Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 31, 2016

Not A Hospital, Not A Russian Strike, Not Civilian - Propaganda Fail In Syria

Below a dissection of another failed propaganda effort in the war of Syria. There are also two news items at the end which may be of interest.

A sometimes reliable account tweeted last night:

M Green ‏@MmaGreen M Green Retweeted الاعلام الحربي

Al Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) is evacuating all of its HQs in Idlib after the RuAF began a massive wave of airstrikes

US gov funded White Helmets at the site of the Russian airstrikes on Al Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) positions in Idlib - video

Important to note that this video was released by the official Jabhat Al Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) propaganda channel in Idlib.

3:47 PM - 30 May 2016

That sounded plausible. The U.S. funded White Helmets are known for their close cooperation with al-Qaeda.

The (British/U.S.?) propaganda account Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (@raqqa_sl) was awarded the International Press Freedom Award in 2015 from the Committee to Protect Journalists. It had a different version of the air strike.


A hospital was hit? But why does al-Qaeda evacuate its headquarters? The information in that raqqa_sl account was also "reported" by Reuters.

Several people noted that something else was wrong with that (now deleted) tweet.

Russian Embassy, UK - @RussianEmbassy
Photo purportedly of "Russian airstrike on Idlib" last night was in fact first used by @AlJazeera 6 months ago


5:11 AM - 31 May 2016

There followed an apology ... and more false information.

الرقة تذبح بصمت @Raqqa_SL

1-we post yesterday a tweet shows photos for Russian Airstrikes photo number 3 is old photo but 1 and 2 is true

2- We apologize for the mistake but this will not change the fact that Russia bomb a Hospital and killed Civilians
5:23 AM - 31 May 2016

"Damn, we got caught. But lets repeat those other assertions." 

But those did not fit either. Russia did not bomb in Idleb.

Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov

“Russian aviation has performed no combat tasks and certainly no strikes in the ‪#‎Idlib‬ province.

“Horror stories” of the “British tandem” presented by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Reuters news agency are to be treated more carefully. As soon as the Russian Defence Ministry presented objective monitoring data refuting all their fakes, the Observatory and the Reuters took no efforts either to consider the information or to publish the refutations.”

Earlier, the Reuters, British news agency, referring to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had reported on Russian aviation strikes on the Idlib city in Syria

There was also no hospital hit.

Clarissa Ward @clarissaward

Learning more from sources on the ground in Idlib. Appears hospital itself was not hit, but just behind it + a public garden
3:43 AM - 31 May 2016

Conflict News - @Conflicts

UPDATE: According to @AFP photographer in #Idlib, as well as other sources. National Hospital not directly hit, strike landed behind it.
4:20 AM - 31 May 2016

What was hit in Idleb city last night was an apartment building somewhat near a hospital. It likely included an al-Qaeda headquarter. The precision strike was performed by the Syrian air force.

"Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently" (@raqqa_sl) exposed itself as just another fake news outlet.


Over the last days there is some maneuvering around Syria but no significant event on either side. Two smaller issues are noteworthy though.

Associated Press reports that the current ceasefire in Syria is strengthening al Qaeda. It is remarkable that a U.S. news agency takes note of this. It supports the Russian efforts to get the U.S. engaged against al Qaeda in Syria.

Qatar Airways A-319 airliners with fake registration codes were seen at the airport of Gaziantep in Turkey, near the Syrian border. No public flight plan for the planes could be found. Gaziantep is not a regular stop for any Qatari airplane. It is likely that the planes transported U.S. or Qatari mercenaries who have been trained abroad and are now to be deployed in Syria.

Posted by b on May 31, 2016 at 17:22 UTC | Permalink


Raqqa is being Slaughtered Silently is certainly a propaganda operation. You should look at their web-site. A very flash expensive professional product, supposedly defending the people of Raqqa. But they're actually in Turkey, Gaziantep I think.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 31 2016 17:46 utc | 1

Propaganda? What else is new?

Anyone read "Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World " by L. Fletcher Prouty? It can be found online at:

Assuming it is true, then what is true when we hear, or read, what we think is verifiable? I'm not a conspiracy theorist ... but something tells me that Prouty may be on to something. I did a search at our local university library and found that the book had been in the library, the record of it was found in the acquisitions files, though the catalog showed no trace of its' existence. It makes the authors assertion that it was disappeared very possible (neither probable nor likely). The head librarian at the time has passed, so there is no one to talk to. I leave it to you, gentle reader, to infer what you wish. [] is the source of my interest in trying to determine the veracity of an allegedly 'disappeared' book.

If the assertions are correct, then what do we know?

Posted by: rg the lg | May 31 2016 18:49 utc | 2

Amazing and also notable how it dovetails with renewed "stories" about the Russian internet infiltration/propaganda war(s) ...
I can't make out what's up in Fallujah except to note that from a high population of around 350,000 a few years ago, wiki lists it as 326,000 in 2010, I read it was down to 120,000 prior to ramp up to this current "siege" and now is guessed to be populated with around 50,000 with 500 ISIS soldiers ...
counterpunch: The Battle of Falujua: ISIS unleashes its death squads

I was listening (catching up) with a Scott Horton podcast from 05/24/2016 with Cockburn which raised the question of "what comes after the removal of ISIS from Fallujah?" (assuming they're successful) which echoed my question of whether (after 4 battles of fallujah) whether we were watching a final "ethnic cleaning" of Fallujah ... and whether Fallujah might be about to meet Kobane's fate of finally and emphatically being turned into rubble. Cockburn mentioned that the great "victory" of Ramadhi was achieved only with massive aerial bombardments (not Iraqi army prowess) and left that city only marginally inhabit-boom-able due to boom land-boom-mines and I-boom-E-boom-D's.

Obama's depravity in claiming responsibility for the work of others (notably Russia) manages to still shock me. Cockburn thinks wholesale destruction of Fallujah is unlikely due to the potential loss-of-life ... I'm not nearly so sure. Whining and whinging from KSA that "it's really the Iranians who are attacking Fallujah" just adds to the ugly possibility that both sides (KSA and Iran) are perhaps more "eliminationist" in real-life than I had considered before, having viewed Iran's interests as primarily self-defense and defense of common interests.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | May 31 2016 18:51 utc | 3

Qatar's royals have their own private fleet of aircraft (20+ IRRC). They are treated like the U.S. Air Force One - a government VIP aircraft that does not normally have publicly available flight plans or information. This does not mean the Qatar royal fleet is necessarily used for government business - they apparently take these on shopping trips overseas. I suppose you could load one up with jihadis, too. The royal's A319 is probably the 40-seat luxury version, so either VIP head-choppers only or you would have to make the common CIA head-choppers take baths first and order them not to touch anything.

Qatar started painting their royal fleet exactly like the commercial passenger-carrying Qatari Airways fleet. The aircraft in the Turkish Sun picture is actually an Airbus A319 (a shrunken A320), not an A320. Most visible external difference is that they removed one of the over-wing emergency exit doors. The A319 pictured only has one on each side, while an A320 has two.

The commercial Qatari Airlines fleet does have an A320 aircraft with the registration A7-AHJ as shown in the top picture on the Sun link. The bottom picture is, in fact, a Qatari royal fleet A319 with a registration A7-HHJ. The confusion comes from the last two letters shown on the nose gear landing door. They would be the same for A7-AHJ and A7-HHJ. This is a full picture of the royal's A7-HHJ, and this is a full picture of the commercial A7-AHJ.

This normally never happens within a fleet - registration numbers are not duplicated and the airline does not use registration numbers with the same two last letters within their fleets (they apply for a different one). Qatari Airlines and the private Qatari royal fleet are two different airline fleets for registration purposes, although they are painted the same and probably all maintained by Qatari Airlines.

There would be nothing unusual about a Qatari royal A319 at Gaziantep without any information about it on the usual flight-tracking sites. And any unusual activity, say like guys in chemical suits cautiously moving unmarked cylinders from the cargo hold to heavily-guarded Turkish MIT trucks, well... that's normal. Nothing to worry about.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 31 2016 19:01 utc | 4
The pic is not a hospital!

Posted by: okie farmer | May 31 2016 19:58 utc | 5

Lighten up there. Ayatollah Song from 1979 ...

Posted by: ALberto | May 31 2016 20:11 utc | 6

Um, remember a white helmet video and the images look a lot like the ones posted in these articles.anyone git the link to that video?

Posted by: Sockpuppet | May 31 2016 20:16 utc | 7

thanks b... those 2 last links are informative and suggestive..

thanks @4 paveway for additional insights here..

@7 sockp - i didn't bother to look at the white helmet group is more propaganda as i have come to understand..

quote from the japan times ap link b shared... too bad it never reaches the west, or only via the japan times..

“Syria is right now the central front for al-Qaida’s jihad,” said Thomas Joscelyn, senior editor of the Long War Journal and an al-Qaida watcher for The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a U.S.-based think tank. “I don’t think a lot of people realize how many resources al-Qaida has invested in Syria.”

Posted by: james | May 31 2016 20:46 utc | 8

... amid the continuing propaganda attacks and dirty goings on, what has happened to the Race to Raqqa? Three months or so ago this all important event was set to define the future of the Syrian conflict.

Then, Syria was seen as having the advantage with the backing of Russia..

Things seem to have changed. Has the race thus been won by the US and the YPG? If so, is the dismemberment of Syria now inevitable?

Posted by: bassalt | May 31 2016 20:49 utc | 9

The United emirates press seems to also have doubts about the 'russian bombing of civilians in Idlib"

Unidentified jets bomb powerful Ahrar Al Sham’s main camp in Syria

Posted by: virgile | May 31 2016 21:40 utc | 10

Is this a time to question the efficacy of Russian pushed so-called ceasefire?
Certainly American vicious rhetoric did not stop what we would expect is bilateral relations improved but continues with tired mantra by western propaganda "Assad must go" and Russian "kill a hospital" game.

Interesting and provocative discussion of so far effects of this "ceasefire" agreement in diplomatic field and on the ground in Syria can be found here:

Posted by: Kalen | May 31 2016 21:46 utc | 11

The 'forced' resignation of the Salafi chief negotiator Alloush is a significant diplomatic victory for Russia. The ensued negative propaganda is meant to overshadow that victory so as not to embarrass Saudi Arabis, the sponsor of the HNC.
The next step is to throw Erdogan into a difficult choice: either he finally commits to fight ISIS thus exposing his country to violent retaliation that will undermine his position and the country economy or renounce to his objection of the Syrian kurds participation in the negotiation and allow them to eliminate ISIS.
Erdogan now needs the YPG if he does not want to send the turkish army to do the job.

Posted by: virgile | May 31 2016 23:06 utc | 12

Bassalt @ 9:

The race to Raqqa might have resulted in a disqualification when Turkey got upset at US Special Forces soldiers wearing the insignia of the YPG and YPJ militias.

Incidentally Turkey was right to be upset because for US soldiers to be wearing the insignia of another army is a violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

"Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977 ...

... Art 39. Emblems of nationality

1. It is prohibited to make use in an armed conflict of the flags or military emblems, insignia or uniforms of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.

2. It is prohibited to make use of the flags or military emblems, insignia or uniforms of adverse Parties while engaging in attacks or in order to shield, favour, protect or impede military operations.

3. Nothing in this Article or in Article 37 [dealing with perfidy or treachery], paragraph 1 (d) [the feigning of protected status by the use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations or of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict], shall affect the existing generally recognized rules of international law applicable to espionage or to the use of flags in the conduct of armed conflict at sea ..."

Posted by: Jen | May 31 2016 23:48 utc | 13

What was hit in Idleb city last night was an apartment building somewhat near a hospital. It likely included an al-Qaeda headquarter.


Did Moon of Alabama's correspondent in Idlib go to the apartment building and check to see if it was an al-Qaeda headquarter [sic]? I am really impressed. Who needs foreign correspondents when such powerful intellects are at work?

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Jun 1 2016 0:28 utc | 14

how many times has Moscow entered into a ceasefire agreement when it was winning a major conflict, then only to see that the ceasefire was used to rebuild enemy forces?
Is there some larger strategic reason for this, such as a need to build up Russian forces before a larger conflict is entered into? There seems little profit in repeatedly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Posted by: Perimetr | Jun 1 2016 0:50 utc | 15

rg the lg @2,

J. Fletcher Prouty was quite a man and wrote a series of very important works, some of which you've discovered at radical. I recommend reading all of them, particularly his account of JFK's assassination. And yes, by all means send the links to your friends so they can learn what wasn't to see the light of day.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 1 2016 1:24 utc | 16

Is there some larger strategic reason for this, such as a need to build up Russian forces before a larger conflict is entered into? There seems little profit in repeatedly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Posted by: Perimetr | May 31, 2016 8:50:42 PM | 15

That's my pet theory too.
Keeping in mind that the non-withdrawal withdrawal means that Russia's presence in Syria didn't end with Putin's 'withdrawal' announcement, and RU have thus maintained their ability to closely monitor the facts on the ground in Syria.
RU's strategy seems to reflect a desire to give the Yankees enough rope with which to hang themselves and, when the proof is overwhelming, to come back and use overwhelming force (& diplomacy) to remind the Yankees that their losing streak is habitual.
In this end-game scenario, running out of Materiel before the Job Is Done would be disastrous and won't be allowed to occur - under any foreseeable circumstance.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 1 2016 2:49 utc | 17

This is certainly getting tired but good work by those who uncover these deceptions, which are actually a crime of defamation. Then again the act of aggressive war contains within it all the crimes committed in that war, hopefully to be prosecuted in the future. I am continually amazed at the restraint shown by the Russian administration in dealing with the western snakes and their operations in Syria and the Ukraine.

Posted by: BRF | Jun 1 2016 3:00 utc | 18

add #17...
For example, the Yankees won't like being made to look flat-footed and incompetent, so RU probably(?) has to be prepared to kill NATO stone dead in fewer than 7 days before getting down to serious, and uninterrupted, business in Syria.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 1 2016 3:00 utc | 19

Jen @13. There is nothing illegal about wearing the insignia or emblem of an ally.

Art 39(1) says that you must not attempt to pass yourself off as a neutral power, but that does not apply here as the YPG and YPJ militias are definitely not neutral.

Art 39(2) says that you must not attempt to pass yourself off as the enemy that you are engaging in a firefight. But, again, whatever else the US military is doing inside Syria, it most definitely is not fighting against the YPG or the YPJ.

And as an aside: you are quoting from the Additional Protocols, which the United States of America has never ratified.

Basically, US soldiers are fully entitled to wear the insignia or emblem of military units with whom they are working, so long as both are fighting the same enemy. Which is the case here.

Or, put another way: wether those patches are worn or not there will be no confusion in the mind of a Jihadist about whether those GIs can be shot at (they can be, and will be) or wether those GIs are gonna decide to shoot at them (they can and they will).

No violation of the rules of war therefore occurs if these GIs choose to wear those patches.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 1 2016 4:17 utc | 20

From The Guardian: "Farouk Kashkash, the hospital’s director, told the Guardian the missiles struck very close to the hospital and put its operations theatre out of service, covering much of the facility with debris and wreckage and prompting patients to flee and staff to go underground."

Note that "the missiles struck very close to the hospital". So.... no bombs *actually* hit the hospital, heh?
Note also the "covering much of the facility with debris and wreckage". So..... not so much in the way of "hospital wrecking" then?

If something was struck, it definitely wasn't the hospital itself.
Tho' it was close enough to scare Mr Kashkash sh**less. Apparently.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 1 2016 4:27 utc | 21

Louis Proyect | May 31, 2016 8:28:34 PM | 14

b did include the qualifier 'likely' so your sarcasm fails. Here's what the pro-rebel UAE rag says about what happened in Idlib:

A Syrian opposition figure, meanwhile, said the airstrikes “demolished" three centres for the Army of Conquest, a coalition of militant groups that includes Al Nusra and Ahrar Al Sham. The figure said more than half of those killed in Idlib city on Monday were fighters.

Here's what the pro-rebel Observatory says:

The Observatory said about 10 air raids targeted areas near the National Hospital, the Al-Jalaa public gardens and other neighborhoods in Idlib.

So three Al Qaeda affiliates' 'centres' were destroyed, and the air raids targeted neighborhoods near the hospital. It's reasonable therefore to think that the buildings near the hospital contained at least one of those headquarters.

Posted by: fairleft | Jun 1 2016 5:39 utc | 22

And yet "Dozens killed in bombing of national hospital in Idlib" is the headline of the Guardian propaganda. Of course "dozens" if not more were killed in the combined raids, but the headline alleges those dozens were killed by the bombing of the hospital. Even though the hospital was not bombed!

As I said on Twitter, let's not lose sight of what these propaganda efforts really mean: that Syria has launched an effective and devastating attack on Western allies in Idlib, and that victories there are coming soon.

Posted by: fairleft | Jun 1 2016 5:43 utc | 23

rg the lg (#2): Thanks for the reference to L. Fletcher Prouty. I am getting his "JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy".

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Jun 1 2016 5:44 utc | 24

rg the lg @2
Prouty's Secret Team was written with the author claiming direct knowledge. While Prouty speculated and infer much in other writings, ST was within his playing field namely, IIRC, at one point he was point-man for cia requests for equipment from the USAF, Army and Navy, which he then directed to that particular service's rep. He asserted he worked for the Joint Chiefs and thus could later speak about what he witnessed and experienced.

ST demonstrates a simple, workable strategy to place certain "team" members within putatively any agency of US gov or any private company [or into any org chart, anywhere]. With patience and perhaps a few or 5 years, such a "mole" would become totally unknown outside the "team"].

To see how easy it was/is almost certainly done, read it.

Posted by: chu-teh | Jun 1 2016 5:46 utc | 25

My 22 was a response to Yeah, Right at 20.

Posted by: fairleft | Jun 1 2016 5:55 utc | 26

Regarding comment #2 and the Prouty testimony of the CIA's many fingers in many pies - how the Secret Team has taken over US foreign policy.

Here's a technical TIP: the Firefox browser now has a recent addition up in the toolbar area, the "Reader View" function - the icon looks like an open book. You can now land on a news page with lots of rich content and ads, or at the other extreme, on a page like the Prouty archive with its pure text extending across the whole screen, and click the icon - and suddenly it's a civilized column of large-font text you can lean back and read in peace, with no distractions.

Websites are rich in options. Readers are impoverished in capacity. Firefox, free and open source, just leveled the field.

Back to reading Prouty...

So, thanks for the Prouty link @2, and also @24 - I often wonder what it actually takes in terms of measurable effort and resources to perform certain actions such as subversion, co-opting, psy-ops, psyc warfare, coups and regime change, and you have highlighted the very source to study. Thank you.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 1 2016 7:07 utc | 27

What's happening in Falluja?

Given that US military forces killed hundreds of civilians in the same city back in 2004 and bequeathed a deadly radioactive legacy to the population from depleted uranium munitions, such belated American concern for civilian life in Fallujah does not sound credible.

Could there be another agenda, such as preventing Iraqi forces from delivering a knock-out blow to the IS militants (also known as Daesh) holed up inside the city?

Although the US is officially waging a war to defeat these jihadists, the terrorists are, at the same time, documented to function covertly as Pentagon assets for regime change in neighboring Syria.

Posted by: fredjc | Jun 2 2016 22:41 utc | 28

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