From The Intercept, making the connections:
Syria Becomes the 7th Predominantly Muslim Country Bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate
The U.S. today began bombing targets inside Syria, in concert with its lovely and inspiring group of five allied regimes: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Jordan.
That means that Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama—after Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iraq.
The utter lack of interest in what possible legal authority Obama has to bomb Syria is telling indeed: Empires bomb who they want, when they want, for whatever reason (indeed, recall that Obama bombed Libya even after Congress explicitly voted against authorization to use force, and very few people seemed to mind that abject act of lawlessness; constitutional constraints are not for warriors and emperors).
A headline from Bloomberg makes a similar point:
Who Still Thinks Obama’s a Pacifist Hippie?
The Los Angeles Times with pals:
5 Arab nations support U.S. in strikes inside Syria
The White House ordered air attacks on Islamic State militants in eastern Syria within 72 hours after five Arab allies agreed to participate in the attacks, the Pentagon’s top officer said Tuesday.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said the Arab governments only gave assurances they would join the operation over the last three days, prompting President Obama to give the order to commence the operation.
“The coalition came together quickly,” Dempsey told reporters traveling with him in Europe. “Once the coalition came together, that was the condition the president was most interested in.”
The White House withheld approval for strikes in Syria until Arab allies joined the attacks in hopes of showing that major Sunni regimes in the region were uniting against the Sunni extremist group after months of indecision, officials said.
The Independent notes an irony:
Syria air strikes: America’s attacks on Isis may help Bashar al-Assad keep his regime alive
- But the Syrian leader will be watching with concern as the US’s use of air power spreads to include more targets outside its original stated aim
The moment America expanded its anti-Isis war into Syria, President Bashar al-Assad gained more military and political support than any other Arab leader can boast. With US bombs and missiles exploding across eastern and northern Syria, Assad can now count on America, Russia, China, Iran, the Hezbollah militia, Jordan and a host of wealthy Gulf countries to keep his regime alive. If ever that creaking old Arab proverb – that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” – contained any wisdom, Assad has proved it true.
In his Damascus home, the Syrian leader can reflect that the most powerful nation on earth – which only last year wished to bomb him into oblivion – is now trying to bomb his most ferocious enemies into the very same oblivion. Sunni Saudis whose “charity” donations have funded the equally Sunni “Islamic State” now find their government supposedly helping the US to destroy it. As Shia Iran and its Hezbollah protégés battle the Sunni executioners and throat-slashers on the ground, US bom
More from the Associated Press:
Assad backs efforts to fight terrorism
Syrian President Bashar Assad said Tuesday he supports any international effort against terrorism, apparently trying to position his government on the side of the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State group. Damascus said the U.S. informed it beforehand that the strikes were coming.
Assad’s remarks came hours after the opening salvo in what the United States has warned will be a lengthy campaign aiming to defeat the extremists who have seized control of a huge swath of territory spanning the Syria-Iraq border.
One Syrian activist group reported that dozens of Islamic State group fighters were killed in the pre-dawn strikes, but the numbers could not be independently confirmed. Several activists also reported at least 10 civilians killed as well.
Still more from RT:
Airstrikes alone won’t help US to fight ISIS – Syrian FM to RT Arabic
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem says he is “confident” that those airstrikes will not be “effective, if there is no coordination of actions on the ground and if no ground military operations are carried out.”
“The US is mocking the whole world when they say that they are going to coordinate their actions not with the Syrian government, but with the moderate Syrian opposition. This is funny. What moderate opposition are you talking about?” Moualem told RT Arabic. “This moderate opposition is killing Syrians just like al-Nusra or ISIS.”
If the US wants to have positive results in their “fight with terrorism” they should “immediately” change their approach, he said.
TheLocal.at piles on:
Austria joins US-led coalition against Isis
Austria’s Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has announced that Austria is now part of the US-led coalition against Islamic State (Isis) militants.
Kurz said that Austria’s participation will be political, but not military and that as a neutral country it will provide mainly humanitarian assistance to persecuted religious minorities such as Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria.
As does Nikkei Asian Review:
Japan, US affirm cooperation in fight against Islamic militants
Japan’s foreign minister on Tuesday expressed support for U.S.-led airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria, offering humanitarian aid to refugees fleeing the Sunni militants who have terrorized the region.
In a meeting here with Fumio Kishida, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry explained the airstrikes conducted jointly with European and Arab nations and plans going forward.
In response, the Japanese foreign minister pledged Japan’s cooperation, noting that he understands that the action was taken to prevent the situation from worsening. Kishida said he hopes “the latest action will lead to a weakening and the eventual defeat of the Islamic State, which poses a serious threat.”
While News Corp Australia sounds the latest alarm:
Terror threat from al-Qaeda veterans in Khorasan eclipses that of the Islamic State, US intelligence officials say
As the world reacts with horror to the Islamic State, the United States raised an alert over an “unholy mix” of militants specifically targeting the West.
As al-Qaeda fragments after the death of its leader Osama bin Laden, one of its many offshoots in the Middle East has named itself Khorasan. It asserts the sole reason for its existence is to attack the United States and Europe.
The White House believes them. The US military launched air strikes in Syria on Tuesday, targeting the Khorasan group.
From United Press International, if they told you what it was for they’d have to. . .:
Invertix wins place on Army intelligence services contract
- Army taps Invertix for global intelligence support.
U.S. Army has selected Invertix Corporation to provide it with global intelligence support services.
Invertix, a subsidiary of Altamira Technologies Corporation, said it is one of a number of large businesses on the indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract, which is for the Army Intelligence and Security Command.
The contract’s estimated period of performance is through September of 2019. Its ceiling value for all recipients is more than $5 billion.
The Wire takes one small step for mankind:
U.S. Will Ban Deadly Landmines (Outside of Korea)
The U.S. announced on Tuesday that it will halt its use of anti-personnel landmines with one major exception – their ongoing deployment on the Korean peninsula.
Officials had said in June that in accordance with the 1999 Ottawa Convention, the U.S. would stop producing or acquiring “anti-personnel munitions,” and they characterized Tuesday’s announcement as another step in that process.
As part of the change, the U.S. also will not assist or encourage other nations in the deployment of deadly landmines and would destroy all landmines “not required for the defense of the Republic of Korea.”
Xinhua catches the bug:
Suspected NSA listening post discovered in Vienna
A series of photos of what is believed to be an NSA-operated listening post on top of a skyscraper in the Austrian capital of Vienna have been circulated by Austrian media Tuesday.
The IZD Tower building is situated next to the Vienna International Centre that hosts the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), with media reports speculating the suspected listening hut atop the building, which at first glance appears to be a maintenance hut, is used to receive signals from bugs installed at the UN premises.
Erich Moechel from radio station FM4 reported that the hut has an air conditioning unit, suspicious in that this is unusual for a maintenance hut, and may indicate that either the hut is manned, or there are electronics situated inside that need protection from excessive heat during the summer months.
Details from TheLocal.at:
ORF journalist Erich Möchel believes he has identified the listening station – located on top of the 140 metre high IZD tower in Vienna’s 22nd district – not far from the UN headquarters.
A series of photos that were leaked to the journalist show a hut on the roof that is enclosed by solid steel bars and monitored by ten cameras. It cannot be seen from the street.
Möchel writes that it looks like “a maintenance building” but speculates that there may be equipment in the hut that can monitor mobile networks.
He adds that together with the US Embassy in Vienna’s 9th district and the ‘NSA villa’ in Pötzleinsdorf which is also assumed to be a listening post, the NSA could be spying on the whole city – as far as Schwechat.
The US embassy declined to comment on the allegations, as did the Interior Ministry.
While Assange was played on the big screen by Benedict Cumberbatch, a star of a different type has been picked to play NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. From the Guardian:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt to play Edward Snowden in Oliver Stone’s NSA whistleblower movie
- Dark Knight Rises star to take central role in one of two duelling versions of account of National Security Agency files leak, adapted from Guardian journalist’s book
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has agreed to take the lead role in Oliver Stone’s forthcoming biopic of the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, reports Variety.
Negotiations on the deal have not yet begun, but both men are keen on making it happen. Production on The Snowden Files, titled after the book by Guardian journalist Luke Harding, is due to begin late this year or in the early part of 2015.
The film, which Stone is writing and directing, now looks likely to be based on two books, Harding’s account – full title The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man – and Time of the Octopus by Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena. Stone recently picked up the screen rights to the latter tome after optioning Harding’s book in June.
And whilst on that personage portrayed by Cumerbatch, News Corp Australia assuages Assange:
Swedish prosecutors say it is ‘far-fetched’ to think WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be extradited to the US
SWEDISH prosecutors say it is “far-fetched” to think that fugitive Wikileaks founder Julian Assange could be extradited to the United States if he returned to Sweden.
It was the first time that Swedish prosecutors, who want to question the 43-year-old Australian on allegations of rape and sexual molestation, commented on the likelihood that he could be sent to the US.
Assange refuses to return to Sweden and has been holed up since 2012 in London in the embassy of Ecuador, which granted him political asylum the same year.
More from TheLocal.se:
Swedish prosecutors made their statement in a written reply to arguments made by Assange’s lawyers, who have appealed a decision by a Swedish court in July this year to uphold the arrest warrant against him.
The Court of Appeal in Stockholm is expected to announce its decision within the next week.
If it scraps the European arrest warrant against Assange, it could mean that he would be able to leave the Ecuadoran embassy.
The arrest warrant was issued to enable Swedish prosecutors to question Assange about charges brought against him by two women in their 30s. Assange denies the accusations.
And to complete the circle, uniting the interests of both, via RT:
A state within a state at an alarming rate: Assange says NSA just keeps on growing
In his book ‘Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet,’ Assange says that opponents of WikiLeaks aim to try to distract attention from actual revelations, rather than trying to provide answers to the questions posed.
“If we go back and look at what the US military is: Robert Gates and General McMullan said our publications were hypothetical and maybe they would cause harm. Our publications documented their involvement at a case-by-case level in the deaths of more than 20,000 people in Afghanistan and more than 108,000 people in Iraq. Those are the mistakes that we are talking about. Not only is this the dissolution of two societies, but also the deaths of over 100,000 people. So when you want to distract from this, you just make the same accusation to the person that is making the accusation against you. In 2013, in the trial of Chelsea Manning – who was subsequently sentenced to 35 years for giving information to the media and only for giving information to the media – the US government said that under the oath they could not find a single person who had been harmed, not a single person.”
Despite Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s widespread spying, both domestically and abroad, the Australian does not think things will get better in the near future. Instead, he says things are getting worse – with the creation of a state within a state.
“There now six million people in the United States with security clearances. That is more than the population of Norway, New Zealand, or Scotland. That is in effect a state within a state. Why is it a state within a state? Because people that have security clearances have extra laws that they are meant to obey. That is extremely alarming [at the] moment, if we go back to 2010, just back to when it was 2.5 million. So there has been more than a doubling in the size of the National Security State within the US in just 4-5 years.”
After the jump, freakout over Google and Apple encyption, do your Like corporate datapervs? [and with drones?], hacks at Stanford, hacking away in Europe, the latest iHack, Google kicks the Koch habit, another moronic celebrity hacking threat and an overreaching legal effort to stem such things, an Argentine security threat, an expanded Pakistani nuclear arsenal, super-secrecy Down Under, the latest player in the Game of Zones and moves by another player, and more. . . Continue reading