I have deliberately avoided the whole Syrian situation. After seeing what happened in Libya, I can see that country did not particularly benefit from overthrowing Gaddafi. It turned into a mess that the media has quietly swept under the rug. Nobody hears about Libya anymore. So I will look up a bit about Libya and I found something from Reuters, an article about Latin American states worried about a Libyan style outcome in Syria if the west keeps pushing for regime change. There is more, but essentially my opinion is that the Syrian situation is complex, there are abuses, but it is very unclear which side is right. Why, if the western media is so sure that the rebels are right, then do they not get confirmed reports? Where are the brave reporters who will expose the abuses of the Syrian government. We get lots of cell phone footage that is claimed to support the views of the rebels, but we see nothing that is verifiable even with UN monitors. People are being killed, but I am not convinced that this rebel group is offering the Syrian people an option that is any better than what they have. Perhaps one group will replace another, in a see-saw sort of eye for an eye type of justice that seems to be the case in Libya. The Russians may be simply exercising good common sense. Certainly the opposition should at least become an effective force and not simply a debating society. This is no socialist insurrection, it is a hodge-podge of ethnic minorities and political groups, without a common agenda. They are no more legitimate than the Libyan council was and is.
Besides that there is this report about cyber warfare against Iran. As one commentator noted, whats good for the goose is good for the gander. Just as American use of torture, lowered the worlds standards of appropriate behavior regarding the treatment of prisoners, American behavior in attacking other countries in undeclared wars with cyber technology, opens the door for others to act in the same manner against the USA.
Latin American leftists fear Libya-style endgame in Syria
By Andrew Cawthorne
CARACAS | Fri Jun 1, 2012 1:17pm EDT
(Reuters) - A bloc of left-wing Latin American governments accused Western nations on Friday of planning to intervene in Syria as they did in Libya and praised President Bashar al-Assad’s government despite widespread global condemnation.
The driving force behind the bloc, known as the ALBA group, is Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a virulent critic of the United States who has been vocal in his support for Assad.
“We are worried that the same process of interference that foreign powers applied in Libya will be repeated,” the eight-nation group said in a statement released at U.N. negotiations over Syria in Geneva and also sent to media in Venezuela.
Western-led air strikes last year helped bring an end to Muammar Gaddafi’s rule in Libya.
But there has been no such international consensus for armed intervention in Syria despite 14 months of violence including last week’s massacre of more than 100 civilians, many of them children. The government and rebels blamed each other.
“We value the Syrian government’s steps in attending to the legitimate demands of those who have protested peacefully … and the program of reforms carried out, as well as its willingness to implement the peace plan of (mediator) Kofi Annan,” the ALBA statement added in praise that contrasted with a chorus of disgust against Assad elsewhere round the world.
The bloc was opposing a resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva condemning Syria for the massacre in Houla.
“The resolution reflects the desires to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs, without contributing to dialogue nor to the search for peace,” the statement said.
Founded by Chavez and Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro in 2004, the ALBA bloc did, however, condemn the Houla massacre and call on all sides in the Syria conflict to cease violence.
Critics of Chavez, who is seeking re-election in October despite battling cancer, say his support of Syria - like his past backing for Gaddafi - show his own dictatorial tendencies.
OPEC member Venezuela has been sending diesel to Syria despite Western sanctions on the Assad government.
“Once again, we see the name of our country next to the most abject dictatorships in the world, and how our oil helps in the repression of our Syrian brothers,” Venezuela’s opposition Democratic Unity coalition said in a statement.
Though Venezuela and Cuba are the loudest voices in ALBA, it also includes Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador and the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and St. Vincente and the Grenadines, with a combined population of 75 million people.
(Editing by Eduardo Garcia and Vicki Allen)
From Al Aram Weekly
Libya: the ongoing disaster
NATO’s destruction of Libya as an independent regional power has paved the way for the military re-conquest of Africa,writes Dan Glazebrook*
The scale of the ongoing tragedy visited on Libya by NATO and its allies is becoming horribly clearer with each passing day. Estimates of those killed so far vary, but 50,000 seems to be a low estimate. Indeed, the British Ministry of Defence was boasting that the onslaught had killed 35,000 as early as last May, and this number is constantly growing, as the destruction of Libyan state forces by the British, French and American blitzkrieg has left the country in a state of total anarchy.
Having nothing to unite them other than their former willingness to act as NATO’s foot soldiers, Libya’s former “rebels” are now turning on each other. 147 people were killed in in-fighting in southern Libya in a single week earlier this year, and in recent weeks government buildings including the prime ministerial compound have come under fire from rebels demanding cash payment for their services.
$1.4 billion has already been paid out, demonstrating that it was the forces of NATO colonialism, and not former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who were reliant on “mercenaries”. However, these payments were suspended last month due to widespread nepotism. Corruption is becoming endemic in Libya, with a further $2.5 billion in oil revenues that was supposed to have been transferred to the national treasury remaining unaccounted for.
Libya’s resources are now being jointly plundered by the oil multinationals and a handful of chosen families from among the country’s new elites: this is a case of a classic neo-colonial stitch-up. The use of these resources for giant infrastructure projects such as the Great Manmade River project, and the massive raising of living standards over the past four decades that came about as a result — Libyan life expectancy rose from 51 to 77 after Gaddafi came to power in 1969 — sadly look to have become things of the past.
However, woe betide anyone who mentions that now. It was decided long ago that no supporters of Gaddafi would be allowed to stand in the upcoming Libyan elections, but recent changes have gone even further. Law 37, passed by the NATO-imposed Libyan government last month, has created a new crime of “glorifying” the former government or its leader, subject to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Would this include a passing comment that things were better under Gaddafi? The law is deliberately vague enough to be open to interpretation. It is also a recipe for institutionalised political persecution.
Even more indicative of the contempt for the rule of law amongst the members of the new government — a government, remember, which has yet to receive any semblance of popular mandate and whose only power base remains foreign armed forces — is Law 38. This guarantees immunity from prosecution for anyone who committed crimes aimed at “promoting or protecting the revolution”.
As a result, those responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the town of Tawergha — such as the self-proclaimed “brigade for the purging of black skins” — can continue hunting down refugees in the full knowledge that they have the new law on their side. Those responsible for the massacres in the town of Sirte and elsewhere also have nothing to fear. Those involved in the widespread torture of detainees can continue to do so without any repercussions — so long as their torture is aimed at “protecting the revolution” — i.e. maintaining the NATO-Libyan Transitional National Council dictatorship.
This is the reality of the new Libya: civil war, squandered resources, and societal collapse, where voicing a preference for the days when Libya was prosperous and at peace is a crime, but lynching and torture are not only permitted, but also encouraged.
Nor has the disaster remained a national one. Libya’s destabilisation has already spread to Mali, prompting a coup, and huge numbers of refugees, especially amongst Libya’s large black migrant population, have fled to neighbouring countries in a desperate attempt to escape both aerial destruction and lynch mob rampage, putting pressure on resources and stoking tensions elsewhere. Many Libyan fighters, their work done in Libya, have now been shipped to Syria to spread their sectarian violence there also.
Most worrying for the African continent, however, is the forward march of AFRICOM — the US military’s African command — in the wake of the aggression against Libya. It is no coincidence that barely a month after the fall of Tripoli, and in the same month that Gaddafi was murdered in October 2011, the US announced it was sending troops to no fewer than four more African countries — the Central African Republic, Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. AFRICOM has now announced the unprecedented number of 14 major joint military exercises in African countries for 2012. The military re-conquest of Africa is rolling steadily on.
None of this would have been possible when Gaddafi was still in power. As founder of the African Union, its biggest donor, and its one-time elected chairman, Gaddafi wielded major influence on the continent. It was partly thanks to him that the US was forced to establish AFRICOM’s HQ in Stuttgart in Germany when it was established in February 2008, rather than in Africa itself, as Gaddafi offered cash and investment to African governments that rejected US requests for bases.
Libya under Gaddafi’s leadership made an estimated $150 billion of investments in Africa, and the Libyan proposal, backed with £30 billion in cash, for an African Union Development Bank would have seriously reduced African financial dependence on the West. In short, Gaddafi’s Libya was the single biggest obstacle to AFRICOM penetration of the continent.
Now that Gaddafi has gone, AFRICOM is stepping up its work. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan showed the West that wars in which its own citizens get killed are not popular. AFRICOM is designed to ensure that in the coming colonial wars against Africa, it will be Africans who do the fighting and dying, not westerners. The forces of the African Union are to become integrated into AFRICOM under a US-led chain of command. Gaddafi would never have allowed this, which is why he had to go.
If you want a vision of Africa under AFRICOM tutelage, look no further than Libya, NATO’s model of an African state. This has now been condemned to decades of violence and trauma and has been made incapable either of providing for its people, or of contributing to regional or continental independence. This new military colonialism should not be given another inch of African support.
* The writer is a political analyst.
From RT News
US ready to act on Syria outside UN?
Published: 31 May, 2012, 08:24
The US has hinted at taking actions against the Syrian regime bypassing the authority of the UN Security Council. This comes as pressure is piling up on Damascus following massacre in Houla that claimed over 100 lives.
US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice has said that if the council does not take swift action to pressure Syrian authorities to end 14-month crackdown on the anti-government uprising, the Security Council members may have no choice but to consider acting outside the UN.
“Members of the international community are left with the option only of having to consider whether they are prepared to take actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of this council,” Rice said on Wednesday after the 15-member council met in a closed door session to discuss last week’s massacre.
The United Nations is conducting its own investigation of who exactly is responsible for the bloodshed in the town of Houla. However the US and its allies seem to have come to their own conclusion, saying that the Assad government is solely responsible for the violence.
Rice did not specify what “actions” she meant. However the US and European countries had earlier imposed their own sanction on Syria outside the UN. So there are fears that her words could mean the threat of military action.
The US envoy said the worst but most probable scenario in Syria is a failure of Annan’s peace plan and a spreading conflict that could create a major crisis not only in Syria but also in the entire region.
“The Syrian government has made commitments. It has blatantly violated those commitments, and, I think it’s quite clear, as we have said for many weeks if they continue to do so there should be consequences,” Rice said.
Meanwhile, Syria’s Ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari has stated Wednesday that the massacre in the town of Houla was carried out by “professional terrorists” who were seeking to ignite a sectarian conflict in the country.
“Many Syrian innocents got killed because of this misbehavior of these outsiders. The Syrian people need one clear-cut message that the international community, if there is an international community, is there to help settling the conflict in Syria,” he said referring to last Friday’s violence.
Russia’s envoy tot the UN Vitaly Churkin stated that both the authorities and opposition leaders should understand that the current situation in Syria is unacceptable.
Kosovo pattern in Syria?
Susan Rice’s comment became a disturbing reminder of what happened in 1999 when the US and NATO intervened in the former Yugoslavia without a UN Security Council mandate.
“The precedent is already there – we’ve mentioned Kosovo. It’s exactly what happened – you had an allegation of a massacre, which was the village of Racak; you had a UN decree that was severely bullied by the US ambassador who was leading the observation mission on the ground; you had claims that it was brutal unprovoked massacre of innocent civilians by government troops. Serbia was blamed, presented with the ultimatum and then bombed,” historian and author Nebojsa Malic told RT.
“We have the same pattern repeating itself in Syria.”
Blogger Rick Rozoff believes that the US has warned Russia and China that it will push forward military action no matter what.
“Ambassador Rice is basically telling Russia and China and other members of the Security Council that if they do not go along with Western plans for more stringent sanctions and other actions against Syria, the US and its NATO allies reserve a right to act outside the Security Council as they did with Yugoslavia 13 years ago and launch military actions against Syria,” Rozoff told RT.
From Middle East Online
Libya’s Future: National Consensus, Justice and Fairness are Key to Libya’s Stability and Democratic Transition
The debate for federalism or constitutional decentralization was not allowed to mature, as both anti-federalists and pro-federalists emptied the debate from any meaningful arguments that really matter to Libyans and matter for a better future for Libya, says Mohamed Eljarh.
Middle East Online
With Libya’s first general post-revolution elections looming, political debate in the country is even more diverse with multi-variable complex issues to be outlined and solved in a manner by which all parties involved are somewhat happy. Many in Libya count on the upcoming elections to solve most if not all of the underlying issues of 42 years of oppressive dictatorship, and 9 months of armed conflict.
During his rule, Gaddafi ensured that government institutions are weak with wide spread corruption, and a culture of favouritism, nepotism and intentional marginalization. There is also some sense of mistrust between the different factions, cities and regions in the new Libya, and this mistrust stems from historical fissures, as well as, tensions that arose during Gaddafi’s rule and most recently during the armed revolution to oust Gaddafi’s regime.
The sense of mistrust within the different factions, cities, ethnicities and regions in Libya has been evident in the occurrence of bloody armed clashes in different parts of the country. In Al-Kufra town in the south east of Libya clashes erupted between Arab tribes and Tabu tribes that led to deaths and injuries of hundreds. There have also been clashes in western Libya between the towns of Jmail/Ragdalin and Zuwara, and some considered these to be clashes between Gaddafi loyalists and pro-revolution fighters, some other claimed that the clashes had some ethnic background to them.
Another important debate that stems from mistrust and historical fissures is whether Libya should opt for federalism as a governing system or not. The on-going issue of federalism in Libya resulted in the formation of the Barga Regional Council when around three thousands of tribal and political leaders met in Benghazi in March to announce the formation of their regional council and asking for the activation of Libya’s 1951 constitution, which they called the legitimate constitution for the country with the appropriate changes made to it. Their calls for federalism have been faced with mobilization of the public and media against the calls for federalism by the central government in Tripoli.
The debate for federalism in Libya has been prevented from maturing and taking the appropriate path, so that Libyans are well informed about the goods and evils of federalism. Instead, the Barga Council leaders chose to announce their council unilaterally in a move that led to fears that the country is heading toward breaking up and partition. The pro-federalism camp have since dismissed all these allegations and said that the unity of Libya isn’t up for questioning and insisted that Libya is a united country with one president, one army, one constitution and one foreign ministry. However, they called for greater autonomy in running the internal affairs of their region with less control from the central government in Tripoli.
Furthermore, the pro-federalism camp has been calling for the 200 National Assembly seats to be distributed equally between the three old provinces, Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan. Again their calls have been refused and not even considered by the NTC that draw up the law by which the seats were allocated as 109 seats for Tripolitania, 60 for Cyrenaica and 31 for Fezzan.
This formation doesn’t give any one single region the majority to pass a law on its own, but only Tripolitania would have the power to veto any law with 54.5% share of the votes.
The debate for federalism or constitutional decentralization was not allowed to mature, as both anti-federalists and pro-federalists emptied the debate from any meaningful arguments that really matter to Libyans and matter for a better future for Libya. Pro-federalists are being accused by anti-federalists of trying to break up the country and control the oil rich region of Cyrenaica, a claim that is strongly denied by the pro-federalists. Also, anti-federalists are being accused of attempts to marginalize other regions in Libya, and continue the exhausting centralization of the country’s affairs and all its wealth in one region.
From Al Jazeera TV
The NYTimes report on operation Olympic Games, code name for Israeli-US hacking of Iranian computers to take out Iranian centrifuges, has been publicly admitted to being a reality according to Al Jazeera. President Obama approved the plan to destroy Iranian infrastructure. The Trojan “Flame” was discovered in Iran. It is probably going to be a problem for all of us, but it was developed by the US or Israel according to Al Jazeera.
Private Sector Implications of Operation Olympic Games
June 1, 2012 By admin
The New York Times revealed today what many experts had already asserted regarding the United States role in the Stuxnet attack.
While speculation of U.S. involvement complicated international relations on cyber conflict, an acknowledgement of U.S. involvement in a forum such as the New York Times heralds in a brave new world of cyber conflict.
Targeting of critical infrastructure during conventional conflict has been the status quo for decades, with cyber attack legitimized in a traditional conflict context emerging over the past 15 years. What changes with the Stuxnet revelation is the targeting of critical infrastructure as a component of international strategic objectives.
Operation Olympic Games formally acknowledges, through actual offensive state sponsored action, that critical infrastructure is a legitimate target for cyber attack during times of peace.
If the United States includes critical infrastructure as a legitimate target of attack, can we not assume that other nations can target our infrastructure if it meets their criteria or strategic objectives? Is this not Unrestricted Warfare manifesting itself not within China policy, but U.S. policy?
Private infrastructure owners have just been put on notice that overt state sponsored attacks are the new reality. Who will be targeting you?
From the NYTimes
Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran
By DAVID E. SANGER
Published: June 1, 2012 344 Comments
WASHINGTON — From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.
Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games — even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet.
At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.
“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.
Told it was unclear how much the Iranians knew about the code, and offered evidence that it was still causing havoc, Mr. Obama decided that the cyberattacks should proceed. In the following weeks, the Natanz plant was hit by a newer version of the computer worm, and then another after that. The last of that series of attacks, a few weeks after Stuxnet was detected around the world, temporarily took out nearly 1,000 of the 5,000 centrifuges Iran had spinning at the time to purify uranium.
This account of the American and Israeli effort to undermine the Iranian nuclear program is based on interviews over the past 18 months with current and former American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program, as well as a range of outside experts. None would allow their names to be used because the effort remains highly classified, and parts of it continue to this day.
I think that the USA needs to participate as one of several players in the UN, and admit that it is operating out of its vested interests. There is no superior nation. If anything, the UN should be superior to any nation. As long as the USA insists that is is superior to the rest of the world, the rest of the world will have an excuse to not cooperate in the United Nations, the USA will always be an example of a nation that thinks it is above the laws on international relations.