Palestinian Authority takes $148M from US, doles out ‘grants’ to convicted terrorists

  • freedprisoners.jpg

    A freed Palestinian prisoner hugs a relative after his arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah last month.

The Palestinian Authority is doling out millions of dollars in cash grants to convicted terrorists recently released from Israeli prisons in a program announced the same day as the P.A. accepted $148 million in the latest round of U.S. aid.

The authority announced Aug. 18 it would disburse $15 million in so-called “Dignified Life Grants” to more than 5,000 prisoners who had served more than five years in Israeli lockups, but had been recently released as a show of good faith by the Jewish state to bolster the Middle East peace process, according to Palestinian Media Watch.

The announcement came on the same day the State Department’s Michael Ratney, consulate general of the U.S. in Jerusalem, signed off on $148 million in aid to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, currently in the throes of a budget crisis.

“It’s not certain our specific dollars are finding their way into terrorists’ or former terrorists’ pockets but – at the least – it’s freeing funds for the P.A. to do these types of things.”

– Jim Phillips, the Heritage Foundation

Although the U.S. funnels about $400 million per year in aid to the authority, none of the money, by law, is supposed to go to terrorists or former terrorists. Critics say there is no way to separate money from U.S. taxpayers and the funds which go to the former prisoners.

“We have a lot of funding that goes to the PA that is fungible and co-mingled and there is a lot of concern the money is going to radical causes and extremist issues,” Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the bipartisan think tank, Foundation for Defense of Democracy, told FoxNews.com.

“There are many problematic questions concerning the way the Palestinian Authority disperses funds and especially those coming from the U.S. This is not unique. We’ve seen in the past, monies allocated from the PA’s budget to the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, which is a designated terrorist organization, and all of this points to a troubling trend whereby the U.S. has tried to get a handle on financing within the P.A.”

In August, The Associated Press reported that Israel published the names of 26 men to be freed before the latest peace talks between the Jewish State and the P.A. In all, 104 prisoners have been slated for release in four phases over a period of nine months that the U.S. has set aside for negotiations. But their freedom is reportedly contingent on progress in the talks.

It’s not clear who exactly has applied for the “Dignified Life Grants,” although Palestinian Media Watch reports that prisoners released from Israeli prisons swarmed the P.A.’s Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs office in Gaza following the grants’ announcement.

And among those Israel was slated to release was Mustafa al-Haj, convicted of killing an American-born settler hiking in the West Bank in 1989.

“It’s not certain our specific dollars are finding their way into terrorists’ or former terrorists’ pockets but – at the least – it’s freeing funds for the P.A. to do these types of things,” Jim Phillips, Middle East analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative think tank, told FoxNews.com.

“The Palestinians will argue this money is not fungible, but the fact that they are making these grants is a sign to me that the P.A. has plenty of money and maybe the U.S. should be scaling back its aid to the organization.”

Andrea  Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coalition, a national conservative organization, turned up the rhetorical heat a few degrees further, telling FoxNews.com, “The Israelis were wrong to release these murderers and Obama is wrong to pay them a bonus for their evil actions. No good can come with any cooperation with the Palestinian Authority.

“These are repeat, serial terrorists and murderers that we have been funding.  And The more we learn about the twisted foreign policy of the Obama Administration, the better we understand why the president is so inept to handle any issue foreign or domestic.”

(Source / 07.09.2013)

10 Chemical Weapons Attacks Washington Doesn’t Want You to Talk About

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10 Chemical Weapons Attacks Washington Doesn’t Want You to Talk About

Washington doesn’t merely lack the legal authority for a military intervention in Syria. It lacks the moral authority. We’re talking about a government with a history of using chemical weapons against innocent people far more prolific and deadly than the mere accusations Assad faces from a trigger-happy Western military-industrial complex, bent on stifling further investigation before striking.

Here is a list of 10 chemical weapons attacks carried out by the U.S. government or its allies against civilians.

1. The U.S. Military Dumped 20 Million Gallons of Chemicals on Vietnam from 1962 – 1971
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Via: AP

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military sprayed 20 million gallons of chemicals, including the very toxic Agent Orange, on the forests and farmlands of Vietnam and neighboring countries, deliberately destroying food supplies, shattering the jungle ecology, and ravaging the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Vietnam estimates that as a result of the decade-long chemical attack, 400,000 people were killed or maimed, 500,000 babies have been born with birth defects, and 2 million have suffered from cancer or other illnesses. In 2012, the Red Crossestimated that one million people in Vietnam have disabilities or health problems related to Agent Orange.

2. Israel Attacked Palestinian Civilians with White Phosphorus in 2008 – 2009
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Via: AP

White phosphorus is a horrific incendiary chemical weapon that melts human flesh right down to the bone.

In 2009, multiple human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and International Red Cross reported that the Israeli government was attacking civilians in their own country with chemical weapons. An Amnesty International team claimed to find “indisputable evidence of the widespread use of white phosphorus” as a weapon in densely-populated civilian areas. The Israeli military denied the allegations at first, but eventually admitted they were true.

After the string of allegations by these NGOs, the Israeli military even hit a UN headquarters(!) in Gaza with a chemical attack. How do you think all this evidence compares to the case against Syria? Why didn’t Obama try to bomb Israel?

3. Washington Attacked Iraqi Civilians with White Phosphorus in 2004
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Via: AP

In 2004, journalists embedded with the U.S. military in Iraq began reporting the use of white phosphorus in Fallujah against Iraqi insurgents. First the military lied and said that it was only using white phosphorus to create smokescreens or illuminate targets. Then it admitted to using the volatile chemical as an incendiary weapon. At the time, Italian television broadcaster RAI aired a documentary entitled, “Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre,” including grim video footage and photographs, as well as eyewitness interviews with Fallujah residents and U.S. soldiers revealing how the U.S. government indiscriminately rained white chemical fire down on the Iraqi city and melted women and children to death.

4. The CIA Helped Saddam Hussein Massacre Iranians and Kurds with Chemical Weapons in 1988
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CIA records now prove that Washington knew Saddam Hussein was using chemical weapons (including sarin, nerve gas, and mustard gas) in the Iran-Iraq War, yet continued to pour intelligence into the hands of the Iraqi military, informing Hussein of Iranian troop movements while knowing that he would be using the information to launch chemical attacks. At one point in early 1988, Washington warned Hussein of an Iranian troop movement that would have ended the war in a decisive defeat for the Iraqi government. By March an emboldened Hussein with new friends in Washington struck a Kurdish village occupied by Iranian troops with multiple chemical agents, killing as many as 5,000 people and injuring as many as 10,000 more, most of them civilians. Thousands more died in the following years from complications, diseases, and birth defects.

5. The Army Tested Chemicals on Residents of Poor, Black St. Louis Neighborhoods in The 1950s
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In the early 1950s, the Army set up motorized blowers on top of residential high-rises in low-income, mostly black St. Louis neighborhoods, including areas where as much as 70% of the residents were children under 12. The government told residents that it was experimenting with a smokescreen to protect the city from Russian attacks, but it was actually pumping the air full of hundreds of pounds of finely powdered zinc cadmium sulfide. The government admits that there was a second ingredient in the chemical powder, but whether or not that ingredient was radioactive remains classified. Of course it does. Since the tests, an alarming number of the area’s residents have developed cancer. In 1955, Doris Spates was born in one of the buildings the Army used to fill the air with chemicals from 1953 – 1954. Her father died inexplicably that same year, she has seen four siblings die from cancer, and Doris herself is a survivor of cervical cancer.

6. Police Fired Tear Gas at Occupy Protesters in 2011
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The savage violence of the police against Occupy protesters in 2011 was well documented, andincluded the use of tear gas and other chemical irritants. Tear gas is prohibited for use against enemy soldiers in battle by the Chemical Weapons Convention. Can’t police give civilian protesters in Oakland, California the same courtesy and protection that international law requires for enemy soldiers on a battlefield?

7. The FBI Attacked Men, Women, and Children With Tear Gas in Waco in 1993
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At the infamous Waco siege of a peaceful community of Seventh Day Adventists, the FBI pumped tear gas into buildings knowing that women, children, and babies were inside. The tear gas was highly flammable and ignited, engulfing the buildings in flames and killing 49 men and women, and 27 children, including babies and toddlers. Remember, attacking an armed enemy soldier on a battlefield with tear gas is a war crime. What kind of crime is attacking a baby with tear gas?

8. The U.S. Military Littered Iraq with Toxic Depleted Uranium in 2003
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Via: AP

In Iraq, the U.S. military has littered the environment with thousands of tons of munitions made from depleted uranium, a toxic and radioactive nuclear waste product. As a result, more than half of babies born in Fallujah from 2007 – 2010 were born with birth defects. Some of these defects have never been seen before outside of textbooks with photos of babies born near nuclear tests in the Pacific. Cancer and infant mortality have also seen a dramatic rise in Iraq. According to Christopher Busby, the Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, “These are weapons which have absolutely destroyed the genetic integrity of the population of Iraq.” After authoring two of four reports published in 2012 on the health crisis in Iraq, Busby described Fallujah as having, “the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied.”

9. The U.S. Military Killed Hundreds of Thousands of Japanese Civilians with Napalm from 1944 – 1945
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Napalm is a sticky and highly flammable gel which has been used as a weapon of terror by the U.S. military. In 1980, the UN declared the use of napalm on swaths of civilian population a war crime. That’s exactly what the U.S. military did in World War II, dropping enough napalm in one bombing raid on Tokyo to burn 100,000 people to death, injure a million more, and leave a million without homes in the single deadliest air raid of World War II.

10. The U.S. Government Dropped Nuclear Bombs on Two Japanese Cities in 1945
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Although nuclear bombs may not be considered chemical weapons, I believe we can agree they belong to the same category. They certainly disperse an awful lot of deadly radioactive chemicals. They are every bit as horrifying as chemical weapons if not more, and by their very nature, suitable for only one purpose: wiping out an entire city full of civilians. It seems odd that the only regime to ever use one of these weapons of terror on other human beings has busied itself with the pretense of keeping the world safe from dangerous weapons in the hands of dangerous governments.

(Source / 07.09.2013)

Yes, it is the same brutal hand

Dr. Amira Abuel FetouhSome people wonder whether there is a link between the Ghouta massacre in Damascus committed by the Assad regime and the massacre committed by Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in the Rabaa Al-Adawiyya and Al-Nahda Squares. Yes, there is; it is the same brutal and cowardly hand that wants to violate our countries. This hand is not concerned by the blood that flows; it is only concerned with clinging to power at any cost. It is not moved by the tears of children, the cries of the mothers who have lost their babies, the pain of bereaved wives who have lost their husbands and sole providers, or the mourning families. Such things do not move the thugs’ consciences.

Sadly, the thugs are being helped and encouraged by unjust forces in the world which go against the teachings of Islam and Muslims. Such people refuse to allow Muslims to be in government and have been joined by some Arab states which claim to govern in accordance with the book of God and the teachings of His Messenger, all the while ruling with tyranny and corruption. They fear that the revolution will reach their countries and shake their thrones so they have made a deal with the Zionists in America and Israel to overthrow the Islamic regime in Egypt and prevent the Islamic project in the region. They are doing the same in Syria, even though they claim to support the Syrian Revolution and are demanding the overthrow of Assad; in truth, they support the brute.

Ask the Director of Saudi intelligence, Bandar bin Sultan, who sent his representatives to the regime in Damascus with funds to buy weapons from Russia in order to turn the situation into a civil war. Forget about his statements calling for a US strike to overthrow the Assad regime rather than it being “limited”, which is what Obama wants. The US president is happy to see the dictator stay in power and even increase his strength. Unless he is removed, Assad’s popularity will grow because he will be seen as a hero who stood up to the US; the people will forget about the Ghouta massacre, along with the other crimes he has committed over the past two and a half years. This is exactly what they did with Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1956 and Saddam Hussein in the nineties; the scenario is being repeated, with tyrants turned into heroes for a while, until the West deems that they have served their purpose. In Assad’s case, he hasn’t fully destroyed Syria yet, so they will keep him in power until he has completed the job.

The same can be said for Egypt and Al-Sisi, whose personality was studied carefully by US intelligence, as happens with all of their agents. They know that he is a man with a lust for power and authoritarianism; this was confirmed by the US delegation which visited him post-coup. He was chosen over others to carry out America’s plans in Egypt, so his image has been polished and he is described as a strong man. Moreover, the media has compared him to Nasser to appeal to the nostalgia of Arab nationalism and hostility towards Israel, as well as all the other false dawns promoted by Nasser, Hafez Al-Assad, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi until they settled on Basher Al-Assad. Like father like son, Assad the younger has never fired a shot in anger against Israel despite it occupying Syrian land for more than 30 years. Instead, the Assads have acted as guard dogs for Israel’s security agencies, along with that other “strategic treasure” Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. That came to an abrupt halt with the election of Mohamed Morsi as president in Egypt, which is why he had to be removed and replaced by someone, Al-Sisi, who fits the bill as a US-Israeli stooge.

There is little or no difference between Bashar Al-Assad and Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi; they are two sides of the same coin that only has value in the Zio-American market, which now covers Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt. So the struggle has to go on, and the people of Egypt and Syria will not rest until they defeat the forces of oppression and rid themselves of Assad and Al-Sisi, each part of the same brutal hand of corruption.

(Source / 07.09.2013)

Israeli forces detain dozens in Hebron camp

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained over 30 Palestinians in a refugee camp near Hebron early Saturday after a firebomb was hurled at a military tower.

Israeli forces escorted dozens of young men and children from the al-Arrub camp in the raid, local popular committee spokesman Ahmad Abu Khayran said.

“We still don’t know the exact number of detainees, because from time to time the Israeli forces release a few of those detained since dawn,” Abu Khayran told Ma’an.

Earlier, a firebomb was thrown at a military tower near the camp in the southern West Bank, setting it on fire.

Witnesses said Israeli soldiers ransacked dozens of homes, breaking doors and beating residents before taking dozens of handcuffed men and children out of the camp.

An Israeli military spokesman said soldiers and border police searched the area for suspects following the firebombing, “encountering heavy rock hurling.”

They detained 32 suspects at the scene, who were later released, the army spokesman told Ma’an.

Three Palestinians were arrested and transferred to Israeli police custody for questioning, he added.

Locals confirmed to Ma’an that all detainees were released, except for three who they identified as Muhammad Abu Afifeh, Muhammad Jawabra and Khalid Jawabra.

(Source / 07.09.2013)

Israeli Soldiers Spread Terror in Refugee Camp

HEBRON, September 7, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli soldiers raided early Saturday Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and spread terror in the camp when they ordered hundreds of people out of their homes and kept them out for several hours, according to local and security sources.

The soldiers broke into homes shortly after midnight, forced people to go outdoors while they searched homes destroying furniture and trashing personal belongings in the process.

The residents ordered to stay at the entrance of the camp until around five in the morning before they were allowed to return to their damaged homes, Abdul Lafit Abu Safieh, director of the camp, told WAFA.

He said the soldiers also threw tear gas grenades and stun bombs at the homes as they were leaving the camp.

No one was reportedly arrested in this campaign, whose reasons were not known.

(Source / 07.09.2013)

Senator John McCain, Foreign Relations “Adviser” to Al Qaeda Death Squads in Syria

John McCain

While the mainstream media admonishes John McCain for playing a poker game on his iPhone during the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearings on Syria last Wednesday, no one seems to have noticed that the Republican Senator has,  for several years, been supporting and mingling with Al Qaeda commanders in the field in blatant violation of international law as well as in breach of US anti-terrorism legislation.

In April 2011, Senator John McCain described the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels in Libya as follows:

“I have met with these brave fighters, and they are not Al-Qaeda. To the contrary: They are Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation. We should help them do it.” – Senator John McCain in Benghazi, Libya April 22, 2011.

One of the rebels’ leading figures was Abdel Hakim Belhaj (picture below), a member of the defunct Libyan Islamic Fighting Group LIFG), a terrorist organization on both the UN Security Council and the US State Department lists.

Abdel Hakim Belhaj

In September 2012,  McCain met once more with the Al Qaeda linked Libyan fighters in Benghazi, Libya. (See picture below)

His claim that the “brave fighters” in Libya were not Al Qaeda is in overt contradiction with an authoritative  2007 US Military Academy document entitled, Al Qaeda’s foreign fighters in Iraq, indicating that Benghazi was a hotbed of Islamic militancy:

“Libyan Hometowns

The vast majority of Libyan fighters that included their hometown in the Sinjar Records resided in the country’s Northeast, particularly the coastal cities of Darnah 60.2% (53) and Benghazi 23.9% (21).

Both Darnah and Benghazi have long been associated with Islamic militancy in Libya, in particular for an uprising by Islamist organizations in the mid‐1990s. The Libyan government blamed the uprising on “infiltrators from the Sudan and Egypt” and one group—the Libyan Fighting Group (jamaʹah al‐libiyah al‐muqatilah)—claimed to have Afghan veterans in its ranks.14 The Libyan uprisings became extraordinarily violent.” (Joseph Felter andBrian Fishman, Al Qaeda’s foreign fighters in Iraq, US Military Academy, p.11-12, December 2007).

In 2011, McCain was calling on his country to arm the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels in Benghazi:

McCain called on all nations, especially the U.S., to recognize the National Transitional Council in Benghazi. He said some of the Gadhafi regime’s frozen assets should be redirected to the rebels and the U.S. should facilitate the delivery of weapons to rebel fighters. He clarified that by facilitate he meant not directly arming the rebels, but ensuring that they receive weapons as the U.S. did in the 1980s with the mujahideen battling the Russians in Afghanistan.

Such a call raises alarm bells in some circles. Critics recall that some of those fighters Washington helped arm and train in Afghanistan later joined al-Qaida. McCain dismissed questions about who the rebel leaders are, saying their histories are clear and none of them has any record of supporting radical Islam. (Peter Kenyon, McCain On Libyan Rebels: ‘They Are My Heroes’, NPR, April 22, 2011)

According to a September 2012 Land Destroyer report:

The men McCain was defending were Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) militants, terrorists linked directly with Al Qaeda according to West Point reports (.pdf), and listed to this day by the US State Department, the UK Home Office (.pdf), and the UN as a “foreign terrorist organization.” McCain was not only rhetorically supporting listed terrorists, but calling for material support including weapons, funds, training, and air support in direct violation of USC § 2339A & 2339B, “providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.” Tony Cartalucci, US-Backed Terrorists Murder US’ Own Ambassador in Libya, Land Destroyer Report, September 2012)

Since the outbreak of the insurgency in Syria, John McCain has been actively involved in meetings with rebel commanders. The Republican Senator met with armed groups in Syria in May 2013 and posed in a controversial “photo op” with leading Al Qaeda commanders. McCain described this encounter on his twitter as an:

“…Important visit with brave fighters in #Syria who are risking their lives for freedom and need our help” (twitter.com/SenJohnMcCain/… (John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) May 28, 2013

 

Hawkish US Senator John McCain (C) poses with infamous kidnapper in Syria, Mohamed Nour (seen with his hand on his chest and holding a camera)

Hawkish US Senator John McCain (C) poses with infamous kidnapper in Syria, Mohamed Nour (seen with his hand on his chest and holding a camera)

The Washington Post reported at the time:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has pushed back on a report claiming that the Syrian rebels he was photographed with last weekend were involved in kidnapping Lebanese Shiite pilgrims a year ago, saying none of the men identified themselves by the names used in the article.

The Beirut Daily Star reported Thursday that according to family members of the kidnapped pilgrims and one released captive, two of the men in pictures taken with McCain are Anwar Ibrahim and Mohammad Nour. [see image above]

The senator traveled to Syria last weekend to meet with rebels fighting in the civil war against President  Bashar al-Assad, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country since the conflict started. He has called on the Obama administration to provide weapons to the rebels. (Rachel Weiner, McCain responds to Syria photo accusations, Washington Post,  May 30, 2013)

In late August Washington Free Beacon reported that Benghazi and Darnah, the Libyan home towns of Islamic militancy mentioned in the West Point Study cited above, was a training ground for jihadists fighting in Syria:

U.S. intelligence agencies earlier this month uncovered new evidence that al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Benghazi are training foreign jihadists to fight with Syria’s Islamist rebels, according to U.S. officials.

Ansar al-Sharia, the al Qaeda-affiliated militia that U.S. officials say orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound and a CIA facility in Benghazi, is running several training camps for jihadists in Benghazi and nearby Darnah, another port city further east, said officials who discussed some details of the camps on condition of anonymity.

The officials said the terror training camps have been in operation since at least May and are part of a network that funnels foreign fighters to Syrian rebel groups, including the Al-Nusra Front, the most organized of the Islamist rebel groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus.

The officials said the jihadist training is a clear indication that Ansar al-Sharia continues to conduct terrorist activities and is linked to jihadists in both Syria and North Africa. (Bill Gertz, U.S.: Al Qaeda-linked group behind Benghazi attack trains jihadists for Syrian rebel groups, August 28, 2013)

John McCain Supports Terrorism

In requesting weapons for the Libyan and Syrian rebels which clearly have ties to terrorist organisations, Senator John McCain is supporting terrorism.

The United States Code is unequivocal: “providing material support to terrorists” is a crime:

18 USC § 2339A – Providing material support to terrorists

(a) Offense.— Whoever provides material support or resources or conceals or disguises the nature, location, source, or ownership of material support or resources, knowing or intending that they are to be used in preparation for, or in carrying out, a violation of [numerous sections of this and other titles], or in preparation for, or in carrying out, the concealment of an escape from the commission of any such violation, or attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life […]

 (1) the term “material support or resources” means any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, trainingexpert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who may be or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials;

[…]

 (3) the term “expert advice or assistance” means advice or assistance derived from scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge. 18 USC § 2339A – Providing material support to terrorists

Senator McCain met with terrorists in Libya and Syria, has called for his country to provide weapons to terrorist groups in Libya and Syria and should therefore be prosecuted for the assistance he provided them with. There is ample evidence that the armed groups supported by John McCain have committed horrible terrorist acts, which resulted in deaths.

Here is what McCain’s heroes have done in Libya:

(Pictures from Massacre of Black people by « democratic rebels » – Investig’Action had met the victims., Investig’Action August 29, 2011)

According to witnesses, McCain’s Syrian “heroes”, have,  among other atrocities,  been blamed for the Houla massacre in 2012.

Screenshot YouTube

Last May, they were also blamed by UN investigators for chemical weapons attacks in Syria and lately they filmed themselves executing children (see What Happened to the “Global War on Terrorism”? The U.S. is “Fighting for Al Qaeda” in Syria. By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, September 05, 2013)

Is it “politically correct” for a US Senator to mingle with leaders of a terrorist organization, while at the same time paying lip service to the “Global War on Terrorism”?

While this may be “business as usual” for the US Secretary of State, American servicemen and women are now “refusing to fight” [see image below] a war in favor of terrorism under the emblem of the “Global War on Terrorism”.

Channeling money and weapons to Al Qaeda in Syria is now carried out “in the open”, via the US State Department and the Pentagon rather than in the context of a covert CIA operation. (Ibid)

Those who refuse to fight “Obama’s War in support of al Qaeda” are America’s heroes.

In contrast, John McCain’s “heroes” are known to be or have links to terrorist organisations designated by the US State Department as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and Al-Nusra now fighting against the government of Bashar Al Assad in Syria.

These actions are far more scandalous than slacking on the job playing poker on a cell phone. Yet, this is what makes the news: focus on what is irrelevant and trivial while excluding the “forbidden truth” on the criminal nature of US foreign policy.

Senator John McCain is a criminal who provided support to terrorist groups. He belongs in jail, not in the US Senate. And certainly not in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations which has granted Obama the “Green Light” to bomb Syria.

(Source / 07.09.2013)

Tens of thousands call for Tunisia govt ouster

Tens of thousands of Tunisians have marched on the seat of the elected assembly demanding the government resign in one of the largest opposition protests to date.

Tens of thousands of Tunisians have marched on the seat of the elected assembly demanding the government resign in one of the largest opposition protests to date.

Saturday marked 40 days since the assassination of opposition politician Mohammad Brahmi, whose killing has plunged the country into a political crisis.

Dozens of opposition members of the assembly withdrew from the body, paralyzing its work of writing the country’s new constitution. Weeks of mediation between the government and the opposition by the main labor union have not borne fruit.

The opposition is demanding the Islamist-led government resign for what they say is its failure to ensure security or manage the economy in Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring.

(Source / 07.09.2013)

U.S., France say support growing for Syria strikes

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (R) hold a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris September 7, 2013.

The United States and France said Saturday that international backing was growing for military strikes to punish the Syrian regime for alleged chemical attacks, after European Union nations called for a “strong” response.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the number of countries ready to take military action was now in the “double digits,” after earlier attending a meeting where EU foreign ministers united to call for action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

“I was encouraged by the statement the EU gave,” Kerry said in Paris at a joint press conference with French counterpart Laurent Fabius.

“It’s a very powerful statement, this is growing, not receding, in terms of the global sense of outrage.”

He added there was “a number of countries, in the double digits, who are prepared to take military action. We have more countries prepared to take military action than we actually could use in the kind of military action being contemplated.”

The U.S. accuses the Assad regime of gassing more than 1,400 people to death in an August 21 attack outside Damascus.

In his weekly address, U.S. President Barack Obama warned of the dangers of turning “a blind eye” to chemical attacks.

“I call on members of Congress, from both parties, to come together and stand up for the kind of world we want to live in,” the president said after returning from a G20 summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia that deadlocked over the response to the Syria crisis.

Obama has asked for Congress to authorize strikes on Syria. The legislature reconvenes Monday and the president is set to address the nation Tuesday about the U.S. response.

Kerry meanwhile sought to whip up support from Washington’s divided allies in Europe, holding talks with the EU’s 28 foreign ministers in Lithuania and with Fabius in France before heading to Britain on Sunday.

Fabius told reporters after their talks that there was “wide and growing support” to take action on Syria.

“Right now, seven of the eight countries in the G8 share our opinion on a strong reaction and 12 countries of the G20 also share this opinion,” he said.

Split between Paris and London, who are hardline supporters of U.S.-led military action, and smaller nations reluctant to act without a United Nations mandate, the EU ministers managed to hammer out a compromise in Lithuania.

A statement read out by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton dubbed the suspected chemical attack “a war crime and a crime against humanity.”

There was “strong evidence that the Syrian regime is responsible,” the statement said.

“A clear and strong response is critical to make clear that such crimes are unacceptable and that there can be no impunity.”

In Riyadh, the Gulf Cooperation Council urged the international community to intervene immediately to “rescue” the Syrian people from “oppression.”

Uphill battle in Congress

Faced with a war-weary U.S. public and little international support, Obama is bracing for an uphill battle to convince American lawmakers to back military action against Assad’s regime.

According to a Washington Post survey, 224 of the current 433 House members were either “no” or “leaning no” on military action as of Friday. A large number, 184, were undecided, with just 25 backing a strike.

The Senate and the House are expected to vote on the issue within the next two weeks.

In France, the sole EU nation determined to join a U.S.-led strike, the latest public opinion poll showed 68 percent of people opposed to military action, an increase of nine percentage points since late August.

The EU statement said there could be no end to the Syrian war without a political solution and urged the UN Security Council “to fulfill its responsibilities,” a reference to Russia and China’s repeated refusals to sanction Assad.

Ashton meanwhile said the EU welcomed French President Francois Hollande’s decision to await the release of a U.N. investigation into the August attack before taking action against Syria.

French President Francois Hollande said he expects the report to be ready by next weekend.

But Kerry made clear that Washington had not decided to postpone a decision on military action until the release of the U.N. report, though several EU ministers said he had pledged to make their case to Obama.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that any intervention in Syria without the United Nations’ blessing would be “outside the law.”

Washington meanwhile is evacuating non-essential embassy staff from Beirut and urging Americans to avoid all travel to Lebanon and southern Turkey.

(Source / 07.09.2013)

Kerry: Many countries ready to partake in Syria action

PARIS (AFP) — US Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday that many countries were prepared to take part in US-led military strikes against the Syrian regime.

“There are a number of countries, in the double digits, who are prepared to take military action,” Kerry said at a press conference with French counterpart Laurent Fabius.

“We have more countries prepared to take military action than we actually could use in the kind of military action being contemplated.”

(Source / 07.09.2013)

Syria activists say shelling near capital kills 16

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the mortar and artillery fire on the Moldokhiya agricultural area south of Damascus, Syria killed 14 rebels and two civilians.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the mortar and artillery fire on the Moldokhiya agricultural area south of Damascus killed 14 rebels. Two civilians, including a child, also died in the shelling, it added.

The group also reported heavy fighting between rebels and troops loyal to President Bashar Assad around the Christian village of Maaloula. The rebel advance into the area that began on Monday was reportedly spearheaded by al-Qaida-linked fighters, exacerbating fears among Syrians and religious minorities in particular that Islamic extremists are playing an increasingly important role in the rebellion.

Fighters from the Western-backed Free Syrian Army have also participated in battles around Maaloula, destroying two government checkpoints near the town earlier this week, according to a statement by the main opposition coalition on Friday.

The fighting comes as President Barack Obama’s administration presses ahead with efforts to win congressional backing and international support for military strikes against Syria over a chemical attack in August outside Damascus. The Obama administration says Assad’s forces fired rockets loaded with the nerve agent sarin on rebel-held areas near the capital before dawn Aug. 21, killing at least 1,429 people. Other estimates put the death toll in the attack at more than 500.

Kerry is in Lithuania to meet with European foreign ministers later Saturday.

European officials have been skeptical about whether any military action against Assad’s regime can be effective. They are expected to urge the U.S. to hold off on any strike in Syria until United Nations inspectors report on the alleged use of chemical weapons.

The U.N. inspectors’ report is expected later this month, although some European officials are asking the U.N. to speed up the probe or issue an interim report.

The prospect of a U.S.-led strike against Syria has raised concerns of potential retaliation from the Assad regime or its allies. On Friday, The State Department ordered nonessential U.S. diplomats to leave Lebanon over security concerns and urged private American citizens to depart as well.

The Shiite militant group Hezbollah, an Assad ally that has sent fighters into Syria, is based in Lebanon.

Syrian officials have been trying to capitalize on reluctance in Europe and the U.S., and both the government and state media accuse Obama of “supporting terrorism.”

“Any US aggression against Syria has no explanation other than (that it’s) supporting terrorism,” Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said in an interview with state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV broadcast late Friday. He challenged international community to present evidence that Syria had used sarin, and said military action against his country would be “dangerous and might affect America’s friends and the entire world.”

(Source / 07.09.2013)