May 072013
 

Land Destroyer
Tony Cartalucci

The US feigns disassociation with Hitlerian act of Israeli aggression – as was planned since 2007.

Image: The West has carefully cultivated Israel into “regional bully.” Immune from international condemnation, it is now being used to commit egregious war crimes against neighboring Syria, in hopes of provoking a retaliation and giving the US and its regional axis the justification it has long sought to militarily intervene.

….

May 5, 2013 (LD) – Unprovoked, Israel has attacked Syria numerous times over the past 2 days, including attacks on the Syrian capital of Damascus, in what appears to be a series of intentional provocations designed to drag the region into a wider conflict its US sponsors can then enter militarily. Neither attacked directly by Syria, nor able to cite credible evidence in regards to perceived threats Israel claims to be reacting to, the assault on Syria represents a Chapter VII breach of the United Nations Charter.

What’s more, is that while the US feigns disassociation with Israel’s breach of international peace, after jointly fueling a genocidal sectarian conflict within Syria’s borders for the past two years, it is documented fact that the US and Saudi Arabia planned to use Israel to conduct military attacks against Iran and Syria, they themselves could not justify politically, legally, or strategically.

What is now hoped is that Syria and Iran retaliate militarily, allowing the “other shoe to drop,” and for the US, UK, France, and their regional axis to directly intervene in Syria, and with any luck, Iran.

Insidious Ploy Engineered and Documented in 2007-2009

As early as 2007, it was reported that a US-Saudi-Israeli conspiracy to overthrow the governments of Iran and Syria by arming sectarian terrorists, many linked directly to Al Qaeda, was already set in motion. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 New Yorker article, “The Redirection,” stated (emphasis added):

“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 coöperated 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.”

Of Israel and Saudi Arabia’s partnership it specifically stated:
“The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat. They have been involved in direct talks, and the Saudis, who believe that greater stability in Israel and Palestine will give Iran less leverage in the region, have become more involved in Arab-Israeli negotiations.”

Additionally, Saudi Arabian officials mentioned the careful balancing act their nation must play in order to conceal its role in supporting US-Israeli ambitions across the region. It was stated even then, that using Israel to publicly carry out attacks on Iran would be preferable to the US, which would ultimately implicate the Saudis. It was stated:

“The Saudi said that, in his country’s view, it was taking a political risk by joining the U.S. in challenging Iran: Bandar is already seen in the Arab world as being too close to the Bush Administration. “We have two nightmares,” the former diplomat told me. “For Iran to acquire the bomb and for the United States to attack Iran. I’d rather the Israelis bomb the Iranians, so we can blame them. If America does it, we will be blamed.””

This ploy was further developed in 2009 by the Fortune 500-funded (page 19) Brookings Institution in their document, “Which Path to Persia?” In regards to Iran, and now clearly being utilized against Syria, the gambit was described as follows (emphasis added):

…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.) ” -page 84-85, Which Path to Perisa?, Brookings Institution.

And:

“Israel appears to have done extensive planning and practice for such a strike already, and its aircraft are probably already based as close to Iran as possible. as such, Israel might be able to launch the strike in a matter of weeks or even days, depending on what weather and intelligence conditions it felt it needed.  Moreover, since Israel would have much less of a need (or even interest)  in securing regional support for the operation, Jerusalem probably would feel less motivated to wait for an Iranian provocation before attacking. In short, Israel could move very fast to implement this option if both Israeli and American leaders wanted it to happen.

However, as noted in the previous chapter, the airstrikes themselves are really just the start of this policy. Again, the Iranians would doubtless rebuild their nuclear sites. They would probably retaliate against Israel, and they might retaliate against the United States, too (which might create a pretext for American airstrikes or even an invasion).” -page 91, Which Path to Perisa?, Brookings Institution.

And Israel not waiting for a plausible justification to attack Syria is exactly what has just happened. It should also be noted in particular, the last paragraph which gives insight into what the US-led axis plans to do after this egregious international crime – that is – to incrementally engulf the region into a conflict it finally can justify its own entry into open military aggression.

What Should Syria and its Allies Do? 

Syria, Iran, Russia and other nations that support the besieged nation most certainly were aware of the Brookings document “Which Path to Persia?” and familiar with this strategy. It would be hoped that anything of value that the Israelis would seek to attack in order to provoke a much desired retaliation and subsequent war, would have been provided additional protection, or moved entirely out of range of potential Israeli attacks.

A media campaign to illustrate the hypocritical and very revealing convergence between Al Qaeda (the so-called Free Syrian Army or FSA) and Israeli interests would undermine whatever remaining support the battered and failing Western-backed terror campaign inside Syria may still have.

Additionally, Israel’s selection by the US to carry out this attack was done specifically because Israel has long-ago exhausted its international legitimacy. What it is doing in Syria is a blatant international crime, in direct violation of international law. Currently, Syria and its allies hold the moral high ground against an enemy who is no longer fooling the world. If it is calculated that Syria can survive Israel’s unprovoked brutality, it would be best to do little or nothing, and incur internationally the same outrage that accompanies Israel’s brutality against the Palestinians.

In light of the US using Israel as its proxy against Syria, should Syria and its allies retaliate, it would be best to do so through any proxies they themselves have at their disposal. Just as Hezbollah and the Palestinians now routinely defeat Israel both strategically and politically, Syria now faces an opportunity to do so again, only on a much bigger scale.

The outrageous actions of Israel, the despicable double-game the US attempts to play by feigning disassociation with its regional beachhead in Tel Aviv, and the silent complicity of the UN, has people around the world desperately seeking retaliation from Syria, or Iran, or both. In reality, this is precisely what the West hopes to achieve – a wider conventional war in which they hold the advantage. By refusing to retaliate directly, Syria cripples the West politically, highlighting the unprovoked nature of their attacks on a nation they claim is a threat, yet fails to strike back even when its capital is under bombardment. By responding through its own plausibly deniable proxies, tactical and political pressure can be put on Israel to end its aggression.
Continue reading »

Apr 112013
 

New York Times
C.J. Chivers
Eric Schmitt

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 rebel commanders

The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.

As it evolved, the airlift correlated with shifts in the war within Syria, as rebels drove Syria’s army from territory by the middle of last year. And even as the Obama administration has publicly refused to give more than “nonlethal” aid to the rebels, the involvement of the C.I.A. in the arms shipments — albeit mostly in a consultative role, American officials say — has shown that the United States is more willing to help its Arab allies support the lethal side of the civil war.

From offices at secret locations, American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive, according to American officials speaking on the condition of anonymity. The C.I.A. declined to comment on the shipments or its role in them.

The shipments also highlight the competition for Syria’s future between Sunni Muslim states and Iran, the Shiite theocracy that remains Mr. Assad’s main ally. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed Iraq on Sunday to do more to halt Iranian arms shipments through its airspace; he did so even as the most recent military cargo flight from Qatar for the rebels landed at Esenboga early Sunday night.

Syrian opposition figures and some American lawmakers and officials have argued that Russian and Iranian arms shipments to support Mr. Assad’s government have made arming the rebels more necessary.

Most of the cargo flights have occurred since November, after the presidential election in the United States and as the Turkish and Arab governments grew more frustrated by the rebels’ slow progress against Mr. Assad’s well-equipped military. The flights also became more frequent as the humanitarian crisis inside Syria deepened in the winter and cascades of refugees crossed into neighboring countries.

The Turkish government has had oversight over much of the program, down to affixing transponders to trucks ferrying the military goods through Turkey so it might monitor shipments as they move by land into Syria, officials said. The scale of shipments was very large, according to officials familiar with the pipeline and to an arms-trafficking investigator who assembled data on the cargo planes involved.

“A conservative estimate of the payload of these flights would be 3,500 tons of military equipment,” said Hugh Griffiths, of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, who monitors illicit arms transfers.

“The intensity and frequency of these flights,” he added, are “suggestive of a well-planned and coordinated clandestine military logistics operation.”

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.

These multiple logistics streams throughout the winter formed what one former American official who was briefed on the program called “a cataract of weaponry.”

American officials, rebel commanders and a Turkish opposition politician have described the Arab roles as an open secret, but have also said the program is freighted with risk, including the possibility of drawing Turkey or Jordan actively into the war and of provoking military action by Iran.

Still, rebel commanders have criticized the shipments as insufficient, saying the quantities of weapons they receive are too small and the types too light to fight Mr. Assad’s military effectively. They also accused those distributing the weapons of being parsimonious or corrupt.

“The outside countries give us weapons and bullets little by little,” said Abdel Rahman Ayachi, a commander in Soquor al-Sham, an Islamist fighting group in northern Syria.

He made a gesture as if switching on and off a tap. “They open and they close the way to the bullets like water,” he said.

Two other commanders, Hassan Aboud of Soquor al-Sham and Abu Ayman of Ahrar al-Sham, another Islamist group, said that whoever was vetting which groups receive the weapons was doing an inadequate job.

“There are fake Free Syrian Army brigades claiming to be revolutionaries, and when they get the weapons they sell them in trade,” Mr. Aboud said.

The former American official noted that the size of the shipments and the degree of distributions are voluminous.

“People hear the amounts flowing in, and it is huge,” he said. “But they burn through a million rounds of ammo in two weeks.”

A Tentative Start

The airlift to Syrian rebels began slowly. On Jan. 3, 2012, months after the crackdown by the Alawite-led government against antigovernment demonstrators had morphed into a military campaign, a pair of Qatar Emiri Air Force C-130 transport aircraft touched down in Istanbul, according to air traffic data.

They were a vanguard.

Weeks later, the Syrian Army besieged Homs, Syria’s third largest city. Artillery and tanks pounded neighborhoods. Ground forces moved in.

Across the country, the army and loyalist militias were trying to stamp out the rebellion with force — further infuriating Syria’s Sunni Arab majority, which was severely outgunned. The rebels called for international help, and more weapons.

By late midspring the first stream of cargo flights from an Arab state began, according to air traffic data and information from plane spotters.

On a string of nights from April 26 through May 4, a Qatari Air Force C-17 — a huge American-made cargo plane — made six landings in Turkey, at Esenboga Airport. By Aug. 8 the Qataris had made 14 more cargo flights. All came from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, a hub for American military logistics in the Middle East.

Qatar has denied providing any arms to the rebels. A Qatari official, who requested anonymity, said Qatar has shipped in only what he called nonlethal aid. He declined to answer further questions. It is not clear whether Qatar has purchased and supplied the arms alone or is also providing air transportation service for other donors. But American and other Western officials, and rebel commanders, have said Qatar has been an active arms supplier — so much so that the United States became concerned about some of the Islamist groups that Qatar has armed.

The Qatari flights aligned with the tide-turning military campaign by rebel forces in the northern province of Idlib, as their campaign of ambushes, roadside bombs and attacks on isolated outposts began driving Mr. Assad’s military and supporting militias from parts of the countryside.

As flights continued into the summer, the rebels also opened an offensive in that city — a battle that soon bogged down.

The former American official said David H. Petraeus, the C.I.A. director until November, had been instrumental in helping to get this aviation network moving and had prodded various countries to work together on it. Mr. Petraeus did not return multiple e-mails asking for comment.

The American government became involved, the former American official said, in part because there was a sense that other states would arm the rebels anyhow. The C.I.A. role in facilitating the shipments, he said, gave the United States a degree of influence over the process, including trying to steer weapons away from Islamist groups and persuading donors to withhold portable antiaircraft missiles that might be used in future terrorist attacks on civilian aircraft.

American officials have confirmed that senior White House officials were regularly briefed on the shipments. “These countries were going to do it one way or another,” the former official said. “They weren’t asking for a ‘Mother, may I?’ from us. But if we could help them in certain ways, they’d appreciate that.”

Through the fall, the Qatari Air Force cargo fleet became even more busy, running flights almost every other day in October. But the rebels were clamoring for even more weapons, continuing to assert that they lacked the firepower to fight a military armed with tanks, artillery, multiple rocket launchers and aircraft.

Many were also complaining, saying they were hearing from arms donors that the Obama administration was limiting their supplies and blocking the distribution of the antiaircraft and anti-armor weapons they most sought. These complaints continue.

“Arming or not arming, lethal or nonlethal — it all depends on what America says,” said Mohammed Abu Ahmed, who leads a band of anti-Assad fighters in Idlib Province.

The Breakout

Soon, other players joined the airlift: In November, three Royal Jordanian Air Force C-130s landed in Esenboga, in a hint at what would become a stepped-up Jordanian and Saudi role.

Within three weeks, two other Jordanian cargo planes began making a round-trip run between Amman, the capital of Jordan, and Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, where, officials from several countries said, the aircraft were picking up a large Saudi purchase of infantry arms from a Croatian-controlled stockpile. Continue reading »

Feb 222013
 
Global Research

Nicola Nasser
palestine (2)

The “unbreakable alliance,” which will be confirmed by the upcoming visit of President Barak Obama to Israel , will disqualify the United States as an honest broker of peace in the Arab – Israeli conflict in Palestine , a Palestinian veteran peace negotiator says.

This “unbreakable alliance” will doom whatever hopes remain during Obama’s visit for the revival of the U.S. – sponsored deadlocked “peace process,” on the resumption of which depends the very survival of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ leadership, and explains as well the Palestinian frustration, low expectations, unenthusiastic welcome and the absence of celebrations for their most cherished among world celebrities, in a stark contrast to the euphoria that is sweeping Israel in waiting for what the U.S. and Israeli officials are describing as an “historic” visit.

On February 19, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office released the official blue, red and white logo that will be on all documents and signs during Obama’s visit late in March. The logo shows the words “Unbreakable Alliance” written in English and Hebrew under a combined Israeli and U.S. flags.

During his visit, Obama will become the first ever serving U.S. president to receive Israel’s presidential medal to honor the fact that he has “established the closest working military and intelligence relationship with Israel in the country’s history: Joint exercises and training, increased security assistance every year, unprecedented advanced technology transfers, doubling of funding for Israel’s missile defense system, and assistance in funding for the Iron Dome system,” according to Steven L. Spiegel in Huffington Post late last year.

Speaking exclusively to RFI Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian veteran peace negotiator and member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Israel’s partner in signing the defunct Oslo peace accords, said the first – term Obama administration “have just managed to buy more time for Israel” to “create facts on the (Israeli – occupied Palestinian) ground.”

“Our experience has been really tragic with this American administration,” which “started with such high hopes and tremendous promises,” but “they backed down so quickly it was incredible,” she added, to conclude: “The U.S. has disqualified itself as a peace broker.”

Therefore, “there are no plans to celebrate” Obama’s visit to Ramallah, because “they haven’t forgotten the part he played” in aborting the PLO’s efforts in 2011 to win the United Nations’ recognition of Palestine statehood as a full member and in opposing its UN recognition as a non – member observer state the next year, according to Shlomi Eldar in Al-Monitor on February 14. Still, to make a bad situation worse, Obama will convey the same message to Abbas during his upcoming visit, because “our position has not changed” neither to Palestinian statehood nor to Palestinian national reconciliation according to U.S. State Department spokeswoman Olivia Nuland on February 19.

Obama will visit on the backdrop of a two –year old simmering Palestinian – U.S. political crisis, which potentially could explode in the aftermath of his visit.

The U.S. subscription to the UN recognition of Palestinian statehood would establish irrevocably the prerequisite to make or break the only viable “two – state solution” for the almost century – old conflict, because it would confirm the 1967 borders as the basis for such a solution and, consequently, will for sure defuse the time bomb of the Israeli illegal settlement enterprise in the Palestinian occupied territories and pave the way for the resumption of negotiations. However neither Obama nor the U.S. is forthcoming and they continue to “manage” the conflict instead of seriously seeking to solve it.
Continue reading »

Feb 052013
 

Fars News Agency

TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of the anti-narcotics squad of Iran’s Law Enforcement Police General Ali Moayyedi blamed the NATO forces for increased drug plantation, production and trafficking in Afghanistan.

“NATO’s presence in Afghanistan has not only contributed zilch to campaign on drugs, but also multiplied production of narcotics, exactly to the opposite,” Moayyedi said in a meeting with Head of Tajikistan’s Anti-Drug Agency here in Tehran today.

He added that Iran’s anti-drug measures along borders with Afghanistan have forced drug-traffickers to use other routes including Tajikistan, which, like Iran, shares lengthy borders with Afghanistan, to smuggle narcotics.

Moayyedi said that Iran and Tajikistan are trying to boost their cooperation and interactions against the harms that they sustain and the threats which are posed to them from their borders with Afghanistan.

Eastern Iran borders Afghanistan, which is the world’s number one opium and drug producer. Iran’s geographical position has made the country a favorite transit corridor for drug traffickers who intend to smuggle their cargoes from Afghanistan to drug dealers in Europe.

Iran spends billions of dollars and has lost thousands of its police troops in the war against traffickers. Owing to its rigid efforts, Iran makes 89 percent of the world’s total opium seizures and has turned into the leading country in drug campaign.

The Iranian police officials maintain that drug production in Afghanistan has undergone a 40-fold increase since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

While Afghanistan produced only 185 tons of opium per year under the Taliban, according to the UN statistics, since the US-led invasion, drug production has surged to 3,400 tons annually. In 2007, the opium trade reached an estimated all-time production high of 8,200 tons.

Afghan and western officials blame Washington and NATO for the change, saying that allies have “overlooked” the drug problem since invading the country 10 years ago.

In relevant remarks in November, Head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service Viktor Ivanov also blamed the US for a major part of the narcotics smuggled from Afghanistan to his country, saying that the volume of the drug cargos destined for Russia will decrease after the withdrawal of the US forces from the war-stricken country.

“I am convinced that the flow of (Afghan) drugs to Russia will decrease as soon as Americans withdraw from Afghanistan,” Ivanov told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

Ivanov, who had also previously criticized the anti-drug measures taken by the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, strongly hailed the US withdrawal scheduled for the end of 2014.

He also said that more than 100,000 people aged 15-34 died of drug abuse in Russia in 2011.

Ivanov said earlier that 30 tons of drugs, mostly from Afghanistan in the form of heroin, are trafficked into Russia annually. Continue reading »

Feb 012013
 

Wired
Spencer Ackerman

Ben Emmerson wants to be clear: He’s not out to ban flying killer robots used by the CIA or the U.S. military. But the 49-year-old British lawyer is about to become the bane of the drones’ existence, thanks to the United Nations inquiry he launched last week into their deadly operations.

Emmerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism, will spend the next five months doing something the Obama administration has thoroughly resisted: unearthing the dirty secrets of a global counterterrorism campaign that largely relies on rapidly proliferating drone technology. Announced on Thursday in London, it’s the first international inquiry into the drone program, and one that carries the imprimatur of the world body. By the next session of the United Nations in the fall, Emmerson hopes to provide the General Assembly with an report on 25 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Palestine where civilian deaths are credibly alleged.

That carries the possibility of a reckoning with the human damage left by drones, the first such witnessing by the international community. Accountability, Emmerson tells Danger Room in a Monday phone interview, “is the central purpose of the report.” He’s not shying away from the possibility of digging up evidence of “war crimes,” should the facts point in that direction. But despite the Obama administration’s secrecy about the drone strikes to date, he’s optimistic that the world’s foremost users of lethal drone tech will cooperate with him.

In conversation, Emmerson, who’s served as special rapporteur since 2011, doesn’t sound like a drone opponent or a drone skeptic. He sounds more like a drone realist. “Let’s face it, they’re here to stay,” he says, shortly after pausing to charge his cellphone during a trip to New York to prep for his inquiry. “This technology, as I say, is a reality. It is cheap, both in economic terms and in the risk to the lives of the service personnel who are from the sending state.

“And for that reason there are real concerns that because it is so cheap, it can be used with a degree of frequency that other, more risk-based forms of engagement like fixed-wing manned aircraft or helicopters are not,” Emmerson says. “And the result is there’s a perception of the frequency and intensity with which this technology is used is exponentially different, and as a result, there is necessarily a correspondingly greater risk of civilian casualties.”

Emmerson has zeroed in on the most heated debate about the drones, a subject around which there is little consensus and fewer facts, thanks to government secrecy. Do the drones kill fewer people than other methods of warfare? Or does their seeming ease of use make warfare easier to proliferate, and therefore kill more people — terrorist and innocent — than they otherwise would? There are several independent studies, mostly relying on uncertain local media reports from the dangerous places the drones overfly, and no agreement.

Continue reading »

Dec 232012
 

Global Research
Felicity Arbuthnot

Bush1_Hitler

 “I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. We have definitely adopted the position at the Peace Conference of arguing in favour of the retention of gas as a permanent method of warfare…. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.” (Winston S. Churchill, 1874-1965, from War Office  minute, 12th May 1919.)

As the sabre rattling against Syria gets ever louder, the allegations ever wilder and double standards, stirring, plotting and terrorist financing (sorry: “aiding the legitimate opposition”) neon lit, it is instructive to look at the justifications presented by US Administrations for a few other murderous incursions in recent history.

This month is the twenty third anniversary of the US invasion of Panama on 20th December 1989, as Panamanians prepared their Christmas celebrations. A quick check reminds the late Philip Agee recalling President George H.W. Bush telling the American people that the threat from Panama (pop: 3,571,185 – 2011) was such that: “our way of life is at stake.” Agee referred to this in his aptly named talk “Producing the Proper Crisis.”(i) Apt then as now. Nothing changes.

The aim of the invasion was to capture the country’s leader General Manuel Noriega and, of course, to: “establish a democratic government.” Regime change.
With the approaching transfer of control of the Panama Canal to Panama (originally scheduled for 1st January  1990) after a century of US colonial stewardship, America wanted to ensure it was in the hands of malleable allies.

Noriega a CIA asset, since 1967 (ii) who had also attended the notorious School of the Americas, at Fort Benning, Georgia, came to power with US backing, but seemingly his support for the US was cooling. To encapsulate a long story, the US kidnapped him and sentenced him to forty years in jail.
Plans to invade were called: “Operation Prayer Book.” It was later re-named “Operation Just Cause”, with General Colin Powell commenting that it was a moniker of which he approved as: ”Even our severest critics would have to utter ‘Just Cause’ whilst denouncing us.” (Colin Powell, with Jospeh E. Persico: “My American Journey”, 1995.)

All military marauding should simply be called: “Operation Silly Name 1, then 2,3,4” etc., until the numbers finally run out.
Twenty seven thousand US troops backed by Apache helicopters decimated much of the small country, with a defence force of just three thousand. George Bush Snr., said he was removing an evil dictator who was brutalizing his own people  (sound familiar?) and that the action was needed to:” protect American lives.” It was also to: “defend democracy and human rights in Panama” – and to “protect the Canal.” Surprise, eh?

Manuel Noriega was released from US jail in 2007, extradited to France which had awarded him the country’s highest honour, The Legion d’honneur in 1987. He remained in jail in France until December 2011, when he was returned to Panama, where he is still imprisoned.

In the near forgotten Panama decimation (unless you are Panamanian) the densely populated, poverty stricken neighbourhood of El Chorillo was incinerated by American actions to such an extent that it became named “Little Hiroshima.”

One woman charged that: “The North Americans began burning down El Chorillo at about 6.30 in the morning. They would throw a small device in to a house and it would catch on fire – then they would move to another, they burned from one street to the next, coordinating the burning on walkie-talkies.”
A US soldier was recorded stating: “We ask you to surrender … if you do not, we are prepared to level each and every building.”
“Everything that moved they shot”, said a city resident.

The dead were consigned to mass graves with witnesses stating that US troops used flame throwers on the dead, noting the bodies shriveling as they burned. Others were bulldozed in to piles.(iii)

There was worse. As the current self righteous, if contradictory statements flow from Washington and Whitehall about Syria’s unproven chemical weapons, proven facts relate to America’s.

“From the 1940s to the 1990s the United States used various parts of Panama as a testing ground for chemical weapons, including mustard gas, VX, sarin, hydrogen cyanide and other nerve agents in … mines, rockets and shells; perhaps tens of thousands of chemical munitions.” (William Blum: Rogue State, 2002.)

Further, on departing Panama at the end of 1999 they left: “many sites containing chemical weapons. They had also: “conducted secret tests of Agent Orange in Panama …” In the 1989 invasion, the village of Pacora, near Panama City: “was bombed with (chemicals) by helicopters and aircraft from US Southern Command, with substances that burned skin, caused intense pain and diarrhea.”
Many analysts felt that Panama was the testing ground for Iraq.

Nine months after the poisoning of Panama, on Hiroshima Day 1990, the strangulating US-driven embargo on Iraq was enforced by the UN, after the US Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie had given the green light for Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait, after Kuwait’s considerable provocation and financial and geographical destabilization.(iv.)

The hype over chemical and other weapons went in to overdrive, leading Saddam Hussein to comment: “I am afraid, one day, you will say ‘You are going to make gunpowder out of wheat.’ ”
Thirteen months after Panama, America led a thirty one country coalition to “reduce Iraq to a pre-industrial age.” The only chemicals released from Iraq were the poisonous mix from the bombed pharmaceutical and fertilizer factories, the car manufacturing plants and the factories of Iraq’s entire industrial base, including the compounds holding the chemical and biological substances, including medical ones, sold to Iraq by the US, UK Germany and others over the previous decades, sales ironically, still ongoing at the time of the onslaught. (v.)

Highly toxic and radioactive substances were introduced into Iraq however, in the form of up to seven hundred and fifty tonnes of chemically toxic and radioactive depleted uranium munitions (DU) which have a toxic “half life” of 4.5 billion years. Iraq’s litany of deformed, still born, aborted babies, infants born with cancers, the tiny graves, silent testimony to weapons of mass destruction of unique wickedness. Iraq was bombed for forty two days and nights.

The hyped chemical weapons alleged to have been manufactured by Iraq were, of course, never deployed.

On 24th March 1999, NATO began to liberate Kosovo from Serbia. (US Silly Name: Operation Noble Anvil) Kosovo had an estimated ten trillion dollars worth of “inexhaustible” minerals in the Trebca mines.

The “liberation” was seventy eight days of relentless bombardment, including use of depleted uranium weaponry. Twenty thousand tonnes of bombs were dispatched. Destroyed systematically were communications centres, fuel depots, airports, traffic communications, trains, markets, the Chinese Embassy – China was against the attack, NATO, resoundingly unconvincingly, said they had the wrong map. And of course, the media centre. Murdering journalists is now another routine, unaccountable war crime.

Before the attack, the Pentagon stated that the Army of Yugoslavia possessed at least two kinds of poisonous gasses, with the facilities to produce them. The US Department of Defense warned Slobodan Milosevic the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army : “If Belgrade uses poisonous gasses sarin and mustard gas against NATO, the response of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will be devastating.”

Oddly, after the air strikes began, NATO mentioned not one word to indicate that it was attacking Serbia’s US-stated capacity to produce chemical weapons. (Zagred Globus, 16th April 1999, pp 18-19.)

The industrial scale destruction, however, left the Trebca mines unscathed.

   On 14th August 2000, nine hundred heavily armed British, French, Italian, Pakistani and KFOR troops were landed from helicopters at the mines. Managers and workers tried to fight them off and were beaten, tear gassed with plastic bullets used. The resisting staff were arrested.
UN papers described the action as: “ … induction of democratization in Kosovo.” The attack in fact, paved the way for selling of the mines -containing “the inexhaustible” estimated 77,302,000 tons of coal, copper, zinc, lead, nickel, gold, silver, marble, manganese, iron ore, asbestos and limestone “to name a few” – to private foreign groups. (News reports, websites.)

The  “Kosovo Liberation Army” had been: “ … trained for years and supported with millions of US dollars and German Marks … through the CIA and BND” (German Intelligence) “for this war, misleadingly called a civil war”(vi) by NATO governments and spokespersons.

DU’s chemical and radiological properties were rained down throughout former Yugoslavia too. By 2001, doctors in the Serb run hospital in Kosovo Mitrovica stated that the number of patients suffering from malignant diseases had increased by two hundred percent since a 1998 survey.

A 2003 study by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) found drinking water and air samples contaminated in Bosnia Herzegovina. There was, of course: “no cause for alarm.” Pekka Haavisto, former Environment Minister of Finland, Heading UNEP, called for a wide and thorough scientific investigation to establish the full extent and hazards of the contamination. The US – cited as the only country to use DU weaponry in that conflict – blocked the request. (vii.)

However alarm was raised in Europe when Italian, Portuguese, Belgian and French peacekeepers in the region developed cancers, within a matter of months, a high proportion of those diagnosed died. Norwegian peacekeepers refused to be deployed.(viii.)

“Less than a month after the war in Yugoslavia ended in 1999, the British National Radiological Protection Board warned British citizens about the dangers from staying in Kosovo because of the contamination of its territories by D.U. weapons.”

The peacekeepers, of course were there for just weeks or months, the people of the region live there, the plight of their health and that of future generations ignored and forgotten by their “liberators.” They had other “tyrants” to topple, other populations to relieve of their lives and limbs and livelihoods.

Iraq, had again been bombed by the US and UK during the Christmas season of 1998, four months before the assault on Yugoslavia and had been back on the invasion radar ever since. The lies were familiar – and relentless, a currently topical example, one of of countless:

“2nd September 2002: Experts: Iraq has tons of chemical weapons.
“As some in the Bush administration press the case for a pre-emptive strike against Iraq, weapons experts say there is mounting evidence that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has amassed large stocks of chemical and biological weapons he is hiding from a possible U.S. military attack.
“Washington’s concern is that Iraq could supply those weapons to terrorist groups …  ‘If we wait for the danger to become clear, it could be too late’ said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Delaware, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.”

With Biden now Vice President, it is impossible not to wonder whether he has any input in to the Syria spin, with its uncannily similar words.

“Jon Wolfsthal, an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Iraq’s inventory is significant: ‘Iraq continues to possess several tons of chemical weapons agents, enough to kill thousands and thousands of civilians or soldiers’, Wolfsthal said.” (ix)

Further: “U.N. weapons experts have said Iraq may have stockpiled more than 600 metric tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, VX and sarin. Some 25,000 rockets and 15,000 artillery shells with chemical agents are also unaccounted for, the experts said.

“The concern is they either have on hand — or could quickly re-create the capability to produce — vast amounts of anthrax, tons of material”, was Wolfsthal’s additional spin.

“Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld” asserted :“… Iraq has mobile biological weapons laboratories, which would be nearly impossible for U.S. forces to target.” The lives of thousands of people were at stake, he said. Indeed, since the invasion, Iraqi deaths at American and British hands or that of their militias, and imposed puppet government, are nothing short of holocaustal.

According to Jonathan Schwartz, who revisited General Colin Powell’s pack of lies on Iraq to the UN on 5th February 2003 : “ My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence …”  Powell is now regretful.

Schwartz is unsympathetic. On the  fifth anniversary of Powell’s misleading nonsense, 5th February 2008, he commented: “As much criticism as Powell has received for this – he calls it ‘painful’ and something that will ‘always be a part of my record’ – it hasn’t been close to what’s justified. Powell was far more than just horribly mistaken, the evidence is conclusive that he fabricated evidence and ignored repeated warnings that what he was saying was false.”

The entirely illegal invasion of Iraq, based on a trans-Atlantic pack of lies had commenced just forty five days later. Operation Very Silly Name? “Operation Iraqi Liberation”: OIL.

The lies over Libya – which under Colonel Quadaffi came top of the Human Development Index for Africa – are of recent memory. Nevertheless a few reminders:

CIA paid Quislings abound in the above invasions and others over many decades. Meet General Abdul Fatah Younis, Colonel Gaddafi’s Interior Minister, who “defected to the opposition” – wonder what his price was – and became chief of staff of the insurgents: “ … he pleaded for NATO allies to arm the rebels with heavy weapons, including helicopters and anti-tank missiles, to defend the besieged city of Misurata.. He predicted the dictator  … would be ready to use chemical weapons in a last stand against rebels or the civilian population.” (Amazing, words straight out of the current Syria “opposition” check list.)

“Gaddafi is desperate now. Unfortunately he still has about 25 per cent of his chemical weapons, which he might use as he’s in a desperate situation. …”

“Col. Gaddafi is known to have around ten tons of mustard gas remaining from stocks that he had been destroying under the supervision of a United Nations body, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”(x.)

In context, back in 2002, Neil Mackay, multi-award winning investigations Editor of the Sunday Herald explained that: “Driven by greed and a profound lack of morality, the British government violated the Chemical weapons Convention by selling chemicals “that could be converted to weapons of war.”

Countries benefiting from UK sales, Mackay stated, included Libya, Yemen, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, India, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Turkey and Uganda, a charge the Department of Trade and Industry “clearly admitted.”

After Tony Blair’s embrace of Colonel Gaddafi in March 2004, the British government announced plans to send their experts to Libya to destroy the chemical weapons they had sold, stating that Colonel Gaddafi had mislead Blair over their existence. That they had the remittance documents seems to have escaped them. Identical to UK duplicities over Iraq.

Between the start of Libya’s destruction on 19th March 2011 and NATO taking over on 31st March 2011, the US and UK dropped one hundred and ten Cruise missiles on a country with a population of under six and a half million. When NATO assumed command of the “humanitarian intervention” they assaulted this minimal population with 26,500 bomb- releasing sorties.

There were, of course no Presidential tears for Libya’s lost children, whose demise would have been preceded by unimaginable terror, in an onslaught which had two Silly Names, one for the US: “Operation Odyssey Dawn” and one for NATO: “Operation Unified Protector”, the latter, comment defying.

Quadaffi himself lost three small grandchildren and three sons. In 1986 in another US bombing, he lost a just toddling adopted daughter.

Moments after she learned of his terrible death at the hands of a rabid NATO “protected” mob, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared on television laughing as she said: “We came, we saw, he died.”

What an age since she said: “I really believe that it takes a village to raise a child.” Now her beliefs are apparently to wipe out the village, its children, parents and lynch the village elder for a tele-opportunity of raucous mirth.

On 4th December 2012, Clinton warned that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad may be moving, guess what – a “chemical weapons stockpile.”

“We have made our views very clear.This is a red line for the United States. I’m not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against his own people, but suffice to say we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur,” she said at a press conference in Prague.
Weapons of course:  “could be used to contain sarin gas”, according to another U.S. official. Another added:  “ … we are concerned about any move that might signal that they are somehow ready to use those chemical weapons on their own people.” (xii.)

“Déjà vu all over again”, as the saying goes.

Syria responded on 6th December: “Syria stresses again, for the tenth, the hundredth time, that if we had such weapons, they would not be used against its people. We would not commit suicide,” Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Al Maqdad told Lebanon’s Al Manar television …”

“We fear there is a conspiracy to provide a pretext for any subsequent interventions in Syria by these countries that are increasing pressure on Syria.” Indeed. It would hardly be a first.

In late October US troops arrived in Jordan for a major joint exercise near the Syrian border. Operation Silly and Childish Name: “Operation Eager Lion.” Al Assad in arabic translates as: the lion.
Ironically the first allegation of Syria having chemical weapons would seem to have come from John R.Bolton, alleged by Congressman Henry Waxman to have persuaded George W. Bush to include the fairy story of Iraq purchasing yellow cake uranium from Niger in his 2003 State of the Union address.The allegation is unproven, however, since the documents are still classified.

Bolton is involved with a plethora of less than liberal organizations, including the Project for the New American Century, The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the currently in the news, The National Rifle Association.

Relating to Syria, it should also be remembered that the country has been under increasingly strangulating sanctions since 2004.

Former Chief Weapons Inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter has written that: “chemical weapons have a shelf life of five years. Biological weapons have a shelf life of three.” They also give off an “ether”, say experts, which can be picked up by satellite surveillance, which Syria, as Iraq before it is certain to be comprehensively subject of.

Heaven forbid Washington, Whitehall, Tel Aviv and the coalition of the coerced are crying “Wolf!” again. Heaven help anyone who believes them.

Notes

i.http://www.serendipity.li/cia/agee_1.html

ii.http://revcom.us/a/017/us-invasion-panama.htm

iii.http://www.addictedtowar.com/docs/panama.htm

iv.http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-war-on-iraq-five-us-presidents-five-british-prime-ministers-thirty-years-of-duplicity-and-counting/20510

v.http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0908-08.htm

vi.http://www.currentconcerns.ch/index.php?id=785

vii. http://www.iacenter.org/depleted/un_du.htm

viii.http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl1803/18030580.htm

ix.http://articles.cnn.com/2002-09-02/world/iraq.weapons_1_biological-weapons-weapons-inspectors-iraqi-president-saddam-hussein?_s=PM:WORLD

x.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8481250/Libya-Col-Gaddafi-still-has-quarter-of-chemical-weapons-stockpile.html

xi.http://news.yahoo.com/clinton-assads-chemical-weapons-red-line-us-170103890–abc-news-politics.html

From Panama to Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and Syria

Global Research
Felicity Arbuthnot

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Dec 182012
 

Business Insider
Sergel Stroken
Yelena Chernenko

Iran Revolutionary GuardsRussia is categorically opposed to the Turkey’s installation of Patriot anti-aircraft missiles along its border with Syria. Most have assumed that the Moscow’s opposition was driven by its friendship with embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

But Russian military experts tell Kommersant that Moscow is actually concerned that the missiles will be used in military action against Iran.

In spite of the fact that the planned location of the missiles is relatively far from the Iranian border, they could be easily deployed to any place in Turkey, and be used against Iranian rockets.

The experts Kommersant spoke with said that having the Patriot missiles in Turkey seriously increases the risk of armed conflict with Iran, which would not be able to strike back if the Patriot missiles are deployed.

Turkey has explained its request to NATO to put the Patriot missiles on its border with Syria as exclusively related to its need to defend itself from a possible attack from the Syrian army.

“But according to our information, there could be a second motivation for this actions, which is a preparation for military action against Iran,” said one diplomatic source in Moscow.

Russia has reacted extremely negatively to Turkey’s plans to install the Patriot missiles. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that this “increases the risk of military conflict,” and evoked Chekhov’s gun syndrome: if there is a gun on the stage in the first act, then it will be shot in the third act.

Western countries have reacted extremely skeptically to Russia’s concern. NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen called it “baseless,” and Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey’s self-defense plans was none of Russia’s business.

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Dec 172012
 

Global Research
Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

panetta

On December 14, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed a Pentagon order to deploy 400 US missile troops to Turkey.  According to Washington, the security of Turkey, NATO’s heavyweight, is threatened.  US military personnel will to be deployed to Turkey in the coming weeks to operate two US Patriot missile batteries.
According to the Pentagon’s spokesman, George Little:

“The United States has been supporting Turkey in its efforts to defend itself,… [against Syria]

“I’m not going to go into precise locations at this time, he added, “but I wanted to let you…know that we signed that order and that we are prepared in the context of NATO to support the defense of Turkey for an unspecified period of time.”

“The purpose of this deployment is to signal very strongly that the United States, working closely with our NATO allies, is going to support the defense of Turkey, especially with potential threats emanating from Syria,”  US Air Force News, December 14, 2012)

The Patriot surface-to-air interceptors are deployed to deal  “with threats that come out of Syria” According to U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. these threats “include Syrian strikes inside Turkey and fighting between the government and rebels that extends into Turkey”  (CNN, December 14, 2012):

“We can’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether that pisses off Syria,” said Panetta [sic] after signing the order Friday. (Ibid, emphasis added)

In addition to the US missile deployment, Germany and the Netherlands have confirmed that they will also deploy Patriot missiles in Turkey directed against Syria.

Not mentioned in the official Pentagon statement, this buildup of patriot missile batteries is not only directed against Syria, it is intended to confront Russia’s military presence  in Syria as well  as its support to the development of Syria’s air defense system.
The US-NATO Led Insurgency

The Pentagon’s initiative in Turkey is part of the US-NATO-Israeli led insurgency against Syria. In recent months, this insurgency has evolved towards an unofficial (yet de facto) allied invasion characterized by the presence inside Syria of French, British, Turkish and Qatari Special Forces.

These Special Forces are “embedded” within rebel ranks. They are not only participating in the training of rebel forces, they are also involved in de facto paramilitary command and coordination, in liaison with NATO.

In other words, member states of the Atlantic Alliance through their Special Forces and intelligence operatives on the ground  largely determines the nature and thrust of rebel activities. Of significance, the main fighting force directly recruited and trained by US-NATO, Saudi Arabia and Qatar is the Al Nusra Front, (see image right) an Al Qaeda affiliated militia involved in countless terrorist acts against civilians.
The Broader Middle East War

The US Patriot missile deployment in Turkey is part of a regional process of  militarization which includes the establishment of US command posts and the stationing of American troops in Jordan and Israel.  This  regional military deployment also threatens Iran.
Moreover, US-NATO-Israeli war preparations with regard to Syria are coordinated with those pertaining to Iran. The command posts in Israel, which oversee some 1000 US troops, in coordination with Israel’s IDF, are under the jurisdiction of  US European Command (EUCOM).

In a recent statement Iran’s chief of staff warned that the stationing of Patriot anti-missile batteries on Turkey’s border with Syria “was setting the stage for world war”
It is worth noting that in addition to the Patriot missiles in Turkey, Patriot batteries targeted at Iran have also been deployed to Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE and Bahrain (2010).

US Patriot Missile

Russia’s Air Defense Systems in Syria

In response to the US-allied missile deployment, Russia delivered advanced Iskander missiles to Syria, which are now fully operational, not to mention the ground to air Russian defense system Pechora 2M.

The Iskander is described as a surface-to-surface missile system “that no missile defense system can trace or destroy”:

The superior Iskander can travel at hypersonic speed of over 1.3 miles per second (Mach 6-7) and has a range of over 280 miles with pinpoint accuracy of destroying targets with its 1,500-pound warhead, a nightmare for any missile defense system.


Iskander Mach 6-7

Moreover, Syria is equipped with the modern Pechora-2M air defense system, which US military sources admit would constitute “a threat”, namely an obstacle, in the case “a no fly zone” were implemented in relation  to Syria.

The Pechora-2M is a sophisticated multiple target system which can also be used against cruise missiles.

Pechora-2M S-125 SA-3 surface-to-air defense missile system technical data sheet specifications information description pictures photos images video intelligence identification intelligence Russia Russian army defence industry military technology
Description
The Pechora-2M is a surface-to-air anti-aircraft short-range missile system designed for destruction of aircraft, cruise missiles, assault helicopters and other air targets at ground, low and medium altitudes.

Ground to air defense Russian Pechora 2M deployed to Syria (above)

Russia Stands Firmly in Support of Syria

Contrary to recent reports, Russia is supporting the government of Bashar al Assad.
On December 14, the Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed rumors, largely instrumented by Western press agencies and the New York Times, that Moscow had changed its position with regard to Syria. The media hype plastered on news headlines was based on an unofficial off-the-cuff statement by Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mikhail Bodganov;

“We must face the facts: the current tendency shows that the government is progressively losing control over an increasing part of the territory,” Bogdanov told the Public Chamber. “An opposition victory can’t be ruled out.”

The statement had nothing to do with Russia’s stance with regard to Syria. In fact quite the opposite, Moscow has increased its military cooperation with Damascus in response to Western threats.

“…We never changed our position, and will not do so in the future,” said Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lukashevich at a press briefing in Moscow.

It is worth noting that on December 5,  Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov accused Western countries of violating the arms embargo by transferring “extensive supplies of  weapons to the Syrian “opposition” which is in large part composed of Al Qaeda affilated militia,

Dangerous Crossroads in Russia-US Relations

Washington and its allies have consistently supported the various terrorist entities which are part of the “opposition” rebel forces.

In recent developments, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is threatening to execute a Ukrainian journalist (see photo Below) and has also announced that they will “kill Russians and Ukrainians nationals” in Syria.

Анхар Кочнева сирия хомс 2012 октябрь коллаж

The Free Syria Army (FSA) are the foot-soldiers of the Western military alliance. Without Western support they would not be able to confront Syrian government forces.

The decision to threaten and target Russian nationals did not emanate from the “opposition” rebel forces, but directly from Washington.

These threats constitute a deliberate act of provocation against the Russian government which is providing military support to Syria. “Opposition” forces in consultation with US-NATO are now threatening Russia, which is an ally of Syria.

We are at a dangerous crossroads: while Patriot missiles are installed in Turkey, Russian Iskander missiles are deployed in Syria.

French, British, Turkish and Qatari special forces are involved in the recruitment and training of FSA rebels, which are in large part mercenaries. The FSA is now targeting Russian citizens in Syria on the orders of Washington, leading to a potential breakdown in international diplomacy.

Moscow considers these threats as “akin to a declaration of war” stating that “the armed insurgents in Syria [supported by the West] have been emboldened to a point that they have stepped into an area where they are beyond the law.”

Is the threat directed against Russian nationals in Syria the prelude towards a broader process of confrontation between US-NATO and Russia?

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Dec 142012
 

Global Research
Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Modeled on the Saddam Hussein WMD narrative, the propaganda ploy concerning the alleged threat of Syria’s chemical weapons has been building up over several months.

Iskander Mach 6-7

The Western media suggests –in chorus and without evidence– that a “frustrated” and “desperate” president Bashar al Assad is planning to use deadly chemical weapons against his own people. Last week, U.S. officials revealed to NBC News that “Syria’s military has loaded nerve-gas chemicals into bombs and are awaiting final orders from al-Assad”.

Western governments are now accusing Syria of planning a diabolical scheme on the orders of the Syrian head of State. Meanwhile, the media hype has gone into full gear. Fake reports on Syria’s WMD are funneled into the news chain, reminiscent of the months leading up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The evolving media consensus is that “the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad appears to be entering its twilight” and that the “international community” has a responsibility to come to the rescue of the Syrian people to prevent the occurrence of a humanitarian disaster.

“… Fears are growing in the West that Syria will unleash chemical weapons in a last-ditch act of desperation”

Recent reports that the embattled government of Syria has begun preparations for the use of chemical weapons [against the Syrian people] . After two years of civil war and more than 40,000 deaths, events in Syria may be heading to a bloody crescendo. (WBUR, December 11, 2012)

The antiwar critics have largely underscored the similarities with the Iraq WMD ploy, which consisted in accusing the government of Saddam Hussein of possessing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

The alleged WMD threat was then used as a justification to invade Iraq in March 2003. The WMD Iraq ploy was subsequently acknowledged in the wake of the invasion as an outright fabrication, with president George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair actually recognizing that it was a “big mistake”. In a recent statement Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for ‘lying’ Blair and Bush to face trial in the Hague`s International Criminal Court

Syria versus Iraq

The Syria WMD saga is in marked contrast to that of Iraq. The objective is not to” justify” an all out humanitarian war on Syria, using chemical weapons as a pretext.

An examination of allied military planning as well as the nature of US-NATO support to the opposition forces suggests a different course of action to that adopted in relation to Iraq (2003) and Libya (2011).

The purpose is indeed to demonize Bashar Al Assad but the objective at this stage is not the conduct of an all out “shock and awe” war on Syria, involving a full fledged air campaign. Such an action would, under present conditions, be a highly risky undertaking. Syria has advanced air defense capabilities, equipped with Russian Iskander missiles (see image) as well as significant ground forces. A Western military operation could also lead to a response from Russia, which has a naval base at the port city of Tartus in Southern Syria.

Moreover, Iranian forces from its revolutionary guards corps (IRGC) are present on the ground in Syria; Russian military advisers are involved in the training of the Syrian military.

In recent developments, Syria took delivery of the more advanced Russian Iskander missile system, the Mach 6-7, in response to the deployment of US Made Patriot missiles in Turkey. Syria already possesses the less advanced E-Series Iskander. Syria is also equipped with the Russian ground to air defense missile system Pechora-2M. (see video below)

Iskander Mach 6-7

Description

The Pechora-2M is a surface-to-air anti-aircraft short-range missile system designed for destruction of aircraft, cruise missiles, assault helicopters and other air targets at ground, low and medium altitudes.

Ground to air defense Russian Pechora 2M deployed to Syria

Non-Conventional Warfare

At this juncture, despite US-NATO military superiority, an all out military operation, for the reasons mentioned above, is not contemplated.

Non-conventional warfare remains the chosen avenue. Reports confirm that NATO-led military operations would be largely in support of rebel forces, its command structure, communications systems, recruitment, training, the transfer to rebel forces of more advanced weapons. Part of this undertaking including the training of rebels is being carried by private mercenary companies.

A limited and selective air campaign in support of the rebels, using Syria’s chemical weapons bunker stockpiles as a pretext could be contemplated, but even this would be a risky undertaking given Syria’s air defense capabilities.

What was on the drawing board of a recent “Semi-Secret” Meeting in London, hosted by General Sir David Julian Richards, head of Britain’s Defense Staff is a coordinated military agenda characterised by “air and naval support, plus military training for the opposition”.

The meeting in London included the participation of the military chiefs of France, Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE and the US. No further details were made public (See Felicity Arbuthnot, Secret Meetings in London Plotting to Wage War on Syria without UN Authorization, Global Research, December 11, 2012

The thrust of this London gathering behind closed doors (reported on December 10, 2012) was to support a unified military command structure of opposition forces designed to “unify insurgent ranks” fighting government forces. In practice, this will require a renewed influx of mercenaries under the supervision of Western special forces which are already on the ground inside Syria.

Staging a Humanitarian Disaster?

The training component of US-NATO action is of crucial importance. How does it relate to the Syria ‘chemical weapons’ issue?

The Western military alliance does not contemplate at this stage an all out war in response to Syria’s possession of chemical weapons. What is contemplated is the need to train the opposition rebels in the handling of chemical weapons.

This specialized training program which was confirmed is already ongoing, implemented with the support of specialized private mercenary and security companies on contract to the Pentagon:

“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday. ( CNN Report, December 9, 2012)

What is unfolding is a diabolical scenario –which is an integral part of military planning– namely a situation where opposition terrorists advised by Western defense contractors are actually in possession of chemical weapons.

This is not a rebel training exercise in non-proliferation. While president Obama states that “you will be held accountable” if “you” (meaning the Syrian government) use chemical weapons, what is contemplated as part of this covert operation is the possession of chemical weapons by the US-NATO sponsored terrorists, namely “by our” Al Qaeda affiliated operatives, including the Al Nusra Front (see image on right), which constitutes the most effective Western supported and trained fighting group, largely integrated by foreign mercenaries. In a bitter twist, Jabhat al-Nusra, a US sponsored “intelligence asset” was recently put on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.

The West claims that it is coming to the rescue of the Syrian people, whose lives are allegedly threatened by Bashar Al Assad. The truth of the matter is that the Western military alliance is not only supporting the terrorist, including the Al Nusra Front, it is also making chemical weapons available to its proxy “opposition” rebel forces.

The next phase of this diabolical scenario is that the chemical weapons could be used by the “opposition” terrorists against civilians, which could potentially lead an entire nation into a humanitarian disaster.

The Syria Chemical Weapons Pretext: Background

The Syria Chemical Weapons Saga was launched last Summer. In early August, the Pentagon announced that it would send “small teams of special operations troops” into Syria with a view to destroying Syria’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). These teams would in turn be supported by “precision air strikes”, namely air raids. An all out aerial attack was not contemplated. According to the Pentagon, the precision strikes were intended to “destroy the chemical weapons without dispersing them in the air”, a highly risky undertaking…

Ironically, at the outset of this diabolical plan, the US special forces incursion and air operation were not to be directed against the Syrian regime. In fact quite the opposite. The stated intent of the operation was to protect civilians against “opposition” rebels, rather than government forces.

No accusations were directed against President Bashar al Assad to the effect that he was underhandedly conniving to use WMD against Syrian civilians. According to the Pentagon, the operation was to ensure that Syria’s WMDs, which allegedly “are left unguarded” in military bunkers around the country do not fall in the hands of opposition jihadist rebels who are fighting government forces:

Pentagon planners are more focused on protecting or destroying any Syrian stockpiles that are left unguarded and at risk [of] falling into the hands of rebel fighters or militias aligned with Al Qaeda, Hezbollah or other militant groups. ( U.S. has plans in place to secure Syria chemical arms – latimes.com, August 22, 2012

What the Pentagon was saying in August, was that these WMD could fall in the hands of the “pro-democracy” freedom fighters recruited and financed by several of America’s close allies including Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, in liaison with Washington and NATO headquarters in Brussels.

In essence, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was refuting his own lies. In August he acknowledged the terrorist threat, now he is accusing Bashar Al Assad. Tacitly acknowledged by Washington, the majority of the Syrian freedom fighters are not only foreign mercenaries, they also belong to extremist Islamist groups, which are on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.

Israel is a partner in the Syria chemical weapons operation in liaison with NATO and the Pentagon.

Training Terrorists in the Use of Chemical Weapons

If the Obama administration were genuinely concerned in preventing these chemical weapons from falling “in the wrong hands” (as suggested by the Pentagon in August), why then are they now training “opposition rebels” –largely composed of Salafist and Al Qaeda affiliated fighters– to gain control over government stockpiles of chemical weapons?

The training [in chemical weapons], which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.

The nationality of the trainers was not disclosed, though the officials cautioned against assuming all are American. (CNN, December 09, 2012)

While the news report does not confirm the identity of the defense contractors, the official statements suggest a close contractual relationship to the Pentagon:

The US decision to hire unaccountable defense contractors to train Syrian rebels to handle stockpiles of chemical weapons seems dangerously irresponsible in the extreme, especially considering how inept Washington has so far been at making sure only trustworthy, secular rebels – to the extent they exist – receive their aid and the weapons that allies in the Gulf Arab states have been providing.

It also feeds accusations that the Syrian Foreign Ministry recently made that the US is working to frame the Syrian regime as having used or prepared for chemical warfare.

“What raises concerns about this news circulated by the media is our serious fear that some of the countries backing terrorism and terrorists might provide the armed terrorist groups with chemical weapons and claim that it was the Syrian government that used the weapons,” the letters said.”( John Glaser, Us Defense Contractors Training Syrian Rebels, Antiwar.com, December 10, 2012, See also CNN Report, December 9, 2012)

The central question is: what is the nature of this gruesome covert operation? Is the purpose of the US-NATO led operation to “prevent” or “encourage” the use of chemical weapons by the Free Syrian Army (FSA)?

The above report confirms that the US and NATO are training terrorists in the use of chemical weapons. Does this type of specialized training require the actual handling of toxic chemicals? In other words, is the Western military alliance, through its appointed defense contractors, making chemical weapons available to terrorists for training purposes?

Knowing that the Syrian insurgency is in large part made up of jihadists and Al Qaeda affiliated formations, this is hardly a means to “preventing” the actual use of chemical weapons against civilians. Moreover, amply documented, many of the “opposition” rebels who are receiving training in chemical weapons, have committed countless atrocities directed against Syrian civilians, including the massacres in Houla:

“Terrorist groups may resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people… after having gained control of a toxic chlorine factory,” the foreign ministry said Saturday.” (Press TV, December 8, 2012)

I should be noted that the use of chemical weapons by opposition forces does not require that the rebels actually secure control over government stockpiles. Chemical weapons can easily be made available (from Western stockpiles) to the defense contractors involved in the specialized chemical weapons training programs.

Needless to say, the chemical weapons training and the involvement of private mercenary outfits on contract to NATO and the Pentagon, increase the risk; they create conditions which favor the use of chemical weapons by opposition forces, thereby potentially triggering a nationwide humanitarian disaster.

The US-NATO coalition has clarified at its “semi-secret” meeting in London (reported on December 10), however, that it does not contemplate “boots on the ground”. The special forces will be working with the opposition insurgency against government forces.

In the absence of an all out US-NATO military operation, the focus is on non-conventional warfare. In this context, one of the diabolical “options on the table” is to create conditions whereby chemical weapons “fall in the hands” of the terrorists thereby potentially triggering a nationwide humanitarian disaster.

While this option would not require US-NATO military intervention, the humanitarian catastrophe would set the stage for the collapse of the Syrian government, namely the long sought objective of “regime change”.

The Libya or Iraq model is not an option. The strategic choice of the Western military alliance points towards the possible staging of a humanitarian catastrophe?

In the logic of war propaganda and media disinformation, the deaths of civilians resulting from the use of chemical weapons would be blamed on President Bashar Al Assad, with a view to enforcing subsequent actions by the US-NATO military alliance.

We are not suggesting that this option will inevitably be carried out. What we are saying is that the option of a staged humanitarian disaster is on the US-NATO drawing board.

How can we ensure that this gruesome and diabolical option be thwarted and definitively shelved?

The issue must be brought into the open. Public opinion must be mobilized against the US-NATO-Israel led war.

Denounce the Déjà Vu WMD lies.

Challenge the mainstream media consensus.

Reveal and refute the lies and fabrications concerning Syria’s chemical weapons program.

Spread the word, far and wide,

Bring the issue to the forefront of public debate, Confront the war criminals in high office.

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