'[US-NATO-sanctions] really aim mostly at the European Union and only to a lesser extent at weakening Russia, because the United States knows no one can expel Russia from the global markets. Although the European Union is a United States military ally, it is also an economic rival.
Commentator Alexander Mercouris, who has an excellent and original grasp of foreign affairs, geography and history, talks us through Russia's Proposal for a draft treaty to curb US global aggression and NATO expansionism.
A NATO summit approaches that brings Donald Trump to Europe and then on to these shores, and brings the usual clamour for more of the taxpayers’ money to be given to arms manufacturers.
Yet NATO is a demonstrably useless institution. It’s largest ever active military deployment, for 12 years in Afghanistan, resulted in military defeat throughout 80% of the country, the installation of a pocket regime whose scrip does not run further than you can throw the scrip, and a vast outflow of heroin to finance the criminal underworld throughout NATO countries.
On 23 June, just prior to the vote on whether Britain should leave the European Union (referred to as 'Brexit'), Paul Craig Roberts (pictured right) put the case for Brexit in a 30 minute interview with Richie Allen (pictured left).
The interview is embedded below as a YouTube video. This 30 minute interview, provides clear, compelling arguments as to why it is urgently necessary for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, not only to preserve its national sovereignty, but to prevent the war against Russia planned by the rulers of the United States. In the interview Paul Craig Roberts also confronts, and thoroughly demolishes, claims by those arguing for Britain to remain in the European Union, that those advocating Brexit are racist and xenophobic.
He puts clearly and succinctly the arguments that everybody has the right to control the numbers of people entering their community. It is not unreasonable for a community to object to large numbers of people from a different culture suddenly moving into their midst.
Paul Craig Roberts argues that while the British and other Europeans are right to object to as sudden high influx of refugees and immigrants, they should remember that these people are fleeing their own countries because of wars that the rulers of Europe and Britain have inflicted upon their countries.
Neo-nazis protesting against the elected President Yanukovych in February.
As with all the recent major geo-political conflicts, the Western corporate and government newsmedia is concealing the truth about Ukraine, including the Crimean Peninsula in the Black Sea. The protest movement which preceded the coup against the elected government included anti-semitic and russophobic neo-nazis. Given the destruction and mass murder the United States and its allies have inflicted on Iraq, Libya and Syria, in recent years, the Russian Government of President Vladimir Putin has good reason to fear a country on its borders falling into the hands of such right-wing extremists openly in league with the United States and Europe against Russia.
The above has been copied from the Novorossiya Video-News page. It is a short interactive video which has different outcomes depending upon which choices the viewer makes. Whilst the subject matter behind this video is grim – the war inflicted upon the Russian speakers of East Ukraine by the Kiev regime – and may become even more so should Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk of the All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" Party achieve his wishes of having the NATO powers intervene to support an all-out invasion of Novorossiya, the video retains wit and good humour.
The US-Empire's present preeminent position of brutal global thug is a self-evident truth based on hard facts regarding the magnitudes of death and destruction; counted in millions of lives, millions of refugees, and nation-wide obliterations of civil infrastructure, not to mention annihilations of national and civil institutions. US crimes do not diminish the importance of injustices perpetrated by non-aligned regimes, but there is an obvious asymmetry of magnitudes that simply cannot be denied. (Article originally published here:
The US military-finance-corporate empire (US-Empire) is characterized by (LINK):
global military projection using over 1000 military bases
control over the global finance instruments (and the money supply)
corporate exploitation of labour and resources on the scale of entire continents
dominant influence on World organizations such as the United Nations
a demonstrated willingness to annihilate entire populations and societies -- directly or by proxy -- in order to ensure complete compliance
The nations entirely destroyed recently by the US-Empire include: Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and so on. These actions are outright crimes of mass aggression viciously targeting entire peoples, using combinations of military devastation, political overthrows, and brutal economic blockades.
No other regime in today's world is responsible for such premeditated and repeated acts of mass murder against entire modern societies. The US with its military allies, most notably Israel, is presently by far the greatest threat to peace and the greatest purveyor of terror on the planet.
This is not debatable by reasonable people. The US-Empire's present preeminent position of brutal global thug is a self-evident truth based on hard facts regarding the magnitudes of death and destruction; counted in millions of lives, millions of refugees, and nation-wide obliterations of civil infrastructure, not to mention annihilations of national and civil institutions. US crimes do not diminish the importance of injustices perpetrated by non-aligned regimes, but there is an obvious asymmetry of magnitudes that simply cannot be denied.
It is also apparent that the US-Empire's projects of nation destruction are strategic and premeditated. Having built an instrument for annihilating nations, it appears difficult for the US-Empire to not use it, irrespective of any moral or legal considerations. US "diplomacy" has become strictly an exercise in promoting its wars for geopolitical design.
It is in this realistic context of a ferocious, rogue and barely-constrained superpower that we must understand Obama's emanations about ISIS as nothing but a pretext to "remove Assad". And "removing Assad" can only mean destroying the Syrian nation and its people because the Syrian army and the Syrian people stand together and overwhelmingly support Assad against the foreign invaders.
The legitimate political dissidence in Syria was used as a front and a pretext to inject massive numbers of externally-funded foreign rebels into a proxy war for the US-Empire and its regional partners-in-crime. This is established by every credible researcher. (And, of course actively masked by the US-Empire's propaganda.)
And now an element (ISIS) of the injected foreign rebels is used as a pretext for all-out war US-style. For Syria, this means complete annihilation of the national defence forces, and total destruction of civilian infrastructure to bring the population to its knees and lay siege to any resistance. Straight-up crimes against humanity as the modus operandi for "regime change", a la USA, followed by US corporation predation, territorial control, etc.
Obama's ISIS project is nothing but a pretext to murder and destroy Syrian society.
Obama's ISIS project is nothing but a pretext to murder and destroy Syrian society.
Obama's ISIS project is nothing but a pretext to murder and destroy Syrian society.
The shocking revelations of CIA torture techniques give France a reason to exit NATO, French National Front party leader Marine Le Pen said on Saturday. Le Pen's plain policy advice here exposes the ever-less defensible position of nations that continue to dance to NATO policy. Australia should also distance itself from NATO and the US. At the moment Australia is supporting all manner of war-crimes internationally by maintaining close association with the United States and NATO. The recent revelations about the United States's secret program of torture and maltreatment of prisoners, and failure to observe Geneva conventions on torture add to a chilling picture of a rogue United States similar to Nazi Germany on the brink of WW2 - but much bigger. The following article is adapted from CIA torture is reason for France to exit NATO – Le Pen (13/12/14) from RT.
“If indeed everyone is outraged by the tortures used by the US then, let’s leave NATO,” Le Pen said during an interview with Europe 1 radio channel. She wrote the same statement on her Twitter account: Marine Le [email protected]_officiel
"Si vraiment il y a une indignation générale sur la torture utilisée par les Etats-Unis, sortons de l'#OTAN !" #Mediapolis
The US Senate Intelligence Committee's CIA “torture report,” which details the CIA’s use of torture on prisoners in the wake of 9/11, was released by the Senate on Tuesday.
After four years of research at a cost of over $40 million, the findings unveiled the “enhanced interrogation techniques,” or EITs, used within the walls of covert, overseas prisons by the CIA.
The report raised serious questions over controversial tactics which included sleep deprivation, waterboarding, rectal feeding, and others. Dianne Feinstein, the committee chair, admitted that the techniques were “torture,” though the word was never used in the report.
The findings also revealed that the CIA’s treatment breached the body's legal mandate, as investigators said they found evidence of the intelligence agency’s systematic deception of Congress. Despite the methods used, the agency failed to gather information that foiled subsequent threats to US national security, the report found.
Since the report's release, prominent human rights groups have demanded to prosecute the responsible US officials listed in the document.
Despite widespread criticism and a wave of outrage sparked by the results of the Senate investigation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Wednesday that it will not be pursuing charges against those involved in the interrogations.
UN special rapporteur for torture Juan Mendez told RT that the report will likely create momentum that will lead to justice. He insisted that countries complicit in the CIA torture need to carry out their own investigations.
“We have lived without prosecutions now for several years, but the experience shows that when truth telling is done honestly and sincerely, it generates a debate and the debate then generates a momentum towards justice,” he said in an interview on Thursday.
Le Pen has previously criticized French President Francois Hollande’s close ties with the US and called on France to leave NATO.
Speaking to RT's Sophie Shevardnadze in June, Le Pen said that NATO is an opportunity for the United States to extend its influence.
In an interview, conducted with Press TV on October 15, 2014 Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya explains in the reasons behind the ISIL (also known as ISIS) attack on the Syrian town of Kobani (Ain al-Arab) in the Syrian Kurdish autonomous region. Mahdi shows that the supposed campaign of bombardment against ISIS is illusory, with few bombs being dropped on ISIS fighters and far more being dropped on Syrian infrastructure. Turkey, whilst pretending to oppose ISIS is supporting ISIS against the Syrian Kurds to the point of provoking mass unrest against the Turkish government in which 40 Turkish Kurds have died.
Female Kurdish fighter featured in the film
Towards the end of the video, although the fighting around Kobani looks grim in many ways, Mahdi reminds us that Syria has many friends in the world. As well as people of good will in the West, there are the governments of Iran, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, many Latin American countries and the resistance movement, Hezbollah in neighbouring Lebanon.
#fnKobani1" id="fnKobani1">1.#txtKobani1">↑ Previously published on Global Research as Nazemroaya: Crushing Kobani's Kurds is a Prerequisite to an Invasion of Syria. This was apparently only published on the front page of Global Research. Unlike other stories published on Global Research, this story does not seem to appear on a separate page. The YouTube page is here. - Ed.
The West and Russia can't seem to get over their differences, with the tensions between the Washington and Kremlin changing the stakes for the whole world. How far would this confrontation go? Is there another Cold War coming? And finally, will the world once again know the horror of a Nuclear War looming over the humanity? We ask these questions to a prominent American scholar on Russian studies, Professor at New York University and Princeton University. Stephen Cohen is on Sophie and Co today.
The West and Russia can't seem to get over their differences, with the tensions between the Washington and Kremlin changing the stakes for the whole world. How far would this confrontation go? Is there another Cold War coming? And finally, will the world once again know the horror of a Nuclear War looming over the humanity?
We ask these questions to a prominent American scholar on Russian studies, Professor at New York University and Princeton University. Stephen Cohen is on Sophie and Co today.
Sophie Shevardnadze:Stephen, it's really great to have you back and to have you on our show once again. Now, you've called the current U.S.-Russia crisis "the most dangerous confrontation in many decades" - are we close to a war?
Stephen Cohen: Let me tell you what I think happened. We are in a new Cold War. In America, the policy-makers say it's not a Cold War, because they don't want to take a responsibility for it, because their policies, and not just recently, since the 99s, have led to Cold War. It began before, I think, the Ukrainian crisis, but what happened in Ukraine, is that about a year ago, in November 2013, there was a political dispute in Kiev, about whether Yanukovych will sign the agreement with the EU. That political dispute, after the coup in February became a Ukrainian Civil War, generally speaking between Kiev and the South-East of Ukraine. The Civil War then became what we call a "proxy war", with the U.S. and NATO supporting Kiev and Moscow supporting the eastern Ukrainian rebels. The danger is, and I think it continues even now, though some people think the ceasefire has averted the danger, but the ceasefire is not solid, we don't know if it's going to be here tomorrow or next week...the danger is that the proxy war would lead by accident or intention to the intervention of Russian military forces in the East and NATO forces in the West, and that would be the Cuban Missile Crisis.
SS:That's what I was going to ask you - is there really a realistic scenario in your head where U.S. and Russia could actually enter into direct military confrontation?
SC: Yes. I just explained it to you. If the war, the Civil war in Ukraine begins again, the military aspect of it, if the ceasefire fails, if, let's say, Kiev attacks the Donbas again...if Russia feels the need to help the Donbas militarily - it is being discussed in NATO, the possibility of NATO forces entering Western Ukraine. Now, what would that mean? You would have the America-led NATO forces in Western Ukraine, whether on the ground or in the air, it doesn't matter, Russian forces in the air or on the ground - and that would be a modern version of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Now, I notice you're smiling, like I've said something fantastic, but we have to think the unthinkable, because who knew 2 years ago we were going to be in a completely....
SS:Well the unthinkable is nuclear weapons being involved - do you think that's a possibility as well?
SC: Well, let's look at what's happened. Russia has the doctrine; they've had it since the 99s, because Russian conventional forces are weaker than American-NATO conventional forces. Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons if Western conventional forces threaten the Russian state and Russia. Meanwhile, as was announced in the New York Times on the front-page, maybe 2 weeks ago, I forgot, that President Obama is about to sign a budgetary decree of what he calls a "major modernization" of our nuclear arsenal at the cost of $1 trln over 30 years. One trillion dollars is only the cost today, it doesn't include overrun inflation, and it's a fortune. Meanwhile, your government has been, quote, "modernizing its nuclear weapons" - but let's talk as adults, what does the word "modernization" means? It means buildup, so both sides are now building up their nuclear weapons, we're in a new Cold War, we're beginning a new nuclear arms race, and the danger is now immense - does that mean there's going to be war? No. The problem is to avert war you need leadership, political leadership, and the question of who's leading correctly and who's not is a political discussion, but the danger is there, absolutely 100%.
SS:There is another huge problem: between the two are the sanctions, the imposed sanctions. Now, Moscow insists that it did not help to push for a ceasefire over the situation in Ukraine in Minsk to actually stop the sanctions, but it helped it, because restoring peace in Ukraine is much more important for Russia. Then you have the West that's always tying sanctions to the agreement made in Minsk over Ukraine.
SC: Let's talk about what sanctions mean first of all. It's an institutionalization of the new Cold War. Once the sanctions were enacted, it means formally, institutionally, in legislation, in presidential degrees from the American side - we're now in a Cold War. Remember something else. It is very easy to announce sanctions, very easy. Politically, it's popular: people say, "Oh, good, we now have punished Russia" - whether we have or not is another question. It is very hard to end sanctions. Remember, Jackson-Vanik, was enacted in 1970s to force Jewish immigration, permit Jewish immigration from the Soviet Union. They only removed Jackson-Vanik a few years ago, long after the time when more Jews were coming from Israel back to Russia than wanted to leave Russia to go to Israel. Politically, and particular with the presidential campaign coming in America, which candidate is going to say 2 years from now: "Things are good with us and Russia, I propose removing the sanctions"? Not one. They'll think it's dangerous...
SS:Now, the Foreign Affairs committee in the U.S. is actually thinking of turning this who sanction-thing into part of law - that would obviously limit very much the American administration's capacity of cooperating with Russia...
SC: That's right. This law, by, what I call, the "war-party" in the Senate - it's not the whole Senate, it's the "war-party", Republican and Democratic - have been drafting a very harsh, Cold War law to punish Russia in many ways, and, moreover, make it possible to send American weapons to countries that are not members of NATO, but were former parts of the Soviet Union. They got a long list, not only Ukraine - this is a reckless, dangerous law, it's not clear if it will pass - some Senators are against it - but, in this political atmosphere, it might pass. Now, of course Obama could veto it - we don't know...
SS:Do you think he will be doing this? Because, like you've said, it would take forever to actually undo that afterwards?
SC: That's correct. Will Obama veto it? We don't know if it will get to Obama, it's got to go out of committee , then it's got to go to the full Senate, then it's got to get a majority, and then it's got to go to Obama, I don't know. We're not sure what Obama does from day-to-day, I mean, if he changes his mind... Now, if the Ukrainian Civil War begins again, if Kiev and the South-East begin fighting and shooting and shelling and what else, now, then I think Obama would sign it. But if the ceasefire and negotiations are unfolding - I don't think Obama would actually sign this. But the strange thing is, it needs to be explained, but I'm not sure I can completely, is why were new sanctions brought against Russia just as Putin and Poroshenko agree on a ceasefire and negotiations?
SS:And why the sanctions are tied into the agreement made in Minsk? Because the agreement is about the ceasefire, not about sanctions...
SC: That's right. They agreed in Minsk, Poroshenko and Putin, and the others, the Ukrainians, and the EU, that there would be a ceasefire and negotiations both about trade, but also about the new Ukraine, if there's going to be one. And suddenly, these sanctions were imposed. I think - I can't prove it – that this was a compromise between Chancellor Merkel and Germany, who has a softer approach towards Russia, wants to end this and get back to business as usual - and the war parties in NATO and Washington; and there was a compromise agreement, where the sanctions were something that Merkel agreed to in return for something she got.
SS:I'm sure you've heard about American vice-president speech at Harvard University, where he revealed that American leadership actually had to embarrass the EU into imposing sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. To me, it seemed like it came as surprise for the EU - do you think EU is really willing to hurt itself because America wants it to?
SC: I don't think, Sophie, that we can talk on these terms of singular entities. There are factions, there are groups. Roughly speaking, it's not entirely precise, there's a "war-party" in Washington, there's a "war-party" in NATO, in the EU, there's a "war-party" in Kiev, because Poroshenko is under attack in Kiev, because of the ceasefire, and - please, forgive me - there's a "war-party" in Moscow that feels that Putin should not have agreed to the ceasefire, that the rebels should have gone on and taken Mariupol, maybe Odessa and that he gave up too much in agreeing to end the fighting and so forth . So, you've got forces in Washington, Kiev, Europe and Moscow who want more war. Now, Merkel leads, in my analysis, the party that doesn't want more war, it wants this war ended, wants to get rid of it, wants to have some negotiations, and wants to EU end the sanctions or at least resume normal trade.
SS:Business as usual, yeah.
SC: Well, because... look, what is sanctions? We think we're punishing Russia - and we are, it's going to hurt Russia, there's no question; but look what's happening in Europe - European economy is down, Italian and French farmers are furious at their governments and the EU, because the Russian market is closed to them, there's too much whatever they produce - cheese, grapes, oranges, bananas - I don't know - but 40% of those goes to Russia and suddenly there's no Russian market. That means they have to cut their prices in Europe, there's too much supply, too low demand, they can't meet their costs, these people going to go out of business. Sanctions cut both ways.
SS:You've also said that the whole Ukrainian thing has split Europe into two.
SS:Or three - so how are working out a single policy to actually patch things up?
SC: They aren't! You hear different voices...look, Merkel went, about a month ago or so, I forget, in August, I think to Kiev, and after talking to Poroshenko stands before the press and says "the war must end, there's no military solution, and there must be ceasefire negotiations." Poroshenko says: "I agree." Then Poroshenko comes to Washington couple of weeks ago, addresses Congress, and says "We must fight, give us weapons, we're fighting for democracy, we must defeat Russia". He's speaking out of both sides of his mouth because there's conflict in the West, and he's trying to play the middle game.
SS:But here's another thing. The most recent UN report on situation in Eastern Ukraine actually confirms that Kiev has violated ceasefire agreement, but this is obviously being ignored by the West and Kiev's government keeps on receiving aids and blessings...
SC: What we do know is this: there's been fighting for the Donetsk airport that never stopped, and suddenly it appears that Kiev shelled Donetsk and it did that on the day that school began, they shelled some schools. It's horrible...think of what's happened; let's open our minds to the tragedy. In November 2013 the EU told Yanukovich, then the President of Ukraine: "sign an agreement with us or go to Russia", and Putin said "why do they have to choose, let's have a three-way agreement of trade and financial aid to Kiev" - you remember that, it was very clear. Lavrov, Russian foreign office and everybody... and Europe said "No" and Washington said "No, we can't do that". Now, what's happened: near a year later, they ask Putin "please come to Minsk and discuss with Poroshenko Russia, Ukraine and Europe, the three-way deal." Four thousand people have died, one million people have been turned into refugees, the Donbas has been destroyed for the agreement that could have happened without one shot fired in November one year ago. Who's responsible for that? Historians will look back and ask, "Who is responsible for the deaths of those people, that destruction, those refugees, when the outcome was available in November 2013, with a little diplomacy." That is a collapse of diplomacy. Why did the West exclude Russia from the negotiations in November, that's the question. Do you know the reason why? What would think?
SS:What would you tell me?
SC: I think it was about NATO expansion, that trade agreement.
SS:Obviously, that's another huge topic, because many believe that NATO expansion is the main stumbling point between Russia and the West. Also, NATO strategy to actually move Ukraine out of Russia's orbit - it is a huge problem, for Russia. Should Russia consider NATO's actions in Europe as a threat?
SC: If I found out where you live and I came to your house, and I've sat out in front of your house with a lot of weapons, and I've said to you: "Sophie, I'm not here to harm you, this is good for you, this is security" – you'd be frightened and buy a few guns to protect yourself, obviously. Look, when NATO expansion began in 1990s, the late George F. Kennan, who was considered the wisest man in America about American-Russian relations, said "This is a terrible, reckless, stupid decision" and it will lead to a new Cold War. Twenty years later, George - I call him George, because we both were in Princeton together, we saw each other regularly - was correct, and he was not alone. I've said it, Jack Matlock who was Reagan's ambassador to the Soviet Union and Gorbachev... A lot of people warned that the expansion of NATO eastward was going to lead to a very bad situation.
SS:But was the expansion a deliberate idea, maybe, a deliberate act, with an eventual stand-off with Russia in mind?
SC: How can you expand a military alliance without a deliberate decision? It wasn't as if nobody was paying attention, and NATO was on wheels and just kind of drifted...Major decision was taken under Clinton to do it, and it was a catastrophically unwise decision, and not only because it led to conflict with Russia, but what it said to all these new countries in NATO that were part of the Soviet Block is that you don't have to have normal diplomatic relations with Russia, that the Baltics don't have to negotiate with Russia about the rights of Russian-speaking people there. You don't have to negotiate.. Georgia, who thought it was going to get into NATO one time - you don't have to negotiate, you can punch Russia in the nose and hide behind NATO. How much diplomacy is going on? Very little. That was one of the bad things about NATO expansion, it was the end of diplomacy between Eastern Europe and Russia. The expansion of NATO was done for one main purpose - to increase security in Europe. It did just the opposite.
SS:And NATO's chief keeps on saying - the new chief - that there's no contradiction between increased NATO presence in Eastern Europe and constructive relations with Russia...
SC: That's an ideology, that's not a reality. I mean, it's foolish, everybody else knows it isn't true. Russia is preparing for war, as NATO moves closer to Russia. And, by the way, remember something very important, which is often forgotten: missile defense. Russia's tried to compromise on where this missile defense would be located. Russia has proposed it to be joined, Russian-American. What did the U.S. do? They gave the missile defense project to NATO, so missile defense is now part of the NATO expansion. It's not just NATO bases coming towards Russia, it's the missile defense. Now, U.S. says the missile defense is not directed at Russia, but American scientists have said, in its fourth stage it will be able to strike down Russian missiles as the rise towards their ultimate trajectory. Now, that means that Russia will not have the deterrent and the nuclear peace that had been kept for 45 years, on this crazy theory - but it has worked until now - that we won't attack you because we know if we attack you, you will attack us and vice versa - missile defense could end that.
SS:Also, just recently, the U.S. has shipped tanks, soldiers, armored vehicles to the Baltic states - I mean, it's the first time since the end of the Cold War, that U.S. has shipped armed vehicles into Europe. What threat is that aimed at?
SC: Look, this is driven by the Ukrainian crisis. There's a theory in the West of what the meaning of Ukrainian crisis is - that the Ukrainian crisis was started by Putin - that isn't true, but that's believed, that's the ideology - and the Ukrainian crisis is only the beginning, that Russia, the Kremlin, Putin, Russian imperialism is going to move on to the Baltics, to Poland. It's all ridiculous, there's no evidence for it. But, there's been a group in NATO that for at least 15 years - you remember, there was an agreement between NATO and Moscow, that even if NATO would expand, there would be no NATO permanent military bases in these countries that came in closer to Russia - but there's been a group in NATO for years who wanted to do that, they've seized the Ukrainian crisis at the NATO Wales summit, month ago, to create this so-called rapid deployment force of 4,000 men. What good are 4 thousand man against the Russian army? Zero, but there's a reason: there going to go bases, communication centers, barracks, air strips in Poland, in three Baltic countries, maybe in Romania - Romania hasn't quite agreed - and that would be not only NATO expansion politically, which is what it was previously, and now it's an actual military expansion. In addition, there is a plan, as you know, to build land-based missile defense installations in Poland and in those countries, so you're right, for the first time there's a military expansion of NATO, not just political, towards Russia - but it's not too late to stop it. It's not too late, if leadership does what leadership is supposed to do, if statesmen and women do what they are supposed to do - we can end this Ukrainian crisis and stop this military expansion of NATO, it's not too late, but it's five minutes to midnight.
SS:How hard is it for you to get your point across the American public when it comes to mainstream media, because, you know, you're always welcome here, at RT, but do you get a platform where you can talk and do you think you're getting your point across?
SC: Let me say a word about RT. Some people say if you go on RT it's unpatriotic - it's complete nonsense. It's just that they don't want to have a debate. In the U.S., I'm not alone, there's a very famous American professor John Mearsheimer in Chicago, who has published a big article in the most important American journal of the elite, "Foreign Affairs" with the title of which is something like "America caused the Ukrainian crisis" - it was a sensation. I've been arguing that for several months, I was very happy that professor Mearsheimer joined this debate. Jack Matlock, you remember who he is?
SS:Yeah, I've actually interviewed him recently.
SC: You know what Jack thinks. He agrees this was reckless, this was bad Western policy. Here's the problem - the three major opinion-shaping newspapers in the U.S., Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal do not actually...
SS:The New York times actually called you "dissenting villain" because of your views on Russia.
SC: When I was a kid, there was a saying "sticks and bones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me" - but names do hurt you, because they stigmatize you, they make people not invite you on mainstream television. The problem is that the Washington elite depends primarily on mainstream television and on the three newspapers: The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. Our point of view never, since last February, when the crisis began, has appeared on their opinion pages, never. We've been excluded. Jack Matlock hasn't been there, professor Mearsheimer hasn't been there, my articles have been rejected. I've never seen this before in America, this is something very strange to me, because newspapers used to like controversy, but on this issue, they seem to have convinced themselves there's only one point of view.
SS:Alright, you've got about 90 seconds. Tell me, how does the situation affect the policy-making, decision-making, in the White House. Do you feel there's lack of expertise on Russia?
SC: Yes. We don't even know who advises Obama. In the past, we always knew to whom the President listens, even if those people were not in the government. But we know, for example, that probably among the wisest men about Russia today in the U.S. is Henry Kissinger. He's 92 years old - Obama hasn't talked to him.
SS:He has also actually said that demonizing Putin is not a policy.
SC: "It's an alibi for not having a policy." I think it's worse; it's an alibi for having a bad policy. I'll tell you what we do: I'm old, I've been through this before, I went through this in 70s... those of us who think as I do, we keep speaking out when we can, we're organizing, we try to talk to Senators and Congress people who are willing to listen to us. The problem is, most of them are Democrats and they don't want to come out against Obama, because there are Congressional elections coming in November. They don't want to do anything to be critical of Obama publicly, because the Democrats are having a hard time holding the Senate and the House. This is not about Russia, this is about our social welfare programs, our Supreme Court, about helping poor people, about social justice in America - it's a very important issue, I don't fault them. But, what I say to them: "Ok, after the elections I expect to see you on TV saying this Ukrainian crisis is a disaster and we are also guilty, not just Russia". We'll see if they say anything. What else can you do?
SS:Thank you very much, Stephen Cohen, very famous American scholar on Russian studies, thanks a lot for this interview.
Whilst material has been posted in recent months to the Ukraine section (http://candobetter.net/ukraine) little has been added to this page since May 2014. From now on, we intend to update the section above, as far as we are able, with links to all the most important material about the Ukraine conflict, both anti-imperialist and (pro-fascist) mainstream , as well as our own commentary. We will endeavor, also, to republish appropriate articles on candobetter and write our own. - Ed, 9 Aug 2014
President Putin has acted to protect Russia's strategic interests on the Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea. Citizens of the Crimea and the eastern mainland region of Ukraine including the cities of Kharkov and Donetsk have repudiated the new government and are openly protesting against it in the streets. The Crimean regional parliament has refused to accept the legitimacy of the local government appointed by the mainland putschists.
However, even the reporting by these alternative newsmedia is not altogether without flaws and shortcomings. Very little on the web#fnSubj1" id="txtSubj1">1 seems to properly account for the deeper historical context from which the current conflict has emerged:
After the devastation of the Russian Civil War, the government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) encouraged a national renaissance in literature and the arts. However this was reversed by the dictator Josef Stalin, who succeeded Lenin#fnSubj3" id="txtSubj3">3 in 1924. According to Wikipedia, Stalin murdered 681,692 Ukrainians in the 1920s and 1930s and he deliberately imposed famine upon Ukraine in which up to 10 million died. Consequently, it should hardly be unexpected that in 1941 some Ukrainians erroneously saw the Nazi invaders, who planned to starve 25 million Ukrainians#fnSubj2" id="txtSubj2">2 and other Eastern Europeans untermenschen in order to create lebensraum for Germany, as liberators.
#fnSubj3" id="fnSubj3">3. #txtSubj3">⇑ Whilst it has become "accepted wisdom" that Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the former Soviet Union (aka USSR) was a brutal dictator, this is contrary to the historical evidence. Wherever free and open discussion is allowed and evidence to the contrary is #comment-173372">presented, as it was on the forum discussion web-site of Australian academic John Quiggin on 27 April 2012, those who uphold such lies will be either silent when the contrary evidence is presented, or else lose the argument.
For example, the Ukraine is geopolitically important for many reasons; including its value as a food bowl and as an export route for oil and gas. The Ukrainian people are secondary to the interests of the foreign powers that seek to influence or control the territory and its resources.
The current turmoil in Syria and Iraq has been preceded by French and British military intervention respectively in the early 20th century, combined with imposition of new territorial borders. This was arguably an autocratic foreign assault on the region. People subject to somewhat arbitrarily defined borders have different histories and different vested interests little understood by the foreign autocrats. The same was true of the foreign assault on Australian Aborigines when their territory was first invaded in 1788. Have a look at any capital city in Australia. There are "Boundary Roads" everywhere.
#comments">Armchair experts #comments">sit around hypothesising about what should or should not be done, based on their subjective versions of humanitarian and strategic principles. Many know little of the history of the regions they discuss and use terms such as "democracy" and "territorial borders" to define right and wrong.
In Australia in particular, neither the Government nor the people have the ethical credentials to justify interference in geographically remote regional conflicts.
#AED1FF;font-size:92%;hyphens:auto;line-height:120%;">... the economic impacts of extreme population growth are not investigated in the public interest.
Australia is a country founded upon the principles of invasion and dispossession of "indigenous" peoples. That foundation remains the cornerstone of government policy to this day. It is an autocratically imposed policy that has nothing to do with democracy. This "invasion" does not prioritise humanitarian intake. In its current form it focuses on attempting to cherry pick healthy and relatively wealthy, educated people for their alleged "financial" value; at the expense of refugees.
#AED1FF;font-size:92%;hyphens:auto;line-height:120%;">... politicians don't even question a policy that many other countries would regard as outlandish.
Government media seeks to justify a government policy of invasion and dispossession in the interests of something it vaguely refers to as economic growth, although the economic impacts of extreme population growth are not investigated in the public interest. Politicians control decision-making on what lines of public inquiry deserve due diligence. Mass migration has always been the "robot-mode" status quo in Australia and politicians don't even question a policy that many other countries would regard as outlandish.
Between 1788 and 1900 Australia's population rose to 3.7 million. From 2002 to 2014 it rose another 3.8 million. This invasion is accelerating. This is extreme, unsustainable, Government imposed, amoral, financially motivated "developed world" population growth.
The ABC is not governed by any laws that can be enforced to hold it accountable for failing to comply with its Statutory Duties of impartiality and integrity. ABC agendas appear set by politicians rather than by analytical thinking.
The ABC's approach to the climate change debate has been the ABC–branded Carbon Tax debate, analogous to a doctor advising a patient that the only therapy for treatment of obesity is exercise (economic incentives to reduce carbon emissions), while encouraging the patient to eat fattening food (extreme population growth driving extreme emissions growth) from a company the doctor owns. The doctor also deliberately conceals the fact that eating is the primary cause of explosive weight gain.
#AED1FF;font-size:92%;hyphens:auto;line-height:120%;">The ABC's approach ... has been analogous to a doctor advising a patient that the only therapy for treatment of obesity is exercise, while encouraging the patient to eat fattening food from a company the doctor owns.
So we have a lawless, government sanctioned, propaganda machine purporting to act as a humane and democratic voice of the people, while failing to address some of the most pressing moral and environmental issues in Australia. Population growth stands out as an issue of critical importance.
#AED1FF;font-size:92%;hyphens:auto;line-height:120%;">NASA abused its position of dominance by prioritising a political desire for launch [of the Challenger] over competent risk management.
The Challenger Space Shuttle disaster occurred in similar circumstances. The Solid Booster Rocket seals failed causing a catastrophic explosion because NASA approved the launch at an unacceptably low ambient temperature in full knowledge of the risk. The 7 astronauts killed in the explosion were not informed of the risk.
NASA abused its position of dominance by prioritising a political desire for launch over competent risk management.
#AED1FF;font-size:92%;hyphens:auto;line-height:120%;">The ABC ... uses opinionated bias as a basis for concealing critically important information from public policy debate.
The ABC is a news and current affairs broadcaster. It has limited, if any, expertise in the sciences or in risk management. Yet it uses opinionated bias as a basis for concealing critically important information from public policy debate. Whether that bias is driven by Government or the ABC itself is immaterial. It is clearly contrary to the public interest and it is defined as unlawful, if not criminal, by the ABC Code of Practice.
The relationship between the adverse humanitarian, social, environmental and economic outcomes of population growth and the rate of that population growth is off the ABC agenda.
In this Crosstalk interview by Peter Lavalle with journalist, Pepe Escobar, and economist, Martin Hennecke, the point is made that after 9-11 in 2001, the United States 'took its eye off the ball' to concentrate on the 'war on terror'. Now all it has is the war on terror, but while its attention has been focused on war for 13 years, China and Russia have made many new alliances with the BRICs countries and the future looks better for China and Russia than for the NATO group and its allies. Also criticism of the European and Anglophone press as fixated on personalities and imagined agendas to the exclusion of practical reality. Compares austerity debt in Europe to debt in China and Russia (very low). Refers to evolution away from the petrodollar
Syria could be America’s key ally against ISIL and other terror groups. Instead, the U.S. has chosen to align with Saudi Arabia, a country where churches are banned and women are not permitted to drive, and a country that has funded and directed much of the insurgency, both ‘moderate’ and extreme, in Syria. President Obama's latest military action decision ignores the work of journalists Sotloft and Foley, who exposed brutality of so-called moderate rebels that Obama wants to arm. Australians for reconciliation in Syria call on the Australian and US governments to heed the wishes of the people of Syria; to support the Syrian army’s fight against terror groups; and to respect its right to work for peaceful political changes without foreign interference. We can honour our own freedoms, equalities and responsibilities in Australia by respecting those of Syrians.
Obama's decision to arm 'rebels' in Syria is illegal, dangerous and ill-researched
“Australians for Mussalaha (Reconciliation) in Syria” (AMRIS) deplores the decision by U.S. President Obama to take military action against ISIL in Syria without the consent of the Syrian Government. Such military action will be illegal.
Furthermore, AMRIS condemns U.S. military support to what President Obama terms the ‘Syrian opposition’. The vast majority of Syrian people do not support any militarized opposition groups, but rather support the institutions of the state. (NB: There is an internal opposition - parties and groups which eschew violence.)
The Syrian regular army has lost tens of thousands of soldiers in its battle against militias, including ISIL. With very little support from the local population, these sectarian militias depend on foreign fighters who include Sunni Muslims misled by a myth, namely that a minority Shi’a sect is oppressing the Sunni majority in Syria.
US sows sectarianism against secular Syrian society and denies democratic vote of Syria for its Government
Syria is a secular society and its government and army reflect the diverse mix of ethnic groups and faiths in Syria. The ministries are dominated by Sunni politicians and the conscript army is predominantly a Sunni army. The Defence Minister is Sunni. The president’s wife is Sunni. Members of the business elite are mostly Sunni Muslims.
There must be recognition of
- the inclusive Sunni Islam practised in Syria, which is rooted in Sufi Islam not Wahhabism, the school of Islam aligned with the Saudi royal family
- the right and responsibility of Syrian people to defend themselves and their country against militias funded by both foreign governments and individuals who condone the killing of civilians who support the secular Syrian state
- the wide-ranging rights and freedoms that women have in Syria
- the rights and freedoms people of different faiths have in Syria to practice their religion (Christmas and Easter are public holidays in Syria, just as Muslim holy days are.)
- the fact that more than 73% of Syrians eligible to vote participated in the June 2014 presidential election
- the fact that investigative journalists, members of the U.S. intelligence community, and M.I.T. academics maintain rebels, NOT the Syrian Government, were most likely responsible for the chemical attack in Damascus in August 2013.
Syria could be America’s key ally against ISIL and other terror groups. Instead, the U.S. has chosen to align with Saudi Arabia, a country where churches are banned and women are not permitted to drive, and a country that has funded and directed much of the insurgency, both ‘moderate’ and extreme, in Syria.
Journalists Sotloft and Foley exposed brutality of so-called moderate rebels that Obama wants to arm
By supporting militia groups which are labelled ‘moderate’ but which target soldiers, public servants and secular Syrians just as ISIL does, the U.S. and its allies will entrench the chaos, destruction and death in Syria and the region. The pretext for U.S. military action in Syria is the beheading of two American journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley. However, in articles published before they were abducted, Sotloff and Foley exposed the brutality of the so-called moderate rebels. The truths they revealed and their courage in exposing them do not demand an alliance with ‘moderate’ rebels complicit in their killings; they demand support for peace and reconciliation in Syria.
NATO promotion of geopolitical wars builds hatred, despair and disorganisation
The hatred being incited between Muslims to promote geopolitical wars in the Middle East will impact on communities across the globe. People everywhere risk losing their moral compass and compromising basic human values and belief systems which are needed to unite us and ensure peace and security for us all.
Need for more rigorous research before new actions
AMRIS calls for rigorous research of events in Syria in order to challenge partisan narratives.
AMRIS calls on the government to heed the wishes of the people of Syria; to support their army’s fight against terror groups; and to respect their right to work for peaceful political changes without foreign interference. We can honour our own freedoms, equalities and responsibilities in Australia by respecting those of Syrians.
Spokesperson is Ms Susan Dirgham, National Coordinator of “Australians for Mussalaha (Reconciliation) in Syria”
Alex Jones covers how Obama's plan for war in the Middle East is a decades-long war in the making. Geopolitical analyst Mimi Al-Laham, AKA Syrian Girl, also joins the show to reveal what you're not being told about the recent Middle East "beheading" videos and how ISIS is too strong to not have a powerful state backer. (Editorial comment: This video is not yet on Alex Jones' InfoWars.com. An earlie interview with the Syrian Girl is Syrian Girl: ISIS’ True Purpose Revealed (22 July 2014).
Barking up the wrong tree has been a specialty of the Australian diplomatic corps for some years. Piddling on that same tree in some misguided understanding of ownership has been another. The announcement by Prime Minister Tony Abbott – that an interim embassy mission will open in Kiev, and that military advisors will be sent – is one such example. Here, the forest, with its trees, is truly far and distant.
An argument making the rounds is that Australia is showing its "middling" power status in making such gestures. The idea of Australian middle power status is articulated with such insistence you might actually believe it. In truth, it struggles to make the grade, wheezing its way along the track of competition in the hope that someone might notice. That someone, of course, is the United States. Other powers, such as Russia and China, are to be regarded as studied villains of the peace (current and future), notwithstanding the trade being done with them.
The other dreary remark made is that Australian occupation of a seat on the Security Council, or its presence in such forums as the G20 has actually made a difference to both muscle and influence. If you are looking for the role of honest broker, the bridge between dissenting parties, the answer is no. (Abbott's suggestion that Russia is essentially motivated by roguishness, funding and equipping murderers hardly suggests such a line.) If you are looking for another seat occupied for reasons of clerking duties, that is quite another matter. It that area, Australia excels.
So, into the Ukraine she goes, with promises of "non-lethal" action as a form of payment for "its support and friendship."#fnUkr1" id="txtUkr1">1 Australians perished in the deadly affair, but Abbott is truly misreading the picture if he thinks Australian personnel are needed as a gesture of assistance. "Australia is truly grateful for Ukraine's help in recovering the victims and bringing home our dead."
For one, the Ukrainian authorities did not cover themselves with glory in that affair. There were denials and counter-denials that they did have the necessary weapons system that might have been used in the downing of the flight. There was the practice of charging flights running routes through eastern Ukraine when there should have been a steadfast prohibition of the use of the corridor.
Ultimately, under international aviation law, Ukraine was responsible for activities taking place on the ground, irrespective of whether it was being contested by rebel separatists. None of this matters for a historically disinterested Abbott, who had the answers in advance of any investigation into circumstances around the event. "We are also grateful for Ukraine's strong support for the criminal investigation into this particular atrocity and in their determination which we share to bring the perpetrators to justice." The issues are already determined: rebel fighters did it, with Russian help.
The link with Moscow is drawn with unenviable certainty, justifying the need for Australia to rally to the Ukrainian cause with schoolboy conviction. "So, Madam Speaker, the government and I believe the Australian people, would like to repay Ukraine for its support and friendship, especially as Ukraine continues to be subject to active destabilisation and indeed outright invasion from Russia, a country it has never sought to harm."
Sanctions are being reiterated, and the uranium supply line is being cut. "There will be no uranium sales to Russia until further notice and Australia has no intention of selling uranium to a country which is so obviously in breach of international law as Russia currently is."
Such talk takes place in a vacuum of history. Russian interests in Russian nationals – very much part of the nationality principle at international law – is not even a footnote in conversation. Ukrainian agitation, Russian response and its very mixed relationship with the separatists, and the interference mounted by foreign powers, have all done their part in making a dangerous situation incendiary.
Particularly troubling are the ever pressing problems posed by a burgeoning NATO alliance. Formed in 1949 to combat the Soviet Union during the Cold War, it has over extended its remit. Foreign wars and engagements keep its soldiers busy. With 28 members, it is one of the largest military alliances in history, boasting a combined expenditure of 1 trillion dollars a year. Its presence is a reminder of continuing US dominance on the European continent. An olive branch, even if a somewhat bare one, is being held out to Kiev by Washington – the door is open for those on our side.
Former US ambassador to NATO, Kurt Volker#fnUkr2" id="txtUkr2">2 argued for belligerence to "prove [Putin] wrong." The suggested recipe is a military one: "For the sake of Ukraine's integrity as a country, for future European security and for NATO's credibility as a defence organization, NATO leaders need to make some tough decisions and push back militarily against Russia."
The dangers posed by this militarisation, along with Canberra's desire to be more relevantly engaged with NATO activities, has seen that worst tendency in Australian foreign policy realise itself: the longing to be noticed. Many a year has passed since an Australian foreign minister realised that the dictates of geography come first. The political dross, dressed up as strategic wisdom, should come a distant second.
(See also article "The Donetsk National Republic states the facts about its conflict with the Kiev regime".) In this video Alexander V. Zakharchenko, who is now Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk National Republic, declares, "Let me clarify. No federalization can be possible today. There is time for everything. We asked for the federalization 3 months ago, then we asked for a permission to hold a referendum. That time has passed, now we want to live independently. The Ukrainian authorities are using police methods to subdue us: they arrest us, cordon us off, and conduct anti-terrorist operations against us. By now so much blood has been spilled and so many people have died for freedom. How can we speak of federalization?"
[If the subtitles are not in your language, click on the small white rectangle at the base of the video; this will give you a window to select another language.]
[Alexander V. Zakharchenko, Chairman of The Council of Ministers of The Donetsk National Republic] As you all know, a week ago we announced our plan to attack. We started it yesterday.
Until yesterday we have been preparing for the attack, examining trophy equipment, arming the crews, and testing communication between different military formations.
I can now proudly announce that we formed 2 tank battalions, 2 full artillery brigades, 2 Grad divisons,
1 mechanized infantry battalion, 3 infantry brigades and a special purpose assault airborne brigade.
All these units have now received Army numbers.
The communication system have been regularized and 2 field hospitals and 1 maintenance brigade have been formed.
We have begun testing all these units in battle. Yesterday we began an attack on Amvrosiyivka enemy group.
According to our data, in the course of the offensive, the enemy lost about 45 units of military equipment, we captured 14 units of military equipment, and about 1,200 people were killed and wounded.
There are two cauldrons at the moment, in Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevskaia.
We started to advance at 4 a.m. on Elenovka, where the fighting is still going on.
2/3 of Elenovka is under our control. We hope to clean up these areas before the night. However, the offensive will not end at that.
We will continue until we free all populated areas in the Donetsk National Republic.
The army is ready and we have the support of the people. There will be more and more prisoners.
Now regarding the Parade. I deliberately put the trophy equipment on display on Lenin Square.
Everything that will come to us from Kiev, will end up in the same condition sooner or later.
The more will come, the easier it’ll be for us to restore our economy.
As you may know, metallurgy is one of our main industries.
I would like to thank the Minister of Defense for the close cooperation, understanding of the challenges facing the government, for his unlimited capacity to work and for his personal courage.
[Vladimir Kononov, Defense Minister of DNR] Dear journalists, TV audience, I would like to appeal to you.
The Ukrainian aggressive occupation army came on our soil. They brought a nationalistic ideology that has no respect for human life.
Their only interest is in our territory and resources.
They launch their vile attacks on residential civilian complexes with grandmothers, women, and children.
Just yesterday they fired on a residential quarter and killed a 9-year-old girl. There was no militia there.
They use sneaky tactics of mobile mortar groups that come to a place, shoot at it for 10-20 minutes, and quickly leave.
We already have all data on the movements of these mortar groups. They will be neutralized soon.
Now regarding the armed forces.
This is a uniform force with the principle of undivided authority that prevents disobedience and disorder, contrary to those who call the DNR army Makhnovist, etc.
It's a lie disseminated by the Kiev’s junta as well as by those who have unleashed tanks, Grads, and artillery against its people.
You can now ask your questions.
Does the militia fire on the houses?
Let me correct you right away. We were the militia 10 days ago. Today, we are the armed forces of the Donetsk National Republic.
The DNR’s armed forces by no means try to strike on residential neighborhoods and houses.
We don't and never will practice this. This is our homeland, our soil, and our Motherland.
This is a war on our territory that we want to preserve. We're not animals. We are not fighting in Kiev, we are fighting at home.
Channel 1, Moscow. How would you characterize the Ukrainian armed forces’ response to your offensive? Were they aware of it? Are they in confusion, resisting or rolling back?
Most likely they knew about our counter-attack as we did not make a secret of this. They didn’t know the time and place of the attack.
There are regular army officers who, unfortunately, at some point graduated from the Soviet military schools and the Academy.
They were preparing for different options, and have guessed some of them. The fighting was heavy because the regular units fight well.
The regular army really fights, gets defeated, but never gives up.
Those who roll back are the battalions of Shakhtersk, Aydar etc. They are usually easy to attack because they retreat at the first shot and never engage in direct fire contact.
They usually retreat and call on the regular units, and then they start to attack together.
Again, the fighting is very heavy.,You can feel the enemy’s superiority in their quantity of equipment.
To give you an idea of the intensity of the fighting: we cross about 40 km in the day.
The Parade of prisoners of war we’ve seen this afternoon, isn’t it against all humanitarian conventions and motions of dignity?
As a lawyer, I can say that we did nothing against international law.
The prizoners were not undressed or starved.
Show me a single international law, which prohibites parading prisoners. We have not done anything illegal.
What was the purpose of this parade? Were you trying to send a message to Kiev? Why did you make a decision to parade the prisoners of war?
Kyiv said that they will march in parade in Donetsk on the 24th. So they did.
Poroshenko didn’t lie: they were here together with their hardware.
This week Lugansk received humanitarian aid from Russia. Are you waiting for such help, and when do you think you can expect it to come?
We expected it yesterday, even before Lugansk.
Our city’s population is bigger than Lugansk, so it was logical to send it to us first.
But situation in Lugansk is much harder, so it was sent there first. I hope that we will receive our help soon.
Are there any negotiations about the terms of delivery?
Yes, the negotiations were conducted on the same day as Lugansk, but, unfortunately, we didn't get it.
Will Lugansk share their received help with you?
As practical business managers, we would like it. However, from the humanitarian position we understand that the situation is more difficult there.
We have to rely on our own resources for now. Hopefully, help will come soon.
there are historical parallels with July 1944 and the March of the Nazis. Did it happen by accident or was it done on purpose?
Honestly, we have recently seen one of the insignias of the 2nd separate brigade: the complete emblem of the Galicia SS Division, a 79 SS Galicia badge.
When we saw the full symbol of this Division... Many Russian families suffered losses in the Second World War. One of the ancestors in my family fought against the Galicia SS Division.
This is not just a parallel, this is generational: my great-grandfather, and now I, and the same division…
That’s why a desire was born to repeat 1944 so they would realize that it all already happened before, it has repeated itself with the same result.
Every time you come to Russia with a sword, “from a sword you will perish”.
Unfortunately, dear journalists, the West tries to invade us with a regularity of 30-50 years.
That is, every 30-50 years the Western civilization tries to impose on us their opinion and their way of life.
The First World War, the Great Patriotic war, the Crimean war before that and so on well into the depths of history.
As a result, the West traditionally gets the fall of Berlin, Paris, etc.
There is Maidan every year In Kiev – “Those who don’t jump are Moskals”.
The West comes every 30-50 years to get what it deserves. Now in 2014, they are slightly delayed.
What kind of aid do you now get from Russia?
individuals and certain organizations send us food, clothes, and medicine.
Ramzan Kadyrov has collected humanitarian aid worth of $70 million, which is now waiting in Rostov.
It was not a state program, it’s from the Republic and the President of Chechnya.
....experts in artillery from Samara?
I will invite several officers of the French Navy, who want to fight with us.
They are willing to give an interview. We have Europe fighting amongst us.
The European ideals of equality, fraternity, and the French revolution, as in the Marseillaise, resonate with the patriots of France.
It means, the nation is not dead, since it has such representatives who are willing to go to the far away place to fight for their ideals, which the Bastille was once taken for.
Yes, there are volunteers: the French, the Russians. Is it a bad thing? It’s great.
Are there regular Russian military units fighting on your side?
If you think that Russia is sending its regular units here, then let me tell you something.
If Russia was sending its regular troops, we wouldn't be talking about the battle of Elenovka here.
We'd be talking about a battle of Kiev or a possible capture of Lvov.
Now there is a war on our soil for our territory. We have an influx of volunteers from all over the world.
Of course, the Russian help would be very desirable, but from a political point of view it is impossible and unrealistic.
Thanks, by the way, to the European countries. You do not acknowledge this war just as you did not acknowledge the great Patriotic war, didn’t you?
You support the anti-terrorist operation against terrorists and separatists.
Have you not developed a Charter of free territory, I believe, in Switzerland?
A Territory has a right of self determination and separation after a referendum.
Germany lives by the same principles. There will be a referendum in Scotland soon.
That is, you call your own principles democratic and carry them out (almost) democratically.
The example of Czechoslovakia was peaceful. Yugoslavia, unfortunately, was torn into a thousand little pieces by you. Using military methods by the way.
We have the same thing happening here.
That is, if you stop pursuing a policy of double standards and will be able to understand that people live here.
What is our fault? The fault of Donetsk, Donbass, our land?
That we are asked to live independently? That we wanted to live the way we want? To speak our language? To make friends with whom we want?
We didn't want to go to Europe. We have different mentalities, religion.
But we have a different religion. We want to go East.
We wanted to live the way we want, but we were not allowed to. We were called terrorists and separatists.
Please note, we did not capture any regional administrations, nor did we scorch district departments. That’s what the Maidan did.
Slogans: "No oligarchy”, “Equality and brotherhood", "Freedom of religion and language", "Freedom of choice".
All these slogans are from the Maidan. We want the same thing. So why are we the bad guys?
What did we do to deserve being bombed from planes?, shot at from tanks?and have phosphorous bombs dropped on us ?
Explain to me what an anti-terrorist operation is?!
There police forces and intelligence services are involved, and not regular military units, military vehicles and aircrafts.
Dear journalists, please correct me if I am wrong.
If we are terrorists, then the police and the security service of Ukraine must fight us.
30, 25, 95, 72, and 76 - the entire Ukrainian army is present on our territory.
Three conscriptions, the national guard, territorial battalions, private battalions Aidar, Azov, Shakhtersk, Donbass, Dnieper-1, Dnieper-2, Dnieper-3, battalion Kiev, and now Kryvbas.
What have we done? What is our guilt? The fact that we have shale gas, for which you want to erase entire Slavyansk from the face of the earth?
Or any other financial interests?
We are all descendants of the glorious ancestors. We all have ancestors that we are proud of.Only between the two of us there are two Heroes of the Soviet Union.
We are still able to hold weapons in our hands. We swallowed with our mothers’ milk a pride and desire to live in free and happy Donbass.
We’ll tell anyone who comes to harm us on our soil: we will fight tooth and nail for our Motherland.
Kiev and the West made a big mistake by awaking us.
We are the hardworking people. While others were jumping on the Maidan for 300 grivnas, our people were down in the mine, mining coal, melting metal and sowing crop.
None of us had time to jump, we were busy working.
When a person who just yesterday worked with a jackhammer or operated a harvester, today got behind a steering wheel of a tank or Grad, or picked up a machine gun, the line has been crossed and you cannot stop him.
The one who left his job knows that he will fight to the end and to his last breath.
You may pass it on to others: do not wake the beast. Just don’t.
While there is still an opportunity, let mothers spare their sons.
For some, perhaps this will be terrible news: there still lie several hundred soldiers of the armed forces of the Ukrainian army under Panovka, Saur-Mohyla, who are unaccounted for.
Families receive “missing in action” letters. They are actually dead. Kiev authorities do it on purpose.
Hundreds and thousands dead in more than a dozen graves. I announce it officially.
Let everybody know if you received a "missing in action" letter, then most likely, your husband, brother, or son got killed.
[Vladimir Kononov] I can you give an example from the battle of the 72nd and 25th batalions against us in Shakhtersk. I have all the documents of the soldiers who burned near the wrecked machinery.
We returned the bodies to the Ukrainian army. Two weeks later, we received information that they were “missing in action”.
Why did they bother to pick up the bodies?
It was reported that the Ukrainian army from the beginning of the conflict had 12,000 killed, 19,000 wounded and 5,000 missing.
They are not missing, they were killed and buried under Karachun, in Krasnyy Liman…
They were dumping bodies from a helicopter with stones tied to their feet into the Blue lakes near Slavyansk.
Vladimir Petrovich, let's not excite our press with such gruesome details.
Poroshenko said that all 120 people out of 1200 who participated in the Parade in Kiev, will go to the East.
Now I want to say: I don't want to fight. It wasn’t my choice, but I'll fight till the end for my land, no matter who, when and how numerous they were.
This is a battle of annihilation. Unfortunately, the Slavs are fighting among themselves and destroying their best people.
We want to reach out to all the relatives and mothers: do not send your sons here.
Leave us alone. Let us live free and in peace.
We didn’t come to you in Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk, or Zaporozhye. We are not marauding your villages, raping your women, killing your elders and stealing their military decorations.
Remember decorations for Stalingrad, the capture of Berlin, Gold Star medals, Orders of Glory, Orders of the Red Banner, mixed up with women's earrings?...
We don't do that. We want to live on our land the way we want. We don't need you. We are different.
Ukraine of the East and the West is an artificially created conglomerate. However, we didn’t start this war.
If someone has a political conscience, a will and a courage of a real man, I'm just suggesting to stop this operation.
You don’t have to recognize our status, just leave us alone within our borders of Donetsk and Lugansk republics, and we will kiss each other goodbye.
A question from the French newspaper Libération. When will a press conference with the French internationalists, that you mentioned, take place?
They will arrive tomorrow. Talk with Vladimir Petrovich tomorrow. Contact him through his press Secretary.
Do you think the meeting with Poroshenko will bring any positive solutions?
Let me clarify. No federalization can be possible today.
There is time for everything. We asked for the federalization 3 months ago, then we asked for a permission to hold a referendum.
That time has passed, now we want to live independently.
The Ukrainian authorities are using police methods to subdue us: they arrest us, cordon us off, and conduct anti-terrorist operations against us.
By now so much blood has been spilled and so many people have died for freedom. How can we speak of federalization?
What is federalization? This is a series of bureaucratic procedures that need to be done.
But we want to live independently. We have very rich land.
Talks about subsidies is a lie perpetrated by thieves to steal money. Each President understood this very well and always participated in it.
We are a self-sufficient region with its agriculture, developed industry, forests, fields, and seas.
We have everything from a “Switzerland” to the sea.
Resort areas, agriculture, chemical and coal industry, rich minerals, gas deposits, etc.
Despite close ties with the rest of Ukraine, we can and must be able to feed ourselves.
If they do not understand it in a good way, then we will ask them in a hard way.
I hope that the meeting between Poroshenko and President Vladimir Putin will lead to the taking of our position into account.
About the law in relation to people who are in prison.
Please specify what kind of law you are talking about.
On what basis these people have been arrested?
We have recently adopted a new criminal code and the creation of court-martials and tribunals. Is that what are you talking about?
This is not a law, this is a provision that we have discussed in the Council of Ministers and then submitted to the Supreme Council.
The Supreme Council gave us a go-ahead. Are you asking about people who were arrested prior to this or after?
At the moment we have mostly detained soldiers who violated military discipline and the oath of allegiance.
A court-martial will have to deal with it. Now regarding the rest.
Since the adoption of this law, all detained civilians were transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of State Security for their hearings.
Depending on the sentence, they will either be released, or subjected to administrative punishments in the form of community service from 10 to 30 days.
Donetsk Detention Center came over to our side, so civilized places will be used for detentions.
For further clarifications you can enquire at the reception desk of the Deputy Prime Minister or to appeal to the Prosecutor General.
A question about the death penalty.
I'll be honest, I think the death penalty is the highest form of protection of society.
You probably remember that my first decree was to fight banditry.
Yes, this is a widespread phenomenon, because all sorts of criminal elements penetrate under the guise of a revolution.
We must fight it now so we wouln’t have to hunt these paramilitary groups down later. That was the reason behind this decision.
After the long discussions it has been decided to adopt the death penalty.
You all know perfectly well that the abolition of the death penalty does not reduce crime.
Statistics show that with the death penalty abolished crimes “for some reason” tend to go up.
The society, ordinary people, and private entrepreneurs have to be able to live and work in the safety. We made a decision to guarantee their security.
For details, please familiarize yourself with the code. It is written in quite clear language.
Video interview inside.Western support will allow more IMF and European lending to prop the Ukrainian currency so the Ukrainian oligarchs can move their money safely to British and US banks, explains economist and author, Professor Michael Hudson. '[...] Finance today is war by non-military means. The aim of getting a country in debt is to obtain its economic surplus, ending up with its property. The main property to obtain is that which can produce exports and generate foreign exchange. For Ukraine, this means mainly the Eastern manufacturing and mining companies, which presently are held in the hands of the oligarchs. For foreign investors, the problem is how to transfer these assets and their revenue into foreign hands – in an economy whose international payments are in chronic deficit as a result of the failed post-1991 restructuring. That is where the IMF comes in.'
'[...]Governments are told to balance their budgets by selling off public assets – mainly natural monopolies whose buyers can raise excess prices to extract economic rent. The effect is to turn the economy into a renting “tollbooth economy.” Hitherto free public roads are turned into toll roads, and other transportation, water and sewer systems also are privatized. This raises the cost of living, and hence the cost of labor – while overall wage levels are squeezed by the financial austerity that shrinks markets and raises unemployment."
"What is at issue is whether economies throughout the world will let financial leverage dismantle the power of elected governments, and hence of democracy. Governments are sovereign. No government actually needs to pay foreign debts or submit to policies that negate the three definitions of a state: to create its own money, to levy taxes, and to declare war."
(Article by Michael Hudson, first published on Global Research, July 7, 2014.) Original videoed interview by RT's Daniel Bushell (Truthseeker program) was on June 29, 2014.
Western support for oligarchs via IMF
Western support will allow more IMF and European lending to prop the Ukrainian currency so the Ukrainian oligarchs can move their money safely to British and US banks, economist and author Michael Hudson told RT’s Truthseeker.
RT:Could you summarize for us the tried and tested steps that will lead from IMF loans, to Ukraine’s best assets ending up in private Western hands – the IMF’s ‘knee-breaker’ role as you memorably described it as?
Michael Hudson: The basic principle to bear in mind is that finance today is war by non-military means. The aim of getting a country in debt is to obtain its economic surplus, ending up with its property. The main property to obtain is that which can produce exports and generate foreign exchange. For Ukraine, this means mainly the Eastern manufacturing and mining companies, which presently are held in the hands of the oligarchs. For foreign investors, the problem is how to transfer these assets and their revenue into foreign hands – in an economy whose international payments are in chronic deficit as a result of the failed post-1991 restructuring. That is where the IMF comes in.
The IMF was not set up to finance domestic government budget deficits. Its loans are earmarked to pay foreign creditors, mainly to maintain a country’s exchange rate. The effect usually is to subsidize flight capital out of the country – at a high exchange rate rather than depositors and creditors getting fewer dollars or euro. In Ukraine’s case, foreign creditors would include Gazprom, which already has been paid something. The IMF transfers a credit to its “Ukraine account,” which then pays foreign creditors. The money never really gets to Ukraine or to other IMF borrowers. It is paid to the accounts of foreigners, including foreign government creditors, as in IMF loans to Greece. Such loans come with“conditionalities” that impose austerity. This in turn drives the economy even further into debt – forcing the government to tighten the budget even more, run even smaller budget deficits and sell off public assets.
RT: Can Ukraine expect the so-called ‘IMF effect’ of 1 in 5 of the impoverished population emigrating to work abroad, and what consequence could this have on a country to lose its brightest minds?
MH: Ukraine already draws in foreign emigrants’ remittances equal to about 4% of its GDP. (About $10 billion a year.) Most of this money comes from Russia, the rest from Western Europe. The effect of IMF austerity plans is to drive more Ukrainians to emigrate in search of work. They will send some of their earnings back to their families, strengthening the Ukrainian currency vis-à-vis the ruble and euro.
RT:How are the IMF’s tools in reality “weapons of mass destruction” as you quoted it?
MH: Lower budget deficits cause even deeper austerity and unemployment. The result is a downward economic spiral. Lower incomes mean lower tax revenues. So governments are told to balance their budgets by selling off public assets – mainly natural monopolies whose buyers can raise excess prices to extract economic rent. The effect is to turn the economy into a renting “tollbooth economy.” Hitherto free public roads are turned into toll roads, and other transportation, water and sewer systems also are privatized. This raises the cost of living, and hence the cost of labor – while overall wage levels are squeezed by the financial austerity that shrinks markets and raises unemployment.
RT:The IMF’s perhaps also a weapon of mass destruction in a more literal sense. The organization has publicly threatened and blackmailed Ukraine that it will ‘re-design’ its aid package, unless Kiev goes to war on fellow Ukrainians in the East of the country and stops them protesting. Does that not make it now literally a criminal accomplice or instigator of war and murder?
MH: The IMF’s “conditionality” is that it “pacify” the East. Pacification may occur violently in today’s Orwellian rhetoric. The only way in which actual political and economic peace can be achieved is by a loose federalization of Ukraine, to make each region independent of the kleptocrats in Kiev, who are appointed mainly from the West.
As for accusations of criminality, this always depends on who is the prosecutor, and what is the court! No country has yet prosecuted the IMF. All that voters can do is reject governments submitting to IMF conditionalities. Many voters who are able will “vote with their feet” and simply leave the sinking economy. So the IMF’s defense is that Ukraine and other clients are voluntarily committing suicide rather than being murdered. Austerity is ultimately a policy – nobody is holding gun to their head, except when political leaders are assassinated as in Chile in 1974 under Pinochet with the US Government behind it. In this sense, Ukraine today is a replay of Chile four decades ago.
Participants in the nationwide Ukrainian rally against bank outrage and for the rights of borrowers under the slogan “No to currency slavery!” by the building of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada. (RIA Novosti)
RT:Everyone knows austerity’s effects on Greece and elsewhere; polls show most Ukrainians don’t want it; even the IMF itself now admits austerity doesn’t work. Why will Ukraine’s leaders allow it to happen, are they guaranteed a cushy job in the West when they’ve voted out or something?
MH: Ukraine’s leaders are mainly kleptocrats. Their aim is not to help the country, but to help consolidate their own power. George Soros has written that their best way to do this is to find Western partners. This will provide US and European backing for the kleptocrats tightening their hold on the economy. Western support will provide more IMF and European lending to support the currency so that the Ukrainian oligarchs can move their money safely to the West, to British banks and US banks.
RT:Do you think that the EU isn’t stupid enough to make Ukraine a full member, so under the one-sided association agreement, member states will just strip the country of its best assets, and use its workers as near slave labor, with Ukraine’s 91 US cents an hour minimum wage?
MH: The EU hardly can really make Ukraine a member. One reason is that a key policy underlying French and German creation of the original Common Market in 1957 was the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Ukraine has rich Western land, and that part of the country is largely still rural. Foreign investors would like to buy it out and “re-feudalize” it, creating large business farms. But the EU is unlikely to provide the subsidies that financed mechanization and capital investment in Western European agriculture.
The EU does not need to formally integrate with Ukraine to benefit from its inexpensive labor. Wrecking the economy Greek-style or Irish-style or Latvian-style is sufficient to send its workers to the West. And the most mobile traditionally are the best educated youth in their 20s, able to speak foreign languages and with skills in demand in the West.
RT:You noted Ukraine ‘must have asked the US first’ before blowing up that gas pipeline. Do you think NATO will support anything even terrorism to make Russian gas seem less reliable, especially while US fracking giants currently are waging a big PR campaign in Europe.
MH: The US has pressed Europe to make its own economy much more high-cost and to rely on US gas exports mainly in order to deprive Russia of foreign exchange. The NATO rationale is essentially that which Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk tweeted on Monday, June 16: Ukraine “won’t continue subsidizing Gazprom [to the tune of] $5 billion annually, so that Russia can arm itself against us [with this money].”
The US position today is what it was in 1991: Without manufacturing, Russia cannot be a serious military power to defend itself. And without purchasing foreign technology and without large state subsidy – as US and European governments provide their own economies – Russia cannot create a manufacturing economy. So NATO is trying to prevent Russia from earning enough money to modernize its economy, on the principle that any industrial power is potentially military, and any military power my potentially be used to achieve political independence from the US sphere.
RT:Anything else you would like to add?
MH: What is at issue is whether economies throughout the world will let financial leverage dismantle the power of elected governments, and hence of democracy. Governments are sovereign. No government actually needs to pay foreign debts or submit to policies that negate the three definitions of a state: to create its own money, to levy taxes, and to declare war.
At issue is who shall rule the world: the emerging 1% as a financial oligarchy, or elected governments. The two sets of aims are antithetical: rising living standards and national independence, or a renting economy, austerity and international dependency.
#F5A9A9;line-height:120%;">Candobetter.net recently received a review copy of Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices, Simon & Schuster, 2014. Curious, I opened it at the chapter on “Syria: A wicked problem.” It was interesting to have a document from the horse’s mouth, or the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Her style as a US Secretary of State dealing with foreign affairs reminded me of an old-fashioned psychiatrist’s unimaginative confirmation of problems in any patient they are sent, where, even if the patient is quite sane, she’s going to find them insane. Note: Some clarificatory changes have been made to text since yesterday's first publication.
Clinton on Syria
Dismayingly, but not unexpectedly, in her writing, Clinton shows little knowledge, interest in, or respect for Syria. In summary, she tries to justify the anti-Assad US position with the alleged brutality of Assad based on two mantras:
1. Bashar Al-Assad’s father’s massacre in Hama in 1982. (No context supplied).
2. Saudi Prince Saud’s  opinion that Bashar was being led by his mother to follow his father’s brutal example in Hama (repeated twice in this chapter).
The only other rationale she provides in this chapter dedicated to Syria is shockingly unsustainable and unsustained, that:
”Most predominantly Sunni Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the other gulf states, backed the rebels and wanted Assad gone.” (p. 450)
Frenemies  of the United States
She does not explain here why these states desire this end nor why their desires mean so much to the United States. That is not saying a lot. The Gulf states and Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular have no moral credibility as political states at all. Saudi Arabia particularly, has been continuously documented for institutionalised murder, cruelty, injustice, slavery and abuse of women. It is a huge and rigid monarchy, utterly repressive, of women, prisoners and religious differences and presiding over slavery and abject poverty, despite the multi-nodal royal family’s extraordinary oil-wealth. Regarding Qatar, although women can now vote there, they are segregated from most public activity and wear hijabs and similar clothing. It is known as a ‘slave state’ for the way it treats the massive immigrant population who outnumber its own citizens, and is currently the target of a coordinated protest at the treatment of imported workers on the next World Cup.
As well as failing to justify the US alliance with these gulf states, Clinton admits that she knew that those Gulf state NATO allies were channelling arms into the extremist ‘rebels’:
”It wasn’t a secret that various Arab states and individuals were sending arms into Syria.” (p.461)
These war-mongering countries are members of the Arab League. Clinton writes as though she used the Arab League as her negotiating point of departure. The Arab League has very little credibility. It is infamous for its Western stooges. It contains a London-based representative of the so-called Free Syrian Army, but no representative of the Syrian Government.
So it’s no surprise when Clinton says that, “[…] in October 2011, the Arab League demanded a cease-fire in Syria and called on the Assad regime to pull its troops back from the major cities, release political prisoners, protect access for journalists and humanitarian workers, and begin a dialogue with the protestors. “ […] ”Assad nominally agreed to the Arab League plan, but then almost immediately disregarded it.” In December, they ”tried again.”
This time they sent Arab monitors to war-torn Syrian cities. Not surprising either that this did not go down well; it inflamed the situation.
”In late January 2012, the Arab League pulled the observers out in frustration and asked the UN Security Council to back its call for a political transition in Syria that would require Assad to hand over power to a Vice President and establish a government of national unity.” (p. 450.
This bizarre proposal came from Syria’s traditional enemies, backed by the United States which had no business in the area at all! Of course the Syrian government did not comply.
The only sense I can see in such a doomed demand is that it might be massaged by a complicit or ignorant mass media into an excuse to step up international hostilities against Syria. That is in fact what seems to have transpired, with the White House promoting the script.
Ignoring the secular nature of Syrian civil society and government, Clinton uses the sectarian argument familiar to us with the US invasion of Iraq, which was also secular, that the Assad ruling clique is composed of Alawites over a Sunni majority. Although, in passing, she notes that the French engineered this after World War II, but does not say why the US should try to reverse this now and does not say how Syria managed for so long before colonisation and before the United States ever existed. She does not acknowledge the sophisticated tribal nature of Syrian society and, with her very narrow socio-economic philosophical base, would be most unlikely to recognise the value of this.  She evidently subscribes to the myth that anything at all is justified in her goal of transforming all polities into capitalist free markets, which the US/NATO call ‘democracies’ – erroneously, in my opinion. 
Clinton, Russia and Syria
After reading Clinton’s chapter on Syria, I switched back to an earlier chapter on “Russia: Reset and regression,” seeking a heads up re her view of Russia and found it in this infantilising statement:
“To manage our relationship with the Russians, we should work with them on specific issues when possible, and rally other nations to work with us to prevent or limit their negative behaviour.” (p.228)
Throughout the Syria chapter Clinton describes Russia’s attitude, mostly quoting the Russian foreign minister, Lavrov. Although one senses that Clinton is trying to make herself look good, for me, she only succeeds in making herself look ridiculous, with Lavrov coming off looking like a genius talking to a moron. Look at the following quote, direct from Clinton’s pages:
”The Russians were implacably opposed to anything that might constitute pressure on Assad. The year before, they had abstained in the vote to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya and to take ‘all necessary measures’ to protect civilians and then chafed as the NATO-led mission to protect civilians accelerated the fall of Qadafi. Now, with Syria in chaos, they were determined to prevent another Western intervention.”
”Assad’s regime was too strategically important to them.”
Like, it wasn’t important for the United States too?
"Libya was ‘a false analogy’, I argued in New York. The resolution did not impose sanctions or support the use of military force, focusing instead on the need for a peaceful political transition. Still the Russians weren’t having any of it.”
“I spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov […] I told him we needed a unified message from the international community. Moscow wanted the resolution to be tougher on the rebels than on the regime. Lavrov pressed me on what would happen when Assad refused to comply. Would the next step be a Libya-style intervention?
No, I responded. The plan was to use this resolution to pressure Assad to negotiate. ‘He’ll only get the message when the Security Council speaks with one voice. We have gone very far in clarifying this isn’t a Libya scenario. There is not any kind of authorization for force or intervention or military action.’
[…] ‘But what is the endgame?’ Lavrov asked.”
Clinton’s dialogue with Lavrov and with the reader reminds me of the dialogue of an addict who swears that this time, when they pick up the drug, it will be different. They say, “Why can’t you trust me? The other times were an unfortunate mistake, but this time I’m not drinking to get drunk or shooting up to get stoned, I’m just doing it for medicinal reasons. Why can’t you understand? Why are you so mean and unreasonable, you bastard!” Clinton sounds immature (co-dependent in psych-speak), arguing on behalf of the Gulf Arabs, manipulated by the people who want to get rid of Assad.
She reveals that Russia argued to uphold Syria’s sovereignty. That sounds laudable to me after watching Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq implode. Russia’s support of Syrian sovereignty appeals to me especially in the light of activists’ ongoing fight for citizens’ rights to effective self-government in my own country, Australia. Hillary seems oblivious to this human right to self-government. Her counter to Russia’s raising the most important question of Syria’s sovereignty was not to tell the reader her answer to that burning question, but to make an ad hominem attack on Russia, implying that Russia was insincere.
Her first reason was that Russia had sent troops to Georgia. There were good strategic reasons for this, in my opinion. See ”What's in it for Russia? Georgia, Ossetia, & Caspian oil and gas?”. Her second claim, that Russia had ‘sent troops into the Ukraine’ is untrue. They were already there by agreement, in the same way that the US has bases all over the world. There had long been a Russian military base in Crimea. Crimea also had a separate administration from Ukraine. On this matter, Putin has said,
” in my conversations with my foreign colleagues I did not hide the fact that our goal was to ensure proper conditions for the people of Crimea to be able to freely express their will. And so we had to take the necessary measures in order to prevent the situation in Crimea unfolding the way it is now unfolding in southeastern Ukraine. We didn’t want any tanks, any nationalist combat units or people with extreme views armed with automatic weapons. Of course, the Russian servicemen did back the Crimean self-defence forces. They acted in a civil but a decisive and professional manner, as I’ve already said."
"It was impossible to hold an open, honest, and dignified referendum and help people express their opinion in any other way. Still, bear in mind that there were more than 20,000 well-armed soldiers stationed in Crimea.
In addition, there were 38 S-300 missile launchers, weapons depots and rounds of ammunition. It was imperative to prevent even the possibility of someone using these weapons against civilians. [I.e. there was a safety issue.](Source: http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/7034)
Clinton had been beating the war drum on Syria for much of her appointment, but had to step down in early 2013, “with the plan to arm the rebels dead in the water […],” she writes, in a gruesome Freudian slip.
Then, in December 2013, there were claims that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons on its citizens. In fact this has never been proven. Russia described the story as a false-flag attack and it is undeniable that the Western media and NATO messages have been suspiciously lax in admitting their failure to effectively document blame. It all sounds like a tragic beat-up similar to the alleged Iraq weapons of mass destruction and the 1990 hoax about Kuwait babies in the incubators which was part of a campaign to launch the Gulf War.
“In June 2013, in a low-key statement, the White House confirmed that it finally felt confident that chemical weapons had indeed been used on a small scale on multiple occasions, killing up to 150 people. The President decided to increase aid to the Free Syrian Army. […]administration officials told the press that they would begin supplying arms and ammunition for the first time, reversing the President’s decision [of] the previous summer.” (p. 465)
So Clinton reveals here that the US began officially supplying weapons against the Syrian government, making war.
Reports of a much bigger chemical weapons event followed in August 2013. Indignant war-making rhetoric increased, despite the ongoing difficulty of proof in assigning guilt. The British parliament failed to give Prime Minister David Cameron permission to use force on Syria. [I.e. invade.] Obama then decided to ask permission of Congress before making any war decisions.
Clinton describes experiencing consternation at these ‘delays’, worrying about US prestige and credibility if they did not go to war, whereas I would have worried about these things if they did go to war on such flimsy pretexts. One senses Hillary, like some circus performer banned from the tent, desperately seeking a way back in to the White House in order to push her views. Finally, she thinks she has found one:
“During this time, I spoke with Secretary Kerry and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough about ways to strengthen the President’s hand abroad, especially in advance of this trip later that week to the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, where he’d see Vladimir Putin. Not wanting Putin to be able to hold the contentious Congressional debate over the President, I suggested to Denis that the White House find some way to show bipartisan support ahead of the vote. Knowing that Senator Bob Corker, the leading Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was no fan of Putin’s, my advice to Denis was that he be enlisted to help send a message. The idea was to use a routine committee hearing that week to hold a vote on the authorization to use military force that the President would win. Denis, always open to ideas and very familiar with the ways of Congress from his time serving on Capitol Hill, agreed. Working with Corker, the White House got the vote. While not the world’s most significant statement, it was enough to telegraph to Putin that we were not as divided as he hoped. ”
Clinton seems here to see Putin as the real opposition and Syria as an abject pawn in prestige politics, without even a reference to geopolitics or humanitarian pretexts.
She relates that, on September 9, 2013 the new State Secretary, John Kerry, was asked at a London press conference ‘if there was anything Assad could do to prevent military action’.
”’Sure’, Kerry replied, ‘he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week – turn it over, all of it without delay and allow a full and total accounting for that. But he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done.’”
Clinton goes on to comment:
”Although Kerry’s answer may have reflected conversations he was having with allies and the Russians, it sounded to the world like an offhand remark. A State Department spokesperson downplayed it as ‘a rhetorical argument’. The Russians, however, seized on Kerry’s comment and embraced it as a serious diplomatic offer.”
She gives no credit to Lavrov’s brilliant strategy to rid Syria of chemical weapons. She is clearly disappointed at its other effect which was to remove the excuse that the United States was in danger of using to openly enter war against Syria.
Lemonade out of lemons (!) What an analogy for calling off a war!
Whilst attending another event at the White House that day, she was invited to a briefing in the Oval office:
”I told the President that if the votes for action against Syria were not winnable in Congress, he should make lemonade out of lemons and welcome the unexpected overture from Moscow.” [Another Freudian slip about her bizarre lust for war.]
” Just a month later, the UN agency charged with implementing the deal, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It was quite a vote of confidence. Remarkably, as of this writing, the agreement has held, and the UN is making slow but steady progress dismantling Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal, despite extraordinarily difficult circumstances. There have been delays, but more than 90 percent of Syria’s chemical weapons had been removed by late April 2014.”
Again, no acknowledgement of Lavrov’s contribution to peace.
Towards the end of the chapter she notes that in January 2014,
“For the first time, representatives of the Assad regime [in fact it was a legitimate government; ‘regime’ is a propaganda word] sat down face-to-face with members of the opposition. But talks failed to produce any progress. The regime refused to engage seriously on the question of a transitional governing body, as mandated by the original agreement, and their Russian allies stood faithfully behind them. Meanwhile the fighting on the ground continued unabated.”
To me this insistence on the idea that a legitimate government will step down and allow foreign powers to replace it with a synthetic government of their choice is simply incorrigible on the part of Hillary Clinton and those who think like her. It is this lack of respect for sovereignty and self-government and the willingness to engage in international shoot-outs in a high-handed approach to the rest of the world that makes the United States a terrorist in its own right and Bashar al-Assad a hero for standing up to them.
This view of Assad as a hero is greatly supported by the extraordinary fervour and happy enthusiasm with which over 73% of Syrians went to vote in the scheduled Syrian elections in May 2014, voting Bashar in by 88.7%. These elections were scheduled within the constitution and it would have been highly problematic if they had not gone ahead, but the government received no recognition for this from the US/NATO and aligned press. This was the first election where there was actually a choice of candidates, which was another part of the Assad Government’s undertaking to the people. Although some rebel-held regions were not able to vote because the anti-government forces prevented them from participating, the turn-out was still remarkable. [Contrast with the 42% turn-out in Libya which has been reduced to a ghastly shambles by US/NATO.] Shamefully, expatriates were also prevented from voting in several NATO countries, including the United Arab Emirates, France, and countries where Syrian embassies and consulates had been closed down, such as Turkey, Australia and the United States. But SBS Australia reports that “Ninety-five per cent of Syrians living overseas have voted in the presidential election at 43 embassies worldwide.” Where expatriates could vote, they voted in legion, carrying flags and posters indicating their support for Assad. Many of them filmed and photographed the event to show the world how they felt. Scenes of expatriates voting in Lebanon show them thronging the streets. Apparently Lebanese authorities had greatly underestimated the turnout and ran out of printed ballots. Foreign observers of the election reported this as their impression on the ground, in an hour-long testimony and report at a UN news-conference. The possibility of individuals voting more than once was also discussed and shown to be unlikely. Other forms of fraud were reckoned no more than in most elections and insignificant within the massive return for Bashar. Unfortunately this UN report received almost no coverage because Michele DuBach, Acting Deputy Director-News & Media Operations, cut off the webcast after 5 minutes. You can see it here.
Such problems with coverage of a world event with implications for many lives show what Syria is up against in terms of the NATO propaganda machine. The fact that there has been almost no positive reporting of these remarkable elections from the NATO machine and the Western Press shows how hollow their support really is for self-government and self-determination. In fact, political self-determination is antithetical to the free market.
Finally I am left wondering whether Hillary Clinton really does not understand the energy resources at stake in the Caspian and Middle Eastern region, which are the principal attraction for the US and NATO. And, with regard to the ‘democracy’ and ‘development’ issues her side claims to promote, can she actually be ignorant of the historical role of the West in colonising this region and of the subsequent fight for independence by the countries which the US-NATO forces have been ripping apart? Can she really not understand that Russia and the former Soviet Union countries all have a role to play in the region and hold different but entirely valid values and institutions from those of the West? I could not perceive in her chapter on Syria awareness or sympathy or human awe at the ancientness of Syria, nor any appreciation its continued unity and function in the face of NATO-backed jihad monsters, a testimony to the strength of its tribal basis and secular overlay. Although she admits at the beginning of her chapter that the Syrian government had substantial national support, she subsequently fails to inform readers of the fact that the Assad Government has succeeded in protecting the majority of its population. Nor does it tell us that the Syrian population had successfully coped for decades with huge numbers of refugees from the surrounding regions, as a result of US/NATO ‘interventions’. This includes 1.3 million refuges from Iraq. Why would so many refugees remain in Syria and marry citizens if it were such a terrible place? Bashar al Assad is not his father, and, anyway, there was a history to his father’s iron will that should be told. As for the streams of refugees leaving the country, did it not occur to Mrs Clinton that many of those people would have been refugees once safely harboured in Syria? Nor does she tell her readers about the free education and hospital systems and the national banking system. The United States’ open-market agenda disapproves of this kind of political institution and when it talks of bringing democracy to Syria, we must understand that it means to break down those institutions, just as it did to similar ones in Iraq and Libya.
I hastened to finish this article today, 27 June 2014, after hearing that "President Obama is seeking approval from Congress to approve $500m to train and equip what he described as "moderate" Syrian opposition forces. The funds would help Syrians defend against forces aligned with President Bashar al-Assad, the White House said."
I can only think with despair at the betrayal by the United States of all those Syrians who ran, walked and drove with such enthusiasm and dedication to their democratic cause and to stop the war and who asked to be left to solve their problems alone. America has become a parody of all it claims to represent and would chase its own shadow to hell, mistaking it for some foreign enemy.
 “Frenemies” is a term used by Max Keiser in the Keiser Report where he referred to the situation in the Middle East where NATO and its allies were aligned through the sense that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, although few of them really respect each other. They are ‘frenemies’. Unfortunately I cannot seem to locate the correct episode for this quote. However, the argument is clear.
 Prince Saud has been the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia since 1975.
 Europe is also a tribal society, also targeted for disorganisation by US/NATO via the market system, like Syria, like Australia.
 Sometimes I find that people assume, from such statements, that I am actually ignorant of the institutionalised cruelty I have described already in this article that flourishes in a number of Muslim states. So it seems necessary to explain here that (a) Syria is a secular state containing a number of religious groups, not just Muslim, and Sharia Law is largely subsumed to French style law, although it is preserved for certain religious minorities as customary law. “The judicial system of Syria remained a synthesis of Ottoman, French, and Islamic laws up until the 1980s. The civil, commercial and criminal codes were primarily based on the French legal practices. Promulgated in 1949, those laws had special provisions sanctioned to limit application of customary law among beduin and religious minorities. The Islamic religious courts continued to function in some parts of the country, but their jurisdiction was limited to issues of personal status, such as marriage, divorce, paternity, custody of children, and inheritance. Nonetheless, in 1955 a personal code pertaining to many aspects of personal status was developed. This law modified and modernized sharia by improving the status of women and clarifying the laws of inheritance.” Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judiciary_of_Syria#cite_note-Lib-1 (citing a 1987 Library of Congress article, which seems to be the most up-to-date info on the net at the moment.) (b) There are anthropological reasons for the evolution of gender differences in human societies that have a lot to do with land-tenure and inheritance, which have extreme and inappropriate outcomes in some Middle Eastern tribal societies that have become urbanised. This is very little analysed, unfortunately. (c) I do not condone the abuse of human rights in such societies but I do not think that bombing them or enlisting them to terrorise each other so that some western countries can get unilateral access to their oil reserves is a way of changing this. In fact, reducing such countries to rubble and disorder tends to make this situation worse. (d) I acknowledge that colonialism, old and new in these areas makes them enemies of the West, but I frankly think that the real enemy is free market-law, which will ultimately designate almost everyone who claims civil rights to be a terrorist.
 Compare with the turn-out in Ukraine, which for Eastern Ukraine’s (Donesk and Luhansk) was less than 10 percent, and where in most of the other regions, it did not exceed 45 percent of registered voters, with only one oblast in Western Ukraine in excess of 45%. Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-presidential-elections-low-turn-out-poroshenko-declares-victory/5383777
Compare with the turn-out in Libya on 25 June where just 42% of the 1.5mn registered voters turned out, according to the commission’s preliminary estimates. Source : http://www.gulf-times.com/region/216/details/398036/count-under-way-in-libya-vote-clouded-by-deadly-attacks.
Compare with the turn out in the United States: “Voter turnout dipped from 62.3 percent of eligible citizens voting in 2008 to an estimated 57.5 in 2012. That figure was also below the 60.4 level of the 2004 election but higher than the 54.2 percent turnout in the 2000 election.” Source: http://bipartisanpolicy.org/news/press-releases/2012/11/2012-election-turnout-dips-below-2008-and-2004-levels-number-eligible.
Includes Appendix, showing how the ABC's Latelaine of 12 May, similarly covered up the support of the United States and its European allies for the Ukrainian neo-nazis.
Jen Psaki, U.S. State department spokespeson, dismissed the high vote in Eastern Ukraine for autonomy from the neo-nazi Kiev junta. She labeled the voting 'carousrel voting'. When asked by a journalist to explain what exactly the term 'carousel voting' meant, Jen Pseki replied, "Ah, you know, the truth is that I was reading that term. I'm not familiar with that term, either. It may be that people weren't checking in. I'll check and see what, what RT meant to say by that term ... "
Marina Portnaya reported that when Jen Psaki also accused Russia of using energy as a bargaining chip with Ukraine, the journalist asked Ms Paski how she expects for that debt to actualy be paid. Jen Pseki replied:
"We don't think energy should be used — access to energy be used as a tool, a threatening tool ... "
"They would say that they just want to be paid for products delivered."
"I think the back context of the situation on the ground means that this is not just business as usual, obviously."
"Broadly speaking, you do think the Russians have a right to demand to be paid for a product they are selling?"
"Again, man, I'm happy to pull this up when I get back to my desk, but there's a range of details involved in their agreements in the past and they've made threats about them before."
Author's comment: In the comment above, Jan Psaki appears to be making the preposterous claim that the term "carousel voting", just used for the first time ever by herself, was invented by Russia Today (RT).
Lies, similarly covering up the support by the United States for neo-nazis in Ukraine, are being broadcast in Australia, including ABC's Lateline of 12 May 2014, as shown in excerpts from the transcript below:
EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: Foreign ministers from the European Union have dismissed independence referendums in Eastern Ukraine as a sham, saying they're illegal and have no credibility. The pro-separatist organisers of the polls say 89 per cent of voters in Donetsk and 96 per cent of voters in Luhansk cast ballots to break away from Ukraine. Europe correspondent Philip Williams reports from Donetsk.
PHILIP WILLIAMS, REPORTER: The result was never in question. As votes were counted, officials said those in favour of independence clearly won the day in a highly-flawed election that no-one in the West is going to recognise.
As with the claims by Jen Psaki shown above, no evidence to support the claims of electoral fraud, made directly by Phillip Williams or indirectly by Emma Albirici, are given. The program continues, giving a platform to another supporter of the Ukrainian neo-nazis, UK Foreign Secretary Wiliam Hague :
WILLIAM HAGUE, UK FOREIGN SECRETARY: These votes, these attempts at referendums have zero credibility in the eyes of the world. They are illegal by anybody's standards. They don't meet any standard, not a single standard of objectivity, transparency, fairness or being properly conducted as a public referendum or election and indeed the people organising them didn't really even pretend to meet any of those standards.
PHILIP WILLIAMS: William Hague warned the EU and US were ready to implement new sanctions against Russia, the so-called third tier. That threat didn't appear to have much effect in Moscow, where the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov welcomed the result of the poll.
A few words are given to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov near the end of the report, but none which directly addressed the lies which preceded.
#B4E6FF;line-height:120%;margin-bottom:4px;">Spending the weekend worrying about how our 'leaders' are dragging us into terrible wars? How can we combat this? By showing what is really happening in Ukraine. Unarmed residents of the Ukraine city of Kramatorsk came out to defend their 'self-defense forces' when these were herded by Kiev junta manned tanks into a small cluster in the central square. Elderly people, men and women were present, expressing their rage and disgust at these NATO-backed armed destroyers of democracy. After the hideous behaviour of Kiev-friendly thugs on Friday, could anyone still approve of the Australian government backing Kiev's unelected government? Only if they only watch the shamefully biased reporting by NATO-sympathising mainstream media such as the ABC and SBS and Fox version of these events.
'Defiant of the armed vehicles and sniper rifles pointed at them, residents were filmed approaching the troops to have their say.
“Fascists! Fascists!” the locals chanted, casting insults on the troops and the Kiev government.
Kiev authorities are commonly referred to as the “fascist junta” in the east of the country, because of their takeover of power in February and the government's alliance with nationalists – including the notorious Right Sector radical group.
“What kind of law and order are you bringing here?! We are the f*****g residents of the Donetsk Region, not you!” one man shouted.
Many of the soldiers interviewed by RT stringer Graham Phillips revealed they had come from western Ukrainian
regions, including Lvov and Ivano-Frankovsk. Kiev has been apparently relying on regional and ethnic differences in Ukraine while launching the military action, as a large part of eastern Ukrainian armed forces and police have been unwilling “to fire at our own people.”
The crowd in Kramatorsk grew even angrier as one of the Ukrainian APCs rammed a road sign, bringing it down.
“Get back to Kiev! You are not welcome here! Get out! It is our land!” residents shouted.
The troops could then be seen suddenly mounting the APCs and leaving the area. The crowd rushed to chase them, shouting “Donbass! Donbass! Glory to Donbass!”.
Under the control and in the presence of US diplomats, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine carried out a coup d’état, on 22 and 23 February 2014.
The Parliament first took note of the forced resignation of its president and appointed the former head of the Ukraine Security Service, Oleksandr Turchynov, in his place.
Then, 328 MPs out of 450 repealed the Constitution, substituting it with that of 2004 , that is to say without a referendum and in an emergency situation, thereby contravening Articles 156 and 157 of the Constitution.
In the process, the MPs deposed the president of the republic, Viktor Yanukovych, without complying with the impeachment procedure and without review by the Constitutional Court, in other words in violation of Article 111 of the Constitution.
They voted the release of former Prime Minister and billionaire Yulia Tymoshenko sentenced to 7 years in prison for abuse of power, and whose attorney is Oleksandr Turchinov.
Finally, the next day they proclaimed Oleksandr Turchinov acting president, in breach of Article 112 of the Constitution.
Overstepping his interim powers, "president" Turchinov appointed his friend Valentin Nalivaytchenko head of the security service, and then called for a presidential election on May 25 for which Yulia Tymoshenko should be a candidate.
The coup was immediately hailed as a "return to democracy" (sic) by the Western powers.
Over the past eight years all the leaders of the Coalition of the Willing have conceded that they entered the Iraq war on false information.
May our leaders consider what is really at stake in escalating the current crisis in Syria and may they protect not just the interests of the 23 million people of Syria, but also the long-term interests of Australia.
May our leaders have the moral strength and clarity to resist an Orwellian chant: we must destroy Syria in order to save it.
There are powerful voices in the United States who have spoken against war propaganda and military intervention in Syria, while others have adopted a hawkish push for war. Australia must find its own way.
In concurrence with almost all tribal leaders and religious authorities of every faith in Syria, AMRIS supports reconciliation in Syria. The long-planned Geneva 2 talks can provide the political solution needed. Western leaders must not give up on diplomacy for war based on flaky assertions of Islamist militias made less than one week ago.
As Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire suggests, it would be illogical for the Syrian government and army to use chemical weapons, particularly as UN inspectors have just arrived in the country. Moreover, as one AMRIS member has explained, most Syrians have family members in the army and the army represents all faiths in Syria. The army would lose its support base if it attacked its own people with chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons by the government would invite the military intervention that sections of the armed opposition have demanded, which suggests it could be a false flag. Analysis is vital. Time is needed for the investigation. Research for the truth and diplomacy are vital for peace.
Despite their having been some extraordinary claims about the Syrian army using mass rape as a weapon of war, these claims have not led to calls for intervention. This may be because they can be refuted after serious investigation. What is more, investigating them might bring attention to the situation for women in the rebel held areas in contrast to the rights and opportunities women have in secular Syria.
It is ironic that while Syria is a secular society, the main allies of the US, the UK, and France in the venture to destroy the Syrian government have been Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Saudi Arabia has not only provided financial support and condoned young Saudi suicide bombers going to Syria, but it has also released prisoners on death-row if they agreed to go to Syria to fight the government there. At the same time, Qatar’s Al-Jazeera has provided war propaganda and broadcast the chilling fatwas of extremist clerics. Already, tens of thousands of Christians have been forced to flee their homes in Syria and many priests have been killed or kidnapped. Yet the West is aligned with Saudi Arabia which hosts at least one Syrian extremist cleric and whose mufti has called for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula.
In the meantime, while the EU has lifted its arms embargo on militias fighting the Syrian regular army, it hasn’t removed the crippling sanctions which can impoverish the country and impact on the lives of millions. In Syria, internal opposition groups eschew violence and support the regular army. Like Ang San Suu Kyi, some of the most prominent of these have suffered imprisonment for their dissent. However, a majority of the militarized opposition are radical Islamists, many supportive of the ideology of Al-Qaeda. ASIOS reports suggest there are hundreds of Australian Muslims fighting in Syria and are being radicalized by this conflict. And the existence of a united alternative moderate FSA army is an illusion.
Thousands of non-Syrian jihadists have flooded into Syria with the objective of not merely toppling the Syrian government but replacing the secular state with a caliphate, a radical Islamist society without borders. Many of these foreign fighters are Takfiri militants, who believe they can kill infidels and heretics with impunity. Minorities are their first target. However, ‘moderate’ Sunni Muslims are also targets. Terror is used as a weapon of this war; the intense fear it creates can lead to the silencing of a population.
Yet, into this quagmire, the US and the UK are considering international military intervention. What is apparently influencing this decision are reports from Médecins Sans Frontières . Because working in rebel held areas in Syria is too dangerous for Westerners, MSF recruits local doctors. Local doctors who volunteer to work in a rebel controlled hospital treating wounded fighters are presumably sympathetic to the rebel cause, so their reports to MSF must naturally be treated with caution. (NB: a co-founder of MSF became French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs under President Sarkozy.)
It is estimated that more than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011, and from 30,000 to 40,000 of those killed have been soldiers in the Syrian Army, targeted since almost the very beginning of the crisis. Research indicates that opposition to the government has been expressed in a violent manner by provocative elements within the protest movement since the start of Syria’s “Arab Spring”.
The international media has presented a highly selective narrative of the crisis in Syria and by pushing a sectarian view of the conflict they are helping release a slow time bomb that can have catastrophic repercussions for decades, not just in Syria. People who murder Christians, Druze or Alawis are welcomed into the rebel forces the West supports.
Unverified reports placing responsibility for atrocities on the government and regular army are highlighted in our media. While well-verified reports of massacres committed by jihadists have largely been ignored. This month, the inhabitants of Alawite villages on Lattakia's outskirts were targeted. One month prior to the massacre, a member of the Syrian National Coalition, a body recognized by the Australian government as the legitimate representative of the Syrian state, called for the killing of Alawi Muslims. In some of these villages, all of the inhabitants were massacred. Before the chemical weapon attack, the UN inspectors were due to investigate this massacre.
There has been mass murder and ethnic cleansing, beheadings and hangings perpetrated against both Syria's civilian population and regular soldiers in rebel controlled areas. Syrians of all faiths who have not supported the ideology of the particular armed opposition in their area have been assassinated. This has included university professors and other public servants.
In Duma where the chemical attack reputedly took place, militia have issued fatwas permitting the confiscation of the property of Christian, Alawi Muslim and Druze minorities and others who ‘let down’ the radical Islamists.
AMRIS categorically opposes international military intervention in Syria. Intervention would favor the ideology and brutal practices of the predominantly Islamist forces fighting the regular army on the ground. A no-fly zone would provide them cover to continue to slaughter and persecute minorities and others who do not adopt their beliefs. The ramifications would be horrific.
International intervention and no fly zones have proven ineffective in the region. In Libya, to save thousands, such policies resulted in the deaths of many more thousands, the destruction of infrastructure, the fragmentation of state, and the placing of the country in the hands of extremist Islamists.
By researching events in Syria, we can own our understanding of the war. That enables us to take an independent stand for peace and diplomacy and to stop fueling violence and sectarian hatred in Syria.
Australia will take up the presidency of the Security Council next week, which will give our government a chance to take the world away from the path to war. AMRIS supports the Prime Minister’s decision to act in a "calm and measured" way in the face of calls for the US to lead a military strike at President Bashar al-Assad and his forces.
AMRIS urges the government to support a political solution to the conflict through the Geneva 2 peace conference.
AMRIS urges Australians, including those in the media and in all faith communities, to research Syria. To imagine that the people in Syria are like us - they want peace in their country – and to respond to that natural wish as best we can.
AMRIS unites people with a range of political views and religious and ethnic backgrounds. Many of us have family or friends in Syria. Many of us can say from the heart, “I love Syria”. Syria does not exist for one ‘regime’ or one president. It is not an exclusive Syria; it is a very diverse society which has welcomed millions of refugees from different faiths in the past 100 years. As Australians we have the ‘responsibility to defend Australia should the need arise’. Assuming Syrian citizens also have the same responsibility to defend their country, who should they fight, the regular Syrian army composed of people from every religious and ethnic background or rebels funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, and dominated by people promoting the ideology of radical Islam? (For the vast majority of Syrian women, this would not be a difficult decision.) Should they fight military forces from the US, the UK and France which enter their country? Genuine efforts for peace, freedom and political reform rely on an unrelenting search for the truth and the ability to open your heart to the ‘enemy’. The heroes of the 20 th century - Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Ang San Suu Kyi – must be our guide into the 21 st century.
An Australian political hero for many was Prime Minister John Curtin. During the Second World War, he determined it wasn’t in Australia’s interest to follow Britain blindly. Peace in the 21 st century may require similar radical independent action and courage. We must not lose our moral compass, our intellectual rigor, our imagination, and the courage needed to act for a better world. Only with those, can we help prevent a war. It is our choice.
These figures are presented as reflecting a change of heart. The population is tired of the abuses and divisions of the armed opposition. From NATO’s perspective, what we are witnessing is not a phenomenon that is occurring in view of the approaching "Geneva-2" peace conference.
For two years, the events in Syria have been portrayed by the Atlanticist and GCC press as a peaceful revolution cruelly suppressed by a tyrant. The Syrian and anti-imperialist press, on the contrary, brands them as a foreign attack, armed and funded to the tune of billions of dollars.
Berlin, (SANA)- German "Die Welt" daily said that only 5% of the armed terrorists in the so-called Free Army are Syrians, while 95% of them are extremist groups which came from several African countries to jihad in Syria baked by the Gulf and Arab countries.
The daily quoted intelligence experts in Germany as saying : "The German intelligence has an official and detailed account of the nationalities of the rebels in Syria and their locations in the country,"
A member of the German intelligence said that some terrorist groups in Syria work in full coordination with al-Qaeda, but the extremist groups are more dangerous than al-Qaeda since they commit genocide against children and women and use them as human shields to achieve the possible biggest number of casualties.
According to a semi-official statistics the number of the gunmen in Syria estimated at 14,800 including experts in many fields like the preparation of improvised explosive devices. Most of those gunmen previously participated in several attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The biggest danger lies in the Arab countries' help releasing Islamic detainees and sending them to Syria with the aim of Jihad against the Syrian state violating the standards of anti-terrorism Conventions.
The armed terrorist groups of the so-called Jabhat al-Nusra have committed a large number of massacres against children, women and elderly in different regions of Syria, the most recently massacre was carried out in Hatleh village in Deir Ezzor Province claiming the lives of over 30 people because of their refusal to support terrorists in their hostile acts against civilians.
Syrian rebel fights Assad 'tyranny' by cutting off prisoner's head with a knife. See #FsaSadism">embedded video - NOT suitable for viewing by children.
In recent days, world public opinion and the global balance of power has shifted markedly in favour of the embattled nation of Syria and its allies. Nevertheless, it is imperative for every person opposed to mass murder to give whatever support they are able to the courageous Syrian people in their fight against the terrorist 'Free' 'Syrian' Army (FSA) proxies of the US and its allies.
Since early 2011, following the start of NATO's bloody war against Libya, the Syrian Government of President Bashar al-Assad has faced the start of a similar attempt at 'regime change' by terrorist 'Free' 'Syrian' Army (FSA) proxies of the United States and its allies. Unlike the tragic course of events which unfolded in Libya, the Syrian Arab Army (hereafter referred to as simply the "Syrian Army") has withstood the terrorists, contrary to repeated pronouncements by the lying mainstream media that Assad's downfall was imminent, although as many as 70,000#fn1">1 Syrians may have already perished.
Since Tony Cartalucci wrote this article, world public opinion and the international balance of power has shifted markedly in Syria's favour. As an example the Summit of the BRICS coalition of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which concluded on 27 March, opposed moves to escalate the war against Syria and threats to invade Iran. Russia has given a firm show of support for its Syrian ally by conducting large naval exercised off the Black Sea coast of NATO member Turkey, which has been supplying FSA terrorists and giving them sanctuary.
US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel have conspired to destroy Syria by way of arming sectarian extremists since 2007.
The West now admits it, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have
provided thousands of tons of weapons to militants in Syria - while also
conceding that Al Qaeda's Syrian franchise, Jabhat al-Nusra is the best armed, most well equipped militant front in the conflict.
US, Saudi, Israeli-backed terrorists are now committing a myriad of
horrific atrocities against all of Syria's population, including Sunni
Muslims - meaning neither "democracy" nor even "sectarianism" drives the
conflict, but rather the destruction of Syria in its entirety.
US State Department acknowledges Syria faces threat from Al Qaeda,
demands blockade of arms/aid from reaching government to fight
terrorists the US State Department admits are present in every major
March 30, 2013 (LD) - Since 2007, the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel documented as conspiring to overthrow the Syrian government by way of
sectarian extremists, including groups "sympathetic to Al Qaeda," and in
particular, the militant, sectarian Muslim Brotherhood. While the West
has attempted to portray the full-scale conflict beginning in Syria in
2011 as first, a "pro-democracy uprising," to now a "sectarian
conflict," recent atrocities carried out by US-Saudi-Israeli proxies
have shifted the assault to include Sunni Muslims unable or unwilling to
participate in the destruction of the Syrian state.
Such attacks included a mortar bombardment of Damascus University, killing 15 and injuring dozens more, as well as the brutal slaying of two prominent Sunni Muslim clerics - the latest of which was beheaded,
his body paraded through the streets of Aleppo, and his head hung from
the mosque he preached in. While the West attempts to mitigate these
events by labeling the victims as "pro-government," the reality is that
the forces fighting inside Syria are funded, armed, directed, and
politically supported from abroad - and therefore do not represent any
of the Syrian people's interests, including those Syrians who do not
support the government.
It is abundantly clear that the West's goal is neither to institute
"democracy," nor even take sides in a "sectarian conflict," but rather
carry out the complete and permanent destruction of Syria as a
nation-state, sparing no one, not even Sunnis.
Such a proxy war exists contra to any conceivable interpretation of
"international law." The world is left with a moral imperative to not
only denounce this insidious conflict brought upon the Syrian people,
compounded and perpetuated entirely by external interests, but demands
that concrete action is taken to ensure that this act of aggression is
brought to an end.
The US, UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have admitted to colluding together,
flooding Syria with thousands of tons of weapons via Jordan to Syria's
south, and NATO-member Turkey to Syria's north. And in an otherwise
inexplicable conundrum, while the likes of US Secretary of State John
Kerry insist this torrent of weapons is being directed to "moderates,"
neither the US nor its allies are able to explain why Al Qaeda terror
front Jabhat al-Nusra has emerged as the most heavily armed, best equipped militant organization in the conflict.
US Secretary of
State John Kerry said on the sidelines of a Syrian opposition meeting in Italy last month that the weapons are ending up in the hands of secular groups. "I will tell you this: There is a very clear ability now in the Syrian opposition to make certain that what goes to the moderate, legitimate opposition is in fact getting to them, and the indication is
that they are increasing their pressure as a result of that," he said,
But even AP admits that
activists estimate there are 15-20 different brigades fighting in and
around Damascus now, each with up to 150 fighters. Many of them have
Islamic tendencies and bear black-and-white Islamic flags or
al-Qaeda-style flags on their Facebook pages. There is also a presence
of Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the strongest Islamic terrorist groups
fighting alongside the rebels.
Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks --
ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised
explosive device operations -- in major city centers including Damascus,
Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr.
According to the US State Department, al-Nusra is carrying out hundreds
of attacks with a wide array of weaponry, across the entire nation of
Syria, indicating a massive front and implying an equally massive
network of logistical support, including foreign sponsorship. What's
more, is that the US State Department acknowledges al-Nusra's presence
even in cities close to Syria's borders where the CIA is admittedly
overseeing the distribution of weapons and cash. The New York Times, in
their June 2012 article, "C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition," reported that:
A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern
Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across
the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according
to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.
With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply
increased their military aid to Syria's opposition fighters in recent
months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the
uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic
data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of
The article would also state:
Although rebel commanders and the data indicate that Qatar and Saudi
Arabia had been shipping military materials via Turkey to the opposition
since early and late 2012, respectively, a major hurdle was removed
late last fall after the Turkish government agreed to allow the pace of
air shipments to accelerate, officials said.
Simultaneously, arms and equipment were being purchased by Saudi Arabia in Croatia
and flown to Jordan on Jordanian cargo planes for rebels working in
southern Syria and for retransfer to Turkey for rebels groups operating
from there, several officials said.
The US State Department acknowledges that the well armed, prominent
terror front al-Nusra is operating in the very areas the CIA is feeding
weapons and cash into.
Image: (Above)West Point's Combating Terrorism Center's 2007 report,Al-Qa'ida's Foreign Fighters in Iraq"
indicated which areas in Syria Al Qaeda fighters filtering into
Iraq came from. The overwhelming majority of them came from Dayr Al-Zawr
in Syria's southeast, Idlib in the north near the Turkish-Syrian
border, and Dar'a in the south near the Jordanian-Syrian border. (Right)
A map indicating the epicenters of violence in Syria indicate that the
exact same hotbeds for Al Qaeda in 2007, now serve as the epicenters of
so-called "pro-democracy fighters" and also happen to be areas the US
CIA is admittedly distributing weapons and other aid in.
Such a reality directly
contradicts the US State Department's official position, and no
explanation is given as to how "moderates" can be provided with such
extensive support, and still be eclipsed militarily and logistically by
terror-front al-Nusra. That is, unless of course, the US, British,
Saudi, and Qatari weapons aren't simply just handing the weapons
directly to terrorists, precisely as planned as early as 2007.
The Destruction of Syria Began in 2007, Not 2011
While the West has attempted to reclaim Syria as part of its sphere of
influence for decades, concrete plans for the latest proxy war were laid
at least as early as 2007. It was admitted in 2007 that the US, Saudi
Arabia, and Israel conspired together to fund, arm, and direct sectarian
extremists including militants "sympathetic" to Al Qaeda, particularly
the Muslim Brotherhood, against the governments of Iran and Syria. In
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh's 2007 New Yorker
article, "The Redirection: Is the Administration's new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?" the conspiracy was described as follows:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush
Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in
the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has co-operated with
Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations
that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is
backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations
aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has
been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant
vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Hersh also cited US, Saudi, and Lebanese officials who indicated that,
"in the past year, the Saudis, the Israelis, and the Bush Administration have developed a series of informal understandings about their new
strategic direction," and that, "the Saudi government, with Washingtons
approval, would provide funds
and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad,
of Syria. The report would also state:
Some of the core tactics of the redirection are not public, however. The
clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving
the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to
work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current
and former officials close to the Administration said.
Mention of the Muslim Brotherhood already receiving aid even in 2007 was also made:
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a branch of a radical Sunni movement
founded in Egypt in 1928, engaged in more than a decade of violent
opposition to the regime of Hafez Assad, Bashir's father. In 1982, the
Brotherhood took control of the city of Hama; Assad bombarded the city
for a week, killing between six thousand and twenty thousand people.
Membership in the Brotherhood is punishable by death in Syria. The
Brotherhood is also an avowed enemy of the U.S. and of Israel.
Nevertheless, Jumblatt said, "We told Cheney that the basic link between
Iran and Lebanon is Syria--and to weaken Iran you need to open the door
to effective Syrian opposition."
There is evidence that the Administration's redirection strategy has
already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front
is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a
faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who
defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A.
officer told me, "The Americans have provided both political and
financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial
support, but there is American involvement."He said that Khaddam, who
now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the
knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front's
members met with officials from the National Security Council, according
to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the
Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.
It is clear that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel planned to use
sectarian extremists against the nation of Syria starting at least as
early as 2007, and it is clear that now these sectarian extremists are
carrying out the destruction of Syria with a massive torrent of weapons
and cash provided by the US and its regional allies, just as was
described by Hersh's report.
A Moral Imperative to Save Syria
Syria is under attack by an insidious, premeditated foreign assault,
intentionally using terrorist proxies in direct and complete violation
of any conceivable interpretation of both national and international
law. The world has a moral imperative to support the Syrian people and
their government as they fight this assault - both politically and
logistically. While US Secretary John Kerry is unable to account for how
his nation's support for moderates has left Al Qaeda's al-Nusra front
the premier militant faction in Syria, he has demanded that Iraq help
stem the flow of alleged aid Iran is providing the Syrian government as
it fights these terrorists.
Does US Secretary of State John Kerry deny that Syria is fighting a
significant (and continuously growing) Al Qaeda presence within their
borders, which according to the US State Department's own statement, is
operating in every major city in the country? What conceivable
explanation or excuse could be made to justify the blockading of aid
sent to Syria to fight Al Qaeda terrorists? In fact, why isn't the US
aiding the Syrian government itself in its fight against Al Qaeda - a
terrorist organization the US has used as an excuse to wage unending
global war since 2001 when Al Qaeda allegedly killed some 3,000 American
Does Secretary Kerry believe that further arming "moderates" is a
legitimate strategy to counter Al Qaeda's growing presence in Syria when
these "moderates" openly defend Al Qaeda's al-Nusra? The US' own
hand-picked "Syrian opposition leader," Mouaz al Khatib, demanded
the US reconsider its designation of al Nusra as a terrorist
organization. Retuers reported in their article, "Syrian opposition urges U.S. review of al-Nusra blacklisting," that:
The leader of
Syria's opposition coalition urged the United States on Wednesday to
review its decision to designate the militant Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra
as a terrorist group, saying religion was a legitimate motive for Syrian
"The decision to consider a
party that is fighting the regime as a terrorist party needs to be
reviewed," Mouaz Alkhatib told a "Friends of Syria"
meeting in Morocco, where Western and Arab states granted full
recognition to the coalition seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
The US is directly responsible for the emergence and perpetuation of Al
Qaeda and other extremist groups in Syria. The statements of Secretary
John Kerry are made merely to maintain an increasingly tenuous
"plausible deniability." The precedent being set by the US and its
allies is one of using full-scale proxy invasions, that if successful in
Syria, will be directed into Iran, up through the Caucasus Mountains in
Russia, and even onto China's doorstep via extremists the West is
cultivating amongst the Uighurs. It is also clear that
the West is directly responsible for the extremists within their own
borders, and that these extremists are being used as a political tool
against the people of the West, just as they are being used as a
mercenary force abroad.
A united front between nations against this wanton
state sponsorship of terrorism is needed - with nations pledging
political and logistical support to the Syrian people to defeat this
open conspiracy. Individually, we can identify, boycott, and permanently replacethe corporate-financier interests
who conceived of and are driving this agenda. Failure to stop such wide
scale criminality against the Syrian people now, will only invite
greater criminality against us all in the near future.
#FsaSadism" id="FsaSadism">Appendix: Video of prisoner's head being removed with knife
The following video is not recommended for children. It is one of a number irrefutable examples of the sadism of those fighting against the Syrian Government.
#fn1" id="fn1">1. The figure of 70,000 dead, has been provided by the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) which is opposed to the Government of President Bashar al-Assad, and so has an obvious motive to either fabricate death tolls or to inflate deaths resulting from actions by the Syrian Army (or the Syrian Arab Army to use its full name). However the toll in Syrian military and civilian dead cannot be light and, judging from the staggering death tolls of many hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq following the illegal 2003 invasion, the toll stands to become much higher, should the Syrian Army be defeated.
The Syrian people have barely been able to come to terms with with their grief at the murder of 35 in an attack with chemical weapons, when the war against them, sponsored by the U.S., it's European NATO allies, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel, resumed with a terrorist suicide bombing
Almost two dozen more Syrians including top Sunni cleric Mohammed Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti were killed in a terrorist blast at the al-Eman Mosque in Damascus.
The report has been adapted from the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
DAMASCUS, (SANA)-Great Scholar, Dr. Mohammad Said Ramadan a-Bouti was martyred on Thursday after a suicide terrorist blew himself up in al-Eman Mosque in Damascus while the late martyr was giving a religious lesson.
The terrorist act claimed the lives of scores of prayers, while tens others were injured.
An official source told SANA that the suicide terrorist intended to blow himself up among the students who were listening to a religious lesson, leading to the martyrdom and injuries of scores of people and causing big material losses.
A source at the Health Ministry stated that the death toll of the terrorist act rose to 42, while 84 others were injured.
The wounded prayers were admitted to a number of Damascus hospitals.
Martyr scholar al-Bouti was born in 1929. He accomplished his Sharia Baccalaureate certificate at the Islamic Tawjih Institute in Damascus.
In 1953, he joined al-Sharea Academy at al-Azhar University and acquired the global certificate in 1955, then he got a diploma in education in the same year.
He was appointed as a teacher in Al-Sharea Academy at Damascus university in 1960, then he was delegated to al-Azhar university to get the doctorate in the Islamic Sharea Originals and got it in 1965.
In 1965, he was nominated as a professor in al-Sharea Academy at Damascus University in 1965, then a dean and chairman of the religions sector at the University.
In 2012 he was nominated as President of the Levant Scholars' Union.
Member of the Higher Council of Oxford Academy.
He wrote more than 40 books in the sciences of Sharea, literature, philosophy, society and civilization.
Ministry of Awkaf announces the death of Scholar al-Bouti
Ministry of Awkaf ( Religious Endowments ), Syria scholars, intellectuals, teachers and the Levant Scholars' Union announced the death of scholar al-Bouti who was martyred while giving a religious lesson in al-Eman mosque.
"The malicious hands of traitors killed the great Scholar because he was the voice of Syria, the right of Syria and the image of Syria. They targeted his body, but they didn't target his mentality or spirit," Minister of Awkaf Mohammad Abdul-Satar al-Sayyed said in a statement.
Al-Baath Party Condemns the heinous Crime
Regional leadership of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party condemned the brutal crime in al-Eman mosque in Damascus which claimed the lives of the great scholar and the prayers.
"This massacre adds to the crimes perpetrated by the mercenary terrorists against the Syrians. They target everything including the mosques and houses of worship," the leadership said in statement.
Archbishop al-Khouri: al-Bouti will remain the word of right
Archbishop Luka al-Khouri, the general vicar of the patriarchate of Antioch and all the East said that the late scholar al-Bouti will remain the word of right that we have learned from. His teachings will remain remembered in the brains of all Syrians.
"We all pray for the rest of our martyr whom we respect..," Archbishop Khouri said in a speech to the Syrian TV.
Given that the supporters of the armed insurgency against the Syrian Government of President Bashar al-Assad, namely the governments of United States, Australia, their NATO allies and the Arab dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, are the same who waged the illegal wars against Iraq in 1991 and 2003, from which 3.3 million Iraqis died, according to one estimate shouldn't we expect Australia's newsmedia, this time to subject the claims made by these same governments to more scrutiny? Shouldn't the Syrian government, which is being accused by the Western newsmedia of making foreign intervention necessary, at least, be allowed to put its case? Evidently not, judging by the Australian newsmedia's failure to report on the included interview of Bashar Al-Assad conducted by The Sunday Times on 3 March.
Sunday Times: Mr. President your recent offer of political dialogue was qualified with a firm rejection of the very groups you would have to pacify to stop the violence: the armed rebels and the Syrian National Coalition, the main opposition alliance.
So in effect you are only extending an olive branch to the loyal opposition, mostly internal, that renounces the armed struggle, and who effectively recognizes the legitimacy of your leadership, who are you willing to talk to, really?
President Assad: First of all, let me correct some of the misconceptions that have been circulating and that are found in your question in order to make my answer accurate.
Sunday Times: Okay.
President Assad: Firstly, when I announced the plan, I said that it was for those who are interested in dialogue, because you cannot make a plan that is based on dialogue with somebody who does not believe in dialogue. So, I was very clear regarding this.
Secondly, this open dialogue should not be between exclusive groups but between all Syrians of every level. The dialogue is about the future of Syria. We are twenty three million Syrians and all of us have the right to participate in shaping the country’s future. Some may look at it as a dialogue between the government and certain groups in the opposition - whether inside or outside, external or internal -actually this is a very shallow way of looking at the dialogue. It is much more comprehensive. It is about every Syrian and about every aspect of Syrian life. Syria’s future cannot be determined simply by who leads it but by the ambitions and aspirations of all its people.
The other aspect of the dialogue is that it opens the door for militants to surrender their weapons and we have granted many amnesties to facilitate this. This is the only way to make a dialogue with those groups. This has already started, even before the plan, and some have surrendered their weapons and they live now their normal life. But this plan makes the whole process more methodical, announced and clear.
If you want to talk about the opposition, there is another misconception in the West. They put all the entities even if they are not homogeneous in one basket – as if everything against the government is opposition. We have to be clear about this. We have opposition that are political entities and we have armed terrorists. We can engage in dialogue with the opposition but we cannot engage in dialogue with terrorists; we fight terrorism. Another phrase that is often mentioned is the ‘internal opposition inside Syria’ or ‘internal opposition as loyal to the government.’ Opposition groups should be loyal and patriotic to Syria – internal and external opposition is not about the geographic position; it is about their roots, resources and representation. Have these roots been planted in Syria and represent Syrian people and Syrian interests or the interests of foreign government? So, this is how we look at the dialogue, this is how we started and how we are going to continue.
Sunday Times: Most have rejected it, at least if we talk about the opposition externally who are now the body that is being hailed as the opposition and where the entire world is basically behind them. So, most of them have rejected it with the opposition describing your offer as a “waste of time,” and some have said that it is “empty rhetoric” based on lack of trust and which British Secretary William Hague described it as “beyond hypocritical” and the Americans said you were “detached from reality.”
President Assad: I will not comment on what so-called Syrian bodies outside Syria have said. These bodies are not independent. As Syrians, we are independent and we need to respond to independent bodies and this is not the case. So let’s look at the other claims.
Firstly, detached from reality: Syria has been fighting adversaries and foes for two years; you cannot do that if you do not have public support. People will not support you if you are detached from their reality. A recent survey in the UK shows that a good proportion British people want “to keep out of Syria” and they do not believe that the British government should send military supplies to the rebels in Syria.
In spite of this, the British government continues to push the EU to lift its arms embargo on Syria to start arming militants with heavy weapons. That is what I call detached from reality–when you are detached from your own public opinion! And they go further in saying that they want to send “military aid” that they describe as “non-lethal.” The intelligence, communication and financial assistance being provided is very lethal. The events of 11th of September were not committed by lethal aids. It was the application of non-lethal technology and training which caused the atrocities.
The British government wants to send military aid to moderate groups in Syria, knowing all too well that such moderate groups do not exist in Syria; we all know that we are now fighting Al-Qaeda or Jabhat al-Nusra which is an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, and other groups of people indoctrinated with extreme ideologies. This is beyond hypocritical! What is beyond hypocrisy is when you talk about freedom of expression and ban Syrian TV channels from the European broadcasting satellites; when you shed tears for somebody killed in Syria by terrorist acts while preventing the Security Council from issuing a statement denouncing the suicide bombing that happened last week in Damascus, and you were here, where three hundred Syrians were either killed or injured, including women and children - all of them were civilians. Beyond hypocrisy when you preach about human rights and you go into Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and kill hundreds of thousands in illegal wars. Beyond hypocrisy is when you talk about democracy and your closest allies are the worst autocratic regimes in the world that belong to the medieval centuries. This is hypocrisy!
Sunday Times: But you always refer to the people fighting here as terrorists, do you accept that while some are from the Jabhat al-Nusra and those affiliated to Al-Qaeda but there are others such as the FSA or under the umbrella of the FSA? That some of them are the defectors and some of them are just ordinary people who started some of the uprising. These are not terrorists; these are people fighting for what they believe to be the right way at the moment.
President Assad: When we say that we are fighting Al-Qaeda, we mean that the main terrorist group and the most dangerous is Al-Qaeda. I have stated in many interviews and speeches that this is not the only group in Syria. The spectrum ranges from petty criminals, drugs dealers, groups that are killing and kidnapping just for money to mercenaries and militants; these clearly do not have any political agenda or any ideological motivations. The so-called “Free Army” is not an entity as the West would like your readers to believe. It is hundreds of small groups – as defined by international bodies working with Annan and Al-Ibrahimi - there is no entity, there is no leadership, there is no hierarchy; it is a group of different gangs working for different reasons. The Free Syrian Army is just the headline, the umbrella that is used to legitimize these groups.
This does not mean that at the beginning of the conflict there was no spontaneous movement; there were people who wanted to make change in Syria and I have acknowledged that publically many times. That’s why I have said the dialogue is not for the conflict itself; the dialogue is for the future of Syria because many of the groups still wanting change are now against the terrorists. They still oppose the government but they do not carry weapons. Having legitimate needs does not make your weapons legitimate.
Sunday Times: Your 3-staged plan: the first one you speak of is the cessation of violence. Obviously there is the army and the fighters on the other side. Now, within the army you have a hierarchy, so if you want to say cease-fire, there is a commander that can control that, but when you offer cessation of violence or fire how can you assume the same for the rebels when you talk about them being so many groups, fragmented and not under one leadership. So, that’s one of the points of your plan. So, this suggests that this basically an impossible request. You speak of referendum but with so many displaced externally and internally, many of whom are the backbone of the opposition; those displaced at least. So, a referendum without them would not be fair, and the third part is that parliamentary elections and all this hopefully before 2014; it is a very tall list to be achieved before 2014. So, what are really the conditions that you are attaching to the dialogue and to make it happen, and aren’t some of the conditions that you are really suggesting or offering impossible to achieve?
President Assad: That depends on how we look at the situation. First of all, let’s say that the main article in the whole plan is the dialogue; this dialogue will put a timetable for everything and the procedures or details of this plan. The first article in my plan was the cessation of violence. If we cannot stop this violence, how can we achieve the other articles like the referendum and elections and so on? But saying that you cannot stop the violence is not a reason to do nothing. Yes there are many groups as I have said with no leadership, but we know that their real leadership are those countries that are funding and supplying their weapons and armaments - mainly Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
If outside parties genuinely want to help the process they should be pressuring those countries to stop supplying the terrorists. As with any other sovereign state, we will not negotiate with terrorists.
Sunday Times: Critics say real and genuine negotiations may be the cause of your downfall and that of your government or regime, and that you know this, hence you offer practically impossible scenarios for dialogue and negotiations?
President Assad: Actually, I don’t know this, I know the opposite. To be logical and realistic, if this is the case, then these foes, adversaries or opponents should push for the dialogue because in their view it will bring my downfall. But actually they are doing the opposite. They are preventing the so-called ‘opposition bodies outside Syria’ to participate in the dialogue because I think they believe in the opposite; they know that this dialogue will not bring my downfall, but will actually make Syria stronger. This is the first aspect.
The second aspect is that the whole dialogue is about Syria, about terrorism, and about the future of Syria. This is not about positions and personalities. So, they shouldn’t distract people by talking about the dialogue and what it will or will not bring to the President. I did not do it for myself. At the end, this is contradictory; what they say is contradicting what they do.
Sunday Times: You said that if they push for dialogue, it could bring your downfall?
President Assad: No, I said according to what they say if it brings my downfall, why don’t they come to the dialogue? They say that the dialogue will bring the downfall of the President and I am inviting them to the dialogue. Why don’t they then come to the dialogue to bring my downfall? This is self-evident. That’s why I said they are contradicting themselves.
Sunday Times: Mr. President, John Kerry, a man you know well, has started a tour that will take him this week end to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, where he will be talking to them about ways to ‘ease you out.’ In London and Berlin earlier this week, he said that President Assad must go and he also said that one of his first moves is to draft diplomatic proposals to persuade you to give up power. Would you invite him to Damascus for talks? What would you say to him? What is your message to him now given what he said this week and what he plans to say to his allies when he visits them over the weekend? And if possible from your knowledge of him how would you describe Kerry from your knowledge of him in the past?
President Assad: I would rather describe policies rather than describing people. So, it is still early to judge him. It is only a few weeks since he became Secretary of State. First of all, the point that you have mentioned is related to internal Syrian matters or Syrian issue. Any Syrian subject would not be raised with any foreigners. We only discuss it with Syrians within Syria. So, I am not going to discuss it with anyone who is coming from abroad. We have friends and we discuss our issues with friends, we listen to their advice but at the end it is our decision as Syrians to think or to make what’s good for our country.
If anyone wants to ‘genuinely’ – I stress the word genuinely – help Syria and help the cessation of violence in our country, he can do only one thing; he can go to Turkey and sit with Erdogan and tell to him stop smuggling terrorists into Syria, stop sending armaments, stop providing logistical support to those terrorists. He can go to Saudi Arabia and Qatar and tell them stop financing the terrorists in Syria. This is the only thing anyone can do dealing with the external part of our problem, but no one from outside Syria can deal with the internal part of this problem
Sunday Times: So, what is your message to Kerry?
President Assad: It is very clear: to understand what I said now. I mean, not a message to Kerry but to anyone who is talking about the Syrian issue: only Syrian people can tell the President: stay or leave, come or go. I am just saying this clearly in order not to waste the time of others to know where to focus.
Sunday Times: What role if any do you see for Britain in any peace process for Syria? Have there been any informal contacts with the British? What is your reaction to Cameron’s support for the opposition? What would you say if you were sitting with him now, especially that Britain is calling for the arming of the rebels?
President Assad: There is no contact between Syria and Britain for a long time. If we want to talk about the role, you cannot separate the role from the credibility. And we cannot separate the credibility from the history of that country. To be frank, now I am talking to a British journalist and a British audience, to be frank, Britain has played a famously (in our region) an unconstructive role in different issues for decades, some say for centuries. I am telling you now the perception in our region.
The problem with this government is that their shallow and immature rhetoric only highlight this tradition of bullying and hegemony. I am being frank. How can we expect to ask Britain to play a role while it is determined to militarize the problem? How can you ask them to play a role in making the situation better and more stable, how can we expect them to make the violence less while they want to send military supplies to the terrorists and don’t try to ease the dialogue between the Syrians. This is not logical. I think that they are working against us and working against the interest of the UK itself. This government is acting in a naïve, confused and unrealistic manner. If they want to play a role, they have to change this; they have to act in a more reasonable and responsible way, till then we do not expect from an arsonist to be a firefighter!
Sunday Times: In 2011 you said you wouldn’t waste your time talking about the body leading opposition, now we are talking about the external body, in fact you hardly recognized there was such a thing, what changed your mind or views recently? What talks, if any are already going on with the rebels who are a major component and factor in this crisis? Especially given that your Foreign Minister Muallem said earlier this week when he was in Russia that the government is open to talks with the armed opposition can you clarify?
President Assad: Actually, I did not change my mind. Again, this plan is not for them; it is for every Syrian who accepts the dialogue. So, making this initiative is not a change of mind. Secondly, since day one in this crisis nearly two years ago, we have said we are ready for dialogue; nothing has changed. We have a very consistent position towards the dialogue. Some may understand that I changed my mind because I did not recognize the first entity, but then I recognized the second. I recognized neither, more importantly the Syrian people do not recognize them or take them seriously. When you have a product that fails in the market, they withdraw the product, change the name, change the packing and they rerelease it again – but it is still faulty. The first and second bodies are the same products with different packaging. Regarding what our minister said, it is very clear.
Part of the initiative is that we are ready to negotiate with anyone including militants who surrender their arms. We are not going to deal with terrorists who are determined to carry weapons, to terrorize people, to kill civilians, to attack public places or private enterprises and destroy the country.
Sunday Times: Mr. President, the world looks at Syria and sees a country being destroyed, with at least 70,000 killed, more than 3 million displaced and sectarian divisions being deepened. Many people around the world blame you. What do you say to them? Are you to blame for what’s happened in the country you are leading?
President Assad: You have noted those figures as though they were numbers from a spreadsheet. To some players they are being used to push forward their political agenda; unfortunately that is a reality. Regardless of their accuracy, for us Syrians, each one of those numbers represents a Syrian man, woman or child. When you talk about thousands of victims, we see thousands of families who have lost loved ones and who unfortunately will grieve for many years to come. Nobody can feel this pain more than us.
Looking at the issue of political agendas, we have to ask better questions. How were these numbers verified? How many represent foreign fighters? How many were combatants aged between 20 and 30? How many were civilians – innocent women and children? The situation on the ground makes it almost impossible to get accurate answers to these important questions. We all know how death tolls and human casualties have been manipulated in the past to pave the way for humanitarian intervention. The Libyan government recently announced that the death toll before the invasion of Libya was exaggerated; they said five thousand victims from each side while the number was talking at that time of tens of thousands.
The British and the Americans who were physically inside Iraq during the war were unable to provide precise numbers about the victims that have been killed from their invasion. Suddenly, the same sources have very precise numbers about what is happening in Syria! This is ironic; I will tell you very simply that these numbers do not exist in reality; it is part of their virtual reality that they want to create to push forward their agenda for military intervention under the title of humanitarian intervention
Sunday Times: If I may just on this note a little bit. Even if the number is exaggerated and not definitely precise, these are numbers corroborated by Syrian groups, however they are still thousands that were killed. Some are militants but some are civilians. Some are being killed through the military offensive, for example artillery or plane attacks in certain areas. So even if we do not argue the actual number, the same applies, they still blame yourself for those civilians, if you want, that are being killed through the military offensive, do you accept that?
President Assad:Firstly, we cannot talk about the numbers without their names. People who are killed have names. Secondly, why did they die? Where and how were they killed? Who killed them? Armed gangs, terrorist groups, criminals, kidnappers, the army, who?
Sunday Times: It is a mix.
President Assad: It is a mix, but it seems that you are implying that one person is responsible for the current situation and all the human casualties. From day one the situation in Syria has been influenced by military and political dynamics, which are both very fast moving. In such situations you have catalysts and barriers. To assume any one party is responsible for all barriers and another party responsible for all the catalysts is absurd. Too many innocent civilians have died, too many Syrians are suffering. As I have already said nobody is more pained by this than us Syrians, which is why we are pushing for a national dialogue. I’m not in the blame business, but if you are talking of responsibility, then clearly I have a constitutional responsibility to keep Syria and her people safe from terrorists and radical groups.
Sunday Times: What is the role of Al-Qaeda and other jihadists and what threats do they pose to the region and Europe? Are you worried Syria turning into something similar to Chechnya in the past? Are you concerned about the fate of minorities if you were loose this war or of a sectarian war akin to that of Iraq?
President Assad:The role of Al-Qaeda in Syria is like the role of Al-Qaeda anywhere else in this world; killing, beheading, torturing and preventing children from going to school because as you know Al-Qaeda’s ideologies flourish where there is ignorance. Ideologically, they try to infiltrate the society with their dark, extremist ideologies and they are succeeding. If you want to worry about anything in Syria, it is not the ‘minorities.’ This is a very shallow description because Syria is a melting pot of religions, sects, ethnicities and ideologies that collectively make up a homogeneous mixture, irrelevant of the portions or percentages. We should be worrying about the majority of moderate Syrians who, if we do not fight this extremism, could become the minority – at which point Syria will cease to exist.
If you worry about Syria in that sense, you have to worry about the Middle East because we are the last bastion of secularism in the region. If you worry about the Middle East, the whole world should be worried about its stability. This is the reality as we see it.
Sunday Times: How threatening is Al-Qaeda now?
President Assad: Threatening by ideology more than the killing. The killing is dangerous, of course, but what is irreversible is the ideology; that is dangerous and we have been warning of this for many years even before the conflict; we have been dealing with these ideologies since the late seventies. We were the first in the region to deal with such terrorists who have been assuming the mantle of Islam. We have consistently been warning of this, especially in the last decade during the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. The West is only reacting to the situation, not acting. We need to act by dealing with the ideology first. A war on terror without dealing with the ideology will lead you nowhere and will only make things worse. So, it is threatening and it is dangerous, not just to Syria but to the whole region.
Sunday Times: US officials recently, in particular yesterday, are quoted as saying that US decision not to arm rebels could be revised. If this was to happen what in your view will the consequences in Syria and in the region? What is your warning against this? Now, they are talking about directly equipping the rebels with armament vehicles, training and body armaments.
President Assad: You know the crime is not only about the victim and the criminal, but also the accomplice providing support, whether it is moral or logistical support. I have said many times that Syria lies at the fault line geographically, politically, socially and ideologically. So, playing with this fault line will have serious repercussions all over the Middle East. Is the situation better in Libya today? In Mali? In Tunisia? In Egypt? Any intervention will not make things better; it will only make them worse. Europe and the United States and others are going to pay the price sooner or later with the instability in this region; they do not foresee it.
Sunday Times: What is your message to Israel following its air strikes on Syria? Will you retaliate? How will you respond to any future attacks by Israel especially that Israel has said that we will do it again if it has to?
President Assad: Every time Syria did retaliate, but in its own way, not tit for tat. We retaliated in our own way and only the Israelis know what we mean.
Sunday Times: Can you expand?
President Assad: Yes. Retaliation does not mean missile for missile or bullet for bullet. Our own way does not have to be announced; only the Israelis will know what I mean.
Sunday Times: Can you tell us how?
President Assad: We do not announce that.
Sunday Times: I met a seven year old boy in Jordan.
President Assad: A Syrian boy?
Sunday Times: A Syrian boy who had lost an arm and a leg to a missile strike in Herak. Five children in his family had been killed in that explosion. As a father, what can you say to that little boy? Why have so many innocent civilians died in air strikes, army shelling and sometimes, I quote, ‘Shabiha shootings?’
President Assad: What is his name?
Sunday Times: I have his name ... will bring it to you later.
President Assad: As I said every victim in this crisis has a name, every casualty has a family. Like 5 year-old Saber who whilst having breakfast with his family at home lost his leg, his mother and other members of his family. Like 4 year-old Rayan who watched his two brothers slaughtered for taking him to a rally. None of these families have any political affiliations. Children are the most fragile link in any society and unfortunately they often pay the heaviest price in any conflict. As a father of young children, I know the meaning of having a child harmed by something very simple; so what if they are harmed badly or if we lose a child, it is the worst thing any family can face. Whenever you have conflicts, you have these painful stories that affect any society. This is the most important and the strongest incentive for us to fight terrorism. Genuine humanitarians who feel the pain that we feel about our children and our losses should encourage their governments to prevent smuggling armaments and terrorists and to prevent the terrorists from acquiring any military supplies from any country.
Sunday Times: Mr. President, when you lie in bed at night, do you hear the explosions in Damascus? Do you, in common with many other Syrians, worry about the safety of your family? Do you worry that there may come a point where your own safety is in jeopardy?
President Assad: I see it completely differently. Can anybody be safe, or their family be safe, if the country is in danger? In reality NO! If your country is not safe, you cannot be safe. So instead of worrying about yourself and your family, you should be worried about every citizen and every family in your country. So it’s a mutual relationship.
Sunday Times: You’ll know of the international concerns about Syria’s chemical weapons. Would your army ever use them as a last resort against your opponents? Reports suggest they have been moved several times, if so why? Do you share the international concern that they may fall into the hands of Islamist rebels? What is the worst that could happen?
President Assad: Everything that has been referred to in the media or by official rhetoric regarding Syrian chemical weapons is speculation. We have never, and will never, discuss our armaments with anyone. What the world should worry about is chemical materials reaching the hands of terrorists. Video material has already been broadcast showing toxic material being tried on animals with threats to the Syrian people that they will die in the same way. We have shared this material with other countries. This is what the world should be focusing on rather than wasting efforts to create elusive headlines on Syrian chemical weapons to justify any intervention in Syria.
Sunday Times: I know you are not saying whether they are safe or not. There is concern if they are safe or no one can get to them.
President Assad: This is constructive ambiguity. No country will talk about their capabilities.
Sunday Times: A lot has been talked about this as well: what are the roles of Hezbollah, Iran and Russia in the war on the ground? Are you aware of Hezbollah fighters in Syria and what are they doing? What weapons are your allies Iran and Russia supplying? What other support are they providing?
President Assad: The Russian position is very clear regarding armaments - they supply Syria with defensive armaments in line with international law. Hezbollah, Iran and Russia support Syria in her fight against terrorism. Russia has been very constructive, Iran has been very supportive and Hezbollah’s role is to defend Lebanon not Syria. We are a country of 23 million people with a strong National Army and Police Force. We are in no need of foreign fighters to defend our country. What we should be asking is, what about the role of other countries, - Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, the UK, the US, - that support terrorism in Syria directly or indirectly, militarily or politically.
Sunday Times: Mr. President, may I ask you about your own position? Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov recently said that Lakhdar Ibrahimi complained of wanting to see more flexibility from your regime and that while you never seem to say ‘no’ you never seem to say ‘yes’. Do you think that there can be a negotiated settlement while you remain President, which is a lot of people are asking?
President Assad: Do not expect a politician to only say yes or no in the absolute meaning; it is not multiple choice questions to check the correct answer. You can expect from any politician a vision and our vision is very clear. We have a plan and whoever wants to deal with us, can deal with us through our plan. This is very clear in order not to waste time. This question reflects what has been circulating in the Western media about personalizing the problem in Syria and suggesting that the entire conflict is about the president and his future. If this argument is correct, then my departure will stop the fighting. Clearly this is absurd and recent precedents in Libya, Yemen and Egypt bear witness to this. Their motive is to try to evade the crux of the issue, which is dialogue, reform and combating terrorism. The legacy of their interventions in our region have been chaos, destruction and disaster. So, how can they justify any future intervention? They cannot. So, they focus on blaming the president and pushing for his departure; questioning his credibility; is he living in a bubble or not? is he detached from reality or not? So, the focus of the conflict becomes about the president
Sunday Times: Some foreign officials have called for you to stand for war crimes at the International Criminal Court as the person ultimately responsible for the army’s actions? Do you fear prosecution by the ICC? Or the possibility of future prosecution and trial in Syria?
President Assad: Whenever an issue that is related to the UN is raised, you are raising the question of credibility. We all know especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union – for the last twenty years - that the UN and all its organizations are the victims of hegemony instead of being the bastions of justice. They became politicized tools in order to create instability and to attack sovereign countries, which is against the UN’s charter. So, the question that we have to raise now is: are they going to take the American and the British leaders who attacked Iraq in 2003 and claimed more than half a million lives in Iraq, let alone orphans, handicapped and deformed people? Are they going to take the American, British French and others who went to Libya without a UN resolution last year and claimed again hundreds of lives? They are not going to do it. The answer is very clear. You know that sending mercenaries to any country is a war crime according Nuremberg principles and according to the London Charter of 1945. Are they going to put Erdogan in front of this court because he sent mercenaries? Are they going to do the same with the Saudis and the Qataris? If we have answers to these questions, then we can talk about peace organizations and about credibility.
My answer is very brief: when people defend their country, they do not take into consideration anything else.
Sunday Times: Hindsight is a wonderful thing Mr. President. If you could wind the clock back two years would you have handled anything differently? Do you believe that there are things that could or should have been done in another way? What mistakes do you believe have been made by your followers that you would change?
President Assad: You can ask this question to a President if he is the only one responsible for all the context of the event. In our case in Syria, we know there are many external players. So you have to apply hindsight to every player. You have to ask Erdogan, with hindsight would you send terrorists to kill Syrians, would you afford logistical support to them? You should ask the Qatari and Saudis whether in hindsight, would you send money to terrorists and to Al-Qaeda offshoots or any other terrorist organization to kill Syrians? We should ask the same question to the European and American officials, in hindsight would you offer a political umbrella to those terrorists killing innocent civilians in Syria?
In Syria, we took two decisions. The first is to make dialogue; the second is to fight terrorism. If you ask any Syrian, in hindsight would you say no to dialogue and yes to terrorism? I do not think any sane person will agree with you. So I think in hindsight, we started with dialogue and we are going to continue with dialogue. In hindsight, we said we are going to fight terrorism and we are going to continue to fight terrorism.
Sunday Times: Do you ever think about living in exile if it came to that? And would you go abroad if it increases the chances of peace in Syria?
President Assad: Again, it is not about the president. I don’t think any patriotic person or citizen would think of living outside his country.
Sunday Times: You will never leave
President Assad: No patriotic person will think about living outside his country. I am like any other patriotic Syrian.
Sunday Times: How shaken you were you by the bomb that killed some of your most senior generals last summer, including your brother-in-law?
President Assad: You mentioned my brother-in-law but it is not a family affair. When high-ranking officials are being assassinated it is a national affair. Such a crime will make you more determined to fight terrorism. It is not about how you feel, but more about what you do. We are more determined in fighting terrorism.
Sunday Times: Finally, Mr. President, may I ask about my colleague, Marie Colvin, who was killed in the shelling of an opposition media center at Baba Amr on February 22 last year. Was she targeted, as some have suggested, because she condemned the destruction on American and British televisions? Or was she just unlucky? Did you hear about her death at the time and if so what was your reaction?
President Assad: Of course, I heard about the story through the media. When a journalist goes into conflict zones, as you are doing now, to cover a story and convey it to the world, I think this is very courageous work. Every decent person, official or government should support journalists in these efforts because that will help shed light on events on the ground and expose propaganda where it exists. Unfortunately in most conflicts a journalist has paid the ultimate price. It is always sad when a journalist is killed because they are not with either side or even part of the problem, they only want to cover the story. There is a media war on Syria preventing the truth from being told to the outside world.
14 Syrian journalists who have also been killed since the beginning of the crisis and not all of them on the ground. Some have been targeted at home after hours, kidnapped, tortured and then murdered. Others are still missing. More than one Syrian television station has been attacked by terrorists and their bombs. There is currently a ban on the broadcast of Syrian TV channels on European satellite systems. It is also well known how rebels have used journalists for their own interests. There was the case of the British journalist who managed to escape.
Sunday Times: Alex Thompson?
President Assad: Yes. He was lead into a death trap by the terrorists in order to accuse the Syrian Army of his death. That’s why it is important to enter countries legally, to have a visa. This was not the case for Marie Colvin. We don’t know why and it’s not clear. If you enter illegally, you cannot expect the state to be responsible. Contrary to popular belief, since the beginning of the crisis, hundreds of journalists from all over the world, including you, have gained visas to enter Syria and have been reporting freely from inside Syria with no interferences in their work and no barriers to fulfill their missions.
Part of the NATO Patriot anti-missile complexes, which were requested by Ankara from the Alliance, has already arrived in Turkey. They are planned to be deployed near the border with Syria, ostensibly to protect Turkey against possible missile attacks from the Syrian side.
Anti-missile complexes will be also located in the southeastern province of Kahramanmarash. Contrary to the authorities’ assertions that Patriots will only carry out defensive tasks, locals have serious concerns about their safety.
“We strongly object to the deployment of the NATO military facilities in the territory of Turkey since this exacerbates our relations with our neighbors, which were at an excellent level only 10 years ago. We went through that in 1991, when the missiles were deployed in Incirlik. Then, too, it was asserted that they were destined exclusively for defensive purposes. However, this did not prevent full-scale and unreasonable bombings of Iraq”, Esat Shengul, head of the regional branch of the main opposition Republican People’s Party said to the Voice of Russia.
In his opinion, the deployment of Patriots is part of the American Greater Middle East project, aimed at providing free access to energy resources.
Head of the local branch of the Nationalist Movement Party Mustafa Bastirmaji agrees with Shengul. “The West is trying to cause a clash between the peoples of the region. Moreover, it tries to unleash a Sunni-Shiite war in the region. Elements of such a confrontation are already evident in Syria. Later Iran’s turn will come. And it is scary to imagine what will happen then. We do not want it”, the politician stated in an interview with the Voice of Russia.
Turkish activists rally against NATO’s Patriot deployment
Turks have rallied against the NATO deployment of Patriot missiles on the country’s soil, media report.
Some 150 leftists and right-wing activists lit smoke bombs and burned an American flag outside the port area as dozens of camouflaged German military vehicles carrying Patriot batteries were offloaded in Iskenderun.
Another rally in downtown Iskenderun later gathered thousands of anti-NATO protesters, who chanted “Yankee go home!” and “Murderer America, get out of the Middle East!”
Some protesters said the root of evil was the “collaborationist government,” and not Syria. Riot police arrested several demonstrators.
Liberal institutions, such as the media, universities, federal courts, and human rights organizations, which have traditionally functioned as checks on the blind obedience to authority, have in our day gone over to power's side. The subversion of these institutions has transformed them from checks on power into servants of power. The result is the transformation of culture from the rule of law to unaccountable authority resting on power maintained by propaganda.
Propaganda is important in the inculcation of trust in authority.The Pussy Riot case shows the power of Washington's propaganda even inside Russia itself and reveals that Washington's propaganda has suborned important human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Chatham House, and Amnesty International.
Pussy Riot is described in the western media as a punk rock group, but seems in fact to be a group known as Voina (War) that performs lewd or scandalous unannounced public performances such as the one in the Russian cathedral, a sexual orgy in a museum, and events such as these. (see also http://plucer.livejournal.com/265584.html).
Three of the cathedral performers were apprehended, indicted, tried, convicted of breaking a statutory law, and given two-year prison sentences. The Voice of Russia recently broadcast a discussion of the case from its London studio. Representatives from Human Rights Watch and Chatham House argued that the case was really a free speech case and that the women were political prisoners for criticizing Russian President Putin.
This claim was disingenuous. In the blasphemous performance in the Russian cathedral, Putin was not mentioned. The references to Putin were added to the video posted on the Internet after the event in order to turn a crime into a political protest.
The human rights representatives also argued that the women's conviction could only happen in Putin's Russia. However, the program host pointed out that in fact most European countries have similar laws as Russia's and that a number of European offenders have been arrested and punished even more severely. Indeed, I recently read a news report from Germany that a copycat group of women had staged a similar protest in support of Pussy Riot and had been arrested. An analysis of these issues is available here: http://mercouris.wordpress.com .
The human rights representatives seemed to believe that Putin had failed the democratic test by failing to stop the prosecution. But a country either has the rule of law or doesn't have the rule of law. If Putin overrides the law, it means Putin is the law.
Whether Washington had a hand in the Pussy Riot event via the Russian protest groups it funds, Hitlery Clinton was quick to make propaganda. Free expression was threatened in Russia, she said.
Washington used the Pussy Riot case to pay Putin back for opposing Washington's destruction of Syria. The overlooked legal issue is Washington's interference in internal Russian affairs. The close alignment of human rights organizations with Washington's propaganda hurts the credibility of human rights advocacy. If human rights groups are seen as auxiliaries of Washington's propaganda, their moral authority evaporates.
The prevalence of the English language, due to the British domination of the world in the 18th and 19th centuries and American domination in the 20th and first decade of the 21st century, makes it easy for Washington to control the explanations. Other languages simply do not have the reach to compete.
Washington also has the advantage of having worn the White Hat in the Cold War. The peoples who were constituent parts of the Soviet empire and even many Russians themselves still see Washington as the wearer of the White Hat. Washington has used this advantage to finance "color revolutions" that have moved countries from the Russian sphere of influence into Washington's sphere of influence.
Cartalucci notes that Amnesty's executive director is former State Department official Suzanne Nossel, who conflates "human rights advocacy" with US global hegemony.
Amnesty does seem like an amplifier for Washington's propaganda. Amnesty's latest email to members (August 27) is: "As if the recent trial and sentencing of three members of Pussy Riot wasn't shameful enough, now Russian police are hunting down others in the band. Make no mistake about it: Russian authorities are relentless. Just how far are the Russian authorities willing to go to silence voices of dissent? Tell the Russian government to stop hunting Pussy Riot!"
Amnesty International's August 23 email to its members, "Wake Up World," is completely one-sided and puts all blame for violence on the Syrian government, not on al Qaeda and other outside groups that Washington has armed and unleashed on the Syrian people. Amnesty is only concerned with getting visual images damning to the Syrian government before the public: "We are working to get this damning footage into the hands of journalists around the world. Support our work and help ensure that our first-hand video is seen by influential members of the media."
I did not see any protests from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, or Chatham House. Instead, a Virginia circuit court judge, W. Allan Sharrett, demanded Raub's immediate release, stating that there was no reason to detain and commit Raub except to punish him for exercising his free speech right.
Americans are increasingly punished for exercising free speech rights. A number of videos of police violence against the occupy movement are available on youtube. They show the goon thug gestapo cops beating women, pepper spraying protestors sitting with their heads bowed, truncheons flashing as American heads are broken and protestors beat senseless are dragged off in handcuffs for peacefully exercising a constitutionally protected right.
There has been more protest over Pussy Riot than over the illegal detention and torture of Bradley Manning or the UK government's threat to invade the Embassy of Ecuador and to drag out WikiLeaks' Julian Assange.
When a Chinese dissident sought asylum in the US embassy in China, the Chinese government bowed to international law and permitted the dissident's safe passage to the US. But "freedom and democracy" Great Britain refuses free passage to Assange who has been granted asylum, and there is no protest from Clinton at the State Department.
Today it is Russia and China, not the UK and Europe, that challenge Washington's claim that the US government is above international law and has the right to overthrow governments of which it disapproves.
The lawlessness that now characterizes the US and UK governments is a large threat to humanity's finest achievement--the rule of law--for which the British fought from the time of Alfred the Great in the ninth century to the Glorious Revolution of the 17th century.
Where are the protests over the Anglo-American destruction of the rule of law?
Why Aren't Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Chatham House on the case?
This is a fascinating video of a huge protest in Sydney on 5 August 2012 and we have put up a video of it with a number of interesting interviews from marchers, with comments from what they think of the Bashar Assad Government to how they don't like the Australian Greens policy on this matter and believe that we are risking World War Three by backing intervention in Syria. There is also some background on how Syria has been the long-term host one of the largest refugee populations in the world, which makes you wonder why it doesn't receive more support from Greens and Refugee activists. It must seem ironic that some candobetter.net EcoMalthusians are more inclined to give Syria that recognition! Please let us know if you have views on the democratic status of the Syrian government; we find it hard to judge. All comments and greetings welcome.
The video of this march also contains commentaries and is the product and published by Truth News with Reporter Hereward Fenton, who interviewed Naja (a Syrian Australian), Tim Anderson, and John Burgess (of the 911 truth movement). Thanks for your work at Truth News.
"On 5 August 2012 a rally was held in Sydney in support of the Syrian government by members of the Syrian community and Australians. Some four thousand people gathered peacefully at The Sydney Town Hall to express solidarity about the tragedy in Syria. A number of speakers, from various sections of the community, addressed the audience concerning the external forces that have invaded Syria and are fighting the [...]government. The people then marched peacefully to The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs in the Sydney city area, where more speakers addressed the people. Appreciation for Russia and China voting against the US proposed UN-NATO involvement were expressed. The meeting then peacefully dispersed." (Source: Commentary under video on Truth News)
Naja, Syrian-Australian protester speaks
Naja, a Syrian-Australian protester said,
"I would just like to say one thing to the Australian Government. The Syrian president - 75% of the people elected him and only the Syrian people can impeach him. I just want to say another thing, that Barack Obama ought to go back home. Hands off Syria! We just need to raise our voice and we're sticking with the President! ... He is a very popular leader, he's a doctor and he studied in England. He doesn't kill his people. We've got militants in Syria. They're terrorists. They're not free Syrian army. They're killing people. I've got my family back home. They're kidnapping people. After they kill them, they amputate their body parts and they send them home to - bodies without heads, without arms - and we've got to put a stop to it. We want him to stay in power. That's my message. "
Tim Anderson spoke powerfully on behalf of the Syrian Government
"People in this country are very ignorant of what's going on in Syria. That's understandable. That's not a crime in itself, but, what is not acceptable is the unethical use of this ignorance. All of those people from Hilary Clinton through the media through all sorts of silly people in this country - those people saying Assad must go - they have no ethical basis to make that sort of claim. They haven't understood that it's the foundation of the post colonial era, it's the foundation of human rights that a people have a right to self-determination and the Syrian Government is only for the Syrian people and no-one else. We see the result across the border in Iraq. What a tragedy in Iraq. What a great tragedy in Iraq! But we can't allow that to happen in your country. So I'm here just to say as a non-Syrian Australian, at least some of us here are in solidarity with you today."
Tim Anderson, author of Take Two, The Criminal Justice System revisited has the remarkable history of having been completely exonerated after erroneous conviction for the Hilton Bombing in 1978 (Fraser Government). The real perpetrators have never been found. Evidence that Australian security forces may have been responsible [in a false flag attack] led to the New South Wales parliament unanimously calling for an inquiry in 1991 and 1995. The Government of Australia vetoed any inquiry. You can read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Hilton_bombing or here in an pdf file at http://www.reasoninrevolt.net.au/pdf/a000803.pdf with an interview of Anderson published in July 1991 that contains some very interesting comments on Asio and Special Branch activities in NSW leading up to this time.
Tony Backhouse on Australian Greens policy on Libya and Syria
Tony was also marching. Interviewed by Truth News, he said that he had originally joined the Greens because of their stance on Iraq and policy of peace and non-violence, which is a platform of the NSW branch constitution, but he has just resigned from them over their support for UN Nato intervention in Syria. He stated, "I see this as akin to starting World War Three in Syria. I find it totally hypocritical and that's why I've left."
Tony said that, to him, it seems this position was taken initially by Bob Brown and then by Christine Milne (NSW) and Adam Bandt (in Victoria) and that perhaps the Federal Greens are falling into line with the European Greens. It was what had been going on in Aleppo that got him to make his mind up. He added that he nearly left the Greens over their position on Libya especially after Gaddafi's house was bombed and his granddaughter and other members of Gaddafi's family were killed. He noticed in the week of this Australians for Syria protest in Sydney that Leon Panetta [23rd and current United States Secretary of Defense] had actually threatened Assad's family: "And I thought, this is just ridiculous. I can't support this. I mean, my party is supporting a military intervention basically in Syria against their own constitution!"
Commentary on Democracy, Refugees and the Australian Greens - Please contribute if you can
The beginning of this article was taken from Truth News and we left out these words,  "elected democratic." Whilst we support non-intervention in Syria and basically support the current government, we disagree that the Bashar Asaad Government was elected democratically, since there was no opposition. Maybe we are wrong. Please educate us. You can read more about the Syrian government here. Nonetheless we agree that Bashar seems to be a very popular president and Syria did recently hold a very well supported referendum in which Syrians voted yes for to have multiparty government recently, to remove the constitutional definition of the B'aath Party as the ruling party of Syria, and to limit the time a person could remain president to 14 years.
Bashar Asaad himself seems to be pretty enlightened in a terrible region where colonial intervention has from the 19th century consistently preferred dictators and continuously reduced the self-organising ability of peoples. Bashar Asaad's father was a more severe dictator but, still, his people were provided for, in an area where there are far worse, far more brutal dictatorships. To illustrate the unbalanced basis of foreign intervention encouraging civil war in Syria, the Western powers currently include Saudi Arabia as their ally against the Syrian Government. This is not just ironic, but it is shocking, because the Saudi Government is incontestably depraved, yet able to get away literally with murder, mutilation, suppression of subjects and shocking, institutionalised, bizarre ill-treatment and disenfranchisement - enslavement really - of women. It is truly unacceptable that the United States and NATO hob-nob with this monarchy. There has to be a better and more globally cooperative way to power down with oil than this.
I am not Syrian, but I have been living in Syria for today almost 20 years. Syria was under a kind of totalitarian regime but not in only a way a repressive way but it was that all the decision would be taken by few persons. But there was security, there was food, education and people were living - of course not in ... kind that they would say their thinking in a loud voice.
Now, this totalitarianism is not good, and it's obsolete, but if the armed insurrection is implementing another totalitarianism which is maybe worse because there is blood, they can behead you, they can cut your - in last week in our village they cut the fingers of a so-called 'collaborator', who is not ev[en] from the village. Then they behead him, they cut him in piece and they left him in the street, where even children would see it.
So this kinds of acts of atrocities cannot help people to really believe that what is happening is a strive for freedom.
The majority of the Syrian population, I say, is taken as hostage, and sometimes as a tool, as [?enemy] by these armed, insurrection armed...armed insurrection people. They come and they take place in the civilian areas.
Australians, particularly Greens and Refugee Action supporters, logically should be speaking out in support of Syria which has taken in and managed to deal fairly with an extraordinary number of refugees and asylum seekers from this tumultuous region where, bizarrely, the Greens have been supporting NATO backing for civil war.
According to the 2012 UNHCR country operations profile on the Syrian Arab Republic,
The Syrian Arab Republic hosts one of the largest urban refugee and asylum-seeker populations in the world. The Government and people of the Syrian Arab Republic continue to maintain a generous open door policy that allows Iraqi refugees to seek asylum and gain access to basic services such as education and primary health care. Moreover, the normalization of relations between Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic in early 2011 has led to a simplification of the visa process for Iraqis wishing to enter the Syrian Arab Republic.
UNHCR, with the support of the international community and in active partnership with the Syrian authorities, was able to maintain the protection space granted to refugees and asylum-seekers. With the assistance of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, it has continued to provide them with essential services and assistance. Source: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e486a76.html
If nothing else, the counter-intuitive stance on Syria of the Greens is yet another indication that the people leading the Greens these days are career politicians with ideas and principles a very long way from the original participants and founders of Green Party's in Australia. As to where Bob Brown stands or ever stood... some of us do wonder. For those among us who care about our country and realise that overpopulation will quickly deprive us of ecological conditions and human rights, it is baffling that the Greens, who have so let us down in matters of ecology and population policy, do not stand up for Syria and its generosity to refugees.
Attention Avaaz, Amnesty International, NATO, Hilary... "Let the Syrian people alone. Let the Syrian people alone! Leave us alone! You are not bringing anything else but death, fear, chaos, instability, with your big declarations and with your big assemblies, and, also, with your big powers."
This is the transcription of the brave protest against foreign intervention in Syria by a Syrian-based Catholic nun, (video included) speaking for a number of Syrian leaders, whom she describes as including Muslims, pacifists, family and tribal leaders. Mother Mariam shows leadership in a new internet tradition where women are beginning to speak out against warmongers where their men cannot or will not. Mother Agnes Mariam and Syrian Girl Partisan are two great ladies speaking up for peace, truth and justice. We would like to encourage other women to magnify these women's voices and help them to forge a local, non-violent movement as well as to defend what is good in Syria.Attention Avaaz, Amnesty International, NATO, Hilary...
"Let the Syrian people alone. Let the Syrian people alone! Leave us alone! You are not bringing anything else but death, fear, chaos, instability, with your big declarations and with your big assemblies, and, also, with your big powers."
This is the transcription of the brave protest against foreign intervention in Syria by a Syrian-based Catholic nun, (video included) speaking for a number of Syrian leaders, whom she describes as including Muslims, pacifists, family and tribal leaders. Mother Mariam shows leadership in a new internet tradition where women are beginning to speak out against warmongers where their men cannot or will not. Mother Agnes Mariam and Syrian Girl Partisan are two great ladies speaking up for peace, truth and justice. We would like to encourage other women to magnify these women's voices and help them to forge a local, non-violent movement as well as to defend what is good in Syria.
The interview took place in Ireland on 12 August 2012 and was filmed and published on the Irish Times by Patsy McGarry.
Mother Agnes Mariam to Outside Powers
It's a life of fear, of insecurity and of lack of future. We are divided like a kind of tumour. In every part we have armed people coming and forcing people - civilians - to live following their orders.
And what they want is to paralyse civilian life so there is no more shops. If you need something ou can't find a worker. And, of course, you don't have nutrition, you don't have alimentation. Lack of food, lack of fuel, lack of electricity.
And this fear, because you don't know when it will be your turn to be considered as a collaborator. And we think that something is going wrong mroe and more in the general way of orienting this strive ... what's so-called for freedom an democracy.
On the totalitarian regime in Syria and its violent replacement
I am not Syrian, but I have been living in Syria for today almost 20 years. Syria was under a kind of totalitarian regime but not in only a way a repressive way but it was that all the decision would be taken by few persons. But there was security, there was food, education and people were living - of course not in ... kind that they would say their thinking in a loud voice.
Now, this totalitarianism is not good, and it's obsolete, but if the armed insurrection is implementing another totalitarianism which is maybe worse because there is blood, they can behead you, they can cut your - in last week in our village they cut the fingers of a so-called 'collaborator', who is not ev[en] from the village. Then they behead him, they cut him in piece and they left him in the street, where even children would see it.
So this kinds of acts of atrocities cannot help people to really believe that what is happening is a strive for freedom.
The majority of the Syrian population, I say, is taken as hostage, and sometimes as a tool, as [?enemy] by these armed, insurrection armed...armed insurrection people. They come and they take place in the civilian areas.
Why isn't the fighting in the desert instead of amongst civilian residences?
Why you don't make your combat - We have a lot of desert. It is against international laws.
Western world seems to be encouraging sectarian violence to topple Assad
But what really scandalises us and leaves us in distress is that the Western world seemed to be encouraging this rise of sectarian violence just to topple the regime.
We are, we are against violence and we are against justifying violence.
You can't say that this man is killing another man and he is justified to kill him. Moreover when, through his movements, he is putting in real danger and having terrible collateral damage, to a whole civilian population, which was not - That's what is happening in Aleppo.
You know, we are responsible and we are - if we are not responsible today, we are responsible tomorrow, to history.
To not speak out is to allow terrible atrocities to continue
Once all those atrocity will be revealed, when you will see a family whose girl has been abused, or, I have heard about collective abusing - whose son has been beheaded, whose father has been abducted.
You know that there are thousands of people we don't know where they are because they have been abducted.
Sometimes they are bandits. They say, "We are in the revolution," but they are bandits. Mafias who come to ask ransome.
Some others they have like sectarian hatred, so they take this one because he is [?Arab or Alep]; they take this one because he is a moderate Muslim.
So we don't know. It's a confusion, it's a chaos.
"What are they doing in Aleppo? Why are they doing? Why are they funded and helped and fueled with weapons and why are they introducing themselves in between the civilian population?"
International Community hypocritical, untrustworthy, funding violence
And what really grieve us is that the international community holds a paradox.
On one side they want, they say, with hypocrisy, "We want peace, we want to protect the civilian population." They even want to intervene in a military way like in other countries. But on the other hand, they are funding, sending intelligence helps and sending weapons to rebels - really you don't know from where they come.
Syrians are trying to forge non-violence movement
We are working with our religious leaders, with Muslim religious leaders, with pacifist, with also a leader - family leaders, tribal leaders - to say that there is a third way. And the third way is a way of non-violence, but real non-violence. When there is no attacks and aggression, there is not - there is no motivation for any repression.
Syrians asking International Community to respect their Human Rights and Geneva Convention
Second, the civilian society in Syria is upset and we are asking for human rights. Not only human rights for rebels, but human rights for the normal citizens, who are caught in between.
And we are asking also why should the combats be held in civilian areas, for example, in Aleppo, those people they came from outside. I have been talking with prelates, I have been talking with families. They don't know whom they are. They are foreigners. Either they come from Northern villages -from Idlib or from North Aleppo countryside, or they come from foreign countries. What are they doing in Aleppo? Why are they doing? Why are they funded and helped and fueled with weapons and why are they introducing themselves in between the civilian population? And then they say that the army is bombing civilian areas.
Please! Don't enter in civilian population. Don't enter in residence area. Go to the desert if you want to make your war. It is against human rights and it is against the Charter of Geneva.
Ghandi, Mandela - non-violent path the best, and finding common ground
So, I want to say to all who are looking at me, "I am a Christian, and I believe in God. I believe in Jesus Christ. Non-violence is the best way to get what we want. The non-violence. And in all good revolutions - you look at Ghandi, you look at Nelson Mandela - even, you look here, in Ireland, when you can stop violence and you can enter in a real path of dialogue, accepting the other. Sometimes you have to forget your interest. You cannot take everything. You forget it. We can arrive to a common ground. We can make a new social pact. You know.
Asks foreign powers: Please leave the Syrian people alone and don't encourage martyrs
And I want to also to ask: Let the Syrian people alone. Let the Syrian people alone! Leave us alone! You are not bringing anything else but death, fear, chaos, instability, with your big declarations and with your big assemblies, and, also, with your big powers. Leave the Syrian people alone. Enough, it's enough! Leave those people and stop funding weapons for 'rebels' you bring from I don't know what. We are crying also because those people they have a mother, they have a father, they are human beings and, sometimes, they don't know where they are. And they think that fighting in Syria or fighting where they are fighting, will open for them heaven and paradise, and this is alienating.