Russian President Vladmir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan held a four-hour meeting on August 5 in Sochi which may change the course of the Middle East, and end the US occupation of Syria.
What was the importance of Putin's attendance at the Caspian Summit, beginning on June 29, 2022 and the progress of associated alliances? This was a subject of some interesting speculation in a July 2 edition of The Duran, which I have embedded and transcribed below this introduction. For some time now the US and Russia have had increasing proxy confrontations in Russia's backyard, in the areas around and below the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) repelled an attack by terrorists on Saraqib on Wednesday and in the early hours of Thursday.
"It is incredibly rare that the BBC ever admits that one of their reports on Douma in Syria failed to meet the Corporation's editorial standards for accuracy by reporting false claims… Blink and you’d have missed this admission, but we didn’t, and it adds to a volley of misreporting that has dogged journalism and peace in the Middle East for decades." (Ross Ashcroft, Renegade Inc.) Ross Ashcroft skilfully reviews mainstream western media attacks on journalists who tried in 2018 to properly investigate false claims that the Syrian Government launched chemical attacks on its people. He reinterviews those journalists, as he analyses the recent BBC admission of defending lies that support the western media conspiracy to justify US-NATO attempts to overthrow Assad Government. He is joined by political scientist Dr. Piers Robinson and journalist Vanessa Beeley to discuss the crumbling narrative around the alleged Douma chemical attack.
Can Palestine be liberated while the US illegally occupies Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq? Apparently Melbourne's pro-Palestine movement thinks Palestine can be liberated while Syria has much of its territory illegally occupied and US troops also illegally occupy Iraq and Afghanistan.
I attended both the Freedom Protest and the huge pro-Palestine Protest in Melbourne yesterday on 15 May 2021. At both protests I intended to show my support for each of those two respective causes and to distribute our leaflet on Julian Assange. 
Unfortunately, I did not stay long at the Freedom Protest, because I thought that it would be more promising and and more productive to go to the pro-Palestine protest. My reason was that I supposed the Palestine protest would attract a wide range of related left-wing causes, such as people who support the Syrian and Venezuelan people. I also expected that people there would be very receptive to the leaflet in support of Julian Assange I had to distribute.
Where, at the Freedom protest, nearly everyone I approached with a leaflet was happy to accept it, I was disappointed to discover that at the pro-Palestine protest, whilst most accepted a copy of my leaflet and many even thanked me and expressed support for Julian Assange, a surprising number of people there were quite hostile to my handing out those leaflets.
In hindsight, I now realise that I should have challenged those people to explain to me their apparent hostility to Julian Assange. Many of those who were hostile seemed to me to be members of the supposedly far-left socialist parties, one of which I was associated with, more than 30 years ago. I could have said to any one of those people:
"Don't you realise that because of Wikileaks and Julian Assange it is not nearly as easy as it once was for the United States to continue its support for Israel or to fabricate pretexts to start other wars in the Middle East? Don't you realize that, by giving people the ability to safely leak information from inside the US government and the US military, Wikileaks helps people in countries like Palestine fight there for their freedom?"
Unfortunately, I did not.
How can Free Palestine Melbourne be more effective?
I also felt that the overall approach of the pro-Palestine protest was seriously flawed.
Even more so, the Hamas resistance in the Gaza strip, so villified by Israel and the corporate newsmedia, should be commended for their heroic acts of solidarity with their fellow Palestinians on the West Bank who were being savagely repressed at the al-Aqsa mosque and elsewhere whilst having even more of their homes demolished to make way for yet more illegal Israeli settlements.
Hamas chose, from its tiny vulnerable coastal enclave, to launch missiles northwards into Israel in an effort to make Menachem Begin, the crooked Prime Minister of Israel, reconsider his decision to steal more Palestinian land. For that Hamas and other residents of the Gaza strip have paid a terrible price.
However, such military resistance alone, either in Gaza or in the West Bank, is likely to bring peace and justice to Palestine.
Unless other positive strategies to end the conflict are put forward and adapted by the Palestinian resistance, that conflict can only descend to an even more terrible and fratricidal conflict out of which there can only be two possible outcomes:
- the total destruction of the Palestinian nation within the borders of Palestine; or
- The destruction of Israel, with all Israelis expelled from the land.
Obviously, neither of these two outcomes are acceptable.
A lot of ordinary Jewish Israelis have decent attitudes towards the Palestinians. It's sad that a very high proportion do seem to support Netanyahu, and the terrible crimes being committed against Palestinians - at least according to mainstream news. But I think any strategy to defeat the Israeli government has to recognize that a sizable proportion of Jews in Israel do not approve of driving Palestinians out of their land. These Israelis can be reached, and should be given support to develop a different, non-apartheid, form of government, and to form opposition to the continual predations by pro-Israeli settler property developers in the Gaza strip and their military support.
What about Syria?
At the Palestine protest, I also found it curious that no mention was made at all about Syria and all the other conflicts going on in the Middle East, right next door to Palestine. There's a terrible war going on in Syria, right at this moment, and I felt it striking that not a word was said about that.
Estimates of the number killed so far in Syria since march 2011 vary between 388,652 and 594,000. (See Syrian Revolution 120 months on: 594,000 persons killed and millions of Syrians displaced and injured (14/3/2021) SOHR. 14 March 2021.) Of these, between 131,145 and 180,440 are from the Syrian Arab Army or their allies, who are defending their country. An estimate of the number of mostly foreign terrorists killed so far in Syria varies between 142,684 and 198,684. (See PDF document SOHR 14th Annivesary (1/6/2020) - whilst these figures are contested and difficult to confirm, but they do give some idea of the scale of the loss of life caused by this conflict.)
Every week there have been a number of illegal Israeli air strikes against Syria in support of the continuing terrorist war, of more than ten years duration so far, against the Syrian Government.
Very recently, Syria got so fed up with the Israeli air strikes on its territory, that they actually launched a missile strike themselves against Israel in response.
The failure of any of the speakers, at that pro-Palestine protest, to mention this war, or any other of the recent conflicts in the Middle-East - Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Lebanon - is difficult to understand.
Australian foreign policy is important for Palestinians - We need to hold our government to account
Not only did the Melbourne protest not seem to have any practical help for the Palestinian struggle, or for all the other people in the Middle East, but it did not hold the Australian government to account for effectively siding, since 2011, with terrorist insurgency in Syria, which has been an outspoken supporter of Palestinians for decades.
I can't say at the moment that any protests in which I have recently participated have grown to be really sizable, but I have taken part in small pro-Syria protest movements, and I'm still doing so. As in protest movements in support of Julian Assange, we know that every time we reach anyone, any time someone listens to us, it has an impact on Australian politics, because people then become aware of what our foreign policies actually are, and that what is happening in Palestine and Syria, or to Julian Assange, etc., depends to some extent on what is happening in Australian foreign policy. If no state outside Israel supported Israeli apartheid, or sanctions on Syria, or the imprisonment of Julian Assange, then it is most unlikely that any of these shocking processes would have endured for any length of time. Therefore, it is very important for any Australian protesting about conditions overseas to make links to any enabling policies right here in Australia, to be aware of what their own government is doing, or of how a decent and compassionate Australian government could help prevent the harm being done to people, by actively speaking up against it. It seemed to me that this awareness and consciousness-raising was absent at the pro-Palestine protests yesterday.
When we were protesting a few years ago against US-NATO intervention in Syria, we pointed out the Australian government's shameful role in sanctioning Syria, basically in supporting a siege against the Syrian people. We argued that supporting war against Syria had implications for the attitude that people should have towards the Australian government.
Where was there a similar attempt to raise awareness in the pro-Palestinian protest?
The pro-Palestine protest acknowledged, to some degree, the illegal acquisition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, rather than Tel Aviv. However, there was very little focus on the wrong of the Australian government's support for American policy towards Israel and the rest of the Middle East, in facilitating that change of Israel's capital. I only heard disapproval for Australia's support for these bad policies expressed once in any of the speeches. The failure to more emphatically point out corrupt Australian government policy in the pro-Palestinian protest was a serious shortcoming.
I mean, we should be able to influence foreign policy by appealing to or placing pressure on our local parliamentarians, as well as on the parliaments in elections. However, if people are not made aware of our complicit foreign policies and the need for these to change, it is as if we are giving up on the area where we could be most effective.
It is to be hoped that more protests will be organised, since the conflicts in the Middle East are ongoing, and will not abate without concerned, persistent, and informed, activism.
The 215K PDF file from which the double-sided A5 leaflet can be printed is here embedded in the article Barraitser's 'compassion' towards Julian Assange a ploy to avoid judicial scrutiny of the United States' illegal war on journalism? (12/1/2021) and has been adapted to become the article, Uphold the Rule of Law - demand that the Australian government act to end the illegal imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange (11/2/2021).
See also MEPs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly reject claims they spread 'fake news' about Syria attack (26/4/2021) | Irish Examiner, During EU Parliament session, MEP accused of 'fake news' for daring to question OPCW on whistleblower scandal (21/4/2021) | New Cold War.
This report disregarded findings of OPCW inspectors who had visited the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack.
On this critical and urgent issue of the alleged gas attack by the Syrian 'regime', each member of the European Parliament was only allowed one minute to question the OPCW representative. The Speaker even interrupted Clare Daly before she had completed her one minute, claiming that she was repeating what Mick Wallace had already said.
Quite used to being vilified for asking inconvenient questions. Big establishment backlash when we first raised Garda whistleblower complaints in the Dáil. Now fury over justified questions to OPCW. Instead of trying to shut questions down, why not just answer them? pic.twitter.com/qsN4hCwIWc
Syrian/British PressTV journalist, Richard Medhurst (pictured) reports on Syria's missile strike towards Dimona. Finally, after years of enduring missile strikes from Israel on top of the 10 year old takfiri terrorist invasion than has cost Syria, by one outdated estimate, 400,000 lives, Syria has hit back at the rogue state on its border.
Syria continues under attack, Western criminal sanctions are further devastating the war ravaged country. The US maintaining forces there, holding onto the northern resources rich area, stealing the much needed petrol. Syrians in Syria are suffering with high unemployment, low wages, hyper inflation, no fuel, medicines and shortages of food, electricity, water and COVID 19 increasing. Hands Off Syria, Sydney, requests short videos (30 seconds or less) or photos opposing the sanctions against Syria. Those preferring photos please add a short statement against the sanctions, something as simple "I/we oppose the sanctions against Syria." Send your material to [email protected] Tim Anderson has offered to put them together to make a video. Please send us your short videos and pics by Wednesday 21 April 2021. [Depending on the number of responses, it will take us around 2-3 days to put it together].
As Australian academic Tim Anderson has pointed out (see below), the Aramaic language, which was spoken by Jesus Christ and now spoken only in Syria, has been under threat by the war against the Syrian people that started over a decade ago on 15 March 2011. This war has been waged mainly by tens of thousands of paid terrorist proxies of the United States and its allies - Israel, Saudi Arabia, Britain, Germany, France and Turkey. This terrible war has, so far, cost over 400,000 Syrian lives, including 80,000 Syrian soldiers by one estimate and caused the internal displacement of more than half of Syria's population and has caused many others to seek refuge overseas. (Wikipedia's somewhat less terrible figures can be found here.)
In spite of the victories by the Syrian Arab Army, Lebanese Hezbollah volunteers, Iranian military advisers and Russian Army and Air Force contingents, the enemies of Syria seem to be resolved to keep their terrorist war going, to maintain crippling economic sanctions and, in the case of the United States, maintain its illegal occupation of Syria's oil fields in Eastern Syria and the theft of Syria's oil. They apparently intend to continue this war for however long it takes to break the resistance of the Syrian people - another 10 years, another 50 years or however long it takes. The longer this continues, the harder it will be for the Aramaic people to preserve their language and culture.
For this war to ever end, people in the West will have to organise protests in solidarity with the Syrian people and against their own governments' criminal conduct towards Syria.
Julian Assange and Wikileaks can help stop the war against Syria
There is not, currently, a great deal about Syria on Wikileaks. Its page on Syria is dated Thursday 5 July 2012, only one year and four months after that war had commenced. It is somewhat critical of the Syrian government as well as of the terrorist opposition, as even many defenders of Syria were back then:
"WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: 'The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria's opponents. It helps us not merely to criticise one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts. It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it.'"
So far, not a lot has yet been leaked to Wikileaks about the Western nation's criminal conspiracy against Syria. Still, the Wikileaks news service remains our best hope of finding out the vital facts behind the Syrian war in addition to all the other wars about which Wikileaks has revealed so much.
It is vital that we continue our campaign against the British government's illegal imprisonment and torture of him and against the United States' attempt to
kidnap extradite Julian Assange.
Following our successful protest outside the Melbourne British Consulate, Melbourne supporters of Julian Assange will be resuming our weekly Friday evening vigil from 6:30pm outside Flinders Street Station. We will be holding our vigil on this coming Good Friday public holiday of 2 April.
At that vigil, we will also be demanding as shown on our large banner that the Australian government act to end the British government's illegal imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange.
Please be there to help us hold our banner, distribute leaflets and listen to speeches.
US President Joe Biden ordered military airstrikes against facilities belonging to anti-terror resistance groups on the Iraqi-Syrian border. The military action, the first of its kind under US President Joe Biden, has been met with negative reactions, with many observers likening Biden's approach to that of his predecessor, Donald Trump.
The military action was said to be in retaliation for recent attacks against American bases and missions in Iraq, which Washington has blamed on so-called "Iran-backed" Iraqi resistance groups. Australian mass-media has uncritically repeated these pretexts. Iran has, however, repeatedly rejected any role in the attacks targeting American bases in Iraq. Iraqi resistance forces have been fighting remnants of the Takfiri Daesh terror group across border regions of Iraq and Syria in coordination with the governments in both Arab countries. Damascus has censured the US air raid describing it as "cowardly" and a "bad sign" from the new US administration.
In the introduction, Mohammed Ali, in Damascus, Syria, gives that state's response to the attacks.
Discussing the issues with compere, Bardia Honardar, are Sara Flounders, National Co-Director, International Action Center, an activist group founded in 1992 by former United States Attorney General Ramsey Clark. It supports anti-imperialist movements around the world, and opposes U.S. military intervention in all circumstances; and Daniel Kovalic, lawyer and adjunct Professor of labour law, University of Pittsburg, campaigner in International Human Rights, particularly in Columbia, where he has exposed murder and destabilisation programs by the United States and corporations.
Note that it is not possible to embed this debate.  If you click on the link, you will go to the press tv iran site, but you will have to click the back arrow to return to this site.
Transcript of debate
BARDIA HONARDAR (COMPERE): Daniel Kovalic, what does this attack say about US President Joe Biden's approach to foreign policy?
KOVALIC: Well it says what many of us fear and that is that he is going to be a very aggressive president when it comes to military action. You mentioned at the outset of the broadcast when you compared him to his hawkish predecessor, Trump. I'm not sure that Trump was any more hawkish than Obama and I'm not sure Biden will be less hawkish than Trump. My guess is he will actually be more so, and this is a signal of that. This is an unlawful attack he engaged in. It's illegal. Under international law, there was no security authorisation for it and it wasn't done as an act of self-defense and it was a war-crime. So, I think he's signalling - you know, he keeps saying, "America's back!" and what he means by that is the 82nd Airborne is back to start bombing people. And that's a shame.
BARDIA HONARDAR (COMPERE): Sara Flounders, what do you think is behind the decision to carry out this attack?
FLOUNDERS: Well, I think - as was just said - President Biden is really sending a message not to expect anything different than previous US presidents in terms of criminal, illegal activity. It's an absolute war-crime. I mean, the US has no business being in Syria, has no business being in the region, at all. They use the flimsiest excuses even imaginable, that an Iraqi resistance group backed by Iran - all of this supposed - and for that reason they're bombing Syria? I mean, even here in the US, how on earth is that understandable, to anyone? But it's saying that the US needs no excuse to continue its intervention. The US has been bombing Syria since 2014, and from the very beginning, was part of this effort to bring down Syria, to destroy Syria, to pull it apart. From the very - from 2011, a 'regime-change operation' is what they called it. And this is Biden signalling that there is no real change in policy. It shows enormous hostility. Also, it's openly said, 'This is to be a message to Iran'; it's to be 'a message to Iraq'. A message also to the people here, in the US, who had expectations about Biden; that maybe he would speak for Amazon workers, who are desperately trying to organise a union that a million low-wage workers at stake want warehouse organising. Biden won't say a word. Won't say a word! They're still waiting for a stimulus bill here - millions and millions of people who are desperate - but they could carry out, at enormous expense, a bombing run in Syria. And that is criminal toward the people of Syria, but it's also criminal toward the people here in the US, who needed and expected that there would be some change. And, of course, there's not.
BARDIA HONARDAR (COMPERE): Daniel, Damascus has censured the US air raid, describing it as, "a bad sign from the Administration of the US president." What do you think would be the fall-out from this attack?
KOVALIC: Well, I think that any chance of the nuclear deal with Iran being put back in place between the US and Iran, I think that's - there was slim hope of that anyway, given Biden's position on that, but I think now, that's probably finished. And I think that he, by this bombing, wanted to send the message that there's no rapprochement with Iran coming from him. He sent that message loud and clear, and I'm sure Iran got the message that they're - you know - it's going to be business as usual between the US and Iran, which means sanctions are going to stay in place, which means ordinary Iranians are going to continue to suffer. So, that's going to be one fall-out. I think a lot of the world, even in Europe, is going to be more wary of the Biden administration. I think there were some amongst world leaders who hoped he would be more diplomatic than Trump, that he would use peaceful means to try to deal with conflicts with other countries. And, in fact, Biden - you know - said so. That he would use peaceful means first to deal with other countries and, what he's shown by his actions is he has no intention of doing that. He is going to shoot first and ask questions later.
BARDIA HONARDAR (COMPERE): Sara Flounders. Hours after the US attack, Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, with his Syrian counterpart, they both emphasised the need for western countries to abide by UN Security Council resolutions regarding Syria. The question is the law. It hasn't really been a concern for Washington, especially when it comes to Syria, has it?
FLOUNDERS: This is so absolutely lawless. There's no concern for even a fig leaf of cover on this. Not at all. And we should all keep in mind that the US, with no justification, has absolutely made every effort to stop Syria from rebuilding, after these ten years of hugely destructive war. Syria, at a heroic effort, defeated US attempts to overthrow the government, but the sanctions, [without] which would enable absolutely normal trade and rebuilding, are attempting to strangle Syria, as they are attempting to strangle Iran, and the whole region, because it shuts down any relations between each of the countries of the region and that's what it's also meant to do: to push back development, to push back solidarity - and I don't think it's going to have that impact. I think it will, if anything, toughen resolve in Syria, and in Iran and Iraq too. So, the US has shown that their aims - they can be pushed back by people's mobilisation - they have been pushed back. US was literally pushed out of Iraq, in a very - by millions of people, by real effort, pushed out of Syria - but, they keep trying. They really - it's relentless and it's criminal, and, as I say, it has to be the countries of Europe and here in the US which demand a stop in this criminal activity. It shouldn't be only the people of Syria and Iran speaking on this. Really, the people of the whole world need to denounce this.
BARDIA HONARDAR (COMPERE): Danny Kovalic, the Russian foreign minister said that the US military is present on Syrian soil illegally in violation of all norms of international law. China has warned against any action that would further complicate the situation in Syria, and analysts that we spoke to, here on Press TV, said that Washington might be intending to relaunch the war on Damascus, the one that Biden's old partner, Obama, started. Do you agree with that?
KOVALIC: Well, I think that's a great danger! And again, the Democrats and, frankly, the more 'liberal' media, for lack of a better word, have signaled that that's what they want for years! I mean, you know, the Democrats and outlets like New York Times, and NPR, were constantly attacking Trump for every position he took - which is fine - and I mean, I have no problem with that - but the one thing they would applaud him for is when he bombed Syria! They were clear that that's what they want: More bombing. They made it clear they didn't want Trump to get out of Afghanistan, like he was actually seeming to try to do. So, yeah, I think this is the plan, I think that the goal is to destroy Syria. The US government has on a few occasions acknowledged they cannot overthrow Assad, and so, clearly, the goal is simply to destroy the country. And now, the last figure I saw, is it had 12 million Syrians who are starving through the sanctions, the Caesar sanctions. So, I think they are going to continue to sow chaos and destruction in the Middle East, and I say that very sadly, but that's what I see happen.
BARDIA HONARDAR (COMPERE): Sara Flounders, the foreign minister of Russia, Sergei Lavrov, he recently said that Moscow had received unconfirmed information that the United States is planning to stay in Syria indefinitely. How inconsistent has the US been in its policy in Syria? Many would believe it's impossible to predict whether the US will stay or leave.
FLOUNDERS: Well, the US policy has been consistent in terms of war on the world and, in that, they are signalling that they plan to continue that relentless war. And it is also a war that is absolutely destroying the US. We have the highest - the highest by every count - of deaths from Covid, because there is no health infrastructure. There's a huge military infrastructure. They know what's on every one of 800 military bases around the world. They know they can - with their satellites - monitor everything, yet they can't get out vaccines in the US. They can't give emergency supplies in the midst of a horrendous cold-snap that's hit Texas and parts of the US south, and people are freezing without electricity, without heat. They can't provide those things. They can't provide the most basic things here for the population. And they can't provide vaccines for the global south, for the people of the world - or for the US. But they can provide bombs. They can provide destruction, because that is profitable. And that's how they calculate it. They don't calculate it at all with people need peace and they need health care and they need good food. Those are absolute human needs and, instead, this policy is set by those who profit from war. And it's enormously profitable. Billionaires. So, I - it's destructive and really, those links need to be made more and more, so that people here in the US understand who's responsible, when they don't have heat or jobs or a vaccine. Who's responsible? This government that cares more about war.
Q.BARDIA HONARDAR (COMPERE):targets, which have often had little impact, they've escalated over the past year, especially since the Iraqi parliament passed a law that mandated a full withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country but many are saying that the rise in such activities are apparently creating a sense of insecurity in Iraq and providing a pretext for the US to keep its troops and forces in the country. Do you see it in that light as well?
KOVALIC: Well, yes, although it's a strange argument - right? It's a circular argument. To be in a country illegally, like the US is, and then to say, when national forces that attack them, 'cause they want them out - as we would in the US, if someone invaded us, and stayed for years - and then to say, 'Well, we have to stay, because our presence is causing this reaction, but we have to stay to counter that reaction' - it makes no sense! But that is US military policy. We create the crisis, then we stay to stomp out the crisis - or to claim to. It's just completely irrational to any honest thinking person.
BARDIA HONARDAR (COMPERE): Sara Flounders, I see you nodding there. Would you like to add anything to that?
FLOUNDERS: Well, it's true. Any thinking person would say this is a criminally insane policy. And we're paying with lives in Syria, with lives around the world, and with lives here. And all that is not being done, in order to continue a war on the world. I just can't say how even disheartening - not that I had any expectation about Biden, or the Democratic Party - but there was a certain expectation that there would be maybe even some breathing room, or that there would be some attention to the needs here, but it's really clear that they intend to keep military presence every single place they can and to expand it, to threaten other countries. So, when Biden sends a message like this, we've got to take it seriously, and up the demands here, because that is the only way, the only way I can see, and to absolutely state how com - there's no excuse! We have to make this completely unacceptable. And to demand they end the sanctions and the bases and the bombings and the war on the world.
BARDIA HONARDAR (COMPERE): I'm going to stay with you, Miss Flounders. Over the years there have been numerous reports about the infiltration of Daesh elements from Syria into Iraq, under the protection and logistical assistance of US troops. The popular mobilisation forces and its affiliates, which have been integrated into Iraq's regular forces, [are] deployed on the Syrian border and they're helping the army to stem the movement of the terrorists between the two countries. Do you think maybe that's why they're being targeted by the US?
FLOUNDERS: Well, certainly the US wants to continue to use Daesh forces. They want to use everywhere they can the most reactionary forces, who only seek to destroy. And, in the same way that their alliances are with completely criminal monarchies, who don't represent the population, such as Saudi Arabia. So it's not surprising that they would use Daesh-ISIS forces in Iraq, in Syria, and use as a threatening force in other countries of the world. And then it gives them an excuse to say they're going in to fight these forces. Well, maybe folks bought that back in 2014 and 2015, but I don't think anybody accepts that any longer. They know who pays and who transports these forces, who protects them in supposed prisons, and then moves them out in order to carry out destruction again.
BARDIA HONARDAR (COMPERE): Sure. One last question for Daniel Kovalic in Pittsburg. Syria's new permanent representative to the UN, Bassam Sabbagh, he stressed that the politicisation of the Syrian refugee crisis has increased the suffering of people in the war-ravaged country and western sanctions in his country have prevented Syrians from acquiring basic commodities. Why are Syrians being collectively punished by western countries, namely the US?
KOVALIC: Well, this is standard operating procedure. Many countries are being punished. Many populations are being punished by the west and in particular by the US, because they are standing firm against US aggression, against US intervention, against US imperialism. And, when you do that, you're punished. That is how it goes. That's how the US has operated since its inception. That is the nature of the beast, unfortunately.
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(4 Oct 2020) /node/6040 @JulianAssange_ Extradition Hearing mistrial - Chris Hedges interviews former British Ambassador Craig Murray. https://youtu.be/ZtwpzqAJMBo (embedded in above article) His exhaustive reporting has become one of the few sources of reliable information about the hearing.
(30 Sep 2020) 13 presidents past & present urge UK government to halt Julian Assange’s extradition proceedings and grant his immediate freedom (28/9/20) The Duran as @JulianAssange_ fights extradition over 100 eminent political figures, including 13 past & present heads of state, denounced its illegality.
(30 Sep 2020) Also posted to: Liveblog updates on Assange extradition trial @ wikileaks /comment/250330#comment-250330 https://youtube.com/watch?v=C8mGJV9YFtA Whilst I welcome Jeremy Corbyn’s name being on the list, I don’t recall where he ever once said a word about @JulianAssange_ whilst he was Opposition leader.
Twitter posts by Malthusista on Venezuela
9 December 2020: In response to
The US calling elections in Venezuela illegitimate after propping up that fart Guaido and sending mercenaries on a coup a few months ago is frankly hilarious.
by Richard Medhurst, Malthusista tweeted:
... and yet the duly elected President Nicolas Maduro allows the traitor Juan Guido, who openly calls for a US invasion & supports sanctions, to walk around freely? Would the Norwegian government not have arrested Vidkun Qisling in 1940 had they known of his treachery?
Twitter posts by Malthusista on Syria
10 December 2020: In response to
by Tim Anderson, Malthusista tweeted:
I am most impressed at how the White Helmets always keep their uniforms, particularly their helmets, untarnished and scratch-free in the midst of the ferocious war zones in which they work. Where have any other civil defence workers in a war zone managed to accomplish this??
Tweets by #dilyana" id="dilyana">Dilyana Gaytandzhieva @dgaytandzhieva
Dilyana's site is dilyana.bg.
Why has Twitter unfollowed and removed my followers without their consent?
Tweets by Christine Assange @MrsC_Assange
Will @Twitter again wipe 5,000 off again overnight... at a crucial moment in the fight to free him or let it reach 60,000?
12:30pm +11, 20 Dec 2020 Response by Malthusista: #Malthusista_1pm_20dec20">If Twitter cannot trust us to use our own best judgement, then perhaps it's time for a government of good intent to set up an alternative. Would Russia or Iran, who produce far more informative and balanced news services than in the West, rise to the challenge? It would surely cost them only a small fraction of what they are now having to spend to defend themselves against the war plans of the U.S., Israel and their allies.
The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the meeting in Moscow between Russian President Putin and Turkey's Erdogan. Erdogan made many outrageous claims, including that Turkey had killed over 2,500 Syrian troops during fighting in Idlib's surrounding areas...a claim which is ridiculous on its face, and exposes how out of touch the Turkish leader is when it comes to this reckless invasion of Syrian sovereignty. See more at The Duran: https://theduran.com
Hot-head President Erdogan seems to be threatening a full-scale invasion of Syria, which would risk major conflict between Russia and the United States. Erdogan is obsessed with the idea of heading up a new Ottoman Empire. These ambitions and Turkey's geographical location make him susceptible to manipulation by restless world powers with a variety of geopolitical interests in the region. We republish this article from https://www.rt.com/news/481179-erdogan-idlib-operation-imminent/ where it first appeared on 19 Feb, 2020 09:14.
A new Turkish military incursion into Syria’s Idlib governorate has been planned and may start at any moment, President Recep Erdogan has warned, ramping up a tense standoff with Damascus.
Ankara will not “leave Idlib to the Assad regime and its backers,” Erdogan vowed, referring to the Syrian government and, apparently, to Russia and Iran. Speaking to lawmakers on Wednesday, he said his words were “a final warning.”
The Turkish president also said negotiations with Russia over Idlib have so far failed to meet Ankara’s demands. He said he wanted the province to be safe for Turkey, “no matter the cost.”
The northwestern Syrian province bordering Turkey is the last major stronghold of anti-government forces in the protracted civil war. Ankara backs some of the armed groups in the area, but there is also a strong presence of jihadists, who have no interest in a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Under an agreement with Russia, Turkey is supposed to use its leverage in Idlib to curb violence and prevent attacks on other parts of Syria.
The arrangement never fully worked, with Damascus regularly complaining about cross-border militant attacks. Its response was to gradually take control over some parts of the province, forcing jihadists to retreat. Since last month the advancements put Syrian troops in direct opposition to Turkish forces, which have been deployed in Idlib to monitor the situation. At least two clashes between them have resulted in casualties among the Turks, angering Ankara.
Moscow is mediating in the situation to prevent it from boiling over into a major confrontation. Erdogan has demanded that Damascus pull back its forces from Idlib and threatened to use the Turkish army to force a retreat if necessary.
Western propaganda against Syria has been stepped up, despite recent revelations of how the 'chemical weapons attacks' investigations were rigged by the OPCW, where multiple investigators have come out and blown the whistle. The US-NATO warmongers must be getting quite desperate and have decided that the only way they can keep the ISIS and other terrorist presence in northern Syria is to get Turkey to invade. See "Turkish military op in Idlib only 'matter of time’, Erdogan warns Damascus." We hope this will not come about. Meanwhile, in this video-episode of Going Underground, Afshin Rattansi speaks to Syrian President Bashar Assad's media adviser, Bouthaina Shaaban. She discusses the Syrian Arab Army/pro-government forces victory in Aleppo, which has secured the entire Aleppo region for the first time since 2012, the Idlib offensive and why it has taken so long for the Syrian government to conduct the operation, allegations of Russian and Syrian targeting of civilians in the offensive, her message to President Erdogan in the context of the Turkish occupation of Northern Syria, and more!
You probably didn't fall for the latest western-corporate press nonsense about Russia and Syria 'brutally attacking Idlib Province in Syria', but you may wonder what is really happening. This is how it appears to us: Turkey and the US want to retain a foothold in Idlib, Northern Syria, along with their terrorist proxies, so that they can sell arms, loot the place, and cause chaos in the region. Turkey is playing Russia and the US for whatever it can get out of them. President Erdogan wants to reestablish the Ottoman Empire in his own name and that is part of his plan for trying to acquire territory in Syria. The US has put some sanctions on Turkey because it purchased weapons from the Russians recently, instead of from the US. Turkey is kind of like a major political prostitute for NATO and anyone else with a mutual short-term aim, including ISIS. The Syrian Arab Army (the Syrian government forces) and the Russians are trying to free the terrorists' human shields in Idlib and restore it to order. Against all odds, the Syrian government has managed to take back nearly all of Syria from the terrorists. (Syrian Arab Army Cleans 16 Towns in 24 Hours from NATO Terrorists in Idlib and Aleppo (8/2/20) by Arabi Souli | SyriaNews) This is probably because it is the only force that has massive support from Syrians. The syndicated western press, which trots out guff about Syria attacking its own people, is a mouthpiece for weapons manufacturers, war, US expansionism and neocolonialism, all major investment stocks. By the way, Iran has opened a criminal case against the US for using terrorists to destabilise the region and for multiple murders and war crimes. Meanwhile the US pretends that it is combatting aggression from Iran. See
Iranian lawyers file lawsuit against US over fighters killed in Syria, Sunday, 09 February 2020
SAA Cleans 16 Towns in 24 Hours from NATO Terrorists in Idlib and Aleppo
[Article below originally published here: https://www.syrianews.cc/saa-cleans-16-towns-in-24-hours-from-nato-terrorists-in-idlib-and-aleppo/]
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) responded to the threats of the Turkish pariah Erdogan to withdraw from the Syrian territories and restore al-Qaeda terrorists in the towns and villages recently cleaned from them, by cleaning 16 more towns and villages in the past day alone and continuing.
The Syrian army in a direct challenge to NATO’s Turkish Army and its neo-Ottoman leaders yesterday liberated eight towns in the eastern countryside of Idlib amid a collapse among the ranks of armed terrorists and managed to liberate part of the Aleppo highway, north of Saraqib, which is of great strategic importance because it is a meeting point between the two international roads Aleppo – Damascus, and Aleppo – Latakia.
SAA’s military operations continue on two axes in the north of the country to liberate the rest of the International Damascus-Aleppo M5 Artery, of which more than 85 percent have been liberated. The first axis starts from the southern Aleppo countryside and seeks to reach the strategic Hill of Al-Issa, and the second axis in the eastern countryside of Idlib, specifically from the city of Saraqib.
The Syrian Army advances in Idlib and Aleppo countryside and liberates more than 85% of Aleppo International Highway – Damascus, known as M5.
On the axis of the southern Aleppo countryside, the Syrian army managed to liberate the villages of Khalma, Hamera, Khan Touman, Zethan, and Berna, to arrive at the outskirts of the strategic Hill of Al-Issa, which is considered the point of ‘control by fire’ for the southern Aleppo countryside, and when it manages to liberate al-Ais Hill, its forces will be on the outskirts of the international road Aleppo- Damascus as a prelude to entering the town of Zarba located on this highway.
On the eastern axis of Idlib countryside, the Syrian Army forces deployed in the strategic city of Saraqib after its liberation, the most important city in that area after Maarat al-Numan, which the Syrian Army also liberated.
The SAA’s advance and liberation of large areas in the Idlib countryside has led to a rise in the number of besieged Turkish military posts to five in the rural Idlib and Aleppo.
The SAA’s entry into Saraqib came after the liberation of 17 villages, the most important of which were Al-Mardaikh, Dadikh, and Neirab, stretching to the town of Afis, north of Saraqib.
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
Monica Majioni of RAI Italia TV interviews Syrian President Bashar Assad. In the face of a politicized media and deluded self-censorship that undermine the remaining credibility of Italian public TV, it was the Syrian government that broadcast on state TV the interview we present to you on video and in the transcript edited by the Syrian State Press Agency SANA. There is a full transcript of the interview in English, plus the video is set or can be set to English subtitles (as well as the automatic arabic ones) on the youtube version.
Damascus, SANA-President Bashar al-Assad said that Syria is going to come out of the war stronger and the future of Syria is promising and the situation is much better, pointing out to the achievements of the Syrian Arab army in the war against terrorism.
The President, in an interview given to Italian Rai News 24 TV on November 26,2019 and was expected to be broadcast on December 2nd and the Italian TV refrained from broadcasting it for non-understandable reasons, added that Europe was the main player in creating chaos in Syria and the problem of refugees in it was because of its direct support to terrorism along with the US, Turkey and many other countries.
President al-Assad stressed that since the beginning of the narrative regarding the chemical weapons, Syria has affirmed it didn’t use them.
The President affirmed that what the OPCW organization did was to fake and falsify the report about using chemical weapons, just because the Americans wanted them to do so. So, fortunately, this report proved that everything we said during the last few years, since 2013, is correct.
Following is the full text of the interview;
Question 1: Mr. President, thanks for having us here. Let us know please, what’s the situation in Syria now, what’s the situation on the ground, what is happening in the country?
President Assad: If we want to talk about Syrian society: the situation is much, much better, as we learned so many lessons from this war and I think the future of Syria is promising; we are going to come out of this war stronger.
Talking about the situation on the ground: The Syrian Army has been advancing for the last few years and has liberated many areas from the terrorists, there still remains Idleb where you have al-Nusra that’s being supported by the Turks, and you have the northern part of Syria where the Turks have invaded our territory last month.
So, regarding the political situation, you can say it’s becoming much more complicated, because you have many more players that are involved in the Syrian conflict in order to make it drag on and to turn it into a war of attrition.
Question 2: When you speak about liberating, we know that there is a military vision on that, but the point is: how is the situation now for the people that decided to be back in society? The process of reconciliation, now at what point? Is it working or not?
President Assad: Actually, the methodology that we adopted when we wanted to create let’s say, a good atmosphere – we called it reconciliation, for the people to live together, and for those people who lived outside the control of government areas to go back to the order of law and institutions. It was to give amnesty to anyone, who gives up his armament and obey the law. The situation is not complicated regarding this issue, if you have the chance to visit any area, you’ll see that life is getting back to normal.
The problem wasn’t people fighting with each other; it wasn’t like the Western narrative may have tried to show – as Syrians fighting with each other, or as they call it a “civil war,” which is misleading. The situation was terrorists taking control of areas, and implementing their rules. When you don’t have those terrorists, people will go back to their normal life and live with each other. There was no sectarian war, there was no ethnical war, there was no political war; it was terrorists supported by outside powers, they have money and armaments, and they occupy those areas.
Question 3: Aren’t you afraid that this kind of ideology that took place and, you know, was the basis of everyday life for people for so many years, in some ways can stay in the society and sooner or later will be back?
President Assad: This is one of the main challenges that we’ve been facing. What you’re asking about is very correct. You have two problems. Those areas that were out of the control of government were ruled by two things: chaos, because there is no law, so people – especially the younger generation – know nothing about the state and law and institutions.
The second thing, which is deeply rooted in the minds, is the ideology, the dark ideology, the Wahabi ideology – ISIS or al-Nusra or Ahrar al-Cham, or whatever kind of these Islamist terrorist extremist ideologies.
Now we have started dealing with this reality, because when you liberate an area you have to solve this problem otherwise what’s the meaning of liberating? The first part of the solution is religious, because this ideology is a religious ideology, and the Syrian religious clerics, or let’s say the religious institution in Syria, is making a very strong effort in this regard, and they have succeeded; they succeeded at helping those people understanding the real religion, not the religion that they’ve been taught by al-Nusra or ISIS or other factions.
Question 4: So basically, clerics and mosques are part of this reconciliation process?
President Assad: This is the most important part. The second part is the schools. In schools, you have teachers, you have education, and you have the national curriculum, and this curriculum is very important to change the minds of those young generations. Third, you have the culture, you have the role of arts, intellectuals, and so on. In some areas, it’s still difficult to play that role, so it was much easier for us to start with the religion, second with the schools.
Question 5: Mr. President, let me just go back to politics for an instant. You mentioned Turkey, okay? Russia has been your best ally these years, it’s not a secret, but now Russia is compromising with Turkey on some areas that are part of Syrian area, so how do you assess this?
President Assad: To understand the Russian role, we have to understand the Russian principles. For Russia, they believe that international law – and international order based on that law – is in the interest of Russia and in the interest of everybody in the world. So, for them, by supporting Syria they are supporting international law; this is one point. Secondly, being against the terrorists is in the interest of the Russian people and the rest of the world.
So, being with Turkey and making this compromise doesn’t mean they support the Turkish invasion; rather they wanted to play a role in order to convince the Turks that you have to leave Syria. They are not supporting the Turks, they don’t say “this is a good reality, we accept it and Syria must accept it.” No, they don’t. But because of the American negative role and the Western negative role regarding Turkey and the Kurds, the Russians stepped in, in order to balance that role, to make the situation… I wouldn’t say better, but less bad if you want to be more precise. So, in the meantime, that’s their role. In the future, their position is very clear: Syrian integrity and Syrian sovereignty. Syrian integrity and sovereignty are in contradiction with the Turkish invasion, that is very obvious and clear.
Question 6: So, you’re telling me that the Russians could compromise, but Syria is not going to compromise with Turkey. I mean, the relation is still quite tense.
President Assad: No, even the Russians didn’t make a compromise regarding the sovereignty. No, they deal with reality. Now, you have a bad reality, you have to be involved to make some… I wouldn’t say compromise because it’s not a final solution. It could be a compromise regarding the short-term situation, but in the long-term or the mid-term, Turkey should leave. There is no question about it.
Question 7: And in the long-term, any plan of discussions between you and Mr. Erdogan?
President Assad: I wouldn’t feel proud if I have to someday. I would feel disgusted to deal with those kinds of opportunistic Islamists, not Muslims, Islamists – it’s another term, it’s a political term. But again, I always say: my job is not to be happy with what I’m doing or not happy or whatever. It’s not about my feelings, it’s about the interests of Syria, so wherever our interests go, I will go.
Question 8: In this moment, when Europe looks at Syria, apart from the considerations about the country, there are two major issues: one is refugees, and the other one is the Jihadists or foreign fighters coming back to Europe. How do you see these European worries?
President Assad: We have to start with a simple question: who created this problem? Why do you have refugees in Europe? It’s a simple question: because of terrorism that’s being supported by Europe – and of course the United States and Turkey and others – but Europe was the main player in creating chaos in Syria. So, what goes around comes around.
Question 9: Why do you say it was the main player?
President Assad: Because they publicly supported, the EU supported the terrorists in Syria from day one, week one or from the very beginning. They blamed the Syrian government, and some regimes like the French regime sent armaments, they said – one of their officials – I think their Minister of Foreign Affairs, maybe Fabius said “we send.” They sent armaments; they created this chaos. That’s why a lot of people find it difficult to stay in Syria; millions of people couldn’t live here so they had to get out of Syria.
Question 10: In this moment, in the region, there are turmoil, and there is a certain chaos. One of the other allies of Syria is Iran, and the situation there is getting complicated. Does it have any reflection on the situation in Syria?
President Assad: Definitely, whenever you have chaos, it’s going to be bad for everyone, it’s going to have side-effects and repercussions, especially when there is external interference. If it’s spontaneous, if you talk about demonstrations and people asking for reform or for a better situation economically or any other rights, that’s positive. But when it’s for vandalism and destroying and killing and interfering from outside powers, then no – it’s definitely nothing but negative, nothing but bad, and a danger on everyone in this region.
Question 11: Are you worried about what’s happening in Lebanon, which is really the real neighbor?
President Assad: Yes, in the same way. Of course, Lebanon would affect Syria more than any other country because it is our direct neighbor. But again, if it’s spontaneous and it’s about reform and getting rid of the sectarian political system, that would be good for Lebanon. Again, that depends on the awareness of the Lebanese people in order not to allow anyone from the outside to try to manipulate the spontaneous movement or demonstrations in Lebanon.
Question 12: Let’s go back to what is happening in Syria. In June, Pope Francis wrote you a letter asking you to pay attention and to respect the population, especially in Idleb where the situation is still very tense, because there is fighting there, and when it comes even to the way prisoners are treated in jails. Did you answer him, and what did you answer?
President Assad: The letter of the Pope was about his worry for civilians in Syria and I had the impression that maybe the picture in the Vatican is not complete. That’s to be expected, since the mainstream narrative in the West is about this “bad government” killing the “good people;” as you see and hear in the same media – every bullet of the Syrian Army and every bomb only kills civilians and only hospitals! they don’t kill terrorists as they target those civilians! which is not correct.
So, I responded with a letter explaining to the Pope the reality in Syria – as we are the most, or the first to be concerned about civilian lives, because you cannot liberate an area while the people are against you. You cannot talk about liberation while the civilians are against you or the society. The most crucial part in liberating any area militarily is to have the support of the public in that area or in the region in general. That has been clear for the last nine years and that’s against our interests.
Question 13: But that kind of call, in some ways, made you also think again about the importance of protecting civilians and people of your country.
President Assad: No, this is something we think about every day, not only as morals, principles and values but as interests. As I just mentioned, without this support – without public support, you cannot achieve anything… you cannot advance politically, militarily, economically and in every aspect. We couldn’t withstand this war for nine years without the public support and you cannot have public support while you’re killing civilians. This is an equation, this is a self-evident equation, nobody can refute it. So, that’s why I said, regardless of this letter, this is our concern.
But again, the Vatican is a state, and we think that the role of any state – if they worry about those civilians, is to go to the main reason. The main reason is the Western role in supporting the terrorists, and it is the sanctions on the Syrian people that have made the situation much worse – and this is another reason for the refugees that you have in Europe now. You don’t want refugees but at the same time you create the situation or the atmosphere that will tell them “go outside Syria, somewhere else,” and of course they will go to Europe. So, this state, or any state, should deal with the reasons and we hope the Vatican can play that role within Europe and around the world; to convince many states that you should stop meddling in the Syrian issue, stop breaching international law. That’s enough, we only need people to follow international law. The civilians will be safe, the order will be back, everything will be fine. Nothing else.
Question 14: Mr. President, you’ve been accused several times of using chemical weapons, and this has been the instrument of many decisions and a key point, the red line, for many decisions. One year ago, more than one year ago, there has been the Douma event that has been considered another red line. After that, there has been bombings, and it could it have been even worse, but something stopped. These days, through WikiLeaks, it’s coming out that something wrong in the report could have taken place. So, nobody yet is be able to say what has happened, but something wrong in reporting what has happened could have taken place.
President Assad: We have always – since the beginning of this narrative regarding the chemical weapons – we have said that we didn’t use it; we cannot use it, it’s impossible to be used in our situation for many reasons, let’s say – logistical reasons.
Intervention: Give me one.
President Assad: One reason, a very simple one: when you’re advancing, why would you use chemical weapons?! We are advancing, why do we need to use it?! We are in a very good situation so why use it, especially in 2018? This is one reason.
Second, very concrete evidence that refutes this narrative: when you use chemical weapons – this is a weapon of mass destruction, you talk about thousands of dead or at least hundreds. That never happened, never – you only have these videos of staged chemical weapons attacks. In the recent report that you’ve mentioned, there’s a mismatch between what we saw in the video and what they saw as technicians or as experts. The amount of chlorine that they’ve been talking about: first of all, chlorine is not a mass destruction material, second, the amount that they found is the same amount that you can have in your house, it exists in many households and used maybe for cleaning and whatever. The same amount exactly. That’s what the OPCW organisation did – they faked and falsified the report, just because the Americans wanted them to do so. So, fortunately, this report proved that everything we said during the last few years, since 2013, is correct. We were right, they were wrong. This is proof, this is concrete proof regarding this issue. So, again, the OPCW is biased, is being politicized and is being immoral, and those organisations that should work in parallel with the United Nations to create more stability around the world – they’ve been used as American arms and Western arms to create more chaos.
Question 15: Mr. President, after nine years of war, you are speaking about the mistakes of the others. I would like you to speak about your own mistakes, if any. Is there something you would have done in a different way, and which is the lesson learned that can help your country?
President Assad: Definitely, for when you talk about doing anything, you always find mistakes; this is human nature. But when you talk about political practice, you have two things: you have strategies or big decisions, and you have tactics – or in this context, the implementation. So, our strategic decisions or main decisions were to stand against terrorism, to make reconciliation and to stand against the external meddling in our affairs. Today, after nine years, we still adopt the same policy; we are more adherent to this policy. If we thought it was wrong, we would have changed it; actually no, we don’t think there is anything wrong in this policy. We did our mission; we implemented the constitution by protecting the people.
Now, if you talk about mistakes in implementation, of course you have so many mistakes. I think if you want to talk about the mistakes regarding this war, we shouldn’t talk about the decisions taken during the war because the war – or part of it, is a result of something before.
Two things we faced during this war: the first one was extremism. The extremism started in this region in the late 60s and accelerated in the 80s, especially the Wahabi ideology. If you want to talk about mistakes in dealing with this issue: then yes, I will say we were very tolerant of something very dangerous. This is a big mistake we committed over decades; I’m talking about different governments, including myself before this war.
The second one, when you have people who are ready to revolt against the order, to destroy public properties, to commit vandalism and so on, they work against their country, they are ready to go and work for foreign powers – foreign intelligence, they ask for external military interference against their country. So, this is another question: how did we have those? If you ask me how, I would tell you that before the war we had more than 50,000 outlaws that weren’t captured by the police for example; for those outlaws, their natural enemy is the government because they don’t want to go to prison.
Question 16: And how about also the economic situation? Because part of it – I don’t know if it was a big or small part of it – but part of it has also been the discontent and the problems of population in certain areas in which economy was not working. Is it a lesson learned somewhere?
President Assad: It could be a factor, but definitely not a main factor. Some people talk about the four years of drought that pushed the people to leave their land in the rural areas to go to the city… it could be a problem, but this is not the main problem. They talked about the liberal policy… we didn’t have a liberal policy, we’re still socialist, we still have a public sector – a very big public sector in government. You cannot talk about liberal policy while you have a big public sector. We had growth, good growth.
Of course, in the implementation of our policy, again, you have mistakes. How can you create equal opportunities between people? Between rural areas and between the cities? When you open up the economy, the cities will benefit more, that will create more immigration from rural areas to the cities… these are factors, that could play some role, but this is not the issue. In the rural areas where you have more poverty, the money of the Qataris played a more actual role than in the cities, that’s natural. You pay them in half an hour what they get in one week; that’s very good for them.
Question 17: We are almost there, but there are two more questions that I want to ask you. One is about reconstruction, and reconstruction is going to be very costly. How can you imagine to afford this reconstruction, who could be your allies in reconstruction?
President Assad: We don’t have a big problem with that. Talking that Syria has no money… no, actually Syrians have a lot of money; the Syrian people around the world have a lot of money, and they want to come and build their country. Because when you talk about building the country, it is not giving money to the people, it’s about getting benefit – it’s a business. So, many people, not only Syrians, want to do business in Syria. So, talking about where you can have funds for this reconstruction, we already have, but the problem is that these sanctions prevent those businessmen or companies from coming and working in Syria. In spite of that, we started and in spite of that, some foreign companies have started finding ways to evade these sanctions and we have started planning. It’s going to be slow, without the sanctions we wouldn’t have a problem with funding.
Question 18: Ending on a very personal note, Mr. President; do you feel like a survivor?
President Assad: If you want to talk about a national war like this, where nearly every city has been harmed by terrorism or external bombardment and other things, then you can talk about all the Syrians as survivors. I think this is human nature: to be a survivor.
Intervention: And you yourself?
President Assad: I’m a part of those Syrians. I cannot be disconnected from them; I have the same feeling. Again, it’s not about being a strong person who is a survivor. If you don’t have this atmosphere, this society, or this incubator to survive, you cannot survive. It’s collective; it’s not a single person, it’s not a one-man show.
Journalist: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
This book aims to talk truth to power, using intersectionalist feminist concepts, within the strange paradigm of the corporate newsmedia  and US-NATO foreign policy. Power is identified as whiteness. White women are enjoined to stand with women of colour against male whiteness, which they are charged with propping up for their own benefit.
Whiteness is defined as non-brown and non-blackness. But brown-ness can include whites who are not the ‘right kind of pale’.
“Whiteness is more than skin colour. It is, as race scholar Paul Kivel describes, ‘a constantly shifting boundary separating those who are entitled to have certain privileges from those whose exploitation and vulnerability to violence [are] justified by their not being white.’” 
Hamad accuses white women in Australia today of endorsing non-white slavery and colonialism now and through the ages because they benefited and benefit from it. She writes as if the accused white women are conscious that their attitudes condone such slavery. I would say, however, that the class that endorses these things that are decided by their ‘betters’ does so because its members believe the government and corporate media spin that justifies war, colonialism and exploitation of peoples far away. The women (and men) in the classes the system still works for, or who believe it still works for them, are obedient and unquestioning of authorities anointed by these. Such people erupt in defence of media-anointed authorities they believe to be pillars of virtue. They will also hotly defend the ideas and values they receive from these classes.
Of course, various forms of psychopathic entitlement underlie the public rationales of our leaders for colonialism and wars. These include xenophobic assumptions or just contempt for anyone standing against what empire builders and weapons lobbies want. You would think that anyone could see through these, but they don’t. Obedient Australians respond viscerally to their masters, on whom they depend, like good dogs conditioned by rewards and punishments. Hence they easily fall for the suspicious perpetual recurrence of ‘mad and brutal dictators’ in the Middle East, whom the west must get rid of through regime change. As Dr Jeremy Salt, Middle-East scholar says to cartoonist Bruce Petty (who visited Syria in 2011) in the video below (which I made), "There always has to be a madman in the Middle East" [so that the west can have an excuse to invade.]
The greater basis for their credulity is apparently the idea that the Middle East has not ‘developed’ sufficiently to achieve lawful societies, in part because it is religiously divided and lacks the separation of church and state. No relevant history is provided by the newsmedia as to how these things came about in formerly very stable societies.
Additionally, the newsmedia seems to report on overseas 'interventions' in the most confusing manner possible, as it also does with Australian politics. This leaves the Australian classes that rely for information on the newsmedia with the idea that domestic and foreign politics are incredibly complicated and hard to follow. Bored and helpless, they see no choice but to place their faith in the imagined greater intellects of the journalists and politicians involved in producing this atrocious spin.
I find it difficult, however, to agree with the assumption in Hamad’s argument that all white women (and men) in Australia accept the doctrine of the newsmedia. There seem to be plenty of men and women in Australia who question war, invasion, mass population movements, Julian Assange's imprisonment for exposing war-criminals, and think that sovereignty should be respected, but they don't find any clear echo in the newsmedia, except sometimes in masses of negative comments on line, especially on articles promoting population growth. Those commenters cannot, however, get in touch with each other to organise. Constant demographic, employment, and land-use changes have also interrupted traditional family and neighbourhood networks, and big business has taken over the universities, as the newsmedia has taken over the public talking stick. So, if you believe that the newsmedia represents the opinions of most Australians, as Hamad seems to, I think you would be wrong.
There is still an anti-war movement, but it is very disorganised, almost certainly because the mainstream media ceased to report its point of view leading up to and after the invasion of Iraq.  The anti-war movement exists in the alternative media, both Australian and overseas. (See IPAN (and here) for instance.) Unfortunately, spontaneous voluntary movements using independent and big tech media resources still do not have nearly the same publicity reach of the newsmedia nor the power to authoritatively self-anoint. The Facebook tech-machine geographically limits Australians to Australia when using its promotion system (ads) for criticism of corporate newsmedia talking points and government policies (especially those of the US). They thus continue to be drowned out by the internationally syndicated newsmedia. The greater public, whose smart screens and phones are still commercially tuned to the corporate newsmedia are thus not aware of these other views. They are only aware of them if they use independent search engines, since smart phones and screens have licence restrictions on what they can show. Whilst it is easy to simply put a URL in a browser, most people don’t know this and children are not even taught it. They might use search engines to look for alternative reports, but they are not aware that the license restrictions of the commercial software associated with their ‘smart’ electronic hardware, keep their information sources nearly as narrow as the pre-internet era.
But Hamad is a professional newsmedia journalist. Not only is she a newsmedia journalist, but she refers to what passes for Australian cultural belief and 'leftist' values in the newsmedia as if these were actual reflections of most of Australian society, rather than a sort of echo-chamber for the classes that read and write in them. Does she really believe in the cultural matrix that she refers to, or is she merely using its own language to question it?
Of particular interest to me was Hamad's experience in questioning Australia's support for US-NATO military intervention in Syria. If you weren't already aware of the shocking wrongness of our policy towards Syria, then you might wonder what Hamad is talking about here.
Hamad, who comes from a Lebanese and Syrian background (Greater Syria), and who still has relatives in Syria, describes how she was rebuffed when she tried to express her disapproval of a US intervention in Syria to her feminist white colleagues.
"[Syria] is such a fraught issue that genuine discussion is impossible while smears and misplaced outrage are the norm. On this occasion in early 2018, I felt compelled to say something as it was the day after US president Donald Trump launched strikes on Damascus following an alleged chemical attack on a rebel-held town. Anna [her Anglo-Australian friend] expressed support for the strikes in a post, which I found jarring, and I told her - calmly - that I was confused given that the United States' act signalled a possible escalation of the conflict and further suffering. I was rebuffed as an aggressor who was hurting her and had to be publicly humiliated for it: the damsel requires her retribution. Merely by letting Anna know that although I understood she cared for Syrian civilians, her stance was disappointing to me, I inadvertently unleashed a demonstration of strategic White Womanhood that brushed aside the actual issue - the air strikes - and turned it into a supposed attack by me on her 'just for being white'. The result was a torrent of abuse hurled at me on a Facebook thread." (Pp105.)
Hamad’s analysis of this exchange is that, rather than deal with the political issue of bombing Syria and the atrocious consequences of war, [Anglo-Australian] Anna seemed to interpret the questioning of Hamad’s views on foreign policy as an attack on Anna for being 'white'.
Hamad sees this as a way of avoiding the issue. She thinks that the motive for avoiding the issue is to preserve the status quo from which White Womanhood benefits.
I think this analysis would work better if we substituted the word 'consequence' for motive, because it is hard for me to believe that most Australians who defend US-NATO policy towards Syria do this with a conscious understanding of the issues. Unless they are actually heads of government/ selling weapons, of course.
Where would they acquire such an understanding? Only by venturing beyond the Anglosphere and Eurosphere mainstream, but they have been repeatedly and explicitly conditioned to avoid alternative perspectives like RT and Presstv Iran, and the many independent blogs, in various languages, as ‘fake news’ by that very mainstream. It’s effective wedge politics; middle class Australians hardly dare look over at the other side of the fence on any issues. And, as mentioned, their smart screens have licensing issues.
It is true, however, that by blindly defending official policies, the obedient classes defend that tiny power-elite that pursues those policies consciously and pollutes our public messaging system with false reasons for war.
But, you see, I have encountered just the same kind of reaction when I have criticised military intervention in Syria. My friend’s father expostulated that we were ‘extremists’ and accused his son of falling for ‘fake news’. Mainstream journalists regard you with horror and abhorrence. On-line such views are treated as highly eccentric and laughed at, except when sympathisers find them. Most people you meet have no idea whatsoever about what you are referring to.
Politicians claim not to know anything about foreign affairs or they ignore you. I would have liked it if Hamad had gone to the role of Australia's then foreign policy minister, a [white] woman - Julie Bishop - in officially supporting US policy in Syria. Along with others, I wrote to Bishop about this, but received absolutely no response. And I wrote an article about the absurdity of it all: "Can Trump dodge his deep state destiny by acting absurdly?" Now it is quite possible that Julie Bishop had no idea of the consequences of what she was supporting, but she had direct responsibility, and a duty to inform herself. The reason I would like Hamad to address the role of a successful white female politician on Syria is because such people are elected and propped up via the false rhetoric of the newsmedia. That is how the normalisation of aggression against Syria takes place.
I know also that Syrians who hold the same attitude as me often don’t dare express it in public, and sometimes among Syrian acquaintances. Why is this? One reason is that refugees from Syria are more likely to receive encouragement from the Australian government if they say that the Syrian Government is a brutal dictatorship, even if they don’t really think so, since that is the official opinion of the Australian Government. And I have been told that quite a few Syrians in Australia actually do sympathise with the so-called Rebel armies in Syria, and so you might think twice about denouncing them or even disagreeing with them. New Zealand, our close neighbour, has settled some members of what many believe is a fake Syrian rescue group, with ISIS sympathies,the White Helmets.  Whilst I agree with Hamad that bombing Syria was a terrible idea, note that I am not saying that Hamad holds the same views on Syria as me. She does not actually disclose her views in her book.
It also sounds as if ‘Anglo-Australian’ Anna was out of her depth and was responding to a loss of ‘face’ on Facebook. That Anna then accused Hamad of being racist towards her is for me a symptom of Australia’s contamination with US race-baggage, not surprisingly, because of massive syndication of Australian newsmedia with US newsmedia, which virtually blots out Australia itself.
Whilst it is true that Australia was founded on the dispossession and genocide of non-white hunter gatherers, with some enslaved, others religiously indoctrinated, its initial principle labour source was convicts from the Irish, Scottish, Welsh and English lower classes. Most of these people would, however, meet Hamad’s definition of non-white, because land-tenure and inheritance law disqualified them from white power. They came from a country of severe class division. People there stole in order not to starve. As an example, the numbers of Irish transported soared with the Irish potato famine, due to crimes committed from hunger. 
Numerous convicts were charged with sedition and similar crimes and sent here as punishment for agitating for democratic government.  Many Irish were transported for insurrection due to their participation in revolts against the English. Convicts had no rights and could die in brutal conditions. 
Transportation of revolutionaries and protesters to the ends of the earth was an extreme form of demographic and political atomisation in Britain. Australia was Britain’s gulag and she sent a lot of people there who might otherwise have made a greater difference to British politics. Many recent Australians and mainstream journalists seem to have no knowledge of this or of the biophysical limitations of this continent. 
We do Australia a disservice if we fail to remember that people in this country initiated the Eight Hour Day, and stopped the beginnings of a slave-trade in Pacific Islanders and outlawed that of other ‘non-white’ peoples.
Australian workers at the turn of the 19th century, having ended transportation of forced ‘white’ labour, noting the kidnapping of Pacific Islanders, also rejected ‘non-white’ slavery through the White Australia policy, which was a trade-off for allowing manufacturers to import foreign goods.  Worker reasons for this would have been economic, since unpaid work presents unfair competition to free people. Unsurprisingly, just as today, we have little record of what ordinary people had to say on the matter, however. The rhetoric that we retain from the time is, of course, only from elites. Even among the elites, there was a fair amount of abolitionism, especially regarding the cessation of convict labour. The lack of contemporary documentation has made it easy to promote a view of the White Australia policy as a kind of Nazi doctrine, but it is dishonest to omit the anti-slavery and industrial relations aspects.
Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch of 1970, galvanised the Australian and international feminist movements, completely redefining how women saw themselves. Yet today Greer is hardly mentioned in the revisiting of feminism. Between 1972 and 1975 the Whitlam Government promoted multiculturalism, birth control, and feminism in the general population. These values were widely adopted in the generation now called ‘baby boomers’. Bizarrely and unfairly, recent anti-racist and mainstream feminist promotions fail to recognise, let alone build, on these well-established Australian values.
It might achieve more if articulate people like Hamad would look, beyond the mainstream representation of Australia, for similarities, rather than differences with their fellow citizens. She writes of the battle for land-rights (p.216). We need her help, because the colonisation is ongoing here. The fight for land-rights is being lost in Australia to the ultra-rich. Other Australians are fighting many different battles to resist our leaders’ addiction to war and growthism, and to preserve this beautiful country and its beleaguered ecology against land-speculation, overdevelopment and overpopulation. But they are being drowned out by the massive volume of the mainstream corporate media, which assails us all with growthist propaganda day and night, and also accuses us of racism, with the effect of shutting up criticism of absurdly high rates of immigration. As well, by appearing to champion or demonise refugees and asylum-seekers, it takes the public debate away from the regime-change wars that generate these.
Hamad argues within what I see as an anthropocentric, black-white, pseudo-‘progressive’ paradigm, without biophysical reference points. Although, at the end, she questions the idea of chronological progress, she still seems to accept the paradigm that we are all ‘going forward’, although no “progress is ever assured”. The points of reference in her universe are largely human-notional, generalised and global, whereas I look at how humans interact with their biophysical environments within specific land-tenure and inheritance systems. Along the same lines as Walter Youngquist’s paradigm in Geodestinies, I see material wealth, war, and colonisation, as a reflection of geology and geography.
I have a land-tenure and inheritance system explanation for the British class system and its production of great quantities of landless labour, which fed into a fossil-fueled coal and iron industrial revolution that permitted Britain’s industrial-scale exploitation of other countries. (See Sheila Newman, Demography Territory Law 2: Land-tenure and the origins of capitalism in Britain, Countershock Press, 2014.)
In Europe one tribe enslaved another. The Romans enslaved the British. Six hundred years later, the Normans reduced much of the British population to serfdom. They imposed almost universal male primogeniture in England, which meant that English women relied on men due to their inability to inherit land, and the bulk of children were effectively disinherited.
The British practised colonisation, mass migration, and genocide of Catholic whites in Ireland, and despoiled that land, with Henry VIII and Elizabeth I egging on the removal of nearly every tree for wood. Cromwell awarded Irish land to his English soldiers.
Many times the Irish Catholics tried to free themselves from the English, finally rising in revolt in 1798, causing civil war.
The civil war was dogged by savage sectarian differences which added their own violence to the government’s ghastly atrocities. Many Irish Ulster Protestants sided with the British. 
Irish Revolutionary leader, Wolfe Tone, described a landscape “on fire every night” (from burning houses), echoing with ‘shrieks of torture’, where neither sex nor age were spared, and men, women, and children, were herded naked before the points of bayonets to ‘starve in bogs and fastnesses’. He said that dragoons slaughtered those who attempted to give themselves up as they put down their weapons, and, finally, he talked about the spies who had brought the Irish Revolution down.
“And no citizen, no matter how innocent and inoffensive, could deem himself secure from informers.” 
I think that Hamad’s lack of recognition of inter-white racism/classism prevents her from realising that Australia is being recolonised, with ‘diversity’ as the excuse and induced racial schisms as the mechanism to alienate the ‘diverse’ from the incumbent population, the better to over-rule democracy. Australians, despite multicultural policy from Whitlam's time, are stigmatised as white and racist. There is a token nod to Aborigines, whose defining culture can in no way benefit from mass immigration or the 'developed' economy. Hamad is not alone in this complacency because the mass-media constantly massages high immigration and renormalises terra nullius. Hamad has some recognition of this ‘irony’, however.
“I’d be lying if I said I knew how to reconcile all of this. I’m well aware that whatever our own experiences of colonisation and racism-induced intergenerational trauma, non-Indigenous people of colour in Australia are also the beneficiaries of indigenous dispossession. We too live on and appropriate stolen land.” (p.195)
Much of the foreign intervention in Syria has been in order to force it to accept globalisation, privatisation, and leaders sympathetic to these. The same thing is being forced on Australia, but without the need for overt violence so far because, unlike Syria, Australian leaders have not resisted this. And the newsmedia has given no voice to those who are trying to resist it, so they appear invisible.
On a more personal note, I sympathise with Hamad’s experience dealing with frizzy hair during her teenage years (p.180). I had the same problem. I had a different method, which did the same job. I didn’t brush my hair dry for hours, I wound it round my head tightly and fixed it painfully with bobby pins and other clamps, waiting hours for it to dry. I gave up swimming for years, although prior to becoming aware of my appearance, I had swum daily. This was a great sacrifice. Although I was also trying to meet the prevailing standards, which seemed to me to be straight hair, unlike Hamad, I did not identify straight hair with being ‘white’. I was ‘white’ if you like, although descended from Irish, Scottish, and Welsh stock, just not in the ‘in’-crowd as regards hair – or many other things.
A theme in Hamad’s book is that White Women get cross if you challenge their cultural ideas. They shut you out. Hamad has shown that some of these cultural ideas are probably immoral, and she wonders why she is shut out for exposing them. The thing is that all cultures want to control their ideas from the inside and they reject outside challenges. That’s poesis. Basically, to be one of them, you have to embrace their ideology.
Then, within that culture, there are sub-cultures, and cliques. In Australia’s hard new society where seniority and local labour have been dropped and ‘meritocracy’ prevails in an increasingly precarious employment market, women tend to form groups led by the woman closest to power – often a male boss. One of the ways for the dominant women to keep order and stay at the top is to punish anyone who looks like getting close to power by pretending to have been victimised. Another way is to harp on differences, of which ‘race’, ethnicity, religion, hair-type, weight, dress, and opinion, etc are all signs that can be used to define their possessor as a member of the out-group.
This kind of behaviour is also called ‘bullying’. And it is getting worse, unfortunately. Maybe it is a reflection of the way our leaders behave and the economic rationalist anti-society they have forced on us. There is competition out there for food and power. And we are apes.
 Newsmedia is my name for the dominant ‘mainstream’ public/corporate media.
 Ruby Hamad in her Author’s note, p.xiii.
 “After the enormous demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the anti-war movement disappeared almost as suddenly as it began, with some even openly declaring it dead. Critics noted the long-term absence of significant protests against those wars, a lack of political will in Congress to deal with them, and ultimately, apathy on matters of war and peace when compared to issues like health care, gun control, or recently even climate change.” Source: Harpootlian, Allegra, US Wars and military action: The New Anti-War Movement, https://www.thenation.com/article/tom-dispatch-new-anti-war-movement-iraq-iran/.
“Criticism of the news media’s performance in the months before the 2003 Iraq War has been profuse. Scholars, commentators, and journalists themselves have argued that the media aided the Bush administration in its march to war by failing to air a wide-ranging debate that offered analysis and commentary from diverse perspectives. As a result, critics say, the public was denied the opportunity to weigh the claims of those arguing both for and against military action in Iraq. We report the results of a systematic analysis of every ABC, CBS, and NBC Iraq-related evening news story—1,434 in all—in the 8 months before the invasion (August 1, 2002, through March 19, 2003). We find that news coverage conformed in some ways to the conventional wisdom: Bush administration officials were the most frequently quoted sources, the voices of anti-war
groups and opposition Democrats were barely audible, and the overall thrust of coverage favored a pro-war perspective. But while domestic dissent on the war was minimal, opposition from abroad—in particular, from Iraq and officials from countries such as France, who argued for a diplomatic solution to the standoff—was commonly reported on the networks. Our findings suggest that media researchers should further examine the inclusion of non-U.S. views on high-profile foreign policy debates, and they also raise important questions about how the news filters the communications of political actors and refracts—rather than merely reflects—the contours of debate.” Source: Hayes, Danny and Guardino, Matt, Whose Views Made the News? Media Coverage and the March to War in Iraq, Political Communication, Vol. 27, No. 1, Dec 2009, p59. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10584600903502615
“As the [Iraq] war dragged on, and as reporting got better and better, the real problem with news from Iraq would turn out to be how little of it most Americans ever saw or heard. Across the board, as documented by Pew and others, the percentage of the news hole devoted to the war declined steeply.” Source: Murphy, Cullen, The Press at War, From Vietnam to Iraq, Atlantic Monthly, March 20, 2018.
 Independent journalists who have criticised this US and UK-funded and Hollywood-iconified group have been vilified by the mainstream, but the evidence is out there. See, for instance, Rick Sterling, “The ‘White Helmets’ Controversy,” Consortium News,
July 22, 2018”https://consortiumnews.com/2018/07/22/the-white-helmets-controversy/
 Lohan, Rena, Archivist, ‘Sources in the National Archives for research into the
transportation of Irish convicts to Australia (1791–1853)’ National Archives, Journal of the Irish Society for Archives, Spring 1996 https://www.nationalarchives.ie/topics/transportation/Ireland_Australia_transportation.pdf
 Convict Records, British Convict transportation register made available by the State Library of Queensland, Various crimes were assigned to revolutionaries, including sedition and insurrection which included many Irish who participated in rebellions. I08 are listed in the Convict Records simply as ‘Irish Rebels’: https://convictrecords.com.au/crimes/sedition https://convictrecords.com.au/crimes/irish-rebel
 “During the first 80 years of white settlement, from 1788 to 1868, 165,000 convicts were transported from England to Australia. Convict discipline was invariably harsh and often quite arbitrary. One of the main forms of punishment was a thrashing with the cat o’ nine tails, a multi-tailed whip that often also contained lead weights. Fifty lashes was a standard punishment, which was enough to strip the skin from someone’s back, but this could be increased to more than 100. Just as dreadful as the cat o' nine tails was a long stint on a chain gang, where convicts were employed to build roads in the colony. The work was backbreaking, and was made difficult and painful as convicts were shackled together around their ankles with irons or chains weighing 4.5kg or more. During the day, the prisoners were supervised by a military guard assisted by brutal convict overseers , convicts who were given the task of disciplining their fellows. At night, they were locked up in small wooden huts behind stockades. Worse than the cat or chain gangs was transportation to harsher and more remote penal settlements in Norfolk Island, Port Macquarie and Moreton Bay.” Source: State Library New South Wales, https://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/stories/convict-experience
 Recently an Australian Review journalist, Laura Tingle, suggested that convicts seemed almost more inclined to die of starvation than to try to feed themselves by farming. She obviously knew nothing of the difficulties experienced by the early settlers, even with the help of convicts, in producing food in this country, well-documented by Watkin Tench, (e.g. Ed Tim Flannery), Watkin Tench, 1788, 2012. Tingle, in Laura Tingle, "Great Expectations" in Quarterly Essay, Issue 46, June 2012, opines that Australian government began by administering a dependent population in a patronising way. Australians became passive recipients of government benefits - to the extent, Tingle believes, that convicts seemed almost more inclined to die of starvation than to try to feed themselves by farming. Moreover, after the gold rush, Australian men got the vote and could run for parliament whether or not they had property and the quality of politicians declined compared to that when only people with property could vote. In these circumstances, politicians with poor manners came to dominate parliament and Australians therefore lost respect for their politicians. See Sheila Newman, “Tingle shoots blanks despite Great Expectations - review of Quarterly Essay,” 8 July 2012, http://candobetter.net/node/3003
 An ammendment to the Masters and Servants Act August 1847 forbade the transportation of ‘Natives of any Savage or uncivilized tribe inhabiting any Island or Country in the Pacific Ocean’. Masters and Servants Act 1847 (NSW) No 9a. No.IX., 16 August 1847. Six weeks later a Legislative Council motion disapproved the prospect of introducing Pacific Island workers into the colony, because it “May, if not checked, degenerate into a traffic in slaves.” https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2019/july/1561989600/alex-mckinnon/blackbirds-australia-s-hidden-slave-trade-history.
 Wilkes, Sue. Regency Spies: Secret Histories of Britain's Rebels & Revolutionaries . Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition. Location 1014.
 Theobald Wolfe Tone, The Writings of Theobald Wolfe Tone 1763-98, Volume 3: France, the Rhine, Lough Swilly and death of Tone, Janurary 1797 to November 1798, Eds. T.W. Moody, R.B. McDowell and C.J. Woods, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2007, p516.
 I have mixed with Australian Aborigines from most parts of Australia and can tell you that those I got to know well have expressed strong resentment of mass immigration (black or white), for obvious reasons. Yet, again, the newsmedia conflates mass immigration with multiculturalism and creates the impression that Australian Aborigines have nothing to say against being made an ever smaller part of Australia's demography and land-tenure. This is particularly evident with the Australian ABC. It was demonstrated in the Q&A ABC program of 9 July 2018 on Immigration which included the Indigenous lawyer, Teela Reid. Unusually, The Guardian actually noticed this: ‘Reed, a Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman, appeared to find the whole discussion baffling. “Don’t get me started, the whole bloody country has immigrated or invaded,” she said. “It’s crazy to sit and watch the conversation unfold.” ’ How confusing to be forced to use the rhetoric of multiculturalism as a counter to discrimination against Aborigines, while aware that all these Anglo and multicultural groups are uninvited invaders, not necessarily colonising, but moving relentlessly, and as if by right, onto once-Aboriginal lands and resources.
"Interdit d'interdire - Les Kurdes et la Syrie : et maintenant ?" provides here a stimulating and intellectually nuanced debate about the situation in Syria. Two of the participants are journalists from the Figaro and Le Monde, which tend to be seen respectively as right-wing and left-wing, but this does not prevent commonality on Syria, and criticism of mainstream reporting and policy. Note, this is a French language video.
Frédéric Taddeï hosts a discussion among:
- Renaud Girard, journalist with Le Figaro, with background in war correspondence in the Middle East, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaud_Girard, who tends to argue against Manichaeism.
- Myriam Benraad, political scientist specialising in Arab politics.
- Régis Le Sommier, journalist with Le Monde and author of Assad, éditions De La Martinière, 2018, based on actual interviews with Bashar al-Assad.
- Taline Ter Minassian, historian specialising in history of international relations of the Soviet Union and Southern Caucasia.
The US has illegally occupied the north of Syria for some time, using Kurds to fight ISIS. Donald Trump's withdrawal of US troops has permitted Turkey to invade the area. Understandably terrified, the Kurds have approached the Syrian Government for help. The Syrian Government has responded and Kurds have welcomed the Syrian Arab Army into the area for the first time in years. This should reveal to the world that the Syrian Government is trusted by its people - for most Kurds in Syria are Syrian. Did most Kurds in Syria ever really want independence from Syria, or were we looking at a situation were the United States and NATO encouraged the ambitions of a few Kurds, without asking the rest? Russia has asked all foreign troops to leave Syria and has volunteered to leave itself, if the Syrian Government which invited its help, asks it to leave.
What reduced the terrorist menace in Syria was the Syrian Army, Hezbollah, Iran and probably most important, Russia. If these forces had been bit players and it had been mainly the SDF, YPG and YPJ that defeated the international terrorist coalition (as the corporate western press would like us to believe), then you would think that taking care of a Turkish invasion should pose no problem for the Kurds.
In the meantime, Kurds have to fight to defend their homes and it is feared that ISIS prisoners will break out of the several prisons in the area which Kurds have been guarding. The video above shows Kurdish guards chasing ISIS family members in a prison with 70,000 inmates, as they try to escape. On RT news of 13 October 2019, it was actually reported that 800 ISIS fighters had escaped. Below is a description of what is happening in the video:
Mustafa Bali, spokesperson for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said on Friday dozens of camp residents attacked the exit gate of #AlHol camp, which is home to more than 70,000 women and children.
Video from a closed-circuit camera at the camp, operated by the SDF, showed security members chasing women covered in black dress, as they attempted to flee down a main road inside the facility."
Most Kurds have Syrian citizenship, but some do not. Syrian citizenship is modeled on French law, generally requiring a demonstration of cultural affinity - such as speaking the language. Children born in Syria must demonstrate Syrian paternity; it is not enough to have a Syrian mother. After 1945 there was a diaspora of Kurds from Turkey to Syria. The Syrian government in power during the transitional period between the fall of the UAR and the coming into power of the Baath government, was worried by this inflow from Turkey, which has long had designs on Syrian territory. In 1962 this government held a Syrian census of Kurds in the North requiring proof of residence in Syria from 1945. According to my source on this, there were many illiterate Kurds in the area, without much engagement with the government, so they might not have understood the requirements, if they knew they were being made. 120 stateless Kurds resulted.
 "The Stateless Syrians," Tilburg University, Switzerland, May2013. https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/52a983124.pdf Note that this work was funded by Open Society Foundations, which is a multi-million dollar political engineering program that funds mass migration.
The discussion in this video opens up new topics on the confusing situation with US 'withdrawal' and Turkey incursion in Northern Syria. Particularly interesting is Marwa Osman's framing of why Turkey would want to move Syrian refugees into Northern Syria. She thinks that Erdogan (Turkey's President) has a problem with all the Syrian refugees living in his country because his people resent the presence of this large number of non-Turkish people. If Erdogan can move these refugees into an area he is trying to clear of Kurds in northern Syria, then he can put the Syrian refugees there. Many of those refugees now have Turkish papers. This would have the further benefit for Erdogan's purposes in that, once Erdogan will have moved so many people there, he will more or less control the area with their presence, since he will be organising their settlement and deployment. Video discussion with Ammar Qaqqaf, Marwa Osman, Mike Raddie and Peter Lavelle.
Most Kurds have Syrian citizenship, but some do not. Syrian citizenship is modeled on French law, generally requiring a demonstration of cultural affinity - such as speaking the language. Children born in Syria must demonstrate Syrian paternity; it is not enough to have a Syrian mother. After 1945 there was a diaspora of Kurds from Turkey to Syria. The Syrian government in power during the transitional period between the fall of the UAR and the coming into power of the Baath government, was worried by this inflow from Turkey, which has long had designs on Syrian territory. In 1962 this government held a Syrian census of Kurds in the North requiring proof of residence in Syria from 1945. According to my source on this, there were many illiterate Kurds in the area, without much engagement with the government, so they might not have understood the requirements, if they knew they were being made. 120 stateless Kurds resulted.
During the war in Syria that began in 2011, the United States and other NATO countries cultivated politically ambitious Kurds for their own purposes. Now they have dumped them and many Kurds are fleeing towards the parts of Syria held by the Syrian Government.
Many terrorists remain in the area, including ISIS. It is feared that Turkey will use such fighters to achieve its own ends. Erdogan, who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, is thought to want to establish a caliphate along the lines of the old Ottoman Empire. Part of such a caliphate would involve redrawing the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement borders to bring Northern Syria into Turkey.
Any incursion by Turkey into Syria risks being used by the United States and NATO to their own ends, which are destabilisation and power over oil reserves in the region.
"The Stateless Syrians," Tilburg University, Switzerland, May2013. https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/52a983124.pdf Note that this work was funded by Open Society Foundations, which is a multi-million dollar political engineering program that funds mass migration.
Damascus, SANA-Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Fayssal Mikdad, described the hostile war launched by the Turkish regime on Syrian territories as “invasion,” saying that attacking a sovereign, independent country is considered as an outrageous act against the UN charter and international law which flagrantly contradicts Security Council relevant resolutions. “The Syrian Arab Army, which confronts the terrorist organizations, will confront the foreign invading forces which are present illegitimately on the Syrian territories and it is ready to face all challenges to which Syria is exposed,” Mikdad said in a press statement at the HQ of Foreign Ministry.
He added that the history will hold Head of the Turkish regime, Erdogan, responsible for being a war criminal who has perpetrated all crimes against the Syrian people.
“A liar and a reality forger has no right to claim that he defends the Syrians or accuse the others of crimes he has perpetrated against the Syrian people," Mikdad said.
Mikdad affirmed that the Syrian army has confronted the Turkish aggression on Syria since the beginning of the terrorist war on the country in a lot of sites and it fought the terrorists who were supported and armed by the Turkish regime.
He held the Turkish regime responsible for displacing the Syrians from their lands as it has perpetrated crimes against them through its terrorists and mercenaries, but, the Syrian state has been and still is committed to all its citizens and their return, without preconditions, to villages and towns in Syrian al-Jazeera.
On whether there are any contacts in order to pave the way for the entry of the Syrian army to Syrian al-Jazeera regions or not, Mikdad stressed that the Syrian government has made discussions with all its citizens and expressed, as from the beginning, readiness to make necessary reconciliations, but, the armed powers in that region rejected all attempts and insisted to pave the way, directly or indirectly, for the Turkish occupiers to invade north of Syria.
“The Turkish aggression on the Syrian territories makes Turkey in a position that doesn’t differ from Daesh terrorist organization and many other terrorist groups,” Mikdad said.
He affirmed that the Turkish aggression on Syrian territories will have political repercussions and impacts on the political process in Syria, saying that the international community and the UN should halt this aggression, deter it and make pressures on the Turkish regime to withdraw its army in order to run the political process and the work of the constitutional committee, unless, it will face a lot of obstacles while Turkey threatens to occupy Syrian territories.
Mikdad concluded by affirming that Syria, with its heroic army, will defend each Syrian citizen wherever he was in the framework of its legitimate right according to international law and UN conventions.
Source of article: Mikdad: Turkish aggression is an invasion of Syrian territories… Syrian Army ready to confront all challenges,"10 October، 2019.
Hasaka, SANA-The Turkish regime on Thursday went too far in its aggression on Syrian territories in Hasaka, Raqqa and occupied Tal Halaf, penetrated into Allouk and Katsho villages in the surroundings of Ras al-Ayn and the Industrial region in the city. Meanwhile, the Turkish aggression targeted a number of villages and towns in the countryside of the two cities, concentrating on infrastructure, and vital utilities like water, electricity, dams, oil facilities and residential neighborhoods, and leaving a number of civilians martyred in addition to a huge destruction in properties and infrastructure.
Earlier, SANA’s reporter in Hasaka said that the Turkish regime’s forces continued their aggression with artillery and warplanes on Ras al-Ayn and al-Qamishli cities in Hasaka countryside, and Ein Issa area in Raqqa northern countryside.
Later, the reporter said that a child was martyred in an attack by Turkish regime forces with rocket shells on Qadour Beik neighborhood in Qamishli.
He added that a number of civilians were injured in a Turkish aggression on the western neighborhood of Qamishli through artillery.
Meanwhile, Allouk water station in Ras al-Ayn city went out of service due to a second Turkish aggression on the electrical cables of the station.
Earlier, the reporter said the Turkish regime’s forces have been targeting with warplanes and artillery the city of Ras al-Ayn, claiming the lives of 5 civilians and injuring 9 others, in addition to carrying out artillery strikes and airstrikes on the villages of Naddas, Alouk, Hamid, and Tal Arqam in the city’s countryside, in addition to targeting Saeeda petroleum station on the borders with Turkey, which led to it burning down completely.
The Turkish regime’s forces targeted with rockets the town of Ein Issa in Raqqa’s northern countryside, causing material damage.
SANA’s reporter also said that 3 civilians were injured and dozens were injured as a result of the Turksih regime forces targeting cars on the road between Raqqa and Tal Abyad.
On another note, the reporter said that 100 US soldiers withdrew from Syrian territory in two batches, heading to Iraq along with dozens of vehicles, while ten US officers and a number of foreign experts left the illegal US base of Rumailan and headed to Iraq.
Meanwhile Qasad (SDF) militias continued their oppressive practices against locals, storming dozens of houses in Tal Tamer village in Hasaka countryside, detaining youths to forcefully recruit and send them to conflict zones, and the families of the detainees gathered in front of Gwairan Prison demanding the release of their sons.
On Wednesday, 8 civilians were martyred and 20 others were wounded in a Turkish aggression on Qamishli, Dibasyah and al-Mishrafah in Ras al-Ayn in Hasaka countryside which also targeted service facilities and infrastructure , such as dams and electricity and water plants.
Originally published as "Turkish regime goes too far in its aggression on Hasaka, Raqqa and penetrates into Ras al-Ayn," at https://sana.sy/en/?p=175350, English Bulletin on 10 October 2019.
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The Russian military says that the United States' missile strike on Idlib, August 31, has jeopardized further implementation of the ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone, as well as disrupting it in a number of areas.
MOSCOW, September 1. A US airstrike on Syria’s Idlib province has left numerous casualties and a major destruction, the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria (part of Russia’s Defense Ministry) said in a statement on Sunday.
The US carried out the airstrike at 3 p.m. on August 31 on an area between Ma’arrat Misrin and Kafr Haya, the center reported.
"There are numerous casualties and a major destruction in the settlements targeted by the US airstrike," the center said, stressing that this strike came in violation of the earlier reached agreements because Washington had not notified Russia and Turkey about its plans.
The Russian military notes that the US has jeopardized further implementation of the ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone and also disrupted it in a number of areas. According to the center, such steps of Washington, which keeps accusing Russia of its alleged indiscriminate shelling in the Idlib de-escalation zone, raise eyebrows.
"Despite the shellings carried out by militants, provoked by the US strike, the Syrian forces are currently observing a moratorium on carrying out combat actions in the interests of achieving peaceful settlement in the Idlib de-escalation zone as soon as possible," the statement reads.
According to the Russian military, at 6 a.m. on August 31 at the initiative of Russia and Turkey the Syrian army unilaterally declared a ceasefire across the Idlib de-escalation zone, and notified all parties to the conflict. "Over the past day the government forces have strictly complied with their undertaken commitments. Flights of combat aviation of Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces and the Syrian Air Force have been fully suspended," the centre said.
May 28, 2019 U.S. Government Seeks NGO Help For Removing Iran From Syria. The U.S.Department of State is offering a grant of $75,000,000 to non-government-organizations to help it to further meddle in Syria. The grant SFOP0005916 - Supporting Local Governance and Civil Society in Syria will go to "Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education".
The task description is quite interesting as the NGOs which will eventually get the grant will have to commit to counter one of Syria's military allies:
The purpose of this notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) is to advance the following U.S. Government policy objectives in Syria:
Ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS and counter violent extremism, including other extremist groups in Syria;
Achieve a political solution to the Syrian conflict under the auspices of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2254; and,
End the presence of Iranian forces and proxies in Syria.
The Department of State's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Office of Assistance Coordination (NEA/AC) aims to advance these policy objectives by supporting the following assistance objectives:
Strengthen responsive and credible governance and civil society entities to capably serve and represent communities liberated from ISIS.
Advance a political solution to the Syrian conflict under the auspices of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2254; and,
Counter extremism and disinformation perpetuated by Iranian forces, designated terrorist organizations, and other malign actors through support for local governance actors and civil society organizations.
The operational field for the grant is not only the Syrian northeast which U.S. troops currently occupy, but also the al-Qaeda infested Idleb governorate as well as all government controlled areas.
The related Funding Opportunity Description (available through the above link) does not explain what an NGO could do to advance the highlighted U.S. government goals.
Work on the three year project is supposed to start on January 1 2020. It must be applied for by August 2 2019.