A new Turkish aggression against Syria: Ankara suspends pumping Euphrates’ water

May 30, 2014

Syria’s friend (Turkey) depriving Syrians from their share of Euphrates water for two weeks now.

 

Top: “The decrease in water levels” Bottom: “Tishrin Dam” (Photo: Al-Akhbar)

By: Suhaib Anjarini

Published Friday, May 30, 2014

The Turkish government recently cut off the flow of the Euphrates River, threatening primarily Syria but also Iraq with a major water crisis. Al-Akhbar found out that the water level in Lake Assad has dropped by about six meters, leaving millions of Syrians without drinking water.

Two weeks ago, the Turkish government once again intervened in the Syrian crisis. This time was different from anything it had attempted before and the repercussions of which may bring unprecedented catastrophes onto both Iraq and Syria.

Violating international norms, the Turkish government recently cut off the water supply of the Euphrates River completely. In fact, Ankara began to gradually reduce pumping Euphrates water about a month and half ago, then cut if off completely two weeks ago, according to information received by Al-Akhbar.

A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity revealed that water levels in the Lake Assad (a man-made water reservoir on the Euphrates) recently dropped by six meters from its normal levels (which means losing millions of cubic meters of water). The source warned that “a further drop of one additional meter would put the dam out of service.”

“We should cut off or reduce the water output of the dam, until the original problem regarding the blockage of the water supply is fixed,” the source explained.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) controlling the region the dam is located in did not suspend the water output. Employees of the General Institution of the Euphrates Dam are running the lake under the supervision of al-Qaeda linked ISIS, but they don’t have the authority to take serious decisions, such as reducing the water output. In addition, such a step is a mere attempt to ease the situation, and it will lose its efficacy if the water supply isn’t restored to the dam by Turkey.

The tragic repercussions of the new Turkish assault began to reveal themselves when water levels dropped in al-Khafsa in Aleppo’s eastern countryside (where a water pumping station from Lake Assad is located to pump water through water channels to Aleppo and its countryside).

The reservoirs are expected to run out of water completely by tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest.

Meanwhile, water supplies in auxiliary reservoirs in al-Khafsa are close to being depleted and the reservoirs are expected to run out of water completely by tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest. This threatens to leave seven million Syrians without access to water. Also, Tishrin Dam stopped receiving any water which blocked its electricity generating turbines, decreasing the power supply in Aleppo and its countryside, further intensifying the already severe imbalance in the power supply.

In Raqqa, the northern side of Lake Assad is today completely out of service. Two million Syrians living in the region covering the villages of Little Swaydiya to the east until al-Jarniya to the west could lose their drinking water supply. “Losing water supplies in the dam means that the silt in the lake will dry off which would pressure its structure, subjecting it to fissures and eventually total collapse,” Al-Akhbar sources warned, adding “it is crucial to shut down the dam to stop its collapse.”

However, shutting down the dam (if ISIS agrees) will only lead to a human and ecological (zoological and agricultural) catastrophe in Syria and in Iraq.

According to information obtained by Al-Akhbar, Aleppo locals (who had already launched many initiatives to reach solutions for a number of local issues) began a race against time to recommend solutions for the problem, including putting the thermal plant at al-Safira back to work, which may convince ISIS to spare the Euphrates Dam turbines, and in turn preserve current water levels in the lake.

In case it succeeds, such a step would only rescue whatever water and structures are left, and would ward off further repercussions of the crisis that has already started. A halt to the water supply is now inevitable and can’t be resolved unless the Turkish government takes the decision to resume pumping Euphrates water.

Top: “The decrease in water levels” Bottom: “Euphrates Dam” (Photo: Al-Akhbar)

In any case, it is worth mentioning that the water in the lake would take about a month, after resuming pumping, to return to its normal levels.

A historical conflict

The Euphrates River has historically been at the center of a conflict between Turkey on the one hand and both Syria and Iraq on the other. Ankara insists on considering the Euphrates a “trans-boundary river” and not an “international river,” hence it is “not subject to international laws.” Also, Turkey is one of the only three countries in the world (along with China and Burundi) that opposed the Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1997.

In 1987, a temporary agreement between Syria and Turkey was signed to share the water supplies of the Euphrates during the period when the basin of the Ataturk Dam was being filled. In virtue of the agreement, Turkey pledged to provide an annual level of over 500 cubic meters of water a second on the Turkish-Syrian borders, until reaching a final agreement about sharing the water supplies of the river between the three countries. In 1994, Syria registered the agreement at the United Nations to guarantee the minimum amount of Iraq and Syria’s right to the water from the Euphrates River.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

——————————————————

Comment By Ziad Fadel

I’ve written about this for years. Syria has a plan for Erdoghan that will set back his Ottoman dreams by 500 years.  It was developed by the late general, Daawood Rajiha, our former Defense Minister until he was assassinated by a Robert Ford-designed plot to “decapitate” the Syrian military high command on July 18, 2012.  It didn’t work and the only one decapitated was Ford in a humiliating retirement reeking of failure.  General Rajiha had developed a plan to use Syria’s huge ground-to-ground missile network to vaporize Turkey’s hydroelectric dams on the Euphrates River.  Well, now’s the time with Erdoghan cutting off all water to both Syria and Iraq, damning our people to thirst and starvation.  It is time for Iran and Russia cut off all gas supplies to Erdoghan and force him to release the waters of the great river which is the lifeline of the Fertile Crescent.  Or! Let’s unleash a SCUD attack on all his dams.

 Well, what do you think about that? What if Dr. Assad did something really out of character, like, you know, telling some general to go ahead with General Rajiha’s plan?  Wouldn’t that be really jolly? What would Erdoghan do?  He can’t invoke the NATO Treaty because he declared war on Syria by cutting off water to a riparian landowner and violated international law in doing so.  No, I think the Turk would be on his own.  He’d have to explain to his people why they didn’t have any electricity or gas.  There is this big dam named after Turkish republic founder, Kemal Mustafa Ataturk, which sits like a big bull moose ready for a 30×6 to take him down for a visit to the local taxidermist.  Dr. Assad, it’s time you did something to end the Turkish gangsterism that is wreaking havoc with your country.  We stand with you, all the way.

Scud

Now, that’s the Ataturk dam. So plump and ready for the plucking.  Oh, there’s that useless Patriot Missile system the Europeans are manning for the Turks.  It won’t work because Syria’s SCUD missiles are not the ‘guided’ type, so it will be most difficult to either “topple” them or track them with guided anti-missile missiles.  In any case, Syria has manufactured thousands based on an improved North Korean design.  The Syrian missile establishment is one of the very biggest in the world. Heck, we make the missiles for Hizbullah. Nyuk.

Many readers will chafe at the idea that the Syrians would cause so much suffering to the people of Turkey.  Well, do you have any better ideas?  And what do we do? Starve to death or die of thirst.  We can’t irrigate our fields without the waters of the Euphrates.  No, my friends, the people of Turkey have had it too easy so far.  They have to feel the consequences of their government’ crimes.

TORPEDO THE DAMS! FULL SPEED AHEAD! That’s what I say. 

TORPEDO THE DAMS FULL SPEED AHEAD ERDOGHAN MUST DIE!

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Al-Sabirin: a new resistance movement in Gaza

Palestinian protesters chant slogans to speed up the implementation of the national reconciliation and the announcement of the formation of a national unity government, during a rally in Gaza City on May 27, 2014. (Photo: AFP-Mohammed Abed)
Published Saturday, May 31, 2014
The flag and logo of an organization that was launched a few days ago in the Gaza Strip suggest a Hezbollah now exists in Gaza. The organization is called al-Sabirin (the patient) for the Victory of Palestine and its logo bears a striking similarity to Hezbollah’s logo. Local opponents accuse it of being a Shia movement but its officials deny the charge and stress that they coordinate with other factions to organize their positioning in the resistance.
Gaza: Despite all the major turning points in the lives of Palestinians over the past 10 years, no party has offered a new political vision except a few youth organizations that have been stamped out by factional strife. Domestic strife has primarily been between Fatah and Hamas as each organization has aimed to control the political and economic map in the occupied West Bank and Gaza over the past seven years.
The social makeup in Gaza, which prides itself on its strong family ties, was impacted by factional differences and clashes. However, on a religious level, Gaza does not tolerate diversity as Sunni Muslims constitute the overwhelming majority. Therefore, the creation of a new organization poses “serious concerns regarding the path it is going to take.” Al-Sabirin talks about fighting Israel but its slogan carries connotations that make some view it as a “sectarian movement.” The circumstances and timing that the organization chose to announce its creation further complicate the matter.
There is the reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas while the Islamic Jihad expressed reservations regarding some of the terms dealing with the weapons of the Resistance. In the Arab world, there are tensions simmering against a sectarian and ethnic backdrop under the banner of the Arab Spring. In this context, the new organization puts itself in a position that raises a lot of questions and is even subject to numerous accusations.
Sources from al-Sabirin say that they are “well aware of the difficulty of the Palestinian and regional circumstances,” that is why the organization is presenting itself as a “Palestinian resistance movement that seeks to free all of Palestine and does not believe in any negotiated agreements or even long-term truces with Israel.” Nevertheless, it announced its creation after the death of one of its cadres (Nizar Issa) in an explosion they said was the result of a manufacturing error. It was forced to declare itself so it can claim responsibility for him but the organization pointed out that they have been operating for years.
An al-Sabirin spokesperson, known as Abu Yousef, addresses the question of their sectarian affiliation. He tells Al-Akhbar: “We believe in Islamic unity and we reject any sectarian discourse. Whoever raises this issue serves our enemies the Zionists and the global arrogance that stands behind it which seeks to fragment and divide this nation.” However, he added, “we do not deny any of our members the freedom to choose the sect according to which they worship God within the context of the sects recognized by Islamic law. But highlighting this issue as though it were a problem is the strategy of those who try to exploit differences and sow the seeds of sedition.”
He continued: “The similarity between the logos is not a reason to accuse us of being Shia. The logos of resistance movements are similar to each other. The logo we chose includes common symbols such as the rifle that is firmly gripped by the hand, the map of Palestine with a mark for Jerusalem and a reference to planet Earth because we are advocates of peace and humanism.”
The Palestinian resistance had spawned in the 1960s more than 27 military and political organizations. Some of them have survived until today while others have become less important. Some organizations ceased to exist altogether and others turned to political activism. Each landmark juncture in the history of the struggle against Israel was characterized by the declaration of a new faction. The Arab defeat after al-Nakba led to the founding of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Palestinian National Liberation Movement also known as Fatah. With the decline of the communist movement in the region, the PFLP’s role declined and so did the role of Fatah after it left Beirut and became distant from the geographic region surrounding Palestine.
Before Fatah turned to political action, the first intifada (1987) which began as a popular movement shored up two Islamist resistance movements, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. With the start of the second intifada, Fatah – armed with a quasi-official decision – returned to military struggle through al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Ahmed Abu al-Rish Brigades. But President Mahmoud Abbas diminished the role and presence of the former and the latter disintegrated. Since then, no Palestinian organization with a new political program has been declared, except for small military organizations.
A Hezbollah connection?
Al-Sabirin’s official spokesperson talked about their relationship with Hezbollah, especially after the controversy that erupted regarding the identity of the organization among Palestinians who received the news on social media: “There is no connection between us and Hezbollah. It is a Lebanese organization and we are a Palestinian movement.” He added: “We agree with our brothers in Hezbollah because we have chosen the same path, that is the path of resistance, we belong to the same axis, we confront the same enemy and we meet on the path of liberating Palestine. That, however, does not mean that we are opposed to dealing with them in order to learn from their experience and the expertise of other organizations.”
In 2008, an organization called the Palestinian Hezbollah was declared in the West Bank but the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas met this move with skepticism. This new faction, however, which described itself as “Sunni Jihadi Islamist and opposed to the political process,” did not last for long and no one has heard from them again. In addition, a military cell in Gaza named the Imad Mughniyeh Groups declared its responsibility for several operations. Eventually, it became evident that this cell was associated with Fatah.
Linking these organizations to Iran and Hezbollah is a very sensitive subject in Gaza. That is why some Arab and Israeli media outlets try to associate resistance movements with certain sectarian situations. Such as the incident years ago when the Palestinian police affiliated with the Hamas government attacked a group that was holding a consolation session on the 40-day memorial for Hussein in northern Gaza. The city of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip witnessed in the past months fist fights and armed clashes between the followers of a Salafi cleric who regularly attacked the Syrian regime, Iran, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad members before Islamic Jihad contained the situation.
Security sources familiar with the coordination effort between Palestinian factions told Al-Akhbar that a meeting was held between al-Sabirin and Hamas to sort out the former’s status as a Palestinian resistance movement that is going to work out of Gaza, as long as it is committed to the general framework of the agreements between the various organizations. But they refused to delve into other details about having al-Sabirin representatives at the Factions Coordinating Committee and their view on pacification. The new organization said that they established good communication channels with other parties and with the government.
The security situation in Gaza forces any political or military faction to coordinate with Hamas since it is the largest resistance movement in Gaza irrespective of how the reconciliation effort and the security issue will play out. The internal security agency affiliated with the government and the special security agency affiliated with al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, follow up with these organizations.
As to whether the Palestinian landscape needs another organization, Abu Yousef says: “In light of the new conspiracies to liquidate the Palestinian cause, the fact that the Arab and Islamic worlds are preoccupied with other issues and the two major Palestinian factions are heading towards a political solution, we concluded that we have a religious duty to step forward at this stage to help the Palestinian cause reclaim its rightful place and rectify the direction it is taking. Palestine requires sacrifices and this path does not end as long as our land is occupied.
Hezbollah’s announcement of the martyrdom of one of its leaders in Syria, Fawzi Ayoub, angered the Israeli media, which refocused on Hezbollah’s role in supporting the Palestinian factions inside Palestine. Especially Ayoub who was arrested in the West Bank in 2000 and was released as part of a prisoner swap deal. Tel Aviv always accuses Tehran, Damascus and Hezbollah of providing financial and military aid to Palestinian factions, training their fighters, sending experts to help them and creating sleeper cells.
In terms of arming them, Abu Islam said: “We are still a small group, which means our abilities are limited. But we depend on our morale which we consider the basis of our confrontation with the enemy.”
As for their funding, he refused to disclose a specific source. He said, however, that the financial support they receive is still limited and restricted to relationships with those he described as supporters of the Palestinian people in addition to personal donations. He said that, in the future, they are going to “open channels with parties that fund the Resistance and get the necessary support.”
The secretary general of al-Sabrin’s Shura Council
His nom de guerre is Abu Mohammed. Those close to him refuse to reveal his real name because he does not personally represent al-Sabirin as they say. “Rather, there is a Shura Council that takes decisions in the organization. This council is not new but its announcement was delayed because of certain circumstances that were preceded by a long latent period.”
Not much comes up on Abu Mohammed when you try to find out who he is because he is a mysterious figure and moves about secretly. He has been a wanted man by Israel for 18 years. His name became prominent in resistance circles after the Israeli forces tried to arrest him at the beginning of the Intifada for an operation that killed 35 Israeli soldiers in Tel Aviv. But he left his house before they arrived. So they decided to demolish his home, which consists of six floors. This led to the martyrdom of his father and displacement of his family. He is accused of having a strong relationship with influential figures in the Islamic Republic in Iran which means he is being watched by Hamas’ security agencies. They arrested him more than once without being able to prove anything against him. He was also imprisoned by Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the 1980s and 1990s.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Syrian Army Strikes Militants across Country, Terrorist Attacks Kill 4 Citizens

Local Editor

Syrian Army

The Syrian army continued Friday its operations against the terrorist groups in several provinces, including Aleppo, Daraa, Idleb, Homs and Latakia, inflicting heavy human and materialistic losses upon them.

The Syrian army controlled the villages of Sateh Zahnan and al-Taff in Daraa countryside and eliminated a number of militants.

2 civilians were killed and some 85 others wounded after terrorists fired rocket shells at Aleppo neighborhoods.

Terrorists mortar attack claimed the lives of two citizens and injured 13 others in Danoun Camp in al-Kisweh area in Damascus Countryside.

Politically, The presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic thanked the Syrian citizens abroad for their wide participation in the Presidential elections.

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US Sources: Syrian Presidential Vote in Lebanon Granted Assad Strategic Power


Local Editor

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  Translated by Mohamed Salami

The flood of the Syrian voters in Beirut has surprised the whole world, what pushed US sources to say that the Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan has granted the Syrian government a strategic power, al-Binaa Lebanese newspaper reported. Feltman
The US sources considered that Syria has established an army of refugees in Lebanon and Jordan and that only the return of these refugees to their country will require a political settlement. The sources added that the loss of control over certain areas did not deprive the Syrian authorities from its strategic role in the region, yet the Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan has given Syria an influence over areas, what was impossible to be attained. The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, informed the Saudis about the necessity of reaching a political solution in Syria as soon as possible because of the strategic achievements which the Syrian government is attaining.

Source: Newspapers
30-05-2014 – 16:01 Last updated 30-05-2014 – 16:0


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‘You fascists! What are you doing to us?’ Ukrainians despair as Kiev shells East

Eastern Ukraine has woken up to airstrikes and shelling – as the army resumes what it calls an anti-terrorist operation. It is focused on Slavyansk and Kramatorsk. Fighting is reported in and around the two cities, with smoke rising from industrial and residential areas

China pivot fuels Eurasian century By Pepe Escobar

By Pepe Escobar  A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass – at the expense of the United States.

And no wonder Washington is anxious. That alliance is already a done deal in a variety of ways: through the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa); at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asian counterweight to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; inside the Group of 20; and via the 120-member-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Trade and commerce are just part of the future bargain. Synergies in the development of new military technologies beckon as well. After Russia’s Star Wars-style, ultra-sophisticated S-500 air defense anti-missile system comes online in 2018, Beijing is sure to want a version of it. Meanwhile, Russia is about to sell dozens of state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-35 jet fighters to the Chinese as Beijing and Moscow move to seal an aviation-industrial partnership. This week should provide the first real fireworks in the celebration of a new Eurasian century-in-the-making when Russian President Vladimir Putin drops in on Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. You remember “Pipelineistan,” all those crucial oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing Eurasia that make up the true circulatory system for the life of the region. Now, it looks like the ultimate Pipelineistan deal, worth US$1 trillion and 10 years in the making, will be signed off on as well. In it, the giant, state-controlled Russian energy giant Gazprom will agree to supply the giant state-controlled China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) with 3.75 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas a day for no less than 30 years, starting in 2018. That’s the equivalent of a quarter of Russia’s gas exports to all of Europe. China’s present daily gas demand is around 16 billion cubic feet a day, and imports account for 31.6% of total consumption. Gazprom may still collect the bulk of its profits from Europe, but Asia could turn out to be its Everest. The company will use this mega-deal to boost investment in Eastern Siberia and the whole region will be reconfigured as a privileged gas hub for Japan and South Korea as well. If you want to know why no key country in Asia has been willing to “isolate” Russia in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis – and in defiance of the Obama administration – look no further than Pipelineistan. Exit the Petrodollar, enter the Gas-o-Yuan

 

And then, talking about anxiety in Washington, there’s the fate of the petrodollar to consider, or rather the “thermonuclear” possibility that Moscow and Beijing will agree on payment for the Gazprom-CNPC deal not in petrodollars but in Chinese yuan.

One can hardly imagine a more tectonic shift, with Pipelineistan intersecting with a growing Sino-Russian political-economic-energy partnership. Along with it goes the future possibility of a push, led again by China and Russia, toward a new international reserve currency – actually a basket of currencies – that would supersede the dollar (at least in the optimistic dreams of BRICS members).

Right after the potentially game-changing Sino-Russian summit comes a BRICS summit in Brazil in July. That’s when a $100 billion BRICS development bank, announced in 2012, will officially be born as a potential alternative to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as a source of project financing for the developing world. More BRICS cooperation meant to bypass the dollar is reflected in the “Gas-o-yuan”, as in natural gas bought and paid for in Chinese currency. Gazprom is even considering marketing bonds in yuan as part of the financial planning for its expansion. Yuan-backed bonds are already trading in Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and most recently Frankfurt. Nothing could be more sensible for the new Pipelineistan deal than to have it settled in yuan. Beijing would pay Gazprom in that currency (convertible into roubles); Gazprom would accumulate the yuan; Russia would then buy myriad made-in-China goods and services in yuan convertible into roubles. It’s common knowledge that banks in Hong Kong, from Standard Chartered to HSBC – as well as others closely linked to China via trade deals – have been diversifying into the yuan, which implies that it could become one of the de facto global reserve currencies even before it’s fully convertible. (Beijing is unofficially working for a fully convertible yuan by 2018.)

The Russia-China gas deal is inextricably tied up with the energy relationship between the European Union and Russia. After all, the bulk of Russia’s gross domestic product comes from oil and gas sales, as does much of its leverage in the Ukraine crisis. In turn, Germany depends on Russia for a hefty 30% of its natural gas supplies. Yet Washington’s geopolitical imperatives – spiced up with Polish hysteria – have meant pushing Brussels to find ways to “punish” Moscow in the future energy sphere (while not imperiling present day energy relationships). There’s a consistent rumble in Brussels these days about the possible cancellation of the projected 16 billion euro (US$22 billion) South Stream pipeline, whose construction is to start in June. On completion, it would pump yet more Russian natural gas to Europe – in this case, underneath the Black Sea (bypassing Ukraine) to Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Greece, Italy, and Austria. Bulgaria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have already made it clear that they are firmly opposed to any cancellation, and cancellation is probably not in the cards. After all, the only obvious alternative is Caspian Sea gas from Azerbaijan, and that isn’t likely to happen unless the EU develops its own construction projects. In any case, Azerbaijan doesn’t have enough capacity to supply the levels of natural gas needed, and other actors like Kazakhstan, plagued with infrastructure problems, or unreliable Turkmenistan, which prefers to sell its gas to China, are already largely out of the picture. And don’t forget that South Stream, coupled with subsidiary energy projects, will create a lot of jobs and investment in many of the most economically devastated EU nations. Nonetheless, such EU threats, however unrealistic, only serve to accelerate Russia’s increasing symbiosis with Asian markets. For Beijing especially, it’s a win-win situation. After all, between energy supplied across seas policed and controlled by the US Navy and steady, stable land routes out of Siberia, it’s no contest. Pick your own Silk Road

Of course, the US dollar remains the top global reserve currency, involving 33% of global foreign exchange holdings at the end of 2013, according to the IMF. It was, however, at 55% in 2000. Nobody knows the percentage in yuan (and Beijing isn’t talking), but the IMF notes that reserves in “other currencies” in emerging markets have been up 400% since 2003.

The Federal Reserve is arguably monetizing 70% of the US government debt in an attempt to keep interest rates from heading skywards. Pentagon adviser Jim Rickards, as well as every Hong Kong-based banker, tends to believe that the Fed is bust (though they won’t say it on the record). No one can even imagine the extent of the possible future deluge the US dollar might experience amid a $1.4 quadrillion Mount Ararat of financial derivatives. Don’t think that this is the death knell of Western capitalism, however, just the faltering of that reigning economic faith, neoliberalism, still the official ideology of the United States, the overwhelming majority of the European Union, and parts of Asia and South America. As far as what might be called the “authoritarian neoliberalism” of the Middle Kingdom, what’s not to like at the moment? China has proven that there is a result-oriented alternative to the Western “democratic” capitalist model for nations aiming to be successful. It’s building not one, but myriad new Silk Roads, far-reaching webs of high-speed railways, highways, pipelines, ports, and fiber-optic networks across huge parts of Eurasia. These include a Southeast Asian road, a Central Asian road, an Indian Ocean “maritime highway” and even a high-speed rail line through Iran and Turkey reaching all the way to Germany. In April, when President Xi Jinping visited the city of Duisburg on the Rhine River, with the world’s largest inland harbor and right in the heartland of Germany’s Ruhr steel industry, he made an audacious proposal: a new “economic Silk Road” should be built between China and Europe, on the basis of the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe railway, which already runs from China to Kazakhstan, to continue through Russia, Belarus, Poland, and finally Germany. That’s 15 days by train, 20 less than for cargo ships sailing from China’s eastern seaboard. Now that would represent the ultimate geopolitical earthquake in terms of integrating economic growth across Eurasia. Keep in mind that, if no bubbles burst, China is about to become – and remain – the number one global economic power, a position it enjoyed for 18 of the past 20 centuries. But don’t tell London hagiographers; they still believe that US hegemony will last, well, forever.

Take me to Cold War 2.0
Despite recent serious financial struggles, the BRICS countries have been consciously working to become a counterforce to the original and – having tossed Russia out in March – once again Group of 7, or G-7. They are eager to create a global architecture to replace the one first imposed in the wake of World War II, and they see themselves as a potential challenge to the exceptionalist and unipolar world that Washington imagines for our future (with itself as the global robocop and NATO as its robo-police force). Historian and imperialist cheerleader Ian Morris, in his book War! What is it Good For?, defines the US as the ultimate “globocop” and “the last best hope of Earth”. If that globocop “wearies of itsrole”, he writes, “there is no plan B”.

Well, there is a plan BRICS – or so the BRICS nations would like to think, at least. And when the BRICS do act in this spirit on the global stage, they quickly conjure up a curious mix of fear, hysteria, and pugnaciousness in the Washington establishment. Take Christopher Hill as an example. The former assistant secretary of state for East Asia and US ambassador to Iraq is now an advisor with the Albright Stonebridge Group, a consulting firm deeply connected to the White House and the State Department. When Russia was down and out, Hill used to dream of a hegemonic American “new world order”. Now that the ungrateful Russians have spurned what “the West has been offering” – that is, “special status with NATO, a privileged relationship with the European Union, and partnership in international diplomatic endeavors” – they are, in his view, busy trying to revive the Soviet empire. Translation: if you’re not our vassals, you’re against us. Welcome to Cold War 2.0. The Pentagon has its own version of this directed not so much at Russia as at China, which, its think tank on future warfare claims, is already at war with Washington in a number of ways. So if it’s not apocalypse now, it’s Armageddon tomorrow. And it goes without saying that whatever’s going wrong, as the Obama administration very publicly “pivots” to Asia and the American media fills with talk about a revival of Cold War-era “containment policy” in the Pacific, it’s all China’s fault. Embedded in the mad dash toward Cold War 2.0 are some ludicrous facts-on-the-ground: the US government, with $17.5 trillion in national debt and counting, is contemplating a financial showdown with Russia, the largest global energy producer and a major nuclear power, just as it’s also promoting an economically unsustainable military encirclement of its largest creditor, China. Russia runs a sizeable trade surplus. Humongous Chinese banks will have no trouble helping Russian banks out if Western funds dry up. In terms of inter-BRICS cooperation, few projects beat a $30 billion oil pipeline in the planning stages that will stretch from Russia to India via Northwest China. Chinese companies are already eagerly discussing the possibility of taking part in the creation of a transport corridor from Russia into Crimea, as well as an airport, shipyard, and liquid natural gas terminal there. And there’s another “thermonuclear” gambit in the making: the birth of a natural gas equivalent to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that would include Russia, Iran, and reportedly disgruntled US ally Qatar. The (unstated) BRICS long-term plan involves the creation of an alternative economic system featuring a basket of gold-backed currencies that would bypass the present America-centric global financial system. (No wonder Russia and China are amassing as much gold as they can.) The euro – a sound currency backed by large liquid bond markets and huge gold reserves – would be welcomed in as well. It’s no secret in Hong Kong that the Bank of China has been using a parallel SWIFT network to conduct every kind of trade with Tehran, which is under a heavy US sanctions regime. With Washington wielding Visa and MasterCard as weapons in a growing Cold War-style economic campaign against Russia, Moscow is about to implement an alternative payment and credit card system not controlled by Western finance. An even easier route would be to adopt the Chinese Union Pay system, whose operations have already overtaken American Express in global volume. I’m just pivoting with myself

No amount of Obama administration “pivoting” to Asia to contain China (and threaten it with US Navy control of the energy sea lanes to that country) is likely to push Beijing far from its Deng Xiaoping-inspired, self-described “peaceful development” strategy meant to turn it into a global powerhouse of trade. Nor are the forward deployment of US or NATO troops in Eastern Europe or other such Cold-War-ish acts likely to deter Moscow from a careful balancing act: ensuring that Russia’s sphere of influence in Ukraine remains strong without compromising trade and commercial, as well as political, ties with the European Union – above all, with strategic partner Germany. This is Moscow’s Holy Grail; a free-trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok, which (not by accident) is mirrored in China’s dream of a new Silk Road to Germany. Increasingly wary of Washington, Berlin for its part abhors the notion of Europe being caught in the grips of a Cold War 2.0. German leaders have more important fish to fry, including trying to stabilize a wobbly EU while warding off an economic collapse in southern and central Europe and the advance of ever more extreme rightwing parties. On the other side of the Atlantic, President Obama and his top officials show every sign of becoming entangled in their own pivoting – to Iran, to China, to Russia’s eastern borderlands, and (under the radar) to Africa. The irony of all these military-first maneuvers is that they are actually helping Moscow, Tehran, and Beijing build up their own strategic depth in Eurasia and elsewhere, as reflected in Syria, or crucially in ever more energy deals. They are also helping cement the growing strategic partnership between China and Iran. The unrelenting Ministry of Truth narrative out of Washington about all these developments now carefully ignores the fact that, without Moscow, the “West” would never have sat down to discuss a final nuclear deal with Iran or gotten a chemical disarmament agreement out of Damascus. When the disputes between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea and between that country and Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyou islands meet the Ukraine crisis, the inevitable conclusion will be that both Russia and China consider their borderlands and sea lanes private property and aren’t going to take challenges quietly – be it via NATO expansion, US military encirclement, or missile shields. Neither Beijing nor Moscow is bent on the usual form of imperialist expansion, despite the version of events now being fed to Western publics. Their “red lines” remain essentially defensive in nature, no matter the bluster sometimes involved in securing them. Whatever Washington may want or fear or try to prevent, the facts on the ground suggest that, in the years ahead, Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran will only grow closer, slowly but surely creating a new geopolitical axis in Eurasia. Meanwhile, a discombobulated America seems to be aiding and abetting the deconstruction of its own unipolar world order, while offering the BRICS a genuine window of opportunity to try to change the rules of the game. Russia and China in pivot mode
In Washington’s think-tank land, the conviction that the Obama administration should be focused on replaying the Cold War via a new version of containment policy to “limit the development of Russia as a hegemonic power” has taken hold. The recipe: weaponize the neighbors from the Baltic states to Azerbaijan to “contain” Russia. Cold War 2.0 is on because, from the point of view of Washington’s elites, the first one never really left town.

Yet as much as the US may fight the emergence of a multipolar, multi-powered world, economic facts on the ground regularly point to such developments. The question remains: will the decline of the hegemon be slow and reasonably dignified, or will the whole world be dragged down with it in what has been called “the Samson option”? While we watch the spectacle unfold, with no end-game in sight, keep in mind that a new force is growing in Eurasia, with the Sino-Russian strategic alliance threatening to dominate its heartland along with great stretches of its inner rim. Now, that’s a nightmare of Mackinderesque proportions from Washington’s point of view. Think, for instance, of how Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser who became a mentor on global politics to President Obama, would see it. In his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski argued that “the struggle for global primacy [would] continue to be played” on the Eurasian “chessboard”, of which “Ukraine was a geopolitical pivot”. “If Moscow regains control over Ukraine,” he wrote at the time, Russia would “automatically regain the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.” That remains most of the rationale behind the American imperial containment policy – from Russia’s European “near abroad” to the South China Sea. Still, with no end-game in sight, keep your eye on Russia pivoting to Asia, China pivoting across the world, and the BRICS hard at work trying to bring about the new Eurasian Century. Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com. Posted with permission of TomDispatchFollow TomDispatch on Twitter and on Facebook or Tumblr. Check out the newest Dispatch book, Ann Jones’s They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return From America’s Wars – The Untold Story.

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Terrorist enjoy feasts while civilians starve

May 29, 2014,

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on January 30, 2014 shows residents of Syria's besieged Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp, south of Damascus, receiving food parcels from the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA). (Photo: AFP/SANA)

Damascus countryside: A video clip shot in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp south of Damascus shows the shrouding of an old man who died of hunger. A young man in his prime and in good health appears in the clip standing in front of the emaciated corpse. Looking upset, he mutters “God sufficeth me! Most Excellent is He in whom I trust.” “This is the situation in the Yarmouk camp,” says Amr Shihab, a Palestinian humanitarian relief activist. “Behind the cameras that shoot those dying of starvation and behind the barricades of al-Nusra Front and Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis Brigades, stand individuals that never knew the taste of hunger during this war.”

The same is true in the various regions of the Damascus countryside where living standards vary dramatically. Al-Nusra Front fighters come at the very top because they receive a lot of money from their organization allowing them to buy goods at exorbitant prices in the flashpoint areas of the Damascus countryside. “Five hundred thousand Syrian pounds (about $3,000) which is the price of a 50 Kilogram (110 lb) bag of rice in the Yarmouk camp means nothing to al-Nusra fighters. With their wealth they have no problem securing their own food and drink,” adds Shihab.

Next in rank come the fighters of Jaish al-Islam (affiliated with the Islamic Front) who are mainly based in Eastern Ghouta. They too are paid large sums of money from their leaders but not in all areas. The fighters who receive the most aid are the ones from Douma where their headquarters are located (because their military leader, Zahran Alloush, is from Douma). Sharif al-Nabulsi who is close to the Free Syrian Army tells Al-Akhbar that Jaish al-Islam fighters in areas that lie further away in Eastern Ghouta are paid less. He adds: “In the smaller towns in Eastern Ghouta, most of the local fighters joined Jaish al-Islam out of economic need after making deals that determined the aid they receive from the organization’s leadership.”

The Free Syrian Army’s fighters are the “poorest and they often get their resources from theft while al-Nusra Front and Jaish al-Islam’s fighters refrain from stealing.” But the main reason, according to Nabulsi, is that the two other organizations “have no need to rob the poor as long as they receive large sums of money from abroad. This allows them to look down on those they have starved with false morals such as imposing hudud punishment (a punishment fixed in the Quran and hadith for crimes considered to be against the rights of God) on thieves.

It is commonplace for Jaish al-Islam and al-Nusra Front fighters to hold banquets during their meetings or on special occasions such as announcing a certain victory or establishing a new military group or merging with another group, “while hunger haunts the rest of the people only dozens of meters away from them.” A picture that was posted on social media sites shows Islamic Front fighters attending a banquet and fine dining in the Yarmouk camp at the height of the famine that struck the camp.

“Most of them stayed in their neighborhoods because they do not have the means to bear the burden of displacement.” The specter of famine is now threatening civilians in several areas in the Damascus countryside. While foodstuffs have disappeared in certain regions where they live and smuggled goods – that usually come to the “rich fighters living the high life” – are too expensive, their lives have become more like death. “Even the aid that the state tried to send in is seized upon by those who wield power in a given area,” according to an activist in the Syrian Red Crescent. There are two types of fighters that prevent food from getting to those in need. The first type consists of hungry fighters and the second type consists of fighters who profit from food smuggling.

Bringing aid to many areas and so called “aid” bestowed upon the hungry by charitable organizations “undercut the prices of the black market which prompted some businessmen to pay fighters working with them to thwart aid distribution operations.”

At the end of the day, the hungry – especially those who die from famine – become media fodder for the fighters. “Hundreds come out in their funerals and share their pictures on social networking sites after their death. But before they die, they do not give them as much as a sliver of bread.”

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Aoun: Beware of repeating the “presidential sin” of 2008

MP Michel Aoun (Photo: Marwan Tahtah)
In the absence of any serious external intervention to end the stalemate concerning the presidential elections – with the major powers limiting their efforts thus far to issuing a UN Security Council statement calling for the election of a new president – MP Michel Aoun has now warned against repeating the scenario where an undeserving candidate is installed in Baabda Palace.
For the second day in a row, the Lebanese were preoccupied with the vote that took place at the Syrian embassy in Lebanon, as part of the Syrian presidential election.
Amid the fractious and widely divided political reactions over the massive turnout of Syrian voters, which lasted throughout the early hours of Friday, the head of the Change and Reform bloc in parliament, MP Michel Aoun, has made a significant statement on the presidential elections in Lebanon. Aoun has been quoted as saying, “We have started to detect suspicious attempts to rig the presidential election, using suspicious tactics. It is as if what’s needed is to sugar coat the vacuum rather than agree on a worthy president.”
Sources close to Aoun explained this further, saying, “the General [Aoun] will not allow a repeat of the mistake – or sin – of 2008, when the constitution was trampled, institutions were subverted, and the country moved from vacuum to vacuum. Nor will he accept a repeat of the farce of extending the parliament’s term. The Lebanese all agree that Lebanon is not a farm [i.e. ungovernable], and that what is needed is a president who upholds the [National] Pact and its balances, upholds the constitution and all its provisions, and abides by the law when ruling.”
In this context, prominent parliamentary sources in the Future Movement claimed that Lebanon has now virtually entered an “ice age,” arguing that there are Lebanese parties awaiting a rapid settlement of the conflict in Syria thinking this would allow them to vote on a non-consensus candidate. For this reason, the sources said, these parties do not believe they have to make a deal over a consensus president like former President Michel Suleiman yet.
According to the same sources, none of the Arab, regional, or Western powers, with the exception of Iran, are currently active along this track in Lebanon. The sources said, “So far, we have not seen any exceptional movement on the ground that would impose on us the election of a president,” before recalling the latest speech of U.S. President Obama, which showed that Syria and Lebanon are not at the top of U.S. priorities, as the sources believe.
At a time when some figures within the Future Movement who were opposed to engagement with Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) are touting the idea that the rapprochement is now over, other sources in the Future Movement told Al-Akhbar that there were those in the movement who believe the scenario of electing Aoun president has not been abandoned, but rather deferred. The sources even said that the power vacuum has had positive, albeit simple, effects, having forced all actors to rethink their positions. The power vacuum helped the Future Movement and the FPM better develop their stances on many issues, the latest of which being the decision to boycott legislative sessions.
For his part, former President Michel Suleiman said that the tendency to extend the president’s terms in Lebanon had made him declare his categorical rejection of it for the last two and a half years, purporting that this was something known to French President Francois Hollande, as well as the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the Security Council and the ambassadors of friendly nations.
Meanwhile, the cabinet may hold its first session today, May 30, without a president, to be chaired instead by Prime Minister Tammam Salam who has called on all ministers to attend the session. However, FPM members have stated that FPM ministers want to be involved in setting the agenda of cabinet sessions as part of offsetting the absence of a president, something that Prime Minister Salam objects to.
In this regard, former Prime Minister Najib Mikati has said, “The cabinet is fully entitled to fill the void. The cabinet must take decisions by consensus or by vote, according to the constitution. The ministers who do not vote yes must sign the decisions that receive the needed votes anyway.”
For his part, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said on Thursday that today’s session should be held, since Prime Minister Salam was relying on the constitution in calling on the government to convene, and pointed out that Prime Minister Salam had briefed the ministers on the session’s agenda. Then in what is an interesting stance alluding to the possibility of disrupting the work of the cabinet in the future, Khalil said, “If obstructionism in the parliament continues, then there is a big question mark about the legitimacy of the continuation of the government,” before he added, “our democratic system is based on the separation and cooperation of powers. Parliament has two functions, one legislative and one regulatory. When the regulatory function is not exercised, this means that we have a government with no oversight over its work, which is very dangerous.”
(Al-Akhbar)
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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CONFIRMED! U.S. Navy Official Now Admits Flight 370 Cover-up

CONFIRMED! U.S. Navy Official Now Admits Flight 370 Cover-up
Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/confirmed-u-s-navy-official-now-admits-flight-370-cover-up/#zoCLmPFIG5fe1oxB.99

In today’s video, Christopher Greene of AMTV reports on the missing Malaysian airlines Flight 370 cover-up.
http://www.amtvmedia.com/re-direct-co…

IDLIB FRONT DISASTER FOR TERRORISTS AS WESTERN MEDIA LIES HYSTERICALLY

There can be no doubt, if you read some western media outlets, that they are desperate for news to buoy up the collapsing morale of their terrorist terrorist hordes in Syria.  Some readers have fallen for the impossible narrative – impossible because our sources on the ground say it’s just not happening.  Even one of our readers, Chris, recently posted a short article in which he conceded a possible loss of Khaan Shaykhoon.  I have news today that will dispel any doubts about who is in control of both Khaan Shaykhoon and the very unimportant base at Khazzaanaat.
I have already exposed the Daily Star, SOHR, Reuters and other news services as either owned by the Arabian apes of the Gulf or run by the Rothschild cabal.  There is a new source on the scene, not terribly popular, which is espousing nonsense on a daily basis: it’s called “eaworldview”.  It is laugh-inducing folderol at the lowest level.  Believe it or not, its founder, one Scott Lucas, a professor of “American Studies” at the University of Birmingham (that’s in the UK, not Alabama) set up his little news service in 2008 to hurl vitriol at the Iranian government and its elections.  In 2012, an Israeli virago by the name of Joanna Paraszczuk, of apparently Ukrainian or Polish descent, joined up as co-editor. She had worked before for the Jerusalem Post as an “Arab Affairs Reporter” – oh, will the Saints spare us?  She has purportedly a masters degree in Eastern European Studies from University College in London which has obviously given her the expertise to expectorate about the Syrian situation.
Eaworldview is a tool of the MI6 people, just like SOHR.  It has strong contacts with Mossad through this harridan whose last name makes spelling it a daunting task.  Today, she is trying to convince the world that the terrorists have taken over Khaan Shaykhoon and the Khazzaanaat base.  She is a liar.
Khaan Shaykhoon would be significant as a base since it’s located at the Damascus-Aleppo International Highway.  The suggestion is that such control would interdict efforts to supply Aleppo’s army with ammunition and food.  For those who are allied with the Wahhabist cannibals, like this character Lucas or his Zionist confederate, Joanna P., such a position should be touted as a “major victory”.  He and this Joanna P. have even gone so far as to report that the terrorists have taken over the abandoned fuel depot at Khazzaanaat (See map. It’s to the southeast of Khaan Shaykhoon).
I put the question to Wael: did the terrorists take over the town of Khaan Shaykhoon or the Khazzaanaat fuel depot?  His answer was swift and very Arabic:  “No. Don’t make me laugh. They can have the Khazzaanaat base because there is nothing there. But, they have not even gone to the base.”  For those who doubt, know this: caravans of SAA supplies are pouring into Aleppo as I write and they have just passed by Khaan Shaykhoon without incident.  Wael did tell me that there are terrorists in the area and that they are looking for places with water in order to nest.
Taftanaaz:  The old abandoned helicopter repair facility was the scene yesterday of terrorist death.  The SAA killed 5 and allowed the rest to escape straight to Turkey.  Yawn.
Kafr Jaalis:  These vermin were put to death yesterday as they tried to steal a van operated by an ordinary citizen on his way to Jisr Al-Shughour to pick up merchandise.  He was seen being waylaid by scruffy terrorists and a citizen called police who called in the military.  As the terrorists drove off with the Mitsubishi van, the SAA descended upon them like wolves on the fold and killed every one:
  • ‘Abdul-Salaam Al-Khutba
  • Nazheer Al-Qazzi
  • Muhammad ‘Abdullah
  • The 4th was not identified.
Haarem-Idlib Road: A pack of terrorists was intercepted and offered the question both ordinary and extraordinary. They surrendered and warbled.
‘Ayn Shayb:  This little village never sees a lot of action, but, yesterday was an exception.  Terrorist originating in Homs were attacked by NDF and Ba’ath militia.  8 terrorists confirmed killed.  Wael says many were taken prisoner from a truck that was dressed up to look like it was carrying fruit and vegetables.
Al-Naajiya:  These 7 terrorists were killed when they drove over a mine planted by smart SAA engineers:
  • Ali Hussayn Sultaan
  • Mu’een Bakri
  • Saleem ‘Ubayd
  • Yusuf Majdalaani
  • Muhammad Al-Zayyaat
  • Ridhaa Fallooh
  • Muhammad Rizqullaah
Al-Tayyibaat:  No details about skirmishing.
Jabal Al-Arba’een: Firmly in control of SAA, the terrorists still try to set up nests in this area.  Last night, the SAA disrupted more of their plans.  No details.
Ma’arzaaf:  A group calling itself the “Brigades of the Falcons of Syria” (Oh,yawn), made up of Saudis and Chechen monkeys, were riding in 3 pickups with 3 23mm machine gun cannons – that is – until the SAA opened fire on them and killed every single one.  According to Wael, among the carcasses was a Saudi believed to be an officer in the Arabian “general intelligence” agency.  He was shot as he ran away from the scene waving his identification card.  The MI people will not reveal his name at this time. But, he’s dead anyways.
Al-Nayrab:  Fighting with foreign terrorists.  No details.
Northwest Idlib City:  A large number of vermin was put down yesterday by SAA and NDF.  2 pickups were destroyed.  Wael is trying to get more info about this.

Read more

IDLIB SCENE OF SYRIAN ARMY FURY

IDLIB:

Mu’tarem:  Yesterday, the SAA caught a convoy of terrorists blundering their way into the fires of Hell.  Besides destroying 6 vans and 2 pickups festooned with the usual Bandar-Blunderbuss, the SAA killed these:
  • Raamez Al-Sa’aati
  • Muhammad Radhwaan Halabi
  • Bassaam Al-Labwa
  • Saati’ Muhammad-‘Ali
  • Taareq Muhammad Al-Bakawaati
  • Raateb Shaa’ooth
  • Saj’aan Mahmoud Awbak
  • Qusayy ‘Abdul-Rahmaan
  • Zhaafer Muhayshi
Another 14 could not be identified and are confirmed foreigners.
Jiftillik Village:  4 terrorists got on the Super Chief to attend their favorite Black Mass in Hell.  No names.
Haaj Hammood Farms:  A number of terrorists were wiped out. Wael has not received any detailed reports yet.

Jabal Al-Arb’aeen:

Liberated over a year ago by the SAA, some terrorist remnants continue to return for the daily express train to Hell:
  • Mustafaa Al-Farraan
  • Bakri Ansaari
  • Muhammad Abu Shaqraa
  • Faysal Mushaabik
  • Hassan ‘Ali Dayri
Another 3 could not be identified.
VERY HEAVY FIGHTING AS THE SYRIAN ARMY EMBARKS ON A NEW MILITARY CAMPAIGN DESIGNED TO STUNT A TURK-ORIGINATED, FOLLY-RIDDEN PLAN TO SEIZE WHOLE SWATHS OF TERRITORY ABUTTING THE NORTHERN BORDER.  SYRIA IS PULLING ALL THE STOPS WITH DEVASTATING DAILY AIR ATTACKS.  DON’T BE SURPRISED IF YOU IF YOU HEAR ABOUT THE LIBERATION OF MA’ARRAT AL-NU’MAAN AND SARAAQEB SHORTLY.  HERE IS A LIST OF PLACES WHERE THE TERRORISTS ARE DYING IN DROVES:
  • Abu Al-Zubayr, Al-Munayzil, Mu’allali, Ma’ar-‘Ayyaan, Al-Raami (62 killed during last 72 hours), Baalis, Ma’ar Ba’leet, Mantaf, Kafr Laataa, Kafr Khaybaa, Kafr Rawhayn, Binnish, Al-Badriyya.

Ma’ar Hattaat

Infiltration to checkpoint was massive disaster for terrorists.  Wael reports the SAA and NDF ambushed the escaping vermin after they tried to withdraw from their plan and killed 41.  No names are available yet and they may not be coming because it appears all were foreigners carrying no papers.
تدمير مستودع للأسلحة في حريتان.. الجيش السوري يواصل ضرباته للإرهابيين في ريف حلب
SENATOR RICHARD BLACK; FIGHTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS – ENEMY OF THE ZIONIST GANGSTER IN THE WHITE HOUSE
I WILL ASK OUR READERS AGAIN TO MAKE CONTACT WITH SENATOR BLACK TO GIVE HIM THE ENCOURAGEMENT HE NEEDS TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE PEOPLE OF SYRIA IN THEIR WAR AGAINST THE CRIMINAL CANNIBALS UNLEASHED BY THE MOST OPPRESSIVE REGIMES ON EARTH.  PLEASE TELL HIM HOW MUCH YOU SUPPORT HIM.  HE MUST NEVER FEEL ALONE IN HIS BATTLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS.
Capitol Office

Senate of Virginia

P.O. Box 396

Richmond, VA 23218

Email: district13@senate.virginia.gov

Phone: (804) 698-7513

Fax: (804) 698-7651

Room No: 308

Legislative Assistant: Chris Lore

District Office


P.O. Box 3026

Leesburg, VA 20177

Email: district13@senate.virginia.gov

Phone: (703) 406-2951

Fax:

Legislative Assistant: Chris Lore

AMERICAN SUICIDE BOMBER IN SYRIA RETARDED MAN

IDLIB:

743409

Abu Hurayra Al-Amreeki
“Abu Hurayra Al-Amreeki”, with his daytime snack curled up in his arms,  beams for the camera in anticipation of his short trip to Purgatory.  This poor runt is mildly retarded and fell for the allure of dying in a cause espoused by the Nusra organization.
We don’t know his real name yet.  The U.S. government pretends to know it, but, has declined to announce the name until his closest kin are informed.  We fear that the news will not be absorbed in the traditional way.  Our sources have revealed that this young man was probably encouraged to leave the U.S. by a fanatical “Islamist” clergyman in New Jersey (it is believed) acting as a “daa’iya” and recruiter.  The FBI is now involved in an intense investigation of this man’s background and his acquaintances.  His family may have not objected due to his mental incapacities which have caused them all kinds of grief.  This information is still in the developing stages and cannot be taken as absolutely true.
The selection of the name “Abu Hurayra” says much about the cynical barbarians who handled and prepared this murderer for self-immolation.   The photo seen above shows a young man with an affection for cats.  The name “Abu Hurayra” means “one who cares for cats”.  Interestingly, the real figure of ‘Abdul-Rahmaan bin Sakhr Al-Azdi (603-681 C.E.), born ‘Abdul-Shams bin Sakhr, was a Yemeni from the coastal region who joined the Messenger Muhammad early on in his career when he was in Mecca.  He is credited with having a very strong memory that enabled him to remember an alleged 5,000+ “hadiths” of the Messenger Muhammad Abu Al-Qaassem.  Shi’a tradition establishes him as a professional liar who fashioned sayings of Muhammad in order to support the usurper Caliph Mu’aawiya Ibn Abi Sufyaan, the first Umayyad Caliph.  Sunnis vehemently refute the accusations and consider him most reliable.
The information we have received at SyrPer confirms that this American angel of slaughter was mentally infirm and easy to manipulate.  Just north of Khaan Shaykhoon, on May 25, 2014, MI monitored Nusra terrorist operations including the arming of the armored truck in which this American was to drive and detonate at an SAA checkpoint.  He was accompanied by 3 other trucks driven by a Turkmenistani, a Syrian and a Maldives native.  Inside his truck was the equivalent of 16 tons of explosives.
He blew himself up and his confederates.  He was attacked by SAA before he could reach his goal  He is now atoms spread across the countryside.
That is the information I have received to date.     


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MH370 INMARSAT Data Further Shows Plane Went To Diego Garcia

http://counterpsyops.com/2014/05/30/breaking-mh370-inmarsat-data-further-shows-plane-went-to-diego-garcia/

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Before It’s News

I haven’t had time to digest it all, but right off the bat I see a burst timing offset (BTO) that suggest the plane was moving towards the satellite, because of the consistant increase of the offset timing. It’s either moving closer, or further, and since we know the satellite was located almost directly above Diego Garcia, and the plane left from Malaysia, the consistant increase in BTO means the plane was moving towards Diego Garcia, and not on the arc as originally suggested. (see page 40 of pdf. I have taken snippet below of pertinent info)

Still, it took me a while to find the link to the actual data, so I thought I’d share the actual pdf.

http://www.dca.gov.my/mainpage/MH370%20Data%20Communication%20Logs.pdf

image

Edit to add: CNN is reporting that BTO is proving plane went away from satellite. Well, since the plane was picked up by INMARSAT before it veered off course, and the location of the final ping they are saying is on an arc that is exactly the same arc where the plane veered off course, how could this be. If that were the case, then BTO would decrease, then increase, only very slightly. And understand that they are purposely confusing the data with the offset, instead of time/distance, which is what the offset is unaffectively hiding.

Was the Iranian threat fabricated by Israel and the U.S.? Is the Pope a Catholic?

http://www.haaretz.com/mobile/.premium-1.596104?v=6E194EAD96A098E3E35F468C35E65478

Was the Iranian threat fabricated by Israel and the U.S.?

In a new book and in a conversation with Haaretz, U.S. historian Gareth Porter charges that U.S. and Israeli policies on Iran have been based on fabricated evidence.

Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant
Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant. / Photo by Reuters
By Shemuel Meir
Published 05:54 31.05.14

A narrative is a story that we tell ourselves, and not necessarily what happened in reality. For example, the “Iranian threat” narrative, which has become the common wisdom in Israeli public discourse. A new book by Gareth Porter, an American historian and researcher specializing in U.S. national security, shows how the actual state of the Iranian nuclear program does not match the Iranian threat narrative.

The book’s title, “Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Nuclear Scare” (Just World Books), already tells us that it is going against the current. Porter appears to be the only researcher who has read with an unprejudiced eye all the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency from the past decade. He also had access to American intelligence reports on the Iranian issue from recent decades. In addition, Porter interviewed generations of American officials and analyzed the testimony of senior officials before Congress.

The result is a highly detailed and well-documented book for all interested in understanding how we arrived at the Iranian nuclear crisis, and the “attack scenarios,” and invented facts and intelligence reports whose purpose was to support the preconceptions. At the same time, the book is invaluable for those wishing to understand what is being discussed in the intensive nuclear talks that have been taking place Iran and the superpowers (or, more accurately, Iran and the U.S.) since the signing of last November’s interim agreement, which surprised many Israelis.

According to Porter, it was a hidden political agenda of U.S. decision makers (from long before Israel entered the picture) that gave rise to the Iranian nuclear crisis. This is one of the book’s main subjects, and the starting point for a discussion with which we in Israel are unfamiliar.

The story begins with U.S. support for the Iraqis during the 1980s Iraq-Iran war. The critical point comes with the collapse of the Soviet empire. According to Porter, that event and the end of the Cold War pulled out the rug from under the CIA’s raison d’être. The solution the Americans found to continue providing the organization with a tremendous budget was the invention of a new threat – the merging of weapons of mass destruction (an ambiguous term in itself) and terror. Iran, which rose to the top of the list, provided the threat that “saved” the CIA.

The empowering of the CIA’s organizational interests was reinforced by the gallant neoconservatives, led by ideologues Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton, who had in the meantime reached senior positions in the government. They launched a campaign to delegitimize the Islamic Republic with the aim of toppling the regime (using the sanitized term “regime change”).

Running through Porter’s book is the well-substantiated claim that U.S. and Israeli policies on Iran derived from their political and organizational interests, and not necessarily from careful factual analysis of the Iranian nuclear program, which was subject to IAEA monitoring, or of the intentions of the Iranian leadership.

According to Porter, no systematic analysis was made of the goals of the Iranian nuclear program, and neither U.S. nor Israeli policy makers devoted any thought to why all of Iran’s official declarations on the subject were in line with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Furthermore, in U.S. discussions until 2007, and in Israel until today, hovering overhead is the nuclear “axiom” that Iran is dashing toward a bomb via the route of uranium-enrichment centrifuges. Porter and the IAEA found no proof of the dash to the bomb.

Following is Haaretz’s interview with Porter, conducted via email.

You have spent years of research analyzing IAEA reports, intelligence reports and interviewing officials about the Iran nuclear issue. What motivated you to write your latest book?

“It was the realization that a narrative about the Iranian nuclear issue had gained unchallenged credence, but that I had discovered over the years a number of major ‘anomalies’ – important facts that could not be reconciled with the narrative. I also came to realize that I was the only journalist who was closely tracking the evidence surrounding the issue. And finally – and perhaps most importantly – I realized that it is was impossible to convey the truth … in an article or series of articles; I had to write a book.”

Is it fair to say that your book shows us that the whole nuclear crisis as it has unfolded over the past 10 years is about U.S. and Israeli attempts to prevent Iran from developing a non-militarized nuclear program, even though such a program is permitted under the NPT, and that this obscured the fact that Iran never intended to develop nuclear weapons?

“Yes, I put considerable emphasis on the early history of the interaction between Iran’s nuclear program and policy, and the policies of the United States and Israel toward the program. I show how the Reagan administration’s intervention, beginning as early as 1983, to pressure Germany and France to refuse to cooperate with Iran in completing the Bushehr reactor, and to refuse to provide the enriched uranium reactor fuel for Bushehr, meant that Iran had to either give up its nuclear rights under the NPT altogether or go to the black market, in defiance of U.S. policy, to get its own independent enrichment capability. And despite subsequent U.S. and Israeli charges that Iran was interested in enrichment for nuclear weapons, there was and is no evidence whatever to support that charge.”

In my Haaretz blog, I emphasize the paradigm change of the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, and still valid today, which concluded that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. The Israeli public is unaware of this halt. Furthermore, many commentators believe that U.S. intelligence “corrected” itself and that the 2007 estimate has been annulled. Could you enlighten our readers about the important 2007 NIE?

“The 2007 NIE broke with previous NIEs [in 2001 and 2005], which had concluded that Iran was then running a nuclear weapons program. It concluded instead, with ‘high confidence,’ that Iran had halted its work on nuclear weapons. That conclusion was of course opposed by the Bush administration and Israel, because it had been the charge that Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons that justified the threat of military force against Iran. And it did indeed make the ‘military option’ irrelevant to U.S. policy for the rest of the Bush administration and for much of the Obama administration.” 

According to the 2007 NIE, however, some nuclear weapons research was carried out in Iran until 2003. Could you elaborate on what kind of research was undertaken; when, where and by whom, and what its scope was?

“Precisely who was carrying out research and what kind of research is still completely unclear, despite my effort to get any additional information on the subject from Thomas Fingar, who was in charge of the estimate. What was said by U.S. intelligence officials to be ‘snippets of conversation’ intercepted by U.S. intelligence in 2007 appears to indicate that some research related to nuclear weapons was being undertaken. But how many people were involved remains entirely unclear. And the testimony of the French ambassador to Tehran, as well as other evidence presented in my book, strongly suggests that the Supreme National Security Council had not authorized it and was not happy that it was going on.

“Not only did [Iran’s then-president] Hassan Rouhani order it halted in October 2003, when he was named the first coordinator of Iran’s nuclear policy, but Rouhani prevailed on the Supreme Leader to declare any work on nuclear weapons illicit under Islam in order to compel the researchers to give up their work on weapons. Understanding that episode correctly is clearly necessary to comprehending Iran’s nuclear policy accurately. 

“Unfortunately, as I argue in my book, the evidence indicates that the team of intelligence analysts, who had been wrong about the existence of a nuclear weapons program in 2005 and again in an early draft of the 2007 estimate, got it wrong in their conclusion that the Iranian government had an actual nuclear weapons program [before] late 2003.”

In your book, you explain in great detail the sought-after “smoking gun,” i.e. the mysterious “laptop studies” and the Parchin “bomb test chamber.” The Israeli public is unfamiliar with the details of these “cases.” Could you explain the “possible military dimensions” and comment on the credibility of the “evidence”?

“I devote an entire chapter to the ‘mysterious laptop documents’ and show that they were actually fabricated by Israeli intelligence and given to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq [a militant Iranian opposition group] to pass on to German intelligence in mid-2004. The ‘giveaway’ that they were fabrications is the fundamental error in a series of studies depicting efforts to integrate a nuclear weapon into the Iranian intermediate-range missile, which shows the Shahab-3 that Iran had abandoned in 2000 in favor of a much-improved model that was first tested in August 2004 – too late to correct the mistake before the papers were passed to the MEK. 

“Among the indicators that the documents originated in Israel is the fact that the MEK is not sophisticated enough to have fabricated such a large number of documents, and the well-known history of the terrorist organization’s close working relations with Israeli intelligence. Equally important is the fact that former IAEA director general ElBaradei revealed in his memoirs that Israel had passed on documents and intelligence reports to the IAEA directly in 2008 and 2009, which depicted Iran work on nuclear weapons even after 2003 – obviously prompted by the 2007 NIE.

“Those documents included information alleging that Iran had built a large metal cylinder to carry out tests of nuclear weapons designs at its Parchin military base. The IAEA made that allegation a major news theme by publishing it in its November 2011 report.  But no other evidence except the Israeli intelligence report has ever been produced to support that highly dubious charge. “

The emphasis in your book is on the centrifuges and the “enrichment track to the bomb.” Can you comment on the Arak heavy water reactor that is linked in Israel to the “plutonium track” and is behind the preemptive scenarios that have been developed in the Israeli press.

“The main weakness of the argument that Arak is an Iranian scheme for a ‘plutonium track’ to a nuclear weapon is simple: Iran has already agreed to arrangements under which it would be prevented from maintaining control of the plutonium produced by the reactor. In other words, all of the plutonium would be exported to another country. But there is a second major reason that it is not the threat that is being claimed: To build a plutonium reprocessing plant requires extensive construction as well as time, and it cannot be concealed.”

What is your assessment of the current negotiations between Iran and the P5+1? Is a final agreement to close the Iranian file on the table?

“I am pessimistic about the outcome of these talks, in the coming months at least, because the Obama administration – influenced by the false narrative surrounding the issue and overconfident about its ability to pressure an Iran it assumes has been significantly weakened by the sanctions – is planning to demand that Iran give up all but a very few thousand of its 19,000 centrifuges for many, many years. That demand, based on a notion of Iranian ‘breakout’ that is quite divorced from reality, is an obvious deal-breaker. Iran cannot and will not agree to give up its ability to provide nuclear fuel for more nuclear plants, for which it is planning. In my view, this demand will lead to a much higher level of tensions unless and until it is substantially altered.”

In your view, what is behind the Israeli-Iranian rivalry? Is there a chance for Israeli-Iranian détente following the achievement of a final agreement in the Vienna talks and the possibility of new openings in U.S.-Iran relations?

“In my view there have been political considerations on both sides of the Iran-Israel relationship that have stood in the way of a detente over the past 15 years: On the Israeli side, the first Netanyahu government in 1996 was actually willing to give detente a try, so there is no inherent reason why it could not happen again. It was the opportunity to use the U.S. to put intense pressure on Iran, if not to use force for regime change, that swayed successive Israeli governments to take the ‘existential threat’ approach to Iran. If and when the U.S. pursues a truly independent policy toward Iran, that Israeli motive will disappear.  

“On the Iranian side, the main obstacle to softening of its attitude toward Israel, in my view, has been the degree to which taking a hard line toward Israel makes Iran popular in the Sunni Arab street and counterbalances, at least to some extent, the anti-Iran policy of the Sunni regimes. So Iran-Israel detente has become hostage, to a great extent, to both the pro-Israel stance of the U.S. and the Sunni-Shi’a cold war.”

A final question: Is there a possibility that you are wrong, that you have been misled by some optimistic and naïve theories?

“My operational principle as an investigative journalist is that if there is a single verifiable fact that conflicts with my general understanding of an issue, I need to look more closely to understand why that anomaly exists. In the case of Iran’s nuclear program, I have found an unbroken string of anomalies that undermine the credibility of official U.S.-Israeli narrative, but I have yet to find a single fact that would invalidate my reconstruction of the history of the issue.”

The writer, a former IDF analyst and associate researcher at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, is an independent researcher on nuclear and strategic issues, and author of Haaretz’s “Strategic Discourse” blog (in Hebrew).

Leaked e-mails prove USA financed attempts to assassinate Venezuelan President Maduro

Venezuela: Government Reveals Assassination Plot

http://www.argentinaindependent.com/currentaffairs/newsfromlatinamerica/venezuela-government-reveals-assassination-plot/

Yesterday the Venezuelan government unveiled a series of emails which appear to show opposition figures plotting an assassination attempt against President Nicolás Maduro, seemingly with financial backing from the US.

Caracas Mayor Jorge Rodríguez at yesterday's press conference (photo: AVN)

At the press conference, mayor of Caracas, Jorge Rodríguez, showed an email written on 23rd March by right-wing former deputy María Corina Machado and sent to Gustavo Tarre, a lawyer who is under investigation by the Public Ministry, orchestrating “violent actions” and the assassination plot. Other mails showed communication between Machado, former governor Henrique Salas Römer, Diego Arria, and US officials talking of financial backing for the opposition from the US, as well as economic support by the fugitive Venezuelan banker Eligio Cedeño, currently residing in the US. Rodríguez said that at least one US State Department official was involved in the plot.

He went on to say that the government has more evidence that it would not be disclosing, due to the sensitivity of the materials, and called on the opposition to deny the accusations and for Venezuelans to publicly reject the emails.

The mayor of Caracas then confirmed that Maduro has authorised a criminal investigation into the exchanges, in an attempt to “stop this madness”.

The opposition’s response was confused, with some claiming the emails were fake, whilst others responded saying that telephones used to send the messages had been stolen. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles called the emails a “government conspiracy against the people”.

The reports come in the same week the US House of Representatives approved a bill to introduce sanctions against Venezuelan officials involved in human rights abuses. The legislation calls for a travel ban on some members of the Venezuelan government and for their assets in US banks to be frozen. However, the White House has opposed sanctions against the Maduro government, to give the Unasur-brokered dialogue a chance of working.

Anti-government protests erupted in Venezuela in February and have left at least 42 dead and dozens more injured.

Presidential election a positive step

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May 29, 2014, Ken Stone, the Spec

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed as “farce” the upcoming Syrian presidential election of June 3, but it may prove to be a step toward a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

This election is an exercise in real democracy.

On Feb. 26, 2012, in response to demands for constitutional change from the Syrian people, the Syrian constitution was reformed and ratified by a general referendum to allow for multiparty elections. In fact, this will be the first free election in Syrian history in which more than one candidate has stood for election for president. If Western governments are really interested in bringing freedom and democracy to Syria, why would they oppose it?

The new Syrian constitution requires a presidential election by July. If there weren’t an election, President Bashar Assad would no longer have a mandate to rule, which, of course, is the principal reason Kerry doesn’t want the election to take place.

The U.S. has been the main architect of the covert, illegal war against Syria organized through the so-called “Friends of Syria Group,” including Western countries such as Canada, as well as Arab monarchies, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who have organized mainly non-Syrian mercenaries — many openly allied to al Qaeda — to attempt to overthrow the Syrian government.

It’s important to note that the mercenaries, controlling 30 per cent of Syrian territory, not only oppose, like Kerry, the June 3 election, but also refuse to hold elections in territory they control. The reasons are twofold: first, they would be voted out by the Syrians who live under their brutal foreign occupation. Secondly, their paymaster is the Saudi government, which is an absolute monarchy and tolerates no opposition.

Kerry also dismissed the upcoming election because tens of thousands of Syrians have been displaced by the fighting. It’s too bad Kerry isn’t familiar with U.S. history. Abraham Lincoln authorized a presidential election in 1864 in the midst of the bloody U.S. Civil War when the South was mostly under Confederate control.

The U.S., moreover, has a dismal track record in not respecting democratic elections and elected leaders. It has staged coups against dozens of elected governments around the world since 1945 and deposed scores of elected leaders, including most recently, Aristide of Haiti, Chavez of Venezuela, and Yanukovych of Ukraine. Its own elections are rife with voter suppression of minority populations, huge inequalities in campaign spending, fraudulent practices and extremely low turnouts. Kerry lives in a veritable glass house and shouldn’t throw stones.
Kerry is also personally responsible, whether he admits it or not, for the Syrian election being called at this time. At the Geneva 2 Conference last January, he sabotaged any chance of an internationally sanctioned, transitional government being formed in Syria by insisting Assad couldn’t be part of it. This insistence flew in the face of the Geneva 1 Communique (June 30, 2012), which stipulated there would be no preconditions to talks. Because the Geneva 2 Conference collapsed without reaching consensus, the Syrian government went ahead with the scheduled presidential election.

For that election, the Syrian government secured promises of election observers from the BRICs countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) to verify its fairness. However, Kerry went in the other direction. He and U.S. President Barack Obama personally welcomed leaders of a segment of the armed opposition to set up a bureau in Washington and promised them even more aid in their quest for regime change in Syria. It’s no wonder that Lakhdar Brahimi, the special UN mediator, threw up his hands and resigned a few days ago.

In areas controlled by the Syrian government, ordinary people are excited by the prospect of the election. Rallies and debates are taking place daily. Syrian expatriates are excited about voting in the three-way presidential contest as well. However, in North America, Syrian citizens will be denied a vote because the Harper and Obama administrations have shut down Syrian embassies.

It’s too bad the Harper and Obama governments are again standing in the way of democratic change in Syria.

The June 3 election might signify an important step toward national reconciliation between significant sectors of Syrian society and lead to a political, rather than military, solution to the conflict there.

Pro-elections rally in Aleppo. photo:

 

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

American Hypocrisy

By 
The U.S. Armed Forces have fought in Afghanistan for almost 13 years against militants loyal to Al-Qaeda. In Syria, the Syrian Arab Army is fighting the same enemy, but these militants come in larger forces, possess better weapons, and they are financially supported by rich Gulf states.
The U.S. government labels the militants in Afghanistan as “terrorists”, but in Syria, these same militants are labeled “rebels” – go figure. Sadly, the American public is unaware of the fact that their tax dollars are funding the same terrorists that are killing their soldiers in Afghanistan…..in Syria. 
Today, the Obama regime announced their intention to have the U.S. military train “moderate” rebels fighting in Syria.
First off, the fact that they have to use the adjective “moderate” when describing the rebels is frightening. The U.S. government has insinuated that it is aware there are different kinds of rebels fighting in Syria; but unequivocally, they do not care to actually define what “moderate” means to them. In truth, does it matter?
The largest rebel force is Jabhat al-Nusra and they are likely the rebels that are going to receive the training. The irony of this whole ordeal is the U.S.’ position in this conflict.
I doubt the U.S. is oblivious to the motives of the rebels in Syria, but is this proxy war prudent in the end?
When the U.S. armed the Taliban against the Soviet Red Army in the 1980′s, U.S. President, Ronald Reagan, probably didn’t realize that weapons tend to be recycled. Fast-forward a decade later and now those same weapons are used against the Russian Army in the Caucuses.
A decade after that, those same weapons are used against the U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Do you get where I am going with this? This isn’t like the U.S. armed terrorists giving terrorists water balloons, they’re giving them training and weapons that will be reused.
Personally, if this doesn’t deeply concern you, I advise you to study the bloody Lebanese Civil War. Now, imagine those same groups were all professionally trained and possessed heavy weaponry – Beirut would be in ashes, not rubble.
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

US Senator Thanks Assad: You Followed Your Father by Protecting All Sects

Local Editor

Ibrahim al-Amin’s full speech before the STL

Al-Akhbar editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin speaks to Al-Jadeed from his office after walking out of his STL hearing. (Photo: Al-Akhbar)
Published Thursday, May 29, 2014
Editor’s note: The following statement is the full version of a speech prepared by Al-Akhbar‘s editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin to be delivered to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) Thursday during a preliminary session into the charges leveled against him and the newspaper. Amin only read about half the speech to the court. The court’s contempt judge Nicola Lettieri interrupted Amin during his statement, drawing a rebuke from Amin who has called on the judge to publicly apologize.
To the Honorable Judge Nicola Lettieri,
My presence here is not the result of my own free will, but is rather more akin to the execution of an arrest warrant. This is because your court professes, on the one hand, to respect the standards of justice, while neglecting, at the same time, the most basic of procedures that are required for the holding of a fair trial.
I have previously expressed to you my reservations regarding any rulings that might be issued concerning me by your court, and I reiterate, today, that I do not acknowledge the legitimacy of this tribunal. This is an institution that was created by the United Nations Security Council – the body that has never guaranteed the safety of the World.
Slightly over a hundred kilometers from here is a land called Palestine, whose people is the only population in the world that remains deprived of the right to self determination.
All forms of crimes are committed against the Palestinian people and this “Security Council” never acts; international tribunals are never created in order to prosecute Zionist war criminals. How then can any rational and educated person, who respects human rights trust the decisions of the UN Security Council?
This tribunal’s mandate is restricted to a single case of political assassination and was not referred to other existing international tribunals, because this case does not have the required elements to be referred to such international tribunals. However, the Security Council established this tribunal as a political tool.
I hereby remind you that, recently, and after the first steps to establish such tribunal were taken, Israel committed a massacre resulting in the death of 1,300 Lebanese within 30 days in July 2006. Impunity prevails in this case. Neither the Security Council nor any international legal body held Israel accountable.
During the past year alone, horrible massacres and crimes against humanity were committed by car bomb attacks targeting Lebanese citizens just because of their sectarian identity, and no one was held accountable. And I note here that the killers and criminals are backed by some Lebanese, regional and international groups that support this tribunal.
How would you expect us to trust the Security Council and its decisions or its various tribunals?
This tribunal was established in the dark. It was established against the Lebanese constitutional and legal principles. Even its funding is made secretly without the approval of the concerned authorities.
2359881892_a698712Your tribunal was established as part of a political process that started with the formation of international investigative commissions to look into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. We all know that the local, regional, and international powers that stood behind the establishment of the Special Tribunal are the same ones that are inciting for perpetual wars in my country, against my people, and against my country’s heroic resistance in the face of American, European, and Israeli terrorism.
My presence here today does not signify, in the slightest of ways, that I acknowledge you as an institution that seeks to accomplish justice. To the contrary, my forced presence here is due to my legitimate concern that members of my family, or colleagues in the newspaper that I manage, may be subject to abusive measures by your court regarding a case to which they have no relation. Such measures would only be in fulfillment of the desires of the forces of oppression, in my country, in the region, and in the world.
As for me personally, I care little for any of the actions that you have taken, or that you may yet take, for I do not acknowledge you as legitimate, and I view your court’s entire course of action as a flagrant assault against my freedom and the freedom of the press in my country.
I do not find myself, here, to be in need of a lawyer, or of legal aid of any sort, for I have nothing to say regarding the charges filed against me, the very issuing of which by your court represents a lack of respect for all the international laws guaranteeing human rights and the right to free expression.
My decision to re-publish material that was already published in the press reflects, precisely, the essence of my professional and ethical commitment toward my people, which was – and remains – subjected to the greatest process of deception under the name of justice and the law.

Al-Akhbar Coverage of the STL

All the successive officials that took charge of the dossier of Hariri’s assassination have engaged in evidence-fabrication that may result in the death of innocent people, after having caused the imprisonment of others, in addition to becoming a constant alibi for the massive breach of the privacy of my people. Therefore, I unequivocally reject the accusation filed against me and I view it as void, in form and in substance.
On a different front, and since I am today representing Al-Akhbar newspaper, it is my duty to bring to your attention the fact that it is the only Arab newspaper not to have any links to any oppressive regime in the entire world. And I hereby challenge anyone to prove the existence of any such relationship.
Al-Akhbar, which you are attempting to punish, is a forum that stands in the heart of the battle against political, social, and cultural persecution, in Lebanon, and in all corners of the globe.
It was not a coincidence that one of our own, our colleague Assaf Abu Rahhal, would fall martyr to the bullets of the Israeli army of occupation with nobody among those who support this tribunal, in Lebanon and abroad, lifting a finger to provide him with justice by punishing the murderers.
It is also not a coincidence that this newspaper, whom you threaten with closure, is still subject to political, judicial, and financial litigation by those who support this tribunal in Lebanon, the region, and globally. The Lebanese camp that supports you is incessantly prosecuting Al-Akhbar in front of the judiciary and the executive organs in Lebanon, while its economic team works to deprive Al-Akhbar from advertisement revenues.
Al-Akhbar is a newspaper that is banned throughout the Arab World.
  • Saudi Arabia blocks Al-Akhbar’s website.
  • Qatar is financing the attempts to empty the newspaper of its personnel and employees.
  • The Syrian government rejects our criticisms, so they ban the circulation of Al-Akhbar in Syria, while the criminals among the Syrian opposition threaten us with beheading.
  • France’s Ambassador in Beirut gloats over Al-Akhbar’s imminent closure, as his colleague in the United Nations publicly accuses our correspondent of not being a journalist, but “a security agent.” Why? Simply because we demand the freeing of the international freedom fighter Georges Ibrahim Abdallah who is being held hostage by the French administration – against the decisions of justice and the logic of the law.
Al-Akhbar is a newspaper that is viewed as a threat by the American government after we published the “Wikileaks” cables, which revealed the American conspiracies against our peoples, and the US government is currently attempting to prevent us from publishing the documents that divulge its ongoing espionage against hundreds of millions of individuals.
Al-Akhbar is a newspaper that is described by the government of the Israeli enemy, in its letters to the United Nations, as the mouthpiece of terrorism.
Mr. Lettieri,
My personal experience with your Special Tribunal has been extremely bitter. It began with threats launched by the head of the first Investigation Commission, Detlev Mehlis, and then by his successor, Serge Brammertz, to subject me to meaningless interrogations; not to forget the “friend of the court,” Stéphane Bourgon, who oversaw a selective interrogation. And here I stand today, enduring a similar treatment with you as well, after you refused to grant me my most basic right to know the legal basis of your accusation, and the penalties that could be imposed against the institution that I represent. This entire experience increases my fears regarding the realization of justice.
Based on the above, I have decided to exercise my right to remain silent during the entire proceedings, and I refuse to appoint a lawyer to defend me or the “Akhbar Beirut Company.” I also strongly reject being assigned a lawyer by the tribunal.
Glory to freedom.
Glory to the martyrs of the resistance and to its heroic freedom fighters.
Ibrahim Al-Amin

Al-Akhbar chief: The STL refused to clarify the charges against us

Ibrahim al-Amin (right) gives a press conference regarding his decision to boycott the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on May 29, 2014. (Photo: Al-Akhbar)
Published Thursday, May 29, 2014
Updated 8:19 pm: Al-Akhbar‘s editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin criticized the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s (STL) contempt judge for refusing to clarify the charges brought against him and the newspaper at a press conference Thursday following Amin’s first hearing before the international court.
“We realized that there was a lot of ambiguity regarding the charges against me and in the trial procedures,” Amin said. “We demanded clarifications but we didn’t get any.”
“We were surprised that the judge wanted me to say that I understood the charges against me even though I said they were ambiguous. He insisted that I answer if I’m guilty or not, even though I don’t even understand the charges,” Amin added.
He was referring to charges filed by STL prosecutors related toAl-Akhbar‘s decision in January 2013 to publish the names of 32 prosecution witnesses.
The Hague-based court was ostensibly set up to investigate the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri. But its critics accuse it of being a mere tool for the West and Israel to push their mandates in Lebanon.
The STL last month announced it had charged Amin, deputy director of Al-Jadeed TV Kharma Khayat, and their news organizations with obstruction of justice and contempt.
Prosecutors accuse the journalists of “knowingly and willfully interfering with the administration of justice” by publishing secret information about STL witnesses.
Amin attended his preliminary hearing Thursday via video-link during which he told the court that he does not recognize its legitimacy and therefore would not recognize any charges it files against him or his paper.
During the hearing, STL contempt judge Nicola Lettieri asked Amin if he understood the charges against him. He responded by saying that he did not understand them and has asked for clarification, but that the STL has refused to provide them with further detail.
Lettieri told Amin that he will regard his statement as a “not guilty” plea. Amin said he will not attend any further hearings and that he refuses that the court appoint a counsel to defend him or his paper in the “illegitimate” trial.
“The penalty is unknown. What is the penalty if Amin gets convicted?”, Nizar Saghieh, Al-Akhbar‘s legal adviser asked during Thursday’s press conference.
“This is the first time in an international tribunal that a company is put on trial,” Saghieh, referring to Al-Akhbar said. “What will happen to the newspaper?”
Amin also criticized the judge for cutting him off during his statement before the court when he began talking about the recent wave of car bombs targeting Shia neighborhood in Lebanon.
The judge told him that those details were not relevant to the case.
“How is talking about assassinations, explosions and terrorist attacks in Lebanon irrelevant to the STL? The STL allegedly aims to restore peace and punish the ones threatening stability, but the judge told Amin that bringing up these attacks or the lack of security is not of concern to the court,” Saghieh added.
Amin and Khayat could face up to seven years in jail and a 100,000 euro fine if convicted. But it remained unclear what would happen to their media organizations should the STL find them guilty as this case is without precedent.
(Al-Akhbar)
Reated

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USA supported fascists in Kiev targeting kindergarten, schools & hospitals in Slavyansk Ukraine

A school and a kindergarten have been shelled in Slavyansk as the city becomes increasingly unsafe in the intensified Kiev military campaign. At least 9 civilians were injured in Wednesday’s shelling incidents, including a child.

http://rt.com/news/162008-ukraine-shelling-slavyansk-school/

Ukrainian mortar shells have for weeks been raining down on the checkpoints and positions of the Slavyansk self-defense, but much of the shelling occurred outside the city. Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian interpreter, veteran human rights activist Andrey Mironov, were almost torn to pieces in one such shelling.

However, this week the battleground apparently moved right into civilian quarters of Slavyansk, as shells started hitting residential blocks and nearby buildings, killing three people on Monday.

Shells hit hospital as Ukrainian army resumes strike on Slavyansk

http://rt.com/news/162456-slavyansk-shelling-ukraine-army/

Kiev’s troops renewed the shelling of Slavyansk on Friday morning, residents told RT. A local children’s hospital and a clinic came under fire. There are no reports of injuries.

Read RT’s live updates on the violence in Ukraine

“This morning they hit the children’s policlinic in the center of the city and the reception ward of the children’s hospital. It was at 5 am,” Vladimir, a Slavyansk resident, told RT.

“The hospital and the policlinic stand close to each other. The hospital was damaged worse than the policlinic,”

There were some children staying in the hospital at the time of the attack. They were all taken to the building’s basement for cover after the shelling started, said Olga, a nurse working there.

“I’ve worked here for 30 years, and I never thought I would have to come to a ruin to do my job. That’s our government and our ‘valorous’ Ukrainian troops for you,” she said.

Kiev said it did not use artillery on Friday and claimed that it was the militia, who trained their own guns on the hospital to put the blame on the Ukrainian military.

Troops loyal to Kiev intensified the military crackdown on the militias of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in mid-April. They are using artillery, aviation and armor in a bid to take control of the restive region.

A consequence of Apartheid , 60 % of child mortality in ‘Israel’ are Arabs

http://alray.ps/en/index.php?act=post&id=4556

ALRAY photo archive

ALRAY photo archive

 

AlRAY – A report from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics and Btirm Association shows that the Arab child mortality rate reached threefold in comparison to the Israeli child mortality rate.

The report indicated that 60 percent of the dead children in “Israel” are Arabs.

The report was issued after Arab MK Masoud Ghanayem called for holding a session for Child Parliamentary Committee in the Israeli Knesset to discuss the situation of the Arab children.

Depending on the report, most of Arab deaths are aged 0 to 5.

Despite the Arab children rate reached less than 25 percent of the total number of the children in Israel, Arab child mortality rate is more than sevenfold compared to the Israeli child rate.

The report unveiled that 197 Arab children (0-17) out of 332 died due to road accidents.

37 out of 81 died of drowning, 21 of suffocation and 14 out of 37 of falling.

The report noted that 32 children, including 19 Arabs, died due to poisoning.

14 including 9 Arabs were stabbed to death, 11 Arab children out of 18 were subject to fatal blows.

13 other Arab children died due to sunstroke and electricity, while 32 out of 81 died of ambiguous reasons.

The report stated that 63 Arab children out of 113 died in 2008. In 2009, 106 children including 51 Arabs died. 81 Arab children of 161 died in 2010, while 60 out of 120 died in 2011.

In 2012, 57 Arab children out of 121 died, while 65 children out of 109 died in 2013.

Obama “USA Über Alles” we are indispensable

‘Obama says the US is indispensable, meaning all other countries are dispensable?

http://rt.com/op-edge/162236-obama-usa-afghanistan-drones/

If indispensable means invasive than there is no country that has invaded more states in the world, that has violated human rights and international law more than has the US, foreign policy expert Richard Becker told RT.

On May 27 President Obama made a speech, in which he called America ‘exceptional’ and described it as a helping hand to any nation in need. He also announced that 9,800 US troops will be left in Afghanistan through much of next year and backed away from ending America’s longest war until at least his final year in office.

RT: During his West Point speech, Barack Obama focused on his foreign policy “achievements”, including Iraq and Afghanistan withdrawals. Do you think this may have been premature, considering that these countries are still in crisis?

Richard Becker: Yes, of course. This was a speech that might be described as “visions of empire”. You have President Obama again saying that the US is the indispensable nation. I do not know what that makes the other 195 countries in the world; I guess they are all dispensable. The only way you can reconcile that is if you consider the word indispensable as synonymous with invasive because there is no country that has invaded more countries in the world that has violated human rights and international law more than has the US. Contrary to all of the nice sounding words that came out of President Obama’s mouth on that day, it was a point.

RT: Obama labeled Russia, Iran and China as countries that neglect international law. Isn’t this similar to Bush’s labeling of certain nations as an “Axis of Evil”?

RB: Definitely. There is a constant effort by the US leaders to propagandize the people of the US, and to present them with those who we are supposed to fear, who we are supposed to continue considering as enemies, those who supposedly justify enormous military budgets which continue to be the equivalent, if we take all different departments of National Security to account, as big as all other military budgets of all other countries on the Earth combined. And you have to keep propagandizing the people, trying to tell them that there is some deadly danger out there. I heard a statistics saying that people in the US are 35 thousand times more likely to die of the heart attack than to die from terrorist attack.

RT: Days before the presidential election starts in Syria, Obama pledged more support to the country’s opposition. What kind of support could this will be, and how could it affect the ongoing civil war?

RB: We can say we know for a fact that the US has been training the so-called rebels whom they support in Syria and using more advanced anti-tank weapons and a great deal more than that. What it is going to do. The impact of this will be to drag out and intensify the terrible suffering that the Syrian people have undergone. At the same time with all this talk about terrorism there are the US invasions, the US occupations, the US interventions in Iraq and in Afghanistan, in Syria and in Somalia, in Yemen and more that have greatly broaden the field for organizations like Al-Qaeda and its off-shoots.

RT: Commenting on the American drone program, President Obama said the US should not create more enemies than it takes out. Is this a realistic aim, considering the civilian deaths that inevitably result from drone strikes?

RB: Again propaganda, just pure propaganda. Just imagine what it is like for people in Somalia, in Pakistan, in Yemen, where you have all these drones flying all the time, you can hear them buzzing – they have to live under the fear that at any moment the Hellfire missiles can be fired and you, your family, your friends will be torn into pieces. Is that going to create enemies? I think, posing this question answers it.

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