The Times of London yesterday published a sensational Syria story based on an interview with British doctor David Nott, who had volunteered his medical expertise in Syria over the past several weeks. Dr. Nott said that he had seen several pregnant women come in with abdominal wounds. He speculated that snipers must have been playing some sort of game where they would target the fetuses of pregnant women -- a grisly business to be sure.
Said Dr. Nott:
It seemed to me that it was some sort of a game they (the snipers) were having with each other... One day we'd have pregnant women being brought in with gunshot wounds to the uterus. Not just one or two, but seven or eight, which meant to me they (the snipers) must be targeting pregnant women.Nott "heard local rumors" that these snipers, who seemed were playing a game, were Chinese or Azeri mercenaries fighting with Assad's government forces.
None of this was confirmed in any way. Speculation.
But how did Rupert Murdoch's Times of London report this very imprecise bit of speculation on the part of Dr. Nott -- in a huge dramatic spread?
"Assad’s snipers target unborn babies"
How is that for thorough journalism?
With no additional or collaborating reporting, the Daily Mail took the story several steps further. It reported that Dr. Nott heard "local rumors" that snipers were rewarded a cigarette for each fetus they successfully murdered in the womb. Proof? None. A rumor. How horrific and spectacularly diabolical if true, but does it make sense? If indeed this is some sort of sick game played out by snipers, how exactly do they verify that a fetus has been killed while inside the mother's womb so as to claim their cigarette? It doesn't sound right.
And where is any evidence that the snipers were government troops? We do know that the insurgents make regular use of snipers, and in fact just today they shot and killed Gen. Jameh Jameh, a senior government intelligence official. We also know that insurgent snipers are holed up in the caves above the Christian village of Maaloula, where they terrorize the local civilian population. Insurgent snipers also routinely target journalists.
The Times piece (and several related pieces in the British press) was accompanied by a gruesome-looking x-ray of a fetus with what looked like a large caliber bullet lodged in its skull. Strangely enough, this large bullet seems to have passed through the mother's body and into the skull of the fetus, passing through the soft tissue and resting perfectly and dramatically in the frontal lobe of the brain -- with no visible damage to the baby's cranium. Why no skull damage? Why no visible point of entry?
Also, we are told throughout the article that the doctors there are managing with virtually no medical resources and in a combat situation. Why would a doctor in such a crisis situation take the time and limited resources to x-ray an already dead baby? Does it make sense?
Incidentally, the photograph was provided to a range of British media by a British "NGO" called "Syria Relief," which claims the photo was provided by a "Syria Relief media team inside Syria." This may be a legitimate NGO, but its website is incredibly reticent to provide any information about the organization, its founders, its officers, its trustees, and its funders.
Interestingly, Dr. Nott is listed as one-time doctor to former British Prime Minister and war profiteer Tony Blair...
The Times, Independent, Daily Mail, ITV, and others are Goebbles-like in their transparently pro-war propaganda. They have fallen over themselves to print another "babies yanked from incubators" story. Only the Israeli YNET outlet was skeptical of the bloody British claim. "Record cruelty: Syrian rebels target fetuses," is how the Israeli news site put it. Perhaps, but at least there is solid past evidence of such terroristic acts on the part of the rebels.
Shame on Rupert Murdoch's bloody Times.
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