Two years ago on 3 January 2020, US President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike to kill General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) alongside Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces. The drone struck just after they had disembarked from an airplane at Baghdad Airport as both were due to meet Iraq's caretaker Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi.
The assassination of Qasem Soleimani, ordered by United States' President Donald Trump was a criminal act. Any country, including the United States, which claims to uphold the rule of law, should spare no effort to bring to justice President Donald Trump, and all the other perpetrators of that crime including Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence.
Qasem Soleimani, unlike the United States' Army had, with the Iraqi Kata'ib Hezbollah paramilitaries, effectively fought against ISIS in Iraq. Those paramilitaries are connected to the country's Popular Mobilization Forces that are part of Iraqi government's armed forces. Qasem Soleimani was adored by most Iraqis.
On Sunday 29 December, Donald Trump ordered attacks on the Kata'ib Hezbollah paramilitaries. As a pretext for his order to attack Iraq's armed forces, Donald Trump claimed that the Kata'ib Hezbollah paramilitaries had launched a rocket attack which had killed a U.S. contractor. Although the Iraqi government began to investigate the attack, Trump was not prepared to await the outcome of the investigation. 27 Paramilitaries were killed in that rocket attack as a result.
Subsequently, enraged Iraqis tried to storm the U.S. embassy and demanded that the U.S. army occupiers leave Iraq.
Then on Friday 3 January, Donald Trump ordered the helicopter strike which killed Qasem Soleimani and 4 Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officers. The U.S., itself the world's biggest known destabiliser and cause of death and destruction, claimed that this assassination would somehow help stabilise Iraq.
Qasem Soleimani, unlike, the U.S. military, was in Iraq with the permission of its government. The murder of Soleimani would be found by any functional court of law to be a crime and its perpetrator imprisoned.
As well as acting to defend themselves against further U.S. aggression, Iraqi and Iranian patriots should also pursue all legal avenues, through international bodies like the United Nations and the International Criminal Court, to have Donald Trump brought to justice for this crime.
It is also well past the time that the Iraqi government told U.S. military forces to leave. Iraq would be well advised to also remove the U.S. embassy from its soil.
Qasseim Soleimani was inside Iraq with the permission of the Iraqi government. No-one guilty of ordering his assassination should be walking free, let alone running the United States.
See also : Donald Trump Murdered Qasem Soleimani (10/1/20) | by James Risen | The Intercept_, US legal experts say Soleimani assassination violated international law (4/1/20) | PressTV
Shout Out for Peace and Climate Action - UN International Day of Peace
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Previously published (13/12/16) on Russia Insider. See also: Reports: Audio recording between ISIS and US before Deir Ezzor massacre found (26/9/16) | Ron Paul Forums, US attack on Syrian Army in Deir Ezzor was ‘coordinated’ (30/11//16) by Paul Antonopoulos | Al Masdar News, Australian jets participated in massacre of Syrian soldiers in Deir ez-Zor (18/9/16) by Paul Antonopoulos | Al Masdar News.
A US investigation found the coalition 'botched' a strike in Deir ez-Zor, hitting the Syrian Army by mistake. Why did they not return to kill the IS fighters who moved in, or the IS fighters who just moved back to Palmyra?
Following a two-month investigation into the US coalition attack on a Syrian Army base in Deir al Zour in September, the Defence departments of the US and Australia concluded that the 'botched' strike was a result of poor information and human error, and no-one will face charges over the 'incident'.
Australia's chief of Joint Military Operations, David Johnston described it thus in a prepared statement:
"Although the identity of those killed or wounded could not be substantiated, the investigation found it was more likely than not that those struck were irregular forces aligned to the Syrian government.
"The situation on the ground in Syria is complex and dynamic. In many ways these forces looked and acted like Da'esh fighters the coalition has been targeting for the last two years. They were not wearing recognisable military uniforms, or displaying identifying flags or markings."
This conspicuously 'false news' from such a well-briefed source is deeply worrying, particularly as its release coincided with the Syrian Army's 'hour of glory' as it liberates Aleppo's trapped civilians from the four-year long insurgent siege.
Despite the lengthy 'investigation', carried out by the very same people who ordered and executed the murderous attack on the Syrian soldiers defending Deir al Zour from IS, the report's conclusions only confirm the false statements made to the press at the time, though embroidering them with an elaborate cover story. For the hundreds of Syrian victims of this dastardly attack and their families, any confidence in the statements and behaviour of their foreign attackers is now permanently destroyed.
How galling for those families, whose heroic husbands, sons and brothers had held their ground for two years against constant assaults from IS insurgents, to read that 'their identities could not be substantiated'. Or that these members of the Syrian Arab Army's 123rd Republican guard were mere 'irregulars aligned to the Syrian government'.
Never mind the testimony of some of the injured soldiers from hospital broadcast on Syrian state TV, describing the aggression and persistence of their attackers, or their still more incriminating statements that IS fighters moved in to take over the base before their comrades blood was even dry.
Although the US coalition's story is a complete travesty, it deserves closer scrutiny both for what it says and what it leaves out.
While novel unsubstantiated and false allegations are made about the nature of the target, the Australian Defence Forces have admitted responsibility for likely causing some of the deaths of Syrian soldiers - claiming that Australian war-planes had launched six laser-guided missiles, at what they identified as Da'esh fighters.
Since Australia 'joined the US coalition against Da'esh' two years ago, training soldiers in the Iraqi army, Australia's position on the fight against Da'esh in Syria has been obscure, and air-strikes within Syria notionally limited to preventing Da'esh from threatening Iraq. The silence of the Australian government, and the failure of the national broadcaster the ABC to ask questions about our actions against terrorist groups in Syria, contrasts sharply with the rhetoric from both sides of government here for the last five years, both against terrorism and against the Syrian government.
Not only has Australia been a central member of the 'Friends of Syria' group, and a vocal supporter of the Syrian external Opposition, but its anti-Russian and anti-Putin statements and actions have made it one of the most important partners in the NATO war on Syria. Some of that anti-Russian rhetoric is connected with Australia's support for Kiev's post-coup government, and reaction to the deaths of 38 Australians on board MH17. A recent agreement to supply Uranium to Ukraine hardly bodes for our future dealings with Moscow.
In the absence of any sensible discussion or analysis in the Australian media about the Deir al Zour attack and its actual consequences, or how the change in US leadership and likely direction in Syria could affect Australia's strategic position and military involvements in the region, some further investigation is now called for.
In the meantime, and as has happened repeatedly during the Syrian conflict, a resolution of that conflict in one area sees a resumption of it elsewhere. This 'two-steps forward, one back' - or three back - progress of the war is largely why it has taken the Syrian Army and its allies over two years to liberate Aleppo from its insurgent grip.
Of particular interest to those seeking to understand the objectives and allegiances of Syria's foreign invaders and their 'puppet-masters', is a surprising and disturbing development - the reappearance of IS forces in Palmyra.
Palmyra, like Deir al Zour, was stoically defended by the Syrian army until IS forces moved in, controversially crossing hundreds of kilometres of open desert without being noticed by the 'US coalition against IS'. (perhaps they were mistaken for Syrian troops?) In one of Russia's first acts demonstrating that it was serious about fighting and killing terrorist forces in Syria, Russian airpower helped the Syrian Army liberate the historic city and adjacent town of Tadmor ten months later.
But in a situation which is almost a mirror image of that existing today, terrorist groups including IS south of Aleppo took advantage of the Syrian Army's focus on Palmyra to seize control over the main highway linking Aleppo with Damascus, cutting off the Syrian Army contingent protecting Western Aleppo from the insurgents in the East.
As Oscar Wilde said: "to lose one parent may be regarded as misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."
To strike the Syrian Army while targeting IS may be a 'blunder'; to fail to target IS as it again targets the Syrian Army looks like more than carelessness, and a lot like collusion. And we should ask, why did the US coalition forces not immediately return to kill those Da'esh fighters who moved into the Deir al Zour base that they had just inadvertently 'liberated' of its patriotic Syrian forces in September?
Vice Admiral David Johnston didn't answer that question - but neither was he asked it.
As a virtual postscript, and indication that things are really changing on the ground in Syria even while they remain stagnant in the minds of her foreign 'false friends', it appears that Palmyra has already be re-liberated, with many IS fighters killed in a joint Russian-Syrian operation.
And so we won't be subjected to another call to 'intervene to protect Syria's ancient heritage - from IS terrorists'.
#deirEzZorFn1" id="deirEzZorFn1">1. #deirEzZorFnTxt1">↑The images are from the abovementioned Reports: Audio recording between ISIS and US before Deir Ezzor massacre found
(26/9/16) by Ron Paul | Ron Paul Forums.
[Candobetter.net Ed: This article foreshadows the imminent release of the new war-faction novel, Beyond all recognition by Kenneth Eade, some of whose other strong political and legal novels we have already featured.]
One of our most distinguished and highest ranking military men, Major General Smedley Butler said, “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”
Since the protests of the Vietnam War, it has been “business as usual” under every government since the Reagan administration. Besides the war in Iraq, which was based on one of the most massive deceptions in recent history for which nobody has been held accountable, and which can be said to be a self-fulfilling prophecy (we now have ISIS in Iraq and Al Qaeda in Iraq thriving where it did not exist before) we are seeing this business rear its ugly head in the conflicts in Syria and the buildup of NATO in Eastern Europe and military advice to the Ukraine, to fight the non-existent threat and fantasy of Russian aggression.
“Perception Management” was pioneered in the 1980’s under the Reagan administration in order to avoid the public opposition to future wars that was seen during the Vietnam War. The United States Department of Defense defines perception management as: “Actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning as well as to intelligence systems and leaders at all to influence official estimates, ultimately resulting in foreign behaviors and official actions favorable to the originator's objectives. In various ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations, security, cover and deception, and psychological operations.”
At the onset of the Iraq war in 2003, journalists were embedded with US troops as combat cameramen. The reason for this was not to show what was happening in the war, but to present the American view of it. Perception management was used to promote the belief that weapons of mass destruction were being manufactured in Iraq to promote its military invention, even though the real purpose behind the war was regime change. 
Alvin and Heidi Toffler cite the following as tools for perception management in their book, War and Anti-War:1) accusations of atrocities, 2) hyperbolic inflations, 3) demonization and dehumanization, 4) polarization, 5) claim of divine sanction, and 5) Meta-propaganda.
In 2001, the Rendon Group, headed by John Rendon, was secretly granted a $16 million contract to target Iraq with propaganda.  Rendon, who had been hired by the CIA to help create conditions to removal Sadaam Hussein from power, is a leader in “perception management”. Two months later, in December 2001, a clandestine operation performed by the CIA and the Pentagon produced false polygraph testimony of an alleged Iraqi civil engineer, who testified that he had helped Sadaam Hussein and his men hide tons of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.  Of course, we now know that there were no weapons of mass destruction hidden in Iraq.
A study by Professor Phil Taylor reveals the differences between the US and global media over the coverage of the war to be: 1) Pro-war coverage in the US made US media “cheerleaders” in the eyes of a watchful, more scrutinous global media; 2) Issues about the war were debated more in countries not directly affected by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; 3) The non-US media could not see the link between the “war on terror” and the “axis of evil”, and 4) The US media became part of the information operations campaign, which weakened their credibility in the eyes of global media.
President Bush himself admitted in a televised interview with Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News that, “One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.” Vice President Dick Cheney stated on Meet the Press, “If we’re successful in Iraq…we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11.”
Prior to 2002, the CIA was the Bush Administration’s main provider of intelligence on Iraq. In order to establish the connection between Iraq and terrorists, in 2002, the Pentagon established the “Office of Special Plans” which was, in reality, in charge of war planning against Iraq, and designated by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to be the provider of intelligence on Iraq to the Bush Administration. Its head, the Undersecretary of Defense, Douglas J. Feith, appointed a small team to review the existing intelligence on terrorist networks, in order to reveal their sponsorship states, among other things. In 2002, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz wrote a memo to Feith entitled, “Iraq Connections to Al-Qaida”, which stated that they were “not making much progress pulling together intelligence on links between Iraq and Al-Qaida.” Peter W. Rodman, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security, established a “Policy counter Terror Evaluation Group” (PCTEG) which produced an analysis of the links between Al-Qaida and Iraq, with suggestions on “how to exploit the connections.” 
“In February 2003, when former Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the U.N., he described “a sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al-Qaeda network,” stating that “Iraq today harbors a deadly network headed by Zarqawi’s forces, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden,” and that Zarqawi had set up his operations, including bioweapons training, with the approval of the Sadaam Hussein regime. This has since been discredited as false. However, in October 2004, due to the fact that the Iraqi insurgency was catching on as a cause in jihadist circles, Zarqawi pledged his allegiance to Al-Qaeda. This was after his group had exploded a massive bomb outside a Shiite mosque in August 2003, killing one of Iraq’s top Shiite clerics and sparking warfare between the Shiite and Sunni communities. The tipping point toward a full-blown civil war was the February 2006 attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra, which is credited to Haythem Sabah al-Badri, a former member of Sadaam Hussein’s Republican Guard, who joined Al-Qaeda after the U.S. invasion. This gave birth to the AQI, Al-Qaeda in Iraq 
General Wesley Clark, the former NATO Allied Commander and Joint Chiefs of Staff Director of Strategy and Policy, stated in his book, Winning Modern Wars, “As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.”
In 2004, John Negroponte, who had served as ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, was appointed as ambassador to Iraq with the specific mandate of implementing the “Salvador Option”, a terrorist model of mass killings by US sponsored death squads. 
In 2004, Donald Rumsfeld sent Colonel James Steele to serve as a civilian advisor to Iraqi Paramilitary special police commandos known as the “Wolf Brigade”. Steele was a counter-insurgency specialist who was a member of a group of US Special Forces advisors to the Salvadorian Army and trained counter-insurgency commandos in south America, who carried out extreme abuses of human rights.  The Wolf Brigade was created and established by the United States and enabled the re-deployment of Sadaam Hussein’s Republican Guard. The Brigade was later accused by a UN official of torture, murder and the implementation of death squads.  The techniques used by these counter-insurgency squads were described as “fighting terror with terror”, which was previously done in other theaters, such as Vietnam and El Salvador. 
The use of death squads began in 2004 and continued until the winding down of combat operations in 2008. In addition to the death squads, regular military units were often ordered to “kill all military age males” during certain operations; “dead-checking” or killing wounded resistance fighters; to call in air strikes on civilian areas; and 360 degree rotational fire on busy streets. These extreme measures were justified to troops in Iraq by propaganda linking the people to terrorism. 
Colonel Steele, with the help of Col. James Hoffman, set up torture centers, dispatching Shia militias to torture Sunni soldiers to learn the details of the insurgency This has been attributed as a major cause of the civil war which led to the formation of ISIS. 
The operation of death squads as counter-insurgency measures was also common knowledge at the time. 
Private contractors, such as Steele, were often subject to different rules than the military forces they served and, in some cases, served with. As of 2008, an estimated 155,286 private contractors were employed by the US on the ground in Iraq, compared to 152,275 troops. The estimated annual cost for such contractors ballooned to $5 billion per year by 2010. 
In August 2006, four American soldiers from a combat unit in Iraq testified in an Article 32 hearing that they had been given orders by their commanding officer, Colonel Michael C. Steele, to “kill all military age males”. 
The “targeted killing” program that has been developed under President Obama’s watch is being hailed as the most effective tool against fighting terrorism.  Unfortunately, no mention is made in the mainstream media of the innocent victims (collateral damage) caused by this assassination program, nor its lack of authority under international law.  According to the journalist Glen Greenwald, all military age males in strike zones of the latest drone aircraft strike programs are considered militants unless it can be proved otherwise. Some say that this has resulted in more civilian casualties than has been reported by the government. 
Kenneth Eade is a political novelist and author of “A Patriot’s Act” and “Beyond All Recognition”, both of which are available in bookstores and Amazon.com.
 Parry, Robert (December 28, 2014) “The Victory of Perception Management” Consortium News
 Brigadier BM Kappor (2016) The Art of Perception Management in Information Warfare Today, USI of India
 Bamford, James (November 18, 2004) The Man Who Sold the War, Rolling Stone
 Brigadier BM Kappor (2016) The Art of Perception Management in Information Warfare Today, USI of India 2016
 Richelson, Jeffrey (February 20, 2014) U.S. Special Plans: A History of Deception and Perception Management, Global Research
 Cruickshank, Peter and Paul (October 31, 2007) Al-Qaeda in Iraq: A Self-fulfilling Prophecy, Mother Jones
 Chossudovsky, Michel (November 17, 2013) “The Salvador Option for Syria: US-NATO Sponsored Death Squads Integrate ‘Opposition Forces’” Global Research
 Mass, Peter (May 1, 2004) “The Way of the Commandos” New York Times
 Buncombe, Andrew (February 26, 2006) “Iraq’s Death Squads: On the Brink of Civil War” The Independent. Spencer, Richard (October 25, 2010) “WikiLeaks War Logs: Who are the Wolf Brigade?” The Daily Telegraph. Leigh, David (October 24, 2010) “The War Logs: Americans handed over captives to Iraq torture squads” The Guardian.
 Snodgrass Godoy, Angelina (2006) Popular Injustice: Violence, Community and Law in Latin America, Stanford University Press, pp. 175-180.
 Davies, Nicolas J. (November 20, 2014) Why Iraqis may see ISIL as Lesser Evil Compared to U.S. Backed Death Squads, AlterNet
 Freeman, Colin (June 29, 2014) “Death Squads, ISIS and a new generation of fighters – Why Iraq is facing break-up”
 Cerny, Jakub (June 2006) “Death Squad Operations in Iraq, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom
 Dunigan, Molly (March 19, 2013) “A Lesson From Iraq War: how to outsource war to private contractors”, The Guardian
 Von Zielbauer, Paul (August 3, 2006) GI’s Say Officers Ordered Killing of Young Iraqi Men, New York Times
 Jaffe, Greg, “How Obama went from reluctant warrior to drone champion”, Washington Post, July 1, 2016
 ACLU, U.S. Releases Casualty Numbers and New Executive Order on Targeted Killing, ACLU Press Release July 1, 2016
 Greenwald, Glenn (May 29, 2012) Militants: Media Propaganda, Salon.com
 Obama’s Kill List –All males near strike zone are terrorists (May 30, 2012) RT America.
Tanya Plibersek's article is Australia deserves a seat at the table in Syria negotiations, (15/12/15) | the Guardian
Dear Ms Plibersek,
This is a follow up email to a brief conversation I had with a staffer in your office, and is a response to the article you had published in the Guardian yesterday.
I have previously made representations to you on the question of Australia’s policy on Syria and that of the Federal Labor Party, in particular through a media release on behalf of Australians for Reconciliation in Syria (AMRIS), for which I am a spokesman.
I have also presented ‘my case’ – which is Syria’s case – to the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, in correspondence over the last two years. My main concerns expressed in that correspondence have been regarding the false allegations over the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons, the improper recognition of external Opposition groups known as the ‘Syrian National Council’ as the ‘legitimate representatives of the Syrian people’, and Australia’s refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy and sovereign rights of the current Syrian government and its President Bashar al Assad, freely elected by a majority of the whole Syrian population in June 2014.
These concerns remain unchanged, as the position of the government and the Australian Labor Party remains the same, and lie at the heart of the current crisis.
There is however a reason why this problematic position must be challenged again, resulting from recent developments, and in particular Turkey’s provocation of shooting down the Russian bomber on November 24th, which Russia rightly regards as an act of war.
I would draw your attention here to a very detailed analysis by an aviation expert which proves to any sensible person that Turkey’s act was preplanned.(*1)
Following this strike, Russia responded in several ways, all of which must now be considered in relation to Australian involvement in the campaign ‘against Da’esh/IS’.
Firstly it deployed S400 missile systems in Syria, which enables Russia to shoot down any foreign aircraft which operate in Syrian airspace without authorisation from the Syrian government. Secondly Russia took immediate action over trade and relations with Turkey, including over the vital issue of gas supply contracts. And thirdly, President Putin very publicly revealed to an international audience in Paris the extent of the Turkish government’s involvement with the Islamic State, both in the export and marketing of Syrian and Iraqi oil with a tanker pipeline through Turkey to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, and with the purchasing and supply of shipments of arms over the border into Syria.
These startling revelations from Moscow, which were backed up with multiple sources of evidence of the illegal Oil trade, were vigorously denied by President Erdogan, who also refused to apologise for the downing of the Russian plane and killing of Russian servicemen by Turkish insurgents in Syria. While this was unsurprising given that Russia’s allegations were directly against Erdogan’s son Bilal, as well as against the Turkish intelligence service MIT, which has been exposed assisting with arms shipments as well as chemical weapons into Syria, the failure of Western leaders or Western media to react and respond appropriately to Turkey’s blatant support for IS and other terrorist armies in Syria was shocking.
It is however also bemusing, to find that the position of Western governments, particularly those of the US, UK and Australia, has become so contradictory, and still essentially unchanged. While we call for a global campaign against Islamic State, and prepare to send more military resources into Syria and Iraq to destroy it, we are effectively allied with Turkey, who has been supporting Da’esh and other terrorist groups – Jabhat al Nusra and Ahrar al Sham, for the last four years in Turkey’s campaign against the Syrian state. Meanwhile Russia, which operates legitimately in Syria at the invitation of the government, and in coordination with the Syrian army, has made huge gains in pushing back both the Turkish/Saudi backed ‘Army of Conquest’, and in destroying the Oil refineries and tanker pipelines of Da’esh.
The effectiveness of Russia’s bombing and cruise missile strikes on the Islamic State’s dirty trade not only raised the ire of its benefactor – Erdogan’s family business – but raises questions about the US ‘campaign against IS’ of which we are nominally a part.
There has however been another significant development, which raises particular questions about Australia’s current military deployment in Iraq. Apparently in cooperation with the Iraqi Kurdistan ‘regional government’, and its leader Barzani, Turkey moved 1200 troops and tanks and other assets into Mosul. This drew an immediate demand from the Baghdad government’s Haidar al Abadi that Turkey withdraw its forces, or face military action. Shiite militias who are operating in coordination with the Iraqi Army out of Baghdad, were particularly vocal in their protests against Turkey, as well as against the US. The Iraqi government was vigorously supported with mass public protests in the south of the country, and calls for direct action against Turkey’s invasion. Erdogan however not only refuses to withdraw his troops, which he claims are there to ‘train peshmerga forces to fight IS’, but has threatened to cut Iraq’s water supply through the Euphrates and Tigris rivers unless Iraq changes its position on support for Syria and Russia.
The Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has repeatedly made clear that our commitment in Iraq and in Syria is strictly ‘in defence of Iraq’ but is also operating with the consent and at the behest of the Baghdad government. As the development outlined above now effectively puts Australia at odds with the ‘US coalition against Da’esh’ there is an urgent need for a clarification of Australia’s position, both on Turkey and on the Russian campaign supporting the Syrian army against ALL the terrorist groups fighting the Syrian government.
We must ask whether the Turnbull government acknowledges Turkey’s support for the Islamic State, and what action it intends to take against the Erdogan regime’s aggressive and destabilising behaviour. We must also ask whether the Australian airforce will continue to conduct bombing runs in coordination with the US coalition. Not only have Turkish actions put us in conflict with that coalition, operating out of Incirlik, but there is another danger. Russia has stated that there no further threats to Russian servicemen and assets will be tolerated, from unauthorised foreign parties.
Even if Australia limits its activities to strikes on Islamic State targets in Eastern Syria, this may bring us into the line of legitimate Russian fire. Other unidentified coalition partners last week struck a Syrian army base near Deir al Zour, in an act which enabled IS forces to overrun a long-protected village. As with Turkey’s illegal incursions, this attack on the SAA , which killed three men and injured a dozen, drew an immediate protest to the UN, but no action has been taken to identify the country or countries responsible. Neither has there been any explanation of why a member of the US coalition launched a strike on the SAA base which facilitated the operations of the IS terrorist group in the area where its Oil assets are located.
I trust that you will consider the case that I have made, and in the light of it perhaps reconsider the apparent support of the Labor party for the US led campaign, which quite evidently aims to replace Syria’s legitimately elected government with some group of Sunni officials approved by the very countries supporting the terrorist groups in Syria – Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.
I also urge you to give this matter urgent attention, despite the imminent Christmas break.
I have copied Julie Bishop into this letter, and would welcome a further response from her.
Sandy Creek, Victoria
I also recommend this article from Mike Whitney on today’s meeting between Kerry and Putin in Moscow, stating it as it is:
video inside:In a huge stunning announcement yesterday by the Russian Foreign Minister, Russia presented direct evidence of Turkey buying illegal oil from the black market supporting terrorists. In this video change.org goes over the important revelations by the Russians, their consequences and the shift of the geopolitical field. The western mainstream media is simply not reporting this because it runs totally counter to their spin. If the western media were to properly bring this news to their readers, they would have to explain the torrent of lies they have issued forth so far in order to justify war. The western media is historically pro-war and Australians, Americans, British and Europeans who rely on the mainstream media alone never hear both sides.
A damning White House memo has revealed details of the so-called “deal in blood” forged by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush over the Iraq war.
The document, titled “Secret... Memorandum for the President”, was sent by then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell to President Bush on March 28, 2002, a week before Bush’s summit with Blair at his Crawford ranch in Texas, Britain’s Daily Mail reported on Sunday.
The sensational memo revealed that Blair had agreed to support the war a year before the invasion even started, while publicly the British prime minister was working to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis. Article first published on Iranian Press TV, Sunday 18 October, 2015.CDB Editor update 4 April 2021: Apologies for broken picture links here; the images are from another site, which is beyond our control
Syrian forces are advancing and now within two kilometers of the hospital of Jisr al-Shughur (Idlib) where are besieged by terrorists 250 people, including Syrian soldiers and civilians (10/5/15) | Syrian Free Press
War in Ukraine, Donbass: Kiev’s army has violated the ceasefire for 46 times in 24 hours (9/5/15) | Syrian Free Press
Poles vote in presidential election 1hr (10/5/15) | PressTV
Yemeni tribesmen capture Ahad al-Masareha city in Saudi Arabia (10/5/15) | Syrian Free Press
Victory in Europe (VE) Day commemorations
U.S. and Europe Boycott Russia’s V-Day Celebration of Its 9 May 1945 Victory Over Hitler (9/5/15), by Eric Zuesse | Global Research
Anglo-American Money Owners Organized World War II (7/5/15), by Valentin Katasonov | Voltaire Net
United States' human rights watch
Omar Khadr Arrested and Detained in Guantanamo. Timeline (9/5/15) by Eric Zuesse | Global Research
Police clash with anti-austerity protesters in London (9/5/15) | PressTV
Poles vote in presidential election 1hr (10/5/15) | PressTV
The US State Department has been criticized for its move to deny a visa to an Iraqi Christian nun planning to reveal ISIL atrocities to Congress.
Sister Diana Momeka was part of an Iraqi delegation that was scheduled to testify before the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committee later this month.
Momeka has been a frank supporter for the Christians who have been killed and deported by the ISIL 1 terrorist group.
Other members of the delegation received visas to the US to speak in Washington about the persecution of minorities of the region.
The US consulate in the Iraqi semi-autonomous region of Erbil, Kurdistan rejected her visitor visa application earlier this week.
According to the US State Department, the Christian nun was "not able to demonstrate that [her] intended activities in the United States would be consistent with the classification of the visa."
The nun was the only Christian in the group that was set to head to the US on an invitation from American NGOs.
The criticism came from Nina Shea of the conservative Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom in an op-ed in National Review Online.
"She told me in a phone conversation that, to her face, consular officer Christopher Patch told her she was denied because she is an 'IDP' or Internally Displaced Person. 'That really hurt.' Essentially, the State Department was calling her a deceiver," Nina Shea said in the op-ed.
ISIL destroyed Sister Diana's home forcing her and 50,000 others to flee back in August.
Shea explained that State Department officials concluded from the nun's application process and interview to obtain a visa that Sister Diana "could be falsely asserting that she intends to visit Washington when secretly she could be intending to stay. That would constitute illegal immigration, and that, of course, is strictly forbidden. Once here, she could also be at risk for claiming political asylum, and the US seems determined to deny ISIS's (ISIL) Christian victims that status."
Sister Diana, who is from an Iraqi town of 50,000 mostly Christian residents, was forced to leave her home by ISIL in August.
Since then, she has received refugee status and has been an outspoken critic of ISIL and other terrorist groups creating mayhem in Iraq and elsewhere.
This article about fellow Australian Julian Assange has been adapted from the original Sputnik International article of 7 April 2015.
April 5 marked the five-year anniversary of the release of the Collateral Murder video by WikiLeaks (embedded within). The shocking footage showed the entire world the 2007 US Apache attack helicopter airstrike on Baghdad that killed 12 people - including two Reuters staff members - and injured two small children.
Ironically, the only ones imprisoned for the crime were those with the courage and compassion to attempt to bring the perpetrators to justice.
See also: l'Espresso interview | Julian Assange: 'I still enjoy crushing bastards' (2/4/15).
Assange took part in a Reddit AMA on Monday, along with journalist and Assange’s closest adviser Sarah Harrison, to discuss the many things the duo have been involved in.
The Collateral Murder video was part of a massive trove of confidential evidence of US wrong-doing, collected and released by whistleblowing army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, in an attempt to show the world the “true costs of war.” The collection was deemed the largest release of confidential documents ever leaked to the public.
Manning equated actions she witnessed in the video to “children torturing ants with a magnifying glass,” except these ants were human beings, who simply happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Manning was charged with 22 offenses, including aiding the enemy, a charge that could have lead her to death row over an act of conscience. She was ultimately acquitted of that charge, but was found guilty of 17 others, and is currently serving a 35-year sentence in a maximum security military prison.
Meanwhile, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange remains under investigation by the US government for publishing their criminal secrets, and has been granted political asylum by Ecuador. Unable to safely travel to South America, he has remained in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012.
The city has had officers from the Metropolitan Police Service continuously stationed outside the building, prepared to arrest him should he ever try to leave ever since. The total cost for the first two years of this patrol has cost the city £6.5 million.
But an undeterred Assange has remained active even from inside the embassy. The publisher has continued to release information and has helped to raise money and support for political prisoners and whistleblowers through the Courage Foundation. Manning has also been writing — and now tweeting — from prison.
During an AMA with Sarah Harrison, Renata Avila, Andy Müller-Maguhn of the Courage Foundation and Julian Assange on Reddit Monday evening, Reddit user Josiah_Bartlet1 asked Assange: “do you think that the work you have done will lead to a radical shift slowly in the government and society as we know it, or do you think the instruments of the government are enough to throttle any such efforts (based on your personal experiences)?”
Assange responded saying, “These are cascading effects with geometric amplifiers in both directions. It's hard to say, but at least we can say we fought and gave people a choice to know themselves and their civilization.”
Another user, Militaria, asked, “What would you say to people like my parents, who believe that leakers and whistleblowers are dangerous traitors who are supporting ‘the enemy?’”
“This propaganda happens a lot. What is very important here is to explain that throughout the whole of the Manning trial the US government was desperate to prove that some "harm" had come. In fact if could prove none. What did happen, is that the US troops began to withdraw from Iraq. What has happened since Snowden's revelations is that citizens around the world began to protect their communications. And still not one reported "harm". In fact we still get bombs by known person's of suspect. It is a matter of US interests the government is protecting, not US security,” Harrison responded.
“What legal protections would you recommend for intelligence whistleblowers?” another user asked.
“The reality of the situation is that alleged journalistic sources like Snowden and Manning will rarely, if ever, be fully protected regardless of domestic laws. At the very least all cases of whistleblowing, publishing and journalistic sources should have the ability to have a public interest defence. I think the real solutions in such cases will always rely on international measures though. However, these will always also still rely on the reality of international politics — few countries have the balls to stand up to the US,” Harrison wrote.
When asked what the average citizen can do to stop illegal breaches of individual privacy by the US government, Julian responded with, “Nothing. There's nothing you can do. As soon as you do something you'll no-longer be average. Do that. Don't be average.”
“How has Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning's whistleblowing affected other potential whistleblowers? Do you get a sense that they are emboldened by their efforts, or more apprehensive after seeing the response to it?” user raihan42 asked.
“Edward Snowden has said that he was inspired by Chelsea Manning. The US government wanted to publicly destroy Manning, in a grotesque way, as a warning. They did not succeed but I realised we can do even better! This is part of the reason why we put a lot of resources and risk into getting Edward Snowden asylum. He is now mostly free, living a fulfilling life of respect, an inspirational symbol for whistleblowers world wide and not a general deterrent suffering in a US prison unable to defend himself or promote his cause in public,” Assange wrote.
“Obama and the US government generally have tried to offer each truthteller as an deterrent. Manning was sentenced to 35 years, Hammond to 10 years, Brown to 5 years, WikiLeaks secret Grand Jury is ongoing in its 5th year. Yet, their deterrent method is clearly failing. Snowden came forward,” Harrison continued. “I look forward to when the next truthteller comes forward. Courage is building the safety nets for when they do.”
Assange Demands Full Access to Swedish Investigation Materials on Rape Case
Whistleblower Chelsea Manning Joins Twitter
Whistleblower Chelsea Manning Scores a Legal Victory
Assange To Stay in London Embassy as Long as US Pursues WikiLeaks Probe
Mexico Launches Own Wikileaks to Fight Corruption
Originally published under the title of "Iran's deputy FM: Yemen's president uses terrorists to fight rebels," this is the transcript, with links to the video, of Sophie Shevardnadze's interview with Iran Deputy Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. The beginning of the video is particularly instructive, as Hossein Amir-Abdollahian gives a run-down on what is happening from Iran's very close perspective. Among other things, it becomes clear that Iran does not believe that the United States is trying to stop IS. Saudi Arabia has said that it is going to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says it will not let this happen. It also says that it will not let Syria fall. The Minister says that the reason the United States wants to wreck Syria is that then it will have destroyed the main Russian foothold in the Middle East and that will allow the United States to dominate the region and maintain world hegemony. See also this Crosstalk episode where US realpolitik intentions and consequences and rhetoric are discussed in a very informed manner, particularly in relation to Yemen.
Iran's deputy FM: Yemen's president uses terrorists to fight rebels
Date of publication on RT at http://rt.com/shows/sophieco/245101-yemen-terrorists-rebels-isis/ March 30, 2015 08:30.
Transcript and Video
Yemen has turned into another battlefield, raging across the region. ISIS is prospering on the ruins of state. The flames of war grow brighter with Saudi Arabia and its allies joining the combat on the side of the Yemen’s government forces. But is that a solution? Hasn’t the method of intervention discredited itself - just inspiring more violence? We look at the issue with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sophie&Co.
Sophie Shevardnadze: Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian,thank you for joining us again, we’re very happy to have you here. I’d like to start with the recent events. As you know, Yemen is on the verge of a civil war. Saudi Arabia and its allies have launched air strikes in Yemen against the Shia rebels who seized power. What is your opinion on this and what is Iran’s stance?
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian: In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful. We believe that the situation in Yemen should be resolved through political means only. We are very – let’s put it this way – surprised that foreign countries launched a military operation in Yemen. We believe that foreign interference will not only fail to solve the problem, but also exacerbate it. It’s easy to start a war, but it’s extremely hard to finish one. The countries interfering in the situation in Yemen are putting themselves in a very difficult position, they will just sink into this mire. All the sides seeking power in Yemen should take part in a political process to determine the future of the country. The Houthi rebels who seized power in Yemen, that is, the Ansar Allah movement, are a very influential group. Their main objective is to fight terrorism. They seized certain territories to clear them of terrorists. Unfortunately, recently the ISIS forces, the Nigerian Boko Haram and Somalian Al-Shabaab started operating in the country. They cooperate with some intelligence services from other states to create chaos in Yemen. Ansar Allah took preventive steps against terrorist forces. We believe that a national dialogue should take place in Yemen to reach an agreement based on peace and cooperation. The countries of this region, including Saudi Arabia, shouldn’t hamper this process.
SS: That’s a lot of ‘shoulds’... In any case, the airstrikes have begun and what we have here is a direct military intervention. Do I understand correctly from what you just said that in this situation when Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states are bombing Yemen, Iran will stay an observer rather than start actively interfering?
HA-A: We will keep supporting the fight against terrorism in the region, including in Yemen. In this respect we welcome the actions of Ansar Allah aimed at combating terrorism. We will support the dialogue in Yemen to the best of our abilities and we are willing to aid the start of the political process in this country. We don’t believe that the conflict in Yemen can be solved through military means. We don’t believe the Ansar Allah forces need to receive military aid. We will not facilitate military action in Yemen.We are in favor of national dialogue, and in this respect our stance is the same as Russia’s. During negotiations with my Russian counterpart we agreed to facilitate the start of a peace process in Yemen.
SS: You’ve said before that the Yemeni President should resign. Does it mean that you support the Houthis and not the legitimate president of Yemen?
HA-A: Indeed, we have criticized the Yemeni President and urged him to resign. Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadimade a number of mistakes as president. His first obvious mistake was the initial decision to resign, and his second was to flee the capital and move to Aden. Using terrorist groups to fight Ansar Allah was his third mistake. Announcing that Aden is the new capital was another strategic mistake on his part. Why? Because some countries supported the decision to make Aden a temporary capital, which triggered further divisions in Yemen, pushing the country closer to war. Even before Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen we have very clearly stated that all Yemeni political forces, including the President, should gather in Sanaa and launch a dialogue based on peace and partnership in order to break the current deadlock. But instead Hadi tried to politically boycott Ansar Allah. We maintain contact with all the groups and movements in Yemen, including the interim government and Ansar Allah. But we believe that Yemen belongs to all the Yemeni people and a single movement cannot dominate the political arena.Yemeni leaders should make their own decision regarding the country’s future.
SS: But right now it’s ultimately about supporting either the Houthis that seized power or the rest. As for the Houthis, is there a guarantee that they will be able to unite the people, consolidate the power and prevent bloodshed?
HA-A: The Houthis are strongly supported by the population. The actions of President Hadi backed by some foreign states resulted in terrorists infiltrating Yemen. Ansar Allah had to respond. The Houthis honored their commitments, they were willing to take part in a dialogue, but the other side changed the rules. In this situation, when the war in Yemen has already begun, Ansar Allah is protecting itself and the country. They are still in favor of peace and political dialogue. People support Ansar Allah and respect its members. The only way to resolve the situation in Yemen is for all the political groups to cooperate and come to an agreement.
SS: Let’s talk about another military operation in the region, conducted by the US and the coalition of Arab states against ISIS. In your interview to Reuters you said that the United States is not acting to eliminate ISIS, it’s only interested in managing it. Did you mean that the US is controlling the Islamic State? How is that possible?
HA-A: In the beginning the Americans declared that they wanted to destroy ISIS. But then it became clear that in reality they were just weakening ISIS. Now it’s apparent that all they want is to control, to manage the Islamic State. The US built a coalition to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but the action plansfor the two countries are different. The US is coordinating its actions with the government in Iraq, but this is not the case in Syria. The US simply informed the Syrian President of its intentions. It is not coordinating its actions with the Syrian military.We have proof that the Americans use double standards when it comes to combating terrorism. They have no unified strategy, and in some cases we see a connection between U.S. intelligence services and terrorist groups. We’ve expressed our concern about this to our American counterparts through diplomatic channels, but the U.S. maintains they are committed to fighting terrorism.
SS: You say direct military action is needed against ISIS.Would Iran support a U.S. on-the-ground military intervention into Iraq and Syria?
HA-A: We haven’t supported the US-led coalition against ISIS because we have serious doubts about America’s true objectives. One of the reasons for our doubts is that after Mosul fell, we saw that the U.S. are not taking any serious steps. It seems like they were waiting for some political changes to take place. There is a lot of controversy over the way the US has been fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria in the recent years. If the Americans are combating terrorism, why are they now willing to negotiate with the Taliban after so many years of fighting it?
SS: Now you’ve brought up the issue -U.S. actions in Iraq have led to the chaos we’re seeing today with the Islamic State, U.S actions in Afghanistan failed to end the Taliban… Is it time forregionalpowers to step in and clear the mess?
HA-A: The Americans started fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, but did they manage to get rid of it? Did the US succeed in eradicating the roots of terrorism in Afghanistan? We believe that ISIS is the result of the US military intervention in Iraq. The US created the conditions for the growth of terrorism in Iraq, and it won’t be eradicated until the U.S. stops behaving in such an ambiguous way.
SS:I’m not disputing that. My question was whether it was time for regional powers such as Iran and its neighbors to interfere and sort out this mess.
HA-A: When it comes to fighting terrorism, Iran was the first country that rushed to Iraq’s aid and the first country to help Syria. We will support any country in the region that is threatened by terrorism and help them within the framework of international law. Upon request from the Iraqi and Syrian governments we sent our military advisers there to fight terrorism. Some of them died as martyrs. We are closely cooperating with some countries of the region in order to create a joint mechanism to combat terror.
SS: The Iraqi Defense Minister recently praised Iran for its role in fighting the Islamic State. And you say Iran sent military advisers to Iraq.What role do military advisors play exactly? Are they Iranians who fight the Islamic State directly? I’ll explain why I’m asking. Just recentlythe leader of Iraq’s shiite militia has thanked Iran and an Iranian general - General Soleimani – for saving Baghdad from Isis.So does that mean the Iranian army is directly fighting ISIS in Iraq?
HA-A: When it comes to Iraq, it’s the Iraqi people and the Iraqi army that plays the most important role there. They are undertaking tremendous efforts to fight ISIS. Ayatollah al-Sistani’s fatwa which declared fighting ISIS a sacred duty greatly contributed to the mobilization of the Iraqi population. When we say that Iran’s military advisers are in Iraq, we mean people who offer advice to the Iraqi and Syrian armed forces. We share our experience in fighting terrorism. In no way does it mean that we send our soldiers there. Iraq and Syria have enough armed forces to fight terrorism.
SS: So you reaffirm that at the moment there are no Iranian soldiers directly involved in fighting Iraqi militants on the ground?
HA-A: No Iranian armed forces or militants are currently present in Iraq or Syria.
SS: Let me ask you this: whyaren’tyou fighting? Wouldn’t Iranian help be extremely useful in the current situation?
HA-A: We can help our partners organize the process and make military decisions. But Both countries have enough armed forces, there’s no need to send Iranian soldiers to Iraq or Syria.
SS: Okay, so both Iranian military advisers and American military advisers are currently in Iraq.Does that mean that Iranian military advisers are working side by side with the Americans and their allies? Is that right?
HA-A: We don’t have an agreement with the US regarding joint efforts to fight terrorism in Iraq.We don’t have direct military cooperation. But the Iraqi government is coordinating the work of the military advisors - In some parts of Iraq American military advisors consult the Iraqi forces, in other parts it’s the Iranian military advisers.We are very committed to combating terrorism and we’ve made considerable progress in Iraq. There’s no doubt that Baghdad was on the brink of falling into the hands of ISIS, but right now it’s under no danger. Other parts of the country should have been freed of ISIS with the help of the Americans, but we don’t see the U.S. taking any major steps. So we constantly criticize them for not being decisive and serious enough in fighting terrorism.
SS:I understand, but if the Iranian and American military advisers were to coordinate their work, wouldn’t it be more effective than offering different strategies to fight ISIS in different parts of the country? Right now it seems that both Iran and the US share the same interests in this region, that is, to defeat ISIS.
HA-A: We are committed to fighting terrorism, and we take planning and implementing concrete measures very seriously. We don’t agree with the steps the US is taking, so we see no point in coordinating our work. If the US proves its commitment to fight ISIS, we will of course welcome it.
SS: U.S. former commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus has said that the Shiite militias confronting ISIS, “aided and guided by Iran”, are a bigger threat to Iraq than ISIS itself - should Baghdad refuse their help then?
HA-A: What Petraeus said indicates that he doesn’t have a good understanding of what is going on, even though he was the commander of the US forces in Iraq for years. The US has on a number of occasions expressed its concern over militias formed in Iraq.But I’ll have to state very clearly that volunteer militias were formed under the guidance of the Iraqi government and Iraqi military command. Iraqi militias are not independent. They operate within the framework of Iraq’s Constitution, under the command of the Defense Minister and work towards the same objective as the Iraqi army.
SS:If not the Shia forces, who should be fighting ISIS? Both the Iraqi army and the Sunni armed groupshaven’t been showing much progress before the militias stepped in...
HA-A: You see, people say that we help only the Shia in Iraq, but that’s not the case. Our military advisors are engaged together with the Iraqi army in operations in Tikrit, in Sunni areas. If Iran had not responded to a plea for help from the leader of Iraqi Kurds Mr. Masoud Barzani, ISIS would have been in Erbil by now. Mr. Barzani stated very clearly that they are thankful to the Islamic Republic of Iran for assistance in fighting ISIS. In other words, we have offered help in Shia-dominated areas, Kurdish areas, and now we are helping Iraqi Sunnis in Tikrit to fight terror. So saying that Shiite militias are the only ones fighting in Iraq is not exactly correct.
SS: With the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the Western powers showing signs of progress, why is there still such mistrust about Iran’s aid in the fight against the IS?
HA-A: First of all, we have even less trust in the West than they have in us. I don’t think they have any reasons for suspicion, because our counter-terrorist efforts have proved worthwhile. If you don’t believe me, ask the people of Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria.Why is the West apprehensive about this? That’s their problem.
SS: While Western allies focus their attention on Iraq, Syria remains a stronghold for the Islamic State…Your interior minister told me in a recent interview that you offer organizational, advisory assistance to Syria in the fight against the Islamic State. Are you planning to offer wider support?
HA-A: We will continue to provide assistance to Syria.We will not allow Syria to turn into another Libya or another Somalia. In spite of the chaos created by terrorists, in spite of the misguided international actions in the region, we always have and always will stand by the Syrian people. Iran backed the political process in Syria, government reforms, the demands of the moderate Syrian opposition. We support the inter-Syrian dialogue in Moscow. Iran will continue helping Syria combat terrorism and we will also continue providing economic assistance to Syria.
SS:Is Iran the only country helping Syria fight ISIS?
HA-A: Iran is the only country that officially helps Syria fight terrorism and coordinates its efforts with Syrian authorities. We provide them with military advice. Hezbollah has also been very effective in the fight against ISIS, it’s ensuring the security of Lebanon. Lately, many countries, some European and American politicians have acknowledged the issue of terrorism in Syria, and are emphasizing the need for a political settlement inside the country. We proudly declare that Tehran has prevented terrorists from overthrowing the political regime in Syria, even though some foreign intelligence agencies supported armed groups in Syria. Besides, some foreign governments contributed to the strengthening of ISIS in Syria.
SS:ISIS is strengthening its presence across the entire region, spreading beyond Syria and Iraq into Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen; they even have supporters in Nigeria.How has Iran, neighbored by Iraq and Afghanistan, managed to keep extremism out?
HA-A: The reason why we offer effective assistance to our neighbors is that our security services have a lot of experience in managing the situation and combatting terrorism. Even though we’re in between two of the world’s biggest terror hubs - Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran remains the most secure and stable country in the region. This is thanks to our security services and other units that specialize in fighting terrorism.
SS: That’s clear, but what exactly do you do? Each country uses its army and security forces for protection. But the countries targeted by ISIS also have their own security forces. So what makes you better at it?
HA-A: First, there must be no distinction between good terrorism and bad terrorism. You cannot use terrorism in your own interests. Second, you need to have adequate security forces to act against terror. Third, you need to enforce border control. And most importantly, you need to address the social and ideological roots of terror in the region. Every government must track the roots of terrorism to work out a solution. As for the measures we take, the specifics are up to security forces. This is not my domain. Russia, too, is taking very productive steps and building effective tools to ensure its own security. We see terror strikes in France and in the US; Russia is not immune, either. But why does Russia stay stable and secure? I think it’s all about running the country well and the counter-terrorist experience Russia has.
SS: In other words, countries are better at ensuring their security under the pressure of sanctions! All right – let’s move on to another topic. I’d like to touch upon falling oil prices. You are saying this is happening due to well-planned actions of some governments in the region. Which ones do you mean – beside Saudi Arabia?
HA-A: There are a handful of factors contributing to the falling oil prices. One of them is the law of supply and demand. The second one is the production of shale oil in the US. We know now for sure about the recent concerted effort by some of the countries in the region…
HA-A: I’d rather not name them. Anyway, that was a concerted effort by some of the oil producers in the region and the US. One of their goals was to lean on Tehran and Moscow. Their idea was that the drop in the oil prices would increase economic pressure on Tehran and Moscow, so that Tehran would concede on its nuclear program, and Moscow on the Ukrainian crisis. But it is a two-way street: even the countries that expanded their oil production and are reducing oil prices will suffer from this policy very soon.
I believe that the region and the international community in general are being affected by strategic errors.The biggest error in the realm of security consists in the instrumental use of terror in some of the regional countries, like Syria and IraqThe biggest error in the realm of economy is keeping the oil prices at a low level. All of this breeds instability, undermines security and builds up extremism.The only stakeholders who benefit from it are the enemies of the region.
SS: Saudi Arabia has recently declared it is ready to start designing its own nuclear weapons. What will Iran do if Saudi Arabia makes a nuclear bomb?
HA-A: Our spiritual leader has banned production and use of nuclear weapons at the highest political and religious level. We seek to build a nuclear weapon-free zone. If Saudi Arabia wants to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, we will be happy to see that Iran’s persistence in this issue has finally yielded fruit. Moreover, we are ready to share our experience with other countries in the region. But we strongly oppose building nuclear weapons, and we will not allow Saudi Arabia to make a nuclear bomb.
SS:I get it, but unfortunately Saudi Arabia has openly said they are talking about nuclear weapons, not nuclear research, and that they’re doing it in response to Iran’s nuclear program that has research purposes.
HA-A: Iran continues to talk with its partners on its nuclear program. So far the talks have confirmed that Iran is not engaged in developing nuclear weapons. So there is no need for Saudi Arabia to do this either.
SS: You are evading my question in a true diplomatic fashion. To make it clear, Saudi Arabia has announced its intentions to work on nuclear weapons. What is Iran’s stance on this?
HA-A: We do not make nuclear weapons, and we forcefully condemn other regional countries’ intent to acquire a nuclear bomb. All countries in the region, including Israel, must destroy their nuclear warheads.
SS: Thank you very much for this interview. I hope to see you again someday.
HA-A: I’d also like to thank you and wish your esteemed audience the best of success.
The Syrian conflict, from the perspective of Australian history: In 1942, Australia, with the help of its American allies led by President Franklin Roosevelt, prevented invasion by the Empire of Japan. Much of this was due to the preparedness of Australia's own defence forces, as described in "Armed and Ready" (1995) by A. T. Ross.
However, had Australia, in 1942, faced what Syria has had to face since March 2011 – hordes of foreign terrorists, estimated to number as many as 250,000, operating from countries bordering Syria – Australia almost certainly would have been conquered.
Against the expectations of even many sympathetic to Syria, she has withstood invasion and defeated the terrorists.
But that endurance has come at a terrible cost. Some estimates put the cost so far to be as high as 195,000 dead, in addition to the wounded and terrible material destruction suffered by Syria.
No country, not even a country as resourceful as Syria, can indefinitely defend itself from invasion from territories embracing at least one third of the world's land mass. Unless Syria's friends within those countries can force their governments to end their support for the terrorists, Syria could well be defeated. The consequences for Syria could well be commensurate with the carnage and destruction endured by its neighbour Iraq since 1990.
#fnEgw1" id="fnEgw1">1. #txtEgw1">↑ "Foreign jihadists flocking to Iraq and Syria on 'unprecedented scale' – UN", Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian, 30 October 2014.
#fnEgw2" id="fnEgw2">2. #txtEgw2">↑ "CIA recruits 1,500 from Mazar-e-Sharif to fight in Libya", Azhar Masood, The Nation (Pakistan), 31 August 2011.
Recently, in an on-line forum discussion on johnquiggin.com, claims by Amnesty International that the Syrian Government of President Bashar al-Assad had engaged in human rights abuses were #comment-246556">cited.
In fact, in 1990 Amnesty International peddled the infamous 'incubator babies' lie (see Appendix below for embedded 2:47min broadcast) and has repeatedly been complicit in violations of human rights far greater than those claimed violations of human rights to which it had objected.
The death toll in Iraq since the invasion of 1991 that was facilitated by the 'incubator babies' has been estimated be as high as 3.3 million including 750,000 children. This seems consistent with another estimate of the death toll since the 2003 invasion of 1,455,590. Other estimates give death tolls from these wars of at least several hundreds of thousands.
So, in the case of Iraq, Amnesty International's actions have resulted in a count of deaths of several orders of magnitude greater than those it had alleged to have occurred and had objected to.
Since the first Iraq War, Amnesty International has similarly provided a propaganda cover for other acts aggression by the the United States and its allies. These include the invasion of Libya in 2011, the terrorist war against Syria from March 2011, in which as many as 195,00 may have died, and the coup in Ukraine and the regime's subsequent war against the ethnic Russians of East Ukraine. In the case of Ukraine, whilst Amnesty has acknowledged that the Ukraine regime has violated human rights, it has also fabricated claims of human rights abuses by the East Ukraine self-defence forces against the very people upon whom they rely for support. See Violence and Atrocities: Amnesty International and the War in Ukraine (23/7/14) by Vladislav Gulevich and Amnesty International Diverts Attention Away from Ukrainian Armed Forces Responsibility for War Crimes (10/9/14) by David Garrett.
#app1" id="app1">Appendix: The Incubator Babies Conspiracy by Barrie Zwicker
RT#fnRT1" id="txtRT1"> 1 is an Internet news service funded by the Russian government. Unlike the commercial and government newsmedia in the west, which has repeatedly deceived the public about world events through narrow reporting. This has been particularly so for past and present wars in Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Iraq. RT, to the contrary, has reported a wide variety of views with abundant documentation about those conflicts. It has interviewed all sides and many different publicly verifiable sources, which the western newsmedia has ignored.
RT gives more detailed attention to geopolitical factors, which are often overlooked by the western media, which tends to reduce political issues to leaders' personalities. Whilst RT is not without flaws and shortcomings, to date it has performed an indispensible service to humanity in its fight against war and ecological devastation.
As we find articles on RT, which we think are of interest to visitors of candobetter.net, we will endeavour publish them on this page (http://candobetter.net/about/RT or http://candobetter.net/node/4107/) or else post links with explantory notes - Ed
RT gives more detailed attention to geopolitical factors, which are often overlooked by the western media, which tends to reduce political issues to leaders' personalities. Whilst RT is not without flaws and shortcomings, to date it has performed an indispensible service to humanity in its fight against war and ecological devastation.
RT ads were rejected for outdoor displays in London because of their "political overtones." Though posters had to be redacted, the original images could still be seen on them, with the help of a special mobile app.
The censored posters, part of RT's international "Second Opinion" ad campaign, were supposed to feature ex-US President George W. Bush and the former UK prime minister Tony Blair, but will instead show an empty space with a word "redacted" over it.
London outdoor advertising companies have refused to allow the original images to appear on the city's telephone booths and underground stations, citing the Communications Act 2003, which prohibits political advertising.
"RT's slogan is "Question More' and our advertising campaign has been calling exactly for that – to ask yourself a question of how would events develop, if the world media reported on different points of view," said RT's editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, reacting to the refusal to place the company's advertising posters in London. "It's sad that some people do not want these issues to be raised at all."
The theme of the "Second Opinion" campaign is the Iraq war, and the politicians on the posters are the ones who launched the 2003 invasion of the country. The ads recall the fact that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, while the war launched under the pretext that Iraq possessed them led to more than 140,000 civilian deaths.
The RT ad campaign kicked off in August 2014 in New York and Washington, attracting the attention of many media outlets.
It was described as "provocative" by The Huffington Post, which added that it was "a serious dig at the way the US media reported on the Iraq war."
"[With these ads RT] tries to persuade New Yorkers to view it as an alternative to American channels," The New York Times wrote.
In the US, the ads appeared in the form of wild postings.
In London, the redacted posters can be viewed in full with the help of RTplus, an augmented reality mobile app. Having downloaded the application, people in the city will be able to scan the redacted image and see the pre-censored original ad.
#fnUkr1" id="fnRT1">1.#txtRT1">↑ 'RT' was formerly considered an acronym for 'Russia Today', but for reasons, which are not clear to me, RT staff no longer the case for. Possibly It is because RT reports on much more than what is going on in Russia.
"The last people who should be returning to the scene of their former crimes are Britain, France and the United States of America." Those words were said by George Galloway, a British MP during a debate in the lead up to a vote on the UK participating in airstrikes in Iraq against ISIL. It came as no surprise that the vote went through, though concerns remain about how the very countries involved in the 2003 Iraq War and subsequent chaos which helped in forming ISIL, can beat their own Frankenstein. In this edition of the debate we ask: was the mission a never-ending creation of pretexts, however false, in order to justify an unending war in Iraq?
Provoking war abroad raises spectre of staged attacks at home.
September 18, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci, aka Land Destroyer) - The FBI has foiled yet another entirely fabricated terror threat of its own creation, with missing mechanisms in two firearms provided to a potential terrorist being the only thing that prevented this latest case of entrapment from going "live."
A Rochester man, Mufid A. Elfgeeh, is accused by the FBI of attempting to provide material support to ISIS (undercover FBI agents), attempting to kill US soldiers, and possession of firearms and silencers (provided to him by the FBI). The FBI's own official press release stated (emphasis added):
According to court records, Elfgeeh attempted to provide material support to ISIS in the form of personnel, namely three individuals, two of whom were cooperating with the FBI. Elfgeeh attempted to assist all three individuals in traveling to Syria to join and fight on behalf of ISIS. Elfgeeh also plotted to shoot and kill members of the United States military who had returned from Iraq. As part of the plan to kill soldiers, Elfgeeh purchased two handguns equipped with firearm silencers and ammunition from a confidential source. The handguns were made inoperable by the FBI before the confidential source gave them to Elfgeeh.
What is perhaps more chilling are the details of Elfgeeh's plans to kill US soldiers. The FBI's press release stated (emphasis added):
Court documents also indicate that Elfgeeh first discussed the idea of shooting United States military members in December 2013 when he told CS-2 that he was thinking about getting a gun and ammunition, putting on a bulletproof vest, and "just go[ing] around and start shooting." In February 2014, Elfgeeh told CS-2 that he needed a handgun and silencer. Elfgeeh later gave CS-2 $1,050 in cash to purchase two handguns equipped with silencers and ammunition. On May 31, 2014, CS-2 delivered the two handguns equipped with silencers and ammunition to Elfgeeh. After Elfgeeh took possession of the items, he was arrested by members of the Rochester Joint Terrorism Task Force. Elfgeeh is currently being held in custody.
Elfgeeh's plans are also - coincidentally - verbatim, the dream scenario of Washington's warmongers currently attempting to sell a war that will straddle both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border, allow the US to provide terrorists operating in Syria with air support, and lead to punitive operations against the Syrian government for attacking US-backed terrorists with the final objective being long-sought after regime change in Damascus.
With serial beheadings failing to raise Western public support necessary for an expedient intervention in Syria, more insidious provocations appear to be in the works. Setting the stage, a CBS/Associated Press story titled, "Former Deputy CIA Director: ‘I Would Not Be Surprised' If ISIS Member Shows Up To US Mall Tomorrow With AK-47," would claim immediately after the initial James Foley execution video that:
"The short-term concern is the Americans that have gone to fight with ISIS and the west Europeans that have gone to fight with ISIS could be trained and directed by ISIS to come to the United States to conduct small-scale attacks," Morell stated. "If an ISIS member showed up at a mall in the United States tomorrow with an AK-47 and killed a number of Americans, I would not be surprised."
Morell warned that over the long-term the extremist group could be planning for a 9/11-style attack that killed thousands of Americans.
Elfgeeh's entrapment is only the beginning. Staged "terror raids" in Australia are also ratcheting up hysteria ahead of an actual event of mass murder carried out on Western soil. The BBC would report in their article, "Australia raids over 'Islamic State plot to behead'," that:
Police have carried out anti-terror raids in Sydney sparked by intelligence reports that Islamic extremists were planning random killings in Australia.
PM Tony Abbott said a senior Australian Islamic State militant had called for "demonstration killings", reportedly including a public beheading.
The raids, with at least 800 heavily-armed officers, led to 15 arrests.
The cartoonish nature of the plot - beheading a random member of the public before draping an ISIS flag over their body - is meant to provoke maximum fear and anger first, then maximum support for Australia's continued involvement in Wall Street and London's hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East. Likewise, the Rochester arrest made by the FBI amid their own terror plot, serves only to incite fear across the public and irrational support for intervention in Syria that will, in fact, lead to further support of extremists as well as the destruction of the only institution in the region truly fighting terrorism - the Syrian Arab Army.
A Functioning Firing Pin Away From a Staged Mass Shooting
The FBI has a long list of foiled terror plots of its own creation. More disturbingly are the plots they conceived but "accidentally" allowed to go "live." One might recall the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. FBI agents, according to the New York Times, were indeed overseeing the bombers that detonated a device killing six and wounding many more at the World Trade Center.
In their article, "Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast," NYT reported:
Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer said after the blast.
The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad A. Salem, should be used, the informer said.
The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of hours of tape recordings Mr. Salem secretly made of his talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as in a far better position than previously known to foil the Feb. 26 bombing of New York City's tallest towers. The explosion left six people dead, more than 1,000 injured and damages in excess of half a billion dollars.
Considering the 1993 bombing and the fact that the FBI literally oversaw the construction and deployment of a deadly bomb that killed 6, it is clear that the FBI can at any time through design or disastrous incompetence, turn one of their contrived entrapment cases into a live terror attack. One can only guess at how many similar FBI operations are currently taking place within the United States involving ISIS sympathizers - any one of which could be turned into a live terror attack provided the weapons handed over to potential terrorists are functioning, just as the bomb was in 1993 when it was driven into the lower levels of the World Trade Center.
Everything from a mass shooting to a bombing, and even an Operation Northwoods-style false flag attack involving aircraft could be employed to provide Wall Street and London with the support it needs to accelerate its long-stalled agenda of regime change and reordering in both Syria and across the Iranian arc of influence. Readers may recall Operation Northwoods, reported on in an ABC News article titled, "U.S. Military Wanted to Provoke War With Cuba," which bluntly stated:
In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.
Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.
That the FBI and Australian authorities are coordinating staged security operations in tandem on opposite ends of the globe to terrify their respective populations into line behind an impending war with Syria suggests a new "Operation Northwoods" of sorts is already being executed. Staged executions on cue by ISIS in the Middle East of US and British citizens at perfectly timed junctures of the West's attempt to sell intervention both at home and abroad also reek of staged mayhem for the sole purpose of provoking war. Could grander and ultimately more tragic mayhem be in store? As ABC News' article on Operation Northwoods suggests, there is no line Western special interests will hesitate to cross.
With the West attempting to claim ISIS now has a "global" reach, the US and its partners' attempts to obfuscate the very obvious state-sponsorship it is receiving will become exponentially more difficult. That the FBI is admittedly stringing along easily manipulated, malevolent patsies who at any time could be handed real weapons and sent on shooting sprees and/or bombings, Americans, Europeans, and Australians would be foolish to conclude that their real enemy resides somewhere in Syria and not right beside them at home, upon the very seats of Western power.
#EndSanctions">Appendix: End the Sanctions on Syria by SyrianGirlPartisan
See also: Fighting terrorists starts with pressure on sponsors: Assad (16/9/14) on PressTV
Member of Senate Armed Services Committee Agrees
America's top military official – the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey – just admitted in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing what we've been saying for months ... America's closest allies are supporting ISIS:
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA, MEMBER OF ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Do you know any major Arab ally that embraces ISIL?
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I know major Arab allies who fund them.
GRAHAM: Yeah, but do they embrace them? They fund them because the Free Syrian Army couldn't fight Assad. They were trying to beat Assad. I think they realized the folly of their ways.
Maybe a good start for defeating ISIS would be to stop funding them and their BFFs?
The article below has been adapted from the PressTV article US to regret military action in Syria: IRGC chief (16/9/14). The Appendix, also from PressTV, is Obama threatens to oust Assad if US planes downed in Syrian airspace (16/9/14). To view the embedded videos, please visit those pages.
Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:7AM GMT
The chief of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says the US and its allies will regret any military operation in Syria.
'The Islamic Republic of Iran's policy is to support Syria and this US action is from a bullying position and is condemned and if it does so it will regret it," Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said on Tuesday.
The general was reacting to the US government's (claimed)1 decision to form an international coalition to fight the Takfiri ISIL terrorists fighting in Syria and Iraq.
'The US is disappointed with any influential role to be played by the ISIL and similar groups and it is calling for this so-called coalition. We doubt if their serious objective is to annihilate the ISIL," Jafari said.
He noted that the US is declaring war on the ISIL while it continues to support other militant groups fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Jafari said the enemies are determined to topple the 'current ruling government in Syria."
The general said the US and the Israeli regime created this group in order to trigger war among Muslims in the Middle East regime and serve as an obstacle to resistance against the Zionist regime.
On Monday, France hosted a conference, dubbed the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq, to discuss ways of tackling the ISIL terrorists in Iraq and Syria amid US efforts to form a so-called international coalition to battle the Takfiri group.
Despite the international community's emphasis on the importance of Iran's role in the regional developments, Tehran was not invited to the meeting in Paris mainly due to the US opposition.
The US has also announced that Iran will not be a part of its so-called coalition against the ISIL.
Iran has cast doubt over the sincerity of the coalition and reiterated that it had no interest in attending the Paris meeting.
Tehran has on several occasions voiced support for the Iraqi government since it began fighting against the ISIL in June. The ISIL terrorists are in control of some areas in Syria and have captured large swathes of land in neighboring Iraq.
The Takfiri terrorist groups have committed heinous crimes and threatened all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians and Izadi Kurds, during their advances.
#USbullying" id="USbullying">Obama threatens to oust Assad if US planes downed in Syrian airspace
Mon Sep 15, 2014 6:53AM GMT
PressTV interviewer and Jim W. Dean of Veterens Today
US President Barack Obama has threatened to wipe out Syria's air defense system and topple the Syrian government if President Bashar al-Assad ordered his forces to shoot American planes entering Syrian airspace.
He made the remarks during a meeting in the White House before his speech about Washington's strategy about the ISIL terrorist group, The New York Times reported on Sunday.
Obama ordered the US military on Wednesday to expand its bombing campaign against ISIL terrorists and launch airstrikes in Syria.
'If he [Assad] dared to do that, Mr. Obama said he would order American forces to wipe out Syria's air defense system, which he noted would be easier than striking ISIS (or ISIL) because its locations are better known," the newspaper said.
'He went on to say that such an action by Mr. Assad would lead to his overthrow, according to one account," the Times said.
The US president also noted that ISIL made a major strategic error by killing American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff 'because the anger it generated resulted in the American public's quickly backing military action."
During his televised speech on Wednesday, Obama said, "I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq."
"America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat," he said.
The Pentagon announced that the United States already has conducted more than 150 airstrikes against ISIL targets in Iraq.
Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem has warned the US and its allies against attacking ISIL targets on Syrian soil.
"Syria is ready to cooperate and coordinate with regional and international efforts to combat terror in accordance with UN resolutions and respect of Syrian sovereignty," he said in Damascus last month.
"Everyone is welcome, including Britain and the United States, to take action against ISIS and Nusra with a prior full coordination with the Syrian government," Moallem added.
On Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington will not coordinate its airstrikes on ISIL terrorists inside Syria.
'We're not going to coordinate it with Syria... It's not a cooperative effort. We are going to do what they haven't done, what they had plenty of opportunity to do, which is to take on ISIL and to degrade it and eliminate as a threat," Kerry said.
#fnUsBully1" id="fnUsBully1">1. #txtUsBully1">↑ The parenthesised "(claimed)" was added. A shortcoming with some PressTV articles, or with their English translations, is that where a claim, that conforms to the Western imperialist narrative of a conflict has been repeated often enough by the msm, it is often reported by PressTV as fact, even where credible dissident journalists have challenged that claim. An example is the claim that the United States and its allies are waging war in Iraq and threatening to do so in Syria to destroy ISIS. See Washington Menaces America with its ISIS Creation (11/9/14) by Tony Cartalucci and ISIL operating with help of foreign military power (17/9/14) by Gordon Duff, senior editor of Veterans Today.
Comedian Russell Brand condemned Fox News as a "fanatical terrorist propaganda organization" during a heated, 10-minute tirade recorded on video and uploaded to the web this week.
The 39-year-old British stand-up comic-turned-actor is now making headlines for the video footage, which was uploaded to his personal YouTube channel on Tuesday this week under the title: Is Fox News More Dangerous than Isis?
Throughout the duration of the clip, Brand responded with sheer outrage to recent remarks made on-air by Fox host Jeanine Pirro, a former prosecutor, who said during a broadcast of her program last weekend that the United States should bomb Iraq en masse in order to eliminate the growing insurgency there that has cause an international crisis.
"When they do these bombings, it creates more insurgents, that's what creates them," Brand responded. "Don't think of a bomb as going down there and destroying stuff, think of it as like a seed that goes into the ground, and grows insurgents out of it, it creates more terrorism, doing it."
"I think that the mainstream media likes to control the parameters of debate so important ideas never reach mainstream ideology. Because if people knew what was happening, they wouldn't tolerate it; if people knew how exploited they were. Ignorance is a necessary ingredient for oppression," he said.
Legitimate security experts know that full body irradiation scanners and body searches at airports don't improve security ... but the United States and Australian airport security authorities do it anyway.
They also know that not only torture is illegal, it also hasn't worked, for example at Guantanamo Bay ... but the US Feds do that also anyway in spite of public outrage.
In fact, these are their preferred way of doing things.
Criminals are as criminals do.
The people who advocate and direct these operations (and go along with them) are criminals.
Also, Manning was believed to have provided Wikileaks with video of the Granai Airstrike of a B-1 Bomber in 2009, also known as the Granai massacre. Between 86 and 147 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed during the strike in the Farah province of Afghanistan. (Deliberately directing an attack on a civilian population or on individual civilians not taking part in direct hostilities is considered a war crime.)
Nearly 780 formerly secret documents known as the Guantanamo Bay File Leak, also attributed to Manning, revealed the detention of over 150 innocent Afghani and Pakistani farmers, drivers, cooks, and a 14 year old boy held for several years without being charged of a crime. There was also evidence of sexual abuse and torture. The UK Court of Appeal ruled former prisoner, Binyam Mohamed, a citizen of the United Kingdom, was the victim of "cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment by the United States authorities" and awarded him compensation in the amount of £1 million.
Documents known as the War Logs also allegedly provided to Wikileaks by Manning showed much larger civilian casualties than previously reported by the United States. The reports from the Iraq War Log recorded the deaths of 66,000 civilians. The Afghan War Log reported the deaths of over 91,000 civilians.
In addition to the videos, the Guantanamo Bay Files and the War Logs, 251,287 diplomatic cables were leaked, exposing US spying on the United Nations as well as allied nations from 1966-2010. It was also revealed that the US State Department backed giant corporations like Nike and Nautica who blocked a proposed increase in the Haitian minimum wage in 2009, a country long ravaged by poverty and famine.
But arguably the most horrifying of the crimes leaked by Manning was the alleged involvement of US contractor DynCorp in child trafficking and providing children as entertainment for a sex party for Afghan security recruits. In multiple reports, boys between the ages of 8-15 were forced to dance for men and afterward were purchased for sex. The Guardian reported that two Afghan policemen and nine others were arrested for "purchasing services from a child." Dyncorp faced similar allegations in 1999 in Bosnia when whistle blower, Kathryn Bolkovac, a UN Police Monitor accused Dyncorp employees in Bosnia of selling and having sex with minors. She was fired by DynCorp but filed an unfair dismissal case in Great Britain and won.
Manning was convicted on July 30, 2013 of 17 charges including espionage and theft, but acquitted of aiding the enemy. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
On August 22, 2013, Manning released a statement saying that she is a transgender person and considers herself to be a woman. She requests that she be referred to as Chelsea Manning going forward.
Within minutes American mainstream media, in an obvious attempt at sensationalism and ratings grabbing began asking people on the street if they thought taxpayers should have to pay for Chelsea's hormone therapy. Not a single person was asked their opinion on tax payer funded torture, the detention and massacre of innocent civilians, or the sex trafficking of children. Instead, the mainstream media chose to focus on the personal life of Chelsea Manning, who as one of the over 700,000 transgender Americans now finds herself in possibly the most vulnerable group in America, second only to whistle-blowers it seems.
It is incorrigible for politicians and so-called journalists to distract the world with Chelsea Manning's personal situation when Americans urgently need to address the issues Chelsea brought to light, and to consider the fate of the whistle-blowers whose sacrifices do not endanger, but ensure our freedom. She gave up her freedom to expose horrible atrocities upon human beings that demand investigation. And for that, she is a hero.
In an interview on the 4 Corners program, The Battle For Syria, on 4 October 2012, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said to Kerry O'Brien, "... perhaps an assassination ... is what is required ... ."
Carr's support for the assassination of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is consistent with allegations that for 40 years he was an agent of the United States Government within the Australian Labor Party. His relationship with the CIA is the subject of Bob Carr: Washington's man in Australia in the Melbourne Age of 8 April 2013 and the article, by Murray Hunter, Is Bob Carr a spy? of 11 April 2013 in the Independent Australian, which cites evidence from the Age article and which we republish below. The US, which Carr uncritically supports, has used assassins, and worse, against the people of Korea, Vietnam, Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria. A number of its own Presidents including JFK and a number of popular American political leaders have also fallen to the bullets of assassins.
See also: Assange slams Carr as a 'well-known liar' in the Sydney Morning Herald of 31 May 2013.
How Australian governments helped kill 3.3 million Iraqis
Since 1990, Australia has participated in two illegal wars against Iraq.#fn1">1 The Hawke Labor Government led Australia into the first war of 1991 whilst the Liberal/National Coalition Government of John Howard led Australia into the second war of 2003. In addition, Australia participated in the imposition of sanctions which have prevented vitally needed food and medicine from reaching the people of that devastated country. It is now well known that the pretexts used to launch these wars, including the Kuwaiti Incubator babies story and the claim that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) were lies.
According to one estimate, 3.3 million Iraqis, including 750,000 children consequently died. To escape death through war, disease or starvation, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis fled. According to Wikipedia, 1,300,000 fled to Syria.
Syria, which gave refuge to Iraqis fleeing Australian aggression, now bullied by Australia
No aid has ever been sent by Australia to help Syria deal with the consequences of Australia's shameful past actions. Instead, on 27 May 2012, Australia's foreign Minister, Bob Carr, expelled the Syrian ambassador and tightened Australian sanctions against Syria supposedly in reprisal for the demonstrably false claim that the Assad Government had masssacred its own supporters at Houla on 25 May.
Carr calls for the assassination of Assad
Prior to that on 4 October 2012, in an interview on the 4 Corners program, The Battle For Syria, Bob Carr said to Kerry O'Brien, "... perhaps an assassination ... is what is required ... ."
Carr's support for the assassination of the Syrian President seems consistent with his alleged 40 year record of being an agent of the United States Government within the Australian Labor Party . The US, which Carr uncritically supports, has used assassins against the people of Korea, Vietnam, Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria. One of its own Presidents and a number of popular American political leaders have also fallen to the bullets of assassins.
Carr's record has been documented in the Age article Bob Carr: Washington's man in Australia of 8 April 2013 by Phillip Dorling and by the Independent Australian article Is Bob Carr a spy? of 11 April 2013 included below.
The above introduction was written by Geoffrey Taylor for candobetter.net.
#IsCarrASpy" id="IsCarrASpy">Is Bob Carr a spy?
The Age exposes the Australian foreign minister as an "agent" under US influence; Murray Hunter asks -- is U.S. influence in Australian politics destroying policy objectivity?
Foreign Minister Bob Carr (image courtesy ABC).
JUST AROUND a week ago in Beijing, Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr entered the US-Korea conflict by trying to persuade the Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi to adopt sanctions against North Korea.
On Monday (8 April), an investigative journalist from The Age, after going through 11,000 cables from the U.S. embassy in Canberra and consulates in Sydney and Melbourne, leaked by US Army Private Bradley Manning and published by WikiLeaks, found that the current Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr had been briefing the US embassy since the 1970s on both the internal decision making of the Australian Government during the Whitlam Labor Government (1972-75) and internal workings of the Australian Labor Party (ALP).
Bob Carr has been Australia's foreign minister for 12 months, replacing Kevin Rudd, who resigned after challenging Julia Gillard for the prime ministership. Carr has been involved in the Australian Labor Party for more than 40 years and was New South Wales premier from 1995-2005.
Carr began his relationship with US embassy officials in the mid 1970s, when he was president of Young Labor and education officer of the NSW Labor Council. According to The Age investigative report Philip Dorling he would regularly brief the US Consul General over labour issues and the prospects of the Labor Government in Canberra. From the information gathered from Carr and also NSW Labor President John Ducker, intelligence reports on Australian politics and labour issues would be sent onto Washington. Leaked US cables to WikiLeaks also indicated that the former Labor Senator Mark Arbib was also a "protected" US embassy source passing on information and commentary on Australian politics.
Bob Carr is very well known for his staunch support for the Australian-US alliance as an non-negotiable pillar of Australian foreign policy and often dismisses critics as being in "emotional silly expression lacking in any substance and characteristic of the silly leftwing fringe of the ALP".
With such rigid advice to the prime minister and cabinet at a time where many academics and commentators like Professor Hugh White of the Australian National University are calling for a re-appraisal of this alliance and much more strategic engagement with China, it is very difficult to see how the Australian Government's pending 2013 Defense White Paper will signal any major shifts in policy on this matter.
At the very least, hanging on to the Australian-US alliance without any objective appraisal and redefinition may not serve the country's strategy interests in the Asia-Pacific Region well if the U.S. continues a competitive stance against China.
These revelations add to past suspicions by many in the labour movement about members of the party and government (when Labor was in power) who have been involved in close relationships with U.S. officials.
Labor suspicion of U.S. intelligence operating in Australia mainly stems from the election of the reformist and nationalistic Whitlam Labor Government in 1972, after 23 years in opposition. Whitlam immediately pulled Australia out of the Vietnam conflict, recognized the Peoples' Republic of China, campaigned for a nuclear free Indian Ocean, spoke up for Palestinian rights in the United Nations, and opposed French nuclear testing in the Pacific.
In 1973, the then Attorney General of Australia Lionel Murphy led a raid on the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), the equivalent to the U.S. CIA, over concern with the organisation's involvement with the training of fascist Croatian groups, and the launching of terrorist operations from Australian soil. According to the Hope Commission back in 1977, ASIO was handing over to the CIA information on Australian opposition politicians and kept files on all ALP members.
The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) was assisting the CIA in undertaking clandestine operations in Cambodia and Chile, even though Australia was officially neutral in Cambodia and supported the Government of Salvador Allende in Chile, without the knowledge of the Australian Government.
Many felt that when the Whitlam Government took measures to control the operations of the US Naval Communications Station on the North-West Cape of Western Australia, the Defence Signals Directorate in Melbourne, the Joint Defense research facility at Pine Gap and Nurrunger in South Australia, that the U.S. became vitally concerned.
After Whitlam discovered that ASIO and ASIS had secretly assisted the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975, he dismissed the heads of both organizations. Whitlam then hinted that he may not renew the Pine Gap agreement with the U.S. due for signing on 9th December 1975, which would have severely dented U.S. intelligence gathering ability. Labor mythology believes that the U.S. ambassador to Australia at the time, Marshall Green, had a hand in the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in November 1975 by the then Governor General Sir John Kerr. Of course, Kerr's time working for a closely aligned Australian intelligence organization to the U.S. OSS, the forerunner of the CIA, has always added spice to such conspiracy theories.
After Whitlam discovered that ASIO and ASIS had secretly assisted the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975, he dismissed the heads of both organizations. Whitlam then hinted that he may not renew the Pine Gap agreement with the U.S. due for signing on 9th December 1975, which would have severely dented U.S. intelligence gathering ability. Labor mythology believes that the U.S. ambassador to Australia at the time, Marshall Green, had a hand in the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in November 1975 by the then Governor General Sir John Kerr. Of course, Kerr's time working for a closely aligned Australian intelligence organization to the U.S. OSS, the forerunner of the CIA, has always added spice to such conspiracy theories.
During the first week after the dismissal of the Labor Government, the army was on stand-by at their barracks in case there were mass demonstrations. However, it was the Australian Council of Trade Unions then president Bob Hawke who summoned the labour movement to be calm. US diplomatic cables also implicate the former prime minister, saying he regularly conferred with the U.S. Consulate in Melbourne during his ACTU years. It was generally believed that the Labor Attaché at the U.S. embassy in Canberra was in reality the CIA station chief (McKnight, D., "Labor and the Quiet Americans", The Age, February 20, 2003, p15). The future Hawke Government, elected in 1984, went on to implement many pro-U.S. initiatives, and prevented public disclosure of documents relating to the Nugan Hand Bank during his term as Prime Minister, which were believed to implicate the CIA with drug trafficking and organized crime.
This is the first time that leaked U.S. documents have confirmed what many believe to be the truth surrounding U.S. infiltration within the Australian Labor Party. The issue is likely to be very quickly dismissed in Australia by the argument that the U.S. is an ally. However, within these documents there is some proof and support that the U.S. has meddled in the affairs of the Australian union movement and political parties for many years. What is even more astounding is that some Labor politicians showed disloyalty to their party to a foreign power during the Whitlam years.
Bob Carr has been forthright in exposing past politicians as members of the Communist Party of Australia, so should take the accusations against him seriously, either stepping aside for the duration of an inquiry or resigning outright. David Combe's relationship with a Soviet diplomat Valery Ivanov back in 1984 led to swift action on the part of the Hawke Government at the time. In the interests of transparency and sovereignty, the Australian Federal Police and ASIO should conduct an inquiry.
Somehow I doubt this will happen.
#fn1" id="fn1">1.#txt1">↑ See UK Chilcot Inquiry: "The Iraq War Was Unlawful". Unanimous Legal Opinion of Foreign Office Lawyers of 4 Jan 2013 by Carl Herman on #10;<p>This work is licensed under a <a href=" http:="">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
Given that the supporters of the armed insurgency against the Syrian Government of President Bashar al-Assad, namely the governments of United States, Australia, their NATO allies and the Arab dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, are the same who waged the illegal wars against Iraq in 1991 and 2003, from which 3.3 million Iraqis died, according to one estimate shouldn't we expect Australia's newsmedia, this time to subject the claims made by these same governments to more scrutiny? Shouldn't the Syrian government, which is being accused by the Western newsmedia of making foreign intervention necessary, at least, be allowed to put its case? Evidently not, judging by the Australian newsmedia's failure to report on the included interview of Bashar Al-Assad conducted by The Sunday Times on 3 March.
Sunday Times: Mr. President your recent offer of political dialogue was qualified with a firm rejection of the very groups you would have to pacify to stop the violence: the armed rebels and the Syrian National Coalition, the main opposition alliance.
So in effect you are only extending an olive branch to the loyal opposition, mostly internal, that renounces the armed struggle, and who effectively recognizes the legitimacy of your leadership, who are you willing to talk to, really?
President Assad: First of all, let me correct some of the misconceptions that have been circulating and that are found in your question in order to make my answer accurate.
Sunday Times: Okay.
President Assad: Firstly, when I announced the plan, I said that it was for those who are interested in dialogue, because you cannot make a plan that is based on dialogue with somebody who does not believe in dialogue. So, I was very clear regarding this.
Secondly, this open dialogue should not be between exclusive groups but between all Syrians of every level. The dialogue is about the future of Syria. We are twenty three million Syrians and all of us have the right to participate in shaping the country’s future. Some may look at it as a dialogue between the government and certain groups in the opposition - whether inside or outside, external or internal -actually this is a very shallow way of looking at the dialogue. It is much more comprehensive. It is about every Syrian and about every aspect of Syrian life. Syria’s future cannot be determined simply by who leads it but by the ambitions and aspirations of all its people.
The other aspect of the dialogue is that it opens the door for militants to surrender their weapons and we have granted many amnesties to facilitate this. This is the only way to make a dialogue with those groups. This has already started, even before the plan, and some have surrendered their weapons and they live now their normal life. But this plan makes the whole process more methodical, announced and clear.
If you want to talk about the opposition, there is another misconception in the West. They put all the entities even if they are not homogeneous in one basket – as if everything against the government is opposition. We have to be clear about this. We have opposition that are political entities and we have armed terrorists. We can engage in dialogue with the opposition but we cannot engage in dialogue with terrorists; we fight terrorism. Another phrase that is often mentioned is the ‘internal opposition inside Syria’ or ‘internal opposition as loyal to the government.’ Opposition groups should be loyal and patriotic to Syria – internal and external opposition is not about the geographic position; it is about their roots, resources and representation. Have these roots been planted in Syria and represent Syrian people and Syrian interests or the interests of foreign government? So, this is how we look at the dialogue, this is how we started and how we are going to continue.
Sunday Times: Most have rejected it, at least if we talk about the opposition externally who are now the body that is being hailed as the opposition and where the entire world is basically behind them. So, most of them have rejected it with the opposition describing your offer as a “waste of time,” and some have said that it is “empty rhetoric” based on lack of trust and which British Secretary William Hague described it as “beyond hypocritical” and the Americans said you were “detached from reality.”
President Assad: I will not comment on what so-called Syrian bodies outside Syria have said. These bodies are not independent. As Syrians, we are independent and we need to respond to independent bodies and this is not the case. So let’s look at the other claims.
Firstly, detached from reality: Syria has been fighting adversaries and foes for two years; you cannot do that if you do not have public support. People will not support you if you are detached from their reality. A recent survey in the UK shows that a good proportion British people want “to keep out of Syria” and they do not believe that the British government should send military supplies to the rebels in Syria.
In spite of this, the British government continues to push the EU to lift its arms embargo on Syria to start arming militants with heavy weapons. That is what I call detached from reality–when you are detached from your own public opinion! And they go further in saying that they want to send “military aid” that they describe as “non-lethal.” The intelligence, communication and financial assistance being provided is very lethal. The events of 11th of September were not committed by lethal aids. It was the application of non-lethal technology and training which caused the atrocities.
The British government wants to send military aid to moderate groups in Syria, knowing all too well that such moderate groups do not exist in Syria; we all know that we are now fighting Al-Qaeda or Jabhat al-Nusra which is an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, and other groups of people indoctrinated with extreme ideologies. This is beyond hypocritical! What is beyond hypocrisy is when you talk about freedom of expression and ban Syrian TV channels from the European broadcasting satellites; when you shed tears for somebody killed in Syria by terrorist acts while preventing the Security Council from issuing a statement denouncing the suicide bombing that happened last week in Damascus, and you were here, where three hundred Syrians were either killed or injured, including women and children - all of them were civilians. Beyond hypocrisy when you preach about human rights and you go into Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and kill hundreds of thousands in illegal wars. Beyond hypocrisy is when you talk about democracy and your closest allies are the worst autocratic regimes in the world that belong to the medieval centuries. This is hypocrisy!
Sunday Times: But you always refer to the people fighting here as terrorists, do you accept that while some are from the Jabhat al-Nusra and those affiliated to Al-Qaeda but there are others such as the FSA or under the umbrella of the FSA? That some of them are the defectors and some of them are just ordinary people who started some of the uprising. These are not terrorists; these are people fighting for what they believe to be the right way at the moment.
President Assad: When we say that we are fighting Al-Qaeda, we mean that the main terrorist group and the most dangerous is Al-Qaeda. I have stated in many interviews and speeches that this is not the only group in Syria. The spectrum ranges from petty criminals, drugs dealers, groups that are killing and kidnapping just for money to mercenaries and militants; these clearly do not have any political agenda or any ideological motivations. The so-called “Free Army” is not an entity as the West would like your readers to believe. It is hundreds of small groups – as defined by international bodies working with Annan and Al-Ibrahimi - there is no entity, there is no leadership, there is no hierarchy; it is a group of different gangs working for different reasons. The Free Syrian Army is just the headline, the umbrella that is used to legitimize these groups.
This does not mean that at the beginning of the conflict there was no spontaneous movement; there were people who wanted to make change in Syria and I have acknowledged that publically many times. That’s why I have said the dialogue is not for the conflict itself; the dialogue is for the future of Syria because many of the groups still wanting change are now against the terrorists. They still oppose the government but they do not carry weapons. Having legitimate needs does not make your weapons legitimate.
Sunday Times: Your 3-staged plan: the first one you speak of is the cessation of violence. Obviously there is the army and the fighters on the other side. Now, within the army you have a hierarchy, so if you want to say cease-fire, there is a commander that can control that, but when you offer cessation of violence or fire how can you assume the same for the rebels when you talk about them being so many groups, fragmented and not under one leadership. So, that’s one of the points of your plan. So, this suggests that this basically an impossible request. You speak of referendum but with so many displaced externally and internally, many of whom are the backbone of the opposition; those displaced at least. So, a referendum without them would not be fair, and the third part is that parliamentary elections and all this hopefully before 2014; it is a very tall list to be achieved before 2014. So, what are really the conditions that you are attaching to the dialogue and to make it happen, and aren’t some of the conditions that you are really suggesting or offering impossible to achieve?
President Assad: That depends on how we look at the situation. First of all, let’s say that the main article in the whole plan is the dialogue; this dialogue will put a timetable for everything and the procedures or details of this plan. The first article in my plan was the cessation of violence. If we cannot stop this violence, how can we achieve the other articles like the referendum and elections and so on? But saying that you cannot stop the violence is not a reason to do nothing. Yes there are many groups as I have said with no leadership, but we know that their real leadership are those countries that are funding and supplying their weapons and armaments - mainly Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
If outside parties genuinely want to help the process they should be pressuring those countries to stop supplying the terrorists. As with any other sovereign state, we will not negotiate with terrorists.
Sunday Times: Critics say real and genuine negotiations may be the cause of your downfall and that of your government or regime, and that you know this, hence you offer practically impossible scenarios for dialogue and negotiations?
President Assad: Actually, I don’t know this, I know the opposite. To be logical and realistic, if this is the case, then these foes, adversaries or opponents should push for the dialogue because in their view it will bring my downfall. But actually they are doing the opposite. They are preventing the so-called ‘opposition bodies outside Syria’ to participate in the dialogue because I think they believe in the opposite; they know that this dialogue will not bring my downfall, but will actually make Syria stronger. This is the first aspect.
The second aspect is that the whole dialogue is about Syria, about terrorism, and about the future of Syria. This is not about positions and personalities. So, they shouldn’t distract people by talking about the dialogue and what it will or will not bring to the President. I did not do it for myself. At the end, this is contradictory; what they say is contradicting what they do.
Sunday Times: You said that if they push for dialogue, it could bring your downfall?
President Assad: No, I said according to what they say if it brings my downfall, why don’t they come to the dialogue? They say that the dialogue will bring the downfall of the President and I am inviting them to the dialogue. Why don’t they then come to the dialogue to bring my downfall? This is self-evident. That’s why I said they are contradicting themselves.
Sunday Times: Mr. President, John Kerry, a man you know well, has started a tour that will take him this week end to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, where he will be talking to them about ways to ‘ease you out.’ In London and Berlin earlier this week, he said that President Assad must go and he also said that one of his first moves is to draft diplomatic proposals to persuade you to give up power. Would you invite him to Damascus for talks? What would you say to him? What is your message to him now given what he said this week and what he plans to say to his allies when he visits them over the weekend? And if possible from your knowledge of him how would you describe Kerry from your knowledge of him in the past?
President Assad: I would rather describe policies rather than describing people. So, it is still early to judge him. It is only a few weeks since he became Secretary of State. First of all, the point that you have mentioned is related to internal Syrian matters or Syrian issue. Any Syrian subject would not be raised with any foreigners. We only discuss it with Syrians within Syria. So, I am not going to discuss it with anyone who is coming from abroad. We have friends and we discuss our issues with friends, we listen to their advice but at the end it is our decision as Syrians to think or to make what’s good for our country.
If anyone wants to ‘genuinely’ – I stress the word genuinely – help Syria and help the cessation of violence in our country, he can do only one thing; he can go to Turkey and sit with Erdogan and tell to him stop smuggling terrorists into Syria, stop sending armaments, stop providing logistical support to those terrorists. He can go to Saudi Arabia and Qatar and tell them stop financing the terrorists in Syria. This is the only thing anyone can do dealing with the external part of our problem, but no one from outside Syria can deal with the internal part of this problem
Sunday Times: So, what is your message to Kerry?
President Assad: It is very clear: to understand what I said now. I mean, not a message to Kerry but to anyone who is talking about the Syrian issue: only Syrian people can tell the President: stay or leave, come or go. I am just saying this clearly in order not to waste the time of others to know where to focus.
Sunday Times: What role if any do you see for Britain in any peace process for Syria? Have there been any informal contacts with the British? What is your reaction to Cameron’s support for the opposition? What would you say if you were sitting with him now, especially that Britain is calling for the arming of the rebels?
President Assad: There is no contact between Syria and Britain for a long time. If we want to talk about the role, you cannot separate the role from the credibility. And we cannot separate the credibility from the history of that country. To be frank, now I am talking to a British journalist and a British audience, to be frank, Britain has played a famously (in our region) an unconstructive role in different issues for decades, some say for centuries. I am telling you now the perception in our region.
The problem with this government is that their shallow and immature rhetoric only highlight this tradition of bullying and hegemony. I am being frank. How can we expect to ask Britain to play a role while it is determined to militarize the problem? How can you ask them to play a role in making the situation better and more stable, how can we expect them to make the violence less while they want to send military supplies to the terrorists and don’t try to ease the dialogue between the Syrians. This is not logical. I think that they are working against us and working against the interest of the UK itself. This government is acting in a naïve, confused and unrealistic manner. If they want to play a role, they have to change this; they have to act in a more reasonable and responsible way, till then we do not expect from an arsonist to be a firefighter!
Sunday Times: In 2011 you said you wouldn’t waste your time talking about the body leading opposition, now we are talking about the external body, in fact you hardly recognized there was such a thing, what changed your mind or views recently? What talks, if any are already going on with the rebels who are a major component and factor in this crisis? Especially given that your Foreign Minister Muallem said earlier this week when he was in Russia that the government is open to talks with the armed opposition can you clarify?
President Assad: Actually, I did not change my mind. Again, this plan is not for them; it is for every Syrian who accepts the dialogue. So, making this initiative is not a change of mind. Secondly, since day one in this crisis nearly two years ago, we have said we are ready for dialogue; nothing has changed. We have a very consistent position towards the dialogue. Some may understand that I changed my mind because I did not recognize the first entity, but then I recognized the second. I recognized neither, more importantly the Syrian people do not recognize them or take them seriously. When you have a product that fails in the market, they withdraw the product, change the name, change the packing and they rerelease it again – but it is still faulty. The first and second bodies are the same products with different packaging. Regarding what our minister said, it is very clear.
Part of the initiative is that we are ready to negotiate with anyone including militants who surrender their arms. We are not going to deal with terrorists who are determined to carry weapons, to terrorize people, to kill civilians, to attack public places or private enterprises and destroy the country.
Sunday Times: Mr. President, the world looks at Syria and sees a country being destroyed, with at least 70,000 killed, more than 3 million displaced and sectarian divisions being deepened. Many people around the world blame you. What do you say to them? Are you to blame for what’s happened in the country you are leading?
President Assad: You have noted those figures as though they were numbers from a spreadsheet. To some players they are being used to push forward their political agenda; unfortunately that is a reality. Regardless of their accuracy, for us Syrians, each one of those numbers represents a Syrian man, woman or child. When you talk about thousands of victims, we see thousands of families who have lost loved ones and who unfortunately will grieve for many years to come. Nobody can feel this pain more than us.
Looking at the issue of political agendas, we have to ask better questions. How were these numbers verified? How many represent foreign fighters? How many were combatants aged between 20 and 30? How many were civilians – innocent women and children? The situation on the ground makes it almost impossible to get accurate answers to these important questions. We all know how death tolls and human casualties have been manipulated in the past to pave the way for humanitarian intervention. The Libyan government recently announced that the death toll before the invasion of Libya was exaggerated; they said five thousand victims from each side while the number was talking at that time of tens of thousands.
The British and the Americans who were physically inside Iraq during the war were unable to provide precise numbers about the victims that have been killed from their invasion. Suddenly, the same sources have very precise numbers about what is happening in Syria! This is ironic; I will tell you very simply that these numbers do not exist in reality; it is part of their virtual reality that they want to create to push forward their agenda for military intervention under the title of humanitarian intervention
Sunday Times: If I may just on this note a little bit. Even if the number is exaggerated and not definitely precise, these are numbers corroborated by Syrian groups, however they are still thousands that were killed. Some are militants but some are civilians. Some are being killed through the military offensive, for example artillery or plane attacks in certain areas. So even if we do not argue the actual number, the same applies, they still blame yourself for those civilians, if you want, that are being killed through the military offensive, do you accept that?
President Assad:Firstly, we cannot talk about the numbers without their names. People who are killed have names. Secondly, why did they die? Where and how were they killed? Who killed them? Armed gangs, terrorist groups, criminals, kidnappers, the army, who?
Sunday Times: It is a mix.
President Assad: It is a mix, but it seems that you are implying that one person is responsible for the current situation and all the human casualties. From day one the situation in Syria has been influenced by military and political dynamics, which are both very fast moving. In such situations you have catalysts and barriers. To assume any one party is responsible for all barriers and another party responsible for all the catalysts is absurd. Too many innocent civilians have died, too many Syrians are suffering. As I have already said nobody is more pained by this than us Syrians, which is why we are pushing for a national dialogue. I’m not in the blame business, but if you are talking of responsibility, then clearly I have a constitutional responsibility to keep Syria and her people safe from terrorists and radical groups.
Sunday Times: What is the role of Al-Qaeda and other jihadists and what threats do they pose to the region and Europe? Are you worried Syria turning into something similar to Chechnya in the past? Are you concerned about the fate of minorities if you were loose this war or of a sectarian war akin to that of Iraq?
President Assad:The role of Al-Qaeda in Syria is like the role of Al-Qaeda anywhere else in this world; killing, beheading, torturing and preventing children from going to school because as you know Al-Qaeda’s ideologies flourish where there is ignorance. Ideologically, they try to infiltrate the society with their dark, extremist ideologies and they are succeeding. If you want to worry about anything in Syria, it is not the ‘minorities.’ This is a very shallow description because Syria is a melting pot of religions, sects, ethnicities and ideologies that collectively make up a homogeneous mixture, irrelevant of the portions or percentages. We should be worrying about the majority of moderate Syrians who, if we do not fight this extremism, could become the minority – at which point Syria will cease to exist.
If you worry about Syria in that sense, you have to worry about the Middle East because we are the last bastion of secularism in the region. If you worry about the Middle East, the whole world should be worried about its stability. This is the reality as we see it.
Sunday Times: How threatening is Al-Qaeda now?
President Assad: Threatening by ideology more than the killing. The killing is dangerous, of course, but what is irreversible is the ideology; that is dangerous and we have been warning of this for many years even before the conflict; we have been dealing with these ideologies since the late seventies. We were the first in the region to deal with such terrorists who have been assuming the mantle of Islam. We have consistently been warning of this, especially in the last decade during the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. The West is only reacting to the situation, not acting. We need to act by dealing with the ideology first. A war on terror without dealing with the ideology will lead you nowhere and will only make things worse. So, it is threatening and it is dangerous, not just to Syria but to the whole region.
Sunday Times: US officials recently, in particular yesterday, are quoted as saying that US decision not to arm rebels could be revised. If this was to happen what in your view will the consequences in Syria and in the region? What is your warning against this? Now, they are talking about directly equipping the rebels with armament vehicles, training and body armaments.
President Assad: You know the crime is not only about the victim and the criminal, but also the accomplice providing support, whether it is moral or logistical support. I have said many times that Syria lies at the fault line geographically, politically, socially and ideologically. So, playing with this fault line will have serious repercussions all over the Middle East. Is the situation better in Libya today? In Mali? In Tunisia? In Egypt? Any intervention will not make things better; it will only make them worse. Europe and the United States and others are going to pay the price sooner or later with the instability in this region; they do not foresee it.
Sunday Times: What is your message to Israel following its air strikes on Syria? Will you retaliate? How will you respond to any future attacks by Israel especially that Israel has said that we will do it again if it has to?
President Assad: Every time Syria did retaliate, but in its own way, not tit for tat. We retaliated in our own way and only the Israelis know what we mean.
Sunday Times: Can you expand?
President Assad: Yes. Retaliation does not mean missile for missile or bullet for bullet. Our own way does not have to be announced; only the Israelis will know what I mean.
Sunday Times: Can you tell us how?
President Assad: We do not announce that.
Sunday Times: I met a seven year old boy in Jordan.
President Assad: A Syrian boy?
Sunday Times: A Syrian boy who had lost an arm and a leg to a missile strike in Herak. Five children in his family had been killed in that explosion. As a father, what can you say to that little boy? Why have so many innocent civilians died in air strikes, army shelling and sometimes, I quote, ‘Shabiha shootings?’
President Assad: What is his name?
Sunday Times: I have his name ... will bring it to you later.
President Assad: As I said every victim in this crisis has a name, every casualty has a family. Like 5 year-old Saber who whilst having breakfast with his family at home lost his leg, his mother and other members of his family. Like 4 year-old Rayan who watched his two brothers slaughtered for taking him to a rally. None of these families have any political affiliations. Children are the most fragile link in any society and unfortunately they often pay the heaviest price in any conflict. As a father of young children, I know the meaning of having a child harmed by something very simple; so what if they are harmed badly or if we lose a child, it is the worst thing any family can face. Whenever you have conflicts, you have these painful stories that affect any society. This is the most important and the strongest incentive for us to fight terrorism. Genuine humanitarians who feel the pain that we feel about our children and our losses should encourage their governments to prevent smuggling armaments and terrorists and to prevent the terrorists from acquiring any military supplies from any country.
Sunday Times: Mr. President, when you lie in bed at night, do you hear the explosions in Damascus? Do you, in common with many other Syrians, worry about the safety of your family? Do you worry that there may come a point where your own safety is in jeopardy?
President Assad: I see it completely differently. Can anybody be safe, or their family be safe, if the country is in danger? In reality NO! If your country is not safe, you cannot be safe. So instead of worrying about yourself and your family, you should be worried about every citizen and every family in your country. So it’s a mutual relationship.
Sunday Times: You’ll know of the international concerns about Syria’s chemical weapons. Would your army ever use them as a last resort against your opponents? Reports suggest they have been moved several times, if so why? Do you share the international concern that they may fall into the hands of Islamist rebels? What is the worst that could happen?
President Assad: Everything that has been referred to in the media or by official rhetoric regarding Syrian chemical weapons is speculation. We have never, and will never, discuss our armaments with anyone. What the world should worry about is chemical materials reaching the hands of terrorists. Video material has already been broadcast showing toxic material being tried on animals with threats to the Syrian people that they will die in the same way. We have shared this material with other countries. This is what the world should be focusing on rather than wasting efforts to create elusive headlines on Syrian chemical weapons to justify any intervention in Syria.
Sunday Times: I know you are not saying whether they are safe or not. There is concern if they are safe or no one can get to them.
President Assad: This is constructive ambiguity. No country will talk about their capabilities.
Sunday Times: A lot has been talked about this as well: what are the roles of Hezbollah, Iran and Russia in the war on the ground? Are you aware of Hezbollah fighters in Syria and what are they doing? What weapons are your allies Iran and Russia supplying? What other support are they providing?
President Assad: The Russian position is very clear regarding armaments - they supply Syria with defensive armaments in line with international law. Hezbollah, Iran and Russia support Syria in her fight against terrorism. Russia has been very constructive, Iran has been very supportive and Hezbollah’s role is to defend Lebanon not Syria. We are a country of 23 million people with a strong National Army and Police Force. We are in no need of foreign fighters to defend our country. What we should be asking is, what about the role of other countries, - Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, the UK, the US, - that support terrorism in Syria directly or indirectly, militarily or politically.
Sunday Times: Mr. President, may I ask you about your own position? Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov recently said that Lakhdar Ibrahimi complained of wanting to see more flexibility from your regime and that while you never seem to say ‘no’ you never seem to say ‘yes’. Do you think that there can be a negotiated settlement while you remain President, which is a lot of people are asking?
President Assad: Do not expect a politician to only say yes or no in the absolute meaning; it is not multiple choice questions to check the correct answer. You can expect from any politician a vision and our vision is very clear. We have a plan and whoever wants to deal with us, can deal with us through our plan. This is very clear in order not to waste time. This question reflects what has been circulating in the Western media about personalizing the problem in Syria and suggesting that the entire conflict is about the president and his future. If this argument is correct, then my departure will stop the fighting. Clearly this is absurd and recent precedents in Libya, Yemen and Egypt bear witness to this. Their motive is to try to evade the crux of the issue, which is dialogue, reform and combating terrorism. The legacy of their interventions in our region have been chaos, destruction and disaster. So, how can they justify any future intervention? They cannot. So, they focus on blaming the president and pushing for his departure; questioning his credibility; is he living in a bubble or not? is he detached from reality or not? So, the focus of the conflict becomes about the president
Sunday Times: Some foreign officials have called for you to stand for war crimes at the International Criminal Court as the person ultimately responsible for the army’s actions? Do you fear prosecution by the ICC? Or the possibility of future prosecution and trial in Syria?
President Assad: Whenever an issue that is related to the UN is raised, you are raising the question of credibility. We all know especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union – for the last twenty years - that the UN and all its organizations are the victims of hegemony instead of being the bastions of justice. They became politicized tools in order to create instability and to attack sovereign countries, which is against the UN’s charter. So, the question that we have to raise now is: are they going to take the American and the British leaders who attacked Iraq in 2003 and claimed more than half a million lives in Iraq, let alone orphans, handicapped and deformed people? Are they going to take the American, British French and others who went to Libya without a UN resolution last year and claimed again hundreds of lives? They are not going to do it. The answer is very clear. You know that sending mercenaries to any country is a war crime according Nuremberg principles and according to the London Charter of 1945. Are they going to put Erdogan in front of this court because he sent mercenaries? Are they going to do the same with the Saudis and the Qataris? If we have answers to these questions, then we can talk about peace organizations and about credibility.
My answer is very brief: when people defend their country, they do not take into consideration anything else.
Sunday Times: Hindsight is a wonderful thing Mr. President. If you could wind the clock back two years would you have handled anything differently? Do you believe that there are things that could or should have been done in another way? What mistakes do you believe have been made by your followers that you would change?
President Assad: You can ask this question to a President if he is the only one responsible for all the context of the event. In our case in Syria, we know there are many external players. So you have to apply hindsight to every player. You have to ask Erdogan, with hindsight would you send terrorists to kill Syrians, would you afford logistical support to them? You should ask the Qatari and Saudis whether in hindsight, would you send money to terrorists and to Al-Qaeda offshoots or any other terrorist organization to kill Syrians? We should ask the same question to the European and American officials, in hindsight would you offer a political umbrella to those terrorists killing innocent civilians in Syria?
In Syria, we took two decisions. The first is to make dialogue; the second is to fight terrorism. If you ask any Syrian, in hindsight would you say no to dialogue and yes to terrorism? I do not think any sane person will agree with you. So I think in hindsight, we started with dialogue and we are going to continue with dialogue. In hindsight, we said we are going to fight terrorism and we are going to continue to fight terrorism.
Sunday Times: Do you ever think about living in exile if it came to that? And would you go abroad if it increases the chances of peace in Syria?
President Assad: Again, it is not about the president. I don’t think any patriotic person or citizen would think of living outside his country.
Sunday Times: You will never leave
President Assad: No patriotic person will think about living outside his country. I am like any other patriotic Syrian.
Sunday Times: How shaken you were you by the bomb that killed some of your most senior generals last summer, including your brother-in-law?
President Assad: You mentioned my brother-in-law but it is not a family affair. When high-ranking officials are being assassinated it is a national affair. Such a crime will make you more determined to fight terrorism. It is not about how you feel, but more about what you do. We are more determined in fighting terrorism.
Sunday Times: Finally, Mr. President, may I ask about my colleague, Marie Colvin, who was killed in the shelling of an opposition media center at Baba Amr on February 22 last year. Was she targeted, as some have suggested, because she condemned the destruction on American and British televisions? Or was she just unlucky? Did you hear about her death at the time and if so what was your reaction?
President Assad: Of course, I heard about the story through the media. When a journalist goes into conflict zones, as you are doing now, to cover a story and convey it to the world, I think this is very courageous work. Every decent person, official or government should support journalists in these efforts because that will help shed light on events on the ground and expose propaganda where it exists. Unfortunately in most conflicts a journalist has paid the ultimate price. It is always sad when a journalist is killed because they are not with either side or even part of the problem, they only want to cover the story. There is a media war on Syria preventing the truth from being told to the outside world.
14 Syrian journalists who have also been killed since the beginning of the crisis and not all of them on the ground. Some have been targeted at home after hours, kidnapped, tortured and then murdered. Others are still missing. More than one Syrian television station has been attacked by terrorists and their bombs. There is currently a ban on the broadcast of Syrian TV channels on European satellite systems. It is also well known how rebels have used journalists for their own interests. There was the case of the British journalist who managed to escape.
Sunday Times: Alex Thompson?
President Assad: Yes. He was lead into a death trap by the terrorists in order to accuse the Syrian Army of his death. That’s why it is important to enter countries legally, to have a visa. This was not the case for Marie Colvin. We don’t know why and it’s not clear. If you enter illegally, you cannot expect the state to be responsible. Contrary to popular belief, since the beginning of the crisis, hundreds of journalists from all over the world, including you, have gained visas to enter Syria and have been reporting freely from inside Syria with no interferences in their work and no barriers to fulfill their missions.
Sunday Times: Thank you.
President Assad: Thank you.
Source : “Bashar Al-Assad’s Interview with The Sunday Times”, by Bashar al-Assad, Voltaire Network, 3 March 2013, www.voltairenet.org/article177726.html
Speech by Bashar al-Assad on Syrian crisis
Russia Today interview with Bashar al-Assad
Bashar el-Assad interview by Ad-Dounia TV
Speech Delivered by H.E. President Bashar al-Assad At the People’s Assembly
ABC’s Barbara Walters’ Interview With Bashar al-Assad
This author's articles
As a result of the wars and sanctions against Iraq since 1990, found by the UK Government's own Chilcot Inquiry in 2012 to have been illegal, 3.3 million Iraqis have died and many more have fled, including 1.2 million to Syria, according to Wikipedia. Knowing that the same people who invaded Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are now arming, supplying and paying the so-called "Free Syrian Army" (FSA), Syrian patriots are fighting hard against the FSA killers -- and winning.
Please attend a public meeting at 7.30PM on Wednesday 6 March for peace in Syria at the Unitarian Church, 110 Grey Street, East Melbourne. (The previously advertised time of 6.30PM was wrong. Our apologies.)
In order to boost the numbers of fighters, sadly depleted by almost two years of savage fighting, Syrian women are now being enlisted into the armed forces as shown in this YouTube video on the Syrian Girl Partisan's YouTube channel. This channel is an excellent resource with which to arm yourself against lies from the mainstream media such as the Guardian article Brothers in arms: the 10 brothers fighting for the Syrian uprising of 22 February by Martin Chulov.
How you can help save lives and help Syria save itself from the New World Order
If you live close to Melbourne Victoria, please attend a public meeting for Peace in Syria.
Venue: Melbourne Unitarian Church Hall, 110 Grey Street, East Melbourne
Date: Wednesday 6 March
Syria has given refuge to a vast number of refugees from wars extending back to the creation of Israel by the expulsion of Palestinans in 1947. According to Wikipedia, "Syria hosted a population of refugees and asylum seekers number approximately 1,852,300. Of these, "the vast majority of this population was from Iraq (1,300,000), ...", that is, from wars in which the United States and its allies, including Australia, illegally participated in commencing from 1990.
Australia expelled the Syrian ambassador and imposed sanctions against Syria on the pretext of the lie that, on 25 and 26 May, the Syrian Government murdered citizens who were, in fact, supporters of that government. Evidence reported, by, amongst other sources, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, shows that the murders were carried out by the NATO-sponsored "Free Syrian Army" (FSA) terrorists at Houla on 25 and 25 May 2012 .
On top of defending itself against terrorism, Syria has given refuge to a vast number of refugees from wars extending back to the creation of Israel by the expulsion of Palestinans in 1947.
According to Wikipedia, "Syria hosted a population of refugees and asylum seekers number approximately 1,852,300. Of these, "the vast majority of this population was from Iraq (1,300,000), ...", that is, from wars in which the United States and its allies including Australia, illegally participated in commencing from 1990.
The justifications for these wars, including the "incubator babies" and Iraqi "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (WMDs) were fraudulent and known to be fraudulent by the US and UK Governments and, in all likelihood, the Australian Governments of Prime Ministers Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard, as well.
Statement by Professor Francis Boyle, Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal
Approximately 3.3 million Iraqis, including 750,000 children, were "exterminated" by economic sanctions and/or illegal wars conducted by the U.S. and Great Britain between 1990 and 2012, an eminent international legal authority says.
The slaughter fits the classic definition of Genocide Convention Article II of, “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” says Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, and who in 1991 filed a class-action complaint with the UN against President George H.W. Bush.
The U.S. and U.K. "obstinately insisted" that their sanctions remain in place until after the “illegal” Gulf War II aggression perpetrated by President George W. Bush and UK’s Tony Blair in March, 2003, “not with a view to easing the over decade-long suffering of the Iraqi people and children” but “to better facilitate the U.S./U.K. unsupervised looting and plundering of the Iraqi economy and oil fields in violation of the international laws of war as well as to the grave detriment of the Iraqi people,” Boyle said.
In an address last Nov. 22 to The International Conference on War-affected Children in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Boyle tallied the death toll on Iraq by U.S.-U.K. actions as follows:
- The slaughter of 200,000 Iraqis by President Bush in his illegal 1991 Gulf War I.
- The deaths of 1.4 million Iraqis as a result of the illegal 2003 war of aggression ordered by President Bush Jr. and Prime Minister Blair.
- The deaths of 1.7 million Iraqis "as a direct result" of the genocidal sanctions.
Boyle's class-action complaint demanded an end to all economic sanctions against Iraq; criminal proceedings for genocide against President George H.W. Bush; monetary compensation to the children of Iraq and their families for deaths, physical and mental injury; and for shipping massive humanitarian relief supplies to that country.
The grossly hypocritical” UN refused to terminate the sanctions, Boyle pointed out, even though its own Food and Agricultural Organization's Report estimated that by 1995 the sanctions had killed 560,000 Iraqi children during the previous five years.
Boyle noted that then U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright was interviewed on CBS-TV on May 12, 1996, in response to a question by Leslie Stahl if the price of half a million dead children was worth it, and replied, "we (the U.S. government) think the price is worth it."
Albright's shocking response provides "proof positive of the genocidal intent by the U.S. government against Iraq" under the Genocide Convention, Boyle said, adding that the government of Iraq today could still bring legal action against the U.S. and the U.K. in the International Court of Justice. He said the U.S.-U.K. genocide also violated the municipal legal systems of all civilized nations in the world; the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and its Additional Protocol 1 of 1977.
Boyle, who was stirred to take action pro bono by Mothers in Iraq after the economic sanctions had been imposed upon them by the Security Council in August, 1990, in response to pressure from the Bush Senior Administration. He is the author of numerous books on international affairs, including "Destroying World Order".
 See Report: Rebels Responsible for Houla Massacre of 10 June 2012, US-Sponsored Gangs Committed Houla Massacre of 14 June 2012, The United Nations and the Houla Massacre: The Information Battlefield of 12 June 2012, US-NATO Sponsored Crimes against Humanity in Syria. Coverup by UN Human Rights Council of 2 Dec 2012, Propaganda War: Houla Massacre Committed by US-NATO Sponsored “Free Syrian Army”. But They Accuse Syrian Government of 9 Jun 2012, LIES AND FABRICATIONS: The Houla Massacre of 29 May 2012, BREAKING: Prime German Paper: Syrian Rebels Committed Houla Massacre of 10 Jun 2012, The Houla Massacre: The Disinformation Campaign of 13 Jun 2012, The UN and General Mood's "Missing Report" on Conflicting Accounts of Houla Massacre of 11 Sep 2012, SYRIA: The Houla Massacre and the Subversion of the Peace Plan of 7 Jun 2012, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung confirms: Houla massacre committed by Syrian “rebels” of 16 Jun 2012,