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Friday, August 17

Al Qaeda in Syria and the mass marketing of civilian Syrian massacres for Western TV

But observations made by German journalist Daniel Etter during a recent visit to rebel-controlled towns near the embattled city of Aleppo suggest that there is no mere "presence" of jihadists among the [Syrian] rebels: religiously-inspired mujahideen is what the rebels are. The real question is whether there is a presence of anything else.
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Writing in Bild, longtime German war correspondent Jurgen Todenhofer accused the [Syrian] rebels of "deliberately killing civilians and then presenting them as victims of the government". He described this "massacre-marketing strategy" as being "among the most disgusting things that I have ever experienced in an armed conflict".
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The above quotes are from two 'must-read' reports by journalist John Rosenthal (Transatlantic Intelligencer) on al Qaeda's presence in Syria. (See below.) Regarding the term "massacre-marketing strategy" that Jurgen Todenhofer coined -- yes; the Syrian rebellion has been a carefully marketed stage show. Just as the phony revolution in Cairo was marketed to Western audiences through saturation cable TV coverage (notably CNN and al Jazeera English), the revolution in Syria has been quite literally marketed to the same audiences. Unlike the Cairo caper, however, the Syrian one marketed massacres.

How was this done? Recently a young blogger at TIME, clearly unaware of the appalling implications, proudly told a CNN anchor that for many months tech-savvy Westerners had been getting into Syria to show Syrians protesting the Assad regime how to smuggle video footage of the regime's brutality past its censors and get the footage to the Western media. Thus, the skyrocketing number of smuggled videos aired on American TV -- and the steadily increasing atrocities shown in the videos.

This doesn't mean that every smuggled video that al Jazeera, CNN or FNC and other TV outlets aired for American audiences was staged. It does mean that for players whose only aim from the start was to overthrow Assad, it was dangling too much temptation to give them a pipeline to a mass audience in the West for footage of atrocities against Syrian civilians. All they had to do, once the pipeline was set up, was keep cranking out videos of atrocities and eventually, as happened in Libya, NATO would topple Assad for them on humanitarian grounds.

As to how American television news producers can sleep at night, now that events are forcing them to realize they've been willing patsies in a gruesome made-for-TV movie -- I don't know. As to how long democracy can endure if hi-tech advances in communications keep increasing the ways that mass media can be manipulated -- again, I don't know.

Here are excerpts from the two reports:

July 24, 2012
German intelligence: al-Qaeda all over Syria
By John Rosenthal
Asia Times Online

German intelligence estimates that "around 90" terror attacks that "can be attributed to organizations that are close to al-Qaeda or jihadist groups" were carried out in Syria between the end of December and the beginning of July, as reported by the German daily Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). This was revealed by the German government in a response to a parliamentary question.

In response to the same question, the German government admitted that it had received several reports from the German foreign intelligence service, the BND, on the May 25 massacre in the Syrian town of Houla. But it noted that the content of these reports was to remain classified "by reason of national interest", Like many other Western governments, Germany expelled Syria's ambassador in the immediate aftermath of the massacre, holding the Syrian government responsible for the violence.

Meanwhile, at least three major German newspapers - Die Welt, the FAZ, and the mass-market tabloid Bild - have published reports attributing responsibility for the massacre to anti-government rebel forces or treating this as the most probable scenario.

Writing in Bild, longtime German war correspondent Jurgen Todenhofer accused the rebels of "deliberately killing civilians and then presenting them as victims of the government". He described this "massacre-marketing strategy" as being "among the most disgusting things that I have ever experienced in an armed conflict".
[...]
August 14, 2012
Al-Qaeda flags fly over rebel-held SyriaBy John Rosenthal
Asia Times Online

There has recently been a small stir in the American media, as media organizations from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal to the Associated Press have finally gotten around to acknowledging a "presence" of al-Qaeda and like-minded jihadist groups among the Syrian rebel forces seeking to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

It is difficult to see what the cause of the excitement is. After all, such a presence has been blindingly obvious for many months: whether as a result of the dozens of suicide attacks that have plagued Syria or the numerous videos that have emerged showing rebel forces or supporters proudly displaying the distinctive black flag of al-Qaeda.

But observations made by German journalist Daniel Etter during a recent visit to rebel-controlled towns near the embattled city of Aleppo suggest that there is no mere "presence" of jihadists among the rebels: religiously-inspired mujahideen is what the rebels are. The real question is whether there is a presence of anything else. Etter's report, which appeared in the leading German daily Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, also provides evidence that rebel authorities are subjecting civilians to arbitrary detention and torture and summarily executing captured members of the regular Syrian armed forces.
[...]
In the neighboring town of Azaz, Etter encountered a less didactic form of Islamism: namely, in the person of rebel commander Abu Anas. Etter describes meeting Abu Anas in his office: a Koran and a "silver sword" were lying on his desk and a black flag hung over it. An Arabic inscription on the flag proclaimed, 'There is no God but God. Mohammed is his Prophet" "It is the flag that al-Qaeda also used," Etter remarks.

Seemingly taking his cue from Western supporters - or perhaps indeed advisors - Abu Anas emphasized that the black flag was also used before al-Qaeda. But if it is the distinctive black flag with the circular white "seal of Mohammed" in the middle, there appears to be no evidence that this is the case.

This is the flag made famous by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al-Qaeda in Iraq: notably, as a result of the group's notoriously harrowing videos documenting the executions of captured Iraqi security personnel and American and other hostages. Indeed, even Zarqawi's group went through various versions of its flag before settling on the version that has since become the standard banner of al-Qaeda affiliates around the world.

In any case, it is not only the choice of flag that appears to have been inspired by al-Qaeda in Iraq. The rebel leader tells Etter that his forces captured Syrian government troops in the battle for Azaz. Asked what became of the government soldiers, Abu Anas responds, "We could not take care of them. Most of them are dead."

"Earlier," Etter explains, "when Abu Anas was not yet in the room, a smiling subordinate of his showed with gestures how they bound prisoners and shot them."

Comments:
And who's "manipulating" the State Dept?

They're about as manipulated as the Bride on a Wedding Night.

Really. DoS motto should be "Animata Anima Nero".

Animated by the soul of Nero.
 
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