Written by Daniel McAdams
Mother Agnes Mariam Attacked…By Human Rights Watch!
Since when does a human rights organization take to arguing the case for a military attack that will kill scores of innocent civilians? If you are Human Rights Watch, it’s all in a day’s work. The US regime’s favorite “human rights ” organization, which once praised the Obama Administration’s continuation of its predecessor’s torturous CIA “extraordinary rendition” program, pulled out all stops to bolster Obama’s claims that the Syrian government was responsible for the August 21st chemical attack near Damascus.
As Obama was ready to teach Syria a lesson via Tomahawk cruise missiles, Human Rights Watch stood virtually alone in the world on the president’s side. The human rights group was not busy trying to help the victims or promote international diplomatic efforts to end the crisis. They were instead feverishly engaged in a convoluted effort to prove that the missiles that purportedly carried the poison gas could only have come from Syrian government positions. They had no investigators on the ground, yet they determined independent of facts that the Syrian government must have been responsible. This is the job for a human rights group? To help a president make the case for war?
Human Rights Watch even repeated the lie that the UN inspectors’ report on the August 21 incident “points clearly to Syrian government responsibility for the attack.” It does no such thing, and in fact the UN had no mandate to determine responsibility for the incident. But this was the US administration’s line and HRW was determined to repeat it — even as the rest of the world gasped in disbelief.
When the Russian effort to head off a US attack on Syria — which would no doubt have killed far more than it was claimed were killed by poison gas on August 21 — was finalized by a UN resolution providing for the destruction of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons and facilities, one would think a human rights group would cheer that diplomacy triumphed over war. No so Human Rights Watch. The organization’s UN representative Philippe Bolopion blasted the agreement, stating that it “fails to ensure justice.”
At that point, even President Obama was happy to have avoided a military conflict in Syria. Not Human Rights Watch.
The organization has not let up, however. A recent report by Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross and her Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights painstakingly refutes much of the photographic evidence presented of the attack. Being on the ground in Syria, she has also interviewed scores of victims of the insurgents’ attacks. Her organization’s report raises serious questions about whether the YouTube videos presented by the US government as the main US evidence of Syria government responsibility for the attack was manipulated or even entirely faked. Mother Agnes Mariam, dubbed by the BBC as “Syria’s Detective Nun,” finds her work attacked in a recent BBC article by…you guessed it, Human Rights Watch!
Image credit: http://ronpaulinstitute.org
Written by Ron Paul
Has The Tide Turned Against the Warmongers?
Will the history books record these past couple of weeks as the point when the tide finally turned against our interventionist foreign policy?
We began September with the Obama Administration on the verge of launching Tomahawk missiles at Syria. The missiles were needed, the administration claimed, to punish the Syrian government for using poison gas on its own people. There were reports that in addition to missiles, the administration was planning airstrikes and possibly even more military action against Syria. The talks of a punishing “shot across the bow” to send a message to the Syrian government also escalated, as some discussed the need to degrade the Syrian military to help change the regime. They refused to rule out a US ground invasion of Syria.
Secretary of State John Kerry even invoked an old bogeymen that had worked so many times before. Assad was another Hitler, we were told, and failure to attack would equate to another Neville Chamberlain-like appeasement.
The administration released its evidence to back up the claim that the Syrian government was behind the gassing, and the president asked Congress to authorize him to use force against Syria. Polls showed that the American people had very little interest in getting involved in another war in the Middle East, and as the administration presented no solid evidence for its claim, public support eroded further. The media, as usual, was pushing war propaganda.
Then something incredible happened. It started in the British parliament, with a vote against participating in a US-led attack on Syria. The UK had always reliably backed the US when it came to war overseas, and the vote was a shock. Though the House and Senate leadership lined up behind the president’s decision to attack Syria, the people did not. Support among the rank and file members of the Senate and House began to evaporate, as thousands of Americans contacted their representatives to express outrage over the president’s plan. The vote looked to be lost in the House and uncertain in the Senate. Then even Senators began to feel the anger of the American people, and it looked like a devastating and historic loss for the president was coming.
The administration and its pro-war allies could not bear to lose a vote in Congress that would have likely shut the door completely on a US attack, so they called off the vote. At least for now. It would have been far better to have had the president’s request for war authorization debated and voted down in the House and Senate, but even without a no vote it is clear that a major shift has taken place. A Russian proposal to secure and dismantle the Syrian government’s chemical weapons was inspired, it seems, by John Kerry’s accidental suggestion that such a move could avert a US strike. Though the details have yet to be fully worked out, it seems the Russia plan, agreed to by the Syrian government, gives us hope that a US attack will be avoided.
The American people have spoken out against war. Many more are now asking what I have been asking for quite some time: why is it always our business when there is civil strife somewhere overseas? Why do we always have to be the ones to solve the world’s problems? It is a sea change and I am very encouraged. We have had a great victory for the cause of peace and liberty and let’s hope we can further build on it.
Image credit: http://ronpaulinstitute.org
Written by Daniel McAdams
US and Russia Reach Agreement on Syria Weapons — Can The US Stop Arming the Jihadists Now?
The US and Russia yesterday reached what looks to be a solid agreement on how to proceed with the dismantling of the chemical weapons stores of the Syrian government as well as destruction of Syria’s production capabilities. Syria agreed to the Russian-proposed deal (with a little inspiration from US Secretary of State John Kerry) with the understanding that giving up its chemical weapons would avert a US military attack.
The agreement seems full enough of ambiguities regarding the consequences of less than full Syrian compliance to allow the US government some face-saving saber rattling about retaining the option to strike unilaterally, while being vague enough in defining what exactly constitutes non-compliance to make difficult a clear cut case for a UN Chapter 7 use of force resolution. In other words, seemingly win-win.
The process of identifying and destroying the Syrian cache of chemical weapons is supposed to be completed by next year, but adhering to such a timeline can be difficult. In 1997, the US promised to destroy its vast stores of chemical and biological weapons in ten years. Thirteen years later, the US retains some 2,611 tons of mustard gas and 524 tons of other chemical weapons, including sarin gas.
The US and Russian side have both indicated a new determination to bring the Syrian government and the insurgents fighting to overthrow it to a new round of talks in Geneva, optimistically by October. This is unlikely, however, as although the Russian side had managed to secure agreement to attend on the part of the Syrian government, with which it maintains cordial relations, the US has been completely unable to secure any agreement with the various insurgent factions it is supporting.
Western media and governments claimed that the armed Syrian rebellion started because the Syrian government fired on peaceful demonstrators. That has been proven false many times over, as it became clear that the Islamist extremist struggle against the secular Assad regime had been planned well in advance by forces outside Syria and had been armed from the start.
That Assad retains a level of popularity among the Syrian population — particularly the Christian minority that has come under attack by the insurgents — has been confirmed by polls and by the simple fact that two years into an insurgency heavily supported by outside powers he has managed to retain his position. If his government were as unpopular as was claimed, it would have been impossible to withstand the internal and external pressure.
The US/Russia agreement takes the WMD issue off the table for the US and its regime change allies in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, and elsewhere. US action is required, it has been claimed, because the Syrian government’s chemical weapons stores are a threat to the region and beyond. Those are to be secured by the UN.
So by what justification does the United States continue to arm and train, in violation of international law, the insurgents that seek to overthrow the Syrian government?
The answer is that there is no justification, as should be obvious at this point. Will the media begin asking these questions? Don’t hold your breath, but there is a sense that a profound shift in the “unipolar moment” that has categorized the post-Cold War period has taken place. There is a sense that the tectonic plates of the existing world order have shifted slightly. History shows us that when a shift occurs, in plate tectonics and in world balance of power, the resulting earthquake can be sudden and profound.
Flickr/Secretary of Defense
Military Times Survey: 75% of Troops Oppose Strikes on Syria
It’s always a good sign for an empire’s fortunes when the commander in chief of the armed forces completely loses the confidence and trust of the troops. While we have all seen various polls demonstrating the general public’s complete opposition to unprovoked military aggression against Syria, I hadn’t seen a survey focused on military members until now. The results are not good for the establishment. From the Military Times:
To the list of skeptics who question the need for air strikes against Syria, add an another unlikely group — many U.S. troops.
“I haven’t heard one single person be supportive of it,” said an Army staff sergeant at Fort Hood who asked not to be identified by name.
A Military Times survey of more than 750 active-duty troops this week found service members oppose military action in Syria by a margin of about three to one.
The survey conducted online Monday and Tuesday found that about 75 percent of troops are not in favor of air strikes in response to reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to kill civilians in that country.
A higher percentage of troops, about 80 percent, say they do not believe getting involved in the two-year-old civil war is in the U.S. national interest.
The results suggest that opposition inside the military may be more intense than among the U.S. population at large. About 64 percent of Americans oppose air strikes, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll published Monday.
Full article here.
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Written by Daniel McAdams
The Real Elizabeth O’Bagy Scandal
So now we know that Elizabeth O’Bagy, the “expert” cited by Secretary Kerry, Senator McCain, and others as an important impartial source claiming that moderates, not radicals, dominate among Syrian insurgents is a liar.
Her padded resume was a convenient excuse for her termination from her main job at Kimberly Kagan’s Institute for the Study of War (where arch-neocon William Kristol is Chairman).
However the real scandal is not O’Bagy’s falsely claimed PhD, but rather that at her other job, for the Syrian Emergency Task Force, she had been at the enter of a massive propaganda and influence campaign aimed at the American people, pushing the idea that there were moderates in Syria who the US should be supporting. O’Bagy played a key role in that influence campaign and she was being paid to lie about the insurgents by the US government itself! Yes, the real scandal is that O’Bagy was being paid as a State Department contractor to pose as a Syria expert and convince Americans that the Syrian insurgents should be supported.
The media largely ignores this huge story preferring the easier and less dangerous story that she faked her PhD.
O’Bagy has a senior position in the US-government funded Syrian Emergency Task Force, headed by the very shady Mouaz Moustafa. Moustafa’s SETF is the organization that organized Senator McCain’s disastrous visit to Syria in May, where he met with thugs and kidnappers while claiming that they were moderates who deserved support. McCain was so taken by the Syrian insurgent kidnappers he met that he proposed a pajama party at their house and had to be dragged away by his security detail. You can see McCain and Moustafa, along with the Syrian insurgent kidnappers, in this now-famous photo.
Moustafa has a bizarre resume of his own. Before heading up the US-government funded Syria regime change lobbying group, he was Executive Director of the Libyan Council of North America, pushing for regime change in Libya. Was he on the US government payroll in that position as well?
More strange — or not — he has a long history with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), known as “AIPAC’s think tank,” even once (since scrubbed) being listed as an “expert” for that pro-Israel neoconservative “policy institute.”
Who are these people and why is Washington paying them to covertly influence public opinion in the United States in favor of regime change overseas?
And more importantly, now that their lies about the non-existent “moderates” among the insurgent groups fighting to overthrow the Syrian government have been exposed, why is the US government delivering weapons anyway to the radicals, jihadists, and criminals fighting in Syria?
How many of these new US-provided weapons will end up in the hands of the vicious jihadist thugs now laying siege to Maaloula, home of some of the last people on earth to still speak the native tongue of Jesus Christ? However, small arms are not as useful to them in their ethnic cleansing of Christians. They prefer dull knives for beheadings.
We are being lied to about Syria, and to add insult to injury we are being forced to pay for the privilege. The myriad of cut-out NGOs pose as independent voices but in fact are on the payroll of the US government. That is the scandal. Not fake PhD’s.
Image credit: http://ronpaulinstitute.org
Submitted by Tyler Durden
Spotted Near The US Embassy In Lebanon
There are some in Congress who may be fooled by a few YouTube videos, but the international community, especially the part of it that may soon be on the receiving end of a few hundred of Raytheon’s finest, is proving far less gullible.
A protester holds a burning poster against a possible US military strike on Syria, near the US embassy in Lebanon, AFP.
Judge Napolitano: Syria Resolution Intentionally Vague So Obama Can Put Boots On The Ground
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: It’s a tremendous amount of wiggle room for a couple of reasons. As a practical matter, as your previous guest Aaron just said, when you send missiles into a country, you need boots on the ground to guide the missiles where they’re going to land. So Secretary Kerry may very well shrewdly have been mincing words. The government considers military troops out of uniform, out of uniform, or CIA in their nonuniform garb not to be ‘boots on the ground.’
So I would have asked Secretary Kerry, will the American military or will American intelligence agents be on the ground, whether you consider them boots or not? It’s inconceivable that we can send the type of missiles over there that the president and his Republican allies in Congress now contemplate, Sen. McCain leading the charge, without some American human beings, whether they’re wearing boots or not, to be on the ground. So, Secretary Kerry, in my view, was misleading the Congress.
Now here’s the Constitutional issue. The Constitution says only the Congress can declare war but the president wages it. The president can’t declare war and Congress can’t wage it. What does that mean? That means that once the Congress gives authorization for the president to bring down either the chemical weaponry of the Assad regime, or as Senator McCain wants, the Assad regime itself, the Congress can’t pull the president back. The Congress can’t tell the president how to wage war.
NAPOLITANO: Our conversation now is largely hypothetical. No judge is going to say, ‘oh, the president violated this resolution; I’m going to sign a piece of paper enjoining the president.’ No American judge will do that. But the president, once unleashed by Congress will be free to put all the boots on the ground he wants no matter what the resolution says. John McCain knows that, John Kerry knows that, and the president knows. The American people need to know it.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – A Real Collapse in the Dollar, Gold Could Be $30,000 an Ounce
Published by Greg Hunter
When it comes to war in Syria, economist Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says, “This time the big lie didn’t work like it did in Iraq.” On fallout of a possible Syrian war, Dr. Roberts worries, “If they start abandoning the dollar, the collapse of the exchange rate will bring down the whole house of cards in the United States. The Fed will lose control. The banks will fail. Prices will rise dramatically. People will essentially not be able to pay their bills. It will be an unbelievable mess.” What would happen to gold with a Syrian war? Dr. Roberts says, “If you get a real collapse in the dollar, gold could be $30,000 an ounce. Who knows?” Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with former Assistant Treasury Secretary Dr. Paul Craig Roberts.
Is The United States Going To Go To War With Syria Over A Natural Gas Pipeline?
Why has the little nation of Qatar spent 3 billion dollars to support the rebels in Syria? Could it be because Qatar is the largest exporter of liquid natural gas in the world and Assad won’t let them build a natural gas pipeline through Syria? Of course. Qatar wants to install a puppet regime in Syria that will allow them to build a pipeline which will enable them to sell lots and lots of natural gas to Europe. Why is Saudi Arabia spending huge amounts of money to help the rebels and why has Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan been “jetting from covert command centers near the Syrian front lines to the Élysée Palace in Paris and the Kremlin in Moscow, seeking to undermine the Assad regime”? Well, it turns out that Saudi Arabia intends to install their own puppet government in Syria which will allow the Saudis to control the flow of energy through the region. On the other side, Russia very much prefers the Assad regime for a whole bunch of reasons. One of those reasons is that Assad is helping to block the flow of natural gas out of the Persian Gulf into Europe, thus ensuring higher profits for Gazprom. Now the United States is getting directly involved in the conflict. If the U.S. is successful in getting rid of the Assad regime, it will be good for either the Saudis or Qatar (and possibly for both), and it will be really bad for Russia. This is a strategic geopolitical conflict about natural resources, religion and money, and it really has nothing to do with chemical weapons at all.
It has been common knowledge that Qatar has desperately wanted to construct a natural gas pipeline that will enable it to get natural gas to Europe for a very long time. The following is an excerpt from an article from 2009…
Qatar has proposed a gas pipeline from the Gulf to Turkey in a sign the emirate is considering a further expansion of exports from the world’s biggest gasfield after it finishes an ambitious programme to more than double its capacity to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG).
“We are eager to have a gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey,” Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the ruler of Qatar, said last week, following talks with the Turkish president Abdullah Gul and the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the western Turkish resort town of Bodrum. “We discussed this matter in the framework of co-operation in the field of energy. In this regard, a working group will be set up that will come up with concrete results in the shortest possible time,” he said, according to Turkey’s Anatolia news agency.
Other reports in the Turkish press said the two states were exploring the possibility of Qatar supplying gas to the strategic Nabucco pipeline project, which would transport Central Asian and Middle Eastern gas to Europe, bypassing Russia. A Qatar-to-Turkey pipeline might hook up with Nabucco at its proposed starting point in eastern Turkey. Last month, Mr Erdogan and the prime ministers of four European countries signed a transit agreement for Nabucco, clearing the way for a final investment decision next year on the EU-backed project to reduce European dependence on Russian gas.
“For this aim, I think a gas pipeline between Turkey and Qatar would solve the issue once and for all,” Mr Erdogan added, according to reports in several newspapers. The reports said two different routes for such a pipeline were possible. One would lead from Qatar through Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq to Turkey. The other would go through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey. It was not clear whether the second option would be connected to the Pan-Arab pipeline, carrying Egyptian gas through Jordan to Syria. That pipeline, which is due to be extended to Turkey, has also been proposed as a source of gas for Nabucco.
Based on production from the massive North Field in the Gulf, Qatar has established a commanding position as the world’s leading LNG exporter. It is consolidating that through a construction programme aimed at increasing its annual LNG production capacity to 77 million tonnes by the end of next year, from 31 million tonnes last year. However, in 2005, the emirate placed a moratorium on plans for further development of the North Field in order to conduct a reservoir study.
As you just read, there were two proposed routes for the pipeline. Unfortunately for Qatar, Saudi Arabia said no to the first route and Syria said no to the second route. The following is from an absolutely outstanding article in the Guardian…
In 2009 – the same year former French foreign minister Dumas alleges the British began planning operations in Syria – Assad refused to sign a proposed agreement with Qatar that would run a pipeline from the latter’s North field, contiguous with Iran’s South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, with a view to supply European markets – albeit crucially bypassing Russia. Assad’s rationale was “to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.”
Instead, the following year, Assad pursued negotiations for an alternative $10 billion pipeline plan with Iran, across Iraq to Syria, that would also potentially allow Iran to supply gas to Europe from its South Pars field shared with Qatar. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the project was signed in July 2012 – just as Syria’s civil war was spreading to Damascus and Aleppo – and earlier this year Iraq signed a framework agreement for construction of the gas pipelines.
The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline plan was a “direct slap in the face” to Qatar’s plans. No wonder Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, in a failed attempt to bribe Russia to switch sides, told President Vladmir Putin that “whatever regime comes after” Assad, it will be “completely” in Saudi Arabia’s hands and will “not sign any agreement allowing any Gulf country to transport its gas across Syria to Europe and compete with Russian gas exports”, according to diplomatic sources. When Putin refused, the Prince vowed military action.
If Qatar is able to get natural gas flowing into Europe, that will be a significant blow to Russia. So the conflict in Syria is actually much more about a pipeline than it is about the future of the Syrian people. In a recent article, Paul McGuire summarized things quite nicely…
The Nabucco Agreement was signed by a handful of European nations and Turkey back in 2009. It was an agreement to run a natural gas pipeline across Turkey into Austria, bypassing Russia again with Qatar in the mix as a supplier to a feeder pipeline via the proposed Arab pipeline from Libya to Egypt to Nabucco (is the picture getting clearer?). The problem with all of this is that a Russian backed Syria stands in the way.
Qatar would love to sell its LNG to the EU and the hot Mediterranean markets. The problem for Qatar in achieving this is Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have already said “NO” to an overland pipe cutting across the Land of Saud. The only solution for Qatar if it wants to sell its oil is to cut a deal with the U.S.
Recently Exxon Mobile and Qatar Petroleum International have made a $10 Billion deal that allows Exxon Mobile to sell natural gas through a port in Texas to the UK and Mediterranean markets. Qatar stands to make a lot of money and the only thing standing in the way of their aspirations is Syria.
The US plays into this in that it has vast wells of natural gas, in fact the largest known supply in the world. There is a reason why natural gas prices have been suppressed for so long in the US. This is to set the stage for US involvement in the Natural Gas market in Europe while smashing the monopoly that the Russians have enjoyed for so long. What appears to be a conflict with Syria is really a conflict between the U.S. and Russia!
The main cities of turmoil and conflict in Syria right now are Damascus, Homs, and Aleppo. These are the same cities that the proposed gas pipelines happen to run through. Qatar is the biggest financier of the Syrian uprising, having spent over $3 billion so far on the conflict. The other side of the story is Saudi Arabia, which finances anti-Assad groups in Syria. The Saudis do not want to be marginalized by Qatar; thus they too want to topple Assad and implant their own puppet government, one that would sign off on a pipeline deal and charge Qatar for running their pipes through to Nabucco.
Yes, I know that this is all very complicated.
But no matter how you slice it, there is absolutely no reason for the United States to be getting involved in this conflict.
If the U.S. does get involved, we will actually be helping al-Qaeda terrorists that behead mothers and their infants…
Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
After a couple days I finally had a chance to see this video from September 1st which I had open in a few browser tabs waiting for me. Hillary Mann Leverett was included in a panel discussion regarding the buildup to yet more warmongering, this time for Syria, held on the quickly fading mainstream media station MSNBC. A classic study of intelligence verses msm spin in which Hillary Mann Leverett shinned using tactics basically extinct in today’s lapdog media, honesty, facts and logic. Enjoy!
Written by Daniel McAdams
Lapdog Regime Journalists versus a Bona Fide Expert: Watch the Sparks Fly!
RPI Academic Board Member Hillary Mann Leverett absolutely destroys the conventional wisdom-mongering and regime lapdog “journalists” on Obama’s march to war on Syria. Watch the smug bootlickers discount the sole voice of reason — an expert on the region rather than a talking head:
Thanks to Travis Holte for link.