Over at Pulse, Idrees Ahmad points me to an Al Jazeera investigation by Mahmoud Al Ken into the Houla massacre near Homs, Syria, last May that confirms the original report that the murders of 108 villagers were carried out by Syrian government forces. Writes Pulse:
There is no reason why official stories shouldn’t be doubted, but given the heinous nature of the crime, one would’ve thought they’d be careful with regard to their evidence. As it happened, all of them were relying on a single article appearing in a German publication, written by an author who never visited Houla or met a survivor. This was no innocent mistake: it was pointed out to both Medialens and FAIR that their source was dubious and its claim highly questionable. The source was discredited soon afterwards, and Der Spiegel and the UN have since both confirmed the original reports. Neither Medialens nor FAIR has apologized.
Below is the Al Jazeera piece. Beautifully done, the kind of journalism it’s hard to put down once you start. It begins, Our Friday demonstration on May 25 was met by Assad tanks. The several men interviewed from 3:30 to 5:40 or so are genuine and persuasive, and the massacre house testimony from a brother of victims at 7:30 is also compelling. And the nighttime movement of the bodies, described by a villager, at 8:45, rivetting. The traumatized woman at 9:40: stunning.
Some of these people are very brave to come forward. The elder male witness at 10:30-11– great reporting.
And most important, please watch the highly-articulate clerical figure speaking at 13:52, saying that the purpose of the massacre was to ignite a sectarian conflict in an area of mixed Sunni and Alawite villages.