Saturday, September 28, 2013

No need for Security Council resolution on Syria!


The disposal of Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons does not need any Security Council resolution as the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)  the implementation body for the Convention can carry out the necessary actions under its own mandate, reasons Dr David Morrison, Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland, in a commentary on the current situation:

"Syria is about to become the 190th state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention(CWC) [1]. The Convention, which came into force on 29 April 1997, bans the acquisition and use of chemical weapons and requires state parties to destroy existing stocks and production facilities upon joining (Article I).

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is the implementation body for the Convention. As its website says: “The OPCW is given the mandate to achieve the object and purpose of the Convention, to ensure the implementation of its provisions – including those for international verification of compliance with it.” [2]

The OPCW is the appropriate international body to supervise the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. No Security Council resolution, Chapter VII or otherwise, is necessary. In extremis, the OPCW can refer incidents of non-compliance to the UN – Article VIII (36) of the Convention says that the OPCW may “in cases of particular gravity and urgency” bring the issue “directly to the attention of the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council”.

The Convention is clear: it is up to the OPCW to determine if Security Council intervention is necessary to deal with non-compliance issues during the process of eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons.

How to become a party to the Convention
For a state to become a party after 29 April 1997, when the Convention itself came into force, a state must deposit an “instrument of accession” with the UN Secretary General (Articles XX and XXIII). However, 30 days have to elapse before the process is complete and the Convention “enters into force” for that state (Article XXI(2)). Syria deposited an “instrument of accession” with the UN Secretary General on 14 September 2013 [3] and therefore cannot become a party to the Convention until 14 October. However, Syria has asked the OPCW for “provisional application of the Convention to Syria prior to its formal entry into force” and for “technical assistance” with regard to disarmament [4].

On becoming a party to the Convention, a state also becomes a member of the OPCW(Article VIII(2)). A state party is required to submit a declaration about its chemical weapons to the OPCW within 30 days of the Convention coming into force for that party (Article III), which means by 13 November in the case of Syria. The declaration must provide a detailed inventory of the chemical weapons the state possesses and their locations and the locations of any chemical weapons production facilities.

The “framework” document agreed by John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on 14 September (see below) demanded that Syria submit a declaration within 7 days, that is, more than 50 days earlier than required by the Convention. At the time of writing, Syria appears to have done just that. As of 21 September, the OPCW website [5] confirmed that it has received the Syrian declaration.

Immediately after submitting the declaration, OPCW inspectors must be granted access to the weapons and weapons production sites “for the purpose of systematic verification of the declaration through on-site inspection” (Article IV(4)).

On destroying chemical weapons

The Convention requires state parties to destroy their own weapons upon joining. Most likely given the ongoing warfare in Syria, as far as practicable, its weapons will be taken outside the country for destruction. States that joined prior to the Convention coming into force were allowed 10 years to complete the destruction of their weapons, though a 5 year extension could be applied for (Article IV(6)). Both the US and Russia were given a 5-year extension until 29 April 2012.

However, states joining after 2007 must destroy their weapons “as soon as possible” according to procedures laid down by the OPCW Executive Council (Article IV (8)). The destruction of Syrian weapons will take place under this provision.

No Security Council resolution required:

The OPCW is mandated by the Convention to oversee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons and has the technical capability of doing so. It will interact with the Syrian government to that end. There is no need whatsoever for a Security Council resolution, with or without sanctions under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, to get the job done. Indeed, there is no need for Security Council involvement at all, unless the OPCW decides to refer Syrian non-compliance of some description to the Security Council under Article VIII (36) of the Convention.

Non-compliance by Syria is very unlikely. It is in Russia’s interest that Syria cooperate fully, and be seen to co-operate fully, with the OPCW, so that Syria’s chemical weapons are eliminated as quickly as possible. Russia achieved a major diplomatic coup and sidelined the US (and Britain and France) by proposing that Syria get rid of its chemical weapons. It would be less than pleased if Syria obstructed the process of putting its proposal into practice and took the shine of this achievement. Syria is very unlikely to do that since it would damage its relations with Russia, its main political backer.

The Kerry/Lavrov “plan”
But didn’t the US and Russia produce a plan for ridding Syria of its chemical weapons at the meeting between John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov in Geneva from 12-14 September 2013? And isn’t the Security Council going to pass a resolution endorsing this plan and supervising its implementation, a resolution including sanctions under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to punish Syria if it fails to co-operate fully?
Well, that’s what the US (and Britain and France) want the world to think – because they want to get back in the game having been sidelined by Russia’s proposal. They want to give the impression that, through their permanent membership of the Security Council, they are going to be intimately involved in the implementation of Russia’s proposal.
Russia has gone along with this and co-operated with the production of a plan at the Geneva meeting, called Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons [6]. This includes a timetable laying down that Syria had to submit a declaration about its chemical weapons within a week (obviously agreed with Syria in advance) and to give inspectors immediate access to weapons sites. It also laid down that inspectors must have completed their verification of the accuracy of Syria’s declaration by November and all chemical weapons material and equipment must be eliminated in the first half of 2014.
This timetable was worked out at the Kerry/Lavrov meeting, despite the fact that the participants could not have been aware of the full facts about Syria’s chemical weapons, which will only be known in detail after the OPCW has verified Syria’s declarations by onsite inspections. Nor could the participants know the resources required/available to destroy the weapons in Syria or to remove them for destruction elsewhere, which is essential to laying down a realistic timetable.
Nevertheless. the meeting produced a plan and, as announced to the world by Kerry at the post-meeting press conference [7], it seemed as if the OPCW was being by-passed and the Security Council would supervise the implementation of the plan and apply a big stick to Syria if, as he expected, it failed to co-operate fully.

Merely a proposal to the OPCW:
However, if you listened carefully to Sergei Lavrov at the press conference, you got  a different picture. In reality, the Framework document is an input document for the OPCW’s Executive Council’s consideration about how to proceed. According to a translation on the US State Department website, Lavrov said: “And these documents … these are Russian and American proposals, and they should be considered first and first of all in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. After this organization and its executive council adopt corresponding decisions, we will tell you exactly when the first inspection will start, and when these inspections will end.” [7]
The Framework Document itself says: “… the United States and the Russian Federation have committed to prepare and submit in the next few days to the Executive Council of the OPCW a draft decision setting down special procedures for expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program and stringent verification thereof.”
The OPCW Executive Council has 41 members elected on a regional basis by the state parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention [8]. Both the US and Russia are members of the Council and are entitled to make proposals, but any decision by the Council is bound to take into account the advice of the OPCW’s own technical personnel, who are going to be intimately involved in the process of eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons. It seems unlikely that at this stage a decision will include much detail about how the process will be carried out or anything more than an aspiration about when it will be completed.

What about a Security Council resolution?
On a Security Council resolution, the Framework document states: “The United States and the Russian Federation commit to work together towards prompt adoption of a UN Security Council resolution that reinforces the decision of the OPCW Executive Council.”
According to this, the resolution will merely express support for the OPCW decision (whenever it emerges) and therefore doesn’t require the inclusion of enforcement measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. However, the Framework document does allow for the possibility of a Chapter VII Security Council resolution in the event of non-compliance reported to the Security Council by the OPCW under Article VIII of the Convention:
“…in the event of non-compliance, including unauthorised transfer, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, the UN Security Council should impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The proposed joint US-Russian OPCW draft decision supports the application of Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which provides for the referral of any cases of noncompliance to the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council.”
Here’s what Sergei Lavrov had to say about this at the press conference:
“And we also agreed that any violations of procedures that would be approved by the Executive Committee of the OPCW concerning the arsenal of chemical weapons, as well as any facts of applying these chemical weapons, would be looked at in the Security Council. And if they are approved, the Security Council will take the measures – required measures, concrete measures – and we have agreed on that. …
“Of course, it does not mean that every violation that will be reported to the Security Council will be taken by word [sic]. Of course, we will investigate every case, because there are [sic] a lot of false information, pieces of information in the world, and we should be very cautious about every fact. And when we are sure, 100 percent, then we in the Russian Federation will be ready to adopt a new resolution of the Security Council to embed the measures to punish the perpetrators of this violation, and it’s nonsense to continue the speculations on the matter today.”
Is disarmament a practical proposition?
Is the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons a practical proposition, given the ongoing warfare there? According to John Kerry, the answer is YES – because the Assad regime has done a fine job of keeping control of them. Here’s what he said at the press conference in Geneva:
“One of the reasons that we believe this is achievable is because the Assad regime has taken extraordinary pains in order to keep control of these weapons. And they have moved them, and we know they’ve moved them. We’ve seen them move them. We watched this. And so we know they’ve continued to always move them to a place of more control. “Therefore, since these weapons are in areas under regime control predominantly, Sergei raises questions that maybe the opposition has some here or there, and absolutely, fair is fair. Both sides have to be responsible.”
Isn’t it fortunate that the US has failed to topple the Assad regime, otherwise Syria’s chemical weapons might have fallen into the hands of God knows who – and rendered their elimination impossible?
David Morrison

22 September 2013








Thursday, September 26, 2013

Irish Poll shows increased Anti-War sentiment:


ALMOST EIGHTY PER CENT of Irish people say the Government should not support military intervention in Syria without a UN mandate according to a new poll.

The poll carried out by Red C polling organisation was commissioned by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) and also showed that an almost identical number of Irish adults believe that Ireland should have a policy of neutrality.

The 1,000 respondents were given a number of different options as to what extent they agreed with a variety of statements with Red C using the information to gauge sentiment.

Irish people support a policy of neutrality and not sending military supplies to anti-government groups in Syria according to a poll:

Red C poll commissioned by the Peace & Neutrality Alliance shows:

1.        78%  of the Irish people support a policy of Irish Neutrality

2.        67% of the Irish people are opposed to Ireland & the EU sending arms and military
supplies to anti-government groups in Syria. 
3.        61% of the Irish people are opposed to sending Irish troops to Syria

4.        79% of the Irish people do not support a war on Syria without a UN mandate
When asked whether ‘Ireland should have a policy of neutrality’ there was 78 per cent agreement. 61 per cent said that Irish troops should not now be sent to Syria.
Support for Neutrality was strongest in the 18-34 age group = 85%. General support for neutrality has increased since a previous poll which registered 69%.
PANA Chairman Roger Cole said that the poll results show that support for neutrality is now “deepening rather than weakening.” "Irish people fought in the national war of independence against an empire. And one of the consequences of that was that we don't want to become part of a military alliance - we don't want to get involved in other people's wars," he said.

"We're a small country - we should get a grip on what the real world is, and in the real world small countries shouldn't get involved in other people's wars."
“Approximately 8 in 10 Irish people are now in favour of neutrality which is roughly the same number of people who believe Ireland should not support a war on Syria without a UN mandate. This Syrian conflict has displaced millions with the UN describing it as the worst humanitarian crisis in nearly twenty years,” he said.
"PANA has campaigned for the right of the Irish people to have a foreign policy with a commitment to Irish neutrality at its core. This poll shows that we have the support of the massive majority of the Irish people. It shows that like the people of the USA and the UK they are tired and fed up with the doctrine of perpetual war on offer from the political leaders of the UK, the USA and France" Mr Cole stated.
The poll result so shocked the warmongers and pro-US, pro-NATO forces in Ireland, including the rabid anti-neutrality bloc in the government Fine Gael party that they arranged with corporate media to suppress the information last week when it was announced at a press conference organised by Peace and Neutrality Alliance, Ireland's leading Peace Group. Only one newspaper group, based in Cork, carried the story with the main Dublin papers and the public broadcaster RTE failing to carry any reports.

This shows both the contempt and fear of the warmongers against democracy and the people's right to say no to their vicious schemes of permanent warfare. The defeat of the US/UK war plans against Syria last month by massive popular opposition was a hugely significant event contrasting with the way they got away with imposing the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
The Irish poll of rejection of war and imperialism was manifested in spite of the billion-dollar propaganda campaign against Syria and Iran by the US and its boot-lickers in Europe. A great victory for democracy, peace and mutual security based on international law and the UN Charter.
 The full poll details may be downloaded from the PANA website here, or from the link in the sidebar:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dublin Police use Chemical Weapon on protesters:

                   Injured protester at Irish Parliament, Wednesday, 18 September 2013


A large force of Police outside the Irish Parliament, Dáil Éireann, including mounted officers, dog units and numbers in riot gear blocked the street against about 1,000 protesters who had gathered in the street opposite the main gate at the start of the Parliament’s autumn session to protest against the economic austerity policies of the current Government dictated by the EU Brussels bureaucracy and the IMF.
The protest was peaceful and speeches were being made by representatives of a large number of civic groups when the crowd increased and some pressure occurred against the crowd barriers erected by the Police. Police reacted savagely with batons and a chemical weapon –pepper spray- in a totally unnecessary and unjustified manner. There was no threat either to them, who were gathered in large numbers, or the Parliament, as the Main Gate was closed and blockaded by Police.  
Three people were arrested, three were injured and brought to hospital.
 Police remove protester outside Irish Parliament in Dublin, Wednesday, 18 September 2013.
This disgraceful and shameful aggression is typical of Police reaction in all western countries against peaceful protest in the current economic crisis of capitalism, which apparently is regarded as intolerable despite legal protections in most democratic countries. The hypocrites who condemn use of chemical weapons "against their own people" by foreign countries have no compunction in using such weapons "against their own people" to suppress peaceful protest and intimidate opposition to their vicious austerity policies across the Western "democratic" world.
The public should not tolerate these abridgements of their rights by police and the politicians who give them their orders from their office armchairs.

                 Protesters halt traffic in Central Dublin, Wednesday, 18 September 2013.

Nevertheless, the Police were caught off-guard as they concentrated their numbers at the Parliament gate about 500 protesters turned up in Dublin’s main street- O’Connell- and succeed in bringing the evening rush-hour traffic to a halt in all directions by occupying O’Connell Bridge.

All traffic up and down the Liffey quays - as well as that moving north and south between d’Olier Street and O’Connell Street - was blocked by individuals who either sat or stood in the centre of the road. Several double-decker buses were marooned on the bridge and passengers had to disembark and find alternate ways to reach their destinations. Protesters carried posters and banners calling for bankers to be jailed while there were chants to “take back our city”. At one point, one of the protestors with a megaphone directed the others to form single-file lines across the length and breadth of O’Connell Bridge in order to maximise the challenge for Police to disperse them.

Among the groups protesting were Anti-Eviction Ireland, Pensioners Against Cuts, Irish Republican Voice and the People’s Assembly, which consists of trade union, civil society and political organisations.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Power of Lies

                                           Samantha Power, Obama's representative at the UN


When the UN Inspectors' report on chemical weapons use in
the Syria conflict was released on Monday, Samantha Power,
the US representative at the United Nations, immediately accused
the Syrian Government of being the culprit. Ms Power made
the following assertions:

 “the technical details of the UN report make clear that only the regime could have carried out this large-scale chemical weapons attack”.

She said that the US had evidence that regime forces had fired the type of rockets that the UN said were used in the August 21 attack. She added: “We have reviewed thousands of open source videos related to the current conflict in Syria and have not observed the opposition manufacturing or using this style of rocket.”
Well, she must have missed this one then:

This video uploaded on May 13, 2013, by the so-called "Free Syrian Army" (FSA), clearly shows the terrorists operating a BM-14 Soviet/Russian mobile rocket launcher of the type which uses the M-14 rockets which the UN Inspectors reported finding fragments of at the sites they investigated in Syria. This contradicts outright Ms Power's lying statement to the media on Monday that; “We have reviewed thousands of open source videos related to the current conflict in Syria and have not observed the opposition manufacturing or using this style of rocket.”
Should have gone to Specsavers then!

The BM-14 mobile rocket launcher was first introduced by the Soviet Union in 1952 and sold to most Middle East and north African countries since then. Countries which obtained the weapon
are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Libya, Madagascar, Mongolia, Sudan, Syria, Vietnam, Yemen.

                         16 tube BM-14 mobile rocket launcher, Soviet Union (1952-90), Russia(1990-)

The BM-14 ( Boyevaya Mashina, 'combat vehicle'),  is a compact lightweight unit mounted on a two-wheel trailer which can be attached to an ordinary automobile for transporting and moved quickly after firing to a different location avoiding detection by radars or scopes in conflict situations. It can also be mounted on a small pick-up truck (as in the FSA video) with wheelbase detached.

The BM-14 can fire rockets fitted with chemical (MS-14), smoke (M-14D) or high-explosive fragmentation (M-14-OF) warheads. It is similar to the BM-13 "Katyusha" and was partly replaced in service by the 122 mm BM-21 Grad.
The rocket has a range of about 9.8 km and can carry a warhead of 8 kg weight. Launchers were built in 16 and 17-round variants. The weapon is not accurate as there is no guidance system, but it is extremely effective in saturation bombardment.
There is also a Chinese variant designated T-63.
The presence of this weapon in the ordnance of  Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen, all of which countries have  active al-Qaeda jihadists means it is easily accessible to the terrorists despite US false claims to the contrary.

Saturday, September 14, 2013



The Russian Federation Navy is to increase its Mediterranean Fleet to ten
ships, it was announced in Moscow on Friday:

The Russian Navy intends to build its presence in the Mediterranean Sea - particularly in the area close to Syrian shores - to up to 10 battleships,  Admiral of the Fleet Viktor Chirkov announced in Moscow.

“The task is crystal clear: to avoid a slightest threat to the security of the state. This is a general practice of all fleets around the world, to be there when a tension level increases. They are all going to act on operational command plan of the offshore maritime zone,” Chirkov told journalists on Friday. "Russia will be building up its Mediterranean fleet until it is deemed sufficient to perform the task set." 

Russia began military build-up in the Mediterranean in 2012, and starting from December last year the Russian Navy established a constant presence in the eastern part of the Mediterranean SeaOn May 1, 2013 all Russian battleships operating in the area were assigned to a single task force under special offshore maritime zone operation command.
                                                      Russia's Missile Cruiser 'VARYAG'.

Currently there are seven warships deployed in the area: landing craft carriers 'Aleksandr Shabalin’, ‘Admiral Nevelskoy’, ‘Peresvet’, ‘Novocherkassk’ and ‘Minsk’ from Russia’s Black and Baltic Sea Fleets, as well as the escort vessel ‘Neustrashimy’, and large anti-submarine ship ‘Admiral Panteleyev’.

According to previous reports, the missile-carrying cruiser ‘Moskva’ passed the Straits of Gibraltar on September 10 and is expected to arrive at its final destination in eastern Mediterranean on September 15 or 16. 

Two battleships of the Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, guided missile destroyer ‘Smetlivy’ and landing craft carrier ‘Nikolay Filchenkov’ left their bases in Sevastopol and Novorossiysk respectively and early on Friday morning have passed the Bosphorus Strait, heading to the eastern Mediterranean.

The SSV-201 reconnaissance ship ‘Priazovye’ also reportedly joined the group in the Eastern Mediterranean in early September.

Upon the arrival of the ‘Moskva’, its commander, Sergei Tronev, will assume operative command of the task force. Commander Admiral Viktor Chirkov also informed that more than 80 Russian battleships and support vessels are currently offshore in various parts of the global ocean.

            The 'MOSKVA' will become Fleet Commander when it arrives in the eastern Mediterranean.

“In time of peace Navy’s duty and main application is military service, constant naval presence in the zones of military-political tension where interests of the Russian Federation are concentrated,” Chirkov said. 

Admiral Chirkov recalled that a group of ships headed by the ‘Moskva’ missile cruiser recently called into ports of Cuba and Venezuela and for the first time ever passed into the Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal, calling into ports in Nicaragua and Panama.

Chirkov also informed that a group of 10 warships and support vessels accompanied by four nuclear icebreakers right now are training on the Northern Sea Route. This task group is headed by Russia’s most powerful battleship and the flagship of the Northern Fleet, cruiser ‘Pyotr Veliky’ (Peter the Great). The Russian Navy also continues to battle maritime piracy, deploying task force groups off the coasts of Somalia. In 2013 two naval task groups, one from the Northern Fleet and another from the Pacific Fleet, have been protecting sea routes near the Horn of Africa.
                                               'PETER THE GREAT', Russia's largest and nuclear powered Naval Vessel

Russian warships accompanied 19 convoys through the dangerous waters, maintaining security of 105 vessels from 27 countries and once preventing capture of a merchant vessel.


Friday, September 13, 2013



"We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military–Industrial Complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together".
U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower on leaving office in January, 1960 to be succeeded by John F. Kennedy whose assassination in November, 1963, is still highly controversial with a large section of the American public believing that the murder of their President was part of a conspiracy by the same Military-Industrial Complex that President Eisenhower warned about.

There are three techniques used by the U.S.,UK and the other warmongers to sell the idea of yet more bombing of other countries.

1. Create the impression that the aggressor is actually acting in self defence, or in the defence of the helpless people of another nation.

2. Build up a crusade mythology, one that presents the aggressors as fighting for a higher ideal or for the good of all humanity.

3. De-humanise the enemy by presenting them as evil, barbaric or subhuman.

These three methods are applied every time, in every case, of Western aggression. They are being used today by  "leaders" to tell us that Assad must be attacked. They did precisely the same with Saddam and Gaddafi. They will do the same with Iran when its time comes.

The most notorious exponent of these techniques in the previous century was Nazi propaganda minister Dr. Joseph Goebbels.

                                                         Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister.

President Obama’s September 10 speech on Syria  is being presented as a defence of his policies and his latest diplomatic moves. But, underneath all that, the basis on which everyone is supposed to think and act is as outrageous a collection of lies as has ever been assembled in one speech, starting with Mr. Obama’s assertion that “the world’s a better place” because for “nearly seven decades the United States has been the anchor of global security.”

As is Mr. Obama’s claim that the U.S. mission in Syria is driven by opposition to “the terrible nature of chemical weapons.”
As is his assertion that the motive of the U.S. is to “stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run.”

Libraries full of books, decades of documentaries, and the testimony of hundreds of millions of victims of what the U.S. has brought to the world would hardly begin to reveal the extent to which these are all LIES:

Obama: “The world’s a better place” because for “nearly seven decades the United States has been the anchor of global security.”

The detail of U.S. history from the beginning of the American colonization contradicts Mr. Obama’s false version of history. The genocide of Native Americans and the theft of their land, including the “Trail of Tears” where tens of thousands were driven off their lands in the southeastern U.S. and forced to march to Oklahoma—of 15,000 relocated Cherokees, 4,000 died on the march; including many children.  Slavery, where hundreds of thousands of people, kidnapped from Africa, were worked from “can’t see” in the morning to “can’t see” at night. And the legacy of children ripped from their parents, sold to other slave masters. All to build the foundation for much of what made America into the global empire it is today. A savage irony considering Mr. Obama’s own background.

What actually happened in the “nearly seven decades” Mr.Obama claims that the U.S. was making the world “a better place.”

Those decades were launched with, and in important ways defined—militarily, politically, and morally—by the most concentrated mass murder of civilians in human history. The U.S. atomic bomb attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the firebombing of Tokyo in 1945 killed 200,000 civilians, some burned to death on the spot, others dying torturous deaths from radiation poisoning, with survivors and humanity as a whole traumatised”

Eight years later, the U.S. was “making the world a better place” through the Korean War. Of the U.S. invasion of Korea in 1950, U.S. Air Force General Curtis LeMay boasted that U.S. planes “burned down every town in North Korea.” The U.S. used more bombs and artillery shells in Korea than in all of World War 2, and used napalm—a chemical weapon more terrifying and “effective” against military and civilian targets than the older sarin gas the U.S. accuses Syria’s Bashar al-Assad of using. An estimated five million people were killed in the Korean War, three million of them civilians.

In the U.S. war of aggression against Vietnam, from 1965-1975, the U.S. continued to make the world “a better place” and along the way demonstrated how much it cares about children by dropping more than seven million tons of bombs on Vietnam and the neighboring countries of Cambodia and Laos before being driven out in 1975, killing an estimated three million Vietnamese—again, many of them children. Typical of the logic and morality of the U.S. military was the infamous statement by one U.S. military commander who directed the burning down of a whole peasant village and then said, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” In massacres as at the village of My Lai, and in the “cluster bombs” they dropped, the U.S. specifically aimed to kill civilians—including children—at random.

And in response to the arguments of defenders of U.S. imperialism, including liberal “critics” who insist “that was then, this is now,” the U.S. still provides cluster bombs for use against civilians. In 2006, the U.S. Senate voted, 70-30, to defeat an amendment to a Pentagon budget bill which would have banned the use of cluster bombs near populated civilian areas. That enabled the U.S. to continue to supply cluster bombs to Israel to use in an invasion of Lebanon. In 2008-9 the U.S. delivered White Phosphorous to Israel, via Shannon Airport in Ireland, which was used on the civilian population of Gaza in Israel's latest attack on that imprisoned ghetto at the time. White Phosphorous is worse than poison gas, it burns human flesh right through to the bone with excruciating agony for the victims.
Mr.Obama rails against Assad as a “tyrant.” But over “nearly seven decades” the United States installed many of the most brutal tyrants who carried out some of the most massive crimes against their own people in history. In 1965, the U.S. orchestrated a reactionary coup in Indonesia and the slaughter of one million communists and others. The massacres were so wanton that in parts of the country, the rivers were choked with bodies and blood. The fascist gangs and Islamic fundamentalists enlisted along with regular military and police to carry out these massacres used and reveled in the most depraved and sadistic means of torturing and killing people to spread widespread terror, including among children. The deaths of communists were then reported to officials at the U.S. Embassy who crossed off the names of the dead from lists they had provided to the Indonesian butchers.

In 1953 the Iranians changed their Government and kicked out Pahlavi, the fake "Emperor" but the "democratic" U.S. and Britain conspired to change it back again to what became a ruthless dictatorship based on torture and secret police. In 1971 the Chileans changed their Government but were rewarded two years later with a brutal Washington organised military coup when brave President Salvador Allende was murdered in his Office  and  a U.S. sponsored Junta seized power which slaughtered thousands.

The US has conspired to change governments by coup or invasion in all 20 states of Latin America in the last 150 years.
The fact that this history is not taught in schools, or acknowledged in acceptable discourse, does not mean these things didn’t really happen. There is one bit of actual truth that nearly everyone does know: The Iraq war was based on LIES.

Mr.Obama claimed in his speech that he was determined not to repeat what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. As if simply avoiding U.S. “boots on the ground” should be the measuring stick for whether or not the U.S. is again carrying out the same kinds of crimes it carried out in Iraq and Afghanistan. Justified with THE SAME BASIC SET OF LIES!

Set aside, for a moment, the fact that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was justified by TOTAL LIES about Saddam Hussein’s supposed “weapons of mass destruction.” Set aside, for a moment, the fact that the media, including the liberal New York Times, chanelled these lies and gave them credibility.

Consider instead the self-righteous claims by the likes of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush that the U.S. was motivated by and driven to attack Iraq because “Saddam Hussein is a man who is willing to gas his own people, willing to use weapons of mass destruction against Iraq citizens.” (President Bush, March 22, 2002)

Saddam Hussein did gas Kurdish people in Iraq in 1988—something the U.S. facilitated, by the way, including through encouraging the Kurds to rebel and then stabbing them in the back, and through making it possible—including through allies—for Hussein to obtain poison gas. But the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and, importantly, the “diplomatic” moves the U.S. carried out against Hussein—namely sanctions, made things horribly worse for the ordinary people of Iraq.

Operation Desert Storm, 1991, the first U.S. invasion of Iraq, killed or injured hundreds of thousands—over 25,000 civilians and fleeing soldiers were killed in 48 hours on the “Highway of Death.” Then, after the war, the U.S. continued “making the world a better place” and demonstrating care for children through sanctions that killed some 500,000 children in Iraqkilled because of those U.S. sanctions that prevented them from getting needed medicine, clean water, and nutrition. And this crime was justified by a future U.S. Secretary of State as “a very hard choice, but the price—we think the price is worth it.” (US Television 60 Minutes, May 12, 1996)

In 2003, the U.S. and its allies again invaded Iraq—once again making the world “a better place.” During and after the war, between 600,000 and one million Iraqis were killed, and over four million were driven from their homes. (See “Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster surveyThe Lancet, October 12, 2006 ). These deaths are almost never mentioned in the mainstream media.

And the U.S. turned Abu Ghraib prison into their hellish torture chamber, with U.S. military personnel bragging on social media and in emails of sadistic torture, murder, sexual abuse, water boarding, beatings, sleep deprivation, humiliation, and dog attacks. Today Iraq is wracked with terrible sectarian violence (different religious and ethnic factions killing each other). During the U.S. occupation much of that was directly orchestrated by the U.S. in the tradition of colonial “divide and conquer” strategies, but all of it greatly exacerbated in one way or another by the U.S. invasion and the legacy and present-day reality of imperialist domination.

The same can be said about Afghanistan. And one can literally spin a globe of the planet, point to a country, and find crimes carried out by the U.S.

All this misery is a product of how their imperialist system works. It is a system that, by its nature, is driven to exploit the people and resources of the world, to contend and compete with rivals big and small, global and regional, over their ability to do that, which is driven by its nature to enforce all this with the most brutal violence.

Think about what kind of a system is actually represented by a liar-in-chief who can look back on a record like this, look earnestly into the cameras, and talk about nearly seven decades of “enforcing” what he calls “international agreements” that he claims made the world “a better place.”

Far too many of those who Mr.Obama would refer to as “on the Left” are breathing a sigh of relief that Mr.Obama is turning to “diplomacy” instead of launching a military strike—at this moment. But thuggish threats and violent crimes on the one hand and diplomacy on the other are two sides of the same coin. Speaking to a world population that is much more aware than are people in the U.S. of the legacy of U.S. violent crimes around the world, and speaking to (and embracing) the “hawks” in the ruling class and good ole boys watching on TV, Mr.Obama put on his stern face, looked into the cameras, and made this ominous declaration and threat:

“Let me make something clear: The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks.”

Don’t the families of the millions slaughtered know it!

U.S. diplomacy rests on violence and threats of violence, and is aimed at the same ends as violence of enforcing exploitation and oppression, fending off rivals, and keeping people enslaved. And, again, in Iraq, where U.S. sanctions (“diplomacy”) killed hundreds of thousands of children, and softened up Iraq for the 2003 invasion and all the horrors that came with that. On the basis of a world of lies, Mr.Obama proclaimed: “Our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria, along with our leadership of a world where we seek to ensure that the worst weapons will never be used.”

First of all, given that Mr.Obama is speaking for a ruling class of imperialists who have carried out the greatest crimes against humanity in history, who in their right mind would want to identify with the so-called “principles” behind what Mr.Obama calls “our national security "?.They are the “ideals and principles” of a murderous, sadistic, depraved imperialist ruling class driven to subjugate, dominate, and terrorise the planet. So why would anyone want to “debate” what the United States should do in Syria based on those interests? Unless they identify with ensuring that the U.S. imperialist ruling class can continue to dominate the planet, violently enforcing a system of sweatshops and slums, environmental devastation, and a system whose culture and “traditions” have produced an epidemic of rape.

The American public is being trained to think in these terms through Mr.Obama’s speech, and through endless spinning and “debate” among media pundits who are allowed access to the Whore Press owned by media barons like Rupert Murdoch and his ilk. But, people who have the ability to think critically and have the moral sense to look at things from the standpoint of the interests of humanity have to loudly and clearly reject these terms in all kinds of ways, including connecting that outlook with, and encouraging political protests against, any U.S. moves against Syria.

The interests, objectives, and grand designs of the imperialists are not our interests—they are not the interests of the great majority of people in the U.S. nor of the overwhelming majority of people in the world as a whole. And the difficulties the imperialists have gotten themselves into in pursuit of these interests must be seen, and responded to, not from the point of view of the imperialists and their interests, but from the point of view of the great majority of humanity and the basic and urgent need of humanity for a different and better world, for a different way of organising both economy and society in the interests of the majority of the people not the 1% corrupt and genocidal elite.

See also  U.S. Peace Activist ,Joseph Gerson's speech at Stockholm, Sweden, here: