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Obama Warned on Syrian Intel

Consortium News | September 6, 2013

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Is Syria a Trap?

We regret to inform you that some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this. In writing this brief report, we choose to assume that you have not been fully informed because your advisers decided to afford you the opportunity for what is commonly known as “plausible denial.”

We have been down this road before – with President George W. Bush, to whom we addressed our first VIPS memorandum immediately after Colin Powell’s Feb. 5, 2003 U.N. speech, in which he peddled fraudulent “intelligence” to support attacking Iraq. Then, also, we chose to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt, thinking he was being misled – or, at the least, very poorly advised.

The fraudulent nature of Powell’s speech was a no-brainer. And so, that very afternoon we strongly urged your predecessor to “widen the discussion beyond …  the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.” We offer you the same advice today.

Our sources confirm that a chemical incident of some sort did cause fatalities and injuries on August 21 in a suburb of Damascus. They insist, however, that the incident was not the result of an attack by the Syrian Army using military-grade chemical weapons from its arsenal. That is the most salient fact, according to CIA officers working on the Syria issue. They tell us that CIA Director John Brennan is perpetrating a pre-Iraq-War-type fraud on members of Congress, the media, the public – and perhaps even you.

We have observed John Brennan closely over recent years and, sadly, we find what our former colleagues are now telling us easy to believe. Sadder still, this goes in spades for those of us who have worked with him personally; we give him zero credence. And that goes, as well, for his titular boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has admitted he gave “clearly erroneous” sworn testimony to Congress denying NSA eavesdropping on Americans.

Intelligence Summary or Political Ploy?

That Secretary of State John Kerry would invoke Clapper’s name this week in Congressional testimony, in an apparent attempt to enhance the credibility of the four-page “Government Assessment” strikes us as odd. The more so, since it was, for some unexplained reason, not Clapper but the White House that released the “assessment.”

This is not a fine point. We know how these things are done. Although the “Government Assessment” is being sold to the media as an “intelligence summary,” it is a political, not an intelligence document. The drafters, massagers, and fixers avoided presenting essential detail. Moreover, they conceded upfront that, though they pinned “high confidence” on the assessment, it still fell “short of confirmation.”

Déjà Fraud: This brings a flashback to the famous Downing Street Minutes of July 23, 2002, on Iraq, The minutes record that Richard Dearlove, then head of British intelligence, reporting to Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior officials that President Bush had decided to remove Saddam Hussein through military action that would be “justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.” Dearlove had gotten the word from then-CIA Director George Tenet whom he visited at CIA headquarters on July 20.

The discussion that followed centered on the ephemeral nature of the evidence, prompting Dearlove to explain: “But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” We are concerned that this is precisely what has happened with the “intelligence” on Syria.

The Intelligence

There is a growing body of evidence from numerous sources in the Middle East — mostly affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters — providing a strong circumstantial case that the August 21 chemical incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters. The aim is reported to have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war.

According to some reports, canisters containing chemical agent were brought into a suburb of Damascus, where they were then opened. Some people in the immediate vicinity died; others were injured.

We are unaware of any reliable evidence that a Syrian military rocket capable of carrying a chemical agent was fired into the area. In fact, we are aware of no reliable physical evidence to support the claim that this was a result of a strike by a Syrian military unit with expertise in chemical weapons.

In addition, we have learned that on August 13-14, 2013, Western-sponsored opposition forces in Turkey started advance preparations for a major, irregular military surge. Initial meetings between senior opposition military commanders and Qatari, Turkish and U.S. intelligence officials took place at the converted Turkish military garrison in Antakya, Hatay Province, now used as the command center and headquarters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and their foreign sponsors.

Senior opposition commanders who came from Istanbul pre-briefed the regional commanders on an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing development,” which, in turn, would lead to a U.S.-led bombing of Syria.

At operations coordinating meetings at Antakya, attended by senior Turkish, Qatari and U.S. intelligence officials as well as senior commanders of the Syrian opposition, the Syrians were told that the bombing would start in a few days. Opposition leaders were ordered to prepare their forces quickly to exploit the U.S. bombing, march into Damascus, and remove the Bashar al-Assad government

The Qatari and Turkish intelligence officials assured the Syrian regional commanders that they would be provided with plenty of weapons for the coming offensive. And they were. A weapons distribution operation unprecedented in scope began in all opposition camps on August 21-23. The weapons were distributed from storehouses controlled by Qatari and Turkish intelligence under the tight supervision of U.S. intelligence officers.

Cui bono?

That the various groups trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have ample incentive to get the U.S. more deeply involved in support of that effort is clear. Until now, it has not been quite as clear that the Netanyahu government in Israel has an equally powerful incentive to get Washington more deeply engaged in yet another war in the area. But with outspoken urging coming from Israel and those Americans who lobby for Israeli interests, this priority Israeli objective is becoming crystal clear.

Reporter Judi Rudoren, writing from Jerusalem in an important article in Friday’s New York Times addresses Israeli motivation in an uncommonly candid way. Her article, titled “Israel Backs Limited Strike Against Syria,” notes that the Israelis have argued, quietly, that the best outcome for Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome. Rudoren continues:

“For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.

“‘This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,’ said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. ‘Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.’”

We think this is the way Israel’s current leaders look at the situation in Syria, and that deeper U.S. involvement – albeit, initially, by “limited” military strikes – is likely to ensure that there is no early resolution of the conflict in Syria. The longer Sunni and Shia are at each other’s throats in Syria and in the wider region, the safer Israel calculates that it is.

That Syria’s main ally is Iran, with whom it has a mutual defense treaty, also plays a role in Israeli calculations. Iran’s leaders are not likely to be able to have much military impact in Syria, and Israel can highlight that as an embarrassment for Tehran.

Iran’s Role

Iran can readily be blamed by association and charged with all manner of provocation, real and imagined. Some have seen Israel’s hand in the provenance of the most damaging charges against Assad regarding chemical weapons and our experience suggests to us that such is supremely possible.

Possible also is a false-flag attack by an interested party resulting in the sinking or damaging, say, of one of the five U.S. destroyers now on patrol just west of Syria. Our mainstream media could be counted on to milk that for all it’s worth, and you would find yourself under still more pressure to widen U.S. military involvement in Syria – and perhaps beyond, against Iran.

Iran has joined those who blame the Syrian rebels for the August 21 chemical incident, and has been quick to warn the U.S. not to get more deeply involved. According to the Iranian English-channel Press TV, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javid Zarif has claimed: “The Syria crisis is a trap set by Zionist pressure groups for [the United States].”

Actually, he may be not far off the mark. But we think your advisers may be chary of entertaining this notion. Thus, we see as our continuing responsibility to try to get word to you so as to ensure that you and other decision makers are given the full picture.

Inevitable Retaliation

We hope your advisers have warned you that retaliation for attacks on Syrian are not a matter of IF, but rather WHERE and WHEN. Retaliation is inevitable. For example, terrorist strikes on U.S. embassies and other installations are likely to make what happened to the U.S. “Mission” in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, look like a minor dust-up by comparison. One of us addressed this key consideration directly a week ago in an article titled “Possible Consequences of a U.S. Military Attack on Syria – Remembering the U.S. Marine Barracks Destruction in Beirut, 1983.”

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Thomas Drake, Senior Executive, NSA (former)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan

Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

W. Patrick Lang, Senior Executive and Defense Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)

Todd Pierce, US Army Judge Advocate General (ret.)

Sam Provance, former Sgt., US Army, Iraq

Coleen Rowley, Division Council & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret); Foreign Service Officer (ret.)

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Obama’s Politics of War and US Public Opinion: The Great Divergence

By James Petras :: 09.05.2013

Introduction

As President Obama announces plans for another war, adding Syria to the ongoing and recent wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere, a profound gap has emerged between the highly militarized state and US public opinion.

A Reuters/IPSOS poll taken August 19-23 (2013) revealed that 60 percent of Americans surveyed stated that the United States should not intervene in Syria, while 9 percent said Obama should act. Even when the question was ‘loaded’ to include Obama’s bogus and unsubstantiated claim that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces “used chemicals to attack civilians”, almost twice as many Americans oppose US military intervention (46 percent to 25 percent). In panic and haste several pro Administration media outlets contracted new polls to better the results. What is striking about this finding is that despite the mass media and the Obama spokespeople’s saturation of the airwaves with atrocity images of “victims”, the US public is becoming more vehemently opposed to another imperialist war. Reuters/IPSOS poll of August 13 found 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if toxic chemicals were used, while 41.6 percent did not. In other words, as the Obama regime intensified preparations for war, opposition increased by over 16 percent.

Current and past polls and studies document that a substantial and enduring majority of Americans are opposed to ongoing wars (Afghanistan), even as the Executive Branch and Congress continue to finance and dispatch US troops and engage in aerial assaults in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere.

If, as some scholars argue, militarism and ‘national security’ have become the secular religion of the State, it is clear that the majority of civil society are ‘non-believers’. The ‘true believers’ of militarism as the true path to empire building are firmly ensconced in Washington’s political establishment, among high powered ‘lobbies and influential propaganda mills’ known as “think tanks”. The militarist beliefs are embraced and are especially pervasive among highly placed officials with deep and long-standing ties to the Israeli power structure. The myths propagated by cynical political pundits that “the US public opinion gets the elected officials it deserves”; that “Congress and the President reflect the values and sentiments of the electorate”; flies in the face of the divergent attitudes and interests showing up in repeated polls. The vast majority of Americans are concerned with domestic economic issues such as deteriorating job opportunities and living standards, growing inequalities, the concentration of wealth (the Wall Street 1% issue), growing indebtedness of college graduates, the savage cuts in social programs in the face of soaring military expenditures and Wall Street bailouts. In other words the values, attitudes and interests of the vast majority of Americans diverge from those of the Washington establishment, the mass media and the power brokers who penetrate and surround the political elite.

War and Peace: Oligarchy and Democracy

This divergence raises fundamental questions about the nature of the American political system, the role and influence of the mass media and the power of minorities over majorities. Divergences, deep differences between rulers and ruled, has become the norm in the United States on all the big issues, domestic and foreign, of our day.

As the differences accumulate, deepen and grind, they ‘wear’ on our public; political “differences” become outright personal dislike, turning hostility to anger and even hatred of the O-man. His deceptions, the very words he mouths are repeated and jeered. Nothing is more irritating than to listen to a stale confidence man who still tries to fool a knowing public. They are onto him. His newly recruited Cabinet members of both sexes are seen as promoters of toxic lies who try their hand at justifying war crimes via moral ejaculations that resonate in their own ears and with the President, but not beyond.

Executive Prerogatives as Dictatorial Rule

The Presidential declarations of war against the opinion of vast majorities; the dictates to finance bank bailouts behind the backs of the 99%; the proclamations ending ongoing wars which continue; fabrications that serve as pretexts for new wars which resonate with the lies of the previous wars… all speak against a constitutional democracy.

It’s a dictatorship stupid! Nothing “constitutional” – that’s toilet paper! Legal hacks scratch their crotch and come up with past illegal executive orders to back new arbitrary declarations of war.

Electorates are ignored. Who calls the US a democracy except during electoral campaigns? War is the prerogative of the President, we are told. Sequential wars are the alternative to a national health plan. When the President mouths moral platitudes most ignore him, others jeer, curse and wish he would die.

The Case for Impeachment

When in the course of human history a President perpetuates and extends his power beyond the restraints of a constitutional order and willfully commits the American people to perpetual suffering and empties the public treasury of the wealth of its citizens, the question of impeachment rises to the fore. And it ill behooves the climbers and clamorers from foreign lands to flatter, cajole and threaten a President whose imperial pretensions nurture the ambitions of their Chosen State.

Profound and lasting divisions between rulers and ruled accompanied by unending and onerous hardships at a time when our people lack redress in petition and protest, sooner or later, will lead the American people to demand his impeachment. A trial via judicial procedures, condemnation according to judge and jury and incarceration for multiple and grave violations of the constitutional order will ensue. Executives, usurping the rights of the American people at the service of empire and their collaborators with traitorous intent, will not pass with impunity

Why and How the American Public is disenfranchised: the Tyranny of the Minority

It is not the military who choose to disenfranchise and ignore the vast majority of Americans opposed to new Middle East wars. The usurpers are mostly civilians, some of whom shed a foreign rifle to ply our President. Nor is the exclusion of the majority a hidden conspiracy of petrol companies – they have lost hundreds of billions to wars, not of their making, disrupting trade and production.

Idle chatter, flowing from leftist monthlies, liberal weeklies and a multitude of pundits, academics and ‘critical’ public intellectuals, decry the “military-industrial complex”. True their lobbyists seek military contracts, but they did not draw up ‘position papers’ for invading Iraq, nor submit and secure sanctions, and resolutions in Congress against Iran.

If we seek to identify the minority which secures its militarist agenda in the White House and Congress against the majority of Americans, it is clearly identifiable by its consistent, frequent and intrusive presence. It is a new version of the 1%– its called the Zionist power configuration.

One can be 99% sure that among the scant 11% of Americans who support US military intervention in Syria, the pro-Israel crowd and its acolytes are over-represented.

The evidence is clear: they are the most actively engaged in promoting war with Syria at the national and local levels. They are the pundits’ and news commentators promoting the Syrian government toxic gas ploy. They and other mass media pundits and publishers totally ignored the interview quoting the armed Syrian opposition admitting they “mistakenly set off the toxic gas”.

To the degree that we have moved from democracy to oligarchy, from a democratic to a militarist foreign policy, the powerful Zionist power structure has accumulated power and influence and in turn furthered the tyranny of the minority over the majority. Not alone, but certainly with their approval and to their advantage, the Zionist power configuration has marginalized Americans of all creeds, races and religions (including the majority of Jews and apostates).

Oligarchy facilitates minorities’ access to power: it is far easier to buy and blackmail a handful of corrupt wealthy legislators and a coterie of senior administration officials, than millions of citizens suffering the double onus of wars and declining living standards.

Limits of Mass Media Manipulation

The arbitrary power of the oligarchy and its collaborators, and their growing distance from the ruled, no longer is bridged by mass media propaganda. The Obama regime and most Washington think tanks have repeatedly saturated the print and electronic media with the most lurid images and horrendous atrocity stories of Syrian ‘war crimes’ to induce the American citizens to support US military intervention. Daily reports in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, and all the major and minor television networks repeat ad nauseum the ‘need for war’, “our humanitarian war mission” to no avail. The mass media, the high powered propaganda campaign run by and for the war mongers in Washington and Tel Aviv has failed to gain any more than 10% of the US citizenry.

We have been told by media experts about the power of the mass media to manipulate the US public, as if it was a blank blackboard: the media write the script for the oligarchy and the masses repeat it. In fact, time and time again, a majority of US citizens have rejected “the line” of the mass media, especially on questions of peace and war, living standards and bank bailouts. The credibility of the mass media is near zero.

The public’s rejection of the Obama regime’s move to war with Syria is another example of the limits of mass propaganda. The public supported the Afghan and Iraq wars at the start. But as the wars ground on, became costly and new wars spread; and as the police state grew and living standards plunged, the public became wary. The domestic crises drove the message home: domestic decay accompanies imperial wars. No amount of empty rhetoric or high powered Zionist lobbying for wars for Israel could convince the American majority to continue to sacrifice their lives and their children’s and grandchildren’s living standards to endless wars, spiraling costs and harmful economic consequences.

The Quiet Rebellion of the Democratic Majority

No doubt the word is out: throughout Europe, vast majorities reject their ruler’s imperial wars, particularly the war in Syria. Even the British Parliament rose on its hind legs and said no. Only the decrepit French regime under Hollande, the colonial whore master, sided with Obama for a few days before Parliament convened. The media and their editorial writers, sense ‘trouble’. They start to quote doubting military officers, and to ask questions. “What are the consequences of bombing Assad and aiding al Qaeda?” … asks a retired General.

Obama faces the taunt of the Zionists, “not to waver and cower”. The printing presses of the White House Propaganda Office runs off thousands of reports of intercepted Syrian military directives ordering the use of toxic chemicals…. taken from ‘rebel’ sources; documents that nobody reads, or gives credence.

The White House declares red lines: the public cries ‘big lies’. Deception by the media and White House has been going on too long. The majority is fed up with the fabrication of weapons of mass destruction leading to the Iraq war, the phoney Libyan “atrocities”, the blatant cover-up of Israeli land grabs.

The specter of economic insecurity, of accumulating debts and precarious employment stalks the cities and towns of America. Anger and fear at home, so far, is focused against new wars abroad and their most visible exponent. The Obama regime is facing “a fall” sooner or later. Will his willing accomplices slink away to their think tanks? Will the oligarchs decide he is expandable, no longer useful, too far from the people, too arrogant? Too many ‘wars for Israel’? (Oh my god how did that slip in?) Not enough attention to ‘rebuilding America’? Time for a new election: all aboard. The people have spoken! A new president, less effusive, more mainstream is on order from the Oligarchy

With Obama’s fall, we learn that the mass media are not all powerful and that Israel’s well-wishers will not temper their demands for power even though they are a 1% minority. The majority can bring down a regime but can the create an alternative?

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

US Congress Finds ‘Overwhelming’ Public Opposition to Force in Syria

By Maria Young | RIA Novosti | September 6, 2013

WASHINGTON – After three days of non-stop phone calls from hundreds of Colorado constituents opposed to a US military strike on Syria, Rep. Doug Lamborn announced Friday he was “leaning against” a resolution giving US President Barack Obama the authority to take limited action.

Following a long holiday weekend, “Tuesday is when the calls started, they’re still coming in, and I would say fewer than two percent are people who want us to take action,” said Catherine Mortensen, Lamborn’s communications director.

“People say things like, ‘We have problems at home we need to take care of.’ And what was surprising was how quickly people’s opinions had gelled. They’re not lukewarm. Right off the bat on Tuesday it was, ‘We don’t need this.’ It’s been overwhelming,” she added in an interview with RIA Novosti.

While Lamborn was answering questions from listeners during a radio show Friday morning, Mortensen said, “One man phoned in to say, ‘I’m in Afghanistan, and I don’t want this anymore.’”

By the end of the show, Lamborn, a Republican, who previously had said he was gathering facts and hadn’t made up his mind yet, told listeners he was inclined to vote against the resolution.

And Lamborn’s office is not alone.

Other Congressional offices say they have also been bombarded ever since Obama said last Saturday that he would ask Congress to approve a “limited” strike against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack last month.

“I can tell you 99 percent of the calls coming to my office are against it,” said Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland in a televised interview on MSNBC.

Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona who lost the presidency to Obama in 2008, voted to support his old rival during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing this week, but took significant heat about it from angry constituents at a town hall meeting in Arizona Thursday.

“This is what I think of Congress,” said one man in the crowd, holding up a bag of marshmallows. “They are a bunch of marshmallows…Why are you not listening to the people and staying out of Syria? It’s not our fight.”

Some of those calls and comments to Congress appear to be having an effect.

After days of discussions with voters, Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma, announced late Thursday in a statement on his website that he would vote against the president’s request, saying the situation in Syria is a civil war that America should not be drawn into.

“This is not just my opinion. It is the considered opinion of the people that I represent, expressed not at just one or two town halls, but literally at every public or private meeting and casual encounter I have had since the president decided to put this issue before Congress last Saturday,” he said, adding, “I have heard their opposition loud and clear and will not vote in favor of military intervention in Syria.”

Upon hearing word about a chemical attack that had killed men, women and children, Republican Rep. Michael Grimm from New York said his initial reaction, as a Marine combat veteran, “was to stand by the Commander in Chief and support immediate, targeted strikes.”

Grimm announced Thursday he, too, had changed his mind.

“I have heard from many constituents who strongly oppose unilateral action at a time when we have so many needs here at home. Thus, after much thought, deliberation and prayer, I am no longer convinced that a US strike on Syria will yield a benefit to the United States that will not be greatly outweighed by the extreme cost of war,” he said in a statement on his website.

The Obama Administration thus far has “failed to present a convincing argument that the events in Syria pose a clear threat to America, failed to list a strong coalition of nations willing to support military attacks, and failed to articulate a clear definition of victory,” said Arizona Republican Rep. Matt Salmon in a statement on his website explaining his opposition to a strike.

Salmon told the National Review Online he’s had 500 calls to his office about the crisis in Syria, and only two have been in favor of US intervention. He predicted Obama’s efforts in Congress “will fail by 20 votes.”

SenFeinsteinBut Obama is counting on members of Congress like California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has viewed classified information about the chemical weapons attack and said Thursday she supports the strike on Syria, despite the lack of public support.

“There’s no question: What’s coming in is overwhelmingly negative,” she said, according to the Associated Press. “But you see, then, they don’t know what I know. They haven’t heard what I’ve heard.”

During a press conference from St. Petersburg soon after the G20 summit wrapped up on Friday, Obama said he would address the nation about the crisis on Tuesday, telling reporters he considers it part of his job to “make the case.”

“It’s conceivable that, at the end of the day, I don’t persuade a majority of the American people that it’s the right thing to do,” Obama said to reporters.

But he added that members of Congress will have to decide for themselves if they think a strike is the right thing for national and global security.

“Ultimately, you listen to your constituents, but you’ve got to make some decisions about what you believe is right for America,” he said.

Obama did not say whether he would still order a strike even without Congressional approval.

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

US snub of Syria talks ‘proof of weakness in position’ – Duma speaker

RT | September 6, 2013

State Duma speaker Sergey Naryshkin has told the press that no Russian parliamentary delegation is going to the United States to discuss the Syrian issue, adding that the US refusal to meet was regrettable.

“The unwillingness to listen to arguments on inter-parliamentary level testifies to the fact that our American partners themselves understand the weakness of their positions. In addition, this step characterizes their attitude to the norms of international law,” he said.

Naryshkin added that “the United States is used to considering the most important issues of other nations and of whole world’s regions to be their internal affairs, despite the fact that the current system of international law and the UN’s global security architecture have been built by the lengthy and thorough efforts of the whole international community on the basis of the results of WWII.”

He emphasized that it was extremely dangerous to neglect the valuable institutions and the system of guarantees built on the lessons taught by the greatest disaster of the 20th century. He again reminded that the international political organizations were created in order to save the world from future global disasters.

On Monday this week the heads of the both chambers of the Russian parliament suggested that President Vladimir Putin hold bilateral talks with US lawmakers in order to find a solution to the crisis in Syria. Putin supported the initiative, calling it timely and correct, and adding that direct talks might help US politicians to hear firsthand arguments and understand Russian motives in the standoff.

By Tuesday, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko had sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid suggesting a meeting be called without delay to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian problem by common effort and as soon as possible.

According to Russian Senator Ilyas Umakhanov, initially the US official said that he was ready to assist the consultations between Russian and US lawmakers. However, by the end of the week CNN reported that Reid had turned down the Russian proposal.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner also turned down the Russian embassy’s request to directly meet with the parliamentary delegation.

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pope calls on world leaders to abandon military options in Syria

RT | September 5, 2013

Pope Francis called on world leaders attending the G20 summit in Russia to seek peace in Syria through diplomatic means and to lay aside the “futile pursuit” of a military solution.

In a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is hosting the G20 summit, Francis said that lopsided global interests have blocked a diplomatic course in the Syrian conflict and have led to the “senseless massacre” of innocent people.

“To the leaders present, to each and every one, I make a heartfelt appeal for them to help find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution,”
Francis wrote.

The letter follows an announcement earlier this week that the Vatican will host a vigil for peace in Syria in St. Peter’s Square on Saturday.

The Vatican outlined Thursday its position on Syria to ambassadors accredited to the Holy See.

“Confronted with similar acts one cannot remain silent, and the Holy See hopes that the competent institutions make clear what happened and that those responsible face justice,” the Vatican’s Foreign Minister, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, told the 71 ambassadors regarding the chemical weapons attack that took place outside Damascus on August 21. The US and its allies believe the attack was launched by the Syrian government.

Mamberti said the main priority was to stop the violence which he said is risking the involvement of other countries and creating “unforeseeable consequences in various parts of the world.”

He did not mention possible military strikes by the US, but stressed peace in all facets of a potential solution to the violent conflict.

In addition, Mamberti said the Vatican does not want Syria to be split up along ethnic or religious lines, and that Syrian minorities – including Christians – should have basic rights guaranteed, including freedom of religion.

The Assad regime in Syria has long supported ethnic and religious minorities including Christians, Shiite Muslims, and Kurds. The Assad family and many regime officials are Alawites, followers of an offshoot of Shiite Islam, while most rebels and their supporters are Sunni Muslims.

On Wednesday, the head of the Vatican’s Jesuit order, Rev. Adolfo Nicolas, said that military action by the US and France would ultimately punish the Syrian people.

“I cannot understand who gave the United States or France the right to act against a country in a way that will certainly increase the suffering of the citizens of that country, who, by the way, have already suffered beyond measure,”  he said.

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

US urges citizens to leave Lebanon

Al-Akhbar | September 6, 2013

The United States on Friday said it evacuated its embassy in Beirut of “non-emergency personnel” because of alleged “threats” against it, and urged all the US citizens in the country to leave.

“On September 6 2013, the Department of State drew down non-emergency personnel and family members from Embassy Beirut due to threats to US mission facilities and personnel,” a statement on the embassy website said.

It gave no details on the threats, but added that “US citizens concerned for their safety should consider making plans to depart.”

“Those who remain should prepare to depart at short notice.”

The move comes following two weeks of US threats to strike Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus on August 21 that Washington blamed on the Syrian government.

Activists in Lebanon have called for a rally outside the US Embassy Saturday at 5:00 pm against a US assault on Syria.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Lebanese Parliamentarians: US Terrorism against Syria Undermines International Stability

Al-Manar | September 6, 2013

The deactivation of the Lebanese public institution, the deterioration of the socio-economic and security conditions in Lebanon as well as the regional challenges that threaten the local stability topped the agenda of the meeting that was held by the Loyalty to Resistance parliamentary bloc.

The bloc asserted, in a statement, the importance of taking the necessary measures to cope with the consequences of the Dahiyeh and Tripoli blasts and to reduce the economic loads that overburden all the Lebanese.

“The paralysis and the recession that strikes the Lebanese public institutions seriously endangers Lebanon as March 14 forces have decided to deactivate the government and the parliament, betting on regional changes to subdue the national partners,” the statement read.

“Rejecting the national dialogue and the harmony among the main factors of the strategic equation that protects Lebanon-the army, the people and the resistance struck the Lebanese security and stability as the sectarian language is publicly used,” the statement added.

Loyalty to Resistance also condemned the arrogant US threats against Syria and all the Arab countries.

“The American aggression against Syria represents an organized terrorism that threatens the regional as well as the international stability and aims at strengthening the Zionist arm and the colonial grip to control the whole region.

The direct involvement of the American administration asserts that the crisis in Syria is an international conspiracy whose target is the foreign dominance over the region,” the statement read by the bloc member, MP Hassan Fadlallah, underlined.

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes, Syria and Hezbollah Will Hit Israel if US Strikes

By Sharmine Narwani | Al-Akhbar | 2013-09-06

Informed insiders have confirmed that Syria and Hezbollah plan to retaliate against Israel in the event of an American-led military attack on Syria. Says one: “if even one US missile hits Syria, we will take this battle to Israel.”

An official who spoke to me on the condition that neither his name or affiliation is published, says the decision to retaliate against Israel “has been taken at the highest levels within the Syrian state and Hezbollah.”

Why attack Israel after a US strike?

“Israel has been itching for a fight since their 2006 defeat by Hezbollah,” explains an observer close to the Lebanese resistance group. “They have led this campaign to draw the US into a confrontation with Syria because they are worried about being left alone in the region to face Iran. This has become an existential issue for them and they are now ‘leading’ from behind America’s skirts.”

The “Resistance Axis” which consists of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and a smattering of other groups, has long viewed attacks on one of their members as an effort to target them all.

And Israeli aggression against this axis reached a new high in 2013, with missile strikes and airstrikes unseen for many years in the Levant.

Israel has reportedly conducted at least three separate, high profile missile strikes against Syria this year, effectively ending a 40-year ceasefire between the neighboring states. The last overt violation of this uneasy truce was in 2007 when the Jewish state destroyed an alleged nuclear site inside Syria.

Then two weeks ago, Israel launched its first airstrike in Lebanon since the 2006 war, bombing a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command (PFLP-GC) target in an entirely unprovoked attack. Earlier, four rockets had been launched into Israel from Lebanese territory, but an unrelated Al Qaeda-linked group took credit for that incident.

When asked whether Syrian allies Russia and Iran would participate in retaliatory strikes against Israel or other targets, the official indicated that both countries would back these efforts, but provided no information on whether this support would include direct military engagement.

The Russians have stated on several occasions that they will not participate in a military confrontation over Syrian strikes. Iran has not offered up any specifics, but various statements from key officials appear to confirm that strikes against Syria will result in a larger regional battle.

On Tuesday during an official visit to Lebanon, Iranian parliamentarian and Chairman of the (Majlis) Committee for National Security and Foreign Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi told reporters: “The first party that will be most affected by an aggression on Syria is the Zionist entity.”

His comments follow a steady stream of warnings by senior Iranian officials, which have escalated in tenor as western threats to attack Syria have intensified.

“The US imagination about limited military intervention in Syria is merely an illusion, as reactions will be coming from beyond Syria’s borders,” said the Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari last Saturday.

Even Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has stepped into the fray, warning the US and its allies: “starting this fire will be like a spark in a large store of gunpowder, with unclear and unspecified outcomes and consequences”.

Concurrent with these warnings, both Iran and Russia have been urging the West to avoid further confrontation and return to the negotiating table to resolve Syria’s 29-month conflict. But instead, western officials and diplomats in the Mideast have spent the past few weeks hitting up their regional sources for information on how Syria’s allies will react to a strike.

An unusual visit to Tehran by UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman (a former senior US State Department official) was one such “feeler.”

According to several media outlets, the Iranians had a singular response to Feltman’s efforts to gauge their reaction to a US strike: if you are serious about resolving the Syrian crisis, you must first go to Damascus, and follow that by launching negotiations in Geneva.

Gunning for a fight

While Israel plays heavily in the background, by turns provoking and encouraging western military intervention in Syria, it publically denies any role in this business.

Just this week, Israeli President Shimon Peres attempted to distance the Jewish state from events in Syria by insisting: “It is not for Israel to decide on Syria, we are in a unique position, for varying reasons there is a consensus against Israeli involvement. We did not create the Syrian situation.”

He’s right about one thing. Any visible Israeli military intervention in Syria will likely raise the collective ire of Arabs throughout the region. But Peres is being disingenuous in suggesting that Israel hasn’t played a pivotal role in dragging the region to the brink of a dangerous confrontation.

In fact, since its establishment as a state, Israel has possibly never been more motivated to force a military confrontation in the Mideast:

The Arab uprisings, a shift in the global balance of power, increased isolation and the waning influence of Israel’s superpower US ally have all served to remind Israel that it stands increasingly alone in the Mideast in confronting its longtime adversaries – Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and various Palestinian resistance groups.

Before a US exit from the region becomes patently clear to one and all, Israel needs to disarm its foes – and it needs the Americans to do that. For years, the Israeli establishment has regularly threatened military strikes against Iran, in most part attempting to inextricably embroil Washington in this military venture.

Forcing ‘red line’ narratives into western political discourse – whether it be the use of chemical weapons in Syria or a civilian nuclear program in Iran – has become a clever way to commit allies to an Israeli military agenda.

When US President Barack Obama last week appeared to suddenly revise his plans to launch a strike on Syria by deferring the decision to Congress, Israel went into overdrive:

Two Israeli missiles were launched off the Syrian coast in the Mediterranean Sea to raise temperatures again. Whether this was meant to be veiled threat, a provocation, or an attempt to pin the deed on Syrians is unclear. What is certain is this: Russian early radar systems caught the activity and publicized it quickly to ward off misunderstandings that might trigger counterstrikes.

This quick reaction forced Israel – under US cover – to acknowledge it had participated in unannounced ballistic missile tests. The Iranians reacted very skeptically. Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces General Hassan Firouzabadi said the missiles were “a provocative incident” conveniently executed as western nations withdrew from plans to attack Syria, and called Israel “the region’s warmonger.” He further charged: “If the Russians had not traced the missiles and their origin, a Zionist liar would have alleged that they belonged to Syria in a bid to pave the way for breaking out a war in the region.

On an entirely different front, Israel has been amassing its considerable army of US supporters and lobbyists to ensure a compliant Congressional vote on strikes against Syria.

All its heavy hitters have now stepped up to push US lawmakers into backing military intervention, even though polls continue to show the majority of Americans rejecting strikes.

The Israeli lobbying effort has been particularly critical to ensure there is bipartisan consensus and that Obama’s Republican opponents join the bandwagon. To ensure this, the scope of the “surgical strikes” had to be expanded for GOP members opposed to a cursory punitive strike against Syrian government interests.

Key Republicans have since piled on, and already there are soundings of ‘mission creep.’ Obama told lawmakers on Tuesday that his plan “also fits into a broader strategy that can bring about over time the kind of strengthening of the opposition and the diplomatic, economic and political pressure required – so that ultimately we have a transition that can bring peace and stability, not only to Syria but to the region.”

This suddenly sounds remarkably like President George W. Bush’s plans to remake the Middle East. And it is everything Syria and its allies have both feared and suspected from the start.

Existential for you, existential for me

If ever there was a real ‘red line’ in the region, this is it. Any “limited” or “broad” military intervention in Syria is simply unacceptable to Syria, Iran, Russia, Hezbollah, China and a whole host of other nations that want to turn the page on US hegemonic aspirations in the region and beyond.

Washington has miscalculated in thinking that an attack in any shape or form would be palatable to its quite incredulous adversaries. They are all intimately familiar with the slippery slope of American interventionism and its myriad unintended consequences.

Israel, in particular, appears to be victim to a false sense of security. Analysts and commentators there seem to think that the lack of a Syrian military response to recent Israeli missile strikes is a trend likely to continue. Or that Hezbollah and Iran would have no ‘grounds’ to climb aboard a counterattack if Syria were attacked.

But the fact is that, to date, no member of the Resistance Axis has faced a collective western-Israeli-GCC effort to strike a blow at their core. This promised US-plus-allies strike against Syria makes their calculation an easy one: there is nowhere to go but headfirst into the fracas.

As Israeli warplanes pounded Lebanon during the 2006 war, then-US Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice got one thing right. Refusing to call for a ceasefire, Rice explained that battle was sometimes necessary to break free of the status quo and emerge with a new regional order. The carnage, in short, was simply “the birth pangs of a New Middle East” – something to endure in order to reach a desired outcome.

But in 2006, conditions were not yet ripe for an all-out confrontation on multiple fronts. Today’s confrontation, however, has all the ingredients to fundamentally shift the region in a clear new direction, depending on which side emerges victorious.

What Rice did not anticipate seven years ago was that a few thousand Hezbollah fighters could shake the region beyond Lebanon’s small borders in a mere 33 days – simply by emerging from battle with Israel, leadership and capabilities intact.

The US has never predicted outcomes successfully in the Middle East and is unlikely to do so this time given that its strategic and military objectives seem even more muddled than usual. What we do know is that Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has promised that the “next battle” will take place inside Israel’s borders and that he will fight proportionately this time – striking Israeli cities when Israel hits Lebanese ones.

On the Syrian front, Israel imagines a war-weary adversary. But the Syrian armed forces have the kinds of conventional weapons and ballistic missiles that can level a town in short shrift – that is not an outcome Israel has the capacity to endure.

In yet another corner is Iran, boasting a rare combination of military manpower, hardware, technology and tactical skills that Israel has never faced in any adversary on the battlefield. Russia looms large too – it may provide military intelligence to its allies or it may just use its clout in the UN Security Council to intervene at opportune moments in the fight. Either way, Moscow is a huge asset for the Resistance Axis – and will be joined by China to coach and calibrate responses to the fighting from the ‘international community.’

Meanwhile, as if unable to stop a ‘war trajectory’ once it starts, the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee has just voted to widen and deepen the scope of a US attack on Syria. The new goal? To “reverse the momentum on the battlefield” against the Syrian army and “hasten Assad’s departure.”

This is no different than Libya, Afghanistan or Iraq. Israelis and Americans need to understand that language and behavior threatening ‘regime-change’ gives their adversaries only one choice: to retaliate with all their capabilities and assets on all fronts. Washington just made this existential. No more games, no more rhetoric. Any strike on Syria will be ‘war on.’ In US military parlance: a ‘full-spectrum operation’ will be heading your way. And you can call it Operation “Tip of the Iceberg” out of sheer accuracy, for a change.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentary writer and political analyst covering the Middle East. You can follow Sharmine on twitter @snarwani.

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Against War in Syria: The Great Parliamentary Revolt of 2013

This video, introduced by journalist Joshua Blakeney, offers a selection of the best anti-war speeches delivered during the House of Commons debate on Syria that took place on August 29, 2013. The Con-Dem Coalition had proposed taking Britain into yet another war to help destabilize one of Israel’s adversaries, Syria. However, unlike in 2003 with the Iraq war, a sufficient number of British MPs were able to see through the war propaganda and voted to refrain from deploying UK forces to flight against the people of Syria.

Oded Yinon Plan: http://www.globalresearch.ca/greater-…

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment

France cannot afford military operation in Syria

By Steven Elliot | RT | September 6, 2013

The G20 should be focusing on their flagging economies rather than planning a military operation in Syria they can’t afford, analyst, Alex Korbel, told RT. France, in particular, is at full stretch, with 16 military campaigns abroad and an ailing economy.

The Syrian conflict has eclipsed the G20 meeting in Saint Petersburg, as the international community is unable to come to an agreement over a possible military strike. Washington has put forward a plan for military intervention against the Assad regime, which it believes is responsible for a chemical attack in a Damascus suburb on August 21.

RT: If the UN team of inspectors finds that chemical weapons were used in the Damascus attack, do you believe military intervention could be justified?

Alex Korbel: I think there is no case for military intervention in Syria for several reasons. The first reason is that there is no national interest for France or the US to actually intervene in Syria. The regime of Bashar al Assad was not a problem in the past and it is not clear why it’s now a problem for France and the US. There is no clear objective in the military intervention as it is now presented. Is it about maintaining the credibility of the US? What credibility exactly? The credibility to intervene in unnecessary wars? Is it to ban the use of chemical weapons? Then why does the US have chemical weapons in its arsenal? Is it to weaken the Bashar al Assad regime? In that case you need to put boots on the ground. If it is a humanitarian way to help the civilians, then locking on cruise missiles is not the right solution.

For all of these reasons the US and France have decided to move ahead with limited military intervention. But still there is a danger of falling down a slippery slope. What if a military intervention has no effect? Are we going to see full war? What would be the consequences in the region? I am thinking about Iran and Lebanon and I am thinking about a war less than 1000 kilometers south of Russia.

There is no broad international support for this war. Germany is against it, the UK is against it, China and Russia are against it. The only countries that are in favor are France, which has not yet consulted parliament, US and Israel and Saudi Arabia. Finally, public opinion is clearly against it everywhere. We saw it in the UK and the public polls in the US and France that the public is massively against military intervention in Syria.

RT: Given the climate of economic crisis in the EU, can France feasibly participate in another military operation?

AK: The economic situation of the EU countries is really bad. We can see in France that public debt is higher than 90 per cent of GDP. We see economic growth is less than 1 per cent. We see across G20 countries on average that unemployment is at 9 per cent and growing, that public debt is 64 per cent and growing, that economic growth is 1 per cent and weakening. What needs to be done is not to intervene militarily in another country.

France is already intervening in 16 countries worldwide. Clearly we don’t have any money to finance a seventeenth operation. The purpose of France, the US and any western power is not to ‘play the cop’ around the world but actually to maintain a sound economic policy first and then maybe lead by example on the international scene.

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment