Spinning Invasions, from Nile to the Euphrates and Beyond by Felicity Arbuthnot

by Felicity Arbuthnot
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
London, England
25 November 2011

“If a man seeks to understand Rome’s casuss reason for each foreign conquest, he needs only look into the Treasury.” (Tacitus, AD 56 – AD 117)

As the US and UK lead towards more illegal overthrows, invasions and destruction in Iran and Syria, a political pattern of manipulation and disinformation has become an art form.

Continue reading

Protests, Arrests As France’s Vichy Hosts EU Conference + U.S. takes page from Israel’s book in Syria strike

compiled by Cem Ertür
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
4 November 2008

Protests, Arrests As France’s Vichy Hosts EU Conference

VICHY, France (AFP)
November 03, 2008

Protesters descended on the town of Vichy Monday as the shamed capital of France’s former pro-Nazi dictatorship hosted its first international government conference since World War II.

Vichy’s municipal leaders hoped that by finally hosting European ministers 64 years after the fall of Marshall Petain’s regime they could shake off their wartime stigma and become a popular spa resort once more.

But several busloads of militants had other ideas, and turned up to protest a conference called to discuss the integration of ethnic minorities in Europe, with some linking current French policy to that of the fascist past.

Police made at least four arrests as the protests began, and 100 officers equipped with riot gear set up a cordon around the venue to prevent the first 80 militants, from a radical splinter group, from approaching.

This group, dubbing themselves ‘The disobedient,’ draw an explicit link between Vichy France, which deported Jews to Nazi death camps, and President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government, which has cracked down on illegal immigration. A larger protest planned for later in the day by mainstream antiracist groups has promised to be less provocative and to call for social unity.

The four protesters to be arrested were wearing striped prison uniforms designed to recall those of the Holocaust concentration camps.

“We denounce the worrying evolution of European migration policies, which recall the ideas that led to deportations at the end of the 1930s,” declared the leader of the smaller, hardline group, Xavier Renou.

[…]

via Protests, Arrests As France’s Vichy Hosts EU Conference

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[for those who read French: http://rebellyon.info/article5540.html]

***

U.S. takes page from Israel’s book in Syria strike

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent
Haaretz
27/10/2008

Those who anticipated an American bombing of Iran on the eve of the presidential elections or immediately after must for the moment be satisfied with a somewhat lesser replacement: helicopter attack Sunday night in north-eastern Syria.

The central target of the attack, according to initial reports overnight, was a senior operative in the “global jihad” – the web of organizations connected to al-Qaida.

[…]

Now it has become clear that the U.S. will not hesitate to attack terrorist targets within Syrian territory. In this regard the Americans are not alone. Israel preceded them with the attack on the Dir a-Zour nuclear facility in September last year, not to mention a succession of mysterious incidents on Syrian soil, from the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh last February to the assassination of Brigadier General Mohammad Suleiman around two months ago. The common denominator to all these operations is that nobody takes the Syrians seriously anymore, given the repeated violations of their sovereignty.

[…]

via ANALYSIS / U.S. takes page from Israel’s book in Syria strike – Haaretz – Israel News

see

Indonesia + Petraeus plans more border raids + Syria + Ireland

Israel, Israeli Bombing of Syria (nukes)

Bush-Cheney Israel Disinformation Campaign to Justify an Attack on Iran

Dandelion Salad

by William H. White
Global Research, May 2, 2008
www.concordbridge.net

Campaign’s Overall Design and Objectives

The Bush administration and Israeli government appear to be operating a joint disinformation campaign, whose objective is to establish a media based alternative reality from which to accuse Syria/Iran of developing nuclear weapons with help from North Korea, by using a real event combined with planted stories establishing a defining narrative. This accusation in turn is augmented with stories about Iranian sponsored “Special Groups killing US troops in Iraq” and purported naval incidents the Persian Gulf, creating self-reinforcing, media based crisis.

The immediate purpose of this disinformation campaign is apparently to help justify the planned US attack on a wide range of Iranian industrial and military targets. And, as in the Israeli attacks on Lebanon, the objective is to swiftly inflict substantial damage to the national infrastructure of Iran, followed by an abrupt cessation of attacks and a call for a cease-fire to prevent substantial Iranian retaliation. Again, as in the Israeli attacks on Lebanon, the US likely will resist calls for a cessation of the attacks until a significant portion of the Iranian target set has been addressed, then it will accept calls for a cease-fire and demand Iran do the same.

Any subsequent attacks by Iran would probably be characterized by the US as Iranian aggression, further justifying US follow-up attacks on remaining Iranian assets as defensive measures. The transparent duplicity of such US actions and claims is not a problem because US corporate media is prepared to report repeatedly the administration’s claims with little or no criticism or mention of alternative assessments. In other words, subjecting its audience to blatant propaganda masquerading as journalism, which is effective as it is because of US corporate media’s quantitative monopoly on information provided the public.

As far as can be determined, no credible or even plausible evidence for any of these claims has been presented by the Bush administration, let alone by any independent verification of such claims. Instead, in the pattern similar to the disinformation campaign before the invasion of Iraq, questions about these claims, when raised at all, are ignored or “answered” with repeated or additional claims. Essentially this disinformation campaign, as all such campaigns, is an elaborate set of lies to deceive an enemy, in this case the Unites States Congress and the American people, in pursuit of Bush administration secret policy objectives for the benefit of a foreign government.

Campaign’s Origin

The origins of this disinformation campaign was the the Bush administration’s appreciation in the late summer of 2007 that the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) subsequently released in November 2007 would undermine its attempts to claim Iran was developing nuclear weapons, the then primary justification for an attack on Iran. When it became clear to the Bush administration that the intelligence community would issue the 11/7/07 NIE, completely undermining the administration’s claims of Iranian nuclear weapons development, they apparently decided, instead of accepting this judgment or objecting to it within official channels, that an alternative foundation needed to be established for its planned attack on Iran. This alternative would bypass not only the US intelligence community’s collective assessments, but also the judgments of the United States’ Joint Chiefs of Staff military command.

Essentially, the Bush administration, in cooperation with a foreign government, Israel, decided to bypass the intelligence community as well as the military commands of the United States, in order undertake attacks by US military forces on a foreign nation, Iran, by deliberately ignoring and undermining the judgments of authorities charged by law with informing the US Congress about such data so it can make sound judgments in exercise of its US Constitutional authority over matters of war and peace. Apparently the Bush administration hopes for a fait accompli after attacks on Iran, leaving the next administration with a region-wide tar baby, with Israel the only remaining “friend” in the region, otherwise populated with outright enemies or alienated former allies.

In addition, a likely last minute Israel-Palestinian peace deal negotiated with the unelected Fatah based faction, in which Israel would be granted costly long term aid and security assurances, in exchange for Israeli commitments of limited value and voracity. With Israel positioned to attempt an alliance with the Kurds upon the expected partition of Iraq, following an inevitable US withdrawal. Again, as with the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration’s planning is front loaded, focused on the mechanics of military operations or manipulating public and official opinion, with little or no thought given to what happens next, let alone second or third order consequences, except the general intention to take maximum political advantage of any resulting crisis.

On the face of it, some elements of the Bush administration’s undertaking appear to be acts of treason, by giving aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States, in as much as it aided Israel to act in its own interests and without regard for, or to the detriment of, the manifest interests of the United States; however, we defer such judgments to another, more appropriate venue, and only pursue our limited assessment of the administration’s actions with regard to their immediate objectives.

First Overt Act

The first known overt act in pursuit of this effort, besides Israel’s attack on Syria, was a letter Bush wrote to the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, as reported by the BBC on December 6, 2007, wherein Bush asked the Korean leader to reveal any assistance to others in the development of nuclear weapons. While a matter of speculation, this letter combined with other demands by the US government, were meant to pressure the North Korean government into making accusations against Syrian and Iran, in exchange for concessions in the form of released impounded funds and oil shipments promised as by part of the US-North Korean agreement on its weapons development program. According to the NYTimes Dec 15, 2007 report, Bush wrote a letter to the North Korean leader demanding, among other things, he reveal who he have helped with his nuclear technology, as specified in the nuclear declaration or so-called “come clean” section of the US-North Korean agreement.

Because the usual glacial movements of North Korea’s foreign policy were incompatible with Bush administration’s Iranian timetable, attempts were made to pressure North Korea to give in sooner to US demands by the end of the year, but as U.S. Will Hold North Korea to Nuclear Commitments by Reuters 01/03/08 reports, these efforts failed thus far. Instead, North Korea made a forthright statement, North Korea Says Earlier Disclosure Was Enough by The New York Times 01/05/08, which repudiated such claims. Since this was contrary to Bush administration objectives, it was apparently largely ignore by US corporate media. Pressure continues on North Korea to make such admissions.

Change of Policy

Overall, it appears the sudden US agreement with North Korea, after years of the usual “Bush diplomacy” whereby he refuses to speak to the other side until they concede every major point of contention, was an attempt to clear the decks for attacks against Iran. Among the most informed and insightful observers of national security affairs, Seymour M. Hersh, in a video interview at The New Yorker, suggested that a US agreement with North Korea would be among the clearest signs of US preparation for an attack on Iran. He further discusses, in an interview with Al Jazeera on Feb 7, 2008, US intentions and the likelihood Cheney may have overrode US Joint Chiefs of Staff objections to the attack.

As part of the administration’s disinformation campaign, Israel attacked a Syrian site, which was later linked to North Korea through a set of stories released over time to give the impression of information being slowly revealed over time, hoping to establish “facts” more firmly than making accusations at the time of the attack on Syria.

US Corporate Media’s Role in the Nuclear Weapons Development Story

It appears that certain media outlets were a party to the disinformation campaign, in that they misled their readers and others with stories clearly designed to establish the impression that North Korea was helping Syria, and likely Iran, to develop a nuclear program, to be conveniently confused in the public’s mind with the far more costly and complex development of nuclear weapons. Among those noted, Harretz, the Washington Post and New York Times appear to have been willing conduits of this disinformation campaign, since it would strain all credulity to believe they themselves were deceived, especially since no effort was made to report on other observers who question the validity of these claims:

Israelis ‘blew apart Syrian nuclear cache’, Sunday Times, Sept 16, 2007

Israel, U.S. Shared Data On Suspected Nuclear Site, Washington Post, Sept 21, 2007

Israel Admits To Sept. Air Attack In Syria, CBS News Oct 2, 2007

Israel Struck Syrian Nuclear Project, Analysts Say, NYTimes Oct 14, 2007

Photographs Said to Show Israeli Target Inside Syria, Washington Post Oct 24, 2007

North Koreans said killed in IAF strike on alleged Syria nuclear reactor site, Harretz Staff and Reuters, Apr 28, 2008

It should be noted: All of these ginned-up, hand ringing stories about programs “to develop the capability; to learn technologies; to establish potentials for securing; etc.,” not once mention that Israel is armed with several hundred nuclear warheads, some of which are aboard submarines capable of attacking Europe, Russia and the US.

A New Casus Belli: “Iran Is Killing US Troops”

The Bush administration has augmented and subordinated the nuclear issue and naval incidents as casus belli to the “Iran is killing US troops” propaganda offensive, which immerged with the invention of the so-called “Special Groups” by the US military command, first mentioned by the US Military Command in Iraq on July 2, 2007. They took on new life at the end of March 2008, as reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP) on March 26, 2008, when military spokesman Major General Kevin Bergner, as part of the US Military’s effort to “document” Iranian sponsored operations in Iraq, revealed these Iranian-supported Special Group criminals” were apparently and suddenly everywhere.

Within a month, hundreds of stories in the US corporate media reported all about these “Special Groups”, almost without exception identifying them as Iranian trained and fielded. The NYTimes reported by April 24, 2008 that, 73 percent of fatal and other harmful attacks on American troops in the past year were caused by roadside bombs planted by so-called ‘special groups.’” according to “Senior officers in the American division that secures the capital.” As far as can be determined no credible or even plausible evidence for such groups has been presented by the US Military command in Iraq. Clearly, weapons stamped with Iranian manufacturing labels, while subject to counterfeiting, would mean little, even if genuine, in as much as such small arms are trafficked throughout the Middle East and indicate nothing about the actions of the government of Iran. Instead, in a pattern similar to the run up to the invasion of Iraq, questions about these claims, are ignored or met with additional claims.

By the time General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker testified before the US Congress in early April, the “special groups” were an established element in the alternative reality maintained by official Washington and US corporate media. In addition, the ever compliant Congress allowed the two to testify for just a single day before the Senate and another day before the House committees in a mockery of oversight, during which not much was made of the question as to whether these claims about “special groups”, even if true, legally justified attacking Iran under international law.

It is highly likely arrests of “Iranian agents” and weapons store seizures of “Iranian weapons” will continue, along with “counter infiltration” operations along the Syrian and Iranian borders.

The New York Times Particularly Duplicitous

The New York Times in particular, after its public vows to do better following exposure of its reporter Judith Miller, who made a significant contribution the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” disinformation campaign run out of Cheney’s office prior to the invasion of Iraq that ultimately proved to be totally false, now seems to have slipped back into its old habit of blatant pro-Israel coverage and disinformation, while objecting in its editorial page to the very policies it advances in its reporting, making its practices especially duplicitous and irresponsible, given its undisputed influence both on official Washington and the rest of US corporate media.

In another example, a NYTimes Apr 26, 2008 article “Questions Linger on Scope of Iran’s Threat in Iraq” that nominally purports to question the US claims about Iranian/Iraqi “Special Groups” and Iranian involvement in training and arming fighters in Iraq; in fact, reinforces such claims using “directly or indirectly quoted unnamed officials an astounding 30 times,” according to an insightful analysis of the article by Jeff Huber “When Did Iran Start Beating Its Wife Again?”. The importance of the “Special Groups” claims is clear in that the Bush administration has shifted part of justification for a war with Iran to the charge that “Iran is kill US troops in Iraq”, adding to this to its “warnings” about naval incidents in Persian Gulf and nuclear weapons development as Casus Belli options.

Recent encounters involving US and Iranian naval vessels show a evolution toward a much more aggressive and manipulative posture in the Bush administration’s characterization of these events. The widely reported incident between US and Iranian vessels on January 6, 2008 in the Strait of Hormuz was actually the third such recent encounter. The first two encounters occurred in December 2007, during one of which on December 19, 2007 the USS Whidbey Island fired warning shots toward an approaching Iranian vessel, causing the Iranian vessel to alter course. The first two encounters passed unreported at the time and were largely routine for the area of operations.

However, the third encounter on January 6, 2008 was not only characterized as a far more grave “incident” by official Washington, accompanied by reports by official US sources of threats made against the US vessels, based on video and voice transmission “evidence” released by the Pentagon to vast coverage by US corporate media. Examination of the voice transmission recordings indicated the actual segment containing the only threat was of doubtful authenticity; and, a later release of an Iranian video of the same incident indicated the Pentagon had mischaracterized its own video, revealing another blatant disinformation effort, but received little coverage in US corporate media.

Another two naval incidents have been hyped by US corporate media, one in the Persian Gulf where a US military chartered cargo vessel, Western Venture, fired warning shots at approaching unidentified small boats without known injuries or damage. While the media attention added to regional tensions and increased oil prices, the incident was much like the other incident at the entrance to Suez Canal, except in that case a boat borne local vendor was shot to death by personnel aboard a US military chartered vessel Global Patriot. Needless to say the dead vendor was of little note in US corporate media.

Finally, the Accusations and Warnings

Perhaps the most transparent effort to link the alleged Syrian and North Korean reactors is the Apr 25, 2008 report in the BBC, which included pictures provided the CIA that “said to have been obtained by Israel – showed striking similarities between the Syrian facility and the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon, the US said.” The report goes on to note: “The CIA briefing and statement coincides with the end of a two-day meeting between US and North Korean officials on Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, which both sides say have gone well – fuelling speculation that a deal may be imminent.” What this “deal” is remains to be seen, but bribes paid to a foreign government (North Korea) in exchange for accusations against another foreign government (Syria), in order to justify claims against a third foreign government (Iran) are hardly the stuff upon which grave policy decisions (going to war with Iran) should be made. Unless your objective is to lead the US into yet another war no matter what the facts actually are, as the Bush administration and Israel appear to be trying to do.

Finally, we have Bush himself taking the money shot in the Israeli press, with a truly bizarre parlaying of the accusations against Syria into a warning to Iran: Bush: Revealing details of attack on Syrian site was message to Iran, in a Haaretz Staff and Reuters, Apr 29, 2008, stating that “U.S. President George W. Bush said yesterday he released U.S. intelligence about the nuclear facility that Israel bombed in Syria in September so as to put pressure on North Korea and send a message to Iran that it could not hide its own nuclear program.” Apart from the fact that a nuclear reactor is not proof of a weapons program in Syria, Iran is not Syria, any more than Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks on the US.

These Bush “warnings” have become a mainstay of US corporate media, in which often baseless threats against others are portrayed as “last, best efforts” to change alleged behavior before action is reluctantly taken, after giving the ever-preferable “diplomacy” a chance. The most blatant example of this is the number of times Saddam Hussein was “warned” about “weapons of mass destruction” and we were all warned about not letting the “smoking gun being the mushroom cloud” as well as warning about his final chances to “come clean.” The added virtue of “warnings” is they contain an embedded assertion that the warned party knows full well the truth of the accusation as does the one issuing the warning, as well implying a reasonableness in that the target need only comply to avoid getting what they would otherwise deserve.

Should North Korea finally agree, at likely unknown cost, to “come clean” and mention help to Syria or Iran, such bribery is likely to be no more credible than confessions of tortured prisoners in the Bush administration’s special prisons, whether they be “Iranian Agents” or “Terrorists” turned over to US authorities as part of the US’s far flung bounty programs. After all, we have all become prisoners to the attendant lunacies of the Bush administration and US corporate media’s alternative reality, in which new “warnings” based on disinformation lurk: hair-trigger “facts” poised to “provoke” the US into “defending” itself by attacking Iran, including nuclear program/weapons development; “Special Groups” killing US troops in Iraq; and, hostile naval incidents. By the time time the attack on Iran comes, the US corporate media will be asking why it took the US so long to “react.”

author’s website: www.concordbridge.net

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright William H. White, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8880

see

Secret Bush “Finding” Widens War on Iran-Democrats OK Funds for Covert Ops

Is War With Iran Imminent? This time, it’s more than a rumor…

Iran dumps U.S. dollars in oil transactions

The March 20, 2008 US Declaration of War on Iran by John McGlynn

UK: Iran supports Iraqi militants

The Clock is Ticking for an Attack on Iran by Dave Lindorff

A barrage of US threats against Iran By Peter Symonds + Are We Going to War with Iran? (vid)

Dandelion Salad

By Peter Symonds
http://www.wsws.org
1 May 2008

During a press conference on Tuesday, US President George Bush spelled out the threat to Iran contained in last week’s release of CIA intelligence on an alleged Syrian nuclear reactor. As well as warning Syria and North Korea, which purportedly helped construct the building, he declared that the US was “sending a message to Iran, and the world for that matter, about just how destabilising a nuclear proliferation would be in the Middle East”.

While Bush did not explain what the “message” was, the context makes it abundantly clear. Last September, Israeli warplanes demolished the building in an unprovoked act of aggression that had the potential to trigger a wider war. The US administration, which undoubtedly gave the green light for the attack, presented uncorroborated intelligence last week that the building housed an uncompleted reactor and that Syria was trying to build a nuclear weapon. The unstated threat to Tehran was: the US and Israel are prepared to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities as well.

None of the Israeli and US intelligence made public last week implicated Tehran in Syria’s alleged plans for a nuclear reactor. So why single Iran out for special mention? As far as nuclear proliferation is concerned, Israel is the only country in the region with a stockpile of nuclear weapons, and US regional allies—Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey—have all announced plans for nuclear reactors. By naming Iran, Bush not only underscored the hypocritical character of his stance, but confirmed Tehran is at the top of the list of US targets.

…continued

***

Are We Going to War with Iran?

VOTERSTHINKdotORG

April 30, 2008 MSNBC HARDBALL

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Israeli Bombing of Syria (nukes)

Does the Al Kibar Bombing Mean War With Iran?

Dandelion Salad

by Chuck Dupree
http://www.smirkingchimp.com
April 28, 2008

Daniel Levy continues to strike me as one of the most intelligent and informed commentators on Middle East issues, and a good writer to boot. (And we sure need informed comment on these subjects.) Levy has another fine piece up, this time at TPM, about revelations, or perhaps “revelations”, at Thursday’s Senate and House intelligence committee briefing on the Israeli bomb strike on Syria last September. Of course the briefing was closed, so what we have is from the press conference that followed.

The whole story of the bombing raid has not, I expect, been told. Probably no one knows it. It’s unlikely that anyone in any country has a complete accounting for the actions and inactions of Israel, Syria, and the US, to begin with. It’s unlikely that Israel or the US know precisely what has happening in Syria, or that the Syrians fully understand Israel’s motivations. Certainly each of the three governments includes contending factions, about which more in a moment.

In such situations my instinct is to look to the most reliable sources. Like Seymour Hersh. He’s not right 100% of the time, and his predictions can be pretty pessimistic. But he understands and practices the art of investigative journalism, and as a result generally knows what he’s talking about. My guess is, therefore, that his February report on the raid is currently the best available.

…continued

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Scott Ritter: By Releasing Intel, US Endorses Israel’s Illegal Bombing of Alleged Syrian Nuke Site

A Strike in the Dark – What did Israel bomb in Syria? by Seymour M. Hersh

Israeli Bombing of Syria (nukes)

Scott Ritter: By Releasing Intel, US Endorses Israel’s Illegal Bombing of Alleged Syrian Nuke Site (vids)

Dandelion Salad

Democracy Now!
April 28, 2008

Scott Ritter: By Releasing Intel, US Endorses Israel’s Illegal Bombing of Alleged Syrian Nuke Site

The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog group, Mohamed ElBaradei, has criticized the United States for withholding intelligence that it says showed the construction of a nuclear reactor in Syria that Israel bombed in September. The International Atomic Energy Agency chief was critical of both the US delay in releasing the information and of Israel’s bombing of the site before the IAEA could inspect it. We speak with former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter.

Listen/Watch/Read
http://www.democracynow.org/2008/4/28/un_nuclear_watchdog_chief_blasts_us

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IWantDemocracyNow

Thanks to The Largest Minority for the videos.

see

Israeli Bombing of Syria (nukes)

US intelligence on Syrian reactor: justifying last year’s crime to prepare for new ones

Dandelion Salad

By Peter Symonds
http://www.wsws.org
28 April 2008

More than seven months after Israeli warplanes destroyed a building in Syria’s eastern desert, the Bush administration has released intelligence purporting to prove that Damascus was building a nuclear reactor at the site, with the assistance of North Korea, as part of plans to build an atomic bomb.

The CIA intelligence briefing last Thursday raised more questions than it answered, and fuelled considerable speculation about its timing and purpose. In all the commentary, however, the most obvious point is deliberately obscured. The US is belatedly justifying an unprovoked and illegal act of aggression by Israel, undoubtedly sanctioned at the time by Washington, that had the potential to spark a new war in the Middle East.

A White House statement hypocritically warned that Syria’s covert construction of the reactor was “a dangerous and potentially destabilising development for the region and the world”, carried out in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It is an open secret, however, that Israel, with Washington’s tacit approval, has covertly manufactured a substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons, refused to sign the NPT and blocked International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of its facilities.

…continued

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Pepe Escobar: What did Israel bomb in Syria? (video)

Evolving US Military Agenda: Black Hole in Bush’s Brain

Evidence-based Bombing By Scott Ritter

US ship confronts boats in Gulf + Iranian Boats shot at by U.S. Navy (video)

An Act Of War – Interview: Seymour Hersh

Evolving US Military Agenda: Black Hole in Bush’s Brain

Dandelion Salad

by Peter Chamberlin
Global Research, April 27, 2008

Judging from the campaign rhetoric coming out of both camps, whoever wins the Oval Office will be inclined to continue the failed military policies in Iraq and to pursue a confrontation with Iran. Apparently, it does not matter to either party what will follow those actions, or what these disastrous policies have produced as they played-out in Iraq and Afghanistan. It does not matter who gets elected, whether it is “bomb, bomb Iran” McCain, or “obliterate/massive retaliation” Clinton, nothing will change.

American researcher Suzanne Maloney spells out the results of the “successfully” surging American war on Iraq:

“Of the many American illusions and delusions surrounding this war, the Administration’s calculations with respect to Iran were among the most wildly off base. Instead of generating a liberal, secular democracy whose reverberations would drive out Iran’s clerical oligarchs, the disastrous Bush policies fostered a sectarian Iraq that has helped empower Iranian hardliners. Rather than serving as an anchor for a new era of stability and American preeminence in the Persian Gulf, the new Iraq represents a strategic black hole, bleeding Washington of military resources and political influence while extending Iran’s primacy among its neighbors.” http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2008/0321_iraq_maloney.aspx

In spite of the problems these policies have created for us and the world (including the deadly fuel inflation ignited by the chaos), and the devastating human toll taken so far, the Cheney wing of the co-presidency continues to pursue every possible avenue for expanding the failed war into a regional conflagration, which could only be settled with nuclear weapons.

The bulldog drive to crush all opposition that has characterized every move of the Bush White House, is once again ignoring reality to envision a new America-dominated world order that can only be built upon the ruins of the demolished old order. If only some situation could be created which would provide the perfect pretext that would justify pushing the button on Iran. Would we be correct in judging Cheney to be a super-patriot, or is he really a secret neo-communist, hoping to forcefully overthrow the world order and enthrone his elitist neocon proletariat and their corporate state as a world dictatorship?

It is no coincidence that the nations that have been targeted are all enemies of Israel. Neither is it a coincidence that Israel has been the source of the “evidence” (much of it fabricated) that has been used, and is still being used, to authorize the war resolutions.

For those who charge that it is “anti-Semitic” to maintain that Israel or its Jewish-American supporters have hijacked the “war on terror,” serving as prime motivators for the war in Iraq and the coming conflict with Iran and Syria, the primary “evidence” that has been used by the Israel lobby to sell these wars was clearly “made in Israel.” It is not anti-Semitic to point out that no one wants these criminal wars to escalate except Israel and the war criminal Cheney faction, who are now looking to cover up for what they have done. The only voices demanding the destruction of Iran are pro-Israeli voices and their Zionist neocon supporters.

Ariel Sharon‘s Israeli branch of the Pentagon‘s Office of Special Plans produced the trumped-up “evidence” that was used to start the aggression on Iraq. The only “proof” that Iran is building a nuke came from the Mossad, even though it was alleged to have come through the MEK terrorist group. The only evidence introduced in the recent CIA hearings on the Syrian attack were three still photos, courtesy of the Mossad. Any real evidence backing-up Israeli claims was destroyed in Israel’s arrogant self-defeating attack.

The Israeli attack on Syria last September was another attempt to jumpstart the highly anticipated regional war, but it was also the product of a joint American/Israeli conspiracy intended to undermine international treaties and to destroy the progress made by peace-making institutions in eliminating war.

This violent assault on the arms control regime is meant to continue the privileged status for Israel that has been carved-out for it, a rogue nuclear-armed nation which refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Syria was invaded to maintain Israel’s nuclear monopoly, even though Syria has signed the NPT and it has received past US support for nuclear research under the Atoms for Peace Program. Israel makes the Muslim nations pariahs in the world community, even though it has created the illegal Dimona nuclear facility, which has never been inspected, not even by the US. The double standard established by America for its outlaw ally is at the root of the Middle East’s security problems.

Like the evidence on Iran’s nuclear intentions, the Israeli-supplied “documentation” on an alleged Syrian reactor is not only another photoshop fraud, it is the only evidence to prove that there ever was a reactor. We are asked to believe Israel, whose nuclear policy has always been one of strategic deception, that Syria violated the laws that Israel refuses to even acknowledge. Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, condemned the attack for its corrosive impact on non-proliferation issues and for the Israeli flaunting of international law in the destruction of any real evidence.

” ‘The director general deplores the fact that this information was not provided to the agency in a timely manner, in accordance with the agency’s responsibilities under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, to enable it to verify its veracity and establish the facts,’ ElBaradei said in a statement today.

He was critical of Israel’s bombing of the site of the alleged reactor. ‘The director general views the unilateral use of force by Israel as undermining the due process of verification that is at the heart of the nonproliferation regime,’ the statement said.”
http://uruknet.info/?p=m43423&hd=&size=1&l=e

Israel’s nuclear program has always operated outside the law, without any international oversight, for one purpose – to produce as many nuclear weapons as possible for it to use to threaten its neighbors and anyone else who stands in their way. It was built with an oversized cooling capacity, to allow for its planned future expansion into a medium-sized bomb factory. Playing to international sympathy, following a duplicitous path of deception, Israel hid its violent secret plans for illegal expansions that were to be carried-out under the thinly veiled threats of nuclear destruction. Its secret nuclear weapons program made no pretense whatsoever of being based on a legitimate nuclear power program. Israel has no nuclear power plants and Dimona is too small for power generation.

Since its inception, Israeli expansion and territorial grabs have always been necessary components of the plan for ethnic cleansing in Palestine and other select areas of the Middle East that Zionist colonizers refer to as “Greater Israel” (just as they refer to the West Bank as “Judea and Samaria,” as they pretend to negotiate over Palestinian rights to this land).

“We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Moslem regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan; Syria will fall to us. We then bomb and move on and take Port Said, Alexandria and Sinai.” David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar.

The steady acquisition of Western technology, especially nuclear technology has been the key to implementing the planned colonization of Arab lands. Tensions with targeted neighbors have risen and fallen as needed to create the palpable threat to Israel that would warrant the massive transfer of military technology to Israel.

Barak gives the go-ahead for a silly and dangerous assassination attempt in tranquil Bethlehem; just to rekindle the fire, lest there be a lull…If there’s a lull in Qassams fired, then Barak does everything he can to ensure their renewal to justify the ‘large-scale op’ in Gaza he intends to make.” http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/964489.html

Part of the ongoing escalation is due to Israeli designs upon new advanced American fighters. Israel’s use of deception as a tool of diplomacy, as well as a military strategy, has allowed Israel to stage terrorist attacks intended to implicate its enemies and provide cover for incursions into Arab territory. The ongoing “settlement” policy and partitioning of Palestine are justified as defensive measures, although the Palestinians are clearly the ones defending themselves against the occupation and invasion of their homeland.

America’s Israel-centric foreign policy is focused upon making the Palestinians invisible, to hide the crimes being committed against them, as their human rights are stolen and they are swept from their ancestor’s land. America is the classic “enabler” for the dysfunctional Jewish state, forcing the world to accept double standards for Israelis and Palestinians, making it possible to take away the guaranteed human rights of the native inhabitants of the land, in order to give special rights to the colonizers who had previously sworn to defend native rights.

American leaders are doing everything possible to hide the suffering of the Palestinians and to twist the facts about the campaign to drive them from the land, in an effort to make it appear that all Israeli attacks are self-defense. Israel cannot continue its ambitious expansionist plans without harming its status in the world without this cloak to hide its murderous actions.

This war is driven by multiple delusions, the main error being that it can eventually be won by the application of greater and greater amounts of force. Advocates of this strategy ignore the basic immorality of the argument, that victory at any price is an acceptable cost.

If the American people remember their power and are given time to think about the direction of the war, they will realize how wrong these policies are. Considering that Bush is following a policy that generates more enemies than can be killed without the use of nuclear weapons and he shares Cheney’s obsession with finding an excuse to nuke Iran, it becomes apparent that America’s leaders are working against the people’s interests.

Any leader who does not support instantly stopping the prosecution of this conflict is supporting the continuation of this black hole. The only solution to the chaos in Iraq is a complete turnaround of policy, centered upon undoing the damage done by Bush’s plan, which consisted of beating the Iraqi people senseless, until they submitted to all of his demands. If there is no candidate for president who advocates such a total reversal of American foreign policy, then there is not candidate worth voting for. It does not matter whether these policies have been an unending series of mistakes or if the chaotic storm that is Iraq today is the product of a cynical heartless plan, Bush or whoever succeeds him (if he allows a successor) must not be allowed to expand this failed military strategy.

Contact author: chamberlin_peter@yahoo.com

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

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© Copyright Peter Chamberlin, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8818

see

The neoconning of a nation: Vice-President, shilling troupe of retired generals, deliver fantastic tales for their cause

Evidence-based Bombing By Scott Ritter

US ship confronts boats in Gulf + Iranian Boats shot at by U.S. Navy (video)

An Act Of War – Interview: Seymour Hersh

US rebuked Over Syria Nuclear Case + Syrian Nukes: the Phantom Menace

Syrian ambassador rejects US nuclear charges + The Taming of the Assad (lion) (vids)

The neoconning of a nation: Vice-President, shilling troupe of retired generals, deliver fantastic tales for their cause

Dandelion Salad

by Eric Margolis
http://www.smirkingchimp.com
April 27, 2008

PARIS — U.S. intelligence released a dramatic video last Thursday, supposedly taken by an Israeli spy, that purportedly showed North Korean technicians helping build a nuclear reactor in Syria.

The reactor was destroyed seven months ago by Israeli warplanes.

Until now Israel and the U.S. have remained silent about the attack. Syria claimed a warehouse was hit, but curiously said nothing more about what was an act of war. Washington offered no proof the reactor, if it was one, would have produced weapons rather than electric power. U.S. and Israeli intelligence have long stated Syria had no nuclear weapons capabilities.

Vice-President Dick Cheney and fellow neocons forced the CIA to release the James Bondish video in an effort to sabotage an impending six-nation agreement to end North Korea’s nuclear program. They bitterly oppose the deal for being too soft on Pyongyang. Neocons long have worried the possibility of North Korea selling nuclear technology to Arab states posed a potential threat to Israel.

This mysterious imbroglio also is being used by Israel’s rightwing Likud Party, a close ally of U.S. neocons, to attack political rival Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his Kadima Party.

BACK-CHANNEL TALKS

Olmert has been involved in Turkish-brokered, back-channel peace talks with Syria for years. Likud and its U.S. allies are determined to sabotage any deal with Damascus that would return the Golan Heights, which Israel conquered in the 1967 war, to Syria. The Likudniks also sought to derail efforts by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter to encourage the Israeli-Syrian talks, and get Israel and the militant Palestinian movement, Hamas, to talk.

Under the purported deal, Israel would return the Golan Heights in exchange for Damascus’ agreement to sever its close links with Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and Hamas. Syria also would grant Israel important water rights. The fate of up to 250,000 Syrian inhabitants driven from Golan remains uncertain.

Israel, backed by the Bush administration, certainly has been using the carrot of a return of Golan to entice Syria away from Iran. But there is also a big stick: Ever-stronger threats of a U.S.-Israeli attack on Syria. Israel’s September attack on Syria was a clear warning.

Cheney and fellow militarists are pushing hard for attacks on Syria, Lebanon and Iran before President George W. Bush leaves office. Neocons have flocked to Sen. John McCain’s banner — in spite of Hillary Clinton’s vow to “obliterate” Iran if it attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. They believe U.S. attacks on Arab states and/or Iran would prove decisive in winning the presidency for McCain this November. A U.S. attack on Syria could well be the first step of a broader air war against Lebanon and Iran.

SYRIAN REACTOR

Meanwhile, Cheney and allies in Congress and the media are also using the Syrian reactor hubbub to undermine efforts by the U.S. state department, a primary hate object for neocons, to implement the nuclear weapons freeze with North Korea. State department boss Condoleezza Rice has run for cover, leaving her chief negotiator with North Korea to twist in the wind.

As the latest furor builds over the nefarious North Korean, we should remember that this scare story comes from the same Washington fib factory that manufactured all the alarms and “evidence” about Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction and links to al-Qaida.

North Koreans are pretty scary, but their nuclear capabilities and the threat they supposedly pose have been exaggerated. South Korea and European intelligence agencies, for example, are cautious about Washington’s claims about North Korea and Syria.

The New York Times revealed last week what this column has long said: The Pentagon has duped Americans and Canadians by organizing a bunch of retired U.S. generals — mislabelled “independent military experts” — to shill for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Watch these rent-a-generals again prostitute themselves on TV by promoting the administration’s party line about the great Syrian nuclear menace.

Eric Margolis is a columnist for the Toronto Sun. His web site is foreigncorrespondent.com.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Evidence-based Bombing By Scott Ritter

US ship confronts boats in Gulf + Iranian Boats shot at by U.S. Navy (video)

An Act Of War – Interview: Seymour Hersh

US rebuked Over Syria Nuclear Case + Syrian Nukes: the Phantom Menace

Syrian ambassador rejects US nuclear charges + The Taming of the Assad (lion) (vids)

Inside Iraq: Media influence on Iraq?

PBS: TV Generals Pentagon Propagandist & It’s Illegal!

Max and the Marginalized: Whose Face Can You Save

NYT on the Pentagon’s Puppets (video)

Pentagon pundits jeopardize America’s Free Press (Action Alert; vid)

Pentagon Propaganda & Antiwar Analysts

Major revelation: US media deceitfully disseminates government propaganda

Evidence-based Bombing By Scott Ritter

Dandelion Salad

By Scott Ritter
ICH
04/26/08 “The Guardian

By publishing intelligence on a possible Syrian nuclear facility, the US has endorsed after the fact Israel’s illegal use of force in attacking it

It looks as if Israel may, in fact, have had reason to believe that Syria was constructing, with the aid and assistance of North Korea, a facility capable of housing a nuclear reactor. The United States Central Intelligence Agency recently released a series of images, believed to have been made from a videotape obtained from Israeli intelligence, which provide convincing, if not incontrovertible, evidence that the “unused military building” under construction in eastern Syria was, in fact, intended to be used as a nuclear reactor. Syria continues to deny such allegations as false.

On the surface, the revelations seem to bolster justification not only for the Israeli air strike of September 6 2007, which destroyed the facility weeks or months before it is assessed to have been ready for operations, but also the hard-line stance taken by the administration of President George W Bush toward both Syria and North Korea regarding their alleged covert nuclear cooperation. In the aftermath of the Israeli air strike, Syria razed the destroyed facility and built a new one in its stead, ensuring that no follow-up investigation would be able to ascertain precisely what had transpired there.

Largely overlooked in the wake of the US revelations is the fact that, even if the US intelligence is accurate (and there is no reason to doubt, at this stage, that it is not), Syria had committed no crime, and Israel had no legal justification to carry out its attack. Syria is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and under the provisions of the comprehensive safeguards agreement, is required to provide information on the construction of any facility involved in nuclear activity “as early as possible before nuclear material is introduced to a new facility”. There is no evidence that Syria had made any effort to introduce nuclear material to the facility under construction.

While the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the global watchdog responsible for the implementation of nuclear safeguards inspections, has pushed for the universal adherence to a more stringent safeguards standard known as the “additional protocol of inspections”, such a measure is purely voluntary, and Syria has refused to sign up to any such expansion of IAEA inspection activity until such time as Israel signs the NPT and subjects its nuclear activities to full safeguards inspections. While vexing, the Syrian position is totally in keeping with its treaty obligations, and so it is Syria, not Israel, that was in full conformity with international law at the time of Israel’s September 6 2007 attack.

The United States and Israel contend that the Syrian-North Korean construction project was part of a covert nuclear weapons programme. However, even the United States admits that the facility under construction in Syria lacked any reprocessing capacity, meaning its utility for producing plutonium for a nuclear bomb was nil. Rather than serving as the tip of the iceberg for a nuclear weapons programme, it seems more likely that the Syrian facility was intended for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Following the same path as Iran, Syria most probably was positioning itself to present the world with a fait acompli, noting that the current US-Israeli posture concerning the regime in Damascus would not enable Syria to pursue and complete any nuclear programme declared well in advance. By building the reactor in secret, Syria would be positioned to declare the completed facility to the IAEA prior to the introduction of any nuclear material, and then hope to hide behind the shield of the IAEA in order to prevent any Israeli retaliation.

But this is all speculation. By bombing the Syrian facility, Israel not only retarded any Syrian nuclear ambition, peaceful or otherwise, but also precluded a full, definitive investigation into the matter by the international community. Perhaps fearful that Syrian adherence to the NPT would underscore its own duplicity in that regard, the Israeli decision to bomb Syria not only allowed the Syrian effort to be defined as weapons-related (an unproven and unlikely allegation), but by extension reinforced the Israeli (and American) contention that the nuclear activity in Iran was weapons-related as well.

The international debate that has taken place about the Syrian facility shows how successful the Israeli gambit, in fact, was, since there is virtually no discussion about the fact that Israel violated international law in attacking, without provocation, a sovereign state whose status as a member of the United Nations ostensibly affords it protection from such assault. The American embrace of the Israeli action, and the decision to produce intelligence information about the nature of the bombed facility at this late stage in the game, only reinforces the reality that the United States has turned its back on international law in the form of arms control and non-proliferation agreements.

The Bush administration seeks to use the alleged Syrian nuclear facility as a lynchpin in making its arguments against not only the Iranian nuclear programme, but also to scuttle the current discussions with North Korea over its nuclear weapons activities. Having embraced pre-emptive war as a vehicle to pursue its unilateral policy of regime change in Iraq (and having sold that conflict based upon hyped-up weapons of mass destruction charges), it should come as no surprise that the Bush administration would seek to support, and repeat, past patterns of behaviour when pursuing similar policies with Syria, Iran and North Korea.

Truth, and the adherence to international law, have never been an impediment to implementation of American policy objectives under the Bush administration.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

US ship confronts boats in Gulf + Iranian Boats shot at by U.S. Navy (video)

An Act Of War – Interview: Seymour Hersh

US rebuked Over Syria Nuclear Case + Syrian Nukes: the Phantom Menace

Syrian ambassador rejects US nuclear charges + The Taming of the Assad (lion) (vids)

US Statement on Alleged Syria Nuclear Links

Syria Statement on US Nuclear Claim

US claims North Korean link to Israeli bombing of Syria (+ video)

Syrian ambassador rejects US nuclear charges (video)

An Act Of War – Interview: Seymour Hersh

Dandelion Salad

By Sarah Brown
ICH
04/25/08 “Al Jazeera

Seymour Hersh, one of the world’s best known investigative journalists, has turned his attention to the mysterious and controversial bombing of a Syrian facility by Israel last year.

Al Jazeera spoke to him about the bombing, why he feels the media failed on the story, and what it means for the Middle East.

Q: Why did Israel bomb a target in Syria?

A: Well I don’t have the answers to that direct question – one thing that is terribly significant is that the Israel and its chief ally the US have chosen to say nothing officially about this incident and that’s what got me interested – whoever heard of a country bombing another one and not talking about it and thinking they had the right somehow not to talk about it?

In 1981 when Israel bombed the Osirak reactor in Iraq they were very noisy and public about it. In this case they said nothing publicly, but after a few weeks they began to leak [information].

They began to tell certain reporters very grandiose sort of stories about what was going on – ships arriving with illicit materials, offloaded by people in protective gear … from a port in the Mediterranean across to the bomb site, commando’s on the ground, soil samples.

And none of it turned out to be true, really, at least I could find no demonstrable evidence for it.

And so I have to say, that if this article I did generates a decision by Israel to go public with its overwhelming dossier that will answer any questions well that’s great … but they have not and [I find awful] the hubris, the arrogance of thinking that you could go commit an act of war by any definition and then say nothing about it.

Syria of course compounded the problem by being hapless and feckless in response. It took them, I think, until October 1, almost four weeks after the incident before the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, acknowledged it had actually been bombed.

Q: Why was Syria’s reaction so muted?

A: I think they’re just hapless. I don’t think they have any idea about the 24 hour news cycle – it’s just unbeknown to them.

So what happened is: A raid takes place, they announced rather quickly there was an intrusion by the Israelis, they initially say after a couple of days that munitions were bombed, then the foreign minister says in Turkey four or five days after the incident that nothing was bombed however, bombs fell but nothing was hit.

Then, three weeks later, the president says: “Oh, well actually a building was destroyed”. You can’t programme something that inept and that’s a reality. They just weren’t very good.

But there are other factors.

Q: Such as North Korea?

A: There were North Koreans, as the Israelis claimed at the site. They were building a facility, it was a military facility, I think my guess would be.

I was told two different things by various people inside Syria.

One said it was perhaps a chemical facility for chemical warfare, another one said more persuasively to me that “no, it was for missiles – short range missiles to be used in case we’re attacked by Israel, we’d respond asymmetrically with missiles.”

Q: Because they figure chemical weapons are of little use against a nuclear power?

A: Yes. They’re incinerated. And I’m told they made that decision much longer ago than we might think.

I’m told they really devalued the use of a chemical warhead, certainly as a deterrent, because the response is nuclear.

Q: Didn’t some of your sources tell you there was evidence to support the theory that the US wanted Israel to test Syria’s air defences because they are similar to those of Iran?

A: In the beginning. This plan was staffed – by that I mean it was staffed by the US joint chiefs of staff, it was staffed by people in the vice president’s office.

The little bit I know about that process was in the summer, months before the mission, there was a lot of talk about doing the mission [and] there was a report in the intelligence community from the Defence Intelligence Agency saying that Syria had dramatically increased the capability of its radar and command control system.

[It said that it had] anti-aircraft radar close or parallel to that now known to be installed in Iran – so this was a way of testing the Syrian radar.

You can walk all over Syria and no-one cares, it’s a small country of 17 million people. But to go into Iran and check out radars by overflying any site, that leads to counter attack.

The Israelis have been overflying with impunity, there’s not much Syria can do and [the Israelis] knew Syria wouldn’t do anything.

So it was initially understood by my friends as a radar operation, it was only after the fact that they learned something else.

It was very hard to get information [in Israel] because they have a bar against speaking and military censorship has been imposed on this issue.

But I did get some people to say to me “Ah, that stuff about radar was [rubbish] – it was never going to happen, that’s a way or a vehicle for us to get in”.

It seems clear from what I’ve learned from my American friends and the Syrians that the Israelis came right in and the only target they had was the one they bombed.

They weren’t looking at any radar site, they just went in and whacked it.

So, then you really get to the next level of questions that I didn’t really deal with in the article because it’s so hypothetical – who authorised it?

Who did they talk to? I mean Israel does not do a raid like this without talking to the White House and I can’t find anybody that knew they were going to hit the facility beforehand.

That could be that just I can’t find it, and if not that doesn’t mean it’s not there, and it could also be that somebody like Dick Cheney, who has done this before, overrode the chain of command.

So in other words, normally all this information about an Israeli attack would soak through to the joint chiefs, but he undercut that process perhaps – he’s done it before in other incidents – but I just can’t tell you for sure what happened here.

Q: Was the raid’s purpose to act as a potential deterrent to Iran?

A: Of course that was the idea for the US, to let the Iranians know that despite the national intelligence estimate “We’re ready to … we have a proxy and the Israelis will go bang for us if we need.”

But of course, for Israel, this whole mission had another point of view.

I think the Israelis were troubled by the North Koreans there [at the site], they were troubled by the building and they thought: “What the hell, whatever it is we’re not going to let them be. We’re going to hit the facility before it gets up, whatever it’s going to be.

If they thought it was nuclear I hope they’ll show us, otherwise they just hit a building that wasn’t done yet.

And the [result] was terrific for them, because it gave Olmert a big jump, a big boost of support

Q: You mean after the war in Lebanon in 2006?

Absolutely. And also it was seen as a message to Bashar Assad, the president of Syria, who the Israelis believe has become cocky after the Hezbollah war because he was a big supporter of Hassan Nasrallah [Hezbollah leader] – he is Assad’s big buddy.

The Israelis thought that they could take him down a peg, and also the message to Bashar Assad is: “So, what’s Iran doing for you now, buddy? We go and pop you in the head and is Iran doing anything?”

And the American press and the international press end up being used on this one [story] in a scandalous way.

Q: On media culpability, this was a big issue in the lead up to the war in 2003 – questionable evidence that supposedly provides a cause for war. Is the media being manipulated again here?

A: The press was feckless on this and credulous and took everything at face value.

For me the US press – I don’t think they’ve come face to face with what happened here…. the newspapers missed without question the biggest moral story of the last decade, which is the illegal road to war in Iraq and we missed it.

And that’s not our job, it’s not our job to miss that, our job is not to listen to the president. There were elements of the same pattern of “kiss-up” going on and that’s very disturbing.

Q: With US elections this year, do you think any foreign policy is going to change with a new president, especially towards Israel, Iran and Syria?

A: Well certainly [it won’t change] with McCain, he’s talking about not even changing the war, which I think is a big mistake.

Somebody I know wrote a wonderful essay making the point that Iraq is a dead body, and David Petraeus, the general, and our ambassador Ryan Crocker they’re the undertakers, and their job is to keep up with the rouge and the makeup on the body for the next six months until we get past the election – that’s their goal.

[On Israel] it’s very hard, you know in America there’s just no questioning. The American Jewish influence is enormous. There’s a lot of money.

I just wish many American Jews would read the Israeli papers – particularly Haaretz – more carefully and they would see there’s really a vibrant criticism of the Israeli government … and you just don’t see that today.

I’m Jewish and I’m not anti-Semitic and I’m not anti-Israel – [Israelis] understand that, just as by the way a lot of Americans don’t understand that many of the leadership of Hamas and others.

Not everyone spends their life there wanting to kill Jews, they’re more willing than people would like to believe to co-exist, they just don’t like the system the way it works now.

Q: What do you think of Bush’s legacy to the world?

He’s done more to terrify the world than anybody I know. The world is so much more dangerous.

I have a very wise friend, born in Syria, who’s a businessman in the West now.

Right after the bombing began in Iraq he said to me: “This war will not change Iraq – Iraq will change you” and so I’ve seen it come and it’s very scary.

It’s very scary to see how things are so fragile right now, nothing going on good in Lebanon nothing going on with Syria nothing going on with Iran … We can’t talk to people we don’t like?

We’ve got to negotiate, it’s the only way we’re going to resolve our problems.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

US rebuked Over Syria Nuclear Case + Syrian Nukes: the Phantom Menace

Syrian ambassador rejects US nuclear charges + The Taming of the Assad (lion) (vids)

US Statement on Alleged Syria Nuclear Links

Syria Statement on US Nuclear Claim

US claims North Korean link to Israeli bombing of Syria (+ video)

Syrian ambassador rejects US nuclear charges (video)

US rebuked Over Syria Nuclear Case + Syrian Nukes: the Phantom Menace

Dandelion Salad

By Al Jazeera and agencies
ICH
04/25/08 “al Jazeera

The head of the UN nuclear monitoring agency has criticised the US for withholding intelligence information that it says showed the construction of a nuclear reactor in Syria.

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), on Friday also hit out at Israel for bombing the site before inspectors could investigate.

Washington alleged that the facility had a military purpose until Israel destroyed it in a bombing raid last September.

The watchdog was critical of both the US and Israel for their handling of the matter.

“In light of the above, the director-general views the unilateral military action by Israel as undermining the due process of verification that is at the heart of the non-proliferation regime,” it added.

The agency said it was taking seriously the allegations that were passed on by the United States on Thursday and will investigate the findings.

“[We] will treat this information with the seriousness it deserves and will investigate the veracity of the information,” it said.

“Syria has an obligation under its safeguards agreement with the IAEA to report the planning and construction of any nuclear facility.”

…continued

***

Syrian Nukes: the Phantom Menace

The Media Falls for Fake News Once Again

By John W. Farley
04/25/08 “Counterpunch

Last September 6, Israel bombed a Syrian building at Dair el Zor. In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, little was said in public, by either Israel or Syria, but later the Israelis started claiming that the Syrians were building a nuclear reactor. On the radio today (April 25), I heard NPR’s Tom Jelton repeat, as if it were undisputed fact, the US. government claim to have “proof” of a Syrian-North Korean nuclear connection. Now I see that AP writers Pamela Hess and Deb Reichmann have a story headlined “White House says Syria ‘must come clean’ about nuclear work,” while ABC news has a video entitled “Syria’s Nuclear Reactor”.

Are the wonderful mainstream media, who gave us Saddam’s mythical Weapons of Mass Destruction, lying to us again? The answer is yes.

Last fall, journalist Laura Rozen spoke with Joseph Cirincione, director of nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress. Cirincione says:

“In attacking Dair el Zor in Syria on Sept. 6, the Israeli air force wasn’t targeting a nuclear site but rather one of the main arms depots in the country. Dair el Zor houses a huge underground base where the Syrian army stores the long and medium-range missiles it mostly buys from Iran and North Korea. The attack by the Israeli air force coincided with the arrival of a stock of parts for Syria’s 200 Scud B and 60 Scud C weapons.”

Cirincione says that there is a small Syrian nuclear research program, which has been around for 40 years and is going nowhere. “It is a basic research program built around a tiny 30 kilowatt reactor that produced a few isotopes and neutrons. It is nowhere near a program for nuclear weapons or nuclear fuel,” he said. Over a dozen countries have helped Syria develop its nuclear program, including Belgium, Germany, Russia, China and even the United States, by way of training of scientists, he said.

So what is really going on here? Cirincione told the BBC that “This appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted ‘intelligence’ to key reporters in order to promote a preexisting political agenda.” The preexisting political agenda may be promoting a war with Syria and/or Iran, or torpedoing negotiations between the US and North Korea. Finally, Cirincione adds ominously “If this sounds like the run-up to the war with Iraq, then it should.”

A big salute to the intrepid Justin Raimundo of the Libertarian website www.antiwar.com, who had this all figured out last October 15. This column is much indebted to Raimundo and Rozen. For ABC, AP, Tom Jelton and National Pentagon Radio, it’s just another day of journalistic infamy.

John W. Farley writes from Henderson, Nevada.

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see

Syrian ambassador rejects US nuclear charges + The Taming of the Assad (lion) (vids)

US Statement on Alleged Syria Nuclear Links

Syria Statement on US Nuclear Claim

US claims North Korean link to Israeli bombing of Syria (+ video)

Syrian ambassador rejects US nuclear charges (video)

A Strike in the Dark – What did Israel bomb in Syria? by Seymour M. Hersh

Seymour Hersh: What did Israel bomb in Syria? (video)

Strong Doubts Israeli Air Strike On Syria Hit Nuclear Complex By Sherwood Ross

Report: IAF knocked out Syria radar during Sept. 6 strike By Yossi Melman

Israel’s Syrian Airstrike Was Aimed at Iran by Gareth Porter

US intelligence does not show Syrian nuclear weapons program, officials say by Larisa Alexandrovna

US Bombed Syria: Report

Why did Israel attack Syria? by Jonathan Cook

Syrian ambassador rejects US nuclear charges + The Taming of the Assad (lion) (vids)

Dandelion Salad

AlJazeeraEnglish
April 24, 2008

After being briefed by American officials, Syria’s ambassador to Washington, Imad Moustapha, has denied US allegations that his country was building a nuclear reactor with help from North Korea.

He spoke to Al Jazeera’s Washington DC presenter, Shihab Rattansi

Continue reading

US claims North Korean link to Israeli bombing of Syria (+ vids)

Dandelion Salad

by Ewen MacAskill in Washington
guardian.co.uk
Thursday April 24 2008

The mystery over the Israeli bombing of Syria took a new twist today when US intelligence agencies showed a video claiming that the target had been a nuclear plant being built with North Korean help.

After seven months of silence and evasion from the Bush administration, the CIA director, Michael Hayden, briefed members of the Senate and House armed services, intelligence and foreign affairs committees, saying his weapons specialists found the evidence compelling.

US officials said today the Bush administration was putting the information out in order to clear the decks before doing a deal with North Korea to dismantle its nuclear programme.

A US official who had seen the video said: “We cannot move forward (on a deal with North Korea) unless you acknowledge we are doing this with our eyes wide open. And we are going ahead with our eyes wide open.”

…continued

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BREAKING! CNN: SYRIA NUCLEAR STUNNER!

VOTERSTHINKdotORG

April 24, 2008
CNN Wolf Blitzer

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

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White House Press Briefing, April 24, 2008

Veracifier

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Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha

VOTERSTHINKdotORG

April 24, 2008
CNN Wolf Blitzer

see

Syrian ambassador rejects US nuclear charges (video)

A Strike in the Dark – What did Israel bomb in Syria? by Seymour M. Hersh

Seymour Hersh: What did Israel bomb in Syria? (video)

Strong Doubts Israeli Air Strike On Syria Hit Nuclear Complex By Sherwood Ross

Report: IAF knocked out Syria radar during Sept. 6 strike By Yossi Melman

Israel’s Syrian Airstrike Was Aimed at Iran by Gareth Porter

US intelligence does not show Syrian nuclear weapons program, officials say by Larisa Alexandrovna

US Bombed Syria: Report

Why did Israel attack Syria? by Jonathan Cook