No To U.S. Crimes
U.S. Demands Regime Change in Syria and Imposes More Sanctions Against Iran
In a further provocation against Iran, U.S. President Barack Obama is implementing more sanctions. Obama signed an executive order February 5 that imposes parts of the new sanctions regime passed by Congress late last year. U.S. institutions can now freeze all property and interests of the Iranian government, including those of her central bank, rather than rejecting and returning any transactions. The order took effect on February 6.
A spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry said February 7 that the measures would have no effect on the country because the central bank had no transactions with the U.S. "Many of these (U.S.) activities are in the sphere of psychological war and propaganda, and they cannot affect our work," he said. "When they impose sanctions on our central bank even though we have no transactions with them, it shows ... they think they are able to put pressure on our people, create concerns and social discontent."
The Congressional sanctions also included a requirement for Obama to impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that do business with the Iranian central bank or other finance firms. However, as an indication of the increasing conflicts among the big powers and additional difficulties this poses, such as potentially imposing sanctions against Japan and South Korea, major importers of Iranian oil, Obama did not implement those sanctions. He can still do so and he can also provide waivers to specific countries while sanctioning others.
Increased sanctions against Iran followed U.S. efforts at the United Nations February 4 to secure a resolution authorizing military interference against Syria. China and Russia vetoed the resolution, calling for dialogue to resolve problems. February 4 also saw demonstrations across the country condemning war and sanctions against Iran and Syria. Far from adopting a position to reject use of force and sanctions and utilize diplomacy, Obama reiterated that Syria's President Assad “must go,” and stepped up sanctions against Iran.
A February 4 official White House statement said: "Assad has no right to lead Syria, and has lost all legitimacy with his people and the international community. The international community must work to protect the Syrian people from this abhorrent brutality."
Already Special Forces from the U.S. and Britain are on the ground in Syria and the U.S. is supplying arms, funds and intelligence to mercenaries and what are known to be terrorist forces inside Syria. The aim is to foment conflict and justify intervention in the name of “protecting” civilians against “brutality.”
U.S. and/or NATO bombs protect no one, as long experience in the region readily shows. Trampling on sovereignty and the principles established in the victory over fascism, which make propaganda for war and foreign interference in internal affairs all crimes, serve U.S. empire building, not peace and security.
Challenges to U.S. Oil Embargo of Iran
China, India and Turkey have warned that they will not support a ban on Iranian oil imports and will prevent the U.S. from blocking oil supplies from Iran. Japan and South Korea are planning to follow suit. Europe introduced a ban on Iran oil imports this week. The Voice of Russia's Konstantin Garibov reports.
The new package of sanctions against Tehran, which was approved by the European Union (EU) foreign ministers on Monday, provides for a gradual ban on the import of Iranian oil and oil products. The EU plans to stop purchasing oil from Iran by July 1. Until recently, the main buyers of Iranian oil in Europe were Greece, Italy and Spain, and they bought 600,000 barrels a day.
Europe has chosen to gain time so that it could find alternatives for Iranian oil imports. Yevgeny Satanovsky of the Institute of the Middle East has this to say.
"There will be no problem in replacing Iranian oil with oil from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, or Kuwait. The Gulf Cooperation Council has already made it clear that it will recoup the losses."
Meanwhile, Europe might face quite a headache as its oil refineries were designed to refine Iranian oil and, what is more, a particular brand of it. Experts have been speculating on who will lose more from the embargo — the seller, or the buyers? The IMF predicts a 20-30 percent increase in the cost of oil. That means an increase of $20-30, at the present. Sergei Druzhilovsky of the Moscow Institute of International Relations, has this to say:
"Eighteen to twenty percent of Iranian oil is bought by Europe. A ban on these exports will cause no serious problems for the Iranian economy. Oil prices for China and India may be affected by it. It looks like dumping is inevitable, as Iran will definitely have stockpiles of oil to go on sale. Iran is now switching to payments in currencies other than the dollar — the Japanese yen, the Indian rupee, the Chinese yuan."
This week, China and India have reiterated their determination not to support the embargo. Japan moved towards changing its position under pressure from the US. Tokyo asked by way of exception not to force it to cut imports. South Korea has been dragging its feet over the decision, forced to choose between the political solidarity with its pushy overseas partner and the country's energy security. Unlike Tokyo and Seoul, Ankara has dismissed pressure from the US as irrelevant. Analyst Stanislav Tarasov comments:
"Turkey's position is purely pragmatic. It is fully aware that Europe is going through a depression and that cutting Iranian oil imports will only make things worse. Iran is Turkey's main partner, accounting for one half of its oil imports. Ankara will not find any alternatives to Iranian supplies in Arab countries. And oil from Iran offers freedom of action. Turkey is simply being reasonable about the issue. A primitive political game is under way aimed at forcing Iran into joining the six-party talks on its nuclear program. This game testifies to the deteriorating quality of Western diplomacy. The moment Turkey completed its mediatory mission of obtaining Iran's consent to a meeting with the six-party representatives in Istanbul, the West set itself to torpedoing the talks."
Islamabad will participate in a project to build a gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan despite threats of international sanctions, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry reported.
Pakistan believes that sanctions should be limited solely on the Iranian nuclear program. They should not affect Islamabad because of its participation in a gas project with Iran, a Pakistani Foreign Ministry statement says.
(January 28, 2012)
Dialogue is the Only Way Out of Syrian Crisis
China vetoed a U.N. draft resolution on Syria recently, as it believes the Syrian crisis can and should be solved by the Syrians themselves instead of external forces.
Eleven months into the Syrian unrest since March 2011, violence continued with at least 28 killed and another 235 wounded in the northern city of Aleppo on Friday. The turmoil's total death toll has exceeded 5,400 according to a UN estimate, while the Syrian government said more than 2,000 government troops and security persons have been killed.
To end the bloody conflict, both the Syrian government and the opposition should engage in immediate dialogue and abandon violence in the first place.
President Bashar al-Assad has reiterated that a referendum will be held in March on a new constitution, which would allow a multi-party political system. Parliamentary elections will follow, with the participation of the opposition groups.
While the Syrian government should keep the promise and implement the reforms, all parties in Syria have a stake in quickly settling the crisis, because no side would gain from escalated violence.
If Syria plunges into all-out civil war, that would be a catastrophe for the country and a major destabilizer to the entire Middle East region.
Dialogue holds the key to resolving the crisis. The current stalemate persists partly because the opposition is insisting on Assad's departure as precondition for talks despite growing human and economic costs of the unrest.
The Syrian problem should be left to the Syrians. Planning a military interference or backing proxies would only fuel a worsening conflict and prolong Syrian's people's already terrible suffering from the months-long political turbulence.
For outsiders, the right thing to do probably is to help create a neutral, balanced external environment that would be most conducive for such inter-Syrian dialogue, so that Syrians could find the best solution for themselves with input from all sides of their society.
Washington's longstanding policy is regime change in Iran and Syria. At issue is replacing independent regimes with client ones and securing unchallenged control of valued Middle East resources.
On February 4, Russia and China vetoed a largely one-sided anti-[President of Syria] Assad resolution. He is falsely blamed for months of externally generated violence.
In fact, Assad confronted a Western-backed armed insurgency replicating the Libya model. By so doing he acted responsibly against a heavily armed insurrection.
Imagine a similar scenario in the U.S. Local police, National Guard forces, and Pentagon troops would confront it violently. Combined, they would way exceed Assad's response. Mass killing would follow. Western media scoundrels would approve. In contrast, the New York Times calls Syria's self-defense state-sponsored "butchery."
Its position substitutes disinformation for truth and full disclosure. Truth and full disclosure are scrupulously avoided to misinform, misrepresent and betray readers. Since violence erupted last March, Syria was blamed for Western-backed insurgents against him. For over a decade, regime change plans targeted Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Syria, and other countries outside the region. It is part of Washington's "New Middle East" project to control North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia to Russia and China's borders.
Replicating Libya's model is Washington's template for future NATO aggression. Whether it is employed fully in Syria remains to be seen. […]
On February 5, Israel's Mossad-connected DEBKA/file said Russia put "Rapid Reaction Force (aka Spetsnaz) units in Black Sea bases on (alert) to set out for Syria to defend Damascus."
Russia is determined to avoid another Libyan-style intervention. In response, Obama said Washington, key NATO partners, and Gulf allies will (in DEBKA/file's words) "redouble their efforts to unseat Bashar Assad."
On February 4, an official White House statement said:
"Assad must halt his campaign of killing and crimes against his own people now. He must step aside and allow a democratic transition to proceed immediately."
Since WW II, no combination of nations caused more slaughter, destruction, and human misery globally than the U.S. Moreover, Washington will not tolerate democracy at home or abroad. […]
International law prohibits interfering in the internal affairs of other nations, including determining the legitimacy of their leaders. […]
Long-suffering Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, Somalis, Bahrainis, Yemenis, Palestinians, and many others elsewhere understand the horrors when America intervenes. So do Syrians. They abhor Washington led meddling in their internal affairs and want no part of it.
In fact, a mid-December Qatar Foundation-funded YouGov Siraj poll found 55 percent of Syrians back Assad. It contradicts Western discourse of majority opposition. Except for the London Guardian, the findings were unreported in the West.
On February 4, Global Research editor Michel Chossudovsky explained "armed opposition groups" operating in Syria. They include the Western-backed Syria Free Army (FSA) "involved in criminal and terrorist acts." They are killing civilians and security forces. They are reigning terror blamed on Assad. They are destroying state assets, including fuel pipelines, trains and vehicles carrying fuel, as well as buildings and other targets. Their ranks include elements similar to Libyan insurgents, including "Al Qaeda affiliated" militants. […] Largely the same countries behind the Syria draft resolution backed Resolution 1973 against Libya. Once passed, war followed straightaway.
They include sponsor Morocco and co-sponsors:
Washington, Britain, France and Germany (the so-called NATO Quad - the key four) plus Portugal and Turkey; all six GCC states, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, UAE, and Bahrain plus Jordan and Libya; Colombia; and Togo — its UN envoy Kodjo Menan holds the rotating Security Council presidency during February.
Russia and China stood firm against them. Washington's UN envoy Susan Rice accused both countries of holding the Security Council "hostage." Responding, Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin said:
The Security Council decision "should be exactly such because some influential members of the international community, including those sitting at this table, from the very beginning of the crisis in Syria undermined the opportunity for political settlement by calling for regime change and setting the opposition against the power without shunning provocation and forcing armed means of fighting." […]
On February 7, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and Foreign Intelligence Service chief Mikhail Fradkov met Assad in Damascus.
On February 5, a Foreign Ministry statement said:
"Russia, including in interaction with other countries, is firmly set to seek the quickest stabilization of the situation in Syria along the paths of the quickest implementation of longstanding democratic transformations."
Moscow also urged Arab League foreign ministers to continue their monitoring mission and report accurately on what they find. Russia and China stand firm against another "Libyan scenario."
Washington and key NATO partners plan intervention with or without Security Council cover. Doing so violates fundamental international law that prohibits interfering in other countries' internal affairs, except in self-defense if attacked. Syria threatens no one. Neither does Iran. Yet both are targeted for regime change. Plans are longstanding. With or without UN support, they are coming. Expect the worst in 2012, preceded perhaps by false flag cover blamed on Assad. The strategy is used as needed. It is a U.S. tradition to enlist public support for war. […]
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com
Syria Regime Change PR in High Gear: More ‘Newborn Baby Slaughter’ Propaganda
We can already see exact parallels with the current PR operation to bring down Syria with how Libya went down. In one story published February 9, it seems that one award-winning mainstream newspaper has been caught red-handed running faux news on Syria - and incredibly, it’s not the first time this exact story has been used.
This morning, reporter Alastair Beach of The Independent newspaper based in London, cited “evidence” in his article entitled “Assad’s slaughter of the innocents“, claiming that Syrian President Assad’s security forces have indiscriminately killed scores of newborn babies in Homs this week, as his article claims:
“Bashar al-Assad’s bloody siege of Homs intensified yesterday as clear evidence emerged that his indiscriminate shelling of the restive town had started claiming innocent victims, including at least 18 premature babies and three entire families. The evidence came as civilians in the besieged city endured a fifth day of incessant shellfire – the worst yet, according to eyewitnesses – with dozens of other people being killed as the brutal assault continued.”
Writer Beach’s source for his claims seems to originate from only one organization, not in Syria – but in London. Surprisingly, the Independent’s chief source for the alleged horrors in question is a nearly invisible organization known as the ”Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”(SOHR) (and to make matters worse, there are two competing SOHR orgs in London- with the same name although the Independent does not provide a link to either org), who claim to have an office based in London, but apparently have no address or contact phone number listed - only and email address. Even murkier however, is that fact that there are no names associated with the SOHR on their website, and many of its articles have been written under the fictitious pen name known as “Rami Abdul Rahman“.
It’s likely that “Rami Abdul Rahman” is in fact one Rami Abdelrahman, depicted in other online press coverage as head of the SOHR, and is reported to have met with Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on November 21, 2011.
One can only conclude that with no names or contact information, the SOHR is – by definition - a very well-hidden, clandestine lobbying organization, and in this case, it appears to be lobbying for regime change in Syria, from inside Britain’s Foreign Office.
Before regime change in Tripoli, the US, France and Britain relied on the likes of Soliman Bouchuiguir, the former Libyan League for Human Rights president with ties to NATO’s National Transitional Council (NTC), helped to generate numerous lies needed by the west to justify NATO’s now famously titled “humanitarian intervention” – allegedly to protect Libyans. This human rights impostor – like his present day Syrian counterpart Rami Abdelrahman who may very well have ties to the Paris-based rebel coalition known as Syrian National Council (SNC), made then Colonel Moumar Qaddafi a targeted by spreading lies of alleged state crimes – but with no evidence, as outlined in documents released last October by the publication Voltaire. Syria’s President Assad is currently undergoing the exact same treatment, and in the exact same manner.
Babies in incubators: a recycled media hoax
Amazingly, this exact same story was also making the rounds recently in August of 2011, when a similar claim was busy circulating online through various social networks including Twitter in Arabic - the exact same tale of premature babies who died in their incubators when Syrian forces cut off electricity to hospitals during their assault, not in Homs, but on the city of Hama.
Even though it admits that it could not independently verify the account, CNN still ran with the SOHR rumor back in August, broadcasting: ”Rights Group: 8 babies die after power cut to Syrian hospital“.
Electronic Intifada reported on the August 2011 baby hoax, stating back then, “Evidence suggests it is a cruel hoax, and the pictures of the “dead babies” widely circulated online are false.” They went on to outline parallels between the August faux story and other past regime change PR campaigns:
“URGENT – Syria: | The electricity was cut today from the city of Hama, and the outage included the hospitals. Following this, the Shabiha [state militia] deliberately destroyed the electricity generators in the hospitals which led to the deaths of all the premature babies (more than 40 in a single hospital).”
To me the story was immediately suspicious. First of all it sounded too much like the false reports of invading Iraqi troops throwing babies out of incubators in Kuwait in August 1990 — reports that were used to build public support and urgency for the 1991 Gulf War. These claims were part of an elaborate propaganda effort by the Washington PR consultancy Hill & Knowlton hired by the Kuwaiti government.
The fact that an award-winning newspaper like the UK’s Independent would use such a shadowy outfit to support one of its most shocking headlined stories on the crisis in Syria – is also surprising in itself. The biggest problem with both separate claims of dying babies in incubators put forward by the SOHR, and circulated in the corporate media by the likes of The Independent and CNN, is that at no point along the line, has the SOHR been held accountable for what are patently unsubstantiated claims.
Lobbying groups and their governments in-exile are traditionally the source of anti-regime “heart-string” reports which have in the past been passed on for broadcast by major media outlets, which naturally follows with favoring pre-emptive military strike, or as recently seen with Libya – a ‘humanitarian intervention’.
We can see how the corporate media will knowingly run sensationalist, unverified accounts of human rights events in countries like Libya and Syria, but what about out elected leaders? Will they too run with these same wild claims in order to make their public case for war?
No doubt. Members of the NATO governments have also been assigned their roles in making intervention possible. Britain’s William Hague seems to be running point on the PR campaign for regime change in Syria. Following Russia and China’s veto of the UN’s recent revolution for action in Syria, Hague condemned the decision – and used wild, unverified statistics most likely gleaned from his friend at the SOHR, as reported by the Guardian:
“More than 2,000 people have died since Russia and China vetoed the last draft resolution in October 2011,” he said after the vote. “How many more need to die before Russia and China allow the UN Security Council to act?”
Journalist Tony Cartalucci reported back in December regarding the clandestine activities of SOHR, adding:
It is quite clear that the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” based in London and receiving the entirety of their reports via “phone” & YouTube videos from Syria, is working in coordination with both US-funded NGOs and the British Foreign Minister. Considering that Hague similarly coddled Libyan opposition leaders in London while playing a key role in promoting the NATO attack on Libya and the subsequent installation of a BP oilman as “prime minister,” Abdelrahman’s consorting signifies a verbatim repeat of the now openly fraudulent and genocidal NATO campaign in Libya.
Just as in Libya, where “human rights activists” have now admitted to fabricating the evidence used by the International Criminal Court and the United Nations to rubber stamp Wall Street and London’s designs for regime change, likewise the “evidence” from Syria has turned out to be a complete fraud, derived by opposition “witnesses” and compiled by a corporate D.C. think-tank director into a UN “human rights report.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights serves as the exclusive source of “reports” coming out of Syria despite the fact that it is actually, entirely based in London. While it is verified that the NGOs it works in tandem with are US-funded, the Observatory itself fails to publish where its money comes from or the backgrounds of those that constitute its membership. We then, are expected to simply believe on face value a mysterious organization whose head meets with the British government and their unverified “witness accounts” as evidence to initiate military intervention at the cost of potentially millions of lives.
The UN based the whole premise for its Security Council Resolution 1973 for Libya on reports from western-backed Libyan rebels and the NTC. Their wild claims included – unbelievably and highly reported by the western media - that Qaddafi led jet attacks on his own people, and killed more than 6,000 unarmed protester cum civilians in the run up to NATO intervention. This jet claim was needed as a key component in order to get a No Fly Zone included in resolution 1973.
During the run-up to their vote on the matter, no due diligence was carried out by any of the UN member states, which stands to reason, why the whole UN Libyan affair – from beginning to end, was planned and executed as a political operation - hardly of any humanitarian concern.
Here we are again, at another crossroads, so soon after the last one. And like clockwork, the same patterns are emerging to sway western public opinion, this time against President Assad and his Syrian government. It seems that consumers of the press in the west are being force-fed another endless diet of false claims designed to sway public opinion in favor of military action by NATO, or NATO-backed allies in Syria, and later in Iran.
Infowars.com have already attempted to contact SOHR via their email address, in order to receive further clarification as to the source of their recent claims that Assad’s security forces are responsible for the death of 18 newborn babies, but have yet to receive any response from the London-based organization.
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