They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Saturday, August 31, 2013

US going forward ...

 [Obama] added he was comfortable going forward without the support of the UN Security Council "that, so far, has been completely paralysed and unwilling to hold [Syrian President] Assad accountable". Link

It's not paralysis

Obama seeks approval from congress

If this was at all influenced by British parliamentarians let's hope that the example is fully mirrored and this rush to war is stopped. Obama might then have an opportunity to live up to his Nobel prize and work as hard as he has recently worked to justify bombing Syria to rather attempt to bring peace to the country - this will require dialogue with US friends and more importantly rivals.
President Barack Obama says the US should take military action against Syria and he will seek congressional authorisation for intervention. Link

Obama defies own rules re war powers, but that was 2007

Obama is at this minute 'working the phones' to drum up support for his catastrophic misreading of the middle east and his apparent intention to 'unilaterally' take the decision to drop bombs on Syria - like any peace prize winner would want to do in the circumstances (rather than, for instance, reach out to Iran and any other party on the planet who might assist a genuine desire to bring hostilities to an end).
When he was running for president in 2007, Obama, a former constitutional law professor, told reporter Charlie Savage that "the president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." That was an accurate description of U.S. law. Link

US knows it all, readies for war

The likelihood of the US presenting its evidence to the UN security council is remote indeed; they would  run the risk of exposing to the world just how threadbare the case for war is. Even Hollande might be forced to run a mile. The US knows what it knows and that's that, not even the UN inspectors can tell them anything they don't know already, according to Kerry. That's an odd statement even for him. But typical of the US approach to  due diligence where war is concerned. Britain is out of it thankfully - though that might change in the future.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared ‘utter nonsense’ the idea that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on its own people and called on the US to present its supposed evidence to the UN Security Council. Link

France is the US's oldest ally - bonne chance with that

Friday, August 30, 2013

Horovitz: Perfidious Albion fails Israel

David Horovitz gets stroppy at Britain for passing on an opportunity to somehow in his view  protect Israel's interests by dropping bombs on Syria , and by so doing, lend succor to various jihadist groups bent upon the destruction of Israel. His logic is difficult to grasp, his impotent fury is palpable.

In an Israel beset by threats and challenges in almost every direction, an Israel whose northern border is just an hour’s drive from Assad’s toxic Damascus, an Israel being urged by the international community to take territorial risks for peace in a vicious, WMD-using, phenomenally unstable Middle East — in that Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be feeling a further bitter vindication of his long-held and oft-stated conviction that, ultimately, against all dangers, Israel needs to be able to take care of itself, by itself. At the very least, he might be reflecting, perfidious Albion could not be relied upon to rally to the rescue.

Syria: U.S. Tried to Derail U.N. Probe

After initially insisting that Syria give United Nations investigators unimpeded access to the site of an alleged nerve gas attack, the administration of President Barack Obama reversed its position on Sunday and tried unsuccessfully to get the U.N. to call off its investigation.
The administration’s reversal, which came within hours of the deal reached between Syria and the U.N., was reported by the Wall Street Journal Monday and effectively confirmed by a State Department spokesperson later that day.
In his press appearance Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry, who intervened with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to call off the investigation, dismissed the U.N. investigation as coming too late to obtain valid evidence on the attack that Syrian opposition sources claimed killed as many 1,300 people.
The sudden reversal and overt hostility toward the U.N. investigation, which coincides with indications that the administration is planning a major military strike against Syria in the coming days, suggests that the administration sees the U.N. as hindering its plans for an attack. Link

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Warmongers defeated by 'Ed the cunt'

They called Miliband a 'fucking cunt' - and then the posh boys got skewered. Now it is up to Hollande to step into the unknown with Obama 'to save US credibility' - something the French military are apparently keen to do.

22.30 BREAKING: The Government has been defeated on the Syria motion, by 285 to 272.
It makes any British action on Syria highly unlikely. Ed Miliband asks will he confirm he will not use the Royal Prerogative to take action.
The PM responds: I can give that assurance. He says the House has not voted for either motion. "I believe in respecting the Will of this House of Commons."
"It is very clear to me the British parliament, reflecting the view of the Britiish people, does not want see military action. I get that and the Government will act accordingly."
It's a huge rebellion. It will lead to calls, at least, for an early general election or for Cameron to resign. And it has brought Ed Miliband's dreadful summer to a sudden end.Link

An explosive humanitarian response

The House of Commons will be asked by the government on Thursday to approve a "strong humanitarian response" Link

Tamarod demands closure of Suez, supports Syrian army

Hilarious .... this is the thanks we get for not asking to see a copy of that 20 million signature petition.

The Tamarod campaign has released a statement Wednesday urging authorities to close Suez Canal to vehicles carrying weapons supporting US military attacks on Syria.
The group’s spokesman added in the statement that “it is a national duty to support the Syrian army” and denounced “people who betray their country.” Link
As someone recently said, petitions are not for collating, they are for mobilizing. Nudge, wink.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hague's values and Al Qaeda's values united

William Hague: this is a moment for democratic nations to live up to their values Link

Where were these values when over a thousand Brotherhood supporters were murdered for daring to protest when their vote and their leaders were removed by a deadly military coup? Where were they when al-Sisi's bulldozers shoveled the shrouded corpses of slaughtered MB supporters across Rabaa al-Adawiya Square - whilst the families screamed in horror; all documented on You Tube, just a search away, much like the terrible scenes in Ghouta which politicians prefer to describe in detail on our TV screens. 

Whilst Hague waits for the US to inform him of the British role in the forthcoming attack on Syria al-Sisi is consolidating his position and the primacy of Egyptian anti-democratic forces. Western democratic values will in the meantime bizarrely converge with the values of Al Qaeda and it's affiliates - our troops on the ground  - to 'punish' Assad with a very limited, proportionate, 'carefully thought out' attack. Will be over in a jiffy, nothing can go wrong.
Egyptian soldiers will no longer swear loyalty to president
Egyptian soldiers will no longer swear loyalty directly to the president of the republic, according to a published decree, a symbolic change analysts said underlined the military's independence from any civilian control.
Officers will vow to "execute the orders of my leadership", according to the amended oath of allegiance, that removes the phrase: "I will be loyal to the president of the republic". Link
Taking a well earned  break from war planning, William eats a filthy meat pie

Robert Fisk:
 Does Obama know he’s fighting on al-Qa’ida’s side?
[...] If Barack Obama decides to attack the Syrian regime, he has ensured – for the very first time in history – that the United States will be on the same side as al-Qa’ida.
Quite an alliance! Was it not the Three Musketeers who shouted “All for one and one for all” each time they sought combat? This really should be the new battle cry if – or when – the statesmen of the Western world go to war against Bashar al-Assad.
The men who destroyed so many thousands on 9/11 will then be fighting alongside the very nation whose innocents they so cruelly murdered almost exactly 12 years ago. Quite an achievement for Obama, Cameron, Hollande and the rest of the miniature warlords. Link

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Syria: Our war now

A proportionate response to the unleashing of chemical weapons in Syria by persons unknown is not bombarding the country with Tomahawk missiles on the hunch that the Syrian regime was reponsible. The BBC are speculating on Worldservice  radio that the response is likely to be a 'short sharp shock', designed to shift Assad from his current course.  It won't be just that. It's a blank cheque. Once 'we' engage militarily Bashar's downfall is a political necessity - because it will be our war and failure is not an option.  However 'success' in these circumstances  is a remote prospect given that the war makers themselves cannot define success, even if they could it will take much more than Kerry's moral compass and his outrage to bring it about - certainly if regime change is the undisclosed goal.  If the aim is to demonstrate that the US takes it red lines seriously, then perhaps that may be doable. As for the rest, expect bloody chaos. 
Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday that a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria was "absolutely abhorrent" and necessitated action from the international community with Britain considering a "proportionate response". Link

Kerry: Syria 'dossier' is in production

Whilst it's totally off subject and of course has no bearing whatsoever upon this new glorious and violent enterprise we are about to inaugurate, I'd like to take a moment to recall a Daily Star headline printed  in the run up to the Iraq War  ... "Mad Saddam ready to attack: 45 minutes from a chemical war".
And yes, doesn't the 'butcher of Syria' - or whatever we are calling him - need to be unhinged to launch a chemical attack on the civilians in Ghouta whilst the UN are a few blocks down the road, and  with the obvious consequence of US intervention - the shock, the awe ... the hanging.

John Kerry's speech had a clear purpose which was to begin the process of softening us up for a new war that is uniquely compelling and which no sane mind with an ounce of humanity could oppose.

You couldn't argue with nine tenths of what Kerry had to say. I can confirm - chemical weapons are an abomination, their indiscriminate use is barbaric, yes, the videos available on You Tube detailing the suffering of people apparently victims of their use is 'gut wrenching'.  Twice Kerry tells us that it is 'real'. That's all ok. The problem with Kerry's statement is that he completely fails to address the key  question - Where is the evidence that Bashar al-Assad's regime was responsible?

Tantalizingly,  John Kerry promises that the US administration has "additional information about the attack" which they will provide "in the days ahead".  In the form of a dossier I presume.  Look forward to that.

Post updated: 27.8.13 - removed some waffle

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Alawite communities will pay the price - al-Nusra

Three Syrian Alawite lorry drivers await execution by freedom fighters in this frame grab. William Hague will need to consider how 'we' prevent a further upsurge in sectarian killings, should 'we' take military action in Syria to support what he quaintly refers to as 'rebels'. The video is available here.  As 'the west' scrambles to determine that Bashar al Assad is responsible for launching a chemical weapons attack against the civilians of Ghouta, our allies in the al-Nusra Front appear to have concluded their investigations early, and hold Alawite communities responsible:-
'Alawites will pay for it'
An al Qaeda-affiliated rebel commander in Syria has pledged to target communities of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite minority with rockets in revenge for an alleged chemical attack near Damascus, according to an audio recording seen on Sunday.
"For every chemical rocket that has fallen on our people in Damascus, one of their villages will, by the will of God, pay for it," Abu Mohammad al-Golani of the al-Nusra Front said in the recording posted on YouTube. "On top of that we will prepare a thousand rockets that will be fired on their towns in revenge for the Damascus Ghouta massacre." Link

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Syria WMD: Hague 'believes'

William Hague says the odds of the 'rebels' framing the Assad regime are 'vanishingly small'.... wasn't that the odds on not finding WMD in Iraq?  It is not for Assad to prove to the world that he didn't use chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Ghouta as much as it is incumbent upon western leaders to prove to a skeptical public that he did, before doing anything rash. It's tedious to keep hearing it, but the Iraq war was a curse and we got into it via fakery and lies. Skepticism is healthy. Believing is not knowing.
William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, held: “The only possible explanation of what we have been able to see is that it was a chemical attack.
“So we believe this is a chemical attack by the Assad regime on a large scale… It was the only plausible explanation for casualties so intense in such a small area.”
The odds that rebels had staged the attack to “frame” the regime, said the Foreign Secretary, were “vanishingly small”. Link

US Cluster Bombs for Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques

Arms control advocates are decrying a new U.S. Department of Defence announcement that it will be building and selling 1,300 cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, worth some 641 million dollars.
The munitions at the heart of the sale are technically legal under recently strengthened U.S. regulations aimed at reducing impact on civilian safety, but activists contend that battlefield evidence suggests the weapons actually exceed those regulations.
These weapons have not been used by the U.S. in over a decade, so it’s hard to see why it’s in our interest to sell these to Saudi Arabia.” -- Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association
Opponents say the move runs counter to a strengthening push to outlaw the use of cluster bombs around the world while also contradicting recent votes by both the U.S. and Saudi governments critical of the use of these munitions.
“Both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have recently condemned the use of cluster munitions by the government of Syria – that’s ironic given this new sale, because a cluster munition is a cluster munition, no matter what kind it is,” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a watchdog group here in Washington, told IPS. Link

Syria: A Murky reason for War

U.S. naval forces are moving closer to Syria as President Barack Obama considers military options for responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad government. Link
Without specialist knowledge it's impossible to judge from videos released by the opposition if the appalling suffering in Ghouta was in fact caused by chemical WMD. Whilst it's apparent that some experts have their doubts, others are more or less convinced.
There are three questions - were chemical weapons deployed on a  large scale as claimed?  Was Assad's government responsible/another party? What can 'we' do about it without throwing petrol on Middle East flames and aligning 'ourselves' with war criminals, liars and thugs - not to mention you know who. That is not to say the Syrian government is any better - but nobody is speculating that we fight a war to support the Syrian government.
'Rest assured, if Al Qaeda or its affiliates get their hands on WMD they wont hesitate to use them'. Was it Blair who said that? Bush?  Probably both ...on the same day. Is it possible that for once they were right? 
Consequences of crossing 'red line' (Chemical attack) for Bashar al-Assad:
Possible loss of remaining international support
Possible loss of some domestic support
War crimes charges
Further UN sanctions
NATO military action or 'coalition of willing' action
Probable downfall
Consequences of Chemical attack for opposition:
Immediate end to western caution re weapons supply
NATO military action or more likely
'coalition of the willing' (France leading?  No, probably not this time)

As we know, the UN inspectors are based just a few Kilometers from the site of the attack - it couldn't be more convenient for them. There was no pressing military need for Assad to deploy chemical weapons - let alone target civilians. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Video - The SCAF Gravy Train

Between 15 to 40% of Egypt's economy is an 'untouchable and unaudited economic empire' controlled by the military - for the benefit of the military.
Given a choice between becoming a client state of the GCC, doing a deal with the IMF economic hit men, or reforming the economy and derailing the SCAF gravy train, the latter might be the best option.  The other two options merely delay the inevitable. To reform the economy will require an alliance between Islamists and secularists, because  obviously whilst Al-Sisi, like Mubarak before him, dearly loves the Egyptian 'people' (the term 'people' excludes all the haters) he will likely jail or kill those that demand the breakup of this business empire.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Al-Sisi's underwear manufacturer hacked by Indonesians

Was looking to buy myself a pair of those great Kabo boxer shorts we have all seen, only to find that the Kabo website has been HACKED by Indonesians.  How could that be? Would you believe my luck, turns out Kabo (El Nasr Clothing and Textiles) is a small part of Egypt's 'Military Industrial Complex'.  Consequently will purchase alternative stylish boxers.

Egypt's Army Marches, Fights, Sells Chickens

[...] These companies add up to "a very large, unaccountable, nontransparent Military Inc.," says Robert Springborg, a professor in the department of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., and author of Mubarak's Egypt: Fragmentation of the Political Order. The generals "will try to massage the new order so that it does not seek to impose civilian control on the armed forces," he says. "It's not just a question of preserving the institution of the army. It's a question of preserving the financial base of its members."  Link

Understanding SCAF -

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

video: Brotherhood supporters removed 'like Nazis'

When the Egyptian Ambassador to Britain said that the Muslim Brotherhood must be removed like Nazis I guess this is the sort of thing he was referring to.  Here we have some unarmed protesters being cleansed from the streets utilizing four armored personnel carriers.
**Video includes violence, death

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

US leverage over Egypt

According to some analysts $1.3 billion of 'aid' buys US little or no leverage in Egypt.  More important than $1.3 billion and the toys bought with it, must be a desire to stay off the US shit list. Once on that, life becomes uncomfortable as governments of current and former evil axis nations will testify. Patriotism and love of 'the people' only goes so far. The Egyptian military enjoys privileges and comforts that would be put in jeopardy by  travel bans, personal financial sanctions, trade sanctions/embargoes etc.. Saudi promises to take up the slack if the west financially penalizes Egypt may become a heavy burden when you look beyond  the consequences of 'aid' withdrawal and account for the impact of becoming an 'international pariah state'. 

Whatever leverage the US has, it amounts to nothing if you have no desire to use it.

America Has No Leverage in Egypt

However great its hegemony may have once been in the Middle East, America no longer enjoys a strategic monopsony. Today, there are other buyers of Egyptian cooperation who can outbid the United States. Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia together have pledged $12 billion to Egypt’s junta, and they have done so without the conditions that Congress places on American-appropriated funds.Link

Sunday, August 18, 2013

al-Sisi: Room for all in Egypt

Egypt's army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, said in a speech to military and police officers on Sunday that his message to the supporters of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi is that "there is room for everyone in Egypt". Link

Cairo's Iman mosque - no room here

Egypt new dark age

If it's optimism you are looking for, don't read Patrick Cockburn in The Independent.
There's no reason for optimism:

Egypt on the brink of a new dark age, as the generals close in for the kill

 [...] Just how far General Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi and the Egyptian army and security forces deliberately planned a massacre in order to rule out any future compromise is not clear. Probably the generals were not worried if they provoked a bloody confrontation. If ordinary peacetime politics are replaced by battles in the streets, guerrilla warfare or even civil war, then this merely reinforces the primacy of the armed forces and police. This process is already underway.

[...] As for those liberals, leftists and intelligentsia who imagined that the army and security forces were going to share power with others, it is worth recalling Lenin's contemptuous dismissal of a suggestion that he share power with political opponents. He said that the person who gave the advice showed "a sweet naivety which would be touching in a child but is repulsive in a person who has not yet been certified as feeble-minded." Link

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Restoring democracy with M16s

Sky's Sam Kiley - worryingly close to events in Egypt - understandably forgets it's all in a good cause.

Sky's Middle East Correspondent Sam Kiley, reporting from inside the Rabaa al Adawiya camp in Cairo, said it was "under very heavy gunfire" and was a "massive military assault on largely unarmed civilians in very large numbers".
He said government forces were using machine guns, snipers, M16s, AK-47s and were firing into the crowd.
Kiley added: "There are machine gun rounds, and snipers on the roof, that are preventing people from getting any closer to the field hospital (in the camp).
"I haven't seen any evidence yet of any weapons on the side of the pro-Morsi camp. The camp is very full of women and children."
He said it was a scene of "extreme chaos and bloodshed" and "many hundreds of troops and interior ministry police and special forces are involved".
"The dead and dying are on the steps of an improvised field hospital. The scenes here are absolutely graphic.
"I have covered many wars and this is as severe a battlefield as I have witnessed, with the exception of scenes in Rwanda. There are dozens and dozens of people who have been shot in the head, neck and upper body."
He also said the violence was not a crowd-clearing operation. Link

Friday, August 09, 2013

NSA cloning and sifting

To conduct the surveillance, the N.S.A. is temporarily copying and then sifting through the contents of what is apparently most e-mails and other text-based communications that cross the border. The senior intelligence official, who, like other former and current government officials, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, said the N.S.A. makes a “clone of selected communication links” to gather the communications, but declined to specify details, like the volume of the data that passes through them. Link

Silent Circle closes secure email service the day after Lavabit closure Link

 All your data are belong to them

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Egypt: Worse than he thought

After John Kerry's warm words of support last week for Egypt's military coup and it's obvious goal - restoring democracy - Senators Graham and McCain  bring us back down to Earth.

Graham and McCain were later asked by CBS News if they were alarmed by what is happening in Egypt.
"Oh my God," Graham responded. "I didn't know it was this bad. These people are just days or weeks away from all-out bloodshed." Link

Egypt 'diplomatic phase' ends today

Egypt's interim presidency says international efforts to resolve the political crisis which followed the deposing of Mohammed Morsi have failed. Link

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

No, it's a coup

You might not always agree with 'mad' John McCain but in this instance he confirms the blindingly obvious.

"We have said we share the democratic aspirations and criticism of the Morsy government that led millions of Egyptians into the streets ... . We've also said that the circumstances of (Morsy's) removal was a coup," McCain told reporters in Cairo Tuesday as he and Sen. Lindsey Graham met with officials there to press for a quick return to civilian life. Link

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Kerry - democracy purist - slams Zimbabwe elections

Unlike the Kerry approved military coup in Egypt - where 'millions and millions' of protesters took to the streets - the elections in Zimbabwe are hereby ReJeCtEd.

"The United States does not believe that the results announced today represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people." Link

Kerry: More ammo to Ayman Al Zawahiri

Wednesday: John Kerry, interviewed in Pakistan - a country that knows something about military rule - was asked why the US has not taken a clear position regarding the military intervention against the democratically elected government in Egypt (see video below).  Kerry thanks the interviewer for a great question, clears his throat, and goes on to endorse the regime change in Egypt because, he claims, the military 'were in effect restoring democracy'.  Not a position shared by mourners of Muslim Brotherhood supporters subsequently gunned down, but perhaps a clear one to be observed by all Islamists considering a future democratic path.
Friday: CNN publish a 'purported' statement from Egyptian  Ayman Al Zawahiri.  Not known to be considering the (somewhat perilous) democratic path. :-
Mursi’s “Muslim Brotherhood government strove to please America and the secularists as much as it could, but they were not satisfied with it,” said Zawahiri, who is believed to be hiding somewhere in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
“They did not trust it [Mursi’s government] because they did not forget the Brotherhood’s slogan: ‘Jihad is our war, and death in the path of God is our highest aspiration’,” he said.
“The Brotherhood abandoned that slogan, substituting it with the slogan ‘Islam is the solution,’ but the Crusaders and secularists did not forget,” he said.
“What happened is the biggest proof of the failure of democratic means to achieve an Islamic government,” he said of the coup.
“I call for them to be united ... to make Islamic law rule.” Link

John Kerry Interview -01 Aug 2013 by GeoNews