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UN Inspectors Gas Attack Report: A Manipulated Fraud
by Stephen Lendman
A separate article explained. Crime scene evidence was manipulated. Doing so made it worthless.
UN inspectors mentioned problems. They didn't highlight them. Their summary fact sheet ignored them. So did major media reports.
By Chandra Muzaffar
Commentators tell us that there is a palpable sense of relief in Damascus and in other parts of Syria in the wake of the Russia-US deal over Syria’s chemical weapons. The citizens of Damascus ―the world’s oldest, continuously inhabited city ―know that they will not be bombed for the time being.
The deal in brief will lead to the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014 to be supervised by the UN. Syria will become a party to the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons which outlaws their production and use. If the deal is breached, the violation would be brought to the notice of the UN Security Council for action.
By Norman Solomon
Now that public pressure has foiled U.S. plans to bomb Syria, the next urgent step is to build public pressure for stopping the deluge of weapons into that country.
Top officials in Washington are happy that American “lethal aid” has begun to flow into Syria, and they act as though such arms shipments are unstoppable. In a similar way, just a few short weeks ago, they -- and the conventional wisdom -- insisted that U.S. missile strikes on Syria were imminent and inevitable.
But public opinion, when activated, can screw up the best-laid plans of war-makers. And political conditions are now ripe for cutting off the flow of weaponry to Syria -- again giving new meaning to the adage that “when the people lead, the leaders will follow.”
Contrary to what many assume, the latest polls show that a large majority of Americans are opposed to the U.S. government sending weapons to Syria. For instance, in a CNN/ORC survey taken September 6-8, a whopping 85 percent of people nationwide answered “not either side” when asked whether the United States “should take the side of the Syrian government, or take the side of the Syrian rebels, or not take either side.”
A recent ABC News/Washington Post Poll -- asking “Do you support or oppose the United States and its allies supplying weapons to the Syrian rebels?” -- found that 70 percent “oppose.”
The results of the new polling could hardly be clearer. The vast majority of Americans are opposed to the U.S. government doing what it’s doing -- sending weapons into Syria to fuel the flames of a horrific war.
Collectively -- in much the same way people upended the conventional wisdom that President Obama was sure to fulfill his announced desire to launch missiles at Syria -- we have a real chance to put a stopper in the pipelines bringing weapons and other military supplies to Syria. We must, again, challenge the calculus in Congress and disempower the war-crazed leaderships of both parties.
This is no longer just an idea -- it’s now a nationwide campaign. The launch came on Monday (September 16). That day, more than 15,000 people sent emails to their senators and representative in Congress urging them to stop the shipments of weapons to Syria.
Those emails told lawmakers: “As a constituent, I urge you to halt all ‘lethal aid’ in the Syrian conflict. The last thing Syria needs is more weapons, ammunition and other military supplies. The U.S. government and allies should stop sending lethal aid to rebels in Syria, while working for a reciprocal cutoff of all military assistance to the Syrian government by Russia and Iran.”
This RootsAction.org campaign has begun in hopes that many other groups and individuals will take it up -- demanding an end to supplying weapons for the Syria conflagration. As nationwide polling numbers show, most of the public already agrees with us. What remains is for a wide array of political activists to galvanize that agreement into a powerful political force, so we can overwhelm Congress on the weapons-to-Syria issue as just occurred on the bomb-Syria issue.
The United States has now joined with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other allies -- directly supplying weaponry to an array of fighters against the Syrian government. That aid supplements the longtime U.S. role in helping several countries to airlift weapons and other military equipment to rebel forces.
“The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria,” the Washington Post reported last week. Those shipments have combined with “separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear -- a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.”
But as the RootsAction appeal points out, “Recent days have shown that diplomacy is possible to avert even more catastrophic events in Syria. Contrary to scoffers, Russia and the United States could help to quash the war flames instead of fueling them with more gasoline. By halting its own shipments of weapons into Syria and exerting pressure on its allies to do the same, the United States could induce Russia and its ally Iran to stop supplying the Syrian government with weapons -- and to work for a ceasefire.”
Now, with a big opening in U.S. politics, this is crucial work toward peace in Syria. Let’s get it done.
Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” Information about the documentary based on the book is at www.WarMadeEasyTheMovie.org
This past Sunday night on "60 Minutes" John Miller of CBS News said, "I've spoken with intelligence analysts who have said an uncomfortable thing that has a ring of truth, which is: the longer this war in Syria goes on, in some sense the better off we are."
Now, why would that be uncomfortable, do you suppose? Could it be because encouraging huge numbers of violent deaths of human beings seems sociopathic?
The discomfort that Miller at least claims to feel is the gauge of our moral progress, I suppose, since June 23, 1941, when Harry Truman said, "If we see that Germany is winning, we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible."
On Monday, Time magazine's Aryn Baker published an article under the headline "Syria's Rebels Turn on One Another, and That's Not a Bad Thing." Baker's point wasn't that more would die this way, but that this would allow the U.S. to escalate the war (which of course would mean more dying).
Remember that President Obama's reason for wanting to attack Syria is to "confront actions that are violating our common humanity." How is it that support for mass killing rarely seems to violate our common humanity if it's that other 96 percent of humanity getting killed, and especially if it's this 4 percent doing it? Why is the excuse to kill more people always that people are being killed, while we never starve people to prevent them from starving or rape people to protect them from rape?
The uncomfortable "60 Minutes" interviewer addressed his remarks to a former CIA officer who replied by disagreeing. He claimed to want the war to end. But how would he end it? By arming and aiding one side, just enough and not too much -- which would supposedly result in peace negotiations, albeit with a risk of major escalation. While nobody ever works to extend peace in order to generate war, people are constantly investing in war in the name of peace.
As this man may be very well aware, arming one side in this war will encourage that side's viciousness and encourage the other side to arm itself further as well. But suppose it were actually true that you could deescalate a war by escalating a war. Why are the large number of people who would be killed in the process unworthy of consideration?
We've seen lawyers tell Congressional committees that killing people with drones is either murder or perfectly fine, depending on whether Obama's secret memos say the killings are part of a war. But why is killing people acceptable in a war? We've just watched public pressure deny Obama missile strikes on Syria. Those strikes were optional. Had they happened that would have been a choice, not an inevitability. What of the immorality involved?
The best news is that we're beginning to feel uncomfortable.
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Civil society organizations from 13 Arab countries call upon the U.S. Congress and the French Parliament not to approve the aggression against Syria that violates international law, and invite all to listen to the call of His Holiness Pope Francis II and statement of Sheikh of Al-Azhar
East/West Cracks on Syria
by Stephen Lendman
Weekend Geneva smiles appear headed for frowns. A fundamental East/West disagreement exists.
John Kerry, Britain's William Hague and France's Laurent Fabius met in Paris.
By John Grant
The media didn’t waste time lining up US leaders to trash Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent op-ed in The New York Times. There was the expected outrage that such a “dictator” and “tyrant” had the gall to lecture the United States of America. Bill O’Reilly referred to Putin as “a criminal monster.” Charles Krauthammer kept it real and called Putin "a KGB thug.”
The real story concerns the risks of calamitous military conflict erupting in the Middle East through accident or miscalculation. More on that shortly but first, here is a quick summary of the credibility of the UN.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon leaks results of report on September 13
Actually, Ki-moon couldn't leak the results of the report at a widely reported private speech on September 13 because, as he said at the time, he hadn't seen it. But the message was clear. Syria was the culprit.
Within the space of two minutes, Ki-moon said that the Syrian regime had committed "many crimes against humanity," that there would ben an accounting "when everything was over," and the inspector's document would be "an overwhelming report." USA Today and the Washington Post took the words to mean that the UN Secretary General had signaled a negative finding against Syria. (See video of Ki-moon 34:00-37:00)
Obama's War Plans on Syria Unchanged
by Stephen Lendman
Longstanding US regime change plans remain firm. Previous articles explained.
Washington targets all independent governments. Replacing them with subservient pro-Western puppet ones is policy.
Anti-Assad Media War Continues
by Stephen Lendman
Throughout months of conflict, media scoundrels mocked Assad's good faith efforts to end it.
He wants peace. He deplores war. He agreed to whatever measures may end what everyone should oppose.
When something goes right
Oh, it's likely to lose me
It's apt to confuse me
It's such an unusual sight
Larry Summers has proven unacceptable to oversee the continued destruction of the U.S. economy. The U.S. public has successfully rejected proposed missile strikes on Syria. My Congressman was among the majority who listened. Today was beautiful. The Orioles won. The Cowboys lost. The University of Virginia avoided losing by not playing. My family is expecting a new baby. I've finished a new book, which Kathy Kelly has written a beautiful foreword for. I have a sense that if the universe were right now campaigning on "hope and change" I might seriously consider voting for it.
I'm also pretty sure that if everything in my personal life were going slightly to hell and Larry Summers were crowned king of Wall Street, and the Dallas Cowboys were to win (darn them!), my sense of this moment in the movement against U.S. militarism would remain essentially the same. A major victory has been won, and we need to claim it and celebrate it.
Imagine the euphoria -- or don't imagine it, just remember it -- when this country elects a new president whose main redeeming feature is that he isn't the previous president. For personality fanatics that's big stuff. And there are big parties. For policy fanatics -- for those of us interested in seeing policies change rather than personalities -- that kind of moment is right now. We need some parties, and if spontaneity is beyond us, perhaps we can use the International Day of Peace on September 21st for a combination celebration / discussion during which we explain to ourselves that it really is OK to celebrate.
Yes, many people in this country and around the world are suffering horrible tragedies in their personal lives and as a result of public events. Yes, the horrors in Syria, as in many other places, continue. Yes, the CIA is arming terrorists in Syria. Yes, the president whose missile strikes we prevented is taking credit for that restraint, just as he would have taken credit for the carnage had we not stopped him -- and he's threatening to bring the missile strikes back. Yes, if we let down our guard for a moment, the president and Congress and the CIA will do their worst. Yes, the danger for Iraq and Libya really loomed large after they had given up nuclear and chemical weapons, not before. Yes, lots of people opposed bombing Syria because they didn't think Syrians deserved such favors. (No, I'm not making that up.) Yes, the corporate media is pretending that the threat of war brought peace, ignoring the successful insistence on peace by the people of the world.
But that's why we have to celebrate what really happened. We have to announce it. The point is not to take credit. No one person or group did this. People espousing a variety of ideologies did it. And they did it over many years. Millions contributed. The point is that war was popularly rejected.
Why does this matter? It's not a case for optimism, or for pessimism. I continue to have very little use for either bit of self-indulgence. The forces that press for more wars have not gone away. Neither have they been empowered. The point is that those who nonsensically proclaim that stopping wars is impossible cannot get away with saying that anymore.
You know the types. They show up at meetings, wait for the question-and-answer period, and then give a speech on how everything is utterly hopeless. Those speeches should be laughed away within the first five seconds now. And the many, many people who had begun ever so slightly to take that defeatist nonsense seriously can now be relieved of that weight. The danger now is not of being a sucker who proclaimed good news just before a genocide. The danger is of joining in the foolish campaign of the war propagandists by pushing the lie of powerlessness on people just after they prevented a war.
Do we still have to prevent a war again this week? Of course, we do. Do we have to take on the larger task of organizing peace and preventing crises? We do. Do we need to build a movement for the abolition of war that reaches beyond opposition to each immediate war proposal? You'd better believe it. But this is what we wanted in 2001 and 2003. Well, some of us did -- that's the point. We're larger now, even if it's not made visible. As long as we went on failing to prevent wars, people could say we'd never prevent them. There's no science or logic behind such an assertion, but it still has power in it. Or it did, until now. Now we can claim with equal validity that we'll stop every single war proposed from here on out. Of course we might or we might not, but we know that it's up to us, that it depends on what we do, that little steps that appear useless at the time can help, and that changes to our culture can outweigh changes to the Pentagon budget, the global climate, crises in capitalism, or any other supposedly unstoppable force.
After World War I, people in the United States understood the need to eliminate war. Again, after Vietnam, many understood it almost that much. They developed the Vietnam Syndrome, a level of healthy resistance to more wars lamented as a disease by Washington. Now we're moving back in that direction. War resistance is the health of the people. We're not developing a syndrome. We're developing an immunity. We've been vaccinated against war. We're not as allergic to the propaganda as we once were. We're war resistant, and our task is to compel those in power not to lament our syndrome this time, but to share in our contagious good health.
By Harvey Wasserman
The United States is not now bombing Syria.
Let’s savor that again: for the moment at least, the United States is not now bombing Syria.
That alone qualifies as an epic, unprecedented victory for the SuperPower of Peace, the global movement to end war, win social justice and somehow salvage our ecological survival.
Will it mark a permanent turning point?
That a treaty has been signed to rid the Assad regime of its chemical weapons is icing on the cake, however thin it proves to be. We don’t know if it will work. We don’t know if the restraint from bombing will hold.
But in a world that bristles with atomic weapons, where the rich get ever richer at the expense of the rest of us, and where stricken Japanese reactors along with 400 more worldwide threaten the survival of our global ecology, we must count any victory for peace---even if potentially fleeting---as a huge one. Let’s do some history.
Ten years ago, George W. Bush took the United States into senseless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Millions of citizens marched in the United States and worldwide to prevent the coming debacle. But Bush and his cronies made a point of ignoring us all, as if the public demand for peace was somehow a sign of weakness.
Since then, utterly pointless slaughter has claimed countless thousands of lives, including those of at least 7,000 Americans. That number does not include the thousands more who have returned poisoned physically and mentally, with ailments that have driven so many to suicide, hopelessness and debilitating disabilities.
The war was sold as a campaign to rid Saddam Hussein of his alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction. Vice President Dick Cheney assured the American public that as our troops attacked, the Iraqi people would spread rose petals of gratitude at their feet.
But Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. And the Iraqi people had run out of rose petals. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) remain in abundant supply.
None of which deterred Team Bush-Cheney-Rove or the corporatist military machine that continues to reap millions in profits from a decade of disaster.
They did rid the world of Saddam Hussein. But in his wake came...what? A lesson learned in Iraq---for those paying attention--is the “you break it, you’ve bought it” syndrome. If you remove a dictator, however nasty, you still must have something better to put in his place.
That was clearly beyond the caring or grasp of the Bush Administration. Lethal discord has defined Iraq since the demise of Saddam, with no end in sight.
There’s been more of the same in Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and much of the rest of the middle east. What once seemed an “Arab Spring” of popular liberation may be tragically degenerating to a regional slaughterhouse of counter-revolution and chaos.
The stakes could not be higher. As Fukushima boils at the brink of catastrophe, the global environmental movement---the SuperPower of Solartopia---strives to convert humankind’s energy supply from fossil fuels and nuclear power to renewables and efficiency. Green energy---primarily wind and solar---is by far the fastest-growing new source of supply. Increased efficiency has saved billions of dollars and oceans of oil and gas that will not feed the demon of climate chaos.
But the corporate addiction to middle eastern oil remains a defining force. And the presence of a reactor near Damascus and of nuclear weapons in the hands of the US, Russia, Israel and god-knows-what random terror groups, make our every move in Syria a matter of life-and-death on a global scale.
With that backdrop, the Obama Administration’s decision to back off air strikes takes on an epic dimension. There are all sorts of modifiers that can and should be used.
But contrasted with what George W. Bush told the world ten years ago, Obama’s speech to the nation last week was a pillar of sanity.
He referenced our ten years of disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan. He acknowledged that while Assad is a terrible dictator, there’s no guarantee what follows would be any better. And he conceded that the attempt to use force could lead to costs we cannot predict.
He also made it clear that he was facing down the firewall of an overwhelming public and Congressional demand for peace that would not be denied.
A decade ago, George W. Bush deceived just enough of the American public to go to war.
This time, no deal. Whatever it proves to be worth, a treaty has been signed. We have a precious moment where bombs aren’t flying. We’re a few steps back from the nuclear brink. And our economy is not spiraling down into another senseless military firestorm.
It may prove a small respite...but it’s a victory by any reckoning.
Now the SuperPower of Peace---all of us----must make it stick.
Harvey Wasserman is senior editor of the Columbus Free Press and , where this was first published. He edits www.nukefree.org and is co-author, with Bob Fitrakis, of THE SUPERPOWER OF PEACE. Special thanks to David Swanson.
For a timely explanation of the crisis of the militarization of America, days after popular opposition, in a historic first, blocked a US war -- in this case against the sovereign nation of Syria -- check out this film by Lanny Cotler and Paul Edwards of Class War Films
To view the film, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net
How War on Syria Lost Its Way
September 14, 2013
Editor Note: What looked like another U.S. march to war in the Mideast has turned in the direction of a peaceful settlement that carries hope of not only getting Syria to relinquish its chemical weapons but achieving a cease-fire and negotiations to end the civil war. But some parties want to resume the drive toward a U.S. attack.
By Ray McGovern
The just announced U.S.-Russia agreement in Geneva on a “joint determination to ensure the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons (CW) program in the soonest and safest manner” sounds the death knell to an attempt by Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to get the U.S. into the war in Syria.
Below the fold:
Interview by Dave Lindorff
As Syrian expatriate Dr. Rim Turkmani was watching President Barack Obama give his brief nationally televised address to the American people and the people of the world last night, she says she had two contradictory feelings. “I felt good that it was not a war speech,” says this British-based member of the political office of an organization called The Syrian State Current, a movement that is seeking non-violent democratic change in Syria. “But what upset me was his repeated referring to what is happening in Syria as a ‘civil war.’ There is an element of civil war in the violence in Syria, but more importantly it is a proxy war between the US and Russia, and it has to be acknowledged that the US and Russia are the key players.”
Assad Pledges Full Cooperation for Peace
by Stephen Lendman
His full cooperation isn't good enough for Washington. Obama wants regime change. He wants war. More on that below.
On Thursday, Free Syrian Army head Selim Idriss rejected Russia's peace initiative.
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Obama's Hell Bent for War on Syria
by Stephen Lendman
Longstanding US plans call for regime change. War is Obama's option of choice. Giving peace a chance isn't tolerated.
Proxy war continues. Throughout two and half years of conflict, Washington's been supplying insurgents with weapons, funding, training and direction. CIA operatives are involved. So are US special forces.
Putin Challenges Obama Responsibly
by Stephen Lendman
Russia's going all out to avoid war on Syria. Vladimir Putin, Sergei Lavrov and other top officials are doing so responsibly.
On September 11, Putin addressed Americans and US officials directly.
No Change in Obama's War Plans
by Stephen Lendman
Obama's Tuesday night address didn't surprise. It featured demagogic boilerplate. Defending the indefensible took center stage.
Bombast assured business as usual. More on his speech below.
Undermining Russian/Syrian Peace Deal
by Stephen Lendman
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov proposed the following:
- "putting (Syrian) chemical weapons storages under international control;"
- Syria agreeing to destroy them;
Human Rights Watch Misinformation on Syria
by Stephen Lendman
HRW and likeminded quasi-human rights/progressive groups and sources front for wealth, power and privilege. Well-known corporate foundations provide funding.
They include Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Soros, and MacArthur among others. Money they supply is tainted. It's dirty.
Chicago World Can't Wait held a press conference the morning of Septemmber 11, 2013 to oppose Obama's plan to attack Syria and refute some of the lies he spewed last night. On very short notice, Father Bob Bossie (recently retired from 8th Day Ctr for Justice), Kathy Kelly (Voices for Creative Non-violence and just back from Afghanistan), Ted Jennings (Chicago Theological Seminary theologian who speaks around the world on issues of inclusion and social justice) and Mario Venegas (human rights activist and survivor of torture under Pinochet) all spoke and gave powerful testimony.
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“Because these weapons can kill on a mass scale, with no distinction between soldier and infant, the civilized world has spent a century working to ban them.”
Why does the president need to address a classroom full of third-graders?
On Tuesday night — hallelujah — he stepped back from the brink of war, but in his address to the nation he spent most of his time justifying his earlier aggression toward Syria, detailing the Assad government’s single, heinous deviation from the civilized norms of war.
Reuters - Lawmakers said on Wednesday the Senate could start voting on a resolution to authorize the use of military force against Syria as soon as next week if efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis fall short.
A resolution authorizing strikes against Syria had been expected to come before the full Senate for a vote this week. But it was delayed after President Barack Obama asked lawmakers to wait for the outcome of a Russia-backed diplomatic initiative under which Syria would give up its chemical weapons.