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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Handing a Monkey a Hand Grenade, Real Men Go To Tehran, and SEAL Fail

5:36 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The esteemed Col. Lang, a signatory of this letter to both Kerry and Lavrov, pointed out this excellent article…

De Borchgrave on Syrian government guilt in re the 21st of August gas deaths.

“What is becoming increasingly clear is that Assad wasn’t behind the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in an eastern suburb of Damascus. The evidence gathered by U.N. inspectors may lead to pro-al-Qaida operatives in the resistance movement. The purpose of such an operation would be to further discredit Assad’s regime and sabotage peace talks.” De Borchgrave

——————————–

When I saw this section of Arnaud De Borchgrave’s column yesterday, I contacted him so as to know this was his opinion or that of the Russians. He assures me that this is his opinion. pl

Please do read the entire article, originally entitled: The US could be supporting the wrong people in Syria…

…The purpose of such an operation would be to further discredit Assad’s regime and sabotage peace talks.

Russia is playing its Syrian hand deftly and prudently. It warned the Obama administration that U.S. military intervention would have “catastrophic consequences” for the entire region by giving radical Islam a winning hand.

But some Russian voices objected to the softer tone of the men in the Kremlin. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin tweeted that the West “is playing with the Islamic world like a monkey with a grenade.”

Some newspapers criticized Russian leaders as overly prudent.

Komsomolskaya Pravda, a mass circulation tabloid, warned, “If optimists in the Pentagon believe that Russia will limit itself to warnings and expressions of anger, like it did over Iraq and Yugoslavia, they may well be mistaken … Times have changed. There’s too much at stake and Moscow won’t retreat … Who’ll cave first — Putin or Obama?”

Next to the Russian media’s fire-and-brimstone warnings, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had made clear that Russia has “no plans to go to war with anyone.”

The Syrian civil war, with its influx of foreign fighters, including a powerful contingent of pro-al-Qaida combatants, many of them recruited online, have led some Russian commentators to predict Moscow will soon be increasing weapons supplies to Syria.

At the same time, Russia will be negotiating still closer ties with Iran coupled with a cut back on areas of cooperation with the United States, some Russian experts said.

Before increasing aid to Syria’s underground resistance, U.S. intelligence should nail down beyond the shadow of a doubt the true identity and plans of the underground resistance. Or at least of the commanders of units they are dealing with.

During the recent four-day siege of Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, al-Shabaab jihadists “raped, tortured, beheaded, dismembered, castrated, gouged out eyes, amputated fingers and hung hostages on hooks from the roof,” a forensic medical doctor in Kenya told FrontPageMagazine.com, a conservative online magazine edited by David Horowitz and published by the Freedom Center in Los Angeles.

For jihadists — or “holy warriors” — these were ritual killings “consistent with a growing global jihadist MO (modus operandi),” writes FrontPage’s Dawn Perlmutter. “Similar acts of torture, rape, beheading and mutilation regularly occur in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Syria and other countries,” says Perlmutter. {…}

Taking on the Damascus-Tehran-Moscow axis at this late stage in Syria’s civil war would put the United States in the same camp as AQAM — al-Qaida and its associated movements. This would also jeopardize negotiations with Iran aimed at abandoning its quest for nuclear weapons.

Seriously, pups, I’m aghast at the clusterf*ck that is our FP…! On the one hand, you have Obama asking Congress to ‘delay’ the latest round of sanctions on Iran, then, roll out this IC propaganda…!

Followed up by this noise…

Obama says Iran a year away from nuclear bomb

US President Barack Obama said in an interview released Saturday that Iran was “a year or more away” from getting a nuclear bomb, in a clear sign of discord with Israel.

Obama also told the Associated Press that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had staked his credibility on dialogue and it was up to the United States to see if he had the political weight to follow through.

The president’s timetable contrasts with that of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has warned that Iran has been building faster centrifuges to enrich uranium which would allow it to jump across an Israeli red line within “weeks.”

Did you catch that Calvinball shift…? Oopsies… Israel: No Dispute Over Iran Timeframe…

Well, that was certainly a quick response dontcha think…! Hmmm…?

Let’s be clear who is responsible these daze…!

Anyways, when I’d first heard about a ‘western’ strike in Somalia, I’d suspected Mossad, yet… AP sources: Navy SEALs raid Somali town in strike aimed at al-Shabab militants, and f*cked it up…

US Navy SEAL raid in Somalia fails to nab al-Qaida suspect in Kenya mall attack

U.S. Navy SEALs carried out a pre-dawn raid Saturday on a coastal town in southern Somalia looking for a specific al-Qaida suspect linked to the Nairobi shopping mall attack, but did not get their target, a U.S. military official told The Associated Press.

A former U.S. military official also confirmed the raid by the SEALs, but no other details have been provided. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the raid by name. The Pentagon declined comment.

In Somalia, officials said international military forces carried out a pre-dawn strike Saturday against foreign fighters in the town of Barawe. Officials said the strike was aimed at “high-profile” targets.

The strike was carried out in the hours before morning prayers in Barawe, the same town where Navy SEALs four years ago killed a most-wanted al-Qaida operative, the officials said.

However, it wasn’t a total wash, as it were for us… US forces capture al-Qaida leader in Libya wanted by US for 1998 embassy attacks in Africa. Oorah…?

In wrapping up, I do wonder about these newsworthy links…

US was so sure it was striking Syria it made ‘warning calls’ to Israel’s leaders

At height of crisis, Netanyahu was given formal notice of imminent attack on Assad; Obama’s change of heart said to have dented Israel’s faith in president’s ‘military option’ for Iran…

That was right about the time of those two ‘failed’ launches in the Med…!

Last but not the least, link… Iran, Russia to continue negotiations on S-300 missile system

To be crystal clear…

by CTuttle

Syria Mashup: ‘Group Think’, House of Saud, and The UN

11:42 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

With numerous articles and Airheads asserting that the UN report, which will be released Monday(and not a moment sooner FP!) will point it’s finger at Assad, let me remind them what the UN’s mission really was…!

UN inspectors examine Syria poison gas allegations

Damascus has allowed UN chemical weapons inspectors access to areas allegedly attacked with poison gas last week. The mission is to determine whether an attack actually took place – but not who was responsible.

What is clear, however, is that a major propagandistic tug-of-war is taking place concerning the claimed use of chemical weapons and alleged perpetrators. {…}

Good chance of clarification

The UN mission stands a good chance to clarify issues surrounding the most recent poison gas attack, said Jan van Aken, a Left Party member of German parliament. “By examining survivors, the inspectors in Syria can easily determine whether poison gas was used or not,” van Aken told DW. “They can tell within minutes. A bit later, after the lab work is done, they can presumably say which poison was used – or if in fact this was a chemical weapons attack at all.”

Propaganda and facts

The UN mission may not, however, answer one key question: “The inspectors can only say whether chemical weapons were used, but not who did it,” van Aken said, adding that the political propaganda battle has already begun.

According van Aken, technical evidence would not help pinpoint who was behind the attacks. The situation in Syria is too complex to allow clear-cut conclusions, he says. “Even if you find the remnants of a Syrian missile with traces of a nerve agent, you still don’t know whether Assad’s troops fired it, or whether opposition rebels seized it during an attack on an army base somewhere in the north, and later employed it.”

So, lets look at some basic facts… Turkish prosecutor: Syria rebels ordered 10 tons of sarin nerve agent in Turkey…

On May 28 Turkish security forces found a 2-kg cylinder with sarin gas after searching the homes of terrorists from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front who were previously detained.

According to media reports, sarin gas was found in the homes of suspected Syrian militants detained in provinces of Adana and Mersia following a search by Turkish police.

Five Turks and a Syrian citizen, named Haitam Kassapwho, who were arrested on the case for allegations of buying chemical weapons in Turkey, have pleaded not guilty, according to the English-language Hurriyet Daily News, which quoted from the indictment.

Prosecution attorney objected the ruling and presented the court with a 132-page document which contained evidence of the suspects’ links to terrorist groups in Syria including al-Nusra Front and al-Qaeda-linked Islamic States on Iraq and Levant (Ahrar al-Sham), a report by the Voice of Russia said.

The document says that radical Salafis groups set up a channel for carrying out terrorist attacks inside Turkey.

According to the document al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham group had tried to buy large amounts of sarin nerve gas and chemical substances used in manufacturing poisonous materials.

The prosecution believes that the suspects have links to Syrian groups close to al-Qaeda and their leaders and were buying chemical materials from Turkey to send into Syria.

Citing telephone calls made by the suspects, the document shows they ordered at least ten tons of chemicals in total.

Now, let’s not forget this previous article… Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack

Here’s a newer report… New granular evidence points to Saudi role in chemical weapons attack

As Col. Wilkerson noted in the above video clip, the ‘paucity of evidence’ coming from the White House is very troublesome…! Cherry-picked even…? And, as Col. Lang wrote recently…

The administration’s case against Syria over the 21st of August disaster is gradually disintegrating. It will continue to do so. pl

Which brings me to Robert Parry’s excellent article…

Rewarding ‘Group Think’ on Syria

“Group think” is alive and well in Official Washington, with virtually all the important pundits marching in lock-step with the Obama administration’s accusations against the Syrian government and everyone fuming over an Op-Ed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, observes Robert Parry.

…Nearly every U.S. pundit and politician – from neocon to liberal – is charging off in the same direction, accepting undocumented U.S. government claims about Syria’s alleged chemical attack on Aug. 21 as undeniably true and deriding Russian President Vladimir Putin for a New York Times Op-Ed that had the audacity to defend the Nuremberg principles against aggressive war. {…}

Buying the Official Story

Beyond reflecting the conventional wisdom’s contempt for Putin, Robinson, like nearly every major U.S. opinion-leader, has accepted the U.S. government’s version of events regarding the alleged chemical attack on a Damascus suburb on Aug. 21.

Though the Obama administration has not released a single piece of verifiable evidence to support its “Government Assessment” fingering the regime of Bashar al-Assad, Robinson and his colleagues now report those assertions as flat fact, including the strange calculation that precisely “1,429” people died from poison gas. Other estimates have cited several hundred deaths, and the U.S. government has not explained the provenance of its number.

Yet, the U.S. tally of the dead and other claims are good enough for the American pundit class, evidence not required…

However, concealing shaky evidence to induce a public consensus is not ideally how a democracy should work, especially on a question as weighty as war or peace. And it is not how an independent press corps is supposed to work, accepting evidence-free assertions from the government as fact, rather than joining in demands for the maximum possible exposure of the evidence.

If, as some expect, the United Nations inspectors next week side with the U.S. government in pointing the finger at the Assad regime for the Aug. 21 attack, more and more ridicule will be heaped on those of us who pointed out that the Obama administration was withholding its proof.

Indeed, the chest-thumping by those who clambered onto the bandwagon for war has already begun. They might be called the “See-We-Were-Right-to-Be-Credulous” contingent. But some of us will still want to see whatever evidence the UN inspectors and the U.S. intelligence agencies have collected.

Show me the Money…! Err.. Receipts? US: “Never Mind That Guy Eating a Heart, We Have Handwritten Receipts For the Guns”

Let’s remember that Putin submitted his own evidence to the UN, and, Assad has too…! Btw, Putin is getting serious… Russia Sends Three More Warships to Syrian Coast

In summing up, I do happen to agree with Ban ki-Moon that there is ‘overwhelming’ proof that Chemical Weapons were used, but by whom…?

God Bless the Syrians…!

by CTuttle

Don’t Iraq Iran…

7:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The Iranian Oil embargo is in a full court press by the Oily Bomber… Geithner may discuss Iran sanctions on Beijing trip… Also, FDL alum, Jim White, had recently highlighted the plight of the Iranian sanctions…!

Now, I stole my headline from David Swanson, from his excellent myFDL diary yesterday: Why Not Attack Iran? And then, having had the pleasure of chatting with him at today’s Book Salon, I do feel compelled to carry on the fight, particularly after this exchange…

David: “I think it’s very very valuable that iraq has made people aware of war lies and that the iran war lies are so similar. if we can’t keep people opposed to attacking iran under these circumstances, when can we?”

My response: “…that the iran war lies are so similar.

And delivered by the very same Liars…! *gah*

Truly, it’s the same Liars spewing the very same lies…! It is Déjà vu, all over again…!

Since I do wear my heart on my sleeve, see here, here, here, etc, but I digress…

In recent noteworthy news and views…

Iran Thanks U.S. for Rescuing Fishermen

Iran’s Foreign Ministry thanked the United States Saturday for rescuing 13 of its fishermen from pirates…

Fancy that…! Imagine if they could actually talk to each other…! The NDAA that Obummer just signed into law, amongst the other horrid provisions, like ‘rendering’ Americans on American soil, was a Congressional prohibition against any US officials from talking to any Iranian officials, without prior written consent…!

Seriously, Wtf over…?

Fortunately, there’s saner individuals sounding off against the insanity…

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Avoiding Another Long War

As professionals with collectively hundreds of years of experience in intelligence, foreign policy, and counterterrorism, we are concerned about the gross misrepresentation of facts being bruited about to persuade you to start another war.

We have watched the militarists represent one Muslim country after another as major threats to U.S. security. In the past, they supported attacks on Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya and Afghanistan, as well as Israel’s attacks on Syria and Lebanon — nine Muslim countries – and Gaza.

This time, they are using a new IAEA report to assert categorically that Iran is building a nuclear weapon that allegedly poses a major threat to the U.S. Your intelligence and military advisors can certainly clarify what the report really says.

As you know, the IAEA makes regular inspection visits to Iran’s nuclear facilities and has TV cameras monitoring those facilities around the clock. While there is reason to question some of Iran’s actions, the situation is not as clear-cut as some allege.

Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former IAEA director-general, said recently, “I don’t believe Iran is a clear and present danger. All I see is the hype about the threat posed by Iran.” He is not alone: All 16 U.S. intelligence agencies concluded “with high confidence” in a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that Iran had halted its nuclear-weapons program as of 2003.

We are seeing a replay of the “Iraq WMD threat.” As Philip Zelikow, Executive Secretary of the 9/11 Commission said, “The ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The unstated threat was the threat against Israel.”

Your military and intelligence experts can also provide information on unpublicized efforts to derail Iran’s nuclear program and on the futility of attempting to eliminate that program – which is dispersed and mostly underground – through aerial bombing.

Defense Secretary [Leon] Panetta and other experts have stated that an air attack would only delay any weapons program for a year or two at most.

Former Mossad head Meir Dagan said that an air force strike against Iran’s nuclear installations would be “a stupid thing,” a view endorsed in principle by two other past Mossad chiefs, Danny Yatom and Ephraim Halevy. Dagan added that “Any strike against [the civilian program] is an illegal act according to international law.”

Dagan pointed out another reality: bombing Iran would lead it to retaliate against Israel through Hezbollah, which has tens of thousands of Grad-type rockets and hundreds of Scuds and other long-range missiles, and through Hamas.

We are already spending as much as the rest of the world combined on National Security and $100 billion per year on a Long War in Afghanistan. The Israel lobby has been beating the drums for us to attack Iran for years, led by people with confused loyalties like Joe Lieberman, who once made the claim that it is unpatriotic for Americans not to support Israel.

Another Long War is not in America’s or Israel’s interests, whatever Israel’s apologists claim. Those are the same people who claim that [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad said he would “wipe Israel off the map.” Persian specialists have pointed out that the original statement in Persian actually said that Israel would collapse: “This occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the arena of time.”

What we have is a situation where Israel’s actions, for example in sending 300,000 settlers into the West Bank and 200,000 settlers into East Jerusalem, are compromising U.S. security by putting us at risk for terrorist retaliation.

We have provided Israel with $100 billion in direct aid since 1975. Since this is fungible, how has funding settlements contributed to our security? You agreed to provide $3 billion in F-35s to Israel in exchange for a 90-day freeze on settlements. What you got was 90 days of stonewalling on the peace process and then more settlers. What more do we owe Israel?

Certainly not a rush to war. We have time to make diplomacy and sanctions work, to persuade Russia and China to make joint cause with us.

James Madison once wrote that “Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded.… War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. …No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

We are currently winding down what you labeled a “dumb war;” we should not undertake another dumb war against a country almost three times larger than Iraq, that would set off a major regional war and create generations of jihadis. Such a war, contrary to what some argue, would not make Israel or the U.S. safer.

Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Honestly, let Sanity and Humanity prevail in this new year…!

God Bless…!