Posts Tagged ‘White House’

The economic mess and structural problems in EU and USA – Part 2

23 januari, 2013

This is the second part about USA. Again, It ain’t pretty to say the least!

Where the same absurd Alice in Wonderland economic and political farce is playing out in the USA. And as in Europe it is, as usual, the common people who are paying the price.

And as in Europe, the US crisis is anything but over regardless of what the political elites are trying to tell the people in USA. In USA the role of ECB is played by the FED (the Federal Reserve), which creates money out of “thin air” to support the gigantic and increasing debt. And to keep the stock market going and lower the price of the dollar.

So that the federal US government can spend your tax money like a drunken sailor.

(See my posts:                                      

The US election – Yes we have NO bananas

How Obama loves the poor SOOO MUCH, especially the black, that they have had the largest single drop in income ever

In three graphs – Obama Economics)

All graphs get bigger when you click on them

USA_jobs2

                                                 USA

In USA, Goldman Sachs and the other investment banks, plus the big Hedge Funds, are pushing leverage to ridiculous and dangerous extremes.

If you read the Comptroller of the Currency, Administrator of National Banks, report for the second quarter 2012 “Quarterly Report on Bank Trading and Derivatives Activities”, you get utterly horrified of the totals of the open derivatives positions in the US market.

Four of the largest U.S. banks are walking an extreme tightrope of risk, leverage and debt when it comes to derivatives.  Below you are going to find just how utterly exposed they are.

But first what is leverage?

Most people do not understand “leverage” and what it actually means. If they did, they would not sleep at night knowing what’s going on right now.

To put it simple: leverage means that these banks etc use a leverage of say 1:50 or 1:100 in their speculations. Which means that they only put up 1 of their own dollars for an investment worth 50 or 100 dollar. Their dollars are “worth” 50 or 100 times more than they actually are.

It ALSO means that IF “things” goes wrong way they LOSE 50 or 100 dollars for every dollar they invested in that trade or position. Or much, much more.

And usually when things goes wrong, it goes very fast when it comes to trading with these kind of leverages. So very quickly, these sums get astronomical. In a couple of days they can literally lose ALL their capital and more.

Nov deficit

 This has happened time and time again. Just to mention a few:

–         Lehman Brothers (was the 4th largest inv. bank in the US).

–          Bear Stearns

–          American International Group

–          Northern Rock (a medium-sized British bank)

–          Washington Mutual

–          American Savings and Loan

–          Landsbanki and Glitnir

–          Barings Bank

–          Société Générale

–          JP Morgan Chase & Co

–          Morgan Stanley

–          Long-Term Capital Management L.P. (LTCM)

As I said before, this is JUST A VERY SHORT LIST

Avalanche

This would not per se be a problem if this were a truly free and capitalist market. Because then these banks would go bankrupt and the owners and investors would lose their money. As they are supposed to do if the do bad business or trades.

But as we all know, this is NOT a free and capitalist market.  Our “dear” politicians have “decided” that these banks with all their wild speculations are too important or to big, to be allowed to fail.

 So instead, they have used taxpayer’s money and put whole countries at risk and in extreme debt just to bail out these banks.

And the banks knows that whatever speculations they do, REGARDLESS of how much or bad they speculate, and as you can see below their speculations are horrific, the politicians are going to bail them out with our tax money.

JP Morgan Chase

Total Assets: $1,812,837,000,000 (just over 1.8 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $69,238,349,000,000 (more than 69 trillion dollars)

 Citibank

Total Assets: $1,347,841,000,000 (a bit more than 1.3 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $52,150,970,000,000 (more than 52 trillion dollars)

Bank Of America

Total Assets: $1,445,093,000,000 (a bit more than 1.4 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $44,405,372,000,000 (more than 44 trillion dollars)

Goldman Sachs

Total Assets: $114,693,000,000 (a bit more than 114 billion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $41,580,395,000,000 (more than 41 trillion dollars)

To sum up – TOTAL EXPOSURE TO DERIVATES for ONLY these four banks:

 207, 375, 086, 000, 000 TRILLION DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!

TOTAL ASSETS for these four banks:  4,720,464,000,000 TRILLION DOLLARS

So they can “cover” 2,27 % of the Total Exposure with ALL their Assets!

So who is going to pay for the “rest”:  202, 654, 622, 000, 000  TRILLION DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!! if anything goes wrong?

EmployRecNov2012

Well, we know the answer to that doesn’t we. So far, it’s the common people, i.e. the taxpayers, who had to cover for all the banks bad speculations thanks to our dear politicians.

Take another look at those figures for Goldman Sachs.  If you do the math, Goldman Sachs has total exposure to derivatives contracts that is more than 364 times greater than their total assets!

That is utter insanity, but everyone just keeps pretending that the emperor actually has clothes on.

And why are “our” politicians SO EAGER to protect these speculators?

To put these GIGANTIC sums into perspective lets compare with the GDP from USA and all of EU from 2011

There a lot of different way to calculate GDP and the figures for each year. Add to that exchange fluctuations, conversion rates etc. So the figures below comes from the same source (IMF) to make the comparison easier.  And it is their conversion.

GDP USA 2011 – 15,094,025 billion US dollars

GDP EU 2011 –  17,610,826 billion US dollars

Total GDP for EU and USA 2011: 32,704,851 billion US dollars.

Lets compare these 32,704,851 billion US dollars with TOTAL EXPOSURE TO DERIVATES for  these four above mentioned banks:

207, 375, 086, 000, 000 TRILLION DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!

VS

32,704,851 billion US dollars in COMBINED GDP of EU and USA

Anyone see any problem???

Problem solved all right. So just move on, nothing to notice here or worry about.

Because according to out “dear” politicians, bankers and political elites from EU and USA there is NO SERIOUS PROBLEM HERE. The problems in USA and EU are more or less solved etc.

So the ones that put as in the mess in the first place, very “reassuringly” tells us: “We take care of it”.

Yeah sure!

mrzSpendaholic2

Let’s move on to another “bright spot” –the federal budget and debt. The figures are based on the 2012/2013 data:

2012 US Tax Revenue: $2,469,000,000,000

2012 Federal budget: $3,796,000,000,000

2012 Budget deficit: $1,327,000,000,000

US Federal Debt as of January 22, 2013: $16,471,084,067,491

Total interest paid on the debt in 2012: $359,796,008,919

Budget INCREASE between 2012 and 2013: $38,500,000,000

mrzWhat is the

To make these gigantic sums understandable here is how these figures would look like for a “normal” family:

Annual family income: $24,690

Annual family expenses: $37,960.  154% of the annual family income.

Annual family shortfall borrowed from friends/neighbors etc: $13,270.  54% of the annual family income.

Total interest the family paid last year: $3,598 (at near 0% interest).  Nearly 15% of the annual family income

Total family debt (mortgage, auto, credit card): $164,471.This is   666% of the annual family income.

Change in family spending this year: an increase of $385

This looks like a very responsible family wouldn’t you say?

And do you think this family would get any loans from the banks?

When you look at it this way, it really seems absurd. Yet it’s true… a slow motion train wreck. That any person with more than one functioning brain cell can see coming miles away.  Except our “dear” politicians. They are in ACTUAL FACT increasing the spending AND the debt.

Foodstamps%20Oct

Here’s another way to look at the debt ceiling I found in a paper. It’s very symptomatic:

Let’s say you come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your neighborhood… and your home has sewage all the way up to your ceilings.

What do you think you should do?

Raise the ceilings, or remove the crap?

Well, or “dear” politicians are franticly at an increasing speed trying to raise the ceiling at the same time as the “sewage” is increasing EVEN MORE.

Yeap, there you have politicians in a nutshell.

Why fix the problem that they themselves caused, when the politicians can pretend that they are the giver of all gods and bearer of all gifts to all the people all the time.

And it doesn’t cost anything for anybody. It’s ALL free forever. And they all lived happily ever after.

Sounds like a wonderful fairytale doesn’t it?

On that “cheerful” note, I stop here.

mrzOur children

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The US election – Yes we have NO bananas

8 november, 2012

I could talk at length of the different aspects of this election and the result. But I will not. That would require a long essay. And that is for another time. So it’s just going to be a quick comment (well sort of), and follow up to my post The betrayal of journalism and the first amendment by the mainstream media in USA

It is a very sad day indeed to see a people voluntarily decide to throw themselves and their country over the cliff.

Let’s look at the economy (the figures are from the Congressional Budget Office):

In the Fiscal Year 2011, the federal government collected $2.303 trillion in tax revenue. Interest on the debt that year totaled $454.4 billion, and mandatory spending totaled $2,025 billion. In sum, mandatory spending plus debt interest totaled $2.479 trillion –. exceeding total revenue by $176.4 billion.

(Mandatory spending includes entitlements like Medicare, Social Security etc. which are REQUIRED by law to be paid. Congress in practical terms do not see this money, it is automatically deducted.)

For the Fiscal Year 2012, which just ended 37 days ago, that deficit increased 43% to $251.8 billion.

In other words, they could cut the entire Federal Government’s discretionary budget – No military, SEC, FBI, EPA, DHS, IRS, etc.- and they would still be in deficit by a quarter of a trillion dollars.

(Discretionary spending includes nearly everything we think of related to government- the US military, the Department of  Homeland Security, IRS, EPA etc.)

The only thing showing any growth in the US, besides the debilitating regulatory burdens, is the national debt. It took over 200 years for the US government to accumulate its first trillion dollars in debt. It took just 286 days to accumulate the most recent trillion (to $16 trillion).

Last month alone, the first month of Fiscal Year 2013, the US government accumulated nearly $200 billion in new debt in just 31 days.

And the numbers will only continue to get worse. 10,000 people each day begin receiving mandatory entitlements. Fewer people remain behind to pay into the system. The debt keeps rising, and interest payments will continue to rise even more. In addition, the dollar is going to decline.

The result, the US government is legally bound to spend more money on mandatory entitlements and interest than it can raise in tax revenue. It will not make any difference how high the federal, state or local government raise taxes, or even if they cut everything.

Another effect of Obama economics is that the poor are getting poorer, especially the black.  Under Obama the poorest Americans has suffered the single largest drop in income ever.

And the Black Americans in the same lowest income quintile have suffered almost double as the average American in the same quintile under Obama:

The drop is – 11.58% in one year (2010) and is at the lowest level ever.

That’s what I call “change”! But I would not call it “hope”.

And the number of people classified as poor are getting larger and larger.

See also my posts

How Obama loves the poor SOOO MUCH, especially the black, that they have had the largest single drop in income ever

In three graphs – Obama Economics

America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 10

America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 9

America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 8

America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 7

America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 6

America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 5

America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 4

America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 3

America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 2

America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 1

Why, Mr President, are you deliberately destroying the American way and committing economic harakiri?

And then of course we have the very disastrous Obama Care.  I wrote 34 posts about it. You can read them here:

Obama Care 34 – Which system do YOU thinks works best?

Obama Care 33 – President Obama is a willful and certified liar

Obama Care 32

Obama Care 31

Obama Care 30

Obama Care 29

Obama Care 28

Obama Care 27

Etc…

Obama Care

Then on top of that, we have the equally disastrous foreign policy. Where the Obama administration systematically have thrown their former allies (Eastern Europe, Britain, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia  etc) under the bus, and helped parties like the Muslim Brotherhood that hate everything that USA and the western world stands for, to power.

See my 19 posts on Syria etc as some examples of that disastrous foreign policy:

How the Assad regime with the help of Russia, Iran, China and Hezbollah transformed peaceful protester to fighters

Here is links to all my posts

Russia’s solution for Syria – More Carpet bombing and Total Destruction

I could go on with many more examples but I think I will stop here.

But as the old saying goes (Joseph de Maistre in a letter from St Petersburg August 1811): a country has the politicians/government that they deserve.  So enjoy!

In addition,  this quote from a reader’s commentary in The Prager Zeitung in March 2010 (translated from Czech) sums it up quite well really:

Multitude of Fools

The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.

The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of  fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool.

It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.“

P.S. If you are wondering about the title, see this video with music by Spike Jones. There is another long story behind the lyrics but that you have to find out yourself. D.S.

Spike Jone – yes we have no bananas

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT6JkceQ9FU

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The betrayal of journalism and the first amendment by the mainstream media in USA

2 oktober, 2012

“But all I want to conclude to this is that we face a fundamental danger here.  The fundamental danger is this: I talked about the defense of the First Amendment.  The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power.  When they desert those ramparts and decide that they will now become active participants, that their job is not simply to tell you who you may vote for, and who you may not, but, worse—and this is the danger of the last two weeks—what truth that you may know, as an American, and what truth you are not allowed to know, they have, then, made themselves a fundamental threat to the democracy, and, in my opinion, made themselves the enemy of the American peopleAnd it is a threat to the very future of this country if that—we allow this stuff to go on.  We have crossed a whole new and frightening slide on the slippery slope this last two weeks, and it needs to be talked about.“

An excellent summary by democrat Pat Caddell on the very sad state of “journalism” in America. And the utter betrayal by the mainstream media (press, TV and radio) of their role as journalists and protector of the first amendment.

Pat Caddell is a lifelong democrat and worked for the McGovern campaign. He also worked on the Jimmy Carter campaign, for Gary Hart, for Joe Biden, and Jerry Brown. 

He was their election strategy and pollster man.

Pat Caddell is also the founder of Cambridge Survey Research, a public opinion pollster, and an expert in analyzing public opinion.

He has also worked as a consultant to various movies, TV shows, and documentaries etc.

And this is nothing new.  We have seen so many different examples of this betrayal of journalist in their role as journalist.  In this blog, I have given many examples when it comes to the Global Warming Hysteria.

Where the “journalists” and the mainstream media ACTIVELY choose to become propagandists and his master’s voice. Even worse, they ACTIVELY became attack dogs and tried to suppress and oppress EVERY dissenting voice and protest.

This is the ultimate betrayal of ALL what journalism is supposed to be. And the role they are supposed to play in a “free society”.  Goebbels, and Ilya Ehrenburg (his soviet counterpart), would be REALLY PROUD of these men and women!

As I have told you before, I am a former journalist. But I quite in disgust because of what was going on. And this was way back. And compared to now it was as kindergarten then.

And to confirm the total incompetent Romney campaign, including the republican party establishment handling of it, Romeny said on Wednesday:

As if to prove this point, Mitt Romney has now told Jan Crawford of CBS News that the major media are not in the tank for Obama and that he has no plans to challenge liberal media bias.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57521036/romney-obama-engaged-in-character-assassination/

“Later, Crawford asked Romney if the mainstream media is ”in the tank for President Obama,” as many conservatives allege.

”Well, I think we have a system of free press, people are able to provide their own perspective based on their own beliefs, I think there’s some people who are more in my camp, there’s a lot of people who are more in his camp, and I don’t worry about that,” Romney responded.”

And the headline for this news story: is ironically – Romney: Obama engaged in ”character assassination”

But Romney is not worried

Well, it is no surprise since one of the chief architects of the strategy behind the campaign is Karl Rove. The strategy is to be “nice”, to be cautious, no attacks and no confronting the biased media.

In the meantime, Romney is being slaughtered in crucial states by the “not so nice” attack ads and a merciless campaign by Obama.

If you look at the key 11 swing states (hold 146 Electoral College votes) won by President Obama in 2008 and thought to be competitive in 2012. In 2008, Obama won these swing states by a combined margin of 53% to 46%, virtually identical to his national margin.

In one month from the beginning of September until today, Obama has gone from 44-45% to 50-51%.

Romney has gone from 46% to 45%.

From roughly even to a 5-6% lead by Obama according to the Rasmussen  Daily Swing State Tracking Poll. That’s the biggest lead Obama has had in a long time. We have to go back to the end of February this year to find similar figures when Obama topped at 50%.

I will not bother you with a lengthy analysis of the incompetent Romney campaign, and the republican party establishments hiring of the wrong people.

Just two quick examples:

Ed Gillespie, who Pat Caddell talked about, is a senior advisorto the Romney campaign. He started a lobbying firm with former Clinton White House counsel Jack Quinn, responsible for the pardon of Marc Rich, among other things.

Gillespie will make money no matter what happens on this Election Day. Or the next election. Etc. So do you think he is very much concerned about the media bias problem and who is really winning the race?

Another is his communications director and longtime aide Eric Fehrnstromon. Now famous for his comment to CNN in March, saying that Romney was in realty an “Etch A Sketch” man.

http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2012/03/21/exp-point-fehrstrom-romney-two.cnn

Implying that he has no firm believes, policies and positions. You can take whatever he says and you can shake it up and it will be gone and he is going to draw a completely new picture.

With “senior advisers” like this who needs enemies.

As a side not, the Swedish government has invited this Karl Rove several times for political and election advice.

They really know how to pick them!

In addition, they pay big (taxpayers) bucks for it too.

Pat Caddell  September 21– “The Audacity of Corruption”

The text of the speech:

Thank you.  Glad to be with you.  This could take a long time, but we don’t have that, so let me just get right to this.  I think we’re at the most dangerous time in our political history in terms of the balance of power in the role that the media plays in whether or not we maintain a free democracy or not.  You know, when I first started in politics – and for a long time before that – everyone on both sides, Democrats and Republicans, despised the press commonly, because they were SOBs to everybodyWhich is exactly what they should be.  They were unrelenting.  Whatever the biases were, they were essentially equal-opportunity peopleThat changed in 1980.  There’s a lot of reasons for it. It changed—an important point in the Dukakis-Bush election, when the press literally was trying to get Dukakis elected by ignoring what was happening in Massachusetts, with a candidate who was running on the platform of “He will do for America what he did for Massachusetts”—while they were on the verge of bankruptcy.

Also the change from evening news emphasis to morning news by the networks is another factor that’s been pointed out to me. Most recently, what I call the nepotism that exists, where people get jobs—they’re married to people who are in the administration, or in politics, whatever.  But the overwhelming bias has become very real and very dangerous.  We have a First Amendment for one reason.  We have a First Amendment not because the Founding Fathers liked the press—they hated the press—but they believed, as [Thomas] Jefferson said, that in order to have a free country, in order to be a free people, we needed a free press.  That was the job—so there was an implicit bargain in the First Amendment, the press being the only institution, at that time, which was in our process of which there was no checks and balances.  We designed a constitutional system with many checks and balances.  The one that had no checks and balances was the press, and that was done under an implicit understanding that, somehow, the press would protect the people from the government and the power by telling—somehow allowing—people to have the truthThat is being abrogated as we speak, and has been for some time.  It is now creating the danger that I spoke to.

This morning, just this morning, Gallup released their latest poll on the trust, how much trust—the Congressman [Lamar Smith] made reference to an earlier poll—when it comes to reporting the news accurately, fairly, and fully, and it’s the highest in history.  For the first time, 60% of the people said they had “Not very much” or “None at all.”  Of course there was a partisan break: There were 40% who believed it did, Democrats, 58% believed that it was fair and accurate, Republicans were 26%, Independents were 31%.  So there is this contempt for the media – or this belief—and there are many other polls that show it as well.  I want to just use a few examples, because I think we crossed the line the last few weeks that is terrifying.

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece which was called “The Audacity of Cronyism  in Breitbart, and my talk today is “The Audacity of Corruption.”  What I pointed out was, that it was appalling that Valerie Jarrett had a Secret Service detail.  A staff member in the White House who is a senior aide and has a full Secret Service detail, even while on vacation, and nobody in the press had asked why.  That has become more poignant, as I said, last week, when we discovered that we had an American ambassador, on the anniversary of 9/11, who was without adequate security—while she still has a Secret Service detail assigned to her full-time, at a massive cost, and no one in the media has gone to ask why.

The same thing: I raised the question of David Plouffe.  David Plouffe, who is the White House’s Senior Advisor—and was Obama’s campaign manager last time, he and [David] Axelrod sort of switched out, Axelrod going back to Chicago for the campaign—and just after it was announced that he was coming, an Iranian front group in Nigeria gave him $100,000 to give two speeches in Nigeria.  Now, let me tell you: There’s nobody that hands—no stranger gives you $100,000 and doesn’t expect something in return, unless you live in a world that I don’t.  And no one has raised this in the mainstream media.  He was on with George Stephanopoulos, on ABC, a couple of weeks ago, and they were going through all these questions.  No one asked him whatsoever about that.  He was not inquired.  George Stephanopoulos, a former advisor to Bill Clinton—who every morning, while Rahm Emmanuel was Chief of Staff, had his call with Rahm Emmanuel and James Carville, and the three of them have been doing it for years—and he is held out as a journalist.  He has two platforms.  I mean, he’s a political hack masquerading as a journalist.  But when you don’t ask the questions you need to ask of someone like David Plouffe, who’s going in the White House—when we’re talking about Iran. I just finished  surveys , some of you may have seen, with John McLaughlin this week, with Secure America Now , and found out just how strongly Americans are concerned with Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, what’s happening in the Middle East, and cuts in defense spending.  This is not the place for that, but it strikes me as the American people identify, in the polling we’ve done over the last year, Iran as the single greatest danger to the United States.  And here’s a man who’s being paid by an already named front group for that—for a terrorist regime, and is not asked about it, or queried about it!

The third thing I would say is that—then there’s of course [National Security Advisor] Tom Donilon, who I know very well from years back, who I caused a little bit of a stir over a few months ago when I said he was the “leaker-in-chief.”  I mean this ridiculous running around—“How did these secrets get out?”—when it is clear he has no credentials for foreign policy; who has been in the White House; who was a political operative for Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter, and others; who was known to have, in my opinion, to be just the most amoral person I know in politics; and who is using and orchestrating national security.  In Mr. [David] Sanger’s book [Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power], as a reviewer at [The New York Times]  said, “The hero of this book, and the clear source of it, is Tom Donilon”—but let me just make a point.  Neither does—and I would say this to the Congressman—“You know, all the Republicans have to do”—you know, I talk often about the “Corrupt Party” and the “Stupid Party,” but the Stupid Party couldn’t be stupider when it comes to things like this.  They could have called Tom Donilon and other people down to the Congress, put them under oath, and asked them if they had leaked.  Instead you have Eric Holder, who runs the most political Justice Department since John Mitchell—only in John Mitchell’s administration we had Justice Departments that were so politicized and so corrupted by politics—and he appoints someone who gave two people to do a study on the leaks, sometime in the next century will come out, and one of them is a, was a contributor to Barack Obama when he was a state Senator.  That’s a really unbiased source!  And the press, of course, won’t look into this.  It will not ask the question.  But the Republicans could have called them down.  Yes, the President could have extended Executive Privilege, but let him say “I will not answer that question, sir” on the question of “Did you leak these secrets that Dianne Feinstein, the Chairman, the Democratic Chairman, of the Senate Intelligence Committee said were endangering national security and American lives?”  As she said  when she read Sanger’s book, “My God, every page I turn I learn something that I don’t know!”  I mean, these are serious matters but in Washington they’re playful, and the press does not pursue any of them.

Peter Schweizer has done a study talking about corruption.  60%, or 80% —it’s closer to 80% I think, now—of the money given under the stimulus to green energy projects—the President and this administration’s great project—has gone to people who are either bundlers or major contributors to Barack ObamaBut nobody says a word.  Of course Republicans don’t raise it because in Washington, they simply want to do it when they get back in power.  And, of course, the press doesn’t because they basically have taken themselves out of doing their job.

When we see what happened this week in Libya—and when I said I was more frightened than I’ve ever been, this is true, because I think it’s one thing that, as they did in 2008, when the mainstream press, the mainstream media and all the press, jumped on the Obama bandwagon and made it a moral commitment on their part to help him get elected in a way that has never happened, whatever the biases in the past.  To give you an example of the difference, I’ll just shortly tell you this: In 1980, when [Jimmy] Carter was running for reelection, the press—even though 80% of them, after the election, reporters said they voted for Carter over [Ronald] Reagan, or 70% percent of them, a very high percentage—they believed, so much, that the Carter campaign and the Carter White House had abused the Rose Garden against [Ted] Kennedy that they made a commitment, as they discussed, that they would not serve as the attack dogs on Reagan for the Carter White House because they thought it was unfair and they weren’t to be manipulated.  I totally disagree with their analysis, but that was when you actually had a press corps.  Whatever their own personal feelings, they made judgments that were, “We’re not going to be manipulated.”  This press corps serves at the pleasure of this White House and President, led by people like Ezra Klein and JournoList, where they plot the stories togetherThe problem here is that no one will name names.

But I want to talk about this Libyan thing, because we crossed some lines here.  It’s not about politics. First of all we’ve had nine day of lies over what happened because they can’t dare say it’s a terrorist attack, and the press won’t push this. Yesterday there was not a single piece in The New York Times over the question of Libya.  Twenty American embassies, yesterday, were under attack.  None of that is on the national news.  None of it is being pressed in the papersIf a President of either party—I don’t care whether it was Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or George Bush or Ronald Reagan or George H. W. Bush—had a terrorist incident, and got on an airplane after saying something, and flown off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas, they would have been crucified!  It would have been—it should have been the equivalent, for Barack Obama, of George Bush’s “flying over Katrina” moment.  But nothing was said at all, and nothing will be said.

It is one thing to bias the news, or have a biased view.  It is another thing to specifically decide that you will not tell the American people information they have a right to know, and I choose right now, openly, and this is—if I had more time I’d do all the names for it—but The New York Times, The Washington Post, or the most important papers that influence the networks, ABC, NBC, and, to a lesser extent—because CBS has actually been on this story, partly because the President of Libya appeared on [Bob Schieffer’s Face the Nation] and said, on Sunday, while [U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.] Susan Rice was out—the U.N. Ambassador has no portfolio on this matter—lying, said of the Secretary—you know why, notice the Secretary of State wasn’t out there doing this—was on national television, lying and promoting the White House line while the Libyan President, the very same moment, is saying “This is a premeditated attack.”  Nobody has asked that question.  This morning—take a look at The New York Times this morning, it’s a minor reference.  Oh, now we’ve decided that it was a terrorist incident.  But this is—that would have changed, that should change the politics.

This is not without accomplices, because the incompetence of the [Mitt] Romney campaign, which I said a week ago is the—my God!—the worst campaign in my lifetime, and the Republican establishment in general’s inability to fight, has allowed these things to happen in part because they don’t do it.  But I want to go through two other quick points.

[Mohamed] Morsi and Egypt: The President of Egypt, we find out now, that his whole agenda has been getting the “Blind Sheikh” [Omar Abdel-Rahman], who’s responsible for the bombings of the WorldTradeCenter in 1993, out of jail.  Prison.  I’ve been told specifically, by a member of the intelligence community that the White House and State Department are negotiating that now.  They have now come out and denied it, but [Morsi] comes out, that they ordered—he’s the head of the Muslim Brotherhood!  The American people know what they think of the Muslim Brotherhood: They are against them eleven to one, all right? And he’s the president of the Muslim Brotherhood, giving $2 billion to United States.  He tells them—we had advance warning because they had said they were gonna do this, attack our embassy.  The President—after the incident, after 48 hours, Mr. Morsi does nothing and says nothing—picks up the phone, calls him, and demands that they call it off.  On Friday—last Friday, a week ago today—there was supposed to be a big demonstration.  We thought that would be the big day—no, it disappeared, because Morsi called it offBut no press person has investigated this, just as no press person will go and ask the most obvious questions, when there are really good stories here, good media stories, and good news stories.  They are in the tank and this is a frightening thing.

Another example has been the polling, which everyone wants to talk to me about.  Look: There is no doubt that Romney is blowing an election he could not lose, and has done everything he can to lose it.  But the bias, the polling, it’s very complicated.  Some of it is error, some of it is miscalculation, but some of it is deliberate, in my opinion—to pump up the numbers using 2008 base to give a sense of momentum to the Obama campaign.  When I have polls that have the preference of Democrats over Republicans higher than it was in 2008, which was a peak Democratic year, I know I am dealing with a poll that shouldn’t be reported.  And yet they are being done, and they are being done with that knowledge and with that basis for some people, and the answer, as I said, some of it is incompetence, some of it is they just don’t know, really know, how to handle it, and some of it is on purpose, and it’s purposeful. But all of it is just to serve a basic point, just as JournoList was—Mr. Klein’s JournoList—but as I said there is no pushback.  We have a political campaign where, to put the best metaphor I can on it, where the referees on the field are sacking the quarterback of one team, tripping up their runners, throwing their bodies in front of blockers, and nobody says anything The Republicans don’t.  The reason you will lose this battle is for one reason.  Despite organizations like AIM and others who are pointing this out, and the fact that 60% of the American people are in on the secret here—I mean, they’re no idiots—Republicans and those candidates who are not the candidates of the press refuse to call them out.  If I were the Romney campaign I would’ve been doing this for months!  I’d have been looking at individual reporters!  I would be telling the American people, “They’re not trying to stop me; they’re trying to stop you!  And they are here to do this!”  And I would have made the press themselves an issue because, until you do, what happens is, they are given the basic concession of authenticity and accuracy, or that they are credible, by not doing that.

Now too many reporters, too many political people in the Republican party in this town, want to maintain their relationships with the press.  This is how Sarah Palin got handed over to Katie Couric and to ABC before she was ready—because Steve Schmidt and others want to preserve their view, their relationships with the press.  You know, people have their own agendas, and often it’s not winning.  But this not-pushing-back is a problem, and they don’t do it.  And, you know what this is a different era: The old argument of “You don’t attack someone in the press”—or “You don’t get in a pissing match with someone who buys ink by the barrel”—doesn’t apply anymore.  There are too many outlets, too many ways to do it, and the country doesn’t have the confidence in the press that they once had.

But all I want to conclude to this is that we face a fundamental danger here.  The fundamental danger is this: I talked about the defense of the First Amendment.  The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power.  When they desert those ramparts and decide that they will now become active participants, that their job is not simply to tell you who you may vote for, and who you may not, but, worse—and this is the danger of the last two weeks—what truth that you may know, as an American, and what truth you are not allowed to know, they have, then, made themselves a fundamental threat to the democracy, and, in my opinion, made themselves the enemy of the American people.  And it is a threat to the very future of this country if that—we allow this stuff to go on.  We have crossed a whole new and frightening slide on the slippery slope this last two weeks, and it needs to be talked about.  And so that’s as much as I can do in twenty minutes.  So then we—we have a few moments for questions.  Yes, sir?

ARONOFF: Let’s get a few questions here.

AUDIENCE MEMBER : Yes, I wanted to offer my interpretation for why this dynamic is happening.  I’d like your reaction.  I think that the media is working with the government, because the government hands out so many freebies—

CADDELL: Yes.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: —you know, for market share, and, therefore, they have to work in sync with them in order to ensure the good graces.  I think, also, the advertisers who generate the revenue for the newspapers are also getting those freebies, and so they can then influence the media—

CADDELL: The corruption in this town is so great.  Everybody in Washington seems to almost be on the take—with the exception of everybody in this room, and the assistants here.  But, I swear to God, it’s so—the idea that I should get something, you know—the reason, when you have firms that have Ed Gillespie in business with Jack Quinn, who was the counsel for Bill Clinton, and responsible for the pardon of Marc Rich, among other things, is because everybody in this—those people on K Street, in both parties, are about arrangements and money.  Everyone in the press is.  We have stimulus money being given.  We have people who, as I said, the relationships, when people are making contracts, and their husbands and wives are getting—Jay Carney’s wife works in the government!  Now he works—he was the head of the Time Magazine!  He was a liar then, and a liar now, apparently!  You know—and nobody says there’s anything wrong with thisAnd you’re right: Everybody’s on the take here, and everybody’s cutting up their stock.  That’s why, what used to be one of the best and most important things for the press, which was the investigative journalism of corruption and money, the stealing of the taxpayers, the looting of the Treasury, isn’t an issue, and why no one speaks of it in this town.  Yes, sir?

AUDIENCE MEMBER 3: Pat, just a quick question.  Is it in violation—can it be seen as a violation of their charter for the major networks to demonstrate such obvious bias?  I mean, is that a violate their FCC license agreements?

CADDELL: Well, their license agreements only go to their stations.  They don’t really go to the networks themselves.  But I—you see, that’s why we’re at this slippery slope.  This is what scares me.  Because you start saying, “Well, somebody should do something about this.”

My argument, when I speak to the press, is very simple: One day you’re going to get my combination of George Wallace and Huey Long running for public office.  He’s going to get up and say how—he’s going to point out “How the press is going to get me, and let me tell you what they’re going to say about me, because they want to stop me,” and he’s going to say, “You know what?  We’ve gone too far with this First Amendment stuff.  We need to make them serve the people.”  We’re sliding toward a system by establishing the fact that the press, in fact, has prostituted themselves in the service of a political party, or a political candidate, and once you go down this road and say, “That’s happening,” then people say, “Why do we need a First Amendment?  Why should we protect them?  They’re not protecting us.”  That’s the threat here.  That’s the danger that I worry about, because we desperately need a real free press, whatever its faults, that protects the people.  And soon, they will be owned by the people—we’re getting very close to that.  Watching the coverage of this stuff, in the last ten days, on Libya, and the press corps and the networks serving as nothing but offshoots of the White House Press Office, is really scary.  We’re going to get to this question, because that is down that road.  These people are going to destroy freedom in America.  I don’t care about their partisan preferences, I care that, in the end of the day, somebody’s going to say, “Enough of this!”  And somebody will carry the day, and that’ll be that.  Yes, sir?

AUDIENCE MEMBER 4: Thank you.  You—thank you!  Incredibly good twenty minutes!  I agree with everything you said!  I am very concerned about Romney’s poor campaign, combined with the media bias the way it is.  Is there anything that Romney can do at this point?

CADDELL: Well, he should’ve been out there already!  He should’ve been out there pushing back—and so should the Republican establishment.  The Republican establishment, as I said, in this town—I mean, all they seem to be in the business, to me, a lot of the establishment, is getting a lot of money to line their pockets, and not fighting or doing things that are effective.  Why aren’t they out there challenging this?  Why isn’t Romney himself getting up and saying, “I’m running against two organizations: I’m running against the Democrats and the President, and I’m running against the mainstream media, which will not tell you the truth”?  Now let me tell you something: You want to liven up some of your rallies?  That’ll do it.  But they don’t do it because this man dares to be cautious.  He’s going to dare-to-be-cautious himself right out of a race that was his to lose, and he’s losing it.

ARONOFF: One last question.  Anybody?  Go ahead.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 5: Are there no patriots in the media who—

CADDELL: Oh, yes, there are!  There are some.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 5: Do they not see where—

CADDELL: Well, the problem is—let me say this—because nobody raises the question, because no one raises from the viewpoint that I’m raising it from.  To raise it from the viewpoint where Republicans or conservatives “We don’t like what you’re doing to us,” only makes them dismiss that.  What is not to be dismissed is what this is doing, and what it is in terms of the specifics of challenge.  These individual reporters—let me tell you something about the press: Reporters become reporters and don’t enter the political fray because, basically, they can’t stand the heat.  That’s my experience.  You ever watch reporters under attack in a public venue and so forth?  They wilt like—they melt like ice on the equator.  The fact is that they need to be called out.  Their organizations need to be called out.  Ezra Klein still writes for The Washington Post?  I mean, this is unbelievable!  They had a secret operation group, “Journo” group, online, coordinating how they would promote Obama, and how they would attack Republicans—and he’s still there?  But nobody calls out the publisher, or the editor, or whatever—there is no effort here—or calls him.

The fact is, if I were out there, if I were doing one of these campaigns, I wouldn’t let one of these guys by with anything.  I would make the fact that the American people, already expressed in the Gallup poll, say—I would give them all the evidence they need to confirm their beliefs.  I would change the dialogue here.  But until that happens, you’re gonna have two teams—your whole team has an echo chamber of support—attacking you.  How do you ever expect to win?  Really?  I mean, you can when it’s the national tide, 1980.  We have a different press now.  They have now made the decision they will control the political process.  They are serving—with the hundreds of millions of dollars that the networks and these newspapers are, in effect, contributing—in-kind contributions to candidates in the Democratic Party.  That’s the legal issue that I would have been exploring.  I mean, I would begin to put the heat on.

But the Republicans never said a word.  When Comcast, which bought out the administration—they’re my cable company in Charleston, they’re just so bad, I guess every cable company is awful, but they’re the worst—buys a network, is allowed to buy a network—the Justice Department allowed this—no Republican stood up and said, “This should be stopped!”  I mean, really!  You get what you ask for.  So, anyway, I’ve got to go.  I’ve got to go do TV.

ARONOFF: Thank you very much.

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Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 11

8 maj, 2012

As usual, I start with some recent news and developments:

The “ceasefire” is “on track”:

Annan plan for Syria“on track,” spokesperson says

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?ID=392546

”UN mediator Kofi Annan’s plan for Syria was ”on track,” though progress in implementing the ceasefire is slow, his spokesperson said Friday.

”The Annan plan is on track and a crisis that has been going on for over a year is not going to be resolved in a day or a week,” Ahmad Fawzi, the UN and Arab League envoy’s spokesperson, told journalists in Geneva.

There are signs on the ground of movement, albeit slow and small,” he added.

Some heavy weapons have been withdrawn, some heavy weapons remain. Some violence has receded, some violence continues. And that is not satisfactory, I’m not saying it is.”

Overall, Fawzi said, the plan and the UN observers who are on the ground overseeing its implementation—a team he reported had grown to about 50 by Friday—have had an impact.

But he decried continuing violence between President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and opposition forces in a conflict that has killed more than 11,000 people since flaring in March 2011.

”This is a difficult and complex mediation effort. There are days when things are progressing in a satisfactory manner and there are days where we feel that it’s a rough ride,” he said.

”However having said that, even on the days that we feel there is satisfactory progress… we are horrified by the extent of the violence that we see on the ground.”

So let’s see if I get this right: UN is horrified by the extent of the violence even on “good” days but STILL the Annan plan IS ON TRACK!

That in a nutshell is UN/Kofi Annan “ceasefire” and peace plan and logic for you.

International diplomacy at it’s best.

So here are some examples of the UN peace plan and how on “track” it is:

Remember that these leaked videos were filmed by the Assad militia, thugs, intelligence people etc. to show how “good”, loyal and efficient they are:

“GRAPHIC LEAKED VIDEO – ASSAD’S FORCES FILM THEIR LATEST MASSACRE. Another macabre ‘trophy’ for their collection of murdered Syrians. All in the name of their master, Bashar Al Assad.”

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hQKC3g_umeM

“GRAPHIC LEAKED VIDEO – ASSAD’S FORCES MURDER TWO YOUNG MEN THEN STRAP THEIR BODIES TO THEIR TANK TO PARADE THEM. (Date & Location Unknown) This is what Assad’s forces do. This is who they are. Animals.”

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Cu2QjMQlyNA

“VERY GRAPHIC LEAKED VIDEO – ASSAD’S FORCES FILM THEIR LATEST MASSACRE AND CONGRATULATE THEMSELVES. The cameraman says at one point (about the dead men) “hahaha, they were making coffee!, they even drink coffee” … Assad’s forces say this because it helps them de-humanize their victims .. using words such as “them” and exclaiming such facts as “they even drink coffee (like us)”.

This has been the key element to Assad’s hodl on power, his ability to convince his mercenaries that the people they murder are not human and deserve a brutal death. No matter if they are men, women or children.”

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/verify_controversy?next_url=/watch%3Fv%3DHaMqPH-I0Oo%26feature%3Dplayer_embedded

The thugs arrive:

”LEAKED VIDEO – THIS IS HOW ASSAD’S FORCES ENTER A NEIGHBORHOOD – THE GUNFIRE IS DEAFENING AND THEIR CHANTS ARE DISGUSTING. Damascus (Eastern Ghouta): They chant “Shabeeha (Thugs) Forever, For Your Eye’s Oh Assad!” which is a variation of the Pro – Revolution chant “Freedom Forever Despite You Oh Assad” (both slogans rhyme in Arabic.

Listen to the deafening sound of the the gunfire as these animals announce their arrival into the neighborhood, firing into thee air and at the surrounding buildings – spreading terror and fear.”

Syrian state TV in action – a case of literally shotgun journalism.

“LEAKED VIDEO – SYRIAN STATE TV REPORTER CONDUCTS AN ‘INTERVIEW’ THEN HAS ‘FUN; WITH ASSAD’S FORCES & FIRES GUNS WITH THEM. Homs (Baba Amr) – As he conducts a fake interview with a ‘local citizen’ who proclaims that he was happy to see the army come into Baba Amr (the district that was flattened by Assad’s forces over a one month period and where hundreds if not thousands were killed), this Syrian State TV reporter then puts on his coat and starts firing off a mercenaries gun for fun …”

These are Assad’s reporters

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlXlas6l7Jw&feature=player_embedded

And I found this appropriate quote:

The Hitlers or Assads of this world cannot personally collect taxes, torture citizens, shoot into crowds of protesters, operate public transport or fix roads by themselves. They need obedience and co-operation to do so. And if enough people deny obedience and withhold their co-operation—even after credible threats—rulers simply cannot rule.”

Srdja Popovic, one of the leaders of the Serbian Revolution and member of Otpor

(Otpor=resistance was a civic youth movement that existed from 1998 until 2003 in Serbia, employing nonviolent struggle against the regime of Slobodan Milošević. They were credited for their role in the successful overthrow of Slobodan Milošević on 5 October 2000.)

And the protest go on. Here a whole village is out demonstrating.

“THE SPIRIT OF THE REVOLUTION WILL NEVER BE CRUSHED – AN AMAZING PROTEST. Daraa (Mia’rbah): May 4, 2012 – In a tiny village which measures no more than 2 blocks wide and 4 blocks across in Daraa, the whole village emerges to protest aginst Assad’s rule and for freedom and dignity.”

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYA_PGuayWo&feature=player_embedded

The protest are spreading and taking new and bolder forms:

‘Pop-up protest’ leaves Damascus shoppers’  jaws agape

http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/pop-up-protest-leaves-damascus-shoppers-jaws-agape

“DAMASCUS // The protest came out of nowhere, a holiday afternoon in central Damascus busy with shoppers interrupted by lofted banners demanding freedom and democracy.

With surprising calmness given the risk of dire consequences if they were caught by security forces, a dozen or so activists emerged from the crowd outside the historic Hamediyeh market.

Most were young, some teenagers. A majority were women, evidently secular, dressed casually in jeans and T-shirts. There were no chants or songs, no words, just the banners, most in Arabic, one in English, calling for freedom, calling for an end to regime killings, reminding the hundreds of onlookers that in Syria doctors can pay with their lives for helping wounded civilians.

The audience at first seemed to have little idea of what was happening: Damascus is full of banners and posters for candidates in forthcoming parliamentary elections.

But when reality began to sink in, they stood mute, eyes wide, watching.

A delivery boy on an old-fashioned bicycle stopped and stared, mouth agape. Drivers leaned out of their car windows or ducked their heads for a better view through the windscreen.

In a country that for decades has brooked no public dissent, scenes like this are hard to comprehend and, even after 13 months of an uprising that has thrown entire cities into an anti-regime revolt, somehow unimaginable and shocking.

The very heart of Damascus is still not used to such blatant shows of rebellion. On Fridays people expect protests and, as a result, many who prefer to turn a blind eye to the uprising simply stay at home, doors locked, windows shuttered, televisions tuned into the propaganda and soap operas on state-run channels

A midweek May Day protest seen by hundreds of ordinary people is a different matter, however. It is much harder to ignore, dismiss or defame, especially when it doesn’t fit with the government’s insistence that the opposition are Islamist terrorists waging a campaign of violent intolerance.

This protest was peaceful and well organised, carried out with a smooth confidence by young men and women who could be the sons or daughters of almost any modern, middle-class Damascene family.

From the pavement, a smattering of applause rose – perhaps from other activists among the shoppers. A few drivers honked their horns in frustration at the blocked traffic. But mainly there was silence. No one hurled abuse at the protesters. There were no spontaneous shouts of loyalty to the president, Bashar Al Assad.

As if time had slowed, the demonstration moved across the road, leaving the way free for the cars. It resumed on the central reservation, banners held aloft again.

Walking casually, some smiling, some serious, the protesters crossed a busy road junction. They stopped in front of the justice palace, which houses the courts where scores of political dissidents have been sentenced to long jail terms over the years. The banners were again thrust into the air.

One of the protesters, a man in his thirties with grey hair, smiled broadly as if enjoying a simple day out with friends. Another, face stern, held his fingers up in the universal signal for victory and peace.

Ten minutes after the protest started, there was still no visible response from the security forces. Traffic police made no move to intervene, carrying on with their endless labour of keeping the traffic moving.

Then a siren wailed. Soon afterwards, the protesters melted away, disappearing quickly in small groups down side streets, hidden by their ordinariness.

A minute or so later, the Shabbiheh, burly men in olive drab trousers and T-shirts emblazoned with Mr Al Assad’s face framed inside a heart, were running towards the justice palace.

They were too late to catch their quarry, arriving at the main entrance to Hamediyeh market with everything ostensibly back to normal.

But everything had already forever changed.”

More on the atrocities in the Idlib area. This time from Amnesty:

Inside Syria’s crackdown: ‘I found my boys burning in the street’ Amnesty International reports the harrowing testimonies of the people of Idlib and nearby villages terrorised by regime forces

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/04/inside-syria-crackdown

“Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s senior crisis adviser, was in Syria for 10 days during the second half of April. Rovera has worked at Amnesty International for 20 years and has extensive experience of working in conflict zones, including Libya, South Sudan, Ivory Coast and Gaza. Here she reports some of the first-hand accounts of the brutal crackdown by the Syrian regime against its people.

”Soldiers came to our home and took my son. Later, as I was peering out of the window I saw soldiers line up eight young men standing facing the wall with their hands tied at the back and shoot them. Then they put the bodies in the back of a pick-up truck and left. I don’t know if the men were all dead or injured. At that point I did not know that one of the men was my son. His body was found with other bodies at a school not too far from our home.”

“In several villages and towns around Idlib the scars of the recent army incursions are very visible. Hundreds of houses have been burned down and everywhere I met families whose relatives were killed. Many were killed in exchanges of fire, in what seemed rather futile attempts by hopelessly outgunned armed opposition fighters to prevent scores of army tanks from entering the towns and villages. Others, both opposition fighters and people not involved in any fighting, were extra-judicially executed after they were arrested at their homes and those of their relatives.”

“In Taftanaz I met the families of two 80-year-old men who were killed in their homes during the army incursion into the town on 4 April. One was burned in his home. His wife told me: ”I had been staying with relatives across the street and my husband was at home. When I went back home I found it burned down but did not find my husband. I went out and asked the soldiers outside where they had taken him. I thought they had arrested him. A soldier replied ‘Go back in and look for him’. I went back and found his remains in a pile of ash.”

“In addition to the human loss, families are having to cope with the loss of their homes and livelihood. Those whose homes and businesses have been burned down or destroyed and who have been left with nothing other than the clothes on their back are relying on the charity of relatives and friends. Some are trying to repair or salvage what they can from their wrecked properties but many are beyond repair. There is no doubt that the burning down of so many homes and businesses – and including medical facilities such as field hospitals and pharmacies – was deliberate, seemingly a combination of revenge and collective punishment.

The extra-judicial executions, the shooting and shelling of residential areas, and the deliberate destruction of homes, businesses and other properties in the Idlib area, are consistent with the pattern of violations inflicted by Syrian forces on the population in other parts of Syria where there have been opposition protests and/or armed opposition. Soldiers, members of the security forces, and the civilian leadership up and down the chain of command should know that such abuses constitute crimes against humanity and the claim that ”I was just carrying out orders” will not keep them from being brought to justice – either in Syria or in other countries around the world.”

Say Cheese the UN observers are here!

“Syria‘ Moving Scuds to Israel, Turkey Borders”

All this of course in full agreement with the UN/Annan peace plan. Especially that part that Syria will not hesitate to fire missiles at Israel and Turkey in order to ignite a large scale regional war.

Sounds like a real peace loving government doesn’t it? Fully intent of following ALL points in the peace plan and ceasefire.

In Arabic here:

http://www.baladnanews.com/more-32918-8-سوريا%20تستعد%20للحرب%20..%20مئات%20صواريخ%20سكود%20الى%20حدود%20تركيا%20وإسرائيل

“Jordanian news site Ahbar Baladna reports that western spy satellites have recently spotted movements of Syrian heavy missile launchers northward and southward, toward Syria’s borders with Turkey and Israel.

The site says hundreds of high-caliber launchers are being moved, and that these could only be long range Scud missile launchers.

Syria has threatened in the past that in the event of foreign military intervention on its soil, it will not hesitate to fire missiles at Israel and Turkey in order to ignite a large scale regional war.

Turkish and French officials said ten days ago they were mulling a potential military intervention inSyria, where civil war has been raging for 14 months.

“In the face of developments in Syria, we are taking into consideration any kind of possibility in line with our national security and interests,” Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu told parliament during a briefing to lawmakers.”

More on the US non-policy on Syria

U.S. Syrian Policy: A Massacre in Progress; A Disgrace in the Making

http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/05/us-syrian-policy-massacre-in-progress.html

U.S. policy toward Syria is turning into a scandal on both strategic and humanitarian grounds. The next three months will be wasted in a toothless observer effort during which time the Syrian regime will go on massacring people and mopping up the rebellion. In addition, U.S. policymakers admit that they have no real back-up policy and what they should do next.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been gaining more power in large part because instead of financing and helping the moderate opposition, U.S. policy has combined being soft on the regime with helping the Islamists, especially in the absurd exercise in which an American initiative produced an anti-American, Brotherhood-dominated Syrian opposition leadership in exile.

And then to show how ridiculous the whole thing is, Syrian troops opened fire at oppositionists trying to talk to the UN monitors, forcing the observers to flee for their lives and injuring eight demonstrators. The UN responds by proposing a few dozen more, equally helpless, observers.

This is the same UN that in 2006 promised Israel that it would intercept Syrian weapons being smuggled to Hizballah in Lebanon and stop that radical group from reoccupying its pre-war positions in the south of the country. In six years, not a single weapon has been intercepted and not a single Hizballah terrorist stopped. On the contrary, with Syrian backing, Hizballah has terrorized the thousands of soldiers in the UN forces in Lebanon.

There should be no question as to what should be done. Along with Iran, North Korea, and Cuba, the Syrian regime is the most anti-American government in the world. It has done everything possible to sabotage U.S. interests, to sponsor terrorism, and to block peace. That regime is also Iran’s main ally.

Any conceivable president who cared about or understood U.S. interests would make the overthrow of the Syrian regime a top priority for the United States. I’m not talking about sending troops or going to war but about every conceivable other means. This should be blindingly obvious.

In addition, any competent president would work hard to help the moderate pro-democratic forces in the Syrian opposition so that they can gain power in the country. Instead, the Obama Administration that subcontracted dealing with the Syrian regime to the UN has subcontracted dealing with the Syrian opposition to the Islamist regime in Turkey. Not surprisingly, the Turkish regime has pushed Muslim Brothers and other Islamists and their clients into the ”official” leadership of the Syrian opposition, the Syrian National Council. This has led to a fracturing of opposition leadership.

And the Syrian regime is being rewarded with no more pressure and being given the ability to stall for time even though it has already violated the ceasefire. This is not merely a bad U.S. and Western policy; it is the worst possible policy, lacking any strategy to undermine the radicals and help the moderates.

After 2.5 years of the Obama Administration treating this enemy as a friend we have seen almost a year of dithering over the opportunity to get rid of that regime. It is like when the administration ignored the stealing of the election in Iran and the opposition movement there, as if it wanted to coddle, not confound, the Tehran regime. It also came to the rescue of the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip, pressingIsrael to minimize sanctions.

In contrast, the administration has not hesitated to overthrow an ally in Egypt and come close to doing that in Bahrain.

The pattern is that the radical side breaks every agreement, rejects compromise, and escalates aggression and the Obama Administration takes it all with a smile on its face and a song in its heart.

But back to Syria. Even the pro-Obama CNN network is amazed by U.S. policy. It admits the UN mission will fail, agrees that the Syrian government is the aggressor in shredding the ceasefire–using heavy weapons aimed at civilian targets, and adds:

“Monitoring missions can only work when the parties to a conflict have had enough of fighting or can be coerced into negotiation by outside powers. The Arab League mission members in Syria earlier this year were little more than bystanders, unable or unwilling to operate amid the government crackdown….The [Syrian] government has made it clear that the observers won’t have free rein.”

Ahmad Fawzi, spokesman for the UN envoy Kofi Annan, whose past record hardly inspires confidence, says two truly shocking things;

”The United States is leaving it in the hands of Kofi Annan, as is the rest of the world.…We’re the only path in town. There is no alternative.”

But why should the United States turn over its policy to the UN, especially since a number of members are pro-Syrian regime and blocking any serious action? And have we really reached a point in time when the UN can present itself as the only channel for international action?

In other words it is assumed that theUnited Statescan have no independent policy. CNN accepts that view, adding, “That in itself illustrates how few options there are for the West to influence events inSyria.”

That’s nonsense. There are many other options. But how can there be hope for any alternative when a U.S. official actually admits:

”Our allies were coming back to us and saying, ‘What’s your next move?,and we were forced to admit we didn’t have one.'”

The U.S.economy is merely hopelessly in debt, but U.S. foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, is hopelessly bankrupt.”

                         Russian 240mm Mortar bomb

And there was “elections” on Monday May 7:

Heavy fighting rocks eastern Syria ahead of poll

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-syriabre84507e-20120506,0,6639855,full.story

“The authorities are touting Monday’s parliamentary election as a showcase of these reforms.

However, the opposition says it will change little in a rubberstamp assembly that has been chosen by the ruling Assad family, backed by the powerful secret police, for the past four decades.

The assembly currently does not have a single opposition member and official media said half the seats would be reserved to ”representatives of workers and peasants”, whose unions are controlled by Assad’s Baath Party.

”Nothing has changed. Syria‘s political system remains utterly corrupt and election results will be again determined in advance,” said opposition activist Bassam Ishaq, who unsuccessfully ran for parliament in 2003 and 2007.

There are effectively very few seats for independents, and these will go to the highest bidder.”

A plea for help from long-time hum rights lawyer and judge Haitham Al Maleh:

Dying for democracy in Syria

http://all4syria.info/web/Archive/39775

Syrians feel forgotten and betrayed by an international community whose support has been poor compared with that given Libyan rebels.

By Haitham Al Maleh

Syria yearns for freedom from the brutality of the Assad regime. For four decades, thousands upon thousands paid the price for their opposition to Bashar Assad and his father, Hafez Assad. We have been intimidated, arrested, tortured and killed. Since the uprising began in 2011, opposition forces put the death toll at more than 10,000, with many more imprisoned. And all because we want a free, fair Syria.

I am 81; I have dedicated my life to advancing democracy, constitutional principles and an independent judiciary in my country. I have been arrested on many occasions for having resisted the dynastic family rule of the Assads. I hope this awful period of Syria‘s history will end with the demise of this murderous regime, and I call on the international community to do more to bring that about.

I started my law practice in 1957, and in 1958 I became a judge. That lasted only until 1966, when the Baath Party, which had come to power in 1963, issued a special law that dismissed me. The excuse? I did not ”fit” with the revolution

It did not take them long to imprison me. Accused of ”spreading false news that could weaken the national morale,” I was sent to jail from 1980 to 1986 along with other activists by Hafez Assad, who had taken control of the government in 1970. During my time in jail I started a hunger strike that nearly ended my life.

When I was released, I returned to my work as a lawyer in private practice. But life was never easy; I was constantly monitored by the Mukhabarat, the military intelligence service, and its many branches.

In October 2009, I appeared on Barada TV — an opposition satellite channel — to speak out against government abuses, in particular the regime’s unjustified perpetual declaration of martial law and its suspension of the Syrian Constitution, actions that had enabled it to use unfair prosecution and imprisonment procedures since the 1960s.

Two days after my television appearance, Syrian authorities took me into custody, and on July 4, 2010, I was once again sentenced to prison for ”spreading false news that could weaken the national morale

When I was released this time, in 2011, the uprising had begun, and soon after, the regime’s violent crackdown.

The international community’s response has been poor at best. Syrians on the ground have felt forgotten and betrayed. A system that is supposed to protect civilians from brutal force has failed on a monumental scale.

We hear excuses for why intervention cannot happen in Syria as it did in Libya. The longer it takes, the more it looks as if the international community acted in Libya only because of oil, despite the much-trumpeted rationale of protecting civilians. Compared with Libya, many more Syrians are dying at the hands of their own government, and more still will perish as a result of international inaction.

One of steps that the international community could take to end the suffering and speed the demise of the Assad regime would be arming the Free Syrian Army. As it stands, the FSA can only fight what will be a losing battle. The government forces are heavily armed; the FSA has only small arms. If the international community does not want to arm the FSA, another option is to enforce no-fly and heavy-armor-free zones.

For now, however, the international community is putting its faith in the peace plan mediated by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. While I commend Annan’s work in trying to halt the slaughter of innocent civilians — and I hope it works — the violence continues. Even if a truce were to be honored, I cannot help but wonder what will happen when the people again take to the streets — as I know they will — to peacefully demand the downfall of the regime. My sources say that more than 1,000 civilians, including 34 children, have been killed by the Assad regime since the cease-fire.

Syria has been ruled ruthlessly by one party for nearly 50 years. Sooner or later the Assad regime will end. The international community must help the opposition by funding various opposition leaders to build political parties, so we can be ready to govern. It must help build democratic institutions and educate the population about political accountability, an alien concept to most Syrians, who have known only the anti-democratic Assad regime.

In short, we need all the help we can get to build a free, fair nation, one that represents all Syrians and respects human rights, the judiciary, international law and human life.

Syrian lawyer and former judge Haitham Maleh has been awarded many prizes for his human rights activism. He lives part time inEurope and part time in theMiddle East.”

Through Assad’s boots

How the naiveté and carelessness of western journalist put the lives of the opposition and civilian population at risk:

The spy who came in from the code

How a filmmaker accidentally gave up his sources to Syrian spooks

http://www.cjr.org/feature/the_spy_who_came_in_from_the_c.php?page=all

“Last fall, “Kardokh,” a 25-year-old dissident and computer expert in the Syrian capital of Damascus, met with British journalist and filmmaker Sean McAllister. (Kardokh is his online pseudonym, used at his request.) McAllister, who’s made award-winning films in conflict zones likeYemen and Iraq, explained that he was shooting a documentary for Britain’s Channel 4 about underground activists in Syria, and asked if Kardokh would help him.

At the time, the situation in Syria was deteriorating rapidly, as protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s repressive regime turned violent following a vicious crackdown by security forces. The Syrian government had drastically curtailed visits by foreign journalists, but McAllister had managed to get in undercover. Kardokh was grateful for a chance to tell his story. “Any journalist who was making the effort to show the world what was happening, that was a very important thing for us,” he told me in February.

At the time, Kardokh was providing computer expertise and secure communications to the resistance. He agreed to be interviewed about his work on camera by McAllister, who filmed his face, telling Kardokh that he would blur it out before publishing the footage. McAllister also asked Kardokh to put him in touch with other activists.

But some of McAllister’s practices made him uneasy, Kardokh said. He worried that the filmmaker didn’t realize how aggressive and pervasive the regime’s surveillance was. Kardokh and his fellow activists took elaborate measures with their digital security, encrypting their communications and using special software to hide their identities online. “I started to feel that Sean was careless,” Kardokh told me. He said he had urged McAllister to take more precautions in his communications and to encrypt his footage. He was using his mobile and SMS, without any protections.”

Then, in October, McAllister was arrested by Syrian security agents. He wasn’t harmed, but was held for five days and said that he could hear the cries of prisoners being tortured in nearby rooms. Eventually, he was released and returned to the UK. I didn’t realize exactly what they were risking until I went into that experience,” McAllister said in an interview on Channel 4 after his release.

The Syrians had interrogated McAllister about his activities, and seized his laptop, mobile phone, camera, and footage. All of McAllister’s research was now at the disposal of Syrian intelligence. When Kardokh heard that McAllister had been arrested, he didn’t hesitate—he turned off his mobile phone, packed his bag, and fled Damascus, staying with relatives in a nearby town before escaping to Lebanon. He said that other activists who had been in touch with McAllister fled the country as well, and several of those who didn’t were arrested. “I was happy that I hadn’t put him in contact with more people,” Kardokh said.

Rami Jarah, a Syrian activist based in Cairo, said that he tried to help another activist, known as Omar al-Baroudi, get out of the country after McAllister’s arrest. “He was terrified,” Jarrah said. “His face was in those videos. He said that his number was on Sean’s phone.” The next day, Baroudi disappeared, and Jarah said that he has not been heard from since.

Officials at Channel 4 say they took action to help McAllister’s sources after his arrest. “We have been in contact with everyone who felt at risk because they spoke to Sean,” said Amy Lawson, the channel’s head of communications. “He is an experienced filmmaker and took steps to protect his material.Syriais an extremely difficult environment to work in, so we continue to look for ways to minimize that risk whilst ensuring we tell this important story.”

It’s easy to argue that McAllister should have taken stronger precautions, but what, exactly? How many reporters are familiar enough with the technical aspects of digital security that they could protect their computers and phones from the Syrian intelligence service? The fact that McAllister, an experienced and committed journalist, jeopardized his sources with inadequate digital precautions is indicative of a broader problem in journalism today: We haven’t kept pace with technological advancements that have revolutionized both information-gathering and surveillance.

After researching the subject of digital security, I realized that there have been occasions in my own work as a freelancer covering the conflicts in Libyaand Afghanistanwhen I’ve exposed myself and my sources by carrying unencrypted data or e-mailing sensitive information over insecure channels. It’s unclear what, if anything, major news organizations are doing about it. When CJR’s Alysia Santo recently tried asking outlets like The New York Times, she got a firm “no comment.” Curious, I e-mailed an informal survey to journalist friends and colleagues, and several who’ve worked as senior correspondents in Afghanistan for major US news outlets said they’d had little-to-no formal training or assistance from their organizations in digital security.

“I think that the journalism community in the US, and to some degree elsewhere, is just beginning to grasp the fact that they need to protect their information and, by extension, their sources,” said Frank Smyth, who is the senior adviser for journalist security at the Committee to Protect Journalists and also runs a private company, Global Journalist Security. “It’s just too easy to get in and lift their information or monitor their communications without them ever knowing they were compromised.”

“He wished, though, that journalists would better inform themselves about the risks before visiting. “I think Western journalists can’t imagine the power of the regime here.”

Paul Conroy and the targeting and killing of journalists

Paul Conroy, a Sunday Times photographer was together with other journalist in the makeshift “press centre” in Baba Amr in Homs reporting on the slaughter going on.

That “press centre” was in reality, a four-story family home converted to this use as it was one of the few places that had a generator. It was also fortified. But its location was maintained by the rebels in tight secrecy.

Some of the journalists were using secure channels of communications protected by anti-jamming and anti-tracking devices.

But the Assad regime determined that they (the journalists) should be taught a lesson and deterred from ever coming back. And put a stop to this embarrassing reporting of the massacres inHoms.

So together with Russian satellite tracking and Iranian intelligence personal on the ground, on that Wednesday morning the building took a direct hit by a rocket and was totally erased.

The Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin and the French Figaro video-photographer Remi Ochik was killed. Three other Western journalists were injured. And Paul  Conroy was badly wounded in the legs.

Also many people were killed when trying to get the wounded journalist out of Homs.

Now Kill the witnesses

Syrian activists killed in Paul Conroy rescue mission

Up to 13 activists died smuggling the Sunday Times photographer out of the country, it has emerged

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/28/syrian-activists-paul-conroy-mission

“Paul Conroy, the Sunday Times photographer wounded in the leg in an attack in the besieged city of Homs, has been smuggled out of Syria in a dramatic and dangerous rescue in which up to 13 activists lost their lives, it has emerged.

Conroy survived the attack last week that killed his colleague Marie Colvin. Three other western journalists, including Edith Bouvier, who was badly injured in the same incident, were reported to be still trapped in Homs on Tuesday night. A claim by the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, that Bouvier had also been evacuated was later retracted by his office.”

Paul Conroy: Syrian activists killed during rescue• Volunteers die while getting photographer out toLebanon• Three other journalists remain trapped in Homs • UN human rights chief calls for immediate ceasefire

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/28/paul-conroy-syrian-activists-killed-rescue

“Paul Conroy, the British Sunday Times photographer who was wounded in the besieged city of Homs, has been smuggled out of Syria toLebanon in a dramatic rescue.

According to those familiar with his escape a number of Syrian opposition activists died during the rescue effort after they came under artillery fire while leaving the city.

The evacuation party came under fire twice. Three activists were killed on the first occasion while more were reportedly killed when they came under fire again.

A spokesman for the paper said: ”The Sunday Times can confirm that the photographer Paul Conroy is safe and inLebanon. He is in good shape and good spirits.”

According to the Times, the sister paper of the Sunday Times, Conroy’s rescue took 26 hours from the moment he was carried out of his hiding place in Homs on a stretcher.”

”Despite the successful rescue of Conroy – whose colleague Marie Colvin was killed last week in Homs along with French photographer Rémi Ochlik during an attack on the makeshift media centre in the suburb of Baba Amr – three other journalists remain trapped in the city. They are Edith Bouvier of Le Figaro, who sustained a broken femur, French photographer William Daniels and the Middle East correspondent of El Mundo, Javier Espinosa.

The dramatic nature of Conroy’s evacuation underlines the high level of risk being faced by those who have been trying to run medical, food and other supplies into the besieged suburbs ofHomsand evacuate the injured, including foreign journalists.

The regime of President Bashar al-Assad, which has recently moved the elite 4th Division commanded by his brother Maher into the battle for Homs, has been using a foreign-supplied drone to target its artillery and mortar fire into the city.2”

Here is an interview with Paul Conroy on BBC’s Newsnight March 2 from the hospital were they had taken out Russian shrapnel

“A present from the Russians”

Paul Conroy: Homs is comparable to Srebrenica or Rwanda

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-17241897

Kill the Messenger

What Russia taught Syria: When you destroy a city, make sure no one — not even the story — gets out alive.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/03/02/kill_the_messenger

“It was a star-filled night in Chechnya’s besieged capital of Grozny. The snow crunched under my feet as I walked with the Chechen rebel commander away from the warmth of our safe house. When we entered a bombed-out neighborhood 15 minutes away, I put the battery in my Iridium satellite phone and waited for the glowing screen to signal that I had locked on to the satellites.

I made my call. It was short. Then the commander made a call; he quickly hung up and handed me back the phone. ”Enough,” he said, motioning for me to remove the battery.

As we walked briskly back to the safe house, it was exactly 10 minutes before the cascade of double wa-whumps announced the Grad rocket batteries pounding the vacant neighborhood we had just left.

It was December 1999, and the Russian assault on Grozny was unfolding in all its gruesome detail. After the dissolution of so much of the former Soviet empire, Chechnya was one country that the newly minted prime minister, Vladimir Putin, refused to let go of. His boss, Boris Yeltsin, and the Russian army had been defeated and then humiliated in the media by Chechen forces in the first war. Five years later, Russia was back. And Putin’s new strategy was unbending: silence, encircle, pulverize, and ”cleanse.” It was a combination of brutal tactics — a Stalinist purge of fighting-age males plus Orwellian propaganda that fed Russians a narrative wherein Chechen freedom fighters were transformed into Islamist mercenaries and terrorists. More than 200,000 civilians were to die in this war, the echoes of which continue to this day.

This time, journalists were specifically targeted to prevent sympathetic or embarrassing reports from escaping the killing zone. As such, you can’t find a lot of stories about the second Chechen war. One of the few and best accounts was written by Marie Colvin, who described her terrifying escape from Grozny for the Sunday Times. Last month, Colvin thought she could roll the dice and enter the besieged Syrian city of Homs to defy yet another brutal war of oppression. This time she lost.

It’s impossible to know whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — a longtime ally of Russia– studied the success of the last Chechen war before launching his own assault on the restive city of Homs. However, his Russian military advisors surely know the tactics well. The crackdown in Homs carries a grim echo of Grozny, both in its use of signals intelligence to track down and silence the regime’s enemies and in its bloody determination to obliterate any opposition, including Western journalists.

Assad’s ability to lethally target journalists using satellite-phone uplinks could well have cost Colvin her life. Multiple reports have suggested that Syrian forces used phone signals to pinpoint her location and then launched a rocket barrage that resulted in her death on Feb. 22, along with that of French photographer Remi Ochlik and multiple Syrian civilians. “

Russia has spent a long time perfecting these techniques. On April 21, 1996, Chechnya‘s breakaway president, Dzhokhar Dudayev, was speaking on a satellite phone with Russian envoy Konstantin Borovoi about setting peace talks with Yeltsin. During the phone call, he was killed by a signal-guided missile fired from a Russian jet fighter. The warplane had received Dudayev’s coordinates from a Russian ELINT (electronic intelligence) plane that had picked up and locked on to the signal emitted by the satellite phone. It was Russian deception and brutality at its finest.

It should have been clear even back then that there was a benefit and a distinct penalty to modern communications on the battlefield. “

“These past few weeks, under a barrage of mortar, tank, and artillery shells, their plaintive calls for help from inside the besieged Baba Amr neighborhood of Homssparked international outrage. But without Western journalists filing for newspapers and television outlets, these videos — mostly shaky, low-resolution footage of corpses and artillery strikes — wouldn’t have had the impact they deserve.

In a welcome resurgence of non-embedded journalism, brave reporters like Colvin and many others risked their lives to enter Homs and report from the ground. What they showed us was moving, horrific, and embarrassing. Once again, Western governments were caught doing nothing — while women, children, and innocents were murdered by their own government. It’s a playbook the Syrians are good at: The shelling of Homs began on Feb. 3, 2012 — exactly 30 years after the Hama massacre, in which Hafez al-Assad, Bashar’s father, killed up to 15,000 civilians over three weeks in a similar program of wanton destruction.

What we haven’t seen as clearly is the extent to which the Syrian regime (thanks to its Russian advisors) now has the tools of electronic warfare to crush this popular uprising — and anything that happens to get in the way. Syria is one of Russia’s biggest clients for weapons, training, and intelligence. In return for such largesse, it has offered the Russian Navy use of Tartus, a new deep-water military port in the Mediterranean. Moscow sold Damascus nearly $1 billion worth of weapons in 2011, despite growing sanctions against the oppressive Assad regime. With these high-tech weapons comes the less visible Russian-supplied training on technologies, tactics, and strategies.

The sounds of rockets pulverizing civilians should have brought back memories and warnings to Colvin. She would have recognized all the signs from her previous reporting in Chechnya, where she and her escorts were hunted relentlessly by Russian domestic security agents who sought to arrest, silence, or kill any journalist attempting to report on the slaughter of civilians.

My time in Grozny included being surrounded three times by the Russian army, numerous direct bombardments, and frequent close calls. I paid attention to the safety warnings of the Chechen rebel commanders who kept me alive. These rebels were once part of the Soviet military and intelligence apparatus and were fully schooled in Russia‘s dirty tricks. They taught me much. Chief among them was not communicating electronically while in country, not trusting ”media guides,” and never telling people where I was going. If captured by Russian troops, they urged me — for my own safety — to say that I had been kidnapped by Chechen forces.

Just as I exited Chechnya, I met Colvin, who was heading in. She wanted to know as much as she could. I warned her of the duplicity and violent intent of the Russian military and their Chechen proxies. Despite my warnings, she bravely entered Chechnya and wrote riveting, award-winning stories that now sound almost identical to her coverage from Syria.

I was distressed to read of Colvin’s death in Syria, and even more distressed to think she might still be alive now if she had remembered some basic warnings. Her first error was that she stayed inside the rebel ”media center” — in reality, a four-story family home converted to this use as it was one of the few places that had a generator.

The second was communication. The Syrian army had shut down the cell-phone system and much of the power in Baba Amr — and when journalists sent up signals it made them a clear target. After CNN’s Arwa Damon broadcast live from the ”media center” for a week, the house was bombarded until the top floor collapsed. Colvin may have been trapped, but she chose to make multiple phone reports and even went live on CNN and other media channels, clearly mentioning that she was staying in the bombed building.

The third mistake was one of tone. She made her sympathies in the besieged city clearly known as she emotionally described the horrors and documented the crimes of the Syrian government.

Unsurprisingly, the next day at 9 a.m., a barrage of rockets was launched at the ”media center.She was killed — along her cameraman, Remi Ochlik, and at least 80 Syrian civilians across the city — targeted with precision rocket barrages, bombs, and the full violence of the Syrian army.

In Grozny, Russian forces decided that they would eliminate everything, everybody, and every voice that stood up to the stateincluding journalists who tried to enter. Syria has clearly made the same determination in Homs. This military action is intended to be a massacre, a Stalinist-style lesson to those who dare defy the rulers of Syria.

The United Nations estimates that more than 7,500 Syrians have so far been killed in the yearlong spasm of violence there. Perhaps this ghastly toll would be even higher now if brave reporters like Colvin had not entered. With the recent news that the rebels have retreated from the bombardment of Baba Amr to safer territory, Assad’s forces, as well as their Russian advisors, are claiming victory. According to official news reports from the Syrian Information Ministry, ”the foreign-backed mercenaries and armed terrorist groups” have fled, the corpses of three Western journalists have been ”discovered,” and Homs is now ”peaceful.”

Despite what Damascus claims, this fight is not yet over. And we need more brave and bright journalists who will shine a light in places like Syria, where a regime works diligently to plunge its people into darkness. But let’s not forget whose callous playbook they’re using. “

By California-based Robert Young Pelton wrote The Hunter, the Hammer, and Heaven about his experiences inChechnya in 1999 to 2000. He is currently publisher of Somalia Report, a 24/7 news source that works with over 100 Somali reporters. His book The World’s Most Dangerous Places contains survival tips from what he has learned in over a dozen conflicts.”

by Paul Conroy on Facebook

The Butcher of Homs

“Last Tuesday I was asked to join a panel discussion at the House of Commons. I readily agreed as it was to screen Jonathan Miller’s fantastic and ground breaking film ‘Syria’s Torture Machine. One of the most insightful and inspiring pieces of filmmaking I have seen in many years.

The event was hosted by Anne Clywd MP with representatives from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, a Syrian torture victim, a representative from theRussian federationand me.

After an introductory round of speeches we watched Jonathan’s superb film and the panel then opened for answers. By this time I had moved back to the audience as my leg injuries were not ideal for sitting up front. Still wishing to take part in the panel discussion and perhaps do a little Q&A I asked if I could have a microphone. My colleague asked one of those media study, large red glasses and tight jeans assistant producer types if this was possible “It’s not going to happen” he was told in a rather bolshie and self-important way. “I think you will find he’s doing it anyway” my colleague Miles Amoore from the Sunday Time grinned.

The point in this is that all week I had been trying, unsuccessfully, to get a comment from the Russians regarding arms supplies to Syria. Now, right there in front of me, was a real life, in the flesh card carrying representative of theRussian federation and a Channel 4 work placement fruit bat wouldn’t give me a microphone.

I was reduced to putting up my hand and rather grumpily waiting my turn. In the event the wonderful Ann Clywd chairing the proceedings saw my rather desperate outstretched hand, similar to that of a child at school who finds he miraculously knows the answer to a question and is desperate not to go unnoticed.

Given that I had had a large piece of Russian shrapnel removed from me a few days previously I was eager to ask about the Russians continued supply of arms to Syria. I started by reminding him that it was a piece of a Russian made shell that had just been removed from my back. He looked suitably embarrassed but said nothing.

My main question I said was a three part yes or no question which he agreed to have a pop at

Q Is it true that Russia is supplying arms and heavy artillery munitions toSyria

A. Yes

Q. Are you are aware that these weapons and munitions are being used against civilians

A. Yes

Q. Knowing this will Russia stop selling weapons and heavy munitions to Syria

A. No (brief gasp from me and others) if we don’t do it somebody else will.

Now excuse me but that seems like an answer that a crack dealer would resort to when caught outside of a primary school with a huge bag of class A drugs he has been peddling to pre-teens, not the answer of a representative of one of the most powerful (and dangerous) nations on the planet.

So there we have it, direct from the horse’s mouth. Vladimir Putin ‘The Butcher of Homs’ as he so fondly known on the streets of Babr Amr is indeed supplying the Assad regime weapons, munitions and who know what else on the solid conviction that ‘If they don’t sell it someone else will’.

It’s little wonder we live on such a peaceful and harmonious planet.”

And more from Facebook

“Stop Assad’s Massacre #Syria

18/03/12Paul Conroy

Ok, thanks firstly to Bonnie for getting this page up and running.

In all my years as a war photographer I have never seen such systematic slaughter as I personally witnessed in the very small neighbourhood that is Babr Amr. Men, women and, most abhorrently, children have been massacred in their hundreds if not thousands.

Forget the phoney propaganda that is now a trademark of the Bashar- al-Assad regime. As an eye witness I can assure you that what is being reported is fact. There is no need to embellish or hype the slaughter that is taking place. It’s real, it’s happening now and it chills me to the bone.

I pay tribute to every man woman and child murdered by this regime. I salute the people who kept me alive whilst I was wounded in Syria. To the Free Syrian Army, The Farouk Brigade, Avaaz and to the all the Martyrs who died helping me escape. I can never repay you. I am forever in your debt.

Marie and Remi gave their lives to bring you the truth. Please don’t forget them; they were both devoted people who had a mission to bring you honest reporting, they gave their lives doing so. To the people of the media centre, who lost six cameramen in the line of duty and daily risked their lives to bring you what was happening whilst Bsahar-al -Assad tried in vain to crush the souls of the people of Syria. I salute you also.

In stark opposition to the likes of Remi and Marie there is a plethora of armchair pro regime activists who are vainly trying to back the regime. Please, these people have neither the tenacity, the courage nor sense of honour needed to go into Syria and report fact. My advice is to ignore them. Please let them have their say and fade into oblivion. They mean harm but mean nothing if ignored.

People who read this fight on. This regime can be broken, your spirit cannot. I will do all I can to fight for the cause. I have spoken to my Prime Minister, foreign secretary and other American politicians. I hope my words have an impact. In the dark hours that will follow please have the strength to continue. Too much blood has been spilt, to many lives destroyed for it all to be in vain.

I hope my leg gets better after the Russian missile blew a hole in it. Putin, the real ’Butcher of Homs’ abandoned you all in your hour of need. Never forget this. The Chinese stood by and watched you being murdered. Never forget this. When you regain control of your country do not forget those who stood by and allowed the massacres to continue

People of Syria we know you are not Al Quaeda, or terrorist groups. Have no fear we understand propaganda. I know the FSA well; they are not nor ever will be terrorists. We understand

To the People of America we know you can help, please, even though its election year and Obama has to win votes he must stand up as a man and disregard party politics. You have the power to stop men women and children dying. DO IT. Forget basketball, forget the opinion polls and start saving lives. NOW.

Vladimir Putin. You don’t seem as much of a man as the photographs make you out to be. We see you as a Judo black belt, tiger hunter and bare chested man of action. Is this just a myth? Why do you sit and supply weapons to a regime that slaughters its own people. Maybe you are just a Stalinist who never worried of such matters. To us all you appear ridiculous and week. I appeal to the ‘Butcher ofHoms’ help stop the slaughter. If not then your image will remain a vacuous myth

As I write the slaughter continues. Bombard your embassies, protest, scream and shout and demand answers!!! NOW. Every second of every minute is precious. Don’t waste a moment. We have been here before. Disregard Kofi Annan, he provides cover while Assad continues to kill. The time for talking is long gone. Now we must all demand action.

I would like to thank every person involved in my rescue. The Farouck Brigade. To Neil my dead brother who has given me strength, my parents. All at News International. Hm government. To Kate who kept my profile high. Max Kim and Otto, I love you. To Bonnie, thank you so much for all. Tom, the British Ambassador and his beautiful family. To Joss Stone who stands by me through the worst of times and through the best of times

To everyone I missed I’m sorry but pain kicking in now

Thank s

Paul Conroy”

And more

Opinion: World must not forget Syria’s missing activists By Paul Conroy, special to CNN

April 2, 2012

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/04/02/opinion/opinion-conroy-syria-missing-citizen-journalists/index.html?hpt=hp_c1&is_LR=1

“Editor’s note: Paul Conroy is a British photographer and cameraman who has worked in troublespots around the world. While working inSyriaearlier this year forBritain’s Sunday Times newspaper, he was seriously wounded in the attack which killed his colleague Marie Colvin, and fellow photographer Remi Ochlik.

London(CNN) — The situation in Syriaposes a seemingly unending series of new challenges: Challenges that can either stun you into silence or propel you deeper into the steaming cauldron of propaganda, murder, misery and ultimately death that is now life in Syria.

Over the last few days the authorities have opened a new front in their mission to suppress the flow of information coming from Syria.

The house which I and other international journalists used as a base in Homs was destroyed in a rocket attack that killed my friends and colleagues Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik.

This building was the hub from which many local activists bravely transmitted the images that have kept an open window through which the world has viewed the onslaught of the Assad military against the men, women and children of Baba Amr. The house is now a pile of rubble, the activists dispersed.

Having removed the operational center of the citizen journalists, the regime is now engaged in a manhunt to track, capture and destroy the remnants of that network.

Tough talk from anti-Assad coalition The regime fear these people for good reason: They have provided the most compelling documentary evidence of crimes committed by the state. The sustained and systematic use of heavy artillery against an unarmed population isn’t a rumor or urban myth. It is well documented and, thanks to courage of the activists, we now posses a large body of video and eye witness evidence.

Crimes against humanity are a serious charge against any state. To know that such evidence exists and continues to be collected will doubtless be causing concern to some in Damascus. For all their apparent willingness to engage in the bombardment against a civilian population there must be those within the regime pragmatic enough to realize that such evidence can, and almost inevitably will, be used against them if the regime falls and justice prevails.

The case of Ali Othman highlights perfectly this ongoing fear of the state.

Ali Othman, a vegetable seller by trade, is now in the custody of the feared state security services. He was arrested on March 28, near the town of Aleppo, and — according to well placed sources — is now being tortured.

Despite international pleas for his release, there are reports that other activists have been receiving calls from Ali asking them to meet him, regardless of the fact that he is now in custody. Those who have responded to his calls and arrived at the meetings have been immediately arrested by state security. It is unlikely that Ali voluntarily made these calls.

Ali Othman never smuggled international journalists into Syria. He was one of the first citizen journalists to film the peaceful protests. His only crime was to record the abuses committed by his own government. The world should keep up the pressure on the Syrian government to pay heed to the calls for his release.

Another prominent figure who disappeared this week is Noura Aljizawi, one of the first activists of the revolution. Her work involved humanitarian aid, handing out medicines and medical help at field hospitals and to those with long-term illnesses who could no longer find the drugs they needed. She visited them at home and offered them help on where to find medical advice and assistance.

Noura left home last Wednesday, March 28, and has not been seen since.

Injured journalist tells of Syriahorror Her sister reports that six of her cameras and a laptop have disappeared and that since her disappearance seven other female and five male activists have also gone missing. I have received reports that she too has been making calls to other activists urging them to meet up — making calls from captivity that is. Hardly encouraging news for those concerned for her well being.

The fear among the activist network is that Noura, who was so well connected and involved, could well be the key that allows the regime to deal a decisive blow to those struggling to keep open that window onto the activities of the Syrian state.

Meanwhile, the Assad regime continues to have a free hand in the systematic and murderous destruction of those involved in the uprising.

The world response has been lamentable and few world leaders have dared raise their heads above the parapet. The UK’s foreign secretary showed good leadership when he issued a statement calling for the release of Ali Othman. We need more of the same from others in power.

While Assad and his inner sanctum believe they can act with impunity we will continue to see more stories similar to those of Ali and Noura. This regime continues to murder and crush opposition figures while hiding behind the six point plans of the likes of Kofi Annan.

Meanwhile the world continues to watch in horror as men, women and children die at the hands of a regime seemingly unaffected by world opinion.

I was asked the other day in an interview if I had crossed the line between being a journalist and being an activist. I answered, somewhat incorrectly, that I was a humanist. What I meant to say was that I was — that I am — a human being.”

From Facebook:

Stop Assad’s Massacre in Syria

Paul Conroy

“The situation in Syria continues to slip rapidly, and even more violently, out of control. The ceasefire, if it could ever be realistically be called that, now lays in tatters and the death toll continues to mount. The regime though has little to fear. The presence of a few unarmed observers on the ground is hardly likely to have Assad and company trembling in their boots and with no plan B on the table to actively put an end to the killing of civilians, we can be pretty sure they will sleep well in their beds tonight.

And what of the Annan plan if the ceasefire fails? Well, look at it for yourselves, apart from the non existent ceasefire, all of the points of the plan seem based on the people of Syria placing their trust in a government that has systematically, shelled, sniped and tortured a large portion of the population for over a year now. Doesn’t seem too likely, when all things are considered, that anyone is likely to lay down there arms and go home.

So what happens next? Mr Annan will continue to be ‘optimistic’ that his plan has a few teething problems but will ultimately succeed. Why? On what grounds does he go to bed thinking, ‘should be ok tomorrow?’ Well, I guess because it’s the only game in town right now. While Russia stills supplies the arms and munitions that are causing the mass casualties, Iran supplies advisors and specialist help and China continues to be China, the Annan plan is the only thing the west, and the Arab league, can point to and say ‘look, we are doing something.’ The only problem is it’s achieving little and the death toll steadily mounts.

Lives cannot be saved by goodwill and optimism alone. Time for the world to start thinking of safe havens, yes, I can hear people scream, that will involve troops on the ground. Troops on the ground, or more dead men women and children. It’s a big choice, but one I fear needs making. And making soon.”

Some we have come to the end of my 11 parts series on what’s going on in Syria.

As I said in part 1 of this series: There is so much to be said about the uprising in Syria and the extremely brutal suppression by the Assad regime. And as usual, most of it is not said in the mainstream media.

So I thought I give you some pieces that are to the point and that give you some perspective of this slaughter of civilians. In other words, some insight into the world of real politics. This is a different universe that the normal platitudes and declarations our political elites are so good at excelling at.

The focus is therefore going to be on some countries and international organisations and what they have done or not done in 11 posts.

So I hope I have given you some insight into this extremely brutal suppression of a popular uprising by the civilian population. And the world of real politics behind the declarations.

As I said, there is so much more to be said.

This Syrian uprising started little over a year ago with spontaneous demonstrations that demanded that the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad reform Syriato a free and democratic state. Assad responded, as usual, with relentless force and a brutal crackdown. Which led to the people to call for the president to step down, and heed to his people’s will to relinquish his power. And for a peaceful transition to democracy.

All reasonably demands wouldn’t you say?

And from this start the Assad’s regimes force and a brutal crackdown have just intensified and widened. The death toll is now over 12 000. Mostly civilians: children, women, families, elderly etc. Many of them executed in the most barbaric way.

On top of that, the deliberate destruction of WHOLE blocks of cities, Block after Block, Neighbourhood after Neighbourhood.

Turning of electricity, water, telecommunications etc for cities and neighbourhoods. Destroying hospitals and preventing medicine and food to reach these areas etc.

I can add systematic rape to that mix of systematic violation of human rights.

Wouldn’t you say that this regime seems utterly barbaric and worthy of world condemnation?

And wouldn’t you have thought that the world would have done something by now?

And the sad answer to these questions is of course – YES ands as usual NO.

NOTHING have in realty been done except some cheap and empty rhetoric. A lot of grandstanding as usual with these people. And of course a lot of meetings, summits, conferences etc. Usually in very nice places very far from the reality they are supposed to talk about.

And yet Assad, hangs on, slaughtering his own people, destroying and despoiling whole neighbourhoods, calling the bluff of the Arab League, Turkey, UN, USA and EU/NATO.

Helped to a very large degree by the enormous material support, weapons, training, intelligence, troops,  personal etc. from Russia, Iran, China and Hezbollah.

And by a traditional policy of dived and conquer the different ethnic and religious groups in Syria. And of course by terror and fear.

Nonetheless, this is a regime, with an enormous arsenal of heavy weapons, which in a year has not been able to dispatch a divided, badly organized, having hardly any weapons, and disparate opposition. It can be defeated and it will implode from the inside.  The slaughter would end much faster if the people got some, any support, from abroad.  And the fear is gone.

As for the do nothing as usual UN, it “proudly” upholds its tradition of doing ABSOLUTLY NOTHING when it really maters, like Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Darfur, Bosnia (Srebrenica anyone?) etc.

Refusing to arm or help the opposition will not end the conflict or limit it; it will drag on as all the above examples shows. Leading to massacres and atrocities.

And by waiting the situation gets worse and much more complex, then “they” used its complexity as an excuse not to intervene while decrying the lost opportunity for intervention. And ALL this time the killing and atrocities committed by Assad’s regime just continues as nothing has happened.

On the contrary, the Assad regime has increased it’s attacks since Bashar al-Assad agreed to implement the “new” peace plan.

The international community’s response has been ludicrous. Syrians on the ground have felt forgotten and betrayed. A system that is supposed to protect civilians from brutal force has failed on a monumental scale.

And to ALL these countries, USA, EU, NATO, Turkey etc. that are supposed to defend and protect freedom, liberty and human rights.

To ALL these global government organisations (UN),and local ones like the Arab League etc.

To ALL the statesmen and politicians that talk so loudly about “responsibility to protect” (Samantha Power anyone?), freedom, liberty and human rights.

I say only one thing: You should BE REALLY PROUD of yourselves and the children of Syria will remember you. Each one.

To the children of Syria!

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Syria and Vladimir Putin: The Butcher of Homs – Part 10

5 maj, 2012

As usual, I start with some recent news and developments:

Al-Arabiya: Tuesday’s death toll in Syria rises to 43 people (May 1)

The atrocities continuous, ceasefire or no ceasefire, UN peace plan or no UN peace plan, it doesn’t matter.

A young boy shot through the eye by a sniper from Assad’s forces. A very brave solder indeed.

”A LITTLE BOY IS SHOT THROUGH THE EYE AND KILLED BY ASSAD’S FORCES. Homs(Jouret Al Sheyah): May 1, 2012- Kutaiba Amer Saber was shot by an Assadist sniper straight through his eye. what kind of human can take aim at a child and murder them in such a  brutal way … all in the name of their leader, Bashar Al Assad.”

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=AMu7Um2k1io

And the destroying of mosques continuous and were are the protests?

“THIS IS THE RESPECT ASSAD AND HIS FORCES HAVE FOR RELIGION. THEY DESTROY A MOSQUE MINARET. Homs(Al Sa’an): May 29, 2012- The Muslim world is outraged by cartoons, yet when Assad destroys mosque after mosque and forces detained men, women and children to renounce God … there is nothing but silence.”

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEa3v7ktoI0&feature=player_embedded

Normal family life wouldn’t you say?

”DAILY LIFE FOR A FAMILY – HUDDLED IN FEAR IN A BASEMENT. Idleb (Jisr Al Shighour): May 1, 2012- This is how these children live. This is how they are being raised, in cramped basements acrossSyria. When the cameraman asks the kids “Do you like Bashar?” They respond “No!” He asks why and they respond simply “because he’s hitting us with rockets”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUTVRh5p1_Y&feature=player_embedded

The deliberate destruction and looting of Syria’s culture heritage. Remember that this happened in Iraq to but that was AFTER the fall of Saddam. In Syria, it happens with Assad’s consent and on his watch:

Syria’s cultural treasures latest uprising victim

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iZa2t6xYRmy1mvXIthfI6wu1rD8A?docId=f6b9e1bc5a12428ea316c067cb47e166

“In one of the most egregious examples, shells thudded into the walls of the 12th century al-Madeeq Citadel, raising flames and columns of smoke as regime forces battled with rebels in March. The bombardment punched holes in the walls, according to online footage of the fighting.

Local activists said regime forces carried out the assault and afterward moved tanks into the hilltop castle. Later footage showed bulldozers knocking through part of the walls to create an entrance.

The government and opposition have traded blame for damage and looting of sites around the country. But a group of European and Syrian archaeologists tracking the threats through witness reports from the ground says that in several cases, government forces have directly hit historic sites and either participated in or turned a blind eye to looting.

We have facts showing that the government is acting directly against the country’s historical heritage,” said Rodrigo Martin, a Spanish archaeologist who has led past research missions inside Syria.”

And there is a new report from Human Rights Watch witch documents war crimes by Assad’s forces in Idlib “War Crimes in Northern Idlib during Peace Plan Negotiations”:

Syria: War Crimes in Idlib During Peace Negotiations

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/05/02/syria-war-crimes-idlib-during-peace-negotiations

(New York) – Syrian government forces killed at least 95 civilians and burned or destroyed hundreds of houses during a two-week offensive in northern Idlib governorate shortly before the ceasefire, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The attacks happened in late March and early April, as United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan was negotiating with the Syrian government to end the fighting.

The 38-page report, “‘They Burned My Heart’: War Crimes in Northern Idlib during Peace Plan Negotiations,” documents dozens of extrajudicial executions, killings of civilians, and destruction of civilian property that qualify as war crimes, as well as arbitrary detention and torture. The report is based on a field investigation conducted by Human Rights Watch in the towns of Taftanaz, Saraqeb, Sarmeen, Kelly, and Hazano in Idlib governorate in late April.

While diplomats argued over details of Annan’s peace plan, Syrian tanks and helicopters attacked one town in Idlib after another,” said Anna Neistat, associate director for program and emergencies at Human Rights Watch. “Everywhere we went, we saw burnt and destroyed houses, shops, and cars, and heard from people whose relatives were killed. It was as if the Syrian government forces used every minute before the ceasefire to cause harm.”

Human Rights Watch documented large-scale military operations that government forces conducted between March 22 and April 6, 2012, in opposition strongholds in Idlib governorate, causing the death of at least 95 civilians. In each attack, government security forces used numerous tanks and helicopters, and then moved into the towns and stayed from one to three days before proceeding to the next town. Graffiti left by the soldiers in all of the affected towns indicate that the military operation was led by the 76th Armored Brigade.

In nine separate incidents documented by Human Rights Watch, government forces executed 35 civilians in their custody. The majority of executions took place during the attack on Taftanaz, a town of about 15,000 inhabitants northeast of Idlib city on April 3 and 4.

A survivor of the security forces’ execution of 19 members of the Ghazal family in Taftanaz described to Human Rights Watch finding the bodies of his relatives:

We first found five bodies in a little shop next to the house. They were almost completely burnt. We could only identify them by a few pieces of clothes that were left. Then we entered the house and in one of the rooms found nine bodies on the floor, next to the wall. There was a lot of blood on the floor. On the wall, there was a row of bullet marks. The nine men had bullet wounds in their backs, and some in their heads. Their hands were not tied, but still folded behind.”

Human Rights Watch researchers were able to observe the bullet marks on the wall that formed a row about 50-60 cm above the floor. Two of those executed were under 18 years old.

In several other cases documented by Human Rights Watch, government forces opened fire and killed or injured civilians trying to flee the attacks. The circumstances of these cases indicate that government forces failed to distinguish between civilians and combatants and to take necessary precautionary measures to protect civilians. Government forces did not provide any warning to the civilian population about the attacks. For example, 76-year-old Ali Ma’assos and his 66-year-old wife, Badrah, were killed by machine-gun fire shortly after the army launched its attack on Taftanaz in the morning on April 3 as they tried to flee the town in a pick-up truck with more than 15 friends and family members.

Upon entering the towns, government forces and shabeeha (pro-government militias) also burned and destroyed a large number of houses, stores, cars, tractors, and other property. Local activists have recorded the partial or complete burning and destruction of hundreds of houses and stores. In Sarmeen, for example, local activists have recorded the burning of 437 rooms and 16 stores, and the complete destruction of 22 houses. In Taftanaz, activists said that about 500 houses were partially or completely burned and that 150 houses had been partially or completely destroyed by tank fire or other explosions. Human Rights Watch examined many of the burned or destroyed houses in the affected towns.

In most cases, the burning and destruction appeared to be deliberate. The majority of houses that were burned had no external damage, excluding the possibility that shelling ignited the fire. In addition, many of the ruined houses were completely destroyed, in contrast to those which appeared to have been hit by tank shells, where the damage was only partial.

During the military operations, the security forces also arbitrarily detained dozens of people, holding them without any legal basis. About two-thirds of the detainees remain in detention to date, despite promises by President Bashar al-Assad’s government to release political detainees. In most cases, the fate and whereabouts of the detainees remains unknown, raising fears that they had been subjected to enforced disappearances. Those who have been released, many of them elderly or disabled, told Human Rights Watch that during their detention in various branches of the mukhabarat (intelligence agencies) in Idlib city they had been subjected to torture and ill-treatment.

Opposition fighters were present in all of the towns prior to the attacks and in some cases tried to prevent the army from entering the towns. In most cases, according to local residents, opposition fighters withdrew quickly when they realized that they were significantly outnumbered and had no means to resist tanks and artillery. In other towns, opposition fighters left without putting up any resistance; residents said this was in order to avoid endangering the civilian population.

The fighting in Idlib appeared to reach the level of an armed conflict under international law, given the intensity of the fighting and the level of organization on both sides, including the armed opposition, who ordered and conducted retreats. This would mean that international humanitarian law (the law of armed conflict) would apply in addition to human rights law. Serious violations of international humanitarian law are classified as war crimes.

Human Rights Watch has previously documented and condemned serious abuses by opposition fighters in Syria, including abuses in Taftanaz. These abuses should be investigated and those responsible brought to justice. These abuses by no means justify, however, the violations committed by the government forces, including summary executions of villagers and the large-scale destruction of villages.

Human Rights Watch called on the United Nations Security Council to ensure that the UN supervisory mission deployed to Syria includes a properly staffed and equipped human rights section that is able safely and independently to interview victims of human rights abuses such as those documented in this report, while protecting them from retaliation. Human Rights Watch also called on the UN Security Council to ensure accountability for these crimes by referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, and for the ongoing UN Commission of Inquiry to support this.

“The United Nations – through the Commission of Inquiry and the Security Council – should make sure that the crimes committed by Syrian security forces do not go unpunished,” said Neistat. “The peace plan efforts will be seriously undermined if abuses continue behind the observers’ backs.”

Eyewitness Accounts From “‘They Burned My Heart’: War Crimes in Northern Idlib during Peace Plan Negotiations”

“The soldiers had handcuffed him behind his back. They didn’t hit him in front of me, but I saw that his eye was bruised. I tried to be quiet and nice to the soldiers so that they would release him.

They spent about 15 minutes in the house, asking him about weapons and searching everywhere. I think they were looking for money. I didn’t say good-bye so as to not make him sad. He didn’t say anything either. When they left, the soldiers said that I should forget him.

–Mother of Mohammad Saleh Shamrukh, chant-leader from Saraqeb, who was summarily executed by the Syrian security forces on March 25, 2012

“The soldiers placed the four of us facing a wall. They first asked Awad where his armed sons were. When Awad said that he was an old man and that he didn’t have any armed sons, they just shot him three times from a Kalashnikov. They then said to Ahmed that apparently 25 years in prison had not been enough for him. When he didn’t say anything, they shot him. They then shot Iyad without any questions and he fell on my shoulder. I realized that it was my turn. I said there is no God but Allah and Muhammed is his prophet and then I don’t remember anything else.”

–Mohammed Aiman Ezz, 43-year-old man shot three times in the back of the head and neck by government forces in an attempted execution of four men in Taftanaz on April 4. He was the only survivor

“I knew in my heart it was my boys [my son and my brother], that they were killed. I ran out, and about 50 meters from the house there were nine bodies, next to the wall. There were still snipers on the roofs, and we had to move very slowly, using flashlights. I pointed my flashlight at the first body, then the second – it wasn’t Uday or Saed. Then I asked the neighbors to help, and we found them both. Saed still had his hands tied behind. People later told me that Uday and Saed were executed there, and the other seven were FSA fighters brought from other places. Uday had a bullet wound in the neck and the back of his head; Saed in his chest and neck.”

–“Heba” (not her real name), mother of 15-year-old Uday Mohammed al-Omar and 21-year-old Saeed Mustafa Barish, both executed by the Syrian security forces in Saraqeb on March 26, 2012

“The tank was on the main road, just 10 meters away from the house. Suddenly, they fired four shells, one after the other, into the house. I was in the house next door, with my mother and six children. We were all thrown into the air by the blast, and for 15 minutes I couldn’t see or hear anything. Then we went into the room that was hit by the shells. One of the walls had a huge hole, some 1.5 meters in diameter, and the opposite wall was completely destroyed. We found Ezzat in the rubble; we could only see his fingers and part of his shoe. It is a miracle that his wife and child were not hurt. They were in the same house, but went to the kitchen when the shells hit. We took Ezzat out, but couldn’t save him. His chest was crushed, and blood was coming out of his mouth and ears.”

–“Rashida” (not her real name), a relative of 50-year-old Ezzat Ali Sheikh Dib who died when the army shelled his house in Saraqeb onMarch 27, 2012

They put a Kalashnikov [assault rifle] to my head and threatened to kill us all if my husband did not come home. The children started crying. Then an officer told a soldier to get petrol and told the children that he would burn them like he would burn their father because he is a terrorist. When the soldier came back with some sort of liquid – it didn’t seem to be petrol – they poured it out in three of the rooms while we were staying in the living room. We wanted to get out of the house, but the soldiers prevented us. My young daughters were crying and begging them to let us go. We were all terrified. Finally, they allowed us to leave the house, but I became even more afraid when I saw all the soldiers and tanks in the street.”

–“Salma” (not her real name), whose house in Taftanaz was burnt by the soldiers on April 4, along with the houses of her five brothers-in-law

“They put me in the car, handcuffed, and kept there all day, until seven in the evening. I told them, ‘I am an old man, let me go to the bathroom,’ but they just beat me on the face. Then they brought me to State Security in Idlib, and put me in a 30-square-meter cell with about 100 other detainees. I had to sleep squatting on the floor. There was just one toilet for all of us. They took me to an interrogation four times, each time asking why some of my family members joined the FSA. I didn’t deny it, but said there was nothing I could do to control what my relatives do. They slapped me on the face a lot.”

– “Abu Ghassan” (not his real name), 73-year-old man who was detained in one of the towns in northern Idlib and held in detention for 18 days

Report here:

http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/syria0512WebVersionReduced.pdf

Video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=DjbdGx9Au94#!

And the UN observers have finally seen what has been there in plain sight all the time:

UN: Syrian government still has heavy weapons in cities

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=391627

“Syrian security forces have kept heavy weapons in cities in breach of a UN brokered cessation of hostilities, but the government and opposition both have committed truce violations, a top UN official said Tuesday.

The 34 unarmed military observers now in Syriahave seen Howitzer guns, armored personnel carriers and other weaponry in cities, UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told a press conference at UN headquarters.

Ladsous insisted, however, that the monitors were having an effect in cities where they have been allowed to go.

Withdrawing weapons and troops from Syrian cities was a key part of a six-point peace plan agreed by President Bashar al-Assad and UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan. Syria has told the UN that weapons have been pulled back.

”Regarding the heavy weapons, yes, our military observers do see a number of APCs, for instance, they see a number of Howitzers and other military equipment in most places where they are,” Ladsous said.

Syria has told the monitors that the armored carriers have been disarmed but this has not been verified, Ladsous added.

The UN Security Council has approved a 300 strong force to monitor the cessation of hostilities which started on April 12 but has barely held. Ladsous said only 150 monitors have been promised by UN member states so far. Syria has refused visas for three monitors that the UN wanted in the country.

Ladsous, a UN under secretary general, said that government forces and opposition groups have broken the truce.

”All the parties need to take further steps to ensure a cessation of violence in all its forms.”

”The important fact is that violations do come from both sides,” he said while refusing to say whether one side had committed more breaches.

Annan is to brief the Security Council on May 8 on events in Syria, where the UN says well over 9,000 people have died since an uprising against Assad started in March last year.”

The new Berlin Wall, but of course, it’s ONLY to “protect” the people inside the wall. And were are the international protests?:

Syria’s sealed-off rebels

Baba Amr in Homs, once an opposition stronghold, is now isolated by a 10-foot high concrete wall

http://www.salon.com/2012/04/30/syrias_sealed_off_rebels/singleton/

BABA AMR, Syria— For Syrians on both sides of the concrete wall that now surrounds this neighborhood, the comparisons to the region’s longest running conflict are unavoidable.

“When my wife described the wall to me I immediately thought of the wall built by the Israelis to isolate Palestinian villages and towns in theWest Bank,” said Abu Annas, formerly a resident of Homs’ devastated Baba Amr district.

I can understand that Israel built a wall to protect Israeli settlers from Palestinians. But I cannot understand how a national government builds a wall to separate its citizens from each other.”

Since forcing the retreat of rebel fighters from Baba Amr after a brutal month-long bombardment in February, government forces have constructed a massive concrete wall to seal off the former opposition stronghold.

A reporter for GlobalPost recently visited Baba Amr and the wall, describing it as up to 10-feet high and made of cement. It’s still so new there is no graffiti. Since most residents have long fled, the neighborhood behind the wall has become “a dead land for cats and dogs,” as one former resident described it.

Soldiers and secret police guard the few narrow passages through the wall, arresting any male aged between 13 and 60, said Annas, whose wife and young daughter recently went to check on what remained of their home inside Baba Amr.

“They spent half an hour arguing with the security officer who said his men would have to check them before they passed through,” he said. “She came back crying, saying, ‘There is no Baba Amr.’”

Those houses not destroyed in February’s siege have been taken over by soldiers, Annas said. Electricity and phone lines have been cut for months and now cars cannot enter, nor delivery trucks, meaning shops are almost all closed.

Activists in the area said the neighborhood — once home to some 28,000 people — has now been all but abandoned, with only about 1,000 still living inside the wall.

In other Sunni-majority opposition neighborhoods throughout Homs, such as Karm al-Zeitoune, where whole families were killed in recent sectarian massacres, and Deir Balbah and Qarabes, the majority of residents have also fled.

With the UN-Arab League ceasefire plan in tatters — at least 462 people have been killed since April 16 when the UN resolved to send ceasefire monitors, according to the opposition Local Coordination Committees — and veto-wielding Russia blaming the armed opposition for the majority of attacks, the Assad regime appears to be taking steps to re-exert long-term security control and collectively punish rebellious communities.

On Saturday, Abu Bakr Saleh, a spokesman for the Baba Amr media center who lived through the bombardment, said other security measures were preventing residents from traveling between Baba Amr and neighboring Joubar neighborhood, to the far southwest of the city.

Last week, GlobalPost witnessed continued shelling in Khaldiyeh and Bayada, Sunni-majority neighborhoods in north Homs that support the opposition and lie adjacent to Zahara, a neighborhood of mainly Allawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, to which the ruling Assad family and a majority of government elites belong.

Cairo Street, which leads from north Homsinto Zahara in the east of the city, has been renamed “Death Street” by locals after the deadly snipers deployed to rooftops, presumably to protect the pro-regime neighborhood.

On their first visit to Homs on April 21, members of the advance team of UN observers, the first of 300 due to be deployed to monitor violations of the ceasefire agreement, were forced to take cover after shots rang out as they walked down Cairo Street from Bayada.

“The regime will not adhere to the Annan plan and the near future will prove that,” said Omar, a 24-year-old member of the rebel Free Syrian Army, told GlobalPost in an interview at his home inHoms’ Deir Balba.

The regime is preparing for the post-Annan cease-fire by building walls around Sunni districts to block our movement and is digging a long trench around Homs two meters wide.”

Reports of Assad’s forces digging trenches around the south and west of Homs, where Baba Amr is located, first emerged last November. A video journalist working with GlobalPost witnessed the trench during a visit to Homs this February. The purpose of the trench remains unclear, but it appears to be a another military tactic to hinder access to rebellious neighborhoods.

In Daraa, the first city to rise up against the regime and suffer a sustained military assault, GlobalPost recently witnessed a labyrinth of checkpoints and deployment of tanks, troops and snipers, effectively sealing off the population from surrounding areas and the capital.

The regime blames “armed terrorist groups” for the breakdown in the ceasefire agreement. Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud told state-run Syrian Arab News Agency last week that the “terrorists” had committed more than 1,300 violations.

Russia last week echoed a similar line. Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich accused the opposition of shifting “to tactics of terror on a regional scale,” claiming Western governments were arming the rebel fighters.

Rather, it appears post-revolutionary Libya, which strongly supports Syria’s opposition, has made the first serious effort to arm the rebels. On Saturday Lebanese authorities announced they had discovered guns and rocket propelled grenades aboard a ship attempting to dock in north Lebanon’s Tripoli, a Sunni-majority city also widely supportive of Syria’s opposition.

Omar, the young rebel fighter from Homs, said the FSA was now restructuring after suffering a strategic defeat in Baba Amr.

“We will adopt guerilla tactics,” he said. “We are fighting in small groups and moving from one district to another so we don’t let the regime block this district and kill us. The FSA leaders made a big mistake when they tried to hold Baba Amr.”

As the rebels seek new strategies for their armed struggle, the Assad regime has made its contempt of the international diplomatic effort clear. Assad himself revealed his scorn for last December’s Arab League monitoring mission in an email, first obtained and verified by the Guardian.

Writing to Hadeel Ali, his young media consultant, the president forwarded a YouTube video ridiculing the mission’s inability to spot hidden Syrian tanks, to which she responded, “Hahahahahahaha, OMG!!!”

That same contempt appeared to be on display more recently as Kofi Annan, the Arab League envoy, briefed the Security Council on a letter received from Syrian Foreign Minister Waleed Mualem on April 21. The letter stated that the government had now withdrawn all heavy armor and troops from population centers, the first step in Annan’s cease-fire plan.

But daily videos of smoke billowing above Homs and troops opening fire in urban protest centers have told a very different story.

Syrian officials see Annan’s plan as “a license for the regime to do more of the same,” the respected International Crisis Group, one of the only international think tanks able to still interview Syrian officials, wrote in its April 10 report.

“As the regime sees it, Annan’s mission, far from presenting a threat, can be a way to drag the process on and shift the focus from regime change to regime concessions,” ICG reported, “granting humanitarian access, agreeing to a ceasefire and beginning a vaguely defined political dialogue, all of which can be endlessly negotiated and renegotiated.”

As that process unfolds, the wall in Baba Amr stands as a physical symbol of the deep-seeded sectarian hatred that a year of relentless violence in Syria has engendered in former neighbors.

“The Sunni districts are hosting terrorists and armed gangs so the government should close them off by all means. If this needs a high wall, why not?” Haidar, a 35-year-old Allawite fromHoms’ Zahara neighborhood, told GlobalPost.

A member of the Popular Committees, the official name for armed civilian militias fighting for the regime, Haidar said the possible collapse of the regime would mean no future for three million Allawites in Syria’s big cities. “We would return to our villages in the mountains,” he said.

“We have been occupying senior positions in the army, security agencies and government in Syria for four decades and we will keep the power in our hands, whatever this costs us.”

Students at the university of Aleppo send a message to the world

(Note these students were attacked on the morning of May 3 by Assad’s forces. Several was killed, many wounded and over 200 arrested http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=392233)

And the situation for the children of Syria, targeted and killed by Assad’s forces. And remember, these thugs were and are trained by Iran and Russia:

Syria’s children under siege

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=391570

Yazen is a four-year-old boy from Homs who found refuge in the Lebanese town of Ras Baalbek three months ago. He lost his ability to speak because of the psychological trauma he endured after being brutally beaten by the Syrian regime’s thugs when they came into his home in search of his father.

The killing machine in Syria did not spare children; rather, since the start of the uprising, the regime of Bashar al-Assad has intentionally targeted them, earning the Syrian president the title of “child murderer” among his detractors.

According to the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, 1,089 children – boys and girls alike – have been killed so far, and 464 wounded.

At the start of the uprising, a group of Syrians launched an initiative on Facebook calling for keeping children out of protests to keep them protected from the pro-regime forces that attack demonstrations. But it was not enough, as the killers go after children in their homes and schools. Reports by the United Nations and Human Rights Watch indicate that schools have been turned into detention and torture centers run by regime forces, who would also position snipers on the roofs.

According to the same reports, children have been shot by snipers, killed by shelling, tortured to death, and have died from untreated wounds. Reports also mention children being raped in prisons.

Anna Neistat, an associate director at Human Rights Watch, worked for years on conflicts from Chechnya to Zimbabwe to Sri Lanka. In an article in the Global Post, she said that the level of state-sanctioned torture taking place in Syria is incomparable with any other conflict she has ever witnessed. There is no distinction between children and adults in prisons, she said, adding that if anything, children are more brutally beaten, as investigators believe they respond faster to such practices.

In the same context, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told the BBC that hundreds of children were taken as hostages or information sources. The Human Rights Watch report said that regular troops used children as human shields and put them in tanks and buses when the Syrian army stormed Ain Larouz in theprovince of Edleb on March 10.

The Syrian regime uses methodical violence against children for many reasons, including revenge, as children have played an essential role in the uprising from the beginning; indeed, it was children who wrote anti-regime slogans on walls in Daraa, launching the protests last year.

The regime is also trying to send other children a message. A year ago this week, the regime brutally tortured Hamza al-Khatib before sending his mutilated body to his parents, thus delivering a message to its opponents right from the start, namely that it is not bound by any moral and humanitarian deterrent and is capable of committing atrocities if the revolution goes on.

By targeting children, the regime is “striking the foundations” of the new generation and undermining the stability, safety and future of society and family, especially in rural areas where children are regarded as an “investment” by parents and a means to provide for them when they grow old, according to the UC Davis Human Rights Initiative Blog.

These practices have tremendous and dangerous effects on children who survive or witness such violence. “[The child] suffers from deep disorders and experiences a state of concern and feeling of being unsafe. This renders him or her unable to plan for the future, ignites his or her anger and influences his or her behavior,” says Psychoanalyst Rena Sarkis. “Any change in the child’s habits, such as having a different school or home, can put him or her in a state of shock. Seeing pictures of an earthquake in some countries affects the child’s spirit, as he or she fears that something similar may happen to him or her. This holds especially true when war invades his or her street, home and school. It is as though he or she was left alone in this life without any reference and markers,” Sarkis added.

Children victims of violence need to rebuild their sense of security and dignity by talking over what happened to help them understand and move on, Sarkis said, though UNICEF Child Protection Officer Abir Abi Khalil noted that while some children can express themselves using words, others find it difficult to do so.

In an attempt to provide them with psychological support, UNICEF established “child-friendly spaces” in the Lebanese regions in which Syrian nationals took refuge. Volunteers organize entertainment, cultural and educational activities for children and use drawing to help them express what they cannot put into words. “Drawings speak,” says Abi Khalil, adding that in their first drawings, many children depicted weapons, fire and guns. “Several months now into their displacement and participation in activities, they have started drawing suns and children.”

According to UNICEF Media Director Souha Bsat, the idea underlying the project is to allow the child to lead a normal life away from home, since parents – due to their mental state – cannot provide an atmosphere of joy and calm. These activities also help Syrian children mingle with their Lebanese peers, who also need spaces for playing and entertainment, since the Lebanese regions that saw an influx of Syrian refugees are the poorest inLebanon. Bsat goes on saying that these spaces fill the free time of displaced children constructively, especially for those who have been unable to enroll in Lebanese schools or were forced to work in order to provide for their families.

In Syria too, despite the killing, groups have started providing psychological support to children. “We are rebelling for them so that we provide them with a more beautiful future. The calendar of freedom gives a detailed description every Tuesday of activities and games that help children deal with psychological trauma resulting from violence,” according to the Facebook page of Syrian journal Ayyam al-Horriya (Days of Freedom).

But as Sarkis points out, it is only after the violence ends can Yazen and other children recover the glitter, color and songs of their childhood. “

And thanks to NATO’s, EU’s and US overthrow of Qaddafi weapons are flowing all over the place. Defected Syrian officers and agents desperately pleading with the Obama administration to change policy but to no avail. And this lunacy policy is CREATING EXACTLY THE SITUATION which this no arms policy is said to prevent:

“In the seven months since the Qaddafi regime was destroyed, Washington, London and Paris have turned a blind eye to the impossibility of establishing a stable government in Tripoli because rebel factions and militias identified with al Qaeda which control Libya’s main towns are too busy running the biggest arms smuggling network ever seen in North Africa.

Rockets, explosives and every kind of weapon is reaching al Qaeda elements and affiliates in abundant quantities across northern Africa and the Middle East, including their offshoots in Egyptian Sinai and the Gaza Strip.

Groups identified with al Qaeda have seized control of large parts ofMaliand directly threaten the stability of the Algerian government.

Sources report fears that Syriamight go the same way as Libya. Syrian officers and agents who have deserted from Syrian military and security agencies have made their way to Washington to implore administration officials to abandon the US policy of non-intervention in Syria. They warn that the rebel Free Syrian Army is falling into the clutches of al Qaeda. It won’t be long, they say, before these jihdist terrorists not only wreak mayhem in Syria, but turn that country into their haven and base for cross-border attacks against Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.

Their pleas have not moved the Obama administration. That so long as the Americans stay out of involvement in Syria, France, Turkey and Arab League nations will also stand aside, because the US alone is capable of establishing combined commands and infrastructure for coordinating an operation with multiple air support on the scale required for Syria.

By opting out of action in Syria, the West and the Arab League not only give Assad free rein to continue slaughtering his people but leave the door open for al Qaeda to move in on the various Syrian rebel movements and add the element of terror to the ongoing carnage.”

“He is a liar, a liar,” he said. ”It was just talk, talk, talk. Nobody helped us.”

Inside Syria’s broken city of Homs

The eccentricity of terror is drawn in dust-covered colours in the homes of Baba Amr.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9239518/Inside-Syrias-broken-city-of-Homs.html

“Few people were prepared to talk, but one man was upset enough on learning he was talking to a Briton to damn the perfidy of David Cameron, who had seemed to want to help but had ”done nothing”.

”He is a liar, a liar,” he said. ”It was just talk, talk, talk. Nobody helped us. The whole world was against us.”

Another man described how he had been held in prison for 50 days – though not long enough to avoid the savagery of February’s bombardment that finally drove the Free Syrian Army’s Farouq Battalion from the suburb. It was a humiliating retreat which may have marked the turning point of this war.

Every day for thirty days the shells came. They started at six in the morning and ended at eight at night. In between, there was not a minute’s peace.”

And this video makes fun of the Syrian state TV’s propaganda:

“THE LUNACY OF SYRIAN STATE TV – SAME MAN APPEARS IN 10 DIFFERENT VIDEOS FOR STATE TV AS ‘COMMON BYSTANDER OR WITNESS’. The video speaks for itself.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_137knC2Zs&feature=player_embedded

US and the Obama administration

Remember the suicide bombing against the United States embassy in Beirut, Lebanon on April 18, 1983 that killed over 60 people, mostly embassy staff members and United States Marines. An additional 120 people were wounded in the bombing

Of the Americans killed, eight worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, including the CIA’s top Middle East analyst and Near East director, Robert C. Ames, Station Chief Kenneth Haas and most of the Beirut staff of the CIA.

Following the attack, the embassy was moved to a supposedly more secure location in East Beirut. However, on September 20, 1984, another car bomb exploded at this embassy annex, killing twenty Lebanese and two American soldiers.

And then there was the  Beirut Barracks Bombing on October 23, 1983 in Beirut, when two truck bombs struck separate buildings housing United States and French military forces—members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon—killing 299 American and French servicemen.

Of the 299 killed 241 was Americans. And sixty Americans were injured. Representing the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima of World War II, the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States military since the first day of the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War, and the deadliest single attack on Americans overseas since World War II.

The blasts led to the withdrawal of the international peacekeeping force fromLebanon.

Well, that was “daddy” Hafez al-Assad  and Iran (Hezbollah).

As I have been saying, It’s a family affair. A deadly one.

And here they are (from 1994):

At the front are Hafez al-Assad and his wife, Mrs Anisa Makhlouf. In the back row, from left to right, are Maher (1967 -), Bashar (1965 -), Bassel (1962 – 1994), Majid (1967 – 2009), and Bushra Assad (1960 -).

Under the Bush administration US policy towards Syria cooled in 2003. Then Secretary of State Colin Powell was the last high ranking person to go to Damascus in May 2003.

And the Bush administration recalled its ambassador to Damascus on February 15, 2005 after Syria’s assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Al-Hariri on 14 February 2005. Under the rest of Bush’s term no US ambassador where stationed in Damascus.

Following Hariri’s death, there were several other bombings and assassinations against anti-Syrian figures. These included Samir Kassir, George Hawi, Gebran Tueni, Pierre Amine Gemayel, and Walid Eido. Assassination attempts were also made on Elias Murr, May Chidiac, and Samir Shehade who was investigating Hariri’s death.

It was the “son” this time. Together with Iran (Hezbollah).

The assassination gave rise to the so-called Cedar Revolution, a rare Lebanese political consensus. Syria, cowed by the collective anger, had to withdraw its troops.

The primary goals of the original activists were the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon and the replacement of a government heavily influenced by Syrian interests with more independent leadership, the establishment of an international commission to investigate the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri, the resignation of security officials to ensure the success of the plan, and the organization of free parliamentary elections.

The UN investigation and the Mehlis report

“The Mehlis Report is the result of the United Nations’ investigation into the 14 February 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri. The investigation was launched in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1595 and headed by the German judge, Detlev Mehlis. It involved questioning of Lebanese and Syrian officials.

The official Mehlis Report made no specific mention of anyone in the Syrian government as responsible for the assassination. However, the report was first erroneously released as a Microsoft Word document which preserved changes that had been made in the document since its creation. According to that document, the original U.N. report had specifically named many high-ranking Syrian government and military officials by name as being personally responsible for the death of Rafik Hariri.

For example, a previous editing of the report stated that ”Maher al-Assad, Assef Shawkat, Hassan Khalil, Bahjat Suleyman and Jamil al-Sayyed” were behind the killing of Hariri. But in the official version, this is replaced by ”senior Lebanese and Syrian officials”. Maher al-Assad is the brother of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and Assef Shawqat, a powerful figure within the regime, is married to their sister Bushra. Suleyman is a top Syrian security official and al-Sayyed, the only Lebanese of the four, was formerly the head of Lebanon’s General Security Department.

Some suggest that the document indicates the report was altered to remove these names during a meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, despite the fact that he had personally stated that this would not happen. Mehlis himself has denied outside influence on the report, and said that Annan did not suggest any changes. The motivation for removing the names is not known.”

Yeap, Annan again.

Report here:

http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N05/563/67/PDF/N0556367.pdf?OpenElement

You can read more about the failed UN investigation here:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2010/11/19/f-rfa-macdonald-lebanon-hariri.html

Since the Bush administrations recall of the ambassador to Damascus there were some parading of politicians going to Damascus and meeting Assad. Many democrats but some republicans too.

The most notorious is when Nancy Pelosi (D), Speaker of the US House of Representatives, in April 2007 meets Assad in an effort to sabotage Bush foreign policy:

We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace,” said Pelosi, who met for three hours with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Even the Washington Post did not defend her:

”We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascusis a road to peace,” Ms. Pelosi grandly declared.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040402306.html

“Ms. Pelosi was criticized by President Bush for visiting Damascusat a time when the administration — rightly or wrongly — has frozen high-level contacts withSyria. Mr. Bush said that thanks to the speaker’s freelancing Mr. Assad was getting mixed messages from theUnited States.

Never mind that that statement is ludicrous: As any diplomat with knowledge of the region could have told Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Assad is a corrupt thug whose overriding priority at the moment is not peace with Israel but heading off U.N. charges that he orchestrated the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. The really striking development here is the attempt by a Democratic congressional leader to substitute her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican president. Two weeks ago Ms. Pelosi rammed legislation through the House of Representatives that would strip Mr. Bush of his authority as commander in chief to manage troop movements in Iraq. Now she is attempting to introduce a new Middle East policy that directly conflicts with that of the president. We have found much to criticize in Mr. Bush’s military strategy and regional diplomacy. But Ms. Pelosi’s attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive, it is foolish. “

Meeting Assad, Pelosi calls visit to Syria the ‘road to peace’

http://articles.boston.com/2007-04-05/news/29225817_1_syrian-security-officials-syrian-president-bashar-assad-mideast-crises

“DAMASCUS– House Speaker NancyPelosi challenged the White House on Middle East policy yesterday, meeting with Syria’s leader and insisting ”the road to Damascus is a road to peace.”

That brought a sharp attack from the Bush administration, which has rejected direct talks with Damascusuntil it changes its ways.

Unfortunately that road is lined with the victims of Hamas and Hezbollah, the victims of terrorists who cross from Syria into Iraq,” said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for President Bush’s National Security Council. ”It’s unfortunate that she took this unilateral trip which we only see as counterproductive.”

The United States accuses Syria of backing Hamas and Hezbollah, two groups it deems terrorist organizations. It also says Syria is fueling Iraq‘s violence by allowing Sunni insurgents to operate from its territory and is destabilizing Lebanon‘s government. Syrian security officials have been implicated in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri in Beirut, thoughDamascus has denied a role.”

Assad’s Speaker

Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria is part of a larger problem.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/220559/assads-speaker/eric-cantor

”In one fell swoop, the Speaker legitimized and emboldened a ruthless thug whose unyielding support for terrorism has bogged down our attempts to bring stability and peace to the region at every step of the way. The excursion, condemned by most major newspapers, undoubtedly won Pelosi plaudits from her reflexively anti-Bush liberal base.

But most instructively, it revealed why Democrats remain woefully unfit to set the nation’s foreign policy.

Presenting Assad with “a new Democratic alternative” — code for making President Bush look feckless — Mrs. Pelosi usurped the executive branch’s time-honored foreign-policy authority. Her message to Assad was that congressional Democrats will forbid the president from increasing pressure on Damascus to stop its murderous way. Several leading legal authorities have made the case that her recent diplomatic overtures ran afoul of the Logan Act, which makes it a felony for any American “without authority of the United States” to communicate with a foreign government to influence that government’s behavior on any disputes with the United States. Regardless of the law, Pelosi proceeded to make Assad an important regional player without first having to become a responsible one. At such a critical moment in the volatile Middle East, this is no time for the United States to be sending out mixed signals to our enemies.”

Then enter the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton. With a total change of policy. They sent a new ambassador to Damascus. And were the Bush administration refused to lend the UN “Human Rights” Council credibility by U.S. membership and withholding taxpayer dollars.

In 2009 President Obama, signed on, paid the dues, and is currently seeking a second three-year term for the United States on the Council. Etc (see my part 9).

Why??

Because the Obama administration had determined that Assad was a “reformer”

Yeap, you read right. According to Obama, Clinton and the top democrats, Assad was a “reformer” who they could work with.

And they did and tried. And kept silent about the atrocities. As long as he was “their man”.

As late as March 28 2011 Clinton STILL called Assad a “reformer”. That was two weeks after the uprising stared in earnest.

Back in March Hillary Clinton said (in CBS “Face the Nation) their would be no intervention in Syria because the dictator Bashar Assad was a “reformer.”

Syrian President Assad Regarded As a ‘Reformer,’ Clinton Says

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/syrian-president-assad-regarded-reformer-clinton-says

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday drew a contrast between Syrian President Bashir Assad and his late father and predecessor, and said U.S. lawmakers who recently have visited Damascus regarded him as a “reformer.”

She made the startling comment while explaining why the United States will not intervene on behalf of Syrian civilians revolting against the regime as it has done in the case of Libya.”

“Doing the round of Sunday television talk shows with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Clinton told CBS’s Face the Nation that the U.S. would not enter the conflict in Syria as it has in Libya.

No,” she said. “Each of these situations is unique.”

While saying the administration deplored the violence in Syria, she contrasted the situation to that of Libya.

“What’s been happening there [in Syria] the last few weeks is deeply concerning, but there’s a difference between calling out aircraft and indiscriminately strafing and bombing your own cities and then police actions, which, frankly, have exceeded the use of force that any of us would want to see.”

“CBS newsman Bob Schieffer, the interviewer, noted that the president’s father, Hafez Assad, had “killed 25,000 people at a lick” – a reference to the crushing of an Islamist revolt in the town of Hama in 1982 – and said the regime now was firing at civilians with live ammunition.

“Why is that different from Libya?” he asked.

There’s a different leader in Syria now,” Clinton said. “Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.”

Despite appeals from the Obama administration, Bashir Assad has aligned himself with Iran and Hamas.”

“A regular visitor to Damascus is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who has met with Assad at least six times, most recently last November.

Kerry was a strong supporter of the Obama administration’s decision to re-engage the Assad regime and to send an ambassador to Damascus for the first time in five years. He has also taken an interest in prodding Syria and Israel towards peace talks.

In a March 16 speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on U.S. policy in the light of what he called “the new Arab awakening,” Kerry referred to the situation in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Morocco, Oman and Lebanon.

There was not a single reference in the speech to Syria, however.

When Kerry was asked about Syria during a question-and-answer session afterwards, he voiced optimism about the direction relations were taking.

I have been a believer for some period of time that we could make progress in that relationship,” he said. “And I’m going to continue to work for it and push it.”

President Assad has been very generous with me in terms of the discussions we have had,” Kerry continued. “And when I last went to – the last several trips to Syria – I asked President Assad to do certain things to build the relationship with the United States and sort of show the good faith that would help us to move the process forward.”

He mentioned some of the requests, including the purchase of land for the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, the opening of an American cultural center, non-interference in Lebanon’s election and the improvement of ties with Iraq and Bahrain, and said Assad had met each one.

So my judgment is that Syria will move; Syria will change, as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States and the West and economic opportunity that comes with it and the participation that comes with it.

Kerry said nothing about the need for internal reform in Syria.

In contrast, Kerry early this month was an outspoken advocate for the administration to act in Libya, describing Gaddafi as “a mad man bent on maintaining power” and saying the U.S. should lead the world in preventing the slaughter of more Libyan civilians.”

Assad, like his father, has nurtured strong ties with Iran and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, while continuing to host Palestinian terrorist groups in Damascus.

He also maintained Syria’s decades-old policy of political and military interference in Lebanon, and his regime was suspected of high-level involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

The Hariri killing prompted President Bush to withdraw the U.S.ambassador from Damascus. Seeking improved relations with Syria, President Obama nominated Robert Ford as ambassador and, after the process stalled in Congress, appointed him during a recess last December.”

So slaughtering civilians, including children, execute and massacre them, commit war crimes, destroying block after block, neighbourhood after neighbourhood with the world largest mortar bomb (Russian 240 mm) is OK IF YOU ARE DEEMED A REFORMER by the Obama administration.

Then all high talk and “responsibility to protect” doesn’t matter.

And Washington Posts Fact Checker concluded: “Clinton’s remarks gave a highly misleading impression”

Hillary Clinton’s uncredible statement on Syria

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/hillary-clintons-uncredible-statement-on-syria/2011/04/01/AFWPEYaC_blog.html

There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.”

–Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, on “Face the Nation,”March 27, 2011

“I referenced opinions of others. That was not speaking either for myself or for the administration.”

–Clinton, two days later

Hillary Clinton is known for making provocative statements, but few have generated such a firestorm as her comment last week that the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, may be a reformer. She made her remarks after “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer noted that Assad’s late father had killed 25,000 people during an uprising against his regime.Clintonresponded by noting that the son was now in power and he was a “different leader.”

Lawmakers and columnists quickly condemned her remarks. So two days later Clinton tried to deflect the criticism by telling reporters she was only referencing “the opinions” of lawmakers who had met with Assad and that she was not speaking for the administration. But then she added: “We’re also going to continue to urge that the promise of reform, which has been made over and over again and which you reported on just a few months ago – I’m a reformer, I’m going to reform, and I’ve talked to members of Congress and others about that, that we hear from the highest levels of leadership in Syria – will actually be turned into reality.”

 Officially, the State Department has taken a dim view of Assad’s pledges, describing him as “authoritarian” in the most recent human rights report. “The government systematically repressed citizens’ abilities to change their government,” the report said. “In a climate of impunity, there were instances of arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life.

There’s no question that Assad had promised reform to reporters, most recently in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. But have “many of the members of Congress of both parties” who have met with Assad actually come away from those meetings believing that Assad was a reformer?

Relations between the United States and Syria hit a low point in 2005 after the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, was assassinated and the Bush administration withdrew the U.S.ambassador.

But President Obama has sought to repair relations, believing a peace deal between Israel and Syria would help stabilize the region. Over congressional opposition, he returned the ambassador to Damascus.

In a meantime, a number of congressional delegations have made trips to Damascusto meet with Assad. Most famously, then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) met with Assad in 2007 over the objections of President Bush, though Republicans such as Rep. Darrell Issa of California also traveled there, believing it was important to maintain a dialogue. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has made repeated visits to Damascus to meet at length with Assad.

We will take it as a given that a number of Democrats believed Assad could be a reformer. On March 16, for instance, Kerry said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: ”So my judgment is that Syria will move; Syria will change, as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States and the West and economic opportunity that comes with it and the participation that comes with it.

But what about Republicans? Clinton claimed that “many of the members of both parties” who had gone to Syria “in recent months” had decided Assad was a reformer. The State Department, however, refused to provide any names.

So, using news articles, the Internet and other sources, we tried to identify every Republican lawmaker who had gone to Syria on an official trip since Pelosi’s visit in 2007. We came up with a list of 13 names, some of whom are now retired and some of whom have made repeated visits. We then checked every public statement or news release the lawmakers made about their trips or meetings with Assad.

We could not find anything close to sentiments indicating Assad was a reformer. Issa, for instance, urged a need for dialogue but said that “we should hold no illusions about the regime of Bashar al-Assad.” Issa added, “Our discussions were tense and focused on Syria’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas, interference in Lebanon, the movement of foreign fighters to Iraq and the repression of the Syrian people.”

Throughout the Middle East uprisings, Clinton has had trouble calibrating her comments to the mood of the moment, such as when she pronounced the Mubarak regime to be “stable’ and “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.” Days later, Mubarak was gone.

But did any of these lawmakers come away from the meeting believing Assad was a reformer? Shelby, through a spokesman, said he never believed or said that (and also did not brief Clinton after the trip). “He has known both the father and son, and believes they are brutal dictators with horrible reputations,” said spokesman Jonathan Graffeo. Other senators on the trip also denied that, though not all immediately responded.

Interestingly, even Kerry seems to have lost patience with Assad, blasting him in a statement on Thursday, just four days after Clinton suggested Assad was a reformer.

(My addition:

 http://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/chair/release/?id=c86dd9d9-651e-4bcb-b694-4947136a1a05

Chairman Kerry On The Situation In Syria

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Violence against peaceful protesters is unacceptable — whether in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen or anyplace else — and betrays the values that we, as Americans, respect and that people everywhere should share.  I am particularly concerned about the violence against protesters in Syria.  President Bashar al-Assad did not use his speech yesterday to promise concrete reforms, including lifting the emergency law. With large protests scheduled for tomorrow, it is essential that his government refrain from using violence against its own people)

The State Department’s refusal to identify these lawmakers is also suspicious, especially after Clinton backtracked and sought to pin the blame for the sentiments she expressed on others. So we are left with a public record that suggests Clinton was exaggerating or inventing the chorus of support on the GOP side.

In fact, Clinton’s remarks gave a highly misleading impression — that there was general consensus by experts on Syria in both parties that Assad was a reformer, even though Clinton’s own State Department reports label him otherwise. “

That “reformer” has now killed over 11 000 civilian men, women, children, elderly etc.

Syria’s ‘reformer’

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/syrias-reformer/2011/03/31/AFy4JFCC_story.html

Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone toSyriain recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.

— Hillary Clinton on Bashar al-Assad, March 27

Few things said by this administration in its two years can match this one for moral bankruptcy and strategic incomprehensibility.

First, it’s demonstrably false. It was hoped that President Assad would be a reformer when he inherited his father’s dictatorship a decade ago. Being a London-educated eye doctor, he received the full Yuri Andropov treatment — the assumption that having been exposed to Western ways, he’d been Westernized. Wrong. Assad has run the same iron-fisted Alawite police state as did his father.

Bashar made promises of reform during the short-lived Arab Spring of 2005. The promises were broken. During the current brutally suppressed protests, his spokeswoman made renewed promises of reform. Then Wednesday, appearing before parliament, Assad was shockingly defiant. He offered no concessions. None.

Second, Clinton’s statement is morally obtuse. Here are people demonstrating against a dictatorship that repeatedly uses live fire on its own people, a regime that in 1982 killed 20,000 in Hama and then paved the dead over. Here are insanely courageous people demanding reform — and the U.S. secretary of state tells the world that the thug ordering the shooting of innocents already is a reformer, thus effectively endorsing the Baath party line — “We are all reformers,” Assad told parliament — and undermining the demonstrators’ cause.

Third, it’s strategically incomprehensible. Sometimes you cover for a repressive ally because you need it for U.S. national security. Hence our muted words about Bahrain. Hence our slow response on Egypt. But there are rare times when strategic interest and moral imperative coincide completely. Syria is one such — a monstrous police state whose regime consistently works to thwart U.S. interests in the region.

During the worst days of the Iraq war, this regime funneled terrorists into Iraq to fight U.S. troops and Iraqi allies. It is dripping with Lebanese blood as well, being behind the murder of independent journalists and democrats, including former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. This year, it helped topple the pro-Western government of Hariri’s son, Saad, and put Lebanon under the thumb of the virulently anti-Western Hezbollah. Syria is a partner in nuclear proliferation with North Korea. It is Iran’s agent and closest Arab ally, granting it an outlet on the Mediterranean. Those two Iranian warships that went through the Suez Canal in February docked at the Syrian port of Latakia, a long-sought Iranian penetration of the Mediterranean.

Yet here was the secretary of state covering for the Syrian dictator against his own opposition. And it doesn’t help that Clinton tried to walk it back two days later by saying she was simply quoting others. Rubbish. Of the myriad opinions of Assad, she chose to cite precisely one: reformer. That’s an endorsement, no matter how much she later pretends otherwise.

And it’s not just the words; it’s the policy behind it. This delicacy toward Assad is dismayingly reminiscent of President Obama’s response to the 2009 Iranian uprising during which he was scandalously reluctant to support the demonstrators, while repeatedly reaffirming the legitimacy of the brutal theocracy suppressing them.

Why? Because Obama wanted to remain “engaged” with the mullahs — so that he could talk them out of their nuclear weapons. We know how that went.

The same conceit animates his Syria policy — keep good relations with the regime so that Obama can sweet-talk it out of its alliance with Iran and sponsorship of  Hezbollah.

Another abject failure. Syria has contemptuously rejected Obama’s blandishments — obsequious visits from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry and the return of the first U.S. ambassador to Damascus  since the killing of Hariri. Assad’s response? An even tighter and more ostentatious alliance with Hezbollah and Iran.

Our ambassador in Damascus should demand to meet the demonstrators and visit the wounded. If refused, he should be recalled to Washington. And rather than “deplore the crackdown,” as did Clinton in her walk-back, we should be denouncing it in forceful language and every available forum, including the U.N. Security Council.

No one is asking for a Libya-style rescue. Just simple truth-telling. If Kerry wants to make a fool of himself  by continuing to insist that Assad is an agent of change, well, it’s a free country. But Clinton speaks for the nation.”

And on top of that, Hillary Clinton is telling the Syrian freedom protesters to lay down their arms.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4168102,00.html

“A few weeks ago, Amar met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He presented to her, among other things, information about soldiers who defected and plan to launch a guerilla fight against the army. “To my surprise, she asked that the defectors lay down their arms,” he says. “That’s an odd request. Why didn’t they ask the rebels in Libya to lay down their arms? How can they do it if at any moment they can be fired at and murdered? It’s impractical.”

“I can’t understand why the Americans are silent,” Amar says. “We expected them to intervene. Militarily. To bomb the Syrian army from the air. They intervened in Libya and managed to prompt Gaddafi’s removal, and that is what we expect them to do to Assad now. Thus far, more people were killed in Syria than in Libya at the point where Obama decided to launch a military offensive in order to avert a greater massacre. NATO also bombed in Kosovo when it was necessary. Why this hypocrisy?”

As I wrote in part 1 and 9:

“It is also very interesting to compare how eager the Obama administration, EU and NATO was to go into Libya with their do nothing attitude with Syria.

The dictator Gaddafi had not killed as many civilian people as Assad’s regimes have by a long shot. Or destroyed as many neighbourhoods as Assad. Nor did Gaddafi support so many terrorist groups as Assad. Or had the same strategic value for USA as Syria.

Nor did Gaddafi kill so many Americans as did Assad (Bashar and Hafez al-Assad – It is A Family affair). Etc. Etc.

So in every way and shape or form, in comparison Libya under Gaddafi doesn’t even come close to Syria under Assad.

Samantha Power, a prominent advocate of humanitarian intervention and the principle of ”responsibility to protect”, is considered to be the key figure within the Obama administration in persuading the president to intervene militarily in Libya.

Power, was a senior foreign policy adviser to senator Obama, and now a Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Senior Director of the National Security Council.

But on Syria? NOT A PEEP!

And some of the “excuses” for not doing anything, like “the arms could end up in the wrong hands”, become ABSOLUTELY mind-boggling hypocritical when you remember that NATO and US special operations troops together with their intelligence operatives in Tripoli, armed and put Al-Hakim Belhadj in control over Tripoli. And gave him “the keys” to Gadhafis armoury.

Those arms were advanced items which British and French special operations forces gave the rebels, according to “a senior” American source.

Who is Al-Hakim Belhadj you may ask. He is a leader and commander of LIFG, the Al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. Which by the way is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. He is an al Qaeda veteran from Afghanistan, he joined the Talliban etc.

He was first captured in Pakistan 2001 and handed over to US security officials, he was repatriated to Libya two months later. Later CIA captured him in Malaysia in 2004. He was then transferred to Bangkok, where he was then placed in the custody of the CIA.  Later they extradited him to Libya where he was kept in prison for six years by Qaddafi.

According to the Spanish, Al-Hakim Belhadj was suspected of complicity in the 2004 Madrid train bombings etc. etc.

For the first time, therefore, the armies of Western members of NATO took part and helped directly in a bid by extremist Islamic forces to capture an Arab capital and overthrow its ruler.”

Then there was NO concernthat it would fuel a proliferation of weapons in the region”. In fact, NATO gave sophisticated weapons to known Al Qaeda groups like LIFG.

As I said before, it is so ABSOLUTELY mind-boggling hypocritical that you just want to throw up.

And while NATO is “concerned”, the Syrian civilian population continues to get slaughtered.

But how cares?

And that Samantha Power, Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Senior Director of the National Security Council, mentioned above just got apointed by Obama to head the new White House Atrocities Prevention Board.

But still on Syria? NOT A PEEP!

So apparently she is Very SELECTIVE in which atrocities to “prevent” and when to use “responsibility to protect”.

Or as Tom Hayden posted at the Rag Blog, a far-left website that is home to radical 1960s anti-war leaders, some with previous close ties to Obama, Hayden remarked on Power’s use of war.

Tom Hayden was the principal organizer for the 1960s anti-war movement group Students for a Democratic Society, from which the Weather Underground domestic terrorist group splintered.

Hayden contended that Power’s Balkans experience led her to become an advocate of American and NATO military intervention in humanitarian crises.

“She began to see war as an instrument for achieving her liberal, even radical, values,” he stated.”

The Saudis and the Gulf countries ALL mistrust Obamas Middle East policy, including his Syrian policy.

Here is just one example from the editor Tariq al-Homayed of the pan-Arab Al-Sharq Al-Awsat:

Obama is also a problem

http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=2&id=28813

(Original in Arabic here: http://aawsat.com/leader.asp?section=3&article=667694&issueno=12158)

”The blame for the situation in Syria does not lie with Russia alone; one of the biggest problems is also the Obama administration, which has squandered a golden opportunity to get rid of a significant obstacle to security in the region – and by extension US national security, Bashar al-Assad. However, it is clear that Obama is not concerned with the security of the region – even though it impacts upon international security as a whole, especially with the chaos in Syria overlooking the Mediterranean – rather Obama is preoccupied with his re-election bid.

The US administration has directed as much blame, if not more, towards the Syrian opposition as it has towards al-Assad. What is worse, and indeed a major scandal, is that the Obama administration has said that there could be an al-Qaeda presence [among the opposition] in Syria, even though al-Qaeda ran wild in Iraq under the auspices of the al-Assad regime. When I say this is a scandal, this is because the American newspaper The Washington Post – quoting US intelligence agents – reported that the only evidence Washington has of an al-Qaeda presence in Syria is the style – yes the style – of the bombing that took place in Damascus, and nothing more! The Obama administration is the one calling for the Syrian opposition to unify their ranks, yet Washington knows full well that the unification of the opposition requires international support and hard work, in any situation, not mere statements.

The problem with the current US administration is that it is notorious for misinterpreting events in the region. Here it is suffice to consider Obama’s dealings with the Green Revolution, where instead of supporting it he decided to withdraw from Iraq, leaving it in the hands of al-Maliki and Tehran. With regards to Syria, the Obama administration says that the al-Assad regime is still cohesive, but this is something to be expected for several reasons. Washington knows the extent of Iranian support for al-Assad, in terms of arms, money, men, equipment and all manner of resources, via Iraq. This makes it difficult for any Syrian official to defect. How could they, when they don’t see Obama taking any form of serious stand, and instead opposing the armament of the Syrian opposition and refusing to declare that overthrowing the tyrant of Damascus is an issue of national security?

How could a full military division defect when there is no buffer zone to ensure the protection of the defectors and to help them re-organize their ranks? Those who defected in Libya went to Benghazi, but where would the Syrian defectors go? If the Obama administration wants to see significant and rapid divisions, then it must adopt a firm stance. Let us recall the era of George W. Bush, when the US administration brandished the stick towards al-Assad after the assassination of Rafik Hariri, with an international tribunal just around the corner, at a time when Ghazi Kanaan was rumored to be plotting a coup and was subsequently assassinated! Where is the stick today, and where is the international tribunal?

Furthermore, from reading recent history we would find that no one defected from Saddam Hussein’s regime prior to the US invasion, and even in its early days, because at the time all members were aware that their families would be targeted. The al-Assad regime is worse than Saddam in that regard. But first and foremost, how can the Syrians mobilize when they don’t see a serious stance coming from Washington?

So the problem is not Russia alone, but also the hesitance of President Obama and his administration. Events have been interpreted in the wrong manner, the Syrians have been left alone to face the crimes of the al-Assad regime, and the biggest chance to create stability in the region and curtail Iran’s influence has been lost, so who will tell Obama this?”

And more

Obama’s detachment policy on Syria

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=376305

“On Monday, the editor of the pan-Arab Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Tariq al-Homayed, penned a column that delivered a scathing critique of the Obama administration’s Syriapolicy. The title of the piece said it all: “Obama is the problem, not just Russia.” While one can’t say for sure, it’s hard to read Homayed’s editorial as anything other than an indicator of Riyadh’s exasperation with Washington’s dithering as the Syrian uprising marks its first year anniversary.

The Saudis’ frustration with the Obama administration’s approach was already evident at the “Friends of Syria” gathering in Tunis last month, when Foreign Minister Saud al-Faysal left the meeting, citing lack of serious action. It was then that al-Faysal publicly went against the administration’s declared policy, calling the arming of the Syrian opposition “an excellent idea.” The Qataris, too, shared the Saudis’ desire for more robust action, including direct support for the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

However, if that’s the case, then why did Riyadh and Doha agree to yet another futile initiative with the Russians, which did nothing but buy more time for Assad to escalate his military campaign? In addition, reports continue to suggest that the Saudis and Qataris remain far from aggressively supplying the FSA with weapons. To answer these questions, one must again turn to Washington.

Last week, an anonymous administration official disclosed that a “decision has been made at the next Friends of Syria meeting to not oppose any proposals to arm the FSA and we’re not going to publicly or privately message on that,” the official said. “We’re not going to publicly or privately tell the Friends of Syria not to do this.”

The problem, of course, is that the administration did continue to message publicly against any lethal support to the FSA, and against any military options more broadly. As late as this Tuesday, the White House spokesman was still repeating the familiar mantra: “It is certainly our position that providing arms is not a move that we’re considering right now because we believe it could heighten and prolong the violence in Syria… So it is our position that we do not want to contribute to the further militarization of Syria because that could lead down a very dangerous road.”

In addition to administration officials making the same arguments in testimonies before Congress, press briefings were organized by intelligence officials with the sole aim of trashing the notion of arming the FSA. Unnamed US officials warned of al-Qaeda’s supposed infiltration of the revolution, and exaggerated to a laughable extent the capabilities of the Assad regime in order to counter any push for military action, which some influential voices in Congress had begun voicing.

At the same time, the US renewed its efforts to engage Russia at the Security Council, introducing a new draft resolution, which, according to one leaked version, calls for a dialogue between the regime and the opposition, thereby making a remarkable concession to Moscow, tantamount to reversing the declared US policy of regime change.

Despite the embarrassing fiasco of the Kofi Annan mission to Syria, and the predictable lack of any progress with the Russians, President Obama yesterday still doubled down on this failed approach. “[F]or us to provide strong support to Kofi Annan, to continue to talk to the Russians, the Chinese and others… that’s the most important work that we can do right now.”

As a result, it’s not hard to see why the Saudis and Qataris felt forced to go through Russia one more time. It was the expressed wish of the President of the United States. A careful rereading of the statement made by the anonymous official to ForeignPolicy.com shows that this was the message communicated to US allies.

The official noted that the USwould take the passive attitude toward arming the FSA “at the next Friends of Syriameeting,” which will take place early next month. In other words, the Obama administration opted to waste a full month banging on the Kremlin’s door, yet again, as Bashar al-Assad escalated his military campaign in Homs, Idlib and Daraa.

The administration has been criticized repeatedly for not asserting leadership when it came to Syria. In reality, however, the administration did very much push its preferences on its regional allies. Its public messaging and diplomatic activity left no doubt that it continued to oppose any military aid to the FSA and that it insisted on going through Moscow one more time, regardless of the time this would buy Assad.

So, although the official said that the administration was not going to “publicly or privately” tell allies not to arm the FSA, as a matter of fact, Washington has been quite verbose these last three weeks, and its message to regional allies, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, against arming the opposition, has been unmistakable. After all, the US Secretary of State herself twice said that arming the Syrian opposition might be like sending weapons to Al-Qaeda.

It’s clear that President Obama, who’s running on a policy of extrication from the region, sees that opening the door to military aid risks drawing the US in. Despite the increased pressure to move in that direction, the president is determined to keep the US out of the game.

This was not lost on Al-Sharq Al-Awsat’s Homayed. “[I]t is clear that Obama is not concerned with the security of the region… rather [he] is preoccupied with his re-election bid,” he wrote in his column.

The Saudis may not yet have gone as far as Senator John McCain, who the other day called the administration’s policy “disgraceful and shameful.” However, with their media now openly labeling President Obama as part of the problem alongside Assad’s Russian allies, they’re hardly being subtle.”

And as I wrote in Part 6 about Turkey:

“And to further prove that point that the Obama administration is ACTIVLY discouraging and opposing ANY small step Turkey wants to take regarding Syria:

US tells Turkey to back off  Syria

http://nowlebanon.com/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?ID=378866

“In a previously unreported turn of events, it has now come to light that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her meeting with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu last month, emphatically dismissed a number of forward leaning options on Syria that the Turkish top diplomat proposed to the Obama administration.

What this means is that Washington, which at one point subcontracted its Syria policy to Ankara, has now called the Turks off the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

According to well-informed Turkish and US sources, during his meeting with Secretary Clinton, Davutoğlu put forward a set of measures, including, among others, creating a buffer zone and/or a humanitarian corridor, as well as organizing and equipping the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The secretary of state responded in no uncertain terms that the Obama administration had no interest in pursuing any of these options. In fact, according to one account, Clinton told her Turkish counterpart no less than three times, “We are not there.”

This conversation fits well with the administration’s message to other regional allies, namely Saudi Arabia, against arming the FSA and pushing Washington’s preferred policy of going through the Russians, in an attempt to reach a “political solution” to the Syrian crisis.”

“Apparently, the Turks, much like the Saudis, were looking to the first Friends of Syria meeting in Tunis as a possible forum to bypass the Russians and begin a more muscular effort, with US backing. The Saudis found out at the meeting that no such action was forthcoming, and withdrew in frustration, while publicly voicing their preference for arming the Syrian rebels.

The Turks got their answer from Secretary Clinton well before the Tunis gathering, and, according to the Turkish sources, were dismayed at the Obama administration’s extraordinary passivity and refusal to lead.

The message conveyed to the Turks was the same one made clear to the Saudis. According to one US source, when Davutoğlu ended up asking Clinton where the administration was on the issue, her response simply repeated the mantra about the Arab League initiative and going to the Security Council again for another go at the Russians. In other words, it was more of the same.”

“As a result, the administration has found itself in the surreal position of siding closer with Assad’s Russian ally and at cross-purposes with its own regional allies – and, most significantly, in contradiction with its own stated policy of regime change in Syria.”

With “allies” like this who need enemies?

And then is the push by the Obama administration together with Turkey to make SNC (the Syrian National Council), the sole voice for the Syrian uprising i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood. And the sole recipient and controller of money for the uprising.

(See also what I wrote in part 6 about this)

In Syria, America Allies with the Muslim Brotherhood

The president’s support for the Syrian National Council strengthens Islamists.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/297361/syria-america-allies-muslim-brotherhood-john-rosenthal#

“While the Obama administration’s burgeoning contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egyptcontinue to cause controversy, the administration’s policy of growing cooperation with the Syrian opposition continues to enjoy almost unanimous support. This is remarkable, since by virtue of that policy the administration is openly allied with none other than the Muslim Brotherhood: that is, openly, but with perhaps just enough misdirection for the alliance to escape the notice of the broader public.

The Syrian opposition organization that the United Statesand other Western powers have been officially supporting is, of course, the Syrian National Council (SNC). At a meeting in Istanbulon April 1, the so-called Friends of Syria, including the United States, recognized the SNC as “a legitimate representative of all Syrians.” Although the use of the indefinite article suggests there were reservations on the part of some participants, U.S. State Department statements both before and after the Istanbul meeting leave no doubt that the Obama administration treats the SNC as its principal Syrian interlocutor. The SNC is also the presumptive recipient or at least conduit of the aid that the Obama administration has pledged to the Syrian opposition. While in Istanbul, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with representatives of the SNC, and she afterwards promised that “there will be more assistance of all kinds for the Syrian National Council.”

But who is the Syrian National Council? Although the chairman and most recognizable face of the council is the secular Paris-based political scientist Burhan Ghalioun, it is openly acknowledged that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is a major force within the council. In fact, there is strong evidence that it is the major force. When several members of the council resigned in mid-March, they cited the overwhelming influence of the Brotherhood as a reason for their decision. The Brotherhood took the whole council,” departing council member Walid al-Bunni told the New York Times. “We became like extras.”

The Belgian Syria expert Thomas Pierret, a lecturer in contemporary Islam at the Universityof Edinburgh, estimates that “around half” of the SNC’s members are Islamists. According to Pierret, moreover, the Muslim Brotherhood controls the council’s “commission on humanitarian aid” and thereby the distribution of SNC funds in Syria. As a consequence of the repression of the organization by the Syrian regime, the leadership of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has been living in exile for decades. Pierret notes that the Brotherhood now stands accused of using its control over the SNC aid spigot in order to reconstruct a base of popular support within the country. Pierret cites remarks made by Kamal al-Labwani to the Arab press as the source for the accusation. Al-Labwani is one of the SNC members that resigned in March.

The contrast between the controversy surrounding the Obama administration’s outreach to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the widespread indifference to its alliance with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is particularly odd in light of al-Labwani’s accusation regarding the latter’s control of SNC aid money. For, if this accusation is correct, American and other international support for the SNC does not only imply joining forces with the Muslim Brotherhood: It implies helping the Brotherhood to obtain an influence inside Syria that it did not previously have.”

Iran and Obama’s Syrian hesitation

The president fears confronting Assad because of the effect it might have on his nuclear diplomacy.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303916904577373820191499222.html

”Despite months of negotiations by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and extensive Security Council deliberations, hostilities in Syria continue. Although overall violence is down slightly and the council has increased U.N. observers to 300, the civilian death toll continues to rise. Syria’s dictatorship ignores Mr. Annan’s “cease fire,” and Bashar al-Assad himself shows no signs of stepping down.

President Obama seems paralyzed for two basic reasons: First, he is committed to a U.N. process almost certainly doomed to failure; and second, he fears taking on the real nemesis in Syria, namely Iran’s ayatollahs.

The decision to deploy additional military observers was a positive step but the existing observers have hardly displayed much initiative. They have, for instance, declined to monitor anti-Assad demonstrations to avoid, they said, making their mission part of the dispute. One might confuse this with satire were the consequences not so grave.

Perhaps recognizing the U.N.’s lack of real impact to date, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently suggested that the Security Council impose an arms embargo against Syria’s government if hostilities continue. It was unclear, however, if other governments would agree. Neither Russianor Chinahas responded positively. Given their February double veto against stronger sanctions, there is considerable doubt that they would ever allow an effective arms embargo, especially given Russia’s long-standing arms-supplier relationship with Syria.

An enforceable U.N. embargo would require invoking Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, to restore “international peace and security,” which Moscow and Beijing intensely distrust, particularly after Libya. There, the Security Council acted ostensibly to prevent humanitarian tragedy, and NATO then used the mandate to facilitate ousting Moammar Gadhafi. Russia and China will not repeat that mistake. Moreover, they could insist on a total weapons ban, both to Assad and the opposition. In the U.N. world of moral equivalence, they would almost certainly prevail, as with the 1992 arms embargo when the former Yugoslavia broke up.

Mr. Obama’s real failure is not reliance on the cumbersome, ineffective U.N., but his unwillingness to confront Iran, which is determined to maintain Assad in office. Tehran has long treated Syria as a satellite, part of its regional arc of influence that includes terrorist Hezbollah, now politically and militarily dominant in Lebanon. It is prepared to shed considerable Syrian blood to save Assad. The Islamic Republic has supplied arms and financial assistance to the Assad regime, and Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers are on the ground in Syria aiding government forces.

Mr. Obama knows that if he confronts Iran directly in Syria, any chance will disappear for a negotiated settlement to Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. While he should have long ago understood that diplomacy will never persuade Iran to renounce its objective of becoming a nuclear power, he has not. So despite Iran’s obvious role (backed by Russia and China) in defending Assad’s brutality, the president cannot bring himself to admit his Iran policy’s futility. And Mr. Obama is entirely unwilling to risk foreign adventures that might imperil his re-election.

Washington needs to acknowledge that effectively challenging Assad means moving beyond sanctions and diplomacy, and toward regime change in Tehran. Mr. Obama seems unable or unwilling to understand that Iran is an enemy of the U.S. and that its nuclear and regional hegemonic ambitions must be thwarted, or the ayatollahs overturned. Such an uncertain leader cannot handle a critical confrontation effectively. Unfortunately, we may have to wait for a more resolute president rather than proceed and fail inSyria with a weak one.

Israel may not be willing to wait for a firm American hand to deal with Iran’s nuclear-weapons program. And if the conflict in Syria is concluded in Assad’s (and Tehran’s) favor, it could well have significant negative implications for Israel, and for peace and security in the Middle East as a whole. That will be the real cost of Mr. Obama’s fruitless deference to the U.N. process, and of his unwillingness to confront Iran’s mullahs.”

Well the efforts to try to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons have been going on for ages without nothing to show.

Some examples: UN Security Council has passed seven resolutions on Iran since 2006. Including sanctions and an arms embargo.

Result? So far nothing.

EU has been going at it for nine years now, including sanctions, and nothing to show for it.

IAEA has made a lot of reports and resolutions, and nothing has changed.

USA has for a long time imposed many sanctions against Iran (since 1979) but nothing has changed. That is 33 years of futile sanctions that has not achieved its objective.

Other countries like Canada, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Switzerland etc also have imposed various sanctions.  And nothing has changed.

Etc. Etc.

Now Obama is spinning this wheel another turn. And since he doesn’t want to “offend” Iran, Assad can continue to slaughter his people.

No “responsibility to protect” there.

I could continue for a very long time, there is much more to be said, but this already a way to long post. So I stop here. You get the picture.

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Hey Obama – You don’t pay your bills so why should I?

12 augusti, 2011

This is straight shooting and strong language from comedian Felonious Munk directed at President Barak Obama.

 And he asks some very good questions:

– You bastards can not even balance a checkbook. That is something EVERY American have to go through EVERY week!

– How do you owe China? How can I tell my daughter with a straight face that capitalism is a better system than communism if we are borrowing all of our F* money from the biggest communist country in the F* planet?

– Don’t pay your bills because they aren’t paying theirs. You are a leader and I am following – you don’t pay I don’t pay

– What is your credit score? What is the government’s credit score just now? It must be 350. And you are telling me that I can not buy a car if my credit score is at a certain number!

– Get your S* together! President Obama personal to you. All the black people are proud. We have a black president and you are acting like one just now. Pay your F* bills on time!

And this post neatly complements my previous post about the riots in Britain–i.e. the behaviour and example of our political class/elites in our countries.

Felonious Munk Presents: Stop It B! OBAMA PAY YOUR &*%$#% BILLS

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Way to go Rand Paul

12 mars, 2011

Senator Rand Paul on Consumer Choice in Energy Committee Hearing. He questions why Kathleen Hogan, US deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency, takes away consumer choice, again and again, in their Legislation.

Which they force on us regardless of we like it or not. Even if we say that the whole idea is idiotic and is not going to work. And it is going to be extremely costly and counterproductive.

Why? Because these ideological driven bureaucrats, administrators, government officials think we, the people, are stupid and don’t understand “important” things. But they do. And they know best.

So they force us by taxes, regulations, fines or law.

We are treated like serfs even if they are supposed to “work for us”. And in unguarded moments you really can see their disdain for us and how “superior” they think they are. (Ron Schiller NPR anyone?)

So therefore it is refreshing to see Rand Paul let them taste their own medicine.

(H/T Dailybayonet)

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The election Tsunami wave is just rolling in

3 november, 2010

The first Tsunami wave is just rolling in over the Washington establishment.

Sitting here late at night (02:35 am) and watching the American election drama unfold minute by minute via a lot of different channels; I just want to say one thing – it is an honour to see a democracy in action where the common people are sending a very strong and clear message to the political elite. And are actually throwing them out.

And folks, this could NOT happen in Europe. So you should be really proud of yourself.

And remember, this is just the first wave!

This is a picture of the first early results in the house in the states where the polling stations have closed:

And this is a picture of the first early results in the senate in the states where the polling stations have closed:

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America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 10

2 november, 2010

                   YOU MUST VOTE!

I am going to finish this 10 part series in the same way as I started it: YOU MUST VOTE!

So go and vote for some you can trust (yeah I know it’s hard), some one that upholds the constitution and knows what it actually means (yeah, there are not many left), some one that want to rein in the Big Government Agenda and REALLY means it (yeah I know, there are many turncoats), and some one that want to protect YOUR liberty, freedom and the American way of life (yeah, that’s another hard one).

There is in the end only one way you can judge them – By their actions.

Your vote REALLY MATTERS! This time more than ever!

Sooo much is at stake this time – The constitution, the American way of life with freedom and free markets. America is at a crucial crossroads.

Do you want a government for the elites, of the elites and by the elites?

Or a government for the people, of the people and by the people?

It is YOUR CHOICE! A very clear choice! You have to get out and flood the voting booths November 2.

And if you don’t choose, it’s going to be the former.

The turnout of voting-age population  in the mid term elections 2006 – 37,1%, and 2002 – 37.0% was pathetic and a joke. 63 % of the voting age population apparently doesn’t care what is happening to their country.

If you don’t wake up now when will you ever do? You have to stand up for freedom and liberty. Or sit back and let the American dream become a nightmare.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826.

America, your whole system has been hijacked, and you have done nothing, so far, to stop it. What the Obama administration has done during the last one and half year makes a mockery of your constitution and the principle of separation of power.”

These are the “representatives” that rammed through the Obama Care, the financial bill, etc., against the will of the people. They don’t care about the constitution, and they don’t know the difference between the declaration of Independence and the Constitution; and they don’t care that they don’t know.

The people in congress who voted for these bills, this is EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANTED AND INTENDED with these bills. But to get it through Congress they gladly and willfully lied through their teeth and ears, they even gladly put their lies in writing.

Why? Because they are ramming through their political agenda which they have been waiting and planning so long for to be able do.

In short, it is very troubling to see a country on a path of economic and political self destruction. But if the present trend continues you are, to put it simple: toast.

It’s time for the people of America to take their country back. Otherwise the consequences for you as a country are going to be devastating. Especially for the common people.

                     So go and vote!

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America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 9

2 november, 2010

The article by P. J. O’Rourke

A direct to the point piece from P. J. O’Rourke:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/they-hate-our-guts_511739.html

They Hate Our Guts

And they’re drunk on power.

Perhaps you’re having a tiny last minute qualm about voting Republican. Take heart. And take the House and the Senate. Yes, there are a few flakes of dander in the fair tresses of the GOP’s crowning glory—an isolated isolationist or two, a hint of gold buggery, and Christine O’Donnell announcing that she’s not a witch. (I ask you, has Hillary Clinton ever cleared this up?) Fret not over Republican peccadilloes such as the Tea Party finding the single, solitary person in Nevada who couldn’t poll ten to one against Harry Reid. Better to have a few cockeyed mutts running the dog pound than Michael Vick.

I take it back. Using the metaphor of Michael Vick for the Democratic party leadership implies they are people with a capacity for moral redemption who want to call good plays on the legislative gridiron. They aren’t. They don’t. The reason is simple. They hate our guts.

They don’t just hate our Republican, conservative, libertarian, strict constructionist, family values guts. They hate everybody’s guts. And they hate everybody who has any. Democrats hate men, women, blacks, whites, Hispanics, gays, straights, the rich, the poor, and the middle class.

Democrats hate Democrats most of all. Witness the policies that Democrats have inflicted on their core constituencies, resulting in vile schools, lawless slums, economic stagnation, and social immobility. Democrats will do anything to make sure that Democratic voters stay helpless and hopeless enough to vote for Democrats.

Whence all this hate? Is it the usual story of love gone wrong? Do Democrats have a mad infatuation with the political system, an unhealthy obsession with an idealized body politic? Do they dream of capturing and ravishing representational democracy? Are they crazed stalkers of our constitutional republic?

No. It’s worse than that. Democrats aren’t just dateless dweebs clambering upon the Statue of Liberty carrying a wilted bouquet and trying to cop a feel. Theirs is a different kind of love story. Power, not politics, is what the Democrats love. Politics is merely a way to power’s heart. When politics is the technique of seduction, good looks are unnecessary, good morals are unneeded, and good sense is a positive liability. Thus Democrats are the perfect Lotharios. And politics comes with that reliable boost for pathetic egos, a weapon: legal monopoly on force. If persuasion fails to win the day, coercion is always an option.

Armed with the panoply of lawmaking, these moonstruck fools for power go about in a jealous rage. They fear power’s charms may be lavished elsewhere, even for a moment.

Democrats hate success. Success could supply the funds for a power elopement. Fire up the Learjet. Flight plan: Grand Cayman. Democrats hate failure too. The true American loser laughs at legal monopoly on force. He’s got his own gun.

Democrats hate productivity, lest production be outsourced to someplace their beloved power can’t go. And Democrats also hate us none-too-productive drones in our cubicles or behind the counters of our service economy jobs. Tax us as hard as they will, we modest earners don’t generate enough government revenue to dress and adorn the power that Democrats worship.

Democrats hate stay-at-home spouses, no matter what gender or gender preference. Democratic advocacy for feminism, gay marriage, children’s rights, and “reproductive choice” is simply a way to invade -power’s little realm of domestic private life and bring it under the domination of Democrats.

Democrats hate immigrants. Immigrants can’t stay illegal because illegality puts immigrants outside the legal monopoly on force. But immigrants can’t become legal either. They’d prosper and vote Republican.

Democrats hate America being a world power because world power gives power to the nation instead of to Democrats.

And Democrats hate the military, of course. Soldiers set a bad example. Here are men and women who possess what, if they chose, could be complete control over power. Yet they treat power with honor and respect. Members of the armed forces fight not to seize power for themselves but to ensure that power can bestow its favors upon all Americans.

This is not an election on November 2. This is a restraining order. Power has been trapped, abused and exploited by Democrats. Go to the ballot box and put an end to this abusive relationship. And let’s not hear any nonsense about letting the Democrats off if they promise to get counseling.

P. J. O’Rourke, a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard, is the author of a new book, Don’t Vote: It Just Encourages the Bastards (Atlantic Monthly Press).

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America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 8

2 november, 2010

                    The speech by Robert  Bidinotto

A speech by Robert  Bidinotto: The Tea Party vs. the Ruling Class

http://biggovernment.com/rbidinotto/2010/10/24/the-tea-party-vs-the-ruling-class/

(See also: America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution

http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/16/americas-ruling-class-and-the/print)

Twenty months ago, on February 19, 2009, business reporter Rick Santelli of CNBC took to the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to deliver his famous rant against government bail-outs, and call for “a Chicago tea party.”

Santelli may have sparked the Tea Party movement. But he only tapped into outrage that had been growing in many of us for decades.

For too long, you and I have watched helplessly as a clique of politicians, intellectuals, activists, and bureaucrats from both parties have tried to obliterate our Constitution, our capitalist system, and our personal liberty. This “bipartisan Ruling Class”—as scholar Angelo Codevilla describes it—sees itself as a moral, cultural, and intellectual elite. Codevilla says that “Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits.”

Oozing sanctimonious arrogance, viewing the rest of us as coarse, unsophisticated rubes who cling bitterly to guns and bibles, this class seeks to impose its own supposedly superior values and visions upon the rest of us, by force of law.

As we know too well, the ultimate goal of our Ruling Class is power. They exist—not to produce, not to invent, not to create—but to manipulate and master others. Ronald Reagan memorably summed up the Ruling Class’s governing outlook this way:If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

By contrast, the rest of us Americans seek power over circumstances, but not over each other. We acquire our personal sense of identity and self-esteem through productive work—not through imposing our will, values, and visions on our neighbors. We accept a “live and let live” philosophy.

This is the spirit embodied in our “Declaration of Independence.” That document was more than a declaration of political independence from our European rulers; it was a declaration of the moral independence of every human being. It was a declaration of each individual’s moral right to his own life, his own liberty, his own pursuit of happiness.

This is the vision enshrined in our Constitution. That governing framework grants to public officials only specific, enumerated, and narrowly limited powers. As James Madison and the other Framers made explicitly clear, the Constitution was intended—for the first time in human history—to bridle the authority of politicians and bureaucrats, and thus to protect the moral right of Americans to go about our lives without interference.

So, the Constitution imposes upon government officials a host of constraints: separations of powers, checks and balances, the Bill of Rights. By constraining government, citizens enjoy the fruits of freedom.

Which explains why, since the early twentieth-century Progressive Era, Ruling Class power-seekers have targeted the Constitution for annihilation. The regimes of Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt subjected constitutional limitations on power to systematic, bipartisan attack. So did the “New Deal” of Franklin Roosevelt and the “Great Society” of Lyndon Johnson.

In our time, the clamor against individual rights and constitutional constraints on power has risen to a crescendo. And that is why we’re here. Today’s Ruling Class consists of the intellectual heirs of the earlier progressives. From Obama to McCain, from Arianna Huffington to David Gergen, from George Soros to Michael Bloomberg, our Beltway grandees continue to impart their wisdom and good taste upon us by lawtelling us what to eat, what our children should learn and in what kind of schools, what vehicles we should travel in, what fuels should power them, where we should live, where our thermostats should be set, what we should grow, how we should use our land, with whom we should engage in business, what we should sell and at what prices, what portion of our earnings we may be allowed to keep, what “good causes” we must support, what language we must use in conversations about “sensitive” topics ranging from race to romance to religion, what medical coverage we must have, who must provide it, and at what price, and on, and on, and on.

It goes on without limit, because our Ruling Class accepts no limits, legal or moral, on its power to “do good” to us. We are mere mortar and bricks for their social engineering. Like missionaries visiting primitive tribes, they view us as savages, whom they must cage and civilize.

We see their boundless arrogance in Barack Obama, who tells his fellow Ruling Class members that “We are the ones we have been waiting for,” with his nose held so high in the air that any passing rainstorm would waterboard him. We see it in Senator John Kerry when, like some monarch, he refers to himself in the third person. We see it in Barney Frank, the only human on the planet who is able to strut even while sitting. We see it in Harry Reid, who told us the other day that, “But for me, we’d be in a world-wide depression.” We see it in Nancy Pelosi, who—when asked where in the Constitution was Congress granted the power to order us to buy health insurance—replied: “Are you serious? Are you serious?”

Never mind that the Ruling Class and its progressive policies have failed miserably to achieve their announced objectives. For more than a century, countless government programs have plundered untold trillions of dollars from taxpayers, then redirected them, supposedly to eradicate poverty, to end unemployment, to prevent disastrous business cycles, to put everyone in his own home.

But what do we see? Record levels of people on food stamps; soaring unemployment rates; a recession longer and deeper than any since the 1930s; a debacle in the housing market. Yet, what does the Ruling Class do in response? It demands more power to enact more of the same.

They say that a sure sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different outcome. By that criterion, progressives are bat-crap crazy.

But then, what are we, if we re-elect them?

Bad as this is, it is even more sickening to watch ambitious young men and women trying desperately to enter the Ruling Class, then rise through its corrupt ranks, in their lust for power and position. For an example, look no farther than our freshman congressman in Maryland’s First District. In his disgustingly dishonest campaign ads, as well as his voting record, Frank Kratovil has demonstrated that he’ll eagerly sell his soul for a seat at a Ruling Class table.

Mr. Kratovil has spent most of his campaign running away from his voting record—even from his party affiliation. From his ads, you would think he’s running as an “Independent,” not a Democrat. He demonstrates this independence by voting with his party 84.6 percent of the time—then accepting well over a million dollars in campaign contributions from party coffers.

Consider his votes on ObamaCare. Like Hamlet, Mr. Kratovil spent a year in anguished public indecision. This waffling persisted all the way to the last week before the final vote, while Nancy Pelosi collected the backing she needed to pass the bill. Then, after Pelosi had lined up enough support to let him off the hook, Kratovil first voted for ObamaCare to proceed to a final vote, then announced he would vote against the final bill on the floor. But since then, he has refused to back a bill to repeal ObamaCare.

Doing John Kerry one better, Kratovil was for ObamaCare before he was against it, before he was for it once again. This, he says, demonstrates his independence from the Democratic party line.

On the other big bills of the past two years—namely, the “stimulus” and “cap and tax” bills—this self-described “fiscal conservative” voted to add more than one-and-a-half trillion dollars to the government credit card. The stimulus boondoggle poured billions of tax dollars into pork projects for public-employee unions. Meanwhile, cap-and-tax was designed to clobber the oil, coal, and natural-gas industries, and to raise your energy costs $1600 per household. Kratovil voted for other earmarks and pork projects, too.

Two years ago, Frank Kratovil boarded a flight headed into Ruling Class territory. He’s well on his way—unless you cancel his flight on November 2nd.

Happily, I think that will happen. And it will happen to many other members of the self-appointed elite. Signs are everywhere that people are, at last, wising up and fighting back. Your presence here today is one of those signs.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been paying close attention to politics since I was a teenager in the 1960s. I’ve never been so optimistic about America’s future—and you are a major reason for that. For nearly half a century, I wrote and preached about our lost liberties and endangered rights, feeling like a lonely voice in the wilderness. But now, millions of voices are carrying that message.

However, we can’t stop on November 2nd. Our next task must be to transform the Republican Party into something more than an auxiliary chapter of the Ruling Class clique. The GOP has pretended for decades to be the party of freedom, capitalism, and limited government. And it has betrayed those principles repeatedly.

But we have not just a political party, but a cultural legacy, to reclaim—a legacy often described as American individualism. From our nation’s earliest days, when our pioneer ancestors blazed trails through forbidding frontiers, we Americans have never viewed ourselves as victims of circumstances. Fiercely self-assertive, proudly independent, we, more than any other people on earth, view ourselves as masters of our fates, as captains of our souls.

The spirit of American individualism, and the moral quest for personal liberty, motivated the Founders to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to the cause. It is a cause for which many have fought and died, so that we don’t have to.

So, let us win a peaceful victory for that cause on November 2nd—and then, in the words of Washington, let us continue in the months and years ahead to raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair.

Thank you.”

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America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 7

2 november, 2010

                All these lies about Obama Care

I have written extensively and for a long time about Obama care (see Obama Care 1 – 34, https://uddebatt.wordpress.com/tag/obama-care/)

These are the “representatives” that rammed through the Obama Care, the financial bill, etc., against the will of the people. They don’t care about the constitution, and they don’t know the difference between the declaration of Independence and the Constitution; and they don’t care that they don’t know.

Together with all the people in congress who voted for this bill. This is EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANTED AND INTENDED with this bill. But to get it through Congress they gladly and willfully lied through their teeth and ears, they even gladly put their lies in writing.

Why? Because they are ramming through their political agenda which they have been waiting and planning so long for to be able do.

I, and many, many others told you so before the Obama  Care “reform” was rammed through at all costs  against the will of the American people.

We where told by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it

Well, we REALLY did find out a lot of things, and remember it’s just the beginning:

It’s going to ruin states, it’s going to be ENFORCED by IRS, close hospitals, fewer doctors, rationing (the new government agency, the Medicare Advisory Board, Section 3403 of the senate bill, that is going to decide (ration) what kind of Medicare you are going to receive), cuts in Medicare, increase the health care costs for companies by billions (and who do you think is going to pay for that?), etc. etc.

And then there were ALL these kickbacks, bribes and pork barrel spending in there to get the bill through at ALL COST.

And worst of all, the blatant hypocrisy from this new nomenklatura:

President Obama declared that the new health care law ”is going to be affecting every American family.” Except his own, of course.

The new health care law exempts the president from having to participate in it. Leadership and committee staffers in the House and Senate who wrote the bill are exempted as well.

Meanwhile, we STILL await Mr. Obama’s explanation why if his ”historic” health care law is so great for America, it’s not good enough for him and his family.

And remember – They DELIBERATELY PULLED THE TRIGGER ON THIS LOADED GUN knowing fully well “most” of the consequences.

 

Here are just a few articles:

Lost in Taxation – The IRS’s vast new ObamaCare powers..

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704518904575365223062942574.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_carousel_2

Reform’s Nasty Little Surprises

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=530171

The ObamaCare Writedowns—II Democrats blame a vast CEO conspiracy. .

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304370304575151760348759360.html

America‘s New Nomenklatura

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=528809

The ObamaCare Writedowns – The corporate damage rolls in, and Democrats are shocked!.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704100604575146002445136066.html

Obamacare bait & switch

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/27/the-obamacare-bait-and-switch/

The Last Line of Defense between ObamaCare and Kansans

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/03/the_last_line_of_defense_betwe.html

Obamacare’s health hazard – Implementing new law represents danger for Democrats

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/sep/30/obamacares-health-hazard/

In Obamacare Wonderland – Courts reject key defense for the individual mandate

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/oct/15/in-obamacare-wonderland/

ObamaCare and Voters – Clinton and Obama told Democrats it would be popular. Whoops.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303284604575582394262243272.html

The reality is that voters who oppose ObamaCare are far more knowledgeable about the law and its consequences than most Congressmen who voted for it.”

So which system do you thinks works best?

                                              Old System

                                        New Obama Care

 Obama’s “Big Lies” Get Bigger

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/political_commentary/commentary_by_howard_rich/obama_s_big_lies_get_bigger

“..the top actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid revealed that millions of American seniors will have to pay increased out-of-pocket health care costs next year for “less generous benefit packages” as a direct result of Obamacare.”

“Last month, a Kaiser Family Foundation report showed that family health care costs are up by 14 percent in 2010 – with even larger increases forecast for future years, again as a result of Obamacare.

“Health reform mandates new levels of coverage that will increase employers’ costs at least until 2014,” a Kaiser analyst noted.

Beyond higher costs, “Obamacare” is already reneging on government promises regarding prescription drug plans – another benefit that never should have been subsidized by taxpayers. According to a study released earlier this year by Avalare Heath, as many as 3.7 million seniors could be forced out of their prescription drug coverage under the new law next year – ostensibly so the government can provide them with “more meaningful choices.”

All across the country, Obamacare’s costly new mandates are driving Americans out of their existing coverage and forcing them to pay increased out-of-pocket expenses – perpetuating the worst inefficiencies of government-run health care.

“This much is clear: If the law with its expensive mandates remains on the books, millions of Americans are going to lose the health care plans they have now — plans the president repeatedly promised they could keep,” Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe wrote recently.”

Make the candidates sign The Repeal Pledge at http://www.TheRepealPledge.com

Repeal Obama care. Watch the video here where doctors are calling for the repeal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef0WPOhtvkY

Rasmussen’s final pre-election poll on the repeal of Obamacare shows that independents favor repeal by the colossal margin of 45 points (70 to 25 percent).

Health Care Law

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/health_care_law

“Eighty-four percent (84%) of voters who have health insurance rate their coverage as good or excellent. Only two percent (2%) describe it as poor. Among voters with health insurance, 60% favor repeal of the health care law.”

“As has been the case since the health care debate first began to heat up in September 2009, there is a large divide between the Political Class and Mainstream voters.  Seventy-six percent (76%) of Mainstream voters favor repeal of the health care law, while 76% of the Political Class are opposed.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of voters in the Political Class say the law will be good for the country. Seventy-four percent (74%) of Mainstream voters disagree.“

“Voters now rank health care second on a list of 10 important issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports.  The economy continues to be the most important issue on voters’ minds. “

Bleak Prognosis

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/551437/201010221913/Bleak-Prognosis.htm

Health Care: The more we know about ObamaCare, the more we find out it wasn’t designed to cut costs but to eventually eliminate private insurance coverage and create a government-run system.

Provisions of the Democrats’ health care overhaul started to become law only a month ago, yet the list of companies dropping medical benefits for their employers is piling up.

Mega-firms such as AT&T, Caterpillar, John Deere and Verizon are among those that are either considering ending coverage for their employees or have already chosen to do so.

It’s not just the big companies eliminating benefits, either. Smaller employers are doing the same. Larry M. Elkin, president of Palisades Hudson Financial Group, wrote Thursday in the Business Insider: ”For 15 years, I have taken pride in paying the full cost of health insurance for every full-time Palisades Hudson employee who wanted it. This month marks the last time I will do that.”

Elkin said that every one of his employees has the option of staying on the company plan. But those who choose that route ”will have to pay the entire cost — ranging from $574 to $683 per month — themselves, through payroll deductions.”

And where will those who don’t opt for staying on the company plan go? Maybe they end up leaning on the government along with the 46 million or so other uninsured Americans the Democrats are trying to cover.”

“As the debate over ObamaCare raged, Americans were assured by the president himself that those of us who like our insurance plans would be able to keep them. But workers will not only lose their employers’ plans due to their employers’ increasing costs under the law, they will also be losing coverage because carriers are dropping some of the policy options they offer.

WellPoint, Cigna, CoventryOne, Humana, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Aetna and Golden Rule have, for instance, announced that they will no longer sell child-only policies under the Democrats’ health care regime.”

In some cases — the Principal Group and its 840,000 customers is one example — carriers are dropping out of the health insurance market entirely.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s and 29 other companies told Washington that ObamaCare was going to force them to drop insurance coverage for some workers. Had those companies not been granted federal waivers from the requirement that they raise the minimum annual benefits of their low-cost health plans, roughly 1 million Americans would have been added to the rolls of the uninsured.

Don’t think it can’t get worse, because under the Democrats’ ill-thought-out plan, it will. Large pieces of ObamaCare that will make the system painfully expensive and increase federal intrusion still haven’t become law. The next Congress needs to get focused fast on stopping the march toward costly, substandard care.”

Economic Effects of the March Health Legislation

http://cbo.gov/ftpdocs/119xx/doc11945/USC10-22-10.pdf

Congressional Budget Office director Doug Elmendorf on Obama Care: ObamaCare includes work disincentives likely to shrink the amount of labor used in the economy.

Factoring in additional demand for workers in health care and insurance, CBO estimates that “the legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by roughly half a percent,” he said. (For perspective, half a percent of current payrolls is 651,000 jobs, though the impact would show up in both fewer jobs and fewer hours worked.)

Obamacare R.I.P.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/oct/29/obamacare-rip/

Perhaps the most comprehensive critique can be found in ”Fresh Medicine,” a new book by Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat. In a year in which he isn’t even running for re-election, Mr. Bredesen pulls few punches. ”Congress and the Obama administration have just added over 30 million people into an obsolete and broken system and done little to address the underlying problems; in multiple ways, they’ve made them worse,” he wrote. ”Worse” is an understatement. Lower quality health care, higher costs, more complexity and more regulations would be Obamacare’s legacy.

 The American people have a chance to stop it from happening. Just as the drubbing of congressional Democrats in 1994 in the wake of the Clinton gun ban has kept overt gun-control measures out of the national spotlight, the 2010 drubbing could kill the desire for health care nationalization once and for all. Already, 71 percent of voters in Missouri have approved a ballot measure that will block implementation of Obamacare at the state level. Big votes tomorrow on similar constitutional amendments in Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma will make it clear once and for all that Obamacare is not long for this world.”

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America, You are at a tipping point and you have your last change to stop it – Part 6

1 november, 2010

                             The Government

”We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” (Leona Helmsley)

Federal workers who owed money to the Internal Revenue Service in 2009.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/irs-federal-workers/index.html

Capitol Hill employees owed $9.3 million in back taxes last year, data show

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/09/AR2010090903376.html?wpisrc=nl_polalert

41 Obama White House aides owe the IRS $831,000 in back taxes — and they’re not alone

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/09/congress-taxes-irs.html

“We now know that federal employees across the nation owe fully $1 billion in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

As in, 1,000 times one million dollars.”

Now, back taxes have been a problem for the Obama-Biden administration. You may recall early on that Tom Daschle was the president’s top pick to run the Health and Human Services Department. But it turned out the former Democratic senator, who was un-elected from South Dakota in 2004, owed something like $120,000 to the IRS for things from his subsequent benefactor that he just forgot to pay taxes on. You know how that is. $120G’s here or there. So he dropped out.

And then we learned this guy Timothy Geithner owed something like $42,000 in back taxes and penalties to the IRS, which is one of the agencies that he’d be in charge of as secretary of the Treasury. The fine fellow who’s supposed to know about handling everyone else’s money. In the end this was excused by Washington‘s bipartisan CYA culture as one of those inadvertent accidental oversights that somehow never seem to happen on the side of paying too much taxes.”

“But we do know that as of the end of 2009, 41 people inside Obama’s very own White House owe the government they’re allegedly running a total of $831,055 in back taxes. That would cover a lot of special chocolate desserts in the White House Mess.

In the House of Representatives, 421 people owe a total $6,524,892. In the Senate, 217 owe $2,774,836. In the IRS’ parent department, Treasury, 1,204 owe $7,670,814. At the Labor Department, where Secretary Hilda Solis’ husband had some back-tax problems before her confirmation, 463 owe $7,481,463. Eighty-one workers for the Federal Reserve System’s board of governors owe $1,076,733.

Over at the Justice Department, which is so busy enforcing other laws and suing Arizona, 1,971 employees still owe $14,350,152 in overdue taxes.

Then, we come to the Department of Homeland Security, which is run by Janet Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona who preferred to call terrorist acts ”man-caused disasters.” Homeland Security is keeping all of us safe by ensuring that a Dutch tourist is aboard every inbound international flight to thwart any would-be bomber with explosives in his underpants.

Within that department, there reside 4,856 people who owe the tax agency a whopping total of $37,012,174.”

 

2010 Congressional Pig Book Summary. An exposé of pork-barrel spending.  The Pig Book revealed 9,129 earmarks worth $16.5 billion.

 http://www.cagw.org/assets/pig-book-files/2010/2010-pig-book-summary.pdf

Sixty percent (60%) of U.S. voters say most members of Congress don’t care what their constituents think, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/august_2010/60_of_voters_say_most_in_congress_don_t_care_what_they_think

 White House Insider: ”They were in shock at the president’s behavior.”

http://newsflavor.com/politics/world-politics/white-house-insider-they-were-in-shock-at-the-presidents-behavior/#ixzz13i2hI5gk

Our latest interview with the White House Insider reveals a Democratic Party civil war, with growing opposition to the Obama White House.

 “So who do you place the most blame for the Democratic Party’s troubles today? President Obama and his administration -without a doubt.  The Obama White House has been a political train wreck from day one, and it isn’t getting any better at the moment.  You already know my feelings on that.

Previously you stated that Obama could be re-elected in 2012, and that if he improved himself on the job – that if he took a more active and responsible role as President, that you would support him.  Do you still feel that way?  Is that what I said? (shakes head) Well…(pauses) Ok, I’ll just come out and say what is already underway, and to hell with the possible consequences to me.  I will not support Barack Obama in 2012.  That possibility has left the table for me.  Based on what I know, what I have been told, what I have seen in recent weeks…no, I cannot support the President for a second term.  My concern for the party , for the country…my conscience does not allow me that option any longer.  Obama is not fit to be president.  He simply does not possess the inclinations necessary to lead the country.  And I don’t like saying that.  I helped the man get elected.  I was in the trenches day after day from city to city helping things get done in 2008…I take no pleasure in saying I was a part of that.  And I take no pleasure in saying Obama should not be re-elected in 2012.

That is a very strong statement – anything recent that causes you to now say you will not support Obama in 2012?  (Long pause – question is repeated) There is much I have been told, some I know, some more that will probably develop in the coming weeks and months.  But you want specifics, right? I understand that…I’ll give you an example of why President Obama is not right for AmericaHe sure as hell has not been right for the party.  Not long ago, the president took a meeting.  He’s late, which apparently is becoming more and more common with him.  The meeting was almost cancelledIn strolls the president, joking with an aide.  He plops down on a sofa, leans over and claps another guy on the back asking how he’s been.  Apologizes for being late, says he was “held up”.  He laughs some more.  The meeting begins.  After just ten minutes, during which time the president appears to almost totally withdraw into himself,  an aide walks in and whispers something to the president, who then nods and quickly stands up, shakes a few hands and tells another aide to update him later on the rest of the meeting.  As the president is walking out he is laughing at something yet again.  He asked no questions of those at the meeting – not one.  He left after just ten minutes, coming in laughing and leaving laughing.  His behavior during that brief time he was there was described as “borderline manic”.

Ok, you have already stated previously that the president doesn’t show much interest in the day to day business of being president – why is this example so bad, or different?  Care to know what that particular meeting was about on that day?

Certainly.  Afghanistan.  That meeting was an update on Afghanistan, and the President of the United States, the Commander in Chief, could give a -expletive-. 

Were you actually there to witness this?  No, I was long gone from the White House by then.  It was told to me though by someone who was.  They were there.  First hand.  They were also left to apologize to the ones left in the room after the president left.  Some of these were military.  They were not happy.  No…that is not accurate. They were pissed.  They didn’t say much at the time, but word got back.  They were in shock at the president’s behavior.  The country had just lost a number of soldiers the week prior, the public opinion on the war was falling…and the president didn’t seem to care.  He arrives late, leaves early, appears to emotionally shut down during the actual discussion, and to then start laughing once again as he is leaving…how does someone reconcile with that kind of behavior?  I can’t.  It turns my stomach.  I didn’t want to believe what I was being told, but I had seen similar kinds of behavior from the president myself, and I can’t dispute the credibility of the source.  They have no reason to lie.

 

          

So is that one example the real tipping point for you in no longer being willing to support Obama in 2012? Or do you have any others you wish to share? Oh, I have others, though I cannot share all of them at this point because they involve some still in range of potential White House retribution.  Then again, I suppose I am still in range of such retribution myself.

What do you mean by retribution?  Punishment.  Political punishment, and even personal punishment.  The powers of a president extend far beyond the Oval Office – you know that.  I make my living, and it has been a very good living, working within the system of politics.  A president can create considerable…pressure if you will, to limit or even destroy my place in that system.  Working with a president is an extraordinary and terrifying thing.  In regards to my experience with Obama, it became far less extraordinary and far more terrifying.  And it’s getting worse.

Terrifying? Yes, terrifying.  To see one’s expectations so disappointed.  To see a figure who wields such great power and influence fall so short of the responsibilities of that power and influence…that is terrifying to witness. Initially I developed great fear for my party – for the Democrats whose political careers were being destroyed by this administration and party leader ship.  Now I sincerely fear for my country.

Part 2 here:

http://newsflavor.com/politics/us-politics/white-house-insider-president-obama-is-lost-absolutely-lost/

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