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It's Nobody's Business But the Turks -- NOT!

 

 


A Call for Proof on Syria-Sarin Attack

 

 

One reason why Official Washington continues to insist that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “must go” is that he supposedly “gassed his own people” with sarin on Aug. 21, 2013, but the truth of that allegation has never been established and is in growing doubt, U.S. intelligence veterans point out.

MEMORANDUM FOR: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Sarin Attack at Ghouta on Aug. 21, 2013

Syria News - Dec 16, 2015


In major policy shift Kerry says US not seeking ‘regime change' in Syria, U.S. and Russia see the conflict 'fundamentally very similarly' - ABC


VIDEO: Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov Hold a Press Conference in Moscow (Kerry speech starts at 4:10 min) - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov Hold a Press Conference in Moscow - state.gov


Syria conflict: US and Russia signal new push at UN, to pass a resolution endorsing the Syria peace process - BBC News


Russia, US military chiefs discuss Syria air space cooperation: agencies - THE DAILY STAR


US defense chief urges Turkey to do more in anti-ISIL fight, says most significant contribution would be sealing its border with Syria - Hurriyet


EXCLUSIVE: Sarin materials brought via Turkey & mixed in Syrian camps of ISIS which was known as Iraqi Al Qaeda during that time: Turkish MP to RT - RT News


Obama: ISIS Has Lost 40 Percent of Iraq Territory, and More in Syria - WTXF


U.S. Bombing of ISIS Oil Facilities Showing Progress - TIME


US-backed Free Syrian Army groups on verge of collapse - Stripes


Russia Names Four Free Syrian Army Groups It Supports with Air Cover in Fight Against ISIS - Haaretz


Syrian opposition provides Russian Air Force with coordinates to target terrorists: MoD - RT News


Russia supplies weapons only to Syrian government army, not to Free Syrian Army: Kremlin - TASS


Russia is bringing its big guns to Syria. Literally. - theweek.com


VIDEO (English Subtitles): Putin: Any forces that threaten Russian militaries in Syria should be exterminated - YouTube


Russian warplanes destroy 6 terrorists’ oil production facilities in Syria - TASS


Syrian troops liberate 9 settlements in Aleppo province: Russian General Staff - TASS

 

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Saudi Arabia creates 34 State Islamic military bloc to fight terror groups - Yahoo News


Saudi Arabia says sending special forces to Syria under discussion by Gulf States - Yahoo News


VIDEO (English Subtitles): Saudi Arabia’s crown prince announces military alliance to fight terrorism - YouTube


VIDEO (Longer version in Arabic): Saudi Arabia’s crown prince announces military alliance to fight terrorism - YouTube


VIDEO (English): Saudi Arabia FM announces new military coalition to fight terrorism - YouTube


Pentagon chief Carter wants more details on new Saudi alliance, senior defense official says the U.S. did not know in advance about it - News-Sentinel.com


No comment from Kremlin on newly-created Islamic coalition: 'It will take some time to analyze this decision. We don’t have detailed information at this point' - TASS

 

Saudi-led Islamic coalition role leaves Lebanon govt in shreds, PM hails move while FM oppose it  - THE DAILY STAR


Interview with the rebel commander of Damascus Zahran Alloush, head of the Army of Islam - The Daily Beast


VIDEO (full version in Arabic): Jabhat a-Nusra leader al-Jolani criticizes the Riyadh conference of the Syrian opposition in an interview, denounces participating rebel factions as ‘treasonous’ - YouTube


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Syria News - Dec 10, 2015


Defense Sec. Ash Carter tells Senate Committee ISIS is not contained, but cites advances to take away control of territory from it - CBS News


VIDEO: Defense Secretary Ash Carter: We have not contained ISIS, but we are building momentum - YouTube


Defeating ISIS globally and at home requires leveraging it in its “parent tumor” of Syria and Iraq: Defense Secretary Ash Carter - defense.gov


Defense Sec: US combat troops would ‘Americanize’ conflict in Iraq and Syria, we could well turn people into fighting us instead - Freebeacon.com


VIDEO: Carter Cautions US Ground Troops Would 'Americanize' ISIS Fight - defensenews.com


In Testimony Before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Admits Syrian and Russian Opposition Scuttles No-Fly Zone - US News


VIDEO: US-Enforced No-Fly Zone over Syria Risks Conflict with Russia: General - YouTube


VIDEO: Full hearing of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter testimony before the Senate Armed Service Committee - YouTube


Reckless onslaught could aid ISIL, U.S. military warns that killing civilians could bolster terrorist ranks - POLITICO


U.S. Intel Report to Obama: ISIS will spread worldwide unless it suffers a significant loss of territory on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria - The Daily Beast


IS Opens New Supply Route Between Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq - VOA


Syria′s fractious opposition meets in Saudi capital to unify stance ahead of peace talks - DW.COM


Major differences surface among the Syrian opposition in Riyadh - GulfNews.com


Assad must face justice, Ahrar Al Sham tells Syrian opposition in Riyadh - The National


Kurds, opposition summit in Syrian Kurdistan - ekurd.net


Riyadh, Rumeilan, and Damascus: All You Need to Know About Syria’s Opposition Conferences - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Demand for setting date of Assad’s resignation contradicts international law: Lavrov - TASS

 

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Russian submarine launches cruise missiles in Syria, targeting two major IS positions in the territory of Raqqa - defensenews.com


VIDEO: Watch Russian Sub Firing Cruise Missiles Against ISIS in Syria - NBC News


Kalibr sea-launched missiles prove their efficiency, accuracy: Russian Defense Ministry - TASS


Russian Submarine Notches Milestone With Syria Missile Strike - Fortune


US: Russia Gave Warning of Syria Cruise Missile Strikes - defensenews.com


Comprehensive Infographic about the Russian Intervention in Syria, December 2015 Update - Offiziere.ch


Turkish PM accuses Russia of 'ethnic cleansing' in Syria - Reuters


Russia asks: Why is Turkey bombing Kurds in Syria who are US allies - Rudaw


Putin invites UK to investigate black box recovered from Russian jet downed by Turkey in Syria - ibtimes.co.in


Syrian rebels leave Homs as under truce deal with Assad (PHOTOS) - Daily Mail Online


VIDEO: Syria rebels start leaving Homs district under truce deal - YouTube


Evacuation of Homs district a boost for Syrian government - irishtimes.com


Pro-regime demonstration to demand release of kidnapped relatives in Homs deal - Syria Direct


Nusra fighters surrender to regime in south Syria province of Daraa - NOW


9 Nusra militants killed in Lebanon-Syria border clash with Hezbollah - THE DAILY STAR


Heavy clashes erupt between Kurdish and Nusra forces in Aleppo - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Syria's Assad admits sending weapons to PYD - aa.com


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

NATO Defending Turkey – ISIS Oil Trade

turkeyoil

By reinforcing the Turkish military presence along the routes of ISIS oil to Turkey, NATO is protecting the illicit ISIS oil trade that supports the reviled terrorist organization.

(Washington, DC 12/02) NATO announced Tuesday that it would send patrol aircraft and missile defense systems to bolster Turkey’s air defenses at that nation’s border with Syria. This announcement was made on the same day that the Russian Defense Ministry produced satellite imagery and other evidence showing what has been claimed for months, namely that Turkey is receiving oil sent by truck from ISIS oil wells in Iraq and Syria.  (Image)

The United States government dismissed the Russian evidence consisting of images of miles of oil trucks originating at ISIS oil wells then crossing the Turkish border. ISIS oil ends up at two primary destinations, the Batman oil refinery in southeastern Turkey and Mediterranean ports near Turkey’s Adana province. The value of the oil trade via Turkey is estimated between $50 and $100 million a month. Without this income, ISIS would face considerable obstacles to its ongoing military aggression, terrorist activities around the world, and subjugation of Syrians and Iraqis living under ISIS rule.

War with Russia or with ISIS: What ever happened to peace?

According to the Nation magazine and many others, there are two options available to the U.S. government. One is increased hostility perhaps leading to nuclear war with Russia. The other is a joint U.S.-Russia-and-others war on ISIS.

Many in the United States who generally oppose war and who look for information outside the U.S. corporate media manage to recognize the U.S. focus on overthrowing the Syrian government, with Iran next on the list. They notice the lack of U.S. concern over Saudi and Turkish assistance to ISIS. And at least in the backs of their minds they remember that the destruction of Iraq was the critical ingredient in the creation of ISIS. But they've been as frightened by the beheading videos as any Donald Trump fanatic screaming for the eradication of Muslims -- all right, maybe a bit less frightened, but still very frightened. So they find refuge in the idea that Russia really wants to destroy ISIS, and they urge the United States to help. The alternative of war with Russia is unthinkable. But why in the world should that be the only alternative?

A Russian media outlet, no doubt hoping I would advocate a unified war on ISIS, sent me these questions on Thursday. First they wanted me to comment on this remark by President Vladimir Putin: "Today we are again facing the destructive barbaric ideology and we do not have the right to allow that the newly found obscurantists reach their goals. We need to throw away all arguments and differences to create one powerful fist, a united antiterrorist front which would act on the basis of international law and under the UN auspices."

Second, they wanted me to comment on these statements by Putin: "Russia has many old, reliable friends in Turkey, who should know we don't put them on level with ruling top officials." and "Russia knows who in Turkey [is] making money on stolen oil, recruiting fighters."

I sent back these answers, asking them to use all or nothing, which I suspected meant they would use nothing:

1. What President Putin proposes and many even on the left in the United States support, a united front against terrorism sounds right until you examine the details. He means a united war, a united bombing of people's homes, a united counterproductive effort to make things better that will make things worse, using large scale terrorism to produce more small scale terrorism. This may be better than a disunited front. It's certainly better than a nuclear confrontation between Russia and the maniacs so respectably running Washington D.C. straight toward armageddon, but it's not a solution to the problem, it's not an alternative to destructive cycles of violence, it's just a different spin on the same wheel.

2. Washington would rather be wrong than agree with Russia. NATO would rather die than agree with Russia, for if it agrees with Russia it loses its reason to exist and dies anyway. What does bringing the world down with it matter? Yes, of course, the United States is less interested in destroying ISIS than in destroying Syria, but a big strong united focus on destroying ISIS will never destroy ISIS. It will only spread it across the globe. Imagine the a united front kills everyone in half of Syria and Iraq, as would have to be done to destroy ISIS. Muslim hatred of the United States would sweep the globe and Muslim hatred of Russia, and bombs in Russian airplanes, right along with it. Is that what Putin wants? Is that what Russians want? A united attempt to actually seriously reduce, rather than increase, terrorism would establish a ceasefire, an arms embargo, humanitarian aid, assistance to refugees, and the sort of intense investment in green energy that right now only goes into killing people.

To these comments I received the reply:

"I would use all, personally. Some of the things you wrote here, I’m afraid, are controversial for our editorial board as the main idea here in Russia is that it is 'better to fight IS in Syria and Iraq than on Russian territory.' Many Islamist volunteers from Northern Caucasus promise to come back to Russia and kill innocent people in terrorist acts. We have lost a full plane of civilians flying from Cairo and many people here are afraid. However, I promise to send your message (which I think was your main point) that 'a big strong united focus on destroying ISIS will never destroy ISIS.' This quote I will necessarily include. Thank you for your understanding!"

Sound familiar? Fight em there, not here. Use blowback to justify escalation. Where have we seen this movie before?

I failed to be understanding and asked them to use nothing of my quote rather than part of it. They agreed to use nothing, no hard feelings. I encouraged them to think about this:

Generating more terrorism is not a solution to terrorism, and the excuse of being scared and unable to think straight still leaves mistaken thinking. The United States has demonstrated these mistakes for years now. I remember when Russians pointed out that the United States had made all of Russia's earlier mistakes in Afghanistan and moved on to new ones; that was right, and the United States refused to listen. Don't, Russia, make all of the U.S. mistakes in Iraq and start inventing your own. This path leads to hell.

I sent that to my Russian journalist friend who was sounding identical to a war-supporting American of exactly the sort that peace activists usually disagree with. The next response I received only heightened the similarity with U.S. war advocates and U.S. media:

"I personally agree however I do not understand how could we stop Islamic State. What is your recipe?"

Sigh.

I sent back this:

I've been answering this for well over a year many dozens of times at http://davidswanson.org

Here's my latest.

Here's Johan Galtung's answer.

Here's an organizational answer from last October.

Here's an answer this week from a former ISIS prisoner.

Here are former U.S. officials explaining how what they did until the moment they retired was counterproductive.

I got back: "Thanks, I'll read that."

I believe that was sincere. But I wonder what the "editorial board" will read. I suspect Russian and U.S. editorial boards could swap their reading lists and hardly notice, just like ISIS and anti-ISIS fighters swapping the U.S. bullets in their U.S. guns.

Focus: Syria News - Dec 2, 2015


Defense chief Carter before the House Armed Services Committee: US sending more special forces to fight Islamic State in Iraq and Syria - AP


VIDEO: Ash Carter before the House Armed Services Committee: More U.S. special operators headed to Syria - CNN


Joint Chiefs chairman Dunford: We have not contained ISIL, it has spread beyond Iraq and Syria to other countries - TheHill


VIDEO: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford: 'We have not contained ISIL' - YouTube


VIDEO: Ashton Carter, Joseph Dunford full testimony before the House Armed Services Committee - C-SPAN.org


Sen. Murphy critical of plan to send additional special ops forces to Syria, Iraq - Hartford Courant


Obama touts progress against ISIS, sets low expectations for Russian cooperation saying Putin unlikely to do '180 turn' - Fox News


VIDEO: Obama sets low expectations for Russian cooperation on Syria - Yahoo News


Obama: We need Turkey to secure its border with Syria, to prevent ISIS to transport fuel and foreign fighters - Breitbart


U.S. air campaign cripples ISIL oil industry in Syria - usatoday.com


Clinton on Russians:  "I want them at the table. They don't have to participate in it, but I want them to understand that there has to be safe areas [i.e. no-fly zones] on the ground” (VIDEO) - TheHill


Did Hillary Clinton think a military victory against Assad was possible in Syria (VIDEO) ? - CBS News


US-backed alliance of Kurds and Arabs fight deadly clashes in Aleppo province with Islamist including Nusra - Yahoo News


U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces recapture new Hasakah areas from ISIS - ARA News


As US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance prepares to storm Shaddadi, tribal leaders ask ISIS to withdraw to avoid civilian casualties - ARA News

 

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Russia adding 2nd airbase in Syria, pursuing 'expansion' in military campaign - Fox News


With the new airbase, the Russian air force in Syria is expected to double in the number of aircraft, additional 1,000 soldiers deployed - Daily Sabah


More information on the new Russian military base in Syria - InformNapalm.org


Russian Su-34 fighters carrying air-to-air missiles in Syria for the first time (VIDEO) - UPI.com


Pentagon warns Russia’s against arming its warplanes in Syria with air-to-air missiles - TASS


Russia S-400 missile system sends robust signal: 248 mi. range, 3 mi. per second speed, tracking hundreds of targets simultaneously up to 19 mi. height - BBC


Israel’s defence minister Ya'alon: Russian air defence missile system in Syria is not a threat - middleeastmonitor.com


Netanyahu, Putin Meet to Discuss Coordination of Air Forces in Syria - Washington Free Beacon


Vladimir Putin claims Turkey shot down Russian jet to protect oil trade with Isil (VIDEO) - Telegraph


Exclusive: Russia may freeze Turkish Stream gas project: Gazprom sources - Reuters


Russian Su-24M Jet Attack: Moscow Accuses NATO Of ‘Politically’ Covering Turkey - ibtimes.com


NATO allies seek to strengthen Turkey's defences - Reuters


Xi, Putin to enhance anti-terrorism cooperation - Business Standard News


Syria's government and opposition forces reach a deal for rebels to leave the last part of Homs city under their control - Yahoo News


Starving residents leave Qudsiya as rebels mull deal to end blockade - Syria Direct


Syria's Assad says Russia's support changes balance on the ground - Jerusalem Post


TRANSCRIPT: President al-Assad Interview to Czech TV - Syrian Arab News Agency


In unexpected twist, Assad ally may be Lebanon's next president - Jerusalem Post


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

 

On reading Mumia in gaol: Torture and Other Abuses Make Turkey as American as Apple Pie

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

On the topic of torture the nation of Turkey could teach some gruesome techniques to ISIS, the terrorist movement executing a savage reign across Syria and beyond (reportedly with Turkish government support).

The real reason for Turkey's shoot-down of the Russian jet

By Gareth Porter, Middle East Eye

 

The data supports Putin's assertion that the shoot-down was prepared in advance due to Russian bombing of Turkey-linked rebels in Syria.

 

The United States and its NATO allies offered a ritual of NATO unity after Turkish officials presented their case that the shoot-down of a Russian jet occurred after two planes had penetrated Turkish airspace.

The Turkish representive reportedly played a recording of a series warning the Turkish F16 pilots had issued to the Russian jets without a Russian response, and US and other NATO member states endorsed Turkey’s right to defend its airspace.

An invisible US hand leading to war?: Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet at the Turkish/Syrian Border was an Act of Madness

By Dave Lindorff


In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Russian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let’s start with one almost certain assumption -- an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: Turkey’s action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey’s vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.

Syria News - Nov 24, 2015

 

A new ABC/Washington Post poll shows that Hillary Clinton is the most trusted 2016 candidate on terrorism. Quoting the Washington Post: "Clinton’s position of strength in the new Post-ABC poll is perhaps more striking given it also found... 57 percent disapproved of his [Obama] handling of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”

 

I think is urgent to respond to the recent Clinton national security and Islamic State speech and clarify to the public the dangerous implications of her foreign policy which will furtherly destabilize the Middle East and fuel more war. 


On top I would put her anti-Russia and anti-Iran stance: by condemning continuously their actions and by refusing to recognize their legitimate interests and concerns, she makes the prospect of a political and diplomatic solution of the crisis difficult if not impossible to pursue. 


Second, I would mention her plan to train and arm the so called “moderate” Syrian rebels who are fighting Assad. This policy has been a total failure with the result that US weapons ended up in the hand of Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and Islamic state; also many CIA-trainees were fought and defeated or recruited by those terrorist groups. Right now remaining “moderate” Syrian rebels are allied with Nusra Front and other hardline Islamist groups in a coalition known as Army of Conquest.


Third, Clinton no-fly zone in northern Syria may cause a direct military confrontation with Russia, Iran and the Syrian army. The Pentagon assessed the no-fly zone as risky, costly and difficult to implement. Also the local populations, like the Syrian Kurds, oppose it.


Forth, Clinton says: "There is not going to be a successful military effort at this point to overturn Assad. That can only happen through the political process.” By setting the goal of overturning Assad, even if by a political process, she imperils the future peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition. Russia and Iran have repeatedly said that they will not accept Assad ouster as a precondition for the negotiations ending the war.


Fifth, Clinton plans a deployment in Syria of more U.S Special Operations troops "who can contribute to the fight on the ground” and military personnel advising the Iraqis "including embedding in local units.” This will put at risk more lives of American soldiers. The U.S. military shows sign of fatigue after so many wars; soldiers suffer from exhaustion, sleep disorders and mental health problems. No surprise that few Americans in the military have a good impression of Hillary Clinton: in a poll she is seen unfavorably by 81% by active and retired military personnel, including 69% who share a very unfavorable impression of her. 


Below is my today’s news research on Syria.

 

Putin, Khamenei pledge to oppose 'external attempts' to overthrow Assad regime - UPI


VIDEO: Russia’s complex anti-ISIS campaign in Syria would be impossible without Iran: Putin - RT News


Jordan's King Abdullah to discuss war on Syria militants with Putin - Reuters


Сhina considers Russia’s actions important part of international fight against terrorism - TASS


UN Chief Says Russia and U.S. Must Unite to Destroy Islamic State - Breitbart


Former defense chief Hagel: Russia, Iran must join fight against ISIS - Washington Examiner


Russian TV: Russian airstrikes destroy 472 terrorist targets in Syria in 48 hours, 1,000 oil tankers in 5 days (VIDEO) - RT News


Pentagon skeptical of claims Russia hit 1,000 ISIS tankers - Fox News


Backed by Russian airstrikes Syria troops advance in Homs province and Latakia - Daily Mail Online


Syrian army making advances since Russian airstrikes began: Assad - RT News


TRANSCRIPT: Assad interview to Chinese PHOENIX TV Channel - Syrian Arab News Agency


U.S. Congresswoman introduces bill to stop "illegal" war on Assad; says CIA ops must stop (VIDEO) - Intellihub


Inside Russia's war room where Vladimir Putin masterminds Syria airstrikes (PHOTOS, VIDEO) - Daily Mail Online


Russia said to deploy advanced missile system in Syria - The Times of Israel


Report: Russia Sends Ground Forces into Syria - Washington Free Beacon


VIDEO: Syrians take to the streets to praise Russian military support - BBC News

 

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Presidential envoy McGurk: US Special Forces going Into Syria very soon, 'to organize those forces on the ground to push down on Raqqa' - VOA


VIDEO: Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk discusses the U.S. strategy in Syria against ISIS - CBS


France, Russia poised to pummel Islamic State ‘capital' Raqqa - THE DAILY STAR


Exclusive: Kurdish forces with new alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces dig in just outside ISIS headquarters in Raqqa (VIDEO) - CNN


Isis fortifies Raqqa as it braces for an international assault on its Syrian stronghold - The Independent


With air support from a US-led coalition Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic forces have captured nearly 200 villages from Islamic State - ekurd.net


15 opposition brigades in Idlib, Aleppo join the Syrian Democratic Forces - Syria Direct


Assyrian Christian Militia Joins Kurds against ISIS in Syria - National Review Online


Officials say US warplanes destroy 283 IS fuel trucks in Syria - Yahoo News


President Obama Returns to DC Amid ISIS Intelligence Report Investigation - ABC News


Syria oil map: the journey of a barrel of Isis oil - FT


Turkey buying oil from Isis? Syrian army releases photos of captured tanker - IBTimes


Financing Terror: Where Does the Islamic State Group Get Its Money? - US News


How the Islamic State makes its money - The Washington Post


US Envoy: Chemical Attacks 'Becoming Routine' in Syria - ABC News


Syria opposition chief urges Al-Nusra to break with Al-Qaeda - Yahoo News


Al-Qaeda's affiliate Nusra Front releases a grateful video where they openly thank the Free Syrian Army for supplying them with US-made anti-tank TOW missiles - Sputnik

 

VIDEO: Revealing Interviews of ISIS fighters captured by the Kurds - LiveLeak.com

Talk Nation Radio: Johan Galtung on ISIS and Alternative to War

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-johan-galtung-on-isis-and-alternative-to-war 

Johan Galtung is the founder of the discipline of peace studies. He founded the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo in 1959 and the Journal of Peace Research in 1964, and has helped found dozens of peace centers. He has taught peace studies at universities all over the world, and mediated hundreds of conflicts. He is author or coauthor of over 160 books, and is cited and discussed in many thousands. He is the founder of Transcend Peace University and Transcend International. See http://transcend.org

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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Where’s the truth, and how can you find it?: The US Corporate Media are Essentially Propaganda Organs of the US Government


By Dave Lindorff

 

            Are the American corporate media largely propaganda organs, or news organizations?

 

Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire Leads Delegation to Syria

Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and 14 delegates from Australia, Belgium, Canada, India, Ireland, Poland, The Russian Federation, The United Kingdom and the United States, will begin a 6-day visit to Syria to promote peace and to express support for all Syrians who have been victims of war and terror since 20ll.

This will be Mairead Maguire’s third visit to Syria as head of a peace delegation. Maguire said: ‘People across the world are rightly expressing solidarity with the people of France after the recent terror attack. However, while there is talk of a war on terror and the focus of that war will be Syria, there is little awareness of how a war will impact on the lives of millions of people in Syria”.

In Syria, Christmas, Easter and the Eid festivals are all national holidays. So the group will acknowledge the unity of Syrians by taking part in an ecumenical service in the Grand Mosque in Damascus.

It will meet displaced Syrians and orphans, and will investigate the reconciliation initiative in Syria.

The group hopes to travel to Homs, a city that has been ravaged by fighting.   It will report on how people are rebuilding their lives.

Ms. Maguire said, ‘Syrians are custodians of the two oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The members of the International peace group come from different political and religious backgrounds, but what unites us is a belief that the people of Syria have to be acknowledged and supported, and this is not just for their survival and their country’s survival, but for humankind’s’.

Ms.Maguire noted that when there is talk of war in the world, it seems appropriate that the international peace delegation will travel to Damascus, to listen to the voices of countless Syrians who call for peace, and to bear witness to the true reality of conflict in that country.

Focus: Hillary Clinton Plan to Combat Islamic State - Nov 20, 2015

 

Here is a summary of the Hillary Clinton plan to combat Islamic State and my suggestions for a Sanders counterproposal. This is the full transcript and video of Clinton National Security Address.


Hillary Clinton proposes:


Deployment in Syria of more U.S Special Operations troops "who can contribute to the fight on the ground” and military personnel advising and training the Iraqis "including embedding in local units and helping target airstrikes.” 


Establishing no-fly zones together with the coalition and the neighbors to "stop Assad from slaughtering civilians and the opposition from the air.”


Support and arming Syrian opposition units hand in hand with Arab and European partners.


A political transition to end Assad’s rule which has "killed many more Syrians than the terrorists have…There is not going to be a successful military effort at this point to overturn Assad. That can only happen through the political process.”


"Counter Iranian influence across the region and its support for terrorist proxies such as Hezbollah….Raising the confidence of our Arab partners and raising the costs to Iran for bad behavior will contribute to a more effective fight against ISIS.”


Following are my suggested points for Sanders counterproposal:


No to U.S. troops on the ground in Syria and Iraq. Let’s spare the lives and limbs of the American soldiers! According to a Reuters poll, Americans want more action against ISIS, but oppose ground troops.


Oppose no-fly zone. This is a dangerous idea. A no-fly zone will fuel the civil war, antagonize Russia and Iran and may cause a direct military confrontation with them. The Pentagon opposes the no-fly zone as risky, costly and difficult to implement. Also the local populations, like the Syrian Kurds, oppose it.


No arming of the Syrian so called “moderate” rebels who are allied with Nusra Front and other hardline Islamist groups in a coalition known as Army of Conquest. As it has happened in the past they have been a conduit, either willing or unwilling, of U.S. weapons to terrorist groups.


Support the call of France President Hollande for a global coalition to defeat Islamic State, a truly international cooperation with the participation of Russia and all the Muslim nations including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran. Hollande will meet separately with Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin next week to "unite the forces”.


Support the Vienna Statement of the International Syria Support Group which set a plan for Syrian government and opposition talks, new constitution and UN supervised elections within 18 months. "The ISSG expressed willingness to take immediate steps... to pave the way for the nationwide ceasefire."  


No mentioning of Assad which remains a sticking point in the diplomatic negotiations to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis. The Syrian government/opposition talks and the constitutional reform process can begin without addressing the fate and political future of Assad which can be discussed at a later stage when both the Syrian government and opposition have been given political and security guarantees.


It  is important that Sen. Sanders address in a comprehensive manner the anti-terrorism campaign. The audience of the Iowa Democratic debate thought that Clinton was stronger than Sanders in national security, and the media noticed that he was too short addressing this issue.

Warmongers & Peacemongers: Learning How Not to Rule the World

By John Grant

 

[Al Qaeda’s] strategic objective has always been ... the overthrow of the House of Saud. In pursuing that regional goal, however, it has been drawn into a worldwide conflict with American power.

Syria News - Nov 12, 2015


Russia outlines plan for steering Syria out of conflict, a constitutional reform lasting up to 18 months followed by presidential elections - CBC


Text of Russia's draft proposals on Syrian crisis - Daily Mail Online


Syrian opposition rejects Russian proposal to end conflict - The National


Syria talks to focus on which opposition groups should negotiate with Assad's regime and which should be designated as terrorists - Daily Mail


UN Syria envoy:'momentum' of Vienna talks must not be squandered - Yahoo News


VIDEO: Staffan de Mistura (UN Special Envoy on Syria) on a political solution to the Syrian crisis - United Nations Web TV

 

Erdoğan once again floats the idea of a safe zone in Syria amid talk of Turkish involvement in a ground operation in its southern neighbor - todayszaman.com


The Reckless Proposal to Impose a No-Fly Zone in Syria - Cato @ Liberty


Syria solution should not only be about Assad: Rouhani - Yahoo News


Syria Christian archbishop calls on West to back President Bashar al-Assad in war against Islamist rebels - Telegraph


Syria: Pro-Assad Christian Militia to the Rescue as 1000s of Christians flee ISIL approach - Informed Comment


U.S. fighter jets sent to Turkey to protect slow-flying attack planes hitting Islamic State targets in Syria and to deter Russian aggression in the region: Defense official - usatoday.com


U.S. to continue its support to Kurdish YPG forces in Syria: spokesman - ekurd.net


VIDEO: Watch Live Secretary of State John Kerry Delivering Remarks on U.S. Strategy in Syria at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday - state.gov

 

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In a major breakthrough, Syrian army frees Aleppo's Kweires air base from ISIL siege - The National


Assad’s men claim control over 'tens of villages and strategic hills' in the Aleppo countryside surrounding the Kweires air base - Long War Journal


Strategic Implications of Assad’s Victory at Kweires - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


VIDEO: Syrian opposition provided intel to target terrorists around besieged Kweires airbase: Russia - YouTube


VIDEO: Fighting erupts as Syrian govt. forces break siege of Kweires airbase - YouTube


VIDEO: Pro-Assad TV channel reports on Syrian forces recapturing Kweires key airbase - YouTube


VIDEO: Drone Footage of Kweires Airbase Taken After Lifting The Siege - LiveLeak.com


Palmyra will be flattened by ISIS within six months, warns antiquities director - The Independent


Hope for Palmyra? Syrian Army Comes Closer to Strategically Important City - sputniknews.com

 

Russian aviation group in Syria has made 85 sorties against 277 terrorist facilities over the past 2 days, bomber destroys IS tanks and infantry vehicles in Homs: Defense Ministry - TASS


Russia in Syria: 50 journalists from 12 countries visit Russian base in Latakia - ibtimes.co.in


VIDEO: BBC inside airbase where Russia carries out Syria airstrikes - BBC News


Russia's Syria force grows to 4,000, U.S. officials say - Reuters


Free Syrian Army decimated by desertions - Al Jazeera English


VIDEO: Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria - VICE News


The riddle of Haji Bakr: a former colonel in an elite intelligence unit of the Saddam Hussein regime as an “architect” of I.S.’s expansion into Syria - The Syrian Intifada


Hezbollah Expands Military Presence in Syrian War - VOA


Syria says Israeli airstrikes hit near Damascus airport, According to unconfirmed reports by opposition groups target was a weapons shipment intended for Hezbollah - The Times of Israel


Netanyahu ‘not sure’ how to intervene in Syria - The Times of Israel


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

U.S. and Russian Militaries Compete for Darwin Award

Which world power can damage its own interests with the dumbest move? The contest will have you on the edge of your seats.

Here's the latest U.S. entry:

Last month, a raid by Kurdish forces supposedly freed ISIS prisoners, and those Kurdish forces posted a video of prisoners rushing out of a prison while gunfire sounded in the background. One U.S. troop was killed in the raid. U.S. media rushed to cover the story as a heroic act of benevolence. Non-U.S. media rushed to cover the fact that the "non-combat" troops, the so-called "advisors" whom the U.S. has in Iraq by the thousands were in fact engaged in combat.

It escaped my attention and perhaps most people's that the "advisors" may also have been providing extraordinarily bad advice. NPR -- which often functions no differently than an official Pentagon news service -- reported an interesting contradiction to the central claim of the prisoner-rescue story.

NPRer Kelly McEvers said, "The province of Kirkuk is the crossroads of Iraq. To the north are the majority of the country's Kurds, to the south - Arabs. And now Kirkuk is on the frontlines of the battle with ISIS. Last month, Kirkuk province was the site of a prison raid by U.S. and Kurdish forces. One American soldier was killed. Earlier today, I spoke with the governor of Kirkuk, Najmaldin Karim, from our studios in Washington. And he said the raid was meant to rescue Kurds who'd been captured by ISIS. And instead, it freed ISIS fighters who'd been imprisoned by their own leaders."

Instead of freeing Kurds captured by ISIS, the U.S.-advised Kurds (together with U.S. "non-combat" troops doing their "advising") actually freed ISIS fighters?

The governor of Kirkuk, Najmaldin Karim, replied, "Among these were two who are considered somewhat senior locally in the region. One of them was the prison administrator, and the other one was some guy who used the last name of Shishani. And Shishani is a village in that area, so he's probably from - they were local."

Senior ISIS fighters were freed? Including a prison administrator who was locked up in prison? This is very unclear and may be nonsense or only part of the story, but this is an account via a U.S.-military friendly outlet from a U.S.-educated, U.S.-citizen colonial governor visiting Washington, D.C., to ask for more weapons and "trainers" and "advisors" on behalf of multicultural Kurdish heroes who he says are willing to do U.S. dirty work. The interviewer is blatantly and openly on his side, asking oh-so-"objective" questions like this one: "You make a very compelling case, and it sounds like it's a case you've made many times. Give me your honest answer. Are you getting a sense in Washington that more help is on the way?"

Freeing ISIS prisoners would be in line with other steps the U.S. has taken in support of ISIS, from overthrowing secular governments and arming Muslim radicals in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and much of Syria, to brutalizing prisoners, to throwing Iraq into utter chaos, to providing arms to the Iraqi government that are used on civilians and taken by ISIS, providing arms to "moderates" in Syria that are given to ISIS, and providing arms directly to ISIS. But the biggest boost for ISIS has come from what it asked the U.S. to do in its propaganda films: attack it. By becoming the leading opponent of the distant foreign nation that has made itself so hated for so many years, ISIS was able to make its recruitment soar. The U.S. response is always the same: declare that there is no military solution, and attempt another larger military solution.

Don't look now, but here comes Russia:

The December 2013 Gallup poll in which most of the 65 nations surveyed named the United States as the greatest threat to peace on earth, the flourishing of anti-U.S. terrorist groups around the world, the bitter hatred of the flyers of killer drones, the resentment of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib -- all of this seems to have infected the Russian government with the seeds of jealousy.

How can Russia make itself properly hated, put its people in proper jeopardy, show itself a vicious world power worthy of equal or greater scorn?

Brilliant 12-dimensional chessman Vladimir Putin found an answer, beloved even on the left in the United States as a means of finally more-efficiently murdering just the right terrorists and only the right terrorists, so help me Tolstoy. Russia began bombing Syria.

Before long, Russia had generated its very own anti-Russian terrorist attack, with a plane blown up over Egypt and 224 people killed. Vladimir couldn't have been prouder. According to the New York Times,

"analysts and other experts expect that it will only strengthen Mr. Putin's resolve to become more deeply involved in the Middle East. . . . and might cause Russia to begin targeting the Islamic State more aggressively. . . . 'The Kremlin will have to reverse cause and effect here so that its strategy is not seen as leading to civilian deaths,' said Maxim Trudolyubov, an editor at large for the newspaper Vedomosti. . . . 'A terrorist attack against Russian citizens means a declaration of war against all Russians,' wrote Tatiana Stanovaya, an analyst, on Slon.ru, a current events website. 'The Syria campaign will thus become not a matter of Putin's ambitions, but of national revenge.'

Despite the Russian quotes, this could be just the New York Times reflexively promoting more violence as what anyone would do because it's what friends of the New York Times would do. If Russia were truly following the U.S. course, it would have occupied Egypt by now. But the Russian TV network RT has posted speculation that "the West" was behind the bomb on the plane and that supposedly the West, in a departure from its every past understanding of how a government responds to violence, intends to thereby drive Russia out of Syria rather than sucking it further in, as was done so many years ago in Afghanistan. Meanwhile Sputnik News warns that the United States has launched a proxy war on Russia in Syria, and celebrates the increased sales abroad of Russian weapons that it says has resulted from the Russian bombing of Syria.

These don't sound like the noises of a society coming to its senses. They sound like hunger pangs of a political class in the chase for a Darwin award.

##

Thanks to Evan Knappenberger for pointing the NPR story out to me.

Tomgram: Greg Grandin, Waging Endless War From Vietnam to Syria

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com.

The proof is in the proofs: US Spy Sats See Everything, Except when the Government Says They Didn’t

By Dave Lindorff

 

            There is something fishy going on in the way the US is talking about civilian plane crashes that are in some way linked, or said to be linked to Russia.

 

The sham Syrian peace conference



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I have always been enthusiastic in my support for peace negotiations, which have been neglected all too often in internal and international conflicts. But it is clear that the international conference on Syria that held its first meeting in Vienna on October 30 is a sham conference that is not capable of delivering any peace negotiations, and that the Obama administration knew that perfectly well from the start.

Syria News - Nov 4, 2015


Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-backed alliance of Arabs, Kurds and Christian Assyrians, make gains against Islamic State in al-Hasakah - UPI


Last Week Joint Kurd-Arab force announced U.S.-backed offensive in al-Hasakah- UPI.com


VIDEO ARCHIVE (English): Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs and Turkmens announce the formation of the 'The Syrian Democratic Forces' - YouTube


Syrian Democratic Forces - Wikipedia


Syrian Kurdish forces fight to halt IS advance near Raqqa, fighters are supported by the US-led coalition airstrikes - VOA


Obama says Syria deployment doesn't break no 'boots on ground' pledge - Reuters


How 50 US troops in Syria could actually make a difference, their goal is to support the anti-ISIS Kurdish-Arab alliance that has demonstrated concrete success (VIDEO) - CSMonitor.com


New MacDill Commander of the Special Operations ForcesTakes Over on Eve of Syria Mission - Military.com


US 'Advisors' to Fight Islamic State in Syria Frustrates Anti-Assad Rebels - VOA


U.S. and Turkey on a Collision Course over the alliance with Syrian Kurdish Forces - huffingtonpost.com


As Kurds advance against ISIS, Turkey intensifies 'provocative attacks' on Kurdish headquarters north Syria - ARA News


Opinion: The Kurds Could Bring Russia and the US Together in Syria - kurdishquestion.com


Details revealed in chilling plot to kill anti-ISIS activists in Turkey, they were members of a citizen-journalist group called 'Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently' (VIDEO) - NBC News


Inside Tal Abyad: A block of wood for beheadings and a torture chamber — what ISIS left behind in a town it used to control - Business Insider

 

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Russia says keeping Assad in power not crucial, but the preservation of the government in the Syrian state is central to ending civil war - VOA


Russia plans to restore Assad regime's economy - aa.com


Russia warplanes bomb IS positions in Palmyra - BBC News


DoD: Russia has opened a new base near Palmyra, bringing the number of Russian bases in Syria to four - NBC News


Russia: Coordinates of 24 terrorist targets in Syria provided by opposition and field commanders of a number of armed rebel groups - TASS


Russia supports Free Syrian Army participating in political settlement in Syria: diplomat - TASS


Transported by the Russian aircraft Christian Assyrians Mobilize More Fighters to Confront ISIS in East Homs - AINA


Men and women locked by Syrian rebels in cages to act as human shields against Assad’s air-strikes (VIDEO) - Daily Mail Online


Pentagon: US, Russian fighters communicate over Syria in test, but no military cooperation - Yahoo News


US is moving jets intended for air-to-air combat to Syria — and Russia might be why - Business Insider


Iran is threatening to pull out of peace talks on Syria, citing the 'negative role' of its main regional adversary Saudi Arabia, - Business Insider


Iranian commander killed in Syria: state media - Yahoo News UK


Israel is no longer taking a public position on Syrian President Assad's prospects of staying in power: defense minister - Yahoo News


Al Qaeda Chief Hints Joining Hands With ISIS In War Against Russia, US - ibtimes.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Stop the War welcomes government pulling back from bombing Syria

The government is pulling back from efforts to push for the bombing of Syria. The voices calling for war have been marginalised. Congratulations to the thousands of people who have lobbied their MPs, petitioned and leafleted against the war. We should stay vigilant and mobilised and keep promoting the arguments against bombing, but once again we have had a real impact. See: Seven reasons why Stop the War says no to UK military intervention in Syria.

Stop the War issued the following press release today:

Stop the War welcomes reports that the government has dropped plans to push for a vote to bomb Syria. Government efforts to convince a significant number of Labour MPs to vote for war and against Labour policy agreed at its conference appear to have failed. Meanwhile, the Commons foreign affairs select committee has expressed strong doubts about the plans.

As in 2013, when parliament voted against war, MPs have recognised the absurdity of the idea of humanitarian bombing. They have listened to the arguments and opinions of the many people in this country who are against Britain going to war in yet another country in the Middle East.

In the last few weeks thousands of people have lobbied their MPs against war. There have been meetings, leafleting and petitioning against intervention including a packed meeting in parliament last night addressed by MPs from the Labour Party, the Green Party, the SNP and the Conservative Party. 

Anti-war opinion in Britain has once again made its mark. The Stop the War Coalition will stay mobilised against attempts to take us into more disastrous foreign wars.

A "President's Daily Brief" for President Putin -- on Syria

 

 


Seeing Syrian Crisis Through Russian Eyes

 

 

Editor Note: While there is a glimmer of hope that international negotiations may finally find a way to resolve the Syrian war, there is also growing pressure on President Obama to escalate U.S. military involvement even if that risks a wider war with Russia, a danger that ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern assesses.

By Ray McGovern

“To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war,” as Sir Winston Churchill put it at a White House luncheon on June 1954. The aphorism applies in spades today as the U.S., Russia and other key countries involved in troubles in Syria decide whether to jaw or to war.

Syria News - Oct 28, 2015


Pentagon chief unveils new plan for ISIS fight before the Senate Armed Services Committee - TheHill


VIDEO: Secretary of Defense Carter Statement on the U.S. Counter-ISIL Campaign before the Senate Armed Services Committee - defense.gov


TRANSCRIPT: Secretary of Defense Carter Statement on the U.S. Counter-ISIL Campaign before the Senate Armed Services Committee - defense.gov


VIDEO: Senate Committee on Armed Services Hearing with Secretary of Defense Carter and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford - defense.gov


VIDEO: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford Opening Statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee - defense.gov


The new “three R's” of America’s ISIS strategy, explained - Vox


No no-fly zone at this time: Pentagon chief Carter - freebeacon.com


Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford: US Faces Legal, Political Challenges to Implement No-Fly Zone in Syria - sputniknews.com


U.S. weighs special forces in Syria, helicopters in Iraq - Reuters


Centcom: 145 Syrian rebels from training program still active - TheHill


Carter: US-Trained Syrian Rebels Not Targeted by Russian Airstrikes - sputniknews.com


US-led coalition air strikes slow in Syria, the coalition launched 359 air strikes in July, 206 in August and 115 in September - i24news


Hostages freed in Iraq raid recount time in ISIS captivity (VIDEO) - CNN.com


VIDEO: Video shows the raid on an ISIS prison in northern Iraq last week which freed about 70 captives - YouTube


VIDEO (Graphic): ISIS executes Syrian soldier, running him over by tank - LiveLeak.com



IS Militants Tie Captives to Palmyra Roman-era Columns, Blow Them Up - US News


Syrians living tragedy and despair barely imaginable five years ago, 13.5 million need aid and protection: UN - United Nations News Centre

 

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US Officials: Iran Invited to Next Round of Syria Talks - TheHill


VIDEO: Daily Press Briefing at Department of State (Syria questions start at 5:00 Minute) - YouTube


Iran's invitation to Syria talks marks significant shift for US and allies - The Guardian


Iran’s Syria Aid Deepens as It Jockeys for Role in Talks - Bloomberg Business


Amid Mounting Losses, Iranian Commander Admits Growing IRGC Presence In Syria - The Tower


Mounting death toll for Iranian soldiers in Aleppo - rudaw.net


US concedes Syrian President Assad is here to stay for foreseeable future, says has a priority of defeating Islamic State not the regime - ibtimes.com


In an op-ed in the New York Times Jimmy Carter says the U.S. made the wrong decision in demanding Syrian President Assad step down - Business Insider


Russia Spending $4 Million a Day in Syria to Back Assad Regime - Military.com


Russia’s military is proving Western punditry wrong - Brookings Institution


Russia confirms death of service member in Syria - CBS News


Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov: FSA visited Moscow last week - sputniknews.com

 

Free Syrian Army groups say did not visit Moscow - Reuters


Syria: FSA rebels behead Syrian soldier, post image online - ibtimes.co.in


Iraq's ruling alliance, militias urge PM to seek Russian strikes - Reuters


Turkey Confirms Strikes Against Kurdish Militias in Syria - The New York Times


Syrian Kurds to open mission in Berlin, Paris and Moscow: PYD - Kurdpress News Aganecy

 

China Looks at Syria, Sees $$$ - The Daily Beast


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Speaking Events

January 10 and 11:
Events in Washington DC to present a petition telling president elect to end wars:
https://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12501

January 20-21 Occupy the Inauguration
 
January 29 David Swanson speaking in Arlington, Va.
 
February David Swanson debating a war supporter in Boston, Mass.
 
April 21-23 UNAC's annual conference in Richmond, Va.

April 29 possible multi-issue protest in DC.

Find Events Here.

 

 

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