Thursday, August 16, 2012







It's war, war, war all the time thanks to no real change in the Oval Office in years.  As Syria remains targeted, international law expert Francis A. Boyle weighed in today:
Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, Boyle said today: "Without authorization by the United Nations Security Council and express authorization from the U.S. Congress pursuant to the terms of the War Powers Resolution, for President Obama to establish any type of so-called 'no-fly zone' over Syria would be illegal, unconstitutional, and impeachable."  While serving as the Lawyer for the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993, Boyle procured the NATO no-fly zone over Bosnia.  He is the author of The Bosnian People Charge Genocide (Aletheia Press: 1966).
Staying on the topic of Syria,  on yesterday's Flashpoints Radio on KPFA (here for KPFA archive -- after 14 days, the show will only be archived at Flashpoints site), guest host Kevin Pina spoke with a Syrian correspondent.  His name was something like Al'a Ibrahim.  (Something like? I'm not sure of the spelling.)  We'll do an excerpt.
Kevin Pina: My last question is you've probably heard in Damascus the increasing rhetoric by the Obama adminstration, Secretary [of State] Hillary Clinton certainly raising the stakes, saying openly that they are preparing for a post government, a government post-Assad dictatorship -- as they're describing it.  Has there been any reaction in Damascua?  Have people heard of it, these pronouncements by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?
Syrian Correspondent in Damascus: Well though it's very useful to call on the statements of the American Secretary of State Clinton and American President Barack Obama, I don't know how much we can count on them.  Let's keep in mind, President Obama said last year, in June,  that the days of President [Bashir] al-Assad were numbered.  Yet, a year later, he's still in power.  He still controls the army.  He still controls the country and everything seems to be at his hands right now.  So as important as these statemens may be as an indication of where the American politics are going and what they will do, I wouldn't count on this?  I think one way or anorther we're seeing the events in Syria.  They're saying they've been preparing for the post-Assad era and they should worry about all the free army.  The Free Army is obviously linked to al Qaeda, is obviously linked to jihadists.  Everyone knows that.  You have people coming from all over the world to fight the Syrian government, a secular government.  [. . .] Who will they attack later on?  I've been speaking today with one of my sources inside the Free Syrian Army and he told me something very interesting.  There's a rift growing right now between the Free Army and these and when we talk about the when we talk about the Free Army, we're talking about mainy that includes some deserting soldiers, some people who are against the government, some people who have issues with authority one way or the other. 
And the other side?  The Islamic Movement, the Red Brigade and the front for al Qaeda.  The correspondent noted that in addition to the growing rift, he has also observed this second side burying weapons.  Why?  They're convinced that President Bashar al-Assad will be driven out of the country and that when that happens, that's when they will need weapons to take over the country. 
That's who the US government has gotten into bed with.  And it does matter who you get in bed with.  The US government previously hopped into bed with Jasim Mohammed Hassin Ramadon.  The Iraqi should have sent off alarm signals and would have in any thinking person's head.  "Turncoat" is the only word for him.  He repeatedly turned over Iraqis, snitched on them, to the US military.  Some might applaud that but I think even those who applaud would pause when they learned that among those who snitched and saw taken away was his own father.  Matt Stafford (KOAA) told the tale of the snitch and as Iraq War veteran Delman Fletcher says in that report, "13 years old; who would turn in their father?"  Exactly.
The snitch is making headlines again.  The 22-year-old* is now accused of a violent assault.  [*22?  In the KOAA story already linked to, he is said to be 19.  That was last October.  All outlets today are reporting he is 22.]  AP explains the turncoat "is one of five Iraqis accused of rape-related chartes after a woman suffered serious injuries during a [. . .] assault in Colorado Springs."  Andy Koen (KOAA) reports that the police say "a significant of blood" was all over the crime scene and quotes police Lt Howard Black stating, "I would tell you that this is one of the most horrific [. . .] assault crimes I've seen in my career as a police officer."  [What's missing?  "Sexual."  We say over and over -- rightly -- that rape is not about sex.  So why are we calling these crimes "sexual assaults"? I don't know.  I've heard it questioned by others but only registered as a result of our noting various assaults here.  From this point forward, we're not including "sexual" before assaults in these cases.]  The other four suspects arrested are Ali Mohammed Hasan Al Juboori, Sarmad Fadhi Mohammed, Yasir Jabbar Jasim and Mustafa Sataar Al Feraji.  And, yes, they all are suspects at this point, even Jasim Mohammed Hassin Ramadon.  But when you snitch on your father, when you snitch on your own father and get him turned over to foreign forces in your country, no one's going to rush to give you too much benefit of the doubt.  All five men are Iraqis.
Jasim Moahmmed Hassin Ramadon has been charged with assault and with being an accessory.  Charges are pending against the others. CBS Denver adds that, "Police say she [the victim] sufered significant internal injuries consistent with blunt force trauma and serious bodily injuries that they say they rarely see.  Because the men are Iraqis with permanent resident status, the Colorado Springs Police Department says they may be deported if they are convicted."  On this story, the US press would do well to stop referring to Ramadon as a "hero."  In Iraq, he's not considered a hero.  You don't turn your own father over to foreign, occupying forces and get to be called a 'hero.'  If he is found guilty, his attorney will most likely (he has a public defender at present) argue against returning him to Iraq by insisting that Ramadon's collaboration with the US military means he is at risk of being killed if he returns to Iraq.  Should that argument take place, the American news consumer will grasp it a lot quicker if this 'hero' nonsense was dropped. 
The news cycle started today with Australia as Ninesmn reported former Minister of Defense Robert Hill (2001 to 2006) was insisting that Australia didn't need an inquiry into the Iraq War with him declaring, "There's a lot of big challenges out there in the world today, including challenges of peace and security."  And that could have been the end of it.  Certainly after the miserable inquiry into the death of Jake Kovko, no one can expect much in the way of honesty from the Australian government on the topic of Iraq.  But then other voices began weighing in.  Radio Australia notes, "Former defence secretary Paul Barratt has told Australia Network's Newsline it is apparent now that in the lead-up to the war there was a great deal of manipulation of intelligence within the US system." Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian) reports:
Demands for an inquiry are led by former Liberal prime minister, Malcolm Fraser, former defence secretary, Paul Barratt, and former chief of the Australian Defence Force, General Peter Gration.
In a foreword to the publication "Why did we go to war in Iraq? A call for an Australian inquiry", which says Australia was exposed to the accusation of waging an illegal war, Fraser writes that an inquiry would not rake over old coals but rather "develop a better understanding of how warfare decisions are reached and to strengthen the governmental structures against precipitous or ill-considered actions in future."
The call for an inquiry is also supported by a statement signed by 30 leading academics in politics and law, retired senior diplomats and experts in the field of war and conflict.
Ramesh Thakur (National Times) has come up with eight reasons why an inquiy is needed.  Here are the first three reasons:
There are several reasons why an inquiry would be timely, if not overdue. First, 2013 will mark the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Iraq War. A decade on is a good time to reflect back on the reasons, circumstances and decision-making procedures by which a country went to any war.
Second, there is by now widespread, although not unanimous, international agreement that the Iraq War was morally wrong, illegal, unjustified and had many seriously damaging consequences for Western interests. The primary justification for going to war was to destroy an alleged active program of building weapons of mass destruction. This has been proven false. In 2008 former secretary of state Madeleine Albright said that the invasion of Iraq was ''the greatest disaster in American foreign policy'', worse even than Vietnam in its unintended consequences. We need to study the long-term consequences of the war for Australia's security interests.
Third, prime minister John Howard committed Australia to war by citing the ANZUS Treaty. Yet the Iraq War may itself have been in violation of Australia's international obligations under ANZUS. Its Article 1 obligates all members to settle any international disputes ''by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations''. Australia must reconcile its ANZUS and UN obligations.

Will Australia get an inquiry?  It would put it ahead of the US which still hasn't had a real one.  Also true is that John Howard, prime minister at the start of the Iraq War, doesn't feel like he's ever gotten the credit he deserves.  His envy of all the press attention on War Criminals Bush and Blair could have him itching to appear before ain inquiry board.
Kristina Wong (Washington Times) reports, "The Pentagon's top officer [Gen Martin Dempsey, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] will travel to Iraq at the end the month to check on progress in a country that has been beset by sectarian violence and political turmoil since the United States withdrew most of its troops in December."
And in Iraq, multiple acts of violence.  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports a Baquba car bombing claimed 3 lives and left nine more people injured while in Muqdadiya a car bombing was quickly followed by a second bombing resulting in 7 deaths and twenty-seven people injured. al-Shorfa adds that Iyad Hussein Ahmed ("lead judicial investigator in Mosul) was shot dead in Mosul. All Iraq News reports a police officer was shot dead in Mosul and a woman and her daughter were left wounded due to an attack on the checkpoint by unknown assailants.  AP reports 2 Yazidis were shot dead in Qahataniya (the two were brothers).  AFP notes a Dohuk sticky bombing which left two people injured.  In addition, Alsumaria notes the PKK has announced they killed 2 Turkish soldiers near the Iraq border. Margaret Griffis ( counts 13 people reported dead yesterday in Iraq and another seventeen reported injured.  Also today, Ahlul Bayt News Agency reports another mass arrest, this time 7 were arrested in Anbar Province.

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