by Stephen Lendman
Guilty of war crimes multiple times over, Obama plans more death, destruction, conquest, colonization, resource control, exploitation, and dominance. Syria is target one, then Iran, then other nations. It follows Washington's longstanding pattern of waging war on humanity. Iran's peaceful nuclear program is pretext for post-November war. Syria's Houla massacre draws it closer against Assad.
Since early last year, thousands of Syrian civilians and security forces died. Daily body counts mount. Western-enlisted insurgents bear most responsibility. Assad is wrongfully blamed for their crimes. Houla represents the largest incident so far. At least 109 deaths were reported. Most were killed at point blank range.
According to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spokesman Rupert Colville, over 80% "were summarily executed in two separate incidents."
"What is very clear is that this was an absolutely abominable event that happened in Houla and at least a substantial part of it was summary executions of civilians, including women and children."
Entire families "were shot (in cold blood) in their houses," or murdered other ways. Western-enlisted death squad assassins, not Assad, bear full responsibility. Spurious accusations blamed pro-Assad Alawites. Claims about tanks and artillery "pounding" Houla were exaggerated. Bodies found were intact. Bullet, stab, and other wounds reflect close-range killing. Insurgents went house to house. Victims had no place to hide.
Nonetheless, Washington, Britain, France, and rogue partners reacted as expected. Ambassadors were expelled. Syria hasn't had one in Washington since last year. Its charge d'affaires got 72 hours to leave. A White House statement condemned Assad for killer gang crimes he tried to stop, saying:
"These acts serve as a vile testament to an illegitimate regime that responds to peaceful political protest with unspeakable and inhuman brutality."
Since violence erupted last year, Washington orchestrated events on the ground. Obama officials bear full responsibility for mass murder, destruction, mayhem and instability. America is directly or indirectly involved in virtually all regional conflicts. It's the world's leading human rights abuser. Longstanding war plans target Assad. Houla may be used as trigger to launch it. Inflammatory scoundrel media reports make war more likely. It wouldn't be the first time.
Former New York Times writer Judith Miller fell from grace. She was directly complicit in promoting war against Iraq. Her daily front page features read like Pentagon handouts. She sacrificed journalism for warmongering. Times editors let her. She's gone, but they're still at it. Last year they targeted Gaddafi. This year they promote war on Iran and Syria. Shameless propaganda encourages what they should oppose. Times' correspondents, op-ed contributors, and editorial writers comprise a virtual Noah's Ark of scam artists. Journalistic ethics aren't tolerated. Subservience to wealth and power is mandated. So is lying for a living.
On May 30, several featured articles and one inflammatory editorial targeted Assad. One headlined "Western Nations, Protesting Killings, Expel Envoys," saying:
On Tuesday, Washington "joined with 10 nations...." They expelled Syrian diplomats. Fingers pointed the wrong way. Heated rhetoric substituted for truth. War drums were clearly audible.
Journalism is support to accurately inform, agenda-free. Advocacy shouldn't be tolerated. Taking sides veers far from good reporting. Too often it's featured on Times pages. Calling Houla "a tipping point" comes dangerously close to advocating war. Blaming Assad for insurgent killings draws it closer. No publication has more global influence than The Times. Government officials follow its articles, commentaries and editorials. Agendas they advocate affect policies. Promoting war makes it more likely.
The Times strayed far from June 13, 1971. It became the first broadsheet to begin publishing the top secret Pentagon Papers. At the time, publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger said, "What was revealed, had to be revealed....people had the right to know."
In a 1996 article, The Times said:
The Pentagon Papers "demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public, but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendent national interest and significance."
Did misreporting about nonexistent Iraq WMDs matter less? Were lies about Gaddafi acceptable? Was getting the Afghanistan wrong good journalism? Are rule of law principles unimportant? Is sanitized news without truth and full disclosure proper on Times' pages? Obvious questions go answered.
Another headline read "Romney Calls for Action on Syria, but His Party Is Divided," saying: He and other congressional hawks want war on Syria. John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham are especially belligerent. They bluntly support air strikes. Romney stops short of their rhetoric but not their agenda to topple Assad. Most others in Congress support it. So does Obama. Romney wants faster action.
Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey said:
"Of course, there is always a military option....It may come to a point with Syria because of the atrocities."
He added that Friday's massacre made intervention more likely.
War plans were prepared months ago. They're also ready against Iran. Key NATO partners and regional allies support it. So do the Turkish-based Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Syrian National Council (SNC).
Another Times article headlined "Israel's Defense Minister Calls for More Action Against Assad," saying:
Houla "compel(s) the world to take action - not just talk, but action," he said. He stopped just short of urging war, but imagine what's said privately.
Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said:
"The West must intervene, either directly, or indirectly." He added that Israel must get involved. These type comments suggest war draws closer. When rhetoric gets this heated, bombs away usually follows. At this point, it looks almost certain. Whether Russia and China can prevent it remains to be seen.
On May 30, a Times editorial headlined "The Massacre at Houla," saying:
Expelling Syrian diplomats stops short of tougher measures needed. Russia remains a "roadblock." Fingers pointed solely at Assad. Houla "was just the latest evidence that he never intended to" pursue peace.
The editorial suggested "shabiha, or government thugs" did "at least some of the killings by shooting people - including entire families - at close range." The most obvious question went unanswered: Cui bono? Clearly not Assad. Like previous hostile editorials, this one stopped short of urging war. Given its tough rhetoric, it's just a matter of time. Calls overall grow louder.
On May 29, a Washington Post editorial headlined "Time for US leadership on Syria," saying:
Body counts mount. An "illusory cease fire" exists. Houla wasn't unique. It's "just better documented than (other Assad) crimes....in towns and cities across Syria."
"The Obama administration persists, too, in declining to exercise the U.S. leadership that would be required to stop the massacres. For the past two months it hid behind Mr. Annan. Now....his plan has become an embarrassment...."
"The reality is that the killing in Syria will continue, and the threat to vital U.S. interests across the Middle East will grow...."
The Washington Post also barely stopped short of urging war. At issue is how much longer? Harsh commentaries and political rhetoric suggest what peace advocates fear most.
A hawkish Haaretz article intensifies it. Headlined "On Syria, the world prattles on," saying:
"The Syrian threat doesn't just hover over Syrian cities and towns; it is also warming up the engines of Israel's fighter jets" to attack Iran.
Full of misinformation, it feigned concern for regional security and stability. When irresponsible commentators and political officials promote wars, spurious reasons are given. Deception substitutes for truth and reason. Bad policies usually follow. Only imperial interests gain. People on both sides lose. One conflict begets others. Endless turmoil and violence persist. Advocating them is unconscionable. Calls for war grow louder. A large-scale false flag attack blamed on Syria could cinch it. It wouldn't be the first time America manipulated events to wage war and won't be the last. Odds look like it's coming.
A Final Comment
For months, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been under house arrest in London. Sweden wants him extradited on spurious charges. They include unlawful coercion, sexual molestation and rape. Allegedly it's for having sex without a condom. Since when is condomless or consensual sex illegal? A honey trap snared him. At issue isn't sex. Washington wants him extradited to stand trial for whistleblowing. Obama officials want him put away and silenced. Sweden is a way station. On May 31, Britain's Supreme Court ordered Assange extradited to Stockholm. Its 5 - 2 decision rejected his argument about an invalid European arrest warrant.
His lawyers got two weeks to contest. Earlier, two lower courts ruled for extradition. Washington exerted pressure and got what it wanted. Summary judgment awaits Assange in America. Maybe Guantanamo or Bradley Manning-style. Kid gloves treatment won't await him. Claims about putting lives at risk are spurious. At issue is silencing whistleblowers. Assange and Manning are best known. Assange may appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Doing so could delay extradition for months.
Per Samuelson, one of his lawyers, said whether he'll appeal isn't decided. At the same time, he believes he'll be cleared in Sweden. Whether true or not won't matter if authorities there order him extradited to America.
At this point, it looks likely, but resolution may be months away.
Bodies of military personnel with American and Polish chevrons on uniforms were found in Avdiivka, adviser to the head of the Donetsk People's Republic said