The Al-Bayda Massacre: Media Disinformation and Coverup of Atrocities Committed by US Sponsored Syria Rebels

Media Disinformation and Coverup of Atrocities Committed by US Sponsored Syria Rebels

The Al-Bayda Massacre: Answering Britain's Channel 4's Whitewash of Another Syrian Rebel Massacre

Mideast Syria
 Human Rights Gatekeepers Keeping the Gates
There is a new disinformation offensive over the Syrian al-Bayda massacre, an event I and the ACLOS (A Closer Look On Syria) research community recently studied intensively. Since being reported in the coastal Tartous province on May 2, the outside world is supposedly ignoring the massacre. But mainly, as explained partially below, they have been ignoring key details that implicate the multinational rebel forces, not the governemtn and its allies, in the crimes there.
This pattern of avoidance continues with a nauseatingly slick new propaganda piece by Channel 4 news: Al-Bayda: Anatomy of a War Crime (filmed, Produced and Directed by James Brabazon). [1] This uses Human Rights Watch Middle East director Nadim Houry, and fancy satellite effects, to sex up what’s really just unverified “activists say” reporting. Some claims are laundered by Houry, who repeats them as fact. This is not  investigative reporting, but another campaign to solidify a challenged rebel narrative, as was done in waves with the Houla massacre of May 2012. In that case, it has now been proven the challenging “government” version is after all the best fit with the available evidence, and it seems that a rebel massacre of horrifying audacity has gone unpunished. [2]
 This program comes just days after the UN Human Rights Commission released a report placing the blame for nine horrible massacres in Syria – one (Hatlah) pinned on rebels, eight on the people rebels blamed. Al-Bayda and its follow-up sister massacre in Ras al-Nabi’, Baniyas nearby are two on that short list of eight, Reuters reported. [3] There were about a dozen others left undecided and like a hundred not even considered.
 ”Anatomy of a War Crime,” and this article, focus strictly on the earlier al-Bayda half of these Baniyas massacres. The basic gist from Houry, paraphrased: regime forces clearly did the massacre because al-Bayda is a Sunni town and rebels are Sunni, and the Alawite and Christian loyalist towns surround ing it are full of people who could do this. The army admits entering the city by three axes, which “seems to indicate some sort of central decision,” and he’s pretty sure the massacres happened after that. Male bodies piled in the cell phone shop, he decided, were dead. To him, that seems like a big clue.
 An army operation, dead people, in a Sunni town, and the government denials are supposed to look pretty thin. They will be held to account, Houry promises, and B-roll footage glorifies his ability to jot down names I recognize and tape lots of things to the wall, like photos I can name the people in.
The video comes with a summary, apparently written by producer James Brabazon, which I’ll use as a template for a partial point-by-point refutation:
 ”While the investigation into the regime’s alleged use of nerve gas continues, the 2 May massacre in al-Bayda remains the single, most extensive verified act of the killing of civilians carried out by government forces since the war began.”
Oops! It’s actually not very clear at all who’s responsible, as we’ll see. As for the extent of it :
“The Syrian army had killed at least 169 civilians in four hours. The verified final death toll is likely to reach beyond 250.”
 The time span is a separate issue, as explained below, quite likely just made up. The death toll seems to be, broadly, 100-120, but it’s not really set. [4] The only list with about their number is the biggest we could find, with 165 entries, was published shortly after and contains numerous near-duplicate entries, re-mixed names and extra family members that appear in no other sources, etc. [5] 165 was the previous unsubstantiated high estimate among those backed by alleged names (there are higher tallies up to 400+ with no details at all). Channel 4 “verified the names” of a number just higher than that, and that becomes the starting point, the low-end number, with probably more than 250 really killed, or likely twice this minimum or maybe even 400+. This is unsound methodology, designed to maximize the moral outrage at the expense of reliability.
 ”[al-Bayda] was a predominantly Sunni village … The Syrian government didn’t consider al-Bayda to be a threat.”
 This as close as they get to explaining any reason that specific people were targeted, please note. It was a Sunni town, and random Sunni people within it were chosen just for that, presumably – not for any threat, their politics, or anything. Racism and regime evil alone are to blame, HRW and the activists claim.
 The alternate explanation, considering no motive past those stupid ones, is that maybe the government’s forces didn’t do it. Civilians were clearly massacred, but maybe someone else who wants to make the regime look bad did it for them. I’m not saying Nadim Houry had a hand in killing these people. I trace it further back, to his ultimate information sources about a crime he may be helping them both obscure and fob off for geopolitical utility.
Loyalist Victims : the Biassi and Related Families
Completely ignored in this “anatomy” is they key feature that from within al-Bayda, it seems government loyalist Sunnis were singled out. The vast majority have political views that are simply unknown, with no proven rebel activism shown for anyone.
There’s only one victim whose views and mind are known – the most prominent martyr, Sheikh Omar Biassi, the 63-year-old imam of the city’s main mosque (or perhaps retired). His photo is shown in the video (doctored with the Syrian flag, 12:45) but he is never named or mentioned therein. All sources on both sides who mention the man at all agree he supported the government, and has been documented calling for interfaith dialog, national unity, and a settlement of the conflict, led by the “captain of the ship” Bashar al-Assad. [6]
Authorities were not threatened by the pro-government imam, but rebels presumably at least didn’t like the guy. On April 3 in his safe province of Tartous, an Omar Biassi posted a comment calling for the death, if needed, of all “traitors.,” his patience having worn through. [6] One month later, he and his family were wiped out instead. A reported 36 members of the Biassi family were killed on May 2; at least two dozen with his name appear on lists, and through apparent intermarriage, dozens of others (families Fattouh, Al-Shoghri, Qaddour, Hamouda) are also related. In fact, about half of those listed are demonstratably linked to this one man, who might have just pissed off the rebels in his area. The rest could also be linked and it’s just not clear yet.
 Sheikh Biassi would be neither the first nor the last pro-government Sunni cleric singled out, presumably by rebels, for breaking their poorly-written script where all Sunnis reject the regime. Consider top Sunni scholar Dr. Mohammed Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, killed March 21 in Damascus, Sheikh Abdullatif al-Jumaili in Aleppo, February 8, and Hassan Seifaddine, beheaded in Sheikh Maqsoud Aleppo, March 30. [7]
 There is some further complexity, however, in this case. As Brabazon wrote:
“In May, 2011 [authorities] rounded up all the men in the village square and beat many of them up.”
 In mid-April 2011, rather, authorities rounded up about 100 of the men for suspected anti-government activity, and beat up/stomped on some of them. Members of Imam Biassi’s family were prominent among them, as well as other family names that would appear as losing members in the massacre. [8]
As damning as that might sound, each family had its factions. Omar Biassi sided with the president, while an “Abu Ali Biassi” was allegedly the defense minister of a planned Islamic emirate in Baniyas,* with weapons secured from Lebanese helpers, and power stations slated for destruction. In December, 2011, more Biassis were arrested after some one  set Sheikh Omar’s car on fire.  [6] As for which camp the 2013 massacre victims belonged to, Omar himself is our only clear benchmark.
* (side-note: The planned emir of that was Sheikh Anas Ayrout from Baniyas, now an Islamist member of the Syrian National Coalition, in July 2013 urging a “balance of terror” against Syria’s Alawite civilian population which fed the horrific Latakia massacres in August) [9].
Obscuring Rebel Capabilities
There was no FSA or opposition military presence at all, Barbazon heard, and other sources have spoken of a nominal to non-existent rebel force varying between zero and 14 members, on which they had just symbolically declared al-Bayda “liberated.” [10] This is important for two reasons : it leaves no real provocation possible for the Army offensive, and also rules out a massacre by the rebel side, which would require some kind of force.
“The only function that al-Bayda played for the opposition was to help smuggle out individual deserting government soldiers who’d run away from their bases on the coast and were trying to reach rebel-held territory.”
 ”Regime forces came and went as they pleased. No-one attacked them,” the report adds, which was seemingly true through 2012 and 2013, at least until the end of April, when a colonel was assassinated, a checkpoint was attacked, security was tightened, there was a small raid with a few arrests in al-Bayda on May 1. [11] That night and into the morning, events are not clear. The next day, after the major assault, the government showed on video a large cache of weapons including RPGs and machine guns, seized in what they considered their raid on a fully functioning cell. [12] That was first jabbed lightly on May 1, perhaps underestimating it, which may have stirred the hornet’s nest for some stinging that night.
As for the help to “individual deserting government soldiers,” not organized armed groups of Islamist defectors or foreigners: Early on May 2 security men came to arrest “a group of three (individual ?) Syrian army deserters who were being hidden in the outskirts of the village” but remained armed and resisted. Only then did about a dozen lightly-armed locals improvise a militia to aid the soldiers, and together they did manage to defeat the Shabiha and leave them burning in their trucks.
This was reported from the beginning: some 30-40 alleged attackers of the National Defense Forces or “Shabiha” came around 4 am or earlier ; they were ambushed by some rebel force, reports on both sides said, with 6-8 killed, some 20-30 others injured and perhaps captured, or even executed and mixed into the man-heavy death toll. Even the few acknowledged as killed  are not acknowledged anywhere in a death listing or any rebel video, at least not as themselves. [13]
So as evidence there was no rebel presence, nothing worth attacking, and nothing capable of its own false flag massacre, we have an allegedly desperate start to a battle. And as always reported, the rebel forces in al-Bayda soundly won it, in the pre-dawn hours of May 2. That is actually further counter-evidence against the crucial claim, and rebel weaponry remains a viable explanation for any violence at that time, if it cannot be proven as something else.
Timeline Clues : Massacre Before the Army Arrived
“At seven in the morning of 2 May this year, Syrian government forces entered the village … At 1.30pm the killing began.”
 In the pre-dawn dark, of May 2, the evidence suggests, the women and children victims at least were already dead and being filmed by rebel cameras, hours before the army entered. Nadim Houry is careful to dispel this possibility; at 3 :00 in the video he explains as fact “all the civilians died after 1 :30, when the armed groups, security forces, the army, these paramilitary groups, proceeded to go house to house in the village.” [1] Clearly he’s relying on what people have told him, and it can hardly be verified by any research.
A wide range of sources suggests the Army’s artillery offensive, not invasion, started around 7 :00 am, and boots in the city only came later than this. The pre-attack started, logically, just after sunrise (about 6 :45 local time that day). So anything filmed on May 2 but before sunrise, clearly, is solidly before the army entered, with the daylight hours after increasingly contested.
 Two crime scenes or victims at least are shown twice – once in the dark and once in the light – where it can be established the light scene is later. This means there was a period flanking dawn where opposition activists enjoyed relaxed access to these crime scenes. [14] Video release dates do not prove anything but no-later-than, and they do fail to prove an early May 1 massacre. Coming out only on May 3, 4, and 5, technically they allow more mornings when each could have been filmed. [15] But this is apparently a delayed release problem (see below)
Reports by the end of May 2 strengthen this. With only the one night-dawn span preceding it to discover, film, and count bodies, it was reported that “regime forces executed 200 people.” That was at 9 :07 pm on the 2nd as I found, perhaps in error – it might be 8:07. It was known that “50 martyrs, mostly women and children, were slaughtered with knives” by 8:01/7:01 pm. “Slaughter knives” in use were already mentioned at 6:15/5:15 pm. [16]
All of these are no-later than times for any real knowledge. The best time to start announcing a known tally from the morning is in the evening, after the army has taken charge and could be blamed. How they could actually gather such intelligence in that climate and with such speed is not clear. It is technically possible, but having the information already would explain this rapidly-evolving record even better. Houry notes the rapidity of the killing reports after 1 :30 as a sign of premeditation by the regime – they jumped right to it. Rather, the eager appearance of knowledge might suggest much worse on the other side.
According to the video release timeline, activists generally took days to get any video of the sites with women and children. In Channel 4’s program, Hassan says he filmed his video of the 20 women and girls (see below) around 10 PM on the 2nd, but for whatever reason, it was held back until 2 :45/1 :45 am on the 4th, when the first postings appeared online. [15] Chances are high it was filmed about 18 hours earlier than he says, and the others too were also delayed, however long after being filmed early on the 2nd or even late on the 1st. 
 The Victims in Mustafa’s House
“In the house of Mustafa Biyasi, 30 women and children were herded into one room and then executed – shot at point blank.”
 In the video, Hassan refers to the home of  ”Abu Ali Mustafa, family Biassi.” He shows the dark video of the main massacre scene, which he says was filmed at 10 PM, in his own neighborhood. It’s said the victims were shot at close range, but some display prominent blade slices, and the frequent holes in throats could actually have been poked, alike throat-slicing but less obviously Islamist. (An oddity : there’s little blood visible on the victims, despite the sometimes horrific wounds – this is worth more scrutiny).
 Previously, I had found reports of a “Mustafa Ali Biassi,” politics unknown but aged near 50, who was reported arrested  by 6 :46 pm local on May 1, as rebels began various operations in the area and security forces started a crackdown. [11] It wasn’t clear who arrested him, but, then – perhaps that night – came the massacres with so many family members snuffed out, as it seems, largely inside his house (app.100 meters west of the mosque, the video’s map says). Aisha Biassi, named on-screen with a baby in red not named, must (allegedly) be Aisha Qaddour, wife Mohammed Mustafa Ali Biasi, also killed, per the big list. [5] Two baby boys are listed after: Ali Mustafa Ali, and Mohammed Mustafa Ali (plus two more possible children – an unnamed daughter and a blank entry). [5]
 Others here might be misidentified; five children, all seemingly girls by the colorful, ruffled dresses they wear, are panned over as only three names are shown: Afnan, Sarah, and Abdullah Biyasi. Sarah is one of three Fattouh-Biassa sisters (the others not named) from Safaa Ali Biassi, married to Abdullah Fattouh. [17] She’s named here as the pregnant woman with a hole in her jaw. The baby, I thought a girl, is said to be her little boy Hamza and could be. Sarah as named is apparently in red, holding Afnan in purple (who I missed in earlier scans). Aged 3, she’s apparently from a different family. This girl’s neck seems hacked badly, details mercifully unclear. Which dress-wearing child is supposed to be Sarah’s brother Abdullah is unclear. Otherwise, with the exception of the baby in red, there are no males in this room. Sex segregation is consistent with either version of the massacre, of course.
Corpses as Props
“Saffa Biyasi cuddled her baby boy, Hamza Biyasi. They lay dead next to each other, serene despite their injuries. Afnan Biyasi and another small child spooned each other on the bed they were shot on, perhaps holding each other for comfort in the last moments before the bullets ripped through their tiny bodies.”
This is unlikely. Bodies were extensively managed by rebels at these crime scenes they enjoyed relaxed access to. At least two clear examples are detailed by ACLOS analysis.
 Someone in the opposition network filmed teenage Ahmad Othman in the pre-dawn dark, apparently where he was killed, in his home with other men. Then he was filmed again in daylight “executed in the street,” as it seemed, at the base of a wall smeared with his blood. It looked as if he was shot and slumped there or, since he was killed elsewhere, like he was tossed against the wall for such an effect. [18]
 Consider also the bedroom scene of a mother apparently died while shielding two of her children with her splayed body. This was seen in two videos where the children (a thoroughly brutalized and bloodied child of around eight, and a baby with only a foot visible) are arranged differently for no clear reason. She had to be lifted up then laid back on top of them for that. Quite likely, the original dramatic pose was staged for just this emotional effect. [19]
Babies seeming to be hugging each other as the bullets tore into them are probably the same type of engineered heart-string tuggings, by twisted people playing with props that used to be Human Beings.
 Witnesses to Slaughter?
“At least one young boy, Luqman al-Hiris, was beheaded – in front of his mother.”
This boy is apparently part of those killed “in the town square,” here explained and shown as the sloping street near the mosque, where ACLOS has placed the “curbside victims” [20] None of those 13 men and boys was visibly beheaded. They know this boy was killed in front of his mother because old woman Um Mohammed witnessed it, from some hiding spot we presume. She says he was the youngest, and one boy has a large torn-out hole in his neck/jaw, but that’s not the same, and most likely a bullet exit wound.
The mentioned family name just barely appears in the previous record. If al-Hiris is the same as Alhris, it appears on the big list of 165, attached to two men – Mohammed Ali and Ali Mohammed, and no one else. There’s no Luqman, and no mother. The opposition CDV entries are lacking for any such name in Arabic or identifiable transliterations. [21]
Another victim, a pregnant woman, was reportedly sliced open to kill the fetus inside. This horrible allegation comes from previous reports – a rebel from Baniyas saw the aftermath – and a photo of an unborn fetus, wrapped in white and said to be a martyr in al-Bayda. This alleged surgery must have happened after she was filmed pregnant and intact by rebels, if she’s the one called Safaa here. That may not be the case, but there can’t be many pregnant women expected from such a small pool of the populace. [22]
Anyway, if there was beheading involved, as alleged here, that would add to the existing picture of bladed Islamo-nihilists, inscribing their bleak world view into the flesh of those caught in their path. There’s also Sara, a 12-year-old girl who survived somehow, probably by hiding. She says she later found the body of her tortured and murdered father, throat sliced. Again, this is a crime we haven’t seen clearly in the visual record, but there are the pierced throats of the woman and children at least.
That seems to be Sara at the start of the video rattling off a list of memorized names of massacre victims. With unusual sophistication, she calls for intervention by the outside world: “”They have slaughtered all of us … The world should pay attention about what is happening in al-Bayda. Why is everyone asleep? Why don’t they do something?” This is extremely reminiscent of Ali al-Sayed, an 11-year-old miracle survivor of the infamous false-flag Houla massacre a year before. He also had some names memorized, but switched them from one relative to another, along with all relevant details of his shifting story. He was clearer in his “demand that the international community stop the killing in Syria & in Houla …  We’re being killed in our homes. The international community … must fight for us, do what they say, and protect us.” [23]
 Enough Silence!
(from the video, 10 :25) “The Syrian Government denies any massacre took place.”
 That’s not true. First, loyalist sources – not government ones – have been clear about there being some scale of civilian massacre. One told Voice of Russia “the military offensive” blamed for the killings “was started in response to the brutal assassination of Sheikh Omar Baniyasi [sic].” [24]  All the clues for massacres in the night of May 1-2 are consistent with this. But perhaps to avoid panicking the people there, or for whatever reason one might imagine, the government itself has been pretty quiet. SANA and government sources have said little to nothing about civilian massacres one way or the other, only speaking of chasing out terrorists and restoring order. The claim that their forces only killed terrorists is not a claim that there were no civilian killings – just any such thing was not done by the army or its allies.
 While the government’s relative silence is taken as a sign of guilt, everyone else has been allegedly silent, evidencing moral weakness, this emotive propaganda would leave us feeling. As Sara said, “the world should pay attention about what is happening in al-Bayda.” I’ll second that, while adding that it should be close and critical attention, as if the real truth mattered,  regardless of what the gatekeepers have decided, as if human lives were on the line and mattered more than the goals of the destroy-Syria-and-Iran camp of the “World Community” and its deadly “Human Rights” weapons. 
Notes :
[1] “Al-Bayda: Anatomy of a War Crime.” Filmed, Produced and Directed by James Brabazon, Channel 4 News, September 13, 2013. http://www.channel4.com/news/syria-al-bayda-massacre-war-crime-video
[2] “Syria : One Year After the Houla Massacre. New Report on Official vs. Real Truth.” (by the author) Global Research, May 18, 2013. http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-one-year-after-the-houla-massacre-new-report-on-official-vs-real-truth/5335562
[3] “Syrian forces responsible for Banias massacres: U.N. report.” By Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters, September 11, 2013.  http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/11/us-syria-crisis-warcrimes-idUSBRE98A0D520130911
[5] ACLOS, Arab Worlds List :
[6] “Targetting Specific Communities in the Syrian Conflict: case study, the Baniyas massacres.” (by the author)http://ciwclibya.org/syria/specificcommunites.html
[9] ACLOS, Ayrout, Latakia Massacres:
[12] Terrorists Killed, Weapons Seized in Banias Villages Syrian Arab News Agency, May 2, 2013.http://sana.sy/eng/337/2013/05/02/480277.htm
[13] ACLOS, early clashes, where are the Shabiha ? http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Talk:Al-Bayda_Massacre#Early_Clashes
[14] ACLOS, night-mornin sequences :
[15] ACLOS, imagery timeline :
[23] “Fight for Us” And Other Things Ali Said: Houla Massacre Star Witness
Reconsidered (by the author) Article 3 in this PDF report:http://ciwclibya.org/images/Houla_Truth_Impunity_Final.pdf
[24] In Baniyas is peaceful and calm – witness Voice of Russia, May 4, 2013.http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_05_04/214684802/Situation

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Canada - Harper - Zionism - Joshua Blakeney


Joshua Blakeney : ‘Zionists dictate policy to Harper government’

Blakeney notes: Zionism has fully pervaded Canada economically and politically and we are seeing inequality, racism, demonization and trampling of people's rights. In the background of this, Canada as a warmongering, pro-Zionist, neo-con State? Hard to believe, but that is what the country has become under Prime Minister Stephen Harper according to an increasing number of political analysts. Attention began to fall on Canada in terms of Zionist influence when it was the only Western state aside from the US that voted against Palestine recognition by the United Nations.



Blakeney also notes: Canadians Search for Explanations for Foreign Minister's Radicalism

Whenever a prominent statesman prioritizes the national interests of a foreign country over the national interests of his own country it behooves journalists to ask uncomfortable questions. And in the case of Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, who prioritizes the national interests of Israel over those of Canada, it is his personal sexual orientation which is being honed in on by certain analysts.

Currently Canada's Foreign Minister is lecturing other countries on respecting the rights of homosexuals while he and some of his colleagues, with the help of the media, appears to be concealing their own homosexuality, possibly to prevent them losing the support of certain Christian Fundamentalists and other anti-homosexual groups which tend to vote for John Baird's right-wing Conservative Party.

Political analysts have drawn attention to the roles blackmail, a specialty of the Israeli Mossad, and sexual politics play in international diplomacy. Some analysts feel this subject may relate to John Baird, who for the past 15 years has been a frequent visitor to Tel Aviv, a city sometimes referred to as the "Gay Capital of the World".

Critics argue that Canada's Foreign Minister may be jeopardizing Canada's national interests because of his own biases and orientation. And whether Baird's secretive personal life is being used to manipulate him in other ways is yet to be seen. What cannot be denied however is that there is a glaring contradiction displayed when Baird lectures anti-homosexual governments on homosexual rights abroad, while concurrently relying on people with such views for votes domestically.

"UN Watch" also got angry with me this week over a report I produced which criticized the pro-Israel group. In addition, please note that Zionist Hillel Neuer seems to be making headway with getting the UN Rappateur for Palestine, Professor Richard Falk ousted from his UN position.

Having said this, getting the UN Human Rights Council to vote on Falk's credibility, based on his skepticism about 9/11, seems that it could backfire on "UN Watch", if the whole world votes to keep him in his position. It would be a de facto endorsement of Falk's 9/11 skepticism and defence of Palestinian self-determination.



Hillel Neuer Executive Director of UN Watch


http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/2013/05/23/un-circulates-ngo-resolution-to-fire-richard-falk/

Gilad Atzmon writes: "I was amused and proud to see my latest book The Wandering Whoheld aloft by Israeli chief Sayan Hilllel Neuer at the UN’s Human Right Council. The book was presented as ‘exhibit B’ in a farcical self-appointed Talmudic kangaroo court against the great Professor Richard Falk who lent his name, amongst many other leading humanists and intellectuals, in support of my work."
Hillel Neuer Attacks Richard Falk


Also see:
Fascinating Joshua Blakeney on 9/11 and “Terrorism”

More from Joshua Blakeney

Canada Follows Zionist Marching Orders At UN: 

Vladimir Putin: Russia’s Top Dog Is A Party Animal

Vladimir Putin, former president and current Prime Minister of Russia, has a softer side: he loves animals. Though some say Putin stages photo ops with animals both wild and domestic as a way of boosting his personal popularity, others note his genuine affection for furred, finned and feathered creatures.
That Vladimir Putin loves animals is no secret, even among spies whose business is secrecy. For example, in a leaked diplomatic cable recently published by WikiLeaks, U.S. diplomats referred to Putin as “Alpha Dog”. The code name is relevant on a number of levels; besides owning several dogs as his family’s personal pets, the former Russian president and current Prime Minister is widely presumed to be at the apex of political power in the world’s largest country.

                      (images via: Let Me In The SoundGizmodoFollow The Piper and KNDU)
Putin owns a black Labrador Retriever named Koni, who often enters conference rooms during high-level meetings and puts attendees to the sniff test.
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       (image via: Known Knowns and unKnowns)
Former U.S. president George W. Bush met Koni when Bush visited Russia; Putin had met Bush’s Scottish terrier, Barney, on a previous trip to the USA. As Koni charged across the lawn to greet Dubya, Putin reportedly leaned in and with a twinkle in his eye, said “Bigger, stronger, faster than Barney.”


(images via: Huffington Post and Daylife)
In the fall of 2008, Koni demonstrated the GLONASS satellite navigation system – Russia’s version of GPS – by wearing a collar that broadcasts her whereabouts to a remote location. Laika would approve!
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    (images via: Known Knowns and unKnowns and ETC)
Three toy poodles named Tosya, Romeo and Rodeo also share the Putin home and demand (and receive) their fair share of affection from VP. Officially they belong to Putin’s wife, Lyudmila Putina, as such cuddly pets may not appear to be “manly” enough to rate ownership by Russia’s Alpha Dog.
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    (images via: MentalflossRussianDogs and Yahoo News)
Putin’s latest pet, a caramel-and-white-patched Karakachan shepherd dog named Buffy, was a gift from Bulgarian PM Boyko Borissov to “seal the deal”, as it were, on Bulgaria’s signing on to the South Stream energy pipeline. When asked how Buffy was adjusting to his new family, Putin replied “He draws me huge puddles around the entire house, and leaves piles. But he’s a very pretty boy, of course, and I love him.” Awww…
Here’s a short video showing Putin receiving his fluffy, four-legged gift from the Bulgarian PM:
(image via: Stuff.nz)
You might think “Buffy” is an odd name for a Bulgarian dog, and one owned by a Russian nonetheless. The fact is, the name was chosen by Dima Sokolov, a 5-year-old boy whose suggested name won a nationwide competition. “I really liked your suggestion,” Putin told Sokolov at an introductory ceremony (above) introducing Buffy to friends, family and the Russian media. Buffy will grow up to be a serious vampire slayer in future as the breed can grow to weigh as much as 55 kg (121 pounds).
So, you think you get Putin’s goat? Nyet! In post-Soviet Russia, Putin’s goat get YOU! Well, something like that. Putin received Skazka (“Fairy-tale”), the snow-white goat above, from longstanding Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov. Luzhkov was removed from office following the summer of 2010′s deadly wildfires, and you’d better believe he didn’t get his goat… back.
(images via: DonklephantAmy’s RobotMSNBC and WTFhub)
As Vladimir Putin’s reputation as some sort of Dr. Doolittle (or as one blogger out it, “Dictator Doolittle”) grows, so does the impression that he can easily establish some deep connection with various kinds of animals. Check out the photos above… looks like he’s channeling Spock doing the Vulcan mind meld, inter-species style. Most illogical!
(images via: Reuters and Gawker)
Some of the most talked-about photos of Putin are those that show him shirtless, performing some feat of strength or simply posed grandly macho… Macho Grande, as it were. Photos like those above, taken on a camping trip to Russia’s far east, may seem over-the-top to us in the West but back home in Mother Russia they serve to crystallize Putin’s image as the heir to a long line of Russian strong men.
(images via: Animalfwd and The Moscow Times)
“On his virility-proving camping trip, Putin also rode a mini-submarine to the bottom of Lake Baikal and attached a tracking device to a whale,” according to the Times of London. Click HERE to see Putin shooting at the whale – with a freakin’ crossbow, no less – and doing a few other uber-manly things. Sums up the Times: “The photos will inevitably trigger mass swooning by women all over Russia – as well as unfavorable comparisons of their husbands to Mr Putin’s manly physique.” That sound you just heard was your Man Card, crumbling into dust.
(images via: WTFhubBBC and VW Vortex)
Vladimir Putin really doesn’t need to seek animals out, as he gets so many as gifts from foreign leaders and domestic governors. Take this tiny, 57cm (22.8”) tall miniature horse, for instance. You can’t – but Putin did, during a trip to Kazan in the constituent republic of Tatarstan.
(image via: Cheezburger)
Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth – at least, not for long – Putin was out in the wild once again in 2009, this time to Russia’s far-northern Franz Josef Land archipelago just 1,000 km (620 miles) from the North Pole. The plan was for Putin to help attach a satellite-tracking tag to the neck of a full-grown male bear. Watch the videoHERE.
(images via: RIA-Novosti and ITN)
Russian security agents convinced Putin not to attempt a mind meld with the polar bear, instead tranquilizing it before the PM could get close. Even so, Putin couldn’t resist introducing himself to the bear with a vigorous handshake. “The paw shake was strong,” he said, smiling.“It is clear he is the real Lord of the Arctic.” C’mon Vlad, who are you kidding?
(images via: Guardian and Daily Mail UK)
Putin’s image may be of the prototypical he-man hunter and master of all beasts, but a closer look reveals a more subtle motive: branding the Russian leader as a leading environmentalist. One such instance occurred in November of 2010, when he hosted heads of governments of nations who claimed wild tiger populations at a major ecological summit intended to save the big cats from extinction.
(image via: WTFhub)
Previously, in 2008, Putin was given a tiger cub by an unnamed benefactor as a 56th birthday present. The cub was presented to the public at a media photo op and soon after was handed over to a zoo.
(images via: Oil and Glory and ABC News)
Putin mixed business and pleasure on World Environment Day (June 5, 2010) by planting a tree and feeding a moose calf. It’s unknown whether Sarah Palin could see the event from her house. “Russia’s nature is a gift from God,” said Putin, “without any exaggeration a wonder which we enjoy every day and deserves our protection.” Watch video from the event HERE.
(image via: Liberalguy)
All creatures great and small… and the Jeopardy question is, “Who are Vladimir Putin’s best friends?” Not much else we can ascribe to the above pic, other than to be reminded that chicks – ANY chicks – just can’t resist that old Putin charm!
(images via: WonketteNewsgroper and BBC)
You can’t accuse Putin of being a cold fish, but you can certainly accuse him of catching one. Why the rugged outdoorsman felt the need to kiss the sturgeon he reeled in is beyond us, though it’s not surprising to those who have read and viewed the earlier portions of this post.
(images via: Damn Cool Pics)
Putin’s frequent habit of bare-chested fishing has inspired a similarly bare-chested action figure. Not much info’s out there on this figurine, though as a political promotional item it succeeds… hook, line and sinker.
(image via: WTFhub)
Last but definitely not least, are Vladimir Putin’s encounters with dolphins. The photo above isn’t very odd, and one might expect it’s the closest your average world leader would come to a dolphin. Then again, Vladimir Putin is not your average world leader…
(images via: Pravda and Uncyclopedia)
Yep, you knew this was coming but it’s still remarkable: Putin swims with dolphins and likes it – as do the dolphins, from all appearances!
(images via: Sydney Morning HeraldTIME and Telegraph UK)
Now you tell me… does this guy look like a frightening threat to world peace? Is he a crafty manipulator whose political and psychological smarts have been honed by decades of service in the KGB? Or is he merely a folksy, plain-talking man of the people who loves animals (and not just party animals) unconditionally, and isn’t afraid to show it? I guess it just depends on your point of view.
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