Archive | May 14th, 2011

Neocon Australian FM Zionist Kevin Rudd urges UN action to stop Syrian regime firing on civilians



The Australian


AUSTRALIA has urged UN intervention to stop the Syrian regime firing on civilians and ratcheted up sanctions against the leadership circle of President Bashar al-Assad.

The diplomatic action by Kevin Rudd follows the Foreign Minister’s international activism on Libya, in which he was influential in convincing the US and NATO to impose a no-fly zone to stop the forces of Muammar Gaddafi attacking civilians.

In recent days, Mr Rudd has spoken to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, urging him to appoint a special envoy to Syria.

Mr Rudd understands that Damascus has not co-operated with any UN action, but believes a special envoy of the Secretary-General would put the Syrian leadership under greater pressure to respond constructively.

Such a move could also influence the way debate on Syria unfolds in the UN Security Council.

Independent human rights observers believe that since March 18, more than 800 Syrian civilians have been killed by the military, mainly in the course of anti-government demonstrations.

“The situation in Syria appears to be getting worse day by day,” Mr Rudd told The Weekend Australian. “I am deeply concerned at unconfirmed reports of the military shelling of the city of Homs. If this is accurate, it would appear that Bashar Assad is repeating the actions of his father in Hama.”

It is believed that about 25,000 people were slaughtered in the suppression of a Muslim Brotherhood revolt in Hama in 1982 by the late Hafez al-Assad.

Mr Rudd spoke to Mr Ban about the refusal of the regime to allow the special rapporteur dispatched by the UN Human Rights Commission to visit Syria, or to co-operate with another UN mission to establish the humanitarian situation on the ground.

In Thailand today for talks on the agenda for the forthcoming East Asia Summit, Mr Rudd has instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to call in the Syrian charge d’affaires to register Australia’s unhappiness with the crackdown and the refusal to co-operate with UN missions. Canberra announced its first raft of targeted sanctions against Syria’s leadership on April 30 but upgraded them this week.

Mr Rudd held talks on Syria on his recent trip to the Middle East and Washington and has since been working the phones.

Syria is closely aligned with Iran and has given support to the extremist Palestinian terror group, Hamas. Hamas controls the Gaza Strip and this month signed a unity accord with Fatah, which as the dominant faction of the Palestinian Authority controls the West Bank.

Western analysts are divided over whether Mr Assad would be likely to be replaced by a more moderate leadership in the event of a regimes collapse.

The fate of the Assad dynasty in Damascus may well have important implications for the Israeli/Palestinian peace process.

Middle East analysts have told The Weekend Australian the fate of Egypt and Syria are the two most important unresolved questions in the region.

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Pakistan Air Force Chief: Forces Ready to Shoot Down US Drones


Concerns that the US is once again escalating its attacks against Pakistan’s tribal areas appear all the stronger today, as drones attacked a vehicle in North Waziristan Agency, killing three suspects.

Future drone attacks might be a seriously risky matter, however, as Pakistan’s Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Rao Suleman reported that the air force is now prepared to shoot down future drones if given authorization to do so by the Zardari government.

The drones have been hugely unpopular in Pakistan, and the government has recently issued repeated demands for their halt. The fact that the attacks have continued and escalated have put the Pakistani military into a position of needing to assert itself.

Marshal Suleman also revealed an unusual fact about the drone flights, which have come out of an air base in Balochistan. According to Suleman, the Shamsi Air Base has actually been under the control of the United Arab Emirates since the 1990s.

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Experts Warn of Balkanization of Libya



CAIRO—As the battle for Libya rages on—with the country’s economic heartland, Misrata, being the scene of some of the uprising’s fiercest fighting—experts are warning that a “Balkanization” of Libya is possible if the U.S. and NATO opt to exploit loopholes in U.N. Resolution 1973 by arming the opposition.

In the region, “Muammar Gadhafi was advocating for the African Union (AU) to be independent instead of being subservient to the EU and the U.S. by pushing for the African Development Bank (ADB) and replacing the Franc with an African currency,” Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, research associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) specializing on the Middle East and Central Asia, told IPS. “Realistically, the Libyan intervention is an attack on the African continent by cutting its head off. They don’t just want to ‘Balkanize’—fragment and divide—Libya, they want to ‘Balkanize’ the entire continent.”

“Now the West has rediscovered that Gadhafi is a dictator and a tyrant, they are prepared to take action against his regime, under U.N. Resolution 1973, which is primarily concerned with the protection of civilians. The irony is that NATO is now using EU weaponry to bomb some of the same weaponry it had sold to him earlier,” Kaye Stearman, media coordinator with the UK-based Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), told IPS.

In response, former British ambassador to Libya Richard Dalton told IPS that “NATO has no strategic interests in Libya or elsewhere beyond what is stated in the North Atlantic Treaty as amplified by publicly announced decisions of the NATO Council. Its concern in Libya is the implementation of UNSC 1973.”

“The EU wants to see stability, prosperity, and good government in all its neighbours,” Dalton emphasized.

According to U.N. Resolution 1973, which authorized action to protect Libyan civilians, all member states must ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo established by paragraphs 9 and 10 of the previous Resolution 1970.

Geographically, Libya is a gateway from North to Central Africa and is positioned between Eastern and Western Africa. Human rights advocates warn that by arming opposition groups, tribal conflict could spill outside of Libya’s borders. This would also be in direct violation of the U.N. mandate, they say.

“Some EU countries are also considering whether to supply arms to the anti-Gadhafi rebels, which could increase future instability. This can have unforeseen long-term consequences, which can bring great harm to societies and militate against peace-building,” says Stearman.

One example of how this has played out in the past, Stearman explains, is the U.S. arming of “mujahideen ‘freedom’ forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s, which actively prolonged conflicts, led to the growth of armed extremists, including local and foreign Taliban forces, the proliferation of a warlord-based society, and the thwarting of the growth of civil society. In addition, the same weaponry supplied by the U.S. was later used against U.S. and allied forces.”

During the Potsdam Conference in 1945—at the end of the Second World War—the Soviet Union, Britain, and the U.S. came to an impasse over the fate of seized Italian colonies in Libya. The U.S. wanted a U.N. trusteeship, but the Soviet Union suggested various provincial trusteeships, with Tripolitania under its command, Fezzan under France, and Cyrenaica under Britain.

That history is repeating itself now with the U.S. and the EU not only looking to divide Libya under two administrations in Tripoli and Benghazi, but also to eliminate a key competitor that had visions of uniting Africa, Nazemroaya said.

Libya and China were rapidly becoming key energy partners as Beijing positioned itself to be the third-largest buyer of Libyan oil—with more than 50 investment projects in the works.

Analysts like Asia Times reporter and author of Obama Does Globalistan Pepe Escobar point out that China has taken a serious hit with the recent unrest in North Africa. Its new contracts in Libya totalling $18 billion have declined by nearly 53 percent—this was the aim of U.S. Africa Command’s (AFRICOM) strategic policy to minimize China’s economic interest in Africa.

AFRICOM, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, is responsible for U.S. military activities in 53 African nations.

The U.S. badly wanted a base in Africa, and the Libyan intervention has “now provided the opening,” Escobar told IPS. “AFRICOM’s participation is the Pentagon’s strategy to counter Chinese investments in Africa.”

Escobar says that at the 2010 Lisbon Summit of leaders of NATO governments the agenda was “total domination of the Mediterranean and the establishment of a NATO ‘lake’… Gadhafi’s business dealings with China irked Brussels, Paris, London, and, of course, Washington.”

In recent days, Libya’s opposition claim to have gained an upper hand by seizing control of the besieged city of Misrata, whose strategic seaport has been a key lifeline for humanitarian aid missions evacuating migrants and refugees fleeing the violence.

However, Nazemroaya points out that Misrata—which could be likened to a Shanghai on the African continent—is an important industrial and trade base for Libya and Africa that would be a major economic prize should the opposition maintain control.

“Misrata is a very important industrial city and economic heartland. Qasr Ahmed, which is located 250 kilometers east of Tripoli, is a commercial port, and the main headquarters for the Libyan Iron and Steel Company (Lisco) that exports over 60 percent of its products with nearly 50 percent going to markets in Italy and Spain,” Nazemroaya said. “Furthermore, the Libyan National Oil Company—which is one of the top 20 energy companies worldwide—is also based there. Privatization is happening under the guise of a foreign peacekeeping mission, which is why the EU wants to send soldiers.”

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Report: NATO Warships Shell Red Crescent Building in Misrata



Unconfirmed reports from Libyan state television have reported that NATO warships fired shells into the city of Misrata today, damaging a Red Crescent building in the mostly rebel-held town.

The number of casualties was unclear. The strike was apparently an accident, as NATO confirmed that warships fired on Libyan government ground troops in the city earlier in the day.

The Red Crescent has been largely responsible for the distribution of food and medical aid in Misrata during a siege of the city by regime forces. UN has intermittently delivered food aid via sea route into the city, but has said lately that the fighting has kept the aid out.

NATO forces have been hitting Libya with air strikes and naval shelling since March. The forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi control most of the West of the nation, while rebels hold the East, with a capital city in Benghazi.

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What’s So Important About a Declaration of War?



by Tom Mullen


Presidential hopeful Ron Paul insists that the U.S. government shouldn’t go to war without a declaration of war. His son Rand has also taken this position, as have several libertarian-leaning Tea Party candidates. According to the U.S. Constitution, Congress is invested with the power to declare war. These constitutionalists say that obtaining a declaration should be a requirement before military action is authorized.

I’m not sure that this is resonating with those who are unfamiliar with what a declaration of war means. For most people, the declaration of war is a formality whereby the president makes sure that Congress agrees to the use of the military. Some might even go so far as to say it is the president “asking permission” from Congress to do so. By this reasoning, both Presidents Bush and Obama have complied, especially considering H.J. Res. 114 of October 2002. With that resolution, Congress authorized the president to use military force in the war on terror. What is the difference between that and a declaration of war?

The answer is both intuitive and supported by history. First, a “declaration” has nothing to do with “permission.” Neither is it the same thing as creation or initiation. One can only declare something that already exists. Therefore, a declaration of war does not create a war or initiate a war. A declaration of war is a resolution passed by Congress recognizing that the United States is already at war.

The intent of the declaration-of-war power is for the government to have an adjudication process for war analogous to a criminal trial for domestic crimes. Evidence must be presented that the nation in question has committed overt acts of war against the United States. The Congress must deliberate on that evidence and then vote on whether or not a state of war exists. The actual declaration of war is analogous to a conviction at a criminal trial. The Congress issues the “verdict” and the president is called upon to employ the military. To wage war without a declaration of war is akin to a lynching: there has been no finding of guilt before force has been employed in response.

Herein lies the difference between H.J. Res. 114 and a declaration of war. In order for President Bush to have obtained a declaration of war against Iraq, he would have had to present his case that Iraq had already committed overt acts of war against the United States. Like a prosecutor, he would have had to convince the “jury” (Congress) that Iraq was guilty—not of “possessing weapons of mass destruction” but of having already committed aggression against the United States. Obviously, he would not have been able to do this. In fact, the absence of any overt acts of war by the nations in question is the reason that there were no declarations of war against Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, or any other nation that the U.S. government has waged war against since WWII.

The declaration-of-war power requires the government to obey the moral principle that no individual or group may initiate force against another. It mandates that before the executive can launch a military action against another nation, a separate body must deliberate on evidence and agree that said nation has committed aggression against the United States. Only then is waging war justified.

This interpretation is supported by every declaration of war in U.S. history. Here are two examples.

When James Polk asked Congress to declare war on Mexico in 1846, he said the following:

“But now, after reiterated menaces, Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory and shed American blood upon the American soil. She has proclaimed that hostilities have commenced, and that the two nations are now at war.

“As war exists, and, notwithstanding all our efforts to avoid it, exists by the act of Mexico herself, we are called upon by every consideration of duty and patriotism to vindicate with decision the honor, the rights, and the interests of our country. …

“In further vindication of our rights and defense of our territory, I invoke the prompt action of Congress to recognize the existence of the war, and to place at the disposition of the Executive the means of prosecuting the war with vigor, and thus hastening the restoration of peace.” [Emphasis added.]

After reviewing Polk’s request, Congress issued the following declaration of war [.pdf]:

“Whereas, by the act of the Republic of Mexico, a state of war exists between that Government and the United States: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of American in Congress assembled, That for the purpose of enabling the government of the United States to prosecute said war to a speedy and successful termination….” [Emphasis added.]

Note the words in bold. The state of war already exists because of the act of the Republic of Mexico.

Americans are probably most familiar with the last occasion on which the United States declared war. In what may have been the only constitutional act of his entire presidency, President Franklin Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan during this famous speech:

“Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:

“Yesterday, December 7th, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

“The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.… Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island. And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island. I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.”

In response, Congress resolved [.pdf],

“Whereas the Imperial Government of Japan has committed unprovoked acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of America: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial Government of Japan which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Imperial Government of Japan; and, to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States.”

Every other past declaration of war by the United States government follows exactly this format. The president presents evidence. The Congress votes on the validity of that evidence. It declares that war already exists. It then directs the president to use the military to end the war.

Had this constitutional process been followed, the United States would not have been involved in the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, or Afghanistan. The declaration-of-war power ensures that the U.S. government never initiates force but only uses the military to defend its citizens against an aggressor.

Following the Constitution on this point would have kept the United States out of every war since World War II and prevented the U.S. government from running up a large portion of its current debt. Abiding by the nonaggression principle is not only moral, but also cost-effective.

During the South Carolina Republican primary debate on May 5, Herman Cain articulated his position on the government’s war powers. He stated that, as president, he would not involve the U.S. military in war unless three criteria were met:

1. There was a clear objective.
2. There was a verifiable U.S. interest in question.
3. There was a clear path to victory.

While his comments clearly excited the audience panel interviewed after the debate, Adolph Hitler’s wars would have satisfied these requirements. Are those the only criteria upon which the U.S. government should base its decision to go to war? How about, “They attacked us”? That should be the one and only casus belli.

Going to war without a declaration of war is not only aggression against the nation in question, but also against every U.S. taxpayer. The only argument that can be made for taxing a free people is that taxation is necessary to underwrite the protection of their lives, liberties, and properties. The only reason that they should be compelled to pay for a war is if a state of war exists between them and another nation. To tax them for a war fought for other reasons, including defending people other than themselves, is to aggress against them. Once the government is allowed to do that, it is time to stop calling the United States “the land of the free.”

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Report: NATO Air Strike in Brega Kills 11 Imams



According to reports coming out of the disputed city, a NATO air strike has hit a peace delegation in Brega, Libya, killing 11 Muslims clerics as they slept. Images of the slain imams were broadcast on Libyan state television.

The state media reported 16 people killed, including the imams, and 40 others wounded when an air strike hit the government “guest house” in the city. This was apparently where the peace delegation was staying.

NATO said it had no information about who was killed in Brega, but confirmed launching a number of air strikes against the city. They insisted the strikes targeted “command and control” centers and did serious damage to the military.

Control of Brega has been regularly contested by the rebels and the regime, and is currently mostly under regime control. It is one of only a handful of cities still being contested as the conflict has ended mostly in a stalemate.

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Turkey to IsraHell–’The Mediterranean does not belong to any nation’



Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned Israel against repeating “the same mistake” ahead of the Gaza-bound flotilla scheduled to set sail next month.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Davutoglu added that “It is Israel’s responsibility not to implement (a blockade) against Gaza. A fact-finding mission of the UN declared that this … is illegal.”

The Turkish foreign minister further added: ”In the flotilla last year, people were killed 72 miles (116 kilometres) from the coast, so this was in international waters. The Mediterranean does not belong to any nation.”

The Turkish FM said that his government had urged the IHH not to sail last year. ”We can advise, we can say something, but we cannot stop” the flotilla, he said. ”In a democratic society, we cannot stop them”.

Israel’s Ambassador to Turkey Gabby Levy has asked the Turkish government to stop the flotilla scheduled to set sail in the second half of the month of May.

On Monday, US President Barack Obama spoke to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and expressed his hope that Turkey and Israel will find opportunities to improve their relations in the interest of regional stability.

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Has Tide Turned in Favor of Assad Government?



Assad Government Appears to Have Weathered Current Storm

by Franklin Lamb

(Damascus Syria) –  As many of us observe the great Arab and Islamic awakening of 2011 in stunned amazement, as it rapidly spreads across the region,  this observer agrees with those who declare, “ well it’s about time—Godspeed  to the  rebels and goodbye to the despots.”

Indeed, most of the despots had been installed and propped-up by the US government and its allies without many American citizens’ awareness or liking.

What I continue to find in Syria and what I saw during my first 24 hours in Damascus shocked me.  It was not at all what one expected to find having read a fair bit of the Western and some of the Arab media reports, and arriving from the Syria-Lebanon border at Maznaa.

One expected to see fear, tension, and people hiding in homes, ubiquitous police and partially hidden and disguised security personnel in the shadows, watching from behind tinted glassed cars, curtained windows and from roof tops. I expected to see military vehicles, empty streets after dusk, reticence to discuss politics, tense faces on the streets.

None of this was to seen in Syria’s capital and villages to the west.

Today, Damascus is as it always has been during my visits, bustling, clean, parks filled with families and couples, ubiquitous green spaces with beautifully planted and manicured gardens, packed outdoor cafes and coffee houses with young and old seemingly discussing any subject including current events and appearing very much at ease.

The streets of parts of Damascus as late as two in the morning appear like Georgetown on a Friday night. Of course, it did not take long for an American acquaintance to say precisely what I was thinking:  “which American city would anyone feel as carefree and comfortable meandering around at any hour of the day or night with no policeman in site, as in Damascus.  Not my city for sure!”

Life in Damascus, even during this period, is a far cry from Beirut in many aspects including the welcomed fact that Damacene drivers do not insanely honk their horns constantly and insult one another, people actually wear seat belts, drivers stop for red lights and don’t always race their cars if they see 20 feet of unoccupied road space ahead of them and drivers here seem to respect pedestrians and don’t appear to frantically search for every chance to gain an inch on the vehicles next to them by  quickly cutting in front and  pretending not see the other driver.

In short, Damascus appears energetic but relaxed and tension free.

Exactly what is going in some parts of Syria cannot easily be reliably known to foreigners given the sporadic and unverified, often politically skewed reports, but it is clear that the areas visited are normal, at least on the surface.

While lunching this week with old and new friends in a house that was built in 1840  in the heart of Old Damascus and its Souks, near Hamman Al Bakra,  and restored in the mid- 1990’s to its original authenticity, one could not help recalling what history teaches about this special ancient place known for tolerance.

Located near the Jewish quarter of Damascus, we enjoyed a truly divine meal of Mukabbelat (seemingly endless plates of delicious Syrian oeuvres) near an old Synagogue, next to a 12th century Mosque and around the corner from a Byzantium Church.  An old Jewish man taught us with his stories about the brotherliness that existed in this region before the 19th century Zionist colonial enterprise glopped itself onto Palestine and commenced modern history’s most sustained criminal campaign of ethnic cleansing, now in its 7th decade.

Americans in Syria I spoke with, some tourists and a number of students studying Arabic are not alarmed by the ‘travel warnings’ issued from the US Embassy advising them to leave. As in Lebanon Americans here learned long ago that Embassy warnings for them to leave or not visit, appeared more related to periodically punishing Lebanon and its economy for supporting the   Hezbollah led resistance than concern for the safety of US citizens. More times than the State Department wants to admit, both Hezbollah and the Syrian government have not only protected US citizens but also US Embassies as they seek stability in both countries.

With respect to protecting and evacuating Americans from danger in the region, some bright student will, one of these days, write an MA quality thesis on the US State Department’s own performance during the July 2006 war. The research will presumably detail how Americans citizens were left stranded-particularly-but not solely-in the Tyre region of South Lebanon. There is much available data on how those Americans most in need of departure assistance, while sheltering from American bombs and US artillery shells gifted to Israel, got short shrift form their government.

Embassy Beirut failed in 2006, even to publicly protest their bombardment as the huddled Yanks at Tyre port waited for a promised US destroyer to evacuate them. When an American craft finally approached the harbor, it hastily turned tail 180 degrees because the Israeli government ignored US entreaties to “let our people go.”   Memories are still clear and feelings still raw as American citizens recall panicked calls from Tyre to Embassy Beirut and  the notorious American Citizen Services staffer “John” shouting at desperate Americans to “ God damnit, stop tying up our phone lines” and to  “make your own way to Beirut.”  “John” may not have known that the Israelis were targeting convoys of civilians who were desperately trying to do the latter.

Currently, some US citizens in Syria express cynicism about their Embassy issuing ‘warder travel advisories.”  While perhaps generally well meaning, pessimism persists about their real purpose which in the case of Syria are widely believed to be just another political sanction aimed at squeezing the Assad government to stop supporting the Resistance to Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Both the US and Syrian governments know that these “travel advisories” deprive the Syrian economy of millions of dollars per day and much more during the current tourist season.

The American we met all agreed that beautiful Damascus this spring in a great place to be.

The US and its allies, despite good/bad cop statements from President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, appear to agree with Russia and China that the Assad regime should be pressured to make broad reforms and end corruption but that regimes change is unwarranted, illegal and extremely ill advised.

The Assad government appears to have weathered the current storm.

Many of the demands from outside of Syria for reforms are the same ones that are heard from Baath party officials, and Ministers of the Assad government and from Syrian citizens in many walks of life including students at the Law and Medical colleges in central Damascus.

Several high rankling Syrians, particularly in the offices that work in press, printing, publishing and distribution of government information cogently explained that President Assad himself is leading the fight within the regime for meaningful change and that a majority of the population supports him and want to help change Syria for the better.

Talking with a range of Syrian citizens, one senses a general willingness to believe their President and certain of his advisers and to allow the regime a little more time to make good on its promises.

Syrian Information Minister Adnan Mahmud declared on 5.13.11 that “the coming days will witness a comprehensive national dialogue in various Syrian provinces. The Syrian cabinet is currently preparing to execute a “comprehensive program of political, economic and social reform to serve the people’s interest,” he said in a press conference, according to the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

“In light of the situation that has erupted in some provinces due to armed groups’ killing citizens, terrorizing residents and burning public and private property… army, police and security units have been sent to hunt down those carrying weapons.”

Mahmud also said that the besieged protest epicenter Daraa is not in need of any kind of supplies, adding that “we notified the UN that there is no need for any aid in Daraa.”

Bashar Assad’s regime will likely survive despite some foreign efforts to capitalize on domestic Syrian problems.

One editor of a major Syrian newspaper expressed sentiments that one hears from other Syrian officials and citizens alike:  “We know we must change and please believe me when I say we want change more than you know. We have made mistakes. If our brothers and sisters who are overwhelmingly Syrian patriots will work with us and not turn to anarchy we can bring the change that all of us demand without more delay.”


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Gilad Atzmon @ Munir Muhammad TV Show (Chicago)




We spoke about Israel, Palestine, music, collective brutality, the 1st Lebanon war and other very interesting topics.

Video streaming by Ustream

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Late-onset Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


On February 15, 2001, Sonia Reich fled her home in Skokie, Illinois, insisting that someone was trying to kill her — to “put a bullet in [her] head.” It took a year for her son, Chicago Tribune journalist Howard Reich, to understand why she was running the streets of Skokie, fearing for her life: Late-onset PTSD

Turns out that Ms. Reich is a Jewish survivor of the Ukrainian-Russian area known as Beyond the Pale of Settlement begun in the 18th century where Russian Jews became the victims of pogroms, an enterprise of West-Asian anti-Semites and Stalinists which became mindlessly organized to commit deadly violence upon Jews and assorted non-right thinking persons of the last century.

Soviets, Nazis, whatever; militarists and bigots share much in common notwithstanding wars among them.

Sonia Reich, late-onset PTSD survivor

Suddenly, and late in life for Sonia Reich the bystanders and perpetrators of some 60 years ago became a 21st-Century monster terrorizing her.

Ms. Reich’s plight won’t come as any great surprise to any victim of war.

War is always a crime, always an act of terror.

The people who fought wars in the name of the USA, American veterans, in a supreme irony for the world’s greatest purveyor of violence remain the object of scorn and ridicule in our political system.

Running the streets, hiding out in the garage, staying vigilant against ghosts; this is a familiar story in America. Just not a story that many want to hear.

The neocons, Dr. Sally Satel, the American Enterprise InstituteChristian fundamentalists, the Republican Party with much of the Democratic Party in tow, all agree or tacitly accede to the asserted demands that caring for veterans just cost too much money.

And besides Dr. Sally Satel assures us: Trauma, PTSD, psychological problems associated with war aren’t nearly as serious as veterans’ groups say. No cause to expend public capital as though veterans, especially that bunch who served in the Vietnam War, can still have any problems associated with their service.

Here’s an example of the tripe from Satel:

[M]emories of horrible experiences are rarely, if ever, repressed–that is, exiled from consciousness without the victim knowing it and actively kept out of her awareness.

But ask a Vietnam War veteran. Ask a Palestinian in Gaza or the West Bank. Ask a victim of the

Americanwars of the last few decades which seem to have a more provincial benefactor like the state of Israel and its cheerleaders in American society. Ask Sonia Reich.

Ask the veterans before they shoot themselves.

As one angry Vietnam Army combat veteran, Bob Walsh, an attorney who battles the VA every day on behalf of veterans says, “(Veterans) freeze to death on the streets or blow their brains out in the garage. The veterans’ benefits claims system is a national tragedy, and men like (longtime claims specialist with the Veterans Benefits Administration) Mark Rogers are the problem, not the solution for our veterans and their families.”

Good point, Walsh.

And with respect to Sonia Reich: Perhaps she can us teach us something about demons, war and respect in a civilized society.


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