Syria and Diplomacy 2917


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.

 

 

 


2,917 thoughts on “Syria and Diplomacy

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  • fred

    “Re marijuana strength, yes, it can be claimed that marijuana is not much stronger than it was in the 70s, if you take the strongest then and the weakest now, but certainly I was aware only of mild hashish when I was young, and now virtually all you see is high-grade skunk (not that I partake, I hasten to add, preferring the dulcet intoxication of a Dubonnet and gin). Sorry to disagree!”

    I don’t remember too much about the 70s.

    Vague recollections of come Pakistani Black and hot knives but the rest is a blank.

  • Clark

    Anon, I exaggerated. There’s actually various rather nice back garden stuff about, not too strong, but like all the best stuff these days, it’s non-commercial, more of a community effort like Wikipedia and Free (GPL) Software. We have cross-breeding with the auto-flowering Ruderalis strains from Russia to thank for that; another benefit of the Wall coming down.

  • fred

    “More correctly it established a state for the Arabs and an independent Jerusalem. Some of us still believe in a 2 state solution as the best way forward – and like it not we have current international law on our side. Not that you would be likely to get an agreement around the provisions of resolution 181.”

    So you admit that 181 didn’t establish the state of Israel otherwise Palestine would be a state.

    I mean nowhere in 181 did it say the European refugees can have a state but the indigenous inhabitants can’t did it?

  • Clark

    None of us got very strong stuff very often when we were novice stoners. Our seniors kept the best for themselves. But it was less of a money thing back then, too. These days, commercial growers need to cover their electricity bills, all the hydroponic equipment, all those fertilisers…

    Ask about “roof weed” in the Netherlands; same thing goes on everywhere. Ruderalis strains, not so strong, grow-lamps not needed. And if the supply chain is short and not concealed, you can make sure it hasn’t been sprayed with anything mind-mashing.

  • Resident Dissident

    So you admit that 181 didn’t establish the state of Israel otherwise Palestine would be a state.

    No – just go and read what it says.

  • fred

    “No – just go and read what it says.”

    But you didn’t say why if 181 established the state of Israel it didn’t establish a state of Palestine.

    It’s easy enough, straight forwards simple logic, if 181 established a state of Israel it also established a state of Palestine, it didn’t establish a state of Palestine therefore it did not establish a state of Israel.

  • Resident Dissident

    Fred

    And quite frankly your interpretation of whether UN resolutions establish the right of the State of Israel to exist isn’t what matters – what matters is the UN’s – and the UN allows Israel to have a seat and a permanent representative at the UN.

  • Clark

    I hereby propose the no-state solution. No state has any right to exist. I’m a citizen of Earth, and anyone who impedes my progress upon my planet is denying me a fundamental right.

  • fred

    “And quite frankly your interpretation of whether UN resolutions establish the right of the State of Israel to exist isn’t what matters – what matters is the UN’s – and the UN allows Israel to have a seat and a permanent representative at the UN.”

    I don’t recall seeing that in Resolution 181, maybe you could point it out.

  • fred

    “I hereby propose the no-state solution. No state has any right to exist. I’m a citizen of Earth, and anyone who impedes my progress upon my planet is denying me a fundamental right.”

    Fact is states don’t have rights, people have rights, like the people of Palestine have the right to self determination, to elect their own government without interference, to collect their own taxes, issue their own currency and control their own borders.

    Maybe those on this forum claiming UN resolutions gives them authority when they clearly don’t could address this point first.

  • mark golding

    Frustrate GCHQ – Superb free open source secure communication new from Iceland. Recommended by Anonymous. Simple to use once setup.

    https://unseen.is/

    Thunderbird users can set up a local account after downloading and loading a plugin called enigmail:

    https://www.enigmail.net/home/index.php

    New user help is here:

    https://www.enigmail.net/documentation/quickstart.php

    https://mail.unseen.is/webmail/?_task=help

    No need for an exception (the last stage) as .is site has a valid certificate.

  • Resident Dissident

    Fred

    Pointless to debate with you. Israel has the right to exist under international law and as such is entitled to its place at the UN – end of. The resolutions supporting this are all available should you wish to look – if you define them as not having validity then in your eyes they don’t have validity, but that is a closed loop of your own making.

  • fred

    “Pointless to debate with you. Israel has the right to exist under international law and as such is entitled to its place at the UN – end of. The resolutions supporting this are all available should you wish to look – if you define them as not having validity then in your eyes they don’t have validity, but that is a closed loop of your own making.”

    So what about the people of Palestine’s rights then?

    Why do you claim rights that don’t exist when it suites you yet ignore those that do exist?

  • fred

    “BTW Do you think Dieudonne is an anti-Semite? Yes or no will suffice.”

    How the hell would I know?

    You seem to desperately want him to be.

  • Resident Dissident

    Why do you claim rights that don’t exist when it suites you yet ignore those that do exist?

    Because I don’t – please read what I say rather than making things up. I think this debate has now reached its natural conclusion.

  • Resident Dissident

    How the hell would I know?

    Look at the evidence I and Anode posted. Anti racists usually care when a blog that they frequent is being used to push racism.

  • fred

    “Look at the evidence I and Anode posted. Anti racists usually care when a blog that they frequent is being used to push racism.”

    It just doesn’t bother me either way.

    What concerns me is the injustice imposed on the people of Palestine. How come you keep trying to focus on one person? How come you keep trying to incriminate those on this forum because they state the facts not your prejudices.

    Just look at the facts, the people of Palestine are being denied their basic human rights. That is what matters, not if some bloke I never heard of is an anti-semite or not.

  • Mary

    The arrogance of these trolls is outstanding in the way they interrogate and cross question posters here on their beliefs. We know fuck all about them, who they are, whether they are in this country or overseas and why they are here causing disruption. No guesses on that latter needless to say.

  • Clark

    Resident Dissident, you do seem to have avoided any mention of whether Palestine or Palestinians derive any rights from the resolutions you’ve mentioned. To me, your comments on that matter seems evasive when compared to Fred’s. I hope you’re not exhibiting anti-Arab racist bias, as that would be hypocritical.

  • Clark

    mark golding, 2:03 pm, the unseen.is site doesn’t work at all without JavaScript. I generally take that as a bad sign. I don’t like enabling JavaScript because it can be used for tracking and “browser fingerprinting”. Go here:

    https://panopticlick.eff.org/

    and click “Test Me”; then examine the results table. Try it with JavaScript both on and off to see what I mean. Or you can look through this technical paper:

    https://panopticlick.eff.org/browser-uniqueness.pdf

    I’d rather a service were recommended by Wikileaks. Anonymous are great for their Hactivism work, but for recommendations, they’re too, well, anonymous – you can’t necessarily tell if the recommendation is really from them.

  • Clark

    Clark, 3:06 pm

    “…the unseen.is site doesn’t work at all without JavaScript. I generally take that as a bad sign.”

    Actually, I take it as a bad sign when a site wants lots of sources of JavaScript enabled, and a worse sign if a site needs JavaScript for some of its features to work.

    It’s actually pretty unusual for a site not to display anything at all without JavaScript. For a site that’s offering privacy services, the home page should at least explain to you why it won’t work without JavaScript, and give you a warning about the dangers of enabling it.

  • Clark

    [email protected]:~$ whois unseen.is
    % This is the ISNIC Whois server.
    %

    domain: unseen.is
    descr: Unsene, Inc.
    descr: Idunnarbrunnur 5
    descr: IS-113 Reykjavík
    admin-c: UI28-IS
    tech-c: WR2-IS
    zone-c: AR64-IS
    billing-c: WR2-IS
    nserver: ns-128.awsdns-16.com
    nserver: ns-1905.awsdns-46.co.uk
    nserver: ns-1487.awsdns-57.org
    nserver: ns-559.awsdns-05.net
    created: July 16 2013
    expires: July 16 2014
    source: ISNIC

    role: 101Domain, Inc.
    address: 101Domain, Inc.
    address: 5858 Edison Place
    address: Carlsbad, CA 92008
    address: US
    phone: +1 760 4448673
    fax-no: +1 760 5794996
    e-mail: [email protected]
    nic-hdl: WR2-IS
    created: March 22 2005
    source: ISNIC

    person: Unsene, Inc.
    address: 775 E. Blithedale Ave. #362
    address: Mill Valley, California 94941
    address: US
    e-mail: [email protected]
    nic-hdl: UI28-IS
    created: July 16 2013
    source: ISNIC

    role: Amazon Route 53
    address: Amazon.com
    address: P.O. Box 81226
    address: Seattle, Washington 98108-1226
    address: US
    e-mail: [email protected]
    nic-hdl: AR64-IS
    created: September 14 2011
    source: ISNIC

  • Clark

    http://www.budgetcamerareview.com/forum/discussion/723/100-confirmation-that-unseen-is-is-not-private-or-secure-/p1

    To positively link Unsene Inc. to Before Its News Inc. through California Sec. of State Business Search – http://kepler.sos.ca.gov/

    Entity Name: UNSENE, INC. (aka: unseen, unseen.is)
    Entity Number: C3562857
    Date Filed: 05/06/2013
    Status: ACTIVE
    Jurisdiction: DELAWARE
    Entity Address: 930 TAHOE BLVD #802-338
    Entity City, State, Zip: INCLINE VILLAGE NV 89451
    (Christopher Allen Kitze: CEO of Unsene – http://www.manta.com/c/mxgv7w2/unsene-inc)

    Entity Name: BEFORE IT’S NEWS, INC.
    Entity Number: C3542595
    Date Filed: 01/31/2013
    Status: ACTIVE
    Jurisdiction: DELAWARE
    Entity Address: 930 TAHOE BLVD #802-338
    Entity City, State, Zip: INCLINE VILLAGE NV 89451
    (Cris Kitze: Owner and CEO of Beforeitsnews.com http://petersantilli.com/2013/04/22/episode-400-interview-with-chris-kitze-beforeitsnews-com-founder/)
    (Cris Kitze: Publisher of Beforeitsnews.com – http://beforeitsnews.com/contributor/pages/0/004/bio.html)

  • Clark

    From the page I linked above:

    Who is Christopher Allen Kitze?

    http://beforeitsnews.com/contributor/pages/0/004/bio.html
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/chriskitze
    https://twitter.com/ChrisKitze

    http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=711738&privcapId=33072202&previousCapId=4976137&previousTitle=Clarium Capital Management LLC

    Mr. Chris A. Kitze serves as an Advisor of iqzone, Inc.
    Mr. Kitze served as Venture Partner of Osprey Ventures, L.P.
    He co-founded Yaga, Inc. and served as its Chief Executive Officer.
    Mr. Kitze served as Chief Executive Officer of NBC Internet Inc., from November 1999 to March 2000 and served as its President from May 1999 to November 1999.
    He co-founded Xoom.com Inc., in 1996, a direct e-commerce company that was publicly held until it became one of NBC Internet Inc.’s wholly-owned subsidiaries in the transaction that formed NBC Internet Inc. in November 1999, and served as Chairman and Secretary until April 1999. In September 1991,
    Mr. Kitze co-founded Aris Entertainment, a CD-ROM publishing company and served as its President until June 1994. From April 1996 to December 1996,
    Mr. Kitze served as Xoom.com’s President and Chief Executive Officer. In June 1995,
    Mr. Kitze co-founded Point Communications Corp., which was acquired by Lycos in October 1995, after which
    Mr. Kitze served as Lycos’ Vice President of Marketing until June 1996. He has been the Chairman and Director of XOOM.com, Inc. (Also called as Xoom Inc.) since April 1996.
    He served as the Chairman of Wine.com Inc. from November 1999 to April 2002 and from August 2002 to August 2005.
    He served as an Executive Vice Chairman of NBC Internet Inc. since March 2000.
    He served as a Director of Wine.com, Inc. From June 1994 to June 1995,
    Mr. Kitze served as Publisher at Softkey International, now The Learning Company.
    Mr. Kitze served as a Director of NBC Internet Inc. since May 1999.
    Mr. Kitze is a recent recipient of Israel’s prestigious Albert Einstein Technology Award that recognizes path-breaking leaders who have pushed the envelope of technology in the service of mankind through their entrepreneurship and risk taking, enabling others to benefit from their cutting-edge technologies.
    He serves as a Director of iqzone, Inc.
    He has been a Director of Intelius, Inc. since September 2007.
    Mr. Kitze holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado.

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