Acting on a court order and under the cloak of night, after 1 a.m. on Dec. 11 thousands of police and National Guard troops gained ground as they steadily advanced on Independence Square, taking down barricades, and arresting at least 10 protesters along the way.
Police say some have been released already, but wouldn’t specify how many. However, the Kyiv Post witnessed police clubbing protesters, including one being repeatedly beaten with a club wearing a Batkivshchyna party jacket.
The European Union’s top diplomat Catherine Ashton who spent time on the square just hours before after holding a 3.5-hour meeting with President Viktor Yanukovych, was appalled at the police action.
“I’m still in Kyiv. I was among you on Maidan in the evening and was impressed by the determination of Ukrainians demonstrating for a European perspective of the country,” she said in a statement. “Some hours later I observe with sadness that police uses force to remove peaceful people from the center of Kyiv. The authorities didn’t need to act under the coverage of night to engage with the society by using police. Dialogue with political forces and society and use of arguments is always better than the argument of force.”
The U.S. State Department issued a scathing statement denouncing the police action:
“The United States expresses its disgust with the decision of Ukrainian authorities to meet the peaceful protest in Kyiv’s Maidan Square with riot police…and batons, rather than with respect for democratic rights and human dignity, read the statement. “This response is neither acceptable nor does it befit a democracy.”
After 2 a.m. police managed to divide the huge encampment of protesters into three sections, sealing off the main trade union building from the rest of Independence Square where some 250 protesters were holed up inside bracing for an attack at any moment. After 3 a.m. some 200 National Guardsmen surrounded City Hall. Protesters used a fire hose to spray water on the steps and let it freeze as lights were shut off inside.
Meanwhile, sometime around 4 a.m. municipal workers dressed in orange vests started to dismantle the barricade on Institutska Street, which intersects Khreshchatyk Street.
Later, police said 10 of their own were injured in clashes with protesters.
After 9 a.m. three buses of riot police arrived in front of City Hall and were soon surrounded by some 2,000 protesters who shouted, “Shame!” Some 40 minutes later they disengaged and left the scene.
The two subway stations nearest Independence Square – Maidan Nezalezhnosti and Khreshchatyk – have been closed for entry and exit since the subway opened this morning at 5:30 a.m.
TOP SECRET//COMINT//REL TO USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, NZL//20320108
Derived From: NSA/CSSM 1-52
Declassify On: 20320108
TOP SECRET//COMINT//REL TO USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, NZL//20320108 (S//SI)
We know that terrorists use many feature-rich Internet communications media for operational purposes such as email, VoIP, chat, proxies, and web forums and it is highly likely they will be making wide use of the many communications features offered by Games and
Virtual Environments (GVE) by 2010. The SIGINT Enterprise needs to begin taking action now
to plan for collection, processing, presentation, and analysis of these communications. With a few exceptions, NSA can’t even recognize the traffic, and therefore it is impossible to even say what percentage of the environment is GVE; let alone determine how targets are using the communications features of GVEs. However, GVEs offer a SIGINT/HUMINT opportunity space and more research is needed to figure out effective exploitation. (S//SI) GVEs today allow individuals to gather with like-minded others online. Many GVEs offer communications such as private chat (P2P), group chat, chat to an alias, and broadcast chat –both text and voice. Also many GVEs allow convergent technologies to intermingle such as
XboxLive! which can be run via an Xbox360 gaming console and/or connect via a PC to normal MSN chat. Second Life offers the ability to anonymously text to a GSM phone (SMS) and soon they will offer anonymous voice calls so that phone numbers do not have to be known by either party and won’t show up in collection. Some GVEs allow third party interfaces which allow limited functionality from a web browser. This overcomes obstacles such as a high-bandwidth
requirement and or not being allowed to download software (think Internet café usage). In
addition, many GVEs are able to be used via mobile devices connected wirelessly (phones, handhelds, laptops). Connected to the GVEs, specialized forums and other social networking sites have sprung up to provide an additional place to interact, connect, or share. These sites and any others can be advertised in the GVEs, so that if a terrorist web forum has to move locations it can be found by its members again. Areas/groups can be access-restricted, member-only. They are essentially private meeting places, and can be used for planning, comms, and training, etc.
GVEs are used for collaboration; Forterra’s 3D world is coming to JWICS to do this IC-wide. (U//FOUO) GVEs have been made that reinforce prejudices and cultural stereotypes while imparting a targeted message or lesson both from the Western point of view and in the Middle East. America’s Army is a U.S. Army produced game that is free download from its recruitment page and is acknowledged to be so good at this the army no longer needs to use it for recruitment, they use it for training. The Lebanese Hizballah has taken this concept and the same basic game design and made its own version of the game called Special Forces 2 (SF2), which its press section acknowledges is used for recruitment and training in order to prepare their youth to “fight the enemy”, a radicalizing medium; the ultimate goal is to become a suicide martyr.
One cannot discount the “fun factor” involved—it is important to hold your target audience’s
attention– and makes ingesting the message not even noticeable.
SF2 features multi-player, online text and voice chat for up to 60 players simultaneously, effectively acting like a VPN or private chat forum. SF2 is offered at $10 a copy and so also goes to fund terrorist operations.
(S//SI) These games offer realistic weapons training (what weapon to use against what target, what ranges can be achieved, even aiming and firing), military operations and tactics, photo-realistic land navigation and terrain familiarization, and leadership skills. While complete military training is best achieved in person, perfection is not always required to accomplish the
mission. Some of the 9-11 pilots had never flown a real plane, they had only trained using Microsoft’s Flight Simulator. When the mission is expensive, risky, or dangerous, it is often a wiser idea to exercise virtually, rather than really blow an operative up assembling a bomb or exposing a sleeper agent to law enforcement scrutiny. Militaries around the world use virtual simulators with great success and the Hizballah has even hooked up a Playstation controller to a laptop in order to guide some of its real missiles. Kuma Wars is a U.S. owned company that offers realistic battle simulation of real battles in Iraq usually one month after they actually happened. The player can re-do maneuvers in a lessons learned way for training, or you can switch sides and see how it works from the opposite side. It also provides real terrain features, such as real road signs from real roads in Iraq, and a simulated night-vision goggles environment. (TS//SI) Al Qaida terrorist target selectors and GVE executables have been found associated with XboxLive, Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other GVEs in PINWALE network traffic,
TAO databases, and in forensic data. Other targets include Chinese hackers, an Iranian nuclear scientist, Hizballah, and Hamas members. GCHQ has a vigorous effort to exploit GVEs and has produced exploitation modules in XboxLive! and World of Warcraft. After beta testing, they expect reporting to begin in April 2008. The FBI, CIA and the Defense Humint Service all have HUMINT operations in Second Life and other GVEs and are very interested in forming a deconfliction ["reduce the risk of collision between (aircraft, airborne weaponry, etc.) in an area by coordinating their movements"--ed. ] and tipping group that would be able to collaborate on operations. (TS//SI) GVEs are an opportunity! We can use games for: CNE exploits, social network
analysis, HUMINT targeting, ID tracking (photos, doc IDs), shaping activities, geo-location of
target, and collection of comms. It has been well documented that terrorists are OPSEC and tech
saavy and are only getting more so over time. These applications and their servers however, are trusted by their users and makes an connection to another computer on the Internet, which can then be exploited. Through target buddylists and interaction found in the gaming and on gaming web sites, social networks can be diagramed and previously unknown SIGINT leads and connections and terrorists cells discovered. GVEs can contain on-line presence indicators, geolocation, and ID tracking can be gleaned and used in apprehension operations. [do these "apprehension operations" also refer to UAV drone targeting?--ed]
(TS//SI) Recommendation: The amount of GVEs in the world is growing but the specific ones that CT needs to be methodically discovered and validated. Only then can we find evidence that GVEs are being used for operational uses. Protocol Exploitation, SFL, and TAO should begin profiling their databases and the GVEs for collection and exploitation possibilities. Open source (APSTARS) produced GVE lists and selectors should be used to run against UTT and other databases to check for cross matches to develop target selectors. CT SIGDEV along with CT TOPIs will study the collected traffic to find and track targets of interest. There should be a concentrated effort to conduct research into target use of GVEs, and signatures for survey collection should be developed. Targets and specific apps should be chosen to exploit to ensure that terrorists’ GVE/social site usage is covered by SIGINT and the system is not left behind the times. All avenues should be taken to develop PES and CNE exploits as GVEs are found on target computers. We need to develop a viewer/db that allows linguist/analysts to view/experience voice/text/video traffic together and archivee the GVE data associated with reporting. which will also be essential for Yahoo, Skype, webcam, VTCs and Biometrics.
(S//SI) CT SIGDEV/SSG should establish a process to deconflict IC-wide ops in GVEs and to develop strategy for collaboration. Members from at least CIA, FBI, DIA, NSA and GCHQ should participate to make the coordination significant. Members should have ability to check tasking, traffic, and status of current operations.
[Saudi Arabia has complete immunity to wage its "holy war" of Sunni terrorism all over the world, with the intention of controlling American and Western govt. foreign policies. We know that the Saudis are the SOURCE OF ALL SUNNI TERRORISM and that 90% of all global terrorism is Sunni, yet our leaders ignore these obvious truths that confirm Saudi Arabia as the source of the terror which we fight in the American "War on Terror." We fight against Sunni terrorists worldwide, as we strive to find an avenue to war against the Shia.
If this knowledge, that the entire American govt. is colluding with a foreign govt. which sponsors "al-Qaeda" terrorists who kill American soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere doesn't merit violent revolution as a solution, then I don't know what does! Bandar bin Sultan and his cousin Prince Turki have always presided over the royal assets which have sustained have Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Boko Haram, Fatah al-Islam, PKK, TTP, Taliban, IMU, and all the rest, especially in their capacity as Saudi spy chiefs. Bandar has merely come out of the closet smiling broadly due to Obama's attempts to remove the stigma from Al-Qaeda, by legitimizing Ayman al-Zawahiri's latest incarnation in Syria and after using Al-Qaeda militant leaders openly in the Western aggression against Libya.
Whenever enough Americans are made to realize the cold, inexplicable fact that we are using the Saudis, Pakistanis and others to create the very same terrorist armies that are killing American soldiers everyday, then the current government will be violently overthrown by an armed populace grown weary of a tyrannical govt. that uses our tax dollars to fund the terrorist threat to America.]
Public grief: Mass funerals after a car bomb in a Shia area of Karachi in March
Donors in Saudi Arabia have notoriously played a pivotal role in creating and maintaining Sunni jihadist groups over the past 30 years. But, for all the supposed determination of the United States and its allies since 9/11 to fight “the war on terror”, they have showed astonishing restraint when it comes to pressuring Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies to turn off the financial tap that keeps the jihadists in business.
Compare two US pronouncements stressing the significance of these donations and basing their conclusions on the best intelligence available to the US government. The first is in the 9/11 Commission Report which found that Osama bin Laden did not fund al-Qa’ida because from 1994 he had little money of his own but relied on his ties to wealthy Saudi individuals established during the Afghan war in the 1980s. Quoting, among other sources, a CIA analytic report dated 14 November 2002, the commission concluded that “al-Qa’ida appears to have relied on a core group of financial facilitators who raised money from a variety of donors and other fund-raisers primarily in the Gulf countries and particularly in Saudi Arabia”.
Seven years pass after the CIA report was written during which the US invades Iraq fighting, among others, the newly established Iraq franchise of al-Qa’ida, and becomes engaged in a bloody war in Afghanistan with the resurgent Taliban. American drones are fired at supposed al-Qa’ida-linked targets located everywhere from Waziristan in north-west Pakistan to the hill villages of Yemen. But during this time Washington can manage no more than a few gentle reproofs to Saudi Arabia on its promotion of fanatical and sectarian Sunni militancy outside its own borders.
Evidence for this is a fascinating telegram on “terrorist finance” from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to US embassies, dated 30 December 2009 and released by WikiLeaks the following year. She says firmly that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”. Eight years after 9/11, when 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, Mrs Clinton reiterates in the same message that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan] and other terrorist groups”. Saudi Arabia was most important in sustaining these groups, but it was not quite alone since “al-Qa’ida and other groups continue to exploit Kuwait both as a source of funds and as a key transit point”.
Why did the US and its European allies treat Saudi Arabia with such restraint when the kingdom was so central to al-Qa’ida and other even more sectarian Sunni jihadist organisations? An obvious explanation is that the US, Britain and others did not want to offend a close ally and that the Saudi royal family had judiciously used its money to buy its way into the international ruling class. Unconvincing attempts were made to link Iran and Iraq to al-Qa’ida when the real culprits were in plain sight.
But there is another compelling reason why the Western powers have been so laggard in denouncing Saudi Arabia and the Sunni rulers of the Gulf for spreading bigotry and religious hate. Al-Qa’ida members or al-Qa’ida-influenced groups have always held two very different views about who is their main opponent. For Osama bin Laden the chief enemy was the Americans, but for the great majority of Sunni jihadists, including the al-Qa’ida franchises in Iraq and Syria, the target is the Shia. It is the Shia who have been dying in their thousands in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and even in countries where there are few of them to kill, such as Egypt.
Pakistani papers no longer pay much attention to hundreds of Shia butchered from Quetta to Lahore. In Iraq, most of the 7,000 or more people killed this year are Shia civilians killed by the bombs of al-Qa’ida in Iraq, part of an umbrella organisation called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), which also encompasses Syria. In overwhelmingly Sunni Libya, militants in the eastern town of Derna killed an Iraqi professor who admitted on video to being a Shia before being executed by his captors.
Suppose a hundredth part of this merciless onslaught had been directed against Western targets rather than against Shia Muslims, would the Americans and the British be so accommodating to the Saudis, Kuwaitis and Emiratis? It is this that gives a sense of phoniness to boasts by the vastly expanded security bureaucracies in Washington and London about their success in combating terror justifying vast budgets for themselves and restricted civil liberties for everybody else. All the drones in the world fired into Pashtun villages in Pakistan or their counterparts in Yemen or Somalia are not going to make much difference if the Sunni jihadists in Iraq and Syria ever decide – as Osama bin Laden did before them – that their main enemies are to be found not among the Shia but in the United States and Britain.
Instead of the fumbling amateur efforts of the shoe and underpants bombers, security services would have to face jihadist movements in Iraq, Syria and Libya fielding hundreds of bomb-makers and suicide bombers. Only gradually this year, videos from Syria of non-Sunnis being decapitated for sectarian motives alone have begun to shake the basic indifference of the Western powers to Sunni jihadism so long as it is not directed against themselves.
Saudi Arabia as a government for a long time took a back seat to Qatar in funding rebels in Syria, and it is only since this summer that they have taken over the file. They wish to marginalise the al-Qa’ida franchisees such as Isil and the al-Nusra Front while buying up and arming enough Sunni war-bands to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
The directors of Saudi policy in Syria – the Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, the head of the Saudi intelligence agency Prince Bandar bin Sultan and the Deputy Defence Minister Prince Salman bin Sultan – plan to spend billions raising a militant Sunni army some 40,000 to 50,000 strong. Already local warlords are uniting to share in Saudi largesse for which their enthusiasm is probably greater than their willingness to fight.
The Saudi initiative is partly fuelled by rage in Riyadh at President Obama’s decision not to go to war with Syria after Assad used chemical weapons on 21 August. Nothing but an all-out air attack by the US similar to that of Nato in Libya in 2011 would overthrow Assad, so the US has essentially decided he will stay for the moment. Saudi anger has been further exacerbated by the successful US-led negotiations on an interim deal with Iran over its nuclear programme.
By stepping out of the shadows in Syria, the Saudis are probably making a mistake. Their money will only buy them so much. The artificial unity of rebel groups with their hands out for Saudi money is not going to last. They will be discredited in the eyes of more fanatical jihadis as well as Syrians in general as pawns of Saudi and other intelligence services.
A divided opposition will be even more fragmented. Jordan may accommodate the Saudis and a multitude of foreign intelligence services, but it will not want to be the rallying point for an anti-Assad army.
The Saudi plan looks doomed from the start, though it could get a lot more Syrians killed before it fails. Yazid Sayegh of the Carnegie Middle East Centre highlights succinctly the risks involved in the venture: “Saudi Arabia could find itself replicating its experience in Afghanistan, where it built up disparate mujahedin groups that lacked a unifying political framework. The forces were left unable to govern Kabul once they took it, paving the way for the Taliban to take over. Al-Qa’ida followed, and the blowback subsequently reached Saudi Arabia.”
Israeli President Briefed 29 Arab and Muslim leaders in a Secret Summit Organized by UAE Against Iran
Dubai : Israeli President Shimon Peres has secretly addressed a number of Arab and Muslim politicians two weeks ago during a summit organized in Abu Dhabi.
According to a report published in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth on Monday, Peres appeared before 29 foreign ministers from the Persian Gulf states, Arab League countries and other Muslim nations. The king of Saudi Arabia’s son was also among the participants of the meeting.
Peres appeared on a video screen at the (Persian) Gulf States Security Summit, sitting in his office in Jerusalem with an Israeli flag behind him.
The foreign ministers of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen and Qatar were present, as well as foreign ministers from the Arab League and other Muslim countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh.
UN-Under Secretary-General Terje-Roed Larsen and U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations Martin Indyk interviewed Peres in the meeting. As agreed upon beforehand, the foreign ministers would not ask their questions and address Peres directly, and in return he would only speak with the interviewers. In addition, the organizers of the event stipulated that Peres would participate only if the content of the meeting remain confidential.
“The UAE, which organized the summit, chose Peres to open the assembly, a testimony to the importance of the Israeli president during this point in time, and more so, the importance of a good relationship with Israel against the common enemy, Iran,” the daily said.
New York Times chief analyst Thomas Friedman, who attended the event said the Israeli president Tackled many issues during his address.
According to Friedman, Peres had stressed that “Israel can be a major factor in the Middle East, and that there is an opportunity for dialogue for a common goal – a struggle against radical Islamism and a nuclear Iran, and he also talked about his vision for world peace.”
[The following was written by Saudi prince Turki. It is trash.]
RIYADH – Analysts the world over are assessing the situation in the Middle East in 2012 by listing the region’s “winners” and “losers.” Hamas won. Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi won, then lost. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won. Syria lost. Iraq lost. Iran had a draw (tougher sanctions, but closer to nuclear-weapons capability), as did Saudi Arabia (growing clout, but unable to stop the killings in Syria [LYING TURKI--order your al-qaeda fighters to stop the killing, you royal asshole, everything else will fall into place] or Gaza) and Israel (avoided massive bloodshed, but became even more isolated).
All of these lists, however, are merely the pastimes of policy wonks. In the bloody, hostile miasma of the Middle East, being a “winner” in any sense of the word is fallacious. The region continues to breed only losers. The victims of the conflicts in Syria, Iran, and Palestine; the friends and families of the victims; those who hope for peace: all lost. This is a grim reminder that when it comes to killing one another, repeatedly missing opportunities for peace, and botching all efforts at progress, no one can beat the Middle East. In 2012, the region proved once again that it is truly the best at perpetrating the worst.
When will these vital, eclectic, and prosperous (or potentially prosperous) countries stop their ravenous infighting and start nurturing, protecting, and sustaining their people? While there have been many prescriptions, I will provide my own 2012 Middle East roundup, with a look toward what must happen in 2013 if we want it to bring fewer losses.
The Israeli killing machine must be stopped by a determined United States using its leverage to bring about implementation of the land-for-peace principles of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, the Madrid Conference, the Oslo Agreement, and the Abdullah Peace Initiative. This is the only way out of the current unworkable predicament.
Borrowing a term from nuclear strategy, the situation between Israel and the Palestinians can be described only as “mutually assured destruction,” also known, fittingly, as MAD. It benefits no one, so why let it continue? Only the US has the ability to push the Israelis out of their MAD-ness, so I look forward to the Obama administration recognizing and acting on that moral obligation in the coming year.
The Assad killing machine must also be stopped. In this case, it is through the West agreeing with Saudi Arabia to arm the Free Syrian Army with the defensive weapons that it needs to ground Bashar al-Assad’s aircraft and immobilize his tanks and artillery. [LYING TURKI--pretending that the answer is to support the FSA, while his country's "Islamist Front" attacks the FSA in Syria, stealing their weapons, and now one of their bases. Saudi royal lies are coming back to haunt them in a blitzkrieg of outrage, whenever enough people realize that "al-Qaeda" has ALWAYS been an arm of the Saudi royal family.]
Unlike some conflicts in the region, this is a case with a clear and simple solution. Those being attacked merely need weapons to defend themselves; if they get them, the entire dynamic of the conflict will shift, in turn ending the bloodshed. [LYING TURKI--there is only ONE SOLUTION to the Syrian conflict, for foreign entities to stop all support operations. Stop arming and transporting Islamist terrorists into Syria. Stop Turkey and Jordan from allowing war materiel and fighters across their borders. Prevent covert Israeli and American supply of the Syrian foreigners. Failure to oppose the Saudi initiative will result in another Talibanized Muslim country, bought and paid for by Saudi Arabia and friends.]
By now, all of the actors in Syria are known. There are no hidden jihadis, terrorists, or gangsters. They are all well documented. So the moderates are the ones who should get the anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons. Having them, their prestige among other fighters will soar, and so will support for their moderate stance. [LYING TURKI--by "moderates," the Saudi spokesperson means the least extremist of all of the extremist radicals, who fight under the "Islamist" banner. THERE ARE NO MODERATE EXTREMISTS!]
Iranian intervention in Iraq must stop. It is tearing Iraq apart and endangering the countries around it. Western and Iranian support for Nouri al-Maliki’s government, which is controlled by Iran’s Basij militia, must be withdrawn, enabling the Iraqi people to determine freely their own destiny. [TURKI YOU LYING BASTARD--Iraq has been brought to boil again by Sunni (al-Qaeda) terrorists, who are hell-bent to overthrow the Maliki democratically-elected govt. Turki is urging Obama to abandon Iraq to these Sunni terrorists and the second Iraqi civil war, which they intend to fight.]
Did the Americans defeat Saddam Hussein, and did more than 100,000 Iraqis die in the process, so that their country could become a puppet of the hostile Iranian regime? Iran’s meddling in Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen, and other Gulf states must end as well. [LYING TURKI--Saudi money, tanks and planes have been used to upset the democratic process in all of the aforementioned countries, blaming popular expressions of discontent upon "Iranian spies and agents." More than anything else, the Saudis are at war with "Democracy" within all of the Middle East. The implication, hidden within the Saudi initiative, is the unspoken intention of Riyadh to use its fortune as a weapon, to conquer and to assimilate the entire region (SEE: Gulf union is inevitable: Saudi Prince Turki Al Faisal). The Saudi royal family are a threat to the human race and should be stopped BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.]
In addition to these major tasks, Palestine’s main political rivals, Hamas and Fatah, must reconcile and turn their united efforts toward improving the lives of the Palestinian people. Egypt must get over its post-revolutionary squabbling and reassume its leading role among the Arab states. And all Arab states must coordinate their efforts to realize common ambitions, rather than continuing to pursue only narrow national interests.
Central to all of these tasks is a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that is united into a confederation that can meet the challenges of Iran’s regional ambitions and bring major military deployments to bear on regional conflicts. [LYING TURKI--Saudis will not be satisfied until they have divided the Muslim Ummah into two warring halves in the Middle East. He should worry less about meeting "the challenges of Iran's regional ambitions" and worry instead about reforming the Middle Eastern Arab dictatorships, who have always lived fat while their people suffered.]
If anything has become clear in the last year, it is that states like Israel, Iran, and Syria will act with impunity if no one is ready, willing, and able to stand up to them. It is time for the GCC, anchored on Saudi Arabia’s power, to take up that role.
The Middle East has been losing for too long, because its national leaders have been seeking to win in their own way, for their own purposes, and at everyone’s cost but their own. Such unilateralism is impossible in today’s globalized world. We must join together, or else we will rip each other to shreds. The choice is simple: Do we want to be winners or losers?
Not since the infamous Sheraton Hotel incident in Melbourne 30 years ago, when weapons-brandishing spies bungled a mock hostage rescue exercise, has the Australian Secret Intelligence Service wound up with so much egg on its face.
In that escapade, ASIS trainees broke down a guest-room door with a sledgehammer, terrorised the hotel manager and pulled pistols as they tried to escape.
You need the haystack to find the needle.
This week, the embarrassment lay in the exposure of a real-life spying operation, with the clearest evidence yet that ASIS, apparently under political direction, had bugged the East Timorese cabinet room in 2004 to help Canberra arm-twist Dili over offshore gas fields.
ASIO, the domestic spy agency, appeared to confirm the charge with a raid on the home of a former ASIS agent who had allegedly blown the whistle on the bugging operation. It also searched the premises of Canberra lawyer Bernard Collaery, who had been poised to call the former spy in legal action on East Timor’s behalf.
Australia’s foremost academic intelligence specialist, the Australian National University’s Professor Des Ball, said he found it mortifying that ”we used our highly professional security agency to get a couple of bloody percentage points in our dealings with a struggling country like East Timor. I’ve got no problems doing it to the Chinese or Japanese, who are doing it back to us … but Timor? That’s what bullies do”.Former senior Defence Department official Allan Behm agreed, slamming the spying action against Dili as as ”affronting” and ”not moral”.
The revelations capped off a shocking few weeks for the Australian intelligence community, given recent exposure of 2009 plans by the Australian Signals Directorate to tap the private phones of the Indonesian president, his wife and other members of their inner circle.
With Dili and Jakarta in uproar, many Australians might have been wondering what havoc our spy services were going to wreak next.
But red faces have not been confined to Canberra. Its been an annus horribilis for the Western intelligence community as a whole, with continuing disclosures from the innermost vaults of signals intelligence agencies in Britain, the US,
Australia, New Zealand and Canada, courtesy of former US intelligence insider Edward Snowden.
Snowden, branded a ”traitor” by Attorney-General George Brandis, has lifted the lid on a surreptitious global communications and data surveillance dragnet operated by the five countries under what is formally called the UKUSA intelligence-sharing pact, known colloquially as the ”Five Eyes” arrangement.
The five eyes operate through the key eavesdropping agencies in each country: the all-powerful National Security Agency in the US, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Britain, New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), Canada’s Communications Security Establishment and the Australian Signals Directorate or ASD (formerly the Defence Signals Directorate).
Decades of intimate intelligence-sharing has left these agencies with a pattern of co-operation that one former senior government insider describes as ”seamless, instinctive, visceral”.
”It has produced a situation where the agencies wouldn’t contemplate for a nanosecond not co-operating if one of them asked for something,” the source says.
The slow drip of revelations from the cache of documents, which former NSA contractor Snowden took with him and then leaked to The Guardian, is building an extraordinary picture of the depth, breadth and reach of this global surveillance effort.
Just two days ago, The Washington Post (which is partnering The Guardian on some Snowden stories) revealed the NSA was collecting upwards of 5 billion mobile phone records a day, allowing the agency to plot the movements and connections of an enormous number of individuals around the world.
The paper quoted an unnamed NSA manager confirming that the agency was getting ”vast volumes” of location data by tapping into global communications networks.
Snowden’s cache has unveiled the existence of a veritable alphabet soup of programs – with code names including Prism, Tempora, xKeystroke, Muscular, Pinwale, EgotisticalGiraffe, Stormbrew, Fairview, Oakstar, Mainway, and Nucleon – all aimed at harvesting, storing and analysing as much of the world’s electronic communications as can be scooped up.
Among the key programs is Tempora, which allows the NSA and GCHQ, with help from ASD, to tap into the arteries of the global communications system, the undersea fibre optic cables which snake between continents and carry well over three quarters of the word’s internet and communications traffic.
Then there is Prism, which has sparked particular outrage as it points to extensive NSA penetration of services such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook and YouTube.
As one leaked slide prepared by the NSA’s Special Source Operations group points out: ”Much of the world’s communications flow through the US. Your target’s communication could easily be flowing into and through the US.”
Behm says: ”If you and I are on a mobile, neither of us knows quite where the packages of our signals are actually going. It could be going through San Francisco, Canada or somewhere else. The NSA can collect it because it’s all up there to be collected, it’s just all out there.”
In an Australian context, the documents trickling out so far have raised more questions than they’ve answered. How far does ASD contribute to the worldwide five eyes data-harvesting effort? How secure from snooping by the intelligence agencies are the US services Australians unthinkingly use on a daily basis, including Google, YouTube, Yahoo, Facebook, Skype, Hotmail and Microsoft?
And even if Australian law purports to offer some measure of privacy protection, how can that be more than a fig leaf when most of these services are headquartered outside Canberra’s jurisdiction, and so much of our data is routed offshore?
Behm says the legislation governing Australia’s intelligence agencies was fashioned at a time when ”everybody thought they knew the boundaries within which those organisations would operate. But since then, there has been an exponential explosion in the amount of data that is available, and in the capacity to store it, monitor it, interrogate it. How do we assess the adequacy of laws [governing the agencies] which were passed more than 10 years ago?”
A salient warning has come from the US founder of Lavabit, Ladar Levison, who shut down his encrypted email service earlier this year because he said he would become ”complicit in crimes against the American people” if he complied with secret court orders forcing his co-operation with security agencies.
”I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States,” he warned.
San Francisco’s Kurt Opsahl, a senior attorney with the US Electronic Frontier Foundation, describes the latest revelations as the template for a ”surveillance state that is completely global in scope and is designed to use guilt by association: to look at who is in the same location at the same time as others, and then make assumptions based about that information”.
Intelligence agency heads in Britain and the US have been at pains to point out that most of the information gathered in mass data-harvesting operations is metadata, key details like time, place, duration and user ID which are automatically recorded when a communication takes place, rather than the contents of the communication itself.
NSA director General Keith Alexander has defended ”bulk” collection as an essential anti-terrorism tool, saying ”you need the haystack to find the needle”.
But privacy advocates say metadata can be rich with information about a person’s life and associations.
University of NSW associate professor and fomer army intelligence analyst Clinton Fernandes says: ”I am able to control what I say on the phone [but] I can’t control my metadata.
”Let’s say somebody was to ring a rape crisis hotline, followed by an abortion clinic hotline, followed by a counsellor. You wouldn’t need to know what the calls were about, you could tell immediately what was going on. So metadata is very revealing in that sense.”
The Snowden documents have so far revealed very little about the precise contribution of Australia to mass data-gathering and monitoring operations. One snippet, apparently jotted down by note-takers at a 2008 meeting at GCHQ in Britain, suggested the then Defence Signals Directorate could ”share bulk, unselected, unminimised metadata as long as there is no intent to target an Australian national”. It added that ”unintentional collection is not viewed as a significant issue”.
Although some have seen this a smoking gun, the Defence Department (of which ASD is a part) issued emphatic denials this week.
”ASD is a foreign signals intelligence organisation which targets foreign communications,” a Defence spokesman said. ”ASD does not undertake the mass collection of domestic metadata. ASD can only produce intelligence, including metadata, about Australian persons in a limited range of circumstances subject to a ministerial authorisation first being obtained.”
Ball and Behm find these assurances convincing. Ball is adamant the agency is ” very much involved in this global activity but not when it comes to picking up Australians”.
But others argue there is such seamlessness to the five eyes’ intelligence gathering that nothing stops the other partners combing through Australian traffic which they pick up, and feeding the results back to our agencies for ”target development”.
The NSA and the GCHQ each used the other to circumvent domestic restrictions on intelligence collection.
There is little transparency in Australia, either, about how long domestic telecommunications agencies and internet service providers are storing communications records to meet legislative requirements that they assist police and intelligence agencies. (Demands for metadata do not require ministerial warrant.)
”Australians would be gobsmacked if they understood how much data telecommunications companies had on them,” says one observer with some knowledge of Telstra operations. ”Telstra and some of the other major telcos are virtual honey pots of information because of this ceaseless river of data flowing into their information banks. We just don’t know how how much of that the agencies have access to.”
Fairfax revealed on Friday that Telstra had installed ”vacuum cleaner”-like technology supplied by US firm Gigamon to help it sift through telephone calls, texts, social media and internet metadata, and that ASD was also a Gigamon customer. Telstra denied using ”any traffic monitoring system to conduct mass surveillance on behalf of Australian national security agencies.” But all the telcos have to comply with secret requests from the police and intelligence agencies.
In Senate estimates committee hearings in Canberra last month, ASIO director-general David Irvine defended his organisation’s ability to keep the cloak of confidentiality around metadata collection.
”We are very keen to ensure that … is kept secret so that it is not possible to determine who and what we are targeting,” he said.
In Britain and the US, some leading politicians are starting to question the vast data-gathering operations unmasked by Snowden. Britain’s deputy prime minister Nick Clegg recently declared that ”with each passing day there is a stronger and stronger case” to question ”the proportionality of intelligence-gathering today and the accountability of the services”.
In the US, Barack Obama has ordered a snap review of NSA powers.
But in Australia, the political response, with the exception of Greens senator Scott Ludlam and independent senator Nick Xenophon, has been anaemic.
Apart from relevant ministers, there is meant to be a special parliamentary committee which keeps watch on the agencies – the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security – but it has yet to be reconstituted since the September election. And its powers of scrutiny are limited.
There is also an Inspector-General of the Security Services (IGIS), Dr Vivienne Thom, but critics claim her office is under-resourced and too much part of the intelligence ”club”.
The president of Civil Liberties Australia, Dr Kristine Klugman, recently wrote to Dr Thom, urging her to investigate the impact of the NSA’s Prism program on Australians. The IGIS replied that she lacked power to ”look at the activities … of foreign agencies” and in any case would not comment on ”operational matters of the intelligence community”.
Ball says the IGIS office is ”minute, overseeing very secret, very compartmentalised and technically complex [ASD] operations. At the moment, I suspect it’s beyond them”.
He and Behm, strong supporters of the core work of the espionage agencies (which included tracking down some of the Bali bombers), believe there has been ”mission drift” and that public confidence needs to be restored.
Says Behm: ”I think given both the WikiLeaks and Snowden information, it’s high time that parliaments, in the United Kingdom and Australia, had a properly constructed inquiry as to whether existing legislation meets the needs that citizens have for the protection of their fundamental democratic rights which includes privacy.”
with Ben Grubb
|[In this piece, we have a quote from Gen. Martin Dempsey admitting that we are trying to sort-out the "affiliates" of al-Qaeda, to determine “which ones are local, which ones are regional, and which ones are global,” to find the militants who fight a "defensive jihad, as opposed to those who wage "offensive jihad." The difference between the two evidently determines which al-Qaeda affiliates we can deal with. If they are fighting to liberate Syria because it is a Muslim country, then they will now be called "Islamist Front," who are acceptable to Washington and London. If they are fighting to establish Sunni "Shariah" in all countries (Global Caliphate), then they will now be called "al-Qaeda." It doesn't matter that the Islamist Front fighters probably think of liberating Syria as the first step into the Caliphate.
It is sad that an editor of a major media outlet, like Lebanon's Daily Star, had to go to the alternate media to get this intelligent piece published.]
Rami G. Khouri.
|Whatever approaches the United States and its allies are using do not seem to be working very well, because these Salafist-takfiri groups continue to proliferate and also to develop operational links with one another, notes|
|Middle East Online|
BEIRUT – The worsening situation in Syria threatens the Middle East in many ways that will continue to evolve in the months and years ahead, but perhaps the most troubling threat is the continued expansion of the hardline groups of Salafist-takfiri Islamists, such as Al-Nusra Front and The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), that have established themselves in parts of Syria.
These groups are troubling for Syrians above all, but also because they threaten other countries in the Middle East and around the world. Syria is critical for the global network of militants because it allows local, regional and global groups to establish secure bases from which they can operate, mobilize and train recruits, coordinate globally, and carry out operations in Syria or abroad.
In the past month, officials and analysts in Europe, North America, Russia, Australia and other distant lands have rung the alarm bells over the new threat they face from trained, battle-hardened militants who have joined Islamist groups in Syria and are likely soon to return to fight in their own home societies. The striking simultaneity of this realization across the world captures the real threat that now emanates from Syria. It includes statements by the heads of the US House and Senate intelligence committees last week that the terrorist threat against the United States is growing, and Americans are not as safe as they were a year or two ago. One reason for this, they said, is that Al-Qaeda has been evolving and developing a wider global network of affiliated groups that often carry out smaller operations that are more difficult to detect and prevent.
Russian officials have expressed concern about Islamist fighters from the North Caucasus region who are active in Syria—often in leadership positions—and are likely to return to work to achieve Islamic states in Chechnya and other nearby regions around southern Russia. Governments there have established special police and intelligence units to fight and prevent this from happening.
Europeans also now speak openly about the growing number of young Europeans who flock to Al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria, and who now pose a “potential threat” for the European Union and its allies, as French and Belgium officials warned this week. European militants are especially troubling for Western security agencies because they can freely travel around much of the world.
The French and Belgian interior ministers said that between 1,500 and 2,000 youths have gone to Syria to join Islamist groups working to topple the regime in Damascus. The numbers continue to increase. Recent estimates by security agencies put the number of Europeans fighting in Syria at 1200-1700, compared to the 600 that was estimated earlier this year in a report by King’s College London.
“When the conflict began in Syria, it was difficult to act because it was a matter of going to fight a regime condemned by all, which made it difficult to say anything,” the French minister said. But the situation today is different, as “most of those going say they want to fight in groups linked to Al-Qaeda.”
This highlights the perplexing fact that most Western governments waffled in their policy towards removing the Assad regime after the uprising there started in March-April 2011, and the lack of serious support for the secular and nationalist Syrian rebels opened the door for mainstream and then hardline Islamists to participate in the anti-Assad rebellion. Estimates of how many fighters the Salafists-takfiris command vary widely—between 15,000 and 30,000—and this figure also appears to be growing. As these local and regional groups establish themselves in Syria, and in Iraq since the 2003 Anglo-American invasion, it becomes easier for Al-Qaeda to connect with them and expand its global network.
“To the extent that I am concerned about Al-Qaeda the brand, it’s that it is clearly expanding its affiliates, both in number and in some cases in capability,” Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a recent media interview. “We’ve got to watch and determine which ones are local, which ones are regional, and which ones are global, and each requires a different approach.”
Well, whatever approaches the United States and its allies are using do not seem to be working very well, because these Salafist-takfiri groups continue to proliferate and also to develop operational links with one another. To stop the current expansion of Al-Qaeda-linked networks that threaten everyone in the region and the world, the Syrian war must be wound down and ended soon. This is why I suspect that we have started to see the early signs of concerted diplomatic rapprochements among the United States, Europeans, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the Saudi-led Gulf states, who can easily resolve their differences in order to work together to confront the new and frightening Salafist-takfiri threat emanating from Syria.
Rami G. Khouri is Editor-at-large of The Daily Star, and Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, in Beirut, Lebanon. You can follow him @ramikhouri.
“For a moment, it seemed that the Saudi-UAE-Jordanian coalition, with its strong influence in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and with declared Israeli support, was close to achieving a significant change in the balance of forces on the ground in Syria through the force of the anticipated American strike…pressuring or using the latter to serve their regional interests, even when Washington did not view it in its interest.”
An unprecedented meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif (far right) and his American counterpart, John Kerry (far left) [AP]
There are signs that Iran’s relations with western countries, particularly the United States, are experiencing fundamental changes. During September and October, Iran began new rounds of negotiations on its nuclear programme, considered by Iranian and western officials to be the most serious and a cause for optimism since 2002. There are economic and financial reasons, and technical difficulties within the programme, that pushed Iran to express its willingness to accept the international conditions, as the USA seeks to avoid a military solution to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear power. It is not unlikely, if the parties reach a final and lasting solution on the nuclear crisis, that the improvement of Iranian- western relations will reflect on the map of regional balances, especially in light of regional disagreements on Egypt, and the aggravation of the Syrian crisis. [LINK TO ALJAZEERA]
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—along with certain Arab League countries, plus Turkey and Israel, have this past week reportedly committed themselves to raising nearly $6 billion to “beef up” the just-hatched Islamic Front (IF) in Syria. These “best friends of America” want the Obama administration to sign onto a scheme to oust the Syrian government by funding, arming, training, facilitating and generally choreographing the movement of fighters of this new front, a front formed out of an alliance of seven putatively “moderate” rebel factions.
Representatives of Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan reportedly told staff members on Capitol Hill that committing several billions to defeat the Assad regime by supporting the IF makes fiscal sense and will cost much less than the six trillion dollar figure tallied by the recent study by Brown University as part of its Costs of War project. According to the 2013 update of the definitive Brown study, which examined costs of the US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the total amount for all three topped six trillion dollars. This never before released figure includes costs of direct and indirect Congressional appropriations, lost equipment, US military and foreign contractors fraud, and the cost of caring for wounded American servicemen and their families.
Among the Islamist militia joining the new GCC-backed coalition are Aleppo’s biggest fighting force, Liwa al-Tawhid (Tawhid Brigade), the Salafist group Ahrar al-Sham, Suqour al-Sham, al-Haq Brigades, Ansar al-Sham and the Islamic Army, which is centered around Damascus. The Kurdish Islamic Front also reportedly joined the alliance.
IF’s declared aim is to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, whatever the human and material cost it may require, and replace it with an “Islamic state.” Abu Firas, the new coalition’s spokesman, declared that “we now have the complete merger of the major military factions fighting in Syria.”
Formally announced on 11/22/13, the IF includes groups from three prior umbrella organizations: the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF), the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front (SILF), and the Kurdish Islamic Front (KIF). From the SIF, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya (HASI), Kataib Ansar al-Sham, and Liwa al-Haqq all joined, as did the KIF as a whole, and former SILF brigades Suqur al-Sham, Liwa al-Tawhid, and Jaish al-Islam. None of these groups have been designated foreign terrorist organizations by the US, and therefore, as an
Israeli official argued in a meeting with AIPAC and Congress this week, nothing stands in the way of US funding and support for them. The Israeli official in question is the country’s new national security advisor, Yossie Cohen, who assures key congressional leaders that the tens of thousands of rebels making up the IF will all support “one policy and one military command.” Cohen also pledges that the new group is not as “insane” as other Muslim militia—Daash or al-Nusra or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, for instance—that comprise the IF’s chief rivals. Cohen and AIPAC are further telling Congress members and congressional staffers that the emergence of the IF is one of the war’s most important developments, and he vows that the new organization in effect brings seven organizations into a combined force that will fight under one command, a force estimated by the CIA to number at around 75,000 fighters. Reportedly the objective will link the fight in the north with that in the south in a manner that will stretch loyalist forces, and the Saudi-Israel team is also asking the Obama Administration to more than double the monthly “graduation class” of CIA-trained rebels in Turkey, Syria and Jordan—from its current level of 200 per month, up to 500 a month.
What the GCC/Arab League/Israeli team is asking of its western allies (meaning of course mainly the US) is to immediately fund the IF to the tune of $ 5.5 billion. This, Israeli security officials argue, is pocket change compared to the $6 trillion spent in US terrorist wars of the past decade. Plus it will have the presumed “benefit” of toppling the Assad regime and truncating Iran’s growing influence. The plan has reportedly been dismissed by some in the Obama administration as “risible and pathetic.” Nonetheless, Tel Aviv, the US Congressional Zionist lobby, and to a lesser extent Ankara, are pressing ahead under the assumption that linking with the IF now makes sense and that they can take their chances will al-Qaeda later. Ironically these are some of the same voices from AIPAC’s Congressional Team who four years ago were claiming that al-Qaeda was “on the ropes and will soon collapse.” Yet they are optimistic that if Assad goes, “we can deal with the terrorists and it won’t cost six trillion dollars.”
One House member who strongly agrees with AIPAC is Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who recently declared that “in my heart I am a Tea Party guy.” A member of the House Armed Services Committee, Hunter believes the US should use nuclear weapons against Tehran. In a Fox TV interview this week he declared his opposition to any talks with Iran, insisting that US policy should include a “massive aerial bombardment campaign” utilizing “tactical nuclear devices” to set Iran “back a decade or two or three.”
According to sources in Aleppo and Damascus, the IF’s top leadership positions have been parceled out among five of the seven groups. This at least is as of 12/5/13. Four days after the IF was announced, the organization released an official charter. In terms of its basic architecture, the document is similar to that put out by the SIF in January, but the new version is filled with more generalities than other militia proclamations, and seems designed to accommodate differing ideas among member groups. The charter calls for an Islamic state and the implementation of sharia law, though it does not define exactly what this means. The IF is firmly against secularism, human legislation (i.e., it believes that laws come from God, not people), civil government, and a Kurdish breakaway state. The charter states that the group will secure minority rights in post-Assad Syria based on sharia, which could mean the dhimma (“protected peoples”) system, or de facto second-class citizenship for Christians and other minorities. According to Saudi officials in Lebanon, the IF seeks to unify other rebel groups so long as they agree to acknowledge the sovereignty of God. Given this ‘moderate’ wording, the expectation of some is that that the southern-based Ittihad al-Islami li-Ajnad al-Sham will join the IF.
According to the Netanyahu government, the IF’s leading foreign cheerleader, this new coalition gives substance to that which states who have been wanting regime change in Syria have been calling for. One analyst on the Syrian conflict, Aron Lund, believes a grouping of mainstream and hardline Islamists, excluding any al-Qaeda factions, is significant. “It’s something that could be very important if it holds up,” he explained. “The Islamic Front’s formation was a response to both regime advances and the ‘aggressive posture’ of jihadists against other rebels, plus a good deal of foreign involvement, not least of which is Saudi and GCC pushing to unify the rebels.”
Contrary to reports out of Occupied Palestine that the Netanyahu regime is not worried about or much interested in the crisis in Syria, a measure of delight seems to be felt in Tel Aviv that Muslims and Arabs are once more killing each other, along with smugness over Hezbollah’s loss of key mujahedeen as it faces, along with Iran, its own “Vietnam experience.” Yet all this notwithstanding, near panic is reported to have been felt in Israeli government circles over Hezbollah’s achievements in Syria. Truth told, Tel Aviv knows that despite manpower losses by Hezbollah, the dominant Lebanese political party is bringing about major enhancements of its forces. It also knows that there is no substitute for urban battlefield experience with regard to effecting such force regeneration, and Israeli officials have also stated their belief that the Resistance is organizing non-Hezbollah brigades that share one goal in common despite disparate beliefs. That sacred goal is liberating Al Quds by any and all means.
A US Congressional source summarized the Obama administration’s take on this week’s assassination of a key Hezbollah commander as part of a major new Netanyahu government project to weaken Hezbollah. Hassan Houlo Lakkis’ assassination on the night of December 3-4 is deemed in Washington to be particularly significant since Lakkis was in charge of strategic files related to Israel and the Palestinians and also oversaw a number of key operations. The Resistance commander was deeply involved in the development of drones for Hezbollah, as well as smuggling weapons to Gaza via Egypt. He also had good relationships with the Palestinian factions in Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon. Lakkis was known by Washington to be a highly important cadre and a second rank Hezbollah official. According to one analyst “Israel appeared as if it was telling Hezbollah, come and fight me. Israel is upset over the Western-Iranian agreement. It is also upset over the new position that the West has concerning Hezbollah whereby the West is now viewing the party as a force that opposes the Takfiris. Thus, Israel’s objective behind the assassination is to lure the party into a confrontation thus allowing Tel Aviv to tell the West: Hezbollah is still a terrorist organization.”
According to sources on the US Foreign Relations Committee, the White House is being heavily pressured by the US Zionist lobby and the Netanyahu government to take “remedial measures” for the “catastrophic historic mistake” it made in defusing the Iranian nuclear issue and refusing to bomb Damascus. The measures being pushed for, of course, are funding and support for the IF, though doubts persist in Washington as to how “remedial” they will in fact be. The $5.5 billion “investment” is to be paid in large part by GCC/Arab League countries, with US and Zionist contributions. Cash from the latter two sources will come directly and indirectly out of the pockets of American taxpayers—with Israel paying nothing.
Some Washington officials and analysts are wondering if US participation would help unify notoriously hostile rebel ranks and curtail the growing power of al-Qaeda in Syria, or whether it is simply another zany Bander bin Sultan-concocted project, the latest of many—in this case to create a hierarchical revolutionary army with the aim of fighting the Syrian regime essentially alongside al-Qaeda? Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel expressed his personal suspicions this week that “the Israel-Saudi team is trying to drag the US back into a potentially deepening morass,” alluding to what apparently is an effort to head off any plans the Obama administration may have of living with the Assad government until such time as Geneva II happens, that is if it happens, according to one congressional staffer.
Many among the American public also have doubts because they have been told that their government was ‘winding down’ its Middle East wars in favor of rebuilding America’s infrastructure, roads, health care and education systems, all of which, especially the latter, appear to be suffering dramatically. According to the most recent international survey, released this week, the average Chinese student, aged fifteen in Shanghai, is two full years ahead of America’s best students surveyed in Massachusetts. Recent top scores among secondary school youngsters, particularly in math, reading and science, were considerably lower than those achieved by students in Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Japan. The US is far down the list and declining, and the survey suggests that the gap is widening.
It’s too early to say whether this latest Saudi-Israel-Arab League collaboration will fail as others have recently, but given the continuing Obama administration efforts at taking back US Middle East policy from Tel Aviv, plus the perceptible movement away from support for the Netanyahu government along with growing angst among American taxpayers over funding the occupation of Palestine, it just might collapse.
Franklin Lamb is a visiting Professor of International Law at the Damascus University Faculty of Law. He volunteers with the SSSP (sssp-lb.com) and is reachable c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finian Cunningham made the remark in a Sunday column for Press TV amid escalation of tensions between US and China over Beijing’s enforcement of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
“The escalation of military tensions between Washington and Beijing in the East China Sea is superficially over China’s unilateral declaration of an air defense zone. But the real reason for Washington’s ire is the recent Chinese announcement that it is planning to reduce its holdings of the US dollar,” he wrote.
Cunningham said China “move to offload some of its 3.5 trillion in US dollar reserves” poses “a mortal threat to the American petrodollar and the entire American economy.”
“China – the second biggest economy in the world and a top importer of oil – has or is seeking oil trading arrangements with its major suppliers, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela, which will involve the exchange of national currencies,” he wrote, warning that the development threatens “the petrodollar and its global reserve status.”
Cunningham said Beijing’s November 20 notice about plan to “shift its risky foreign exchange holdings” in US dollars for other currencies “is a harbinger that the American economy’s days are numbered.”
“But, in the imperialist, megalomaniac mindset of Washington, the ‘threat’ to the US economy and indebted way of life is perceived as a tacit act of war. That is why Washington is reacting so furiously and desperately to China’s newly declared air corridor. It is a pretext for the US to clench an iron fist,” concluded the analyst.
Washington’s maladroit handling of China’s newly announced Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) unnecessarily muddies the waters and raises tensions over the East China Sea. Rather than reacting calmly in a diplomatic manner, the US immediately militarized the situation by sending B-52 bombers into China’s zone.
No doubt Asians will draw conclusions from Washington’s latest “bull in the China shop” approach to regional security issues. Some conclusions may not be favorable to the US and its long-term interests, given this latest example of US cowboy behavior.
Aviation around the globe is governed under international law by the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, and is coordinated and regulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a part of the UN system.
An ADIZ is defined by legal experts to be an area in airspace over water or land which may not necessarily be over the sovereign territory of a state in which identification, locations, and control of all aircraft must be provided in the interest of national security.
Washington’s berating China over its new ADIZ gives the appearance of double standards. The US in fact maintains four ADIZ zones: the Contiguous US ADIZ, Alaska ADIZ, Guam ADIZ and the Hawaii ADIZ.
There are over 20 countries in the world which have ADIZs including the UK, Pakistan, and India. South Korea established its ADIZ in 1951, and Japan established its ADIZ in the 1960s and extended it in 2010.
ADIZ areas are not directly under the Chicago Convention, but can lend support to the convention’s objectives of promoting peace and security, legal scholars say. ADIZ areas operate under the procedures given by the countries which establish them.
The US has its own unique procedures for its four ADIZ areas, and it has its own unique procedures for the US military to deal with foreign ADIZ areas, such as the procedures found in the US navy’s Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations.
The Obama administration’s heated reaction to China’s ADIZ announcement was directed not only against the Chinese ADIZ generally, but also against China’s inclusion of the Diaoyu Islands in it.
Washington’s accusation that the zone is a destabilizing move implies that China does not have the right to establish such a zone while Japan does.
But how is it that over 20 countries around the world established such zones and have been within their rights to do so while Washington berates China?
In fact, the US action is unprecedented as no such formal protest against the establishment of an ADIZ has been lodged before against any country, experts say.
Japan includes the Diaoyu Islands within its ADIZ. Why should China not do the same? Given that the islands are a well-known matter of international legal dispute, both sides would seem to have the right to include them in their respective ADIZ areas.
For over four decades, there has been disagreement in US policy circles over the issue of the Diaoyu Islands with respect to their inclusion in the US-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty.
Some US officials, such as Walter Mondale when he was vice president of the US, maintained that the islands do not fall under the treaty obligations of the US. Other officials leaning toward the Japanese side, such as Kurt Campbell, alleged that they do fall under the treaty. The Obama administration follows the Campbell line.
Washington says it is neutral in the territorial dispute, but its actions clearly do not match its words.
By including these disputed islands within the mutual defense treaty, Washington binds itself unnecessarily to the Japanese side, and thus is not neutral. Irresponsible actions concerning these islands by an increasingly extremist Japan could quite unnecessarily plunge the US into a war in a worst-case scenario.
China is well within its rights under international law and practice to establish an ADIZ in order to enhance its national security. It is certainly time for Washington to drop its Cold War thinking and cowboy behavior in the Asia-Pacific region.
The author is an educator and former senior professional staff member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. email@example.com
First, Obama confirmed that Bush's terror is now his own, before he escalated the war in the Middle East against multiple nations, revealing for all to see that he is waging a true "war of aggression" against the entire world.
Next, Obama anoints the new Imperial Japanese government with his blessing, in the form of a promise to invoke the American postwar commitment to defend Japanese territory, even those defined by previous war claims. Obama, the self-celebrated legal expert, doesn't have a legal leg to stand on in this intricate, pre-arranged dogfight. Is WWIII to begin with a revival of WWII?]
Signed at San Francisco, 8 September 1951
Initial entry into force*: 28 April 1952
CHAPTER II, TERRITORY, Article 2, (f) Japan renounces all right, title and claim to the Spratly Islands and to the Paracel Islands.
Japan’s recent purchase of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands has predictably reignited tensions amongst China, Japan, and Taiwan. Three months ago, when Niwa Uichiro, the Japanese ambassador to China, warned that Japan’s purchase of the islands could spark an “extremely grave crisis” between China and Japan, Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro slammed Niwa as an unqualified ambassador, who “needs to learn more about the history of his own country”.
Ambassador Niwa was forced to apologize for his remarks and was recently replaced. But what is most alarming amid these developments is that despite Japan’s democratic and pluralist society, rising nationalist sentiments are sidelining moderate views and preventing rational dialogue.
The Japanese government maintains that the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands are Japanese territory under international law and historical point of view and has repeatedly insisted that no dispute exists. Despite that the rest of the world sees a major dispute, the Japanese government continues to evade important historical facts behind its unlawful incorporation of the islands in 1895.
Specifically, the Japanese government asserts, “From 1885 on, our government conducted on-site surveys time and again, which confirmed that the islands were uninhabited and there were no signs of control by the Qing Empire.”
My research of over 40 official Meiji period documents unearthed from the Japanese National Archives, Diplomatic Records Office, and National Institute for Defense Studies Library clearly demonstrates that the Meiji government acknowledged Chinese ownership of the islands back in 1885.
Following the first on-site survey, in 1885, the Japanese foreign minister wrote, “Chinese newspapers have been reporting rumors of our intention of occupying islands belonging to China located next to Taiwan.… At this time, if we were to publicly place national markers, this must necessarily invite China’s suspicion.…”
In November 1885, the Okinawa governor confirmed “since this matter is not unrelated to China, if problems do arise I would be in grave repentance for my responsibility”.
“Surveys of the islands are incomplete” wrote the new Okinawa governor in January of 1892. He requested that a naval ship Kaimon be sent to survey the islands, but ultimately a combination of miscommunication and bad weather made it impossible for the survey to take place.
“Ever since the islands were investigated by Okinawa police agencies back in 1885, there have been no subsequent field surveys conducted,” the Okinawa governor wrote in 1894.
After a number of Chinese defeats in the Sino-Japanese War, a report from Japan’s Home Ministry said “this matter involved negotiations with China… but the situation today is greatly different from back then.” The Meiji government, following a cabinet decision in early 1895, promptly incorporated the islands.
Negotiations with China never took place and this decision was passed during the Sino-Japanese War. It was never made public.
In his biography Koga Tatsushiro, the first Japanese citizen to lease the islands from the Meiji government, attributed Japan’s possession of the islands to “the gallant military victory of our Imperial forces.”
Collectively, these official documents leave no doubt that the Meiji government did not base its occupation of the islands following “on-site surveys time and again,” but instead annexed them as booty of war. This is the inconvenient truth that the Japanese government has conveniently evaded.
Japan asserts that neither Beijing nor Taipei objected to U.S. administration after WWII. That’s true, but what Japan does not mention is that neither Beijing nor Taipei were invited as signatories of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, from which the U.S. derived administrative rights.
When Japan annexed the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in 1895, it detached them from Taiwan and placed them under Okinawa Prefecture. Moreover, the Japanese name “Senkaku Islands” itself was first introduced in 1900 by academic Kuroiwa Hisashi and adopted by the Japanese government thereafter. Half a century later when Japan returned Taiwan to China, both sides adopted the 1945 administrative arrangement of Taiwan, with the Chinese unaware that the uninhabited “Senkaku Islands” were in fact the former Diaoyu Islands. This explains the belated protest from Taipei and Beijing over U.S. administration of the islands after the war.
The Japanese government frequently cites two documents as evidence that China did not consider the islands to be Chinese. The first is an official letter from a Chinese consul in Nagasaki dated May 20, 1920 that listed the islands as Japanese territory.
Neither Beijing nor Taipei dispute that the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands — along with the entire island of Taiwan — were formally under Japanese occupation at the time. However, per post-WW II arrangements, Japan was required to surrender territories obtained from aggression and revert them to their pre-1895 legal status.
The second piece evidence is a Chinese map from 1958 that excludes the Senkaku Islands from Chinese territory. But the Japanese government’s partial unveiling leaves out important information from the map’s colophon: “certain national boundaries are based on maps compiled prior to the Second Sino-Japanese War(1937-1945).”
Qing period (1644-1911) records substantiate Chinese ownership of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands prior to 1895. Envoy documents indicate that the islands reside inside the “border that separates Chinese and foreign lands.” And according to Taiwan gazetteers, “Diaoyu Island accommodates ten or more large ships” under the jurisdiction of Kavalan, Taiwan.
The right to know is the bedrock of every democracy. The Japanese public deserves to know the other side of the story. It is the politicians who flame public sentiments under the name of national interests who pose the greatest risk, not the islands themselves.
Update: The author would like to include an updated image of the Qing era documents that recorded, “Diaoyutai Island accommodates ten or more large ships”, as mentioned in his blog post.
Han-Yi Shaw is a Research Fellow at the Research Center for International Legal Studies, National Chengchi University, in Taipei, Taiwan.
A recent article published by the Sankei Shimbun stated that the US-Philippine alliance is likely to see revitalization in the South China Sea, and such an alliance is supported by Japan since Okinawa served as a staging ground for the recently held US-Philippine joint military drill.
Therefore, the author concludes, a US-Japanese-Philippine alliance will be forged, with India, Australia and other member states of ASEAN possibly joining in the foreseeable future, which could perhaps develop into an Asian version of NATO.
The Philippines has claimed eight islands under China’s sovereignty. To counter this rising power, Manila declared that the nine-dash line was totally groundless, and brought the South China issue to the Arbitral Tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea earlier this year. And the Philippines needs assistance from its allies.
US President Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia” strategy has not fundamentally changed despite his absence from three recent meetings in Southeast Asia because of the federal government shutdown.
At both the popular and governmental level, the US will not accept China replacing its leadership economically or militarily in the South China Sea.
Now that China has become the biggest trading partner of ASEAN, Washington is prioritizing competing with Beijing in this strategically important area through a series of maneuvers, including the proposal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the decision to deploy 60 percent of its naval power in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020.
Tokyo has its own interests in the South China Sea. For one, some 80 percent of crude oil import is transported via sea lanes in the South China Sea that is crucial to its trade growth.
High-level officials of the Abe administration have paid several visits to Southeast Asian nations, save for China’s close friends Cambodia and Laos, since the beginning of this year.
Some have posited a Vietnamese role in these alliances. But although Vietnam has considerable territorial disputes with China over 29 islands in the South China Sea, Vietnam cannot afford the tremendous loss it will suffer if it completely turns against China.
Vietnam, ruled by the Communist Party of Vietnam, is committed to a socialist path, constituting a political advantage for its relations with China.
Apart from that, most Vietnamese tend to have a kind of intimacy with China because of historical and geographical ties, and therefore will be reluctant to ally with Washington. Moreover, Vietnam is enjoying an increasing trade volume with China.
External factors also play an important role in Hanoi’s hesitation to seek alliance with Washington, Tokyo and Manila.
To begin with, the agreement between China and Vietnam to establish a maritime work group for joint development at sea will calm down the territorial contentions, at least, for a while.
In addition, the US has been competing with Russia over the use of Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay, which is viewed as the heart of the whole South China Sea, since it takes only an hour from the bay to major sea routes on the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.
In the light of historical grudges against the US, the Vietnamese government would not rent the strategic bay to it, but promised to provide sealifts for its ships and vessels.
Russia has also attempted to return to the bay after withdrawal in 2002 due to a lack of funds. Given its close military cooperation with Hanoi including weapon sales and personnel training, Vietnam must consider such critical collaboration when deciding on the future of the bay. This may help China.
The likelihood of a widespread alliance is therefore small, but China should still stay vigilant.
The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Wang Xiaonan, based on an interview with Wu Shicun, President of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies.
According to an article in Lebanese daily Al Akhbar newspaper, Bashar Assad met with several political leaders from regional Arab countries ’10 days ago’ in which they discussed the condition in Syria and ways to end the ongoing deadly crisis in there, Al-Alam reported.
The paper quoted one of the attendants of the meeting who interviewed with Al Akhbar on condition of anonymity.
According to the source, Assad said, Syrian government is dealing with terrorism in several fronts and the country is facing with a massive war supported by foreigners.
“We knew from the beginning that this is a war against our independent rule and this independent ruling has been the main factor driving our resistance and victory,” the source quoted Assad as saying.
He added that Assad appreciated those countries that allied with them in their resistance against terrorism, especially the Russian government which Assad said their support to Syria was not just for Damascus but also for protecting their interests.
The source says Assad told the meeting that foreign support to the militants must stop if an end to the war is sought.
“Time” and “requirements” for ending the war depends highly on halting illegal foreign supports to the armed groups.
“Saudi Arabia and others are strongly supporting terrorism and have deployed tens of thousands of Takfiris in Syria; Saudi Arabia has even been paying 2,000 dollars a month to each militant as a salary,” the source quoted Syrian president.
Stopping supporting militants at the side of Saudi Arabia will have ‘definite results’ in all aspects, Assad told the meeting adding that, “now everyone knows Al-Qaeda is not just a threat to Syria”.
Saudi Arabia, along with Qatar and Turkey have been strongest supporters of the war in Syria with Riyadh and Doha spending billions of dollars to support militants.
Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who is Director General of the Saudi Intelligence Agency has been referred by many as a one of the main figures leading the war against Syria.
The source further said Assad was not optimistic about finding a solution to the war in the near future and said as long as foreign threat and support exists, they can’t stop fighting against them.
Syrian president also said Saudi Arabia’s role in the war cannot be neglected. “Saudi Arabia is leading the most extensive vandalism operation in the whole Arab world,” the source quoted him as saying.
Assad was also critical of what he reminded the attendants of Saudi Arabia’s role in Camp David Accord that normalized Israel’s ties with Egypt and also Riyadh’s support to the war against Lebanon in 1982.
In return, he praised Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for his ‘brave’ stance towards those who wished to harm Iraq.
Syrian president warned Arab political leaders in the meeting about threat of extremism and Wahhabis, as the source said.
Assad was quoted that presence of extremist in the region was a plot for keeping the Arab world retarded.
“I want to remind you that the West never wants to see us developed. I remember when I met former US foreign minister Colin Powell in 2003, he was telling me US conditions about managing relations with Iraq and he asked us not to ever let an Iraqi scientist to set foot in Syria and we rejected this offer, and the US and Israeli spying organizations killed many of these scientist and now they want to empty Iran from brains,” the source quoted Assad as telling the meeting.
Assad furthermore stressed that his government rejects all kinds of Takfiri and Wahhabi thoughts.
The crisis in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of western and regional states.
The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.
According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil that has gripped Syria for over two years.
The Lebanese and UNIFIL navies carried out a training exercise off the Lebanese coast on Monday during which UNIFIL Commander General Claudio Graziano said that the drills are to strengthen cooperation and coordination between naval and ground forces.
He emphasized the importance of the Lebanese navy’s participation in the exercises, since “it will be fully responsible for safeguarding Lebanon’s waters in the future.”
The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Anbaa reported on Wednesday that France and Spain are coordinating to replace Italian UNIFIL Commander General Claudio Graziano with a French or Spanish general.
A source told the paper that Israel supports the decision, since it has never been on good terms with General Graziano and had always accused him of not shouldering his responsibilities.
The Arab nation looks for some ten thousand maids per month
“Addressing the House of Peoples’ Representatives on Thursday, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that housemaids destined to Saudi Arabia will not go anymore following the harsh conditions they face in the Middle Eastern nation.
Both the mainstream and social media were engaged in reporting the life-threatening hostile working conditions in Middle Eastern nations. Ethiopians are reportedly being found in severe and deadly conditions, with some thrown out of windows (defenestrated).
Following the criticism by activists both at home and abroad, Hailemariam told parliament that until the government is certain of the improved working conditions in Saudi Arabia, Ethiopian maids will be barred from traveling there.”
[Nothing is ever the fault of the Saudis, not even when the royals have to import an entire class of laborers, to do the menial tasks which are "beneath" Saudi dignity. Saudis don't brutalize and torture their guest workers, or treat them as slaves....(SEE: Ethiopian Hell In Saudi Arabia).
[ALL SAUDI PROBLEMS ARE CAUSED BY IRAN....
If Ethiopian maids or nannies are blamed because a couple of Saudi babies (whose own mothers would not take care of them) died from SID, "sudden infant death" syndrome, then it is oh so clear to the sick, paranoid, camel-riding Saudi mind that thousands of Ethiopian women are agents of Iran.
And these are the sick, degenerate weirdos who are in charge of shaping US foreign policy for the entire Muslim world. We DESERVE TO LOSE every war that we use these bastards to get ourselves into!]
Ahmed Mohammed Al-Tuwayan
Are we facing the unknown at the hands of well-trained gangs? Are we dealing with the problem of illegal expatriates who have failed to rectify their residential status or with something more sinister?
The huge number of undocumented expatriates who have infiltrated our country and committed crimes makes us question their intentions.
Even though many of these criminals are Ethiopians, there is no excuse for the Ethiopian ambassador, his government or media to distort the facts to benefit from this crisis. By his statements to the local media, the ambassador is destroying the cordial relationship between our two peoples with a view of creating a political crisis between two friendly countries.
The ambassador is justifying the killing of Saudi children at the hands of Ethiopian housemaids by saying that it is the children themselves who are to blame because of their sick minds.
I will skip the reason why such a large number of illegal Ethiopians have entered our country and try to answer the question: why are there so many crimes? How has the peaceful Ethiopian, as the ambassador has said, been turned into a wild wolf? This hostile attitude by Ethiopians makes us certain that these people are implementing a criminal plot against our country. Many Saudis are convinced of this fact.
The entry of thousands of people of the same nationality into our country and their distribution among various regions is further confirmation of a plot to create disturbances in our country by groups from outside.
A video clip showing Ethiopians in a military parade has exacerbated the situation and has convinced many Saudis that Ethiopians want to terrorize them. It is possible that these Ethiopians are being guided by secret hands which the ambassador knows nothing about.
The war against us is being waged by some international public relations companies and intelligence organizations. Although this is not something new which we are discovering for the first time, we must deal with it intelligently and through unconventional media and communication methods.
All countries deal sternly with illegal migration. We all remember how the former French president Nicolas Sarkozi dealt with a terrorist act in a Parisian suburb, and France is considered to be a country which has great respect for human rights.
Britain has also dealt sternly with various types of aggression. The British Prime Minister David Cameron has said: “Do not talk to me about human rights when the matter concerns our national security”.
The Kingdom did not repeat what Cameron said nor did it use excessive force against the violators. It has met them with smiling faces and accommodated them in suitable places. It has not tortured any of them including the criminals.
We should immediately deport violators if we want to preserve the dignity of our country. We should use sheer power to face what can only be called “manpower terrorism”.
The double suicide bombing targeting the Iranian embassy in Beirut – with at least 23 people killed and 170 wounded – was a de facto terror attack happening on 11/19. Numerology-wise, naturally 9/11 comes to mind; and so the case of the Washington-declared war on terror metastasizing – largely conducted by oozy forms of Saudi “intelligence”.
Yet don’t expect the “West” to condemn this as terror. Look at the headlines; it’s all normalized as “blasts” – as if children were playing with firecrackers.
Whether carried out by a hazy al-Qaeda-linked brigade or by
Saudi spy chief Bandar bin Sultan’s (aka Bandar Bush’s) goons, the Beirut terror attack is essentially configured as a major, Saudi-enabled provocation. The larger Saudi agenda in Syria implies getting both Hezbollah and Iran to be pinned down inside Lebanon as well. If that happens, Israel also wins. Once again, here’s another graphic illustration of the Likudnik House of Saud in action.
Nuance also applies. Bandar Bush’s strategy, coordinated with jihadis, was to virtually beg for Hezbollah to fight inside Syria. When Hezbollah obliged, with only a few hundred fighters, the jihadis scurried away from the battlefield to implement plan B: blowing up innocent women and children in the streets of Lebanon.
While Hezbollah welcomes the fight, wherever it takes place, Tehran’s position is more cautious. It does not want to go all out against the Saudis – at least for now, with the crucial nuclear negotiation on the table in Geneva, and (still) the possibility of a Geneva II regarding Syria. Yet the House of Saud is not welcoming Geneva II anytime soon because it has absolutely nothing to propose except regime change.
On Syria, the main pillar of Bandar Bush’s strategy is to turn the previously “Free” Syrian Army into a “national army” of 30,000 or so fully weaponized hardcore fighters – mostly supplied by the “Army of Islam”, which is nothing but a cipher for the al-Qaedesque Jabhat al-Nusra. King Playstation of Jordan, also known as Abdullah, collaborates as the provider of training camps near the Syrian border. Whatever happens, one thing is certain; expect Bandar Bush’s goons to be carrying out more suicide bombings on both Lebanon and Syria.
The Zionist/Wahhabi/Salafi axis
The dodgy al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades in theory exist since 2005, placing the odd bomb here and there. One sheikh Sijareddin Zreikat tweeted responsibility for the Beirut terror attack. Curioser and curioser, the claim was “discovered” and translated into English by the Israeli disinformation website SITE. 
Yet another Israeli intelligence disinformation site, DEBKAfile, claimed the terror attack was an Iran/Hezbollah false flag, based on a “Saudi warning” reaching “Western intelligence agencies, including Israel”.  The rationale, according to “Saudi intelligence”, was “to convince Hezbollah fighters consigned against their will to the Syrian battlefield”.
This does not even qualify as pathetic. Hezbollah is basically defending the Lebanese-Syrian border, and has only a few hundred fighters inside Syria. Moreover, no string of suicide bombings will deter Hezbollah and Tehran from regaining control of what really matters in the Syrian strategic context; the Qalamoun area.
Qalamoun, ringed by mountains, is a 50-kilometer stretch bordering the Bekaa valley in Lebanon, between Damascus and al-Nabk, and right on the absolutely critical Damascus-Homs corridor of the M5 highway. The Syrian army is on the offensive in Qalamoun. Recapturing the whole area is just a matter of time. This means controlling the northern approach to Damascus. Hezbollah is helping in the offensive out of Bekaa valley. This does not mean they will camp out in Syria afterwards.
Now for the false flag accusation. As far as real false flags are concerned, one just has to re-examine three recent international bombings that supposed victimized Israel. In India the bomb had no projectiles; it barely injured an Israeli attache. In Azerbaijan the bomb was miraculously “discovered” before it went off. And in Thailand, the bomb exploded too soon, injuring only a nearby Iranian.
Crass Israeli disinformation is unmasked when it leaps into this conclusion:
If Tehran is capable of such atrocities merely as a diversionary tactic, then perhaps Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin ought to take a really hard look at their negotiating partner across the table before signing a major deal Wednesday, Nov. 20, which leaves Iran’s nuclear program in place.
So this neatly ties up with the current Israeli hysteria about the Geneva negotiations, which also includes the umpteenth report by a News Corporation outfit, London’s Sunday Times, that Saudi Arabia will help Israel to attack Iran. 
It also ties up with the proverbial US shills spinning, gloating rather, that, “strategically, this de-facto Israeli alliance with the Saudis is an extraordinary opportunity for Israel”. 
Even such shills have to admit that the House of Saud is “blocking formation of any government in Lebanon, for example, to obstruct Iran’s ally, Hezbollah”. “Blocking” of course is a euphemism to normalize suicide bombing.
And then comes the ultimate wishful thinking disguised as “analysis”; Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu “bidding to replace the United States as military protector of the status quo”. Translation; the Likudniks dreaming of becoming the new military Mob boss of petrodollar Wahhabis.
Bandar Bush’s strategy – weaponizing and providing cover to Salafis, jihadis and every patsy or mercenary in between – will go on unabated. After Bandar Bush convinced Washington to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood-friendly Qataris, the Saudis are the supreme warfare go-to channel. The Bandar Bush machine has ties with virtually every jihadi outfit in the Levant.
It certainly helps that Bandar has the perfect cover; the fact that he knows and has cajoled every significant player in Washington. In the US, Bandar Bush remains a dashing hero, even eliciting fawning comparisons with Gatsby.  Right. And my name is actually Daisy.
Even with its own embassy attacked in Lebanon, Iran is maintaining an extremely calibrated approach. The number-one priority is the nuclear negotiations in Geneva with the partner that really matters, the US. This explains Iran blaming the Beirut terror attack on the proverbial “Zionists”, and not Saudi-enabled jihadis posing as “rebels” and part of the whole Bandar Bush nebula.
For the moment though, enough of Orwellian newspeak. What happened in Beirut was a terror attack, cheered by Israel, and fully enabled by Saudis; a graphic display by the Likudnik-House of Saud axis.
1. Al-Qaida-linked group claims responsibility for deadly Beirut attack, Ha’aretz, November 19, 2013.
2. Incredible! Beirut bombings killing 25 people were self-inflicted by Iran and Hizballah as a diversionary tactic, DEBKAfile, November 19, 2013.
3. Israel, Saudi Arabia Unite For Attack On Iran, RT, November 17, ’13.
4. The stakes of an Iranian deal, Washington Post, November 15, 2013.
5. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s Gatsby, Master Spy, The Daily Beast, November 16, 2013.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[The route was from Guam to Okinawa, where US and Japanese Navies conducted exercises, then northerly, until crossing the tip of the announced zone. The approx. course given may not have crossed into the zone at all, but we will never the know for sure (SEE: China creates air defence zone over Japan-controlled islands).]
China asserts control over air zone despite US B-52 bombers
“The Chinese government has the will and ability to defend our national sovereignty and security,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a press briefing.
“We also have the ability to exercise effective control over the East Sea air defence identification zone,” he said.
Defence ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said the US aircraft skirted along the border of the zone and flew in the north-south direction, 200 kilometres east of Diaoyu Island.
Under the rules of the new air zone, all aircraft including the civilian flights have to report their flight plans to China, must maintain the two-way radio communications and respond in a timely and accurate manner to identification inquires.
Those that do not comply can face “defencive emergency measures”, Beijing said.
The US along with Japan refused to accept the zone announced by China over the disputed islands administered by Japan.
The Pentagon said it did not comply with Beijing’s controversial demand for aircraft to file flight plans when traversing the East China Sea area.
US Colonel Steve Warren at the Pentagon said Washington had “conducted operations in the area of the Senkakus”.
“We have continued to follow our normal procedures, which include not filing flight plans, not radioing ahead and not registering our frequencies,” Warren said.
China’s defence spokesman Geng said: “The Chinese military monitored the entire process, carried out identification in a timely manner, and ascertained the type of US aircraft.
“We need to stress that China will identify every aircraft flying in the air defence identification zone according to the country’s announcement of aircraft identification rules for the air defence identification zone.”
[While we still can, the Free World should literally ROAST THE FAT PIG OF QATAR.]
The Central African Republic (CAR) is descending into “complete chaos”, the UN deputy secretary general has warned, calling for urgent action.
Jan Eliasson urged the Security Council to strengthen the African Union-led force in the country, and to turn it into a UN peacekeeping operation.
The CAR has been in turmoil since rebels seized power in March, with warnings of a possible genocide.
France has said it would contribute about 1,000 troops to the force.
Senior UN and French officials have warned that a cycle of violence between the Muslim minority, now in power, and the Christian majority could become a genocide.
It is not known how many people have been killed in the conflict this year because it is too dangerous to access the rural areas where most killings occur, a UN spokeswoman told the BBC.
However, she said that in the Bossangoa area alone, one of the worst-hit areas about 300km (185 miles) north of the capital, Bangui, several hundred people had been killed in the first two weeks of September.
Some 460,000 people – 10% of the population of 4.6 million – have fled their homes, while more than a million need food aid, according to the United Nations.
Tens of thousands have sought refuge at the Catholic mission in Bossangoa.
The priest in charge, Frederic Tonfio, told the BBC: “The tension here is palpable. People are absolutely terrified.”
Mr Eliasson said there had been an surge in sexual violence, torture, summary executions and sectarian violence.
“The CAR is becoming a breeding ground for extremists and armed groups in a region that is already suffering from conflict and instability,” he said.
“If this situation is left to fester, it may develop into a religious and ethnic conflict with long-standing consequences, even a civil war that could spread into neighbouring countries.”
Some of CAR’s neighbours such as South Sudan, the Sudanese region of Darfur, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo are trying to emerge from years of conflict and remain extremely unstable.
France, the former colonial power, currently has about 400 soldiers stationed in Bangui. Their mission is to protect French nationals.
On Tuesday, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that France would send another 1,000 troops to the CAR.
UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson: “Children and women are at the greatest risk”
“We cannot have a country fall apart like that,” he told Europe 1 radio: “There is the violence, massacres and humanitarian chaos that follow a collapse.”
He added that – as was the case of France’s intervention in Mali earlier this year- the troops would be deployed for “a short period, in the range of six months”.
The UN Security Council is expected next week to adopt a resolution authorising the deployment of African Union troops with French support in the impoverished nation.
There are currently some 2,500 African troops in CAR, due to be increased to 3,600 by January 2014.
“A country in the heart of Africa is descending into complete chaos before our eyes,” Mr Eliasson told the 15-member council on Monday.
“The situation requires prompt and decisive action.”
Central African Republic crisis in numbers
Earlier this month, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said communal violence in the CAR risked spiralling out of control.
Mr Ban backed the establishment of a UN peacekeeping force before the crisis leads to widespread atrocities.
The rebels – known as the Seleka – have replaced President Bozize with their own commander, Michel Djotodia.
Armed gangs, mainly former Seleka rebels, who are mostly Muslim, now control most of the landlocked country.
Some are mercenaries from neighbouring countries, such as Chad and the Darfur region of Sudan.
Mr Djotodia, the country’s first Muslim leader, has formally disbanded the rebels and integrated many fighters into the national army.
But former rebels linked to Seleka have continued to launch attacks on scores of villages, prompting the emergence of local civilian protection groups.
The government in Bangui denies targeting any group, but recognises the rise in inter-community violence.
[REPORT IN FULL--- The UKs relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain]
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has condemned the Foreign Affairs Committee’s new report on UK’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain as a whitewash.
CAAT had high hopes when the inquiry was announced in September 2012. However, earlier this year, CAAT began to have major concerns about the way the inquiry was being conducted. These included:
- the appointment of Sir William Patey, former UK Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, as Specialist Adviser to the Committee. He could not have been expected to act in a disinterested and questioning manner
- an informal meeting with the representatives from BAE Systems, the UK’s largest arms company and major arms supplier to Saudi Arabia, with Sir Sherrard Cowper Coles, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and now international business adviser to BAE, and Bob Keen, BAE head of government relations
- the seven-month delay in publishing some of the written evidence to the inquiry, including that of CAAT and other critical voices. While it was said some of the delayed evidence raised concerns about individual safety, CAAT’s did not and was eventually published in full.
Ann Feltham, CAAT’s Parliamentary Co-ordinator, who has been following the progress of the inquiry, said:
Unfortunately it looks as though arms company and establishment interests reached into the heart of this inquiry. The Foreign Affairs Committee is giving cover to the UK government as it continues the policy of pandering to despicable regimes in its desire to drum up sales for BAE Systems.
The problem is not that the UK government is failing to explain its approach to Saudi Arabia to the UK public; it is the approach itself that is the problem. The Government needs to put human rights at the heart of its policy towards Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, not the interests of the arms companies. Otherwise it is a betrayal of those protesters who seek human rights and democratic freedoms.
For further information contact CAAT at email@example.com or call 020 7281 0297 or 07990 673 232.
The blasts near the Iranian embassy in Beirut are a clear message by Saudi Arabia to Iran, as by targeting Iran it wants to spread chaos and war also inside Lebanon, political analyst Kevork Elmassian told RT.
RT: We know that a Lebanese group linked to Al-Qaeda has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack. From your point of view, what would be their motive there?
Kevork Elmassian: The group is called Abdullah Azzam and it is affiliated to Al-Qaeda. This is a clear message by Saudi Arabia or it’s an act of war by Saudi Arabia against Iran, this is for the first time the Saudis are crossing the red line by targeting the Iranian Embassy in Beirut. I don’t agree with the Iranian Ambassador who pointed his finger to the Israelis. It’s true that the Israelis are beneficiaries of these explosions but who perpetrated these attacks? They are Al-Qaeda linked groups; their emir is Bandar “bin-Satan” [bin-Sultan] in Saudi Arabia.
We have to know that these explosions happened with two suicide bombers. The Israelis never do such operations, they can use their airplanes and other car bombs. But there were two people, one of them was on motorcycle, he came close to the embassy and tried to explode himself in order to open a route for the other car entering to the embassy, but the security was awake and they shot him. He was forced to explode himself outside the embassy. But in politics we have to understand that this message from Saudi Arabia has come after the war of the Al-Qalamoun mountains. We have to know that Hezbollah and the Syrian army are fighting side by side against Al-Qaeda groups in Syria and recently in Al-Qara area, this area links with Arsal area in Lebanon, where the thousands of militants from Al-Qaeda under the patronage of the Future Movement of Lebanon are having trainings and also smuggling arms into Syria. Also, this area links Homs to Damascus, it is in the center of Homs and Damascus, and most of the terrorists who are coming to the eastern Ghouta area in Damascus, the place where the chemical attack happened, are coming from this area.
RT: Why do you link Saudi Arabia to this case?
KE: Because the militants of the proxies of Saudi Arabia exist in the center between Damascus and Homs and they are spreading all this chaos and terrorism around the cities of Homs and Damascus. Most of the car bombs are coming from this area. When Hezbollah and Syrian army decided to crush the rebellion in this area, the Saudis wanted to send a very historical message to Iran. We have to remember the actions of Saudi Arabia in past few weeks: they refused the membership of the UN Security Council and then they said they were going to work to foil the peaceful negotiations in Geneva for peace in Syria. They are also trying to block any deal between the West and Iran. And the recent reports are saying that Saudi Arabia is going to buy a nuclear bomb from Pakistan, if a deal is reached between P5+1 and Iran. So these historical policies by Saudi Arabia are reflecting the desperation of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, and by targeting now the embassy of Iran it wants to spread chaos and war also inside Lebanon.
The crime of being conservative is being prosecuted with vengance.
WASHINGTON, November 19, 2013 – Cops are bursting into homes, seizing computers and other “evidence” while groups are being hit with subpoenas that require them to turn over voluminous and sensitive information – including the names of political donors.
The crime of being conservative is being prosecuted with vengance.
In Wisconsin, special prosecutor Francis Schmitz is going after conservative groups that were involved in the fight over the recall of Governor Scott Walker and Walker’s union reforms. Subpoenas are requesting “all records of income received, including fundraising information and the identity of persons contributing to the corporation.” They are seeking lists of conservative donors.
These “John Doe” subpoenas are alarming as, under Wisconsin law, when someone receives one of these subpoenas, the only person they are allowed to discuss the subpoena with is their attorney. Not only does this inhibit First Amendment rights, it stops groups from being able to create a unified defense to allegations.
Among the groups that have been targeted are Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin, The Republican Governors’ Association, The friends of Scott Walker, American Crossroads and the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
The subpoenas, which have been leaked to the media, demand all kinds of internal records, including donation information and the identity of individual donors.
This is political terrorism at work and the special prosecutor in this case is a political terrorist.
Obtaining donor lists for conservative organizations is a long time goal of left wing groups. The IRS, when it went after the Tea Party, wanted donor information, which they are legally precluded from having.
Does anyone believe that if these donor lists were turned over to a special prosecutor they would remain secret?
A great example of what the left is doing is California in 2008 and 2009. California passed Proposition 8, which defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The left went nuts.
Liberals obtained copies of the donor list for a number of groups that supported Proposition 8 and then went on a rampage. Donors where harassed. Several either lost their jobs or resigned because of the harassment.
Irate liberals harassed businesses.
There is a legal description of what they did. It is called intimidation; at one time the balliwick of thugs and mobs.
The goal of the left in Wisconsin has been to find out the names of donors who helped Scott Walker. Walker’s reforms crippled the left by drying up a cash cow from forced union dues.
The left never forgives nor forgets. They want payback and they are not beyond using the law, the government or terror to intimidate those who stand against them.
Conservatives need to stand up against this kind of tyranny. Every conservative group that is served with one of those subpoenas should publicly say they have, refuse to comply and take the Wisconsin special prosecutor to Court.
A special prosecutor is just another lawyer who holds a job. He or she is subject to the same disciplinary rules as every other lawyer. This case, certain on its face, looks like the Attorney is using the law to abuse people just for their political beliefs.
That is unethical and that can and should result in that lawyer losing his law license.
The Wall Street Journal, Wisconsin Political Speech Raid Subpoenas hit allies of Scott Walker as his re-election campaign looms, contributed to this report
Riyadh dismisses possible cooperation with Israel to stop Iran from developing a nuclear warhead.
Saudi Arabia has ruled out any contact with Israel, with which it has no diplomatic ties, after a British newspaper reported that the two countries could coordinate efforts against Iran.
The kingdom “has no relations or contacts with Israel of any kind or at any level,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, quoted by state news agency SPA on Monday.
Under the headline “Two old foes unite against Tehran,” Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper said Israel and Saudi Arabia were working together on “contingency plans for a possible attack on Iran if its nuclear programme is not significantly curbed.”
“As part of the growing cooperation, Riyadh is understood already to have given the go-ahead for Israeli planes to use its airspace in the event of an attack on Iran,” it said.
The Saudi spokesman said the report was “completely unfounded”.
The Israeli and Saudi governments are convinced that the international talks to place limits on Tehran’s military nuclear development will do little to slow its development of a nuclear warhead.
Widely believed to have a formidable nuclear arsenal itself, Israel has refused to rule out bombing Iran’s facilities, as it reportedly did with an Iraqi reactor in 1981 and a Syrian facility in 2007.
FOR SOME REASON,
The Powers That Be decided to trash this post, since someone deleted all of the commentary and image previously posted here. Normally I copy my posts before hitting the post button….Screwed-up here. I will try to recapture that which was lost.
[The following is a welcome admission by the Establishment press that our wars have been unmitigated disasters, but it is also very deceptive, falling far short of acceptable standards of journalistic integrity. Despite the long-overdue admission that are wars have been failed efforts, this article is what is known as "limited hangout" propaganda, telling partial truths as a means for concealing more revelatory damning truths. In this case, the writer wants his readers to begin to see our wars as huge "mistakes," human-error caused disasters, rather than criminal wars of aggression. The cold hard truth is that all of our wars have been resounding successes, judging by Pentagon/CIA standards. The disastrous end-products of these wars was the intended result for all of them, destroying the Muslim countries that refused to follow American dictation. We fully intended for the Iraqis, the Afghans, the Pakistanis, Yemenis, Syrians, Libyans and all of the rest of America's perceived "enemies," to experience unimaginable human suffering on a scale far greater than that which has been experienced so far. In addition to all of this, the Imperial plan was to take advantage of the rising chorus of humanity, urging that we remedy all of this misery, as an excuse for inflicting even greater suffering and indignation on these populations under the guise of "humanitarian relief."]
“US ‘humanitarian interventionism’ is the official cover story for the planned destruction of governments and the sustained, relentless punishment of the people who supported those governments…plain and simple.
American foreign policy under Bush and Obama has been a concentrated effort to inflict maximum suffering upon civilian populations, under the cover of pretending to “help” them. America’s foreign policy is criminal…far worse than the alleged ‘crimes against humanity’ which Syria allegedly committed. The chaotic deadly conditions left in the wakes of these criminal wars have affected all of humanity and pushed civilization to the brink of complete collapse. This,makes America’s Imperial wars, by definition, ‘crimes against humanity.’”
Forty-three people died on Friday in clashes between militias in Libya, as did 22 on Sunday from bombs in Iraq. In Helmand, a return of the Taliban to power is now confidently expected. Why should we care? Why should it feature on our news?
The answer is that we helped to bring it about. Britain’s three foreign wars in the past decade were uninvited military interventions to topple installed governments. All have ended in disaster.
In each case – Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan – it was easy to see evil in the prevailing regime. These are bad guys that we need to go after, said the Americans. Yet the removal of law and order from a nation is devastating, however cruel that order may have been. Iraqis today repeat that, whatever the ills of Saddam Hussein, under his rule most ordinary citizens and their families could walk the streets at night without fear of murder or kidnap. Religious differences were tolerated. Iraq should have been an oil-rich modern state. Even the Kurds, scourged by Saddam in the past, enjoyed autonomy and relative peace.
In each of these cases Britain and its allies, chiefly America, intervened to overthrow the army, disband government, dismantle the judiciary and leave militias to run riot. Little or no attempt was made to replace anarchy with a new order. “Nation building” was a fiasco. The British bombs that flattened government buildings in Kabul, Baghdad and Tripoli did not replace them, or those who worked in them. Those who dropped them congratulated themselves on their work and went home.
It is hard to exaggerate the misery and chaos created by so-called “liberal interventionism”. It is hard to think of a more immoral foreign policy, roaming the (chiefly Muslim) world, killing people and sowing anarchy. That is why the blood-stained consequence should be splashed across headlines. Those who seek political kudos by visiting violence on foreign peoples should never be allowed to forget their deeds.
[It is Jews like Benjamin Netanyahu who confirm to the world that there really are many Jewish intellectuals who believe that fomenting wars in other countries is a legitimate survival strategy. Anyone who dares, or has dared to point-out this cold hard fact has been immediately branded as "anti-Semitic." Brand away. I have been in this struggle far too long to care about such infantile nonsense as name-calling anymore. As long as there is an established "nation" with a single-minded foreign policy of stirring-up trouble and instigating war for its neighbors, then there will be NO PEACE in the Middle East. Something has to change. I prefer the path to Peace which puts and end to international trouble-making and the use of any kind of political terrorism by any nation. If Israel or any other nation cannot exist except by creating strife in other nations, then that nation will either have to change, or cease to exist.
It's your choice to make, Netanyahu, but consider this...if the Nations of the world get their heads together and determine that there will be WORLD PEACE, then no shitty little pile of sand calling itself "Israel" will stand in the way of a planet united on that one goal. Zionists and other Imperialists must learn a quick lesson about the mental state of most of the human race...The People are sick and tired of pointless, endless war. We are "mad as hell and we aren't going to take anymore." Zbigniew Brzezinski has been speaking freely about this rapidly building phenomenon, the human race becoming politically aware of their power. There is no longer a static status quo. Things are changing fast and will soon be beyond their meager abilities to control us. I guess that at that time, the proper non-anti-Semitic response would be to feel sorry for the Jews and the collapse of their grand social experiment, forgetting about all the damage that they have done and the lives wasted by the conspiracy to bring it all about. But I prefer a quicker solution...one which lays everybody's cards on the table, exposing all of those "Jokers" who today are world-class state sponsors of terrorism, forcing the players to pay-up and to shut-up.
But for now, I will be happy to see what happens when the arrogance and the obstinacy of the evil alliance of the Wahhabi Saudis and the Zionist Israelis try to stop the international tsunami for Peace that is now building-up within the war-weary hearts of most of the human race.]
Below you are provided with a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: James Fetzer, I would like to get your reaction to one of the things that John Kerry has said and he said that aside from sanctions probably having a negative effect with the Iranians to pull out of any talks that it is either a deal or war.
When he makes the statement “war” what does he mean? From the US side or from the Israeli side?
Fetzer: Well, that is a completely outrageous statement for John Kerry to make. I am shocked by that. I mean that the United Nations’ charter specifies all diplomatic relationships…, opportunities must be fully exploited before there is any consideration of military action and that would only be permissible under two conditions, namely: If Iran posed an imminent threat to the United States, which is obviously not the case; or if it had the approval of the Security Council which of course would never happen.
So it is completely and utterly irresponsible for John Kerry to be making such a remark.
Press TV: And during his trip, we know that he was in Israel, he went to the United Arab Emirates and of course he is trying to appease his allies regarding this possible deal with Iran and we can see the positive motions that the US president Barack Obama has made regarding the Congress not to impose more sanctions.
I mean do you think that there is sincerity in not only Kerry but President Obama to have this, at least interim deal signed and how probable do you think that it is?
Fetzer: Well, it is very interesting because there are some signs that Obama, actually, is willing to go against the Israeli lobby and negotiate a diplomatic agreement with Iran.
There should be no interference with Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy. That appears to be an effort by the American nuclear energy industry to circumvent competition because Iran can provide nuclear fuel rods to the third-world countries at less expense than can the American and so they do not like the competition but the fact is that France appears to be the stumbling block and it appears to be because it has a major arms deal with Saudi Arabia and another with Israel.
I am heartened that Obama made those remarks to oppose further sanctions on Iran but the sanctions were never deserved in the first place.
Iran has no nuclear weapons program, even our own intelligence agencies in 2007 and again in 2011 confirmed that Iran was not pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
I believe that it has to do with Iran having abandoned the petrodollar, which of course was also true of Iraq, also true of Libya and we know what happened there and of course with Israel’s determination to achieve domination over the Middle East without any opposition whatsoever from a major power, if in fact there is a diplomatic resolution of this issue then Israel will lose any possible semblance of justification of attacking Iran; even the former of highest levels intelligence service chiefs for Israel have made that observation which is why Netanyahu is so desperate to provoke something here and to not allow, to undermine a diplomatic initiatives that he finds so threatening to his agenda for the Middle East.
Protests in Libya
You are listening to part one of an interview with Farazh Muftah– a spokesperson for the tribal nations of Libya. You can find part 2 of this interview in the near future on our website at voiceofrussia.com
Robles: Can you explain to our listeners about the real situation in Libya right now? What is really happening in Libya?
Muftah: Thank you so much for giving us a chance to explain everything to your people and to your listeners.
Our country was safe and secure until what happened with it in 2011. It was started by lies and dirty games by satellite from many journalists of CNN, al-Arabia, Al-Jazeera, BBC as well and Qatari channels which prepared all the propaganda before the game has been started.
They lied to the people and they said that they will come to Libya to protect the civilian people. They only used this reason as a pretext to destroy our country, destroy all establishment and destroy our regime.
You have to know that the majority of Libyans supported the former regime and we did not have any problem before 2011. Our regime was the fairest regime, it was against Al Qaeda and terroristic groups on the ground and around the world.
And our leader Col Gaddafi – the fairest guy – announced and reported to the United Nations Security Council, the US and other Western countries that they must arrest Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda groups, it was in 1987.
At that time no one listened to our side. The reality and the truth is that the Western world and especially the USA and the CIA, which gave control to America, they knew already that Bin Laden works with them.
Nowadays, they brought all the Al Qaeda terroristic groups to Libya at the beginning of the crisis and we call it a conspiracy against our country.
France, the United States, Italy, Qatar, Turkey, the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist groups – they used Security Council resolution of 1971-1973 to launch and intervention and “protect” the civilian people. But they killed the people, as you know now approximately more than 500,000 people have been killed in Libya.
Muftah: Yes, about half a million has been killed in Libya since 2011 up to now. The majority of this number has been killed by NATO and the United States, the rest of them have been killed by militias and terrorist groups, and Al Qaeda as well.
Al Qaeda has a full control of Tripoli – the capital. There is no government, there is no regime, there is not an agency in Libya.
The solution now is to return the people who have been exiled to their country, to their land, to try to sort out all the problems in Libya.
Americans supported Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya and in Egypt as well.
Now in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime has been finished and destroyed by the Egyptian people, more than 32 million people went on the streets.
In Libya still America and some Western countries support Al Qaeda and terrorist groups, especially in Tripoli – the capital of Libya. This is the big problem facing the Libyan people that NATO and the USA supported Al Qaeda and terrorist groups.
And the American administration – Obama and John McCain – are representatives of Al Qaeda terrorist groups.
John McCain is their close friend, he supported them and he talks about them every day. They plan how to support them, how to protect them. This is the big problem which faces the whole world.
In the future, I warn all of the people, we report that in a few days it will become a big problem and danger facing the whole world, especially the Western countries.
Now the Libya is the main source for terrorists, the main source for Al Qaeda training, the main source of weapons, main source of crimes and criminal groups.
Now the danger has reached Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Mali, Chad – they get the resources and establish control over our cities in Libya. As you know, they burned more than four or five cities in Libya. In Tawergha all cities have been completely burned in 2011.
And where was Tawergha, now it is a place for Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood training.
Bani Walid attack of 2012 was by militias, about 20,000 militias attacked Bani Walid city to try to establish control over it, but it was hard for them, because the people in Bani Walid are brave and strong fighters, they were against and they defended their city. They got the out back to Misrata militias.
Now, we have another problem the international community must know about – the unknown and uncontrolled presence in Misrata and Tripoli which is controlled by Al Qaeda terrorist groups.
It is a hard situation for more than 30,000 Libyan civilian people inside the prisons. Nobody knows their fates. It is a situation of unknown presence without any control from the government, because there is no government.
Even the so-called Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has been kidnapped by militias. And they still lie to the people, lie to the community, they lie to the media and he says he is the Prime Minister.
There is no Prime Minister in Libya, there is no parliament in Libya, there is no government in Libya, there is no regime in Libya now, only Al Qaeda and terrorist groups.
Let’s me tell you something about the problem with Interpol. When NATO and Americans invaded Tripoli with militias and terrorist groups, they attacked the Interior Ministry and the office of Interpol was taken over by militias.
The militias reported papers and documents to Interpol. That is why Interpol has now called and is asking (searching) for more than 200 Libyan people who are living abroad.
There is no Interpol in Libya, it is impossible. There are militias all cities,the whole country controlled by militias and where is Interpol? There is no Interpol in Libya.
2 million Libyan people have been exiled and they are living in a bad situation in Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Mali, Egypt, Malta and a small number of them in the Western countries. There is no United Nations that cares about us, there are no human rights organizations that care about us, there is no international community that cares about us.
This is the truth and this is the reality, and this is our story.
Nobody will bring control in our country, nobody will clean up our country, only Gaddafi loyalists know how to clean out the terrorist groups and Al Qaeda. And we have our own experts, more than 2,000 security experts outside Libya, they have been exiled. And they are followed by Al Qaeda terrorist groups.
Every day they kill an officer from our military, every day they kill one member of the security section in Libya, every day they kill civilian people, kidnap them, rape the ladies, rob stores and banks.
This is the situation now in Libya. This is the real story. This is the truth and this is what is happening in Libya right now.
Robles: It sounds like complete anarchy. Can you tell me what was life like before the NATO invasion? What was life really like for Libyan people when the US and NATO said they were oppressed and they were being killed, and everybody hated Gaddafi? What was life really like?
Muftah: No! This is not truth. The truth is that all the Libyan people liked Gaddafi, supported our leader. Our leader was an honest man. He was a patriot, a strong man and defended our country.
He was against the international law which allowed them to invade any country, to attack any country, to bomb any country.
You cannot imagine how is it to burn and attack civil cities, to burn them and then bomb for two months about three or four times every day. Did you think about this? How is it that the NATO forces, their airplanes, their military, which were prepared to fight against Russia and then attacked a small city like Bani Walid?
From February 2011 up to October 2011 NATO attacked and bombed.
Most of the cities, as I told you, have been burned and destroyed, all cities – Sitra, Bani Walid, Tawergha, Qawalish, Mashashita, Ar Rayaniya, now Tiji.
Every day now Tiji is exposed to attacks from militias in Zintan.
This is the truth and this is the real story. We were living in so good situation, nobody was against Gaddafi. There were a few people and they say that this is a political group. But they ran away from the military in 1971-1973 to America and America protected them, and America used them as spies, as Ali Zeidan.
Ali Zeidan has stolen money from our Embassy in India and ran away to Germany.
He’s stolen the Libyan Embassy’s money in Delhi which was sent to use to help Muslim people in India and he ran away to America.
America protected (Magallion?) and America used him as a spy.
(Magallion?) is a member of the CIA. Ali Zeidan is from Gestapo, a member of German intelligence. This is the truth, this is the story.
Robles: I see. Why do you think they want to keep a condition of anarchy in Libya?
Muftah: In Libya right now there is no control, there are no companies, there is no government, there are no embassies.
All the foreign people, all representatives of foreign companies, all diplomatic groups in Libya are threatened and killed by Al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda announced a few days ago that they will start killing all diplomatic people in Libya.
And there is no infrastructure from 2011. There are no buildings, there is no development, there isn’t anything.
Even all the money in the Central Bank invested outside Libya has been stolen by these militias.
There is no money, there are no resources now because oil exports have been blocked by militias.
Robles: Who is in control of the oil right now?
Muftah: The militias since 2011 sell the Libyan oil in the Mediterranean Sea without any documents, without anything. It is a black market. Many groups from the eastern part did not allow Ali Zeidan, from the puppet government to sell oil unless they have a know and help to plan and organize how to sell our oil.
Robles: Is oil still flowing out of Libya right now?
Muftah: No, not any more. It’s been blocked by many groups in Ras Lanuf, Sitra, Zueitina. And even yesterday I think a group from west part militias has blocked gas, which is supplied to the south of Italy.
Robles: I’d like to ask you a question. In Egypt we now know the United States supported the Muslim Brotherhood, like they supported Al Qaeda, like they created Al Qaeda, like MI5 created the Muslim Brotherhood – the Egyptian people have filed crimes against humanity charges against the US and Barack Obama. Can the Libyan people do the same thing?
Muftah: Yes, we have a lot of things, we have a lot of documents which will show to the world what was happening because of Obama and the Western countries.
Of course, because they started to help the militias and the Muslim Brotherhood from the beginning of the conspiracy against Libya.
Robles: Is there any movement or any group of lawyers or former judges who could organize a formal criminal complaint and deliver it to Hague?
Muftah: Yes, our group and our lawyers, who have been exiled as well, they are preparing all the documents and all files to bring them to ICC or to any international court, to show them all the evidence how NATO and America destroyed the country and destroyed the land of Libya. They are working on it.
My friend John, you have to know that there is no stability, no development and infrastructure, there is no growth for all the countries who were invaded or attacked by NATO and America.
You were listening to part 1 of an interview with Farag Muftah – a spokesperson for the tribal nations of Libya. You can find part 2 of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com in the near future.
The first photo was taken inside one of the villas that had been occupied by the Misurata militias in Tripoli in Gharghour – on the ground floor was found some human organs inside the cans glass for their illegal trade in human organs:
Photo: James and Joan Moriarty
Algeria Square Tripoli:
Photo: James and Joan Moriarty
Misurata Militias that killed protesters yesterday:
Photo: James and Joan Moriarty
Mitiga Air base, Tripoli:
Photo: James and Joan Moriarty
Photo: James and Joan Moriarty
[Shame on you, Gen. McRaven...all of your predecessors were smarter than that! These guys are just practicing the deadly skills that your boys taught to them, and you want us to believe that the problem is that you need to train them better?
Hell, you guys backed the head of an al-Qaeda terrorist group as Libyan military chieftain, after your men murdered the President of Libya Your Islamist proxies have murdered the entire legitimate Libyan govt. Now that their terrorism is making Africom look bad, you beg for the privilege of making them even better terrorists, only you call them "Freedom Fighters" when you try to sell them to the American people. I hope that you burn in Hell for what you guys have done to this world.
You should be congratulating your terrorist proxies for a job well done, every time that they carry-out another massacre, even if they massacre the trainers that you intend to send them.]
[McRaven is a freak, trying to sneak his fellow freaks into any combat position that SOCOM can dream-up (SEE: SOCOM Peddles Its “Wet Dream” of Creating Global Web Under SOF Control ; Special Forces Chief Seeking Blank Check To Attack Anyone, Anywhere He Wants). Now that America's Islamists are openly causing problems in Libya for the CIA and the Pentagon, the "Slick-Operator-In-Chief" thinks that he might be able to sneak a few more of his "irregular forces" back into Tripoli, under cover of "correcting the Islamist militias" (SEE: Dozens dead in clash with Libyan militiamen in Tripoli).
WHAT A WHOPPER! This guy, just like ALL U.S. officers and American politicians, lies to us so often that he must think that he has some kind of weird diplomatic immunity. After the recent public stink which was spontaneously generated around Obama's intention to enter the war against Syria, one would think that they would be reluctant to try it again, so soon. Pentagon warmongers will have to play catch-up with the politicians, who have slowly come to realize that the American people are waking-up. There will be a great electoral correction of America's course to the Nazi shoals, since most politicians don't want to be swept aside in the anticipated great house-cleaning. The American people have started sobering-up, after having drunk deeply from the poisoned chalice of the plastic patriotism that has been dispensed so freely by Bush/Cheney and the neocon traitors. More Americans are coming to understand that the Pentagon and the CIA have been taken over by a bunch of Nazis.
By all means, allow the Pentagon to complete the Nazification process among the nascent little national militaries that it is raising-up all over the Africom mischief zone. If no one besides a handful of "conspiracy theorists" opposes this rising-up of the new "Fourth Reich," an American global "Reich," then we all might as well start practicing our goose-stepping and stiff-armed salutes to our tall, thin, dark-skinned "Fuhrer."]
Socom chief warns counter-terrorism training will be risky
Ansar al Shariah supporters protest the United States’ capture of Abu Anas al-Libi / AP
BY: Bill Gertz
November 16, 2013 7:45 pm
Simi Valley, Calif. — The U.S. military is preparing to conduct military and special operations training for Libya’s military and the training will risk including Islamist terrorists among the trainees, according to the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command.
Adm. William McRaven said in a brief interview Saturday that the counterterrorism training operation has not begun. “We’re in the early stages,” he told the Free Beacon.
McRaven said a major gun battle erupted in Tripoli last week among opposing militias, a sign of instability in the North African country. The training is needed to stabilize Libya, an oil-rich country beset by mounting terrorism and Islamist militias.
During a panel discussion on the war on terrorism at the Reagan National Defense Forum, McRaven disclosed that the Libyan military training would include both conventional forces training and special operations training and that there will be risks.
“We are going to have to assume some risks,” McRaven said. “Right now we have the authorities to do that training, and I think as a country we have to say there is probably some risk that some of the people we will be training with do not have the most clean records, but at the end of the day it is the best solution we can find to train them to deal with their own problems.”
McRaven disclosed the plans for Libyan training when asked about problems encountered in training foreign special operations forces.
McRaven said the training would include a “very, very thorough review” of the Libyans who will take part.
Since the ouster of Muammar Gadhafi in 2011, Libya has had a weak government in a region dominated by Islamist militias ranging from al Qaeda affiliates to Islamists that do not support al Qaeda.
A weak central government has resulted in the spread of militias throughout the country. Weak border controls also have made the country a safe haven for jihadists.
Intelligence reports from earlier this year said some of the Islamists are engaged in training jihadists fighters who are then dispatched to Syria to join Islamist rebels there fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashir Assad.
The four-star admiral said the risks have been explained to senior leaders, including Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, and the regional combatant commanders.
The U.S. covert raid to capture al Qaeda leader Anas al Libi also has led to a backlash by Islamist militias operating in Libya.
The terrorists who attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, killing Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other Americans, were linked to al Qaeda.
The group, Ansar al Sharia, continues to operate openly, despite promises by President Barack Obama to bring those who carried out the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks to justice.
Additionally, Ansar al Sharia has grown more belligerent in recent months, apparently abandoning propaganda efforts to rebrand itself as a nonviolent militia.
Libyan militias also have seized some oil production facilities and have been selling oil to fund their activities.
Recently, al Qaeda terrorists reportedly infiltrated into Libya through the poorly protected southern border, according to a U.S. official.
McRaven said the military and special forces training will be carried out through the U.S. Africa Command, the military command in charge of Africa, and that negotiations with the Libyans are still underway.
Between 5,000 and 7,000 Libyans will receive conventional military training from the United States.
“And we have a complementary effort on the special operations side to train a certain number of their forces to do counterterrorism,” McRaven said.
Special operations training for the Libyans raises the prospect that some of the most advanced military tactics and operations could be compromised to Islamists.
Both training programs are being developed with Africom and supported by the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.
France, successfully bribed by the Wahhabi Salafi Sheikhdoms of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, is all set to veto any peaceful resolution of the Iran-West standoff on Iran’s nuclear programme. According to various media reports:
“France’s tough line in major power talks (9-10 November 2013) with Iran may frustrate those looking for an early deal over Tehran’s nuclear programme, but is helping Paris to seal strategic new links with Gulf states and Israel….Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius emerged just after midnight from Saturday’s talks in Geneva to insist more work was needed to remove the risk of an Iranian nuclear bomb, rankling those Western allies who believed they were on the brink of an accord that has eluded negotiators for a decade.
France’s bottom-line position should have come as little surprise to other negotiators heading to Geneva last week…..France is currently struggling to reform its weak domestic economy…Yet with France only last week hit by a second sovereign debt downgrade from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s over its failure to kickstart its sluggish economy, Paris does not hide the fact that it regards exports to the Middle East as a precious source of growth and jobs. In October, France sealed a contract to modernise six naval ships and tankers from Saudi Arabia, having won in July one billion euros worth of contracts with the United Arab Emirates for anti-aircraft radars and military observation satellites.
French officials say they are also optimistic on securing a large deal to deliver anti-aircraft defence missiles to Riyadh and the sale of Rafale fighter jets to neighbouring Qatar.
“The international context, our consistent position on Syria and our relations with Saudi Arabia have contributed to addressing the unimpressive military ties we once had,” Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said just after the Saudi deal.
The question now is to what extent France is ready to go out on a limb and veto any possible nuclear deal with Iran, with a new round of talks set for November 20.”
- See more at: http://lubpak.com/archives/289931#sthash.oY0eJMZQ.dpuf
[This is the same scenario which would play-out in the US, if the govt ever moved against Mexican illegals... minus any indiscriminate head-chopping. The royals will be greatly dismayed when they finally figure-out that there are ZERO SAUDIS who are willing to take the menial, demeaning, jobs that are usually done by foreigners and dark-skinned types, which pay next to nothing. This exercise in bad judgement reveals the intellectual liabilities of the Saudi royal family, almost as much as their string of stupid decisions regarding Libya, Syria and Lebanon (and in a dozen or more other Muslim countries). King Abdullah and Bandar are truly mental midgets, imbeciles, in charge of millions of Islamic radicals and trillions in petrodollars. Will the dumb ass royals now try to fill all of those millions of menial jobs at gunpoint?
The burning of Riyadh to the ground will be a sight that will warm my hardened old heart!]
(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) — Garbage is piling up on streets around the mosque housing the burial site of the Prophet Muhammad. Grocery stores have shut their doors and almost half of Saudi Arabia’s small construction firms have stopped working on projects.
The mess is because foreign workers on which many businesses rely are fleeing, have gone into hiding or are under arrest amid a crackdown launched Nov. 4 targeting the kingdom’s 9 million migrant laborers. Decades of lax immigration enforcement allowed migrants to take low-wage manual, clerical and service jobs that the kingdom’s own citizens shunned for better paying, more comfortable work.
Now, authorities say booting out migrant workers will open more jobs for citizens, at a time when unemployment among Saudis is running at 12.1 percent as of the end of last year, according to the International Monetary Fund. But the nationalist fervor driving the crackdown risks making migrant workers vulnerable to vigilante attacks by Saudis fed up with the seemingly endless stream of foreigners in their country.
Since the Saudi government began issuing warnings earlier this year, hundreds of thousands of foreign workers have been deported, though some were able to avoid arrest by getting proper visas in an amnesty program. That amnesty ended last week, and some 33,000 people have since been placed behind bars. Others have gone into hiding.
With fewer people to do the job, the state-backed Saudi Gazette reported that 20,000 schools are without janitors. Others are without school bus drivers. Garbage became so noticeable around the mosque housing the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb that a top city official in Medina helped sweep the streets, the state-backed Arab News website reported.
About 40 percent of small construction firms in the kingdom also have stopped work because their foreign workers couldn’t get proper visas in time, Khalaf al-Otaibi, president of the World Federation of Trade, Industry and Economics in the Middle East, told Arab News.
Saudis say dozens of businesses like bakeries, supermarkets, gas stations and cafes are now closed. They say prices have also soared for services from mechanics, plumbers and electricians.
Adam Coogle, a Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch, told The Associated Press that if the kingdom wants to be serious about the problem, authorities should look at the labor laws and not at the workers. Saudi Arabia’s sponsorship system, under which foreign laborers work in the kingdom, gives employers say over whether or not a foreigner can leave the country or change jobs, forcing many into illegal employment.
“The entire system by which Saudi Arabia regulates foreign labor is failing,” he said.
The owner of a multi-million dollar construction company in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, said he had to halt all of his projects. He told the AP he was not the legal sponsor of most of his laborers but that they made more money working as freelance hires.
“These people have worked in this country and their blood is in the stones and buildings,” he said, speaking anonymously for fear of government reprisal. “You cannot just, like that, force them out.”
Despite feeling the loss of the everyday work the foreign laborers provided, Saudis largely have cheered on the police. Residents have taken matters into their own hands on several occasions, despite police calling on the public not to make citizen arrests.
Over the weekend, Saudi residents of Riyadh’s poor Manhoufa neighborhood fought with Ethiopians, detaining some, until police arrived more than two hours later. Video emerged of a crowd of Saudis knocking on the door of an Ethiopian man’s house, then dragging him out and beating him in the street. A Saudi and a migrant were killed and dozens wounded in the clashes.
The violence began when east Africans protesting the crackdown barricaded themselves in the narrow streets of Manhoufa, throwing stones, threatening people with knives and damaging cars. Days earlier, an Ethiopian man was killed by police chasing down migrants.
Violence broke out again days later in the same neighborhood, and a Sudanese man was killed in clashes Wednesday. In the Red Sea coastal city of Jiddah in the poor al-Azaziya neighborhood, clashes also broke out when police combed the area for migrants.
“This is not racism or a lack of respect for diversity, but you cannot imagine how much negative comes from these groups instead of positive. These people, every day, cause problems,” said Jiddah resident Abdulaziz al-Qahtani, who posted online video from the Riyadh clashes that he said a friend took.
Since the weekend clashes, Saudi officials say 23,000 Ethiopians, including women and children, have turned themselves in to the police. Authorities are now holding them in temporary housing ahead of deportation, saying many have no documentation at all, having made their way into the kingdom with the help of smugglers by way of Yemen.
Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that officials in Addis Ababa sought an explanation from Saudi Arabia’s envoy over the “mistreatment” of Ethiopians in the kingdom.
Workers from neighboring Yemen also face harassment. Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkol Karman posted a picture last week on her Facebook page of what appeared to be a Saudi man in his car grabbing hold of a Yemeni man for a police officer.
Saudi columnist Abdul-Rahman al-Rashed cautioned Saudis to remember that without “a strong state and oil revenues” they too may have emigrated in search of work.
“Those deprived of the chance of a proper life can understand the feeling of those wanting to seek a better life,” he wrote in the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
Batrawy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.