Santarchy | January 15, 2011
This is volume 3 of a three-part documentary series release in 1987 (now out of print).
Series Synopsis (from VHS box):
A chilling documentary on U.S. policy in Central America, this three volume series, which took six years to make, was researched and filmed by Allan Francovich, best known for his award winning film about the CIA, On Company Business.
An astonishing range of characters tell their stories, from soon-to-be-assassinated Archbishop Oscar Romero to Salvadoran right wing leader Robert D’Aubuisson; from three then-Presidents of the three republics to Guatemala’s impoverished indigenous peoples; from ousted American Ambassador Robert White, CIA operatives, and National Security officials to the founder of El Salvador’s secret police, who speaks directly of the rape and murder of four American missionary women there, from the top death squad officials to remorseful triggermen whose gruesome accounts of kidnapping, torture and killing lend compelling moral urgency to the case against right-wing dogma.
“The issue is really whether the U.S. government instigated, trained and has direct knowledge regarding a whole series of murders – including American citizens plus hundreds of thousands of local people – and has covered it up. What people know about the world is controlled. These issues are crucial to democracy: without information you can’t expect the population to make decisions knowingly.” – Allan Francovich
- Uniformed US soldiers involved in killing of six Honduran civilians (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Another Israeli wall, another ghetto. (Tamar Fleishman)
‘Jerusalem Day’ was celebrated this year, marking forty five years of occupation.
About a third of the city’s residents are excluded from the celebrations, speeches and promises that speak of: “(Jerusalem) forever and always…freedom of religion… equality…” and other such hollow catchphrases. In addition, and much more importantly, those same residents aren’t granted their civil rights. Ever since the creation of the metropolis sphere called: “Greater Jerusalem”, which is the result of the intention to annex as much territory as possible with as few residents as possible, the basic rights of three hundred and sixty thousand Palestinians living in it, are not recognized. The city that had stretched its body like a spring up to the end of its reach, extending to the outskirts of Ramallah, has left the Palestinians who reside within it discriminated against by the actual classification given to them. Their blue identity card doesn’t provide them with citizenship (due to the ideology to preserve the Jewish majority), but only permanent residency, which in spite of the title doesn’t ensure them permanence as it might be removed through biased legislation or whim of the Minister of Internal Affairs.
Residency provides freedom of movement and a better health care than that which Palestinians without blue IDs receive. According to the figures of the non-profit organization “Ir Amim”, it appears that a higher percentage of Palestinians pay their municipal taxes with respect to the rest of the residents, for fear that they might lose their status and relative rights, and as a result get evicted. The list of discrimination towards the non-Jewish residents of the capital city includes an educational system that does not meet reasonable standards, inadequate and poor infrastructure in the neighborhoods populated by the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, the partial freedom for performing religious rituals of the Muslims, which on numerous occasions hadn’t been granted to them or that is limited by age restrictions applying to the attendance at their place of worship, discrimination on the issuing of construction permits on Palestinian lands and their automatic classification by the planning authorities as “green” zones (another method for preserving the Jewish numerical advantage), the disinheritance of property, the demolition of homes, and perhaps the draconian of it all is the “citizenship law”, which under the mantra of security prevents people from living with his/her partner and their children, sentencing them to physical and mental alienation.
The Palestinians (women as well as men) that have proven themselves “clean” without any room for doubt, that have no “history” and that hadn’t been caught throwing stones or protesting, not even in their youth which was decades ago, even then, only after arriving at the age of thirty five and after having to run about, to make pleas and to deal with exhausting bureaucracy they would (perhaps) receive what is known as: “a temporary permit to stay under family reunion” – such a long name for an evil procedure.
The few lucky ones that meet all the criteria and break the walls of bureaucracy, those that hadn’t been turned down by the “SHABAK” (GSS) or the messengers of the minister of internal affairs, they too, who had received a permit to live in their own home among their family, have no insurance regarding the duration of this daily routine. A permit is temporary and might expire or be taken at any given time. Its owner must go back and beg for his life every few months in order to renew and re-validate his right. Even the number of months between each visit isn’t fixed, it changes from one person to the other and from one case to the other.
Uncertainty, intimidation and the evoking of the sense of constant persecution are among the efficient tools used by the mechanisms of occupation. They all transform the individual into a perpetual captive in the hand of the representatives of the secret services, his future is unknown since those sitting inside the chambers, that are kept out of sight deciding his fate, owe no explanations.
But all this is over shadowed by the reality in which lives of the Palestinians that were unfortunate to have their homes remain on the wrong side of the separation wall, the residents of the towns and neighborhoods on the main road leading to Ramallah. The wall that rose upwards, had not only infringed on the rights and quality of life of human beings, but cut through the urban sequence and sorely damaged the urban vitality.
The people whose homes face the back of the wall are the big victims of the intentional discriminatory policy of the leaders of the country and the municipality of Jerusalem.
It is important that we focus our attention toward these dark places, because while they are disconnected from the city that is the center of their lives, they are also disconnected from the attention of the public.
Up until a couple of years ago it would have taken these people only a few minutes to reach their educational institutions, their work places, clinics and hospitals, and since finding themselves, against their own will, imprisoned behind the wall, upon leaving their homes they can never know when and if they are going to arrive at their destination.
A woman I know from the neighborhood Dahiat-Al-Barid told me how she must wake her children up before sunrise so that they arrive at their school in East Jerusalem on time. Unfortunately for her the dark side of the wall boarders with her home, and therefore she and the members of her family are disconnected from their relatives and source of income- a business in the ancient city.
The freedom of movement is restricted. Indeed, their vehicles have yellow plates, as they are in Israel, but unlike the Jewish citizens, they are forced to go through strict and time consuming inspections at the checkpoint. Only those who are first-degree relatives are allowed to stay in the vehicle when passing the checkpoint (a spouse, parent, child), the relatives that aren’t indicated in the identity cards or friends, are ordered to walk through the pedestrian checkpoint. The ill and injured, who have insurance according to the Israeli law and are taken care of in hospitals that are located in the western side of the city, are forced to go through the tiring procedure known as “back-to-back”, which includes the authorization of the permits center- meaning, the GSS. And a vile stench rises from the fact that the residents of these areas, that are part of the jurisdiction of the municipality of Jerusalem, don’t receive fundamental services such as waste collection and are forced to deal with the mountains of trash that pile up by lighting bonfires on the side of the roads and inside trash containers.
Like their brothers who live nearby- at Qalandiya refugee camp which is located between the two villages Kufer-Akeb and Samir-Ramis, where many of the residents have residency cards- their place of residence has become a no man’s land, they suffer not only from the neglect of the infrastructure, but also from the loss of the sense of security, since neither the Israeli police nor the Palestinian are present and impose order.
Those who are frequently there, especially during the wee hours of the night, are the soldiers who invade their homes and hunt down people and children.
And in the middle, between the residents of Jerusalem and the checkpoint, is the refugee camp with the tens of thousands that reside within it, like a bone in Israel’s throat- unwilling to swallow it and unable to vomit.
(Translated by Ruth Fleishman.)
- Israeli violations of international law (24 – 30 May 2012) (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
When President Barack Obama was campaigning for president in 2008 he condemned the assaults on constitutional rights and military operations that marked the George W. Bush administration’s “war on terror.” On his second day in office, Obama issued several executive orders as a symbol of the new administration’s break with the past and pledged to “restore the standards of due process and … core constitutional values.”
But over the last three and a half years Obama has in fact deepened the assault, strengthening the executive powers of his office and establishing new legal precedents to legitimatize major aspects of it—from indefinite detentions and military tribunals to presidential-ordered assassinations of U.S. citizens. Unlike his predecessor, Obama has intimately involved himself in directing hunter-killer operations carried out by aerial drone pilots and commando hit squads from Pakistan to Yemen to Somalia—which have mushroomed under his watch.
Among Obama’s inaugural executive decrees was a pledge to close the Pentagon’s notorious military prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, within a year. Today it’s still open with 169 prisoners. The administration’s policy has been to send no new prisoners there, but instead to expand its prison at the U.S. airbase in Bagram, Afghanistan, where some 2,000 languish further from public attention and without a pretense of any rights.
The order’s fine print made clear the president was not challenging the indefinite detention of detainees without charges. Inmates “not approved for release or transfer,” the order said, “shall be evaluated to determine … whether it is feasible to prosecute” them.
Two months later the administration was filing its first court brief defending indefinite military detention for Guantánamo detainees under executive wartime powers. In May of that year Obama defended his prerogative to indefinitely hold those “who cannot be prosecuted yet who pose a clear danger.” His administration has designated 46 prisoners for detention without trial.
Another executive order signed on Obama’s second day announced the closure of secret CIA “detention facilities,” commonly referred to as “black sites.” The order included a clause stating that “detention facilities … do not refer to facilities used only to hold people on a short term, transitory basis.”
The undefined “short term” and “transitory basis” allowed the CIA to continue its practice of “extraordinary renditions” to other countries for “enhanced interrogation,” with a new air of legitimacy. In September 2010, a U.S. appeals court ruled in favor of the Obama administration, dismissing a suit by five victims of torture under the CIA’s renditions program based on the government’s “state secrets” privilege.
In his first week in office President Obama suspended military commissions at Guantánamo. In March 2011 Obama issued an executive order resuming them with some minor tweaks. Some three dozen have been designated by the current administration to face military “justice” in which the Pentagon assigns military officers to serve as judge and jury and the use of secret evidence and hearsay is permitted.
Another presidential order in March 2011 further validated indefinite detention by establishing a periodic government review of Guantánamo prisoners slated for military prosecution or considered neither fit for trial nor release.
Since assuming office the Obama administration has conducted nearly 300 drone strikes—255 of which have taken place in Pakistan, according to the Long War Journal website. This is roughly six times more than were carried out during the entire Bush administration.
The current president has taken a peculiar interest in the remote assassination campaign. “Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret ‘nominations’ process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical,” said a May 29 article in the New York Times titled “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will.”
The president approves every name on the kill list and every strike in Yemen and Somalia, as well as many of the “more complex and risky strikes in Pakistan,” the Times said. “Every week or so, more than 100 members of the government’s sprawling national security apparatus gather, by secure video teleconference, to pore over terrorist suspects’ biographies and recommend to the president who should be the next to die,” reported the paper. The president’s strikes have included some that were certain to result in what the administration counts as civilian casualties. The official civilian body count is kept low by recording all men in a strike zone as combatants, unnamed officials told the Times.
Obama’s first strike in Yemen in December 2009 killed more than 40 civilians, including women and children, and left behind a number of deadly cluster bombs to kill more. More recently a May 6 airstrike reportedly killed Fahd al-Quso, an alleged al-Qaeda leader, and 19-year-old Nasser Salim, who was tending to his farm when al-Quso drove into the area.
The latest U.S. drone assault June 4 in Pakistan’s tribal agency of North Waziristan killed 15 “suspected militants,” according to the Long War Journal. It was the eighth strike in Pakistan in 12 days. Since April, Washington has conducted 14 airstrikes in Yemen.
The Obama administration has established a protocol in Pakistan and Yemen that targets unidentified people based on “patterns of behavior” and “gathering places,” according to numerous press reports.
Last September a U.S. drone strike killed U.S.-born citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen after Obama publicly announced he put him on the hit list. That decision was “an easy one” Obama told associates, according to the Times.
Following the killing, the administration declared the president’s authority to assassinate citizens who pose an “imminent threat” if “capture is not feasible,” as Attorney General Eric Holder put it in a speech March 5 at Northwestern University School of Law. Referring to the Fifth Constitutional Amendment’s prohibition on taking life without due process, Holder said “‘due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same.” In other words, as long as the administration has really mulled it over and Congress is not complaining, don’t worry, it’s all good.
- Obama and Drone Warfare (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- CIA gets nod to step up drone strikes in Pakistan (nation.com.pk)
- Obama regime surpasses Bush in deadliness of war on al-Qaeda – Irish Times (irishtimes.com)
Former Republican Congressman Paul Findley spoke the following words on the 45th anniversary of Israel’s deliberate attack on the USS Liberty:
June 8, 1967 is a day that will live in infamy. I am here to explain why. I state facts. I use plain language.
On that the day, the state of Israel, publicly posing as a close friend of the United States, almost succeeded in a deadly scheme to destroy a U.S. Navy ship and all sailors aboard, then blame the crime on an Arab government. Why? To stir American fury against all Arabs and bind America tightly in a permanent military alliance with Israel.
That scheme almost succeeded. Listen to the details.
The USS Liberty was an intelligence -gathering ship patrolling the eastern Mediterranean in the late days of the Arab-Israel war of 1967. Like today, America was Israel’s only major benefactor in the world. President Lyndon Johnson’s secret decisions that day played a major role in making the United States today subservient to Israel. Sadly, the facts remain little known.
The Liberty had only a couple of machine guns aboard.. Its identity was well marked. Its U.S. flag fluttered in a brisk breeze throughout bright daylight hours of June 8, 1967. During morning hours, unmarked aircraft closely circled the Liberty.
The attack began at 2 p.m. and lasted more than an hour. When Israeli aircraft shot Liberty’s U.S. flag to pieces, a larger one was immediately hoisted in its place. Flying low, the planes strafed the deck with rocket fire and napalm, disabled all antennae, punctured the hull with hundreds of holes. When the ship seemed doomed, life rafts made of rubber were lowered into the sea but fighter planes shot them to pieces.
An Israeli torpedo boat, firing at close range, blasted a hole thirty-nine feet wide, only inches above water line.
Miraculously, just before the ship’s electrical equipment went dead, Seaman Terry Halbardier crawled across open deck amid lethal strafing and strung a cable from a damaged antenna to the transmission cabin. This made possible the broadcast of a lone SOS appeal for help. Wounded by shrapnel during his crawl, Halbardier’s bravery saved the Liberty and crew from total destruction. One more torpedo hit would have sent the ship and crew to the bottom of the sea.
The distress message was heard aboard the USS Saratoga, a carrier patrolling near Crete. In response, the Saratoga launched fighter planes to defend the Liberty and reported the launch to carrier group commander Rear Admiral Lawrence Geis aboard the carrier America. Geis relayed the information to the White House.
Although aware the Liberty was still under attack, Johnson ordered Geis to cancel the rescue attempt. On the Saratoga’s bridge, distraught sailors watched as the U.S. fighter craft turned back. On the ship’s radio they heard final frantic pleas for help from the Liberty. Amid the pleas were background sounds of shells exploding. Minutes later, Israeli commanders, by then aware of the Liberty’s radioed plea for help, halted the attack.
Aboard the Liberty, 34 U.S. sailors were dead and 171 seriously wounded. Years later, two Navy veterans gave me details of the verbal exchange when President Johnson ordered the callback. Radioman Tony Hart, serving at a U.S. radio relay station in Morocco, listened intently to the entire conversation between President Johnson and Secretary McNamara in the White House and Admiral Geis at sea. This is what Hart recalls Secretary McNamara said to Geis, “Get those planes back on deck.” Geis replied, “But the Liberty is under attack and needs help.” McNamara shouted, “Get those goddam planes back on deck.” Aghast at the order, Geis, “Mr. Secretary, I wish to appeal that order to higher authority.” McNamara said, “I already have the president’s authority to call the planes back. He is right here.” Hart recalls Johnson then came on the phone and said to Geis, “I don’t care if the ship goes down, I’m not going to war with an ally over a couple of sailors.” The stunned admiral said, “Aye, aye, sir.”
Until his death, the admiral agonized over what, despite the presidential order, he might have done to help the Liberty crew.
Over the years, I have attended several reunions of Liberty survivors and remain in close communication with several of them. During a recent gathering, retired Commander David Lewis, the senior Liberty intelligence officer, provided new details. He was critically injured in the assault and, after being airlifted to the Saratoga sick bay, he was summoned to the private cabin of Admiral Geis to hear details of the call-back. The deeply shaken admiral told Lewis he feared he would be ordered to remain silent about his verbal exchange with the president and McNamara. He wanted Lewis, as a senior officer on the Liberty, to know exactly what was said.
Commander Davis told me, “Johnson’s order was probably the first time in history U.S. military forces were refused permission to help defend a U.S. Navy ship under attack.” Israeli officials, caught in a premeditated crime against a U.S. Navy ship, admitted the attackers were Israeli, then falsely claimed the assault was a case of mistaken identity. What a cruel lie.
Johnson accepted Israel’s lie without protest, although convincing evidence the assault was deliberate was already available at highest levels of his administration.
The president quickly dispatched Admiral Isaac C. Kidd and staff to carry out what from the start was a bogus Court of Inquiry. Before leaving. Kidd was instructed to issue a finding that cleared Israel of any blame.
Kidd and staff traveled to the Mediterranean, where the admiral personally threatened surviving crewmen, some of them still in hospital beds. Seaman John Hrankowski, one of the badly injured survivors, described the scene. “Admiral Kidd put on the stars and his uniform cap and said sternly: ‘If you tell anyone what actually happened, you will pay a fine, or go to prison, or worse.’” Hrankowski recalled: “We trembled. I was scared. He didn’t have to explain what the word worse meant.” After a week’s tour that included only limited, superficial interviews, Kidd’s group issued a finding that absolved Israel of any wrongdoing. Forty years later, retired Navy Captain Ward Boston, the chief legal officer who had traveled with Admiral Kidd, publicly confessed that both he and Kidd privately believed at the time of the inquiry the assault was deliberate. In a public, sworn statement distributed widely,Boston stated that before the inquiry began, Johnson ordered Kidd to issue a finding that cleared Israel of blame. Even today U.S. officials cling to the fiction of mistaken identity, acting as if Boston’s confession never occurred. Official navy records have been scrubbed clean of any reference to the launching of rescue aircraft or their callback on presidential order.
Kidd, already a distinguished senior four-star admiral, should have refused the presidential order. He should have upheld time-honored tradition by refusing to engage in deceit. By telling the truth, the American people—and the Congress–would know of the crime committed by Israel and likely prompt our government to proceed carefully in any future dealings with Israel.
You may ask: Why would Israel accept the high risk of public disclosure when it attempted to destroy the Liberty and its crew?
Commander Lewis told me he believes Israel wanted to sink the ship with no survivors, and then blame the crime on Egypt. This, he said, would create anti-Arab fury in the United States so intense Congress would declare war on Egypt and its Arab allies. Davis added, “They wanted us to be in the war to consolidate their gains.
They feared that without active [U.S.] support [of Israel] world opinion would have forced Israel to withdraw from captured lands.” Lewis believes Israel’s scheme, if successful, would have locked America tightly and permanently with Israel and against Arabs.
Forty years later, the cover up was lifted but only slightly. Halbardier received the Silver Star medal for bravery.
In a supreme example of irony, Israel’s attempt to destroy the U.S. ship and crew did not damage the U.S.-Israeli relationship. The cover-up was so swift and so successful U.S. support of Israel’s war agenda actually emerged greatly magnified. After the Liberty assault, aid to Israel increased from a trickle to a rising flood–unconditional financial, military, and diplomatic support of Israel, ultimately costing America billions of dollars and hundreds of lives.
We are honored to have survivors of the Liberty with us today. I am a Navy veteran from World War II.
Retired men of the Navy, I am deeply ashamed at the government cover up that keeps the American people unaware of your bravery and sacrifice. Gentlemen, I salute you. You are among the U.S. Navy’s greatest heroes. Sadly, you are unsung heroes.
- Commonly Asked Questions about the USS Liberty (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- The Raw Story treats readers like “jerks” over Israel’s attack on USS Liberty (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Declaration ofWard Boston, Jr.,Captain, JAGC, USN (Ret.)Counsel to the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry’s investigation into the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty (ifamericansknew.org)
The British government is up for questioning from Parliament over why it has handed over the Olympic Games’ security to a company accused of human rights abuses in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. The UK-based G4S, which describes itself as the “world’s leading international security solutions group,” was selected as the “official provider of security and cash services for the Olympics.”
Tony Gosling, investigative journalist talks to RT. He says it is unclear how a company with such a questionable reputation could have been chosen to provide security during the London Olympics. “G4S is about the worst you could pick in the world to do this job.”
- Olympic error: UK government to answer for hiring human rights abuser – RT (rt.com)
- British government will ban Syrian leaders from London Olympics. (thinkprogress.org)
- Activists target G4S over rights abuses (morningstaronline.co.uk)
- Fair play? UK to ban leaders accused of human rights abuse from Olympics (rt.com)
Normally in the film making process, script changes are made all the time. But few realize it’s the Pentagon frequently calling the shots. RT talks to writer and former journalist for Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, – David L. Robb. He shares his thoughts and sheds light on the approval process.
Propaganda War: The Houla Massacre Committed by The West’s “Free Syrian Army” But They Accuse Syrian Gov’t
[The] 108 bodies were laid out by the Free ’Syrian’ Army  in a mosque in Houla. According to the rebels, these were the remains of civilians massacred on 25 May 2012 by pro-government militia known as ‘Shabbihas’.
The Syrian government appeared completely shocked by the news. It immediately condemned the killings, which it attributed to the armed opposition.
While the national news agency, SANA, was unable to provide details with certainty, the Syrian Catholic news agency, Vox Clamantis, immediately issued a testimony of some of the events formally accusing the opposition .
Five days later, the Russian news channel Rossiya 24 (exVesti) aired a very detailed 45-minute report, which remains to date the most comprehensive public inquiry .
The West and Gulf States who are working towards a “regime change” in Syria and have already recognized the opposition as a privileged interlocutor, have adopted the FSA’s version of events without waiting for the report from the United Nations Supervision Mission (UNSMIS).
As a sanction, most of them have resorted to a prearranged measure, namely the expulsion of Syrian ambassadors to their respective countries. This does not represent a rupture of diplomatic relations, as the rest of the accredited Syrian diplomatic personnel will remain stationed where they are.
The United Nations Security Council adopted a presidential statement condemning the massacre without indicating who was responsible. It furthermore reminded the Syrian government of its responsibilities, namely the protection of its people using proportionate measures, that’s to say without the use of heavy weapons .
Contrary to this, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay endorsed the allegations blaming the Syrian authorities, and demanded that the case be transferred to the International Criminal Court.
French President François Hollande and his Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius have announced their intention to convince Russia and China not to obstruct a future Security Council’s resolution authorizing the use of force, while the French press is accusing Russia and China of protecting a criminal regime.
Responding to these charges, Russia’s First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrey Denissov expressed regret over France’s “basically emotional reaction” – devoid of analysis. He reiterated that the steadfast position of his country, in this case as for others, is not to support governments, but peoples (it being understood that the Syrian people elected President al-Assad at the last constitutional referendum).
The United Nations Supervision Mission went to Damascus at the request of the Syrian government. It was received by the opposition who control this zone, and was able to establish various observations to be used in writing its status report.
At an internal press briefing, the President of the Syrian investigation Commission into the massacre read a brief statement revealing the initial elements of the current investigation. According to him, the massacre was carried out by the opposition as part of an FSA military operation in the area.
Aware that the findings of the UN Supervision Mission report may backfire on them, the Western countries requested that the Human Rights Council in Geneva (which is under their control) set up another investigation Commission. A report from this body could be produced quickly in order to impose a version of events before the Supervision Mission is able to draw its own conclusions.
How can we know what happened in Houla?
Two main factors are impeding the work of investigators. The Syrian government lost control of Houla many weeks ago. Syrian magistrates are therefore unable to go to Houla, and even if some journalists are able to do so, this is only with the permission of and under close surveillance by the FSA.
There is however one exception: a team from Rossiya 24, the 24-hour Russian news channel was able to move around the area without an escort, and produce an exceptionally detailed report.
The official Syrian Commission claims to have collected several witness statements, but has declared that these shall only be presented to the press once the final report has been established. At present, the identity of these witnesses remains protected by investigation secrecy. However, several of the accounts were broadcast on public television on 1st June.
The investigators are also in possession of videos provided exclusively by the FSA.
Lastly, since the FSA amassed the bodies in a mosque and began burying them the very next day, it was not possible for UN observers to carry out forensic assessments on many of the dead.
Voltaire Network ’s conclusions
Houla is not a town, but an administrative area made up of three villages, each with about 25,000 residents but which today lie largely abandoned. The Sunni market town of Tal Daw has been under rebel control for many weeks. The Free “Syrian” Army had imposed its rule there. The national Army was securing transport routes by maintaining several posts on roads within the area, but did not venture beyond these roads.
Certain individuals kidnapped children and attempted unsuccessfully to extort ransoms.  In the end, these children were killed a few days before the Houla massacre, but their bodies were brought by the Free “Syrian” Army to be laid out amongst the others.
In the evening of 24 May, the Free “Syrian” Army launched a very large-scale operation to reinforce its control over the region, and to make Tal Daw its new base.
In order to do this, 600-800 combatants from various districts gathered in Rastan and Saan and proceeded to launch simultaneous attacks on the military bases. At the same time, a team was fortifying Tal Daw by installing five anti-tank missile batteries, and purging the town of some of its inhabitants.
The first victims in Tel Daw were a dozen people related to Abd al-Muty Mashlab – a legislator of the recently elected Baas party who was appointed Secretary of the National Assembly; following this, the family of a senior official – Mouawyya al-Sayyed – was killed. Subsequent targets were families of Sunni origin who had converted to Shiite Islam.
Other victims included the family of two journalists for Top News and New Orient News, press agencies associated with Voltaire Network. Many people, including children, were raped before being killed.
With only one of the Army’s bases having fallen, the assailants changed strategy. They transformed a military defeat into a communication operation, attacking the al-Watani hospital and setting fire to it. They took corpses from the hospital morgue and transported them along with those of other victims to the mosque, where the bodies were filmed.
The theory of a single massacre perpetrated by pro-government militia does not stand up to the facts. There were battles which took place between loyalists and rebels, as well as several massacres of pro-government civilians at the hands of the rebels.
Then, a scenario was staged by the Free “Syrian” Army where corpses originating from these various earlier situations were mixed together.
Indeed, the existence of the “Shabbihas” is a myth. Whilst there are certainly individuals in favour of the government who are armed and capable of committing acts of revenge, there is no structure or organized group that could be termed as a pro-government militia.
Political and diplomatic implications
The expulsion of Syrian ambassadors by Western countries is a measure that was planned well in advance and therefore well-coordinated. Westerners were waiting for a massacre of this type before carrying out this action. They ignored numerous previous massacres that they knew had been perpetrated by the Free “Syrian” Army, and seized on this one believing that it had been committed by pro-government militia.
The idea of a coordinated expulsion did not emanate from Paris, rather from Washington. Paris in principle gave its agreement, without having examined the legal implications. For in practice, Lamia Chakkour is also the Syrian Ambassador to UNESCO, and cannot therefore (according to the terms of the accord de siège) be expelled from French territory. Further to this, even if she were not accredited to UNESCO, her French-Syrian dual nationality means that she cannot be expelled from French territory.
These expulsions were coordinated by Washington to create the illusion of a general movement in order to put pressure on Russia. Indeed, the US is looking to test the new international balance of power, to size up Russia’s reactions and to find out how far they will go.
The choice of the Houla affair, however, has been a tactical error. Washington seized upon the affair without checking the details, thinking that nobody would be able to verify it. This was forgetting that Russia has moved into the country – with over 100,000 Russians currently residing in Syria.
Of course, they did not deploy a high-tech anti-aircraft defense system just to discourage NATO from bombarding Syria; they also set up information bases including troops that are able to move around rebel controlled areas.
In this way, Moscow was able to shed light on the facts within a few days. Their specialists succeeded in identifying the 13 members of the FSA guilty of these killings and gave their names to the Syrian authorities. With this, not only did Moscow not waver, it has hardened its stance.
For Vladimir Putin, the fact that the West wanted to make the Houla massacre into their symbol shows that they are out of touch with the reality on the ground. Having withdrawn the officers in charge of the Free “Syrian” Army, the only information available to the West comes from their drones and satellites observing what is happening. They have become vulnerable to the lies and vaunting of the mercenaries they have deployed on the terrain.
For Moscow, this massacre is just another tragedy like many others that Syrians have been enduring for the last year. But hasty instrumentation on the part of the West shows that they have failed to develop a new collective strategy since the fall of the Islamic district of Baba Amr. In essence, they are but acting on guesswork, which is allowing others to gain the upper-hand.
Translated from French by Katy Stone.
 Voltaire Network has chosen to write FSA with ’Syrian’ in inverted commas to indicate that this militia is largely composed of foreigners, and that it’s commander is not Syrian.
 “Irreversible divisons in Syria,” VoxClamantis, 26 May 2012.
 Global Research translated to English the transcript of extracts from this programme, see “Opposition Terrorists “Killed Families Loyal to the Government”“, Voltaire Network 1 June 2012.
 “Syria: What the Security Council Said”, by Thierry Meyssan,Voltaire Network, 6 June 2012.
 This is currently a security problem in the country. Many of the thugs that had been recruited to swell the ranks of the Free “Syrian” Army were demobilized due to lack of funding. Remaining in the possession of arms provided by the West, they are turning to crime – mainly kidnappings for ransom.
In June 2006, both US secretary of state, Conoleeza Rice, and Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, unveiled the notorious anti-Muslim plan (New Middle East) for reshaping the map of the Middle East. The plan called for first creating instability, chaos, and violence within Muslim nation-states (Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Egypt) and then using ‘humanitarian military invasions’ to divide those countries – to make sure they never pose a threat to the Zionist entity.
Lebanon has always been a target of Zionists’ dream of a ‘Eretz Israel’. Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, had a vision of creating an Israeli-controlled Maronite Christian state along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and steal water from the Litani River for the newly established Jewish settlements.
“This is the time, he (Ben Gurion) said, to push Lebanon, that is, the Maronites in that country, to proclaim a Christian State…”, wrote Moshe Sharett in his personal Diary in 1954. The tactics, Sharett writes, were Gen. Moshe Dayan’s:
“According to him (Dayan), the only thing that’s necessary is to find an officer, even just a major. We should either win his heart or buy him with money, to make him agree to declare himself the savior of the Maronite population. Then the Israeli army will enter Lebanon, will occupy the necessary territory, and will create a Christian regime which will ally itself with Israel. The territory from the Litani southward will be totally annexed to Israel…”
The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ was cooked-up during a meeting in New York city by the CIA, Mossad and several Zionist Jewish heads of social networking sites to implement the ‘New Middle East’ project.
Lebanon’s interior minister, retired Maj. Gen. Marwan Charbel (a choice of country’s Christian president Gen. Michel Suleiman) in a recent interview with RT has claimed that the Zionist entity is the only country which has benefited from the Arab Spring.
“The Arab Spring has born no fruit for any of the affected countries, so the ongoing process should rather be called “the Israel Spring”, since no country now poses a threat to Israel. External forces seek to divide and weaken all the countries surrounding Israel in order to ensure that state’s security,” said Marwan.
- Israel’s Herzliya Center Sneaks Into Lebanon (alethonews.wordpress.com)
America’s powerful pro-Israel think tank, RAND Research and Analysis Corporation, in its report ahead of the P5+1 and Iran meeting in Moscow – has claimed that the US and EU sanctions against Iran are harming the EU more than Iranian regime which the USrael desire to topple.
“The EU is at its worst possible conditions to harm Iran. Countries are able to bypass economic sanctions,” says professor Keith Crane, Director of the Environment, Energy, and Economic Development program at the RAND. Dr. Crane also mentioned that big and numerous problems facing major banks have endangered the world monetary system, and thus the system cannot tolerate any more risks and pressures to be created by sanctioning one of the most important world oil producers.
RAND in its earlier report had warned USrael of its “military option” against the Islamic Republic. It predicted that any attack by Israel or the US will convince Tehran of the importance of nuclear arms as “deterrent” against the world-bullies.
“Proponents of an Israeli military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities might believe that Israel could endure the short-term military and diplomatic fallout of such action, but the long-term consequences would likely be disastrous for Israel’s security. Those believed to favor a military option, such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, argue that the Middle East with a nuclear-armed Iran would be far more dangerous than a military attack to prevent it. But their position rests on a faulty assumption that a future, post-attack Middle East would indeed be free of a nuclear-armed Iran. In fact, a post-attack Middle East may result in the worst of both worlds: a nuclear-armed Iran more determined than ever to challenge the Jewish state, and with far fewer regional and international impediments to doing so,” says the report authored by James Dobbins, Dalia Dassa Kaye, Alireza Nader and Frederic Wehrey.
Iranian president, Dr. Ahmadinejad, during his Beijing visit to attend the SCO summit accused major world powers of looking for ways to “find excuses and to waste time” in talks over Iran’s civilian nuclear program. Based on the P5+1 and IAEA past record, Ahmadinejad was not optimistic about a compromise at the Moscow meeting.
Dr. David Morrison in his March 25, 2012 article, entitled ‘Some facts about Iran’s nuclear activities‘, wrote:
The United States, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.
The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, has said that the possession of nuclear weapons is a major sin. The November 2011 report of the IAEA did not claim that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. In spite of all that, the Zionist regime which itself has nearly 400 nuclear bombs, with the help of its western-poodles – is trying to stop Iran from its ‘inalienable right’ to enrich uranium for its medical needs under NPT.
- Sanctions not slowing Iran N-program by ‘one millimeter’: Netanyahu (alethonews.wordpress.com)
TULKAREM — Palestinian MPs denounced president Mahmoud Abbas for declaring readiness to resume negotiations with Israel in a statement on Friday.
Hassan Khreisheh, the second deputy speaker of the Palestinian legislative council, considered Abbas’s statement concerning the possibility of holding a meeting with Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu if Tel Aviv released prisoners and allowed the Palestinian police to import weapons as “an attempt to return to negotiations”.
He added that the statement pointed to a clear retreat from all the conditions set for the resumption of negotiations, most importantly the halt of settlements’ construction in the Palestinian territories.
Khreisheh told Quds Press on Saturday that “President Abbas’s statement reflected the Palestinian leadership’s state of hesitation and fear of the unknown, especially because of the crisis it is facing, so it is looking for ways to ensure its survival.”
For its part, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) expressed its refusal of direct negotiations with Israel, recalling that such an approach “had failed in the past period.”
MP Khalida Jarrar, a PFLP politburo member, said in an exclusive statement to Quds Press on Saturday that “the emphasis on the return to negotiations every now and then in case of the presence of certain conditions, is a repetition of the same previous mistakes.”
She said, “What is required is a halt to direct negotiations and to depend rather on the UN to compel the occupation to implement the international resolutions”.
- Why Israel Has No “Right to Exist” as a Jewish State (alethonews.wordpress.com)