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“Australians for Reconciliation in Syria” (AMRIS) condemns Australian participation in an illegal war in Syria

This article has since been republished on the Syrian Free Press Network.

Following a meeting in Melbourne Australia of “Australians for Reconciliation in Syria” (AMRIS) today, 3 September 2015, spokesperson David Macilwain said that AMRIS unequivocally condemns atrocities committed by ‘Islamic State’ in Syria.

AMRIS deplores, however, the decision by the Australian Government to follow the lead of the United States in taking military action against IS within the borders of Syria, one of the founding members of the United Nations, without the consent of the Syrian Government.

Mr Macilwain said, "Such action will do little to ‘degrade and destroy’ the terrorist group, whose control over territory has only continued to increase despite a year of US Coalition airstrikes. Furthermore there have been significant civilian casualties and damage as a result of those airstrikes, leading to further refugee flows."

"While Australian involvement in the campaign in Syria will do little to change this situation, culpability for ‘collateral damage’ sustained within Syrian sovereign territory could bring us before the ICC," added Mr Macilwain.

"Rather than looking for an alternative pretext that might be legal, such as the ‘responsibility to protect’ Iraqis, AMRIS proposes a clear alternative - cooperation with the Syrian Army in its fight against IS and other terrorist groups."

"AMRIS also considers that if the Australian government is genuine in its desire and commitment to defeat IS, Al Qaeda and allied terrorist groups in Syria, and seeks to restore peace and security such that refugees can return, then it must be prepared to work in cooperation with the Syrian government and security forces. Such a commitment also entails the recognition of that government as legally constituted and representing the majority of the Syrian population, as mandated in the election of June 2014." 1 

Mr Macilwain further stated, "In the absence of such cooperation with the Syrian authorities, Australian military intervention in the Syrian conflict will be neither legal nor moral, regardless of the stated target and pretext. The consequences of such an illegal intervention, which under international law constitutes the ‘supreme crime’ of launching a war of aggression, would be both inconceivable and uncontrollable."

"AMRIS demands that there must be a full disclosure of the objectives, conditions and limitations of this intervention, subject to a parliamentary debate and public scrutiny before this apparent decision to take us to war is finalised."

http://australiansforreconciliationinsyria.org/about/

David Macilwain.

Footnote[s]

1. ↑  At the Presidential election of 4 June 2014, 10,319,723 Syrians, or 88.7% of the 73.42% of eligible Syrian voters who voted, voted for President Bashar al-Assad in spite of the obstruction of expatriate voters by some countries, including Australia and France.

The fair conduct of those elections was attested to by five international observers at a press conference held at the headquarters of the United Nations on 19 June 2014. See Syria's press conference the United Nations doesn't want you to see (21/6/15) with an embedded 53 minute YouTube broadcast. This article was previously published on Global Research.

I don't know of one of the leaders any one of the formal democracies opposed to Syria – the United States, Great Britain, Canada, France, Turkey, Israel, Australia, ... let alone the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and Qatar – who can claim to have even close to President al-Assad's popular endoresement.

At the conference not one of the 'reporters' who, before and since, have peddled the narrative that Bashar al-Assad is a corrupt, brutal dictator, attempted to challenge their testimony.

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Comments

The following was posted to JohnQuiggin.com. I am advised, as of 12:45AM on Saturday 5 September 2015 that this comment is awaiting moderation.  1 

J-D asked in response to my earlier two posts:

Why do you trust this source?

What source? To which of my two posts are you referrring?

Had you looked at the article linked to in the second of my above posts, you would have noticed in one of the footnotes, a link to a story of a press conference which ocurred on 19th June 2014 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. That story includes a 53 minute embedded video of the press conference. At that press conference, five independent observers attested to the fairness of the Presidential election which had been conducted on 4 June 2014. At that election 88.7% of the 73.42% of eligible Syrian voters who voted, voted for President Bashar al-Assad.

Given the proxy war that was going on at the time, and which is continuing to this day, and the obstruction, by countries like Australia and France, of expatriate Syrians who wanted to vote, I would say that that was a most impressive result and one which totally refutes the lie from the mainstream newsmedia that President Bashar al-Assad is corrupt and brutal tyrant. Strikingly, not one of 'reporters' from Australia or elsewhere, who had been pushing that narrative before and since, bothered to show up to that press conference to challenge the testimony of the election observers.

The fact is since March 2011 Syria has faced invasion by sociopath killers from almost every corner of the globe. These sociopaths have been paid for and armed by the United States France, the UK and their regional allies including Israel, Turkey, Jordan and the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The cost borne by the people of Syria is terrible - over 220,000 dead by one estimate, but in spite of the terrible cost, the Army and the people of Syria have stood by their government against the invaders.

The people of Syria have seen what happened to neighbouring Iraq as a result of two illegal wars since 1990 and economic sanctions in which Australia shamefully participated, and are resolved not to let the same happen to them. According to Ramsey Clark, who was Attornery General of the United States under President Johnson in the 1960s, as many as 3,300,000 Iraqis may have died as a result. A 13 minute of a talk by Ramsey Clarke can be found here.

Fortunately, voices, which are demanding that the decision by Tony Abbott for Australia to participate in the war against the people of Syria be debated in Parliament, are starting to be heard. One of those people is retired Army General Peter Gration.

Footnote[s]

1. ↑  Why this is the case is unclear to me. All of my previous posts to JohnQuiggin.com, except where I may have inadvertently included more than one link, have been immediately published. Usually only posts with more than one HTML link are moderated by Professor Quiggin. The copy I posted there had only one link which linked back to this post.

The Government is considering a United States request to expand bombing operations across Iraq's western border into Syria.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is set to give the go-ahead for RAAF combat missions to Syria but he remains non-committal about accepting more of the vast number of refugees fleeing the fighting in Syria and Iraq.

The Greens want Australia to agree to an emergency intake of 20,000 refugee fleeing the violence.

Govt set to give go ahead to bomb Syria (6/9/15) | Sky News

Surely the two issues are related? The more Syria is bombed, the more people will spill out into migration, and the chaos will continue.
This is ultimately a decision for the National Security Committee of Cabinet to make. The former head of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Retired General Peter Gration, has signed an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott opposing bombing raids in Syria. The open letter suggests bombing IS targets would potentially be illegal, could strengthen the organisation and divide the Australian community.

Bombing raids in Syria would be illegal and disastrous, former ADF General Peter Gration warns (4/9/15) | ABC News

"This should make clear what Australia's likelihood of success before the International Court of Justice would be if another party raised arguments against the legality of the bombing," the letter said.

Previously published (7/9/15) on www.english.rfi.fr

Relations of victims of jihadist groups in Syria took the French government to court on Monday, accusing Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius of encouraging violence in their country by praising the al-Qaida affiliate, the al-Nusra Front.

The case went to a Paris appeal court on Monday, a lower court having declared itself incompetent to hear it because it concerned France's foreign policy.

The plaintiffs, all Syrians, claim that several statements by Fabius stoked the Syrian conflict in 2012.

Among them was a declaration, made during a visit to a refugee camp in August, that "Bashar al-Assad doesn't deserve to be on this earth."

They also cite a quotation in Le Monde newspaper when Fabius reported that the Syrian opposition coalition and "all the Arabs" opposed the US decision to put al-Nusra on its terrorist list because "they are doing a good job on the ground".

Legal officials on Monday asked the appeal court to endorse the lower court's decision on the grounds that the statements concerned French foreign policy and could not be taken out of that context.

For the plaintiffs' lawyer, Damien Viguier, they were "stirring up civil war" and "personal misconduct distinct from the government's policy".

They want Fabius condemned for "provocation to commit mass crimes" and want a symbolic euro in compensation.

A similar case brought before the Court of Justice of the Republic, which judges accusations by ministers while there in office, was closed in January 2014.

I have no doubt that Abbott will take Australia to (another illegal) war on Syria. I am implacably opposed to this.

But then people ask, what about ISIS? Well let me see.

1) After the long and appalling historical record ANY western intervention should be a 'red line' for citizens of the west, who are not suffering a serious bout of (mainstream media induced) amnesia

2) Western governments could cease arming, financing, training the so-called 'moderate' opposition, most of whom share the same or similar islamist ideology to ISIS, and many of whom end up fighting alongside them.

3) Western and regional governments, could assist Syria/Iraq etc to secure the Syrian borders to prevent the aformentioned groups entering Syria, often ending up assisting ISIS et al

4) Though it will never happen, if 'we' really must militarily intervene to stop ISIS, then we could ask to join (with heads bowed down in utter shame and disgrace) and coordinate with the Syrian government (and Kurds) - the still (much to the west's frustration) the recognized legal authorities - who have been fighting ISIS and their cousins for the past 4 years, notwithstanding the efforts of western and regional governments to undermine them (because the real goal has always been, not destroying ISIS, but regime change in Damascus).

5) We could end sanctions on Syria, so they are better able to deal with these terrorist groups.

I've noted that people are speaking against Assad far more now. ABC Radio in particular. The argument is that Assad is killing far more people than ISIS.

Whether that is true or not, may not be all that relevant.

Inteview with Putin

Vladimir Putin: We talked about this on numerous occasions a long time ago. I believe this is an absolutely expected crisis. If you remember, or look it up in your archives, we in Russia, yours truly in particular, said a few years ago that we are in for large-scale problems if our so-called western partners continue with their misguided foreign policy, as I always referred to it, especially in Muslin regions, in the Middle East, North Africa – the policy they are actually still conducting.

What is this policy? That of imposing their standards without taking into consideration the history, religion, culture or national characteristics of these regions. This is, primarily, the policy conducted by our American partners; Europe blindly follows the lead, complying with its so-called allied commitments, and then it bears the brunt.

Putin is correct here. As I've discussed before, I think one of the reason the West is now incapable of helping out, even by taking in refugees (especially by taking in masses of refugees!), is that the culture in the West is so far removed from how the rest of the world works, that we simply don't understand the world anymore.

As we have been de-culturalised, neo-Liberalised and believe in some ersatz, "Politically Correct" morality, which is really just a religion, and disowned the ideas that the rest of the world still values (such as putting your own before others, ethnic loyalty, traditional values, respect for culture and history, sentimentality), we just can't understand the rest of the world. Our opinions of what should be done in Syria and elsewhere is based on our own bias, that our anomalous society is the 'normal', and is what the rest of the world would be like, if only they could be 'free' from from whatever it is that holds them back. We model our solution on the assumption that they would also have no bias, no loyalty above neo-liberal economics, and would abandon their heritage and their identity because it may be profitable or 'democratic' to do so.

We've seen this fail in Iraq, and have learned nothing.

So our attempts in Syria will fail.

Quite simply, the people in the Middle East, as elsewhere want to be governed by their own, even if it second rate compared to being subjected to our systems. Selling out your people and your future isn't something the rest of the world does as keenly as the west.

Which makes Europe's eagerness to take refugees ironic. It is precisely because Europeans are willing to threaten centuries of history and culture and demographic identity on a whim, that makes then unprepared. Europeans who think nothing of transforming their country, and themselves for the moment, for some temporary moral gain are the LAST people to understand how to fix the rest of the world. These people can't understand what the rest of the world wants, and will push solutions which will end with disaster. The million+ refugees that Europe will admit (permanently) will result in social strife, riots and division, and possible civil conflict in a generation. They'll be destroying what people want.

Unfortunately, there is no "Left" anymore, as they are too busy with "Social Justice" issues. This leaves the populist "far right" as really the only viable option.

This also means that the West has little choice but to shut the doors, and close its ears. There is no government capable of understanding the situation, and in Europe and the West, it is Putin, and not Merkel or Cameron, or Obama, or Abbot, who can realise the situation for what it is.

The rest writes itself.

Why Murdoch Pushes for War

by craig on September 7, 2015 1:33 pm in Uncategorized

Given the disgraceful Sun front page and middle spread urging war on Syria, and the all-out propaganda on Sky News, it is important to understand why Murdoch is pushing so hard for war. I therefore reproduce my article from February 2013. It is important to note that the links are to industry publications: this is very genuine, hard information.
Israel Grants Oil Rights in Syria to Murdoch and Rothschild
Israel has granted oil exploration rights inside Syria, in the occupied Golan Heights, to Genie Energy. Major shareholders of Genie Energy – which also has interests in shale gas in the United States and shale oil in Israel – include Rupert Murdoch and Lord Jacob Rothschild. This from a 2010 Genie Energy press release

Claude Pupkin, CEO of Genie Oil and Gas, commented, “Genie’s success will ultimately depend, in part, on access to the expertise of the oil and gas industry and to the financial markets. Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch are extremely well regarded by and connected to leaders in these sectors. Their guidance and participation will prove invaluable.”
“I am grateful to Howard Jonas and IDT for the opportunity to invest in this important initiative,” Lord Rothschild said. “Rupert Murdoch’s extraordinary achievements speak for themselves and we are very pleased he has agreed to be our partner. Genie Energy is making good technological progress to tap the world’s substantial oil shale deposits which could transform the future prospects of Israel, the Middle East and our allies around the world.”

For Israel to seek to exploit mineral reserves in the occupied Golan Heights is plainly illegal in international law. Japan was succesfully sued by Singapore before the International Court of Justice for exploitation of Singapore’s oil resources during the second world war. The argument has been made in international law that an occupying power is entitled to opeate oil wells which were previously functioning and operated by the sovereign power, in whose position the occupying power now stands. But there is absolutely no disagreement in the authorities and case law that the drilling of new wells – let alone fracking – by an occupying power is illegal.
Israel tried to make the same move twenty years ago but was forced to back down after a strong reaction from the Syrian government, which gained diplomatic support from the United States. Israel is now seeking to take advantage of the weakened Syrian state; this move perhaps casts a new light on recent Israeli bombings in Syria.
In a rational world, the involvement of Rothschild and Murdoch in this international criminal activity would show them not to be fit and proper persons to hold major commercial interests elsewhere, and action would be taken. Naturally, nothing of the kind will happen.

The following was a comment on the original site of publication of the above.

Its all interlinked with US Vanguard Group inc.

Dick Cheney was also a member of Genie Energy Corporation Strategic Advisory Board.

Dick Cheney (Halliburton), had close to $85 million invested in the Vanguard Group.

Rupert Murdoch is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of News Corp.

Vanguard Group Inc held 85,939,439 shares on 12/31/2012 worth $2,192,315,109 in News Corp.

John Kerrys wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, has over $3,500,001 stake in General Electric Co.

Biggest stakeholder in General Electric Co is Vanguard Group:

Jul 30, 2012
The board of directors of General Electric Co. has elected John J. Brennan as an independent member of the company’s board of directors.

Brennan is chairman emeritus and a senior advisor of The Vanguard Group Inc.

Vangaurd got Investments in every going concern.

Raytheon, for example #5 15,664,626 $920,923,362

This from 2013:

‘Raytheon stock nears all-time high amid news of possible cruise-missile strike in Syria

Stock shares of perennial defense contracting powerhouse Raytheon hit nearly $77 apiece Tuesday as news of a possible US strike in Syria intensified. The US has said if it strikes Syrian government targets for alleged use of chemical weapons, it would likely use Tomahawk cruise missiles from warships positioned in the Mediterranean. Raytheon is responsible for making and selling the bulk of the long-range, subsonic missiles to the US government.’

John Kerry spouse, Teresa Heinz Kerry, holdings.

3. Raytheon Co. $960,010 – $2,200,000

• Raytheon Co. received $11,662,797,975 in government contracts for fiscal year 2007, including a total of approx. $10 billion from the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

US goes to war, they the politicians get return on investments from the very instruments that do the killing.

That’s how the game works.

Thanks Megan,

Just briefly for now: The Guardian article by Frankie Boyle is Cameron won't take refugees who have reached Europe - like there's a humanitarian offside rule.

The other article, which includes the 40 minute video of the interview of President Bashar al-Assad played earlier on RT On Air, is 'West crying for refugees with one eye, aiming gun with the other'- Assad (FULL INTERVIEW). It includes the full transcript off the interview.

Julie Thomas, what J-D calls "jumping through hoops" is no more than what I would have thought that anyone, who is not already properly informed about the conflict in Syria, and wants to become properly informed, would do.

It has been argued (here or elsewhere) that, because the interviewers were from media sources, including RT, already sympathetic to President al-Assad, the questions put were not too probing. I, nevertheless, thought that the questions were good and that the answers helped shed more light on the Syrian conflict.

However on other occasions, President al-Assad has faced lengthy interviews from other interviewers clearly hostile to him, including 56 minutes with Charlie Rose of 60 minutes and 26 minutes with the BBC (9/2/15) (see embedded video below). On both occasions, he has acquitted himself well. I have never seen President Obama, John Kerry or Hillary Clinton, Francois Hollande, David Cameron or Tony Abbott face anything like a similar amount of public scrutiny. If they had, they would have been cut to ribbons.

This was posted to JohnQuiggin.com.

J-D,

As I have acknowledged, on one occasion of which I am aware, since March 2001, that is, when Rupert Murdoch's Australian reported about Mother Agnes Mariam, we learnt from that MSM outlet some of the truth about Syria. On every other occasion, the MSM has misinformed its readers, viewers and listening audience, about the Syrian conflict. In the court of reasoned public debate and not the 'law court' in which you would prefer the case to be heard, my case would win hands down.

This was posted to JohnQuiggin.com.

J-D,

If what you say about President John F. Kennedy is true, then clearly I am wrong to liken Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to JFK, however ...

J-D wrote on September 17th, 2015 at 15:34 :

[JFK] increased US military involvement in Vietnam [and] offered covert assistance to the 1963 coup against the Vietnamese government.

General Vo Nguyen Giap (1911 - 2013) who led the Vietnamese armies to victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and to victory over the United States in 1975 acknowledged that President John F. Kennedy intended to end the Vietnam War in 1964 after he was re-elected. However, as we know, JFK was murdered on 22 November 1963, after which his successor, LBJ escalated the war against Vietnam and several millions more Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians died.

These were amongst the reasons for which the Military Industrial Complex killed JFK - or do you think that he was killed by a lone solitary gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald?