Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Dear Representative Kilmer: My original reason for contacting you was to ask why our NATO partner and ally Turkey ambushed and shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber after Turkey claimed the plane violated Turkish airspace for 17 seconds. One of the Su-24 pilots was shot and killed while descending in his parachute by Turkmen and Jabbat al-Nusra terrorists. A marine was killed when his chopper was hit with a US supplied TOW missile during the rescue operation. During a press conference at COP21, Russian President Vladimir Putin said:
“Look, we informed our American partners in advance when our pilots were going into action and where, in what air corridors. The American side, which leads the coalition, to which Turkey is also a party, knew about the location and time of our operation. And this is precisely where we were hit.”
“The question is, why did we pass this information to the Americans? Either they are not in control of what their allies are doing or they hand out this information every which way without understanding the implications.”
The only official response by the Obama administration that I am aware of has been to support Turkey’s right to defend their airspace. The US has not officially expressed its condolences for the pilot and marine who were killed. Since I started writing this, it has been reported that the US led coalition bombed a Syrian military base in the city of Deir Ez-Zor on Dec 6th, killing 3 Syrian soldiers. ISIS militants attacked the base immediately after the bombing. A “senior US military official” told the AP that the US was ‘certain’ Russia had bombed a Syrian Army camp outside of Deir Ez-Zor. When asked, the State Department would not confirm that Russia bombed the base, and when pressed, directed the journalists to ask the Defense Department. Since when is quoting anonymous officials considered fact? Why is it that the US never seems to ever have any evidence to back up their ridiculous claims?
It now appears that fighting ISIS and other terrorist groups is no longer the strategic reason for US involvement in Syria. President Obama stated this new strategy in his December 6th Oval Office speech:
"We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria. That’s what groups like ISIL want. The strategy we are using now; airstrikes, special forces, and working with local forces that are fighting to regain control of their own country. That is how we will achieve a more sustainable victory."
Please note that not once in that statement did he say that the current US strategy is to fight ISIS. Read it again. He said the US is there to support local forces that are fighting to regain control of their own country. That’s a politically correct way to say “local forces trying to overthrow the UN recognized sovereign government of Syria.” Most all of the genuine Syrian opposition groups opposed to the Assad government have already signed truce agreements, turned in their arms, and are now negotiating with the Assad government over how the new Syrian government will work. Elections in 18 months with concurrent work on drafting a new constitution. That is what the latest Vienna talks have been about. The only forces left on the ground now are ones fighting to overthrow the Assad government, and are mostly foreign backed terrorist groups like ISIS, Al-Nusra, Army of Conquest, Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki, and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham. These are the "local forces" that the US will be supporting, and they are all considered terrorist organizations.
In your most recent email reply, you mentioned that the US was taking a measured approach.
“So far, the Obama Administration has taken a measured approach that has focused primarily on diplomacy and sanctions, and following the identification of the use of chemical weapons, providing military and economic support – in a cautious way – to certain Syrian rebel groups that had been vetted.”
A more accurate description would be containment of ISIS because they are fighting to topple Assad or managing ISIS because they are a useful tool in US foreign policy. I wouldn’t really call the continued insistence that “Assad must go” diplomacy per se, in fact, it seems more like a precondition or a demand. Since you mentioned sanctions, where are the sanctions on Turkey for openly purchasing oil from ISIS? Financial support of terrorism is illegal if I am not mistaken.
As far as support for “certain Syrian rebel groups that had been vetted”; would those be the “about 4 or 5” rebels that General Lloyd Austin told Congress were all that remain of the $500 million train and equip program? Since there are only a handful of vetted rebels, just who is it that the US will be supporting? Those would most likely be the CIA trained and equipped terrorists that are currently fighting to create another Libya. I highly recommend you reach out to Representative Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii. She has introduced a bipartisan resolution to end the illegal US war to topple the Syrian government of Bashar al Assad. It’s H.R. 4108 and has a republican co-sponsor. She has spoken publicly about the illegal war in Syria, and she should also be able to verify most of the information in this email. Dana Rohrabacher and Alan Grayson should also be familiar with the real situation in Syria.
You also say “It is critical that if our nation engages the opposition at all, we conduct the appropriate due diligence to ensure that we only tip the scale toward rebels we know and can trust.” Due diligence is asking if US airstrikes and boots on the ground in Syria are legal. They are not, because the US does not have the permission of the legal UN recognized government of Syria. Full stop. End of story. End of US military involvement.
You also imply that it was the government of Bashar al-Assad who used chemical weapons, and use that implication as a reason for “providing military and economic support – in a cautious way – to certain Syrian rebel groups that had been vetted.” There’s those 4 or 5 moderate rebels again. Let me quote a few passages from the UN report that documents the use of Sarin gas against Syrian soldiers immediately before and after the attack in Ghouta on August 21, 2013.
On page 21 of this 85 page report is stated:
“Khan al Asal, 19 March 2013: 111. The United Nations Mission collected credible information that corroborates the allegations that chemical weapons were used in Khan al Asal on 19 March 2013 against soldiers and civilians.”
“Jobar, 24 August 2013: 113. The United Nations Mission collected evidence consistent with the probable use of chemical weapons in Jobar on 24 August on a relatively small scale against soldiers…”
Page 114, this assessment is based on the following:
(a) Interviews with survivors and clinicians and medical records confirm symptoms of organophosphorous intoxication:
(b) Blood samples recovered by the Syrian Government on 24 August 2013 and authenticated by the United Nations Mission using DNA techniques tested positive for signatures of Sarin;
(c) One of the four blood samples collected from the same patients by the United Nations Mission on 28 September 2013 tested positive for Sarin.”
“Ashrafiah Sahnaya, 25 August 2013 117. The United Nations Mission collected evidence that suggests that chemical weapons were used in Ashrafiah Sahnaya on 25 August 2013 on a small scale against soldiers. 118.
This assessment is based on the following:
(a) Interviews with survivors and clinicians and medical records confirm symptoms of organophosphorous intoxication;
(b) Blood samples recovered by the Syrian government on 24 August 2013, authenticated by the United Nations Mission using DNA techniques, tested positive for signatures of Sarin.”
I would not consider the UN report as evidence that Assad gassed his own people, so I would appreciate it if you would refrain from using it as an excuse to go to war with Russia. Since all of Syria’s chemical weapons have been removed by the UN, there is no danger of Assad using them in the future. You know, I wonder what the world would look like today if Colin Powell had failed to convince the UN Security council that Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons. We now know that the Anthrax was a lie used as an excuse to go to war, so please think about Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya before you vote for war. Obama almost had the world convinced that Assad used sarin gas against his own people back in 2013, but the American people slowed him down while Putin suggested Assad just get rid of his weapons. Syria was spared the fate of Libya back then, and we have an ‘enemy’ to thank for that.
Lastly, you say:
Finally, we need to acknowledge that this is an international issue that requires an international response. With that in mind, America should continue to work with our NATO allies such as Turkey as well with groups like the Arab League to bring both sides to the negotiating table in hopes of bringing an end to the bloodshed, stabilizing the chemical weapons, and fostering peace in the region.
Once again, I need to point out that there is a legal international coalition fighting terrorists in Syria, one that has the backing of the UN, one which knows that the only way to keep Syria from becoming the next Libya is to maintain Syria as a functioning state. If Assad goes, then the Islamic State moves in. This legal coalition consists of the Syrian government and its people, the Syrian Arab Army, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Russia and China. They are there at the invitation of the Syrian government and the UN recognizes the coalition’s actions as legal. The coalition consisting of the US, NATO, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other GCC nations does not have permission to conduct operations in Syria, and does not have a UN resolution stating their actions are legal. To be honest, I really don’t know where your animosity towards Russia and Iran comes from, but in my humble opinion, you might do some studying of history. Real US history, not the pap we were fed in School. I highly recommend Oliver Stone’s “The Untold History of the United States” as a good place to start.
At this point I would like to present the “real” chronology of the events behind the Syrian conflict. What follows is based on documented facts, with links to cite their source. Some of the facts come from leaked State Department cables released by Wikileaks, but no matter their source, they do represent the truth.
I will also quote people who a) write better than I do, and b) are a lot smarter than I am when I want to explain a point. All information presented will include links to the original source material.
December 2006 - State Department cable discusses ways to destabilize the Assad government
Dec 13, 2006
Influencing the SARG [Syrian government] in the End of 2006
William Roebuck, Chargé d’affaires, US embassy, Damascus
We believe Bashar’s [Bashar-al-Assad, Syrian President] weaknesses are in how he chooses to react to looming issues, both perceived and real, such as the conflict between economic reform steps (however limited) and entrenched, corrupt forces, the Kurdish question, and the potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists. This cable summarizes our assessment of these vulnerabilities and suggests that there may be actions, statements, and the signals that the USG can send that will improve the likelihood of such opportunities arising.”
2009 - Assad rejected a Qatari offer to run a pipeline from the Gulf emirate’s North Field to Turkey and beyond via Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria. As a strategic ally of Moscow, Damascus’ refusal to sign the Qatari proposal was said to be driven in part by Syria’s interest in protecting Russia’s position as the EU’s number top natural gas supplier (which has tended to be overlooked as a factor in the analyses of Russia’s role in the Syrian crisis).
2010 - Assad began negotiations for the alternative $10 billion “Islamic pipeline” with Tehran, with the objective of transiting natural gas to Syria’s Mediterranean coast via Iran and Iraq. Sixteen months after the Syrian crisis erupted, Assad signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iran. Syria has often been written off from a geostrategic perspective because it does not have much oil and gas compared to other Middle Eastern states. However, the country’s potential as a regional energy corridor has itself been a significant factor influencing the ongoing Syrian conflict—one that has received little attention in Western reporting about the conflict.
August 12, 2012 - The Defense Intelligence Agency wrote a memo that not only ties the US to the creation of ISIS, but that the US, the Saudis and the rest of the Gulf monarchies wanted it to happen so they funded it. I will transcribe the key points from the declassified report below:
B. The Salafist, The Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.
C. The West, Gulf countries and Turkey support the opposition.
If the situation unravels, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared salafist principality in eastern Syria (Haska and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.
ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.
I’m sorry Derek, but this is bullcrap. The US knew this in 2012? Russian president Vladimir Putin put it a lot better than I ever could during his speech at the UN General Assembly meeting in late September. It’s a good speech and highly recommended if you want an idea of what most of the non-aligned nations think about “spreading democracy”:
“We should all remember the lessons of the past. For example, we remember examples from our Soviet past, when the Soviet Union exported social experiments, pushing for changes in other countries for ideological reasons, and this often led to tragic consequences and caused degradation instead of progress.
It seems, however, that instead of learning from other people’s mistakes, some prefer to repeat them and continue to export revolutions, only now these are “democratic” revolutions. Just look at the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa already mentioned by the previous speaker. Of course, political and social problems have been piling up for a long time in this region, and people there wanted change. But what was the actual outcome? Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention rashly destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life.
I’m urged to ask those who created this situation: do you at least realize now what you’ve done? But I’m afraid that this question will remain unanswered, because they have never abandoned their policy, which is based on arrogance, exceptionalism and impunity.”
I don’t know if you have noticed, but ISIS is a problem in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Syria. I do not consider it a coincidence that these countries were once flourishing nations with sovereign governments until the US decided to Democratize them. I’ll never forget Hillary Clinton’s words when she heard that Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi had been killed during the NATO led destruction of that country. “We came, we saw, he died.” And then she had a good laugh.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y
2014 In a question and answer session at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Vice President Joe Biden talked about how there was “no moderate middle” and then said this:
"Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends, and I have a great relationship with Erdogan, [who] I just spent a lot of time with, [and] the Saudis, the Emirates, etcetera.
What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad, and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad – except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world.”
In the last 50 days, Russia has destroyed more terrorist fighters, infrastructure and command centers than the entire US led coalition has done in 14 months of bombing. In only two weeks, Russia and the Syrian army cut ISIS' oil income in half by taking out tanker trucks and oil storage facilities. Since the US led coalition was formed 14 months ago, the US led coalition has never bombed any oil transport trucks or storage facilities even though the US says oil is the major source of income for the Islamic State. In the last few weeks, the US led coalition claims to have finally bombed 116 tanker trucks, but only after Putin shared photos of the thousands of trucks crossing the border into Turkey the at the recent G-20. When PBS recently aired a story about the US bombing of those 166 tankers, the video evidence of the US airstrikes was footage of a Russian airstrike released by the Russian military. Too funny.
I hope I have presented enough initial evidence for you to at least consider rethinking your position on Syria. I am not convinced the Administration is being honest with America about the conflict in Syria, and as far as I have been able to discover from my research, the situation in the middle east sounds more like a protection racket that enforces compliance of a CIA run mafia organization that is looting the entire area. Doesn’t the oath say “I will defend the constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic”?
Look, all I want to do is help, so please reach out to Tulsi Gabbard and others and talk about what is really going on in Syria. If you have any question, just email or call. I wanted to include intelligence about the Turkish government’s involvement in stealing oil and antiquities from Syria and Iraq, but the novel is long enough already, so I’ll save that for a future conversation if any occur.
If you got this far, thank you for listening.
Stephen (Steve) Pirk
Here is the original response from Representative Kilmer that inspired this:
There is no question that the ongoing conflict in Syria has become a major humanitarian crisis and a cause of significant regional instability. This conflict, which started more than four years ago when protests against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad turned violent, has gone from bad to worse. In fact, it is now estimated that more than 220,000 Syrians have died and more than 4.5 million have been displaced and now live in refugee camps in countries like Jordan and Turkey. In addition, the United Nations released a report that confirmed that sarin nerve gas was used on August 21, 2013 and caused numerous civilian casualties.
So far, the Obama Administration has taken a measured approach that has focused primarily on diplomacy and sanctions, and following the identification of the use of chemical weapons, providing military and economic support – in a cautious way – to certain Syrian rebel groups that had been vetted. This is all the more important given the knowledge that radical elements associated with known terrorist groups are fighting among the Syrian opposition forces. It is critical that if our nation engages the opposition at all, we conduct the appropriate due diligence to ensure that we only tip the scale toward rebels we know and can trust. We need to be very careful about not being further drawn into a conflict that we have limited ability to resolve. I share your concern with the provision of arms and lethal aid to the Syrian opposition forces.
Finally, we need to acknowledge that this is an international issue that requires an international response. With that in mind, America should continue to work with our NATO allies such as Turkey as well with groups like the Arab League to bring both sides to the negotiating table in hopes of bringing an end to the bloodshed, stabilizing the chemical weapons, and fostering peace in the region. As the situation in Syria continues to evolve, I appreciate you sharing your views on this important issue. I welcome your continued thoughts and suggestions.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Five Reasons To Sign:
from: 5 Reasons To Sign - A flyer produced by Troy Barber for the upcoming petition drive.
3161 Elliott Avenue, Suite 340
Seattle, WA 98121
- Marijuana is a benign substance. Unlike alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine, marijuana has never caused a single death. Marijuana should not result in a lifetime criminal record. Students should not be ineligible for financial aid and children should not be taken from their parents over a marijuana conviction.
- Marijuana prohibition is a waste of money. The State of Washington spends one hundred million dollars annually to arrest, prosecute and jail 12,000 people a year for non-violent, victim-less “crimes” related to marijuana. That's taxpayer money that could be saved -- or spent on education, health programs, teen drug treatment programs, etc.
- Just like alcohol prohibition, prohibition of marijuana empowers violent organized crime. Instead of allowing small business owners and farmers to grow and sell marijuana and industrial hemp, the government has granted a monopoly to criminals who will maim, kill, and sell drugs to children in the name of profit.
- Medical marijuana patients are not protected by current law. Voters in Washington overwhelmingly approved our medical marijuana law in 1998. But patients are still being arrested, prosecuted and sometimes even jailed for using doctor authorized medicine. The only way to really protect patients is to make their medicine legal.
- Hemp is an eco-friendly, profitable crop for Washington's farmers. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of hemp can be grown locally instead of imported. Industrial uses include cooking and fuel oils, fabric, paint, paper, construction materials and environmentally-safe plastics. Hemp Seed is nutritious and contains more essential fatty acids than most other food sources. Hemp produces more pulp per acre than timber on a sustainable basis and grows well without herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides.
from: 5 Reasons To Sign - A flyer produced by Troy Barber for the upcoming petition drive.
3161 Elliott Avenue, Suite 340
Seattle, WA 98121
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
I love this part of the article ;-]
The firm made money on the upside -- originating, securitizing and selling subprime mortgage-based securities to investors -- and on the downside, thanks to the insurance.
Counterspin just interviewed someone that did a great analysis of this and how WaMu knew that the mortgages they peddled were fraudulent. Get you money local before it is too late! hahahahaGoldman Sachs Emails: Firm Had 'The Big Short' As Economy Fell
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Incoming! Doug hits the nail on the head big time. Terrorists don't really hate America or it's people, they hate the American Government and the people who are behind all of "our" meddling. The US gov't meddles, the people pay. Wall street and the Banks meddle, and again the people pay. Big Corporations bent on maximum profit meddle, again, the people pay.
I don't know about you, but I am getting pretty damn tired of being stuck with the check...
Let the Flames begin ;-]
Doug Bandow: Blowback: The Lessons of the Moscow Bombings for America
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Official Google Blog: A broadband catapult for America
Wow, this is amazing... Google is really behind Broadband for America, just like every one of you should be. This is the kind of economic stimulus that really puts people to work, and gee, there might even be some benefits. I urge everyone to run the FCC broadband test and let it report your numbers to the database. The FCC cannot justify projects like this unless people participate to show a need, We all know there is a need. I urge everyone to download and run the FCC National Broadband test. Information on the reasons why the test is important and instructions for running it are at: http://www.broadband.gov/qualitytest/about/ - do it! --egrep
Sunday, March 14, 2010
KEXP 90.3 FM - Programs
A really awesome discussions going on right now on "Community Forum" - kexp.org The segment just ended on excessive corporate rights, and now there is a forum being broadcast on basic human rights as they relate to how corporations can basically do what they want to us, our environment, and our world. If you miss it, I will follow up with the archive link in a bit...
Live stream at: http://kexp-mp3-128k.cac.washington.edu:8000/listen.pls
Friday, March 12, 2010
The only way to keep my kids out of debt for half their lives due to student loans was to pay their schooling costs myself. Best damn investment I ever made. I am not sure what the fix is, but I urge everyone to complain, no scream at all their elected officials about these issues and problems. This is just another example of corporate interference in our government. Anything to make a buck, right guys?
I think my 401k would be better served by setting aside part of it to invest in an "educational bond fund". Government backed, and the money invested in the fund goes directly to students and institutions. NO BANKS. If enough people do it, it might send Wall Street a message. Payback is a bitch bankers... You have been warned... ;-]Mark Shriver: How to Turn Banking Waste into a Bright Future for All Kids
Thursday, March 11, 2010