During the last 24 hours there have been various reports of attacks on Syria
launched by Israel.
The latest Saturday is that Israel has admitted attacking a site believed to house advanced missiles in Syria. Israeli officials claim that the weapons were "game changing ones" destined for Hezbollah in the Lebanon.Earlier this week
US President Obama went on record to say that any sign of chemical weapons being used in Syria would be a "game changer". They could lead the USA to direct intervention in Syria which as we are all well aware could easily escalate into a global conflict. Certainly the UK would be in there with the Americans, as where they go we follow like lambs to the slaughter. We have surely paid back any World War Two debt by now?Why Israel are choosing to act now is debatable. Are they acting independently or on behalf of the USA? Is it a way for the US to become involved and sell another conflict to its citizens? Are the Israelis purely acting out of a perceived need to defend their lands from what they view as an Arab threat?
There are many questions and few honest answers.President Obama made a surprise visit to the region, including Israel, as April drew to a close. What was said behind closed doors we wonder? Said face to face so that no prying eyes could see nor ears hear?Reports of Friday's attack vary with some reports still claiming that checial weapons were involved. The Telegrpah reports that "
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has repeatedly warned in recent weeks that Israel
would be prepared to take military action if chemical weapons or other arms were to reach Hezbollah". Of course as far as we are aware they have not reached Hezbollah but were merely suspected of heading out that way.Opinion:Once again America and Israel play the hypocritical game. Both countries have huge arsenals with a range of destructive weapons. Pre-emptive strikes by Israel will be largely ignored by the west but condemned or even lead to military action if launched by a country such as Syria or Russia.
The USA arms Israel to the teeth choosing to class this as a defensive measure. Now that Israel is taking the initiative and launching pre-emptive attacks will America withdraw its weaponery from Israel? Of course not.The whole region which includes Israel and Syris is set to implode or explode. We in the West can pat ourselves on the back and take some responsibility for that. Attempting to bring our politicis to tribal areas, assuming that our ways are always the best, was bound to end in tears. Countries such as Libya are on the brink of civil war, courtesy of western involvement in the Arab Spring.Perhaps we should have let the Arab Spring, a civil war, remain in house. Perhaps we should have done the same with Syria
but we have already overstepped that mark.Sources showing different views of Israel and its attacks follow:The TelegraphAl JazeeraThe American Spectator
Wednesday evening in the UK is that a man has been arrested on suspicion of the Boston Marathon bombings. Fox News in the USA and Sky News in the UK broke the story. Media sources are now waiting for a press conference which the FBI is due to hold.The man arrested on suspicion of the attack is expected to appear before a federal court today. He was seen on CCTV dropping a suspicious looking bag and moving between the two sites of explosions Monday.
According to the BBC
"The breakthrough reportedly came from security video of a man dropping off a bag on the street near the race's finish line, before walking away".Within an hour or so police and federall officials went on record to deny reports of an arrest
Update Wednesday 10.30pm BSTThe FBI press conference is cancelled. Authorities claim they have identified a suspect from CCTV footage but need more time before they hold a conference.Updates will follow..
...........Related reading:Patriot Day Boston, bombs scar day
, includes updatesWorldwide security beefed up following Boston bombingsBoston marathon hit with bombs
The news that Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez had died aged 58 rocked his nation. The outpouring of grief this week is genuine even without comparing it to the pathetic attempts at grief in North Korea, after Kim Jong-Un's father died in 2011.
Chavez rose from poverty to become the most powerful person in Venezuela and one feared by some in the west, notably the USA.
Now that he has died Venezuelans who left the country due to the Chavez take-over set their eyes on their homeland. Many of them cheered the death of Chavez which was a sorry sight to see. Those ousted from Venezuela would have included the corrupt, as in the Cuban revolution. Those people making fortunes on the back of the poor. There will have been innocent casualties too, of course.
The US is sneakily casting side-long glances at the south American country also. Surely the US is interfering in enough countries abroad already? With involvement in, interests in or sanctions against Mali, Somalia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Cuba and North Korea little wonder that the USA has an economic downturn. In truth the USA is wasting money as if it was going out of business, which of course has a ring of truth. Paper money is becoming worthless.
Look online to read a little about the death of Chavez, his life, his rule and his country and it is easy to spot the left, the right and the American.
Once again US hypocrisy is ironic. If it was not so sad it would be hilarious. The USA has shown in the 21st Century that it is happy to suck up to and support any revolutions and rebels that meet with their approval. Revolutionaries in Libya, Egypt and now Syria are being re-classified as official leaders of countries, whether the people want them or not.
On a basic level the US is acting as a busybody nation but on higher level they are attempting to manipulate world events and people for their own ends.
It strikes this writer as both odd and sad that a once great nation, the USA, wants to embrace rebels, such as those in Syria and Libya, but lets old wounds is South American countries, such as Cuba and Venezuela, fester away.
The US sanctions against Cuba have lasted for half a century or more. Respect to that country, its leaders and its people that they have managed to ride out these damaging sanctions.
The US stance on Venezuela, Cuba, Castro and Chavez is all about people power and communism. Capitalist North America still runs scared of the C word. For most of us the C word means cancer and it is fair to say that is how the US views communism.
We all learned years ago that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We learned that from a famous commie. We also learned years ago that Communism does not work as mankind's failings and greed usually defeat the object sooner or later.
Hugo Chavez' regime had tightened its grip on the people of Venezuela in recent years but he still had the support of his people. How many western leaders can claim to have as much support?
The US has supported a brutal regime in Colombia and is happy to do with business with that regime. What was so different about Chavez? Of yes he was a commie.
In December President Obama was re-elected President of the USA, Americans, in some parts of the States began clearing up from super-storm Sandy. Days later a massacre in Sandy Hook elementary school, Newtown Connecticut, left Obama more challenges to face.
20 children and six adults were shot dead by Adam Lanza in Newtown. He then killed himself. America mourned and the world looked on . Many asked, will this dreadful crime finally lead to a change in US gun laws? Today President Obama has unveiled proposals for tackling the escalating incidence of multiple gun murders in the USA
. For all the tears and deaths it would seem that many in the USA still 'love' their weapons. Americans who want to keep their, right to bear arms, appear many things to outsider. Words like nuts, paranoid, unrealistic, insular, scared and more spring to mind. The truth is twisted, turned and manipulated to suit the person's desires.So how did Obama fare in trying to address this problem?
The President tried to appeal to Americans. He spoke sincerly but did the people listen? The NRA, national rifle association, have recently issued repugnant ads. Ads that claim, as those in government
have protection, why shouldn't we? Arguments such as, the politicians are being elitist by having weapon protection and wanting to limit our option to do so. If you need an explanation as to why that is nuts then there is no hope for you.The President has called for criminal checks on those wanting to buy guns and restrictions on some weapons. All relatively minor changes which will seem sensible, assuming that you are not a US citizen. If you are you may see such measures as excessive. The BBC has reported that today Obama signed 23 executive actions, which do not need congressional approval.
These includ an end to a ban on gun-violence research by a prominent federal agency, and a measure promoting responsible gun ownership. And there in lies the rub. Obama may be the President of the USA, but approval for major changes on gun control do not ultimately rest with him. Congress could yet scpper any plans.
Already, today, the NRA commented on the proposals, issuing a statement stating, "Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy,"More hereUpdates will follow in due course..............
Dylan in red
Ahead of President Obama's announcement, on how he may try to address the ease of access to guns in the USA, news channels in the UK carried an interview with the parent's of one of the dead children. British boy Dylan Hockley was six-years-old when he was killed at Sandy Hook elementary school. Hs grieving parents hope that now, at last, America is ready to change its gun laws.Earlier today an op-ed was published on this blog regarding US gun control.
Having read so many excuses for maintaining the status quo in the USA, regarding guns, the latest beggars belief. It comes by way of an email received late tonight. It claims proof that Sandy Hook never happened. This is what it said,
Excerpt from Muad'Dib's January 7th, 2013 Critical Mass Radio interview:
They used a poster child for this to get everybody's sympathy and to get everybody's emotions up so that they could hopefully bring in a gun ban. They used a little poster child, a little blonde-haired blue-eyed six year old girl. She was the face, the poster child. She was supposedly killed along with the other 19 six year olds and seven year olds at Sandy Hook. Three days later Obama was there doing a photo op and she's sitting on his knee. She's supposed to be dead, used as a poster child, this little girl died - she's sitting on Obama's knee three days later. The same little girl.
And then they have her parents interviewed. It shows that they're all actors. It never really happened, because the guy that was supposedly her dad, is shown in the video where he's to the side and he's laughing and joking with other people and then he's called up in front of the camera. He's off to the left. Then he's called to the center, to the focus of the camera to be interviewed and to give his speech about Sandy Hook and about his daughter. And he goes from on the side from laughing and joking with everybody, he comes up to the center and ... he takes the joking, smiling face off and you can see him physically trying to force his face to look sad and then he starts talking about how his daughter's been killed. They're actors. There were no bodies.
It was a made for TV drama to try to ram through the gun control laws, because they want to kill the American people and they can't kill armed people. That's why Hitler disarmed the Germans, it's why Stalin disarmed the Russians, it's why chairman Mao disarmed the Chinese and they killed between them something like 120 million of their own people. And that's what they want to do in America and they can't do it because the people have the Second Amendment and they have guns. So they have to do all of this, and they'll keep doing it. There will be more incidents like this, which are made for television, until they manage to persuade the American people to give up their guns. And then they'll start killing the Americans. Because the Americans are the only people stopping them from doing what they want to do already. They know they can't put their next phase, which is reducing the world's population, they can't put that phase into operation whilst the Americans have got millions! of guns.
So there you have it. Proof that the Sandy Hook massacre did not happen, or proof that America is a mess. A slap in the face for the bereaved and the survivors. In an effort to win their point gun supporters stoop to the lowest point of humanity. If their case is valid why do they have to resort to such nonsense? Guess we all know the answer to that one.
Note: Although the email may be suspect, in the last week we have encountered allegedly sane Americns espousing this and more. Citing sources but, in this digital age information is soon manipulated, often beyond recognition. The fact remains that in the last year America has had more than its fair share of gun massacres,. Why?
The US have been struggling to broker a tax and spending deal which Democrats and Republicans can agree on. The deadline for the so called fiscal cliff, one of many in the US over the years, passed with many Americans being pushed over the edge. As the midnight New Year's Eve deadline passed no agreement was reached. Perhaps it was rather that an agreement was on the
way but not fully agreed and able to be signed into law.What politicians thought Americans and the World would make of this last minute wrangling is unclear. For sure it did not make any of them look more appealing. Many Americans began 2013 with negativity and uncertainty hanging over their heads. The tax hikes kicked in as soon as the deadline was passed, although now that a deal is agreed that will be rescinded.After the Senate passed the deal on Tuesday it was a wait and see period of time until the House of Representatives had their say. The vote came late Tuesday and the deal was passed albeit with a lesser majority than in the Senate.
The bill was passed in the House of Representatives by 257 votes to 167.The BBC reported,
The bill was "just one step in the broader effort to strengthen the economy" said President Obama
After pressure to agree a deal before the Markets opened today after the Christmas break, "Financial markets have responded positively to the move.
In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index opened up 2.1% on Wednesday morning, while South Korea's Kospi added 1.7% and Australia's ASX 200 rose 1.2%.
UK shares jumped 1.5% on opening, German stocks gained by 1.6%, while France's Cac 40 rose 1.4% and Italy's stocks gained 2%."
The Bill, although widely accepted as the best deal possible, is bound to have its attackers. Such is politics. You can never please all of the voters. Both sides have compromised. In the end although Republicans maintained that their efforts had the best interest of the US economy at heart they began to look simply churlish, intent on protecting the more wealthy of society.
Spending cuts will have to be implemented somewhere along the line. Just where the "axe" will fall will take more heated debate. Getting it wrong could lead to a dip in incomes for those who can least afford to take a hit but it could also jeopardise the US economy and ultimately other countries around the world that trade with America.
That said it is estimated that the USA has $17trillion worth of debt. That means that sooner or later something will have to give. Today's Bill only offers respite for the next two months and then that dreaded fiscal cliff will be approached once more.
Two cases which could have led to British men being extradited to the USA have finally drawn to a close this week. We have written about both Gary McKinnon and Richard O'Dwyer in the past and so it is good to be able to write a conclusion to both their cases, especially as it is a positive one.
Richard was supported through his long ordeal by his mother Julia and ultimately Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Richard was accused of copyright infringement in the USA by way of his British website TV Shack. Whether he had committed any crime was open to interpretation and debate.
Online petitions offered support, one receiving £253,000 signatures and the authorities took notice, In the end Richard had to visit the USA and pay up £20,000 in "compensation" to those who were allegedly his "victims". Today finally the news that there will be no further action against Richard and an end to this case.
Below is the update from Change.org, which offers thanks to all of us who tried in even small ways to support Richard
"We're thrilled this ordeal is finally over for Richard and that his extradition has been withdrawn. We may not have convinced the UK Home Office to block the extradition but the US authorities certainly heard your voice and the 253,000 people who joined you in signing Jimmy Wales’ petition on Change.org, without which this outcome would not have been possible so thank you." -- Julia O'Dwyer, Richard's mother
On Wednesday, Richard O'Dwyer's extradition was formally withdrawn at the High Court after an agreement was reached with US authorities in New York, halting Richard's extradition.
This is a fantastic outcome for Richard and his mother Julia, who has campaigned tirelessly for her son over the last 18 months.
You were one of over 253,000 people who signed Jimmy Wales' petition on Change.org calling for the UK Home Office to stop the extradition. Although Theresa May didn't block Richard's extradition, the public support for Jimmy's campaign was noted in negotiations with the US and helped to show the US authorities that their actions won't go unnoticed.
Gary McKinnon was chagred with hacking into military systems in the USA threatening security. He claims that he was merely looking for information online and the hacking was a consequence.
Mr McKinnon has Asperger's Syndrome a form of Autism and his fight against extradition to the US was on safety issues. It was claimed that if he were extradited to the USA he could easily end up committing suicide.
His offences date back to 2002 so Gary has had a long fight. In the end the British government supported his appeal against extradition to the US. Yesterday the UK Crown prosecution announced that Gary will not face any charges in a British court of law. The reason given was that the chance of a conviction were extremly slim. Authorities in the USA have said that they are disappointed at this decision.
Congratulations to both of the men and their families. For them the threat of extradition and possibly a long jail term in the USA is over. An early Merry Christmas
Syria has continued to remain in the news. Some days it is sidelined due to the amount of civil conflicts in 2012. Other days it is at the fore front of any news as the World looks on and the people of Syria remain unable to create peace. At the heart of the country's woes is its regime and the country's leader President Assad. Rebels across the country have been trying to oust the regime since the so called Arab Spring. The ensuing violence has cost many lives and seemed in danger of spilling out affecting other countries.Turkey a huge country so close to Syria and at one time an ally of Assad has been affected. It has huge camps of displaced Syrians held close to the border. Turkey has apparently tried to stay out of the conflict but is gradually been drawn in. Hostile fire has already infringed on Turkish airspace and caused problems.
Whether this was by way of the Assad regime or rather outside forces attempting to interfere in the civil war is not known in truth. There have been many words said about those who support the regime and supply weapons but of course someone is supplying the rebels and ultimately pulling their strings.
In the midst of warmongering there are always the ordinary people just trying to live the brief life we are all given as best they can. Their hardship is great. If and when Assad is ousted hopefully their lot will improve but there are no guarantees.
Egypt once hailed as a shining example of the Arab Spring remains torn. Tomorrow the people will vote on a consitution drawn up by President Morsi. He has given the army powers to ensure that the vote passes peacefully but many fear those powers will be here to stay.
As Morsi was so useful to the West in the recent Palestinian Israeli conflict the West appear to have chosen to ignore some of what is going on in Egypt. What is new I hear you ask? After all the West propped MubareKup in Office until it was convenient to get rid of him. And so on it goes.
This preamble is the lead up to today's news which is that the USA are going to deploy Patriot Missiles along the Turkish Syrian Border. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has been in Turkey shaking hands and signing the US up to more military actiion. Initially it is claimed that it will be as a purely defensive measure but, as they say, watch this space. Such missiles will be useful for the USA in the continued support of the State of Israel.
According to Fox News, "two Patriot air defense missile batteries and 400 American troops will be sent to Turkey as part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization effort to protect Turkish territory from a potential cross-border missile attack by Syria."
On the face of it all right and proper as long as that is as far as it goes. Many countries in the West have now recognized the Syrian rebels as the legitimate regime of Syria. It can be called government but with no elections it just another regime that may or may not have the majority support of the people.
It seems we have learned few lessons from our conflicts and involement in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and more.
Alongside the US batteries German and Dutch ones will operate. Presumably we in the UK will be raring to get in there too. The reason given is a show of force to the Syrian regime. A united we stand face of NATO.
All it will take of course is a Syrian hit on one of these batteries to escalate the situation. The West is gaily destroying much of the Middle East. Perhaps the words should be, is gaily being a part to the destruction of the Middle East.
As austerity bites you would think that we had more important things to spend our money on than death and destruction. However take a step back. In times of economic depression in the 2oth Century along came global wars reducing populations and thinning out the work force. A cycnical view but perhaps not that far from the truth.
Heaven forbiod that Korea launch a missile but of course we are different as we have right and "God on our side"
Shame on them and good luck to the people of Syria, Turkey and the ME.
Do you ever watch shows such as X Factor or American Idol? If you do you will know that the last up each week has the best chance of survival. Our memories are short and the person who performed first is often lost in the anals of our minds.
So what does this have to do with the 2012 election? Well it means that how Mitt Romney and President Obama cope with the fall out from Hurricane Sandy could be crucial to next week's voting.
President Obama is in a no win situation as far as some right wing reporters go. Acting quickly to address the problems raised this week they have accused him of acting too quickly to gain political leverage. Had he been slow to respond he would have been damed for a late response. In truth of course they are trying to spin the situation in favour of their man, Mitt Romney, who is already back on the campaign trail. They will see that the President's impeccable behaviour this week is bad news for the GOP hopeful.
There is no doubting that Sandy could be almost classed as a godsend in an election year. That will sound dreadful. It is but it is true. When Margaret Thatcher was one of the most hated Prime Ministers of the UK she was returned to office on the back of a successful military mission in the Falklands. Such are the mindsets of voters.
There is no way that Obama can be blamed for his actions as he has been doing his job this week to the best of his capabilities. We think that he has been doing a great job in difficult circumstances. That may not be true of Mitt Romney. His gesture of being hands on giving out food hampers was in reality nothing nore than a token gesture. If it was he would have dug his hands deep into his amply stocked pockets and made the mother of all gestures. Millions of dollares of aid from his personal wealth. Better still from his overfull campaign treasure chests.
Instead in a month when the Romney campaign, backed by big business in the USA, out raised President Obama he opted to go back to campaigning in the sunny southern States of the USA. Out of harms way and people suffering whilst attempting to gain the political upperhand. Pathetic.
The GOP campaign will be throwing huge, obscene amounts of money at Romeny's election dream this week. Money that could surely be better spent alleviating the suffering caused by Sandy. Surely after such a long election run up voters have decided who to vote for by now?.
If not and Romney is right those who are just making up their minds should look no further than the President's exceptional efforts this week. He proved he is no G W Bush truning his back on Americans who have been on the receiving end of a natural disaster.
According to the BBC, "Gov Christie, usually one of Mr Obama's fiercest critics, spoke of his "great working relationship" with the Democratic president."I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for the people of our state," said Mr Christie."
So when the going gets tough the weak go to Florida? President Obama on the other hand proved why he should be the man to be elected next President of the USA.
The fall out from US Embassy attacks continues. Early in the week the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya was attacked resulting in the death of an ambassador and three others. It was the 11th anniversary of 9/11. This date could have been highly significant.
Initially it was believed that anger following the youtube posting of a blasphemous film had incited the violence. Innocence of Muslims was created to cause hate. There cannot have been any other reason for producing the film.
Over the following days further protests followed with differing reports of events. Was the initial attack a co-ordinated Al Qaeda event to mark the (/11 anniversary in a different, nasty way or was it spontaneous?
US Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney shamefully utilised the deaths and Middle Eastern violence to shore up his 2012 election campaign. If he was worth his salt he could win the election without below the belt tactics. His smirking face will be remembered by many but it will not win him support.
Today there had been calls for more protests in the Middle East following Friday prayers. Hate of many in the West, especially America and its citizens, has been promoted. When you consider the huge price the West has paid in money and lives in the ME region it is sickening.
We should never forget though that there is a new generation who have never known their country free from foreign invaders. Look at Afghanistan and its ongoing conflict. Foreign troops in that country for over ten years.
Hate of the West is rearing its ugly face. In the West hate is also a problem. Hate of Obama, as preached by some GOP supporters. Hate of Muslims. Hate of Jews. Hate of immigrants. Hate upon hate. We have sowed some bad seeds for the future and te next generation.
In the Sudanese capital Khartoum the German and British embassies have been attacked today.
More than 5,000 protesters were involved. A frightening event for those holed up in the Embassies. Police fired tear gas . At time of writing the attack on the British embassy is ongoing. Both embassies had fires lit in the compounds and flags removed. The US embassy is also fighting off trouble and a mob.
The Pope has embarked on a three-day visit to the Lebanon. The Pope is on a peace mission. He has condemned those supplying weapons in Syria. Presumably this means those supplying the regime and those supplying the insurgents. Syria for now though is on the back burner as the people of countries such as Egypt, The Yemen and Libya rise up once more.
One thing this current outbreak of violence should show Western leaders is that aiding rebels can backfire.
Updates will follow