9/11: How Noam Chomsky shielded Israel

ProfNoamChomskycpd[1]Canadian professor Tony Hall in his latest 7-part research article, Noam Chomsky and Zionism has claimed that Dr. Noam Chomsky is an Israel ‘Gatekeeper’ for September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

American Jewish philosopher Noam Chomsky was the first to author the 128-page booklet, 9-11 in December 2001. In the booklet, Chomsky tries to divert public attention from the real evildoers and claim it as a blow-back to United States imperial foreign policy by aiding western puppet regimes in Nicaragua, Turkey, and Israel in order to commit genocide of local people, Kurds and Palestinians living outside proper Israel.

Chomsky also claimed that the US along with the UK, Egypt, France, Pakistan organized, trained, funded,[HE IGNORED SAIDIS] and trained so-called Muslim radical groups.

However, during an interview on Democracy Now!, Noam Chomsky stated that he believes Osama Bin Laden was probably behind the attacks of September 11, 2001. The statement was curious because in earlier interviews Chomsky described the evidence against bin Laden as thin to nonexistent, which was accurate and, no doubt, explains why the US Department of Justice never indicted bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks.

Two investigative journalists, Barrie Zwicker and Kevin Barrett, PhD concur that Noam Chomsky’s nonsensical interventions on 9/11 constitute an important part – indeed, perhaps the single most instrumental part – of the 9/11 cover up. If Chomsky’s adoring fans had been treated with respect and truth rather than with duplicity and lies, they might have joined together in a timely and effective way to get to the bottom of the 9/11 deception and to demand some legal and political accountability for the fraud.

Canadian-born Barrie Zwicker in an interview with young Iranian journalist and author Kourosh Ziabari said that 9/11 was not planned and executed by Muslims but it was carried out by Israel and the Zionists in Bush administration.

In response to a question at the University of Florida recently, Chomsky claimed that there were only a minuscule number of architects and engineers who felt that the official account of WTC Building 7 should be treated with skepticism. Chomsky followed-up by saying, a tiny number – a couple of them—are perfectly serious. The reality is that close to 2,500 architects and engineers have expressed their doubts about the government’s explanation of how and why the towers fell. It doesn’t matter how many professionals or intellectuals are willing to admit it. The facts remain that the US government’s account for the destruction of the WTC on 9/11 is purely false. There is no science behind the government’s explanation for WTC 7 or for the Twin Towers and everyone, including the government, admits that WTC Building 7 experienced free fall on 9/11. There is no explanation for that other than the use of explosives.

On May 23, 2016, Dave Alpert at the Intrepid Report exposed both Noam Chomsky and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! being 9/11 disinformation agents for the Zionist entity.

Chomsky and Goodman are bright, knowledgeable, intelligent people. What has influenced them to avoid confronting the government regarding the events of 9/11? Their influence on people who view themselves as progressive cannot be over estimated. When I began questioning the government’s role regarding 9/11, several of my friends responded to me negatively and said specifically that if my suspicions had any legitimacy, Chomsky and Goodman would be speaking out,” Alpert said.

When 9/11 occurred, it was an historical event and an event that changed the course of history. Where was Amy? Relatively silent. She invited David Ray Griffin, who has written several books illustrating the lies and misdirections of the government’s narrative about that day, to Democracy Now! which one could claim was a significant journalistic move. However, instead of interviewing him so that he could reveal to her listening audience the facts that he had accumulated that put into question the government’s explanations of that day, she paired him with a pro-government guest who spent the hour attacking Griffin personally and ignoring any of the data Griffin produced. It became a three-ring circus and helped sabotage any impetus the Truth Movement might have gained within the progressive community. Was that her goal?,” Alpert said.


Toxic Legacy of the Cold War

Toxic Legacy of the Cold War

US – Saudi Relationship: Toxic Legacy of the Cold War

Iran Review’s Exclusive Interview with Tim Anderson
By: Kourosh Ziabari

As the international powers struggle to keep alive the diminutive chances of a lasting ceasefire in Syria and push the warring parties to refrain from getting involved in further aggression and deepening the hostilities, it’s still a valid, looming question whether the crisis in Syria can be resolved peacefully and within a reasonable timeframe five years after its eruption.

Syria has turned into a battlefield where several proxies with conflicting interests are pitted against each other. The two major global superpowers, the United States and Russia, have approached Syria with an eye on shifting the geopolitical makeup of the Middle East in their own favor and finding foothold in a highly sensitive, strategically imperative region. They certainly prioritize Syria because of its crucial borders with the oil-producing giant Iraq, Turkey – the most immediate EU neighbor to the Middle East and the country’s invaluable energy resources. However, they also have wider implications to take into consideration, and share a common concern: to conquer the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Daesh).

An Australian political scientist believes some regional actors have played a destructive role in the Syrian crisis and fanned the flames of sectarianism in the Arab country already shattered into pieces by the ISIS terrorists and their subsidiaries.

“In 2007, the U.S. military discovered documents showing that around half the Al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters were from Saudi Arabia, with the second largest group from North Africa,” said Prof. Tim Anderson in an interview with Iran Review.

“In 2012, just before ISI moved from Iraq into Syria to become ISIS (Daesh), U.S. intelligence – [mostly] the DIA – reported that the creation of a Salafist state by Al-Qaeda in Iraq and allied Salafist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, was exactly what the U.S. and its regional allies wanted, in order to isolate the Syrian regime,” he added.

Prof. Anderson is skeptical of the U.S.-Saudi collaboration in Syria and considers it a “toxic legacy” of the Cold War days: “The relationship between the Al Saud family and Washington is a toxic legacy of the Cold War, passed on by the British, who had learned “divide and rule” from the Romans. The Saudis are a family, not a nation, and it is surprising that their family business is recognized as a state in today’s world.”

Tim Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He studies and writes on development, rights and self-determination in Latin America, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. He has published several chapters and articles in a range of academic books and journals. His most recent books are “Land and Livelihoods in Papua New Guinea” (Australia Scholarly Press, 2015) and “The Dirty War on Syria” (Global Research, 2016). He has visited Syria three times since 2013, initially as a member of Australian delegations in solidarity with Syria.

In the following interview with Iran Review, Prof. Anderson discussed his views on the troubling growth of ISIS, the role of foreign actors in the fomentation of war and unrest in Syria and the possible scenarios for the future of the crisis-stricken Arab nation.

Q: You’ve suggested that the U.S. military intervention in the region was one of the factors leading to the emergence and rise of ISIS. Do you believe the United States intentionally paved the way for the ISIS to grow and become so strong, or was it an inadvertent by-product of the U.S. Mideast policy? Washington is now investing heavily on the diplomatic and military fronts to defeat this militant group. How do you explain that?

A: The evidence is quite clear that the United States created Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which became ISI, then ISIS, over 2005-2006 to generate political violence in Iraq, in a failed attempt to stop Baghdad becoming close to Tehran. Al-Qaeda had not existed in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. In 2007, Seymour Hersh described a “redirection” of the Bush regime, which wanted to use “moderate Sunni states” to contain the influence of Iran. Subsequently, Al Saud began to finance anti-Shiite terrorism in Iraq, helping in what U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called the use of “creative destruction” to reshape the region into a U.S.-led New Middle East. In 2007, the U.S. military discovered documents showing that around half of the Al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters were from Saudi Arabia, with the second largest group from North Africa. In 2012, just before ISI moved from Iraq into Syria to become ISIS (Daesh), U.S. intelligence – [mostly] the DIA – reported that the creation of a Salafist state by Al-Qaeda in Iraq and allied Salafist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, was exactly what the U.S. and its regional allies wanted, “in order to isolate the Syrian regime.” Chapters 2 and 12 of my book “The Dirty War on Syria” document this.

Q: During an October 2014 question and answer session at Harvard University, the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden bluntly accused the major Washington allies in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Turkey of pouring “hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad” including the Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda and “extremist” elements coming from other parts of the world. Biden later onapologized to the three countries for his scathing comments, but partly echoed the private understanding shared by the U.S. leaders that Syria’s neighbors have significantly contributed to the empowerment of ISIS. With such an awareness, couldn’t the Obama administration take effective steps to preclude the growth of ISIS at least through stopping its regional partners from funding and arming this terror gang?

A: In theory yes, but in practice no, because Obama’s major regional allies – the Saudis, Turkey and Qatar – could never have taken this step without U.S. approval in the first place. The U.S. has a special office to rigorously license the re-export of any U.S. weapons. So, for example, the Al Saud family cannot provide masses of weapons to terrorist groups without direct U.S. approval or collaboration. Nor can a strategy for backing a large-scale terrorist war be conducted by the close allies of the U.S. without direct U.S. approval. Of course this will be spoken of differently in diplomatic processes, but we should not ignore the plain truth.

Vice President Joe Biden’s statement was repeated by the head of the U.S. armed forces, General Martin Dempsey, who said, “I know major Arab allies who fund [ISIS]”. The head of the U.S. Congress Armed Forces Committee Senator Lindsey Graham responded, “They fund them because the Free Syrian Army couldn’t fight Assad; they were trying to beat Assad.”

Q: Just recently, the Saudi government threatened that it will sell off $750 billion’ worth of U.S.-based assets held by the kingdom if the Congress passes a bill allowing the American courts to hold the Saudi government responsible over its possible role in the 9/11 events. Former Senator Bob Graham has said in a recent interview, “the Saudis have known what they did in 9/11, and they knew that we knew what they did, at least at the highest levels of the U.S. government.” However, the strategic U.S.-Saudi partnership move forward unimpeded while Riyadh’s role in 9/11 is almost undisputed. How would you describe it?

A: The relationship between the Al Saud family and Washington is a toxic legacy of the Cold War, passed on by the British, who had learned “divide and rule” from the Romans. The Saudis are a family, not a nation, and it is surprising that their family business is recognized as a state in today’s world. It is not just about the enormous oil reserves they have appropriated for themselves, and of course these will not last forever. But the Saud family remains useful to the United States as a key agent of sectarian division and confusion in the Arab-Muslim world, in parallel with Israel. The special protection this regime enjoys, from real scrutiny including criminal accountability, is only because they remain useful to the big power. It is hard to imagine that the Saudi regime would survive if Washington were to give up its ambition to dominate the region.

Q: Do the European states have a firm strategy to deal with their radicalized citizens who take up the adventurous journey of traveling to Syria and Iraq to fight for the ISIS? Recent reports show that around 1,700 French citizens, 760 Britons, 470 Belgians and 300 Swedish nationals have been recruited by the ISIS, and many of them are already coming back to their countries. How is the EU going to tackle the crisis originating from the alarming return of these brainwashed ISIS loyalists to their homeland?

A: It seems they do not have such a strategy. They tend to follow the U.S. line on Russia and the Middle East, even though they have distinct interests and are affected far more directly by “blowback” terrorism than is North America. They are of course concerned about this terrorism and have instituted a series of measures when it is incoming, much less so when it is outgoing. We know for example that the British-Pakistani man Moazzam Begg, charged with terrorist offences in the UK in 2014, was released after it was shown that his travels to Syria had been condoned by British intelligence MI5. Those European states will seek ways to “outsource” their problems, but they seem largely incapable of recognizing their own responsibility for fomenting terrorism in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Iraq.

Q: What role can Iran play in trouncing the ISIS? Is the U.S. government willing to collaborate with Iran and find a common, unified strategy for rooting out the menace of ISIS from the region? Iran apparently has an interest in seeing the ISIS defeated and Syria stabilized. Do you think it’s possible for Tehran and Washington to ignore their differences over the fate of Bashar al-Assad for a moment and concentrate on the shared objective of defeating ISIS?

A: Iran is already playing a tremendous support role in both Syria and Iraq, a role very poorly recognized in the Western countries that pretend there is some sort of sectarian relationship. In fact, the key reason for Western and Zionist hatred of Iran is precisely its independent and non-sectarian role in support of Palestine, which has very few Shiite Muslims, and the regional Axis of Resistance. It is encouraging to see the regional Axis of Resistance including Iraq these days. More careful observers would have noted that the Iraqi security services would prefer Iranian support over U.S. support, when it comes to their anti-Daesh operations. Pluralist Syria has always maintained a strong relationship with the Islamic Republic. Iran has provided training, logistical and material support to Syria from the beginning of the crisis and, more recently, has suffered significant casualties in defense of Syria. I do not see that any strategic alliance between Iran and the U.S. is possible, so long as Washington maintains its ambition to subjugate and control the entire region. Iran is, after all, the leading anti-imperial nation in the region. However there may be some room for pragmatic cooperation at times, including over Daesh, even though, as I said earlier, the U.S. is the mastermind of Daesh and all similar sectarian groups. The U.S. will probably want to save face as its operations progressively collapse.

Q: Are you optimistic that Syria can find a way out of the current chaos in the foreseeable future? President Obama has made it clear that the U.S. won’t send ground troops to Syria, because this is exactly what the ISIS terrorists wish. Is there any political and diplomatic solution? The parties with an interest in the Syrian question including the Arab states of the region, Turkey, the NATO member states, Russia, the U.S. and Iran have serious differences, divided by seemingly unbridgeable gaps. Will they be able to eventually strike a compromise?

A: Yes I am. I do not believe any U.S. administration in the near future will attempt a direct intervention in Syria. They were always worried about the coherence of the Syrian Army and its strong allies, principally Iran and Russia. The last five years will have reinforced those fears. Syria has faced a test of fire; it has suffered enormously but has also become stronger. Importantly, too, the alliance built during the Syrian war is a very powerful one, certainly the strongest joint army in the region. Despite the tens of thousands in proxy terrorist armies, all of them directly or indirectly backed by Washington and its key allies, Syria and its allies are winning. Other than adding weapons systems like surface-to-air missiles, the U.S. and its minions have run out of military options. Nevertheless, the diplomatic process remains important because some measures can help stop the war, as well as lifting Syria’s voice, also important in face of the huge disinformation campaign. There are of course differences of interest between the U.S., Turkey, the Saudis and Israel. That fragmentation will divide them, as they lose. Of course they remain dangerous, as they lose, and they do not like to lose, but it is clear now that they are losing.

M. A.

Crimean crisis: The Smell of American Hypocrisy in the Air




The war of words between Russia and the United States is soaring these days over the sovereignty of the Crimean peninsula, and the White House officials are constantly directing accusations and excruciating verbal attacks against Kremlin in what seems to be the most serious dispute between Moscow and the West in the recent years.

The United States has pulled out all the stops to defeat and isolate Russia diplomatically, and has even gone so far as to impose economic sanctions against the Russian individuals and companies, and excluding Russia from the G8 group of the industrialized nations. The 40th G8 summit was slated to be held in Sochi, Russia on June 4-5, but following the suspension of Russia’s membership in the G8, the summit relocated to Brussels, Belgium, and it would be the first time that a G8 leaders’ convention is going to take place in a non-member state country. Some of the Western media outlets have even started to refer to G8 as G7, implying that Russia does not have any position in this influential group of the affluent, developed nations.

But as always, when it comes to flexing the muscles and showing political prowess, the United States and its partners are behaving in an intolerant, duplicitous and hypocritical manner. In a statement, the newly-termed G7 leaders reaffirmed that Russia’s “occupation of the Crimea” was against the principles of the G7 and contravened the United Nations Charter.

It’s interesting that the innumerable violations of the international law, the UN Charter and Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in time of War by the United States in the recent years have never caught the attention of the G8 leaders and never compelled them to at least consider warning the United States to behave more responsibly and respect the internationally recognized conventions and regulations or refraining from destroying and annihilating other nations through its “humanitarian” missions!

If Russia should be punished for sending troops to Crimea, while it’s legally entitled to do so, and if its military intervention in Crimea represents a violation of the UN Charter in the eyes of the Western leaders, then it will be taken for granted that all violations of the international law and the United Nations Charter should be reprimanded and responded appropriately and the wrongdoers should be penalized in a fair manner. If Russia has occupied a sovereign entity – which is of course not the case, and should bear the burden of sanctions and diplomatic isolation, it’s ok, but why shouldn’t the United States be castigated and prosecuted for the same reason? What makes the military intervention of Russia different from the wars the U.S. offhandedly wages across the world?

For those of us who willfully ignore the historical facts, it’s noteworthy that the Partition Treaty on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet signed between Russia and Ukraine on May 28, 1997, permits Russia to lawfully maintain up to 25,000 troops, 24 artillery systems, 132 armored vehicles and 22 military planes on the Crimean peninsula. This agreement will be effective until 2017, and so it can be the most convincing logical justification for Russia’s military action in Crimea.

So, what has happened is not an “occupation” as the U.S. leaders claim, but that Russia has exercised its legal right for sending troops to a geographical area where the majority of inhabitants are ethnic Russians and don’t want to remain under the Ukraine autonomy and are overwhelmingly inclined to join Russia.

What every neutral and unbiased observer of the international political developments can easily note is that it’s the United States which is renowned for its hegemonic policies and its imperialistic modus operandi, not Russia. Russia’s intervention in Crimea took place after it felt that its national interests are being seriously endangered on its borders, where 58% of the population is consisted of indigenous Russians who prefer to be reunited with Russia, rather than being seen as an asset and prize for the United States under the leadership of a new government in Ukraine which has neo-fascist backgrounds.

The prominent American syndicated columnist and journalist Ted Rall has recently written on his website that there are traces of neo-fascism and neo-Nazism in the government of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk who has just come to power: “There’s no doubt that a Ukrainian nationalist strain runs deep in the new regime. It has been estimated that roughly 1/3 or more of the supporters of the new government come out of xenophobic, anti-Semitic, neo-fascist movements that draw much of their ideological heritage from the Nazi puppet regime that governed Ukraine under German occupation during World War II.”

So, on March 16, the Crimean parliament and the local government of Sevastopol held a public referendum in Crimea to give the citizens two choices for the future of their territory; either to remain associated with Ukraine or reunite with Russia. With a high turnout of 83.1% of the eligible voters, 96.77% of the participants in the plebiscite voted in favor of joining the Russian Federation. The United States and its allies didn’t hesitate to call the referendum as rigged and invalid, as they usually does with the elections in countries with which they are at odds. Washington even drafted a resolution in the United Nations Security Council to call the referendum null and void, but Russia used its veto power, while China abstained, and the United States simply pushed the General Assembly member states to pass a non-binding resolution, declaring the referendum invalid, which doesn’t seem to have any certain impact on the future of Crimea.

The policy of de-Russanization was long underway in the Crimean peninsula, and many other former Soviet Union republics, as Ted Rall elaborately details. Perhaps the fact that the Ukrainian Parliament Verkhovna Rada voted on February 23 to repeal the 2012 language law that had declared Russian an official language in Ukraine and allowed it to be used in the schools, media and official correspondence, was a driving force for the Crimean people to rise up and call for independence from Ukraine that they believed didn’t respect their cultural and lingual background.

The future of Crimea and the prospects of the marred relations between Russia and the West remain blurred and unknown, but the United States’ accusations that Russia is “occupying” Crimea and exerting military aggression and so should be punished with economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation sound gravely outrageous and entirely hypocritical. The United States has the biggest war machinery in the world, has been directly or indirectly involved in more than 50 wars and military strikes on other countries without the approval of the UN Security Council, and has incontestably perpetrated war crimes and crimes against humanity.

As the prominent American lawyer and legal expert Marjorie Cohn has noted in a recent article, the United States is the largest user of unconventional and forbidden chemical weapons in the illegal wars it has waged across the globe. “The U.S. militarily occupied over 75% of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques for 60 years, during which time the Navy routinely practiced with, and used, Agent Orange, depleted uranium, napalm and other toxic chemicals and metals such as TNT and mercury. This occurred within a couple of miles of a civilian population that included thousands of U.S. citizens,” wrote Prof. Cohn.

“The use of any type of chemical weapon by any party would constitute a war crime. Chemical weapons that kill and maim people are illegal and their use violates the laws of war,” she added.

She also goes on to explain the use of chemical weapons by the United States in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria and also underlines that the majority of wars in which the United States has taken part were not ever approved by the Security Council. Aren’t these crimes a contravention of the UN Charter? Why don’t the G7 leaders and European Council and European Commission officials ever react to these violations? Does the United States have the prerogative to attack other countries and maim their people without any legal or moral justification and then get away with its crimes?

The United States is imparting a clear message by adopting this insincere and hypocritical approach toward Russia, which is also a message to other countries: We can invade your countries, we can kill your citizens, we can rule you tyrannically, we can behave in any way we desire, but if you do something which doesn’t please us, we will impose sanctions on you, we will banish you from international organizations, and we will come down on you like a ton of bricks. This is how the American hypocrisy works…

Sharmine Narwani: Syria: The Road Behind, The Path Ahead

Posted on December 12, 2013 by 
Sharmine Narwani
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Sharmine Narwani Interviewed by Kourosh Ziabari for Fars News, December 8, 2013.
13920530000250_PhotoII relocated to the Mideast two years ago because I thought there was a need to break through deafening western-constructed narratives on the region, and believed it was important to do this from inside the region, close to events. Blogging for Lebanese news outlet Al Akhbar English didn’t limit me to an Arab audience either – readers from around the world, eager to follow fast-moving events in the Mideast, came to the website for authentic coverage that they were not reading elsewhere.
Protests in Syria were only just starting to break out as I packed up my possessions for the move to Lebanon. Little did I know that later that year I would start to write about Syria – tentatively at first; more determinedly as the picture cleared for me – and that my Syria coverage would become meaningful in helping to break through false narratives propagated in most western media.
My experiences inside Syria changed my worldview forever. The nastiness of geopolitical games, the disregard for human sacrifice, the wretched suffering of innocents – these are life-changing experiences.
But Syria didn’t just impact lives in the Levant. This conflict has fundamentally shifted the global political landscape and ushered us into an era of multilateralism, altered alliances and new priorities.
The foreign media has fallen behind in its coverage, struggling to make sense of a Mideast that has moved beyond sophomoric soundbites and dumbed-down stereotypes. It is local media that is taking the lead, breaking stories and predicting outcomes today. And it is local media, ultimately, that needs to take the lead in defining the future of the Mideast – with home-grown, not foreign, narratives that “frame” developments and aspirations here.
In the next year I hope to do more work with regional media – either in English or for translation. I’ve been fortunate to have many articles translated into French, Portuguese, Greek, Russian, Italian, Spanish, German and other languages. But the greatest gratification has been when they appear in Arabic, Farsi and Turkish.
So to kick things off before the New Year, here is an interview on Syria I gave to Iranian journalist Kourosh Ziabari for publication on Iran’s Fars News website. The interview was conducted in November and appeared a few days ago on Fars’ English website. Am hoping we will see a version in Farsi too:
Q: The United States and its European and Arab allies have been calling for a military invasion of Syria for almost a long time. They view the military option the only solution to the Syrian crisis. However, they are apparently ignoring the massive support of the Syrian people for President Assad as echoed in the street demonstrations of the pro-Assad citizens and the opinion polls which show that a strong majority of the Syrian people want President Assad to remain in power. Aren’t these states disregarding the will of the Syrian people?
A: The conflict in Syria today has been a long time in the making. For years, the US and its western allies have sought to undermine Iran’s influence in the Mideast by targeting its staunchest allies, Syria and Hezbollah. Wikileaks Cables show this quite clearly – a 2006 cable after the Israeli war on Lebanon shows US officials worried about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s improved domestic and regional status, and urges the development of a plan of action to “exploit vulnerabilities” – sectarian, economic, political – that could chip away at his legitimacy.
The Arab Uprisings provided a unique opportunity for the US and its allies to exploit the narratives of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and impose them on Syria through blatant media propaganda and subversive activities on the ground. I have often wondered why, for instance, at the same time that Syrian government officials were offering conciliatory measures, dialogue and reforms to defuse tensions in early 2011, vulnerable Syrians in “hot” areas were being sniped at. From the start of events in Syria there has been a determined effort by its adversaries to use sabotage, assassinations, political violence and information warfare to whip up popular sentiment and sway large segments of the populations into supporting a rebellion.
I can’t speak for the veracity of polls taken during this conflict, but it isn’t hard to cobble together a picture of the population demographics that have supported Assad – or specifically, that have rejected the armed rebellion. You have the major cities (Aleppo and Damascus), minorities (Alawite, Druze, Christian, Kurds, Shiite), Baathists (3 million members, most Sunni), the armed forces, the business community, the government elite – most of whom have rejected the militarization of the opposition, if not outright supported Assad. This, in itself, constitutes millions and millions of Syrians whose voices have been entirely ignored until recently.
Karen Koning AbuZayd, a UN commissioner for the Independent International Commission of Inquiry for Syria, said much the same thing earlier this year about persistent support for Assad inside Syria: “There’s quite a number of the population, maybe as many as half – if not more – that stand behind him.”
Q: What do you think about the activities of the foreign-backed rebels and mercenaries who have taken up arms against the Syrian government and are hell-bent on removing President Assad from power? Why are the foreign powers backing, financing and arming them? Isn’t it strange that even some of the Arab states in the region have joined them and are contributing to the destabilization of Syria?
A: The armed opposition has been opportunistic and bloody from the start, targeting security forces, on and off duty, and pro-government civilians since March 2011. While there were indeed Syrian army defectors who joined the “revolution” early on in the conflict in response to government clampdowns and/or their own genuine political sentiments, much of the armed rebellion has been funded, assisted and organized from outside Syria’s borders. We know, for instance, that non-Syrians were entering the country right from the beginning – we have video, photographic and anecdotal evidence of this happening over the Lebanese border, as example. These people were provided with wages, weapons, intelligence and training, with the expectation that a hard thrust against Assad’s government would unseat him in short shrift, much like what had already happened in other Arab states.
When this did not happen, foreign intervention increased substantially, always with the notion that “one more” big effort would cause Assad to fall. Whereas in the past, the enemy had been the US, some European states and Israel, we suddenly started to see the ferocious engagement of Arab regimes in the Syrian conflict – Qatar and Saudi Arabia, assisted by a smattering of other Persian Gulf states, Jordan, Turkey, and jihadists from all corners.
Each may have had their own reasons for participating, but at the core, the Arab states that threw weapons, funding and fighters at Syria were seeking to undermine the Resistance Axis in the region and to create a counter-revolution that would push back Arab popular uprisings against illegitimate regimes. For some though, the fight in Syria became existential. Saudi royals – who view the uprisings and Iran’s influence in the region as being a threat to their very survival – have said that a loss in Syria would mean the loss of their oil-rich, Shiite-dominated Eastern Province. It isn’t a very rational train of thought, but it has been the main impetus behind Saudi support for the armed rebellion.
Q: It sounds like the anti-Syrian opposition groups are not united and cannot follow a cohesive path. Some of them call for dialogue with the government to resolve the disputes, while some of them utterly reject any kind of negotiation, calling for the removal of President Assad and the dissolution of his government. What’s your viewpoint on this inconsistency and lack of harmony among the Syrian opposition?
A: I am assuming you are referring mainly to the externally-based Syrian opposition here. This opposition has been funded and assembled by foreign foes of Syria for geopolitical gain. Their goal was to unseat a “dictator” so that they could then come in and establish their own foreign-backed “dictatorship” at the heart of the Resistance Axis. The reason this opposition has never been able to articulate a cohesive, inclusive, political platform for the Syrian people is because they are all backed by different, sometimes competing, interests, and because their goal is not a politically reformed Syria, but instead the establishment of their own power and economic bases.
The lack of cohesion in this group and the embarrassing infighting that has plagued them from their inception, is a testament to the fact that you cannot just manufacture revolutions, assign leadership, cobble together “governments in exile.” Legitimacy comes from the people who are within the state. Leaders have to earn their positions, based on consensus of some kind that is accepted by the majority. Meanwhile, inside Syria, for nearly three years a peaceful domestic opposition has been ignored by foreign media and governments. These are activists who have credibility among their communities and have the potential to create grassroots movements that can exert pressure on the government to produce desired reforms. But these domestic opposition types were never empowered and encouraged. It goes to show that the foreign backers of the Syrian “revolution” were less interested in reform than they were in assuming power.
And no, I do not foresee the possibility of a last-minute delegation with common goals representing the “opposition” at Geneva talks. It is too late for some things. I believe the major issues that must be tackled to achieve a political solution will be resolved between the Syrian government and key regional and international players in advance of any Geneva talks. The “public” negotiations will just put a pretty face on things for mass consumption. Today, if you want a political solution, you first need the disarmament of the conflict – and this will not be an issue for Syrians to resolve, it is a concession that can only be wrenched from states that arm both the rebels and the Syrian armed forces.
As for whether Assad stays or goes, that is not something that should be decided by external parties at negotiations in Geneva. It is a choice for Syrians only. And I sincerely hope that the Syrian government is obliged to conduct transparent elections under the rigorous supervision of impartial, professional, international observers. It is the only way the next government can enjoy legitimacy.
Q: Why haven’t the international organizations, especially the UN Security Council, prevented the influx of illicit arms and weaponry into Syria which directly reach the rebels and insurgents who not only kill the Syrian army forces, but the innocent civilians, children and women? The Security Council surely knows that the smuggling of arms and ammunitions to the rebels and mercenaries is taking place furtively, but it doesn’t condemn or take action to stop it. Why?
A: At this juncture in our collective political evolution, it befits us to be honest about what we call the “international community.” In effect, this term really only ever refers to those countries that politically and economically dominate our global political system. For the past few decades, “international community” has come to mean the United States and a handful of its allies. Even UN Security Council permanent members Russia and China haven’t truly counted. Nor have the next generation of fast-growth economies and major population centers like India, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa – until very recently. These second tier players have suddenly begun to insert themselves into critical political and economic developments – and Syria has been the theater in which some of these geopolitical battles have been fought.
The reason the UN and other western-dominated NGOs have not sought to impose punitive measures on parties that weaponized the Syrian conflict is simply because the UN and these NGOs are absolutely dominated by parties backing one side in this conflict. It was not in their interest to do so. Nobody understands the issue of weaponizing conflicts better than these groups – they have spent years churning out analyses and reports that document the dangers of “small arms” in conflict. They know better than anyone that weaponizing conflicts has a direct correlation with the breakdown of law and order, and that human rights violations spike dramatically. They know that even after “peace treaties” are signed, these weapons continue to exchange hands and keep conflict “humming.”
The fact is that the UN could not take action against the weaponization of the Syrian conflict because its dominant members were still seeking a military solution to oust Assad. Now that the US and key western allies are reassessing this route and are pursuing diplomatic solutions for a Syrian exit, we may see an altered NGO posture, where violators are named and punitive actions are taken. It is important to note that the only parties to have vocally advocated for the mutual de-weaponization of the conflict are those states outside the old international “power paradigm” like the BRICS and Iran.
Q: What’s your viewpoint on the state of Syrian refugees who have fled to the neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey? They are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, foodstuff, medicine and above all, a permanent shelter; however, it seems that there’s no entity assuming responsibility for them. How does their future life look like? With the current destruction and instability imposed on Syria, can they foresee an early return to their homeland?
A: Nobody is assuming responsibility for them because refugee absorption requires money, which many states have preferred to throw at a military solution inside Syria. When I visited Syria in early 2012, an official with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told me very specifically, “if the fighting stops today people can return home tomorrow.” At that time, the biggest humanitarian problem they were facing was internal displacement, so he was mainly referring to the fact that continued violence from both sides inside towns and villages was the primary inhibitor of Syrians being able to return to their homes.
Today, that problem has grown exponentially with millions of refugees seeking safety outside Syria’s borders and even more millions being displaced internally. Again, for those interested in assisting refugees, I tell you that the moment the political violence and military operations cease, is the moment that these people can start returning to their communities. Obviously, this would have been easier a year ago – today, so many areas have been leveled by fighting with homes, schools, infrastructure destroyed, that there is sometimes nothing to go home to. But the best solution still remains one that involves rebuilding of communities – that’s where the international financial assistance should go, and not to resettling Syrians outside their countries or in unfamiliar areas within, which is why a solution to this conflict is urgent. We are approaching winter in the Levant, and it is unconscionable that international and regional parties cannot diplomatically agree to demilitarization of the Syrian conflict, so that more lives can be spared. Otherwise our attention will be turned from Syrians getting shot and bombed and beheaded, to Syrian starving and freezing to death.
Q: It was on the reports that US President Barack Obama has ordered a temporary lift on the arms ban to Syria so that certain weaponry and ammunitions could be delivered to the rebels and those whom Secretary of State John Kerry has called “moderate” terrorists. Isn’t this order somewhat hypocritical as the United States has always depicted itself an ardent opponent of terrorism and extremism? How is it possible to justify its overt support for the terrorists in Syria?
A: The US has acted very opportunistically inside Syria, prioritizing interests over values at every turn. It has tacitly and sometimes actively supported those individuals and groups which were Washington’s targets in a decade-long “war on terror.” Washington knows full well that weapons cannot be funneled specifically to “moderates” – rebels will sell them for good money at a moment’s notice, and many of these rebels change groups with great frequency. When Kerry first made that statement about arming the moderates, I got in touch with a US State Department spokesman and asked him repeatedly to name one “moderate” rebel group that “could” potentially be a recipient of American military largesse. He couldn’t.
As is the case with most US foreign policy in the Mideast, we now see an “unintended consequence” emerge – Salafi-Jihadist cells, gangs, militias and networks have grown like weeds, not just in Syria, but throughout the Levant, Persian Gulf and North Africa. This is the main reason the US is now reassessing its interests in Syria and the broader Mideast.
It is ironic that the US spent so many years allegedly fighting terror, when in fact its policies spawned an unprecedented growth in terror groups, networks and activities, both in and out of the Middle East. Today, this arm of American policy has been crippled by the challenges it faces against Salafi extremists. It is why Washington is rapidly altering its position vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran. The US actually needs Iran now to regionally lead the charge to eliminate these groups, secure borders and help stabilize a very chaotic region.
Q: And a final question; how does the future of Syria look like? From one hand, we have the United States and its regional allies that seem to be strangely intractable and unwilling to allow the Syrian people to decide their fate, and from the other hand, there are the foreign-backed terrorists, Al-Qaeda fighters and Al-Nusra Front warriors that are carrying out bloody operations every single day. Can we foresee a peaceful future for Syria one day?
A: I’m a rare optimist on Syria. I firmly believe we have the potential to see the reestablishment of a secure and unified Syria with a modified and reformed central government.
I don’t believe that this can be achieved only via a political solution, however. As I said earlier, a political outcome must first be reached between the regional and international parties that weaponize the conflict. This is stage one. The next stage will need global consensus because it entails a massive military push to purge Syria and its neighbors of jihadists and their local brethren. This will consist of several things: aiding and empowering the Syrian army to use full military force against these groups inside Syria; a worldwide effort to inhibit the financing of militants by individuals and states and slapping punitive measures against violators; heavily policed borders in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon.
This may not be easy, but it is not difficult either – if the political will is there. And I believe we are coming to that stage – where Syria’s western and Arab foes, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, Israel and wealthy financiers of jihad, have fully realized the dangers of allowing this conflict to continue and political violence to escalate to these levels. Jihadists from dozens of countries, from all continents, have found a haven in Syria, and are spreading with relative impunity into neighboring states. If this trend is not stemmed, they will come back home and wreak their carnage there.
The final stage is reconstruction – which will again require the material assistance of the international community – and elections.
How is all this possible? And if it were, why haven’t we seen these measures being implemented earlier? I do not believe the political will existed until recently. I think Washington’s threat to launch military strikes against Syria was a “last stand,” and it failed because the west knows it cannot fight any more wars in the Mideast or predict outcomes. It also knows that Syria’s rebels have become everyone’s worst nightmare. The US knows it is going to need regional help to unwind this conflict – and that its traditional allies are unable to deliver, hence the “unprecedented” negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 in Geneva. Geopolitical realities have fundamentally shifted. Yesterday’s enmities do not compare to the horrors ahead for the international community if the jihadi genie is not put back into its bottle.
These new alliances will not only work to resolve the Syrian conflict and re-stabilize the state, but will also serve to push “stability” throughout the region.T


Interview with prominent American journalist David Swanson

Posted on September 21, 2013 by

Prominent American author David Swanson believes that the world nations should strongly stand up to protest at the US warmongering policies in the region and its illegal calls for war against Syria which is a violation of the UN Charter and Kellogg-Briand Pact that prevent the world countries from unilateral use of force against another sovereign state.

David Swanson also believes that the United Nations should impose sanctions against the United States because it has violated the UN Charter by threatening a military strike against Syria.

“I think the United Nations needs to speak up as clearly as it can against any assault on Syria and needs to propose sanctions on the United States for such an action. I think that Germany needs to speak as clearly as Britain did. France needs to drop its support for such an attack and above all, we here in the United States need to get up from in front of our televisions, football games and picnics and go and protest our government. There are people in Washington D.C. now who are staying at the capital day and night, sleeping there, and protesting every day and every night. They need to be joined,” said Swanson in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency.

David Swanson has written many books, including “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union” and “War Is A Lie.” He had once proposed the impeachment of former US President George W. Bush and Vice-President Richard Cheney over the war crimes they committed in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is the host of “Talk Nation Radio”. Swanson helped plan the nonviolent occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington DC in 2011. Swanson holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia.

What follows is the text of FNA’s interview with David Swanson. The interview was carried out 10 days ago, so Mr. Swanson’s references to specific dates were made then.

Q: The United States has publicly announced that it’s pondering upon a military strike against Syria over the allegations that the government of President Assad has used chemical weapons against the civilians. However, the US administration has so far failed to present reliable evidence substantiating its claims, and it seems the US will have a hard job justifying a war against Syria, especially given that the UN inspectors haven’t released any final report yet and their early report only says that there has been a chemical attack, but does not blame anyone for it. What’s your viewpoint on that?

A: I have two answers for this. One is that even if unquestionable video evidence were produced that Bashar al-Assad personally murdering children with poison gas, it would not begin to justify a US military attack on Syria. It would not make it legal, it would not make it moral and it would not make it productive. It would remain a disastrous policy, regardless. Second answer; insofar as the question that who, if anyone, used chemical weapons in Syria last month in Syria, which is an important question on its own, the US government has not produced evidence. Whether it ever does so, I don’t know; whether such evidence exists, I don’t know. They are Congress members demanding evidence; they are media outlets, activist groups, members of the public in the United States demanding to see the evidence. They are some Congress members who have seen classified materials from the White House who say it provides no more evidence than the unclassified materials that don’t explain it. Our understanding is that there is a public four-page statement from the White House and a secret 12-page statement which some Congress members have made very clear provides nothing more and particularly different from the 4-page statement which does not even rise to the level of the Bush administration’s lies that took the United States and others into Iraq, so even if you were to accept that the use of chemical weapons was a reason for attacking Syria, the evidence isn’t there and it appears that they are not going to produce it and you can draw your own conclusion as to what that means. There are many reporting that in fact the rebels and the opposition in Syria were in fact responsible for the attack. I don’t think it’s been conclusively proven either, but there are many who have serious doubts here.

Q: There’s one notion that some US mainstream media outlets are trying to lay the groundwork for a military strike against Syria by producing false evidence to convince the international community that a war is needed, like what they did in the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003, especially through the propaganda campaign of the New York Times and its journalist Judith Miller. Are they going to repeat the same scenario in Syria?

A: I think the major corporate media in the United States are by and large pro-war. They enjoy war; they think it’s exciting, it’s good for their business. They like talking to powerful generals and they are pro-government. They believe what the government tells them. They are as almost reliable for the White House as if they are state media that are required to report what the White House says. They do in fact report what the White House says; these things are reported as facts and reported as substantiated, whether it is or not. They don’t allow questioning for the most part, and that would have been more effective if they were state media because much of the public in the United States believe they are free, and that they think independently; questioning the government even though they are not. So it’s a very effective propaganda. I don’t think the media outlets in the United States have been producing any evidence, as you say. I think they have been manufacturing and accepting the White House claims and slanting everything in the direction of war. They have been writing repeatedly that almost the majority of Americans oppose this war, whereas in most polls, it’s the overwhelming majority of the Americans who oppose the war. In all the polls, only a small number, something around fewer than 10% or fewer than 15% support the war. They have been talking about President Obama as if he were in favor of peace or against his own policies here. They have been presenting evidence as if it were true, including lies, by the White House that how long it took for the United States to allow inspectors to go and observe the scene, including a blatant lie from the Secretary of State John Kerry about the nature of the opposition in Syria and the opposition’s inclinations towards secularism, human rights and democracy and so forth. To some extent, the New York Times has been helpful there. On Thursday (two weeks ago), they had a big front-page story about Syrian rebels executing prisoners, with a photograph. When it comes to evidence, they accept claims without questions far too often, and they accept hypocrisy and no one in the US media talks about the United States’ use of chemical weapons and its stockpile of chemical weapons and the fact that Syria is not a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention and therefore could not violate it, and the fact that Israel, Egypt and a few other countries are not members of this convention either, that the United States opposes the International Criminal Court, and that the Chemical Weapons Convention doesn’t authorize a vigilante nation, 4 percent of the people of the world, to go and bomb someone. It requires, instead, prosecution in a court of law. So it’s not just what the media tells you about the approved topic, that is the chemical weapons and to use them. It’s the topic that isn’t touched on at all, including the available alternatives of pushing for a ceasefire, de-escalation and disarmament in Syria, so we’re left with the choice in the mind of Americans between nothing and bombing Syria, as if there were no other choices because the media doesn’t give us any other choices.

Q: The excuse the United States is resorting to in order to launch a military strike against Syria is that the government of President Assad has used chemical weapons against its own civilians, but the fact is that actually Syria does not pose any threat to the US national interests or its national security, and the claims against Syria are not substantiated anyway. So how is it going to justify a war while Syria hasn’t launched any attack on the US allies in the region or hasn’t ever threatened the United States?

A: Well, the United States government has not justified it to the US public and the vast majority of the people are against it. They haven’t justified it to the US Senate, yet, although it’s close, and to the US House of Representatives, although it’s somewhat close. They are strongly against the war. Moreover, it hasn’t justified the case to the United Nations, and doesn’t seem to be attempting to do so. So, legally it would be a violation of the UN Charter. It would be a violation of an important treaty that most people have forgotten, the Kellogg–Briand Pact of 1928, which Iran and the United States are parties to and bans war. They have not been able to justify it to many people in the United States who have supported wars in the recent years, in part for just the reason you say. Syria is not any sort of threat to the United States. Syria has not attacked and is not going to attack the United States. But, CIA is already involved in the war on Syria.

The United States is already supporting a war against Syria, and if the United States escalates it to the point that Syria, Hezbollah, Iran or Russia retaliate, or anyone who is possibly accused of having retaliated against the US troops or perhaps against Israel, then the claim will be immediately made in Washington that there is a justification for a wider war, even if Washington has provoked it, and that would be immediately forgotten. So this is the danger here that the United States provokes a response by Syria or other interested parties, and that then it responds to that response, and those parties then respond to that response, and then we will have an escalating war and a cycle of greater violence because then the fact that Syria has never been a threat to the United States to begin with will be forgotten in the US media.

Q: Some political commentators have suggested that President Obama has been looking for an opportunity or a pretext to be able to justify the military strike against Syria and build up support for a new war in the Middle East, and the recent chemical attack, regardless of its perpetrator has given him the excuse. Do you agree with that? Will the US public finally accept or get along with such an attack?

A: I’m hopeful that the US public will resist and the Congress as the people’s representative will also resist. If this week, the House of Representatives, in particular or even the Senate, refuses to approve of this war, the White House will be in a very difficult position. If the House of Representatives’ leadership refuses to hold a vote it would be clear why they refuse to hold a vote. It may be that the majority of House members will insist on a vote over the will of the speaker and the democratic leader, and we will know in either of those cases if the president goes ahead with the war, then he will be violating the US Constitution as well as the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. That would be a clear ground for his impeachment, and that would be a crisis in the US government. Whether President Obama has been waiting for such a pretext, it’s not entirely clear because he always seems to be of two minds. He seems to be someone who wants to please everybody. He wants to please those who want a limited, surgical strike to send a message and he wants to please those who want an all-out war to put the opposition, whoever they may be, in charge of Syria, and this of course includes people like Senator John McCain who have openly said that they want to overthrow the Syrian government in order to move on to overthrow the Iranian government and President Barack Obama seems to be clearly inclined to please those people, as well as other people, and the good twist in this story here is that Obama has managed to anger everybody!

The people who want a very a limited war, if you can guarantee such a thing, are now outraged that now President Obama is supporting a wider war and the people who want a huge war are angry that President Obama only wants a little one, and this is helpful in terms of getting the Congress to block him. What he personally wants and thinks is better is of less interest to me and I think should be of less interest to all of us, and what he is doing, and that he declares he personally has the power to launch a war without Congress, without the United Nations, without NATO and without anybody which is outrageous. He is violating the UN Charter by threatening war on Syria, and the threat is a self-violation and he is urging Congress, and his Secretary of State is also urging the Congress to give him unlimited power for war in Syria without end in time or space and of course, as I said, maintaining that he has that power anyway even if they don’t grant it to him.

Q: What do you think about the possible response by Syria’s allies such as Russia and Iran to an imminent military strike against Syria? Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that it may strike at Saudi Arabia if Washington proceeds with its plan to attack Syria. What’s your take on that?

A: I work night and day pushing the US government to stop aggravating and escalating this situation, and sabotaging the peace process and bring the opposition back to the table. But also, to lobby all parties, and press for a ceasefire and stop the flow of arms, I think that Russia ought to announce that it will stop arming the Syrian government, and that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan and the United States must stop arming the opposition and it’s not my place to tell Russia what they must do; I tell the US government what it must do. But if you ask my opinion, that’s what it is and I do not think Russia should be threatening retaliation. I don’t even think Syria should threaten retaliation. I’m against war. But legally, Syria can fight back. In most people’s interpretation of the war, it would be legal for Syria to retaliate against the US troops attacking Syria. There are other interpretations including under the Kellogg-Briand Pact that bans war. I don’t think it’s wise and helpful. If Syria retaliates, the US will retaliate further, and things will get out of control. I think what Russia is doing right is pushing back against the claims of evidence on the chemical weapons because we haven’t seen the evidence and I think it’s clear to many Americans that John Kerry is lying, and it would be good for Mr. President to be pointing it out that John Kerry is lying. But I don’t think Russia is pushing for war just because the US is.

Q: China, as a veto-wielding power in the Security Council has so far remained surprisingly silent on the crisis in Syria to a large extent. What do you think the implications of a possible war against Syria will be for China? Why has the Chinese remained silent on this conflict? Why haven’t they shown a strong opposition to the war against Syria while they know it will have grave consequences for the region and even for themselves?

A: I don’t know any information within the Chinese government. I know they have a very complicated relationship with the United States with all the issues which they disagree on, the issues which they agree on, and the others which they’re working together on. If I had to make a prediction, I would predict that China would not permit an authorization of war through the Security Council. But I think that Russia and the United Kingdom and others are doing very well here, and I’m still hopeful that the public in France will manage to take control of their government which is shamefully supporting a strike against a nation that they previously colonized; something that they should have some historical shame about.

Q: The Security Council hasn’t authorized a military strike against Syria as Russia and China will surely veto any such resolution that will give the US and its allies the permission to attack Syria. Won’t any unilateral attack by the United States resemble a circumvention of the international law? You just mentioned that attacking Syria will be a violation of the UN Charter. Is the United States really going to do such an illegal thing?

A: I’ve partly answered to this before; but it’s a clear violation of international law to threaten war and that has already happened with regard to Syria and with regard to Iran and some other countries. The United States is a serial violator of the UN Charter’s prohibition of the threatening of war. It is a violation of the UN Charter to go to war without the authorization the Security Council or without it being a defensive war. So you have the US government talking about sending missiles into Syria to uphold what they call international norms or international standards against the use of chemical weapons.

The reason they don’t say international law is that there hasn’t been any violation of the law. Syria is not a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, so they can’t violate it. And because they are in sending those missiles into Syria, then they are the ones who violate international law, violate the UN Charter and violate the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and in so doing, violating perhaps the most central and important international norm and standard that one country cannot go and bomb another. If bombing a country were a way to enforce the law, when did the world elect the United States to do it? When did the other 96 percent of humanity vote for this four percent of humanity to build an enormous military and attack nations at will as a vigilante to support the rule of law by what they call the international community?

The international community at this point, at the understanding of the White House, is the US military, France perhaps, and Al-Qaeda. That’s all about it. They got 10 countries at the G-20 to sign a statement that they are going to misuse and abuse that doesn’t say there would be an attack, but that there should be serious consequences for using chemical weapons. Of course there should be, but they should be an indictment in courts of law, not through using other weapons to kill more people, so this is a lawless behavior in the name of supporting the law. This is anti-democratic behavior against the will of the US public even if it is the will of the most members of the US military, in the name of democracy. So it’s hard to imagine a more hypocritical action than this one.

Q: What do you think about the involvement of Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the current turmoil in Syria? It’s been reported that Turkey has been financing and arming the rebels in Syria, and that Saudi Arabia has sent thousands of dangerous terrorists to Syria through the Jordanian borders. Why have they adopted such a hostile attitude toward Syria at this critical time?

A: Well, I can’t give you any expert views that you don’t know. Saudi Arabia and other nations in the Middle East see a conflict between Sunni and Shiite. They see a conflict over power and influence. They are at odds on whether the United States should be influencing the region or not. Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s backing of this kind of operation tells you something on how democratic it’s going to be, just as the CIA’s support for such an operation tells you how democratic it’s going to be. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy; it’s not a democracy. It’s a brutal government that the United States happily arms and supports. It’s sending cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. At the moment, the United States is arming brutal governments across that region like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and Israel, and clearly doesn’t care about human rights in those cases. It did not care about deaths in Egypt that outnumbered anybody’s count of the deaths, and not incidents in Syria. One of many points of agreement is over the US influence. Turkey, as well, wants to work with the United States, NATO and Europe and is willing to tolerate outrageous acts for that cause.

Q: And as the final question, what’s your prediction for the future of the current crisis in Syria? Who should take action to prevent the US from launching an illegal war against Syria and pushing the whole region into an endless state of turmoil and instability?

A: I think the Syrian people should speak up as clearly as they possibly can; the people of the world should protest this clearly as possibly as they can. At this moment that we are speaking, the Pope in Rome has called for six hours of fasting and protest at this coming possible attack. I’ve seen reports of the people in the United States, Europe, Egypt and elsewhere planning to go to Syria as human shields to say if you bomb Syria, you’ll bomb us. That kind of courage is remarkable and exemplary.

I think the United Nations needs to speak up as clearly as it can against any assault on Syria and needs to propose sanctions on the United States for such an action. I think that Germany needs to speak as clearly as Britain did. France needs to drop its support for such an attack and above all, we here in the United States need to get up from in front of our televisions, football games and picnics and go and protest our government. There are people in Washington D.C. now who are staying at the capital day and night, sleeping there, and protesting every day and every night. They need to be joined. We need more people doing that, because what parliament did in Britain made a huge difference and if Congress does the same in the United States, it will help the movement against the US militarism like nothing before.

This interview was originally published on Fars News Agency.

Canadian Author: Mideast Peace Talks Doomed to Failure

Interview by Kourosh Ziabari

Fars News AgencyTEHRAN (FNA)—Canadian columnist and political author Greg Felton believes that the new round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will ultimately fail and lead to nowhere as the Israeli regime is continuing to insist on its illegitimate demands and also is not ready to engage in talks on an equal footing.

According to Greg Felton, the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, is the sole loser of the talks as he already knows that he is “in the pay of Israel.”

“He [Mahmoud Abbas] and his cronies go through this moronic peace charade to give the illusion they are important and are the representatives of the Palestinians. In fact, all it does is giving diplomatic cover to Israel’s persistent expropriation of Palestine. The fact is, the only legitimate representatives of the Palestinians belong to the duly, and honestly elected Hamas government of Khaled Meshaal. Therefore, all these peace talks are illegitimate, like Israel itself,” Felton said in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency.

Greg Felton is a journalist from Canada who has won several awards for investigative reporting. For seven years, he wrote a political column for the Arabic-English bi-weekly Canadian Arab News. In his recent book The Host and the Parasite—How Israel’s Fifth Column Consumed America, Felton gives an analysis on how agents of Israel came to control the US Middle East policy. He has written extensively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In an interview with FNA, Greg Felton elaborated on his viewpoints regarding the future of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the dominance of the Israeli lobby over the Western mainstream media and the prospects of the latest round of peace talks between the representatives of the Israeli regime and the Palestinian Authority. What follows is the text of the interview.

Q: Greg: in one of your articles, you wrote about the under-representation of the pain of the Palestinian nation in the mainstream media as a result of the extensive dominance of the Israeli lobby over these media outlets. How has the Israeli lobby gained such an influence that prevents the press in the West from giving a fair and balanced coverage to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and presenting the Palestinian point of view, too?

A: This profoundly important question is the core of my book The Host and the Parasite—How Israel’s Fifth Column Consumed America, so a comprehensive, short answer is difficult. Essentially, the Lobby came to dominate the media because of three factors. First pro-Israeli Jews own the vast majority of print and electronic media, and similarly minded reporters and editors populate these media, so filtering out pro-Palestinian, pro-Arab, or Pro-Islamic news is virtually automatic.
Second, Zionist Jews are well represented in governments and the corporate plutocracy, and Israel has many trade relations with governments and corporations. Any reporter who wants access to influential people cannot risk giving respect to Palestine. Notice how repetitively inane most reporting is; it is safer to recycle official propaganda than to do real reporting.

Third, and most importantly, the cult of the Holocaust covers Israel in a cloak of faux legitimacy. There is, to all intents and purposes, no distinction in the media between Jews, Holocaust and Israel, so any accurate reporting on Palestine amounts to de facto criticism of Israel, and this invites the absurd slanders of “Holocaust denial” and “anti-Semitism.” The effect of all this intellectual terrorism and filtering is the active censorship of the Palestinian point of view.

Q: What’s your viewpoint regarding the UN General Assembly’s unanimous vote in 2012 to recognize the Palestine’s non-member observer status? How does the decision by the world countries in granting Palestine an interim membership to the UN contribute to the championing of the cause of the Palestinian nation and the alleviation of the pains of the subjugated people?

A: The vote was expected, but since the US, Canada and other pro-Israel mouthpieces actively sabotage the UN when it does useful work, the vote will have only marginal benefits for Palestine. Interestingly, the vote to admit Palestine was perfectly legal and consistent with UN procedures. In contrast, Israel’s membership was obtained illegally. In May 1947 it became the only state to be admitted conditionally. According to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 273, Israel’s membership was contingent upon making reparations to Arabs displaced in 1947-1948 and allowing them to return to their homes. Israel has never lived up to its terms of admission.

Q: The new round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has started and is slated to last for nine months. However, past experience shows that these talks lead to nowhere as the Israeli side is adamantly persisting on its illogical and expansionist demands, such as the continuation of illegal settlement constructions, the Judaization of the East Jerusalem (Al-Quds) and the siege of the Gaza Strip. So, why has the Palestinian authority been deceived into holding new talks with Israel once again?

A: The Palestinian Authority is not deceived. It knows the corrupt reality that allows it to exist. The PA holds “power” by virtue of Israel’s sufferance and Mahmoud Abbas is essentially in the pay of Israel. He and his cronies go through this moronic peace charade to give the illusion they are important and are the representatives of the Palestinians. In fact, all it does is giving diplomatic cover to Israel’s persistent expropriation of Palestine. The fact is, the only legitimate representatives of the Palestinians belong to the duly, and honestly elected Hamas government of Khaled Meshaal. Therefore, all these “peace” talks are illegitimate, like Israel itself, and designed solely to accomplish nothing short of Palestine’s acquiescence in its own destruction. It is a sad fact of history that oppressed peoples are betrayed by their leaders.

Q: The United States is maintaining its political and economic sponsorship of Israel, and seems to be unwilling to drop its unconditional support. As far as this support continues, Israel will obdurately defy international law, kill the Palestinian civilians, imprison political activists who oppose the occupation and confiscate the rights of the people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. What’s the reason the United States supports Israel so blindly that it doesn’t really pay attention to Israel’s lawlessness and violations?

A: The US does not support Israel blindly for the simple reason that “the US” as a republic no longer exists. As I explain in The Host and the Parasite, the 1980 presidential election that put Ronald Reagan in the White House amounted to a quiet coup d’état. Among other things, it opened Congress and the Pentagon to unfettered Israeli occupation and domination. Over the next 20 years the US would surrender its independence as it accelerated its mutation into Isramerica. It makes no sense to debate if the US supports Israel when Israel owns the government.

Q: What do you think of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement and the success it has made in achieving such goals as preventing Israel from infringing upon the rights of the Palestinian people, impeding the construction of illegal settlements and convincing the Tel Aviv leaders to abide by their obligations under the international law with regard to the Palestinian refugees and the besieged people of the Gaza Strip?

A: The BDS movement has had considerable success because it has attacked Israel where it is most vulnerable—its image. Like any unjust society, Israel needs to project the illusion of being civilized, and therefore campaigns that explode this illusion are most effective. Just recently, the EU banned all trade in goods manufactured in Occupied Palestine, a significant blow. The BDS movement is hobbled by servile governments that (of course!) denounce it as “anti-Semitic” and conclude free-trade agreements with Israel, but the popular movement is one hope for the future, just as the Jewish War Veterans of World War One led the successful worldwide boycott against Nazi Germany.

Q: What do you think about the Israeli lobby’s growing influence in such countries as Canada? Here in Iran, many politicians and a great number of people firmly believe it was Israel that stimulated the Canadian government to cease its bilateral relations with Iran and close its embassy in Tehran. It’s clearly understandable that the Israeli lobby is trying to sabotage Iran’s relations with the outside world. Do you agree?

A: Israel has always had a disproportionate influence in Canada. In fact, Canadians like Lester Pearson and Justice Ivan Rand have been at the centre of major decisions that benefited Israel at the expense of Palestine. The difference with Stephen Harper is that he is a thoroughgoing fascist and a devoted Zionist. He is not Canada’s prime minister; he is Israel’s satrap in Ottawa, and nothing emanating from this government should be considered “Canadian.”

Q: An important question regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the way the Western mass media stigmatize and vilify the critics of the actions and policies of the Israeli regime as anti-Semites. Anti-Semitism is an excuse that is blindly used to silence the voices critical of Israel’s misconduct and illegal behavior. However, the global public opinion needs to draw a line between opposition to the apartheid policies of Israel as an illegitimate political entity, and anti-Semitism, as it’s defined by the historians. What do you think?

A: To begin, “anti-Semitism” does not exist—never has. It is an artificial term invented in 1873 by Wilhelm Marr, an anti-Jewish German journalist who needed to redefine Jews as an ethnic, not a religious, group to justify official discrimination; hence, he coined the term Semitismus, based on the linguistic term “Semitic.” By this linguistic corruption, Marr was able to attack not only Jews but the larger concept of Jewishness. The fact that historians and others use this term shows how thoroughly Jewish fascists have co-opted the racialist mentality of German fascists, and how completely we have accepted it. I see little need to be precious about condemning Israel, given that Jews are not the least bit circumspect about smearing Arabs and Iranians because of their religion. The best treatment of the nature of Jews, Jewishness and zionism is Gilad Atzmon’s outstanding book The Wandering Who.

Anti-Iran Sanctions (No. 7) Franklin Lamb: International Law Is Overwhelmingly on the Side of Iran Friday, March 29, 2013

Iran Review Exclusive Interview with Franklin Lamb

 By: Kourosh Ziabari

It’s less than 10 days that the Iranian New Year has started. People across the country are celebrating the arrival of spring and the commencement of New Year. The past year has been a very difficult and tough year for the Iranian nation. The United States and its European allies, under the guise of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, imposed a set of harsh and backbreaking sanctions on Iran. The sanctions were decried by conscientious and independent thinkers, scholars, authors and politicians. However, the U.S. and its European partners callously defied the international calls to lift the sanctions and mitigate the pains of the Iranian people.

The Iranian people, however, withstood the pressures and learned how to manage their life in the face of the economic warfare being unleashed on them by the West. In order to discuss the different aspects of the anti-Iran sanctions and their legal basis, Iran Review has started to do interviews with world-renowned political commentators, university professors, writers and scholars who are willing to present their opinions on the sanctions.

Today, we are joined by Dr. Franklin Lamb, a well-known progressive international lawyer and researcher with the University of Beirut. Lamb is a former Assistant Counsel of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and Professor of International Law at Northwestern College of Law, Portland, Oregon. He is currently based in Beirut and Damascus. He is also the director of Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Washington D.C.-Beirut.

What follows is the text of our interview with Dr. Franklin Lamb who has weighed in on the legal aspects of the anti-Iran sanctions, their accordance with the international law and the legal procedures to lift them. Parts of the interview were conducted when Dr. Lamb was in Iran last year, and the rest was done when he returned to Beirut, where he is based.

Q: Over the past years, the U.S. officials have been repeatedly claiming that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, and that it should be prevented from acquiring them. However, the sanctions imposed on Iran on this basis now have nothing to do with nuclear disarmament and simply target the daily life of the ordinary Iranian citizens through banning medicine, foodstuff and consumer goods. What does the international law say in this regard?

A: I think that’s absolutely right. Mr. Stephen Cohen is the head of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control which is the most active agency of the United States government that creates, applies, monitors and follows up on the sanctions. So the sanctions which have been imposed on Iran over the past years, but throughout the history, come out of that office at the Treasury Department. There are others, but that’s the main source. In fact the OFAC has existed since 1812, so we have a history of sanctions, not only on Iran but in the international level. He [Stephen Cohen] advocated economic sanctions as an alternative to a hot war. In those days, it was considered a peaceful idea and that carries forward even the restrictions which were applied on the Islamic Republic in a serious way first in 1979 after the revolution, and as you know, they recently increased and became layer upon layer and most recently, two days ago, Steve Cohen again announced yet another regime of sanctions which has targeted the whole media network, the IRIB, and also the so-called cyber-police that monitors internet. That’s the latest set of sanction. The political motives [of the sanctions] are pretty complicated but in a sense predictable.

Our interest is ending the sanctions. An international team of lawyers which has been based in Syria for the last three months, including some names which you may know such as Francis Boyle, is examining the international legal aspect of the sanctions. It’s a long, long story short; a complicated story short. The sanctions are overwhelmingly illegal from every international humanitarian law concept you can come up with; the rights of children, rights of women, proportionality, collective punishment, Geneva Conventions, etc. You can’t target a civilian population. Particularly, you cannot target a civilian population for political reasons in that way: regime change! That’s exactly what’s going on here, and exactly what’s going on in Syria. So, from the point of view of international law, the sanctions are absolutely illegal, morally indefensible, and arguably not even effective politically. We don’t care about political issues, we care about law. So our project is to get the sanctions lifted on the basis of law which we can talk about more in details if you want. But the hypocrisy and fallacy of the recent sanctions were reminded and reiterated by the outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton when she announced that she hoped the Iranian people will get the message. That is as much a confession to a criminal act and as former lawyer who had gone to a law school she had to know it better that she confirmed that her government is involved in criminality. She admits the targeting of a civilian population, and she hopes that they get the message. She hopes that there are some riots over the rise of the price of automobiles and consumer goods, and the argument is that they might break with the government and push the clerics out. That’s what they talk about, but it’s nonsense as we know; sanctions don’t work that way. In Syria where I spent three months, it was very clear that the government there, whatever you think of it, is using this argument against the opposition and their allies and Americans, and they’re actually gaining support, I’ll submit, among the population on this issue. Obviously, there’s a lot of evidence of riots in this country over that, and in certain cases, such as chicken fees, the government steps in and tries, through subsidies and grants, to reduce the effect of those sanctions. I’m here to study that problem. I need to know more about that. Maybe you can help me with that.
You mentioned the legal aspects [of the sanctions]. You need two things, of course. You need the law on their side, and both Iran and Syria have the law overwhelmingly on their side; and then you need the facts. You got to give the facts. That’s why I’m digging down here, and that’s the reason I’m here. Some people ask, isn’t the international law a politicized Western tool? No, it’s not! 95% of international law works great; EKO, air transport, telecommunications, thousands of bilateral treaties, maritime, aviation, etc. all of these things works great. 5% of the time, it’s a problem. Because that’s when the international law becomes politicized and used by those who have the political, military power to use it for their own so-called national interests and self-interests. For example, the United Nations had become really politicized at the Security Council. 72 resolutions on behalf of Israel were vetoed by the Americans. It’s a matter of fact. I don’t say it because I’m here in Iran. So, there are two possibilities for legally putting the sanctions aside. One is that you go to a U.S. federal district court in the District of Columbia. Then you bring a class action lawsuit on behalf of the Americans who are Iranians. Iranian-Americans are considered as much American as the others. You’ll be asked whether you have been paid the compensatory and punitive damages done by the sanctions, and your family and relatives who happen to live here or there. Then you’ll have over 20 plaintiffs. There will be countless numbers of your family members and friends who are victimized by the sanctions. When you do that, you go the court and immediately file a motion. And what’s the motion? You say that, your honors, my clients are suffering and we need interim measures of protection. What’s that? That’s a provision involved in the international law and municipal law, meaning domestic law, where the court grants interim relief which is in this case the lifting of the sanctions. Lifting the sanctions until when? Until the court makes the final determination. For how long will the freeze last? We don’t know; maybe two years or more. You see they will grant this, and in this case it is the duty of the Iranians and the Syrians to freeze the sanctions. It makes it more and more politically difficult for the U.S. government and its allies to bring the sanctions back. And why does the court do that? As a practical matter, the court does it when the law is on the side of the plaintiff, and in this case, it’s overwhelmingly on the side of the plaintiffs.

Q: While the process of passing on Iran’s nuclear dossier to the Security Council was illegal, do the resolutions issued on this basis have a legal warranty?

A: Yes they do. Even if the ancillary and preliminary process was arguably flawed, as your question assumes, the alleged defect (s) must be timely challenged at the level of the UN Security Council. The reason is that when the United Nations was founded following World War II, the powers who agreed to it established the Security Council as the final arbiter of international issues, for “the maintenance of International Peace and Security.” In short, this means that what the Security Council decides becomes instant binding International Law. This may not always be just but UN Security Council Resolutions are binding and enforceable under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter

Q: Don’t you think that focusing the sanctions on basic staples and goods, especially medicine, is tantamount to a continued and systematic violation of the human rights?

A: Absolutely. Binding international law on the subject of targeting civilian populations, whether by armed force or economic sanctions constitute crimes against humanity and are in violation of the norms of international humanitarian law as evidenced by the Geneva Conventions as well as the massive body of settled conventional and customary international law. The U.S.-led sanctions, in their predictable effects, target the civilian population of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The sanctions are also illegal under American law which outlaws the targeting civilian populations.

Q: It seems that the sanctions are not simply aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program; rather, the main objective of the sanctions is seemingly to create social unrest in Iran which can finally lead to a regime change. So, what’s the message which the sanctions impart? Diplomacy or conspiracy?

A: The message from Washington is regime change as part of the strategic imperative, from the viewpoint of the Obama Administration, seeking a restoration of American hegemony project in the Middle East which has suffered serious setbacks following a series of challenges and setbacks from Iraq and Afghanistan to Egypt and Syria. Ultimately, the sanctions are designed to thwart the rise of any Resistance power in the region that would challenge American domination and undermine Israeli hegemony. Another message of the sanctions is to the domestic audience, i.e. to build support from the American public, for example, via the sanctions by demonstrating that there must be something dangerous about the governments and countries being targeted by U.S. sanctions and also it makes it easier to build support among the public for harsher measures against “perceived enemies of America” including the “all options on the table” rhetoric.

Q: Would you please touch upon the legal aspect of unilateral sanctions, not necessarily those which are imposed against Iran, as stipulated by the documents of the United Nations? Can the unilateral sanctions be categorized as part of the punitive measures foreseen in the Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter?

A: Unilateral sanctions can be categorized as part of the punitive measures foreseen in Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter but only if supported by an agreed to United Nations Security Council Resolution. This has been the case with some of the sanctions initiated by the American government and its allies and approved by the fifteen member state Security Council in recent years.

However, unless the Security Council passes, by a majority vote of its 15 members, a UNSC Resolution relating to the application of sanctions the Resolution is not binding on member states. Any of the five powers, China, France, America, Russia or the United Kingdom can veto any UN Security Council Resolution which act immediately renders it null and void.

Q: Along with the expansion of sanctions, the resistance of the Iranian nation has increased, as well. Why haven’t the sanctions had the effects the West desires, whether in the political or social level?

A: The resistance of the Iranian people and the government of the Islamic Republic reflect the widespread international rejection of acts that clearly have the affect of harming a civilian population. Big powers like the U.S. have used economic sanctions for centuries in order to cause a population to pressure its government. America’s record since the War of 1812 against the British and more than 53 years of sanctions targeting the civilian population of Cuba, and those against China, Vietnam and Iraq are only a few examples.

Past and current civilian targeting sanctions fail on the political and social level because civilian populations blame those who impose the sanctions and not their own governments who, in the case of Iran and Syria for example, work with their societies to lessen the impact of these hostile and foreign imposed sanctions. Civilian populations have consistently understood the motives of the outside-imposed sanctions and have tended to rally alongside their government to defeat them. For these reasons, the history of sanction failure is likely to be repeated in the future.

Q: It seems that the most important objective which Israel seeks through issuing repeated war threats against Iran is to persuade the U.S. and EU to intensify the sanctions against Iran. How much accurate is this analysis in your view?

A: I think this is indeed part of the equation. For domestic political reasons which include keeping its population focused, even obsessed, with the claimed danger from Iran, it detracts from growing domestic problems within Israeli society. These include, among many others, growing domestic doubts about Zionism, growing international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, expanding global condemnation of Zionist crimes against humanity, the increased international rejection of the Zionist occupation of Palestine.

Key Words: Anti-Iran Sanctions, International Law, Nuclear Disarmament, UN Security Council, Human Rights, Diplomacy or Conspiracy, Lamb

*Anti-Iran Sanctions (No. 6) Dan Kovalik: Unilateral Sanctions Are Disallowed UN Charter
*Anti-Iran Sanctions (No. 5) James H. Fetzer: Anti-Iran Sanctions Violate International Law
*Anti-Iran sanctions (No. 4) Thierry Meyssan: Western Nations Suffer from the Anti-Iran Sanctions
*Anti-Iran Sanctions (No. 3) E. Michael Jones: Sanctions Show US Foreign Policy Hypocrisy
*Anti-Iran Sanctions (No. 2) Mike Gravel: Sanctions Are Illegal and Ineffective
*Anti-Iran Sanctions (No. 1) Kenneth O’Keefe: US Sanctions on Iran Tantamount to Collective Punishment

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
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