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Friday, 6 March 2015

Nobel Peace Prize Chief Quits, Asks Obama to Return Peace Prize

 

Obama received Nobel Peace Prize in 2009
Obama received Nobel Peace Prize in 2009

For the first time ever, the head of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee has been fired. It happened on Tuesday, March 3rd.

Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, and former Norwegian Prime Minister, said, on the way out the door, that it would be “really nice” if President Barack Obama were to return the prize. The White House had no immediate comment. (This reporter just now, at 1:47 PM Eastern time, specifically asked the White House whether there yet is a comment, and still there is none. Maybe he will volunteer to return it?)

President Obama received the prize on 9 October 2009 after 9 months in office. There is question whether he had already perpetrated the 28 June 2009 coup that overthrew the progressive democratically elected President in Honduras, Manuel Zelaya and installed the narco regime that followed after, but Obama and especially his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton certainly were the key people in enabling that regime to remain in power after almost every other government in the Americas and many around the world had declared them illegal. The following year, Honduras became the world’s highest-murder-rate nation, which they have since remained.

Then, President Obama in 2011 bombed Libya into anarchy and turned it into a failed state with rampant tribal and religious wars.

In 2014, President Obama carried out a Ukrainian coup which removed the democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych and replaced him with a regime which is bombing the area of Ukraine that had voted 90% for Yanukovych.

Perhaps nothing in the history of the Nobel Peace Prize has embarrassed that Committee as much as the premature granting of this Prize to the man who is increasingly viewed around the world as George W. Bush II.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

President al-Assad’s Interview With Portuguese State TV





International system failed to accomplish its duty… Western officials have no desire to combat terrorism


1
Damascus, SANA-President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to Portuguese State Television, RTP, following is the full text:
Question 1: In a few days, it will be 4 years since the protests began in Syria against the government of Bashar al-Assad. From then on it has been a massacre. More than 220 thousand people have died, and there are 4 million displaced people. The arrival of Daesh (Islamic State) has made the situation more grim. For this reasons, it’s important to speak to a key figure in all this process. Today, he gives his first interview ever to a Portuguese media outlet. The Syrian President, Bashar Al Assad.
How do you describe your country today, Mr. President?
President Assad: Let me start by commenting on the number that you mentioned in your introduction, about the number of victims in Syria, which is 200,000, that’s been mentioned in the Western media recently, 220,000. That number is exaggerated. Always the West has exaggerated the numbers in Syria. Actually, it is not about whether they are hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands. Victims are victims, killing is killing, and terrorism is terrorism. Actually, it’s not about being a mere number represented on a graph, on a chart, like a spreadsheet. It’s about families that lost members, lost dear ones, lost relatives. It’s a human disaster we have in Syria.
This crisis has affected every part of Syria, every Syrian citizen regardless of his affiliation or allegiance. It affected his livelihood, food, medicaments, medical care, basic requirements like education. Hundreds of hospitals were destroyed, thousands of schools were destroyed, tens of thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of students don’t go to school. All that will create the fertile habitat and good incubator for terrorism and extremism to grow. But despite all this hardship, the Syrians are determined to continue fighting terrorism, defending their country, and defying hegemony.
Question 2: Syria is not much of a country nowadays. The Syrian Army does not control all the borders, you have international coalition flying in your skies. On the grounds there are different entities. Is Syria as we have known it lost or finished?
President Assad: You cannot talk about a finished Syria when the people are unified behind their government and their army and fighting terrorism and still have institutions working. We still have subsidies, we still pay salaries, we pay the salaries even in some areas under the control of the terrorists themselves. We still have the-
Question 3: You send money to…?
President Assad: Exactly, we send salaries. Because they are employees, and have their own salaries. We send vaccines to those areas for the children.
Question 4: So you cooperate with the Islamic State?
President Assad: No, no. We don’t. We send them, and we deal with the civilians who are the mediators with the terrorists, or the militants. But at the end, all these basic requirements reach those areas. So, we don’t have “Syria is finished” and we don’t have a failed state, actually. But if you want to talk about something different you mentioned in your question, which is the breaching of our airspace illegally by the alliance airplanes and by terrorists supported or working as proxy to regional countries-
Question 5: And borders.
President Assad: This is a failure of the international system, this international system that’s been represented by the United Nations and the Security Council, and that is supposed to solve the problems and protect the sovereignty of different countries and prevent war. Actually, it has failed in doing so. So, what we have now is a failed United Nations; failed to protect international citizens including in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and in other countries.
Question 6: But you also failed. The Syrian Army also fails, because a lot of Christians have been abducted recently in the north.
President Assad: Actually, the role of the Syrian Army, like any national army, is to protect every single citizen, regardless of his affiliation, religion, sect, ethnicities, and so on. If you have mentioned this, I would say yes, we would like to and we wish that the Syrian Army would be able to help every Syrian since the beginning of the crisis. But the main obstacle why the Syrian army couldn’t do so, and as part of this couldn’t help the Christians a few days ago that have been kidnapped by ISIS, is the unlimited support that’s been offered to those terrorists by the Western and regional countries.
Question 7: What we have seen until now is several attempts to have a peace conference that all have failed. What we have until now, it’s talks about talks. What can break this deadlock, Mr. President?
President Assad: Do you mean in Geneva?
Question 8: Geneva 1, Geneva 2, the Russian initiative was a fiasco.
President Assad: The solution is political, but if you want to sit with someone or a party that doesn’t influence the situation on the ground, it’s going to be talk for the sake of talk, that’s correct. We didn’t choose the other party in Geneva. It was chosen by the West, by Turkey, by Saudi Arabia, by Qatar. It wasn’t a Syrian opposition that we made dialogue with. You’re right; if you want to make dialogue, you have to make it with Syrian opposition, Syrian partner, Syrian people who represents Syrians in Syria, not who represent other countries. So, what happened in Geneva wasn’t the model that we have to follow.
Question 9: But, what you are saying, is that an acceptable opposition for you, or…?
President Assad: Of course, any opposition that works for the Syrian, to defend its country, represents Syrians or part of the Syrian population…
Question 10: Within the framework of the Syrian state?
President Assad: No, no. Any opposition who works for the Syrian people. It’s not related to the state, it’s not related to the government.
Question 11: So, you’re excluding the Syrian National Coalition?
President Assad: I don’t exclude anyone as long as he’s Syrian. I’m talking about criteria. Anyone, or any party, who meet with these criteria, we can consider him as opposition. If the coalition is formed in the West or any other country, it’s not considered Syrian. It doesn’t represent the Syrian people. The Syrian people won’t accept him.
Question 12: But are you able to discuss with them or not?
President Assad: Actually, what we have followed since the beginning of the crisis, we didn’t leave any stone unturned. We tried every possible solution in order not to allow anyone to say “if they didn’t do this, that would have happened.” So, we discussed even with the coalition, although we know in advance that it doesn’t represent Syrians, it represents the countries that formed it. And second, it doesn’t have any influence on the ground in Syria, even with the militants, even with the terrorists, even with anyone who is involved in the problem within Syria.
Question 13: So you’re saying that the “Free Syrian Army” doesn’t have influence on the ground? That only al-Nusra and Islamic State have influence on the ground?
President Assad: Even Obama said that, he said that the moderate opposition is a fantasy. Most of the world now knows, what they called moderate opposition, they called it “Free Syrian Army,” they have so many other names, all of them are fantasy. Actually, who is controlling the terrorism arena in Syria are either ISIS or al-Nusra, mainly, and some other smaller factions.
Question 14: So, in the end, the solution for Syria is a military solution, and not a negotiated peace?
President Assad: No, actually, what we have been doing recently, as long as we don’t have a party to make negotiations with who can influence the militants on the ground, we went to make reconciliation with the militants in some areas, and that worked, and this is a very realistic political solution. Actually, that is how you exclude the military solution, by discussing with them making a safe area.
Question 15: About the discussions, you have Geneva 1, Geneva 2, the Russian initiative, in all of that there are not, how shall I say, things in common. Is there anything, any issue that you know it is possible, why not start with them? Is there anything in common between you and them?
President Assad: If you want to talk about what happened in Moscow, it’s different from what happened in Geneva, because they invited some of the opposition, because we can’t talk about one opposition; we have many different oppositions. You don’t put them in one basket. You have some of them represent Syrians, some of them they don’t represent anyone, and so on. So, we have common things with some of the opposition that were invited to Moscow, so this is just the beginning of the dialogue. The dialogue may take a long time. But at the end, if you want to not talk about dialogue, talk about the end results on the ground, the question is, who of those parties that we call opposition, who of them represent Syrian people and can influence the militants on the ground in order to save Syrian blood? That is the question. We don’t have an answer yet, because they have to prove, we don’t have to prove. We know we have our army, the army will obey the government, if the government gives an order, it will follow the order. But what about the others? Who is going to control the terrorists? That is the question.
Question 16: You pointed out that some countries, like France, don’t want a peace conference to succeed. Why is that?
President Assad: Actually, you have two points, or two reasons, let’s say. First one is not related only to the French; it’s related to every official who is complicit and involved in the propaganda and the aggression against Syria during the last four years. It’s about the end of this war will unmask those officials in front of their public opinion, in a country where there is public opinion. I don’t mean Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where there is no public opinion anyway. But generally, they will be unmasked about the question “what is the revolution that you mentioned, that you talked about? How could a revolution collapse or fail if you have the support of the West, the support of regional countries, all this money and armaments and so on, and you supposed that he’s a dictator who is killing his good people, so the people are against him, regional countries are against him, and the West is against him, and he succeeded.It’s one of two options: you’re either lying to us, or you’re talking about a superman. Because you don’t a superman, he’s a regular president, it means he could withstand for four years only because he has the public support. It doesn’t mean full public support, one hundred percent, or absolute public support, but definitely have support from a part, a large amount of the Syrian people.” So, this is a lie that the public opinion in the West and in other countries will ask the officials about. What about the Arab spring that turned out to be – instead of budding flowers – blood and killing and destruction? Is that the spring that you talked about? This is one reason.
The other reason is more specific towards France. Not limited, but more specific, let’s say. It’s about the financial relation between France and the Gulf states. Maybe because they have financial difficulties, I don’t know why. But this financial relations, and I don’t have any proof whether this is about the vested interest of some officials in France or if it’s about public interest, I don’t have any proof, but at the end, these financial interests push those officials in France to exchange their values of liberty and fraternity and democracy, all the things that they used to preach, the exchange those values for petrodollars. So now those French officials and some others in the West, they don’t practice what they preach anymore.
Question 17: But the tide seems to change a little bit. You had French MPs here. It was an organized visit, or it came as a surprise to you?
President Assad: No, no. It wasn’t a surprise, because it wasn’t the first delegation to come to Syria.
Question 18: French delegation?
President Assad: French and from other countries. Different kinds of delegations, activists, mediators, some officials came to deal with us under the table, not-
Question 19: This was organized with your government and…?
President Assad: Yes, it was officially organized, and they had a schedule when they came. It was weeks before, it wasn’t a surprise.
Question 20: With French diplomats as well or not?
President Assad: We had the impression, and it’s a strong impression, that most of the government, the main officials in the government, they know about it in advance, and they didn’t oppose.
Question 21: So, did they send you any message?
President Assad: No, there wasn’t a message, and they came to see the reality on the ground, and I think that’s the reflection – not just this delegation; the delegations that came to Syria recently from different countries, especially from the West, is a reflection of not believing, not taking in with the narrative, the insidious narrative about Syria in the West by their officials. They want to know the truth, I mean it’s a kind of suspicion about the whole propaganda in the West.
Question 22: So, in a sense, the tide is changing because probably there are some people thinking that even though it’s a bad solution, it’s better to deal with Bashar al-Assad than to deal with the worse solution which is going to be the Islamic State.
President Assad: I don’t think the general public thinks about the second part, it’s about the first part, about what’s happening and how everything we said in Syria at the beginning of the crisis they say later. They said it’s peaceful, we said it’s not peaceful, they’ve killing – these demonstrators, that they called them peaceful demonstrators – have killed policemen. Then it became militants. They said yes, it’s militants. We said it’s militants, it’s terrorism. They said no, it’s not terrorism. Then when they say it’s terrorism, we say it’s Al Qaeda, they say no, it’s not Al Qaeda. So, whatever we said, they say later. That created a lot of suspicion in the West. They want to come to understand this part. Why are you saying whatever Syria was saying in the beginning? Of course, in the West, the propagandists, whether officials or media, the added something only to the real story; that ISIS and al-Nusra was created of Assad, or it’s because of his policy, and so on.
Question 23: But you freed a lot of jihadists from the prisons that went to ISIS, to the Islamic State.
President Assad: No, that’s before the crisis. They were sentenced for a few years, and when the sentence ended, they left prison. We didn’t. We never did. So no, we have institutions, we have a judicial system in Syria.
Question 24: Anyway, Europe is facing more and more threats of terrorism linked to jihadist movements, some of them with connections here in Syria, I mean Al Qaeda or the Islamic State. And the question here: is Syria able to help the European countries in fighting these threats of terrorism?
President Assad: This is like a building; you cannot build a building without having the foundation, so what is the foundation that you need in this this case? First, you need officials in Europe to have the will to fight terrorism. This is something that we don’t have to this moment. Second thing, to have prudent policies. We cannot have arrogant, stubborn officials that only adopted egotistical policies. Third, which is very important, fighting terrorism should be a value, should become a value. It cannot be a sort of opportunism, like because now you are suffering in Europe from terrorism, you’re scared, you want to fight terrorism in this region. What about a few years ago? You didn’t suffer.
Question 25: But can you help the…?
President Assad: If they don’t help themselves first, we cannot. If they help themselves, we are ready to help. If you build this foundation, if you have this foundation, you can go to the building. This is where you can talk about how to integrate the community in your country, how to have exchange of information with intelligence, you have many ways. Of course we can, but you need to have the foundation in order to succeed.
Question 26: Mr. President, let me quote, “the Syrian people aspire more freedom, justice, human rights. They aspire to more plurality and democracy.” Your Foreign Minister said this in the Geneva conference. However, the state of Syria is perceived differently in the West. Till now, it’s perceived as brutal, ruthless, dictatorial, and it’s not just a question of image, so how is it possible to convince the people that…?
President Assad: This is illogical and unrealistic, because how can somebody who kills his people and oppresses his people be supported by the same people? How? Tell me about this contradiction. Look at it from the outside. Is it palatable, can you understand? It doesn’t.
Question 27: But, Mr. President, the reality is that if you allow me to go backwards, and try to-
President Assad: Before the crisis.
Question 28: Let me just try to… you started four years ago with peaceful demonstrators that were repressed, then you are blamed, your government is blamed, for a lot of allegations of human rights violations in your own ranks, repression. You have the Cesar reported, defected from the army, with photos of massacres, of torture of the opposition. You have allegations that you have used chemical weapons. You have allegations of using the barrel bombs till now, and so, the human rights reports watcher about Syria, they are not very good for you, your government, and the Syrian Army.
President Assad: You are talking about massive propaganda for four years. We cannot answer every one in one interview, but I will say the demonstrations never were peaceful, because in the first week, we lost many of our policemen. How? How could a peaceful demonstration kill a policeman? It wasn’t peaceful, so, this is the beginning of the lies, it’s the beginning of the propaganda.
Question 29: All lies, all the time? Four years of lies, Mr. President?
President Assad: Exactly, that’s what happened. Because, how do you have ISIS? Suddenly? You don’t have ISIS suddenly, you don’t have armaments suddenly, you don’t have al-Nusra Front suddenly. It’s a long process, you can’t have it just in few weeks. Suddenly, everybody is talking about ISIS. Go back to our statements from the very beginning, and you can see that the evolution of the events was going in that regard from the very beginning, and we said that. They didn’t want to listen; they wanted to listen to their statements.That’s what I say. It’s impossible to only tell lies in the West. How can you tell the truth if you don’t have an embassy in this country? How can you tell the truth if you listen to Qatar and Al-Jazeera that were paying the money to those terrorists?
Question 30: So you blame Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia for being the backbone of the jihadists? You have the proof?
President Assad: Very simple; what is the ideology of ISIS? What is the ideology? It’s the Wahhabi ideology. Do we have it in Syria? Do we have it in Morocco? In the western Arab world? Actually, it existed in Saudi Arabia.
Question 31: It’s the same as in Saudi Arabia.
President Assad: Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This is the Wahhabi ideology. Second, Erdogan is Muslim Brotherhood. He’s a very staunch advocate of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology which was the first organization in the history of Islam, in the beginning of the last century, who promoted violence in implementing political agenda. So, you have those, and that’s enough. Going back to the Western media, in the Western media, and the American media in particular, they say 80% of the terrorists are coming from Turkey. You have another realistic one, what you called in your media Kobani which is called Ayn al-Arab. It took four months to be liberated, in spite of the attack of the alliance. Why? Actually, a similar city, the same size, and the same terrain, it took the Syrian Army two to three weeks. Why? Because it was supported logistically through Turkey on the border. They send them everything, armaments, all kinds of support. The recent event when Turkey-
Question 32: Did you support the Kurds? Did the Syrian Army support the Kurds?
President Assad: Of course.
Question 33: Because they are also fighting the Syrian Army.
President Assad: Before the issue of Kobani. Before that, we did. Before Kobani, we supported the Kurds, because it didn’t start there. It started before, and before the alliance started supporting the Kurds, we did. We sent them armaments. Of course, they’re going to say no, because the Americans said “say no, and we will help you.” If they say yes, the Americans will be angry, just to be cautious, to take precautions about any statement they may say now that we didn’t, we have all the documents about the armaments that’s been sent to them, beside the air raids and so onand the bombardments and everything else.
Question 34: New Syrian troops are being trained in the framework of the “Free Syrian Army” supported by the Americans to fight against the Islamic State. Do you think you will have to fight them as well?
President Assad: You know, and I know, and everybody knows that those 5,000 were announced by the Americans, and this this is my proof that the Western officials don’t have the will to fight terrorism. That is the proof. I told you, the base, the foundation, is to have the will. It means they don’t have the will. If Obama said the moderate opposition is fantasy, so who do you send the money and armaments to? Reality. You don’t send to the fantasy, you send it to the reality, and the reality are the extremists. And those 5,000 are going to be another support to those terrorists, because the same grassroots of the organization that’s been supported by the West, by money and armaments, they joined ISIS with their armaments and with themselves.
Question 35: Two questions to finish this interview. This is your first interview with a journalist from a Portuguese-speaking country. Do you expect anything from these countries?
President Assad: I don’t expect; I hope. I hope the first thing, which is very simple, just for the officials to tell their people the truth, the unbiased truth, without any preconceptions. Just tell your people the truth, and they’ll be able to analyze it. Second, we hope from Portugal as part of the EU to look at the Czech Republic. A small country, ten millions, but it was very wise in dealing with the crisis in Syria. They have their embassy, they can tell what’s going on on the ground, because isolationism is not a policy. When you isolate yourself, when you try to isolate a country by removing your ambassadors or closing your embassies, you isolate yourself from the reality. You shouldn’t isolate yourself, as Europe, from reality. We hope can play that role in the EU to shift this trend that started with the American administration of Bush; when they have a problem with somebody or some area, instead of being more involved, they cut their relation with it. This is not policy.
Question 36: Just one last question, Mr. President. You’re a key player for any possible peace deal. Don’t you feel sometimes doubts, anguish, with this tremendous responsibility? Don’t you feel what history might say about you?
President Assad: Of course, this is the most important thing that any politician or leader must think about, and it’s about, first of all, about having good will and good intention to help your country. Whether you do mistakes or you do right, you do wrong; this is not the issue. People will judge you by your will, by how much you were related to your country, related to your country, how much you are a patriot, not a puppet or a marionette that’s being moved from the outside. This is the most important thing; how much you do, what’s the best you can do to protect your country and protect your people.
Question 37: Thank you, Mr. President, for this interview, and thank you for being with RTP.
President Assad: Thank you.


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Thursday, 5 March 2015

War Criminal Tony Blair’s Save the Children Award: An Inadequate Apology.

Global Research, March 05, 2015
blair
“If justice and truth take place,
If he is rewarded according to his just desert,
His name will stink to all generations.” (William Wesley, 1703-1791.)
On the evening of 19th November 2014, the charity Save the Children (STC), with a gala event in New York, “recognized” Tony Blair – whose government enjoined in the ending of the fledgling lives of children on an industrial scale in Afghanistan and Iraq – with their “Global Legacy Award.”
In Iraq’s decimation of course, Blair’s regime was responsible for the dodgy dossier alleging Saddam Hussein’s ability to annihilate in “forty five minutes”, thus persuading for war, but had also enjoined with the US between 1997 and 2003 in ensuring, via the United Nations Sanction Committee that Iraq’s infants and children were denied all normality from the womb to their young deaths at an average of 6,000 a month.
Blocked were scanners to check the developing foetus, incubators for the frail newly arrived, paediatric oxygen, paediatric syringes, tracheal suction tubes to clear airway obstructions and all needed to combat a challenging start to life in order to become a healthy toddler and enter happy childhood.
For those who survived to childhood, reading and exercise books, paper, pens, pencils, blackboards, toys, tricycles, bicycles, scooters, all juvenile joys and normality were vetoed. When they suffered what are normally relatively simply treated ailments, infections, asthma, the antibiotics, inhalers needed were invariably also vetoed or fatally delayed. All policies endorsed by Blair’s government.
Then Iraq’s deprived, traumatized children were bombed and invaded in an action largely publicly justified by his government’s documented lies.
Yet Save the Children honoured Blair – to immediate condemnation. In the UK a petition on site “38 Degrees” quickly garnered nearly 125,000 signatures in protest (UK only, world wide it would certainly have been in orders of magnitude more.)
Judging by the uproar on blogs, Twitter, social media sites, it has been a spectacular own goal for Save the Children with countless supporters cancelling their subscriptions or donations.
At a meeting with Brendan Cox, the charity’s Director of Policy and Advocacy, a small delegation with Robin Priestley of 38 Degrees, handed in the petition and in a meeting: “ … all had to agree that it was impossible to remove the Award from Tony Blair now …” (1) Given the damage caused by this insane honour, Mr Cox should surely have committed to moving heaven and earth to doing exactly that.
However, now he has a chance. Justin Forsyth, Save the Children’s UK Chief Executive, who personally delivered the invitation to Tony Blair and was a former aide to him as Prime Minister, apologized on 3rd March (sort of) on BBC Radio 4’s flagship “Today” programme.
He was sorry for the offence caused and that it had become an “unnecessary distraction” (2) from the organization’s work. Given Blair’s record in endorsing child deaths and resultant uproar the Award caused and the redesign of their logo to “Kill the Children” found across social media, it was not a “distraction” but an outrage.
Upsetting people, said Mr Forsyth: “ … is not really what we do at Save the Children.” Really? After this so close to home, can their judgement in differing global cultures possibly be trusted?
There was some verbal footwork about the Award being for Blair’s work in Africa, however this is defined as a “Global Legacy Award.” The former Prime Minister’s “legacy” is mass graves of dead children from Kandahar to Falluja.
Moreover, according to Blair’s Faith Foundation website: “Mr. Blair was recognised for his work … in 2005 to pledge to double aid to Africa and provide 100 per cent debt relief to eligible countries, as well as his work in partnership with African governments through the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI).” It might be worth trawling the potentially “double aided” and “100 per cent debt relief” countries to see if and how many of the beneficiaries he might have one of his many lucrative advisory roles with. Politics is hardly known for lack of back scratching.
The Daily Mail on line also quotes Mr. Forsyth as stating: “I know that many of our supporters and volunteers were very upset and our staff, several of our staff too, and I’m very sorry for that.” Another verbal sleight of hand and it was not “several staff.”  By 28thNovember, The  Guardian reported: “An internal petition circulated among Save the Children employees around the word is to be presented to head office.” Describing the award as “morally reprehensible” and calling for it to be rescinded, the petition has gathered more than 500 staff signatures.”(3)
The letter accused Save the Children of “a betrayal to Save the Children’s founding principles and values.”
Their ”Vision, Mission and Values” (4) include:
* “We aspire to live to the highest standards of personal honesty and behaviour; we never compromise our reputation and always act in the best interests of children.” Tell that to Iraq’s five million orphans and their uncounted counterparts in Afghanistan, to the bombed, orphaned, traumatized children of Gaza who the “Middle East Peace Envoy” has ignored.
* ”A world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation.” Think about it, Save the Children. Were words ever more hollow after the honouring of a man mired in the destruction of every aspiration in that sentence.
* “To inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.”  Endorsed is seemingly one to whom “breakthrough” and “immediate and lasting change” is deprival of life, childhood, parents, home, healing, freedom from fear and all semblance of normality. “Lasting change” indeed.
On 5th December 2014, a letter (5) was sent to Save the Children by Inder Comar of the legal firm Comar Law, San Francisco. outlining starkly the enormity of the illegality of the attack on Iraq in which Mr Blair had been so integral. It pointed out that Save the Children’s hero’s name is entered at the International Criminal Court at the Hague in its “Register of War Criminals.”
The correspondence, in which I declare an interest, was sent on behalf of Denis Halliday, former UN Assistant Secretary General, Professor Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization and myself included:
‘As you may be aware, in March 2003, Mr. Blair, while Prime Minister, likely participated with several high-ranking United States leaders in committing the crime of aggression against Iraq. The crime of aggression is the “supreme international crime,” as declared by the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1946. In addition to being prohibited by international law, the crime of aggression is a crime also defined by the International Criminal Court in the Hague, over which it may have the opportunity to exercise jurisdiction in the coming years. “Resort to a war of aggression is not merely illegal, but is criminal.” United States v. Hermann Goering, et al., 41 AM. J. INT’L L. 172, 186, 218-220 (1946); see also Charter Int’l Military Tribunal, art. 6(a), Aug. 8, 1945, 59 Stat. 1546, 82 U.N.T.S. 279.
‘As you may also be aware, in 2004, Secretary General Kofi Annan declared the Iraq War illegal and in contravention of the United Nations Charter.1
‘In 2006, a former prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, Benjamin Ferencz, stated that the Iraq War was a “clear breach of law.”2 “There’s no such thing as a war without atrocities, but war-making is the biggest atrocity of law.”
‘In 2010, a Dutch inquiry concluded that the Iraq War had no basis in international law.3
‘In 2010, Hans Blix, the former chief weapons inspector for the United Nations, stated that it was his “firm view” that the Iraq War was illegal.4
‘In 2012, judges empanelled before the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, an independent commission headed by former judges and involving input from several international law scholars, concluded that a prima facie case existed that Mr. Blair committed the crime of aggression against Iraq. The tribunal reported its findings to the International Criminal Court in the Hague and entered the name of Mr. Blair in its “Register of War Criminals.” ‘
It concludes:
“Was there any consideration to the optics of giving this Award to Mr. Blair in light of the fact that many of Save the Children’s current management – including Jonathan Forsyth, Jonathan Powell, Sam Sharpe and Fergus Drake – have intimate ties with Mr. Blair and his government? Was there any consideration to the moral paradox of providing this Award to a person whose destitute victims are concurrently succored by Save the Children staff?”
It demands: “Please confirm that Save the Children will rescind the Global Legacy Award forthwith.”
There has been no reply. That action however, would a gesture of, albeit belated, tangible apology and might be a start at repairing Save the Children’s tattered image.
If State Honours, Knighthoods and Peerages can be withdrawn from those subsequently deemed unworthy of their bestowal, surely so can Save the Children’s woefully misplaced Global Award.
Notes
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Netanyahu’s False Narrative

By Marjorie Cohn
Consortiumnews.com
March 5, 2015

On March 3, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued an impassioned plea to Congress to protect Israel by opposing diplomacy with Iran. Referring to “the remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States” which includes “generous military assistance and missile defense,” Netanyahu failed to mention that Israel has an arsenal of 100 or 200 nuclear weapons.
The day before he delivered that controversial address, Netanyahu expressed similar sentiments to AIPAC, Israel’s powerful U.S. lobby. He reiterated the claim that Israel acted in the 1967 Six-Day War “to defend itself.” The narrative that Israel attacked Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in self-defense, seizing the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula in 1967, has remained largely unquestioned in the public discourse.
Israel relies on that narrative to continue occupying those Palestinian lands. And the powerful film “Censored Voices,” which premiered at Sundance in February, does not challenge that narrative.
But declassified high-level documents from Britain, France, Russia and the United States reveal that Egypt, Syria and Jordan were not going to attack Israel and Israel knew it. In fact, they did not attack Israel. Instead, Israel mounted the first attack in order to decimate the Egyptian army and take the West Bank.
For two weeks following the Six Day War, Amos Oz and Avrahim Shapira visited Israeli kibbutzim and recorded interviews with several Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers who had just returned from that war. Largely censored by the Israeli government for many years, those reels have finally been made public. “Censored Voices” features the taped voices of young IDF soldiers, as the aging, former soldiers sit silently beside the tape recorder, listening to their own voices.
The testimonies documented in the tapes reveal evidence of targeting civilians and summarily executing prisoners, which constitute war crimes. A soldier asks himself, “They’re civilians – should I kill them or not?” He replies, “I didn’t even think about it. Just kill! Kill everyone you see.”
Likewise, one voice notes, “Several times we captured guys, positioned them and just killed them.” Another reveals, “In the war, we all became murderers.” Still another says, “Not only did this war not solve the state’s problems, but it complicated them in a way that’ll be very hard to solve.”
One soldier likens evacuating Arab villages to what the Nazis did to Jews in Europe. As a soldier watched an Arab man being taken from his home, the soldier states, “I had an abysmal feeling that I was evil.”
In what proved to be a prescient question, one soldier asks, “Are we doomed to bomb villages every decade for defensive purposes?” Indeed, Israel justifies all of its assaults on Gaza as self-defense, even though Israel invariably attacks first, and kills overwhelming numbers of Palestinians – mostly civilians. Each time, many fewer Israelis are killed by Palestinian rockets.
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Hezbollah: The International Community’s Sole Concern



A Lebanese woman waves Hezbollah's flag in Dahiyeh, Beirut's southern suburb, on February 16, 2015. Al-Akhbar\Haitham Moussawi.
Published Thursday, March 5, 2015
With an array of crises sweeping the Middle East, the “global community” is no longer taking much interest in Lebanon. Only Hezbollah continues to draw international attention, due to its expanding role in the region.
Lebanon has been supplanted on the international agenda by other more dangerous arenas. Think tanks and strategy centers have lost interest in the country’s issues since its security situation reached a stalemate. The Lebanese presidency, parliamentary consensus, or the work mechanism of the Council of Ministers are no longer international concerns. Only nearby arenas evoke Lebanon: security threats associated with the Syrian refugee crisis or military movements on the border.
While Western stakeholders have become weary of procrastinating Lebanese officials, their interest in Hezbollah has grown with the party’s regional clout. According to an inside source, much talk in Western diplomatic circles is about Hezbollah’s role and involvement in the conflict in Syria; its potential ability to make an effective contribution in Iraq; its relationship with Israel, Bahrain, and even Bulgaria. Much of this chatter has been devoted to Hezbollah's role in ongoing conflicts and wars — particularly in Iraq and Syria. This has intensified with the the battles in southern Syria, where Hezbollah will certainly play a role in any potential future settlements.
Like it or not, Hezbollah is a feature of the Middle East’s new political landscape. It is an important ally in one of the two axes of power taking shape in the region: the Iranian axis, with implicit Russian support and a strategy extending to Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon; in opposition to the Saudi-Gulf-Jordanian-Turkish axis, now trying to forge a pragmatic alliance after the Saudi tripartite system took power in Riyadh in the wake of King Abdullah’s death.
In the past few weeks, the latter regional axis — particularly Saudi Arabia and Turkey — has been working to reintroduce the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Middle East, all the way to Tunisia – and to support its reemergence in the face of fundamentalist groups and the Iranian axis, which is expected to extend to strategic points including Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Like it or not, Hezbollah is a feature of the Middle East’s new political landscape.

Ahead of a prospective US-Iranian agreement, Saudi Arabia has reconsidered its recent policies, which have resulted in changes to the regional map. That meant learning from previous mistakes in Egypt, Syria, and Tunisia, and so formulating a new strategy. Restoring the Muslim Brotherhood as a regional power is a pivotal component of this policy, and should help govern the relations between the countries of the region – between Turkey and Qatar on one hand, and Saudi Arabia and Egypt on the other. This mutual concern has been expressed by politicians and the media in the two latter countries. The Egyptians are worried about a potential revival of the Muslim Brotherhood with Saudi support, which represents a turnaround from late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz’s policy toward post-Muslim Brotherhood Egypt.
The new axis has shown itself particularly in Yemen, and in Aden’s transformation into a “capital” for the groups backed by Riyadh, versus Sanaa as a capital for the Huthis. That said, it is too early to predict how the new axis will take shape, especially as it is now seeking to establish a clear identity and regional policy, ahead of a potential US-Iranian agreement, as well as the global fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). However, the main challenge to this axis remains the growing presence of Iran, to whom Washington seems to have “delegated” the task of confronting ISIS, in conjunction with the aerial campaign launched weeks ago against the group in Syria and Iraq.
The ground operation – promoted from Tikrit by the Iranian-friendly media, through the display of pictures of General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, in an attempt to assert its strong presence against ISIS in the Iraqi province of Salahuddin before launching a similar battle in Anbar province – has begun.
Amidst the battle in southern Syria – where Iran is fighting openly alongside Hezbollah, and without any international objection, to drive away ISIS and al-Nusra Front – a new regional scene is taking shape, in which Washington sees a balance between two powers in the Middle East: one Sunni and another Shia.
Lebanon’s only presence on that map is due to Hezbollah and its intersecting role between two axes: the first axis seeing the party as a dangerous threat equivalent to ISIS, while the second axis relies on it to formulate a strategic line extending from Iraq to the Mediterranean.
With the US-Iranian agreement approaching – and despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s high-pitched tone at the US Congress on Tuesday – the level of disagreement between the two axes and its regional ramifications has yet to be seen. At least, both parties have so far kept Lebanon out of the conflict.

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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Why is Iran called “terror supporter” but Turkey not???

It is almost inconceivable to call or even imagine Nato member and EU membership candidate Turkey as “terror supporter”.
On the other hand it is a “fact” for western media to consider Iran as such. But is this justified and if yes on what grounds?
Some facts:
The last time Iranian nationals killed anyone must have been in 1991/92 when former Iranian president Bakhtiar and artist Farrokhzad were murdered in Paris and Vienna. Since then there have been no acts of international terrorism with direct Iranian involvement, notwithstanding that both mentioned victims were Iranians themselves and no “foreigners”.
Western media and politicians, however, accuse Iran of terrorism because of that country´s support of Palestinian resistance groups (Hamas and Islamic Jihad) as well as Lebanese Hezbollah, but this is a very biased perception of things.
Starting with the latter, Hezbollah entered a truce with Israel in 2000. The truce was only interrupted for a month in 2006 and then continued. In the last 9 years since then Hezbollah did not attack any Israeli civilians at all and only on very few occasions attacked the Israeli army, each time in response to Israeli aggressions.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad have indeed attacked Israeli civilians but following circumstances have to be considered:
a) Neither of these organizations is Iranian or even Shia Muslim
b) None of them was founded or hosted by Iran. None of them “imports” fighters from Iran
c) Iran has no boundary with them (Palestine) and has no land-, sea- or airbased supply line to reach them
d) Both of them are local resistance movements with legitimate motivation. They are fighting against an alien occupation force (Israel) that has put a siege on their territory (Gaza), builds illegal settlements on their land (West Bank) and heavily bombards their territory (Gaza) with airforce and artillery.
Looking only at the major military operations of the Israeli army in the last 7 years it turns out that some 2700 Palestinian civilians were killed, while only 8 (eight) Israeli civilians were killed.
Pro-Israeli media would highlight that Hamas (and other Palestinian groups) have “rained down” rockets on Israel and attacked civilians this way, but they will probably not mention that this has resulted in no more than 15 Israeli civilian deaths between 2001 and 2014:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas#Attacks_on_civilians
So, Irans support of a (democratically elected) Palestinian political party which legitimately has a military arm has been enough to qualify for the incriminating phrase “terror supporter”…
The less one should belittle violence against civilians which is always worthy of condemnation the more one has to scrutinize the role of Turkey in Syrias civil war.
Turkey has not only incited against the Syrian government, but worse, given safe haven to Syrias rebel groups and allowed international Jihadists to use Turkey as a hub to enter Syria:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/an-obvious-first-step–close-the-jihadis-highway-9687899.html
Turkey facilitated and promoted the housing, funding, arming, training and smuggling into Syria of all kinds of syrian and non-syrian rebels, of which a sizable or possibly the major portion were sectarian and radical islamists, not interested in establishing democracy and introducing the human rights the west so much pretends to care for. The rebels could cross the Syrian border to stage hit and run attacks with the Syrian army being under threat of getting attacked by Turkish forces upon coming “too close” to the border.
“…Joe Biden revealed to the embarrassment of the administration in a talk at Harvard on 2 October. He said that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE had promoted ‘a proxy Sunni-Shia war’ in Syria and ‘poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad – except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaida and the extremist element of jihadis coming from other parts of the world’. He admitted that the moderate Syrian rebels, supposedly central to US policy in Syria, were a negligible military force.”‘
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n21/patrick-cockburn/whose-side-is-turkey-on
It is unnecessary to recount the many attrocities and horrific crimes (mass shootings and beheadings of disarmed opponents, kidnapping and enslaving of women and children and the forced marriages of women to fellow Jihadists, crucifying civilians, burning prisoners of war, throwing down people from rooftops…) of the “Islamic State” (IS, former ISIS), that was reinforced by thousands of international Jihadists who regularly entered Turkey and entered Syria (and Iraq) through that country.
Another major rebel group known for indiscriminate violence and clearly sectarian killings which has been sheltered and supported by Turkey is the al Nusra Front (or Jabhat al Nusra, JAN), Syrias Al Qaeda branch:
“Ford said part of the problem was that too many rebels – and their patrons in Turkey and Qatar – insisted that Nusra was a homegrown, anti-Assad force when in fact it was an al Qaida affiliate whose ideology was virtually indistinguishable from the Islamic State’s.”
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/02/18/257024/once-a-top-booster-ex-us-envoy.html
Apart from these groups, other ones, mainly active in the major cities Damascus and Aleppo and often spoken of as “moderate rebels” are shelling civilians on a daily basis. Of course, western and anti-Syrian arab media have been either totally ignoring or downplaying these deadly attacks by uncritically and irresponsibly repeating the rebel´s “explanations” and “justifications” of their crimes: namely that the victims are no real civilians but “Shabihha” or “regime loyalists”.
The rebels favourite weapon is the so called “hell cannon”, which has a very limited accuracy and fires propane gas cylinders:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2862517/My-gun-bigger-gun-increasingly-outlandish-weaponry-used-wage-war-Syria.html
Here is a picture:
Free Syrian Army fighter a prepare to fire a home-made rocket in Ashrafieh
Here is a picture showing a “moderate” who holds a “rocket” which he has named “a gift for election day”:
https://twitter.com/edwardedark/status/473188892741742592
The “hell cannon” and other mortars and rockets are fired regularly at government-held west Aleppo where they kill many civilians every WEEK:
Now, referring to the title of this article, is it not fair and proven to assert that Turkey has blatantly and heavily engaged in support of terrorism? Has not Turkeys support been much more direct and deadly (in terms of casualties) for Syrian (and Iraqi) civilians in less than 4 years that Irans alleged terror support in the last 15 years?
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