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Levende billeder fra Homs

Den franske dokumentarist Mani har optaget i Homs i en måned og skabt en rystende og rørende dokumentation af en by i krig med en diktator.
Channel Four/NYT
Den franske dokumentarist Mani har optaget i Homs i en måned og skabt en rystende og rørende dokumentation af en by i krig med en diktator.

På Nyhedsbloggen finder du links til historier fra hjemlige og internationale medier og blogs. Historier, som vi mener er relevante eller underholdende, og som fortjener at blive videregivet i sin originalform. Historierne er fortrinsvis på dansk, tysk eller engelsk.

PS: At vi lægger en historie på Nyhedsbloggen betyder ikke vi deler de synspunkter, som kommer til udtryk.

Niels Jespersen

DEt er bemærkelsesværdigt så mange referencer man ser til optagelser fra dette og hint sted i Syrien - uden at man dog forklarer hvem det er der står bag og hvordan de er kommet ind i landet ec.

Der er mange andre mere objektive rapporter som ikke kommer frem overhovedet.

Den arabikse liga sendte observatører til landet i en måned - nu fortsat - som aflagde rapport til FN. Rapportene r slet ike omtalt i amme grad som de sensationsprægede rapporteringer man ser meget til i Information.
Se her

Selve rapporten fra observatørerne findes er:

Her omtales:

On the critical issue of political detainees, the report states:
“On 19 January 2012, the Syrian government stated that 3569 detainees had been released from military and civil prosecution services. The mission verified that 1669 of those detained had thus far been released. It continues to follow up the issue with the government and the opposition, emphasizing to the government side that the detainees should be released in the presence of observers so that the event can be documented.” The report also verifies that an additional 3,843 detainees were released before Syrian President Bashar Assad issued a general amnesty decree on January 15. The government claims the number is 4,035.

But then the report veers sharply away from conventional narratives about the nature of the Syrian conflict by observing: “The mission determined that there is an armed entity that is not mentioned in the protocol.”

Though the report attributes this development “to the excessive use of force by Syrian government forces in response to protests,” it also points out that “in some zones, this armed entity reacted by attacking Syrian security forces and citizens, causing the government to respond with further violence.”

The report then provides several examples of this:
“In Homs and Dera‘a, the mission observed armed groups committing acts of violence against government forces, resulting in death and injury among their ranks. In certain situations, government forces responded to attacks against their personnel with force. The observers noted that some of the armed groups were using flares and armor-piercing projectiles.”

“In Homs, Idlib and Hama, the observer mission witnessed acts of violence being committed against government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Examples of those acts include the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children, and the bombing of a train carrying diesel oil. In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers. A fuel pipeline and some small bridges were also bombed.”

Media Coverage and Access In Syria

Notable too is the mission report’s contention that media reports on incidents of violence in Syria are often exaggerated and unverified:

“The mission noted that many parties falsely reported that explosions or violence had occurred in several locations. When the observers went to those locations, they found that those reports were unfounded. The mission also noted that, according to its teams in the field, the media exaggerated the nature of the incidents and the number of persons killed in incidents and protests in certain towns.”

It also addresses criticism that the Syrian government restricts media access both into Syria and into the country’s hot spots. Complaints varied from media being allowed into the country for an insufficient four days to the regime demanding cumbersome “destination” itineraries, “operating permits” and “movement restrictions.”

The report provides a list naming the various individual journalists and media organizations entering Syria during the mission’s mandate, and concludes: “The Government had accredited 147 Arab and foreign media organizations. Some 112 of those organizations entered Syrian territory, joining the 90 other accredited organizations operating in Syria through their full-time correspondents.”

I should note that I was in Syria doing research for some articles during the mission’s investigations and that I am not on the list. While my own visa was arranged through a connected non-Syrian friend, I know of other writers who entered the country without incident. I spent my time there freely interviewing many opposition groups and individuals and was at no time accompanied by government minders – or monitored, to the best of my knowledge.

Less fortunate was Gilles Jacqiuer, the France 2 Channel cameraman who was killed during a visit to a pro-regime neighborhood in Homs. The French government has loudly sought to implicate the Syrian government in this killing, but the mission says that “mission reports from Homs indicate that the French journalist was killed by opposition mortar shells.”

If the mission is halted, civilians will lose protection in this conflict, facts will be hard to come by, and intermediaries on the ground in Syria will be nonexistent.The report also refers to controversial statements made by several monitors who abandoned their positions and publicly criticized the mission afterward. Probably the most memorable of these is Algerian Anwar Malek who famously claimed on Al Jazeera: "What I saw was a humanitarian disaster...The regime is not just committing one war crime, but a series of crimes against its people. The snipers are everywhere, shooting at civilians. People are being kidnapped. Prisoners are being tortured and none were released."

The Arab League released a terse statement in response, saying Malek’s allegation “does not relate to the truth in any way," and claiming instead, that "since he was assigned to the Homs team, Malek did not leave the hotel for six days and did not go out with the rest of the team into the field giving the excuse that he was sick."

The report further expounds: “Some observers reneged on their duties and broke the oath they had taken. They made contact with officials from their countries and gave them exaggerated accounts of events. Those officials consequently developed a bleak and unfounded picture of the situation.”

Mission Success or Failure?

The report concludes with some pessimism: because of early logistical issues and other difficulties, the mission only actually operated for 23 days out of its month-long mandate. There is a need for better transportation, communication equipment – and most importantly – the necessary “media and political support” to complete its mandate.

On a positive note, the mission stresses that the Syrian regime “strived to help it succeed in its task and remove any barriers that might stand in its way. The government also facilitated meetings with all parties. No restrictions were placed on the movement of the mission and its ability to interview Syrian citizens, both those who opposed the government and those loyal to it.”

Most critically, however, the report recommends a change in the protocol’s mandate, namely, the “commitment of all sides to cease all acts of violence.” This, for the first time, introduces the notion that the Syrian government may not be entirely responsible for the civilian casualty numbers flaunted in media reports. And it is an important point – regular soldiers reportedly account for approximately 2,000 deaths in the country since March 2011.

But the observers warn: “Recently, there have been incidents that could widen the gap and increase bitterness between the parties. These incidents can have grave consequences and lead to the loss of life and property. Such incidents include the bombing of buildings, trains carrying fuel, vehicles carrying diesel oil and explosions targeting the police, members of the media and fuel pipelines. Some of those attacks have been carried out by the Free Syrian Army and some by other armed opposition groups.”

The "citizens" of Syria with whom they met – some of whom suffer from "extreme tension, oppression and injustice" – “believe the crisis should be resolved peacefully through Arab mediation alone, without international intervention. Doing so would allow them to live in peace and complete the reform process and bring about the change they desire.”

This is a narrative that is entirely missing in the mainstream media’s coverage of the Syrian crisis. The complicity of armed groups in escalating the violence initially started by the Syrian government, the compliance of the regime in advancing the Arab League Protocol’s demands, and the rejection by ordinary citizens of internationalizing and militarizing the conflict.

Read the mission report and reach your own conclusions. But it is clear that possibly the worst thing that can be done at this critical juncture is to suspend the Arab League mission’s investigations and interventions. If the mission is halted, civilians will lose protection in this conflict, facts will be hard to come by, and intermediaries on the ground in Syria will be nonexistent. Violence escalated after the mission left to file the report. Getting them back is unarguably the right course of action, particularly as it appears the UN Security Council cannot solve the crisis.

Christian Morsing

Det ser da voldsomt ud..

Men det er da alligevel en rimelig vigtig pointe at der på ingen måde er tale om fredelige demonstranter. Oprørene i filmen er jo alle voldsomt bevæbnet, uanset om man støtter dem eller ej - kan man vel ikke sige der her er tale om nedslagtning af uskyldige mennesker. ?

Selv om der selvfølgelig er folk døde der intet har med konflikten at gøre....

Niels Jespersen

Her er en anden kommentar, som modificerer det man næsten udelukkende finder for godt at bringe i Information - interviewet er en måned gammetl - men her rapporterer den eneste udenlandske journalist som har boet permanent i Syrien siden oktober 2011.

Ankhar Kochneva, writer and sole foreign journalist permanently living in Syria, tells RT what is really up in the country, who funds the opposition, how international media fake images of unrest and why it is so important to watch weather forecasts.
­RT: You have lived in Syria since October 2011. Media reports tell us about unrest in the country. How does the situation look from within?

AK: Life is absolutely normal in an absolute majority of communities across the country, although some news agencies deliberately picture the situation as its exact opposite. Israeli media outlets catering to Russian-speaking audience are among the most active in this regard. For example, in reporting on a terrorist incident it is sometimes enough to lie about its exact location to have the world convinced that there is no peace in Syria. I am referring to an explosion that went off on the outskirts of Damascus on January 6th this year. Although the explosive device actually went off under a bridge, news reports could make you think the whole of downtown Damascus was reduced to debris.

I hosted a group of tourists here for New Year. Some of them actually came for as long as 17 days. We rode across the country and did a lot of walking around Damascus. My guests saw a lot of smiling people in the streets. We sat in restaurants with some nice music, we went to a local street market, and they had a great time. They realized there is no war going on in Syria.

RT: There is no war, but there are explosions. So who is planting the bombs? And where is the opposition headquarters located?

AK: What makes Syria peculiar is that the so-called unpatriotic opposition here has no center, no leaders, no agenda and no specific premises. Nor do they have the numbers to create disturbances in multiple locations at a time. Most often there is unrest in a specific neighborhood, while other areas are calm.

The people behind the explosions are the same people who shoot at passing vehicles, plant IEDs targeting oil pipelines and attack random targets with grenade launchers. There have been six terrorist attacks targeting railway tracks. A female student dormitory in Homs was recently assaulted with grenade launchers. Many of its inhabitants are girls coming from rural communities and low-income families, because rich families rent apartments for their girls.

The perpetrators are the same people who kidnap civilians and demand ransom, and once they get the money, they return the abductee sliced into pieces. There have already been a hundred incidents of the kind.

Some of the culprits who have been arrested are regular criminals, but there are also people who come to Syria from Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya. There are also young men coming from Dagestan, who are often ignorant about the actual situation in Syria and are therefore easily misled. They are agitated with tales of injustice into doing things that really are unjust.

RT: Why would Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya disseminate all these falsified reports on Syria?

AK: These TV networks have been employed as propaganda tools serving to destroy Syria as a state. Some of those propaganda tactics are stunningly elaborate, and you can only tell a lie if you live in Syria and focus on details.

For instance, there has been a fantastic weather forecast for Syria broadcast on TV, where temperature indices actually stand for the time when protesters will assemble in a specific location to provoke unrest. If you are with the opposition, this broadcast tells you that there will be a rally in Homs tomorrow at 12pm, and specially instructed camera crews will be waiting for you and your associates to turn up to act as the angry masses. You spend five minutes yelling “Down with Assad” in a square and leave with hard cash in your pocket, and the world gets TV images of “a street revolution rocking Syria.”

I witnessed this technique in action once. Al Jazeera reported on a street protest erupting near the Russian Cultural Center in Damascus in December 2011. I happen to live nearby, and I can see the Center from my window. There was nothing happening at this location at the time of the report. But exactly two hours later, a bunch of people turned up and launched an aggressive protest action. So it was not really a news report – it was coded instructions communicating the time and place of a staged disturbance. Similar tactics was used to announce the assault against the Syrian embassy in Amman early in December 2011.

What these TV networks do is not reporting: they dispatch instructions for people to rally, stage riots and assault specific individuals. It is almost a competition for deliberately misreporting on Syria, where the perpetrators do not even bother to coordinate their propaganda activities. For example, when reporting the casualties for a specific day of unrest, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya claimed diverging numbers. If they had been citing a particular source, such as the notorious Mr. Rami, who is based in London, then their figures would have matched. But they vary, which means the news people simply make them up. They do not even care if it looks plausible or not.

RT: An Arab League observer mission has spent a month monitoring the situation in Syria. What have they come up with?

AK: The Arab League mission comprised about 160 observers. The Syrians did not believe that these people were coming with good intentions. And their skepticism turned out to be legitimate from the very start. For one thing, the observers refused to inspect the site of the terrorist attack launched on December 24th.

But as time went by and reports from Syrian civilians targeted by the criminals piled up, the observer mission experienced a radical shift in perception. At first, they went around stony-faced and declined to comment on anything, but later on they turned into normal individuals with a heart for the locals. This delegation is accompanied by a camera crew that follows them everywhere and runs chronicles of their monitoring activities on Syrian TV.

When you meet several hundred people every day asking you to do the right thing and report the truth, anyone with a glimpse of decency in their heart will not be able to go on lying. This is exactly why many of the people in the Arab League who had initially contemplated this observer mission were very unhappy with its eventual findings. They suggest swapping individual observers, then they prolong the mission for one more month, as if extra time will help them find the fictional “atrocities of the regime” in Syria – at least, that is how things stand on January 25.
RT: Are you saying the regime has not committed any atrocities whatsoever?

AK: I personally have not heard of anything I would find plausible. Either we are shown footage of people from other countries dressed as the Syrian army, or we see people in uniform wearing white flip-flops, or alleged Syrian military with beards, which are banned by the Syrian army’s grooming standard. However, Syria has general conscription, which means there might be people in the army who have friends or relatives among the insurgents, so they might assist them in smearing the military.

RT: Some people within the Islamic community accuse President Bashar al-Assad of killing a total of 300 children. What are they talking about?

AK: In the instances that I know of, it was criminals and not the military who actually murdered children. For example, when someone asked Saria, the mother of a murdered Christian boy, whether Al Jazeera was right in claiming it was the army who killed her son, she replied that if the army had been in town at the time, her son would not have been killed. In another case, international media passed a juvenile rapist killed in Daraa for a victim of the regime, whereas in reality he had been executed by the father of one of his victims. President Assad personally came to Daraa to investigate the incident and eventually decided not to disclose the actual facts so as not to compromise the girl who had been raped. But after the international media peddled the story of “a boy killed by the Syrian army,” the authorities had to expose the actual crime.

There was another characteristic example, when an internet banner was passed around social networks depicting the sons and the nephew of a Syrian colonel who had been murdered by criminals in Homs on 19 March 2011. Everyone in Syria is aware of the true circumstances of the murder, but for the international public, that banner was compelling as evidence against the Syrian government.

I know a reporter who was once abducted by criminals and brought to a secret location, where he was presented with the body of a murdered child. The kidnappers forced him at gunpoint to record a video saying he had personally witnessed the military killing that boy. The journalist was told they would kill him too if he ever told the truth about the incident. He sat on the true story for several days out of fear, but eventually he exposed it for his own TV network. This reporter is a Syrian working for the Lebanese Al-Manar TV station.

A lot of well-meaning and trusting people in other countries fall for such deliberate lies. Some of them earnestly believe that they are supporting justice by passing around these stories about 300 children killed by the army, so they do their best to destabilize the situation and undermine the regime. But in reality, all they do is promote bloodshed and harm their own kinsmen. Even their donations serve the wrong purpose.

RT: The opposition has no center and ringleaders, but there are endowments and donations. Who is entrusted with handling the money?

AK: Criminals apprehended by the military admit having been paid for their actions. The payment is always in cash. Sometimes it is US dollars, sometimes it is Syrian pounds. They also admit being supplied with weapons, ammunition, grenades, launchers and explosives.

Some of the grenades used by the opposition are labeled as made in Israel, by the way. We do not claim that Israel directly arms the opposition, but the fact is that they get their weapons abroad. The Syrian army does not have any Israeli-made arms, just as it does not have weapons made in the United States or in Europe, the kind that have been confiscated from captured insurgents.

The insurgents also make money by kidnapping people for ransom. The captured criminals have named the specific people who had been paying them to abduct people, as well as the exact prices. A kidnapper is paid a share of the ransom that equals about $200. That is a lot of money in Syria.

RT: What is known of the endowments that finance the opposition?

AK: I was once invited to meet a woman in Moscow, who heads one of these organizations. Her name is Stephanie Brancaforte, and she is a Campaign Director for an international association called Avaaz. They have a website located at This organization has recently taken interest in meeting with bloggers who regularly report on Syria and tell the truth. They found our contacts and proposed a personal introduction, and the head of the endowment specially came to Moscow to meet us. I guess we must be really important for them.

Since I permanently reside in Syria, that woman quickly realized that I would not be duped, nor would I sell out to them. That lady has never been to Syria herself, she does not speak Arabic, and she draws her opinions on the situation in the country from other people’s reports. Nonetheless, she is extremely categorical in her assessment of what is going on there.

When I asked her straightforward whether she had ever visited Syria, she ended our meeting abruptly. Notably, she had learnt about me from Syrian opposition members based in Moscow. That means they maintain contact with each other. Nobody will ever convince me that an organization that explicitly admits to financing the opposition within Syria does not sponsor opposition members who live in Moscow.

RT: Is Bashar al-Assad hiding right now?

AK: There was a demonstration in Damascus recently to manifest the citizens’ solidarity with the government. It was not the largest among such rallies, in fact. Bashar al-Assad showed up together with his wife and children and delivered a public address. I personally saw people running ecstatically to the square to hear him speak and show their support.

Vi får at vide at dokumentationen er "rystende og rørende", og det siger jo næsten det hele.

Vi bliver fodret med krigspropaganda, der skal appelere til vores føleleser, og os til at blive røstede og rørt:

Ville det ikke være mere på sin plads hvis Dagbladet Information bragte os reel information, der skal få os til at tænke?

Det er utroligt som mediebilledet lige nu minder om optakten til invasionen af Irak, hvor vi også blev stopfodret med propaganda, der fortalte os, at situationen blev mere og mere farlig, og at det hastede med en indgriben udefra..

Hvorfor kan vores magthavere ikke lære af deres erfaringer og fejltagelser?

Karsten Olesen

En del af påstandene om "konstant granatbeskydning" må være falske.

I hvertfald viser et af oprørernes webkameraer en fredelig gade med fuglesang:

Terrorister passerer en vejspærring i Homs 25.2:

Afbrænding af butikker i Homs:

Islamister brænder bildæk i en forstad til Damaskus - for at blokere vejen til afstemningsstederne: