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Arrest Tony Blair for War Crimes in the Middle East

Petition to UK Parliament: A Few Reasons Why

By Felicity Arbuthnot | Dissident Voice | September 29, 2015

The word genocide comes to mind.

— Weapons expert Dai Williams, letter to Tony Blair warning of consequences of Iraq action, 13th October 2002

On Saturday, September 26, Ahmed Mahdi Al Faqi was arrested and delivered to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. He is charged with war crimes, the deliberate destruction of religious or historical monuments in Mali and especially the irreplaceable ancient shrines of Timbuktu, in 2012.

The ICC’s Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Nesouda described the destruction in Timbuktu as “a callous assault on the dignity and identity of entire populations and their religious and historical roots.”

Timbuktu City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the 16th and 17th Centuries this academic and cultural beacon boasted 180 schools and universities, drawing students and scholars from across the Muslim world.

“The people of Mali deserve justice for the attacks against their cities, their beliefs and their communities”, states Nesouda.

On the same day as Al Faqi’s arrest a petition to the British Parliament was released to “Arrest Tony Blair for war crimes in the Middle East and for misleading the public.”

Britain is a signatory to the 123 nation-backed ICC. Thus the petition’s aims are possible.

Blair indeed blatantly misled the public and the Parliament he headed. The disinformation was breathtaking and the result was “a callous assault on the dignity and identity of entire populations and their religious and historical roots.” The people of Iraq too deserve “justice for the attacks against their cities, their beliefs and their communities.”

On September 24, 2002 Blair addressed Parliament. He began:

Today we published a 50-page dossier detailing the history of Iraq’s WMD, its breach of UN resolutions and the current attempts to rebuild the illegal WMD programme.

It was, broadly, fifty pages of obfuscations, untruths and economies with the truth. For instance, he stated that the UN weapons Inspectors met with “obstruction”; e.g.:

… finally in late 1998, the UN team were forced to withdraw. As the dossier sets out, we estimate on the basis of the UN’s work that there were: up to 360 tonnes of bulk chemical warfare agents, including one and a half tonnes of VX nerve agent; up to 3,000 tonnes of precursor chemicals; growth media sufficient to produce 26,000 litres of anthrax spores; and over 30,000 special munitions for delivery of chemical and biological agents … All of this was missing or unaccounted for.

Of course, no such chemical and biological agents existed – and in 1998 the UN Inspectors had fled to the safety of Bahrain on the orders of Richard Butler, who then headed the team, having been tipped off that the US and UK were to bomb Iraq again, illegally, in time for Christmas.

To clarify “obstruction.” As one who was in Iraq numerous times during the UN weapons inspectors tenures and who witnessed their arrogant, discourteous, uncivil behavior towards Iraqis staggering financially under the weight of the crippling embargo. Iraq was, however, charged for their accommodation, vehicles, living expenses, salaries. “Obstruction” became a sick game.

“Obstructions” were noted and reported to the UN as non-co-operation on behalf of the Iraqi authorities, building a case for further bombing or invasion. These almost invariably occurred when the weapons inspectors turned up unannounced, out of hours so the facility to be inspected was, naturally, deserted. They would drive away and note it as an obstruction – or if they called the owner or manager and he had to get dressed and drive for an hour to get there to let them in, that too was an “obstruction.”

Other “obstructions” would be to turn up on Friday, the Sabbath, or on public holidays, when only security guards were there. They needed the permission of their boss to allow any one into the facility. As they made the telephone call for that permission, it was noted as an “obstruction.” There are uncounted other examples of the devious wickedness perpetrated in the name of the UN.

The fifty page dossier, Blair assured, confirmed (Saddam Hussein’s) “WMD programme is active, detailed and growing. The policy of containment is not working. The WMD programme is not shut down. It is up and running.”  It was “… important we explain our concerns over Saddam to the British people.”  Moreover “… he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes.”

Destroyed munitions plants had been rebuilt, and “in addition, we know Saddam has been trying to buy significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

It was all a pack of lies, the latter claim comprehensively trashed by Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Iraq has vast amounts of uranium, discovered, marked and mapped by the British in the 1950s and had they been developing a weapons programme, had no need to buy it from anywhere.

Saddam Hussein had, in fact, closed down his nuclear programme shortly after the 1991 attack.

As for the rebuilt munitions plants, a number of them were visited by former UN Under Secretary General, Hans von Sponeck and myself as these stories circulated. They remained in ruins or trashed, devoured by overgrown undergrowth and deserted.

Saddam Hussein, said Blair, “could begin a conflict” of which “the consequences” could “engulf the whole world.” What an irony that the consequences of US and UK actions in Iraq and throughout the region in their demented “Crusade” indeed now endangers all the Middle East, North Africa and drawn into combat, the madness, are countries as far away as Australia, Canada and Europe. Much of the world.

Three weeks after Blair’s fantasy assurances to Parliament, weapons research expert Dai Williams wrote to him warning of the illegalities of the weapons the UK and US coalition would use.  They would be “… directly in contravention of Articles 35 and 55 of the 1st Protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions. They are, put simply, weapons of indiscriminate effect.”

The letter, headed, “Use of Uranium weapons in Afghanistan and Iraq: 
Hazards for civilians and ground forces”, begins:

In recent weeks I have been alarmed by your support for US plans to launch another major military offensive on Iraq, ostensibly to destroy Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Williams makes clear it will be the UK and US who will be using weapons of mass and indiscriminate destruction: “These weapons are large radiological bombs.”

Last week I was advised of US Patent Number 6,389,977 (1997) for a ‘shrouded aerial bomb.’ This is the patent for a series of guided weapons using the upgraded BLU-109/B warhead. Claim 5 of this patent states:  “The shrouded aerial bomb as claimed in Claim 1, wherein the penetrating body is formed of depleted uranium. This and 6 other US patents verify the development of guided weapons and sub-munitions with Uranium warheads …”

An additional problem is emerging from my recent investigations. It seems likely that US arms manufacturers may be using standard, not depleted uranium in new weapons i.e. Uranium metal with the same isotopic mix as natural uranium (99.3% U238, 0.7% U235).“ The full Report was attached to the letter.

This would explain why researchers in Hungary and Greece detected increased airborne Uranium dust soon after the Balkans bombing began, but that it appeared to be natural, not depleted uranium … Independent researchers are now alert to this possibility. I hope Ministry of Defence staff are also considering it. Unfortunately standard uranium is more radioactive than depleted uranium.

Depleted uranium has a cancer inducing, birth deforming “half-life” of 4.5 billion years. Crimes against humanity do not come bigger.

In context, in 1991, the UK Atomic Energy Authority warned the government of the day regarding the Iraq attack that “If fifty tonnes” of the residual radioactive dust remained “in the region” from the bombing, there would be “half a million extra cancer deaths by the end of the century”; i.e., 2000. Their prediction was an understatement.

Williams issued a stark warning:

I guess that the UK Storm Shadow cruise missile, also suspected of using Uranium components, has been tested in Afghanistan and will be operational in a new attack on Iraq. Other known or suspected Uranium weapons not needed in Afghanistan (e.g. anti-tank systems) will also be used in large quantities in Iraq.

The implication is that at least 1,500 tons of Uranium weapons will be used to prosecute US war plans in Iraq, greatly increasing existing Uranium contamination from 1991 and jeopardizing allied troops and Iraqi civilians alike.

Can you justify using known weapons of indiscriminate effect to defeat supposed weapons of mass destruction? The US has scant regard for international law in its military operations. What is your Government’s view on knowingly using weapons of indiscriminate effect in Iraq?

This letter puts you on notice of that issue. UK forces are accountable to you. The use of such weapons contravening international law must be a political, not military decision, preferably decided by Parliament.

The letter warns:

Regardless of your obligations under international law … I suggest you have moral obligations in this matter.

How will you justify risking the slow death of tens of thousands of people whose lives will be irreversibly affected by Uranium contamination? The word genocide comes to mind. This may not concern President Bush. I hope it will concern you, your Cabinet and all MPs asked to support your plans now you are alerted to the latest evidence about Uranium weapons.

Williams concludes:

With respect Prime Minister I suggest you need a lot more facts before you commit more UK troops to a new war in Iraq. At this time you face being drawn by the Pentagon and US Government into the greatest military scandal since Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Since Williams prophetic words former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has declared the Iraq decimation illegal, stating:

I have indicated it is not in conformity with the UN Charter, from our point of view, and from the Charter point of view it was illegal.

The UN’s former Chief weapons Inspector, Hans Blix has echoed this view, telling the UK Iraq Inquiry:

I am of the firm view that it was an illegal war. There can be cases where it is doubtful, maybe it was permissible to go to war, but Iraq was, in my view, not one of those.

Numerous international law experts concur, as have many legally led public Inquiries such as the 2011 Kuala Lumpur War Crime Tribunal, a seven Member panel chaired by former Malaysian Federal Court Judge, Abdul Kadir Sulaiman.

The five panel tribunal unanimously decided that the former US and British leaders had committed crimes against peace and humanity, and also violated international law when they ordered the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

UNESCO has described the destruction and pillage of Iraq “cultural cleansing.”

If a man is deemed a war criminal for the terrible destruction of history in Mali is delivered to the ICC, Bush and Blair – whose actions destroyed virtually the whole of Iraq, a swathe of its history and set in train the ongoing destruction, indeed genocide, should be treated no differently. Tony Blair’s assertions in Parliament in 2002 were integral in the excuse for the illegal invasion and ongoing bloodbath now also engulfing Syria.

If you care for the law, for humanity, if eligible, please sign the petition.

Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq and author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Regime Change as American as Apple Pie

By Finian Cunningham – Sputnik – 29.09.2015

Clandestine American-led interventions have fuelled the explosion in terror networks across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. Yet amid this American legacy of international violence, Obama was charged with painting a rose-tinted view of the world that was breath-taking in its distortion and absurdity.

US President Barack Obama is someone to almost pity. For he has the unenviable task of standing before the nations of the world and smugly spouting endless falsehoods — as he did, yet again, during his address to the UN General Assembly.

By contrast, Russian President Vladimir Putin in his address to the UN may not have displayed the same oratorical flourishes as Obama, but far more importantly Putin spoke about some of the most pressing international problems with words that were the plain truth.

When Putin spoke about the UN and international law being undermined by “exceptional” unilateral actions of the United States, he was able to put his finger on the crux of why conflict, chaos and terrorism are raging in so many parts of the world.

And if we are trying to fix these problems, genuinely, then what the world needs is an accurate diagnosis. Putin delivered that, while Obama just added further layers of obfuscation and misinformation, making such problems ever-more insoluble.

As Putin clearly indicated, illegal US-led regime-change operations that subvert international law and the UN Charter are at the root of ongoing, widespread conflicts, from Afghanistan to Iraq, from Libya to Syria and to Ukraine.

These clandestine American-led interventions have also fuelled the explosion in terror networks across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. Putin provided the most logical, rational and credible explanation that allows for collective solutions. Supporting the sovereign government of Syria to defeat foreign-backed terrorism in that country is one such solution.

Yet amid this American legacy of international violence, Obama was charged with painting a rose-tinted view of the world that was breath-taking in its distortion and absurdity.

On Syria, the American president sought to ascribe the violence and growth of terrorism in that country as being due to “tyrannical”

Bashar al-Assad who “attacked peaceful protesters” back in 2011. This falsification by Obama flies in the face of admissions by Washington — in declassified documents — that it hatched secret plans for regime change in Syria as early as 2006.

The Pentagon has also admitted in declassified documents that it sponsored jihadist extremists like Islamic State to wage war against the Assad government for the “willful” objective of regime change. In both instances, the US government indicts itself of heinous crimes.

Nevertheless, Obama blithely regaled the UN with claims that his government is “supporting the steady emergence of strong democracies accountable to their people instead of any foreign power” — while, unbelievably, ignoring the long and execrable history of American-sponsored regime change in every corner of the globe.

This American criminal expertise in violating international law and democratic rights of nations spans at least a century. During the early 20th century decades, Major General Smedley Butler in his book, ‘War is a Racket’, described how the Pentagon’s military muscle was used to ransack Latin America and the Caribbean to install despotic regimes in order to make the hemisphere “safe” for Wall Street banks and US corporations.

Then following the Second World War, the US ruling class applied their regime-change dexterity in every continent over the subsequent seven decades up to the present day. From the early postwar European states of Greece, Italy and France where nationalist or socialist governments were thwarted or subverted, right up to the most recent cases of Libya, Syria and Ukraine.

In between, we have the notorious cases of US subversion and coups in Guatemala, Iran, Cuba, Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, Nicaragua, Honduras — to mention just a few. For a complete list of scores of American dirty operations across the world, see William Blum’s book ‘Killing Hope’.

Obama describes US involvement in Libya in 2011 as “helping to prevent a massacre”; and he claims Washington is helping to resolve conflict in Syria and supporting democracy in Ukraine. But in each case, as in countless other countries down through the decades, Washington’s finger-prints are all over the crime scenes and point to its illegal schemes for overthrowing governments and “deterring democracy”, as Noam Chomsky puts it.

But perhaps the ultimate regime change that American rulers engaged in was not against some far off African, Asian or Latin American land.

The most audacious act of criminality was against one of their own democratically elected governments.

In 1963, the brutal assassination of President John F Kennedy as he drove through Dallas in a motorcade was unmistakably a covert regime-change operation. The slaying of Kennedy happened only three weeks after US intelligence were implicated in the murder of Washington’s puppet-dictator in South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem.

Kennedy, whose policies were viewed as being anti-war and amenable to mediation with the Soviet Union and revolutionary Cuba, had made powerful enemies within the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon’s military-industrial complex. The sophistication and political context of Kennedy’s assassination, the vast official cover-up, including the murder of the alleged assassin, the patsy Lee Harvey Oswald, all point to a covert operation to get rid off the president.

American corporate-controlled news media to this day treat the subject of who really killed Kennedy as an off-limits “conspiracy theory”. But reading an array of investigative literature, such as James Douglass’ ‘JFK and the Unspeakable’, as well as testimony of attorney, the late Jim Garrison, it is scarcely disputable that President Kennedy was assassinated by powerful and secretive elements within the American ruling class.

The objective was to replace Kennedy with a president who would be more obedient to the strategic interests of the American military-industrial complex. Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon B Johnson, was such a figure, paving the way for the escalation of the Vietnam War in the mid-1960s and heightened hostilities towards the Soviet Union and Cuba, including numerous attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro.

Returning to the UN address delivered by Barack Obama this week, at one point he bragged: “I lead the strongest military that the world has ever known, and I will never hesitate to protect my country or our allies, unilaterally and by force where necessary.”

This is the kind of unquestioning militarism and use of unilateral military force that America’s ruling class expects from White House occupants. Breaking international law, violating the UN Charter and implementing regime change — no matter how murderous — and then spouting lies with squeaky clean rhetoric, these are the qualifications that an American president must demonstrate to the dark, ruling forces within his country.

Otherwise, the fate of an independent, democratic leader would be the same as that of JFK. For regime change, and all its attendant criminality, is as American as mama’s homemade apple pie.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The Wicked War on Syria”

Hillary Clinton in Her Own Words

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | September 29, 2015

Key leaders from around the world are present at the United Nations this week to discuss critical issues; one of the most pressing is Syria. How did we get to this point with half the Syrian population (almost 12 million) displaced and under-populated but huge areas of Syria now controlled by ISIS, Al Qaeda (Nusra) and other fanatical fundamentalist groups?

Hillary Clinton’s 2014 book Hard Choices reveals important information about the first years of the Syrian conflict and how we got where we are today.  Clinton’s account conveys the perception, priorities and bias at the top level of the Obama Administration. It describes policy differences within the administration and the common assumptions and goals which have led to the current disastrous situation.

Clinton’s chapter on Syria is titled “Syria: A Wicked Problem”.  It documents how the US and regional allies tried to overthrow the Damascus government. The “wicked problem” is that there was no easy way. Attack directly? Train proxy army? Supply the armed opposition with weapons secretly or publicly? Apply “No Fly Zone”? Bomb Damascus? These are the questions considered.  The dominance of neoconservative mentality in Washington and western media is demonstrated by the fact that foreign demands that “Assad must go” are rarely questioned despite the fact it’s in clear violation of international law and the UN Charter.

Clinton’s unwillingness to let go of the “regime change” requirement regarding a sovereign state, coupled with a moralistic but biased outrage, suggests someone who does not respect international law and could be dangerous as President: hypocritical, prejudiced and self-righteous.

Following are specific points of interest from “Syria: A Wicked Problem”.

Clinton echoes the western narrative about the Syrian conflict

The crisis began in early 2011, when Syrian citizens, inspired in part by the successful peaceful protests in Tunisia and Egypt, took to the streets to demonstrate against the authoritarian regime of Bashar al Assad. As in Libya, security forces responded with excessive force and mass detentions which in turn led some Syrians to take up arms to defend themselves and, eventually, to try to topple Assad.” (p 447)

This description is widespread but misleading. In his 2007 article Seymour Hersh exposed the U.S. promotion of Sunni fundamentalists to undermine Syria and Iran.  In 2010 Secretary of State Clinton pressed Syrian President Bashar al Assad to comply with Israeli and US calls to stop supporting the Lebanese resistance and break relations with Iran. Was Clinton especially hostile to the Syrian President because he did not comply with her requests/demands and soon after forged an agreement with Iran? She makes no mention of this in her book but it is obviously relevant to the issue of Syria-USA relations.

Regarding the so-called peaceful protesters, in fact, there was a violent element from the start. In Deraa in March 2011 several police were killed. In the original “capital of the revolution”, Homs, a very credible eye-witness reported armed demonstrators initiating the violence.

Clinton confirms the anti-Assad obsession of the Gulf monarchies

Sunni countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states, backed the rebels and wanted Assad gone. (p 450)

This presents a baffling inconsistency: If the Syrian uprising was about “freedom and democracy” why was it being heavily promoted by repressive monarchies Saudi Arabia and Qatar?

Clinton was focused on building the anti-Assad forces instead of working toward diplomatic resolution

She recounts:

As the crisis unfolded, one of the biggest challenges we faced was helping the opposition unite across the country’s many religious, geographic and ideological lines. (p 449)

In early 2012 she coordinated the cynically named “Friends of Syria” coalition. This was the group of countries hostile to Syria and collectively agreeing how they would support a political front, support an armed insurrection and promote the “activists” fighting for freedom and democracy while on the payroll.  At the first meeting in Tunisia in February 2012, as chaos was spreading in neighboring Libya, the “Friends of Syria” discussed the implementation of economic and other sanctions against Syria, training of “Syrian civil opposition leaders”. Clinton records “behind the scenes there was a lot of talk in Tunis about funneling weapons to the rebels”. (p 452).

Clinton distorts the history in several areas

For example, regarding the findings of the Arab League mission which toured Syria in December-January of 2011/2 she says:

Arab monitors went to Syria’s battle-scarred cities … once again it became clear that Assad had no intention of keeping his word. In late January 2012, the Arab League pulled the observers out in frustration and asked the UN Security Council to back its call for a political transition. (p 450)

In contrast with Clinton’s description, the mission report speaks about the Syrian government’s cooperation. The mission wanted to continue but was stopped by the Arab League itself, presumably because the findings were contradicting the policy of the dominant powers in the Arab League.

Among other things, the Arab League mission report documented:

(a) violence by rebels against government and civilians including the bombing of a civilian bus;
(b) false and exaggerated reports in the international media;
(c) pro and anti government demonstrations which were NOT disrupted;
(d) overall Syrian government cooperation and compliance with requests.

Clinton casually dismisses the consequences of the “No Fly Zone” in Libya

The campaign in Libya began with an innocent sounding UN Security Council Resolution calling for the protection of civilians. Both China and Russia abstained rather than voting to veto the resolution. Then they realized they had been tricked.  In her book, Clinton describes how Russia “chafed as the NATO-led mission to protect civilians accelerated the fall of Qaddafi”. In reality the NATO led mission “to protect civilians” resulted in vastly more civilian deaths than had occurred before it began.

Horace Campbell and Maximilian Forte have written two solid accounts describing the reality versus myths of regime change in Libya. Clinton’s characterization of “accelerating” the fall of Qaddafi is a cynical understatement, like her self congratulatory comment that “we came, we saw, he died” after rebels killed Qaddafi on the street. Many of the refugees drowning in the Mediterannean Sea or reaching the shores of Italy today are a direct consequence of that operation. Yet who has been held to account?

Clinton chastises Russian and Chinese diplomats for not supporting UN Security Council resolutions

These resolutions placed all the blame for the Syrian conflict on the Damascus government while making no demands of foreign states pumping weapons and jihadis into the country. Clinton describes the Russian and Chinese actions as “despicable”:

Are we for peace and security and democratic future, or are we going to be complicit in the continuing violence and bloodshed? I know where the United States stands … Russia and China used their veto power to prevent the world from condemning the violence. To block this resolution was to bear responsibility for the horrors on the ground. It was, as I said later, despicable. (p 452)

Clinton maintains the public facade that the Obama Administration did not supply weapons in the early years of the conflict

On page 460 she claims: “We provided the rebels with ‘nonlethal’ aid, including communications gear and rations, starting in March 2012, but we held the line against contributing arms and training.” This was the public stance but in reality the CIA was heavily involved in transferring weapons to the Syrian armed opposition beginning late 2011. Just as Ronald Reagan and Oliver North used subterfuge to supply weapons to the Contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s, so the CIA and Obama Administration found the perfect way to get weapons to the Syrian opposition without having it recorded or accounted for: they stole weapons from the Libyan military arsenal and shipped them to the Syrian armed opposition as confirmed in this declassified DIA report.

Clinton documents bad faith involved in early negotiation efforts

The role of Kofi Annan and diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis are discussed. While Annan was trying to get an agreement in the first Geneva conference, Qatar and Turkey were pushing for more military aid to the rebels “whatever the outcome in Geneva”. (p 457) While superficially agreeing to drop the demand for ‘regime change’, Clinton indicates that they were still committed to Assad not being part of a post-conflict Syrian coalition government, a major precondition that precludes compromise.

Clinton exalts her effort to ally with General David Petraeus to promote a US supplied and trained proxy army in Syria

Given Petraeus lack of success training Iraqi and Afghan soldiers, he is a curious choice. Clinton describes the White House meetings where she and Petraeus, with the backing of Secretary of Defense Panetta, campaigned for a more direct and aggressive US role:

Petraeus presented the plan to the President. He listened carefully and had a lot of questions …. The president asked for examples of instances when the United States had backed an insurgency that could be considered a success….Petraeus and I argued there was a big difference between Qatar and Saudi Arabia dumping weapons into the country and the United States responsibly training and equipping a non-extremist rebel force. (p 463)

Clinton describes her disappointment when the proposal was not accepted. Obama deferred the decision at that time. As we now know, a similar plan for the US to “vet” and train “moderate rebels” at a starting cost of $500 million was later approved and initiated. The first batch of rebels was quickly routed and captured. In the past couple weeks a second batch of “moderate rebels” defected to Nusra/Al Qaeda as soon as they crossed the border.

As for the argument that things have deteriorated because the US did not get more involved earlier, the August 2012 DIA report is clear: “Internally events are taking a clear sectarian direction. The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

Clinton ignores contradictory evidence around the chemical weapons incident of August 2013

Although she resigned as Secretary of State after the first Obama term office, she was still consulted. Without citing any evidence, she assumes the Assad government was responsible for the CW attack.  On the contrary, many of the best American investigative journalists (Seymour Hersh, Robert Parry), retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern and a dedicated website reached the opposite conclusion. But Clinton sees no problem in a quick determination of guilt. Instead she expresses alarm at the prospect that Congress could vote against authorizing use of force. She describes the planned attack on Syria as a “limited strike to uphold a crucial global norm” and expresses fear that Congress might object “which would deal a serious blow to U.S. prestige and credibility.” (p 466) The thought of Clinton in the White House making life and death decisions, using this kind of value system, is troubling.  What kind of credibility and prestige is deserved by a country which attacks another country, killing many, on the basis of questionable or false accusations?

Clinton is blind to the solution

In closing her book, Clinton says:

It is impossible to watch the suffering in Syria, including as a private citizen, and not ask what more could have been done…. Wicked problems can’t paralyze us. We need to urgently seek solutions, however hard they are to find. (p 470)

The solution is not impossible. What is wicked is the devastation of Syria by some of the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world. What is wicked is the justification of this on a “humanitarian” pretense. The solution simply requires countries such as the USA and allies to stop their illegal and destructive efforts to overthrow any government they don’t like. It’s up to the people of Syria to determine their government. It’s time for the United Nations and genuine humanitarian organizations to demand the end of this war so that Syrians can start reconciliation and rebuilding.

Rick Sterling is a retired engineer and co-founder of Syria Solidarity Movement. He can be emailed at:

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli settlers raid park south of Hebron under armed guard


Ma’an – September 30, 2015

Dozens of Israeli settlers raided a park and ancient pool in the Palestinian town of al-Karmil in the southern occupied West Bank on Wednesday, under the armed protection of Israeli forces, witnesses said.

The park, part of the Yatta Municipality in the south Hebron hills, lies in Area A, under full Palestinian jurisdiction according to the Oslo Accords.

Buses carrying the settlers arrived to the park escorted by large numbers of Israeli forces and military vehicles, locals said.

Settlers came from the nearby settlements of Maon, Karmel, Beit Yatir, Susya, and the outposts of Havat Yair, Mitzpe Yair, Havat Maon, and Avigal, in order to “perform religious rituals” for several hours, they added.

The mayor of Yatta, Moussa Makhamreh, condemned the raid, pointing to the “dangerous nature of Israeli authorities’ and settlers’ racist actions taken under armed security.”

Makhamreh called upon local governance to support and protect the park in order to end frequent violations by Israeli settlers in the area.

An Israeli army spokesperson had no immediate information on the incident.

The park was created in 2011 by the Palestinian Yatta municipality, which renovated an ancient pool located at the site.

Settlers have come to the area in the past through the initiative of the Susiya Tour and Study Center which describes the pool as the historical site of the Biblical settlement of Carmel, according to rights group B’Tselem. Such visits are generally approved by and coordinated with Israeli authorities.

In April, Israeli soldiers expelled Palestinians from the pool in order to allow settlers to swim and have exclusive use of the park.

Around 3,000 Israeli settlers live in Jewish-only settlements in the Yatta region according to the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem.

The presence of settlements in the area, considered illegal under international law, comes at the expense of Palestinian residents’ ability to build homes and infrastructure, or live unimpeded by constant and often violent interruption from Israeli forces and settlers.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli Soldiers Attack Ambulances, Kidnap Wounded Palestinian

IMEMC & Agencies | September 30, 2015

Israeli soldiers attacked, Tuesday, several Palestinian ambulances while transporting wounded Palestinians to hospitals, in Ramallah, kidnapped one Palestinian after dragging him out of the ambulance, and attempted to abduct another.

Medical sources said at least two Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, and dozens suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, after the soldiers assaulted hundreds of Palestinians protesting the ongoing Israeli invasions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.

The soldiers stopped Palestinian ambulances, trying to transfer injured residents to hospitals in Ramallah, and kidnapped a wounded Palestinian, identified as Mohammad Ouri, after forcibly removing him from the ambulance.

They also attacked another ambulance, transferring a wounded Palestinian, but were unable to abduct him.

The assaults took place near the Beit El roadblock, north of Ramallah, when the soldiers assaulted dozens of protesters, including various political leaders of different Palestinian factions.

The army fired rounds of live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, concussion grenades and gas bombs, in addition to spraying the protesters with wastewater mixed with chemicals.

In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, soldiers kidnapped a Palestinian child, identified as Bassel Issa Shawaheen, 12 years of age, after breaking into his family’s home and searching it.

Also on Tuesday, at least 18 Palestinians were injured, as Israeli forces suppressed demonstrations across the occupied West Bank in support of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Nine Palestinians, including three women, have also been kidnapped in occupied East Jerusalem, after the soldiers attacked several men and women near Al-Aqsa Mosque, and prevented them from entering it.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing | , , , | Leave a comment

Remembering Muhammad al-Durrah

International Solidarity Movement | September 30, 2015

26-clashes2-600x553… Filmed by Talal Abu Rahma, a Palestinian cameraman freelancing for France 2, Jamal al-Durrah and his 12-year-old son Muhammad are seen, backs pressed against the wall, Jamal’s arm shielding his young son whose mouth is oval with what must have been a paralyzing fear. And then the shots.

When the cloud of dust cleared, the boy is on his side, draped over his father’s lap.

Throughout an enduing four and a half year widespread Palestinian resistance, with all of its gut wrenching failures, and with the solace and strengths of solidarity en masse coming from both the history before the second intifada and the aftermath in its wake, the slaughter of Muhammad al-Durrah continues to be a defining moment. A young boy viewed guilty through the eyes of the Israeli military due only to the origin of his birth.

In the investigation to follow, an Israeli-initiated tug of war of blame across the grave of and over Muhammad’s murder ensued. Where initially the Israeli government took blame and expressed public relational regret with an apology, that space soon became occupied with denials, accusations and disturbing tales of Palestinian’s faking the boy’s death. If only Palestinians weren’t so busy mourning the actual mass murders of their children in order to be able to spontaneously arrange for the staged murder of one, a second intifada might not have been necessary, nor a third or a fourth for that matter.

Without politicizing the end of a human life, in a 67 year crime drenched in politics; fifteen years ago today a terrified little boy was shot to death while he hid beside his father. And the world should remember his name.

Warning graphic content! Raw footage of Mohammed ad-Durrah’s final moments of his life:

Full article

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Shatila: Remembering the Massacre

By Richard Hardigan | CounterPunch | September 30, 2015

“There is one scene I will always remember. There was one child. The mother died, but he was trying to take milk from his mother. He was still alive.”

Jamili’s face betrays little emotion as she recalls the scene from thirty-three years ago. She has told the story many times, and perhaps it has lost some of its power in its retelling. Jamili works for Beit Atfal Assamoud, an NGO that provides medical, social and educational services to the residents of the Shatila refugee camp on the southern outskirts of Beirut, and she is talking about her experiences during the massacre of 1982.

“The best way to forget about the horrible things that have happened in the past is to work, to help,” she tells me.

There are currently fifty-nine Palestinian refugee camps scattered throughout the Middle East. When Zionist forces instituted a policy of ethnic cleansing aimed to dispossess the Palestinians of their land in 1947-1948, close to 750,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes. The camps were built to house the refugees in the short term, but as the problem persisted, so did the camps. It is estimated that there are currently 2.5 million Palestinian refugees living in the camps, which are located in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza.

Shatila is probably the most well-known of all the Palestinian refugee camps. In September of 1982, a local Christian militia, known as the Phalange, aided by its Israeli allies, entered Shatila and bordering Sabra, engaging in an orgy of torturing and killing that lasted several days. It is estimated that 3000 people died in this massacre, which has become one of the enduring symbols not only of the Lebanese civil war, but also of the continuing disregard in which Israel holds the Palestinian people.

Jamili was born in 1958, during Lebanon’s first civil war, and she moved with her family from Baalbek, site of the spectacular Roman ruins, to Shatila at the age of one. Although she was not alive during the Nakba – the Catastrophe – and the original establishment of the camp that followed it, she has heard countless stories from her relatives about this time. In the fifty-seven years since her move, she has witnessed all of the tragedies that have befallen Shatila. She can associate each event in the history of the camp with an episode in her life. Her history has become intertwined with that of Shatila.

“My house was destroyed seven times,” she tells me, “and we rebuilt it seven times.”

I have now been in Shatila almost four weeks, and as of yet, I haven’t had the opportunity to talk to anybody about their personal experiences during the massacre. When I first arrived, I was expecting that the tragic events of 1982 would somehow cast an enormous shadow over the camp, that it was something everybody was still dealing with on some level. And so I was hesitant to discuss this topic with anybody for fear that I might bring up some memories that might be best left undisturbed. But when I was introduced to Jamili a few days ago as part of a visit to Beit Atfal Assamoud, she began talking about the massacre immediately. When I asked her if we could discuss the matter in greater detail, she agreed to give me an interview.

We are sitting in comfortable black chairs in her office. A fan whirs in a corner of the room, making the heat a little less oppressive. There is an enormous sleek, black desk behind her, at which I have yet to see her sit. Jamili’s work involves connecting with the residents of the camp who come to seek her help, and I suspect she feels a big desk between them would make them feel uncomfortable.

Israel invaded Lebanon on June 6, 1982 in order to rid the country of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which had fled Jordan during Black September in 1970 and had since established a presence in the refugee camps of Beirut. Israel killed roughly 20,000 people, mostly civilians, during the invasion, and it managed to drive out the PLO.

“During the invasion, 90% of the camp was destroyed. We left Shatila and stayed in Hamra (a Beirut neighborhood a few miles north of Shatila). The people lived in schools and cinemas. My house had five rooms, but when we returned to the camp, we found that only one room was left standing.”

In August of that year, Israel pressured the Lebanese parliament to choose Bashir Gemayal, leader of the Israel-allied Maronites, as president. However, Gemayal was assassinated on September 14, and the Maronite Christian community, especially the Phalange, a brutal Maronite militia, blamed the Palestinians for his death. By this time the PLO had already left the camps, and only women, children and old men remained.

“The PLO had left. All of our youths were in prison,” says Jamili.

The international force that had overseen the evacuation of the PLO had by now departed, and the residents of Shatila were completely exposed.

Yassir Arafat had foreseen this possibility. In the negotiations for his departure from Beirut, he had expressed concern for the safety of the civilians he would be leaving behind in the camps. The US and the government of Lebanon had given their word that Israel would not be allowed to enter West Beirut and had ensured the safety of the Palestinians remaining in the camps. But these promises proved to be empty.

On the day following Gemayal’s murder, Wednesday, September 15, the Israelis seized West Beirut, entrusting to the Phalange, whose hatred for the Palestinians had been inflamed by the assassination of their leader, the task of cleaning up the refugee camps.

On the evening of the following day, Thursday, the Phalange finally entered Sabra and Shatila, and the carnage began almost immediately. David Hirst provides a chilling description in his book Beware of Small States :

“They broke into houses and killed their occupants. Sometimes they tortured before they killed, gouging out eyes, skinning alive, disemboweling. Women and small girls were raped, sometimes half a dozen times, before, breasts severed, they were finished off with axes. Babies were torn limb from limb and their heads smashed against walls.”[1]

Unaware of the massacre, Jamili and her family sought shelter in a mosque in the center of the camp from the Phalange bombs that were falling on West Beirut.

“The houses, after the Israeli invasion, were not strong. The mosque was strong and standing. All of our neighbors left their houses, because they were weak. And we sat in the mosque. People came from outside and said there will be a massacre. Some people didn’t believe them. Where would we go? At the beginning we didn’t believe. But when many people came covered with blood and told terrible stories, then we were afraid.”

A group of old men decided to try to find a high-ranking Israeli officer and convince him to stop the bloodshed. Jamili’s father was among them, but at the last minute he opted to stay behind, a decision that most likely saved his life.

“And these men, until now we don’t know where they are. They went to tell they Israelis there are only children in the camp. They went to protect the camp. But they killed them. They were all friends of my father. Until now nobody really knows what happened. ”

As darkness fell in the evening, the violence continued. The Israelis fired flares over the camp to aid the militia with its grizzly work.

“They lit the streets of the camp. The hopeless thing is that the children saw the lights, and it made them feel happy. But we explained to them that it was the Israelis throwing bombs. Many houses burned. One bomb hit a neighbor’s house, and my father went to help put the fire out.”

Jamili spent that terrifying night in the mosque with her family.

“In the morning, at six o’clock, a group of women, children and old men came and entered the camp and passed by the mosque. They were crying and shouting, and then we believed that a massacre was going to happen.”

On Friday many of the residents of Sabra and Shatila escaped and made their way to two nearby hospitals – the Gaza and Akka hospitals.

“We carried our children and didn’t take anything. We went to the Gaza hospital.”

But even in the hospitals the terrified residents of the camp were not safe from the murderous intentions of the Phalange. In fact, on that day the militia entered the Akka hospital and murdered some of the wounded as they lay in their beds.

“The doctors and the nurses said ‘Don’t stay here. They will come to get you. Please leave this area.’”

“So we left. At that time I was with my family and all of my relatives. There were hundreds of people in the streets, carrying their children.”

Jamili’s destination was Hamra, the Beiruti neighborhood where she and her family had spent the bulk of the Israeli invasion. They had lived in a friend’s apartment, and they still had the key. That night they spent in an unfinished building on the way to Hamra.

“It had no doors or windows, but at least we had a place. In the morning hundreds of people from the camp came and shouted, and we felt that it was dangerous and that we must leave.”

On Saturday morning they were stopped by Israeli soldiers.

“They allowed the women and children to pass, but the young men had to stay. My brothers and uncles had to return back while the women and children continued to Hamra. Our men were not with us, and we were afraid. What would happen to them? We were running away from danger, and they were going to danger.”

By now journalists had entered Shatila, and news of the massacre had spread. When Jamili and her family reached Hamra they went to a supermarket to meet its owner, a man they knew. He was astonished to see them.

“’You are still alive?’ he asked us.”

By ten o’clock on Saturday morning the last of the Phalange had left Sabra and Shatila. The killing was over.

“I am lucky. I didn’t see anybody killed in front of me. But I saw the bodies. The mosque was filled with bodies. You can see the houses that were destroyed and the legs of the children appear from these houses. I saw all this.”

When Jamili saw the pictures in a newspaper, she was horrified. She imagined that all the bodies she saw belonged to her relatives, whom she had been forced to abandon outside of Hamra.

“All youths wear sport shoes and jeans and t-shirts. Their bodies were facing down. We felt that all our men had been killed. We decided to return back to the camp. On Monday morning we entered Sabra, and we were afraid to enter the camp. We saw the bodies in the street. I couldn’t stand. We couldn’t continue. We knew that all our relatives had died. I went to my house. I walked a few meters and then returned back. Because I was afraid to find out what happened.”

But it turned out that her male relatives had found shelter in a school outside the camp.

“When I saw them I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I felt foolish. When I found out that my whole family was safe, it was a perfect day.”

Jamili sighs. Her brown eyes glisten. Telling the story has brought back memories and emotions.

The massacre was over, but the problems for the residents remained, as the camp was almost entirely destroyed and had to be rebuilt.

“We had a group of about twenty girls. We could stand against the enemy. We were not afraid. What choice did we have? To die? To live or die, it was the same.”

And so Jamili and her friends threw themselves into the task of rebuilding the camp, because, among other things, it helped them forget what had happened. But one cannot forget such an event.

Jamili leans closer, her face showing the confusion, the inability to accept what had happened so many years ago. How could one group of human beings do this to another?

“Why did Israel make the massacre? For the children? For the old men? Nobody could imagine that a massacre would happen. Why? For whom? We didn’t have any men. Some of them left, and some of them died. Some of them went to prison.”

Today, thirty-three years later, Shatila faces a multitude of problems. The camp, originally built for 4000 residents, is contained in an area that is in the shape of a square of side length less than one kilometer. With the recent influx of refugees from the war in Syria, the current population is estimated to be close to 25,000. This high concentration of people makes itself felt in the ubiquitous crowds that fill the narrow alleyways, in the piles of garbage that accumulate too quickly for the trash removal workers to keep up with, in the many buildings that extend skyward to accommodate the residents, and in the lack of open spaces in the camp. Living conditions are horrifying. Electricity is cut for at least twelve hours a day, and the tap water is so salty that it corrodes the faucets. Guns are present throughout the camp, and tensions, already high because of the extreme overcrowdedness, often explode to the point of physical conflict. (One week after my arrival in the camp two people were murdered during a dispute over a motorcycle parking spot.)

Most of the people in the camp dream of going back to their village in Palestine. And so it is with Jamili.

“Our problems will stop when we return. Why cannot we return to our homeland? My village is empty. It has been destroyed. Until now nobody lives there. Why must we live in this bad situation?”

As Israel moves further and further to the right, it appears as unlikely as ever that Jamili or any of the other millions of Palestinian refugees will ever be able to return to their homes. As their wait continues into its seventh decade, the international community appears to be losing interest even in providing material support for them. Until a few weeks ago, a UNRWA budget shortfall threatened to close all schools in the refugee camps, an action that would have been a disaster for the residents. Saudi Arabia and a few other nations came up with the funding at the last minute, but the message that the world doesn’t care about the refugees was delivered, regardless. These are dangerous times for the Palestinian refugees, and it is crucial that the international community, especially the West, who bears responsibility for their displacement in the first place, doesn’t forget about their plight.


[1] David Hirst, Beware of Small States: Lebanon, Battleground of the Middle East

Richard Hardigan is a university professor in the United States.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing | , , , , | Leave a comment

Georgia Joins NATO Rapid Response Force

Sputnik — 29.09.2015

TBILISI – Georgia has become the fourth nonmember state to be a member of the NATO Response Force (NRF), Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said Tuesday.

The NRF is a technologically-advanced high-readiness unit comprising land, air, and maritime forces within the alliance. The initiative was launched in 2002, and members created an operational group in 2014, as a response to changing security needs. Finland, Sweden and Ukraine also participate in the NRF program.

“We will be the fourth non-member country in the NFR, which indicates the high level of cooperation between the Georgian Armed Forces and the Alliance,” Garibashvili said as cited by the Georgian news portal

He added that the Georgian contribution to the NRF includes 130 soldiers.

Institutional cooperation between Georgia and NATO began in 1994, when Georgia became a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. The country’s cooperation with the organization intensified in 2004 after a Rose Revolution which led to the forced resignation of President Eduard Shevardnadze.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

“Democracy Now” Maintaining the Fiction that Torture Didn’t Produce “Useful” Information

By Sam Husseini | September 30, 2015

The establishment myths that perpetuate hollow “liberal-conservative” “debates” that perpetuate the war making of the establishment are maintained by reports like this headline from today’s “Democracy Now” :

In more news from the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has endorsed the use of waterboarding in order to “get information that was necessary.” A 2014 Senate report said waterboarding is tantamount to torture and that it has produced little useful intelligence. In her interview with Yahoo News, Fiorina attempted to discredit the report, calling it “disingenuous” and saying that it “undermined the morale of a whole lot of people who dedicated their lives to keeping the country safe.”

As I show in “‘Both Sides’ Are Wrong: Torture Did Work — to Produce Lies for War (See Footnote 857 of Report)” :

The truth is that torture did work, but not the way its defenders claim. It worked to produce justifications for policies the establishment wanted, like the Iraq war. This is actually tacitly acknowledged in the report — or one should say, it’s buried in it. Footnote 857 of the report is about Ibn Shaykh al-Libi, who was captured in Afghanistan shortly after the U.S. invasion and was interrogated by the FBI. He told them all he knew, but then the CIA rendered him to the brutal Mubarak regime in Egypt, in effect outsourcing their torture. From the footnote:

“Ibn Shaykh al-Libi reported while in [censored: ‘Egyptian’] custody that Iraq was supporting al-Qa’ida and providing assistance with chemical and biological weapons. Some of this information was cited by Secretary Powell in his speech at the United Nations, and was used as a justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Ibn Shaykh al-Libi recanted the claim after he was rendered to CIA custody on February [censored], 2003, claiming that he had been tortured by the [censored, likely ‘Egyptians’], and only told them what he assessed they wanted to hear. For more more details, see Volume III.” Of course, Volume III — like most of the Senate report — has not been made public.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Can Washington Get a New Military Base in Central Asia?

By Vladimir Odintsov – New Eastern Outlook – 30.09.2015

The special attention that the United States has been paying to Central Asia, while actively seeking ways to implement a strategy of global leadership in the region that is now fully recognized as the center of Eurasia, has been covered in numerous articles, including those published in NEO.

According to the geopolitical concept of the recognized American political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski: Those who control Eurasia control the world. Therefore, Washington’s steps to strengthen American influence in the region in the long run are completely predictable. The pivotal role in this policy is played by the US military bases in the region and military cooperation ties. After all, according to the globalist logic of the White House, American influence in any region must be supported by the “adequate” military force. The 9/11 events in the US and the consequent anti-terrorist intervention in Afghanistan have become a pretext for a major military deployment of American and NATO troops in Central Asia.

By the way, the ongoing engagement of US troops in Afghanistan confirms the notion that the presence of US and NATO forces in this country has little to do with the “struggle for democracy”. The true purpose of the military intervention in Afghanistan was the creation of powerful military bases, as the geographical position of this country is pretty unique in terms of the strategic freedom it provides. From this area Washington can launch a massive attack against Russia’s Urals and Siberia, different facilities in Central Asia, Iran, Pakistan, India and China. For this reason from the very start of the US invasion of Afghanistan, Shindand and Bagram Air Bases were transformed into massive construction sites where a large number of surface and underground facilities being built.

It happens so that for Pentagon Central Asia serves as a base for applying pressure on Russia, China, Iran and the entire Eurasian continent, it also plays a pivotal role in the post-conflict settlement in Afghanistan, since it may form a joint military alliance under the banner of opposition to the Islamic state.

In an effort to strengthen its positions in Central Asia under the above mentioned pretext, the United States has sent invitations to join the anti-ISIL military coalition to both Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. To add some momentum to the matter the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Asia at the U.S. Department of State Daniel Rosenblum has recently visited Tashkent, while the commander of United States Central Command general John Lloyd James Austin III made a trip to Dushanbe. In the course of their visits American emissaries discussed the situation in Afghanistan, regional security, and the advantages of cooperation with the United States “in the fight against international extremism” with regional authorities. Of course, a particular emphasis was made on the “need” to stay away from integration with Russia.

It is clear that in dealing with Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan “messengers of Washington” tried to make active use of the fact that those states today are free from obligations of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which is headed by Russia, and therefore they are free to pursue military cooperation with the US. Therefore, Washington and Tashkent signed a document that provides the latter with free shipments of military equipment in the next five years. American equipment, trucks, military vehicles for a total worth of 6.2 million dollars will be just granted to this Central Asian state. This year, the United States has handed over to Uzbekistan armored class M-ATV, as well as armored repair and recovery equipment to support them, 308 cars and 20 repairs trucks with a total cost of at least 150 million dollars.

In dealing with Uzbek authorities American envoys had to mind the fact that the country entered the international counter-terrorism coalition immediately after September 11, 2001, while establishing special relations with a number of Western countries. As a result, the territory of the Republic at the time was housing a US military base, while the German Air Force had the opportunity to use the airfield in Termez, near the border with Afghanistan. Cooperation with Germany has been prolonged recently for a couple more years, though Tashkent is stressing the fact that the airfield in Termez is not a foreign military base. There’s little wonder to this fact, since the presence of foreign military bases was prohibited by law in Uzbekistan after the Andijan events, therefore in 2005 at the request of the Uzbek authorities American soldiers had to pack and leave.

Uzbekistan, is seeking ways to retain non-aligned status, and has no plans to allow any foreign military bases on its territory, on top of that it remains reluctant to send Uzbek troops abroad. This was pretty much the answer that the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov has given to Washington’s offer to join a coalition against the Islamic state.

However, Washington’s attempts to strengthen its military and political influence in Central Asia are far from over. Such efforts will certainly continue, despite the apparent reluctance of regional players to burden themselves with military obligations to the United States. America has severely damaged its reputation, therefore nobody believes in its peacemaking aspirations anymore, since the wars it has been waging are only leading to the suffering and misery of the civilian population of the countries it invades.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Luhansk Leader Says Ready to Sign Donbas Weapons Pullout Agreement

Sputnik – 29.09.2015

Leader of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) Igor Plotnitsky said Tuesday he was ready to sign an agreement on weapons pullout in Donbass on September 30.

On Tuesday participants of the Contact Group on Ukraine initialed an agreement on the withdrawal of weaponry with caliber under 100-mm and tanks from a separation line between Kiev-led forces and Donbass militia in eastern Ukraine.

“This is a much-anticipated news for people who live along the contact line,” the Lugansk Information Center quoted Plotnitsky as saying.

“I hope that this document, which we will sign tomorrow, will open the way for further implementation of the Minsk agreements.”

Weapons Pullout in Donbass to Consist of Two Stages, Take 41 Days

The withdrawal of weaponry under 100-mm and tanks from a separation line between conflicting sides in eastern Ukraine will be carried out in two stages over 41 days, tanks will be pulled out first, OSCE envoy to Ukraine reconciliation talks Martin Sajdik said Tuesday.

Sadjik said that the agreement envisions the withdrawal of tanks, artillery of caliber under 100-mm and mortars with caliber under 120-mm to a distance of 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from the separation line within a period of 41 days.

The diplomat added that the pullout would start on the territory of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic two days after a full ceasefire regime had been established.

Tanks will be withdrawn first, followed by artillery and mortars, Sajdik explained.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Obama’s Self-Deceit

By Joe Lauria | Consortium News | September 29, 2015

There was stunned silence in the General Assembly Hall on Monday as U.S. President Barack Obama warned leaders against falling back to pre-United Nations days, in which strong nations imposed their will by force against the weak. There was apparent disbelief as he said it was Russia and China that wanted a “return to the rules that applied for most of human history and that pre-date this institution.”

These ancient rules included the “belief that power is a zero-sum game; that might makes right; that strong states must impose their will on weaker ones; that the rights of individuals don’t matter; and that in a time of rapid change, order must be imposed by force.”

The silence in the chamber came because everything Obama ascribed to others perfectly describes U.S. behavior from the end of the Second World War until today.

Since 1945, the U.S. has participated in dozens of documented invasions and overthrows of sovereign governments that resisted U.S. hegemony — the strongest nation imposing its will militarily on the weak. Among the best known are the 1953 and 1954 coups in Iran and Guatemala, and the invasions of Vietnam and Iraq. There were other democracies overthrown to install monarchies or dictatorships, such as Mobutu in Congo in 1961, Suharto in Indonesia in 1965 and Pinochet in Chile in 1973.

There was a setback to the American militarists with the loss in Vietnam, but a decade later Ronald Reagan was back at it, starting with a small invasion of Grenada. George H.W. Bush pounded Panama in 1989 and then devastated Iraqi forces in 1991 with an air and ground campaign, leading to his declaration that “we’ve kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all.” Thirty years after the defeat in Vietnam, his son, George W. Bush, staged a full-scale 2003 invasion of Iraq, unleashing utter chaos that’s led to the most fearsome terrorist power in history.

Yet Obama on Monday was blaming Russia and China for the mess Washington has created, saying, “We see some major powers assert themselves in ways that contravene international law.” Obama cited Russia’s “annexation” of Crimea and “further aggression” in Eastern Ukraine.

He didn’t mention the documented U.S. orchestrated coup against a democratically-elected president in Kiev, which eastern Ukrainians have resisted. Russia has helped them but the U.S. with all its fancy surveillance that can find out almost any detail of your private life has yet to come up with a scrap of evidence of a Russian “invasion” of Ukraine.

At heart is either Obama’s willful ignorance of Ukraine, a clumsy attempt at disinformation, or as Vladimir Putin suggested in his U.N. speech a half hour later, a big measure of self-deception.

Obama said Ukrainians favor the West. That may be true of most western Ukrainians but not the whole country. Then, he said the U.S. has “few economic interests” in Ukraine. That’s woefully ignorant or a blatant lie. Monsanto has a big interest. Then there’s Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and a John Kerry family friend joining the board of Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, just after the coup.

And the country’s finance minister is an American, Natalie Jaresko, who was given Ukrainian citizenship on the day she began the job. Why put an American government official in charge of the treasury of a foreign country?

Despite Russia’s “aggression,” Obama said he did not want a new Cold War — just U.S. bases encircling Russia, and China. In the South China Sea, the “U.S. makes no territorial claims,” Obama said, and only has an altruistic interest in protecting freedom of navigation and resolving disputes peacefully and not by “the law of force.” Yet, when the International Court of Justice ruled the U.S. mining of Nicaraguan harbors in the 1980s was illegal, the U.S. just ignored it.

On Syria, Obama (and his junior partners in Europe) insist that President Bashar al-Assad must leave office, as though that would make ISIS lay down its arms. “Realism … requires a managed transition away from Assad and to a new leader, and an inclusive government that recognizes there must be an end to this chaos so that the Syrian people can begin to rebuild,” the President said.

Obama’s position presupposes that the war would end as soon as a new Syrian leader calls off the fight. Instead ISIS is fighting not only to topple Assad, but to take Damascus from whoever may take Assad’s place. They want the capital. It doesn’t matter who is in charge.

Putin argues that Assad’s military is the most effective ground force (along with the Kurds) against the monstrous group and that all nations who want ISIS defeated should work with Assad. “Similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of parties willing to stand firm against those who, just like the Nazis, sow evil and hatred of humankind,” Putin said.

While this is the most practical approach, it would be politically difficult for Western leaders, after three years of calling for Assad’s ouster, to reverse course. Instead the West blames Russian “ambition” in its military build-up in Syria rather than seeing it as a move to help Syria defeat this scourge that came about partly by the West playing around with terrorists who turned into a Frankenstein monster.

“The Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere,” Putin told the Assembly. “It was initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes.” He added that it was irresponsible “to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you’ll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them.”

Russia warned from three years ago that this could happen. “I’m urged to ask those who created this situation: do you at least realize now what you’ve done?” Putin asked. “But I’m afraid that this question will remain unanswered, because they have never abandoned their policy, which is based on arrogance, exceptionalism and impunity.”

Though Obama told the U.N. that he could essentially blow up the whole world if he wanted to, he’s decided to be a nice guy and seek diplomacy over confrontation with Russia and China. “I lead the strongest military that the world has ever known,” he boasted to the quiet hall, “and I will never hesitate to protect my country or our allies, unilaterally and by force where necessary.”

“I stand before you today believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion,” Obama said. “We cannot look backwards.” Obama might try looking into a mirror instead.

Joe Lauria is a veteran foreign-affairs journalist based at the U.N. since 1990. He has written for the Boston Globe, the London Daily Telegraph, the Johannesburg Star, the Montreal Gazette, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. He can be reached  and followed on Twitter at @unjoe.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 1 Comment