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Caught in the Act

by Stephen Lendman Saturday, Nov. 03, 2012 at 8:01 AM


Caught in the Act

by Stephen Lendman

Washington wages direct and proxy wars dirty. Favored allies are cold-blooded killers. Cutthroats are America's favorites. The more vicious the better. America's so-called responsibility to protect (R2P) is a license to brutalize and kill.

Guns for hire willing to commit unspeakable crimes for a buck are recruited, armed, funded, trained, and deployed to commit the most heinous ones imaginable. Nothing too gruesome is out of bounds. Killing goes on daily like sport.

Massacres are strategically timed. Last June, death squads murdered over 100 Houla civilians. They were executed in cold blood. Children were slaughtered like adults.

Pro-government loyalists were targeted. Assad was wrongfully blamed for terrorist killings and atrocities. It wasn't the first time or last.

Weeks later, death squads murdered dozens of Treimseh civilians. Assad was again blamed. Western and UN Human Rights Council reports were fabricated. Media scoundrels repeated them like gospel. Facts don't interfere with propaganda. It's standard policy.

Last March, a rare exception reported accurately. Der Spiegel discussed the "Homs burial brigade." An insurgent "executioner" said he and comrades "kill in the name of the Syrian revolution. They leave torture (to) the so-called interrogation brigade...."

"They do the ugly work." He believes in violence, he explained. He "cut the throats of four men." He machine-gunned many more. Executions happen regularly, he said.

Assad loyalists are targeted, brutalized and murdered. Women and children aren't spared. Der Spiegel's "executioner" article explained. The publication said little more by way of follow-up.

Last March, Human Rights Watch also reported on Syrian "Armed Opposition Groups Committing Abuses." An "Open Letter to the Leaders of the Syrian Opposition" accused them of targeted killings, summary executions, kidnappings for ransom, torture, hostage taking, and other violent crimes.

HRW's moment of truth didn't last. It's a reliable imperial ally. Amnesty International and similar groups replicate its anti-Assad propaganda. They're well funded to support US interests.

The latest death squad atrocity was too obvious to conceal. On November 1, Reuters headlined "Syrian rebels kill 28 soldiers in checkpoint attacks," saying:

Attacks occurred on three Saraqeb checkpoints. They straddle Syria's main north/south highway. Even Assad opposition supporters can't hide what happened. Video evidence showed it.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville called it "very likely that this was a war crime, another one."

"Accountability will follow," he added. How and in what form he didn't say. Expect little more than rhetoric.

Throughout the conflict, Washington Post reports have been consistently one-sided. This time, fingers pointed the right way. "Syrian rebels execute unarmed government soldiers; dozens killed in fighting," it said.

Graphic video footage documented what happened. It's "not the first time that rebel fighters appear to have committed war crimes."

Summary executions happen regularly. Soldiers and pro-Assad loyalists are targeted. Video posted online Thursday was filmed at Saraqeb's Hamisho checkpoint.

"It shows rebel fighters kicking and insulting government soldiers, who are spread out on the ground. Some of them appear to be wounded." One pleaded: "I did not hit anyone, by Allah. I did not kill anyone."

"The man filming the video tells the soldier to shut up and directs his comrades, 'Organize them for me.' The fighters pull the soldiers to the center of the room and open fire on the group, kicking up clouds of dust. The shooting continues for 20 seconds."

"A second video posted online Thursday, which appears to have been filmed shortly after the execution, shows at least three other bodies spread out around the checkpoint."

"The man filming approaches two of the bodies and says, 'The shabiha of Assad, the dogs.' "

The term refers to pro-Assad fighters defending Syria against Western-recruited death squads. In other words, they're anti-imperial resistance fighters. Western reports call them terrorists.

New York Times reports also have been consistently one-sided. Covering up this atrocity isn't possible. It headlined "UN Says Syria Execution Video Shows Apparent War Crime," saying:

Video circulating online shows "antigovernment fighters armed with rifles kicking and summarily executing a group of captured soldiers or militiamen could, if verified, represent evidence of a war crime to prosecute the perpetrators."

Human Right Watch consistently targets Assad. It also accused Syrian opposition forces of torture, other atrocities, and summarily executing security forces and pro-government loyalists in Aleppo, Latakia, Idlib, and elsewhere.

On November 1, Amnesty International headlined "Syria: Armed group carries out summary killing of security forces in Idlib," saying:

Video footage showed armed militants "carrying out a mass summary killing of men in their custody." They were beaten, kicked and shot multiple times. AI's Ann Harrison said:

"This shocking footage depicts a potential war crime in progress, and demonstrates an utter disregard for international humanitarian law by the armed group in question."

"Amnesty International has so far been unable to confirm the identity of the armed group that carried out these summary killings, and no group has yet claimed responsibility."

"But we will continue to investigate the incident and once again urge all sides to respect the laws of war and to refrain from torturing, ill-treating or killing their prisoners."

AI consistently is anti-Assad. Harrison's comments were less than fully forthright. She and other AI staff regularly blame Assad for death squad killings and atrocities.

Press TV aired the disturbing video. These are the people Washington gets in bed with.

On November 2, Voice of Russia headlined "Bloodbath in Syria," saying:

Western-recruited death squads kept on killing throughout the Id al-Adha truce and after it ended. It's "unthinkable (that) the United Nations was unable to condemn them."

Failure reveals duplicitous Western standards. Dozens died needlessly. Opposition forces attacked security forces, civilians and government offices. Schools, mosques, and childcare centers are fair game.

Washington wants Syria defeated by terror. Doing so risks regional chaos. It's "no exaggeration to say that stability in this key region hinges on further developments in the Syrian crisis."

America can easily stop conflict by calling off its dogs. Peace and stability undermines its imperium. Violence furthers it. Hired guns are used for that purpose. Syria's being ravaged and destroyed. Olive branches Assad extends are summarily rejected.

On October 30, Syrian expert Patrick Seale headlined "Time for National Reconciliation in Syria."

It’s long past time, but how?

Despite convincing evidence disputing him, he thinks Syria can be "saved from destruction and national disintegration." What are the obstacles, he asked?

Deep wounds must be healed. How can they be when Washington won't let them? Seale admits there's "no readiness for reconciliation on either side." He's half right. Assad wanted it since last year. Repeated overtures were rebuffed.

Militant extremists also want conflict. They want Sharia law replacing replacing secular Syria. Most Syrians want no part of it.

Seale thinks no one wants direct military intervention. Others call that wishful thinking. Washington has longstanding regime change plans. All options are considered. If nothing else works, expect NATO involvement.

Establishing pro-Western governance in Syria is key to isolating Iran and repeating the process. War plans were made long ago. They remain options of choice.

Seale is right saying Syrians and other regionally must choose who'll rule them. Intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign countries violates international law.

One day perhaps America, key NATO partners, and Israel will observe it. So far doing so is nowhere in sight. Don’t expect it as long as imperial ambitions eclipse other priorities.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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