UN’s Syria Inspection Led By NATO Shill

Yoichi Shimatsu

Instead of a non-politicized investigation and lab analysis, the UN investigation of alleged nerve-gas attacks inside Syria was led by Professor Ake Sellstrom, a man of mystery who keeps a veil of secrecy around his research and political-military relationships.

Sellstrom’s report on Syria for the UN and his prior inspections record in Iraq are dubious, to say the least. In the eyes of laymen, his seeming objectivity and non-partisanship is based on the myth of Sweden’s neutrality. The public assumes – wrongly- that Sweden never takes sides in wars or geopolitical conflicts.

Fraud of Neutrality

This cosmetic veneer of Swedish neutrality has been deftly exploited by Israel and NATO to perpetrate falsehoods throughout Sellstrom’s work for the UN, including denial of the chemical-and-biological causes for “Gulf War Syndrome” and the shipments of U.S. chemical weapons to the Saddam Hussein regime.

The Hans Blix-Ake Sellstrom inspection teams in Iraq did not investigate the special-weapons bunkers that were bombed by American warplanes in the U.S. invasion.

Sellstrom also never made any attempt to probe the U.S.-produced 20-foot-long cannisters of VX nerve gas discovered at Balad Air Base by American National Guardsmen. His mission was not to prove Iraqi guilt but to get Washington off the hook for supplying tons of nerve gas to Baghdad. Saving U.S. officials like Donald Rumsfeld from disgrace and treason charges is far more important to imperial power that disclosing any facts in a theater of war.

The salient critique of the UN inspections in Iraq was made by American inspector Scott Ritter who accused the team of spying for Washington and NATO. The same question hangs over Sellstrom’s report on Syria. Is Sellstrom acting on behalf of Washington and Tel Aviv?

NATO Front Man

What is publicly known about Sellstrom is that the biochemist heads the European CBRNE Center [Center for advanced Studies of Societal Security and Vulnerability, in particular major incidents with (C)hemical, (B)iological, (R)adiological, (N)uclear and (E)xplosive substances], at Umea University in northern Sweden, which is sponsored by the Swedish Defense Ministry (FOI). Though not a NATO member, the Swedish military and police have a leading role in European security affairs as drafters of the repressive 2009 EU action plan based on the Stockholm Counterterrorism Programme.

Major funding for the CBRNE multidisciplinary research projects at Umea comes from the EU budget for the war on terrorism. These projects include: defense strategy for large-scale terrorist attacks (notice the term “relatively large scale” in his just-released Syria report); recommendations for EU medical emergency responses; and specialized training at Umea for experts, including military officers attached to NATO.

Sweden’s military-industrial complex, which includes Saab and Bofors, is anything but peace-loving and neutral. The kingdom’s cloak of neutrality is most useful for Israeli interests, which have exploited Scandinavia’s clean image to skew international policy against the Palestinians and Arab states, as demonstrated in the half-baked Oslo Accords.

Israeli Infiltration of Scandinavia

Umea University is deeply involved in joint research with Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), the Haifa-based university that provides state-of-art technology to the Israel Defense Force (IDF) and its intelligence agencies. Several departments, which are involved in joint Israeli research, participate in multidisciplinary studies at Sellstrom’s CBRNE center. These include: the computer department, which has cooperated with Technion on control systems since 2004; the medical faculty; and chemistry, his own field of studies.

The Israeli-Swedish research cooperation is fostered by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which provides scholarships and awards to bind together the industries and universities of the two countries. This year the State of Israeli is sponsoring the Start Tel Aviv program for expanded cultural ties, in its relentless campaign to subvert Scandinavia. The political agenda and military links behind the bilateral cooperation has prompted an anti-Israel boycott by conscientious Swedish academics.

No Credibility on Syria

The term “relatively large scale” chemical-weapons attack used in the introduction to the UN report on Syria is hyperbole, since any major attack with sarin would have resulted in tens of thousands of fatalities, especially if dispersed by military rockets. The first videos from Ghouta showed residents pouring out of their homes onto the street, gasping for fresh air. If indeed highly efficient rockets had been used, every one of them would have been killed instantaneous. The gassing, therefore, must have been an accidental release indoors, probably from a hidden rebel arsenal.

Chemical residues from the alleged rockets would have been oxidized by the heat of impact and certainly no intact organophosphate traces would be detectable, since sarin is designed to decompose after 20 minutes. Rockets are designed to use a binary system by which two chemical precursors are mixed during mid-air dispersal. Thus, there is no need for stabilizers or dispersants, meaning an absence of any identifying chemicals. The UN inspectors arrived long after the expiration period for sample testing. There is a possiblity also that the site and rocket parts may have been tampered with falsified evidence by the rebels and their foreign military advisers.

The casualty figures are unverifiable, and certainly not any of the videos showed more than a dozen corpses at a time. The scenes of swaddled infants is typical of war propaganda, certainly not believable when only a few faces were visible. The sum effect of these images is closer to theater than credible reporting.

Sellstrom’s strategy is to point fingers of guilt at the Syrian regime, while avoiding all possibility of alternative and more probable scenarios.

Hidden Agenda

American ambassador to the UN Samantha Power made emphatically clear that the “nerve gas used in Syria was more concentrated than the nerve gas in Iraqi.” Her statement should be rephrased as: “Saddam may have trans-shipped U.S.-supplied nerve gas into Syria, but it wasn’t our nerve gas used against Syrian civilians.”

That is the essential point of the Sellstrom report: To take Washington off the hook for being the major supplier of nerve gas precursors, formulations, delivery technology and storage systems to the Middle East, incluing Israel, Egypt, Libya, Iraq and very possibly Syria (during the Clinton era of good will).

The UN report of chemical weapons on Syria lacks basic credibility due to the duplicitous record of its chief inspector, Ake Sellstrom, who is politically and financially compromised at every level. An impartial fact-finding mission of credible international experts is required, but it would have no chance of conducting a fair investigation so long as Washington provides weapons and political support to the insurgency, including its Al Qaeda faction.

The geopolitical objective underlying the White House orchestrated hystrionics over Syria is to strip Damascus of its limited deterrence capability against Israel’s nuclear forces. Nerve gas may not be much of a counter-strike response compared with atomic warheads, but it seems Israel’s goal is absolute strategic supremacy against the Arab states and Iran. With the new UN report on Syria, Tel Aviv is a giant step closer to the dream of rendering all its neighbors defenseless and divided.

Yoichi Shimatsu, a science journalist based in Hong Kong, led a team of investigative reporters for the Japan Times Weekly and served as consultant to Takarajima 30 magazine during the Tokyo subway gassing in 1995.

Israel Still Angling for Attack on Syria and Iran

israel-war-sign-syria

Jonathan Cook

President Barack Obama may have drawn his seemingly regretted “red line” around Syria’s chemical weapons, but it was neither he nor the international community that turned the spotlight on their use. That task fell to Israel.

It was an Israeli general who claimed in April that Damascus had used chemical weapons, forcing Obama into an embarrassing demurral on his stated commitment to intervene should that happen.

According to the Israeli media, it was also Israel that provided the intelligence that blamed the Syrian president, Bashar Al Assad, for the latest chemical weapons attack, near Damascus on August 21, triggering the clamour for a US military response.

It is worth remembering that Obama’s supposed “dithering” on the question of military action has only been accentuated by Israel’s “daring” strikes on Syria – at least three since the start of the year.

It looks as though Israel, while remaining largely mute about its interests in the civil war raging there, has been doing a great deal to pressure the White House into direct involvement in Syria.

That momentum appears to have been halted, for the time being at least, by the deal agreed at the weekend by the US and Russia to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.

To understand the respective views of the White House and Israel on attacking Syria, one needs to revisit the US-led invasion of Iraq a decade ago.

Israel and its ideological twin in Washington, the neoconservatives, rallied to the cause of toppling Saddam Hussein, believing that it should be the prelude to an equally devastating blow against Iran.

Israel was keen to see its two chief regional enemies weakened simultaneously. Saddam’s Iraq had been the chief sponsor of Palestinian resistance against Israel. Iran, meanwhile, had begun developing a civilian nuclear programme that Israel feared could pave the way to an Iranian bomb, ending Israel’s regional monopoly on nuclear weapons.

The neocons carried out the first phase of the plan, destroying Iraq, but then ran up against domestic opposition that blocked implementation of the second stage: the break-up of Iran.

The consequences are well known. As Iraq imploded into sectarian violence, Iran’s fortunes rose. Tehran strengthened its role as regional sponsor of resistance against Israel – or what became Washington’s new “axis of evil” – that included Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

Israel and the US both regard Syria as the geographical “keystone” of that axis, as Israel’s outgoing ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, told the Jerusalem Post this week, and one that needs to be removed if Iran is to be isolated, weakened or attacked.

But Israel and the US drew different lessons from Iraq. Washington is now wary of its ground forces becoming bogged down again, as well as fearful of reviving a cold war confrontation with Moscow. It prefers instead to rely on proxies to contain and exhaust the Syrian regime.

Israel, on the other hand, understands the danger of manoeuvring its patron into a showdown with Damascus without ensuring this time that Iran is tied into the plan. Toppling Assad alone would simply add emboldened jihadists to the troubles on its doorstep.

Given these assessments, Israel and the US have struggled to envision a realistic endgame that would satisfy them both. Obama fears setting the region, and possibly the world, ablaze with a direct attack on Iran; Israel is worried about stretching its patron’s patience by openly pushing it into another catastrophic venture to guarantee its regional hegemony.

In his interview published yesterday by the Jerusalem Post, Michael Oren claimed that Israel had in fact been trying to oust Assad since the civil war erupted more than two years ago. He said Israel “always preferred the bad guys [jihadist groups] who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys [the Assad regime] who were backed by Iran.”

That seems improbable. Although the Sunni jihadist groups, some with links to al-Qaeda, are not natural allies for either the Shia leaders of Iran or Hizbollah, they would be strongly hostile to Israel. Oren’s comments, however, do indicate the degree to which Israel’s strategic priorities are obsessively viewed through the prism of an attack on Iran.

More likely, Israel has focused on using the civil war as a way to box Assad into his heartlands. That way, he becomes a less useful ally to Hizbollah, Iran and Russia, while the civil war keeps both his regime and the opposition weak.

Israel would have preferred a US strike on Syria, a goal its lobbyists in Washington were briefly mobilised to achieve. But the intention was not to remove Assad but to assert what Danny Ayalon, a former deputy Israeli foreign minister, referred to as “American and Israeli deterrence” – code for signalling to Tehran that it was being lined up as the next target.

That threat now looks empty. As Silvan Shalom, a senior government minister, observed: “If it is impossible to do anything against little Syria, then certainly it’s not possible against big Iran.”

But the new US-Russian deal to dispose of Syria’s chemical weapons can probably be turned to Israel’s advantage, so long as Israel prevents attention shifting to its own likely stockpiles.

In the short term, Israel has reason to fear Assad’s loss of control of his chemical weapons, with the danger that they pass either to the jihadists or to Hizbollah. The timetable for the weapons destruction should help to minimise those risks – in the words of one Israeli commentator, it is like Israel “winning the lottery”.

But Israel also suspects that Damascus is likely to procrastinate on disarmament. In any case, efforts to locate and destroy its chemical weapons in the midst of a civil war will be lengthy and difficult.

And that may provide Israel with a way back in. Soon, as Israeli analysts are already pointing out, Syria will be hosting international inspectors searching for WMD, not unlike the situation in Iraq shortly before the US-led invasion of 2003. Israel, it can safely be assumed, will quietly meddle, trying to persuade the West that Assad is not cooperating and that Hizbullah and Iran are implicated.

In a vein Israel may mine later, a Syrian opposition leader, Selim Idris, claimed at the weekend that Damascus was seeking to conceal the extent of its stockpiles by passing them to Lebanon and Iraq.

Obama is not the only one to have set a red line. Last year, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, drew one on a cartoon bomb at the United Nations as he warned that the world faced an imminent existential threat from an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Israel still desperately wants its chief foe, Iran, crushed. And if it can find a way to lever the US into doing its dirty work, it will exploit the opening – regardless of whether such action ramps up the suffering in Syria.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His new website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

Confirmed: No Evidence for U.S. Claims Against Syria

Tony Cartalucci

The Wall Street Journal has confirmed what many suspected, that the West’s so-called “evidence” of the latest alleged “chemical attacks” in Syria, pinned on the Syrian government are fabrications spun up from the West’s own dubious intelligence agencies.

The Wall Street Journal reveals that the US is citing claims from Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency fed to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a repeat of the fabrications that led up to the Iraq War, the Libyan War, and have been used now for 3 years to justify continued support of extremists operating within and along Syria’s borders.

Wall Street Journal’s article, “U.S., Allies Prepare to Act as Syria Intelligence Mounts,” states:

One crucial piece of the emerging case came from Israeli spy services, which provided the Central Intelligence Agency with intelligence from inside an elite special Syrian unit that oversees Mr. Assad’s chemical weapons, Arab diplomats said. The intelligence, which the CIA was able to verify, showed that certain types of chemical weapons were moved in advance to the same Damascus suburbs where the attack allegedly took place a week ago, Arab diplomats said.

Both Mossad and the CIA are clearly compromised in terms of objectivity and legitimacy. Neither exists nor is expected to provide impartial evidence, but rather to facilitate by all means necessary the self-serving agendas, interests, and objectives of their respective governments.

That both Israel and the United States, as far back as 2007 have openly conspired together to overthrow the government of Syria through a carefully engineered sectarian bloodbath, discredits entirely their respective intelligence agencies. This is precisely why an impartial, objective third-party investigation has been called for by the international community and agreed upon by the Syrian government – a third-party investigation the US has now urged to be canceled ahead of its planned military strikes.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

In an email on Sunday, White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice told U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and other top officials that the U.N. mission was pointless because the chemical weapons evidence already was conclusive, officials said. The U.S. privately urged the U.N. to pull the inspectors out, setting the stage for President Barack Obama to possibly move forward with a military response, officials said.

The US then, not Syria, is attempting a coverup, with fabrications in place from discredited, compromised intelligence sources and the threat of impending military strikes that would endanger the UN inspection team’s safety should they fail to end their investigation and withdraw.

The Wall Street Journal also reiterated that the US is planning to fully sidestep the UN Security Council and proceed with its partners unilaterally:

…if the U.S. chose to strike, it would do so with allies and without the U.N., in order to sidestep an expected Russian veto.

The US proceeds now with absolute disregard for international law, all but declaring it has no intention of providing credible evidence of its accusations against the Syrian government. It is a rush to war with all the hallmarks of dangerous desperation as the West’s proxy forces collapse before the Syrian military. Western military leaders must consider the strategic tenants and historical examples regarding the dangers and folly of haste and imprudence in war – especially war fought to protect special interests and political agendas rather than to defend territory.

The populations of the West must likewise consider what benefits they have garnered from the last decade of military conquest their leaders have indulged in. Crumbling economies gutted to feed the preservation of special interests and the growing domestic security apparatuses to keep these interests safe from both domestic and foreign dissent are problems that will only grow more acute.

Outside of the West, in Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran, leaders must consider a future where Western special interests can invade with impunity, without public support, or even the tenuous semblance of justification being necessary.

West in Syria: A Sickening Spectacle

Syrians in Aleppo rally in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

Morning Star

There is little more nauseating than the hypocritical voices of Western imperialism in full flow.

Thus Britain’s Foreign Office condemning the “crimes being committed against the Syrian people” by the government of Bashar al-Assad and the call to “support a peaceful and free future for Syria.”

Britain, like its foreign policy masters in the US Pentagon, is heavily involved in arming the self-styled Free Syrian Army across that country’s northern border with Turkey.

The idea that Ankara’s clerical government is some kind of free agent, arming the Syrian rebels on an Islamic whim, is nonsense.

Turkey has been a front-line Nato state for many decades, formerly threatening the Soviet Union with US-controlled nuclear missiles and now acting as a giant Western air-force base for bombing and invading troublesome Middle Eastern countries.

Turkey’s powerful armed forces are fully committed to this role and are freighting massive arms supplies to the FSA with the full complicity of Britain and the US.

All attempts by UN envoy Kofi Annan to broker a just and peaceful settlement in Syria have been sabotaged.

Western imperialist powers have been stoking an armed rebellion that is currently reducing Aleppo, Syria’s second city and just 50 miles from Turkey, to rubble.

As the population flees the fighting, perhaps they will pause to give thanks to Nato for their “liberation.”

At the same time, the FSA is showing signs of increasing Islamisation, including a pact on the ground with al-Qaida forces, which bodes ill for the Alawites and other Shia, not to mention for women, girls and Christians.

Yet Western spokespersons now lend unqualified support to this armed rebellion and compete to condemn the Syrian regime and military in the harshest terms for seeking to crush the rebels.

One wonders what the response would be in London or Washington DC to an armed rebellion in, say, Birmingham or Los Angeles, fuelled by hostile outside powers.

We know what the response would be in Saudi Arabia or Qatar, which are now among the champions of “a peaceful and free future for Syria.”

They crushed their rebels for religious freedom and democracy with tanks, torture and mass imprisonment.

Naturally, the voices of their Western arms suppliers – notably Britain – were a little muted on that occasion. As we said, nauseating.

Mitt Romney: Bigotry on show

Meanwhile, US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has gone all the way to Tel Aviv to demonstrate how unfit he is to hold the world’s most powerful office.

He congratulated his Israeli hosts on the gulf between their living standards and those of the Palestinian people strangled by Israeli occupation for more than four decades.

Dim-witted arrogant bigots drew similar contrasts between the European settler and Afro-American slave populations in 18th and 19th century US. Indeed, some still do.

As might be expected from a prostitute for the US presidency, Romney promised Israel his full support for its continuing oppression of the Palestinians.

He had nothing to offer the latter, who don’t command many votes in US elections.

Where is the Western support for “a peaceful and free future” for them?

Venezuelan Opposition Promises “Renewal” of Relations with Israel

Venezuelanalysis

Over the weekend, Venezuela’s anti-Chavez minority confirmed reports that one of their own recently met with right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and promised to re-establish ties with Israel if the opposition is somehow successful in this year’s presidential election. Speaking on behalf of the opposition’s socalled Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), Metropolitan Mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma is said to have promised both economic and political rewards in exchange for Israeli support of MUD presidential hopeful, Henrique Capriles Radonski.

Though the MUD have been totally unable to improve their standing in polls which predict a sweeping electoral victory for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez this October 7, Ledezma’s comments in Israel provide a troubling glimpse at wishful opposition thinking in a post-Chavez period.

“SOLIDARITY” WITH ISRAEL?

Though he was in Jerusalem last week for the 28th International Mayors Conference, opposition lawyer and politician Antonio Ledezma took advantage of his publicly-financed trip to meet privately with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as the country’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman. Asked about the closed-door meetings, Ledezma said he had used his time in Israel to spread “the message that the Venezuelan nation has respect for Israel.”

Ledezma told reporters he spoke with Netanyahu and Liberman about “the Venezuelan people’s solidarity with the Jewish community” and, “in addition, our (opposition) disposition to reestablish relations with the State of Israel under a new government presided by Henrique Capriles Radonski.”

“In contrast to the current political policy in Venezuela,” he said, “Capriles will re-establish our historical ties.”

Not needing to say so openly, Ledezma’s reference to “historical ties” includes both the United States and Israel, in contrast to Chavez administration policies favoring relations with the entirety of the Global South, including China, Russia, Iran and Cuba, to name just a few.

Pleased with the opposition spokesman, and in direct reference to the Chavez administration, Israel’s Foreign Minister responded to Ledezma’s comments by stating, “nations in the global village of today need reasonable governments that help encourage cooperation among peoples.”

Guaranteeing an opposition victory, Ledezma added that “our people, who don’t know how to mistreat, who value peace and love for one’s neighbor, mustn’t be confused with the decisions of an intemperate administration which has broken our historical relations and is on its way out.”

The right-wing mayor, who withdrew from opposition primaries for lack of electoral potential, told Israeli media he believed “the opposition’s chances are equal (to Chavez’s) and even greater, mostly because it is bringing a message of renewal to all of Venezuela.” Ledezma added that he hopes “the current government will allow for democratic elections.”

President Chavez, who holds a double-digit lead against Capriles Radonski in every poll taken to date, instructed his government to break relations with Israel after the Israeli military killed some 1,500 Palestinians and wounded another 5,000 during its 2009 siege on Gaza.

At that time, the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release stating that “Israel has repeatedly ignored the calls of the United Nations, consistently and shamelessly violating the resolutions approved by overwhelming majorities of member countries, increasingly placing itself on the margin of international law” and added that “Israel’s state terrorism has cost the lives of the most vulnerable and innocent: children, women, and the elderly.”

During his 3-day trip to Israel, the opposition’s Ledezma made no mention of Israel’s segregationist policies towards the Palestinians, the widely-condemned but ongoing blockade against those in Gaza, nor did he question the inhuman prison conditions currently under international scrutiny as several Palestinian hunger strikers near death.

PROMISING RESOURCES

Late last week, Venezuelan philosopher and TV journalist Miguel Angel Perez Pirela denounced the meeting between Ledezma and the Israeli Prime Minister, calling it “further evidence” of opposition plans to “destabilize” the country. Pirela reminded viewers that MUD spokesmen have now met with former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, with right-wing members of the anti-Chavez community in Southern Florida, and, now, with Israel’s Netanyahu.

Pirela explained that Ledezma spent tax-payer funds to finance his trip to Israel, and used his time in the Middle East to request Israeli support for MUD presidential hopeful Capriles Radonski. In exchange for support, he said, Israel was promised “access to the country’s resources” if the opposition were to somehow take this year’s presidential election.

“He who doesn’t want to see has the right not to; he can joke things off and accuse us of paranoia,” said Pirela, “but this smells rotten.”

“There are strong signs that they [opposition figures] are showing us the exact location from which the bullets will be fired,” he said, suggesting recent opposition meetings in Colombia, Miami, Florida, and Israel are evidence of a larger opposition strategy to destabilize Venezuela with international support.

With respect to Israel, in December 2011 and with no evidence to back his assertions, Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya´alon accused Venezuela of working with Iran to create a “terrorist infrastructure” across the Americas that could be used to “attack the interests of the United States.”

In response to his statements, Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry affirmed, “such abusive and tendentious statements, which come from the representative of a government that itself participates in terrorist attacks against the Arab peoples, are part of a continuous campaign of aggression against our people.”

DEFENDING REVOLUTION

Speaking at a pro-Chavez rally on Friday, Mayor of the Caracas Libertador Municipality and head of the Chavez re-election campaign Jorge Rodriguez denounced the opposition’s international positioning. In the border state of Tachira backing grassroots efforts to re-elect Venezuela’s socialist President, Rodriguez accused Capriles Radonski of traveling to Colombia “to seek advice from known drug trafficker and confessed paramilitary figure, (former President) Alvaro Uribe.”

Rodriguez told those gathered, “the lazy Mayor of Caracas, Mayor Ledezma, recently made his way to Israel and is also meeting with representatives of the extreme right.”

“They’ve already lost hope in winning the election,” Rodriguez affirmed, “but if they try taking the path of destabilization they’ll face the people and homeland, ready to defend the Revolution.”

Anti-Imperialist Syrians Speak Out

Syrian Sovereigntists Oppose Imperialist Destabilization of Their Country

Joshua Blakeney

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had the pleasure of acquainting myself with a segment of the vast Syrian community who oppose the ongoing covert interventions in Syria and who generally think their current government is doing a good job, all things considered. An intrepid citizen journalist named Michelle Robinson drew my attention to a network of marginalized pro-Assad Syrians based in my city of residence, Calgary, Alberta. Whereas most activists in the West have been hoodwinked by the Zionist-influenced media into blindly supporting the broadly defined “Syrian opposition” my fellow Calgarian had the independence of mind to seek out these opposers of the opposition who offered a more nuanced — and in my view reasonable — analysis to the Syrian debacle.

Michelle artfully produced a series of YouTube interviews with these Syrians, many of whom are receiving hostility from well-funded, well-protected Islamist groups which, for ideological reasons, oppose the Assad government and its many supporters. When they call the police to report the death threats they’ve been receiving these Syrians get asked “are you pro-Assad or anti-Assad?” With the Canadian neocon government funding anti-government elements in Syria it is not surprising that these Canadian-Syrians who endorse the Syrian government feel that they are being unjustly treated by the Canadian state and it’s supposed “law enforcement system.” Indeed these Syrian patriots even went so far as to insinuate that the Canadian state was consciously nurturing Islamist groups in order to import the Middle East’s sectarian problems into Canada which would have the effect of making Canadians more likely to view the world through Israel’s anti-Arab spectacles.

I also went to interview these pro-government Syrians at an undisclosed location and was thoroughly moved by their compelling testimony. These Syrian sovereigntists contend that there are reactionary terrorists destabilizing their country at the behest of the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel. These, often non-Syrian, terrorists are being characterized as “human rights activists” by the mainstream media in the West because Israel and its stooges in the US government benefit from a terrorized, factionalized Syria. These Syrians are thus grateful that their government led by President Assad is using the military to weed out the insurgents who are, literally, killing their family members and destroying their nation. They legitimately fear their country degenerating into civil war and internal sectarianism.

All of those I interviewed emphasized the fissiparous nature of Syria, with it’s eighteen different ethnic groups that are unified by the current government led by the largely secular President Assad. Of course, a comparatively secular government that unites disparate ethnic groups and stands up to the Zionist colonizer, that has illegally occupied the Golan Heights since 1967, is anathema to imperialist interventionists.

I have been very skeptical of the so called “opposition protests” I’ve seen taking place here in Calgary and elsewhere in North America. I am skeptical of any protest that gets ubiquitous, positive coverage by the mainstream media as is invariably the case with these pseudo-revolutionary rallies. The pro-government Syrians informed me that while they had been interviewed multiple times by media venues such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, those interviews had not been broadcasted.

The failure of the media to report their majoritarian perspective on Assad and Syria was a real source of contention for them. I was the first journalist they had encountered who actually intended to relate their perspectives to his readers, they told me. One would have thought that those liberal activists who attend the anti-Assad protests in North America and Europe would have felt conflicted by the fact that their perspective was zealously promoted by the same media venues that sold us the war on Iraq, the Israeli genocide of Palestine and a host of other imperialist initiatives.

It appears that many leftist activists who’ve been supporting the reactionaries who are destabilizing Syria have a kind of nihilistic philosophy that “anything is better than the status quo.” They support the reactionaries who are jeopardizing Syrian sovereignty premised on their belief that anything is better than an Arab strongman. Zionist liberals have encouraged us to blame Israel’s enemies for the strife in the Middle East rather than blame the most egregious threat to Middle East peace and stability, namely Israel. Leftists fear being called “anti-Semitic” and so refrain from identifying the imperialist agenda of an ethnic-nationalist apartheid state and instead direct their wroth at one of that state’s last remaining nemeses, President Assad.


Video: Joshua Blakeney Discusses 9/11 and the Plan to Balkanize the Middle East at the University of Victoria

During the Cold War anybody who opposed the Communist camp was supported by the US government and its allies even when those people were right-wing, capitalist restorationists or white pro-apartheid forces that would make things much worse for the inhabitants of communist nations. Many left-anti communists threw their hats in with aristocrats like Vaclav Havel who sought to implement a regime of privatization on nations that had made several strides to move beyond capitalism to a more humane social order. Likewise today Western governments and their liberal apologists are supporting any group, no matter how reactionary, that opposes the only leader who offers an obstacle to US-Israeli imperialism in the Arabic speaking world. And as was the case with left-anti-Communists in the Cold War, left-Zionists are promoting an agenda that will worsen the lot of the ordinary worker in the beleaguered nations.

Many on the left would rightly support Hugo Chavez using his military to restore Venezuelan sovereignty in the event that agents of imperialism were destabilizing Venezuela; why apply a different standard to the Assad government which is using its military to restore peace and order to the working class neighbourhoods that are infested with Mossad and CIA sponsored patsies? Who is selling out the working class Syrian and who is really concerned about their betterment? It would appear that many liberals and Starbucks-sipping revolutionaries have been fooled, yet again, into supporting an imperialist project that will potentially lead to the slaughter of millions of Syrians.

It is well documented that the Israeli government aspires to destabilize the Middle East so as to weaken the Arab states in a divide and conquer policy that would facilitate regional hegemony for Israel. This prerogative to break down the Middle East ensemble into ethno-religious statelets was documented most notably in Oded Yinon’s “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s“. Yinon’s geopolitical analyses evolved into what many scholars have identified as the Sharon Doctrine. In other words this imperialist worldview has its roots in the Likud Party whose leader Bejamin Netanyahu is the the current Israeli Prime Minister. Yinon argued that Israel’s successful divide and rule policy in Lebanon offered a blueprint for a pan-Middle Eastern Israeli foreign policy. Yinon ominously wrote:

“The Western front, which on the surface appears more problematic, is in fact less complicated than the Eastern front, in which most of the events that make the headlines have been taking place recently. Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precendent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unqiue areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi’ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today.”

In his infamous essay Oded Yinon argued that Israel ought to foment sectarianism in the Middle East so as to weaken all potential opponents of Israeli Empire

Jonathan Cook has written a whole book on the subject of Middle East balkanization which is aptly entitledIsrael and the Clash of Civilizations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East. Stephen Sneigoski likewise documents the Israeli plan to balkanize the Middle East in his book. Sneigoski states on page 50 of hisTransparent Cabal: “With Likud’s assumption of power, the most far-reaching militant proposals entered mainstream Zionist thinking, involving militant destabilization of Israel’s neighbours and Palestinian expulsion.”

Having lapped up the moving testimony of the pro-Assad Syrians in Calgary I sought out a new star of the internet, who has adopted the moniker “Syrian Girl”, to hear her analysis of the strife in Syria. Syrian Girl defies so many stereotypes that have been constructed to dehumanize Arabs, Persians, Syrians and many other groups in the Middle East. This dehumanization process is a necessary prerequisite for the premeditated Zionist genocide in the Middle East.

With the precision of a brain surgeon, Syrian Girl, who I am calling the “Flower of Syria”, unpicks the lies and myths which have been propagated by the neocon lie machine. Her analysis is both incisive and inspiring and helps to demystify the Syrian conflict which in turn helps to counter a nefarious Zionist policy that jeopardizes the lives of millions of her fellow countrymen. Syrian Girl is a true philosopher of the struggle for decolonization cut from the same cloth as Frantz Fanon, Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba and Che Guevara. I think we should recognize that Syrian Girl and her fellow Syrian patriots in Calgary are being very courageous by speaking out against the Western-backed sabotage and subterfuge that is taking place in Syria. It is time that left wing activists confront the realities of power and look beyond the liberal window dressing which imperialists decorate their colonial intrigue with.

There was a day when empires cloaked their iniquitous subventions with the moralism of “christianizing the natives.” “Civilizing the natives” was a claim that went hand in hand with the rise of racist social darwinism from which the ideology of Zionism emerged. The emerging Israeli empire and it’s US adjunct slyly and adeptly convinces liberals to support genocide and civil war in the name of “democratization.” “Democratization” is the moral justification for imperialism du jour.

It is quite obvious that the Israeli government hopes the inhabitants of the Middle East will kill each other off sufficiently for Israel to erect a formal empire in the Middle East. Syria is a perfect patchwork of ethnic groups for this divide and rule policy to be prosecuted. Just imagine the false-flags the Mossad are cooking up to build upon those they’ve already been accused of conducting in Egypt’s Coptic churches.

The three part You Tube series of Syrian Girl and I speaking can be seen below.

Syrian Girl and Joshua Blakeney Discuss Imperialism in the Middle East & 9/11 (part one)

Syrian Girl and Joshua Blakeney Discuss Imperialism in the Middle East & 9/11 (part two)

Syrian Girl and Joshua Blakeney Discuss Imperialism in the Middle East & 9/11 (part three)

Also see:
Crimson Satellite Syria News

U.S./Israel Hands Off Iran!

Sanctions punish people, not governments. Long lines for fuel formed in Tehran after rationing was announced by the Iranian government in response to UN-imposed sanctions.

Down with Imperialist Sanctions!

Workers Vanguard (Spartacist League)
NOVEMBER 21—Today’s announcement by the Obama administration of a sharp escalation of economic sanctions against Iran is the latest in a series of belligerent moves by the U.S. imperialists and their Israeli junior partners. The stated purpose of these moves is to stop Iran’s purported attempts to develop nuclear weapons, which the Iranian government has always denied. Taking aim at Iran’s central bank and petroleum industry, the sanctions aim at making the country’s economy scream, threatening to further pummel working people who are already suffering from rampant inflation, widespread unemployment and mounting shortages.

Last year, the Iranian government responded to prior sanctions, which had cut almost 2 percent off the annual growth of Iran’s GDP, by taking an ax to government subsidies of fuel and other essential goods. The price of bread quickly tripled, while gasoline prices shot up fourfold. Now, Washington targets the Iranian Central Bank (ICB) as a “money laundering concern,” while Britain announces it will deny Iran access to the financial hub in London. The imperialists aim to further restrict the ability of countries to pay for Iranian oil and gas, the source of 75 percent of that government’s revenue.

The latest U.S. sanctions come two weeks after a November 8 report by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran. In 2007, the IAEA stated that Iran had dismantled efforts to build an atomic bomb four years earlier. Now, contradicting that conclusion, the same agency coyly speaks of “indications” that “some activities” related to nuclear weapons may have continued after 2003 and “may still be ongoing.”

On November 18, just hours after the IAEA in Vienna adopted a resolution condemning Iran for its alleged nuclear program, the UN General Assembly in New York voted overwhelmingly to demand that Iran cooperate with an investigation into the crackpot story that Tehran had plotted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. The bizarro accusation peddled by Washington is that Iran, using a flaky Iranian American used-car salesman as its agent, tried to hire hitmen from a Mexican drug cartel. (His “contact” turned out to be an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.) The Iranian government cogently compared this fiction to the George W. Bush administration’s concoction of Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” as a pretext to launch the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The UN resolution exemplifies the role of that body as a fig leaf for the pursuit by the imperialists—centrally the U.S.—of their great-power interests, including through naked aggression against semicolonial countries.

The escalating sanctions come as Israeli officials have been whipping up war hysteria and threatening to launch air strikes against suspected nuclear research sites in Iran. Determined to maintain its monopoly on nukes in the Near East, Israel conducted air strikes against Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007. The stakes are much higher in any attack on Iran, which is a significant and historic power in the region.

The news that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu had discussed striking Iran was broken earlier this year by Meir Dagan, the former head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency. In May, Dagan had told the press that a military strike aimed at taking out Iran’s nuclear facilities was “the stupidest thing I ever heard,” and would threaten to push Israel into a “regional war that it would not know how to get out of” (Haaretz, 1 June). Under Dagan, who has plenty of blood on his own hands, Israel tried to thwart Iran’s nuclear program by injecting the Stuxnet computer virus into Iran’s centrifuge system, which enriches uranium, and by carrying out assassinations of scientists as well as a senior commander of Iran’s missile development program.

U.S. president Barack Obama, for his part, has repeatedly rattled his saber at Iran, declaring that he would keep “all options,” including the threat of military attack, “on the table.” Washington recently announced that next year U.S. and Israeli military forces will carry out their largest-ever joint exercises, “simulating the ballistic missile defense of Israel.” Imperialist sanctions and military “options” go hand in hand. Recall that the 2003 war against Iraq, which led to the death of upward of a million Iraqis and unleashed communalist slaughter on a mass scale, was prepared by UN sanctions imposed 13 years earlier that killed 1.5 million people.

The misinformation offensive over Iran’s nuclear program was powerfully exposed by journalist Seymour Hersh in “Iran and the Bomb: How Real Is the Nuclear Threat?” (New Yorker Web site, 6 June). Hersh recalled that the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), a summary of the views of senior officers from all major U.S. intelligence agencies, concluded “with high confidence” that Iran had stopped working toward a nuclear weapon in 2003. Hersh wrote that the original draft of this year’s NIE update, later changed under pressure from the Obama White House, stated that Iran’s supposed earlier nuclear weapons research targeted not Israel or West Europe but Iran’s longtime nemesis Iraq, which Iranian leaders thought at the time was trying to develop nukes. Hersh explained: “The Iranian nuclear-weapons program evidently came to an end following the American-led invasion of Iraq, in early 2003, and the futile hunt for the Iraqi W.M.D. arsenal.”

Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear program is intended solely for peaceful purposes. In fact, in the face of imperialist nuclear blackmail and with continuing military threats, it is entirely rational and necessary for Iran to pursue getting nuclear weapons and adequate delivery systems to deter attack. As the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a major think tank for the U.S. ruling class, admits, nuclear weapons “offer a deterrent capability: unlike Saddam’s Iraq, a nuclear Iran would not be invaded, and its leaders would not be deposed” (“After Iran Gets the Bomb: Containment and Its Complications,” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2010).

U.S. Imperialist Terrorists

In the event of any military attack by the U.S. or by Israel on Iran, working people and the oppressed internationally must not be neutral but must take a clear side with Iran. As Marxists, we do not give an iota of political support to the reactionary Islamic regime in Iran. But it is the nuclear-armed U.S. imperialists who are the main enemy of the world’s working people and oppressed.

It was the U.S. that incinerated some 200,000 Japanese people in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The U.S. ruling class that is today threatening Iran is the same obscenely rich capitalist class that gorges itself on profits while busting unions, throwing millions out of work, slashing social services, destroying health care and stealing pensions—attacks that hit particularly hard at the black masses segregated at the bottom of society. In opposing the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and other imperialist adventures, we raise the call for class struggle at home, promoting the understanding of the need to mobilize the proletariat to sweep away the murderous imperialist order through socialist revolution.

Although the Obama administration is seeking—at least for now—to rein in Israel and head off an immediate military attack on Iran, support for such an action has been growing within U.S. ruling circles, and not only in Wall Street Journal editorials and the speeches of Zionist neocons. A sign of the broader “bomb Iran” sentiment was an exchange between strategists for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), which includes former officials from both Democratic and Republican administrations, and others from the Council on Foreign Relations.

CFR spokesmen argued in Foreign Affairs (March/April 2010) that, in the event Iran succeeded in developing nukes, the U.S. should threaten to attack with any means, “including nuclear weapons,” if Tehran crossed certain “redlines,” such as “initiation of conventional warfare against other countries” or “stepped-up support for terrorist or subversive activities.” Initially, the CSBA authors argued a more restrained line of keeping up the current policy of sanctions and military pressure (Foreign Affairs, January/February 2011). Yet one day after the November 8 IAEA report, the same CSBA authors posted a statement online titled: “Why Obama Should Take Out Iran’s Nuclear Program: The Case for Striking Before It’s Too Late.”

It takes some chutzpah for the U.S. rulers, echoed by imperialist Britain and France, to rail against Iran possibly acquiring nuclear weapons. The U.S. capitalists possess enough nuclear firepower to destroy humanity many times over. The atomic bombing of Japan, which was ultimately meant as a warning to the Soviet Union, epitomized the role of the U.S. rulers as the greatest menace to the workers and oppressed the world has known. That act of imperialist barbarism has been followed by a long line of wars and military operations, from Korea and Vietnam—where the U.S. failed to reverse social revolutions—to Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya more recently. The destruction of the Soviet degenerated workers state by capitalist counterrevolution two decades ago removed what had been the chief military and diplomatic obstacle to the imperialists’ pursuit of their global ambitions.

The U.S. funnels billions in aid every year to Zionist Israel, whose existence is predicated on the displacement and brutal oppression of the Palestinian people. The Zionist rulers have transformed Gaza into a concentration camp for Palestinians, surrounded by an electric fence, a wall and the Mediterranean, while forcibly ghettoizing the West Bank Palestinians as well. Surrounded by Arab populations, Israel’s rulers consider themselves to be in a permanent state of war and have repeatedly shown their willingness to use military force.

Israel got its start as a nuclear-armed power with the aid of France, which in 1958 built the reactor for the Dimona nuclear facility in the Negev desert. The U.S. subsequently provided support for Israel’s nuclear program while shielding it from international scrutiny, helping to maintain a veil over the extent of Israel’s stockpile of nukes. In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at Dimona, pulled back the veil, revealing that Israel had acquired an arsenal of some 200 nuclear warheads. For his heroic exposure of the scope and scale of Tel Aviv’s doomsday machine, which targeted the USSR as well as nations in the Near East, Vanunu was convicted of treason and sentenced to 18 years in prison, eleven of those spent in solitary confinement. Forbidden to leave Israel since his release in 2004, Vanunu was twice again arrested and imprisoned. The vindictive Zionist rulers want him forever silenced, but the working class internationally will be forever in Vanunu’s debt.

Mounting Pressure Against China

Increasing belligerence toward Iran comes as the U.S. is preparing to withdraw almost all of its troops from Iraq and draw down its forces in Afghanistan, while strengthening its position elsewhere in the region. The U.S. is reportedly planning to beef up its military contingent in Kuwait, while reinforcing its naval presence in the Persian Gulf. The Obama administration is also looking to negotiate a stronger military alliance with the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, dominated by Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the U.S. and Turkey have announced the placement of an American anti-missile radar system on Turkish territory, 435 miles from Iran, by the end of the year.

Chief among U.S. rulers’ concerns in redirecting their forces is pursuing the military encirclement of China, the largest and most powerful of the remaining bureaucratically deformed workers states. In the name of fighting “terrorism,” the U.S. has in the past decade enhanced its military presence in the Philippines and resumed open military relations with Indonesia, in addition to establishing bases in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Washington has also strengthened military ties with the Japanese imperialists and continues to buttress capitalist Taiwan. Last week, Commander-in-Chief Obama announced plans to deploy 2,500 marines to Darwin in northern Australia as a move to counter China.

Capitalism was overthrown in China by the 1949 Revolution. Today, despite major inroads by both foreign and indigenous capitalists, the core elements of China’s economy remain collectivized. Ultimately, the U.S. imperialists aim to restore capitalist rule in China, and for this they have a multipronged strategy: capitalist economic penetration combined with military pressure and support to domestic counterrevolutionaries, such as the “Free Tibet” movement. It is vital for the international proletariat to stand for the unconditional military defense of China and the other deformed workers states—Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and Laos—against imperialism and internal counterrevolution. Thus, we support the testing and development of nukes and delivery systems by North Korea and China.

China is highly dependent on the flow of Iranian oil—in 2009, Iran ranked as China’s second largest oil provider. Despite this fact, the Stalinist regime in Beijing supported all four previous rounds of UN sanctions directed against Iran, a measure of the Stalinist bureaucracy’s futile strivings for “peaceful coexistence” with the imperialists. In the interest of its economic relationship with the U.S., the Beijing bureaucracy has also embraced the imperialists’ “war on terror.” Through its appeasement of imperialism and opposition to the program of world socialist revolution, the nationalist Stalinist bureaucracy undermines the defense of the workers state. It is necessary for the Chinese proletariat to carry out a political revolution to oust the Stalinist misrulers and establish a regime based on workers democracy and revolutionary internationalism.

Anti-Imperialism Abroad Means Class Struggle at Home

The working people of Iran have a long history of subjugation by the imperialists and bloody suppression by their “own” rulers. In 1953, after the modernizing nationalist regime of Mohammad Mossadeq tried to nationalize Iran’s oil fields, the CIA staged a coup, installing Shah Pahlevi and propping up his savage rule for 25 years. In 1979, in a “revolution” hailed by almost the entire left internationally, the Islamic hierarchy under Ayatollah Khomeini seized power, going on to crush struggles by workers, women and oppressed national minorities. Women were segregated from society under sharia law and forced to don the sweltering head-to-toe veil; workers organizations were smashed; leftists were jailed and executed. Uniquely, our organization, then known as the international Spartacist tendency, championed the proletariat’s class interests against the forces of Islamic reaction. Our battle cry was: “Down With the Shah! Don’t Bow to Khomeini! For Workers Revolution in Iran!”

Today, Iran is again a cauldron of discontent, with the working people, youth and women suffering privation and chafing under the mullahs’ rule. The multinational Iranian working class, leading all the oppressed behind it, must overthrow the Persian-chauvinist, clericalist regime. Key to this perspective is the forging of a Leninist workers party in Iran. Such parties must be built throughout the Near East in struggle against all forms of fundamentalism and nationalism. In Egypt, where there has been a new outburst of mass opposition to military rule, the working class must emerge as a contender for power in its own right, against both the army and the powerful, reactionary forces of political Islam. In Israel, where recent popular struggles against economic privation have helped reveal the class divisions that define that society, Zionism continues to chain the overwhelmingly Jewish proletariat to its class enemy (see “U.S./Israel Tighten Screws on Palestinians,” WV No. 988, 14 October).

The International Communist League fights for a socialist federation of the Near East, necessarily linked to the struggle to sweep away the rapacious imperialist rulers in the U.S. and elsewhere through workers revolutions. Imperialist subjugation, military occupations and war are endemic to capitalism in its death agony, and can only be fought through a struggle against the entire system of exploitation and oppression. The Spartacist League/U.S. is committed to building a multiracial workers party that breaks the political chains tying the working class to its “own” exploiters, particularly the labor bureaucracy’s support to the Democrats. Such a party is the necessary instrument to lead the struggle for workers power to victory in the heartland of world imperialism.