Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 08, 2012

Syrian Rebels Try To Get Journalists Killed

Alex Thomsen reports for the British Channel 4. He is just back from reporting in Syria for which he had an official visa. He accompanied the UN observers and was frequently also in rebel held areas. On his blog he just posted this vignette:

We decide to ask for an escort out the safe way we came in. Both sides, both checkpoints will remember our vehicle.

Suddenly four men in a black car beckon us to follow. 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.

At that point there was the crack of a bullet and one of the slower three-point turns I’ve experienced. We screamed off into the nearest side-street for cover.

Another dead-end.

There was no option but to drive back out onto the sniping ground and floor it back to the road we’d been led in on.

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

I’m quite clear the rebels deliberately set us up to be shot by the Syrian Army. Dead journos are bad for Damascus.

That conviction only strengthened half an hour later when our four friends in the same beaten-up black car suddenly pulled out of a side-street, blocking us from the UN vehicles ahead.

The UN duly drove back past us, witnessed us surrounded by shouting militia, and left town.

Eventually we got out too and on the right route, back to Damascus.

In a war where they slit the throats of toddlers back to the spine, what’s the big deal in sending a van full of journalists into the killing zone?

It was nothing personal.

Is anyone still believing that Syrian government forces are committing those massacres? Has there been any evidence yet of the one that Ban Ki Moon claimed yesterday to have happened?

Posted by b on June 8, 2012 at 12:11 UTC | Permalink


I don't believe for a second those idiot rebels are coming up with these ideas on their own. SOmeone from the outside is coaching them to make sure they have a bigger impact.

This article from Al Akhbar is very telling, somber and unfortunate i believe this is the future for Syria.

Posted by: ana souri | Jun 8 2012 12:23 utc | 1

B, I appreciate your keeping the spotlight on all the lies and disinformation about Syria. It seems nearly everyone else - even in the so-called blogosphere - has drunk the kool-aid and keeps blaming the Syrian government for everything without questioning.

Posted by: Maxcrat | Jun 8 2012 13:13 utc | 2

At least Russia is standing by Syria to block military intervention..

Posted by: ben | Jun 8 2012 13:20 utc | 3

yes Maxcrat: witnes AVAAZ:

Posted by: brian | Jun 8 2012 14:06 utc | 4

the dissonance of that report is amazing. In fact, he could've claimed the black car was the Syrian gov't operatives, but didn't do that either. But the scenario he imagines is wholly arbitrary. IF nothing else, there's seems to be reason to be skeptical. The "common" narrative is admittedly all one sided, but no measure seems allowed by most. I imagine Assad and his forces are nasty too, but fair-minded people have to identify speculation when it's substituted for fact. But, when there such a UNIVERSAL move to the one side, one has to wonder if something else isn't at play. The WMD Iraq issue was like this. Real doubts and questions were never addressed, seldom mentioned, and group think moved beyond speculation and into what next. A very kinetic strategy

Posted by: scottindallas | Jun 8 2012 14:24 utc | 5

Ben, Russia and China can veto what they want in the SC, but they can't do anything to stop NATO and the Arab League unless they choose to use military force, which they wouldn't do. The back and forth at the UN is only a show, a sort of circus but the real plan is to send in NATO after the Russian veto at the UN.

Posted by: www | Jun 8 2012 14:25 utc | 6

Anyone remember the bombing of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad by the US? When the US kills journalists, it doesn't count...,8599,2007388,00.html

Posted by: JohnH | Jun 8 2012 14:29 utc | 7

Who needs evidence?

Posted by: ThePaper | Jun 8 2012 14:39 utc | 8

This is a remarkable blogpost. Maybe he wrote that while being still under the impression of his life actually threatened, so for that moment he would not care about the line of official speak he is to follow.

Posted by: peter radiator | Jun 8 2012 14:48 utc | 9

"..the real plan is to send in NATO after the Russian veto at the UN."

Unlikely but you may be right. The point is though that such actions have consequences: the UN is an extremely useful tool for the US Empire, a means of legitimising their acts of aggression. But the UN cannot last much longer if it is used as crudely and cynically as it was in Libya, or if the Empire simply substitutes NATO force if it cannot get its own way.
Remember the Empire is militarily powerful because the US and its satraps spend about 70% of the money the world spends on arms. In other words, the rest of the world is content to watch the Empire commit economic suicide, knowing that its dream of planetary hegemony is impracticable lunacy.
In recent years we have seen how efficient;y the Empire employs its military and it has not been very impressive: as the rest of the world understands, guerrilla warfare based upon communal solidarity trumps terrorist "counter insurgency" always.
What the idiots in Washington are doing is forcing the heart of eurasia into self protective alliances: China and Russia are being driven into alliance, Iran and Pakistan are being forced to join with them. In the coming years economics will draw elements of the EU into drifting away from a Americo-centric policies...
If NATO attacks Syria even those most reluctant to do so will be driven to choose: those that choose the NATO side will understand that they are electing to subordinate themselves to Wall St and Washington. Those that simply want sovereignty and freedom to choose their own national courses will be forced to align themselves with the alternative bloc, which, willy nilly, will be the only one allowing democratic experiments and social reforms.
The Empire is stuck with the view that history has and that all that remains is to globalise the dystopia which is the USA.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 8 2012 14:54 utc | 10

That should conclude
"The Empire is stuck with the view that history has ended and that all that remains is to globalise the dystopia which is the USA."

Posted by: bevin | Jun 8 2012 14:56 utc | 11

BBC's Paul Danahar reports from on the ground in Qubeir. No bodies seen, but pools of blood, bits of brain, burnt out houses are seen by the reporter, along with the smell of burnt flesh.

UN observers said there were tracks of military vehicles in the road.

But, this reporter makes it clear it cannot be known from what is seen who did this most recent killing or how many were killed. It appears from the pieces of human flesh (in the audio description) at one house that a human or more than one were killed. He did note that the hatred was so deep that not only people were killed, but their animals as well. Otherwise the specific signs of killings are pools and smears of blood, the brain bit, human flesh at the same house, and a dead donkey by the road, along with the smell of burnt flesh still heavy in the air.

The audio report on the page indicates one burnt out house appears to have an RPG hole in a wall. No one from the village remains. Those from surrounding villages say it was done by shabiha from neighboring villages, but the stories vary widely. Another says men in civilian clothes came to the village and removed the bodies. The reporter mentions speifically only one body of an animal, but says it shows a scorched earth policy. He says it is impossible to know who did it, but it seems to be the beginning of sectarian civil war or could lead there. The scene was definitely cleaned up. To what purpose is not known.

It appears this was a Sunni village, but there's no way of knowing which group(s) they supported or whether or not they were government supporters.

But Hillary and other Western leaders, with their psychic powers, know for sure the government did it.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 8 2012 15:56 utc | 12

By destroying the Syrian Government even though the Russians / Chinese are trying to stop it The US wants to show that it is all powerful and that no one can rely on Russia / China for protection from the US. It can take out Iran if it suits.
Credability is at stake. One side will lose. Who blinks?

Posted by: boindub | Jun 8 2012 16:29 utc | 13

scottindallas @ 5 -- In the part of the post b didn't quote, the reporter becomes aware of some hositlity:

After a long and dusty half-hour of tracks across olive groves, we arrive at al Qusayr, to the predictable crowd scene.

The UN settles down for a long meeting with the civilian and military leaders here. It looks much like an Afghan “shura” to me. Everyone is cross legged on the cushions around the room, except it is Turkish coffee passed round rather than chai.

We settle down to filming outside. The women and boys bring us oranges and chairs in the heat. Shell fragments are produced to be filmed. They explain how the shelling will begin again as soon as we leave – a claim which, by its nature, must remain untested, though there is certainly extensive shell damage in some parts of town here.

So we while away the time, waiting for the UN to move – they’re the only way across the lines with any degree of safety of course.

But time drags. Our deadline begins to loom. And there’s this really irritating guy who claims to be from ‘rebel intelligence’ and won’t quite accept that we have a visa from the government.

In his book foreign journos are people smuggled in from Lebanon illegally and that’s that. We don’t fit his profile.

He and his mates are making things difficult for our driver and translator too – their Damascus IDs and our Damascus van reg are not helping.

This is new. Different. Hostile. This is not like Homs or Houla and still the UN meeting drags on in the hot afternoon…

We decide to ask for an escort out the safe way we came in. Both sides, both checkpoints will remember our vehicle.

They'd crossed no-man's land and were in rebel held territory. They had a motorcycle escort coming in to the village; they had asked for an escort out. It seems pretty clear that the black car are known to the other people; otherwise, I would think there would be some sort of concern shown or outright hostility. I'm not sure why you think the reporter could have said the black car was manned by government personnel. Why do you think that?

Maybe I'm not seeing what you're seeing in this vignette? It's remotely possible there were moles who were there to ensure the reporters left on their own, without the UN convoy...but that seems somewhat remotely possible at the best.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 8 2012 17:19 utc | 14

This blog post by Alex Thomson seems to indicate he is no pushover for the Syrian government: He went to the Alawite villages around Houla to find out what was known about Shabitha gangs.

He also was under the impression that these Shabitha had access to heavy artillery and had shelled Houla from these villages. Huh?

Anyway, interesting read. He is left, after "hearing shelling" below the villages, with the impression that the government was once again shelling in the Houla area. But he seems to accept the Alawite villagers' word that no shabitha are in their area, that no killers left from their village to kill in Houla. They say it was Sunni on Sunni blood feuds. Of course, we have learned that the familes killed were all loyal to the government.

We were about to leave when something potentially significant and rather awkward for the Syrian government happened before our eyes.

Out on the plain below us, three miles away came the sound of shells exploding right across al Houla.

So what’s going on president Assad? Are these just your Shabiha with the heavy weapons you claim they use on this town? Because we, unlike the UN or anybody else, have gone in to the Shabiha area and they’re not here but still the shells fall.

I think President Assad needs to explain what is going on if he still insists it is only some rogue band of militia shelling civilians areas here.

The video in this Sunday, 6/3 post, indicates that Thomson is under the impression that the government said all the shelling and killing was done by Shabitha; interestingly, several commenters contest the premise. Some good comments. But Thomson does seem to set up a strawman and knock that down to indict the Assad government.

Which, as I wrote above, makes it all the more interesting that Thomson saw himself in danger from the rebels who led his driver into free-fire areas and then tried to block them from getting into the UN convoy.

Perhaps Thomson will have some time to read in depth and learn that the gov't said its military did shell Houla after a military checkpoint was attacked and soldiers killed. And that the massacre was done after that (altho' I'm not positive we have the tick-tock for all the actions around Houla down precisely yet).

Still, very iteresting as Thomson is one of the few Western reporters to go to the Alawite villages around Houla. The first, per Ch. Four.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 8 2012 17:51 utc | 15

Dead journos are bad for Damascus.

Sure, but it cuts both ways, depending on who is credited with murdering the journos.

The last lot to make a stellar media splash - the deceased Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik - were attributed to Gvmt forces,, and we received a regalia of suffering with dead mutilated toddlers, starving women, etc. (Homs), in line with the quoted piece.

Syria is in the grip of a civil war, and the lines between who is fighting whom for what are not clearly drawn.

All factions use tactics to try to influence ‘the world’ and appeal for support, intervention, thru the media. Journos and ‘Westerners’ - blue helmets, etc - become pawns in this game, and who manipulates them and with what aim is, imho, very difficult to make out.

Not saying that the ‘rebels’ aren’t using extremely cynical and murderous techniques to spur horror in the W.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 8 2012 17:52 utc | 16

"No bodies seen, but pools of blood, bits of brain, burnt out houses are seen by the reporter, along with the smell of burnt flesh."
Echoes of Jenin:

And so the standard narrative gets reinforced--Syria bad, Israel good. Repeat after me, "Israel did not commit a massacre in Jenin."

Of course, no one got to look at the evidence in Jenin until weeks later. If only the Western media had screamed then about that event like they are screaming about the al-Qubeir event (or non-event!) today.

Posted by: JohnH | Jun 8 2012 18:35 utc | 17

There still has nobody asked 5000 displaced people why they fled from the side of the massacre.

I have a feeling asking them why they fled would clear up matters quickly

Posted by: somebody | Jun 8 2012 18:51 utc | 18

>>> the UN is an extremely useful tool for the US Empire, a means of legitimising their acts of aggression. >>>

Exactly, Bevin #8, the UN Chapter 7 charade and ensuing veto would give the US the legitimacy to call on the higher legitimacy called "humanitarian" to bring NATO to attack.

Humanitarian reasons were used to justify the NATO bombings of Yugoslavia and Afghanistan without the need of a UN approval. With the massacres in Syria, the humanitarian issue is being repeated every day. The big question is what would happen to the many thousands Russians currently in Syria. I read somewhere that there are 100,000 some of which are manning the surface-to-air missiles sites.

Posted by: www | Jun 8 2012 19:06 utc | 19

Another blog post by Alex Thomson, about the Syrian gov't press conference on the Houla massacre finding to date.

This one demonstrates Thomson's deep, deep skepticism of the veracity of anything the Syrian government says.

He opens with these words:
Not since the dying days of the Saddam regime in Baghdad and the primetime performances of “Comical Ali” have we heard such arrant nonsense coming from a government mouthpiece. In fact, several government mouthpieces.

He then goes on to recap the facts as he sees them, and none of them favor the government's statements.

So, from what I gather, Thomson is not a reporter who was predisposed to be negative toward the rebels and their statements. He wanted to verify, but he was not assuming their statements to be false. Again, that makes his take on what happened with the "black car" more believable to me.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 8 2012 19:09 utc | 20

Just watched Al Jazeera English - their headline story is, yes Syria- there was a live report by AJE's Beirut correspondent, Rula Amin, who ended the report that the removal of the Syrian govt. is part of the Annan Plan!!!!!! Erm am I stupid? Are AJE viewers so gullible that they can lie like this and get away with it??? I am disgusted at how they are treating their viewers!

They seem to think we are all mushrooms, be kept in the dark and fed shit!

Posted by: Irshad | Jun 8 2012 19:13 utc | 21

BTW - does anyone remember Palestine and the Palestinians any more??? The Isrealis are getting away with murder, theft, expulsion etc. Is this what the Saudis, Qataris et al. want and wanted?

Arabs continue to be their own worst enemy!

Posted by: Irshad | Jun 8 2012 19:17 utc | 22

Irshad, AJ being Qatari, its staff knows more about what is going on than most at the UN. If Rula Amin says that such and such are part of Annan's plan, you can believe she is telling the truth. That doesn't necessarily mean that the plan would succeed but simply that AJ knows what is going on.

Posted by: www | Jun 8 2012 19:55 utc | 23

@22, is keeping Palestine in the foreground. Now if Weiss, the proprietor, can only give up his delusion that the "Jewish State" can and should be preserved...

Posted by: ruralito | Jun 8 2012 20:17 utc | 24

Irshad, there's more to what Saudia and Qatar are now doing than meets the eye and in the long run, your exhortation will be answered and they will make Israel pay.

Ruralito, if you look close enough, you'd see that what's really being kept in the foreground is the never ending questioning of one's Judaism. Palestine is accessory in this.

Posted by: www | Jun 8 2012 20:58 utc | 25

Jawbone @ 20.
Again, that makes his take on what happened with the "black car" more believable to me.

I think it's too easy to forget that this is Channel 4 who, judging by a piece of CH 4 anti-Assad junk-journalism broadcast by Four Corners earlier this year, called Syria Exposed

Ch 4 can only be trusted by people who enjoy being lied to.
The pics on his blog could have been taken by anyone.
The commenter "likes" and "don't likes" suggest that few of them find his story praiseworthy or believable. One even hilights the irrationality of his conclusion by inferring that the 'rebels' who led him into the trap knew they wouldn't be targeted by the "Syrian Army" he blamed.
The car story makes it sound as if he was really in Syria.
It mightn't be a bad idea to ask him to provide the names of a few trustworthy witnesses to his "courage."
Considering that his aim was to tell lies about the situation in Syria, I doubt the necessity for him to muster the courage to put his life at risk to do so.
Imo, Beirut is probably as close as he got.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 8 2012 20:59 utc | 26

Human Rights Watch is funded into the hundreds of millions of dollars by GEORGE SOROS who has destroyed countries all over the Caucasus, ME and N Africa dba as a humanitarian org.
Here is their latest appeal after Hillary and the neocons gave the order "to pressure Russia" to sign on to UNSC Ch 7 action against Syria
Dear friends,
I know it’s been a long day, but if it helps, here is a quote in reaction to Russia’s proposal of an international conference on Syria:

“If Russia was serious about ending the bloodshed, rather than focus on a conference, it could stop arming the Syrian government and finally allow the Security Council to refer Syria to the ICC, sanction human rights abusers and impose an arms embargo. The rest is words.”
Philippe Bolopion
United Nations Director
Human Rights Watch

+ 1 212 216-1276 (office)
+ 1 917 734-3201 (mobile)
+ 1 212 736-1300 (fax)
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10118-3299

Posted by: vat | Jun 8 2012 21:40 utc | 27

US & regime change syndicate arming the rebels? Bolopian claimed "not to know anything about it."
Odd, as for the rest of the news-reading public its common and documented knowledge.

Posted by: vat | Jun 8 2012 21:43 utc | 28

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 8, 2012 4:59:57 PM | 26

Are you requesting those same verifications by fellow colleagues on the anti-syrian side?

Posted by: myron | Jun 8 2012 21:45 utc | 29

myron @ 29.
Not really...
It was just an oblique reference to that old MSM chestnut "The content of this video/sound-bite/'rebel' claim, couldn't be independently verified."

And of course no-one employing this get-out-of-jail-free card has EVER (to the best of my knowledge) made any attempt to verify ANY such material. So his blog claims can be dismissed and debunked by demanding that they be verified by a universally accepted, squeaky clean, unimpeachable source...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 8 2012 22:42 utc | 30

...on the other hand, next time he's applying to the Syrian govt for a visa he can save a lot of time with an intro such as
"Hi! I'm from Ch 4, and I'm here to help!"

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 8 2012 22:48 utc | 31

Syrian rebels tried to get me killed, says Channel 4 correspondent
a brush with murder does help shake up ones perceptions!reality is now a bit clearer for this journalist....and they arent 'rebels' they are terrorist insurgents

Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 0:59 utc | 32

there is NO SUCH THING as the SHABIHAL: ie gangs killing syrias for assad...thats a media invention

Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 1:01 utc | 33

russian journalist Anha Kochneva in syria: 'There are a lot of soldiers of fortune among the bandits. They are Chechens, Romanians, French, Libyans, and Afghans. Moreover, there was a very funny accident with Afghan soldiers. A few Afghans were caught and asked, ‘What are you doing here?’ They replied, ‘We were told that we came to Israel, and at night we are shooting at Israeli buses. We are fighting with the enemy to liberate Palestine.’ It might be funny, but it is true. The guys were really surprised, ‘Are we in Syria? We thought we were in Israel!’

Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 1:04 utc | 34

letter of appreciation send to russian ambassador by Tim Anderson

Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 1:24 utc | 35

@25, I've looked plenty close. Palestinians and non-Jews comment there about Palestine, not Jews. But it's also true that Phil Weiss still clings to the notion that jewdihood confers some ineffable frisson to Jews alone and must be preserved in a modern, european-style state.

Posted by: ruralito | Jun 9 2012 2:01 utc | 36

Webcam of Homs:

Posted by: myron | Jun 9 2012 2:40 utc | 37

@16 - Noirette

i was convinced a while back that Colvin and Ochlik were murdered. they want this. it's part of the psychological component. westerners need to see dead westerners to get pissed off enough to demand their leaders go in and do something about it. they were clearly - 1) drug into the shelled building to be laid out side-by-side facing the same direction for a photo-op. 2) put on display, i think twice, in the morgue in the coming days. 3) marie's autopsy showed a nail in her head, which screams IED. 4) marie's body was cremated, forever destroying any evidence of such.

this is the reward for journos that play along with the war-on-terror scam. perhaps the proper one for not speaking out more forcefully, given that psyops is a combat role. makes it all fair game, eh? and not to imply that these were indeed playing along themselves, but that has been the overall effect at least with what we see in the USofA. no one dares speak the truth it seems.

Posted by: Proton Soup | Jun 9 2012 3:15 utc | 38

on Shabiha:
Now, the Western media has near universally used the word “Shabiya” to describe militias loyal to the Assad regime, but the BBC has an insightful report on the origins of the word and how it is used by the locals:

It is not clear exactly who they are and to whom they are loyal, but the term “shabiha” has repeatedly been used to describe them. Possibly derived from the Arabic word for “ghost” (“shabh”), it has come to mean “thugs” in modern day Syria.
The term is believed to have first appeared in relation to the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad after a crackdown was launched in the port city of Latakia, where a notorious, mafia-like organised crime syndicate called the Shabiha has existed since the 1970s.
In towns along the Mediterranean coast, local shabiha gangs are said to run protection rackets, weapons- and drug-smuggling rings, and other criminal enterprises. Residents reportedly dare not mention the name.
So the word is used by locals to refer to armed “thugs” involved in organized crime. The BBC, of course, goes on to assert, in line with the standard media line, that

Membership of the shabiha gangs is drawn largely from President Assad’s minority Alawite sect, which dominates the government, security services and military. Many are members of the Assad family itself, and the related Deeb and Makhlouf families.
Western media invariably equate any eyewitness account of “shabiha” with pro-regime militias. But it seems clear that the word could be used by locals to refer to any unidentified armed thug. Notice the BBC itself acknowledges that it’s “not clear exactly who they are and to whom they are loyal” as the word is used by locals to describe these “ghosts” of whom they dare not speak. As I questioned in my previous report, “Could witnesses be describing the murderers as ‘shabiha’ simply because they were ‘heavily armed men dressed in black’?”

Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 3:54 utc | 39

shabiha is also derivative of shabab- which simply means 'young guys' of any background.
there is a group of brilliant young lawyers who are cobbling an innovative, new configuration of the law to file a class action suit concerning such friends of syria as the wonderboy from soro's human right watch, amnesty, carnegie and certain media who have shown a pattern of demonstrable, premeditated, malignant fraud over the past decade in aiding and abetting genocide (under cover of humanitarianism etc). those 'do gooders' who refuse to do due diligence on their warmongering 'crimes against humanity' allegations- which then justify third world slaughters.
its possible things might be on the brink of change for those who have traditionally lied with impunity.

Posted by: .vat | Jun 9 2012 5:48 utc | 40

Syria 24 English
2 hours ago
#Syria #RealSyria - DAMASCUS, (SANA) – The Syrian TV is set to broadcast a documentary shedding light on the Damascus terrorist bombings and those behind it on Saturday after the 8:30 PM news.

The documentary includes interviews with families of victims and relatives of the terrorists who carried out the terrorist attacks.


Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 5:53 utc | 41

not surprising, the 'rebels'(really insurgents and terrorists)
The Truth about the 'Free Syrian Army' (Graphic content)

Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 6:26 utc | 42

>>> there is NO SUCH THING as the SHABIHAL: ie gangs killing syrias for assad...thats a media invention>>>

Brian, there is nothing ghostly about their existence, these people definitely exist. Nobody really knows what is true or what is made up about them, but they exist.

A Syrian author wrote a comprehensive essay on this subject a few months back and I suggest that you read if for no other reason but to realize the amplitude of this shadowy quasi-cultish organization. Whether they had anything to do with Houla is another discussion. Interestingly, it's said that at times, factions of these people were actually working against the regime. It makes you wonder if some of the horrors were possibly committed by renegades working against the wishes of the regime.

Shabiha could also come from the word "shabih" meaning "alike" or "similar to". In Syrian and Lebanese patois, shabbih as the verb is used to denote coercing something from someone because of some ghostly fear or force, such as soldiers at checkpoints that forced truckers to leave part of their cargo to the soldiers to be allowed to pass. The author in his essay alludes to this practice during the Syrian occupation of Lebanon and this is where the verb first appeared since the word as a verb is not part of the Arabic grammar. You may disagree with parts of the essay, but my purpose is not to debate if they are good guys or bad guys but to simply show that contrary to what you are saying, they do exist:

The Syrian Shabiha and Their State
by Yassin al-Haj Salih
9-page pdf

Posted by: www | Jun 9 2012 8:12 utc | 43

"Arab Spring benefited only Israel"
ironic: israel uses stupid anti jewish jihadis to fight their war

Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 8:23 utc | 44

www 43...see my post above

Shabiha are said to be gangs who kill for Assad......and i deny this is the case. The story change from army artillery to knives and bullets led to the Shabina charge arising...who made it? the FSA

‎'Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has pointed out that the Houla area “is under the control of opposition fighters”, and the Times acknowledges that it is “the Free Syrian Army [FSA] that controls Houla”, but quotes an FSA commander claiming that a gang of regime loyalists murdered the Houla residents as a response to the killing of a military commander, Hussein al-Deib, by rebel forces' the source for the Shabiha claim is...the FSA!...

now you may believe what ever the FSA says...i dont

Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 8:28 utc | 45

oh brian, this poem is for you

"The Impossible Fact

Palmstroem, old, an aimless rover,
walking in the wrong direction
at a busy intersection
is run over.

"How," he says, his life restoring
and with pluck his death ignoring,
"can an accident like this
ever happen? What's amiss?

"Did the state administration
fail in motor transportation?
Did police ignore the need
for reducing driving speed?

"Isn't there a prohibition,
barring motorized transmission
of the living to the dead?
Was the driver right who sped . . . ?"

Tightly swathed in dampened tissues
he explores the legal issues,
and it soon is clear as air:
Cars were not permitted there!

And he comes to the conclusion:
His mishap was an illusion,
for, he reasons pointedly,
that which must not, can not be.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 9 2012 8:34 utc | 46

>>> But it's also true that Phil Weiss still clings to the notion that jewdihood confers some ineffable frisson to Jews alone and must be preserved in a modern, european-style state.>>>

Ruralito #36, you're being too harsh on the man; he's saying that real Judaism does not condone what Israel has done to the Palestinians. The state of Israel can float out to the Med for all he cares about it, he is working at saving Judaism and part of his work involves restituting to the Palestinians the justice stolen from them by Zionism. Many of those commenting on that site and campaigning hardest on behalf of Palestinians are Jews. Don't be misled by the names, some Irish-sounding ones are actually Jews.

Posted by: www | Jun 9 2012 8:37 utc | 47

somebody....since he likes to source the western press, id say the poem refers to him

Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 8:45 utc | 48

' British speaker Mr. Walker says it is too much of a conspiracy theory to say that US and western aligned powers want the Kofi Annan plan to fail.'

yet when the US and its axis of evil allies blame the syrian govt for the massacres...or then say it was shabahi gangs...we are not to see these as conspiracy theories?
isnt it odd the US objects to 9-11 truthers saying US did 9-11 yet is ready to say syrias govs did Houla...

Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 9:32 utc | 49

Solve it if you can ...

Posted by: somebody | Jun 9 2012 9:50 utc | 50

>>> now you may believe what ever the FSA says...i dont>>>

Brian, don't put words in my mouth, I never said or implied that I believed the FSA that I think are nothing short of terrorists. But this doesn't men that I think the regime is as lilly-white as you're trying to paint it either. I'm simply addressing your statement that the shabiha don't exist.

Posted by: www | Jun 9 2012 9:56 utc | 51

President Assad compared to the FSA and their foreign backers is an angel...why else does he have the support of the syrian people?

Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 9:58 utc | 52

so you believe in angels, Brian?

Posted by: somebody | Jun 9 2012 10:38 utc | 53

Very good investigative journalism by T West of AfriSynergy. Please note some extremely gruesome frames in the video.

Syria - My Own Investigation of the Houla Massacre It is in 3 parts.

Syria should make use of some good journalist like T West to help bring it's message across.

Posted by: hans | Jun 9 2012 11:56 utc | 54

...and in devils somebody...devils we see in the shape of the allah-swilling jihadis and western regime politicians

Posted by: brian | Jun 9 2012 13:53 utc | 55

@47, Basta! If you insist on having the last word at least get your story straight: I have been paying attention to Weiss' blog. Since it began. I'm not "misled by names". You were being "harsh" if anyone was by characterizing mondoweiss as being mainly about Weiss' Judaism.

Posted by: ruralito | Jun 9 2012 14:37 utc | 56

Sorry, Ruralito, next time I disagree with one of your comments, I'll keep my mouth shut.

Posted by: www | Jun 9 2012 18:05 utc | 57

The shabiha are very real in all the US MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) and being made more "real" in almost every news report. CBS Evening News last night led with absolute statements that the shabiha are thugs employed by Assad to kill civilians and enforce through terror the "regime's" rule, that it was they killed in Houla and Qubeir. Only at the very end of the video from Qubeir did the reporter add that while it was clear there had been killings in the village, it was impossible to assign blame or determine why it had been done. But every preceding statement had been clearly indicating that the horrors were the result of shabiha thugs working for Assad.

Last evening NPR added to The Narrative with an interview with Andrew Tabler, titled Assad's 'Shabiha" Terrorize Syrians After Shelling. Kinda says it all. (Audio available at the link.)

Tabler is apparently a go-to guy for interviews about Syria, and he works for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and wrote In the Lion's Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington's Battle with Syria. He says there are thousands of shabiha, mostly Alawites and Christians. They are called shabiha after the darkened windows of the cars, mostly Mercedes Benz, which they drive around in. They began as thieves and smugglers, but
"with the coming of the uprising last year, they morphed into groups of thugs and a sort of paramilitary organization that backs the Alawite-dominated Assad regime. ... [T]he term generally now means supporters for President Assad, but the ones that we're seeing the effects of, those are primarily Alawites and Christians who go into areas after the regime shells those areas and then kills and terrorizes the civilian population."

So, Assad and shabiha are mentioned together throughout the interview, with emphasis on their brutality and thuggish looks:

Andrew TABLER:... I was recently in Wadi Khaled, in northern Lebanon, where you could look across the border and see the Shabiha patrolling the border alongside Syrian military forces. They had tight black shirts on, very muscular, shaved heads, camouflaged pants. They look very scary. And all of the people, the Syrian refuges in Lebanon, all they could talk about were Shabiha coming to their houses, ransacking their things and then many times killing and carting off many members of their families so they disappeared into the Syrian prison system.

SIEGEL: Big question about the Shabiha is this: The Syrian regime seems to use their role to be able to claim that the army has not committed massacres and it hasn't committed atrocities. How close to the army, how coordinated with the army do you figure the Shabiha are?

TABLER: The Shabiha report directly to the Assad family and other prominent Alawites. We know that they're paid sometimes hundreds of dollars a day, which is a lot of money inside of Syria, and they have been a part of the regime's approach from the beginning. Now, they're just playing a more prominent approach as the military and security forces can no longer deal with the situation in these areas which have fallen outside of government control.

SIEGEL: So when you hear an account in which people say first army artillery and tanks shelled our neighborhood and then the Shabiha came through, one shouldn't read this, from what I'm hearing you saying, as first was the fighting and then came the scavengers who did something else. That's the second wave. That's part of the attack.

TABLER: That's correct. It's all part of a coordinated attack, which has been going on actually for months. Now, what we're seeing is they're playing an increased role. The Assad regime's security forces and armed elite Alawite divisions try to go into areas to clear them, but they can't hold them militarily. So now, they're using shelling on these areas and the Shabiha activities as a way to try and maintain order or to reassert their control of those areas. The problem for them is it's not working, and the monitors are there to see it.

SIEGEL: To maintain order or to terrorize?

TABLER: They rule through fear, and so what they're trying to do is reassert that fear factor. They've been doing it for - since the beginning of the uprising, and this is the thing that we can't understand about President Assad. Many others thought that by now he would be able to change course, but he has instead quadrupled down on what they call in Syria the security solution, and that is use of armed forces, shelling, helicopter gunships and then the use of the Shabiha. The problem that Assad has is that the Syrian opposition is not going away, both the civilian opposition as well as the armed opposition. (My emphasis)

The information being fed to the American audiences is that not only are there massacres by gangs of thugs, but these thugs are in the pay of and directed by Assad and his Alawite regime members. They are BAD, very BAD. Listeners are being led to feel disgust for the regime and thugs' actions and frustrated anger than such EVIL is allowed to continue. They are by implication being told to tell their government to DO SOMETHING.

And any violence from "doing something," all the future deaths and injuries, the ruined lives will be worth it because it's for the Greater Good of Democracy and Freedom. And bringing down an Evil Dictator.

The MCM is working hand in glove with the War Party (R's and D's). It is the propaganda arm of the US government*, but still allowed to offer small back pages sentences or paragraphs or a few lines in the middle of long articles or short remarks which the MCMers can point to as showing they did indeed report all the known facts. If the public later feels misled, it will be told the information was there if they had only paid attention to it.

*Not sure if it's Defense, State, WH, or all that put out The Narrative.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 9 2012 19:52 utc | 58

'The shabiha are very real in all the US MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) and being made more "real" in almost every news report.'

media creates 'reality'

Posted by: brian | Jun 10 2012 2:41 utc | 59

MCM = Manipulate and Control the Masses

Posted by: brian | Jun 10 2012 2:42 utc | 60

jawbone 58
putting two things together is an old way to create an association in the minds of the victims/audience...who are too lazy and controled to bother to investigate the charges. i may post your comment on Facebook if its ok

Posted by: brian | Jun 10 2012 2:45 utc | 61

Brian, your continued denial of the existence of the shabiha is bordering on the ridiculous. Do you have a particular pet name you call the certain branches of the mukhabarat, or do you also believe tht there is no such thing as the mukhabarat and these are also invented by the media?

Posted by: www | Jun 10 2012 7:37 utc | 62

Alex Thomsons a journalist was set up by the FSA to be killed by the syrian army....but ths snot the first time these killers have done this:
alex thomson@alextomo
An Arab League Observer tells me he too was 'set up' in same way by Syrian rebels in al Zabadani

Posted by: brian | Jun 10 2012 9:18 utc | 63

Brian, your continued denial of the existence of the shabiha is bordering on the ridiculous. Do you have a particular pet name you call the certain branches of the mukhabarat, or do you also believe tht there is no such thing as the mukhabarat and these are also invented by the media?

Posted by: www | Jun 10, 2012 3:37:24 AM | 62

yes the shabihas as pro-assad militias killing FOR Assad is a fiction..they dont exist...whats so hard to understand about that? try not to misinterpret what i say

Posted by: brian | Jun 10 2012 9:20 utc | 64

Brian, are you using the google translator to understand what I'm telling you? I didn't say the pro-Assad killed or did not kill anybody, I just said that you have to accept that goons exist in Syria whether you like it or not. Do you believe there are Mukhabarats in Syria or do you think Assad's Syria is too pure to have such people?

Posted by: www | Jun 10 2012 10:32 utc | 65

www...i never said goons did not exist..just that they do not serve Assad....try not to misread what i write...i hope im clear now....
and i speak perfect english...but as we know people can be divided by a common language

Posted by: brian | Jun 10 2012 12:03 utc | 66

Then say that you don't believe that goons are doing such things for the regime and don't say that there are no goons.

Everyone here, including me, are in agreement that the regime could not have been behind the Houla massacre. Where you derailed yourself was when you said that there was no such thing as a shabiha as this was invented by the media.

Posted by: www | Jun 10 2012 13:28 utc | 67

'shabiha' has been invented by the media...shabiha - pro-assad militias....not just thugs
Try to keep up.

Posted by: brian | Jun 10 2012 13:43 utc | 68

Brian, if you don't want to be confused with facts about Syria, it's your business. Hold on to your romantic views of it but at least read the 8-page essay on the shabiha I had posted for your benefit; there is nothing imaginary about them, especially the part that says that some of them are working against orders of the regime. If you change your mind, it's at:

Have you ever been to Syria?

Posted by: www | Jun 10 2012 15:35 utc | 69

brian @ 61 -- Sure, repost if you wish. I have to admit I've figured that if a commenter posts on an open comment blog that the person is automatically granting permission for reposting. Albeit with attribution to, oh, Commenter X posting on thread XXXX at MoonofAl.

Which I've done with comments posted at MoonofAL (because there are such good commenters, whose reading ranges far and wide). And I didn't think to ask.

Just what is the protocol of such reposting?

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 10 2012 19:04 utc | 70

The protocol is exactly as you proposed, at least in my world.

Posted by: Alexander | Jun 10 2012 19:41 utc | 71

well wwww heres ther fraud

'By Yassin al-Haj Salih
Syrian regime thugs, more commonly know as ‘shabiha’ mirror the structure and goals of the Assad regime which relies on raw force to accumulate personal wealth and ensure its own survival at all costs. In this article, Yassin al-Haj Saleh, dissects the functioning, motivations, funding and ideology of the shabiha, from their appearance in the 1970s until their reemmergence during the revolution. Saleh shows their central role in maintaining a regime in power that has long lost touch with people’s interests, morality and reality.'

sorry but Assad is not using thugs to kill matter what these propaganda artists tell u....if he was youd not see this:

as you can see the syrian govt hasnt lost touch with the masses.and assad hasnt:

have you ever seen thes pro-assad shabiha?
No i didnt think so

Posted by: brian | Jun 11 2012 6:06 utc | 72

Brian, the Yassin al-Haj Salih link wasn't posted here to show what the shabiha was doing. It was to demonstrate that the shabiha exist because you keep denying they do. You never answered my question about if you believed that there is such a thing as the Mukhabarat and you probably won't because you probably don't know the meaning or the implication of the word. Your passion in defending the regime is exemplary, but your knowledge about Syria is spotty.

Posted by: www | Jun 11 2012 7:58 utc | 73

there are no pro-assad militias(akja shabiha) killing for that clear enough for you?
i see youve not read it:

'Amid all the loud lamentations over the Syrian regime’s brutality, one fact downplayed by Western media outlets is that there are over 60 different rebel militias operating in Syria, whose activities are indistinguishable from the shabihas, or pro-government militias, which are getting the brunt of the blame.'
of course there are no pro-assad Shabiha...there ARE the jihadi militias..and the role of the media is to relabel the kills of the jihadis as Shabiha....


Posted by: brian | Jun 11 2012 8:27 utc | 74

Brian, you don't have a clue about the Mukhabarat, do you? Your pro-regime links and Youtubes that you keep cascading are as bogus as the deluge of SFA and other opposition videos posted on the Arab satellite news networks. You probably can't point to Syria on a map.

Posted by: www | Jun 11 2012 9:37 utc | 75

When I first started reading on the terror-campaign against Syria, in a comment I pointed to the fact that the Syrian army used sniper-rifles, and thus probably were responsible for shooting innocent demonstrators. However, I left out the fact that even some sunni people from the army had defected to The Free Syria Army, and as it turned out, those killings were probably done by foreign special op mercenaries anyway. When some facts are left out of the picture, it is easy to draw wrong conclusions.

Posted by: Alexander | Jun 11 2012 10:03 utc | 76

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