Archive | December 14th, 2015

Academi mercenaries replacing Zio-Wahhabi Emirati forces in Yemen

NOVANEWS
A tank operated by Saudi Zio-Wahhabi led forces fires at a position of Yemeni fighters in the Labanat area, between Yemen’s northern provinces of al-Jawf and Marib on December 5, 2015.

A new report says mercenaries and military advisers from the infamous US security firm, formerly known as Blackwater, are replacing UAE troops in the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi war in Yemen.

The Beirut-based al-Akhbar newspaper said on Thursday UAE forces are being gradually replaced by recruits from the US-based private military contractor, which now goes by the name, Acamedi.

The move came after the UAE evacuated some of its military sites in Yemen following its failures in several operations, the Lebanese daily added.

According to al-Akhbar, UAE’s move to involve the private military contractor in the Yemen conflict has raised objections among some members of the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi led coalition.

On Wednesday, Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah news website said the commander-in-chief of Blackwater mercenaries in the country was killedin the al-Omari district of Ta’izz Province.

Some Australian, British and French advisers and commanders, plus half a dozen Colombian soldiers, were reportedly among the dead. The mercenaries are part of the Zio-Wahhabi Emirati forces that help Saudi Zio-Wahhabi in its war against the impoverished nation.

Blackwater has had to change its name several times due to its ill fame around the world. The company which went by the alias Xe Services before its current name is one of the most notorious private security firms in the world for killing scores of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

Yemen has been under military attacks by Saudi Zio-Wahhabi since March 26. The Saudi strikes were launched to undermine Yemen’s Ansarullah movement and bring fugitive C.I.A puppet Abd- Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, back to power.

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Who Was Behind Indian Parliament Terror Attack?

NOVANEWS

By Sajjad Shaukat

On December 13, 2001, five terrorists had attacked the Indian parliament by penetrating the tight

security in a car with home ministry and parliament labels, and resulted into deaths of the

gunmen along with six police officers, after an exchange of gun battle. The day has come at a

time when in one way or the other, India has been repeating the similar blame game against

On December 14, 2001, Indian ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had accused

Pakistan-based banned militant groups Lashkar-e-Tayba and Jaish-i-Mohammed for the assault

on the Indian parliament. In that regard, the then Home Minister LK Advani had disclosed

indirectly referring to Pakistan, “We have received some clues that a neighbouring country and

some terrorist organisations active there are behind it.”

In this that respect, without any evidence, Indian top officials and TV channels started a blame

game against Pakistan by involving the banned Lashkar-e-Tayba and Pakistan’s primary secret

agency, ISI in relation to the Parliament assault.

Similarly, regarding the November 26 Mumbai terror attacks, Indian rulers and media had started

a blame game against Pakistan, propagating that Indian Mujahideen, the banned Lashkar-e-

Tayba and ISI were behind the Mumbai carnage.

Availing the pretext of the parliament attack and Mumbai catastrophe, New Delhi had, twice,

suspended the process of dialogue with Islamabad in wake of its highly provocative actions like

mobilization of troops. Pakistan had also taken defensive steps to meet any Indian prospective

aggression or surgical strikes. But, India failed in implementing its aggressive plans, because

Pakistan also possesses atomic weapons.

It is of particular attention that on July 19, 2013, the Indian former home ministry and ex-

investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror attacks in Mumbai in November, 2008

and assault on Indian Parliament in January, 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to

strengthen anti-terrorism laws.

It has clearly proved that Indian secret agencies; particularly RAW arranged coordinated terror

attacks on the Indian parliament and in Mumbai and orchestrated those dramas only to defame

Pakistan in the world, but also to fulfill a number of other aims.

It is notable that renowned thinkers, Hobbes, Machiavelli and Morgenthau opine that sometimes,

rulers act upon immoral activities like deceit, fraud and falsehood to fulfill their countries’

selfish aims. But such a sinister politics was replaced by new trends such as fair-dealings,

reconciliation and economic development. Regrettably, India is still following past politics in

It is mentionable that during the talks between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan, at Ufa,

Islamabad has conveyed to New Delhi a comprehensive agenda to discuss all outstanding issues,

including Kashmir as well as terrorism. But, New Delhi’s insistence to restrict the agenda for the

dialogue to terrorism or cross-border terrorism only, demonstrated India’s confused policy

Indian foreign secretary level talks were held in Islamabad on March 3, 2015. In this context,

Indian External Affairs Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Pakistani Foreign Secretary

Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry discussed contentious issues including Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen,

Sir Creek and other bilateral issues. While, last year, India postponed the Secretary level talks

with Pakistan; under the pretext that during his Indian visit Sartaj Aziz met Kashmiri leaders.

In fact, a lack of seriousness on India’s part to settle all disputes, especially Kashmir issue has

compelled New Delhi to follow a self-contradictory and confused strategy towards Islamabad.

Hence, New Delhi earnestly found various pretexts like the parliament attack and Mumbai

mayhem to cancel peace talks.

Particularly, on May 27, 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Pakistan’s

Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff in the oath-taking ceremony proved faultless, because Modi raised

baseless issues like terrorism as pre-condition to advance the Pak-Indian dialogue. He said that

slow pace of trial against the terrorists of the Mumbai 26/11 terror case; being held in Pakistan is

As regards the case of cross-border terrorism, India has shown ambivalent approach which can

be judged from various recent developments. In this connection, on July 27, 2015, three gunmen

dressed in army uniforms killed at least seven people, including three civilians and four

policemen in the Indian district of Gurdaspur, Punjab.

Without any investigation, Indian high officials and media started accusing Pakistan, its banned

militant outfits and intelligence agencies for the Gurdaspur incident. Indian Police remarked that

the attackers are from Indian-held Kashmir, and some said that they were Sikh separatists, while

Indian Punjab police chief claimed that the three gunmen were Muslim, but as yet unidentified.

Contradicting speculations, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament that the

gunmen came from Pakistan.

Khalistan Movement Chief Manmohan Singh stated that the Gurdaspur incident is “a conspiracy

of Indian secret agency RAW to defame Pakistan.”

Besides, in the recent past, prior to the US President Obama’s second visit to New Delhi, Indian

intelligence agencies orchestrated a boat drama to defame Pakistan, allegedly reporting that a

Pakistani fishing boat as a Pakistan-based outfit group Lashkar-e-Taiba was intercepted by

Indian Coast Guards, off the coast of Porebandar, Gujarat. And Indian Coast Guard crew set the

boat on fire and it exploded. But, its reality exposed Indian terrorism, because, some Indian high

officials admitted that there was no such boat which came from Pakistan.

India intends to obtain various hidden purposes by blaming Islamabad for terrorism. First of all,

it wants to divert the attention of the international community from the involvement of RAW

which has well-established its network in Afghanistan, and is fully assisting cross-border

incursions and terror-activities in various regions of Pakistan through Baloch separatist elements,

Jundullah and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) including their affiliated outfits. On a number

of occasions, these insurgent groups claimed responsibility for their acts of sabotage.

New Delhi is also trying to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Recent

terror-attacks in Pakistan and Balochistan might be noted as instance. Indian RAW has also

created a heavily funded China-Pakistan and Afghanistan specific desk to target growing Pak-

China-Afghanistan relations.

And on the direction of the Indian leader of the fundamentalist party BJP and Prime Minister

Modi, Indian forces have accelerated unprovoked shelling across the Line of Control and

Working Boundary, while creating war-like situation between Pakistan and India.

Notably, Islamabad has raised the question of Indian cross-border terrorism and RAW

involvement in Pakistan at the UNO forum, with strong evidence which was also shown to the

In fact, on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans, BJP got a land sliding victory in

the Indian elections 2014. Hence, Prime Minister Modi is giving impetus to Hindu chauvinism

against Pakistan and the Muslims. In the recent months, extremists of Hiudu fundamentalist

outfits intensified assaults on the Muslims and Pakistani artists, famous literary

persons—members of the cricket boards etc., and even on moderate Hindus.

Modi’s anti-Pakistan policies have also external aspects. In this regard, while addressing a

ceremony during his Bangladesh tour, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi openly stated on

June 7, 2015 that Indian forces helped Mukti Bahini (Militants) to turn East Pakistan into

Bangladesh. He elaborated that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had played an active

role in separating Bangladesh from Pakistan, and he had also come to Delhi in 1971 to

participate in the Satyagraha Movement, launched by Jana Sangh as a volunteer to garner

support for the Mukti Bahini members.

It is noteworthy that since Prime Minister of Bangladesh and leader of the ruling party, Awami

League, Sheikh Hasina Wajid came into power, India has been employing various tactics to

entrap Bangladesh by exploiting her pro-Indian tilt to fulfill its strategic interests. In this context,

Prime Minister Hasina Wajid has continuously been pursuing Indian directions by conducting

anti-Pakistan campaign. Therefore, after passing of 42 years to the events of 1971, which

resulted into the separation of East Pakistan, Abdul Qadir, the leader of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) was

hanged because of his loyalty to Pakistan.

Bangladesh’s ruling party, under Sheikh Hasina Wajid maintains an anti-Pakistan posture with

sinister designs of expressing animosity, antagonism and unrestrained emotional flare-up. The

aim is to exploit feelings of masses by keeping the “hate Pakistan” agenda alive. This enables

Awami League and Hasina Wajid to remain significant in Bangladesh’s power politics despite

their failure to deliver good governance to the People. It also helps them to appease their mentors

in India. Using abusive language against Pakistan and its armed forces makes Hasina Wajid

relevant in Indian politics, while she herself prefers those entities which derive sadistic pleasure

by depicting Pakistan in bad light.

In this connection, in connivance with New Delhi, Bangladesh government and Awami League

have launched a massive media campaign in order to spread venom against Pakistan, its armed

forces, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and against all those Bangladeshi nationals who were

loyal to the state during 1971 crisis.

By neglecting Islamabad’s positive approach, Bangladesh government has continued its anti-

Pakistan approach to please India. It could be judged from the statement of Prime Minister

Hasina Wajid who has vocally said, “Bangladesh has no room for the people loving Pakistan.”

As a matter of fact, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been following pro-Indian policies. In this

respect, on the secret insistence of India, unlike the past years, a ceremony was held in Dhaka on

March 24, 2013, with full pump and show to honour ‘Foreign Friends of Bangladesh Award,’ in

relation to the separation of East Pakistan. For this aim, several foreign friends who included

various institutions and media anchors from various countries, particularly India were invited.

The main purpose behind was to distort the image of Pakistan and its armed forces regarding

alleged atrocities, committed against the Bengalis. Notably, in December, 2012, Prime Minister

Hasina had refused to attend D-8 conference in Islamabad unless Pakistan tendered apology for

the alleged genocide of Bengalis.

While, a famous Bengali journalist Sarmila Bose authored a book, “Dead Reckoning: Memories

of the 1971 Bangladesh War” after thorough investigation. Her book was published in 2011.

While countering exaggerations of the Indian and Bengali Journalists, Bose argues that the

number of Bengalis killed in 1971 was not three million, but around 50,000, while Bengalis were

equally involved in the bloodshed of Punjabis, Biharis, Pashtoons and Balochis.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was already in connivance with India for separation of East Pakistan.

Therefore, when East Pakistan was occupied by Indian Army in 1971, he stated with pleasure

that his 24 years old dream of an independent Bangladesh had been fulfilled. While commenting

upon 1971 tragedy, Indra Gandhi clearly divulged Indian hegemonic designs by saying “Today

we have sunken Two Nation Theory in bay of Bengal.”

Majib had earlier developed his contacts with Indian rulers and training camps of Mukti Bahini,

established by Indian army and RAW which also funded Mujibur Rehman’s general elections in

Undoubtedly, various anti-Pakistan developments such as Modi’s open confession regarding

Indian support to militants of Mukti Bahini, his arrival in Dhaka to receive award of Atal Bihari

Vajpai, presentation of ‘Surrender Ceremony’ photograph by Bangladeshi leader to Modi,

ruthless death sentences to Jamat-e-Islami Pro-Pakistan leaders under highly doubtful and

objectionable trials etc. show that Indo-Bangladesh media nexus backed by RAW has become

more active for last 4/5 years to create mistrust among people of Bangladesh against Pakistan.

Nonetheless, Like the Mumbai terror attacks, Indian RAW arranged the attack on the Indian

 

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 IndiaComments Off on Who Was Behind Indian Parliament Terror Attack?

Syria-Dangers of the Divide and Rule Policy

NOVANEWS

By Sajjad Shaukat

Like the United States, Ottoman Empire of Turkey was a large multi-ethnic state. European

powers, especially the Great Britain played a key role in disintegration of the Ottoman Empire.

In order to maintain their control, one of the British strategies was divide and rule which was

being practiced through various tactics such as arrangement of rebellions, manipulation of ethnic

and sectarian differences and so on. The Britain provided soldiers, weapons and money to the

Arab subjects against that Empire. According to the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the British and

French agreed to divide the Arab world between themselves. The Britain took control of what are

now Iraq, Kuwait, and Jordan. The French were given modern Syria, Lebanon and southern

Turkey. Thus, they brought about the end of the Ottomans and the rise of the new states like

Jordon, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Kuwait etc. with borders running across the Middle East,

dividing Muslims from each other.

The British Mandate of Palestine was given by the League of Nations to the United Kingdom to

administer the territory. During the World War I, the Zionists pressurized the British government

to settle them in Palestine after the war. Within the British government, there were many who

were sympathetic to this political movement. As regards the Balfour Declaration, it was a letter

dated November 2, 1917 from British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord

Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community for onward transmission to the Zionist

Federation—the leader of Zionism in the United States during that period, Louis Brandeis who

was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1916 by Woodrow Wilson, was a man with deep

conspiratorial connections.

On 14th May 1948, the UNO implemented the 1947 UN Partition Plan and established the state

of Israel. With backing of the US and West, Israel continued usurping the Palestinian land.

It is notable that despite Pakistan’s membership of the US sponsored military alliances SEATO

and CENTO including Pak-US bilateral military agreement, America did not come to help

Pakistan against India which separated the East Pakistan in 1971.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. (R) who served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence,

within the US Defence Department, with numerous essays on strategy for military journals is the

architect of infamous 2006—New Middle East map and is an advocator for the disintegration of

Muslim states on sectarian and religious lines. His map shows a number of Islamic countries

including Pakistan as truncated. While writing in the June 2006 issue of The Armed Forces

Journal of the US, he had suggested Washington about the creation of a “Greater Balochistan”

which would integrate the Baloch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran—and the Frontier

Province (Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa) should be incorporated into Afghanistan—fragmentation of

The term New Middle East which was first coined by the then US Secretary of State

Condoleezza Rice in June 2006 in Tel Aviv coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-

Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Israeli ex-Prime Minister Olmert

favored the New Middle East project in wake of the Anglo-American backed Israeli siege of

Orchestrated drama of the 9/11, fake global war on terror in advancing the agenda of the

Zionists, Israeli lobbies and the neoconservatives, occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led

NATO, Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, like the creation of Al-Qaeda by the CIA, the Islamic

State group (ISIS) as part of the anti-Muslim campaign, US president Obama’s silence over the

supply (Smuggling) of oil by ISIS to the European countries, toppling the elected government in

Egypt, creation of more collapsed states such as Libya, Syria, Yemen etc., CIA support to the

rebels, mercenaries and ISIS terrorists to topple the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other

related-developments are part of further balkanization of the Middle East in accordance with the

divide and rule policy to promote the interests of the Zionists and a greater Israel.

Henry Kissinger had suggested the split of Iraq into three independent regions, ruled by Kurds,

Shias and Sunnis. In this regard, the Asia Times Online reported in 2005, “The plan of

balkanizing Iraq into several smaller states is an exact replica of an extreme right-wing Israeli

plan…an essential part of the balkanization of the whole Middle East. Curiously, Henry

Kissinger was selling the same idea even before the 2003 invasion of Iraq…this is classic divide

and rule: the objective is the perpetuation of Arab disunity.”

Here, it is of particular attention that the US had planned to spark a civil war between the Sunnis

and Shias. For the purpose, a study of Rand Corporation, titled ‘US Strategy in the Muslim

World After 9/11’ was conducted on behalf of the then US Deputy Chief of Staff for Air Force.

Its report which was released on December 27, 2004 advocated that Sunni-Shia sectarian

division should be exploited to promote the US objectives in the Muslim World. The report was

first implemented in Iraq. CIA also got the services of Israeli secret agency Mossad to fuel

sectarian violence in Iraq. In 2004, major terror-attacks were carried out against the Shias.

Afterwards, a chain of Shia-Sunni clashes started between Iraqi Shias and Sunnis, targeting each

other’s mosques, religious leaders through bomb blasts, suicide attacks etc. After Iraq’s

experiment, more deadly pattern of sectarian strife and clashes have been conducted in Pakistan.

However, under Obama, America is still manipulating sectarian differences between Saudi

Arabia and Iran—also noted in case of Syria and Yemen.

Americans were badly frustrated by the recent developments such as Russian airstrikes on the

ISIS strongholds in the northern Syria, its coalition with Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon-based

Hezbollah in support of President Assad, Putin’s statement, indicating the Zionist regime in the

US and Israel for their phony war on ISIS remarking, “NWO (New Word Order) agents and

Satan worshipers simply have no clothes,” including the Vienna meeting where the US Secretary

of State John Kerry agreed to keep the Syrian president in power, not to allow ISIS militants

group to reign in Syria, US decision of sending 50 special forces to Syria to help in taking down

ISIS terrorists had clearly exposed the covert aims of the US fake global war on terror.

Frustrated by the disclosure of their double game, the neo-conservatives, Zionists and Israel

needed the assistance of the whole Europe and other western countries to achieve multiple-

objectives including geopolitical interests (Securing the smuggling of oil by ISIS and Turkey) of

Tel Aviv and Obama Administration against the Islamic World and Russia.

For the purpose, conspiracy was definitely prepared and the leading role was played by Mossad.

In this respect, arrest of Israeli Col. Shahak in Iraq, his admission, proving links of Al-Qaeda and

ISIS with America and Israel (Mossad) and medical treatment of the ISIS warriors in the Israeli

hospitals might be cited as instance. ISIS which was already being assisted by the CIA and

Mossad was directed to send its militants in Paris, where they conducted the November 13 terror

Learning no positive lesson from the drastic aftermath—anti-Muslim phenomena of the 9/11

tragedy, US-led western rulers and politicians have been creating similar chauvinism by

instigating ‘emotionalism’ among the peoples of their countries in the post-Paris attacks. Europe

has been put on high alert and Paris assaults are being taken as assaults on the whole continent.

In this context, the US has succeeded in getting the support of its western allies against Russia. It

has also deviated from its previous stand that Asad will remain in power and future of Syria will

be decided by its people. Some unexpected developments like dispatch of American Special

Forces in Syria, participation of the UK, movements of France’s troops and naval units near the

Syrian border, similar move by German troops in the Syria-Iraq battlefield, Turkey’s deployment

of larger military units close to the Syrian border, acceleration of their airstrikes on ISIS

(Including the Syrian forces) etc. show that instead of a broader coalition (Including Russia), the

west has chosen the US-led anti-ISIS alliance either to oust Assad or to kill him like the Libyan

President Col. Gaddaf, after throwing the country into endless anarchy. Syria may be divided

into two parts, one controlled by the Russian coalition and the other by the US-led NATO.

Another scenario is that proxy war may prolong in Syria. But US-led alliance will try to occupy

the Syrian oil installations.

On the other side, Russia which has intensified its airstrikes on the ISIS strongholds has

increased its military build up in Syria also by deploying its S-400 missile systems to the

Hmeymim airbase. Besides, some alarming moves like tension between Moscow and Ankara

over latter’s downing of a Russian jet Su-24 bomber on the Syrian-Turkish border for an alleged

airspace violation, Turkey’s deployment of military troops, armored vehicles inside Iraq near the

city of ISIS controlled Mosul to allow the smuggling of oil, in the pretext of fighting ISIS

warriors and Iraq’s warning to Ankara to vacate its territories have further deteriorated the

situation. Now, it seems that this precarious situation of Syria can lead to world war 111 or may

culminate into nuclear war.

Meanwhile, to confirm the continued assistance of the west and NATO allies against Russia and

the Muslim World, ISIS was again used by the Mossad and the America’s Zionist Jews in

connection with the shooting by a Muslim couple, namely Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan

Farook, at an office party in San Bernardino, California on December 2, which left 14 people

dead and wounded 21, is now being investigated as an act of terrorism. Setting aside the facts

that both are non-state actors and had no official backing of any Muslim state, the FBI is linking

the couple with the Syria-based ISIS and Pakistan, as being the only nuclear country in the

Islamic World, the latter is also another target of the Israel-led US.

Now, most dangerous development is that like the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, American and

western politicians are creating stereotypes and prejudices against the Muslims by projecting the

so-called threat of Islamophobia with the sole aim of getting the sympathies of their peoples to

increase their vote bank. They and their media have been introducing dangerous socio-religious

dimension in their societies by equating the “war on terror” with “war on Islam” and acts of Al

Qaeda and ISIS with all the Muslims—dividing world politics on cultural and religious lines

with the negative projection of Islam. For the aims, phobia of ISIS has been intensified to

disintegrate Syria as part of old policy of divide and rule.

Meanwhile, addressing at a rally in South Carolina, US Republican presidential front-runner

Donald Trump on December 7 called for a ban on Muslims, entering the United States in

response to the San Bernardino shooting. He stated, “We have no choice…more Sept. 11-style

attacks if stern measures are not taken.” In other words, more terror attacks by the Zionists and

Mossad could be managed either in America or in Europe to fragmentize the Islamic World to

obtain the interests of Israel.

Reports indicate that like the aftermath of the 9/11 disaster, in the post-terror attacks in Paris and

San Bernardino, the Muslims are being persecuted in the US and other western countries,

particularly in Europe. All laws in west regarding immigration, personal search, detention and

arrest of the suspected persons are being applied to the Muslims. Besides, Muslims in the west

are facing severe backlash in form of attacks on the mosques and threats.

Notably, the pro-American rulers of Arab countries including other Islamic countries are trying

to protect their kingdoms, Sheikhdoms and governments by giving priorities to the Israeli global

dominance at the cost of their own peoples. In wake of the present anti-Muslim phenomena in

the west, more resentment is found against the US-led west, and even the moderate Muslims are

likely to join the militants. This could result into revolts against these Muslim rulers or civil

wars—another danger of the divide and rule policy.

If Syrian question remains unresolved, it will create chaos in the Middle East, enveloping the

entire world. Divide and rule policy will culminate into “Clash of Civilizations,” as predicated by

Huntington. Any major war or such a clash will take the US and Europe to the era—from 1511

to 1648 when Europe witnessed a prolonged arena of barbarism, religious bigotry and

intolerance, resulting into beastly violence, and the Treaty of Westphalia was concluded in 1648

in order to maintain the nation-state system whose basic purpose was to honor the dignity of

 

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

Email: sajjad_logic_pak@hotmail.com

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syria-Dangers of the Divide and Rule Policy

Blocking Democracy as Syria’s Solution

NOVANEWS
By Robert Parry 

The solution to the crisis in Syria could be democracy – letting the people of Syria decide who they want as their leaders – but it is the Obama administration and its regional Saudi “allies,” including U.S.-armed militants and jihadists, that don’t want to risk a democratic solution because it might not achieve the long-held goal of “regime change.”

Some Syrian opposition forces, which were brought together under the auspices of the Saudi monarchy in Riyadh this past week, didn’t even want the word “democracy” included in their joint statement. The New York Times reported on Friday, “Islamist delegates objected to using the word ‘democracy’ in the final statement, so the term ‘democratic mechanism’ was used instead, according to a member of one such group who attended the meeting.”

Even that was too much for Ahrar al-Sham, one of the principal Jihadist groups fighting side-by-side with Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, the two key elements inside the Saudi-created Army of Conquest, which uses sophisticated U.S.-supplied TOW missiles to kill Syrian government troops.

Ahrar al-Sham announced its withdrawal from the Riyadh conference because the meeting didn’t “confirm the Muslim identity of our people.” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sought to maintain a secular government that protects the rights of Christians, Alawites, Shiites and other religious minorities, but Sunni militants have been fighting to overthrow him since 2011.

Despite Ahrar al-Sham’s rejection of the Saudi-organized conference, all the opposition participants, including one from Ahrar al-Sham who apparently wasn’t aware of his group’s announcement, signed the agreement, the Times reported.

“All parties signed a final statement that called for maintaining the unity of Syria and building a civil, representative government that would take charge after a transitional period, at the start of which Mr. Assad and his associates would step down,” wrote Times’correspondent Ben Hubbard.

But the prospects of Assad and his government just agreeing to cede power to the opposition remains highly unlikely. An obvious alternative – favored by Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin – is to achieve a ceasefire and then have internationally supervised elections in which the Syrian people could choose their own leaders.

Although President Barack Obama insists Assad is hated by most Syrians – and if that’s true, he would presumably lose any fair election – the U.S. position is to bar Assad from the ballot, thus ensuring “regime change” in Syria, a long-held goal of Official Washington’s neoconservatives.

In other words, to fulfill the neocons’ dream of Syrian “regime change,” the Obama administration is continuing the bloody Syrian conflict which has killed a quarter million people, has created an opening for Islamic State and Al Qaeda terrorists, and has driven millions of refugees into and through nearby countries, now destabilizing Europe and feeding xenophobia in the United States.

For his part, Assad called participants in the Saudi conference “terrorists” and rejected the idea of negotiating with them. “They want the Syrian government to negotiate with the terrorists, something I don’t think anyone would accept in any country,” Assad told Spanish journalists, as he repeated his position that many of the terrorists were backed by foreign governments and that he would only “deal with the real, patriotic national opposition.”

Kinks in the Process

Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters on Friday that he was in contact with senior Saudi officials and noted, “there are some questions and obviously a couple of – in our judgment – kinks to be worked out” though expressing confidence that the problems could be resolved.

A key problem appears to be that the Obama administration has so demonized Assad and so bought into the neocon goal of “regime change” that Obama doesn’t feel that he can back down on his “Assad must go!” mantra. Yet, to force Assad out and bar him from running in an election means escalating the war by either further arming the Sunni jihadists or mounting a larger-scale invasion of Syria with the U.S. military confronting Syrian and now Russian forces to establish what is euphemistically called “a safe zone” inside Syria. A related “no-fly zone” would require destroying Syrian air defenses, now supplied by the Russians.

Obama has largely followed the first course of action, allowing Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and other Sunni “allies” to funnel U.S. weapons to jihadists, including Ahrar al-Sham which fights alongside Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front as the two seek to transform Syria into a Islamic fundamentalist state, a goal shared by Al Qaeda’s spin-off (and now rival), the Islamic State.

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has termed Obama’s choice of aiding the jihadists a “willful decision,” even in the face of DIA warnings about the likely rise of the Islamic State and other extremists.

In August 2012, DIA described the danger in a classified report, which noted that “The salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq, later ISI or ISIS and then the Islamic State] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The report also said that “If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared salafist principality in eastern Syria” and that “ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.”

Despite these risks, Obama continued to insist that “Assad must go!” and let his administration whip up a propaganda campaign around claims that Assad’s forces launched a sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013. Though many of the U.S. claims about that attack have since been discredited – and later evidence implicated radical jihadists (possibly collaborating with Turkish intelligence) trying to trick the U.S. military into intervening on their side – the Obama administration did not retract or clarify its initial claims.

By demonizing Assad – much like the demonization of Russian President Putin – Obama may feel that he is deploying “soft power” propaganda to put foreign adversaries on the defensive while also solidifying his political support inside hawkish U.S. opinion circles, but false narratives can take on a life of their own and make rational settlements difficult if not impossible.

Now, even though the Syrian crisis has become a tsunami threatening to engulf Europe with a refugee crisis and the United States with anti-Muslim hysteria, Obama can’t accept the most obvious solution: compel all reasonable sides to accept a ceasefire and hold an internationally supervised election in which anyone who wants to lead the country can stand before the voters.

If Obama is right about the widespread hatred of Assad, then there should be nothing to worry about. The Syrian people will dictate “regime change” through the ballot box.

Democracy – supposedly one of the U.S. government’s goals for Middle East countries – can be the answer to the problem. However, since democracy can be an unpredictable process, it might not guarantee “regime change” which apparently makes democracy an unsuitable solution for Syria.

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The Insidious Relationship between Washington and ISIS

NOVANEWS
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By Prof. Tim Anderson

Reports that US and British aircraft carrying arms to ISIS have been shot down by Iraqi forces have been met with shock and denial in western countries. Few in the Middle East doubt that Washington is playing a ‘double game’ with its proxy armies in Syria, but some key myths remain important amongs the significantly more ignorant western audiences.

A central myth is that Washington now arms ‘moderate Syrian rebels’, to both overthrow the Syrian Government and supposedly defeat the ‘extremist rebels’. This claim became more important in 2014, when the rationale of US aggression against Syria shifted from ‘humanitarian intervention’ to a renewal of Bush’s ‘war on terror’.

A distinct controversy is whether the al Qaeda styled groups (especially Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS) have been generated as a sort of organic reaction to the repeated US interventions, or whether they are actually paid agents of Washington.

Certainly, prominent ISIS leaders were held in US prisons. ISIS leader, Ibrahim al-Badri (aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) is said to have been held for between one and two years at Camp Bucca in Iraq. In 2006, as al-Baghdadi and others were released, the Bush administration announced its plan for a ‘New Middle East’, a plan which would employ sectarian violence as part of a process of ‘creative destruction’ in the region.

According to Seymour Hersh’s 2007 article, ‘The Redirection’, the US would make use of ‘moderate Sunni states’, not least the Saudis, to ‘contain’ the Shia gains in Iraq brought about by the 2003 US invasion. These ‘moderate Sunni’ forces would carry out clandestine operations to weaken Iran and Hezbollah, key enemies of Israel. This brought the Saudis and Israel closer, as both fear Iran.

While there have been claims that the ISIS ‘caliph’ al-Baghdadi is a CIA or Mossad trained agent, these have not yet been well backed up. There are certainly grounds for suspicion, but independent evidence is important, in the context of a supposed US ‘war’ against ISIS . So what is the broader evidence on Washington’s covert links with ISIS?

Not least are the admissions by senior US officials that key allies support the extremist group. In September 2014 General Martin Dempsey, head of the US military, told a Congressional hearing ‘I know major Arab allies who fund [ ISIS ]‘. Senator Lindsey Graham, of Armed Services Committee, responded with a justification, ‘They fund them because the Free Syrian Army couldn’t fight [Syrian President] Assad, they were trying to beat Assad’.

The next month, US Vice President Joe Biden went a step further, explaining that Turkey, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia ‘were so determined to take down Assad … they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad … [including] al Nusra and al Qaeda and extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world … [and then] this outfit called ISIL’. Biden’s admissions sought to exempt the US from this operation, as though Washington were innocent of sustained operations carried out by its key allies. That is simply not credible.

Washington’s relationship with the Saudis, as a divisive sectarian force in the region, in particular against Arab nationalism, goes back to the 1950s, when Winston Churchill introduced the Saudi King to President Eisenhower. At that time Washington wanted to set up the Saudi King as a rival to President Nasser of Egypt. More recently, British General Jonathan Shaw has acknowledged the contribution of Saudi Arabia’s extremist ideology: ‘This is a time bomb that, under the guise of education. Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really. And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money’, Shaw said.

Other evidence undermines western attempts to maintain a distinction between the ‘moderate rebels’, now openly armed and trained by the US, and the extremist groups Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS. While there has indeed been some rivalry (emphasised by the London-based, Muslim Brotherhood-aligned, Syrian Observatory of Human Rights), the absence of real ideological difference is best shown by the cooperation and mergers of groups.

As ISIS came from Iraq in 2013, its Syrian bases have generally remained in the far eastern part of Syria. However Jabhat al Nusra (the official al Qaeda branch in Syria, from which ISIS split) has collaborated with Syrian Islamist groups in western Syria for several years. The genocidal slogan of the Syrian Islamists, ‘Christians to Beirut and Alawis to the Grave’, reported many times in 2011 from the Farouk Brigade, sat well with the al Qaeda groups. Farouk (once the largest ‘Free Syrian Army’ group) indeed killed and ethnically cleansed many Christians and Alawis.

Long term cooperation between these ‘moderate rebels’ and the foreign-led Jabhat al-Nusra has been seen around Daraa in the south, in Homs-Idlib, along the Turkish border and in and around Aleppo. The words Jabhat al Nusra actually mean ‘support front’, that is, support for the Syrian Islamists. Back in December 2012, as Jabhat al Nusra was banned in various countries, 29 of these groups reciprocated the solidarity in their declaration: ‘We are all Jabhat al-Nusra’.

After the collapse of the ‘Free Syrian Army’ groups, cooperation between al Nusra and the newer US and Saudi backed groups (Dawud, the Islamic Front, the Syrian Revolutionary Front and Harakat Hazm) helped draw attention to Israel’s support for al Nusra, around the occupied Golan Heights. Since 2013 there have been many reports of ‘rebel’ fighters, including those from al Nusra, being treated in Israeli hospitals. Prime Minister Netanyahu even publicised his visit to wounded ‘rebels’ in early 2014. That led to a public ‘thank you’ from a Turkey-based ‘rebel’ leader, Mohammed Badie (February 2014).

The UN peacekeeping force based in the occupied Golan has reported its observations of Israel’s Defence Forces ‘interacting with’ al Nusra fighters at the border. At the same time, Israeli arms have been found with the extremist groups, in both Syria and Iraq. In November 2014 members of the Druze minority in the Golan protested against Israel’s hospital support for al Nusra and ISIS fighters. This in turn led to questions by the Israeli media, as to whether ‘ Israel does, in fact, hospitalize members of al-Nusra and Daesh [ISIS]‘. A military spokesman’s reply was hardly a denial: ‘In the past two years the Israel Defence Forces have been engaged in humanitarian, life-saving aid to wounded Syrians, irrespective of their identity.’

The artificial distinction between ‘rebel’ and ‘extremist’ groups is mocked by multiple reports of large scale defections and transfer of weapons. In July 2014 one thousand armed men in the Dawud Brigade defected to ISIS in Raqqa. In November defections to Jabhat al Nusra from the Syrian Revolutionary Front were reported. In December, Adib Al-Shishakli, representative at the Gulf Cooperation Council of the exile ‘ Syrian National Coalition’, said ‘opposition fighters’ were ‘increasingly joining’ ISIS ‘for financial reasons’. In that same month, ‘rebels’ in the Israel-backed Golan area were reported as defecting to ISIS, which had by this time began to establish a presence in Syria’s far south. Then, in early 2015, three thousand ‘moderate rebels’ from the US-backed ‘Harakat Hazzm’ collapsed into Jabhat al Nusra, taking a large stock of US arms including anti-tank weapons with them.

ISIS already had US weapons by other means, in both Iraq and Syria , as reported in July, September and October 2014. At that time a ‘non aggression pact’ was reported in the southern area of Hajar al-Aswad between ‘moderate rebels’ and ISIS, as both recognised a common enemy in Syria: ‘the Nussayri regime’, a sectarian way of referring to supposedly apostate Muslims. Some reported ISIS had bought weapons from the ‘rebels’.

In December 2014 there were western media reports of the US covert supply of heavy weapons to ‘Syrian rebels’ from Libya, and of Jabhat al-Nusra getting anti-tank weapons which had been supplied to Harakat Hazm. Video posted by al-Nusra showed these weapons being used to take over the Syrian military bases, Wadi Deif and Hamidiyeh, in Idlib province.

With ‘major Arab allies’ backing ISIS and substantial collaboration between US-armed ‘moderate rebels’ and ISIS, it is not such a logical stretch to suppose that the US and ‘coalition’ flights to ISIS areas (supposedly to ‘degrade’ the extremists) might have become covert supply lines. That is precisely what senior Iraqi sources began saying, in late 2014 and early 2015.

For example, as reported by both Iraqi and Iranian media, Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui said in January that ‘an American aircraft dropped a load of weapons and equipment to the ISIS group militants at the area of al-Dour in the province of Salahuddin’. Photos were published of ISIS retrieving the weapons. The US admitted the seizure but said this was a ‘mistake’. In February Iraqi MP Hakem al-Zameli said the Iraqi army had shot down two British planes which were carrying weapons to ISIS in al-Anbar province. Again, photos were published of the wrecked planes. ‘We have discovered weapons made in the US , European countries and Israel from the areas liberated from ISIL’s control in Al-Baqdadi region’, al-Zameli said.

The Al-Ahad news website quoted Head of Al-Anbar Provincial Council Khalaf Tarmouz saying that a US plane supplied the ISIL terrorist organization with arms and ammunition in Salahuddin province. Also in February an Iraqi militia called Al-Hashad Al-Shabi said they had shot down a US Army helicopter carrying weapons for the ISIL in the western parts of Al-Baqdadi region in Al-Anbar province. Again, photos were published. After that, Iraqi counter-terrorism forces were reported as having arrested ‘four foreigners who were employed as military advisors to the ISIL fighters’, three of whom were American and Israeli. So far the western media has avoided these stories altogether; they are very damaging to the broader western narrative.

In Libya, a key US collaborator in the overthrow of the Gaddafi government has announced himself the newly declared head of the ‘Islamic State’ in North Africa. Abdel Hakim Belhaj was held in US prisons for several years, then ‘rendered’ to Gaddafi’s Libya, where he was wanted for terrorist acts. As former head of the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, then the Tripoli-based ‘Libyan Dawn’ group, Belhaj has been defended by Washington and praised by US Congressmen John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

Some image softening of the al Qaeda groups is underway. Jabhat al-Nusra is reported to be considering cutting ties to al Qaeda, to help sponsor Qatar boost their funding. Washington’s Foreign Affairs magazine even published a survey claiming that ISIS fighters were ‘surprisingly supportive of democracy’. After all the well published massacres that lacks credibility.

The Syrian Army is gradually reclaiming Aleppo, despite the hostile supply lines from Turkey, and southern Syria, in face of support for the sectarian groups from Jordan and Israel. The border with Lebanon is largely under Syrian Army and Hezbollah control. In the east, the Syrian Army and its local allies control most of Hasaka and Deir e-Zour, with a final campaign against Raqqa yet to come. The NATO-GCC attempt to overthrow the Syrian Government has failed.

Yet violent destabilisation persists. Evidence of the covert relationship between Washington and ISIS is substantial and helps explain what Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad calls Washington’s ‘cosmetic war’ on ISIS. The extremist group is a foothold Washington keeps in the region, weakening both Syria and Iraq . Their ‘war’ on ISIS is ineffective. Studies by Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgent database show that ISIS attacks and killings in Iraq increased strongly after US air attacks began. The main on the ground fighting has been carried out by the Syrian Army and, more recently, the Iraqi armed forces with Iranian backing.

All this has been reported perversely in the western media. The same channels that celebrate the ISIS killing of Syrian soldiers also claim the Syrian Army is ‘not fighting ISIS’. This alleged ‘unwillingness’ was part of the justification for US bombing inside Syria. While it is certainly the case that Syrian priorities have remained in the heavily populated west, local media reports make it clear that, since at least the beginning of 2014, the Syrian Arab Army has been the major force engaged with ISIS in Hasaka, Raqqa and Deir eZour. A March 2015 Reuters report does concede that the Syrian Army recently killed two ISIS commanders (including Deeb Hedjian al-Otaibi) along with 24 fighters, at Hamadi Omar.

Closer cooperation between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah is anathema to Israel, the Saudis and Washington, yet it is happening. This is not a sectarian divide but rather based on some clear mutual interests, not least putting an end to sectarian (takfiri) terrorism.

It was only logical that, in the Iraqi military’s recent offensive on ISIS-held Tikrit, the Iranian military emerged as Iraq’s main partner. Washington has been sidelined, causing consternation in the US media. General Qasem Suleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force is a leading player in the Tikrit operation.  A decade after Washington’s ‘creative destruction’ plans, designed to reduce Iranian influence in Iraq, an article in Foreign Policy magazine complains that Iran’s influence is ‘at its highest point in almost four centuries’.

——

Select references

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya (2006) Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a ‘New Middle East’

http://www.globalresearch.ca/plans-for-redrawing-the-middle-east-the-project-for-a-new-middle-east/3882

Seymour Hersh (2007) The Redirection

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

Al Akhbar (2011) Syria: What Kind of Revolution?

http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/540

The New Yorker (2013) Syrian Opposition Groups Stop Pretending

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/syrian-opposition-groups-stop-pretending

RT (2014) Anyone but US! Biden blames allies for ISIS rise

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11l8nLZNPSY

Iraqi News (2015) American aircraft dropped weapons to ISIS, says MP

http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/american-aircraft-airdropped-weapons-to-isis-says-mp/

Washington Post (2015) Syrian rebel group that got U.S. aid dissolves

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/syrian-fighter-group-that-got-us-missiles-dissolves-after-major-defeat/2015/03/01/286fa934-c048-11e4-a188-8e4971d37a8d_story.html

David Kenner (2015) For God and Country, and Iran, Foreign Policy

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/03/05/for-god-and-country-and-iran/

Reuters (2015) Syrian air strike kills two Islamic State commanders

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/07/us-mideast-crisis-syria-islamicstate-idUSKBN0M30F720150307

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US Air Force reveals $3bn drone expansion plan

NOVANEWS

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RT 

Doubling the number of pilots and support staff and expanding to more bases around the US are two parts of the Air Force’s plan to meet the Pentagon’s goal of expanding drone operations. The $3 billion wish list still needs congressional approval.

The plan was announced on Thursday, after months of soliciting feedback from the USAF’s drone pilots and support staff, who have complained about being overworked and under-appreciated. It envisions adding 75 MQ-9 Reaper drones to the current fleet of 175 Reapers and 150 MQ-1 Predators, increasing the number of squadrons from eight to 17, and adding up to 3,500 new pilots and support staff, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Currently, most of the USAF drone operations are flown out of Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. The base, about an hour’s drive from Las Vegas, has no housing facilities, so the 3,325 military personnel and civilian contractors working round-the-clock shifts must commute.

Another reason for the expansion is the rising need for surveillance flights, according to General Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, head of USAF’s Air Combat Command (ACC), which oversees drone operations.

“Right now, 100% of the time, when a MQ-1 or MQ-9 crew goes in, all they do is combat,” said Carlisle. “So we really have to build the capacity.”

Another part of the plan would see the command structure in the largely improvised drone program brought in line with the more traditional chain of command within the USAF.

Of the planned 3,500 additional airmen, 600 to 700 will be officers and the rest will be enlisted, ACC spokeswoman Major Genieve David told Defense News. The expansion will include pilots, sensor operators, maintenance crews and intelligence analysts.

Rather than concentrating all drone operations at Creech AFB, the Air Force is considering splitting the program to multiple facilities around the US and maybe even overseas. Matching shifts to time zones would reduce the stress on the operators, USAF officials have told reporters.

The bases currently considered for the drone program expansion are Beale AFB near Sacramento, California; Davis-Monahan AFB near Tucson, Arizona; Langley AFB near Newport News, Virginia and the joint base Pearl Harbor-Hickam near Honolulu, Hawaii. The Pentagon is also considering placing a drone operations center at Lakenheath, a Royal Air Force base in Suffolk, England, the LA Times reported. However, that would require a basing agreement with the UK authorities.

In August, the Pentagon revealed plans to significantly expand its drone operations by 2019, going from 61 flights a day to around 90. The USAF would fly 60 flights a day by itself, with the Army flying up to 16 flights. The Special Operations Command would be responsible for four flights and contractors for as many as ten. These numbers do not include the drone flights operated by the CIA.

In October, a whistleblower from inside the drone program revealed the tactics and targeting methods used by the US military in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen, protesting the reliance on unreliable signal intelligence and the civilian death tolls. During one five-month period of operations in Afghanistan, for example, nearly 90 percent of people killed were not the intended targets – but the Pentagon would still classify them as “enemy killed in action (EKIA),” unless there was specific proof that the male casualties were not terrorists.

“Anyone caught in the vicinity is guilty by association,” the whistleblower said.

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US Nukes Leave ‘Legacy of Death on American Soil’

NOVANEWS

The US nuclear program poses an abstract threat to global stability, but it has also had direct repercussions for those working in atomic weapons facilities. A new investigative report reveals the staggering risks of radiation exposure from the Pentagon’s aging arsenal.

America’s nearly 70-year-old nuclear program has left an indelible mark on the world. But the Pentagon’s massive stockpile of atomic weapons, rotting away in bunkers, has also gradually poisoned the bombs’ caretakers.

In addition to the roughly 200,000 people killed during the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a new investigative report fromMcClatchy has found that at least 33,480 Americans have been killed from radiation exposure during the last seven decades.

The report is based on over 100 interviews with individuals who have worked in and lived near weapons plants, as well as the analysis of over 70 million federal records.

In 2001, the US government created a special fund to quietly pay out compensation for those affected by nuclear radiation. Officials initially estimated that the program would only need to serve 3,000 people, but that number has soared in 14 years.

While over 33,000 of the individuals on that list are dead, they represent only a fraction of the 107,394 people who have been diagnosed with cancer after working with the nation’s nuclear stockpile. Through the program, American taxpayers have spent $12 billion covering medical expenses, and that amount only covers half of those affected.

Over 50,000 people have gone without compensation, despite their debilitating illnesses.

“I thought I was approved and shared it with my wife,” George Smith Anderson Jr., a former worker at a nuclear weapons plant in Georgia, told McClatchy, “and within no time at all it was disapproved.” He died of multiple myeloma last month.

The report comes as the United States is about to spend an estimated $1 trillion upgrading its nuclear stockpile of 4,700 weapons. The plan has drawn fierce criticism on a number of fronts. Many have questioned the need to spend such exorbitant sums, especially as the world works toward nuclear disarmament.

The upgrades have also come under fire for potentially breaching a pledge made by the Obama administration. While Washington is not supposed to develop any new weapons, many have criticized the modifications being made to the current arsenal. Adding new tail kits, the Pentagon aims to make its “dumb” nukes precision guided. The upgrades will also give the bombs an adjustable yield.

“If I can drive down the yield, drive down, therefore, the likelihood of fallout, etc, does that make it more usable in the eyes of some – some president or national security decision-making process?” former head of US Strategic Command General James Cartwright told PBS.

“And the answer is, it likely could be more usable.”

But McClatchy’s report also raises health concerns over the upgrades, as stronger safety standards have not prevented radiation exposure. Faced with questions over the program’s hefty price tag, officials have also been looking for ways to cut costs. Much of those savings will come from workers’ health benefits.

“Whenever you work at a nuclear plant and you deal with nuclear material, the most important thing to you is going to be your medical benefits,” Roger Richard, a production technician at a warhead reassembly plant, told McClatchy.

“It’s not prejudiced,” Clarence Rashada, the president of Amarillo Metal Trades Union, told McClatchy, speaking of the illnesses nuclear workers take on.

“If you’re on the plant…you’ll get something eventually.”

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Nazi regime releases Dawabsha arson suspect on house arrest

NOVANEWS

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Nazi on Thursday released Nazi Jewish settler arrested for suspected involvement in a fatal arson attack on a Palestinian family in July, Zionist media reported.

The Nazi Jewish settler, connected to a Nazi Jewish extremist organization, was arrested along with several others as a suspect in an arson that killed three members of the Dawabsha family in Duma village in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus.

The suspect was reportedly released and transferred to house arrest for five days at his home in the illegal Nazi Jewish settlement of Benyamin, east of Ramallah city.

The Nazi Jewish settler, whose name has not been released, is a married father of two.

The man was arrested 12 days ago by the Nazi intelligence and presented to an Nazi court on Wednesday, Zionist media reported. His detention was extended to Sunday, but was unexpectedly released on Friday.

On Dec. 3, Nazi forces announced that they had arrested several Nazi in connection to the Dawabsha arson. The information about the arrests was released after a weeks-long gag order was partially lifted on the investigation.

All other information regarding the investigation is still under a gag order requested by the Nazi police.

Suspects involved in the attack were identified by Nazi defense establishment in September, but no charges were filed at the time, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

On July 31, suspected Nazi Jewish settlers smashed the windows of the Dawabsha family home before throwing flammable liquids and Molotov cocktails inside.

The words “revenge” and “long live the Messiah” were sprayed in Hebrew outside of the house, immediately indicating that the arson was the work of Nazi Jewish extremists.

Ali Saad Dawabsha, one-and-a-half years old, was trapped in the house and burned alive. The infant’s mother and father, Riham and Saad, later died from severe burns.

Orphaned four-year-old, Ahmad Dawabsha, is the only remaining survivor of the attack and remains in the hospital receiving treatment.

The attack sparked criticism from the international community for Nazi regime failure to hold Nazi Jewish settlers accountable for attacks on Palestinians, in effect being complicit in such attacks.

Nazi leadership at the time condemned the Dawabsha attack as “terrorism,” and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Rrights group B’Tselem slammed the reaction by Nazi officials as “empty rhetoric.”

“Official condemnations of this attack are empty rhetoric as long as politicians continue their policy of avoiding enforcement of the law on Israelis who harm Palestinians, and do not deal with the public climate and the incitement which serve as backdrop to these acts,” the group said at the time.

Thursday’s partial lift on the gag-order came one day after the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, criticized Nazi regime for the “slow progress” in investigating the arson.

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Where’s the Rule of Law in Our War on ISIS?

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By L. Michael Hager 

The San Bernardino massacre has elicited from politicians and others many calls for stronger military action and even demands for travel restrictions on Muslims and the closing of mosques.

In his oval office address to the nation on December 6, President Obama rightly called on Americans “to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently.” He assured the nation that our success in defeating terrorists “won’t depend on … abandoning our values.”

Yet in a seeming contradiction, he promised to hunt down terrorist plotters “in any country where it is necessary” and use air strikes to “take out ISIL leaders and their infrastructure in Iraq and Syria.”

Before 9/11 our “common values” included respect for the rule of law. Not any more, it would seem. Over the past decade and a half, we have witnessed increasing disrespect for the rule of law. Preemptive strikes, targeted drone killing and the torture, sexual humiliation and forced feeding of prisoners at Guantanamo violate basic legal norms for human rights and the conduct of war– norms which the U.S. helped establish in the wake of World War II.

The main obstacle to the rule of law today is Guantanamo. As a continuing monument to such prison abuses as torture, forced feeding and indefinite detention, Guantanamo is a valuable resource for ISIS in its radicalization and recruitment of young Americans.

Despite President Obama’s first day in office pledge to close it down, Guantanamo continues to confine many innocent prisoners, claim huge sums from taxpayers and shame all Americans by what it represents to the world.

According to the nonprofit organization Human Rights First, 107 prisoners remain in Guantanamo (down from the total number of 780). The current roster includes:

* Detainees approved for release: 48,

* Detainees convicted by military commission: 3,

* Detainees currently being tried by military commission: 7,

* Detainees being held without charge or trial: 49.

Of the current Guantanamo population, 90 (84% of the total) have been imprisoned for more than ten years.

It costs US taxpayers approximately $387 million a year to operate Guantanamo (an annual cost of more than $3 million per prisoner).

According to Andy Worthington (closeguantanamo.org), the group of prisoners recommended for prosecution includes Mohamedou Ould Slahi, author of the recent bestseller, Guantanamo Diary.

Given Slahi’s “extraordinary account of rendition, captivity and torture” and the apparent failure of his captors to elicit evidence of wrongdoing despite more than 15 years of interrogation and imprisonment, his continuing incarceration raises a serious question: are the CIA and DOD continuing to detain him in order to continue to block disclosure of the names of his torturers (redacted from his published account)?

Sadly, the ongoing affront to the rule of law has raised few eyebrows in the media or in government institutions charged with legal oversight. Rarely, do we hear reference to law or legal norms by our elected officials. Indeed, the Department of Justice appears complicit in the torture scandals of Bush/Cheney.

TV anchors and newspaper reporters blithely echo the demands of political candidates that the U.S. “carpet bomb” Islamist targets and “take out suspected terrorists” anywhere in the world. They ignore international laws and conventions that put a strict limit on preemptive strikes and prohibit the endangering of civilians.

More distressing is the general failure of our religious institutions, universities and bar associations to speak out against the current degrading of the rule of law. Why has there been no strong outcry from the nation’s premier law schools as they witness military strikes that violate the UN Charter and international conventions? Why do they ignore the lack of due process, indefinite detention and the inadequacies of jerrybuilt “military commissions?”

Why have our churches, synagogues and mosques not questioned human rights violations (some detailed in the recent Senate report summary) including the now regular use of drones for targeted killing and the reliance on torture and force-feeding?

Bombing, drone strikes and internal restrictions on the freedom of religion and movement are more likely to breed terrorists than build security. If we should, as our President suggests, avoid abandoning our values—values that include respect for the rule of law– we should accelerate the Periodic Review Boards (PRB) process, free Guantanamo prisoners approved for release and try the remainder in U.S. courts.

Before his term of office ends, the President must fulfill his promise of 2009 and close Guantanamo, with or without Congressional support.

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Sarin materials brought via Turkey & mixed in Syrian ISIS camps

NOVANEWS

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Turkish MP to RT

Islamic State terrorists in Syria received all necessary materials to produce deadly sarin gas via Turkey, Turkish MP Eren Erdem has told RT, insisting there are grounds to believe a cover up has taken place.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) member, Erdem, brought up the issue for public discussion in parliament last week, citing evidence from an abruptly-closed criminal case. He accused Ankara of failing to investigate Turkish supply routes used to provide terrorists with toxic sarin gas ingredients.

“There is data in this indictment. Chemical weapon materials are being brought to Turkey and being put together in Syria in camps of ISIS which was known as Iraqi Al Qaeda during that time,” Erdem told RT.

Sarin gas is a military-grade chemical that was used in a notorious attack on Ghouta and several other neighborhoods near the Syrian capital of Damascus in 2013. The attacks were pinned on the Syrian leadership, who in turn agreed to get rid of all chemical weapons stockpiles under a UN-brokered deal amid an imminent threat of US intervention.

Addressing parliamentarians on Thursday, Erdem showed a copy of the criminal case number 2013/120 that was opened by the General Prosecutor’s Office in the city of Adana in southern Turkey.

The investigation revealed that a number of Turkish citizens took part in negotiations with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) representatives on the supply of sarin gas. Pointing to evidence cited in the criminal case, he said that wiretapped phone conversations proved that an Al-Qaeda militant, Hayyam Kasap, acquired sarin.

“These are all detected. There are phone recordings of this shipment like ‘don’t worry about the border, we’ll take care of it’ and we also see the bureaucracy is being used,” continued Erdem.

Based on the gathered evidence Adana authorities conducted raids and arrested 13 suspects in the case. But a week later, inexplicably, the case was closed and all the suspects immediately crossed the Turkish-Syrian border, Erdem said.

“About the shipment, Republic prosecutor of Adana, Mehmet Arıkan, made an operation and the related people were detained. But as far as I understand he was not an influential person in bureaucracy. A week after, another public prosecutor was assigned, took over the indictment and all the detainees were released. And they left Turkey crossing the Syrian border,” he said.

“The phone recordings in the indictment showed all the details from how the shipment was going to be made to how it was prepared, from the content of the labs to the source of the materials. Which trucks were going to be used, all dates etc. From A to Z, everything was discussed and recorded. Despite all of this evidence, the suspects were released,” he said.

“And the shipment happened,” Erdem added. “Because no one stopped them. That’s why maybe the sarin gas used in Syria is a result of this.”

Speaking to RT, Erdem said that according to some evidence Turkish Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation was also involved, with some unconfirmed reports pointing in the direction of a government cover up, with Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag’s involvement.

Certain evidence suggests Bozdag wanted to know beforehand from the sarin gas producer when and if the Islamists will use the chemical weapon.

“When I read the indictment, I saw clearly that these people have relationships with The Machinery and Chemical Industry Institution of Turkey and they don’t have any worries about crossing the border. For example in Hayyam Kasap’s phone records, you hear him saying sarin gas many times, saying that the ateliers are ready for production, materials are waiting in trucks which were supposedly carrying club soda,” he told RT.

The parliamentarian said that now he feels like there is a witch hunt against him, after he confronted the justice minister. Bozdag, according to Erdem denied only the part that he wanted to get notified about the operations beforehand.

Furthermore, Erdem argues that the West purposely blamed the regime of Bashar Assad for the August 2013 attacks and used it as part of the pretext to make US military intervention in Syria possible. The MP said that evidence in Adana’s case, according to his judgment, proves that IS was responsible.

“For example the chemical attack in Ghouta. Remember. It was claimed that the regime forces were behind it. This attack was conducted just days before the sarin operation in Turkey. It’s a high probability that this attack was carried out with those basic materials shipped through Turkey. It is said the regime forces are responsible but the indictment says it’s ISIS. UN inspectors went to the site but they couldn’t find any evidence. But in this indictment, we’ve found the evidence. We know who used the sarin gas, and our government knows it too,” he said.

At the same time, Erdem also accused the West and Europe in particular for providing “basic materials” to create such a powerful chemical weapon.

“All basic materials are purchased from Europe. Western institutions should question themselves about these relations. Western sources know very well who carried out the sarin gas attack in Syria. They know these people, they know who these people are working with, they know that these people are working for Al-Qaeda. I think is Westerns are hypocrites about the situation,” he concluded.

Read more:

Reports of massive chemical attack near Damascus as UN observers arrive in Syria

‘Abandoned’ barrels containing deadly sarin seized in rebel-held Syria

Homemade sarin was used in attack near Damascus – Lavrov

Posted in Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Sarin materials brought via Turkey & mixed in Syrian ISIS camps

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