President Barack Obama in an address to the Nation on Tuesday September 10 urged Americans to support a “potential strike on Syria” while stating that “a diplomatic effort to get Syrian President Bashar al-Assad” to turn over control of the country’s chemical weapons” is underway.

Meanwhile, a resolution in the US Congress is on hold.

Obama said that “the US must be prepared to strike Syria to deter “other tyrants” from using weapons of mass destruction”.

Who are these other tyrants?  The greatest stockpiles of WMD are in possession of the USA. 

The Address is replete with lies and fabrications.

Visit Global Research for analysis and commentary on Obama’s September 10 address.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: My fellow Americans, tonight I want to talk to you about Syria, why it matters and where we go from here.

Over the past two years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the oppressive regime of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a brutal civil war. Over 100,000 people have been killed. Millions have fled the country. In that time, America’s worked with allies to provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition, and to shape a political settlement, but I have resisted calls for military action because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force, particularly after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The situation profoundly changed, though, on August 21st, when Assad’s government gassed to death over 1,000 people, including hundreds of children. The images from this massacre are sickening: men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas, others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath, a father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk.

On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off-limits, a crime against humanity and a violation of the laws of war.

This was not always the case. In World War I, American G.I.s were among the many thousands killed by deadly gas in the trenches of Europe. In World War II, the Nazis used gas to inflict the horror of the Holocaust. Because these weapons can kill on a mass scale, with no distinction between soldier and infant, the civilized world has spent a century working to ban them. And in 1997, the United States Senate overwhelmingly approved an international agreement prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, now joined by 189 governments that represent 98 percent of humanity.

On August 21st, these basic rules were violated, along with our sense of common humanity. No one disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria. The world saw thousands of videos, cell phone pictures, and social media accounts from the attack, and humanitarian organizations told stories of hospitals packed with people who had symptoms of poison gas.

Moreover, we know the Assad regime was responsible. In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad’s chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gas masks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighborhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces. Shortly after those rockets landed, the gas spread, and hospitals filled with the dying and the wounded.

We know senior figures in Assad’s military machine reviewed the results of the attack and the regime increased their shelling of the same neighborhoods in the days that followed. We’ve also studied samples of blood and hair from people at the site that tested positive for sarin.

When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory, but these things happened. The facts cannot be denied. The question now is what the United States of America and the international community is prepared to do about it, because what happened to those people — to those children — is not only a violation of international law, it’s also a danger to our security.
Let me explain why.e need to deal with #Syria via diplomacy if possible.”If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using them. Over time, our troops would again face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield, and it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons and to use them to attack civilians.
If fighting spills beyond Syria’s borders, these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan and Israel. And a failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction and embolden Assad’s ally, Iran, which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon or to take a more peaceful path.This is not a world we should accept. This is what’s at stake. And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.
That’s my judgment as commander-in-chief, but I’m also the president of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. So even though I possess the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security to take this debate to Congress.
I believe our democracy is stronger when the president acts with the support of Congress, and I believe that America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together. This is especially true after a decade that put more and more war-making power in the hands of the president and more and more burdens on the shoulders of our troops, while sidelining the people’s representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force.Now, I know that after the terrible toll of Iraq and Afghanistan, the idea of any military action — no matter how limited — is not going to be popular. After all, I’ve spent four-and-a-half years working to end wars, not to start them. Our troops are out of Iraq. Our troops are coming home from Afghanistan. And I know Americans want all of us in Washington — especially me — to concentrate on the task of building our nation here at home, putting people back to work, educating our kids, growing our middle class. It’s no wonder then that you’re asking hard questions.
So let me answer some of the most important questions that I’ve heard from members of Congress and that I’ve read in letters that you’ve sent to me. First, many of you have asked, won’t this put us on a slippery slope to another war? One man wrote to me that we are still recovering from our involvement in Iraq. A veteran put it more bluntly: This nation is sick and tired of war.My answer is simple. I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan.
I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo. This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective, deterring the use of chemical weapons and degrading Assad’s community will take appropriate action.”Others have asked whether it’s worth acting if we don’t take out Assad. Now, some members of Congress have said there’s no point in simply doing a pinprick strike in Syria.Let me make something clear: The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks. Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver.
I don’t think we should remove another dictator with force. We learned from Iraq that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next. But a targeted strike can makes Assad — or any other dictator — think twice before using chemical weapons.Other questions involve the dangers of retaliation. We don’t dismiss any threats, but the Assad regime does not have the ability to seriously threaten our military. Any other — any other retaliation they might seek is in line with threats that we face every day. Neither Assad nor his allies have any interest in escalation that would lead to his demise, and our ally, Israel, can defend itself with overwhelming force, as well as the unshakable support of the United States of America.

Many of you have asked a broader question: Why should we get involved at all in a place that’s so complicated and where, as one person wrote to me, those who come after Assad may be enemies of human rights?

It’s true that some of Assad’s opponents are extremists. But Al Qaida will only draw strength in a more chaotic Syria if people there see the world doing nothing to prevent innocent civilians from being gassed to death.

The majority of the Syrian people, and the Syrian opposition we work with, just want to live in peace, with dignity and freedom. And the day after any military action, we would redouble our efforts to achieve a political solution that strengthens those who reject the forces of tyranny and extremism.

Finally, many of you have asked, why not leave this to other countries or seek solutions short of force? As several people wrote to me, we should not be the world’s policemen.

I agree. And I have a deeply held preference for peaceful solutions. Over the last two years, my administration has tried diplomacy and sanctions, warnings and negotiations, but chemical weapons were still used by the Assad regime.

However, over the last few days, we’ve seen some encouraging signs, in part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action, as well as constructive talks that I had with President Putin. The Russian government has indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons. The Assad regime has now admitting that it has these weapons and even said they’d join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits their use.

It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments, but this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies.I have therefore asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path. I’m sending Secretary of State John Kerry to meet his Russian counterpart on Thursday, and I will continue my own discussions with President Putin.

I’ve spoken to the leaders of two of our closest allies — France and the United Kingdom — and we will work together in consultation with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the U.N. Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons and to ultimately destroy them under international control.

We’ll also give U.N. inspectors the opportunity to report their findings about what happened on August 21st, and we will continue to rally support from allies from Europe to the Americas, from Asia to the Middle East, who agree on the need for action.

Meanwhile, I’ve ordered our military to maintain their current posture to keep the pressure on Assad and to be in a position to respond if diplomacy fails. And tonight I give thanks, again, to our military and their families for their incredible strength and sacrifices.

My fellow Americans, for nearly seven decades, the United States has been the anchor of global security. This has meant doing more than forging international agreements; it has meant enforcing them. The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world’s a better place because we have borne them.

And so to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America’s military might with the failure to act when a cause is so plainly just.

To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor, for sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.

Indeed, I’d ask every member of Congress and those of you watching at home tonight to view those videos of the attack, and then ask, what kind of world will we live in if the United States of America sees a dictator brazenly violate international law with poison gas and we choose to look the other way?

Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideas and principles that we have cherished are challenged.”

Our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria, along with our leadership of a world where we seek to ensure that the worst weapons will never be used.

America is not the world’s policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong, but when with modest effort and risk we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act.

That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Washington has been at war for 12 years.  According to experts such as Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, these wars have cost Americans approximately $6 trillion, enough to keep Social Security and Medicare sound for decades.  All there is to show for 12 years of war is fat bank balances for the armament industries and a list of destroyed countries with millions of dead and dislocated people who never lifted a hand against the United States.

The cost paid by American troops and taxpayers is extreme. Secretary of Veteran Affairs Erik Shinseki reported in November 2009 that “more veterans have committed suicide since 2001 than we have lost on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.”  Many thousands of our troops have suffered amputations and traumatic brain injuries. At the Marine Corps War College Jim Lacey calculated that the annual cost of the Afghan war was $1.5 billion for each al-Qaeda member in Afghanistan.  Many US and coalition troops paid with their lives for every one al-Qaeda member killed. On no basis has the war ever made sense.

Washington’s wars have destroyed the favorable image of the United States created over the decades of the cold war.  No longer the hope of mankind, the US today is viewed as a threat whose government cannot be trusted.

The wars that have left America’s reputation in tatters are the consequence of 9/11. The neoconservatives who advocate America’s hegemony over the world called for “a new Pearl Harbor” that would allow them to launch wars of conquest. Their plan for conquering the Middle East as their starting point was set out in the neoconservative  “Project for the New American Century.”  It was stated clearly by Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz and also by many neoconservatives.

The neocon argument boils down to a claim that history has chosen “democratic capitalism” and not Karl Marx as the future. To comply with history’s choice, the US must beef up its military and impose the American Way on the entire world.

In other words, as Claes Ryn wrote, the American neoconservatives are the “new Jacobins,” a reference to the French Revolution of 1789 that intended to overthrow aristocratic Europe and replace it with “Liberty, equality, fraternity,” but instead gave Europe a quarter century of war, death, and destruction.

Ideologies are dangerous, because they are immune to facts. Now that the United States is no longer governed by the US Constitution, but by a crazed ideology that has given rise to a domestic police state more complete than that of Communist East Germany and to a warfare state that attacks sovereign countries based on nothing but manufactured lies, we are left with the irony that Russia and China are viewed as constraints on Washington’s ability to inflict evil, death, and destruction on the world.

The two pariah states of the 20th century have become the hope of mankind in the 21st century!

As Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick prove in their book, The Untold History of the United States, the American government has never deserved its white hat reputation. Washington has been very successful in dressing up its crimes in moralistic language and hiding them in secrecy.  It is only decades after events that the truth comes out.

 For example, on August 19, 1953, the democratically elected government of Iran was overthrown by a coup instigated by the US government. Sixty years after the event declassified CIA documents detail how the secret CIA operation overthrew a democratic government and imposed Washington’s puppet on the people of Iran.

The declassified documents could not have spelled it out any clearer:  “The military coup that overthrew Mossadeq and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of U.S. foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government.”

In the 21st century Washington is attempting to repeat its 1953 feat of overthrowing the Iranian government, this time using the faux “green revolution” financed by Washington.

When that fails, Washington will rely on military action.

If 60 years is the time that must pass before Washington’s crimes can be acknowledged, the US government will admit the truth about September 11, 2001 on

September 11, 2061. In 2013, on this 12th anniversary of 9/11, we only have 48 years to go before Washington admits the truth. Alas, the members of the 9/11 truth movement will not still be alive to receive their vindication.

But just as it has been known for decades that Washington overthrew Mossadeq, we already know that the official story of 9/11 is hogwash.

No evidence exists that supports the government’s 9/11 story.  The 9/11 Commission was a political gathering run by a neoconservative White House operative. The Commission members sat and listened to the government’s story and wrote it down. No investigation of any kind was made.  One member of the Commission resigned, saying that the fix was in. After the report was published, both co-chairmen of the Commission and the legal counsel wrote books disassociating themselves from the report. The 9/11 Commission was “set up to fail,” they wrote.

NIST’s account of the structural failure of the twin towers is a computer simulation based on assumptions chosen to produce the result. NIST refuses to release its make-believe explanation for expert scrutiny. The reason is obvious.  NIST’s explanation of the structural failure of the towers cannot survive scrutiny.

There are many 9/11 Truth organizations whose members are high-rise architects,  structural engineers, physicists, chemists and nano-chemists, military and civilian airline pilots, firemen and first responders, former prominent government officials, and 9/11 families.  The evidence they have amassed overwhelms the feeble official account.

It has been proven conclusively that World Trade Center Building 7 fell at free fall which can only be achieved by controlled demolition that removes all resistance below to debris falling from above so that no time is lost in overcoming resistance from intact structures.  NIST has acknowledged this fact, but has not changed its story.

In other words, still in America today official denial takes precedence over science and  known undisputed facts.

On this 12th anniversary of a false flag event, it is unnecessary for me to report the voluminous evidence that conclusively proves that the official story is a lie.  You can read it for yourself. It is available online. You can read what the architects and engineers have to say. You can read the scientists’ reports. You can hear from the first responders who were in the WTC towers. You can read the pilots who say that the maneuvers associated with the airliner that allegedly hit the Pentagon are beyond their skills and most certainly were not performed by inexperienced pilots.

You can read David Griffin’s many books. You can watch the film produced by Richard Gage and Architects & Engineers for 9/11 truth. You can read the 9/11 Toronto Report, International Hearings on 9/11. You can read this book: here

Actually, you do not need any of the expert evidence to know that the US government’s story is false. As I have previously pointed out, had a few young Saudi Arabians, the alleged 9/11 hijackers, been capable of outwitting, without support from any government and intelligence service, not only the CIA and FBI, but all sixteen US intelligence services, the intelligence services of Washington’s NATO allies and Israel’s Mossad, the National Security Council, NORAD, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Traffic Control, and defeat Airport Security four times in one hour on the same morning, the White House, Congress, and the media would have been demanding an investigation of how the National Security State could so totally fail.

Instead, the President of the United States and every government office fiercely resisted any investigation. It was only after a year of demands and rising pressure from the 9/11 families that the 9/11 Commission was created to bury the issue.

No one in government was held accountable for the astonishing failure. The national security state was defeated by a few rag tag Muslims with box cutters and a sick old man dying from renal failure while holed up in a cave in Afghanistan, and no heads rolled.

The total absence from the government for demands for an investigation of an event that is the greatest embarrassment to a “superpower” in world history is a complete give-away that 9/11was a false flag event. The government did not want any investigation, because the government’s cover story cannot stand investigation.

The government could rely on the mega-media corporations in whose hands the corrupt Clinton regime concentrated the US media. By supporting rather than investigating the government’s cover story, the media left the majority of Americans, who are sensitive to peer pressure, without any support for their doubts. Effectively, the American Ministry of Propaganda validated the government’s false story.

Common everyday experiences of Americans refute the government’s story.  Consider, for example, self-cleaning ovens.  How many American homes have them?  Thirty million?  More?  Do you have one?

Do you know what temperature self-cleaning ovens reach?  The self-cleaning cycle runs for several hours at 900 degrees Fahrenheit or 482 degrees Celsius.  Does your self-cleaning oven melt at 482 degrees Celsius.  No, it doesn’t.  Does the very thin, one-eighth inch steel soften and your oven collapse? No, it doesn’t.

Keep that in mind while you read this:  According to tests performed by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), only 2% of the WTC steel tested by NIST reached temperatures as high as 250 degrees Celsius, about half the temperature reached by your self-cleaning oven. Do you believe that such low temperatures on such small areas of the WTC towers caused the massive, thick, steel columns in the towers to soften and permit the collapse of the buildings?  If you do, please explain why your self-cleaning oven doesn’t weaken and collapse.

In Section E.5 of the Executive Summary in this NIST report  it says: “A method was developed using microscopic observations of paint cracking to determine whether steel members had experienced temperatures in excess of 250 degrees C. More than 170 areas were examined . . .  Only three locations had a positive result indicating that the steel and paint may have reached temperatures in excess of 250 degrees C.”  Analysis of steel “microstructures show no evidence of exposure to temperatures above 600 degrees C for any significant time.”

In section 3.6 of the NIST report states: “NIST believes that this collection of steel from the WTC towers is adequate for purposes of the investigation.”

How did these truths get out? My explanation is that the NIST scientists, resentful of the threat to their jobs and future employment opportunities and chaffing under the order to produce a false report, revealed the coerced deception by including information that their political masters did not understand. By stating unequivocally the actual temperatures, NIST’s scientists put the lie to the coerced report.

The melting point of steel is around 1,500 degrees C. or 2,600 degrees F.  Steel can lose strength at lower temperatures, but the NIST scientists reported that only a small part of the steel was even subjected to moderate temperatures less than those obtained by the self-cleaning oven in your home.

If you need to think about this a bit more, obtain a copy of The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. Have a look at the streetcar in photo 108. The caption reads: “The Hiroshima fireball instantly raised surface temperatures within a mile of the hypocenter well above 1,000 degrees F.”  Is the streetcar a melted lump of steel?  No, it is structurally intact, although blackened with burnt paint.

Washington would have you believe that steel that survived intact the atomic bomb would melt from low temperature, short lived, isolated office fires. What do you think of a government that believes that you are that stupid?

Who would support a government that lies every time it opens its mouth?

The three WTC buildings that were destroyed were massive heat sinks.  I doubt that the limited, short-lived, low temperature fires in the buildings even warmed the massive steel structures to the touch.

Moreover, not a single steel column melted or deformed from softening. The columns were severed at specific lengths by extremely high temperature charges placed on the columns. 

On this 12th anniversary of 9/11, ask yourself if you really want to believe that temperatures half those reached by your self-cleaning oven caused three massive steel structures to crumble into dust.

Then ask yourself why your government thinks you are so totally stupid as to believe such a fairy tale as your government has told you about 9/11.

As the nation’s attention turned to potential US military aggression in the Middle East, the Obama administration has made an unusual $2.5 million payout to Connecticut law enforcement and emergency response agencies for their participation in the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre event.

Under the plan administered by Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice, the Connecticut State Police are slated to collect $663,444, the Town of Newtown will take in $602,293, the Town of Monroe will receive $602,293 and more than two dozen other agencies from the surrounding area will get $296,836. The funds originate from the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program.

Aside from bureaucratic boilerplate there is no immediate explanation as to why the federal government would make such a substantial disbursement to agencies partaking in the incident. “Providing support to the law enforcement agencies that responded to the horrific scene that awaited them at Sandy Hook Elementary School is one small action we can take to bring healing to a community that’s been devastated,” Attorney General Holder remarked in a press release. “Just over eight months after this senseless tragedy, those who lost their lives, and those who continue to grieve, remain in our thoughts and prayers.”[1]

On November 27, less than three weeks before the Sandy Hook massacre, Attorney General Holder appeared at a news conference in New Haven, Connecticut alongside Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy to announce Project Longevity, a joint venture by the Justice Department and State of Connecticut. The endeavor was described by one law enforcement officials as “a statewide approach that targets repeat criminals, creates alternatives for potential gang members and rallies neighborhoods against violence.”[2]

On December 20 Holder made an unannounced visit to Newtown to meet with State and local law enforcement and emergency responders shortly after a meeting in Washington with Vice President Joe Biden, presumably to discuss forthcoming attempts at gun control legislation.[3]

Because there are so many inconsistencies and missing information in the case where the findings have not been made public, the large payout appears especially suspect. In August the Hartford Courant conducted an investigation of overtime pay being generated by Connecticut State police assigned to the Sandy Hook tragedy. Eight State Police detectives have received $139,000 in overtime pay for work on the investigation since January 1, 2013.  Almost half has gone to two investigators claim to have put in over 500 hours of work beyond their scheduled duties.[4]

Such extensive federal funding will likely draw out the investigation for many more months— perhaps years—while keeping relevant law enforcement officials very pleased in the interim.


[1] Department of Justice, “Attorney General Eric Holder Announces $2.5 Million to Connecticut Law Enforcement For Costs Related to Sandy Hook School Shootings” (Press Release) PDF, August 28, 2013.

[2] Dave Ingram, “Project Longevity: Justice Department, Connecticut State Officials Target Gun Violence,” Reuters/Huffington Post, November 27, 2012.

[3] Frederic J. Frommer, “Holder to Meet with First Responders in Newtown,” Associated Press/Hartford Courant, December 20, 2012.

[4] Dave Altimari, “Overtime for Sandy Hook Investigators Nears $140,000 Since Jan. 1,” Hartford Courant, August 16, 2013.

Waking Up from World Order Amnesia

September 11th, 2013 by Greg Guma

In 1946, the Roper polling service asked what people in the United States thought about the possibility of moving beyond nationalism. One of the key questions was this:

“If every other country in the world would elect representatives to a world congress and let all problems between countries be decided by this congress, with a strict provision that all countries have to abide by the decisions whether they like them or not, would you be willing to have the United States go along on this?”

Any pollster who suggested that question today would probably either be called a socialist or given a reality check by management. Nevertheless, at the end of World War II an impressive 62.8 percent answered yes to the question. Only 19.8 percent gave a definite no; 17.8 apparently didn’t know what to think.

Going further, the poll also asked, “If every other country in the world would give up its armies and navies and instead just contribute its share of men and materials to an international police force, would you be willing for the United States to go along with this?”

Maybe it was post-war stress disorder, but 52.2 percent said they wanted national disarmament and a global military, 32.7 percent said no thanks, and the remaining 15.1 percent were basically clueless. In other words, almost 70 years ago most Americans were ready to move beyond the nation-state and handle global problems by electing a world parliament.

It’s certainly a grim testament to the power of propaganda and Cold War paranoia that this emerging consensus, expressed just as the UN was launched, was so effectively undermined, reversed and erased over the next years.

Today, on the Left and Right, mention global governance – even a modest expansion of the UN’s authority – and you’ll spark cynical dismissal, and probably a current “conspiracy theory.” At the same time, however, a corporate-friendly global administration, managed by a web of unaccountable bodies, has moved from the drawing board to the boardrooms through multi-lateral agreements and other tools of the current “world order.”

Disillusioned about government’s ability to meet basic needs or get anything done, many have been persuaded by reactive, anti-government, and often isolationist appeals. Of course, most people are also painfully aware that no single country, especially a disoriented superpower, can control inter- or intra-state violence, reverse the environmental damage underway, or protect human rights around the world. Yet too many have accepted the assumption that any form of “global management” is either a utopian dream or a dystopian scheme that will only make matters worse.

It’s basically a case of denial; an inability to acknowledge the shape of the existing “new world order,” acknowledged publicly by George H.W. Bush after his election as president. By that time the emergence of regional economic blocs, along with the diverse activities of the UN and the influence of quasi-governmental structures and private institutions had already begun usurping many powers of nations, raising profound questions about sovereignty, self-determination, and the impact of global dynamics on local realities.

How did we get from there to here? And what can be done to begin moving beyond a global regime based on profit and consumerism to a process of globalization from below that puts people and the natural world first?

To begin, consider how earlier, post-nationalist instincts were manipulated. The process began at the 1944 Dumbarton Oaks Conference, when the winners of World War II – the US, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union – decided to impose a primitive form of “unification” on the rest of the planet. But the confederation they envisioned would have little to actually administer and no effective enforcement power. Their fateful approach spurred the development of rival blocs and an intensive arms race.

Throughout 1945, events crowded upon one another– the death of President Roosevelt in April, the opening of the UN founding conference less than two weeks later, the end of the war in Europe, and then, on August 6, the leveling of Hiroshima with an atomic bomb. By then the winners of the war had already forced their UN plan on more than 40 other nations who sent delegates to San Francisco. Only the Dumbarton Oaks proposals were discussed, and although a few delegates, notably Cuba, called for a union of all peoples, no one had the nerve to defy the dominant nations known as the Big Five.

There were some discussions of a constituent assembly, as well as proposals to make international court jurisdiction compulsory and turn the General Assembly into a world legislature with real authority. During heated debate about the veto power of the Security Council’s five permanent members, many countries protested that this contradicted the principle of national equality. The Australian delegate reminded the US that its Bill of Rights might never have been passed if five states had been granted the right to veto. But the Big Five — the US, UK, France, Russia, and China — refused to compromise: no veto power meant no Charter. In the end, 15 nations abstained from voting on the issue; Cuba and Colombia opposed it outright.

Outside the Conference, meanwhile, signs welcoming “world citizens” were on display, much to the displeasure of the US State Department, which eventually had them removed. Thousands of people signed petitions calling for a world legislature, elected by the people of all member nations. “The sovereignty which belongs to us,” the petition stated, “we now wish to re-divide, giving to a higher world level of government — which we continue to control through our representatives — the power to decide questions of world-wide concern.”

As the 1946 Roper Poll suggested, this was a sentiment with broad support at the time. Almost two-thirds of those surveyed said they favored a world congress, an idea supported by all age groups, both sexes, and across the country. Elmo Roper concluded, “These figures leave little doubt that a majority of Americans still believe in a strong world organization. Not only do they approve, in principle, of such a plan, but they are willing to take some of the practical steps by which such a plan might be assured.”

However, Roper also predicted that certain developments might change this situation, particularly “a distrust of Russia’s motives in regard to world domination.” He also might have mentioned the ineffectiveness of the UN approach to confederation, the manipulation of post-War military tribunals by the victors, and the squelching of demands by scientists that development of atomic energy be controlled by a world authority.

As the 1940s ended, a modest movement for world government struggled on. At first, many groups merged into the United World Federalists, then splintered into a rainbow of assemblies, coalitions, and would-be world government bodies. A hard-hitting evangelical treatise on global governance by Emery Reves, The Anatomy of Peace, appeared in over 20 countries. Organizational blueprints proliferated, including a University of Chicago study of a possible World Constitution. For many people, the threat of nuclear weapons provided more proof that world government was a necessity.

Yet, as Roper predicted, the Cold War made any serious consideration impossible for the next half century. In the authoritative anthology, United Nations, Divided World, Michael Howard concludes that the UN security system itself “collapsed almost before it was put to the test.” Action against aggression could be taken only if the two “great powers,” then the US and USSR, chose not to object. Although the General Assembly might occasionally “unite for peace,” it was basically impotent.

As years passed and opportunities were wasted, the UN Secretary-General became a popular scapegoat, and the organization as a whole was increasingly viewed as pathetic, irrelevant, and possibly even a corrupt bureaucracy. In the US, it was widely portrayed in the media as a forum for “third world” rhetoric and “anti-American” outbursts.

Despite its post-Cold War rehabilitation, the UN is still far from being, as its Charter originally proposed, “a center for harmonizing the actions of nations.” And even if this modest goal is achieved someday, the conspiracy-oriented have little to fear. The UN will not soon, if ever, evolve into a world legislature with binding authority. Rather than watching for black UN helicopters, those worried about a global dictatorship might be better advised to focus on World Bank headquarters and other branch offices of the actual “world government,” which have been pursuing the “structural adjustment” for decades.

Throughout the history of the UN a few powerful nations have manipulated its institutional framework and policies, often using a “financial whip” to impose their will. Alternately neglected and undermined, it has struggled with countless humanitarian emergencies, often while its dominant members worked to limit its scope or “roll back” programs worldwide.

The vision of democratic global governance has always faced strong resistance. For example, the decision to keep the so-called Bretton Wood Institutions (BWIs) — the World Bank and International Monetary fund — as well as the GATT and WTO separate from the UN has limited public participation in economic decisions. Although the UN provided a forum for decolonization efforts during its early years, demands for economic justice have been routinely sidetracked. From 1980 onward, the disaffection of dominant players, along with a global economic downturn during that decade, produced a chronic UN funding and identity crisis.

Manipulation and restriction of the UN has taken the form of refusal to make promised financial contributions, pressure on various secretary-generals, and arm-twisting directed at specific countries. On the other hand, few constraints have been placed on the World Bank, which has used funding to impose draconian policies on the South. Beyond public control, unaccountable institutions have become instruments for imposing domestic policies, requiring programs that tend to reduce living standards, dismantle state-run agencies, and distort development.

The UN is commonly called inefficient, bureaucratic, and compromised. Its deliberations, except when they serve the short-term political objectives of the Big Five, are portrayed as largely hot air. This makes it easy to write off the UN as a place where important policies could be made. Yet that was part of the original vision. The UN Charter pointed directly toward work to promote “higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social programs…”

One essential step is therefore to put international financial institutions under democratic control, and, at the very least, make their policies consistent with the UN’s long-term agenda.

In his Agenda for Development, former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali outlined a pragmatic strategy, including “better coordination” with the BWIs. The same conclusion was reached at the 1997 Social Summit. As critics of corporate capitalism often note, allowing the “hidden hand” of economic globalization to run its course only widens the gap between the haves and have-nots. By the end of the 20th century, for instance, 70 percent of all foreign investment in the developing world was going to only 10 countries, hardly an equitable situation.

Agenda for Development made three main points: development must include equity and more employment, the present framework for international cooperation isn’t working, and the UN should become a powerful force. Issues such as debt management, structural adjustment, and access to money and technology should not be off-limits. Beyond such specifics, it is time to consider alternatives that move us beyond nationalism and corporate rule, time to question basic assumptions, to come to grips with the world as it is, and imagine where we can go from here.

Greg Guma’s second novel, Dons of Time, will be published in October by Fomite Press.

Is the U.S. Trying to Torpedo Syria Peace Talks?

September 11th, 2013 by Washington's Blog

Demands Syrian Government Be Blamed for Something that Hasn’t Been Proven

Yesterday was a roller coaster. First, the U.S., Syria and Russia agreed to avoid war if Syria placed control over its chemical weapons under international control.

Then, the State Department backed away from a deal, and we worried that the U.S. was still going to attack.

When Obama said he’d accept a negotiated diplomatic settlement, things looked good.

But now, the United Nations resolution being drafted by the Senate would say that the Syrian government was responsible for the August 21st chemical weapons attack.

Syria would never agree to such a UN resolution. And Russia has already said it would veto the resolution.

Please remember:

  • Congress members who have seen the classified intelligence from the U.S. government are not impressed, and top chemical weapons experts are skeptical

But the U.S. is attempting to do an end-run around the lack of evidence by having the UN assign guilt to the Syrian government … or to torpedo peace talks entirely.

Moreover, the U.S. is sending mixed signals – even now – about attacking Syria.

The official story of 9/11 is riddled with internal contradictions. One of these contradictions involves the question of how long President Bush remained in classroom in Sarasota, Florida, on the morning of 9/11.

Bush was there to publicize his education policy by being photographed listening to students read. He arrived at the school at 8:55 AM, at which time he reportedly first learned that a plane had struck one of the Twin Towers. Dismissing the crash as an accident, Bush said that they would go ahead and “do the reading thing anyway.”

Bush entered the second-grade classroom of teacher Sandra Kay Daniels at about 9:03. At about 9:06, the president’s chief of staff, Andrew Card, came in and whispered in Bush’s ear, telling him, Card later reported, “A second plane hit the second Tower. America is under attack.”

What Happened Next

Thanks to Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11, which came out in 2004, the world knows what happened next: Bush remained sitting there minute after minute after minute.

Journalists, however, had reported Bush’s strange behavior much earlier. On September 1, 2002, for example, Jennifer Barrs had reported in the Tampa Tribune that, after Card whispered in Bush’s ear, the president picked up his book and read with the children “for eight or nine minutes.” In his 2002 book Fighting Back, Bill Sammon, the White House correspondent for the Washington Times, said that even after the reading lesson was over, Bush continued to linger, leading Sammon to dub him “the dawdler in chief.”

The White House’s First Anniversary Account

On the first anniversary of 9/11, however, the White House, with Andrew Card taking the lead, started giving a radically different account. On September 9, 2002, Card told Brian Williams on NBC News: “I pulled away from the president, and not that many seconds later, the president excused himself from the classroom, and we gathered in the holding room and talked about the situation.” In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on September 11, Card said that, after he had informed Bush about the second attack, the president “looked up—it was only a matter of seconds, but it seemed like minutes. . . . And he just excused himself very politely to the teacher and to the students and he left.”

That same day, Karl Rove told Campbell Brown of NBC News:

Andy Card walked in to tell the President, and you can remember the famous photograph of him whispering in the President’s ear. And the President was a little—you know, he didn’t want to alarm the children. He knew the drill was coming to a close. So he waited for a few moments just to—literally—not very long at all before he came to the close, and he came into the staff room.

Also that same day, Card and Rove got ABC News, during another program that aired on the first anniversary of 9/11, to endorse their revisionist account. This program contained the following segment:

Andrew Card: I think there was a, a moment of shock and he did stare off maybe for just a second.

Charles Gibson: The President stays calm and lets the students finish.

Karl Rove: The President thought for a second or two about getting up and walking out of the room. But the drill was coming to a close and he didn’t want to alarm the children.

Gibson: Instead Bush pauses, thanks the children. . . and heads for the empty classroom next door.

Help from Mrs. Daniels

Besides putting out this revisionist account, the Bush-Cheney White House also evidently enlisted support from Sandra Kay Daniels, the teacher of the second grade class at the Sarasota school. In a Los Angeles Times story published on September 11, 2002, she said:

I knew something was up when President Bush didn’t pick up the book and participate in the lesson…. He said, ‘Mrs. Daniels, I have to leave now. I am going to leave Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan here to do the speech for me.’ Looking at his face, you knew something was wrong. I said a little prayer for him. He shook my hand and left.

This account by Daniels was radically different from what she had said for the aforementioned article by Jennifer Barrs, which had appeared only ten days earlier. After saying that “Bush, obviously lost in thought, forgot about the book in his lap,” Barrs quoted Daniels as saying: “I couldn’t gently kick him. . . . I couldn’t say, ‘OK, Mr. President. Pick up your book, sir. The whole world is watching.’”

Given the fact that Mrs. Daniels had given this account just ten days earlier, her revisionist account cannot be explained in terms of a bad memory. The only possible explanation appears to be that the White House had convinced her to help spread its revisionist account. What would have been the White House’s motive for spreading a false account and even convincing Mrs. Daniels to help?

The Likely Motive

On the one hand, the Secret Service, which has the responsibility for protecting the president from any possible threat to his life, should have assumed, once it was clear that terrorists were going after high-value targets, that the president might have been one of those targets. As one article put it, “Bush’s presence made . . . the planned reading event a perceived target,” because “the well-publicized event at the school assured Bush’s location that day was no secret.” On the other hand, people observed that the Secret Service had not acted accordingly. The day after 9/11, Canada’s Globe and Mail commented: “For some reason, Secret Service agents did not bustle [Bush] away.”

The background for this comment was explained by Philip Melanson, the author of a book about the Secret Service. “With an unfolding terrorist attack,” Melanson said, “the procedure should have been to get the president to the closest secure location as quickly as possible.” That this indeed would have been standard operating procedure is illustrated by the fact that, as soon as the second strike on the World Trade Center was seen on television, one agent said to Sarasota County Sheriff Bill Balkwill: “We’re out of here. Can you get everybody ready?”

But this agent’s decision was obviously overridden by some higher-level Secret Service agent, as Bush was allowed not only to remain in the classroom for seven or more minutes, but also to remain at the school for another twenty minutes. He was even allowed to deliver a television address to the nation, thereby letting everyone know that he was still at the school.

This behavior seemed especially reckless in light of reports, issued at the time, that as many as eleven planes had been hijacked. The Secret Service should have feared that one of those planes was bearing down on the school at that very moment. The Secret Service’s behavior, however, suggested that it had no fear that the school would be attacked.

This behavior by the Secret Service contrasted strongly with the response, two months earlier, to a report that Islamic terrorists might crash an airliner into the summit of industrialized nations in Genoa, Italy, in an effort to kill President Bush. The Italian government closed the airspace above Genoa and installed anti-aircraft missiles at the airport (David Sanger, New York Times, September 25, 2001). Even with all this protection, Bush stayed overnight on an aircraft carrier, instead of staying, like the other leaders, on a luxury ship (CNN, July 18, 2001). Why so much concern about merely possible terrorist airplane attacks in Genoa in July but no such concern in Sarasota in September, when such attacks were actually in progress?

The Secret Service’s failure to hustle Bush away seemed even stranger in light of the reports that Vice President Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and several congressional leaders were quickly taken to safe locations. Should not protecting President Bush have been an even higher priority? As Susan Taylor Martin of the St. Petersburg Times put it on July 4, 2004: “One of the many unanswered questions about that day is why the Secret Service did not immediately hustle Bush to a secure location, as it apparently did with Vice President Dick Cheney.”

The fact that this question was raised immediately after 9/11, then continued to be raised, could well have been perceived by the White House as dangerous. This question did, in fact, have dangerous implications, because it could—and in some circles did—lead to the inference that Bush was not evacuated from the school because the Secret Service knew that he would not be targeted. The desire to stop this kind of speculation was likely behind the White House’s attempts at getting a revisionist account of Bush’s behavior instilled into the public consciousness.

The 9/11 Commission’s Treatment of the Issue

The strange behavior of Bush and his Secret Service in Sarasota was of great concern to families of the 9/11 victims. One of the central questions raised by the Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Commission was: “Why was President Bush permitted by the Secret Service to remain in the Sarasota elementary school where he was reading to children?” (That this question was asked was admitted by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the chair and vice-chair of the Commission, in their 2006 book, Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission, p. 54.) The 9/11 Commission, however, provided no answer. Its only response was to say: “The Secret Service told us they were anxious to move the President to a safer location, but did not think it imperative for him to run out the door” (The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 39). That response, however, implied that the Secret Service had only two options: (a) running the president out the door or (b) allowing him to remain at the school for another half hour. But there was a third option: The Secret Service could have simply walked the president out the door, put him in the presidential limo, and whisked him away.

The Treatment by Press

A Wall Street Journal story in March 2004, “Government Accounts of 9/11 Reveal Gaps, Inconsistencies,” was one of the few stories in the mainstream press to report on contradictions in the official story of 9/11. When the Journal asked the White House about the contradictions about the Sarasota event in particular, spokesman Dan Bartlett, not trying to defend the White House’s revisionist version, confirmed that Bush had remained in the classroom for at least seven minutes after receiving the report of the second crash. Bush did not leave immediately, Bartlett said, because his “instinct was not to frighten the children by rushing out of the room.”

However, even if Bartlett’s statement were an acceptable explanation of why Bush did not do what Card and Rove had claimed he did, the real question, which the WSJ article did not address, was why the White House, through Card, Rove, and Mrs. Daniels, had given a false account. Surely this is a question that the press in general should have explored. Especially ABC News, NBC News, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Los Angeles Times, which had been used to spread the White House’s false account, should have demanded that the White House explain why it put out a completely false account. These papers and networks owed their readers and viewers a correction and an attempt to find out why the White House had used them to spread a lie.

While discovering why the White House lied, the press should also, of course, seek to discover the answer to the original question: why the Secret Service did not immediately rush Bush to a safe location.

This essay is an abbreviated version of Chapter 1 of David Ray Griffin, 9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press (Northampton: Olive Branch, March, 2008.


Seismic Evidence Implies Controlled Demolition on 9/11

September 10th, 2013 by Washington's Blog

Yet Another Line of Evidence Shows Demolition

André Rousseau is a Doctor of Geophysics and Geology, a former researcher in the French National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS), who has published 50 papers on the relationships between the characteristics of progressive mechanical waves and geology.

Dr. Rousseau is an expert on measurement of acoustic waves.

Rousseau says that the seismic waves measured on September 11th proves that the 3 buildings were brought down by controlled demolition. Specifically, in a new scientific article published by the Journal of 9/11 Studies, Rosseau writes:

The seismic signals propagating from New York on September 11, 2001, recorded at Palisades (34 km) and published by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University (LDEO), have here been subjected to a new critical study concerning their sources. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that the nature of the waves, their velocities, frequencies, and magnitudes invalidate the official  explanations which imply as sources the percussion of the twin towers by planes and the collapses of the three buildings, WTC1, WTC2 and WTC7.


First of all, we show the contradictions in the official explanation between the seismic data and the timing of the events. Then we point out that it is strange that identical events (percussions of identical towers on the one hand, and collapses of identical towers on the other hand) at the same location would have generated seismic sources of different magnitudes. We demonstrate that only strong explosives could be the cause of such seismic waves, in accordance with the observed low frequencies.  According to the nature of the recorded waves (body and surface waves), we can propose a location of each explosive source. According to the presence of shear waves or the presence of Rayleigh waves only, we hypothesize a subterranean … explosion.


Near the times of the planes’ impacts into the Twin Towers and during their collapses, as well as during the collapse of WTC7, seismic waves were generated. To the degree that (1) seismic waves are created only by brief impulses and (2) low frequencies are associated with energy of a magnitude that is comparable to a seismic event, the waves recorded at Palisades and analyzed by LDEO undeniably have an explosive origin.Even if the planes’ impacts and the fall of the debris from the Towers onto the ground could have generated seismic waves, their magnitude would have been insufficient to be recorded 34 km away and should have been very similar in the two cases to one another.
As we have shown, they were not.


We can only conclude that the wave sources were independently
detonated explosives ….


Controlled demolition of the three towers, suggested by the visual and audio witness testimony as well as by observations of video recordings of their collapses, is thus confirmed and demonstrated by analysis of the seismic waves emitted near the time of the plane impacts and at the moments of the collapses.

This seismic analysis is just one of multiple lines of scientific evidence implying that 3 buildings were brought down by controlled demolition:

Watch 9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out on PBS. See more from CPT12 Presents.

And see this.

On my wall is the front page of Daily Express of September 5, 1945 and the words: “I write this as a warning to the world.” So began Wilfred Burchett’s report from Hiroshima. It was the scoop of the century. For his lone, perilous journey that defied the US occupation authorities, Burchett was pilloried, not least by his embedded colleagues. He warned that an act of premeditated mass murder on an epic scale had launched a new era of terror.

Almost every day now, he is vindicated. The intrinsic criminality of the atomic bombing is borne out in the US National Archives and by the subsequent decades of militarism camouflaged as democracy. The Syria psychodrama exemplifies this. Yet again, we are held hostage to the prospect of a terrorism whose nature and history even the most liberal critics still deny. The great unmentionable is that humanity’s most dangerous enemy resides across the Atlantic.

John Kerry’s farce and Barack Obama’s pirouettes are temporary. Russia’s peace deal over chemical weapons will, in time, be treated with the contempt that all militarists reserve for diplomacy. With Al-Qaida now among its allies, and US-armed coupmasters secure in Cairo, the US intends to crush the last independent states in the Middle East: Syria first, then Iran. “This operation [in Syria],” said the former French foreign minister Roland Dumas in June, “goes way back. It was prepared, pre-conceived and planned.”

When the public is “psychologically scarred”, as the Channel 4 reporter Jonathan Rugman described the British people’s overwhelming hostility to an attack on Syria, reinforcing the unmentionable is made urgent. Whether or not Bashar al-Assad or the “rebels” used gas in the suburbs of Damascus, it is the US not Syria that is the world’s most prolific user of these terrible weapons. In 1970, the Senate reported, “The US has dumped on Vietnam a quantity of toxic chemical (dioxin) amounting to six pounds per head of population”. This was Operation Hades, later renamed the friendlier Operation Rand Hand: the source of what Vietnamese doctors call a “cycle of foetal catastrophe”. I have seen generations of young children with their familiar, monstrous deformities. John Kerry, with his own blood-soaked war record, will remember them. I have seen them in Iraq, too, where the US used depleted uranium and white phosphorous, as did the Israelis in Gaza, raining it down on UN schools and hospitals. No Obama “red line” for them.  No showdown psychodrama for them.

The repetitive debate about whether “we” should “take action” against selected dictators (i.e. cheer on the US and its acolytes in yet another aerial killing spree) is part of our brainwashing. Richard Falk, emeritus professor of international law and UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, describes it as “a self-righteous, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive images of Western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political violence”. This “is so widely accepted as to be virtually unchallengeable”.

It is the biggest lie: the product of “liberal realists” in Anglo-American politics, scholarship and the media who ordain themselves as the world’s crisis managers, rather than the cause of a crisis. Stripping humanity from the study of nations and congealing it with jargon that serves western power designs, they mark “failed”, “rogue” or “evil” states for “humanitarian intervention”.

An attack on Syria or Iran or any other US “demon” would draw on a fashionable variant, “Responsibility to Protect”, or R2P, whose lectern-trotting zealot is the former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans, co-chair of a “Global Centre”, based in New York. Evans and his generously funded lobbyists play a vital propaganda role in urging the “international community” to attack countries where “the Security Council rejects a proposal or fails to deal with it in a reasonable time”.

Evans has form. He appears in my 1994 film Death of a Nation, which revealed the scale of genocide in East Timor. Canberra’s smiling man is raising his champagne glass in a toast to his Indonesian equivalent as they fly over East Timor in an Australian aircraft, having just signed a treaty that pirated the oil and gas of the stricken country below where Indonesia’s tyrant, Suharto, killed or starved a third of the population.

Under the “weak” Obama, militarism has risen perhaps as never before. With not a single tank on the White House lawn, a military coup has taken place in Washington. In 2008, while his liberal devotees dried their eyes, Obama accepted the entire Pentagon of his predecessor, George Bush: its wars and war crimes. As the constitution is replaced by an emerging police state, those who destroyed Iraq with shock and awe, and piled up the rubble in Afghanistan and reduced Libyato a Hobbesian nightmare, are ascendant across the US administration. Behind their beribboned façade, more former US soldiers are killing themselves than are dying on battlefields. Last year, 6,500 veterans took their own lives. Put out more flags.

The historian Norman Pollack calls this “liberal fascism”. “For goose-steppers,” he wrote, “substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manqué, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while.” Every Tuesday, the “humanitarian” Obama personally oversees a worldwide terror network of drones that “bugsplat” people, their rescuers and mourners.  In the west’s comfort zones, the first black leader of the land of slavery still feels good, as if his very existence represents a social advance, regardless of his trail of blood. This obeisance to a symbol has all but destroyed the US anti-war movement: Obama’s singular achievement.

In Britain, the distractions of the fakery of image and identity politics have not quite succeeded.  A stirring has begun, though people of conscience should hurry. The judges at Nuremberg were succinct: “Individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity.” The ordinary people of Syria, and countless others, and our own self respect, deserve nothing less now.

The 9/11 Commission’s Incredible Tales

September 10th, 2013 by David Ray Griffin

At the end of 2004, I published The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions1.

Shortly before that book appeared, I delivered a lecture in which I set out to summarize its major points. (That lecture is now available in both print and DVD form.)2

Unfortunately, The 9/11 Commission Report itself3 contains so many omissions and distortions that I was able to summarize only the first half of my book in that lecture. The present lecture summarizes the second half of the book, which deals with the Commission’s explanation as to why the US military was unable to intercept any of the hijacked airplanes.

This explanation was provided in the first chapter of The 9/11 Commission Report. Although that chapter is only 45 pages long, the issues involved are so complex that my analysis of it required six chapters. One of the complexities is the fact that the 9/11 Commission’s account of why the military could not intercept the hijacked airliners is the third version of the official account we have been given. To understand why three versions of this story have been deemed necessary, we need to review the standard operating procedures that are supposed to prevent hijacked airliners from causing the kinds of damage that occurred on 9/11.

Standard Operating Procedures

Standard operating procedures dictate that if an FAA flight controller notices anything that suggests a possible hijacking–if radio contact is lost, if the plane’s transponder goes off, or if the plane deviates from its flight plan–the controller is to contact a superior. If the problem cannot be fixed quickly–within about a minute–the superior is to ask NORAD–the North American Aerospace Defense Command–to scramble jet fighters to find out what is going on. NORAD then issues a scramble order to the nearest Air Force base with fighters on alert. On 9/11, all the hijacked airliners occurred in NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector, which is known as NEADS. So all the scramble orders would have come from NEADS.

The jet fighters at the disposal of NEADS could respond very quickly: According to the US Air Force website, F-15s can go from “scramble order” to 29,000 feet in only 2.5 minutes, after which they can then fly over 1800 miles per hour (140). (All page numbers given parenthetically in the text are to David Ray Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions). Therefore–according to General Ralph Eberhart, the head of NORAD–after the FAA senses that something is wrong, “it takes about one minute” for it to contact NORAD, after which, according to a spokesperson, NORAD can scramble fighter jets “within a matter of minutes to anywhere in the United States” (140). These statements were, to be sure, made after 9/11, so we might suspect that they reflect a post-9/11 speed-up in procedures. But an Air Traffic Control document put out in 1998 warned pilots that any airplanes persisting in unusual behavior “will likely find two [jet fighters] on their tail within 10 or so minutes” (141).

The First Version of the Official Story

On 9/11, however, that did not happen. Why not? Where was the military? The military’s first answer was given immediately after 9/11 by General Richard Myers, then the Acting Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Mike Snyder, a spokesman for NORAD. They both said, independently, that no military jets were sent up until after the strike on the Pentagon. That strike occurred at 9:38, and yet American Airlines Flight 11 had shown two of the standard signs of hijacking, losing both the radio and the transponder signal, at 8:15. This means that procedures that usually result in an interception within “10 or so minutes” had not been carried out in 80 or so minutes.

That enormous delay suggested that a stand-down order, canceling standard procedures, must have been given. Some people started raising this possibility.

The Second Version of the Official Story

Very quickly, a new story appeared. On Friday, September 14, CBS News said: “contrary to early reports, US Air Force jets did get into the air on Tuesday while the attacks were under way,” although they arrived too late to prevent the attacks (141-42).4 This second story was then made official on September 18, when NORAD produced a timeline stating the times that it was notified about the hijackings followed by the times at which fighters were scrambled (143). The implicit message of the timeline was that the failure was due entirely to the FAA, because in each case it notified the military so late that interceptions were impossible.

Not quite everyone, however, accepted that conclusion. Some early members of the 9/11 truth movement, doing the math, showed that NORAD’s new timeline did not get it off the hook.5 With regard to the first flight: Even if we accept NORAD’s claim that NEADS was not notified about Flight 11 until 8:40 (which would mean that the FAA had waited 20 minutes after it saw danger signs before it made the call), NORAD’s implicit claim that it could not have prevented the first attack on the WTC is problematic. If fighters had immediately been scrambled from McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, they could easily have intercepted Flight 11 before 8:47, which is when the north tower of the WTC was struck.

NORAD, to be sure, had a built-in answer to that question. It claimed that McGuire had no fighters on alert, so that NEADS had to give the scramble order to Otis Air Force Base in Cape Cod. Critics argued that this claim is probably false, for reasons to be discussed later. They also pointed out that the F-15s, even if they had to come from Otis, might have made it to Manhattan in time to intercept Flight 11, if the scramble order had been given immediately, at 8:40, and then the fighters had taken off immediately. NORAD said, however, that the scramble order was not given until 8:46 and that the F-15s did not get airborne until 8:52 (144-45). It looked to critics, therefore, like the failure was not entirely the FAA’s.

Even less plausible, the critics said, was NORAD’s claim that NEADS did not have time to prevent the second attack. According to NORAD’s timeline, NEADS had been notified about United Airlines Flight 175 at 8:43, 20 minutes before the south tower was struck. The F-15s originally ordered to go after Flight 11 were now to go after Flight 175. According to NORAD, as we saw earlier, the scramble order to Otis was given at 8:46. In light of the military’s own statement that F-15s can go from scramble order to 29,000 feet in 2.5 minutes, the F-15s would have been streaking towards Manhattan by 8:49. So they could easily have gotten there before 9:03, when the south tower was struck. NORAD said, however, that it took the fighters six minutes just to get airborne.6 Critics said that it looked as if at least a slow-down order had been issued.

Critics also pointed out that even if the F-15s did not take off, as NORAD said, until 8:52, they still could have gotten to Manhattan in time to prevent the second attack, assuming that they were going full speed. And, according to one of the pilots, they were. Lt. Col. Timothy Duffy said they went “full-blower all the way.” And yet, according to NORAD’s timeline, when the south tower was hit at 9:03, the F-15s were still 71 miles away. Doing the math showed that the fighters could not have been going even half-blower (146). It still looked like a stand-down order, or at least a slow-down order, had been issued.

The same problem existed with respect to NORAD’s explanation of its failure to protect the Pentagon. NORAD again blamed the FAA, saying that although the FAA knew about the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 77 before 9:00, it did not notify NEADS until 9:24, too late for NEADS to respond.

Again, doing the math showed that this explanation did not work. NORAD claimed that it issued the scramble order immediately, at 9:24. The attack on the Pentagon did not occur until 14 minutes later, at 9:38. That would have been more than enough time for fighters to get there from Andrews Air Force Base, which is only a few miles away. Why, then, did NORAD not prevent the attack?

Part of NORAD’s answer was that no fighters were on alert at Andrews, so that NEADS had to give the scramble order to Langley Air Force Base, which is about 130 miles away. Also, it again took the pilots 6 minutes to get airborne, so they did not get away until 9:30.

However, even if those explanations are accepted, the scrambled F-16s, critics pointed out, could go 1500 miles per hour, so they could have reached Washington a couple of minutes before the Pentagon was struck. According to NORAD, however, they were still 105 miles away. That would mean that the F-16s were going less than 200 miles per hour, which would not even be one-quarter blower (147-48).

In all three cases, therefore, NORAD’s attempt to put all the blame on the FAA failed. Critics were able to show, especially with regard to the second and third flights, that NORAD’s new story still implied that a stand-down order must have been issued. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that the 9/11 Commission came up with a third story, which is not subject to the same objections.

The main question, however, is still the same: Is it true? One reason to suspect that it is not true is the very fact that it is the third story we have been given. When suspects in a criminal case keep changing their story, we assume that they must be trying to conceal the truth. But an even more serious problem with the Commission’s new story is that many of its elements are contradicted by credible evidence or are otherwise implausible. I will show this by examining the Commission’s treatment of each flight, beginning with Flight 11.


A Picture of FAA Incompetence

As we saw, flight controllers are supposed to react quickly if they see any one of the three standard signs of a hijacking. But Flight 11 hit the Trifecta, showing all three signs, and yet no one at the Boston FAA Center, we are told, took any action for some time. Eventually, Boston, having heard hijackers giving orders, called the FAA Command Center in Herndon. Herndon then called FAA headquarters in Washington, but no one there, we are told, called the military. Finally, the FAA center in Boston called NEADS directly at 8:38 (158).

To accept this story, we would have to believe that although the FAA should have notified the military about Flight 11 within a minute of seeing the danger signals at 8:15, the FAA personnel at Boston, Herndon, and Washington were all so incompetent that 23 minutes passed before the military was notified. We would then need to reconcile this picture of top-to-bottom dereliction of duty, which contributed to thousands of deaths, with the fact that no FAA personnel were fired.

An 8-Minute Phone Call

The next implausible element in the story involves Colonel Robert Marr, the commander at NEADS. As we saw earlier, if he had had planes scrambled immediately, even from Otis, they might have prevented the first attack on the World Trade Center. And yet, we are told, he called down to Florida to General Larry Arnold, the head of NORAD’s US Continental Region, to get authorization to have planes scrambled, and this phone call took 8 minutes (165).7

Besides the fact that this would be an extraordinarily long phone call in an emergency situation, this call was not even necessary. The Commission, to be sure, would have us believe that Marr had to get approval from superiors. But the very document from the Department of Defense cited by the Commission indicates that anyone in the military chain of command, upon receiving “verbal requests from civil authorities for support in an . . . emergency may . . . immediately respond” (166).8 Colonel Marr, therefore, could have responded on his own.

Evidence of Earlier Notification

But this tale of an 8-minute phone call is probably not the biggest lie in the Commission’s story about Flight 11. That award seems to belong to the claim that although the FAA saw signs of a hijacking at 8:15, the military was not notified until 8:38. Laura Brown, the FAA’s Deputy in Public Affairs, reportedly said that the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon had set up an air threat teleconference that morning at about 8:20 (187).9 If she is correct, it would seem that the military knew about Flight 11′s erratic behavior shortly after 8:15, which suggests that the FAA had followed standard procedures.

I turn now to the Commission’s treatment of Flight 175.


More FAA Incompetence

The Commission claims that NORAD did not intercept this flight because the FAA never reported its hijacking until after it crashed. According to the Commission, the FAA flight controller did not even notify a manager until 8:55. This manager then called the FAA Command Center at Herndon, saying: “[The situation is] escalating . . . big time. We need to get the military involved.” But no one at Herndon, we are told, called the military or even FAA headquarters. As a result, NORAD did not learn about the hijacking of Flight 175 until 9:03, when it was crashing into the WTC’s south tower (175).

Contradicting Earlier Reports

One problem with this story is that such incompetence by FAA officials is not believable. An even more serious problem is that this story is contradicted by many prior reports.

One of these is NORAD’s own previous timeline. As we saw earlier, NORAD had maintained since September 18, 2001, that it had been notified about Flight 175 at 8:43. If that was not true, as the Commission now claims, NORAD must have been either lying or confused when it put out its timeline one week after 9/11. And it is hard to believe that it could have been confused so soon after the event. So it must have been lying. But that would suggest that it had an ugly truth to conceal. The Commission, being unable to embrace either of the possible explanations, simply tells us that NORAD’s previous statement was incorrect, but without giving us any explanation as to how this could be.

The Commission’s claim that the military did not know about Flight 175 until it crashed is also contradicted by a report involving Captain Michael Jellinek, a Canadian who on 9/11 was overseeing NORAD’s headquarters in Colorado. According to a story in the Toronto Star, Jellinek was on the phone with NEADS as he watched Flight 175 crash into the south tower. He then asked NEADS: “Was that the hijacked aircraft you were dealing with?”–to which NEADS said yes (176).

Two Problematic Teleconferences

Still another problem with the Commission’s new story is that there appear to have been two teleconferences during which FAA officials would have talked to the military about Flight 175. I have already mentioned the teleconference initiated by the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon. The 9/11 Commission claims, to be sure, that this teleconference did not begin until 9:29 (186-88), long after Flight 175 had crashed into the south tower. But this late starting time is contradicted by Richard Clarke (188). It is also contradicted by Laura Brown of the FAA, who said that it started at about 8:20. Although Brown later, perhaps under pressure from superiors, changed the starting time to 8:45 (187), this was still early enough for discussions of Flight 175 to have occurred.

There was also a teleconference initiated by the FAA. According to the 9/11 Commission, this teleconference was set up at 9:20 (205). On May 22, 2003, however, Laura Brown sent to the Commission a memo headed: “FAA communications with NORAD on September 11, 2001.”10 The memo, which used the term “phone bridges” instead of “teleconference,” began: “Within minutes after the first aircraft hit the World Trade Center, the FAA immediately established several phone bridges.” Since the attack on the north tower was at 8:47, “within minutes” would mean that this teleconference began about 8:50, a full half hour earlier than the Commission claims. The memo made clear, moreover, that the teleconference included both NORAD and the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon. During this teleconference, Brown’s memo said:

The FAA shared real-time information . . . about the . . . loss of communication with aircraft, loss of transponder signals, unauthorized changes in course, and other actions being taken by all the flights of interest. (253)

And by 8:50, everyone agrees, Flight 175 was a “flight of interest”–everyone except, of course, the 9/11 Commission, which claims that FAA headquarters had not yet learned about it. Laura Brown’s memo, in any case, was read into the Commission’s record on May 23, 2003.11 But when the Commission published its final report, it simply pretended that this memo did not exist. Only through this pretense could the Commission claim that the FAA’s teleconferences did not begin until 9:20.

For several reasons, therefore, it appears that the Commission’s claim that the military was not notified about Flight 175 until after it struck the south tower is a lie from beginning to end. I turn now to the Commission’s treatment of Flight 77 and the attack on the Pentagon.


As we saw earlier, if the FAA told NORAD about Flight 77 at 9:24, as NORAD’s timeline of September 18 said, NEADS should have had fighter jets over Washington well before 9:38, when the Pentagon was struck. The 9/11 Commission’s solution to this problem was to tell another new tale, according to which the FAA never told NORAD about Flight 77.

One inconvenient fact was that General Larry Arnold, the head of NORAD’s US Continental region, had, in open testimony to the Commission in 2003, repeated NORAD’s statement that it had been notified about this hijacking at 9:24. Other NORAD officials, moreover, had testified that fighters at Langley had been scrambled in response to this notification. The Commission handled this problem by simply saying that these statements by Arnold and the other NORAD officials were “incorrect” (192). The Commission again did not explain why NORAD officials had made incorrect statements. But it said that those statements were “unfortunate” because they “made it appear that the military was notified in time to respond” (192). The Commission’s task was to convince us that this was not true.

More FAA Incompetence

Basic to the Commission’s new story about Flight 77 is another tale of incredible incompetence by FAA officials. This tale goes like this: At 8:54, the FAA controller in Indianapolis, after seeing Flight 77 go off course, lost its transponder signal and even its radar track. Rather than reporting the flight as possibly hijacked, however, he assumed that it had crashed. Evidently it did not occur to him that a possible crash should be reported. In any case, he later, after hearing about the other hijackings, came to suspect that Flight 77 may also have been hijacked. He then shared this suspicion with Herndon, which in turn shared it with FAA headquarters. But no one, we are told, called the military. The result, the Commission says, is that “NEADS never received notice that American 77 was hijacked” (192).

Explaining the Langley Scramble: Phantom Flight 11

But even if we could believe this implausible tale, there is still the problem of why F-16s at Langley Air Force Base were airborne at 9:30. FAA incompetence again comes to the rescue. At 9:21–35 minutes after Flight 11 had crashed into the World Trade Center–some technician at NEADS, we are told, heard from some FAA controller in Boston that Flight 11 was still in the air and was heading towards Washington. This NEADS technician then notified the NEADS Mission Crew Commander, who issued a scramble order to Langley. So, the Commission claims, the Langley jets were scrambled in response to “a phantom aircraft,” not to “an actual hijacked aircraft” (193). This new story, however, is riddled with problems.

One problem is simply that phantom Flight 11 had never before been mentioned. As the Commission itself says, this story about phantom Flight 11 “was not recounted in a single public timeline or statement issued by the FAA or Department of Defense” (196). It was, for example, not in NORAD’S official report, Air War Over America, the foreword for which was written by General Larry Arnold.12

General Arnold’s ignorance of phantom Flight 11 was, in fact, an occasion for public humiliation. The 9/11 Commission, at a hearing in June of 2004, berated him for not remembering that the Langley jets had really been scrambled in response to phantom Flight 11, not in response to a warning about Flight 77. Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste began a lengthy grilling by asking: “General Arnold. Why did no one mention the false report received from the FAA that Flight 11 was heading south during your initial appearance before the 9/11 Commission back in May of last year?” After an embarrassing exchange, Ben-Veniste stuck the knife in even further, asking:

General, is it not a fact that the failure to call our attention to the . . . the notion of a phantom Flight 11 continuing from New York City south . . . skewed the official Air Force report, . . . which does not contain any information about the fact that . . . you had not received notification that Flight 77 had been hijacked? . . . [S]urely by May of last year, when you testified before this commission, you knew those facts. (197).

In Alice in Wonderland, the White Queen says: “It is a poor memory that remembers only backwards.” One must wonder if General Arnold felt that he was being criticized for not remembering the future–that is, for not “remembering” a story that had been invented only after he had given his testimony. Arnold, in any case, simply replied that he “didn’t recall those facts in May of last year.”

But if those alleged facts were real facts, that reply would be beyond belief. According to the Commission’s new story, NORAD, under Arnold’s command, failed to scramble fighter jets in response to Flights 11, 175, 77, and 93. The one time it scrambled fighters, it did so in response to a false report. Surely that would have been the biggest embarrassment of Arnold’s professional life. And yet 20 months later, he “didn’t recall those facts.”

A second problem is that there is no way for this story about phantom Flight 11 to be verified. The Commission says that the truth of this story “is clear . . . from taped conversations at FAA centers; contemporaneous logs compiled at NEADS, Continental Region headquarters, and NORAD; and other records” (193-94). But when we look in the notes at the back of The 9/11 Commission Report, we find no references for any of these records; we simply have to take the Commission’s word. The sole reference is to a NEADS audiofile, on which someone at the FAA’s Boston Center allegedly tells someone at NEADS: “I just had a report that American 11 is still in the air, and it’s . . . heading towards Washington” (194). The Commission claims to have discovered this audiofile. Again, however, we simply have to take the Commission’s word. We cannot obtain this audiofile. And there is no mention of any tests, carried out by an independent agency, to verify that this audiofile, if it exists, really dates from 9/11, rather than having been created later, after someone decided that the story about phantom Flight 11 was needed.

But could not reporters interview the people at NEADS and the FAA who had this conversation? No, because the Commission says, nonchalantly: “We have been unable to identify the source of this mistaken FAA information” (194). This disclaimer is difficult to believe. It is now very easy to identify people from recordings of their voices. And yet the Commission was supposedly not able to discover the identity of either the individual at Boston who made the mistake or the NEADS technician who received and passed on this misinformation.

Another implausible element is the very idea that someone at Boston would have concluded that Flight 11 was still airborne. According to stories immediately after 9/11, flight controllers at Boston said that they never lost sight of Flight 11. Flight controller Mark Hodgkins later said: “I watched the target of American 11 the whole way down” (194) If so, everyone at the Boston Center would have known this. How could anything on a radar screen have convinced anyone at the Boston Center, 35 minutes later, that Flight 11 was still aloft?

Still another implausible element in the story is the idea that the Mission Commander at NEADS, having received this implausible report from a technician, would have been so confident of its truth that he would have immediately ordered Langley to scramble F-16s.13

This entire story about phantom Flight 11 is the Commission’s attempt to explain why, if the US military had not been notified about Flight 77, a scramble order was issued to Langley at 9:24, which resulted in F-16s taking off at 9:30. As we have seen, every element in this story is implausible.

Why Were the Langley F-16s So Far from Washington?

Equally implausible is the Commission’s explanation as to why, if the F-16s were airborne at 9:30, they were not close enough to Washington to protect the Pentagon at 9:38. To answer this question, the Commission once again calls on FAA incompetence.

The F-16s, we are told, were supposed to go to Baltimore, to intercept (phantom) Flight 11 before it reached Washington. But the FAA controller, along with the lead pilot, thought the orders were for the F-16s to go “east over the ocean,” so at 9:38, when the Pentagon was struck, “[t]he Langley fighters were about 150 miles away” (201). Has there ever been, since the days of the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges, such a comedy of errors? This explanation, in any case, is not believable. By the time of the scramble order, it was clear that the threat was from hijacked airliners, not from abroad. My six-year-old grandson would have known to double-check the order before sending the fighters out to sea.

The Military’s Alleged Ignorance about Flight 77

Even more problematic is the Commission’s claim that Pentagon officials were in the dark about the hijacking of Flight 77.

That claim is flatly contradicted by Laura Brown’s memo. Having said that the FAA had established its teleconference with military officials “within minutes” of the first strike, she said that the FAA shared “real-time information” about “all the flights of interest, including Flight 77.” Moreover, explicitly taking issue with NORAD’s claim that it knew nothing about Flight 77 until 9:24, she said:

NORAD logs indicate that the FAA made formal notification about American Flight 77 at 9:24 a.m., but information about the flight was conveyed continuously during the phone bridges before the formal notification. (204)14

This statement about informal notification was known by the Commission. Richard Ben-Veniste, after reading Laura Brown’s memo into the record, said: “So now we have in question whether there was an informal real-time communication of the situation, including Flight 77′s situation, to personnel at NORAD.”15 But when the Commission wrote up its final report, with its claim that the FAA had not notified the military about Flight 77 (whether formally or informally), it wrote as if this discussion had never occurred.16

The Pentagon’s Alleged Ignorance of an Aircraft Headed Its Way

The Commission also claims that people in the Pentagon had no idea that an aircraft was heading in their direction until shortly before the Pentagon was struck. But this claim was contradicted by Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, in open testimony given to the Commission itself. Mineta testified that at 9:20 that morning, he went down to the shelter conference room (technically the Presidential Emergency Operations Center) under the White House, where Vice President Cheney was in charge. Mineta then said:

During the time that the airplane was coming in to the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President, “The plane is 50 miles out.” “The plane is 30 miles out.” And when it got down to “the plane is 10 miles out,” the young man also said to the Vice President, “Do the orders still stand?” And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said, “Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?” (220)17

When Mineta was asked by Commissioner Timothy Roemer how long this conversation occurred after he arrived, Mineta said: “Probably about five or six minutes,” which, as Roemer pointed out, would mean “about 9:25 or 9:26.”

According to the 9/11 Commission, no one in our government knew that an aircraft was approaching the Pentagon until 9:36,18 so there was no time to shoot it down. But the Commission had been told by Mineta that the vice president knew at least 10 minutes earlier, at 9:26. The 9/11 Commission dealt with Mineta’s testimony in the same way it dealt with almost everything else that threatened its story–by simply ignoring it in the final report.19

This testimony by Mineta was a big threat not only because it indicated that there was knowledge of the approaching aircraft at least 12 minutes before the Pentagon was struck, but also because it implied that Cheney had issued stand-down orders. Mineta himself did not make this allegation, to be sure. He assumed, he said, that “the orders” mentioned by the young man were orders to have the plane shot down. Mineta’s interpretation, however, does not fit with what actually happened: The aircraft was not shot down. That interpretation, moreover, would make the story unintelligible: If the orders had been to shoot down the aircraft if it got close to the Pentagon, the young man would have had no reason to ask if the orders still stood. His question makes sense only if the orders were to do something unexpected–not to shoot down the aircraft. The implication of Mineta’s story is, therefore, that the attack on the Pentagon was desired.

Why Did the Scramble Order Go to Langley?

The same implication follows from another problem. Every part of the story about the fighters from Langley, we saw, is implausible. But an even more basic implausibility is the very claim that the order had to go to Langley because Andrews had no fighters on alert (158-59).

One reason to doubt that claim is simply that it is, in a word, preposterous. Andrews has primary responsibility for protecting the nation’s capital (160). Can anyone seriously believe that Andrews, given the task of protecting the Pentagon, Air Force One, the White House, the houses of Congress, the Supreme Court, the US Treasury Building, and so on, would not have fighters on alert at all times?

In addition to this a priori consideration, there is the empirical fact that the US military’s own website said at the time–although it was modified after 9/11 (163-64)–that several fighter jets were kept on alert at all times. The 121st Fighter Squadron of the 113th Fighter Wing was said to provide “capable and ready response forces for the District of Columbia in the event of natural disaster or civil emergency.” The Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 321 was said to be supported by a reserve squadron providing “maintenance and supply functions necessary to maintain a force in readiness.” And the District of Columbia Air National Guard was said “to provide combat units in the highest possible state of readiness” (163).

The assumption that Andrews did have fighters on alert on which NORAD could have called is supported, moreover, by a report given by Kyle Hence of 9/11 Citizens Watch about a telephone conversation he had with Donald Arias, the Chief of Public Affairs for NORAD’s Continental Region. After Arias had told Hence that “Andrews was not part of NORAD,” Hence asked him “whether or not there were assets at Andrews that, though not technically part of NORAD, could have been tasked.” Rather than answer, Arias hung up (161) There are many reasons to conclude, therefore, that the claim that there were no fighters on alert at Andrews is a lie.

Some Implications

The realization that Andrews must have had fighters on alert has many implications. For one thing, if Andrews had fighters on alert, then it would seem likely that McGuire did too, so that fighters to protect New York City did not have to be scrambled from Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod. National security expert (and former ABC producer) James Bamford says, moreover, that NEADS was also able to call on “alert fighter pilots at National Guard units at Burlington, Vermont; Atlantic City, New Jersey; . . . and Duluth, Minnesota” (258). If so, then there were at least 7 bases from which NEADS could have scrambled fighters, not merely two, as the official story has it (158-59). And if that part of the official story is a lie, then it seems likely that that story as a whole is a lie. This conclusion will be reinforced by our examination of the Commission’s treatment of United Airlines Flight 93.


Flight 93 presented the 9/11 Commission with a different task. In relation to the previous flights, the Commission’s task was to explain why the US military did not intercept and shoot them down. With regard to Flight 93, the Commission had to convince us that the military did not shoot it down. It sought to do this not by refuting the evidence, which is considerable, that the airliner was shot down, but by simply constructing a new story intended to show that the US military could not have shot down Flight 93.

The Military’s Ignorance of the Hijacking

The Commission makes two major claims about Flight 93. The first one is that: “By the time the military learned about the flight, it had crashed” (229). The centrality of this claim is shown by the fact that it is repeated, almost mantra-like, throughout the Commission’s chapter.20

Incredible FAA Incompetence

The main support for this claim is provided by yet another tale of amazing incompetence by FAA officials. At 9:28, we are told, the traffic controller in Cleveland heard “sounds of possible screaming” and noticed that Flight 93 had descended 700 feet, but he did nothing. Four minutes later, he heard a voice saying: “We have a bomb on board.” This controller, not being completely brain dead, finally notified his supervisor, who in turn notified FAA headquarters. Later, however, when Cleveland asked Herndon whether the military had been called, the Commission claims, Herndon “told Cleveland that FAA personnel well above them in the chain of command had to make the decision to seek military assistance and were working on the issue” (227). To accept this account, we must believe that, on a day on which there had already been attacks by hijacked airliners, officials at FAA headquarters had to debate whether a hijacked airliner with a bomb on board was important enough to disturb the military. And we must believe that they were still debating this question 13 minutes later, when, we are told, the following conversation between Herndon and FAA headquarters occurred:

Command Center: Uh, do we want to think, uh, about scrambling aircraft?
FAA Headquarters: Oh, God, I don’t know.
Command Center: Uh, that’s a decision somebody’s gonna have to make probably in the next ten minutes. (228)

But obviously the decision was that the military should not be disturbed, because 14 minutes later, at 10:03, when Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, we are told, “no one from FAA headquarters [had yet] requested military assistance regarding United 93″ (229). We are expected to believe, in other words, that FAA officials acted like complete idiots.

Worthless Teleconferences

In any case, besides arguing, by means of this tale of incredible incompetence, that the FAA never formally notified the military about Flight 93, the Commission argued that there was also no informal notification during any teleconference. In this case, not being able to argue that the teleconferences began too late, the Commission argued that they were worthless. Its summary statement said: “The FAA, the White House, and the Defense Department each initiated a multiagency teleconference before 9:30. [But] none of these teleconferences . . . included the right officials from both the FAA and the Defense Department” (211).

Let us begin with the teleconference initiated by the National Military Command Center. Why was it worthless for transmitting information from the FAA to the military? Because, we are told, Pentagon operators were unable to get the FAA on the line. This is a very implausible claim, especially since, we are told, the operators were able to reach everyone else (230-31). Also, as we saw earlier, Laura Brown of the FAA seemed to have independent knowledge about when this teleconference started—which suggests that the FAA was reached.

Why was the FAA-initiated teleconference equally worthless? The problem here, the Commission claimed, was that the officer at the NMCC said that “the information was of little value” so he did not pay attention (234).

However, even if we could believe that no one at the Pentagon was monitoring the call, Laura Brown’s memo had said that in addition to the phone bridge set up by the FAA with the Pentagon, the “Air Force liaison to the FAA . . . established contact with NORAD on a separate line.” So even if no one at the Pentagon was paying attention, the military still would have received the information. Her memo said, moreover, that “[t]he FAA shared real-time information . . . about . . . all the flights of interest” (183), and the Commission itself agrees that by 9:34, FAA headquarters knew about the hijacking of Flight 93, so it was a “flight of interest.” The Commission’s claim is, therefore, flatly contradicted by this memo, which was read into the Commission’s record.

What about the White House videoconference, which was run by Richard Clarke? The Commissioners say: “We do not know who from Defense participated” (210). But this claim is completely unbelievable. One problem is that it contradicts the Commission’s assurance that “the right people” were not involved in this conference: How could they know this if they did not know who was involved? The main problem, however, is simply that the claim is absurd. Surely any number of people at the Pentagon could have told the Commissioners who participated in Clarke’s videoconference. Simpler yet, they could have looked at Clarke’s book, Against All Enemies, which became a national best seller during the Commission’s hearings. It clearly states that the participants from the Pentagon were Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers, Acting Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (210-12).21 It also reports that the FAA was represented by its top official, Jane Garvey. And if these were not “the right people,” who would have been?

The Commission’s attempt to prove that the military could not have learned about Flight 93 from this videoconference is even more explicitly contradicted by Clarke, who reports that at about 9:35, Jane Garvey reported on a number of “potential hijacks,” which included “United 93 over Pennsylvania” (232). Therefore, more than 25 minutes before Flight 93 crashed, according to Clarke, both Myers and Rumsfeld heard from the head of the FAA that Flight 93 was considered a potential hijack.

The Commission’s tales about FAA incompetence and worthless teleconferences are, therefore, directly contradicted by Laura Brown’s memo and Richard Clarke’s book. Their combined testimony implies that the Commission’s main claim–that “[b]y the time the military learned about the flight, it had crashed”–is a bald-faced lie.

Cheney’s Arrival at the Shelter Conference Room

To recall where we are: The Commission’s first major claim is that the US military could not have shot down Flight 93 because it did not know about the hijacking of this flight until after it crashed at 10:03. The Commission’s second main point, to which we now turn, is that the authorization to shoot planes down was not issued until several minutes after 10:03.

In support of this point, the Commission claims that Vice President Cheney, who was known to have issued the shoot-down authorization from the shelter conference room under the White House, did not get down there until about almost 10:00, “perhaps at 9:58″ (241). This claim, however, is doubly problematic.

One problem is that this claim is not supported by any documentation. The Commission says that the Secret Service ordered Cheney to go downstairs “just before 9:36″; that Cheney entered the underground corridor at 9:37; that he then, instead of going straight to the shelter conference room at the other end of the corridor, spent some 20 minutes calling the president and watching television coverage of the aftermath of the strike on the Pentagon (241). This timeline is said to be based on Secret Service alarm data showing that the Vice President entered the underground corridor at 9:37. However, The 9/11 Commission Report then says that this “alarm data . . . is no longer retrievable” (244). We must, therefore, simply take the Commission’s claim on faith.

And this is very difficult, since the Commission’s claim is contradicted by every prior report. A White House photographer, who was an eyewitness, and various newspapers, including the New York Times, said that Cheney went below shortly after 9:00. Richard Clarke’s account suggests that Cheney went below before 9:15 (242). Even Cheney himself, speaking on “Meet the Press” five days after 9/11, indicated that he was taken downstairs at about that time (243). The Commission, showing its usual disdain for evidence that contradicts its story, makes no mention of any of these reports.

The most dramatic contradiction of the Commission’s timeline was provided by Norman Mineta. In open testimony to the Commission itself, he said, as we saw earlier, that when he got to the underground shelter at 9:20, Cheney was already there and fully in charge. The Commission, insisting that Cheney did not get there until almost 10:00, simply omitted any mention of this testimony in its Final Report. But Mineta’s testimony is still available for anyone to read.22

We can say with a very high level of confidence, therefore, that the Commission’s account is a lie.

The Time of the Shoot-Down Authorization

The same is true of the Commission’s claim that the shoot-down authorization was not issued until after 10:10.

In making this claim, the Commission tells a tale of yet another incredible error made by the FAA. Flight 93, according to the Commission, crashed at 10:03 (249-50). And yet sometime between 10:10 and 10:15, the Commission claims, the FAA told the military that Flight 93 was still headed towards Washington and was, in fact, only 80 miles out. Once again, FAA headquarters managed to call the military only when it had false information. In any case, we are told, the military requested permission to engage an aircraft and Cheney immediately gave the authorization (237). The implication is that the military could not possibly have shot down Flight 93, since it had crashed about 10 minutes earlier.

However, the Commission’s new timeline is again contradicted by several previous reports.

First, although the Commission says that Richard Clarke did not receive the shoot-down authorization until 10:25, Clarke himself says that he received it some 35 or minutes earlier, at 9:45 or 9:50 (240).

Second, the story of Cheney’s giving permission to engage an aircraft that was 80 miles out originally appeared in stories published shortly after 9/11. In these stories, the permission was given earlier, when Flight 93 truly was still aloft, after which an F-16 was sent in pursuit (239).

That original account is supported, moreover, by several reports stating that prior to crashing, Flight 93 was being tailed by US military fighters. One such report came from CBS; another came from a flight controller who had ignored an order not to talk to the media; and one such report even came from Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz (238-39). Evidently the Commission felt that if it could ignore statements from the secretary of transportation and even the vice president, it could also ignore a statement by the deputy secretary of defense.

In any case, the Commission’s timeline, besides being contradicted by all those reports, is also contradicted by James Bamford’s account, which is based on a transcript from ABC News. According to this account, Cheney’s authorization was transmitted to Colonel Marr at NEADS, who then “sent out word to air traffic controllers to instruct fighter pilots to destroy the United jetliner.” Marr reportedly said: “United Airlines Flight 93 will not be allowed to reach Washington, D.C.” (238). But the Commission simply tells its new tale as if this report had never been broadcast.

The Commission’s account is contradicted, finally, by reports that the shoot-down actually occurred. Major Daniel Nash, one of the two F-15 pilots sent to New York City from Otis, later reported that after he returned to base, he was told that a military F-16 had shot down an airliner in Pennsylvania (239).

That rumor was so widespread that during General Myers’ interview with the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 13, 2001, chairman Carl Levin said that “there have been statements that the aircraft that crashed in Pennsylvania was shot down,” adding: “Those stories continue to exist” (151).

Besides ignoring all these reports, the Commission also ignored reports from people who lived near the spot where the airliner came down. These reports spoke of missile-like noises, sightings of a small military airplane, debris falling from the airliner miles from its crash site, and the discovery of part of an engine far from the site (151).

There is, in sum, an enormous amount of evidence suggesting that the FAA did notify the military about Flight 93; that Cheney went down to the underground shelter about 45 minutes earlier than the Commission claims; that he gave the shoot-down authorization about 25 minutes earlier than the Commission claims; and that military jets went after and shot-down Flight 93. It would appear that if some committee had set out to construct a fable about Flight 93, every part of which could be easily falsified, it could not have improved on the Commission’s tale. And yet our mainstream media have not reported any of these obvious falsehoods.


The Portrait of FAA Incompetence

The Commission, as we have seen, has attempted to exonerate the military for its failure to prevent the attacks of 9/11. According to the Commission, accounts suggesting that the military was notified in time to respond “overstated the FAA’s ability to provide the military with timely and useful information that morning” (255). In its effort to correct that alleged overstatement, the Commission gave us a picture of incredible incompetence at every level of the FAA. We read of flight controllers who, instead of following instructions to treat every possible emergency as an actual one, would not respond after seeing two or even all three of the standard signs of a hijacking. We read of controllers who told the military that airplanes that had already crashed were still aloft and headed towards Washington. We read of officials at FAA headquarters who consistently refused to call the military–unless, of course, the airplane to be reported was merely a phantom.

This portrait of rampant incompetence by FAA officials is contradicted by several facts. One such fact is NORAD’s timeline of September 18, 2001, which indicates that the FAA responded slowly but not nearly as slowly as the Commission now claims. A second fact is Laura Brown’s memo of 2003, which says that the FAA was on the telephone with the military from about 8:50 on, talking about all flights of interest.

A third fact is that the FAA was called on to carry out an unprecedented operation that day: grounding all the aircraft in the country. And yet, the Commission itself says, the FAA “execut[ed] that unprecedented order flawlessly” (272-73). Is it plausible that FAA personnel, on the same day that they carried out an unprecedented task so flawlessly, would have failed so miserably with a task–asking the military to intercept problematic flights–that they had been carrying out about 100 times a year (140)?23

It would seem, therefore, that the first chapter of The 9/11 Commission Report is one long lie. As I have shown elsewhere, moreover, that is true of the report as a whole.24

Crisis and Challenge

This conclusion has, of course, frightening implications, because it is hard to imagine why the Commission would have engaged in such deceit except to cover up the fact that the attacks of 9/11 were orchestrated by forces within our own government, including our armed forces. And if that is the case, then our country is in even worse shape than already evident through the Downing Street Memos, which revealed that the administration had fixed the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq. As Burns Weston, a professor of law, has said, we now have “a disparity between official 9/11 ‘spin’ and independently researched 9/11 fact so glaring as to suggest the possibility of a constitutional crisis unlike anything our country has ever known.”25

Overcoming this crisis must surely be the main task before us as American citizens today, because it is likely that, unless we can overcome this one, all the related crises–growing militarism and imperialism, growing plutocracy, increasing poverty in our country and around the world, increasing destruction of our planet’s ecosystem, and so on–will simply continue to get worse.

The first step in overcoming our constitutional crisis is to have this crisis acknowledged. This is why the 9/11 truth movement is in one respect the most important movement in our country and even in our world today. This movement has accomplished its first task–providing evidence strong enough to convince anyone with an even slightly open mind that the official story is a lie.26 What is now needed is for this fact to be publicly recognized.

The main reason why this fact is not yet publicly recognized is that the mainstream media have thus far failed to deal with this issue. Although they have reported on a few of the falsehoods in the official account, they have thus far failed not only to discuss any of the evidence pointing to official complicity but even to expose any of the obvious problems in The 9/11 Commission Report, such as those mentioned in the present essay. If the Commission has created a new tale about the military’s response that contradicts what the military had been saying since September 18, 2001; if the Commission has suppressed Laura Brown’s memo and Norman Mineta’s testimony; if the Commission has contradicted statements by Richard Clarke, Paul Wolfowitz, Vice President Cheney, and three high-ranking NORAD officials–Captain Michael Jellinek, Colonel Robert Marr, and General Larry Arnold–it seems elementary that our news organizations should report these contradictions. I cannot, at least, imagine how anyone from the mainstream media could support the contention that they should not report such contradictions.

Exposing such contradictions could, of course, lead to exposing evidence that the Bush-Cheney administration had prior knowledge of, and perhaps even orchestrated, the attacks of 9/11, which would mean that the whole post-9/11 “war on terror” has been based on deceit. I cannot imagine how anyone in the media could marshal a principled argument to the effect that, if that is true, the media are not obligated to report the relevant evidence.

Unfortunately, of course, principle is often over-ruled by other considerations. But we can hope that even the corporate owners of the mainstream media now realize that 9/11 has been used to justify policies that have greatly weakened our country and undermined its reputation and credibility in most of the world. And we can hope that they will, on the basis of this realization, put the welfare of our country and our planet ahead of any considerations that would prevent them from allowing the press to carry out its most important task as the Fourth Estate: exposing high crimes in high places.


1 David Ray Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (Northampton: Interlink Books, 2005)–henceforth sometimes cited simply as O&D.

2 The DVD, prepared by Ken Jenkins, is entitled “Truth and Politics: Unanswered Questions about 9/11.” It is available at and from [email protected]. The lecture has been transcribed (with slight modifications) by Ian Woods and published as “Truth and Politics of 9/11: Omissions and Distortions of The 9/11 Commission Report” in Global Outlook), Issue 10 (Spring-Summer 2005), 45-56.

3 The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Authorized Edition (New York: W. W. Norton, 2004).

4 Reminder: All parenthetical references in the text are to Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions.

5 llarion Bykov and Jared Israel, “Guilty for 9-11: Bush, Rumsfeld, Myers, Section 1: Why Were None of the Hijacked Planes Intercepted?” ( This essay is listed in the Table of Contents under “Evidence of high-level government conspiracy in the events of 9-11.”

6 “NORAD’s Response Times,” September 18, 2001 (available at

7 That this alleged phone call took 8 minutes is an inference from the fact that NEADS was supposedly notified about Flight 11 shortly before 8:38 whereas the scramble order was not given until 8:46 (The 9/11 Commission Report, 20).

8  The 9/11 Commission Report (Ch. 1, note 103) cites “Aircraft Piracy (Hijacking) and Destruction of Derelict Airborne Objects,” which was issued June 1, 2001. This document in turn cites Directive 3025.15, issued in 1997, which contains the statement quoted in the text. The idea that no standard procedures should prevent immediate responses in emergency situations is also stated in other places in the document of June 1, 2001. Section 4.4, after saying that the secretary of defense retains approval authority for various types of support, concludes by saying: “Nothing in this Directive prevents a commander from exercising his or her immediate emergency response authority as outlined in DoD Directive 3025.1.” And Section 4.5 begins with these words: “With the exception of immediate responses under imminently serious conditions, as provided in paragraph 4.7.1., below. . . . ” I have discussed this issue at greater length in the Afterword to the second edition of David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 (Northampton: Interlink Books, 2004)—henceforth cited as NPH.

9 Tom Flocco, “Rookie in the 9-11 Hot Seat?”, June 17, 2004 ( Flocco adds that Laura Brown later e-mailed him to say that that teleconference had not started until about 8:45, but Flocco suspects that her earlier statement, made to him while they were both present at the first hearing of the 9/11 Commission, was closer to the truth than her later statement, which she made “after returning to her office and conferring with superiors.” Flocco’s belief that the 8:20 time was correct was, he says, reinforced by a source in the Department of Transportation who told him that phone bridges, linking officials from NORAD, the Secret Service, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Transportation, were established at 8:20 (Tom Flocco, “9-11 Probe Continues to Bypass Executive Branch Testimony,”, October 13, 2003 ( See my discussion in O&D 187.

10 This memo is available at

11 National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, May 23, 2003 (

12 Air War over America: Sept. 11 Alters Face of Air Defense Mission (Public Affairs: Tyndall Air Force Base, 2003), by Leslie Filson (Foreword by Larry K. Arnold).

13 Still another problem is that earlier, when the Commission was explaining why no fighters were scrambled in time to intercept Flight 11, it said that NEADS had to call General Arnold to get permission. But this time, we are told, NEADS simply issued the order, without calling General Arnold. This undermines the Commission’s claim that the call to Arnold was necessary in relation to the earlier flight.

14 Quoting Laura Brown, “FAA Communications with NORAD On September 11, 2001″ (available at

15 National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, May 23, 2003 (

16 The idea that military officials knew about Flight 77 long before the Pentagon was struck is also supported by a New York Times story published four days after 9/11, which began: “During the hour or so that American Airlines Flight 77 was under the control of hijackers, up to the moment it struck the west side of the Pentagon, military officials in a command center on the east side of the building were urgently talking to . . . air traffic control officials about what to do” (Matthew Wald, “After the Attacks: Sky Rules; Pentagon Tracked Deadly Jet but Found No Way to Stop It,” New York Times, September 15, 2001).

17 Quoting “Statement of Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, May 23, 2003″ (available at

18  Page 9 of The 9/11 Commission Report says 9:34. But 9:36 is the time given on pages 27 and 34, and it is the time that allows the Commission to claim that the military “had at most one or two minutes to react to the unidentified plane approaching Washington” (34).

19  Still another thing ignored by the report is the US military’s prodigious radar systems. The website for one of these systems, called PAVE PAWS, says that it is “capable of detecting and monitoring a great number of targets that would be consistent with a massive SLBM [Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile] attack” (“PAVE PAWS, Watching North America’s Skies, 24 Hours a Day” ( The PAVE PAWS system is surely not premised on the assumption that those SLBMs would have transponders. The claim that the military did not know about an aircraft approaching the Pentagon is, accordingly, absurd. After the strikes on the WTC, the US military, if the attacks of 9/11 had genuinely been surprise attacks carried out by foreigners, would have been on the highest state of alert and would not have hesitated to shoot down any unauthorized and unidentified aircraft approaching Washington. And as to the capability to do this, even if for some reason Andrews did not have fighters on alert that morning, the website of the Congressional Budget Office informs us that, in Fred Burks’ summary statement, “ICBMs [Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles] travel at speeds up to 6 to 7 kilometers per second (approximately 14,000 miles per hour)” and can hence take down “an ICBM in a matter of minutes” (Burks, “Billions on Star Wars Missile Defense Can’t Stop Four Lost Airliners on 9/11″ (, citing “Alternatives for Boost-Phase Missile Defense,” July 2004 (

20 The 9/11 Commission Report, 30, 31, 34, 38, 44.

21 The Commission’s professed inability to discover the identity of the Pentagon participants, along with its neglect of Clarke’s account, may have something to do with the fact that it endorsed General Myers’ quite different account of his whereabouts, according to which he was up on Capitol Hill at the time. The Commission also endorsed an account of Rumsfeld’s movements that is quite different from Clarke’s account (O&D 217-19).

22 “Statement of Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, May 23, 2003.”

23 The Calgary Herald (Oct. 13, 2001) reported that NORAD scrambled fighters 129 times in 2000; the FAA reported 67 scrambles between September 2000 and June 2001 (FAA News Release, August 9, 2002).

24 See The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions and, for a brief summary, “The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-Page Lie,” 9/11 Visibility Project, May 22, 2005 (

25 This statement is in Weston’s blurb for The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions.

26 Overviews of this evidence are provided in my two books. Also, in “The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True,” I have laid out the case against the official story about the collapses of the WTC buildings much more fully than before.


SANA, 10 September 2013

President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to American CBS news.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Highlighting by GR Editor

CBS:  Mr. President thank you very much for this opportunity to talk to you at a very important moment because the President of the United States will address the nation this week and, as you know an important conversation is taking place in Washington and important things are happening here in your country.  Do you expect an airstrike?

President al-Assad:  As long as the United States doesn’t obey the international law and trample over the Charter of the United Nations we have to worry that any administration – not only this one – would do anything.  According to the lies that we’ve been hearing for the last two weeks from high-ranking officials in the US administration we have to expect the worst.

CBS:  Are you prepared?

 President al-Assad:  We’ve been living in difficult circumstances for the last two years and a half, and we prepare ourselves for every possibility.  But that doesn’t mean if you’re prepared things will be better; it’s going to get worse with any foolish strike or stupid war.

 CBS: What do you mean worse?

 President al-Assad: Worse because of the repercussions because nobody can tell you the repercussions of the first strike. We’re talking about one region, bigger regions, not only about Syria.  This interlinked region, this intermingled, interlocked, whatever you want to call it; if you strike somewhere, you have to expect the repercussions somewhere else in different forms in ways you don’t expect.

 CBS: Are you suggesting that if in fact there is a strike; there will be repercussions against the United States from your friends in other countries like Iran or Hezbollah or others?

 President al-Assad:  As I said, this may take different forms: direct and indirect.  Direct when people want to retaliate, or governments.  Indirect when you’re going to have instability and the spread of terrorism all over the region that will influence the west directly.

 CBS:  Have you had conversations with Russia, with Iran or with Hezbollah about how to retaliate?

 President al-Assad:  We don’t discuss this issue as a government, but we discuss the repercussions, which is more important because sometimes repercussions could be more destroying than the strike itself.  Any American strike will not destroy as much as the terrorists have already destroyed in Syria; sometimes the repercussions could be many doubles the strike itself.

CBS:  But some have suggested that it might tip the balance in the favor of the rebels and lead to the overthrow of your government.

 Any strike will be as direct support to Al-Qaeda

 President al-Assad:  Exactly.  Any strike will be as direct support to Al-Qaeda offshoot that’s called Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  You’re right about this.  It’s going to be direct support.

CBS:  This is about chemical warfare.  Let’s talk about that.  Do you approve of the use of chemical warfare, the use of deadly chemicals?  Do you think that it is an appropriate tool of war, to use chemicals?

President al-Assad: We are against any WMD, any weapons of mass destruction, whether chemical or nuclear.

CBS:  So you’re against the use of chemical warfare?

President al-Assad:  Yes, not only me. As a state, as a government, in 2001 we proposed to the United Nations to empty or to get rid of every WMD in the Middle East, and the United States stood against that proposal.  This is our conviction and policy.

CBS: But you’re not a signatory to the chemical warfare agreement.

President al-Assad:  Not yet.

CBS:  Why not?

President al-Assad:  Because Israel has WMD, and it has to sign, and Israel is occupying our land, so that’s we talked about the Middle East, not Syria, not Israel; it should be comprehensive.

CBS:  Do you consider chemical warfare equivalent to nuclear warfare?

President al-Assad:  I don’t know. We haven’t tried either.

CBS: But you know, you’re a head of state, and you understand the consequences of weapons that don’t discriminate.

President al-Assad:  Technically, they’re not the same.  But morally, it’s the same.

CBS:  Morally, they are the same.

President al-Assad:  They are the same, but at the end, killing is killing.  Massacring is massacring.  Sometimes you may kill tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands with very primitive armaments.

CBS:  Then why do you have such a stockpile of chemical weapons?

President al-Assad:  We don’t discuss this issue in public because we never said that we have it, and we never said that we don’t have it.  It’s a Syrian issue; it’s a military issue we never discuss in public with anyone.

CBS:  This is from the New York Times this morning: Syria’s leaders amassed one of the world’s largest stockpiles of chemical weapons with help from the Soviet Union and Iran as well as Western European suppliers, and even a handful of American companies.  According to American diplomatic cables and declassified intelligence records, you have amassed one of the largest supplies of chemical weapons in the world.

President al-Assad:  To have or not to have is a possibility, but to depend on what media says is nonsense, or to depend on some of the reports of the intelligence is nonsense and that was proven when they invaded Iraq ten years ago and they said “Iraq has stockpiles of WMD” and it was proven after the invasion that this was false; it was fraud.  So, we can’t depend on what one magazine wrote.  But at the end, I said it’s something not to be discussed with anyone.

CBS:  You accept that the world believes that you have a stockpile of chemical weapons?   

President al-Assad:  Who?

CBS:  The world.  The United States and other powers who also said that you have chemical weapons.

President al-Assad:  It isn’t about what they believe in, it’s about the reality that we have, and this reality, we own it, we don’t have to discuss it.

CBS:  Speaking of reality, what was the reality on August 21st? What happened in your judgment?

President al-Assad:  We’re not in the area where the alleged chemical attack happened.  I said alleged.  We’re not sure that anything happened.

CBS:  Even at this date, you’re not sure that chemical weapons – even though you have seen the video tape, even though you’ve seen the bodies, even though your own officials have been there.

President al-Assad:  I haven’t finished.  Our soldiers in another area were attacked chemically.  Our soldiers – they went to the hospital as casualties because of chemical weapons, but in the area where they said the government used chemical weapons, we only had video and we only have pictures and allegations.  We’re not there; our forces, our police, our institutions don’t exist there.  How can you talk about what happened if you don’t have evidence?  We’re not like the American administration, we’re not social media administration or government.  We are a government that deals with reality.  When we have evidence, we’ll announce it.

CBS:  Well, as you know, Secretary Kerry has said there is evidence and that they saw rockets that fired from a region controlled by your forces into a region controlled by the rebels. They have evidence from satellite photographs of that.  They have evidence of a message that was intercepted about chemical weapons, and soon thereafter there were other intercepted messages, so Secretary Kerry has presented what he views as conclusive evidence.

Kerry reminds about the big lie that ColLin Powell said in front of the world on satellites about the WMD in Iraq

President al-Assad:  No, he presented his confidence and his convictions. It’s not about confidence, it’s about evidence.  The Russians have completely opposite evidence that the missiles were thrown from an area where the rebels control.  This reminds me – what Kerry said -  about the big lie that Collin Powell said in front of the world on satellites about the WMD in Iraq before going to war.  He said “this is our evidence.”  Actually, he gave false evidence.  In this case, Kerry didn’t even present any evidence.  He talked “we have evidence” and he didn’t present anything.  Not yet, nothing so far; not a single shred of evidence.

CBS:  Do you have some remorse for those bodies, those people, it is said to be up to at least a thousand or perhaps 1400, who were in Eastern Ghouta, who died?

President al-Assad:  We feel pain for every Syrian victim.

CBS:  What about the victims of this assault from chemical warfare?

President al-Assad:  Dead is dead, killing is killing, crime is crime.  When you feel pain, you feel pain about their family, about the loss that you have in your country, whether one person was killed or a hundred or a thousand.  It’s a loss, it’s a crime, it’s a moral issue.  We have family that we sit with, family that loved their dear ones.  It’s not about how they are killed, it’s about that they are dead now; this is the bad thing.

CBS: But has there been any remorse or sadness on behalf of the Syrian people for what happened?

President al-Assad:  I think sadness prevails in Syria now.  We don’t feel anything else but sadness because we have this killing every day, whether with chemical or any other kind.  It’s not about how. We feel with it every day.

CBS:  But this was indiscriminate, and children were killed, and people who said goodbye to their children in the morning didn’t see them and will never see them again, in Ghouta.

President al-Assad:  That is the case every day in Syria, that’s why you have to stop the killing. That’s why we have to stop the killing.  But what do you mean by “indiscriminate” that you are talking about?

CBS:  Well, the fact that chemical warfare is indiscriminate in who it kills, innocents as well as combatants.

President al-Assad:  Yeah, but you’re not talking about evidence, you’re not talking about facts, we are talking about allegations.  So, we’re not sure that if there’s chemical weapon used and who used it.  We can’t talk about virtual things, we have to talk about facts.

CBS:  It is said that your government delayed the United Nations observers from getting to Ghouta and that you denied and delayed the Red Cross then the Red Crescent from getting there to make observations and to help.

President al-Assad:  The opposite happened, your government delayed because we asked for a delegation in March 2013 when the first attack happened in Aleppo in the north of Syria; they delayed it till just a few days before al-Ghouta when they sent those team, and the team itself said in its report that he did everything as he wanted.  There was not a single obstacle.

CBS:  But they said they were delayed in getting there, that they wanted to be there earlier.

President al-Assad:  No, no, no; there was a conflict, there was fighting, they were shooting. That’s it.  We didn’t prevent them from going anywhere.  We asked them to come; why to delay them?  Even if you want to take the American story, they say we used chemical weapons the same day the team or the investigation team came to Syria; is it logical?  It’s not logical.  Even if a country or army wanted to use such weapon, they should have waited a few days till the investigation finished its work.  It’s not logical, the whole story doesn’t even hold together.

CBS:  We’ll come back to it. If your government did not do it, despite the evidence, who did it?

President al-Assad:  We have to be there to get the evidence like what happened in Aleppo when we had evidence.  And because the United States didn’t send the team, we sent the evidence to the Russians.

CBS:  But don’t you want to know the answer, if you don’t accept the evidence so far, as to who did this?

President al-Assad:  The question is who threw chemicals on the same day on our soldiers.  That’s the same question.  Technically, not the soldiers.  Soldiers don’t throw missiles on themselves.  So, either the rebels, the terrorists, or a third party.  We don’t have any clue yet.  We have to be there to collect the evidences then we can give answer.

CBS:  Well, the argument is made that the rebels don’t have their capability of using chemical weapons, they do not have the rockets and they do not have the supply of chemical weapons that you have, so therefore they could not have done it.

President al-Assad:  First of all, they have rockets, and they’ve been throwing rockets on Damascus for months.

CBS: That carry chemical weapons?

President al-Assad:  Rockets in general.  They have the means – first.  Second, the sarin gas that they’ve been talking about for the last weeks is a very primitive gas.  You can have it done in the backyard of a house; it’s a very primitive gas.  So, it’s not something complicated.

CBS:  But this was not primitive.  This was a terrible use of chemical weapons.

President al-Assad:  Third, they used it in Aleppo in the north of Syria.  Fourth, there’s a video on YouTube where the terrorists clearly make trials on a rabbit and kill the rabbit and said “this is how we’re going to kill the Syrian people.”  Fifth, there’s a new video about one of those women who they consider as rebel or fighter who worked with those terrorists and she said “they didn’t tell us how to use the chemical weapons” and one of those weapons exploded in one of the tunnels and killed twelve.  That’s what she said.  Those are the evidence that we have.  Anyway, the party who accused is the one who has to bring evidences.  The United States accused Syria, and because you accused you have to bring evidence, this first of all. We have to find evidences when we are there.

CBS: What evidence would be sufficient for you?

President al-Assad:  For example, in Aleppo we had the missile itself, and the material, and the sample from the sand, from the soil, and samples from the blood.

CBS:  But the argument is made that your forces bombarded Ghouta soon thereafter with the intent of covering up evidence.

President al-Assad:  How could bombardment cover the evidence? Technically, it doesn’t work. How? This is stupid to be frank, this is very stupid.

CBS: But you acknowledge the bombardment?

President al-Assad:  Of course, there was a fight.  That happens every day; now you can have it. But, let’s talk… we have indications, let me just finish this point, because how can use WMD while your troops are only 100 meters away from it?  Is it logical?  It doesn’t happen.  It cannot be used like this.  Anyone who’s not military knows this fact.  Why do you use chemical weapons while you’re advancing?  Last year was much more difficult than this year, and we didn’t use it.

CBS:  There is this question too; if it was not you, does that mean that you don’t have control of your own chemical weapons and that perhaps they have fallen into the hands of other people who might want to use them?

President al-Assad:  That implies that we have chemical weapons, first.  That implies that it’s being used, second.  So we cannot answer this question until we answer the first part and the second part.  Third, let’s presume that a country or army has this weapon; this kind of armaments cannot be used by infantry for example or by anyone.  This kind of armament should be used by specialized units, so it cannot be in the hand of anyone.

CBS: Well, exactly, that’s the point.

President al-Assad:  Which is controlled centrally. 

CBS:  Ah, so you are saying that if in fact, your government did it, you would know about it and you would have approved it.

President al-Assad:  I’m talking about a general case.

CBS:  In general, you say if in fact it happened, I would have known about it and approved it.  That’s the nature of centralized power.

President al-Assad:  Generally, in every country, yes. I’m talking about the general rules, because I cannot discuss this point with you in detail unless I’m telling you what we have and what we don’t have, something I’m not going to discuss as I said at the very beginning, because this is a military issue that could not be discussed.

CBS:  Do you question the New York Times article I read to you, saying you had a stockpile of chemical weapons?  You’re not denying that.

President al-Assad:  No, we don’t say yes, we don’t say no, because as long as this is classified, it shouldn’t be discussed.

CBS:  The United States is prepared to launch a strike against your country because they believe chemical weapons are so abhorrent, that anybody who uses them crosses a red line, and that therefore, if they do that, they have to be taught a lesson so that they will not do it again.

President al-Assad:  What red line? Who drew it?

CBS: The President says that it’s not just him, that the world has drawn it in their revulsion against the use of chemical weapons, that the world has drawn this red line.

We have our red lines: our sovereignty, our independence

President al-Assad:  Not the world, because Obama drew that line, and Obama can draw lines for himself and his country, not for other countries.  We have our red lines, like our sovereignty, our independence, while if you want to talk about world red lines, the United States used depleted uranium in Iraq, Israel used white phosphorus in Gaza, and nobody said anything.  What about the red lines?  We don’t see red lines.  It’s political red lines.

CBS: The President is prepared to strike, and perhaps he’ll get the authorization of Congress or not.  The question then is would you give up chemical weapons if it would prevent the President from authorizing a strike?  Is that a deal you would accept?

President al-Assad:  Again, you always imply that we have chemical weapons.

CBS: I have to, because that is the assumption of the President. That is his assumption, and he is the one that will order the strike.

President al-Assad:  It’s his problem if he has an assumption, but for us in Syria, we have principles.  We’d do anything to prevent the region from another crazy war.  It’s not only Syria because it will start in Syria.

CBS: You’d do anything to prevent the region from having another crazy war?

President al-Assad:  The region, yes.

CBS:  You realize the consequences for you if there is a strike?

President al-Assad:  It’s not about me. It’s about the region.

CBS: It’s about your country, it’s about your people.

President al-Assad:  Of course, my country and me, we are part of this region, we’re not separated.  We cannot discuss it as Syria or as me; it should be as part, as a whole, as comprehensive.  That’s how we have to look at it.

CBS:  Some ask why would you do it? It’s a stupid thing to do if you’re going to bring a strike down on your head by using chemical weapons.  Others say you’d do it because A: you’re desperate, or the alternative, you do it because you want other people to fear you, because these are such fearful weapons that if the world knows you have them, and specifically your opponents in Syria, the rebels, then you have gotten away with it and they will live in fear, and that therefore, the President has to do something.

President al-Assad:  You cannot be desperate when the army is making advances.  That should have happened – if we take into consideration that this presumption is correct and this is reality – you use it when you’re in a desperate situation.  So, our position is much better than before. So, this is not correct.

CBS: You think you’re winning the war.

President al-Assad:  “Winning” is a subjective word, but we are making advancement.  This is the correct word, because winning for some people is when you finish completely.

CBS: Then the argument is made that if you’re winning, it is because of the recent help you have got from Iran and from Hezbollah and additional supplies that have come to your side.  People from outside Syria supporting you in the effort against the rebels.

President al-Assad:  Iran doesn’t have any soldier in Syria, so how could Iran help me?

CBS:  Supplies, weaponry?

President al-Assad:  That’s all before the crisis. We always have this kind of cooperation.

CBS:  Hezbollah, Hezbollah fighters have been here.

President al-Assad:  Hezbollah fighters are on the borders with Lebanon where the terrorists attacked them.  On the borders with Lebanon, this is where Hezbollah retaliated, and this is where we have cooperation, and that’s good.

CBS:  Hezbollah forces are in Syria today?

President al-Assad:  On the border area with Lebanon where they want to protect themselves and cooperate with us, but they don’t exist all over Syria.  They cannot exist all over Syria anyway, for many reasons, but they exist on the borders.

CBS:  What advice are you getting from the Russians?

President al-Assad:  About?

CBS:  About this war, about how to end this war.

Every friend of Syria is looking for peaceful solution

President al-Assad: Every friend of Syria is looking for peaceful solution, and we are convinced about that.  We have this advice, and without this advice we are convinced about it.

CBS:  Do you have a plan to end the war?

President al-Assad:  Of course.

CBS: Which is?

President al-Assad:  At the very beginning, it was fully political.  When you have these terrorists, the first part of the same plan which is political should start with stopping the smuggling of terrorists coming from abroad, stopping the logistic support, the money, all kinds of support coming to these terrorists.  This is the first part.  Second, we can have national dialogue where different Syrian parties sit and discuss the future of Syria.  Third, you can have interim government or transitional government.  Then you have final elections, parliamentary elections, and you’re going to have presidential elections.

CBS: But the question is: would you meet with rebels today to discuss a negotiated settlement?

President al-Assad:  In the initiative that we issued at the beginning of this year we said every party with no exceptions as long as they give up their armaments.

CBS: But you’ll meet with the rebels and anybody who’s fighting against you if they give up their weapons?

President al-Assad: We don’t have a problem.

CBS: Then they will say “you are not giving up your weapons, why should we give up our weapons?”

President al-Assad:  Does a government give up its weapons?  Have you heard about that before?

CBS:  No, but rebels don’t normally give up their weapons either during the negotiations; they do that after a successful…

President al-Assad:  The armament of the government is legal armament.  Any other armament is not legal.  So how can you compare?  It’s completely different.

CBS:  There’s an intense discussion going on about all the things we’re talking about in Washington, where if there’s a strike, it will emanate from the United States’ decision to do this.  What do you want to say, in this very important week, in America, and in Washington, to the American people, the members of Congress, to the President of the United States?

President al-Assad:  I think the most important part of this now is, let’s say the American people, but the polls show that the majority now don’t want a war, anywhere, not only against Syria, but the Congress is going to vote about this in a few days, and I think the Congress is elected by people, it represents the people, and works for their interest.  The first question that they should ask themselves: what do wars give America, since Vietnam till now? Nothing. No political gain, no economic gain, no good reputation.  The United States’ credibility is at an all-time low.  So, this war is against the interest of the Untied States.  Why?  First, this war is going to support Al-Qaeda and the same people that killed Americans in the 11th of September.  The second thing that we want to tell Congress, that they should ask and that what we expect them to ask this administration about the evidence that they have regarding the chemical story and allegations that they presented.

I wouldn’t tell the President or any other official, because we are disappointed by their behavior recently, because we expected this administration to be different from Bush’s administration. They are adopting the same doctrine with different accessories.  That’s it.  So if we want to expect something from this administration, it is not to be weak, to be strong to say that “we don’t have evidence,” that “we have to obey the international law”, that “we have to go back to the Security Council and the United Nations”.

CBS:  The question remains; what can you say to the President who believes chemical weapons were used by your government; that this will not happen again.

President al-Assad:  I will tell him very simply: present what you have as evidence to the public, be transparent.

CBS: And if he does? If he presents that evidence?

President al-Assad:  This is where we can discuss the evidence, but he doesn’t have it.  He didn’t present it because he doesn’t have it, Kerry doesn’t have it.  No one in your administration has it.  If they had it, they would have presented it to you as media from the first day.

CBS:  They have presented it to the Congress.

President al-Assad:  Nothing. Nothing was presented.

CBS: They’ve shown the Congress what they have, and the evidence they have, from satellite intercepted messages and the like.

President al-Assad: Nothing has been presented so far.

CBS: They have presented it to the Congress, sir.

President al-Assad:  You are a reporter. Get this evidence and show it to the public in your country.

CBS:  They’re presenting it to the public representative.  You don’t show your evidence and what you’re doing and your plans to people within your own council.  They’re showing it to the people’s representative who have to vote on an authorization to strike, and if they don’t find the evidence sufficient…

President al-Assad:  First of all, we have the precedent of Collin Powell ten years ago, when he showed the evidence, it was false, and it was forged.  This is first.  Second, you want me to believe American evidence and don’t want me to believe the indications that we have.  We live here, this is our reality.

CBS:  Your indications are what?

President al-Assad:  That the rebels or the terrorists used the chemical weapons in northern Aleppo five months ago.

CBS: And on August 21st?

President al-Assad:  No, no, no.  That was before.  On the 21st, again they used it against our soldiers in our area where we control it, and our soldiers went to the hospital, you can see them if you want.

CBS:  But Ghouta is not controlled by your forces, it’s controlled by the rebel forces. The area where that attack took place is controlled by rebel forces.

President al-Assad:  What if they have stockpiles and they exploded because of the bombardment?  What if they used the missile by mistake and attacked themselves by mistake?

CBS:  Let me move to the question of whether a strike happens, and I touched on this before.  You have had fair warning.  Have you prepared by moving possible targets, are you moving targets within civilian populations, all the things that you might have done if you have time to do that and you have had clear warning that this might be coming?

President al-Assad:  Syria is in a state of war since its land was occupied for more than four decades, and the nature of the frontier in Syria implies that most of the army is in inhabited areas, most of the centers are in inhabited areas.  You hardly find any military base in distant areas from the cities unless it’s an airport or something like this, but most of the military bases or centers within inhabited areas.

CBS:  Will there be attacks against American bases in the Middle East if there’s an airstrike?

President al-Assad:  You should expect everything.  Not necessarily through the government, the governments are not the only player in this region.  You have different parties, different factions, you have different ideologies; you have everything in this region now.  So, you have to expect that.

CBS: Tell me what you mean by “expect everything.”

President al-Assad: Expect every action.

CBS: Including chemical warfare?

President al-Assad:  That depends. If the rebels or the terrorists in this region or any other group have it, this could happen, I don’t know.  I’m not a fortuneteller to tell you what’s going to happen.

CBS: But we’d like to know more, I think the President would like to know, the American people would like to know.  If there is an attack, what might be the repercussions and who might be engaged in those repercussions?

President al-Assad:  Okay, before the 11th of September, in my discussions with many officials of the United States, some of them are Congressmen, I used to say that “don’t deal with terrorists as playing games.”  It’s a different story.  You’re going to pay the price if you’re not wise in dealing with terrorists.  We said you’re going to be repercussions of the mistaken way of dealing with it, of treating the terrorism, but nobody expected 11th of September.  So, you cannot expect.  It is difficult for anyone to tell you what is going to happen.  It’s an area where everything is on the brink of explosion.  You have to expect everything.

CBS:  Let’s talk about the war today.  A hundred thousand people dead.  A million refugees.  A country being destroyed.  Do you take some responsibility for that?

President al-Assad:  That depends on the decision that I took.  From the first day I took the decision as President to defend my country. So, who killed? That’s another question.  Actually, the terrorists have been killing our people since the beginning of this crisis two years and a half ago, and the Syrian people wanted the government and the state institutions and the army and the police to defend them, and that’s what happened.  So we’re talking about the responsibility, my responsibility according to the Syrian constitution that said we have to defend ourselves. 

CBS:  Mr. President, you constantly say “it’s terrorists.”  Most people look at the rebels and they say that Al-Qaeda and other forces from outside Syria are no more than 15 or 20 percent of the forces on the ground.  The other 80% are Syrians, are defectors from your government, and defectors from your military.  They are people who are Syrians who believe that their country should not be run by a dictator, should not be run by one family, and that they want a different government in their country.  That’s 80% of the people fighting against you, not terrorists.

President al-Assad:  We didn’t say that 80%, for example, or the majority or the vast majority, are foreigners.  We said the vast majority are Al-Qaeda or Al-Qaeda offshoot organizations in this region.  When you talk about Al-Qaeda it doesn’t matter if he’s Syrian or American or from Europe or from Asia or Africa.  Al-Qaeda has one ideology and they go back to the same leadership in Afghanistan or in Syria or in Iraq.  That’s the question.  You have tens of thousands of foreigners, that’s definitely correct.  We are fighting them on the ground and we know this.

CBS:  But that’s 15 or 20% of this.  That’s a realistic look at how many.

President al-Assad:  Nobody knows because when they are dead and they are killed, they don’t have any ID.  You look at their faces, they look foreigners, but where are they coming from?  How precise this estimate is difficult to tell, but definitely the majority are Al-Qaeda.  This is what concerns us, not the nationality.  If you have Syrian Al-Qaeda, or Pakistani Al-Qaeda or Saudi Al-Qaeda, what’s the difference?  What does it matter?  The most important thing is that the majority are Al-Qaeda.  We never said that the majority are not Syrians, but we said that the minority is what they call “free Syrian army.”  That’s what we said.

CBS:  Do you believe this is becoming a religious war?

President al-Assad:  It started partly as a sectarian war in some areas, but now it’s not, because when you talk about sectarian war or religious war, you should have a very clear line between the sects and religions in Syria according to the geography and the demography in Syria, something we don’t have.  So, it’s not religious war, but Al-Qaeda always use religions, Islam – actually, as a pretext and as a cover and as a mantle for their war and for their terrorism and for their killing and beheading and so on.

CBS:  Why has this war lasted two and a half years?

President al-Assad:  Because of the external interference, because there is an external agenda supported by, or let’s say led by the United States, the West, the petrodollar countries, mainly Saudi Arabia, and before was Qatar, and Turkey.  That’s why it lasted two years and a half.

CBS:  But what are they doing, those countries you cited?

The West wanted to undermine the Syrian positions

President al-Assad:  They have different agendas.  For the West, they wanted to undermine the Syrian positions.  For the petrodollar countries like Saudi Arabia, they’re thinking undermining Syria will undermine Iran on sectarian basis.  For Turkey, they think that if the Muslim Brotherhood take over the rest of the region, they will be very comfortable, they will be very happy, they will make sure that their political future is guaranteed.  So they have different agendas and different goals.

CBS:  But at the same time, as I said, you used Hezbollah and got support from Iran, from Russia. So, what is happening here. Is this a kind of war that exists because of support from outside Syria on both sides?

President al-Assad:  This is cooperation, I don’t know what you mean by support.  We have cooperation with countries for decades.  Why talk about this cooperation now?

CBS:  Then you tell me, what are you receiving from Iran?

President al-Assad:  Political support.  We have agreements with many countries including Iran, including Russia, including other countries that are about different things including armament. It’s cooperation like any cooperation between any two countries, which is normal.  It’s not related to the crisis.  You don’t call it support, because you pay money for what you get.  So, you don’t call it support, it’s cooperation, call it whatever you want, but the word “support” is not precise. From Russia for example, we have political support, which is different from the cooperation.  We have cooperation for 60 years now, but now we have political support.

CBS:  Well, the Russians said they have ongoing support for you, but beyond just political cooperation.  I mean they have treaties that existed with Syria.

President al-Assad:  Exactly.

CBS:  And they provide all kinds of defensive weapons.

President al-Assad:  You said treaties, and a Russian official said; we have not agreement… contracts, that we have to fulfill, and those contracts are like any country; you buy armaments, you buy anything you want.

CBS:  But do you believe this has become a conflict of Sunni vs. Shia’a?

President al-Assad:  No, not yet.  This is in the mind of the Saudis, and this is in the minds of the Wahabists.

CBS:  And in the minds of the Iranians?

President al-Assad:  No, no, actually what they are doing is the opposite.  They tried to open channels with the Saudi, with many other Islamic entities in the region in order to talk about Islamic society, not Sunni and Shi’ite societies.

CBS:  Was there a moment for you, when you saw the Arab spring approaching Syria, that you said “I’ve seen what happened in Libya, I’ve seen what happened in Tunisia, I’ve seen what happened in Egypt, it’s not gonna happen to Bashar al-al-Assad. I will fight anybody that tries to overthrow my regime with everything I have.”

President al-Assad:  No, for one reason; because the first question that I ask: do I have public support or not.  That is the first question that I asked as President.  If I don’t have the public support, whether there’s the so-called “Arab spring” – it’s not spring, anyway – but whether we have this or we don’t, if you don’t have public support, you have to quit, you have to leave.  If you have public support, in any circumstances you have to stay.  That’s your mission, you have to help the people, you have to serve the people.

CBS:  When you say “public support” people point to Syria and say a minority sect, Alawites, control a majority Sunni population, and they say “dictatorship” and they do it because it because of the force of their own instruments of power.  That’s what you have, not public support, for this war against other Syrians.

President al-Assad:  Now, it’s been two years and a half, ok? Two years and a half and Syria is still withstanding against the United States, the West, Saudi Arabia, the richest countries in this area, including Turkey, and, taking into consideration what your question implies, that even the big part or the bigger part of the Syrian population is against me, how can I withstand till today?  Am I the superhuman or Superman, which is not the case!

CBS:  Or you have a powerful army.

President al-Assad:  The army is made of the people; it cannot be made of robots.  It’s made of people.

CBS:  Surely you’re not suggesting that this army is not at your will and the will of your family.

President al-Assad:  What do you mean by “will of the family?”

CBS:  The will of your family. Your brother is in the military. The military has been… every observer of Syria believes that this is a country controlled by your family and controlled by the Alawites who are your allies.  That’s the control.

President al-Assad:  If that situation was correct – what you’re mentioning – we wouldn’t have withstood for two years and a half.  We would have disintegration of the army, disintegration of the whole institution in the state; we would have disintegration of Syria if that was the case.  It can’t be tolerated in Syria.  I’m talking about the normal reaction of the people.  If it’s not a national army, it cannot have the support, and if it doesn’t have the public support of every sect, it cannot do its job and advance recently.  It cannot.  The army of the family doesn’t make national war.

CBS:  Some will argue that you didn’t have this support because in fact the rebels were winning before you got the support of Hezbollah and an enlarged support from the Iranians, that you were losing and then they came in and gave you support so that you were able to at least start winning and produce at least a stalemate.

President al-Assad:  No, the context is wrong, because talking about winning and losing is like if you’re talking about two armies fighting on two territories, which is not the case.  Those are gangs, coming from abroad, infiltrate inhabited areas, kill the people, take their houses, and shoot at the army.  The army cannot do the same, and the army doesn’t exist everywhere.

CBS:  But they control a large part of your country.

President al-Assad:  No, they went to every part there’s no army in it, and the army went to clean and get rid of them.  They don’t go to attack the army in an area where the army occupied that area and took it from it.  It’s completely different, it’s not correct, or it’s not precise what you’re talking about.  So, it’s completely different.  What the army is doing is cleaning those areas, and the indication that the army is strong is that it’s making advancement in that area.  It never went to one area and couldn’t enter to it – that’s an indication.  How could that army do that if it’s a family army or a sect army?  What about the rest of the country who support the government?  It’s not realistic, it doesn’t happen.  Otherwise, the whole country will collapse.

CBS:  One small point about American involvement here, the President’s gotten significant criticism because he has not supported the rebels more.  As you know, there was an argument within his own counsels from Secretary of State Clinton, from CIA Director David Petraeus, from the Defense Department, Leon Penetta, Secretary of Defense, and others, that they should have helped the rebels two years ago, and we would be in a very different place, so the President has not given enough support to the rebels in the view of many people, and there’s criticism that when he made a recent decision to give support, it has not gotten to the rebels, because they worry about the composition.

President al-Assad:  If the American administration want to support Al-Qaeda – go ahead.  That’s what we have to tell them, go ahead and support Al-Qaeda, but don’t talk about rebels and free Syrian army.  The majority of fighters now are Al-Qaeda.  If you want to support them, you are supporting Al-Qaeda, you are creating havoc in the region, and if this region is not stable, the whole world cannot be stable.

CBS:  With respect, sir, most people don’t believe the majority of forces are Al-Qaeda.  Yes, there is a number of people who are Al-Qaeda affiliates and who are here who subscribe to the principles of Al-Qaeda, but that’s not the majority of the forces as you know.  You know that the composition differs within the regions of Syria as to the forces that are fighting against your regime.

The American officials should learn to deal with reality

President al-Assad:  The American officials should learn to deal with reality.  Why did the United States fail in most of its wars?  Because it always based its wars on the wrong information.  So, whether they believe or not, this is not reality.  I have to be very clear and very honest.  I’m not asking them to believe if they don’t want to believe.  This is reality, I’m telling you the reality from our country.  We live here, we know what is happening, and they have to listen to people here.  They cannot listen only to their media or to their research centers.  They don’t live here; no one lives here but us.  So, this is reality.  If they want to believe, that’s good, that will help them understand the region and be more successful in their policies.

CBS:  Many people think this is not a sustainable position here; that this war cannot continue, because the cost for Syria is too high. Too many deaths – a hundred thousand and counting, too many refugees, too much destruction; the soul of a country at risk.  If it was for the good of the country, would you step down?

President al-Assad:  That depends on the relation of me staying in this position and the conflict.  We cannot discuss it just to say you have to step down.  Step down, why, and what is the expected result?  This is first.  Second, when you’re in the middle of a storm, leaving your country just because you have to leave without any reasonable reason, it means you’re quitting your country and this is treason.

CBS:  You say it would be treason for you to step down right now because of your obligation to the country?

President al-Assad:  Unless the public wants you to quit.

CBS:  And how will you determine that?

President al-Assad:  By the two years and a half withstanding.  Without the public support, we cannot withstand two years and a half.  Look at the other countries, look what happened in Libya, in Tunisia and in Egypt.

CBS:  You worry about that, what happened to Gaddafi?

President al-Assad:  No, we are worried that rebels are taking control in many countries, and look at the results now.  Are you satisfied as an American?  What are the results?  Nothing.  Very bad -  nothing good.

CBS:  There was a report recently that you had talked about, or someone representing you had talked about some kind of deal in which you and your family would leave the country if you were guaranteed safe passage, if you were guaranteed that there would be no criminal prosecution.  You’re aware of these reports?

President al-Assad:  We had this guarantee from the first day of the crisis.

CBS:  Because of the way you acted?

President al-Assad:  No, because of the agenda that I talked about.  Some of these agendas wanted me to quit, very simply, so they said “we have all the guarantees if you want to leave, and all the money and everything you want.”  Of course, you just ignore that.

CBS:  So, you’ve been offered that opportunity?

President al-Assad:  Yeah, but it’s not about me, again, this fight is not my fight, it’s not the fight of the government; it’s the fight of the country, of the Syrian people.  That’s how we look at it.  It’s not about me.

CBS:  It’s not about you?

President al-Assad:  It’s about every Syrian.

CBS:  How will this war end?  I referred to this question earlier.  What’s the endgame?

President al-Assad:  It’s very simple; once the Western countries stop supporting those terrorists and making pressure on their puppet countries and client states like Saudi Arabia and Turkey and others, you’ll have no problem in Syria.  It will be solved easily, because those fighters, the Syrian part that you’re talking about, lost its natural incubators in the Syrian society – they don’t have incubators anymore; that’s why they have incubators abroad.  They need money from abroad, they need moral support and political support from abroad.  They don’t have any grassroots, any incubator.  So, when you stop the smuggling, we don’t have problems.

CBS:  Yeah, but at the same time, as I’ve said before, you have support from abroad.  There are those who say you will not be able to survive without the support of Russia and Iran.  Your government would not be able to survive.

President al-Assad:  No, it’s not me, I don’t have support.  Not me; all Syria.  Every agreement is between every class and every sector in Syria; government, people, trade, military, culture, everything; it’s like the cooperation between your country and any other country in the world.  It’s the same cooperation.  It’s not about me; it’s not support for the crisis.

CBS:  I mean about your government.  You say that the rebels only survive because they have support from Saudi Arabia and Turkey and the United States, and Qatar perhaps, and I’m saying you only survive because you have the support of Russia and Iran and Hezbollah.

External support can never substitute internal support

President al-Assad:  No, the external support can never substitute internal support, it can never, for sure.  And the example that we have to look at very well is Egypt and Tunisia; they have all the support from the West and from the Gulf and from most of the countries of the world.  When they don’t have support within their country, they couldn’t continue more than – how many weeks? – three weeks.  So, the only reason we stand here for two years and a half is because we have internal support, public support.  So, any external support, if you want to call it support, let’s use this world, is… how to say… it’s going to be additional, but it’s not the base to depend on more than the Syrian support.

CBS:  You and I talked about this before; we remember Hama and your father, Hafez al-Assad.  He… ruthlessly… set out to eliminate the Muslim Brotherhood.  Are you simply being your father’s son here?

President al-Assad:  I don’t know what you mean by ruthlessly, I’ve never heard of soft war.  Have you heard about soft war?  There’s no soft war.  War is war.  Any war is ruthless.  When you fight terrorists, you fight them like any other war.

CBS:  So, the lessons you have here are the lessons you learned from your father and what he did in Hama, which, it is said, influenced you greatly in terms of your understanding of what you have to do.

President al-Assad:  The question: what would you do as an American if the terrorists are invading your country from different areas and started killing tens of thousands of Americans?

CBS:  You refer to them as terrorists, but in fact it is a popular revolution, people believe, against you, that was part of the Arab spring that influenced some of the other countries.

President al-Assad:  Revolution should be Syrian, cannot be revolution imported from abroad.

CBS:  It didn’t start from abroad; it started here.

President al-Assad:  These people that started here, they support the government now against those rebels, that’s what you don’t know.  What you don’t know as an American you don’t know as a reporter.  That’s why talking about what happened at the very beginning is completely different from what is happening now – it’s not the same.  There’s very high dynamic, things are changing on daily basis.  It’s a completely different image.  Those people who wanted revolution, they are cooperating with us.

CBS:  I’m asking you again, is it in fact you’re being your father’s son and you believe that the only way to drive out people is to eliminate them the same way your father did?

President al-Assad:  In being independent?  Yes.  In fighting terrorists? Yes.  In defending the Syrian people and the country?  Yes.

CBS:  When I first interviewed you, there was talk of Bashar al-al-Assad… he’s the hope, he’s the reform. That’s not what they’re saying anymore.

President al-Assad:  Who?

CBS:  People who write about you, people who talk about you, people who analyze Syria and your regime.

President al-Assad:  Exactly, the hope for an American is different from the hope of a Syrian.  For me, I should be the hope of the Syrian, not any other one, not American, neither French, nor anyone in the world.  I’m President to help the Syrian people.  So, this question should start from the hope of the Syrian people, and if there is any change regarding that hope, we should ask the Syrian people, not anyone else in the world.

CBS:  But now they say – their words – a butcher.  Comparisons to the worst dictators that ever walked on the face of the Earth, comparing you to them.  Using weapons that go beyond warfare.  Everything they could say bad about a dictator, they’re now saying about you.

President al-Assad:  First of all, when you have a doctor who cut the leg to prevent the patient from the gangrene if you have to, we don’t call butcher; you call him a doctor, and thank you for saving the lives.  When you have terrorism, you have a war.  When you have a war, you always have innocent lives that could be the victim of any war, so, we don’t have to discuss what the image in the west before discussing the image in Syria.  That’s the question.

CBS:  It’s not just the West.  I mean it’s the East, and the Middle East, and, I mean, you know, the eyes of the world have been on Syria.  We have seen atrocities on both sides, but on your side as well.  They have seen brutality by a dictator that they say put you in a category with the worst.

President al-Assad:  So we have to allow the terrorists to come and kill the Syrians and destroy the country much, much more.  This is where you can be a good President?  That’s what you imply.

CBS:  But you can’t allow the idea that there’s opposition to your government from within Syria.  That is not possible for you to imagine.

President al-Assad:  To have opposition? We have it, and you can go and meet with them.  We have some of them within the government, we have some of them outside the government.  They are opposition.  We have it.

CBS:  But those are the people who have been fighting against you.

President al-Assad:  Opposition is different from terrorism.  Opposition is a political movement. Opposition doesn’t mean to take arms and kill people and destroy everything.  Do you call the people in Los Angeles in the nineties – do you call them rebels or opposition?  What did the British call the rebels less than two years ago in London?  Did they call them opposition or rebels?  Why should we call them opposition?  They are rebels.  They are not rebels even, they are beheading.  This opposition, opposing country or government, by beheading?  By barbecuing heads?  By eating the hearts of your victim?  Is that opposition?  What do you call the people who attacked the two towers on the 11th of September?  Opposition?  Even if they’re not Americans, I know this, but some of them I think have nationality – I think one of them has American nationality.  Do you call him opposition or terrorist?  Why should you use a term in the United States and England and maybe other countries and use another term in Syria?  This is a double standard that we don’t accept.

CBS:  I once asked you what you fear the most and you said the end of Syria as a secular state.  Is that end already here?

President al-Assad:  According to what we’ve been seeing recently in the area where the terrorists control, where they ban people from going to schools, ban young men from shaving their beards, and women have to be covered from head to toe, and let’s say in brief they live the Taliban style in Afghanistan, completely the same style.  With the time, yes we can be worried, because the secular state should reflect secular society, and this secular society, with the time, if you don’t get rid of those terrorists and these extremists and the Wahabi style, of course it will influence at least the new and the coming generations.  So, we don’t say that we don’t have it, we’re still secular in Syria, but with the time, this secularism will be eroded.

CBS:  Mr. President, thank you for allowing us to have this conversation about Syria and the war that is within as well as the future of the country.  Thank you.

President al-Assad:  Thank you for coming to Syria.

Cooking the Intelligence for War on Syria

September 10th, 2013 by Stephen Lendman

All wars are based on lies. Truth is the ally of peace. It’s the enemy of war. History repeats with disturbing regularity. It’s doing so writ large now.

It bears eerie resemblance to events preceding Bush’s Iraq war. Pretexts are needed to sell wars. When none exist they’re invented.

Lies substitute for truth. So-called intelligence is cooked to fit policy. Ahead of Bush’s Iraq war, Colin Powell knew Saddam had no WMDs.

He lied claiming otherwise. He faked evidence to justify the unjustifiable. He claimed “facts and Iraq’s behavior show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction.”

“(E)very statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are the facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.”

“The gravity of this moment is matched by the gravity of the threat that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction pose to the world.”

No threat whatever existed. Powell lied claiming otherwise. John Kerry replicated his infamous moment. He did so four times. He’s making the rounds abroad selling war. He’s doing it based on lies.

Lying is official US policy. Kerry lied blaming Assad for the August 21 suburban Damascus chemical weapons attack.

“We can tell you beyond any reasonable doubt that our evidence proves the Assad regime prepared for this attack, issued instructions to prepare for this attack, warned its own forces to use gas masks,” he said.

“We have physical evidence of where the rockets came from and when. Not one rocket landed in regime-controlled territory. Not one. All of them landed in opposition-controlled or contested territory.”

No evidence whatever exists. Kerry lied. Ghouta civilians were killed while they slept. Insurgents were responsible. Rockets were launched from territory they held. Credible evidence proves it. A previous article said the following:

On August 29, Mint Press News headlined “Exclusive: Syrians in Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack,” saying:

“Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.”

Abu Abdel-Moneim lives in Ghouta. He’s the father of an insurgent fighter. “My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” he said.

Some were “tube-like” in structure. Others were like a “huge gas bottle.” They were stored in tunnels. Mint Press reported:

“Doctors who treated the chemical weapons attack victims cautioned interviewers to be careful about asking questions regarding who, exactly, was responsible for the deadly assault.”

“More than a dozen rebels interviewed reported that their salaries came from the Saudi government.”

Prince Bandar bin Sultan’s directly involved. He’s Washington’s point man against Syria. He’s advancing the kingdom’s top goal – destroying Assad, Iran’s government and Hezbollah.

Doing it involves arming and funding some of the most extremist elements. They’re cutthroat killers. They’re committing outrageous atrocities. They brag about them.

The mainstream media give them short shrift. Most often their crimes go unreported. Assad’s wrongfully blamed repeatedly. He had nothing to do with attacking Ghouta.

So-called intelligence claiming otherwise is fake. It’s cooked. It’s manufactured out of whole cloth. It’s pretext for lawless aggression.

US and UK intelligence officials admitted they’re unsure who’s responsible for attacking Ghouta.

What motive could Assad have to kill Syrian civilians? Why would he do it while UN inspectors were investigating evidence of chemical weapons use?

Why would he launch an attack close to where they were working? Why would he shoot himself in the foot?

Kerry’s “undeniable” proof doesn’t exist. It’s fake to fit policy. On September 8, London’s Guardian headlined “Assad did not order Syria chemical weapons attack, says German press.”

Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper cited “high-level national security sources” saying Assad didn’t order Ghouta’s chemical weapons attack.

Bild said German naval reconnaissance close to Syria’s coast intercepted radio communications. It absolved Assad of responsibility. No evidence links him to it.

Germany’s foreign intelligence agency (BND) couldn’t be reached for comment.

Assad told CBS News: “There has been no evidence that I used chemical weapons against my own people.”

Correspondent Charlie Rose interviewed him. On CBS News Face the Nation, he said:

“(H)e denied that he had anything to do with the attack. He denied that he knew, in fact, that there was a chemical attack.”

“He suggested, as he has before, that perhaps the rebels had something to do with it.”

“The most important thing as he basically says is that there has no evidence that I used chemical weapons against my own people. There is no evidence of that.”

“(I)f the evidence (exists), then they should show (it) and make their case,” he said.

“(H)e was calm. He knew the situation he was in. In fact, Damascus seemed relatively calm, the places that I was today. But there’s a clear sense they are closely watching what is happening in Washington.”

“I think the reason they did this interview today – we’ve been trying for a long time, but did it today because they’re watching what happens in Washington.”

White House chief of staff Dennis McDonough appeared on five Sunday talk shows. He was selling war. He repeated the official lie. He equivocated, saying:

Proof links Assad to attacking Ghouta. It’s based on a “common sense test” rather than “irrefutable, beyond a reasonable doubt evidence.”

“We’ve seen the video proof of the outcome of those attacks.

All of that leads to a quite strong common-sense test irrespective of the intelligence that suggests that the regime carried this out.”

“Now do we have a picture or do we have irrefutable beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence? This is not a court of law and intelligence does not work that way.”

“Nobody is rebutting the intelligence. Nobody doubts” it, he claimed.

Attacking Assad creates “an opportunity to be bold with the Iranians,” he added.

Fact check

Syria is prelude to attacking Iran. It bears repeating. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus. Iran is Washington’s prime target. It’s Israel’s main regional rival.

At issue is toppling Assad, isolating Iran, then pursuing regime change belligerently. It’s longstanding US policy. McDonough practically admitted it. He cited fake evidence against Assad.

He lied claiming “nobody doubts it.” Overwhelming domestic and world opinion rejects it. Hundreds, perhaps a majority, on Capitol Hill do.

On August 30, Infowars headlined “Bombshell: Kerry Caught Using Fake Photos to Fuel Syrian War,” saying:

He “referenced a photograph used by the BBC illustrating a child jumping over hundreds of dead bodies covered in white shrouds.”

“We saw rows of dead lined up in burial shrouds, the white linen unstained by a single drop of blood,” he said.

The photo was fake. It’s unrelated to Syria. It was taken in Iraq. It was in 2003. It was recycled. It’s used against Assad. Kerry did so to justify war.

It bears repeating. All wars are based on lies. Truth defeats the purpose of waging them. McDonough followed John Kerry’s lead. He repeated Big Lies on five Sunday talk shows.

Expect lots more ahead of Obama’s 9/11 anniversary nationally televised address. He’s selling war. He’s going all out to do it. So are other administration officials.

They’re conducting a PR blitz. National Security Advisor Susan Rice will address a hawkish Washington think tank. Obama’s “hitting the airwaves,” said AP.

“Top administration officials are heading to Capitol Hill for more classified briefings.” Scores of AIPAC lobbyists are doing the same thing.

Kerry’s in Europe selling war. He appeared with UK Foreign Minister William Hague in London, saying:

“We know (Assad’s) regime gave orders to prepare for a chemical attack. We know they deployed forces.”

“(We know) where the rockets came from and where they landed and it was no accident that they all came from regime-controlled territory and all landed” in opposition-held territory.

“So the evidence is powerful and the question for all of us is what are we going to do about it. Turn our backs? Have a moment of silence?”

Fact check

Credible evidence proved rockets were fired from insurgent held territory. Defenseless civilians were attacked. Doing so was a classic false flag.

Assad’s wrongfully blamed for Western-enlisted death squad crimes. They admitted responsibility for Ghouta’s incident. Claiming it was accidental doesn’t wash. It was well-planned and executed.

If Kerry had verifiable proof otherwise, he’d reveal it. He can’t. None exists. Lies substitute. So-called classified Capitol Hill briefings repeat them.

Many, perhaps most, senators and congressmen aren’t buying them. Some outspokenly said so. Heavy pressure’s being applied to sway them. Obama wants congressional authorization for war.

He’ll wage it whether or not he gets it. Without it his plans may be delayed. They won’t be deterred. Perhaps another major false flag is planned.

Toppling Assad is policy. Obama wants him dead. He wants Syrian sovereignty destroyed. He wants pro-Western vassal governance replacing it.

He wants Iran isolated. He wants Shah era harshness restored. Longstanding war plans are readied to be implemented. Obama intends destroying the Islamic Republic.

Doing so may ignite conflict globally. It doesn’t matter. US imperial priorities come first. Sacrificing humanity is a small price to pay. Washington policymakers think this way.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

La Declaración Balfour del 2 de noviembre de 1917 fue fundamental para alianza británico-sionista durante la Primera Guerra Mundial y una poderosa herramienta de propaganda judio-sionista. Al acercarse el centenario de la Declaración es oportuno volver a examinar el impacto tanto de la declaración como de las políticas británicas respecto a Palestina y su población originaria. Este artículo apela al Reino Unido a que reconozca su responsabilidad histórica en las desastrosas consecuencias del colonialismo sionista de asentamiento en Palestina y la subsiguiente catástrofe palestina (Nakba).

Sin el apoyo total de Imperio Británico, el sionismo político no habría podido conseguir sus objetivos a costa de la libertad y la autodeterminación del pueblo palestino. El Estado de Israel era y todavía es fundamental para los proyectos occidentales en Oriente Próximo. De hecho, Israel debe su propia existencia al poder colonial británico en Palestina, a pesar de la tensión militar durante la última década de periodo del Mandato Británico entre la potencia colonial y los dirigentes del militarizado Yishuv, es decir, la comunidad de colonos de asentamiento blancos asquenazíes (1) en Palestina.

Los colonos sionistas europeos eran poco numerosos bajo el Imperio Otomano y nunca se les dio verdaderamente carta blanca en Palestina; si se hubiera dejado al Imperio Otomano el control de Palestina después de la Primera Guerra Mundial, es muy poco probable que el Estado judío se hubiera hecho realidad a expensas de la población indígena. La situación cambió radicalmente con la ocupación de Palestina por parte de los británicos en 1917. Pero antes, el 2 de noviembre de 1917, la Declaración Balfour (cuyas catastróficas consecuencias para el pueblo palestino tienen repercusiones todavía hoy) ya había concedido al sionismo derecho a Palestina. El secretario de Exteriores [británico] Arthur James Balfour envió a la Federación Sionista la carta que contenía la Declaración a través de un prominente judío británico, el barón Walter Rothschild. En ella el gobierno británico declaraba su compromiso con el sionismo: “El gobierno de Su Majestad considera favorablemente el establecimiento en Palestina de un hogar nacional para el pueblo judío y utilizará sus mejores esfuerzos para facilitar la consecución de este objetivo”.

Lo verdaderamente crucial fue que los términos de la Declaración Balfour se incorporaron al Mandato Británico en Palestina en 1922 y fueron aprobados por la Liga de las Naciones. Esto constituyó un espectacular logro político y de propaganda para el movimiento sionista internacional que en aquel momento era un grupo minoritario dentro de los judíos del mundo. Curiosamente, el documento fue criticado duramente por el único miembro judío del gobierno del primer ministro británico Lloyd George: Sir Edwin Montagu, secretario de Estado para India, hizo una clara distinción entre judaísmo y sionismo (una ideología política moderna). Le preocupaba el estatus y la potencial doble lealtad de los judíos británicos y puso en tela de juicio el derecho de la organización sionista a hablar en nombre de todos los judíos.

En 1917 la población judía de Palestina era inferior al 10% del total de su población. El contenido de la Declaración Balfour se arraigaba en la política colonial racista de la denegación. No mencionaba siquiera al pueblo palestino, ya fueran cristianos o musulmanes, que conformaba más del 90% de la población del país. De hecho, el pueblo palestino era propietario de más del 97% de la tierra que Gran Bretaña pretendía regalar. La Declaración se refería a los palestinos cristianos o musulmanes como “las comunidades no judías que existen en Palestina” al tiempo que omitía por completo sus derechos nacionales y políticos. La Declaración es típica del estilo supremacista blanco de la época y encaja con la noción de “una tierra sin pueblo [para un pueblo sin tierra]”, creada para justificar la colonización europea y la negación de los derechos fundamentales de los palestinos.

Envalentonado por la Declaración Balfour, en enero de 1919 el destacado sionista británico Chaim Weizmann acudió a la Conferencia de París y y pidió una Palestina pura “tan judía como Inglaterra es inglesa”. Esto sucedía en un momento en que el principio de “autodeterminación para los pueblos del Imperio Otomano” estaba consagrado en los “Catorce Puntos” del presidente estadounidense Woodrow Wilson. Lloyd George saludó estos principios al tiempo que negaba este reconocimiento internacional del pueblo palestino.

A menudo se explican la alianza británico-sionista y la Declaración Balfour en términos de cálculos de guerra y objetivos estratégicos militares (incluido la proximidad de Palestina al Canal de Suez controlado por Gran Bretaña y la ruta a India). Los historiadores pasan por alto los factores y mitos británicos históricos, ideológicos, de la cultura bíblica protestante y simbólicos. Gran Bretaña y gran parte de Europa habían sido la cuna de las Cruzadas Latinas y de los recuerdos colectivos de la lucha por Jerusalén y Palestina, una amarga “guerra santa” contra el islam que duró varios siglos hasta bien entrado el inicio del periodo moderno y cuya memoria colectiva se revivió en Europa en el momento culminante del imperio en el siglo XIX. Antes de la Declaración Balfour dos imanes, la “Biblia y la espada”, en brillante expresión de Barbara Tuchman (Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour) atrajeron a gran cantidad de cruzados, peregrinos, misioneros, arqueólogos bíblicos, viajeros, cartógrafos, cónsules y miembros del Cuerpo de Ingenieros Reales a Tierra Santa de Palestina. En última instancia esto llevó a la conquista de Jerusalén por parte de Gran Bretaña en diciembre de 1917.

La propia Declaración Balfour estaba calculada para coincidir con el avance del general Edmund Allenby hacia Jerusalén durante la Primera Guerra Mundial. Fue el fruto de unas intensas negociaciones a lo largo de doce meses entre destacados sionistas británicos (el “lobby judío-sionista) y altos cargos del Foreign Office y, en última instancia, del gobierno de guerra de Lloyd George.

El 11 de diciembre de 1917 Allenby entró a pie en Jerusalén y anduvo triunfalmente por la Ciudad Vieja. Era el primer cristiano que conquistaba Jerusalén desde las Cruzadas medievales. Este simbolismo no pasó desapercibido para Allenby o Lloyd George, que describieron la toma de Jerusalén como “un regalo cristiano al pueblo británico”. Allenby fue incluso más explícito: “Ahora han terminado las guerras de los cruzados”, afirmó, dando a entender que su conquista de Palestina por parte de las fuerzas británicas era la “última cruzada”.

El general Allenby nos ha dejado otros símbolos de los antiguos y nuevos cruzados: el “Puente Allenby” (todavía denominado así por los israelíes) que cruza del río Jordán fue construido en 1918 por el propio Allenby sobre los restos de un viejo puente otomano. Actualmente es el único punto de entrada y de salida para los palestinos bajo ocupación israelí que viajen fuera de Cisjordania y a Cisjordania. Tanto Allenby como Balfour son muy apreciados en Israel. Allenby da su nombre a una importante calle de Tel Aviv, “Allenby Street”. Balfouria es una colonia judía al sur de Nazareth fundada en 1922 y fue el tercer moshav (2) que se estableció en la Palestina del Mandato. Toma su nombre del secretario de Exteriores británico que redactó la tristemente célebre Declaración.

En 1917 Weizmann, amigo íntimo del general Jan Smuts, un defensor de la separación racial, primer ministro de Sudáfrica y que se asocia a la redacción del borrador de la Declaración, argumentó: “Una Palestina judía sería una salvaguarda para Inglaterra, en particular con respecto al Canal de Suez”. Sin embargo, tanto Lloyd George como Balfour eran miembros de Iglesias protestantes que compartían la creencia sionista cristiana de que había que “restituir” en Palestina a los judíos del Viejo Testamento antes de la Segunda Venida de Jesús.

La Biblia ha sido el texto clave para redimir el colonialismo de asentamiento europeo. El “primer” texto de Occidente ha sido (y sigue siendo) fundamental para el apoyo occidental al Estado de Israel. La “Biblia y la espada”, las dos herramientas heredadas de las Cruzadas latinas y del colonialismo británico, también han sido fundamentales para la estrategia sionista israelí desde 1948.

Desde finales del siglo XIX el sionismo político (y actualmente el lobby pro-israelí) ha seguido disfrutando de una extraordinaria influencia en las altas esferas de Occidente. Por diferentes razones (entre las que se incluye la epistemología y la política del texto bíblico), el Estado de Israel ha sido fundamental para las políticas de Occidente en el rico en petróleo Oriente Próximo. Además de su valor geopolítico y estratégico, y de sus inmensas capacidades militares y nucleares, el Estado de Israel ha tenido una enorme trascendencia para las políticas occidentales posteriores a la Segunda Guerra Mundial. En el periodo posterior al Holocausto el fuerte apoyo financiero, militar y político concedido al “Estado judío” en Palestina también ha sido considerado una oportunidad de “redimir” a Europa (y a Occidente) por el genocidio nazi.

El sionismo político surgió en Europa a finales del siglo XIX en el momento culminante del imperialismo europeo, directamente influido por el pangermanismo y panjudaísmo. Combinó con éxito los nacionalismos de Europa central y del este con el colonialismo de asentamiento y la Biblia. Los padres fundadores laicos del sionismo judío trataron de sustentar con el texto bíblico la legitimidad de su movimiento colonial de asentamientos.

Desde un principio estuvo claro que el proyecto “restauracionista” solo se podía lograr con el respaldo y el apoyo activo de las potencias europeas. Desde Theodor Herzl a Chaim Weizmann y David Ben-Gurion los dirigentes sionistas eran plenamente conscientes de que no se podía garantizar su programa sin el apoyo de las potencias imperialistas. Herzl escribió claramente acerca de la tierra asiática (no europea) “reclamada” por el sionismo y el establecimiento de un Estado casi europeo de colonos blancos en Palestina: “Si Su Majestad el Sultán [otomano] nos concediera Palestina, a cambio nosotros podríamos emprender la regulación de todas las finanzas de Turquía. Conformaríamos ahí parte de una muralla defensiva para Europa en Asia, un puesto de avanzada de la civilización contra la barbarie”.

Sin embargo, el entonces presidente de la Agencia Judía, Ben-Gurion, declaró al presentar testimonio ante la “Comisión Real de Palestina” encabezada por Lord Peel en 1936: “La Biblia es nuestro mandato”. Para Ben-Gurion la Biblia era el texto matriz del sionismo y el texto fundacional del Estado de Israel. Como Ben-Gurion, Lloyd George y Balfour consideraban la Biblia no solo una fuente histórica de confianza sino también una guía de las políticas cristianas y sionistas en relación con los habitantes indígenas de Palestina. Las militaristas tradiciones y relatos bíblicos de la tierra, reconfiguradas y reinventadas en el siglo pasado como una metanarrativa “fundacional” del sionismo y del Estado de Israel, han sido decisivas en la limpieza étnica de Palestina. Hoy las mismas militaristas tradiciones bíblicas de la tierra siguen estando en el centro del desplazamiento y la desposesión de los palestinos (tanto musulmanes como cristianos) de Jerusalén. Irónicamente, es más probable que, a diferencia de Ben-Gurion, los palestinos modernos sean descendientes de los antiguos israelíes cananeos y filisteos que lo sean los asquenazíes y padres fundadores blancos del Estado de Israel.

El historiador británico Arnold Toynbee calificó una vez a Balfour de “hombre malvado”. Toynbee creía que Balfour y Lloyd George conocían las catastróficas implicaciones que tenían para los palestinos originarios la Declaración Balfour y el hecho de que los británicos fomentaran una comunidad colonial de asentamiento blanca en Palestina.

Por supuesto, ni los cruzados latinos ni la moderna Gran Bretaña tenían derechos de soberanía sobre Palestina. Es indudable que Gran Bretaña no tenía autoridad moral o legal para entregar la tierra que no le pertenecía a un tercero y a un pueblo que no residía en el país. Sin embargo, la Declaración Balfour creó el marco para la lucha sionista por apoderarse de la tierra de Palestina y controlarla, una lucha que ha seguido hasta nuestros días. Por ello la Declaración se convirtió en un elemento fundamental de las exigencias judiciales sionistas e israelíes. Entre 1914 y 1948 la potencia colonial británica en Palestina permitió al movimiento judío establecer en Palestina a cientos de miles de colonos judíos europeos, incluidas varias ciudades, y estableció las bases políticas, militares y de seguridad, económicas, industriales, demográficas, culturales y académicas del Estado de Israel.

Medio siglo después de la Declaración Balfour la primera colonia blanca en Palestina, Kerem Avraham, hoy un barrio de Jerusalén, empezó como una pequeña colonia británica fundada en 1855 por el muy influyente cónsul británico en Jerusalén, James Finn, y su mujer, Elizabeth Anne. Finn combinó un antiguo celo cruzado con un moderno pensamiento “restauracionista” protestante y actividades misioneras con el trabajo oficial de funcionario británico. Él y su mujer eran originariamente miembros de la “Sociedad Londinense para Promover el Cristianismo entre los Judíos”. James Finn también fue un estrecho socio de Anthony Ashley Cooper, séptimo conde de Shaftesbury, un destacado diputado tory, milenarista protestante y colaborador clave del sionismo victoriano cristiano y del evangelismo que preconizaba la vuelta a la Biblia. A Shaftesbury le guiaba el pensamiento victoriano de la “Biblia y la espada”, una combinación de imperialismo victoriano y de profecía mesiánica cristiana. Argumentaba que el “restauracionismo judío en Palestina tendría ventajas políticas y económicas para el Imperio Británico y según la profecía de la Biblia, aceleraría la segunda venida de Jesús. En un artículo publicado en Quarterly Review (enero de 1839), Shaftesbury (inventor del mito “una tierra sin pueblo para un pueblo sin tierra”) escribió: “La tierra y el clima de Palestina están singularmente adaptados para que crezcan productos requeridos por las exigencias del Imperio británico: se puede obtener el algodón más fino en una casi ilimitada abundancia, la seda y la rubia roja (3) son los productos principales del país y el aceite de oliva es ahora, como siempre lo ha sido, la propia grasa del país. Solo se requieren capital y habilidades: la presencia de un oficial británico y la mayor seguridad de la propiedad que su le conferirá presencia, pueden invitar a los de estas islas al cultivo en Palestina; y los judíos, que no se trasladarán a ninguna otra tierra para cultivarla ya que han encontrado en la persona del cónsul británico [James Finn] un mediador entre su pueblo y el Pachá [otomano], probablemente volverán en cantidades aún mayores y se convertirán una vez más en el esposo de Judea y Galilea”.

Con el apoyo del entonces secretario de Exteriores británico Lord Palmerston, Shaftesbury empezó a promover la “restauración” de los judíos en Palestina entre la Inglaterra victoriana de la década de 1830. Shaftesbury también desempeñó un papel decisivo en el establecimiento del consulado británico en Jerusalén en 1839. Las actividades públicas de Shaftesbury, James Finn y sus compañeros “restauracionistas”, que precedieron en casi medio siglo a la fundación del movimiento sionista político europeo por Theodor Herzl, demuestran claramente que el “sionismo” empezó como un claro movimiento de cruzada protestante cristiano y no uno laico judío.

Con todo, lo que llevó al crecimiento del sionismo protojudío laico fueron los estudios del Fondo de Exploración de Palestina (PEF, por sus siglas en inglés) y los mapas de Cuerpo Británico de Ingenieros Reales realizados en la década de 1870. La pacífica cruzada del PEF británico, fundado en 1865 por un grupo de eruditos de la Biblia, geógrafos bíblicos, altos cargos militares y de la inteligencia, y clérigos protestantes, entre los que destacaba el deán de la Abadía de Westminster, Arthur P. Stanley, estaba estrechamente coordinada por la clase dirigente político-militar británica y los servicios de inteligencia ansiosos de penetrar en la Palestina otomana, un país gobernado por el “hombre enfermo de Europa” musulmán (4).

El PEF, que cuenta con oficinas en el centro de Londres, es hoy una organización activa que tiene una publicación académica, Palestine Exploration Quarterly. Por otra parte, el PEF da charlas públicas y financia proyectos de investigación en Cercano Oriente. Según su página web, “entre 1867 y 1870 el capitán Warren llevó a cabo exploraciones en Palestina que conforman la base de nuestro conocimiento de la topografía del Jerusalén antiguo y de la arqueología del Templo del Monte/Haram al-Sherif [sic]”. “Además de estas exploraciones en, bajo y alrededor del Templo del Monte/al-Haram al-Sherif, Warren analizó la Llanura de Philistia y llevó a cabo un muy importante reconocimiento de la parte central del [río] Jordán”. El capitán (después general Sir) Charles Warren, de los Ingenieros Reales y uno de los altos cargos clave del PEF ordenó trazar el mapa de la “topografía bíblica” de Jerusalén e investigar “el emplazamiento del templo”, y observó: “El cónsul [británico] del rey [James Finn] es la autoridad máxima, no de los nativos de la ciudad, sino de los extranjeros. No obstante, en su mayor parte estos extranjeros son los dueños legítimos y los nativos en su mayor parte son los usurpadores”. Al parecer Warren y Finn “cavaron literalmente” bajo los santuarios musulmanes de Jerusalén para trazar el mapa de las “dimensiones originales” del “Templo del Monte”. La arqueología bíblica, los mapas y los estudios de topografía y toponimia llevados a cabo por Warren y los Ingenieros Reales han seguido constituyendo los datos básicos de muchos arqueólogos, geógrafos y planificadores estratégicos oficiales israelíes actuales en su campaña por judaizar la Ciudad Vieja de Jerusalén.

Cuando los colonos judíos blancos se trasladaron a Palestina su actitud respecto a la población originaria fue la típica actitud colonial respecto a pueblos “inferiores” y “no civilizados”, aunque las colonias sionistas siguieron siendo muy pequeñas hasta que los británicos ocuparon Palestina en 1917. Después de la ocupación el proceso se aceleró rápidamente bajo la protección de la potencia colonial. Durante este periodo los sionistas insistieron en que se denominara oficialmente a Palestina la “Tierra bíblica de Israel”. Las autoridades del Mandato Británico concedieron el uso del acrónimo hebreo para “Eretz Yisrael” (la “Tierra de Israel”) tras el nombre de Palestina en todos los documentos oficiales, moneda, sellos, etc.

Durante este periodo (1918-1948) los colonos blancos asquenazíes no hicieron esfuerzo alguno por integrar sus luchas en las de los palestinos que luchaban contra el colonialismo británico. Por el contrario, los colonos actuaron desde la convicción de que la población originaria tendría que ser sometida o expulsada, con la ayuda de los británicos.

Para la década de 1930 la Declaración Balfour se asociaba estrechamente en el pensamiento sionista oficial a la colonización práctica de Palestina y a la limpieza étnica de los palestinos originarios. Desde principios de la década de 1930 en adelante los “comités de traslado” (un eufemismo de “comités de limpieza étnica”) y altos cargos del Yishuv elaboraron una serie de planes específicos que implicaban en general a Trasnjordania, Siria e Iraq. En 1930, sobre el fondo de los disturbios de 1929 en Palestina, Weizmann, entonces presidente tanto de la Organización Sionista Mundial como de la Ejecutiva de la Agencia Judía, empezó a promover activamente en discusiones privadas con altos cargos y ministros británicos la idea del “traslado” de árabes. Planteó al secretario colonial, Lord Passfield, una propuesta oficial aunque secreta de traslado de campesinos palestinos a Transjordania, para lo cual se obtendría un préstamo de un millón de libras palestinas de fuentes financieras judías para la operación de reasentamiento. Lord Passfield rechazó la propuesta. Sin embargo, la justificación que Weizmann había utilizado para defender su propuesta fue la base de los posteriores argumentos sionistas de traslado de población. Weizmann afirmaba que no había nada de inmoral en la limpieza étnica de la tierra, que la expulsión de poblaciones ortodoxas griegas y musulmanas (“turcas”), “intercambios de población”, a principios de la década de 1920 eran un precedente de una medida similar en relación con los palestinos.

Si la Declaración Balfour se convirtió en un elemento fundamental de la memoria colectiva, los mitos y la propaganda sionistas, la Declaración, conocida como “Wa’ad Balfour” o la “Promesa Balfour” en árabe, se convirtió en un elemento fundamental de la memoria colectiva palestina de resistencia. Durante toda la época del Mandato el aniversario de la Declaración (2 de noviembre) se conmemoró de manera generalizada por medio de protestas y huelgas nacionalistas. Los palestinos movilizaron el recuerdo del engaño y la traición británicos como una herramienta de resistencia pacífica a las políticas británica y sionista en Palestina.

La colonización blanca de asentamiento de Palestina culminó con el establecimiento del Estado de Israel en 1948 y la Nakba palestina, la catástrofe de la limpieza étnica y la destrucción de gran parte de la Palestina histórica. La guerra psicológica y la presión militar sionistas expulsaron, en muchos casos a punta de pistola, a aproximadamente el 90% de los palestinos del territorio ocupado por los israelíes en 1948, a menudo bajo la atenta mirada de los británicos que continuaron a cargo del país hasta mediados de 1948. La guerra simplemente proporcionó la oportunidad y el contexto necesarios para purgar la tierra y crear un Estado judío en gran parte libre de árabes. Concentró las mentes judío-sionistas y proporcionó tanto la seguridad como las explicaciones y justificaciones militares y estratégicas para purgar el Estado y desposeer al pueblo palestino. Actualmente, aproximadamente dos terceras partes de los palestinos son refugiados, millones de ellos viven en campos de refugiados miserables en Oriente Próximo y otros millones están repartidos por todo el mundo.

El sionismo militarista e Israel han utilizado la Biblia no solo como una herramienta para la limpieza étnica de Palestina y el “exilio” de millones de palestinos de su patria ancestral, sino también como una manera de borrar la historia palestina y de suprimir la memoria palestina. Actualmente la Nakba palestina está más o menos ausente de la memoria colectiva tanto británica como occidental.

Por otra parte, los palestinos no solo continúan sometidos a la actual limpieza étnica y a las políticas de cruzada en Jerusalén en pleno siglo XXI, sino que durante las seis últimas décadas los israelíes y el lobby proisraelí han desafiado y silenciado los intentos por parte de los palestinos de constituir un relato coherente de su propio pasado. Todavía hoy la Catástrofe de 1948 se excluye del discurso oficial en Gran Bretaña mientras que Israel goza de un apoyo extraordinario en el gobierno británico y la mayoría de los diputados conservadores son miembros de “Amigos Conservadores de Israel”.

La clase dirigente británica elige públicamente una “posición neutral” sobre Palestina que a menudo adopta la forma de silencio o de amnesia colectiva. Dada la responsabilidad histórica de Gran Bretaña en la catástrofe palestina, no puede existir esta neutralidad o indiferencia hacia la injusticia cometida en Palestina.

Se ha creado el proyecto Balfour Project para conmemorar el centenario de la Declaración Balfour y el simbolismo de la alianza británico-sionista y el catastrófico impacto sobre los palestinos. Este proyecto busca: a) honestidad en el debate público y un reconocimiento de las desastrosas consecuencias de las acciones británicas en la época de la Declaración Balfour y a lo largo de todo el Mandato Británico en Palestina, y particularmente el engaño respecto a las verdaderas intenciones británicas; b) disculpas por la mala actuación británica; c) disculpas oficiales británicas a los palestinos por haber ignorado intencionadamente sus legítimas aspiraciones políticas; y d) integridad en el futuro cuando Gran Bretaña aborde la cuestión palestina.

Prof Nur Masalha es Director de Programa del Máster en Religión, Política y Resolución de Conflictos. Formó parte de un equipo de postgrado del Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) y fue miembro del AHRC Peer Review College. Ha sido director el Proyecto de Investigación de Tierra Santa desde 2001 y del Centro para la Religión y la Historia desde 2007. El profesor Masalha también edita Holy Land Studies: A Multidisciplinary Journal (publicado por Edinburgh University Press).

Sus libros más recientes son: The Bible and Zionism: Invented Tradition, Archaeology and Post-Colonialism in Israel-Palestine (2007), La Biblia leída con los ojos de los Cananeos (Editorial Canaán, 2011) y The Palestine Makba: Decolonising History, Narrating the Subaltern, Reclaiming Memory (2012). Próximamente publicará The Politics of Reading the Bible in Israel (2013).

Notas de la traductora:

(1) Los judíos asquenazíes son los judíos oriundos de Europa central y del este.

(2) Moshav es una comunidad rural judío de carácter cooperativo

(3) La llamada rubia roja es una planta cuya raíz se utilizaba para fabricar tintes de color rojo destinados a la industria textil y a la farmacología.

(4) La expresión “hombre enfermo de Europa” se ha aplicado a lo largo de la historia a diferentes países europeos en referencia a la debilidad o decadencia de una economía aparentemente normal.


Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Beatriz Morales Bastos

Deflating Empire: The Syrian Threat to the United States

September 10th, 2013 by Maximilian Forte

September 9, 2013, 11:43pm – The morning on this side of the Atlantic started with John Kerry’s hoarse voice on the radio, addressing journalists in London and bellowing that the U.S. was not talking about going to war when it talked about military aggression against a state that never attacked the U.S.

Acts of war, apparently, are never committed by the U.S., only against the U.S., even if the latter is totally imaginary and the former is completely factual. But the insane live stream of rhetorical bankruptcy was not quite over, for then this illustrious Secretary of State – a former pretender for the presidency in 2004 who back then promoted the idea of a “global test” to approve U.S. interventions – decided to continue his bluster.

Now he said that the only way that Syria could avoid a U.S. attack was to turn over all of its chemical weapons to international authorities, with the ridiculous addendum that it all be done within a week (presumably it must then be a tiny stockpile at best). This is at the same time that conservative forecasts saw Congress’ debate transpiring sometime beyond two weeks from now. Kerry’s fumble thus also signalled a regime that was impatient with democratic pretense, and intended to march to war regardless. Just in case anyone thought Kerry was being serious about his offer, his staff immediately rushed out to do damage control, saying he was merely being rhetorical, not a serious offer, because anyway Syria would never agree. Too late.

Now the “credibility” of U.S. empire was up for grabs. Anyone could take that credibility and do whatever they liked with it: roll it up into little balls and spit it through a straw; stick it under the chair in front of you; use it as a wet wipe; feed it to a stray cat; stick it in a paper bag, light it on fire, and leave it on your neighbour’s doorstep; or put it right back in the little glass pipe it came from and blaze it up.

Too late. Russia, and somehow the U.S.’ ever faithful ally in the UN – Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon – were both on the same page and almost simultaneously announced by early afternoon that they would instead take up Kerry’s non-offer of an offer. Kerry would now be put to his beloved global test. The invigilator for this test? None other than Russia, long accused – mostly falsely – of being an obstructionist at the UN (hand any state an illegal offer of regime change, and one-sided intervention in a civil war, and reasonable ones tend to refuse). Now it was up to the U.S.: either continue with its desperate quest for a war that would violate international law, or with threats that also violate international law, or at least try to feign some interest in seeking alternative actions, diplomatic and peaceful ones for example.

Too bad also for some of the leading Canadian advocates of R2P (the “responsibility to protect”) who touted war even if it meant violating international law, even if it meant no R2P at all because this requires all options to be pursued, and via the UN Security Council at that. How sad for them too, that they should suddenly forget international law, these former foreign ministers, parliamentarians and university presidents, who were always so proud of their work in international fora that they now abruptly dismissed without even a glimmer of thought for peaceful alternatives. Thus once more, as with Libya, they betrayed themselves as mere ideological regime-changers, for whom “human rights” is merely face paint for battle, part of an incessant cry for donor funds, respectability, and reputability.

Late in the afternoon, with Kerry flying back from London, Obama was back home preparing for a grand tour of the major media to which he invited himself for “interviews.” Obama would now officially be merely the second U.S. official to speak about this proposal. He was hardly the leader – he was following Kerry.

We will not know, if ever, the conversation that might have followed between the two and how many expletives it might have contained. Obama had to play cheerful, you know, like it was his idea all along. Obama would claim in an “interview” with Wolf Blitzer that he had discussed this same idea during last week’s G20 summit – false. He had dismissed a similar proposal then completely out of hand. Maybe if dismissal is discussion, then yes, Obama “discussed” it. Anyway, he now badly needed some of Kerry’s credibility, which shows you just how bad things had become. Then Obama would tell Blitzer that, first, Syria posed a threat to U.S. national security, but when asked about Assad’s threat of retaliation for any U.S. attack, he then asserted that Syria posed no credible threat.

So which is it? This same line, of a state that is a non-threatening threat to the U.S., was also used by George W. Bush against Iraq. But not since In the Loop, when the UK’s International Development Secretary blundered that war was “evitable,” followed later by a backtrack – “we are climbing the mountain of conflict” – have I seen anything so funny pertaining to international relations, except that today’s show was supposedly real.

Too late for Obama as he ran out of oxygen for war, turned upside down, and began to float up in his oval fish bowl. From the Pope to the Dalai Lama, from London to La Paz, from Washington to Moscow, there were outright protests against any U.S. military intervention in Syria. The majority of Americans, in overwhelming numbers, opposed any military intervention, as did the citizens of most NATO states. The U.S.’ stout allies, whether in NATO or the EU (with the exception of France, of course, France is as “exceptional” as the U.S.) strangely made some angry noises against Syria but none said they would join the U.S. in any attack. Not even the Arab League would directly support a military attack.

Strange too that Obama did not see that coming: after all he is spying on all of them. Instead there was even more embarrassment for both Obama, and Kerry too who by now loves being the centre of attention even if in the role of butt of the joke. Germany’s foreign intelligence services not only found the exact opposite of evidence tying Assad to a chemical attack, they also severely disputed and reversed Kerry’s Senate testimony about Al Qaeda’s diminished role in Syria. In any event, Kerry’s sole source for that – Elizabeth O’Bagy – is a paid lobbyist for the rebels.

Evidence – a persistent sore point for Obama and his fellow executives – was never made public, not a single tiny shred, not even three weeks after the purported chemical attack. Instead, here, watch some death porn on a DVD prepared courtesy of the White House. Show it to all your friends. Sickened yet? Who needs evidence when you can have emotion, and social media to prime that emotion – a consistent feature of the U.S.’ Arab Spring illusions. Never mind that when it comes to our enemy’s enemy, our duty is that represented by the principle of automated solidarity with others we do not know and who do not care if we know them. But we have YouTube, so that should suffice as an alternative to the real political legwork that used to underpin genuine solidarity. We are meant to imagine that they are all good people, freedom fighters, the shifting fantasy projection of whomever, whether of neocons, neoliberals, anarchists, or other badly degenerated Western leftists living their senility as the new cheerleaders of their own sunset-state’s military might.

A priori belief in official truths is now mandatory, even if it makes zero political or strategic sense for the Syrian government to have used chemical weapons, in a war it has turned around, and right when UN inspectors are in Damascus itself. Assad has “slaughtered over 100,000 people” – never mind that almost half of that estimate consists of Syrian troops and pro-government civilians. Assad is “killing his own people” – but one can never say, “the rebels are killing their own people.” Maybe it’s best not to, for “own people” means absolutely nothing outside of ethnocentric politics, and besides: many of the rebels are not even Syrian.

By the dominant logic, since Abraham Lincoln also killed vast numbers of his own people, he should have been overthrown by an international coalition of enemy states. But only Americans can have a civil war, or history: others are meant only to follow our dictates. That the “Assad regime” might be protecting its loyal civilians from murder by foreign jihadists, never registers as “protection” for the R2P crowd. Protection is apparently a racket that is the monopoly of Western states now.

The “evidence,” as Kerry said (seriously, as unbelievable as it sounds), “speaks for itself.” Evidence never performs such a feat. Leaving aside the silly anthropomorphosis of unseen data, Kerry’s crude positivism makes for more comedy, especially as he never provided this evidence. The unseen was mute. Merely a couple of days ago, the White House itself already admitted it had no direct evidence linking Assad to an alleged chemical weapon attack, as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence had also concluded at the end of August – so whatever the evidence was saying, it was saying it suggestively, like some lewd stranger at a bar. The White House had to say that there was no actual direct link: a steady stream of congressional representatives emerged from classified briefings, either underwhelmed, or utterly green in the face and more convinced than ever that there was no case for war.

Too late, Obama was all revved up for war nonetheless, or not “war,” but rather a police action from a power that, according to Kerry, is not the world policeman. Not the world policeman, because the illegal use of violence in the selective defense of international “norms,” unilaterally determined, really makes you rather more of a vigilante. Just as U.S. leaders spare no hyperbole when demonizing others, so do they endlessly euphemize their own atrocities.

In this particular battle, Syria has won, and Obama has been defeated. Syria has effectively “dismantled, disrupted, and defeated” the ability of U.S. leaders to make any credible case or to even sound as if they possess the capacity to reason. Instead they lurch for a “global outrage” that was instead a global outrage against the moral obscenity of a desperate, excessively militarized, and overly aggressive state that would practice terror by holding us all in mortal suspense, as they discussed planned military strikes as if it were mere sports talk.

When your credibility amounts to nothing more than an ability to detonate massive explosives, you effectively have none. The U.S.’ global dictatorship, Syria reminds us, ought to be the first target of any real liberation struggle. In that sense, Assad is nothing. We have had enough of this so-called “civilized world,” with its “civilized” weapons that seek to “civilize” weak others with their “barbarous” weapons. It’s time for U.S. leaders to outgrow the 1492 complex.

Obama administration officials scrambled Monday to preserve Washington’s pretext for war on Syria, after both Moscow and Damascus welcomed an apparently off-hand remark by US Secretary of State John Kerry that US aggression could be avoided if the regime of President Bashar al-Assad surrendered its chemical weapons.

Asked by a CBS reporter at a joint press conference Monday with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in London if there was anything that could forestall the planned US war on Syria, Kerry responded: “Sure. He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over, all of it, without delay, and allow a full and total accounting for that. But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.”

Kerry’s summary dismissal of this proposal notwithstanding, it was swiftly taken up by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who declared following a meeting with his Syrian counterpart, Walid al-Moallem, “If the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in that country would allow avoiding strikes, we will immediately start working with Damascus.” He said that Moscow would call upon its Syrian ally to place all chemical weapons under international control, agree to their destruction and sign the international treaty banning the weapons.

The proposal was then embraced by Moallem and the Syrian government. “Syria welcomes the Russian proposal out of concern for the lives of the Syrian people, the security of our country and because it believes in the wisdom of the Russian leadership that seeks to avert American aggression against our people,” the Syrian foreign minister said in a statement. This position was quickly echoed on the web site of the Damascus regime’s news agency, SANA.

United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon also announced later in the day that he was drawing up plans for implementing the proposed turnover and destruction of the chemical weapons and would call for the Security Council to approve them.

The apparent breakthrough, raising the prospect of forestalling a war that polls show is opposed by at least two-thirds of the American people and overwhelming majorities worldwide, was clearly seen by the Obama administration and the US ruling establishment as a disaster.

A senior US official told CNN that Kerry’s comments represented a “major goof” and “clearly went off-script,” coming directly before a major media blitz by President Barack Obama to pressure Congress into approving an Authorization of the Use of Military Force resolution that would clear the way for a massive bombing campaign against Syria.

A State Department spokeswoman stressed that Kerry had only been speaking “rhetorically.” She dismissed the response of Russia and Syria as a “stalling tactic” that had to be treated with “deep skepticism,” adding that it was “even more important that Congress votes to authorize the President to use military action against Syrian regime targets.”

The response prompted questions from reporters as to whether a war against Syria was “a fait accompli” no matter what the Assad regime does and whether the US just wanted “to punish the Syrians no matter what they do.” Another asked whether Kerry had just been “bluffing and actually the Russians and Syrians called his bluff.”

The initial official reaction to what reporters began to cynically describe as Kerry’s “rhetorical non-proposal” only served to expose that chemical weapons and the allegations that the Syrian regime used them on August 21 were never anything more than a provocation and a pretext for a war that US imperialism is pursuing for its own predatory interests.

The Obama administration has presented nothing but assertions and accusations about the August 21 attack to link it to the regime. Russia has presented its own evidence demonstrating a previous chemical weapons attack was carried out by the so-called “rebels,” the Western-backed and Al Qaeda-led militias attacking Syria, and has drawn parallels to last month’s incident.

These anti-regime elements, who have suffered a series of military defeats in recent months, had everything to gain from the attack, which had all the hallmarks of a provocation staged precisely to provide the pretext for a US military intervention on their behalf.

In an interview with Charlie Rose on a broadcast Monday night on PBS television, Assad charged that the Obama administration had failed to present “a single shred of evidence” to substantiate its case for war, while insisting that the Syrian government’s own soldiers had been attacked with chemical weapons.

He compared the Obama administration’s claims unfavorably with “the big lie that Colin Powell said in front of the world on satellites about the WMD in Iraq before going to war.” Powell at least had presented “false evidence,” he said, while Kerry and Obama have presented none at all.

By late Monday, when Obama gave television interviews to the major US television networks and cable news channels, the administration reworked its line. Given the overwhelming popular opposition to the war, the evident difficulty the White House is facing in pushing the AUMF through Congress and its international isolation, it was evidently decided that flatly rejecting the Russian-Syrian acceptance of Kerry’s “non-proposal” was untenable. Instead, it was to be presented as a positive development secured through the threat of military aggression.

Speaking to CNN, Obama claimed that resolving the chemical weapons issue through an international agreement “would be my preference.” He quickly added, “On the other hand, if we don’t maintain and move forward without a credible threat of military pressure, I don’t think we’ll actually get the kind of agreement I’d like to see.”

Similarly, he told Fox News that it was now even more vital than ever that Congress authorize a US attack on Syria. “I think it is important for us not to let the pedal off the metal when it comes to making sure they understand we mean what we say,” said Obama.

Monday’s unfolding events recall nothing so much as the machinations of the Bush administration at the end of 2002 and beginning of 2003 after Saddam Hussein, contrary to US expectations, allowed UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq and acquiesced to an ever-more onerous inspection regime in a bid to forestall a US invasion.

In the end, the Bush administration brushed all of it aside—including inspectors’ statements that they were receiving ample cooperation and finding no evidence of weapons of mass destruction—and invaded anyway to pursue aims that had nothing to do with WMD or terrorism.

Obama, who was elected thanks in large measure to the immense hostility of the American people to this war based upon lies, is already far down the same road. Like his predecessor, he is determined to provoke a war on false pretenses to pursue US imperialism’s strategic aim of hegemony over the oil-rich and strategically vital regions of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. Even more than Iraq, the war against Syria, which is aimed as well against its allies Iran and Russia, poses the threat of a regional and even global military conflict.

The Russian-Syrian offer of chemical disarmament and the US response have not lessened the threat of war. The coming weeks will see US attempts to scuttle any such peaceful settlement and, if necessary, another provocation by the Al Qaeda “rebels” to hasten military intervention.

Another and even more catastrophic Middle East war can be stopped only through the revival of a genuine antiwar movement based upon the mobilization of working people, students and youth independently of both major parties and the Congress in a struggle against the Obama administration and the capitalist system, the source of militarism, social inequality and the relentless assault on democratic rights.

Western-backed rebel forces have returned to the historic Syrian town of Maaloula, destroying parts of it and killing scores of its inhabitants, according to media reports.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based pro-opposition NGO, said that 1,500 fighters of the al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front and the Qalamon Liberation Front stormed the village after fierce fighting with the regular Syrian army on Sunday. Last Wednesday the Islamists had attacked Maaloula for the first time but were driven out by the Syrian army after it received reinforcements from the capital Damascus.

Now the Islamists seem to have taken over the historic town that has two of the oldest Christian monasteries in Syria and is one of the few places in the world where Aramaic, the biblical language of Jesus, is still spoken.

“The army pulled back to the outskirts of the village and both [rebel groups] are in total control of Maaloula now,” Abdel-Raman said. A resident, reached by phone, confirmed that rebel forces were now in control. “The rebels are inside Maaloula, all of Maaloula. The government troops have pulled out of Maalula,” the resident said, who requested anonymity out of fear of repercussions by the Islamists.


Other residents quoted in the Lebanese news outlet The Daily Starreported scenes of a massacre after the rebels moved into the village. “They shot and killed people. I heard gunshots and then I saw three bodies lying in the middle of a street in the old quarters of the village,” the resident said. “So many people fled the village for safety.” Maaloula “is now a ghost town,” he added.

Sources, anonymous for security reasons, told the Rome-based Catholic outletAsiaNews that “the Islamist insurgents are breaking into village homes. Yesterday they killed three people and took six young Greek-Catholic Christians prisoners. Bodies have been left in the streets as a warning to the population. Many families are locked in their homes and cannot even escape. Nobody knows their conditions.”

A Christian inhabitant reported that he “saw the militants grabbing five villagers and threatening them: ‘Either you convert to Islam, or you will be beheaded.’” A Christian woman speaking to AP confirmed reports that the Islamists threatened Christian inhabitants with death if they did not convert.

Another resident told reporters that one of Maaloula’s churches, called Demyanos, had been torched and that armed rebels stormed and pillaged two other churches. Most of the rebels are not Syrians, he said, explaining that he identified various foreign dialects, mainly Tunisian, Libyan, Moroccan and Chechen.

One of the few who remained in Maaloula despite the terror, George, aged 73, told AFP by phone: “People are afraid, they are terrified. There is no one left in Maaloula, everyone has fled.”

A Christian woman who managed to escape to Damascus gave an interview to the BBC describing in tears that she had to leave all her belongings behind as the rebels who wore “free army clothes and had covered their faces” entered the town. “People left everything, they even were not able to take their money with them,” she cried.

She blamed US president Barack Obama and US allies for arming and financing the Islamist forces who brought death and destruction over her village. “We need Obama to stop sending the big instruments, guns… they have to stop sending it to the rebels because they are killing us,” she said in tears.

Asked about Obama’s threats of a military strike against Syria she cried: “This is wrong. He is a big liar. You can watch the video and you can tell. They do the same [to Syria] what they did to Iraq. They are playing a big game with us. But thanks to Britain, thanks to Russia and thanks for everyone stopping in the middle of the street saying ‘Hands off Syria.’”

Churches in Maaloula

In Damascus, parishes gave hospitality to the fleeing families, but according to reports there are food shortages in the capital as more and more refugees arrive from all over the country seeking to escape the Islamist terror. “These people are traumatized,” one source told AsiaNews. “Entire families have left their entire lives in Maaloula. They do not need only material goods such as food, water, a bed to rest but also spiritual support, especially the elderly, women and children.”

The attack on Maaloula by the Western-backed Islamist rebels underlines the murderous strategy by the imperialist powers to recolonize Syria. As they are preparing a major military assault on the small country, they mobilize their al-Qaeda linked proxy forces on the ground to step up their bloody campaign of sectarian cleansing and terrorist attacks against civilians.

The Syrian newspaper Al-Watan reported early Tuesday that five workers of the General Company for Reconstruction and Development were killed in an attack in the Harasta suburb of Damascus, when mortars were fired on their company building.

The attack on Maaloula by the opposition gives a glimpse of the crimes to come as the imperialist powers seek to topple the Assad regime and put their proxy-forces in power. The looming bombing campaign will not only directly threaten the lives of thousands of Syrian soldiers and civilians. It will also strengthen the rebel forces on the ground, which are waiting for a green light from their imperialist backers to approach Damascus—an ancient city with its long history of religious and cultural diversity—to carry out far greater massacres.


The privatization of Mexico ’s state petroleum and electrical enterprises has profound negative political consequences, both internally and in terms of its foreign policy.           

Most critical scholars and journalists have focused on the negative economic consequences of privatization and  denationalization, drawing attention to the loss of revenues, profits, employment and control over national resources (“dependency”).  In defense of public ownership, numerous experts, journalists and academics refute the charge of “inefficiency” by demonstrating that PEMEX ,the state owned petroleum company has lower costs of production per barrel than most private MNC and by pointing to the greater capacity to grow if the public enterprise was allowed to reinvest a greater percentage of their profits in new techniques and operations, instead of being raided to compensate for a regressive income tax system.

While the economic arguments against privatization and denationalization of PEMEX and the electrical system are formidable, there is, in addition, powerful political, geo-political ad geo-economic reasons.

The Political Implications of Privatization and Denationalization           

The Mexican government’s decision to “privatize” the public oil and electrical industry means, effectively to ‘denationalize’ them, as the state is in negotiation with the foreign multi-national corporations lined up to submit their bids.           

Most of the major US oil multi-nationals are the most likely beneficiaries of the sell-off.  As a result, major US oil corporations with powerful links to the US state will play a major role in shaping Mexico ’s policy to its primary export sector in favor of Washington ’s global  strategic interests.           

It is important to remember, that multi-national corporations (MNC) are not only economic units but political actors.  MNC have played a strategic political role in numerous contexts, always to the detriment of the “host country”.  Numerous historical examples illustrate this fact.  In 1961 when Cuba decided to import Soviet oil to counter US export restrictions, Texaco acting under orders from the White House refused to refine it and Havana was forced to nationalize the refineries.  In recent times Venezuela increased the royalty payments of the oil companies to finance social programs.  Several US MNCs refused to co-operate, in line with Washington ’s plans to destabilize the Chavez government.  They were nationalized.  Similarly in Argentina , Repsol, the Spanish petrol MNC refused to fulfill its investment obligations in order to pressure the Kirchner government to modify it policies and was nationalized.  The Spanish government intervened and set in motion an international judicial process.           

During the early 1950s in Iran , British Petroleum and major US petroleum companies worked with the CIA in successfully  overthrowing the elected Mosaddegh government to prevent nationalization and to secure lucrative concessions.  Mexico’s history is replete with examples of US military and diplomatic interventions in Mexican politics in order to secure control and favorable concessions for oil companies prior to Lázaro Cárdena’s nationalization.  Throughout history US policy toward Mexico was ‘made’  by the US mining and oil companiesin Mexico .

Multi-national corporations combine economic interests with political leverage based on their links with political leaders inside of Mexico and the United States .  Once an ‘economic opening’ is established, the MNC, can extend and deepen their penetration of the economy to related economic sectors and can use their political power to secure subsidies and tax exemptions at the expense of the Mexican treasury.

MNC have a two way relation with the US imperial state: they exert pressure on Washington to intervene in any dispute with the Mexican state; and the imperial state can use the strategic position of the petroleum MNC to secure political co-operation from the Mexican state to oppose nationalists in OPEC, Venezuela and the Middle East .           

MNC became deeply involved in the internal politics of a country, aligning themselves with the most reactionary, anti-labor, anti-national classes.  In Colombia ,MNC use their economic resources  to finance the electoral campaigns of right-wing politicians, parties and paramilitary groups.  MNC are frequently involved in laundering illicit profits, paying bribes and corrupting politicians.  In other words, the privatization and denationalization of strategic industries converts sovereign nations into semi-colonies, with reduced political influence in regional associations and the international system.           

Foreign owned MNC sharply reduce the political options of states in deciding marketing,and undermine invitations to become members of  national and regional integration organizations like ALBA.. US petroleum  corporations  are integrated through a productive chain with their global subsidaries in an imperial economy.In contrast in Mexico   they function as economic enclaves , limiting backward and forward linkages with other sectors ,while subordinating satellite industries.


The denationalization of strategic sectors of the Mexican economy increases national vulnerability to imperial pressures, isolates Mexico  from regional alliances and creates a class of collaborator politicians whose primary loyalty is to the MNC – not to the citizens of the country.           

Within the current world disorder, Washington is continually engaged in wars in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.Ownership of the Mexican petroleum industry serves as a US strategic reserve in the face of boycotts and war-induced shortages.  In any global conflict, Mexico , as a strategic supplier of petrol to Washington , will become an object or target of  numerous US  adversaries.  The political costs to Mexico of denationalization of strategic economic sectors (like oil and electricity) in the context of growing political links to a highly militarized state, like the US , are high and have no commensurate benefits.           

Mexico effectively surrenders its political independence, isolates itself from its Latin American neighbors, fragments its national economy and deepens the colonial character of its state and economy.

This essay was published in the Mexican Electrical Workers Union magazine “Lux”

The Other Super Power Is Winning

September 10th, 2013 by David Swanson

It’s not Russia.  It’s not al Qaeda.  It’s not Bashar al-Assad.  The other super power is the people of the world — and the people of, but not by or for, the United States.

The world’s people are protesting.  U.S. citizens abroad are protesting at U.S. embassies.  The British Parliament said no to war for the first time since Yorktown.

The U.S. polls began with single-digit support for attacking Syria, climbed a little with the corporate media onslaught, and then started sinking again as the propaganda push shifted into self-defeating top gear.

Taking the stage after Colin Powell, the Obama-Kerry war marketing team was compelled by public pressure, foreign pressure, government-insider pressure, past public statements, and the inability of even the corporate media to keep a straight face, to take this war proposal to Congress — and to do so while Congress members and senators were at home in their districts and states, where people were able to get in their faces.

Congress has been feeling the heat.  Sure, there is greater willingness by some Republican members to oppose a war if the president is a Democrat.  But there are also Democrats openly supporting the war because the president wants them to.  The decisive factor has been public pressure.  Senators and representatives have been turned around by their constituents, and that minority still supporting an attack on Syria openly says they’re defying the people who elected them.  If there is no vote in Congress, it will be because the vote would fail.

Now is the time for Congress and the president to hear our voices more loudly than ever.

Secretary Kerry stressed on Monday that he hadn’t been serious about a diplomatic solution.  It was just “rhetoric.” He was just pointing out the “impossibility” of Assad handing weapons over.  He didn’t want anyone to take it seriously.  Not when we have to get a war started. Not when the clock is ticking and he has already Colin-Powelled himself in front of his old committee with his wife behind him and protesters with bloody hands filling the room and everybody snickering when he claimed al Qaeda would install a secular democracy. Not after all THAT!

How can you ask a man to be the last one to lie for a dead idea?

But warmongering senators and presidents and presidential wannabes jumped at the chance of a way out of watching Congress vote down a war, and watching Congress vote down a war because we made them do it.  Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee has a proposal for a diplomatic resolution.  Republican Congressman Chris Smith has proposed a United Nations war crimes tribunal.  (One might hope it will even look at the crimes of both sides in the Syrian war.)  The always obvious, but hidden, fact that there are alternatives to bombing people is bursting out all over.

Sure, some people dislike this war because it would cost money, or because the Iraqis are ungrateful for the destruction of their country, or because Obama was born in Africa, but mostly people oppose this war for very good reasons — and the financial cost is not really a bad reason.  From right to left, people don’t think the United States should be the world’s vigilante.  From left to right, people don’t believe the justifications presented without evidence.  From right to left, people understand that killing people with the right weapons to protest their being killed with the wrong weapons is little bit crazy.  From left to right, people don’t believe tales of short and easy wars that will pay for themselves.  And, across the political spectrum, people have begun to be able to smell lies, even when those lies are wrapped in flags and uniforms.

We should give our government credit for listening — if it listens.  By no means are we out of the woods yet.  If you want to be able to say you were part of the movement that prevented a U.S. war, now is the time to email and telephone and join in activities.  We should not, however, fantasize that our government secretly held our position against the war it was trying to roll out, before we compelled it to hold our position.

Let them thump their chests a bit about how their threats won something out of Assad, if that allows their war fever to pass.  But don’t for a minute lose the significance of what the U.S. public has done to the otherwise broken U.S. government.  Out of whatever combination of factors, it just may turn out that we’ve stopped a war.  Which means that we can stop another war.  Which means that we can begin to work our way out of the war machine that has eaten our economy, our civil liberties, our natural environment, and our soul.

Assad may be lying.  Or Obama may lie that Assad is lying.  Or this whole thing may otherwise fall apart and the push for this war be back with a full-court press on Congress.  But we can stop it if we choose to do so.  We can push as hard for peaceful solutions in Syria as we’ve pushed to prevent the bombs from falling.  In fact, we can push 10 times harder.

And the warmakers will be back with another war.  Have no fear of that.  Seriously, have no fear of it: We are a super-power.  They are a vestige of a barbaric practice that has become an anachronism even while remaining our largest public investment.  They are dinosaurs.  They’ll come back with a “defensive war”.  That was their biggest failure this time; they didn’t make Syria a threat.  Senator Harry Reid on Monday painted Syria as Nazi Germany, but he sounded like Elmer Fudd warning of a killer rabbit.

Laughter is our most potent tool.  We must mock their fear-mongering.  We must laugh at their claims of power and benevolent intent.  We must ask to see the list of nations that are grateful for past bombs.  We must inquire whether senators who play video poker while debating war plans, or secretaries of state who promise wars that will be both tiny and significant with no impact and a decisive result, are perhaps in need of better medication.

But let’s not count our doves before they hatch.  Get in on this successful movement now.  It’s going to be one to tell your grandchildren about.

Immigration Reform in the US. The Death of the Chicano Left

September 10th, 2013 by Global Research News

by Dr. Rodolfo Acuña

What follows is an important contribution to the immigration policy debate written in March 2013 by Dr. Rodolfo Acuña. A scholar, activist, and prolific author, Acuña is a professor emeritus at California State University at Northridge. The founding chair of CSUN’s Chicano/a Studies department, he has worked with educators, students, and community members in the ongoing effort to save Mexican American Ethnic Studies in the Tucson, Ariz., K-12 school district — where his classic bookOccupied America: A History of Chicanos has been banned.

Prior to 1986 a clear Left voice could be heard on immigration reform. Among its priorities was that there would be no guest worker program, there would be no employer sanctions, there would be a more humane border enforcement policy, and there would be a clear path to citizenship with an absence of penalties and fees. For the most part we lost, and the only real victory was that proposals for a guest worker program died.The death of the Chicano Left

The truth be told, immigration reform has never been a high priority among American progressives; as a consequence, no clear vision of immigration reform was developed outside the Mexican American community. This lack of understanding and consensus has led to the probability of compromise — that invariably leads to a negation of meaningful and just reform.

The question has become so muddled that not even the so-called Latino leadership knows what it wants. Having been invited and having sat at the Democratic Party table as guests of honor, they don’t want to rock the boat — or like my mother used to say, quieren quedar bien con todo mundo.

As it is shaping up, liberals seem committed to a path to citizenship for the undocumented, but they also seem willing to ignore the abuses of ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and are going along with the increased enforcement of immigration laws — a grotesque and massive immigration apparatus that spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement last year.

It is obvious that large chunks of the Latino leadership are willing to forget the extensive and rich literature on the bracero program, and are disposed to place their trust in President Barack Obama. The hard Left — what is left of it — opposes a guest worker program that excludes a clear pathway to citizenship for the bracero. They don’t want to go back to the days when American farmers rented Mexicans at will, and repeat a program that was full of corruption and abuses.

As a matter of fact, historically the U.S. has refused to deal with guest workers as “free labor” with the rights enjoyed by other workers. Consequently, the U.S. has engaged in a “cut your nose to spite your face” policy that has weakened American agriculture, with the nation importing food from China and other countries because it cannot get its crops picked.

As conservative columnist Richard M. Estrada testified in 1995: “One must … insist that the absence of slavery does not imply the presence of freedom.

“As commonly understood, the term free labor also implies that an individual can sell his or her labor on the open market to whomever will contract for it. It is in this regard that guest worker programs are, by definition, unfree labor arrangements or, at the very least, not totally free labor arrangements.

“To be specific, the agricultural guest worker is explicitly obligated not to sell his or her labor anywhere else but to the agricultural employer who sponsors entry. Employers tend to prize guest workers for their abilities, true. But they also value them because they have no options and are, therefore, more malleable, although employers tend to prefer the term ‘disciplined.’”

It is difficult to talk to Democrats about “free labor”; they prefer to concentrate on the globalization, which is important. However, globalization has always been with us, and not presuming to argue with the great theorist Immanuel Wallerstein, global capitalism is part of world history, beginning before the time of Christ. Numerous transformations caused the uprooting of entire societies.

We must keep in mind that population growth in China and India caused the migration of ideas into the Middle East, Egypt, and Greece. The growth of the Chinese population and its markets moved the exploitation of the Americas, and the movement of “unfree labor.”

Another transformation took place during the Industrial Revolution, and as Oscar Handlin makes clear in his classic The Uprooted, global changes in production and population growth led to the uprooting of entire societies — dispersing people not only to the United States but globally.

However, at this point, I am more concerned about what is happening today in the Latino community — and how can we cope with it? In my view, ideas are important, and the role of a Left voice is vital in counteracting the contradictions of capitalism that lead to unbridled exploitation and the loss of liberty.

At one time, the Soviet Union served as a brake on the imperial obsessions of U.S. foreign policy. Left ideas in this country have made this society more democratic by initiating major reforms. This contribution is obvious when you consider that the American right wing has not introduced a single reform. The Right’s myopic worldview seems unique to the U.S.; witness that even ultra-conservative German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck initiated universal health care in the 19th century.

In recent times, Mexico was developing a Left voice, but it was muffled by the absorption of the Left parties into el Partido de la Revolución Democrática, PRD, in the late 1980s. The coalition of Left parties then became a social-democratic political party, and electoral politics softened its voice.

History suggests that a similar process has occurred within the Mexican American community. As we have become more invested in electoral politics, our electoral gains have softened the voice of the Left within the community on issues ranging from identity to police brutality. Our elected officials seem more willing to make arrangements, and at the national level our organizations often move to the right to accommodate the interests of other middle class Latinos. Witness that there was no outcry when Marco Rubio pretended to speak for “Latinos” on immigration.

Because of the size of the Latino community, 70 percent of which is Mexican American, it is inevitable that we have been drawn into the game of politics. Without a doubt, the 2012 presidential election is a watershed in Chicana/o History. It is a recognition of our numbers not our skill at playing the political game. In my view, in order to survive the game, we must play it collectively and have clear principles.

Not wanting to sound cynical, but it will become more difficult for the Left to be heard because of the transformations brought about by the 2012 election. It is significant that a cadre of wealthy Latino business owners, entertainers, lawyers and financiers formed a political action committee (PAC) and collected roughly $30 million for Obama’s re-election.

The sum contributed is not significant, but the emergence of the Latino PAC is. Its bundlers sit or will sit on the boards of national Latino organizations. As a group they will represent Latino interests, and collectively their political clout and leverage will increase — neutralizing left of center views. Necessarily their schooling and class interests will diverge from positions of the Left on questions such as immigration.

I am not questioning the good faith of the members of the Latino PAC; however, how they acquired their knowledge and life experiences often form their views and how strongly they feel about them. Attending an Ivy League university is an accomplishment but it also acculturates you, and may even make you more willing to compromise on issues such as immigration. You rationalize that half a loaf is better than none.

Consider that for a time our voices could be heard through massive demonstrations such as those in 1994 and 2006. If history teaches us anything, we should study why after 1994 they diminished in size, largely due to the 1996 presidential election, and again after 2006, due to the 2008 election.

This article in Spanish / Este artículo en español

To listen to this article and others from this issue, click here.

The White House announced Monday that 14 more countries have joined the United States’ call for a strong international response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syria last month.

This brought to 24 the total number of countries that support the U.S. government in condemning the alleged Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21 in the suburbs of Damascus, which the U.S. claims killed more than 1,400 people, and calling for “a strong international response.”

On the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit at St. Petersburg, Russia, U.S. President Barack Obama and leaders of 10 other countries issued last Friday a joint statement on Syria to call for a strong international response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons.

The countries included Australia (NATO’s Partners Across the Globe), Britain (NATO), Canada (NATO), France (NATO), Italy (NATO), Japan (NATO’s  Partners Across the Globe), Republic of Korea (NATO’s Partners Across the Globe), Saudi Arabia (NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative invitee), Spain (NATO) and Turkey (NATO).

The new additions to the list of countries that stand behind the U.S. in its dealing with the Syria crisis included Albania (NATO), Croatia (NATO), Denmark (NATO), Estonia (NATO), Germany (NATO), Honduras, Hungary (NATO), Kosovo (“the world’s first NATO state,” not recognized by a majority of the nations in the world), Latvia (NATO), Lithuania (NATO), Morocco (NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue) Qatar (NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative), Romania (NATO) and the United Arab Emirates (NATO Istanbul Cooperation Initiative). [Qatar and the United Arab Emirates supplied NATO dozens of warplanes for its Operation Allied Protector six-month air war against Libya in 2011.]

“We welcome additional countries expressing their support for this statement and our continued efforts to hold the Assad regime accountable and enforce the international norm against the use of chemical weapons,” said the White House.

In the joint statement, the signatories said evidence clearly points to the Syrian government being responsible for the Aug. 21 attack as part of a pattern of its chemical weapons use, while vowing to hold Damascus accountable for the “grave violation of the world rules and conscience.”

“We support efforts undertaken by the United States and other countries to reinforce the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons,” it said, citing that the United Nations remains ” paralyzed” as it has been for two and a half years during the civil war in Syria.

Short of explicitly supporting the planned U.S. military action on Syria, the statement said Syria’s conflict has no military solution and they reaffirm their “commitment to seek a peaceful political settlement” through full implementation of the 2012 Geneva Communique on seeking a peaceful solution to the Syria crisis.


A recent study conducted by Nick Turse of on the increasing role of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) illustrates why this issue should become a major focus of the peace, anti-war and anti-imperialist movements in the West. With the withdrawal of Pentagon ground forces from Iraq and the scaling-down of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, there has been very little attention paid to developments involving interventions by the imperialist states in the oppressed nations.

Although there have been significant demonstrations around the U.S. against the war threats aimed at Syria, these latest machinations by the White House and the French government of Francois Hollande should not be the sole focus of the anti-war movement. The degree to which the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) has engaged in acts of subversion and military intrigue in Africa must at some point force the movement to break out of its myopic preoccupation with events that grab the headlines within the corporate media outlets.

If these trends in Africa are presented in an organized and cohesive fashion, there could be an upsurge in interests related to events on the continent. A panel discussion put together by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) at the Left Forum in New York City in early June, attracted a standing-room-only audience.

Issues related to the Obama administration and its allies’ interventions in Africa should have been the subject of a plenary session at the Left Forum. The panel entitled “The War on Africa” and its success illustrates that there is growing interests in these aspects of imperialism and its strategic outlook for areas outside the so-called Middle East.

Even though President Obama is of African descent, his policies toward the continent have continued and even intensified Western efforts to dominate the continent which has been subjected to nearly six centuries of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. With the People’s Republic of China playing a greater role in Africa through trade relations and strategic partnerships, the ruling class within the U.S. is scrambling to edge out Beijing by increasing its military and intelligence presence.


The bombing of Libya by the Pentagon and NATO for seven straight months in 2011, demonstrated clearly the extent to which imperialism is willing to go in order to overthrow and remake states. Since the fall of the Gaddafi government and the Jamahiriya system, Libya has been plunged into economic distress and political chaos.


Drone stations are being constructed throughout the Horn of Africa and in Niger while the U.S. subsidizes the maintenance of a 17,500-person military force in Somalia. Somalia is now the focus of oil exploration and exploitation along with other states along the coast of East Africa.


TomDispatch’s Findings


Nick Turse begins his review of the Pentagon’s increasing intervention in Africa saying “They’re involved in Algeria and Angola, Benin and Botswana, Burkina Faso and Burundi, Cameroon and the Cape Verde Islands. And that’s just the ABCs of the situation.”


He goes on to stress that all you need to do is “Skip to the end of the alphabet and the story remains the same: Senegal and the Seychelles, Togo and Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. From north to south, east to west, the Horn of Africa to the Sahel, the heart of the continent to the islands off its coasts, the U.S. military is at work.”


Turse goes on to track the activities of the Pentagon through its joint military exercises with various African states, the construction of military bases within these states, the so-called training exercises carried out by the U.S. defense department involving African militaries, the construction and expansion of the Camp Lemonier base in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti and the utilization of drone technology to both monitor events as well as engage in offensive strikes against targeted individuals and organizations.


Another important aspect of the escalating Pentagon presence in Africa is the existence of AFRICOM-related bases of operation outside the continent. Located mainly in European countries and islands under their control, the presence of these facilities should also be of concern to Left and anti-war forces on that continent which was the forerunner of intervention prior to the birth of its offspring in North America.


Turse notes that “When considering the scope and rapid expansion of U.S. military activities in Africa, it’s important to keep in mind that certain key ‘African’ bases are actually located off the continent. Keeping a semblance of a ‘light footprint’ there, AFRICOM’s headquarters is located at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart-Moehringen, Germany.”


He goes on saying “In June, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that the base in Stuttgart and the U.S. Air Force’s Air Operations Center in Ramstein were both integral to drone operations in Africa. Key logistics support hubs for AFRICOM are located in Rota, Spain; Aruba in the Lesser Antilles; and Souda Bay, Greece, as well as at Ramstein. The command also maintains a forward operating site on Britain’s Ascension Island, located about 1,000 miles off the coast of Africa in the South Atlantic, but refused requests for further information about its role in operations.”


The Need for a Response by the Anti-Imperialist Forces


These findings should provide the basis for a more concentrated effort related to the growing Pentagon as well as CIA presence in Africa. The organization of a clear anti-imperialist response to these developments would serve to encourage and motivate revolutionary organizations and movements in Africa that could lead to alliances between progressive forces in the West and those on the continent.


There should be the establishment of study groups to review the history and current events related to imperialist militarism. Task forces need to be set up where military training facilities and corporations directly involved in these events in Africa could be targeted for protests and boycotts.


Positions papers, pamphlets, books and web pages should be developed to provide concrete information about these trends. These resources can serve as the basis for reaching greater numbers of people both in the imperialist states and those in Africa and other regions of the world.


To read this report entitled “Tomgram: Nick Turse, AFRICOM’s Gigantic ‘Small Footprint’” just log on to:


Britain’s Drone War in Afghanistan

September 10th, 2013 by Alice K Ross

British forces have carried out 299 drone strikes in Afghanistan, defence minister Andrew Robathan announced in Parliament yesterday. This is the first time the British government has announced how many drone strikes it has launched.

The new figures released by the defence minister, which cover 2008 to the end of July 2013, show that the vast majority of armed drone missions in Afghanistan did not lead to a strike. But an analysis of these figures alongside data provided to the Bureau by the US Air Force last year shows that for each mission flown, British forces were significantly more likely to fire potentially deadly missiles than their US allies.

In total, 7% of British drone sorties between 2008 and 2011 resulted in a strike, compared to just over 2% of US missions. The MoD data shows that in 2012 drone missions were even more likely to lead to strikes – 10% of sorties led to missiles being fired, compared to 5% in 2008.

British Reaper UAV credit Defence Images

A British Reaper drone refuels at Kandahar air base, Afghanistan (Photo: Defence Images)

The UK is the only country aside from the US that currently operates General Atomics Reaper drones – last year the MoD announced the fleet was to double in size, from five to 10 armed drones. The US is believed to operate over 200 armed drones in Afghanistan, although it has declined to reveal a precise number.


The new figures, announced by Robathan in response to a parliamentary question from Green MP Caroline Lucas, highlight the key role played by British unmanned aircraft in the Afghan conflict. British-piloted drones carried out 22% of all drone strikes – more than one in five – in the conflict between 2008 and 2011. In 2011, the last year for which comparison was possible, British-piloted drones launched 30% of all drone attacks in the theatre.


Copyright Bureau of Investigative Journalism

British drone activity then escalated further in 2012: UK pilots carried out 92 strikes in comparison to 73 the previous year and just 14 in 2008. However, there is no full-year data on the number of strikes carried out by the US Air Force in 2012 for comparison.

Last year after months of discussions with the Bureau, the US Air Force agreed to declassify some figures on its drone use in Afghanistan, releasing data for International Security Assistance Force operations (comprising both US and UK pilots) on the number of drone missions flown, the number of strikes it had carried out, and the number of missiles released – one strike can include several missiles. The data showed over 1,000 drone strikes had been carried out in Afghanistan between 2008 and the end of October 2012.

But until now the MoD had refused to reveal how many of these drone strikes had specifically been fired by UK-operated drones.

Get the data: Drone operations in Afghanistan

Part of the reason for the high activity of British pilots in comparison to the size of its fleet is the practice of embedding pilots with US forces. A parliamentary question earlier this year revealed British pilots embedded with US forces have flown over 2,100 drone missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. This was the first time it had been announced that UK pilots had flown drones in Iraq.

An MoD spokesman told the Bureau in April that even when operating in embeds, British pilots follow UK rules of engagement. Such embeds can last for up to three years; ‘fewer than 10′ pilots are in such embeds at any one time.

One statistic that has not yet been revealed by either the US or UK is casualties – both civilian and suspected insurgent – from drone strikes in the country. The MoD has told the Bureau that it does not collate a ‘comprehensive record’ of casualties ‘because of the immense difficulty and risks that would be involved in collecting robust data’, while the US responded to a recent Freedom of Information request on the subject saying ‘there is no information that can be provided at the unclassified level’.

Robathan also revealed yesterday that British drones are usually under orders to avoid flying over urban areas. In response to a separate question from Caroline Lucas, about the potentially traumatising effect of drones’ presence on civilian populations, he said: ’UK policy is that, as far is operationally possible, UAS [unmanned aerial systems - or drones] should not fly over built up areas.’

 Additional reporting by Jack Serle 

Follow @aliceross_ and @jackserle on Twitter

The intelligence gathered against Syria’s Assad was manufactured by elements within the spy community in order to mislead the US President to take punitive action, Ray McGovern, a veteran CIA analyst, told RT.

McGovern was among the signatories to the letter from veteran intelligence professionals to Obama, warning the US president that Assad is not responsible for the chemical attack, and that “CIA Director John Brennan is perpetrating a pre-Iraq-War-type fraud on members of Congress, the media, [and] the public.”

RT: You were one of the signatories to that letter to the US President. Do you think it will influence Obama?

Ray McGovern: Well, the problem of course is getting into what they call the mainstream media. The media is drumbeating for the war just as before Iraq. And they don’t want to hear that the evidence is very very flimsy. They don’t want to hear that people within the CIA – senior people, with great access to this information – assure us, the veterans, that there’s no conclusive evidence that Assad ordered those chemical incidents on August 21. They don’t want to hear that. They want to process beyond that and just deal with what we must do. Now, you don’t assume those things – you need proof of them.

RT: In the letter, you cite evidence that the Syrian opposition and its allies carried out a chemical weapons provocation. Why do you think this has been ignored completely by Obama and Kerry?

RM: The reason that they don’t adduce the evidence is because it wouldn’t stand up not only in the court of law, it wouldn’t bear close scrutiny. We’ve been down this road before. It happened before in Iraq. What the president needs to do is to release the intercepted message, on which most of this depends. And once he’s done that, we could see what he’s got. There’s precedent for this – Ronald Reagan in 1986, when the Libyans bombed a discotheque in Berlin, killing two US servicemen and wounding hundreds. He hit [Muammar] Gaddafi’s palace, killing his little daughter, 15 months old, and almost killing his son three years old. Now, the world said: ‘You can’t do that! What’s your evidence that the Libyans did that?’ And Reagan came to us and said: ‘We have to release that intercepted message. And we said; ‘No! No! No! You can’t do that because you’ll blow our source.’ And he said: ‘Do it anyway.’ That was released and the world calmed down. I don’t defend killing little children, but at least Reagan gained some credibility from the fact that he saw that the interests of the state, of the US, superseded protecting sources and methods. That’s what Obama has to do now. We’re very suspicious that if he’s unwilling to do that, since he sends his Chief of Staff before the camera and says: ‘Well, it wouldn’t stand up in a court of law, but, hey, intelligence is intelligence – you got to trust this. But we’re not going to trust him this time, especially when the head of the intelligence establishment is a self-admitted perjurer’.

RT: Why has it been so hard for Washington to sell to the world its case for intervention? Very few of their key allies explicitly support a military strike right now.

RM: I have to say that if you look at the ‘Cui Bono’ – the classic question: ‘who does this profit?’The only state, the only country that it profits is Israel. As long as, there’s an unending… looks like it’s going to be a 30-year war in Syria, a Shia against Sunni contest, not only in Syria, but in the whole Middle East area, now that Israel feels that the Sunni and the Shia aren’t going to be turning their swords and their guns on Israel. It’s that simple. Now, [US Secretary of State] John Kerry has amply demonstrated that he’s under the influence of [Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin] Netanyahu. He made believe he was talking about Palestine in the last couple of months, but what he was really talking about was Syria and that shows in his behavior and even his demeanor. So, what we have here is a situation where Israel and the tough guys – and tough gals now – in the White House, advising Obama, say, ‘you’ve got to do something’, and the only country that would profit from this is the state of Israel.

RT: We heard John Kerry backtrack a little yesterday, by saying that Obama hasn’t made a decision yet on Syria. The US President was much more certain about an attack on Syria a week ago. Why the softening of their stance?

RM: You know what happened a week ago. Last Friday, Kerry went before the cameras and said: ‘We got to do this. And here’s not the intelligence assessment, mind you – but the government’s assessment.’Meaning the White House had a chance to massage it, edit it. It didn’t hold up to scrutiny. Now, what happened? Apparently the military got to the president, and I see some evidence of this. Next thing we know the president changes his mind on Saturday afternoon, and the only thing that really intervened was that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, telling the president: “Look. It’s going to be really hard to explain why we have to do it now. We could do it tomorrow, or next week, or next month. We don’t really have to do it now.” And the president said that in justifying this delay. What’s more evidence? Lindsey Graham and John McCain the next day just took off after the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman in a very personal and vindictive way. Because they know the military leaders went to the president saying, “Look, we know you’re being told this is going to be easy and limited and all that – but these guys and gals don’t know a thing about war. We do. And we know that it’s not going to be so easy, so if you’re going to do this, you’d better gain wide support, because, otherwise, your presidency is over.”

RT: And who do you think the Congressional vote is going to play out?

RM: You know… I’m not a domestic political analyst. So, my opinion isn’t much better than anyone else’s. In Washington, within the beltway and in all the TV shows, it’s always “we’ve got to do something! We must protect the President!” The odd thing is that this time the Democrats have drunk the Kool Aid [an American expression in business and politics, meaning to follow blindly]. This time we have to protect the President, he’s gone out on a limb here. He’s drunk the Kool Aid, and I talked to a Congressman last night for five minutes… and it was every clear that he pledged the House leader that he would vote according to what the President says, because “we have to protect the President”. Are you going to say the President is lying? We don’t have to say [that]. What you do need to say, according to our information, is that the President is being given cooked-up intelligence because John Brennan, the head of the CIA, and James Clapper, the confessed perjurer, have thought it in their best interests to cater to the wishes of the White House, which have been very clear: ‘this time, we want to strike Syria.’It’s a terrible situation, it’s a political sort of thing now, and we’ll have to see how it plays out. I have more hope than this time last week that it will be turned down. And then I don’t think the President would violate the constitution and the UN Charter both by starting a war.

Chile, September 11, 1973: The Ingredients of a Military Coup

September 10th, 2013 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Forty years ago on September 11, 1973, the Chilean military led by General Augusto Pinochet, crushed the democratically elected Unidad Popular government of Salvador Allende.

The objective was to replace a progressive, democratically elected government by a brutal military dictatorship.

The military coup was supported by the CIA. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger played a direct role in the military plot.1

In the weeks leading up the coup, US Ambassador Nathaniel Davis and members of the CIA held meetings with Chile’s top military brass together with the leaders of the National Party and the ultra-right nationalist front Patria y Libertad.  While the undercover role of the Nixon administration is amply documented,  what is rarely mentioned in media reports is the fact that the military coup was also supported by a sector of the Christian Democratic Party.

Patricio Aylwin, who became Chile’s president in 1989,  became head of the DC party in the months leading up to the September 1973 military coup (March through September 1973). Aylwin was largely instrumental in the break down of the “Dialogue” between the Unidad Popular government and the Christian Democrats. His predecessor Renan Fuentealba, who represented the moderate wing of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC), was firmly against military intervention. Fuentealba favored a dialogue with Allende (la salida democratica). He was displaced from the leadership of the Party in May 1973 in favor of Patricio Aylwin.

The DC Party was split down the middle, between those who favored “the salida democratica”, and the dominant Aylwin-Frei faction, which favored “a military solution”. 2 

On 23 August, the Chilean Camera de Diputados drafted a motion,  to the effect that the Allende government “sought to impose a totalitarian regime”. Patricio Aylwin was a member of the drafting team of this motion. Patricio Aylwin believed that a temporary military dictatorship was “the lesser of two evils.”3

This motion was adopted almost unanimously by the opposition parties, including the DC, the Partido Nacional and the PIR ( Radical Left).

The leadership of the Christian Democratic Party including former Chilean president Eduardo Frei, had given a green light to the Military. Unquestionably, US intelligence must have played an undercover role in the change of leadership in the PDC.

And continuity in the “Chilean Model” heralded as an “economic success story” was ensured when, 16 years later, Patricio Aylwin was elected president of Chile in the so-called transition to democracy in 1989.

At the time of the September 11 coup, I was Visiting Professor of Economics at the Catholic University of Chile. In the hours following the bombing of the Presidential Palace of La Moneda, the new military rulers imposed a 72-hour curfew.

When the university reopened several days later, I started patching together the history of the coup from written notes. I had lived through the tragic events of September 11, 1973 as well as the failed June 29, 1973 coup. Several of my students at the Universidad Catolica had been arrested by the military Junta.

In the days following the military takeover,  I started going through piles of documents and newspaper clippings, which I had collected on a daily basis since my arrival in Chile in early 1973. A large part of this material, however, was lost and destroyed by my research assistant, fearing political reprisals in the days following the coup.

This unpublished article was written forty years ago. It was drafted on an old typewriter in the weeks following September 11, 1973.

This original draft article plus two carbon copies were circulated among a few close friends and colleagues at the Catholic University. It was never published. For 30 years it lay in a box of documents at the bottom of a filing cabinet.

I have transcribed the text from the yellowed carbon copy draft [in 2003]. Apart from minor editing, I have made no changes to the original article.

The history of this period has since then been amply documented including the role of the Nixon administration and of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the plot to assassinate Allende and install a military regime.

Chicago Economics: Neoliberal Dress Rehearsal of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP)

The main objective of the US-supported military coup in Chile was ultimately to  impose the neoliberal economic agenda.  The latter, in the case of Chile, was not imposed by external creditors under the guidance of IMF. “Regime change” was enforced  through a covert military intelligence operation, which laid the groundwork for the military coup. Sweeping macro-economic reforms (including privatization, price liberalization and the freeze of wages) were implemented in early October 1973.

Barely a few weeks after the military takeover, the military Junta headed by General Augusto Pinochet ordered a hike in the price of bread from 11 to 40 escudos, a hefty overnight increase of 264%. This “economic shock treatment” had been designed by a group of economists called the “Chicago Boys.”

While food prices had skyrocketed, wages had been frozen to ensure “economic stability and stave off inflationary pressures.” From one day to the next, an entire country had been precipitated into abysmal poverty; in less than a year the price of bread in Chile increased thirty-six fold (3700%). Eighty-five percent of the Chilean population had been driven below the poverty line.

I completed my work on the “unpublished paper’ entitled “The Ingredients of a Military Coup” (see text below) in late September.  In October and November, following the dramatic hikes in the price of food,  I drafted in Spanish an initial “technical” assessment of the Junta’s deadly macro-economic reforms entitled La Medición del Ingreso Minimo de Subsistencia y la Politica de Ingresos para 1974′ Fearing censorship, I limited my analysis to the collapse of living standards in the wake of the Junta’s reforms, resulting from the price hikes of food and fuel, without making any kind of political analysis.

The Economics Institute of the Catholic University was initially reluctant to publish the report. They sent it to the Military Junta for its approval prior to its release.

I left Chile for Peru  in December. The report was released as a working paper (200 copies) by the Catholic University a few days after my departure.

In Peru, where I joined the Economics Department of the Catholic University of Peru, I was able to write up a more detailed study of the Junta’s neoliberal reforms and its ideological underpinnings. This study was was published in 1975 in English and Spanish.

Needless to say, the events of September 11 1973 also marked me profoundly in my work as an economist. Through the tampering of prices, wages and interest rates, people’s lives had been destroyed; an entire national economy had been destabilized. Macro-economic reform was neither “neutral” –as claimed by the academic mainstream– nor separate from the broader process of social and political transformation.

I also started to understand the role of military-intelligence operations in support of what is usually described as a process of “economic restructuring”. In my earlier writings on the Chilean military Junta, I looked upon the so-called “free market” reforms as a well-organized instrument of “economic repression.”

Two years later, I returned to Latin America as a Visiting professor at the National University of Cordoba in the northern industrial heartland of Argentina under the auspices of an ILO project.

My stay coincided with the 1976 military coup d’État. Tens of thousands of people were arrested; the “Desaparecidos” were assassinated. The military takeover in Argentina was “a carbon copy” of the CIA-led coup in Chile.

And behind the massacres and human rights violations, “free market” reforms had also been prescribed, this time under the supervision of Argentina’s New York creditors.

The IMF’s deadly economic prescriptions under the “structural adjustment program” had not yet been officially launched. The experience of Chile and Argentina under the “Chicago boys” was “a dress rehearsal” of things to come.

In due course, the economic bullets of the free market system were hitting country after country.

Since the onslaught of the debt crisis of the 1980s, the same IMF economic medicine has routinely been applied in more than 150 developing countries. From my earlier work in Chile, Argentina and Peru, I started to investigate the global impacts of these reforms. Relentlessly feeding on poverty and economic dislocation, a New World Order was taking shape.

(For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky,The Globalisation of Poverty and the New World Order, Second Edition, Global Research, 2003 

[This forward with minor edits was initially published ten years ago to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the September 1,, 1973 military coup]

Michel Chossudovsky,  11 September 2003  [minor revisions September 10, 2013]


For details see  and references below

2. See Interview with Renan Fuentealba at

3. See , See also: El acuerdo que anticipó el golpe,


The Ingredients of a Military Coup

by Michel Chossudovsky

[Catholic University of Chile, September 1973, Unpublished draft]

First published by Global Research, September 11, 2003

Original 1973 draft: click to enlarge

The transition to a right-wing military regime in Chile on September 11 [1973] has resulted after a lengthy and drawn-out process of economic boycott, subversion within the Armed Forces and political opposition to Allende’s Popular unity government.

In October 1970, General René Schneider was assassinated in a plot of the ultra-right together with seditious elements of the Armed Forces led by General Roberto Viaux. The assassination of General Schneider was part of a coordinated plan to prevent Parliament from ratifying Allende’s victory in the September 1970 presidential elections.

Last year’s [1972] October strike which paralyzed the economy for over a month, was organized by the gremios (employers’ organizations together with opposition labor and self employed organizations), the Partido Nacional and the ultra-right nationalist front Patria y Libertad. Some sectors of the Christian Democratic Party were also involved.

The October Strike had initially been planned for September 1972. “Plan Septiembre”  was apparently postponed due to the sudden dismissal of General Alfredo Canales from the Armed Forces. Canales together with Air Force General Herrera Latoja had earlier been in touch with Miguel Ubilla Torrealba of the nationalist front Patria y Libertad. Ubilla Torrealba was said to have been closely connected to the CIA. Despite General Canales premature retirement from the Armed Forces, Plan Septiembre was implemented in October beginning with a transport strike. The Right was hoping that those elements of the Armed forces, which had been inspired by General Canales would intervene against Allende. The October “Patronal” strike (employers and self-employed) failed due to the support of the Armed Forces headed by General Carlos Prats, who had integrated Allende’s cabinet as Minister of the Interior.

The June Failed Coup

On June 29, 1973, Coronal Roberto Souper led his tank division in an isolated attack on La Moneda, the Presidential Palace, in the hope that other units of the armed forces would join in. The June coup had initially been planned for the morning of September 27 by Patria y Libertad as well as by several high ranking military officers. The plans were found out by Military Intelligence and the coup was called off at 6pm on the 26th. A warrant for the arrest of Coronal Souper had been issued. Confronted with knowledge of his impending arrest, Colonel Souper in consultation with the officers under his command, decided to act in a most improvised fashion. At 9 am, amidst morning rush hour traffic, Tank Division Number Two drove down Bernardo O’Higgins, Santiago’s main down-town avenue towards the Presidential Palace.

While the aborted June Coup had the appearance of an insolated and uncoordinated initiative, there was evidence of considerable support in various sectors of the Navy as well as from Air Force General Gustovo Leigh, now [September 1973] member of the military junta [on 11 September General Leigh integrated the military Junta headed by General Pinochet]. According to well-informed sources, several high ranking officers in the aero-naval base of Quintero near Valparaiso had proposed the bombing of State enterprises controlled by militant left wing groups, as well as the setting up of an air corridor to transport navy troops. The latter were slated to join up with the forces of Colonel Souper in Santiago.

The June trial coup was «useful» indicating to the seditious elements within the Chilean Armed Forces that an isolated and uncoordinated effort would fail. After June 29, the right-wing elements in the Navy and the Air Force were involved in a process of consolidation aimed at gaining political support among officers and sub-officers. The Army, however, was still under the control of Commander in Chief General Carols Prats, who had previously integrated Allende’s cabinet and who was a firm supporter of constitutional government.

Meanwhile in the political arena, the Christian Democrats were pressuring Allende to bring in members of the Military into the Cabinet as well as significantly revise the programme and platform of the Unidad Popular. Party leaders of the government coalition considered this alternative [proposed by the Christian democrats] as a « legalized military coup» (golpe legal) and advised Allende to turn it down. Carlos Altamirano, leader of the Socialist Party had demanded that an endorsement of the programme of the Popular Unity coalition by the military be a sina qua non condition for their entry into the Cabinet. Upon the impossibility of bringing in the Military into the Cabinet on acceptable terms, Allende envisaged the formation of a so-called “Cabinet of Consolidation” composed of well known personalities. Fernando Castillo, rector of the Catholic University and a member of the Christian Democratic Party, Felipe Herrera, President of the Inter-|American Development Bank and other prominent personalities were approached but declined.

“The Dialogue”

Pressured by economic deadlock and the transport strike, inflation of more than 15 percent per month and mounting political opposition, Allende sought in the course of July [1973] to resume the political dialogue with the Christian Democratic Party.  After the March [1973] parliamentary elections, Patricio Aylwin had replaced Renan Fuentealba [May 1973] as leader of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC). Fuentealba, who represented the progressive wing of the Christian Democratic (PDC), was known to be in favor of a rapprochement with Allende. In other words, this rightward shift and hardening of the Christian Democrats in relation to the Unidad Popular, contributed to reinforcing their tacit alliance with the ring wing National Party. This alliance was initially intended as an electoral pact in the March [1973] parliamentary elections in which the Unidad Popular obtained 43 percent of the popular vote.

The Dialogue between Allende and Alwyin was a failure. Aylwin stated :

“I have no trust in the democratic loyalty of the Marxist parties because they do not believe in Democracy. They have an inherent totalitarian conception. We are convinced that the democratic path will not solve the underlying economic problems…”

The Communist Party Senator and prominent intellectual Volodia Teitelbaum response was:

“The Christian Democrats are not that innocent. Basically they are in favor of a coup d’Etat because it constitutes a means to conveniently obtaining political power. The Christian Democrats have moved to the Right. They are not interested a Dialogue which implies a consolidation of revolutionary changes”

While the Right was becoming more cohesive, a political split of the Left was imminent. The Communist Part sided with Allende’s constitutional strategy while a section of the Socialist Party (Allende’s own Party) led by Carlos Altamirano and the MAPU (Movimiento de Accion Popular Unitaria -initially a group of Christian Democrats which joined the Unidad Popular in 1969) led by Oscar Garreton, signified their distrust in “bourgeois legality” and the constitutional process and moved increasingly closer to the leftist revolutionary front Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR). MIR maintained ideological and strategic relations with Cuban revolutionary groups as well as with the Bolivian and Uruguayan Tupamaros. While endorsing many features the programme of the Unidad Popular, the MIR rejected Allende’s “Chilean Road to Socialism” :

“We must create popular power (poder popular) based on the industrial belts (cordones industriales)” .

The cordones industriales were organized and politicized labor groups. Together with MAPU, MIR was in the process of developing the Grupos de Accion Urbana (Urban Action Groups), with the task of educating and preparing the masses for armed resistance in the case of a military coup.

Purges in the Armed Forces

In August [1973], the Armed forces initiated a series of violent search and arrests directed against the MIR and state enterprises integrated by the industrial belts (cordones industriales). These searches were conducted in accordance with the Fire Arms control Act, adopted by [the Chilean] Congress after the October [1992 employers] strike and which empowered the Armed Forces [bypassing the civilian police authorities] to implement (by Military Law) the control of fire arms. [The objective of this measure was to confiscate automatic weapons in the members of the industrial belts and curb armed resistance by civilians to a military coup].

Meanwhile, right-wing elements in the Navy and Air Force were involved in actively eliminating Allende supporters by a well organized operation of anti-government propaganda, purges and torture. On August 7 [1973], the Navy announced that a “subversive left wing group” integrated by MIR had been found out. Meanwhile, according to reliable sources, a seditious plan of the Right with the intent to bring down Allende’s government, using the Navy to control the entry of supplies into the country, had been discovered. Sailors and officers [within the Navy], who knew about these plans, were tortured and beaten.

The Role of the Political Right

[In August 1973], high ranking military officers and members of Patria y Libertad, met with Senator Bulnes Sanfuentes of the National Party. Admiral Merino now [September 1973] a member of the Junta participated in meetings with members of National Party, senators of the Christian Democratic Party and staff of the US embassy. In fact towards mid-August [1973], In FACT, towards mid-August, a motion declaring US ambassador Nathaniel Davis as persona non grata was drafted by a parliamentary committee of the Unidad Popular. Furthermore, the Armed Forces were colluding with the Ultra-Right by setting up a so-called Base operacional de Fuerzas especiales (BOFE) (Operational Base of Special Forces). BOFE units were integrated by member of the nationalist front Patria y Libertad.

BOFE units were paramilitary divisions receiving material and financial support from the Armed forces. They were intended to undertake subversive and terrorist activities, which the Armed Forces could not openly undertake. BOFE was responsible for the many bomb attacks on pipelines, bridges and electric installations in the months preceding the military coup of September 11 [1973].

General Prats’ Resignation from the Armed Forces

On August 9, Allende reorganized his cabinet and brought in the three joint chiefs of staff, Carlos Prats (Army), Cesar Ruis Danyau (Air force) and Raul Montero (Navy) into a so-called “National Security Cabinet”. Allende was only intent upon resolving the Transport Strike, which was paralyzing the country’s economy, he was anxious to gain whatever support was left within the Armed Forces.

The situation was not ripe for a military coup as long as General Carol Prats was member of the cabinet, commander in Chief of the Army and Chairman of the Council of Generals. Towards mid-August, the armed forces pressured Allende and demanded Prats’ resignation and retirement ” due to basic disagreements between Prats and the Council of Generals”. Allende made a final attempt to retain |Prats and invited General Prats, Pinochet (now [September 1973] head of the Military Junta), Bonilla now Minister of the Interior), and others for dinner at his private residence. Prats resigned officially on August 23, both from the Cabinet and from the Armed Forces: “I did not want to be a factor which would threaten institutional discipline.. or serve as a pretext to those who want to overthrow the constitutional government”

The Generals’ Secret Meeting

With General Carlos Prats out of the way, the road was clear for a consolidated action by the Army, Navy and Air Force. Prats successor General Augusto Pinochet convened the Council of 24 generals in a secret meeting on August 28. The purpose and discussion of this meeting were not made public. In all likelihood, it was instrumental in the planning of the September 11 military coup. The reshuffle of Allende’s National Security Cabinet took place on the same day (28 August). It resulted after drawn out discussions with party leaders of the Unidad Popular coalition, and in particular with Socialist Party leader Carlos Altamirano.

The following day, August 29, Altamirano in a major policy speech made the following statement:

“We hope that our Armed Forces have not abandoned their historical tradition, the Schneider Doctrine … and that they could follow a course leading to the installation of a reactionary Brazilian style [military] dictatorship … We are convinced that our armed forces are not prepared to be instrumental in the restoration of the privileges of the financial and industrial elites and landed aristocracy. We are convinced that if the Right wing golpe (coup) were to succeed, Chile would become a new Vietnam.”

On the weekend preceding the military coup, leaders of the National Party and Christian Democratic Party made major political statements, declaring Allende’s government illegal and unconstitutional. Sergio Onofre Jarpa of the National Party declared:

“After the Marxist downfall, the rebirth of Chile! … We will continue our struggle until we see out of office those who failed to fulfill their obligations. From this struggle, a new solidarity and a new institutional framework (institucionalidad) will emerge.”

A few days later, the Presidential Palace was bombed and Allende was assassinated. The rebirth of Chile, and a new institutional framework had emerged.

Michel Chossudovsky

Santiago de Chile, September 1973 [written in the days following the coup]

Selected References on the Role of Henry Kissinger in the 1973 military coup


Christopher Hitchens, The Case against Henry Kissinger, Harpers Magazine, February 2001,

Henry Kissinger, US Involved in 1970 Chilean Plot, AP, 9 Sept 2001,

Kissinger May Face Extradition to Chile, Guardian,  June 12, 2002,

Marcus Gee, Is Henry Kissinger a War Criminal? Globe and Mail, 11 June 2002,

Jonathan Franklin, Kissinger may face extradition to Chile, Guardian, 12 June 2002,,11993,735920,00.html

Kissinger’s Back…As 9/11 Truth-Seeker, The Nation, 2003,

Chile and the United States: Declassified Documents Relating to the Military Coup, September 11, 1973,

30th anniversary of Chile coup; Calls for justice, scrutiny of United States role, Santiago. 11 Sep 2003,

USA Regrets Role in Chile’s September 11 Tragedy: US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, admitted Washington’s participation in Chile coup of 1973, Pravda, 17 March 2003,     [this statement was made barely a week after the military occupation of Iraq by US and British troops.]

Larry Rohter, NYT, 13 Feb 2000,


ICAI, Kissinger Watch,,45370.html

The Kissinger Page, Third World Traveler,

Wanted for War Crimes,


War Crimes Bio of Augusto Pinochet

Chile Information Project — “Santiago Times”

Salvador Allende and Patricio Aylwin

Carta de Salvador Allende al presidente del Partido Demócrata Cristiano, señor Patricio Aylwin, publicada el día 23 de agosto de 1973
en el diario La Nación de Santiago.

Andrés Zaldívar, presidente del Senado: “Allende no divide a la Concertación”, Mercurio, 13 August 2003

Salvador Allende Archive

Michel Chossudovsky’s Writings on the Chilean Military Junta’s Economic Reforms

Capital Accumulation in Chile and Latin America”, Yale University Lecture Series on Post-Allende Chile, North South, Canadian Journal of Latin American Studies, vol. IV, vol. XIII, no. 23, 1978, also published in Economic and Political Weekly.

“Acumulación de Capital en Chile”, Comercio Exterior, vol. 28, no. 2, 1978 (Spanish version of above article)

“Chicago Economics, Chilean Style”, Monthly Review, vol. 26, no. 11, 1975, in Spanish in a book published in Lima, Peru,

“Hacia el Nuevo Modelo Economico Chileno, Inflación y Redistribución del Ingreso, 1973-1974″, Cuadernos de CISEPA, no. 19, Catholic University of Peru, 1974, Trimestre Economico, no. 166, 1975, 311-347.

“The Neo-Liberal Model and the Mechanisms of Economic Repression: The Chilean Case”, Co-existence, vol. 12, no. 1, 1975, 34-57.

La Medición del Ingreso Minimo de Subsistencia y la Politica de Ingresos para 1974, documento de trabajo no. 19, Institute of Economics, Catholic University of Chile, Santiago, 1973, p. 37. (Initial  text on the economic reforms of the Chilean Military Junta published in December 1973)

Funny things on the way to the War ON Syria have been happening ever since the war IN Syria began two and a half years ago, and they just keep piling on.

A recent one was US President Barack Obama’s announcement that he will hit Syria unilaterally, without a UN mandate and without waiting for the conclusions of UN inspectors on the issue of poison gas – but with a yes vote from Congress.

Then, as the debate opened in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he made it known that he would strike Syria “even if  Congress votes No” to his war!

Yet at the same time, veteran Middle East reporter Dale Gaviak was posting, on Minnesota-based Mint Press, the results of his own investigations with Syrian rebels and their families in the chemical-weapons-hit Damascus suburb of Ghouta.

His findings: Saudi-paid rebels and their parents told him they received “tubes and bottles” from the Saudis “without knowing they contained poison gas”, and “an accident happened” as a result of “mishandling”, killing scores of civilians and fighters.

This is not the first time Syrian “rebels” have pleaded “accidents” in the face of evidence that they killed civilians.

The shock of the double Russia-China veto

And while US legislators were self-absorbedly busy with their tiresome moral grand-standing as Global-Cops, oblivious to US serial mass violations of Human rights for more than 60 years around the world, the UN’s Ban Ki-moon reminded them that “No attack on Syria can be carried out without a UN mandate”.

Funny things on the way to the War ON Syria started as early as October 2011 when Russia and China stunned the NATO/OECD Triad in the UN Security Council (US, UK and France) by opposing a double veto to a resolution aimed at opening the door to a Libya-2 in Syria.

The Libyan “rebels” had just triumphed over the Kadhafi régime and were installing their own brand of murderous chaos in Tripoli, after lynching and murdering the confused and confusing founder of the Jamahiriya himself, on camera.

NATO/OECD military intervention on the side of the “rebels” had made the difference in Libya. With Russia and China abstaining, the Triad had managed to pass resolutions in the Security Council imposing sanctions on the Kadhafi régime, a “No Fly Zone” over Libya (rendering the Libyan Air Force useless), and omnibus provisions for “further necessary measures”.

Triumphant NATO hits a solid wall

Africom, the US/NATO command for Africa, was deployed on African soil for the first time since its creation by George W. Bush in 2007. Long-time CIA collaborators from Libya, military and civilian, some of them Al Qaeda jihadists, began operating on the ground, alongside “special forces” from NATO countries.

Syria’s own “Arab Spring” quickly morphed into a civil war involving Western- and Oil-kingdoms-armed and paid jihadi mercenaries from dozens of countries. Arms from Libya were transferred to Syria by CIA operatives.

So when Syria came up for a Libya-type scenario in the UN Security Council, Russia and China put their veto, saying they did not want a Libya-2 in Syria, and calling for a negotiated, political settlement. This was the first time since the end of the Cold War that the triumphant global march of the apparent NATO/OECD victors hit a wall, and a solid one.

The Triad had manoeuvred for 22 years within the UN, and often around it, to push its one-sided global military agenda – expansion of NATO, even into Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia after 9/11, two Iraq Wars, the “Silent Genocide” in the killing fields of the African Great Lakes region (Burundi-Rwanda-Congo), the dismemberment of Yugoslavia…

 Cameron’s defeat and Obama’s appeal to Congress

Russia and China vetoed two further attempts by the NATO Triad in the Security Council, in February and July 2012, arguing the draft texts blamed the Assad régime and made no mention of the so-called “rebels” the authors of the resolutions were themselves funding, arming and assisting on the ground. Other attempts this year, after allegations of chemical weapons use, got no further than the consultation stage, for the same reasons. At some point Russia and China even refused to participate. 

Things got so bad recently that, according to a Press TV report, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Chang Wanquan, and he was told the minister was not available. The minister’s aide who answered the phone went on to reiterate that China would ”never” allow adoption of any war resolution against Syria in the UN Security Council and that China stuck by its call for a negotiated political settlement.      

Then came the amazing debate in the British House of Commons, where Prime minister David Cameron was revving up to attack Syria. Cameron lost the Syria War vote, with MPS from all parties, including his own, uniting against him. That huge setback alerted Barack Obama to the risks of staking his Presidency, and his Nobel Peace Prize, on a W Bush, “Chief Executive” type of military assault on Syria. His inside polls had been telling him what we now know: that more than 60% of Americans don’t want another war.

 The BRICS, NAM and SCO convergence on multi-polarity

The debate in Congress hardly matched the level of diplomacy and the oratorical skills of the British MPs, but it highlighted a major strategic shift of the US away from the UN, and towards a full-spectrum, Congress-approved, Lone-ranger militarized global diplomacy.

John Kerry repeated at will the Russian and Chinese vetoes had rendered the UN Security Council unworkable – and nobody mentioned all the US vetoes that keep sheltering Israeli war and occupation crimes against the Palestinians, including the use of chemical weapons as recently as 2009 on civilians in Gaza.

The pivotal Russia-China vetoes on Syria in October 2011 were no flukes. As partners within the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization, founded in June 2001, three months before 9/11), both countries, with four Central Asian partners, have been calling for a multi-polar world system to replace the uni-polar, US/NATO dominated one resulting from the end of the Cold War in 1989.

The emergent BRICS countries, with India, Brazil and South Africa demanding permanent membership and veto power in the UN Security Council, have converged with the multi-polar agenda of the SCO. So has the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), energized at its August 2012 Summit in Tehran, with members like Nigeria, Indonesia, Egypt, Mexico, Pakistan, also claiming membership of the UN Security Council – as do Germany, Japan and Italy, losers of WWII on the ashes of which the victors built the UN.

 Syria, the SCO “Red line”, and the NATO response

Demands for reform of the UN have been on the table since the early 1990s, but the Triad has dragged its feet for two decades, looking instead to the WTO, to NATO, to an expanded G20 (from G8) to globalize its reach, and fiddling with the IFIs (International Financial Institutions like the World Bank and the IMF) to upgrade the voting power of countries like India and China, in a bid to co-opt them.

For Russia and China, for the SCO, as well as for the BRICS and NAM countries, Syria became a “Red line” to put a stop to US/NATO/OECD global military unilateralism aimed at opening NATO to countries as far-flung as South Korea, Australia and Colombia! And Syria became the “Test case” for returning global governance to the rule of international law and the UN Charter.

Judging from the Congress debates, the US and NATO have been framing their response to this major challenge. That response is now clear: the US, the UK and France will act on their own, and outside the UN if necessary, to further their interests and prolong their hegemony – while couching such unilateralism as selective “humanitarian imperative” to “protect civilians”.

France was the former colonial master of Syria, and (socialist) President François Hollande does not plan to ask the National Assembly for a vote. He is ready to attack – just waiting for the US Congress vote! The National Assembly had its own debate nonetheless, with oratory matching that of the British Parliament. It now seems if Obama wins in Congress (which is not certain, in  the Republican-dominated House of Representatives especially), Cameron may bring the issue for a second vote in the House of Commons!

 The first cracks within NATO since 1989

So much for the Triad. As for the rest of NATO, it does not seem as united as before. In fact, the funniest thing on the way to the War ON Syria has been the first major cracks within NATO ranks since it proclaimed victory with the collapse of the Soviet Empire and went on to dismember Yugoslavia, occupy Afghanistan and deploy on African soil.

Anders Fogh Rasmusen, the harmless-looking but steely hawk of the NATO establishment, faced the media in Brussels last week to say NATO would not take part in the US attack on Syria. The European members are very divided on the issue, he said. In fact Europeans too do not want another war either, as they extricate themselves from 12 years of war,war with NATO in Afghanistan.

No doubt the mega-flap about the US National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance and electronic spying on European “allies” and on individual European leaders has severely damaged the Trans-Atlantic Partnership, and European resentment towards the US is still intense and raw.

This affair has also soured US-Russia relations, and it was surely a calculated move for Vladimir Putin to offer asylum to young Edward Snowden, the technical employee who leaked the voluminous NSA spying files to Wikileaks and to the media. US retaliation was swift as Obama called off his planned meeting with Putin at the G20 Summit last week in St Petersburg, and loud US demands for him to boycott the G20 altogether and to call for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sotchi, five months from now.

The Snowden Effect and the “New Cold War”

For some time now, a new Cold War of sorts has been settling on US-Russia relations. The coming Syria showdown will surely heat things up – with unpredictable consequences. Outnumbered in St. Petersburg, the White House managed to extract from 11 of the G20 members a statement of “strong aupport” for a “firm reply” to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syria.

Yet, back from St Petersburg, German chancellor Angela Merkel criticized her European colleagues for signing on to that text – with US allies like Saudi Arabia and South Korea, both members of the G20, while Venezuela is not! In France, opposition leaders were saying the US should have shown to the British House of Commons and to Congress the “solid” evidence it says it has on the use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces.

But then, funniest of all twists, White House Chief of staff Denis McDonough, doing the Sunday rounds of US television networks, dropped a bombshell:

 Evidence “not irrefutable”, the White House says!

The administration, he said, does not have “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence” that the Syrian régime used poison gas on its people. “This is not a court of law, he said. Intelligence does not work that way.”  

But, he added, the proof the US has “stands the common-sense test” – sufficient, in his view, to pass and execute the death and destruction sentences on countless Syrian civilians!

And this is where the fun stops: both the US and Russia have deployed huge fleets in the Eastern Mediterranean, with Putin saying Russia plans to react to the bombing of Syria. Obama’s men repeat the strikes will be electronic and remote-controlled, targeted, limited, with no boots on the ground in Syria. But any strike will precipitate the whole world on a dangerously slippery slope – and no one knows where that will lead.

Although, in light of the setbacks, inconsistencies and vacillations in the warmongers’ camp, some useful idiots have begun spinning the ultimate “funny thing” : they are now saying that Obama’s strategy from the beginning may have been not to attack Syria at all, the (common sense?) “proof” being that he is doing everything to undermine support for his War on Syria policy! 

Topping that, State Secretary John Kerry seemed to say Syria could avoid being attacked if it turned over its chemical weapons to “the international community”! He did not say he would ask Israel too to hand over its WMDs, including its nuclear arsenal, to open the way for a peaceful Middle East!

Jooneed Khan is a Montreal-based journalist, writer and human rights activist. He wrote on international affairs for the French-language daily La Presse for 35 years. ([email protected])

Syria: Another War Based on Lies. SAY NO TO OBAMA’S WAR!

September 9th, 2013 by Global Research

As the US Congress debates on a potential American military intervention in Syria, Global Research brings you a selection of articles on the latest developments pertaining to the war on Syria and the blatant lies fueling the debate on a so-called “humanitarian intervention”.

Will the world be dragged into another war based on lies and for which innocent people will pay with their lives?

We hope that by sharing these important articles, we will contribute to undermining the process of media disinformation, which supports this criminal undertaking.

Without war propaganda which consists manipulating public opinion, Obama’s military agenda would fall flat.  He would not have a leg to stand on.  The mainstream media bears a heavy burden of responsibility in concealing the forbidden truth and endorsing another US sponsored war. 

Our objective is to reverse the tide of war and avoid another profit driven bloodshed.

You will find a short excerpt for each article we have selected and if you wish to know more about this issue, we invite you to browse our in-depth dossier on Syria which consists of a collection of more than 1000 articles reports:


Please share these articles in your favorite social media.  Let’s fight the mainstream media lies by sharing the truth!

Global Research Editors, September 9, 2013 (edited September 11, 2013)


Prof Michel Chossudovsky, What Happened to the “Global War on Terrorism”? The U.S. is “Fighting for Al Qaeda” in Syria.

Americans have been repeatedly told that Al Qaeda under the helm of the late Osama bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

Formulated in the wake of the tragic events of september 11, 2001, the U.S. and its allies launched a “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) directed against the numerous “jihadist” Al Qaeda affiliated terror formations in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and South East Asia. The first stage of the “Global War on Terrorism” was the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan.

But somehow, in the last few months, this  “Al Qaeda paradigm” has shifted. The American public has become increasingly skeptical regarding the validity of the “Global War on Terrorism”

In recent months, with the unfolding events in Syria, something rather unusual has occurred, which has had a profound impact on the public’s perception and understanding of Obama’s “Global War on Terrorism”.

The US government is actively and openly supporting Syria’s Al Nusrah, the main fighting force affiliated to al Qaeda, largely composed of foreign mercenaries.

Tax dollars are relentlessly channeled to the “rebels”. In turn, Secretary of State John Kerry meets with rebel commanders who oversee the Al Qaeda affiliated entity.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Saudi Arabia’s “Chemical Bandar” behind the Chemical Attacks in Syria?

According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, two brigades of anti-government fighters that were trained by the CIA, Israelis, Saudis, and Jordanians crossed from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan into Syria to launch an assault, respectively on August 17 and 19, 2013. The US must have invested quite a lot in training both anti-government brigades. If true, some may argue that their defeat prompted the chemical weapons attack in Damascus as a contingency plan to fall back on.

However, how they came by chemical weapons is another issue, but many trails lead to Saudi Arabia. According to the British Independent, it was Saudi Prince Bandar “that first alerted Western allies to the alleged use of sarin gas by the Syrian regime in February 2013.”  Turkey would apprehend Syrian militants in its territory with sarin gas, which these terrorists planned on using inside Syria. On July 22 the insurgents would also overrun Al-Assal and kill all the witnesses as part of a cover-up.

report by Yahya Ababneh, which was contributed to by Dale Gavlak, has collected the testimonies of witnesses who say that  “certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the gas attack.”

Mother Agnes Mariam, Mother Agnes Mariam: “Footage of Chemical Attack in Syria is Fraud”

There is proof the footage of the alleged chemical attack in Syria was fabricated, Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib, mother superior of St. James Monastery in Qara, Syria, told RT. She says she is about to submit her findings to the UN.

‘I have carefully studied the footage, and I will present a written analysis on it a bit later. I maintain that the whole affair was a frame-up. It had been staged and prepared in advance with the goal of framing the Syrian government as the perpetrator.”

VIDEO : Obama’s September 10 Address: “Slippery Slope President”. “Potential Strike on Syria” On Hold Pending “A Diplomatic Effort”

President Barack Obama in an address to the Nation on Tuesday September 10 urged Americans to support a “potential strike on Syria” while stating that “a diplomatic effort to get Syrian President Bashar al-Assad” to turn over control of the country’s chemical weapons” is underway.

Meanwhile, a resolution in the US Congress is on hold.

Obama said that “the US must be prepared to strike Syria to deter “other tyrants” from using weapons of mass destruction”.

Who are these other tyrants?  The greatest stockpiles of WMD are in possession of the USA.

The Address is replete with lies and fabrications.

VIDEO : Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, The US “Military Industrial Media Complex” Controls President Obama

“Obama is far worse than George W. Bush”

According to Soraya Sepahpour Ulrich, the US corporate media is intimately tied into the interests of the US military industrial complex. “They are working together”

Washington is catering to the lobby groups and ignoring the people.

Obama is a proxy.

Hans Blix: US Government Disrespects United Nations

I think there’s a certain amount of disrespect for the United Nations and for mechanisms that are set up by consensus in the Security Council. That is to regret. Though, I think that the whole world will be interested in hearing all the inspectors in Syria have found out. I think it will also be interesting for the world to hear the evidence of the United States. It may be quite interesting, but of course it is one of the factors and we have more confidence in impartial international evidence.

Adeyinka Makinde, The Destruction of Syria. Will Military Action put America and Russia on the Dangerous Path of a Possible Confrontation?

The civil war which has raged in Syria for a period exceeding a two year mark has now entered what will be its decisive phase. This will determine whether the government headed by Bashar al Assad will prevail or be dislodged.

It will also determine whether any military action undertaken by the United States will meet a response of critical counter measures by Russia; the nature of which could put both nations on to the dangerous path of a possible confrontation.

It will finally determine whether the conflict will lead to a full blown regional war; the denouement of which will reveal the viability of the continued existence of Syria as a nation state.

The key to understanding this particular conflict and its significance is to keep in mind what ultimately lies at its root: the confrontation between the United States and its old adversary, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Prof Michel Chossudovsky, US War on Syria Prelude to a World War III Scenario?

The Obama administration has claimed the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind a recent deadly chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus, even though there is no evidence linking the attack to the government forces. The White House is gearing up for military strikes on Syrian targets.

Citing an August 2012 Los Angeles Times report, Chossudovsky says preparations for “a false flag chemical weapons attack” in Syria began more than a year ago when the Pentagon dispatched “small teams of special operations troops” to the Arab country to destroy its alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

“These initial US sponsored WMD special team operations had established the likely scenario of a staged false flag chemical weapons attack.”

US, NATO and Israeli military planners have laid the groundwork for a “humanitarian” military involvement in Syria for years, Chossudovsky says.

Peter Dyer, US Journalists and War Crime Guilt

Julius Streicher, a German publisher and Nazi propagandist who was hanged at Nuremberg after being judged complicit in crimes against humanity. All who were sentenced to death were major German government officials or military leaders. Except for Streicher. Julius Streicher was a journalist.

Editor of the vehemently anti-Semitic newspaper Der Stürmer, Streicher was convicted of, in the words of the judgment, “incitement to murder and extermination at the time when Jews in the East were being killed under the most horrible conditions clearly constitut(ing) … a crime against humanity.”

The critical role of propaganda was affirmed at Nuremberg not only by the prosecution and in the judgment but also in the testimony of the most prominent Nazi defendant, Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering: “Modern and total war develops, as I see it, along three lines: the war of weapons on land, at sea and in the air; economic war, which has become an integral part of every modern war; and, third, propaganda war, which is also an essential part of this warfare.”

Tony Cartalucci, White House Chief of Staff: There is no Evidence Syrian Government Carried Out Chemical Attacks

US White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough made the unbelievable admission this week that Western interests have concluded Syria carried out an alleged chemical attack in eastern Damascus based on “common sense” rather than “irrefutable evidence.” Slate’s “White House: “Common-Sense Test” And Not “Irrefutable” Evidence Hold Assad Responsible,” states [emphasis added]: 

White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough went on the Sunday talk shows to drum up support for what he called a “targeted, limited effort” that will change “the momentum on the battle field” in Syria. Yet he also acknowledged on CNN that the evidence that ties Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the Aug. 21 attack outside Damascus that allegedly killed 1,429 people has more to do with a “common-sense test” rather than “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence.”

And while McDonogh, and his collaborators both in Washington and abroad, claim their planned assault on Syria is not a repeat of Iraq in terms of scale, it is clear that in terms of deception it is.

Washington’s Blog, Washington Now Admits No Imminent Threat from Syria, No Clear Evidence Assad Ordered Chemical Weapons Attack

Obama is going on a whirlwind media blitz this week in an attempt to sell a very skeptical public on war with Syria.

Yet the Washington Post notes:

Obama’s top aide says the administration lacks “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence” that skeptical Americans, including lawmakers who will start voting on military action this week, are seeking.

Indeed, those who have seen the evidence say that it is incredibly weak.  German intelligence also says that Assad didn’t order the attacks.

Prof. James Petras, Obama with Israel and Against the World

A growing number of polls and studies show that a substantial well-entrenched majority of Americans are opposed to the current war in Afghanistan , even as the President and Congress continue to finance and dispatch US troops and engage in aerial assaults in Pakistan , Yemen and elsewhere.

Across the world huge majorities oppose Obama’s war:  Two thirds of the French and German public oppose the US bombing Syria ,  not to mention of the hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics responding to Pope Francis’s passionate anti-war message delivered on September 7 to over 100,000 worshipers in St. Peter’s Square.  It is only in Israel a majority of Jewish Israelis support Obama’s push to war.

If, as some scholars argue, militarism and ‘national security’ (and the police state) have become the secular religion of the State, it is clear that the majority of civil society are ‘non-believers’.  The ‘true believers’ of militarism as the road to empire building are firmly ensconced in Washington’s political establishment, especially among the powerful lobbies and propaganda mills known as ‘think tanks’.  Militarist beliefs are widely embraced by strategically-placed officials with deep and long-standing ties to the Israeli power structure.

Stephen Lendman, AIPAC Lobbies for War on Syria

Syria is prelude to attacking Iran. It’s Israel’s prime target. Washington wants subservient pro-Western governance replacing its sovereign independence.

On September 3, AIPAC headlined ”Press Statement on Syrian Resolution,” saying:

“AIPAC urges Congress to grant the President the authority he has requested to protect America’s national security interests and dissuade the Syrian regime’s further use of unconventional weapons.”

Obama wants war. One way or another he intends to launch it. False flags are pretexts to do so. They’re a longstanding US tradition.

Falsely blaming Syria for the August 21 suburban Damascus toxic chemical attack is the latest example. Doing so was a Big Lie. It was an anti-Assad provocation. It was a classic false flag.

Notable earlier ones go back to the 19th century. A previous article discussed them. They’re relevant now. They bear repeating.

In 1845, America lawlessly annexed Texas. It was Mexican territory. President James Polk deployed US troops.

Called Operation Mongoose, a document titled “Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba” explained.

Plans included assassinating Cuban Americans, manufacturing fake “Communist Cuban terror” in US cities, shooting down one or more US commercial airliners, blowing up a US ship in Cuban waters, attacking Guantanamo, and blaming Castro as reason for war.

Full-scale war against North Vietnam followed the fake August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident. Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Doing so authorized war without declaring it.

In October 1983, US forces invaded Grenada. Allegedly it was to rescue American medical students.

Operation Urgent Fury’s mission reflected US imperialism, Cold War politics, and replacing the leftist New Jewel Movement government with a pro-Western one.

In December 1989, manufactured incidents precipitated America’s Panama invasion. Former US ally Manuel Noriega was deposed. At issue was forgetting who’s boss.

Operation Just Cause killed thousands. Crimes of war and against humanity included mass murder, indiscriminate destruction, extrajudicial assassinations, illegal weapons use, and arbitrary detentions.

Pro-US stooge Guillermo Endara replaced Noriega.

Washington’s Blog, High-Level U.S. Intelligence Officers: Syrian Government Didn’t Launch Chemical Weapons

Numerous Intelligence Officials Question Administration’s Claims

Without doubt, intelligence is being manipulated to justify war against Syria. Here, here, here, here and here.

 Without doubt, the Syrian rebels had access to chemical weapons … and have apparently used them in the recent past.

Associated Press reported last week:

An intercept of Syrian military officials discussing the strike was among low-level staff, with no direct evidence tying the attack back to an Assad insider or even a senior Syrian commander, the officials said.

So while Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that links between the attack and the Assad government are “undeniable,” U.S. intelligence officials are not so certain that the suspected chemical attack was carried out on Assad’s orders,or even completely sure it was carried out by government forces, the officials said.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), U.S. Military and Intelligence Officials to Obama: “Assad NOT Responsible for Chemical Attack”

Despite the Obama administration’s supposedly “high confidence” regarding Syrian government guilt over the Aug. 21 chemical attack near Damascus, a dozen former U.S. military and intelligence officials are telling President Obama that they are picking up information that undercuts the Official Story.


FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Is Syria a Trap?

Precedence: IMMEDIATE

We regret to inform you that some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this. In writing this brief report, we choose to assume that you have not been fully informed because your advisers decided to afford you the opportunity for what is commonly known as “plausible denial.”

Prof Michel Chossudovsky, US and Allied Warships off the Syrian Coastline: Naval Deployment Was Decided “Before” the August 21 Chemical Weapons Attack

With independent news reports providing firm evidence that the US sponsored Al Qaeda rebels (recruited and trained by Allied Special Forces) have chemical weapons in their possession, this delay does not favor the president’s political credibility.

Moreover, there is evidence that the US sponsored rebels used chemical weapons against civilians. (see image right)

In providing those chemical weapons to al Qaeda “rebels”, the US-NATO-Israel alliance is in violation of international law, not to mention their own anti-terrorist legislation.

Overtly supporting Al Qaeda has become the “New Normal”.

When the various pieces of evidence are put together, the picture which emerges is that of a covert “flag flag operation” carried out by the US sponsored “rebels” and special forces, intent upon blaming president Bashar Al Assad for killing his own people. As mentioned above, the naval deployment was decided upon ex ante, before the 21 August chemical Weapons attack.

Julie Lévesque, Senator John McCain, Foreign Relations “Adviser” to Al Qaeda Death Squads in Syria

In requesting weapons for the Libyan and Syrian rebels which clearly have ties to terrorist organisations, Senator John McCain is supporting terrorism.

The United States Code is unequivocal: “providing material support to terrorists” is a crime:

18 USC § 2339A – Providing material support to terrorists

(a) Offense.— Whoever provides material support or resources or conceals or disguises the nature, location, source, or ownership of material support or resources, knowing or intending that they are to be used in preparation for, or in carrying out, a violation of[numerous sections of this and other titles], or in preparation for, or in carrying out, the concealment of an escape from the commission of any such violation, or attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life […]

 (3) the term “expert advice or assistance” means advice or assistance derived from scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge. 18 USC § 2339A – Providing material support to terrorists

Senator McCain met with terrorists in Libya and Syria, has called for his country to provide weapons to terrorist groups in Libya and Syria and should therefore be prosecuted for the assistance he provided them with. There is ample evidence that the armed groups supported by John McCain have committed horrible terrorist acts, which resulted in deaths.

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After a stunning geopolitical move by Russia and Syria involving the surrendering of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, the special interests seeking war have been forced to adjust their rhetoric and timetable around what is now a quickly dissolving casus belli.

The surrendering of Syria’s chemical weapons would not only critically set back rhetorical arguments being made to justify war with the nation, but would also preempt future false flag operations in the works. Perhaps fearing war was not possible, just such a false flag appears to have been exposed by Russia’s English language news service, RT.

RT claims sources have discovered a plot by terrorists to carry out a chemical weapons attack on Israel from government controlled areas within Syria for the sole purpose of framing the Syrian government and provoking an Israeli retaliation.

One can only imagine the torrent of propaganda that would burst forth from the Western media invoking “gassed Jews” and the 21st Century “Hitler” Bashar al-Assad – right around the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

While Israel is portrayed as wanting to “co-exist” with the current Syrian government, it should be remembered that such public statements are meant to undermine and taint Syria’s credibility amongst the very extremist elements Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia have armed, funded, and covertly directed for decades.

Israel is a documented collaborator with the United States in the subversion of Lebanon, Syria, and Iran, as indicated in the extensive body of work represented by the Brookings Institution’s 2009 “Which Path to Persia?” report, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s 2007 New Yorker piece, “The Redirection.”

The United States has no legal or moral authority to bomb or attack Syria and they are chemical war criminals themselves, on a much grander scale than an other country in history.

The US media has no problem with the fact that their leaders obtained positions of power by guaranteeing they would follow the rule of law but have become worse war criminals than their predecessors. In an interview with the Voice of Russia renown author Dr. Edward Herman discussed these matters and more.

Hello! This is John Robles, I’m speaking with Dr. Edward Herman. He is Professor Emeritus at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the author of several books, namely “Manufacturing Consent”, which he wrote with Noam Chomsky, and the “Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics”.

Robles: Hello Sir! It is a pleasure to be speaking with you again.

Herman: Good to be with you, John.

Robles: Regarding this situation  in Syria, does the US in your opinion have the legal authority to launch military action or bomb Syria?

Herman: That’s one of the clearest things we can say “no” to. They certainly do not. The UN was organized to prevent war, aggression, cross-border attacks by individuals – it is very clear. And in fact, the Nuremberg Tribunal, you should actually read this: “war is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression therefore is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”. That’s from the Nuremberg Tribunal.

So, the whole UN system was built in order to prevent war, to make it illegal to cross borders without the vote of the Security Council. And the only basis for crossing a border otherwise is immediate self-defense. And there is no way that Syria is threatening the United States, and that it doesn’t even pretend that it has anything to do with self-defense of the United States.

So, the answer is absolutely no, the legal status is non-existent. And if you read Secretary John Kerry’s and Obama’s statements, only the media picked up the fact, in past years they have both said that they will abide by International Law. International Law controls this great country’s behavior. But now that they are in power and want to go to war, they say that they are not constrained by this, they can just go across borders and bomb.

It is just amazing! And it is amazing how the mainstream media of the United States don’t pick this subject up. It’s since the United States is regularly crossing borders and attacking other countries in violation of the UN Charter, the media played down, they play as if this is not an issue. It is only when somebody else, one of our targets crosses a border that we get excited.

Robles: I see. Following that line of thought, I read recently…now this goes back to 2002, and I was wondering if you could comment on it. I read a piece of legislation in the US Government, some people called it the Hague Invasion Act. Are you familiar with that?

Herman: Uh-huh.

Robles: It protects all US personnel and allies from being subjected to International Law basically or being tried for war crimes. And it allows for, literally, a military action against the Hague which would require an invasion to physically remove, for example if they’ve arrested somebody. Can you comment on it?

Herman:It was a brazen piece of legislation. In fact I think that was the time they were discussing the International Criminal Court. And in the International Criminal Court it was theoretically going to be possible that the United States and its soldiers and leaders could be brought before the Court. And that got some of the members of the Congress and Senate very upset. So, they actually got through this incredible piece of legislation that if anybody tried to take one of our soldiers and try them, we would be prepared to invade that country. It was a lunatic piece of legislation and I doubt if it ever would be applied, but it shows the spirit of this country – we are above the Law.

Our leaders have impunity … in fact, Harry Truman made this famous statement that “the buck stops with him”. This is not true! Impunity starts with him. Here is a man who dropped two atomic bombs on two cities and wiped out quickly 200 000 civilians. I mean, this was one of the great war crimes in human history. But nobody has ever suggested that Harry should have been brought before a tribunal. And of course George Bush and these guys, they’re all immune. Bush in his autobiography openly acknowledges that he supported waterboarding, which is a well-known form of torture…

Robles: Yes, since the Korean war.

Herman:…which is internationally illegal, it is illegal in the US law. But Obama comes along having promised to enforce the law, but he won’t bring George Bush to trial. So, all these guys are immune from the law, they have impunity. This is the superpower right to have impunity. Only lesser peoples can be brought before a court.

Robles: Back to Syria, does the United States, do they have the moral authority and the support of the American people to launch any kind of an operation against Syria?

Herman: I don’t think they have the moral authority in the least. And in fact this whole business of pursuing of Syria, first, it is not even proven that the Syrian Government used chemical weapons. But even apart from that, the hypocrisy involved in this is amazing.

As the United States Government committed aggression against Iraq, it has used chemical weapons itself during the Vietnam War, the United States have used Agent Orange. In fact, its use of chemical weapons in the Vietnam War was the most extensive use of chemical weapons since World War I.

And we of course supported Iraq when it used chemical warfare against Iran. We even supplied Iraq with various kinds of arms, protected against being attacked in the United Nations, and were attacking our enemy – Iran. So, it was okay. And they were, actually, recently sold I think 600 some million dollars’ worth of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. And of course Israel famously used a huge number of cluster bombs in Lebanon in 2006, just before the truce. The cluster bomb is a vicious, essentially illegal weapon.

So, here is the United States doing all these horrible things, including chemical warfare, using white phosphorus in Fallujah, depleted uranium. It has dirty hands. The moral case falls because of this incredible hypocrisy. And the American people don’t go on the offensive – this other part of your question – does it have support at home, and the answer is – in spite of the huge propaganda effort that the Government and the media are carrying out, I think it still only 60% of the polled public is against attacking Syria. The public doesn’t want it. The moral case is badly compromised. So, it is really an outrage.

Robles: Thank you very much Dr. Herman. It was a pleasure speaking with you.

Herman: It was good to be on John.

Robles: Okay, thank you Sir, I appreciate it.

That was the end of part one of an interview with Dr. Edward Herman – a Professor Emeritus of Finance at the Wharton School, at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of “Manufacturing Consent”.

The Geopolitics of the Syrian War

September 9th, 2013 by Sharmine Narwani

New Poll Finds Most Americans Open to 9/11 Truth

September 9th, 2013 by Global Research News

One in Two Surveyed Have Doubts About Government’s Account of 9/11. 46% Suspect Controlled Demolition of World Trade Center Building 7 after Viewing Video Footage of Collapse.
On the 12thanniversary of 9/11, a new national survey by the polling firm YouGov reveals that one in two Americans have doubts about the government’s account of 9/11, and after viewing video footage of World Trade Center Building 7’s collapse, 46% suspect that it was caused by a controlled demolition. Building 7, a 47-story skyscraper, collapsed into its own footprint late in the afternoon on 9/11.
The poll was sponsored by ReThink911, a global public awareness campaign launched on September 1. The campaign includes a 54-foot billboard in Times Square and a variety of transit and outdoor advertising in 11 other cities, all posing the question, “Did you know a third tower fell on 9/11?

Among the poll’s findings:

  • 38% of Americans have some doubts about the official account of 9/11, 10% do not believe it at all, and 12% are unsure about it;
  • 46%, nearly one in two, are not aware that a third tower collapsed on 9/11. Of those who are aware of Building 7’s collapse, only 19% know the building’s name;
  • After seeing video footage of Building 7′s collapse:
    • 46% are sure or suspect it was caused by controlled demolition, compared to 28% who are sure or suspect fires caused it, and 27% who don’t know;
    • By a margin of nearly two to one, 41% support a new investigation of Building 7′s collapse, compared to 21% who oppose it.

30-Second Video Shown to 1,194 Survey Respondents:

“The poll shows quite clearly what we already knew. Most people who see Building 7’s collapse have trouble believing that fires brought it down,” said Richard Gage, a member of the American Institute of Architects and founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, the campaign’s major sponsor. “It simply doesn’t look like a natural building collapse, and that’s because all the columns have been removed at once to allow it to come down symmetrically in free-fall. The evidence of controlled demolition is overwhelming. As more and more people learn about Building 7, public demand for a new investigation grows. People want the truth.”

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), normal office fires caused the failure of a single column, starting a chain reaction that brought Building 7 down. More than 2,000 architects and engineers have signed the Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth petition that questions NIST’s explanation of the building’s collapse.

“Even the government’s own computer model disproves its theory. It looks nothing like the actual collapse,” said Tony Szamboti, a mechanical engineer from the Philadelphia area. “Not only that, they refuse to release the data that would allow us to verify their model. In the world of science, this is as bad as it gets. I’m glad most people can look at the collapse and see the obvious.”

The ReThink911 campaign calls for a new investigation into Building 7’s collapse, as well as the destruction of the Twin Towers. The YouGov poll and the ad campaign were financed with more than $225,000 in donations from thousands of supporters.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1194 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th – 29th August 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).

Press Release: New Poll Finds Most Americans Open to Alternative 9/11 Theories (PDF)
Download a Summary of the Poll Results (PDF)
Download the Full Poll Results (EXCEL)

Dangerous Crossroads: Will China send its Warships to Syrian Coast?

September 9th, 2013 by Global Research News

China has reportedly sent its “Jinggangshan” amphibious dock landing ship to the coast of Syria. In case this information is confirmed, it will offer proof that China has changed its attitude towards the local conflicts with the involvement of the US.

It is possible that soon China will start, like Russia, using its warships to demonstrate its presence in the given region or for the allocation of political support, or for supplying necessary items to its allies which are subjected to pressure from the West, expert with the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Vasily Kashin says.

by Vasily Kashin

One can’t rule out that soon such operations will be carried out jointly with Russia, and the large-scale Russian -Chinese naval exercises that were conducted in the past few years were aimed exactly at practicing strategic coordination and mutual trust.

The Missile Frigate Xuzhou of the Chinese naval flotilla deployed in the Gulf of Aden was sent to the coast of Libya in 2011, to ensure the safety of the Chinese citizens during their evacuation from Libya. However, in this case – meaning the reports saying that the Chinese “Jinggangshan” amphibious dock landing ship was sent to the coast of Syria – the reasons, as it appears, are different.

According to the Chinese media, there were only 46 Chinese nationals in Syria at the end of last month. Thus, it is rather doubtful that sending a large amphibious landing ship of 28,000 tons displacement is good. Motor transport could be used for this purpose.

Russia regularly sends its landing ships to the Syrian coast. On September 4th a source that is well aware of the development of the Russian-Syrian military-technical cooperation said that they are being used to supply weaponry to Syria. Russia started doing this after in 2012 Britain prevented the entry of the “Alaid” civilian transport ship which carried repaired helicopters meant for the Syrian army into Syria. As distinct from a civilian ship, a landing ship can’t be detained, stopped or examined.

Regular voyages to Syria have become a heavy burden for the Russian technically outdated navy vessels. And still, amid the preparations for military action against Syria, which are being carried by the US, another two landing ships have already been sent to the coast of Syria. In case of need that can be used for the evacuation of Russian citizens from Syria.

Russia and China have achieved tangible results in offering political support to the Syrian government, which is doing its utmost to resist pressure from outside. China’s growing authority in the developing countries is urging it to take a more active stance on the most urgent issues of the world policy. There is reason to believe that soon China will get far more involved in coalition actions, and one cannot rule out that there will emerge a situation when China will be able to assume leadership.

A chemical attack may be launched on Israel by Syrian rebels from government-controlled territories as a “major provocation”, a number of sources have told RT.

The news comes as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov proposed that Syria puts its chemical weapons arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction in order to prevent a possible military strike against the war-torn republic.

Moscow also urged the Syrian authorities to join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The offer has already been passed over to the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, who met Lavrov in Moscow for talks on Monday. 

We don’t know if Syria will accept the offer, but if imposing international control over chemical weapons stored in the country can help to avoid military strikes, we are immediately going to start working with Damascus,” Lavrov said.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has welcomed Moscow’s initiative, “based on the Syrian’s government care about the lives of our people and security of our country,” Muallem said later on Monday.

Shortly after RT’s report, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice also spoke about the possible threat to Israel from the Syrian territory. “The use of chemical weapons also directly threatens our closest ally in the region, Israel,” she said speaking at the New America Foundation in Washington.

A few hours earlier, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that to avoid a military operation Syrian President Bashar Assad has a week to surrender control of “every single bit” of his stock of chemical weapons to the international community. “But he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done,” he added, speaking at a media conference in London, as he was wrapping up his European tour in a move to win support for the Obama-proposed “limited” strike against Syria.

The US Administration has blamed the Syrian government for the alleged chemical weapons use in the Damascus suburbs on August 21. Washington has maintained it has the intelligence to prove it, but has so far refused to make public a single piece of concrete evidence that would link the Assad regime to the deadly incident.

On Sunday, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee released a series of 13 videos showing what is purported to be proof of the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The disturbing images of the victims of the alleged attack were earlier shown during a closed-door briefing to a group of senators, as Obama is trying to get authorization from Congress for the military strike on Syria. The administration told senators that the authenticity of the videos was verified by the intelligence community, reported CNN, which first aired the graphic material.

The videos depict scenes of convulsing children, men vomiting and struggling to breathe and, also what appeared to be dozens of dead bodies wrapped up in white sheets, lying side by side. But they still do not provide an answer to the question of who was behind the attack. The Syrian government and the opposition forces point the finger of blame at each other.

It also remains unclear as to why exactly President Assad would order a chemical attack at a time when a group of UN experts were carrying out an investigation in the country.

There is proof the footage of the alleged chemical attack in Syria was fabricated, Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib, mother superior of the St. James Monastery in Qara, Syria, told RT. She added that she plans to submit her findings to the UN.

There is proof the footage of the alleged chemical attack in Syria was fabricated, Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib, mother superior of St. James Monastery in Qara, Syria, told RT. She says she is about to submit her findings to the UN.

‘I have carefully studied the footage, and I will present a written analysis on it a bit later. I maintain that the whole affair was a frame-up. It had been staged and prepared in advance with the goal of framing the Syrian government as the perpetrator.”

Mother Agnes, a catholic nun, who has been living in Syria for 20 years and has been reporting actively on what has been going on in the war-ravaged country, says she carefully studied the video featuring allegedly victims of the chemical weapons attack in the Syrian village of Guta in August and now questions its authenticity. 

In her interview with RT, Mother Agnes doubts so much footage could have been taken in so little time, and asks where parents of the supposedly dead children are. She promises to send her report to the UN. 

The nun is indignant with the world media for apparently turning a blind eye to the Latakia massacre by rebel extremists, which left 500 civilians including women and children dead.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has called on the international community to pay attention to revelations made by Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib.

RT: The United States has used internet photos and video footage of the supposed chemical weapons attack in Eastern Guta to build a case against the Syrian government. Have you been able to look at these files? What do you have to say about them?


Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib

Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib

Mother Agnes: I have carefully studied the footage, and I will present a written analysis on it a bit later. I maintain that the whole affair was a frame-up. It had been staged and prepared in advance with the goal of framing the Syrian government as the perpetrator.

The key evidence is that Reuters made these files public at 6.05 in the morning. The chemical attack is said to have been launched between 3 and 5 o’clock in the morning in Guta. How is it even possible to collect a dozen different pieces of footage, get more than 200 kids and 300 young people together in one place, give them first aid and interview them on camera, and all that in less than three hours? Is that realistic at all? As someone who works in the news industry, you know how long all of it would take.

The bodies of children and teenagers we see in that footage – who were they? What happened to them? Were they killed for real? And how could that happen ahead of the gas attack? Or, if they were not killed, where did they come from? Where are their parents? How come we don’t see any female bodies among all those supposedly dead children?

I am not saying that no chemical agent was used in the area – it certainly was. But I insist that the footage that is now being peddled as evidence had been fabricated in advance. I have studied it meticulously, and I will submit my report to the UN Human Rights Commission based in Geneva.

RT: Recently you’ve visited Latakia and the adjacent areas, you’ve talked to the eyewitnesses to the massacre of civilians carried out in Latakia by Jabhat al-Nusra. What can you tell us about it?  

MA: What I want to ask first of all is how the international community can ignore the brutal killing spree in Latakia on Laylat al-Qadr early in the morning of August 5, an attack that affected more than 500 people, including children, women and the elderly. They were all slaughtered. The atrocities committed exceed any scale. But there was close to nothing about it in the international mass media. There was only one small article in “The Independent”, I believe.

We sent our delegation to these villages, and our people had a look at the situation on-site, talked to the locals, and most importantly – talked to the survivors of the massacre.

I don’t understand why the Western media apply double standards in this case – they talk about mass murder that the use of chemical weapons resulted in non-stop, but they keep quiet about the Latakia massacre.

RT: Do you know anything about the fate of hostages captured in Latakia?


A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on August 20, 2013 shows soldiers loyal to the regime forces wrapping a decomposed body that was allegedly discovered in a mass grave in northern Latakia, a province on the Mediterranean coast (AFP Photo)

A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on August 20, 2013 shows soldiers loyal to the regime forces wrapping a decomposed body that was allegedly discovered in a mass grave in northern Latakia, a province on the Mediterranean coast (AFP Photo)


MA: In the village of Estreba they massacred all the residents and burnt down their houses. In the village of al-Khratta almost all the 37 locals were killed. Only ten people were able to escape.

A total of twelve Alawite villages were subjected to this horrendous attack. That was a true slaughterhouse. People were mutilated and beheaded. There is even a video that shows a girl being dismembered alive – alive! – by a frame saw. The final death toll exceeded 400, with 150 to 200 people taken hostage. Later some of the hostages were killed, their deaths filmed.

At the moment we are looking for the hostages and negotiating their release with the militants, but so far we haven’t managed to achieve that.

RT: We often hear reports of Christians being persecuted by the militants. Just the day before yesterday there was an attack in the village of Maaloula, where the majority of population is Christian. Are Christians in Syria facing grave danger?

MA: Everyone in Syria is facing grave danger. There was a case of Muslim religious leaders being kidnapped and beheaded. They were humiliated and tortured. Ismailis, the druze, Christians – people from all parts of Syrian society – are being mass murdered. I would like to say that if these butchers didn’t have international support, no one would have dared to cross the line. But today, unfortunately, the violation of human rights and genocide in Syria is covered up on the international level. I demand the international community stops assessing the situation in Syria in accordance with the interests of a certain group of great powers. The Syrian people are being killed. They fall victim to contractors, who are provided with weapons and sent to Syria to kill as many people as possible. The truth is, everywhere in Syria people are being kidnapped, tortured, raped and robbed. These crimes remain unpunished, because the key powers chose international terrorism as a way to destroy sovereign states. They’ve done it to other countries. And they will just keep doing it if the international community doesn’t say “Enough!”

RT: You’ve managed to get hold of some sensitive information. Does this make you fear for your life as someone who keeps documents that may compromise the militants? Has anyone threatened you?

MA: You are right. I do get threatened. They are trying to discredit me. I know there is a book coming out soon in France that labels me as a criminal who kills people. But any believer should first and foremost trust their conscience, their belief in God, and that will help them save innocent lives. I don’t care much about my own life. My life is no more precious than that of any Syrian child, whose body could be used as evidence to justify wrongdoing. This is the biggest crime ever perpetrated in history.

RT: What should the Syrians do to stop the tragedy they are going through?


AFP Photo

AFP Photo


MA: The Syrians themselves can do nothing to stop it. They can only rely on the international community, friendly nations, world powers, such as Russia, China, and India. With a lot of enthusiasm we did welcome the news that the British parliament voted against the participation of their country in the possible war against Syria. There is a terrorist war going on against Syria right now. The international community and Syria’s friends should join forces and say: Enough! And they need to use every opportunity to do that. Otherwise this threat Syria is facing now will turn into a threat to universal peace.

RT: What should the Vatican and other hubs of Christianity do to put an end to this tragedy?

MA: The Pope says he has no planes, no bombs, and no armed forces. Instead, he has the power of the truth, and the truth he has told. There are messages coming from everywhere in the world urging against a military intervention in Syria. Those who want to hear them will. The Pope, the patriarchs, Nobel Prize winners, including women, keep saying the same in unison: Let’s stop fighting. No conflict can be solved by military means. Stop adding fuel to the flame!
All the prominent public figures in the world have risen to speak against the war. Everyone has spoken their mind, but the US prefers to turn a deaf ear. The world public opinion has turned against the US. It’s the first time in history that America is alone. They are claiming that they are backed by ten countries. But I insist they aren’t, because the people of these countries disagree with their governments. Even the American people disagree with their government.

RT: Do you believe that this tragedy will end and Syria will remain a homeland for all Syrians, regardless of their ethnical or religious identity?

MA: I’m not Syrian myself, but I’ve been living in Syria for 20 years. I’d like to remind everyone that Damascus is the most ancient capital in the world. I would like to remind everyone that Syria is the cradle of civilization. I would like to remind everyone that this is the holy land that gave birth to the main world religions. What is happening in Syria should serve as a lesson for everyone. I mean that in existential rather than political sense. I am convinced that with God’s help the Syrian people will be able to remain strong, heal their wounds, reconcile and chase out all the foreign mercenaries and terrorists. I believe there will be peace in Syria. But for that we need help from the international community.

AIPAC Lobbies for War on Syria

September 9th, 2013 by Stephen Lendman

Previous articles discussed the Israeli Lobby’s rage for war on Syria. AIPAC and 50 other Zionist organizations endorse it.

They threaten world peace. They want Israeli interests served. Ravaging and destroying Syria does so. Much greater stakes are involved.

Syria is prelude to attacking Iran. It’s Israel’s prime target. Washington wants subservient pro-Western governance replacing its sovereign independence.

On September 3, AIPAC headlined ”Press Statement on Syrian Resolution,” saying:

“AIPAC urges Congress to grant the President the authority he has requested to protect America’s national security interests and dissuade the Syrian regime’s further use of unconventional weapons.”

“The civilized world cannot tolerate the use of these barbaric weapons, particularly against an innocent civilian population including hundreds of children.”

“Simply put, barbarism on a mass scale must not be given a free pass.”

“This is a critical moment when America must also send a forceful message of resolve to Iran and Hezbollah – both of whom have provided direct and extensive military support to Assad.”

“The Syrian regime and its Iranian ally have repeatedly demonstrated that they will not respect civilized norms.”

“That is why America must act, and why we must prevent further proliferation of unconventional weapons in this region.”

“America’s allies and adversaries are closely watching the outcome of this momentous vote. This critical decision comes at a time when Iran is racing toward obtaining nuclear capability.”

“Failure to approve this resolution would weaken our country’s credibility to prevent the use and proliferation of unconventional weapons and thereby greatly endanger our country’s security and interests and those of our regional allies.”

“AIPAC maintains that it is imperative to adopt the resolution to authorize the use of force, and take a firm stand that the world’s most dangerous regimes cannot obtain and use the most dangerous weapons.”

A same day statement headlined ”AIPAC’s position on the Authorization of Force in Syria,” saying:

“AIPAC has been closely monitoring the war in Syria for the past two years.”

“We have been deeply concerned about the impact the war has had on American national security interests, the danger it has posed to Israel and regional stability, and the growing influence of Iran. Moreover, we have been appalled by the inhumane actions of the Assad regime.”

“The chemical weapons attack by Assad’s forces on August 21 escalated the dangers posed by this conflict to new heights.”

“Secretary Kerry on August 30 announced that Syrian forces poisoned more than 1,400 individuals, including at least 400 children. The use of these weapons poses an extremely serious risk of further mass atrocities.”

“AIPAC will be lobbying in favor of Congress authorizing the President to use military force in Syria. We need your help to persuade members of the Senate and House to join Speaker Boehner, House Majority Leader Cantor, House Democratic Leader Pelosi, House Democratic Whip Hoyer, and many others in both chambers, in support of this bipartisan resolution.”

“We believe that Congress’ failure to grant the President this authority would  be interpreted as a sign of American weakness, and cast doubt about whether America will act to carry out its commitments in the Middle East – including the President’s and Congress’ pledge to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”

“(W)e strongly believe that Congress should grant the President the authority he has requested to protect America’s national security interests, dissuade Damascus’ further use of these weapons and send a message to Iran about our commitment to preventing the proliferation of WMDs.”

On August 29, AIPAC headlined ”Editorial: Syria Proves Urgency to Stop Iran,” saying:

“As Israel prepares its citizens for the possible ramifications of a chemical attack from Syria, the United States must consider potentially catastrophic ramifications if Iran, who is actively backing Assad, acquires a nuclear weapons capability.”

“While Assad has already thrust his country into turmoil and instability, the worst possible outcome for the Middle East would be an Iranian regime equipped with the world’s most dangerous weapon.”

“An effective Western response to Assad’s belligerent use of chemical weapons – and any military action to deter him from using them again – would be jeopardized even further by Syria’s dictator operating under the umbrella of a nuclear Iran.”

“(T)he urgency of stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions is paramount. We cannot allow Assad to operate with the support of his greatest ally in Tehran backed by a nuclear weapons capability.”

“Now is the time to increase the pressure on the Iranian regime.” America must act “quickly and measurably,” said AIPAC.

On September 7, Reuters headlined “Pro-Israel US lobbying group sets major push for Syria action,” saying:

AIPAC “will deploy hundreds of activists next week to win support in Congress for” war on Syria.

Senate members may vote by midweek. House leaders haven’t yet scheduled a vote. It could come soon after the Senate acts.

This week appears crucial. Obama plans a 9/11 eve anniversary nationally televised address. He deplores peace. He’s selling war. He’ll claim otherwise.

He’ll pretend only token strikes are planned. He intends shock and awe madness. He plans mass killing and destruction.

Doing so could come any time. He may order it with or without congressional authorization.

Doing so will violate fundamental international law provisions. Only the Security Council can authorize war. Any other way is lawless. It doesn’t matter.

Obama wants war. One way or another he intends to launch it. False flags are pretexts to do so. They’re a longstanding US tradition.

Falsely blaming Syria for the August 21 suburban Damascus toxic chemical attack is the latest example. Doing so was a Big Lie. It was an anti-Assad provocation. It was a classic false flag.

Notable earlier ones go back to the 19th century. A previous article discussed them. They’re relevant now. They bear repeating.

In 1845, America lawlessly annexed Texas. It was Mexican territory. President James Polk deployed US troops.

A future president led them. General Zachary Taylor paraded them along the disputed border.

In May 1846, Polk told cabinet officials that if Mexican forces retaliated, he’d ask Congress to declare war.

He wanted it whether or not Mexico attacked. After an incident occurred, Polk told Congress:

“Mexico has passed the boundary of the US and shed American blood on American soil.” The Mexican War followed.

Half of Mexico was annexed. Included were California, Utah, Nevada, as well as parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming and Colorado. The Rio Grande became the Texas-Mexico border.

In 1898, Cubans neared freeing themselves from Spanish colonial rule. US President William McKinley promised to respect its sovereignty.

In January 1898, the USS Maine entered Havana harbor. Allegedly it was to protect US Consul Fitzhugh Lee and other American citizens.

On February 15, a huge explosion sank the Maine. Doing so killed 266 crew members. The Spanish-American war followed.

At the time, publisher William Randolph Hearst hyped the Big Lie. He claimed Spain sunk the Maine. An internal coal bunker explosion caused it.

Notably Hearst told his Havana illustrator: “You furnish the pictures, and I’ll furnish the war.” Big lies launch them. Doing so enlists public support.

America became Cuba’s colonial power. The Philippines, Guam, Samoa, Hawaii, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Canal Zone, Puerto Rico and other territories were annexed.

In May 1915, a German U-boat sank the Lusitania. It carried US munitions. It did so for Britain.

Over 100 Americans on board died. US newspapers expressed outrage. Congress authorized increasing US military forces.

In 1916, Woodrow Wilson was reelected after pledging: “He Kept Us Out of War.” Straightaway he planned US involvement.

The Lusitania incident and British allegations about Germany seeking to ally with Mexico to regain lost territory were used advantageously.

In April 1917, Wilson established the Committee on Public Information (CPI or Creel Committee). It operated through August 1919. Its mission was enlisting public support for war.

Undermining opposition sentiment was essential. It succeeded. He turned pacifist Americans into raging German haters. Propaganda worked as intended. Wilson got the war he wanted.

Franklin Roosevelt manipulated Japan to attack Pearl Harbor. Doing so let him wage war. He had to convince Congress and a pacifist public to go along.

What better way than by manufacturing terror. Japan’s fleet was tracked across the Pacific.

Pearl Harbor’s Admiral HE Kimmel wasn’t warned. He was denied intelligence. Waging war demanded mass casualties. WW II followed.

Complicit with Washington, numerous 1949/1950 South Korean cross-border incursions provoked Pyongyang’s June 1950 response. Truman got the war he wanted.

In 1962, Kennedy rejected a proposed US Joint Chiefs of Staff false flag. Operation Northwoods was part of a covert anti-Castro scheme.

Called Operation Mongoose, a document titled “Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba” explained.

Plans included assassinating Cuban Americans, manufacturing fake “Communist Cuban terror” in US cities, shooting down one or more US commercial airliners, blowing up a US ship in Cuban waters, attacking Guantanamo, and blaming Castro as reason for war.

Full-scale war against North Vietnam followed the fake August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident. Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Doing so authorized war without declaring it.

In October 1983, US forces invaded Grenada. Allegedly it was to rescue American medical students.

Operation Urgent Fury’s mission reflected US imperialism, Cold War politics, and replacing the leftist New Jewel Movement government with a pro-Western one.

In December 1989, manufactured incidents precipitated America’s Panama invasion. Former US ally Manuel Noriega was deposed. At issue was forgetting who’s boss.

Operation Just Cause killed thousands. Crimes of war and against humanity included mass murder, indiscriminate destruction, extrajudicial assassinations, illegal weapons use, and arbitrary detentions.

Pro-US stooge Guillermo Endara replaced Noriega.

In August 1990, Washington colluded with Kuwait’s al-Sabah monarchy. Saddam Hussein was entrapped to invade.

In January 1991, the Gulf War followed. Over two decades of sanctions, war, occupation, and destruction of the cradle of civilization followed.

9/11 is the Big Lie of our time. Compelling evidence discredits official falsehoods. They launched over a decade of imperial wars.

They did so against Afghanistan, Iraq, parts of Pakistan, Libya, Syria, and Palestine allied with Israel.

They initiated numerous proxy wars. They feature homeland ones against Muslims, Latino immigrants, other people of color and working Americans.

Obama continues what Bush began. He has lots more death and destruction in mind. He wants Syria ravaged and destroyed.

He wants another US colony. He has much greater aims in mind. He wants an Israeli rival removed. He wants a valued Russian ally eliminated.

He wants Iran isolated. He wants Shah era harshness reinstated. He wants another regional vassal state.

He wants it replacing the Islamic Republic. He wants control of Iran’s oil, gas and other resources. He wants Iranians ruthlessly exploited.

AIPAC and 50 other Zionist organizations threaten world peace.

So does Obama. He has megalomaniacal ambitions. He may destroy humanity pursuing them.

Stopping him matters most. The alternative is too potentially catastrophic to risk. A universal red line must be drawn. Now’s the time to do it.

No more advancing America’s imperium! No more spurning peace! No more war! No more lawless aggression!

No more mass killing and destruction! No more what most people oppose! No more risking humanity’s survival!

Organized people can beat imperial warmakers! It bears repeating! Now’s the time to do it!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Obama with Israel and Against the World

September 9th, 2013 by Prof. James Petras


As President Obama announces plans for another war, adding Syria to the recent and ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere, a profound gap has emerged between the highly militarized state and US public opinion. A Reuters/IPSOS poll taken August 19-23 (2013) revealed that 60 percent of Americans surveyed were against the United States intervening in Syria, while 9 percent said President Obama should act.  Even when the question was ‘loaded’ to include Obama’s bogus and unsubstantiated claim that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces ‘used nerve gas to massacre civilians’, almost twice as many Americans oppose US military intervention (46 percent to 25 percent).  In panic several pro-Administration media outlets hastily conducted new polls to try to’ improve the results’ in ‘favor’ of the White House desire to attack Syria .  What is striking about these finding is that, despite the mass media and the Obama spokespeople’s saturation of the airwaves with lurid images of ‘victims’, the US public has become more vehemently opposed to another imperialist war.  Reuters/IPSOS poll of August 13 found 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if it were proved that nerve gas had been used by President Assad against civilians, while 41.6 percent wanted no part of the conflict.  In other words, as the Obama regime intensified its preparations for war, American public opposition increased by over 16 percent.               

A growing number of polls and studies show that a substantial well-entrenched majority of Americans are opposed to the current war in Afghanistan , even as the President and Congress continue to finance and dispatch US troops and engage in aerial assaults in Pakistan , Yemen and elsewhere.

Across the world huge majorities oppose Obama’s war:  Two thirds of the French and German public oppose the US bombing Syria ,  not to mention of the hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics responding to Pope Francis’s passionate anti-war message delivered on September 7 to over 100,000 worshipers in St. Peter’s Square.  It is only in Israel a majority of Jewish Israelis support Obama’s push to war.

If, as some scholars argue, militarism and ‘national security’ (and the police state) have become the secular religion of the State, it is clear that the majority of civil society are ‘non-believers’.  The ‘true believers’ of militarism as the road to empire building are firmly ensconced in Washington’s political establishment, especially among the powerful lobbies and propaganda mills known as ‘think tanks’.  Militarist beliefs are widely embraced by strategically-placed officials with deep and long-standing ties to the Israeli power structure. 

The two major myths, propagated by cynical political pundits, that “the US public opinion gets the elected officials it deserves” and that “Congress and the President reflect the values and sentiments of the electorate” are contradicted by the divergent attitudes and interests showing up in repeated public opinion polls.  The vast majority of Americas are concerned with domestic economic issues, such as unemployment, the steep decline in living standards, growing inequalities, the growing concentration of wealth (the ‘Wall Street 1% versus the 99%’ issue of the ‘Occupy Movement’), the grotesque and inescapable debt among students and graduates, the savage cuts in social programs (education, health, housing and infrastructure) in the face of soaring military expenditures and stratospheric government subsidies to bailout the banks and speculators.  In other words, the values, attitudes and interests of the vast majority of Americans diverge sharply from those of the Washington establishment, the mass media and the power brokers who penetrate and surround the political elite.

  War and Peace:  Oligarchy and Democracy

This divergence raises fundamental questions about the nature of the American political system, the role and influence of the mass media and the power of minorities against the interests of the majority.  Divergences and deep differences between rulers and ruled have become the norm in the United States on all the major domestic and foreign issues of our day.

As the differences accumulate, deepen and fester, they ‘grind’ on our public.  Political ‘differences’ turn into outright personal animosities, citizen disagreement is transformed into anger and even hatred of the ‘O-man’.  Obama’s deceptions, the very words he mouths, are repeated and mocked.  Nothing is more irritating than to have to listen to an unmasked confidence man as he still tries to bamboozle a disenchanted public.  Americans are not fooled anymore.  Obama’s newly recruited Cabinet members of all genders and ethnicities are viewed as mere peddlers of  toxic lies trying to justify ongoing war crimes via moral ejaculations that resonate in their own echo chambers and with their President, but not very far beyond the palace grounds.

Executive Prerogatives as Dictatorial Rule

The Presidential declarations of  war  against the will and opinion of the vast majority of citizens; the  decision to finance massive bank bailouts with public funds behind the backs of ‘the 99%’; the shallow proclamations  ‘ending’ ongoing wars which  still continue under other guises;  and the transparent fabrications serving as pretexts for dragging the country into new wars by trotting out the same lies recycled from the previous wars…all undermine any notion of a constitutional democracy in the United States.

It’s a dictatorship stupid!  There is nothing ‘constitutional’ here.  That abused document has become presidential toilet paper!  Legal hacks and whores scratch their backsides and regurgitate the previous illegal executive orders in order to ‘legitimize’ new arbitrary powers to declare war.

The voters of thousands of local, state and federal officials are ignored.  Who even bothers to describe the US as a democracy except during the theater of elections?  War has become the ‘prerogative’ of the President, we are told by the propagandists.  Waging sequential wars is the favored alternative to building a national health system for the scores of millions of Americans without access to adequate medical care. When the President mouths his moral platitudes most Americans ignore him, while others jeer, curse and wish he would choke on his rank hypocrisy.

The Case for Impeachment

When in the course of human history an elected US President perpetuates and extends his power beyond the restraints of the constitutional order, and willfully commits the American people to endless suffering, emptying the public treasury of its citizens’ wealth, the question of impeachment must be addressed.  And it ill behooves the ‘climbers and clamorers’  serving foreign lands, to flatter, manipulate and blackmail the President whose own imperial pretensions further fuel the ambitions of their ‘ Chosen State ’.

Profound and lasting divisions between the rulers and the ruled, burdened by long-standing hardships at a time when they lack redress in petition and protest, will eventually lead the American people to demand their President’s impeachment – for high crimes and misdemeanors against the constitution and citizenry.  What they demand would be a trial by jury, conviction and incarceration for multiple and grave violations against the constitutional order and dereliction of the President’s duty to safeguard the nation from enemies, foreign and domestic.  When the executive has usurped the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of the American people at the service of an empire and their foreign and domestic collaborators with traitorous intent, he must be impeached and brought to justice.

Why and How the American Public was Disenfranchised:  the Tyranny of the Minority

It is not the members of the US military who choose to disenfranchise and ignore the vast majority of Americans overwhelmingly opposed to new Middle East wars.  The usurpers are mostly civilians, some of whom had formerly carried weapons for a foreign nation and still carry dual citizenship while plying our President with calls for military expansionism.  Nor is the exclusion of the majority of Americans part of some hidden conspiracy by the oil companies; in fact, they have lost hundreds of billions of potential profits to wars, which were not of their making and which now disrupt access to oil fields, trade, production and shipping.

Idle chatter, flowing from ‘leftist’ or ‘progressive’ monthlies, liberal weeklies and a multitude of pundits, academics and ‘critical’ public intellectuals, decry the ‘military-industrial complex’ as the movers behind the wars in the Middle East.  True, their lobbyists seek fat military contracts, but they were not the ones to formulate ‘position papers’ for the invasion of Iraq , nor secure sanctions, and bellicose Congressional resolutions against Iran .

If we want to identify and understand the minority, which secures its own militarist agenda in the White House and Congress against the majority of Americans, it is clearly marked by its swaggering, consistent and intrusive presence.  It is a smaller, more cohesive new version of the’ 1%’– and best described as the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC).

One can be 99% sure that among the scant 11% of Americans who ‘support’ US military intervention in Syria , the ‘pro-Israel crowd and its acolytes’ are overwhelmingly represented.  The evidence is clear:  They are the most actively engaged in propagandizing and pushing for war with Syria at the national and local levels throughout the country.  They are the ever-present bullying pundits’ and news commentators  lying about the Syrian government’s exclusive use of chemical ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in a horrific civil war riddled by foreign mercenaries.  They and other mass media pimps, pundits and publishers have totally buried a major the Associated Press  report from Syria which quotes members of the armed Syrian  opposition who admit they had ‘accidentally released stores of chemical weapons, supplied by Saudi Arabia’ (their sponsor)..

Israel ’s semi-official web site,, published a lead article by Yitzhak Benhorin, entitled  “AIPAC to Lobby Congress for Syrian Strike”.  The article reveals the leading role of the Israeli-directed Zionist war effort:  “After  Israel ’s ambassador to Washington ,Michael Oren and AIPAC noted that military action would send a message to Assad’s supporters …some 250 Jewish leaders and AIPAC activists ..intend to storm the halls on Capital Hill beginning next week (September 9-13)to persuade(sic)lawmakers that Congress must adopt the resolution authorizing US strikes against Syria”(9/6/13). To counter Pope Francis’ plea to the world for peace and opposition to Obama’s threats to bomb Syria before 100,000 people of faith in front of St .Peter’s Basilica, the Cleveland Jewish News(9/6/13) reported that, “leading rabbis covering the religious and political spectrum (sic)urged lawmakers in Congress to support President Obama’s plans to strike Syria..”

Everyday since Obama called for a Congressional vote, the Daily Alert , publication of the 52 Presidents of the Leading American Jewish Organizations,  has published only articles and statements promoting war and urged its supporters to round up Congressional votes for Obama and counter and undermine the pro-peace sentiments of the majority of Americans.

To the degree that we have moved from democracy to oligarchy, from a democratic republic to a militarist empire engaged in foreign wars of occupation, the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) has accumulated enormous influence in the government and, in turn, has furthered the tyranny of the minority over the majority.  They are not alone, but certainly domestic tyranny against the majority of the citizens has been to their advantage; the ZPC has marginalized Americans of all creeds, races and religions (including the majority of American Jews and seculars) – especially those who would oppose their agenda.

 The nature of oligarchy facilitates the minorities’ access to power against the majority of citizens:  it is far easier for them to buy and blackmail a handful of venal, wealthy legislators and a coterie of narcissistic senior administration officials, than peddle their agenda to the millions of citizens suffering the double onus of perpetual foreign wars and sharply declining domestic living standards.

Limits of Mass Media Manipulation

The arbitrary power of the oligarchy, with its domestic and foreign collaborators, and their growing distance from the ruled is no longer bridged by mass media propaganda.  The Obama regime and the Washington ‘think tanks’ have repeatedly saturated print and electronic media with the lurid images of little children suffering from the Syrian government’s ‘war crimes’ in order to browbeat the American people into supporting another US military intervention.  There are daily reports in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, and all the major and minor television networks, which endlessly repeat the ‘need for war’ and ‘our humanitarian obligation to bomb Damascus ’ – to no avail.  The mass media and the high powered propaganda campaign, run by and for the war mongers in Washington and Tel Aviv, have failed to gain no more than 10% of the US citizenry – despite a near-total black-out of any alternative news or debate.

 For years we have been told by ‘media experts’ about the power of the mass media to manipulate the US public, as if the people were a blank sheet of paper with the media writing the script for the oligarchy and the masses repeating it on ‘blind faith and the flag’.  In fact, time and time again, a majority of US citizens have rejected ‘the line’ peddled by the mass media, especially on questions of peace and war, their living standards and the grotesque bankers’ bailouts.  The credibility of the US mass media is now minus zero!

 The public’s rejection of the Obama’s push for war against Syria is another example of the growing limits of mass propaganda.  In the wake of the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the US public supported the invasion of Afghan and, to a less extent, the war in Iraq – once troops were sent.  But as the costly, endless wars and occupation ground on, and new wars spread; and as the police state (and abuses) expanded and domestic living standards plunged, the public drew back and became wary.  The domestic economic and social crisis drove the message home:  domestic decay results from imperial wars.  No amount of empty rhetoric or high powered Zionist lobbying for more wars on behalf of the state of Israel will convince Americans to continue sacrificing their lives and treasure and their children’s and grandchildren’s future living standards to this endless bloodletting, spiraling costs and devastating political and economic consequences.

 The Quiet Rebellion of the Democratic Majority

It has been hard to black out all the news:  Throughout Europe, vast majorities reject their rulers’ participation in more imperial wars, particularly the push for war in Syria .  Even the usually servile British Parliament rose up on its hind legs and bleated ‘no’ to bombing Damascus .  Only, the decrepit French regime under the ‘socialist-imperialist’  President Hollande, a most ‘humanitarian’ colonial whore master, has expressed unconditional  support Obama- at least for a few days until the French Parliament has a chance to finally bark out its disapproval.  The editorial writers of the imperial ‘mass media’ smell ‘trouble in the empire’.  They have started to quote skeptical military officers and experts… who have posed a few rather timid questions, including retired Generals who ask, “What will be the consequences of bombing the al-Assad government and aiding al Qaeda in the region?”.

Chastened by the opposition, Obama now has to face the jeers of his Zionist backers… “not to back down from the Administration’s ‘red line’ …”.  White House  Propaganda Office parrots Israeli reports of ‘intercepted Syrian military directives ordering the use of chemical weapons’ and those provided by  ‘rebel’ sources based in Turkey and Saudi Arabia – but no credible documents have been given to the UN or the skeptical world public.

 When Obama declares his ‘red line’: the American public senses the ‘big lie’!  Deception by the mass media and White House is losing its force.  The majority of Americans are fed up with the fabrication of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that provided a pretext for the invasion of Iraq, the phony ‘mass rapes (the obscene and racist reports of Gaddafi handing out tons of Viagra to his black “African mercenaries”) and other fake atrocities’ in Libya and the blatant cover-up of Israeli land grabs and ethnic cleansing against the native Palestinian population.

 The specter of economic insecurity, of life-long debts and precarious employment stalks the cities and towns of America .  A whole generation will be lost.  There is anger and fear at home directed against the current push for new wars abroad and their most visible propagandist: President Barack Obama.  The Obama regime is facing ‘a fall’ in this groundswell of disgust among the people. Will Obama’s handlers and willing accomplices crawl back to their Washington think tanks? Will the oligarchs decide the Obama ‘product’ has exceeded its ‘shelf life’, is no longer useful, has lost its appeal to the public, and is too narcissistic?  Will the oligarchs decide that there have been… one too many ‘wars for Israel ’? (Oh, my god, how did that one slip in?)  Will they realize that their puppet has not focused enough attention on ‘rebuilding America ’.?  Soon there will be a new election:  All aboard!  The people have spoken!  It’s time to trot out the special new presidential product – one less effusive and more mainstream – on order from the oligarch’s puppet factory!

 With Obama’s fall, we learn that the mass media are not all powerful and that Israel ’s smiling well-wishers among the elite will not cool their insatiable appetite for power even though they comprise a tiny 1% minority.  The majority can bring down the regime.  The question is: Can they create an alternative?

Obama Ramps Up War Pitch Even As Basic Arguments Fall by the Wayside

Obama is going on a whirlwind media blitz this week in an attempt to sell a very skeptical public on war with Syria.

Yet the Washington Post notes:

Obama’s top aide says the administration lacks “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence” that skeptical Americans, including lawmakers who will start voting on military action this week, are seeking.

Indeed, those who have seen the evidence say that it is incredibly weak.  German intelligence also says that Assad didn’t order the attacks.

Moreover, President Obama correctly noted in 2007:

The President does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

Yet Obama admitted last week:

Some people had noted, and I think this is true, that had I been in the Senate in the midst of this period, I probably would have suggested to a Democratic or a Republican president that Congress should have the ability to weigh in an issue like this, that is not immediate, imminent, time-sensitive.


We may not be directly, imminently threatened by what’s taking place inSyria … in the short term, but our long-term national security will be impacted in a profound way, and our humanity is impacted in a profound way.

No wonder that Obama has lost some of his biggest initial supporters for a strike against Syria.

Reuters notes:

White House efforts to convince the U.S. Congress to back military action against Syria are not only failing, they seem to be stiffening the opposition.

That was the assessment on Sunday, not of an opponent but of an early and ardent Republican supporter of Obama’s plan for attacking Syria, the influential Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, Mike Rogers.

Rogers told CBS’s “Face the Nation” the White House had made a “confusing mess” of the Syria issue. Now, he said, “I’m skeptical myself.”

A Propaganda Barrage to Prepare for War on Syria

September 9th, 2013 by Alex Lantier

As the US Congress convenes to vote on war in Syria this week, and UN investigators prepare their report on the alleged August 21 poison gas attack in Ghouta, the US government and media are preparing a massive propaganda blitz to push for war. Its aim is to intimidate public opinion, which is overwhelmingly hostile to an attack on Syria, and stampede the population into a far-reaching Middle East conflict.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough laid out the Obama administration’s plans over the weekend, saying: “We set a goal this week of making sure people understood the facts of the case. No one with whom I’ve spoken doubts the intelligence. We’re not really debating the veracity of the central charge.”

They cannot debate the “central charge”—that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out a chemical attack on August 21 that killed hundreds of people—because it is a fabrication for which they have no credible evidence.

Almost no one outside of a small cabal of White House and intelligence operatives believes the pack of lies and unproven charges that McDonough calls “the facts of the case.” Ten years after the world was dragged into a war based on lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, overwhelming majorities of the populations of both America and Europe oppose another war of aggression in the Middle East.

Even the British Parliament felt compelled to vote on August 29 against war, as it became clear that the brief for war of Prime Minister David Cameron—who was forced to admit that there was “no 100 percent certainty” that Assad carried out the Ghouta attack—had no factual basis.

But the Obama administration is determined to carry out its war—a war for oil, plunder and geo-strategic advantage—regardless of the facts, public opinion, international and domestic law, or the consequences in the squandering of human life and treasure.

That is why in the days ahead, no lie will be too great, no claim too illogical, no contradiction too flagrant for the Obama administration’s top officials to proclaim, and for the media to echo.

Pressure will be exerted to obtain a sufficient number of votes in the Senate and the House of Representatives to pass bills authorizing an open-ended use of military violence—not only against Syria, but potentially against its allies such as Iran, Hezbollah and Russia. This will be described to the American people as a “limited,” “proportional” and “targeted” campaign.

“Wavering” lawmakers will declare that they have been won over by the government’s iron-clad case. At the same time, the administration and the media will try to condition the public for war, even if Congress should fail to authorize military action.

Behind the scenes, UN inspectors and officials will be subjected to threats and financial blackmail to ensure that their report lends a fig leaf of legitimacy to US war propaganda.

On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff McDonough told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “the common-sense test” proves that Assad is responsible for the Ghouta attack. That is, the government’s case does not rely on facts and evidence, but bald assertions backed up by threats and bullying.

In fact, “common sense” argues that the CIA-backed opposition, not Assad, gassed Ghouta. Assad’s forces, who were winning on the battlefield, had nothing to gain from a gas attack that would provide the pretext for US military intervention against them. It was the opposition, dominated by Islamist sectarian killers linked to Al Qaeda, who benefited from the attack.

The opposition has already used poison gas. Washington suppressed the UN report on the last major chemical weapons attack in Syria, the gassing of Khan al-Assal in May. UN official Carla Del Ponte confirmed at the time that UN investigators concluded the opposition was responsible.

The New York Times, as it did in Iraq and Libya, is flooding its readers with propaganda and doing its part to inundate the public with pro-war propaganda and provide credibility for a criminal war. On Sunday, it carried a front-page lead article luridly describing Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, just as a decade ago it served as a conduit for CIA lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

It wrote of the coming war propaganda blitz: “The advocates will carry a simple message… Syria is a proxy for Iran, and the failure to enforce Mr. Obama’s ‘red line’ against the use of chemical weapons by Mr. Assad will be interpreted in Tehran as a sign that he will not enforce a red line against the production of nuclear weapons by the Iranian government.”

This is a new version of the nuclear bogeyman that was used to justify war against Iraq, presented at the time as the only way to prevent a nuclear “mushroom cloud.”

Nicholas Kristof—the New York Times ’ resident “humanitarian” columnist who, from Tibet to Darfur, is always finding someone for the CIA to liberate—published a column on Sunday slandering opponents of the war as indifferent to the murder of children. Pushing for war with Syria as the “least bad option,” he declared: “When the textbooks count the dead children, and the international norms broken with impunity, will our descendants puzzle that we took pride in retreating into passivity during this slaughter?”

No, Mr. Kristof, they will conclude that leading figures of the American corporate press such as yourself propagandized for a criminal US war in Syria and beyond, based on lies, in alliance with Al Qaeda death squads, costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. They will conclude that it was up to the Syrian working class, not US imperialism and far-right Islamist terrorists, to topple the Assad regime.

Kristof’s colleague, the unspeakable Thomas Friedman, even praised a US onslaught against Syria as part of a struggle for Middle East democracy, calling it the road “from Saddam to Jefferson.” He enthused that Syria and Iraq will “devolve into self-governing, largely homogeneous ethnic and religious units … And if we are lucky, these units will find a modus vivendi, as happened in Lebanon after 14 years of civil war.”

Such praise by a leading columnist of sectarian civil war in Syria as part of a struggle for “democracy”—after it cost over one million lives during the US occupation of Iraq—testifies to the degeneration of the entire American ruling elite.

It is necessary to mobilize, organize and unify the broad popular opposition to war. Meetings, demonstrations, teach-ins should be held at workplaces and schools and in communities around the country. The center of opposition to war is in the working class. This is the social force that can and must be brought forward to stop the war drive, linking this fight with opposition to the assault on social conditions and democratic rights.

This movement must be armed with a clear political program. All attempts to channel opposition to war behind protests to Congress and pressure on the Democrats must be rejected. The fight against imperialist war is inseparable from the fight against capitalism—the source of war, poverty and repression. The working class and youth must be mobilized independently on the basis of a socialist and revolutionary program.

Pentagon Expands War Plans Against Syria

September 9th, 2013 by Patrick Martin

While the Obama administration reiterates claims that its forthcoming attack on Syria will be a limited one-off affair, Pentagon planning envisions a much broader effort, according to a report Sunday by the Los Angeles Times .

The newspaper cited unnamed military officials who said the Pentagon “is preparing for a longer bombardment of Syria than it originally had planned, with a heavy barrage of missile strikes followed soon after by more attacks on targets that the opening salvos missed or failed to destroy…”

Two US officers told the newspaper that the Obama White House had asked for an expanded target list that would comprise “many more” than the 50 targets initially selected for possible attack. This gave an impulse to the planning of a more intense attack, which could involve at least three separate military components:

* Tomahawk cruise missiles launched by five US guided missile destroyers currently on patrol in the eastern Mediterranean.

* Cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles launched by Air Force bombers.

* Cruise missiles fired from the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group, with one cruiser and three destroyers, now stationed in the Red Sea. These missiles would travel over Saudi Arabia, Israel or Jordan to hit targets in Syria.

The Washington Post gave additional details of the set of targets that could be struck with US missiles, including “air defense infrastructure, long-range missiles, rocket depots and airfields.” The newspaper noted, “With roughly three dozen Tomahawk missiles loaded onto each of the four destroyers, a US strike could inflict significant damage on government forces…”

The six main air bases used by the Syrian military, as well as two dozen stationary radars, are among the likely targets. Such an effort would have as its purpose crippling the ability of the Syrian military to resist a more protracted US military effort, such as the imposition of a no-fly zone on the country or an actual US invasion.

The Tomahawk missile has a range of 1,000 miles and can deliver either a 1,000 pound bomb or a package of 166 smaller “bomblets,” used against a more dispersed target such as a military encampment to cause maximum death and injury.

The Post also reported that Pentagon planners have drawn up a list of additional regime targets to be attacked in the event that the Syrian military retaliates against the US attack. In other words, if the Syrian regime opposes in any way the US aggression, that in turn will become a pretext for a further escalation of the violence.

The reference to restriking the same targets several times is a reminder of one of the most vicious tactics in the current US drone warfare in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and other countries. After a drone-fired missile hits a target and blows it up, a follow-up attack frequently targets rescuers, relatives of the victims and other “first responders,” often causing greater casualties than the initial strike.

It is a remarkable fact that the word “drone” does not appear in the vast outpouring of reporting and commentary on Syria in the US mainstream media. Given the reliance on drones by the Obama White House, this suggests that the press is following instructions to avoid the subject. There is little doubt that the first wave of cruise missiles will be preceded by drone-fired missiles aimed at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, his immediate family members and other close regime allies.

Officially, from Obama on down, administration officials continue to claim that the planned attack on Syria is not the beginning of an open-ended military attack, that it would “not be another Iraq or Afghanistan,” as Obama declared in his Saturday Internet/radio speech, and that it has been proposed purely in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Damascus suburb of el-Ghouta.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough appeared on five Sunday morning television interview programs to reiterate this position. The next stage in the administration propaganda blitz will include appearances by Obama on six network news broadcasts Monday night and a nationally televised speech Tuesday night.

McDonough gave a hint of the broader strategic interests of American imperialism in the Middle East that underlie the attack on Syria, declaring on NBC’s Meet the Press, “This is an opportunity to be bold with the Iranians,” a reference to the government which is the leading ally of Assad and the main target of US military planning.

He elaborated on ABC’s “This Week” program, arguing that what Congress chose to do in response to the alleged nerve gas attack would have global consequences: “The answer to that question will be followed closely in Tehran, the answer to that question will be followed closely in Damascus, the answer to that question will be followed very closely by members of Lebanese Hezbollah.”

Underscoring the imperialist goals of the Syria campaign, the White House dispatched two former Bush administration officials, former national security adviser Stephen Hadley and former Cheney aide Eric Edelman, to make the case for war at a briefing for Republican congressional staff.

McDonough claimed that at congressional briefings mounted by the Obama administration, “nobody is rebutting the intelligence, nobody doubts the intelligence” claiming Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack.

This only proves the utter spinelessness of Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, in the face of a decision for war taken by the military-intelligence apparatus through its mouthpiece Obama. As it happens, McDonough was adding another lie to the litany from the administration, as it happens, McDonough was once again distorting the facts, since a handful of congressmen have declared the administration’s “proof” unconvincing or purely circumstantial.

In an effort to beat down public resistance to its war drive, the administration released thirteen video clips allegedly showing victims of the gas attack outside Damascus. Aside from the lack of any proof that these video clips are genuine, they say nothing about the perpetrators of the alleged chemical attack.

In fact, the Obama administration has no credible evidence to back up its assertions that a chemical attack was carried out by the Assad regime. On Sunday, the Bild am Sonntag newspaper cited German intelligence intercepts to conclude that Syrian President Assad did not order chemical attacks, contradicting repeated assertions by the Obama administration. It was also reported that the head of the German intelligence service, addressing a closed meeting of a parliamentary committee last week, said his agency did not have conclusive evidence as to the source of the alleged August 21 chemical attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.

In his multiple television appearances on Sunday, White House Chief of Staff McDonough admitted that the Obama administration did not have “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt” evidence. “This is not a court of law,” he said, a remarkable statement from someone who is promoting a war that will kill untold thousands of Syrians, soldiers and civilians alike, and prepare the way for an even more bloody attack on Iran and an eventual military confrontation with Russia and China.

 US White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough made the unbelievable admission this week that Western interests have concluded Syria carried out an alleged chemical attack in eastern Damascus based on “common sense” rather than “irrefutable evidence.” Slate’s “White House: “Common-Sense Test” And Not “Irrefutable” Evidence Hold Assad Responsible,” states [emphasis added]: 

White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough went on the Sunday talk shows to drum up support for what he called a “targeted, limited effort” that will change “the momentum on the battle field” in Syria. Yet he also acknowledged on CNN that the evidence that ties Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the Aug. 21 attack outside Damascus that allegedly killed 1,429 people has more to do with a “common-sense test” rather than “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence.”

And while McDonogh, and his collaborators both in Washington and abroad, claim their planned assault on Syria is not a repeat of Iraq in terms of scale, it is clear that in terms of deception it is.

Slate would continue by stating [emphasis added]:

Now do we have a picture or do we have irrefutable beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence? This is not a court of law and intelligence does not work that way.” Meanwhile, McDonough also emphasized on NBC that “nobody is rebutting the intelligence; nobody doubts the intelligence.”

The answer highlights how the White House still has not shown the public a concrete piece of intelligence that directly connect Assad’s regime to the alleged chemical weapons attack, as the Associated Press points out in a detailed story.

The AP story Slate referred to is titled, “DOUBTS LINGER OVER SYRIA GAS ATTACK RESPONSIBILITY,” and states:

The U.S. government insists it has the intelligence to prove it, but the public has yet to see a single piece of concrete evidence produced by U.S. intelligence – no satellite imagery, no transcripts of Syrian military communications – connecting the government of President Bashar Assad to the alleged chemical weapons attack last month that killed hundreds of people.

In its absence, Damascus and its ally Russia have aggressively pushed another scenario: that rebels carried out the Aug. 21 chemical attack. Neither has produced evidence for that case, either. That’s left more questions than answers as the U.S. threatens a possible military strike.

While evidence of who actually carried out the attack remains elusive, what is clear is that the Western interests have made an intentionally baseless claim, echoing the verified lies told during the lead up to the military invasion and decade-long occupation of Iraq, and similar fabrications used to justify the 2011 assault on Libya.

Image: From Independent’s “Man whose WMD lies led to 100,000 deaths confesses all: Defector tells how US officials ‘sexed up’ his fictions to make the case for 2003 invasion.” In retrospect, the corporate-media has no problem admitting the insidious lies that were told to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq – the lead up to the war was another story. A verbatim repeat of these admitted lies are being directed at Syria amidst the West’s failure to overthrow the government with terrorist proxies.


What is also clear is the documented conspiracy to overthrow the Syrian government and destabilize neighboring Iran and Lebanon with a sectarian bloodbath by directly funding, arming, and otherwise providing material support for sectarian extremist groups aligned with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and who hold allegiance to Al Qaeda. This conspiracy began under the Bush administration as early as 2007 and has continued onward throughout the Obama administration.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 New Yorker article, “The Redirection,” stated (emphasis added):

“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

More recently, it would be revealed that the United States, the United Kingdom, and its regional axis including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have sent millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weaponry to a predominantly Al Qaeda led terrorist force operating inside and along Syria’s borders.

For instance, in the Telegraph’s article titled, “US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’,” it is reported:

It claimed 3,000 tons of weapons dating back to the former Yugoslavia have been sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb airport to the rebels, largely via Jordan since November.

The story confirmed the origins of ex-Yugoslav weapons seen in growing numbers in rebel hands in online videos, as described last month by The Daily Telegraph and other newspapers, but suggests far bigger quantities than previously suspected.

The shipments were allegedly paid for by Saudi Arabia at the bidding of the United States, with assistance on supplying the weapons organised through Turkey and Jordan, Syria’s neighbours. But the report added that as well as from Croatia, weapons came “from several other European countries including Britain”, without specifying if they were British-supplied or British-procured arms.

British military advisers however are known to be operating in countries bordering Syria alongside French and Americans, offering training to rebel leaders and former Syrian army officers. The Americans are also believed to be providing training on securing chemical weapons sites inside Syria.

“Common sense” would then dictate that with such substantial aid flowing to terrorists operating within Syria, it would be inconceivable for sectarian extremists to overrun Western-backed “moderate fighters” unless of course the summation of Western support was in fact flowing directly and purposefully into the hands of sectarian extremists from the beginning.

These are the same extremists drawn from Al Qaeda, the United States has warned for well over a decade might obtain chemical weapons and use them against a civilian population to achieve their goals. This points the finger directly toward Western-backed terrorists regarding the recent alleged chemical attack in Damascus, not the Syrian government. The attack would enable the United States and its military axis to take a more active and direct role in supporting these terrorist forces who have this past year suffered tremendous irreversible loses against a prevailing Syrian Arab Army.

“Common sense” points the finger in the opposite direction White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough has suggested. Without any actual evidence coming from a nation who has waged war habitually on fabricated justification, and who is clearly involved in a long-standing conspiracy to overthrow the Syrian government, and who is responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe it feigns interest in now ending, the world has understandably and universally opposed this latest act of unprovoked military aggression. 

Unfortunately, the decision on whether or not the US goes ahead anyway with another act of unprovoked war and 21st century conquest, does not hinge on real common sense or the will of the American people who categorically oppose any military operation, but rather on the compromised, corporate-financier purchased US Congress. In Congress, astoundingly, the lack of evidence is not at the center of debate, but rather what the consequences of America’s proposed military assault might be, and whether the assault should be, in fact,expanded. 

Shannonwatch have called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to clarify the significance of several U.S. troop carriers and other military aircraft at Shannon Airport in the run-up to what might well be a U.S. led attack on Syria.

As U.S. President Barack Obama continues to look for support for an attack that would have serious repercussions for the Syrian people and the region as a whole, the organisation calls on the Irish government to make its opposition clear by immediately ending the U.S. military use of the airport.

In the last week Shannonwatch recorded 14 U.S. military aircraft as well as four troop carriers at Shannon Airport. The military aircraft included Hercules C-130s operated by the U.S. Air Force and Navy, and two KC-10s. The KC-10 is a military version of the DC-10 and is used by the U.S. Air Force for transport and aerial refuelling. The presence of the KC-10s at Shannon could indicate that other US military aircraft are being refuelled in or near Irish airspace.

Shannonwatch are particularly concerned at the fact that on Saturday Sept 7th an armed man in army clothing was seen beside one of the U.S. Air Forces’ Hercules at the airport. “This man was either part of a support service being provided by the Irish army to the U.S. military, or the unauthorised presence of an armed U.S. soldier on Irish soil” said Shannonwatch spokesperson Edward Horgan. “If it was an Irish soldier providing support for the U.S. military, it calls our neutrality into serious question. If it was a U.S. soldier, it is a violation of Irish law as well as our neutrality, since the U.S. does not have permission to have weapons on its military aircraft at Shannon”.

The situation regarding the presence of weapons on U.S. military flights at Shannon was outlined by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamonn Gilmore in June of this year. In answer to a written parliamentary question he stated that permission for foreign military aircraft, including U.S. aircraft, to land at Irish airports is given only on condition that the aircraft are unarmed, carry no arms, ammunition or explosives and do not engage in intelligence gathering and that the flights in question do not form any part of military exercises or operations.

“It is inconceivable that U.S. military aircraft transiting Shannon airport would not be carrying armed personnel” said Edward Horgan. “The only way to be sure that they are not is to inspect them. But despite being asked repeatedly to do so, the authorities refuse”.

On 7th September Shannonwatch also recorded a U.S. Army C-12 twin-engine turboprop aircraft at Shannon Airport. C-12′s are used for various duties, including embassy support, medical evacuation, as well as passenger and light cargo transport. Some C-12′s are modified with surveillance systems for various missions.

“It is not clear if the C-12 seen at Shannon on Saturday was carrying military cargo or not” noted Edward Horgan. “Given the risks associated with a U.S. military attack on Syria, it is more important than ever to inspect these aircraft now”.

On Sunday 8th September two Omni Air International troop carriers departed from Shannon. “This means hundreds of troops passing through a civilian airport. Shannon is not equipped to deal with potential attacks on an army that may be now be preparing to attack Syria, having already invaded Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya over the last decade” said the Shannonwatch spokesperson.

In addition to the U.S. military planes at Shannon this week, Shannonwatch also identified a Gulfstream Aerospace G-1159A Gulfstream III that is reportedly leased by the Italian Air Force. It is not the first time it has visited Shannon but its presence in a supposedly neutral country is worrying. While Shannonwatch welcomes the Italian government’s statement that they will not take part in any US-led attack on Syria without full UN authorisation, there are nonetheless questions to be answered about the Italian Air Force presence in Shannon at the same time as the US Air Force according to their spokesperson Mr. Horgan.

“Because of the unusually high level of military activity at Shannon over the weekend, we are asking the Minister to immediately clarify whether or not the airport is being used to assist in the build-up to an attack on Syria, and to make a statement on the matter. As the Minister for Foreign Affairs it is his duty to ensure Ireland is not complicit in another illegal attack on a Middle Eastern country by the U.S. And the only sure way to do that is to end their use of Shannon Airport now.”

Link to photographs of military aircraft at Shannon on 7th/8th Sept.

أردوغان باشا أو نهاية جمهورية

September 9th, 2013 by Fida Dakroub

لم نتوقف، منذ بداية الحرب على سورية، عن لفت انتباه قرائنا إلى دسائس حزب العدالة والتنمية (AKP) الذي يجسده أردوغان باشا لاستعادة الخلافة العثمانية على رماد المدن السورية. تتبعنا الدروب الحائدة التي سعى من خلالها السيد اردوغان إلى إراقة الدماء في سورية. وبينّا في الوقت ذاته كيف أن طموحات أردوغان باشا في الخلافة على مستوى السياسة الخارجية -استعادة الخلافة العثمانية في الولايات العربية التابعة سابقا للإمبراطورية العثمانية- تستدعي تدابير “خلافوية” على مستوى السياسة الداخلية.

يُظهر بعض الأدلة بوضوح صارخ مدى معاناة الحريات المدنية في تركية من سياسات حزب العدالة والتنمية، المتماهي حاليا في شخص السيد اردوغان .

لقد اثار قرار هذا الأخير بناءَ مركز للتسوق في حديقة “جيزي” عاصفة من المظاهرات في المدن التركية، وانتقادات من أحزاب المعارضة . برفو كيزيلتان، Berfu KIZILTAN، متعاونة مع صحيفة “حريات” Hurriyet اليومية التركية، عارضت خطاب السيد أردوغان الأصم، وطلبت منه الاعتذار للشعب التركي. سيركان دميرتاس أطلق إنذارا بنهاية الجمهورية في تركية. يوضح مقاله الذي نشر في صحيفة حريات كيف أصبحت تركية بلدا يمارس فيه الحزب الحاكم قوة البوليس في أعنف أشكالها. زعيم حزب الشعب (CHP)، كمال كليتشدارول، انتقد السيد أردوغان قبل ذلك بعدة أشهر، قائلا ان رئيس الوزراء كان عازما على قمع الشعب وتضييق الديمقراطية.

ولكن هذا غير كاف بالنسبة للسيد أردوغان. إحدى الخطوات الأولى التي استهلها هي تقييد الحريات المدنية وتقزيم الحياة الديمقراطية، إجراءٌ ضد الديمقراطية والعلمانية، ضد أسس الجمهورية، بل وتركية كمال أتاتورك الحديثة.

على أردوغان أن يعتذر

في مقال بعنوان ” قائمة حاجات أردوغان: التسامح، التوافق والاعتذار”(1)، المنشور في صحيفة حريات التركية، اعترضت برفو كيزيلتان على الخطاب رئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب أردوغان الأصم، وطلبت منه الاعتذار للشعب التركي. وُتظهر كيزيلتان أن القوى الديمقراطية والمجتمع المدني خرجوا إلى الشوارع لحماية الديمقراطية والجمهورية، للاحتجاج على تقييد حرية الصحافة والتعبير، لمواجهة الاعتقال التعسفي لعشرات من الصحفيين الأحرار، وأنهم خرجوا أيضا للتعبير عن عدم رضاهم عن إجراءات حكومة أردوغان المنافية للديمقراطية ، مثل الرقابة على الإنترنت، وتجريم الإجهاض، وتنامي العنف ضد المرأة، وازدراء الثقافة والفنون، ومؤخرا قيود استهلاك الكحول. بعبارة واحدة: يحتج الأتراك على إصرار حكومة أردوغان على السيطرة على كل وجه من وجوه حياتهم اليومية، بل وقتل الجمهورية.

انتقدت برفو كيزيلتان حجة رئيس الوزراء المتعلقة بنتائج الانتخابات، مشيرة إلى أن خمسين في المئة من الأصوات لا تخول لرئيس الوزراء أردوغان حرية تجاهل النصف الآخر من الشعب التركي او تحقيره(2). وللتذكير، فقد وصفت السلطات التركية المتظاهرين بأنهم مخربون، مهمشون، انفصاليون، استفزازيون، مدمنو كحول، وأخيرا بأنهم çapulcu(3)، مع انهم في الواقع أكثر تعلما وتربية من “متشدقي” الحكومة. تبين كيزيلتان كيف ان المتظاهرين نجحوا في  ان يخلقوا، في ساحة تقسيم وحديقة جيزي بيئة رائعة من الوحدة، على الرغم من خطاب السيد اردوغان التقسيمي والاستقطابي.

كدليل، استطاع ناشطون خلق سوق وعيادة ومكتبة، واستخدمت النكتة كسلاح أكثر فعالية ضد بطش السلطات. وصنع المتظاهرون الشباب الضحك، ووجدوا طرقا جديدة لتطوير الحرب، وتعلموا طريقة ملفتة للصمود في وجه فظاعة هراوات الشرطة.  اغلبهم تعرض للضرب بوحشية على يد الشرطة التي اطلقت مئات قنابل الغاز المسيل للدموع . ومع ذلك، فقد صمد المتظاهرون في ساحة تقسيم وفي كل مكان في المدن التركية. كل هذا دفع بكيزيلتان الى أن تطالب رئيس الوزراء أردوغان بالاعتذار إلى المتظاهرين، ففي نظرها، فإن الحكم لا ترهيب الشعب . بالنسبة لها، فإن الحاكم الحقيقي هو من يكسب احترام المواطنين، لا خوفهم : “نصف الشعب ينتظر أن يعتذر رئيس الوزراء بصدق قبل أن يُعطى الشرعية مجددا، إذ أن التراجع خطوة إلى الوراء، في الاتجاه الصحيح افضل من أن الخطو الى الأمام، في الاتجاه الخاطئ(4)”، حسب ما أشارت اليه كيزيلتان.

أردوغان والدولة البوليسية

من جهته، يطلق سيركان دميرتاز الإنذار بنهاية الجمهورية في تركية. تبين مقالته المنشورة في صحيفة حريات بعنوان “مرحبا بكم في الجمهورية التركية للدولة البوليسية”(5)، كيف أصبحت تركية بلدا يمارس فيه الحزب الحاكم سطوة الدولة البوليسية (حتى العسكرية إذا اقتضى الأمر ذلك)، في أعتى أشكالها، ضد النصف الآخر من الناخبين الذين أطلقوا شرارة تمرد واسعة النطاق، لكبح نزعات السيد رئيس الوزراء الاستبدادية المتزايدة :

 Turkey has become a country where the ruling party representing half of the country’s electorate is exercising the state’s police (and military if needed) force in the most brutal way on the other half of electorate, who launched a massive uprising against the government’s growing authoritarian inclinations [6].

“خلف ممارسات الحكومة التركية المنافية للديمقراطية، هناك خطاب السيد اردوغان “نحن وهم”، هذه الممارسات تحوي تمييزا ضد الناس الذين لا يتبعون أسلوب حياة محافظ جدير بأن يوصف أصحابه بالمسلمين الأتقياء”..

At the core of this behavior lies the “us and them” policy/rhetoric of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan, whose purpose is to discriminate against those who do not share the conservative lifestyle of a pious Muslim and create a sort of “neighborhood pressure” on them. But this oppression is not limited to the scope of the secular-conservative debate in Turkey as the trend of this behavior is to expand its influence on different segments of the society through intimidation [7].

تتجه تركية، في الواقع، نحو نظام الدولة البوليسية . يكفي تفحص الوحشية التي استخدمتها الشرطة ضد المتظاهرين في تقسيم وجيزي. على سبيل المثال، وبعد شهرين من انطلاق حركة تقسيم، نزل الأتراك يوم 2 أوت- أغسطس إلى ميدان تقسيم للاحتجاج على عنف الشرطة ضد الشباب. يتعلق الأمر بيافع يبلغ من العمر 14 عاما، يدعى “بركن إيلفان”، تعرض للضرب المبرح على يد الشرطة يوم 15 جوان-يونيو عندما خرج من منزل والديه لشراء الخبز؛ بركن إيلفان يصارع الموت في العناية المركزة(8).

وفقا إيلفان، فإن سبب احتجاج الأتراك في الشوارع لم يكن بناء مركز تجاري في حديقة جيزي فحسب، بل رفضا لسياسات حكومة أردوغان الهادفة إلى تقزيم الحياة الديمقراطية وتقييد الحريات المدنية، كخطوة أولى نحو إقامة نظام خلافة إسلامية. وبعبارة أخرى، كان لدى المجتمع المدني، والقوى الديمقراطية والأحزاب السياسية العلمانية قناعة مبررة تماما مفادها أن المخاطر التي تهدد –ولا تزال تهدد- تركية كانت سياسات السيد اردوغان غير الديمقراطية.

وكذلك، أدرك جزء من المجتمع التركي بأن الصراع الحالي دائر بين أولئك الذين يسعون الى الحفاظ على دعائم الجمهورية الحديثة، المرتكزة على الشرعية الشعبية، والمواطنة، والتداول على السلطة، والعدالة الاجتماعية والكرامة الإنسانية، من جهة، وأولئك الذين يسعون أولا الى إحباط الجمهورية، ثم الى بلبلتها، كي يبنوا على رمادها -فيما بعد- نظام خلافة قائما على أساس عقيدة الإخوان المسلمين، نظام ستتقوض تحت حكمه القوى العلمانية والديمقراطية في النهاية، وتفقد الأقليات العرقية والدينية، مثل المسيحيين، العلويين واليهود والأكراد والأرمن حقوقهم كمواطنين في الجمهورية التركية، لتصبح موضوعات جديدة للخلافة التركية.

نهاية جمهورية

قبل بضعة أشهر من اندلاع احتجاجات جيزي، انتقد زعيم حزب الشعب (CHP)، كمال Kılıçdarol رئيس الوزراء اردوغان، بالقول ان رئيس الوزراء يعتزم قمع الشعب وتقييد الديمقراطية: “إذا اشتكى رئيس الوزراء من الفصل بين السلطات، وهو ما يعني أنه يشكو من الديمقراطية، فإنه غير جدير بأن يكون رئيس وزراء. وهذا يعني أن حياته السياسية انتهت في الديمقراطية.. لا يمكنه الحديث عن الديمقراطية والحرية.. لا يمكن أن يُنظر إليه كرئيس وزراء دولة حديثة. وأضاف Kılıçdarolu خلال مؤتمر صحفي يوم 19 ديسمبر-كانون الثاني 2012: “إنه رئيس وزراء ينتوي تأسيس سلطنته لقمع شعبه وتقييد الديمقراطية”(9).

في الواقع، فإن الشرعية الشعبية، والمواطنة، والتداول على السلطة، والعدالة الاجتماعية، وحرية الصحافة، وحرية التعبير، والحياة الخاصة، والكرامة الإنسانية، هي ركائز المجتمع الحديث في تركية، التي توشك ان تقوَّض لصالح أيديولوجية دينية يداعبها حلم بالخلافة، يشكل جزءا من آثار القرون الماضية.. أيديولوجية من شأنها فعل كل شيء من أجل تهديم البناء الجمهوري الحديث، سيكون شعارها الطغيان، ليس فقط في تركية، بل في مصر وتونس وليبيا أيضا، وفي أي مكان من العالم المسلم قد ينجح فيه الإخوان المسلمون و”شركاؤهم الدينيون” السلفيون في الاستيلاء على السلطة.. فليجنبنا الله مثل هذه الكارثة!

والحال كذلك، ما هي إذن التدابير التي سيتخذها السيد أردوغان وحزبه السياسي، حزب العدالة والتنمية (AKP)، لمواجهة الجمهورية؟ ولأي غرض؟

أولا، من حيث حرية الصحافة والتعبير، يكفي ان نلاحظ أحدث ترتيب لتركية على سلم لحرية الصحافة، كما ورد في تقرير منظمة “مراسلون بلا حدود” (RWB)، لمعرفة درجة التهديد الموجه ضد الجمهورية والديمقراطية في هذا البلد . كدليل على ذلك، قالت منظمة “مراسلون بلا حدود” أن تركية أصبحت الآن أكبر سجن للصحفيين(10)، وتحتل المركز الـ154 في مجال حرية الصحافة بين دول العالم، بتراجع قدره ست مراتب مقارنة بالعام 2012(11).

وبالإضافة، ينتقد تقرير المنظمة ذاتها جنون السلطات التركية، التي تعتبر ان التهم الموجهة إليها مصدرها مؤامرة تحيكها مجموعة من منظمات غير قانونية ضدها. وايضا، وفي المجال نفسه، انتقد الاتحاد الأوروبي السلطات التركية بسبب تكميمها حرية التعبير، ردا على إقالة الصحفي يافوز بيدار Yafuz Bidar(12) العامل بالصحيفة التركية “الصباح”. وتصر المفوضية الأوروبية في بيان حول أهمية بعض القضايا المتعلقة بحرية التعبير على ان تشدد على أن “استقلال سياسة التحرير والشفافية ورفض كل تدخل سياسي هي الركائز الأساسية التي تضمن حرية وسائل الإعلام”. وأعربت اللجنة أنها “تشعر بالقلق إزاء التدابير المتخذة ضد بعض الصحفيين الأتراك، مثل الفصل والعقوبات الجنائية”(13).

ثانيا، من حيث حقوق الإنسان، أصدرت المحكمة الأوروبية لحقوق الإنسان (CEDH) في جويلية-يوليو، عددا من الأحكام المتعلقة بانتهاكات حقوق الإنسان في تركية، نورد منها حكم 16 جويلية-يوليو في قضية عبد الله ياسا وآخرين بتركية، التي قالت بخصوصها النحكمة الاروبية لحقوق الانسان، بالإجماع، بأن هناك ” انتهاكا للمادة 3 (تحريم التعذيب والمعاملة اللاإنسانية والمهينة) الواردة في الاتفاقية الأوروبية لحقوق الإنسان(14).

ثالثا، من حيث المواطنة، كشفت صحيفة حريات التركية اليومية وثيقة رسمية حررتها مديرية التعليم الاقليمية التابعة لاسطنبول ان الأقليات العرقية والدينية من أصول يهودية، ويونانية وأرمنية وأناضولية صنفتها الإدارة السكانية التركية حسب “رمز عرقي” سري، أصبح ساري التنفيذ منذ عام 1923، عام تأسيس الجمهورية التركية. وبالنتيجة، يتم تحديد المواطنين الأتراك من أصل يوناني حسب الرمز 1، وهؤلاء الذين من أصل أرميني من خلال الرمز 2، وأولئك الذين أصل يهودي من خلال الرمز 3، كما ذكرت صحيفة حريات(15).

وصرح آلتان تان، وهو نائب عن حزب السلام والديمقراطية، أن ادعاءات مثيلة موجودة منذ مدة طويلة، لكن السلطات كانت ترفضها دائما. وأضاف تان ان “مثل هذه الممارسة، إن كانت موجودة حقا، تشكل كارثة كبيرة. السلطات تصنف سرا وبطريقة غير مشروعة المواطنين على اساس عرقي وديني.. هذه كارثة كبرى”(16).

رابعا، من حيث العدالة الاجتماعية، نبهت الأستاذة ياسمين نسيولو  Yasemin Nceolu ، من جامعة غالاتاساراي في اسطنبول، الى تنامي خطاب الكراهية والتمييز في وسائل الإعلام التركية . تكلمت نسيولو في ندوة نقاش نظمتها جمعية الصحفيين الأتراك في اسطنبول(17)، وحسبها، فإن وسائل الإعلام تلجأ الى أيديولوجية صارت مهيمنة في الخطاب اليومي، ترتكز على خطاب “نحن وهم”.. هؤلاء الذين لا يستجيبون لتوصيف “نحن” يتم اعتبارهم “آخرين”. وتضيف نسيولو ان في الخطاب اليومي لوسائل الإعلام “هناك أيضا رهاب المثلية، ومعاداة السامية ومعاداة العلوية، فضلا عن بعض المعارضة لغير المسلمين(18)”.

من جانبه، صرح المحامي نازان مورولو، الذي شارك في حلقة النقاش لـ”حريات” أن التمييز ضد المرأة قد تفاقم في تركية في السنوات الأخيرة. وقال ان “النساء المعتقلات خلال احتجاجات جيزي تعرضن للتحرش ولم يستطعن ان يقلن شيئا”(19). وأضاف: “قبل الآن، كان بمقدورنا أن نتحدث عن مثل هذه القضايا على شاشات التلفزيون منذ بضع سنوات، ولكن الآن لم نعد نستطيع، جميع قنوات التلفزيون مكبوحة، لا يمكننا سماع أصواتنا”(20).

خامسا، من حيث الخصوصية والكرامة الإنسانية، سن الرئيس التركي عبد الله غول قانونا مثير للجدل بإرادة من حكومة أردوغان، يقيد استهلاك وبيع والإعلان عن المشروبات الكحولية، رغم الاحتجاجات التي هزت البلد. يُحظر بيع المشروبات الكحولية منذ الآن بين الساعة العاشرة والسادسة. وبعد ان صُوّت عليه يوم 24 ماي في إجراء بسرعة نادرة، نددت به المعارضة العلمانية بعنف وأعلنت انه قانون خانق للحرية.

وطوال المناقشات البرلمانية، استنكرت المعارضة العلمانية بشدة قانونا خانقا للحرية يبيح للنظام تنظيم سلوك السكان الخاص، وأسلمة المجتمع التركي. قوبل هذا التضييق بقلق شديد لدى العلمانيين، الذين رأوا في القرار دليلا على أسلمة سياسة حزب العدالة والتنمية (AKP) الممسك بزمام السلطة منذ أكثر من عشر سنوات(21).

وحسب بعض من أحزاب من المعارضة، فإن إجراءات السيد اردوغان تمثل هجوما على أسس الديمقراطية والجمهورية نفسها في تركية.

الدكتورة فداء دكروب

ترجمة: خالدة مختار بوريجي

الموقع الرسمي للكاتبة


(1)ـ كيزيلتان، برفو، (18 جوان-يونيو 2013)

 “Erdoan’s needs list: Tolerance, compromise and apology”. In : Hurriyet. Récupéré le 18 juin 2013 de

(2)ـ السابق.

(3)ـ Çapulcu وصف باللغة التركية، يعني المخرب، الرعاع، غوغاء أو أوباش. ويستخدم رئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب اردوغان هذا التعبير لوصف الأشخاص الذين شاركوا في حركة احتجاج في تركيا في عام 2013 . واستخدمه في وقت لاحق المحتجون والأنصار أنفسهم الذين عرفوا أنفسهم بأنهم çapulcu، وتم تكييفه الى الانكليزية ليصبح chapuller أو chapulling وبالفرنسية chapulleur .

(4)ـ KIZILTAN، السابق .

[ 5 ] دميرتاز، سيركان . ( 18 جوان-يونيو 2013) . “Welcome to the Turkish Republic of Police State”. In : Hurriyet. Récupéré le 18 juin 2013 de (6)ـ الآنف.

(7)ـ الآنف.

 (8) روسيا اليوم ( 2 أوت-أغسطس 2013) . “Istanbul police use tear gas to break up protest over critically injured teenager”. Récupéré le 5 août 2013 de

969 / [9 ] بيراند، سميح  (20 ديسمبر 2012) . “نهاية ‘الديمقراطية’ في تركية: أردوغان يريد تعطيل الفصل بين السلطات..” . منشور في JSS نيوز . معاد 20 أوت_أغسطس 2013 إلى [ 10] حريت . ( 24 يوليو 2013 ).

(10=ـ حريات (24 جويلية-يوليو 2013):. “Turkey now 154th in world press freedom index”. Récupéré le .31 juillet 2013.

[11 ] Reporters Without Borders. (sans date). “Press Freedom Index 2013″. Récupéré le 3 août 2013,1054.html

  (12)ـ يافوز بيدار، صحفي تركي شهير، تلقى دعوة من المفوضية الأوروبية لإلقاء كلمة في مؤتمر عقد أواخر جوان-يونيو في بروكسل. وهناك انتقد الحكومة التركية ورجال الأعمال الكبار الذين يتدخلون ل سياسيا في مجال الصحافة.

 [13 ] سوزان فريزر . “Turkey Criticized After Journalist Yavuz Baydar Fired For New York Times Op-Ed”.

منشور بـThe Huffington Post le 26 juillet 2013. Récupéré le 31 juillet 2013 de

 (14)ـ المحكمة الأوروبية لحقوق الإنسان (16 جويلية-يوليو 2013) . عريضة رقم 44827 / 08، “قضية عبد الله ياسا وآخرين. تركيا”.

(15)ـ حريات (1 أغسطس 2013).{“languageisocode”:["FRA"],”documentcollectionid2″:["JUDGMENTS"],”itemid”:["001-122368"]}

(16)ـ “Minorities in Turkey tagged by ‘race codes,’ official document reveals”. Récupéré le 2 août 2013 de [16] loc. cit.

(17)ـ حريات (30 جويلية-يوليو 2013) . “Turkish journalists discuss hate speech in media”. Récupéré le 5 août 2013


 (18)ـ السابق.

(19)ـ السابق.

(20)ـ السابق.

(21)ـ أوبرتي، شارلوت (27 ماي 2013 ). ” تركيا تواصل حملتها الدينية على الكحول”. فرانس 24 / 18 أغسطس 2013.

المصدر : أردوغان باشا أو نهاية جمهورية | بقلم : د. فداء دكروب – مركز عرين للمعلومات

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The Concerned Africans Forum has noted with grave concern the US senate Foreign Relations Committee’s draft resolution authorising military strikes on Syria.

The Concerned Africans Forum believes that military strikes, even if ‘limited’, will not take Syria any closer to resolving a tragic conflict where over 100 000 lives have already been lost and in excess of 6 million Syrians have been internally displaced.

Yet US President Barack Obama appears resolute about pressing ahead with a military strike amid growing scepticism about the wisdom and prudence of such a move. The British Parliament’s vote against any involvement in military action signalled growing popular fatigue with such misguided adventurism following the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is also mounting citizen pressure in the United States, which helps to account for Obama seeking a Congressional mandate and approval for the use of force as he “determines to be necessary and appropriate”.

Obama and his allies appear to be unfazed by the growing international outcry against a war on Syria. We appeal to President Obama to consider the dangerous implications of his intended military action, which without UN Security Council approval, will be a violation of the UN Charter and international law.

We join millions of people around the world in appealing to the House of Representatives, which is set to vote on 9 September 2013, to reject such misguided action which will inevitably lead to mass destruction of human lives and property in Syria. Lessons should be drawn from the wars on Iraq and Libya.

In this regard, we fully support the statement by the Forum for Former African Heads of State and Government, which is posted on:

Similarly, we welcome the South African government’s call for an all-inclusive national dialogue in Syria. We strongly believe this is the only humane solution out of the Syrian crisis.

We condemn the use of chemical weapons, no matter from which quarters this action was carried out and appeal to the guilty parties to refrain from pursuing such heinous crimes. The international community must allow the UN weapons inspectors the space to carry out their investigations to verify the veracity of such allegations. Reports suggest that the team needs at least two weeks to complete its findings. In the interest of transparency, this should be respected by the US administration.

As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, “the use of chemical weapons anywhere by anybody under any circumstances would violate international law.”Therefore, we would do well to recall the western complicity and silence when Saddam Hussein used sarin nerve agents and mustard gas in the Kurdish town of Halabja on 16 March 1988. The result was an estimated 5000 people dead and 7000-10000 injured.

The 1925 Geneva Protocol banning the use of chemical weapons was a direct response to the horrors experienced during World War I when poison gas was used to break through the front lines. Furthermore, the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention strengthens the Geneva Protocol by banning the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. Yet, when the facts were incontrovertible in the massacre of Halabja, there was no sanction against the regime of Saddam Hussein compared to the unwavering determination to launch a military strike against the Assad government

The same can be said of Israel’s use of white phosphorus in Gaza in 2008-2009 and twice in Lebanon, in 1982 and then again in 2006.

Following an earlier chemical attack in Aleppo, unsubstantiated allegations were made, accusing the Syrian government of being responsible. However, Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, found that in fact, it was the rebels and not the Syrian government that was responsible for the chemical attacks.

Earlier this year, we called for a negotiated political settlement, which now resonates even louder given the current state of affairs, (see attached open letter). Any punitive strike is bound, not only to exacerbate the conflict in Syria, but it will also lead to heightened geo-political tensions and instability, possibly drawing in Israel and Iran.

The United Nations must reclaim the initiative as a convening authority to advance a negotiations agenda on the basis of the Geneva II process and in terms of the principles and commitments that President Assad made in his speech of 6 January 2013.


 March 2013.

Dear Secretary General,

All of us, the undersigned, are South Africans.

You will therefore understand it if our observations are draw on our own national experience to end what had been a very deadly conflict stretching over a much longer period than the Syrian conflict.

For some time we have been gravely concerned about the deadly conflict in Syria, very interested that it should be solved expeditiously and peacefully.

 We were therefore very happy that together with the League of Arab States, successively you appointed the eminent Africans, Kofi Annan and then Lakhdar Brahimi, charged with the onerous task to facilitate this outcome.

In this regard we were very encouraged that the UN, and you personally, were associated with a determined effort to assist the Syrian people to arrive at a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict.

We have absolutely no doubt that this solution must include a fundamental reform of the Syrian constitutional and political system.


We believe that everybody committed to the genuine interests of the Syrian people and the peace and stability in the region, agree with this, including the Syrian Government. The intransigent demands of sections of the armed groups for regime change as preconditions for any discussions are unacceptable.

The attitude of the Friends of Syria is provocative and an obstacle to finding a peaceful negotiated settlement


The obvious challenge your eminent envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, faces is to elaborate the process which would enable all concerned, including the Syrian Government and Opposition, to arrive at an agreement about what should be done to end the conflict and bring about the fundamental constitutional and political reforms we have mentioned.


We would like to explain that this Open Letter was provoked by the major speech delivered by Syrian President Bashar al- Assad on 6 January 2013, after a silence of many months.


The first thing we would like to say in this regard is that it seemed obvious to us that those genuinely interested in resolving the conflict in Syria should study this speech carefully, which we have done.



The UNSG, in terms of your mandate must encourage everybody to seek a political solution.

Any untimely and ill-advised statement foreclosed all options envoy Lakhdar Brahimi might have had to build on what President Assad had said, and seriously compromised his possibility to facilitate a peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict.


At this point we would like to make one of the observations we believe is fundamental to the resolution of the Syrian conflict.


You may recall, Mr Secretary General, that a critical matter on which the global community agreed to with regard to the resolution of the conflict in South Africa, was that a negotiated resolution of this conflict would only be possible if the belligerents, without exception, entered into direct negotiations to determine the future of our country.


Prior to this, the world community, through the UN General Assembly, had declared the system of apartheid a crime against humanity, the first and only time, since the demise of Nazism, that any system of government had been declared as such a crime.

And yet absolutely nobody, including the South Africans themselves, ever thought it correct to exclude from the negotiations representatives of the regime which formally, according to the relevant Convention, was guilty of a grave “crime against humanity”.


We therefore find it very strange and monstrous indeed that in the Syrian case an absurd and counter-productive pre-condition is being advanced that one of the principal belligerents, the Syrian Government, should therefore first step down, thus to facilitate the peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict!

To add to this absurdity, similarly strange and monstrous demands have been made that one of the belligerents, the Syrian Government, should unilaterally cease its military operations, with no similar demand being made about the other belligerent, the armed Opposition.


To this we must add that, as openly acknowledged by everybody,there are foreigners who constitute an important part of the ‘Syrian’ armed Opposition. Fundamentalist armed forces from Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan Chechnya and other countries are fighting in Syria


We never had this phenomenon in our case. Everybody was therefore certain, as happened, that once the political leaders of the principal belligerents in our country decided to engage in negotiations to arrive at a peaceful settlement, the armed forces on both sides of the conflict would respect this decision.

It is obvious that this is one of the critical and challenging matters that must be addressed in the search for a negotiated resolution of the Syrian conflict.

The second observation we would like to make, related to the above, is that what obstructs the peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict is that some in the international community who exercise very significant power in various respects, are pursuing only one objective with regard to Syria – namely, regime change!

Despite the fact that at the moment we began our negotiations to end the system of apartheid, our country was governed by a regime presumed to be guilty of the grievous crime against humanity, nobody, including the countries now calling for regime change in Syria, ever suggested that “regime change” in South Africa was a pre-condition for the peaceful resolution of our challenges!

UN/LAS Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi must try his best to encourage a global consensus to strengthen his possibility to encourage the various Syrian belligerents to engage in serious negotiations.

That he has so far failed is due to the fact some of the external players involve directly or indirectly involved in the Syrian crisis are not in the least interested in creating the space for the Syrian people to resolve their problems.

Rather, they are focused on ‘regime change’ to address what they believe are their important geo-strategic interests, which have nothing to do with the welfare of the Syrian people or peace and stability in the region and international peace and security.

We are very concerned, Mr Secretary General, that it seems that some powerful forces have taken sides in this regard, in favour of the forces seeking ‘regime change’.

 We have absolutely no doubt that the position of some countries in the Friends of Syria grouping in this regard have contributed to the stubborn position of the Syrian Opposition which has so far insisted that it will not enter into negotiations with the Syrian Government,

At this point we would like to identify various elements in President Assad’s 6 January 2013 speech which we believe constitutes elements of a basis for the peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict.

In particular, among others, President Assad committed his Government to:

(i) a negotiated resolution of the Syrian conflict, indicating the willingness of his Government to talk to the Opposition;

(ii) engage all genuine Syrian ‘peace partners’ in this regard, a demand akin to what the late Yassir Arafat repeatedly stated when he described his interaction with the late Yitzhak Rabin, (and the Israelis later demanded with regard to Yassir Arafat), involving all Opposition forces, those based both inside and outside Syria;

(iii) the formation of a broad-based Government, effectively a Government-of-National Unity;

 (iv) the elaboration under this Government of a new constitutional and judicial system and the political and economic features, as it will also include agreement on new laws for the parties, elections and local administration, etc.” through a process of an inclusive national dialogue, and National Conference, whose results would be submitted to a National Referendum;

(v) accordingly, the protection of the sovereign right of all the Syrian people to determine their destiny, without foreign interference;

 (vi) the right and duty of the Syrian Government to protect all parts of the Syrian infrastructure, the national heritage, from destruction, and ensure peace and stability in the country;

(vii) the negotiation of an arrangement(s) to ensure the mutual security of Syria and its neighbours;

 (viii) the holding of new elections to enable the Syrian people to choose a new Government, held on the basis of the agreement that would result from the processes indicated in (iv) above;

(ix) the implementation of a ‘general amnesty’ for all those who had been involved in the armed conflict, through the processes indicated in (iv) above, while respecting the right of individuals to resort to the courts to seek justice for any harm they might have suffered from the actions of any of the armed belligerents, including a provision for the necessary reparation;

(x) the convening of a Conference and process for “national reconciliation” through the processes indicated in (iv) above; and,

 (xi) a programme decided during the process indicated in (iv) above to respond to the challenge of rebuilding and restoring the infrastructure destroyed or damaged during the armed conflict.

Quite frankly, Mr Secretary General, we find it extremely difficult to understand why and how you made the determination that these proposals, in themselves, do not “contribute to a solution that could end the terrible suffering of the Syrian people”.

To the contrary, we believe that you should have publicly stated that all the objectives above are a necessary and acceptable but incomplete part of what is required peacefully to resolve the Syrian conflict.

We fully accept that it will be impossible for the Syrian Opposition to accept the proposal made by President Assad that his Government should have exclusive powers to guide the entire process indicated in the suggestions detailed above.

Mr Secretary General, we cannot but note that you have been very silent about the demand in the Geneva Communiqué that “All parties must re-commit to a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms and implementation of the six-point plan immediately and without waiting for the actions of others.”

Those seeking a genuine political solution in Syria reject the demands of the faction favouring a ‘regime change’ and that only the Syrian Government should act to ‘cease armed violence’, without demanding the same of the armed Opposition.

Indeed, the UNSC has been very silent when some of the very same signatories of the Geneva Communiqué have spoken publicly about their determination to strengthen and encourage the Syrian armed Opposition!

We will now return to the matter of the establishment of a transitional governing body in Syria.

It is perfectly obvious that this cannot be imposed from outside.

We strongly suggest that this should be a result of negotiations among the Syrians, and not a pre-condition for such negotiations.

Again you will recall that in our South African case, we did not establish any ‘transitional governing body’ in our country. We allowed the regime ostensibly guilty of the crime against humanity, to remain as the governing body throughout the process of negotiations, until it was replaced through the 1994 democratic elections.

An all Party Transitional National Council ensured that the than all white apartheid Parliament did not take any decisions that could impact negatively on the negotiations process and a future democratic government in South Africa.

The esteemed UN/LAS Envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, should have taken advantage of the positive commitments made by President Assad on 6 January 2013, to engage the Syrian Government about what might be done to address this one matter of devising an arrangement such that the Opposition would be assured that it would play its due and legitimate role during the transitional and negotiations period, without giving the Syrian Government any veto powers in this regard.

We are certain that with the necessary will and creativity, this outcome can be achieved, with no requirement for a condition precedent of ‘regime change’.

This was done in South Africa. We can see no reason why this cannot be achieved in Syria.

Fundamental to everything we have said, Mr Secretary General, is the requirement on the part of absolutely everybody concerned, including yourself and the UN as a whole, to understand the imperative practically to respect, without equivocation, the sovereign right of the people of Syria to determine their destiny.

This is a fundamental and inalienable precept in all the principal documents of the UN, a precept that you, as the UN Secretary General, independent of all Member States of the UN, have an obligation to defend at all costs.

In other words you have the obligation to defend the rule of law as represented in the international law represented in many UN documents, starting with the UN Charter, which international rule of law is being blatantly violated in the case of Syria, most unfortunately with the encouragement of the Friends of Syria.

One of the undeniable realities about Syria is that those who pursue the objective of ‘regime change’ made a fundamental mistake when they thought or assumed that it would be possible ‘easily’ to overthrow the Syrian Government through armed rebellion.

Despite repeated assertions by the international ‘regime change’ faction that ‘the Assad regime’ is about to fall, life has proved this wishful forecast wrong, and will continue to do so.

One reason for this is that important sections of the Syrian population support the Syrian Government, which means that it is radically wrong to pretend that this Government represents nobody but itself.

Yet another of the undeniable realities about Syria is that what has sustained the armed rebellion is not so much its internal support as external all-round support and encouragement.

This is despite the solemn commitment made by the signatories of the Geneva Communiqué that “Action Group members are opposed to any further militarisation of the conflict”, some of whom have done everything they can precisely to ‘militarise’ the Syrian conflict.

Because of all manner of deceit, dishonesty, double standards and pursuit of national geo-strategic interests at all costs, even after the signing of the Geneva Communiqué, many Syrians have died, many have been displaced internally and turned into refugees, and much infrastructure has been destroyed, when the possibility existed, with the active involvement of the UN and the LAS, peacefully to resolve the Syrian conflict.

 Those in the rest of the world, outside Syria, who are responsible for this reality, have determined that the lives of the Syrian people are worth nothing, provided that they achieve their geo-strategic goals.

Today sections of the Syrian National Council and the unarmed opposition are calling for negotiations without preconditions.

The failure of the UNSC to act decisively and collectively to find a peaceful negotiated solution to end the tragic violence further eroded the prestige of the UN, and the Office of the UN Secretary General, as defenders of the interests of the smaller countries, such as our own, against the diktat by the major powers.

We strongly suggest, Mr Secretary General, that you position yourself on the side of the Syrian people, both those who support and those who oppose the Syrian government.

Millions of people in Africa and the rest of the world are concerned that the UN is increasingly being transformed into an instrument of the West.

As Secretary General, you must do somethingto help restore the prestige of the UN and the UN Secretary General.

We have no doubt that if you acted decisively to assist the Syrian people peacefully and speedily to resolve their conflict, this would help you to achieve these objectives.

We suggest, humbly, that you might find it very useful to draw on the South African experience, among others, to facilitate the peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict.

We hope you will understand, Mr Secretary General, that the pursuit of the objective of ‘regime change’ in Syria, under whatever guise, and the attendant external support and encouragement of the armed Opposition, only means the death and displacement of yet more Syrians, the destruction of infrastructure, and further enormous destabilisation of the Middle East, with unforeseen consequences.

We have addressed this Open Letter to you, Mr Secretary General, simply because we wish for the people of Syria the same benefits of peace, democracy, national reconciliation and development which our own process of negotiations among all belligerents, without none excluded, brought to all our people.

Please accept, Mr Secretary General, the assurance of our respect.


1     Dr Wally Serote – Author and Indigenous Knowledge Systems expert

2     Prof Pedro TabenskyDirector of the Allan Gray Centre for Leadership Ethics, in the Department of Philosophy: Rhodes University

3     Ms Thoko Didiza – Former Cabinet Minister

4     Dr Sydney Mufamadi – Director of the School of Leadership, UJ and Former Cabinet Minister

5     David Maimela – Former President of SASCO and researcher and MISTRA

6     Reverend Frank Chikane – Author and Former Director-General in the Office of the President

7     Prof Chris Landsberg - National Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, University of Johannesburg

8     Dr Essop Pahad – Editor, The Thinker and Former Minister in the Presidency

9     Sam Ramsamy – International Olympics Committee Member

10  Aziz Pahad –Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs

11  Mrs Zanele Mbeki – Gender Specialist

12  Prof. Alec Erwin – Associate Professor at UCT and Former Cabinet Minister

13   Dr Zoleka Ndayi – Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Fort Hare

14   Dr Malapo Qhobela – Vice Principal- Institutional Development – Unisa

15  Sekgobola Thobakgale – Africann Renaissance Youth Network

16  Prof Vusi Gumede – Head of the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI)

17  Dr Snuki Zikalala – Former GCEO SABC News

18  Mr S. Donga

19  Meiya G. Nthoesane – Manager: Corporate Services, Centre for Business Management, Unisa

20  Hazel Setzin -Director Rochefauld International

21  Marthe Muller – COO, South African Women in Dialogue

22  Miranda Strydom – Former Journalist

23  Amanda Dlamini – President of The African Pioneers and member of the African Youth Coalition

24   Mbongeni Magubane – Vice Chair, Pan African Youth Dialogue

25   Theresa Strydom – Social Worker

26   Sithembiso Khanyile – Executive Director of South African for Peace in Africa Initiative (SAPAI

27  Nkululo D. Lawu – Director, Inkululo African Solutions


Documentary Movie: September 11 and the New Pearl Harbor

September 9th, 2013 by Massimo Mazzucco

9/11 Truth is an important movement which is spreading across North America.  

In relation to the 12th anniversary commemoration of the tragic events of 9/11 and their aftermath, Global Research brings to the attention of our readers this timely and carefully researched documentary on the September 11 attacks by Italy’s award winning film director Massimo Mazzuco. 

To see the fully indexed film in one page go to You can also purchase the 5-hour film in a 3 DVD set.

Italian and French versions also available. Full info at


 Table of Contents


0.01:02 – 12 parallels between Pearl
Harbor and September 11
0.14:10 – The debate: main issues


0.14:55 – Where are the interceptors?
0.16:12 – The “incompetence theory”
(radars, transponders)
0.22:00 – The military drills
0.29:40 – Specific warnings
0.33:08 – The chain of command
0.38:10 – Promotions, not punishments
0.39:50 – The Mineta case
0.47:38 – Debunkers: “Mineta was mistaken”
0.53:18 – The Mineta case – A summary


0.57:15 – “Piss-poor student pilots”
0.59:38 – Marwan al-Sheikki (UA175)
1.01:52 – Ziad Jarrah (UA93)
1.03:06 – Hani Hanjour (AA77)
1.04:00 – The debunkers’ positions
1.06:00 -  2 simulations of the Pentagon attack
1.13:10 – Someone knew?
1.16:40 – Airport security cameras
1.20.15 – The missing black boxes


1.26:50 – Passenger planes or military drones?
1.28:20 – Impossible speeds
1.37:30 – What happened to the passengers?
1.38:35 – The cellphone calls
1.48:30 – The debunkers’ position
1.50:38 – If not from the planes, from where?


2. (Preview)


0.02:35 – Downed light poles
0.03:30 – The missing plane
0.04:30 – The official version
0.05:24 – Problems with the official version
(wing, ailerons, tail, engines)
0.13:09 – The mystery hole
0.14:10 – The debunkers’ explanations
0.16:20 – Conclusions on damage analysis
0.17:00 – The missing tapes
0.18:30 – Security video analysis
0.23.40 – Pentagon summary


0.24.15 – The empty hole
0.28.00 – The debunkers’ explanations
0.33:00 – Plane crash or bomb explosion?
0.34:50 – The debris field
0.37.20 – The shootdown hypothesis
0.38:50 – The small white plane
0.41:40 – “Let’s roll”
0.44:25 – Summary of Flight 93


0.45:10 – Introduction
0.47:45 – The Towers’ small dirty secret
0.53:10 – Larry Silverstein
0.56:15 – NIST vs. Architects & Engineers
0.58:00 – Robust or fragile buildings?
1.04:45 – The initial collapse – Explanation #1
1.05:45 – The initial collapse – Explanation #2
1.07:35 – Problems with the official explanation
1.18:00 – The full collapse – No official explanation
1.18:50 – Law of physics violated
1.20:50 – The Twin Towers and freefall
1.27:50 – Debunkers’ response to A&E

3. (Preview)

(Twin Towers continued)

0.00:20 – The hypothesis of controlled demolitions
0.01:08 – Debunkers: “Impossible to place explosives”
0.07:34 – Explosions in the Twin Towers (witnesses)
0.15:00 – “Fuel in elevators shafts” theory
0.23:25 – Debunkers: “Explosions not recorded by tv cameras”
0.30:26 – Squibs
0.33:00 – Explosive force (montage)
0.35:00 – Ejecta
0.38:00 – Diagonal cuts
0.40:15 – What happened to the hat trusses?
0.42:20 – Extreme temperatures
0.45:30 – Debunkers’ explanations
0.46:45 – Twisted and mangled beams
0.47:40 – Molten steel
0.51:05 – Molten concrete
0.53:50 – Pulverization
0.57:40 – Victims vaporized
1.02:20 – Conclusion on the Twin Towers


1.05:10 – Introduction
1.06:35 – Official version by NIST
1.09:36 – Collapse computer simulation
1.11:00 – Fire computer simulation
1.12:20 – Debunkers: “Building 7 weaker”
1.14:25 – Preknowledge
1.19:00 – Symmetry
1.20:00 – Freefall


1.22:30 – John McCain
1.24:35 – The last word

 There is nothing tragic about the Obama presidency, capable of drawing the analytical talents of a neo-Plutarch or a neo-Gibbon. This is more like a Pirandello farce, a sort of Character in Search of An Author.

Candidates to Author are well documented – from the Israel lobby to the House of Saud, from a select elite of the industrial-military-security complex to, most of all, the rarified banking/financial elite, the real Masters of the Universe. Poor Barack is just a cipher, a functionary of empire, whose ”deciding” repertoire barely extends to what trademark smile to flash at the requisite photo-ops.

There’s nothing ”tragic” about the fact that during this week – marking the 12th anniversary of 9/11 – this presidency will be fighting for its bombing ”credibility” trying to seduce Republican hawks in the US Congress while most of the warmongers du jour happen to be Democrats.

Republicans are torn between supporting the president they love to hate and delivering him a stinging rebuke – as much as they are aching to follow the orders of their masters, ranging from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to military contractors. Once again, this is farce – caused by the fact that a man elected to finish off wars is eager to start yet another one. And once again without a United Nations vote.

The White House ”strategy” in this crucial negotiating week boils down to this; to convince the US Congress that the United States must start a war on Syria to punish an ”evil dictator” – once again, as bad as Hitler – for gassing children. The evidence? It’s ”indisputable”.

Well, it’s not ”irrefutable”. It’s not even ”beyond-a-reasonable-doubt”. As Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough admitted, with a straight face, it boils down to ”a quite strong common sense test, irrespective of the intelligence, that suggests that the regime carried this out”.

So if this is really about ”common sense”, the president is obviously not being shown by his close coterie of sycophants this compendium of common sense, compiled by a group of top, extremely credible former US intelligence officials, which debunks all the ”evidence” as flawed beyond belief. To evoke a farce from 12 years ago, this clearly seems to be a case of ”facts being fixed around the policy”.

And to compound the farce, this is not even as much about Syria per se as about ”sending a message to Iran”, code for ”if you keep messing with us, you’re going to be bombed.”

Follow the plutocrats

Then there’s the ”credibility” farce. The Obama administration has convoluted the whole world in its own self-spun net, insisting that the responsibility for the ”red line” recklessly drawn by the president is in fact global. Yet the pesky ”world” is not buying it.

The Arab street doesn’t buy it because they clearly see through the hypocrisy; the desperate rush to ”punish” the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria while justifying everything the apartheid state of Israel perpetrates in occupied Palestine.

The Muslim world doesn’t buy it because it clearly sees the demonization only applies to Muslims – from Arafat to bin Laden to Saddam to Gaddafi and now Assad. It would never apply to the military junta in Myanmar, which was clever enough to engineer an ”opening”; the next day Westerners were lining up to kiss the hem of Burmese longyis.

It would never apply to the Islam Karimov dictatorship in Uzbekistan because ”we” always need to seduce him as one of our bastards away from Russia and China.

It eventually applies, on and off, to the Kim dynasty in North Korea, but with no consequences – because these are badass Asians who can actually respond to an US attack.

Informed public opinion across the developing world does not buy it because they clearly see, examining the historical record, that Washington would never really be bothered with the sorry spectacle of Arabs killing Arabs, or Muslims killing Muslims, non-stop. The 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war is a prime piece of evidence.

At the Group of 20 summit last week, the BRICS group of emerging powers – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – as well as Indonesia and Argentina, clearly stressed that a war on Syria without UN Security Council approval would qualify Obama as a war criminal.

Even among the European poodles ”support” for the White House is extremely qualified. Germany’s Angela Merkel and even France’s attack dog Francois Hollande said the primacy is with the UN. The European Union as a whole wants a political solution. It’s enlightening to remember that the EU in Brussels can issue arrest warrants for heads of EU governments guilty of war crimes. Someone in Paris must have warned attack dog Hollande that he would not welcome the prospect of slammer time.

”Evil” as a political category is something worthy of the brain dead. The key question now revolves around the axis of warmongers – Washington, Israel and the House of Saud. Will the Israel lobby, the more discreet but no less powerful Saudi lobby, and the Return of the Living Dead neo-cons convince the US Congress to fight their war?

And then there’s the curioser and curioser case of al-Qaeda – essentially the Arabic denomination for a CIA database of US-Pakistani-Saudi trained mujahideen during the 1980s: the oh so convenient transnational bogeyman that ”legitimized” the Global War On Terror (GWOT) of the George W Bush years; the ”opening” for al-Qaeda to move to Iraq; and now, no middle men; the CIA and the Obama administration fighting side-by-side with al-Qaeda in Syria. No wonder the denomination ”al-CIAeda” has gone viral.

With farce after farce after farce piling up in their own Tower of Babel, the much-vaunted ”US credibility” is in itself the biggest farce of all. Politically, no one knows how the vacuum will be filled. It won’t be via the UN. It won’t be via the BRICS. It won’t be via the G-20 – which is seriously divided; at least new multipolar players are carrying way more weight than US poodles.

Much would be made to restore ”US credibility” if the Obama administration had the balls to force both the House of Saud and Qatar (”300 people and a TV station”, in the epic definition of Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar Sultan – aka Bandar Bush) to end once and for all their weaponizing of hardcore ”rebels” and ultimately hardcore jihadis, and accept Iran in the negotiating table for a real Geneva II peace process in Syria. It won’t happen because this bypasses farce.

Once again; helpless Barack is just a paperboy. The plutocrats in charge are getting extremely nervous. The system is melting – and they need to act fast.

They need a Syria as docile as the Arab petro-monarchies. They want to hit Russia bad – and then discuss missile defense and Russian influence in Eastern Europe from a position of force. They want to hit Iran bad – and then continue to issue ultimatums from a position of force. They want to facilitate yet another Israeli attempt to capture southern Lebanon (it’s the water, stupid). They want a monster gas pipeline from Qatar for European customers bypassing Iran and Syria as well as Gazprom. Most of all, this is all about control of natural resources and channels of distribution.

These are real motives – and they have nothing to do with farce. Farce is only deployed to kill any possibility of real diplomacy and real political discussion. Farce is a theatrical mask – as in ”humanitarian” imperialism – the ”acceptable” version of the Dick Cheney-run years.

It’s as if Dick Cheney had never left the building; paperboy Barack is Dick Cheney with a ”human” face. The only good outcome in this multi-sorrowful tale is that the real ”international community”, all around the world, has seen the naked Emperor in all its (farcical) glory.

 Many senators began this week still uncommitted on whether they’ll vote for attacking Syria. Among the fence-sitters are enough “progressives” to swing the Senate’s decision one way or the other.

 That decision is coming soon — maybe as early as Wednesday — and the Obama White House is now pulling out all the stops to counter public opinion, which remains overwhelmingly against a war resolution. The administration hopes to win big in the Senate and carry momentum into the House, where the bomb-Syria agenda faces a steeper climb.

 Some Democratic senators who’ve cultivated progressive reputations nationwide — Barbara Boxer of California, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Al Franken of Minnesota — haven’t hesitated to dive into Obama’s war tank. Boxer, Durbin and Franken quickly signed on as carnage bottom-feeders, pledging their adamant support for the U.S. government to attack yet another country.

 Other Democrats, like Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Tom Udall of New Mexico, have made clear their intention to vote “no” when the war-on-Syria measure reaches the Senate floor.

 But more than a dozen other senators widely viewed as liberal or progressive have held back from committing themselves on how they’ll vote. Here’s a partial list of those equivocators:

      *  Both Massachusetts senators, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey

     *  Both Oregon senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

     *  Both Colorado senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet

     *  Both Washington senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell

     *  Ohio senator Sherrod Brown

     *  Wisconsin senator Tammy Baldwin

     *  Rhode Island senator Sheldon Whitehouse

     *  Hawaii senator Mazie Hirono

     *  Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar

If you live in one of those states, or anywhere else in the USA for that matter, you can send a quick email to your senators and representative to tell them “No Attack on Syria” by clicking here.

 Perhaps no “undecided” stance from senators is more egregious than the one from Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, who won a hard-fought race that elevated her from the House of Representatives last year on the strength of major progressive support.

Speaking at the annual Fighting Bob Fest in Madison last weekend, Baldwin sparked an angry response to her doubletalk about Syria. A video of the encounter shows a wooden politician who badly needs reminding of her progressive roots. In a suitably confrontational mode, activists serenaded Wisconsin’s junior senator with a stirring rendition of “Which side are you on Tammy?”

 The symbolism could hardly have been more apt. Senator Baldwin was behind the podium at an event named after “Fighting Bob” La Follette, the senator from Wisconsin who led opposition to U.S. entry into World War One. In a Senate speech, La Follette denounced those who “inflame the mind of our people into the frenzy of war.”

Which side are you on Tammy… and Elizabeth, Ed, Ron, Jeff, Mark, Michael, Patty, Maria, Sherrod, Sheldon, Mazie, Amy?

Senators who portray themselves as progressive are at crossroads as they decide how to vote on attacking Syria. At this historic moment, with enormous consequences, will they cave in to the presidential juggernaut?

Later this week, senators will vote about launching a war on Syria. We’ve got to let them know — right away — that we are watching very closely. And will not forgive or forget any vote for war on the Senate floor.

Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” Information about the documentary based on the book is at

How Young People Gave Meaning to MLK’s “I have a dream” Speech

September 9th, 2013 by Global Research News

In June 1964 young black and white civil rights workers risked their lives in the face of violence, intimidation, illegal arrests, and racism to register as many African American voters as possible in Mississippi, which had historically excluded most blacks from voting. With a firsthand account of the details and thoughtful descriptions of key people on the front lines, including Fannie Lou Hamer, Charles McLaurin, John Harris, Irene Magruder, and many more, author Jim Dann brings that historic period back to life. He places those 15 months in Mississippi in the overall history of the struggle of African Americans for freedom, equality, and democratic rights in the South, the country, and throughout the world.

Fraught with lessons from those experiences, “Challenging the Mississippi Firebombers is an outstanding contribution to understanding and advancing civil rights struggles. It is also an engrossing story of a pivotal moment in the mid-20th-century United States.

In June 2013, the Supreme Court gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act for which the civil rights movement had fought for years, while in July, George Zimmerman was acquitted — he “got away with murder” said jurors. Jim Dann’s book provides invaluable insight and lessons at a time when some would like to roll the United States back to the 1950s.

Following are excerpts from Jim Dann’s book “Challenging the Mississippi Firebombers: Memories of Mississippi 1964-65” (Baraka Books, 2013). Jim Dann was one of the many young people who helped change the course of history in the South, the United States, and throughout the world. His book takes on new meaning now that some of those accomplishments like the Voting Rights Act are being rolled back.

Jim Dann worked diligently on this book until June 14 and never let on that his health was anything but perfect. Baraka Books finished the first advance galleys on June 16 and then learned that Jim had passed away that day. He died of leukemia. Getting this book had become his absolute priority and nothing would prevent him. The book is now available to order from Baraka Books.


[John F.] Kennedy, a prisoner of his own racist interpretation of history, was politically beholden to the southern white Democrats for his razor-thin victory in the election in 1960. He made no moves to even uphold the rule of law in the South, never mind to oppose desegregation actively. By the time he was assassinated in 1963 there were fewer blacks registered to vote in Mississippi than in 1900; every school and public institution in the state was totally segregated, even down to the drinking fountains at the courthouses. The Mississippi Democratic Party completely excluded blacks, and the same system of violent intimidation and depraved morality in officialdom that reigned a hundred years prior under slavery held sway with little visible change.

Into this fascist system a courageous band of black Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee workers had been struggling for three years, trying without success to register black people to vote. Jailed, beaten and killed for their efforts, they were ignored by the media and federal government. Now this was about to change: with the full glare of major media publicity a thousand mostly northern college students would enter the fray to share weal and woe with the black people of Mississippi.


Shortly after I had committed myself to Ruleville, MS, James Chaney, a bright young man of twenty-one and one of the Congress of Racial Equality or CORE staff members in Meridian, came to my room. He was looking for volunteers for his project. He asked me if I would go to Meridian with him. I said I would be happy to but I had already promised that I would go to Ruleville. He then turned to one of my roommates, Andrew Goodman, and asked him. Goodman agreed and committed himself to the Meridian project. Goodman and I had had several friendly interchanges, and for a day or two of the training we sort of hung out together. Goodman came from a progressive Jewish family in New York; he had been active in CORE in New York, where he had been attending Queens College. His parents were totally supportive of his participation in the project. We liked each other, and I was a bit disappointed and a bit envious when he told me before the end of the training that he had to leave early with Chaney; there was some kind of emergency and the CORE leader at Meridian, Michael Schwerner, decided that the three of them should skip the final two days of training and return to Meridian. Unknown to them the chief investigator for the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission got their car description and license plate and gave it to the sheriff of Neshoba County, near Meridian, who immediately laid plans for the lynching of the three.


On Mondays I would go to Indianola and get my ten-dollar check. John Harris, Charley Scattergood and I would then go to the White Rose Café and buy some hamburgers and drink a pint of scotch with some local friends. On Saturday nights we went to Club Ebony, where B.B. King would sometimes sing. When he did, he always bought the civil rights workers a big meal. If he wasn’t there someone else would often buy us a chicken dinner, or the owner, B.B. King’s adoptive mother, would serve us and never charge.


The best Charles McLaurin was able to get for a meeting place in Drew was the outside yard of a black church. So one July afternoon he, I, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ora Doss and some friends, as well as some other volunteers piled into a couple of cars for our first mass meeting in Drew. We were joined at the last moment by Judy Collins, the famous folk singer, who was visiting in Ruleville to show support. We from Ruleville made up the bulk of the attendees, but a dozen or so young black men and women from Drew hovered in the background and eventually approached us. The police chief and some other white thugs motored around us with threatening looks. Fannie Lou Hamer spoke inspiringly and I recall Judy Collins’s eyes brimming with tears, probably as much for the courage and bravery of the small group as for Hamer’s inspiring words. We got out of town before the sun went down.

In the relative safety of Ruleville there was another mass meeting filling the church. Judy and another popular folk singer, Barbara Dane, sang freedom songs led and inspired as always by Mrs. Hamer. After the meeting a few of us volunteers sat outside someone’s house with Collins and Dane and sang some more-leftist songs than had been sung in the church. Judy was a popularizer of Bob Dylan and sang many of his songs, which at that time were harshly critical of US society. I remember that night her singing “Masters of War,” but she stopped at the last verse: “I hope that you die and your death comes soon, I’ll follow your casket on a cold afternoon, and I’ll watch as you are lowered unto your deathbed, and I’ll stand over your grave until I’m sure that you’re dead.” She said she had told Dylan she couldn’t sing that verse. I had not heard the song before and indicated some perplexity; Barbara Dane, more left than Judy, obligingly sang the verse. I had no problem with the sentiment in the song; nevertheless, I was hugely impressed with Judy’s sincerity on that issue as well as her emotion at the rally in Drew in the afternoon. The two folk singers were young and beautiful; they had marvelous voices; for us volunteers it was a magical evening, a break from the tensions of the day.


The question of finding a building for the precinct in that town [Moorhead, MS,] that day seemed very important to our expanding to that fourth town. Janell had a suggestion of a vacant structure, and she was sure the owner would agree. Unfortunately the woman who owned the building was away for a few weeks staying with relatives in the tiny hamlet of Tippo, located in Tallahatchie County, north and east of Ruleville. There was just one road in and out of Tippo.

So without thinking too much about any dangers, John and I left Moorhead around noon for Ruleville and drove east on Highway 8 for about twenty miles. There at a tiny settlement called Phillipp we left the paved road for a one-lane dirt track with cotton fields on both sides which led to Tippo in about twenty miles. There was not another vehicle on that road. In about five miles we passed a road grader off the dirt road parked in the field with a white driver who watched us. Something about that did not seem right to us so John started fiddling with our two-way radio in the SNCC car, just randomly moving the tuner dial, while I drove. After a minute or two of just static we heard the following conversation: “Where are they?” “About ten miles from Tippo. There’s a nigger and a niggerlover.” “What’s the car look like?” “It is a white Plymouth.” “Well, by the time it gets to Tippo it will be red with their blood.”

I looked at John and he looked at me and without missing a second I wheeled the car around and at top speed raced back down the dirt road. In five miles the road grader was now moved off the field and stood in the middle of the road blocking our way. Without slowing down very much I turned into the cotton field around the road grader and after mowing down some cotton plants I was back on the road. Without losing any speed I turned right on the paved road, pushed the speed up to close to a hundred miles an hour and we didn’t stop till we reached Ruleville. There, at the Freedom School, we stopped to catch our breath in the late afternoon and ran into Charles McLaurin, to whom we told the story. He smiled, shook his head and said he personally never went to Tallahatchie County; it was too dangerous. That county was where Emmet Till had been murdered not six years before.

Challenging the Mississippi Firebombers: Memories of Mississippi 1964-65” is available to order from Baraka Books.


“Jim Dann’s Challenging the Mississippi Firebombers takes us through the experience of bringing the civil rights movement to Sunflower County, Mississippi. This enthralling book is an original source of living history about the civil rights movement in Mississippi.”
–Stacy J. White, Chairman of the Sunflower County Civil Rights Organization, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Mississippi Valley State University

“Many opposed slavery, but few were abolitionists; many opposed segregation, but few lifted a hand to end it. Jim Dann answered the call. If you want to know the how and why of fighting oppression, open this book.”
–Phil Taylor, Radio Broadcaster at CIUT, Toronto

“’We shall overcome’ really works, and James Dann provides the evidence in this first-person account of the Freedom Movement which transformed Mississippi and the rest of the country. The lessons of this clearly-written, enjoyable book are needed by all of us, particularly the emerging generation of activists.”
–Kitty Kelly Epstein, PhD, Professor and Activist, 2013 Recipient of the Scholar Activist Award from the Urban Affairs Association

An original source of living history about the civil rights movement.”
–Stacy J. White, Mississippi Valley State University

Jim Dann volunteered for the Mississippi Summer Project organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1964 and stayed on the following year as an SNCC field secretary. He lived in Vacaville, California. Jim died of leukemia on June 16, 2013.

John Harris (1943-2012) wrote the preface. President of the largest SNCC chapter at Howard University, he joined the Mississippi Summer Project in 1964 and was key SNC advocate for equality and civil rights.

Tracy Sugarman (1921-2013), author, illustrator and chronicler of the civil rights movement, graciously gave some drawings to the author and Charles McLaurin.

Pub date: Sept. 1, 2013 | Price $24.95
240 pp | 35 BW photos | 3 maps
6 illustrations by Tracy Sugarman
pbk 9781926824871 (All ebook formats)

Click for information on ordering “Challenging the Mississippi Firebombers: Memories of Mississippi 1964-65

Die Behauptungen der USA zu den Ereignissen in Syrien sind in keiner Weise stimmig. Wir sollen eine in sich widersprüchliche Darstellung glauben, wenn es doch weitaus wahrscheinlicher ist, dass Israel und Saudi-Arabien hinter dem Angriff stecken, der der Regierung Obama den Vorwand lieferte, Syrien mit Krieg zu drohen.

Die nachrichtendienstlichen Einschätzungen der Regierung Obama zu Syrien waren ein Aufguss der Situation im Irak 2003. »Viele Aspekte werden nicht genau dargelegt«, erklärte Richard Guthrie, der frühere Projektleiter der Abteilung für chemische und biologische Kriegführung des renommierten Stockholmer Internationalen Instituts für Friedensforschung (SIPRI). Als ein Beweis werden die mutmaßlichen Abhörprotokolle von Kommunikationen der syrischen Regierung angeführt. Wörtliche Abschriften werden allerdings nicht vorgelegt.

Ebenso wenig wie die Reden der Vertreter der Regierung Obama, die alle keine überzeugende Darstellung der Ereignisse liefern, wird in den vorgelegten Geheimdiensteinschätzungen nichts wirklich bewiesen. Man hat eher den Eindruck, es mit einer etwas abgehobenen Arbeit eines Oberstufenschülers oder eines Studenten zu tun zu haben, die von kunstvollen Wortdrechslern, aber nicht von Fachleuten des betreffenden Bereichs zusammengestellt wurde.

In einem argumentativen Zirkelschluss beruht der Bericht sogar eher auf »anonymen« sozialen Netzwerke und Konten, als auf stichhaltigen Beweisen oder Fakten. Und unter Verzicht auf jegliche Transparenz heißt es dort: »Es gab Aussagen von internationalem und syrischem medizinischen Personal, Videos, Zeugenaussagen und Tausende von Medienberichten von mindestens zwölf verschiedenen Orten aus dem Großraum Damaskus, Aussagen von Journalisten und Berichte sehr glaubwürdiger Nichtregierungsorganisationen (NGOs).«

Es besteht die nicht unbegründete Möglichkeit, dass es sich bei diesen anonymen Quellen tatsächlich um vom Ausland finanzierte Söldner, israelische und saudische Medien und die Syrische Beobachtungsstelle für Menschenrechte, der auch Kämpfer aus den Reihen der Aufständischen angehören und die Saudi-Arabien als demokratisches Vorbild preist, und die NGO Ärzte ohne Grenzen handelt. Dies sind die gleichen Quellen und Organisationen, die den Aufstand unterstützen und einen Regimewechsel und einen Militäreinsatz in Syrien fordern.

Zudem stammt ein erheblicher Teil der geheimdienstlichen Informationen und der Abhöraktionen, die angeblich die Täterschaft der syrischen Regierung belegen, aus Israel, das dafür bekannt ist, Beweise zu manipulieren und zu verfälschen.

In der Einschätzung der amerikanischen Geheimdienste wird auch behauptet, bereits einige Tage vor dem tatsächlichen Angriff über die Pläne eines Chemiewaffenangriffs informiert gewesen zu sein. Ein führender Chemiewaffenexperte, Jean-Pascal Zanders, der bis vor Kurzem Forschungsleiter am Europäischen Institut für Sicherheitsstudien war, stellt die Frage, warum die amerikanische Regierung keine öffentliche Warnung zu einem drohenden Chemiewaffenangriff abgab?

Eine israelisch-saudische Verschwörung?

Die von den USA unterstützten, gegen die Regierung kämpfenden Gruppen in Syrien haben bereits Chemiewaffen eingesetzt. Aber Obama und seine Kumpane haben das einfach übergangen.

Entgegen den von den regierungsfeindlichen Kräften vorgebrachten Beschuldigungen, das syrische Militär habe die Stadt Homs an den Weihnachtstagen des Jahres 2012 mit Chemiewaffen angegriffen, berichtete der amerikanische Fernsehsender CNN, das amerikanische Militär bilde regierungsfeindliche Kämpfer im sicheren Umgang und der Handhabung von Chemiewaffen aus. Und unter der Bezeichnung »Chemisches Bataillon Zerstörerischer Wind«drohten die Rebellen selbst mit dem Einsatz von Nervengas und veröffentlichten ein Video, in dem sie als Vorgeschmack auf ihre Pläne in Syrien Kaninchen töteten.

Wie die französische Tageszeitung Le Figaro schrieb, wurden zwei Brigaden der Aufständischen von der CIA, Israelis, Saudis und Jordaniern entsprechend unterwiesen und drangen dann von dem haschemitischen Königreich Jordanien aus nach Syrien ein und führten dort am 17. und 19. August 2013 Angriffe durch. Die USA müssen einiges an Zeit zur Ausbildung der beiden aufständischen Brigaden aufgewendet haben. Sollte diese Darstellung zutreffen, könnte man argumentieren, das Scheitern dieser Gruppe hätte dann vielleicht den Chemiewaffenangriff in Damaskus als »Plan B« ausgelöst.

Hier stellt sich natürlich die Frage, wie sie an die Chemiewaffen gekommen sind. Viele Hinweise deuten dabei auf Saudi-Arabien. Wie die britische Tageszeitung The Independent berichtete, hatte der saudische Prinz Bandar »als erster die westlichen Verbündeten auf den mutmaßlichen Einsatz von Saringas seitens der syrischen Regierung im Februar 2013 aufmerksam gemacht«. Die Türkei würde syrische Kämpfer mit Giftgas, das die Terroristen in Syrien einsetzen wollen, auf ihrem Territorium festnehmen. Am 22. Juli würden die Aufständischen auch al-Assal überrennen und alle Augenzeugen als Teil der Vertuschungsoperation töten.

Ein Bericht von Yahya Ababneh, zu dem auch Dale Gavlakbeisteuerte, hat die Aussagen von Augenzeugen zusammengetragen, die erklärten, »bestimmte Rebellen haben chemische Waffen über den saudischen Geheimdienstchef Prinz Bandar bin Sultan erhalten und waren für den Gasangriff verantwortlich«.

In einem Artikel der Mint Press wurde diese Geschichte durch eine wichtige Dimension ergänzt, die der Darstellung der amerikanischen Regierung völlig widersprach. Dort wurde eine Kämpferin zitiert, deren Aussage die Verbindung zu Saudi-Arabien deutlicher machte. Sie sagte, diejenigen, die ihnen die Waffen geliefert hätten, »haben ihnen den Rebellen nicht erklärt, um welche Art von Waffen es sich handelt und wie man sie einsetzt«. Zudem hätten sie nicht gewusst, dass »es sich um chemische Waffen handelte«. »Als Prinz Bandar derartige Waffen an die Leute weitergab, hätte er sie nur an diejenigen liefern lassen sollen, die im Umgang mit ihnen vertraut waren und wussten, wie man sie einsetzt«, wird die Kämpferin zitiert.

Aber noch eine andere Verbindung zu den Saudis wird aus diesem Artikel deutlich: »Abdel-Moneim erzählte, sein Sohn und zwölf andere Rebellen seien in einem Tunnel, der zur Lagerung von Waffen diente, die von einem saudischen Kämpfer namens Abu Ajescha geliefert worden waren, der ein Kampfbataillon anführte, getötet worden. Einige der Waffen besaßen nach der Beschreibung des Vaters eine ›röhrenartige Form‹, während andere wie ›große Gasflaschen‹ aussahen.«

Vieles deutet also darauf hin, dass die Saudis den Gasangriff möglich machten, während die Israelis die USA mit einem Vorwand versorgten, einen offenen Krieg vom Zaun zu brechen oder zumindest Luftangriffe gegen Damaskus zu ermöglichen. Israel und Saudi-Arabien haben der Regierung Obama eine Rechtfertigung geliefert, Syrien mit Krieg zu drohen.

Obama will das Machtgleichgewicht in Syrien verändern

Der moralische Unterton aus Washington ist eine jämmerliche Pose. Die Scheinheiligkeit der amerikanischen Regierung kennt scheinbar keine Grenzen. Man verurteilt das syrische Militär für den Einsatz von Streubomben, während die USA sie selbst massenweise an Saudi-Arabien verkaufen.

Die UN-Inspekteure kamen vor allem auf Einladung der Regierung in Damaskus nach Syrien. Die syrische Regierung hatte die Vereinten Nationen schon vor Wochen davor gewarnt, die regierungsfeindlichen Milizen versuchten, Chemiewaffen einzusetzen, nachdem sie die Kontrolle über eine Chlorfabrik östlich von Aleppo gewonnen hatten. Als Vorsichtsmaßnahme konzentrierte das syrische Militär sein gesamtes Chemiewaffenarsenal in einigen wenigen streng bewachten Gebäuden, um den Rebellen einen Zugriff unmöglich zu machen.

Dennoch griffen die Aufständischen am 19. März 2013 Stellungen der syrischen Regierungseinheiten in Khan al-Assal mit Chemiewaffen an. Unter völliger Verkehrung der Wahrheit versuchten die Aufständischen und ihre ausländischen Unterstützer, einschließlich der amerikanischen Regierung, die syrische Regierung für den Angriff verantwortlich zu machen. Aber die UN-Ermittlerin Carla del Ponte wies im Mai nach umfänglichen Untersuchungen diese Behauptung als falsch zurück.

Was nun den mutmaßlichen Angriff im August angeht, so hat die Regierung Obama tagelang gelogen und sich dabei selbst widersprochen. So erklärte sie einerseits, es sei praktisch unmöglich, alle Spuren eines Chemiewaffenangriffs zu beseitigen, warf aber andererseits der Regierung vor, diese Beweise zerstört zu haben. Sie forderte eine Untersuchung, erklärte aber gleichzeitig, schon alle Antworten zu kennen.

Der Vorwurf, die syrische Regierung habe in dem Außenbezirk Ghuta der syrischen Hauptstadt Chemiewaffen eingesetzt, entbehrt jeder Logik. Warum sollte die syrische Regierung unnötigerweise in einem Gebiet auf Chemiewaffen zurückgreifen, das sie kontrolliert? Damit würde sie sich doch nur selbst schaden, indem sie den USA und ihren Verbündeten einen Vorwand für ein militärisches Eingreifen praktisch frei Haus lieferte. Und ausgerechnet an dem Tag, an dem die UN-Inspekteure in Damaskus eintreffen, so will uns zumindest die amerikanische Regierung weismachen, setzt die syrische Regierung – noch dazu völlig unnötig – Chemiewaffen ein.

Selbst die voreingenommene und oft desinformierende staatliche British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) räumte ein, dass an diesem Ereignis etwas seltsam sei. Der »BBC-Nahmittelost-ExperteJeremy Bowen erklärte, viele stellten sich die Frage, warum die syrische Regierung solche Waffen gerade dann einsetzen sollte, wenn sich UN-Inspekteure im Land aufhalten und das Militär in dem Gebiet um Damaskus deutlich an Boden gewinnt«.

Die USA schieben mit aller Absicht der syrischen Regierung die Verantwortung für den Chemiewaffeneinsatz zu. Offizielle amerikanische Regierungsvertreter haben schon in der Vergangenheit des Öfteren gelogen, um Kriege gegen andere Länder zu beginnen. Dies war schon die übliche Vorgehensweise der USA von Vietnam bis zu Jugoslawien und vom Irak bis zu Libyen. Es geht bei diesem Konflikt nicht um Syrien, das sich gegen die Weltgemeinschaft wendet, sondern um die Kriegstreiber in Washington, zu denen auch die Regierung Obama gehört.

Washington droht Syrien mit einem Angriff, um auf diese Weise die Kämpfe in Syrien zu verlängern. Die amerikanische Regierung will darüber hinaus stärkeren Einfluss auf die zukünftige Entwicklung des Landes gewinnen. Daher arbeitet sie darauf hin, das Machtgleichgewicht zwischen der syrischen Regierung und den von Amerika unterstützten regierungsfeindlichen aufständischen Verbündeten die in der letzten Zeit mehrere militärische Rückschläge einstecken mussten wieder herzustellen, dadurch das syrische Militär zu schwächen und so die gegenwärtigen Erfolge gegen die Aufständischen zu neutralisieren. Wenn es schon nicht gelingt, Damaskus zu schwächen und so »sturmreif zu schießen«, will Amerika wenigstens die Gleichung zu Ungunsten der syrischen Regierung ändern, bevor Abschlussverhandlungen beginnen.

Jetzt ist es dringend an der Zeit, die »Verantwortung, Krieg zu verhindern«, die wirkliche »Schutzverantwortung«, wirklich wahrzunehmen.

More from the Toronto 9/11 Hearings: This week’s installment of the Global Research New Hour marks the fourth of a five part series highlighting research into the World Trade Center attacks and the need for a renewed investigation.



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From September 8 to September 11, 2011, a gathering of researchers, experts and activists converged on the campus of Ryerson University in Toronto to review what was then the most up to date information with regard to the ten-year-old tragedy.

Throughout the four day event, speakers challenged the views that the attacks were carried out by an outside enemy and that they were successful because of US intelligence failures. The visiting speakers from around the world would point to evidence that the Twin Towers were deliberately brought down using explosives. They would discuss the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and the consequent attempts to marginalize critics of the official story in mainstream media and culture. Crucially, they would make the case for a re-opening of an independent investigation into the attacks.

9/11 and Peer Review

The following remark is attributed to the renowned critic of US policy, Noam Chomsky, in correspondence with skeptics of the official 9/11 narrative:

“I am not persuaded by the assumption that much documentation and other evidence has been uncovered. To determine that, we’d have to investigate the alleged evidence. Take, say, the physical evidence. There are ways to assess that: submit it to specialists — of whom there are thousands — who have the requisite background in civil-mechanical engineering, materials science, building construction, etc., for review and analysis… Or, take the course pursued by anyone who thinks they have made a genuine discovery: submit it to a serious journal for peer review and publication. To my knowledge, there isn’t a single submission.”[1]

As of this writing, the group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth lists close to 2000 accredited professionals with relevant credentials as not believing the official explanation of the collapse of the three World Trade Center towers. Moreover, according to the University of Waterloo 9/11 research Group, there are as many as 18 peer-reviewed papers addressing the 9/11 attacks in a way that is skeptical of the official story.[2] These include:

What Accounts for the Molten Metal Observed on 9/11/2001? (2006) by Dr. Steven Jones in the Journal of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. Link:

Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe (2009) by Dr. Niels Harrit et al. in The Open Journal of Chemical Physics Link:

Collapse Time Analysis of Multi-Story Structural Steel Buildings (2011) by Dr. Robert Korol (McMaster University) et al published in The Open Civil Engineering Journal (Bentham Open) Link:

Launching the U.S. Terror War: the CIA, 9/11, Afghanistan, and Central Asia (2012) by Dr. Peter Dale Scott in The Asia-Pacific Journal. Link:

Two of the authors of these peer-reviewed papers, Dr. Niels Harrit and Professor Peter Dale Scott, spoke at the Toronto Hearings, as did engineer Jonathan Cole, who through simple backyard experiments was able to easily discredit the talking points of supposed experts on the effects of thermite on steel.

The arguments countering the official story of the September 11 can no longer be fairly dismissed or marginalized as the ‘conspiratorial musings’ of undisciplined minds and paranoid souls. A new and independent investigation into the event that has triggered the deadly, destructive and expensive “War on Terrorism” is fully warranted.

Jonathan Cole is a professional engineer licensed in New Hampshire, Connecticut and Florida with 28 years of experience. For more than ten years he has been the head of a mid-size engineering firm with some 25 employees. And in addition to designing large scale engineering projects, he has performed services as an expert witness in his field. He serves as director of the board of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. Cole’s presentation focuses on the official 9/11 account, and the scientific method.

Cynthia McKinney served as a Democratic member of the US Congress from 1992 to 2002, and again from 2004 to 2006. She ran as a US Presidential candidate on the Green Party ticket in 2008. McKinney has been active with the civil rights and anti-war movements. As well, she has been the only US Elected representative to openly question the role of the US Government in deliberately perpetrating the September 11 attacks. In her talk, McKinney contextualizes 9/11 from a Washington insider’s perspective.

Niels Harrit is an Associate Professor of Chemistry from the University of Copenhagen and author of more than 60 of the most prominent scientific journals in his field. Professor Harrit spoke to the Toronto Hearings on the subject of thermitic material in the world trade center dust, the subject of his 2009 peer-reviewed article.

Peter Dale Scott held varying positions in the Canadian diplomatic service before establishing a career as an English professor at University of California – Berkeley until he retired from that position in 1994. He is a poet of high stature and a public intellectual known for his anti-war stances and his criticism of US foreign policy. He has authored numerous books which provide a conceptual framework for the deep structures underlying such activities as political assassinations, state-sponsored drug trafficking and state terrorism. The topic of Professor Scott’s talk at the Toronto Hearings was the history of Deep State activities with special reference to 9/11.

Efforts are underway to bring greater awareness of the flaws in the official 9/11 story to a broader public audience this September through a grassroots advertising campaign. For more information, visit

Also be sure to check out Global Research’s complete on-line dossier on 9/11.



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Press For Truth and The International Center for 9/11 Studies Present:

The Toronto Hearings on 9/11: Uncovering Ten Years of Deception



Click here to view the TRAILER on GlobalResearchTV

Produced by: Steven Davies Dan Dicks Bryan Law

An over 5 hour DVD, with comprehensive coverage of the 4 day Toronto Hearings from September 2011.

Featuring expert witness testimony from:

David Ray Griffin, Richard Gage, David Chandler, Michel Chossudovsky, Kevin Ryan, Niels Harrit, Barbara Honegger, Peter Dale Scott, Graeme MacQueen, Jonathan Cole, Cynthia McKinney …and many more!

The Global Research News Hour, hosted by Michael Welch, airs on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Thursdays at 10am CDT. The programme is now broadcast weekly (Monday, 5-6pm ET) by the Progressive Radio Network in the US, and is available for download on the Global Research website.


2) University of Waterloo 9/11 Research group website:

Michel Chossudovsky, renowned Canadian professor and award-winning author, argues that a US plan for military intervention in Syria could result in escalation and the integration of  “four distinct war theaters”– Afghanistan-Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine and Libya– setting the stage for “a World War III scenario.”

“An attack on Syria would lead to the integration of these separate war theaters, eventually leading towards a broader Middle East-Central Asian war,” the professor writes in an opinion piece for Global Research.

Chossudovsky says that the United States is fueling “civil wars” in multiple countries namely Yemen, Somalia, Egypt, Mali and Niger through sponsoring al-Qaeda affiliated groups, essentially preparing the ground for US military intervention often in the form of counter-terrorism operations.

“Public opinion is largely unaware of the grave implications of these war plans which could potentially lead humanity into a World War III scenario,” he warns.

The Obama administration has claimed the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind a recent deadly chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus, even though there is no evidence linking the attack to the government forces. The White House is gearing up for military strikes on Syrian targets.

Citing an August 2012 Los Angeles Times report, Chossudovsky says preparations for “a false flag chemical weapons attack” in Syria began more than a year ago when the Pentagon dispatched “small teams of special operations troops” to the Arab country to destroy its alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

“These initial US sponsored WMD special team operations had established the likely scenario of a staged false flag chemical weapons attack.”

US, NATO and Israeli military planners have laid the groundwork for a “humanitarian” military involvement in Syria for years, Chossudovsky says.

He asserts that the US and its regional allies, namely Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have been sponsoring and arming the militant groups in Syria, some of which have been responsible for gruesome terrorist attacks against the civilian population, as “mass civilian casualty events” play a central role in US military doctrine.

“Civilian casualties are triggered with a view to drumming up public support for war on humanitarian grounds.”

“MI6, CIA and Mossad operatives as well as Western Special Forces had integrated rebel forces from the very outset. The high profile terrorist attacks were coordinated by highly trained military contractors and intelligence operatives,” the professor adds.

Another “integral” component of US military agenda, according to Chossudovsky, is “escalation.”

“Were a US-NATO military operation to be launched against Syria, the broader Middle East Central Asian region extending from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with China would be engulfed in the turmoil of an extended regional war.”

Israel and Turkey would also cooperate with the US in both the air campaign and the deployment of ground forces, Chossudovsky argues.

A US-led military attack against Syria, the professor warns, will have serious repercussions in other parts of the world especially South East Asia and the Far East where the US is countering China and Russia as part of its “pivot to Asia” strategy.

Order Chossudovsky’s most recent book directly from Global Research

WWIII Scenario

A headline in the New York Times (September 7, 2013) stated as fact that “With the World Watching, Syria Amassed Nerve Gas”.  The lead paragraph asserted that “Syria’s top leaders amassed one of the world’s largest stockpiles of chemical weapons with help from the Soviet Union and Iran, as well as Western European suppliers and even a handful of American companies, according to American diplomatic cables and declassified intelligence records.”

But as with its propagandistic reporting about Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the run-up to the Iraq war, the Times provided no evidence to support its claim, and an examination of publicly available documents the Times cited for this story illustrates how the newspaper is demonstrably lying.

  After asserting as fact that the documents show that Syria “amassed one of the world’s largest stockpiles of chemical weapons”, the Times stated that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his father before him, “were greatly helped in their chemical weapons ambitions by a basic underlying fact: often innocuous, legally exportable materials are also the precursors to manufacturing deadly chemical weapons.”

 To support its claim that “innocuous, legally exportable materials” were used by Syria to manufacture chemical weapons, the Times cited a 2009 State Department cable released by WikiLeaks in 2010. The cable, the Times stated, “instructed diplomats to ‘emphasize that failure to halt the flow’ of chemicals and equipment into Syria, Iran and North Korea could render irrelevant a group of antiproliferation countries that organized to stop that flow.”

But on its face, this only indicates that Syria imported materials considered “dual-use”, meaning that it could have both civilian and military applications. It does not constitute evidence that Syria actually used such “chemicals and equipment” to manufacture chemical weapons.

The cable states that “Syria, Iran and North Korea have continued to acquire goods useful to their chemical and/or biological weapons programs”, but offers no evidence that dual-use materials it acquired were used for that purpose.

The Times report continued: “Another leaked State Department cable on the Syrians asserted that ‘part of their modus operandi is to hide procurement under the guise of legitimate pharmaceutical or other transactions.’”

Once again, no evidence from the cable is offered that materials that admittedly have “legitimate pharmaceutical” uses were actually used to manufacture chemical weapons.

The sentence just prior to the one quoted by the Times in the cable stated, “We remain extremely concerned that Iran and Syria are using companies in the UAE to evade U.S. trade prohibitions as well as the export control regulations of other countries to acquire chemical and biological warfare (CBW)-useful equipment and technology.”

The cable itself, however, reveals that there was no knowledge that such materials were actually directed towards any military program. The State Department, it noted, did “not have additional information” that materials that could be “useful” for manufacturing chemical or biological weapons were actually used for that purpose.

The Times nevertheless continued to falsely assert that “The diplomatic cables and other intelligence documents show that, over time, the two generations of Assads built up a huge stockpile by creating companies with the appearance of legitimacy, importing chemicals that had many legitimate uses”.

As already illustrated, the claim that the cables released by WikiLeaks “show” that Syria “built up a huge stockpile” of chemical weapons is an outright lie.

The Times then turned to one of the “intelligence documents” it cited as proof, stating that “As early as 1991, under the first Bush presidency, a now declassified National Intelligence Estimate concluded that ‘both Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union provided the chemical agents, delivery systems and training that flowed to Syria.’”

But that quote does not date to a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) from 1991, but rather from 30 years ago. The NIE from which it originated, titled “Implications of Soviet Use of Chemical and Toxin Weapons for U.S. Security Interests”, was issued on September 15, 1983 and stated that Syria “probably has the most advanced chemical warfare capability in the Arab world, with the possible exception of Egypt” (p. 11).

What was deemed “probably” true three decades ago may or may not be true today, and it is useful to point out that the U.S. has backed the military dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, who took power in 1981, with billions in military “aid”. Egypt has been second only to Israel as the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, which provided for this money to flow from the American taxpayers to the regime in Egypt.

By 1983, it had also become evident that Iraq was using chemical weapons in its war with Iran, but the U.S. nevertheless removed the country from its list of state sponsors of terrorism in order to step up support for its war effort. In December of that year, President Ronald Reagan dispatched Donald Rumsfeld, who was later Secretary of Defense under the Bush administration, for a second time to Iraq to reassure Saddam Hussein that the U.S. would continue to back him despite his use of chemical weapons.

The 1983 NIE also noted that with its foreign suppliers, “there is no need for Syria to develop an indigenous capability to produce CW agents or material, and none has been identified.” The purpose of that Cold War-era NIE was to build the case that the Soviet Union was violating the 1975 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.

The rest of the Times article similarly provided no substantiation for the headline’s claim. It cited again “precursor ingredients that can also be used for medicine”, with no supporting evidence that such ingredients were used for anything other than civilian applications.

Perhaps the most egregious example of manipulation with the attempt to deceive the public came towards the end of the article, where the Times quoted from a March 2006 State Department cable: “‘Syrian businessmen regularly report on the ease with which their fellow businessmen illegally import U.S. commodities with seeming impunity, as well as express concerns that the USG’s [United States Government’s] lack of enforcement of the economic sanctions’ are ‘hurting those that choose to play by the rules.’”

“Those transactions presumably included chemicals that could be precursors for chemical warfare”, the Times added.

Yet the “commodities” described in that cable were mostly related to legitimate civilian uses—particularly for use in hospitals.

The cable relayed the “constant refrain heard from the business community” in Syria that U.S. sanctions were “ineffective” and did not impact the Syrian government, “but rather are most directly impacting legitimate business transactions.”

Among the “commodities” mentioned are “x-ray tubes, personal computers, defibrillators, and consumable supplies”.

“One source told us”, the cable states, providing an example of how sanctions are bypassed, “that he can easily purchase U.S. commodities, specifically medical spare parts, from the Internet and have them shipped to Syria through a third country.”

The cable does note that some of the materials imported are “dual-use”; for example, “a Varian linear accelerator” tendered for a military hospital—a devise used for the treatment of cancer.

Other items mentioned include “two MRI systems, at least one of which would be used by a military hospital in Aleppo.”

The cable discusses how the U.S. sanctions regime harms businesses seeking to import such items legally because their competitors are able to do so at a lower cost by obtaining them through other channels. It cites one example where a “competitor was able to offer the products at a substantially cheaper price because he did not invest the necessary time and money into pursuing an export license.”

In another example of a “dual-use” item, the cable mentions the importation of “a consumable product, potassium cyanide, shipped to a public pediatric hospital in October 2003.” The cable states that the regulatory agency intended to verify the end use of imported materials “was unable to verify that it had been used legitimately”—which is also to say that neither was there any evidence that the potassium cyanide was redirected for the purpose of manufacturing chemical weapons.

The cable adds that the supplier in this case also sold potassium cyanide “to other end-users not permitted in his export license”, with no further indication as to who the end users were or for what purpose it was acquired.

And once again, contrary to the Times’ willful lie that cables such as this one prove Syria manufactured and stockpiled chemical weapons, the cable itself implicitly acknowledges the lack of evidence for this claim, noting that the a “trained” team of “criminal investigators” in the Bureau of Industry and Security, operating under the U.S. Department of Commerce, “have not traveled to Syria to assess whether the end-use of allowable commodities is legitimate, evaluate whether commodities have been diverted to other end-users, or collect evidence of potential sanctions violations.”

The cable closes by urging that the investigative team be dispatched to “follow-up on some of the anectodal evidence that we have received” of sanctions violations.

“The Americans were not the only ones concerned”, the Times report continued. “According to another leaked cable, the Netherlands discussed how monoethylene glycol, an important raw material used to manufacture urethane and antifreeze, was shipped by a Dutch concern to the Syrian Ministry of Industry, considered a front for the Syrian military. The Dutch outlined how the chemical could also be used as a precursor for sulfur mustard, and possibly for VX and sarin.”

Yet again we see how the Times took a cable merely noting that Syria had acquired “dual-use” materials that could possibly be used to manufacture sarin gas, the chemical weapon the U.S. is alleging that the Assad regime used in a Damascus suburb last month as a pretext to launch military strikes against Syria, and dishonestly reported this in its headline and lead paragraph as proof that this was indeed the end use of the material.

This is the same kind of propagandistic reporting that the Times engaged in prior to the U.S. war on Iraq. Once again, it is evident that America’s “newspaper of record” is serving as a mouthpiece for the U.S. government, not only uncritically parroting claims of government officials for which there is no evidence, but going out of its way to propagate its own deliberate lies in such a way as to manufacture consent for U.S. foreign policy.

Jeremy R. Hammond is an independent political analyst and recipient of the Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism. He is the founder and editor of Foreign Policy Journal and can also be found on the web at  He is the author of Ron Paul vs. Paul Krugman: Austrian vs. Keynesian economics in the financial crisis and The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination: The Struggle for Palestine and the Roots of the Israeli-Arab Conflict. His forthcoming book is on the contemporary U.S. role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

While seeking authority for a limited war with Syria, the Obama administration withheld from the American people the U.S. intelligence on the alleged chemical weapons attack of Aug. 21, amid assurances that Congress got all the secret details. But that doesn’t appear to be true, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

A U.S. congressman who has read the Obama administration’s classified version of intelligence on the alleged Syrian poison gas attack says the report is only 12 pages – just three times longer than the sketchy unclassified public version – and is supported by no additional hard evidence.

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also said the House Intelligence Committee had to make a formal request to the administration for “the underlying intelligence reports” and he is unaware if those details have been forthcoming, suggesting that the classified report – like the unclassified version – is more a set of assertions than a presentation of evidence.

“We have reached the point where the classified information system prevents even trusted members of Congress, who have security clearances, from learning essential facts, and then inhibits them from discussing and debating what they do know,” Grayson wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times on Saturday.

“And this extends to matters of war and peace, money and blood. The ‘security state’ is drowning in its own phlegm. My position is simple: if the administration wants me to vote for war, on this occasion or on any other, then I need to know all the facts. And I’m not the only one who feels that way.”

As I wrote a week ago, after examining the four-page unclassified summary, there was not a single fact that could be checked independently. It was a “dodgy dossier” similar to the ones in 2002-2003 that led the United States into the Iraq War. The only difference was that the Bush administration actually provided more checkable information than the Obama administration did, although much of the Bush data ultimately didn’t check out.

It appears that the chief lesson learned by the Obama administration was to release even less information about Syria’s alleged chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 than the Bush administration did about Iraq’s alleged WMD. The case against Syria has relied almost exclusively on assertions, such as the bellowing from Secretary of State John Kerry that the Syrian government sure did commit the crime, just trust us.

The Obama administration’s limited-hangout strategy seems to have worked pretty well at least inside the Establishment, but it’s floundering elsewhere around the United States. It appears that many Americans share the skepticism of Rep. Grayson and a few other members of Congress who have bothered to descend into the intelligence committee vaults to read the 12-page classified summary for themselves.

Rallying the Establishment

Despite the sketchy intelligence, many senators and congressmen have adopted the politically safe position of joining in denunciations of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (where’s the downside of that), and the mainstream U.S. news media has largely taken to writing down the administration’s disputed claims about Syria as “flat fact.”

For instance, the New York Times editorial on Saturday accepts without caveat that there was “a poison gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime that killed more than 1,400 people last month,” yet those supposed “facts” are all in dispute, including the total number who apparently died from chemical exposure. It was the U.S. white paper that presented the claim of “1,429” people killed without explaining the provenance of that strangely precise number.

The New York Times editorial also reprises the false narrative that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syria’s Assad are to blame for the absence of peace negotiations, although the Times’ own reporters from the field have written repeatedly that it has been the U.S.-backed rebels who have refused to join peace talks in Geneva. [See’s “Getting Syria-ous About Peace Talks.”]

Nevertheless, the Times editorial states, “it was the height of cynicism for Mr. Putin to talk about the need for a Syrian political settlement, which he has done little to advance.” One has to wonder if the Times’ editors consider it their “patriotic” duty to mislead the American people, again.

Increasingly, President Barack Obama’s case for a limited war against Syria is looking like a nightmarish replay of President George W. Bush’s mendacious arguments for war against Iraq. There are even uses of the same techniques, such as putting incriminating words in the mouths of “enemy” officials.

On Feb. 5, 2003, before the United Nations Security Council, Secretary of State Colin Powell needled some intercepted quotes from Iraqi military officers to make some innocuous comments about inspecting weapons sites into proof they were hiding caches of chemical weapons from UN inspectors. Powell’s scam was exposed when the State Department released the actual transcripts of the conversations without some of the incriminating words that Powell had added.

Then, on Aug. 30, 2013, when the Obama administration released its “Government Assessment” of Syria’s alleged poison gas attack, the white paper stated, “We intercepted communications involving a senior official intimately familiar with the offensive who confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime on August 21 and was concerned with the U.N. inspectors obtaining evidence.”

However, the identity of the “senior official” was not included, nor was the direct quote cited. The report claimed concerns about protecting “sources and methods” in explaining why more details weren’t provided, but everyone in the world knows the United States has the capability to intercept phone calls.

Reasons for Secrecy?

So, why didn’t the Obama administration go at least as far as the Bush administration did in putting out transcripts of these phone intercepts? A reasonable suspicion must be that the actual words of the conversation – and possibly other conversations – would have indicated that the Syrian high command was caught off guard by the Aug. 21 events, that the Syrian government was scrambling to figure out what had happened and why, that the intercepts were less incriminating than the paraphrase of them.

That fuller story might well have undercut the U.S. case for taking military action. So, the administration’s white paper left out conversations reflecting the Syrian government’s confusion. The white paper didn’t even bother to put in the actual quote from the one “senior official” who supposedly “confirmed” the chemical weapons use.

Indeed, although the white paper states that its conclusions were derived from “human, signals, and geospatial intelligence as well as a significant body of open source reporting,” none of that intelligence was spelled out in the unclassified version. It is now unclear how much more detail was provided in the 12-page classified version that Rep. Grayson read.

In his op-ed, Grayson wrote, “The first [unclassified version] enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion. On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was ‘no.’”

So, what is one to make of this pathetic replay of events from a decade ago in which the White House and intelligence community make sweeping claims without presenting real evidence and the major U.S. news outlets simply adopt the government’s uncorroborated claims as true?

One might have thought that the Obama administration – understanding the public skepticism after the disastrous Iraq War – would have gone to extra lengths to lay out all the facts to the American people, rather than try to slip by with another “dodgy dossier” and excuses about the need to keep all the evidence secret.

President Obama seems to believe that “transparency” means having some members of Congress interrupt their busy schedules of endless fundraising to troop down to the intelligence committee vaults and read some pre-packaged intelligence without the benefit of any note-taking or the ability to check out what they’ve seen, let alone the right to discuss it publicly.

In my 35-plus years covering Congress, I can tell you that perhaps the body’s greatest weakness – amid many, many weaknesses – is its ability to investigate national security claims emanating from the Executive Branch.

Beyond all the limitations of what members of Congress are allowed to see and under what circumstances, there is the reality that anyone who takes on the intelligence community too aggressively can expect to be pilloried as “unpatriotic” or accused of being an “apologist” for some unsavory dictator.

Soon, the troublesome member can expect hostile opinion pieces showing up in his local newspapers and money pouring into the campaign coffers of some electoral challenger. So, there is no political upside in performing this sort of difficult oversight and there is plenty of downside.

And once an administration has staked its credibility on some dubious assertion, all the public can expect is more of a sales job, a task that President Obama himself is expected to undertake in a speech to the nation on Tuesday. That is why the Obama administration would have been wise to have developed a much fuller intelligence assessment of what happened on Aug. 21 and then presented the evidence as fully as possible.

In the days of the Internet and Twitter – and after the bitter experience of the Iraq War – it is a dubious proposition that the White House can rely on national politicians and Establishment news outlets to whip the public up for another military adventure without presenting a comprehensive set of facts.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

The civil war which has raged in Syria for a period exceeding a two year mark has now entered what will be its decisive phase. This will determine whether the government headed by Bashar al Assad will prevail or be dislodged.

It will also determine whether any military action undertaken by the United States will meet a response of critical counter measures by Russia; the nature of which could put both nations on to the dangerous path of a possible confrontation.

It will finally determine whether the conflict will lead to a full blown regional war; the denouement of which will reveal the viability of the continued existence of Syria as a nation state.

The key to understanding this particular conflict and its significance is to keep in mind what ultimately lies at its root: the confrontation between the United States and its old adversary, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

While grievances, dissatisfactions, and dissenting sentiments did exist among segments of the civil population over the decades-long authoritarian tendencies of the incumbent rulers who are largely drawn from the minority Alawite group, the extent of the current insurrection -some would proffer that it should be more accurately labelled an invasion- could not have attained this level of magnitude without the active manipulations of foreign state actors; each with a vested interest in ensuring the effective neutralisation and overthrow of the Assad government and even, ultimately, the dismemberment of the Syrian state.

Turkey, for over a decade under the ‘soft-Islamist’ governance of the Justice and Development Party led by Recep Erdogan, has exhibited foreign policy inclinations which some have interpreted as harking back to its Ottoman past, while the conservative Sunni Kingdoms on the Arabian peninsula led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar are keen on curtailing what is seen as the surgent power and influence of Shiadom.

This power and influence as articulated through the respective roles of Iran, Syria and the Lebanese organisation Hezbollah, has often been referred to as the ‘Shia Crescent.’ It is an alliance which poses a threat not only to the aforementioned Sunni Kingdoms but also to the United States and to the state of Israel.

American antagonism towards Iran of course dates back to 1979 with the assumption to power of the Islamic regime led by Ayatollah Khomeini in the period which followed the revolution that overthrew the rule of the American-backed Shah.

Iranians in turn recalled that the first democratically elected government in Iran; that of Mohamed Mossadegh, was in 1953 overthrown by a coup d’etat which was orchestrated by America’s Central Intelligence Agency.

This animus continued through the Iran hostage crisis when American embassy staff were seized by Iranian revolutionary guards and held hostage and continued during the 1980s during US intervention in the Lebanon as well as the 8-year Iraq-Iran War in which the Americans backed Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator who was the aggressor in that conflict.   

This mutual hostility has persisted right to the present day and although the major enemy following the September 11 attacks of 2001 was the Sunni-created al Qaeda which established a presence in Iraq during an insurgency by Sunnis, by 2006, the administration of President George W. Bush had reconfigured its priorities to clandestinely work with and enhance the capabilities of Sunni militant groups in both Lebanon and Syria with the aim of weakening Hezbollah, the Assad government and ultimately Iran.

This premise, that the fall of Syria under the control of the Baathist government of Assad has been a foreign policy objective of the United States has found expression in a number of policy documents and think-tanks including, most notoriously, that produced by the Project for the New American Century.

This neo-conservative group proposed that the United States needed to take advantage of a post-Cold War world in which a vacuum had been left by the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

In shaping the global framework to its advantage, the United States needed to bolster its military expenditure and resolutely “challenge” regimes which were hostile to its “interests and values”. Featured among the list of hostile states were Iraq, Syria and Iran.

The election of George W. Bush brought neo-Conservatives to influential positions and ensured the beginning of a process which is continuing to the present.

Retired General Wesley Clarke, the former supreme commander of NATO, would later describe how on a visit to the Pentagon after the September 11th attacks, former colleagues had alerted him to the existence of a memorandum spelling out how the United States was going to “take out seven countries in five years.” These he revealed to be Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and “finishing off” with Iran.

There are increasingly many who are disinclined to subscribe wholeheartedly –if at all- to the reasons given for United States-led or backed interventions under the guise of the phenomena styled respectively as the ‘War on Terror’ and the ‘Arab Spring’.

While overtly predicated on issues related to countering terrorism or protecting populations or spreading democracy, each operation has had either an ascertainable economic motive or is one based on the long term national objective of effecting the downfall of a regime identified as been “hostile” to American interests.

By exploiting the apparently genuinely peaceful civil demonstrations which had developed in early 2011 while the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ was in full bloom through covert support for the contrived opposition ‘Free Syrian Army’, the Syrian conflict has brought the Arab world to the precipice of a potentially catastrophic clash between Sunni and Shia denominations of the Islamic faith.

But if the eventuality of a regional sectarian confrontation was not among the desired outcomes envisaged by the policy-makers of the United States, it is safe to assert that the deliberate exacerbation of ethnic-religious tensions within a nation of which affairs the United States is attempting to influence has become a time-honoured technique utilized by its intelligence agencies.

It was a tactic which was employed with brutal finesse via Shia-dominated police death squads in Iraq which were trained and funded to aid in the neutralisation of the Sunni-led anti-American insurgency as well as in the training and arming of the Islamist and tribally-motivated rebels who succeeded in overthrowing the government of Muamar Gaddafi.

While Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have provided logistical points for the transport of arms, the provision of the mercenary component of the anti-Assad forces and funding, the United States has served as an overseer.

For instance, in March of this year, a number of Western newspapers reported the shipment of several thousand tonnes of weapons from Zagreb to conduit nations in aid of what were referred to as “Syrian militants”.  This transaction was said to have been paid for by the Saudis and Qataris at the behest of the United States.

Ever mindful of the humiliations and other depredations potentially attendant to direct interventions, this sort of discreet, ‘at-arms-length’ operation is one favoured by the United States government as a ploy that is aimed at flagrantly circumventing domestic legislation geared towards restraining foreign entanglements through the funding and training of external belligerents.

But the camouflage which worked in the endeavour to overthrow Libya’s Gaddafi has failed to work in the case of Syria. The difficulty of achieving this was quietly acknowledged right at the onset of the conflict.

For one, the strength of the Syrian armed forces in terms of manpower and weaponry rendered any attempt at undermining its government an altogether different proposition from that of Colonel Gaddafi who purposely maintained a smaller, relatively lightly armed army as a strategy for lessening the chances of a successful military putsch from among the ranks of his soldiers.

Secondly, both the Russians and Chinese who felt deceived by consenting to what they were led to believe was intended to be a vastly more limited form action under the United Nations ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine in Libya, have remained unyielding in blocking American attempts to give NATO a UN-stamped green light to embark on a direct form of intervention.

Nevertheless, there is every reason to believe that the US-led coalition of anti-Assad nations made undisclosed time-based projections that the pressures caused by covertly building up the capabilities of the Syrian opposition forces, an expected mass defection from the ranks of the Syrian military, as well as an intensification of sectarian animosities leading to the mass estrangement of the majority Sunnis from the national government would have by now led to the fall of Assad.

The frustration at failing to achieve this end has revealed itself in a number of incidents which bore the hallmarks of having been opportunely stage managed.

In June of 2012, the shooting down by a Syrian anti-aircraft battery of a Turkish air force jet which was manoeuvring on the border of both countries and which had likely strayed into Syrian airspace appeared designed to serve as a means of invoking Article 5 of NATO’s constitution which provides that an attack on one member state is considered as an attack against all.

Again the media debate which followed the explosion back in April of a weapon believed to contain chemical agents and the subsequent vigorous examination of President Barack Obama’s previous enunciation that the use of such weapons would represent the crossing of a ‘red line’ which would necessitate the use of American military power appeared to represent an aggressive surge to facilitate public approval for intervention.

With the drift of the conflict swaying decisively in favour of the Assad army, which with a contingent force of Hezbollah fighters scored a decisive victory in June over the opposition at the Syrian-Lebanese border town of Qusair, the stakes became much higher.

The waning of the opposition which itself is bedevilled by the al Qaeda affiliations of the Jabhat al Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq as well as allegations of and the confirmed instances of perpetrated atrocities effectively put the pressure on the United States to intervene.

This is why the nerve agent attack on Ghouta, a community to the east of Damascus on August 21st which killed anything from 350 to over a thousand people, has come at a time which can only be described as been particularly propitious.

Why, many have asked, would the ascendant forces of the Assad government resort to the use of chemical weapons given that the advantage is with them? Why would they use them when in full knowledge that the United States would seize upon such use as a justification for finally intervening in a direct manner?

In many ways the conflict has built up to this moment. The failure of the efforts to destroy the Assad government has forced the hand of the United States to intervene based on an event which was either a tragedy staged with the specific purpose of blaming the Syrian government for using chemical weapons or even if the Assad regime was responsible, is an intervention based on an uncertain aspect of international law.

For while the Geneva Convention does outlaw the use of chemical weapons there is not an unequivocally concomitant provision entitling foreign intervention by means of invasion or using punitive measures to deal with transgressors.

The evidence proffered by the Obama administration has not been particularly convincing; amounting to little more than “only the Assad government was capable of deploying and using such weapons.”

Evidence indicates that this is not true.

For instance, last May, there were reports from the Turkish media indicating that the authorities had found a 2 kilogram cylinder of sarin nerve gas after searching the homes of Islamist Syrian guerrillas.

There is no great mystery or complexity about the adaptation of chemicals to weaponry which can come pre-packaged and be loaded onto an array of conventional guns or rocket launchers.

There is the allegation, based on interviews conducted by an AP-affiliated journalist, that the nerve agents which were used in Ghouta had been supplied by Saudi Arabian intelligence. And in August, Syrian state television broadcast footage of soldiers finding chemical agents in rebel tunnels in the Damascus suburb of Jobar.     

Further, the Syrian ambassador to the UN has called for a United Nations investigation into three alleged chemical weapons attacks against its soldiers which occurred in August. The United States, it needs reminding, has never stipulated any measures that it would take against the opposition if it resorted to chemical warfare.

Although sound in principle, the idea of striking out at those who use chemical weapons in order to serve as a deterrence is one which is not strictly proportionate in terms of the damage inflicted on humans by other forms of weapons which have been used by the armed forces of the United States, Russia and Israel.

In Iraq, babies continue to be born deformed as a result of the agents contained in American bombs used during the Gulf War. There were no red lines drawn when Israel used phosphorous agents and depleted uranium shells in Lebanon and in Gaza.

There are those who also assert that the United States policy on chemical weapons as been inconsistent if not reeking of hypocrisy given that the Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons with impunity against Iranian soldiers during the war in which it had sponsored Saddam.

It would be remiss not to mention the role of Israel as a key party with a huge interest in the fate of the Assad government and of the future of Syria itself. The impression which has been given by much of the media is that Israel has been somewhat passive over the conflict raging inside one of its neighbours and that it is unsure of which side it would prefer to prevail.

Although much of the analysis has portrayed an attitude of studied weariness over the outcome; with many assuming that it would prefer Assad to remain in power as it is “better the devil you know than the one you don’t know”, such conclusions amount to a gross misreading of the situation.

Here, an understanding of history and the fundamental precepts which have shaped and guided the longstanding attitudes and policies of the Zionist state are critical.

It was of course the New Zionist Revisionism as enunciated by Ze’ev Jabotinksy through his Iron Wall Doctrine which asserted that the viability and the sustenance of a nascent Jewish state nestled among hostile Arab neighbours could only be accomplished by foregoing notions of compromise and instead adopting a bullish and brutal military culture which would crush the will of those who would offer resistance.

Part of the strategy of dealing with the challenge associated with surrounding Arab nations was that the Zionist state must assume a position of undisputed hegemony which would be accomplished not only by force of arms but by exploiting the differences between and the disagreements among her neighbours.

And as the breaking up of the Ottoman Empire would serve as a pre-condition for the establishment of a state of Israel, so it was argued that its survival would be better assured by the weakening of successor artificially constructed Arab states, which should be broken down into smaller, weaker mini-states.

In other words, the existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant would always represent a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory. It formed the basis of his vehement objections to Charles de Gaulle’s decision to grant independence to Algeria.

It was certainly at the heart of the plan of policy drawn up by one Oded Yinon in the 1980s. The ‘Yinon Plan’ strategized a vision by which the ethnic-tribal rivalries and the economic maladies within larger Arab states should be exploited to the extent of creating the conditions by which the balkanization of such states could be achieved.

Thus the plan elaborated on designs for specific countries such as Iraq which would ideally be divided into three mini-states: one Kurdish and the other two Arab of which one would be Sunni and the other Shia. For Egypt, the most populous Arab nation, the best case scenario was that of a Coptic Christian state and numerous other Muslim states.

Addressing the potentially fractious state of affairs in its north eastern neighbour, Yinon’s essay noted that “Syria is fundamentally no different from Lebanon except in the strong military regime which rules it”.

A continuum of this thinking is apparent in ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm’, a policy document produced by a team led by Richard Perle in 1996 for then serving prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Perle, it should be noted, was a contributor to the aforementioned Project for the New American Century.

‘The Clean Break Document’ proposed that Israel give up on any objectives geared towards achieving a comprehensive peace with the Arab world and that it should instead work together with Turkey and Jordan to “contain, destabilize and roll-back” those states which pose as threats to all three.

Just as with the PNAC document, the strategy behind Israeli policy was to effect the “weakening, controlling and even rolling back” of Syria.

The threat posed to Israel by Syria thus has until recently been that of an ostensibly united state in possession of a substantive mass of territory and relatively large population under a strong form of leadership.

Israel of course has over the decades successfully countered those threats posed by Syria when Syria was part of coalitions of Arab armies as well as specific confrontations in Lebanon such as when their air forces famously clashed in duels over the Bekaa Valley in the early 1980s.

Israel is a nation which from the time of its inception has operated with what has been described as “strong survival instincts”.  It has consistently penetrated the highest levels of the command structures of Arab military and guerrilla organisations including those of the Syrian state and groups to which Syria has given refuge as well as those operating within its borders but which are hostile to the government.

Indeed, one of the most spectacularly successful feats of Israeli foreign intelligence was the Mossad operation in which an Egyptian-born Jew of Syrian-Jewish parentage, Eli Cohen, insinuated himself among the political and military elites of Syria by posing as a wealthy Syrian-Argentine returnee.

Before he was captured and hanged by the Syrian authorities, Cohen succeeded in relaying vital pieces of information to his handlers which would be of importance during the impending Six Day War of 1967.

The penetration of terrorist groups is among the most difficult of endeavours in the field of espionage, but Israel has consistently succeeded in this regard. In 1991, it was alleged that the United States, then embarked on a rapprochement with the Syrian government, had unwittingly unmasked “two or three” Palestinian agents working undercover for the Mossad in a Syrian-based guerrilla organisation who were later executed.

There is no reason to believe that these endeavours of espionage have not continued. The current civil war has prompted much in the manner of overt and covert activity along the Golan Heights border with Syria, the area which Israel seized after the 1967 war and which it later annexed.

The Israeli Defence Forces have mobilized troops and conducted a number of manoeuvres along its Syrian border. It has launched missiles into Syria and conducted bombing missions -all of which are illegal- which are believed to have cost the lives of significant amounts of civilians.

Its air force bombed a research centre in January of this year and a convoy of weapons which they claimed were Iranian supplied and in transit to Hezbollah in Lebanon was destroyed.

While the media mulled over whether the Assad government would respond to the research centre operation with a retaliatory attack on Israel as a means of widening the war and possibly setting the scene for an Arab-Israeli war if Israel embarked on an all-out attack on an Arab nation, one leader of the Syrian opposition publically pledged not to attack Israel.

Israel is central to the purported evidence that the American government is relying upon as confirming the culpability of the Assad government in regard to the chemical weapons attack which may lead to American strikes.

The intercepted phone call apparently implicating members of the Syrian military command structure emanated from Israeli military intelligence, the IDF’s 8200 Unit.

There is every reason to treat such evidence with caution. For instance, the formidable listening post operated by British intelligence on Mount Troodos in Cyprus does not appear to have picked up any messages implicating the Assad government in the chemical attack.

Such intercepted evidence would have been made available to the British Joint Intelligence Committee and would have been exploited by Prime Minister Cameron in making his case to Parliament for military intervention.

It is in Israel’s interest for the United States to attack Syria. Certainly, much of the public discourse in its media has indicated that Israel would welcome the fall of the Assad government.

Consider for instance a report by Debka, an Israeli news outlet which related how senior IDF officers criticised Moshe Ya’alon, the defence minister, for having “misled” the Knesset about the amount of Syrian territory controlled by the Assad government. “Erroneous assessments”, Debka stressed, “must lead to faulty decision-making”.

Consider also a Times of Israel editorial piece by David Horovitz written in the immediate aftermath of the vote by the British Parliament which ruled out involvement in an American-led attack on the Assad military.

The title, “Perfidious Albion hands murderous Assad a spectacular victory”, summed up the writer’s feeling that what he described as “British ineptitude and gutlessness” had “sent the wrong message to the butcher of Damascus, and left Israel more certain than ever that it can only rely on itself.”

The implication here is clear: Horovitz, whose paper had previously confirmed Israeli intelligence as being the source of Syrian responsibility for the chemical attack in Ghouta, is expectant of Western nations to remove the enemies of Israel. But in the absence of the will to do this, Israel will have to resolve to complete the task.

It is an attitude that has manifested itself in the policies and pronouncements of successive Israeli prime ministers. For instance, in 2003 as the Bush administration primed itself to invade Iraq, Ariel Sharon called on the United States to also disarm “Iran, Libya and Syria”.

More recently, Benjamin Netanyahu issued persistent pleas to the United States to launch attacks on Iran’s nuclear installations in order to remove the “existential threat” that nation is claimed to pose to Israel.

It is an attitude which fits into the outside-of-the-mainstream arguments that Israel has through its influential lobbies in the Western world, got America and its allies to ‘fight its wars’; wars which like the one in Iraq they allege have reduced Arab nations into ‘failed states’ which have been effectively balkanized.

When earlier this year the veteran journalist Carl Bernstein referred to the “insane” Iraq war as having been started by what he described as “Jewish neo-cons who wanted to remake the world (for Israel)”, he was referring to the proportionately high number of ethnic Jews who were part of the Project for the New American Century and who subsequently held key positions in the Bush administration which orchestrated an invasion that has ultimately led to the division of that country into three distinct segments.

It is the alleged power wielded by Israel lobbyists urging military intervention in Syria which some have argued is behind the hardline stances of Western leaders such as Britain’s David Cameron and France’s Francois Hollande.

Certainly, the opinion pieces, articles and commentaries on the websites of organisations such as AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs are reflective of a position calling for American intervention in Syria that goes further than mere gestures.

Even if the Syrian government arguably deserves to meet its end, the means that have been adopted by the United States and its allies to effect its removal cannot be justified.

Although led by a minority of the nation’s population and authoritarian in character, the Baathist government, at the helm of which has been the ruling Assad dynasty, has provided this fractious multi-ethnic country with a lengthy era of stability. The period before the ascent of Hafez al Assad as the strongman-ruler was marked by great turbulence as one military faction overthrew the other in a game of political musical chairs.

Its government represents the remnant of the socially progressive, anti-imperialist, non-sectarian movements such as the pan-Arabism pioneered by Egypt’s Gamal Abel Nasser and the Baathist philosophy espoused by Michel Aflaq, a Syrian Christian.

The nationalist character of the Syrian state and its secular nature provide the basis for unity and inclusiveness in a society composed of Sunnis, Alawites, Kurds, Orthodox Christians and Druze.

This is arguably the most important reason as to why it has survived the onslaught wrought by the Sunni-centred Free Syria Army and the Islamist militants who conceive a chauvinist post-Assad future of a Sunni-dominated state or states within which there would be an imposition of strict Sharia Law.

While not as successful or as benevolent as the form of governance afforded by Tunisia’s Habib Bourguiba, the Baath Party has provided most Syrians with a standard of living and a measure of social freedom which compares favourably with other parts of the Arab world.

But it is fair to say that the economy has been mismanaged and that nepotism and corruption are rife. The rule of Hafez al Assad, the President’s father is correctly characterised as having been one which was conducted with iron-fisted brutality.

The savage clamp down on an insurrection by the Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Hama in 1982 testified to the utter ruthlessness of a ruler who murdered thousands of innocents in order to accomplish his objective.

The image of strength however has not been one which the Assads have been able to convey so far as reckoning with Israel is concerned. They have had to live with the brutal reality of Israeli military might.

Hafez Assad was the powerful minister of defence when Israel defeated three Arab armies in the Six Day War during which the Golan Heights was overrun and he was president when the Israelis annexed that territory.

While Syria can claim that it alone of the three primary Arab combatant nations in the wars with Israel has resisted reaching a settlement with Israel, it has not been able to escape the charge of impotence in the face of numerous acts of Israeli aggression towards it.

And while it claims to have never sold out on the interests of the Palestinians, such assertion neglects the fact that Assad senior never put his weight of support behind the largest and segment of the Palestinian liberation movement which was led by Yassir Arafat.

Arafat in fact became a sworn enemy of the elder Assad who attempted to have him assassinated in order to install his own puppet Palestinian leader whom he could manipulate in his dealings with his powerful Zionist neighbour.

In fact, it was a secret kept for many years by a number of Arab figures that the government of Syria of which Assad senior was an influential member negotiated a secret agreement with Israel on the eve of the Six Day War which ensured that the Syrian Army would do very little in the event of a war breaking out between Israel and Egypt. This betrayal of their Arab allies and the Palestinian people was a secret which those in the know did not mention for fear of fatal retaliation.

The history of the world up to the present day informs us that rivalries between international alliances caused by different political, social and economic systems can best be contained by an overarching system of international security which can achieve a measure of stability in the relations between nations, if not quite creating an idealised state of harmonious co-existence.

The problem with the policies of the United States and its allies who have fomented and facilitated the troubles in Syria is a failure to recognise that differences can be best contained by adopting strategies which are predicated on respecting national sovereignty and adopting purposeful and genuine policies which are geared towards constructive dialogue.

The tripartite alliance that comprises the Shiite Crescent is one which has interests that ought to be respected. The idea of destroying Syria and then Iran whether emanating from notions of the American Empire, Zionist Revisionism, Saudi Wahhabism or the Ottoman school of thought, is one that is rooted in an arrogant mentality; being based on inflexible assumptions which find their raison detre in the aspiration to control and dominate others.

In many respects, Syria’s ‘crime’ as with the case of Iran and before the change of regime, that of the Gaddafi-era Libya, was a failure to strictly toe the line so far as being obeisant to Western interests is concerned.

The fall of Gaddafi, whose state owed no debts to the international banking system, has paved the way for the intervention of international financial agencies given that NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ action  managed to destroy Libya’s infrastructure and will grant Western governments access to the water resources created by Gaddafi’s Great Man River project.

Similarly, the fall of the Assad dynasty would pave the way for the building of an oil pipeline from Saudi Arabia to Turkey and would remove a vital supply conduit to Hezbollah whose doctrinal and organisational discipline, reminiscent of the early Zionists in Palestine, has provided something of a check on the actions of Israel.

The moralistic stances often taken by America in its history have frequently been compromised by a sanctimonious tone which consistently asserts that its actions are predicated on sound values rather than on naked self-interest.   

Thus, the intention to launch punitive strikes against Syria for the unproven use of chemical weapons is not based on a profound abhorrence for the act or to genuinely effect a deterrent, but is in fact geared towards giving advantage to the foes of Bashar Assad.

That Assad’s foes are Islamic fanatics of the sort against who America claims to be waging a so-called War on Terror is not accidental but is, as previously explained, a consciously adopted policy.

The mercenaries who have been armed and financed at the behest of America in a sense gives confirmation to what ostensibly appears to be a grotesque analysis: that al Qaeda has served as America’s ‘foreign legion’ since the time when it financed the Mujahedeen in its ‘holy war’ in Afghanistan against the invading Soviet armies.

They have been used in Lebanon in operations against Hezbollah, they were utilised to overthrow Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi and are presently being used in an attempt to effect regime change in Syria.

Another point of deep irony is the resolve of the United States to intervene over the deaths of a comparably small proportion of deaths when given the overall tally of lives which have been consumed by an array of devastatingly powerful weapons and intricate but lethal forms of munitions: The agony of death, the finality of physical destruction and the legacy of tragedy are all consistent features regardless of the means by which they are realised.

It is a war which would almost certainly have never reached its current level of intensity and depravity without the active connivance of the United States.

That the expected campaign of strikes on Syria, ostensibly based on humanitarian precepts will end up killing and maiming even more people is, perhaps, the deepest irony of all. 

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer and law lecturer based in England.

A senior Turkish security-military delegation is currently in Israel to discuss a possible US military strike against Syria with Israeli officials, media reports said.

“This security-military team discussed ways Israel-Turkey cooperation, specially their collaborative role in the possible US-led strike on Syria, and the duties and missions delegated to Ankara in this regard,” the Palestine-based Arabic-language weekly Al-Manar quoted informed sources as saying.

The weekly underlined that the Turkish delegation, comprising four ranking officers, is still in Israel.

Turkey and Israel have on numerous occasions helped the armed rebels fighting against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the beginning of crisis in Syria in May 2011.

 Report: Turkish Security, Military Delegation in Tel Aviv to Discuss Syria Plans

Earlier today, Turkey’s former Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener, who is a close friend of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, criticized the Turkish government for providing heavy weapons to the terrorist groups and organizations in Syria, including the notorious al-Nusra Front, warning that the policy would entail dangerous consequences.

“The Erdogan government has sent a large volume of heavy weapons to the terrorist group, the al-Nusra Front, affiliated to the al-Qaeda in Syria and this is while even the US has listed the al-Nusra as a terrorist group,” Sener told FNA in Ankara on Sunday.

“This move is highly dangerous,” he warned.

Sener described Turkey’s meddling in its neighbor’s internal affairs as a mistake, and said, “Turning the region into a region for trading smuggled arms and supporting this trade is a wrong policy of Erdogan’s government.”

Earlier reports said that Ankara has sent 400 tons of arms supplied by some Persian Gulf states to militants in Syria to bolster their fight against the government of President Assad.

“Twenty trailers crossed from Turkey and are being distributed to arms depots for several brigades across the North,” said Mohammad Salam, a rebel operative who witnessed the crossing from an undisclosed location in Hatay.

The delivery is being called the single biggest weapons cache to reach the rebels since the unrest began over two years ago.

The shipment follows the recent gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus that killed anywhere from dozens to over 1,000 civilians. Syrian officials, who said they discovered chemical weapons in a rebel hideout outside the capital, blamed the rebels for the attack.

The consignment – mostly ammunition for shoulder-fired weapons and anti-aircraft machine guns – came into northern Syria via the Turkish province of Hatay, and was already being handed out, sources said.

Turkey has been openly calling for regime change and military action in Syria since the country was hit by unrest in 2011 but Turkish political opposition parties have strongly rejected any military strikes on Syria.

False Claims About the Assad Regime’s Use of Chemical Weapons

September 8th, 2013 by International Action Center

According to a Reuters poll, 89% of the U.S. population is opposed to U.S. support for the Syrian opposition. Despite this, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has just made an ominous announcement that the U.S. intends to take “action” against Syria, and that Syria will be “held accountable” (for the use of chemical weapons).

All the evidence indicates that it is the rebels backed by Britain, the U.S. and others who are using chemical weapons to provide a pretext for the foreign aggression against Syria.

United Nations weapons inspectors are in Syria at the direct request of the Syrian government to prove that they have not used chemical weapons. The attack took place a mere ten miles away from the inspection team, on the very day they arrived.

Carla Del Ponte, a United Nations Human Rights investigator, has stated that the Syrian government has not used chemical weapons but the rebels have.

In May, 12 members of the Syrian rebel forces were arrested in Turkey. The rebels possessed 4.5 pounds of Sarin, the neurotoxin gas alleged to have been used in the recent attack.

In January, the British newspaper Daily Mail,  reported that the Syrian rebels were planning a chemical attack which they would blame on the Syrian government in order to justify U.S. intervention. The report was based on leaked emails from military contractors.

The Syrian rebels are receiving direct weapons and funding from the United States, despite their record of atrocities including rape, murder, and torture. The U.N. has reported that they are actively recruiting young children, in addition to other violations of international law.

The Assad government has fully cooperated with the weapons inspection teams. Members of the United Nations inspection team have openly stated their doubts about the chemical attack. Dr. Ake Sellstrom, the leader of the team, called the reports of the alleged attack “suspicious”.

Reports on the attack are very inconsistent. Some reports said over 1,300 were killed. Other reports have said less than 200. Still other reports say over 350. The numbers are unclear and totally unsubstantiated.

The report being circulated by “Doctors Without Borders” is not based on their own information, but based on reports they received from a Syrian rebel group by their own admission.

Videos of the alleged attack were posted on the internet by allies of the Syrian rebels, BEFORE the attack took place.

The credibility of the video of the alleged chemical attack is being widely questioned by chemical weapons experts. The victims are not displaying the proper symptoms of having been struck by a Sarin nerve gas. The people shown treating them are not wearing proper equipment.

The U.S. is currently urging the U.N. weapons inspection team to halt its work. The U.N. weapons inspectors insist that they must be allowed to continue their investigations and to determine actual facts.

Despite all of this confusion and inconsistency in the claims about this alleged attack, the U.S. government, along with its corporate allies in Britain and France are openly pushing for an attack on Syria. [...]

(Extract from the Call issued by the International Action Center in the U.S. for united actions of antiwar, community and progressive forces to organize for anti-war people’s assemblies, rallies, and protests against another war)

The War on Syria is a Hoax

September 8th, 2013 by Global Research News

[According to US Defense official] “We are going to attack and destroy the government in seven countries in five years.  We are going to start with Iraq(quoted by General Wesley Clark), then Libya, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Lebanon

The United States has been supporting Al Qaeda and they are supporting Al Qaeda in Syria.

Outstanding anti-war video by FORA TV.

Coffee Crisis in Central America: Support “Fair Trade”

September 8th, 2013 by Prof. Gavin Fridell

A major coffee crisis is brewing in Central America. Its impact has already been felt by the poorest workers and farmers, and things could get a whole lot worse. In 2012 an outbreak of “coffee leaf rust” (a fungus that has long haunted the industry) hit Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The outbreak is the worst in over thirty years, affecting over 50 per cent of the total coffee growing area in the region, causing a nearly 20 per cent drop in production and costing the industry around $500-million. Over 373,000 jobs have been lost, around 17 per cent of the region’s entire coffee-growing workforce.

Those who follow the twists and turns of the coffee industry might wonder, “didn’t we just get over a major coffee crises?” At the turn of the millennium, global coffee bean prices dropped to historic lows, causing mass layoffs, hunger, and bankruptcy for tens of thousands of farmers and workers worldwide. Prior to this, from 1963 to 1989, an International Coffee Agreement had helped stabilize and increase prices by holding a certain amount of beans off the market to avoid oversupply. It collapsed in 1989 when several countries, led by the United States, withdrew their support in favour of “free trade,” leading to two decades of market instability.

In 2011, prices suddenly boomed and analysts rushed to celebrate the new “bull” market, only to have their hopes dashed with a rapid drop in prices in response to cooling demand in Europe. Today, prices are the lowest in three years and the Monthly Coffee Market Report for May 2013 by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) has raised concerns that “many producers may be selling at a price which is not remunerative compared to the cost of production.”

Monocrop Cultivation

In Central America, global trends have been overshadowed by its own ecological crisis. Beyond a mere act of nature, a major factor in the coffee leaf rust outbreak has been the spread of full sun, monocrop cultivation since the 1970s, which covers approximately 40 per cent of the region’s coffee areas. This involves the heavy use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and substantially reduces the biodiversity of coffee trees and natural predators to coffee pests. University of Michigan ecologist John Vandermeer has recently suggested that monocrop cultivation has led to decline of white halo fungus, which naturally restrains coffee leaf rust, and may have played a significant role in the outbreak.

Green revolution technologies favouring full sun cultivation has long been actively promoted by U.S. government agencies and powerful philanthropic organizations, like the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and more or less embraced by governments and wealthy coffee farmers in Central America. And yet, it is workers and small farmers (who generally grow their beans under more sustainable shade grown conditions) that will pay the greatest price as they lack the resources to buffer themselves from the crisis. Predictions for 2013/14 are even more dire, with estimates that production could drop by 50 per cent. In the long term, the crisis could hasten the potentially devastating impacts of climate change. Higher temperatures threaten the distinctiveness of the region’s higher quality Arabica beans coveted by the specialty coffee industry. Government and industry representatives at the recent ICO meetings voiced deep concerns that the combination of coffee leaf rust and climate change could spell the total demise of the region’s higher quality, and higher priced, beans.

State Interventions?

As is so often the case in the era of “free markets,” governments have stepped forward with desperate bailouts after the crisis has already begun. Central American governments have pledged tens of millions of dollars in assistance while the ICO has initiated a campaign seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and grants from international donors and the private sector to support special pesticide applications targeting rust, fund tree renovation programs to replace old trees with more rust-resistant ones, and provide farmers with loans and various food security and crop diversification programs to partially offset dropping incomes. It remains to be seen how much support will ultimately materialize. What is certain is that hundreds of thousands of workers have already lost their jobs and millions of small farmers are already confronting crises, while after-the-fact support such as this disproportionately helps wealthier farmers able to remain standing long enough to see aid actually emerge.

Consumers can provide some relief to Central American farmers by choosing to buy fair trade coffee certified by Fairtrade International (FLO), which provides a minimum guaranteed price and “social premiums” to build things like schools, roads, hospitals, and coffee facilities. Fair trade only reaches a tiny proportion of coffee farmers, however, around three per cent of the world’s total. Plus, fair trade standards, while desirable, can also be very onerous and difficult for poor farmers to meet, requiring extra work and resources, and cannot address the fundamental imbalances between rich and poor in the coffee world that make coffee crises so distressing.

Ultimately, major changes to the coffee industry are long overdue that would put more income and resources into the hands of the poorest farmers and workers through state-supported education, health, and agricultural programs, land reform, and a revival of international price regulation. Otherwise, when this coffee crisis finally subsides, we may as well gear up for the next one. •

 Gavin Fridell is a Canada Research Chair in International Development at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, and author of the new book, Alternative Trade: Legacies for the Future. In March 2013 he was an independent observer to the International Coffee Organization meetings in London, England.

 This article was originally published in the Sept/Oct 2013 issue of the Watershed Sentinel, western Canada’s environmental news magazine at

Four Questions for Supporters of a Strike Against Syria

September 8th, 2013 by Washington's Blog

Simple Context Questions

Ask anyone still thinking of supporting an attack on Syria to explain why the U.S. started supporting the Syrian opposition years before any uprising had occurred there.

And ask them to explain why 4-Star General Wesley Clark was told – right after 9/11 – that Pentagon officials planned to attack 7 countries in 5 years … including Iraq, Libya and Syria:

I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September.


So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”

And ask them why this planning of regime change in Syria and 6 other countries started by 1991 at the latest:

It came back to me … a 1991 meeting I had with Paul Wolfowitz.


In 1991, he was the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy – the number 3 position at the Pentagon. And I had gone to see him when I was a 1-Star General commanding the National Training Center.


And I said, “Mr. Secretary, you must be pretty happy with the performance of the troops in Desert Storm.”

And he said: “Yeah, but not really, because the truth is we should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, and we didn’t … But one thing we did learn [from the Persian Gulf War] is that we can use our military in the region – in the Middle East – and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes – Syria, Iran, Iraq – before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.”

(Skip to 3:07 in the following video)

And ask them why the US and British governments considered using a false flag attack 50 years ago to topple the Syrian regime.

There are many other good questions as well, such as:

  • Why attack when Congress members who have seen the classified intelligence aren’t even convinced that the Syrian government used chemical weapons?
  • Why attack when the attack itself would be a larger war crime even than chemical weapons use (here, here and here)?

This Joint Resolution was adopted on September 4 in a divided vote (10-7). We have highlighted relevant sections.  The Resolution does not indicate any proof of responsibility regarding the chemical weapons attack.

It provides a blank check for an extended theater war, which could evolve towards a regional war.

The President is authorized, subject to subsection (b), to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in a limited and tailored manner against legitimate military targets in Syria,

The Resolution does not pertain to “no fly zone”. While its formulation excludes US troops on the ground but it does not exclude a ground war with boots on the ground by allied forces including Turkey and Israel.

The authorization to wage war on Syria is for an initial period of 6o days, namely 60 days of extensive bombings which can be extended for a period of 30 days.

Michel Chossudovsky, GR Editor, September 8, 2013


link to official Senate document pdf here

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations website

To authorize the limited and tailored use of the United States Armed Forces against Syria.

Whereas Syria is in material breach of the laws of war by having employed chemical weapons against its civilian population;

Whereas the abuses of the regime of Bashar al-Assad have included the brutal repression and war upon its own civilian population, resulting in more than 100,000 people killed in the past two years, and more than 2 million internally displaced people and Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq, creating an unprecedented regional crisis and instability;

Whereas the Assad regime has the largest chemical weapons programs in the region and has demonstrated its capability and willingness to repeatedly use weapons of mass destruction against its own people, including the August 21, 2013 attack in the suburbs of Damascus in which the Assad regime murdered over 1,000 innocent people, including hundreds of children;

Whereas there is clear and compelling evidence of the direct involvement of Assad regime forces and senior officials in the planning, execution, and after-action attempts to cover-up the August 21 attack, and hide or destroy evidence of such attack;

Authorization of Use of Force in Syria

Whereas the Arab League has declared with regards to the August 21 incident to hold the “Syrian regime responsible for this heinous crime”;

Whereas the United Nations Security Council, in Resolution 1540 (2004) affirmed that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons constitutes a threat to international peace and security;

Whereas in the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003, Congress found that Syria’s acquisition of weapons of mass destruction threatens the security of the Middle East and the national security interests of the United States;

Whereas the actions and conduct of the Assad regime are in direct contravention of Syria’s legal obligations under the United Nations Charter, the Geneva Conventions, and the Geneva Protocol to the Hague Convention on the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, and also violates standards set forth in the Chemical Weapons Convention;

Whereas Syria’s use of weapons of mass destruction and its conduct and actions constitute a grave threat to regional stability, world peace, and the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners;

Whereas the objectives of the United States use of military force in connection with this authorization are to respond to the use, and deter and degrade the potential future use of weapons of mass destruction by the Syrian government;

Whereas the conflict in Syria will only be resolved through a negotiated political settlement, and Congress calls on all parties to the conflict in Syria to participate urgently and constructively in the Geneva process; and

Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to use force in order to defend the national security interests of the United States:

Now, therefore, be it,

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This joint resolution may be cited as the “Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the Government of Syria to Respond to Use of Chemical Weapons”.


(a) AUTHORIZATION-The President is authorized, subject to subsection (b), to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in a limited and tailored manner against legitimate military targets in Syria, only to: (1) respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction by the Syrian government in the conflict in Syria; (2) deter Syria’s use of such weapons in order to protect the national security interests of the United States and to protect our allies and partners against the use of such weapons; and (3) degrade Syria’s capacity to use such weapons in the future.

(b) REQUIREMENT FOR DETERMINATION THAT USE OF MILITARY FORCE IS NECESSARY- Before exercising the authority granted in subsection (a), the President shall make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that—

(1) the United States has used all appropriate diplomatic and other peaceful means to prevent the deployment and use of weapons of mass destruction by Syria;

(2) the Syrian government has conducted one or more significant chemical weapons attacks;

(3) the use of military force is necessary to respond to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government;

(4) it is in the core national security interest of the United States to use such military force;

(5) the United States has a military plan to achieve the specific goals of responding to the use of weapons of mass destruction by the Syrian government in the conflict in Syria, to deter Syria’s use of such weapons in order to protect the national security interests of the United States and to protect our allies and partners against the use of such weapons, and to degrade Syria’s capacity to use such weapons in the future; and

(6) the use of military force is consistent with and furthers the goals of the United States strategy toward Syria, including achieving a negotiated political settlement to the conflict.


(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, 50 U.S.C. § 1541, et seq., the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution, within the limits of the authorization established under this Section.

(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.


The authority granted in section 2 does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Syria for the purpose of combat operations.


The authorization in section 2(a) shall terminate 60 days after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution, except that the President may extend, for a single period of 30 days, such authorization if –

(1) the President determines and certifies to Congress, not later than 5 days before the date of termination of the initial authorization, that the extension is necessary to fulfill the purposes of this resolution as defined by Section 2(a) due to extraordinary circumstances and for ongoing and impending military operations against Syria under section 2(a); and

(2) Congress does not enact into law, before the extension of authorization, a joint resolution disapproving the extension of the authorization for the additional 30 day period; provided that any such joint resolution shall be considered under the expedited procedures otherwise provided for concurrent resolutions of disapproval contained in section 7 of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1546).


Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this resolution, the President shall consult with Congress and submit to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives an integrated United States Government strategy for achieving a negotiated political settlement to the conflict in Syria, including a comprehensive review of current and planned U.S. diplomatic, political, economic, and military policy towards Syria, including: (1) the provision of all forms of assistance to the Syrian Supreme Military Council and other Syrian entities opposed to the government of Bashar Al-Assad that have been properly and fully vetted and share common values and interests with the United States; (2) the provision of all forms of assistance to the Syrian political opposition, including the Syrian Opposition Coalition; (3) efforts to isolate extremist and terrorist groups in Syria to prevent their influence on the future transitional and permanent Syrian governments; (4) coordination with allies and partners; and (5) efforts to limit support from the Government of Iran and others for the Syrian regime.


(a) Notification and Provision of Information. Upon his determination to use the authority set forth in section 2 of this Act, the President shall notify Congress, including the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, of the use of such authority and shall keep Congress fully and currently informed of the use of such authority.

(b) Reports. No fewer than 10 days after the initiation of military operations under the authority provided by Section 2, and every 20 days thereafter until the completion of military operations, the President shall submit to the Congress, including the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a report on the status of such operations, including progress achieved toward the objectives specified in Section 2(a), the financial costs of operations to date, and an assessment of the impact of the operations on the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capabilities and intentions.


The authority set forth in Section 2 of this resolution shall not constitute an authorization for the use of force or a declaration of war except to the extent that it authorizes military action under the conditions, for the specific purposes, and for the limited period of time set forth in this resolution.

Whither Obama?

September 8th, 2013 by Stephen Lendman

In February 2009, Gallup’s three-day rolling averageshowed around 70% support. Thereafter, it hovered around 50%. In mid-2011, it was around 40%.On August 19, Gallup headlined “Summer Months Unkind to Obama.” His average August support was 45.6%. In early/mid August 2013, it was 47%.

His economic approval was 35%. His foreign affairs approval was 40%. Overwhelming popular opposition to attacking Syria threatens to head it lower.

Americans know they’ve been conned. They’re tired of permanent wars. They’re tired of waging them for the wrong reasons.

They want domestic priorities addressed. They reject Obama heading America for more conflict. They want peace, jobs and economic growth. They want promises made kept.

 On September 6, The New York Times headlined “Obama Falls Short on Wider Backing for Syria Attack,” saying:

He faces “one of the biggest tests of his presidency.” His war agenda isn’t selling.

“He ordered aides to fan out in coming days with a series of speeches, briefings, telephone calls and television appearances to sway” Congress and constituents.

So far, he’s waging a losing battle. He faces stiff opposition. He disingenuously said he “was elected to end wars, not start them.”

“I’ve spent the last four and a half years doing everything I can to reduce our reliance on military power as a means of meeting our international obligations and protecting the American people.”

 ”But what I also know is that there are times where we have to make hard choices if we’re gonna stand up for the things that we care about. And I believe that this is one of those times.”

 Fact check

 Obama escalated war in Afghanistan. He waged lawless aggression on Libya.

 He’s waging a proxy war on Syria. He plans intervening directly. He wages wars based on lies. He plans regime change in Iran.

 Wars are his strategy of choice. They won’t end on his watch. Claims otherwise ring hollow. Americans are fed up. They’ve got good reason to be mad.

 A previous article said candidate Obama pledged hope, peace and change. President Obama delivered duplicity, war and betrayal.

 He reflects the worst of America’s dark side (no pun intended). His agenda’s polar opposite what most people want.

He’s waging war on humanity. He’s doing it nonstop. He plans lots more ahead. He prioritizes advancing America’s imperium. He seeks unchallenged global dominance. He’s repressively ruthless at home.

He’s alienating world leaders. On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal headlined “Obama’s Call to Hit Syria Splits World Leaders.”

He came to St. Petersburg for support. His “lobbying blitz” fell short. He met stiff opposition. He headed home to face congressional and popular “skeptics.”

Ahead of his planned 9/11 eve nationally televised address on Syria, his UN envoy Samantha Powers told Center for American Progress (CAP) ideologues:

“We believe that more than 1,400 people were killed in Damascus on August 21, and the Security Council could not even agree to put out a press statement expressing its disapproval.”

She urged circumventing Security Council authorization. She argued for lawless aggression, saying:

 ”If we cannot summon the courage to act when the evidence is clear and when the action being contemplated is limited, then our ability to lead in the world is compromised.”

“The alternative is to give a green light to outrages that will threaten our security and haunt our conscience, outrages that will eventually compel us to use force anyway down the line at far greater risk and cost to our own citizens.”

On September 6, the Washington Free Beacon headlined “Anti-war activists protest Samantha Power’s Syria speech,” saying:

 They descended on CAP. They did so to denounce Power’s interventionist advocacy. They held signs saying:

“Obama thinks he’s king but he’s no MLK.”

“No to US military intervention in Syria.”

CodePink activist Medea Benjamin called it “terrible” that CAP invited Power. “At least sponsor a debate, have the other side,” she said.

“Don’t give her a platform.” Doing so endorses imperial intervention. CAP prevented Benjamin from hearing Power’s address. She’s known for powerful anti-war statements. She holds back nothing expressing them.

Power argued that America has a moral imperative to intervene. She claimed US security’s at risk. She repeated other administration lies.

Her comments preceded Obama’s planned Tuesday night address. Edward Herman once called her a prominent “cruise missile left adherent.”

Francis Boyle calls her husband, Cass Sunstein, a “lethal neo-con.” From 2009 – 2012, he was Obama’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs administrator.

 Power’s book “A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide” gained her prominence. She “never departs from the selectivity dictated by the establishment party line,” said Herman.

Terrorism is what they do, not us, she says. Horrendous US genocides are ignored. They’re longstanding. They’ve been ongoing since the republic’s inception. They continue today.

America’s no benevolent nation. It never was. It isn’t now. It’s ruthlessly belligerent. It’s repressive. It’s genocidal. Ideologues like Power pretend otherwise.

Herman called “A Problem from Hell” a “masterpiece of evasion and apologetics for ‘our’ genocides and call for a more aggressive pursuit of ‘theirs.’ ”

Ideologues think that way. Power’s not alone. Washington’s infested with imperial supporters. Whether they plan supporting war on Syria remains to be seen.

 On September 7, Reuters headlined “Direct link between Assad and gas attack elusive for US,” saying:

 ”No direct link to President Bashar al-Assad or his inner circle has been publicly demonstrated, and some US sources say intelligence experts are not sure whether the Syrian leader knew of the attack before it was launched or was only informed about it afterward.”

Nothing suggests Syrian military involvement. Credible evidence is lacking. It’s “one of the biggest gaps in US understanding of the incident,” said Reuters.

 Plenty of evidence links insurgents to chemical weapons use. They’ve been caught red-handed multiple times.

 After attacking Iraq based on lies, who can believe anything administration officials say. Credibility isn’t Washington’s long suit.

 On September 5, The New York Times headlined “White House Looks to Syria Vote as Rudder for Rest of Term,” saying:

 ”President Obama and his advisers view the coming decision on military action against Syria as a potential turning point that could effectively define his foreign policy for his final three years in office.”

 Failure potentially could wreck his presidency. Acting without congressional and Security Council support will leave him increasingly isolated.

 Perhaps it’ll encourage Republicans to impeach him. Doing so will be hugely disruptive. Former Obama Defense Department official Rosa Brooks said:

 ”I think this vote determines the future of his foreign policy regardless of whether it’s a yes vote or a no vote.”

“If he ekes out a yes vote, he’s beholden to the Republicans. (I)f he gets a no vote and stands down on Syria, he’s permanently weakened and will indeed probably be more inward looking.”

 His case for war lacks credibility. He claims failing to act helps Iran. It harms Israel. He’s lobbying for congressional support. He’s using hardball tactics. He’s waging an uphill battle.

 He’s trying “to thread the needle at home and abroad,” said The Times. Arguing that stakes are high doesn’t wash.

 Claiming world credibility is risked angers opposition leaders. Activist groups like CodePink say “No War with Syria.”

Be on the right side of history, it says. “Take Action: Diplomacy and Aid for Syria, Not Military Strikes.”

 Write “your members of Congress calling for peace not war. Tell Obama: Violent intervention in Syria is not the answer to resolving conflict.”

 Redirect “military dollars (for) immediate humanitarian aid.”

Prioritize “urgent peace talks, halt sales to authoritarian regimes and honor the voices of nonviolent resistance. We don’t want another war.”’s Gordon Osmond headlined “Obama’s Waterloo,” saying:

His 2012 reelection “was an epic avoidance of accountability.” Syria may be his undoing.

 ”His face-saving advocacy” for more war faces stiff opposition at home and abroad.

“The isolation of this short-sighted egotist, who sought to draw red (read pale pink) lines and then cowardly sought to deny his artwork abroad shows every sign of discrediting both Obama’s policy and his political credibility.”

His presidency looks more lame duck than ever. It may end up worse than that. Accountability is long overdue. History suggests he’ll muddle through.

Millions Obama harmed deserve much better. Maybe some day. Not now.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Depravity Redefined: Selling US Slaughter in Syria

September 8th, 2013 by Tony Cartalucci

The corporate interests driving the United States, its resources, and policy, have invoked dead children in the latest and grisliest propaganda campaign yet, directed at the American public to build support for an otherwise unjustified and universally unwanted war with Syria.

The headline of CNN’s “First on CNN: Videos show glimpse into evidence for Syria intervention,” suggests that by watching the grotesque videos, some sort of evidence exists to justify an assault on Syria. Instead, the videos only show yet again, the crime, and only the crime – a crime which no one, including the Syrian government, denies occurred. What is missing, as has been the case since the US leveled accusations against the Syrian government on August 21, 2013, is any evidence at all as to who actually committed this crime.

Image: The Summer of 1939, after staging border incidents to frame Poland for unwarranted aggression, Hitler orders the Nazi invasion of Poland. This would not be the first or last time a Western nation used a manufactured “casus belli” to start a war of aggression, now considered a Nuremberg offense and a crime against world peace.

Even upon reading the US’ own assessments of the incident reveal there is no evidence. The best the US can say is [emphasis added]:

The United States Government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013.

Assessing with “high confidence” is not enough to execute a single criminal within the US justice system, yet somehow is enough to justify a military assault on a sovereign nation on the other side of the planet, which poses no threat to the United States, and will inevitably lead to the death of Syrian soldiers and civilians, while assisting sectarian extremists, many of whom openly pledge allegiance to Al Qaeda. At face value, the US has no case against Syria, and no credibility after habitually using equally tenuous evidence as justification for military assaults against Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and beyond.

That CNN is using dead children as “evidence” indicates that the dubious media outlet is attempting to manipulate the American public on the most visceral emotional level possible to sell a war the corporate interests CNN represents desires.

CNN and other Western outlets, have been caught overtly fabricating stories throughout the subversion of Syria, starting in 2011 when they disingenuously portrayed the flooding of Syria with armed extremists as the “Arab Spring,” up to and including featured interviews with “Syria Danny,” who was later revealed to be staging gun fire in the background of theatrical (and fabricated) casualty reports given to CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Exploiting dead children to manipulate the public emotionally enables the US to circumvent not only its absolute lack of evidence, but hopefully the myriad of logical conclusions an otherwise rational, intelligent person might draw.

Regarding US Claims

US Claim #1: The Syrian “Regime” Used Chemical Weapons in a Desperate Bid to Save Damascus.

Reality: The US claims in its assessment that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in a desperate struggle for Damascus:

The Syrian regime has initiated an effort to rid the Damascus suburbs of opposition forces using the area as a base to stage attacks against regime targets in the capital. The regime has failed to clear dozens of Damascus neighborhoods of opposition elements, including neighborhoods targeted on August 21, despite employing nearly all of its conventional weapons systems. We assess that the regime’s frustration with its inability to secure large portions of Damascus may have contributed to its decision to use chemical weapons on August 21.

Yet it appears that mostly women and children were the victims of the attack – apparently killed in the middle of the night while they slept.

The US and its collaborators expect the world to believe: that the Syrian government risked using chemical weapons in Damascus, under the nose of UN inspectors, to clear out stalwart “opposition” fighters, and only managed to mass murder women and children in the process while giving the West a long-desired justification for military intervention. And despite “employing nearly all of its conventional weapons systems” and allegedly also sarin nerve gas, the Ghouta area was still under terrorist control after the attack.

It should be noted that Ghouta is on the very edge of Damascus, facing open country that stretches to the Al Qaeda infested Syrian-Iraqi border and the extremist hotbed of Al Anbar province in Iraq – implicating another, and the most likely culprit, Al Qaeda.

US Claim #2: The “Opposition” Lacks the Capabilities to Carry Out Such an Attack.

Reality: The US, in its assessment states:

We assess that the scenario in which the opposition executed the attack on August 21 is highly unlikely. The body of information used to make this assessment includes intelligence pertaining to the regime’s preparations for this attack and its means of delivery, multiple streams of intelligence about the attack itself and its effect, our post-attack observations, and the differences between the capabilities of the regime and the opposition.

The “opposition” in Syria is Al Qaeda.  Al Qaeda allegedly carried out the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, destroying three (including Building 7) World Trade Center towers in New York City and striking at the very heart of America’s trillion dollar military might, the Pentagon itself – killing in a single day nearly 3,000 using nothing more than box-cutters, pepper spray, and 4 commandeered aircraft.

The US State Department since the very beginning of the violence has acknowledged that the most prominent fighting group operating inside Syria is Al Qaeda, more specifically, the al Nusra front. The US State Department’s official press statement titled, “Terrorist Designations of the al-Nusrah Front as an Alias for al-Qa’ida in Iraq,” states explicitly that:

Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed.

It is also confirmed that many fighters joining al Nusra come from abroad, including from the recently decimated Libya, where a significant arsenal of chemical weapons have fallen into the hands of a sectarian extremist government which is openly funding and arming terrorists in Syria.

The US and its collaborators expect the world to believe: that despite Al Qaeda having struck at the very heart of US military might, after circumventing a trillion dollar defense system of unprecedented capabilities, it is now somehow incapable of obtaining and using against civilians, chemical weapons – a scenario the US has warned the world of and in fact, used as justification for invading Iraq in 2003. Either we’ve been lied to about the official explanation regarding 9/11, or we’ve been lied to about the capabilities of Al Qaeda in Syria – or more likely, both.


Clearly, at face value, none of what the US proposes regarding the alleged chemical attacks in Syria is rational. The propaganda rolled out against Syria is poorly retreaded lies from the illegal, abhorrent Iraq invasion and occupation and the more recent NATO atrocities committed against the Libyan people who are still suffering from NATO’s “humanitarian intervention” there.

What does it mean when the combined, multi-trillion dollar defense and intelligence resources of the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others are categorically incapable of providing a single shred of credible evidence to make their case? That evidence does not exist? Or that it does, but simply points the finger unfavorably in another direction?

Without actual evidence of who committed the crimes showcased on CNN, the first and most important question that must be answered is “cui bono?” – or – to whose benefit? Clearly, the chemical attacks carried out under the nose of UN inspectors, leaving shocking images of dead women and children used to manipulate the public on an emotional level, benefits the special interests driving US, British, European, and Arab policy. These are the same interests who in 2007 openly conspired to initiate a sectarian bloodbath to drown Lebanon, Syria, and Iran – a documented conspiracy being realized in full, beginning in 2011.

The danger of a Syrian government surviving the insidious machinations of Western special interests and restoring order in a unified Syria is an unacceptable outcome for Washington, London, Paris, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv. The unprecedented impetus behind this unpopular, universally opposed war with Syria reeks of desperation and a corporate-financier axis that has used and abused all of its tricks one too many times.

Whatever the outcome in Syria may be, these corporate-financier interests have exposed themselves and have long-since resigned their legitimacy. All that they do now, they do in the open, against the will of the world, amidst growing dissent, and against the background of a socio-technological paradigm shift undermining their institutions and international rackets permanently. However vigorously these interests appear to be digging their grave, it is still, ultimately a grave.




The West Dethroned: Washington is “The Axis of Evil”

September 8th, 2013 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

“The European race’s last three hundred years of evolutionary progress have all come down to nothing but four words: selfishness, slaughter, shamelessness and corruption.”   Yan Fu [image below]

It only took the rest of the world 300 years to catch on to the evil that masquerades as “western civilization,” or perhaps it only took the rise of new powers with the confidence to state the obvious. Anyone doubtful of America’s responsibility for the evil needs to read The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick.

The “New American Century” proclaimed by the neoconservatives came to an abrupt end on September 6 2013 at the G20 meeting in Russia.  The leaders of most of the world’s peoples told Obama that they do not believe him and that it is a violation of international law if the US government attacks Syria without UN authorization.

Putin told the assembled world leaders that the chemical weapons attack was “a provocation on behalf of the armed insurgents in hope of the help from the outside, from the countries which supported them from day one.”  In other words, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Washington–the axis of evil.

China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, and Argentina joined Putin in affirming that a leader who commits military aggression without the approval of the UN Security Council puts himself “outside of law.”  

In other words, if you defy the world, obama, you are a war criminal.

The entire world is waiting to see if the Israel Lobby can push obama into the role of war criminal.  Many are betting that Israel will prevail over the weak american president, a cipher devoid of all principle.  A couple of decades ago before the advent of the american sheeple, one of the last tough Americans, Admiral Tom Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, publicly declared that “no US president can stand up to Israel.” America’s highest ranking military officer could not get an honest investigation of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty.

We are yet to see an american president who can stand up to Israel. Or, for that matter, a Congress that can.  Or a media.

The obama regime tried to counter its smashing defeat at the G20 Summit by forcing its puppet states to sign a joint statement condemning Syria.  However the puppet states qualified their position by stating that they opposed military action and awaited the UN report. 

Most of obama’s bought-and-paid-for “supporters” are impotent, powerless. For example obama counts the UK as a supporting country because of the personal support of the discredited UK prime minister, david cameron, despite the fact that cameron was repudiated by the British Parliament in a vote that prohibits British participation in another of Washington’s war crimes. So, although cameron cannot bring the British people and the British government with him, obama counts the UK as a supporter of obama’s attack on Syria. Clearly, this is a desperate count of “supporting countries.”

The Turkish puppet government, which has been shooting its peacefully demonstrating citizens down in the streets, with no protest from obama or the Israel Lobby, supports “holding Syria accountable,” but not itself, of course, or Washington.

The puppet states of Canada and Australia, powerless countries, neither of which carry one ounce of world influence, have lined up to do the bidding of their Washington master. The entire point of having the top government job in Canada and Australia is the payoff from Washington. 

The obama cipher also claims the support of Japan and the Republic of Korea, another two countries devoid of all diplomatic influence and power of any kind.  Helpless Japan is on the verge of being destroyed by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, for which it has no solution. As the radiation leaks spread into the aquifer upon which Tokyo and surrounding areas rely, Japan is faced with the possibility of having to relocate 40 million people.

Saudi Arabia, implicated in the transfer to al-Nusra rebels of the chemical weapons used in the attack, supports Washington, knowing that otherwise its tyranny is toast. Even the neoconservatives headed by obama’s shrill National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, want to overthrow the Saudis.

Obama claims also to have support from France and Germany. However both Hollande and Merkel have stated clearly that a diplomatic solution, not war, is their first choice and that the outcome rests on the UN.

As for Italy and Spain’s support, both governments are hoping to be rewarded with the Federal Reserve printing enough dollars to bail out their indebted economies so that both governments are not overthrown in the streets for their acquiescence to the looting of their countries by international banksters. Like so many Western governments, those of Italy and Spain, and, of course, Greece, support the international banksters, not their own citizens. 

The president of the European Commission has declared that the European Union, the central overlord over Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, does not support a military solution to the Syrian Crisis. “The European Union is certain that the efforts should be aimed at a political settlement,” Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters at the G20 meeting. The EU has the power to issue arrest warrants for the heads of EU governments that participate in war crimes. 

What this reveals is that the support behind the liar obama is feeble and limited.

The ability of the Western countries to dominate international politics came to an end at the G20 meeting. The moral authority of the West is completely gone, shattered and eroded by countless lies and shameless acts of aggression based on nothing but lies and self-interests. Nothing remains of the West’s “moral authority,” which was never anything but a cover for self-interest and murder, and genocide.

The West has been destroyed by its own governments, who have told too many self-serving lies, and by its capitalist corporations, who offshored the West’s jobs and technology to China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil, depriving the Western governments of a tax base and the support of its citizens. 

It is difficult to know whether citizens in the West hate their corrupt governments any less than do Muslims, whose lives and countries have been devastated by Western aggression, or than do citizens of third world countries who have been impoverished by being looted by predatory First World financial organizations.

The idiot Western governments have pissed away their clout. There is no prospect whatsoever of the neoconservative fantasy of US hegemony being exercised over Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, South America, Iran.  These countries can establish their own system of international payments and finance and leave the dollar standard whenever they wish. One wonders why they wait. The US dollar is being printed in unbelievable quantities and is no longer qualified to be the world reserve currency. The US dollar is on the verge of total worthlessness.

The G20 Summit made it clear that the world is no longer willing to go along with the West’s lies and murderous ways. The world has caught on to the West.  Every country now understands that the bailouts offered by the West are merely mechanisms for looting the bailed-out countries and impoverishing the people. 

In the 21st century Washington has treated its own citizens the way it treats citizens of third world countries. Untold trillions of dollars have been lavished on a handful of banks, while the banks threw millions of Americans out of their homes and seized any remaining assets of the broken families.

US corporations had their taxes cut to practically nothing, with few paying any taxes at all, while the corporations gave the jobs and careers of millions of Americans to the Chinese and Indians. With those jobs went US GDP, tax base, and economic power, leaving Americans with massive budget deficits, a debased currency, and bankrupt cities, such as Detroit, which once was the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.

How long before Washington shoots down its own homeless, hungry, and protesting citizens in the streets?

Washington represents Israel and a handful of powerful organized private interests.

Washington represents no one else. Washington is a plague upon the American people and a plague upon the world.  (See