Donald Hank
Kidnapped Italian journalists expose truth about Syrian "rebels"
By Donald Hank
September 10, 2013

Journalist Pierre Piccinin created a furor lately, testifying in a videotaped interview that, while kidnapped, he had overheard conversations indicating that it was not Assad but the rebels themselves who had released nerve gas in Damascus killing over 1,000 people. Several Italian publications expand on that story, and the last one translated below suggests that while Piccinin was, strictly speaking, telling the truth, he omitted important details. All in all, however, it is understandable that these two captives might want to depict their captors in the worst possible light. We must remember that the official story in Europe is that the Obama administration's conclusion that Assad is guilty is generally accepted without question. Naturally, Quirino, who derives his livelihood from journalism, would be hesitant to tweak the powers that be.

Nonetheless, note well that Quirino does not imply that it was Assad who used the nerve gas. He simply says he and Piccinin had no way of knowing one way or the other.

The take-away from these two men's stories is that the "Syrian revolution" is not the secular one originally portrayed in the world press but is now firmly in the hands of Islamists who are violently opposed to the West and to Christianity, despite receiving financial support from the West.

These reports show that, regardless of whoever released the deadly gas in Damascus, these "rebels" are not people who deserve to receive arms or any kind of support from the West. Nor do they deserve to have us fight their battles for them. In fact, in light of these men's stories, and considering that, in international law, war is to be waged only when the aggressor attacks or threatens your country or your ally (Italian journalists, for example), the West would be on a surer footing if it declared war on the "rebels" in Syria.

Here is more to the story from ImolaOggi (my translation from the Italian):
    Piccinin: Islamist kidnappers very violent, anti-Western and anti-Christian

    9 Sept. – While kidnapped in Syria, Domenico Quirico underwent "two feigned executions" as revealed by Pierre Piccinin, the Belgian teacher freed on Sunday together with the Stampa correspondent after 5 months in prison.

    "We were subjected to very hard physical violence," he stated to the radio station Bel Rtl, explaining that he and Quirico had succeeded twice in escaping but were recaptured and punished. According to Piccinin's story, this resulted in weeks of hell at the hands of "very violent, very anti-Western and anti-Christian Islamist groups."

    "Domenic underwent two feigned executions at pistol point and at one point we thought they would kill us because they told us we had become a problem for them and they would be rid of us," said Piccinin. A dramatic situation from which the two of them, who had "managed to stay alive," had tried twice to tried to escape." "We took advantage of the prayer [probably referring to the Muslim prayers]. We had taken 2 kalashnikovs and had left the building. For 2 days, we traveled around the countryside before being recaptured and severely punished for the attempted escape."
Domenico Quirico, an Italian journalist captured and imprisoned together with Pierre Piccinin, was quoted by his newspaper La Stampa.

My translation:
    In good health, he told La Stampa he was not treated well by his captors. "I had tried to tell the story of the Syrian Revolution," he said, "but you could say this revolution betrayed me. It's no longer the secularist revolution of Aleppo. It's turned into something else."
According to the following story at the site Giornalettissimo, Quirico, who was captured and imprisoned, together with Piccinin, says they had no knowledge of the nerve gas attack at the time it occurred, indicating that Piccinin's story, though based on fact, was somewhat tendentious at best:

My translation again:
    In Mattinata, Italian-Belgian teacher Pierre Piccinin had stated that he and Domenico Quirica knew that the chemical weapons attack in Syria was not perpetrated by Assad's men but by the rebels. Quirico, in a conference with La Stampa, denies all of this and downsizes the scope of Piccinin's statements.

    DOMENICO QUIRICO AND PIERRE PICCININ – on the premises of his newspaper, Stampa foreign correspondent Domenico Quirico regarding the use of gas in Syria, states "We were in the dark about what had happened. Through a closed door, we had overheard a conversation..." La Stampa writes "There is no element to say whether it is based on actual fact or whether it was chatter. "It is folly to say that I know it was not Assad who used the gas."

    [omission of irrelevant portion]

    THE STORY ABOUT THE SKYPE CONVERSATION – He [Quirico] and the historian Pierre Piccinin, with whom he had been sequestered in a room blindfolded, knew nothing about what was happening on a daily basis in Syria, including the gas attack in Damascus. Only one day, taking advantage of a half-closed door, the two hostages overheard a conversation in English via Skype between 3 people who were saying that the gas attack in the two areas of Damascus was the work of the rebels as a provocation to prompt the West to intervene militarily.
© Donald Hank


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Donald Hank

Until July of 2009, Don Hank was operating a technical translation agency out of his home in Wrightsville, PA. He is now retired and residing in Panama with his wife and daughter.

A former language teacher, he holds an undergraduate degree in French and German from Millersville State University (PA), a Master's degree in Russian language and literature from Kutztown State College (also in PA), has studied Chinese for 3 years in Taiwan at the Mandarin Training Center, and is self-taught in other languages, having logged a total of 8 years abroad in total immersion situations.

He is also the founder of Lancaster-York Non-Custodial Parents, a volunteer organization that provides Christian counseling for non-custodial parents.


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