Tag Archives | Syria

US Relaxing Standards for Killing Civilians in Iraq and Syria

By Marc Veraart via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Marc Veraart via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Sarah Lazare writes at Common Dreams:

The Obama administration has admitted that it is relaxing its standards for avoiding civilian deaths when it comes to ongoing air bombardments on Iraq and Syria.

Yahoo News reported Tuesday that Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, told the news outlet that a standard imposed last year by President Obama, which requires “near certainty” that civilians will not be harmed in drone strikes, does not apply to the expanding war on Islamic State (ISIS) targets in Iraq and Syria.

Journalist Michael Isikoff reports:

The “near certainty” standard was intended to apply “only when we take direct action ‘outside areas of active hostilities,’ as we noted at the time,” Hayden said in an email. “That description — outside areas of active hostilities — simply does not fit what we are seeing on the ground in Iraq and Syria right now.”

Hayden added that U.S.

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Need To Justify Bombing Another Country? Fabricate “Imminent” Danger

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Sometimes the truth isn’t scary enough. As the United States prepared to bomb Syria, unnamed sources in the US government began telling compliant members of the press tales about a new group of terrorists that were much scarier than ISIS could ever be. This was obviously quite a bad situation as we had already been told to be really frightened of ISIS.

The new face of terror is called the  “Khorasan Group” by the US government, and was said by US officials to pose a “direct and imminent threat to the United States.” The imminent thing is rather crucial.

There was no authorization from Congress to bomb Syria. Because the US president is not permitted to launch a military attack without Congressional action unless to defend against an “imminent” attack on the United States, it was quite handy that all of a sudden the Khorasan Group was coming to get us. Except they weren’t.

Of course after the bombs fell, the story had to change, and it did rather quickly.… Read the rest

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The War on ISIS: Views From Syrian Activists and Intellectuals

Syrian rebels from the “Al-Qasas Brigade” or “Justice Brigade” run through an olive grove to avoid Syrian Army snipers as they travel between villages on foot in the northwestern Jabal al-Zawiya area. By Freedom House via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Syrian rebels from the “Al-Qasas Brigade” or “Justice Brigade” run through an olive grove to avoid Syrian Army snipers as they travel between villages on foot in the northwestern Jabal al-Zawiya area. By Freedom House via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Dissent Magazine:

Conspicuously absent from the debate about ISIS and U.S. intervention—both in the mainstream and in the leftosphere—are Syrian voices. ISIS and U.S. officialdom occupy center stage, leaving the perspectives of Syrian civil society activists and writers out of the equation. While hardly surprising, this omission is troubling.

In an attempt to remedy this imbalance, I asked several Syrians—longtime activists and intellectuals from a range of backgrounds, including Kurdish, Palestinian, and Assyrian Christian—what they think about the ISIS crisis and Western intervention. Here are their responses.

Three Monsters

I am ambivalent about a Western attack against ISIS.

On the one hand, I would like to see this thuggish gang wiped from the face of the earth.

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Arming Syrian Rebels – How Does This End?

In the 80’s we armed the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. It led to al Qaeda & the Taliban.

In the 2000’s, we armed Iraqis and now ISIS is using that very gear against us.

As we consider arming Syrian rebels and a rush back to war, we need you to help this country stop and think: How does this end?

Watch and share this video. And then call your U.S. Senators today to tell them to vote against arming more rebels and starting new wars.

Help others seriously question doing the same, wrong thing all over again.

Thank you for your action.

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Just What We Need: Another War

Sound the bugle! Get the press to march along; we are going to war.

Again!

Enemies R ‘Us, and for a long time with the killing of bin Laden, a Jihadi fatigue had set in. With the apparent shriveling up of the Al Qaeda menace, America’s threat-defining and refining machinery was somewhat adrift. What had been so simple, turned too complex to fuse into one soundbite.

Former Intelligence official Thomas Fingar, now of Stanford University, describes his own frustration in finding out what US policy priorities should be in national intelligence. He asked his colleagues to share the threats they worried about. He was soon inundated.

“When I was given responsibility for the process known as the National Intelligence Priorities Framework, almost 2300 issues had been assigned priorities higher than zero, “ he explained. “My first instruction was, “Reduce the number.”

He knew they needed only one bad-ass enemy to focus fears and attract appropriations to fight.… Read the rest

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The Star Chamber: The Empire Strikes Back

Refreshing chat show from Down Under with maverick filmmaker/troublemaker Richard Wolstencroft, subversive electro-popsters David Thrussell, filmmaker Richard Lowenstein etc.

Be sure to watch it all the way through:

The Star Chamber: EP1 The Empire Strikes Back: The Neo-Imperial Reboot 2014

https://www.facebook.com/TheStarChamberTV

https://twitter.com/StarChamber_TV | @StarChamber_TV

 

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“Crucifixion of Christians”: Debunking the New Fake News Item

Media LiesWell, if you consider two months ago “new” fake news.  From Sirialbano, translated by Mary Rizzo, at We Write What We Like:

They were not Christians, they were Muslims. They were not killed by means of crucifixion, but their already lifeless bodies were exhibited in that barbarian manner.  The crime is ghastly, no matter what religious denomination the victims belong to.  And yet it “news” of “Christians crucified in Syria” went viral in the western media, in particular in the major Italian news media.

The two major Italian newspapers Il Corriere della Sera (above) and La Repubblica (below) dedicated a great amount of space to it, bring attention to the “news” on the first page accompanied by photographs of “a man crucified in Maalula”, the small Christian small town near Damascus.

To push the directors and the heads writers towards a similar editorial choice has no doubt been the statement of Pope Francis in the official Vatican site:   “I cried when i saw the news“.

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Why Human Rights Orgs. Are Ignoring 3 Million Syrians Living Without Water | WMD

Abby Martin talks about the media’s obsession with LA Clipper’s owner Donald Sterling’s new comments regarding Magic Johnson, AIDS and racism while ignoring reports that Syrian rebels are blocking water supplies in the city of Aleppo.

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Are LA Gangbangers Fighting in Syria?

Via CNN:

Two men claiming to be Los Angeles-area gang members have posted a video showing them firing rifles in Syria’s civil war, apparently fighting on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

In the profanity-laced video, the two men fire rifles from behind a cinder-block wall at “enemigos” — enemies — though the camera never shows an enemy in the distance. The two men often refer to “gang-banging” and their “homies,” and one of them displays gang hand gestures and tattoos.

Read the rest at CNN.

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The “Experts” Who Pushed For Military Involvement In Syria Are Paid By The Defense Industry

1Public Accountability Initiative on “impartial” pundits and think tanks presented by the media arguing for war:

During the public debate around the question of whether to attack Syria, Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser to George W. Bush, made a series of high-profile media appearances. Hadley argued strenuously for military intervention in appearances on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and Bloomberg TV, and authored a Washington Post op-ed.

In each case, Hadley’s audience was not informed that he serves as a director of Raytheon, the weapons manufacturer that makes the Tomahawk cruise missiles that were widely cited as a weapon of choice in a potential strike against Syria. He owns 11,477 shares of Raytheon stock, which traded at all-time highs during the Syria debate ($77.65 on August 23, making Hadley’s share’s worth $891,189). Despite this financial stake, Hadley was presented to his audience as an experienced, independent national security expert.

Though Hadley’s undisclosed conflict is particularly egregious, it is not unique.

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