jueves, 27 de junio de 2013

Al-Nusra Front Leader in Syria is a CIA Operative: Ex-Terrorist

Members of al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front in Syria. “Archive’”

A former member of al-Qaeda has said the leader of al-Nusra Front, the primary terrorist group in Syria fighting against the Syrian government, is a CIA operative.

“I personally believe that the leader of the Nusra Army who declared his support for Ayman al-Zawahiri, is a CIA operative in the al-Nusra,” Sheikh Nabil Naeem, who led an al-Qaeda training camp in Egypt, made the revelation in a recent video testimony.

Addressing the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra militants, Naeem said, “You are fighting the war in Syria on America’s behalf.”

Naeem, who has renounced violence, also identified al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri as a U.S. double agent.

Abu Mohammed al-Golani, the head of the terrorist al-Nusra Front, pledged allegiance to al-Zawahiri on April 10.

Naeem was a high profile militant in Egypt and is believed to have been involved in the assassination of former Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat in 1981. He was released from prison after the regime of Hosni Mobarak collapsed in February 2011.

He said the United States funded and supported al-Qaeda in Afghanistan for 18 years and that he was personally “fooled by an American plot.”

The United Nations Security Council has added the al-Nusra Front operating in Syria to the UN sanctions blacklist.

The terrorist group has been behind hundreds of deadly bombings targeting both government and civilian institutions including hospitals and schools across Syria since the crisis began in March 2011.

The group is also responsible for killing American troops in Iraq.

According to U.S. media reports, the U.S. military has been secretly training some militant groups since November last year.

The United States has begun shipping weapons to Jordan to arm the militants in neighboring Syria, after the White House claimed that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against the militants. Damascus has strongly rejected the allegation.

Damascus says the conflict is being engineered from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting in Syria are foreign nationals.

واشنطن تبدأ تنفيذ خطة سرية لتسليح المعارضة السورية بعد موافقة أوباما عليها

باشرت واشنطن بتنفيذ خطة سرية جديدة صدق عليها الرئيس باراك أوباما شخصيا لتسليح المعارضة السورية "المعتدلة". وأوضحت صحيفة "وول ستريت جورنال" أن وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية الأمريكية بدأت نقل شحنات من الأسلحة إلى الأردن تمهيدا لتزويد المقاتلين السوريين بها في غضون شهر. ومن المتوقع أن تقضي "سي آي آيه" نحو 3 أسابيع لنقل أسلحة خفيفة وصواريخ مضادة للدبابات الى الأردن، ومن ثم أسبوعين إضافيين لاختيار مجموعات صغيرة من المقاتلين الموثوقين لتدريبهم على استخدام هذه الأسلحة. وتابعت "وول ستريت جورنال" أن واشنطن تجري أيضا محادثات مع دول أخرى بما فيها فرنسا، بشأن نقل أسلحة أوروبية الى الأردن. ومن المتوقع أن تزود السعودية مجموعة مقاتلين، لا يزيد عددهم في البداية عن 20 شخصا، بصواريخ مضادة للطائرات تطلق من على الكتف. ونقلت الصحيفة عن دبلوماسيين أمريكيين قولهم إن دفعات الأسلحة التي تصل من الولايات المتحدة ودول أوروبا والدول العربية المؤيدة للمعارضة السورية ستستخدم في "الهجوم الكبير" على قوات النظام السوري الذي تخطط المعارضة لإطلاقه خلال شهر أغسطس/آب المقبل. ويرى مسؤولون أمريكيون وسعوديون أنهم يحتاجون الى 4 أو 5 أشهر لتسليح وتدريب عدد كاف من المقاتلين "المعتدلين" لتغيير ميزان القوى في المعركة بين المعارضة من جهة، وقوات الأسد وحلفائهم من حزب الله من جهة أخرى. وترمي الجهود الأمريكية الى دعم القوات المولية لرئيس الأركان في الجيش السوري الحر الجنرال سليم إدريس. ونقلت الصحيفة عن مسؤول أمريكي في مجال مكافحة الإرهاب أن "جبهة النصرة" التي اعتبرتها واشنطن منظمة إرهابية، ضمت خلال العام الماضي آلافا من المقاتلين الجدد، ويجب على الولايات المتحدة أن تساعد المعارضة المعتدلة لزيادة عدد أفرادها بوتائر أسرع. المصدر: "وول ستريت جورنال"

http://arabic.rt.com/news/619591/ :روسيا اليوم

martes, 25 de junio de 2013

NSA Totally Exposed as a Nazi Gestapo

by Tom Heneghan, International Intelligence Expert

UNITED STATES of America - It can now be reported that sources close to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, that lifelong U.S. CIA asset, alleged President Barack Hussein Obama-Soetoro has activated a NSA (National Security Agency) domestic assassination team on U.S. soil that targets patriotic American citizens, whistleblowers, journalists and lawful state militia groups.

Note: Treasonous U.S. Congressmen Peter King, Republican of New York (a disgrace to the University of Notre Dame), Israeli Mossad assets Nazi Jews Chuck Schumer (Democrat of New York) and Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, as well as Republican Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan and Senator Lindsey Graham (extortion friendly), Republican of South Carolina, are in possession of the NSA Hit List.

Both Rogers and Graham take their orders directly from neo-Nazi Israeli Prime Minister and 9/11 co-conspirator Benjamin Netanyahu.

source source

The recent domestic drone attack in West Hollywood, California that assassinated Benghazi whistleblower and award winning American journalist Michael Hastings was directly ordered by former U.S. Secretary of State and sociopath Hillary Rodham Clinton and treasonous NSA Director James Clapper.

A week before his death Hastings had confronted Hillary Clinton aide Felippe Reines about his Hillary's Benghazi treason and was told to quote: "fuck off and have a good life".

Hastings life did not last much longer. Twenty four hours after Hastings execution former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left American soil to Canada.


At this hour, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, and U.S. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, have issued criminal referrals to the U.S. Inspector General and the U.S. Provost Marshal accusing the U.S. Department of Justice and the treasonous Nazi Paperclip NSA of conspiring since 2011 with the private phone company Skype to download the PIN numbers and applications of all Skype customers worldwide. This is called NSA "Project Chess".

Accordingly, the PIN numbers of hundreds of thousands of American citizens are now in possession of the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, as well as British MI5 and MI6 and the Israeli Mossad.

Now it gets worse!

We can also divulge that U.S. cable networks CNN and FOX News share the phone numbers, emails and Twitter messages directed to them by their own viewers with, you guessed it, the treasonous Nazi Paperclip NSA.

The NSA has also been active in creating stooge internet websites that masquerade as truth tellers but in reality engage in disinformation and subterfuge.

Example: Rense.com and the Israeli Mossad funded Adamus Group and its website Veterans Today.

The treasonous NSA also employees cyber actors that engage in internet and Twitter trafficking, including masquerading as alleged Al Qaeda terrorists that create alleged terrorist plots and False Flags that are then used as a justification for the continuation of the NSA Nazi Gestapo activity.

Example: Alleged Boston bombing suspects aka the Tsarnaev brothers aka patsies and former FBI informants and DHS employees, who were also employed by the NSA to actively recruit Islamic Chechnyan terrorists who were then used by the U.S. State Department to assassinate Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens (Operation Whack-a-mole).

P.S. Absolute paranoia and fear is now overwhelming the corrupt U.S. intelligence agency infrastructure that has been exposed as a Nazi Paperclip Gestapo.

What is coming next is the revelations of the NSA crown jewels of HIGH treason that has been perpetrated against the U.S. Constitution, the American Republic and its citizens.


1. The absolute truth about the 9/11 black op Nazi Paperclip FALSE FLAG attack on the United States (Nazi German George W. BushFRAUD-Adolf Hitler like Reichstag Fire) that triggered this phony "war on terror" and dismantled the U.S. Constitution with the totally UN-Constitutional Bush Era Patriot Act (written prior to 9/11).

Note: U.S. Senator Wyden's office is now in possession of the NSA command and control code that was intercepted by French Intelligence three days before 9/11.

The command and control attack order, which originated from the old Soviet province of Georgia, stated "the time is now the match is hot".

Five U.S. Military Flag Officers, as well as the Military Games Division of CBS News, are also in possession of the NSA codes tied to 9/11.


2. The NSA-scripted overthrow and theft of the year 2000 presidential election in which five (5) states: Missouri, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Florida and Tennessee were stolen from then Vice President, now year 2000 duly elected President Albert Gore Jr. allowing German Nazi George W. BushFRAUD to take office as president illegally.

3. The Nazi Paperclip Bush Crime Family plot (Operation Elm Street) aka the assassination of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

P.P.S. As the United States descends into what is almost a certain American Revolution and Civil War, an imminent financial emergency beckons as JPMorgan's Global Bond Index Fund is now insolvent with the Bank of Israel and the U.S. Federal Reserve now becoming counter parties to the Bank of Japan.

This is why interest rates have been going up for no reason.

If that is not bad enough we can now divulge JPMorgan and Bank of America have exposed the entire U.S. banking system to financial decapitation by issuing leverage debt instruments (more derivatives) that represent insurance on a forthcoming Chinese debt crisis.

Reference: One of the reasons Hong Kong and the Peoples Republic of China allowed NSA leaker Edward Snowden to fly to Moscow, Russia was that U.S. officials, including the NSA and the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve, failed to respond to China on allegations that the NSA hacked into Chinese and Hong Kong banks reference the manipulation of the Japanese yen currency.

Now that a Chinese bank collapse is right around corner, both JPMorgan and Bank of America will have to pay off on the bets that they helped finance to the purchaser of these new derivatives leaving the bank deposits of every American citizen subject to a U.S. Federal Reserve TREASONOUS 'bail in'.

Reference: This current financial crisis is 100x worse than the 2008 Lehman Bros debacle that led to the BushFRAUD-Nancy Pelosi ponzi 'bail out' of the crooked banking casinos that, along with the corrupt politicians running this country, have looted the U.S. Treasury.

Yes, folks, "Cyprus" is coming to the United States sooner than you think.

In closing, at this hour the United States has NO "Rule of Law", it is under total Nazi Paperclip NSA occupation with the U.S. Attorney General, Bush-Clinton Crime Family Syndicate's Marc Rich stooge Eric Holder and Nazi Paperclip German bloodline NSA Director James Clapper totally fingered as serial perjurers.

Remember, Barack Obama is a lifelong CIA stooge who worked for CIA front company Business International Corporation in Kenya when the CIA was conducting anti Soviet operations in the 1980s.

His white mother Ann Dunham conducted espionage for the CIA in Indonesia in the 1960s with Obama's mother reporting to her then 'handler' George Herbert Walker Bush.


Email Sent by Michael Hastings House Before His Death Mentions 'Big Story' and a Need to 'Go Off the Radar'




lunes, 24 de junio de 2013

NSA leak fallout: LIVE UPDATES....Former CIA contractor Edward Snowden has carried out one of the biggest leaks in US history, exposing a top-secret NSA

Edited time: June 24, 2013 17:58

The logo of the National Security Agency (NSA) (AFP Photo)

Share on tumblr

TrendsNSA leaks

Former CIA contractor Edward Snowden has carried out one of the biggest leaks in US history, exposing a top-secret NSA surveillance program to the media. Leading tech companies were revealed to be involved in intelligence gathering through PRISM spy tool.

16:55 GMT: The US says that it is “deeply disappointed” over China’s decision to let Snowden leave Hong Kong for Russia.

“We are deeply disappointed by the decision of the authorities in Hong Kong to permit Snowden to flee despite a legally valid US request to arrest him for purposes of his extradition,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters, cites Reuters. Such a decision is “detrimental” for US-China and US-Hong-Kong relations, he added.

16:50 GMT: The US is in touch with countries through which NSA leaker Snowden may travel or where he may decide to stay, the White House spokesman said. Senior officials regularly brief president Obama on the matter, Jay Carney added.

Commenting on the countries that Snowden appealed to for help, Carney noted that “If his passion here is for press freedom and freedom of the Internet and the like, he has chosen unlikely protectors.”

16:40 GMT: The White House spokesperson Jay Carney says they assume that Snowden is still in Russia. Washington expects Moscow to look at all the options available to them to expel the NSA leaker to the US where he faces charges for revealing secret surveillance programs.

15:14 GMT: Ecuador is going to thoroughly analyze the Snowden’s asylum bid and “absolutely independently” make a decision on the matter, that they believe to be “the most appropriate,” President Rafael Correa wrote on twitter.

15:05 GMT: Assange says Snowden received refugee papers from Ecuador to secure him safe passage as he fled Hong Kong on Sunday.

“In relation to Hong Kong, Snowden was supplied with a refugee document of passage by the Ecuadorean government,” the WikiLeaks founder told reporters. Although these documents would not necessarily guarantee the NSA leaker would be granted asylum in Ecuador.

14:44 GMT: WikiLeaks approached Iceland and other countries with a formal request for asylum for Snowden, says the organization’s spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson.

“It is already public that I, as an Icelandic journalist, approached the Icelandic government with a formal request from Mr Snowden for asylum in Iceland. Similar processes were carried out elsewhere,” he told the media.

14:12 GMT: Edward Snowden and Wikileaks' Sarah Harrison who is accompanying him are “safe and healthy,” Julian Assange said during a conference call broadcast by RT.

“The current status of Mr Snowden and Harrison is that both are healthy and safe and they are in contact with their legal teams,” the WikiLeaks founder said. “I cannot give further information as to their whereabouts,” Assange added.

“Snowden is not a traitor, he is not a spy he is a whistleblower who told the public the important truth,” he pointed out.

13: 55 GMT: According to aviation expert Chris Yates, it is unlikely that Snowden is on the plane en route from Moscow to Cuba. Even if the NSA leaker did get onboard the aircraft, the expert said the US “possibly could instruct it to land somewhere” on American soil though highly unlikely.

“Of course the pilot himself has the possibility to divert so he does not actually need to enter US airspace to fly down to Havana. And that will be another possibility as well,” Yates added.

13:40 GMT: Ecuador has been in contact with the Russian government over Edward Snowden, and says it is considering his asylum appeal, according to the country's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino speaking during a visit to Vietnam.

Patino stressed the Ecuadorian government puts human rights above any other party’s interests, andquestioned the correctness of calling Snowden a “traitor.”

“The word 'treason' is used, but who has betrayed whom? Is it people who've been betrayed, or certain elites?” Patino asked.

Ecuador is also considering a US request related to Snowden, Patino said, adding that the decision would come “in due time.”

10:56 GMT: Flight to Havana Edward Snowden was booked on has departed, but he is not seen either boarding or on plane, according to RT's correspondent Egor Piskunov, who was onboard.

People look the passenger plane, flight SU 150 to Havana, docking to a boarding bridge at the Moscow Sheremetyevo airport on June 24, 2013. (AFP Photo / Kirill Kudryavtsev)

10:40 GMT: US Secretary of State John Kerry says the US would be deeply troubled if China or Russia had prior notice of Edward Snowden’s travel plans.

10:10 GMT: A lawyer for Edward Snowden pointed out that the former spy agency contractor had been told to flee Hong Kong by a middleman claiming to represent the China-controlled territory – which evidently could mean the advice was Beijing-backed. Albert Ho, who is also a lawmaker critical of Chinese involvement in Hong Kong’s affairs, stressed that in his opinion the case was clearly monitored and controlled by China.

Albert Ho (AFP Photo)

5:04 GMT: Washington has said it expects Moscow to look at every available option to expelSnowden back to the US on charges of espionage. 

4:57 GMT: The Ecuadorian government is analyzing NSA leaker Snowden’s asylum bid as he attempts to elude extradition to the US, said Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino.

"We are analyzing it with a lot of responsibility," Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino told reporters in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he is currently on an official visit. He added that the decision has to do “with freedom of expression and with the security of citizens around the world."

“We always act in the name of principles not in our own interests. There are governments who make decisions more according to their own interests, we don’t do that. Our main focus is human rights,” said Patino, when asked how granting Snowden asylum could affect Ecuador’s relations with the US.
Monday, June 24

23:02 GMT: Despite America frequently welcoming dissidents from other countries it adopts a harsh stance against those who highlight abuses of power at home, attorney and historian Gerald Horne told RT.

“If you listen to the congress person appearing on Sunday’s chat shows, they are breathing fire threatening measures just short of a nuclear war if Mr Snowden is not speedily dispatched back to New York or Washington,” he said.

“The United States for example routinely accepts on its territory citizens fleeing Cuba without passports. I would also say that the United States routinely receives on its soil those it deems to be political dissidents, who do not have passports. So I do not feel that Moscow’s hands are tied in regard to Mr Snowden not having a passport.”

22:13 GMT: The US is "disappointed and disagrees with the determination by Hong Kong authorities not to honor the US request for the arrest of the fugitive," a US official told Reuters. Meanwhile, the US State Department has warned countries in the Western Hemisphere to not allow Edward Snowden to“proceed in any further international travel,” according to a written statement cited by Reuters.

18:20 GMT: Edward Snowden’s passport was annulled before he left Hong Kong for Russia, a US official said on condition of anonymity. Although the loss of his passport could complicate Snowden’s travel plans, a country could overlook the withdrawn passport if a senior government or airline official ordered it.

15:42 GMT: Edward Snowden has asked Ecuador for political asylum, the country’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patino Aroca, wrote on Twitter. Ecuador’s ambassador to Russia, Patricio Chavez, arrived at Sheremetyevo Airport to meet Edward Snowden after his plane touched down in Moscow.

15:30 GMT: The Icelandic government has received no information on whether former CIA officer Edward Snowden intends to fly to the country’s capital Reykjavik via Moscow, Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency reports.

The arrival of Snowden in Iceland is “highly unlikely”, the head of the Icelandic prime minister’s press-service, Johannes Skulason, told Interfax news agency, adding that the country’s government has no information on the whistleblowers whereabouts.

In accordance with Icelandic law, an individual has to be on the country’s territory in order to apply for political asylum, and such applications cannot be processed from even from the premises of Iceland’s diplomatic missions.

15:10 GMT:

15:00 GMT: Edward Snowden is in a terminal at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport and is waiting for a transfer flight to Cuba, a source at the airport told Interfax News Agency.

A source from the airline Aeroflot said Snowden, who is accompanied by WikiLeaks representative, Sarah Harrison, has rented a suit at the airport’s «V-Express» Capsule Hotel.

Two cars with diplomatic license plates from Ecuador were also spotted at the airport. A source told RT that a doctor from the Ecuadorian embassy in Moscow has examined Snowden on his arrival in the Russian capital.

11:50 GMT: Diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks are escorting Edward Snowden from Hong Kong to an unnamed “democratic Nation” via Moscow, the group said in a statement.

The group said Snowden had asked for its "legal expertise and experience to secure his safety” and had chosen a safe route for the whistleblower "for the purposes of asylum".

"The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr Snowden's rights and protecting him as a person," Reuters cites former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, legal director of WikiLeaks and lawyer for the group's founder Julian Assange, as saying.

"What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange - for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest - is an assault against the people."

8:45 GMT:

7:47 GMT: Edward Snowden has left Hong Kong of his own volition for a “third country”, authorities from the city state said.

The whistleblower’s decision to leave the country comes one day after a senior US official told the Washington Post: "If Hong Kong doesn't act soon, it will complicate our bilateral relations and raise questions about Hong Kong's commitment to the rule of law."

Authorities from the Hong Kong special administrative region [HKSAR] issued a statement saying Snowden had been allowed to leave the country as they had yet to receive sufficient information necessary to process a provisional warrant or arrest and thus had no legal basis to keep him from leaving the country.

"The HKSAR government has already informed the US government of Mr Snowden's departure,” the statement continued.
Sunday, June 23

20:23 GMT: The US says bilateral relations will suffer if Hong Kong won’t act soon on its request to extradite NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, Reuters reports quoting anonymous officials.

18:14 GMT: The South China Morning Post said whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has been charged with espionage by the US, was not in police custody in Hong Kong, as had been reported elsewhere.

"Contrary to some reports, the former CIA analyst has not been detained, is not under police protection, but is in a 'safe place' in Hong Kong," the paper said.

16:30 GMT: A White House petition demanding that Snowden be issued a full pardon has reached over 100,000 signatures in less than two weeks, meaning the US government is obliged to review and respond to its requests.

16:27 GMT: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has said that the Obama administration charging NSA leaker Edward Snowden and requesting his arrest is a move to “intimidate any country” that may wish to protect the whistleblower.

“The charging of Edward Snowden is intended to intimidate any country that might be considering standing up for his rights,” reads a post on Wikileaks webpage on behalf of Assange after his addressfrom the Ecuadorian embassy in London was canceled due to security concerns.

Commenting on Assange’s speech, geopolitical analyst and founder of stopimperialism.com Eric Draitser has told RT that neither the US nor the UK will “change their policies” and “stop spying on the world”.

“As we know the United States, the UK and the other powers in the West have “spent billions of dollars creating the infrastructure of surveillance states,” he said.

13:07 GMT: Hong Kong Police Commissioner Andy Tsang has said that the normal legal process will be observed following the US filing criminal charges and requesting the arrest of Snowden.

“All foreign citizens must comply with Hong Kong law,” he said, adding that the police would act on the request once it is received.

He declined to comment on whether Snowden was in a police safe house, a rumor mentioned by one Hong Kong newspaper

Saturday, June 22

23:50 GMT: The United States government has released the indictment of Edward Snowden, charging him with espionage, among other crimes. Read RT's full coverage here.

Nick Pickles of the UK's Big Brother Watch has released a statement condemning GCHQ's collection of information. "We need a wholesale review of surveillance law, including the fact that there is absolutely no judicial process within the current system and the people making these decisions are able to hide in the shadows rather than face public scrutiny," he said.

16:40 GMT: The British spy agency GCHQ has access to the global network of communications, storing calls, Facebook posts and internet histories – and shares this data with the NSA, Edward Snowden has revealed to the Guardian in a new leak.

Friday, June 21

19:50 GMT: USIS, the company that conducted the background check on Snowden in 2011 is now under investigation for "systematically" failing to do its job, Senator Claire McCaskill has said.

19:45 GMT: Documents handed to the Guardian newspaper show that NSA was allowed to use informational "inadvertently" collected from US citizens to be scrutinized without a specific court warrant.

Thursday, June 20

11:33 GMT: President Obama has said that surveillance of phone records and Internet activity helped avert at least 50 terror attacks, and was justified because "Lives have been saved." He added that those threats did not just target the US, but also other countries, including Germany. Obama’s statement was in response to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s argument that government monitoring of Internet communications needed to remain within proper limits.

U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin June 19, 2013 (Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)

"I made clear that although we do see the need for gathering information, the topic of proportionality is always an important one and the free democratic order is based on people feeling safe," Merkel said.

Speaking at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama maintained that he was confident the US has struck an appropriate balance between intelligence-gathering and civil liberties. Earlier the head of the National Security Agency also said that more than 50 potential terrorist plots across the globe were thwarted thanks to the controversial surveillance programs.

Wednesday, June 19

15:30 GMT: Alexander was asked to weigh in on Edward Snowden’s remark from earlier this week in which he said the NSA provides Congress with special immunity in regards to the surveillance programs. Alexander responded that he has “no idea” of what the leaker was referring to.

“I’m not sure I understand the context of the special immunity. We treat you with special respect,” said Alexander.

15:10 GMT: Gen. Alexander says the NSA does not have the authority nor the technology to eavesdrop on the emails and phone calls of Americans under the Section 512 and Section 702 programs.

15:07 GMT: Bob Litt, a general counsel for the Director of National Intelligence, testified that "The leaks from this investigation are not damaging" and suggested it could be months before the US finds out if the documents released by Edward Snowden will have a detrimental effect on the country.

General Keith Alexander (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

15:00 GMT: Gen. Alexander dismisses allegations that the NSA has unfettered access to all communications and said, "US companies are compelled to provide these records by US law using methods that are in strict compliance with that law."

14:54 GMT: Of the more than 50 potential terrorist attacks thwarted by the NSA, over 50 involved overseas targets. Only 10 were plotted to occur within the US, and one involved a plan to bomb the New York Stock Exchange.

14:43 GMT: Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of the NSA, is testifying on Capitol Hill this morning. He said that his agency will soon shed more light on the terrorist attacks it thwarted using the controversial surveillance programs, and that the number of events exceeds 50. Mirroring what FBI Director Robert Mueller said days earlier, Alexander suggested that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 could have likely been prevented if these systems were in place.
Tuesday, June 18

17:15 GMT: Answering the question about previous whistleblowers and whether their choices influenced Snowden, he replied that “Binney, Drake, Kiriakou, and Manning are all examples of how overly-harsh responses to public-interest whistle-blowing only escalate the scale, scope, and skill involved in future disclosures."

He notes that the “draconian responses” instead help to “build better whistleblowers.”

“If the Obama administration responds with an even harsher hand against me, they can be assured that they'll soon find themselves facing an equally harsh public response.”

16:55 GMT: “I'm being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school,” said the whistleblower to the Guardian newspaper.

A woman walks past a banner displayed in support of former US spy Edward Snowden in Hong Kong on June 18, 2013 (AFP Photo / Philippe Lopez)

16:41 GMT: An Associated Press journalist reminded in her question that US officials claim terrorists are already altering TTPs because of Snowden’s leaks, calling him a traitor.

Snowden answers that journalists should ask themselves certain questions like “since these programs began operation shortly after September 11th, how many terrorist attacks were prevented SOLELY by information derived from this suspicion less surveillance that could not be gained via any other source? Then ask how many individual communications were ingested to achieve that, and ask yourself if it was worth it. Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.”

16:25 GMT: When the whistleblower was asked about providing classified US information to the Chinese or other governments in exchange for asylum, Snowden answered that this allegation was just a ‘predictable’ reaction of the US media.

“This is a predictable smear that I anticipated before going public, as the US media has a knee-jerk "RED CHINA!" reaction to anything involving HK or the PRC, and is intended to distract from the issue of US government misconduct. Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now”.

16:15 GMT: Snowden was asked to express his opinion on the conduct of companies like Google and Facebook, that provided information which the NSA used in its surveillance program. He answered that he thought that the companies are “legally compelled to comply and maintain their silence in regard to specifics of the program, but that does not comply them from ethical obligation. If for example Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple refused to provide this cooperation with the Intelligence Community, what do you think the government would do? Shut them down?”

15:50 GMT: The whistleblower answers a question as to how in general direct NSA's access works and promises to give more details later on.

“...if an NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, etc analyst has access to query raw SIGINT databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want. Phone number, email, user ID, cell phone handset ID (IMEI), and so on - it's all the same. The restrictions against this are policy based, not technically based, and can change at any time."

He adds that “audits are cursory, incomplete, and easily fooled by fake justifications. For at least GCHQ, the number of audited queries is only 5 percent of those performed.”

15:25 GMT: Concerning the question why Snowden waited to release the documents as he wanted to tell the world about the NSA programs since before Obama became president, he answered that Obama gave him hope for change.

“Unfortunately, shortly after assuming power, he closed the door on investigating systemic violations of law, deepened and expanded several abusive programs, and refused to spend the political capital to end the kind of human rights violations like we see in Guantanamo, where men still sit without charge.”

15:05 GMT: The first two questions in the live Q&A with Snowden were asked by the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald about Snowden’s asylum choice and his NSA leaks.

Snowden answered that he chose to leave the US as the government “immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason and that the disclosure of secret, criminal, and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime.”

He added that it cannot be called ‘justice’ as he “did not reveal any US operations against legitimate military targets. I pointed out where the NSA has hacked civilian infrastructure such as universities, hospitals, and private businesses because it is dangerous.”

14:00 GMT:

13:00 GMT: Starting from 15:00 GMT Snowden will be answering internet users’ questions at The Guardian website. The live chat is subject to his security concerns, as well as his access to a secure web connection, the paper notes. It also asked users to be patient waiting for Snowden to answer their questions. The full transcript of the Q&A will be later published on The Guardian’s site.

00:00 GMT: The documents uncovered by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed that back in 2009 US spies intercepted top-secret communications of then Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, when he attended the G20 summit in London, The Guardian reports.

The paper has also revealed that a UK intelligence agency, GCHQ, monitored foreign politicians and intercepted their emails during the London summit. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by UK intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.
Sunday, June 16

13:04 GMT: Swiss President Ueli Maurer said on Sunday that he doubted Snowden’s claims about his activities in Geneva, when he worked there as a CIA employee in 2007-2009. The NSA leaker told the Guardian newspaper that CIA agents intentionally got a Swiss banker drunk and then encouraged him to drive so he could intervene when he was arrested. Later, they recruited the banker, Snowden stated.

“It does not seem to me that it is likely that this incident played out as it has been described by Snowden and by the media,” Maurer said, reports Reuters, citing a local newspaper. “This would mean that the CIA successfully bribed the Geneva police and judiciary. With all due respect, I just can't imagine it.” SonntagsBlick quoted him as saying.

Maurer added that he would back a criminal probe against Snowden, if prosecutors called for it.

06:38 GMT: An unclassified government document obtained by Reuters claims that only a small proportion of the troves of data collated by the NSA monitoring program used specific phone numbers. The report says the “metadata” does not identify telephone subscribers or email accounts and as such seeks to argue that the practice is legal. Moreover, it stipulates that the information is subject to strict guidelines that ensure personal privacy is not violated.

The paper appears to echo President Barack Obama’s argument that such practices are necessary and justified to conserve the safety of the American people, arguing "dozens of potential terrorist plots [exist] here in the homeland and in more than 20 countries around the world."

Saturday, June 15

02:25 GMT: Facebook announced Friday that “only a tiny fraction of one per cent” of the company’s users were subjected to requests by the National Security Agency. Citing inaccurate reporting and unnecessary levels of government secrecy as his reason to disclose the true number, Ted Ullyot, Facebook’s general Counsel, wrote online that the social networking giant “frequently rejects such requests outright.”

“Since this story was first reported, we’ve been in discussions with US national security authorities urging them to allow more transparency and flexibility around national security-related orders we are required to comply with,” Ullyot wrote. "We’re please that as a result of our discussions, we can now include in a transparency report all US national security-related requests (including FISA as well as National Security Letters) – which until now no company has been permitted to do.”

He wrote that government data requests, which in the six months ending on December 31, 2012, totaled between 9,000 and 10,000, while being careful to note that many inquiries come from local police agencies investigating runaways, assault, and other low-level crimes.

“With more than 1.1 billion monthly active users worldwide, this means that a tiny fraction of one percent of our user accounts were the subject of any kind of U.S. state, local, or federal U.S. government request (including criminal and national security-related requests) in the past six months. We hope this helps put into perspective the numbers involved, and lays to rest some of the hyperbolic and false assertions in some recent press accounts about the frequency and scope of the data requests that we receive.”

19:52 GMT: The 'Stand with Edward Snowden' petition has collected 847,222 digital signatures. The aim is to collect 1 million voices, within 48hrs, calling on Obama to “crack down on PRISM, not Snowden”. “It will send a powerful statement that he should be treated like the brave whistleblower that he is,” reads the petition.

09:21 GMT: The UK has released an alert to all airlines around the world, asking them not to board ex-CIA staffer whistleblower Edward Snowden on UK flights, AP reported. The alert was issued on Home Office letterhead, which specified that "the individual is highly likely to be refused entry to the UK."

Protesters shout slogans as they hold up a picture of former US spy Edward Snowden in front of the US consulate in Hong Kong on June 13, 2013. (AFP Photo / Philippe Lopez)

Friday, June 14

23:00 GMT: Intelligence officials hot on the trail of Edward Snowden are handling the case as a potential foreign espionage matter, apparently rattled after the leaker’s comments to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post regarding US hacking of computers in China.

According to ABC News, asked whether Snowden was considered at risk of defecting to China a senior official familiar with the ongoing case responded "I think there is a real concern about that."

Intelligence officials evidently considered Snowden’s allegations of spying on China as much of a betrayal as his alleged leaking of highly classified files on the NSA's vast surveillance program.

Jeremy Bash, former CIA and Pentagon Chief of Staff, told ABC News defection or cooperation with a foreign nation such as China is now a top concern.

"He could do tremendous damage. I think if a foreign government learned everything that was in Edward Snowden's brain, they would have a good window into the way we collect signals intelligence… He had access to highly classified information," said Bash.

20:24 GMT: Reuters is reporting that NSA Director Keith Alexander will release on Monday the list of attacks that the US has thwarted through the use of surveillance.

General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 12, 2013. (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)

17:46 GMT: According to the Los Angeles Times, Edward Snowden smuggled highly classified documents out of a NSA facility in Hawaii using a portable thumb drive.

Investigators “know how many documents he downloaded and what server he took them from,” an official told the Times on condition of anonymity.

Thumb drives and similar portable storage devices have been banned by the Department of Defense and NSA since 2008.

15:56 GMT: Mueller continues to field questions from Congress, defending the NSA surveillance programs and dismissing allegations of illegality. “These programs have been conducted in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the United States,” Mueller said.

14:37 GMT: Robert Mueller, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is testifying this morning on Capitol Hill. In regards to the NSA leaks, Mueller said, “These disclosures have caused significant harm to our nation and to our safety,” and that the FBI and Department of Justice are taking “all necessary steps to hold the person responsible.”

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller testifies during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee June 13, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Alex Wong)

02:32 GMT: A series of posts to online forums under the name 'TheTrueHOOHA' have been attributed to Snowden. The forum posts, which were retrieved from the technology and news website ArsTechnica, span a period of ten years, and provide some clues into the NSA leaker’s mindset.

Though many of the comments are on casual subjects, such as a leaked beta for a game or advice on work-related programming tasks, they also point to a preoccupation with covering his own online tracks. In 2003, for example, Snowden asked the forum for advice on fairly sophisticated strengthening of his online anonymity, and in 2009 he sought help in creating a virtual, secure machine using a single CD.

In all, the posts seem to illustrate fairly typical interests for an IT employee and an online gamer, though there are some indications of skepticism of state surveillance.

“It really concerns me how little this sort of corporate behavior bothers those outside of technology circles. Society really seems to have developed an unquestioning obedience towards spooky types,” writes Snowden in one post.
Thursday, June 13

23:30 GMT: About one in three Americans believe that Snowden is a “patriot” and should not be prosecuted, according to results compiled by a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Wednesday.

Twenty three per cent of poll respondents believe the former NSA contractor is a traitor to the US, while 31 per cent think that his leaking classified information makes him a patriot. The remaining 46 per cent of those surveyed were undecided. Meanwhile, 25 per cent of respondents thought that Snowden should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

19:37 GMT: Alexander was asked if NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s claims that he could hack into any phone call within the US, to which he responded, “False. I know of no way to do that.”

18:53 GMT: Gen. Alexander defended the NSA’s surveillance programs by saying there are “dozens of terrorist events” on US soil and abroad that have been prevented by his agency’s tactics. He also said the NSA will release more solid figures to the public likely within a week.

18:23 GMT: Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of the NSA and the US Cyber Command, testified before the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee but declined to discuss the surveillance scandal during his opening remarks. Instead, Alexander concentrated on the United States’ cyber capabilities and said the emerging threats of espionage and hacking continue to pose problems to America’s computer infrastructure. “We have to create a defensible architecture,” Alexander said, adding that while he could not be more proud of his departments’ work, current shortcoming prevent the US from being fully prepared to fight off cyberattacks. “We need to be able to see what’s going on in cyberspace so that we can work with the industry and amongst ourselves,” said Alexander, “because getting information after an attack only allows us to police it up. We have to have some way of stopping it before it goes on, so we need to be able to see it.”

Wednesday, June 12

22:50 GMT: The FBI’s use of a secret and controversial part of the Patriot Act has increased by more than 1,000 per cent under since President Obama assumed office from his predecessor, George W. Bush. NBC News learned that in 2012 alone the bureau filed 212 requests under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the federal government to obtain nearly all domestic communication records from a business and log them for future analysis. The blockbuster revelation that the National Security Agency requested millions of records from Verizon Wireless reflects just a single Section 215 request.

AFP Photo / Getty Images / Spencer Platt

18:43 GMT: Google has asked the Department of Justice for permission to go public with the total number of national security information requests it has received from the federal government.

“Assertions in the press that our compliance with these requests gives the US government unfettered access to our users’ data are simply untrue,” Google’s chief legal officer wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller published Tuesday. “However, government nondisclosure obligations regarding the number of FISA national security requests that Google receives, as well as the number of accounts covered by those requests, fuel that speculation.”

Earlier this year, Google noted in a transparency report that the government filed between 0 and 999 requests for user data annually since 2009 by using so-called National Security Letters, but declined to publish solid numbers. Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Federal Bureau of Information can seek “the name, address, length of service and local and long distance toll billing records” of a subscriber to an Internet or phone company, such as Google.

17:40 GMT: 86 civil liberties organizations and Internet companies – including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reddit, Mozilla, FreedomWorks, and the American Civil Liberties Union demanded from Congress to stop unchecked domestic surveillance. In an open letter to lawmakers, the groups call for a congressional investigatory committee, legal reforms and demand holding accountable public officials responsible for the illegal surveillance.

16:00 GMT: Putin commented on the the NSA surveillance program during a visit to the RT studios.“Such methods are in demand. But you can’t just listen to the phone call in Russia; you need a special order from court. This is how this should be done in civilized society while tackling terrorism with the use of any technical means. If it is in the framework of the law, then it’s okay. If not it is unacceptable,”he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, during his talk with Russia Today television channel's journalists and correspondents, June 11, 2013. (RT photo / Semyon Khorunzhy)

14:36 GMT: The defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton has confirmed in a statement that Edward Snowden was an employee in their Hawaii team. Snowden worked in the firm “for less than three months,” and was “terminated June 10, 2013 for violations of the firm’s code of ethics and firm policy,” the statement added.

Booz Allen has not confirmed or denied if Snowden was behind the leak of the classified information, saying an investigation is now in progress.

The contractor described the new on the leak as “shocking,” and said that, if true, it is “a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values” of the firm.

07:49 GMT: Watch Julian Assange LIVE on RT at 15:00 GMT, as the founder of WikiLeaks discusses one of history’s biggest whistleblowers Edward Snowden, who has revealed the US NSA’s PRISM program.

Julian Assange (AFP Photo / Geoff Caddick)

06:38 GMT: US President Barack Obama is facing a backlash against US surveillance operations. On Monday Congress was divided, with some members calling for the immediate extradition of Edward Snowden from Hong Kong, while others questioned if US tactics have gone too far.

06:13 GMT: There will be more ‘significant information’ exposed in the near future, AP cites The Guardian’s journalist Glenn Greenwald, who revealed classified US surveillance programs leaked by an American defense contractor.

05:57 GMT: Whistleblower Edward Snowden was last seen getting checking out of his hotel in Hong Kong on Monday around noon, Reuters cites witnesses as saying. His current whereabouts remain unknown.

05:20 GMT: A majority of Americans support the US government’s programs that keep track of telephone records to fight terrorism, according to a Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll. A total of 56 per cent of Americans said it was "acceptable" for the National Security Agency to access the telephone records of millions of Americans through secret court orders, while 41 per cent said it was not.

04:57 GMT: Sales of George Orwell’s ’1984′ novel are up by 177 per cent on Amazon, according to the website. The book celebrated its 60th anniversary on June 6 in the midst of real-world NSA leak and government surveillance stories.

Supporters gather at a small rally in support of National Security Administration (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden in Manhattan's Union Square on June 10, 2013 in New York City (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)

03:50 GMT US officials maintain that the surveillance program details leaked by Snowden all fall within the legal framework of the Patriot Act and counterterrorism activities. Michael Ratner, a lawyer representing Wikileaks and Julian Assange in the US, disagree.

“The legal part is no point at all, the legal part has to do with laws passed in the US after 9/11, in particular courts that are essentially hand-picked, and a president who is apparently willing to approve this massive surveillance scheme. You can have unjust laws, that’s what we have under surveillance,” Ratner tells RT.

"On the broader issue, does it really prevent anything? Well, I think they’re going to use that as an excuse. In fact terrorism is not the biggest problem in the United States. The uncontrolled use of guns in the United States, many more people -- ten times, a hundred times the number of people are killed by that. I think that terrorism is used as an excuse to be able to surveil and keep tabs on every single American to prevent … progressive government. This is not about our safety, not at all,” he adds.

03:20 GMT: Denver Nicks, an investigative journalist, admitted during an interview with RT that it is a small wonder, considering the number of people granted access to the documents Snowden leaked, that similar disclosures have never been published before. The importance of his leak could potentially influence other NSA employees to publish equally damning documents.

“One wonders if more leaks are coming amid this tremendous crackdown on leaks, where the Obama administration is prosecuting more people for leaking state secrets than all of the previous administrations combined,” he said.

The leak also coincides with the Bradley Manning court-martial, a timing not lost on Nicks or other journalists hoping for increased transparency from the US government.

“I haven’t spoken to Glenn Greenwald or Laura Poitras about this but I would suspect they worked it out to break this story in The Guardian concurrent with Bradley Manning’s court-martial, because it certainly makes a powerful statement,” Nicks said. “I wonder if, in the court of public opinion, people will start to see past this curtain of secrecy and wonder just how much more there is they don’t know.”

01:12 GMT: Russian authorities have promised to join the ranks of those willing to consider giving Snowden political asylum, if he files a formal request – according to the Russian business paper ‘Kommersant’ citing a Kremlin spokesman on Tuesday. “If we receive such a request, we will consider it,”Dmitry Peskov was quoted.

Dmitry Peskov (RIA Novosti / Ilya Pitalev)

00:15 GMT: 68 per cent of respondents to a poll by American firm Rasmussen Reports this week said they believed the government is currently eavesdropping on their communications. The poll, conducted on the heels of President Obama’s claims that PRISM does not target ordinary Americans, shows that a majority think they are in fact being spied on.

“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress and don’t trust federal judges to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here,” said Obama.

Meanwhile, a separate poll conducted by Pew indicates that a slight majority of the American public believes that the NSA’s telephone surveillance is an “acceptable way for the government to investigate terrorism.” A large plurality disagreed.

Of 1,004 adults polled between June 6 and 9, 56 per cent stated that government monitoring of telephone records is acceptable, while 41 per cent believe it is not. Interestingly, approval of government monitoring of email and online activities is lower, with 45 per cent approving and 52 per cent finding it unacceptable.


Assange reveals details of 'Snowden Op', slams US 'war on whistleblowers'

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was safe and healthy, in a "safe place." It was also revealed Ecuador supplied Snowden with a refugee document of passage.

“The current status of Mr Snowden and Harrison is that both are healthy and safe and they are in contact with their legal teams,” the WikiLeaks founder said during a conference call with the media broadcast by RT. “I cannot give further information as to their whereabouts,” Assange added.

Assange was referring to Sarah Harrison, a WikiLeaks representative accompanying Snowden.

Assange further added that Edward Snowden left Hong Kong on June 23 “bound for Ecuador via a safe pass through Russia and other states," describing Snowden’s whereabouts as a "safe place". However, he would not give any further details.

Assange revealed that Snowden was supplied with a refugee document of passage by the Ecuadorian government.

Ecuador has confirmed that Edward Snowden has applied for asylum and that his application will be considered under international law.

However, Assange pointed out that while Ecuador is obliged by international law to consider an asylum application, it is not legally bound to grant it.

The WikiLeaks founder was speaking from the Ecuadorian Embassy where he has been holed up for over a year.

The organization’s spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson who also took part in the conference call said WikiLeaks approached Iceland and other countries with a formal request for asylum for Snowden.

“It is already public that I, as an Icelandic journalist, approached the Icelandic government with a formal request from Mr Snowden for asylum in Iceland. Similar processes were carried out elsewhere,” he said.

Assange spoke at length about the significance of Edward Snowden’s revelations on journalism all over the world. He compared Snowden’s case to that of Bradley Manning, who is currently facing Court Martial in the US for leaking diplomatic cables and other sensitive information to Assange’s WikiLeaks.

“Snowden is not a traitor, he is not a spy he is a whistleblower who told the public the important truth,”Assange said.

He added that the investigation into WikiLeaks is “the biggest and most complicated investigation into journalists ever seen,” and the Obama administration “is attempting to make journalists criminally liable for what they report.”

Assange made particular reference to national security journalism in the US and voiced concerns that sources and whistleblowers have told him they are now too scared to speak out.

He also criticized the US Secretary of State John Kerry for what he said were “bullying” statements against Russia and China.

Assange called his comments “an attempt to intimidate any country, which upholds asylum law,” which should “not be tolerated”.

On Sunday authorities in Hong Kong announced that Snowden had departed to Moscow on route to a third country.

Edward Snowden is a former CIA technician and was also employed on a freelance basis by the National Security Agency (NSA).

US federal prosecutors have charged whistleblower Edward Snowden with espionage, theft and conversion of government property in a criminal complaint after he revealed to the Guardian newspaper the extent of the NSA’s surveillance programs, including PRISM, which can monitor email and phone calls of anyone in the world and has been shared with the British surveillance center GCHQ.

domingo, 23 de junio de 2013

Jabhat al-Nusra with Foreign Weapons

More evidence of Jabhat al-Nusra militants using foreign weapons has emerged. Among the deluge of videos and images uploaded on a regular basis, the following images were spotted by Syria Report showing militants allegedly fighting in Busra al-Sham (Arabic: بصرى‎). The town in southern Syria, is conveniently located in Dara’a province close to the border with Jordan which harbours critical supply lines of both militants and weapons.

Three days ago, an article by Syria Report detailed the activities of militant groups in the south. An organisation calling itself the Yarmouk Martyrs brigade, famous for abducting UN personnel on two occasions, stealing UN vehicles and executing captured soldiers – received foreign weapons. Evidence suggests that a myriad of insurgent groups have received foreign weapons from Croatia in an operation coordinated by the United States, Turkey, Jordan & Saudi Arabia.

The arms trafficking was implemented with at least 160 military cargo flights from Croatia, as reported by the New York Times following an exposé by a Croatian newspaper.

The weapons transported to factions were the M79 Osa anti-tank weapon, the RBG-6 grenade launcher, the M60 recoilless rifle, and the RPG-22. Each of these has been spotted hundreds of times in footage uploaded by some of Syria’s myriad of militant organisations, of which there are said to be over a thousand. Indeed, the weapons are all currently used by the Croatian military. Additionally, it should be noted that several other types of foreign-produced weapons have been spotted in Syria, such as assault rifles and sniper rifles.

Recently, a number of images uploaded by Jabhat al-Nusra indicated skirmishes with Syrian forces in Busra al-Sham, close to the border with Jordan. In the images, the M60 recoilless anti-tank rifle, included in the foreign effort to arm insurgents, can be seen:

This isn’t the first instance of Jabhat al-Nusra being seen operating weapons, in their possession most likely as a result of the operation to arm militant groups.

The following image from February shows a Jabhat al-Nusra militant handling a M79 Osa anti-tank weapon. The image was included with a statement posted on an global Jihadist online forum, which detailed an insurgent operation involving a number of allied groups. The reality of of co-operating insurgent factions, increasingly under the command of Jabhat al-Nusra, casts significant doubt on American statements regarding “identifying” and arming the “right” groups. The reality also underlines the doubts and fears felt by many, firstly, that militant groups are untrustworthy, extremist in their outlook, ideology and operation, and have committed countless war crimes. Indeed, the nature of the armed opposition vindicates comments by Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad who spoke of the multiple terror groups who have no political platform to speak of.

On 2 March, another operation in Dara’a province by Jabhat al-Nusra and other groups, shows a M60 recoilless gun being used to attack an army outpost, Hajez Barad, in Busr al-Harir. Again, this type of weapon was part of the global and regional operation to arm militant groups in Syria.

In the video below, from Al-Jazeera Arabic, the M79 Osa anti-tank weapon can be seen, in the hands of a Jabhat al-Nusra insurgent.

All of the images and footage substantiate a January report from Alikhbaria Syria, showing a massive seizure of some of the arms destined for militants. The seizure was made in Dara’a, again, close to the border with Jordan and the same region in which Jabhat al-Nusra and other Jihadist groups have been spotted with the weapons.

M60 Recoilless Gun

M79 Osa anti-tank launcher

Milkor multiple grenade launcher


Syria Report will continue to monitor media channels and post further sightings of foreign arms in the hands of militant groups.

Read our detailed report on another organisation which received foreign arms.

viernes, 21 de junio de 2013

Syrian Army’s operations kill tens of al-Qaeda, including Saudis and a dangerous leader

Saudi gunmen fighting in Syria

Syrian Arab Army carried out on Friday morning, a series of operations against armed militias in several parts of Syria, killing dozens of al-Qaeda militants, including Saudis, in Hasakah countryside, and a dangerous leader in Edlib countryside.

Syrian Army kills elements of al-Qaeda, including Saudis, east of Syria
The army confronted a new attack by gunmen this morning at the headquarters of the Division 17th in Raqqa and afflicted dozens of them dead, including Muhammad Ali Hassoun and Ammar Al-hayef.

Breaking News Network reporter confirmed that the army carried out operations in Deir Ezzor, killing in Al-Mrieih the commander Ammar Mohammed al-Abed, and repelled an infiltrate attempt to the Jubaila neighborhood of Central Park and two gunmen were killed, as the army clashed with gunmen near Zenobia School in Cinema Fouad Street.

Military operations continued in Hasakah, when the army has stroke the military headquarters for al-Qaeda in the village of Abu al-Qasayed in Tel Hmais, as result the two Saudis, Fahd Al-Mutairi and Saleh Onaizi, elements of al-Nusra Front, and other members of the oraganiztion were killed.

Finally, our correspondent confirmed that the armies stroke the headquarters of gunmen in the center of grains of Tel Hmais.

Syrian Arab Army kills a dangerous leader of al-Qaeda in the countryside of Edlib and 50 elements

The army carried out a series of operations in the towns of Edlib countryside against insurgents in which dozens of them have been killed.

Ahmad Bakir, called by Abu al-Walid, the military commander for «Abbas Brigade» affiliated with «Ahrar al-Sham Islamic movement» and the commander of «al-Farqan Battalion», was killed during clashes with the Syrian army in the countryside of Edlib within what is known as the battle of «al-Fateh al-Mubeen».

Sources of Breaking News Network pointed that about 50 other armed men were killed beside the dangerous leader at the county level.

The army’s operations in Edlib continued as Breaking News Network reporter by destroying rallies of al-Nusra Front militants near the police station of Saraqeb city in Edlib countryside during their meeting, led to the killing and wounding a number of gunmen and destroyed a number of vehicles equipped with machine-guns.

The correspondent added that the army units destroyed three headquarters of the insurgents in the town of Sarja in Jabal al-Zawieh, one of them contains a repository of ammunition, weapons and a miniature plant of improvised explosive devices, which led to the killing and wounding all the gunmen inside.

The reporter said that the targeting process followed by a loud blast rocked the area, as a result of the explosion of the depot and ambulances filled the place and insurgents attempts to recover the bodies of the militants from the rubble.

Saudi Arabia provides heavy weaponry to militants in #Syria

Foto: #Saudi Arabia provides heavy weaponry to militants in #Syria

Saudi Arabia has provided the Takfiri militants operating inside Syria with Russian-made Konkurs anti-tank missiles.

According to the Daily Telegraph, militant sources said they had received the first batch of the heavy weaponry from Saudi Arabia in Aleppo.

The sources said that more arms, including higher-end missiles, would be sent to the militants later.

On June 14, US President Barack Obama ordered his administration to provide the militants with weapons, claiming that the Syrian government had used “chemical weapons” against the militants and thus crossed Washington’s “red line.” Damascus has rejected the allegation as “lies.”

Israeli President Shimon Peres voiced support for Washington’s arming of the Takfiri militants in Syria. Takfiris accuse most Islamic sects of being infidels.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned other states against providing weapons to the militants in Syria, saying that the arms could end up in Europe one day.

The crisis in Syria began in March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security forces, have been killed in the foreign-sponsored militancy.

Last month, the Syrian president said that militants from as many as 29 different countries were fighting against Syria.

The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - are supporting the militants.

#Syria : Free Army deaths in Aleppo


jueves, 20 de junio de 2013

Rape of Iraqi Women by US Forces as Weapon of War: Photos and Data Emerge (vídeo)

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 03 October (Asiantribune.com):

In March 2006 four US soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division gang raped a 14 year old Iraqi girl and murdered her and her family —including a 5 year old child. An additional soldier was involved in the cover-up.

One of the killers, Steven Green, was found guilty on May 07, 2009 in the US District Court of Paducah and is now awaiting sentencing.

The leaked Public Affairs Guidance put the 101st media team into a "passive posture" — withholding information where possible. It conceals presence of both child victims, and describes the rape victim, who had just turned 14, as "a young woman".

The US Army's Criminal Investigation Division did not begin its investigation until three and a half months after the crime, news reports at that time commented.

This is not the only grim picture coming out of Iraq U.S. forces being accused of using rape as a war weapon.

The release, by CBS News, of the photographs showing the heinous sexual abuse and torture of Iraqi POW's at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison opened a Pandora's Box for the Bush regime wrote Ernesto Cienfuegos in La Voz de Aztlan on May 2, 2004.

Journalist Cienfuegos further states “Apparently, the suspended US commander of the prison where the worst abuses took place, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, has refused to take the fall by herself and has implicated the CIA, Military Intelligence and private US government contractors in the torturing of POW's and in the raping of Iraqi women detainees as well.”

Brigadier General Karpinski, who commanded the 800th Military Police Brigade, described a high-pressure Military Intelligence and CIA command that prized successful interrogations. A month before the alleged abuses and rapes occurred, she said, a team of CIA, Military Intelligence officers and private consultants under the employ of the US government came to Abu Ghraib. "Their main and specific mission was to give the interrogators new techniques to get more information from detainees," she said.

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.

Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.

Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.

Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He later confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph in May 2009.

The London newspaper further noted “graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President Obama’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published.”

Maj. Gen. Taguba, who retired in January 2007, said he supported the President’s decision, adding: “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.

“The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it.”

In April, Mr. Obama’s administration said the photographs would be released and it would be “pointless to appeal” against a court judgment in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

But after lobbying from senior military figures, Mr. Obama changed his mind saying they could put the safety of troops at risk.

In May, he said: “The most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.”

In April 2004, new photographs were sent to La Voz de Aztlan from confidential sources depicting the shocking rapes of two Iraqi women by what are purported to be US Military Intelligence personnel and private US mercenaries in military fatigues. It is now known, Cienfuegos wrote in May 2004, that hundreds of these photographs had been in circulation among the troops in Iraq. The graphic photos were being swapped between the soldiers like baseball cards.

Asian Tribune carries here three of the ‘Rape’ photographs which have brought criticism that the U.S. forces in Iraq have used rape as a weapon of war.

- Asian Tribune -

martes, 18 de junio de 2013

President al-Assad: Europe will pay the price for providing terrorists with weapons

President Bashar al-Assad

Damascus -- President Bashar al-Assad gave the following interview to the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper:

Interviewer: Mr President, how do you view the situation in your country? The Syrian Army has lost control over large parts of Syria, in other words those areas are outside the control of central government. What’s your take on the situation?

President Assad: Your question requires us to put things into their proper context: this is not a conventional war with two armies fighting to control or liberate particular areas or parts of land. What we are in fact dealing with is a form of guerrilla warfare.

As for the Syrian Army, there has not been any instance where our Armed Forces have planned to enter a particular location and have not succeeded. Having said this, the Army is not present - and should not be present - in every corner of Syria. What is more significant than controlling areas of land, is striking terrorists. We are confident that we can successfully fight terrorism in Syria, but the bigger issue is the ensuing damage and its cost. The crisis has already had a heavy toll but our biggest challenges will come once the crisis is over.

Interviewer: In your recent interview with Al-Manar it appeared as though you were preparing the Syrian public for a protracted struggle. Was that your intention?

President Assad: No, this was not specific to Al-Manar. From the early days of the crisis, whenever I was asked, I have stated that this crisis is likely to be prolonged due to foreign interference. Any internal crisis can go in one of two ways: either it is resolved or it escalates into a civil war. Neither has been the case for Syria because of the foreign component, which seeks to extend the duration of the crisis both politically and militarily; I think its fair to say that my predictions were right.

Interview: Mr President, how do you expect to overcome the large-scale destruction that has been inflicted in Syria?

President Assad: In the same way you, in Germany, overcame the devastation after World War II, and in the same way many other nations have progressed and been rebuilt after their wars. I am confident Syria will follow the same path. As long as we have resilient people, we can rebuild the country. We have done this before and we can do it again, learning from all we have been through.

In terms of funding, we have been a self-sufficient country for a very long time. Of course we will need to be more productive than before as a result of the situation. Friendly countries have helped us in the past and continue to offer their support, maybe in the form of loans in the future. It may take a long time, but with our determination, our strength and our solidarity, we can rebuild the country.

However, the more arduous challenge lies in rebuilding, socially and psychologically, those who have been affected by the crisis. It will not be easy to eliminate the social effects of the crisis, especially extremist ideologies. Real reconstruction is about developing minds, ideologies and values. Infrastructure is valuable, but not as valuable as human beings; reconstruction is about perpetuating both.

Interviewer: Mr President, during the crisis some areas of the country have become either more self-reliant or more reliant on external support. Do you think this could potentially lead to the re-drawing of borders?

President Assad: Do you mean within Syria or the region in general?

Interviewer: The region - one hundred years after the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

President Assad: One hundred years after Sykes-Picot, when we talk about re-drawing the borders in our region, we can use an analogy from architecture. Syria is like the keystone in the old architectural arches; by removing or tampering with the keystone, the arch will collapse. If we apply this to the region, to the world, – any tampering with the borders of this region will result in re-drawing the maps of distant regions because this will have a domino effect which nobody can control. One of the superpowers may be able to initiate the process, but nobody – including that superpower, will be able to stop it; particularly since there are new social borders in the Middle East today that didn't exist during Sykes-Picot. These new sectarian, ethnic and political borders make the situation much more complicated. Nobody can know what the Middle East will look like should there be an attempt to re-draw the map of the region. However, most likely that map will be one of multiple wars, which would transcend the Middle East spanning the Atlantic to the Pacific, which nobody can stop.

Interviewer: Mr President, in your opinion what will the region look like in the future?

President Assad: If we rule out the destructive scenario of division in your last question, I can envisage a completely different and more positive future, but it will depend on how we act as nations and societies. This scenario involves a number of challenges, first of which is restoring security and stability; our second challenge is the rebuilding process. However, our biggest and most important challenge lies in facing extremism.

It has become extremely clear that there has been a shift in the societies of our region away from moderation, especially religious moderation. The question is: can we restore these societies to their natural order? Can our diverse societies still coexist together as one natural whole? On this point allow me to clarify certain terms. The words tolerance and coexistence are often used to define our societies. However, the more precise and appropriate definition, of how our societies used to be - and how they should be, is harmonious. Contrary to perception, the issue is neither about tolerance - since there will come a day when you are not tolerant, nor is the issue about coexistence - since you co-exist with your adversaries, but rather it is about harmony. What used to characterize us in the region was our harmony. You cannot say that your hand will coexist with or tolerate your foot because one compliments the other and both are a part of a harmonious whole.

Another challenge is political reform and the question of which political system would keep our society coherent: be it presidential, semi-presidential or parliamentary, as well as deciding the most appropriate legislation to govern political parties. In Germany, for example, you have the Christian Democratic Party. In Syria we could not have religious parties, neither Christian nor Muslim, because for us religion is for preaching and not for political practice. There are many other details, but the essence is in accepting others. If we cannot accept each other we cannot be democratic, even with the best constitution or the best legislations.

Interviewer: Mr President, where do you see secularism in the midst of the rising Islamic current in the region?

President Assad: This is a very important question; many in the region do not understand this relationship. The Middle East is a hub of different ideologies. Arab society is primarily based on two pillars: Pan-Arabism and Islam. Other ideologies do exist, such as communism, liberalism, Syrian nationalism, but these are not nearly as popular. Many people understand secularism as synonymous with communism in the past, in that it is against religion. In fact it is the complete opposite; for us in Syria secularism is about the freedom of confession including Christianity, Islam and Judaism, and the multiple diverse sects within these religions. Secularism is crucial to our national unity and sense of belonging. Therefore we have no choice but to strengthen secularism because religion is already strong in our region, and I stress here that this is very healthy. What is not healthy is extremism because it ultimately leads to terrorism; not every extremist is a terrorist, but every terrorist is definitely an extremist.

So in response to your question, we are a secular state that essentially treats its citizens equally, irrespective of religion, sect or ethnicity. All our citizens enjoy equal opportunities regardless of religious belief.

Interviewer: Mr President, how do you view the two-and-a-half years since the so-called ‘Arab Spring?’

This is a misconception. Spring does not include bloodshed, killing, extremism, destroying schools or preventing children from going to their schools, or preventing women from choosing what to wear and what is appropriate for them. Spring is the most beautiful season whilst we are going through the direst circumstances; it is definitely not Spring. Is Spring compatible with what is happening in Syria - the killing, the slaughtering, the beheading, the cannibalism, I leave it to you to decide.

Interviewer: What are the issues that the so-called “Arab Spring” is supposed to resolve?

President Assad: The solution doesn't lie in the ‘Spring’ or in anything else, the solution lies in us. We are the ones who should provide the solutions, by being proactive instead of reactive. When we address our problems proactively we ensure that we get the right solutions. Solutions imposed reactively by the ‘Spring’ will only lead to deformed results.

Like many countries in the Middle East, we have numerous problems that we are aware of and view objectively. This is how these problems should be solved, in that the solutions are internally manufactured and not externally administered, as the latter would produce a distorted or stillborn solution. It is for this very reason that when we call for dialogue or solutions, they need to be home-grown in order to ensure that they lead to the Syria we aspire to.

Interviewer: Mr President, you have rejected any form of foreign intervention and have warned that this would extend the battle to wider areas, have you reached this?

President Assad: Let’s be clear about this, there are two types of foreign intervention: indirect through proxies or agents, and direct intervention through a conventional war. We are experiencing the former. At the beginning of the crisis I warned that intervention in Syria – even indirectly, is similar to tampering with a fault line, it would lead to shockwaves throughout the region. At the time, many people - especially in the media, understood this as President Assad threatening to extend the crisis beyond Syria’s borders. Clearly they did not understand what I meant at the time, but this is exactly what is happening now.

If we look at the reality in front of us, we can see clearly that what is happening in Iraq now, and in Lebanon previously, are repercussions of the situation in Syria, and this will only extend further and further. We are seeing these ramifications and the intervention is still indirect, so imagine the consequences of military intervention? The situation will, of course, be much worse and then we will witness the domino effect of widespread extremism, chaos and fragmentation.

Interviewer: You criticise countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Britain for their interference in the Syria crisis, isn’t it true that Russia and Iran are also involved?

President Assad: There is a significant difference between the co-cooperation of states as opposed to the destabilisation of a certain country and interference in its internal affairs. Cooperation between countries is conceived on the concept of mutual will, in a way that preserves their sovereignty, independence, stability and self-determination. Our relationship with Russia, Iran and other countries that support Syria are cooperative relations certified under international law.

The countries you mentioned, have adopted policies that meddle in Syria’s internal affairs, which is a flagrant violation of international law and our national sovereignty. The difference therefore, is that cooperation between countries is intended to preserve stability and perpetuate the prosperity of these nations, whilst foreign interference seeks to destabilise countries, spread chaos and perpetuate ignorance.

Interviewer: Sir, you have discussed the repercussions of the Syrian crisis on Iraq and Lebanon whose societies are based on what one might call a sectarian system. Do you think that such a system with Sunni and Shiite pillars could be established in Syria?

President Assad: Undoubtedly, sectarian systems in neighbouring countries, sectarian unrest or civil wars – as in Lebanon 30 years ago, will inevitably affect Syria. That is why Syria intervened in Lebanon in 1976 – to protect itself and to safeguard Lebanon. It is for this reason that we are observing carefully the unfolding events in Iraq - they will affect us directly. This was also for this reason that we adamantly opposed the war on Iraq, despite a mixture of American temptations and threats at the time. We rejected losing our stability in return for appeasing the Americans. Sectarian systems are dangerous and that is why we insist on the secular model where all citizens are equal regardless of religion.

Interviewer: Mr President, you are fighting “Jabhat Al-Nusra.” Can you tell us about it, what is this organization, who supports them, who supplies them with money and weapons?

President Assad: Jabhat Al-Nusra is an Al-Qaeda affiliated group with an identical ideology whose members live in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan as well as other Arab and Muslim countries; they are very well financed and have plenty of arms. It is difficult to trace their sources due to the fact that their support resides in a covert manner through wealthy individuals and organisations that adopt the same ideology.

Their primary aim is to establish an Islamic State in accordance to their interpretation of Islam. Central to their political thought is the Wahhabi doctrine - comparable to Al-Qaeda’s in Afghanistan. This ideology is administered wherever they are present, especially on women. They claim to be applying Sharia Law and the Islamic Religion; however, in reality their actions are a complete distortion of the real religion of Islam. We have seen examples of their brutality on our satellite channels taken from footage they publish on purpose on YouTube in order to spread their ideology; a recent example was the beheading of an innocent man, which was aired on Belgian TV.

Interviewer: What is the motivation for Saudi Arabia and Qatar to assist and arm the terrorists against you, what do they seek to achieve?

President Assad: Firstly, I believe that this is a question they should be answering. I will respond by raising a few questions. Do they support the armed gangs because of their vehement belief in freedom and democracy as they claim in their media outlets? Do they harbour any form of democracy in their own countries, in order to properly support democracy in Syria. Do they have elected parliaments or constitutions voted on by their people? Have their populations decided at any time during the previous decades on what type of governing system they want – be it monarchy, presidency, principality or any other form? So, things are clear: they should first pay attention to their own nations and then answer your question.

Interviewer: In this quagmire, why do Britain and France delegate leadership to Saudi Arabia and Qatar? What do they hope to achieve?

President Assad: I also cannot answer on behalf of Britain or France, but I can give you the general impression here. I believe that France and Britain have an issue with the ‘annoying’ Syrian role in the region – as they see it. These countries, like the United States, are looking for puppets and dummies to do their bidding and serve their interests without question. We have consistently rejected this; we will always be independent and free. It seems as though France and Britain have not forgotten their colonial history and persist in attempting to manipulate the region albeit through proxies. Indeed, Britain and France can direct Saudi Arabia and Qatar on what they should do, but we must also not forget that the policies and economies of France and Britain are also dependent on petrodollars.

What happened in Syria was an opportunity for all these countries to get rid of Syria – this insubordinate state, and replace the president with a “yes man.” This will never happen neither now nor in the future.

Interviewer: The European Union has not renewed the arms embargo imposed on Syria and yet it has not approved arming the opposition. What is your assessment of this step?

President Assad: Clearly there is a split within the European Union on this issue. I cannot state that the EU is supportive of the Syrian government; there are countries, especially Britain and France, who are particularly hostile to Syria. On the other hand, there are countries – Germany in particular, which are raising logical questions about the future consequences of arming the terrorists. Well firstly, that would perpetuate the destruction in Syria, forcing the Syrian people to pay an even heavier price. Secondly, by supplying arms, they are effectively arming terrorists, and the Europeans are well informed that these are terrorists groups. Some are repeating the American rhetoric of “good fighters and bad fighters,” exactly as they did a few years ago with the “good Taliban and bad Taliban, good Al-Qaeda and bad Al-Qaeda.” Today there is a new term of “good terrorists and bad terrorists” being promoted. Is this logical?

They are aware that weapons sent to the region will end up in the hands of terrorists, which will have two consequences. First, Europe’s back garden will become a hub for terrorism and chaos, which leads to deprivation and poverty; Europe will pay the price and forfeit an important market. Second, terrorism will not stop here – it will spread to your countries. It will export itself through illegal immigration or through the same terrorists who returned to their original countries after being indoctrinated and trained more potently. These pressing issues in my opinion are creating a considerable split or disagreement within the European Union; they may not like it, but they have no other choice than to cooperate with the Syrian government, even if they disagree with it.

Interviewer: Your Excellency has stated that if European countries were to send weapons to Syria, they would effectively be arming terrorists. Do you consider all armed militants as terrorists?

President Assad: As a European or German citizen I will pose the following question: does your country allow you to carry arms, intimidate or kill innocent people, vandalise and loot? Any individual or group excluding the army and police who carries arms, kills people, threatens and intimidates public safety are by definition terrorists, this is a norm in every country. Regardless of their background, be it extremists, criminals or convicted felons, those who are carrying weapons in Syria are essentially committing these acts. Therefore, they are terrorists. We differentiate between terrorists and conventional opposition groups, since the latter is a political entity and has a political agenda. Killing and slaughtering is terrorism and plunges the country back years into regression.

Interviewer: So Mr President, you see the future as being against terrorism?

President Assad: This is the logical conclusion; however in Europe you have many illogical, unrealistic and irresponsible politicians who are applying their negative sentiments instead of their reason. Politics should not be fuelled by love or hatred, but by interests. As a German citizen, you should ask yourself what do you stand to gain from what is happening in our region? Basically, what is happening now is against your national interests, your genuine interest lies in fighting terrorism.

Interviewer: Some view Hezbollah as a terrorist organization; we know that it has fought alongside Syrian troops in al-Quseir. We have also heard that there are fighters from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard fighting with you. Do you really need these forces?

President Assad: The media is trying to portray Hezbollah as the main fighting force on the ground and the Syrian Army as weak and unable to achieve victory. In reality, over the last months we have achieved significant victories on the ground in different parts of Syria; in all of these victories, some of which were more important than al-Quseir, the Syrian army fought alone. None of this is highlighted in the media. One of the reasons for these victories is the National Defence Forces - local citizens fighting alongside the army to defend their communities and regions. Al-Quseir received more international attention because of statements by western officials projecting it as a strategic town, to the extent that even some United Nation's officials claim to understand the situation in al-Quseir! There was a lot of exaggeration, but there were also a large number of arms and militants. These terrorists started attacking the bordering towns loyal to Hezbollah, which warranted their intervention alongside the Syrian army in order to restore stability.

The Syrian Army is a large army capable of accomplishing its missions across Syria, with the support of the local communities. If we were in need of such assistance, why not use these forces in the rural parts of Damascus, close to the capital? Damascus is certainly more important than al-Quseir, as is Aleppo and all the other major cities; it doesn’t make any sense. But as I said at the beginning, the aim of this frenzy is to reflect an image of Hezbollah as the main fighting force and to provoke Western and International public opinion against Hezbollah.

Interviewer: How strong and large are the Hezbollah brigades currently in Syria?

President Assad: There are no brigades. They have sent fighters who have aided the Syrian army in cleaning areas on the Lebanese borders that were infiltrated by terrorists. They did not deploy forces into Syria. As you are aware, Hezbollah forces are positioned towards Israel and cannot depart Southern Lebanon. Additionally, if Hezbollah wanted to send fighters into Syria, how many could they send? A few hundred? The Syrian Army has deployed hundreds of thousands of troops across the country. Several hundred would make a difference in one area, but it would not conceivably constitute enough to tip the balance across all of Syria.

Interviewer: Mr President, Britain and France claim to have clear evidence that chemical weapons have been used. The White House has stated that it possess information to ascertain this claim, which consequently led to the death of 100 to 150 people in one year, in addition to that you have denied the UN investigators access to areas in Syria except for Aleppo. How do you explain the situation?

President Assad: Let’s begin with the statement from the White House regarding the 150 casualties. Militarily speaking, it is a well-understood notion that during wars, conventional weapons can cause these number of deaths, or even higher, in a single day, not in a year. Weapons of mass destruction generally kill thousands of people at one given time; this high death toll is a primary reason for its use. It is counterintuitive to use chemical weapons to create a death toll that you could potentially reach by using conventional weapons.

America, France, Britain and some European officials claimed that we have used chemical weapons in a number of areas. Regardless of whether such weapons exist or not, we have never confirmed or denied the possession of these weapons.

Had they obtained a single strand of evidence that we had used chemical weapons, do you not think they would have made a song and dance about it to the whole world?, then where is the chain of custody that led them to a such result?

These allegations are ludicrous. The terrorist groups used chemical weapons in Aleppo; subsequently we sent an official letter to the United Nations requesting a formal investigation into the incident. Britain and France blocked this investigation because it would have proven the chemical attacks were carried out by terrorist groups and hence provided conclusive evidence that they (Britain and France) were lying. We invited them to investigate the incident, but instead they wanted the inspectors to have unconditional access to locations across Syria, parallel to what inspectors did in Iraq and delved into other unrelated issues. We are a sovereign state; we have an army and all matters considered classified will never be accessible neither to the UN, nor Britain, nor France. They will only be allowed access to investigate the incident that occurred in Aleppo.

Therefore, all the claims relating to the use of chemical weapons is an extension of the continuous American and Western fabrication of the actual situation in Syria. Its sole aim is to justify their policies to their public opinion and use the claim as a pretext for more military intervention and bloodshed in Syria.

Interviewer: The protests started in Syria peacefully before they turned into an armed struggle. Your critics claim that you could have dealt with the protests through political reforms, which makes you partly responsible for the destruction in Syria. What is your take on this?

President Assad: We started the reforms from the first days of the crisis and, perhaps even to your surprise, they were initiated years before the crisis. We issued a number of new legislations, lifted the emergency law and even changed the constitution through a referendum. This is a well-known fact to the West; yet what the West refuses to see is that from the first weeks of the protests we had policemen killed, so how could such protests have been peaceful? How could those who claim that the protests were peaceful explain the death of these policemen in the first week? Could the chants of protesters actually kill a policeman?

From the beginning of the crisis, we have always reiterated that there were armed militants infiltrating protesters and shooting at the police. On other occasions, these armed militants were in areas close to the protests and shot at both protesters and police forces to lead each side into-believing that they were shot at by the other. This was proven through investigations and confessions, which were publicised on a large scale in the media.

Interviewer: Mr President, it is reported that the Syrian Army has bombarded certain areas. Was there no other option?

President Assad: We are pursuing terrorists who repeatedly infiltrate populated areas. If we take Al-Qseir as an example, there was a western media frenzy claiming that there were 50,000 civilians, which is more than the town’s original population. In fact, when the terrorists entered the area, the inhabitants consequently fled; when we entered we did not find civilians. Usually wherever the terrorists infiltrate, civilians flee and battles occur afterwards. The evidence clearly shows that most of the casualties in Syria are from the armed forces. Civilians mostly die in suicide bombings. They also die when terrorists enter an area, proceed to carry out executions and use them as human shields. The rest of the causalities are either foreign or Syrian terrorists.

Interviewer: After the momentum you have achieved in Al-Qseir, do you feel it is now time to extend a hand to the opposition and consider reconciliation?

President Assad: From day one we have extended a hand to all those who believe in dialogue; this position has not changed. At the start of the crisis, we held a national dialogue conference whilst simultaneously fighting terrorists. But when we talk about the opposition, we should not put them all into one basket; it is imperative to differentiate between terrorists and politicians. In Germany, you have an opposition but they are not armed. Opposition is a political act, and so when we refer to the opposition, we mean the politicians to whom we are always committed to dialogue, regardless of what happened in Al-Qseir.

As to national reconciliation, I do not think that it can be accurately applied to Syria. It implies a scenario of civil war, as was the case in Lebanon, or the conflict between black and white in South Africa. In our case it is about a national dialogue to determine a way out of the crisis and for the terrorists to put down their weapons. In any case, we are awaiting the Geneva conference, which essentially aims at the same political solution. However there are external impediments; Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, France and Britain, continue to exert all their efforts at sabotaging dialogue in order to prolong the Syrian crisis and prevent a political resolution.

Interviewer: How would you define the legitimate political opposition?

President Assad: Essentially, any opposition party that does not support terrorism, does not carry weapons, and has a clear political agenda. But opposition groups are also linked to elections; their clout will depend on how well they fare in local administration elections and more importantly, in parliamentary elections. We are dealing with many groups who call themselves opposition, their success will be determined by two important questions: what is their popular base? And what is their political manifesto? We will then act accordingly.

Interviewer: Segments of the opposition claim that you have not taken steps to form a united front with them against foreign intervention. Is this true Mr President?

President Assad: On the contrary, in the national dialogue conference in 2011, there was an open invitation to all those who considered themselves in the opposition to come forward. Some chose to participate whilst others chose to boycott and blame us for not taking steps towards a solution. But we must ask ourselves, what do they mean by making advances towards them? What should we be offering? Ministerial positions in the government? The opposition in the current government has won hard-fought seats in parliament. When an opposition, made up of hundreds, does not have any seats in parliament how does one ascertain who deserves to be part of the government? We need clear criteria; it should not be haphazard.

To put it another way, the government is not owned by the President for him to bestow gifts upon others in the form of ministries. It requires national dialogue and a political process through which the electorate can choose among other things their government and the constitution.

Interviewer: What are your set criteria for dialogue between you and the opposition, could this include foreign-based opposition?

President Assad: We have no issues with autonomous opposition groups who serve a national agenda. With regards to the foreign-based opposition, we need to be very clear; its members live abroad and report to western foreign ministries and intelligence agencies. They are based outside their country and are in essence manipulated by the states that provide their flow of finance. They are best described as a “proxy opposition.” As far was we are concerned, genuine Syrian opposition means representing the Syrian people - not foreign countries, it means being based in Syria and sharing the burdens and concerns of the Syrian people. Such an opposition would inevitably be part of any political process.

Interviewer: Fighting terrorism has become the priority now. In reference to your recent interview most probably on Al-Manar television, you stated that if you were to engage in a dialogue, you would rather do so with the master than the slave. To what extent are you prepared for dialogue with these entities in the future once you have effectively fought terrorism?

President Assad: It is for this precise reason that we will attend the Geneva conference. I used the notion of the master and the slave to explain what we know will happen in reality. Negotiating with those who have no autonomy over their own decisions essentially means that you are in fact negotiating with the decision makers who dictate to them how to act, what to accept and what to reject. You will have seen on television recently footage of the French Ambassador to Syria giving the external opposition orders and insulting them, or the American Ambassador to Syria shouting and insulting them. Therefore in reality, we are negotiating with the United States, Britain, France and their regional instruments, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Those groups who call themselves external opposition are mere employees; hence the masters and the slaves.

Interviewer: What are your expectations from the conference? Will it be followed by progress or a continued stalemate?

President Assad: We hope that the Geneva conference will push forward the dialogue process in Syria especially since, earlier this year we presented a vision for a political solution based on the Geneva I communiqué. However, even though we will attend the conference with this understanding, we should be clear on the facts. First, the same countries I mentioned earlier that are supporting the terrorists in Syria have a vested interest in the talks failing. The logical question is: what is the relationship between the Geneva conference and terrorism on the ground? Simply, if the Geneva conference is successful – as is our hope, in preventing the smuggling of weapons and terrorists - there are over 29 different nationalities documented to be in Syria, then this would be a catalyst for resolving the Syrian crisis.

However if the smuggling of weapons and terrorists continues, there is no value for any political solution. We hope that the Geneva conference will make this its starting point; it is the single most important element in the Geneva talks, which would ultimately determine its success or failure.

Interviewer: If Geneva II fails, what are the consequences?

President Assad: The countries I mentioned previously would continue to support the terrorists. Failing to solve the Syrian crisis will make it spread to other countries and things will only get worse. Logically speaking therefore, all parties have a vested interest in its success. As to the external opposition, if Geneva succeeds they will lose their funding; if you don't have money and you don't have popular support, you end up with nothing.

Interviewer: Could Geneva II propose a government from different political entities?

President Assad: This is what we have suggested in our political initiative. We proposed the formation of an extended government from diverse political entities that would prepare for parliamentary elections; the winners of these elections would have a role in the future. This is an approach that we have been open to from the beginning.

Interviewer: Mr President, some of your critics claim that much blood has been shed in Syria; they blame the leadership and see it as an obstacle standing in the way of Syria’s future. Would you consider stepping down in order to bring about a new Syria?

President Assad: The president has a mandate in accordance with the constitution; my current term ends in 2014. When the country is in a crisis, the president is expected to shoulder the burden of responsibility and resolve the situation, not abandon his duties and leave. I often use the analogy of a captain navigating a ship hit by a storm; just imagine the captain jumping ship and escaping in the lifeboat! If I decide to leave now, I would be committing treason. If on the other hand, the public decided I should step down, that would be another issue. And this can only be determined through elections or a referendum. As an example, in the previous referendum on the constitution, there was a 58% turnout – which is pretty good in the circumstances, and the constitution was approved by 89.4%.

The issue was never about the president, however they tried to project it as such in order to force the president to sell out to those countries backing the opposition, in order to install a puppet president.

Interviewer: Mr President, you live with your family in Damascus. How much public support do you and your family enjoy?

President Assad: When numerous neighbouring and regional countries as well as the West are all opposing you, you couldn't possibly continue without popular public support. The Syrian people are highly aware of what is happening and have understood the dynamics of the crisis early on; hence their support for their government and their army.

Interviewer: Next year there will be presidential elections, how do you see these elections playing out?

President Assad: They will follow the new constitution, in other words multi-candidate elections. It will be a new experience, which we cannot predict at this point.

Interviewer: Mr President, what is your vision for Syria in the next five years?

President Assad: I reiterate that our biggest challenge is extremism. If we can fight it, with better education, new ideas and culture, then we can move towards a healthy democratic state. Democracy, as we see it in Syria, is not an objective in itself, but rather a means to an end - to stability and to prosperity. Legislations and constitutions are also only tools, necessary tools to develop and advance societies. However, for democracy to thrive, it needs to become a way of life - a part of our culture, and this cannot happen when so many social taboos are imposed by extremist ideologies.

In addition to this, there is of course the reconstruction process, reinvigorating our national industries and restoring and opening up our economy. We will continue to be open in Syria, continue to learn and benefit from the lessons of this crisis. One of these lessons is that ignorance is the worst enemy of societies and forms the basis for extremism; we hope that Europe has also learned from these lessons.

Interviewer: Mr President, thank you very much. I have been greatly influenced by your personality and your vision; I hope Europe and the West will benefit from this interview and look at you and your country differently.

President Assad: Thank you very much and welcome again to Syria.

Datos personales

Escritora ultimahorajihad@gamail.com