CIA, Saudi funding of Syria al Qaeda extremists greater than previously realized

Global Research, January 29, 2016
Sputnik 28 January 2016

New reports in the US media reveal that secret cooperation between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Saudi Arabia to fund Daesh and other extreme Islamic groups in Syria was far greater than previously suspected, US scholars told Sputnik.

“The details about the Saudi funding should give very serious pause to Americans,” Middle East expert and author Helena Cobban told Sputnik.

New details revealed in a New York Times report on Tuesday indicated that the US government and its secret agencies were trying to repeat in Syria the strategy they used against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan 35 years ago, Cobban stated.

“It all looks eerily like what happened in Afghanistan in the 1980s — a semi-clandestine and very hard to control CIA ‘intervention,’ backed up with huge amounts of Saudi money, and the ever-present Saudi support for the Wahhabist global agenda,” she suggested.

However, the Islamic terrorists, including Osama bin Laden, whom the CIA supported in Afghanistan during the 1980s, eventually turned on the United States with devastating consequences and the same thing could happen now, Cobban cautioned.

“What could possibly go wrong? We might ask the widows and orphans of the September 11, 2001 attack that question,” she said.The New York Times report revealed that the scale of US military and Saudi financial assistance to the Islamists in Syria was vastly greater than anything the Obama administration had previously admitted to, US author and Middle East affairs expert Dan Lazare told Sputnik.

“In the famous talk that [US Vice President] Joe Biden gave at Harvard’s Kennedy School in October 2014… he said that the Gulf states ‘poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of military weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad’,” Lazare noted.

However, according to the New York Times report, estimates have put the total cost of the arming and training effort at several billion dollars, Lazare pointed out.

“So the Saudi contribution alone was on the order of ten times greater than what Biden had indicated. That’s huge,” Lazare emphasized.

Cobban further noted that US diplomats openly fanned the flames of rebellion and civil war in Syria.

“There were the blatantly incendiary actions of Ambassador Robert Ford during the spring of 2011, when… he gave a lot of moral and political support to very activist figures in the opposition,” Cobban recalled.

According to the New York Times report, Lazare observed, the US government was well aware how much Saudi citizens continued to support terrorist groups, but maintained their close intelligence partnership with Riyadh anyway.

These were the same forces that bombed the World Trade Center in 2001, killing nearly 3,000 Americans, he concluded.

Washington has lost the proxy war. U.S. ambitions to occupy Syria with physical force

Global Research, January 30, 2016
New Eastern Outlook 30 January 2016
drapeau-de-la-syrie

Since 2011, Syria has fought desperately to hold itself together as a single, unified nation. Threatened from the beginning by the “Libya precedent,” Washington and its regional allies have openly conspired to divide up Syria as a consolatory objective upon failing to topple Damascus outright.

US policymakers, some of whom had previously played a role in laying out invasion and occupation plans for Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, have published numerous op-eds and entire policy papers regarding the planned partition of Syria.

It was hoped that the Syrian government could be pushed from Damascus and sent fleeing to Syria’s western provinces of Latakia and Tartus. From there, the US hoped to create a Saudi-Qatari-Turkish dominated central state with a Kurdish territory linked up with US-backed Kurds in northern Iraq. Forever divided against itself, Syria would never again function as a powerful ally of nearby Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah or Russia and distant China.

Russia’s intervention in Syria has all but prevented Damascus from falling. And while the Western media has attempted to claim the intervention has made little difference, so successful has it actually been that attempts by Turkey to establish its long-sought after “safe zone” in northern Syria have also all but evaporated.

Syrian troops backed by Russian airpower have moved from Latakia along Syria’s border with Turkey toward the now much reported-on A’zaz-Jarabulus corridor while another force pushes north from eastern Aleppo toward the Turkish border. Elsewhere, Syrian forces are securing Damascus, pushing Western-backed militants over their southernmost border with Jordan and pushing east toward Raqqa itself.

What is left? 

What has been left for the US and its regional allies is a possible attempt to invade and occupy Syria’s northeast. The US has already been allegedly carrying out ground operations in this region supposedly in support of “Kurdish” and “Arab” forces that make up what it calls the “Syrian Democratic Forces.”

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Friday that Russian experts had “arrived to explore” the Qamishli airport’s “readiness and to check what is needed to develop and use it” near the Turkish border. The report added that Russian warplanes were expected to use the airport in the “coming days and weeks.” Qamishli is located south of the Turkish border town of Nusaybin.

The US has even allegedly begun constructing, or rather restoring, an airstrip within Syrian territory. The BBC in its report Syria conflict: ‘US expanding air strip’ in Kurdish north claimed:

Satellite imagery appearing to show the US expanding a formerly disused air strip in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria has been seen by the BBC. 

The images, from the security analysts Stratfor, show a runway near the town of Rmeilan being extended from 700m (half a mile) to 1.3km. 

That would make it more suitable for a larger aircraft such as a Hercules. 

A spokesman for the US Department of Defence said its small team in Syria needed “occasional logistical support”.

The US inviting itself into sovereign Syrian territory and creating a military base to supply its ground forces operating there without UN Security Council approval or invitation by the Syrian government sets a dangerous and unacceptable precedent. But assuming the United States has no interest in actually upholding the very international law it attempts to justify its numerous extraterritorial adventures with, what options does Syria have to head off what is a well-documented conspiracy to strip it of its own sovereign territory and expand from there toward Damascus itself?

The answer can be found in Qamishli, Syria, teetering near the Syrian border with Turkey and only 50 miles west of the US’ alleged airstrip in Rmeilan. Qamishli is the site of what is alleged to be a growing Russian presence, including a burgeoning airbase.

The International Business Times reported in their article US Forces Setting Up Base In Northern Syria Near Russian Forces In Qamishli Airfield: Report that:

…Russian experts had “arrived to explore” the Qamishli airport’s “readiness and to check what is needed to develop and use it” near the Turkish border. The report added that Russian warplanes were expected to use the airport in the “coming days and weeks.” Qamishli is located south of the Turkish border town of Nusaybin.

It would be the check to America’s latest, and perhaps final move in an overarching game the West has been sorely losing in Syria.

Check or Checkmate?

Russian forces, if they are indeed setting up in Qamishli, will establish a permanent bastion in Syria’s northeast. When inevitably Syrian forces cut off terrorists from their foreign supply routes and reestablish control over Syria’s largest cities back west, they will be able to reenter the northeast of their nation in force with Russian backing up to and including onto the doorstep of any illegal US occupation. There would be little the US could do to stop this, and no strategic or tactical means of “holding” territory already under the control of Syrian-Russian forces.

The US in this scenario is reduced to a trespasser coming up to an occupied house, unable to do anything else but leer through the window. While the US would surely be trampling the flowerbed outside the home, it would be unable to access anything of value within it.

Syria and Russia are displacing US ambitions to occupy Syria with physical forces that once in place will be difficult to remove. The US will come to the bargaining table with its “Syrian Democratic Forces” operating at the fringe of Syrian territory, with a Russian airbase standing between it and Syria’s interior. Meanwhile, the lion’s share of military victories against both Al Qaeda forces masquerading as the West’s “moderate fighters” and the “Islamic State” (IS) itself goes to Russia and Syria, not the US.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for the US and its allies to explain just what they are actually even doing in Syria besides perpetuating the war for as long as possible. It is clear that the only progress being made in Syria against the forces of extremism is being made by the long-chastised Syrian government and their Russian, Iranian, and Lebanese allies. It is also clear that remaining hurdles preventing the final restoration of peace and order in Syria is the US and its regional allies who insist on propping up armed groups opposed to the Syrian government, and direct threats and undermining by the US itself aimed at Damascus.

It should be abundantly clear that the US has lost the political war, the proxy war and now possibly checked in the “base war” as well. How much more the US wants to lose before withdrawing from yet another quagmire of its own creation depends on how much credibility the US believes it can still afford to lose as it pursues hegemony openly in front of an increasingly aware global public that has begun effectively fighting back.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Zika outbreak epicenter in same area where GM mosquitoes were released in 2015

Global Research, January 29, 2016
The Anti-Media 28 January 2016

The World Health Organization announced it will convene an Emergency Committee under International Health Regulations on Monday, February 1, concerning the Zika virus ‘explosive’ spread throughout the Americas. The virus reportedly has the potential to reach pandemic proportions — possibly around the globe. But understandingwhy this outbreak happened is vital to curbing it. As the WHO statement said:

“A causal relationship between Zika virus infection and birth malformations and neurological syndromes … is strongly suspected. [These links] have rapidly changed the risk profile of Zika, from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions.

“WHO is deeply concerned about this rapidly evolving situation for 4 main reasons: the possible association of infection with birth malformations and neurological syndromes; the potential for further international spread given the wide geographical distribution of the mosquito vector; the lack of population immunity in newly affected areas; and the absence of vaccines, specific treatments, and rapid diagnostic tests […]

“The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty.”

Zika seemingly exploded out of nowhere. Though it was first discovered in 1947, cases only sporadically occurred throughout Africa and southern Asia. In 2007, the first case was reported in the Pacific. In 2013, a smattering of small outbreaks and individual cases were officially documented in Africa and the western Pacific. They also began showing up in the Americas. In May 2015, Brazil reported its first case of Zika virus — and the situation changed dramatically.

Brazil is now considered the epicenter of the Zika outbreak, which coincides with at least 4,000 reports of babies born with microcephaly just since October.

zika-microcephalyWhen examining a rapidly expanding potential pandemic, it’s necessary to leave no stone unturned so possible solutions, as well as future prevention, will be as effective as possible. In that vein, there was another significant development in 2015.

Oxitec first unveiled its large-scale, genetically-modified mosquito farm in Brazil in July 2012, with the goal of reducing “the incidence of dengue fever,” as The Disease Daily reported. Dengue fever is spread by the same Aedes mosquitoes which spread the Zika virus — and though they “cannot fly more than 400 meters,” WHO stated, “it may inadvertently be transported by humans from one place to another.” By July 2015, shortly after the GM mosquitoes were first released into the wild in Juazeiro, Brazil, Oxitec proudly announced they had “successfully controlled the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads dengue fever, chikungunya and zika virus, by reducing the target population by more than 90%.”

Though that might sound like an astounding success — and, arguably, it was — there is an alarming possibility to consider.

Nature, as one Redditor keenly pointed out, finds a way — and the effort to control dengue, zika, and other viruses, appears to have backfired dramatically.

zika

Juazeiro, Brazil — the location where genetically-modified mosquitoes were first released into the wild.

zika

Map showing the concentration of suspected Zika-related cases of microcephaly in Brazil.

The particular strain of Oxitec GM mosquitoes, OX513A, are genetically altered so the vast majority of their offspring will die before they mature — though Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher published concerns in a report in September 2010 that a known survival rate of 3-4 percent warranted further study before the release of the GM insects. Her concerns, which were echoed by several other scientists both at the time and since, appear to have been ignored — though they should not have been.

Those genetically-modified mosquitoes work to control wild, potentially disease-carrying populations in a very specific manner. Only the male modified Aedes mosquitoes are supposed to be released into the wild — as they will mate with their unaltered female counterparts. Once offspring are produced, the modified, scientific facet is supposed to ‘kick in’ and kill that larvae before it reaches breeding age — if tetracycline is not present during its development. But there is a problem.

zika-mosquito

Aedes aegypti mosquito. Image credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

According to an unclassified document from the Trade and Agriculture Directorate Committee for Agriculture dated February 2015, Brazil is the third largest in “global antimicrobial consumption in food animal production” — meaning, Brazil is third in the world for its use of tetracycline in its food animals. As a study by the American Society of Agronomy, et. al., explained, “It is estimated that approximately 75% of antibiotics are not absorbed by animals and are excreted in waste.” One of the antibiotics (or antimicrobials) specifically named in that report for its environmental persistence is tetracycline.

In fact, as a confidential internal Oxitec document divulged in 2012, that survival rate could be as high as 15% — even with low levels of tetracycline present. “Even small amounts of tetracycline can repress” the engineered lethality. Indeed, that 15% survival rate was described by Oxitec:

“After a lot of testing and comparing experimental design, it was found that [researchers] had used a cat food to feed the [OX513A] larvae and this cat food contained chicken. It is known that tetracycline is routinely used to prevent infections in chickens, especially in the cheap, mass produced, chicken used for animal food. The chicken is heat-treated before being used, but this does not remove all the tetracycline. This meant that a small amount of tetracycline was being added from the food to the larvae and repressing the [designed] lethal system.”

Even absent this tetracycline, as Steinbrecher explained, a “sub-population” of genetically-modified Aedes mosquitoes could theoretically develop and thrive, in theory, “capable of surviving and flourishing despite any further” releases of ‘pure’ GM mosquitoes which still have that gene intact. She added, “the effectiveness of the system also depends on the [genetically-designed] late onset of the lethality. If the time of onset is altered due to environmental conditions … then a 3-4% [survival rate] represents a much bigger problem…”

As the WHO stated in its press release, “conditions associated with this year’s El Nino weather pattern are expected to increase mosquito populations greatly in many areas.”

Incidentally, President Obama called for a massive research effort to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus, as one does not currently exist. Brazil has now called in 200,000 soldiers to somehow help combat the virus’ spread. Aedes mosquitoes have reportedly been spotted in the U.K. But perhaps the most ironic — or not — proposition was proffered on January 19, by the MIT Technology Review:

“An outbreak in the Western Hemisphere could give countries including the United States new reasons to try wiping out mosquitoes with genetic engineering.

“Yesterday, the Brazilian city of Piracicaba said it would expand the use of genetically modified mosquitoes …

“The GM mosquitoes were created by Oxitec, a British company recently purchased by Intrexon, a synthetic biology company based in Maryland. The company said it has released bugs in parts of Brazil and the Cayman Islands to battle dengue fever.”

Aedes aegypti mosquito. Image credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

Robert Ford’s shameful support of terrorism in Syria and the “moderate rebel” myth

From Activist Post
January 26, 2016
By Brandon Turbeville

Former U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford has long been a cheerleader of the “moderate cannibals” raping and beheading their way across Syria under the guise of being “moderate rebels” and other various semantical terms that would attempt to portray the jihadists as anything other than what they are. Indeed, Ford was one of the men most instrumental in helping to organize the death squad fighters on the ground in Syria until the Syrian government could no longer stand his treachery and booted him from the country.

He was, as death squad expert John Negroponte once described him, a man who was not afraid to get his hands dirty.

When Ford was first playing his role in fomenting the Syrian destabilization, he and his State Department cohorts presented every “rebel” as “moderate” freedom-loving fighters for democracy. After this incredibly deceptive façade crashed, largely thanks to the alternative media, Ford’s line became one that attempted to separate the fighters on the ground into two forces – “moderate rebel” freedom fighters on one hand and al-Qaeda terrorists who somehow managed to slip in under cover of darkness and hijack portions of the “rebellion.”

Now, however, Ford has been forced to admit that the overwhelming majority of his “rebellion” is indeed made up of terrorists, jihadists, and other Sharia-obsessed psychopathic killers. Yet, despite his recent admissions, Ford still refuses to admit that the entirety of the “rebellion” was always made up of these elements. This is, of course, despite the fact that we are now five years on and no one has yet to produce a sample of moderate rebels for evaluation.

Yet Ford’s denial of reality, forced into the open only by the reporting of a number of alternative media outlets demonstrating the jihadist nature of his previous “moderates,” has itself been repeatedly debunked in the same outlets as well as a number of mainstream publications. There never were any moderates fighting against the government in Syria and, since the beginning of the crisis, the only tangible difference between the so-called “moderates,” al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and ISIS has been a name.

This is a fact that Ford is increasingly being forced to acknowledge publicly whenever confronted with even the slightest amount of critical thought. In a back and forth that took place on February, 2015 between Ford and a number of individuals questioning his statements and position on the “moderate rebels,” Ford was asked “Do you deny knowing most moderates u directly backed fought alongside ISIS & al-Nusra on front lines in Aleppo in 2013?” Ford responded “ absolutely do not deny – criticized them in 2013 and 2014 and publicly a month ago. Major problem for oppo.”

In fact, Ford has supported jihadists and the aforementioned terrorist groups since the beginning of the conflict. Simply naming rapists, jihadists, and cannibals “moderate” does not change what they are.

In another Twitter misstep, taking place on January 2, 2016 in the wake of the death of revered Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr who was executed by Wahhabist Saudi Arabia, Ford tweeted “Nimr’s execution raises questions, but wish Iranian gov’t also blasted Assad killing 200,000 civilians w/Iranian help.”

Fortunately, not all of Ford’s Twitter followers were so intellectually defunct as to take his statements seriously. Journalist and commentator on the Syrian Crisis, Vanessa Beeley, tweeted an article in response to Robert Ford’s assessment of the situation regarding Nimr’s death. The article was one written by Alexandre Otrakji and it contested Ford’s own position on the Syrian crisis which he personally helped create.

In her article, “Disseminating Fake Information: Conversations With State Department Propagandist Robert S. Ford, Former U.S. Ambassador To Syria,” Beeley states that Ford then responded to her tweet with a private message, prompting a conversation between the two.

The conversation that Beeley says took place between the two is reproduced both in her article and here below:

Ford: Vanessa – rather than put a tweet out to thousands, in answer to your question, I do remember Camille’s long piece. I agreed with some of it. Some of it badly distorted things I had said and misinterpreted American policy and some of it ignored realities on the ground and what the Syrian government does. I wrote him a long response last spring. You can ask him to share it if he wants. I note that he didn’t publish it on his FB page, but that’s his right

Vanessa: Um did you not just tweet to thousands, utterly incorrect statistics from Syria. According to you Assad personally killed 200,000. That is a barefaced lie even by the US Government standards and to state that in conjunction with the heinous execution of Sheikh Nimr without even including his title out of respect for this visionary man of peace and unity and with no reference to the continuing policy of execution both in Saudi Arabia and globally by their Frankenstein monsters that your Government helped create..you are the propagandist sir, Camille’s article is at least well researched. Your statement is a lie, that we have all stopped believing.

You saw the execution of a Saudi Muslim faith leader and opposition speaker against the despotic Saudi regime as an opportunity for propaganda, both against Syria and Iran..shame on you. Where is your respect?

All figures coming out of Syria are skewed by your propagandists on the ground and you know that. Where are the figures on the US Coalition bombing civilian deaths in Syria? Al Bab, Aleppo bombing of civilians covered up by Congress. Where are the figures for the “rebel” mortar victims in Damascus and Homs & across Syria, the “mod reb” suicide bomb attacks across Syria, the “moderate rebel” snipers, the “rebel” hell cannon attacks in Aleppo? When are they ever mentioned by your pet UKFO CIA/Soros propagandists, aka the White Helmets?

For the rest of this extensive article

http://www.activistpost.com/2016/01/robert-fords-shameful-support-of-terrorism-in-syria-and-the-moderate-rebel-myth.html

Declassified memo proves the Pentagon had ZERO evidence of WMDs in Iraq

From Activist Post
By Justin Gardner
January 26, 2016

Thirteen years after the invasion and occupation of Iraq, it is common knowledge that this war of choice was based on fabrications and slick propaganda. There were no weapons of mass destruction, the country posed no real threat to the U.S., and it was not a hotbed of terrorism until after Saddam was deposed.

Now, a bombshell has dropped in the form of a leaked classified report—a “smoking gun” if you will—that confirms the utter deception carried out on the American people to support the invasion. It demonstrates just how far the cabal under George W. Bush, making up a group known as the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), would go to prey upon fear in pursuit of global hegemony.

While Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others were proclaiming their certainty about the imminent threats posed to the U.S. by Saddam’s Iraq, the leaked documents reveal that they knew almost nothing about any actual weapons or capabilities.

On August 16, 2002, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asked Air Force Maj. Gen. Glen Shaffer, head of the Joint Staff’s intelligence directorate, for a report on “what we don’t know (in a percentage) about the Iraqi WMD program.”

The findings, titled Iraq: Status of WMD Programs, were underscored by this statement:

Our assessments rely heavily on analytic assumptions and judgment rather than hard evidence. The evidentiary base is particularly sparse for Iraqi nuclear programs.

Regarding the actual programs, it says:

We’ve struggled to estimate the unknowns. … We range from 0% to about 75% knowledge on various aspects of their program…

Our knowledge of the Iraqi (nuclear) weapons program is based largely—perhaps 90%—on analysis of imprecise intelligence.

When forwarding the report, Air Force Maj. Gen. Glen Shaffer answered Rumsfeld’s original question by noting, “We don’t know with any precision how much we don’t know.

Rumsfeld apparently believed the report had some significance when he sent it to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying, “Please take a look at this material as to what we don’t know about WMD. It is big.

Considering that this was a summary of all that the U.S. intelligence apparatus knew about Iraq’s WMD capabilities (or lack thereof), how could any responsible leader try and sell the invasion to the American people?

Yet that is what happened, perhaps no more fervently than Vice President Dick Cheney. There are countless examples of Cheney stating in no uncertain terms the nuclear, chemical, biological and ballistic missile threats that Saddam’s Iraq posed to the U.S.

Cheney asserted that Iraq was secretly reconstituting its biological and chemical weapons programs, but the report stated:

We cannot confirm the identity of any Iraqi facilities that produce, test, fill, or store biological weapons.

We do not know if all the processes required to produce a weapon are in place. [The Iraqis] lack the precursors for sustained nerve agent production…we cannot confirm the identity of any Iraqi sites that produce final chemical agent.

While Cheney and the gang issued repeated fear-mongering about “mushroom clouds,” the report stated:

We do not know the status of enrichment capabilities. We do not know with confidence the location of any nuclear-weapon-related facilities.

Days before Bush claimed that Iraq was developing ballistic missiles that could hit Israel with WMD, the report had found:

We doubt all processes are in place to produce longer range missiles.

The secret report was kept from the view of key players in the propaganda campaign, including Colin Powell who was made to look the fool [Ed: other evidence has shown that Colin Powell knowingly lied]. Just before the invasion, Powell said before the U.N. General Assembly:

My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.

With this lack of factual evidence for their yearning to invade Iraq—a goal of PNAC since 1998—the war-mongering officials with deep ties to the defense industry proceeded to fabricate their own tales to justify the propaganda campaign.

They turned to a parallel intelligence apparatus that they created, which relied on a network of Iraqi defectors and exiles, most notably the late Ahmed Chalabi who admitted he provided wrong information.

Back home, Cheney and Rumsfeld had set up something called the Office of Special Plans, run by Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. This Pentagon office sent raw intelligence from Chalabi and other nefarious sources directly to the president, unvetted by intelligence analysts and uncorroborated.

If there was ever a smoking gun, this is it. If there was ever enough reason to bring charges of war crimes and other abuses of power against George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, this report provides it.

Justin Gardner writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com

Copyright Justin Gardner 2016

http://www.activistpost.com/2016/01/declassified-memo-proves-the-pentagon-had-zero-evidence-of-wmds-in-iraq.html

 

Military escalation: U.S. Congress leaders are writing the President a “blank check for war”

President Obama/White House telephone comment line: 1-202-456-1111

US residents: contact your state senators

Sen. Mitch McConnell  1-202-224-2541  
1-202-224-2499 FAX

By Rep. Ron Paul
Global Research, January 26, 2016
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity 24 January 2016

While the Washington snowstorm dominated news coverage this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was operating behind the scenes to rush through the Senate what may be the most massive transfer of power from the Legislative to the Executive branch in our history. The senior Senator from Kentucky is scheming, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, to bypass normal Senate procedure to fast-track legislation to grant the president the authority to wage unlimited war for as long as he or his successors may wish.

The legislation makes the unconstitutional Iraq War authorization of 2002 look like a walk in the park. It will allow this president and future presidents to wage war against ISIS without restrictions on time, geographic scope, or the use of ground troops. It is a completely open-ended authorization for the president to use the military as he wishes for as long as he (or she) wishes. Even President Obama has expressed concern over how willing Congress is to hand him unlimited power to wage war.

President Obama has already far surpassed even his predecessor, George W. Bush, in taking the country to war without even the fig leaf of an authorization. In 2011 the president invaded Libya, overthrew its government, and oversaw the assassination of its leader, without even bothering to ask for Congressional approval. Instead of impeachment, which he deserved for the disastrous Libya invasion, Congress said nothing. House Republicans only managed to bring the subject up when they thought they might gain political points exploiting the killing of US Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi.

It is becoming more clear that Washington plans to expand its war in the Middle East. Last week the media reported that the US military had taken over an air base in eastern Syria, and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that the US would send in the 101st Airborne Division to retake Mosul in Iraq and to attack ISIS headquarters in Raqqa, Syria. Then on Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden said that if the upcoming peace talks in Geneva are not successful, the US is prepared for a massive military intervention in Syria. Such an action would likely place the US military face to face with the Russian military, whose assistance was requested by the Syrian government. In contrast, we must remember that the US military is operating in Syria in violation of international law.

The prospects of such an escalation are not all that far-fetched. At the insistence of Saudi Arabia and with US backing, the representatives of the Syrian opposition at the Geneva peace talks will include members of the Army of Islam, which has fought with al-Qaeda in Syria. Does anyone expect these kinds of people to compromise? Isn’t al-Qaeda supposed to be our enemy?

The purpose of the Legislative branch of our government is to restrict the Executive branch’s power. The Founders understood that an all-powerful king who could wage war at will was the greatest threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is why they created a people’s branch, the Congress, to prevent the emergence of an all-powerful autocrat to drag the country to endless war. Sadly, Congress is surrendering its power to declare war.

Let’s be clear: If Senate Majority Leader McConnell succeeds in passing this open-ended war authorization, the US Constitution will be all but a dead letter.

Yatsenyuk wants a referendum on the Constitution

An easily-rigged election, and Washington and Kiev can declare “the people decided”.

From Fort Russ

Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
25th January, 2016


Only the people have the right to determine what the basic laws will be, the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk is in favour of a referendum on the Constitution. He stated this during the program “10 minutes with the Prime Minister”.
According to him, it is only the people who can decide what will be the main laws of the country.
“It’s time that the Ukrainian people decided what should be the new Ukrainian Constitution in the European Ukraine. No one but the people of Ukraine have the right to determine what will be the basic laws”, – said the Prime Minister.
He noted that the referendum on the Constitution will be “direct democracy in a free and democratic country“. On 20th January the people’s deputies decided to slow down the process of adoption of the amendments to the Constitution.
The second Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma stated that Ukraine failed to agree on changes to the Constitution as there was no “pocket” Parliament making decision on orders from above.
A member of the subgroup of the Trilateral contact group, Iryna Gerashchenko, said that the second reading of constitutional changes can occur only against the background of progress on the implementation of the security and humanitarian points of the Minsk agreements.