Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 02, 2013

They Make Up Numbers

At least 60,000 people have died in Syria's conflict, UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay says.

How does Navi Pillay knows this? The UN does not have any presence in Syria.

At least 60,000 people have died in Syria's conflict, UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay said on Wednesday, citing what she said was an exhaustive UN-commissioned study.
The new study, by Benetech, a non-profit technology company, showed deaths rising from around 1,000 per month in the summer of 2011 to an average of more than 5,000 per month since July 2012.
Using scientific methods from demography, epidemiology, and mathematical statistics, the Human Rights group at Benetech® transforms information into knowledge about past and on-going human rights violations.
But that does not explain where the information that gets "transformed" by Benetech is actually coming from. I have yet to find their "sources".

Benetech's funders, according to its website, include the National Endowment for Democracy, the Soros Open Society Institute and the US Department of State. Are those also the entities that generate the information Benetech is "transforming"?

Is it really well advised for the United Nations to use a U.S. government funded entity to calculate some inevitably disputed numbers of casualties when the U.S. is supporting one side of the conflict?

UPDATE: Here is the full Benetech report (pdf). As expected the analysis is based on information that, at least for all of 2012, comes solely from Syrian opposition groups. The process of analysis performed therein can be described as garbage in, garbage mixing and garbage out. It is pure opposition propaganda, laundered through a U.S. financed entity, to be presented by a partisan UN Human Rights Commissioner.

Posted by b on January 2, 2013 at 16:14 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Welcome back, b. The question you raise should answer itself. I hope that others will pick up the thread suggested by your query.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jan 2 2013 16:35 utc | 1

"transforms information into knowledge"


Rather, dresses up opposition propaganda as fact. The UN stopped counting at around 3000, claiming that it was no longer possible to independently verify figures. But when was it ever? Now, with no representation in Syria, they regurgiate this biased nonsense and slap a UN sticker on it.

I wonder if one of Benetech's 'scientific methods' was to multiply 100 deaths per day by 20 months. That'll about do it.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jan 2 2013 16:45 utc | 2

Where was Benetech when the US was shock-and-awing in Iraq and Afghanistan? Currently the UN is a virtual branch of the US State Department, especially when that "world threat" Iran and its allies are concerned. State calls this propaganda "public diplomacy."

The mission of American public diplomacy is to support the achievement of U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives, advance national interests, and enhance national security by informing and influencing foreign publics and by expanding and strengthening the relationship between the people and government of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world.

And if "domestic publics" are also influenced it's good too.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 2 2013 17:36 utc | 3

from Benetech

Palo Alto, CA, June 6, 2004: Benetech®, the leading Silicon Valley technology development nonprofit, announced today that it has received a $450,000 grant from the United States Department of State to support the Martus™ Project, an innovative open source technology tool and support network that assists grassroots NGO workers worldwide to collect, safeguard and disseminate information on social justice violations. This grant will enable Benetech to introduce the Martus technology to NGOs throughout Africa.

The grant is intended to fund outreach and training initiatives to extend the Martus technology to work for individuals and groups operating in Algeria, Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria in social justice fields such as human rights. Benetech will be working in partnership with regional, national and local NGOs to help identify and train NGO workers that monitor human rights in these countries. This project represents the first grant awarded to Benetech by the Department of State.

“The State Department represents a funder that recognizes the importance of monitoring human rights abuses and that once this information is collected by NGOs, it can be used to bring insight, clarity and justice around the world," stated Benetech CEO Jim Fruchterman. “Through this program, NGOs will be able to monitor human rights abuses with a level of security never before available.”

Apparently, from the b comment above, the "innovative open source technology tool" Martus was not used by Benetech for this project, what with the 'reliable' Syria Observatory in London only a phone call away.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 2 2013 17:40 utc | 4

Nice job, b.

Those figures always seemed to be grossly exaggerated. The ones in Libya during the Israeli-American assault upon that country also seemed to be way too high.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 2 2013 17:43 utc | 5

Update on the assault of Yarmouk by Israel-America. The info about this also being concealed and lied about in the western media, who attempted to portray the Israeli-American operation there as the Syrian government indiscriminately bombing and shelling the residents and then forcing them to flee.

Mossad agents in the Al-Qaeda unit that attacked the Yarmouk camp

"The battle that raged starting December 9 in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp (south of Damascus) has revealed new alliances.

The strategic objective was to involve Palestinians in the war in Syria, mobilizing them on a sectarian basis (they are mostly Sunni) against the secular regime. But the refugees did not allow themselves to be manipulated, no more than in Lebanon in 2007, when the mercenaries of Fatah al-Islam tried to mobilize the Palestinians of Nahr el-Bared against Hezbollah.

Elements of Hamas loyal to Meshaal allowed fighters of the Al-Nousra Front (Levantine branch of Al-Qaeda) to enter the camp where they mainly clashed with men of the PFLP (nationalists and Marxists).

It now appears that the al-Qaeda fighters were not only made up of Muslim extremists, but also included Israeli Mossad agents. They had specific plans for cornering the leaders of other Palestinian factions and eliminate them. Not finding them, they allowed the other members of Al-Qaida to systematically loot the empty apartments of these leaders.

After a week of heavy fighting, elements of al-Qaida, Mossad-included, retreated and the camp was declared a "neutral zone." Of the 180 000 inhabitants, about 120,000 had fled the camp at the request of the Syrian authorities and were relocated by them to Damascus. Most are now back home."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 2 2013 17:53 utc | 6

Happy New Year and welcome back!

Very good point b,

The Wikipedia page covering Syria Casualties makes interesting reading, and so do the opposition human rights organizations referred to in the article.

the opposition websites, who have vested interest in pushing up the numbers and ALL claim to have local volounteers recording and updating their databases, but they are actually reporting much lower numbers.

The most "prominent" is SOHR, and they are reporting 46,000 total deaths and this includes more than 11,000 Regime combatant fatalities. Leaving 34,000, of which 2000 are defectors and unidentified, of the remaining 32000, the SOHR admit that "those killed in the uprising, stated that civilians who had taken up arms during the conflict were being counted under the category of "civilians"."

Another site,, is reporting almost 48,000 dead, with 5000 being classified as combatants, the remaining 43000 are civilians, of which about 4000 are females and another 4000 are children, leaving 35,000 Adult males classified as civilians.

Yet another site,, the most professional looking of the lot, is reporting slightly less than 40,000 "martyrs" to date. Of these, 7000 are claimed to be combatants, which leaves 33000 classified as civilians. And of these civilians, 3000 are children and another 3000 are female adults. Which leaves about 27000 adult male civilians.

Among the opposition websites the number of adult females and children killed is consistent, about 3 to 4 thousand up to date. But clearly, something seems wrong with the adult male classifications.

All I can say is that if your an adult male living in Syria, stay home, your obviously being targeted whether your a combatant or not. Interesting to note here that, there appears to be no casualties caused by the FSA except Syrian military casualties, they are either really good shots or the Syrian Army is just not trying very hard to win it.

Posted by: OAB | Jan 2 2013 18:04 utc | 7

well, obviously they are trying to revitalize the "responsibility to protect".
which must be connected to the bad luck of the "rebels" on the battle field.
I just do not see any country's army applying for the role of protector.

Conflicts forums/Amal Saad Ghorayebs summing up of the situation is probably the most realistic one

"While Iran, Hizbullah and many in the Syrian government will continue to view significant military advances as an exigent need for “cleansing” as much territory as possible, such battlefield successes are increasingly being viewed as ways of strengthening the government’s bargaining position in an internal dialogue, and Iran and Russia’s negotiating position in talks for a broader regional agreement with the US and its Arab allies."

Posted by: somebody | Jan 2 2013 18:08 utc | 8

One reason to inflate casualties and then attribute most of these to the Syrian government is it works to hide the terrorist attacks committed by Israeli-American proxy forces operating in Syria. The intended use of these terrorists is to intimidate the Syrian people, as is the intent of death squad use everywhere. But allowing this terrorism to be known to people whose governments are committing these war crimes works against Israel-America and its phony propaganda claims about Syria, so they obscure their terrorism with invented figures, which are then attributed to acts of the Syrian government.

Besides the hospital attack, this article also contains info on the Israeli-American terrorism against the Yarmouk camp:

Foreign-backed militants attack hospital in Damascus countryside

Posted by: вот так | Jan 2 2013 18:20 utc | 9

Benetech only does human rights propaganda, so we'll have to rely upon "government officials who can't reveal their identity because of the sensitivity of the matter" for the usual Syria missile and chemical weapon propaganda.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 2 2013 19:12 utc | 10

Well, let us take the numbers game seriously.

The difference in the mortality rate per 1000 persons according to the CIA between Cuba (7.52) and Sweden (10.21)
is more than two people.

For 20,000,000 Syrians that would be a difference of 40 000 in one year or 80 000 in two years.

The UN should intervene in Sweden.

Yes, Cuban health policy is pretty good.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 2 2013 19:27 utc | 11

By the way, Syria's health system also used to be very good.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 2 2013 19:35 utc | 12

Actually, according to public diplomacy nothing is more important right now than Syria lives, even compare to Swedes, which is why(?) the US is prolonging the war there. You might say that Syrians are Number One on the US hit parade.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 2 2013 19:51 utc | 13

Well, the difference in 2010 in the mortality rate between Syria (3.54) and the United States (8) seems to have been 4 persons per 1000 people per year. Which means UN estimated 30,000 per year for 20,000,000 million people, i.e. an average of 1.5 persons per 1000 people in addition proves Syria at 5 to 8 deaths per 1000 people to be still the healthier place.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 2 2013 20:21 utc | 14

P.S. I do realize that you have to factor in the age of a population, however I do wonder what was not factored into Navy Pillays number of 60000.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 2 2013 20:34 utc | 15

Two views on Syria and the International Courts (International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice).


United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and others have called for Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court; however, it would be difficult for this to take place with within the foreseeable future because Syria is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, meaning the ICC has no jurisdiction there (referral could alternatively happen via the Security Council, but Russia and China would block). Marc Lynch, who is in favour of a referral, noted a couple of other routes to the ICC were possible, and that overcoming Chinese and Russian opposition was not impossible.

. . .Syria too, currently under enormous pressure from international interference into the internal affairs of the country and the subject of an intense regime change project led by the US and France, has international legal remedies immediately available to it stemming from the actions of the US, UK, France and others in imposing on Syria’s civilian population one of the most severe and clearly illegal layers of sanctions. Were Syria and others to file an Application for an Advisory Opinion with the ICJ few in the international legal community have much doubt that targeting civilians economically and attempting to destroy the Syrian economy — for no other purpose than to ignite rebellion — would be considered a violation of international law at the International Court of Justice. . .Aspects of a possible filing at the International Court of Justice on the legality of US-led sanctions are currently being researched by seasoned international lawyers and academics, at various Western and International law centers.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 2 2013 20:51 utc | 16

According to Al-Akhbar, an Australian jihadist has just been killed in Syria, fighting with Al-Nusra:

The jihadist group the Al-Nusra Front led the offensive, said rebels on the ground.

Insurgents captured the nearby town of Maaret al-Numan, located on the important Damascus-Aleppo highway, in October.

Syria's insurgents comprise army deserters, civilians who have taken up arms and foreign fighters, including several Islamist groups.

The Australian government has condemned Assad's regime for its violence against its own people, expelled Syrian diplomats and demanded the president's departure.

The Syrian conflict, which started as a peaceful uprising against Assad in March 2011 but descended into civil war when it was violently suppressed, has killed tens of thousands according to the UN.

The Observatory relies on a network of activists and medics on the ground for its information.

Apparently, the Australian government has declared it illegal for its citizens to fight for either side in the conflict. Interesting that the insurgents would publicize not only the nationality, but the name of one of its foreign fighters. Have they stopped burning the bodies of their fallen to obscure their non-Syrian appearance?

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jan 2 2013 21:01 utc | 17

@ Rusty Pipes "Have they stopped burning the bodies of their fallen to obscure their non-Syrian appearance?"

No, terrorists burn foreigners in masses (piles of burned bodies shown on RT), and even those unburned frequently dont have any identification. Still foreigners numbers are so big (more than half among terrorists), that its impossible to hide their presence.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 2 2013 21:15 utc | 18

And of course the US is involved in more than illegal sanctions.

Iran Review

. . . Interestingly, the United States has openly announced that it has plans to train Syrian militants. Announcing this in a press conference, spokeswoman of the US Department of State Victorian Nuland stated that the US Department of State had offered plans for the training of the Syrian militants, which aim to help with the overthrow of the incumbent Syrian government and the management of those regions which are occupied by the opposition forces.

In addition, the United States is actually controlling the operational room which it has set up in Turkey’s Azena region. In fact, three countries, that is, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have established a military base in Azena region, which is only 100 kilometers to the north of the common border with Syria in order to facilitate collection and dispatch of military and logistic aid to the armed opposition inside Syria. According to available reports, Turkey and the United States run a joint military base in that region and it also seems that the famous Incirlik air base also supervises missions which aim to deliver arms and equipment to the Syrian opposition.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 2 2013 21:16 utc | 19

/ Agree with Don Bacon

For some reason I can't find any Benetech reports calculating the death toll in Iraq or Afghanistan. I guess the decade long wars must have gone unnoticed at the State Department linked NGO. But fear not, they are on the case in Kosovo and Syria and Guatamala and even rolling out a software program called MARTUS in Russia to document human right abuses there.

Is it a bit fishy that they seem to go investigate human rights abuses only in countries that are against the US? Tried looking for any Benetech report on Israel and sadly looks like they have no human rights violations to report. Saudi Arabia also must be like Sweden or something because not a word from Benetech.

On Syria the method of taking activist claims and they tabulating an estimated death toll from that data seems like a classic case of "Selection Bias" much like when Dick Morris predicted a Romney landslide 24 hours before Obama's win. If you over-sample one side you get a skewed result.

In saying all that I wouldn't be suprised if the death toll is up there. 1 year and 11 months of civil war would produce these numbers. How much died during the height of the Iraq civil war 2005-2007? You would have the same players (Sunni Jihadists - Shia factions), similar urban war setting, similar population size (Syria 20 Million - Iraq 28 Million). It would not suprise me.

Ultimately the main question which hasn't been asked is "Who is morally responsible for all this death?". All sides bear some responsiblity of course. But Assad has been the one open to dialogue, its the FSA which has refused peace these last 2 years. The side that refuses peace should be morally to blame for the violence that follows that rejection. Assad and the military are also bound to defend the state. That is the militaries job. If a group of Frenchmen traveled into Germany and started firing AK's and Mortars I suspect the security services would be on the scene in minutes. That is there job after all. Morally blame for the deaths that follow should fall on the aggressors not the defenders.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Jan 2 2013 21:23 utc | 20

Even though everything that I read here is thoroughly depressing, I hope that b and the Moon of Alabama readers will have a Happy New Year.

Posted by: Kanzanian | Jan 2 2013 21:55 utc | 21

I know I am going of topic here, but I just read thisand I thought it was worth sharing...

Posted by: Simon | Jan 2 2013 22:04 utc | 22

20) I suppose the Syrian regime is no monolith so there would have been people for dialogue and people in favor of a military solution same as on the "rebel" side. Shame that they were not able to team up against the extremists.
However, once the militarization card in civil conflict is drawn the chance for dialogue are nil and get worse with every atrocity "too many people have died for this" ... is the classical argument not even beginning to talk about the urge for revenge.
So one side has to lose and I guess the "rebels" are losing as they would need determined outside intervention to win and they are not getting it.
I suppose this here settles it.
If the regime is wise they will still go for dialogue ... however they would have to be very very wise for that.
The numbers are pretty unconvincing and do not tell anything about the nature of the conflict - I like the caveat at the end of this historical numbers list

"Caution: In the age of Wikipedia there is also the problem that numbers tend to escalate dramatically as people on each side keep claiming higher and higher casualties. If one had to believe Wikipedia, the Middle East would be depopulated by now (instead of having consistently experienced a population boom)."

Posted by: somebody | Jan 2 2013 22:08 utc | 23

BBC is running this story as their main news story tonight. What nonsense from Jeremy Bowen their so called Syria expert who cahoots with the rats. Something up!

Posted by: hans | Jan 2 2013 22:08 utc | 24

@ Simon #22,

Yeah, off thread but I found it a worthwhile diversion. Ahmadinejad’s loss of support is reminiscent of JFK’s turn toward peace after he was in office for a year and his loss of support even among his cabinet. In the words of Thomas Merton referring to JFK, "...such people are before long marked out for assassination.” The article’s title “Ahmadinejad in suicidal anti-corruption drive...” might just be prescient.

Posted by: juannie | Jan 2 2013 22:25 utc | 25

@ Simon [#22]

Debka file? Are you serious? I wouldn't even wipe my ass with a Debka file - 'We start where the media stops with lying'

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 2 2013 23:14 utc | 26

@ 22 & 25

Dont pay attenttion to Israel's disinformation mouthpiece Debka, its 95% BS, and the remaining 5% are misinterpreted as well.

When politicians disagree in the West, its called normal politics and freedom of speech. When this happens in Iran, its called "power struggle", "governments foundations are shaken", that "Khamenei wants to kill Ahmadinejad", and other bizarre and 100% stupid remarks.

Its also ironic, Ahmadinejad previously was shown in the West as Hitler's incarnation, but once his presidency is coming to the end, USrael media is switching the focus in Iran's demonization campaign, and Ahmadinejad is suddenly shown as a "social crusader" and "savior", pitting against "evil Khamenei".

Posted by: Harry | Jan 2 2013 23:20 utc | 27

I think it's highly unlikely the actual death toll is more than half what is stated. Unlike in Libya where, once the gloves were off, NATO could bomb and strafe whatever it interpreted to be a target, the conflict in Syria has been more or less completely a ground war with much of the fighting almost hand-to-hand or with light weapons.

Additionally, at least some of the incidents which allegedly involved heavy casualties simply never happened, or at least in the judgment of people who were actually there for the purpose of finding out what was really going on. Remember the ill-starred Observer Mission sponsored by the Arab League? Let's be clear up front - the Arab League wants Assad overthrown, and apparently would be good with whatever kind of government the west feels would be best for it, but for whatever reason, the Arab League fielded an Observer Mission in Syria for a couple of months - it ended almost exactly a year ago. The official reason given was that it had been ineffective, but so far as I could make out it was surprisingly effective. It determined, for example, that the violence in Homs which supposedly was caused by government troops indiscriminately shelling the city actually was "perpetrated by armed groups in the city. There had been instances of kidnapping and sabotage of Government and civilian facilities." That was learned from the Governor of Homs. Talks with opposition figures, unsurprisingly, suggested it was all the government's doing. Curiously, though, when the Mission met with the Syrian authorities and asked that troops and military vehicles be withdrawn, the Syrian side immediately complied, and sought the Mission's assistance in getting truckloads of basic foodstuffs into the city, as well as sanitation vehicles to remove the garbage. Strange behavior for a despotic government bound on hammering the place to ruins, I would have thought.

Similarly, the Mission witnessed "acts of violence being committed against Government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Examples of those acts include the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children, and the bombing of a train carrying diesel oil. In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers. A fuel pipeline and some small bridges were also bombed....The Mission noted that many parties falsely reported that explosions or violence had occurred in several locations. When the observers went to those locations, they found that those reports were unfounded...The Mission also noted that, according to its teams in the field, the media exaggerated the nature of the incidents and the number of persons killed in incidents and protests in certain towns."

Bombing of infrastructure such as fuel pipelines and bridges mostly hurts civilians, and in certain instances can constitute war crimes. But it's unlikely any of the opposition figures will ever be held to account.

As you're probably aware, the origin of casualty figures used by the UN - without checking - is the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is one guy reporting from his house in Coventry. He runs a clothing shop when he's not busy on the phone with Syrian activists, which is where he gets all his information.

That's an interesting reference; it contains a lot of information on some of the other movers and shakers in the would-be transitional government. Not to mention that funding was starting to be set aside for a "Democratic transition in Syria" as early as 2006.

Posted by: Mark | Jan 2 2013 23:22 utc | 28

while I know Debka is 95% propaganda (and there is nothing like reading propaganda before you go to bed), I actually think this particular story is interesting... if it is the case...

Posted by: Simon | Jan 2 2013 23:28 utc | 29

Agree on Debka, I checked them on an issue I actually knew something about and found them just inventing stuff.

Iranian upcoming elections seem to be fun though and the commentary runs from Ahmadinejad's group not really having a chance to Ahmadinejad being an incarnation (well clone) of Putin
for a lame duck president he is doing a very good job of staying in the news ...:-))

Posted by: somebody | Jan 2 2013 23:29 utc | 30

Benetech's Martus system, at least inasmuch as it has been proposed it will be used in Russia, is probably driven by Russia's new NGO law, which obligates all NGO's that receive foreign funding to register as foreign agents. Martus would ensure there is no NGO information on site in case they get raided, and would allow all the compilation of "human-rights violations" to be done in the USA.

Posted by: Mark | Jan 2 2013 23:39 utc | 31

Didn't read that report, nor I will. Given who sponsor of that so-called non-profit are, and given CVL (Culture of Vicious Lies) they are immersed, I do not see how anything of their finding could be relevant.

The Lancet's methodology in assesing mortality rate in Iraq was:

"Between May and July, 2006, we did a national cross-sectional cluster sample survey of mortality in Iraq. 50 clusters were randomly selected from 16 Governorates, with every cluster consisting of 40 households. Information on deaths from these households was gathered."

With help of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and School of Medicine, Al Mustansiriya University, Baghdad the Lancet compiled the report. So, the Lancet's report is based on real data, not mathematical modelling or some Monte Carlo algorithm shit. They (Nato/Pentagon) can model and project anything out of nothing, just as they print the money and projecting GDP/fictional growth.

Yes, the key word in b's text is "sources", and there is none.

As for Navi Pillay of notorious UN, people like her are know as Native Informants.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 2 2013 23:48 utc | 32

Syria - Bit off-topic, but:

As everybody remembers the "official justification" for Syrias militant rebellion was the governments indiscriminate firing on peaceful demonstrators.
Now, many channels including the notoriously pro-Rebel Al-Jazeera are daily reporting on demonstrations in many parts of Syria, but no more government shootings are reported.
How comes?


Posted by: KerKaraje | Jan 3 2013 0:06 utc | 33

@ KerKaraje, #32

These fake allegations job is already done, and "justification for armed rebellion" is complete, no point to continue this particular propaganda.

Speaking of "shooting at peaceful demonstrators", West/arabs never showed any evidence of that. There were loads of videos of small opposition demonstrations (100 to 10.000), uploaded by either opposition or West/arab journalists. In this age, everyone have a phone who can film/photo, so of these thousands demonstrators, and many journalists, not even one of them managed to film the shootings? Its safe to assume, it never happened.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 3 2013 0:51 utc | 34

Well it is the concept of citizen reporters taken to statistics now.

Benetech seems to have cross checked the 7 data sources excluding casualties not identified by name and comparing names and other identifiers to eliminate doubles.

What they did not seem to have done is to check identities themselves to decide how reliable the sources are. The unidentified casualty rate they report across data sources is suspiciously low

Table 1: Number of Records Included and Excluded in Analyses Dataset Identi able Records Unidenti able Records GoSY 2,539 10 March 15 4,195 165 SOHR 29,521 232 SS 33,617 9,769 SRGC 6,206 369 SNHR 33,151 5,397 VDC 38,120 1,984

The low number for the Syrian Government Records is obviously correct - they have the bureaucracy for that.
The low number for the other organizations not based in Syria but relying on reports from Syria seems much too low.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 3 2013 1:00 utc | 35

there is also this

"Of those documented killings, 76.1% are male
victims, 7.5% are female victims, and 16.4% of records do not indicate the sex of the victim."

Posted by: somebody | Jan 3 2013 1:03 utc | 36

33) somehow I doubt Syria's reputation as a police state is undeserved ...
the videos are there on the internet they just do not prove much as it is impossible to tell what is action and what is reaction and on whose side the actors are.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 3 2013 1:16 utc | 37

Bacon @3: Spot on!

Amazing how these groups can claim to precisely estimate the death toll in Syria. Heck, if I were the opposition, I'd cook the books like a Wall Street bankster, and then send them to a friendly group to have them audited.

What's most galling is that that self-anointed, sanctimonious advocate of everything to do with human rights--the US government--was so unconcerned about the death toll in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, that they never bothered to tally it up. Talk about callous disregard for human suffering!

Of course, the 100,000 or more civilian deaths in Iraq don't include the half million that the UN estimated were caused by sanctions.

Posted by: JohnH | Jan 3 2013 1:24 utc | 38


do you remember:

"We don't do body counts." - General Tommy Franks

They still aren't! Any, just any methodology used by them is a priory voided.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 3 2013 1:46 utc | 39

They lied in Vietnam with "body counts", and they lie now. They simply do not have a capacity for objectivity, nor any Western political body. this seems to me reasonable guideline how to establish correct figures. If they have anything like this please post it.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 3 2013 1:56 utc | 40

It's all about razzle-dazzle. We're supposed to be good bunnies, who stare at the 'lights' coming straight at us and be in awe. If 500,000 dead Iraqi kids is a 'price worth paying' - newly discovered Jewess Madeline Notsobright, than Syria has a long way to go before anything will be e registered on Hillarious Rotham Clingon's bodyometer.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 3 2013 2:48 utc | 41

How much real support [and I mean Syrian internal support] have these beheading clowns left? Anyone any reliable info on that?

side note: WTF is Abbas waiting for with not running to the ICC and get all those UN resolutions worked on?

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 3 2013 2:50 utc | 42


"They lied in Vietnam with "body counts", and they lie now. They simply do not have a capacity for objectivity, nor any Western political body."

With regard to the USA, that's true. American historical sources are usually regurgitated propaganda. They still apply the ancient propaganda of the revolutionary war era to the study of those times in most school history books. There is some real history published in the USA, but it's rare, and most Americans are never exposed to it. And the closer to the present the subject studied, the less accurate one finds American historical work to be. There was a brief time this sad state of affairs was being countered in colleges, but the last 20 years of intensive neo-con packing of these institutions has for the most part reversed that.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 3 2013 2:56 utc | 43

They invent death statistics for Syria, and hide the facts about their own war crimes. Rarely a day goes by without news of another Israeli-American drone murder spree.

White House wins fight to keep drone killings of Americans secret

"A federal judge issued a 75-page ruling on Wednesday that declares that the US Justice Department does not have a legal obligation to explain the rationale behind killing Americans with targeted drone strikes.

United States District Court Judge Colleen McMahon wrote in her finding this week that the Obama administration was largely in the right by rejecting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times for materials pertaining to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to execute three US citizens abroad in late 2011."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 3 2013 3:04 utc | 44

What did Folly do that angered Israel-America?

2 journalists kidnapped in Syria

"In Syria, unidentified people have kidnapped 39-year-old US citizen James Folly, a France Press correspondent, and his colleague.

Within the last several months, Mr. Folly shot video reportages about the Syrian civil war.

Witnesses say that on November 22, unidentified people kidnapped James Folly, his colleague journalist, their driver and their interpreter near the city of Taftanaz in the northern Syrian province of Idlib. Later, the driver and the interpreter were released.

James Folly’s family announced about his kidnapping only on Wednesday. They still hope that he can be saved."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 3 2013 3:14 utc | 45

@44 That would be James Foley. Same thing happened to him in Libya...

Posted by: dh | Jan 3 2013 3:21 utc | 46


Thanks for the name clarification.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 3 2013 3:33 utc | 47

FSA can make chemical weapons: FSA member

"A member of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) says the militant group has the ability to produce chemical weapons.

Bassam al-Dada, a political adviser to the FSA, made the remarks in an interview with Turkey's state-run Anatolia news agency on Wednesday.

Dada stated that the group would use chemical weapons if necessary, and would use them only against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"If we ever use them, we will only hit the regime's bases and centers," he was quoted as saying.

He also stated that the know-how comes from defected army officers.

On December 23, 2012, a commander of the Syrian Presidential Guard said that seven Syrian soldiers were killed after they were attacked by chemical weapons, which produced a toxic yellow gas."

This part is obviously false and is to cover for the Israeli-American trainers and suppliers:

"If we ever use them, we will only hit the regime's bases and centers," he was quoted as saying.

He also stated that the know-how comes from defected army officers."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 3 2013 3:40 utc | 48

Lendman also pillories Pillay:

New UN Report on Syria

"It's impossible to compile precise figures. Analysis depends on methodology and sources used. Bias corrupts findings.

UN Human Rights Council High Commissioner Navi Pillay long ago fell from grace. Like Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan, and Lakhdar Brahimi, she's a reliable imperial partner.

Her previous reports on Syria expressed one-sided anti-Assad sentiment. She part of the conspiracy to replace him with a pro-Western puppet.

Whatever she reports is suspect. Credibility on Syria isn't her long suit. She spurned her mandate. Instead of responsibly "strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights," she defiled them in deference to Western interests.

Throughout the conflict, she pointed fingers the wrong way. She ignored Western-sponsored massacres and other atrocities. She blames Assad, not foreign death squads...."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 3 2013 3:45 utc | 49

Welcome back b, the MOA family is breathing a sigh of relief.

Latest from Penny by Adrian Salbuchi from Argentia.

Posted by: ben | Jan 3 2013 4:35 utc | 50

welcome back b. i've got the flu now ....ouch&ache

Posted by: annie | Jan 3 2013 6:03 utc | 51

@ annie [#50],

Not the best way to start the year, so, 'Gesundheit.'

@ b [#in general],

Hope you're as good as new.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 3 2013 6:16 utc | 52

thanks daniel

Posted by: annie | Jan 3 2013 8:09 utc | 53

The UN, like all the assorted US funded "human rights" organizations always blames "both sides" for the violence in Syria. The "both sides" meme is their way of whitewashing and absolving the fsa terrorists of any crime they've committed. They use similar narrative when reporting on the Israel - Palestine conflict.

On the issue on numbers, Navi Pillay (the empire's little stooge working hard to protect her job), has lost any credibility she had left. Same goes for that Ladkha Ibrahimi idiot - he sounds more and more like a US state department spokesman.

We all know terrorist deaths are also reported as civilian deaths and terrorist crimes are not reported or whitewashed and somehow blamed on the "regime". A clear case in point in the recent bombing of a "bakery" in Northern Syria. Videos clearly show most, if not all, the dead were in fact fsa/al-nusrah terrorists. But the western msm reported those deaths as civilians wanting to buy only break. Yeah right.. Civilians buying bread with their AKs hanging on them.You can't make this up!!!

The Syrian conflict has exposed a whole network and mechanism that operates as tools for the empire. Almost all the Western msm tools of the empire and one cannot expect any shred of truth from them on any topic. They blatantly LIE to the public and don't even bother to apologize.

Posted by: Zico | Jan 3 2013 10:30 utc | 54

thus the UN like the media and other professional organisations continues its decline into a sink of corruption, like Aljazeera to be welcomed into to US arms, servng the empire.
But what makes men and women who work in these places, ready to aid liesand atrocities of which they must be aware?

Posted by: brian | Jan 3 2013 10:31 utc | 55

Posted by: hans | Jan 2, 2013 5:08:43 PM | 24

the BBC is the best evidence against this 'report'

what ever made Pillai sell her soul or NED funded dross?or is she merely ignorant of events?

Posted by: brian | Jan 3 2013 10:33 utc | 56

Posted by: Mark | Jan 2, 2013 6:39:16 PM | 30

concealing sources of funding should automatically disqualify them...lets hope the russians are more aware...less corrupt than the UN functionaries

Posted by: brian | Jan 3 2013 10:36 utc | 57

Posted by: Harry | Jan 2, 2013 6:20:21 PM | 27

moat western politicians are corrupt....political parties helps to make them so: they concentrate like minded types

Posted by: brian | Jan 3 2013 10:41 utc | 58

brian @ 55

I don't think ignorance is the issue here. These people are well educated and know their left from their right - although I'll have to admit that some are downright idiots with no clue at all.

They're all willful accomplices in the crimes being committed against Syrians.It's an inbred hatred for those than dare to oppose the empire's wishes and demands. Syria, unfortunately is in this camp and is being punished for that.

The empire's just in shock as to how Syria's resisted so far after everything's been thrown at them for two year. Qaddafi couldn't hold out for long. How many time have we heard NATO/US/EU "officials" the numbering Assad's days only to be proven wrong over and over again. As a matter of fact, it's no longer About Assad anymore. It's About Syria's independence and aspiration to remain a sovereign state that defies to be puppet of America.

Posted by: Zico | Jan 3 2013 10:49 utc | 59

Saudi religious leader calls for gang rape of Syrian women

Posted by: nikon | Jan 3 2013 11:29 utc | 60

@59 , this is a crappy hoax

Posted by: rototo | Jan 3 2013 12:30 utc | 61

@ 36 "somehow I doubt Syria's reputation as a police state is undeserved ...
the videos are there on the internet they just do not prove much as it is impossible to tell what is action and what is reaction and on whose side the actors are."

US is also a police state, so whats your point? I havent seen a SINGLE video which would incriminate Syria for slaughtering peaceful demonstrators, therefore the whole case of "civilians grabbing guns to defend themselves" is out of the window.

I did see however some protesters getting beat up with rubber sticks (batons), much like in US or EU. Police have little patience with demonstrators who throw stones, etc. regardless which country it is.

@ 60 "this is a crappy hoax "

Considering these Saudi Sheiks and entire West/arabs governments send terrorists to Syria to mass murder Syrians, as well as they rape a lot, that makes those enablers directly responsible for the heinous terrorists crimes, regardless if this specific fatwa was signed or not. Facts on the ground speak louder than verbal denial.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 3 2013 14:08 utc | 62

"Facts on the ground speak louder than verbal denial."

Out of curiosity - What ARE the "facts on the ground" in Syria, regarding rape during this conflict?

I suspect there are not a lot of them out there . . "facts on the ground about rape in Syria" I mean.

Perhaps you're just pre-disposed to believe this despite it being already shown to be nonsense?

Posted by: Facts? | Jan 3 2013 14:44 utc | 63

61, there are indicators like one family staying in power for 40 ? years or the "lively" debate in the Syrian parliament.

Or do you think it would be possible to say "you lie" into Assad's face without having a real problem. This is done in the US and politicians have to follow shifts in public opinion or they are out.

Neither Russia, China, nor Iran has family rule like in Syria. You can compare it to Gulf monarchies (police state included).

I agree the US is on the road to a security state, they still have a long way to go for authoritarianism and dictatorship.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 3 2013 15:13 utc | 64

@62 "Out of curiosity - What ARE the "facts on the ground" in Syria, regarding rape during this conflict?"

Facts on the ground about mass-murders by the terrorists. Their rapes also reported by the Syrians, however its harder to prove, since Syrian testimonies arent accepted in the West, while the West and their sponsored organizations run with their fake terrorist propaganda. However nobody sane can deny terrorist do massacres and ethnic cleansing, therefore rape and looting as a smaller crimes is a given, common sense.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 3 2013 15:17 utc | 65


Not even sure where you are getting to. Fact: there is ZERO evidence Syria's army was killing peaceful demonstrators. Thats the core issue, so whats the point of discussing the differences between various police states (US included)? Or how long one family rules the country. Or how politicians debate in parliament. Or what breakfast I had this morning.

If you have any evidence about core topic at hand, you are most welcome to supply that evidence.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 3 2013 15:26 utc | 66

"therefore rape and looting as a smaller crimes is a given, common sense."

"therefore" . . . "a given"? - well, to you maybe.

"common sense"?

In my experience "common sense" is not so common and when it is, it rarely contains much sense.

"Their rapes also reported by the Syrians"

I notice you did not actually provide anything in the way of actual evidence.

Posted by: Facts? | Jan 3 2013 15:29 utc | 67

@ 65 - I actually agree with you on your point about evidence of shooting of demonstrators (or lack of it) but regarding the allegations of rape:
"If you have any evidence about core topic at hand, you are most welcome to supply that evidence.

. . . ditto

Posted by: Facts? | Jan 3 2013 15:33 utc | 68


So you agree that terrorists do mass-murders and ethnic cleansing, but dont agree that smaller crimes like rape by criminals is happening? Is that what common sense says to you?

Even in the West media you can find testimonies like these, what to speak of Syrian sources:

"Sister Agnes-Miriam, mother superior of the Monastery of St James the Mutilated, has condemned Britain and the west for supporting the rebels despite growing evidence of human rights abuses. Murder, kidnapping, rape and robbery are becoming commonplace, she says."

Posted by: Harry | Jan 3 2013 15:44 utc | 69

"So you agree that terrorists do mass-murders and ethnic cleansing,

yes - there's been plenty of evidence of both of those, first-hand accounts, videos etc - there can be no doubt of any of that. Only a liar would claim otherwise.

"but dont agree that smaller crimes like rape by criminals is happening?

correct- not without some sort of evidence. There's no contradiction there - none whatsoever. Your so-called "evidence" of rape falls far short. Your so-called "evidence" consists of a 3rd-hand account in which rape is merely mentioned only in passing.

No first-hand accounts are present in your so-called piece of "evidence". Without that, it's just propaganda. Well-intentioned propaganda maybe, but propaganda nonetheless.

You are making a presumption that reflects what you want to believe. The "rebels" have also accused Assad supporters of rape, yet no evidence exists for that either. People that accept what the "rebels" claim are also merely making a presumption that reflects what they want to believe. In this regard, without reliable evidence, you are no different than they are.

"Is that what common sense says to you?"

Yes. Without some sort of reliable evidence, anything else is just stupidity.

I'm prepared to change my opinion should some reliable evidence appear that supports your claims, but until then they are just unsupported allegations or maybe even just baseless propaganda - neither of us knows for sure .

There undoubtedly is propaganda on both sides. THAT my friend is actual "common sense"

Posted by: Facts? | Jan 3 2013 16:10 utc | 70

Obviously the numbers were fudged.
And are problematic for a number of reasons
Not the least of it being the official Syrian numbers up to March 2012 were just over 2,000. A number that is not, repeat NOT disputed by the NATO war machine. Conveniently the numbers from Syria were 'not available' after March 2012. Why?
Were they not available? Or were they simply ignored?

Here are some points I made wrt these fudged stats. Looking at things a bit differently then yourself, b.

"I have some trouble believing that the numbers from the Syrian Government were only available up to March 2012. You ask, why? Glad you did!

Syria has gone to the UN repeatedly with lists of foreign fighters and their nationalities in an attempt to make a case the nation is under attack. Which, of course, it is! Therefore it would only make sense, that along with lists of foreign fighters, Syria has provided lists of the victims of the foreign fighters, all along.
Why would the information suddenly cease at March 2012? Or abruptly become "unavailable"??
I can see no reason that it would or should have.

Would it be more sensible to suggest that the UN just chose to ignore the stats provided by Syria after that date? Yes, that would be much more sensible.

If the agenda is to cook the numbers, which it is, then ignoring that which is not beneficial to the agenda is the way to go!

Further to the low Syrian count it is important to mention that neither the NATO opposition or the UN have suggested the Syrian numbers that were available were wrong. Only that after March/12 they suddenly became 'unavailable'

There was also no breakdown by ethnicity or information about whether the dead were rebels, soldiers or civilians. Which is to be expected. That type of info would shine the light on false NATO media narrative of Syrians rising up How many Libyans were amongst the dead? Chechen’s? Lebanese? Saudi’s? French? British? Jordanian? Pakistani's How many foreign merc/fighters have died destabilizing Syria?

Available here

Also for those following along there is a link to a NYT's article
In which Russia is ridiculed for seeing the writing on the wall, regarding the NATO agenda and the precedent of regime change via the UN and what it would imply for the future of Russia...

Since, Russia is on the NATO menu

BTW: Muslim Brotherhood/Mursi/Morsi has ensured Egyptian weapons have made their way to the NATO destabilizers in Syria

Not a surprise.

Posted by: Penny | Jan 3 2013 17:09 utc | 71

@ facts [#66]

Q: I notice you did not actually provide anything in the way of actual evidence.

R: All those who spoke out against Jimmy Savile [UK], [mostly] did so after his death, in a country supposed to be democratic and free of 'firebrand fiefdoms.' One wonders why..., could it be that women who have been raped are treated with, uhm, shall we say, some sort of stigma and that said stigma can be used as a 'tool' against them and thus entire populations?

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 3 2013 17:24 utc | 72

Harry @ 65 you are absolutely correct they lie of 'peaceful protests' in Syria is just that a lie.
From the beginning there were armed individuals present at said 'peaceful' protests.
I myself covered this on my blog, way, way way back
Including a link to some Saudi mouthpiece admitting the protestors were armed

Posted by: Penny | Jan 3 2013 17:42 utc | 73

"could it be that . . . "

It could be lots of things Daniel. It could just as easily be that there has not been any first-hand evidence of widespread rape by the "rebels" because there has not been a campaign of widespread rape by these people. Neither of us knows one way or the other, with some sort of reliable evidence. That is all I am saying.

And lets be honest here - switching the subject to Savile is just a diversion - I'm merely asking Harry to apply the same standards to his own claims that he demands others apply to theirs. That's only fair is it not?

As I said, I'm happy to accept any reliable evidence any one can supply. I am not saying it has not happened, just that until now I have seen no evidence worthy of the name.

Posted by: Facts? | Jan 3 2013 17:43 utc | 74

"From the beginning there were armed individuals present at said 'peaceful' protests."

I'm in total agreement with Penny here by the way

Posted by: Facts? | Jan 3 2013 17:44 utc | 75

"with some sort of reliable evidence" = without some sort of reliable evidence

Posted by: Facts? | Jan 3 2013 17:46 utc | 76

@ Facts? [#74]

Q: switching the subject to Savile is just a diversion

R: I'm tempted to say you're being dishonest here, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. You ask for evidence, rightly so, but, as in 'Jim'll Fuck It''s case, who came forward? Based on that, Jim's dick was merely swinging in the wind, according to your logic.

I hope/guess you're also privy to the various cultural sentiments, where 'tainted' women are loathed [try the Islamic thought police or its Hasidic counterpart], so, yes, we both haven't got access to hidden info and are evenly clueless, I concur.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 3 2013 18:41 utc | 77

so, yes, we both haven't got access to hidden info and are evenly clueless, I concur.

my point exactly
glad we're finally on the same page. :)

I still think Savile is a distraction though - the UK is very different from Syria in how society there is structured as far as I know. The reason the Savile story was kept out of the news while he was alive was not because no one made any allegations against him, because they certainly did.

It was because certain individuals, for reasons know only to themselves, conspired to keep it off of the front pages.

For example there are many reports that Police Officers did nothing, or even actively discouraged those making allegations to desist, when informed of the allegations. Journalists that knew about it also kept quiet (possibly due to strict libel laws, possibly for other more nefarious reasons) etc etc etc

I seriously doubt that a similar establishment cover-up is happening in Syria though.

Posted by: Facts? | Jan 3 2013 18:53 utc | 78

An empire and its numerous Government Sponsored Enterprises now are in business of "body counts" of country(ies) that is a victim of the empire.

They want to present themselves as a "centre of knowledge" and omnipotent force, in same time the victims are decontextualized and objectified.

I took look at Benetech and as I suspected:

Based: Palo Alto

Founder and CEO: "founded two of the foremost optical character recognition companies and developed successful social enterprises. Jim co-founded Calera Recognition Systems in 1982. Calera developed character recognition that allowed computers to read virtually all printed text."

Senior Management:
- Working and have experience with countries such as El Salvador, Ethiopia, Haiti, Chad, Sri Lanka, East Timor, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Kosovo, Liberia, and Perú. In a word, all victims of US Government.

- They love to call themselves "entrepreneurs". The word "literacy" and "social" is everywhere.

Laughable. How they collect data? Probably with OCR algorithm via online on social networks.

Finally, what all this above may tell us?

Behind PhD and MBA are hidden sociopaths of worst kind.

There is veneer of social element in their business description. Backed up by formidable forces (just as in case of any "social" endeavour) the Benetech is just liberal/fascist-capitalist corporation whose business model is based on overthrowing legal governments that do want bow down. We may expect in foreseeable future they will go for IPO, and became "world leader" in the human rights and "body counts". With the NATO in mind, the business will be booming, that is for sure.

For us ordinary folks those sociopaths and their start-ups are bringing ominous signs. More so for those in distant lands with unsuspecting folks then for US, but Foucault's Boomerang is always lurking. Taht's pathology of an empire and the UN.

For them: Benetech this was opportunity to promote its business, and UN and its native informant are merely vehicles of promotion. Otherwise their product/service is worthless and no one should pay any attention to it. Death is the resident of Washington.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 3 2013 19:09 utc | 79


If there were such evidence I'd expect the Syrian gov't to use it to the max. They do after all have their own English language news platform which I look at from time to time and I have as yet seen nothing regarding such claims. It might be there but I've yet to see it.

If we're going to criticise the UN and others for lack of reliable sources should we not at least apply those same standards to anyone claiming the existence of widespread rape campaign carried out by the "rebels"?

I think we should, otherwise we'd just be leaving ourselves open to justifiable allegations of "Hypocrisy" on our part, would we not?

Posted by: Facts? | Jan 3 2013 19:30 utc | 80

@ Facts? [#80],

My point with Jim-boy was that information can be contained and we don't have to travel to North Korea to find tight lipped perps and their protectors covering up heinous crimes. As to Syria, we're facing a myriad of propaganda/misdirection/misinformation/half truths/lies, etc., rendering most of 'our' conclusions moot and void of any substantial cores of solid and verifiable evidence. As both sides portray the opposition as 'murderous beasts' we have to rely on whatever information reaches us [in whatever form or shape that might be] and sift through the rubble to find shards of truth. But war and raping women are no strangers to one another. I try to remain open minded, but also know that it is an attempt, and all attempts carry with them the seeds of failure.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 3 2013 20:32 utc | 81

@ Facts? [#80],

Forgot to answer your question: Yes, I agree. We can't use two different sticks to measure crimes. Hypocrisy can be found in those who defend Obombers' policies of extra-judicial murder, through his Justice Brought To You From the Sky ploy [amongst a million other things]. I never care about a man's words. Obombers' track record shows he's a conservative mofu, no matter how much loose change he throws around verbally.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 3 2013 20:37 utc | 82

I've seen A LOT of videos from Syria during these past two years and especially A LOT during the late Spring and Summer of 2011. Like the commenter "Harry" above, I haven't seen any videos which would incriminate the Syrian security forces for shooting at peaceful demonstrators. "Harry" says, and I fully agree: "In this age, everyone have a phone who can film/photo, so of these thousands demonstrators, and many journalists, not even one of them managed to film the shootings? It's safe to assume it never happened." Note also that such shootings would've been contrary to stated official policy, and that that policy was fully supported by the Syrian public. The Syrian opposition is devoid of political ideas. So much so that the opposition's only line of political attack is to accuse the government of crimes -- and the accusations are false!

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 3 2013 20:50 utc | 83

"war and raping women are no strangers to one another.!"

no they are not, I agree.

Which makes the Syrian Govt's silence, regarding allegations such as those made by Harry, all the more convincing when used as circumstantial evidence in favour of the view-point that there has been no widespread use of Rape by the "rebels".

Such evidence would be a very powerful propaganda tool for the Syrian Govt if it were shown to be reliable and trustworthy. Yet the Syrian Govt has launched no propaganda campaign of that sort.

On those grounds alone I'd have to lean in the direction that there probably has been no widespread campaign of that sort carried out by the "rebels", even if others find that hard to believe.

In fact I suspect that such a campaign, if carried out by the foreign "rebels" would most certainly cause a major split between the "rebels" and their actual Syrian allies (however few in number such actual Syrians in the "rebel"-camp may be).

But at the end of the day I have no hard evidence to support that p.o.v. All I can cite is the lack of actual reasonably-reliable reports citing first-hand accounts coupled with the non-existence of a Pro-Syrian-Govt propaganda campaign based on such reports.

Given the apparent non-existence of reliable-reports-plus-propaganda-campaign, running around claiming that there simply must be such a widespread rape campaign being carried-out in Syria by the "rebels" seems a very risky proposition. One that would be very likely to backfire, as time progress and few if any reports surface detailing such atrocities.

Posted by: Facts? | Jan 3 2013 21:15 utc | 84

@Harry and @Penny:

I thought that I had seen an interview by Robert Fisk a few months ago in which a Syrian officer had expressed surprise about shooting breaking out during the early demonstrations; but all I can find is a general disclaimer. Roof snipers at those demonstrations were attributed by "activists" as government troops. For months we have been hearing reports about rebel snipers on the roofs in towns and neighborhoods they have taken over. Early in the 2000 intifada, when the Palestinian protests were non-violent, Israeli snipers would target Palestinian leaders in the crowd as a means of provoking a violent response. Anywhere else in the Middle East, protesters are urged by the US Government to respond to government repression and violence with non-violent protest (that is, where the US will recognize that government repression by our friends is happening at all) -- unless of course, the government, like Libya and Syria, has been targeted by PNAC for regime change.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jan 3 2013 21:29 utc | 85

@ Facts? [#84],

I just wonder how many [Muslim] women have the guts to come forward. One of the first court cases I attended had to do with [alleged] rape. It was horrible to watch [the victim]. So, unless I hear or learn otherwise, I'll leave that option open [for the time being], and note that rape doesn't necessarily have to be an 'organized' event [as we witnessed in India]. Parviziyi put up an interesting link of a Russian TV crew that had followed the Syrian army around [I think the Solstice thread]. Maybe he's kind enough to guide you to it.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 3 2013 21:33 utc | 86

From #Syria, World Chairman Of International Human Rights Commission tells the real story

Posted by: brian | Jan 3 2013 22:53 utc | 87

Rusty Pipes @ 85

Re: Roof snipers at those demonstrations were attributed by "activists" as government troops

Always, but, it never made sense that they were. What always seemed obvious was the rebels would lay siege to an area, be it an entire town or just an enclave.

They would then set up snipers on roofs to shoot Syrian soldiers or persons attempting to escape from the misery the NATO mercs had visited upon them.

The earliest protests in Daara were armed. The armed persons infiltrated via Jordan, possibly Israel

I went back through my blog to find the video that I had previously had up and the article which identified the early protests as violent.
With more then 300 to look through, I just couldn't find them

What was interesting however was that two American were arrested at the very beginning of the "protests"

One of them just in from Egypt

Of course there was more, much more
I have enough material for a book!

Don't know anything about a Robert Fisk interview, that does not ring a bell.

Posted by: Penny | Jan 3 2013 23:10 utc | 88

"61, there are indicators like one family staying in power for 40 ? years or the "lively" debate in the Syrian parliament."

Well, what's the optimum, then? Different guy (or girl) every year, you figure? My, yes, that'd do a lot for political stability. How about the same 2 families, running the country for 20 years? That seemed to work very well for the United States. How about the same guy for 30 years? The USA was A-OK with Hosni Mubarak running Egypt for that long, and propped him up repeatedly against his opposition although his people loathed him and tried 6 times to assassinate him.

Is the Saudi parliament very lively, do you think? I hope you said no, because it's a monarchy - they say, and the people do. No debate. If women are lucky, they might be allowed to get driver's licenses this year. The only country in the world that prohibits women from driving - but the USA has no stauncher ally in the battle against evil Assad, and keeps its mouth shut about human rights.

Posted by: Mark | Jan 4 2013 4:59 utc | 89

"From #Syria, World Chairman Of International Human Rights Commission tells the real story"

That's a powerful clip. While it's clear that the situation in Damascus is not representative of the violence in outlying areas, you would expect a lot more upheaval in a capital of a country in which the people were rising up against a repressive leader. Keep in mind that if the west has its way, that anchorwoman interviewing the Chairman will be in a burka next year, if she has a job at all. Sectarian leaders are being systematically overthrown and fundamentalist theocratic leaders imposed, and the new "governments" of Libya and Egypt were quick to reinstate sharia law. There can be no doubt this is not the will of the Syrian people, but a solution that is being forced on them by outside interests, whom it somehow benefits.

I really hope the whole campaign falls apart, if for no other reason, so the western states which rushed to recognize their hand-picked exiles as the "only legitimate government of Syria" have to de-recognize them. Especially France; Hollande is turning out to be nearly as much of a jerk as Sarkozy was.

Posted by: Mark | Jan 4 2013 5:20 utc | 90

89 I suppose it depends what your standards are ...

Posted by: somebody | Jan 4 2013 7:16 utc | 91

You have "standards"?

Who knew?

Posted by: Facts? | Jan 4 2013 11:09 utc | 92

@ Facts?

Two Terrorists Confess to Committing Crimes of Rape and Kidnapping in Aleppo

ALEPPO – In the area of Karam al-Jabal in Aleppo just as other areas where they exist, terrorists commit crimes of rape, killing and kidnapping, according to terrorist Bassam Ismael al-Hajj Ali.

Terrorist al-Hajj Ali confessed in an interview with SANA reporter that he took part with the rest of his terrorist group which is called “al-Tawheed Brigade” in Karam al-Jabal area in crimes of looting, rape, killing and kidnapping.

He also confessed to taking part in attacking Hanano barracks and killing citizens near Abdul-Majid Mosque.

Terrorist al-Hajj was born in al-Raqqa province in 1986. He is an electrician.

In a similar interview with SANA reporter, terrorist Walid Kanaan said that he joined Jabhat al-Nasra terrorist group and supported the armed terrorist groups in al-Zabdieh area and in other areas.

On July 8, Syrian TV broadcast the alleged confessions of four men who said they committed murder, rape, abduction, and robbery, as well as smuggled weapons and gunmen from Lebanon into Syria, according to the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

One of the men, Abdelkafi Abdelhamid Bakkour, a farmer born in Homs in 1980, according to SANA, said he “started off by being part of group that attempted to incite people to protest, and his job was to transport protesters from mosques to squares in the town of Al-Qseir.”

SANA goes on to say that Bakkour and the others would stop cars to rob them, and that “once he abducted two women and took them to nearby fields where he raped them then let them go.”

Homs, (SANA) - Terrorist Yehia Khudr Allaaz confessed to participating in crimes of murder, abduction and rapein the city of Homs, including the hijacking of two minibuses in Homs and murdering nine young women after raping them.

He said that one of his associates was injured in the shoulder, which scared Allaaz and caused him to tell the other terrorists that he didn't want to join them in other attacks, and they told him that there was something easier they could do, which is kidnapping women.

After a few days, the others contacted him and they took a car towards Bab al-Siba'a area, meeting a minibus on the way with five young women on board. They pursued the minibus and overtook it, with two of the terrorists disembarking and hijacking the minibus while the other two drive behind them.

Allaaz said that upon reaching Jouret al-Arayes area, the other told him to go home and he complied, and when he called them on the next day, they told him that they took the women to a farm in Al-Qasir area and killed them after raping them.

He said that after four days, they contacted him and said that they wanted to hijack another minibus. They intercepted a minibus using a car and a pickup truck, causing the driver to flee. Again, two terrorists hijacked the minibus which carried four young women, while the remaining two accompanied the minibus in the two cars to a farm in Al-Qasir area.

Allaaz said that upon arrival, they tied up and beat up the women then raped them, and afterwards each terrorist shot one of the women and buried their bodies in holes dug in the farm.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 4 2013 16:16 utc | 93

93) sigh ... stating the obvious ... these confessions are useless if made under duress ... look if we all stopped believing these "confessions" maybe states would stop trying to coerce people.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 4 2013 16:29 utc | 94

@ Facts?

Another ironic thing I noticed, you try to be as hypocritic-less as possible, which would be good, but by ignoring circumstances you actually become somewhat hypocritical. You cant place equality sign between vastly different sides.

Let me explain: you say every side lies and does propaganda - and thats correct, they all do. However lies and propaganda Syria (or Iran, or other "West enemy") does are insignificant compared to West propaganda machine. What you imply is that all sides are equally trustworthy (or not), while its like comparing one dollar to $1000.000. You are technically correct if you call both as a currency, but since their value is in orders of magnitude different, its unreasonable not to take that into the account when evaluating sides.

Thats why victim-Syria is by default more trustworthy than aggressor-states (West/arabs). Both sides can lie and what not, but inherently victims testimony is more valuable and trustworthy than aggressors with a massive propaganda machine, and with a long history of extensive lying.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 4 2013 16:34 utc | 95

Thanks for providing SOME evidence Harry, but what you have provided doesn't really substantiate your claims , but I'll accept it since it looks like after 24hrs that's the best you can do.

Your claim was "they rape a lot" - and 2 cases does not really make "a lot" - but as I said thanks for making some attempt to provide evidence for your claims.

Regarding your first paragraph in #95 though? Kindly go fuck yourself. You demanded evidence from someone here regarding something they had said. I simply asked you to do the same and now you now behave like a complete asshole.

Do you always act like an asshole when someone dares to question anything you say?

Posted by: Facts? | Jan 4 2013 17:17 utc | 96

Militants use Yarmouk to pressure Syria government: Iran MP

"An Iranian legislator says Syria militants want to drag Palestinian refugees living in Yarmouk camp into the Syrian conflict to put more pressure on Damascus.

Iran Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Spokesman Seyyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini said on Friday that Syrian terrorists want to make the crisis in Damascus worse by attacking Yarmouk camp.

“Turning Palestinian refugees against President Bashar al-Assad and his government is a criminal conspiracy organized by the Syrian opposition and their Western-Arab masters,” Naqavi Hosseini noted.

He stressed that the Syrian army has no role in the clashes in Yarmouk camp, noting that the West and Israel will stop at nothing, not even the massacre of Palestinian refugees, to get their way in Syria.

“Syrian militants terrorize and kill [the residents of] Yarmouk camp to undermine Assad’s popularity among Palestinians and portray the Syrian army [as the force] behind the massacre in…the camp,” the Iranian lawmaker said....."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 4 2013 17:26 utc | 97

This, and the info in #97 should be considered together:

Yemen arrests Israeli for espionage: Security sources

"Yemen has arrested an Israeli man who holds Yemeni citizenship on charges of spying for the Tel Aviv regime.

Yemeni security sources said on Thursday that man, who is in his thirties, had been detained in Yemen’s southern city of Taizz in late December 2012.

The alleged spy was reportedly transferred to an intelligence facility in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden this week before facing trial. No exact date has been set for the trial.

According an official speaking on condition of anonymity, the man, identified as Ali Abdul-Mohsen al-Himi al-Siaghi or Abraham al-Deri, had secret links with Israeli security agencies.

The official further said that communications with Israeli organizations had been found on his laptop.

Over the past months, Yemenis have several times held demonstrations to demand an end to foreign interference in the internal affairs of Yemen, especially by the United States and its ally Israel.

Meanwhile, Egypt also announced on December 31 that its security forces had detained a former Israeli soldier, identified as Andre Yaacoub, who had illegally entered Egypt."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 4 2013 17:31 utc | 98

RT correspondent injured in Damascus crossfire

"A group of international journalists – including members of RT's Arabic team – have been caught in crossfire in Syria while covering the army's operations outside the capital. RT’s correspondent suffered light injuries while trying to escape.

­Syrian government forces have been trying to clear the area of rebels occupying the Damascus suburb of Daraya. Several international journalists, including Russians, Iraninans and Syrians, joined the group to report on the early morning operation and found themselves caught in heavy gunfire.

“We were moving from street to street, and when we reached the dock, my colleagues and I got caught in crossfire,” RT Arabic correspondent Kamel Saqer explained.

“We tried to escape, running one after another fearing that armed rebels would notice us. A Syrian army soldier accompanied us the entire time – he constantly kept his eye on the situation and helped us to escape the gunfire.”

It was unclear whether the rebels were deliberately targeting journalists, all of whom were wearing bulletproof vests with clearly visible word 'press' on them, Saqer said.

The firing was very intense and it was difficult to find shelter, Saqer added. “I ran and fell down, I hurt my arms – but the Syrian army doctors gave me first aid on the scene. So I could continue to do my job.”

One of the Syrian cameramen was also slightly wounded...."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 4 2013 17:41 utc | 99

Nusra Front Takes Lead in Rebel Fight in Damascus

"A Sunni extremist group that the US declared an officially recognized terrorist organization has taken the lead in the rebel fight to control the Syrian capital of Damascus....

But in response to news of the State Department’s designation of al-Nusra, more than 100 separate battalions of Syrian rebels signed a petition expressing solidarity with the al-Qaeda-linked group and denouncing the US’s decision, in a reflection of how radicalized the Syrian opposition has become.

Recent reports have established that Jabhat al-Nusra, and other al-Qaeda-linked jihadist factions like it, have become a key element in the Syrian opposition, despite repeated attempts by some in Washington to paint the rebels as freedom fighters.

In October, The New York Times published an article confirming that “Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists,” despite the fact that those weapons were being sent with US approval and coordination...."

The American listing of al-Nusra as a terrorist org associated with al Qaida is PR. The image of Israel-America's terrorists in Syria has become that of terrorists in the outside world. The world outside of Israeli media dominance, that is, though increasingly, due to the web, also within countries dominated by Israel occupied media. So they needed to select somebody "to discipline" for image purposes. Al-Nursa is an Israeli-American front, like al Qaida, and while they pretend to distance themselves, Israel-America rely upon these death squad groups to do their dirty work on ground they cant send troops.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 4 2013 18:14 utc | 100

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