Prison Planet.com » Media Lies Used to Provide a Pretext for Another “Humanitarian War”: Protest in Syria: Who Counts the Dead?
According to numerous reports from the Western media, human rights organisation, as well as the UN, countless peaceful civilians have been killed by the Syrian forces since the beginning of the unrest in the country in mid March. But where do the numbers come from?
Many media reports on the alleged deadly repression by the Syrian government fail to mention the sources of their information, which are very often referred to solely as “human rights groups” or “activists”:
“Rights groups said Sunday that troops cracking down on pro-democracy protesters killed eight people in northern Idlib province and four more in central areas near Hama. (Syrian Forces Kill 12 as ICRC Head Visits Damascus, Voice of America, September 4, 2011.)
These protests are an unprecedented challenge to President Bashar al-Assad — and his family, which has ruled the country for more than 40 years. The cost has been high: at least 200 dead, according to human rights groups, and many cyber activists have been jailed. (Deborah Amos, Syrian Activist In Hiding Presses Mission From Abroad, NPR, April 22, 2011.)
At least 75 people have been killed today in Syria during mass protests, local human rights activists told Amnesty International [...]
Thirty were killed in the southern town of Izzra’, 22 in Damascus, 18 in the Homs area and the rest in other towns and villages, activists said [...] (Scores killed in Syria as ‘Great Friday’ protests are attacked, Amnesty International, April 22, 2011.)
Although the necessity to remain “anonymous” where dissent is said to be life threatening may under certain circumnstances be understandable, this stance inevitably raises suspicions: The “‘numbers” can be used to demonize the government, as part of covert operations by any state or organisation looking for regime change in Damascus. It is no secret that the overthrow of the Syrian regime has been a long-sought goal by several foreign powers, including the U.S. and Israel.
A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The reliance of the mainstream media on information emanating from anonymous groups provides a biased understanding of the Syrian protests, which in turn supports the broader objective of destabilizing the Syrian regime.
When information from unknown sources pertaining to the death toll is published either by a mainstream media or a recognized human rights group, it is invariably picked up and considered as “factual evidence” by other news sources or think tanks, without further verification. Moreover, intghe process the information is subject to further distortion. Here is an example of this phenomenon:
Rights group Amnesty International said on Friday that it has recorded the names of 171 people killed since the first protesters died in Daraa on March 18.
The group based its tally on information received from rights activists, lawyers and other sources and said the majority appeared to have been killed by live ammunition fired by the security forces. (Protesters killed in southern Syria, Al Jazeera, April 9, 2011.)
The above news article is based on trhe following statenment by Amnesty International:
At least 171 people are believed to have been killed during three weeks of unrest in Syria, Amnesty International said today after at least eight more fatalities during protests.
The death toll from today’s clashes could rise significantly, according to reports from human rights activists in the country.
Amnesty International has recorded the names, via information received from sources including human rights activists and lawyers, of 171 people killed. (Death toll rises amid fresh Syrian protests, Amnesty International, April 8, 2011.)
The original information from Amnesty international (AI) is that “171 people are believed to have been killed”, a statement showing that although “it has recorded the names of 171 people killed”, this information could not be confirmed. Al Jazeera fails to report this “uncertainty” and by doing so makes it a fact rather than an assumption, that 171 people were killed.
Here is another example of blatant distortion:
Despite a pledge to end its crackdown, Syrian security forces continued to suppress anti-regime protestors, killing at least eighteen on Thursday in the city of Homs (al-Jazeera). (Jonathan Masters, Assad’s Broken Promises, Council on Foreign Relations, November 3, 2011.)
This is an analysis from the Council on Foreign Relations, the famous and extremely powerful U.S. foreign policy think tank . It is based on the following article from Al Jazeera where the information related to the killing is markedly different:
“Dozens of people have reportedly been killed in the flashpoint city of Homs, as Syrian security forces bombarded residential areas with tanks.