Anatomy of a Massacre (Afghanistan)


Reporter Yalda Hakim of Australia’s SBS network has become the first western journalist to visit the villages where a U.S. soldier allegedly killed 17 people.

In a remarkable report she talks with some of the survivors and some Afghan guards on duty at the military camp from where Staff Sgt. Robert Bales left on his alleged killing spree.

                    



Source: http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/28/grieving-survivors-describe-afghan-massacre/?hpt=ias_t2

Asad'i devirme stratejisinde yol haritasi

Fehim Tastekin - 27/3/2012 - Radikal

Türkiye’nin Suriye stratejisi nedir? Yanıtı en çok aranan soru bu. Üst düzey bir yetkiliyle bunu konuşuyoruz. Görünen o ki, Suriye siyaseti iç ve dış faktörlere bağlı olarak yolda diziliyor. Askeri müdahale, tampon bölge ya da muhaliflerin silahlandırılması gibi gri bırakılan alanlar bir yana net olan tek şey şu: Hükümet, Esad rejimini bitirmeye endeksli bir sürece öncülük ediyor. “Eninde sonunda bu rejim gidecek.” Parola bu. Ankara burada ısrarlı. BM-Arap Birliği Özel Temsilcisi Kofi Annan’ın siyasi çözüm arayışına da fazla prim verilmiyor. Bütün bir strateji muhaliflerin hem sivil hem askeri alanda tek çatı altında toplanmasına bağlı. Bu açıdan dün İstanbul’da başlayan Suriye Ulusal Konseyi’nin (SUK) toplantısına kritik önem atfediliyor. 200 farklı grubun davetli olduğu toplantıdan beklentiler, aynı zamanda Ankara’nın Esad’ı devirme stratejisinin temel taşlarını oluşturuyor: “Muhalifler tüm kesimleri temsil eden bir yapı ortaya çıkaracak. Kürtlerin de katılımı sağlanacak. Muhalifler nasıl bir Suriye inşa edeceklerine dair bir ulusal sözleşme belgesi yayımlayacak. Özgür Suriye Ordusu (ÖSO) ile SUK arasındaki ilişkiler tanzim edilecek. ÖSO kendi başına hareket eden çete görüntüsünden kurtulacak ve SUK’a bağlı kalacak. SUK ‘kurucu meclis’ gibi olacak. 1 Nisan’da İstanbul’da ‘Suriye’nin Dostları’ toplantısına giderken bu bütünlük sağlanmış olacak. Böylece Dostlar, SUK’u ‘Suriye halkının tek temsilcisi’ olarak kabul edecek.” Tunus’taki ilk toplantıda SUK ‘bir temsilci’ olarak tanınmıştı.

Diplomatik tecrit


Diplomatik tecridin derinleştirilmesi ise stratejinin bir diğer ayağını oluşturuyor. Şam’daki elçisini çeken Türkiye’nin adımını başkalarının izlemesi bekleniyor. Kulislerde Dostlar toplantısında Suriye’nin diğer ülkelerdeki büyükelçilerini gönderme önerisinin de tartışılacağı söyleniyor. Böyle bir karar benimsenirse haliyle Ankara’daki Suriye elçisi gönderilecek. Ancak tecridin ne kadar işe yarayacağı meçhul. Çünkü sürecin askeri boyutuyla, özellikle asi orduya biçilen rolle ilgili belirsizlikler var. Gerçi ABD Başkanı Barack Obama’nın Başbakan Tayip Erdoğan’la Seul’deki toplantısından çıkan sonucu bakılırsa ABD muhaliflere iletişim araçları dahil ‘nonlethal’ yani ‘öldürücü olmayan’ yardımlara başlamış bile. Hem birbirinden kopuk milis güçleri organize etmek hem de ÖSO ile SUK arasında eşgüdüm sağlamak yani ‘siyasal talimatların sahaya ulaşmasını temin etmek’ açısından ‘nonlethal’ yardım çok önemseniyor. Muhalifleri silahlandırma konusunda Batı mütereddit. ‘Silahların nereye gideceğine’ dair endişeler var. Muhalefetin ‘tekin’ olması isteniyor. Türk yetkiliye göre bazı çekinceleri olsa da ABD, Esad’ın gitmesi konusunda net. Tabi kasımdaki seçime dek ABD askeri seçeneği öne çıkarmak istemiyor. Hem askeri müdahalenin nasıl olacağına dair tereddütler var hem de şu anda şartların elverişli olmadığı düşünülüyor. ‘İnsani müdahale’ seçeneğini dışlayan yok. Türkiye’nin de durduğu yer, ‘Müdahalede ısrarlı değiliz’ ya da ‘Batı’nın tek taraflı müdahalesine karşıyız’ şerhleri eşliğinde bundan çok farklı değil. Ankara, Bosna’da olduğu gibi ‘koruma sorumluluğu’ tezini öne çıkartırken müdahale için belli aşamalardan geçilmesi ve uluslararası mutabakat sağlanması gerektiğine vurgu yapıyor. Avrupa ise Türk yetkilinin deyimiyle ‘reel politik ile sahada olup bitenler arasında gelgitler yaşıyor.’ Esad sonrası İslamcı bir rejimin doğacağı ve Hıristiyan azınlığın tehlikeye gireceği gibi kaygılarla Avrupa frene basıyor. Esad destekçisi ülkelerin tutumu da sürecin yönünü belirleyecek. Rusya’nın kazanan tarafta olmak için son bir manevrayla Esad’a ‘güle güle’ diyebilir. Ama İran’ın çark edeceğine dair umut yok. Irak da Esad’ı devirme planında bir sorun. Bağdat’ın teminatlarının aksine İran’ın Irak üzerinden Suriye’ye sevkiyatları sürdürdüğü, buna ABD’nin engel olamadığı belirtiliyor. Özetle strateji muhaliflerin organize olma yeteneğine bel bağlıyor. Kürtlerin SUK’a katılımıyla ilgili temenni de olduğu gibi her cümle ‘olursa’ diye başlıyor. Ya olmazsa... İşte o zaman tarafların birbirini tükettiği kanlı süreç aylarca belki yıllarca sürecek.




Fehim Tastekin - 27/3/2012 - Radikal
Kaynak: 
http://www.radikal.com.tr/Radikal.aspx?aType=RadikalYazar&ArticleID=1083046&CategoryID=100

Muhalefet Muhalefetin Kurdu

Fehim Tastekin - Radikal - 19.3.2012

İslamcılardan gelen silahlı meydan okumalara 1982’de Hama katliamıyla verdiği yanıt, Hafız Esad’ı paradoksal olarak ‘cani’ değil kitlelerin gözünde kahraman yapmıştı. Şam’daki sarayına ‘Canımız sana feda’ diye kendinden geçmiş yüzbinlerin sırtında dönmüştü. Oğul Esad da aynı yolda ama bir farkla: Beşşar’ın bir ayağı babasının postalında, diğer ayağı değişimden yana çizmede. Geçen hafta muhaliflerin kalesi Humus’un düşmesinin ardından onlarca kentte Esad lehine gösteriler ‘de javu’ hissi verdi. Ne var ki babadan miras ‘demir eldiven’ Beşşar için artık iktidarın garantisi değil. Ama Esad’ın da şanslı olduğu iki nokta var: Birincisi düşmanları burun kıvırsa da reforma yönelik attığı adımlarla rejimin yaslandığı sütunları ayakta tutuyor ve arada kalan kitlelerin muhalif safa geçmesini önlüyor. İkincisi sürekli ‘mitoz’ bölünmeye uğrayan muhalefetin biçare hali Esad’a yarıyor.

SUK darbe alıyor

Türkiye’nin yönlendirmesiyle Libya senaryosunu Suriye’ye taşımak üzere 2 Ekim’de İstanbul’da kurulan Suriye Ulusal Konseyi (SUK) giderek kadükleşiyor. 26 Şubat’ta Müslüman Kardeşler’in ağırlığını protesto eden 20 kişi “SUK sokakları temsil etmiyor” diyerek SUK’tan ayrılıp Suriye Vatanseverler Grubu’nu kurdu. Ardından 13 Mart’ta 3 önemli isim Kemal Lebvani, Heysem Malih ve Katrin Teli, SUK’a bayrak açtı. SUK’a suçlama Özgür Suriye Ordusu’nu (ÖSO) silahlandırmak için gerekeni yapmamasıydı. Hatta Lebvani “Bazıları kişisel çıkar peşinde ve Maslüman Kardeşler sahada etkini artırmak için yardım ve silahları tekeline almaya çalışıyor. Yeni bir diktatör istemiyoruz” diye çıkıştı. 17 Mart’a gelince 5 farklı grup yine İstanbul’da SUK’tan bağımsız bir şemsiye ile sahneye çıktı. Bakmayın Anadolu Ajansı’nın haberi “Suriye muhalefetinden Suriye Ulusal Konseyi’ne destek” başlığıyla vermesine. El Cezire bile bunu ‘SUK’ta çatlak’ olarak değerlendirdi. Adı henüz konmamış olan yeni koalisyon, Ammar el Kurabi’nin başını çektiği Değişim İçin Ulusal Hareket, İslamcı İmaduddin el Raşid’e bağlı Vatan Hareketi, aşiret lideri Nevaf el Beşir’in Kurtuluş ve Kalkınma Bloku, Türkmen Ulusal Bloku, Kürt Yeni Hayat Hareketi’nden oluşuyor. Kritik 4 istek var: “İnsani yardım koridoru açılsın, tampon bölge oluşturulsun, uçuşa yasak bölge ilan edilsin, özgür ordu silahlandırılsın.” Kurabi, SUK dışında kalan muhalefeti bir araya getirmek istediklerini söylerken Raşid, SUK’u ‘zamanla kaybolacak geçici yapı’, kendi koalisyonlarını da ‘Esad devrildikten sonra da yaşacak oluşum’ olarak görüyor. Beşir’e göre SUK’un Suriye’de içindeki gelişmeler üzerinde hiçbir etkisi yok. Türkiye’nin kontrolünde diye Kürt partiler zaten SUK’u tanımıyor. Suriye içinde gösterilerin yayılmasında etkili olan ve çoğu soldan 13 grup ve 3 Kürt partiden oluşan Demokratik Değişim İçin Ulusal Koordinasyon Komiteleri de SUK’u kökü dışarıda salon muhalefeti olarak görüyor. Bu grup ayrıca dış müdahaleye karşı çıktığı için de SUK’la yolları ayrı.

Askeri rekabet

Özgür Suriye Ordusu ile SUK arasındaki ilişki de zoraki. Hatta Tunus’taki ‘Suriye’nin Dostları’ toplantısında SUK, Türkiye’de askeri konsey kuracağını ilan edince Özgür Suriye Ordusu komutanı Riyad Es’ad “Tanımayız” restini çekmişti. Nitekim çok geçmeden Hatay’da Özgür Subaylar Kampı’na yerleştirilen generallerin muhaliflere silah sevkiyatını organize etmek için askeri konsey kuracağı duyuruldu. Şubat başında tam da bu amaç için General Mustafa el Şeyh, Yüksek Askeri Devrim Konseyi’ni kurduğunu ilan etmişti. Özgür Suriye Ordusu’na yüklenen önem de abartılı. Hür Subaylar Hareketi ve Suriye Kurtuluş Ordusu gibi başka milis güçleri de var. Ve aralarındaki güven bunalımı yüksek. Hür Subaylar Hareketi’nden Teğmen Basem Halid sadece Türkiye’den yardım gördüklerini söylerken, muhalif liderlerin savaşçılara gönderilen paraları iç ettiğini öne sürüyor. Suriye Kurtuluş Ordusu’ndan Mifsud Abdullah da “Bizim bölgemiz (İdlib), Humus’tan sonra en fazla saldırıya uğrayan yer. Özgür Suriye Ordusu nerede? Onları tanımıyoruz” diyor.


Dostlar açığa düşüyor

Hem silahlı hem sivil kanatta yaşanan bölünme, SUK’u ‘Suriye’nin meşru bir temsilcisi’ olarak tanıyan ‘Suriye’nin Dostları’nı da açığa düşürüyor. Muhalefet kireç taşı gibi dağılıyor. Ama ‘Dostlar’ için bunun önemi yok! Kendilerini rejimi değiştirmeye kilitlemiş durumdalar. O yüzden Rusya ve Çin’in siyasi çözüm çabası karşılık bulmuyor. BM ve Arap Birliği Özel Temsilcisi Kofi Annan’ın girişimlerine kendileri bile şans tanımıyor. Rejimin sadece Alevi azınlığa dayandığı iddiasıyla ‘Sünni’ refleks kışkırtılıyor. Mesela Hama’da muhalifleri bastıran birliğin Sünnilerden oluştuğu, hatta rejimin milis gücü Şebbiha’nın da Sünnileri barındırdığı, ‘Doğu Akdeniz’i Korumak İçin Nusra Cephesi’ adlı grubun 23 Ocak 20011’de yani gösteriler daha henüz kitleselleşmeye başlamadan rejime karşı silahlı direniş ilan ettiği, silahlı eylemlerin rejimin değişmesini isteyen kesimleri bile Esad’ın yanına ittiği, rejimle özdeşleştirilen ama kendilerini bu yapının parçası olarak görmeyen Aleviler ve diğer azınlıkların kendilerini tehlikede hissettikleri gibi gerçekler görmezden geliniyor.


2 Nisan’dan sonra ne olacak?

Ama mesele akan kanın durması değil. Arap Birliği Sekreteri Nebil el Arabi, gayet net söyledi: “Suriye muhalefeti krizden sadece Libya senaryosu ile çıkılacağına inanıyor.” Ne var ki Rusya ve Çin’in vetosu yüzünden Libya senaryosu işlemiyor. Dış müdahale şimdilik mümkün olmadığına göre geriye BM’yi baypas eden dostlar grubu ve ‘iç savaş’ı kızıştırarak rejimi devirme seçeneği kalıyor. Türkiye burada baş aktör. Türkiye’nin ‘bölgesel sorunlara bölgesel çözümler bulunmalı’ formülasyonu da NATO adına gizli görev tanımına pek uyuyor. Sonra da Türk makamları, Türkiye’nin durumunu, Nikaragua’da solcu Sandinista iktidarını devirmek için saldırılar düzenleyen Kontralara topraklarını açan Honduras’a benzettiği için Guardian yazarı Jonathan Steele’e kızıyor.

İşaretsiz NATO uçaklarının Libya’dan İskenderun’a savaşçı ve silah taşıdığını yazan eski CIA casusu Philip Giraldi desteksiz atmakla suçlanıyor. Kimse çıkıp ‘rehabilitasyon’ adı altında güneyde arz-ı endam eden hatta geçenlerde bir otelde vukuat çıkaran Libyalı milislerin varlığını sorgulamıyor. Velhasıl Hatay’daki generallerden El Şeyh’in “Ordunun askeri ve teknik kapasitesinin sadece 30-40’u savaşa hazır. Ordu en geç 15 Mart’a kadar çöker” öngörüsüne yatırım yapanlar yanıldı. 2 Nisan’da İstanbul’daki Suriye’nin Dostları toplantısında perde silahlanmaya mı, yoksa diyaloga mı açılacak, bekleyip göreceğiz.

Saving Syria (!)


"It's a battle that shows no sign of abating - certainly not if the rebel group the Free Syrian Army get the weapons that they're looking for. Yaara Bou Melhem has been covering the rise of the Syrian opposition since last year. In recent weeks, she has gained extraordinary access as they gather the funds to buy the weapons they need - all under the leadership of a former human-rights lawyer, HAITHAM AL MALEH. Lawyers, guns and money - all in her fly-on-the-wall report. "

Watch to see how substantial  amount of money is collected to arm the terrorists who massacre innocents in Syria everyday..

New York Times interview with Lizzie Phelan



Earlier today I was video interviewed over Skype by New York Times journalist Robert Mackey about my coverage of events in Libya and Syria and my criticisms of the mainstream western and GCC media in relation to events in those countries.

This was my first interview by a mainstream western media organisation and I have been told that the video will be published in full tomorrow.

Prior to the interview I was sent three questions outlining the general topics that would be covered in the interview. In some ways the interview veered away from these topics and so here I will publish the questions that were outlined prior to the interview and publish my full answers to them, just because I feel like it is important that full responses are given to these questions in particular, and while I made most of these points in the interview, there are some points that I omitted.

ROBERT MACKEY: Since your impressions of what is happening in Syria seem to be strikingly different from those of many foreign reporters who have worked there recently, I wanted to ask you about how you found your sources and what you think accounts for the different picture painted of the conflict by other journalists.



Lizzie Phelan

LIZZIE PHELAN: First of all I hope that you will give me the opportunity to answer all of your questions in full, so that the context which is always lacking can be provided. I also hope that you will ask all the questions that you proposed when I agreed to do this interview. If not I will myself publish the full questions and my full answers.

This question is flawed, because what you really mean is that my impressions of what is happening in Syria seem to be strikingly different from those reporters from the NATO and GCC countries which have a vested interest in destabilising Syria. Of course my impressions are actually shared by the majority people of this world, from those countries outside of NATO and the GCC and particularly those which are victims of these powers. But because they do not own a powerful media their voices are drowned out by the impressions of the minority reflected in the mainstream media of the NATO and GCC countries.

So in relation to my sources, I find my sources through a number of different means, but my main means is I talk to ordinary people every where I go and in Syria this is not difficult because people are really keen to speak about the crisis in their country, especially to foreigners who they feel strongly have a false impression about their country and current events. This was overwhelmingly, but of course not exclusively, the point of view that I encountered. And this is reflected in my reporting.

In fact, like in Libya, I was so overwhelmed by the volume of people that wanted to talk about their anger at the fabrications in the media of the NATO and GCC countries that my colleague Mostafa Afzalzadeh and I decided to make a documentary so that we could reflect what ordinary Syrian people are really saying. This documentary will actually expose how if it was not for such media the crisis in Syria would have been over before it started and the people of Syria would be living in peace now.

The difference with journalists from mainstream media in NATO and GCC countries is that they come with an agenda, and that agenda is to cover what they call is a “revolution” happening inside Syria and to give substance to the false claims that the Syrian government is a threat to the Syrian people. So if for example they walk down the street and they have 10 people telling them there is no revolution happening in Syria and actually the people want the army to protect them from the terrorists that are flooding the country, and then they have one person who tells them that there is no democracy in Syria, they will discard the 10 as government spies and run with the one person who said something different, I witnessed this myself.

If they were to do the reverse and reflect the majority view on the street, then this would undermine the coverage of their media organisations over the previous 10 months that have painted a picture of a government hated by its people, and in turn it would undermine their own credibility as journalists working for those organisations.

But in time they will not be able to supress the truth. However, like in Libya the danger is that the truth only comes out when it is too late, when a country has been successfully destroyed by the NATO and GCC countries, with the vital help of their media. Then the western media can afford to be more honest, although never entirely, because the aims, for example of regime change, of their paymasters have been achieved.

I on the other hand am not concerned about towing a line in order to “make it” as a journalist working for one of the world’s most respected media organisations, I became a journalist in order to reflect the truth at whatever cost that may come. The only thing I am loyal to is my conscience.

RM: Since you have appeared on Press TV and Russia Today, as well as Syria state television, do you have any concern that you might seem to be endorsing the governments that finance those channels, or do you see your role more as that of an activist, opposing the policies of the US and UK, than as a neutral reporter?

LP: This question in itself is a very deceitful and loaded question, and it is taken out of all context. It implies that BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera etc and the journalists who work for those organisations are independent from their financiers. If I worked for BBC does that mean that I am endorsing the British government which funds it and that government’s centuries long and present abuses across the world?

Why is the NYT concerned about my work for Russia Today and Press TV? I challenge you to find me specific examples of journalists that work for these organisations that have engaged in bad journalistic practise. Why are you not concerned about journalists who work for Al Jazeera that is funded by and reflects the foreign policy of the Qatari emir and royal family. Al Jazeera has been proven many times over in the past few months to have published false reports about events in the region, not least Libya.

How can their journalists be neutral when their employer hosts the largest US military base in the region, and has been responsible for sending thousands of fighters, weapons and a lot of money to kill and destroy in Libya and is now doing the same in Syria in addition to having called for Arab troops to invade the country. Likewise, I have yet to hear the NYT question the “neutrality” of journalists who work with the British state funded BBC, or journalists who work for the Murdoch Press which is well documented to have strong connections with all the major western powers which are responsible for the greatest violations of international law.

So the question should start from the premise that no news organisations are neutral, and each represent a certain ideology. So if you ask me if I feel more at peace working for news channels which reflect the ideology of states that are defending themselves from constant attack by the west, that is an ideology that opposes foreign interference in their affairs and promotes their own independence, or would I feel more comfortable working for media organisations that reflect the arrogant ideology that western civilisation is superior and should be imposed across the world by any means necessary, then I think any person with the slightest understanding of global politics and at least recent history would say the former.

An additional deception in this question is that there is such a thing as neutrality and that journalists are able to separate their own beliefs in what they choose to cover and how they cover it, or indeed the pretence that journalists do not hold an opinion.

As I said, I am not concerned about others perceptions of these things, because anyone who perceives that because I have worked for Russia Today or Press TV it means that I am in someone’s pocket, whereas if I was working for a western organisation I would be “neutral,” is deceiving themselves and choosing to look at a tiny portion of a whole picture.

Incidentally, when I was stuck in the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli with those 35 other journalists, one of the days, two American journalists rushed into the hotel and swiftly exited when they realised that the hotel was being defended by Gaddafi supporters. Actually one of the two in particular was worried about the Gaddafi supporters harming him, but they requested that they just leave. Why was he so worried? Because he said he was related to somebody senior in the NTC no less. I have never seen his neutrality being called into question by the mainstream media.

Finally, what is an activist? If it means that the role you play has the effect of agitating events, then I would say that we are all in some shape or form activists. For anyone to think that their actions are benign and have no repercussions, is at best naïve. This is particularly true for all journalists, whose actions as reporters have greater repercussions than other ordinary citizens of this world. And this is of course because their voice is afforded a special platform, and when you study journalism you are taught that a reporter should act as the eyes and ears of the general public, and thus you have greater influence than the ordinary citizen.

So you either use that platform to promote justice and the principles of international law which are fundamental for everyone's well being, or you bury your head in the sand about the responsibility that comes with that platform and you use it to promote your own personal career or interests.

RM: I also wanted to find out more about your reporting from Libya, and ask how you respond to allegations that you supported the government of Col. Qaddafi? All in all, I'm trying to get a better understanding of what drives you to speak out against Western governments but apparently lend your support to governments, like those in Iran, Russia and Syria now, that have been accused of serious human rights abuses.

LP: Again this is another deceitful question and epitomises the manipulative approach of the world’s powerful media, such as newspapers like the NYT.

Here you are asking me this question because the west’s major powers and media criminalised Muammar Gaddafi, Iran etc by accusing them of abusing human rights.

So you are trying to put me into this trap by saying that if I support Muammar Gaddafi, and Iran I also support abuses against human rights.

But first of all this question of human rights is an absolute fallacy and is at present the number one stick used to bash leaders of independent developing countries in order to provide a moral justification for the imposition of the western system upon those countries.

My colleague Dan Glazebrook did an interview on Russia Today last week following the decision by Doctors Without Borders to stop their work in Libya in despair at the appalling torture against tens of thousands of pro-Gaddafi Libyans by those rebels who have been cheered on for the past year by the western media. He reminded the public that according to HRW reports from the past 5 years, there were three possible cases of deaths in custody in Libya over 5 years, which is really exemplary, but in Britain there were 4 cases last month alone. So I would be far more concerned about being associated with the British government and thus its appalling human rights record. And that is just Britain - the rest of the NATO countries, particularly the US and also Israel and the GCC countries fare no better.

Factually speaking Libya was a paradise for human rights and Muammar Gaddafi was due to receive a human rights award prior to the NATO onslaught. And of course Libya had the highest standard of living in Africa and much of the region, including a much higher standard of living than Saudi Arabia which hardly ever is in the spotlight in the mainstream western press.

Nonetheless, you wouldn’t dream of implying that a journalist who works for the Sun or the Guardian in Britain, both of which take a position of supporting one way or another the Conservative party or the Labour Party, of supporting abuses on human rights because they work for papers which support parties that have committed some of the greatest injustices known to man throughout history all across the world and up until this present day. Injustices which far outstrip any injustices that have occurred at the hands of any leader of a developing country.

So why the two-faces? This is all part of the prejudice in western media that western civilisation is superior to anything else and therefore those responsible for the injustices committed by the west need not be held accountable, and anyone who speaks out against that should have their name dragged through the mud.

Malcolm X famously said “if you are not careful, the media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the oppressor”, and that quote rings true more than ever today most recently in the way that the western and GCC media has covered events in Libya and Syria.

But to respond to your question directly, as I have stated, what I support is respect for international law, and the most important principle in international law, and one of the main stated aims for the body that was set up to uphold international law, the now redundant UN, is respect for the sovereignty of nations and non-interference in the internal affairs of states. Recent history shows that the root of the greatest injustices known to man is the violation of these principles and so anyone who violates these principles is a criminal and should be treated as such, and anyone who is a victim of such violations should be defended.

Now not only these principles, but all relevant international laws and norms were violated in the case of Libya and the west’s treatment of Muammar Gaddafi, and this has been well documented. The same violations are playing out against the Syrian government.

How is it that one can moralise about human rights, but not give a second’s thought to the fact that a senior member of the US government, Hilary Clinton called for the death of another head of state, Muammar Gaddafi, just two days before he was assassinated. I hope I don’t need to tell you that that was entirely illegal and abhorrent.

I am wholly against such violations, just as anybody who believes in international law and justice would be, and therefore I will support the right of anyone to defend themselves against this violation by any means necessary.

I have been accused by some of being a mouthpiece for the Libyan government but now the truth is coming out, we know that the essence of the former Libyan government's analysis has been proved correct, whilst almost everything reported by the mainstream Western media has been proved wrong:

- The rebellion WAS indeed armed from the very first day of the uprising (this was confirmed in Amnesty's in-depth report from late last year) - not a peaceful movement

- The rebels WERE working hand in glove with Western intelligence agencies to facilitate a NATO blitzkrieg

- The NTC ARE disunited and incapable of governing the country.

- The rebels DO have a racist, even genocidal, policy towards sub-Saharan African migrants and the third of the Libyan population that is dark skinned

- Gaddafi's government WERE NOT conducting aerial attacks against protesters or mass rape (or indeed ANY rape, according to Amnesty)

- There HAD NOT been 10,000 people killed in Benghazi by Gaddafi's government during the uprising (as the NTC claimed), but 110 (Amnesty figures again) killed on both sides prior to NATO's attack

On every major issue, the Gaddafi government's analysis and figures have been proven far far closer to the truth than the NTC's and the western media’s initial and unequivocal position. So ANY journalist telling the truth about these issues would have "sounded like a mouthpiece of the regime", because the government's analysis was essentially correct, and has now been proven correct.

Syria: Armed rebels use Christians as human shields

BY JERRY DANDRIDGE – MARCH 26, 2012 – POSTED IN: INTERNATIONAL

President Obama condemned the Syrian government for trying to protect Alawites, Christians, the role of women in society, and all Syrians who oppose Sunni Islamic radicalism. President Obama commented that “I strongly condemn the Syrian government’s unspeakable assault against the people of Homs.” However, is President Obama going to condemn the ethnic cleansing of 90% of the Christian community from Homs by forces he eulogizes and whom he deems to be innocent?

If President Obama doesn’t condemn the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Homs then his silence, and the silence of others who also desire to “hide the civilization struggle,” shames all senior politicians and implies that they support the destruction of the Christian presence in this city. Therefore, will Obama condemn the radical Sunni Islamic assault against unarmed Christians?

If you turn the clock back to Iraq then 60% of the Christian community fled this country after the American led invasion. The “bleeding of the Christian presence” in Iraq is a clear reminder that the embattled Christians of the Middle East have been abandoned by the West. Therefore, they have been left to the sword of radical Sunni Islam. This in turn leads to greater militancy and hatred — and the next move is then against moderate Sunni Muslims who want to co-exist because their voices are crushed by indoctrination and fear.

It is ironic, because President Obama and Hillary Clinton will talk about the forces of good but it was the government of Syria which allowed 100,000 Christians to flee to this multi-religious society, which is based on secularism. Christians fleeing Iraq either stayed in Syria or the breathing space enabled them to move to other nations. However, it is clear that the government of Bashar al-Assad provided them with protection from the forces of radical Islam.

Agenzia Fides, Vatican News Agency, comments that “in Homs there is “an ongoing ethnic cleansing of Christians”, carried out by members of the “Brigade Faruq”, close to Al Qaeda…Militant armed Islamists — says the note — have managed to expel 90% of Christians in Homs and confiscated their homes by force.”

“According to Orthodox Metropolitan sources, the militants went door to door in the neighborhoods of Hamidiya and Bustan al-Diwan, forcing Christians to flee, without giving them the chance to take their belongings. The “Faruq Brigade” is run by armed elements of Al-Qaeda and various Wahhabi groups and includes mercenaries from Libya and Iraq.”

“The Vicar Apostolic of Aleppo, Mgr. Giuseppe Nazzaro told Fides: “We have no sources to confirm this information directly, but we can say that these relationships are beginning to break down the wall of silence built up to now by the press worldwide. In this situation Islamist and terrorist movements are making headway.”

Turning back to comments by President Obama, then he stated that “Assad must halt his campaign of killing and crimes against his own people now. He must step aside and allow a democratic transition to proceed immediately.” This comment, like the other about Homs, just shows you how out of touch the American government is under President Obama. After all, Sunni Islamists are spreading their terrorism — therefore, does the leader of America believe that forces loyal to Al Qaeda should take power?

Maybe President Obama, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, Hillary Clinton, and a host of others, support the ethnic cleansing of Christians? Their silence will be the answer to this question but clearly they won’t use inflammatory language either way because this is happening by opposition forces which support terrorism and religious hatred.

William Hague commented that “Syria should not belong to one family, to one coterie, or to one party. It belongs to all the people of Syria equally, in all their religious and ethnic diversity.” However, it is the forces of the opposition which is cleansing the Christian community and which is bent on implementing a monoculture on the Syrian people. Therefore, will he condemn the opposition which he supports for persecuting minorities, shackling women, blowing up innocents indiscriminately during ongoing terrorist attacks — and other brutal deeds being done by Sunni Islamic terrorists?

In Damascus under the firm control of the Syrian government you have Sunni Muslims, Alawites, Syrian Orthodox Christians, Catholics, secularists, and the entire mosaic of Syria. In Homs where opposition terrorists are spreading their hatred you have the ethnic cleansing of minorities and radical Sunni Islamization will then shackle women just like what happened in Afghanistan.

In an article published in the Los Angeles Time it is stated that “Syria’s Christian community has generally been regarded as supportive of the secular government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, which, despite its systematic repression of political dissent, has been tolerant of religious minorities.”

President Obama commented that “I strongly condemn the Syrian government’s unspeakable assault against the people of Homs.” Therefore, is Obama going to condemn the opposition for the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Homs?

If not, why not?

By Boutros Hussein and Lee Jay Walker – Source: Modern Tokyo Times

Washington’s “human rights” fraud


Bill Van Auken - 27 March 2012


“I do think we are on the right side of history, aligning ourselves with people’s aspirations for freedom, democracy, universal human rights,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared in a recent interview with the Economistmagazine. Describing Washington’s role in the world, she added that “we stand up and say we’re for all these universal values, they’re consonant with American values.”

Such conceptions, that the US role in the world is to promote freedom and export “American values” that are, in reality, “universal values” are nothing new. They go all the way back to the advent of American imperialism and the Spanish American War at the close of the 19th century. Then, as now, they have served as the default ideological cover for carrying out wars of conquest, military coups and repression in the interests of US finance capital.

As the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky noted scathingly in 1924, “America is always liberating somebody. That’s her profession.”

In the past week, the Obama administration has invoked “human rights” as the pretext for stoking a civil war in Syria aimed at bringing about regime-change, as the grounds for preparing war against Iran, and as a justification for ratcheting up military tensions with North Korea and China.

The US government’s posturing as the champion of universal human rights is a patent fraud. Its claims of outrage over violations of freedom and democracy in one or another country are steeped in hypocrisy.

Consider the case of Syria. In the drive to oust Assad and install a more pliant, anti-Iranian regime in Damascus, Washington is working closely with Turkey. According to a report in the New York Times Monday, the two governments are coordinating the provision of “non-lethal” aid to armed “rebel” groups that have conducted a series of terrorist attacks in the country.

While putting itself forward as the defender of human rights in Syria, Turkey is engaged in a bloody campaign of repression against Turkish Kurds, a minority that makes up over 20 percent of the population. Turkish fighter jets have carried out repeated bombardments of suspected camps of the Kurdish separatist group, the PKK, frequently killing civilians. Mass demonstrations last week marking the start of the Kurdish New Year were met with a harsh crackdown by police employing water cannon, tear gas and truncheons. Some 40,000 people have lost their lives in this conflict since 1984, but Washington has evinced no particular concern for the fate of the Kurds.

The other major US ally in the crusade for human rights in Syria is Saudi Arabia, which together with Qatar is providing money and arms to outfits like the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council. While deploring repression in Syria, the Saudi absolutist monarchy, a key US strategic ally and the world’s top oil producer, is engaged in a ruthless campaign to crush unrest in its predominantly Shia eastern region. The Saudi mufti, the head of the powerful religious establishment, issued a recent fatwa calling for the beheading of anyone opposing the regime. Earlier, he proposed that Shiite rebels be crucified.

In neighboring Bahrain, the home of the US Fifth Fleet, the Saudi regime, backed by Washington, continues to support the violent suppression of a mass movement challenging the dictatorial Sunni monarchy that rules over and harshly discriminates against that country’s Shia majority. Needless to say, “universal” American values do not apply here.

Meanwhile, as Egypt’s military junta continues brutal crackdowns, Secretary of State Clinton has invoked US national security interests to waive congressional conditions on military aid that require that Egypt demonstrate progress toward democracy. This means the release of $1.3 billion in US aid to the country’s repressive apparatus. Administration officials candidly admit that the profits of corporations like General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin, into whose coffers the aid ultimately flows, easily trumped “universal” values.

If this commitment to human rights was indeed universal, one would expect that it would find powerful expression near to home. Yet the case of Honduras provides a telling indication of Washington’s contempt for basic rights in what it has long regarded as its “own backyard.”

Having given its tacit support to the military coup that toppled the elected government of President Manuel Zelaya in 2009, the Obama administration is turning a blind eye to the regime’s continuing murder, torture, illegal detention and violent attacks carried out against poor peasants, journalists, human rights activists and workers. Earlier this month, Vice President Joseph Biden was dispatched to Tegucigalpa to assure the government of President Porfirio Lobos, who came to power in an illegitimate election overseen by the coup regime, of continued US support. Washington has dramatically increased spending on military contracts in Honduras and military aid to the country, which hosts the Pentagon’s largest base in the region.

Nor, it must said, do the supposedly universal American values invoked to justify wars and destabilization operations abroad apply within the US itself. The Obama administration has claimed the right to sentence US citizens to indefinite military detention without trial and even murder them on the sole say-so of the president that they are “terrorist suspects.” Domestic spying has been sharply intensified and the illegal prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba remains open. As the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations showed, public challenges to the rule of the financial oligarchy are met with police violence.

Tired of unending “human rights” attacks from Washington, China has taken to issuing its own annual human rights critique of the United States, pointing to its 2.3 million prison population, the highest rate of incarceration in the world, everyday police killings and brutality, and the denial of elementary social and economic rights of employment, housing and health care to millions of Americans.

“The United States ignores its own serious human rights problems, but has been keen on advocating the so-called ‘human rights diplomacy’ to take human rights as a political instrument to defame other nations’ image and seek its own strategic interests,” the most recent report issued by Beijing states. “These facts fully expose its hypocrisy by exercising double standards on human rights and its malicious design to pursue hegemony under the pretext of human rights.”

The crass utilization of “human rights” to cloak predatory US imperialist interests recalls nothing so much as the claims heard in the 1930s from Adolf Hitler that he was acting to stop depredations against German populations, or from Mussolini that he was waging a war against a “savage regime” in Ethiopia.

It is the case today, just as much as it was then, that the hypocritical and selective invocation of human rights is directed not at upholding the genuine rights and interests of working people in Syria, Iran or anywhere else on the planet, but rather at preparing new wars that threatens the lives and welfare of millions.


Bill Van Auken
----

Libya and the manufacture of consent

By whitewashing the Libyan rebels and demonising the Gaddafi regime did the leading US intellectual Noam Chomsky help facilitate an imperialist invasion? In a wide-ranging interview with Chomsky, Dan Glazebrook asks him


'There were two interventions, not one, by NATO. One of them lasted about five minutes. That's the one that was taken under UN Security Resolution 1973, which called for a no-fly zone over Benghazi when there was the threat of a serious massacre there... but the three traditional imperial powers of France, Britain and the United States carried out a second intervention that had nothing to do with protecting civilians and certainly wasn't a no-fly zone, but was rather about participating in a rebel uprising'



This was a difficult interview for me. It was Noam Chomsky who first opened my eyes to the basic neo-colonial structure of the world and to the role of the corporate media in both disguising and legitimising this structure.

Chomsky has consistently demonstrated how, ever since the end of World War II, military regimes have been imposed on the Third World by the US and its European allies with an ascribed role to keep wages low (and thus investment opportunities high) by wiping out communists, trade unionists, and anyone else deemed a potential threat to empire. He has been at the forefront of exposing the lies and real motives behind the aggression against Iraq, Afghanistan and Serbia in recent years, and against Central America and Southeast Asia before that. But on Libya, in my opinion, he has been terrible.

Don't get me wrong: now the conquest is nearly over, Chomsky can be quite forthright in his denunciation of it, as he makes clear during the interview. "Right now, at this moment, NATO is bombing a home base of the largest tribe in Libya," he tells me. "It's not getting reported much, but if you read the Red Cross reports they're describing a horrifying humanitarian crisis in the city that's under attack, with hospitals collapsing, no drugs, people dying, people fleeing on foot into the desert to try to get away from it and so on. That's happening under the NATO mandate of protecting civilians."

What bothers me is that this was precisely the mandate that Chomsky supported.

US General Wesley Clark, NATO commander during the bombing of Serbia, revealed on US television seven years ago that the Pentagon had drawn up a "hit list" in 2001 of seven states they wanted to "take out" within five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. Thanks to the Iraqi and Afghan resistance, the plan has been delayed -- but clearly not abandoned. We should, therefore, have been fully expecting the invasion of Libya.

Given former US president George Bush's cack-handedness over winning global support for the war on Iraq, and Obama's declared commitment to multilateralism and "soft power", we should have been expecting this invasion to have been meticulously planned in order to give it a veneer of legitimacy. Given the CIA's growing fondness for instigating "colour revolutions" to cause headaches for governments it dislikes, we should have been expecting something similar as part of the build-up to the invasion in Libya. And given Obama's close working relationship with the Clintons, we might have expected this invasion to follow the highly successful pattern established by former US president Bill Clinton in Kosovo: cajoling rebel movements on the ground into making violent provocations against the state, and then screaming genocide at the state's response in order to terrorise world opinion into supporting intervention.

In other words, we should have seen it coming, and prominent and widely respected intellectuals such as Chomsky should have used their platform to publicise Clark's revelations, to warn of the coming aggression, and to draw attention to the racist and sectarian nature of the "rebel movements" the US and British governments have traditionally employed to topple non-compliant governments. Chomsky certainly did not need reminding of the unhinged atrocities of the Kosovo Liberation Army, the Nicaraguan Contras, or the Afghan Northern Alliance. Indeed, it was he who helped alert the world to many of them.

But Chomsky did not use his platform to make these points. Instead, in an interview with the BBC one month into the rebellion -- and, crucially, just four days before the passing of UN Security Council 1973 and the beginning of the NATO blitzkrieg -- he chose to characterise the rebellion as "wonderful". Elsewhere he referred to the takeover of the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi by racist gangs as "liberation" and to the rebellion as "initially non-violent".

In an interview with the BBC, he even claimed that "Libya is the one place [in North Africa] where there was a very violent state reaction repressing the popular uprisings," a claim so divorced from the truth it is hard to know where to begin. Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is currently being prosecuted for the murder of 850 protesters, whereas, according to Amnesty International, only 110 deaths could be confirmed in Benghazi before NATO operations began -- and this included pro-government people killed by rebel militia. What really makes Libya exceptional in the North African Arab Spring is that it was the only country in which the rebellion was armed, violent, and openly aimed at facilitating a foreign invasion.

Now that Amnesty has confirmed that the Libyan rebels have been using violence since the very start and have been rounding up and executing black Libyans and African migrants in droves ever since, I began the interview by asking Chomsky whether he now regrets his initial public support for them.

He shrugs. "No. I'm sure what Amnesty International reports is correct -- that there were armed elements among them, but notice they didn't say that the rebellion was an armed rebellion. In fact, the large majority were probably people like us [sic], middle-class opponents of Gaddafi. It was mostly an unarmed uprising. It turned into a violent uprising, and the killings you are describing indeed are going on, but it didn't start like that. As soon as it became a civil war, then that happened."

However, in fact it did start like that. The true colours of the rebels were made clear on the second day of the rebellion, 18 February, when they rounded up and executed a group of 50 African migrant workers in the town of Bayda. A week later, a terrified eyewitness told the BBC of another 70 or 80 migrant workers who had been cut to pieces in front of his eyes by rebel forces. These incidents -- and many others like them -- had made clear the racist character of the rebel militias well before Chomsky's BBC interview on 15 March. But Chomsky rejects this. "These things were absolutely not clear, and they weren't reported. And even afterwards when they were reported, they were not talking about the uprising. They were talking about an element within it."

This may be how Chomsky sees it, but both incidents were carried by mainstream media outlets like the BBC, US National Public Radio and the British newspaper The Guardian at the time. Admittedly, they were hidden away behind reams of anti-Gaddafi bile and justified with the usual pretext of the migrants being "suspected mercenaries", yet Chomsky's expertise in analysing media should have been able to see through that. Moreover, the forcing out last month of the entire population of the majority black Libyan town of Tawarga by Misrata militias with names like "the brigade for purging black skins" was recently given the official blessing of Libyan National Transition Council (NTC) President Mahmoud Jibril. To present these racial crimes as some kind of insignificant element seems wilfully disingenuous.

But Chomsky continues to stick to his guns. "You're talking about what happened after the civil war took place and the NATO intervention, whereas I'm not. Two points, which I'll repeat. First of all, it wasn't known, and secondly it was a very small part of the uprising. The uprising was carried out by an overwhelmingly middle-class, non-violent opposition. We now know there was an armed element and that quickly became prominent after the civil war started. But it didn't have to, so if that second intervention hadn't taken place, it might not have turned out that way."

Chomsky characterises the NATO intervention as having two parts. The initial intervention, authorised by the UN Security Council to prevent a massacre in Benghazi, he argues was legitimate. But the "second" intervention, in which the triumvirate of the US, Britain and France acted as an air force for the militias of Misrata and Benghazi in their conquest of the rest of the country, was wrong and illegal.

"We should remember that there were two interventions, not one, by NATO. One of them lasted about five minutes. That's the one that was taken under UN Security Resolution 1973, which called for a no-fly zone over Benghazi when there was the threat of a serious massacre there, along with a longer-term mandate of protecting civilians. It lasted almost no time, [as] almost immediately, not NATO but the three traditional imperial powers of France, Britain and the United States carried out a second intervention that had nothing to do with protecting civilians and certainly wasn't a no-fly zone, but was rather about participating in a rebel uprising, and that's the one we've been witnessing."

"It was almost isolated internationally. The African countries were strongly opposed -- they called for negotiations and diplomacy from the very beginning. The main independent countries -- the BRICS countries -- also opposed the second intervention and called for efforts at negotiations and diplomacy. Even within NATO's limited participation, outside of the triumvirate, in the Arab world, there was almost nothing: Qatar sent a couple of planes, and Egypt, next door and very heavily armed, didn't do a thing."

"Turkey held back for quite a while and finally participated weakly in the triumvirate's operation. So it was a very isolated operation. It has been claimed that it was carried out under an Arab League request, but that's mostly fraud. First of all, the Arab League request was extremely limited and only a minority participated -- just Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. They actually also issued a request for two no-fly zones -- one over Libya and the other over Gaza. We don't have to talk about what happened to the second one."

On most of this we agree. My argument, however, is that it was always painfully clear that Security Council Resolution 1973 was intended by the triumvirate as a fig leaf for precisely the "second intervention" Chomsky decries.

"It wasn't clear, even for those five minutes, that the imperial powers accepted the resolution. It only became clear a couple of days later when they started bombing in support of the rebels. And it didn't have to happen. It could have been that world opinion, most of it -- the BRICS, Africa, Turkey, and so on -- could have prevailed."

It seems bizarre and na--ïve for a man of Chomsky's insight to feign surprise at the imperial powers using UN Resolution 1973 for their own purposes in order to topple one of the governments on their hit list. What else would they have used it for? It is also exasperating: if it had been anyone else talking, I would have told them to read some Chomsky.

Chomsky would have told them that imperial powers don't act out of humanitarian, but instead that they act out of totalitarian impulses and to defend and extend their dominance of the world and its resources. He would also have told them, I would have thought, not to expect those powers to implement measures designed to save civilians, because they would only take advantage of them and do the opposite.

However, on this occasion Chomsky seemed to be following a different logic. Does Chomsky accept that his whitewashing of the rebels and demonising of Gaddafi in the days and weeks before the invasion was launched, may have helped to facilitate it?

"Of course I didn't whitewash the rebels. I said almost nothing about them.

The original interview took place before any of this -- it was in the period when a decision had to be made about whether even to introduce a UN resolution to call for a no-fly zone -- and incidentally I said after that had passed that I thought that a case could be made for it, and I would still say that today.

Yet, even after the British, French and US aggression in Libya had become abundantly clear, Chomsky published another article on Libya on 5 April. By this time thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Libyans had been killed by NATO bombs. This time Chomsky's piece opened by criticising the British and American governments not for their blitzkrieg but for their alleged support for Gaddafi "and his crimes". Didn't this feed into the demonisation that justified and perpetuated NATO's aggression?

"First of all, I don't accept your description. I wouldn't call it NATO aggression, as it's more complex than that. The initial step -- the first intervention, the five-minute one -- I think was justifiable. There was a chance -- a significant chance -- of a very serious massacre in Benghazi. Gaddafi had a horrible record of slaughtering people, and that should be known -- but at that point, I think the proper reaction should have been to tell the truth about what's happening."

I can't help wondering why the responsibility to "tell the truth about what's happening" only applies to Libya. Should we not also tell the truth about what's happening in the West? About its unquenchable thirst for diminishing oil-and-gas reserves, for example, or about its fear of an independent Africa, or its long track record of supporting and arming brutal gangsters against governments it wants removed? Chomsky is familiar enough with the examples. Should we not tell the truth about the crisis currently enveloping the Western economic system and leading its elites increasingly to rely on war-mongering to maintain their crumbling dominance? Isn't all this actually a lot more pertinent to the war on Libya than recounting the alleged crimes of Gaddafi from 20 years ago?

Chomsky argued with US academic and activist James Petras in 2003 over his condemnation of Cuba's arrest of several dozen US agents and execution of three hijackers. Petras had argued then that "intellectuals have a responsibility to distinguish between the defensive measures taken by countries and peoples under imperial attack and the offensive methods of imperial powers bent on conquest. It is the height of cant and hypocrisy to engage in moral equivalences between the violence and repression of imperial countries bent on conquest with that of Third World countries under military and terrorist attack."

On the present occasion, Chomsky has done worse than this. Far from drawing moral equivalences, he has simply airbrushed out of the picture the crimes of NATO's Libyan allies, whilst amplifying and distorting the defensive measures taken by Libya's government in dealing with an armed and US-backed rebellion.

I remind Chomsky of his comment some years back that Libya was used as a punch bag by US politicians to deflect public attention away from domestic problems. "Yes, it was. But that doesn't mean that it was a nice place."

It's a lot less nice now.

Source: Al Ahram Weekly Online   
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2011/1073/intrvw.htm
24 - 30 November 2011
Issue No. 1073

“Human Rights” Warriors for Empire

Glen Ford - 15/02/2012

“Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have chosen sides in the Washington-backed belligerency – the side of Empire.” Syria has no choice but to secure every square foot of its territory. “Faced with the certainty of superpower-backed attack under the guise of ‘protecting’ civilians in “liberated” territory, Syria cannot afford to cede even one neighborhood of a single city – not one block! – or of any rural or border enclave, to armed rebels and foreign jihadis.” 



“NATO wants desperately to identify some sliver of Syrian soil on which to plant the ‘humanitarian’ flag of intervention.”


The largest imperial offensive since the Iraq invasion of March, 2003, is in full swing, under the banner of “humanitarian” intervention – Barack Obama’s fiendishly clever upgrade of George Bush’s “dumb” wars. Having failed to obtain a Libyan-style United Nations Security Council fig leaf for a “humanitarian” military strike against Syria, the United States shifts effortlessly to a global campaign “outside the U.N. system” to expand its NATO/Persian Gulf royalty/Jihadi coalition. Next stop: Tunisia, where Washington’s allies will assemble on February 24 to sharpen their knives as “Friends of Syria.” The U.S. State Department has mobilized to shape the “Friends” membership and their “mandate” – which is warlord-speak for refining an ad hoc alliance for the piratical assault on Syria’s sovereignty.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are swigging the ale with their fellow buccaneers. These “human rights” warriors, headquartered in the bellies of empires past and present, their chests shiny with medals of propagandistic service to superpower aggression in Libya, contribute “left” legitimacy to the imperial project. London-based Amnesty International held a global “day of action” to rail against Syria for “crimes against humanity” and to accuse Russia and China of using their Security Council vetoes to “betray” the Syrian people – echoing the war hysteria out of Washington, Paris, London and the royal pigsties of Riyadh and Doha. New York-based Human Rights Watch denounced Moscow and Beijing’s actions as “incendiary” – as if it were not the empire and its allies who were setting the Middle East and Africa on fire, arming and financing jihadis – including hundreds of veteran Libyan Salafists now operating in Syria.


“Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch contribute ‘left’ legitimacy to the imperial project.”


Under Obama’s “intelligent” (as opposed to “dumb”) imperial tutelage, colonialgenocidaires like France now propose creation of “humanitarian corridors” inside Syria “to allow NGOs to reach the zones where there are scandalous massacres.” NATO flatly rejected such a corridor in Libya when sub-Saharan Africans and black Libyans were being massacred by militias armed and financed by the same “Friends” that now besiege Syria.


Turkey claims it has rejected, for now, the idea of setting up humanitarian “buffer zones” along its border with Syria – inside Syrian territory – while giving arms, training and sanctuary to Syrian military deserters. In reality, it is Syrian Army troop and armor concentrations on the border that have thwarted the establishment of such a “buffer” – a bald euphemism for creating a “liberated zone” that must be “protected” by NATO or some agglomeration of U.S.-backed forces.


NATO, which bombed Libya non-stop for six months, inflicting tens of thousands of casualties while refusing to count a single body, wants desperately to identify some sliver of Syrian soil on which to plant the “humanitarian” flag of intervention. They are transparently searching for a Benghazi, to justify a replay of the Libyan operation – the transparent fact that prompted the Russian and Chinese vetoes.


Faced with the certainty of superpower-backed attack under the guise of “protecting” civilians in “liberated” territory, Syria cannot afford to cede even one neighborhood of a single city – not one block! – or of any rural or border enclave, to armed rebels and foreign jihadis. That road leads directly to loss of sovereignty and possible dissection of Syria – which western pundits are already calling a “hodge-podge” nation that could be a “failed state.” Certainly, the French and British are experts at carving up other people’s territories, having drawn the national boundaries of the region after World War One. It is an understatement to say that Israel would be pleased.


“It is the Libya formula, and might as well have come straight from Barack Obama’s mouth.”


With the Syrian military’s apparent successes in securing most of Homs and other centers of rebellion, the armed opposition has stepped up its terror tactics – a campaign noted with great alarm by the Arab League’s own Observer Mission to Syria, leading Saudi Arabia and Qatar to suppress the Mission’s report. Instead, the Gulf States are pressing the Arab League to openly “provide all kinds of political and material support” to the opposition, meaning arms and, undoubtedly, more Salafist fighters. Aleppo, Syria’s main commercial and industrial city, which had seen virtually no unrest, was struck by two deadly car bombs last week – signature work of the al-Qaida affiliate in neighboring Iraq.


The various “Friends of Syria,” all nestled in the U.S./NATO/Saudi/Qatar cocoon, now openly speak of all-out civil war in Syria – by which they mean stepped up armed conflict financed and directed by themselves – as the preferred alternative to the protracted struggle that the regime appears to be winning. There is one caveat: no “Western boots on the ground in any form,” as phrased by British Foreign Secretary William Hague. It is the Libya formula, and might as well have come straight from Barack Obama’s mouth.


Syria is fighting for its national existence against an umbrella of forces mobilized by the United States and NATO. Of the 6,000 or so people that have died in the past 11 months, about a third have been Syrian soldiers and police – statistical proof positive that this is an armed assault on the state. There is no question of massive foreign involvement, or that the aim of U.S. policy is regime change, as stated repeatedly by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (“Assad must go,” she told reporters in Bulgaria).


Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have chosen sides in the Washington-backed belligerency – the side of Empire. As groups most often associated with (what passes for) the Left in their headquarters countries, they are invaluable allies of the current imperial offensive. They have many fellow travelers in (again, what passes for) anti-war circles in the colonizing and neo-colonizing nations. The French “Left” lifted hardly a finger while a million Algerians died in the struggle for independence, and have not proved effective allies of formerly colonized people in the 50 years, since. Among the European imperial powers, only Portugal’s so-called Carnation Revolution of 1974, a coup by young officers, resulted in substantial relief for the subjects of empire: the withdrawal of troops from Portugal’s African colonies.


“Of the 6,000 or so people that have died in the past 11 months, about a third have been Syrian soldiers and police – statistical proof positive that this is an armed assault on the state.”


The U.S. anti-war movement lost its mass character as soon as the threat of a draft was removed, in the early Seventies, while the United States continued to bomb Vietnam (and test new and exotic weapons on its people) until the fall of Saigon, in 1975. All that many U.S. lefties seemed to want was to get the Republicans off their backs, in 2008, and to Hell with the rest of the world. Democrat Barack Obama has cranked the imperial war machine back into high gear, with scarcely a peep from the “Left.”


There was great ambivalence – the most polite word I can muster – among purported leftists in the United States and Europe to NATO’s bombardment and subjugation of Libya. Here we are again, in the face of existential imperial threats to Syria and Iran, as leftists temporize about human rights while the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” blazes new warpaths.


There is no such thing as an anti-war activist who is not an anti-imperialist. And the only job of an anti-imperialist in the belly of the beast is to disarm the beast. Absent that, s/he is useless to humanity.


As we used to say: You are part of the solution – or you are part of the problem. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are part of the problem.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Saudi Arabia and its implementation of religious freedom



BY SUSANA AL HALABI – MARCH 25, 2012 – POSTED IN: INTERNATIONAL

Saudi Arabia: New Fatwa forbids the construction of churches and urges demolition of already existing churches.

Saudi Arabia has particularly excelled, in addition to Qatar in the Arab League, when it was about actions to against the Shiite leadership in Syria. Again and again, there were rumors or unconfirmed information that Saudi Arabia supports the Syrian insurgents (e.g. Free Syrian Army / FSA) with arms and money.

It would be absolutely no surprise, if all these not confirmed news about the support of Saudi Arabia for the Syrian opposition forces be confirmed. You just have to recall, that Saudi troops were and are used in Bahrain to crackdown peaceful protests. In Bahrain, the royal family is in distress through demonstrations and the demands of the predominantly Shiite majority.

Of course, also in Saudi Arabia itself, the Saudi royal family is not squeamish with peaceful protests. The Shiites in Saudi Arabia, which belong to the minority in the Sunni-led country, are taking part in protests for their demands, again and again.

Although the international mainstream media seems to ignore these demonstrations within Saudi Arabia a bit, one is able to find some new articles about these protests in the Saudi-ruled monarchy. This has to do with the fact, that the level of aggression and violence, while those protests of Shiites, has obviously increased.

At least, there are a few references to the situation in Saudi Arabia in some international newspapers. After the demonstrations of the Shiites in Saudi Arabia were again and again brutally suppressed by the Saudi government, the protesters seem to rely on attacks now – as revenge. In recent weeks, there were again and again conflicts, mainly in the oil-rich east of Saudi Arabia.

The fighting between Shiites and Sunnis seem also to spread itself in the birthplace of Islam now. In Saudi Arabia, the Wahhabism is the ruling religion, a particularly strict interpretation of Islam, as state religion of this monarchy.

Shiites are not recognized as Muslims in this interpretation of Islam. Saudi Arabia has a bitter fight against the Shiite Iran for decades, and thus this is also about (and against) the expansion of the Shiite body of thought. The Saudi royal families, especially the religion scholars in Saudi Arabia, determine the lives of the people and they implement the existing rules in an extreme form.

Although, human rights are not respected in Saudi Arabia, although democracy is not even in a whiff evident in Saudi Arabia, this Sunni-led monarchy is one of the closest allies of the West, especially of the United States and the European Union (EU). This is sure one of the main reasons why e.g. Germany doesn`t hesitate to deliver some tanks to Saudi Arabia.

There was even no long discussion about this delivery of tanks to Saudi Arabia in the German government. The German chancellor even has protected this delivery of tanks to Saudi Arabia with some very questionable statements.

The level of tolerance in European countries seems to be related on the interests of the United States. Not to mention the importance of oil, of course. But has this European tolerance, or should we better use the word “dependence”, really no end? The fact that Saudi Arabia does not allow churches, is already known, but the Saudi Grand Mufti goes even further now – with a new strange Fatwa.

In Saudi Arabia, a new Fatwa (Islamic legal) was implemented by the Saudi Grand Mufti. This Fatwa says that already existing churches in the Arabian Peninsula should be demolished and this Fatwa also prohibits the construction of new Christian churches.

The argument by the Saudi Grand Mufti was simple. In the opinion of the Saudi Grand Mufti, there are too many churches in the Arabian Peninsula. A thorn in the eyes of Wahhabism. The Catholic Church has expressed shock and explained that this would further destabilize the already fragile situation within the Middle East.

Above all, this could also give a boost to the armed Islamists within Syria, who already persecute, kidnap, torture and kill Syrian Christians. Like Goethe’s Faust would say at this point: “So this, then, was the kernel of the brute!” But this has long been known, it only seems that Western governments do hard to recognize it – because of some questionable reasons and intentions.

Saudi Arabia’s religion scholars and the Saudi ruling family continue to work on the limitation of religious freedom and cheer on the persecution of other religions and minorities.

The current bishops` conference won’t be able to do more than to express its outrage. However, this should be alarming. While Saudi Arabia uses a Fatwa to ban the construction of churches and also calls for the destruction of already existing Christian churches in the Arabian Peninsula, they finance the construction of many mosques in Europe.

Then the implication for Europe would actually be to prohibit the construction of new mosques. This would lead to a enormous outrage and storm against this ban in Europe.

The openness of the West is misused by Saudi Arabia. Liberal principles are trampled and also the Western governments are to blame for this, mainly. When will these governments in Europe notice that their close relations with Saudi Arabia are dangerous and reprehensible? But perhaps they already know and are just not able to act differently because of pressure and questionable intentions.

It seems that Europe sells its ideals very cheap – over the oppression of the Saudi dictatorship, just because Western governments are dependent on oil and Saudi money.

For this reason, these Western governments are also involved in the propaganda against Syria and Iran. The smear campaign against Syria and Iran, because some Gulf States want it that way. Not to mention the Israeli factor, the USA with its huge AIPAC Lobby and some other (e.g. geo-politically) interests, also questionable intentions.

Considering democracy, freedom and human rights – nothing can really excuse these hypocritical stances of Western governments. It`s also to condemn that they are willfully puppets of false propaganda. Iran is a bitter enemy of Saudi Arabia. Europe and the United States are puppets of these interests behind this conflict. Willfully.

Egypt’s Revolutionary Socialists release statement on elections


Issue: 2295 dated: 24 March 2012 International online only


Egyptians head to the polls on 23 May and 24 May for the country’s first presidential elections since the revolution toppled former dictator Hosni Mubarak last year.

The Revolutionary Socialists have been at the heart of the movement to deepen the revolution and remove the remnants of the Mubarak regime. Here is their latest statement on the elections and their attitude to them.

In the presidential elections we support the revolution and its goals

It is not possible to view the current presidential elections in isolation from the desperate attempts by the military council to abort the revolution.

These began with the referendum on the amendments to the constitution, followed by parliamentary elections which saw the majority of seats taken by political forces which will form a government that ignores the goals of the revolution—even though they it owe their victory.

The priority for these politicians is to cancel the divorce laws, implement punishments for banditry and ban strikes, rather than achieving bread, freedom and social justice.

These efforts to abort the revolution will culminate in the support of the parliamentary majority for a presidential candidate (whether by consensual or conspiratorial means) who will guarantee a safe exit for the military council whose hands are stained with the blood of the martyrs, excuse the corrupt criminals in Tora prison, reassure the Americans and the Zionists that their interests and their treaty are safe, and protect the class of businessmen and investors from the threat represented by workers and their continuing strikes.

The obstacles faced by prospective candidates (collecting 30,000 signatures from 15 governorates), the formation of a supervisory committee for the elections by the military council itself (which means it cannot be challenged under Article 28 of the constitution), the presence of powerful counter-revolutionary media machine and a governmental and administrative apparatus geared towards defence of the military, show that the Mubarak regime is seeking to renew itself and move from defence to attack.

Our belief is still that genuine change will not be made by any president but by the mass revolutionary movement, which has irreversibly broken the barrier of fear and which will take its rights by storm in the coming revolutionary wave, which we see developing in the dozens of strikes taking place today.

However our position is always to be “wherever the masses are”, and there is no doubt that the majority of people see these elections—whose outcome it is still impossible to predict—as a democratic experience which will see the election of the first ever civilian president and a chance to get rid of military rule, and we all remember the martyrs for freedom who have not been avenged even today.

Therefore it is our duty not to abandon the masses, nor to arrogantly set ourselves above them, but to engage in the battle to expose the candidates representing the alliance between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, while pushing the masses towards completing their revolution by focusing on the demands of the revolution and the revolutionary forces such as:

A fair revolutionary trial for all those responsible for the killing and injury of revolutionaries from January 2011 until today
The recovery of the money which was stolen from the people and the renationalisation of the privatised companies and the confiscation of the assets of the corrupt elements
The redistribution of the country’s wealth for the benefit of the poor and the inclusion of the “special funds” (overseen by the military) in the general state budget
Reductions in prices and the nationalisation of the monopolies which are owned by the capitalist gang
The implementation of a minimum wage and pension of at least 1200 Egyptian pounds per month and a maximum wage of no more than 20 times the minimum
Granting workers on temporary contracts job security and guaranteeing their social rights
The cleansing and restructuring of the media and state institutions—starting with the Ministry of the Interior—to get rid of the supporters of the Mubarak regime

We are not announcing our support for a particular candidate yet, and we will work in coordination with all the revolutionary forces to agree a single “candidate for the revolution” in the face of the “conspiracy’s candidate”, building on the programme of the revolution rather than the personalisation of the electoral campaigns that we see at the moment.

The election will be one of our battles along the road to completing the revolution, and not the end of it.

We will join the fight against the military’s candidate, against their safe exit. We will expose their plan to abort the revolution, and we will raise the demands of the revolution and its goals in a battle, which is no less important than the battle for the constitution which must guarantee the rights of the poor and their freedom, and no less vital than the battles of the workers, civil servants and students for their rights, or any of the battles of the revolution which will not end on 30 June, but will increase in revolutionary intensity.

Glory to the martyrs, victory to the revolution, power to the people!

The Revolutionary Socialists

20 March 2012

THE 1st OF APRIL WORLD ORDER CIRCUS



Erdogan the CLOWN!

Circus will start its performance in Ankara (Turkey) soon, all expenses are being paid in advance by the butcher of Qatar. Do not miss the army of NATO pets and NATO clowns that are going to perform in front of you the Qatari magic that will turn blood into oil.

The show includes magician genius Davotuglu (Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister) of the zero problem policy who will show how- by a magic trick -he kept the problem and became the Zero , and you will have the chance to see the biggest fallacy of all ages : Master Erdogan (Turkish PM), the so called Zionist/Muslim leader of the so called Islamic Nation -as promoted by changeling O’bama - turning by magic into a pet of Netenyahu , and then rewarded by his master because he barks and never bites.

You will have also the pleasure to watch the members of the National Council barking and fighting over some reward , pulling each others hair in a very evocative scene that reminds you of the Turkish soap operas, Muslim brothers will bark at secular Ghalyoun and secular Ghalyoun will bark at the Muslim brothers and each party will get a BONE for keeping barking with no bites.

The show reaches its climax with Syria’s Free Army performance where shots will be heard and the army will go hiding and pet Er- Dog and Da-Vot would have to find them by sniffing out their traces but with little success.

The show ends with the prince of Qatar entering the scene and eating all : pets and council and army , and burping formidably. No one escapes the belly of the hungry prince except Davotuglu who goes hiding in a refugee camp full of Fanatic terrorists where he will be in charge of the baby terrorists to tend them and sooth them with lullabies.

The show starts – and this is no joke – the first of April of this year and will last the whole day, do not miss it under any pretext because this is a single performance that is not to be repeated!

ENJOY THE NEW WORLD CIRCUS ORDER OF DAVOTUGLU AND ERDOGAN! SPONSORED BY HILLARIOUS HILLARY!! HURRAY!!

By Daniel Mabsout

Is Wahhabi terrorism bad in France, good in Syria?

by: Mohamed Omar


Posted in Allmän islamkunskap, Europeiska muslimer, Terrorism, Wahhabism by Mohamed Omar on mars 23, 2012


In mid March a Wahhabi fanatic attacked a Shiite mosque in Brussels and killed the imam. A week later it was time for the Wahhabis to strike again. Mohammad Mehra, a young Frenchman of Algerian origin killed seven people. Three children were among the victims.
The murderer then barricaded himself in his apartment until he suddenly decided to jump out of a window. As he was falling he got sprayed with bullets by the hundreds of police who were besieging the building.
President Sarkozy condemned the acts with very harsh words. Rightly so. The problem is that Sarkozy, while going after Wahhabi terrorists at home, supports them in Syria. This is what makes his moral stance questionable.
The French, and other Western governments, support Wahhabi fanatics in Syria, but they do not want them at their own back yard. In France a Wahhabi fanatic and terrorist like Mohammad Mehra is hunted, besieged and shot while in Syria Wahhabi terrorist groups are applauded as they kill soldiers, women and children.
In my eyes this looks like a moral dilemma. Western governments clearly have a credibility problem. Not only do they give all kinds of support to the likes of Mohammad Mehra in Syria, they also have friendly relations with the Saudi regime.
Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Wahhabism, the ideology espoused by Mohammed Mehra and most of the insurgents in Syria. Wahhabism is the official sect of Saudi Arabia and it actively tries to spread it throughout the world. Without Wahhabism there would be no Al-Qaeda.
In fact “Al-Qaida”, or rather “Qaidism” since it is more of a way of thinking than an organization, is just another expression of Saudi Islam or Wahhabism. The Wahhabis, or Salafis as they call themselves, are divided into several groups but they all share a common world view, which includes a strong element of “internal Islamophobia”.
By that I refer to their understanding of themselves as the only saved sect and their virulent rejection of other Muslims, especially Sufi oriented Sunnis and Shiites. This “internal Islamophobia” means that they demonize all other Muslims and dismiss most of the great Mystics, Theologians and Philosophers of the past.
The sect was founded in the 19th century by a preacher of the name Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, thus they are called “Wahhabis”, i.e. the followers of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, as sects and schools of thought are normally named after their founders.
During the hunt for Mohammad Mehra and the siege of his hideout Toulouse turned into a small scale Bab Amro. The French authorities cut of water and electricity as the police waited for him to surrender. A single Wahhabi gunman managed to shake an entire city! Imagine if France had to deal with thousands of armed Wahhabi fanatics set on tearing down the government. Well, that is exactly the situation in Syria.
After this incident Sarkozy should think twice before blaming the Syrian government for its crack down on Wahhabi terrorist groups. These groups kill children, rape women, use civilians as human shields and occupy residential areas.
Perhaps Sarkozy just wants to use them to take down the government in Syria and then dump them after the job is finished. I don’t think it will be that easy. These groups have a different vision of future Syria. They want to install a Wahhabi state similar to Afghanistan under the Taliban and they think they are commanded by God to do so.
The French government should know that its friendship with Saudi Arabia and its backing of Wahhabis militants in Libya and Syria will embolden the Wahhabi movement globally. The so called “Arab Spring” has led to a surge of Wahhabi influence all over the everywhere and their self confidence has never been as high. They feel they are winning and that Syria is within reach. The attack on a Shiite mosque in Brussels and the massacre in Toulouse are two expressions of this new confidence.
If you play with fire you might get burned and Wahhabi terrorism on your own back yard is much more unpleasant than watching the Syrian people suffer from a distance. But once the wild dogs of Wahhabism are unleashed anything can happen.
Western governments are betraying their own values and the values of their peoples by supporting these Wahhabi groups in Libya and Syria and by maintaining friendly relations with the Wahhabi dictatorship of Saudi Arabia.
I call on Western governments to be faithful to their own values. Nothing more, nothing less. Stop supporting Wahhabism in Syria! If not for the sake of the Syrians, then for your own sake. You cannot fight Wahhabi terrorists with one hand and support them with the other. You have to realize that if you strengthen the forces of Wahhabism in Syria and in the Middle East as a whole this will have repercussions on the Muslim communities in the West.
I know that morals do not mean much do politicians but I call on Sarkozy to contemplate the pain of Syrian mothers. To kill children is a bestial act, whether in France or in Syria, whether in Toulouse or in Homs. The pain of Syrian mothers, who have lost their children to Wahhabi terrorists, is no different from the pain of French mothers, whose children were shot by Mehra.
Please, Sarkozy, stop supporting Wahhabi terrorism in Syria! Instead you should sit down with the lawful Syrian government and the genuine, peaceful opposition, and try to contribute to the implementation of the reform program.
As you grieve the French soldiers murdered by this fanatic Wahhabi, try to understand the feelings of the Syrian people who have lost thousands of soldiers and police officers, murdered in cold blood by the ideological and religious friends of Mohammad Mehra.
Mohamed Omar is a Swedish freelance writer. He works for Islam Times.