21st Century Wire
For the past two weeks we’ve seen the Obama administration embroiled in controversy, as three separate scandals continue to grow and attach themselves to the White House.
While this is major news, and does have the power to topple this U.S. President, there are other far-reaching actions unfolding under his watch…
In a bizarre move, President Obama, held two joint press conferences last week, one with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and another with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Perhaps the dual Presidential podiums were a subliminal touch to what seemed to blur the line between world leaders, in a sense, becoming rule by global council. This strange observation may well be significant to understanding the kind of dark partnerships that are developing world-wide.
Rightly, most of the media will focus on the obvious take down of an empire, as they try to uncover the truth about Benghazi, IRS, and the DOJ. However, on the global chess board of finance and war, more stark revelations have come to light involving the U.S. President. During the press conference with Prime Minister Cameron, President Obama, made vague sweeping statements about a Transatlantic Partnership with the E.U. A partnership that many fear will lead to a Transatlantic Union which will impose more globalized standards and regulations, potentially derailing individual free trade.
This was made clear by The New American earlier this year:
“The “Transatlantic Partnership,” of course, is just one of the major sovereignty-threatening international schemes being pursued by the Obama administration simultaneously — closer North American Integration and the so-called “Trans-Pacific Partnership” are two of the most prominent efforts. The latest plot, though, has far-reaching, global implications that critics argue represent a serious threat to America and freedom. If the U.S.-EU deal ends up becoming reality, the regulatory regime governing the new bloc, which accounts for about half of global GDP, would become the de-facto standard-setting entity for the entire planet.”
Obama had this to say during the Cameron press conference:
“With respect to the relationship between the U.K. and the EU, we have a special relationship with the United Kingdom. And we believe that our capacity to partner with a United Kingdom that is active, robust, outward-looking and engaged with the world is hugely important to our own interests as well as the world. And I think the U.K.’s participation in the EU is an expression of its influence and its role in the world, as well as obviously a very important economic partnership”.
Obama echoed the same rhetoric at the Erdogan press conference adding: “Today, we focused on three areas that I want to highlight. First, we agreed to keep expanding trade and investment. Over the past four years, our trade has surged and U.S. exports to Turkey have more than doubled. As the United States pursues a new trade and investment partnership with the EU, I want to make sure that we also keep deepening our economic ties with Turkey. So we’re creating a new high-level committee that will focus on increasing trade and investment between our two countries and will help fuel Turkish innovation. And the progress that Turkey’s economy has made over the last several years I think has been remarkable and the Prime Minister deserves much credit for some of the reforms that are already taking place.”
It seems that more and more we’re faced with a manufactured reality, one in which international institutions will have dictatorial power over trade and the economy world-wide. Breaking away from sovereign entities controlling their own destiny.
Is the transatlantic partnership a sleeping giant for the global economy? What other partnerships are being harbored in regards to U.S., Britain and Turkey? How does this tie into the situation in Syria?
Writer Patrick Henningsen delves further into this in a recent op-ed for Russia Today news: “On Wednesday Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul(R) weighed in on the Benghazi debacle, in a direct challenge to the President and Hillary Clinton, inferring that the Sept. 11, 2012 attack unfolded as a result of a secret arms trade, and rubbishing the previous government line put forward by Susan Rice and the US Intelligence community that the attack was a result of a YouTube film, “The Innocence of Muslims”. During a recent CNN interview Paul explains:
“I’ve actually always suspected that, although I have no evidence, that maybe we were facilitating arms leaving Libya going through Turkey into Syria,” he said. “Were they trying to obscure that there was an arms operation going on at the CIA annex?”
One can only conclude that those in the world who are making economic reforms aligned to a socialist “pay your fair share” tax scheme, can also control the narrative on world events. Creating a new kind of “strategy of tension” by forcing countries to be complicit in illegal activities, via their trade partnerships. Is the new growing economic partnership, a partnership in conflict and consolidation?
Back in August 2012, things were a lot different in Washington DC and in the White House…
The Obama administration was brandishing a confident swagger back then, heading into the elections against a hobbling GOP opponent, and Benghazi had yet to unfold in all of its ugliness.
As Hillary Clinton was jetting around on the US State Department budget promoting her ‘Friends of Syria’ Middle East and European tours, and as the CIA were busy like bees working in the gray shadows of Benghazi, Washington and London were laying the groundwork for their new WMD case is Syria.
As last summer drew to a close, President Barack Obama confidently announced he was drawing a ‘Red Line’ in Syria regarding the use of chemical weapons, meaning that any evidence of their use on either side of that conflict would lead to consequences, the obvious inference being automatic US military intervention.
Fast forward to the present, and Washington appears to have been caught in the vortex of its own spin machine, with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney recently forced to ‘clarify’ the President’s infamous ‘Red Line’ decree with what can only be described as desperate political cover. Here Carney attempted to explain away the previous ultimatum and re-explain the President’s position:
“What the president made clear is that it was a red line, and that it was unacceptable, and that it would change his calculus… What he never did – and it is simplistic to do so is to say that ‘if X happens, Y will happen’. He has never said what reaction he would take.”
It’s hard to run a global empire and still pander to sensitive liberal concerns at home. The White House seems to be at pains coming to terms with what the Neoconservative Bush government already knew a decade ago – that there really is no good, safe way to do a military intervention. In the end, the façade of political spin cannot provide ethical cover for invading and toppling another sovereign state. You can’t finesse your way into it, you have to just go for it in full view – lie if you have to, fabricate evidence if need be, and be damned with the political fallout…
21st Century Wire says… It looks like Britain and France’s turn to carry the lowly WMD torch to the UN, begging for military intervention in Syria based on fabricated claims of chemical weapons used by the Syrian military...
Britain and France have addressed the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with allegations that Syria has used chemical weapons on multiple occasions since December, according to reports emerging from top diplomats and officials.
The message came in the form of a letter, claiming that soil samples, witness interviews and statements from opposition sources support the idea that nerve agents had been used in and around Aleppo, Homs and supposedly the capital, Damascus. The officials chose to speak on condition of anonymity.
The case revolves around the supposed find of an agent “similar to sarin” in a soil sample, though it has not been revealed where the sample came from or what kind of chemical it is exactly.
President Assad’s administration has repeatedly denied the allegations, insisting that the rebels were behind the Aleppo attack on March 19, which took the lives of 26 people, including Syrian soldiers.
The European diplomats are hoping to prove that any damage inflicted upon the Syrian army was a case of friendly fire, in which a government shell supposedly missed its target.
A day after the alleged attack, Syrian envoy to the UN Bashar Jaafari called for an “impartial” probe to confirm the use of chemical weapons by the opposition, an idea backed by the Russian government. The UN chief agreed to the request, but the effort has since been marred by a disagreement over the scope of the probe, with Britain, France and the US insisting on a wider investigation throughout Syria. The UN inspectors have still not been given access.
The international body has asked Britain, France and Syria to give more detailed information and additional cooperation on the matter. UN officials say an inspection team will probably be sent to Britain to examine the sample in question, and that refugee testimonies from around the camps outside Syria will be gathered…
Around 200 U.S. Army planners will be dispatched to Jordan as the conflict in neighboring Syria worsens, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told a Senate hearing on Wednesday. Hagel, however, communicated deep misgivings about direct American military intervention in the Syrian civil war. The United States has an obligation to think through the consequences of any U.S. military move in Syria and be honest about potential long-term commitments, he added.
His comments were the latest indication that, while President Barack Obama’s administration continues to plan for various scenarios in Syria, it remains wary of an intervention that could mire America in a proxy war. “You better be damn sure, as sure as you can be, before you get into something. Because once you’re into it, there isn’t any backing out, whether it’s a no-fly zone, safe zone … whatever it is,” Reuters quoted Hagel as saying to
PHOTO: Saudi Prince Bandar at the ranch with George Bush Jr.
So does this signal a new US policy of bringing al Qaeda into Washington’s new foreign policy fold? For those in the know, al Qaeda are nothing more than modern-day privateers and have always been in the pocket of the CIA.
That said, we can now expect Washington, London, Paris, Saudi and Qatar talking points to be as follows:
“Their thinking is ‘let’s deal with the problem right now of deposing the regime, and then take care of these rogue, radical elements later when we have international support’…
“For now, they need them. When everything is over, there’s going to be a huge fight over basically all of Syria.”Meanwhile, Obama and Cameron are still pretending in public that they have no sway over the terrorists in Syria, even though they are funding and supporting them directly, and through proxies like Qatar. Do we need any more proof that this is a criminal enterprise?
Jihadist rebel group in Syria Al-Nusra announces it has joined forces with al-Qaeda’s Iraq branch to form a dominant militant force in the fight against President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Abhat al-Nusra officially announced that it was a part of the al-Qaeda branch, known as the Islamic State of Iraq, in a 21-minute video posted on a militant website.
Together the two groups will be known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The Levant is the traditional name referring to the region from southern Turkey to Egypt on the eastern Mediterranean.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, said: “It is time to announce to the Levantine people and the whole world that Jabhat al-Nusra is merely an extension and part of the Islamic State of Iraq.”
He also said the Iraqi group was providing half of its budget to the conflict in Syria, and that Jabhat al-Nusra would not have a separate leader but instead be led by the “people of Syria themselves” – implying that he would be in charge in both countries.
Abu Mohammad al-Golani, leader of al-Nusra, said “the sons of Nusra Front renew their pledge (of allegiance)” to Jihad Ayman al-Zawahri, al-Qaeda’s worldwide leader.
The announcement comes two days after the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, urged Islamic fighters in Syria to unite in their efforts to oust Assad.
Al-Nusra is one of a number of extremist rebel groups fighting against government forces, which has been of concern to Western powers.
The US and her European allies have tried to counter the rise of the extremist groups, such as al-Nusra, by supporting groups deemed to be more moderate, which have formed the Syrian National Coalition.
This support has included helping to coordinate shipments of new weapons to rebel groups, and providing training in Jordan.
“For now, they need them. When everything is over, there’s going to be a huge fight over basically all of Syria”. - Bilal Saab, Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis
It has been suspected for some time that al-Nusra was working with al-Qaeda and late last year the US placed al-Nusra on its list of terrorist organisations.
Syria will be at the top of the agenda for foreign ministers arriving in London today for a two-day G8 summit.
However, it is al-Nusra that has had arguably some of the most devastating impact on the government regime. It has a strong presence in the north eastern provincial capital of Raqqa pictured, below, now under rebel control, and has captured large parts of the Daraa province.
Al-Nusra has also claimed responsibility for a large number of suicide bomb attacks against government buildings in cities such as Aleppo and Damascus, and has captured a number of important military bases….
(…) “Their thinking is ‘let’s deal with the problem right now of deposing the regime, and then take care of these rogue, radical elements later when we have international support’,
“For now, they need them. When everything is over, there’s going to be a huge fight over basically all of Syria.”
Hundreds of Europeans have travelled to Syria since the start of the civil war to fight against the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, the most comprehensive study of European foreign fighters to date has found. A year-long survey by King’s College London of more than two hundred martyrdom posts on jihadist-linked websites and hundreds of Arab and western press reports found that up to 600 individuals from 14 countries including the UK, Austria, Spain, Sweden and Germany had taken part in the conflict since it began in 2011.
The largest contingent, the study found, came from the UK, with estimates of fighters running between 28 and 134.
Based on their populations, the figures for Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland, with about 200 fighters between them, made these countries the most significant, the lead researcher, Prof Peter Neumann from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at King’s College, said.
European fighters made up to between 7% and 11% of the foreign contingent in Syria, which ranged between 2,000 and 5,500 people. The researchers also said there were likely to be at least 110 named Europeans engaged in fighting currently.
They found that between 30 and 92 fighters were from France, between 14 and 85 from Belgium and between five and 107 from the Netherlands. Other nations in the study included Albania, Finland and Kosovo.
Neumann said the wide variance in figures represented the difference between the team logging named individuals with a documented case history or death notice and credible estimates from government officials at the higher end.
“No one has really mapped it out across all of Europe,” Neumann said. “We’ve brought all these figures together … it’s a compilation of the open source data. We can say with certainty now that hundreds of Europeans have joined the fight in Syria.”
Neumann said the figures, though relatively small, showed how fast international jihadists had been mustered in response to the conflict.
“The mobilisation of this conflict is more significant than any of the recent conflict we have known about,” he said.
“The numbers are still quite small in terms of the overall percentage but in absolute numbers I think it is higher now than any other conflict since Iraq. But Iraq went on for years and years. But here we have in the space of a year effectively – since early 2012 – you can already speak of thousands of [foreign fighters]. In Iraq that took two or three years to reach that point so it is really significant.”
UNITED NATIONS – The UN Security Council voiced concern on Wednesday about repeated violations of the ceasefire line between Syria and the Golan Heights and the danger to UN peacekeepers there due to the escalating Syrian civil war.
The armed struggle between rebels and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad has posed increasing difficulties for the 1,000-strong UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). UN peacekeepers monitoring the line halted patrols this month after rebels held 21 Filipino observers for three days.
“The members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at all violations of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement,” the council said, adding that it also voiced “grave concern at the presence of the Syrian Arab Republic Armed Forces inside the area of separation.” UNDOF has the task of monitoring an “area of separation” between Syrian and Israeli forces, a narrow strip of land running 45 miles (70 km) from Mount Hermon on the Lebanese border to the Yarmouk River frontier with Jordan.
In its statement, the council also “expressed grave concern at the presence of armed members of the opposition in the area of separation.” The council “called on all parties, including armed elements of the Syrian opposition, to respect UNDOF’s freedom of movement and the safety and security of its personnel, while recalling that the primary responsibility for safety and security … rests with the Syrian Government.” Israel captured the Golan plateau from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.
The capture of the 21 peacekeepers this month was the latest challenge for the UN force, comprising troops from the Philippines, India, Croatia and Austria.
Israel said earlier this month that it could not be expected to stand idle as Syria’s civil war, in which 70,000 people have been killed, spilled over into the Golan Heights.
21st Century Wire
Much is being made by the international media and western politicians about recent alleged chemical weapons attacks in northern Syria, with speculation rife regarding which side is responsible.
Too few are asking the most fundamentally important question here: were any real conventional chemical weapons actually used at all? Indeed, it’s a question worth asking.
On March 19, it was reported that missiles were fired that contained ‘a chemical substance’ into Khan al-Assal village near Syria’s northern city of Aleppo. The incident is said to have claimed some 25 lives with many others injured following a series of chemical explosions, where some witnesses reported “the smell of chlorine in the air”, prompting strong speculation that munitions deployed during the incident had released ‘a deadly chlorine gas’.
The Syrian government is blaming the rebels, and the rebels are blaming the Syrian armed forces. Lines are also being drawn inside the UN Security Council.
The term ‘Scud missile’ has also been injected into the mix – itself, an established and recognised WMD media brand name made infamous during Saddam Hussein’s reign prior to 2003.
Qassim Saadeddine, a rebel commander in Aleppo, told Reuters by telephone last week, “We were hearing reports from early this morning about a regime attack on Khan al-Assal, and we believe they fired a Scud with chemical agents”.
The US leadership also seem convinced that forces loyal to President Bashar al Assad are the only party in Syria who would possibly possess, and deploy, chemical weapons on the field of battle. Both President Barrack Obama and US House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers have already made sweeping statements to that effect this past week – but how much truth is actually in such statements?
What we do know is that US-led NATO and Gulf state allies are already neck-deep in a proxy war in Syria, both funding and arming various elements of the rebel opposition confab. Heavy pressure is being put the bear on the Syrian government by the west, with US-lead NATO allies having stated their ultimatum in precious months – that should any such weapons be found in the battlefield, it would be a ‘red line’ crossed, and would give the west a justification for direct military intervention in the conflict.
The debate will continue to rage on both sides about who set-off such attacks, further thrusting this issue into a media-driven propaganda and counter-propaganda downward spiral, fought in public through the UN Security Council and opposing media outlets.
Were chemical weapons really used in Aleppo?
Though no longer stationed inside Syria, even U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford is on record as stating that the Obama administration has no evidence so far to who fired the chemical attack accusations, or that an actual chemical weapons attack occurred at all.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon says he intends to investigate the Aleppo incident, but already there are complaints from other member states, that the US and Britain might be delaying this process by injecting further unsubstantiated reports of another Damascus ‘chemical attack’ – perhaps a red herring of sorts, included to divert attention from ‘who did what’ in Aleppo. French UN Ambassador Gerard Araud entered this alleged new incident into the record, based on the Syrian National Coalition’s own allegations of a second chemical weapon attack last Tuesday in the Damascus.
This struggle to control the narrative is almost inseparable from the NATO and Gulf alliance’s own vested interests on the ground in Syria.
The UN Russian Security Council envoy Vitaly Churkin has described some of these new claims as mere “propaganda balloons.”
Churkin added, “As far as I know, there is only one allegation of the use of chemical weapons…. There have been no other allegations”. Churkin has tried to delineate the two separate incidents by explaining, “To me, a concern which I expressed in the Council, was that this was really a way to delay the need for immediate, urgent investigation of allegations pertaining to March 19 (chemical attack) by raising all sorts of issues”.
The truth of what happened in Aleppo might be something completely different than the initial media narrative of events.
According to recent reports found at SyriaTruth.org which also includes some very relevant comments human rights investigator Nizar Nayouf, a rebel paramilitary group called “Front Victory” reportedly led by foreign fighters and under the guidance of Turkish Intelligence last August 2012, had seized a chlorine gas (possibly CL17) bottling plant located some 50km east of Aleppo. The UN authority was apparently made aware of this at the time, and despite efforts by the Russians to persuade rebel militants to withdraw from this site and allow it to be occupied by neutral international observers, the rebels refused.
“In the end it was agreed to close the lab, but remained cylinders in the laboratory, where the gunmen refused remove them and move them to a safe place or dropped into the Euphrates River.”
The lab in question is said to have contained dozens of large chlorine disc, each weighing nearly 100 kilograms. Aside from the obvious danger of assembling makeshift chlorine bombs, by some people’s estimates, there was enough stock present at the time “to sterilise an entire medium size city’s water supply for a month.”
There is some evidence to suggest that the rebel group known as “Front Victory”(name translated from Arabic) is no stranger to both violent insurgency, or the use of chlorine bombs for terrorist purposes.
The same online report also describes the group’s previous destabilisation exploits in Iraq here (translated from Arabic to English):
“Front Victory” has experience in the use of chlorine gas as a chemical weapon to Iraq. After the withdrawal of the U.S. military, and in the context of the Jordanian-Saudi intelligence war in Iraq to undermine the Maliki government…
(…) Jordanian intelligence proceeded to facilitate the smuggling of chlorine gas from Jordan to the organization known as “Islamic State of Iraq”, the first to use chlorine gas technology (with the help of Jordanian Intelligence and Saudi Arabia) as a “chemical weapon” – a taboo issue in the media in the context of covering genocide….
Given the fact that the “first generation” and “second generation” of the founders and staff of “Front Victory” hailed originally out of the “Islamic State of Iraq” organisation, they were the only ones among the insurgent Syrians who are schooled in this technique. In addition, the organization “Islamic State of Iraq” deliberately to be the first installments of his gunmen who were sent to Syria as of fall 2011…
Weeks ago, “Front Victory” are reported to have begun manufacturing chlorine gas shells to be used in mortars and homemade rockets around Aleppo, utilizing the stock from the chlorine gas plant. Note that the said missile was launched from an area “Kafr Daal” in northwest of Aleppo.”
(…)”its cargo of chlorine gas, with the effects that left it in the area of the explosion. (…) Two British chemist commented… (…) One British chemists said without hesitation, “the effects of chlorine gas combustion.” The second said, “chemical or gaseous nature can be transformed from a liquid to a gas, but I can not identify.”
Numerous historical references to Iraqi insurgent chlorine attacks are available through news archives online, with one incident in 2006 clearly described below, but usage of chlorine munitions dates back as far as World War I in Europe. Note the following summary currently available from Wikipedia:
“Chlorine bombings in Iraq began as early as October 2006, when insurgents in Al Anbar province started using chlorine gas in conjunction with conventional vehicle-borne explosive devices.
The inaugural chlorine attacks in Iraq were described as poorly executed, probably because much of the chemical agent was rendered nontoxic by the heat of the accompanying explosives.Subsequent, more refined, attacks resulted in hundreds of injuries, but have proven not to be a viable means of inflicting massive loss of life. Their primary impact has therefore been to cause widespread panic, with large numbers of civilians suffering non life-threatening, but nonetheless highly traumatic, injuries.
Chlorine was used as a poison gas in World War I, but was delivered by artillery shell, unlike the modern stationary or car bombs. Still, its function as a weapon in both instances is similar. Low level exposure results in burning sensations to the eyes, nose and throat, usually accompanied by dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Higher levels of exposure can cause fatal lung damage; but because the gas is heavier than air it will not dissipate until well after an explosion, it is generally considered ineffective as an improvised chemical weapon.”
In the corridors of the UN, it would benefit certain parties to buy some time right now, in order to either legally reclassify makeshift chlorine munitions as conventional ‘chemical weapons’, or the build another case around the alleged chemical attack in Damascus.
NATO looking for its green light to escalate
Based on the US and NATO’s promise of military intervention in the event of any chemical attack and their stated goal of Regime change in Syria, the motivation of qui bono resides exclusively in both the rebel’s and the NATO-Gulf alliance interests, and not in the interests of Bashar al Assad’s Syria government.
Despite the western media’s aggressive pursuit of a chemical weapon aka ‘WMD’ narrative in Syria – official statements out of Washington, Paris and London alluding to a guilty verdict for the Assad regime, does not actually square with the facts on the ground. In the case of Aleppo, there is no actual evidence of made-for-purpose, military grade chemical weapons being deployed by either side, and thus efforts to substantiate a case for foreign military on this basis are, as yet, non existent.
UN head Ban Ki Moon has just appointed a Swedish scientist, Ake Sellstrom, as his new head of a chemical weapons investigations team for Syria. As with his Scandinavian predecessor, Hans Blix, Sellstrom will lead the fact-finding mission to determine the existence of WMD’s in Syria.
The comparisons to Iraq in 2003 are obvious here. One would hope that lessons learned from Iraq, namely, building a case a military intervention based on a pre-existing conclusion, based mainly on ambiguous association, or fabricated intelligence – would have already been learned by the west, and thus should avoided at all costs.
The elephant in the room is this: NATO, its political leaders and the western media have yet to acknowledge the most obvious fundamental flaw in their own aggressive position towards Syria – that their own diplomatic objectivity is effectively disqualified by the fact that they are financing and arming a parallel government to takeover in Syria. This fact alone renders the UN almost inoperable in terms of reaching any fair diplomatic solution to this crisis.
Could this really be Déjà vu Iraq?