U.S.-NATO arms death squads in Syria
Eyewitnesses blame anti-gov’t fighters for Houla massacre
Published Jun 8, 2012 9:07 PM
This photo was published by the BBC. Syrian
anti-government forces said it showed the
bodies from the Houla massacre, with a child
leaping over them. It was soon discovered
it was a photo from Iraq in 2003, being used
for anti-government propaganda against Syria.
June 5 — A Russian news team was told by Syrian eyewitnesses that the May 25 massacre of civilians in Houla, universally blamed on the Assad government, was in fact committed by local criminals, mercenaries and other forces connected to the imperialist-armed “Free Syrian Army.”
All accusations against the Syrian government have made top headlines in the corporate media worldwide and continue to do so as of today. The Russian news team’s discovery of the real killers, however, remains unreported, except in the alternative and progressive media. Also, the imperialist-controlled media have dismissed Syrian President Bachar al-Assad’s categorical denial that the government carried out the massacre.
This one-sided presentation of anti-Syrian propaganda points to a concerted effort to invent a pretext for increased U.S.-NATO intervention against Syria.
Marat Musin, reporting for ANNA News, interviewed a dozen witnesses right after the massacre. His report concluded, “The attack was carried out by a unit of armed fighters from Rastan, in which more than 700 gunmen were involved. They brought the city under their control and began with a cleansing action against loyalist [pro-Assad] families, including elderly people, women and also children. The dead were presented to … the U.N. and the ‘international community’ as victims of the Syrian army.” Residents knew many of the killers by name and identified them as local criminal elements now working for the so-called Free Syrian Army. (SyriaNews, May 31)
A simple thing like the truth did not stop U.S. and other NATO regimes and their corporate media from raising a frenzy blaming the Syrian government for the deaths of 108 Syrian civilians including 49 children. Nor did it stop the governments of the U.S., the Netherlands, Australia, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Canada from expelling Syrian diplomats in a coordinated move of contrived “international outrage.”
Without any investigation, the United Nations Security Council reacted to the massacre by unanimously condemning Syria for allegedly using tanks and artillery after agreeing to a ceasefire. The U.N. has not rebuked the FSA, which has flat-out refused to consider a ceasefire with the Assad government.
Imperialism seeks pretext
The U.S.-led imperialist powers seek a pretext to openly carry out regime change in Syria as they did in Libya. While pointing the finger at Assad for the deaths and hardships suffered in Syria, Washington is aiding, abetting and arming the reactionary militias destabilizing the country and murdering civilians.
This so-called Free Syrian Army is a counterinsurgency, terror and death squad operation set up by imperialism to topple the Assad government in order to bring Syria, and the entire region, back into the imperialist orbit. The FSA is in the opposite political camp from any progressive Syrians who may have taken to the streets to demand needed political and economic reforms, and must not be confused with them.
Killing whole families at Houla shows that the FSA has no interest in protecting or helping the Syrian people, but only seeks to terrorize and subdue it. A seizure of power by these forces would cause grave suffering throughout Syria and the region, and imperialism would again be calling all the shots.
What happened in Houla?
The following is excerpted from a translation of the transcript of a Russian-language video made by Marat Musin of ANNA News in Houla a few days after the massacre, which appeared in Russia News on May 31. Houla is a collection of 15 mostly Sunni Muslim villages near the Syrian city of Homs and close to the Lebanese border. Musin interviewed a dozen residents of the villages of Al Houla and Taldou.
An eyewitness from Taldou reports, “Two days earlier the terrorists’ assistants told us that the Zero Hour is coming soon. We heard this from local terrorists, always talking about how they should create a fuss. I didn’t expect it would be this way.
“Until this event, [the armed terrorists] used to attack army checkpoints every Friday after prayers. They attack for several hours; then things go back to normal. Some armed men carried cameras and taped everything; others carried [walkie talkies], and we heard their conversations from inside our houses.
“On May 25, at 2 p.m. right after Friday prayers, an army checkpoint [was attacked] and the army repelled this attack. … When the armed men attacked the checkpoint, 25 of them were killed. …
“When the U.N. Observers came, the armed men gathered the bodies in front of the observers and claimed that they’re civilians killed by the Syrian Arab Army. I heard that personally from them when they said it to the observers and they claimed that they found the bodies inside the houses.
“At around 3:30 p.m., they secured the elevated checkpoint. … Shortly afterward, they secured the army checkpoint and the police station in the city.
“[Just next to] this police station are the families’ houses. The residential buildings against this police station are where all those children and families were killed. They killed all the children of Al-Sayed family; there were three families and 20 children. They also killed people from Abdulrazak family, 10 persons; they killed them because they support the authorities. Of Al-Sayed family they killed the family of the brother of Abdullah Al-Mashlab, the third person in the Syrian parliament. He was elected on May 24; the next day they killed his wife and three kids and his brother and his family as well.
“At 7 p.m., Al-Farouq Brigade, led by Abdulrazak Tlass, of the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’ arrived. He had more than 250 armed men with him from the city of Rastan; he also had two other groups with him, one from Al-Qabo village, led by Yehya Al-Yusef, and another from Falla village.
“At the time of the attack, the leaders always instructed the armed men to intensify the fire during their calls to Al-Jazeera. At night, the shooting stopped.
“On the second day we heard them talking to each other on walkie talkies that some of the armed men should wear the Syrian Arab Army’s uniform before the observers arrive so that they claim they’ve defected from the army and joined the armed men, and the others should dress like civilians and come with us to the mosque, where the bodies and the observers are.
“I only saw the observers from afar; they were surrounded by armed men who put on the Syrian Arab Army’s uniforms. A lot of people were there and saw all of that; they were from chosen families and they were calling, ‘We want to bring the regime down,’ and everybody knows they’re the armed men’s relatives. …
“When the observers arrived, the armed men had occupied the empty houses, and the armed men who accompanied the observers started showing the observers into the houses as if the owners were inside and they provided testimonies. …
“The majority of people [here] share the same view [of these events], but they’re scared to death. Earlier, many of them used to participate in pro-regime rallies and they used to write slogans against Daraa, the FSA and the armed men. However, the armed men took revenge against all those who wrote by killing them. …
“Before the events started, those armed men used to be smugglers … [and] thieves. … They kidnapped people of other sects. … At the beginning of the crisis, they attacked the hospital and stole blood bags and used them at the demonstrations. They poured blood on the demonstrators to show that they were dead or injured when fabricating videos for Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.”
Death squads organized
out of U.S. embassy
Both the U.N. Commission of Inquiry (Feb. 21) and Human Rights Watch (March 20) have documented the existence of death squads and counterinsurgency teams targeting the Assad government and its supporters. Where did these terror groups come from? There is every indication that they were launched out of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus.
Robert Stephen Ford was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Syria and served from January to October 2011. Ford is a protégé of John Negroponte, who organized death squads in the 1970s in El Salvador and later in Iraq when he was ambassador in 2004-2005. These terror squads have killed tens of thousands. Ford was right under Negroponte at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
According to Michael Chossudovsky, “Ambassador Robert S. Ford played a central role in laying the groundwork within Syria as well as establishing contacts with opposition groups.” (Global Research, May 28) Two months after he arrived in Damascus, the armed insurgency began.
No longer in Damascus, Ford continues his work to destabilize Syria as a member of the “Syria Policy Committee” chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The State Department, in collaboration with several U.S. intelligence agencies and the Pentagon, is overseeing U.S. support to the Free Syrian Army, according to Chossudovsky.
U.S. arms terrorists,
demands Syrian army hold fire
The imperialists and their press loudly accuse the besieged Assad of violating the U.N.-brokered ceasefire. At the same time, U.S. and its NATO allies quietly ship large quantities of weapons to the FSA, which has repeatedly refused a ceasefire with the Assad government.
According to a May 15 report in the Washington Post, “Syrian rebels battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, an effort paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated in part by the United States, according to opposition activists and U.S. and foreign officials.”
The report continued, “ ‘We are increasing our nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition, and we continue to coordinate our efforts with friends and allies in the region and beyond in order to have the biggest impact on what we are collectively doing,’ said a senior State Department official, one of several U.S. and foreign government officials who discussed the evolving effort on the condition of anonymity.”
A May 22 posting on the Israeli online publication DEBKAFILE reveals U.S. assistance to be extremely lethal. “The Syrian rebels have received their first ‘third generation’ anti-tank weapons, 9K115-2 Metis-M and Kornet E. They are supplied by Saudi and Qatari intelligence agencies following a secret message from President Barack Obama advising them to up the military stake in the effort to oust Assad.”
In his article in Global Research published online May 9, Tony Cartalucci cites the Brookings Institution report, “Assessing Options for Regime Change. Mideast Memo # 21.” This ruling-class think tank calls for using the Kofi Annan peace plan and ceasefire to strengthen the armed opposition to Assad. It argues that the peace plan could give the imperialists a chance to establish and “protect” so-called “humanitarian” safe havens that would really be bases from which the reactionaries could operate.
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