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As I previously posted -- the other news organizations have already admitted that the German article is not accurate.
Now, though, a SPIEGEL team has managed to visit the place where the massacre occurred: Taldou, the largest of four widely scattered villages that form the Houla municipality. Getting there was complicated; the Syrian regime doesn't want any foreign journalists in the country, especially not in Houla. The region is also surrounded by a ring of Alawite villages, where the Syrian army has established bases from which it continues to fire at Houla with tanks and artillery. The regime provides arms to the villages, which in turn supply the pro-regime shabiha militias, which have set up checkpoints on area roads and are participating in attacks. Taldou itself, home to more than 15,000 people before the revolution, is under the control of its own residents. They have formed a unit of the FSA, which protects them from smaller attacks, but not from bombardment. Parts of the village, including one of the areas where the massacre took place, remain inaccessible, because they are within the range of army snipers positioned on a ridge outside the town. The SPIEGEL team spent two days in Taldou, where it was able to move about freely, interview surviving members of the Sayyid and Abdul Rassak families and speak with witnesses. Some of the witnesses spoke on camera, while others wanted to remain anonymous, because they still have relatives in prison or in cities controlled by the regime. To prevent collective memories from interfering with their own experiences, the witnesses were interviewed individually and asked what they had seen and heard.
Dude are you practicing "willful ignorance"?
About 10 cars and at least 400 men were approaching on that road. Some were wearing military uniforms, while others were dressed in civilian clothing. Some had long beards and shaved heads. Some of the men were wearing red armbands.
From his house on Sadd Street, Jihad Raslan, an officer who had been on home leave for the previous four days...
He describes in detail the world has not heard before what happened on Friday. He matters because over the next five hours we spend in Houla, scores of people will corroborate his story in various details. He describes how there was intense shelling of the ground for several hours. After that the Shabiya – armed militia – entered the town from the southern to south western direction. He says there were around 100 of them dressed in military uniforms. They approached Dam Road which connects the large reservoir to the Houla villages. He says – and all agree – these men were Shia and Alawite who had come from specific Shia/Alawite villages to the south and west of Houla.
A brief look at the names of some of the victims, however, shows that this claim is most probably false. The Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies has an excel sheet(in Arabic) that documents the names of the victims that were killed and the method of killing. Many of the names of the victims are names that are culturally understood to be names of Sunnis. For example, victim number 27 on the list’s name is Umar Mahmoud Al-Kurdi. Umar is generally a name given by Sunni families to their children, due to its association with Umar ibn-Al Khattab. Without delving too much into Islamic history, Umar ibn-Al Khattab is generally an Islamic figure who is regarded positively in Sunni theology, but is regarded negatively in Shia theology. Because of this, it’s very culturally rare that a Shia or Alawite family would name their child “Umar”. Thus, it is unlikely that the Al-Kurdi family, one of the three main families that was massacred in Houla, was indeed of Shia or Alawite origin. The second family who was targeted in the Houla Massacre was the Al-Sayyid family. A look at some of the names of their family members also shows a trend for naming names that are traditionally associated with Sunnism. Victim number 90′s name is Ahmad Muawiya Al-Sayyid, and victim number 91′s name is Muawiya al-Sayyid. The name ‘Muawiya’ is a name also associated with a figure in Islamic history that Shias regard negatively. Muawiya is not a common name in the Arab world as a whole, but is common among Syrian Sunnis as Muawiyah was at one point the governor of Syria. It is very unlikely that a Shia or Alawite family would name their child “Muawiyah”, as Muawiyah is a reviled figure in Shia theology. The third family who saw lots of members massacred in Houla was the al-Razzaq family. Victim number 59 on the list’s name is Aysha Abd al-Khaleq Abd al-Razzaq. “Aysha” was the name of one of the Prophet Muhammad’s wives. She is also generally regarded positively by Sunnis and negatively by Shias for historical reasons. In each of the three main families that was targeted in the Houla Massacre, there are names of children that are names that are culturally Sunni. It is highly unlikely(although certainly not impossible) that Shia or Alawite families would casually name their children after figures that are reviled according to their own theology. This is certainly not any kind of conclusive evidence, but it certainly throws the claim reported by FAZ and pro-Assad propagandists into extreme doubt. One anomaly may be possible, but in each of the three families that are reported to be Shia or Alawite, there are names that are very culturally associated with Sunni theology.
So then you say if I knew what was going on I would note that one of the "informants" left the Syrian Army and so is not reputable. You would need to provide the link of Der Spiegel relying on him previously and how that affects his stance.
Alex Thomson states he sees the throat deeply slashed of a dead child. So the link you previously gave claiming this did not happen does not hold.
Now he saw the mass grave of 100 people -- you'd think he'd mention if 90% of the victims were Shia as you claim.
The regime bombed Darayya for days, mainly from artillery stationed on the mountains overlooking Damascus. Once any armed resistance had retreated, soldiers and shabeeha militia moved in, with knives and guns. This stage reminds one of Sabra and Shatila. It seems there was a list of suspected activists and resistance sympathisers, but the field executions included old men, women and children. About three hundred bodies have been counted so far, found in the street or in basements or in family homes. The next stage is to mock the victims.
Syria is an enduring project. This is a leaked joint US-UK intelligence file: In order to facilitate the action of liberative [sic] forces ... a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals [and] to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria. CIA is prepared, and SIS (MI6) will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main [sic] incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals ... a necessary degree of fear ... frontier and [staged] border clashes [will] provide a pretext for intervention ... the CIA and SIS should use ... capabilities in both psychological and action fields to augment tension. That was written in 1957, though it might have come from a recent report by the Royal United Services Institute, "A Collision Course for Intervention," whose author says, with witty understatement, "It is highly likely that some western special forces and intelligence sources have been in Syria for a considerable time." And so a world war beckons in Syria and Iran.
Furthermore, what could the relation be between this alleged failed prisoner exchange and the massacre? And why would fighters in the opposition kill inhabitants of a town that is one of the centres of the Syrian revolution because of this supposed exchange? Fisk presents no explanation for that, limiting himself to showing that the Free Syrian Army fighters were responsible for this failure, in contrast to the regime’s forces which (according to the testimony of the officer in charge with whom Fisk was embedded) went out of their way to free hostages before storming the town. Claims that the Daraya victims were relatives of government employees – including a postman killed simply because he was such an employee – are equally quoted without sourcing.
This account closely resembles the regime’s tale about the Houla massacre in May 2012, whereby the victims of Houla were also said to be regime supporters killed because they were relatives of a member of parliament. It is known today that this is pure invention, and that the massacre – as confirmed by the United Nations human-rights inquiry – was carried out by the regime’s armed forces and shabbiha (armed gangs). Is it possible that this embedded journalist’s source about the new massacre is the same “temple of truth” who had revealed facts of the governmental enquiry committee on the Houla massacre?
As in Houla, the story that the massacre victims were somehow related to regime or government members is false. Furthermore, Fisk manages to say nothing about the five-day long shelling of Daraya, as is the regime’s norm before storming a town; nor does he even give the correct number of fully documented victims (which is nearly double the 245 he quotes).
ANTAKYA, Turkey -- Some Syrian anti-government activists expressed frustration Wednesday that a controversial video belittling the prophet Muhammad is generating more outrage among Arabs than the rising death toll within Syria. Comments on social media sites by some opposition activists said the protests over the video in Cairo and Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were killed, epitomize a focus on symbolic and religious issues versus a relative indifference over the desperate plight of Syrian civilians. "The only thing that seems to mobilize the Arab street is a movie, a cartoon or an insult, but not the pool of blood in Syria," wrote one Syrian activist on Twitter. Since anti-government protests broke out in March 2011, at least 17,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed by the security forces of President Bashar Assad and rebel forces, according to United Nations figures. "One thing is clear," tweeted Shakeeb Jabri, a Syrian activist. "Syrians are quite pissed off at those who protested the Mohammad movie and not Assad's shelling of mosques.” Another activist, known as @SyrianSunnyBoy, offered a tongue-in-cheek suggestion: "Syrian filmmakers should also make [a] film 'insulting' Prophet Mohammed if that would mobilize ppl [sic] in Egypt against [the] embassy of Syria in Cairo."
SYRIA IDLIB SARAQEB KILLINGS (AMATEUR VIDEO)
The Deeper Questions Behind the Ambassador’s Murder … and the CIA Boss’ Sudden Resignation While the GOP is attacking (and Dems defending) the Obama administration in connection with the murder of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, there is a deeper story. Sure, it is stunning that the State Department never requested backup or that people such as Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer allege that President Obama personally watched in real time the attacks as they occurred via video feeds from drones flying over the Benghazi consulate. But these claims only can be assessed – and the whole confusing mess only makes sense – if the deeper underlying story is first exposed.
Many Syrian Terrorists Come from Libya The U.S. supported opposition which overthrew Libya’s Gadaffi was largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists. According to a 2007 report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s center, the Libyan city of Benghazi was one of Al Qaeda’s main headquarters – and bases for sending Al Qaeda fighters into Iraq – prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi:
Al Qaeda is now largely in control of Libya. Indeed, Al Qaeda flags were flown over the Benghazi courthouse once Gaddafi was toppled.
(Incidentally, Gaddafi was on the verge of invading Benghazi in 2011, 4 years after the West Point report cited Benghazi as a hotbed of Al Qaeda terrorists. Gaddafi claimed – rightly it turns out – that Benghazi was an Al Qaeda stronghold and a main source of the Libyan rebellion. But NATO planes stopped him, and protected Benghazi.)
CNN, the Telegraph, the Washington Times, and many other mainstream sources confirm that Al Qaeda terrorists from Libya have since flooded into Syria to fight the Assad regime.
Mainstream sources also confirm that the Syrian opposition is largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists. See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.
The U.S. has been arming the Syrian opposition since 2006. The post-Gaddafi Libyan government is also itself a top funder and arms supplier of the Syrian opposition.
The Real Story At Benghazi
This brings us to the murder of ambassador Stevens and the sudden resignation of CIA boss David Petraeus. The Wall Street Journal, Telegraph and other sources confirm that the US consulate in Benghazi was mainly being used for a secret CIA operation. They say that the State Department presence in Benghazi “provided diplomatic cover” for the previously hidden CIA mission.
Reuters notes that the CIA mission involved finding and repurchasing heavy weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals. Business Insider reports that Stevens may have been linked with Syrian terrorists...
In other words, ambassador Stevens may have been a key player in deploying Libyan terrorists and arms to fight the Syrian government.
Other sources also claim that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was mainly being used as a CIA operation to ship fighters and arms to Syria....
Why Did CIA Chief David Petraeus Suddenly Resign?
CIA boss David Petraeus suddenly resigned, admitting to an affair. This could be the real explanation, given that affairs of high-level intelligence chiefs could compromise national security. But the timing of Petraeus’ resignation becomes more interesting once one learns that that he was scheduled to testify under oath next week before power House and Senate committees regarding the Benghazi consulate. Many speculate that it wasn’t an affair – but the desire to avoid testifying on Benghazi – which was the real reason for Petraeus’ sudden resignation.
The Big Picture
Whatever the scope of the CIA’s operation in Benghazi – and whatever the real reason for the resignation of the CIA chief – the key is our historical and ongoing foreign policy. For decades, the U.S. has backed terrorists for geopolitical ends. The U.S. government has been consistently planning regime change in Syria and Libya for 20 years, and dreamed of regime change – using false flag terror – for 50 years.
Obama has simply re-packaged Bush and the Neocons’ “war on terror” as a series of humanitarian wars. And the U.S. and its allies will do anything to topple Iran … and is systematically attempting to pull the legs out from Iran’s allies as a way to isolate and weaken that country. Americans should ask ourselves if that’s what we want …