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Thursday, May 31, 2012

"UN report on Houla massacre? But they only talk to Syrian opposition – by phone’


"The Houla massacre is to be brought to a rare gathering of the UN Human Rights Council. But what kind of findings will the council be presented? Anti-war campaigner Marinella Corregia is concerned UN observers only question opposition activists.
The meeting, set for Friday, has been called by 21 of the 47 council members. The request was officially submitted by Qatar, Turkey, the US, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Denmark and the EU.
The UN top human rights body says most of the 108 victims of the massacre in the Syrian town of Houla were summarily executed – while less than 20 killings “can be attributed to artillery and tank fire.”
It also appears that entire families were shot in their homes. Local residents have blamed the executions on Shabbiya, a paramilitary group that "essentially supports the government forces," says Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN Human Rights Council.
UN Human Rights Council ‘own’ sources?What worries Marinella Corregia, an activist from the "No War Network," is the sources the UN Human Rights Council uses to draw their reports, as their opinions do not seem in accord with UN monitors’ prudence. General Robert Mood, who heads the observing mission, has not yet pointed to anyone for the killings. (CONTRARY to what western media' claims!)
'... Circumstances are still unclear!... '
Marinella Corregia called the Council spokesman, Rupert Colville, to get some answers. This is the conversation they had as reported by the peace activist:
Marinella Corregia: Who spoke with the local people you quote? The UN observers?
Rupert Colville: The UN observers are another body.
MC: So which witness sources do you have and how did you speak with them?
RC: Our local network, whom we spoke on the phone. I cannot say more; I have to protect them.
MC: How could they recognize that the killers were Shabbiya? Weren’t their faces covered?
RC: Our local contacts in Syria say they were Shabbiya. Try to be less cynical.
MC: But no doubt from your side? It seems that many of the children were from Alawite pro-government families
RC: We are asking for an investigation. I don’t say we are certain. We have also been asking for international investigations for the past months in Syria; but it has never been done and that is why we rely on our sources.
MC: So it is not the UN that says that pro-government groups killed the children, it is your sources saying that.
RC: Yes, many people, our sources point the finger at the Shabbiya [militia group].
More questions than answers as Houla investigation continuesBut who are these contacts? Corregia says that so far the UN Council on Human Rights used reports made up by their own commission of three envoys, working independently from UN monitors. The commission has never set foot on Syrian soil; their sources, as listed by the anti-war campaigner, appear to be: “the opposition groups [the UN Human Rights Council] spoke to on the phone; the opposition they met in Turkey; and other ‘activists’ they met in Geneva.”
So the bottom line: no actual witnesses!” points out Marinella Corregia, who is sure the body treats the Houla incident “just the same way.”
Houla reports filed so far stand no criticism, continues the activist, – instead of giving answers, they just raise more questions:
Who talked to the residents, since the UN Human Rights Council is in Geneva? Are they true residents or the ones like the face-covered lady interviewed by Al Jazeera? The ‘survivor’ in question says she was hiding as her children were being slaughtered – how is it possible that a mother hides at a moment like this?
How was it possible that immediately after “Shabbiya” and the “army’s artillery” accomplished the massacre people were not afraid to collect bodies, film them and then send the video to international media?”..."

International Bureau of Double Standards—The CNN/Iran File

Another great video from Anthony Lawson:

This video looks at a CNN documentary (April, 2012 with repeats) about the Iran nuclear issue, and examines the role of the mainstream media in keeping the public uninformed about the real problem-nation in the Middle East: Nuclear-armed, Apartheid Israel.

Comments with abusive or insulting language will not be approved, including accusations of Hate Speech and/or anti-Semitism.

The original CNN programme “A Nuclear Iran: The Expert Intel” was download from the location given, below, but I cannot guarantee how long it will remain available:…
Interesting link: Iran finance minister: ‘Rest assured’ record oil prices over nuclear sanctions…

Al-Qaeda in Lebanon: Murmurs of Assassinations

Security surveillance of al-Qaeda operatives over the past few weeks indicates that the goal of targeting Berri was being given high priority as part of these activities. (Photo: Al-Akhbar)
Published Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lebanese security agencies have strong evidence that al-Qaeda has been planning to target high level political and religious figures – including the speaker of parliament – with the aim of provoking sectarian strife.

In recent weeks, Lebanese security agencies have obtained intelligence about activities of al-Qaeda networks in Lebanon which they are taking extremely seriously. It includes information about the planning of attacks and assassinations against specific targets by known al-Qaeda operatives who recently arrived in the country.

Some of this intelligence was gleaned directly by monitoring telephone conversations related to the suspects’ arrival and subsequent contacts with locally-based leaders. It was partially corroborated by information supplied separately by foreign intelligence services.

According to security officials, this combination of evidence led to the “highly credible conclusion” that al-Qaeda has sent people to Lebanon to carry out terrorist actions aimed at provoking large-scale sectarian strife in the country. Specifically, it indicates that plans were being made to assassinate Parliament Speaker and Amal movement leader Nabih Berri.

Multiple Targets

Security agencies learned that between May 1 and 3, al-Qaeda's head of external relations, Ahmad Jamil, arrived in Lebanon accompanied by one of his top aides, Abdallah al-Hattar (described as tall and pale-skinned, carrying a forged ID in the name of Ahmad Hussein Aqel).

The purpose of their visit was to plan a series of operations. Implementing a decision to assassinate Berri was top of the list. They also sought to examine the possibility of mounting an attempt on Pope Benedict XVI’s life during his planned visit in September. Their tasks included surveillance of Christian religious sites in Mount Lebanon and the North, and preparing for the assassination of Shia and Christian political and religious figures.

Some days later, it was learned that Majed al-Majed, Jamil’s Lebanon-based Saudi aide – informed two Palestinian militants, Abdel-Majid Azzam and Tawfiq Taha, of the arrival in Lebanon via Turkey of another leading al-Qaeda figure, plus four companions. This was Sheikh Saleh al-Awfi who was known to be close to Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda’s former leader in Iraq. Azzam and Taha were told that his mission was to find and secure a safe haven for other al-Qaeda operatives who would be dispatched to the country.

Shortly afterwards, further intelligence was received about Jamil’s activities after his arrival. The first thing he did was convene a meeting with Majed, Azzam, Taha and four others (Usama al-Sihabi, Ziad Abul-Naaj, Muhammad Haithat al-Shaabi, and Muhammad al-Arefi), to convey a verbal message to them from al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The gist of this message was that al-Qaeda had decided to step up its activities in the Levant and turn the region into one its main bases, and thus needed to establish control over appropriate enclaves in Lebanon. Zawahiri added that he would soon name an amir (commander) for al-Qaeda in the Levant, but in the meantime that position would be held by Majed, and other local leaders should pledge allegiance to him. He would make Lebanon al-Qaeda’s main base for supporting “the mujahideen” in Syria.

Zawahiri also said in his message that he would dispatch senior al-Qaeda figures to take charge of the group’s funding and arming in Lebanon, as well as specialists in forging documents, training fighters, and preparing explosives. He went on to give directions about how the group’s followers should be organized in cells, with an amir heading each group, and speak of similar details.

Security surveillance of al-Qaeda operatives over the past few weeks indicates that the goal of targeting Berri was being given high priority as part of these activities.

European Message

This is not the first time that information of this nature reaches Lebanon. Previously – the last occasion being about one year ago – its importance has been played down, as intelligence assessments have deemed its sources to be of questionable credibility.

This time, however, the intelligence is based on surveillance conducted over the course of several weeks following monitoring of telephone conversations between suspects, as well as secret information provided from within the organization in Lebanon.

It was also apparently corroborated by the intelligence service of a European country which has troops in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). This service sent an urgent message to Beirut via the UNIFIL command around two weeks ago, alerting it to information that al-Qaeda had sent groups of people to Lebanon with the aim of assassinating Berri. The speaker was informed of this message.
Meanwhile, details coming in about the movements of al-Qaeda figures indicated that they were indeed making logistical preparations for an attempt on the speaker’s life.

During the first week of May, at a meeting between Majed, Hattar and Azzam in Ain el-Helweh refugee camp, it was agreed that Majed would spread the word, falsely, that the Abdallah al-Azzam Brigades – the name given to the local al-Qaeda chapter – had vacated the camp. Members were ordered to lay low and avoid any risk of being seen in public.

The aim of that was to turn the camp into a safer haven by turning prying eyes away. Rumors soon began circulating that the al-Qaeda cell had evacuated Ain el-Helweh and relocated to Syria. In reality, while a handful of al-Qaeda members indeed left the camp, surveillance confirmed that a number of the more important figures who were said to have departed remain there.

It was clear that this was an attempt to lull the Lebanese security forces off their guard, so as to facilitate the movement of the al-Qaeda cells tasked with assassinating Berri and staking out other targets.

In the second half of May, there appears to have been a further influx of al-Qaeda envoys to Lebanon. Among the recent arrivals are thought to be the Saudi explosives expert Ashraf al-Ghamedi and the Moroccan communications specialist Muhammad Dawbak, who are believed to have been sent to supervise training in their respective fields. Intelligence indicates that they were directed by Hattar to base themselves in Tripoli.

Information about these cells’ movements has now been cut off, after weeks of intensive activity in Lebanon, which is what prompted European intelligence agencies to warn Lebanon that al-Qaeda is poised to strike.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Russian Communist Party leader: Al-Houla Massacre Part of Western Intelligence Agenda

Local Editor

Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov considered the "al-Houla massacre in Syria as part of a foreign intelligence plot," noting that some Western Politicians and media outlets created a hysteria on the massacre.

Zyuganov, in a statement, strictly condemned what he described as "a blatant provocation" in the al-Houla village, demanding an international investigation in the crime.

He further expressed that sooner or later, this will turn out to be related to Western intelligence, as it proved to be in Yugoslavia, Libya, and Afghanistan.

The Communist Leader also criticized the West for its quick accusation to the Syrian authorities of the massacre, even before the preliminary investigation results were out, especially that the journalists and international observers did not provide any evidence to the presence of heavy weaponry in the village.

Also, another prove to the absence of government heavy arms is that many of the corpses found were slaughtered by knives and had been stabbed.

Russia Not to Shift on Syria, US to Moscow: You’re Contributing in Civil War

Putin Will Not shift on Syria, Clinton Warns of Civil War as US Senators Call for Arming Syrian Opposition

Local Editor

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Thursday that his country’s position on Syria would not shift under pressure despite the crisis likely topping the agenda during his upcoming visits to Berlin and Paris, AFP reported.

"Russia's position is well-known. It is balanced and consistent and completely logical," Interfax quoted Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov as saying.

"So it is hardly appropriate to talk about this position changing under someone's pressure."

Peskov said Russia's refusal to back further action against the regime after last week's Houla massacre and other attacks on civilians was based on an approach "completely free of emotions, which are hardly appropriate here."

Moscow is also coming under growing pressure from Washington to at least back broader financial sanctions against its Soviet-era ally.

Putin is expected to face a grilling from both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on Friday during his first foreign tour since being sworn in for a third Kremlin term.

The White House on Wednesday accused Russia and fellow Syrian sanctions opponent China of being on "the wrong side of history" and dispatched the US Treasury's financial intelligence chief to Moscow for further talks.

For her part, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hurried on Thursday to criticize Russia's resistance to UN action on Syria, warning that its policy could contribute to a civil war.

The Russians "are telling me they don't want to see a civil war. I have been telling them their policy is going help to contribute to a civil war," she told a mainly student audience on a visit to Copenhagen.
"We have to bring the Russians on board because the dangers we face are terrible," said Clinton, who is in Denmark on the first leg of a Scandinavian tour.

"The continued slaughter of innocent people, both by the military and by militias supported by the government and increasingly by the opposition... could morph into a civil war in a country that would be riven by sectarian divides, which then could morph into a proxy war in the region.”

Clinton remarks coincided with UN chief Ban Ki-moon statements Thursday, warning of 'catastrophic civil war' in Syria after the Houla tragedy.

"The massacres of the sort seen last weekend could plunge Syria into a catastrophic civil war, a civil war from which the country would never recover," he told an Istanbul forum of the UN-led Alliance of Civilizations initiative.

The UN chief demanded that the Damascus regime honor its commitment to a peace plan drawn up by international mediator Kofi Annan, and that "the Syrian government act on its responsibilities to its people."

An international team led by Annan visited Syria Tuesday and called for "concrete gestures" from Damascus on halting the violence.

In Istanbul, Ban said: "Annan has expressed his concerns that we may have reached a tipping point in Syria."

US Senators Call for Arming Syrian Opposition

"It is time to act. It is time to give the Syrian opposition the weapons in order to defend themselves," McCain said, while Lieberman stated that the situation in Syria "will not get better until the rest of the world at least gives the arms" to the Syrian rebels.

In a press conference in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, the two US senators made the remarks blaming the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the deadly clashes between Syrian forces and armed groups in the western town of al-Houla on May 25.

According to Head of the UN observer mission in Syria Major General Robert Mood, UN observers in Houla estimated 108 people were killed, including 49 children and 34 women.

The UN Security Council condemned the violence in Houla during an emergency meeting on May 27, saying the clashes "involved a series of government artillery and tank shelling on a residential neighborhood."

However, Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Ja'afari censured the "tsunami of lies" by some members of the Security Council and said the Syrian forces were not to blame for the violence.

The comments by McCain and Lieberman come on the same day when the so-called Free Syrian Army said the Damascus government had a "deadline by Friday midday" to end the turmoil.

Source: Press TV, edited by

Israel: Al-Qaeda in Syria May Operate Against Us over Time

"Israel" Warns of Possible Conflict with Syria, Fears Iran, Hizbullah

The "Israeli" Northern District Commander Yair Golan said Wednesday that "Israel" is in a constant battle with Iran in various channels.

"Iran is here. We are conducting an indirect war against it every day, as we do against Hamas in Gaza and against Hizbullah in Lebanon."
"Iran's negative influence is very significant to our region and its involvement is seen both here and in Syria," he claimed.
gunmen in SyriaGolan warned that the battle being waged in Syria between opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime and al-Assad loyalists may have an effect on what is happening in "Israel".

"Al-Qaeda related factors that are active there now and working against the regime may operate against us over time," he said, according to the Channel 2 report. "The Syrian threat to "Israel" requires attention. It will not happen tomorrow morning, but it can occur within a few months."
Golan claimed, "Syria has weapons of mass destruction along with a very heavy arsenal of weapons, including surface-to-ground missiles and chemical weapons. The fact that Syria is a storehouse of weapons which fuels terrorists in the region is very unsettling."

He noted that, should the need arise for "Israel" to launch a military operation in Syria, "The "IDF" has the power to take over the rocket launching areas that threaten the home front in a relatively short period of time and bring about the defeat of Hizbullah in each such area."

Meanwhile, a senior "Israeli" military officer said recently that the ongoing conflict in Syria has made it easier for Hizbullah to smuggle weapons into Lebanon." He added that there is concern that some of al-Assad regime's stockpile of chemical weapons could end up in the group's hands.

Unholy Alliance Forming Against Syria

By Dr. Ismail Salami
May 29, 2012

Syria is bracing for more political chaos as all antagonistic forces appear to have entered into an unholy alliance to bring the government to its knees by ingeniously choreographing massacres and attributing them to the Syrian government, thereby turning the country into fertile soil for US-led invasion.

ImageDeadly clashes broke out on Friday between Syrian forces and armed groups in the township of Houla in Homs and claimed the lives of 108 people including at least 32 children according to the head of the UN observer mission in Syria. However, Syrian authorities on Sunday denied having a hand in the carnage.

“Women, children and old men were shot dead. This is not the hallmark of the heroic Syrian army,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdesi told reporters in Damascus.

Makdesi said the massacre was carried out by “terrorists” after fighting between rebels and forces loyal to al-Assad.

“They (rebels) were equipped with mortars and anti-tank missiles, which is a quantitative leap,” he said.

Violence is spiraling drastically despite the presence of 260 UN observers who are currently monitoring the ceasefire as part of a six-point peace plan proposed by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan in March.

Earlier this month, 55 people were killed and about 400 others injured in two strings of terrorist bombings near a military intelligence building in Damascus.

What deserves due attention in the carnage that happened in Houla is that many were shot dead at close range, many were Shia Muslims and many were women and children. In other words, these atrocities are conjectured to have been carried out at the hands of the extremist Wahhabis and al-Qaeda elements who are notorious for targeting women and children in their terrorist operations.

Another element which reinforces this speculation is that many among those who were killed were Shia Muslims for whom the Wahhabis nurse inveterate loathing. Despite the prevailing trend in western media to rule out the possible presence of the al-Qaeda in the country, the presence of al-Qaeda terrorists is gradually gaining strength in Syria. They are believed to have penetrated the country from Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.

Washington is funding the rebel groups in Syria. A report reveals that the rebels in Syria “have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, an effort paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated in part by the United States” (The Washington Post ):

“We are increasing our nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition, and we continue to coordinate our efforts with friends and allies in the region and beyond in order to have the biggest impact on what we are collectively doing,” said a senior State Department official, one of several US and foreign government officials on the condition of anonymity.

Besides, Washington is pressing Qatar and Saudi Arabia to fund and provide the rebels with heavy weaponries.

This behavior on the part of Washington runs counter to the fact that many rebels are linked with al-Qaeda and that the US claims to be fighting the terror group. Along with Washington, the British government acknowledged early in March that it has provided an extra 2 million to the Western-backed rebels fighting the Syrian government. Prime Minister David Cameron told a hearing at the House of Commons Liaison Committee that his government had provided cash and equipment to western-backed rebels in Syria in the name of emergency medical supplies and food.

The government of al-Assad is losing ground thanks to the influx of the extremist Wahhabis and al-Qaeda members and on account of the financial and military support the rebels receive from the West and the Persian Gulf regimes.

The noose is getting tighter and tighter and all Washington and the extremists want is an absence of Bashar al-Assad. The implication is not that they are consciously united to topple the government of al-Assad but that they are united in a malicious cause to do so, each with its own benefits to reap. In other words, all these groups are fomenting unrest in Syria, and dragging the country into shreds of despair in their own way. Although these groups may ostensibly be daggers drawn over different issues, they share one common point: the fall of al-Assad and therefore turning the situation to their own interest.
Metaphorically speaking, Syria is now going through a sea of troubles where there are many opportunists who will readily make the best of the crisis in the country.

Most importantly, Israel is silently and ironically funneling millions of dollars to the rebels in Syria. In fact, Israel is capitalizing enormously on the collapse of Bashar al-Assad government. The fall of al-Assad in Syria means a lot to Israel. It is in fact tantamount to immense latitude and a capacious place of potency in the Middle East.

Syria is now a nightmarishly humanitarian catastrophe brought about by the regional Arab puppet regimes, extremist Wahhabis, al-Qaeda, Washington and Israel.

Dr. Ismail Salami is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Dr. Ismail Salami is an Iranian author and political analyst. A prolific writer, he has written numerous books and articles on the Middle East.

Reading the Egyptian Elections

by Esam Al-Amin

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 egyptianpollstation

The Egyptian people are still in shock ever since the announcement of the results of the presidential elections late last week. They refuse to accept an outcome that sees Gen. Ahmad Shafiq, the last Prime Minister of deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak, having received more than 5.5 million votes, or about 24 percent of the votes cast, less than one percent behind the frontrunner and Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Dr. Muhammad Mursi.

After the dust has settled, some remarkable facts have been revealed that point towards an extremely sophisticated operation, which ensured that Shafiq would receive enough votes to go to the second round runoff (that could only have been pulled off by the Egyptian security apparatus with the support of the military and the remnants of Mubarak’s banned National Democratic Party).

This is how it could have happened.

The first significant fact is that the overall number of registered voters increased by more than 4.5 million people in less than three months. In Egypt, every person is automatically added to the registered voter rolls after reaching the age of eighteen. Egyptians cast their vote using the national identification number given to each citizen at birth. Between late November 2011 and January 2012, citizens went to the polls to elect their parliament over three different stages in nine different provinces in each stage. After each vote, the head of the elections commission declared the results starting with the total number of registered voters.

At the end of each stage the total number of registered voters was announced publicly as follows: 13,614,525 after stage one, 18,831,129 after stage two, and 14,039,300 after stage three for a total of 46,484,954. However, after the presidential elections the head of the elections commission announced this week that the total number of registered voters was 50,996,746 an incredible increase of 4,511,792 (or over 80 percent of the total votes received by Shafiq.) When the secretary of the elections commission, Judge Hatem Bagato, was asked in a press conference about this discrepancy, he lied outright, stating that the total number of registered voters last November was 50.1 million.

Secondly, in Egypt elections are held over two consecutive days. After the end of the first day the ballot boxes are left in the polling stations until the next morning. During the parliamentary elections, representatives of the different campaigns were allowed to stay in the rooms to monitor the ballot boxes in order to ensure that no vote rigging might take place. However, this time the army forced the evacuation of all precincts over the strenuous protests of the observers and did not allow a single monitor to stay in the rooms for over twelve hours. It is not inconceivable that ballots were stuffed during the night. If only two-thirds of the ballot boxes were tampered with, adding on average 500 ballots each, that would total more than 4.5 million fraudulent votes, equal to the number of the added dubious registered voters.

Moreover, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has never intended to hand over real power to an elected civilian president. According to one European ambassador in Cairo, when he recently asked a member of SCAF how the military would react upon the election of an “Islamist” or a “civilian” belonging to the revolutionary forces the answer was an emphatic “this is not going to happen.” President Jimmy Carter was given the same answer early this year when he met with the leaders of SCAF. He mistakenly interpreted that answer as SCAF not handing over power or even holding elections rather than fielding its own candidate and then ruling from behind. In a recent interview, former intelligence chief and Mubarak’s vice president Omar Suleiman told the London-based al-Hayat newspaper that he had no doubts if an Islamist is elected president a military coup d’état would be inevitable.

Revolutionary vs. counter-revolutionary and Islamist vs. secularist

The early days of revolutionary unity have been long gone since the March 2011 referendum. Ever since that fateful day, there are clearly three major political forces within society, namely SCAF, the Islamic political parties led by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), and the mostly secular revolutionary forces including youth groups, nationalists, liberals and leftists. Whenever two of these distinct groups come together it is usually at the expense of the third party.
  • During the decisive revolutionary days all Egyptians were united and SCAF had to abandon Mubarak and side with the people. But during most of last year the MB backed SCAF on many occasions while the revolutionary groups were crushed and their demands ignored.
  • When SCAF tried to impose supra-constitutional principles on all political parties to protect its interests, the MB sided with the revolutionary groups forcing SCAF to withdraw the document, retreat, and set a date for handing over power to a civilian president.
  • When the MB tried to impose a constitutional-writing committee dominated by Islamists, SCAF sided with the secular revolutionary groups against the Islamists compelling them to change course.
But during much of last year the revolutionary groups, both Islamic and secular, failed to realize that their revolution was not finished but required them to unite against the far-reaching security state. Instead, they exhausted themselves over tactics and the future nature of the state causing intense mistrust between the parties. Meanwhile, they overlooked the fact that while the head of the regime and some corrupt elements were deposed and even criminally tried, the body was still deeply entrenched, waiting to grow another head and crush their nascent revolution.

Interpreting the elections results

Even if the presidential elections results were not tampered with, the final outcome, notwithstanding the feeling of doom, should be evaluated differently. The final results were as follows: The candidates that belonged to the pro-revolution candidates received almost two-thirds of the vote (Muhammad Mursi 25 percent, Nasserist Hamdein Sabahi 21 percent, Islamist independent Abdelmoneim Abol Fotouh 18 percent, other candidates 2 percent). On the other hand, the former regime remnants received less than one third (Shafiq 24 percent and Amr Moussa 10 percent, although not everyone who voted for the latter was necessarily against the revolution). Had the pro-revolution candidates coalesced around a single candidate they would have crushed the opposition from the first round. But the deep distrust engendered during much of last year made this outcome impossible.

Rats desert a sinking ship, fools ride
Furthermore, Egyptians went to the polls three time since the fall of Mubarak. In March 2011 they overwhelmingly approved the constitutional referendum that set in motion the country’s political path. They overwhelmingly sided with the Islamic parties by voting in their favor by a margin of 77 to 23 percent. From last November to January, Egyptians again voted overwhelmingly for Islamic candidates to the parliament, garnering 75 percent of the seats. While the MB candidates received almost 11 million votes during the parliamentary elections, their presidential candidate gained only 5.7 million votes, a stunning loss of over five million votes. Such a huge drop in support in just four months is rare if not impossible in any political context. But the many missteps taken by the MB, coupled with the huge negative campaign against the Islamic parties waged by the state media, still largely controlled by Mubarak’s appointees, made it possible.

"O people and political forces"
While the Islamic votes represented almost 19 million votes out of 27 million in the parliamentary elections, it represented at best 9 to 10 million votes out of 23 million in the presidential election, a dramatic loss of half of its electoral power from just a few months ago. While this loss is directly related to the parliament’s poor performance so far and the MB’s dismissive attitude towards their partners in the revolution, it did send a strong message to the group’s leadership that they needed to act quickly to repair the damage caused by their arrogant attitude towards the other revolutionary groups.

Possible scenarios for the second round of the presidential elections

Gen. Shafiq has been open about his disdain for the Islamic parties as well as the revolution that brought them to power.

On more than one occasion he declared that he sees Mubarak as his role model and that once in power he would not hesitate to use the security apparatus and the army to restore order and end the protests. So his tactic has been to present himself as the last hope of secular forces to stop the encroachment of the religious state.

Moussa, who came in a distant fifth in the elections garnering 2.4 million votes, has been no less forceful in calling for “the defeat of the forthcoming religious state” in a direct reference to the MB candidate.

In their attempt to cast this election as secular vs. religious, they continue to use Mubarak’s era tactic by instilling fear in the society, especially among Egypt’s Christians, and deliver to Shafiq the 13 million votes that were cast in favor of Shafiq, Moussa, and Sabbahi in the first round.

In a direct threat to the MB, Shafiq made it known that if need be, he would not hesitate to dissolve the parliament in order to end the dominance of the Islamic groups.

Khairat Al-Shater
"The Joseph Of Our Times,
"getting out of prison to rule Egypt."

On the other hand, Mursi, the MB candidate, presents himself as the last hope for the revolution to clean up the corruption embedded in the state, dispose of the remnants of the Mubarak regime, and embark on new reforms in order to realize the objectives of the revolution.

If the Egyptians who voted for the revolutionary candidates believe him, he might then receive as much as 15 million votes cast for these candidates in the first round.

Barring any fraud, most of Moussa’s votes (2.4 million) would end up in Shafiq’s column, while the majority of Abol Fotouh’s votes (4.1 million) might be cast in favor of Mursi.

"One of us, president of Egypt."
However, the crucial votes of the leftist nationalist Sabbahi (4.8 million) are probably up for grabs. This strongly pro-revolution candidate has so far refused to endorse Mursi and even many of his supporters have taken to the streets rejecting both candidates. Many other revolutionary groups, including Abol Fotouh’s supporters, reject Shafiq and believe that the vote was rigged. They too took to the streets. It is not known how far and intense these protests could be. If they spread and recreate the early days of the revolution then a new factor could be introduced that would force SCAF to act, either by cracking down violently on the protestors or by cancelling the elections altogether.

On the other hand, many youth and pro-revolution groups have been in intense negotiations with Mursi to offer guarantees to the supporters of the these pro-revolutionary parties.

In return for their support, he would agree to several tough demands that include pledging to rule through a presidential council that would include all ideological trends, give assurances with regards to democratic rule, freedom of expression, guarantees of the rights of women and the Christian community, as well as to pledge not to run for a second term. Additionally, the MB-dominated parliament must immediately appoint a constitutional-writing committee that would decide on the major controversial parts upon reaching consensus including the civil nature of the state.

Ultimately this critical moment could potentially be a blessing in disguise, if seized upon properly by the Muslim Brotherhood and the rest of the revolutionary groups. This is the time where the revolutionary partners must join back together in order to save the Egyptian revolution. Not only are the hopes and aspirations of the people of Egypt and Arabs across the region are in jeopardy, but also of free people around the world, forever inspired by the youth of Tahrir Square.
Esam Al-Amin can be contacted at

Massive Cyber Attack in Middle East Believed to Be State Sponsored

A new computer virus, named "Flame," is being called possibly the most massive cyber attack in history—targeting primarily Iran, it seems, although the following RT report mentions attacks upon Israel, as well.

Unlike the RT report, a report in the New York Times does not say anything about the virus effecting computers in Israel. In fact, the article seems to hint very strongly (perhaps with a touch of pride?) that the Flame virus was created by Israel. Here is an excerpt:

The virus bears special encryption hallmarks that an Iranian cyberdefense official said bear strong similarities to previous Israeli malware. “Its encryption has a special pattern which you only see coming from Israel,” said Kamran Napelian, an official with Iran’s Computer Emergency Response Team. “Unfortunately, they are very powerful in the field of I.T.”
While Israel never comments officially on such matters, its involvement was hinted at by top officials there. “Anyone who sees the Iranian threat as a significant threat — it’s reasonable that he will take various steps, including these, to harm it,” said the vice prime minister and strategic affairs minister, Moshe Yaalon, in a widely quoted interview with Israel’s Army Radio on Tuesday.
Interestingly, both the Times article, as well as this story at Y-Net, are accompanied by photos of a segment of the virus code, apparently courtesy of Russia's Kaspersky Lab. And like RT, Y-Net also claims computers in Israel have been infected with the virus. There has of course been widespread speculation the Stuxnet virus was an Israeli creation, and even Wikipedia seems to give a great deal of credence to the theory. Stuxnet's possible role in the Fukushima disaster has also been explored. See here , here , and here.

BBC Wages Propaganda War on Syria

BBC Wages Propaganda War on Syria

BBC Caught In Syria Massacre Propaganda Hoax 280512shot1a

"Western media basically rent their pages and screens to Western governments to plant whatever propaganda stories they wish"

  • "So did anybody in the press account for the feverish propaganda lies and fabrications that preceded NATO intervention in Libya?

  • What happened to the 100,000 civilians killed by Qadhdhafi's bombs?

  • What happened to the stories of mercenary armies?

  • What happened to the story of that woman who claimed she was raped and then fled to Qatar before she was deported again?

  • When Western governments plan or plot action against a developing country,

Western media basically rent their pages and screens to Western governments to plant whatever propaganda stories they wish. We see that over and over again."

BBC Wages Propaganda War on Syria

My PhotoMillions globally follow BBC reports regularly. Most perhaps don't know they get propaganda, not real news, commentary and opinion.

Since established in October 1922, it's operated as a UK imperial tool. Its first general manager, John Reith, set the tone, saying:

"They (meaning the UK government) know they can trust us not to be really impartial."

Straightaway he betrayed the public trust. Operating as a reliable business and government partner got BBC labeled the "British Falsehood Corporation." Some today call it the "British Bombing (or Bombast) Club."

Reith used BBC as a strikebreaker. He secretly wrote anti-union speeches. He refused air time for worker representatives. He and current officials represent elitist interests, not public ones media outlets are supposed to serve.

Job applicants are vetted to assure pro-government, pro-business credentials. Aberrant ones aren't wanted. Whether on domestic or foreign issues, fair and balanced reporting isn't tolerated.

How can it be when government officials appoint senior managers. Any stepping out of line get fired. Nothing changed from inception to now.

Its claim about "honesty, integrity (being) what the BBC stands for, free from political influence and commercial pressure" is willful, deceptive hype.

UK-based Media Lens offers independent, "authoritative criticism." Its reports reflect "reality." It's free from corporate or government influence.

It covers BBC reporting. It once called it fundamentally one-sided, imbalanced, "biased, blinkered and culpable."

"Anyone can spot the propaganda with a modicum of vigilance while watching the news."
Western interests alone are represented. Viewers and listeners get one side only. They're "clearly expected to identify with NATO." They're "asked to assume there is a moral basis to (its) killing."

Attacking nations Washington and Britain declare "officially-decreed enemies" is supposed to be just and righteous no matter how lawless and indefensible.

BBC does what it's told. It's government funded, operated and controlled. It's Britain's official voice. It pretends to be independent and impartial.

"Propaganda merchants R Us," says Media Lens.

"In each decade, from its inception to the present day, the BBC bears the scars of its entanglements with those in power."
Media Lens quoted BBC news director, Helen Boaden. On June 10, 2011, she spoke the above words. She discussed the "value of journalism speech."

She quoted Groucho Marx once saying:

"The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing....And if you can fake that, you've got it made!"
Journalists are supposed to speak truth to power. Few, in fact, do it. None working for scoundrel media. BBC falls woefully short. It represents interests it's supposed to confront and hold to account.

Instead it serves wealth and power. It's a "propaganda system for elite interests," says Media Lens. Viewers and listeners are betrayed, especially on issues mattering most.

What's more important than war or peace? When Britain and America rage to fight, BBC marches in lockstep.

On February 1, 2012, the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) headlined "BBC Peddles War Propaganda," saying:

BBC willfully misrepresents Iran's nuclear program. For example, on January 26, it "explicitly stated that Iran has nuclear bombs!"

A "tirade of demonization and misinformation" followed. Spurious accusations claimed Iran threatens world peace. Question Time host David Dimbleby breached journalistic fairness and accuracy codes. He featured guests stating spurious misinformation, not truth and full disclosure.

Journalist Melanie Phillips claimed "Iran is threatening genocide against Israel virtually every week, and it means it." She referred to the canard about wiping Israel off the map.

She continued saying:

"You are dealing in Iran with people who are not rational. You are dealing with people who believe that if they provoke the apocalypse, the end of days, they will bring to earth the Shiia Messiah, the Mahdi, and so they are in the business of provoking an apocalypse."
"It does not matter to them that in a nuclear exchange they may lose half of their own country. It doesn’t matter. This is the mentality that you are dealing with. And the threat is to all of us."
Broadcasting these type comments is unconscionable. Other guests say similar things. BBC features them. Viewers and listeners are misinformed. It repeats daily, especially when Britain and America plan war. CASMII had every right to complain. Doing so fell on deaf ears.

Last March, Alastair Crooke headlined his Asia Times article "Syria: Straining credulity?"

He quoted an unnamed US officer defining the future of warfare. In a 1997 US Army War College Quarterly article, he said:

"....we are already masters of information warfare. Hollywood is 'preparing the battlefield.' (We) will be writing the scripts, producing them, and collecting the royalties. Our creativity is devastating."
"Hatred, jealousy, and greed - emotions, rather than strategy - will set the terms of (information warfare) struggles."
Media scoundrels play the same role. The Syrian conflict "is scripted in emotional images and moralistic statements that always....trump rational analysis."

Baseless suspicions bring charges of crimes against humanity. Opposition and Western sources are cited. Warmongering officials write the scripts. Media scoundrels regurgitate their misinformation.

"Those who try to argue that Western intervention can only exacerbate the crisis are confronted (with images) of dead babies."
Those who write the scripts set the tone. Who'll contradict them without major media support? Expect none from BBC.

"Are we now to (believe) that armed opposition (insurgents are) motivated by" humanitarian concerns? "Will a Kosovo-type solution (improve things) in Syria?"
Does "anyone really believe American and European objectives in Syria (are) purely humanitarian?" Info-wars have other things in mind. At issue is regime change, not reform. It's about isolating Iran. It's about setting the stage for toppling its government after disposing of Syria.

"Do these reporters really believe" the agitprop they air? "Perhaps some do, but others (say things) to prepare the battlefield."
It bears repeating. When America, Britain, and rogue partners go to war or plan one, media scoundrels march in lockstep. BBC's done it for decades. Now it's at it again.

Spurious accusations claim Iran is developing nuclear weapons. In fact, none exist, and Iran threatens no one.

On May 27, Houla's massacre was featured. Reporting from Beirut, Jim Muir said:

"Some opposition groups are saying this could be a turning point."

"Western nations are pressing for a response...."

America wants "an end to (Assad's) 'rule by murder.' "

"The killings have sparked a chorus of international condemnation."

US, UK, French, and UN officials were quoted. They all pointed fingers one way. So did BBC by featuring them. The blame game accuses victims. Perpetrators get scant mention. Heated interventionist calls increase. "(I)ndiscriminate and disproportionate use of force" was charged.

On May 29, BBC reported on "how a massacre unfolded," saying:

"Anti-government activists, eyewitnesses and human rights groups - including the UN's high commissioner for human rights - point the finger at the Syrian army and the shabiha, a sectarian civilian militia that supports the regime of Bashar al-Assad."
BBC claimed army shelling began the attack. Syria categorically denies it. No tanks or artillery targeted Houla. None were positioned nearby. Hundreds of heavily armed Western-sponsored gunmen bear full responsibility.

Like other scoundrel media, BBC reported a tsunami of misinformation and lies.

On May 27, the London Telegraph headlined "BBC News uses 'Iraq photo to illustrate Syrian massacre," saying:

Willful deception was caught red-handed. The image used "was actually taken on March 27, 2003...." It "shows a young Iraqi child jumping over dozens of white body bags containing skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad."

BBC posted it on its web site under the heading "Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows." The caption suggests Houla bodies awaited burial.
Photographer Marco di Lauro

Photographer Marco di Lauro spotted the deception. He took the photo. When he saw it he said he nearly "fell off his chair," adding:

"One of my pictures from Iraq was used by the BBC web site as a front page illustration claiming (Houla body images were) sent by an activist."
BBC pulls stunts like this often. So do US and other Western media. Notoriously they misreport on imperial wars and events preceding them. Propaganda substitutes for real news and information. Apologies after the fact when caught don't matter. Damage done can't be reversed.

What could Assad gain by killing babies, young children, women and the elderly? How would cutting their throats or shooting them at point blank range help? Obvious questions go unanswered. Regurgitated lies substitute.

The pattern repeats when Washington, Britain, and rogue partners want independent governments toppled. Media propaganda promotes wars.

It rages against Syrian civilians. Insurgent death squad assassins target them. They've been doing it since early last year. Like other scoundrel media, BBC ignores truths and features willful misinformation and lies. Fake images are prominently featured.

Viewers and listeners are misinformed and betrayed. Many wonder what's next. Domestic needs suffer to serve ravenous imperial appetites. No end of conflicts appear near.

Iran parliamentarians condemned the Houla massacre. They compared it to Israel's Sabra and Shatila slaughter. They called it "blatant....terrorist acts (of) mass murder...." Insurgents bear full responsibility. Assad is wrongfully blamed.

America should be held accountable, they said. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said it was done "to create chaos and instability." It's also about preventing peace and paving the way for war.

On May 29, Press TV reported that the Habilian Association human rights group said:

"We have conclusive proof and documents showing that the MKO (Mujahedlin-e Organization) has a strong and significant presence in Syria."
"The terrorist group has begun, in an all-out fashion, acts of sabotage and terrorism against the Syrian government and nation, and has found major influence among the Syrian rebels."

Washington is directly involved. So are Western and regional partners. MKO plans a "large-scale attack." Preparations are underway.

Everything ongoing facilitates Washington's war plans. The worst could erupt any time. First Syria, then Iran, then new targets in an endless cycle of violence, killing, and destruction. Expect it. It's coming.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.