It is unfortunate that at a time when our infrastructure is crumbling, and when the House Republican leadership is pushing a bill that would slash funding for food stamps even further than the looming cuts due to the end of stimulus money, and which would kick severely impoverished childless singles under 50 off of the program, that the nation is instead focused on whether our nation should plunge once again into an expensive unpopular war that is not in our national interest. Here are a few recent articles by some unheralded voices inside and outside of the mainstream media who oppose such a war and the ramped up arming of the rebels.
[Update Sat. 9/14/13] This morning, the US State Department released the outlines of an agreement with Russia concerning the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons. The introduction contains the following:
The United States and the Russian Federation concur that this UN Security Council resolution should provide for review on a regular basis the implementation in Syria of the decision of the Executive Council of the OPCW, and in the event of non-compliance, including unauthorized transfer, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, the UN Security Council should impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.The inclusion of the words "non-compliance, including unauthorized transfer, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria" will surely leave room for much mischief by the US, Israel, Al Qaeda, and the other enemies of Syria. After all, it almost begs the rebels to use their chemical weapons once again in order to provide the pretext for an attack by the US and it's anti-Syrian allies. Hopefully, any measures under Chapter VII will have to be taken before the UN Security Council for approval, but lack of UN approval may not keep the US, NATO, or others from acting unilaterally and illegally. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today on RT that:
. . . the agreement did not include any potential use of force against Syria. He however said that deviations from the plan, including attacks on UN inspectors, would be brought to the UN Security Council, which would decide on further action.In the RT video, it was stated that Kerry, for the first time publicly, agreed with Russia that the rebels had used chemical weapons in Syria.
Remembering that Israel has often said that the peace overtures and other conciliatory efforts of its enemies are "not doing enough," and that the US repeatedly said similar to Saddam Hussein before the unjustified invasion of Iraq, John Kerry's recent tough guy talk, i.e., "The words of the Syrian regime in our judgment are simply not enough,"may be an ominous sign of things to come.
This first article points out the usual howling hypocrisy of the US when it comes to chemical weapons and other "weapons of mass destruction."
For 67 years the US has pursued its own interests at the expense of global justice – no wonder people are sceptical now
By George Monbiot
September 10, 2013 "The Guardian" - You could almost pity these people. For 67 years successive US governments have resisted calls to reform the UN security council. They've defended a system which grants five nations a veto over world affairs, reducing all others to impotent spectators. They have abused the powers and trust with which they have been vested. They have collaborated with the other four permanent members (the UK, Russia, China and France) in a colonial carve-up, through which these nations can pursue their own corrupt interests at the expense of peace and global justice.
See Also: Report: CIA believes Israel acquired chemical weapons decades ago
No More War for Israel?
But for this turn away from war to be complete and lasting, greater awareness is needed of the forces that have been pushing the United States into these wars, and will surely continue to do so until they are clearly and openly rejected.
An American friend who knows Washington well recently told us that “everybody” there knows that, as far as the drive to war with Syria is concerned, it is Israel that directs U.S. policy. Why then, we replied, don’t opponents of war say it out loud, since, if the American public knew that, support for the war would collapse? Of course, we knew the answer to that question. They are afraid to say all they know, because if you blame the pro-Israel lobby, you are branded an anti-Semite in the media and your career is destroyed.
One who had that experience is James Abourezk, former Senator from South Dakota, who has testified: “I can tell you from personal experience that, at least in the Congress, the support Israel has in that body is based completely on political fear – fear of defeat by anyone who does not do what Israel wants done. I can also tell you that very few members of Congress–at least when I served there – have any affection for Israel or for its lobby. What they have is contempt, but it is silenced by fear of being found out exactly how they feel. I’ve heard too many cloakroom conversations in which members of the Senate will voice their bitter feelings about how they’re pushed around by the lobby to think otherwise. In private one hears the dislike of Israel and the tactics of the lobby, but not one of them is willing to risk the lobby’s animosity by making their feelings public.” Abourezk added : “The only exceptions to that rule are the feelings of Jewish members, who, I believe, are sincere in their efforts to keep U.S. money flowing to Israel. But that minority does not a U.S. imperial policy make.”
Since we do not have to run for Congress, we feel free to take a close look at that highly delicate question. First, we’ll review the evidence for the crucial role of the pro-Israel lobby, then we’ll discuss some objections.
For evidence, it should be enough to quote some recent headlines from the American and Israeli press.
First, according to the Times of Israel (not exactly an anti-Zionist rag): “Israel intelligence seen as central to U.S. case against Syria.”2 (Perhaps the fact that it is “central” also explains why it is so dubious.1 )
Then, in Haaretz: “AIPAC to deploy hundreds of lobbyists to push for Syria action”. Or, in U.S. News and World Report: “Pro-Israel lobby Seeks to Turn Tide on Syria Debate in Congress”. According to Bloomberg: “Adelson New Obama Ally as Jewish Groups Back Syria Strike”. The worst enemies of Obama become his allies, provided he does what “Jewish groups” want. Even rabbis enter the dance: according to the Times of Israel, “U.S. rabbis urge Congress to back Obama on Syria”.
The New York Times explained some of the logic behind the pressure: “Administration officials said the influential pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC was already at work pressing for military action against the government of Mr. Assad, fearing that if Syria escapes American retribution for its use of chemical weapons, Iran might be emboldened in the future to attack Israel. … One administration official, who, like others, declined to be identified discussing White House strategy, called AIPAC ‘the 800-pound gorilla in the room,’ and said its allies in Congress had to be saying, ‘If the White House is not capable of enforcing this red line’ against the catastrophic use of chemical weapons, ‘we’re in trouble’.”
Even more interesting, this part of the story was deleted by the New York Times, according to M.J. Rosenberg, which is consistent with the fact that the lobby prefers to act discreetly.
Now, to the objections:
[The rest of the article is here.]
Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.
The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades. . . . .
From the outset, Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future. We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law.
We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.
By John Chuckman
September 13, 2013 "Information Clearing House - I read that an American Senator, Bob Menendez, wanted “to vomit” when he was supplied with a copy of Vladimir Putin’s New York Times’ op-ed piece about Syria.
Well, I’m sure it wasn’t just a matter of Sen. Menendez’s delicate stomach: there have been many times in the past I wanted to vomit over something in The New York Times.
It is, after all, an impossibly pretentious, often-dishonest publication faithfully serving America’s military-industrial-intelligence complex, one which never fails to support America’s countless wars, insurgencies, dirty tricks, and coups – all this while publicly flattering itself as a rigorous source of journalism and even a newspaper “of record.” Many regard The Times as simply the most worn-out key of that thunderous public-relations instrument an ex-Agency official once called his “mighty Wurlitzer.” Only in the antediluvian political atmosphere of America could The Times manage to have something of a reputation for being “liberal.”
Mr. Menendez, as head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, holds a powerful position, one he has used in lockstep with President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to promote illegal war. Like them he blubbers about rights and democracy and ethics while planning death and destruction to people who have done nothing against the United States except disagreeing with it and being hated by that greatest single outside determinant of American foreign policy, Israel.
Sen. Menendez’s personal anecdote actually provides a perfect miniature replica of the entire operation of America’s foreign affairs. American officials never fail to invoke words about democracy or human rights when addressing their next piece of dirty work or effort to pressure another people into doing what America wants.
So naturally the Senator might be a bit upset over Putin’s upstaging the top officials of the United States and proving himself the superior statesman and rational politician in every detail.
First, every honest, well-read person, not trying to promote American special interests, knows there is no proof that Assad used chemical weapons. Absolutely none. Even as I write, an Australian newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald, reports that the UN inspection team could find no evidence of chemical weapons used in the place cited by Syria’s rebel army.
A video which made the rounds among American allies and which purported to show the attack has been declared a fake by the UN. Russia’s secret services also declared it a fake.
The only other bit of “evidence” worth mentioning is a supposed recording of Syrian officials provided to American officials by Mossad. Yes, that’s Mossad, the very people who pride themselves on deception and who have a long track record of expertly using it, even in several cases successfully against the United States.
You do not kill thousands of people and destroy a country’s infrastructure citing rubbish like that.
Again, as I write this, a former British Ambassador, Craig John Murray, states that the United States has been deceived by Mossad with its purported recording and that Britain’s super-sensitive listening post in Cyprus, vastly superior to Israel’s listening assets, had picked up no such information.
Germany, based on its secret service operations, also has publicly stated that Assad did not use chemical weapons.
And, of course, after all America’s huffing and blowing and threatening in recent months, Assad and his senior associates would have to have been genuinely mad to use them, but there is no sign of madness. Assad remains a calm and thoughtful person whose voice is largely silenced in the West by his having been declared arbitrarily not an acceptable head of state.
Second, there is significant proof that ugly elements of the rebellion – the substantial al Qaeda-like components who hate Assad for his tolerance towards all religions in Syria – did indeed use limited amounts on more than one occasion, hoping, undoubtedly to create a provocation for American entry. The UN has said so and so have other agencies.
We have incidents, reported reliably, of rebel elements receiving small canisters of chemical weapons, likely from Saudi agents working on behalf of American policy. We also have an incident of a canister caught by authorities moving across the Turkish border in the hands of rebel fighters, the Turkish border having been used extensively since the beginning of the rebellion as a way to inject weapons and lunatic fighters into Syria and as a refuge for rebels when corned by Syria’s army. Even the American military confirms this last event.
Third, we absolutely know that Israel has a stockpile of this horrible stuff, Sarin, but not a word is said about it. This stockpile has been confirmed by CIA sources recently. Even before CIA sources, we knew of Israel’s chemical weapons from the 1992 crash of an El Al cargo plane in Amsterdam, a plane whose illegal cargo proved to be precursor chemicals for such weapons.
Now, if you were regarded as an enemy by Israel, the most ruthless country in the Mideast when simply measured by the number of times it has attacked its neighbors, wouldn’t you want weapons to counteract theirs? And, of course, to counteract not just Israel’s chemical weapons but secret nuclear ones? So it is hardly a terrible thing for Assad’s military to posses them.
Perhaps most importantly, the United States is in no position to draw lines or make public judgments about the behavior of anyone with regard to such weapons.
It stands as likely the greatest user of various chemical weapons over the last four or five decades. Napalm and Agent Orange were used on a colossal scale in Vietnam, a true holocaust in which the United States killed about three million people. The residue from millions of pounds of Agent Orange still causes horribly mangled babies to be born in Vietnam, and the United States has never lifted a finger to clean the mess or treat its victims.
In the terrible Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88, the United States supplied Iraq – the clear aggressor in the war – with the materials for chemical weapons which eventually killed many thousands of Iranian soldiers.
In the illegal invasion of Iraq – where the United States killed upwards of half a million people and created millions of refugees – it employed white phosphorus (a good substitute for napalm), flame-throwers, depleted-uranium (cancer-inducing) ammunition, and hideous child-crippling cluster bombs. The children of Iraq today suffer a plague of cancer caused by breathing tons of vaporized depleted-uranium the United States dumped there.
In the unnecessary invasion of Afghanistan, the United States used massive carpet bombing to support the thugs of the Northern Alliance, who happened to be old enemies of the Taleban, though often being equally horrible in behavior. This was one of the first instances of the strategy America employed in Libya and wants to employ in Syria: local rebels on the ground, supplied with money and intelligence and weapons, are supported by high-tech hell from the air, yielding the needed results with minimum American casualties.
Thousands of Taleban prisoners of war were “disappeared’ by members of the Northern Alliance by sealing them in trucks, driving them out to the desert to suffocate, and then dumping their bodies in mass graves – all this while American soldiers looked on and picked their noses.
Nothing which has happened in recent years so horrifyingly recalls the work of Hitler’s Einsatzkommandos using mobile killing-trucks before the death camps were built, yet there can be no question that senior American commanders and the White House were aware of these events.
And of course, the only nation on earth ever to actually use atomic weapons – twice, and both times on civilian, non-military targets – is the United States, a country which also seriously planned to use them in Cold War pre-emptive strikes against Russia and China and later in Vietnam.
The voice of the United States today is shrill with hypocrisy and dishonesty and self-interest when it is heard condemning Syria, or anyone else, for using unacceptable weapons. Where was that voice when its ally, Israel, committed atrocities, as it did in Lebanon and in Gaza and on the high seas against unarmed humanitarians or when it steals the land of defenceless occupied people? Indeed, the white phosphorus and cluster bombs Israel used in some of Israel’s attacks were supplied by the United States, as were the planes and artillery used to deliver them.
And this brings us to the real cause of the rebellion in Syria. Israel would like Assad gone and Syria reduced to a broken state the way Iraq was reduced. It does not want to do this directly because Syria is a serious military opponent and not easy prey, and Israel’s doing so would arouse new waves of anger in the Mideast and new difficulties for the United States.
So the United States has had a long-term program of creating a kind of cordon sanitaire around Israel, breaking all of its potential opponents for many hundreds of miles around, but doing so always under contrived circumstances of supporting peoples’ revolts or removing dictators. It surreptitiously supplies large amounts of money and useful intelligence to the genuinely disaffected peoples of various states, encouraging them to revolt, indicating air and other support once things are underway. This is reminiscent of the dirty work of Henry Kissinger carried out with Iraq’s Kurdish population in 1975, promising them anything if they revolted but failing to deliver and leaving them to face a massive slaughter by Saddam Hussein’s troops.
Today’s is a complex black operation using a bizarre collection of intermediaries and helpers. Events in Benghazi, Libya, never explained in the United States, were certainly one little corner of this with the CIA operating there to collect weapons and jihadist types for secret entry into Syria through Turkey.
Saudi Arabia too plays a large role, surprising as that may seem to some given that Israel is a major beneficiary. Saudi Arabia’s ruling family plays the anti-Israel card just enough to keep its own fundamentalist Wahhabi population from revolting. But in truth, the wealthy Saudi elites have always had more in common with American and Israeli elites than with popular leaders in the Mideast.
Those Saudi elites were rendered extremely vulnerable to American pressures during 9/11. George Bush, always a good friend and beneficiary of Saudi largess, secretly rounded up a number of them who were in the United States (at places like Las Vegas casinos) and shipped them back to Saudi Arabia for their safety. As it proved, the greatest number of perpetrators of 9/11 were Saudi extremists, and it was discovered, though not publicly announced, that bin Laden’s movement regularly received bribes from the royal family to keep his operations out of Saudi Arabia. Thus the royal family financed bin Laden. All this made the Saudis extremely nervous and willing to be of more conspicuous future assistance in the Mideast.
And so they are, supplying money and weapons through various routes to the rebels. There is also a report of the Saudis releasing more than twelve hundred violent prisoners from death row in return for their training and going to Syria to fight as jihadist volunteers.
American officials know all these things while they stand and blubber about democratic rebels and “red lines” and other fairy stories. They want to bomb Syria because the recent success of Assad’s army has begun to endanger the huge effort to have him overthrown. Just as their planes and missiles tipped the scales in Libya with a phony zero-fly zone, they want to repeat that success in Syria.
Now, Putin appears to have upset the plan with admirable statesmanship, and Sen. Menendez will just have to console himself with Pepto-Bismol.
But then the Russians have always been great chess players.
On September 11, 2013
In the second century B.C., Cato the Elder, a Roman Senator, would end every speech he made with the admonition "Delenda Est Carthago," meaning that the city of Carthage, Rome’s perennial rival, must be destroyed. Among other claims, the Romans accused the Carthaginians of engaging in human sacrifice to their god Ba’al Hammon, something that one might describe as the "red line" of that era as Greco-Roman culture abhorred the practice and condemned those who engaged in it. Even though Rome dominated the Mediterranean and Carthage was in decline, Cato believed that one day the ancient resentments would again rise to the surface and a resurgent Carthage would discover a new Hannibal and take revenge. In other words, the survival of Carthage was seen as a threat to the continued existence of the Roman Republic. Cato’s argument was convincing enough to many Romans that it resulted in the Third Punic War in which Carthage was indeed destroyed.
[For Rest of article go here ]
Classified document shows deadly weapon found in home of arrested Islamists
By F. Michael Maloof
September 12, 2013 "Information Clearing House - "WND" - As part of the Obama administration’s repeated insistence – though without offering proof – that the recent sarin gas attack near Damascus was the work of the Assad regime, the administration has downplayed or denied the possibility that al-Qaidalinked Syrian rebels could produce deadly chemical weapons.
However, in a classified document just obtained by WND, the U.S. military confirms that sarin was confiscated earlier this year from members of the Jabhat al-Nusra Front, the most influential of the rebel Islamists fighting in Syria.
The document says sarin from al-Qaida in Iraq made its way into Turkey and that while some was seized, more could have been used in an attack last March on civilians and Syrian military soldiers in Aleppo.