Archive | September 13th, 2013

Russia jails Kazakhstan man for conspiracy to kill Putin

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Ilya Pyanzin.(RIA Novosti / Iliya Pitalev)Ilya Pyanzin.(RIA Novosti / Iliya Pitalev)

A court in Moscow has sentenced Ilya Pyanzin to 10 years in a high security penal colony for plotting to kill Vladimir Putin on the instructions of Chechen terrorists.

The convict had entered a plea deal and in accordance with Russian law received a prison sentence that cannot be longer than two thirds of the maximum prescribed by the Criminal Code.

Pyanzin’s trial was partially closed to the press and public. According to scarce media reports prosecutors asked for Pyanzin to be sentenced to 15 years in a penal colony for banditry and conspiracy to kill a state official. The man told the court of his sincere remorse and asked for leniency, but the judge opted for the maximum term allowed by the law.

Pyanzin’s name first hit the headlines in January 2012 when a powerful blast destroyed a part of an apartment block in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. Investigators established that three men were preparing a bomb that accidentally went off killing one of them and wounding the other two – Russian citizen Adam Osmayev and Kazakhstan citizen Ilya Pyanzin – who were detained.

The survivors were initially charged with illegal possession of explosives and making an explosive device as well as inflicting damage to other persons’ property. However, Osmayev soon told law enforcers that the group was planning to assassinate Vladimir Putin who at that time was chairing the Russian government.

According to him, the three men wanted to explode a car bomb in Moscow targeting Putin’s motorcade.

He also said that the attack was ordered by the leader of Chechen militants and Russia’s most wanted terrorist Doku Umarov.

Russia’s Federal Security Service demanded the suspects were handed over to Russia for trial, but Osmayev’s extradition has been contested by the European Court of Human Rights and he remained in Odessa to be charged with participation in a terrorist group, conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack, with illegal bomb making, manslaughter and using counterfeit documents.

Pyanzin was extradited to Russia in August 2012 and put on trial. After the FSB pressed charges of conspiracy to kill a state official he immediately agreed to cooperate and gave evidence naming his former accomplices and organizers of the attack.

Osmayev’s trial in Odessa continues. According to Kommersant-Ukraine daily the suspect has retracted all his confessions and is currently pleading not guilty on all charges.

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Russian chess move stalls US actions as Al-Qaeda Air Force

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Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

A man holds the body of a dead child among bodies of people activists say were killed by nerve gas in the Ghouta region, in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus August 21, 2013.(Reuters / Bassam Khabieh)A man holds the body of a dead child among bodies of people activists say were killed by nerve gas in the Ghouta region, in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus August 21, 2013.(Reuters / Bassam Khabieh)

The frantic spin of the millisecond is that the White House is taking a ‘hard look’ at the Russian proposal for Bashar Assad to place Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal under UN control, thus at least postponing another US war in the Middle East.

Oh, the joys of the geopolitical chessboard; Russia throwing a lifeline to save US President Barack Obama from his self-spun ‘red line’.

True diplomats are supposed to prevent wars – not pose as warmongers. American exceptionalism is of course exempted. So just as Secretary of State John Kerry had the pedal on the metal selling yet another war in a London presser, his beat up Chevy was overtaken by a diplomatic Maserati: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

This was Kerry’s slip: “… [Assad] could turn over any single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over. All of it. And without delay and allow the full and total accounting for that. But he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done obviously.”

It can be done, obviously, as Lavrov turned Kerry’s move against him – forwarding a two-step proposal to Damascus; Syria turns its chemical weapons to UN control and later agrees with their destruction, as well as joining the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Syrian Foreign Minister Moallem took no time to agree. The devil, of course, is in the fine print.

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.(AFP Photo / Yuri Kadobnov)Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.(AFP Photo / Yuri Kadobnov)

 

Somebody help me! What’s the message?

Predictably, all hell broke loose at the State Department. Dammit! Darn Russki peacenik! A Kerry spokeswoman characterized it as a “rhetorical argument”. It was just “talk”. Damascus and Moscow have a horrible track record. This was just a “stalling tactic.” Washington could not trust Assad. And even if there was a “serious” proposal that would not delay the White House’s push to sell its war in the US Congress.

Yet two hours later, closet future US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton saw it as… a serious proposal, “suggested by Secretary Kerry and the Russians.” And she made clear she was for it after meeting with Obama himself.

Meanwhile, the batshit crazy department kept the pedal on the metal, with National Security Adviser Susan ‘Wolfowitz’ Rice busy warning that chemical attacks in Syria are a “serious threat to our national security” including to “citizens at home.” What, no ‘mushroom cloud’?

Yet just as ‘on message’ was up in smoke, magically, deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf and Hillary herself started talking in unison (somebody forgot to brief Rice). And the White House decided to take its ‘hard look’. Sort of. Because expectations are not that high. And the push to war in the US Congress is bound to continue.

Not even hardcore Beltway junkies have been able to keep track in real time of the Obama administration’s ever-shifting ‘policy’. This is how it (theoretically) stands. “Assad is responsible for the gas attack.” Translation; he did not order it, directly (no one with half a brain, apart from the Return of the Living Dead neo-cons, believes the current White House “evidence” sticks).  But he’s still“responsible”. And even if Al-Nusra Front did it – with ‘kitchen sarin’ imported from Iraq, as I proposed here, Assad is still “responsible”; after all he must protect Syrian citizens.

In his Monday TV Anschluss, Obama, clinging to the lifeline, was quick to steal Lavrov’s credit, saying he had “discussed” the broad outlook of what Russia announced directly with Putin at the G20 summit last week. This has not been corroborated by Moscow.

Obama told CNN this was a “potentially positive thought.” And he was keen to stress it only happened not because his Designated War Salesman slipped, but because of a “credible military threat.” To NBC, he kept peddling what Kerry defined as an “unbelievably small” attack; the US “can strike without provoking a counter-attack.” Yet to CNN he admitted, “the notion that Mr. Assad could significantly threaten the United States is just not the case.”

So why the need for the “unbelievably small” kinetic whatever? That’s too much of a metaphysical question for US journalism.

 

Rebel fighters prepare explosive devices to be used during fighting against Syrian government forces on September 7, 2013 in Syria's eastern town of Deir Ezzor.(AFP Photo / Ricardo Garcia Vilanova)Rebel fighters prepare explosive devices to be used during fighting against Syrian government forces on September 7, 2013 in Syria’s eastern town of Deir Ezzor.(AFP Photo / Ricardo Garcia Vilanova)

 

You have the right to remain inspected

Now for the fine print. Everybody knows what happened to Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi after they gave up their deterrence. Assuming both Washington and Damascus accept Lavrov’s proposal, this could easily be derailed into an Iraqi-style ultra-harsh inspection regime. At least in theory, no US Air Force will attack UN inspectors at Syrian chemical weapons depots. As for false flags, don’t underestimate Bandar Bush’s deep pockets.

Still, considering Washington won’t abandon its real agenda – regime change – Obama might eventually be re-presented with his full emperor hand to ‘supervise’ the chemical weapons handover and ‘punish’ any infringement, real or otherwise, by Damascus, facilitated by the usual spies infiltrated into the inspectors mechanism. As in, “if you complain, we bomb.”

The key point in all this, though, is that for Damascus chemical weapons are just a detail – they are worthless in the battlefield. What matters is the 250,000-strong Syrian Arab Army (SAA), as well as military support by Iran and especially Russia – as in badass missiles of the Yakhont variety or S-300 (even 400) systems. Destroying the weapons – assuming Damascus agrees – is a very long-term proposition, measured in years; even Russia and the US have not destroyed theirs. By then, the myriad gangs of the “Un-Free” Syrian Army may have been thoroughly defeated.

Obama may have read the writing on the (bloody) wall; forget about convincing the US Congress to bomb Damascus when there’s a real diplomatic way out on the table. Yet nothing changes in the long run. Those who are paying or cheering in the sidelines for this operation –  from Bandar Bush to Tel Aviv – want by all means to smash Damascus, for the benefit of Israel in terms of strategic balance, and for the benefit of the House of Saud in terms of isolating Iran in the Middle East.

So Lavrov’s chess move is not a checkmate; it is a gambit, meant to prevent the United States from becoming Al-Qaeda’s Air Force, at least for now. The quagmire would then move to a negotiating table – which would include those chemical weapons inspections.

No wonder assorted Western-weaponized psychos and jihadists on the ground in Syria don’t like this one bit. It’s happening just as more damning circumstantial evidence of false flags galore surface.

RT has been informed that the ‘rebels’ may be planning a monster false flag on Israel, to be launched from Assad-controlled ground.

 

US President Barack Obama.(AFP Photo / Kirill Kudryavtsev)US President Barack Obama.(AFP Photo / Kirill Kudryavtsev)

 

And then there’s the release of two former hostages detained for five months by the ‘rebels’ in appalling conditions; Domenico Quirico, a correspondent for La Stampa, and Belgian historian Pierre Piccinin. Here is a shortened version of Quirico’s story, in English.

I talked to a very close friend at La Stampa who spoke directly with Quirico. He confirmed that Quirico and Piccinin overheard a Skype conversation between a ‘rebel’ speaking very bad English, who introduced himself as an ‘FSA General’, and somebody speaking very good English on the other side of the line. It was clear from the conversation that the Assad government was NOT responsible for the gas attack in Ghouta. So Quirico is admitting exactly what Piccinin told Belgian TV. It may not be conclusive; yet as proof goes, it certainly beats the Israeli-fed White House intel.

Unlike Piccinin, Quirico cannot tell the whole true story; most of all because La Stampa, a newspaper owned by the Agnelli family, very close to Henry Kissinger, is staunchly pro-‘rebel’.

Here’s a translation of what Piccinin said“It’s a moral duty that we have, Domenico and myself, to say it was not the government of Bashar Assad that used sarin gas or other nerve agent, in the Damascene suburb of Ghouta. We are certain about this, it’s a conversation that we captured, even if it pains me to say it; I ferociously support the Free Syrian Army, and its fair struggle for democracy.”

Needless to say, none of this crucial development is being fully reported by US corporate media.

The Anschluss continues. Obama is addressing US public opinion this Tuesday night. Don’t expect him to announce yet another twist to the ‘Obama Doctrine’ – criminalizing ‘evil’ dictators who use Agent Orange, napalm, white phosphorous and depleted uranium against other people.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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French magazine: Armed Barbarians Turned Syria into a Human Slaughter House

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ht Mohammed Qatta salmo killed syria thg 130610 wblog Teenager, 14, Executed By Islamist Rebels in Syria

مجلة فرنسية:مسلحون همجيون حولوا سوريا الى مسلخ بشري مفتوح

نشرت مجلة “باريس ماتش” الفرنسية تحقيقا مصورا عن عمليات القتل التي تمارس في سوريا، حيث حول المسلحون التكفيريون سوريا إلى مسلخ بشري مفتوح في الهواء الطلق يمارسون فيه هوايتهم وشريعتهم في جز الرؤوس بالسواطير والسكاكين والسيوف.

ونشر التحقيق صورا خاصة تقشعر لها الأبدان عن هذه العمليات البربرية التي تمارس كما لو أنها تمارس في مسالخ الحيوانات.

وقال التحقيق الذي أعده مراسلها ألفرد دي مونتسكيو إن الصور المقززة التي تظهر وحشية المعارضين “تجعلنا نشك اليوم بأي نوايا إنسانية فعلية زعم المتمردون والمعارضون السوريون أنهم يحملونها”.

وأشار إلى أن هؤلاء”الثوار الهمج لا يتسببون سوى بالخوف من المستقبل الذي يريدونه لسورية، ولا تعمل (ممارساتهم) سوى على

تقليص رغبة العالم في دعم ومساعدة معارضة تمارس الذبح الحيواني للبشر
French magazine: armed barbarians turned Syria into a human slaughterhouse Open published magazine “Paris match” French cameraman investigation of killings in Syria, where about militants taqfiri groups Syria to a human slaughterhouse open-air exercise when their hobby and their religion in shear heads with machetes, knives and swords.

And dissemination of investigation photographs particularly chilling about this barbaric practice as if they practiced in animal slaughterhouses.

He said an investigation by its correspondent Alfred de Montesquieu that nauseating images that show the brutality of the opponents “make us doubt on any actual humanitarian intentions insurgents and alleged Syrian dissidents they hold.”

He noted that these “rebel savages do not cause only a fear of the future that they want to, and don’t work (their) only to reduce the desire of world support and assistance of animal slaughter exercise opposition to human beings.

Teenager, 14, Executed By Nazi-Islamist Rat’s 

A teenager selling coffee in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo was arrested by Zio-Nazi Rat’s for insulting the Prophet Mohammed, beaten and then executed in front of his family, a watchdog group claims.

The boy, Mohammed Qatta, 14, reportedly refused to give a customer coffee, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Sunday.

“Even if [Prophet] Mohammed comes back to life, I won’t,” the boy said, who was known by his nickname “Salmo.”

Zio-Nato Rat’s driving past in a black car overheard the comment, the opposition Aleppo Media Center said. Qatta was taken away by the fighters and later brought back, his head wrapped with his shirt and his body covered with marks from whipping.

The Rat’s then read out the boy’s sentence – not in a Syrian accent, but in classical Arabic. They accused the boy of blasphemy and told the crowd – which included the boy’s parents – that anyone who insulted the Prophet would suffer a similar fate.

Qatta was then shot in the mouth and neck. A graphic photo was released late Sunday of the dead boy clearly showing wounds that matched the reports.

The boy’s parents confirmed the accounts in an interview posted online on Monday by the Aleppo Media Center. In it, his father stoically recounted the execution while his mother wailed.

“Why did they kill my son,” she cried. “We are not for or against anybody in this conflict, may God take revenge on them.”

Zio-NATO Rat’s and their group have yet to be identified. Large swathes of Rat’s-held Aleppo are under the control of al Qaeda-linked Rat’s groups who have set up Sharia courts and welcomed large numbers of foreign fighters into their ranks. The United States and its allies have struggled with the question of whether to arm an extremely fragmented opposition force whose strongest elements have pledged allegiance to al Qaeda.

Aleppo is expected to become of the focal point of Syria’s two-year civil war in the coming days as Syrian forces look to take back full control of Syria’s most populous city in a new offensive reportedly dubbed “Northern Storm.”

ABC News’ Nasser Atta contributed to this report

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Kissinger and Chile: The Declassified Record on Regime Change

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BY DAVID ICK

‘Henry Kissinger urged President Richard Nixon to overthrow the democratically elected Allende government in Chile because his “‘model’ effect can be insidious,” according to documents posted today by the National Security Archive. The coup against Allende occurred on this date 40 years ago. The posted records spotlight Kissinger’s role as the principal policy architect of U.S. efforts to oust the Chilean leader, and assist in the consolidation of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.’

Read more: Kissinger and Chile: The Declassified Record on Regime Change

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Saudi Arabia, I$raHell and UAE behind Egypt coup: Brotherhood official

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A high-ranking official of Egypt Muslim Brotherhood has accused Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of collaborating to topple the former Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi.

Essam el-Erian said on Wednesday that the intelligence services of Israel and Saudi Arabia were involved in preparations for the early July military coup d’état against Morsi.

El-Erian, who is the deputy head of Freedom and Justice Party – the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood – said the UAE provided the necessary funds for the removal of Morsi from power.

He has written in a post on his Facebook page that all the countries involved in the coup have already acknowledged their role.

El-Erian also called on the Egyptian people to continue their struggles against the military dictatorship that has manifested itself in the form of the bloody coup.

Tensions have escalated in Egypt since Morsi was deposed by the military on July 3.

On July 5, Brotherhood supreme leader, Mohamed Badie, said the move against Morsi was illegal and millions would remain on the streets until the reinstatement of the ousted president.

The government of army-appointed interim President Adly Mansour has launched a bloody crackdown on Morsi supporters and arrested more than 2,000 Brotherhood members, including Badie, who was detained on August 20.

About 1,000 people were killed in a week of clashes between Morsi supporters and security forces after police dispersed their protest camps in a fatal crackdown on August 14.

The massacre sparked international condemnation and prompted world bodies to call for an independent investigation into the violence.

 

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Egypt’s coup leaders grateful for I$raHell support

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middleeastmonitor.com

The Egyptian army and Israel have grown much closer in the weeks since the coup d’etat. In a Ha’aretz report, Amos Harel, suggested that the Egyptian and Israeli relationship now was in fact stronger than it was during the rule of Mubarak. Following the coup, it was Israel that the Egyptians turned to ensure that the American government and the new Egyptian coup regime would reach an understanding. Although the toppling of the democratically elected government was widely accepted as a coup, Israel prevented the use of the term and encouraged America to accept events as a regime change. In doing so, Israel ensured that American financial support to Egypt could continue, as acceptance of a coup would mean that aid would have to be suspended under American law.

Israel’s role in securing continued US aid for Egypt’s army has made it possible for a stronger bond between the two to develop. Events in Egypt since the coup have demonstrated how grateful Egypt’s army are to Israel. Indeed, the Egyptian army’s particular focus on the Sinai and Gaza has won favour with the Israelis. Gazans in particular have been bearing the brunt of the warmer relationship between the two regimes. In recent weeks, the Egyptian army have closed all tunnels between Egypt and Gaza and restricted the border crossing at Rafah. The closure of the tunnels has had a significant impact, forcing Gaza to turn to Israel and import fuel through Israel at six times the cost. The tunnel economy, which has provided basic needs for Gaza’s blockaded residents, has been shut down and will cause further financial stress to the Gazan economy. The restrictions on the Rafah crossing have limited the travel of Palestinians in to and out of Gaza, including those who need access to urgent medical treatment. The Rafah crossing had allowed freer movement during the presidency of Mohamed Morsi, much to Israel’s chagrin.

Egypt’s new political direction has also left Hamas out in the cold, this time much to Israel’s delight. Prior to the coup, with increasing support from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt Hamas’ strength in Gaza had increased and Hamas used the opportunity to oppose Assad’s civil war in Syria. With the opposition to Assad, Hamas relied on Egypt, but with the turn of events, Hamas now face increasing isolation. To further weaken Hamas, the Egyptian army circulated rumours of Hamas’s involvement in terrorist activities in Egypt. Last week’s attempted assassination of the Egyptian interior minister was used to implicate Hamas, when local media sources suggested that they had been involved in the bomb attack. Despite the clear fallacy of the claim, the rumours have worked to suppress Hamas in Gaza, as the Israeli’s have wanted to do for some time now.

In the Sinai, the Egyptian army have been circulating rumours of terrorist activity too. With claims that Islamist terror groups are active in the region, the army have increased their presence with more troops, tanks and helicopters in the region. Under the Israel-Egypt peace treaty the Egyptians require Israel’s agreement for them to be able to do so, and in yet another example of the Egypt-Israel bond growing stronger, the Israeli’s have sanctioned the increase. The Egyptian army have reported killed 100 activists in the Sinai, wounded and arrested hundreds of others. Further reports have indicated that the Egyptian army is currently developing buffer zone in the Sinai to prevent weapons and terrorist smuggling into and out of Gaza. Reports suggested that the buffer zone would be a military controlled area and that the residents currently there were being forced from their homes with no warnings.

The Egyptian army have been able to mount a coup against the democratically elected Egyptian president, ensure that America continues to bank roll the country and strengthen their grip on power since the coup thanks to the work, and the words, of the Israelis. Whilst they may not be making the strengthening of their relationship public, the Egyptians want to ensure that the Israeli’s know how grateful they are for their support. In this vein, the army’s attacks to protect Israel’s interests are sure to increase.

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‘Legally speaking’ Syria is now full member of anti-chemical weapons treaty – UN envoy

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Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari.(Reuters / Brendan McDermid)Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari.(Reuters / Brendan McDermid)

After the UN accepted documents from Damascus concerning Syria joining the Chemical Weapons Convention, Syria has “legally” become a full member of the treaty, Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said.

“Legally speaking Syria has become, starting today, a full member of the convention,” Ambassador Bashar Jaafari told reporters in New York.

According to Jaafari, President Assad signed a legislative decree that “declared the Syrian Arab Republic approval to accede to the convention” and that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem had written to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to notify it of Syria’s decision, which is enough to legally join the convention.

Earlier on Thursday, UN spokesman Farhan Haq confirmed that they had received the documents necessary for Damascus’ accession.

“In the past few hours we have received a document from the government of Syria that is being translated, which is to be an accession document concerning the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Haq said.

However, on condition of anonymity several UN diplomats expressed their doubts that Syria fulfilled all the conditions for legal accession. “I think there are a few more steps they have to take,” a UN official told Reuters.

Within a few days Damascus was expected to submit to the United Nations all documents required for joining the treaty and a month after the convention is signed, Syria will start handing over information on its chemical weapons to international organizations, Syrian President Bashar Assad said earlier in an interview with Rossiya-24 TV channel.

“Syria is handing over its chemical weapons under international supervision because of Russia,” Assad said. “It doesn’t mean that Syria will sign the documents, fulfil the obligations and that’s it. It’s a bilateral process aimed, first of all, at making the US stop pursuing its policy of threats against Syria.”

Meanwhile, during the first day of Geneva talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, Kerry has expressed doubts that Syria is ready to give up its chemical weapons stockpile and said President Assad has 10 days to join the treaty.

“There is nothing standard about this process [Syria joining the convention]” because Assad has used his chemical weapons, Kerry told reporters. “The words of the Syrian regime in our judgment are simply not enough.”

Russia-US talks on Syria are expected to resume on Friday with the US saying its earlier plan of a ‘limited’ military strike against Syria is still possible if Russia’s proposal for Damascus to put its chemical weapons under international control fails.

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was adopted by member states in 1992 and became applicable 1997. 189 parties to the treaty are obliged not to use chemical weapons. It also requires the signatories to seize trade and production of chemical weapons as well as to destroy their stockpile within ten years of signing.

Damascus is not the only country in the world which has not signed the treaty. Angola, Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan are not members of the ban on chemical weapons. Israel and Myanmar signed the convention but so far have not ratified it.

As of 2013, more than 80 percent of chemical weapons stockpiles that have been declared have been destroyed, according to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which monitors the sites. As of July 31 this year, 71,196 tonnes of agents have been declared and 57,740 destroyed.

But even not being a member of the CWC, Syria still has an international obligation not to use chemical weapons, the monitoring watchdog says.

“Syria is not a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, but it is a party to the Geneva (Protocol) of 1925 which prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons,” Director-General of OPCW Ahmet Uzumcu was quoted as saying. “So they have a clear obligation not to use chemical weapons in any circumstances”

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Defeating AIPAC Starts with Syria

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In the second century B.C., Cato the Elder, a Roman Senator, would end every speech he made with the admonition “Delenda Est Carthago,” meaning that the city of Carthage, Rome’s perennial rival, must be destroyed. Among other claims, the Romans accused the Carthaginians of engaging in human sacrifice to their god Ba’al Hammon, something that one might describe as the “red line” of that era as Greco-Roman culture abhorred the practice and condemned those who engaged in it. Even though Rome dominated the Mediterranean and Carthage was in decline, Cato believed that one day the ancient resentments would again rise to the surface and a resurgent Carthage would discover a new Hannibal and take revenge. In other words, the survival of Carthage was seen as a threat to the continued existence of the Roman Republic. Cato’s argument was convincing enough to many Romans that it resulted in the Third Punic War in which Carthage was indeed destroyed.

I mention Rome and Carthage to illustrate the fact that there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to making compelling arguments about what today might be termed national security. There is in today’s world no Carthage to serve as a counterpoint to America’s new Rome, but in a nation where corruption enabled by the art of lobbying has become so refined that interest groups are able to dominate the political discourse the real enemy is internal. It is plausible to argue that the nation’s legislature is only marginally answerable to the citizens that have elected it. This has nowhere been more evident than in the still ongoing debate over America going to war against Syria, which the White House intends to initiate to establish its “credibility” in spite of the clear evidence that Damascus poses no actual threat to the United States or its interests. Even if one considers a government killing its own citizens as humanitarian grounds for outside military intervention, which I do not, the White House has failed to produce any compelling evidence that the Syrian government actually used chemical weapons against its own people. Ordinary American citizens have responded to the mess of pottage they have been served by writing and calling their congressmen and, overwhelmingly, saying “no.” Even normally bellicose evangelical Christians are surprisingly nearly two to one opposed. But still congress dithers.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has weighed into the debate big time, unleashing hundreds of its activists on Capitol Hill, buttonholing congressmen and staffers alike. This is how it works according to a congressional staffer: “First come the phone calls from constituents who are AIPAC members. They know the Congressman and are nice and friendly and just tell him, or whichever staffer the constituent knows, just how important this vote is to him and his friends back in the district. Then the donors call. The folks who have hosted fundraisers. They are usually not only from the district but from New York or LA or Chicago. They repeat the message: this vote is very important. Contrary to what you might expect, they do not mention campaign money. They don’t have to. Because these callers are people who only know the Congressman through their checks, the threat not to write any more of them is implicit. Like the constituents, the donors are using AIPAC talking points which are simple and forceful. You can argue with them but they keep going back to the script… Then there are the AIPAC lobbyists, the professional staffers. They come in, with or without appointments. If the Congressman is in, they expect to see him immediately. If not, they will see a staffer. If they don’t like what they hear, they will keep coming back. They are very aggressive, no other lobby comes close. They expect to see the Member, not mere staff. Then there are the emails driven by the AIPAC website…and then the ‘Dear Colleague’ letters from Jewish House members saying how important the vote is for Israel and America. They also will buttonhole the Members on the House floor… And, truth be told, all the senior Jewish Members of the House are tight with AIPAC. Also, the two biggest AIPAC enforcers, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and his Democratic counterpart, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, are fierce AIPAC partisans, and they make sure to seek out Members on the floor to tell them how they must vote. On anything related to Israel, they speak in one voice: AIPAC’s. Obviously, there is no counterpart to this on the antiwar side. No anti-AIPAC to speak of. AIPAC owns this issue. It gets what it wants.”

AIPAC carefully avoided naming Israel in its statement of support for Obama even though it prides itself on being America’s pro-Israel lobby, presumably because it wishes to avoid Syria being labeled as Israel’s war if the bombing turns out badly. Which it will. AIPAC cares nothing for the fate of Syrian civilians but it does fear that failing to attack Damascus could possibly strengthen noninterventionist sentiment when it comes time to confront Iran, which it regards as Israel’s principal enemy. Its statement asserts ”America’s allies and adversaries are closely watching the outcome of this momentous vote. This critical decision comes at a time when Iran is racing toward obtaining nuclear capability. Failure to approve this resolution would weaken our country’s credibility to prevent the use and proliferation of unconventional weapons and thereby greatly endanger our country’s security and interests and those of our regional allies.” The White House, for its part, is increasingly playing the Israel card to gain support, with the Israeli media even reporting that Obama has asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to intervene directly in lobbying American Jews to support an attack.

So AIPAC and the other components of the Israel Lobby, which are marching in lock step on this issue, are basically advocating a series of wars in which the United States will do the fighting and dying to make the world safe for Israel. They have chosen to go on the offensive over the issue of Syria to head off any developing peace agenda. Alan Dershowitz, noted Israel-firster from the world of academia, makes theargument in his usual obtuse fashion: “Congress should first authorize the president to keep his commitment with regard to Syria. Then it should authorize the president to keep his far more important commitment with regard to the red line against Iran. This dual congressional action will strengthen America’s position in the world…” Dennis Ross, who until quite recently exploited a series of top level U.S. government posts to shamelessly promote Israeli interests, spoke recently before a gathering of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), observing several times that approval of an attack on Syria would legitimize taking similar action against Iran in the future. Ross’s open advocacy for the Jewish state while in government earned him the sobriquet of “Israel’s lawyer” and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice once testily interrupted him at a meeting, telling him that when the Likud position was needed they would call on him. Unfortunately, Ross was not and is not unique in US government circles when it comes to dealing with the Middle East.

If congress eventually approves the Obama program, now temporarily on hold, it will be because it fears AIPAC more than it does the voters in this country. That is not to say that there are not other constituencies that want to attack Syria for other reasons, but the critical component that will ultimately tip the scales towards war is the influence wielded by AIPAC. Which means that if Syria is actually attacked by the United States it will and should rightly be regarded as AIPAC’s war, a conflict which could also be fairly described as a victory of a foreign interest group over the American people.

AIPAC operates with a budget exceeding $50 million and has several hundred full time staff. Let there be no mistake about what the organization is and what it stands for: it wants the United States to start what almost certainly would quickly escalate into a major war on behalf of another country as a prelude to yet another war against yet another Middle Eastern country. AIPAC is a tax exempt foundation which claims to be educational, though anyone on Capitol Hill would be able to testify that it is anything but. President John F. Kennedy, recognizing the danger it posed, tried to get it listed by the Treasury Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act but was killed before he could complete the process. AIPAC does indeed have the right to organize and express any view that it sees fit but it should not be able to do so on the taxpayer’s dime as an exempt organization and it should be clearly understood that it is an organization that exists to support its own perception of Israeli interests first and foremost. Congressmen should be able to tell AIPAC lobbyists to go away without fear of reprisals.

If the United States is ever again to be free of the danger posed by well-funded special interests like AIPAC it must first recognize that it has a problem and then take steps to find a remedy. To be sure powerful interests will strike back hard, but a good first step to demonstrate seriousness would be for congress to vote against President Obama’s plan to attack Syria should it be brought to the floor in the next several weeks. It would be a major defeat for AIPAC and it could substantially shift perceptions in the United States, opening the door to a freer discussion of the interventionist foreign policy that has produced so many ills over the past twelve years. Putting the AIPAC genie back in the bottle would do just that, removing at a stroke the Israeli stranglehold on US policy in the Middle East and holding the White House accountable every time it seeks to initiate a war of choice.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Defeating AIPAC Starts with Syria

Pro-I$raHell, warmongering Zionist Jew Sen. Carl Levin– ‘Public opinion can’t guide decision on striking Syria’s Assad’

NOVANEWS

thehill.com

Lawmakers should not be looking to the polls to shape their views on military action in Syria, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said Wednesday.

Levin pushed back against lawmakers who have said they can’t support military strikes due to overwhelming public opposition, arguing that polls should not be a factor in the decision.

Levin, who supports military action in Syria, cited his vote against the war in Iraq in 2002, when public opinion was on the side of authorizing military force.

“I just don’t think you can be guided, when it comes to this kind of an issue, by public opinion polls,” Levin said at a breakfast with reporters Wednesday.

On Syria, public opinion has squarely sided against President Obama in the past week, as the public remains war weary after a decade of conflict in the Middle East.

Obama’s inability to turn around public opinion also set many lawmakers against military action, making the odds long that Obama would win a vote to authorize force.

That vote is now on hold, but Levin said that he still wants to see Congress move toward a vote on an alternate Syria resolution that would tie diplomatic options to the threat of military strikes.

Asked about the timing of the vote, Levin said it was too soon to say because the new language had not been drafted.
It would also depend on whether the votes were there to pass the resolution.

“The last thing you want to do is remove that pressure. You can’t have language that’s going to lose because at that point there’s less pressure for [Syrian President Bashar] Assad,” Levin said.

Posted in USAComments Off on Pro-I$raHell, warmongering Zionist Jew Sen. Carl Levin– ‘Public opinion can’t guide decision on striking Syria’s Assad’

‘Putin shipping Assad more weapons to crush rebels’

NOVANEWS

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, right, and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad smile as they shake hands in Moscow's Kremlin (photo credit: File: AP photo/RIA Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press service, File)

I$raHell TV: Russia steps up supplies as part of deal for regime to place its WMD stockpiles under supervision; Syrian FM: ‘We intend to give up chemical weapons altogether’

TIMES OF ISRAEL

Russia is stepping up weapons supplies to Syria’s President Bashar Assad, to help him prevail in the civil war, as part of the arrangements under which the Assad regime has agreed in principle to have its chemical weapons stockpiles placed under international supervision, Israel television reported on Tuesday night.

Negotiations between Russia and Syria on the supervision arrangement, which seem to have drastically reduced the likelihood of US-led military intervention in Syria, have been ongoing for two full weeks, and have also involved Iran, the Israeli Channel 2 report said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, determined to ensure that his ally Assad not face a punitive US-led strike following Damascus’s alleged use of chemical weapons in an August 21 attack that the US says killed over 1,400 Syrians, essentially ordered Assad to submit to international oversight of his chemical weapons stocks, the report said.

In return, Putin promised bolstered conventional weapons shipments, “some of which are already on their way” to Syria from the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. The TV report did not specify which weaponry Putin is supplying to Assad, but noted that the Syrian regime needs more fighter planes for use to quash rebel forces, spare parts for tanks, and all kinds of other military equipment to replenish stocks depleted during the two-and-a-half years of fighting that have left well over 100,000 Syrians dead. An estimated 1,600 Syrians have died in the three weeks since the alleged August 21 attack.

Last summer, Russia said it would not deliver weapons including 24 MiG-29 fighter jets ordered by the Syrian Air Force until the Syrian crisis ended. But in May, Russian officials said a Syrian delegation was in Moscow to discuss a new contract to supply combat aircraft.

Putin said late Tuesday that he hoped “our Syrian friends will make the appropriate decision with respect to transferring the chemical weapons to the control of the international community, and to joining the treaty preventing the proliferation of chemical weapons.”

Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, who has been in Moscow this week, was quoted Tuesday saying Syria would indeed open all relevant sites to UN inspectors, would not produce chemical weapons, and would sign all relevant treaties.

“We fully support Russia’s initiative concerning chemical weapons in Syria, and we are ready to cooperate. As a part of the plan, we intend to join the Chemical Weapons Convention,” he said in an interview with the Lebanon-based Al-Maydeen TV.

“We are ready to fulfill our obligations in compliance with this treaty, including through the provision of information about our chemical weapons. We will open our storage sites, and cease production. We are ready to open these facilities to Russia, other countries and the United Nations.”

“We intend to give up chemical weapons altogether,” he added.

US President Barack Obama said in a series of TV interviews Monday that a deal that ensured Syria was unable to again use chemical weapons would “absolutely” roll the crisis back from the brink. His Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday, however, that such a deal had to be “measureable, tangible” and speedy. “If we choose not to act, we’ll be sending a message to Iran of American ambivalence, American weakness,” the secretary noted.

Israel’s former foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman, indicated Tuesday a similar concern. Speaking against the background of the negotiations that were apparently pushing off any US-led strike on Assad’s regime, Liberman, the chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, noted that, where Iran’s nuclear program was concerned, Israel “will have to deal with it on our own.”

Posted in Russia, SyriaComments Off on ‘Putin shipping Assad more weapons to crush rebels’

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