21st Century Wire
February 12, 2012
LONDON – We can already see exact parallels with the current PR operation to bring down Syria with how Libya went down. In one story published today, it seems that one award-winning mainstream newspaper has been caught red-handed running faux news on Syria – and incredibly, it’s not the first time this exact story has been used.
Late last week, reporter Alastair Beach of The Independent newspaper based in London, cited “evidence” in his article entitled “Assad’s slaughter of the innocents“, claiming that Syrian President Assad’s security forces have indiscriminately killed scores of newborn babies in Homs this week, as his article claims:
“Bashar al-Assad’s bloody siege of Homs intensified yesterday as clear evidence emerged that his indiscriminate shelling of the restive town had started claiming innocent victims, including at least 18 premature babies and three entire families. The evidence came as civilians in the besieged city endured a fifth day of incessant shellfire – the worst yet, according to eyewitnesses – with dozens of other people being killed as the brutal assault continued.”
Writer Beach’s source for his claims seem to originate from only one organization, not in Syria – but in London. Surprisingly, the Independent’s chief source for the alleged horrors in question is a nearly invisible organization known as the ”Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”(SOHR) (and to make matters worse, there are two competing SOHR orgs in London- with the same name although the Independent does not provide a link to either org), who claim to have an office based in London, but apparently have no address or contact phone number listed – only and email address. Even murkier however, is that fact that there are no names associated with the SOHR on their website, and many of its articles have been written under the fictitious pen name known as “Rami Abdul Rahman“.
It’s likely that “Rami Abdul Rahman” could be one Rami Abdelrahman, depicted in other online press coverage as head of the SOHR, and is reported to have met with Britain’s Foreign Secretary,William Hague at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on November 21, 2011.
One can only conclude that with no names or contact information, the SOHR is – by definition – a very well-hidden, clandestine lobbying organization, and in this case, it appears to be lobbying for regime change in Syria, from inside Britain’s Foreign Office.
Before regime change in Tripoli, the US, France and Britain relied on the likes of Soliman Bouchuiguir, the former Libyan League for Human Rights president with ties to NATO’s National Transitional Council (NTC), helped to generate numerous lies needed by the west to justify NATO’s now famously titled “humanitarian intervention” – allegedly to protect Libyans. This human rights impostor – like his present day Syrian counterpart Rami Abdelrahman who may very well have ties to the Paris-based rebel coalition known as Syrian National Council (SNC), made then Colonel Moumar Gaddafi a targeted by spreading lies of alleged state crimes – but with with no evidence, as outlined in documents released last October by the publication Voltaire. Syria’s President Assad is currently undergoing the exact same treatment, and in the exact same manner.
Babies in incubators: a recycled media hoax
Amazingly, this exact same story was also making the rounds recently in August of 2011, when a similar claim was busy circulating online through various social networks including Twitter in Arabic – the exact same tale of premature babies who died in their incubators when Syrian forces cut off electricity to hospitals during their assault, not in Homs, but on the city of Hama.
Even though it admits that it could not independently verify the account, CNN still ran with the SOHR rumor back in August, broadcasting: ”Rights Group: 8 babies die after power cut to Syrian hospital“.
Electronic Infidada reported on the August 2011 baby hoax, stating back then, “Evidence suggests it is a cruel hoax, and the pictures of the “dead babies” widely circulated online are false.” They went on to outline parallels between the August faux story and other past regime change PR campaigns:
“URGENT – Syria | The electricity was cut today from the city of Hama, and the outage included the hospitals. Following this, the Shabiha [state militia] deliberately destroyed the electricity generators in the hospitals which led to the deaths of all the premature babies (more than 40 in a single hospital).”
To me the story was immediately suspicious. First of all it sounded too much like the false reports of invading Iraqi troops throwing babies out of incubators in Kuwait in August 1990 — reports that were used to build public support and urgency for the 1991 Gulf War. These claims were part of an elaborate propaganda effort by the Washington PR consultancy Hill & Knowlton hired by the Kuwaiti government.
The fact that an award-winning newspaper like the UK’s Independent would use such a shadowy outfit to support one of its most shocking headlined stories on the crisis in Syria – is also surprising in itself. The biggest problem with both seperate claims of dying babies in incubators put forward by the SOHR, and circulated in the corporate media by the likes of The Independent and CNN, is that at no point along the line, has the SOHR been held accountable for what are patently unsubstantiated claims.
Lobbying groups and their governments in-exile are traditionally the source of anti-regime “heart-string” reports which have in the past been passed on for broadcast by major media outlets, which naturally follows with favoring pre-emptive military strike, or as recently seen with Libya – a ‘humanitarian intervention’.
We can see how the corporate media will knowingly run sensationalist, unverified accounts of human rights events in countries like Libya and Syria, but what about out elected leaders? Will they too run with these same wild claims in order to make their public case for war?
No doubt. Members of the NATO governments have also been assigned their roles in making intervention possible. Britain’s William Hague seems to be running point on the PR campaign for regime change in Syria. Following Russia and China’s veto of the UN’s recent revolution for action in Syria, Hague condemned the decision – and used wild, unverified statistics most likely gleaned from his friend at the SOHR, as reported by the Guardian:
“More than 2,000 people have died since Russia and China vetoed the last draft resolution in October 2011,” he said after the vote. “How many more need to die before Russia and China allow the UN security council to act?”
Journalist Tony Cartalucci reported back in December regarding the clandestine activities of SOHR, adding:
It is quite clear that the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” based in London and receiving the entirety of their reports via “phone” & YouTube videos from Syria, is working in coordination with both US-funded NGOs and the British Foreign Minister. Considering that Hague similarly coddled Libyan opposition leaders in London while playing a key role in promoting the NATO attack on Libya and the subsequent installation of a BP oilman as “prime minister,” Abdelrahman’s consorting signifies a verbatim repeat of the now openly fraudulent and genocidal NATO campaign in Libya.
Just as in Libya, where “human rights activists” have now admitted to fabricating the evidence used by the International Criminal Court and the United Nations to rubber stamp Wall Street and London’s designs for regime change, likewise the “evidence” from Syria has turned out to be a complete fraud, derived by opposition “witnesses” and compiled by a corporate D.C. think-tank director into a UN “human rights report.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights serves as the exclusive source of “reports” coming out of Syria despite the fact that it is actually, entirely based in London. While it is verified that the NGOs it works in tandem with are US-funded, the Observatory itself fails to publish where its money comes from or the backgrounds of those that constitute its membership. We then, are expected to simply believe on face value a mysterious organization whose head meets with the British government and their unverified “witness accounts” as evidence to initiate military intervention at the cost of potentially millions of lives.
The UN based the whole premise for its Security Council Resolution 1973 for Libya on reports from western-backed Libyan rebels and the NTC. Their wild claims included – unbelievably and highly reported by the western media – that Gaddafi led jet attacks on his own people, and killed more than 6,000 unarmed protester cum civilians in the run up to NATO intervention. This jet claim was needed as a key component in order to get a No Fly Zone included in resolution 1973.
During the run-up to their vote on the matter, no due diligence was carried out by any of the UN member states, which stands to reason, why the whole UN Libyan affair – from beginning to end, was planned and executed as a political operation – hardly of any humanitarian concern.
Here we are again, at another crossroads, so soon after the last one. And like clockwork, the same patterns are emerging to sway western public opinion, this time against President Assad and his Syrian government. It seems that consumers of the press in the west are being force fed another endless diet of false claims designed to sway public opinion in favor of military action by NATO, or NATO-backed allies in Syria, and later in Iran.
This writer has already attempted to contact SOHR via their email address, in order to receive further clarification as to the source of their recent claims that Assad’s security forces are responsible for the death of 18 newborn babies, but have yet to receive any response from the London-based organization.