U.S. Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, Austin Scott introduce legislation to end illegal U.S. war to overthrow Syrian government of Assad

Update: The bill is HR 4108.

From the website of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard

Press release, November 19, 2015

Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), both members of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced a bipartisan bill today to end U.S. efforts to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic led by President Bashar al-Assad.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a twice-deployed combat veteran, said the intent of the bill is to “Bring an immediate end to the illegal, counter-productive war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard explained,“The U.S. is waging two wars in Syria. The first is the war against ISIS and other Islamic extremists, which Congress authorized after the terrorist attack on 9/11.  The second war is the illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad.

“The war to overthrow Assad is counter-productive because it actually helps ISIS and other Islamic extremists achieve their goal of overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad and taking control of all of Syria—which will simply increase human suffering in the region, exacerbate the refugee crisis, and pose a greater threat to the world.  Also, the war to overthrow Assad is illegal because Congress never authorized it.”

Congressman Austin Scott said, “Our primary mission should be the war against ISIS, al Qaeda, and radical Islamic extremists that have operations both inside and outside of Syria and Iraq.  Those groups have carried out attacks on American allies, and are currently threatening attacks on our homeland.  This represents a clear and present danger to our citizens, and I support eliminating these radical Islamic terrorists through any means necessary.  Working to remove Assad at this stage is counter-productive to what I believe our primary mission should be.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said, “Here are 10 reasons the U.S. must end its war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad:

1.     Because if we succeed in overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad, it will open the door for ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other Islamic extremists to take over all of Syria.  There will be genocide and suffering on a scale beyond our imagination.  These Islamic extremists will take over all the weaponry, infrastructure, and military hardware of the Syrian army and be more dangerous than ever before.

2.     Because overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad is the goal of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other Islamic extremist groups. We should not be allying ourselves with these Islamic extremists by helping them achieve their goal because it is against the security interests of the United States and all of civilization.

3.     Because the money and weapons the CIA is providing to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad are going directly or indirectly into the hands of the Islamic extremist groups, including al-Qaeda affiliates, al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, and others who are the actual enemies of the United States.  These groups make up close to 90 percent of the so-called opposition forces, and are the most dominant fighters on the ground.

4.     Because our efforts to overthrow Assad has increased and will continue to increase the strength of ISIS and other Islamic extremists, thus making them a bigger regional and global threat.

5.     Because this war has exacerbated the chaos and carnage in Syria and, along with the terror inflicted by ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups fighting to take over Syria, continues to increase the number of Syrians forced to flee their country.

6.     Because we should learn from our past mistakes in Iraq and Libya that U.S. wars to overthrow secular dictators (Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi) cause even more chaos and human suffering and open the door for Islamic extremists to take over in those countries.

7.     Because the U.S. has no credible government or government leader ready to bring order, security, and freedom to the people of Syria.

8.     Because even the ‘best case’ scenario—that the U.S. successfully overthrows the Syrian government of Assad—would obligate the United States to spend trillions of dollars and the lives of American service members in the futile effort to create a new Syria.  This is what we have been trying to do in Iraq for twelve years, and we still have not succeeded.  The situation in Syria will be much more difficult than in Iraq.

9.     Because our war against the Syrian government of Assad is interfering with our being one-pointedly focused on the war to defeat ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the other Islamic extremists who are our actual enemy.

10.  Because our war to overthrow the Assad government puts us in direct conflict with Russia and increases the likelihood of war between the United States and Russia and the possibility of another world war.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said, “To destroy ISIS will take international alliances.  If we are serious about defeating ISIS and solving the refugee problem, we’ll work in partnership with Russia, France, and anyone else who is serious about destroying ISIS and affiliated Islamic extremist organizations worldwide.

“The problem is, because the U.S. is trying to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad and Russia is supporting the government of Assad, it is impossible for us to have an effective, cooperative relationship with Russia in our mutual fight against ISIS.  Our focus on overthrowing Assad is interfering with our ability to destroy ISIS.”

“We must immediately end the illegal, counter-productive war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad and ally ourselves with any countries willing to focus on destroying the Islamic extremists who pose a genuine threat to civilization,” Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard concluded.

###

http://gabbard.house.gov/index.php/press-releases/520-reps-tulsi-gabbard-austin-scott-introduce-legislation-to-end-illegal-u-s-war-to-overthrow-syrian-government-of-assad

What Eisenhower REALLY said about the “Military Industrial Complex”. The complicit role of the US Congress

Global Research, October 12, 2015
Washington’s Blog 10 October 2015

You know about President and General Dwight Eisenhower’s prescient warning about the “military-industrial complex” as he left the White House?

Well, it turns out that he was really warning about the “military-industrial-congressional” complex.

42-year CIA veteran Milton Goodman explains:

In the spring of 1961, I was part of a small group of undergraduates who met with the president’s brother, Milton Eisenhower, who was then president of Johns Hopkins University. Milton Eisenhower and a Johns Hopkins professor of political science, Malcolm Moos, played major roles in the drafting and editing of the farewell speech of January 1961.

The actual drafter of the speech, Ralph E. Williams, relied on guidance from Professor Moos. Milton Eisenhower explained that one of the drafts of the speech referred to the “military-industrial-Congressional complex” and said that the president himself inserted the reference to the role of the Congress, an element that did not appear in the delivery of the farewell address.

When the president’s brother asked about the dropped reference to Congress, the president replied: “It was more than enough to take on the military and private industry. I couldn’t take on the Congress as well.”

And see this:

Indeed, Congress members – part of the fatcat club which makes money hand over fist from war –  areheavily invested in the war industry, and routinely trade on inside information … perhaps even including planned military actions.

Study: U.S. Congress doesn’t care what Americans want (VIDEO)

Global Research, August 03, 2015
Represent.Us 30 April 2015

by Represent.Us

Have you ever felt like the government doesn’t really care what you think?

Professors Martin Gilens (Princeton University) and Benjamin I. Page (Northwestern University) looked at more than 20 years worth of data to answer a simple question: Does the government represent the people?

Their study took data from nearly 2000 public opinion surveys and compared it to the policies that ended up becoming law. In other words, they compared what the public wanted to what the government actually did. What they found was extremely unsettling: The opinions of 90% of Americans have essentially no impact at all.

This video gives a quick rundown of their findings — it all boils down to one simple graph:


5:51

Note: All sources linked at the bottom of this page

Princeton University study: Public opinion has “near-zero” impact on U.S. law.

Gilens & Page found that the number of Americans for or against any idea has no impact on the likelihood that Congress will make it law.

“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

One thing that does have an influence? Money. While the opinions of the bottom 90% of income earners in America have a “statistically non-significant impact,” Economic elites, business interests, and people who can afford lobbyists still carry major influence.

Nearly every issue we face as a nation is caught in the grip of corruption.

From taxation to national debt, education to the economy, America is struggling to address our most serious issues. Moneyed interests get what they want, and the rest of us pay the price.

They spend billions influencing America’s government. We give them trillions in return.

In the last 5 years alone, the 200 most politically active companies in the US spent $5.8 billion influencing our government with lobbying and campaign contributions.

Those same companies got $4.4 trillion in taxpayer support — earning a return of 750 times their investment.

It’s a vicious cycle of legalized corruption.

As the cost of winning elections explodes, politicians of both political parties become ever more dependent on the tiny slice of the population who can bankroll their campaigns.

To win a Senate seat in 2014, candidates had to raise $14,351 every single day. Just .05% of Americans donate more than $10,000 in any election, so it’s perfectly clear who candidates will turn to first, and who they’re indebted to when they win.

In return for campaign donations, elected officials pass laws that are good for their mega-donors, and bad for the rest of us.

Our elected officials spend 30-70% of their time in office fundraising for the next election. When they’re not fundraising, they have no choice but to make sure the laws they pass keep their major donors happy — or they won’t be able to run in the next election.

Sources

Gilens and Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” Perspective on Politics, 2014.

Washington Post, “Rich People Rule!” 2014.

Washington Post, “Once again, U.S. has most expensive, least effective health care system in survey,” 2014.

Forbes Opinion, “The tax code is a hopeless complex, economy-suffocating mess,” 2013.

CNN, “Americans pay more for slower Internet,” 2014.

The Hill, “Sanders requests DOD meeting over wasteful spending,” 2015.

CBS News, “Wastebook 2014: Government’s questionable spending,” 2014.

The Heritage Foundation, Budget Book, 2015.

The Atlantic, “American schools vs. the world: expensive, unequal, bad at math,” 2013.

CNN Opinion, “War on drugs a trillion-dollar failure,” 2012.

Feeding America, Child Hunger Fact Sheet, 2014.

New York Times, “Banks’ lobbyists help in drafting financial bills,” 2014.

New York Times, “Wall Street seeks to tuck Dodd-Frank changes in budget bill,” 2014

Sunlight Foundation, “Fixed Fortunes: Biggest corporate political interests spend billions, get trillions,” 2014.

Sunlight Foundation, Fixed Fortunes database, 2015.

Copyright Represent.Us 2015

http://www.globalresearch.ca/study-congress-literally-doesnt-care-what-you-think/5466723

Congress takes a tiny first step — the Conyers-Soho Amendment

By George Eliason
Global Research, June 19, 2015

Last week Congressmen John Conyers and Soho’s stance against providing weapons to Ukrainian nazi battalions should have been lauded by Americans because they stood up for our American values. The Ukrainian reaction to the amendment they attached on the support bill denying money to neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine provides the most telling look into Ukrainian nationalist politics the west has seen so far.

Kiev is “cleaning up” a few of the neo-nazi punisher groups many journalists including myself have been writing about over the 1 ½ years. This small admission that the torture, rape, sodomy, and murder of innocent civilians is geared to show their “democratic values.” In true Ukrainian nationalist fashion, they still give medals to the most egregious perpetrators and make examples that give photo ops for the press service.

The truth is that the crimes have been lauded across the spectrum of the Ukrainian government and as over the top as some of the stories coming out of Donbas seemed; they only scratch the surface. Ukrainian nationalism demands that its followers act without thinking, and heroism is doing the unthinkable and unspeakable. A real Ukrainian hero doesn’t need to sacrifice himself. A true hero according to this ideology will sacrifice everybody or anybody around them first (You really can’t make this stuff up!).

said Rep. John Conyers. 

I am grateful that the House of Representatives unanimously passed my amendments last night to ensure that our military does not train members of the repulsive neo-Nazi Azov Battalion…

Responding to this Andrei Bilitsky, Ukrainian Senate MP and founder of Azov Battalion stated that American’s have no right to judge Ukrainian law enforcing structures.

He said this despite the fact that Ukraine is surviving on American handouts. Instead of building the democratic government it promised at the coup, Ukrainian nationalists have squandered the nation’s wealth trying to destroy part of its own population and infrastructure.

Biletsky couldn’t resist laying blame on Vladimir Putin by saying the amendment was the result of Russian lobbyists influence in Congress. With the anti-Russian sentiment on the Hill today, does this even sound plausible in his own ears?

Before going further, I ask; Does the US Congress have the obligation to question the morality, legality, and ethics of any party that wants American tax dollar support?

To be fair, the Americans defending the Azov Battalion and directing Ukraine’s Info War stated for the record:

Congressman, the Azov battalion uses symbology reminiscent of Neo-Nazis, but the Azov Battalion is neither full of Neo-Nazis nor do they engage in Neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic or Racially prejudiced behavior, and I have watched them, consistently, for close to 18 months.”

Quite clearly, Joel Harding knows Azov Battalion very well. If he’s correct then adding the amendment to the bill was wrong. That’s just a simple, logical, and unbiased assessment. Looking at the other side of the coin, with his credentials, if he’s covering up for Azov, then Congress needs to do a deep inspection on all parties supporting Ukraine.

Biletsky goes further and says America isn’t living up to the Budapest Memorandum which guaranteed the protection of Ukraine in the event Ukraine was attacked. Ukraine gave up its right to carry nuclear weapons based on this guarantee. After the Coup, the government of Ukraine announced it was a new state. It’s even gone as far to say it doesn’t owe the debts of the deposed government.

Did Russia Ever Attack Ukraine?

In a candid moment according to the person who developed their infowar and propaganda machine –

 “Once Ukraine determined that the RF (Russian Federation) was not going to attack and Russia was not a credible threat, they launched their Anti-Terrorist Operations against the rebels (p 65).”

If Russia had at any point invaded Ukraine the United States was bound to respond militarily. Because it never happened, there could not be a real military response to an attack that exists only inside Ukrainian and American propaganda.

Experts like Ukrainian interim-president Torchynov, the SBU, and Ukraine’s own top generals have testified that no Russian invasion has ever happened on multiple occasions.

What does Andrei Biletsky really think about the Americans he wants to fund and equip Azov Battalion?

Continue reading

Pentagon budget may include $1 billion in lethal aid to Ukraine – Congressman

According to this article, this bill has been referred to the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/

Posted on Strategic Culture Foundation, March 17, 2015

Sputnik — A proposed piece of legislation providing $1 billion in lethal defensive aid to Ukraine may be incorporated into the 2016 Pentagon budget, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), US House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry said at a press briefing on Monday.

“It may be something that we want to look at on the NDAA,” Thornberry said of the legislation. “It could stand on its own, or it could be both.”

Further questioned on including the $1 billion in lethal aid to the 2016 NDAA, Thornberry said the budget legislation could “at least express the opinion [of the US Congress] on it,” which is not a formal authorization for the action.

Thornberry added he is unclear when his legislation on Ukraine will come up for a vote because there are still “jurisdictional questions” regarding the bill, which was referred out of Armed Services to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for further action.

“I’m for doing it tomorrow, myself,” he stated.

US efforts to provide lethal support to Ukraine have “strong bipartisan support” in the US House and Senate, Thornberry noted.

Thornberry introduced the bill in February together with US Representative Adam Smith, calling on the US government to provide $1 billion in lethal defensive military aid to the government in Kiev.

Smith said in February that the language in the bill was more forceful than previous pieces of legislation in terms of pressuring US President Obama to arm Ukraine.

The US Congress is currently working toward an agreement on the federal budget for fiscal year 2016. The Pentagon has requested approximately $585 billion in defense spending, which is higher than the amount of spending authorized under the Congress’ Budget Control Act limits, or sequestration.

Russia has said that providing Kiev will weapons will exacerbate the Ukrainian crisis, and goes against claims by Washington of its commitment for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2015/03/17/pentagon-budget-may-include-1bln-lethal-aid-to-ukraine-congressman.html

Russia concerned as U.S. military moves into Ukraine, Black Sea

Xinhua News Agency
March 6, 2015

Russia concerned with U.S. military deployment in Ukraine

MOSCOW: Russia is concerned with arrival of U.S. military personnel on Ukraine soil, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Up to 300 U.S. troops reportedly have been deployed to a peacekeeping center in Ukraine’s western Lvov region,” the ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters.

Noting that those U.S. military instructors would train Ukrainian soldiers from March 5 to Oct. 21 on western military hardware operations, Lukashevich said that U.S. military presence in that country has become a fact.

He also highlighted danger of U.S. plans to start massive arms supply to Ukraine despite successful implementation of the ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk, the Belarusian national capital, on Feb. 12 between Ukrainian government and Donbass insurgents in eastern Ukraine.

Moreover, the U.S. Congress has been drafting a bill on allocating one billion U.S. dollars for Ukraine’s army training and armament equipment, according to Lukashevich,

“It seems like Washington decided to take (Ukrainian armed forces) under full maintenance,” Interfax news agency quoted Lukashevich as saying.

Meanwhile, the spokesman blamed the U.S. for its military presence in the Black Sea, as NATO Maritime Command said Wednesday in an online announcement that six NATO warships had arrived in the Black Sea for joint exercises.

“This somehow contradicts the public statements of the U.S. administration supporting political settlement of conflict in Ukraine,” Lukashevich said.

He warned that such actions might lead to “the most serious consequences” for the peaceful settlement of the crisis.

Lukashevich also urged the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitoring mission in Ukraine to verify implementation of Minsk agreements, especially to monitor the weapon withdrawal by conflicting parties in the “impartial, well- organized and systemic way.”

 

https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/u-s-nato-move-military-into-ukarine-black-sea-russia-mildly-perturbed/

Victoria Nuland lied to US Congress this week — phantom Russian hoards in Ukraine

This hearing is available on C-Span for those who can stomach it: http://www.c-span.org/video/?324656-1/victoria-nuland-testimony-us-policy-toward-ukraine-Russia

This hearing dramatically shows the state of United States leaders — their willful ignorance, their staunch prejudices, their pompous outrage, their narrow education, and their appetite for war against Russia. The hearing played like theatre — completely orchestrated.

By Stephen Lendman, March 7, 2015
Posted on Global Research

On March 4, Nuland addressed House Foreign Affairs Committee members.

She called murdered US-funded, Boris Nemtsov a “freedom fighter, Russian patriot and friend.”

She absurdly called Ukraine “central to our 25 year Transatlantic quest for a ‘Europe whole, free and at peace.’ ”

Fact: Washington wants Ukraine used as a dagger against Russia’s heartland – with menacing US bases on its borders threatening is sovereign independence.

Nuland called US planned and implements year ago Maidan violence using well-trained Nazi thugs “peaceful protest(s) by ordinary Ukrainians.”

“They braved frigid temperatures, brutal beatings and sniper bullets…Ukraine began to forge a new nation…holding free and fair election…and undertaking deep and comprehensive economic and political reforms.”

Fact: US-deposed President Viktor Yanukovych’s police showed remarkable restraint.

Fact: Washington-supported Nazi thugs bore full responsibility for beatings, sniper killings and other violence.

Fact: Ukrainian parliamentary and presidential elections were farcical – with no legitimacy whatever.

Fact: So-called economic reforms involve crushing hardships on already impoverished Ukrainians in return for loan-shark-of-last-resort IMF blood money.

Fact: No responsible political reforms exist. None are planned. It bears repeating. Ukraine is a US-installed fascist dictatorship.

Nuland lied claiming

“enhance(d) (Ukrainian) transparency in public procurement, reduce(d) government inefficiency and corruption, (laws) making the banking system more transparent, and measures to improve the climate for business and…foreign investment.”

Ukrainian banking is a black hole of grand theft. State farmland and enterprises are being sold to Western predators at fire sale prices.

Corruption is worse than ever. Government and military officials are stealing everything they can get their dirty hands on – at the expense of imposing crushing austerity on deeply impoverished millions.

Hyperinflation grips the country. The “breadbasket” of Europe can’t feed its people. Rationing was imposed.

Energy prices skyrocketed to unaffordable levels. Ukraine symbolizes humanitarian disastrous conditions wherever America shows up.

Nuland recited a litany of Big Lies about the “new Ukraine,” – a Nazified menace to its people

Claiming it’s “building a peaceful, democratic, independent” nation is polar opposite truth.

She aimed the worst of her rant at Russia and Donbass freedom fighters.

She lied about Crimea “under illegal occupation” – ignoring near Crimean unanimity to reverse a historic mistake and rejoin Russia.

She turned truth on its head claiming

“(i)n eastern Ukraine, Russia and its separatist puppets unleashed unspeakable violence and pillage.”

“MH17 was shot down. Hundreds of Russian heavy weapons and troops poured across the border, fueling the conflict.”

“Sixteen Russian uninspected ‘humanitarian convoys’ entered Ukraine in violation of agreements with the Ukrainian government, the ICRC and the international community.”

“Donetsk airport was obliterated…Debaltseve, a key rail hub beyond the ceasefire lines, fell to separatist and Russian forces six days after Minsk was signed…”

“This is a manufactured conflict controlled by the Kremlin, fueled by Russian tanks and heavy weapons; financed at Russian taxpayers’ expense and costing the lives of young Russians…”

Fact: Kiev collaboratively with Washington launched naked aggression against Donbass residents wanting democratic rights everyone deserves – wanting to live free from the scourge of fascism.

Fact: No Russian hoards “poured across (Ukraine’s) border.” Kiev’s own military chief said so.

No evidence whatever shows Russian involvement. None exists except photos exposed as fakes.

Fact: Washington and Kiev bear full responsibility for unleashing unspeakable violence against Donbass residents.

Fact: One or more Ukrainian warplanes downed MH17- a US/Kiev false flag. Russia and rebels had nothing to do with it.

Fact: Russia is the only nation delivering vitally needed humanitarian aid – inspected by ICRC representatives.

Fact: Minsk ceasefire terms included nothing about Debastseve.

Fact: Washington and Kiev “manufactured” Donbass’ conflict – not Moscow or rebels.

Not a single House Foreign Affairs Committee member challenged Nuland’s obvious and outrageous Big Lies.

They accepted them as gospel. They let an unindicted war criminal insult them.

Russia and rebels are consistently and wrongfully blamed for US/Kiev crimes.

Obama wants war, not peace. He wants unchallenged control over America’s newest colony. He wants it pillaged for profit.

He wants it as a stepping-stone toward long sought regime change in Russia – replacing its sovereign independence with pro-Western puppet governance.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net . His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

 

http://www.globalresearch.ca/victoria-nuland-lied-to-us-congress-about-phantom-russian-hoards-in-ukraine/5435233

 

CIA carried out terrorist bombing in Syria’s capital; why are they claiming it now?

By Richard Becker
Liberation News, February 4, 2015

The news that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency carried out a meticulously planned terrorist car bombing in Damascus, Syria, in February 2008 appeared on the front page of the Jan. 31, 2015, Washington Post. It was an outrageous action in the capital of a sovereign state. By all definitions, a state-sponsored car bombing in the capital city of another nation is defined as terrorism.

It doesn’t take much imagination to picture what the U.S. response would be if the scenario were reversed and such an attack took place in Washington, D.C. At the very least, bombs and missiles would fall like rain on Syria.

That the CIA would carry out such an act is hardly a surprise. In its near-seven decades’ existence, the CIA has been responsible for the murder of millions and the destruction of scores of progressive movements and governments in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

Virtually every progressive leader in the countries liberated from colonialism or neo-colonialism in the post-World War II era has been targeted for assassination by the CIA at one time or another. From Vietnam to Haiti to Afghanistan and beyond, U.S. clients who had outlived their usefulness in the eyes of Washington were set up for elimination.

CIA engineered or assisted coups in Iran, Guatemala, Congo, Iraq, Indonesia, Greece, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and more, and brought to power regimes that used extreme brutality in the interests of U.S. corporations and local elites.

Organized in 1947, the agency’s first coup was in newly independent Syria just two years later. Its bloody trail confirms that the CIA is the deadliest terrorist organization in the world, bar none.

What was unusual about the 2008 assassination of a top Hezbollah commander, Imad Mughniyah, was the public revelation that the CIA, in partnership with Israel’s Mossad secret service, had carried it out.

While the CIA formally declined comment on the story, the sources for the article were past and present CIA officials, something unthinkable unless approved from inside the agency.

Standard CIA practice has long been to refuse to comment on its coups and murders—and for good reason. Regardless of whether they are “signed off on” by the president or any other U.S. official, all are blatant violations of international and U.S. domestic laws. Agency officials seek to maintain a “window of deniability” to protect themselves from possible future legal consequences.

Why, then, did the agency break with its usual practice of treating such an operation as classified and instead boast through the mass media of the assassination?

Targeting Hezbollah to derail Iran negotiations

The Post report followed two weeks after an Israeli air attack that killed six members of Hezbollah, including Jihad Mughniyah, son of Imad Mughniyah, and a high-ranking Iranian officer inside Syria. Both Hezbollah and Iran have been supporting the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria against the armed opposition, led by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Hezbollah responded to the Jan. 18 air assault by destroying an Israeli tank in the Shebaa Farms region, the last part of Lebanon still under Israeli occupation. Hezbollah played a key role in the Lebanese resistance that drove Israel out of much of Lebanese territory it occupied in 1982-2000. In 2006, it fought the powerful, U.S.-backed Israeli army to a standstill in a month-long war.

Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven wounded in Shebaa Farms. Israeli shelling killed a Spanish soldier who was part of the UN “peacekeeping” force in southern Lebanon. The Hezbollah leadership made it clear that their response was a limited one.

The Jan. 18 attack in Syria was a clear provocation, intended to draw a Hezbollah reaction. So, too, was the Post article. The aim of both was to push Hezbollah – as an ally of Iran — toward stronger retaliation.

The publication of the Post story should be understood as a form of taunting Hezbollah by elements in the U.S. establishment who are seeking a pretext for subverting the Iran nuclear negotiations.

Talal Atrissi, a Lebanese political commentator reportedly close to Hezbollah, said of the leaked CIA report on the 2008 assassination: “The leak is meant to undermine the talks, and that benefits Israel because it opposes these negotiations.”

A Lebanese professor at the American University in Beirut, Imad Salamey, pointed to the psychological warfare aspect of the Post report: “Your [Hezbollah’s] leadership has been targeted by the United States, so what do you do?”

The negotiations with Iran are at a critical stage, with late March set as the deadline to reach an agreement. There is a major division in U.S. ruling-class political circles over the negotiations.

While the Obama administration and its allies are seeking an agreement that they believe would weaken Iran, an opposing faction wants to scuttle the negotiations and impose even harsher sanctions.

Iran has stated that additional sanctions would mean an end to the negotiating process. Such an outcome could well lead to a new U.S. or U.S.-Israeli war against Iran, something that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as well as many in Washington clearly desire.

On Jan. 21, in a highly unusual breach of bourgeois protocol, Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner invited the rabidly anti-Iranian Netanyahu to lecture a Joint Session of Congress on Mar. 3 on the so-called “danger” from Iran and in support of imposing even tighter sanctions on that country. Boehner’s invitation was made without consultation with the administration.

Protests calling for “No New War Against Iran,” “End the Colonial Occupation of Palestine, “ and “End All U.S. Aid to Israel” are being planned to coincide with Netanyahu’s appearance before Congress on Mar. 3.

Source:
http://www.liberationnews.org/yes-cia-carried-terrorist-car-bombing-nations-capital/

http://www.globalresearch.ca/cia-carried-out-terrorist-bombing-in-syrias-capital-why-are-they-claiming-it-now/5429775

“America on a War Footing”– Dennis Kucinich condemns HR 5859 and its late night approval by just three members of Congress

The three members of Congress who did this:
Rep. Ed Royce (California)
Rep. Eliot Engel (New  York)
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)

Rep. Jim Gerlach (Pennsylvania) wrote HR 5859.
—————————————————————————
America on a War Footing: Three Members of Congress Just Reignited the Cold War While No One Was Looking
By former Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Posted at Global Research, December 16, 2014
http://www.globalresearch.ca/america-on-a-war-footing-three-members-of-congress-just-reignited-the-cold-war-while-no-one-was-looking/5420146
Truth Dig

Late Thursday night, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a far-reaching Russia sanctions bill, a hydra-headed incubator of poisonous conflict. The second provocative anti-Russian legislation in a week, it further polarizes our relations with Russia, helping to cement a Russia-China alliance against Western hegemony, and undermines long-term America’s financial and physical security by handing the national treasury over to war profiteers.

Here’s how the House’s touted “unanimity” was achieved: Under a parliamentary motion termed “unanimous consent,” legislative rules can be suspended and any bill can be called up. If any member of Congress objects, the motion is blocked and the bill dies.

At 10:23:54 p.m. on Thursday, a member rose to ask “unanimous consent” for four committees to be relieved of a Russia sanctions bill. At this point the motion, and the legislation, could have been blocked by a single member who would say “I object.”  No one objected, because no one was watching for last-minute bills to be slipped through.

Most of the House and the media had emptied out of the chambers after passage of the $1.1 trillion government spending package.

The Congressional Record will show only three of 425 members were present on the floor to consider the sanctions bill. Two of the three feigned objection, creating the legislative equivalent of a ‘time out.’ They entered a few words of support, withdrew their “objections” and the clock resumed.

According to the clerk’s records, once the bill was considered under unanimous consent, it was passed, at 10:23:55 p.m., without objection, in one recorded, time-stamped second, unanimously.

Then the House adjourned.

I discovered, in my 16 years in Congress, that many members seldom read the legislation on which they vote. On Oct. 24, 2001, House committees spent long hours debating the Patriot Act. At the last minute, the old bill was swapped out for a version with draconian provisions. I voted against that version of the Patriot Act, because I read it. The legislative process requires attention.

Legislation brought before Congress under “unanimous consent” is not read by most members simply because copies of the bill are generally not available. During the closing sessions of Congress I would often camp out in the House chamber, near the clerk’s desk, prepared to say “I object” when something of consequence appeared out of the blue. Dec. 11, 2014, is one of the few times I regret not being in Congress to have the ability to oversee the process.

The Russia Sanctions bill that passed “unanimously,” with no scheduled debate, at 10:23:55 p.m. on Dec. 11, 2014, includes: 1. Sanctions of Russia’s energy industry, including Rosoboronexport and Gazprom.

  1. Sanctions of Russia’s defense industry, with respect to arms sales to Syria.
  2. Broad sanctions on Russians’ banking and investments.
  3. Provisions for privatization of Ukrainian infrastructure, electricity, oil, gas and renewables, with the help of the World Bank and USAID.
  4. Fifty million dollars to assist in a corporate takeover of Ukraine’s oil and gas sectors.
  5. Three hundred and fifty million dollars for military assistance to Ukraine, including anti-tank, anti-armor, optical, and guidance and control equipment, as well as drones.
  6. Thirty million dollars for an intensive radio, television and Internet propaganda campaign throughout the countries of the former Soviet Union.
  7. Twenty million dollars for “democratic organizing” in Ukraine.
  8. Sixty million dollars, spent through groups like the National Endowment for Democracy, “to improve democratic governance, and transparency, accountability [and] rule of law” in Russia. What brilliant hyperbole to pass such a provision the same week the Senate’s CIA torture report was released.
  9. An unverified declaration that Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, is a nuclear “threat to the United States” and should be held “accountable.”
  10. A path for the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty, which went into force in 1988. The implications of this are immense. An entire series of arms agreements are at risk of unraveling. It may not be long before NATO pushes its newest client state, Ukraine, to abrogate the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Ukraine signed when it gave up its nuclear weapons, and establish a renewed nuclear missile capability, 300 miles from Moscow.
  11. A demand that Russia verifiably dismantle “any ground launched cruise missiles or ballistic missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers …”—i.e., 300 and 3,300 miles.

Read the legislation, which Congress apparently didn’t.

As reported on GlobalSecurity.org, earlier that same day in Kiev, the Ukrainian parliament approved a security plan that will:

  1. Declare that Ukraine should become a “military state.”
  2. Reallocate more of its approved 2014 budget for military purposes.
  3. Put all military operating units on alert.
  4. Mobilize military and national guard units.
  5. Increase military spending in Ukraine from 1 percent of GDP to 5 percent, increasing military spending by $3 billion over the next few years.
  6. Join NATO and switch to NATO military standards.

Under the guise of democratizing, the West stripped Ukraine of its sovereignty with a U.S.-backed coup, employed it as a foil to advance NATO to the Russian border and reignited the Cold War, complete with another nuclear showdown.

The people of Ukraine will be less free, as their country becomes a “military state,” goes into hock to international banks, faces structural readjustments, privatization of its public assets, decline of social services, higher prices and an even more severe decline in its standard of living.

In its dealings with the European Union, Ukraine could not even get concessions for its citizens to find work throughout Europe. The West does not care about Ukraine, or its people, except for using them to seize a strategic advantage against Russia in the geopolitical game of nations.

Once, with the help of the West, Ukraine fully weighs in as a “military state” and joins the NATO gun club, its annual defense budget will be around $3 billion, compared with the current defense budget of Russia, which is over $70 billion.

Each Western incitement creates a Russian response, which is then given as further proof that the West must prepare for the very conflict it has created, war as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That the recent Russia sanctions bill was advanced, “unanimously,” without debate in the House, portends that our nation is sleepwalking through the graveyards of history, toward an abyss where controlling factors reside in the realm of chance, what Thomas Hardy termed “crass casualty.” Such are the perils of unanimity.

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Here is the chain of events and the speeches made:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/R?r113:FLD001:H60307

UKRAINE FREEDOM SUPPORT ACT OF 2014 — (House of Representatives – December 11, 2014)

[Page: H10305] GPO’s PDF

Mr. ROYCE. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, Oversight and Government Reform, and the Judiciary be discharged from further consideration of the bill (H.R. 5859) to impose sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation, to provide additional assistance to Ukraine, and for other purposes, and ask for its immediate consideration in the House.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mrs. Wagner). Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?

Mr. ENGEL. Madam Speaker, reserving the right to object, although I don’t intend to object, this is a very important measure. We need to send this measure to the President’s desk, and we need to do so tonight. I am delighted that we are doing so.

It is clear that Russia is not only fomenting separatism in Ukraine, it is actively supporting the uprising and sending troops to back it up. This is an invasion, plain and simple.

I am concerned that the Kremlin’s designs don’t stop with Ukraine. Putin is already putting substantial pressure on our NATO allies and our European friends. We must not bow to his aggression.

If we don’t act now, where will we be in 6 months? Where will we be in 2 years? Where will we be in a decade?

Since the Cold War, a vision has emerged of a Europe whole, free, and at peace. That reality is within reach. Putin’s aggression puts that future in dire jeopardy. We cannot let that hope die.

We need to let President Putin know loudly and clearly we will not stand for his blatant disregard of international law, we will not abandon our friends, and, as the United States, we remain the world’s champion of freedom, democracy, and the dignity of all people.

Madam Speaker, I would like to commend the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for sending the House this bill so that we can stand as one in the face of Russia’s aggression. In the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman Royce and I, as ranking member, have worked together to say that we will not stand for Putin’s aggression.

I think this is a very, very important thing to do, very important bill to pass.

With that, I withdraw my reservation of objection.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?

Ms. KAPTUR. Madam Speaker, reserving the right to object, though I don’t intend to object, I would like to stand this evening and say, as cochair of the Ukranian Caucus, along with my dear colleagues, Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania, and the ranking member of the full committee, Congressman Eliot Engel of New York, I stand in strong support of H.R. 5859, a measure that allows America to shine the hope of liberty to the distant land of Ukraine, a measure that we hope to send to the President’s desk very soon, and we need to move it tonight.

It is clear that Russia is actively fomenting upheaval and propagandizing in the West about its illegal invasion. It is an invasion, plain and simple, of a sovereign nation. The Kremlin’s designs don’t stop with Ukraine, and we see substantial pressure being placed on our NATO allies and other European friends. Liberty cannot bow to Putin’s aggression.

Six months ago, when Russia invaded Ukraine, 4,000 more Ukrainian lives were existing and have been taken. Just according to the U.N. 1,000 additional lives have been lost since the cease-fire that was negotiated in September, and approximately 13 lives per day are being lost.

Since the cold war, a vision has emerged of a Europe whole, free, and at peace, and that reality is within reach. Putin’s reckless aggression cannot stand. The United States cannot let the hope of liberty die, surely, in a land where its people have historically suffered more than any other place on Earth. The ravages of World War II still sting their memory and ours, and motivate our actions here tonight.

By approving H.R. 5859, America sends a clear signal to the world that we are the standard bearer of liberty at home and abroad. I am very pleased to join my colleagues this evening.

I thank the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for sending the House this bill.

With that, I withdraw my reservation of objection.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?

There was no objection.