Assad's useful idiots protect chem attack base

They've really outdone themselves this time. The last time we checked in on Cynthia McKinney, she was floating outlandish conspiracy theories about the Boston bombings. Now, Redress Information & Analysis is among the websites to take note of what she just posted to her Facebook page—that she is in Syria to sing the praises of the Assad regime and cheer on those serving as human shields. That is merely predictable. But a close reading reveals a truly special degree of either cynicism or dupery (we actually aren't sure which):

Syria chemical attack: rush to denialism continues

Human Rights Watch on Sept. 10 released a report, "Attacks on Ghouta: Analysis of Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria," examining what are said to actually be two suspected chemical attacks on the "opposition-controlled suburbs of Eastern and Western Ghouta, located 16 kilometers apart, in the early hours of August 21." The report relies on witness accounts of the rocket attacks, physical remnants of the rockets, and symptoms exhibited by the victims as documented by medical staff. "Rocket debris and symptoms of the victims from the August 21 attacks on Ghouta provide telltale evidence about the weapon systems used," said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at HRW and author of the report. "This evidence strongly suggests that Syrian government troops launched rockets carrying chemical warheads into the Damascus suburbs that terrible morning."

Syria's Christians become propaganda pawns

The ancient Syrian Christian village of Maaloula has changed hands at least three times in the past week of fighting between government forces and al-Qaeda franchise Nusra Front—and Syria's Christians are becoming propaganda fodder in an international war of perceptions. Nusra Front issued a video clip showing a commander urging his men not to harm Maaloula's historic churches and monasteries. The Assad regime countered with images of the rebels shooting in the air and at buildings in in the village, and of a church damaged by mortar fire, Haaretz reports. The village has already suffered civilian casualties from the fighting, and local youth have organized a self-defense militia. AFP, citing local residents, reports that rebels forced at least one person to convert to Islam at gunpoint and executed another when they held the village Sept. 10. "They arrived in our town at dawn...and shouted 'We are from the al-Nusra Front and have come to make lives miserable for the Crusaders," AFP quoted a resident who identified herself only as Marie.

'Anti-war' movement still betraying Syrian people

We noted over a year ago that the increasingly poorly named "anti-war" movement (more of a gaggle than a "movement," and highly selective in being "anti-war") was betraying the Syrian people by failing to even acknowledge Bashar Assad's atrocities, and portraying the opposition as all CIA pawns or al-Qaeda jihadists or both. Now that Assad is apparently escalating to genocide and the US threatens air-strikes, is there any sign that the "anti-war" forces have been chastised into a more honest appraisal? Sadly, no.

Is Rwanda really bombing itself?

As the world awaits military intervention in Syria and we are treated to idle theorizing about how the Ghouta chemical massacre was a "false flag" attack by the rebels, comes a grimly amusing analogue from Central Africa. Rwanda on Aug. 29 accused government forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo of shelling its territory, killing a woman and wounding her baby. (BBC News) Open war between Rwanda and the DRC suddenly looms, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appealed to Rwanda's President Paul Kagame for restraint. (BBC News) The shelling comes as DRC troops and the UN's new "intervention brigade," dubbed MONUSCO, have been battling the M23 rebels in Congo's east. (BBC News, Radio Australia) The DRC government has denied responsibility, and says it was actually the rebels that shelled Rwanda's territory—a claim backed up by MONUSCO. (Reuters) Now, since the M23 is said to be intimately directed by Rwanda's defense minister, Gen. James Kabarebe, who has apparently even sent military commanders to lead the rebel force, this basically means that Rwanda is bombing itself. Indeed, Congo Planet tells us the DRC is charging that Rwanda's government used the M23 rebels to shell its own territory, as a provocation to justify a direct military intervention in eastern Congo. 

Syria chemical attack: rush to judgement

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights posted to its Facebook page Aug. 21 claims, based on witness reports, of a chemical gas attack on the eastern Damascus suburbs. Dozens were reported killed and hundreds injured in the towns of Erbin, Zamalka, Ein Terma and East Ghouta. Al Jazeera puts the death toll at "at least 100," and notes that Syrian authorities dismissed the reports as "baseless." The Syrian National Coalition is apparently putting the toll at 650 lives. The claims coincide with a visit to Syria by a 20-member UN team to investigate three sites where chemical weapons were allegedly used over the past year. Al Jazeera and Russia Today report Moscow's rejection of the claims. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the timing of the claimed attack "makes us think that we are once again dealing with a premeditated provocation." Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich charged that "biased regional media have immediately, as if on command, begun an aggressive information attack, laying all the responsibility on the government."

Alice Walker: off her rocker

Man, it just gets worse every damn day. All the lefties are cheering on Alice Walker for urging Alicia Keys to cancel her upcoming concert in Israel, calling on the singer to honor the boycott and visit Gaza instead. (Ha'aretz, May 29) But just a few days earlier, asked by a BBC reporter what book she would take with her to a desert island, she named David Icke's Human Race Get Off Your Knees: The Lion Sleeps No More. Yes, David Icke—the same crypto-fascist conspiranoid freak who I was sacked from WBAI for opposing. As The Independent notes in its report on Walker's endorsement of the evil little twit, Icke's book purports that the world is secretly ruled by "shape-shifting reptilians" from outer space, that the Moon is actually a "gigantic spacecraft" which sends us a "fake reality broadcast," and that we live in a manipulated reality "in much the same way as portrayed in the Matrix movie trilogy." On her own website, Walker gushes:

Israeli air-strikes near Damascus

Israeli missiles struck a research center near Damascus, setting off explosions and causing casualties, Syria's state news agency reported  May 5. If confirmed, it would be the second Israeli strike on targets in Syria in three days. Two previous Israeli air-strikes, one in January and one on May 3, targeted weapons reportedly bound for Hezbollah. (AP, May 5) On May 4, a former senior official in the Bush administration said the use of chemical weapons in Syria might have been an Israeli-instrumented "false flag operation." Retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff, told Current TV: "We don’t know what the chain of custody is. This could’ve been an Israeli false flag operation, it could’ve been an opposition in Syria... or it could've been an actual use by Bashar Assad. But we certainly don’t know with the evidence we’ve been given. And what I'm hearing from the intelligence community is that that evidence is really flakey." (JP, May 4)

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