Stephen Lendman is a writer, syndicated columnist, activist, News TV personality, and radio show host. He currently writes for and and hosts, since 2007, a progressive radio show at The Progressive Radio News Hour on The Progressive Radio Network.

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA, raised in a modest middle income family, attended public schools, received a Harvard BA in 1956 and a Wharton MBA in 1960. After six years as a marketing research analyst, Lendman became part of a new small family business in 1967, remaining there until retiring in 1999.

Since then, he has devoted his time to progressive causes, extensive reading, and since summer 2005 writing on vital world and national topics, including war and peace, American imperialism, corporate dominance, political persecutions, and a range of other social, economic and political issues.

He is also author of the celebrated books "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity" and "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War".

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Russian Journalist Exposes Propaganda Lies About Houla Massacre

Russian Journalist Exposes Propaganda Lies about Houla Massacre


by Stephen Lendman


Going to war depends first on selling it. Gaining public support is vital. Previous articles discussed it. Walter Lippmann coined the phrase “manufacture of consent.”  Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky discussed the “propaganda model” in their book titled “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.” 

Media scoundrels use it to manipulate and control public thinking and perceptions. News and information are filtered. Acceptable “residue” only is reported.  Dissent is marginalized. Government and dominant private interests are prioritized. Michael Parenti explained:

“The enormous gap between what US leader do….and what American’s think their leaders are doing is one of the great propaganda accomplishments….”

In their book titled “Propaganda and Persuasion,” Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell defined their topic as “the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.”

Richard Alan Nelson described the technique as follows:

“Propaganda is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and direct media channels.”

“A propaganda organization employs propagandists who engage in propagandism—the applied creation and distribution of such forms of persuasion.”

Propaganda has different forms. Advertisers use it to generate sales. So do politicians to get elected. Religious leaders use it to indoctrinate the faithful. So do nations to promote their agendas.   When war is planned, it’s used to create fear, demonize enemies, dehumanize them, falsely accuse them of atrocities and other crimes, and enlist public support for intervention for alleged humanitarian reasons.

In 1917, George Creel first used propaganda successfully to turn pacifist Americans into raging German-haters.  In his 1928 book titled “Propaganda,” Edward Bernays said it’s possible to “regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies.” “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?”

In his book titled “Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty,” Alex Carey said:

“The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.”

It’s also used to launch wars, trick enemies for strategic purposes, and deceive the public while waging them. Media scoundrels play a crucial role. People are manipulated to think aggressive wars are just ones.  Big lies launch them. None achieve peace, security and stability. One conflict begets others. Endless destructive cycles follow. Countless millions die. Vast destruction ravages countries. Human misery, not liberation, results.  Human needs go unmet. Wealth, power, and imperial interests only matter. Successful propaganda convinces people that what harms their well-being actually helps them.  Post-9/11, America waged multiple direct and proxy wars. They continue without end. Obama itches for more. Syria is target one, then Iran, then other nations for unchallenged US dominance. At issue is can humanity survive?

On June 11, Global Research published Russian journalist Marat Musin‘s firsthand observations of what really happened at Houla. He exposed media scoundrel misinformation and lies. Doing so provided a vital service.  Western-enlisted death squads bear full responsibility. Government forces and/or so-called pro-Assad shabbiha had no involvement.

Scoundrel media and Western officials provided fabricated accounts of what went on. It was classic, duplicitous propaganda. It rages to enlist public support for war.  Musin’s article is powerful reading. Circulating it widely is important. Only public rage can stop wars. Nothing else works. Knowing the truth and spreading it has impact. Imperial America and war profiteers fear that most.  It’s time ordinary people got radicalized for their own well-being. Focus first on ending imperial wars. Imagine what’s possible at peace. Imagine public needs prioritized over conquests and domination. If that’s not worth fighting for, what is?

Below is a snapshot of what Musin wrote. Read his article for the full account.

On May 25, Houla was attacked by hundreds of “bandits and mercenaries.”  Ar-Rastan-based and Free Syrian Army terrorists were responsible.  Civilians abandoned the town of Ar-Rastan. Lebanese Wahhabi/Salafist extremists dominate the area. With foreign money and weapons, they carry out terrorist attacks.  When killer gangs entered “the lower checkpoint in the center of” Houla, they attacked pro-government residents. “Many of those killed were ‘guilty’ of….dar(ing) to change from Sunnis to Shiites.” They were murdered in cold blood “with knives (or) shot at point blank range.”

Scandalous accounts blamed Assad. Government forces and/or supporters had nothing to do with it.  Musin called UN observers claiming they heard artillery fire “a bad joke.” Assad’s forces were in Homs, 50 kilometers away. “After a visual inspection of (Houla), it is impossible to find traces of any of fresh destruction, bombing and shelling….Militants used heavy weapons and snipers…”

Official and scoundrel media reports wreak of inconsistencies and duplicity.

“Militants opened fire on virtually everyone who tries to get closer to (Houla). Before us a UN convoy was fired upon and two armored jeeps of the UN observers were damaged, when they tried to drive up to an army checkpoint in Tal Dow.”

“….(M)any of the militants are professional snipers.”

“….(B)andits even fired an automatic burst on our group of journalists….”

About 108 civilians were killed, including 38 or more young children. They were executed in cold blood. They were pro-government loyalists.  Musin discussed media disinformation, saying:

“To exert pressure on public opinion and change the positions of Russia and China, texts and subtitles in Russian and Chinese languages were prepared in advance, reading:

‘Syria – Homs – the city of Hula. A terrible massacre perpetrated by the armed forces of the Syrian regime against civilians in the town of Houla. Dozens of victims and their number is growing, mainly women and children, brutally killed by indiscriminate bombing of the CITY.’ ”  “Two days later, on May 27, after the residents’ stories and video recordings made showed that the facts do not support the allegation of shelling and bombing, the bandits’ videos had undergone significant changes.”

“At the end of the text appeared this postscript: ‘And some were killed with knives.’ ”  Musin reported what everyone needs to know and tell others. Pentagon war plans were ready months ago. Obama itches to attack Syria. Perhaps Houla or another planned incident will trigger it.

On Friday, Syria’s Human Rights Council representative, Faisal al-Hamwi, blamed Houla killings on terror gangs. They’re trying to incite sedition, he said.  “No sane person can believe some of this session’s sponsors when they show sorrow and pain for the victims at the time when they participate in killing the Syrians and shedding their blood,” he added.  On June 1, the Human Rights Council met to discuss Syria. Washington pressure assured its conclusions in advance.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, blamed Assad for killer gang crimes. She wrongly said the “Syrian military allegedly unleashed a barrage of heavy weapons on” Houla, “including artillery and tank fire….” She also blamed “pro-government Shabiha paramilitary groups….”

Doing so ignored clear evidence of responsibility. She wants government officials prosecuted at the International Criminal Court. Western and complicit regional states’ accountability wasn’t mentioned.

On June 2, the State Department claimed satellite images show Houla mass graves. Assad was named responsible. Alleged nearby artillery craters were also shown.   So-called images can be easily manipulated and/or fabricated. They can also be from other areas unrelated to Houla or Syria. State Department claims are spurious and unverified. So are scoundrel media reports about them.  On Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said preliminary government investigations showed a well-planned operation carried out by gunmen intent on violence, not a diplomatic solution to Syria’s conflict.

He blamed weapons and funding supplied foreign mercenaries.  Houla killings advanced the ball closer to war. Launching it could happen anytime, with or without Security Council authorization.  Doing so will ignite a regional firestorm. Imagine the potential catastrophic consequences. Future updates will cover more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] Also visit his blog and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. He is also the author of “How Wall Street Fleeces America

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8 Responses to "Russian Journalist Exposes Propaganda Lies About Houla Massacre"

  1. Youssef - Beirut  June 13, 2012 at 8:43 am

    The picture above shows a Syrian Revolution flag flying at the funeral of the Houla massacre victims (top right corner of the picture).

    If the perpetrators were indeed the revolutionaries, don’t you think the bearer of this flag would have been lynched by the crowd?

    If the victims were Assad supporters, don’t you think the regime would have taken the golden opportunity to flood the scene with official Syrian flags and posters of Assad as is the case in the other mass burials were the victims were Assad supporters (such as the Damascus bombings for example)?

    Doesn’t the presence of this flag indicate the true affiliation of the Houla victims?

    A picture is worth 100 words…

    Anyone cares to provide an explanation and raise my doubts?

    • Gordon Duff  June 13, 2012 at 4:23 pm

      the fight there is real..and the west has nothing to proit

      the rebels will not win

  2. sc_ce57b34c42bbe7d0b10c7deee4ae6a5e  June 4, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    A prominent press photographer said that an image of a massacre he
    shot in Iraq in 2003 was being circulated as if it documents events
    that occurred recently in Syria.

    This analysis at looks at the evidence that
    this could be “another western mail-order massacre” with the purpose
    to achieve “adoption of UN Security Council resolution for the start
    of NATO military operations in Syria.”

  3. eddieleaks  June 4, 2012 at 4:49 am

    Obama is a generally more eloquent puppet than Bush

  4. Charlotte NC Bill  June 4, 2012 at 4:16 am

    A tangled web of anti-Syrian war supporters created the massacre in Hula and other places…These Salafi, Wahabi mercenaries murdered pro-govt families confident that the controlled media in the west would portray it as just the opposite….And it’s so true: Don’t listen to what a politician SAYS. Look at what he DOES. And by that criteria Obama is a darker complexioned, more eloquent version of Bush.

  5. haroldsmith  June 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    The only people that are being “fooled” by the propaganda, at this point in time, are those that need and/or want to be fooled. Propaganda is for opportunists and moral cowards, not for reasonable people.

    I’m just amazed at the spinelessness of Russia and China. I wonder, where do they think is imperial madness is going to end? The “U.S. government” respects nothing but force. Only some kind of action by Russia and China will get their attention.

    • danielnoel  June 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      The spinelessness of Russia and China, amazing? Yes! But let us not stop here. What is the Cuban government waiting for to expose the propaganda? Or the Venezuelan government? And what other U.S.-centered calamities against humanity haven’t they denounced? When, if ever, will they show from their bully pulpits the videos of the twin towers’ destruction, explain that no scientific explanation has been given for this phenomenon based on earlier terror attacks by large aircraft, and invite a couple of civil engineering professors to explain how evident it is that the twin towers were destroyed by a team of expert demolitionists?

      The most alarming aspect of Western propaganda is that the traditional watchdogs who should protect the public against it appear to be asleep.


    • haroldsmith  June 4, 2012 at 7:11 pm

      Unlike Cuba or Venezuela though, Russia and China: (1) are powerful; (2) are members of the UN Security Council; (3) are being directly threatened by U.S. moves to (a) conquer the Mideast, (b) construct a “missile shield, (c) surround them with bases and hostile governments, (d) interfere in their internal affairs, (e) etc.; (4) could take retaliatory action – short of war – to resist U.S. aggression, but for some reason, won’t.

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