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Five of 6 Syrian Hospitals Allegedly Hit by Russian Airstrikes Don’t Exist

Sputnik – 02.11.2015

The Russian Defense Ministry has denied an existence of five out of six Syrian hospitals allegedly hit by Russian airstrikes, said that the claims of Western media unfounded.

Russia’s Defense Ministry denied the existence of five out of six Syrian hospitals allegedly hit by Russian airstrikes.

“I would like to remind you that a week ago several leading Western media outlets citing the US-based Syrian American Medical Society accused us of allegedly bombing hospitals in al-Ees, al-Hader, Khan Tuman, Sarmin, Latamna and al-Zirba,” ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov told reporters.

The spokesman added, that “all these reports were made without any proof.”

“We investigated this information. It turned out, in fact, that there is a hospital only in the settlement of Sarmin. There are no hospitals in al-Ees, al-Hader, Khan Tuman, Latamna and al-Zirba, and, consequently, there are no healthcare workers,” he added.

The Russian Defense Ministry on Monday provided aerial photos of the hospital in Sarmin, which was allegedly destroyed by the Russian airstrikes, as some Western media claims. But the aerial photo shows, that the building is not destroyed.

Russia has been conducting precision airstrikes against ISIL positions in Syria at the request of President Bashar Assad since September 30.

RT Update – November 3

November 2, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media | , , | 1 Comment

Why Andrew Cuomo’s Pollinator Task Force Won’t Save New York’s Bees

By Tracy Frisch | Independent Science News | November 2, 2015

As in other parts of North America, beekeepers in New York have been experiencing unsustainable losses of honeybee colonies. In 2014-15, annual colony losses in New York reached 54 per cent, according to the Bee Informed Partnership survey. And though losses were lower in preceding years, they consistently exceeded the economic threshold of 15 percent loss. At great expense, beekeepers have been able to recoup their winter and summer losses, but for declining native bee species the prospects are even less rosy. For example, the rusty-patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis) for example, once common in New York and the Northeastern US, is now a candidate for the endangered species act.

An impressive worldwide body of scientific evidence implicates neonicotinoids as a major contributor to the decline of honeybee and wild bee populations (e.g. Lu et al., 2014). This is due to a combination of their acute toxicity, sub-lethal, intergenerational, neurotoxic, and immune system effects, their systemic behavior in plants and their persistence in soil and water (See the IUCN’s Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Impacts of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems, 2015 (1)). This relatively new family of insecticides is now believed to be the most commonly used global pesticide.

Unlike Europe and Ontario, Canada, the US has not acted to restrict the use of neonicotinoids. However, the federal government has specifically urged states to create pollinator protection plans. Some states are working on them and a few have completed them (2).

But at the first meeting of the New York State’s Pollinator Task Force (Aug 6 2015), commercial beekeeper Jim Doan was flabbergasted to learn that state officials had appointed two representatives of the national pesticide industry to the 12-member panel. “It’s very difficult for a beekeeper to think he can get a fair shake,” he commented.

Consequently, I decided to see for myself. I attended the September 11 and October 1 Task Force meetings and listened to the recording of the August 6 meeting.

The New York State Pollinator Task Force

The NY state Task Force was set in motion by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Pollinators are crucial to the health of New York’s environment, as well as the strength of our agricultural economy,” Cuomo said in his announcement. “By developing a statewide action plan, we are expanding our efforts to protect these species and our unparalleled natural resources, and making an important step forward in our commitment to New York’s ecological and economic future.

Thus, on April 23, 2015 Cuomo directed the state departments of agriculture and markets (NYSDAM) and environmental conservation (NYSDEC) to develop a state pollinator protection plan, involving stakeholders and research institutions in the process.

By July stakeholders were receiving invitations to serve on the state Pollinator Task Force, which was constituted with 12 “advisors” from the private and NGO sectors. Officials from NYSDAM and DEC serve as co-chairs. In addition, Cornell IPM program director Jennifer Grant sat with Task Force members and played an advisory role, though not as a Task Force member.

Task Force membership

In terms of its personnel, three groups represent pesticide interests on the Task Force: CropLife America and Responsible Industry Supporting the Environment (RISE) are the pesticide industry’s agricultural and non-agricultural trade groups respectively. Both are headquartered at the same Washington DC office. The NYS Agribusiness Association is the third agrochemical group. Dan Digiacomandrea, a technical sales specialist at Bayer CropScience, one of two makers of neonicotinoids, attended one Task Force meeting as that group’s alternate.

Agriculture also got three seats, with appointees from the state farm bureau, state vegetable growers association and the fruit sector. The state vegetable growers consistently sent an alternate, Rick Zimmerman. His resume includes many years as a Farm Bureau lobbyist followed by a career as NYSDAM deputy commissioner. Today he heads up the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance. The state turf and landscape association has a seat, too.

Three NGOs were appointed to the Task Force: The Nature Conservancy, Audubon New York and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Member Erin Crotty, who is executive director at Audubon NY, previously served as DEC commissioner under Republican Governor Pataki. NRDC, which has sued EPA on neonicotinoids, was represented by one of two alternating attorneys at each meeting. Like the aforementioned industry representatives, no one from these organizations appeared to have any specific expertise on pollinators. The first two NGOs proposed ways to increase pollinator habitat but did not indicate concerns about pesticides.

Finally, beekeepers were apportioned two seats. With 12 hives, hobby beekeeper Stephen Wilson has chaired the Apiary Industry Advisory Committee for over 15 years. The other representative is Empire State Honey Producers Association president Mark Berninghausen, a small commercial migratory beekeeper from St. Lawrence County. This group has about 100 members out of the 3,000 or 4,000 beekeepers in the state.

The state has also been accepting public comments (though this was apparently not publicized and no deadline has been announced). These comments must be submitted to the governor’s office, not to the Task Force directly (initially NYSDAM was accepting them). As of this writing, these comments have not been shared with task force members.

Given the make-up of New York’s Pollinator Task Force — one-quarter pesticide industry plus one-third agriculture and turf care industries – and the allegiances of the two convening agencies, the complex issue of pesticides was therefore always likely to be handled with kid gloves.

The timeline and the content

At the kickoff meeting task force advisors had a chance to lay out their positions on what the state should do to protect bees. The second meeting focused on research needs and the third dealt with habitat enhancement and best management practices (BMPs).

Presentations took up much of the second and third meetings. For example, a series of managers from six state agencies described their land management practices and initiatives to provide habitat in respect to bees.

A highpoint was the talk by Cornell’s new honeybee extension entomologist Emma Mullen. A Canadian who just moved to the US, she had been part of the team of scientists that worked on Ontario’s Pollinator Health Protection Plan. Particularly illuminating was her explanation of the province’s new program to decrease the corn and soybean acreage planted with neonicotinoid-treated seeds by 80% by 2017. She also outlined current Cornell research on bees.

NYSDAM commissioner Richard Ball, a vegetable grower, chaired the meetings and NYSDEC deputy commissioner Eugene Leff played a supporting role. Leff, whose portfolio includes pesticide regulation, previously presided over another stakeholder task force charged with dealing with an equally polarizing issue: preventing pesticide pollution of Long Island’s groundwater. As with the pollinator task force, pesticide and agricultural interests were well represented on Long Island. (The 126-page strategy document that came out of that task force’s work indicates that these interest groups succeeded in delaying any restrictions on suspect pesticides.)

To frame the initial Pollinator Task Force discussion, Commissioner Ball reiterated what has come to seem like the official US dogma on bee decline — there is no single cause and we must consider multiple areas of concern. While the list of pollinator threats varies, USDA, EPA and institutions like Cornell cite factors such as habitat loss, pests and pathogens, pesticides, genetics and/or climate change when they state that view.

Indeed, the most notable feature of the meetings was the overall reluctance to delve into the problem of pesticides except in so far as they induce immediate bee kills. Only two members of the 12-member task force (beekeeper Stephen Wilson and a Natural Resources Defense Council attorney) urged any limitations on the use of neonicotinoids.

Meetings without minutes or structure

A number of additional aspects of these meetings support the idea that the Task Force exists primarily for appearance’s sake. First, no one appeared to be taking official notes and no minutes were made available, despite advisor Stephen Wilson’s request for minutes at the second meeting. (Recordings are posted on NYSDAM’s website.) Second, no one wrote down ideas on a whiteboard or easel to capture them as they came up. Third, Task Force discussions were freewheeling, unstructured and all over the map.

The state’s short timeline also challenges the notion of a deliberative process informed by science. The whole process, from the first of three Task Force meetings to the submission of priority recommendations to the governor, is scheduled to take only three months (3).

Yet the meeting agendas presume that in an hour or two of meetings these advisors will contribute content to the pollinator plan, generate a meaningful research agenda, and cobble together BMPs to protect bees. For all this to happen fails to pass the laugh test.

Thus, in the final portion of the third meeting, Task Force advisors were asked to consider a series of BMPs listed on a handout prepared in advance (presumably by NYSDAM or DEC) but not distributed until the actual meeting. Task Force members had not gotten through the first item on the list when time ran out (4).

Perhaps there was no real need to carefully craft a plan because the conclusions appeared to have been pre-ordained. In his closing comments at the third meeting, DEC deputy commissioner Leff referred back to the governor’s blueprint for the state pollinator plan. In particular, Leff highlighted the BMPs designed to reduce pesticide exposure to managed pollinators through better communication among beekeepers and farmers. Leff stressed the need for landowners and pesticide applicators to know where hives are located and how to contact beekeepers before they spray. Beekeepers would have to be ready to move their hive, he said (5).

If his recommendations go into effect the onus of protecting bees from pesticides would fall on beekeepers. This is at odds with the historical assignment of such responsibility to pesticide applicators. In fact, pesticide labels carry legal weight in prohibiting pesticides considered acutely toxic to bees from being applied when flowers are in bloom or bees are present.

Leff’s proposal to shift responsibility is radical, but it is not new; the essential elements of Leff’s proposal are contained in the Guidance for State Pollinator Protection Plans, a June 2015 document produced by the State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (6). (SFIREG is a committee of the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials. SFIREG used to have the document on its website, but has since removed it.) Among the six “critical elements” it identified for pollinator plans are methods for growers to know if managed pollinators are located near where pesticides are used and for contacting beekeepers prior to applying pesticides.

Thus it seems that pesticides are sometimes acknowledged to be causing at least part of the decline in pollinators, but the approach proposed by Leff and SFIREG ignores much of what is known–that systemic insecticides like neonicotinoids can harm bees months after application, for example via the planting of treated seeds (Lu et al., 2014), and that insecticides are not the only agrichemicals that harm bees. For example, a new study has found that exposure to low levels of glyphosate impairs honeybee navigation (Balbuena et al., 2015). And of course, warning beekeepers of impending pesticide applications does nothing to protect native pollinators, though ostensibly these plans are intended to protect them, too.

As the meeting was ending, I was able to pose a practical question. How easy is it for beekeepers to move their hives when they get a call that pesticides will be applied? Roberta Glatz, an older woman who serves on the state Apiary Industry Advisory Committee, replied from the audience.
She said that beekeepers aren’t necessarily where their bees are. “They may be in North Carolina raising queens.” She outlined other concerns as well. There are limited places where you can put your bees, and it takes a lot of negotiation to put in a bee yard. Logistics also come into play. Mud can impede access. Hives are heavy and usually have to be moved in the middle of the night when the bees are home. (And beekeepers often have day jobs, another beekeeper told me once the meeting ended.)

So while even the beekeepers of New York are having a hard time getting a fair shake in a protection plan for their own bees, in terms of pesticides it seems that Bombus affinis and other native bees should expect even less of one.

(1) Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Impacts of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems 2015 (IUCN’s Task Force on Systemic Pesticides)
(2) The Pollinator Stewardship Council is the best clearinghouse of state government pollinator protection activities around the country. Another resource is a May 2015 white paper from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. It claims to provide links to the MP3s (“managed pollinator protection plans”) of North Dakota, California, Mississippi, Florida and Colorado, but of these states only North Dakota seems to have developed an actual plan.
(3) The timeline called for the state to circulate the NYS Pollinator Protection Action Plan Recommendations to task force members on October 19. In turn, they would have 7 days to comment. As of October 28, a beekeeper on the Task Force reported that he hadn’t received anything from the state yet.
(4) Discussion of specific BMPs was overshadowed by the contentious issue of whether beekeepers should be required to register all honeybee hives with the state and disclose their locations. BMPs listed on the handout pertained to such things as beekeepers’ care for their colonies and control of mites and other parasites/diseases, landowners and state agencies enhancing pollinator habitat and forage, the correct and judicious use of pesticides and of Integrated Pest Management, and the roles of beekeepers, landowners and pesticide applicators in protecting honeybees from pesticides.
(5) Some beekeepers fear that New York’s plan will follow North Dakota’s template, thus transferring the burden of protecting honeybee colonies from pesticides onto the beekeepers.
(6) FIFRA, which stands for the Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act, provides the nation’s regulatory framework for pesticides.

Balbuena, M. S., Tison, L., Hahn, M. L., Greggers, U., Menzel, R., & Farina, W. M. (2015). Effects of sub-lethal doses of glyphosate on honeybee navigation. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 10 July 2015. doi: 10.1242/ dev.117291
Lu C, Warchol KM, Callahan RA (2014) Sub-lethal exposure to neonicotinoids impaired honey bees winterization before proceeding to colony collapse disorder. Bull Insectol 67:125–130.

November 2, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Exploding Radioactive Waste Warning: Keep it Above Ground

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | November 2, 2015

Early on Sunday Oct. 25, an underground fire caused an explosion in a low-level nuclear waste site in the desert 10 miles from Beatty, Nevada, and 115 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The explosion and fire followed flash flooding that shut down Beatty’s escape routes: US 95 and State Highway 373. The 80-acre dumping ground, closed since 1992, is run by — get this — “US Ecology.” The private dump consists of 22 trenches up to 800 feet long and 50 feet deep, and its older trenches have radioactive waste within three feet of the surface, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

Certain types of radioactive material are known to catch fire when in contact with water, so the flooding that struck prior to the explosion may have been its cause. Unfortunately authorities don’t know what sorts of radioactive isotopes are buried in the trenches there. Nor does anyone know either how the fire started or how much radioactive waste burned.

Rusty Harris-Bishop, spokesman for the US EPA’s Region 9 office in San Francisco said in a prepared statement, “No gamma radiation has been detected at this time.” This nuanced remark does not indicate that gamma radiation wasn’t detected. It also artfully dodges questions about alpha and beta radiation.

With the EPA, the Nevada National Guard, Nye County officials and Energy Department all involved, highly nuanced public safety assurances are guaranteed. “Radiation wasn’t immediately detected during fly-overs of a burned trench … state and federal officials said Monday,” Oct. 26. But radiation monitoring was initiated well after the plume of smoke and debris from the blast and fire had dispersed. Then, “The Nevada Department of Public Safety said tests of the area around the fire site near Beatty returned negative readings for radiation,” KVVU TV reported. Well, sure. But were any positive readings returned?

See video footage here.

Buried Waste Theoretically and Literally Explosive

In February 2014, at a deep underground dump in New Mexico where the Pentagon is burying plutonium-contaminated wastes, at least one barrel “burst after it arrived at the dump, releasing radioactive uranium, plutonium and americium throughout the underground facility,” according to NPR. NPR’s March 26, 2015 update concerned the Energy Department’s 277-page report about the explosion. The report said in part, “Experiments showed that various combinations of nitrate salt, Swheat Scoop® [cat litter], nitric acid, and oxalate self-heat at temperatures below 100°C.” The DOE’s term-of-art for this “self-heat” explosion was “thermal runaway.” This runaway explosion contaminated 22 workers internally, and it has shut down the operation, possibly forever.

In May 1996, a welding spark caused a waste cask explosion at Wisconsin’s Point Beach reactor on Lake Michigan. The blast of hydrogen gas was “powerful enough to up-end the three-ton lid while it was atop a storage cask filled with high-level waste.” The reactor’s owner called that accident merely a “gaseous ignition event,” but was later fined $325,000.

Only 20 miles away from the Beatty Nevada explosion is the now-cancelled Yucca Mountain high-level dump project, where such waste explosions were forecast by expert investigators 20 years ago.

In 1995, government physicists Charles Bowman and Francesco Venneri at Los Alamos National Laboratory predicted that wastes might erupt in a nuclear explosion and scatter radioactivity to the winds or into groundwater, or both. (Washington Post, Dec. 15, 1998; New York Times, Mar. 5, 1995.) Bowman and Venneri found that the explosion dangers will arise thousands of years from now — after steel waste containers dissolve and plutonium begins to disperse into surrounding rock. Former Energy Dept. geologist Jerry Szymanski said, “You’re talking about an unimaginable catastrophe. Chernobyl would be small potatoes.” (Joby Warrick, “At Nevada Nuclear Waste Site: The Issue is One of Liquidity,” Washington Post, Dec. 15, 1998)

In expert hearings held in southern Ontario in Sept. 2014, Dr. Frank Greening made identical warnings about the potential explosiveness of Canadian radioactive waste if they were to be buried next to Lake Huron under plans made by Ontario Power Generation.

October’s waste explosion and fire shows we don’t have to wait thousands of years for disaster to strike. Nevada’s “self-heating” radioactive “thermal runaway” is just the latest warning not to bury radioactive waste. Putting the deadly stuff out-of-sight and out-of-mind won’t keep us (or the water) safe. For radioactive waste, only above-ground, monitored, hardened, retrievable storage can come close to that goal. Ceasing nuclear waste production is the only path to potential sustainable solutions.

November 2, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

Israeli forces redouble brutal efforts to curtail and isolate Palestinians’ daily lives


International Solidarity Movement | November 2, 2015

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On Sunday, 1st November 2015, Israeli forces prevented movement of Palestinians in various areas in al-Khalil (Hebron) that have previously been declared a ‘closed military zone’. Violence against school-children and teachers has seen a sharp increase. International observers documenting and reporting on the every-day restrictions and crimes of the Israeli forces are increasingly targeted by the Israeli forces trying to silence any reporting.

Salaymeh checkpoint

In the morning, students were allowed to pass through the checkpoint without any major problems. Just three days ago, Israeli forces extrajudicially executed a Palestinian youth who was lying on the ground after already being shot and seriously injured by Israeli forces, from a close distance, at this checkpoint. Three Palestinian adults were denied passage through the checkpoint by the Israeli forces, who refused to give any reason for turning them back. When international observers wanted to pass through the checkpoint after documenting the body-search of a Palestinian man, they were stopped by border police that denied them passage through the checkpoint. When asked for a reason, Israeli forces refused to give any reason, but forced them to move away from the checkpoint.

In the afternoon, when international activists walked towards the Salaymeh checkpoint to secure the pupils and teachers a safe journey home from school, the border police immediately told the internationals: “If you go through, you will never be able to come back”. When asked why, they just responded “those are the orders”. The internationals chose not to go through the check point but to monitor it from the inside, standing ten meters from the checkpoint as is the limit for how far authorities can require that observers stand. As the law requires that any orders regarding ‘closed military zones’ be displayed with dates and maps of affected areas, the activists asked to see this order. Immediately, the officer standing closest to them yelled to the other police in Hebrew to “bring pepper spray and handcuffs”, so the activists were made to move back to a place where the check point was still within sight. After around ten minutes a car with two male settlers stopped at the check point and talked with the soldiers. After that the soldiers approached the activists telling them to move further back out of sight of the checkpoint. The activists were forced to leave due to fear of violence from the police.

Queitun checkpoint

At Queitun checkpoint this morning, approximately one hundred fifty children from several local schools remained outside after the start of school. Israeli Border police began shooting tear-gas grenades around 7:15 am, and very quickly shot thirteen rounds of tear-gas via grenades and canisters directly at dense clusters of pre-pubescent boys. Faces everywhere were red, swollen and tear-streaked.

Upon time to return home, four international human rights observers were denied passage through two checkpoints by Israeli forces first without explanation, and then on grounds that they had cameras in their possession, a restriction which is illegal by Israeli and international law.

In the afternoon, international observers were again denied their legal right to pass through the checkpoint without any reason.

Qurtuba school

This noon, children and teachers were prevented to return home by Shuada street by soldiers explaining the ‘closed military zone’ was ‘for security reasons’ and ‘a new measures against terrorism’. They stayed on the stairs, blocked by the army for nearly one hour. In the same time, four settlers including Anat Cohen and one who filmed with his phone convinced the soldiers to push the children back. Because of the children and teachers refusing to leave – as they were not allowed to proceed on the stairs –  soldiers called the police. After a long talk with the four settlers who didn’t want to leave the stairs and insulted the director and the children, the soldiers and the police finally authorized the children to go home and walk through Shuada Street in small groups of children and teachers. Israeli forces at the checkpoint threatened the children to walk faster, pointing their loaded guns at them.

Settler Anat Cohen making fun of school-children denied passage on their way home

Settler Anat Cohen making fun of school-children denied passage on their way home

School-children blocked on the stairs by Israeli forces

School-children blocked on the stairs by Israeli forces

School-children finally allowed to go home after more than an hour of wait

School-children finally allowed to go home after more than an hour of wait

Whereas in the morning, an actual order for a ‘closed military zone’ was still in place, the order was only valid from Saturday morning 8 am till Sunday morning 8am and thus not valid for the end of the school day.

'Closed military zone' order Photo credit: Youth Against Settlements

‘Closed military zone’ order Photo credit: Youth Against Settlements

The order for a closed military zone is a clear infringement on Palestinians freedom of movement and clearly only geared towards exactly this aim. Whereas Palestinians all over the areas declared ‘closed’ are forced to undergo constant body-searches, detentions, ID- and bag-searches and are randomly denied access on the soldiers whims, settlers from the illegal settlements within al-Khalil (Hebron) are allowed to freely roam the streets without being stopped at any time. International observers documenting and reporting are facing yet another instance in which Israeli authorities are making determined strides to completely rid Al-Khalil of any witnesses for the myriad and worsening ways in which they violate the basic rights of Palestinians on a daily basis.

All these measures clearly illustrate the real aim of the latest escalations in violence geared towards instilling fear in the Palestinian residents and ultimately force them to leave the area.

November 2, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Villagers who survived Turkish bombing speak out

CPTnet | November 2, 2015

In the early morning hours of 1 August 2015 Turkish warplanes fired rockets into Zergaly village, destroying houses, killing an elderly woman, and injuring her husband and three relatives.

After people from the surrounding area and other villages came to help the wounded, the warplanes returned—dropping bombs and firing more rockets on to the rescuers—killing seven and injuring eight more.

Throughout the 1990s, and between 2007 and 2012, Turkish warplanes and military forces regularly bombarded the mountain regions of Iraqi Kurdistan. Aided by the USA, the Turkish so-called “war on terror” against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), gravely impacted the lives of thousands of subsistence farmers and shepherds, and their communities.

The airstrikes and artillery bombardments killed and wounded many Kurdish civilians, destroyed and emptied villages, and burned or poisoned much agricultural land and livestock.

The peace process between the PKK and the Turkish government, which began on 21 March 2013, raised long awaited hopes among the Kurdish people, despite being overshadowed by doubts rooted in their historic experience.

Recently, hopes for peace were shattered when the Turkish government—under the pretext of joining the war against Da’esh (ISIS)—restarted attacks on the border regions of Iraqi Kurdistan in July of 2015. Turkey again targeted the PKK—the main force fighting against Da’esh in the region, as well as the civilians.

Christian Peacemaker Teams Iraqi-Kurdistan filmed the testimony of the survivors and family members of the Zergaly bombing. Turkey continues to bomb the villages of Iraqi Kurdistan.

November 2, 2015 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Video, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Kerry’s Bleeding Heart – Give Us a Break!

By Finian Cunningham – Sputnik – 02.11.2015

America’s top diplomat John Kerry appears to have developed a bleeding heart of emotional concern for Syria. So too have his British and French counterparts.

After nearly five years of relentless killing, destruction and suffering in Syria, the Western leaders are saying it’s now time for peace – and hence the talks in Vienna, convened primarily at the behest of Kerry’s shuttle diplomacy last week.

“It’s time to stop the bleeding and to start the building,” said the US Secretary of State in the Austrian capital. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov featured prominently at the summit, which was also attended by arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran. Delegates are to meet in the next two weeks to pursue, allegedly, a political resolution of the Syrian conflict.

Anyone with an informed understanding of the war in Syria will not buy Kerry’s “bleeding heart” for peace. Nor that of Washington’s lackeys, including Britain, France, Turkey, or the Gulf Arab monarchies Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

These countries have been responsible for instigating and fuelling a covert war for regime change in Syria. An entirely criminal enterprise that has been instrumented by funding, arming and training an array of foreign mercenary armies comprising some of the most blood-thirsty terror groups on the planet. The notion peddled by the Western news media of “moderate rebels” is an execrable fiction that belies the truth of how Washington and its allies have attempted to destroy Syria and terrorise the population into submitting to their objective of overthrowing the elected government of President Bashar al-Assad.

“World powers in quest for peace,” intones the BBC, with the typical whitewashing service of the incredulous Western media.

The Western powers have drenched Syria in blood since March 2011. The regime-change conspiracy has been well documented. Former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas disclosed in 2013 that he was approached by British officials back in 2009 – two years before the conflict erupted – with the proposition of a secret plot to overthrow Assad. To his credit Dumas refused, knowing that it was a criminal interference in a sovereign state.

British-based academic Sharmine Narwani, reporting from Syria, has compiled how the initial protests were infiltrated by armed agents who shot down protesters and Syrian state forces – thus sparking what the Western media mendaciously refer to as a “civil war” and “pro-democracy uprising”. There was no such thing. It was a US-led subversion from the outset, the kind of black ops that the Western imperialist powers specialise in. A relevant recent example is the CIA-sponsored coup in Ukraine which was consummated by the notorious sniper massacre in Kiev on February 20, 2014.

American, British, French and Turk special forces have been embedded in Syria from the get-go. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have funnelled billions of dollars worth of weapons into the country to fuel the “jihadists”. The CIA has delivered anti-tank TOW missiles, as well as the finest Toyota jeeps to transport the mercenary armies, who openly wave Al Qaeda and Islamic State flags. We could go on. The ratlines have been well covered elsewhere.

So, are we to seriously believe that at this late hour, Washington and its minions are suddenly overcome with humanitarian concern for Syria? Only perhaps if you rely on the New York Times, CNN, BBC, the Guardian and so on for “news” – which translated from Orwellian speak into plain language means “shameless propaganda”.

This, by the way, is why the US and its lackeys are gunning for Russian media outlets. Because the Russian media are actually providing a proper journalistic information service, exposing the criminal fraudulence and terror-sponsorship of Western governments in the Syria mayhem.

Anyway, back to the bleeding hearts of Kerry, Hammond and Fabius. What is really jerking this triumvirate of rogues into convening “peace talks” is this: Russia’s military intervention in Syria, beginning on September 30, is wiping out the Western-sponsored terror armies. Over 1,600 targets smashed over the past month. Russia is doing what the Western powers claimed that they were doing for the past year (another cynical ruse laundered by the Western media.)

This is why the Western terror masters are all of a sudden running to Vienna for “negotiations”. Their covert war in Syria is being eviscerated on the ground by the combined forces of Russia, the Syrian national army and Iranian military advisors. The West’s billion-dollar terror assets are being annihilated.

Kerry wants to stop the bleeding alright – the bleeding of regime-change mercenaries that the West and its Turk and Arab clients have invested in over the past five years.

In desperation, the Western powers are now turning to the political lever, as opposed to their soon-to-be defunct covert military lever.

The “political process” that the West has belatedly adopted is being pursued now to achieve their objective of regime change in Syria by other means, because the military means are being pulverised by Vladimir Putin’s bold intervention.

Washington and its cronies are pushing for a ceasefire, elections and a “political transition”. Saudi Arabia and Qatar advocating elections?

Come off it. These despots behead and crucify anyone calling for elections in their own feudalistic Western-backed fiefdoms.

This weekend, John Kerry’s subordinate at the US State Department, Tony Blinken, announced, hot on the heels, of the Vienna summit that Washington is to ply $100 million into Syria to “support the moderate opposition.”

According to Voice of America, Blinken said the money “would be given to help the Syrian opposition boost local governments and civil societies… for keeping schools open, restoring access to clean water and electricity, and supporting an independent media.”

This hoary formula is straight out of the US State Department’s manual for inciting “colour revolutions” as we saw in Ukraine, Georgia and several other countries.

The despicable difference in Syria is that the “civil society” and infrastructure supposedly being repaired with $100 million has been destroyed in the first place by Washington’s nefarious regime-change war. The apparent generous largesse of the US government in Syria is not just about infiltrating the country politically, it is also a disgusting bribe dangled before a war-torn, devastated nation.

Washington and its state-sponsoring terrorist cronies are reaching for the political lever not out of concern to broker peace, but out of necessity to engineer regime change through political subversion because Russia has nullified their covert violent methods.

The Western powers are endeavouring to co-opt Russia and Iran to contrive a political framework aimed at achieving their core goal – ousting President Assad.

Russia and Iran are not buying this ruse, insisting that the political future of Syria is the sovereign prerogative of the Syrian people.

There is no need for a “new political process”. The principle of sovereignty in Syria was already established in the Geneva Communiqué three years ago.

What Russia and Iran should do is defeat the Washington-led axis politically, as they are doing militarily. Peace in Syria will be achieved when Washington, principally, desists from its criminal scheming and finally abides by international law.

As for John Kerry’s “bleeding heart”. The blood-soaked hands of Washington, Britain, France, and the other criminal states, are the far more real and pertinent issue.

November 2, 2015 Posted by | Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

Tony Blair denies ordering burning of document ruling Iraq war illegal – claims

RT | November 2, 2015

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has denied ordering the burning of documents drafted by Attorney General Lord Goldsmith which argued the Iraq war would be illegal weeks before the invasion began in 2003.

In a statement responding to allegations made on Sunday, Blair’s office said: “This is nonsense as far as Tony Blair knows.

“No one ever said that in his presence and in any event it would be quite absurd to think that anyone could destroy any such document.”

“Mr Blair and Lord Goldsmith dealt with all the circumstances surrounding the advice at the (Iraq) inquiry at length and with all the documents. The fact is the advice given was that the action was legal and it was given for perfectly good reasons,” the statement added.

The Mail on Sunday newspaper had reported that on the eve of the war Downing Street was gripped with panic as Britain’s top lawyer declared any such move illegal in a 13 page document.

An anonymous insider told the Mail that ministers and aides in possession of a copy of the document were told to “burn it. Destroy it.”

Ten days after the events are alleged to have taken place, Goldsmith u-turned on his original advice and declared the invasion legal.

Defence secretary Geoff Hoon is said to have been one of the ministers who refused to obey the burning command – a move which allegedly saw Blair trying to kick him out of cabinet.

“Geoff received the ‘burn it’ order second-hand,” the Mail’s source claimed. “He did not regard it as an instruction to be followed.”

“Downing Street was very keen at the time that the document should not have wide circulation, but Geoff would argue that the remark should not be interpreted as a sign that they were determined to get the Attorney General to rewrite the advice.”

A senior figure who served at No. 10 at the time told the Mail : “There was pandemonium. The date when war was expected to start was already in the diary, and here was Goldsmith saying it could be challenged under international law.

“They said ‘burn it, destroy it’ and got to work on the AG [Attorney General].”

It is widely thought that Blair’s inner circle applied serious pressure on Goldsmith at the time to ensure that he advised in favor of invading Iraq.

“Peter [Goldsmith] did say in that original advice that as long as certain conditions were satisfied then war was legal, but it did not give an absolutely clear view which could be used by the military,” the source said.

“The later summary was much clearer,” the unnamed individual added.

November 2, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Save The Apologies, Just Stop Promoting War!

By Ron Paul | November 1, 2015

Usually when politicians apologize it’s because they have been caught doing something wrong, or they are about to be caught. Such was likely the case with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who recently offered an “apology” for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Blair faces the release of a potentially damning report on his government’s conduct in the run-up to the 2003 US/UK invasion of Iraq.

Similarly, a batch of emails released from the private server of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton show Blair pledging support for US military action against Iraq a full year before the decision to attack had supposedly been made. While Prime Minister Blair was assuring his constituents that he was dedicated to diplomacy in the Iraq crisis, he was communicating through back channels that he was ready for war whenever Bush decided on it.

A careful observer of public opinion, Blair took the surprising step of “apologizing” for the Iraq war during an interview on CNN last month.

However, there are two other characteristics of politicians’ apologies: they rarely take personal blame for a misdeed and rarely do they atone for those misdeeds.

Thus Tony Blair did not apologize for his role in pushing the disastrous Iraq war. He did not apologize for having, as former head UN Iraq inspector Hans Blix claimed, “misrepresented intelligence on weapons of mass destruction to gain approval for the Iraq War.”

No, Tony Blair “apologized” for “the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong,” on Iraq. He apologized for “mistakes in planning” for post-Saddam Iraq. He boldly refused to apologize for removing Saddam from power.

In other words, he apologized that the intelligence manipulated by his cronies to look like Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to the UK turned out to not be the case. For Blair, it was someone else’s fault.

But if we are waiting for any kind of apology from George W. Bush for Iraq we shouldn’t hold our breath. Likewise if we are looking for any kind of apology from President Obama for a similarly disastrous war on false pretext against Libya we shouldn’t bother waiting.

If they ever did apologize, we can be sure that like Blair they would never really confess to their own manipulations nor would they seek to atone for the destruction their manipulations caused.

In fact, far from apologizing for leading the United States into the Libya war based on a false pretext, President Obama is taking US ground troops into Syria on a false pretext. Let’s not forget, this US military action was sold as a limited operation to save a small religious minority stranded on a hilltop in northern Iraq. After one year and thousands of bombing runs against Iraq and Syria, Obama announced last week he is sending US ground troops into Syria after promising no fewer than seven times that he would not do so.

Here’s an idea: instead of apologies and non-apologies from politicians, how about an actual debate on the policies that led to such disasters? Why not discuss why the US keeps being drawn into wars on false pretexts? But that is a discussion we will not have, because both parties are in favor of these wars. They are ready to spend us into Third World status to continue their empire. When we get there, we will never hear their apologies.

November 2, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment