"It really would be nice if the Western media, in their attempt to smear Russia by association, could spare us the cynical pathos and emotionally manipulative sound bites about the "brutal dictator Assad" and his alleged "torture rooms"."
This article originlly appeared at Sott.net
"I believe the perception caused by civilian casualties is one of the most dangerous enemies we face."
(U.S. General Stanley A. McCrystal in his inaugural speech as ISAF Commander in June 2009)
The dust had hardly settled on Russian airstrikes on ISIS positions in Syria before Western media reports claimed that 'civilians' had been killed "including women and children".
Leaving aside the dubious nature of these allegations - the first of which was made before Russian airstrikes had even begun, according to Putin - Western propaganda outlets and the politicians they serve are in no position to point the finger at Russia over any purported "collateral damage".
Comparing recent BBC headlines with BBC headlines from 4 years ago when NATO obliterated several cities in Libya, you could be forgiven for thinking that BBC journalists and editors have only now realised that bombs kill people, in particular Russian bombs (the British, French and American variety only ever killing 'bad guys' with 'pin-point accuracy').
Four years ago, not a word, much less a headline, was carried by Western newspapers about the slaughter of the people of Sirte by NATO war planes. The information was available, they just failed to report it.
In a call from a satellite phone to Reuters' office in Tunis on Saturday 17th September 2011, Libyan politician Moussa Ibrahim said:
"NATO attacked the city of Sirte last night with more than 30 rockets directed at the city's main hotel and the Tamin building, which consists of more than 90 residential flats.
"The result is more than 354 dead and 89 still missing and almost 700 injured in one night."
"In the last 17 days more than 2,000 residents of the city of Sirte were killed in NATO air strikes."
But U.S., British and French slaughter of civilians in Libya pales into relative insignificance when compared to the overall death toll from the last 12 years of the U.S.-led 'war on terror'.
Washington's Middle East Mass Murder
The best academic estimates on the number of civilians killed in the illegal U.S.-led wars on the Iraqi, Afghani and Pakistani peoples amount to at least 1.5 million as a direct result of Western military action of one form or another. Several million more deaths can be added when indirect deaths are included. At least 20 million more have been displaced from their homes.
As some may remember, Washington's 'war on terror' was justified by the 9/11 attacks, which were blamed on "al-qaeda", which the U.S. government initially claimed to be fighting but is now funding (along with other terrorists) against the Syrian government.
As some may also remember, most of the alleged 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals. None were from Iraq or Afghanistan. Senator Bob Graham told PBS news in 2001 that the 9/11 attacks were clearly state-sponsored. A 9/11 Commissioner and the Co-Chair of Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 both said in sworn statements that the Saudi government is linked to the 9/11 attacks. Yet no action, much less accusations, has ever been directed at Saudi Arabia. On the contrary, the U.S. government has gone to great lengths to protect the Saudis from exposure.
Just two days ago, a U.S. judge dismissed a case taken against Saudi Arabia by families of 9/11 victims who accused the country of providing material support to al-Qaeda. The judge said that the presentation of any new evidence in the case was futile because the nutty royal headchoppers enjoy "sovereign immunity".
Does anyone see a pattern here? Saudi Arabia, in league with U.S. intelligence agencies, was involved in using Muslim terrorists to take the blame for the 9/11 attacks, which were used to justify the U.S. 'war on terror' that aims to thwart Russian influence in the Middle East (and maintain Israel as an apartheid colonial outpost), a region that today sees Saudi Arabia and U.S. intelligence agencies financing more Muslim terrorists to overthrow the Syrian government in an effort to, you guessed it, thwart Russian influence in the Middle East and thereby maintain Israel as an apartheid colonial outpost. Does anyone think the Russians haven't understood this long ago?
So when you hear Russian government officials saying that they are targeting only "ISIS", don't be fooled. Instead, understand (as the Russians do) that international political protocol as established by Western governments requires that you lie to your interlocutors, as long as you do it with a smile and a handshake.
So make no mistake, Russian jets not only have "ISIS" in their sights, but also every atavistic 'rebel' monstrosity birthed from the vile cesspool that is the West's Middle Eastern foreign policy, including John McCain's 5 remaining CIA-trained 'rebel' friends. And rightly so.
Syria's Phony Revolution
Despite what Western governments would like us to believe, the beginning of the 'Syrian revolution' in 2011 did not involve a mass uprising of ordinary Syrian people. It involved relatively small anti-government demonstrations and extremely large pro-government rallies. These were, however, quickly overshadowed by violent attacks on demonstrators, Syrian police and government buildings by well-equipped groups that were trained and armed by Western military and intelligence forces stationed in Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.
Since then, the "war" in Syria has been waged, not by the Syrian people, but by groups of foreign mercenaries shipped into the country and controlled by US, Turkish, Qatari and Saudi state actors. In 2012, even UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon acknowledged that 'al-Qaeda' were behind the many car bombings that killed so many innocent Syrians. What Ban might not be aware of is that at least one of the massacres attributed to Assad was carried out by a 'security contractor' paid directly by the U.S. government.
The U.S. government and its Middle East allies have spent that last 4 years waging a vicious proxy war on the Syrian people because they chose the wrong President. But why was Assad the 'wrong choice'? Back in 2002 Assad - a long-term supporter of Palestinian rights and critic of Israeli terrorism - and his wife paid a state visit to the UK, where Assad held talks with war criminal Tony Blair and tolerated an audience with the Queen at Buckingham palace. British officials at the time were also considering honoring Assad with a knighthood. At a press conference outside 10 Downing Street with Blair, Assad warned the UK not to join a US-led war against Iraq, arguing it would simply create "fertile soil" for terrorism. "No one is seeking war... anybody who looks for war as a goal in itself is psychologically ill," Assad said.
By 2006, the red carpet treatment of 2002 was a distant memory and Assad had been transformed by Washington and London into one more 'terror-supporting dictatorship' that needed 'regime change'. The reason for the radical shift appears to be Assad's decision to align Syria with its historic allies in the region, primarily Iran, Lebanon and Russia, and refuse any cooperation with the West's 'war on terror' or Israel's slow genocide against the Palestinians. To make the point crystal clear, in 2006 Syria switched all of the state's foreign currency transactions to euros from dollars.
Speaking of radical shifts in policy; it's common knowledge that Turkey has played a large part in facilitating the influx of jihadis into Syria over the past few years, and Erdogan's government has been a major critic of Assad during the same period. But it wasn't always so. In fact, until 2011 and the beginning of the phony Syrian 'revolution', Turkey and Syria had been extremely close allies for at least 10 years. Between 2002 and 2009, Syria and Turkey signed nearly 50 agreements of cooperation, announced the establishment of a "Senior Strategic Cooperation Council," and conducted their first-ever joint military exercises.
In 2010, Turkey and Syria signed an historic counterterrorism agreement, followed up by a counterinsurgency pact. By 2011, Turkey had become Syria's largest trading partner. So close was the relationship that, in 2009 Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu declared that the states shared a "common fate, history, and future."
So what could have caused the Turks to so dramatically turn on their former close ally? The jury is still out on that one, but it's possible that when Turkey understood the means by which Syria was to be dealt with by the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel, the words of the Turkish FM took on an altogether more foreboding meaning. After all, if a jihadi army can be sent from Libya, Jordan and Iraq to Syria, it's not so difficult to send the same army to Turkey. If the Turkish government was in any doubt about this, it's likely that the point was made very clear to them by well-placed Western and Israeli diplomats. The Turks are no slouches however, and undoubtedly a deal was struck for Turkish support, possibly some pie-in-the-sky concession of annexation of parts of northern and north-western Syria inhabited by the Turks' historic Kurd enemies.
Putin killed my baby... after Assad tortured him!
In a textbook example of 'coincidence theory', right on cue with Russian airstrikes in Syria, the Western media began to rehash tired old stories about Assad and torture. Yesterday, the London Guardian published a lengthy and emotionally provocative 'exposé' on an anonymous person going by the name of 'Caesar' who claimed to have 'defected' from the Syrian government to Qatar with thousands of photos of "victims of Assad torture in Syrian detention centers". That this person chose Qatar as his 'safe haven' is not surprising.
Apart from hosting the largest US military base in the Arab world, owning half of London and funding and arming the jihadis that took over Libya and killed U.S. ambassador Stevens, the Qatari royals, like their Saudi counterparts, have invested $billions in the proxy war against Assad. So a few extra $million paid to some guy willing to tout photographic evidence as part of the propaganda war against Assad is surely a good investment.
But torture is not a subject that should be dealt with in a frivolous way, unless you're the CIA.
Over the past 14 years of the U.S.-led 'war on terror', the CIA has established an estimated 50 torture centers in 28 countries, in addition to at least 25 more in Afghanistan and 20 in Iraq. 17 ships have also been used as floating torture centers in which hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people have been tortured and killed.
Countries that allowed their territory to be used for torture include the U.S. (Guantanamo Bay), Bosnia, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Lithuania, Mauritania, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, among others.
So it really would be nice if the Western media, in their attempt to smear Russia by association, could spare us the cynical pathos and emotionally manipulative sound bites about the "brutal dictator Assad" and his alleged "torture rooms".
Anyone with two firing neurons knows very well who is responsible for the suffering of the Syrian people and so many other innocent people around the world: it's the same state actors with a long track record of running death squads and torture rooms in South America and, more recently, Iraq, to achieve their insane 'geopolitical' objective of ruling the world and shutting out Russia, China and anyone else with the temerity to question the toxic influence of U.S. global hegemony.
Thankfully, due to Russian forbearance, perspicacity and timing, that domination appears to be reaching its nadir.