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The Houla Hoaxsters
Another “Benghazi moment” – This Time in Syria

By Justin Raimondo

June 04, 2012 "
Information Clearing House" -- It was supposed to be another “Benghazi moment” – an incident so horrific that it would spark Western military intervention in Syria’s increasingly violent civil war. The massacre at Houla was reported to be just such a moment: Syria’s security forces stand accused of killing 32 children under ten years of age, and more than 60 adults, by bombing the rebel-held village of Houla. Photos of the massacre soon appeared on Twitter: and on YouTube, videos of the slaughter, uploaded by anonymous “activists,” appeared on cue. There was just one problem with this “evidence” of a massacre committed by the Syrian government – much of it was completely made up.

Take the photo the BBC used to illustrate the atrocity: it showed a young boy jumping over piles of corpses neatly laid out in preparation for burial. Very dramatic, and very disturbing – except it wasn’t a photo of anything that happened in Houla. Instead, it was a photo taken by Marco Di Lauro in Iraq, in 2003, and appropriated from his web site. The stolen photo was accompanied by a caption that read:

Photo from Activist. This image – which cannot be independently verified – is believed to show bodies of children in Houla awaiting funeral.

“Somebody is using illegally one of my images for anti [S]yrian propaganda on the BBC web site front page,” Di Lauro says, “I almost fell off my chair when I saw it.” When confronted by Di Franco, BBC editors took it down, and, by way of explanation, pointed to the caption as somehow exonerating.

Yet it is the very phrasing of that caption that condemns them out of their own mouths, the key word being believed. Why was it believed by the BBC when they received it from some anonymous “activist”? Because it suited their propagandistic purposes – that is, the purposes of the British government, which runs and funds the BBC, just as the Syrian government runs and funds their own state-controlled media. The photo was believed to be an accurate representation of events taking place in Houla because the editors wanted to believe it. Continue

It isn’t just the photos purporting to show the massacre, it’s the “reporting” that is also thrown into doubt: after all, these accounts are all coming from the very same “activists” who have no compunctions about supplying fake photos to the very same media who report their every word as gospel. It is claimed the Syrian army bombarded Houla, and yet the photos shows people with their throats cut, and shot in the head at very close range: this seeming contradiction required a revision of the “activist”-supplied narrative, which was duly changed to depict government-controlled “militias” coming into the village after the bombardment. Yet even this hasty revisionist version didn’t cover all the bases: for example, one of the victims was a candidate in Syria’s recent elections who had refused to stand down at the demand of opposition “activists.” He, too, was brutally murdered, and the question is – by whom? Continue


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