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By Gail Malone

I have been stunned by the depths of depravity the corporate media is willing to stoop to realise their wet dream of ousting Assad.  No amount of savagery is too over the top to be blamed on the Syrian Army, yet if you are to believe the likes of ABC, BBC, CNN et al, there are barely any terrorists in Syria, the majority of those fighting are freedom loving rebels.  The crimes laid at the feet of the Syrian Arab Army are so outrageous one would think the jig would be up.  One crime is that the SAA burned children alive, sheer projection as that atrocity happened in Adra when the town was over run by terrorists.  The foreign mercenaries killed children in baker’s ovens, as baking bread, subsidised by the government, was too heinous a crime to be ignored by these freedom loving rebels.  The SAA have been accused of deliberately killing civilians, however, people flooding out of Eastern Aleppo said terrorists shot at families trying to escape to government held areas.  We are told Syrian soldiers are raping with gay abandon, yet we know the terrorists in Syria use rape as a weapon, the rape of daughters was spoken of by newly liberated people of Aleppo.  Raping soldiers was also part of the false narrative spread by Amnesty International in Libya.  It seems increasingly, on the ground experiences don’t coincide with the reports the Australian public are receiving from both our government and our media, particular State funded the ABC.

So many media outlets are espousing a narrative at odds with my own experiences and those who independently travel to Syria, bearing witness to the suffering of the Syrian people.  It is evident the story Australians’ are being spoon fed doesn’t pass the sniff test.  I know my experiences inside Syria, I also know there are many others with higher profiles whose accounts run parallel with mine.  Since the liberation of Aleppo our experiences and our understanding of the crisis is being corroborated by the people of East Aleppo, finally freed from their barbaric, terrorist overloads of the last 5 years.  In the last few years several high profile US politicians have visited Syria, they too have a view simpatico with mine and other activists, independent journalist, academics and men of the cloth.  I think it is now fair to say my views are being continually corroborated as more people, unencumbered by a main stream media outlets’ pay cheque, visit Syria.  However, the reports from on the ground are ridiculed by the ABC in Australia.  In fact far too much time is devoted to promoting the ‘rebels’, read takfiris, even if they are what the ABC purports.  I’m not a big fan of fair and balanced, I want the truth, but we get neither from our ‘Aunty’.

Reportage coming out of the major outlets is in lockstep with their tales of the Syrian Arab Army and their atrocities making them sound to the right of Ghengis Khan.  An entire defensive army slaughtering the people they’re supposed to be defending, no need to check sources when you are being told what you want to hear, truth through investigation is non existent.  It makes no sense.  One would think they had overplayed their hand with a little girl of 7 tweeting her desire for WWIII, activists sending their final messages via Skype en masse from the rubble, somehow they all managed to live another day to continue cheerleading the very same fundamentalists who, we are told, Australia is fighting.  Apparently, an illegal invasion of sovereign Syria, in the process killing Syrian soldiers who are actually fighting ISIS, is going to help to that end.  We are being drip fed the same ol, same ol from media outlets who unabashedly use terrorists, aka rebels, as their sources.  It’s the colonialist manifesto, our State run media treating the tripe that spews from their friendly terrorists as gospel.  There is never any explanation as to why an entire army has willingly turned on their people, or what is their strategy?  What influences are at play here and what is their end game?  Our media and politicians are enabling takfiri ideology to infect the minds of our young and disenfranchised by their demonisation of both the Syrian President and the Syrian army.  Why wouldn’t they believe they are going to help Syrians with propaganda at the level we are seeing come out of the corporate media, while our political class prop up the narrative.  The gatekeeping of Syria truth comes not only from the Murdoch style of sledgehammer press but also from sacred cows such as Chomsky and ‘new media’ forged through whistleblowing; ‘The Intercept’.

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According to ‘The Australian’ in 2013, “In February, Norwegian terrorism expert Thomas Hegghammer released a paper showing that 1 in 9 Westerners who fight in foreign jihadist insurgencies end up becoming involved in terrorist plots back home.  With evidence that more than 100 Australian jihadists in Syria are billeted with Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda-linked militia, it isn’t surprising that Canberra is becoming alarmed.”  If we take his figures at face value that’s 10 jihadis, from Jabhat al-Nusra alone, who will be heading home with dreams of committing violence.  According to Syrian authorities there are 300 odd Australian fighters in Syria, comforting thought now, isn’t it?  Couple this with our ABC’s constant use of terrorist sources, lauding those on jihad in Syria and you have a home grown recipe for disaster.  It’s interesting to note that the ABC’s go to source is the White Helmets, who have close ties to Jabhat al-Nusra.  To my mind you can’t ‘fix’ the problem of terrorism and play footsie with those sponsoring it without getting burned, known in CIA circles as blow-back.  While the Turnbull government continues down the bi partisan road of draconian laws, chipping away at our democracy, keeping us alarmed at their lack of ‘alertness’.  Our terrorism laws do more harm to our democracy than any terrorist could have hoped for.  Our government is playing fast and loose with our safety and the remnants of our socialist democracy and we grumble, wave some banners and then continue to allow this.  In essence we no longer have a functioning democracy, we have a ‘fearocracy’ and it’s working a charm.

There is something seriously wrong with our foreign policy when Australia happily involves itself in illegal wars that are not in our ‘interests’.  Australia has absolutely no right to be bombing Syrian soldiers in their own land.  There is nowhere, in International Law, that makes waging wars of aggression OK.  There is no addendum to the Geneva Convention, Commentary of 1987 Non-Intervention, that gives the US/NATO and their allies a ‘get out of gaol free’ card, regardless of their crimes of aggression, but that’s the way it is.  Australia is not only willing to put our troops in harm’s way for a lie, but to render them war criminals in the process by their involvement in a war of aggression, the UN stands mute on the issue, as they do.  It does not matter how our political class couch our aggression, it is illegal and there should be consequences, sadly for victims across the world, there is not.  Not only is it illegal, what we are expected to believe is nonsensical.  Every chance the US has of advancing ISIS within Syria it has grabbed with both hands and we, to our shame, have openly claimed our part.  In 2016, allied forces bombed Deir Ezzor, killing Syrian soldiers defending their country, advancing ISIS in their wake.  If we step back from the aggression and illegality of the West’s invasion of Syria, it is also in direct conflict with our said goal of destroying ISIS.  From the US’s very first strike on Syria it has been destroying Syrian infrastructure, killing Syrian civilians and doing precious little in stemming ISIS’s genocidal destruction within the country.  In fact civilian deaths under Trump have soared.  We also know that the coalition, we are part of, is using banned weapons within the besieged country.  You have got to love western values; ‘do as I say, not as I do’, there should be a shrine to it at our war memorials.

It is worth reacquainting ourselves with the Geneva Convention, give it a dust off and a read.  The text of this important Convention is ignored on a regularity that is breathtaking.  It needs revisiting as most would not be unaware how it is designed to protect sovereign states from wars of aggression.  The very type visited upon Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.  Yet here we are in 2017 continuing our wars of aggression and extending them into Syria, without a word of condemnation from the UN, in fact they seem quite bound by the absurdity of ignoring this most important fact.  Like the US and Australia, they are happy to allow despots within their halls, in the most bizarre positions.  I’m speaking of course of Saudi Arabia, a tribal monarchy, given their power by the UK, continued by the US.  Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in modern history.  It is a state run with a Wahabbi ideology, put into practice with mass public lashings, amputations and beheadings.  Although they have been asked nicely to cease beheading children, regardless of their continued barbarity the UN hasn’t deem them ineligible for humanitarian positions.  With such a record, Saudi entered the human rights business within the UN defending, internationally, rights that would never be afforded to the Saudi citizenry.  This kingdom sees fit to stop women driving, yet Australia hung our flags on the Harbour Bridge at half mast when King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud died.

This may seem bizarre, an anomaly, but unfortunately the raising of KSA to a position of defenders of women’s rights demands we take note of the inconsistencies of western hegemony as filtered through the UN.  The Saudi’s greatest export is Wahabbi Mosques, spreading their special brand of Islam wherever they’re to be found; the ideology of our sworn nemesis ISIS.  Apart from Australia doing arms deals with Saudi, their money is also infiltrating Australian Institutions.  There is documentary evidence that Saudi is directly involved in funding extremists from Afghanistan and Pakistan, yet Australia seems unperturbed by this.  Nor do we care that another great friend, Israel is also playing nice with ISIS while also bombing Syria whenever it takes their fancy.  Surely the blind eye turned to these western allies’ shenanigans with jihadists begs the question; what are we doing in Syria apart from propping up western hegemony at any cost, and destroying a small independent country?  It seems Australia isn’t satisfied by inflicting outrageous sanctions on Syria, making life even more difficult for the Syrian people, we have the audacity to pretend to give a damn about them, if not their choice of President.  How can Australian’s who see the machinations at play not feel a sense of shame for our government and Armed Forces’ actions, one’s own country’s war crimes are a bitter pill to swallow.

Over the months since Australia’s illegal adventures in Syria more propaganda from the ‘rebel’s’ is being debunked in spectacular fashion.  The poster boy for Assad’s cruelty, dubbed ‘Dusty Boy’ by Patrick Henningsen, little Omran Daqneesh’s father came out of hiding to declare his support for Dr. Bashar al Assad and debunk one of the greatest stories of child exploitation in a war chock full of child exploitation.  Regardless of Seymour Hearsh bringing some sanity to the wild chemical weapons false flag allegations in Ghouta in 2013 this attack was used as evidence of the Khan Sheikhun attack.  This culminated in the US’s attack on Shayrat Airbase, killing nine civilians, including four children and seven members of the military.  In this exercise of feigned indignance at the death of ‘beautiful babies’, Trump decided to kill some children himself.  He did this without a shred of evidence, just the word of reactionary al Nusra propagandists, the White Helmets.  Evidence had not been sourced at this point, that was to come after Syrian lives had been taken on a lie.  Although Shayrat Airbase was considered to be the source of the chemicals it wasn’t deemed important when it came to fact finding, no inspectors to date have ventured there or to Khan Sheikhoun for that matter.  It’s worth noting that Shayrat Airbase is used directly in the fight against ISIS.

The farcical ‘investigation’ into the chemical attack has been questioned widely and rightly so.  Simple issues that wouldn’t pass muster in a common criminal investigation have enabled another war crime, in a very long list of war crimes, against the Syrian people.  From collection methods, chain of evidence issues, involvement of al Nusra to the verification of the bona fides of ‘expert’ witnesses, and so a conga line of the usual suspects are paraded before our eyes on our own State run television, by Australian journalists who aren’t on the ground and have shown a definite bias toward jihadist extremists to nary a tut, tut.  This, even though notable Australian journalist John Pilger has joined the chorus of independent investigative journalists, activists, foreign dignitaries and clergy who travel Syria regularly and can find no evidence that the White Helmets are an humanitarian organisation.  On my last trip to Syria, I too saw undeniable evidence of the White Helmets close affiliation with al Nusra and other jihadist factions and their collusion with western NGOs.  I visited a hospital in Eastern Aleppo that our ABC, through the White Helmets and MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors’ Without Borders), had reported were not only destroyed but deliberately so.  Apparently not, unless my eyes deceived me.

Australia is arrogantly and unapologetically involved in a war of aggression against the sovereign state the Syrian Arab Republic, in direct contravention of international law.  Essentially to hold fast to an alliance now in the hands of an arguably unstable President in an increasingly unstable world, to believe otherwise would be utter Pollyannaish.  I cannot see how this further foray into international, serial criminality is in Australia’s interest or ever was, regardless of the POTUS of the day.  I would have hoped Australia could have hailed in the 21st century by envisioning something more than endless war, but we had no sooner dipped our toe in this bright new century than we tainted it with our obsession with maintaining an imperial master.  What a sad brutal nation we are, we no longer even bother to pretend to keep our imagined virtues of a ‘fair go’ and ‘egalitarianism’ … lest we forget?

 

 

 

 

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In April, as part of our fact finding mission, we travelled to Aleppo.  We visited a hospital there which MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctor’s Without Borders) has accused Assad and Russia of deliberately bombing.  The White Helmets reported all hospitals in Eastern Aleppo had been destroyed, clearly this is not the case.  MSF also mentioned that they had not given either Syria or Russia the co-ordinates of ‘their’ hospitals.  As you will see from the photographs the hospital has not been bombed, although mortar and small weapons fire is obvious.  Factors to note; no one from MSF are actually on the ground to verify what they are being told.  There was no aerial bombardment at the time of the report and the liberation.  Aleppo was predominately a ground offensive … suburb to suburb, block to block, street to street and house to house and room to room.

 

This building, the Aleppo Eye Hospital (photo 1 above), was turned from a modern hospital, servicing the community for free, into a place of death and despair.  All under the auspices of MSF.  Under international law however, the hospital was no longer eligible for protected status, as it was being used for torture and servicing the local takfiri groups.  Therefore forfeiting the protection a hospital is supposed to ensure.

 

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This MSF ‘hospital’ had a women’s section, a men’s section, a Sharia school for the kiddies and a literal dungeon consisting of hundreds of solitary confinement cells and a Sharia Court.  A one stop, Wahhabi terror shop.  We saw plenty of evidence of everyone’s favourite Oscar winners.  The White Helmets had left behind evidence in their rush to stay with their murdering mates on their way to Idlib, following the money as it were.  Hollywood, particularly George Clooney, must be so proud.  Stick a ‘white hat’ on anyone and in the eyes of a gullible audience they must be the heroes … brainwashing 101.

 

There where all manner of medical supplies, supplies that never made their way to the majority of the civilians, held to ransom by groups operating out of a MSF claimed hospital.  I hope people are fully grasping what this means.  There where empty glass vials scattered on the ground, and evidence of a Norwegian NGO’s supplies being stored at this base, also a Turkish NGO’s blanket and Syrian American Medical Society stickers, among others on the walls .  If, as reported in the west, Assad and Russia were besieging Aleppo and not allowing aid in, how did the takfiris get their hands on these vital supplies?

 

We saw graffiti on the walls of cells the hapless victims were held in this place of horrors.  One read; ‘God help my children’.  The once fully functioning hospital was used by the takfiris against the Syrian government and MSF went along for the ride.  With a number of hard line terrorist supporter journalists, like Australia’s Sophie McNeill and CNN’s Clarissa Ward preferring not to delve too deeply into their sources, giving the terrorists a life of their own as good Samaritans.  Still, I guess that’s journalism these days.  We all know the famous Malcolm X quote about believing the guilty.

 

There is now enough evidence to link the White Helmets with terrorism.  Hypothetically, if not enough to arrest them, there’s plenty of evidence to warrant an investigation and one would think enough to raise an eyebrow in Hollywood, but no.  Tinsel Town seems to be in for the long haul, toughing it out. How they will recover from this is anyone’s guess.  Like Iraq, the truth of Syria will eventually see the light of day.  Will any of these journalists, actors and NGOs complicit in the great lie of the Syrian Crisis face justice?  Time will tell but justice, like international law, seems a quaint idea from the past.

Updated 6th June, 2017

Note: link below contains many of the logos of ‘NGOs’ we saw in the hospital.  On page 19 there is a photo of the above hospital before Aleppo was liberated.  This brings all these groups under suspicion of supporting jihadist in Syria. https://savinglivesunderground.thesyriacampaign.org

Updated 7th August, 2017

Konflikten i Syria har skapt den største flyktningkrisen siden andre verdenskrig. [?] http://legerutengrenser.no/Vaart-Arbeid/Om-oss/Kontakt-oss

We visited Ma’aloula on the anniversary of her liberation at Easter in 2014.  I was in Damascus at the time of the libration and could see, from the Dama Rose Hotel, the smoke from the battle in the distance.  At the time we were unaware of the significance of those plumes of smoke.

We can hear in the following video, from the earliest, the FSA had nothing to do with freedom for the people of Ma’aloula.  They always were sectarian, opportunistic criminals.

Words cannot describe the wholesale destruction of the old area of Homs.  In 2014, I visited Homs within two days of a double car bomb attack, an attack directed at women and children at the market.  Survivors told us the reason for their targeting by takfiris, it was simply that they supported their President.  Young men chanted ‘bombs or no bombs, Assad or no one.’

Now residents can sleep without the fear of being tormented by these criminals, since the evacuation of them under the reconciliation plans of the government.  One can be overwhelmed by the destruction, when looking at the big picture, and forget the lives that once lived peacefully in these areas.  I hope I can show you a little of the lives, never forgot the lives.

We witnessed the incredibly media savvy terrorists being evacuated from Homs to Idlib.  They are allowed to take one weapon and their families, I saw chickens too.  Their worldly goods stowed on buses.  This enables the people they have terrorised for years respite from years of horror, and a chance to rebuild their lives.

18056941_1384618944929070_4372700014448321362_nThey were quite aware of the presence of western journalists, smiling, throwing victory signs, most went about their business.  This series of photos shows their cynicism.

18010268_1384619441595687_6007391276020786000_nCan you bring me a baby about yay big?  This may not have been exactly what he said, but this is what happened.  Call it poetic licence at the absurdity of it all.

17951815_1384619104929054_3675870183862533078_nYeah, that one will do.

17951954_1384619284929036_5958886981091274976_nWhere are those photographers?

18032996_1384619234929041_4812629916435047638_nHere we go, the money shot eyeballing the lens.  The message; moderate rebels are just like any other dad, they love their kids too … but shhh about the one who sent his very small daughters into Damascus as suicide bombers.  What proud parents.