According to the 2012 NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act], you can be picked up and detained indefinitely without trial for aiding terrorist organizations. This most specifically includes the Taliban, al Qaeda and its related affiliates. The Obama administration is appealing Judge Forrest’s recent decision barring enforcement of the indefinite detention provisions in the NDAA. In other words, despite Obama’s words that he didn’t “like” that part of the NDAA and that he only signed it for the sake of national security, his administration is battling for the right to use exactly those provisions.
[…]Manhattan federal court Judge Katherine Forrest in May ruled in favor of activists and reporters who said they feared being detained under a section of the law, signed by President Barack Obama in December.
The government says indefinite military detention without trial is justified in some cases involving militants and their supporters.
The judge’s preliminary injunction prevents the U.S. government from enforcing section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act’s “Homeland Battlefield” provisions.
The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office, which represents the government in this case, along with named defendants Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta filed its notice of appeal with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The plaintiffs in the case have asked Judge Forrest to make her injunction permanent. Oral argument on the request is scheduled for Tuesday.[…]
As it came out during the hearings in this case, there are many ways the government can pick you up for “aiding terrorists”: you might interview a member of the Taliban or al Qaeda for an article you are writing or include a sentence expressing support for the political goals of the Taliban in a book or article you have written. You may donate money to a group that is later added to a “watchlist” by the FBI or Homeland Security. Perhaps you organize a demonstration that someone decides shows support for a terrorist organization (both “support” and “terrorist organization” being only vaguely defined by the NDAA). You may loan money to a friend in need who has somehow become involved with a group on one of the “watchlists”; the fact that you did not know this, that you helped the friend unwittingly, is irrelevant under the provisions of the NDAA.
Now let’s look at the situation in Syria. News reports recently revealed that Obama signed secret orders some time ago allowing the CIA to take part in the “rebel uprising” in Syria.
(Reuters) – President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, sources familiar with the matter said.
Obama’s order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence “finding,” broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.[…]
Precisely when Obama signed the secret intelligence authorization, an action not previously reported, could not be determined.
The full extent of clandestine support that agencies like the CIA might be providing also is unclear.[…]
A U.S. government source acknowledged that under provisions of the presidential finding, the United States was collaborating with a secret command center operated by Turkey and its allies.[…]
Separately from the president’s secret order, the Obama administration has stated publicly that it is providing some backing for Assad’s opponents.
The State Department said on Wednesday the U.S. government had set aside a total of $25 million for “non-lethal” assistance to the Syrian opposition. A U.S. official said that was mostly for communications equipment, including encrypted radios.[…]
Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury confirmed it had granted authorization to the Syrian Support Group, Washington representative of one of the most active rebel factions, the Free Syrian Army, to conduct financial transactions on the rebel group’s behalf. The authorization was first reported on Friday by Al-Monitor, a Middle East news and commentary website.[…]
Recent news reports from the region have suggested that the influence and numbers of Islamist militants, some of them connected to al Qaeda or its affiliates, have been growing among Assad’s opponents.[…]
We are determined to intervene in Syria and oust President Assad, for “humanitarian reasons”, of course. We seemed to have liked Assad well enough when we were using his prisons as black sites to hold and torture people we deemed threats. Now the Assad regime must go and we just have to get involved in another country’s internal problems. The thing is, we are determined to move forward with the broader war planned with Iran, and Syria is the last country standing in the way.
Thus we hear Hillary we-came-we-saw-he-died Clinton, ever the diplomat, warn that Assad’s days are numbered. “The sand is running out of the hourglass,” she said. “It should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime their days are numbered.” [ http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2012/07/clinton-assads-days-are-numbered.html ] (Did a cackling Clinton just invoke the Flying Monkeys meme?)
Leon Panetta did her one better, threatening members of Assad’s family. Although to be fair, he was merely stating US policy of going after the entire family in grand mafioso style as we did in Libya – one of our first targets there was a Ghaddafi family home and the dead included one of Ghaddafi’s sons and three of his little grandchildren. “I’m sure that deep down Assad knows he’s in trouble and it’s just matter of time before he has to go,” Panetta said. “I would say if you want to be able to protect yourself and your family, you better get the hell out now.” Interestingly, Panetta also thinks it is important to keep Assad’s military intact after getting rid of Assad; this is the same military supposedly running rampant and killing civilians throughout Syria.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says that when Bashar al-Assad loses his grip on power, he wants the Syrian military to remain in place.
“I think it’s important when Assad leaves – and he will leave – to try to preserve stability in that country. And the best way to preserve that kind of stability is to maintain as much of the military, the police, as you can, along with the security forces, and hope that they will transition to a democratic form of government. That’s a key,” Panetta told CNN’s Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr in an exclusive interview in Tunis, Tunisia, Monday.[…]
According to one Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the US is seeking a “controlled demolition” of the Assad government. (Which he seems to find not an altogether bad idea.) [ http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/world/middleeast/us-to-focus-on-forcibly-toppling-syrian-government.html ]
The “rebel” group we have befriended in our effort to get rid of Assad is the Free Syria Army. They are supported by al Qaeda, as is acknowledged by both Clinton and Panetta, and a fact which has been pointed out by numerous media sources. For instance:
Syria: Clinton Admits US On Same Side As Al Qaeda To Destabilise Assad Government
by Michel Chossudovsky and Finian Cunningham
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has acknowledged that Al Qaeda and other organizations on the US “terror list” are supporting the Syrian opposition.
Clinton said: “We have a very dangerous set of actors in the region, al-Qaida [sic], Hamas, and those who are on our terrorist list, to be sure, supporting – claiming to support the opposition [in Syria].”
Yet at the same time, in the above BBC interview the US Secretary of State repeats the threadbare Western claim that the situation in Syria is one of a defenceless population coming under “relentless attack” from Syrian government forces.
There is ample evidence that teams of snipers who have been killing civilians over the past year in Syria belong to the terrorist formations to which Clinton is referring to.[…]
The admission at the weekend by Hillary Clinton corroborates the finding that armed groups are attacking civilians and these groups are terroristic, according to US own definitions, and that the situation in Syria is not one of unilateral state violence against its population but rather is one of a shadowy armed insurrection[…]
German intelligence: al-Qaeda all over Syria
By John Rosenthal
German intelligence estimates that “around 90” terror attacks that “can be attributed to organizations that are close to al-Qaeda or jihadist groups” were carried out in Syria between the end of December and the beginning of July, as reported by the German daily Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).[…]
From the Council on Foreign Relations’ Ed Husain:
The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime’s superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.
In Syria, al-Qaeda’s foot soldiers call themselves Jabhat al-Nusrah li-Ahli al-Sham (Front for the Protection of the Levantine People). The group’s strength and acceptance by the FSA are demonstrated by their increasing activity on the ground (BBC)–from seven attacks in March to sixty-six “operations” in June. In particular, the Jabhat has helped take the fight to Syria’s two largest cities: the capital of Damascus, where 54 percent of its activities have been, and Aleppo. Indeed, al-Qaeda could become the most effective fighting force in Syria if defections from the FSA to the Jabhat persist and the ranks of foreign fighters (Guardian) continue to swell.
Al-Qaeda is not sacrificing its “martyrs” in Syria merely to overthrow Assad. Liberation of the Syrian people is a bonus, but the main aim is to create an Islamist state in all or part of the country. Failing that, they hope to at least establish a strategic base for the organization’s remnants across the border in Iraq, and create a regional headquarters where mujahideen can enjoy a safe haven. If al-Qaeda continues to play an increasingly important role in the rebellion, then a post-Assad government will be indebted to the tribes and regions allied to the Jabhat. Failing to honor the Jabhat’s future requests, assuming Assad falls, could see a continuation of conflict in Syria.
Thus far, Washington seems reluctant to weigh heavily into this issue. In May 2012, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publicly accepted al-Qaeda’s presence in Syria (Guardian). And in July, the State Department’s counterterrorism chief, Daniel Benjamin, rather incredulously suggested that the United States will simply ask the FSA to reject al-Qaeda. The unspoken political calculation among policymakers is to get rid of Assad first—weakening Iran’s position in the region—and then deal with al-Qaeda later.
But the planning to minimize al-Qaeda’s likely hold over Syrian tribes and fighters must begin now as the Obama administration ramps up its support to rebel groups (Reuters). […]
And who are the experts in regard to all matters Syrian, the most often quoted by the press when a spokesman is needed to push for the invasion of Syria? Charlie Skelton, a journalist for the Guardian UK, did an amazing bit of reporting when he asked just that question and found some answers:
A nightmare is unfolding across Syria, in the homes of al-Heffa and the streets of Houla. And we all know how the story ends: with thousands of soldiers and civilians killed, towns and families destroyed, and President Assad beaten to death in a ditch.
This is the story of the Syrian war, but there is another story to be told. A tale less bloody, but nevertheless important. This is a story about the storytellers: the spokespeople, the “experts on Syria”, the “democracy activists”. The statement makers. The people who “urge” and “warn” and “call for action”.[…]
It’s important to stress: to investigate the background of a Syrian spokesperson is not to doubt the sincerity of his or her opposition to Assad. But a passionate hatred of the Assad regime is no guarantee of independence. Indeed, a number of key figures in the Syrian opposition movement are long-term exiles who were receiving US government funding to undermine the Assad government long before the Arab spring broke out.[…]The most quoted of the opposition spokespeople are the official representatives of the Syrian National Council. The SNC is not the only Syrian opposition group – but it is generally recognised as “the main opposition coalition” (BBC). The Washington Times describes it as “an umbrella group of rival factions based outside Syria”. Certainly the SNC is the opposition group that’s had the closest dealings with western powers – and has called for foreign intervention from the early stages of the uprising. […]
The most senior of the SNC’s official spokespeople is the Paris-based Syrian academic Bassma Kodmani.
Kodmani is a member of the executive bureau and head of foreign affairs, Syrian National Council. Kodmani is close to the centre of the SNC power structure, and one of the council’s most vocal spokespeople. […]This year was Kodmani’s second Bilderberg. […]
Back a few years, in 2005, Kodmani was working for the Ford Foundation in Cairo, where she was director of their governance and international co-operation programme.[…]
In September 2005, Kodmani was made the executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) – a research programme initiated by the powerful US lobby group, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
The CFR is an elite US foreign policy thinktank, and the Arab Reform Initiative is described on its website as a “CFR Project” . […]
Another often quoted SNC representative is Radwan Ziadeh – director of foreign relations at the Syrian National Council. Ziadeh has an impressive CV: he’s a senior fellow at the federally funded Washington thinktank, the US Institute of Peace (the USIP Board of Directors is packed with alumni of the defence department and the national security council; its president is Richard Solomon, former adviser to Kissinger at the NSC).
In February this year, Ziadeh joined an elite bunch of Washington hawks to sign a letter calling upon Obama to intervene in Syria: his fellow signatories include James Woolsey (former CIA chief), Karl Rove (Bush Jr’s handler), Clifford May (Committee on the Present Danger) and Elizabeth Cheney, former head of the Pentagon’s Iran-Syria Operations Group.
Ziadeh is a relentless organiser, a blue-chip Washington insider with links to some of the most powerful establishment thinktanks.[…]
Along with Kodmani and Ziadeh, Ausama (or sometimes Osama) Monajed is one of the most important SNC spokespeople. There are others, of course – the SNC is a big beast and includes the Muslim Brotherhood. The opposition to Assad is wide-ranging, but these are some of the key voices. […] So, again, a fair question might be: who is this spokesman calling for military intervention?
Monajed is a member of the SNC, adviser to its president, and according to his SNC biography, “the Founder and Director of Barada Television”, a pro-opposition satellite channel based in Vauxhall, south London. In 2008, a few months after attending Syria In-Transition conference, Monajed was back in Washington, invited to lunch with George W Bush, along with a handful of other favoured dissidents […]
At this time, in 2008, the US state department knew Monajed as “director of public relations for the Movement for Justice and Development (MJD), which leads the struggle for peaceful and democratic change in Syria”.
Let’s look closer at the MJD. Last year, the Washington Post picked up a story from WikiLeaks, which had published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables. These cables appear to show a remarkable flow of money from the US state department to the British-based Movement for Justice and Development. According to the Washington Post’s report: “Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified US diplomatic cables show that the state department has funnelled as much as $6m to the group since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria.”[…]
One of the most widely quoted western experts on Syria – and an enthusiast for western intervention – Michael Weiss echoes Ambassador Ross when he says: “Military intervention in Syria isn’t so much a matter of preference as an inevitability.”
Some of Weiss’s interventionist writings can be found on a Beirut-based, Washington-friendly website called “NOW Lebanon” – whose “NOW Syria” section is an important source of Syrian updates. NOW Lebanon was set up in 2007 by Saatchi & Saatchi executive Eli Khoury. Khoury has been described by the advertising industry as a “strategic communications specialist, specialising in corporate and government image and brand development”.[…]
But Weiss is not only a blogger. He’s also the director of communications and public relations at the Henry Jackson Society, an ultra-ultra-hawkish foreign policy thinktank.
The Henry Jackson Society’s international patrons include: James “ex-CIA boss” Woolsey, Michael “homeland security” Chertoff, William “PNAC” Kristol, Robert “PNAC” Kagan’, Joshua “Bomb Iran” Muravchick, and Richard “Prince of Darkness” Perle. The Society is run by Alan Mendoza, chief adviser to the all-party parliamentary group on transatlantic and international security.[…]
Statistic after horrific statistic pours from “the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” (AP). It’s hard to find a news report about Syria that doesn’t cite them. But who are they? “They” are Rami Abdulrahman (or Rami Abdel Rahman), who lives in Coventry.
According to a Reuters report in December of last year: “When he isn’t fielding calls from international media, Abdulrahman is a few minutes down the road at his clothes shop, which he runs with his wife.”[…]
That name, the “Syrian Observatory of Human Rights”, sound so grand, so unimpeachable, so objective. And yet when Abdulrahman and his “Britain-based NGO” (AFP/NOW Lebanon) are the sole source for so many news stories about such an important subject, it would seem reasonable to submit this body to a little more scrutiny than it’s had to date.
The Observatory is by no means the only Syrian news source to be quoted freely with little or no scrutiny […]They’re selling the idea of military intervention and regime change, and the mainstream news is hungry to buy. Many of the “activists” and spokespeople representing the Syrian opposition are closely (and in many cases financially) interlinked with the US and London – the very people who would be doing the intervening. Which means information and statistics from these sources isn’t necessarily pure news – it’s a sales pitch, a PR campaign.
But it’s never too late to ask questions, to scrutinise sources. Asking questions doesn’t make you a cheerleader for Assad – that’s a false argument. It just makes you less susceptible to spin. The good news is, there’s a sceptic born every minute.
I know that was a lengthy excerpt, but I think it important to understand who the spokesmen pushing for intervention in Syria are. The entire article is excellent and I highly recommend you read the whole thing. We see all the usual suspects pushing for war – the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg people, the Ford Foundation (Obama’s mother worked for the Ford Foundation at one point in her career, by the way), etc. And the Syrian opposition is not really so much “rebels” and “freedom fighters” as it is CIA and al Qaeda. Although it has become painfully clear that the US has been involved in staging this civil war in Syria for some time, Hillary angrily proclaimed a day ago that those working “to exploit the misery of the Syrian people, either by sending in proxies or by sending in terrorist fighters, must recognize that that will not be tolerated, first and foremost by the Syrian people.” [Clinton speaking from S. Africa: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/07/world/meast/syria-unrest/ ] The CNN article goes on, blissfully unaware of the irony of following the Clinton quote with this: “Nations such as the United States, France, Britain and Turkey, as well as Arab League countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have supported Syrian rebels and the opposition. There are also reports of Islamist cells schooled in terror tactics helping some rebels fight the al-Assad regime, and weaponry has flowed across the borders to Free Syrian Army rebels…”
As I pointed out at the beginning of this article, Obama wants to retain the right to imprison you indefinitely without trial for aiding and abetting a terrorist organization. Congress likes the idea so much that they have included this provision in the 2013 NDAA, currently being worked on. ….On the other hand, you are now encouraged to donate money to what we know is a group working with al Qaeda in Syria. Wait a second here – what about the War on Terror? Are we going to take al Qaeda off the terror list? Perhaps just in this one case? You know, temporarily-like? What the hell?
Because this fundraiser is aimed at Americans, the donation website includes a little video game where you can shoot down Assad. So cute and endearingly childish, we are. Notice in the following article how sweetly we are encouraged to fight the government of a foreign nation with our donations and to “help set up a new government” there. Getting us all to collude in the (illegal) invasion of sovereign nation with which we are not at war, and to (illegally) replace its current government with forced regime change. Perhaps this is a method of entrapping foolish Americans into donating to terrorists. Maybe Oblahblah forgot about the NDAA momentarily. It may be an “oversight” (oops, did we just ask you to support al Qaeda?), or a way for the government to deny the already admitted al Qaeda affiliation to the Free Syria Army. Perhaps it is just intended to be a tax deduction for the Koch Brothers and Jeffrey Immelt. It is clearly a way for Americans and Big Money to directly fund terrorism and call it a charitable donation. It may just be a sign of the insanity and nonsense that rules the US now. Who the hell knows? For what it is worth, though, here it is:
Now you legally can buy weapons for Syrian rebels, according to the Obama administration. Sacramento and national media are now telling U.S. residents that they can legally arm Syrian rebels by sending money to the Syrian Support Group based in Washington, DC at 1000 Connecticut Avenue NW, suite 900, Washington DC 20036 and run by an American. There’s a link on the group’s website you may click if you wish to donate money.
The group supports the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The Free Syrian Army is an armed opposition group operating in Syria that has been active during the Syrian civil war. […]
The organization reports that it advocates military intervention by any willing country to ensure saving lives on the ground, according to its website.
The U.S. Treasury Department cleared the way today for U.S. residents to buy weapons to send to Syria by donating money, not mailing guns and bombs, of course.
Today the federal government, that is, the Obama administration’s Treasury Department, has now cleared the way after more than a year and a half of rebel fighting in Syria for U.S. residents actually to buy weapons for the rebels who are fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. This means that now a Washington-based advocacy group has been legally granted a rare license to collect money for arms and other equipment.
You can’t actually mail guns to Syria, but the Washington-based advocacy group can collect money from you to buy arms and other equipment to fight the Syrian government and knock Bashar Assad out of office with the imagery of a pin-ball game, where you figuratively shoot the target photo of Assad, that is, send money to that organization which in turn buys the arms such as guns and other equipment like tanks and bombs to fight the government of Syria and help set up a new government there.[…]