In the indispensable Asia Times, Aisling Byrne has published an excellent and extremely well-documented article outlining the players pushing for regime change in Syria. In the piece, Byrne confirms that the reports of one-sided atrocity stories are coming from just a small few very dubious sources:
Claims of “massacres”, “campaigns of rape targeting women and girls in predominantly Sunni towns”  “torture” and even “child-rape”  are reported by the international press based largely on two sources – the British-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights and the Local Co-ordination Committees (LCCs) – with minimal additional checking or verification.
From these two dubious sources comes most the information about Syria, which is then dutifully regurgitated ad nauseum by the compliant media, whose excuse for not verifying the claims before publishing them is that they are not able to operate freely in Syria.
Particularly suspicious to Byrne is the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, about which I wrote yesterday. Confirms Byrne:
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, in particular, is reportedly funded through a Dubai-based fund with pooled (and therefore deniable) Western-Gulf money (Saudi Arabia alone has, according to Elliot Abrams  allocated US$130 billion to “palliate the masses” of the Arab Spring)…. The Observatory is not legally registered either as a company or charity in the United Kingdom, but operates informally; it has no office, no staff and its director is reportedly awash with funding.
Repackaging these lurid tales is the personal propaganda arm of the emir of Qatar, Al Jazeera, the prime cheerleader for the “Arab Spring,” which brought democracy and prosperity to Egypt and Libya…oh wait…
What objective, credible news organization engages in activities such as this:
Al-Jazeera has, and continues,  to provide technical support, equipment, hosting and “credibility” to Syrian opposition activists and organizations. Reports show that as early as March 2011, al-Jazeera was providing messaging and technical support to exiled Syrian opposition activists  , who even by January 2010 were co-ordinating their messaging activities from Doha.
Byrne reports on other very spurious sources responsible for grossly inflating the casualty figures in Syria. AVAAZ, about which I wrote not long ago, is another shadowy but very well-funded UK-based “rights” organization said to be tied to the lavish funding sources of regime change godfather George Soros.
In the effort to inflate figures of casualties, the public relations-activist group AVAAZ has consistently outstripped even the UN. AVAAZ has publicly stated it is involved in “smuggling activists … out of the country”, running “secret safe houses to shelter … top activists from regime thugs” and that one “AVAAZ citizen journalist” “discover[ed] a mass grave”. 
It states proudly that the BBC and CNN have said that AVAAZ data amounts to some 30% of their news coverage of Syria. The Guardian reported AVAAZ’s latest claim to have “evidence” of killings of some 6,200 people (including security forces and including 400 children), claiming 617 of whom died under torture  – their justification to have verified each single death with confirmation by three people, “including a relative and a cleric who handled the body” is improbable in the extreme.
In Counterpunch, Alexander Cockburn points out that Byrne’s excellent observations are buttressed by the (not) surprisingly swept under the carpet recent Arab League report based on its observer team in Syria. Consider the following from the Arab League final report (PDF):
“26. In Homs and Dera‘a, the Mission observed armed groups committing acts of violence against Government forces, resulting in death and injury among their ranks. In certain situations, Government forces responded to attacks against their personnel with force. The observers noted that some of the armed groups were using flares and armour-piercing projectiles.
“27. In Homs, Idlib and Hama, the Observer Mission witnessed acts of violence being committed against Government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Examples of those acts include the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children, and the bombing of a train carrying diesel oil. In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers. A fuel pipeline and some small bridges were also bombed.
“28. The Mission noted that many parties falsely reported that explosions or violence had occurred in several locations. When the observers went to those locations, they found that those reports were unfounded.
“29. The Mission also noted that, according to its teams in the field, the media exaggerated the nature of the incidents and the number of persons killed in incidents and protests in certain towns.”
Has anyone seen this report mentioned in the media? Or, as I suggested a few weeks ago, is the Arab League mission to Syria being attacked when not totally ignored because their conclusions did not fit in with the “regime change” narrative so carefully crafted from UK-based “human rights groups” to complicit and uncritical news outlets, funded and directed by the neo-con regime change machine and its leftish R2P and “soft power” conspirators?
UPDATE: I received this e-mail from Prof. Mark Almond this morning:
10:48 am on February 11, 2012 Email Daniel McAdams
“Just a footnote to add to your excellent piece: I was being interviewed live on the BBC World Service yesterday (10.30GMT) when the presenter Dan Damon listened to the spokesman of the ‘Syrian National Council’ saying that the car bombs in Aleppo had been planted by the Assad regime to kill its own policemen but broke in to say he was reading on the wires the communique of the Free Syrian Army claiming responsibility! I suggested that this disagreement on tactics and truth was not a very hopeful sign for a post-Assad Syria since there could be a different type of civil war between his enemies if/when he fell – rather like in forgotten Libya.”