Lies About Syria

From: “Rick Rozoff”
Sent: Friday, April 29, 2011 4:22 PM
Subject: Russian Interview On Western Media Lies About Syria

RT April 29, 2011: Western media lie about Syria – eyewitness reports
Nadezhda Kevorkova

-It was quite a shock to see Al-Jazeera presenting rallies in support of the
president as if they were protests against him. It was just as surprising to
see the Israeli websites post photos and videos of supporters’ rallies with
comments saying those were opponents of the regime. There you have people
holding portraits of Bashar al-Assad and flags, and we’re told that these
people are against him.
-Reuters broadcast their material around the world, including Russia. One
source lies, and then this lie is like a snowball rolling downhill creating
a fake reality, and picking up rumor and speculation.
-People in Syria watch the footage. What do they see? A picture allegedly
from Yemen. A picture allegedly from Egypt. A picture allegedly from Syria.
But the pictures all show people dressed in the same fashion. People in
Syria can tell their fellow countrymen from their neighbors – both by their
faces and their clothes.
-I repeat, policemen are unarmed. The Syrian police are not too good with
guns, because nothing like this has happened here for a long time. But the
killed rookies are reported as either victims among the protestors, or as
policemen who refused to shoot at their fellow countrymen, depending on the
editors’ preference. Goebbels’ words seem to be true: the bigger the lie,
the more easily they believe it.
-Rumor has it that trained commandos came across the border from Iraq.
People in Syria are well-aware that after the US occupied Iraq, they formed
special squads there. They were killing people, stirring up conflicts
between the Shiite and Sunni communities, and between Muslims and
Christians; they were blowing up streets, markets, mosques and
churches….Such militants were detained in Deraa and Latakia. They had
US-made weapons.

While media reports paint a picture of the situation in Syria as a mass
public uprising brutally suppressed by the dictatorial government, the
events are viewed in a totally different way by those living there.

RT caught up with Ankhar Kochneva, director of a Moscow-based tourist firm
specializing in the Middle East. She often travels to Syria, and stays in
touch with hundreds of people in the region. She shared what her contacts
say about the unfolding unrest and who they blame for the spreading
violence.

RT: What’s happening in Syria? What have you seen? And that are the Syrians
saying?

Ankhar Kochneva: Not even once did I come across anyone who would in any way
support these riots; and mind you, in the line of my job, I deal with all
sorts of people. There are many vehicles with the president’s portraits
driving the streets throughout the country – ranging from old, barely moving
crankers to brand new Porsches and Hummers. You can’t force people into
hanging up portraits. It means that people, irrespective of their status and
income, support the president rather than the rebellion. I saw quite a
number of young people walking or driving around with Syrian flags. How can
you force a young person hanging out with friends to wave flags? I think
it’s difficult too. If you understand the mentality of the Syrians you can
tell there is a sincere impulse rather than a forced obligation.

On March 29, I saw a rally in Hama to support the president – indeed, many
thousands of men and women, with their children, and entire families went
out. The streets were flooded with people. It was quite a shock to see
Al-Jazeera presenting rallies in support of the president as if they were
protests against him. It was just as surprising to see the Israeli websites
post photos and videos of supporters’ rallies with comments saying those
were opponents of the regime. There you have people holding portraits of
Bashar al-Assad and flags, and we’re told that these people are against him.

RT: The media reports mass anti-government rallies.

A.K.: There’s a powerful misinformation swell going on. On April 1, the
media reported a large anti-governmental rally in Damascus. I was in
Damascus on that day. This rally never happened – I didn’t see it, and
neither did the locals.

On April 16, Reuters news agency wrote that 50,000 opponents of the regime
took to the streets of Damascus, and that they had been dispersed with tear
gas and batons. Damascus’ residents realize that such a rally could not take
place in the city unnoticed. How many policemen would it take to disperse
it? And how come nobody saw it except Reuters? Five hundred people in the
streets of Damascus are a large crowd. Reuters broadcast their material
around the world, including Russia. One source lies, and then this lie is
like a snowball rolling downhill creating a fake reality, and picking up
rumor and speculation.

People in Syria watch the footage. What do they see? A picture allegedly
from Yemen. A picture allegedly from Egypt. A picture allegedly from Syria.
But the pictures all show people dressed in the same fashion. People in
Syria can tell their fellow countrymen from their neighbors – both by their
faces and their clothes.

There are videos on the internet showing how amateur footage of the
so-called riots is made. There’s a parked car and nothing’s going on around.
And there’s a man standing next to it throwing rocks. And people around are
taking pictures.

There are a lot of staged videos. A Lebanese can tell the difference between
footage taken in Lebanon and that taken in Damascus at a glance. And they
show footage from Tripoli, or footage taken several years ago in Iraq, and
say it is unrest in Syria.

There are many online forums for women in Arab countries. Women share
information following TV reports on ‘mass unrests’. Women write – what’s
happening outside your window? And they reply: we looked down from the
balcony, and didn’t see anything that the TV was talking about.

Presently, a lot of young unarmed policemen get killed. The media propaganda
immediately labels them as victims of the regime. I repeat, policemen are
unarmed. The Syrian police are not too good with guns, because nothing like
this has happened here for a long time. But the killed rookies are reported
as either victims among the protestors, or as policemen who refused to shoot
at their fellow countrymen, depending on the editors’ preference. Goebbels’
words seem to be true: the bigger the lie, the more easily they believe it.

RT: But why are policemen dying if there are no mass protests?

A.K.: Policemen die because they get shot by those who know that they are
unarmed.

RT: Who shoots policemen?

A.K.: They talk a lot about it in Syria. Rumor has it that trained commandos
came across the border from Iraq. People in Syria are well-aware that after
the US occupied Iraq, they formed special squads there. They were killing
people, stirring up conflicts between the Shiite and Sunni communities, and
between Muslims and Christians; they were blowing up streets, markets,
mosques and churches. Those terrorist attacks targeted civilians rather than
the occupying regime.

Not long ago, they caught three such commandos in the outskirts of Damascus,
when they were randomly shooting at people. They turned out to be Iraqis.

Syrian TV showed footage of somebody shooting at policemen and passers-by
from bushes and rooftops. They occasionally get caught, and they either turn
out to be Iraqis, or they admit that they were paid for it. Such militants
were detained in Deraa and Latakia. They had US-made weapons.

The Lebanese security service intercepted several cars carrying weapons as
they were coming into Lebanon. One such car was stopped coming from Iraq.
There were American weapons in those cars too. Also there are reports about
detained people who had large sums of money with them – with US dollars.
These people carried expensive satellite phones that cannot be tapped by the
Syrian security service.

In Syria, it is no longer a secret to anyone that the Americans have an
unhindered opportunity to recruit and train the commandos in Iraq, and then
send them wherever they want.

Hilary Clinton has already stated that if Syria cuts its relations with Iran
and withdraws its support for Hamas and Hezbollah, the demonstrations would
stop the next day. They don’t even bother to keep secret the hand instilling
riots in Syria.

There’s plenty of evidence of foreign interference.

Finally, people say protestors are brought in from afar for the rallies.
Those people speak and look differently from the locals. Nobody in the
neighborhood knows them. Who rents the buses and finances the delivery of
these people?  The question stands.

The former Syrian Vice-President Abdel Halim Khaddam had initiated the riots
in the coastal regions. He had plundered half of the country. He was
involved in corruption schemes and finally fled to the West. It was he who
tried to accuse Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of assassinating the former
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The Syrians firmly believe that Sayed
Hariri had personally given a villa to Abdel Halim Khaddam for spreading
this version of Rafik Hariri’s murder. But when that version fell apart and
was not confirmed, the villa was taken away. Today, those who shot at cars
in Banias are shouting: “We don’t want Bashar. We want Abdel Halim!”

There are peaceful and cultured opposition members in Banias who have been
against al-Assad’s regime for many years. But they are shocked by what’s
going on and do not support Khaddam at all. They say: “He’s a thief. He who
stole most calls to fight corruption and thievery.”

RT: What role are Syrian emigrants playing in the Syrian destabilization?

A.K.: It’s an open question. There was a leak claiming that Dan Feldman,
Hillary Clinton’s special representative for the Middle East, met
representatives of the Syrian opposition in Istanbul in mid-April and
suggested the tactics for assassinations of civil and military officials. In
less than three days, on April 19, several military officials had been
brutally killed in Syria. Not only were they attacked and shot dead, some
victims of the attacks, including three teenage children of a Syrian
general, who were in a car with him, were cut to pieces with sabres.

Murders committed with a high degree of brutality are aimed at intimidating
the population. The news that children had been cut to pieces served that
purpose quite well.

RT: Media reports used to say that the riots started after the arrest in the
city of Deraa, in southern Syria, of several children writing
anti-government slogans?  Is it really so?

A.K.: All the children had been released very quickly. Moreover, the
government-owned Syrian newspapers published the release orders.

RT: Have troops been brought into Deraa?

A.K.: Yes, troops are there. After an Islamic emirate had been proclaimed in
Deraa, the local residents asked the government for help. Troops have been
brought in. I’ve just seen the videos. The demonstrators published them on
the internet and shortly after erased them. But people made copies. There
are soldiers, and people come to them and talk peacefully. Nobody shoots
anyone.

RT: Is there a sentiment in Syria that if it gets rid of Hamas support and
the Palestinians and strike a peace deal with Israel, all the riots will end
immediately?

A.K.: No, there’s no such sentiment. There’s consolidation of society. The
people are sticking together because they see that the enemy is extremely
dangerous. For instance, previously I never heard anything except pop music
and the recital of the Koran on the radio when I rode in a taxi. Now,
patriotic music is coming from all cars. When Bashar al-Assad was speaking
on television, the people who were listening to him at the market applauded
him. You cannot force people to applaud a president who speaks on
television.

RT: What has the public mood been in recent days?

A.K.: People are afraid of going out. In some regions, people risked their
lives to record with a secret camera how unidentified persons sneaked into a
car, moved off and started shooting in all directions. This is how they are
sowing panic in residential areas.

Bandits blocked a bridge on the road near the coast. Soon, the military
pushed them back. One of my Syrian contacts told me: “you don’t need many
people to plunge the country into trouble.”

Putting five people on a major road would be enough to paralyze the whole
area. People are unable to deliver foodstuffs or reach hospitals. And the
whole country is in shock because of a handful of bandits.

Now, Syrian television is making live broadcasts from various parts of
Damascus and other cities for people to see how the situation is unfolding
and how life is getting back to normal, whatever the Western media show.

It’s noteworthy that bandits intentionally tried to rouse hatred among
various communities. Recently, a sheikh was insulting the Druze,
particularly women, in an address to the residents of the south. This video
is being broadcast by the foreign media and is advertized on the internet.
Nothing like that ever happened in Syria before. Provocations failed in
Damascus though attempts were made to set religious communities against each
other. Provocateurs lack support in rural areas too – the sowing campaign
has started there.

The most massive demonstrations in Dera gathered 500 people. But they say
450 people have been killed.

RT: Has the government launched any reforms?

A.K.: The government has lifted martial law and has allowed the staging of
authorized rallies if permission for them is obtained five days ahead.
Foreigners have been allowed to buy real estate. The Kurds have been granted
citizenship. The Kurdish population didn’t have it before for a number of
historical reasons. The government is opening business courses for women in
northern Syria. Many provincial governors have been dismissed.
Unfortunately, in some cases they were honest people. Like those who refused
to free criminals from prison for bribes and had been targeted by smear
campaigns in public for it.

RT: Have the number of flights to Syria been cut?

A.K.: There are no tickets for Syria.  We wanted to dispatch a group of
tourists to Syria but there were no air tickets to Damascus for April 30.
But Russians are not fleeing from Syria. I have full information about it
for my job.
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