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Interventions Watch: January 2014

Posted in Action, Africa, Asia at 10:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Stories about military interventions (analysis of the present)

Syria and Libya (Weapons)

  • Whose sarin?

    The absence of immediate alarm inside the American intelligence community demonstrates that there was no intelligence about Syrian intentions in the days before the attack. And there are at least two ways the US could have known about it in advance: both were touched on in one of the top secret American intelligence documents that have been made public in recent months by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor.

    On 29 August, the Washington Post published excerpts from the annual budget for all national intelligence programmes, agency by agency, provided by Snowden. In consultation with the Obama administration, the newspaper chose to publish only a slim portion of the 178-page document, which has a classification higher than top secret, but it summarised and published a section dealing with problem areas. One problem area was the gap in coverage targeting Assad’s office. The document said that the NSA’s worldwide electronic eavesdropping facilities had been ‘able to monitor unencrypted communications among senior military officials at the outset of the civil war there’. But it was ‘a vulnerability that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces apparently later recognised’. In other words, the NSA no longer had access to the conversations of the top military leadership in Syria, which would have included crucial communications from Assad, such as orders for a nerve gas attack. (In its public statements since 21 August, the Obama administration has never claimed to have specific information connecting Assad himself to the attack.)

  • Pentagon labeled Benghazi a terrorist attack as Obama administration wavered: newly declassified testimony
  • New York Times Report: CIA-Backed Militias Linked to Benghazi, Libya Attack

    The Times article, based on dozens of interviews in Benghazi, asserts that the attack that killed four Americans, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, was carried out by Libyans who had previously been allied with the US government in the 2011 war that overthrew and murdered Gaddafi. Times correspondent David D. Kirkpatrick writes that the attack was not organized by Al Qaeda or any other group from outside Libya, but “by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi.”

Ed: Reports from last year, which are based on leaks, indicated that Benghazi had been used to funnel weapons to Syria. The leak’s coverage started in CNN and as the British press put it, “The television network said that a CIA team was working in an annex near the consulate on a project to supply missiles from Libyan armouries to Syrian rebels.”

PJ Harvey Brings Guests to BBC

  • Julian Assange rails against surveillance on Today programme
  • John Pilger: ‘We Have Been Misled’

    January 05, 2014 “Information Clearing House – When I travelled in Iraq in the 1990s, the two principal Moslem groups, the Shia and Sunni, had their differences but they lived side by side, even intermarried and regarded themselves with pride as Iraqis. There was no Al Qaida, there were no jihadists. We blew all that to bits in 2003 with ‘shock and awe’. And today Sunni and Shia are fighting each other right across the Middle East.



Eastern Tensions

  • China and Philippines: The reasons why a battle for Zhongye (Pag-asa) Island seems unavoidable

    Zhongye (Pag-asa) Island, the second largest in the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands, has an area of 0.33 square km, and is of great strategic significance for China if it wants to control a vast part of the South China Sea that it claims to be its territorial waters.

    As the Island is located roughly in the middle of the area, if China builds an air force and naval base there, it will more easily control the sky and sea in the claimed area.

The “Nazi” Smears and WW2 Recalled

  • Russian Human Rights Report Casts Europe as Land of Nazis and Gay Propaganda
  • Schools Have Become A Playground For Food And Beverage Marketing

    The vast majority of students are exposed to marketing campaigns by food and beverage companies at their schools, usually for unhealthy products, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics.

  • ‘Hitler furious’ at Swedish minister’s satire mishap

    Sweden’s Justice Minister Beatrice Ask has been criticized for sharing a satirical article about legalized marijuana killing scores of people in the US and tying it to her anti-narcotics stand as a youth politician. Her critics did not hold back.

  • From Hollywood to the Headlines: Art Looted by the Nazis Comes to Light

    It is a story with deep roots: The chaos and destruction of World War II left a horribly fragmented cultural world: art lost forever in the confusion or destroyed in battle; art declared “degenerate” and destroyed by Hitler (whose opinions on racial purity were mirrored in his opinions on purity in art); art seized throughout the continent and carted back to Germany; and art stolen from or sold under duress by Jewish collectors. It’s now almost 70 years since the war’s end, but European authorities and the descendants of the original owners of looted art are still attempting to put the pieces back where they belong.

    Close to 1,400 of these missing pieces were found in the home of 80-year-old Cornelius Gurlitt, a recluse who has been painted by the media as tragic, bizarre and potentially culpable. He inherited the art from his father, one of only four art dealers licensed by Hitler’s propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, to purchase and sell “degenerate” art during the war.

  • Digging for their lives: Russia’s volunteer body hunters

    “There are so many unburied soldiers, it will take decades to find them. There will definitely be work for our grandchildren,” says Marina. “But nature is working against us. The remains are decomposing and it is getting harder to find the bones, ID tags and army kit.” The more years that go by. The less information there is.

  • Unseen Alfred Hitchcock Holocaust documentary ‘Memory of the Camps’ to be released

    An Alfred Hitchcock documentary about the Holocaust which was suppressed for political reasons is to be screened for the first time in the form its director intended after being restored by the Imperial War Museum, reports the Independent.

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