Thursday, February 12, 2015

2014 Report: Main Challenge Space

Post created July 6, 2014
last edits February 12, 2015

July 20 Note: The report is now available and discussion could start anytime - but no rush. Have a read first.
Here I start my call to challenge the CIWCL's new report I just authored:
The Battle For The Houla Massacre: The Video Evidence Explained (and the rest reconsidered)
(PDF direct download/view link - 60 pages but digestible and with lots of
pictures and extras - download page with short summary here).

This post will gather links to specific arguments/challenge points, suggested by myself or readers, and gather the best challenges and note any corrections thus forced. I anticipate correcting a few things myself, but hope that others will join in.

Especially helpful would be anyone from the millions of people pre-conditioned to discredit the report's findings, but patient enough to actually show why one should, rather than just presuming it. It's a sacrifice to get specific and run the risk of being specifically wrong. I ask people to now take that risk, as we are with this report and other research.

July 12: Challenge Approach
I'm open on just how to approach this, but this is my first thought:
1) Readers who read the report and think they have a serious challenge - or even a question - can first do so here, in a comment.
2) If it turns out interesting enough, that and the related discussion could then be copied or even moved (you can run out of space here!) to a new post where it's related, with space below for further discussion on that narrower subject.
3) Each of these would be given a link in this post and brief notes as warranted. Any corrections we consider sufficiently justified will be made, noted, and become their own parts of the investigation thereafter.
4) If you're not sure you have a point but think you might ... it's a question. Go research to find out, or ask me. Ex: "this part ... sounds like it can't be right. What is that based on? You cite "x" but I don't get how..."
5) A better idea on approach would be a better idea. So bring that too if you have one.

July 20 Ground Rules: 
I hope to get people from different perspectives commenting and debating here, and over an emotive topic (and maybe off onto related emotive topics) So ... let's keep it on or close to topic. Attack the argument, not the arguer. Swearing is fine, but let's be respectful to each other, try to find even small agreements when possible, and stay constructive.

Serious, engaged efforts are preferred, obviously, to the kind of self-amused drive-by "duh-bunking" I've encountered so often when engaging with mainstream "skeptics," mindless defenders of the status quo (some call them "government plants," but I think "corporate media vegetables" captures the essence better).

December 12, Broad Response Invitation: Six months in ... to help get things moving, you can mention
- a typo or suspected error you spot
- statements of agreement or disagreement (specific)
- suggestions (NOT soliciting new source material unless it's a video and you've checked it against all those cited and know it's new - let's not clog the comments with reposts and guesses - I doubt it will be an issue)
- questions (like how we decided on a point), etc.

The best comments will directly discuss videos we cited and the content of them.

Special Challenge Spaces
* Eliot Higgins: Brown Moses on the Hook
If anyone else feels inspired to really review in detail and would like extra space, well there's plenty here now but that will change. I'm open to giving you your own post with fresh slate like Mr. Higgins gets (probably without the snarky set-up). First request should be made in at least one initial comment below.
Collected Updates:
C1 July 21: because I already know it's needed, a space to review Abdulrazaq-Abbara-Clocktower Connection? re: page 34 in the report.
C2 Dec. 12: (minor)page 41, left-hand graphic: the orange arrow should point to the smaller building just south of the one indicated.
Otherwise, none yet as of December 23 (just started really trying about a week ago).
C3 Feb. 12 2015: I challenged my revised time zone decision. It was right to reflect DST, but that was on top of a wrong time zone, an old error that got set in stone. I thought Syria was in UTC+3 with Iraq, but it's in UTC+2 with Lebanon. I'm embarrassed that underpins most of my/our Syria research. All times given, from sunset across, back down an hour, with minor effects on narrative lineup.


  1. I know this is an old issue to most, and there's a lot going on in Ukraine, Iraq, other places we've been trying to help ... So I don't expect much activity very quickly. But I hope a few people by now and more soon are skimming or reading the report and questions will start forming. In the meantime, I'll leave this first comment in case that helps break the ice.

  2. Oh, and anyone wanting to address me in a comment, you can call me Adam, Caustic or CL, or .whatever. - Adam/Caustic

  3. One small error on page 41, left-hand graphic: the orange arrow should point to the smaller building just south of the one indicated.

  4. Arabad bin Valid brigade, mentioned a fair amount in the report for their public plans to attack Taldou;s security posts, involvement in that, and slow trickle of Houla battle videos over the summer of 2012 - this was another early-set error I should have fixed. What is Valid? Waleed? No, I knew but forgot as Petri established early on, the brigade is Arabad bin Souriya. (Arabic sons of Syria?) "Valid" was just an early auto-translation glitch that I didn't even think to fix the whole time I was working on that report.

    That and I never double-checked the time zone in that whole process. I also failed to double-check all the video findings. I did with some, and revised a few things. So there are likely other errors or at least imprecisions in the 2014 report that could be ferreted out.

    Critical readers: I'm mentioning all this as a spur to anyone who became aware of this work, thinks it must be wrong and thinking of taking it on, but intimidated by the detail, too afraid it's actually true to proceed. See, maybe at least you can find some error like these, some bias or questionable presumption, and that will let you suggest there's far more and maybe we're entirely wrong. That buzz can keep you going long enough to really get to the core of it ... and find it is right. Sorry, you just will. But jump on in anyway!