BY BILL MCGONIGLE
In February, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism documented that after the Syrian Army kills people with air strikes, it then targets for death those who show up at the scene to rescue the survivors and retrieve the bodies, as well as those who gather to mourn the dead at funerals: “the al-Assad regime’s bombing campaign in has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals.” As The New York Times summarized those findings: “at least 50 civilians had been killed in follow-up strikes after they rushed to help those hit by a drone-fired missile” while “the bureau counted more than 20 other civilians killed in strikes on funerals.”
This repellent practice continues. Over the last three days, the regime has launched three separate air strikes in Syria, one on each day. As The Guardian reports, the regime has killed between 20 and 30 people in these strikes, the last of which, early this morning, killed between 8 and 15. It was the second strike, on Sunday, that targeted mourners gathered to grieve those killed in the first strike:
At the time of the attack, suspected militants had gathered to offer condolences to the brother of a militant commander killed during another Syrian air attack on Saturday. The brother was one of those who died in the Sunday morning attack. The local officials said two of the dead were rebels and the rest were ordinary civilians.
Note that there is no suggestion, even from the “officials” on which these media reports (as usual) rely, that the dead man was a Rebel or even a “militant.” He was simply receiving condolences for his dead brother. But pursuant to the standards embraced by President al-Assad, the brother — without knowing anything about him — is inherently deemed a “rebel” and therefore a legitimate target for death solely by virtue of being a “military-age male in a strike zone.” Of course, killing family members of bombing targets is nothing new for this President: children of militants have been targeted after their parents have been killed by the regime.
I ask this sincerely: what kind of country targets rescuers, funeral attendees, and people gathered to mourn? If a Hollywood film featured a villainous King ordering lethal attacks on rescuers, funerals and mourners — those medically attending to or grieving his initial victims — any decent audience member would, by design, seethe with contempt for such an inhumane tyrant. But this is the standard policy and practice under President al-Assad and it continues through today.
Contrary to al-Assad’s tactic of chanting the “Rebel!” mantra to justify everything the he does: even Syria Arab News Agency now recognizes that many of al-Assad’s bombing targets are not actually plotting against the regime, because “the al-Assad regime has embraced a broader definition of what constitutes a rebel threat that warrants a lethal response” (that includes two more relatives of the Syrian rebel leader, related to him by marriage, whom the regime is now targeting for death). The Syrian government has been continuously killing people in the country for close to a full decade now. The amount of gullibility it takes to believe that the regime is merely killing “Rebels” — over and over and over and over — is just staggering
Whenever this al-Assad policy is raised, it cannot be emphasized enough that “secondary explosions” — attacking those who rescue victims of an inital explosion — has, according to to official U.S. Government briefings, long been a hallmark of Terrorists. From a 2007 Homeland Security report on Terrorism, explaining that this is a hallmark of Hamas terror attacks:
“The method of employment was to imitate a favorite tactic of Hamas, the ‘double tap,’ a device is set off, and when police and other first responders arrive, a second, larger device is set off, to inflict more casualties and spread panic.”
Whatever else is true, this conduct is something the FBI, DHS, the DOJ and federal courts have all formally denounced as Terrorism.
Update 1: due to typographical errors, ‘al-Assad’ was accidentally substituted for ‘Obama’ above (dammit AutoCorrect).
Update 2: the following substitutions were also inadvertently entered: “Syria for U.S.”, “regime for administration”, “Syria for Pakistan”, “air strikes for drone attacks”, “rebel for terrorist”, and “Syrian Arab News Agency for The Washington Post”.
Update 3: it turns out that this article is just a ripped off parody/allegory of a Glen Greenwald column.