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SYRIA: Child Exploitation: Who is ‘Bana of Aleppo’?


SEE ALSO:
 When Bana Al-Abed Blocked @21WIRE on Twitter

bana

By Barbara McKenzie

First there was the Gay Girl of Damascus, back in 2011, and now we have @AlabedBana tweeting from Aleppo.

The Bana story all began in September of 2016 when 7 year old Bana began to tweet from eastern Aleppo to share with the world her anxiety about living in a war-torn city. It is perhaps a sad reflection of the world we live in that her arrival on the social media scene provoked a certain amount of scepticism, hilarity even. It seems only fair to endeavour to consider the Bana case objectively.

Bana, as we are told, lives with her parents and two brothers in Aleppo. Her mother Fatemah is a teacher who ‘manages Bana’s twitter account’ and occasionally tweets herself, and her father Ghassan works in the ‘legal department of the local council’, whatever that means – the area is totally controlled by al Nusra [al Qaeda in Syria] who have set up their own council:

aleppo-east-council

Bana’s first tweet was heart-wrenching:

Bana’s sole purpose in tweeting is to tell us about the bombing of Aleppo by Putin and Assad, and to ask us to do something about it (Bana herself has lost one or two friends to the bombing, though we never learn their names). The tweets are almost invariably variations on the themes of bombs, the need for peace, pray for us, save us.

There are also calls for Assad and Putin to be tried for war crimes:

Wee Bana hit the ground running on 24 September with about 20 tweets,  and has continued at a good rate ever since, managing over 120 on 4 October (including retweets).   I myself used twitter for weeks before I used hashtags and I was slow to learn the jargon.  Bana, however, was up to speed from the beginning, and over the first two days we got #Aleppo, #HolocaustAleppo #MassacreInAleppo #StopAleppoMassacre.  She is well up on acronyms like POTUS and OMG.   Followers were impressed with Bana’s command of English idiom:

To have mastered English contractions like ‘I’ll’ and idiomatic expressions such as ‘horrible dream’ at the age of seven puts Bana in the genius category. The problem is, when cute Bana was videoed, it became apparent that she wasn’t a child prodigy at all, in fact she couldn’t put two words of English together if not rote-learned. It was clear that whoever wrote the tweets was nothing to do with the small actor reciting, eg. on her 1st day of tweeting (yes, that was all set to go from the outset too):

She was slightly more practised by 6 October:

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Clearly, Bana cannot speak very much English, surely nothing near her incisive, highly nuanced and politicized, and often cynical commentary on Twitter. For Western media outlets like NBC News, The Guardian, the London Telegraph and others to suggest Bana wrote any of her Tweets – shows the level of news fakery that these mainstream corporate media outlets normally operate on.]

29th October was another disaster.

One sharp-eyed fan was very impressed with the new clothes sported by Bana and her brothers in the following clip (thank you Vivienne@KitchandBot):

Bana has a friend, Mr Alhamdo, who describes himself as a teacher, reporter, and activist.  It is probable that he helps with the technical aspects of running the twitter account, such as videoing and either uploading or passing them on; he tweets fairly good, idiomatic English of a similar style to that ascribed to Bana and her mother, so it has been mooted that he also composes their tweets (some disagree).

mr-alhamdo

Al Hamdo and ostensibly resides in Aleppo, along with Bana.  However Gazientep, base for a number of Western-backed NGOs, has been bombed by the Turks and would provide the necessary apocalyptic scenes, for both Bana and journalists claiming to report from eastern Aleppo. Regardless of whether he is Bana, it seems unlikely that the tweeting comes out of Aleppo given the volume of tweets.

Bana’s ‘father’ ‘Ghassan Alabed’ seems to be a real person: he has his own Facebook page , dating back to 2001, and twitter account, @ghassanalabed77 which was only opened in September, coinciding with the launching of the Bana Project (thank you @Qoppa999).  He does not feature in Bana’s tweets and videos, so he may indeed work in Aleppo (for a sharia court, @Qoppa999 suggests).  It is most unlikely that he is related to Bana, as she only features in his Facebook page from October 2016, i.e. as part of the project.  Furthermore, there seems to be some confusion about her name:

Zahra.PNG

Someone else who has been mooted as ‘Mr Bana’ is AJ Joshi @AJ)who  interviewed Bana, or rather Bana’s mother, via Periscope. The interview makes for painful listening, but John Delacour (@JohnDelacour) has provided a transcription of a typical segment:

convo44

In mid-November Fatemah uploaded onto youtube a strange video which endeavours to prove how Bana’s family are really being bombed.  Fatemah talks and there are the sounds of children, but no attempt to show any of these people.  We see ruined buildings and smoke in the distance, which could come from bombing, but not the promised airplanes.  There is no reason to believe that this is not footage with a completely separate voice-over added later.

After three weeks Bana was following 51 people.  None of them would be an obvious pick for a seven year old girl: without exception they were politicians, corporate media or social media activists.  Most of them could be considered sympathetic to the war on Syria; many of them have strong links with terrorist groups.

Iyad el-Baghdadi, Louisa LoveluckJulian Roepcke, Sophie McNeill – all determined supporters of the Syrian ‘revolution’, are very familiar to pro-Syrian activists who spend any time on Twitter.  Bana is also following the pro-terrorist National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces and the White Helmets – the fake humanitarian organisation that presently has a petition calling for a No-Fly (i.e. NATO bombing) zone in Syria.  A particularly sinister choice is @IranArabSpring, which is focused on regime change in Iran, presumably by the same bloody route.

One of the first to be followed by Bana, and typical, was the Australian journalist Sophie McNeill who was instrumental in promoting the Madaya hoax/beatup in January 2016.  The story went that inhabitants of Madaya, a town besieged by the government, were starving and that it was all the fault of the Syrian government who were preventing aid from reaching the town.  In fact many if not all the photos were fake, aid for three months had gone into Madaya in October, and the chief problem was terrorists selling food at exorbitant prices.  Many of the others followed by Bana are likewise involved in pushing misinformation on the Syrian war.

SEE ALSO: RESCUE REDUX: Are Syria’s White Helmets ‘Recycling’ its Child Victims?

Bana built-up a huge following within days, reaching 65,000 by 3 October.  A very large proportion of the followers appeared to be fake accounts, which again suggests that very savvy people are managing the project.

The corporate media, however, have without exception taken Bana to their hearts, with poignant articles free of all doubt appearing in the Telegraph, the Guardian, and on all the main television channels.   The New Statesman went on the attack against the many people who have made fun of the account.

The latest endorsement has come from author JK Rowling who sent Bana a set of Harry Potter ebooks (in English):

The Agenda

There can be no doubt that the Bana Project is a scam, that the tweets are written to promote the NATO narrative of the Syrian War, with regard to the participation of Syrian and Russian forces, in order to facilitate regime change in Syria.

The sympathies of the Bana Project are totally with the extremists who are terrorising residents of eastern Aleppo, shelling western Aleppo, and are in imminent danger of being forced out by the Syrian Arab Army and allies like Hezbollah and the Palestinian Al Quds brigade.

From the first days Bana accused Assad and Putin of perpetrating a holocaust, a massacre, of carrying out a bombing campaign using cluster bombs, phosphorus, thermite bombs, and of course barrel bombs.  Since then the account has continued the theme of bombing and Assad/Putin culpability, along with constant calls for the world to do something, ‘to stop the bombing’.

No mention is ever made of the terrorists who mow down demonstrators in the streets of eastern Aleppo and prevent humanitarian aid reaching the area.  Bana’s family may be in a position to repeat the dubious claim that Russia bombed a school in Idlib, but show no interest in the atrocities caused by hellfire cannon directed by terrorists at western Aleppo.  When young swimmer Mireille Hindoyan was killed by a terrorist shell in the Armenian quarter in western Aleppo,  the Bana Project, along with the Independent (UK), smoothly implied that this was due to Russian bombing.

‘BANA PROPAGANDA PROJECT’: West Aleppo female swimmer Mireille Hindoyan was killed by US Coalition ‘rebel’ terrorists – not the Russian as ‘Bana’ claimed on Twitter.

The purpose of the Bana Project is to create in the outside world a conviction that Russia and Syria are committing serious war crimes by recklessly bombing civilians [eastern Aleppo].  In fact both Russia and Syria have denied that they are bombing in Aleppo, and given that Syria has launched a massive land operation to take Aleppo it seems most unlikely that the alliance is bombing at the same time.

However, persuading the world that atrocities are being committed could lead to one of two outcomes.  As with Madaya, there is pressure on Syria and Russia to abandon the siege and any hope of liberating Aleppo, east and west, from terrorist depredations.  Syria and its allies would be circumscribed, at worst the terrorists would be allowed to make gains, and at the least there would be a stalemate, facilitating eventual partition.

The other desired outcome,  first preference for many since early in the war, is to garner support for a no-fly zone.  Russia and China have so far vetoed any UN resolution to that effect, having seen how the resolution was applied to Libya.

The US, however, have recently  passed a resolution that calls for evaluating and developing plans for the United States to impose a “No Fly Zone” inside Syria unilaterally, despite the inevitability of a clash with Russia.  Whether it is prepared to take this step, or whether it can act before Aleppo is completely liberated, remains to be seen.

Is the end nigh for Bana?

Things are now moving fast in Aleppo, with the Syrian Arab Army, Hezbollah and the Palestinian al Quds Brigade taking new areas of Aleppo on a daily basis.  Bana has been sending out desperate warnings of impending doom with one last tweet from Fatemah:

And then another from ‘Bana’ at 3am:

It is notable that while 7.8 thousand people had retweeted the above when I viewed it, of the dozen or so people who commented the majority were people who ridiculed the tweet, a few more were clearly activists or trolls, and only one or two were in the ‘kind-hearted stranger’ category.

How many genuine followers Bana actually has is therefore in serious doubt.

There has been speculation that Bana is about to be written out, however at 10.00am Syrian time, 28 November, she was alive and still tweeting…

EDITORS NOTE: Watch this ridiculous video, where clearly Adults behind the camera are forcing the child to read off of cue cards. Clearly little Bana cannot actually speak English, so this just goes to further prove what a complete fraud this cruel media PR exercise truly is:


.
In this video posted on Nov 6th, apparently from East Aleppo, when asked to speak with no cue cards, the child Bana cannot really speak English at all:

 

***

SEE MORE ALEPPO UPDATES HERE

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  • Space Ghost

    WOW! Bana with one of the few (alleged), or only, sighting of barrel bombs from within Syria. Or is it the ISIS, Al Nusrah, Hell Cannons?

    Get on this one Wolf Blitzer, you got an exclusive here, get it on camera–don’t show something out of context, go there and get it on camera. Find Bana and you’ll find barrel bombs! You’re a studio guy… okay, give this one to Fox and Geraldo.

  • Alex Ocana

    She is quite the charismatic little actress, has real child star potential. Maybe all her friends in MSM can get her an audition in Hollywood to star in the next Harry Potter sequel, or write a screenplay just for her to star in. If I was her mum, I’d be out of wherever she is and on my way to Hollywood.

    • Space Ghost

      Don’t send her to Hollywood to become a star Alex. That might be more dangerous, at least psychologically or for other sick abuses, then wherever she is tweeting from.

      Maybe she could be a child prodigy and go straight to Merrimack College and teach journalism right next to Melissa Zimdars.

      ; )

  • hawaiiguy

    Good for her and her siblings to get new clothes. I can’t ever question a child like this, or any child. They are helpless innocent victims. I am certain they’re probably part of the white helmets program campaign, but they’re innocent children so I have to feel for them. Poor kids. And congrats to the massive liberation campaign Syria and Russia. 80,000 and counting, keep pushing daesh back to hell!!!

    • Alex Ocana

      I feel the same way. These poor kids get caught up in wars they have nothing to do with and I feel sick about them being used for propaganda. Unless, I can validate that they are for real. I have been following Janna, now ten, in Nabi Saleh, Palestine for years, know people who have visited her family, know that she is exactly where she says she is when she films, wherever she is reporting from. I IM with her mother from time to time if I find an “issue”. Its quite plain that Janna isn’t being manipulated and posts verifiable reportage from her cell phone.

      Bana would have done a much better job as a peacemaker if she would have left out all the plain propaganda and just posted verifiable truths. Straight out diary without her mother hijacking it. It is not really Bana’s diary so much as her agent’s.

      I have for example, shown that she was visiting Mr. Al Hambo in West Aleppo at the language Institute where he works (see the post of them together in front of the sign, and follow his twitter profile which has a linked address and locality of Google Earth).

      I have a lot of material to try and factually verify or debunk the propaganda effort. If bombs are falling, I need to see the situation reports for those days and a way to check the buildings to see if they are the same as those filmed from “her window.” I have various image angles from different places she has posted to check things like “Bombed the house next door.” with weeks later “My house bombed.”

      I wasn’t being facetious about Hollywood. She really is a good actress and if she hadn’t been hijacked she could have made a difference as a peacemaker. I wish her safety and a good life. As it is, I feel manipulated.

  • Tobyy
  • Alex Ocana

    An hour ago Bana’s account posted that they “got out of Aleppo safe and unharmed.” Then goes on that they have received death threats and are convinced they are “targeted” by the SAA. Once again, I feel manipulated.

    Nevertheless, if SAA intelligence has any sense at all, if they encounter Bana and her Mom, they should be treated with utmost and verifiable kindness. Make sure the world knows about the reconciliation efforts. Get her an exit visa to somewhere like Turkey (the USA purportedly doesn’t permit Al-Nusra terrorist affiliates) she can make kid feature films about bunnies and commercials for dolls.

    Sorry for the flood of my comments.

  • Jesper Larsen

    Excellent break down of the story – I have one thing to add:

    “Bana’s” first tweet is at September 24 at 14:07, then 14:12 and then 14:13. The 3rd tweet is almost immediately RT by “freelance journalist Abdelazizz Ahmed” @AbdelAhmedJ who within 5 minutes reaches out to Western “journalists”. This guy, Ahmed, has created his twitter account on September 5 so it’s also a brand new account with no interaction (no likes) from his first tweets.

    He links to his Al-Jazeera profile where he has one published story:
    http://www.aljazeera.com/profile/abdelazizz-ahmed.html

    His RT is made of Bana’s 3rd tweet is deleted by now but was present until recently. Evidence is from the Jim Clansy @ClancyReports twitter.
    http://imgur.com/a/vkBAd
    Clansy RT’s Ahmeds RT of Bana. Clansy is one of the accounts he tags in his now deleted first Bana-tweet – APPROXIMATELY ONLY 6 MINUTES AFTER BANA MADE HER FIRST TWEET EVER!

    On September 29 the Daily Mail has the “exclusive” about Bana.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3809920/Please-stop-bombing-Putin-Assad-Seven-year-old-Bana-Alabed-sets-live-Twitter-feed-ruins-Aleppo-faces-propaganda-claims-social-media.html

    as you see the Abdelazizz Ahmed is co-writer.

    Have a look at his account tweets preceding Daily Mail article – nobody likes his tweets and he only tweets about Bana. He is an obvious fake and Jay Akbar, assistant news editor at DailyMail.com should answer questions about the production about his exclusive in corporation with “Abdelazizz Ahmed”.

    My coverage in Danish:
    http://www.kommunikationsforum.dk/jesper-larsen-5/blog/syrien-psyobs-1-0-1-paa-dr-dot-dk-public-service

    • Orange Pekeo

      Excellent research Jesper. I think you have cracked the case.

  • CCL

    This article is pure SHIT

    • pane

      like this purely ridiculous shitty comment of yours.

      • CCL

        you said “like this…” so u agree with me, thanks. Anyway, I SHIT in your mom’s mouth, while she moans dying of cancer!

        • Brozza

          CCL – For that comment, you are a total scumbag.

        • Analyze_This_88

          CCL – you sound like a “moderate rebel” alright. True colors of the ‘opposition’. Psychotic.

      • Brad Long

        lived in Syria , your a dupe if you believe this bullshit about Assad , he is a progressive reformer and very popular , Syrians know the US is responsible

        • pane

          But you re talking to me or to that fool who is denigrating Syrian legitimate gov. supporting U.S. war propaganda?

          • Andrew_Nichols

            Dont feed the trolls.

  • Alex Ocana

    Yesterday morning I was able to locate the park with some degree of certainty in which the many films and images of “Bana’s house” were taken over the past month. I didn’t post for ethical reasons. Five hours ago, another Google Earth jockey also found the same park I postulated and posted it on twitter. The cat is out of the bag. According to situation maps this neighborhood, Sha’ar, I believe is the name, has been liberated a few hours ago.

    Also from recent reports from other people escaping the terrorists and a careful reading of her and her mother’s tweets, I find a strong suggestion that Bana and mother may have been coerced into this propaganda campaign. There are also many reports of brainwashing of captive populace by Al-Nusra , ISIS and allies. I will urge anyone who may capture them to be kind. We don’t need to further victimize 7 year old brainwash victims, do we?

    Any reporters who visit the neighborhood may want to confirm the strongly suggested park and do further research on site. My aim was twofold: 1) Expose false propaganda using children, 2) protect the child from harm from either (all) sides. I am sorry if I failed.

    https://twitter.com/Ald_Aba/status/805431343941357568

    • Alex Ocana

      Strangely enough, the center left side of this plaza is named “Alabed Hospital”, the only reference to it on google is found on wikimapia where it is labeled:

      Last hospital in Aleppo
      Pls no bomb

    • Alex Ocana

      Let me start by saying that I have a very active bullshit meter and I get pissed off being lied to by anyone, even those whose ideology I fully support. If we can’t base our revolution on truth then we should just join the damn corporate police state and collect our $200 when we pass GO.

      There is a twitter post going around showing Bana “Banana” Alabed with two Zinka gang maggots who beheaded a boy some weeks ago. I did the following forensic analysis of the Bana with terrorists photo: spectrum, noise, level, spectrum, luminescence, contrast, clone detection.

      I discovered it is a composite of three separate photographs. Its a fake and folks should refrain from posting it as it discredits the victory of the Syrian people in liberating Aleppo with a false narrative.

      The complete analysis is on my Facebook page under my name with the same avatar (search for it if you want, I hate to advertise) and its too lengthy to post here. But I will share two of the forensic analysis:

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/729c7573a9e284d68bff8b945af7353a2e9a75987a32b00b1692c0c5e54ad1f4.png

      Noise Analysis. This clearly shows that the facial part of Bana’s segment of the photo and shoulders is blocked in with straight lines.

      Clone detection: This clearly shows that the Zinka beheading murderer in the black shirt has his left sleeve and top right sleeve blocked in, that is showing straight lines), as is Bana Banana’s right cheek. In addition, the terrorist on the lower left’s beard has any sort of “fuzz” composited out.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0aab4f82b485edd0493b1f3f95ebea7e2e61eb0ed948c776622c0a869e946536.png tion:

      Once again, I don’t in anyway support what her mother is doing, its monstrous on multiple levels. But there are plenty of false narratives on MSM and unreported atrocities like Hell Cannons and schools used as chemical weapons plants, to allow bullshit memes purportedly from our side to be circulated and discredit the true story. Its fucking wrong.

  • MxMillan

    ‘ohnoes moi hacked, bai y’all’ lol. RIP @AlabedBana twitter 2016-2016. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
    Why strange things like “last clown” somehow ended up in Aleppo? Baboon? Apple? They are so bizarre. I’d rather read something else like Confession of a British Spy that some friends rec’d to me.

  • Tom

    Sad case of child exploitation for purposes of propaganda. I would not be surprised if her minders switched sides and she started tweeting of her love for Assad.

    I also would not be surprised if her and her mother were held hostage or totally brainwashed.

    Who knows. Assad is not a nice guy by any means but the choice seems to be between bad and very bad.

  • Stewart

    Propagandists always use Children and Women as the focal points of their emotionally driven messages. Look as far back as the sinking of the Lusitania during WWI, the images of women and children drowning were used to stir up emotions while the ignoring the fact that munitions were illegally being transported and the ship was intentionally sent into the areas where the german wolf packs were know to be.

  • Jesper Larsen

    New York Times starting to get skeptical about Bana-story. Does this mean NY Times should be put on a “fake news” list along with 21st Century Wire? 😉

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/07/world/middleeast/aleppo-twitter-girl-syria.html

  • The Awakening

    21st Century Wire have outlined the case that fake news like this, could precipitate World War 3…

    Was it not JF Kennedy that warned the media to investigate properly?

    President John F Kennedy’s speech, warning us…

  • Deïr Yassin

    “There seems to be some confusion about her name”
    Jeez, I just love when Westerners write articles about places, countries and cultures they don’t know anything about !. There’s no confusion, her Dad calls her ‘zahra’ which means ‘flower’ or ‘beautiful’, followed by ‘daddy’ which is a common way of expressing your attachment all over the Middle East, Latin Americans also use that by calling their kids ‘Papy’
    And why make a conspiracy out of the fact that she tweets in English, it’s clearly stated on her twitter account that her mother helps her ! Bana al-Abed exists, she lives in Eastern Aleppo, lots of people have been in contact with her, her tweets have been geolocalised etc etc. Too bad, you’ll have to invent something else to deny the atrocities of the Syrian regime. This kind of shitty articles just reminds us that nothing looks more like Zionist denial than pro-Bashar denial.

  • JCLincoln

    Bana is an expert with a sniper rifle. She has assisted in planting land mines and she knows how to put on a suicide vest as a last resort if she has to.

  • MxMillan

    It’s official. Anyone that RT-ing and fave-ing tweets about Aleppo on Dec 13th, 2016 from MSM (cnn, bbq, sky-whatever… gah) are responsible for the suffering of people on Aleppo, because in reality, Aleppo finally liberated from Al Qaeda terrorists by Syrian Arab Army. Anyone that RT-ing and fave-ing tweets about White Helmets are actually cheering for Al Qaeda terrorists. Those people are on the same level as @AmbassadorPower, no shame to further the suffering of people in Aleppo, people of Syria. If they do care about people in Syria, they would watch what journalist Eva Bartlett had said on UN Press Conference in Dec 9th, 2016.

  • Marina

    I cannot believe a seven year old child from a country torn by war can have such a incredible gasp of the English language, the current american English language. At that age kids in rich countries are just beggining to learn how to read, and she just jumped this, during a war! And how the hell does she get internet connection during a bombing? My goverment is able to shut down the internet in a neighborhood during a protest, not one of all the different forces fighting for Aleppo thought about that?

  • Bjørn J. Berger
  • ConservativeAtheistRedPiller

    I tried to denounce this hoax on French radio RTL (leaning VERY left) and my comments keep getting deleted. Hmmmmm

  • virgile

    “It is impossible, I’ve been there, there is no internet … there is no
    electricity for more than 85 days over there, and 3G only very few
    people have,” said Ortiz. “I was with people from the U.N. and the BBC
    and you cannot send a tweet when you’re in the frontline.”
    “I’m so sorry to tell you this, but I was in Aleppo, I don’t think she ( Bana)
    was in Aleppo,” said Ortiz. “Show me real footage of when she’s been
    taken out and I will believe it.”
    CNN Gets Schooled on Aleppo by a Guest Who Was Actually There

    http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/CNN-Gets-Schooled-on-Aleppo-by-a-Guest-Who-Was-Actually-There–20161223-0019.html

    • Vasily Bolgov

      How did she check that there is no internet and electricity? The coverage of a single wi-fi spot is something like 20 meters top. So, did she drive all the streets of Aleppo with Wi-Fi and 3G scanner? Did she check every roof for solar panels? Such statements are just laughable.

  • Vishwas Khare

    I hope this Banana Alabed has been killed or will get killed like a cockroach. she deserves to be swatted like a cockroach.