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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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Finally, someone gets Syria right

EmptyWheel's Extremely Disconcerting, Factual Chronology On U.S. Involvement In Syria

beginning here:

Why is Obama Changing the Date and Size of First CIA Death Squads to Enter Syria?
Posted on September 4, 2013 by Jim White

There is a very interesting point thrown in as a small tidbit in Monday’s New York Times story on Barack Obama securing the support of John McCain for a military strike on Syria:

Officials said that in the same conversation, which included Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, Mr. Obama indicated that a covert effort by the United States to arm and train Syrian rebels was beginning to yield results: the first 50-man cell of fighters, who have been trained by the C.I.A., was beginning to sneak into Syria.

Taken at face value, this version of the story would have us believe that the first group of 50 trained by the CIA was presumably still in the process of “sneaking” into Syria on Monday. But the timeline of US training for these fighters is much more complex than that. Some foul-mouthed blogger http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/05/11/petraeus-revenge/ noted back in May that this training program had already been underway for some time and the LA Times http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jun/21/world/la-fg-cia-syria-20130622 caught up with her in June, disclosing that the program began at least as far back as November 2012 on US bases in Jordan and Turkey.

(too many links, just go here & read it all, take your time....):


UPDATE (6:30 PM EDT, 9-4-13):
Worthy of republishing, IMHO, from the comments in this post....

Interesting opening paragraphs from the linked
... Jerusalem Post piece:

Guerrilla fighters trained by the West began moving towards Damascus in mid-August, French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Thursday.

Le Figaro reported that this is the reason behind the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus on Wednesday morning, as UN inspectors were allowed into the country to investigate allegations of WMD use.

Now contrast that with what White wrote (end of (1+ / 0-)

Okay, now this gets interesting. Obama claimed only the first group of 50 were entering, while Le Figaro claimed there were two groups, with the first one being 300 and the second one not specified by size. Further, note the dates and location: they entered on August 17 and 19 and they passed through Ghouta. The large number of deaths from a suspected chemical warfare agent occurred on August 21 in Ghouta...

In other words, White insinuates that these CIA-trained fighters were the ones who may have launched the chemical weapons attacks shortly after arriving in Ghouta, while the Jerusalem Post story he cites (which cites the Le Figaro story) claims that the Syrian government launched the chemical attack specifically to kill these CIA-trained fighters who had just entered Ghouta.

by Bob Johnson on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:17:32 PM EDT


and, of course (tons more info & links):

I saw the McCain amendment and the word democracy is there. We never learn.

That doesn't sound like "limited," "tailored" strikes.

The first amendment adds language that "absent decisive change to the present military balance of power on the ground in Syria, sufficient incentives do not yet exist" to topple Assad.

The second amendment adds two paragraphs to the resolution:


(a) It is the policy of the United States to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria so as to create favorable conditions for a negotiated settlement that ends the conflict and leads to a democratic government in Syria.

(b) A comprehensive US strategy in Syria should aim, as part of a coordinated international effort, to degrade the capabilities of the Assad regime to use weapons of mass destruction while upgrading the lethal and non-lethal military capabilities of vetted elements of Syrian opposition forces, including the Free Syrian Army.


NSA probably hasn't broken strong crypto

NSA probably hasn't broken strong crypto
(Image: A Stick Figure Guide to the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) )

much more:

Alyssa Milano's Sex Tape On Funny Or Die Will Leave You Feeling So Many Things

Alyssa Milano's Sex Tape On Funny Or Die Will Leave You Feeling So Many Things



welcome to America folks!

and peace,

KERRY: The Abrab Countries Have Offered To Pay For The Entirety (If USA Does The Messy Stuff)

Secretary of State John Kerry said at Wednesday’s hearing that Arab countries have offered to pay for the entirety of unseating President Bashar al-Assad if the United States took the lead militarily.


Secretary of State John Kerry said at Wednesday’s hearing that Arab countries have offered to pay for the entirety of unseating President Bashar al-Assad if the United States took the lead militarily.

“With respect to Arab countries offering to bear costs and to assess, the answer is profoundly yes,” Kerry said. “They have. That offer is on the table.”

Asked by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) about how much those countries would contribute, Kerry said they have offered to pay for all of a full invasion.

“In fact, some of them have said that if the United States is prepared to go do the whole thing the way we’ve done it previously in other places, they’ll carry that cost,” Kerry said. “That’s how dedicated they are at this. That’s not in the cards, and nobody’s talking about it, but they’re talking in serious ways about getting this done.



"The ‘red line’ that they crossed is actually a d*ck-measuring ribbon.”

my favorite line from Stewart's skewering of Obama's Syria Project:

“Oh, right — we have to bomb Syria because we’re in seventh grade,” Stewart said. “And the ‘red line’ that they crossed is actually a d*ck-measuring ribbon.”

more, plus video:

Howard Dean backs Obama on Syria strike

Source: The Hill

Howard Dean backs Obama on Syria strike
By Julian Pecquet - 09/04/13 10:00 AM ET

Former DNC chairman Howard Dean supports President Obama's call for a punitive military strike against Syria.

“Thus far I fully support the president, including his going to Congress,” Dean said in an e-mail to The Hill.

The comments from the standard-bearer of the anti-war left during the 2002 campaign could help Obama gain more support among Democrats for votes next week in the House and Senate on his request.

In the House in particular, Obama is likely to have to count on a strong Democratic vote.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/middle-east-north-africa/320183-howard-dean-backs-syria-strike

UPDATED: to add another link and info:
hat tip: karynnj

Obama had no relations with that red line.

Obama: Red line on Syria is the world's, not his

President Obama
"I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line," Obama told reporters on the first day of a four-day trip to Sweden and Russia to attend a G-20 summit in St. Petersburg.


History lesson: When the United States looked the other way on chemical weapons


During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, even as the Reagan administration knew Iraq was using chemical weapons, the U.S. was supplying materials to help manufacture them. Fair or not, this sort of legacy makes it harder to get people to accept the notion that use of them constitutes some kind of unacceptable moral red line for the U.S.

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