A ceasefire is critical to avert the possible use of nuclear weapons and an escalation of the war. A ceasefire will enable negotiations for a security solution, to address the needs of all parties. A ceasefire will help provide a pathway to peace for the people of the region
This was a presentation of videoed interviews, by multiple journalists, of Ukrainian complaints about war-crimes committed by Ukrainian Nationalist soldiers. Unfortunately, but predictably, some US-NATO allies did not react to the actual material presented, but used the forum to promote, yet again, the same positions that saturate the mainstream media, and to accuse the Russian Federation of promoting disinformation.
The other side of the story: Russians say their troops left Bucha before the massacre happened. They point to video by Bucha mayor of street clearing after the Russians had left, which shows no bodies in the streets. The Russians think that Ukrainian troops carried out the atrocity after the Russians left, as a false flag. Russia has demanded an immediate investigation of the UN Security Council but the UK and the US are trying to avoid this.
Ami Horowitz journeys to Mexico to find out the real reason why there is a caravan of migrants on its way to the United States’ border with its southern neighbor. The caravan is being orchestrated and logistically supplied like a military operation by some very wealthy people and the UN. This looks like an invasion, organised by members of the US power elite, under a thin pretense of humanitarian aid. Some interesting comments under the video, including about how Venezuelans are crossing the border to Brazil to escape famine, but there is no sign of the UN or other AID programs there.
Featured image: Bashar Ja’afari (Source: Yemen Press)
Syria provides the United Nations with evidence revealing yet another plot by Takfiri terrorists to carry out a chemical attack in militant-held Idlib Province and pin the blame on Damascus with the aim of justifying an ensuing act of aggression against the Arab country by their foreign supporters.
Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday, Syria’s Ambassador to the UN Bashar Ja’afari said that Jabhat al-Nusra and its affiliated terrorist groups are preparing to use chemical weapons against civilians in Idlib, the last major militant stronghold that is subject to an upcoming major counter-terrorism operation by the Syrian army.
The Western states, which support terror outfits operating in Syria, would then use the chemical attack as a pretext to launch an offensive against the country, he added.
Ja’afari also stressed that any aggression against Syria would constitute an act of aggression against regional and international peace and security, amount to supporting terrorism and undermine efforts to combat the scourge.
Certain Western states, he said, are using their “black flags and White Helmets” to stage new chemical attacks in order to obstruct the political process and justify their aggression against Syria, he said.
Video inside: This video records a really shameful action on behalf of the US regime, on a par with Hitler's arrogant exceptionalism and dishonesty. We have begun the video where the benighted Syrian ambassador begins to respond to a series of utterly unfounded accusations by Niki Haley, the US Ambassador. That she walks out with her following, without listening to him, shows the contempt in which the United States regime holds the people of Syria and its government. Many lives are at stake and the welfare of many generations, but the United States military-industrial complex do not even give them a hearing. Although we have begun the video at the point of the Syrian ambassador's speech, you can roll it back to hear Haley, and then the Russian Ambassador.
"The so-called “International Coalition” led by the US, which was created three years ago to allegedly fight terrorists groups such as ISIL, has killed much more innocent Syrians, mostly women and children, than terrorists and has destroyed vital infrastructure that the Syrians have worked for years to build. It has also used phosphorus bombs and other internationally-prohibited weapons before the eyes of the whole world. We cannot understand the silence of the international community in the face of these crimes. The international community has not condemned or sought to stop these crimes, even though the Syrian government has made a number of appeals to the Security Council to assume its main responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. The Syrian government has urged the Council to implement its own resolutions on counter-terrorism, particular resolution 2253, and prevent the Coalition from committing more crimes against the citizens of my country." (Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem)
New York, SANA – Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem delivered a speech at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, in which he affirmed that Syria is marching steadily towards the goal of rooting out terrorism, and that any solution in Syria must respect Syria’s non-negotiable principles, which include the territorial unity of Syria and its people, and the rejection of any external interference.
Minister al-Moallem affirmed that Syria is determined to scale up reconciliation efforts, and that it is committed to the memorandum on de-escalation zones, the establishment of which is a temporary arrangement, adding that the Syrian government reaffirms its commitment to the Geneva process.
Following is the full text of the speech:
President of the seventy-second session of the United Nations General Assembly, I would like to congratulate you on your election as President of the current session of the General Assembly and wish you all the success. I would also like to thank your predecessor for his important role at the helm of the General Assembly during the previous session. I congratulate Mr. Antonio Guterres on his appointment as Secretary-General of the United Nations and wish him the best in carrying out his responsibilities in service of the principles and purposes of the UN Charter.
Ladies and gentlemen, as we meet again, our world is facing mounting challenges and dangers on a daily basis, and a persistent standoff between two sets of forces: forces that seek to control and dominate nations and their riches, by turning back the clock, re-establishing a unipolar world order, fueling chaos and war, and violating international and humanitarian laws: and opposite forces that work tirelessly to create a more balanced, secure, and just world, one that respects the sovereignty of the states and the right of peoples to exercise self-determination and build their own future.
As we meet again, many people continue to pay dearly and sacrifice their lives, security, stability and livelihood, as a result of the policies of certain countries. Those countries falsely believe that they could use terrorism as a tool to satisfy their greed and further their ill-conceived agendas, which do not serve the interests of any people, not even their own. No people has suffered at the hands of terrorism more than the Syrian people, who, for six years now, has fought against terrorists pouring from all over the world, supported by parties from the region and beyond.
For more than six years, Syrians have endured the worst and have made great sacrifices to defend their country in the face of a terrorist war of unprecedented brutality, which has spared no one and no-thing, targeting innocent people, services, the infrastructure and cultural heritage. Despite it all, Syria is determined, more than ever, to eradicate terrorism from every part of the country, without exception, thanks to the sacrifices of our army and the steadfastness of our people.
Mr. President, since the beginning of the war, our state policy has followed two main tracks: combating terrorism, and working hard towards a political solution that stems the bloodshed and restores stability.
On the counter-terrorism, the Syrian Arab Army along with its supporting forces and allies are making daily achievements, clearing out territories and uprooting terrorists. However, the threat of this plague persists, claiming the lives of the Syrians on a daily basis, and depleting the country’s resources. We must all understand that terrorism and underlying Takfirist extremist ideology will continue to spread like a tumor throughout the world and haunt all of our people unless every one of us demonstrates a genuine will to cooperate to confront it together. Any such endeavor must respect the sovereignty and of states and the interests of the people, and must let go of the illusion that terrorism can be used as a tool for political gains and narrow interests.
On the political front, the Syrian government has spared no effort since the early months of the crisis to stop the bloodshed. The success of local reconciliations would not have been possible without the leadership’s political support and the numerous amnesty decrees issued by President Bashar al-Assad, which allowed everyone who had taken up arms to lay them down and resume their normal life.
These successful reconciliations have allowed tens of thousands of IDPs and refugees to go back home and helped improve the living conditions of a great number of Syrians who had fallen victim to terrorist crimes. Syria is determined to scale up reconciliation efforts, whenever possible, because it is the best means to alleviate the suffering of Syrians and restore stability and normalcy.
Ladies and gentlemen, since day one, the Syrian government has positively considered all initiatives to put an end to the war. However, these initiatives eventually failed after states that supported and fuelled terrorism decided to persist in their aggressive policies against Syria and its people.
As for the Astana and Geneva tracks, the Syrian government has shown seriousness and commitment and has done its best to provide the necessary conditions for these efforts to succeed and achieve their goals.
We are encouraged by the Astana process and the resulting “de-escalation zones” and hope that it will help us reach and actual cessation of hostilities and separate terrorist groups. Such as ISIL, Al-Nusra and others, from those groups that have agreed to join the Astana process. This will be the real test of how committed and serious these groups and their Turkish sponsors are. So far, Turkey under Erdogan has persisted in its aggressive policies against the Syrian people and continued to labor under the illusion that terrorism will help serve its subversive agendas in Syria and the countries of the region. Turkey’s position stands in stark contrast to the positive and constructive role played by Russia and Iran.
Notwithstanding its commitment to the memorandum on the ‘”de-escalation zones”, Syria reserves the right to respond to any violation by the other party. Syria also stresses that these zones are a temporary arrangement that must not violate the territorial unity of Syria.
The Syrian government reaffirms its commitment to the Geneva process and further progress on that track. This process has yet to bear fruit in the absence of a genuine national opposition that can be a partner in Syria’s future, and as countries with influence over the other party continue to block any meaningful progress.
Mr. President, it is truly unfortunate that these countries that block a solution in Syria are members of this international organization, including members of the Security Council.
The Syrian government has always insisted that any solution in Syria must respect Syria’s non-negotiable principles which are a red line for all Syrians. These include the complete rejection of terrorism, the territorial unity of Syria and its people, and the rejection of any external interference in political decisions regarding Syria’s future. Only Syrians have the right to make such decisions, whether now or in the future.
Ladies and gentlemen, for decades, Israel has continued its unscrupulous thuggish actions with full impunity.
This usurper entity has occupied Arab territories in Palestine and the Golan for more than seventy years and has committed horrific crimes against innocent civilians. Israel did not stop there. It has publicly interfered in the Syrian crisis since its early days. Israel has provided all forms of support to Takfirist terrorist gangs, including funds, weapons, material, and communication equipment. Israel has also bombed Syrian Army positions to serve terrorist agendas. Coordination between the two was at its best when terrorist groups decided to target Syrian air defense assets used to defend Syria against Israeli aggression. The unlimited Israeli support to terrorists in Syria did not come as a surprise. After all, the two share the same interests and goals. However, let me be clear. It is delusional to believe, even for a moment, that the crisis in Syria will take us for our inalienable right to recover the occupied Syrian Golan fully to the lines of June 4, 1967.
For more than six years, states and parties that were behind the war on Syria, have continued to peddle lies and falsely accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons, despite a confirmation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that Syria has fully eliminated its chemical program. This is enough proof that there is an ill-conceived intention to tarnish the real image of the Syrian government in the international public eye, and come up with new excuses to continue the aggression against Syria in favor of terrorists and their supporters. This was the case when the United States blatantly attacked the Shayrat airbase, claiming that it contained chemical weapons used in the alleged Khan Shaykhun attack. And as was the case after every accusation of this kind, we confirmed our readiness to receive and cooperate with UN investigation teams.
Ladies and gentlemen, certain countries have boasted about fighting terrorism in Syria and having the interests of Syrians at heart. They have established “coalitions” and held dozens of conferences under deceiving titles, such as “friends of the Syrian people”. It is quite ironic that those are the same countries that are shedding the blood of the Syrians by supporting terrorists, bombing innocent civilians, and destroying their livelihoods.
The so-called “International Coalition” led by the US, which was created three years ago to allegedly fight terrorists groups such as ISIL, has killed much more innocent Syrians, mostly women and children, than terrorists and has destroyed vital infrastructure that the Syrians have worked for years to build. It has also used phosphorus bombs and other internationally-prohibited weapons before the eyes of the whole world.
We cannot understand the silence of the international community in the face of these crimes. The international community has not condemned or sought to stop these crimes, even though the Syrian government has made a number of appeals to the Security Council to assume its main responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. The Syrian government has urged the Council to implement its own resolutions on counter-terrorism, particular resolution 2253, and prevent the Coalition from committing more crimes against the citizens of my country.
Ladies and gentlemen, while the coalition failed to make any meaningful progress against the terrorist group of ISIL, the Syrian Army, along with its allies and friends has been able to secure real and significant gains and drives out terrorists from large parts of the Syrian Desert. In what was considered a strategic achievement, the Army was recently able to break the siege imposed on the city of Deir Ezzor and its people by ISIL more than three years ago. This achievement will significantly improve the humanitarian situation in the city and contribute to fight against terrorism in general.
We have declared more than once that it is impossible to combat terrorism without coordination with the Syrian government. This is the only way to make real gains in the war on terrorism. Any presence of foreign troops on Syrian grounds, without the consent of the government is considered a form of occupation, a wanton aggression, and a flagrant violation of international laws and Charter of the United Nations.
Mr. President, the war that the most powerful countries and terrorist groups are waging against Syria is not only a military war. It has taken other forms, no less brutal or aggressive, to break the will of the Syrian people and punish them for their firm support of the Army in its efforts to defend Syria’s political independence and territorial unity. For this reason, those countries have imposed a suffocating economic blockade on Syria, in blatant violation of international law, to destroy the livelihoods of the Syrians and increase their suffering.
These unilateral coercive measures have been imposed on vital sectors, most notably healthcare services. Syria used to have an advanced healthcare system. Today, however, Syrians are denied access to many types of medicine, even those used to treat life threatening conditions, such as cancer. Such sanctions are a clear sign of the hypocrisy of certain countries that shed tears over Syrians while practicing a different form of terrorism.
The refugee problem is one of the consequences of terrorism. As Syria will need the efforts of every Syrian over the upcoming period, the Syrian government has made the return of Syrians to their homes a top priority. To this end, the Syrian government has embarked on a mission to liberate and secure the areas occupied by terrorists improve the basic living conditions of all Syrians.
Mr. President, given the United Nations’ failure to uphold its own Charter and the principles of the international law, we must all consider reforming this international organization to be able to effectively play its role and to defend the legitimate rights against the law of the jungle that some are trying to impose.
Our nations yearn for a safer and more secure, stable and prosperous world. Such a world will remain a fantast as long as certain countries believe that they can go around, spreading chaos, creating troubles and imposing their will with full impunity.
Ladies and Gentlemen, my country, along with its steadfast people and its brave army, supported by our loyal allies, is marching steadily towards the goal of rooting out terrorism. The liberation of Aleppo and Palmyra, the lifting of the siege of Deir Ezzor and the eradication of terrorism from many parts of Syria prove that victory is now within reach.
I am confident that, when this unjust war on Syria is over, the Syrian army will go down in history as the Army that heroically defeated, along with its supporting forces and its allies, the terrorists that came to Syria from many countries and received large support from the most powerful countries of the world, including arms, funding, training, access and political cover.
Those terrorists have tried and failed to impose their backward ideology on a powerful nation that has been for decades a cradle of civilization.
The annals of history will recall for generations to come that achievements of the Syrian people and steadfastness in the face of a barbaric terrorist campaign and unjust measures, which have compounded their suffering and deprived them of their basic needs. The Syrian people have stood their ground, against all odds, because they knew that this was a war that sought to eliminate their country, and with it, their own existence. They are an example to follow by any people who might face, now or in the future, similar attempts to break their will and deny them their freedom and sovereignty.
Thank you Mr. President.
The UN has concluded its investigation of the 19 September bombing of a UN aid convoy in Syria. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released the summary of the Board of Inquiry’s report on 21 December, but it received virtually no publicity, unlike the wall-to-wall reporting of the USA’s and UK’s hysterical accusations at the time that Russia deliberately bombed the convoy. The lack of publicity is doubtless because the report proves there was no evidence for the accusations against Russia.
Following is a chronology of the incident:
On 11 September, Russia and the USA agreed to a ceasefire in Syria, which Barack Obama insisted must last seven days before any further Russian-US cooperation in the five-year conflict. Senior officials in the Obama administration, including Defence Secretary Ash Carter, were known to be opposed to any cooperation with Russia.
On 17 September, US, Australian and other members of the US-led coalition in Syria bombed Syrian Arab Army soldiers holding a position against ISIS at Deir ez-Zor. More than 62 soldiers were killed in an attack that lasted more than an hour, and when a Russian officer called the US military’s emergency hotline to inform them they were attacking the Syrian army, the Russian officer was put on hold for 27 minutes! The USA later claimed the attack was an “accident”. (The CEC launched a petition demanding the Australian government withdraw its presence from Syria, as it was only assisting ISIS.)
On 19 September, a UN convoy transporting aid for Aleppo was bombed in an area controlled by rebels. The attack occurred at precisely the moment that the al-Qaeda-led rebels in Aleppo launched a furious offensive to break the Syrian Army lines. It was reported as a bombing, but the burnt out trucks remained intact, and there were no craters or other signs of aerial bombardment. The eyewitness reports that the attack was an aerial bombing came from the so-called White Helmets—British- and American-funded jihadists masquerading as civilian rescuers. The USA and Britain accused Russia of a war crime, and—ignoring the attack on the Syrian army two days earlier—of destroying the ceasefire!
A 20 September Guardian headline blared: “Russian planes dropped bombs that destroyed UN aid convoy, US officials say”. It cited a Reuters report: “Russian jets carried out strike on Syria aid convoy: U.S. officials”.
The most hysterical accusations came from the British government and Parliament, in an 11 October emergency debate. They were also the most hypocritical and cynical. Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell, who moved the debate, compared Russia’s actions in Syria to those of the Nazis in the Spanish Civil War.
Greens leader Caroline Lucas asked Mitchell: “Does he agree that our own Government should follow the example of the French in supporting a referral of Russia to the International Criminal Court?”
Blairite (a crony of disgraced former PM Tony Blair) Labour MP Ann Clwyd—the politician who first publicised the notorious Iraq war lie, that Saddam killed people in a human shredding machine, yet remains completely unapologetic for the illegal invasion of Iraq—called for the UK to take the same approach to Syria as it did to Iraq! “We do not have to wait for the International Criminal Court”, Clwyd urged. “Indict, an organisation that I chaired, collected evidence on Iraqi war crimes years before they were heard. That can be done again, for example through the Foreign Office.” (Emphasis added.)
When Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry at least attempted to inject into the debate the reality that the rebels were predominantly al-Qaeda jihadists, another shameless Blairite Labour MP, Ben Bradshaw, erupted in contrived outrage, and attacked his own colleague: “We had a ceasefire; it was brutally blown apart by Russian and Syrian air power. I still have not heard from my hon. Friend a clear and unequivocal condemnation of Russia’s and Assad’s action. I have not heard her call it out as it is—a war crime!” (Bradshaw is another with the blood of Iraqis on his hands, having aggressively prosecuted the fraudulent case for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and later having voted against convening Sir John Chilcot’s Iraq inquiry into that criminal and disastrous decision.)
Yet another Blairite, John Woodcock, was the most unhinged in hurling wild accusations against Russia for the attack on the convoy: “There is no doubt as to who was the perpetrator of this grotesque war crime. It was President Putin of Russia. He was sticking two fingers up to the United Nations and the international community of which he still has the audacity to claim he is a working part.” (Woodcock is close to Britain’s biggest private defence contractor, BAE Systems—its al-Yamamah arms deal with the brutal Saudi dictatorship has been exposed as having generated a $100 billion slush fund that financed al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attack and the spread of al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorism generally.)
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “All the available evidence therefore points to Russian responsibility for the atrocity. I trust that the UN board of inquiry will establish exactly what happened, and we in the United Kingdom Government stand ready to help.” Johnson’s speech made headlines for his reiteration of Ann Clwyd’s call for anti-war protestors to demonstrate outside of the Russian embassy in London. It is worth noting that Johnson was interrupted by a question from Prince Charles’s close friend Sir Nicholas Soames, demanding war crime prosecutions for the attack. Another toady for the British arms industry, Soames is notorious for his threats against Princess Diana when she spearheaded the international campaign against land mines just before her death in 1997. (The inquest ruled Diana’s death an “unlawful killing”, which is effectively a verdict of murder, where the perpetrators are not identified.)
The only contributor to this House of Commons debate who emerged with any credibility intact was Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, who exposed the self-righteous hypocrisy of the other contributors by insisting that the UK could not condemn the alleged crimes in Syria while simultaneously arming Saudi Arabia to bomb civilians in Yemen.
Following are excerpts of numbered sections from the UN Headquarters Board of Inquiry Report summary that Ban Ki-moon released 21 December. While the report still assumes an aerial attack that many experts insist could not have been possible, nevertheless it absolves Russia of a war crime. The findings include:
The area where the convoy was attacked was under the control of Islamist jihadists:
“11. The SARC compound, the incident site, is located approximately 1.5 km east of the town of Urem al-Kubra.”
“13. On the date of the incident, Urem al-Kubra was under the control of armed opposition groups, with Jaish al-Mujahideen being the predominant group in the area. The Board was informed that other groups, including Nour al-Din al-Zenki also had a presence there. In addition, the Board received reports of a Jabhat al-Nusra presence in the area.”
Nour al-Din al-Zenki is one of the so-called “moderate” rebel groups backed by the US, members of which filmed themselves beheading a 12-year-old Palestinian boy in July (the same cameraman later took the staged photo of the five-year-old Aleppo boy in an ambulance that suckered the world media). Jabhat al-Nusra is the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda.
The White Helmets’ claim that a hospital was bombed was bogus:
“33. Despite initial reports that a medical clinic had been destroyed, the Board found no evidence of a medical clinic neighbouring the SARC compound.” (Emphasis added.)
This is an important finding, as the most oft-repeated accusation against Russia is that its aircraft deliberately targeted hospitals in Aleppo. The US and UK-financed White Helmets were the source of these claims, which were always baseless. Not only did they claim dozens of times that the “last hospital” in Aleppo had been destroyed, the recent liberation of Aleppo has proved that almost every site they called a hospital was just a jihadist stronghold.
If the Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF) were responsible for the attack, given the convoy’s location in a jihadist-controlled area they most likely thought it was a military target:
“36. … The Board considered that the location of the SARC compound, on the outskirts of a populated area, in an industrial zone and astride one of the two primary roads leading to southwestern Aleppo, made it a realistic possibility that the buildings around it were used by armed opposition groups prior to the date of the incident. Therefore the Board considered that it had most likely been attacked by pro-Government forces.”
The UN found no evidence to prove that SAAF perpetrated the attack; an SAAF attack does not implicate Russia:
“39. The Board stated that it had received reports that information existed to the effect that the SAAF was highly likely to have perpetrated the attack, and even that the attack was carried out by three Syrian Mi-17 model helicopters, followed by three unnamed fixed-wing aircraft, with a single Russian aircraft also suspected of being involved. However, the Board did not have access to raw data to support these assertions and, in their absence, it was unable to draw a definitive conclusion.”
“40. The Board noted in this connection that there were technical issues pertaining to a hypothesis of the incident being a result of a joint Syrian Arab Air Force/Russian Federation strike. The Board had been informed that that the Russian Federation did not conduct joint strikes. A high degree of interoperability and co-ordination would also be required for two air forces to operate in the same airspace, targeting the same location.”
The UN found no evidence of a war crime:
“42. The Board stated that it did not have evidence to conclude that the incident was a deliberate attack on a humanitarian target.”
Since the US presidential election, the Anglo-American establishment and their corporate media lackeys have coined the term “fake news” for anything that contradicts their lies. In fact, many times since the genocidal fiasco of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, it is they who have been exposed as the real peddlers of fake news. The most extreme example is their litany of lies against Russia, but those lies are also the most dangerous, as they have pushed the world towards nuclear war. Thankfully, with Aleppo now liberated from the USA’s and UK’s terrorists, and a change of government in the USA, there is a chance to turn away from the policies of permanent war, and achieve a just international order based on respect for national sovereignty and a commitment to peace through cooperative economic development. As we approach 2017, all people of good will should resolve to ensure that it happens.
Although candobetter.net's philosophy of land-use and population policy reform runs counter to that of the Citizens Electoral Council, we are pleased to publish this press release about Syria and Russia.
The source of this article was a press release dated 30 December 2016, from Craig Isherwood‚ National Secretary of the Citizens' Electoral Council
PO Box 376‚ COBURG‚ VIC 3058
Phone: 1800 636 432
Email: [email protected]
Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations has dismissed as flawed the findings of a UN-mandated investigation blaming Syrian forces for the use of chemical weapons, saying the report is based on “false testimonies.” Amazingly, the conclusions of the report “lack any physical evidence, whether by samples or attested medical reports that chlorine was used.”
Article first published on Iranian Press TV on September 1st, 2016.
Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations has dismissed as flawed the findings of a UN-mandated investigation blaming Syrian forces for the use of chemical weapons, saying the report is based on “false testimonies.”
In an interview with Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen TV, Bashar al-Ja’afari said the allegations against Syrian soldiers have been “fabricated” to put pressure on the government in Damascus.
He said the UN Security Council and the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have yet to publish their final findings on the use of banned arms in Syria, adding that Damascus would present its own observations and notes to the world body before the joint report is out.
Last week, a report carried out by the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the UN and the OPCW claimed that Syrian forces had used chlorine in two separate attacks against militants fighting the Syrian government in 2014 and 2015.
The investigation was launched based on the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2235, which called for determining which party used chemical arms in Syria.
Syria rejected the allegations, with Ja’afari saying on Tuesday that the conclusions of the report “lack any physical evidence, whether by samples or attested medical reports that chlorine was used.”
The Syrian diplomat also said the report was “totally based on witnesses presented by terrorist armed groups.”
Russia, which has been backing the Syrian government in its war against the terrorists, also cast doubt on the report.
Moscow’s Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said he had “very serious questions” over the investigation’s findings and suggested the panel should gather more information.
“There are a number of questions which have to be clarified before we accept all the findings of the report,” Churkin said, while slamming calls on the UNSC by France and the United Kingdom for imposing sanctions on the perpetrators of the alleged chemical attacks.
“There is nobody to sanction in the report… It contains no names, no specifics, no fingerprints,” said the Russian diplomat, adding, “Clearly there is a smoking gun. We know that chlorine was most likely used, but there are no fingerprints on the gun.”
Syria was once accused of using chemicals against civilians and militants in an attack outside Damascus nearly four years ago.
The Damascus government rejected the allegations, but accepted to hand over its stockpiles of chemical weapons to the OPCW-UN joint mission in 2013 when it signed the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention under a deal brokered by Russia and the US.
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.
See also: Australians for Syria.
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.
With regard to the Syrian Government, a Syrian-based Catholic nun recently said,
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.
The message coming from Fair Water Use Australia is that the Federal and State Governments are not handling Australia's water properly, transparently or effectively. The mishandling is causing a dangerous crisis. The public should be very concerned and NGOs should support Fair Water Use and the UN in their call for a state of emergency and a Royal Commission. Australia, this is really serious.
Higher rainfall should mean more water - so where is it going?
Higher rainfall should mean more water in public and environmental reserves, but it is going to private holdings instead and the public is not aware
Private sector increases its strangle-hold on the Murray-Darling
Data obtained by Fair Water Use from the Bureau of Meteorology and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority provides confirmation of the effect of the rapid increase in privately-held water in the Darling Basin on the volumes of water available for essential public and environmental use, refuting claims that the crisis in the Darling is predominantly drought-related.
image from Fair Water Use site http://www.fairwateruse.com.au/
Despite average-to-above average rainfall in the Darling Basin over the last two years, the amount of water flowing down the Darling has reduced dramatically.
image from Fair Water Use site http://www.fairwateruse.com.au/
Public H20 store 80% less than it should be
Storage in the Menindee Lakes is currently around 80% less than would be expected under average rainfall conditions. As there has been no similar increase in volumes released from the Lakes, the water-hoarding activities of the private sector stand clearly incriminated.
There can be little doubt that, although compounded by drought, rampant water-privatisation is also a major contributor to the current devastation of the Murray catchment. However calculations are impeded by the apparent unwillingness of State Governments to provide required data.
UN Senior Water Advisor supports State of Emergency and Royal Commission on MDB Water
Fair Water Use is encouraged by the recent support of the senior water advisor to the United Nations for its call for declaration of a State of Emergency and the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the management of the water of the Murray-Darling Basin. Such actions offer the only means whereby Australians can regain control of this vital and acutely-threatened resource.
Listen to interview.
Source: Fair Water Use Australia. Fair Water Use Australia strives for a revived Murray-Darling basin by supporting environmentally sustainable water-use.
Title was The edge of the abyss and green denial.
Earlier this year Lindsey Grant, former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of Environment warned that we face a tumultuous century, as competition grows for diminishing resources. The human race will not get through it without fundamental changes of our population size, our living arrangements, our consumption patterns, and our expectations – and probably not without mounting hunger and violence. He calls for a new mindset to deal with it.
“The name of the abyss is energy. People tend to worry about one crisis at a time,” he says. “We do so at our peril. Right now, the crisis of the moment is climate warming, but the decline of fossil energy will affect more people more seriously than climate change for most of this century. Both will generate a coming crisis in food production.
“The forces now coming together – the astonishing growth of fossil fuel use in the 20th Century, – the growth of human population, quadrupling in the same period, – climate warming and rising sea levels generated by that growth, the imminent decline of those fossil fuels, the growing shortage of fresh water to meet human needs - and as a consequence, the prospect that agriculture will be unable to produce enough food to feed us, are the most important immediate challenges to humankind. They threaten the fabric of modern societies. The threat – still largely unrecognised – transcends all the other problems that transfix our policy makers: terrorism, economic recession or the transitory issues of international politics.”
A month earlier Professor Betsy Hartmann, director of the Population and Development Program and associate professor at Hampshire College USA made a claim typical of growth and development orientated non-governmental organisations.
“The United Nations projects that world population will eventually stabilise, falling to 8.3 billion in 2175,” she says. “In developing countries, attention should focus on reducing poor people's vulnerability to environmental changes related to global warming, such as sea-level rise in Bangladesh or increased rainfall variation in Africa. A focus on population diverts us from the need to take action on these critical concerns.”
Well intended as such ideas are, we are unlikely to still have the resources and habitable living space to survive in any such numbers on the planet by 2175. People like Hartmann have obviously not heard of the growing number of countries, in the 2005 UN Population Division survey, now more concerned about the over-inflated and distorted case of supporting growing numbers of older people than too many people, encouraging immigration and higher birth rates with more tax incentives. Or the crazy population explosion in Africa and Haiti – desperately poor, wrecking what's left of the environment and exporting surplus people to USA, Canada and Europe.
Nor, it seems, has she looked at the population explosion in countries like Saudi Arabia, where wealth and urbanisation has seen no reduction in birth rates. And in the USA, where massive Mexican immigration to a more prosperous consumer life-style has seen average birth rates increase in the Mexican immigrant community over birth rates in Mexico.
It is so depressing that these well-meaning people just don't see the connection between higher population and all the problems they want to solve, even when the evidence is presented to them. It is a mind block. All they think about is trying to reduce everyone's consumption, to accommodate more people into an ever more stressed quality of life competing for diminishing resources – in the vain hope that populations will stabilise at a level that is already beyond the Earth's capacity to sustain. Growing populations just wipe out any gain from reducing consumption.
They selectively ignore hard evidence in the belief that the magic bullet of technology will somehow make all the problems conveniently go away, so everyone can have their cake and eat it. Trouble is, the cake is crumbling fast and their dream that all the world's growing numbers can be accommodated, using their other magic bullet of conscience-absolving ‘sustainable’ growth, is a delusion.
For many decades there has been a wilful blindness to recognise that overpopulation is at the root of so many of the critical problems we face today. Both the UK and US governments have completely ignored a Royal Commission and a Presidential Commission respectively, both of which warned that existing population levels were already high enough.
Many environmental organisations like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are in denial or are too timid to confront reality lest they offend fundamentalist visions to go forth and multiply. They run scared of confronting the continuing high birth rates in many third world countries in case they are accused of racism. Instead, they call for our support to polish the furniture and re-arrange the deckchairs while planet earth's rapidly shrinking resources are consumed by relentless human population increase.
Living in denial suits the leaders in many poor nations. Limiting family size challenges engrained cultural habits and religious dogma. Better to hope that humanitarian aid prevents further hardship.
Geologist, author and population activist, William Stanton wrote: “Our planet, marvellous in its diversity of plant and animal life, naturally evolved over 1,000 million years, is being converted in a geological instant to a factory farm geared to feeding a single species, Homo-sapiens.”
The idea that the human goal should seek a high quality life rather than a high quantity and low quality one, to sustain the doctrine of short-term corporate greed, seems lost on our political leaders. Do we really want the maximum number of people with the minimum standard of living - or a smaller number at a comfortable standard of living?
#DemographicTransition" id="DemographicTransition">Misplaced confidence in the ‘demographic transition’ to population stability?
Population activists need to do more than parrot the UN prediction that population is conveniently set to stabilise at around 9.2 billion by 2050. Whatever realities we face trying to support a much larger global population in the lifetime of many people alive today, we also need to project the hard number-crunching consequences of continuing on our current track, which predicts a much larger population to absorb.
Stanton observes: “It's a grand recipe for complacency to be told that as nations achieve a prosperous western-style standard of living their population growth automatically falls to near zero. On this basis there is no population problem, only a need for masses of western aid. Unfortunately, this comforting theory has been found wanting time and again.” The United States is one of the most affluent nations in the world, but on its current demographic growth rate may well see its population expand from over 300 million now to 750 million by 2075.”
From 1950 to 2000 the mean population exponential growth rate was 1.77% - a doubling time of 40 years. Over 800 million go hungry every year and 2 billion suffer from malnutrition. Today, 1.8% is the average population growth rate for 4 billion people in the less developed world, excluding China. If this rate continues the population will rise from 6.7 billion to an impossible 21 billion by 2070. (Optimum Population Trust).
#ProcreativeRight" id="ProcreativeRight">Rethinking the procreative right
For most people the right to procreate is central to their belief. The world's religions, in particular, provided ample endorsement for the “go forth and multiply” message at a time when the world's population was a fraction of the resource-gobbling numbers it has now reached.
In April 2007 the Vatican Church concluded in a two-day Conference on Global-Warming-Paganism and Population Reduction that there is no evidence of man-induced climate change and that urgent priority for humanity is the development of the third world.
The 1994 Cairo conference on Population and Development concluded that “Reproductive rights embrace certain human rights that are already recognised in national laws …. These rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. “The promotion of the responsible exercise of these rights for all people should be the fundamental basis for government and community supported policies and programs in the area of reproductive health, including family planning.”
The word “responsible” is not defined. However, Carter Dillard, writing in Yale Human Rights and Development Legal Journal 2007, argues that defining some limits on procreation is not inconsistent with human rights.
“What is perceived as a justified legal and moral interest to procreate freely without regard to others, including the rights of prospective children and society as a whole, has consequences for others, and such acts are subject to law, if only in its role as a guide. If each person is endowed with rights that compete with and limit others' rights, the creation of new persons in a finite space eventually results in either limiting the rights of some in favour of the rights of others, or a general limiting of each person's overall rights, as the spheres of rights begin to overlap.”
In Reproductive Liberty and Overpopulation*, Carol Yates, Professor of Philosophy at Ithaca College in the United States argues that sustainability will require population reduction as well as changes in consumption. Reproductive liberty should not be considered a fundamental human right, she argues and a global agreement to address the risk of ecological meltdown and consequently the collapse of the human species, should include the option of coercive measures to reduce population to a sustainable level.
John Feeney, an environmental writer in Boulder, Colorado, says “A purposeful drop on the part of industrialised countries to consumption levels comparable to those of the poorest areas in the world is not only wholly unrealistic but, at today's population size, would not end our environmental woes. Our sheer numbers prevent it. We have no alternative but to return our attention to population. Already in overshoot, we must aim for population stabilisation followed by a decline in human numbers worldwide.
“We have to provide easy access to family planning options while educating parents and children through the media in the benefits of smaller families. And we should end the web of government incentives for larger families, to make population stabilisation more not less likely.” The money saved could be targeted at supporting older people.
Yet using the tax system as an incentive for reducing, not increasing birth rates is still regarded as a ‘no go area,’ an invasion of human rights, where the historic mindset of national power is boosted by growing numbers. Even now, with commodity prices soaring, ‘think tanks’ supposedly at the cutting edge of ideas, see a growing birth rate as a sign of economic well-being.
But what right is more important than trying to preserve an equitable quality of life for people instead of descending into more repressive and dangerous times, driven by the relentless pressures of ever increasing numbers? Many governments, the UK more than most, think nothing of introducing highly prescriptive and invasive regulations to control demand and behaviour – speed cameras, tax penalties and more. Why should we fear tax incentives to help save the planet and stem the decent into growing stress and chaos for our children?
The civilised choice seems obvious, yet the “growth is good” mindset of our political and business leaders, underpinned by (no longer) cheap energy, rules all.
In Estonia large baby bonuses have been offered to raise the birth rate, and have been quite widely taken up. Portugal has introduced tax incentives tied to pensions to encourage mothers to have more children and in Singapore (one of the most densely populated countries in the world) where birth rates have fallen significantly, the government has appointed a 'population czar' to encourage population growth.
In a 'scare campaign' about ageing, the Australian Government has been offering inducements of AU$5,000 for every new child born, in a country where government reports reveal constantly worsening environmental conditions. Yet the Government is encouraging more immigration each year than the natural birth rate, cheered on by the growth lobbyists. In 2005/6 the population grew by 265,800 (a natural increase of 131,200 plus net immigration of 134,600).
James Sinnamon (candobetter.org/james) Australian writer and environmental analyst describes this as “concentrated benefit" – where a minority in our community, i.e. land speculators, property developers, financiers and others collectively known as the "growth lobby", gain from population growth. "Diffuse injury" is what the rest of us pay in congestion, higher council rates, higher electricity charges, higher housing and environmental costs, hospital and education pressures for population growth. “For decades, the wider community was not fully aware of the costs they were paying because they were spread out so diffusely,” he says.” That is why the growth lobby was able to get away with it for so long.”
The UK's present population is around 60.5 million. It is more vulnerable to food imports than any other country in Europe and is increasingly dependent on energy imports. Family size and immigration levels will result in the UK population rising to 65 million over the next 10 years, 70 million in 2028, 77 million by 2051 and over 85 million by 2081 - at least 70% of this increase due to immigration. (OPT, Migration Watch UK)
All of us, politicians, business and public opinion, need to wake up fast or our children will inherit a grim future. Will they thank us for not acting in the face of such challenges?