HAMAS FIRES ROCKETS ON ISRAEL, ENDING 12-HOUR LULL

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BY KARIN LAUB AND IAN DEITCH
ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas said it fired five rockets at Israel late Saturday after rejecting Israel’s offer to extend a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire by four hours, casting new doubt on international efforts to broker an end to 19 days of fighting.

Hamas said two of the rockets were aimed at Tel Aviv. Police in Israel’s second-largest city dispersed a peace rally attended by several thousand people because of the threat, a spokesman said.

In Paris, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and European foreign ministers met earlier Saturday to find ways to transform Saturday’s initial 12-hour lull into a sustainable truce.

In Gaza, thousands of residents who fled the violence streamed back to devastated border areas during the cease-fire to find large-scale destruction: fighting had pulverized scores of homes, wreckage blocked roads and power cables dangled in the streets.

In the northern town of Beit Hanoun, Siham Kafarneh, 37, sat on the steps of a small grocery, weeping. The mother of eight said the home she had spent 10 years saving up for and moved into two months earlier had been destroyed.

“Nothing is left. Everything I have is gone,” she said.

More than 1,000 people, mainly civilians, have been killed and more than 6,000 have been wounded over the past 19 days, Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra said. Israeli strikes have destroyed hundreds of homes, including close to 500 in targeted hits, and forced tens of thousands of people to flee, according to Palestinian rights groups.

Across Gaza, more than 130 bodies were pulled from the rubble Saturday, officials said. In southern Gaza, 20 members of an extended family were killed before the start of the lull when a tank shell hit a building where they had sought refuge, al-Kidra said.

Israel says it is doing its utmost to prevent civilian casualties, including sending evacuation warnings to residents in targeted areas, and blames Hamas for putting civilians in harm’s way. Israel has lost 40 soldiers and two civilians, and a Thai worker also has been killed.

“There is no proof that any kind of gratuitous damage is being inflicted,” said Israeli legislator Ofer Shelah of the centrist Yesh Atid party. Israeli troops are “fighting with an enemy dug in within the civilian population, dug in underground or within the houses there,” he said, adding that “those are the consequences of such a fight.”

Israel launched a major air campaign in Gaza on July 8 and later sent ground troops into the Hamas-ruled territory in an operation it said was aimed at halting Palestinian rocket fire and destroying cross-border tunnels used for attacks.

Later Saturday, Israel decided to extend the 12-hour lull by four more hours, until midnight (2100 GMT) Saturday. However, Israel set its own terms for the extended truce, saying it would continue to demolish Hamas military tunnels.

The Israeli military said that through Saturday’s lull, troops uncovered four more tunnel shafts.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri later said that the group rejected the four-hour extension. Shortly after that, Hamas claimed responsibility for firing five rockets at Israel, including two at Tel Aviv. The Israeli military said three rockets fell in southern Israel.

Al-Kidra said that a 36-year-old Palestinian man was killed by a sniper near the central Gaza town of Deir el-Balah shortly after the 12-hour truce ended.

In Paris, Kerry met with European foreign ministers and later with foreign ministers from Qatar and Turkey to try to salvage truce efforts.

On Friday, Israel rejected a proposal by Kerry and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon to halt fire for a week and to begin talks during this period on easing the border blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Hamas has said it would not halt fire until it won guarantees that the border blockade, enforced by Israel and Egypt, would be lifted.

Any new border arrangements for Gaza would likely give a role to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the main political rival of Hamas.

Hamas had seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007, triggering the Gaza blockade by Israel and Egypt. However, Abbas, who heads the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, reached a power-sharing deal earlier this year with Hamas. Under the deal, a government of technocrats headed by Abbas was to prepare for new elections in the West Bank and Gaza.

Egypt wants forces loyal to Abbas to be posted on the Gaza side of the mutual border before considering open the Rafah crossing there, Gaza’s main gate to the world.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in Paris that he and his counterparts from other nations are calling on both sides to negotiate a sustainable cease-fire.

Such a truce should meet Israeli security concerns, but also “the Palestinians’ expectations in terms of economic development and access to Gaza,” he said. “We are convinced of the need to involve the Palestinian Authority in achieving these objectives.”

Revealed: How governments can take control of smartphones

Revealed: How governments can take control of smartphones

‘Legal malware’ produced by the Italian firm Hacking Team can take total control of your mobile phone. That’s according to Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab and University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab(which also obtained a user manual).

Operating since 2001, the Milan-based Hacking Team employs over 50 people and offers clients the ability to “take control of your targets and monitor them regardless of encryption and mobility,” while “keeping an eye on all your targets and manage them remotely, all from a single screen.”

It’s the first time Remote Control Systems (RCS) malware has been positively linked with mobile phones and it opens up a new privacy threat potential to mobile phone users.

“Our latest research has identified mobile modules that work on all well-known mobile platforms, including as Android and iOS,” wrote Kaspersky researcher Sergey Golovanov.

“These modules are installed using infectors – special executables for either Windows or Macs that run on already infected computers. They translate into complete control over the environment in and near a victim’s computer. Secretly activating the microphone and taking regular camera shots provides constant surveillance of the target – which is much more powerful than traditional cloak and dagger operations.”

Police can install the spy malware directly into the phone if there is direct access to the device, or if the owner of the phone connects to an already infected computer, according to Wired.

Various softwares can also lure users to download targeted fake apps.

Once inside an iPhone, for instance, it can access and activate all of the following: control of Wi-Fi, GPS, GPRS, recording voice, e-mail, SMS, MMS, listing files, cookies, visited URLs, cached web pages, address book, call history, notes, calendar, clipboard, list of apps, SIM change, live microphone, camera shots, support chats, WhatsApp, Skype, and Viber.

While the malware can be spotted by some of the more sophisticated anti-virus software, it takes special measures to avoid detection – such as “scouting” a victim before installation, “obfuscating” its presence, and removing traces of its activity.
Hacking Team has maintained that its products are used for lawful governmental interceptions, adding that it does not sell items to countries blacklisted by NATO or repressive regimes.

Wired reported that there have been cases where the spying apps were used in illegal ways in Turkey, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia.

Citizen Lab discovered spying malware hiding in a legitimate news app for Qatif Today, an Arabic-language news and information service that reports on events in Saudi Arabia’s eastern Qatif region. It also argued that circumstantial evidence pointed to Saudi Arabia’s government using the spying malware against Shia protesters in the area.

“This type of exceptionally invasive toolkit, once a costly boutique capability deployed by intelligence communities and militaries, is now available to all but a handful of governments. An unstated assumption is that customers that can pay for these tools will use them correctly, and primarily for strictly overseen, legal purposes. As our research has shown, however, by dramatically lowering the entry cost on invasive and hard-to-trace monitoring, the equipment lowers the cost of targeting political threats for those with access to Hacking Team and Gamma Group toolkits,” Citizen Lab said in its report.

Hacking Team controls the spying malware remotely via command-and-control servers. Kaspersky has discovered more than 350 such servers in more than 40 countries. A total of 64 servers were found in the US – more than in any other country. Kazakhstan came in second, with a total of 49 servers found. Thirty-five were found in Ecuador and 32 in the UK.

Second US guided-mis​sile destroyer arrives in Europe

Second US guided-mis​sile destroyer arrives in Europe

The USS Ross, the second of four US Navy destroyers considered to be the cornerstone of NATO’s European missile defense shield, has arrived at the Spanish naval port of Rota. Russia considers the system to be a direct threat to its security.

The USS Ross joins the USS Donald Cook at Rota. The pair will be joined by two more Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, all of which are fitted with the Aegis weapon and radar system. The USS Porter and USS Carney will round out the quartet of the anti-missile vessels in the US 6th Fleet at Rota in southern Spain.

“On the global and regional stage, we are allies, and we share a common interest in maintaining a Europe that is safe, secure and prosperous. We work closely together with the NATO Alliance, with other partners across the region, and nation to nation as well,” said Vice Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of the US 6th Fleet, upon the arrival of the USS Ross.

The deployment of the four destroyers as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach is a centerpiece of the European missile defense shield, which will also include interceptor batteries in Poland and Romania, radar in Turkey, and a command center at Ramstein in Germany, a US Air Force base.

The four destroyers will also take part in other maritime security operations, NATO deployments and training exercises, the US Defense Department has said.

The USS Donald Cook arrived at Rota in February, marking a major milestone for the missile defense project.

“For the first time, a ship of the United States Navy equipped with the Aegis ballistic missile-defense system is permanently based in Europe,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the time. “The arrival of the USS Donald Cook marks a step forward for NATO, for European security, and for transatlantic cooperation.”

The US military claims its interest in the Mediterranean has increased in recent years because of conflicts and instability across the Middle East and North Africa.

“Permanently forward deploying four ships in Rota will enable us to be in the right place, not just at the right time, but all the time,” US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a Defense Department statement in January.

According to a NATO official statement, the system is designed to “protect all NATO European populations and territory.” Its advocates say it is necessary to protect Europe from the threat of Iranian missiles, as well as other so-called rogue states, such as North Korea.

Amid the escalation of the political crisis in Ukraine, NATO has been maintaining warships in the Black Sea region around the clock, with the USS Donald Cook taking its turn in the caravan of NATO ships conducting surveillance on Russian infrastructure.

Russia is considering the system to be a major threat to its own security and has threatened to increase its own arsenals and missile shield piercing capabilities in response. Thus far, all negotiations on joint participation in the defense system’s development have failed, while NATO has refused to provide any assurances that it won’t be used against Russia.

Meanwhile, a Los Angeles Times investigation revealed Sunday that a crucial defense system on the US west coast, designed to offer “an initial set of missile defense capabilities,” according to then-President George W. Bush in 2002, has failed half of its staged tests conducted by the US Missile Defense Agency.

The $40 billion Ground-based Midcourse Defense system has actually performed worse in carefully-scripted tests – which require the system to intercept a mock enemy warhead – since such drills started in 1999, the LA Times reported.

“The system is not reliable,” said a retired military official who served in the Obama and Bush administrations. “We took a system that was still in development – it was a prototype – and it was declared to be ‘operational’ for political reasons.”

Pentagon spending millions to prepare for mass civil unrest

Pentagon spending millions to prepare for mass civil unrest

The Pentagon is pumping millions of dollars annually into programs that set out to explore the factors responsible for creating civil unrest around the world, The Guardian reported this week.

An article by journalist Nafeez Ahmed published by the paper on Thursday this week acknowledges that the little-known United States Department of Defense program — the Minerva Research Initiative — has since 2008 partnered with universities “to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US.”

According to the program’s website, it has recently awarded millions of dollars to be divvied up among 12 proposals from colleges that have launched projects relevant to the Pentagon’s interest, including a Cornell University study called “Tracking Critical-Mass Outbreaks in Social Contagions” as well as others involving state stability, social disequilibrium and, in one instance, “Understanding American Muslims Converts in the Contexts of Security and Society.” The funding all comes entirely from the Dept. of Defense.

“Understanding the Origin, Characteristics and Implications of Mass Political Movements,” a study out of the University of Washington, was among those selected as well. In Lowell, Massachusetts, researchers there will use $2 million from the Pentagon to study terrorist behavior.

“This research is intended to identify precisely how children get involved and how to interrupt and stop the process,” UMass Lowell Professor Mia Bloom told the Lowell Sun of her Initiative-accepted project. “The research will contrast children in terrorist groups with child soldiers and children in gangs to better understand how they are alike and how they differ.”

Jonathan Moyer of the Pardee Center for International Futures in the School of International Studies at the University of Denver told a campus publication at that school last month that a project he is involved with — one that will also now receive Pentagon funding — will “hopefully help us understand instability in middle-income countries, not just the low-income countries.”

“Trying to pull out the Tunisias and the Libyas and the Ukraines,” he told the Pardee Center, “and why they might be unstable.”

“The total funds awarded for this set of projects is expected to be around six million dollars in the first year and $17 million over three years,” the Minerva Initiative acknowledged on its website.

Writing for The Guardian, Ahmed investigated these programs further and determined that many are directly involved in mass protests and other acts of civil unrest witnessed by the world in recent years. The Cornell project, for example, will determine “the critical mass (tipping point)” of social contagians by studying their “digital traces” in the cases of “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey,” Ahmed wrote. To accomplish as much, researchers say they will examine social media conversations such as Twitter posts “to identify individuals mobilized in a social contagion and when they become mobilized.”

Another project, Ahmed added, is managed by the US Army Research Office and focuses in “large-scale movements involving more than 1,000 participants in enduring activity” across 58 countries around the globe.

The Pentagon’s overseeing of academic projects like these have raised eyebrows before, and even earned the ire of the American Anthropological Society due to its concerns with where the funding comes from.

“The Department of Defense takes seriously its role in the security of the United States, its citizens, and US allies and partners,” Dr Erin Fitzgerald, the Minerva Initiative’s director, told The Guardian. “While every security challenge does not cause conflict, and every conflict does not involve the US military, Minerva helps fund basic social science research that helps increase the Department of Defense’s understanding of what causes instability and insecurity around the world. By better understanding these conflicts and their causes beforehand, the Department of Defense can better prepare for the dynamic future security environment.”

SUSAN RICE ADMITS U.S. GIVING ARMS TO AL-QAEDA IN SYRIA

SUSAN RICE ADMITS U.S. GIVING ARMS TO AL-QAEDA IN SYRIA

Weapons are routinely transferred from “moderates” to al-Qaeda affiliates

Last week Obama took to his teleprompter to tell the American people the United States will provide lethal aid to “moderate” mercenaries fighting in Syria to overthrow the al-Assad government.

Obama’s declaration was nothing new. In September, the mercenaries said they were receiving weapons from the United States. Obama had promised the arms a few months earlier but the media insisted “U.S. officials are still grappling with what type and how much weaponry to send the opposition forces and how to ensure it stays out of the hands of extremists battling for control of Syria,” the Associated Press reported.

In September IHS Jane’s, a defense consultancy, estimated “there are around 10,000 jihadists — who would include foreign fighters — fighting for powerful factions linked to al-Qaeda.”

Around “30,000 to 35,000… hardline Islamists… focused purely on the Syrian war rather than a wider international struggle” are participating in the proxy war while “at least a further 30,000 moderates belonging to groups that have an Islamic character, meaning only a small minority of the rebels are linked to secular or purely nationalist groups” are involved in the fighting, The Telegraph reported.

“The moderates, often underfunded, fragmented and chaotic, appear no match for Islamist units, which include fighters from organizations designated ‘terrorist’ by the United States,” Reuters reported last June.

Rice makes remarks about Syria 4 minutes 30 seconds into interview.

On Friday, Obama’s top foreign policy advisor, Susan Rice, said this miniscule contingent of “moderate” mercenaries are now receiving weapons from the United States. Rice claimed she is “heartbroken” about the destruction of Syria – destruction that is a direct result of the effort by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to oust al-Assad and defeat the Syrian Army.

“That’s why the United States has ramped up its support for the moderate vetted opposition, providing lethal and non-lethal support where we can to support both the civilian opposition and the military opposition,” she told CNN.

Despite Rice’s admission, the Obama administration has remained vague about lethal assistance. “We’re not in a position to detail all of our assistance, but as we’ve made clear, we provide both military and non-military assistance to the opposition,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said after Rice’s remarks made while she was traveling with Obama to D-Day 70th anniversary celebrations in Normandy.

In April we reported on the fact the U.S. provides weapons to al-Nusra and other terrorists groups in Syria by way of its allegedly vetted “moderate” mercenaries. Jamal Maarouf, who runs the Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF) created by the CIA and Saudi and Qatari intelligence, said if “the people who support us [U.S., Saudis, Qataris] tell us to send weapons to another group, we send them. They asked us a month ago to send weapons to Yabroud [a city in Syria] so we sent a lot of weapons there. When they asked us to do this, we do it.”

According to Barak Barfi, a research fellow for the globalist funded New America Foundation, al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda-linked group known for summarily executing Syrian soldiers and other atrocities (including beheading Christians), receives weapons indirectly from SRF.

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported on April 17 that for “months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbors, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups.”

The remarks by Susan Rice are yet another indication the Obama administration is arming the only viable fighting force inside Syria – al-Nusra and other al-Qaeda affiliates. The U.S. may indeed send weapons to “moderates,” but the large number of defections from the Free Syria Army to the ranks Islamist rebel groups underscores the fact a transfer occurs.

In fact, if we can believe Jamal Maarouf, the U.S. and its Saudi and Qatari partners are instructing the moderates to transfer weapons, including man-portable air defense systems, to al-Qaeda and other groups who are the sworn enemies of the United States and the West.

BILDERBERG PLAN FOR SYRIA: ORDER OUT OF CHAOS

Overthrowing the government in Syria has thus far proven problematic
by KURT NIMMO | INFOWARS.COM | MAY 30, 2014

The Bilderberg Meetings website, established after Infowars.com and the alternative media began exposing the secret globalist confab, lists the Middle East as one of the key topics to be discussed this year in Copenhagen, Denmark.

An item on the website simply bulleted as “The new architecture of the Middle East” offers plenty of ambiguity and zero details on what in particular the global elite have in mind. Discussion during past meetings, however, provides a likely course of action.

During the 2012 Bilderberg conference held in Chantilly, Virginia, the head of the Syrian National Transitional Council, Bassma Kodmani, discussed the violent overthrow of the Bashar al-Assad regime and the installation of a government taking orders from the State Department, the European Union and NATO.

“Kodmani is the Head of Foreign Affairs with the SNC, a coalition of Syrian opposition groups based in Istanbul, Turkey,” Paul Joseph Watson wrote on June 2, 2012. “While at the Bilderberg meeting she will be in the company of the likes of former Secretary of State and accused war criminal Henry Kissinger, warhawk Richard Perle, and Thomas E. Donilon, National Security Advisor for the Obama White House.”

“Kodmani is a darling of the establishment, having written op-eds for the New York Times calling for the overthrow of Assad. In recent months her position has become increasingly hardline and pro-NATO intervention. In January she called for ‘greater militarization of local resistance or foreign intervention.’ Kodmani has also called for Syria to form an alliance with Israel.”

Overthrowing the government in Syria has thus far proved problematic. In addition to significant military setbacks, the so-called rebels – in fact mercenaries funded and supported by the CIA, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – have lost their previous “moderate” descriptor and are now congealed into a more or less united front of radical Sunni jihadists set against not only al-Assad in Damascus, but the United States and the West as well.

It can be argued if this turn in the proxy war against al-Assad is a natural or artificial development. Regardless, the intense Salafi character of the so-called resistance in Syria works in favor of the order out of chaos agenda often used by the financial elite to undermine societal cohesion and balkanize vassals, as Rockefeller globalist Zbigniew Brzezinksi has designated people in Eurasia and the Middle East. Brzezinski and the global elite employed a similar strategy during the CIA’s proxy war in Afghanistan. Support for the Mujahideen resulted in the formation of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, both now regarded as key enemies in the war on terror.

During the Bilderberg meeting held in Watford, UK, in 2013 attendees further discussed Syria and the course of action required to remold the “architecture” of the Middle East. It was decided an effort would be made to prolong “the war in Syria by arming the rebels and overturning recent military victories by Assad’s forces,” Infowars.com reported.

This effort was not realized. In addition to infighting between the ISIS, the al-Qaeda pledged Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and other Islamic groups, a vigorous offensive by the Syrian Army and Hezbollah beginning in March of this year has turned back rebel gains. Subsequent military efforts by the CIA mercenaries, seriously weakened and distracted by factional infighting, were ineffectual and allowed the Syrian government to retake al Buraq near the town of Mashara in Quneitra without armed clashes. Other strategic areas were also retaken by the Syrian military.

Marching orders: Obama shifts attention from Afghanistan to Syria.

Earlier this week Infowars.com reported on a renewed effort by the Obama administration to heighten tension in Syria.

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported “Barack Obama will authorize US troops to train selected Syrian rebels, in order to counter the rising power of Al-Qaeda-linked extremists.”

“The current policy approach continues to be strengthening the moderate opposition, which offers an alternative to the brutal Assad regime and the more extremist elements within the opposition,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

This move may represent an effort to stem the mercenary losses in Syria. Moreover, as the causal observer of the proxy war in Syria knows, “moderate” rebel groups in Syria are now virtually irreverent and al-Nusra and other radical jihadists dominate the fighting despite setbacks on the battlefield.

Short of direct military involvement by NATO and its al-Qaeda proxy on par with the effort in Libya, the Turkish based mercenaries coordinated in part by the U.S. military in Jordan are likely to continue a failing effort to overthrow al-Assad and install a brutal Salafist regime in Damascus.

Short of an unlikely military victory the plan likely under discussion now in Copenhagen is to insert more jihadist mercenaries via Turkey to destabilize the country, engage in violent fratricide, and terrorize the Syrian people.

The effort to destroy Syria and eject the al-Assad family and the Ba’ath regime that has ruled the country since 1971 may take longer and will be ultimately more costly and bloody than the relatively short operation in Libya, thus pushing back any timeline devised at the Bilderberg conference this week in Copenhagen.

‘Pilot program’ revealed: Washington sends missiles to Syrian rebels

‘Pilot program’ revealed: Washington sends missiles to Syrian rebels

The US is sending missiles to Syrian rebels as part of a “pilot program” to strengthen the opposition, American media reveals. Addressing criticism the US is arming extremist militants, Washington claims its weapons will not “fall into the wrong hands.”

Washington’s new initiative aims to find out whether it can supply opposition forces in Syria with weapons without them falling into the hands of Islamist extremists, American officials told USA Today on condition of anonymity.

“They will try this first and see how it goes” before expanding it, said a former official. According to reports, rebel groups have already received anti-tank missiles, known as TOWs, which are specially designed to destroy tanks and pierce reinforced bunkers.

Rebel fighters prepare to launch an anti-tank missile towards forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Maaret al-Naaman village, in Idlib April 30, 2014. (Reuters / Rasem Ghareeb)
Rebel fighters prepare to launch an anti-tank missile towards forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Maaret al-Naaman village, in Idlib April 30, 2014. (Reuters / Rasem Ghareeb)

This latest move by the US comes as the head of the Syrian National Coalition for Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Ahmad Al-Jarba, visits Washington to lobby for more support. Al-Jarba will push for Washington to supply rebel forces with anti-aircraft missiles, the New York Times reports.

In a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry, Al-Jarba emphasized that his coalition was “moderate and inclusive.”

“The coalition’s goal is to build a pluralistic, civil state where the majority can live together with the minority in peace,” he said.

Washington has thrown its support behind the Syrian National Coalition, granting the body official foreign mission status in the US. The US government suspended the Syrian embassy, representing the Assad government, earlier in March. In addition, the White House has pledged an extra $27 million to helping the cause of the rebels in Syria.

However, Brian Becker of the anti-war ANSWER coalition, says this money will only go to help the spread of terrorism in the country.

“The opposition in Syria includes notorious terrorist forces and they have used terrorism, of course supported by the United States through proxy forces in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to finance it and arm them, but they have been carrying out terrorist actions,” the anti-war activist mentioned.

“The idea that there is a dichotomy between a good opposition and a bad opposition is just a myth in the face of rising public and media attention in the US about the nature of the terrorist organizations that are fighting the Assad government,” Becker concluded.

A road sign is seen as Syrian government forces walk in a street on May 9, 2014 in the Christian neighborhood of Hamidiyeh in the old city of Homs after Syrian government forces regained control of rebel-controlled areas. (AFP Photo / Youssef Karwashan)
A road sign is seen as Syrian government forces walk in a street on May 9, 2014 in the Christian neighborhood of Hamidiyeh in the old city of Homs after Syrian government forces regained control of rebel-controlled areas. (AFP Photo / Youssef Karwashan)

As the US steps up its support for the opposition, the Assad government has scheduled presidential elections for June 3. Bashar Assad will run for re-election against rival candidates Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar, 46, and Hassan bin Abdullah al-Nouri, 54. Elements of the Syrian opposition and Washington have already leveled criticism at the vote, branding it a “farce.”

One senior US administration official denounced the Syrian election as “a parody of democracy,” AFP reports. Assad’s decision to hold the elections “rings particularly hollow given that the regime is continuing to attack and massacre the very electorate that is purporting to represent,” the official said.

Washington believes the conflict in Syria can only be solved if Assad steps down as president.

Syria was plunged into civil war in 2011 when peaceful uprisings against Assad descended into violence. As a result of the conflict, at least 150,000 people have died and millions more have been displaced and gone into exile. The international community made significant progress last year, when the US and Russia agreed that Syria should destroy its chemical weapons stockpile following an attack in Damascus on August 21 last year.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-UN task force confirmed last week that 92 percent of the weapons stockpile had been removed from the war-torn nation.

Groomed “Moderates” Get U.S. TOW Anti-tank Missiles in Syria

In fact, terrorist groups al-Qaeda and al-Nusra get the weapons paid for by U.S. taxpayers

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
April 28, 2014

The Washington Post reports Harakat Hazm, the Movement of Steadfastness, has received the first batch of TOW anti-tank missiles promised by the United States in the ongoing effort to topple the Syrian government.

FSA, aka al-Nusra and al-Qaeda, mercenaries chant “Allah Hu Akbar” after firing BM 71 TOW anti-tank weapon.

According to the Post, the recently formed mercenary group was “chosen to receive the weapons because of their moderate views and, just as important, their discipline. At the group’s base, sprawled across rocky, forested wilderness in the northern province of Idlib, soldiers wear uniforms, get medical checkups and sleep in bunk beds under matching blankets.”

Harakat Hazm is reportedly linked to Salim Idris, the former Chief of Staff of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the point man for “game-changing weapons” in the effort by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to topple the Syrian government. Idris reportedly sought refuge in Qatar after he was removed from his position as Chief-of-Staff of the FSA’s Supreme Military Council.

On April 8 The National reported the group, a brigade within the Free Syrian Army, had released a video showing its mercenaries using a BGM-71 TOW.

The sophisticated anti-tank weapon is also in the hands of the Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF) led by Jamal Maarouf. As reported on April 3, Maarouf created the “moderate” SRF with the help of the CIA and Saudi and Qatari intelligence.

According to The Telegraph, mercenary groups “best equipped to take on the extremists” were given millions of dollars to go up against al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS), which was said to have “hijacked” the foreign effort to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Maarouf told The Independent the fight against al-Qaeda was “not our problem” and admitted the mercenaries he leads with U.S., Saudi and Qatari help conduct joint operations with Jabhat al-Nusra, seen as the de facto al-Qaeda branch in Syria. Maarouf told the newspaper he does not have a problem working with al-Qaeda so long as the objective is the ouster of the al-Assad government.

He said if “the people who support us [U.S., Saudis, Qataris] tell us to send weapons to another group, we send them.”

In December, Al-Monitor reported the FSA is an ineffectual and marginalized fighting force in Syria. “The FSA is practically over, at least in the sense of its previous form and constituent protocol. What is happening today is nothing more than recycling the function of the army, as a prelude to a new phase, whose features are still unclear.”

As veteran journalist Patrick Cockburn noted late last year, the “FSA, along with the Syrian National Coalition, groups that the United States and Britain have been pretending for years are at the heart of Syrian military and political opposition, has been discredited.” Its mercenaries “are in flight, have changed sides, or are devoting all their efforts to surviving the onslaught from jihadi or al-Qa’ida-linked brigades.”

Since 2012, al-Qaeda “has become one of the uprising’s most effective fighting forces,” according to The New York Times, and it, along with affiliate al-Nusra, dominate the proxy war against al-Assad.

“For Syrian opposition soldiers, the al-Qaeda fighters are welcome Arab and Muslim volunteers, mujahideen, religious brethren who call themselves Jabhat al-Nusrah li-Ahli al-Shaam (Front for the Victory of the Levantine people), among other names,” Ed Husain wrote for the National Review in August, 2012. “Not since the days of the Afghan jihad against the Soviets has global jihadism found this rare combination of native Sunni Muslim hospitality, a powerful cause, available cash, eager Arab support, Western acquiescence, and the constant arrival of young Muslims to fight under its banner to create an Islamist government.”

The Afghan jihad and mujahideen were products of the CIA and Pakistani intelligence with funding from Saudi Arabia. The same process, with minor differences, is now underway in Syria. The Washington Post, The New York Times and other paragons of establishment propaganda continue to portray the FSA as a viable proxy army when in fact it is a “moderate” facade erected to put a friendly face on groups who execute prisoners, behead Christians, and engage in suicide bombings against civilian targets.

This article was posted: Monday, April 28, 2014 at 11:06 am

CIA Working On Proxy War Against Russia in Ukraine

Fake Jewish registration part of disinfo operation

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
April 17, 2014

The primary reason CIA boss John Brennan went to Kyiv on Sunday was not to talk about intelligence sharing as the establishment media has reported. This was the paper thin cover story floated by Rep. Mike Rogers, the out-going chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. It is propaganda.

Brennan went to Ukraine to work on logistics for the next phase of the crisis – a proxy war against Russia similar to the successful one in Afghanistan that defeated the Soviet Union.

THe CIA, of course, denies this, and also denies it made the trip to spur the coup onward and upward to victory, a dim prospect at best due to the fact so many Ukrainians are less than thrilled about being ruled by ultra-nationalists and Right Sector brownshirts. Even Ukrainian soldiers are less not pumped up about attacking their fellow countrymen: they have surrendered to unarmed activists in Donetsk and Sloviansk.

“The claim that Director Brennan encouraged Ukrainian authorities to conduct tactical operations inside Ukraine is completely false. Like other senior U.S. officials, Director Brennan strongly believes that a diplomatic solution is the only way to resolve the crisis between Russia and Ukraine,” said a CIA spokesperson in a statement.

The Pentagon has officially announced it will provide the regime with “non-lethal aid.” The Obama administration is playing the same game in Syria while behind the scenes encouraging Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to send in boatloads of cash, arms, and, most importantly, fanatical al-Qaeda and al-Nusra mercenaries willing to slaughter unarmed civilians and even Christian priests.

“The pull of getting involved in proxy wars is intoxicatingly strong for an obvious reason: proxies do all the work,” writes John Glaser. “Just provide surrogates cash and guns and voilà! The devil, as always, is in the details. Proxy wars are usually waged secretly and thus represent U.S. foreign policy that the American people (and indeed most of the U.S. government itself) has no say in. They usually involve supporting unscrupulous groups of people that often end up committing serious crimes (although, it’s by proxy so U.S. officials typically wiggle out of any responsibility).”

The CIA’s track record provides ample evidence this is precisely why Brennan personally traveled to Kyiv and rubbed elbows with the coup leaders. Since its inception, the agency has undermined, subverted, masterminded and directly orchestrated the overthrow of dozens of countries.

The Soviet Union fell for it in Afghanistan, but will it fall for it in Ukraine? The $6 billion Afghan operation beginning in 1979, the largest operation by the CIA to date, was designed to “humiliate the Soviets by arming anyone who would fight against them. The agency funneled cash and weapons to over a dozen guerrilla groups, many of whom had been staging raids from Pakistan years before the Soviet invasion,” writes Mark Zepezauer.

The operation also created a subset of new terrorists and phantom terrorists who are with us today and are routinely exploited as the war on manufactured terror drags on, likely forever, as promised, or until the bottom falls out in the United States financially.

Taking into consideration the CIA’s penchant for supporting the worst sort of sadists and fanatics, we can expect the covert proxy war now brewing below the surface in Ukraine, in Europe proper, to be excessively brutal.

It is doubtful Russia, recalling the humiliating defeat in Afghanistan, will merely sit idle on the sidelines and twiddle its thumbs.

Addendum

Leaflets ordering Jews to register in Donetsk are more than likely part of a CIA operation or one launched by the real anti-Semites in Kyiv (who are primarily members of Svoboda and Right Sector). This is an obvious disinformation campaign designed to dovetail with Kerry’s handshaking photo op with Lavrov in Geneva.

It has also provided one of the coup architects, Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine (the CIA notoriously uses embassies as staging platforms for coups), to make remarks customized for the establishment media, now plastering the obviously bogus story all over CNN and the rest of the corporate alphabet media.

The pro-Russian side has denounced the leaflets as brazenly obvious fakes. Jason Ditz writes:

The leadership of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk insist the official looking leaflets are fakes, and the signature of one of their leaders a forgery, designed to discredit the protest movement. The putative Jew registration service simply doesn’t exist, and Ukrainian Jews who show up at the government building expecting to have to pay a $50 “registration fee” are wasting their time.

So absurd and transparent is the story, Ditz could not restrain his sarcasm:

Lord knows following through on whether or not urban legends are true isn’t done in the US, which is why all the top stories in US papers today are either Jew registration that’s not happening, or a handful of kids in Tokyo wearing zentai, because that’s sure to be the new fad nationwide.

This article was posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 2:49 pm

EU taking Putin’s letter on gas transit ‘seriously’ – Merkel

EU taking Putin’s letter on gas transit ‘seriously’ – Merkel

The EU is taking seriously President Vladimir Putin’s letter to 18 European countries, in which he warned that Ukraine’s debt crisis could affect gas transit from Russia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

“There are many reasons to seriously take into account this message […] and for Europe to deliver a joint European response,” Itar-Tass reported Merkel as saying.

She said the issue would be discussed in a meeting between European Union foreign ministers Monday.

Speaking in Athens on Friday, Merkel stressed that the price on natural gas should be negotiated. She also said that EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger and representatives of European states should talk to Russia’s biggest gas producer, Gazprom.

“When we take all these steps, we can be sure that we have reached a joined response for the countries that face this problem because they are getting gas from Gazprom,” Merkel said, adding European states “would like to be good clients but we would also like to be sure Russian gas supplies are not interrupted.”

Merkel said that she also discussed this stance with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. “There are no disagreements on this,” she said.

On Thursday, Putin wrote a letter to the leaders of 18 European countries, major consumers of Russian gas such as Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Moldova, Poland and Romania, warning that Ukraine’s debt crisis reached a “critical” level and could threaten transit to Europe.

He told Russia’s European partners that Gazprom would be forced to ask Ukraine for advance payments.

“In other words, we’ll be supplying exactly the volume of gas that Ukraine pays for a month in advance,” he wrote.

After the coup in Kiev, Gazprom ended all discounts and now charges $485 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas. This is a price Ukraine says it will not be able to pay because it threatens Ukraine’s ability to continue normal gas transit operations to Europe.

Putin also said, however, that introducing advance payments would be an extreme measure.

“We understand that this increases the risks of unsanctioned retrieval of gas flowing through the territory of Ukraine to European consumers,” he said. “And it could also hinder accumulation of gas supplies in Ukraine necessary to provide for consumption during the autumn-winter period.”

On Friday, Putin said that still Russia would fully honor its obligations to supply natural gas to European partners.

“Russia is acting very exactly, very considerately and respectfully towards our partners. We will certainly guarantee in full the honoring of all our obligations to our European consumers. We are not the problem, the problem is ensuring transit via Ukraine,” he said.