Monday, April 7th, 2014

 

On Formula 1 race day, a teacher’s letter from inside Bahrain’s Jau Prison

mahdi

As the focus of international media falls on Bahrain for the Grand Prix, it should not ignore the government’s continuing crackdown on civil society.

More on Mahdi Abu Deeb HERE

On Formula 1 race day, a teacher’s letter from inside Bahrain’s Jau Prison
Mahdi Abu Deeb – 4 April, 2014 – global post

JAU, Bahrain — The opening day of the prestigious Formula 1 race in Bahrain — April 6, 2014 — is an important day for my country: the government gets the chance to show the world a modern, vibrant side of Bahrain. It’s also a landmark day for me, the third anniversary of my arrest for peacefully representing the Bahraini Teacher’s Association (BTA).

I write today from Bahrain’s central prison with the hope that while the focus of international media falls on Bahrain for the Grand Prix, it does not ignore the continuing crackdown on civil society.

In early 2011, like in other Middle East countries, people in Bahrain demonstrated peacefully for political reform against generations of dictatorship. We are ruled by a family where the king’s uncle has been the country’s unelected prime minister for over 40 years.

On this day three years ago I was arrested and then tortured for protesting against the government’s violent response to peaceful demonstrators who gathered at the Pearl Roundabout in February and March 2011.

The police raided my home which I had fled, ransacked our property, and terrified my wife and daughters. Hundreds of others were arrested around that time including my colleague and vice-president of the BTA, Jalila al Salman, taken by police on March 29 after her home was raided in the middle of the night.

On April 6 they finally found me and I was taken into police custody. I was beaten, forced to stand long periods of time, verbally abused and tortured. I was hung from the ceiling, hit with a plastic hose and prevented from speaking with my family for weeks.

Immediately after my arrest, the Bahraini Teacher’s Association was dissolved by the Bahraini government for encouraging a school strike. In September 2011, I was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after an unfair trial in a military court on charges including “inciting hatred amongst the regime,” “calling for teachers to strike” and “participating in calling for illegal gatherings.”

Jalila al Salman, along with other labor leaders, medics and human rights activists was also tortured and sent to prison. The United States government sent observers to my trial and other trials, but never spoke out publicly about the unfair proceedings, even as human rights organizations such as Human Rights First urged the Obama administration to say something.

In October 2012 my sentence was reduced to five years, which I continue to serve at Bahrain’s Jau Prison — notorious for its overcrowding and poor treatment of prisoners. I am imprisoned along with several of Bahrain’s most prominent human rights defenders — leading, peaceful figures in Bahrain civil society. …more


New Mexico police brutality protests spread – Denver Police Brutaly Crush Sympathy Protest

Denver Police Attack Protest Against Police Burtality
6th April, 2014 – Anonymous Police Brutality Protest

MEDIA ALERT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Denver 4/5—Police in Denver violently attacked a protest march against police brutality on the Downtown 16th street mall a few minutes after it began at 5:30 pm. 6 arrests took place, with police violently tackling individuals in the crowd and spraying pepper spray at protesters and bystanders. A witness said that several of those arrested were passers-by who were not involved in the protest. This protest, called by the informal net-based group known as “Anonymous,” was part of the “Every 5th” event series, in which protesters have gathered downtown on the 5th of every month to protest various issues since November 5, 2013. This particular march was planned in solidarity with protests over a recent police murder of a homeless man in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with an eye to similar ongoing police brutality issues in Denver.

“The Albuquerque Police Department has come under federal scrutiny for being involved in 37 shootings since 2010, 23 of them fatal. “ (source) http://www.democracynow.org/2014/4/1/the_bounty_police_force_albuquerque_officers

One participant said: “There were about 50 of us at the march. We peacefully marched from Civic Center Park to the 16th st mall, our usual march route. As soon as we turned off the mall, police officers violently tackled individuals, swung clubs at others, and sprayed clouds of pepper spray at the crowd. They then formed a line and took out rubber bullet guns, and continued to try to antagonize the crowd. The crowd grew larger as pedestrians became alarmed by the aggressive behavior of the Denver Police Department. There were also numerous military-style vehicles present with SWAT officers riding on the outside. This seems to be a deliberately intimidating response in which DPD is trying to send a strong message to the citizens of their city that the police will not tolerate people speaking out against police brutality. Despite the police violence, our march continued successfully for several hours, snaking through city streets, denouncing police brutality with chants and fliers. This sort of behavior by the police really only serves to promote our protest, and as we saw today, it actually encourages people to join us.”

UPDATE: All 6 who were wrongfully arrested have plead not guilty and have been released on bond/PR and reported back the following:

Police kept insisting the protestors’ water bottles in their backpacks were “molotov cocktails” even after smelling the water. Repeatedly.

They were taken to what appeared to be a mass arrest area that had been set up in advance. There was a table piled with sandwiches and frosted cupcakes. When asked by one of the protesters if the cupcakes had been made especially for the occasion. A cop responded “Yes, there are cupcakes. And they aren’t for you!”

One Denver Sheriff was heard bragging in the jail to another sheriff about how he had just said to one of the cuffed arrestees “I can beat the shit out of you and won’t even lose my job. Nothing will happen to me.”

Multiple photos of direct police interaction during the protest were deleted off of one of the arrestee’s cameras

When one bystander tried to ask a question about the protest, he was called homophobic and sexist slurs by the police as he was being arrested.

Regardless of arguments about reforming the police versus abolishing them altogether one thing the protesters are in agreement about is that DPD acts like a gang of terrorists who aren’t accountable in any way to the people they purport to “Protect and Serve.

Videos of some of the arrests:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUeXBG1E0W4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9CQBI07TRs&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9CQBI07TRs&feature=youtu.be


New Mexico Police are paid bounties for Murder

gomez

Payments to Albuquerque Officers Are Called a ‘Bounty System’
By MANNY FERNANDEZ and DAN FROSCH – 24 March, 2012 – NYT

ALBUQUERQUE — Mike Gomez has been angry with the police officer here who shot and killed his 22-year-old son, Alan, last year, after officers responded to a report that the young man was acting erratically and firing a rifle. But Mr. Gomez became even angrier just days ago after he learned that the officer, Sean Wallace, received a $500 payment from the Albuquerque police union shortly after the shooting.

The payment, union officials said, was made to help Officer Wallace cope with the stress of the shooting. But Mr. Gomez said he believed the money served a more ruthless purpose: as a bounty-style reward for a shooting.

“You’re telling police that if you shoot somebody you’re going to get paid leave and you’re going to get $500,” said Mr. Gomez, whose son was unarmed when he was shot last May. “If the police shoot a person they get this. What does the family get? A funeral bill.”

The controversy surrounding the payments has shed light on a little-known practice that police unions in at least a few other cities, including Phoenix, have engaged in for years.

Raymond Schultz, the city’s police chief.

Advocates and others here have protested the Police Department’s 23 shootings by officers since 2010 — 18 of them fatal — with some people calling for the police chief’s resignation and for a Justice Department investigation.

Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico with a population of 546,000, has 1,100 sworn officers. New York City, with a population of 8.4 million and a uniformed police force of 35,000, had 22 fatal shootings by officers in the same time period.

The police union payments were reported on Friday by The Albuquerque Journal. Twenty Albuquerque officers involved in shootings in 2010 and 2011 were paid by the union, with 16 receiving $500, two $300, one $800 and another $1,000, the newspaper reported, citing internal union financial documents. Many of the officers who received the money were involved in the 15 fatal shootings in Albuquerque during that time.

Executives of the union, the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association, said the payments had been given to officers after the shootings and that the practice had gone on for at least two decades. They said the payments of up to $500 were to cover the costs of out-of-town trips for officers and their families after stressful episodes, and that any payment to an officer beyond $500 was for other union-related matters. The executives denied that the money was intended to reward officers who fired their weapons. …more


Patterns of Repression – New Mexico Police practice impunity like Bahrain Police Force

The “Bounty” Police Force? Albuquerque Officers Face Protests, Probe over Spate of Fatal Shootings
1 April, 2014 – Democracy Now

Outrage is growing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after the latest incident in a spate of police shootings. Video footage captured by a police helmet camera shows officers killing James Boyd, a homeless man who appeared to be surrendering to them at a campsite where he was sleeping. Boyd is seen picking up his belongings and turning away when officers deploy a flash grenade and then fire six live rounds at him from yards away. The Albuquerque Police Department has come under federal scrutiny for being involved in 37 shootings since 2010, 23 of them fatal. This week the FBI confirmed it is investigating the killing of Boyd, and the Justice Department has already been investigating the city’s police shootings for more than a year. We are joined by Russell Contreras, an Associated Press reporter who was tear-gassed while covering the Sunday protest and has been following the police shootings. We also speak to Nora Tachias-Anaya, a social justice activist whose nephew, George Levy Tachias, was fatally shot by police while driving in Albuquerque in 1988. Tachias-Anaya is a member of the October 22 Coalition To Stop Police Brutality.
Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

RENÉE FELTZ: We begin today’s show in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where hundreds marched over the weekend to protest a spate of deadly police shootings. The march began peacefully, lasting at least eight hours, and ended when police fired tear gas at demonstrators who blocked traffic. Albuquerque has one of the highest per capita rates of fatal police shootings in the country. In the latest incident, police killed a homeless man named James Boyd, who appeared to be surrendering to them at a campsite where he was sleeping.

AMY GOODMAN: Video from a police helmet camera shows Boyd picking up his belongings and turning away from the police, when the officers deploy a flash grenade and fire six live shots at Boyd from yards away. That’s after he picked up his belongings and appeared to turn away. Police fired beanbags and let loose a police dog on Boyd as he lay on the ground, still alive, pleading with officers not to hurt him and saying he could not move.

This is a clip from the Albuquerque police video of their encounter with James Boyd. Boyd died from his injuries the next day. After footage of the police shooting him went viral, the hacker group Anonymous called on people in Albuquerque to protest.

ANONYMOUS: Recently, a video has been released to the public which shows Albuquerque police officers murdering a man in cold blood for illegally camping. This man, which was schizophrenic, obviously had no intention of hurting these police officers. On the contrary, this man looks as if he is simply attempting to protect himself from visually fierce, militarized thugs. Whether this man had a history of crime is irrelevant. We drastically need to address the growing police state that has occupied our country. When will we say, “No more”? How many more citizens will be murdered? Naturally, the APD will attempt to label Anonymous as a terrorist organization for our demands of justice. But the question has to be asked: Who do we terrorize? Is it not the growing police state that terrorizes its own citizens?

AMY GOODMAN: On Sunday, Anonymous claimed responsibility for taking down the Albuquerque Police Department’s website for several hours.

The police department has come under federal scrutiny for being involved in 37 shootings since 2010, 23 of them fatal. This week, the FBI confirmed it’s investigating the killing of James Boyd, and the Justice Department has already been investigating the city’s police shootings for more than a year. …more


US Threatens Russia Over Petrodollar-Busting Deal – Russia Barters for the Better

US Threatens Russia Over Petrodollar-Busting Deal
by Tyler Durden – 4 April, 2014 – Zero Hedge

On the heels of Russia’s potential “holy grail” gas deal with China, the news of a Russia-Iran oil “barter” deal, it appears the US is starting to get very concerned about its almighty Petrodollar

– *U.S. HAS WARNED RUSSIA, IRAN AGAINST POSSIBLE OIL BARTER DEAL
– *U.S. SAYS ANY SUCH DEAL WOULD TRIGGER SANCTIONS
– *U.S. HAS CONVEYED CONCERNS TO IRANIAN GOVT THROUGH ALL CHANNELS

We suspect these sanctions would have more teeth than some travel bans, but, as we noted previously, it is just as likely to be another epic geopolitical debacle resulting from what was originally intended to be a demonstration of strength and instead is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of weakness.

As we explained earlier in the week,

Russia seems perfectly happy to telegraph that it is just as willing to use barter (and “heaven forbid” gold) and shortly other “regional” currencies, as it is to use the US Dollar, hardly the intended outcome of the western blocakde, which appears to have just backfired and further impacted the untouchable status of the Petrodollar.

“If Washington can’t stop this deal, it could serve as a signal to other countries that the United States won’t risk major diplomatic disputes at the expense of the sanctions regime,”

And here is Voice of Russia, “Russia prepares to attack the Petrodollar”:

The US dollar’s position as the base currency for global energy trading gives the US a number of unfair advantages. It seems that Moscow is ready to take those advantages away.

The existence of “petrodollars” is one of the pillars of America’s economic might because it creates a significant external demand for American currency, allowing the US to accumulate enormous debts without defaulting. If a Japanese buyer want to buy a barrel of Saudi oil, he has to pay in dollars even if no American oil company ever touches the said barrel. Dollar has held a dominant position in global trading for such a long time that even Gazprom’s natural gas contracts for Europe are priced and paid for in US dollars. Until recently, a significant part of EU-China trade had been priced in dollars.

Lately, China has led the BRICS efforts to dislodge the dollar from its position as the main global currency, but the “sanctions war” between Washington and Moscow gave an impetus to the long-awaited scheme to launch the petroruble and switch all Russian energy exports away from the US currency .

The main supporters of this plan are Sergey Glaziev, the economic aide of the Russian President and Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the biggest Russian oil company and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Both have been very vocal in their quest to replace the dollar with the Russian ruble. Now, several top Russian officials are pushing the plan forward.


West has no play against Russia over Kiev gas subsidy: Editor

West has no play against Russia over Kiev gas subsidy: Editor
6 April, 2014 – Interview with Jim W. Dean

Press TV has conducted an interview with Jim W. Dean, the Managing Editor of Veteran’s Today from Atlanta, about Ukraine’s gas debt owed to Russia and Russia now hiking up the price of gas exported to Ukraine.

The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Is this a policy of economic aggression now that Russia has hiked the prices or is it their right to do that with Kiev?

Dean: Well, it certainly is. There were ways they were supporting Ukraine – which has 8-10 million Russians in it – get through their economic problems and this was to subsidize the gas prices.

This is something that Russia has an awful lot of so that was the least expensive way for them to try to support the Ukraine getting through its economic problems.

But then again, un-said in that, Ukraine would not become a bastion for Western military power or NATO or be seduced by them into putting missiles or NATO bases right on the Russian border and they made a very good deal with them.

The EU tried to get a deal by just moving Ukraine’s debt around, but never really wanted to give them any cash because they didn’t really have a lot to give. So, Russia countered that by continuing the gas discounts – which really is ‘cash’.

And that’s why [Viktor] Yanukovych [, former President of Ukraine], he basically went the other way (siding with Russia) and now we saw the West decided that we have to make a move now and we all know that they were totally behind the coup.

So, sure, Russia now is not going to support the Kiev government by continuing to subsidize a government that they say is an illegal coup. …more


Imposters, Criminal Oligarchs organize new totalitarian regin over people of Ukraine

Imposters in Kiev and Criminal Oligarchs: Alliance against People of Ukraine
30 March 2014 – Strategic Culture Foundation

The Kiev regime is bouncing back after the first shock of the events in Crimea. It starts to quash the unrest in the south-eastern part of the country where people resist the coup. Its leaders have been widely rejected recognition. There is a reason to believe that the regime will use the most repressive and outright coercive methods to deal with the population and resistance leaders.

“Taming” the south-east is the main goal for those who grabbed power in the country as a result of the coup. The people are to put up with unlawfulness; their voices should be excluded from the decision making process in Kiev because their mindset and values don’t fit with the would-be state goals including the pro-Euro Atlantic foreign policy.

The Ukraine’s security service is to pursue the leaders of separatist movement. First, there is a substitution of notions here. The right for self-determination is called separatism. It’s absurd, the leaders in the south-east want local referendums to define the will of people, and no pulling out of Ukraine is envisioned. Second, there is no legal government in Kiev at present which could assess the causes of south-eastern unrest. Nobody in the capital asks why this part of the country stood up in resistance after the February 22 coup, the very coup that gave rise to the protests. It’s only natural for the people to say no to recognizing the imposters.

The situation is aggravated by the activities of Bandera movement Neo-Nazi groups who openly say (their statements are made public and everyone can see for himself what they profess) that they intend to launch terror campaign against political opponents and all Russians. Anyone who dares to speak Russian and defend his right to do so in public is a potential victim.

In Donetsk the Ukraine’s security service has launched a criminal case against the commander of Donbass Peoples Militia Pavel Gubarev on the charges of, as they put it, “encroachment on Ukraine’s territorial integrity”. The local branch of security service said it has 11 cases to investigate. There have been formal admonitions sent to seven public activists of Lugansk, Smolensk, Kharkov regions and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea warning that their activities violate article 110 of the Criminal Code (the encroachment of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and inviolability of borders).

The criminal leaders (oligarchs related to criminal activities) have joined the efforts to quell the south-east. Two of them – Kolomoisky and Taruta – have been appointed heads of Dnepropetrovsk and Donetsk city governments. Kolomoisky controls the industrial group Privat which comprises a number of banks, metallurgical and ferroalloy factories as well as ore and oil processing enterprises. Taruta, the new head of Donetsk, is a shareholder of Alchevsk metallurgical, Alchevsk chemical-recovery, Dneprovsk-located metallurgical Dzerzhinsky enterprises as well as Dneprovsk pipe construction facility. In 2011 Taruta was the 9th richest Ukrainian with the wealth of 2, 126 billion. …more


Americans can help give world peace a chance

nowar1

How Americans can help world peace
1 April, 2014 – By Finian Cunningham – PressTV

A first step for world peace is for the American people to rein in their reckless government from the international stage and to stop it making misery for so many.

Americans need democratic government like the rest of the world needs rid of Washington’s thuggish global policeman.

This may come as a shock to many ordinary Americans who tend to think that their country is already the beacon of democratic light unto the world, bestowing all sorts of benevolence to others. Such delusional “American exceptionalism” has to stop. America is only special in a very negative meaning. It plays a central part in fomenting conflict in almost every scenario we care to look at.

We see this nefarious US role in the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian travesty known as a “peace process”. In reality, this process is but a continual green light for the Israeli regime to commit massive violation of international laws against the long-suffering Palestinian people.

US Secretary of State John Kerry this week rushed off to the Israeli regime allegedly to urge its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to engage with Palestinians. To many ordinary Americans, as told by their news media, Washington is acting as a hapless peace broker between two implacable opponents. Wrong.

The US is indulging, as it always has, a systematically criminal Israeli regime, which continues to build illegal settlements in contravention of Geneva and Nuremberg principles, and which is reneging on past commitments to unconditionally release thousands of Palestinian prisoners as part of the Oslo Accord signed more than 20 years ago.

Washington does nothing, nothing, to stop this Israeli affront to humanity. In fact, the US is fully complicit with these crimes against humanity by bankrolling the Israeli regime to the tune of $3 billion every year.

This fawning by Washington is underscored also this week by US army chief Martin Dempsey who was visiting his Israeli counterpart Benny Gantz. Photographs of the smiling military bosses, days after Israel killed civilians in air strikes on Gaza, speaks of the real relationship, and it shows unequivocally which side Washington is on with regard to this decades-old mass suffering. There will never be peace in Palestine – because of Washington.

Meanwhile, we also see the inimical role of the US in a new flare up of conflict between North and South Korea. The two countries have this week exchanged live fire across their maritime border, accompanied by warnings of an all-out war. Again, the US poses here as some kind of “honest broker” of peace between two belligerent parties. …more


The Syria Red Line and the Rat Line

The Red Line and the Rat Line
Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels – 6 April, 2014 – London Review of Books

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.​* Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’

The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’ (Asked about the DIA paper, a spokesperson for the director of national intelligence said: ‘No such paper was ever requested or produced by intelligence community analysts.’)

Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial. In the meantime the Turkish press has been rife with speculation that the Erdoğan administration has been covering up the extent of its involvement with the rebels. In a news conference last summer, Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow, dismissed the arrests and claimed to reporters that the recovered ‘sarin’ was merely ‘anti-freeze’.

The DIA paper took the arrests as evidence that al-Nusra was expanding its access to chemical weapons. It said Qassab had ‘self-identified’ as a member of al-Nusra, and that he was directly connected to Abd-al-Ghani, the ‘ANF emir for military manufacturing’. Qassab and his associate Khalid Ousta worked with Halit Unalkaya, an employee of a Turkish firm called Zirve Export, who provided ‘price quotes for bulk quantities of sarin precursors’. Abd-al-Ghani’s plan was for two associates to ‘perfect a process for making sarin, then go to Syria to train others to begin large scale production at an unidentified lab in Syria’. The DIA paper said that one of his operatives had purchased a precursor on the ‘Baghdad chemical market’, which ‘has supported at least seven CW efforts since 2004’.

A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria. A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack, on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo. In its final report in December, the mission said that at least 19 civilians and one Syrian soldier were among the fatalities, along with scores of injured. It had no mandate to assign responsibility for the attack, but the person with knowledge of the UN’s activities said: ‘Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.’ …more


Westrn Media Blackout of New Syria Revelations

Media Blackout of New Syria Revelations
By Brad Hoff – Global Research – 6 April, 2014

On April 6, The London Review of Books published in its online journal Seymour Hersh’s “The Red Line and the Rat Line.” Hersh continues to expose details surrounding the staged August 21 chemical attack incident in Syria, which apparently pretty much everyone in Washington’s intelligence bureaucracy suspected was carried out by the rebels as soon as it happened.

Seymour Hersh is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist whose 40+ years career includes the exposing of the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up, as well as the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. His December 19 report, “Whose Sarin?” -was his first report to expose the Syria chemical attack hoax based on close contact with US Intelligence officials. While “Whose Sarin” was originally prepared for the Washington Post, the newspaper rejected it and a media blackout followed in American press. Currently, Hersh’s newest investigative findings are going unacknowledged in mainstream US media.

Hersh’s report confirms the following:

– Obama’s push for attack on Syria was halted last minute when evidence that the Syrian government had nothing to do with the August 21 chemical attack became too overwhelming.

– It had been well known to US government officials throughout the summer of 2013 that Turkish PM Erdogan was supporting al-Nusra Front in attempts to manufacture Sarin.

– US military knew of Turkish and Saudi program for bulk Sarin production inside Syria from the spring of 2013

– UN inspectors knew the rebels were using chemical weapons on the battlefield since the spring of 2013

– As a result of the staged chemical incident, the White House ordered readiness for a “monster strike” on Syria, which included “two B-22 air wings and two thousand pound bombs” -and a target list which included military and civilian infrastructure targets (note: most of these are in densely populated civilian areas)

– Full military strike was set for September 2

– UK defense officials relayed to their American counterparts in the lead up to planned attack: “We’re being set up here.”

– CIA, MI6, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey set up a “rat line” back in 2012 to run Libyan weapons into Syria via Turkey, including MANPADS; the Benghazi consulate was headquarters for the operation

– Obama OK’ed Turkish-Iranian gold export scam (that went from March 2012 to July 2013) which erupted in a Turkish scandal that nearly brought down the Erdogan government

– US Intelligence community had immediate doubts about Syrian regime responsibility for Aug. 21 attack, yet “reluctant to contradict the president”

– US government will not expose continued Turkey support of terrorism simply because “they’re a NATO ally”

In addition, last Thursday freelance Middle East journalist Sara Elizabeth Williams broke the story of a CIA/US Military run training camp for Syrian rebels in the Jordanian desert. VICE UK ran her story, “I Learned to Fight Like an American at the FSA Training Camp in Jordan,” yet it too failed to make it across the Atlantic into American reporting. International Syria experts thought her story hugely significant, but it got little attention. Top Syria expert in the US, Joshua Landis, announced on his Twitter account Thursday: “Sara Williams gets the scoop on the top secret FSA Training Camp in Jordan.” This courageous young freelancer revealed, with photos, the ins and outs of this secretive facility -yet the mainstream carefully shielded Americans from knowledge of the explosive report. …more