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I am calling this BREAKING NEWS on two grounds today. First because this is only the third Bashar al-Assad "appearance" since a top level command meeting was struck by a massive explosion in Damascus on July 18th, and secondly because hot on the heels of this Syrian government release, I am releasing, here at the Daily Kos, strong evidence that this footage could have been shot in 2009. If indeed, the Syrian regime has been driven to such desperate measures, I believe it can only be because Bashar al-Assad is either seriously injured or dead.
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New video images of Bashar al-Assad have emerged that are said to be of a meeting today between the Syrian President and Iran's Saeed Jalili over the problem of the 48 Iranian detainees being held by the Free Syrian Army. He is shown with Jalili for 15 seconds in this 8 minute SANA news video between 1:05 - 1:20.

Again there is no audio, so no way to date it. For all we know, they could be from some other time like December 2009 when Saeed Jalili was in Damascus for talks with top Syrian officials, and as a matter of fact there is evidence that they may be from that visit.

In any case, I think I do show that this visit today, if indeed that's when it was shot, took place in the usual place and the usual way, like at least one other visit by Jalili to Damascus, and so like the other two videos of Assad released since the explosion, could very likely be archival footage. That may be why we have yet to hear him speak.

There is plenty of other evidence that Saeed Jaili arrived in Damascus today. My question is as to whether he actually met with Assad. EuroNews has a short video report on this where we actually hear from Jalili. Too bad Bashar al-Assad hasn't yet spoken up and thereby silenced my speculation about his health.

This is the Syrian government news video release today, it is seven minutes long and will give you a good idea of the alternate reality they feed to their people and the world. The part concerning the Assad-Jalili meeting starts about a minute into it.

I have also found this video on YouTube of that December 3, 2009 meeting between the two.

Below the fold I will show you three sets of screen shots from these two videos. Clearly they were shot with difference cameras and camera angles. The YouTube uploads are also of very different qualities. There are a few other differences, but nothing that Photoshop couldn't easy handle. The question is: Were they shot 3 years apart?

So since that devastating explosion in Damascus we have seen Assad three times in video without audio and in settings where he clearly has done photo ops before.

Even more suspicious are two notable absences. First he did not attend the funerals of the four ministers killed in the blast. And second, he did not make his Armed Forces Day speech on TV as usual, only published it. This is certainly strange behavior for a president during a civil war. Can you imagine the outrage if Abraham Lincoln would have cabled his address to Gettysburg while he stayed comfortably in the White House without explanation?

So I still can't get past the fact that showing a clear personal leadership presence and killing any doubts about who is in control is politics 101 after surviving a decapitation attempt. That could have easily been done by Bashar al-Assad simply by releasing a video in which he speaks about current events.

So why hasn't he done that?

See also:
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
Syria: Bashar al-Assad not heard from on Armed Forces Day!

AFP posted an article on the Assad - Jalili visit at 4:10pm pst:

Assad vows to crush Syria rebellion

President Bashar al-Assad vowed on Tuesday to crush the 17-month rebellion against his regime and to cleanse Syria of "terrorists", as his troops engaged rebels in key battleground city Aleppo.

"The Syrian people and their government are determined to purge the country of terrorists and to fight the terrorists without respite," he was quoted by state news agency SANA as telling visiting senior Iranian envoy Saeed Jalili.

Assad had earlier appeared on television for the first time in more than two weeks in a meeting with Jalili, a top aide to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Jalili offered Assad his country's backing, saying Tehran would "never allow the resistance axis -- of which Syria is an essential pillar -- to break.

"What is happening in Syria is not an internal issue but a conflict between the axis of resistance on the one hand, and the regional and global enemies of this axis on the other," he added. More...

Nevermind their BS, why can AFP tell us what Jalili says but in the case of Assad they can only tell us what state news agency SANA tells us he said. How strange!

                                             SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES!
Exhibit A1, frame from 7/8/2012 video @ 00:10.23

Exhibit A2, frame from 3/9/2009 video @ 00:24.17

Exhibit B1, frame from 7/8/2012 video @ 00:15.03

Exhibit B2, frame from 3/9/2009 video @ 00:29.15

Exhibit C1, frame from 7/8/2012 video @ 00:10.23

Exhibit C2, frame from 3/9/2009 video @ 00:10.23

One more thought before I hit the beach.

The "aging" effect of the presidency is legendary in our own country. Compare a picture of Obama in 2009 to today, and he had an easy time of it.

Look at pictures of Lincoln at various times to see what a civil war does to you.

But here is Bashar al-Assad, 3 years later and with 20,000 of his people killed on his watch and he doesn't look as if he's aged a day.

Just saying...

10:46 PM PT: I was watching, of all things, Ken Burn's Civil War, while working to tomorrow's diary. I was struck by this recollection:

Advancing a little further we saw General Albert Sidney Johnston surrounded by his staff. We saw some little commotion around him but we did not know at the time that he was dead. The fact was kept from the troops. - Sam Watkins
I'll bet that hiding of the untimely death of a military leader in time of war isn't all that unusual in history.

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
NOT BREAKING NEWS: Just another massacre in Syria
UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
Syria: FSA says Iranian pilgrims really Republican Guard
Syria: Aleppo under Siege!
BREAKING: UN votes to condemn Assad Regime as Reuters posts false story on Syria
BREAKING: Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian diplomat to Armenia defects
BREAKING: Big Explosion hits #Damascus #Syria
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
BREAKING: Reports of clashes between Jordan Army & Assad's Syrian army
BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
Syria: Foreign meddling increases as crisis builds
BREAKING: Aleppo, Syria bombed with fighter jets
BREAKING: Syria issues a correction, it has no WMD to use
BREAKING: Arab League asks Assad to step down!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
no blood for oil
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria
Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:31:44 PM PDT

  •  Assad Could Have Left The County Already (0+ / 0-)

    and his soldiers are going wild.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:38:56 PM PDT

  •  Wow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell

    If I were you I'd try this:

    Print out those pictures and  measure nose and ear length on the two men. Noses and ears never stop growing. After 3 years there ought to be some difference.

    Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs.

    by blue aardvark on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:39:39 PM PDT

    •  Legitimate diary. Real mystery. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clay Claiborne, mircead

      He doesn't need this silly sarcasm.

      I have some problems with Clay's diaries, but not with this one.

      "The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters." Helen Keller (1911) (quoted by Meteor Blades on 8/2/12)

      by Timaeus on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:37:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  To the naked eye those do look awfully similar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Someone with the appropriate tools needs to do an analysis on the shadows, etc. There is no way they can be identical visit to visit where as body posture might just happen to be close enough to be confusing.

    Many people thought Bush was "the kind of guy you wanted to have a beer with". People are beginning to realize that Romney is "the kind of guy you want to pour a beer on".

    by ontheleftcoast on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:41:35 PM PDT

  •  How about that plant in the corner? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is it me or does it appear and dissappear? In that newscast vid you posted the plants are there, and then not there.

  •  The plant behind Jalili in the old video (0+ / 0-)

    (your Exhibit A2) is completely absent in the new one.  See the 1:16 mark of the first video.

    I suppose it would be possible to photoshop it out, but far from easy.

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

    by jrooth on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 01:53:26 PM PDT

  •  If, in fact, Assad is dead, why is the conflict (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell

    continuing? This would mean that there are other people behind the scenes who are actually in control and Assad is nothing more than a figurehead.

    Maybe they will stuff and mount him and bring him out on special occasions for photo ops? Turn him into a 'Bernie'.....

    •  Assad may only ever have been a puppet (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac

      he was sane enough when working in London - so how did he so rapidly turn into a dangerous dictator....?  Maybe he didn't, he was sane but not remotely in control.

      I don't know, just wondering here.....

      •  He has always kinda looked like a puppet - stiff (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Here's a report on the inner circle.

        Bashar al-Assad's inner circle

        30 July 2012
        Although Bashar al-Assad inherited Syria's presidency on his father's death in 2000, analysts say he does not have Hafez al-Assad's absolute grip on power. He is surrounded by military and intelligence figures, most of whom are either related to the president or are members of his minority Alawite community.

    •  It could mean that he was taken out (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      with the 4 other ministers and the remaining regime insiders are keeping it quiet in the hopes that they can consolidate their position with the current desperate offensive before the word gets out. Or it could mean that he is seriously injured and they are hoping they can fake it until he recovers.

      I think everybody knows that if Assad is taken out and that is widely known, the regime will fall apart fast.

      Nobody wants that except the Syrians that are being slaughtered everyday. Even Obama and NATO talk of a controlled transition that includes elements of the old regime, and they already agreed at Rio 2012 that Syria would stay in the Russia orbit, so I don't think they would blow the whistle if they had intel on Assad's demise. I don't think Israel would either.

      If I turn out to be right about this, they will all have a lot of blood on their hands for extending this conflict while they work out a mutually agreed upon solution on what they will impose on Syria in place of Assad.

      Also I find Jalili a much less than compelling witness? Can we name any foreign diplomat more likely to lie about that than Jalili? I know Lavrov runs a close second. I was prepared even to doubt Annan had Annan claimed to have spoken to Assad since the explosion, but then you know how I feel about Annan. But Jalili? Please!

      The bottom line is this: it's been almost 3 weeks, his regime is on the ropes and he could end all speculation by going on camera and saying "Fuck you, Claiborne, I read your blog and your reports of my death are wild exaggerations" or anything else that left no doubt as to how he was. Why doesn't he?

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:04:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You know what this reminds me of? (0+ / 0-)

    It reminds me of the Paul is Dead Conspiracy. For those who don't know what I am talking about, it is an urban legend, which suggested that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was hurriedly and secretly replaced by a doppelganger (lookalike), whom some have dubbed Faul (to indicate Fake Paul).

    Frantic conspiracy theorists and fans alike searched for clues to prove their assertion just as Clay is doing here. There was even a few videos and documentaries made about it.

    This is part one of one such documentary:

    This is another one:

    •  Sorry, it's kind of obscene to compare (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clay Claiborne

      this to the "Paul is dead" nonsense.  I guess the "analysis" is similar.  But in Syria there are so many thousands of people getting tortured and killed that it's just wrong to be snarky about it.

      "The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters." Helen Keller (1911) (quoted by Meteor Blades on 8/2/12)

      by Timaeus on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:43:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  LOL thats so funny (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell

    Conspiracy huh?  Look at the tie of Assad.  It is different.  How can that be explained in your theory that they are fakes?  Did they do a photoshop on the tie?  

    I think you are thinking too much about Syria.   JMO.

  •  Claudius Bombarnac, Blue Wind, Shawn Russell (0+ / 0-)

    What's up?

    I put the whole 7 minute SANA broadcast in my blog today so you guys could have a day off.

    Still not 'balanced" enough for you?

    (here's sarcasm back at you)

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 03:42:47 PM PDT

  •  I guess Prince Bandar must really be dead then, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice, Shawn Russell

    since he hasn't appeared in public at all since the reports claiming he was killed first appeared a couple of weeks ago.

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 04:20:24 PM PDT

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