Archive | November 19th, 2013

Thwarting All Peace Processes

NOVANEWS

By Sajjad Shaukat

In the recent months, Pakistan made strenuous efforts to advance peace talks with India in

order to resolve all issues, especially Kashmir dispute, while it took several positive steps to

improve relations with Afghanistan. Similarly, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Federal Interior

Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ahmad Khan decided to begin negotiations with all the Taliban groups,

particularly Hakimullah Mehsud, Chief of the Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). But, all these

efforts received a greater blow due to anti-Pakistan developments, aimed at thwarting all the

peace processes which were essential for the stability of Pakistan as well as the whole region.

In this regard, Pakistani prime minister’s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz who visited New

Delhi to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), held a meeting with Indian External Affairs

Minister Salman Khurshid on November 12, this year to defuse tension at the Line of Control

(LoC) and to restore the peace process. Sartaj Aziz also met the Hurriyat leaders of Kashmir.

However, statements issued by their related-ministries said that both the diplomats reviewed

bilateral relations in a constructive and forward looking manner, and pledged to settle all issues.

Quite contrarily, in a strong message, Salman Khurshid stated that he told the Sartaj Aziz that

his decision to meet Hurriyat leaders in New Delhi was “insensitive” and “counterproductive.”

While keeping pressure on Pakistan, Khurshid explained that he gave “benefit of doubt” to

Islamabad by telling them that “the conditions of the dialogue cannot be met till there is peace

and tranquility on the LoC. He also allegedly said that Islamabad has been using delaying tactics

in relation to the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks trial.

Recently, tension arose between Pakistan and India when Indian military conducted a series of

unprovoked firings across the LoC, and international border in wake of war-like strategy which

still continues. While, Indian military high command failed in producing dead bodies of alleged

terrorists who had crossed the LoC from Pakistan to Indian-occupied Kashmir. The ground

realities proved that it was just propaganda against Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and Pak

Army, as indicated by the Indian media, Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi and leaders of

the Hindu fundamentalist party, BJP.

Besides new pretension of the LoC violations, in the past too, New Delhi availed various crises

to suspend the process of Pak-India talks. For example, in 2002, under the pretension of terrorist

attack on the Indian parliament, India postponed the dialogue process. Again, in 2008, India

suspended the ‘composite dialogue’ under the pretext of Mumbai terror attacks which were in

fact, arranged by its secret agency RAW.

In the recent past, the Indian former officer of home ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish

Verma disclosed that terror-attacks in Mumbai and assault on the Indian Parliament were carried

out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism legislation.

In fact, under the cover of LoC accusations, India seeks to create obstacle in the way of the new

peace process with Pakistan so that Pak-Indian concerned issues, especially main dispute of

Kashmir remain unresolved.

Most alarming aspect is that Indian duress on Islamabad regarding LoC is part of other related

moves against Islamabad because India, US and Afghanistan have been playing double game

with Pakistan through their secret agencies, as some latest incidents in our country have proved.

In this context, leader of Haqqani Network, Nasiruddin Haqqani who was on US list of global

terrorists was killed by unidentified gunmen on November 10 in Islamabad. Some sources

suggest that CIA and RAW are behind the death of Nasiruddin, as the Haqqanis have never

struck inside Pakistan because they have been waging a war of liberation in Afghanistan. The

main aim of assassinating him is to sabotage the Pak-Afghan peace process, making both

countries acutely vulnerable to disruption by the militant groups—and to castigate Pakistan’s

major role in any future Afghan peace deal with the Haqqanis.

In this connection, opposition leader, Syed Khurshid Shah of the PPP said on November 14,

“killing of Nasiruddin Haqqani is a conspiracy against Pakistan and no government institution is

Similarly, when the TTP Chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed by the US drone strikes on

November 1, leaders of the ruling and opposition parties including prominent figures and

Unlmas (Religious scholars) took the event as a plot to thwart the peace process with the

militants. In this context, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar openly pointed out that that killing

of Hakimullah Mehsud in the US drone attack was a conspiracy to sabotage peace talks with the

Taliban. He added that his death was, in fact, a fatal blow to the peace process in the region.

On the other side, the TTP new Chief Maulana Fazlullah dismissed the proposed peace

negotiations with the government as a “waste of time”, and vowed to target the prime minister,

chief minister, chief of army staff and corpse commanders. During Swat and Malakand military

operations, Fazlullah fled Swat and took shelter in Afghanistan.

Well-established in Afghanistan, with the tactical support of the US, in connivance with Indian

RAW and Afghan spy service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Pakistan-based

TTP, Maulana Fazlullah—and these foreign agencies have been conducting target killings, bomb

blasts, suicide attacks, beheadings, assaults on civil and military personnel, installations and

forced abductions including ethnic and sectarian violence. By sending heavily-equipped militants

in Pakistan, these entities are also assisting Baloch separatists.

Particularly, the captured TTP leader Latifullah Mehsud by US Special Forces (USF) in

Afghanistan confessed that Afghanistan and India were waging proxy wars in Pakistan, and

terrorist attacks on Gen. Sanaullah Khan Niazi in Upper Dir, at Peshawar Church, in Qissa

Khawani Bazar and elsewhere had been planned by Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies.

Now, Pakistan is facing multi-faceted challenges internally and externally, arranged by the anti-
Pakistan enemies, as followed by a deliberate propaganda to destabilize and denuclearize it. So,

these external entities also intend to thwart all the peace processes to further weaken Pakistan

through their collective sinister designs.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,

Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Thwarting All Peace Processes

The Neo-Imperialist Corporatist Order and the “Men Behind the Curtain

NOVANEWS
Global Research

 

Vincent Harlow once wisely observed, “Men’s minds indeed conceive new thoughts and plan new projects, but out of ancient thinking and under potent influence of long-established characteristics.” This has been reflected in reality for both the positive but also for the negative.

A critical modern-day “negative” that is threatening humanity as we know it is the emergence of anincreasingly transparent “neo-imperialist” order that is currently subverting the world and seeking to control the destiny of humanity in manners not unlike to what imperialism has done throughout the ages. This “empire”, unlike previous ones, is not serving the interest of a specific country or nationality but aninternational cabal of corporate-financier, self-proclaimed “globalist” elite operating from the Wall Street-London axis of power along with international bankers, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and related financial and political institutions.

A false political theater has been crafted by the corporate media serving as the public relations arm of this agenda. It is about time people escaped the media “matrix” marketing a singular agenda under different political labels and it is time to understand the international gambles this empire is playing with our collective destiny.

The Nature of the Empire

Contrary to misconceptions by many well-intentioned and aware people, this empire is not strictly an “American empire” in the sense that it is being done for the mere glory of America as a nation although the historical Anglo-American political and financial center of power is the driving factor. Rather, it is an empire that seeks the subversion of both the American people and the world by the creation of an international corporatist order where power is centralized in hands of a collective, privileged few expanding their control through the means of co-opted governments and force. The mechanisms of this modern empire are parallel to the mechanism of the British Empire historically and can be demonstrated in various sources of both scholarly and general analysis.

The parallel is found in manners such as the function of empires in general (albeit under different historical contexts), the role of “system administrators”, and also the manner in which the modern-day “empire” can be dismantled similar to the British Empire’s dismantling from the American colonies, all of which will be noted.

What cannot be understated is the role of this empire as an international corporatist order. Michael Snyder defines a corporatist order as one where:

Most wealth and power is concentrated in the hands of giant corporations and big government is used as a tool by these corporations to consolidate wealth and power even further. In a corporatist system, the wealth and power of individuals and small businesses is dwarfed by the overwhelming dominance of the corporations.

Snyder’s excellent article “Corporatism Is Not Capitalism: 7 Things About The Monolithic Predator Corporations That Dominate Our Economy That Every American Should Know” discusses everything that is wrong with the system including an increasing wealth disparity perpetuated by the disingenuous means in which corporations conduct themselves in the global economy and the concentration of undue wealth and power into the corporation’s collective system through dubious means of manipulation. Also mentioned is a University of Zurich study demonstrating that a handful of 147 corporations which interlock with various other corporate fronts own 40% of the world’s wealth among which were the American megabanks Barclay, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase and Co., Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs.

Those who have followed the workings of this collective group would note how these individuals at the highest level of the pyramid are the chief architects of human misery with their financing of various think-tanks and fronts to articulate their agenda and enforce it globally. In my recent article, “High Finance, Geopolitical Leverage, and the Rise of the New World Order”, I detailed the specifics in how high finance exploits ideologies from across the political spectrum to hammer together a structure of control wherever it convenient to do so. I also examined the historical manner in which this was done in the creation of the Federal Reserve as well as the historical role of international communism in serving high finance’s geopolitical ambitions of creating “captive economies” as Dr. Anthony Sutton explains. Regardless of whatever political tool is manipulated and spun in the modern political theater, a single agenda marches forward.

The Function of the Empire

The function of an empire is often reduced in the minds of the general population to simply the military force which serves as the muscle of the empire but this is often done at the expense of neglecting the underlying “skeleton”, namely the role of financial administrators, networks, and interests. In the case of the British Empire, these networks worked in London to ensure the flow of money and resources into the hands of the financial elite. This was done by various methods such as the tightly-controlled mercantilist economic systemthat existed during the American colonial era which was specifically set up to ensure British dominance over American resources and prevent competition at the expense of individuals.

British imperial economic networks on the global stage, especially in Asia, would often work in tandem with military power such as in the strategy of “gunboat diplomacy” where the empire would place gunboats off the coast of a capital and threaten bombardment if certain economic concessions were not made as was the case of the Bowring Treaty of 1855 with Thailand. The Bowring Treaty is presently credited by historians as spurring the industrialization and modernization of Thailand’s economy, including greater economic liberties.

However, it was a geopolitically unfair treaty in the sense that it was coerced by the neighboring British military might stationed in India and for the benefit of the expansion of British financial hegemony. The treaty stipulated, among other points both positive and negative that, “The import duty was fixed at 3 percent for all articles, with two exceptions: opium was to be free of duty, but it had to be sold to the opium farmer; and bullion was to be free of duty.” One can see how this would have bolstered Britain’s financial ambitions of competition in the region and one of the most disingenuous provisions was the opium stipulation, considering the previous “First Opium War” in China and the British means to capitalize on opium addiction for maximizing their profits.

Industrialization and modernization is not always the byproduct of western ambitions in the third world. In the case of Thailand, industrialization occurred because of capital investment by the west which built up Thailand but for the benefit of western hegemony and Thailand was able to be kept “under control” by western military might to prevent it becoming a rival. However, the new “modus operandi” has become to PREVENT the industrialization of the third world so as to not provide an alternative center for economic power and geopolitical competition, something China and Russia are currently being noted as doing, hence slated for western subversion.

The primary center of focus in this has become Africa and with Chinese and Russian interests seeking bilateral economic agreements with various nations in Africa, by implication leading into development and productivity outside the orbits of the Wall Street/London casino economy establishment, Africa has become a prime target of western destabilization to leverage development into their hands and prevent it all together. Libya’s Gaddafi was leading various initiatives to build up and strengthen Africa though investment, trade, and constructing national institutions which were seen as rivals to western interests, hence his removal through the premeditated, so-called “humanitarian”-war in 2011 (see “The Top Ten Myths in the War Against Libya”).

Gaddafi was working to modernize Africa and make it self-sufficient and his “economic crimes” in the eyes of the west, including the African Satellite Project, African Monetary Fund, and the African Investment Bank, is what led to him being slated for western-assisted overthrow. Amidst the violence and civil war the ravaged the country, peaceful negotiations were purposely thwarted in violation of the “Responsibility to Protect” in order to further western geopolitical designs. The Libyan war was a western psy-op 30 years in the making.

Former Science advisor to the White House Dr. John P. Holdren and current advisor Dr. Paul Ehrlich not only openly call for a “planetary regime” and global government in their book “Ecoscience” but openly express their contempt of the industrialization of the third world, justifying it through pseudo-science premised on false environmentalist concern. They openly state their pro-sterilization, pro-eugenics “Malthusian” outlook on society and slander those who view science and technology as the key to solving humanity’s problems (seeDr. Webster Tarpley’s expose here). Industrialization is not their goal but rather industrialization within their interests where only they can control development and the third world becoming an impoverished heap to be exploited as feudal lands for high finance and western hegemony.

This function of empire, fomenting geopolitical conflicts to expand regional hegemony, had a precedent in diamond-rich “Zululand” in southern Africa whose subversion in the “Anglo-Zulu War” of 1879 was a landmark victory for imperialism in Africa. The British had been following a “forward policy” in what is now South Africa to bring various regions, including Dutch Boer settlements, under their consolidate control. The independent, self-sufficient and powerful Zulu kingdom was seen as a threat, leading to an invasion in Zululand which would end up being deliberately carved into 14 proxy states and its resources exploited. The British would take care to maintain rivalries in Zululand in order to prevent a unified Zulu opposition to British control which was the primary reason for the division.

“Divide and conquer” politics as seen in Zululand is not unlike the manner in which British colonists in North America during the 17th and 18th centuries would also cultivate and exploite rivalries between Native American tribes in order to capitalize on the slave and deerskin trade and maintain their domination politically and economically (Tindall 88-89). Nor is it unlike the current “foreign policy blunders” and civil wars purposely orchestrated and capitalized on by NATO in order to justify continued military occupation and geopolitical leveraging for specific hegemonic goals from Libya to Central Asia.

Central Asia, Pipeline Politics, and the “Grand Chessboard”

Similar “gunboat diplomacy” and “divide and conquer” politics would reemerge with the current actions of the modern-day imperialists of militarized corporatism targeting nations that have resisted their plans for global integration such as Iraq and Libya. False pre-texts were invented to invade Iraq by the same interests in order to commence its plundering. Iraq’s economy would end up being “reformed” according to a blueprint drawn up by a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) fellow Paul Bremer that amounted the absorption of its economy into the global corporatist system along with stipulations architected by the IMF. The Economist noted thiswith their intentions transparent in the title, “Let’s all go to the yard sale: If it all works out, Iraq will be a capitalist’s dream:” where it is noted that Iraq’s economy was opened up to multinational exploitation including the provisions of “100% ownership of Iraqi assets, full repatriation of profits, equal legal standing with local firms, and foreign banks being allowed to operate or buy into local banks”. Under the guise of this being a “capitalist” venture (as opposed to the more proper term “corporatist”), the Economist attempted to justify the foreign usurpation of Iraqi sovereignty and the plundering and dictation of their resources according to western interests.

Iraq’s purpose is not to be underestimated as it is a significant lynchpin in the geopolitical endeavors of western hegemony in central Asia and in geopolitically strangling Iran’s opposition to western designs across the Middle East with US allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel as the primary beneficiaries. Renowned analysts and journalists like Pepe Escobar have noted the vital role natural gas has in regional geopolitics, especially with regards to the emerging “Shiite crescent” and the proposed Syria-Iraq-Iran pipeline. This pipeline’s construction would offset western/NATO aligned Saudi-Qatari-Israeli-Turkish gas initiatives in the region. The U.S. invasion of Iraq was initially intended to install a viable western proxy but regional designs for western interests have been increasingly faltering as the current Iraqi PM Nouri Al-Maliki moves closer into the Iranian economic orbit. The term “Shiite crescent” itself is a sectarian-motivated term coined in the west and aimed at bolstering in the mind of the population a premeditated divide between Sunni and Shiite Muslims to further western geopolitical objectives in Syria and beyond.

This drive for hegemony is not merely conjecture or “conspiracy theory” as this geopolitical point is admitted by Zbigniew Brezinzski, the former National Security Advisor under President James Carter who organized the Afghanistan mujahidin in the 1980s. He clearly enumerates in his book, The Grand Chessboard, the American geostrategic doctrine of perpetuating global supremacy and pre-eminence by dominating central Asia and its vital resource and logistical center. Central Asia is seen as the grand chessboard upon which U.S. global domination would be established. Especially noted in the disingenuous book is central Asia’s global value in terms of natural resources, economic activity and population. According to Brzezinski, the person who could dominate central Asia can claim global hegemony. While he has supposedly “sharply criticized Bush’s foreign policy”, he nonetheless architected the very policy points that Bush’s policy would serve with the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. The war on terror was a bloody and exploitative fraud for all involved.

Brzezinski’s vision beholds a unipolar world order dictated by one center of economic, political, and military power as opposed to the vision of a multipolar world order of global collaboration as envisioned by Russia’sVladimir Putin at the 43rd Muich Security Conference in 2007. Recently emerging supranational economic blocs operating outside the Wall Street/London consensus such as BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has begun to offer a viable counterbalance to the west/NATO’s global preeminence and empowering regional players to become economic competitors instead of pawns for western corporate interests.

The Men Behind the Curtain

It must be noted that “global American pre-eminence” is not a strictly “American” venture or ideal. Rather it is the collective manifestation of the special-interests and agendas of the corporate-overlords who have hijacked and dominated America’s economy, political system, and media. While this is not a popular concept in the establishment’s halls of academia and politics, this did not stop MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan from making the following statement in 2008:

The biggest contributor to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is Goldman Sachs [also a heavy contributor to Republican candidates]. The primary activities of this president relative to banking have been to protect the most lucrative aspect of that business, which is the dark market for credit default swaps and the like. That has been the explicit agenda of his Treasury Secretary. This president is advocating trade agreements that allow enhanced bank secrecy in Panama, enhanced murdering of union members in Colombia, and the refunding of North Korean slaves… But I guess where I take issue is, this president is working for the bad guys. The Democrats are working for the bad guys. So are the Republicans. The Democrats get away with it by saying, ‘Look at how crazy the Republicans are; and the Democrats pretend to care about people.’ BUT THE FACT IS THE 2-PARTY POLITICAL SYSTEM IS UTTERLY BOGUS. (emphasis added).

The two-party system is indeed UTTERLY BOGUS. America’s foreign and economic policies, while fed to the public under the cover of presidential administrations, are actually the byproducts of US foreign policy think-tanks funded by corporate-financier interests in order to perpetuate their collective agenda which politicians merely rubber-stamp into law. Prominent think-tanks include the Council on Foreign Relations, which frequently calls for a unipolar world order, the International Crisis Group, which includes Brzezinski as an advisor, the “Neo-Con” ‘Project for the New American Century” (PNAC), and London’s “Chatham House” which represents corresponding British corporate-financier interests. Other groups include the RAND Corporation and the not-to be-neglected Brookings Institute within whose halls, according to Tony Cartalucci, can be found the blueprints for most prominent international conflicts for the last 30 years.

Many prominent U.S. politicians from across the artificial political lines are affiliated with these groups. Dick Cheney (a former director)Hillary Clinton, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (who also served on numerous boards of directors including Chevron) among other politicians are Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) members along with most self-serving US politicians. A list of the CFR’s corporate-financiers can be found here. Former CIA analyst and National Security Council member Kenneth Pollack is a Brookings Institute member. A simple visit to these think-tank’s websites can be very insightful with regards to who’s funding who and who is doing what. None of this is cryptic, “top secret knowledge” but is simply the prevailing reality that can be easily verified with a search engine by those who know what to look for. Follow the money.

The Iranian and Syrian Dilemmas

The Brookings Institute is of particular concern among these think-tanks as it has been the primary facilitator in the drive for war against Iran founded on distortion and geopolitically-motivated propaganda. Much commotion has been recently circulating in the media about the Iranian nuclear negotiations and the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, best captured the reality by emphasizing the significance of these negotiations and pointing out that the only other alternative would be war. He alleged that Israel’s Netanyahu was acting as a representative for dubious Arab regimes, implying western puppet-states Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and stated that there was a deliberate attempt to see no solution reached for reasons that will become apparent.

Contrary to media reports portraying Iran as an immediate, existential threat to US and Israeli security, theBrookings Institute released a policy report in 2009 that was basically a blueprint for overthrowing nations, in this case specifically for Iran, titled Which Path to Persia? (.PDF). It was written by six prominent analysts within establishment circles, including Kenneth Pollack, admitting that Iran poses not a threat to the survival of the United States and Israel’s security but their collective regional and geopolitical hegemony and interests across the region. It was noted that Iran was playing a strategy of firmness and even aggressiveness but not recklessness in combating western hegemony and imperialism as can be seen in its recent economic endeavors in the pipeline and gas politics of the region. It was also noted that Iran was deliberately avoiding a conflagration with the west and that any possible nuclear weapons capability for Iran (which is noted as unconfirmed and nonexistent in other reports) would be used as a deterrence for attack and protecting regional ambitions Iran has for the region as opposed to the propaganda of using such weapons to attack the U.S. and to “wipe Israel off the map” (pg. 24-25).

This is reconfirmed by the recent 2013 RAND Corporation report Iran After the Bomb which, while noting that no evidence exists that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons according to the US intelligence community, envisions a post-nuclear scenario of Iran. RAND is another “globalist” think-tank that hosts compromised interests but manages to give an honest synopsis of the Iranian reality. It is also noted that Iran’s “supreme leader” Ayatollah Khamenei has issued religious decrees labeling nuclear weapons as “against Islamic principles.” Contrary to recent reports circulation by MEMRI TV and mainstream media, these fatwas are not fake and actually do exist. And contrary to some critics, they are not an example of taqiyya (deception). One thing that is very revealing is the following statement by RAND which sums up their insightful report:

The Islamic Republic [of Iran] is a revisionist state that seeks to undermine what it perceives to be the American-dominated order in the Middle East. However, it does not have territorial ambitions and does not seek to invade, conquer, or occupy other nations. Its chief military aim is to deter a U.S. and/or Israeli military attack while it undermines American allies in the Middle East [which includes the economic interests of the totalitarian kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Qatar whose atrocities in human rights dwarfs anything Iran is guilty of]… Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons will lead to greater tension between the Shi’a theocracy and the conservative Sunni monarchies [Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc.] However, Iran is unlikely to use nuclear weapons against other Muslim countries… The Islamic Republic views Israel in ideological terms. However, it is very unlikely that Iran would use nuclear weapons against Israel, given the latter’s overwhelming conventional and nuclear military superiority. (pg. vii)

The Brookings Institution not only enumerates transparently the similar points that Iran is not an existential threat but goes further to enumerate a list of strategies for US provocations against Iran to initiate a war that, according to the report, Iran does not want. It is even noted that an Iranian retaliation in the case of American airstrikes would not be inevitable and that Iran may deliberately refrain from retaliation in order to strategically “play the victim” (pg. 84-85, 95) Let it not be forgotten how the US and Britain staged the CIA “Operation Ajax” in 1953 to oust the democratically-elected Iranian president Mohammad Mosaddegh, who nationalized the country’s oil, in favor of the pro-American Shah who ruled as a brutal dictator. Similar plans for regime change are enumerated in the Brookings Institute report where it is admitted that the opposition “Green Movement” in 2009 was orchestrated by the US government through “civil society and NGOs” in order to provoke Iranian belligerence through regime change operations, capitalizing on internal dissent. This is not to deny any legitimate aspirations and calls for reform in Iran which are prevalent among student groups but merely to point out how such ambitions are co-opted and used by western interests for their own agenda (103-105, 109-110). See this excellent summary of all these critical points.

Other means proposed included playing upon sectarian and ethnic divisions inside Iran to destabilize the country and even funding radical Sunni militant groups, specifically the MEK, which has killed Americans in the past and is labeled by the U.S. state department as a “foreign terrorist organization”. Its ideology is described by analysts as radical “left-wing” Islamic-Marxism which makes it interesting to consider the US plans to fully employ this group as political assets. MEK has also collaborated with Saddam Hussein’s forces in guerilla warfare against Iran in the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s (113, 117-118). The group is against the dominant Iranian establishment and it is noted that the US has worked covertly with them in the past and that in order to work overtly with them, the group had to be removed from the terrorist list (118).

The compounded criminality of western and Israeli collaboration with MEK is emphasized here. It should be noted that the MEK has recently been removed from the US list of terrorist organizations as part of the next phase of using them as a proxy. MEK claims to have killed 40,000 Iranians in the past and has been trained on U.S. soil in a secret base in Nevada, published on the Huffington Post and cited here by Kurt Nimmo in an excellent and well-sourced article emphasizing the coordinated western agenda against Iran.

In culminating these abhorrent proposals, Brookings further notes the option of a military invasion and conventional war against Iran if the above proposals failed to accomplish western interests. This is the most alarming option especially in context to the following admission:

If the United States were to decide that to garner greater international support, galvanize U.S. domestic support, and/or provide a legal justification for an invasion, it would be best to wait for an Iranian provocation, then the time frame for an invasion might stretch out indefinitely. ..However, since it would be up to Iran to make the provocative move, which Iran has been wary of doing most times in the past, the United States would never know for sure when it would get the requisite Iranian provocation. In fact, it might never come at all (65)… it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes [as a catalyst for an invasion] before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it (85).

In all this certified criminality, which has obviously been at play even as the report was being published in 2009, it must not be forgotten that the Brookings Institution is of, for, and by big business and their collective agenda of integrating Iran into their international consensus and exploiting its 76 million population for their unipolar order. This is opposed to Iran’s attempts to foster national self-sufficiency and develop ties with nations strategic to western interests including India, Thailand, China, and Russia. Brookings Institution is funded by the likes of the Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, The Carnegie Foundation, Goldman Sachs, and the Carlyle Group among others; their report even includes a special acknowledgement of financial support from the Smith Richardson Foundation upon which Zbigniew Brzezinski sits as an active governor.

Such international criminality is magnified when Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh revealed in his article “Preparing the Battlefield” that the U.S. is cooperating with their anti-Iranian terrorist asset, Saudi Arabia, in order to fund radical, Al Qaeda-linked, Sunni-groups like the Jundallah to destabilize and destroy Iran as a viable geopolitical opponent. Al Qaeda, directed by the Saudis in cooperation with western geopolitical objectives, has been leveraged as a “Swiss army knife of destabilization” across the Middle East in the fake “war on terror” as Seymour Hersh exposed in another report titled “The Redirection” published in 2007.

In that report, Hersh reveals that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have been working since 2007 to destabilize Syria and Lebanon with a proxy-war wave of sectarian-extremists currently being marketed in the media as a “political uprising” and a “revolution”. This is different from the legitimate internal political opposition in Syria that maintains distinctiveness from the extremist and terrorist elements that clearly constitute the bulk of the “Syrian rebels” supported by the west. In “The Redirection”, Seymour Hersh states:

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda… [Saudi Arabia’s Prince] Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis [Al Qaeda] to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.

NGOs and “System Administrators”: Trojan Horses for International Subversion

The role of “system administrators” was a crucial element in both the British Empire and the current globalist system when coming from the “humanitarian” angle. During the days of the British Empire, system administrators were networks created by the financial ruling class of the empire that served to further the empire, sometimes under the guise of altruistic or religious covers. A case study of this can be found in the invaluable work of Trevor Reese’s book Colonial Georgia: A Study in British Imperial Policy in the Eighteenth Century which documents the foundation of what is now the U.S. State of Georgia in 1733 in context to British imperial policy and mercantilism. The “Georgia Trustees” group was pivotal in the founding of Georgia by mobilizing insolvent debtors from London prisons to Georgia on behalf of the empire. In the study by Trevor Reese, it is demonstrated that those behind groups such as the Georgia Trustees were always the financial elite in London using such fronts to dictate people’s destinies on their behalf, regardless of the outcomes. Reese notes that, “The dependence of Georgia on the continual assistance of the United Kingdom was some justification for regarding it more as British property than as an individual entity within itself.

There was never any idea of the colony’s being other than subordinate and contributory to the welfare of its mother-country.” (Reese 38). Modern-day empire treats its global “civil society” networks throughout various countries in a similar manner. Georgia also lacked manufacturing which made it foundationally dependent on the mother country as was to be expected in the mercantilist system, thus curtailing their freedom through the absence of self-sufficiency and imperial dependency (121).

The modern reincarnation of the “Georgia Trustees” is seen in the role of corporate-financier funded, western-tied international “non-governmental organizations” (NGOs). NGOs serve as networks of intrusion into sovereign nations’ institutions with the intent of absorbing those nations into the agenda of the international consensus of Wall Street and London. This is not merely a cynical analysis born of speculation but openly admitted by Pentagon strategist Thomas Barnett at 2008 TED talk. He talks of reforming the U.S. military force into the “U.S.-enabled Leviathan force” which includes military assets to tear down targeted institutions and also creating an army of “system administrators” like NGOs, international organizations, and contractors to “build in the swath of destruction” a network favorable to western interests. NGOs have been prominent in triggering the U.S. engineered Arab Spring as an admitted geopolitical stunt designed to contain Russian and Chinese economic interests and establish a front of proxy governments as geopolitical analysts like William Engdahl have noted; this modus operandi has been documented and dubbed the “ The Revolution Business” by Journeyman Pictures. It utilizes subversive NGOs like CANVAS, run by Srdja Popovic, to train hordes of activists to target and dismantle governments of various natures that do not comply with the prevailing corporatist geopolitical interests, in conjunction with a treasonous US State Department. The “Arab Spring” is an overtly documented case of such machinations under the pretext of nonviolent resistance and in Syria and Libya’s case, armed terrorist insurrection.

That is not to say that there were not legitimate grievances throughout the Arab world that led well-intentioned people to protest but the collective energies of these people were siphoned off and directed as a “Swiss army knife” of destabilization not in pursuit of their own interests but in the interests of the disingenuous leaders who lorded over them. In Egypt, that leader was Mohammad ElBaradei who feigned anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiments while being part of the International Crisis Group (ICG), the previously-mentioned US foreign policy think-tank funded by the Fortune-500 and notorious for international subversion of many shapes and for the same policies of America and Israel he criticized for political leverage. It is funded bypeople from the Carnegie Corporation, Morgan Stanley, Open Society Institute, Deutsche Bank Group, and McKinsey & Company to Chevron and Shell. The ICG also hosts the likes of the previously mentioned Zbigniew Brzezinski and General Wesley Clark

ICG has been involved in fomenting street violence in Thailand (full history here) in an attempt to reinstall renegade criminal Thaksin Shinawatra into office on behalf of his Fortune-500 backers, exploiting “socialist” ideology to build a support base among Thai peasants through populist handouts. This is not to mention his attempt to push through the Thai parliament without approval a “US-Thailand Free Trade Agreement” written in a manner that would open up Thailand’s indigenous markets to corporate plundering. Thaksin was also the imperialist proxy-of-choice to remake Thailand as a bulwark against Chinese interests in Southeast Asia and create an environment favorable to western interests.

In the wake of the Arab Spring, a similar maneuver would be conducted against Tunisia and Egypt. Tunisia’s “activist” leader and later president, Moncef Marzouki, would be directly tied to the Soros funded “International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)” and also the US state department through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) which is the closest modern equivalent to the “Georgia Trustees” and would toe the line of western policy against Syria as well as providing a doorway into his nation for western interests. This is only scratching the surface of the crisscrossing and interlocking lines of compromised interests who, from Tunisia to Thailand, sought full spectrum dominance in Eurasia.

While such groups like NED, FIDH, and their many outlets thrive on the basis of humanitarian concerns and altruism, they always end up being funded by disingenuous corporate-interests and individuals like George Soros, who was found to be behind the NGOs writing Egypt’s post-“revolution” constitution. Not everyone involved at the lower level of western-tied activist groups is disingenuous in intention but the efforts of well-intentioned people are exploited to push forward an agenda in the makings of its financial masters and leaders and not the people. As in the case of Amnesty International, blatant factual manipulation is used to demonize, for example, Russia’s stance on Syria; Amnesty International has been used as a tool to bolster western geopolitical objectives, irrespective of the facts on the ground and with glaring and deliberate omissions on who truly is commandeering the bulk of atrocities around the world. Such groups end up interlocking with other corporate-funded foundations and think tanks from the Council on Foreign Relations to the Brookings Institute just like the Georgia Trustees and colonial networks interlocked with the Board of Trade in London during the height of the British Empire.

Self-Sufficiency and Technology: The Keys to Lasting and Active Liberty

A final point of comparison revolves around the manner in which the British Empire was dismantled and the promise that it holds to dismantling the current imperialist system. The key lies in boycotting the corrupt system and its corporate backbone and building self-sufficient communities outside of it. The American Revolution was more than simply the war that made it possible. Rather, the colonists realized the oppressiveness of the British imperialist system and refused to play into both its economic and political game. The colonialists boycotted the exploitative imperialist racket of mercantilism during what was called the “nonimportation movement.” Communities collaborated locally to produce “homespun” clothing and build up their own economic dependence, causing much ire for the Crown and British merchants (Tindall 186). The First Continental Congress adopted the Continental Association of 1774 which sought to galvanize communities into forming committees dedicated to the absolute boycott of British goods, enraging King George III. It was these drives of the colonists to free themselves from the imperialist system that truly granted the Americans victory. As George Brown Tindall and David Emory Shi eloquently note in their book America: A Narrative History:

Such efforts to gain economic self-sufficiency helped bind the diverse colonies by ropes of shared resistance. Thousands of ordinary men and women participated in the boycott of British goods, and their sacrifices on behalf of colonial liberties provided the momentum leading to revolution. For all the attention given to colonial leaders such as Sam Adams and Thomas Jefferson, it was common people who enforced the boycott, volunteered in “Rebel” militia units, attended town meetings, and increasingly exerted pressure on royal officials in the colonies. The “Founding Fathers” (a phrase coined in 1916) could not have led the Revolutionary movement without such widespread popular support. As the people of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Declared in a petition, “We have always believed that the people are the fountains of power.” (193)

Tony Cartalucci capitalizes on this point in his ideologies against the current system of globalization and corporatist-driven economic interdependency and relates these principles to the modern era and thedestructive nature of centralized big retail. He notes that the “founding fathers did not drink British tea” and that by declaring their independence, the colonialists were already free and independent men and that the coming war was the means by which they would defend their independence, not achieve it. The colonists invested in their own infrastructure and sought to assert their independence through will and effort.

Likewise, we must individually recognize the corporations perpetuating global subversion and imperialism as well as exploiting low-wage labor oversees and actively work to boycott and replace them with viable, local, decentralized options. Technology now exists to make any nation self-sufficient and independent as opposed to the corporate-financier alternative of existential interdependency and unipolar control. We need an alternative economic model with emphasis on individual enterprise and technological investment being used locally and in politically-conscious, self-sufficient communities leveraging such technology to break their dependence on destructive monopolies and tip the balance in their favor.

That is not to say that we must start making our own cloths and revert back to pre-industrial habits. On the contrary, this vision involves the active leveraging of the latest cutting-edge of technology by both communities and nations as a whole to build educated people and use that technology to solve local problems and national problems pragmatically instead of relying on the illusions of parasitic corporations and endless, co-opted political “theaters”. There is the growing “personal fabrication” movement as envisioned by MIT’s Dr. Neil Gershenfeld that could revolutionize production and enterprise. Gershenfeld states that, “the other 5 billion people on the planet aren’t just technical ‘sinks,’ they are ‘sources.’ The real opportunity is to harness the inventive power of the world to locally design and produce solutions to local problems”. He notes how this has been legally impeded by corporate-interests seeking to preserve their influence.

The “Do-It-Yourself” movement is spurring individual and community-centered enterprise and development and is prodding humanity along into a new industrial revolution, one where power will be decentralized by the means of technology and wealth redistributed, not through government subsidies, but through “individual enterprise” and “entrepreneurship and collaboration” (see Decentralize Big Retail). We must cut off the “globalists” from their support base among the misguided masses, stop playing into their media propaganda game, and build up our own infrastructure and communities to answer to our own demands and not that of the Fortune 500.

Reality demonstrates the truth of Vincent Harlow’s observation, especially with regards to the subversive role empire has played and continues to play in the world today. Whether it is through the function of empire, the role of system administrators or even the keys to its dismantling, reality echoes the same theme.

Enslavement is the end game of imperialism but truth is present among the constant lies fed to humanity by a compromised mass media. Truth offers the key to freedom and that freedom is what comes when one is able to recognize the lies and workings of a rebranded form of empire. People must unite in knowledge and concern for the affairs of their nation and actively work to expose establishment lies, invest in their communities, and build the backbones of a self-sufficient nation in the image of the people.

Posted in USAComments Off on The Neo-Imperialist Corporatist Order and the “Men Behind the Curtain

Nazi Bennett in New York: I vehemently oppose a Palestinian state

NOVANEWS

jpost.com

Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett had a question for the 11 protesters from the anti-occupation group “All That’s Left,” who showed up to greet him outside the 92nd Street Y for his talk with author Dan Senor on Sunday evening.

Bennett pulled a small coin out of his pocket and showed it the audience saying it was from the year 66 and had the words “Freedom of Zion” written in Hebrew on it.

Related:
Bennett: Israeli objections to Iran nuclear deal paying off
“I’m holding a physical coin that was found outside the Green Line, in what’s called the ‘occupied territories,’ where two Jews were probably doing business, speaking the same Hebrew I speak today, living in the same place where I work today, and they’re my direct ancestors,” he said.

“Now you tell me, can I occupy my own home?” At this, the very supportive but half-full auditorium burst into applause.

Bennett dug briefly into the peace process, and said that even though Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government was founded on the basis of reaching a peace settlement, he (Bennett) still opposes the creation of a Palestinian state.

“Netanyahu is very focused on moving forward toward founding a Palestinian state in the Land of Israel, and I vehemently oppose it,” he said. “Yet I realize that his government is founded on this basis, and I joined the government.”

Bennett then gave voice to the thought bubble hanging over everyone’s heads: “I don’t think there’s much chance these negotiations will bring about peace,” he said. “I don’t think they’re going to reach a deal and neither does anyone else, neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis.”

But, he continued, “If Israel is required to concede land and kick Jews out of their houses – that I think is profoundly immoral to kick anyone out of their houses, Arabs or Israelis – but if that comes to bear, let’s go to the people.

“I said to Bibi, to the prime minister, go ahead, send in Tzipi Livni, when she goes and brings peace, we’ll talk. Let her bring peace, but based on the parameters. Now the second part is, we’re also passing a bill for a national referendum. So if Israel is required to concede land and to kick Jews out of their houses… if that comes to bear, let’s go to the people. It’s such a dramatic thing, and we are going to get this bill through over the next six weeks, it’s progressing and there’s consensus. So then I say, go bring peace, and if there is peace, we’ll go to a national referendum. If the people of Israel support it I will respect that, even though I disagree.”

He said that if the Israeli people supported whatever deal Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is in charge of the talks with the PLO, brought home, he would respect that.

Bennett was not so sanguine in his views on the negotiations between the world powers and Iran. “A bad deal will lead to war,” he said. “A good deal will prevent war.”

He then outlined why the West needed to keep up the sanctions and push for a good deal that would completely dismantle the Iranian nuclear enrichment mechanisms.

“Iran doesn’t want to acquire a nuclear weapon today,” Bennett said. “They want it tomorrow,” meaning, they want to wait for the US to become entangled in some other crisis, and then break out in six weeks.

“The Obama administration is a huge friend of Israel,” he said, “and we share this objective” of dismantling Tehran’s nuclear program. “But our perspective is [that] it has to be an either/or situation,” either Iran halts production, or the sanctions will continue to hurt the Iranian economy.

“Only the pressure of, either you survive, or you can have a nuclear program, will ‘Gorbachev’ Rouhani,” Bennett said, referring to the frequent comparisons between Iran’s new president with the former Soviet statesman.

Questions of the peace process, a future Palestinian state, and of course Iran dominated much of Bennett and Senor’s conversation, but Senor, as the co-author of the best selling book Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, also gave Bennett ample opportunity to trumpet his vision for Israel as a “lighthouse nation” unto the world; that is, guiding developing countries using Israeli innovation in energy and technology.

Bennett recalled when he became economy minister in February, diplomats and governors and ambassadors started meeting with him.

“I was prepared for them to talk to me about the usual: the settlements and the conflict and this and that,” Bennett said, “and one after another they come and they tell me, ‘We’re stuck. We don’t have growth in my South American country,’ or, ‘My state needs better cyber security, we need your innovation.’” Bennett said this made him recognize the two narratives on Israel: One of the conflict, that “we’re always losing. Even though we’re right,” and another narrative of Israel’s innovation.

“We don’t have good enough PR, but if we build 2,000 model farms in Africa, Africa’s not going to be talking to us about the conflict,” he said.

“Israel isn’t about conflict all day,” Bennett said. “We’re an imperfect nation, but we try hard, and we’re trying to do good everywhere we can around the world.”

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Nazi Bennett in New York: I vehemently oppose a Palestinian state

Confessions Of A Syrian Activist: “I Want Assad To Win

NOVANEWS

Handout / Reuters

Handout / Reuters

Nov 8, 2013, Buzzfeed

ANTAKYA, Turkey — The activist threw himself into Syria’s revolution from its early days. He organized protests, documented the deadly crackdowns and disseminated the news, risking his life. When the opposition took up arms, he worked closely with rebel groups, helping to spread their message of resistance and taking toll of the war’s carnage in places journalists couldn’t reach. He has won widespread recognition for his work, and he remains deeply involved in the struggle today — though he no longer calls it a revolution. In fact, he thinks it needs to end.

The activist works under his real name, but he requested anonymity to give the candid assessment of the conflict laid out in these remarks, which are compiled from a recent in-depth interview. Asked to speak on the record, he deliberated with friends and colleagues and ultimately declined. He says he fears a backlash: His words could be used to undermine his work, or he could be misunderstood. He also cites safety concerns. But he believes that his message, unpopular among his revolutionary colleagues, is one they need to hear — that their revolution has ended; that a dangerous wave of Islamic extremism has welled up in its place; that they should work to stop the fighting now; and that if they can’t, they should hope it’s Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who wins.

“To simply say I want Assad to win would be a disaster if anyone heard it,” the activist says. “But we’ve created a monster. For too long on the ground, there was too much focus on the crimes the regime was committing and not enough on our own problems. And addressing these problems was always being delayed.

“So we knew there was some sort of Islamism in the fighting even when it was starting back in 2012 and we would ignore this, because we would say it would all end soon — Assad is going to fall in two weeks; Assad is going to fall in a month; Assad’s going to fall in Aleppo. At each moment, we thought it was going to end very soon, and that meant we were neglecting the mistakes that were being made [among the revolution]. We were thinking, OK, the regime’s going to fall, and we can solve this later. We just need to get rid of Assad. This was a big mistake.

“To that extent, we’ve created ISIS [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a powerful al-Qaeda affiliate that is gaining ground in the rebellion]. And we’ve created Jabhat al-Nusra [another Qaeda-linked group].”

The activist has little hope for a political solution — a peace conference expected in Geneva this month was delayed again this week. Even if talks moved ahead, he adds, the moderate opposition wouldn’t have much say. “We’ve reached this point where we have two powers that are recognized by the international community — the Syrian regime and the extremist groups on the ground,” he says. “The third group [the moderate opposition] is very weak, even though it’s the majority in Syria. We don’t have anyone to defend the group. We don’t have weapons. We don’t have finances. We don’t have media.

“So yes, if I’m going to choose which side I wish would win at this stage, I would choose the side that’s already in power rather than seeing the extremist side jump into power and destroy everyone else. The extremist groups do not seek a revolution in Syria — or at least, not a democratic one. They seek an Islamic one. And it’s something that’s not accepted by the majority of the country, whether you support Assad or you don’t. I would prefer that Assad wins at a stage like this for one reason: all of the other alternatives are totally unacceptable.

“I would not cheer the idea of Assad winning. I would not help in any way,” the activist says, adding that he’d keep up his fight against the government. “But I will accept it.

“I have no guarantees to offer in government-controlled areas that if those areas are ‘liberated,’ we can keep you safe. That it will not be ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in charge, and that you won’t live under their laws. If I could make that guarantee, then I would support the idea of bringing down the regime without a political solution.”

The Islamic extremists threatening to overtake the rebellion, the activist says, pose more of a threat than Assad. “There is no language between civil society and Islamic authority in Syria right now,” he says. “There’s no dialogue. It’s unacceptable.

“In the same way that if you say anything about Assad you’re doomed, if you say anything about God, you’re also doomed. It’s the same way of reacting, but the Islamic system is a much more lethal system, because it depends on an ideology that says, ‘God, who is the creator of the universe, says that we’re in charge. And if you stand against that, then you stand against the creator of the universe. And we will chop your heads off, chop your hands off. We will whip you. We will prevent you from speaking out.’ I think the ability of this Islamic authority and these extremist groups to abuse the citizens of Syria is much higher than that of the Syrian regime.

“A lot of people would argue that, if the regime wins, there would be no space whatsoever for another revolution, because the regime would come back 10 times stronger. The majority of people say that. I think that’s total nonsense.”

The activist says that the moderate opposition is much more capable of resisting Assad than it was before the revolution, when political life was stifled and activists worked in the shadows, often unknown even to each other. “What we have in Syria now is local councils,” the activist says, referring to the civilian administrative groups that have sprouted up in rebel-held territory across the country, “and political and activist groups, whereas before March 2011 we had nothing. It was just a few people that were anonymous online.

“We have groups now. We have experience. We know how to perform demonstrations now. We know how to have contact with the media. We know how to provide aid and how to set up field hospitals. It’s a totally different situation now. And we learned from our mistakes.

“I think it’s definitely possible to see a revolution in the future. But if we don’t accept that we have lost now—that our revolution has stopped, or been put on pause, and that is a big dispute among activists—then that means that everything that’s happening now, and all the crimes that are being committed by Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS, will be written in history as part of the Syrian revolution. Do you see what I mean? If we can differentiate between this period that was the Syrian revolution, and this period now that is a messy situation that came as a result of a dictator standing against a revolution, then I think we can keep our revolution clean and our aspirations clean and our ideals in place. But if we keep going down this line, then we will turn our revolution into an Islamic revolution, and I think this will be known in history as the Islamic revolution in Syria.

“I’m not going to be able to say things like this publicly—because it would be misunderstood and misinterpreted, in a very messy situation in Syria where now it’s easy for you to be accused of being an agent for the West or an agent for the government. It’s very easy for people to point fingers and accuse you of working against the Syrian revolution. I worry about being misinterpreted or misunderstood and not being able to remain a player on Syria. I’m involved, and I have some sort of effect. I want to continue to be able to do that.

“It’s really about being responsible and saying, ‘OK, 100,000 people have been killed. Do we want another 100,000 to be killed?’ Maybe another 100,000 would be killed anyway. But do we want them to die for the exact reason that we were stubborn? And that’s the question.”

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Confessions Of A Syrian Activist: “I Want Assad To Win

Quitting Over Syria

NOVANEWS

The release of the White House “Government Assessment” on August 30, providing the purported evidence to support a bombing attack on Syria, defused a conflict with the intelligence community that had threatened to become public through the mass resignation of a significant number of analysts. The intelligence community’s consensus view on the status of the Syrian chemical-weapons program was derived from a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) completed late last year and hurriedly updated this past summer to reflect the suspected use of chemical weapons against rebels and civilians.

The report maintained that there were some indications that the regime was using chemicals, while conceding that there was no conclusive proof. There was considerable dissent from even that equivocation, including by many analysts who felt that the evidence for a Syrian government role was subject to interpretation and possibly even fabricated. Some believed the complete absence of U.S. satellite intelligence on the extensive preparations that the government would have needed to make in order to mix its binary chemical system and deliver it on target was particularly disturbing. These concerns were reinforced by subsequent UN reports suggesting that the rebels might have access to their own chemical weapons. The White House, meanwhile, considered the somewhat ambiguous conclusion of the NIE to be unsatisfactory, resulting in considerable pushback against the senior analysts who had authored the report.

In a scenario unfortunately reminiscent of the lead up to Iraq, the National Security Council tasked the various intelligence agencies to beat the bushes and come up with more corroborative information. Israel obligingly provided what was reported to be interceptions of telephone conversations implicating the Syrian army in the attack, but it was widely believed that the information might have been fabricated by Tel Aviv, meaning that bad intelligence was being used to confirm other suspect information, a phenomenon known to analysts as “circular reporting.” Other intelligence cited in passing by the White House on the trajectories and telemetry of rockets that may have been used in the attack was also somewhat conjectural and involved weapons that were not, in fact, in the Syrian arsenal, suggesting that they were actually fired by the rebels. Also, traces of Sarin were not found in most of the areas being investigated, nor on one of the two rockets identified. Whether the victims of the attack suffered symptoms of Sarin was also disputed, and no autopsies were performed to confirm the presence of the chemical.

With all evidence considered, the intelligence community found itself with numerous skeptics in the ranks, leading to sharp exchanges with the Director of Central Intelligence John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. A number of analysts threatened to resign as a group if their strong dissent was not noted in any report released to the public, forcing both Brennan and Clapper to back down. This led to the White House issuing its own assessment, completely divorcing the process from any direct connection to the intelligence community. The spectacle of CIA Director George Tenet sitting behind Secretary of State Colin Powell in the United Nations, providing him with credibility as Powell told a series of half-truths, would not be repeated.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on Quitting Over Syria

Tariq Ali asks did USA rely on tainted I$raHelli evidence to justify Damascus Missile Strikes

NOVANEWS

British-Pakistani historian, activist and editor of the New Left Review, Tariq Ali, says that without publicly available evidence, Barack Obama’s claim that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against civilians and rebels is “totally unconvincing.”

During a (Aug 29, 2013) debate http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/29 on “Democracy Now!” on Thursday with Steve Clemons, Washington editor at large for The Atlantic, Ali said the main evidence allegedly supplied to the United States comes in the form of electronic and digital eavesdropping supplied by Israel. This “should be made public so we can judge it for ourselves” says Ali, who is deeply skeptical of the claims made by American officials and their Western allies.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Tariq Ali asks did USA rely on tainted I$raHelli evidence to justify Damascus Missile Strikes

Most Syrians back President Assad, but you’d never know from western media

NOVANEWS

bY: The Guardian

Suppose a respectable opinion poll found that most Syrians are in favour of Bashar al-Assad remaining as president, would that not be major news? Especially as the finding would go against the dominant narrative about the Syrian crisis, and the media considers the unexpected more newsworthy than the obvious.

Alas, not in every case. When coverage of an unfolding drama ceases to be fair and turns into a propaganda weapon, inconvenient facts get suppressed. So it is with the results of a recent YouGov Siraj poll on Syria commissioned by The Doha Debates, funded by the Qatar Foundation. Qatar’s royal family has taken one of the most hawkish lines against Assad – the emir has just called for Arab troops to intervene – so it was good that The Doha Debates published the poll on its website. The pity is that it was ignored by almost all media outlets in every western country whose government has called for Assad to go.

The key finding was that while most Arabs outside Syria feel the president should resign, attitudes in the country are different. Some 55% of Syrians want Assad to stay, motivated by fear of civil war – a spectre that is not theoretical as it is for those who live outside Syria’s borders. What is less good news for the Assad regime is that the poll also found that half the Syrians who accept him staying in power believe he must usher in free elections in the near future. Assad claims he is about to do that, a point he has repeated in his latest speeches. But it is vital that he publishes the election law as soon as possible, permits political parties and makes a commitment to allow independent monitors to watch the poll.

Biased media coverage also continues to distort the Arab League’s observer mission in Syria. When the league endorsed a no-fly zone in Libya last spring, there was high praise in the west for its action. Its decision to mediate in Syria was less welcome to western governments, and to high-profile Syrian opposition groups, who increasingly support a military rather than a political solution. So the league’s move was promptly called into doubt by western leaders, and most western media echoed the line. Attacks were launched on the credentials of the mission’s Sudanese chairman.Criticisms of the mission’s performance by one of its 165 members were headlined. Demands were made that the mission pull out in favour of UN intervention.

The critics presumably feared that the Arab observers would report that armed violence is no longer confined to the regime’s forces, and the image of peaceful protests brutally suppressed by army and police is false. Homs and a few other Syrian cities are becoming like Beirut in the 1980s or Sarajevo in the 1990s, with battles between militias raging across sectarian and ethnic fault lines.

As for foreign military intervention, it has already started. It is not following the Libyan pattern since Russia and China are furious at the west’s deception in the security council last year. They will not accept a new United Nations resolution that allows any use of force. The model is an older one, going back to the era of the cold war, before “humanitarian intervention” and the “responsibility to protect” were developed and often misused. Remember Ronald Reagan’s support for the Contras, whom he armed and trained to try to topple Nicaragua’s Sandinistas from bases in Honduras? For Honduras read Turkey, the safe haven where the so-called Free Syrian Army has set up.

Here too western media silence is dramatic. No reporters have followed up on a significant recent article by Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer who now writes for the American Conservative – a magazine that criticises the American military-industrial complex from a non-neocon position on the lines of Ron Paul, who came second in last week’s New Hampshire Republican primary. Giraldi states that Turkey, a Nato member, has become Washington’s proxy and that unmarked Nato warplanes have been arriving at Iskenderum, near the Syrian border, delivering Libyan volunteers and weapons seized from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenal. “French and British special forces trainers are on the ground,” he writes, “assisting the Syrian rebels, while the CIA and US Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers …”

As the danger of full-scale war increases, Arab League foreign ministers are preparing to meet in Cairo this weekend to discuss the future of their Syrian mission. No doubt there will be western media reports highlighting remarks by those ministers who feel the mission has “lost credibility”, “been duped by the regime” or “failed to stop the violence”. Counter-arguments will be played down or suppressed.

In spite of the provocations from all sides the league should stand its ground. Its mission in Syria has seen peaceful demonstrations both for and against the regime. It has witnessed, and in some cases suffered from, violence by opposing forces. But it has not yet had enough time or a large enough team to talk to a comprehensive range of Syrian actors and then come up with a clear set of recommendations. Above all, it has not even started to fulfil that part of its mandate requiring it to help produce a dialogue between the regime and its critics. The mission needs to stay in Syria and not be bullied out.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Most Syrians back President Assad, but you’d never know from western media

Canada’s Harper Government Supports Covert Mercenary War on Syria, Funds Al Qaeda Affiliated Rebels

NOVANEWS

Nov 12, 2013, Ken Stone:

As expected, Prime Minister Harper wholly endorsed President Obama’s call to punish the Syrian government for its alleged use of chemical weapons on August 21, 2013.1

Harper did, however, decline to join the tiny coalition of countries willing to join a US-led air strike on Syria outside the mandate of the United Nations Security Council.2  Unlike the United Kingdom and France, his government has not officially recognized the oppositional Syrian National Council as a government-in-exile. Unlike the United Kingdom, France, and the United States, the Harper government has not openly armed the foreign-backed mercenaries.

Has Harper changed his spots? Has he morphed into a peacenik?

Hardly.

Actually the Prime Minister has been working, but mostly behind the scenes, over the past thirty months for regime change in Syria. His government’s efforts fall into the following six categories:

1. organizing the covert mercenary war against Syria through the Group of Friends of the Syrian People (“Friends of Syria Group”);

2. establishing a regime of economic sanctions against Syria and hosting, in Ottawa, the Friends of Syria Group’sInternational Working Group on Sanctions;

3. funding and supporting the so-called “rebel” side;

4. planning for an overt western military action against Syria;

5. working with Syrian-Canadians antagonistic to the Assad government;

6. contributing to the demonization of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and to the de-legitimation and isolation of his government.

Each of these tactics of the Harper government supports regime change in Syria.

1. Organizing the covert  mercenary war against Syria through the “Friends of Syria” Group (FSG)

The Friends of Syria Group (FSG), a misnomer if ever there was one, came into being at a conference in Tunis, Tunisia, on February 25, 2012, with an attendance representing 70 countries.3 FSG now contains a core membership of 11 countries4 and has experienced a fluctuating total membership. But a conference of 70 countries does not just materialize out of thin air. Somebody has to organize it.

The Canadian ambassador to Tunisia, Glenn Davidson, was occupied in precisely that endeavour during the month of December 2011. He was one of the parties who organized a pre-conference in Tunisia to lay the groundwork for the founding conference of the FSG two months later.5

While stating that its end goals were “to support the struggle of the Syrian people for freedom, equal citizenship and democracy”6, the practical purpose of the FSG was to launch a covert war against the sovereign state of Syria by recruiting, arming, funding, infiltrating, and supporting  an army of up to 120,000 mercenaries to fight inside Syria for regime change. To that end, a division of labour was established at that founding conference. The deep pockets of the Qatari and Saudi Arabian monarchies were to fund the operation. The front-line states of Turkey and Jordan were to provide base and training camps for the mercenaries, safe (although illegal) passage into Syria, as well as services for the inevitable flood of Syrian refugees.

Various North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries, such as the United Kingdom and France, were to funnel clandestine arms and dispatch special forces to train and coordinate “rebel” bands, connected to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) which was the so-called “moderate” military formation then favoured by the FSG. Some of the arms came from the former arsenal of the Libyan government following NATO’s overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. A huge cache of Yugoslavian weapons came from the pre-war arsenal of Croatia.7 The United States openly committed to provide so-called “non-lethal” aid in the form of communications equipment, military transport, and night-vision goggles.

And Canada’s role? To clean up the mess by providing massive support for refugees and resettling a select few to Canada.

No one should be fooled by the emperor’s new FSG clothes. In reality, the mercenary war was an operation planned by the US empire years in advance.8  The strategic foreign policy objectives of the United States for regime change in Syria are manifold: first, to extend its reach even further into the oil-rich Middle East; secondly, to remove regimes not compliant with US political and economic goals; thirdly, to shatter the so-called “Axis of Resistance”, a de facto alliance of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon against the State of Israel; fourth, to deny Russia its only Mediterranean naval base at Tartus; and, finally, to redraw the map of the Middle East, balkanizing existing countries, such as Iraq, Libya, and Syria, into tiny sectarian enclaves, making them easier to control.

The stratagem of making it appear that a broad coalition of the world’s countries were united in a “humanitarian” intervention led by the FSG, with the supposed purpose of helping the Syrian people to overthrow an allegedly tyrannical Syrian government, was designed to give the air of legitimacy to an illegal war. Making it appear that the United States was not leading the operation was calculated to blunt massive anti-war sentiment in the United States and Canada and to give cover to the State of Israel, which stood to benefit greatly from weakening or destroying the Syrian state. Thus, as in NATO’s Libyan regime change operation two years earlier, the United States sought to be seen as “leading from behind.” Similar to the pose he adopted during the military intervention in Libya, Obama again allowed himself to be portrayed as a reluctant warrior.

Stephen Harper was well aware of consistently high levels of disapproval among the Canadian public, especially in Quebec9, to his many extensions of Canada’s continuing military role in the occupation of Afghanistan. In Syria, he sought to play his government’s junior partnership in the empire in ways that wouldn’t rankle ordinary Canadians, such as behind-the-scenes diplomacy (as in organizing the pre-conference to the founding of the FSG) and humanitarian aid for refugees. He and Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird were also careful on many occasions to state publicly that they supported the United Nations’ mission of Kofi Annan and Lakhtar Brahimi to find a political, rather than a military, solution to the conflict. Minister Baird also went on record supporting the Geneva Communiqué of June 2012 which basically called for an immediate ceasefire and negotiations without preconditions between the warring parties.10

However, in practice, the Harper government never desisted for an instant in its support for the FSG program of regime change in Syria. No matter how the deed is sugar-coated, a crime is still a crime. Initiating a war of aggression against a sovereign state, while talking peace, is still a war crime, in fact, the most serious of all war crimes11  Even threatening the use of force against a member state of the United Nations is itself a violation of Article 2 of the U.N. Charter. Furthermore, a whole slew of other war crimes (many of which have been brazenly posted on Youtube) have been committed by the mercenaries  in the pay of the FSG, to which Canada belongs. These violations of the various Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war include the killing of (Syrian government) prisoners of war, the summary execution of Syrian civilians, the pushing to their deaths of Syrian postal workers from the tops of high buildings, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, the killing of journalists, the desecration of enemy cadavers, the kidnapping of Syrian children, the placing of bombs in public places such as schools and markets, and the likely use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians.12

In supporting the FSG, then, Harper has dipped his hands in the blood spilled in Syria. And there has been a lot of it. To date, various sources have claimed that up to 100,000 Syrians (civilians, mercenaries, and Syrian government soldiers and police) have lost their lives in the fighting.

But supporting the FSG also meant that the Harper government has also opened its doors to, and promoted, the Syrian National Council (SNC), which is the unelected body of ex-patriate Syrians, often in the pay of foreign governments, that has been (until recently) the chosen vehicle of the FSG as a supposedly “moderate” government-in-exile. For example, as early as November 2011, the Harper government was using its consular corps to promote the SNC. A National Post report explains:

The Canadian government has been quietly engaging Syria’s opposition and pro-democracy movement, including facilitating several meetings with Foreign Minister John Baird and opening the doors of Canada’s embassy in Turkey to the Syrian National Council.

“We have right now a very good relationship with the Canadian government,” Syrian National Council member Osama Kadi said (November 7)

“We have met with the minister of foreign affairs many times and he has showed a very positive attitude toward the Syrian National Council.”

In late August, Canadian Ambassador to Turkey Mark Bailey hosted a reception to honour and welcome SNC members and introduce them to representatives from European missions, said Kadi, who is also president of the Syrian Canadian Council.13

In addition, Prime Minister Harper and his foreign minister, John Baird, have hosted foreign SNC leaders, such as George Sabra, in Ottawa on several occasions. Several SNC leaders  actually live in Canada.14 And, according to the SNC, Canada is “a state that unofficially support(s) the SNC as (a) partner in dialogue.”15

It would be nice if even one MP in the Canadian House of Commons were to take advantage of Question Period to ask Prime Minister Harper or Foreign Minister Baird how they would like it if a cabal of some 71 of the world’s richest and most powerful countries conspired to insert foreign mercenaries into Canada, or if that cabal of foreign countries set up a government-in-exile of ex-patriate Quebec sovereigntists or of First Nations activists to effect regime change in Canada. The Harper government expects other countries to respect Canada’s claims to sovereignty in the Arctic and over the East Coast fisheries. Yet, it fails to respect the national sovereignty of countries targeted by the United States for re-colonization, such as Syria, Libya, and Iraq. Harper’s hypocrisy is boundless.

2)  Establishing a regime of economic sanctions against Syria and hosting, in Ottawa, the Friends of Syria Group’s International Working Group on Sanctions

Economic sanctions are a powerful tool of foreign policy. In fact, they sometimes kill more people than wars. In the ten-year run-up to the Second Gulf War, for example, the United States managed to push tough economic sanctions through the United Nations against Iraq that resulted in the deaths of an estimated  500,000 children.16 The ten-year regime of economic sanctions against Iraq sufficiently weakened that country such that it was a pushover for George W. Bush’s and Tony Blair’s ”shock and awe” military invasion of 2003.

In the run-up to war on Syria, economic sanctions have likewise been a tool for regime change. On three recent occasions at the United Nations Security Council, Russia and China stunned the great powers of the West by using their (double) vetoes to prevent an unjust intrusion into the domestic affairs of the sovereign country of Syria. On the last occasion, July 19, 2012, the international body was prevented from imposing economic sanctions.17 Having been stymied at the United Nations, the usual suspects took their quest for economic sanctions against Syria to the FSG. There, the USA, the UK, and France found a receptive audience.

The FSG created an International Working Group on Sanctions (IWGS), essentially a sub-committee of the FSG, to coordinate the imposition of regimes of economic sanctions against Syria in all of the FSG member states. However, because these sanctions regimes are outside the framework of the United Nations, they are, according to Professor Atif Kubursi, completely illegal.18 Dr. Kubursi, professor emeritus of economics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, who also served (and still serves) at high levels with various U.N. agencies, points out that individual states do not have the authority under international law to impose economic sanctions on a country. That authority rests exclusively with the United Nations Security Council which may, according to Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, impose economic sanctions upon a member state. Those national leaders who impose economic sanctions upon a U.N. member state, outside the authority of the Security Council, Kubursi argues, could be subject to prosecution at the International Criminal Court.

Nonetheless, the FSG sanctions have teeth and are specifically designed to bring down the Assad government. So far, there have been seven meetings of the IWGS, which take place irregularly every few months.

The seventh IWGS meeting took place in Ottawa on June 24 and 25, 2013 with delegates from over 40 countries attending. According to an Ipolitics report, “The WG (Working Group) meetings allow countries the opportunity to assess the implementation of international sanctions against Syria and identify gaps or new sanctions options to ensure that they remain effective and well-targeted,” said an official from Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s office in an email Monday.”19

The gaps targeted at the Ottawa meeting included oil and phosphates sales from Syria; the sale of arms, military technology, and surveillance equipment to the Syrian government; further banking restrictions on Syria; and restrictions on providing currency to the Syrian government, among others.20

Furthermore, at the Ottawa meeting, a two-track regime of economic sanctions was developed for FSG member states. The Globe and Mail reported:

Part of the discussion was on easing sanctions – not on the Assad regime, but for areas under control of the opposition. The United States and the European Union have already begun to do that, so that equipment for power plants, water-treatment plants, agriculture and other uses can be sold in those regions.

“All of this was designed to reach out to the opposition and help them help the people of Syria in places where they can control,” Ambassador Daniel Fried, the U.S. sanctions co-ordinator, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

The goal is to increase pressure on Mr. al-Assad, but allow the local economy in rebel-held areas to perform better.21

In addition, the Ottawa meeting also welcomed into its midst representatives of yet another sub-committee of the FSG, the Working Group on Economic Recovery and Development (WGERD). The purpose of their inclusion was, according to a representative of Minister Baird’s office “to allow for the opportunity to discuss the work being done to prepare Syria for economic development and recovery when and if the regime of President Bashar al-Assad falls.”22  The WGERD, at its Berlin meeting in Sept 2012, contained representatives from the parent FSG plus “members of the Syrian opposition, including designated representatives of the Syrian National Council and the Syrian Business Forum, members of the Syrian civil society and business community, as well as Syrian economic experts.23

The fact that the Harper government of Canada was using taxpayers’ money to host the economic sanctions sub-committee of the FSG in Ottawa should of itself be of great concern to Canadians. However, it should should also concern Canadians that the Harper government has instituted its own sanctions regime against Syria and tightened it on eleven successive occasions. Although Canada annually exported only $60 million worth of exports to pre-war Syria,24the cumulative effect of Canada’s sanctions regime coupled with those of 40 other countries is significant. These Canadian sanctions are illegal, according to Dr. Kubursi, under international law. Canadian sanctions now include freezing the assets of specified Syrian nationals and governmental entities, prohibiting all imports from and new investment in Syria, a ban on providing any financial services to Syria, a  proscription on the export of luxury goods and technical products (such as telecommunications), and the ending of non-commercial remittances to Syria under $40,000.25

Unlike the campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israeli apartheid, which was called for in a declaration by over 150 civil society organizations in Palestine, the campaign for economic sanctions against Syria were never called for by civil society organizations within Syria. They are a product of the foreign aggression against the Syrian state, organized through the FSG. The sanctions do have the support of ex-patriate Syrian National Council and its military wing, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which also supported the bombing of their home country of Syria by the United States over the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government on August 21, 2013.

The practical effect of the FSG-organized sanctions regime is to make it harder for the Syrian government to defend its sovereign territory and civilian population; to provide services such as housing, food, medical supplies, and education to its people; and to accumulate foreign currency from the sale of its products abroad. For the Syrian people, according to Dr. Kubursi, it has meant exacerbating the already devastating impacts of the destruction of the physical and social infrastructure of Syria and the continuing violence of the foreign-backed mercenary war. The value of the Syrian pound has plummeted to one-third of its pre-war value, causing severe inflationary pressures upon the Syrian economy. Because spare parts, raw materials, and technological products are prevented by the FSG sanctions from entering the country, factories are shutting down, causing the unemployment rate to rise steadily to its present level of 60%, while farm production is declining. Although pre-war Syria was virtually self-sufficient in the production of foodstuffs (and free of foreign debt), the FSG sanctions have, nonetheless, had the effect of raising food prices for ordinary Syrians.

The economic sanctions have played a role in refugee crisis as well. Unable to find work, having lost their homes,26subject to extra-legal assassination at the hands of jihadist mercenaries, and unable to find or afford food, many Syrians, especially those of minority faiths, such as Christians, have fled the country in the millions. The latest instance of loss of life from the sinking of a refugee boat off the shores of Italy, containing approximately fifty men, women, and children, were not African migrants but rather Syrian Christians.27

Dr. Kubursi points out that economic sanctions are a blunt instrument of policy at the best of times, intended to influence or change (the policy of) the ruling group in the targeted state. But, because the Syrian government was virtually free of foreign debt and self-sufficient in many areas of the economy, the FSG economic sanctions often missed their mark. Instead, the people with the fewest economic resources and the least ability to weather the economic storm were hurt most by the sanctions.

Overall, Dr. Kubursi argues, the FSG sanctions follow the historical example of the harsh U.N. sanctions against Iraq in the 1990′s. They are designed to de-develop the economy and make the country less able to resist foreign military intervention.

Canadians should be very concerned that the Harper government has been enforcing economic sanctions against Syria which are illegal under international law and are causing grave hardship for ordinary Syrians.

3) Funding and supporting the so-called “rebels”

Canadians might have noticed that they were being played for fools by Minister Baird on April 1, 2012, when  he announced, at the second meeting of the FSG in Istanbul, that he was allocating (a further) $8.5 million for humanitarian aid to refugees and to “opposition assistance.”28

However, the first incident that attracted significant media attention in Canada to the Harper government’s misappropriation of taxpayers’ dollars to fund mercenaries in Syria occurred in 2012 when the federal government allocated $2 million to a domestic group of Syrian-Canadians, called Canadian Relief For Syria (CRS), to establish field hospitals in Syria (presumably in rebel-held areas). The move to give funds to an ad-hoc, unregistered, Canadian organization instead of through established charities such as the International Red Cross, piqued the curiosity of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). It turned out that the CRS was linked to Human Concern International, an organization tied to Al Qaeda through Ahmed Said Khadr, the father of child soldier, Omar Khadr. The Harper government hastily backtracked on the grant and has subsequently been somewhat more circumspect in revealing its largesse to the rebel side.29

However, in 2013, Prime Minister Harper’s direct funding of the “rebel” side again was exposed in, of all places, the National Post, a newspaper that usually sings the praises of Harper’s Conservative Party. On August 31, 2013, the newspaper revealed that the Harper government spent $5.3 million  “to set up pirate radio, train bloggers and document war crimes by the Syrian government.” The biggest slice of the funding, $1.8 million, however, went to a P-CAT (Planning for A Civil Administration and Transition) which is based on a model developed by the USA in Afghanistan and which, in the case of the Harper government’s involvement in Syria, integrates anti-Assad Syrian-Canadians in setting up a post-Assad administration in Syria.30

If those revelations were not shocking enough, a letter published in the Hamilton Spectator on September 5, 2013, reported an admission by local Conservative MP David Sweet that a further $100 million (possibly out of the $326 million of Canadian government funds, earmarked for “humanitarian aid” for Syrian refugees) had been misappropriated to bolster the so-called “rebel” cause.31  Furthermore, the MP had let on in private correspondence to the letter writer that a further $80 million would be allocated to the armed opposition and that the few refugees selected for resettlement to Canada (1300 out of an external refugee population up to two million – a veritable drop in the bucket) were not to be chosen based on their need for refuge (e.g., Syrian Christians) but rather on their political allegiance to the “rebels”.32

If there is any truth to the dare to “put your money where your mouth is”, then the Harper government is clearly speaking volumes in support of the covert and illegal mercenary war against Syria.

4) Planning for an overt western military action against Syria

On August 28, 2013, just one week after the sensational claim by US President Obama that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to kill up to 1500 of its own citizens, the head of Canada’s defence staff, General Tom Lawson attended a top-level military meeting in Amman, Jordan, hosted by the US Chief of Defence Staff, General Martin Dempsey; and the Jordanian Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Mishaal Zaben. In attendance also were top military brass from the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan, the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Germany. The meeting lasted three days. According to the Ottawa Citizen, it was not only “an emergency meeting about the Syrian situation” but also likely “preparation for the building of a coalition force.”33

According to political writer, Yves Engler, the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) tried initially to keep the meeting secret but “later shifted gears claiming, ‘These meetings were planned months in advance and were not in response to the escalating situation in Syria.’” Engler continued by noting, “This is hard to believe as Lawson traveled to Jordan just four months ago.”34

Even if DND is telling the truth, Canadians need to be aware that, because of membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization  (NATO), our country would almost inevitably be drawn into any international conflict initiated by the USA, Britain, and France. In just the last fifteen years, the Canadian Forces have been directly involved in three NATO military actions: in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Libya. Even in Iraq, where popular opposition to the war persuaded Prime Minister Jean Chrétien not to commit boots on the ground to the Anglo-American attack and occupation, Canadian Forces were involved a major naval embargo of Iraq and through rotating officer placements in US military command structures for the Iraqi theatre of war.

Today NATO has a global reach. It has expanded into virtually every continent of the world through a system of intercontinental alliances, associate memberships, and strategic partnerships whose tentacles reach deeply into the Middle East.35 In order to police the world, NATO has recently been in the process of developing an emergency strike force, called the NATO Response Force (NRF). As a step in its development, the NATO Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) was conducting a joint military training exercise called ARCADE CHARGER in Cornwall, England, as this article was being written in mid-October 2013. ARCADE CHARGER will be followed in the last two weeks of November 2013 will a much fuller-scale exercise called FUSION, involving about 2000 military and civilian personnel from various divisional and brigade headquarters plus units and troops from Canada, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, the USA, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Australia, and New Zealand.

According to Lt. General Gareth Powell, “As a NATO High Readiness Force, it is critical that we maintain our edge… Both CHARGER and FUSION provide an excellent opportunity for us to test our operating practices and capabilities and ensure that we will be able to effectively command those troops assigned to us on any potential NATO operation.” The NATO media release continues: “HQ ARRC is currently on stand-by for short-notice call-up and subsequent rapid deployment (5 days notice to move) in support of any potential NATO Response Force (NRF) mission that may develop during 2013.”36 (emphasis mine)

And, apparently, the Canadian military is ready, aye ready, to go. According to a CBC report: “The commander of the 5th Canadian Division in New Brunswick says soldiers in Atlantic Canada are ready to be deployed to Syria, if there is an intervention against the regime in Damascus.”37

NATO’s new rapid response capability probably sits well with Stephen Harper. He has shown himself on many occasions previous to the Syrian crisis, such as on the questions of Iraq and Libya, to be a loyal supporter of the US empire. And despite the fact that the Canadian public has indicated, in one public opinion poll after another, its disenchantment with war, the Harper government has embarked on a unprecedented peacetime expansion of the Canadian military. Harper announced a twenty-fold increase in military spending forecast over the next 25 years, costing Canadians an incredible $490 billion. Regrettably, the NDP opposition concurred with this plan, even though every dollar that goes to the military is a dollar lost to health care, child care, education, green jobs, pensions, and infrastructure repair.

Canadians would be wise to ask our political leaders to withdraw our membership from NATO, the military alliance that necessitates these expenditures and supports the foreign policy goals of the US empire, and instead to join a multilateral organization of states that generally opposes war, such as the Non-Aligned Movement.

5) Working With Syrian-Canadians antagonistic to the Assad government

It was shown above that the Harper government negotiated with a group of Syrian-Canadians to establish field hospitals in Syria (probably in rebel-held areas) through an ad hoc group calling itself the Canadian Relief For Syria (CRS). The CRS had ties to Al Qaeda through its connection to Human Concern International. Though this arrangement fell apart under media scrutiny, the Harper government has been recruiting anti-Assad Syrian-Canadians in at least two other ways.38

One way was to work with the Syrian Canadian Council. The Syrian Canadian Council was founded near the start of the foreign-backed mercenary war, in June 2011. One of its purposes is “to build new bridges between the Syrian community and the Canadian Government.”39 On October 18, 2012, its spokesman, Faisal Alazem, addressed the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, a vice-chair of which is MP Paul Dewar of the New Democratic Party. In his speech, among other things, Alazem called on countries such as Canada to bypass the UN Security Council, using the doctrine of “the responsibility to protect” (R2P) and the precedent of NATO’s intervention in Kosovo, to institute a no-fly zone over Syria to protect Syrian civilians and to support the Free Syrian Army in overthrowing the government of Bashar al-Assad.40 In the discussion following his presentation, Alazem indicated that he had accompanied Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, an Italian priest who had left Syria, to meet Minister Baird two months earlier.41 Clearly, the doors to John Baird’s office are open to the Syrian Canadian Council..

Another way of engaging anti-Assad Syrian-Canadians in the illegal war effort was tacitly to encourage or, at least, not to discourage young Canadians from joining the ranks of the mercenaries. According to the CBC, there may be up to 100 Canadians serving in the mercenaries’ ranks, at least one of whom may have already been killed in action.42 The CBC news report indicated that the number of Canadians recruited as mercenaries exceeds those of US citizens and is therefore greatly out of proportion to the Canadian population.

When two young Canadians were killed in a recent terrorist attack on a gas plant in Algeria, it was headline news in most Canada media. The then-immigration minister, Jason Kenney, made  hay of the fact that these home-grown terrorists were so dangerous that he was contemplating slapping a requirement for exit visas on all Canadians travelling abroad.43Yet, when 100 Canadians travel abroad for purpose of becoming mercenaries in a foreign war, including Mohamed Dirie, one of the convicted Toronto 18, who was reportedly killed in Syria, 44 not one of Harper’s cabinet ministers utters a word. We can therefore safely assume that they are fine with Canadians becoming involved in the foreign-backed, terrorist enterprise in Syria.

A contingent of one hundred Canadian jihadists does not materialize out of thin air. Someone or some group recruited them. Like the worried mother in the CBC news report cited above, we should ask, “Who?” We should also enquire if it is possible that the Canadian security apparatus was unaware of the recruitment process. According to Amir Maasoumi of Montreal, who was part of an international peace delegation, led by Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire, to support the national reconciliation movement in Syria in the spring of 2013, and who personally met “rebel” fighters from mercenary bands which claimed to have Canadian fighters as members, “The Canadian government absolutely is aware of the recruitment of young jihadists in Canada.”45

If so, then why did the Canadian security apparatus turn a blind eye to it? Finally, since at least some of these young Canadian jihadists are likely to return home eventually, what will their role be upon their return in Canadian society? Can we expect suicide bombings in Canada as a result? These questions demand answers.

6) Contributing to the campaign of demonization of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and of de-legitimation and isolation of his government

The Harper government has contributed to an international campaign by FSG states to undermine the credibility of the Syrian president and state. It has used the following four main tactics:

a) statements castigating the Syrian president and government.

b) meeting representatives of the foreign-backed opposition.

c) closing the Syrian embassy and breaking off of diplomatic relations.

d) blaming the Assad government for the August 2013 chemical weapons incident.

Each tactic will be discussed in turn.

a) statements castigating the Syrian president and government

The children’s rhyme that “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” unfortunately does not carry the same weight in international relations as it does in personal relations. What governments tell their own people and other governments often leads to war.

Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Minister Baird have made numerous statements about the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad all of which are designed to demonize the Syrian president, delegitimate his government, and isolate Syria from the world community. The purpose of the statements, then, is to pave the way for  regime change. This tactic of demonization, delegitimation, and isolation has been used recently and successfully by western countries to concoct “humanitarian” interventions in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya, with disastrous results for the civilian populations of those countries.

Below is a sampling of their statements. Please note how the prime minister and his minister of foreign affairs continually ratchet up the venom of their language over the passage of time.

As early as May 24, 2011, Harper issued a statement stressing his “grave concern at the excessive use of force by the Syrian regime against it’s own people”.46  On that occasion, he instituted Canada’s first round of sanctions on Syria. On a visit to Costa Rica on August 11, 2011, he described the actions of the Syrian government in trying to repel the foreign-backed mercenary invasion as “outrageous.”47  On August 18, 2011, Harper said, “The Assad regime has lost all legitimacy by killing its own people to stay in power. I join with President Obama and other members of the international community in calling on President Assad to vacate his position, relinquish power and step down immediately.”48

For his part, Foreign Minister John Baird has also maligned the Syrian government. As early as December 15, 2011, Baird characterized the Syrian president a “butcher” by saying, “If we can’t get a condemnation, just a condemnation of the fact that this man has butchered 5,000 of his people it’s a very sad day for the United Nations.”49 Baird’s “Briefing Remarks”, released the same day, contained the following commentary:

As you know, the Government of Canada has reacted with a strong condemnation of Assad’s campaign of terror.

These sanctions, in concert with those of our international partners, have isolated the regime and are having a noticeable impact.

The measures we put in place are not meant to bring further hardship to the Syrian people but to send a message toAssad and his thugs that their actions are absolutely unacceptable. Canada supports the efforts of all peoples to secure basic freedoms, and we look toward the horizon to a new Syria, one that lives in peace with its neighbours and respects the rights of its people.

Pressure on the Assad regime is not coming just from the West. We have seen Syria’s neighbours and former partners in the Arab League take a strong and commendable stand by formally suspending Syria from the Arab League andimposing tough sanctions on the country. The writing on the wall could not be more clear. The Assad regime has lost all legitimacy and its abhorrent behaviour will not be tolerated(emphasis mine)50

On December 23, 2011,  after describing the government of Syria as “totalitarian”, Baird met with members of the SNC. He noted: “Assad will fall… The government will fall. It’s only a matter of time; it has no future.”51

On June 13, 2012, Harper called on Russia to stop blocking western efforts at the U.N. to impose economic sanctions on Syria: “We encourage Russia and others to join with us to apply binding sanctions against what is a murderous regime,” Harper said, adding that the Syrian situation was unacceptable to Canadians and the “international community.”52

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on October 1, 2012, Baird declared: “While the brutal and repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad continues the slaughter of its own people, the United Nations continues to fail to impose binding sanctions that would stem the crimson tide of this bloody assault… Assad must be replaced by a new order that protects Syria’s territorial integrity and respects all religious minorities.53

During the emergency debate on Syria in the House of Commons on May 7, 2013, Baird referred to the Syrian “regime” as “bad and evil”, “merciless”, and “violent and aggressive.” Baird added: “Obviously, we want to see him held accountable for his terrible actions. Last year, I said very clearly that what Assad needs to be facing is the International Criminal Court to face charges for committing crimes against humanity.”54

It should be noted that the above condemnations by Harper and Baird of the Syrian president and his government are universally uttered without the slightest shred of proof. Canadians and citizens of other countries are expected merely to accept the denunciations that roll off the tongues of Harper and Baird as fact. However, according to one public opinion poll at the time of Obama’s threats to bomb Syria over the chemical weapons incident of August 21, 2013, something went wrong. Canadians showed themselves unwilling to go to war with Syria.55

b)  meeting representatives of the foreign-backed opposition

A further tactic to discredit President Assad and the Syrian government is the practice of the prime minister and the minister of foreign affairs to be seen in public, time and again, dealing favourably with representatives of the foreign-backed opposition. Although the SNC is connected to heinous crimes committed by its armed wing, the Free Syrian Army, those crimes are never addressed by Harper and Baird in public. Rather, the purpose of these meetings is to give the Canadian government’s stamp of approval to these unelected representatives in order to make it appear to Canadians that a credible alternative exists to the government in Syria.

c) closing the Syrian embassy and breaking off of diplomatic relations

While all of Harper and Baird’s hyberbolic statements about the allegedly evil nature of President Assad contribute to the process of demonization, delegimation, and isolation of his government, actions speak even louder than words. On May 29, 2012, the Canadian government severed diplomatic relations with Syria. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the following statement:

Canada Expels Syrian Diplomats

May 29, 2012 – “Canadians, like other people around the world, were horrified to learn this past weekend the details of a massacre in Houla, Syria. The dead included nearly three dozen children under the age of 10.

“Despite repeated, even continual, calls for peace, Assad’s reprehensible campaign of savage violence continues unabated.

“Canada has been at the forefront of efforts to isolate Assad and his regime internationally and mitigate a growing humanitarian crisis. Today, Canada is expelling all Syrian diplomats remaining in Ottawa. They and their families have five days to leave Canada. Another Syrian diplomat awaiting passage to Ottawa from Syria will be refused entry.

“Canada is acting in a coordinated effort with our closest partners, who are pursuing similar actions.

“Canada and our partners are speaking loudly, with one voice, in saying these Syrian representatives are not welcome in our countries while their masters in Damascus continue to perpetrate their heinous and murderous acts.

“The ongoing violence must stop immediately, and the Syrian people must be free to realize for themselves a better, brighter future. Canada remains committed to working with the international community to find solutions to this crisis.56

The “Houla Massacre”, in which 108 people were killed, took place on May 25, 2012 north of the city of Homs in Syria. In the initial rush to judgment, the U.N. Security Council condemned the Syrian government for using heavy artillery in the battle. Following the resolution, the US, UK, Canada, and 10 other countries used the resolution as their rationale to break off diplomatic relations with Syria. Furthermore, on June 1, 2012, the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), under Navi Pillay, voted 41 to 6 to condemn the Syrian government and to call for an international inquiry. Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia, and Sudan, were among those states which opposed the resolution.57 Navi Pillay used the opportunity to make the following statement: “I reiterate that those who order, assist, or fail to stop attacks on civilians are individually criminally liable for their actions. Other States have a duty to do all they can to prevent and prosecute perpetrators of international crimes.” Reprising her role in Libya as  a pretext-maker for western military intervention,58 she urged the Security Council to consider referring the case of Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).59

All the while, the Syrian government denied culpability for the massacre of the civilians and instead blamed terrorists linked to Al Qaeda for the summary executions of men, women, and children. This view received support from accounts published in the German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. By June 27,2012, the UNHRC had tempered its view. Its report of that date found that it was not possible with certainty to blame the Syrian government for the atrocity that took place at Houla.60

Mark Twain used to say, “A lie travels halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on.” And the people of western countries have seen lies, presented in the heat of the moment, as horrible truths used on many occasions as pretexts for war. These include the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the Iraqi incubator babies, the Raczak massacre, the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and the distribution of Viagra pills by the Libyan government to encourage mass rapes. All were hoaxes, yet each respectively led to a western military intervention in North Vietnam, Iraq, the former Yugoslavia, and Libya, with catastrophic results for the civilian population and the integrity of each state.

The Houla Massacre, then, permitted the Harper government of Canada,  in tandem with 12 other governments, to up the ante in the movement for regime change in Syria. By breaking off diplomatic relations, Harper and Baird sought further to isolate the Syrian government. Had Navi Pillay been successful in pinning the blame for the Houla Massacre decisively on the Syrian government in the June 27, 2012 report of the UNHCR, that body would have gone on even further to ask the International Criminal Court to initiate an indictment against President al-Assad  for war crimes. Such an indictment, as was initiated against Colonel Gaddafi in the run-up to the NATO war on Libya, would have had the effect of completely sidelining the Syrian government in world affairs. Using the analogy of hockey, one could say that President al-Assad would have been placed in the proverbial penalty box and the game would have gone on without him.

Nonetheless, the severing of diplomatic relations served the Harper government with a further reason to talk to and treat opponents of the Syrian government as quasi-official representatives of the Syrian people. From the point of view of Syrian-Canadians and their families in Syria, however, the breaking of diplomatic relations caused a tremendous increase in difficulty of communicating and in resolving problems, in face of a refugee crisis of unprecedented proportions.

d) blaming the Assad government for the August 2013 chemical weapons incident

As with the Houla Massacre, concurrent with the chemical weapons incident in Ghouta of August 21, 2013, there was a rush to judgment in many western countries, to pin the blame for the many deaths on the Syrian government. It is beyond the scope of this essay to show the many flaws in the western finger of blame.

What is important to note is that the Harper government of Canada, as well as the main opposition parties, all instantaneously accepted without question and without proof that the government of Bashar al-Assad was guilty. Only Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party,  did not succumb to the general rush to judgment. She stuck with the Geneva Communiqué:

I expressed to Mr. Baird that no military action should take place in the absence of a U.N. resolution. Military action is unlikely to resolve the conflict and could, in fact, worsen the humanitarian crisis…

Greens believe Canada should be actively urging all nation states to pressure both the Assad Regime and its opponents to enter into a ceasefire and negotiate a settlement.61

However, on August 28 2013, after meeting with George Sabra, the head of the Syrian National Council, Minister Baird said the Syrian “regime” (not “government”) must face the consequences of the chemical attack in Ghouta in Syria on August 21 and he lumped President al-Assad in among dictators of the world:

In 2013, that someone could use these type of weapons of mass destruction with impunity would not only set a very bad precedent for the ongoing conflict in Syria, but also, frankly, would give a green light to any dictator to use these weapons of mass destruction against their own people in future conflicts.62

Although the Harper government, so far, declined itself to join the tiny coalition willing to fight alongside the USA, the Harper and Baird statements served as yet another opportunity to try to instil into the Canadian public the unsubstantiated notion that Bashar al-Assad and his government are in the business of massacring their own people.

CONCLUSION – The Big Picture

The six ways described above in which the Harper government, while paying lip service to the Geneva Communiqué of 2012, has aided and abetted the primary war crime of initiating a war of aggression on the sovereign state of Syria are just the ones that have come to light in the media so far. It is quite possible that the Canadian public is still in the dark about other ways in which Harper is using our tax dollars to promote terrorism in Syria.

Regrettably, except for one short statement by Green Party leader Elizabeth May on the chemical weapons incident of August 21, not a single member of the opposition parties has taken it upon himself or herself to question the entire strategy of using public funds to support an illegal war.

Although a deal has been struck, thanks to skilful Russian diplomacy, temporarily to avert the crisis through the destruction of the Syrian government’s stock of chemical weapons, the mercenary war continues to eat away at the very foundations of Syrian society. As this article is written, a localized outbreak of polio has been recorded in Syria, which previously enjoyed a high level of socialized medicare. A small number of young children have become paralyzed from the completely-preventable disease. It behooves Canadians to call their elected representatives to account for their silence on Canada’s role in the human tragedy that is unfolding in Syria today.

Even more urgent is the need to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis before it has the possibility of resolving itself into a confrontation between the major military blocs of the world. Like the Balkans in 1914, the Middle East of 2013 is a powder keg. The United States has red-lined the use of chemical weapons as a causus belli for military intervention in Syria. However, both Russia and China have also drawn a red line around Syria for their own interests of state, making it clear they will not tolerate an overt western military attack on that country. By doing so, Russia and China have signalled that the era of the unipolar world existing since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1989, in which the USA was the only superpower and whose hegemony was unchallenged, is now over. Just as Sarajevo lit the spark that set off World War l, Syria might become the flashpoint for World War lll.

The need for a peaceful resolution of the Syrian crisis has therefore never been greater. We can only hope that the Geneva 2 Conference will soon be arranged to broker an international political solution to the Syrian crisis at the same time as the Mussalaha (national reconciliation) movement led by Syrian Mother Superior Agnes Mariam Delacroix bears fruit at the grassroots level.

NOTES

1  “Syria: Obama, Harper agree chemical weapons use warrants strong international response” Associated Press (9 September 2013), online: Global News <http://globalnews.ca/news/827229/obama-to-meet-with-democratic-senators-before-delivering-prime-time-speech-on-syria/>.

2 Laura Payton, “Syria military mission not planned by Canada, Harper says” CBC News (29 August 2013), online: CBC News<http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/syria-military-mission-not-planned-by-canada-harper-says-1.1406653>.

3 Hamza Hendawi, “Tunisia to host ‘Friends of Syria’ meeting” Associated Press (12 February, 2012), online: Yahoo! News <http://news.yahoo.com/tunisia-host-friends-syria-meeting-140627134.html>.

4  Press Release,“‘London 11’ meeting on Syria” Foreign & Commonwealth Office (22 October 2013), online: Gov.UK <https://www.gov.uk/government/news/london-11-meeting-on-syria>. The 11 core countries were Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and United States of America.

5  Lee Berthiaume, “Baird to attend Friends of Syria meeting in Tunis” Postmedia Network Inc. (updated 21 February 2012), para 6. online: canada.com <http://o.canada.com/uncategorized/baird-to-attend-friends-of-syria-meeting-in-tunis/>.

6   Syrian National Council, “Syrian National Council Statement” Friends of Syria Meeting (24 February 2012), online: <http://www.syriancouncil.org/en/slideshow/item/582-friends-of-syria-conference-in-tunis.html>.

7  “Who is supplying weapons to the warring sides in Syria?” BBC News (14 June 2013), online: BBC Newshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22906965. See also C. J. Chivers, “Saudis Step Up Help for Rebels in Syria With Croatian Arms” New York Times (25 February 2013), online: New York Times <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/world/middleeast/in-shift-saudis-are-said-to-arm-rebels-in-syria.html?_r=0>. See also Richard Spencer, “US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’” Telegraph (8 March 2013), online: Telegraph

<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9918785/US-and-Europe-in-major-airlift-of-arms-to-Syrian-rebels-through-Zagreb.html>.

8 Nazemroaya, Mahdi. The Globalization of NATO, chapter 14, Clarity Press, Atlanta, 2012. In fact, Syria was one of the seven countries on the famous list of states to be invaded following 9/11, revealed by United States General Wesley Clark. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LTdx1nPu3k. See also  Hersh, Seymour. “The Redirection.” 7 Mar. 2007. The New Yorker. <http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/05/070305fa_fact_hersh>.

9 Quebec has traditionally been the centre of opposition to imperial wars joined by Canada, beginning with the Boer War and then the First World War. The Quebecois were also consistently shown in public opinion polls to be the Canadians most opposed to Canada’s military adventure in Afghanistan. The root of this traditional opposition to foreign wars waged by Canada is to be found in the subservient role allocated for almost a century to the Quebecois nation within the Canadian state.

10  “Canada calls for solution to Syrian crisis, backs U.N. plan for peace” Toronto Star (30 June 2012) online: Star              <http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2012/06/30/canada_calls_for_solution_to_syrian_crisis_backs_un_plan_for_peace.html>.

11 according to the Nuremberg Principles. It is also a violation of the London Charter of 1945 and the very first article of the UN Charter.  As well, it  amounts to interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country, which sovereignty is the cornerstone of all international law.

12  Hall, Richard. “UN’s Carla Del Ponte says there is evidence rebels ‘may have used sarin’ in Syria.” The Independent 6 May 2013. online: The Independent <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/uns-carla-del-ponte-says-there-is-evidence-rebels-may-have-used-sarin-in-syria-8604920.html>.  ”Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said that testimony gathered from casualties and medical staff indicated that the nerve agent sarin was used by rebel fighters.”

13  Berthiaume, Lee. “Canada engaging Syrian opposition movement.” (17 Nov. 2011) online: National Post. <Canada engaging Syrian opposition movement>.

14  Clark, Campbell. “Syrian-Canadians disappointed in deal for Assad regime’s chemical weapons.” 11 Sept. 2013. online: Globe and Mail. <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/syrian-canadians-disappointed-in-deal-for-assad-regimes-chemical-weapons/article14268892/>.  “Molham Aldrobi, a senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition Syrian National Council, who lives in Toronto, said in an interview from Kuwait that a diplomatic deal on chemical weapons is not a win for Mr. al-Assad – but also argued the world still has to do something more.

“There should be further steps, to punish him, hold him to account,” he said, adding that’s necessary “to be fair to the children who have been slaughtered.”

15 “International recognition of the Syrian National Council.” Wikipedia. 31 Aug. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_recognition_of_the_Syrian_National_Council>.

16  UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund)– Results of the 1999 Iraq Child and Maternal Mortality Surveys”.Federation of American Scientists; Madeleine Albright, the US Secretary of State during the Clinton administration told Lesley Stahl on the May 12, 1996, edition of 60 Minutes that “we think the price is worth it.”

17 Gladstone, Rick. “Friction at the U.N. as Russia and China Veto Another Resolution on Syria Sanctions.” New York Times 19 July 2012. online:   <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/20/world/middleeast/russia-and-china-veto-un-sanctions-against-syria.html?_r=0>.

18 “Interview with Dr. Atif Kubursi.” Telephone interview by author. 17 Oct. 2013.

19   Zilio, Michelle. “Friends of Syrian People to meet in Ottawa Tuesday.” Ipolitics 24 June 2013. on line <http://www.ipolitics.ca/2013/06/24/friends-of-syrian-people-group-to-meet-in-ottawa-tuesday/>.

20  “Final Communiqué.” Proc. of Friends of the Syrian People» International Working Group on Sanctions, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 25 June 2013. Voltaire Networks. <http://www.voltairenet.org/article179124.html>.

21  Clark, Campbell. “Sanctions group eases restrictions on rebel-held Syria.” Globe and Mail [Toronto] 25 June 2013. online: <Sanctions group eases restrictions on rebel-held Syria>.

22  Zilio, Michelle. “Friends of Syrian People to meet in Ottawa Tuesday.” Ipolitics 24 June 2013. online: <http://www.ipolitics.ca/2013/06/24/friends-of-syrian-people-group-to-meet-in-ottawa-tuesday/>.

23  Chairmen’s Conclusions of the 2nd Meeting of the Working Group on Economic Recovery and Development of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People. Berlin, Germany. 4 Sept. 2012. <http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/cae/servlet/contentblob/625214/publicationFile/171470/120904-Chairmen-Conclusions.pdf%29>.

24  Belanger, Linda. “Stephen Harper’s Sanctions on Syria.” Harper Watch. Blog: <http://www.harper-watch.ca/sanctions/stephen-harpers-sanctions-on-syria/>.

25  Canada. Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. Ottawa. “Syria: Latest developments.” 30 Sept. 2013.  <http://www.international.gc.ca/sanctions/syria-syrie.aspx?lang=eng&menu_id=70>.

26  Over ninety percent of Syrians owned their own homes outright, without mortgages, in pre-war Syria, according to Dr. Atif Kubursi. Telephone interview by author, October 17, 2013;

27  ibid;

28  Canada. Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. Ottawa. “Baird Represents Canada at ‘Friends of Syria’ Meeting.” 1 Apr. 2012. <http://www.international.gc.ca/media/aff/photos/2012/04/01a.aspx?view=d>.

29  Fitzpatrick, Meaghan. “Syrian-Canadian aid group ‘regrets’ cancelled funding.” CBC.ca. 17 Aug. 2012. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/syrian-canadian-aid-group-regrets-cancelled-funding-1.1216873>.   See also

“Baird pulls aid pledge from Syrian-Canadian group.” CBC.ca. 15 Aug. 2012. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/baird-pulls-aid-pledge-from-syrian-canadian-group-1.1206851>.

30 Ling, Justin. “Canada has given $5.3M to Syrian opposition to support rebel efforts to counter Assad’s propaganda: Source.” National Post [Toronto] 31 Aug. 2013. <http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/08/31/canada-has-given-5-3m-to-syrian-opposition-to-support-rebel-efforts-to-counter-assads-propaganda-source/>.   Interestingly, the comments below the on-line version of the article at nationalpost.ca showed that the normally, right-wing supporters of the Harper government were outraged that their tax dollars were going to fund jihadists connected openly to Al Qaeda.

31  Vanderlubbe, R. D. “Syrian ‘war’ is a secret CIA operation.” Hamilton Spectator online: 5 Sept. 2013. <http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/4061662-syrian-war-is-a-secret-cia-operation/>.  It is interesting to note that Hamilton Conservative MP David Sweet, who is the letter writer’s source, neither refuted the assertions in the letter attributed to the MP nor tried to deny them.

32  ”Re: Your letter to the Spec of Sept 5.” E-mail message from R.D. Vanderlubbe to the author. 15 Sept. 2013.

33  Pugliese, David. “Http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Canada+general+meeting+Jordan+discuss+Syria/8839109/story.html.” Ottawa Citizen.com. 28 Aug. 2013. <http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Canada+general+meeting+Jordan+discuss+Syria/8839109/story.html>.

34  Engler, Yves. “Obama’s Ally To The North: Canada and Syria.” Counterpunch.org 10 Sept. 2013. <http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/10/canada-and-syria/>.

35  Nazemroaya, op. cit., chapter 14.

36  North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Allied Command Operations. “HQ ARRC arrives in Cornwall for Readiness Exercise.” Press release. Nato.int. 9 Oct. 2013. <http://www.aco.nato.int/hq-arrc-arrives-in-cornwall-for-readiness-exercise.aspx>.

37  ”Soldiers ready for Syrian intervention, commander says.” Cbc.ca. 28 Aug. 2013. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/soldiers-ready-for-syrian-intervention-commander-says-1.1397092>.

38  “Harper says ‘due diligence’ done on charity for Syrian aid.” CBC.ca. 13 Aug. 2012. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/harper-says-due-diligence-done-on-charity-for-syrian-aid-1.1239052>..

39  ”Who We Are.” Syriancanadiancouncil.ca. <http://syriancanadiancouncil.ca/en/who-we-are/>.

40  ”Foreign Affairs Committee on October 18, 2102.” Openparliament.ca. <http://openparliament.ca/committees/foreign-affairs/41-1/49/faisal-alazem-1/>.

41  “Foreign Affairs Committee on October 18, 2102.” Openparliament.ca. <http://openparliament.ca/committees/foreign-affairs/41-1/49/?page=8>.

42  ”Syria conflict attracts Canadians to fight on front line: Estimates of Canadian jihadi fighters in Syria range from a few dozen to as many as 100.” CBC.ca. 5 Sept. 2013. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/syria-conflict-attracts-canadians-to-fight-on-front-line-1.1394469>.

43     MacCharles, Tonda. “Canada will ‘recommit’ to combating homegrown terrorism, John Baird says.” TorontoStar.com. 2 Apr. 2013. <http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/04/02/canada_will_recommit_to_combating_homegrown_terrorism_foreign_affairs_minister_john_baird_says.html>.

44  ”‘Toronto 18′ member Ali Mohamed Dirie reportedly died in Syria.” CBC.ca. 25 Sept. 2013. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/toronto-18-member-ali-mohamed-dirie-reportedly-died-in-syria-1.1868119>.

45  “Interview with Amir Maasoumi.” Telephone interview. 30 Oct. 2013.

46  Ahluwalia, David. Canada in the International Community: The Harper Government and sanctions on Syria. Centre for Canadian Studies, University of Leeds. 8 Oct. 2012. <http://homeforarestleeds.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/canada-in-the-international-community-the-harper-government-and-sanctions-on-syria/>.

47  Canadian Press. “Harper signals tougher stance on ‘outrageous’ Syria.” CBC.ca. 11 Aug. 2011. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/harper-signals-tougher-stance-on-outrageous-syria-1.984164>.

48  Canadian Press. “Syrian Protests: Stephen Harper Joins Global Calls For Bashar Assad Resignation.” Huffington Post 18 Oct. 2011. <http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/08/18/pm-harper-joins-global-ca_n_930356.html>.

49  Fitzpatrick, Meaghan. “Baird tells Canadians in Syria to ‘leave now’” CBC.ca. 15 Dec. 2011. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/baird-tells-canadians-in-syria-to-leave-now-1.1058695>.

50  Canada. Briefing Remarks by Minister Baird on the Situation in Syria. 15 Dec. 2011. johnbaird.com. <http://johnbaird.com/2011/12/15/briefing-remarks-by-minister-baird-on-the-situation-in-syria/>.

51  Canadian Press. “John Baird: Minister Announces New Measures Against Syrian Regime.” Huffington Post 23 Dec. 2011. <http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/12/23/john-baird-syria-canada_n_1167535.html>.

52  Canadian Press. “Harper urges Russia to support sanctions on Syria Says ‘murderous regime’ unacceptable to Canadians and the international community.” CBC.ca. 23 June 2012. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/harper-urges-russia-to-support-sanctions-on-syria-1.1144639>.

53  Baird, John. “John Baird’s Speech To The United Nations: Full Text Of Speech Delivered At The UN October 1st, 2012.” Huffington Post 1 Oct. 2012. <http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/01/john-bairds-speech-united-nations-text_n_1928907.html>.

54  Canada. Government of Canada. 41st Parliament, First Session. Edited Hansard,

Number 248. Emergency debate on Syria.  7 May 2013. <http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=1&DocId=6142961#OOB-8010348>.

55  Radia, Andy. “Canadians leery of intervention in Syria: Poll.” Canada Politics. 6 Sept. 2013. Yahoo News. <http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/canada-politics/canadians-leery-intervention-syria-poll-150859847.html>.

56  Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. “Canada Expels Syrian Diplomats.” Press release. 29 May 2012. <http://www.international.gc.ca/media/aff/news-communiques/2012/05/29a.aspx>

57  United Nations Organization. UN News Centre. “UN Human Rights Council calls for special investigation into Houla massacre in Syria.” Press release. 1 June 2012. <http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp/realfile/story.asp?NewsID=42140&Cr=Syria&Cr1=#.UnLgGBAljOd>.

58 Stone, Ken. “UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay: “Pretext-maker” for Western Military Aggression.” Global Research 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.globalresearch.ca/un-human-rights-commissioner-navi-pillay-pretext-maker-for-western-military-aggression/5323569>.

59  United Nations Organization. UN News Centre. “UN rights chief urges international community to make efforts to end impunity in Syria.” Press release. 1 June 2012. <http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp/realfile/story.asp?NewsID=42136&Cr=Syria&Cr1=#.UnLiaBAljOe>.

60    United Nations Organizations. Human Rights Council, Twentieth Session, Agenda Item 4. Oral Update of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. 26 June 2012. <http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session20/COI_OralUpdate_A.HRC.20.CRP.1.pdf>.

61  Green Party of Canada. “Syria Statement by Elizabeth May.” Press release. 28 Aug. 2013. <http://www.greenparty.ca/media-release/2013-08-28/syria-statement-elizabeth-may>.

62  Payton, Laura. “Syrian regime must face consequences, Baird says Canadian foreign affairs minister met with head of Syrian National Council this afternoon.” CBC.ca. 28 Aug. 2013. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/syrian-regime-must-face-consequences-baird-says-1.1323437>.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Canada’s Harper Government Supports Covert Mercenary War on Syria, Funds Al Qaeda Affiliated Rebels

Fixing Intel Around the Syria Policy

NOVANEWS

President Barack Obama speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013. (UN photo)

President Barack Obama speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013. (UN photo)

Consortium News

After the Aug. 21 chemical weapons incident in Syria, a number of senior U.S. intelligence analysts disagreed with the Obama administration’s rush to judgment blaming the Syrian government, but their dissent on this question of war or peace was concealed from the American people.

The administration kept the dissent secret by circumventing the normal intelligence process and issuing on Aug. 30 something called a “Government Assessment,” posted at the White House press office’s Web site and fingering the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad as the guilty party.

Normally, such an important issue – a possible U.S. military engagement – would be the focus of a National Intelligence Estimate, but that would also cite the disagreements expressed within the intelligence community. By avoiding an NIE, the Obama administration was able to keep the lid on how much dissent there was over the Assad-did-it conclusion.

Once the “Government Assessment” was issued, Secretary of State John Kerry was put forward to present the case for launching a military strike against Syria, an attack that was only averted because President Barack Obama abruptly decided to ask congressional approval and then reached a diplomatic agreement, with the help of the Russian government, in which the Syrian government agreed to dispose of its chemical weapons arsenal (while still denying that it was responsible for the Aug. 21 attack).

Although war was averted, the Obama administration’s deception of the American public – by pretending that there was a government-wide consensus regarding Syrian government guilt when there wasn’t – was reminiscent of the lies and distortions used by President George W. Bush to trick the nation into war with Iraq over bogus WMD claims in 2003.

The behavior of the rest of Official Washington and the mainstream U.S. news media also shows that little has changed from a decade ago. Obvious indications of a deception were ignored and the few voices who raised the alarm were treated with the same mocking contempt that greeted skeptics of Bush’s case for invading Iraq.

Writers for Consortiumnews.com were among the few in the American media who noted the glaring flaws in the Obama administration’s case, including its refusal to release any of its supposed proof to support its conclusions and the curious absence of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper from the public presentation of the administration’s casus belli.

The reason for keeping the DNI on the sidelines was that he otherwise might have been asked if there was a consensus in the intelligence community supporting the administration’s certitude that Assad’s regime was responsible. At that point, Clapper would have had to acknowledge the disagreement from rank-and-file analysts (or face the likelihood that they would speak out).

Inspectors’ Doubts

Similarly, it appears that on-the-ground inspectors for the United Nations had their own doubts about the Syrian government’s responsibility, especially since Assad’s regime had allowed a UN team into Damascus on Aug. 18 to investigate what the regime claimed was evidence of rebels using chemical weapons.

It never made sense to some of these inspectors that Assad – just three days later – would launch a chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus just a few miles from the hotel where the UN inspectors were staying. Assad would have known that the Aug. 21 incident would mean serious trouble for his government, very possibly drawing the U.S. military into the Syrian civil war on the side of the rebels.

The UN inspectors also failed to find Sarin or other chemical agents at one of the two sites that they subsequently examined near Damascus, and they inserted a qualification in their report about apparent tampering at the one area where Sarin was found.

However, instead of noting the many holes in the U.S. “Government Assessment” and the UN report, the mainstream U.S. news media simply joined the rush to judgment, hyping dubious claims from both U.S. government officials and non-governmental organizations favoring U.S. military intervention in Syria.

The New York Times and other major news outlets that swallowed Bush’s false claims about Iraq WMD a decade ago also began reporting Obama’s dubious assertions about Syria as flat fact, not as issues in serious dispute. As I wrote on Oct. 25, one typically credulous Times story accepted “as indisputable fact that the Syrian government was behind the Aug. 21 attack on a suburb of Damascus despite significant doubts among independent analysts, UN inspectors and, I’m told, U.S. intelligence analysts.”

New details of the rebellion among the intelligence analysts have just been reported by former CIA officer Philip Giraldi for the American Conservative magazine. According to Giraldi’s account, a “mass resignation of a significant number of analysts” was threatened if the Obama administration issued an NIE without acknowledging their dissent.

A “hurriedly updated” NIE had reflected the Syrian government’s suspected use of chemical weapons against rebels and civilians, “while conceding that there was no conclusive proof,” Giraldi wrote, adding:

“There was considerable dissent from even that equivocation, including by many analysts who felt that the evidence for a Syrian government role was subject to interpretation and possibly even fabricated. Some believed the complete absence of U.S. satellite intelligence on the extensive preparations that the government would have needed to make in order to mix its binary chemical system and deliver it on target was particularly disturbing.

“These concerns were reinforced by subsequent UN reports suggesting that the rebels might have access to their own chemical weapons. The White House, meanwhile, considered the somewhat ambiguous conclusion of the NIE to be unsatisfactory, resulting in considerable pushback against the senior analysts who had authored the report.”

Demands from Above

When Obama’s National Security Council demanded more corroborative evidence to establish Syrian government guilt, “Israel obligingly provided what was reported to be interceptions of telephone conversations implicating the Syrian army in the attack, but it was widely believed that the information might have been fabricated by Tel Aviv, meaning that bad intelligence was being used to confirm other suspect information, a phenomenon known to analysts as ‘circular reporting,’” Giraldi wrote.

“Other intelligence cited in passing by the White House on the trajectories and telemetry of rockets that may have been used in the attack was also somewhat conjectural and involved weapons that were not, in fact, in the Syrian arsenal, suggesting that they were actually fired by the rebels.

“Also, traces of Sarin were not found in most of the areas being investigated, nor on one of the two rockets identified. Whether the victims of the attack suffered symptoms of Sarin was also disputed, and no autopsies were performed to confirm the presence of the chemical.

“With all evidence considered, the intelligence community found itself with numerous skeptics in the ranks, leading to sharp exchanges with the Director of Central Intelligence John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. A number of analysts threatened to resign as a group if their strong dissent was not noted in any report released to the public, forcing both Brennan and Clapper to back down.”

The Obama administration’s “solution” to this analyst revolt was to circumvent the normal intelligence process and issue a white paper that would be called a “Government Assessment,” declaring the Syrian government’s guilt as indisputable fact and leaving out the doubts of the intelligence community.

While this subterfuge may have satisfied the institutional concerns of the intelligence community – which didn’t want another Iraq-War-style violation of its procedural protocols on how NIEs are handled – it still left the American people vulnerable to a government deception on a question of war or peace.

Yes, there was no scene comparable to the positioning of CIA Director George Tenet behind Secretary of State Colin Powell as he delivered his deceptive Iraq War speech to the UN Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003. Both Clapper and Brennan were absent from the administration’s testimony to Congress, leaving Secretary Kerry to do most of the talking with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey bracketing Kerry as mostly silent wing men.

And, yes, one could argue that the Obama administration’s hyping of its case against the Assad regime had a happy ending, the Syrian government’s agreement to eliminate its entire CW arsenal. Indeed, most of the grousing about the Syrian outcome has come from neocons who wanted to ride the rush to judgment all the way to another regime-changing war.

Dogs Not Barking

But Americans should be alarmed that a decade after they were deceived into a disastrous war in Iraq based on bogus intelligence – and the complete breakdown of Official Washington’s checks and balances – a very similar process could unfold that brought the country to the brink of another war.

Besides the disturbing fact that the Obama administration refused to release any actual evidence to support its case for war, there was the gullibility (or complicity) of leading news outlets in failing to show even a modicum of skepticism.

The New York Times and other major news organizations failed to note the dogs not barking. Why, for instance, was there no NIE? Why were the U.S. government’s top intelligence officials absent from public presentations of what amounted to an intelligence issue? It shouldn’t have required a Sherlock Holmes to sniff out the silenced intelligence analysts.

When a government leader refuses to reveal any of his supposed proof for a claim and conceals the professionals who don’t agree with his claim, any reasonably savvy person should draw the conclusion that the government leader doesn’t really have a case.

Though some Americans may cite the work of a few Web sites, like our own Consortiumnews.com, as having challenged the misguided conventional wisdom on Syria as we also did on Iraq, they should not draw too much comfort from this. After all, our readership is tiny when compared to the many sources of misinformation being disseminated to the broad American public.

The dangerous reality is that the United States remains vulnerable to the kinds of stampedes in judgment that can end up crushing people around the world.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Fixing Intel Around the Syria Policy

Bowing before the inquisitors on Syria

NOVANEWS

By: Jonathan Cook

One of the problems for the left is the desperate need of too many of its best and brightest to maintain legitimacy “in the mainstream”. In practice, those who could be advancing radical new agendas or ways of thinking to deal with the catastrophic problems we face end up spending too much time watching their backs, toning down their message and trying to promote their careers.

Rather than forging broad coalitions with others on the left, they bow before inquisitions – and not only inquisitions initiated from the left itself (bad enough), but inquisitions imposed on them from those with reactionary agendas.

So it has proved with the Stop the War conference in London on Nov 30, which was designed to ward off the pressures for more military “intervention” in Syria.

Two of the biggest-name speakers due to attend, Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones, both pulled out after a campaign of intimidation from the “humanitarian (sic) interventionists”, led by the Pulse website. The not-so-concealed agenda of the interventionists, even of the fork-tongued variety at Pulse, is a military attack on Syria as a way to … well, I’m not sure even they know what they would achieve by dropping bombs indiscriminately on Syria. (And if they still believe in precision bombing, they obviously haven’t been following the news of our earlier interventions.)

The supposed justification for this campaign of intimidation was the participation of a nun based in Syria, Mother Agnes. (Actually Pulse simply don’t want a Stop the War conference in any form but they don’t have the honesty to admit that.) Mother Agnes is supposedly a supporter of Bashar Assad, though no one seems to be able to offer any definitive proof. We’re just supposed to rely on Pulse’s word, it seems.

Mother Agnes has now pulled out, in what looks like an effort to save the conference.

Rather than producing clear reasons for why Mother Agnes’ views were beyond the pale and why they could not participate were she present, Scahill and Jones simply ran for cover, fearful that Pulse and the Syria war cheerleaders would be able to exploit the mainstream agenda to make them look bad by association.

Scahill and Jones have not done something principled or progressive here. They are trying to stay “onside” with the corporate media, the main political parties and the Syria war-mongers. In short, they are looking out for their careers.

Not that one can necessarily blame them. But we should be honest about identifying what is going on here. They are looking to keep their credibility within a wider political system that, they otherwise seem to acknowledge, is deeply compromised and corrupt. In this episode, they are not chiefly worrying about countering moves towards an attack or saving Syrian lives, even while they claim this is exactly what their participation is about.

The two excellent pieces below set out the ironies and problems of the decisions taken by Scahill and Jones, and are well worth reading.

http://johnhilley.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/nun-speak-none-speak-jones-scahill-and_18.html

http://interventionswatch.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/on-owen-jones-and-the-stop-the-war-coalition/

UPDATE:

Some readers have pointed me to sites suggesting that Mother Agnes’ role in Syria may be a negative one. I want to make it clear that this post is not about Mother Agnes; it is about the obligation on prominent leftists to behave responsibly in matters that concern life-and-death issues for whole nations.

If there is clear evidence that Mother Agnes is a malign influence in Syria, then the duty was on Scahill and Jones to marshall that evidence and set it out to the conference organisers. If the conference organisers hadn’t responded appropriately, then the pair would have been entirely justified in bowing out. But what they did was simply to bolt from the conference after tweeting vaguely about their concerns, undermining the general good the conference is trying to achieve.

What Scahill and Jones implied, intentionally or not, through their actions – by precipitously leaving – was that the case against Mother Agnes was so open and shut the StW conference organisers must have been acting in bad faith, secretly promoting a pro-war agenda by including Mother Agnes. The reality is – and this is the point of my post – that wasn’t their reasoning at all: they were covering their arses, under pressure from the war-mongers.

UPDATE 2:

Helpfully someone has sent me a post just up from Louis Proyect, a Pulse ally, that rather makes my point about Scahill and Jones’s behaviour. Proyect claims that Mother Agnes’ role “as a liar and a warmonger is so well known” that the conference organisers must have been aware of what they were doing in inviting her. (This, as I point out in my earlier update, is the implication of Scahill and Jones’ act of bolting the conference.)

Then Proyect subverts his own argument by explaining how Scahill came to withdraw from the conference. A Syria blogger “tweeted Jeremy Scahill, urging him to look closer at Mother Agnes’s record, which he did.” The blogger’s posts “I am sure helped Scahill make up his mind.”

So Scahill and Jones – like many others of us – obviously didn’t know much about Mother Agnes. Which brings me back to my repeated point: responsible leftists don’t tweet their concerns and then bolt. They engage, explain and try to persuade. If they fail, then they are entitled to act.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Bowing before the inquisitors on Syria

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

November 2013
M T W T F S S
« Oct   Dec »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930