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tabatha's Journal
tabatha's Journal
January 17, 2012

War with Iran will not happen.

"The Pentagon's planners have war-gamed an attack on Iran and they just can't make it come out as a US victory. ... The US could "win" by dropping hundreds of [tactical] nuclear weapons ... But short of that, nothing works."

On this we have the word of Richard Clarke, counter-terrorism adviser in the White House under three administrations.

In the early 1990s, Clarke said in an interview with the New York Times four years ago, the Clinton Administration had considered a bombing campaign against Iran, but the military professionals told them not to do it.

"After a long debate, the highest levels of the military could not forecast a way in which things would end favourably for the US," he said. The Pentagon's planners have war-gamed an attack on Iran and they just can't make it come out as a US victory.

It's not the fear of Iranian nuclear weapons that makes the US Joint Chiefs of Staff so reluctant to get involved in a war with Iran. Those weapons don't exist and the whole justification for the war would be to make sure that they never do.


January 17, 2012

Tuareg rebels attack towns in north Mali

By MARTIN VOGL | Associated Press – 2 hrs 50 mins ago

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A new Tuareg rebel group, whose members include former pro-Gadhafi fighters, launched its first attack on Tuesday on at least one town in Mali. Government forces fought back, including with helicopters.

Many ethnic Tuareg fighters who had fought for Moammar Gadhafi returned home with their weapons to Mali after the Libyan strongman was killed in October. Some joined a rebel group called the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad, or NMLA, which was formed that same month.

Most of the fighting was in Menaka, a town in eastern Mali, said Moussa Ag Acharatoumane, an NMLA leader who spoke to The Associated Press by telephone from Paris. The attack broke two years of relative peace in the area.

"Operations are continuing in Menaka and some other towns as well. Our aim is to liberate these towns," Ag Acharatoumane said. He said he was talking to fighters on the ground by satellite phone. Bakine Ag Bambalo, a trader in Menaka, said residents heard gunfire and explosions erupt in the morning.


Gaddafi had no mercenaries?

December 25, 2011

"By all Means Necessary" - Human Rights Watch 88-page December Report on Syria

Since the beginning of anti-government protests in March 2011, Syrian security forces have
killed more than 4,000 protesters, injured many more, and arbitrarily arrested tens of
thousands across the country, subjecting many of them to torture in detention. These
abuses, extensively documented by Human Rights Watch based on statements of hundreds
of victims and witnesses, were committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack
against the civilian population and thus constitute crimes against humanity.

This report focuses on the individual and command responsibility of Syrian military
commanders and intelligence officials for these crimes. It is based on interviews with 63
defectors both from the army and from the intelligence agencies, generally known as the
mukhabarat. These defectors shared with Human Rights Watch detailed information about
their units’ participation in violations and the orders they received from commanders at
different levels. The defectors provided information on violations that occurred in seven of
Syria’s fourteen governorates: Damascus, Daraa, Homs, Idlib, Tartous, Deir al-Zor, and

Human Rights Watch interviewed all of the defectors separately and at length. Violations
described in this report are those that were described separately by several defectors and
with sufficient detail to convince the researcher that the interviewees had first-hand
knowledge of the incidents in question. Several accounts have been excluded because
interviewees did not provide such detail.


Thank god for HRW.

December 25, 2011

74 commanders gave the order to open fire on demonstrators

In order to understand what happened in Syria and ensure the international community takes effective measures to stop the bloodshed, the latest Human Rights Watch Report is instructive. The report titled “Individual and Command Responsibility for The Crimes against Humanity in Syria” is based on more than 60 interviews with defectors from the Syrian military and intelligence agencies. Former Syrian soldiers identified 74 commanders and officials by name who allegedly ordered, authorized, or condoned widespread killings, torture, and unlawful arrests during the 2011 anti-government protests. Human Rights Watch has urged the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and impose sanctions against the officials implicated in abuses. Whether or not the report — which gives recommendations to Russia, China, the Arab League and Turkey — will be effective in preventing this bloodshed is questionable. However, disclosure of the tragic events that have been witnessed by the soldiers below, whose names have been changed for their protection, is very important.

A solider working for the presidential guard by the name of Ghassan shares the story of an execution that he witnessed in Duma on Aug. 7. “I was on duty at the checkpoint in the Abur Rauf neighborhood. My shift was from 4 p.m. to midnight. I arrived at the checkpoint at around 3:45 p.m. and heard screaming from an abandoned building nearby. When I entered [the building] I saw that the colonel on duty before me, Muhammad Sakar, had caught someone who was on the ‘wanted’ list. I wanted to begin my shift immediately in order to stop [what was happening]. Sakar said, ‘No, be patient, we’ll take care of this first.’ Seven soldiers were beating the man they had caught. When I arrived he was alive and screaming. The soldiers, on the other hand, were cursing and smiling. It lasted another five minutes and then the man died. He was no longer moving and I saw that blood was coming out of his mouth. When I took over the shift, I informed Qadir from the 160th brigade of the presidential guard that there had been a death. He told us to abandon the checkpoint and the dead body.”


December 24, 2011

During a call on Al Jazzera Live with Nizar Mahrous (about Syria)

During a call on Al Jazzera Live with Nizar Mahrous., who is by the way one of the human beings still alive in Jabal Al Zawiyah, the anchor man asked him eagerly about the situations in Jabal Al Zawiyah. After a moment of silence, Nizar answered but after it seemed that he swallowed his to tears...” what can I tell you about the humanitarian situation in Jabal Al Zawiyah?” He said:“ God is our hope “ then he started to yell with an agonizing tone…

“I swear to you my brother, people’s bodies are dumped on the streets … I swear to you they killed the Sheikh and decapitated him… by God, people’s bodies are deformed and mutilated beyond recognition… .. He was swearing so that maybe, maybe someone, for a change, would believe and save him.. he pulled himself back together for a moment and continued to speak: We cannot bury the dead people! We are sending over our neighborhood villages to come and receive the bodies from here (Jabal Al Zawiyah)..We have hundreds of bodies and we could only bury twenty! We no longer see a complete dead body for God’s sake!, we see them in pieces.. a foot here, a leg there and head in between”… Nizar was silent for a moment; he wasn’t able to continue the conversation with a trembling voice mixed with feelings of despair and melancholy… the anchor man asked him: What do you want to say..Nizar…Nizar…??”
Nizar answered: We lost that precious thing that keeps us moving forward.. We lost our hope.. We lost everything but our faith in God… Hope is so far-fetched, too expensive… Nizar started crying, shedding tears of despair which called for salvation.. The channel hung up the call taking into consideration the viewers’ feelings… The anchor man explained that Nizar survived a tragedy when he witnessed six of his family members being killed at once.

Nizar you have God by your side… Can the people around the world, including the international organizations feel at least a quarter of your pain in your shivering voice?.. You have on one but God on your side Nizar

Council of United Syrian Americans
It was not hyperbole to label aSSad a mafia style criminal for his use of thugs, it was not hyperbole to label him a war criminal for his use of helicopters and tanks against peaceful protesters, it was not hyperbole to label aSSad a serial killer for his dismemberment of a child's penis to torture, NOW we must label aSSad a terrorist for setting off car bombs. BUT IT IS ALSO NOT HYPERBOLE TO LABEL aSSad's apologists and supporters as accomplices to his crimes.

Beyond barbaric - I hope Assad goes. He learned well from Iran. He is supported by less than 1% of the population.

December 24, 2011

The women and children of Homs make a plea to world

The women and children of Bab Amr, Homs make a desperate plea to the world following fresh attacks on the city. Heavy shelling can be heard in the background as the women and children of Bab Amr ask, “Where is the Arab world”.

There may be the claim that Syria is a sovereign nation - well women and children are sovereign human beings, and the massacre of these unarmed and unprotected people is a war crime, and deserves some action (sanctions, safety area) by other human beings.
December 24, 2011

Michael Moore's statement about Syria

(in May, but still relevant)
December 23, 2011

Factcheck - on Tax Cut, Social Security and the General Fund.

This was a fact check of Bachmann who got most of it wrong. Some here also get it wrong.

Bachmann said she didn’t support the payroll tax cut because “it denied $111 billion to the Social Security trust fund”and “put senior citizens at risk.” That’s false. The shortfall will be covered by the government’s general fund.

=> Reducing the Social Security payroll taxes paid by employees by 2 percentage points (to 4.2 percent) obviously brings in less money for Social Security. But the trust fund isn’t suffering as a result. The government must cover the shortfall with general fund money.

The Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees said in its 2011 report: “The loss of payroll tax revenue due to this one-year reduction will be made up by transfers from the General Fund of the Treasury to the OASI and DI Trust Funds and will thus have no financial impact on either program.”


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