AVAAZ, “White Helmets”, HRW, PHR, Amnesty shooting for Syria “no fly zone” to aid regime change like in Iraq & Libya

AVAAZ, “White Helmets”, HRW, PHR, Amnesty & More Humanitarians for War on Syria

A massive campaign in support of foreign intervention against Syria is underway. The goal is to prepare the public for a “No Fly Zone” enforced by US and other military powers. This is how the invasion of Iraq began. This is how the public was prepared for the US/NATO air attack on Libya.

The results of western ‘regime change’ in Iraq and Libya have been disastrous. Both actions have dramatically reduced the security, health, education and living standards of the populations, created anarchy and mayhem, and resulted in the explosion of sectarianism and violence in the region. Now the Western/NATO/Israeli and Gulf powers, supported by major intervention-inclined humanitarian organizations, want to do the same in Syria. Is this positive or a repeat of past disasters?

Who are the Humanitarian Interventionists?

Major non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the campaign include Avaaz, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), “White Helmets” also known as “Syria Civil Defence, “The Syria Campaign” , Amnesty International etc.. These campaigns are well funded and in accord with the efforts of John McCain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others who are explicit in wanting “regime change” in Syria. Turkey continues to press for the No Fly Zone as the US and Turkey launch another round of training “moderate rebels” at bases in Turkey.

Today March 30, 2015 Avaaz is ramping up its campaign trying to reach 1 million people signing a petition for a “Save Zone” in Syria.

“Life Saving” No Fly Zone?

Avaaz organizer John Tye explained the rationale for the Syria No Fly Zone petition in a lengthy letter. He argues that a No Fly Zone (NFZ) will “save lives” and help “stop the carnage”. In sharp contrast, here is what General Carter Ham, the head of AFRICOM when the ‘no-fly zone’ over Libya was enforced, said on “Face the Nation”

“I worry sometimes that, when people say “impose a no-fly zone,” there is this almost antiseptic view that this is an easily accomplished military task. It’s extraordinarily difficult. Having overseen imposing a no-fly zone in Libya, a force that is vastly inferior in air forces and air defenses to that which exists in Syria, it’s a pretty high-risk operation… It first entails killing a lot of people and destroying the Syrian air defenses and those people who are manning those systems. And then it entails destroying the Syrian air force, preferably on the ground, in the air if necessary. This is a violent combat action that results in lots of casualties and increased risk to our own personnel.”

Recent History of No Fly Zone

The most recent No Fly Zone was that imposed on Libya in March 2011. It was authorized by the UN Security Council after a wave of media reports claiming that Libya was using mercenaries, Libyan troops were engaging in widespread violence and Viagra fueled rape, and finally that the city of Benghazi (population 700,000) were facing massacre and possible ‘genocide’.

Alarming press reports were issued by Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, etc.. Avaaz launched an online “Libya No-Fly Zone” petition. These groups rallied public opinion which contributed to the UN Security Council resolution granting USA and NATO right to take over Libyan airspace. That led to a bombing campaign of nearly 10,000 attack sorties over the next eight months, the murder of Qaddafi, deaths of about 30 thousand, downfall of the government and installation of the outside appointed National Transition Council.

Since then there has been an explosion of violence, racism, sectarianism, and chaos. Libyans have experienced a huge decline in security and standards of living. The No Fly Zone which was supposed to “prevent a massacre” has led to vastly greater violence and chaos in Libya and beyond. Fighters and weapons flooded from Libya to Turkey and into Syria, expenses paid by Qatar.

As for the early reports about mercenaries, rape, viagra and looming massacre ….. these have been exposed as false. The mercenaries were fighting on the side of the “rebels”. The massacres were those that followed the NATO destruction. The entire “viagra” story was a fraud.

The details are documented in Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa by Maximillian Forte and Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya by Horace Campbell. Forte devotes one entire chapter to detailing the false manipulation of public opinion by would-be humanitarian organizations.

Avaaz Ignore Results from Libya

Despite writing the long letter in response to specific questions including Libya, Avaaz organizer John Tye avoids any reference to their “Libya No Fly Zone” campaign and the aftermath. This is perhaps understandable but raises questions about sincerity and motivation. Are many members of the public being unwittingly duped into joining the campaign?

Part 2 of this article will examine: What is the evidence of war crimes in Syria? Are the humanitarian interventionists R2P (right to protect) or R4W (responsible for war)?

Rick Sterling is a founding member of Syria Solidarity Movement.

Source: Counterpunch, 31 March 2015

EU suggests imposition of sanctions on Israel over settlements, why are we waiting?

EU suggests imposition of sanctions on Israel over settlements

The European Union has recommended that sanctions be imposed on the Israeli regime over its settlement expansion policies in the occupied Palestinian territories and its strict security measures in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

In a recently-released report prepared by heads of diplomatic missions of EU member states in the Palestinian Authority, the 28-nation bloc described al-Quds as a city gripped by the worst “polarization and violence” since the second Intifada (uprising) against the Zionist regime a decade ago.

The report noted that the Israeli regime’s construction of settler units is further compounding the problem in the occupied Palestinian lands.

The document also lashed out at Israel for its “heavy-handed policing and punitive measures” against Palestinian people, “including evictions and home demolitions.”

The EU report further warned businesses of the dangers of engaging in trade with Israeli firms that are located in the occupied territories.

A Palestinian holds a slingshot during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on March 28, 2015. © AFP

Israel, however, has rejected the report, with a regime spokesman saying, “This is so extremely one-sided a report that it distorts reality beyond comprehension.”

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank including East al-Quds in 1967.

Much of the international community regards the settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in the 1967 war and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied land.

Israel has also over the past months stepped up restrictions on the access of Muslim worshippers to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds.

Palestinians consider the Israeli measures as part of the regime’s plan to Judaize and desecrate the holy Islamic site.

Time to question the USA’s subservience to israel & to declare independence?

Declaring Independence from Israel

When Republican Presidential contender Senator Ted Cruz announced his intention to run before a packed audience at Liberty University in Lynchburg Virginia, the one line in his speech that drew the most applause was “Instead of a president who boycotts Prime Minister Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel.” I do not know if those who were cheering were really aware of what Cruz was saying, but the preposition “with” committing President Cruz to some kind of ad hoc equal partnership with a foreign government was both unseemly and ultimately un-American. A President of the United States should be prepared and expected to advance only American interests.

There is no ambiguity in Cruz. As keynote speaker for a conference held last September by the newly formed In Defense of Christians group, he demonstrated that even in front of Middle Eastern Christians it was necessary to play the Israel card, bringing Jewish “persecution” into the discussion before walking off stage. Just before exiting, he said, “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you. Good night, and God bless.”

A day after Cruz and Liberty it was Jeb Bush’s turn. He repudiated James Baker, his father’s secretary of state, after Baker had mildly criticized Netanyahu’s rejection of a possible Palestinian state, with Bush’s press spokesman asserting “Governor Bush’s support for Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu is unwavering.” In a follow-up op-ed last Wednesday, Bush cemented his credentials as a worthy heir to his brother George in terms of intellectual vacuity by opposing nuclear negotiations with Iran before asserting “The Obama administration treats announcements of new apartment buildings in Jerusalem like acts of aggression.” Jeb is apparently unaware that there are half a million settlers on the West Bank on stolen Palestinian land.

Every Republican presidential wannabe makes an obligatory trip to Israel to kiss Netanyahu’s ring. And the neoconservative claque is meanwhile crowing about Bibi, calling him the “leader of the free world.” One blogger quipped “Has it got to the point that the GOP should cut through all the red tape and simply nominate Benjamin Netanyahu as their 2016 candidate?”

The most recent GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney went so far as to pledge himself to take Israel’s advice before doing anything in the Middle East. Cruz, like Romney, has made very clear his willingness to be guided by Israel and it appears that Bush 3 will do more of the same. As will every other leading Republican, including Rand Paul who recently defended critics who claimed that he was applauding too slowly during the Netanyahu speech, saying “I gave the prime minister 50 standing ovations, I co-sponsored bringing him here.”

Marco Rubio another presidential aspirant, has already declared that if he is elected president, he would be willing to defy America’s European allies if necessary to revoke any deal with Iran he might inherit. Rubio’s foreign policy advisers feature Dan Senor, Elliot Abrams, Robert Kagan and Eric Edelman.

Selling out to Israeli interests has become de rigueur for Republican politicians and presidential hopefuls as well as for a heck of a lot of Democrats as well. Former Bill Clinton U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson recently commented that Israel is “our anchor in the Mideast. Our beachfront is Israel. They’re our strongest ally” while Senator Chuck Schumer, who is poised to become Senate Minority Leader, has declared “One of my roles, very important in the United States senate, is to be a shomer – to be the shomer Yisrael (guardian for Israel). And I will continue to be that with every bone in my body …”

The description of Israel as a close ally is not true, of course. Though Israel is persistently referred to as America’s greatest friend by the chattering class it is not legally or practically an ally at all and never has been. And then there is the recent revelation that Israel not only spied on Americans officials negotiating with Iran but also used the information obtained with members of Congress to undercut the talks. It is quite possible that Netanyahu was getting his intelligence from someone inside the United States delegation, raising a perhaps more troubling issue about the loyalty of some senior officials. It also suggests that at least some Congressmen received briefings from the Israeli government that included classified information obtained from the U.S. negotiating team and did nothing about it.

That revelation of spying came on top of Benjamin Netanyahu’s apparent strategic decision to deal only with American leaders whom he likes and who like him in return. His 2012 endorsement of Romney preceded an unrelenting two year campaign excoriating the Obama Administration for its “weakness” regarding Iran. There have been two speeches by Netanyahu before Congress piling on more of the same but the coup de grace came when a desperate Netanyahu seeking reelection explicitly rejected the U.S. backed negotiations seeking to create a peaceful settlement for the Israel-Palestine problem. And then Netanyahu, confident that he can get away with anything without consequence, threw into the hopper a racist rant encouraging right wing support at the polls in Israel by creating fears over Israeli Arabs who might want to vote.

Senator John McCain inevitably accused President Obama of having a tantrum and told him “to get over it” after the White House expressed some concern regarding the extreme right wing Israeli election result. And now that the elections are over, it is reported that Israeli intelligence Israeli intelligence officers who exposed some of Netanyahu’s lies will be purged after the new government is formed. The GOP majority in Congress meanwhile has already rewarded Bibi for his enlightened statesmanship by giving him 50 ovations, thanking him for making the American Secretary of State and President look ridiculous. Forty-seven Senators subsequently signed a letter to the Iranian leadership warning that they would repudiate any nuclear agreement entered into by President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner will be traveling to Israel this week, presumably to personally thank Netanyahu for his understanding and continued support.

And meanwhile Washington continues to reward Israel with more than $3 billion per year in direct assistance plus billions more in tax exempt “charitable contributions” from American citizens, some of which goes to build illegal settlements. It continues to provide Israel with political cover at the United Nations; supplies it with weapons, some of which have been used in contravention of American law; and it regularly defers to Israeli concerns about the political situation in the Middle East.

As a reward for Washington’s largesse, Israel’s many enemies have made the United States a terrorist target. And then there is what the White House and Justice Department (DOJ) do not do. Israel is the number one “friendly” country in terms of the level of espionage directed against the United States but the federal government chooses not prosecute the hundreds of Israelis and Americans caught spying. The DOJ has even blocked any inquiries by concerned citizens into the details of Israeli espionage using mechanisms like the Freedom of Information Act.

One might well come to the conclusion that the American people are not very well served by all of this nonsense. Israel has sometimes been called the “fifty-first state” but it is worse than that as it pays no taxes, is never held accountable for anything, damages U.S. interests and is a net beneficiary at all levels. And all of Netanyahu’s subterfuge has taken place against a backdrop of repeated U.S. pledges of support for Israel coupled with fulsome assertions by policy makers that America “has Israel’s back” if there is any conflict in the region, a virtual commitment that Washington will join in any war that Tel Aviv initiates.

As Israel has done and continues to do grave damage to the United States through its actions, it is past time for an amicable divorce, to enable the dog to again wag its tail, as it were. It is quite possible to wish Israel and the Israeli people well without having to become an accomplice in war crimes. As there is more than sufficient justification to change the existing injurious special relationship, I would propose a new Declaration of Independence, this time not directed at King George III but at King Bibi Netanyahu and his associates in government.

As a prologue to the injuries suffered by the United States, I cannot put it any better than did America’s Founders: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation:”

  • Washington wishes Israel and all other countries in the Middle East well and hopes that they will prosper, but from now on Israel, having abused its privileged position, must be treated just like any other country, with the depth of the bilateral relationship dictated by actual American interests.
  • American taxpayer contributions to Israel’s high tech first world economy are both unnecessary and unwarranted and will cease.
  • Diplomatic protection of Israel at the United Nations and in other international bodies damages American interests and will only be considered when Israeli and U.S. interests coincide.
  • Israeli has violated U.S. laws regarding the use of American provided military equipment for defensive purposes only. Future sales of equipment will be reviewed and American military equipment prepositioned in Israel will also be removed.
  • Because it is a violation of Article 4 of the U.S. Constitution American intelligence agencies will no longer share raw data obtained illegally on American citizens with Israel.
  • Because funding the occupation of the West Bank is illegal, any private donations to Israel will only be considered charitable when it can be demonstrated that the recipients are actually eligible for that tax status.
  • As it is in Washington’s interest to do so, the United States will be free to negotiate with Iran, Syria and all other countries in the Middle East. The United States will specifically respect the national integrity and sovereignty of all nations in the region, i.e. there will be no more threats that a “military option” is on the table.
  • As there is a clear conflict of interest, trips to Israel funded by private foundations and lobbies to acquaint Congressmen, military officers, and other elected officials with the Israeli point of view will be considered gifts and subject to appropriate regulation and taxation.
  • Israeli lobbying groups to include AIPAC, WINEP and JINSA have done great damage to the interests of the United States and will be required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.
  • How Israel conducts its domestic governance is its own business, but the United States will oppose the continuation of legal and administrative infringements on the fundamental rights of ethnic and religious minorities in any and all countries, including those that regard themselves as democratic, to include Israel’s treatment of its Arab minority.
  • As it is in the United States interest to do so, Washington will support in international fora the creation of a sovereign and functional Palestinian state to include full recognition by Washington, understanding that the persistence of the Palestinian problem has been both an incubator of and recruiting poster for terrorism worldwide.
  • Stealing American high technology and government secrets has done grave damage. Israelis and Americans caught spying against the United States will be arrested, charged and prosecuted under applicable statutes. There will be no exceptions.

I am convinced that a new Declaration of Independence will be good both for the United States and for Israel. The U.S. can remove the issue of Israel from its fractious political discourse and will at last be free of a major distortion in its ability to conduct foreign and security policy based on America’s own interests. Israel, which is military dominant in its region, can begin to think seriously of how to coexist with its neighbors rather than bomb them into submission. A reset for both countries would be healthy as well as the right thing to do.

The truth about the USA’s intervention in Ukraine is being hidden from the American public

Even America’s “Media Watchdogs” Hide Washington’s Ukraine Nazification and Ethnic Cleansing Program

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The U.S.’news’ media are so censored and controlled, so that even America’s ‘media watchdog’ organizations — mediamatters.org and fair.org on the left; and aim.org and mrc.org on the right — have hidden from the American public President Barack Obama’s Ukrainian coup in February 2014 that violently overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected President and replaced him with a Ukrainian nazi (racist-fascist) rabidly eliminationist anti-Russian, police-state regime in Kiev, which, ever since America’s coup there, has been ethnically cleansing the Ukrainian Donbass region that had voted 90% for the man, Viktor Yanukovych, whom the Obama Administration overthrew.

None of this is reported in the U.S. ‘news’ media — and America’s ‘media watchdog’ organizations hide the media’s hiding of it, though these events could bring on a nuclear war with Russia, which is America’s real target in Ukraine, right next door to Russia.

On 14 January 2015, I headlined “The Most-Censored News Story of 2014 Was What…?” and reported that, after an investigation, I had found that, by far, the most-censored news story of 2014 in America was Obama’s coup and U.S.-supported ethnic-cleansing in Ukraine. Links were provided there to videos of the the U.S.-backed massacre in the Trade Unions Building in Odessa on 2 May 2014, and the following ethnic cleansing in the Donbass region. However, the U.S. even sponsors firebombings of Donbass in order to get rid of the residents there, and our ‘media watchdogs’ are even silent about the ’news’ being silent about that. And, here is a good video of America’s Ukrainian coup, which overthrew Yanukovych. Here is more about that coup.
America is trying to conquer Russia, and the placement of nuclear missiles right next door to Russia, in Ukraine seems to be Obama’s objective. America’s ‘news’ media, and their ‘watchdogs,’ are doing a terrific job of hiding all of this from the American people. They wouldn’t do that if these events weren’t enormously important to the American aristocracy, who, it seems, have bought up all of the major mainstream and alternative news media. Scandals far less important than this ongoing one are routinely receiving much attention from the American press. However, even America’s ‘media watchdogs’ ignore this scandal of America’s press. Thus, there aren’t peace-marches and other public demonstrations about this, even though America’s bringing nazis to power in Ukraine is shocking. But you can find out all about it by clicking on the links here, and on the links within those linked-to news reports. It’s all history now, which was unfortunately never reported by U.S. media while it was still very hot and bloody news.

US Military Gloats Over ISIS Victories In Iraq, Rushes In To Save It From Iran

US Military Gloats Over ISIS Victories In Iraq, Rushes In To Save It From Iran

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After Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias backed by Iran were unable to liberate the Iraqi city of Tikrit from Western-backed ISIS forces in a swift manner, the US military establishment is now gloating in a rather obvious and even childish fashion that the Iraqi military has been forced to return like a battered wife to the arms of the abuser yet again.

According to the Military Times, nearly 20,000 Shiite militias withdrew from the Tikrit battleground after the Iraqi government agreed to pause its cooperation and coordination with the Iranian government. The Iraqi government agreed to take control of all the military operations from here on.

The United States imposed two conditions on the Iraqi government before it would agree to provide any assistance in the fight against ISIS that the Iraqi government end cooperation with Iran and that the Iraqi government assume command over forces on the ground.

Yet it could easily be seen that whatever successes were being witnessed on the ground were theresult of the lack of US involvement, not the result of it. The Iraqi military/government and the United States had been in the planning stages of an assault against ISIS-held positions inside Iraq since January 2015. Yet, despite “assistance” coming from the most militarily advanced nation on the face of the earth, Iraqi officials had complained that preparations for military plans were moving much too slow or either not at all. It appeared, for all intents and purposes, that the US was not as interested in eliminating strategic (to the Iraqi government) strongholds of ISIS as it was pretending to be in its press conferences and international speeches.

What is interesting, however, is the fact that, months before any such operations were ever launched, U.S. General Lloyd Austin, head of the US military’s CENTCOM, told the Wall Street Journal that the US and Iraq were planning a summer offensive to retake Mosul and cut supply lines to the ISIS fighters that control it. In other words, US General Austin revealed the war plans long before the actual operation took place, thus tipping off the potential targets to the upcoming military assault and creating even greater odds for the weak Iraqi forces to surmount.

Although failing to retake Tikrit, the Iranian military provided tanks, personnel, arms, and artillery assistance to the Shiite militias fighting against ISIS.

However, as the bulk of the work in the fight against ISIS was done by Shiite militias, some Sunni militias, Iraqi forces with various forms of Iranian assistance, the United States stepped in and began to whine about its fears that Iraq was falling under the influence of Iran, a real fear of the US since the Shiite crescent and Iranian arc of influence is exactly what the US, NATO, and Israel have been fighting so hard against.

Thus, the US demanded that, if Iraq was going to continue to work with Iran, then America would take its ball and go home and leave Iraq to its own devices, at least on this particular battlefield. After the Iraqi government agreed to America’s terms, the US engaged in airstrikes over Tikrit that saw the destruction of a number of bridges and railroads as well as alleged ISIS checkpoints and facilities.

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter explained his “concern” with the joint Iraq-Iran operation “because it could inflame sectarian tensions that are driving support for Islamic State militants,” despite the fact that Sunnis and Sunni militias have fought alongside the Shiite militias and Iraqi security forces. Obviously, the biggest possibility of inflaming sectarian tensions comes from the United States and Israel as recent history has clearly shown.

Army Col. Steve Warren also took the opportunity to gloat about the effectiveness and importance of US forces in the fight against ISIS despite the fact that the US is entirely responsible for the creation and the facilitation of the terrorist group. Warren stated,

When Tikrit operations kicked off … we heard quite a bit from the Iraqis and some even from the Iranians, some fairly high-confidence statements about how rapidly the operation in Tikrit would go. Obviously they were incorrect.

I think it’s important that the Iraqis understand that what would be most helpful to them is a reliable partner in this fight. Reliable, professional, advanced military capabilities are something that reside very clearly and very squarely with the [American-led] coalition.

General Lloyd Austin, the man who leaked the military assault plans before the Iraqi military was able to implement them and who is partly responsible for the difficulty experienced by the Iraqi-Iranian forces even if for no other reason than his untimely revelation, admitted that the Iranian forces have a vested interest in seeing the destruction of ISIS. He also repeated his and the US’ rejection of cooperation in that goal.

Austin pointed out that, only a few years ago, American soldiers were fighting these same Iraqi Shiite militias. “I’d just like to highlight sir, after three tours in Iraq commanding troops in Iraq who were brutalized by some of these Shia militias I will not and I hope we never coordinate or cooperate with the Shia militias,” he said.

Austin, of course made no mention of the motivation behind these Shiite militias who, along with Sunni fighters, were dealing defeat to the sophisticated US forces until David Petraeus and Robert Ford among others devised a plan to divide the Iraqi resistance. Indeed, the reason they were doing so was because the US illegally invaded their country, murdering their friends and family and destroying their infrastructure. Unfortunately, Americans, who have a history of this type of behavior across the entire globe, remain confused as to why they are not universally loved and greeted as heroes and liberators wherever they go.

For now, Austin and his imperialist commanders have gotten their wish. The militias have been halted yet again, Iran’s influence has been weakened in Iraq, and ISIS is now escaping what was its imminent destruction in Tikrit.

In the end, however, the recent nudging of Iranian influence in Iraq by the US is not only an example of the geopolitical struggle between Iran and the US, but also how the US consistently rides in on a white horse at the last minute to save ISIS from defeat in Iraq and Syria. This alone should cause many to question the true nature of the relationship between the United States and ISIS.

USA installed neo-Nazi Poroshenko boasts “Donbass Children Don’t go to School because we’ve bombed them”

Crimes against Humanity: Ukraine President Poroshenko Keeps his Word: “We’ve Bombed the Schools”, Donbass Children Don’t go to School

donbass olga luzanova

This article by investigative reporter Olga Luzanova provides photographic and video evidence of the impacts of Kiev regime bombings directed against residential areas and schools in Donbass.

Civilians have been deliberately targeted.  

These war crimes have  been ignored by the mainstream media. They been not been acknowledged by  the UN Human Rights Commission. 

The fundamental rights of children have been blatantly violated by the US sponsored Kiev regime in derogation of international law.  

(M. Ch. GR Editor)

Photos and video footage by Olga Luzanova

We recall that last October, President Petro Poroshenko contrasted the prospects for Ukrainians with those of the people from the Donbass region during a speech in Odessa. In particular, the President promised:

“Our children will go to schools and kindergartens, while theirs will be holed up in basements!”

Thus far, the Ukrainian government has been doing its best to keep its word. Here is one of the children sitting in a basement in accordance with the Ukrainian President’s will.

Photos and video footage by Olga Luzanova

Article edited by @GBabeuf

The Acting Commander of the Perevalsk Command offered me a short tour of a little town which just happened to be in the immediate vicinity of the front-line. The Ukrainian forces had been firing towards the residential district of the town right up until the day when the Militia had mopped up Debaltsevo. We took the road which I knew very well. We drove through the town where I could see the consequences of the shelling all around. We approached the school from its rear and saw there a football pitch with a huge crater in the middle of it. Then we saw another crater from an Uragan missile near the school.

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A third missile evidently reached the building.

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We found quite a large shell fragment, resembling a crumpled aluminium pail, inside the building, but the distinct marking number it bore proved that it was part of an Uragan missile.

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The school had not a single window left intact on the side facing towards Debaltsevo. Evidently, it had not been random fire—we could see that all the strikes on the school were direct hits.

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We walked round the school—its façade, which faced the direction of territory controlled by the Militia, remained almost undamaged. Incidentally, this school used to be one of the most beautiful in the Perevalsk region: it had won a grant for renovation two years ago and was then completely refurbished.

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Now, the image of the book with hammer and sickle and the engraved phrase “Peace to the World” adds more sadness to the whole scene.

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The condition of the building inside was no less terrible: overthrown pieces of furniture, broken window frames. splinters of glass and crumbled plaster on the floor, fragments of wood and brick everywhere, everything slashed and holed.

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In a half-ruined corridor there were stands with portraits of the Heroes of the Great Patriotic War, “killed” once again by Ukrainian bullets. “Nobody has been forgotten, nothing has been forgotten.”

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I should like to note that respect to the values of memory has always been a very important part of our school education. In the light of Ukraine’s conflict, one of the main tools currently employed in Ukrainian schools is the misrepresentation of history—in particular, replacing the names of Soviet heroes with the names of Banderites. Yet people in Donbass do remember their true history: we learned it not only at school, but also from our grandparents, who saw this history with their own eyes and retold it to us again and again, and we shall never forget it.

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I heard a child’s voice outside—a little girl was coming up with a few adults, pointing in the direction of the worst damaged part of the school, saying: “My class was there.” Seven year old Vika was very sad about her school; almost all her friends have left the town, and now, she and her family may have to leave too:

I entered the classroom where Vika and the other first form pupils used to study. Again, the usual scene: pieces of broken glass everywhere, destroyed windows, smashed furniture, holed walls… Books left in a bookcase…

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Someone had written on the blackboard “Death to the fascist invaders.”

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Donbass children don’t go to school…

Olga Luzanova

USA Fighting ISIS by arming them?

 

USA Fighting ISIS by arming them?

The media has been abuzz in recent months with numerous accounts of US weapons and other supplies falling directly into the hands of ISIS, providing the terror group with invaluable material support at a time when it had suffered heavy losses in both Syria and Iraq. As Naeem al-Uboudi, the spokesman for one of the main groups fighting ISIS in Tikrit told the NY Times, “We don’t trust the American-led coalition in combating ISIS… In the past, they have targeted our security forces and dropped aid to ISIS by mistake.”

Indeed, these allegations are supported dozens of accounts of airdropped US weapons being seized by ISIS. As Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui noted in January, “The information that has reached us in the security and defense committee indicates that an American aircraft dropped a load of weapons and equipment to the ISIS group militants at the area of al-Dour in the province of Salahuddin… This incident is continuously happening and has also occurred in some other regions.”

Whether these incidents are simply honest mistakes by the vaunted US military with all its precision bombing capabilities, or they are indications of a more callous attempt to inflict casualties on all sides and prolong the regional war, either way they represent an abject failure of the US strategy against ISIS. But of course, the US policy failure goes much further than just mistakes on the battlefield. Rather, the entire policy of arming so-called “moderates” in Syria has led directly to the growth of ISIS into a regional power.

Since 2012, the US, primarily through the CIA, has been providing weapons and training to terrorists in Syria under the guise of arming “moderates.” Many of these allegedly moderate groups have in recent months been documented as having either disbanded or defected to ISIS, including the little publicized mass defections of former Free Syrian Army fighters. However it has happened, a vast arsenal of US-supplied weapons and other military hardware are now counted among the ISIS arsenal. So much for the US policy of ensuring the weapons don’t “fall into the wrong hands.”

So, while the US has proclaimed to be fighting ISIS and the al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front, they have been simultaneously arming and supporting many of the same forces which now make up much of the rank-and-file of these terror groups. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Washington: Peace broker or arms dealer?

Those who follow US foreign policy are likely unsurprised by these revelations of Washington providing arms and intensifying an already dangerous conflict. In Syria, the US has consistently argued that the Syrian government cannot be seen as a partner for peace, and so they must provide weapons to “moderates.” In Ukraine, where the US has a compliant and servile government that executes its diktats, Washington still supplies the arms, talking of peace and stability while exacerbating the war and human tragedy in East Ukraine.

Last week, the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed (348-48) a resolution to provide military support in the form of weapons to Ukraine. As Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee stated, “The people of Ukraine are not looking for American troops. They are just looking for the weapons to defend themselves. They don’t have those weapons. We do.”

Indeed, it seems that US policy is to pursue “peace” at the barrel of a US-made, US-supplied gun. As Secretary of State John Kerry explained in his usual self-contradictory manner “To get peace, you have to defend your country,” a devilishly cynical statement from the man who, entirely without irony, explained in 2014 that “you don’t just invade another country on a phony pretext in order to assert your interests.” Perhaps, rather than invading countries, the Obama administration has decided to simply provide the weapons, training, and logistical and material support in order to assert its own interests.

While Syria and Iraq face an existential struggle against the wildfire that is the Islamic State, the United States arrives, gas can in hand, to make peace. As Ukraine slides deeper into civil war, the US provides all the ingredients for a witches’ brew of violence and bloodshed.

For all its talk of psychological war against ISIS, Washington has embraced an aggressive, multi-pronged approach that leaves little doubt as to the thinking of its strategic planners: the enemy of my enemy is both friend and enemy. As Tacitus famously said of the Romans, “They make a desert and call it peace.” So too do the Americans in the blood-soaked deserts of Syria and Iraq.

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