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Daniel McAdams

Obama's Syria Dossier: 'Trust Us'

US Missile Syria

Release of the long-awaited US government intelligence dossier on the alleged chemical attack in Syria on Aug. 21, had been moved and postponed until the media black-hole of a Friday afternoon before a big US holiday weekend. 

Now we see why.

Here is the crux of the White House argument for war on Syria: 

A chemical attack took place. Trust us. Someone (the Israelis) told us they tapped a call where two Syrian government officials talked about the attack in an incriminating way. Trust us. The Syrian government was moving troops around in a way that suggested they were about to launch a chemical attack. Trust us. More than 1,400 people were killed even though at most a couple of dozen were seem in the videos that purported to be of the attack. Never mind, trust us. We watched a lot of YouTube videos of people who seemed to be suffering from a chemical weapons attack. Trust us.
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Obama's Flimsy Case For Attacking Syria Falls Apart

Obamacameron

It started with Secretary of State John Kerry. On Monday, he made the Obama Administration's preliminary case for a US attack on Syria. He promised an administration response, after watching the YouTube videos of people suffering from some sort of attack in Syria had convinced him that the Syrian government had carried out an attack on innocent civilians. Anyone who questions this, he said, "needs to check their conscience and their own moral compass." That's it. With an intelligence budget of at least $100 billion plus, the Secretary of State is getting his information on what is happening in Syria through videos made by the US-allied opposition and uploaded to YouTube for propaganda value. 

At best these videos only show the half-truth that their makers are seeking to convey. It is a very shaky foundation upon which to base a US war on a foreign country. His moral outrage that anyone might be skeptical about these videos is undermined by the incontrovertible fact that the Syrian opposition has a long history of falsifying evidence -- including fake videos -- of the Syrian government's war crimes. 

All sides use propaganda in a war situation and have done so since the beginning of man's war on man.
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US Set to Launch 'Iraq, The Sequel', in Syria

Missile Strike

If you liked the run up to the US attack on Iraq, with the lurid fictional tales of mobile chemical weapons labs and Saddam's nukes, you will love "Iraq, The Sequel", currently unfolding in Syria. It is everything the interventionists have been hoping for: a heady brew of Kosovo, Iraq, and Libya all rolled into one. The possibility for an infinitely more toxic conflagration is exponentially higher, to boot, adding for the interventionists much excitement to the mix.

Here is the latest:

A fourth US warship capable of launching the type of cruise missiles that turned Libya to rubble and paved the way for al-Qaeda affiliates to take control of that country is now rushing to the waters off of Syria, ready to unleash destruction. Chuck Hagel, who some antiwar commentators foolishly believed would put an end to Washington's military adventurism, is feverishly preparing plans for President Obama to attack. The media worldwide,  interventionist to the core, is pushing willing leaders in the US, France, and the UK to finally treat Syria to another devastating "liberation."

What has prompted this sudden dramatic move just over the past few days toward a Western invasion of Syria? A pretext. A claimed chemical attack near Damascus that has produced, according to an estimate from Médecins Sans Frontières, perhaps some 300 deaths. It is unclear whether a bona fide chemical attack has taken place, and it is even more unclear who might be responsible should the attack indeed be the work of some chemical agent. Yet all of a sudden another Washington/Paris/London war is to be set in motion. How banal the triggers for war have become. Almost like a video game.
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McCain and Graham's Strange Egyptian Adventure

Egypt Obama

What was President Obama thinking? Last week's trip to Egypt by the neoconservative dynamic duo, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, seemed like an improbably bad idea from the start. In the highly delicate situation inside Egypt, where the military is expected at any moment to initiate another bloody crackdown against supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, Graham and McCain would not be most people's choice to smooth tensions.

Nevertheless it was reported that they traveled at the request of the US President in attempt to diffuse the increasing anti-American sentiment in all sectors of the Egyptian political universe. Indeed, the one position unifying nearly all political factions in Egypt is a deep disgust with the current US administration. Perhaps it is that commonality that the two senators hoped to build on. If that was the case, they certainly did not dissapoint.
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McCain Declares War on Russia

Mccain War

Fresh off of his flip-flop on aid to Egypt and his threats to vote for the left (neocon) interventionists in the Democratic Party should anyone remotely non-interventionist succeed in gaining the Republican nomination to be the next president, Senator John McCain is determined to light a new fire under the long dead ashes of the Cold War. However, he no doubt chokes on the smoke of irony as he fumbles with his matches.

What has set McCain’s neoconservative nerve on edge is the finalization yesterday of NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s request for temporary asylum in Russia. According to McCain and his fellow neocons, when Washington demands extradition the rest of the world must immediately comply, regardless of the circumstances.

However, as William Blum points out yesterday in Counterpunch:

[A]ccording to the Russian Interior Ministry, 'Law agencies asked the US on many occasions to extradite wanted criminals through Interpol channels, but those requests were neither met nor even responded to.' Amongst the individuals requested are militant Islamic insurgents from Chechnya, given asylum in the United States.

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William Hague: The Foolish Puppet

Hague Kerry
photo:Foreign and Commonwealth Office

British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced yesterday that his government would be spending nearly one million dollars providing the Syrian rebels with special hoods and other equipment to protect them from chemical weapons. He promised that the assistance would only go to "moderate" forces, but did not explain how he would measure who was moderate or who was extreme.

That will be no easy task. For example, as a commander of the Free Syrian Army, Abu Sakkar is considered a moderate. But his habit of eating the organs of dead Syrian army soldiers seems to most people pretty extreme. Likewise, FSA calls for all factions, including the jihadists, to unite may make it harder for Hague. Not to worry, though, British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt told the UK parliament that the Syrian rebels have promised to give back all the weapons after the fighting is over.

Hague's care package will also include some tablets to combat the symptoms of nerve gas and some special paper to detect the presence of certain chemical agents. These will all come in handy the next time the Syrian rebels decide to launch more chemical weapons, as they can be protected against any butterfingers jihadist while at the same time performing a quick wipe of the canister to send to the US to prove that it was the government forces who were using chemical weapons. It's a win-win.
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Will Egypt Implode Tomorrow?

The Egypt experiment is falling apart. The crisis point may be reached as early as tomorrow, June 30th, when massive demonstrations are expected to rock the rule of Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi. It has been a slow-motion disintegration from the begining, however.

US-backed liberal Egyptians took to Tahrir Square in 2011, trained by the State Department to mobilize masses through social media to overthrow Mubarak rule. Their success resulted in their being shunted aside in favor of the real power in Egypt, post-Mubarak: the Muslim Brotherhood and the military.

Since then, contrary to US government predictions, democracy and freedom has not broken out bringing with it economic prosperity and social harmony. History teaches us that revolutions are not as simplistic and binary (bad out, good in) as their supporters would like us to believe. The Egyptian economy, dependent on tourism, has been in free-fall since the unrest, leading to deep layers of resentment in those who were told that overthrowing Mubarak would bring economic growth.


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Why Is No One Listening to the US Government?

Hong Kong Protest
photo: See-ming Lee 李思明 SML

The US government is in panic mode over the apparently successful escape of NSA leaker Ed Snowden from Hong Kong. US government officials are swinging wildly at any target in sight while howling at the disintegrating illusion of US omnipotence. The rest of the world will not do what they demand. They will not hand over Edward Snowden. The injustice!

White House Spokesman Jay Carney screams at China: "We are just not buying that this was a technical decision by a Hong Kong immigration official. This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant, and that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the U.S.-China relationship."

Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia that “[t]here would be without any question some effect and impact on the relationship and consequences."

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King fumed: "We can’t allow Russia to do this without diplomatic consequences. The opportunity will come over the next several months or year, when Russia will need us with something involving trade involving diplomacy, involving finance, where the U.S. will basically say no, and we will make it difficult for Putin. He should know now not to expect any favors."


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