimes, not always, 'balanced' by opinions from other side. But this does not lead to the truth, not even close to it.

Bloggers and tweeps interested in what's going on in Syria should visit daily this blog and Friday Lunch Club.

Do you have a Twitter account?

Posted by: Sophia | Feb 13 2012 1:09 utc | 35

alqaeda are also salafists...BUT their being used by/alliance with US and Israel is interesting and makes clear there is no War on Terror(WOT)

Posted by: brian | Feb 13 2012 2:32 utc | 36

but of course @slothrop, it's actually much more simple than that according to Syrian state TV, you see, the residents are burning tyres on their rooftops to create a smokescreen of destruction, and naturally, being stupid as they are, plus evidently not fluent enough to read the Imperialist/Zionist instruction, they damage their own terrorist hotbeds !!!


dear Sophia, may I refer you to one Lizzie Phelan, she did it in libya, she does it in Syria, and she's a star.

Posted by: what not | Feb 13 2012 3:17 utc | 37

Lizzie Phelans new blog:

make slops day, by going here to learn about events in syria...Lizzies been there.

Posted by: brian | Feb 13 2012 3:42 utc | 38


Do you have a Twitter account?

B don't As far as I know.

An Aleppine can sell even a dried donkey skin.~Syrian Proverb

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 13 2012 3:52 utc | 39

A couple days ago my husband and I were watching CNN. They had William Cohen on..but they had a guy in Syria on with headphones on saying all Syrians were going to be killed..then he took his camera outside and said women and kids were being killed..he then said he would show CNN..Wolf Blitzer seemed to be joyful to get to show dead bodies! So the guy takes the camera into a rubbled building so excited to show proof of dead bodies.
Inside the building there were blankets laid out as if bodies were under them..then they proved themselves liars by lifting up one of the blankets..and the first one lifted..there were rocks under the blanket..
Second blanket...same under the colorful blanket.

They showed a third blanket, but by this time Wolf Blizer over it along so the guy wouldn't lift up the third blanket.

William Cohen got a weird look on his he just caught onto the Con job.

Wolf Blitzer then repeated for the next several hours..that a Syrian showed CNN on air dead bodies of victims.
When there were no bodies at all!
My husband looked at me and asked me, did I see any bodies..I said no I saw rocks under blankets.
I said I was just about to ask him if he saw any bodies.
Then my husband , who is not politicals got real pissed off and called CNN in Atlanta and called a producer a bold faced liar and propagandist!

I then called as well and asked for the producer, they only put me through a comment line and I screamed they are nothing but liars .

I have now watched closely and seen this crap repeated on CNN as if on cue.

Pay attention to the fake newsers.they are all pathetic liars!

Posted by: Reggie | Feb 13 2012 5:50 utc | 40

I read the theory that the terror bombing in Aleppo was perpetrated by the Free Syrian Army. The US government claim the attack was perpetrated by Al Qaeda to shift the blame from the rebels, making the public believe that Free Syrian Army is not responsible for killing civlians.

Posted by: nikon | Feb 13 2012 6:29 utc | 41

@nikon - that may be correct though interpret it differently. The attack has the "signature" of AlQaeda (in Iraq) and was theirs and some U.S. officials want this to be public to prevent any U.S. support for the rebels.


Do you have a Twitter account?

B don't As far as I know.

My Twitter account is @MoonofA but I usually only monitor what others say and seldom use it to say something myself.

Posted by: b | Feb 13 2012 6:55 utc | 42

From photos and video, looks like the Syrians are now shelling Athens.

Posted by: Biklett | Feb 13 2012 7:24 utc | 43

Hey Moon of A: hoping you do not mind the abbreviation?
Someone left this link at my place and I stopped on by.
The Arab observers confirmed the french cameraman had been killed by the NATO backed terrorists fire.
As if that wasn't totally obvious anyway?

The "free syrian" army and al quaeda are one and the same
Either/ or attacked Aleppo killing many innocents... Aleppo had been very loyal to their government and to Syria as a whole
That is an unbroken Syria. A non bombed to smithereens Syria.

Salafist and Muslim brotherhoods are co-opted and are both the equivalents of Al quaeda
Lizzie Phelan is a wonderful gal, but, one does not need her to see what is going on there in Syria. Because it has been seen previously on many many occasions, with only minor variances
If people have their eyes open and are thinking using rational common sense and logic, then they will quickly get an understanding of the destabilization agenda at play.
Syria is secular as was Libya, as was Egypt...
The Western Imperial/NATO/Israeli agenda is to have radical Islam at the helm... for many reason
I have blogged extensively on Syria since March 2011

I will add your excellent commentary to my post
and thanks for taking the time to undertake this rather tough and thankless type of research to try and get the facts and truth out

Posted by: Penny | Feb 13 2012 12:08 utc | 44

Its actually quite amusing seeing Slothrop aim his weak stream of piss at b's extensive and concise analysis. Slothrop kinda epitomizes the typical whore troll for the RW/neocon scumbags. Very little substance, zero honesty, and the integrity of a actively promiscuous man that is aware of his own syphilis infection.

Sorry for the crass and crude comparison, Sloth, but, in all honesty, it doesn't seem sufficiently obscene to me. Be proud, man, for theres not many people that have proven themselves so despicably scummy that I can't find words of sufficient obscenity with which to convey the disdain and loathing I hold for them.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Feb 13 2012 18:07 utc | 45

Thanks What not, uncle $cam and b

Posted by: Sophia | Feb 13 2012 18:38 utc | 46

Another comment that indicates the propaganda being catapulted to the public, this about the allegation babies were killed in Syrian hospital by some sort of Syrian government action.

Just another reason to view reports from both (or all) sides in Syria with strong skepticism.

From a comment by Michael Collins at The Agonist.

The photo of the dead babies is from an Egyptian paper photo from 2007. How amazingly similar!

Sorta matches the stones under the blankets thing on CNN. Wow and sheesh.

Posted by: jawbone | Feb 14 2012 22:30 utc | 47

For some "real" data, go to Wikimapia and check out all the areas tagged "military"

Also check:



Posted by: Mike Johnson | Feb 14 2012 23:24 utc | 48

More sat-picture fakery

High-Tech Trickery in Homs?

King’s presentation of “shelling, fires and damage” to Homs shows destruction of property consistent with the use of heavy weapons: “It’s like a ghost town – with no cars at all, there’s damage in the roads and so much damage on the top of the buildings.”

Zooming in on three different sections of the same Homs neighborhood to show before-and-after images of the destruction, King says: “Now obviously, we’re not there, but this powerful satellite imagery tends to support the accounts from activists that there’s a lot of shelling and fighting going on in the city, and a lot of fires.”

There is only one problem with his account. Most of the alleged fighting, shelling, destruction and killing reported widely in the international media took place in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, southwest of the city, and an anti-regime stronghold.

But all three satellite images shown by King are in al-Zahra neighborhood, a pro-regime area consisting mainly of Alawis, who belong to the same Muslim minority sect as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

That is a stunning revelation. Pro-regime civilians in Homs and other Syrian areas have complained of attacks, kidnappings and killings by armed opposition groups for months now, with little attention received by foreign media.

And it completely undermines Ford’s contention that: “There is no evidence that the opposition…has access to or has employed such heavy weapons. “

Posted by: b | Feb 15 2012 13:51 utc | 49

I was going to post a link but you beat me to it.
Frightfully modest of you, b, not to mention that Al-Akhbar based a large portion of their satellite image deconstruction on MoA's.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 16 2012 2:44 utc | 50

you better watch out, you better not cry, you better do israel's dirty work, I'm tellin you why.....Muslim Klaus is coming, to town..

he knows when you're conspiratorial, he knows when you're a flake, he knows when you masturbate to the Talmud, so be bad for badness sake..

oh you better watch out, you better not cry, you better attack Iran cuz mossad is tellin you why, Muzlim Klaus is coming, to town!!! (hahahhahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaha!!)

Posted by: Syria's First THen | Feb 18 2012 8:42 utc | 51

Just a reminder of the Iraq photo lies. Powel at the UN showed aerial shots of massive military build up at the saudia Border--over 14000 tanks one problem--no visable tracks. After the invasion.the latey come Russians with their arearial photos of the same date---proved photo shopped--none existed. Did the UN retract? Nope! after the bombings the spineless UN--allowed USA and the willings--to continue---YaaaH1 best for Iraqians--Myass!

Posted by: george Archers | Feb 18 2012 13:43 utc | 52

WOW, awesome work with genuine pictures explanation. Please continue. I know for a fact that Arwa Damon is a liar who claims to be hiding in Syria to report for Anderson Cooper CNN. Arwa's mother is Syria and supports Assad and against extremists. Yet, she didn't interview her once....

Posted by: Sandra | Feb 18 2012 15:20 utc | 53

A great analysis. Thank you very much for it. What I especially like is that it contains tangible proofs from readily available sources, against which it can be easily verified. Thank you again!

Posted by: Colq | Feb 24 2012 16:04 utc | 54

The logic of the entire piece is ridiculous.

The author conveniently leaves out a variety of facts and uses info that is irrelevant to the State departments highly damning photos.

Let us for example point out a few miscalculations that I got from analysis of simply ONE of his assertions in depth.

Graphic 8 lets talk:)

1. First I have to ask how the "author" knows SO much about where and what is a military base in Syria unless he is part of the paid Shabiha paid to make up revolution facts...

2. While the Author points out the distances required between equipment in military manuals... he neglects to point out a variety of points to include a reference to such a manual. To assume Assad's goons actually follow rules in manuals is the first mistake. One assumes that the Syrian Army is a professional organization carefully implementing safety rules, but anyone who has ever served in or with a military in the Arab world knows better than this. Of course as it is easy to see here the artillery being used to pound Homs or Baba Amru is in fact sitting in the middle of an area seeming to have craters. An Army concerned with the safety of its Soldiers and equipment would not operate in such an area without cleaning it up first.

2. He is right that "There are many dug out U-type emplacements that shield from the front and the sides and allow to pull out to the back." This is absolutely correct, except for none of them are being used for that purpose here, but rather they are being set up facing directly at Baba Amro to the point where straight line distances are quite obvious, a point neglected by the author for obvious reasons it is very damning.

3. We must ask therefore, why "training" has all the artillery facing a residential area that is well within range of the equipment? Obviously not to fire live rounds for "training purposes"

4. "They point into various directions." The Author is correct: the training dugouts are indeed pointing in various direction in fact in a formation likely useful for training for conventional warfare. As a major road in fact this site is probably seen as a major holding point were any conventional war to occur, except... the author dishonestly points to the direction of the dugouts and not the artillery pieces that are clearly pointed at the city. The dugouts point to large fields: ideal places to fire at. Again the artillery face the city.

5. "There are also blast holes in the ground likely from the earlier use of training ammunition in the area." This proves the lack of concern of authorities for everyone with knowledge in this area knows that unexploded ordinance is a huge risk in using former bombardment sites. Later uses in the page about "manual safety" neglect to point out that the regime is already not adhering to safety standards.

6. "The guns shown are out in the open, not camouflaged" the author makes this point as if it matters. What he forgets or NEGLECTS to mention is the fact that camouflage of positions in such a case are for hiding positions in conventional warfare. That they feel no need to do so to fire on the innocent civilians of Homs who have no air support or ability to use artillery in return speaks volumes.

7. "and with no ammunition stacks or the like visible nearby." We can actually see several trucks that could easily deliver ammunition, we also see near many of the guns small structures that could easily in fact be the very ammunition stacks that this "piece" claims aren't there.

8. His point about the site of the bombardments speaks volumes. This individual assumes that these pieces could not be fired at Homs simply because it is already military ground, and claims a barraks is nearby. That doesn't prove anything... ooops.

9. "So while the State Department says these picture are showing guns "operationally deployed" It is clear that they are in fact "deployed" in such a function despite the authors feigned cry of foul.

10. The rest is at best speculation from an individual who claims the State department chose regular images of a "known military training area" but I have shown this to be false.

11. The Author claims to be a former tank officer: for which army is my question, and what does the set up of tanks have to do with knowledge of detailed knowledge of efficient deployed artillery which relies on very different range, positions, maneuverability, etc. so much for his "expert" opinion.

What a bunch of obscene pro-regime propaganda. Viva la revolution!

The popular revolution in Syria still continues even while the pro-regime defamers of the revolution push hard against it with both propaganda and lies. The brave members of the free Syrian Army and Baba Amro have pushed back hard against it, and showed brave resistance in the face of massacres and adversity.

Posted by: Nizar Qalb | Mar 4 2012 18:42 utc | 56

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