Saturday 31 August 2013

US wants a "carefully tailored" bombing campaign

From Mike Ruppert –-


Is the world really, really going to allow the United States to carry out a limited missile strike just to save face? Really?!

The US marshaled diplomatic power, military power, and put all its prestige on the line for what was intended and blasted to be a full-scale, multi-national attack including a No-Fly and regime change. The rhetoric was a five-alarm fire. The world suddenly reacted in a complete state of fear and arousal. China stated they believed this was an attempt at regime change, the trigger for World War III.

So now, as seven billion of us are reeling with a FEAR HANGOVER, we are expected to feel relief and ALLOW the US to launch a limited strike (with regime change off the table) just so that it can save face and we are not incinerated?????

"Those who would sacrifice liberty for the sake of security, deserve neither."

If the world rolls over for that then I wash my hands of the whole human race. Instead if the bully killing us outright we should all just sit back and accept it while he cuts of (just) another finger, or a foot. What a bunch of gutless, spineless, cowering wretches we have become!

I truly believe and see that there are evil ones -- The Powers That Were -- who derive their energy and power from keeping and making us afraid. They have just enjoyed a ridiculous feast.

And all of us should have had just about enough of being yanked around this way, yard by bloody yard, inch by inch, day by day, and year by year.

Fukushima and Climate Collapse are still there. And we have just been suckered into expending the energy we need for them.

Today is one of those days when I ask whether the human race actually deserves to survive, whether our spirit has totally caved in? That may actually have been the spiritual warfare that has was waged so effectively on us this last week.

Where is the human spirit? What has become of it? When is enough, enough?

Let them that have eyes, see. Let them that have ears, hear.

Kerry makes case for limited military action on Syria
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday made a broad case for limited U.S. military action against Syria for its suspected use of chemical weapons, saying it could not go unpunished for such a "crime against humanity."

30 August, 2013

Kerry also stressed that anything the United States might do would be carefully tailored and would not in any way resemble the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, nor its intervention to help topple former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

"It will not involve any boots on the ground. It will not be open-ended. And it will not assume responsibility for a civil war that is already well underway," Kerry said of any action U.S. President Barack Obama might pursue.

"Any action that he might decide to take will be (a) limited and tailored response to ensure that a despot's brutal and flagrant use of chemical weapons is held accountable," he added in a brief and forceful televised speech at the U.S. State Department. He said other nations that might use weapons of mass destruction were watching to see if Syria escaped with impunity

1429 killed by gas in Syria - US
The United States says the chemical weapons used by Syrian government forces in Damascus last week killed 1429 people.

Radio NZ,
31 August, 2013

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday the dead included 426 children.
In a live TV address from the White House. Mr Kerry revealed details of a US intelligence report that President Barack Obama is using to make the case for retaliation against the Syrian regime.

Mr Kerry said regime forces had prepared for the attack in Damascus three days earlier.

"We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and landed only in opposition-held areas," he said.

Mr Kerry said the administration will consult Congress and the American people over the next step.

The BBC reports the UN Security Council is unlikely to approve any military intervention because permanent member Russia is a close ally of the Syrian government, and has vetoed two previous draft resolutions.

After Mr Kerry spoke, President Obama said the Security Council has shown an incapacity to act and part of America's obligation as a leader in the world is to make sure that when a government uses prohibited weapons, it is held to account .
He said a lot of people in the world think something needs to be done about the situation in Syria, but "nobody wants to do it".

The poison gas incident occurred on 21 August. Previous accounts put the number of dead at 335.

Mr Obama is using the report to make the case for retaliation against the Assad regime.

However, Mr Kerry stressed anything America might do would be carefully tailored.

He said it would not in any way resemble the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, nor its intervention to help topple the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Mr Kerry said the United States is not alone in its quest to punish the Syrian regime, citing the support of France and Australia.

French president determined to act

President Francois Hollande says a vote in the British parliament against military intervention in Syria won't affect France's will to act.

He still supports punitive action against the Syrian government because of the deaths in Damascus.

British MPs voted 285 to 272 on Thursday against involvement. Thirty Conservative and nine Liberal Democrat MPs voted against the motion.
Prime Minister Cameron said it was clear Parliament did not want action and "the government will act accordingly".

Mr Hollande said the vote made no difference to France's position.

"Each country is sovereign to participate or not in an operation. That is valid for Britain as it is for France," he said.

He said that if the UN Security Council was unable to act, a coalition would form including the Arab League and European countries.

"But there are few countries which can have the capacity of enforcing any sanction through the appropriate measures," he said. "France will be part of it. France is ready."

Neither France nor the United States need parliamentary approval for action and Secretary of State John Kerry said the US could not be held to the foreign policy of others.

The French parliament is due to debate the issue before next Wednesday. The BBC reports Mr Hollande did not rule out the possibility that military action could be taken before then.

Meanwhile, Germany said on Friday it will not participate in any military action and Canada said no Canadian military mission is planned.

UN tests

President Bashar al-Assad denies that his forces used chemical weapons claims, blaming rebels.

UN chemical weapons inspectors visited a hospital in a government-controlled area of Damascus on Friday. The whole team will leave Syria on Saturday.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the inspectors will then brief him on their preliminary findings.

The BBC reports Mr Ban met the five permanent members of the Security Council in New York agains on Friday.

They have held talks twice already this week, but after the last meeting on Thursday, diplomats said they were "far apart".

US set for Syria strikes after Kerry says evidence of chemical attack is 'clear'
  • Secretary of state brands Assad 'a thug and a murderer'
  • Kerry: attack killed 1,429 Syrians including 426 children
  • 'History will judge us harshly if we turn a blind eye'
  • Obama considering 'limited, narrow action'

30 August, 2013

John Kerry advanced what he called a "clear and compelling" case that Syria was responsible for a chemical attack that killed nearly 1,500 people, in a statement on Friday that made clear the US was on the verge of military strikes against the Assad regime.

Speaking in a blunt terms, the US secretary of state branded the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad a "thug and a murderer", and said the United States could not stand by and let a dictator get away with such serious crimes.

"History will judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turn a blind eye to a dictator's wanton use of weapons of mass destruction," Kerry said in a briefing to reporters at the State Department in Washington.

Speaking soon after, Barack Obama said that he was considering "limited, narrow action" against Syria. "We can not accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale," he said.

Pointedly, Kerry made no mention of the decision by the British government to pull out of the coalition, after prime minister David Cameron lost a crucial vote in the House of Commons on Thursday. Instead, Kerry referred to France as the "oldest ally" of the US, after president Fran├žois Hollande pledged support for military action against Syria.

As Kerry spoke, the White House released a an unclassified four-page dossier. The assessment said the US intelligence community had "high confidence" that Assad's forces were behind the attack, which it said killed at least 1,429 Syrians, including at least 426 children.

Obama said that the US did not intend to be dragged into Syria's civil war. "We're not considering any open-ended commitment," he said at a photo opportunity with Baltic leaders. "We're not considering any boots-on-the-ground approach."

The president conceded that many people, himself included, were "war-weary" after a decade of US military interventions, but added: "A lot of people think something should be done – but nobody wants to do it."

An attack could happen as soon as Saturday, when UN weapons inspectors are due to leave Syria, after their mission in the country was apparently cut short amid expectations of an attack. On Thursday, the White House said any strikes would be "discrete and limited".

Kerry said there will be no boots on the ground, and that the attack would not be open-ended, "and it will not assume responsibility for a civil war that is already under way." He described a "limited and tailored response that a despot's flagrant use of chemical weapons will be held responsible".

He insisted the impending military action would not be a similar to conflicts in Libya, Afghanistan or Iraq, saying of the 2003 invasion of the last named: "We will not repeat that moment."

However, in a line reminiscent of George W Bush's "axis of evil", Kerry specifically mentioned a host of US enemies, saying Iran could be "emboldened" if the US did not act.

"It is about Hezbollah, and North Korea, and every other terrorist group that might ever again contemplate the use of weapons of mass destruction. Will they remember the Assad regime was stopped from those weapons current or future use? Or will they remember that the world stood aside and created impunity?"

Kerry portrayed taking tough action as a matter of US credibility, saying other countries that might use chemical weapons were watching. "They want to see whether the United States and our friends mean what we say," he said. "It matters deeply to the credibility and the future of the United States of America and our allies."

The secretary of state, who along with Obama has been involved in an intense diplomatic offensive to garner support for its Syria policy, sought to cast the planned action as having broad support. He mentioned an Arab League statement which condemned the Syria, and quoted statements from leaders of Australia and France.

In his statement, Kerry gave the most detailed assessment yet of what happened on 21 August. He said Assad's forces had the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the Middle East and used them several times this year. He said Syria also wanted to clear problematic Damascus suburbs of opposition forces and had grown "frustrated".

"We know that three days before the attack the Syrian regime's chemical weapons personnel were on the ground in the area making preparations," Kerry said.

He claimed Syrian forces took precautions such as putting on gas masks before the attacks.

"We know that these were specific instructions. We know where the rockets were launched from and at what time; we know where they landed and when. We know rockets came only from regime controlled areas and went only to opposition controlled or contested neighbourhoods." Thirty minutes later, "all hell broke loose" on social media, Kerry said.

Kerry chose to highly emotive language to describe the aftermath of the attacks, painting a vivid scene of "twitching bodies" and victims "foaming at the mouth", all captured in video posted online. "Instead of being tucked safely in their beds at home, we saw rows of children, lying side by side, sprawled on a hospital floor – all of them dead from Assad's gas, and surrounded by parents and grandparents who had suffered the same fate."

The secretary of state sought to reassure the public that the intelligence, which has come under growing scrutiny in recent days, was reliable. "This is common sense," he said. "This is evidence. These are facts."

Kerry added that it was in the interests of the world to punish Assad, but repeatedly cast the impending action as a matter of US credibility. "If we choose to live in a world where a thug and a murderer like Bashar Al-Assad can gas thousands of his own people with impunity, even after the United States and our allies said no, and then the world does nothing about it, there will be no end to the test of our resolve, and the dangers that will flow from those others who believe they can do what they will."

Meanwhile, senior administration officials pressed the case against Syria in a telephone briefing for journalists. "I don't think there's any doubt to the world that a chemical weapons attack took place given the thousands of sources," one said on the call.

The senior officials were authorised by the White House to speak on condition of anonymity. On Thursday, White House deputy spokesman Josh Earnest discouraged reporters from trusting anonymous administration sources, saying they should "place more credibility in on-the-record statements".

"We feel like our case is strong, our case is clear: the Assad regime is responsible for this mass casualty chemical weapons attack," one of the officials said.

Kerry's remarks came five days after he first signalled the US was planning to take tough action against Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons in a suburb of Damascus. Kerry and Obama have been involved in an intense round of diplomacy over the last week, seeking to conjure international backing for a tough response against Syria. However, they are now faced with launching a military assault with less support than George W Bush received for the 2003 war in Iraq.

Three out of the five permanent members of the UN security council, the only international authority that can sanction military action that is not in a nation state's self-defence, now oppose action.

Russian and Chinese opposition was widely expected. But the vote in the British parliament on Thursday came as a deep surprise to Washington, which appears to have taken for granted that London, which has spent months lobbying for tough action on Syria, would support strikes.

The White House has indicated it does not believe it needs the backing of Congress, nor the support of traditional allies, before taking action against Assad.

France is the only major power that has indicated it would support force against Syria. French president Fran├žois Hollande told Le Monde on Friday that France wants "proportional and firm action", adding that the chemical weapons attack in Syria "cannot and must not remain unpunished".

Germany has ruled out backing military action against Syria, and it was not clear whether the US had significant support from the region, although the Arab League strongly condemned the Syrian regime.

Late on Thursday, the administration held a conference call with congressional leaders and the chairs and ranking members of relevant committees. The White House said the call was to "to brief them on the administration's thinking and seek their input" on what to do about Syria.

Reports said senior administration officials assured members of Congress that there was "no doubt" Assad's forces were responsible for the chemical attack. Sixteen members of Congress asked questions during the 90-minute call; 11 apparently did not.

Administration officials, while pledging to work with Congress, were non-committal about whether a strike requires legislative approval, a longstanding tension between the congressional and executive branches of the US government.

There were few signs of a consensus emerging from the meeting. The Democratic senator Carl Levin, the chairman of the armed services committee, was notably more cautious than the administration's position. "I have previously called for the United States to work with our friends and allies to increase the military pressure on the Assad regime by providing lethal aid to vetted elements of the Syrian opposition," Levin said after the call.

"Tonight, I suggested that we should do so while UN inspectors complete their work and while we seek international support for limited, targeted strikes in response to the Assad regime's large-scale use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people."

Eliot Engel of New York, the top Democrat on the House foreign affairs committee, said after the call that Obama was "still weighing his options and will continue to consult with Congress". Engel said he was persuaded that Assad's forces used chemical weapons "intentionally" against Syrian civilians on 21 August.

Politico reported that Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress and a former House speaker, pressed Obama on the phone call to "do something" in response to the chemical attack.

Yet even some some typically hawkish Republicans are balking at intervening in Syria. Jim Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate armed services committee, issued a statement ahead of the call rejecting a Syria strike, partly on the grounds that Obama's Pentagon budget cannot afford it, and questioning the utility of a limited attack.

"It is vital we avoid short-sighted military action that would have little impact on the long-term trajectory of the conflict," Inhofe said. "We can't simply launch a few missiles and hope for the best."

More than 200 members of Congress, mostly Republicans, have signed a letter rejecting military action without the explicit permission of Congress.

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