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Friday, August 31, 2012

LIVE VIDEO: “World Silence is Killing Syria” Rally in DC

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The silence of our leaders is conditioning and, as they say, deafening. The silence is empowering. It is empowering for those who seek legitimacy in the wrongs that they do and the evil that they spread. Silence is far more powerful than any fatwa or ruling or law. It is silence, as Einstein once said, that makes the world a dangerous place, not the people who do evil.
When I read these words, i thought of the evil being done in Syria today and the silence of so many good people, and nations, about it.

But the writer was apply that concept to a very difference circumstance in another revolution in a very different place. If you are a long time reader of my diary you may remember when I wrote about the "pranks" the Free Generation Movement was playing in Qaddafi's Tripoli. Now all the work can see that these pranks were in reality practice sessions for the Tripoli uprising that was to play crusial role in the liberation of the city a little over a year ago.

Well, this essay from the Libya Herald will give you some idea of what the Free Generation Movement is doing now and how some of the struggles around the role of women are shaping up in revolutionary Libya.

From Niz Ben-Essa in the Libya Herald, August 22:
A Crippling Silence


Over the last few weeks, issues and discussions regarding women in Libya have come to the surface. People have been discussing the issues at coffee shops, on facebook and twitter groups, with friends, with family, NGOs, CSOs, independent activists, politicians, … the debate has been widespread.

Opinions have been as varied as they are for almost any topic of discussion in Libya, ranging from the doomsday apocalyptics, to those who simply do not care, and of course everything in between.

Recently, incidents such as the abduction of women in Libya, a seemingly increased rate of street harassment in Tripoli and the removal of the unveiled presenter at the NTC-GNC authority handover ceremony have all contributed to the discussion and have brought the issue to the much needed lime light as an issue critical for Libya’s sustained progression.

It is clear, and we are all in agreement, that the harassment of women, whether sexual, verbal or otherwise, is neither Islamic nor is it lawful under any other code of ethics. But it happens on an almost daily basis in Libya. Why?

Our issues, I believe, lie in our society. A society conditioned to behave a certain way. Empowered through silence and apathy to behave in ways that are not inherently or historically Libyan, which are not associated with Islamic values and which should not be acceptable in any culture or region of the world.

It is not unusual for society to be “conditioned”. In the west, the media, through its glossy magazines and its glitzy TV shows, continuously conditions women to think in a conformist way when it comes to appearance, fashion or behaviour. As free as the people in the west perceive themselves to be, they are slaves to society’s definition of beauty and “normality”, and are slaves to the pressures of that society.

Libya is certainly not immune to the phenomena of conditioning, perhaps not through the media as much, but as much through our society as it is in the west.

As much as I hate the continued use of Qaddafi as an excuse for all our ills, it must be acknowledged that 42 years of autocratic, authoritarian rule has created a society not empowered to believe that change is possible. This is what made the February 17th revolution so remarkable. The fact that it broke the shackles of apathy and fear, which had previously crippled us into thinking that we cannot, and so will not, do anything to better the society around us.

But these shackles are now broken. Libya has a new spirit. We can, and so we will, do what it takes to better our society.

Libya’s freedom does not come in the fall of the tyrant’s regime, but rather in the liberty of its citizens to be expressive, to value the diversity of opinion and the diversity of ethnicity and culture, to empower its “weak” to no longer be weak, to provide equality and opportunity for all those who make up its society.

The Free Generation Movement has been involved in the creation of a coalition of Libyan based groups and activists who are concerned by the authority’s neglect of Women’s Rights issues in Libya. What concerns us in this coalition is how many people of authority speak privately about their disgust at what happened at the handover ceremony, and in private speak so passionately about the right of women to be involved, free and equal, and yet are so reluctant to make these declarations public. It is this silence that haunts us and concerns us.

The silence of our leaders is conditioning and, as they say, deafening. The silence is empowering. It is empowering for those who seek legitimacy in the wrongs that they do and the evil that they spread. Silence is far more powerful than any fatwa or ruling or law. It is silence, as Einstein once said, that makes the world a dangerous place, not the people who do evil.

So much hope and so much responsibility has been entrusted into our first democratically elected national governing body in over half a century, and yet not a single one of its 200 members has publicly denounced what happened at the ceremony that handed them the nation’s leading seat of governance.

There are private conversations, YouTube videos and personal accounts which suggest that most of those present showed disdain at what happened that night, yet they chose to keep their thoughts private. Why?

Those we have entrusted to lead and serve us have an opportunity to make a stand, an opportunity to use their position and to use their voice to begin to shape our society and drive our progressing in a direction that is inclusive and respectable and ethical.

They have an opportunity to re-condition our society and drive it out of the darkness that made it ok to publicly humiliate a woman, to harass a woman walking down the street, to judge a woman on her choices, to deny a woman her rights and her place.

We are not calling for the rights of our society to transgress our cultural norms nor our legal or religious obligations. The right of expression and the freedom of choice must exist within the confines of decency and respect. But with the guarantee that, in return, one would enjoy the very same decency and the very same respect from others.

We have a long way to go. Our ills will not be cured over night. But we hope that breaking the silence will be a significant step for us all.

Niz Ben-Essa

Founder of the Free Generation Movement.

The Free Generation Movement is a Libyan based NGO made up of independent activists. It was founded in February 2011 as a resistance movement within Tripoli and has now evolved into engaging socio-political and environmental issues in Libya.





These are my articles on the Libyan Revolution:
The Left and the Arab Spring
Libya's elected congress to take power today
The Elections and Libya's Violent Militias
#Libya at the crossroads: The ballot or the bullet
Is Libya better off than it was?
Libyan Elections to be held July 7th
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Libyan High Court strikes down anti-free speech law
Where should Libya's Saif Qaddafi be tried?
MSM plays Hankey Panky with Libya
Qaddafi lies live on after him
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Libya's Qaddafi helped US & Israel against Iran in Olympic Games
Why is Russia demanding NATO boots on the ground in Libya?
#LyElect Libyans register to vote 1st time in 60 years
Libya's Revolution: How We Won - The Internationale in the 21st Century
Good News from Libya
On Libya & Glenn Greenwald: Are the anti-interventionists becoming counter-revolutionaries?
UN: NATO killed 60 civilians in Libya
Libya in the news today
Amnesty International on Libya again
The Current Situation in Libya
Democracy Now & Amy Goodman gets it wrong again.
Why is Chris Hedges calling for "boots on the ground" in Libya?
The Worm Has Turned: Good Film on Libyan Revolution from PressTV
Why NATO's mission in Libya isn't over yet
Libya's Freedom Fighters: How They Won
Racism in Libya
Abdul Rahman Gave his Eyes to See the End of Qaddafi
BREAKING: Secret files reveal Dennis Kucinich talks with Qaddafi Regime
BREAKING: Libyan TNC won't extradite Lockerbie bomber
Who really beat Qaddafi?
#Feb17: @NATO Please help MEDEVAC wounded from #Libya
What should those that opposed NATO's intervention in Libya demand now?
BREAKING: Qaddafi's Tripoli Compound Falls!
Does PDA Support Qaddafi?
BREAKING: Operation Mermaid Dawn, the Battle to Liberate Tripoli is Joined
Helter Skelter: Qaddafi's African Adventure
Qaddafi's Long Arm
SCOOP: My Lai or Qaddafi Lie? More on the 85 Civilians presumed killed by NATO
Did NATO kill 85 Libyan Villagers As Qaddafi Regime Contends?
CCDS Statement on Libya - a Critique
The Assassination of General Abdul Fattah Younis
NATO over Tripoli - Air Strikes in the Age of Twitter
How Many Libyans has NATO Killed?
Qaddafi Terror Files Start to Trickle Out!
Have Libyan Rebels Committed Human Rights Abuses?
Tripoli Green Square Reality Check
Behind the Green Curtain: Libya Today
Gilbert Achcar on the Libyan situation and the Left
NATO slammed for Libya civilian deaths NOT!
2011-07-01 Qaddafi's Million Man March
NATO's Game Plan in Libya
February 21st - Tripoli's Long Night
Did Qaddafi Bomb Peaceful Protesters?
Tripoli Burn Notice
Libyans, Palestinians & Israelis
'Brother' Qaddafi Indicted plus Libya & Syria: Dueling Rally Photofinishs
An Open Letter to ANSWER
ANSWER answers me
2011-06-22 No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum
Are they throwing babies out of incubators yet?
Continuing Discussion with a Gaddafi Supporter
Boston Globe oped supports Gaddafi with fraudulent journalism
2011-04-13 Doha summit supports Libyan rebels
Current Events in Libya
Amonpour Plays Softball with Gaddafi
Arming Gaddfi
North African Revolution Continues
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Free Syria responds to Robert Fisk

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The Local Coordinating Committee of Daraya, where Assad's goons slaughtered 630 people in the worst massacre to date against the Syrian Revolution has published this response to Robert Fisk's report on the Daraya massacre:
The Local Coordination Committees’ in Daraya Respond to Mr. Robert Fisk

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 8:42pm ·

Daraya Coordination Committee

Press Release

Robert Fisk’s report about the massacre of Saturday 25/08/2012

On Wednesday 29 August 2012, Mr. Robert Fisk of The Independent wrote a report on the Daraya Massacre that was perpetrated only 4 days earlier. Mr. Fisk is a world-famous journalist known for his balanced opinion pieces and ground-breaking reports especially from the Middle East. The people of Syria especially remember Fisk for being the first foreign reporter to enter the city of Hama after the 1982 massacre and relate to the world the horrors he saw there. Thus, we were absolutely astonished by the above-mentioned report and would like to make sure that certain points in it are not left uncorrected. We do this out of respect to the fallen heroes and to make sure the voice of the victims is heard.

Anyone who watched the infamous and insolent report made by the state-favored Addounia TV, would notice the obvious similarities between the two reports.

One major concern that would invalidate any statement taken from the victims is the presence of army personnel as admitted by Mr. Fisk himself. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of the Syrian regime would know the degree of intimidation this would incur in the hearts and minds of witnesses. The army does not need to spoon-feed the statements to the witnesses as fear is more than enough to make them repeat the narrative propagated by the government about armed militias and radical Islamists.

Moreover, the article is headlined and predicated on the government’s unbelievable prisoner-swap story. The question that begs to be asked is the following: Even if there was a prisoner exchange and it failed, does the Assad regime have any grounds at all for this level of retaliation? Were there similar failed rounds of negotiation before the massacres of Muaddamiya, Saqba etc. In fact, what has been happening in the towns of the Damascus Countryside Governorate, and indeed all of Syria, follows a similar scenario that begins with shelling and ends with massacres of civilians.

A seemingly strong point in Mr. Fisk’s report is his mentioning of real names of people telling their real stories. However, the Coordination Committee of Daraya has been in touch with some of these people and the following corrections need to be made.

1- The story of Hamdi Khreitem’s parents. The witness must have been too intimidated to identify his parents’ killers. Our reliable sources from the field hospital of Daraya confirm that both of them were targeted by a sniper (from the Assad army of course).

2- The story of Khaled Yahya Zukari. The witness was actually in a car with his brother and their wives and children. They were shot at by government forces and his wife and daughter (Leen) were hit. The baby girl’s head was almost split in half and a bullet penetrated the mother’s chest. The mother became hysterical as a result of the shock. Later she died as the field hospital had to be evacuated prior to an army raid. The Assad army told the people that the FSA raped and killed the woman.

The fear and intimidation of witnesses is reflected sometimes in their refusal to name a guilty side. Moreover, Mr. Fisk should know better than reporting conjecture such as this: ‘Another man said that, although he had not seen the dead in the graveyard, he believed that most were related to the government’s army and included several off-duty conscripts.’ The implicit accusation is of course directed against the FSA and this method of reporting resembles Syrian state propaganda par excellence, something that we wish Mr. Fisk had not done.

The revolution committee would finally like to stress also that Mr. Fisk did not meet any member of the opposition in Daraya and that he merely depended on the narrative of his ‘tour guides’ in reporting on such a horrific massacre, the ugliest Syria has seen in the 17 months of the revolution.

I use to really rely on Robert Fisk but I'll be damned if I can accept him reporting under the eyes of Syrian government minders just so he can scoop other Western reporters. Here is Robert Fisk's report:
Robert Fisk: Inside Daraya - how a failed prisoner swap turned into a massacre

Exclusive: The first Western journalist to enter the town that felt Assad's fury hears witness accounts of Syria's bloodiest episode
Wednesday 29 August 2012

The massacre town of Daraya is a place of ghosts and questions. It echoed to the roar of mortar explosions and the crackle of gunfire yesterday, its few returning citizens talking of death and assault, of foreign ‘terrorists’, its cemetery of slaughter haunted by snipers. But the men and women to whom we could talk, two of whom had lost their loved ones on Daraya’s day of infamy four days ago, told a story quite different from the popular version that has gone round the world: theirs was a tale of hostage-taking by the Free Syria Army and desperate prisoner-exchange negotiations between the armed opponents of the regime and the Syrian army, before Bashar al-Assad’s government decided to storm into the town and seize it back from rebel control.

Officially, no word of such talks between sworn enemies has leaked out. But senior Syrian officers spoke to The Independent about how they had “exhausted all possibilities of reconciliation” with those holding the town, while citizens of Daraya told us that there had been an attempt by both sides to arrange a swap of civilians and off-duty soldiers in the town – apparently kidnapped by rebels because of their family connections with the government army – with prisoners in the army’s custody. When these talks broke down, the army advanced into Daraya, only six miles from the centre of Damascus.

Being the first western eyewitness into the town yesterday was as frustrating as it was dangerous. The bodies of men, women and children had, of course, been moved from the cemetery where many of them were found; and when we arrived in the company of Syrian troops at the Sunni Muslim graveyard – divided by the main road through Daraya – snipers opened fire at the soldiers, hitting the back of the ancient armoured vehicle in which we made our escape. Yet we could talk to civilians out of earshot of Syrian officials – in two cases in the security of their own homes – and their narrative of last Saturday’s mass killing of 245 men, women and children suggested that the atrocities were far more widespread than supposed. More...


Here are my related diaries on Syria:
UPDATED: #Assad: "#Syria doesn't need a green light!"
#Obama opposes French support for #Assad's opposition in #Syria
BREAKING: Amnesty site hacked, Assad propaganda posted
BREAKING: 630 Slaughtered in new massacre in Syria
Special message from Syrian children to Obama
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
General Meade at Gettysburg
Tell US gov't to stop endangering Syrian activists
UPDATED: #Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in #Syria
Syria: Turning Battlegrounds into Playgrounds
BREAKING: Bashar al-Assad is alive as deaths in Syria reach 25,000
The Left and the Arab Spring
Iran increasing its intervention in Syria
Syria: Images from the Battle of Aleppo
Fears grow of WMD attack in Syria
UPDATED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
BREAKING: Syria releases new images of Bashar al- Assad | Are they fakes?
NOT BREAKING NEWS: Just another massacre in Syria
UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
Syria: FSA says Iranian pilgrims really Republican Guard
Syria: Aleppo under Siege!
BREAKING: UN votes to condemn Assad Regime as Reuters posts false story on Syria
BREAKING: Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
Syria: Bashar al-Assad not heard from on Armed Forces Day!
BREAKING: Senior Syrian diplomat to Armenia defects
BREAKING: Big Explosion hits #Damascus #Syria
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
BREAKING: Reports of clashes between Jordan Army & Assad's Syrian army
BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
Syria: Foreign meddling increases as crisis builds
BREAKING: Aleppo, Syria bombed with fighter jets
BREAKING: Syria issues a correction, it has no WMD to use
BREAKING: Arab League asks Assad to step down!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
no blood for oil
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria
Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout

Free Syria Army launches major new offensive in Aleppo

If this late report is true, the Free Syria Army may be on the verge of creating its own "no-fly" zone:



It looks like the FSA's new strategy of raiding airbases is bearing fruit, and doubly so, if it is forcing the Assad regime to withdraw some forces from other areas to protect those airbases.

Remember, the first US Marines to hit the beaches of Vietnam, did so to protect the airbase at Da Nang from guerrilla attacks. That's how an insurgency fights an air power. They may not be able to get at them while those planes are attacking, but they've got to land sometime.

Of course, the US could always rely on its warplanes out at Yankee Station which were clearly out of the reach of the Vietnamese opposition.

But Assad doesn't have any aircraft carriers!

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In a major new development we have reports of a new offensive by the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo. The Assad forces, with vastly superior firepower, have only been been trying to dislodge the rebels from Syria's largest city and commercial hub for five weeks, and now the FSA is again pushing them around.

It just goes to show that along with lying about everything else, Bashar al-Assad was also lying about the military situation in his recent TV interview.

I'm thinking of renaming my cat "Bashar" because she is always lying on something!

Question: "Mr. President, regarding the military operations taking place inside Syria now; there is talk on the Syrian street that Syria received..an American green light?" from interview transcript
From @Alexblx we have this report on the new fight:
#FSA OFFENSIVE: "the Free #Syria Army has launched a major offensive in #Aleppo last night, the preparations for which have been evident for a few days.

The AP's assessment - this is a testament to the Regime's failure to dislodge the fighters after more than a month of massive bombing and shelling campaigns.

"He said the first attacks began shortly before midnight Thursday and lasted until Friday, when the "Brigade of Free Syrians" launched coordinated strikes on several security compounds in Aleppo.

"The new operations aim to strike at regime forces' centers and air bases throughout Aleppo (province)," Saeed said via Skype...

Saeed said rebels attacked four security buildings around Aleppo, using tanks, rocket launchers and machine guns.""
Free Syria Army We Control 80% of Aleppo Assad Invasion Has Failed | 23 August 2012



Journalist with Free Syria Army fighters in Basha neighborhood of Aleppo | 30 August 2012



We have these media reports on the fighting in Aleppo:

From The Daily Star we have this report

Rebels say hold half of Aleppo despite air strikes

August 31, 2012 04:51 PM
By Mariam Karouny | Reuters

BEIRUT: A local rebel commander in Aleppo said rebels still control more than half of Syria's biggest city after a month of fighting and aerial bombardment, and that the military stalemate was playing into the hands of President Bashar Assad's opponents.

Assad sent reinforcements to the northern commercial hub in July to seize control back from rebel fighters who had swept into Aleppo from their rural strongholds, and authorities said the army's mission could be accomplished within days.

Using air power, artillery and ground forces, the army has pushed rebels back in strategic southwestern districts which form a gateway into Aleppo along the main highway from Damascus.

But despite their military superiority, Assad's forces have yet to press home their advantage across the city, and the military commander of the rebel Fatah Brigade in Aleppo said a lengthy conflict would give his fighters time to grow stronger.

"The main target of this phase (of fighting) is to win time," Major Anas Ibrahim Abu Zaid told Reuters by telephone.

"If we hold our ground and continue the attacks, the longer we do that (the more) the regime will lose on the international, regional and local fronts, and the position of the rebels will firm up and give us a chance to re-arm," he said. More...
From Today's Zaman we have this report
Opposition fighters engaged in fierce clashes with Assad forces in Aleppo

31 August 2012 / AP/REUTERS, BEIRUT

Syrian opposition forces have begun a major operation in the Aleppo region, aiming to strike at security compounds and bases around Syria's largest city, activists said Friday.

It would be evidence that weeks of intense bombardments by the Syrian military, including airstrikes, have failed to dislodge the opposition. Instead, fighting rages across the country in a 17-month civil war that shows no sign of ending soon.

The opposition offensives in Aleppo are led by a brigade made up mostly of army defectors who specialize in operating artillery and tanks, said Mohammed Saeed, an activist based in the city.

He said the first attacks began shortly before midnight on Thursday and lasted until Friday, when the â??Brigade of Free Syriansâ? launched coordinated strikes on several security compounds in Aleppo.

â??The new operations aim to strike at regime forces' centers and air bases throughout Aleppo [province],â? Saeed said via Skype.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said one of Friday's targets was a compound in the Aleppo neighborhood of Zahraa, killing and wounding a number of troops. It gave no figures.

Saeed said opposition forces attacked four security buildings around Aleppo, using tanks, rocket launchers and machine guns. More...
From Al Arabia News we have this report of a major new polical and military development:
Syrian fighters in Aleppo form â??Revolutionary Transitional Councilâ??

Fri Aug 31, 2012 16:05 pm (KSA) 13:05 pm (GMT)

Syrian opposition forces in the northern province of Aleppo have declared the formation of a â??Revolutionary Transitional Councilâ? as future umbrella for all the rag tag opposition groups battling to bring down the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

â??[The Revolutionary Transitional Council] includes all those working in the revolution; civilians, politicians and military men,â? one member of the newly formed council said in a statement aired by Al Arabiya television on Friday.

The council aims to â??facilitate the formation for a [wider] national transitional council to include all of the Syrian provinces,â? the statement added.

â??In a time when the Syrian revolution has reached an advanced stage, there needs to be an incubator inside Syrian territory to lead the revolution from the inside.â?

While the main Syrian opposition group, the Syrian National Council, has a military section, many of its political leaders and figures are living abroad, and their meetings happen to be outside the country in Turkey, France or Germany.

â??The council is a pioneering example for other provinces to follow.â? More...
From Now Lebanon we have this report
Syrian rebels hit security services in Aleppo

Friday, August 31, 2012 | 18:55 Beirut

Syrian rebels attacked a security service building in Aleppo early Friday as clashes rocked both the main northern city and the outskirts of Damascus, a human rights group said.

The assault on the feared security services came in West Aleppo, sparking a firefight between rebel fighters and agents, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Clashes also broke out between troops and rebels in the battleground districts of Saif al-Dawla and Salaheddin in the southwest of the city and Hanano in the northeast, the Britain-based watchdog said.

Around the capital, rebel fighters captured nine soldiers in clashes in Sayyida Zeinab, a southeastern suburb which houses a Shiite shrine that draws pilgrims from around the world, it added.

North of Damascus, troops bombarded the mountain resort of Rankus, an opposition stronghold.

In Albu Kamal, on the border with Iraq, rebel fighters attacked an air defense base, sparking fierce clashes. More...
Finally from EAWorldView today we have this report:
Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Insurgents Seize the Initiative

Friday, August 31, 2012 at 11:37 | James Miller



Today's demonstration in Kafrouma in Idlib Province, Syria

See also Iran, Syria, and the Non-Aligned Summit: 5 Questions and Answers Iran Special: Regime Show Collapses as Morsi Gives Tehran an "Islamic Awakening" on Syria Thursday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Assad Says, "The Situation on the Ground is Better"



1444 GMT: Syria. The Local Coordination Committees have posted this video, which shows the building hit by a shell in the Yarmouk camp, a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus (see previous updates). They have also posted several gruesome videos of two dead children, reportedly the result of the shelling.


1426 GMT: Syria. Dramatic footage of an Assad plane crashing on August 23rd.

Why are we just getting around to posting it now? Because we saw it days ago, but thought it was fake, and now The Guardian (who said that they had doubts about the video) cites The Aviationist as saying that, despite the fact that they were initially fooled by it, the video is likely fake.

It's worth noting that Wired also cited the video.

Why didn't EA post it? For starters, the Youtube account uploading the video has been flagged by EA as being of questionable reliability. Secondly, there were no eyewitness reports that could triangulate the video. The glaring problem, which we caught even before all that, is that there is a noticeable edit between the plane flying, and crashing, and the smoke. Beyond this, the physics seemed... off.

EA encounters an incredible amount of citizen journalism n the form of hundreds of Facebook pages and blogs, thousands of videos, and tens of thousands of Tweets, every day. The overwhelming majority of that information never makes it to EA's coverage, for a variety of reasons. When we do post videos, we try to ensure that they are real, and we try to relay to our readers exactly how credible we believe the information we post to be. In this case, we never thought the video was real, and additional research could not produce any confirming details. It's a perfect illustration of how hard this work is, and it's also a good example of how that hard work has paid off.

1252 GMT: Syria. Protesting in Syria is dangerous, but just being in Syria is dangerous. Today, there are multiple reports that mortars and tanks have shelled several districts in southern Damascus. The LCC reports that in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp (map), some of those shells have killed children:

Two children were martyred and many people were injured; one of them is in a critical condition, due to another mortar shells that landed near Palestine Hospital.

We have not yet been able to verify the report.

1240 GMT: Syria. Today is Friday. In Islamic tradition, large crowds attend mosques at the same times, meaning that the streets are always bustling on a Friday. In the tradition of the Arab Uprisings, this makes it the ideal time to protest, and in the tradition of the Syrian Uprising, protesting is a dangerous decision.

Only months ago the protests were growing huge, as massive crowds braved the chance that security forces would turn on them. Now, there are gun battles in every region, open revolution is in many cities, the violence has escalated and the protests, as a result, greatly diminished.

That said, we've already received hundreds of videos of protests today, in many dozens of locations. Many people are chanting today for Darayya and Moudamyah, locations where the regime killed hundreds in reprisal attacks. The message is clear - the people on the streets are united against the regime, no matter what, and the violence has not deterred the protesters.

Below is a small sample of the videos we've seen:

Binnish, Idlib, a town that has been rocked by reprisal attacks and bombing runs for weeks, but a town that has hosted both large protests and death since the start of the uprisings:

Ash Sheikh Mustafa, southern Idlib (map):

Mare, Aleppo (map)

Jisr al Shughour, Idlib (map):

Nasib, just outside of Daraa (map):

Harasta, one of the most embattled suburbs of Damascus (map):

1215 GMT: Syria. The Associated Press reports that the Free Syrian Army has launched a major offensive in Aleppo last night, the preparations for which have been evident for a few days. The AP's assessment - this is a testament to the regime's failure to dislodge the fighters after more than a month of massive bombing and shelling campaigns.

He said the first attacks began shortly before midnight Thursday and lasted until Friday, when the "Brigade of Free Syrians" launched coordinated strikes on several security compounds in Aleppo.

"The new operations aim to strike at regime forces' centers and air bases throughout Aleppo (province)," Saeed said via Skype...

Saeed said rebels attacked four security buildings around Aleppo, using tanks, rocket launchers and machine guns.

James Miller takes over today's live coverage. Thanks to Scott Lucas for getting us started today.

1149 GMT: Yemen. Al Monitor reports an escalation in youth protest after an attempt to assassinate Yassin Saeed Noman, secretary-general of the Socialist Party and an adviser to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi:

Hundreds of youth, especially youth members of the Socialist Party and independents, marched through the streets of the capital Sanaa, warning political leaders of the Joint Meeting Parties about the potential for a series of assassinations carried out against these leaders.

Youth protesters in Sanaa and a number of other cities demanded that authorities reveal details of the assassination attempt and arrest and hold accountable the perpetrators and those who support them.

1052 GMT: Syria. Harriet Sherwood of The Guardian reports on a divided community in the village of Majdal Shams, about 40 miles from Damascus in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights:

Support for President Bashar al-Assad is conspicuous.

A Syrian flag flutters above the main square. Demonstrations backing the current regime have attracted up to 5,000 people, drawn from a local Druze population of around 20,000. Portraits of the Syrian president hang in the homes of pro-Assad activists.

But under the surface, there is uncertainty and dismay at what is happening in what most call "the homeland". A small minority of residents of the four villages populated by Syrian Druze high in the Golan have been open in their support for the uprising. But, they say, intimidation has stopped others speaking out.

1022 GMT: Syria. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet DavutoÄ?lu has appealed to the United Nations Security Council to establish a buffer zone within Syria for refugees:

How long are we going to sit and watch while an entire generation is being wiped out by random bombardment and deliberate mass targeting? Let's not forget that if we do not act against such a crime against humanity happening in front of our eyes, we become accomplices to the crime.

However, DavutoÄ?lu expresssed pessimism that he would be heeded: "Apparently, I was wrong about my expectations. This meeting will not even end with a presidential or press statement, let alone a robust resolution."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said after Thursday's meeting that France and Turkey had identified areas in the north and south that had escaped President Assad's control: "Maybe in these liberated zones Syrians who want to flee the regime will find refuge which in turn makes it less necessary to cross the border whether in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan or Iraq."

0948 GMT: Syria. Aleppo-based activist Mohammed Saeed has claimed that insurgents are attacking four security buildings this morning around the city, using rocket launchers and machine guns.

0918 GMT: Syria. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, has issued a statement of concern about the "humanitarian emergency":

As of yesterday, 229,000 people had left the country and sought registration as refugees in neighboring states. Their number is rapidly growing.

Household assets are quickly being used up. Social support networks are fragmenting.
For many, becoming a refugee is the only way to survive.

The number of Syrians arriving each day in Turkey continues to increase dramatically.
Thanks to the Turkish government, more than 80,000 Syrians are now hosted in camps
and public buildings in the south-east of the country.

Guterres said Turkey had constructed new camps to increase capacity to 130,000 refugees. Meanwhile, , more than 5,000 people had arrived in Jordan in 30 hours, bringing the total of displaced to about 72,000. More than 57,000 are in Lebanon.

0838 GMT: Bahrain. The Information Affairs Authority reports that Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa has met with members of the leading opposition society Al Wefaq "upon their request and in an effort to encourage all parties to engage in dialogue in order to allow the nation to progress".

0751 GMT: Bahrain. Reports overnight suggest that leading human rights campaigner and political prisoner Mohammed Hasan Mohamed Jawad ("Parweez") is in critical condition after vomiting blood and falling unconscious. Parweez, who is 65, has been arrested multiple times over decades of activism, and is one of 13 political and human rights leaders whose appeal verdict is expected on Tuesday. He is currently serving a 15-year sentence, charged with plotting to overthrow the regime.

In January, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights reported that Parweez's "family has raised concerns over his health". At a court appearance in June, he spoke of the suffering and pain he still experiences as a consequence of the abuses he experienced last year. His case was examined by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (Case No. 2). The forensic team found which found that he was "tortured on a daily basis", had "fainted as a result of the beatings" and was "taken to a medical facility". Subsequently, "he became weak and lost 20 kilograms".

0545 GMT: Syria. Over the last 48 hours, there has been a series of political statements grabbing the headlines, from President Assad's "The Situation is Better" to the British and French foreign ministers playing for time on a "buffer zone" inside Syria. There have been the continued bloody stalemates in Aleppo and the Damascus suburbs.

But the most significant events may have been the insurgent attacks on President Assad's air force, from the destruction of about 10 helicopters in a ground assault on a military base to the downing of a fighter jet. While these episodes do not turn the course of the war, they dent the regime's supremacy in the air.

And that in turn bolsters the expanding presence of the insurgency across large areas of Syria from the northwest to the northeast to the south. Of course, Assad's forces will not accept this without response --- the Free Syrian Army and civilians alike have been pounded in Daraa Province --- but there is no prospect of control to back up the President's declaration of his better situation.

The Local Coordination Committees report the deaths of 164 people at the hands of security forces on Thursday, including 72 in Idlib Province.

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
UPDATED: #Assad: "#Syria doesn't need a green light!"
#Obama opposes French support for #Assad's opposition in #Syria
BREAKING: Amnesty site hacked, Assad propaganda posted
BREAKING: 630 Slaughtered in new massacre in Syria
Special message from Syrian children to Obama
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
General Meade at Gettysburg
Tell US gov't to stop endangering Syrian activists
UPDATED: #Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in #Syria
Syria: Turning Battlegrounds into Playgrounds
BREAKING: Bashar al-Assad is alive as deaths in Syria reach 25,000
The Left and the Arab Spring
Iran increasing its intervention in Syria
Syria: Images from the Battle of Aleppo
Fears grow of WMD attack in Syria
UPDATED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
BREAKING: Syria releases new images of Bashar al- Assad | Are they fakes?
NOT BREAKING NEWS: Just another massacre in Syria
UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
Syria: FSA says Iranian pilgrims really Republican Guard
Syria: Aleppo under Siege!
BREAKING: UN votes to condemn Assad Regime as Reuters posts false story on Syria
BREAKING: Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
Syria: Bashar al-Assad not heard from on Armed Forces Day!
BREAKING: Senior Syrian diplomat to Armenia defects
BREAKING: Big Explosion hits #Damascus #Syria
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
BREAKING: Reports of clashes between Jordan Army & Assad's Syrian army
BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
Syria: Foreign meddling increases as crisis builds
BREAKING: Aleppo, Syria bombed with fighter jets
BREAKING: Syria issues a correction, it has no WMD to use
BREAKING: Arab League asks Assad to step down!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
no blood for oil
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria
Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is â??Unprecedentedâ??
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More on the Libyan Revolution

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This is a great 27 minute documentary on the Libyan Revolution:


VICE Founder Shane Smith takes you into the heart of the Libyan revolution, where the stakes are simple: victory or death. We head into rebel-controlled eastern Libya, traveling from the Egyptian border to Benghazi and then onto the front lines in Misrata to document the violent revolution.

Hosted by Shane Smith | Originally aired in 2011 on http://VICE.com
The slogan "Win or Die" was first heard on the streets of Benghazi, it now echoes through out Syria. I think it should soon be the slogan of us all if we are to salvage the future of humanity on the planet Earth from those who are presently destroying it.

Remember that a year ago, Libya looked like Syria today, so their is hope:


From QW Magazine we have this assessment of the Libyan Revolution:
Libya’s Revolution, One Year Later

by Nada Elfeituri on Feb 16, 2012 • 7:59 pm

Driving through Benghazi, everything seems deserted. No cars, no people, the only sound is the wind blowing through empty streets. Take a turn into Dubai Street, pickup trucks full of soldiers are ordering anyone outside to go home. There’s a glimpse of something going on at the end of the road. It looks like a group of people, and they’re coming closer. One of them is holding up a makeshift sign with the slogan ‘peaceful protest’ scrawled in Arabic. As they come closer, it becomes apparent. In Gaddafi’s Libya, a place where protests would never go unpunished, the people of Benghazi have taken to the streets.

Across Libya, 17th February marked the beginning of the end for the tyrannical regime that ruled the country with an iron fist for 42 years. What those protesters didn’t know on that fateful day was that they would soon clash with Gaddafi’s forces, paid mercenaries that were ordered to shoot on sight. They could not foresee the mounting death toll as young men took a stand in front of Benghazi’s main military barrack, and lost their lives for it. They could never have imagined that this defiance would lead to an all-out war that would embroil the rest of the world.

Benghazi’s story of those days is only a chapter in what would become one of the most momentous events in Libya’s history. Across the East, cities fell one by one from Gaddafi’s grasp. In the West, cities like Zintan, Tripoli and Misrata would hold their own protests, decrying the violence being committed against their fellow countrymen. Anger, blood, tears, hope and finally, freedom, would be the legacy of this uprising.

On the eve of February 17, looking back over the course of last year, the changes that have occurred still fill me with awe. The fear and hopelessness that once defined Libya as a country has almost been completely eradicated. Instead, there is the aim of progress, the collective hope of a better tomorrow. Libyans now do not live for the present, but for the future, a future where people are equal, and the government protects the interests of the country instead of exploiting them.
...
There is change, however, sometimes overlooked, but still takes you by surprise when you notice it. We CAN challenge the government, we CAN make our opinions known and our voices heard. One year ago, typing an anti-regime slogan on Facebook or Twitter wasn’t even up for consideration by many.

Libya won’t be able to undo 42 years of damage in a year, or even five years. But the process has already begun. Women are asserting their role in society and in the government, demanding more representation. Dozens of newspapers, magazines and organizations are making the most of free speech, daring the citizens to raise their own voices. There’s a new atmosphere dominating the Middle East, a desire to once again be at the forefront of civilization, and Libya is determined to be at the head.

They said a revolution in Libya was impossible; the very idea was laughed at. And yet, here we are, one year later, rebuilding a nation. Years from now, I expect, Libya will still continue to defy expectations. More...
Afrol News remembered why the Libyan people revolted in the first place:
Libya economy reveals basis for protests

While the Libyan economy drowns in petrodollars and its "Great leader" Muammar al-Ghaddafi buys support abroad, almost half of its youth are unemployed. The non-oil sector is tiny.

Libya is the richest North African country. Counted in GDP per capita, Libya indeed is on an Eastern European level.

But that does not reflect the real economy of the average Libyan, with around half the population falling outside the oil-driven economy. The unemployment rate is at a surprising 30 percent, with youth unemployment estimated at between 40 and 50 percent. This is the highest in North Africa.

Also other development indicators reveal that little of the petrodollars have been invested in the welfare of Libya's 6.5 million inhabitants. Education levels are lower than in neighbouring Tunisia, which has little oil, and a surprising 20 percent of Libyans remain illiterate.

Also, decent housing is unavailable to most of the disadvantaged half of the population. A generally high price level in Libya puts even more strains on these households.

But the key of popular discontent is the lack of work opportunities, which strongly contrasts the Libyan image of a rich nation constantly propagated by the regime and its Soviet-style media.

The few options for ordinary Libyans include the police or armed forces, construction works and petty trade. But even here, contacts and corruption are needed to have a chance. More...
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Assad: "Syria doesn't need a green light!"



Finally we have heard from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad!
Yesterday he gave his first broadcast interview to since a massive explosion in Damascus on 18 July took out four members of his command staff and started rumors about Assad's own health and well being.

I raised that speculation here in a number of diaries, beginning with BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying? on the day of the explosion. The interviewer from Al-Donia TV sounded like he was responding to this speculation when he suggested to Assad:
The president should appear everyday on TV so we don't hear rumors, where are you now Mr. president? [00:53]
The full interview is promised to be aired today at 9:00PM on Al-Donia TV. Four minutes of excerpts from the interview have been released earlier today. The YouTube video of those excerpts, together with English sub-titles, appears below. The time marks after the quotes refers to that video.

Al Jazeera English
got my attention early this morning when they used the following quote from Assad to introduce their report on his interview:
The truth is that Syria doesn't need a green light when dealing with it's internal affairs, neither from our allies or our enemies. [03:42]
I feel like my dairy, UPDATED: #Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in #Syria, has just received its 33rd donut, and this one from Bashar al-Assad himself!

I published that diary only a few hours after US President Obama made his statement that Assad's use of chemical weapons would be a "red line." I said that Obama was giving Assad a "green light" to use everything but chemical weapons.

While that notion was largely condemned by Kossacks, who awarded it 32 donuts, the diary has been shared, tweeted or liked more that 270 times. The idea and the phrase have been given wide currency by many closer to the Syrian struggle and continues to reverberate, as exampled by the tweet above from yesterday and the article below, new today.

Parts of President Assad's interview on 28.8.2012




In other news, I am sorry to report that George Galloway in joining the Assad propaganda team for £80k. Yesterday Galloway himself favored one of my tweets commenting on this:



From the Pocono Record today:
Assad could take Obama's message as green light

August 29, 2012

WASHINGTON — Faced with a rapidly deteriorating situation in Syria, President Obama stepped into the White House briefing room on Monday and outlined the conditions under which he might "change my calculus" and ramp up U.S. military involvement in the country. His red line, he explained, is Syria's store of chemical weapons — and not only if they are used, but if there is evidence that they are being moved around and positioned for potential use.

On its surface, this sounds like good news for those watching with despair the horrors that the Syrian people are experiencing. Tens of thousands of Syrians are flowing across the border to Turkey. Refugee camps are being built to accommodate them, but the Turkish government says they cannot handle more than 100,000 people. Some 70,000 people displaced from Syria are already living in Turkish camps.

Obama issued what is essentially a threat to Syrian President Assad. If the embattled Assad indicates that he is prepared to use chemical weapons on his own people to put down the rebellion, he can expect U.S. military force to come raining down on him. The last time the leader of a country resorted to chemical weapons was in the1990's when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein used them against the Kurds in northern Iraq.

Assad may well be thinking that Syria could be the next Iraq with "shock and awe" from U.S. weapons and U.S. forces, and if he had any inclination toward unleashing his country's stockpile of chemical weapons, he realizes that would be like entering into a suicide pact. If he wants to remain in power, he better make sure those weapons remain carefully contained and there is no hint that they might be deployed.

On the other hand, Assad may well look on Obama's words as a green light to crack down on the uprising in his country with any means possible short of chemical weapons. That is not the message Obama wanted to send, but it is the risk Obama runs by spelling out so explicitly what he regards as the tipping point for more aggressive U.S. military involvement.

If Assad refrains from introducing chemical weapons, he can be fairly confident that every other brutality of war will be met by strong words of condemnation from the White House, but American military power will remain leashed. More ...
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Monday, August 27, 2012

Amnesty site hacked, Assad propaganda posted

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As of this hour Amnesty International is being coy with the details, but it is pretty clear that their website was hacked and a fake report condemning the Syrian opposition and supporting the Assad regime was posted, just as was done to the Reuters news website a few weeks ago.

Of course it should surprise no one that those that support mass murder as policy are also willing to lie and deceive but we still have Kossacks that will post stuff from Syrian government websites as though they had any creditability at all.

Clearly they aren't satisfied with spreading there lies through their own channels or those of their surrogates, they aren't satisfied with keeping reporters out of the country and killing those that get in anyway, they are becoming cyber criminals to subvert the honest reports of others that have worked hard to earn the public's respect.

This fake article appeared on the AI website earlier today but it is gone now:
Amnesty demands to stop arming the terrorists in Syria
August 28, 2012 1:42 AM

Amnesty researchers have for the first time since the beginning of the uprising conducted a research mission inside Syria.

The full report reveals the shocking detail of the crimes against humanity committed by the rebels in Syria and the devastating impact on Syrian families.

Amnesty’s visit established a pattern of abuse and collective punishment used by the rebels against any Syrians who do not comply with their desire to overthrow the sovereign government for the installation of an Islamic caliphate.

The Syrian rebels who are affiliated with al-Qaeda continue to blame the Syrian army for massacres, despite clear evidence of their involvement in the massacres.

One of the most prominent German language newspapers Reported that the Houla massacre was conducted by sectarian rebels, called Free Army militia

Victims of the massacre in Houla were members of the Alawite and Shiite minorities.

The head of one of the Sunni families killed in Houla was a government supporter and participated in the parliamentary elections (part of the democratic reforms sweeping the country).

There has been cases of the Syrian rebels (FSA) abusing prisoners, in one case 16 prisoners were executed by the rebels who then attempted to lay the blame on the Syrian Army, a story which Qatar state media al-jazeera reported without questioning.

Residents of Aleppo have grown tired of the indiscriminate mortar fire they face at the hands of the Syrian rebels which has taken many innocent lives.

There is overwhelming evidence that crimes against humanity are being committed, yet the US, its NATO allies, Israel using Qatar and Turkey as a proxy, continue to ship weapons to Syria and delay, veto or obfuscate international action against the rebels.

Amnesty is calling on the UN calling for an arms embargo on all those nations that are funding and arming the insurgency in Syria, namely, the US, Britian, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Furthermore amnesty is calling for the freezing of assets of Turkish

prime minister Erdogan, Qatar’s king Hamed, Saudi king Abdula A-Saud, president Obama and Syrian National Council members, and the situation to be referred to the ICC.

It is clear the al-Qaeda affiliated rebels are not going to stop their crimes. And with no accountability and a steady supply of weapons, why should they given they have come this far under NATO protection?

Russia must immediately use its influence to end this violence and support the UN Security Council to end NATO’s reign of terror upon Syria and refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. Amnesty supporters have not forgotten the people of Syria and will continue to demand accountability for these horrific crimes against humanity.
This article contains many falsehoods and inaccuracies and is very much at odds with the latest article about Syria on the AI site:

“Why is the world silent?” Syrian refugees speak

I received notice of it via email with this link, which can also be found in Google's cache, http://livewire.amnesty.org/2012/08/27/amnesty-calls-on-un-to-stop-the-us-qatar-and-turkey-funding-and-arming-syria-rebels/langswitch_lang/en/

But that link is broken and returns "page not found"

Unsurprisingly, this fake Amnesty International article can still be found at this Syrian government site. That is where I found the full text of the article.

Al Jazeera Live Blog has this on the incident:
The uprising in Syria has increasingly been taking to cyberspace. On Monday, Amnesty International said that it was investigating how fake blog posts attacking the Syrian opposition came to be posted on its website.

The human rights group did not provide details, but it was possible the article was the result of hacking by supporters of President Bashar al-Assad's government. The blog post claimed that a research mission conducted by Amnesty inside Syria has uncovered ``crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian rebels", including prisoner abuse and execution.

The post called on the United Nations to impose an arms embargo on nations supporting the Syrian opposition.

Amnesty said it was alerted to the blog posts on Monday and immediately removed them.
Here are my related diaries on Syria:
BREAKING: 630 Slaughtered in new massacre in Syria
Special message from Syrian children to Obama
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
General Meade at Gettysburg
Tell US gov't to stop endangering Syrian activists
UPDATED: #Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in #Syria
Syria: Turning Battlegrounds into Playgrounds
BREAKING: Bashar al-Assad is alive as deaths in Syria reach 25,000
The Left and the Arab Spring
Iran increasing its intervention in Syria
Syria: Images from the Battle of Aleppo
Fears grow of WMD attack in Syria
UPDATED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
BREAKING: Syria releases new images of Bashar al- Assad | Are they fakes?
NOT BREAKING NEWS: Just another massacre in Syria
UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
Syria: FSA says Iranian pilgrims really Republican Guard
Syria: Aleppo under Siege!
BREAKING: UN votes to condemn Assad Regime as Reuters posts false story on Syria
BREAKING: Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
Syria: Bashar al-Assad not heard from on Armed Forces Day!
BREAKING: Senior Syrian diplomat to Armenia defects
BREAKING: Big Explosion hits #Damascus #Syria
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
BREAKING: Reports of clashes between Jordan Army & Assad's Syrian army
BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
Syria: Foreign meddling increases as crisis builds
BREAKING: Aleppo, Syria bombed with fighter jets
BREAKING: Syria issues a correction, it has no WMD to use
BREAKING: Arab League asks Assad to step down!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
no blood for oil
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria
Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout