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MAY 2012 Reference List

May 15, 2012
Image: Young woman killed in a taxi on her way to work when bombs exploded in Damascus on Thursday 10 May 2012.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES OF VICTIMS OF MASSACRES

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May 31 UN officials acknowledge armed gangs’ role in Syria unrest

*********************************************************************************************************************************Eye witness account of massacres ( this account should be read together with the ones published in the mainstream media which point the finger at the govt and ‘Alawite gangs’ – a recipe for civil war.)

http://sabinachiaburu.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/hulahoms/

*********************************************************************************************************************************Amnesty’s links with Robert Ford and his possible links with death squads

http://anti-imperialism.com/2012/03/31/death-squad-coordinator-robert-ford-keynotes-amnesty-international-annual-meeting/

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 UN Webcast 30 May Bashar Jaafari  Jaafari presents some of the results of the  preliminary investigation into the Houla massacre.
http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/2012/05/bashar-jaafari-syria-on-syria-security-council-media-stakeout-7.html*********************************************************************************************************************************
” In Syria, there is no Plan for Peace”  Patrick Seale, ME expert and author

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/27/syria-no-plans-peace

*********************************************************************************************************************************Auction in hotel in Saudi Arabia to raise money for suicide bombers and fighters to go to Syria.  Seems as though money for suicide bombers will go to their family.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ha94Xz59dg&feature=player_embedded

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Israeli views on Syriahttp://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/israels-perspective-on-syria/4045926
Earlier this year Israeli academic and journalist Jonathan Spyer was smuggled across the Turkish border into Syria. On horseback, with local help, he made his way to Idlib and spent a week with rebels from the Free Syrian Army. Two weeks after he returned home, the Syrian Army took the town. He speaks on the regional implications of the conflict in Syria.

*********************************************************************************************************************************Russian views expressed in UN

Vitaly I. Churkin (Russian Federation) on Syria – Security Council Media Stakeout

30 May 2012

http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/2012/05/vitaly-i-churkin-russian-federation-on-syria-security-council-media-stakeout-5.html

Alexander A. Pankin (Russian Federation) on Syria – Security Council Media Stakeout

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Note: ME experts you rarely hear in the Australian media include: Jeremy Salt, Alastair Crooke, Sharmine Narwani, and John R. Bradley.  Fiona Hill has written several articles for The Drum, New Matilda, and The Conversation. There are references to their articles on these posts, but they can be accessed with a quick google.

 

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There are officially no Syrian refugees in Turkey – only “visitors from Syria.” Well-accommodated and enjoying Turkey’s hospitality, they return home, contradicting the “evil Assad regime scares its own people away” narrative sold by Western media.
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ABC RADIO NATIONAL COUNTERPOINT
After The Arab Spring
Interview with John R. Bradley  30 April 2012
John R. Bradley is a foreign correspondent who has written on the Middle East for The Washington Quarterly, The New York Post, The New Republic, The London Times and The Spectator and author of “After the Arab Spring” Ref: http://johnrbradley.wordpress.com/
The Arab Spring put the Arab world firmly on the path to democracy and a better future, didn’t it? Well, maybe not. It was certainly led by liberals and they rallied the Arab masses but then they were drowned out by the slogans of the better organised and more popular radical Islamists.
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NB: this is from March, but always worth referencing
ASIA TIMES    MARCH 9 2012   Syria: Straining credulity?

By Alastair Crooke

The UN Secretary General was reported on March 3 saying that he had received “grisly reports” that Syrian government forces were arbitrarily executing, imprisoning and torturing people in Homs after retaking control of the Baba Amr district from insurgents. Did he really believe this; or was he just “saying it”?

“One of the defining bifurcations of the future will be the conflict between information masters and information victims” the US officer assigned to the Deputy Chief of Staff (Intelligence), charged with defining the future of warfare, wrote in the US Army War College Quarterly in 1997.

Alastair Crooke speaks at debate some years ago on “Time to Quit Iraq is now”  making some pertinent points for today, e.g. re need for diplomacy and dialogue.
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There is confirmation from various sources that an extremist group linked to Al-Qaeda has been responsible for recent suicide bombings in Syria.
 ISLAMIST GROUP CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR DAMASCUS BOMBINGS  12 May 2012

Al-Nusra Front, an Islamist group unknown before the Syrian revolt, released a video on Saturday claiming responsibility for twin suicide bombings in Damascus that killed 55 people.

The video said the bombings on Thursday, the deadliest since the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime erupted in March 2011, were “in response to regime bombing of residential areas in Damascus, Idlib, Hama, Daraa provinces and others.”

Al-Nusra Front, which does not give a precise date for the attacks, says it has launched a “military operation in Damascus against the regime strongholds, targeting the Palestine branch of the security services.”

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BBC Profile: Syria’s Al-Nusra Front

12 May 2012

The al-Nusra Front has said it was behind Thursday’s bomb attacks in the Syrian capital, Damascus, the latest and deadliest since the uprising in the country began in March 2011. The BBC News website here profiles the shadowy jihadist group.

Intelligence Chief Concerned About Al Qaeda in Syria Conflict

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before Congress today that al Qaeda and Sunni extremists were seeking to gain influence in Syria,  possibly infiltrating some of the fragmented opposition groups engaged in fighting there.

“Another disturbing phenomenon that we’ve seen recently, apparently, is the presence of extremists who have infiltrated the  opposition groups,”  Clapper told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“The two bombings in Damascus in December … and then the two additional bombings in Aleppo, both of which were  targeted against security and intelligence buildings … had all the  earmarks of an al Qaeda-like attack.  So we believe that al Qaeda in Iraq is extending its reach into Syria.” Clapper said.

“The state of the opposition, which is quite fragmented, it’s very localized — the Syrian National Council really doesn’t … command and control these oppositionist groups,” Clapper said.

DAILY STAR:  Militants claim deadly Syria bombings in video12 May 2012

BEIRUT: A video posted online in the name of a shadowy militant group late Friday claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings in the Syrian capital this week that killed 55 people.

In the video, a group calling itself the Al-Nusra Front says the bombing was in response to attacks on residential areas by the regime of President Bashar Assad.

5.  This is a very important article, and deserves attention.  What is covered by its writer concerns the manner in which the UN is to tackle the violence in Syria if it is serious about establishing peace in the region.  For some reason (perhaps because it raises deep concerns about the approach of the UN to Syria?), it is difficult to provide a link which will take you to the original article. However, it can be accessed from some blogs.

Crunch Time in Syria: The UN Protocol’s Jihadist Loophole

By Sharmine Narwani  9th May 2012

We have arrived at a determining moment in the Syrian crisis. The choices are startlingly simple:

1) Cautious, incremental movement toward political reconciliation and reform spearheaded by the Syrian government and closely monitored by Kofi Annan’s UN mission, Moscow, Tehran and Beijing.

2) Dangerous escalation of violence and militarization that will increasingly include foreign jihadists and is likely spill to over into the broader Middle East.

After only one week of observing events in Syria first-hand, United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) commander Major-General Robert Mood spelled out the dwindling options……….

The 600-pound gorilla in the room is the growing presence of Al-Qaeda and other jihadists operating inside the Syrian theatre.


6.

Homs Opposition: Al Farouq Battalion is Killing Us

by Sharmine Narwani 13 May 2012

It is extremely rare to have a direct peephole into events on the ground in Syria. The hard-fought battle over narratives often leaves truth in the dust. But among the cache of recently leaked emails (exclusive to Al Akhbar) from Syrian National Council (SNC) President Burhan Ghalioun’s inbox, comes this gem – important information that further highlights the glaring loophole in UN Envoy Kofi Annan’s demilitarization plans for Syria: rogue fighters.

7.

CONFIRMED: Opposition Extremists Behind Damascus Bombings

US “officials” admit Al Qaeda running loose in Syria, fail to mention 2007 US plan to put them there.
by Tony Cartalucci


Editor’s Note: The term “Sunni extremist” refers specifically to terrorists who have been approached by, manipulated, and used to carry out violence across the Arab World, as specified in Seymour Hersh’s 2007 article, “The Redirection.” It by no means indicates that Sunni Muslims as a sect are behind the violence – as many Sunnis have been targeted by the West’s terrorist proxy forces as well. 

May 12, 2012 – Regarding the recent, devastating bombings in Damascus, Syria, an Associated Press report, “Syria opposition: Assad trying to destroy UN peace,” featured the “chief of Syria’s major opposition political group Syrian National Council,” Burhan Ghalioun, baselessly claiming “the relationship between the Syrian regime and al Qaeda is very strong.” Also included was the comments of a “Free Syrian Army” commander who claimed, “the Syrian regime wanted through these terrorist explosions to support its silly story of the presence of armed and terrorist gangs.”

However, not even a day passed before another AP report has now confirmed that the terrorist Al-Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for the deadly blasts that ripped through Damascus this week, killing scores and injuring hundreds, and shattering opposition claims that the Syrian government was behind them. The Al-Nusra Front has been at the center of several acts of violence across Syria, as part of a wider Sunni-extremist led, NATO and Gulf State-backed, militant campaign to destabilize and overthrow the Syrian government.AP’s “Militant video claims responsibility for deadly Syria blasts,” also states that, “Western officials say there is little doubt that Islamist extremists, some associated with al-Qaida, have made inroads in Syria as instability has spread since the start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad 14 months ago.” What AP fails to mention is that the West, in coordination with Israel and Saudi Arabia, have been building up an extremist, militant Sunni front since at least 2007, according to a 2007 New Yorker report by renowned journalist Seymour Hersh titled, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?.”
8.    Dr Franklin Lamb presents questions here, very pertinent ones, regarding the weapons found on board the Lutfallah.  They had originated from Libya. Questions for investigative reporters, but where are the reporters or the media outlets who will print their disclosures?
THE LUTFALLAH ARMS SMUGGLING SCANDAL
 
by Dr Franklin Lamb  5/5/12

….On 5/2/12, Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdel-Karim, following a meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, accused Gulf countries, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia, of being behind the Syria-bound arms shipments.

“The ship was bound for the Syrian opposition; this is sure given that the political and security leaderships in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other countries are behind these acts, which undermine the security of Syria, Lebanon and the region.”

Many questions remain in need of answers. Any serious first year law student would ask the questions that presumably Lebanese investigating judges and the media will ask. A few of the more obvious ones would include:…..

ARTICLES AND INFORMATION TO BE  ADDED  TO THIS PAGE INCLUDE:
Questions about the visit of  Donatella Rovera,Amnesty’s ME investigator, to Idlib in April. Did she enter Syria illegally?  If so, why and who helped her?  How would that colour her reporting?  Who is she?  She speaks Arabic, but what is her employment history?  Is that relevant when assessing the veracity of her reporting?  (NB Suzanne Nossel, US Amnesty director, used to work for US State Department and wrote ‘Smart Power’, which has been referenced by Hilary Clinton.) Rovera’s  report based entirely, it seemed to this editor, on the claims of anti-government sources, was published in The Guardian just 2 or 3 days before the Turkish PM, Erdogan, visited the camps across the border to give hope to the armed struggle of the ‘rebels’. Why do Amnesty reports on Syria differ so much from Amnesty reports on Libya, which do expose the violence and subterfuge of rebels and anti-government forces, to some extent at least.
For a critique of the work of Amnesty, there will be reference to an article by Dr Franklin Lamb as well as criticisms of Amnesty by US professor of law, Francis Boyle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Boyle
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