December 15, a day of remembrance for journalists killed in the line of duty is observed across Russia in memory of journalists who died while simply doing their jobs.
We remember how Russian journalists were made to be targets by NATO-backed forces in Ukraine. The hunt was declared not just on Russian journalists, but Ukrainians and Italians who were writing against the NATO occupation.
A similar relentless hunt was conducted in 2011 and 2012 in Syria by the Free Syrian Army and Al-Nusra.
In October 2012 they even kidnapped a Ukrainian journalist working for Anna-News. Anhar (Anna) Kochneva who, even though she grew up in Ukraine, spoke fluent Arabic thanks to her Palestinian mother.
After spending five months in much publicized captivity, she managed to escape by simply walking out of the house she was kept in and walking several kilometers through the Syrian wilderness before meeting some good Samaritans who helped her to get to Syrian-government controlled territory.
Her “escape” was remarkable, because around the same time terrorists from the Al-Nusra Front kidnapped and executed Syrian TV anchor Mohammed al-Saeed in August 2012.
The terrorist sniper killed Maya Nasser, a 33-year-old Syrian national and an Iranian Press TV reporter on air on September 26, 2012. He was reporting on the bombings in the Syrian capital when two car bombs struck the Syrian Army’s command headquarters, setting one of the buildings on fire.
On August 10, 2012, three television journalists and their driver were abducted while covering reporting from a Damascus suburb and have not been heard from since.
Also in August, Syrian terrorists attempted to seize a state-run broadcasting radio and TV complex in Aleppo, and planted an ISIS flag on top of the building.
The attack on the Al-Ikhbaria TV station in the town of Drousha, south of Damascus, killed seven journalists and four security guards on June 27, 2012. One building in the complex was nearly demolished.
Unlike all of those Syrian and Iranian journalists who were killed or disappeared without a trace, the “kidnappers” of the Anna-News journalist Kochneva were in contact with the government of Ukraine presumably discussing a ransom that was set to $50 million dollars, but reduced to $300,000 and was never paid.
For some reasons her ordeal was widely publicized by the Western media, Russian Speakers Become Prey in Syrian Conflict
“MOSCOW — Late last month, a Ukrainian blogger and journalist, Anhar Kochneva, sat on a couch in the place where she was being held by a Syrian rebel group and, as one of her captors filmed her, confessed to working at the behest of Russian intelligence services.”
At the time, Russian emergency services official told the newspaper Izvestia about contingency plans for an evacuation that could accommodate as many as 30,000 Russian citizens — or 60,000 if it included citizens from all the former Soviet countries. Russian warships were sent as part of that plan.
A similar threat came from masked men claiming to be Ms. Kochneva’s captors, who said on Ukrainian television, “Let not a single Russian, Ukrainian or Iranian come out of Syria alive.” Syria’s opposition coalition denounced such statements to a Russian news agency on Thursday, saying they were “in conflict with the principles and goals of the Syrian revolution,” but worries here have been stoked.
Kidnappers of Ukrainian Journalist Force Her to Confess Being a Spy, video Nov 29, 2012 with the English subtitles.
On this video they show her Anna-News ID. She said that her journalistic ID was “fake,” which would imply that she didn’t work for Anna News. They also show a picture of Kocheva holding an AK, and demonstrate her passport with a Syrian Visa issued in 2011. She claimed to be in Syria on a special mission from the “Russian intelligence.”
This is an extremely important detail because the entire operation with the Anna-News journalist alleged “kidnapping by the Syrian Free Army” and then her miraculous “escape” was staged to deliver the message that Russia had “military officers on the ground in Syria.”
Remember, back in 2011 and 2012 it was all about “Assad regime” “mass murdering” Syrians who wanted “democracy”? For us the most important detail of the Kochneva’s statement is that she claimed to work as a translator for the Russian and Syrian military intelligence, that she was present at their meetings, and that she was “participating in the armed clashes with “rebels.” She didn’t mention that she was a journalist for Anna-News.
Her “statement,” made under the real or fake pressure, was taken literally by the Western media and Washington as proof that Russian military specialists were advising then Syrian government in 2011 and 2012 on how to fight with the “democratic uprising” and even participated in actual armed clashes. What makes the whole kidnapping plot not credible, in my opinion, is that even after her returned from captivity, Kochneva never rebuffed her statements.
Let’s look at this from a simple logical standpoint. Why would Russian and Syrian armed forces for strictly confidential communication between themselves use a freelance journalist from a third country, Ukraine, who worked for the news outlet of Abkhazia headquartered in Tbilisi, Georgia?
Was Kochneva a member of the Russian or Syrian military? No, she wasn’t. Was she a citizen of Russia or Syria? No, she wasn’t. Has Russia been lacking translators in the Arab language? No, Russia has excellent specialists in Middle Eastern languages, both civilians and military personnel.
Most importantly, Russia didn’t have military servicemen on the ground in Syria fighting with “rebels” in 2011 and 2012.
It was back then and it is now a sustained attempt by Western governments to tie the Russian military and its government to the death of the civilian population, which has been the result of the Western destabilization of Syria.
According to Russia Today reports, the Syrian “rebels” were in contact with the Anhar (Anna) Kochneva’a ex-husband. Kochneva in her videos’ and her former husband both blamed the Ukrainian government and President Yanukovich for doing nothing to deliver her from captivity.
In accord with the husband and Kocheva, even “rebels” were complaining that “Ukrainian authorities were doing nothing. ” Latter, after her alleged “escape,” the Ukraine Foreign ministry confirmed that she was free.
I am not exploring here an idea that it was a ploy of Kochneva, her employer Anna- News, or her former husband to extract $50 million from the government of Ukraine. It was far more sinister, because her video statement from “captivity” was a part of the fake news campaign with the simple formula stating that “like in Srebrenica, the Russian military is in Syria and helping “Assad regime” to “murder” freedom loving Syrians.”
In 2014, echoing Kocheva’s claims, Anna News published unsubstantiated reports about presence in Donbass of some mysterious private military company named “Wagner.” I have seen screenshots of one of the Anna News founders either Anatoly Nesmiyan, known as a blogger El Murid, or his wife, or Marat Musin, or their mutual friend Lev Vershinin, hiding in Spain, admitting how they made the “PMC Wagner” up using the last name of their rabbi.
It all started on August 3rd, 2012 with the resolution of the UN General Assembly’s demands All in Syria ‘Immediately and Visibly’ Commit to Ending Violence that Secretary-General Says Is Ripping Country Apart.
“It’s four-part resolution drafted by the Arab Group and sponsored by scores of other countries” demands that the first step in ending the violence must be made by the Syrian authorities, and therefore called on the Government to fulfill immediately its commitment to cease the use of heavy weapons and complete the withdrawal of Government troops; “and to immediately begin the “rapid” transition of power under the auspice of “the Office of the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States.“
It was at this August resolution that the US South Korean Secretary-General Ban drew comparisons between the current deadly fighting in Aleppo “the epicentre of a vicious battle between the Syrian Government and those who wish to replace it” — and Srebrenica, which he said “represented one of the darkest chapters in United Nations history.”
Srebrenica, of course was the psyop organized and executed by US and NATO countries’ special forces to create a pretext for the outright war on Yugoslavia and bombing of Serbia. You can read about Srebrenica in the Saker’s Special Report: The Truth about Srebrenica 20 years later
It’s seemed very logical for the UN and “the international community” that since Al-Nusra and Free Syrian Army and other forces of democracy were murdering journalists, postal workers, government officials, and high ranking military officers, that the Syrian government had to immediately and “rapidly” to step down and to give the power over the country to Al-Nusra and Free Syrian Army.
Since they killed so many Syrians it was only logical to give them power over the entire nation. At least that’s what happened in the former Yugoslavia, and in Ukraine. But later about this.
I just want to illustrate you how the same people and organizations who were whipping up Syria into bloody hell did the same to Ukraine. The same people, the same faces, the same bloody mess. And how they try doing same job in Russia a year before the presidential elections.
In Russia, private military companies are explicitly banned by law. The Armed forces of the Russian Federating is the only military force in Russia. So, when past week there was a massive injection of information about some “Chechen” military battalions named ‘West” and ‘East” getting ready to deployment to Syria. Ramzan Kadyrov has denied this information and posted the following statement on his Instagram:
“Local media spreads messages about deployment to Syria some “soldiers of the battalions “Vostok” and “Zapad” and “Chechen special forces”. I state with authority that there are no battalions “East” and “West” in the Chechen Republic . In Chechnya, as in any other region of Russia, military units are deployed by the Russian Defense Ministry. They are serving the citizens of Russia from Chechnya and all other subjects of the Russian Federation. It is well known that the Russian troops don’t take parts in ground operations in Syria.
At the same time, the Ministry of Defense has never made any secret of the fact that Russia has an air force base and its security is provided by soldiers of the Defense Ministry with periodic rotations. Some teams arrive, others depart. If the military, stationed in Chechnya, would ever receive an order, to serve for the protection of air bases in Syria, that will make them very happy.”
We posted a video and the Saker’s analysis of this.
Why is it so important for the Western governments who are currently at war on Russia to create a fake secret Russian or Chechen battalions fighting for Assad? Because, as they threatened many times, they are trying to initiate a tribunal to accuse Russia in war crimes and genocide in Ukraine and Syria.
Another this kind of attempt was conducted on August 10th, 2016 by the British company “Sky News” when they published a video called “Revealed: Russia’s ‘Secret Syria Mercenaries‘ – Sky News”
Aug 10, 2016 – Video: Exclusive Report On Russia’s Secret Mercenaries. By John Sparks, Moscow Correspondent.
[I could only find this video being distributed by an youtube Free Syrian Army account claiming to be Syrian, but linked to a paypall account located in Germany. Could be one of those “Merkel’s children.” Also, his twitter and FB accounts are suspended, and he doesn’t use a word in Arabic. ]
After this report, RT investigated and on August 18, published their results:
A Russian actor claims the recent Sky News documentary about undercover Russian mercenaries in Syria was staged. RT spoke with a man who claims that he was hired as an actor to impersonate one of the fighters of the secret private military company “Wagner” (Vagner) for the British news.
One of the key pieces of evidence provided was an interview conducted by Sky News’ Moscow correspondent, John Sparks, who spoke to two males who allegedly comprised part of a secret Russian force, called “Wagner” operating in Syria. They even named a Russian Military officer Colonel Utkin, as the alleged owner of the mighty defense company. Frankly, they could name absolutely any military officer whose image they found on the net.
The alleged existence of the private military company “Wagner” was confirmed to Sky News by someone named Pavel Felgenhauer, whom they call a “Moscow based military analyst.” That Mr. Felgenhauer had no credibility was discussed in December 2008 correspondence between then Ambassador of the US to Russia John R. Beyrle and the US Foreign Service officer and the future Ambassador to Ukraine and Russia, John Tefft, and published by WikiLeaks.
In particular, it was said that “while Felgenhauer is received at high levels in Tbilisi, he has no access to Russian military or political circles,” and that ” Felgenhauer sometimes engaged “in a style similar to yellow journalism in order to to attract attention to himself and his articles.”
The TV channel NTV and Russia 24 also conducted their own investigations. They pointed out that the medals shown in the SkyNews video didn’t look like the real medal For Distinguish in Battle. The question was also about how alleged Russian troops were wearing some sort of pinkish outfits with the St. George ribbons. These ribbons could be theoretically worn on the May 9th Victory Day, but the St. George ribbons don’t constitute a part of the Russian military uniform.
Further details were reveled in an interview with Alexander Agapov, a Moscow actor, who played a role of the “Wagner fighter” lives in Moscow. When John Sparks contacted him and offered a gig, Agapov agreed, but made his own recordings of their interactions and turned this material to the Russian media sources. Everyone was quietly waiting for SkyNews to come out with this “blockbuster revelations” to immediately publish the rebuttal.
Sky News has removed the video with an actor, but left the article on their web site.
Soon after, on November 3, 2016the British Reuters published article titled,
The article is a recycle of everything that has been already written, peppered with phrases like “Reuters was not able to identify the company or companies that hired the fighters,” or the website “Fontanka, has published what it says is the only known photo of him, a picture of a bald man in military fatigues striding near a helicopter,” and finally, “Reuters could not verify the image or the name.”
“Under Russian law, it is illegal to work as a private military contractor in another country,” which is a half-truth. The private military companies are illegal in Russia.
“However, Russian citizens have participated in wars across the former Soviet Union throughout the 25 years since it broke up in 1991.” While this could be true, it doesn’t prove that those people were employed by some private military companies.
This Reuters’ article went largely unnoticed, but it served the purpose of the general plan to drip anti-Russia propaganda on schedule.
Sure enough, a month later on December 14th all the Washington backed media outlets in Russia came out with the same announcement that Colonel Dmitry Utkin attended the Kremlin banquet and was awarded the Order of Courage for his military service. They also claimed that Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov confirmed these information.
However, all Peskov said that that the banquet was for people awarded by Hero of Russia and the Order of Courage for military service, and that there was a person named Dmitry Utkin, a retired military officer, who was invited from Novgorod region. At no point Peskov said that the liberal media claims he said.
The same exact text, word by word, was also published by the Moscow Times in English. “Russian Mercenary Leader Attends Kremlin Banquet.”
The situation gets even more interesting, since Rosbalt, one of the fake news generators, declared that “Wagner, a.k.a. the commander of the private military company Wagner Dmitry Utkin was killed in Donetsk” in January 2016. They even wrote that the death of Wagner caused huge relief and celebration among the Donetsk independence fighters. So, sometimes this virtual ‘Wagner” is a person, and sometimes, it’s a powerful military company that terrorizes Donbass and fights all the battles for the Syrians, who don’t do anything, but wait while this virtual ‘Wagner” fighting for them.
This is a brief illustration of how the Western information war against Russia is being fought: they make up characters, and those fake characters live and die, and are being resurrected at random.
The anti terrorist operations in Syria are being conducted by the SSO RF or the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (SSO VS RF)
Declassified: How Special Operations Forces work in Syria
Thank you for your time