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US Arms Dealers Will Supply $100-Billion in Arms to Saudi Arabia, and Israel Also Will Receive More US Military ‘Aid’


President Trump is close to approving over $100-billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and to aid Israel so it they can maintain military dominance in the Middle East.  US weapons contractors will supply all sides of the arms race, and that market will grow to more than $300-billion over the next decade. –GEG

Earlier this month, US officials said the US was seeking to reach “billions” of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia as part of Trump’s visit to Riyadh. With a week left before the visit, officials now say the White House is very close to the deal, and that it will amount to over $100 billion in sales.

Details are still emerging, but the plan is for this to set out a series of growing deals over the next decade that will involve more than $300 billion going to arms dealers, not just to arm the Saudis, but in extra aid to Israel to ensure their “qualitative military edge” over the Saudis.

White House officials said the move would be good for the economy, and insisted that building Saudi Arabia’s already substantial military was “essential” because of regional problems. Saudi Arabia, of course, spends much of its military budget invading Yemen and trying to reinstall former President Hadi in power.

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Israeli Minister Says the Time Has Come to Assassinate Syrian President Assad

Israel’s Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant called for the assassination of Syrian President Assad following yesterday’s US State Department claim that the Syrian regime was using a prison crematorium to hide mass killings outside Damascus.  Galant admitted that overthrowing Syria opens the door to military action against Iran, which Israel says is their greatest threat. –GEG  

Israel’s Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant called for the assassination of Syrian President Bashar Assad following yesterday’s US State Department report that the Syrian regime was using a prison crematorium to hide mass killings outside Damascus, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Speaking at a conference outside Jerusalem, Galant, a retired Israeli Defence Forces general, said that in light of recent allegations that Assad’s regime carried out mass executions and burned the bodies of the victims, he had to be killed.

“The reality in which people are executed in Syria, being hit deliberately by chemical weapons, their bodies being burned, something we haven’t seen in 70 years. In my view, we are crossing a red line. And in my view, the time has come to assassinate Assad. It’s as simple as that,” said Galant, who previously served as the head of the IDF’s Southern Command. The minister said Assad’s actions in Syria amount to nothing less than a “genocide,” with “hundreds of thousands killed.” 

Galant also likened the assassination of Assad to cutting off the “tail of the snake.” After that, he said, “we can focus on the head, which is in Tehran.”

In a conversation with The Times of Israel after his speech, Galant stood by his comments and acknowledged that targeted political assassinations are considered illegal under international law, but clarified that he “wasn’t speaking about practicalities.” However, he added, “Anyone who murders people and burns their corpses does not have a place in this world.”

As reported on Monday, the United States State Department accused the Assad regime of carrying out mass killings of thousands of prisoners and burning the bodies in a large crematorium outside the capital.

The US said it believed about 50 detainees a day are being hanged at Saydnaya military prison, about 45 minutes north of Damascus. Many of the bodies, it said, are then burned in the crematorium.  “We believe that the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place,” said Stuart Jones, the top US diplomat for the Middle East, in accusing the Syrian government of sinking “to a new level of depravity.”

According to Galant, while it is unclear whether or not the crematorium was in use for all those years, it is imperative that something must now be done. The Obama administration made a “strategic mistake” Galant said by “deviating” from the course of supporting Sunni countries in order to try to come closer to Shi’ite countries, something which Galant said is different in the Trump administration.

During his speech, Galant also said that in a wider view, Assad and his ally Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror group, are larger threats to the world order than the Islamic State and other Sunni terrorist groups. Galant was speaking at the Israel Defense publication’s “Ground Warfare and Logistics” conference at the tank museum in Latrun.

Up until a year-and-a-half ago, Syria looked like it was heading towards a Sunni rule, but following the Russian intervention, who used methods first used in Chechnya such as blockading cities while continuing aerial bombardments, the will of the rebels to fight was broken and the tides turned.

 

But while the Russians are currently backing Assad, they realize the importance of the region and understand who they are aligned with, Galant said.

 

“They realize that once the war is over there will still be 20 million Sunnis in Syria who will be wanting to avenge their dead and the Russians know they will be a target,” Galant said adding that the Russians will “seek avenues to make relations better with the Sunnis, including sacrificing Assad.”

As for ISIS, the Israeli minister was laconic: “The world will wipe out Daesh, the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda,” he said. Galant said his assessment came from the fact that those terrorist groups do not enjoy the same level of support as Syria and Hezbollah, which are backed by Iran.

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Congress Voted to Give $3-Million to the FDA for Pro-GMO Propaganda


US: Allegedly to prevent a federal-government shut-down, the Senate passed a funding bill that includes $3-million to the FDA to convince the public that GMO foods are beneficial. The funding followed a letter-writing campaign by 65 agricultural and food groups that petitioned congressional leaders to allocate taxpayer money for this purpose.  Many Congressmen receive generous contributions from the  biotech industry. –GEG

In a move that was secured because of the government’s desperation to avoid a shutdown, a bill that was passed by the Senate 79 to 18 earlier this month included an allocation of $3 million for the FDA to lead a campaign aimed at “consumer outreach and education regarding agricultural biotechnology.” Though many Democrats attempted to have the measure struck from the bill, senators were unable to remove it and were forced to vote in favor of the entire bill.

Though $3 million is small in comparison to the Food and Drug Administration’s $2.8 billion budget, people are pointing to the political and moral implications of allowing a government organization to tout the benefits of GMO foods despite scientific evidence that proves otherwise. In the language for the measure, the FDA will promote the “environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic, and humanitarian impacts” of biotech crops and food products.

The measure was brought about after a letter from more than 65 agriculture and food industry groups was sent to congressional leaders urging them to include support for agricultural bioscience in the budget. Many are concerned that this an overreach by both the government and the biotech companies because this industry is notorious for their donations to government officials, mainly Republicans, and say that it is not the government’s place to combat “misinformation” about certain types of food.

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Monsanto Accused of Hiring Trolls to Silence Internet Opposition to GMO Foods


Biotech giant, Monsanto, is accused of hiring, through third parties, an ‘army’ of Internet trolls to counter negative online comments, while citing positive ‘ghost-written’ pseudo-scientific reports that downplay the risks of GMO foods and Roundup Ready pesticide. In San Francisco, fifty lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto. –GEG

Biotech giant Monsanto is being accused of hiring, through third parties, an army of Internet trolls to counter negative comments, while citing positive “ghost-written” pseudo-scientific reports which downplay the potential risks of their products.

The documents emerged during pre-trials on 50 lawsuits against Monsanto which were pending in the US District Court in San Francisco. The plaintiffs allege that exposure to the biotech giant’s flagship product, the herbicide Roundup, caused them or their relatives to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, while Monsanto concealed the potential risks.

In March, a judge ruled, despite Monsanto’s objections, that the documents obtained by the plaintiffs could be released. The court papers are being gathered at the website of food-safety whistleblower organization US Right to Know.

The plaintiffs alleged that Monsanto targeted all online materials and even social media comments that indicate potential dangers of its products, according to one document released late in April.

“Monsanto even started the aptly-named ‘Let Nothing Go’ program to leave nothing, not even Facebook comments, unanswered; through a series of third parties, it employs individuals who appear to have no connection to the industry, who in turn post positive comments on news articles and Facebook posts, defending Monsanto, its chemicals, and GMOs,” the document reads.

On a larger scale, Monsanto allegedly “quietly funnels money to ‘think tanks’ such as the ‘Genetic Literacy Project’ and the ‘American Council on Science and Health”– organizations intended to shame scientists and highlight information helpful to Monsanto and other chemical producers,” according to the plaintiffs.

The accusations are backed by a batch of emails, used in court as evidence, which were written by some Monsanto executives, instructing the staff to “ghost-write” articles and then have some “independent scientists” just sign their names under the “study” in order to reduce costs.

“A less expensive/more palatable approach might be to involve experts only for the areas of contention, epidemiology and possibly MOA (depending on what comes out of the IARC meeting), and we ghost-write the Exposure Tox & Genetox sections,” the letter’s excerpt reads. “An option would be to add Greim and Kier or Kirkland to have their names on the publication, but we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak. Recall that is how we handled Williams Kroes & Munro, 2000.”

Monsanto, however, dismissed such allegations, claiming that the plaintiffs’ attorneys took a “single comment in a single email out of context.” The new accusations appear to be better-founded than earlier ones, which were largely based on the words of one of Monsanto’s top executives, Dr. William Moar, who reportedly said at a conference in January 2015 that the company had an “an entire department,” dedicated to “debunking” science which disagreed with the agrochemical giant’s own research.

One of Monsanto’s most well-known attempts to silence “bad” science was related to a report issued by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in March 2015. Monsanto promptly labelled the report as “biased,” and demanded it be retracted. The report said Roundup’s key ingredient glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic.”

“We question the quality of the assessment,” Monsanto’s vice president of global regulatory affairs, Philip Miller, said. “The WHO has something to explain.”

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Mainstream Media Silent on Russia Acknowledgement that They Believe the US Will Carry Out Nuclear Strike


Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under President Reagan, reports that Viktor Poznihir, a high-ranking General in the Russian military, says Washington is preparing a nuclear first strike on Russia. The US also is seriously considering that Russia or China may resort to a first-strike nuclear attack on the US, which is logical if they think an attack by the US is inevitable. If this continues, it cannot end well. The US media has ignored this story. Guess it’s not important. –GEG

Are You Ready to Die?

Paul Craig Roberts

“Fifty years ago, the streets of Leningrad taught me one thing: If a fight is inevitable, you must strike first.” Vladimir Putin

In George Orwell’s 1949 dystopian novel, 1984, information that no longer is consistent with Big Brother’s explanations is chucked down the Memory Hole. In the real American dystopia in which we currently live, the information is never reported at all.

On April 26—16 days ago—Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznihir, Deputy Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces, stated at the Moscow International Security Conference that the Operations Command of the Russian General Staff has concluded that Washington is preparing a nuclear first strike on Russia.

See:

https://www.rt.com/news/386276-us-missile-shield-russia-strike/ 

http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/04/us-forces-preparing-sudden-nuclear.html 

https://www.times-gazette.com/ap%20general%20news/2016/10/12/russia-china-to-mull-joint-response-to-us-missile-shield  

http://themillenniumreport.com/2017/04/us-forces-preparing-sudden-nuclear-strike-on-russia-moscow-security-conference/ 

The Times-Gazett in Ashland, Ohio, was the only US print media that a Google search could turn up that reported this most alarming of all announcements. A Google search turned up no reports on US TV, and none on Canadian, Australian, European, or any other media except RT and Internet sites.

I have been unable to find any report that any US Senator or Representative or any European, Canadian, or Australian politician has raised a voice of concern.

No one in Washington got on the telephone to tell Putin that this was all a mistake, that the US was not preparing a nuclear first strike on Russia, or ask Putin how this serious situation could be defused.

Americans do not even know about it, except for my readers.

I would have expected at least that the CIA would have planted the story in the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR that General Poznihir was expressing his personal opinion, nothing to be taken seriously. But apparently Americans and their European vassals are not to even know that such an accussation was made.

As I reported some time ago and more recently in my column about North Korea, the Chinese leadership has also concluded that the US intends a nuclear first strike against China.

Alone either Russia or China can destroy the US. If they act together, the destruction of the US would be redundant. What is the intelligence, if any, and morality, clearly none, of the US leadership that recklessly and irresponsibly invites Russia and China to preempt Washington’s attack on them with an attack on the US?

Surely not even insouciant Americans are so stupid as to think that Russia and China will just sit there and wait for Washington’s nuclear attack.

I lived through every stage of the Cold War. I participated in it. Never in my life have I experienced the situation where two nuclear powers were convinced that the third was going to surprise them with a nuclear attack.

I supported Trump because he, unlike Hillary, said he would normalize relations with Russia. Instead he has raised the tensions between the nuclear powers. Nothing is more irresponsible or dangerous.

We currently are in the most dangerous situation of my lifetime, and there is ZERO AWARENESS AND NO DISCUSSION!

How can this be? Putin has been issuing warnings for years. He has told the Western presstitute media on more than one occasion that they, in their dishonesty, are pushing the world to nuclear war. Putin has said over and over, “I issue warnings and no one hears.” “How do I get through to you?”

Maybe the morons will hear when mushroom clouds appear over Washington and New York, and Europe ceases to exist, as it will if Europe continues the confrontation with Russia as is required from Washington’s well-paid vassals.

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Hillary Clinton Establishes ‘Onward Together’, a New Dark Money Collecting Super PAC


Hillary is launching a new organization, Onward Together, to build a network of Democrat candidates in the 2018 elections.  She needs a new stream of income, since her other organizations have dried up. Her new PAC (Political Action Committee) is a 501(c)4 organization, which will enable her to accept money from unidentified donors. Perfect! The defunct Clinton Foundation is morphing into ‘Pay-for-Play Version 2’. –GEG

Two-time failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton officially launched a new organization on Monday, “Onward Together,” with the stated goal of “advancing the vision that earned nearly 66 million votes in the last election.” Put more bluntly, the group’s mission is to advance Clinton’s agenda, which was unable to defeat Donald Trump.

The devil’s usually in the details, is it not? The detail that is smashed to the bottom in fine print is this.

Contributions or gifts to Onward Together, a 501(c)(4) organization, are not tax deductible as charitable contributions or as business deductions.

Translated: you can’t write that off and we take all the profit, thank you very much, you ignorant dupes, you useful tools. Because, after all, we deserve it and we are much smarter than you.

By listing itself as a 501(c)(4), Clinton is able to take so-called “dark money,” or money from donors who legally do not have to be disclosed, in unlimited amounts.

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Germany Is Confiscating Private Homes to Shelter Migrants

The collectivist city government of Hamburg is seizing units of residential property that have been vacant for more than four months to be allocated to tenants chosen by the city. For now, they are migrants. Later? Who knows? Property owners (so called) will be under pressure to accept anyone as a renter, and at an unrealistically low price, just so their property will not be vacant long enough to be seized. –GEG

  • In an unprecedented move, Hamburg authorities confiscated six residential units in the Hamm district near the city center. A trustee appointed by the city is now renovating the properties and will rent them — against the will of the owner — to tenants chosen by the city. District spokeswoman Sorina Weiland said that all renovation costs will be billed to the owner of the properties.
  • Similar expropriation measures have been proposed in Berlin, the German capital, but abandoned because they were deemed unconstitutional.
  • Some Germans are asking what is next: Will authorities now limit the maximum amount of living space per person, and force those with large apartments to share them with strangers?

Authorities in Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany, have begun confiscating private dwellings to ease a housing shortage — one that has been acutely exacerbated by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow more than two million migrants into the country in recent years.

City officials have been seizing commercial properties and converting them into migrant shelters since late 2015, when Merkel opened German borders to hundreds of thousands of migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Now, however, the city is expropriating residential property units owned by private citizens.

In an unprecedented move, Hamburg authorities recently confiscated six residential units in the Hamm district near the city center. The units, which are owned by a private landlord, are in need of repair and have been vacant since 2012. A trustee appointed by the city is now renovating the properties and will rent them — against the will of the owner — to tenants chosen by the city. District spokeswoman Sorina Weiland said that all renovation costs will be billed to the owner of the properties.

The expropriation is authorized by the Hamburg Housing Protection Act (Hamburger Wohnraumschutzgesetz), a 1982 law that was updated by the city’s Socialist government in May 2013 to enable the city to seize any residential property unit that has been vacant for more than four months.

The forced lease, the first of its kind in Germany, is said to be aimed at pressuring the owners of other vacant residences in the city to make them available for rent. Of the 700,000 rental units in Hamburg, somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 (less than one percent) are believed to be vacant, according an estimate by the Hamburg Senate.

Socialists and Greens in Hamburg recently established a “hotline” where local residents can report vacant properties. Activists have also created a website — Leerstandsmelder (Vacancy Reporter) — to identify unoccupied real estate in Hamburg and other German cities.

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US State Department Says It ‘Believes’ A Syrian Prison May Be Cremating Bodies of Executed Prisoners

The US State Department accused Syrian President Assad of using a crematorium outside of the capital Damascus to dispose of the bodies of thousands of executed prisoners. The evidence presented is a satellite image of a building that looks like a crematorium. The State Department cites an Amnesty International report from February that says an average of 20 to 50 people were hanged each week at the Sednaya military prison north of Damascus. [See Consortium News article next to this one about possible bias at Amnesty International.] –GEG

The United States has evidence Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government has built a crematorium at a large military prison outside the capital Damascus, a State Department official said on Monday.

Stuart Jones, acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, said U.S. officials believe the crematorium could be used to dispose of bodies at a prison where they believe Assad’s government authorized the mass hangings of thousands of inmates during Syria’s six-year-old civil war.

“Credible sources have believed that many of the bodies have been disposed in mass graves,” Jones told reporters. During the briefing, he showed aerial images of what he said was a crematorium.

“We now believe that the Syrian regime has installed a crematorium in the Sednaya prison complex which could dispose of detainees’ remains with little evidence.”

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Report Calling Syrian Prison A ‘Human Slaughterhouse’ Comes from Amnesty International, Recipient of Funds from George Soros


Journalist, Rick Sterling, reports that “Human Slaughterhouse; Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison”, published in February 2017 by Amnesty International, is a classic example of pro-war propaganda. AI is a recipient of funds from George Soros, and the report was co-authored by Nicolette Waldman who has worked with organizations in the Soros network. Sterling reviews previous reports from AI that later were found to be faked to arouse passion for war – and makes it clear that this latest report has all the earmarks of being the same. –GEG

Amnesty International (AI) has done some good investigations and reports over the years, which has won the group widespread support. However, less well recognized, Amnesty International has also carried out faulty investigations with bloody and disastrous consequences.

U.S.-backed Syrian “moderate” rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video]

One prominent example is in Iraq, where AI “corroborated” the false story that Iraqi soldiers were stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. The deception was planned and carried out in Washington to influence the U.S. public and Congress.

A more recent example is from 2011 where false accusations were being made about Libya and Muammar Gaddafi as Western and Gulf powers sought to overthrow his government. AI leaders joined the campaign claiming that Gaddafi was using “mercenaries” to threaten and kill peacefully protesting civilians. The propaganda was successful in muting criticism of what became an invasion and “regime change.”

Going far beyond a United Nations Security Council resolution to “protect civilians,” NATO launched sustained air attacks and toppled the Libyan government leading to chaos, violence and a flood of refugees. AI later refuted the “mercenary” accusations but the damage was done.

Now, on Feb. 7, Amnesty International released a new report titled “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison,” which accuses the Syrian government of executing thousands of political prisoners, a set of accusations that has received uncritical treatment in the mainstream news media.

Like the Iraq/Kuwait incubator story and the Libyan “mercenary” story, the “Human Slaughterhouse” report is coming at a critical time. It accuses and convicts the Syrian government of horrible atrocities against civilians – and AI explicitly calls for the international community to take “action.” But the AI report is deeply biased and amounts to a kangaroo-court conviction of the Syrian government.

AI’s Standards Ignored

The Amnesty International report violates the organization’s own research standards. As documented by Professor Tim Hayward here, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, claims that Amnesty does its research in a very systematic, primary, way where we collect evidence with our own staff on the ground. And every aspect of our data collection is based on corroboration and cross-checking from all parties, even if there are, you know, many parties in any situation because of all of the issues we deal with are quite contested. So it’s very important to get different points of view and constantly cross check and verify the facts.”

A heart-rending propaganda image designed to justify a major U.S. military operation inside Syria against the Syrian military.

But the Amnesty report fails on all counts: it relies on third parties, it did not gather its information from different points of view, and it did not cross-check with all parties. The report’s conclusions are not based on primary sources, material evidence or AI’s own staff; the findings are solely based on the claims of anonymous individuals, mostly in southern Turkey from where the war on Syria is coordinated.

Amnesty gathered witnesses and testimonies from only one side of the conflict: the Western- and Gulf-supported opposition. For example, AI consulted with the Syrian Network for Human Rights, which is known to seek NATO intervention in Syria. AI “liased” with the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, an organization funded by the West to press criminal charges against the Syrian leadership. These are obviously not neutral, independent or nonpartisan organizations.

If AI were doing what its Secretary General claims the organization always does, AI would have consulted with organizations within or outside Syria to hear different accounts of life at Saydnaya Prison. Since the AI report has been released, the AngryArab has published the account of a Syrian dissident, Nizar Nayyouf, who was imprisoned at Saydnaya. He contradicts many statements in the Amnesty International report, the type of cross-checking that AI failed to do for this important study.

Amnesty’s accusation that executions were “extrajudicial” is exaggerated or false. By Amnesty’s own description, each prisoner appeared briefly before a judge and each execution was authorized by a high government leader. We do not know if the judge looked at documentation or other information regarding each prisoner. One could argue that the process as described was superficial, but it’s clear that even if AI’s allegations are true, there was some kind of judicial process.

Amnesty’s suggestion that all Saydnaya prisoners are convicted is false. Amnesty quotes one witness who says about the court: “The judge will ask the name of the detainee and whether he committed the crime. Whether the answer is yes or no, he will be convicted.” But this assertion is contradicted by a former Saydnaya prisoner who is now a refugee in Sweden. In this news report, the former prisoner says the judge “asked him how many soldiers he had killed. When he said none, the judge spared him.” This is evidence that there is a judicial process of some sort and there are acquittals.

The Amnesty report includes satellite photographs with captions which are meaningless or erroneous. For example, as pointed out by Syrian dissident Nizar Nayyouf, the photo on page 30 showing a Martyrs Cemetery is “silly beyond silly.” The photo and caption show that the cemetery doubled in size. However, this does not prove hangings of prisoners who would never be buried in a “martyrs cemetery” reserved for Syrian army soldiers. On the contrary, it confirms the fact which Amnesty International otherwise ignores: Syrian soldiers have died in large numbers.

The Amnesty report falsely claims — based on data provided by one of the groups seeking NATO intervention — “The victims are overwhelmingly ordinary civilians who are thought to oppose the government.” While it’s surely true that innocent civilians are sometimes wrongly arrested, as happens in all countries, the suggestion that Saydnaya prison is filled with 95 percent “ordinary civilians” is preposterous. Amnesty International can only make this claim without facing ridicule because AI and other Western organizations have effectively “disappeared” the reality of Syria.

Missing Facts

Other essential facts, which are completely missing from the Amnesty report, include:

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

–Western powers and Gulf monarchies have spent billions of dollars annually since 2011 to recruit, fund, train, arm and support with sophisticated propaganda a violent campaign to overthrow the Syrian government;

–As part of this operation, tens of thousands of foreign fanatics have invaded Syria and tens of thousands of Syrians have been radicalized and paid by Wahhabi monarchies in the Gulf to overthrow the government;

–More than 100,000 Syrian Army and National Defense soldiers have been killed defending their country. Most of this is public information yet ignored by Amnesty International and other mainstream media in the West. This “regime change” operation has been accompanied by a massive distortion and cover-up of reality.

–Without providing evidence, Amnesty International accuses the highest Sunni religious leader in Syria, Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, of authorizing the execution of “ordinary civilians.” While the Grand Mufti is a personal victim of the war’s violence – his son was murdered by terrorists near Aleppo – he has consistently called for reconciliation. Following the assassination of his son, Grand Mufti Hassoun gave an eloquent speech expressing forgiveness for the murderers and calling for an end to the violence.

What does it say about Amnesty International that it makes specific personal accusations, against people who have personally suffered, yet provides no evidence of guilt?

In the report, Amnesty uses sensational and emotional accusations in place of factual evidence. The title of the report is “Human Slaughterhouse.” And what goes with a “slaughterhouse”? A “meat fridge.” So, the report uses the expression “meat fridge” seven separate times, presumably in an attempt to strengthen the central metaphor of a slaughterhouse.

Even the report’s opening quotation is hyperbolic: “Saydnaya is the end of life – the end of humanity.” The report is in sharp contrast with fact-based objective research and investigation; it appears designed to manipulate emotions and thus create new public support in the West for another escalation of the war.

Yet, Amnesty International’s accusations that the Syrian government is carrying out a policy of “extermination” are contradicted by the fact that the vast majority of Syrians prefer to live in government-controlled areas. When the “rebels” were finally driven out of East Aleppo in December 2016, 90 percent of civilians rushed into areas under government control.

In recent days, civilians from Latakia province who had been imprisoned by terrorists for the past three years have been liberated in a prisoner exchange. [This video shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife meeting with some of the civilians.]

A Video

The Amnesty report is accompanied by a three-minute propaganda cartoon that reinforces the narrative that Syrian civilians who protest peacefully are imprisoned and executed. Echoing the theme of the report, the animation is titled “Saydnaya Prison: Human Slaughterhouse.” Amnesty International appears to be in denial that there are tens of thousands of violent extremists in Syria, setting off car bombs, launching mortars and otherwise attacking civilian areas every day.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative in August 2014 somewhere in Syria.

Given the national crisis – with so many violent jihadists to confront – it makes little sense that Syrian security or prison authorities would waste resources on non-violent civilians although that does not mean that the Syrian government has clean hands either. Mistakes and abuses surely happen in this war like all wars.

But the AI report is more like the propaganda that has surrounded the Syrian conflict from the beginning, lacking in balance and reminiscent of the “perception management” used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the West’s assault on Libya in 2011. AI’s hyperbole is also contradicted by the fact that Syria has many opposition parties that compete for seats in the National Assembly and campaign openly for public support from both the right and left of the Baath Party.

AI’s claim that Syrian authorities brutally repress peaceful protests further ignores the Syrian reconciliation process. For the past several years, armed opposition militants have been encouraged to lay down their weapons and peacefully rejoin society, a program largely unreported in Western media because it contradicts the “black hat” narrative of the Syrian government. [A recent example is reported here.]

The Amnesty report cites the “Caesar” photographs as supporting evidence for its “slaughterhouse” accusations but ignores the fact that nearly half those photographs show the opposite of what was claimed. The widely publicized “Caesar photographs” was a Qatari-funded hoax designed to sabotage the 2014 Geneva negotiations as documented here.

While the Amnesty report makes many accusations against the Syrian government, AI ignores the violation of Syrian sovereignty being committed by Western and Gulf countries. It is a curious fact that big NGOs such as Amnesty International focus on violations of “human rights law” and “humanitarian law” but ignore the crime of aggression, also called the crime against peace.

According to the Nuremberg Tribunal, aggression is “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister and former President of the U.N. General Assembly, Father Miguel D’Escoto, is someone who should know. He says, “What the U.S. government is doing in Syria is tantamount to a war of aggression, which, according to the Nuremberg Tribunal, is the worst possible crime a State can commit against another State.” Amnesty International ignores this reality.

Background and Context

The co-author of this Amnesty International report is Nicolette Waldman (Boehland), who was uncritically interviewed on DemocracyNow on Feb. 9. The background and previous work of Waldman shows the inter-connections between influential Washington “think tanks” and the billionaires’ foundations that fund “non-governmental organizations” – NGOs – that claim to be independent but are clearly not.

Waldman previously worked for the “Center for Civilians in Conflict,” which is directed by leaders from George Soros’s Open Society, the Soros-funded Human Rights Watch, Blackrock Solutions and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

Billionaire currency speculator George Soros. (Photo credit: georgesoros.com)

CNAS may be the most significant indication of political orientation since it is led by Michele Flournoy, who was expected to become Secretary of Defense if Hillary Clinton had won the election. CNAS has been a leading force behind neoconservative and liberal-interventionist plans to escalate the war in Syria. While past work or associations do not always define new or future work, in this case the sensational and dubious accusations seem to align with those political goals. [Soros’s Open Society has also provided funds to Amnesty International.]

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