Syria and Diplomacy

by craig on January 21, 2014 11:49 am in Uncategorized

The problem with the Geneva Communique from the first Geneva round on Syria is that the government of Syria never subscribed to it.  It was jointly chaired by the League of Arab States for Syria, whatever that may mean.  Another problem is that it is, as so many diplomatic documents are, highly ambiguous.  It plainly advocates a power sharing executive formed by some of the current government plus the opposition to oversee a transition to democracy.  But it does not state which elements of the current government, and it does not mention which elements of the opposition, nor does it make plain if President Assad himself is eligible to be part of, or to head, the power-sharing executive, and whether he is eligible to be a candidate in future democratic elections.

Doubtless the British, for example, would argue that the term transition implies that he will go.  The Russians will argue there is no such implication and the text does not exclude anybody from the process.  Doubtless also diplomats on all sides were fully aware of these differing interpretations and the ambiguity is quite deliberate to enable an agreed text. I would say that the text tends much more to the “western” side, and that this reflects the apparently weak military position of the Assad regime at that time and the then extant threat of western military intervention.  There has been a radical shift in those factors against the western side in the interim. Expect Russian interpretations now to get more hardline.

Given the extreme ambiguity of the text, Iran has, as it frequently does, shot itself in the foot diplomatically by refusing to accept the communique as the basis of talks and thus getting excluded from Geneva.  Iran should have accepted the communique, and then at Geneva issued its own interpretation of it.

But that is a minor point.  The farcical thing about the Geneva conference is that it is attempting to promote into power-sharing in Syria “opposition” members who have no democratic credentials and represent a scarcely significant portion of those actually fighting the Assad regime in Syria.  What the West are trying to achieve is what the CIA and Mossad have now achieved in Egypt; replacing the head of the Mubarak regime while keeping all its power structures in place. The West don’t really want democracy in Syria, they just want a less pro-Russian leader of the power structures.

The inability of the British left to understand the Middle East is pathetic.  I recall arguing with commenters on this blog who supported the overthrow of the elected President of Egypt Morsi on the grounds that his overthrow was supporting secularism, judicial independence (missing the entirely obvious fact the Egyptian judiciary are almost all puppets of the military) and would lead to a left wing revolutionary outcome.  Similarly the demonstrations against Erdogan in Istanbul, orchestrated by very similar pro-military forces to those now in charge in Egypt, were also hailed by commenters here.  The word “secularist” seems to obviate all sins when it comes to the Middle East.

Qatar will be present at Geneva, and Qatar has just launched a pre-emptive media offensive by launching a dossier on torture and murder of detainees by the Assad regime, which is being given first headline treatment by the BBC all morning

There would be a good dossier to be issued on torture in detention in Qatar, and the lives of slave workers there, but that is another question.

I do not doubt at all that atrocities have been committed and are being committed by the Assad regime.  It is a very unpleasant regime indeed.  The fact that atrocities are also being committed by various rebel groups does not make Syrian government atrocities any better.

But whether 11,000 people really were murdered in a single detainee camp I am unsure.  What I do know is that the BBC presentation of today’s report has been a disgrace.  The report was commissioned by the government of Qatar who commissioned Carter Ruck to do it.  Both those organisations are infamous suppressors of free speech.  What is reprehensible is that the BBC are presenting the report as though it were produced by neutral experts, whereas the opposite is the case.  It is produced not by anti torture campaigners or by human rights activists, but by lawyers who are doing it purely and simply because they are being paid to do it.

The BBC are showing enormous deference to Sir Desmond De Silva, who is introduced as a former UN war crimes prosecutor.  He is indeed that, but it is not the capacity in which he is now acting.  He is acting as a barrister in private practice.  Before he was a UN prosecutor, he was for decades a criminal defence lawyer and has defended many murderers.  He has since acted to suppress the truth being published about many celebrities, including John Terry.

If the Assad regime and not the government of Qatar had instructed him and paid him, he would now be on our screens arguing the opposite case to that he is putting.  That is his job.  He probably regards that as not reprehensible.  What is reprehensible is that the BBC do not make it plain, but introduce him as a UN war crimes prosecutor as though he were acting in that capacity or out of concern for human rights.  I can find no evidence of his having an especial love for human rights in the abstract, when he is not being paid for it.  He produced an official UK government report into the murder of Pat Finucane, a murder organised by British authorities, which Pat Finucane’s widow described as a “sham”.  He was also put in charge of quietly sweeping the Israeli murders on the Gaza flotilla under the carpet at the UN.

The question any decent journalist should be asking him is “Sir Desmond De Silva, how much did the government of Qatar pay you for your part in preparing this report?  How much did it pay the other experts?  Does your fee from the Government of Qatar include this TV interview, or are you charging separately for your time in giving this interview?  In short how much are you being paid to say this?”

That is what any decent journalist would ask.  Which is why you will never hear those questions on the BBC.

 

 

 

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2,917 Comments

  1. Lyse Doucet – one of the state broadcaster’s finest – hyping up Montreux.
    https://twitter.com/bbclysedoucet

    She even gives a nod to the now discredited McChrystal on Afghanistan.

    She can be heard on a World Service trailer talking about stories and how they tell them themselves. How true.

  2. Is this foursome rehearsing for the Hokey Cokey?

    https://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/72437000/jpg/_72437663_72436998.jpg

    In case you have not heard of it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokey_cokey

  3. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella! 21 Jan, 2014 – 5:42 pm

    In another of his discursive comments Habbabkuk asks us to join him in celebrating an IMF prediction that UK economic growth is improving.

    “Splendid news courtesy of the IMF, whose latest forecast had upped UK growth from 1,9% to 2,4%.

    I’m certain that all here who wish the UK well will share my pleasure at this news!”

    I would be happy to join him in his celebrations if I knew what his understanding of economic growth is and how it would benefit the majority of us if it turned out to be true. He seems difficult to pin down on this and does not answer my requests for his understanding of economic growth. If it was the growth in social housing I would be celebrating with him. Likewise the growth in the number of doctors, nurses, teachers. I am eager to share his joy. I have asked him if this economic growth is GDP but he does not seem to know.

  4. If anyone is interested in a war criminal’s opinion on Syria, Ms Amanpour provides the opportunity here. She is a well known stooge for the warmongers.

    http://amanpour.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/21/blair-sickened-by-alleged-syria-torture-photos/

    Lower down the page there is another video of him grinning like an idiot when asked about the attempted citizen’s arrest. A true psychopath.

    Blair not bothered by citizen’s arrest
    http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2014/01/21/amanpour-blair-citizen-arrest-bothered-iraq-waiter-bother-gorani.cnn.html

  5. “Much as I want to ‘Someone’ I cannot bring myself to listen.”

    mark golding

    Read it!.

  6. “As Geneva talks open, US advances trumped-up torture charges against Syria”

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/01/22/syri-j22.html

  7. I heard Kerry’s speech Someone. The rhetoric, the hyperbole and the lies were unbearable to hear.

    The Torygraph view of the proceedings

    Syria peace talks: live
    As the long-awaited Geneva 2 peace conference opens in Switzerland, follow our coverage of developments as they happen
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10588908/Syria-peace-talks-live.html

  8. Uzbek in the UK

    22 Jan, 2014 - 10:43 am

    Meanwhile, Russia keeps its shit rolling in Ukraine. Kremlin is playing on multiple fronts nowadays.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/21/ukraine-protests_n_4635120.html

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25838962

  9. Uzbek in the UK

    22 Jan, 2014 - 10:56 am

    Meanwhile, Uzbek regime of bloody old dog karimov is getting more and more paranoid. Uzbek government has not introduced criminal liability for concealing terrorism info or training of the terrorists. Considering imperfectness of uzbek law enforcement agencies and that “this law also provides for exempting from responsibility those who voluntarily report authorities about such a training; actively help to solve a criminal case, identify others who underwent such a training and those who organize and/or finance training; help identify training location and if their actions contain no other crimes” this can be translated as opening pandora’s box of Stalin’s type ‘donos’ tip-offs or ‘anonimka’ anonymous tip-off.

    http://enews.fergananews.com/news.php?id=2793&mode=snews

  10. More on the Ghouta false flag:

    http://nsnbc.me/2014/01/19/corroborated-top-us-and-saudi-officials-directly-responsible-for-chemical-weapons-attack/

    I wonder what Saudi/Mossad have up their sleeves for when the cameras roll in Sochi?

    When the latest dazzling spectacle goes down, “we” can then condemn Islamic terrorism abroad — and steal more freedoms at home, for security reasons — while supporting the same in Syria. It’s nothing an expert in doublethink can’t handle, and there’re plenty of those around.

  11. They have been arguing about how long each one speaks. Schoolyard.

  12. Uzbek in the UK

    22 Jan, 2014 - 11:08 am

    Small correction. My last comment should read as “Uzbek government has now introduced criminal liability…”

  13. Thanks for your comment and link Mike. Christof Lehmann is a good researcher and journalist. I have read many of his articles and this one is no exception. To know that the US and Saudis were behind the chemical attack is one thing that most of us surmised. Proving it was another thing and Christof Lehmann has done a very good job.

  14. Beelzebub (La Vita è Finita)

    22 Jan, 2014 - 11:27 am

    Growth of what?
    1. House prices.
    2. Food prices.
    3. Rentals
    4. Food banks
    5. The differential between deposit and loan interest rates.
    6. Useless management.
    7. Ditto ditto’s salaries.
    8. Utility prices – and profits

    Etc.

  15. Also this from the great Robert Risk, John. Please note the headline and sub-heading. They don’t quite match what the man is saying!

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/syria-report-one-is-reminded-of-nazi-germany-9075743.html

  16. Ha. Freud etc… “Fisk”, not “Risk” of course.

  17. David Macilwain

    22 Jan, 2014 - 11:31 am

    Very welcome perspective Craig, and specially views on the ‘killing on an industrial scale’ – which incidentally was aired breathlessly on the Australian BC yesterday morning, with Crane interviewed.
    I’m afraid though that I can’t agree on ‘the regime’s brutality’ for two reasons. First it isn’t nor ever was ‘killing its own people’ – for peaceful protests’. It is simply doing what states and armies do, and the people expect them to do, in fighting a foreign backed and engineered insurgency. It is inevitable that prisoners will be taken, and may not be treated well in this context – remember at least 27,000 Syrian soldiers have been killed by armed groups. Second is that regardless of what happened initially, the Syrian arab army now has the overwhelming support of Syrians, and so does their president. If you read the rest of the AFP interview posted above by Mary, you will understand quite a lot about what is now going on, as well as getting a feeling for the general sense and sanity of Assad.
    As far as the ‘report’ goes, I note not only the date of the last interview with ‘Caesar’ – the 18th of January, but also that in fact only 150 ‘cases’ were studied for the statistics provided, with the other 11,000 odd supposedly on a disc or computer somewhere. Also we only see a dozen photos, none of whom are identified in person, time or location. Babies in Incubators….
    I agree also that Iran should have gone to the talks – should have insisted that it attend, and Russia should have demanded that it be allowed to. We’ve had enough of this corrupt little club of ‘Friends of Syria’ setting the agenda it wants.

  18. The reason that Erdogan keeps winning elections is that the evil, gay, Zionist Attaturk, whose blown-up, stale image beams down on infants in Turkish schools, tried to extinguish Islam in Turkey and Erdogan has put it back again.

    The Taksim riots were about corruption in the construction industry. The large cost of construction attracts the banking/political classes who fail to realise that the money is for building materials and skilled labour, not just going spare for them to embezzle. We ought to be having them here.

    If Alawi protestors were hurt or killed in the protests, I would suggest that’s because they were venting their anger about Turkey’s attitude to Syria under the umbrella of anti-corruption protests. The Alawis are not any part of Islam – even Shi’a.

    The Turks love Islam, and its society now glows with Islamic faith in spite of the worst endeavours of Anglo-Saxon subterfuge and destruction of the Ottoman Empire. The UK policy towards the Middle East is to repeat the first and second world wars destructivity on others while they themselves sit back in their armchairs.

    Nice work if you can get it, WHague squeezing out crocodile tears about Syria.

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/09/turkish-alevis-protest-syria-war.html

  19. Thanks ‘Someone’ – I just needed the jolt.

  20. Mike yes Fisk always has something pertinent to say. Not surprised by the headline. Its independence is not what it was under Andreas Whittam Smith.

    Fisk’s comment about Al Jazeera not knowing what the Qataris were feeding London reminded me that Lord Justice Nicholas Phillips, who presided over the unsuccessful extradition appeal of Julian Assange and retired straight afterwards, is now an extortionately highly-paid legal adviser to Qatar. Wheels within wheels. Rewards for services rendered.

    Justice for immigrant slaves, over which the Nepalese ambassador was recalled during Phillips’ watch for calling Qatar an ‘open jail’, is hardly likely to be on his agenda. His agenda is more likely to be how best to promote the 2022 World Cup and make a notoriously wicked regime appear palatable to western audiences. Hence the Qatari-backed torture evidence presented in London was not shared with the NGOs Amnesty and HRW. Why. Because Qatar and human rights are antonyms.

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/12/18/amnesty-international-says-dozens-migrant-workers-in-qatar-low-on-food-due-to/

  21. Indeed, John. I wonder how many construction workers will die to make the stadia for 2022.

  22. Uzbek in the UK,

    I just wish to offer you a few kindly words of support, to try to counter the abuse directed at you earlier. I much appreciate your comments on this blog.

    UzbStan,

    I wish to offer you my sympathy for having to live under the tyranny in Uzbekistan. Psychologically, anger is one of the common responses to threat, and it is only natural that when threatened by the overwhelming power of the Uzbek state, you turn your resulting anger away from the true aggressors and towards someone who cannot hurt you.

    I wish you strength and courage.

  23. “Mike yes Fisk always has something pertinent to say”

    It is interesting to note that Fisk sees the intention of the Qatar report as being somewhat different to that propounded by Craig in his response to me of yesterday.

  24. Uzbek in the UK

    I’d like to second Clark’s support.

    I am not sure that UzbStan is who he says he is – if he really is scared of the Uzbek authorities why include the reference to your own relatives. The abuse in Russian and the reference to the Home office application also arouse my suspicion. Sounds more reminiscent of what the KGB ( and I am sure its Uzbek subsidiary) consider to be a “subtle” hint – or what normal people call a threat.

    As for my own little threat, many thanks RD for your support. Daniel will be pleased to know that I had a good nights sleep last night and I hope his Mummy read him a nice bedtime story.

  25. @Mary

    “If anyone is interested in a war criminal’s opinion on Syria, Ms Amanpour provides the opportunity here. She is a well known stooge for the warmongers.”

    I appreciate that you may not like Ms Amanpour’s work or opinions – but last time I looked journalistic activity however distorted did not constitute a war crime. I shall not be sending a letter to her office.

  26. Craig, I feel real sympathy for UzbStan. I note that UzbStan is in the UK, and is threatened via threats against relatives rather than directly. Personal courage is one thing, but coping with indirect threat delivered via threats against loved ones must be far more difficult to cope with.

    For a society to rise up against state organised oppression, personal courage, even if widespread among members of the population, is insufficient. People have to take the terrible decision that they will continue their opposition even though their loved ones are made to suffer for it. I hope that I never have to face such a thing; I would rather die.

  27. How about this?

    ‘Mr al Muallem demanded Mr Obama stand down as president and called on the government to commit to a transition of power – an issue expected to be central to the success of the talks.

    However, Mr Kerry has rejected any discussion of Mr Obama quitting his post.’

    Not really! :) It goes like this.

    ‘In his opening exchange, opposition leader Ahmed Jarba accused the Syrian president of war crimes comparable to those committed by the Nazis during World War Two. He demanded Mr Assad stand down as president and called on the government to commit to a transition of power – an issue expected to be central to the success of the talks.
    However, Mr al Muallem has rejected any discussion of Mr Assad quitting his post.’

    http://news.sky.com/story/1198921/syria-clash-ends-constructive-start-to-talks

    How dare they. Pure chutzpah.

  28. @Guano

    “The Alawis are not any part of Islam – even Shi’a.”

    With this sort of sectarianism, I don’t think too much Anglo Saxon subterfuge is required. Don’t you think that the Caliphate might have fallen apart even without help from the UK – given that not a few diversive strains existed already. As for the pipedream of putting all back together …………. perhaps you should look at the impact on political geography of sectarianism in a slightly older religion.

  29. ESLO, I agree with you that it is possible that UzbStan is as you suspect. I do not know, and therefore wrote what I did taking the comment at face value.

    I suppose we should also remember that people part of but lower down in a structure of oppression may also be short of morally acceptable choices.

  30. Mary

    Obama will be stepping down as President in 2016 – its what happens in democracies rather than absolute monarchies. How long has the Assad dynasty been in power?

  31. Perhaps others should consider whether the activities of Jobbik constitute anti-Semitism or unacceptable behaviour

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobbik

    As a rule I tend to be a little suspicious of party leaders who turn up in Parliament in a “blackshirt” uniform. Mary is obviously more relaxed on such matters.

  32. Apologies – should have been posted on the previous thread.

  33. ESLO, so what is the value of US/UK support for the absolute monarchies of the Middle East to bring down Assad’s government?

  34. John Goss
    I once had the pleasure of doing jury service in Yeovil where Lord Justice Nicholas Phillips presided in an earlier stage of his career. Okay the cases involved the police chasing a drunk man who propelled his motor car through the fences of five back gardens and into a parked vehicle, and a little bit of something that nearly rhymes with shrubbery by a local farmer.

    He definitely seemed to me to be the sort of man I wouldn’t mind owning up for: worldly-wise, completely non-judgemental and quietly spoken, without a hint of malice.

    Can we bring him back from retirement for Assad please? ” Mr Assad, Sir, I have you down for serial Category 5 statutory war crimes. I have advised the jury that the only question they need to answer is whether you in fact were President of Syria at the tine of the events recorded here. They have decided you were, which means you are guilty of offences aforementioned. Sentencing will be done sometime in the near future, session adjourned.”

    Worth their weight in gold. OohArgh!

  35. ESLO,

    so what is the value of US/UK support for the absolute monarchies of the Middle East to bring down Assad’s government?

    It would seem to be a case of replacing bad with worse. But then the West has done that so many times. Every time there’s a new call for “intervention”, people like you ask people like myself to forget this long history and just respond to “but Hussein / Assad / Current Enemy is a brutal dictator”.

    Are you sure this isn’t just the dregs of racism left in yourself? Just a hubristic belief that “our” decisions about “them” will always be superior to the decision that “they” make for themselves?

    You keep trying to change my mind. Offer me something convincing, and I’ll change it myself.

  36. “Obama will be stepping down as President in 2016 – its what happens in democracies rather than absolute monarchies. How long has the Assad dynasty been in power?”

    Another Bush? Or a Clinton maybe?

  37. The other day one of the trolls stated that families should not take power and rule undemocratically, referring to Assad.

    I thought of Her Maj and her German connections, her second son who has just been in Bahrain again selling arms, her third son beating Labrador dogs when out shooting at Sandringham (one of the family’s leisure pursuits ie killing God’s creatures for sport) and her eldest grandson William and wife setting up companies to protect their ‘brand’ in the style of the Beckhams. The younger grandson Harry has been provided with a sinecure based in the Horse Guards.

    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1389983405.html

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25778294

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/kate-middleton-prince-william-establish-private-companies-protect-royal-brand-1432796

    Meanwhile the eldest son and croc wife are being wheeled in and prepared to effect the takeover when the time comes.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-25797931

    1.God save our gracious Queen,
    Live long our noble Queen,
    God save the Queen!
    Send her victorious,
    Happy and glorious,
    Long to reign over us,
    God save the Queen.

    2.Thy choicest gifts in store
    On her be pleased to pour,
    Long may she reign;
    May she defend our laws,
    And ever give us cause
    To sing with heart and voice,
    God save the Queen!

    3.God bless our native land,
    May heaven’s protective hand
    Still guard our shore;
    May peace her power extend,
    Foe be transformed to friend,
    And Britain’s power depend
    On war no more.

    4.May just and righteous laws
    Uphold the public cause,
    And bless our isle.
    Home of the brave and free,
    Fair land and liberty,
    We pray that still on thee
    Kind heaven may smile.

    5.And not this land alone-
    But be thy mercies known
    From shore to shore.
    Lord, make the nations see
    That men should brothers be,
    And from one family
    The wide world o’er.

    There’s a whole lot of ‘reigning’ going on there. I cannot remember any elections or referenda on the establishment of the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas and latterly the Mountbatten Windsors (named after the castle LOL) as our rulers.

  38. Clark

    I suspect the net value goes in the opposite direction from that which you suggest i.e. the West receives net economic support in return for not upsetting the Saudis etc. That said I was always told that two wrongs do not make a right – so justifying the continuation of the Assad regime by reference to the abuses of the Gulf monarchies really has no intellectual or moral foundation.

    To equate the level of political freedom, human rights and democracy in Syria with that in the USA is otiose in the extreme.

    Mary you clearly do not understand the difference between a constitutional monarchy and an absolute one.

  39. Good article. As another remarked above, how bad is this regime, f.ex compared to the West’s destruction of Iraq and Libya?
    In Syria all peoples/faiths have found refuge.

    And Iran should have accepted Geneve 1 and then offered their own interpretation? As far as I remember this is precisely what the UN ‘chief’ criticised them for: making their own interpretation of G1 -?

  40. BrianFujisan

    22 Jan, 2014 - 5:07 pm

    Some more on u.s. trumped-up Torture charges against Syria…

    And once again, a disingenuous West along with a complicit UN is going into a so-called “peace conference” with unverified allegations designed to manipulate public perception on the most visceral levels, circumventing facts, logic, and reason, to bolster their position in a conflict they themselves engineered and are still purposefully perpetrating with the hopes of achieving long-desired “regime change.”

    The ongoing conflict in Syria was engineered by the West and its regional allies as far back as 2007, revealed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his article, ”The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” which prophetically stated (emphasis added):

    “To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

    It is now admitted that Al Qaeda comprises almost entirely all of the militants fighting the Syrian government, many of whom are foreigners crossing into Syrian territory with NATO’s aid.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-feigns-horror-over-cooked-up-report-on-syrian-war-they-engineered/5365797

  41. “one of the [Royal] family’s leisure pursuits ie killing God’s creatures for sport”

    Mary, the Sandringham Estate to which you refer contains exceptional biodiversity and is home to many of Britain’s rarest bird species due to traditional land management practices. The game birds that are shot all end up on the table and enjoy a far better quality of life than your average supermarket chicken.

    I suspect your anger at the treatment of the game birds and Edward’s labrador (no evidence that it was actually beaten) is driven more by hatred of the Royals than any genuine concern for the animals.

    Please, in future, refrain from sounding off about matters of which you know so little.

  42. ESLO, I am not “justifying the continuation of the Assad regime” – please do not misrepresent my position so. But it is up to the people of Syria to change matters, and certainly not a bunch of fundamentalist armed thugs from UK ally and absolute monarchy Saudi Arabia.

    Grief, you’d change your tune if it was happening here!

    Alliances are always two-way. If they’re one-way, we don’t call them alliances, we call them client states, or occupied territory.

    So are you basically saying that the UK prime Minister and the US President wanted to send the Western military into Syria as a favour to Saudi Arabia? Sounds a bit “tail wags dog” to me.

  43. Excellent article, up to date and at a time when the western media’s rethoric, at the beginning of the peace negotiations, running concurrent with Davos’s arms dealers conference, is using negative connotations and words to talk up failure of decision making.

    Mr. Kerry seems to think that the US administartion and senate has got more to say on the make up of a future Syrian Government than the Syrian’s themselve, a recipe for disaster.

    Are they telling William Hague when and were to squeak? off course they do and he jumps to it. How come Israeli backers like him are able to speak at the negotiation table, whilst backers of Syria, such as Iran are frozen out.

    The murderous mercenaries have got more to say in these negotiations than the Syrian opposition fighting them on a daily basis? We must not forget that even the SFA is now aghast at the relentless material support to the Quatari and Saudi paid rebels, have been sidelined by western machinations.

    The refugee situation is untenable, but will all these Syrians have a vote on whatever the armsdealers/warmongers in Geneva and their mercenaries decide?

    NO, but they wi8ll feel the violence that is to be metted out. I have no allegiance to Assad, but the is the bastard in charge, just as DSheik Mohammed is in charge of his Quatari bastards, I dare not speak of the house of saud who has lost credibility a long time ago, i.e. Yamanami.

    The arms trade is in another boomtime, I see, i.e. many more unemployed had their applications refused and our canadian CEO BoE Mark Carveitalluppery is shivering with intent to raise the interest rates. Hooray another bubble helped to develop.
    ‘What a good man’ say the bankers, now watch the banks get nasty on borrowers.

  44. For anyone thinking about buying a house, about 10mins in

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ix7vGXqxu2c#t=83

    “Now you know why Homeland Security purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition, enough ammunition to fight the Iraq war for 12 years, has its own para-military force and 2,700 tanks. If you think the “terrorist threat” in America warrants a domestic armed force of this size, you are out of your mind. This force has been assembled to deal with starving and homeless people in the streets of America.”

    http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2013/10/23/ye-sow-shall-ye-reap-paul-craig-roberts/

  45. Anyone who quotes Global Research contributor and 9/11 Troofer Paul Craig Roberts approvingly needs their head examined. He and Global Research have been peddling this nonsense about “Fema camps” and tanks being used to obliterste the poor for decades.

  46. ESLO, please read this article:

    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/al-qaeda-terrorists-pass-us-special.html

    I can’t say if landdestroyer.blogspot.co.uk is a reliable source, but the article draws from articles in the UK Telegraph, New York Times, L A Times, New Yorker, etc.

    Nearly ten thousand foreign fighters in Syria, most of them Islamists, arriving through NATO country Turkey.

    ESLO, the more I look beneath the veneer supplied by our pro-war media, the more evidence I find to convince me that this is our war, the West’s war that is being inflicted upon Syria.

    You may not be convinced, but please at least answer this; if you were convinced of this argument, would you condemn such Western interference?

  47. Anon, Paul Craig Roberts or not, that ammunition and those tanks have been bought. Copies of the orders and invoices for the ammo have been published, and the tanks are simply visible.

  48. “ESLO, I am not “justifying the continuation of the Assad regime” – please do not misrepresent my position so”

    Please don’t misrepresent that I am misrepresent your position

    “But it is up to the people of Syria to change matters, and certainly not a bunch of fundamentalist armed thugs from UK ally and absolute monarchy Saudi Arabia.”

    Basically I agree – but what about the Russian weapons that do most of the killing for the regime or the support they receive from Iran and Hezbollah militia – or is that acceptable foreign involvement in Syrian affairs in your book.

  49. Yes but it has not “been assembled to deal with starving and homeless people in the streets of America”, Clark.

  50. Back on topic, I recently watched a short film about “barrel bombs”, the improvised explosives used by the Assad regime to terrorize civilian populations. Crudely put together by filling an oil drum or water tank with TNT, oil and shrapnel, these bombs are rolled out the back of helicopters on towns and villages where they cause massive and indiscriminate destruction.

    I wonder if some of the Assad supporters on here could provide justification for this. Please note, “Oh but Israel does this and whatabout Saudi doing that” are not acceptable answers.

  51. Clark

    I have never denied that Islamist militants are involved in Syria – or that I would prefer they were not. Perhaps if the Russians/Iran/Hezbollah could be pressured to remove support from Assad then the quid pro quo would be that pressure would be applied on those who are backing the Islamists?

  52. “I wonder if some of the Assad supporters on here could provide justification for this. Please note, “Oh but Israel does this and whatabout Saudi doing that” are not acceptable answers.”

    What about Britain? Haven’t we dropped a few bombs on people out of aeroplanes in our time? Come to think of it, didn’t we invent it?

  53. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Jan, 2014 - 7:25 pm

    @ Fred

    Had ESLO thought for a minute that you would be that stupid, he would probably have added “Oh but what about Britain..etc” to his little list of unacceptable answers.

    You really are shameless. If you don’t feel like answering his legitimate question, why don’t you just keep your trap shut?

  54. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Jan, 2014 - 7:30 pm

    More good news for everyone, including John Goss, to add to the good news of UK economic growth : UK unemployment rate down to 7,1% (and the biggest single drop in the rate since 1997)!

    Still too high, but all who wish the UK well will rejoice with me at this good news!

    ****************

    Life is getting better, life is getting merrier! (J.Stalin, ca. 1932)

  55. Good news indeed, Habbabkuk, and I am noticing much more confidence in the economy in my line of work. Needless to say, most of the Murrayistas will be utterly miserable at the thought, preferring and perhaps secretly hoping for a collapse.

  56. “I wonder if some of the Assad supporters on here could provide justification for this.” — anon

    I wonder if you could provide some evidence of these “barrel bombs”?
    And the fact that it’s Assad’s forces that are using them?

  57. Totally predictable responses from the twisting Eslo 3.28 and Anon 5.25. They would say that wouldn’t they and both sound like mouthpieces from the newly combined press offices of Her Maj and P Charles. I know that I am living in a rotten power system when there has never been so much evil here and abroad. Wonder how the increasingly large P Andrew got on in his arms sales trip to Bahrain? He is living on the fat of the land.

    I do not hate the royal mob. I despise them as scroungers and parasites on the people.

    btw I am reliably informed that ESLO was once one of the many “Anons” here, then “I am the lizard Habbabkuk” and then “For the return of Habba and Free Speech”. Perhaps ESLO could verify that this is correct.

  58. In reply to the Tory propagandist above on the unemployment figures. Many of those jobs will be part time on the minimum wage and with zero hours contracts. Note the non response of Agent Cameron today at PMQs. All he can do is to recite the same propaganda.

    Edward Miliband:
    [..]
    I want to move on to another subject. Today’s welcome fall in unemployment is good for the people concerned—[Interruption.] We welcome the fall in unemployment because whenever an individual gets back into work it is good for them and good for their family. [Interruption.] I have to say to hon. Members that just braying like that does not do anybody any good. Can the Prime Minister confirm that today’s figures also show that average wages are down by £1,600 a year since the election, meaning that for many ordinary families life is getting harder?

    The Prime Minister:
    It is worth pausing for a moment over what these statistics show today. They show youth unemployment coming down, long-term unemployment coming down, the claimant count coming down, and unemployment overall coming down—but above all, what we see today is the biggest ever quarterly increase in the number of people in work in our country. There should not be one ounce of complacency—there is still a huge amount of work to do to get Britain back to work—but there are 280,000 more people in work: that is 280,000 more people with the security of a regular pay packet coming in for themselves and their family. Now of course we are seeing a slow growth in wages—why? Because we are recovering from the longest and deepest recession in living memory. Because the Leader of the Opposition keeps quoting the figure without the tax cuts that we have put in place, he is not recognising that actually this year people are better off because we have controlled spending and cut taxes.

    Edward Miliband:
    All the Prime Minister has done is show that he is absolutely complacent about the situation, because he is trying to tell millions of families around this country that they are better off when they know they are worse off, and it does not help for him to tell them the opposite. Let me take this figure: in Britain today, there are 13 million people living in poverty—that is a shocking figure. What is scandalous is that for the first time ever the majority of those people are living not in jobless families but in working families. What is his explanation for that?

    The Prime Minister:
    The explanation is what the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said, which is that wages have increased much less quickly than inflation. As I say, that is not surprising. We have had the biggest recession in 100 years. It would be astonishing if household incomes had not fallen and earnings had not fallen. The fact is that we are recovering from the mess that Labour left us. Every week the Leader of the Opposition comes here and raises a new problem that he created. We had the betting problem, then we had the banking problem, then we had the deficit problem, and now we have the cost of living problem. He is like an arsonist who goes round setting fire after fire and then complains when the fire brigade are not putting out the fires fast enough. Why does he not start with an apology for the mess that he left us?

    Edward Miliband:
    The Prime Minister comes here every week and does his Bullingdon club routine, and all he shows is that he has absolutely no understanding of the lives of people up and down this country. That is the reality: ordinary families are working harder for longer for less; he is cutting taxes for millionaires and not helping those families; and the minimum wage is falling in value. He cannot be the solution to the cost of living crisis, because he just does not understand the problem.

    ~~~~

    Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore) (Lab):
    A report on the food aid crisis in the UK was commissioned by the Government last February, was given to Ministers early last summer, and yet is still being suppressed. What is the Prime Minister afraid of, and why does he not now publish and be damned?

    The Prime Minister:
    What the Government are publishing today is the fact that hundreds of thousands more people are getting into work and able to provide for their families and get the peace of mind and security that people in this country want. That is what we are publishing today, and that is real progress for our nation.

    ~~~~

    Stephen Timms:
    [..]
    The Trussell Trust co-ordinates the fast-growing network, now numbering some 400, of church-based food banks, which between them provided food for half a million people, just between April and December last year. Will the Prime Minister be willing to meet representatives of the Trussell Trust to discuss the big challenges with which they are grappling?

    The Prime Minister:
    I would be happy to meet them. We have listened carefully to the Trussell Trust. One thing that it wanted to see done by this Government and the previous Government was to allow food banks to be promoted in jobcentres. We have allowed that to happen. That has increased the use of food banks, but it is important to do the right thing rather than something that might just seem politically convenient.

    ~~~~

    No further words are necessary.

  59. As for all peoples self determination to democracy should be the realisation for their struggle.
    I think the market forces seeking control thus are simply a conglomeration of the greater force that in it’s entirety presumes the whole anyway.

    Let’s hope that normality can at some point continue to function for the poor sods involved.

  60. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Jan, 2014 - 9:40 pm

    “Good news indeed, Habbabkuk, and I am noticing much more confidence in the economy in my line of work. Needless to say, most of the Murrayistas will be utterly miserable at the thought, preferring and perhaps secretly hoping for a collapse.”
    _________________________

    Good to hear that there is more confidence in your line of work, Anon.

    Of course, I could also have mentioned a number of other encouraging statistics, such as the increase in business confidence and investment across the board (ie, in all sectors of the economy) and the govt’s intention to raise the minimum wage above the rate of inflation (this is truly excellent news), but I didn’t want to make the Denigrators even more miserable than they already seem to be at the two bits of good news I brought yesterday and today….

  61. I was looking up Lord Norton of Louth earlier on a separate matter and discovered that he is on the advisory board of the Margaret Thatcher School of Government!!! based at the private university, The University of Buckingham.

    https://extranet.buckingham.ac.uk/alumnet/news-donor.aspx Note Bercow

    The University website http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/
    Wikipedia here.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Buckingham

    This is all that comes up in a search for ‘Margaret Thatcher School of Government’.
    http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/?s=margaret+thatcher+school+of+government
    Note the Rothschild donation.

  62. “Unpaid workers on Jobcentre schemes are conveniently disappeared from the official tally of the unemployed.”

    http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/no-matter-how-you-spin-the-figures-theres-still-no-fucking-jobs/

  63. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Jan, 2014 - 9:56 pm

    @ Mary

    “In reply to the Tory propagandist above on the unemployment figures. Many of those jobs will be part time on the minimum wage and with zero hours contracts.”
    __________________

    I am not a Tory – and that’s official. Would you now confirm, in return, that you are not, and have never been, a supporter of the Socialist Workers Party and Militant?

    But to the more important point. Certainly full-time jobs are better than part-time ones (except for the many people – mostly women, I suppose – who actually prefer to work part-time for a variety of reasons), the minimum wage is not necessarily a living wage (this is where various state benefits come in useful) and zero-hours contracts would probably not be many people’s first choice, but…..are such jobs nevertheless better than no jobs? Is it better – whilst awaiting better days – for some people to have jobs like those or would it be better for them to remain on the dole queue?

    I naturally don’t expect an answer from you because, apart from being deficient in debating skills, your conceit is that Habbabkuk can be wished away by not responding to him/her/it, but one of your fellow Denigrators might care to respond.

  64. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Jan, 2014 - 10:05 pm

    “…based at the private university, The University of Buckingham.”
    ___________________

    I’ve heard of that university. Is it not the university which makes students work harder than students at public universities by having longer terms and shorter holidays, thus enabling them to graduate (or not) in 2 rather than 3 years? I believe that the cost differential between it and state universities has also narrowed considerably as a result of the increase in tuition fees to £9.000 at public universities.

    Important disclaimer – I did not attend the University of Buckingham and have no connection of any sort with that establishment. Nor am I a donor and am not related in any way to the late Baroness Thatcher or the Royal Family. Finally, my surname is not Rothschild. Hope I haven’t forgotten anything!

  65. Good to see you back, Craig. And on the money as ever.

    Also writeon at 21 Jan, 2014 – 8:15 pm – very true and well put.

  66. Resident Dissident

    Just to let you know I have replied to your posting of 20 Jan, 2014 – 10:46 pm on The War Criminals on TV thread.

    You may want to react to my views (No pressure though).

  67. “Had ESLO thought for a minute that you would be that stupid”

    Who you calling stupid shit for brains?

    I don’t think the country that invented the heavy bomber to bomb Kurd villages in Iraq as any place criticising people for dropping bombs out of helicopters.

    That’s a valid point if you weren’t too pig ignorant to see it.

    Now be a good boy and go fuck yourself.

  68. Fred I have always remembered the name of this brave officer who opposed the British bombing of the Iraqi people in 1923.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Charlton

  69. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Jan, 2014 - 11:35 pm

    Fred

    Feeling better now? Got relief? Did the earth move for you? :)

  70. Good to see you back Habbabkuk. Been out celebrating the IMF predictions. So what do you understand by economic growth? I want to celebrate with you?

    Mary, very astute observations about the royals.

  71. Part of –

    Minister al-Moallem said at the opening session of the conference:

    ……..”Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Syrian people, like other people of the region, aspire to more freedom, justice and human rights; they aspire to more plurality and democracy, to a better Syria, a safe, prosperous and healthy Syria. They aspire to building strong institutions not destroying them, to safeguarding our national artifacts and heritage sites not looting and demolishing them. They aspire to a strong national army, which protects our honour, our people and our national wealth, an army that defends Syria’s borders, her sovereignty and independence. They do not, Ladies and Gentlemen, aspire to a mercenary army ‘Free’ to kidnap civilians for ransom or to use them as human shields, ‘Free’ to steal humanitarian aid, extort the poor and illegally trade in the organs of living women and children, ‘Free’ to canibalise human hearts and livers, barbequing heads, recruiting child soldiers and raping women. All of this is done with the might of arms; arms provided by countries, represented here, who claim to be championing “moderate groups”. Tell us, for God’s sake, where is the moderation in everything I have described?

    Where are these vague moderate groups that you are hiding behind? Are they the same old groups that continue to be supported militarily and publicly by the West, that have undergone an even uglier face-lift in the hope of convincing us that they are fighting terrorism? We all know that no matter how hard their propaganda machine tries to polish their image under the name of moderation, their extremism and terrorism is one and the same. They know, as we all do, that under the pretext of supporting these groups, al-Qaeda and its affiliates are being armed in Syria, Iraq and other countries in the region.

    This is the reality, Ladies and Gentlemen, so wake up to the undeniable reality that the West is supporting some Arab countries to supply lethal weapons to al-Qaeda. The West publically claims to be fighting terrorism, whilst in fact it is covertly nourishing it. Anyone who cannot see this truth is either ignorantly blind or willfully so in order to finish what they have begun”.

  72. Re my Post above of a section of Walid al-Moallem’s Opening Speech at Geneva2 conference…. i forgot the Link –

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/geneva-ii-syrian-foreign-minister-the-west-publicly-claims-to-be-fighting-terrorism-whilst-it-is-covertly-nourishing-it/5365833

  73. ‘Back on topic, I recently watched a short film about “barrel bombs”, the improvised explosives used by the Assad regime to terrorize civilian populations. Crudely put together by filling an oil drum or water tank with TNT, oil and shrapnel, these bombs are rolled out the back of helicopters on towns and villages where they cause massive and indiscriminate destruction,’

    Yes Anon… sounds like a low tech version of ‘shock and awe’.

    If you get Assad to the ICC (which of course the US doesn’t recognise) perhaps you’d like to add breach of copyright to his charge sheet ?

  74. This is partially off topic (in that it’s about BBC bias in Scotland, not Syria), but Craig has spoken about this before, and I reckon it’s of interest to you guys here.

    John Robertson, of West of Scotland University recently published a report on bias in terrestrial Scottish Television relating to the Scottish Independence debate, by quantitatively measuring mentions of the subject on early evening news repots. It seems that anti-Independence statements tend to get about three times as much of a hearing as pro-Independence ones – for every broadcastable report of a pro-Independence view, or presentation in a pro-Independence manner, there are three reports doing the same for the anti-Independence campaign. Furthermore, despite a deafening silence from the broadcast media on the subject of this particular report, the BBC has allegedly contacted the academic concerned, and demanded his raw data, presumably so that they can prepare their hatchet job before they let anyone hear about the original report.

    The report itself is here.

    Derek Bateman’s blog commenting on the brouhaha is here.

    Enjoy!

  75. The “University of West Scotland”?

    [Once an employee of a Scottish University]

  76. “If you get Assad to the ICC (which of course the US doesn’t recognise) perhaps you’d like to add breach of copyright to his charge sheet ?”

    Russia refuses to support sending Assad to the ICC; but of course nobody wants to hear that. Nor the fact that they and the Chinese have vetoed three resolutions designed to put pressure on Assad.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/03/2013320164619306786.html

    Now of course had it been the US using it’s veto….

  77. Before anyone posts a link of course I know it exists. That wasn’t the point.

  78. Kempe,

    http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/resguide/scact_veto_en.shtml

    Who is the veto king over the last 30 years say?

  79. http://www.killick1.plus.com/map.jpg

    Note the absence of US military bases in Syria. And Iran.

    Easy rule: in the Middle East, if a country has US bases, we hear little criticism of it. If it hasn’t, we’re repeatedly told how bad it is.

    Just a coincidence, shurely.

  80. BrianFujisan

    23 Jan, 2014 - 3:38 am

    Oldmark

    low tech version of ‘shock and awe’.

    Low tech version of shock and awe…

    was not there a second shock n awe… Libya

    and a third averted thus far… Syria….

    if you have some Links for info…we could all look into it

  81. Thanks Brian. Omitted is the vile rhetoric and lies from Kerry. Can you possibly find a transcript?

    Then the little USUKIsNATO stooge, Mr Ban, tried to shut Mr al-Moallem up.

  82. Aim Here. What you say is completely credible and unsurprising. Terrestrial news channels and Sky News are megaphones for those in power.

  83. Snowden to hold Q & A

    Live Q&A with Edward Snowden: Thursday 23rd January, 8pm GMT, 3pm EST

    Edward Snowden will be answering questions submitted by the public on his official support site, freesnowden.is, this Thursday 23 January at 8pm GMT, 3pm EST. The support site is run by The Courage Foundation and is the only endorsed Snowden Defence Fund.

    This is the first Snowden live chat since June 2013 and will last for an hour starting at 8pm GMT, 3pm EST. Questions can be submitted on twitter on the day of the event using the #AskSnowden hashtag. Edward Snowden’s responses will appear at http://www.freesnowden.is/asksnowden

    The live chat comes exactly a week after US President Barack Obama gave an address in response to the public concerns raised by Edward Snowden’s revelations about US surveillance practices. In the live chat, Edward Snowden is expected to give his first reaction to the President’s speech.

    Courage (formerly the Journalistic Source Protection Defence Fund) is a trust, audited by accountants Derek Rothera & Company in the UK, for the purpose of providing legal defence and campaign aid to journalistic sources. It is overseen by an unremunerated committee of trustees. Edward Snowden is its first recipient.

    freesnowden.is was commissioned by the trustees of Courage to provide information on the threats Edward Snowden faces and what can be done to support him, and details all revelations made to date in a convenient central archive.

    Hat tip to Margo Medialens

  84. Pepe Escobar

    Syria and the Geneva 2 charade
    http://rt.com/op-edge/syria-geneva-two-charade-015/

    ‘This past Sunday, it seemed that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had decided to spring out of his trademark vegetable slumber, inviting Iran to Geneva 2. The invitation lasted less than 24 hours; after the requisite ‘pressure’ by Washington – instigated by those sterling democrats of the House of Saud – it was duly rescinded.

    Thus we had Ban Ki-moon parroting the US State Department, according to which Tehran had not agreed to the principles of the Geneva 1 communiqué, which called for a sustained cessation of armed violence. Iranian diplomats strongly begged to differ, stressing how Tehran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the previous, June 2012 conference, even if Iran was not part of it.

    Ban Ki-moon also invited the Holy See, as well as Australia, Luxembourg, Mexico and the Republic of Korea, among others, to Montreux; as if these actors had any clue about what’s going on in Syria.

    But the apex of the farce is that Iran cannot go, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar – who continue to weaponize every Syrian ‘rebel’ in sight, from young adrenaline seekers to Western-supported Takfiris and beheaders – can. And will.’

    [..]
    He ends
    ‘Still, Geneva 2 won’t ‘solve’ anything. Iran and Russia will keep supporting Damascus. The desert wasteland from Syria to Iraq will keep being occupied by Bandar Bush-supported and Gulf-supported hardcore sectarian jihadis.

    The war will keep spreading deeper into Lebanon. The government in Damascus won’t collapse. The refugee crisis will soar. And the West will keep striking a pose of being concerned with ‘terror’.

    All that non-jazz in Montreux will come to nothing. And then some bureaucrat will call for a Geneva 3.

    The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.’

  85. “This is partially off topic (in that it’s about BBC bias in Scotland, not Syria), but Craig has spoken about this before, and I reckon it’s of interest to you guys here.”

    Two questions: Why is the BBC asking for a copy of the raw data unreasonable and in what way is sending a copy of the request to the Rector intimidating?

  86. Essentially, we’ve moved into the post-democratic era in the leading western coutries. Sure, the trappings and rituals of old-fashioned, liberal democracy remain, only without real content or vitality. One can go further an argue that it’s post-politics too, as the political parties have merged around some mythical middle-ground and the differences between them are ones of rhetoric, style, and factional, rather than substantive or ideological. So, I suppose politics has now become post-ideological as well. Does this mean that we actually live in what could be described as a one-party state? Yes, probably, as our politics increasingly resembles the United States. A one-party democracy? How does that add up? Can one have democracy under such a system, where real choice and alternatives are virtually non-existant? Liberals and what used to be the Left have a lot to answer for here as they have passively watched while a totalitarian form of democracy has emerged since 9/11, a totalitarian form welded to aggressive warfare and a neo-conservative, neo-imperialist agenda, a desparate lurch towards militarism and a grab for economic and strategic advantage over potential rivals for world domination, and in this foul and bloody game Syria is just another square on the chessboard.

  87. Now even the MOD admits multiculture Britain has had enough of foreign conflicts.Especially disastrous,fake and pointless ones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

    No shit Sherlock.

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/22/multicultural-britain-foreign-conflict-mod

    And the woefully biased,inept and war drum beating BBC were probably more interested in covering up Savile’s horrific abuse of over 1000 children to report fairly on any disastrous wars.

    Why did so many at the BBC who knew of Savile’s activities stay silent ?

    Never trust anything the BBC says.

  88. Ian Duncan-Smith details UK’s ‘ghetto reality’ and claims his welfare reforms can make Britain ‘great’ again…

    Great for who Ian? The 500,000 at food banks or your gangster bankster chums?

    This is a man whose grasp of facts snd reality is so tenuous he couldnt remember what university he went to…thats putting it kindly..

    Warning in link: horrific smug bastard photo of IDS.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/22/duncan-smith-benefits-street-shock

  89. The nauseating hypocrisy of the US and UK pointing fingers at ANYONE over torture claims is truly disturbing.

  90. Uzbek in the UK

    23 Jan, 2014 - 11:00 am

    Interesting debates.

    No one here seem to give a toss about the fact that current Assad has inherited the throne from his farther and that the family has been running whole country like their private firm for the last 43 years. Yes, 43 years it is longer than some of royal dynasties in European history.

    What is more interesting is that no one seem to care that al-Assads put in charge their relative and kinsman Alawities and rule the country where over 80% of population are Sunni Muslims. And when this 80% of population suddenly decided to take matter of their lives into their own hands, and al-Assads started smashing them with Russian tanks, bomb them with Russian airplanes and shoot them with Russian bullets, most of contributors on this blog still make Putin a good guy and thank Russia for what is has done.

    Interesting moral standing of many here indeed.

  91. Despite the predicable & obvious guff from the usual suspects, the informed commentary of most posters here,make this Blog worth visting, and makes you appreciate the severity of the recent two months closing of comments; what’s the news regarding moderation now, or is it as before ?

  92. @Uzbek in the UK, all that may be true, but does that mean we should join in right now, with the demonising of the Assads, by the humanitarian bombing supporters, so that our Governments feel free to have their way, to actually increase the bloodbath in Syria, by turning it into another Iraq or Libya ?

  93. “Police chiefs say water cannon are needed because ‘austerity measures are likely to lead to continued protest’”

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/22/police-home-secretary-approve-use-water-cannon-austerity-protest

  94. Good to see you back Macky. I think it is now ‘Moderation Lite’ but who knows as we haven’t heard from Jon. Craig has removed a post or two.

    Wonder where Sofia is? :)

  95. Ideally… I’d prefer Syria to be a beacon of anarchist, de-centralized, democracy, where everyone was wedded to the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity, and superstitious religion was withering away, and a lot of other things too as Syria moved towards an anarchist utopia, showing the world what could be done once the people were freed from the shackles of the marketplace, regligion, sectarianism, militarism, and the state… in the meantime, that’ll have to wait as the country is under attack from what increasingly looks like a foreign mercenary army, trained, armed, financed, and given diplomatic cover by the West that’s determined to topple the Syrian regime, regardless of the costs to the Syrian people, who are mere pawns in the game.

    It’s bizarre and grotesque listening to Kerry pontificate about human rights, freedom, and democracy. The hypocricy, double-standards, and self-righteousness are astounding, even for an American politician. The US is using Islamists and al-Queda terrorists as its army in this war to topple Assad, how odd, and these people, who we are bombing in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and are supposed to be our deadly enemy, are on our payroll, and supposedly going to introduce democracy to Syria! Is Kerry fantasizing, or is he on drugs? Look at Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, countries we destroyed over the last thirty years as we sent our bombers and legions to help them attain democracy. All these countries were infinitely better off before we attacked them and gave them the gift of democracy. If smashing them to pieces, destroying their infrastructure, killing them in the millions, is the nobel price for democracy, democracy western-style, then, frankly, you can keep it, bring back the strongmen and stability.

    But of course it’s nonsense. Our leaders don’t give a damn about ordinary people in these countries, whether they live or die. They are just pawns in the game. Going way back, when the long war began, the Americans saw the military takeover in Afghanistan, a secular, nationalist, westernized, take-over, as a golden opportunity to drag the Russians into the mire and bleed them dry, give them a version of Vietnam. So the Americans using Pakistan and a proxy army of Islamic fighters began to attack the military regime in Afghanistan, knowing that the Russians would be forced to intervene, as the Russians are paranoid about Islamists on their borders and the threat of them spreading further. So the Russians marched into Afghanistan and were in the American trap, so the blood really began to flow as the Americans poured money and weapons into Afghanistan along with Saudi Arabia and the tiny gulf states. The Americans didn’t do this because they loved the Afghans, they did it because they hated the Russians and wanted to see them bleed big time. That hundreds of thousands of Afghans died was irrelevant, they didn’t matter, mere pawns in the game, as long as thousands of Russians died as well. And this has been the pattern repeated endlessly for the last forty years. The Americans using al-Queda and Islamists as their shock troops and private terrorist gangs to attack their enemies and gain advantage. Ordinary people slaughtered in a ghastly and cynical blood-game between great power rivals. Did ordinary Afghans get anything positive out of all this destruction and killing as the great powers played with them? Of course not, nobody cares about them, who bothers about pawns in a game of chess?

  96. Beelzebub (La Vita è Finita)

    23 Jan, 2014 - 12:07 pm

    ‘Essentially, we’ve moved into the post-democratic era in the leading western countries……’ {Writeon}

    Did democracy ever have real power, or was it always subverted by vested interests? Whatever, the power now lies with hedge funds, to which even banks defer, and which finance the amalgamation of productive and useful industries into commercial monopolies.
    Think of them as lilies:

    ‘They toil not, neither do they spin, but Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.’

  97. @Mary, thanks, a quick read through tells me nothing has changed, so the enforced close-down was indeed quite pointless.

    @Writeon, I couldn’t agree more with your posts, but I do think that religion does provide an important beneficial function in most socities.

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