Learn the Truth About Benghazi Before Syria Vote!

The public deserves to know the facts about the Benghazi massacre in 2012 before approving the bombing of Syria sought by President Obama.

Persistent reports suggest the CIA was using Benghazi last year as a base to smuggle arms and foreign fighters to overthrow Syria’s government.

Was Benghazi President Obama’s version of the Iran-contra scandal?

This background was one of my major themes Sept. 3 during a nearly hour-long interview Sept. 3 on WWL AM/FM of New Orleans regarding my new book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters.

Garland Robinette, a longtime host on the 50,000-watt CBS affiliate, provided a probing interview on the book's substance for some 50-minutes, interrupted by ads and a news break. That is a long session for a general interest station broadcast to five states.

But the Syria War crisis is a pivotal juncture.

Update: Washington Free Beacon, Frank Wolf Asks if Benghazi Site Was Stockpiling Syrian Weapons, Adam Kredo, Sept. 9, 2013. Says the issue has a bearing on congressional debate over Syria strike. See also: Huffington Post, House Greets Syria War Resolution With Intense Skepticism; Vote Could Go Down, Jane Hamsher, Sept. 5, 2013. "Things are looking pretty grim today for the pro-bombing camp in Congress."

We must know the truth about Benghazi before any vote for a dangerous new Mideast war, especially given the sordid history of previous congressional rubber-stamps for war based on exaggerated or false claims. Iraq and Vietnam are previous examples of war based on false evidence: WMDs in 2003; the false claim in 1989 that Saddam Hussein’s forces had killed babies in Kuwait; and the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution authorizing Vietnam escalation. 

My book is a century long history of hidden controls over our presidency, which President Wilson candidly confessed in 1913 upon taking office, albeit without naming names.

Pope Francis Wikimedia CommonsIn this week's interview, I described the book's beginnings as my attempt to solve real-life mysteries years ago as I noticed what appeared to be major gaps in news accounts of important events in Washington and elsewhere around the nation. The research led to astonishing findings about the president and his recent predecessors, I explained. The interview can be heard here.

Updates: Pope Criticizes 'Futile Pursuit' Of Military Solution In Syria, AP via Huffington Post, Nicole Winfield, Sept. 4, 2013. Pope Francis urged the Group of 20 leaders on Thursday to abandon the "futile pursuit" of a military solution in Syria as the Vatican laid out its case for a negotiated settlement that guarantees rights for all minorities, including Christians. In a letter to the G-20 host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Francis lamented that "one-sided interests" had prevailed in Syria, preventing a diplomatic end to the conflict and allowing the continued "senseless massacre" of innocents. Pope Francis is shown at right in a file photo courtesy of Wikimedia and Creative Commons.

Washington Post, Foreign extremists increasingly dominate Syria fight, Liz Sly, Oct. 1, 2013. Syrian resentment at the role of the jihadi volunteers is growing. Conservative estimates put the number of foreign fighters who have entered Syria in the past two years at 6,000 to 10,000, a range that exceeds the number who volunteered to fight U.S. troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.

AP via Washington Post, Syria rebel groups reject Western-backed opposition, Staff report, Sept. 24, 2013. Several Syrian rebel groups, including a powerful al-Qaida-linked faction, said Wednesday they reject the authority of the Western-backed opposition coalition, as U.N. inspectors returned to the country to continue their probe into chemical weapons attacks. In a joint statement, 13 rebel groups led by the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front slammed the Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition, saying it no longer represents their interests.

New York Times, Russia Denounces U.N. Chemical Report on Syria, Steven Lee Myers and Rick Gladstone, Sept. 18, 2013. Russia sharply criticized the new United Nations report on Syria’s chemical arms use on Wednesday as biased and incomplete, hardening the Kremlin’s defense of the Syrian government even while pressing ahead with a plan to disarm its arsenal of the internationally banned weapons. The Russians also escalated their critiques of Western governments’ interpretations of the United Nations report, which offered the first independent confirmation of a large chemical weapons assault on Aug. 21 on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, that asphyxiated hundreds of civilians. Although the report did not assign blame for that assault to one side or the other in Syria’s civil war, analyses of some of the evidence it presented point directly at elite military forces loyal to Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad.

New York Times, Forensic Details in U.N. Report Point to Assad’s Use of Gas, Rick Gladstone and C.J. Chivers, Sept. 16, 2013. A United Nations report released on Monday confirmed that a deadly chemical arms attack caused a mass killing in Syria last month and for the first time provided extensive forensic details of the weapons used, which strongly implicated the Syrian government. While the report’s authors did not assign blame for the attack on the outskirts of Damascus, the details it documented included the large size and particular shape of the munitions and the precise direction from which two of them had been fired. Taken together, that information appeared to undercut arguments by President Bashar al-Assad of Syria that rebel forces, who are not known to possess such weapons or the training or ability to use them, had been responsible.

Zero Hedge, Meet Saudi Arabia's Bandar bin Sultan: The Puppetmaster Behind The Syrian War, Tyler Durden, Aug. 27, 2013. Yesterday the Telegraph's Evans-Pritchard dug up a note that we had posted almost a month ago, relating to the "secret" meeting between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Saudi's influential intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan met with Putin and regaled him with gifts, including a multi-billion arms deal and a promise that Saudi is "ready to help Moscow play a bigger role in the Middle East at a time when the United States is disengaging from the region," if only Putin would agree to give up his alliance with Syria's al-Assad. What was not emphasized by the Telegraph is that Putin laughed at the proposal and brushed aside the Saudi desperation by simply saying "nyet." However, what neither the Telegraph, nor we three weeks ago, picked up on, is what happened after Putin put Syria in its place. We now know, and it's a doozy.

We shall explore these topics here in depth further in future blogs.

 

 
 
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Update

Reuters, U.S., Britain suspend aid to north Syria after Islamists seize weapons store, Dasha Afanasieva and Humeyra Pamuk, Dec. 11, 2013. The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria after Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in the wrong hands and the general chaos engulfing the nation. The rebel Free Syrian Army fighting President Bashar al-Assad said the U.S. and British moves were rushed and mistaken. "We hope our friends will rethink and wait for a few days when things will be clearer," FSA spokesman Louay Meqdad said. The suspension underlines a crisis for the FSA leadership which needs international backing to reinforce its credibility and to stop its fighters joining powerful al Qaeda-backed Islamist militants who now dominate the war with Assad. The United States and Britain have in the past offered radios, body armor, medical supplies, money and food to rebels fighting Assad, but a U.S. embassy spokesman in Turkey declined to give details of what supplies may have been halted. Fighters from the Islamic Front, which groups six major rebel brigades and which said last week it had quit the FSA, seized headquarters of the Syrian Military Council, nominally in charge of the FSA, and weapons warehouses at the Bab al-Hawa crossing on Syria's northwestern border with Turkey. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based anti-Assad monitoring group, said the Islamic Front had seized dozens of 'Shilka' anti-aircraft weapons and anti-tank rockets from the SMC arms stores in fighting on Friday and Saturday. The Islamic Front's battlefield success in capturing the weapons stores could undermine SMC assurances to the United States that no supplies sent to their fighters would fall into the hands of Islamist brigades.

Democracy Now! via OpEdNews, Seymour Hersh: Obama "Cherry-Picked" Intelligence on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike, Amy Goodman, Dec. 10, 2013. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh (below right) joins us to discuss his new article casting doubt on the veracity of the Obama administration's claims that only the Assad regime could have carried out the chemical attacks in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta earlier this year. AMY GOODMAN:  Lay out your case for what it is that the Obama administration did or didn't tell us. SEYMOUR HERSH: Actually, Amy, it's really not my case; it's the case of people in the administration who believe when they -- when they take the oath, they take the oath of office to the Constitution and not to their immediate general or admiral or not to the -- or not to the president even. It's about truth.... There's -- it's a real rebel war there, civil war. And the point was that at no Seymour Hershtime did the United States ever consider al-Nusra to be a potential target of investigation. They were simply excluded from the conversation. And the narrative was Bashar did it. And it was bought by the mainstream press, as we all know, and by most people in the world. And this is why, you know, creepy troublemakers like me stay in business.

FireDoglake, Seymour Hersh: Obama Administration Cherry-Picked Syria Intelligence, Avoided Al-Qaeda Connection, DS Wright, Dec. 9, 2013. In a piece that was rejected by both the New Yorker and Washington Post, legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, right, writes that the Obama Administration cherry-picked Syria intelligence and that President Barack Obama misled the American public on the case that the Assad regime were the ones guilty of using sarin gas. Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack

London Review of Books, Whose sarin? Seymour M. Hersh, Dec. 8, 2013. Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack.

 

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Washington Free Beacon, Frank Wolf Asks if Benghazi Site Was Stockpiling Syrian Weapons, Adam Kredo, Sept. 9, 2013. Says the issue has a bearing on congressional debate over Syria strike. A top congressional appropriator suggested on Monday evening that the State Department and CIA might have been stockpiling weapons for Syrian opposition fighters when they came under attack by jihadists in Benghazi, Libya. “I firmly believe that whatever the State Department and CIA were doing in Benghazi had a direct connection to U.S. policy in Syria — a policy that to date has not been fully revealed to the American people or Congress,” Rep. Frank Wolf (R., VA) said on Monday evening during a discussion focusing on “unanswered questions” surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed four Americans. “Were these rebels being armed with weapons collected in Benghazi?” Wolf asked, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. “Again, there is reason to believe this may be the case and a clear explanation is warranted.” The issue has a direct bearing on Congress’ debate about military intervention in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad stands accused of using chemical weapons. “Given the pending request for authorization to use military force in Syria, it is more important than ever that the Congress understand U.S. support and assistance to Syrian rebels and whether groups responsible for the American deaths in Benghazi may have been at the same time benefiting from U.S. assistance in Syria,” Wolf said.

AP via Washington Post, Obama, top advisers work to persuade public and Congress to back action on Syria, Staff report, Sept. 8,  2013. President Barack Obama is hitting the airwaves to try to convince Americans that limited strikes against Syria are needed for the United States’ long-term safety. “It is not Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya,” White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said Sunday during one of his five network television interviews. “This is a very concerned, concentrated, limited effort that we can carry out and that can underscore and secure our interests.” But McDonough conceded the administration lacks “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence” that skeptical Americans, including lawmakers who will start voting on military action this week, are seeking. “It’s an uphill slog,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who supports strikes on Assad. “I think it’s very clear he’s lost support in the last week,” Rogers added, speaking of the president.

Telegraph, Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Aug. 27, 2013. Saudi Arabia has secretly offered Russia a sweeping deal to control the global oil market and safeguard Russia’s gas contracts, if the Kremlin backs away from the Assad regime in Syria. The revelations come amid high tension in the Middle East, with US, British, and French warship poised for missile strikes in Syria. Iran has threatened to retaliate. The strategic jitters pushed Brent crude prices to a five-month high of $112 a barrel. “We are only one incident away from a serious oil spike. The market is a lot tighter than people think,” said Chris Skrebowski, editor of Petroleum Review. Leaked transcripts of a closed-door meeting between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan shed an extraordinary light on the hard-nosed Realpolitik of the two sides.

National Interest, Brzezinski on the Syria Crisis, Zbigniew Brzezinski, June 24, 2013. Editor’s Note: Following is an interview by Jacob Heilbrun with Zbigniew Brzezinski, right, former White House national-security adviser under Jimmy Carter and now a counselor and trustee at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a senior research professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Robert HurtWar Is A Crime, Video: Forum on Preventing an Attack on Syria; Try this in your town! David Swanson, Videos filmed by Les Solomon, Sept. 5, 2013. Here is a local forum on Syria held last night in Charlottesville Va. and posted in nine videos available here. he Charlottesville Forum on Preventing a U.S. Attack on Syria was held in Charlottesville Virginia at the Friends Meeting House on Sept. 4, 2013. Speakers included: David Swanson, John Whitehead, Helena Cobban, Roy Hange, and Dave Norris, with lots of public discussion. Congressman Robert Hurt's Director of Outreach was present, and in Video #8 a member of the audience asks him to respond to what he's heard. Congressman Hurt himself agreed the next morning to meet with the organizers of this event at his Charlottesville office The event was sponsored by War Is A Crime.org, Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, Amnesty International Charlottesville, Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine. Overcoming reservations from the left, the right and the American public, a Senate committee Wednesday passed a resolution to bomb Syria in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons. The event was sponsored by WarIsACrime.org, Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, Amnesty International Charlottesville, Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine.

Update: War Is A Crime, Congressman Robert Hurt (R., Va.) Not Convinced by Case to Attack Syria, David Swanson, Sept. 5, 2013. Here in rural Virginia, we switch between Democrats and Republicans, but they all vote for war ... until now.  Our recently unseated Congress member, Tom Periello, is rallying humanitarian warriors to bomb nations because we care.  His replacement, Robert Hurt, met with a group of constituents on Thursday and indicated that he had "grave, grave concerns" about voting for any attack on Syria. Hurt said he was inclined to believe that Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack on the 21st and that it was indeed "horrific."  "That being said, I have grave concerns about going into Syria," Hurt said at the meeting in his Charlottesville, Va., office, which was attended by constituents from across the political spectrum, many of whom had held a forum the night before (video).

FireDogLake, Congressional Vote on Syria Whip Count, Jane Hamsher, Sept. 5, 2013. Things are looking pretty grim today for the pro-bombing camp in Congress. Firedoglake’s latest whip count indicates that there are 94 firm “nay” votes and 99 “lean nay,” which means the world of potential “nay” votes is approaching the magic 217 votes needed to stop passage. Nobody believes that all of those votes are firm — Betty McCollum, who had previously been a solid “no” vote, became the first to publicly cave and sign on to the Van Hollen/Connelly bill that authorizes bombing for a limited time but prevents boots on the ground. But it does mean that the White House has an uphill battle to get to 217, considering they only have 30 firm “yea” votes, with 33 leaning “yea.  Moreover, the majority of those in the “nay” universe are Republican, a group of people the White House has notoriously little sway over.

IPaul Craig Robertsnstitute for Political Economy, How to Stop Obama's Military Aggression Against Syria, Paul Craig Roberts, left, Sept. 5, 2013. Many are asking what can be done to stop the pending US attack on Syria. Two things can be done:

One is for the US Congress to realize that it does not save America's face for Congress to endorse a policy that has been rejected by the rest of the world, including Washington's closest ally, Great Britain. For Congress to endorse what the UN Secretary General and the President of Russia have made unequivocally clear would be a war crime under international law harms, not rescues, America's reputation. Doing the wrong thing to save face does not succeed.

The second thing that can be done to stop the attack is for most other countries in the world to add their clear unequivocal statements to those of the UN General Secretary and President Putin that an American attack on Syria that is not authorized by the UN Security Council is a war crime.

USAWatchdog, Time toTell these Crooks they’re Fired -- Karen Hudes, Greg Hunter, Aug. 28, 2013. World Bank attorney Karen Hudes says she is one of a group of global whistleblowers. Hudes contends, “We’re running out of time. It’s time to tell these thugs and crooks that they’re fired.” Hudes goes on to say, “We don’t have to wait for anybody to fire the Fed or Bank for International Settlements . . . some states have already started to recognize silver and gold, the precious metals, as currency . . . there are other alternatives like Bitcoin . . . We, the consumer, can choose which currency to use, and that’s what we’re going to do in very short order.” What’s really going on in Syria? Hudes, who was Senior Counsel and worked at the World Bank for 20 years, charges, “Qatar, who has all this natural gas, wanted to run a natural gas pipeline through Syria to reach the European market. Who’s supplying the European market with gas? Russia. . . . All this business about dead babies and sarin gas is just all to keep us confused.”  Hudes says this is not a fight about money but survival of the planet.

Related News Coverage

U.S. Congress

FireDogLake, Guilty! UN Report on Syria Does Not Say What John Kerry Says It Said, Peter Van Buren, Sept. 20, 2013. Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, 'We Meant Well'. The UN released its report on chemical weapons use in Syria. You can read it here. It’s not that long, just some forty pages including legal appendices. John Kerry says it confirms that the Assad regime fired the gas rockets. Unfortunately, that is not what the actual report says. In a court, Kerry’s case might be seen as circumstantial at best, certainly not enough for a jury to return a guilty verdict in a murder trial. The problem is that the report does not confirm anything other than chemical weapons were used. The U.S. is wholly misrepresenting facts in favor of another Middle East war. Unlike a fictional murder trial where one man’s life is on the line, should the U.S. attack Syria many, many people will lose their lives.

Huffington Post, House Greets Syria War Resolution With Intense Skepticism; Vote Could Go Down, Ryan Grim and Zach Carter, Sept. 5, 2013. This sucker could go down. And unlike the Wall Street bailout, there is unlikely to be a do-over. A resolution authorizing military force against Syria barely made it out of the hawkish Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- with the majority of Republicans opposing it -- and now is facing withering skepticism in Congress. While the Senate appears poised to come to some type of agreement, the "People's House," as it is known, is showing much more reluctance to approve the deeply unpopular bombing resolution. "Peace may well have a chance," said one top House GOP aide. Public opinion surveys have been reflected in the outpouring of calls, emails and letters that have flooded House offices, running, say lawmakers, at more than 9 to 1 against intervention. The opposition spans the political spectrum.

Agonist, Senate vote gives Obama 60 days to attack Syria, Michael Collins, Sept. 5, 2013. The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved a modified version of President Obama's authorization to attack Syria on Tuesday, September 4.  Remarkably, the resolution gives the president sixty days to attack Syria.  It doesn't place any limits on the type of attack, although cruise missiles have been mentioned frequently.  The sixty days is far beyond what the White House floated as their target time frame.  The administration spoke of a few days worth of cruise missile attacks.  The resolution gives the president nearly two months to bomb and strafe Syria, a nation that has not attacked or threatened to attack the United States or its allies.

Washington Post, Prospects for Syria resolution dimming in House, Aaron Blake and Sean Sullivan,  Sept. 4, 2013.Over the last two days, scores of members have expressed their opposition to the use of force in Syria.

Washington Post, Obama, in Stockholm, says that on Syria, ‘the international community cannot be silent,’ Philip Rucker and Will Englund, Sept. 4, 2013. President Obama took his campaign for a punitive military strike against Syria overseas on Wednesday, declaring that “the international community cannot be silent” and that its credibility is on the line as his request for congressional approval of such action moved ahead in the Senate. But Obama faced fresh resistance from Russia, Syria’s stalwart patron, as President Vladi­mir Putin asserted that the West’s case against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with respect to his regime’s alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians is “absurd” and does not stand up to scrutiny.
 
Washington Post, Obama’s decision to turn to Congress on Syria decision is fodder for debate, Karen DeYoung, Sept. 4, 2013. Harry S. Truman went to war in Korea. Ronald Reagan bombed Libya and invaded Grenada. George H.W. Bush invaded Panama. Bill Clinton fired cruise missiles at targets in Sudan and Afghanistan and sent troops to Haiti and bombers to Kosovo. Barack Obama bombed Libya (again).All of these military actions were ordered without seeking authorization from the legislative branch and sometimes even without prior notification.

Robert MenedezJohn McCainHuffington Post, Senate Committee Votes Yes On Syria Resolution To Bomb Assad, Michael McAuliff, Sabrina Siddiqui, Sept. 4, 2013. Overcoming reservations from the left, the right and the American public, a Senate committee Wednesday passed a resolution to bomb Syria in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons. In a delayed markup of a resolution to authorize the use of military force, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10 to 7, with one present, to let President Barack Obama mount a bombing campaign aimed at the Syrian regime's weapons of mass destruction for up to 90 days, albeit within a more limited scope than Obama had requested. Specifically, the committee included language that would prohibit the use of U.S. troops on the ground "for the purpose of combat operations.' Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NM), left, led the fight for approval.

AP via Huffington Post, John McCain Does Not Back Senate's Syria Resolution, Staff report, Sept. 4, 2013. Sen. John McCain, right, says he doesn't support the latest Senate resolution to authorize military force against Syria. McCain is an outspoken advocate of intervention against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime and wants more than cruise missile strikes and other limited action.

FireDogLake, Preliminary Whip List – War With Syria, Jane Hamsher, Sept. 2, 2013. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) is one of two Senate Democrats that openly oppose military intervention in Syria. Thanks to everyone for their help over the weekend in putting together a preliminary whip list. Below is a chart of the results. It is by no means definitive. We are still searching for public statements. The Senate is basically a lost cause — the only Democrats I could find who openly oppose action in Syria are Mark Begich (D-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), and there is more than enough Republican support to get to 60 votes. The battle is going to be in the House. In deciding whether to assign someone to a “committed vote” or “leaning,” I looked for firm statements of opposition before calling someone “committed.” If they left any wiggle room I assigned them to “leaning.”

Washington Post, Putin warns against Syria strike, wants more proof, Will Englund, Sept. 4, 2013. One eve of summit, the Russian leader downplays souring of relations with U.S. and questions evidence on Syria.

AP/The Huffington Post, John McCain: Congressional Vote Against Military Action In Syria Would Be 'Catastrophic,' Sept. 2, 2013. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned that a Congressional vote against military action in Syria would be "catastrophic." McCain sounded the warning after he and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) met with President Barack Obama on Monday. McCain made similar claims on Sunday, before his meeting with the president. Graham said he feels there is a "solid plan" from the Obama administration to "upgrade the opposition" in Syria. McCain agreed but still cited "concerns."

Washington Post, Kerry, Hagel lay out strike objectives, Anne Gearan and Ed O’Keefe, Sept. 4, 2013. Obama administration officials told lawmakers Tuesday that a military strike against Syria would “degrade” the country’s ability to carry out attacks — the most specific military objective they have laid out yet — but faced sharp questions about whether such an operation would accomplish much.

Washington Post, Kerry, Hagel lay out strike objectives, Anne Gearan and Ed O’Keefe, Sept. 4, 2013. Obama administration officials told lawmakers Tuesday that a military strike against Syria would “degrade” the country’s ability to carry out attacks — the most specific military objective they have laid out yet — but faced sharp questions about whether such an operation would accomplish much.

FireDogLake, AIPAC Endorses War With Syria, Will Help Obama Lobby Congress, DSWright, Sept. 4, 2013. Pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC has decided to endorse President Obama’s military attack on Syria apparently unconcerned about a wider war threatening Israeli interests. According to AIPAC’s statement, part of the motivation for support are concerns over Iran developing a nuclear weapon.

Washington Post, House leaders back Obama on Syria strike, Karen Tumulty, David Nakamura and William Branigin, Sept. 3, 2013. House Speaker Boehner says he will support the president and encourage colleagues to do the same.

Daily Caller, Verify chemical weapons use before unleashing the dogs of war, Kenneth Timmerman, Aug. 29, 2013. The Obama administration has selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes on Syria, former military officers with access to the original intelligence reports say, in a manner that goes far beyond what critics charged the Bush administration of doing in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war.

Washington Post, Do we have a ‘responsibility to protect’ the Syrian people? Michael Abramowitz, Sept. 6, 2013. One foreign policy doctrine says yes. Michael Abramowitz, a former Washington Post reporter and editor, is director of the Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He was a member of the Working Group on the Responsibility to Protect, co-chaired by Madeleine K. Albright and Richard S. Williamson.  Yet there is one person who has studiously avoided invoking R2P: President Obama. When making the case for airstrikes, he has stressed the need to enforce the worldwide ban on the use and production of chemical weapons. “When there’s a breach this brazen of a norm this important, and the international community is paralyzed and frozen and doesn’t act, then that norm begins to unravel,” Obama warned in a Friday news conference at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg.

Washington Post, Obama administration had restrictions on NSA reversed in 2011, Ellen Nakashima, Sept. 7, 2013. The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases, according to interviews with government officials and recently declassified material.

Washington Post, How a small debt  becomes a big problem, Michael Sallah, Debbie Cenziper. Sept. 7, 2013. Part One. A Post investigation finds that out-of-town investors buy D.C. tax liens, tack on hefty fees and, in many cases, move to seize homes.

AP via Huffington Post, Pope Criticizes 'Futile Pursuit' Of Military Solution In Syria, Nicole Winfield, Sept. 4, 2013. Pope Francis urged the Group of 20 leaders on Thursday to abandon the "futile pursuit" of a military solution in Syria as the Vatican laid out its case for a negotiated settlement that guarantees rights for all minorities, including Christians. In a letter Thursday to the G-20 host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Francis lamented that "one-sided interests" had prevailed in Syria, preventing a diplomatic end to the conflict and allowing the continued "senseless massacre" of innocents.

FireDogLake, Putin Calls Kerry a Liar as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Says America Will ‘Suffer Loss’ in Syria,  DSWright, Sept. 5, 2013. The attempt by the Obama Administration to bring the international community together for a war on Syria is not going well. First the UN refused to support the action, then the British Parliament balked, and now Russia and Iran are starting to heat up the rhetoric used to oppose the war. Russian President Vladimir Putin has outright called Secretary of State John Kerry a liar over his testimony to Congress on chemical attacks in Syria.

Huffington Post, Top 10 Unproven Claims for War Against Syria, Dennis Kucinich, Sept. 5, 2013. In the lead-up to the Iraq War, I researched, wrote and circulated a document to members of Congress which explored unanswered questions and refuted President Bush's claim for a cause for war. The document detailed how there was no proof Iraq was connected to 9/11 or tied to al Qaeda's role in 9/11, that Iraq neither had WMDs nor was it a threat to the U.S., lacking intention and capability to attack. Unfortunately, not enough members of Congress performed due diligence before they approved the war. Here are some key questions which President Obama has yet to answer in the call for congressional approval for war against Syria. This article is a call for independent thinking and congressional oversight, which rises above partisan considerations.  The questions the Obama administration needs to answer before Congress can even consider voting on Syria: Claim #1. The administration claims a chemical weapon was used.

OpEd News, All Scrubbed Up, Nowhere to Show, Robert Parry, Sept. 4, 2013. Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the U.S. "intelligence community has scrubbed and rescrubbed the evidence" proving that the Syrian government launched a poison gas attack on Aug. 21, but this supposedly spotless data is still being withheld from the American people. So, just a little more than a decade after President George W. Bush misled the nation into a disastrous war in Iraq, President Barack Obama and his team are trying to sell a new war with Syria by presenting even fewer details. Members of Congress also are reprising their roles from 2002-2003, displaying almost no skepticism as they get "classified" glimpses of this well-scrubbed intelligence. And, the mainstream press has slid into the same careless acceptance of U.S. government proclamations as fact, just as it did a decade ago. 

Infowars, Is The United States Going To Go To War With Syria Over A Natural Gas Pipeline?  Michael Snyder, Sept. 4, 2013. Why has the little nation of Qatar spent 3 billion dollars to support the rebels in Syria? Could it be because Qatar is the largest exporter of liquid natural gas in the world and Assad won’t let them build a natural gas pipeline through Syria? Of course. Qatar wants to install a puppet regime in Syria that will allow them to build a pipeline which will enable them to sell lots and lots of natural gas to Europe. Why is Saudi Arabia spending huge amounts of money to help the rebels and why has Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan been “jetting from covert command centers near the Syrian front lines to the Élysée Palace in Paris and the Kremlin in Moscow, seeking to undermine the Assad regime”? Well, it turns out that Saudi Arabia intends to install their own puppet government in Syria which will allow the Saudis to control the flow of energy through the region. On the other side, Russia very much prefers the Assad regime for a whole bunch of reasons. One of those reasons is that Assad is helping to block the flow of natural gas out of the Persian Gulf into Europe, thus ensuring higher profits for Gazprom. Now the United States is getting directly involved in the conflict. If the U.S. is successful in getting rid of the Assad regime, it will be good for either the Saudis or Qatar (and possibly for both), and it will be really bad for Russia. This is a strategic geopolitical conflict about natural resources, religion and money, and it really has nothing to do with chemical weapons at all.

Sibel Edmonds, MSNBC Censors NSA Whistleblower Russ Tice Minutes Before Interview, June 21, 2013. “We Don’t Want a Word on Your Allegations Pertaining to NSA Wiretapping of Obama, Judges  & Activists” On June 19, Boiling Frogs Post broke the news on the NSA’s targeting of political candidates, elected officials, federal judges, law firms and activists, including candidate Barack Obama, revealed by veteran NSA officer and whistleblower Russ Tice.

Info Wars, Rush Limbaugh Suspects Obama Conspired With Al-Qaeda to Frame Bashar al-Assad, Julie Wilson, Sept. 3, 2013. If true, this is the setup of all time,” says Limbaugh. Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh acknowledges building evidence that the chemical weapons attack in Syria was staged to frame President Bashar al-Assad. On Tuesday’s broadcast of the Rush Limbaugh show, the talk show host acknowledged reports from the Associated Press that the admitted intelligence on Syria’s chemical weapons attack was “no slam dunk.” He also announced he believes Obama may have been “complicit” in the attack and possibly helped plan it.

War Is A Crime, Who the Missiles Will Hurt, David Swanson, Sept. 3, 2013. Believe it or not -- after John McCain played video games on his phone during a hearing on bombing Syria, and Eleanor Holmes Norton said she'd only vote to bomb Syria out of loyalty to Obama -- there are decent people in the United States government who mean well and take their responsibilities seriously. One of them, who works on actual humanitarian aid (as opposed to humanitarian bombs) spoke to me. He said that, beyond those who will inevitably be killed by U.S. missiles in Syria, and those who will die in the escalated violence that is very likely to follow, a great many additional people may suffer for reasons we aren't paying attention to.

Guardian, Obama, Congress and Syria, Glenn Greenwald, Sept. 3, 2013. The president is celebrated for seeking a vote on his latest war even as his aides make clear it has no binding effect. It's a potent sign of how low the American political bar is set that gratitude is expressed because a US president says he will ask Congress to vote before he starts bombing another country that is not attacking or threatening the US. That the US will not become involved in foreign wars of choice without the consent of the American people through their representatives Congress is a central mandate of the US Constitution, not some enlightened, progressive innovation of the 21st century. George Bush, of course, sought Congressional approval for the war in Iraq (though he did so only once it was clear that Congress would grant it: I vividly remember watching then-Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Joe Biden practically begging the Bush White House to "allow" Congress to vote on the attack while promising in advance that they would approve for it). But what makes the celebratory reaction to yesterday's announcement particularly odd is that the Congressional vote which Obama said he would seek appears, in his mind, to have no binding force at all.

Story Leak, Brzezinski: ‘Global Political Awakening’ Making Syrian War Difficult, Mikael Thalen,  Aug. 29, 2013. During a short interview with Germany’s DW News last Monday, former US National Security Adviser and Trilateral Commission co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski commented on the growing inefficiency of war due to the increased political knowledge of the public. Brzezinski-global-awakening-news“Given the contemporary reality of what I have called in my writings ‘Global Political Awakening,’ a policy of force based primarily on Western and in some cases former colonial powers does not seem to me a very promising avenue to an eventual solution to the regional problem,” said Brzezinski, referring to the situation in Syria.

Washington Times, Syrian rebels used Sarin nerve gas, not Assad’s regime: U.N. official, Shaun Waterman, May 6, 2013. Testimony from victims strongly suggests it was the rebels, not the Syrian government, that used Sarin nerve gas during a recent incident in the revolution-wracked nation, a senior U.N. diplomat said Monday. Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels seeking to oust Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad had used the nerve agent.

Foreign Leaders

Vladimir PutinUSA Today, Putin calls Kerry a liar on Syria, David Jackson, Sept. 5, 2013. Things aren't exactly warming up between the Obama administration and Vladimir Putin, even as President Obama arrived in St. Petersburg for the G-20 summit. Putin called Obama Secretary of State John Kerry a liar over Kerry's testimony this week before Congress. The question may be al-Qaeda's influence on the Syrian rebels, an issue Kerry has downplayed.

Speaking to his human rights council Wednesday, Putin said, "This was very unpleasant and surprising for me. We talk to them (the Americans), and we assume they are decent people, but he is lying and he knows that he is lying. This is sad." Putin has criticized Obama administration claims that Bashar Assad's government attacked the rebels with chemical weapons.

Global Research, Rattling the Sabre on Syria: Time to Cut Through Media Disinformation, Staff report, Sept. 5, 2013. The headlines of both mainstream and alternative media are replete with ever-evolving news on Syria. The world is holding its breath in terror, with many taking to the streets in protest and others working hard to ensure the truth on Syria reaches as many people as possible in an effort to prevent what would undeniably be a catastrophic war.

Barack Obama Reinfeldt 9-5-13At left, President Barack Obama and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt look out a window of Rosenbad prior to their bilateral meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, Sept. 4, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.) Editor's Note: President Obama was unable to win Sweden's public support, at least currently, for the bombing campaign Obama seeks against Syria. Reinfeldt leads Sweden's conservative party, which is formally called the Moderate Party. Longtime Bush family operative and White House aide Karl Rove has been an adviser to the Moderate Party and Reinfeldt.

FireDogLake, AIPAC Endorses War With Syria, Will Help Obama Lobby Congress, DSWright, Sept. 4, 2013. Pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC has decided to endorse President Obama’s military attack on Syria apparently unconcerned about a wider war threatening Israeli interests. According to AIPAC’s statement, part of the motivation for support are concerns over Iran developing a nuclear weapon.

New York Times, French Release Intelligence Tying Assad Government to Chemical Weapons, Scott Sayare, Sept. 2, 2013. The French government sought to bolster the case for military action against Syria on Monday, releasing a declassified summary of French intelligence that ties President Bashar al-Assad’s government to the apparent use of chemical weapons outside Damascus last month.

Guardian, Defiant Assad challenges west over chemical weapons evidence, Kim Willsher, Sept. 2, 2013. Bashar al-Assad warns military intervention in Syria could spark a 'regional war' and claims 'Middle East is a powder keg. Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, has challenged the west to come up with "a single piece" of evidence that he has used chemical weapons. He warned that any military intervention in Syria could spark a "regional war." "The Middle East is a powder keg, and today the fuse is getting shorter," he said in an exclusive interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro. Assad's interview came just two days before the French parliament is due to debate Syria and the possibility of military intervention against Damascus in response to the chemical weapons attack. The Syrian president warned: "Whoever contributes to the reinforcing of terrorists, financially and militarily, is an enemy of the Syrian people.

Leakers, Prosecutions, Civil Liberties

Guardian: Jailed activist Barrett Brown to fight government attempt at media gag order, Ed Pilkington, Sept. 4, 2013. Federal prosecutors will attempt to place a gag order on the jailed activist-journalist Barrett Brown and his legal team on Wednesday that would prevent them from talking to the media about his prosecution. The US attorney Sarah Saldana will call on the federal court for the northern district of Texas, in Dallas, to impose a stringent gagging order on Brown and his lawyers. Brown faces up to 100 years in prison for alleged offences relating to his work exposing online surveillance. In legal papers lodged with the court last month, the government asked the judge to instruct the defense to refrain from making "any statement to members of any television, radio, newspaper, magazine, internet (including, but not limited to, bloggers), or other media organization about this case."Washington Post, Putin warns against Syria strike, wants more proof, Will Englund, Sept. 4, 2013. One eve of summit, the Russian leader downplays souring of relations with U.S. and questions evidence on Syria.

FireDogLake, Manning Lawyer Submits Request for Presidential Pardon from Obama, Kevin Gosztola, Sept. 4, 2013. The civilian defense attorney for Pvt. Bradley Manning, who now goes by Chelsea Manning, has filed an application for a presidential pardon or commutation of Manning’s sentence. 

Washington Post, Jeff Bezos to his future Washington Post journalists: Put the readers first, Paul Farhi and Craig Timberg,  Sept. 4, 2013. Jeffrey P. Bezos had a simple bit of advice for the staff of the newspaper he’ll soon own: Put readers, not advertisers, first. Don’t write to impress each other. And above all, “Don’t be boring.”