An Alternative Media Reality in Syria?

In the Humpty-Dumpty world of 21st-century global geopolitics, words mean just what the media and official government press secretaries choose them to mean — neither more nor less. And not just words, but events as well: if the following article from Kopp Online is accurate, both Syrian rebels and cynical Western political leaders have successfully mastered the deceptive media-manipulation techniques pioneered by “Pallywood”.

Note: the journalist quoted in this article was interviewed before the downing of the Turkish jet in Syrian coastal waters — an event that adds another layer of intrigue to what is described below.

Many thanks to Hermes for the translation:

Eyewitness account: Media lies about Syria unveiled in an interview

by Natalia Mihailova

The independent journalist Anhar Kochnewa has been living and working for more than ten years in Syria. According to her descriptions, the situation in Syria is by no means that which the mainstream media depicts in their reports. Kochnewa was born in Russia, and speaks Arabic fluently. Her friends and neighbors are completely normal Syrians. She travels the same streets and districts of Damascus and also goes shopping there like any other of the locals in the Syrian capital. We talked with her not long ago, and also asked her about the reasons for the unrests which have been raging for so long in Syria.

The so-called Demonstrations

Were there any deep reasons for the crisis in Syria?

Anhar Kochnewa: One year ago there were no signs of crisis. Even in March 2011 there was nothing extraordinary. The events began as criminal activity. I always get very angry when journalists claim that during the past months there have been mass protests and demonstrations in Syria. This is simply not true. I’ve been residing continuously in Syria for the past seven months, and I’ve experienced just three so-called “demonstrations”. And I say “so-called” because they were staged by very few people, and they were clearly there to stage a demonstration for the journalists. These protests were then filmed for 5-10 minutes, and after that those people dispersed at once. In some cities criminals took control for a while and forced people to join the demonstrations.

I’ve been living in Syria since the end of the nineties. To tell the truth, at that time I did not like the country. I’ve been living for a long while in this country, and I must say, that something has changed. The living conditions and the people have changed. many have opened their own businesses and made a relatively good living for themselves.

From this point of view, people would perhaps have supported the protests ten years ago, but now not. Nowadays people want stability. There’s unnecessary chaos and revolts. People were used to living in a peaceful country. Syria was one of the safest countries in the region. If one left a wallet with money somewhere and returned there two days after, he would have found it exactly in the same place. Nowadays this is no longer the case. People are worried. They have lost something they were proud of.

Who hides behind the bomb attacks, the shootings and the destruction of buildings?

Some weeks ago I was in Homs, the alleged “stronghold of the rebels”, in the already famous Baba Amr district. The majority of inhabitants have left their houses and flats. My friends lived 800 metres away from Baba Amr. They told me that it was not the army but criminals who shoot at their houses. The Syrian army does not kill people. It only reacts when the situation escalates.

In the last weeks it was mostly Syrian soldiers who fell victim (to the clashes). The so-called rebels fight in the streets, show videos and burn tires. If one sees “black smoke” on a video made with a cellphone, this smoke is not the product of artillery activity, but of burning tires.

One month ago I was in Zabadani, in southwestern Syria. Criminal gangs had the whole city in fear. The MSM frequently reports about the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. It is indeed a humanitarian catastrophe, when a whole city is in the hands of criminals.

My colleagues and I were caught by criminals. They showed us a rusty Panzer and explained that it was what had shot at the town. But both destroyed houses were in the middle of the town. I just don’t understand how the Panzer managed to shoot, from the air or from the next corner. After that, they gathered some people and organized for us a small demonstration as an extra show. I observed the faces of that people and I saw fear and hate on their faces. They feared the criminals and hated them.

You always talk about “criminals”. What is it about, insurgents or the opposition?

There are many mercenaries among the criminals. They come from Czech Republic, Romania, France, Libya and Afghanistan. A grotesque story about afghan soldiers is being told amongst the people. A couple of Afghans were caught, and they were asked why they came here. They answered that “We were told that we would be transported to Israel in order to shoot to Israeli buses in the night. We fight for the liberation of Palestine.” This sounds funny, but it’s true. They were clearly surprised, when they were told that they were in Syria. “We are in Syria? We thought we were in Israel!”

Syrian criminals organize themselves in armed gangs. These criminals should be behind bars. These kinds of people are found in every country. When they gain power over a town, the first thing they do is to burn the reports and archives of the law-enforcement offices.

But as already said, one finds such people in every society… they enjoy having power in their hands. They don’t want to work, but to have lots of money. One can impose terror on a town with relatively few men. Two snipers are enough to bring daily life to a standstill in the streets.

On May 7 there were parliamentary elections. Did the opposition take part?

Yes, it was a very lively election campaign. They put the election posters of the different candidates on the house walls of every big streets in Damascus. According to official statistics, a total of 7,200 candidates were competing for 250 seats. Why are you so sure that the elections were undemocratic? Who claims this? The leaders of the Syrian opposition? They have been living in Europe for years. What do they know now about the real Syria? What do they know about our needs and aspirations? Let Syrians decide for themselves about their future.

The most important Syrian opposition parties have taken part in the parliamentary elections. But at this point I want to give a piece of information which will clarify the situation. Three days ago the son of the national party chairman was killed. The party received threats to make it withdraw from the election process. But the party resisted these threats, and as a consequence, the son of the chairman was killed. Who was responsible for that? The government, or those who want to stop positive changes in Syria? Criminals need no reforms. They seek destabilization and chaos in the country.

Which parties are confronted in the conflict in Syria?

Syria stands in the way of the changes in the political equilibrium to which the USA aspires — this is the tragedy of it. If one reads the book Where To Invade Next, by Stephen Elliot, one begins gain a much better understanding of the Arab spring.

Thanks to the global media, we all live in the alternative media reality. The entire world is watching a movie about something which does not in fact exist; it’s a fictional story made to appear as real events. This is a manipulation of public opinion.

What is the attitude towards the Annan plan in Syria?

Some are of the opinion that this is an attempt to give criminals time to regroup. Everybody we have met here in Homs told us that in a week the Syrian army would have solved the problems with the criminals. There is the second version, that the USA wants to get out of this situation without losing face.

Through the verdict of the UN, the USA should recognize the fact that the government of Syria was right and stop further escalations of the situation. I personally prefer this version. I think it’s right because one cannot close one’s eyes in the face of the truth. People can be tricked once and even twice, but it is simply impossible to trick them for a long period of time. I am sure that 300 UN observers will see the truth. Forcing them to lie would be difficult.

Finally, do you support the Government of Syria?

Me? I don’t know anybody from the government. I support the people of Syria, and no one else.

24 thoughts on “An Alternative Media Reality in Syria?

  1. Criminals maybe but with an Islamic agenda, to bring down the stable and westernised government and replace it with Moslem Brotherhood lunatics.So probably Saudi backed. Anyway, all this may not matter a jot if Turkey invades. Remember they want a
    ticket into the EU and ‘solving’ the Assad problem would get them a step closer to that. Cameron also wants Turkey in the EU but I believe for a completely different reason. I really DO believe he wants to destroy England and subsume us all in a destroyed Europe. 80 million violent Turkish Moslems will be the final screw in the coffin of poor old deluded

  2. This version of the Syrian situation sounds more reasonable to me. Every video I’ve seen has been hazy, jerky and shot by cell phone. I saw one video of a man proving the government attacked his house. He had one of the mortar shells. It was corroded by rust. It must have been at least 50 years old! But no comment was made by the “journalist” at the seen, nor by the “news repeater” airing the video. I think it was shown on CNN.

  3. Yeah, let’s trust a Russian stringer to tell us what is “really” going on in Syria!

    What a joke…

    I would like to direct your attention to someone that I have known over the internet for many years (prior to the civil unrest in Syria). This is his Wiki bio:

    As the bio says, he is currently working at the Brookings Institute here in the US. He has a facebook page where he updates his readers on an almost daily basis:

    As I said, I have had many communications with this man, know about his family’s travails about being run out of Syria by the Assad regieme and very much trust his intelligence and good will for the people of Syria. The only reason this man wasn’t thrown into some deep dark hole by the Assad regieme several years ago is because his mother is a famous movie star in Syria. He was given the “option” of self deporting by Assad… Nothing like a police state to insure stability in a country…

    IIMO that the western world hasn’t wanted to touch this conflict having been exhausted by other events in the middle east. But, to say that this is a “criminal” inspired conflict is absurd on its face; purely Kremlin and Assad propaganda.

    I would appreciate it if anyone that wants to form an opinion about the Syrian civil war do a bit of research and check out Mr. Abdulhamid. He is very accessible through his facebook page and has appeared on many networks as well as lectures available on youtube.

    I am a bit revolted that a Russian stringer was posted on GOV without an opposing argument.

    Syria is a police state currently ruled by a minority tribe. The fact that the Saudi’s are now supplying arms to the revolutionaries and consequently importing to Syria their Wahabi ideology rests with the western world that was very happy to bomb Lybia back to the stone age but gave not a wit of attention to the struggle in Syria to be free from their police state.

    After all, didn’t the Dems in the US call Assad a “reformer?”

    We NOW want to rail against the Islamic influence. Where were you a year ago when some very intelligent and western leaning people wanted to transform Syria into a secular and western oriented country?

  4. This article grants credence to a Russian living in Syria. Russia is an ally of Assad. One must consider the possibility that everybody else* is telling the truth, and that this Russian is carrying water for Putin and Assad.

    The inescapable fact from which all else can be deduced is that the Syrian regime, and only the regime, has heavy artillery, and that heavy artillery shelling has destroyed many neighborhoods.

    *”Everybody else”, meaning The Arab League, the U.S., the UN, the EU, Wikipedia, Syrian army defectors, US reporters who have risked their lives to get the stories, surviving children, and on and on.

  5. Does this woman work for Putin? I think so. What is a Russian woman doing living 10+ years in Syria? Her logic: In the past you could lose your purse and come back for it 2 days later. Now, all of a sudden, criminal gangs run everything, terrify everybody and are responsible for all the mayhem. I don’t believe a word she writes.
    As to events in Syria, I say “a pox on both your houses”. Let both sides go at each other. That way, they won’t be having a go at us.

  6. I would never trust any mouthpiece working or associated with AEI, Brookings or any Washington think tank. To put it bluntly they are full of war mongers and idiots to.
    These clowns promoted the Iraq war and subsequent occupation and lied out their rear ends how we would welcomed, etc.

    All they are good for is wasting our treasury and getting young Americans killed and mutilated for stupid policy decisions that make no sense and were probably cooked up while they were on a bender.

    The highly touted and promoted “Arab Spring” turned out to be a new Arab Dark Age. Throw out secular leaders and replace them with drooling religious fanatics.

    Tunisia is reverting back to a hard core Shariah ruled state.

    Libya is not only adopting Shariah, tribal warfare has broken out, and also has a Al-Qeada element.

    Egypt has just elected a MB president and made Shariah the law of the land. Guess what that means for the Coptic Christians – more murder, kidnapping and beatings. But you won’t find any of the Washington think tanks who care.
    Just wait until the MB starts replacing senior Army officers with their own people. If I were a Israeli, I’d be sweating blood.

    Syria – the so-called freedom fighters have done a good job killing and terrorizing Christians. But you won’t find a single supporter of the insurgency that cares about that.

    Oh and regards to making Syria a secular state, forget about it. Islam and secularism and Democracy don’t mix. Just look how Iraq turned out – killings and persecutions of Christians, Sufis, Yadzis and secular Iraqis. These people that actually had it better under Saddam than under the thumb of Western governments who turned a blind eye to all the killings done by their Muslim allies.

  7. Anon 3:16

    As I said, if you like police states you will not find this palatable.

    If you like people thrown down a dark hole for disagreeing, then the Assad gov’t is for you!

    Saddam in Iraq held CHILDREN in underground prisons. I guess that was OK with you as long as there was “stability” (and you didn’t have to know about it.)

    To be honest with you a rational argument was never set forth for the US intervention in Libya. I can only assume that Italy and France felt their energy supplies compromised and therefore the US had to payback their involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. To this day I do not understand why the USS Barry stood closest to the Lybian shore and launched off everything they had on board and then went back to Spain to get more.
    That said, I think this is a very different conflict (as I think the overturn of the Lybian gov’t was European instigated that has really led to disaster in the N. African region.) I would very much like to know why it was so necessary to bomb the hell out of Lybia, leaving them with a fragmented country ruled by roaming armed thugs. And Syria can go begging.

    Especially since I know one of the main actors for democracy for that country. I do believe that if you watch the entire AEI panel you will hear a concensus that the longer we allow this conflict to continue, the more radical it will become. Please read: the more Islamist it will become as the Saudis and other Islamist actors work to also overthrow the Bathist party in Syria by supplying money, arms and religious indoctrination.

    I believe that…

    To those that “don’t believe a thing said by the AEI” they gathered a rather distinguished panel to discuss Syria for over an hour and a half. I feel sorry for you.

    What do you believe? The Russian stringer???

  8. I am a bit revolted that a Russian stringer was posted on GOV without an opposing argument.

    In other words, a Russian must be biased and untrustworthy, but an American-supported muslim with a history of antagonism towards Assad is comparably non-partisan and objective?

    If you love police states you will not appreciate this.

    I oppose the UN/US backed insurgents. Ipso facto, I love police states…

    Syria is a police state currently ruled by a minority tribe.

    Is mob rule a priori better? I would prefer rule by a relatively harmless elite to rule by an Islamic mass. Democracy only works when people are advanced enough for self-rule, I’d say.

  9. From the other side

    According to
    Pravda Russia and China wow to prevent Syria from becoming a new Libya

    “A total of 400 planes and 1,000 tanks are said to be taking part, among them 12 Chinese warships, Russian atomic submarines and warships, aircraft carriers and mine-clearing destroyers as well as Iranian battleships and submarines are included. It is said that all the arms and ammunition used for the exercise would be stocked in Syria from where they will begin.

    This exercise also means that it would be the first time that Russia and China have deployed such a large army in Syria.

    This army would also send out the right message for Syria, that is, it is not the right time to bomb or attack the country.”

  10. The battle of
    Syria and the media
    – seen from Brasil

    “Very well. Both newspapers report a “massacre” in Syria. And in united formation, the media points to the “bloodthirsty genocidal President” (sic), Dr. Bashar Al Assad, a young ophthalmologist trained in England.”

  11. I don’t really know how to evaluate what this reporter said, but I’ve always thought the orthodox narrative is a bit too neat. Andrew McCarthy’s article in today’s PJM would seem to lend at least partial credence to the substance of the interview.

  12. I watched this lady Anhar on RT Arabic. She is half Russian half Syrian which is the reason behind her flowless Syrian Arabic Dialect. She is a tourism consultant for Russians who want to travell to Syria and other Mid Eastern countries. The show on RT she was on was unrelated to events in Syria. Infact it was couple of years before those events and she talked about Syrian People. She showed a great understanding of the culture and love of Syria.

    So may be she is an agent but I believe she really loves Syria.

    Lets forget about this lady for a moment. When we get a testimony from a Christian Syrian or Druze that support Assad do we disregard their testimonies because they are not Sunni Muslims?

  13. @Babs

    I think you do have a point. At the same time I think it is valuable to hear voices other than the infiltrated Western MSM, so thanks to you, Dymphna & Baron, for letting us hear Anhar Kochnewa’s voice at GOV anyway. It still gives another angle to watch from, even though there may be no real single correct answer to what is happening in Syria at the moment.

  14. Anon @ 7:57
    Why are you “Anon?” Are you having a hard time identifying yourself?

    Why is it that I have to take into account a Russian stringer that clearly has an agenda while I have other credible sources?

    I understand that it is difficult for western people to take the time to listen to a well ordered debate as was put forth by the AEI. It is much easier to say that you disavow anything by the AEI than to actually LISTEN to their point of view…

    I only hope that the Baron and D will take the time to listen to the debate before they post such trash as a Russian stringer next time.

    I look forward to GOV posting an opinion that differs from the Russian stringer.

  15. Babs:

    Please quit insulting the Russians. If you disagree with the woman, fine, but please don’t insinuate that her being Russian somehow detracts from her argument.

    I realize you’re an American, but this isn’t 1948. The Russians are not our* worst enemy. America has been a great proponent of globalism, of the genocide of Europeans through mass immigration**. Post-Soviet Russia, on the other hand, currently has a leader who presents himself as the vanguard of ethnic Russians. I would therefore, as a European, be inclined to prefer Russia to be the more influential nation. However, I do not believe that your being an American affects your logic, so I would not say, “Don’t listen to Babs, the American stringer.”

    *”Our” in so far as we are both posting on this blog and so have many intersecting views, probably.
    **Not to mention the despicable pro-Muslim campaigns in Serbia and Yugoslavia that America, Britain, and NATO led.

  16. I believe that the Western media has in the main been compromised into carrying out the current Western propaganda of ‘revolutionaries’, ‘Arab Spring’ and ‘democracy’ in those Islamic nations that trouble has come to, as opposed to reporting what it was that was actually occurring on the ground in those countries, and what is really happening now in Syria.

    There are many examples of how the media can be manipulated by ‘staged’ events as can be shown by the many examples of these theatrics that the so called ‘palestinians’ have been exposed in conjuring up.

    And on that score, I believe we can all safely assume that other Islamist groups and states, also produce their own versions of their ‘victimhood’ when and where they conclude it is in their best interests to do so.

    There is one thing in common with all of those nations that have come under the propaganda spell of the ‘Arab Spring’, and that is they are all Islamic nations which have at one time, or still are, opposed to the state of Israel.

    That opposition was stifled under certain dictatorships like Mubarek in Egypt and Assad in Syria.

    We all know that Egypt has now fallen to the Muslim Brotherhood, and it can now be ascertained that it is Syria’s turn to fall into line with the rest of the Islamic doctrine of a world wide caliphate.

    And this with Western coaltion blessing and assistance through military, political and monetary means.

    There is a prize at the end of all this international meddling, and that is the complete annihilation of the state of Israel. That is the goal in this international conspiracy that some cannot bring themselves to acknowledge and is being played out, even as I write this comment.

  17. Babs, you chose whatever you feel like to make up your mind, and you certainly don’t have to listen to this Russian if you don’t feel like it.


  18. After reading this post I found the blog of this lady. The blog is not polytical, she just posts things about what he interests are etc. I contacted her to give me some additional details on the situation in Syria and what she is doing there.

    She tald me that she was born in Russia to Christian Palestinian parents. This is how she speaks perfect Levantine dialect of Arabic.

    She tald me that she lives in a small apartment in damascus. Her financial situation is difficult. The turism business she was involved in had stoped because of the current events. And she doesnt have money to call her child. She says that she is not payed by Syrian nor Russian governments to say what she says.

Comments are closed.