Aletho News


Simon Schama’s The Story of the Jews – History Vs. Chicken Soup

Review by Gilad Atzmon | September 3, 2013

On the day we learned that the BBC’s new Middle East editor, Raffi Berg, urged colleagues to downplay Israel’s siege of Gaza, the British broadcaster launched Simon Schama’s The Story of the Jews. I have only watched the 1st episode of this new BBC 2 grandiose series. But I already learned from Schama about Jewish greatness, the formation of his people and the continuum between the ancient Israelites and their contemporary followers: Schama and his local reform Synagogue in North West London. I also learned about Jehovah, the God that was invented by the Jews to choose them over all other people.

But will Schama or the BBC manage to answer the most crucial questions to do with Jewish history and identity? Will he be able to put current Jewish politics into ‘historical’ context? Will he be able to tell us why the Jewish lobby in the USA, Britain and France push relentlessly for global conflicts in general and wars against Iran and Syria in particular? Will Schama manage to enlighten us and suggest why Jews were “Stalin’s willing executioners” as Yuri Slezkin suggests in his invaluable book The Jewish Century? Will the BBC manage to elaborate on Israeli prominent writer Sever Plocker’s confession that “some of greatest murderers of modern times were Jewish”? Will the BBC be able to elucidate the crimes committed by the Jewish State in the name of the Jewish people? Will the BBC manage to delve on Anti-Semitism, It’s History and Causes following the incredible enlightening work of Bernard Lazare or will they fall into the same trap and agree amongst themselves that something is ‘pathologically wrong with the Goyim’?

I don’t hold my breath. Schama is obviously a master of concealment. When he speaks about the ‘godless Jew’ Freud, he presents him as a refugee ‘driven out by the Nazis’ but for some reason he fails to mention Freud’s vile contempt to the Aryans in particular (which predates Nazism and the rise of Hitler) and the Goyim in general.

History becomes a meaningful event when it exchanges with the present and our imaginary future – when the past throws light on the present and the future gazes at its origin with hesitance.

The Jewish past, as we know it, is an endless chain of blood baths and holocausts. Lame Jewish history, that is all too common, is an attempt to conceal this past. Will Schama unveil the concealed? Will he or the BBC manage to reduce all those Shoas and disasters into a historical principle? Did Schama learn the only valuable lesson from his godless Jew Freud and ‘unveil the concealed’, or is he cooking another therapeutic chicken soup?  

We will have to wait and see.

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

No War for Bernard Henri Lévy

By DIANA JOHNSTONE | September 3, 2013

The American people do not want US armed forces to get involved in the civil war in Syria. The United Nations will not back US bombing of Syria. The British Parliament does not want to get involved in bombing Syria. World public opinion is opposed to US bombing Syria. Not even NATO wants to take part in bombing Syria. So who wants the United States to bomb Syria?

The same people who brought us the war in Iraq, that’s who.

On August 27, the Foreign Policy Initiative, a reincarnation of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) that dictated the Bush 2 administration’s disastrous foreign policy, issued its marching orders to Obama. In an open letter to the President, the FPI urged “a decisive response to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s recent large-scale use of chemical weapons”.

The neocon “foreign policy experts” skipped over the pathos designed to arouse feelings of guilt in ordinary Americans for sitting in front of their television sets and “doing nothing”. Rather, their argument is based on power projection. Once Obama set a “red line”, he must react to “show the world”.

“Left unanswered, the Assad regime’s mounting attacks with chemical weapons will show the world that America’s red lines are only empty threats.”

The FPI told Obama that the United States should consider “direct military strikes against the pillars of the Assad regime”, not just to get rid of the chemical weapons threat, “but also to deter or destroy the Assad regime’s airpower and other conventional military means of committing atrocities against civilian non-combatants.”

At the same time, “the United States should accelerate efforts to vet, train, and arm moderate elements of Syria’s armed opposition, with the goal of empowering them to prevail against both the Assad regime and the growing presence of Al Qaeda-affiliated and other extremist rebel factions in the country.” The United States should “help shape and influence the foundations for the post-Assad Syria”.

In short, what is called for is a full-scale regime change, getting rid of both the existing regime and its main military opposition, and putting in power supposed “moderate elements of Syria’s armed opposition”, who by all accounts are the weakest in the field.

So, after failing to produce such nice, moderate results in Iraq or Afghanistan, try, try again.

The most familiar names among the 78 signatories included Elliott Abrams, Max Boot, Douglas J. Feith, Robert Kagan, Lawrence F. Kaplan, Joseph I. Lieberman, Martin Peretz, and Karl Rove. No surprises there.

The novelty on the list was the signature of Bernard-Henri Levy.

Not surprising either, when you stop to think about it. After all, Bernard-Henri Levy is widely credited with having persuaded former French president Nicolas Sarkozy to lead the charge that overthrew Kaddafi and delivered Libya to its current chaos. After such an accomplishment, the Parisian dandy naturally feels entitled to tell the United States President what to do.

I vividly recall Bernard-Henri Levy reacting with the mock indignation that serves as his usual shield from criticism to claims that the Benghazi rebels included Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda. Outrageous! he vociferated. He had been to Benghazi and seen for himself that the folks there were all liberal democrats who just wanted to enjoy free elections and multicultural harmony.  Not so very much later, liberated Benghazi was sending Islamist fighters to destabilize Mali, recruiting Islamists to fight in Syria and assassinating a U.S. ambassador. This turn of events has not fazed the media star the French call “BHL” in the slightest. Although widely ridiculed and even hated in France, his influence persists.

In 2010, the writer Jacob Cohen published a novel entitled “Le Printemps des Sayanim”*. Despite the usual disclaimer, the novel was a roman à clés. A main character, named MST, was described in this fiction by an Israeli diplomat in Paris as follows: “MST is of capital importance to us. He is worth more than a hundred sayanim. […] He covers a large part of the left for us. Inasmuch as he ‘criticizes’ Israel, what he says is taken seriously. That way he can get our interests into a lot of media.  […] Moreover, that man has incredible networks, in the most influential circles in Europe, in America. He can call Sarkozy whenever he wants, or the king of Morocco, or the president of the European Commission. […]”

No French reader would have any trouble recognizing BHL, although, of course, this was fiction.

But the question deserves to be raised: why has the real BHL been so keen to overthrow governments in Libya and Syria? Even if the countries fall apart?

Perhaps this flashy dilettante thinks these wars are good for Israel. BHL’s devotion to Israel is as conspicuous as his white v-neck shirts and back-swept hairdo.  Perhaps he fantasizes that if all the surrounding countries are in hopeless shambles, “the only democracy in the Middle East” will be the only tree left standing in the forest.

But even Israeli intelligence, which is a major source of US assessment of happenings in the region, doubts that Assad’s chemical weapons are a threat to Israel.

Giora Inbar, the former head of the IDF’s liaison unit in southern Lebanon, was quoted by the August 27 Times of Israel as saying that “there would be no logic in Assad attacking Israel”.

Inbar said that Israeli military intelligence made a priority of intelligence-gathering in Syria, was very well-informed, and was widely trusted. The United States was “aware of” Israel’s intelligence on the doings of the Syrian regime, “and relies upon it.”

Still, Israeli officials are not hyping the incident the way John Kerry did, insisting on deliberate murder of children.

The New York Times on Tuesday quoted an Israeli official as saying: “It’s quite likely that there was kind of an operational mistake here […] I don’t think they wanted to kill so many people, especially so many children. Maybe they were trying to hit one place or to get one effect and they got a much greater effect than they thought.”

All that is speculation. But the most plausible hypothesis so far is that the incident was an accident. Indeed, rebel sources themselves have been quoted as saying that the incident occurred as a result of their own mishandling of chemical weapons obtained from Saudi Arabia. In that case, the victims were the “collateral damage” so frequent in war. War is a series of unintended consequences. The most obvious unintended consequence of US air strikes on Syria, if they happen, will be the total collapse of whatever pro-American sentiment may be left in the world, and a furious backlash against Israel, which is widely seen as the influence behind US policy in the Middle East. Some Israelis are fully aware of this.

The New York Times quoted former Israeli ambassador to the United States Itamar Rabinovich as warning that it would be “a mistake to overplay the Israeli interest” in striking Syria. “It’s bad for Israel that the average American gets it into his or her mind that boys are again sent to war for Israel. They have to be sent to war for America.”

If not for Israel, why do boys, or girls, or missiles, have to be sent at all?

And the best way to prevent the backlash against Israel and its supporters is to call a halt to the whole project of using US military force in Syria.

But whatever happens, the reckless adventurer Bernard-Henri Levy can retire to his palatial villa in Marrakech, and dream up some new scheme.

*Sayanim is a Hebrew word (singular sayan) defined by Wikipedia “passive agents most usually called “sleeping agents” established outside Israel, ready to help Mossad agents out of feelings of patriotism toward Israel.

Diana Johnstone can be reached at


September 3, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Caveman Credibility and its Costs

By David Swanson | War is a Crime | September 2, 2013

Sending a bunch of $3 million missiles into Syria to blow stuff up will kill a great many men, women, and children directly. It will also kill a great many people indirectly, as violence escalates in response — an established pattern recognized even by the war-promoting Washington Post.

Refugees are fleeing Syria in greater numbers as a result of the U.S. government’s threat to send in missiles. The refugees have all sorts of opinions of their government, but by many accounts they overwhelmingly oppose foreign missile strikes — a position on which they agree with a large majority in the United States.

Not only is President Obama’s proposal guaranteed to make things worse, but it risks making things dramatically worse, with threats of retaliation now coming from Syria, Iran, and Russia. The U.S. media is already describing the proposed missile strikes as “retaliatory,” even though the United States hasn’t been attacked. Imagine what the pressure will be in Washington to actually retaliate if violence leads, as it so often does, to more violence. Imagine the enthusiasm for a broader war, in Washington and Jerusalem, if Iran retaliates. Risking a major war, no matter how slim you think the chance is, ought to be done only for some incredibly important reason.

The White House doesn’t have one. President Obama’s draft resolution for Congress reads, in part:

“Whereas, the objective of the United States’ use of military force in connection with this authorization should be to deter, disrupt, prevent, and degrade the potential for, future uses of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction;

“Whereas, the conflict in Syria will only be resolved through a negotiated political settlement, and Congress calls on all parties to the conflict in Syria to participate urgently and constructively in the Geneva process;”

In other words, the missiles have nothing to do with ending the war. The war will only end through peace negotiations. All parties should “urgently” and “constructively” pursue that process. And yet, here come the missiles!

Missile strikes will enrage the Syrian government and encourage the opposition. Both sides will fight more fiercely. Both sides will be more seriously tempted to use any weapons in their arsenals. Missiles will prolong and escalate the war.

Steps toward ending the war could include: halting CIA and other military assistance; pressuring Russia and Iran, on one side, and Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states on the other, to stop arming the war; and bringing both sides to a peace conference in Geneva. Is the United States urgently and constructively taking these steps? Of course not.

What about basic humanitarian aid? The U.S. government is just not interested in providing it, not on anything remotely approaching the scale of the weaponry flowing into the war.

President Obama’s stated objective is to deter the future use of chemical weapons. But missiles may encourage that very thing by escalating the war. There are other steps that could be used to reduce the future use of chemical weapons. For one thing, the United States could stop using, developing, and stock-piling chemical weapons. Most nations do not do so. The White House and the U.S. media have begun saying that Syria holds the biggest chemical weapons supply “in the Middle East,” rather than “in the world,” as President Obama said last week. The world-record-holder is the U.S. government.

The U.S. government has admitted to using white phosphorous and new types of napalm as weapons against Iraqis. The best way to discourage that behavior is not to bomb Washington.

The U.S. government has used chemical weapons against “its own people” (always far more outrageous in the eyes of the U.S. media than killing someone else’s people) from the military’s assault on veterans in the Bonus Army to the FBI’s assault on a religious cult in Waco, Texas. The best way to discourage this behavior is not to bomb Washington.

The U.S. could also stop supporting the use of chemical weapons by certain nations, including Iraq’s use of chemical weapons against Iranians. The U.S. could sign onto and support the International Criminal Court. And the U.S. could abandon its role as top weapons supplier to the world and leading war-maker on earth. Less war means less use of all weapons, including various internationally sanctioned weapons that the United States both uses and exports, such as cluster bombs and depleted uranium.

Obama’s intention to “disrupt,” “prevent,” and “degrade” can be taken seriously only at the risk of much higher casualties, as sending missiles into supplies of chemical weapons is extremely risky.


The purpose of missile strikes, according to the corporate U.S. media is, of course, not the reduction of chemical weapons use, but the maintenance of “credibility.”

We don’t all teach our children that when they disagree with another child on the playground they must either murder that child or lose their credibility.  But our televisions and newspapers feed that type of message to us nonetheless, through news about the next possible war. Julie Pace of the Associated Press warns:

“For more than a week, the White House had been barreling toward imminent military action against Syria. But President Barack Obama’s abrupt decision to instead ask Congress for permission left him with a high-risk gamble that could devastate his credibility if no action is ultimately taken in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack that crossed his own ‘red line’.”

And here I would have thought that bombing countries in the name of “democracy” against the will of an overwhelming majority at home was costing our government what little credibility it might have had. Didn’t Britain gain in credibility when its Parliament represented its people and said “No” to war on Syria?  Doesn’t that step do more for the image of democracy in Western Asia than a decade of destabilizing Iraq has done?  Couldn’t the U.S. government do more for democracy by leaving Syria alone and dropping its support for brutal governments in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, etc.?


And shouldn’t a credible enforcer of the rule of law obey the law? Under no possible conception is it legal for the United States to send missiles into Syria. The Kellogg-Briand Pact bans any such action. The most common excuse for ignoring that ban is the U.N. Charter and its loopholes for wars (wars that are defensive or U.N.-authorized). A U.S. attack on Syria is not defensive, and the White House isn’t seriously pretending it is. A U.S. attack on Syria is not U.N. authorized, and the White House isn’t pretending it is or pursuing such authorization in any way. Other U.S. wars carried out in violation of these laws have put up a pretense of internationalism by cajoling some other countries to help out in minimal ways. In this case, that isn’t happening. President Obama is proposing to uphold international norms through an action that the international community of nations is against. France looks like the only possible, and at this point unlikely, partner — not counting al Qaeda, of course.

A president also cannot go to war without Congress. So, it is encouraging that President Obama has now suggested he will try to rise to the standard of George W. Bush and bother to lie to Congress before launching a war. But if Congress were to say yes, the war would remain illegal under both the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. And if Congress were to say no, President Obama has indicated that he might just launch the war anyway.

If you look at the resolution that Obama has proposed that Congress pass, it doesn’t grant permission for a specific limited missile strike on a particular country at a particular time, but for limitless warfare, as long as some connection can be made to weapons of mass destruction in the Syrian conflict. The White House has made clear that it believes this will add exactly nothing to its powers, as it already possesses open-ended authorizations for war in the never-repealed Afghanistan and Iraq authorizations, which themselves added exactly nothing to White House war powers, because the president is given total war power through the Constitution in invisible ink that only the White House can see.

Already, there are moves in Congress to re-write Obama’s draft, in order to — in fact — give him limited powers to strike Syria. But those limited powers will allow exactly the disastrous action discussed above. And there is no reason to believe the limitation will hold. President Obama used a limited U.N. resolution to do things it never authorized in Libya. Missiles into Syria that provoke a response from Iran will provoke screams for blood out of Congress and the White House, and all laws be damned.


All of the above remains the same whether the Syrian government used chemical weapons or not. The way to end a war is to arrange a cease-fire, de-escalate, disarm, cool tensions, and start talking. Pouring gasoline on a fire doesn’t put it out. The way to uphold the rule of law is by consistent example and through prosecutions by courts, not vigilantism. This remains the case whether the Syrian government has done what President Obama claims or not.

It is important, however, that so few people around the world and in the United States are willing to take Obama’s word for it. If Obama’s goal is to “send a message,” but most people in the Middle East disagree with him on the facts, what kind of message will he possibly be sending? That is, even if his claims happen to be true, what good is that if nobody believes U.S. war justifications anymore?

The super-healthy skepticism that has now been created is not all attributable to Iraq. The world has been flooded with false claims from the U.S. government during the wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and even Syria, as well as during the drone wars. Past claims that the Syrian government used chemical weapons have fallen flat. And the current claims come packages in lies, including lies about the Syrian government’s willingness to allow U.N. inspections, and the speed with which it allowed them. The U.S. government discouraged the use of inspectors, seeking to rush into war on the basis of its own assertions. The White House has produced a dodgy dossier lacking in hard evidence. Analysts see little basis for confidence in White House claims. Insiders are risking “espionage!” accusations to voice their doubts.

And should it be true that someone in the Syrian military used chemical weapons, the White House clearly has nothing but its own suspicions and desires to suggest that the order came from the top, rather than from some rogue officer with an interest in provoking an attack. Circumstantial evidence, of course, makes that more likely, given the bizarre circumstance of the incident occurring less than 10 miles from the U.N. inspectors’ hotel on the day they arrived.

Maybe it’s just too difficult to hold a proper investigation during a war. If so, that is not something to be deeply regretted. Obama’s proposed response would be disastrous. Our priority should be avoiding it and ending the war. Creating a better climate for criminal investigations is just one more reason to bring the war to an end.


While hawks and profiteers within and without the U.S. military favor bombing Syria and just about any other military action one might propose, many are resisting. They include the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and numerous officials risking Edward Snowden / Chelsea Manning treatment by talking to the Washington Post, and others to the New York Times. The military does not clearly understand its new proposed role as punisher of a crime that it itself regularly commits, and it does not share in Obama’s claimed confidence that a limited action will remain limited.


House Speaker John Boehner asked President Obama these as-yet-mostly-unanswered questions:

·  What standard did the Administration use to determine that this scope of chemical weapons use warrants potential military action?

·  Does the Administration consider such a response to be precedent-setting, should further humanitarian atrocities occur?

·  What result is the Administration seeking from its response?

·  What is the intended effect of the potential military strikes?

·  If potential strikes do not have the intended effect, will further strikes be conducted?

·  Would the sole purpose of a potential strike be to send a warning to the Assad regime about the use of chemical weapons? Or would a potential strike be intended to help shift the security momentum away from the regime and toward the opposition?

In fact, the White House has been clear that it has no intention to shift momentum in the war.

·  If it remains unclear whether the strikes compel the Assad regime to renounce and stop the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, or if President Assad escalates their usage, will the Administration contemplate escalatory military action?

·  Will your Administration conduct strikes if chemical weapons are utilized on a smaller scale?

·  Would you consider using the United States military to respond to situations or scenarios that do not directly involve the use or transfer of chemical weapons?

·  Assuming the targets of potential military strikes are restricted to the Assad inner circle and military leadership, does the Administration have contingency plans in case the strikes disrupt or throw into confusion the command and control of the regime’s weapons stocks?

·  Does the Administration have contingency plans if the momentum does shift away from the regime but toward terrorist organizations fighting to gain and maintain control of territory?

·  Does the Administration have contingency plans to deter or respond should Assad retaliate against U.S. interests or allies in the region?

·  Does the Administration have contingency plans should the strikes implicate foreign power interests, such as Iran or Russia?

In fact, the White House is claiming that none of these disasters will occur. But the Speaker is clearly well aware that they might.

·  Does the Administration intend to submit a supplemental appropriations request to Congress, should the scope and duration of the potential military strikes exceed the initial planning?

The proposed limited strikes, using Raytheon’s $3-million Tomahawk missiles (tastefully named for a weapon of a people the U.S. military ethnically cleansed) is expected to cost many millions and possibly $1 billion, should nothing go wrong. That money, spent on aid for victims of this war, rather than on escalating the violence, could save a large number of lives. Failure to so spend it is an immoral act.


Over 40,000 people already chose to click here to tell Congress and the president not to attack Syria.

Already it’s making a difference. Our actions so far have helped compel President Obama to seek Congressional authorization before any attack.

Now we have a week to work with. We start with a majority of the public on our side. We have to hold off a flood of pro-war propaganda, and we have to compel Congress to represent us. And we can do this.

The first step is to click here and add your voice.

Second, please send this to everyone you think might add their voice as well.

Third, organize locally to pressure your Congress member and senators, while they are in their districts and states this week, to commit to voting “No” on a U.S. attack on Syria.

We who reject arguments for war are a majority now. We are a majority in Britain, where Parliament has already voted “No.” We are a majority in Germany, which will not take part. We are a majority in France, where Parliament will be heard from soon. And we are a majority in the United States. Let Congress hear from you now!

The terrible and widespread killing in Syria will become even more terrible and more widespread if the U.S. military launches an attack. The White House has no proposal to win a war, only to inject greater violence into a war, prolonging and escalating it.

Contrary to White House claims, Congress cannot authorize war and support a peace process at the same time. Escalating the violence will block, rather than facilitate, peace. Congress is going to have to choose.

Albert Camus summarized the choice now before us: “In such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners.”

Click here to oppose a military attack on Syria, and to urge Congress and the president instead to work for a ceasefire, to pressure Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Turkey, to halt the flow of weapons, and to pressure Russia and Iran to do the same.

Starting September 9th, if you can, be in Washington, D.C., to prevent this war.

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Comments Off on Caveman Credibility and its Costs

The Troodos Conundrum

By Craig Murray | August 31, 2013

The GCHQ listening post on Mount Troodos in Cyprus is arguably the most valued asset which the UK contributes to UK/US intelligence cooperation. The communications intercept agencies, GCHQ in the UK and NSA in the US, share all their intelligence reports (as do the CIA and MI6). Troodos is valued enormously by the NSA. It monitors all radio, satellite and microwave traffic across the Middle East, ranging from Egypt and Eastern Libya right through to the Caucasus. Even almost all landline telephone communication in this region is routed through microwave links at some stage, picked up on Troodos.

Troodos is highly effective – the jewel in the crown of British intelligence. Its capacity and efficiency, as well as its reach, is staggering. The US do not have their own comparable facility for the Middle East. I should state that I have actually been inside all of this facility and been fully briefed on its operations and capabilities, while I was head of the FCO Cyprus Section in the early 1990s. This is fact, not speculation.

It is therefore very strange, to say the least, that John Kerry claims to have access to communications intercepts of Syrian military and officials organising chemical weapons attacks, which intercepts were not available to the British Joint Intelligence Committee.

On one level the explanation is simple. The intercept evidence was provided to the USA by Mossad, according to my own well placed source in the Washington intelligence community. Intelligence provided by a third party is not automatically shared with the UK, and indeed Israel specifies it should not be.

But the inescapable question is this. Mossad have nothing comparable to the Troodos operation. The reported content of the conversations fits exactly with key tasking for Troodos, and would have tripped all the triggers. How can Troodos have missed this if Mossad got it? The only remote possibility is that all the conversations went on a purely landline route, on which Mossad have a physical wire tap, but that is very unlikely in a number of ways – not least nowadays the purely landline route.

Israel has repeatedly been involved in the Syrian civil war, carrying out a number of illegal bombings and missile strikes over many months. This absolutely illegal activity by Israel- which has killed a great many civilians, including children – has brought no condemnation at all from the West. Israel has now provided “intelligence” to the United States designed to allow the United States to join in with Israel’s bombing and missile campaign.

The answer to the Troodos Conundrum is simple. Troodos did not pick up the intercepts because they do not exist. Mossad fabricated them. John Kerry’s “evidence” is the shabbiest of tricks. More children may now be blown to pieces by massive American missile blasts. It is nothing to do with humanitarian intervention. It is, yet again, the USA acting at the behest of Israel.

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Troodos Conundrum

France and the ICC

By JOHN V. WHITBECK | CounterPunch | September 3, 2013

Now that Prime Minister David Cameron has sought parliamentary approval for “military action” against Syria and President Barack Obama has announced his intention to seek congressional approval, can President François Hollande, as a political if not a strictly constitutional matter, afford not to do likewise?

A parliamentary session devoted to Syria is already scheduled for September 4, although no formal vote had been planned.

Hollande’s Socialist Party has a comfortable majority in the National Assembly and a razor-thin majority in the Senate. Party discipline in France tends to be more rigid and dependable than in the U.S. and the U.K., but the most recent poll showed 64% of the French people opposed to French involvement in any “military action” against Syria.

It would therefore be both highly interesting and encouraging for the future of democracy in France if Hollande were to permit a free and open debate and vote on this important issue.

However, there is another important issue which Hollande should keep in mind or factor into his thinking if no one has yet alerted to it.

When the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court was being negotiated, certain Western states insisted on a seven-year moratorium before the “crime of aggression” was added to the crimes over which the ICC would have jurisdiction if they were committed either by a State Party of the ICC or on the territory a State Party. This effectively gave habitual and potential aggressors a window of opportunity to continue committing acts of aggression, which was very fortunate for former British prime minister Tony Blair, whose country is a State Party but who therefore enjoys immunity and impunity (at least insofar as ICC jurisdiction is concerned) with respect to his role in the crime of aggression against Iraq in 2003.

However, that window of opportunity was closed on June 11, 2010, when the crime of aggression was inserted into the Rome Statute as one of the crimes over which the ICC now has jurisdiction.

While neither Syria nor the United States is among the 122 States Parties of the ICC (so that only a referral by the UN Security Council can give the ICC jurisdiction over their citizens or over crimes committed on their territory), France is a State Party of the ICC.

Article 8bis (1) of the Rome Statute, as added in 2010, reads: “For the purposes of this Statute, ‘crime of aggression’ means the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression which, by its character, gravity and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations.” Included in the subsequent listing of acts constituting “aggression” is, at Article 8bis (2)(b): “Bombardment by the armed forces of a State against the territory of another State or the use of any weapons by a State against the territory of another State.”

In the absence of a UN Security Council resolution authorizing “military action” against Syria, these provisions fit the aggression being planned by Presidents Obama and Hollande “like a glove”. Even the most imaginative defense lawyer would struggle to imagine a defense.

The ICC is understandably uncomfortable with the awkward fact that, in over a decade of existence, it has indicted only Africans. If for no other reason than the institutional imperative of the court’s own credibility, there is a compelling need to indict some non-African as soon as the court’s restricted jurisdiction and the gravity and exemplarity of a crime permit.

Nothing could enhance the credibility of the court more than the indictment of the head of state or government of one of the major Western powers.

At the same time, nothing else could so constructively enhance the concept and stature of international law, the belief that international law is not simply (as it has tended to be) a stick with which the rich and powerful beat the poor and weak and the idea that even the rich and powerful do not enjoy immunity and impunity before the rules of international law.

Indeed, nothing else could so effectively enhance the chances for a more peaceful world.

For any number of good reasons, it is to be fervently hoped that, in the end, François Hollande will not choose to participate in the “planning, preparation, initiation or execution” of the crime of aggression against Syria. However, should he do so, his transfer to The Hague could be the only good result of this folly.

John V. Whitbeck is a Paris-based international lawyer.

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Was Kerry’s ‘Munich moment’ on Syria created by a protégé of the Israel lobby?

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | September 3, 2013

When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry invokes the specter of Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler in order to scare Democrats into voting for war on Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, it seems like a good time to recall George Bush’s pre-Iraq War “axis of evil” association of Saddam Hussein with Nazi Germany’s Holocaust against the Jews. Although Bush was initially credited — and ultimately discredited — with the hyperbolic reference to the defeated World War II powers, it later leaked out that the phrase had been carefully crafted by the president’s speechwriter David Frum. Frum’s passionate attachment to Israel — a country with an unfailing record of casting its Middle Eastern enemy du jour as the reincarnation of Hitlerian evil — no doubt helped inspire the Canadian-born writer’s creative process.

Perhaps someday we will discover too that Kerry’s “Munich moment” was scripted by another partisan of the supposedly besieged “Jewish state” with hegemonic pretensions. The Secretary of State’s chief speechwriter, Stephen Krupin, is, after all, a former intern of the Solomon Project, a pro-Israel think tank affiliated with the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC). While working on a 2004 book entitled “Jews in American Politics,” Krupin’s director of research was Ira N. Forman. Forman, the NJDC’s longtime executive director, previously worked as legislative liaison and political director of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. With people like Krupin working inside the State Department, it makes it just that little bit easier for the Israel lobby to maintain the pretense that it has no position on U.S. intervention in Syria.

Follow Maidhc Ó Cathail on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Was Kerry’s ‘Munich moment’ on Syria created by a protégé of the Israel lobby?

Rep. Grayson: Obama case for Syria ‘doesn’t make any sense’

By Justin Sink – The Hill – 09/02/13

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said Monday that the administration’s argument that letting Syria’s use of sarin gas last month go unchecked would hurt U.S. security was “not logical” and did not “make any sense.”

Administration officials have argued that the U.S. should respond to the attack because the failure to do so would send a message to other regimes — and terror groups — that the use of chemical weapons was acceptable.

But in an interview with CNN’s “New Day,” Grayson said that too few countries had chemical weapons for that to be a concern.

“There’s only four countries in the world that have chemical weapons,” Grayson said. “The largest of the four is the United States. So are we trying to send a message to ourselves? That’s not logical.”

The Florida Democrat went on to reject the argument made by Secretary of State John Kerry on ABC News’ “This Week” that a failure to respond ” will be granting a blanket license to Assad to continue to gas and we will send the wrong message to Iran, North Korea and other countries.

“I’ve heard that theory before somehow one country’s actions will affect another country’s and another country’s and another country’s,” Grayson said. “It’s just the Domino argument again. We’ll call it the ‘bomb-ino’ argument. It’s not logical, doesn’t make any sense.”

Grayson said the chemical attack on the Damascus suburbs “absolutely” did not threaten American national security interests.

“We are not the world’s policeman,” he said. “We can’t afford this anymore, these military adventures that lead us into wars that last for a decade or more. It’s wrong. We need to cut it off before it even happens.”

The White House argues if the U.S. does not act, Hezbollah and Iran, among others, would see there are no consequences for violating the international law against using chemical weapons.

“Anyone who is concerned about Iran and its efforts in the region should support this action,” a White House official said.

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September 3, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , , | 2 Comments

NYT excises AIPAC from Let’s Attack Syria story

September 2, 2013

Passage removed, H/T Niqnaq:

Administration officials said the influential pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC was already at work pressing for military action against Assad, fearing that if Syria escapes US retribution for its use of chemical weapons, Iran might be emboldened in the future to attack Israel. House majority leader Eric Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, has long worked to challenge Democrats’ traditional base among Jews. One administration official called AIPAC “the 800 lb gorilla in the room,” and said its allies in Congress had to be saying:

If the White House is not capable of enforcing this red line against the catastrophic use of chemical weapons, we’re in trouble.

NewsDiffs reports that the article had no less than nine edits:

President Gains McCain’s Backing On Syria Attack (NYT), Change Log

By JACKIE CALMES, MICHAEL R. GORDON and ERIC SCHMITT | First archived on September 2, 2013, 1:18 p.m.
Headline Date/Time EST Archived Diff
President Gains McCain’s Backing On Syria Attack September 3, 2013, 7:25 a.m. (Compare with previous)
President Gains McCain’s Backing On Syria Attack September 2, 2013, 11:22 p.m. (Compare with previous)
President Gains McCain’s Backing On Syria Attack September 2, 2013, 10:50 p.m. (Compare with previous)
President Gains McCain’s Backing On Syria Attack September 2, 2013, 10:11 p.m. (Compare with previous)
President Gains McCain’s Backing On Syria Attack September 2, 2013, 9:33 p.m. (Compare with previous)
McCain Urges Lawmakers to Back Obama’s Plan for Syria September 2, 2013, 5:27 p.m. (Compare with previous)
McCain Urges Lawmakers to Back Obama’s Plan for Syria September 2, 2013, 4:57 p.m. (Compare with previous)
Obama Plans to Meet With Key Lawmakers to Push Syria Plan September 2, 2013, 3:18 p.m. (Compare with previous)
Obama Plans to Meet With Key Lawmakers to Push Syria Plan September 2, 2013, 2:50 p.m. (Compare with previous)
Obama Plans to Meet With Key Lawmakers to Push Syria Plan

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Comments Off on NYT excises AIPAC from Let’s Attack Syria story

Israel closes Ibrahimi Mosque for Jewish new year

Palestine Information Center | September 3, 2013

52927_345x230AL-KHALIL — The Israeli Occupation Authorities decided to close the Ibrahimi mosque on Thursday and Friday, preventing the Muslim worshipers from praying in it or announcing Adhan (the call for prayer) from it.

The Israeli authority has informed the Islamic Endowment Department of its decision to close the Ibrahimi mosque on the so-called the official Jewish New Year’s Day to perform their Talmudic rituals without “being disturbed by Muslim worshipers”.

The Ibrahimi Mosque is an Islamic holy site that cannot be controlled by Jewish settlers, the Endowment Department said, noting that the call to prayer was prevented in the mosque 58 times under the pretext of disturbing settlers while performing their rituals in the Islamic site.

The Islamic Department pointed out that the repeated Israeli break-ins into the Ibrahimi mosque in total violation of Islamic religious feeling is a prelude to blur its Islamic identity.

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , | Comments Off on Israel closes Ibrahimi Mosque for Jewish new year

Israel concerned with US hesitation on Syria

MEMO | September 2, 2013

President Barack Obama’s decision to delay the US offensive against Syria opened the window for negotiating a non-military solution to the issue of chemical weapons, a step that worried Israel for various reasons, the Israeli daily Maariv reported on Monday.

Israel’s worries are not just related to Syrian chemical weapons, but also to the consequences that a non-military solution will have on the Iranian nuclear issue and on Hezbollah.

Israel believes that the proposed attack would have a deterrent message to Iran and Hezbollah that the US is still effective in the region, according to Maariv.

The newspaper reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced fears that Obama’s hesitation could send a message to Iran and Hezbollah that the US would not use military power to undermine Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu also said this could also increase Hezbollah’s motivation to carry on threatening the security situation in the region, resulting in Israel standing alone in face of the Iranian and Hezbollah threats without any expected military interference by the US.

According to the newspaper, Netanyahu wanted a military operation to regain the credibility of the US’s deterrent power in the region.

Meanwhile, observers suggest that the time span for a potential US attack against Syria is actually longer than what Obama initially announced. While Congress is expected to discuss the issue within eight days, the eyes of the world are also looking to the UN General Assembly to convene on 17 September, when the UN inspection mission is scheduled to disclose the results of its investigations in Damascus about the use of chemical weapons.

The newspaper said that Obama’s decision also opened the door for a prospective meeting on diplomatic solutions for the Syrian crisis with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during the Summit of the Group 20, which is to convene in Petersburg later this week.

One of the expected solutions, the newspaper reported, is what Russia has already been working on. Russia is seeking to preclude a military attack on Syria and instead suggesting the destruction of chemical weapons under the authority of UN inspectors.

Another proposed solution is to take the chemical weapons out of Syria as a prelude to an international conference on the Syrian issue. The US accepts the participation of the Syrian regime in the proposed conference.

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

US evokes ghost of Hitler as PR campaign against Assad goes crazy

By Robert Bridge | RT | September 03, 2013 

The shock and awe that has greeted President Obama’s decision to get congressional consent to wage war in Syria underscores the problem with US foreign policy, not to mention our mainstream media machine.

Americans somehow think it is standard operating procedure for the Commander-in-Chief to bypass a quaint little place called Congress (Population 535) along the road to war. Perhaps this way of thinking is due to the general atmosphere of fear and loathing now gripping the crotch of the Heartland like a TSA officer. Or maybe it’s just that we’ve been conditioned to believe the president has the right to enjoy dictatorial powers. Whatever the case, the situation demands some consideration.

Up until Friday, it looked all but certain that Barack Obama, America’s Nobel-nominated president, would order yet another military strike on a foreign country without congressional approval (Libya was the first). The Democratic leader’s designs for a “limited” strike on Syria, however, were quickly dashed when British Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a historic defeat, as the House of Commons denied him permission to jump on the military bandwagon heading for Syria.

This was the first time since 1782 that the British parliament refused a government request to enter a war. Could it be that British intelligence knew something the Americans did not, like perhaps the truth? After all, Cameron himself admitted that the UK intelligence was not 100 percent certain that the Assad government was responsible for the chemical attack.

Whatever the case, with Washington’s foremost ally suddenly missing in action, Obama had nothing but respect for the US Constitution, which clearly states, Article 1, Section 8, “Congress shall have power…to declare war.”

Thanks to the broadside delivered to Washington by the bumpy car of the British parliament, the American people got a fleeting, jolting reminder of their candidate on the early campaign trail, those bygone days of yesteryear when hope hung like dew on the American prairie and the sweet aroma of change dispelled the noxious vapors of George W. Bush’s fighter jets.

I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And that’s why I’ve made a second decision: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress,” Obama said Saturday from the Rose Garden.

After the initial shock of those incredible words was fully digested, and the dogs of war were yanked snarling and slobbering back in the house, the PR campaign against the Syrian regime went haywire. The US mainstream media was clearly knocked off its stride, set as it was for an imminent war.

Consider this opening paragraph in Monday’s issue of The Wall Street Journal.

President Obama’s Syrian melodrama went from bad to worse on Saturday with his surprise decision to seek Congressional approval for what he promises will be merely a limited cruise-missile bombing. Mr. Obama will now have someone else to blame if Congress blocks his mission, but in the bargain he has put at risk his credibility and America’s standing in the world with more than 40 months left in office.”

America’s leading business paper somehow believes that seeking congressional approval for war will “risk his credibility and America’s standing in the world.” Indeed, considering America’s basement rankings in the world, seeking such approval as mandated by international law could only have the opposite effect.

And what is one to make of Obama’s (money-back?) guarantee of a “narrow and limited” cruise missile attack on Syria; a Lawrence-esque back-before-dinner jaunt that won’t leave the same kind of trillion-dollar aftertaste that the eight-year Iraq War did? After all, it will only take the firing of a single Syrian missile at a US naval vessel for Obama’s weekend fling to transmogrify into World War III.

The editorial then entered hand-wringing, hysteria mode, trembling at the thought that a single square-mile of real estate in a corner of the empire has not been stamped with the imprint of a US Army boot.

A defeat in Congress would signal to Bashar Assad and the world’s other thugs that the US has retired as the enforcer of any kind of world order… Unlike the British in 1956, the US can’t retreat from east of Suez without grave consequences. The US replaced the British, but there is no one to replace America.”

With some 900 US military bases now straddling a disproportionate amount of the globe, it will take a lot more Congress voting to take a pass on a military scuffle in a Syrian civil war for the US war machine to suddenly go wobbly. Yes, the Obama administration will have to swallow a big slab of humble pie if Congress doesn’t vote in favor of war, but the long-term consequences in the event of such a decision on American power should not be exaggerated.

But exaggerating the consequences is exactly what America does best. Just one day after Obama had his faith miraculously restored in the battered US Constitution, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that a little birdie informed him that sarin nerve gas was used in the Damascus attack. This revelation allowed Kerry to pull out the most-effective ploy in the PR bag of tricks: the noxious Nazi analogy.

“Bashar al-Assad now joins the list of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein who have used these weapons in time of war,” Kerry told NBC’s Face the Nation. Kerry called the attack an “affront against the decency and sensibilities of the world.”

“In the last 24 hours, we have learned through samples that were provided to the United States that have now been tested from first responders in east Damascus, and hair samples and blood samples have tested positive for signatures of sarin,” he continued.

So now, when US Congressmen return from their summer break on September 9, you can guarantee their email boxes will be littered with messages from special interest groups imploring them to support military action against the “world’s next Hitler.”

“This is squarely now in the hands of Congress,” Kerry told CNN, saying he had confidence “they will do what is right because they understand the stakes.”

Meanwhile, the calm voice of reason against a senseless war in Syria has been thrown under the bus.

Ron Paul was branded a “conspiracy theorist” by Salon for suggesting that the Syrian chemical attack was a false flag operation designed to get America into another Middle East war.

Paul pointed to the false intelligence that led to the Iraq War to back up his statement.

“[Syrian President Bashar] Assad, I don’t think is an idiot. I don’t think he would do this on purpose,” Paul told Fox News host Neil Cavuto on the allegation that Assad used chemical weapons on civilians.

Just look at how many lies were told us about Saddam Hussein prior to that (Iraq War) build up. More propaganda. It happens all the time,” Paul said. “I think it’s a false flag.”Full article

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment