Voice of Russia
June 26, 2013
Recorded on June 10, 2013
The delivery of S-300 defensive missile batteries to Syria would protect the country from the types of attacks carried out by Israel and the U.S. but the West views such self-defense measures as an act of war and says that the ability of countries not friendly to the U.S. and its allies to defend themselves, in particular Syria, would upset the “balance of power”. Regular Voice of Russia contributor spoke about this, Manning and more in his latest interview with the Voice of Russia.
You are listening to an interview with Rick Rozoff, the owner of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list.
Robles: What is your opinion on S-300s? What can you tell us about S-300s? How will that change the situation?
Rozoff: A retired general stated that with batteries, I think the estimate was 10 to 12 S-300 missiles, that the territory of Syria as a whole would effectively be protected from what are the likely sorts of attacks the United States and Israel would launch against it, which are cruise missiles and missiles launched from aircraft, fixed-wing aircraft, and in that sense give Syria something that previous victims of US-NATO attacks – Libya, Yugoslavia, Iraq – surely did not have, which is effective control of their airspace and the ability to defend their air force and other military assets from marauding Western war planes bombing them.
So, it is very significant if they obtain them. Of course, like most of your listeners, I have heard disparate and at times conflicting accounts of how imminent the arrival of the S-300s is: everything from next year to they’re on their way, there is probably misrepresentation of statements by President Bashar Assad that they are already there.
Then of course there have been statements by Israeli government officials that they “would not tolerate” that. Can you imagine? They “would not tolerate” a sovereign nation, Russia, delivering on a contractual agreement to supply strictly defensive weapons.
Robles: That was a 2010 agreement. I just wanted to remind everybody out there. That agreement between Russia and Syria that goes back to 2010 and these are defensive weapons as well. Russia stated that all the contracts were legal, they’re transparent, they don’t go against any international sanctions or anything. These were long ago in the making.
You’ve mentioned Israel as well and several statements were made by prominent politicians and officials in the west that this would upset the balance of power between Israel and Syria. What do you make of that statement? In other words, Israel can’t just bomb Syria with impunity any time it wants or what?
Rozoff: That is exactly how I would interpret that statement, and what a hubristic statement, and the fact that comments like that would be reported dutifully and uncritically by the major press wire services of the West, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if U.S. government officials echoed sentiments of that sort.
The balance of power means: My side has uncontested superiority over yours, and I can strike your side without having to worry about retaliation.
Anyone who upsets that balance of power – I mean it is not an equal balance of power, is it? – it is a very one-sided one. It suggests that, heaven forbid somebody had the audacity to try to defend themselves, because once they do that then it is a call for direct military attack on them because we can’t allow them the ability to defend their own territory. This is what I hear.
So that means that the old-fashioned notions, if you will, that each country has the right to defend its own territory are no longer operational and that now if you are with the U.S., or one of its major allies, you have the right not only to set up impenetrable missile shields over your country, but you have the right to demand that bordering nations they not protect their skies and they not protect themselves and if they do, that is seen as what? An act of war?
Robles: Unbelievable. Rick we haven’t talked about Bradley Manning before but I’d like to get some of your opinions because he did attempt to expose a lot of the stuff that we talk about all the time. What is your opinion on the Bradley Manning case it just started off, his so-called trial, if you want to call it that?
Rozoff: It is a travesty, not a trial and it’s drumhead justice, with “justice” in italics or quotation marks.
He is being prosecuted as an example to others, so that anyone within the military with a shred of decency that is appalled by atrocities of the sort that he, the noted video that I think most people are familiar with, was able to help Wikileaks expose will think twice about it because they can see the example that has been made out of Manning.
And this is, for a country that prides itself or dictates rather to the rest for the world the need of transparency and so forth, and command responsibility, to the leaders of other nations to conduct trials of this sort is a self-indictment and I think it will go down in history as some of the most infamous show trials.
Robles: They are trying to say that he aided the enemy. Do you know any actual damage that he did or in some way that he actually aided the enemy? Some damage he did to NATO or the West other than revealing crimes and the criminality of their behavior?
Rozoff: I do not. You know, that what I’ve read, this is very basic synopsis of it, but the prosecution is claiming that he directly or indirectly, at first hand or second hand, I can’t see how it could be at first hand really, delivered information directly into the hands of our enemies, or words to that effect. That is what I’ve read earlier today.
I don’t know what they could conceivably be speaking about that out there. Unless they are suggesting by releasing information to Wikileaks and that in turn somehow getting on the Internet, that anyone in this world of seven billion people who has access to the internet could see…
Robles: So, basically what they are saying, is if you have some information, you publish it, if Osama bin Laden had read it, then you are guilty of aiding the enemy.
Rozoff: That’s the sort of perverse and reverse logic they are using right now. And first of all that excludes motive; if I have no motive to provide information that would in any way or form embolden so-called enemy combatants anywhere in the world, but if, inadvertently, through no intention and no action on my own, such is the result then I am held accountable for it as though I deliberately intended that to come about.
Robles: We are on the short wave here, probably going out to anybody in the world, penguins in Antarctica and little green men on the moon could probably listen to us if they wanted to. Are we giving the enemy information if somebody in al-Qaeda has a short wave tuned in or they get on a satellite radio or something and tune us in?
Rozoff: I think there’s a distinction between information and encouragement, and I think what we are getting dangerously close to right now is that government privacy is now paralleling in many ways very dubious concepts of copyright infringement, the intent of which is to make the dissemination of almost any kind of information illegal. Either it is branded as espionage or as piracy and the idea that something I say may be heard by somebody who passes it on to ten generations of other people through different links in the chain and eventually somebody says; “That encourages me to go out and do something violent or illegal”, that is no justification for preventing free speech.
Nobody can control what happens with comments – innocent, peaceful comments – that a person makes, how they could be distorted and passed on and viewed inaccurately by a third or a tenth or a hundredth party who then acts on it in some manner.
That is so farfetched. Really it shouldn’t be even discussed but in the case of Bradley Manning, unfortunately, this is what I understand pretty much to be the case.
If he were the conduit through which information that might not otherwise have appeared on the Internet, appears there, and then months or years later somebody sees it and uses that as the pretext, if not as the reason, for doing something that he is ex post facto held accountable for what somebody he has never met has done seems ludicrous to me, it really does. But it is a frightening precedent of course. And it has a chilling effect on anyone who wants to disseminate information that the government might find to be inexpedient.
Robles: Are you getting any blowback or feedback or anything from your efforts?
Rozoff: As with anyone in this situation, you can well imagine, I have a website Stop NATO and every so often somebody posts comments from the U.S., somewhere from the Defense Department or the British Ministry of Defense most recently, and these are people who try to be very chummy as if that they just happened across the website in the course of their reading and take issue with an article or something that is there. But they are clearly information officers and it is their job to troll the Internet and to find…
Against the billions of dollars they have to propagandize, billions of dollars they have to conduct operations both overt and covert and to influence people’s thinking, heaven forbid there’s one individual sitting with a website someplace trying to disseminate contrary information, that person has to be silenced, in the name of “democracy” or “freedom” or “free flow of information” or something.
Robles: They watch everybody. It is crazy.
Rozoff: They have a zero tolerance towards dissent, and that is what the Bradley Manning and the Julian Assange cases really should demonstrate to the world: is that somebody who uses freedom of expression and so forth as an excuse to criticize other governments around the world, will tolerate absolutely no dissent in their own country, and will brand any kind of dissent as being espionage.
Robles: But any dissent anywhere else is OK, it is freedom of speech and democracy.
Rozoff: It is to be applauded. As a matter of fact we were speaking of Hillary Clinton earlier, announcing that she was going to tweet in Russian, Chinese, Hindu and Farsi.
Robles: That never worked out, did it?
Rozoff: Evidently the governments of those countries know how to combat a propaganda campaign.
Robles: I mean the State Department couldn’t get the word “restart” right, they wrote “overload” so I don’t see how they could actually come up with a legible and intelligent tweet once a day. I think that would be too much.
Rozoff: I believe you’re right.
Robles: Especially in four or five languages. I mean come on, they couldn’t translate one word right.
Rozoff: I’ve seen the State Department stumble over standard English on occasion. I can only imagine what they would do with the foreign tongues.
Robles: Okay. Let’s not…They deserve to be bashed Rick. Anyway, are you still there or what?
Rozoff: I’m still here.
Robles: I thought maybe they cut the line already. All right, anyway. So we are probably going through Menwith Hill to the NSA and all this so, do you want to say hi to the spooks? No it’s okay, just kidding.
Rozoff: I’ve known them for so long that it’s almost…but who knows?
But you know, there are figures right now, I just saw the NATO analysis of the Syrian situation that even though something like 80 percent of the Syrian population now supports Assad even if they didn’t before – the ratings have never been higher – that 20% supports the opposition.
So, the numbers are shifting. This is a pragmatic consideration. This is somebody who may have opposed the government two years ago but that given the alternative of a bunch of armed gangs running around the country, better the government than anyone else.
Robles: What about the minority populations? There are certain Jewish parts of the population in Syria, Christians, there are Coptics, a host of…There is an Armenian population. How do they all feel about arming these Islamic lunatics? I’m sorry.
Rozoff: I mean the armed extremists, who are in large part foreign mercenaries, that is something else we have to recollect. These are not just domestic extremists and others, including cannibals as we have established. But these are in many cases from around the Islamic world. This very much parallels what happened in Afghanistan in the 1980s where the United States and Saudi Arabia helped organize jihadis from around the world to come to Northwest Pakistan to fight in Afghanistan and against Afghanistan.
And we are seeing a parallel of that now, they have an international mercenary squad with combat experience not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan but in the Russian North Caucasus and the Balkans and North Africa, and the minorities, we have to recall that Syria is an extremely diverse mosaic of cultures and traditions and religions, confessions, going back millennia, going back as a matter of fact to 6-7 thousand years. Syria is in Mesopotamia. There are a good number of ethnic Assyrians to this day in the country.
Robles: What is going to happen to all these…To this wonderful mosaic of humanity? What is going to happen if these insurgents come into power?
Rozoff: We know exactly what is going to happen based on the experiences in Kosovo and Iraq. It’s that the ethnic and religious minorities are going to be terrorized into fleeing the country; they are going to be murdered and persecuted in large numbers.
Several weeks ago two Orthodox bishops were kidnapped in Syria and they are still being held incommunicado. One was a Greek Orthodox bishop, another was a Syriac, which is to say Assyrian, Orthodox Christian bishop and for all we know they could be dead.
And this is what other religious and ethnic minorities within the country know to expect, in the event of a so-called rebel victory in the country.
Much as what we’ve seen in Iraq where prior to the invasion of the country ten years ago you had an estimated population of half a million Christians, for the most part Assyrians, that number has been cut by 50 percent with 250,000 who have fled or been killed. And what you see is an ethnic and confessional purging of a country.
The just horrid mass killings in Iraq, which are also similarly motivated, the attacks tend to be overwhelmingly against Shiite Muslims and against Christians, perpetrated by the same kind of Wahhabi extremists backed by Saudi Arabia, backed by the United States.
Similar things have occurred in Kosovo. We do know that groups, apparently the premier fighting force within that armed opposition is al-Nusra, which is a Wahhabi extremist, Saudi-oriented or -backed Sunni theocratic fighting force, one the U.S. even dissociates itself from, essentially considering it a terrorist organization. But that’s been exactly the model that was used in Afghanistan in the 1980s and subsequently in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s and was used in Libya two years ago and is being used in Syria now.
You were listening to an interview in progress with Rick Rozoff, the Owner of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list.