Anti-Syrian Propaganda Based on False Images of Torture: Danish State TV

This article was originally published in May 2011 at the very outset of the war on Syria. It demonstrates unequivocally the use of fake images as an instrument of war propaganda.


Shocking Images of Torture

The images are from Iraq, and are several years old. Danmark’s Radio’s news program, the 9 o’clock evening news May 16, aired ‘shocking images’ of Syrian demonstrators, who were being tortured by Syrian government militias.

Live Footage of Torture of Syrian Demonstrators

Allegedly ‘live footage’ of torture of Syrian demonstrators was presented with great pathos while warning of ‘extremely graphic images’, and a rare critical question from the studio residing host to the ‘reporter in the field’; Steen Noerskov [Nørskov] about the authenticity of these images was woven away. The caption under the at times very unclear pictures was ‘Syria -SYSTEMATIC TORTURE‘.

Denmark’s Radio (DR) stressed that the footage was authentic, that the source who had delivered them was trustworthy, and that the Arabic dialect that was heard in the video was a Syrian dialect.

Systematic Torture

Steen Noerskov pointed out that ‘if the rumors are right, schools are being used as prisons and torture centers’.

Transcript of Video from Danish News:


‘Denmark’s Radios News has documented last week, that these snipers who according to activists operate from rooftops actually exist.

The station showed some silhouettes of soldiers on rooftops, without informing the viewers if this was the ‘documentation’, or what this documentation consists of apart from these images.

Then without a break;

‘in the Office of Human Rights Watch‘ in Syria’s neighboring country Lebanon, we have also documented grave mistreatment and torture, in a city close to the Jordanian border.’

An activist from the, according to some sources including it’s founder Bernstein, not so impartial ‘Human Rights Watch‘, director Nadim Houry is then filmed commenting the ‘sensational footage’, and saying that practices like this are widespread, and that there is a clear pattern.

Sten Noerskov:

‘The new footage, which the Syrian refugees have given us, not only shows the marks after mistreatment and torture, they show the mistreatment and torture while it’s going on. We don’t know from when or where these images originate, we only know they come from Syria; the people who gave them to us, did so last week.

‘In Beirut the people from Human Rights Watch try to find out from where or when these pictures are.’

Then, as an attempt to make the viewers believe in the authenticity of the footage, ‘the electricity building’ and ‘this is the main road’ were shown, cutting back immediately to a man who is being beaten severely with a wooden plank with nails.

Lillian Gjerulf-Kretz:

‘Good evening Sten Noerskov. These are very unpleasant images but how certain can be be, that these images originate from Syria?’

Sten Noerskov:

We are very sure they come from Syria. One can hear a man who is lying down being beaten shout ‘awass ni’, awass ni’, shoot me, shoot me.. An Iraqi wouldn’t do that, an Egyptian wouldn’t do that, a Libyan wouldn’t do that; it’s a Syrian-Arabic dialect.

We talked for a long time, spent a lot of time together with a woman who presented this footage from the border area between Syria and Lebanon. We know her story, and she told us in a very convincing way, how she got hold of this material.’ (end of transcript)

Ekstra Bladet: Now, so it shows, the pictures are a hoax. They are not from Syria at all, but from Iraq and are several years old, according to

Chief Editor Thomas Falbe, who is responsible for the section for international news of Denmark’s Radio’s TV-Avisen [the 18:30 and 21:00 news]:

‘Regrettably the images were wrong. They are not from Syria, they are from Iraq. This is a regrettable mistake, says Thomas Falbe. The mistake will be rectified in the 21:00 hours news tonight.’

How DR could believe that these old pictures from Iraq were pictures from Syria?

Thomas Falbe: ‘We did what we could to verify the footage and received them from a source we trust’.

According to Thomas Falbe the mistake will have no consequences for anybody.

Syrian expats in Denmark support Bashar al-Assad – Western media broadcast false reports. Danmarks Radio news June 10, 2011 – Studio host: Tine Goetzsche – Narrator: Hakan Jakob Kosar

In Danish: Danmarks’s Radio News May 16, 2011 – False report retracted later (ca. 5 minutes). Host: Lillian Gjerulf Kretz – Reporter in the field Steen Noerskov [Nørskov]

Retraction of program alledgedly documenting ‘systematic torture of protestors in Syria’. Danmarks Radio – Tv-avisen 21:00 17 maj (30 seconds)

Here ABC News with a similar story – ABC News Sunday, May 8, 2011 9:44 AEST

Syd Walker: To summarize, the ABC website – website of the publicly-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation which fondly cultivates a reputation for objectivity and accuracy in news reporting – has been running a video as a news item for several days purporting to depict recent brutality by Syrian government forces, when in fact it’s old footage from a different country!

I tweeted Jess Hill [ABC journalist] in some anger about this – as well as the Managing Director of the ABC. Jess at least had the decency to reply. Here’s what she said in reply:

“I’d say it’s not dishonesty as much as carelessness. Reminds everyone the importance of verifying”

Well, I’m sorry Jess, but I cannot see that. The story in question was a targeted hit-piece on Syria. It deceptively portrayed video images of Syrian “security”, using material that had nothing to do with Syria.

That’s no accident. It’s deliberate deception. ‘Accidents’ like that simply do not happen through ‘carelessness’. Please don’t insult the intelligence of ABC viewers.



Ekstra Bladet 17 maj 2011 – DR’s torturbilleder fra Syrien var falske

Denmark’s Radio’s Tv-avisen 21:00 16 maj, Tv-avisen 21:00 17 maj

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