Wednesday morning the renown journalist Maya Naser was shot dead by a sniper while he was reporting from the scene of two bomb blasts in central Damascus. Maya Naser was working for PRESS TV and Al–Alam in Damascus. The PRESS TV station chief Hussein Mortada was wounded in the event but is recovering from his injuries.
Journalists are frequently targeted by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the variety of radical Islamist terrorist organizations which have been attracted to Syria since the onset of the attempted subversion in March 2011. The timing of the assassination indicates that Maya Naser may have been targeted because he came dangerously close to revealing serious war crimes of the Turkish government.
Since early 2011 more than 20 journalists have been killed in Syria. In some incidents journalists have been captured, tortured and executed. In at least one incident a journalist has been shot dead by FSA troops in an attempt to scapegoat the Syrian military. Bombs exploded in buildings of Syrian Radio and TV.
The targeting of journalists coincides with concerted efforts to deprive Syrian media from reporting on the crisis from a Syrian perspective. On the initiative of the Arab League, and in violation of international law, both Nilesat and Arabsat stopped carrying Syrian Radio and TV signals over their satellite services in June. Meanwhile, western and and western allied Arab news services continue misrepresenting facts about the crisis in Syria.
In several well documented cases, Al Jazeera employees were directly involved in provoking or organizing the violence which was than broadcasted to defame the Syrian military and government. BBC re-used a photo with victims of the war on Iraq, claiming them to be victims of Syrian military forces. CNN´s Awra Damon filed numerous false reports. Her work is documented in an exposé by Scot Creighton. (1)
Western and western allied media coverage seems to underline the NATO doctrine that absolute image control is part of every modern warfare operation. Combine this with the fact that a US Special Forces training circular from 2010 admits that the USA for the foreseeable future will predominantly be involved in irregular war (2), and NATO´s perception of the subversion in Libya in 2011 as teachable moment and model for future interventions (3) it would not be exactly alarmist to state that Syrian journalists are being systematically targeted to secure absolute image control.
Knowing what Maya Naser has been investigating during the last days of his life gives a clear indication of which images the FSA and the Turkish government want to control.
During the last days, leading up to the assassination of Maya Naser and the wounding of the Al-Alam and PRESS TV station chief in Damascus, Hussein Mortada, Maya was investigating a case which had the potential to lead to the impeachment of the Erdogan led government of Turkey and indictments for serious war crimes and human rights violations.
Earlier this month the Workers´Party – Turkey filed criminal charges for the Turkish governments support of the Free Syrian Army and related terrorist groups. Only days before his assassination, Maya Naser entered into an ad hoc investigative alliance into the alleged war crimes and human rights violation of the Turkish government with leading members of the Workers´Party Turkey, international lawyer Christopher Black, and the author of this article.
Maya Naser could not only confirm many of the Workers´Party´s allegations against the Turkish government, he could provide the evidence.
In an correspondences to the Foreign Affairs Secretary of the Workers´Party, Harun Çakan, international lawyer Christopher Black, and the author of this article, Maya Naser confirmed that thousands of insurgents have been infiltrated into Syria via Turkey over the last few weeks. He also confirmed that some of the SAM-7 missiles which recently had been shipped from Libya, via Turkey had begun appearing in the hands of insurgents in Syria.
According to Maya Naser´s information, the bulk of these insurgents came from other Arab countries as well as Afghanistan. Turkish insurgents who had been captured or killed in Syria usually held supervisory and command positions and seemed better trained than the average insurgent. The Workers´Party – Turkey accuses the Turkish government for using the Apaydin refugee camp in Hatay to house, train and supervise FSA insurgents. (4)
Maya Naser could not only corroborate these allegations. His detailed information about the identity of some of the killed and captured insurgents could potentially result in the impeachment of the Erdogan led Turkish government.
Almost one month ago, Maya Naser wrote, ”while I was covering the military operations in Aleppo, we saw the ID documents of 13 Turkish insurgents. When checking their identities we discovered that one of the fighters was the brother of the 2003 HSBC bomber from Istanbul”.” Such information”, Maya Naser wrote, ”led us to believe that the Turkish government is sending those convicted or under suspicion of being Al-Qaeda members to fight as insurgents in Syria”.
In subsequent, personal conversations between Maya Naser and the author of the article, he reiterated that there is further evidence that corroborates the suspicion that the government of Turkey is sending prisoners who have received a death sentence and those who serve life time sentences to Syria as an opportunity to be released from prison and as a chance to clear their record.
International lawyer Christopher Black responded to Maya Naser´s information, stating that if his information was correct, then the Turkish government is committing a war crime under the Rome Statute, which forbids forced service of non-combatants in war.
According to Christopher Black it would be possible to file a complaint with the ICC against Turkey and NATO if corroborating evidence could be produced, stating that if Turkey is involved in these crimes, then its partners are equally guilty.
Two days later Maya Naser was shot by a sniper when he and his cameraman rushed to the scene of a double bomb attack in Damascus. Whether the timing of the assassination is coincidental or not it is certain that the death of Maya Naser may delay an investigation. It will not stop it.
My condolences to the family, loved ones and colleagues of Maya Naser, and wishes for a speedy recovery of Al-Alam and PRESS TV station chief Hussein Mortada.
Dr. Christof Lehmann
1) Awra Damon is at it again, filing fake reports about Syria. http://nsnbc.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/cnns-arwa-damon-is-at-it-again-filing-fake-reports-about-syria/
2) TC 18-01 Special Forces Unconventional Warfare. http://nsnbc.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/special-forces-uw-tc-18-01.pdf
3) NATO`s 25th Summit in Chicago in Preparation of Global Full Spectrum Dominance, Interventionism, Possible Preparations for A Regional War Directed against Russia and China, and Developments in Global Security. http://nsnbc.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/natos-25th-summit-in-chicago-in-preparation-of-global-full-spectrum-dominance-interventionism-possible-preparations-for-a-regional-war-directed-against-russia-and-china-and-developments-in-global/
4) WORKERS’ PARTY (TURKEY) FILED A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT ABOUT THE TERROR CAMPS IN HATAY! http://inter.ip.org.tr/lib/pages/detay.asp?goster=haberdetay&idhaber=3475