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US military knew Syria militants had sarin gas: Document

Press TV

A newly leaked classified document has revealed the US military knew that foreign-backed militants fighting against the Syrian government had sarin gas.

In a classified Secret/Noforn (not for foreign distribution) document obtained by WND, the US military has confirmed that militants from al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front in Syria had sarin gas.

According to the document, which came from the US intelligence community’s National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC), al-Qaeda elements in Iraq produced a “bench-scale” form of sarin and transferred it to Turkey for use by foreign-backed militants in Syria.

The lethal gas was provided to militants in Syria through the Turkish town of Antakya in Hatay Province with Turkey’s cooperation, reported WND.

The document also says that sarin gas was used by militants in an attack on civilians and Syrian government forces last March.

Yossef Bodansky, a former director of the US Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, has told WND that the US intelligence community’s describing the sarin gas in the hands of militants as “bench-scale” shows the alleged chemical attack of August 21 near capital Damascus was perpetrated by the militants to provoke a US military intervention in Syria.

Bodansky based his argument on a preliminary analysis of the sarin which showed it was of a “kitchen” variety and not military grade.

Washington has accused the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons in an attack near capital Damascus on August 21.

Damascus has categorically rejected the accusations. In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, the Syrian president rejected the allegations that he was behind the deadly chemical attack in August.

US President Barack Obama has sent Congress a draft resolution for strike on Syria over the accusations.

However, he asked Congress on Tuesday to delay a vote, originally set for Wednesday, on his call for the use of military force against Syria in order to give a Russian diplomatic proposal a chance to play out.

On Tuesday, the Syrian government said it would accept a proposal offered a day earlier by Russia to put its chemical weapons under international control.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the CIA has begun delivering weapons to US-backed militants in Syria.

US Secretary of State John Kerry also told a congressional hearing on Tuesday that US lawmakers should keep “the threat” of attacking Syria “on the table.”


World powers deeply divided & other news about the situation in Syria

World Powers Deeply Divided on Syira, Fail to Heal Rift at G20 Dinner

Al Manar

World powers failed to bridge deep divisions on Syria at a G20 summit dinner in Russia as they squared off over the US push for military strikes against Syria.

As tensions over the Syrian crisis threatened to torpedo the working schedule of the G20 summit outside Saint Petersburg, host Vladimir Putin invited participants to air their views over dinner.

The leaders took turns over three hours to reiterate their positions on the issue in 10-minute speeches, a diplomatic source close to the talks said.

“The G20 has just now finished the dinner session at which the divisions about Syria were confirmed,” Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who attended the dinner, said on his official Twitter feed.

Russia has led opposition to any US-led military action against Syria over an August 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus, which Washington alleges was perpetrated by Damascus.

“Let us remember: every day that we lose is a day when scores of innocent civilians die,” the UN quoted Ban as telling the G20 leaders at the dinner.
“Providing more arms to either side is not the answer. There is no military solution.”

A French diplomatic source said the closed-door dinner, hosted by Putin at the luxurious imperial palace of Peterhof outside Saint Petersburg, was not meant to secure a deal.

“The objective was an exchange between the top world leaders and not to come to an agreement” on the crisis, said the source.

Putin and US President Barack Obama put on a show of smiles for the cameras as they shook hands just before the summit got under way on the shores of the Gulf of Finland.


Click links to read full article:

Senators who backed Syria resolution got 83 per cent more defense lobby money than those who voted against it, campaign finance numbers show

Pope calls on world leaders to abandon military options in Syria

Russia gave UN 100-page report in July blaming Syrian rebels for Aleppo sarin attack

Militants kill Syrian soldiers execution style: Video

Video: Syrian Rebel Admits Using Chemical Weapons

Saudi Arabia’s “Chemical Bandar” behind the Chemical Attacks in Syria?

Britain sold nerve chemicals to Syrian groups 10 months after crisis began

Al Manar

The UK Daily Record website revealed Sunday that the United Kingdom had allowed firms to sell nerve gas chemicals to parties in Syria in January 2012, i.e. 10 months after the Syrian conflict began.

The website noted that those chemicals, just like the sarin, are capable of being used to make chemical weapons.

The chemical export licenses were granted by Business Secretary Vince Cable’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, but were only revoked six months later, when the European Union imposed tough sanctions on the Arab country.

On Saturday, politicians and anti-arms trade campaigners urged Prime Minister David Cameron to explain why the licenses were granted.

The SNP’s leader at Westminster, MP Angus Robertson, said he will be raising the issue in Parliament as soon as possible to find out what examination the UK Government made of where these chemicals were going and what they were to be used for.

“Approving the sale of chemicals which can be converted into lethal weapons during a civil war is a very serious issue,” he stated.

“We need to know who these chemicals were sold to, why they were sold, and whether the UK Government were aware that the chemicals could potentially be used for chemical weapons,” the British MP added.

Daily Record noted that the UK government have refused to identify the license holders or say whether the licenses were issued to one or two companies.

The Syrian government has denied blame for the nerve gas attack, saying the accusations are “full of lies,” pointing the finger at militant opposition groups.

UN weapons inspectors investigating the atrocity left Damascus on Saturday after gathering evidence for four days. It could take up to two weeks for the results of tests on samples taken from victims of the attack, as well as from water, soil and shrapnel, to be revealed.

Saudi Prince Bandar behind chemical attack in Syria: Report

Press TV

Syrians in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta say Saudi Arabia provided chemical weapons for an al-Qaeda linked terrorist group which they blame for the August 21 chemical attack in the region, a report says.

The article co-authored by a veteran AP reporter, said interviews with doctors, residents, anti-government forces and their families in Ghouta suggest the terrorists in question received chemical weapons via Saudi spymaster Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud.

The report quoted the father of a militant as saying that his son and 12 others were killed inside a tunnel used to store weapons supplied by a Saudi militant leader, known as Abu Ayesha.

The man described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”

Anti-government forces, interviewed in the article, complained they were not informed of the nature of the weapons they had been given, nor did they receive instructions how to use them.

“When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” said one militant.

Another militant accused the Takfiri militants of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front of refusing to cooperate with other insurgents or sharing secret information. “They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material,” he said.

“We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” he added.

The authors noted that the doctors who treated the chemical weapons attack victims cautioned interviewers against asking questions regarding who exactly was responsible for the deadly assault.

Also more than a dozen militants interviewed said their salaries came from the Saudi government. They reportedly said Prince Bandar is referred to as “al-Habib” (the lover) by al-Qaeda militants fighting in Syria.

According to Independent, it was Prince Bandar’s intelligence agency that first accused the Syrian government in February of using sarin gas in a bid to rally support for Riyadh’s efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

And The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Saudi spy chief is considered by the CIA as “a veteran of the diplomatic intrigues of Washington and the Arab world [who] could deliver what the CIA couldn’t: planeloads of money and arms, and…wasta, Arabic for under-the-table clout.”

A Saudi plan to attack Damascus aborted by the Syrian army

by Hussein Mortada, Al Ahed news

The Syrian Army has broken the backbone of the armed thugs and killed their leaders in Damascus countryside.

Some Saudi officials held a quite meeting in Istanbul with 30 leaders of the so-called “Free Syrian Army”. This meeting took place in Istanbul right after the United States decision of putting the Saudi intelligence in charge regarding the Syrian files.

The center point of this meeting was a clear Saudi demand of either a huge battle by which the armed gangs control Damascus or cutting off the funding. Al-Ahed news website obtained more information, which says that huge amounts of weapons exist in Jordan and part of them were transported to Syria.

Armed gangs along with Saudi Arabia thought that this change will have influence on the field. Therefore, the armed militias of all backgrounds have started preparing to attack Jaramana as it is the closest city to the capital. The militias gathered in the skirts of Jarba town in Eastern Ghuta. The American trained militias in Jordan have secretly started sneaking in to Syria through boarders. Hundreds of armed gangs were ambushed in the surroundings of Eastern Ghuta when the Syrian army discovered these passages and it was a great loss for the militias.

However, the Syrian army took the decision of launching a counter military operation, which they time especially after observing all gatherings and targets.

The operation aims at breaking the backbone of the militias in Damascus countryside and pushing them away from the capital neighborhoods that were always their leaders’ dream to control. The operation also aims at completing the security belt around the capital from within that will meet the security belt in the Eastern Ghuta at Homs-Damascus international highway.

The plan started with targeting leaders of the armed militias of all gangs, brigades and squads hours before the operation beginning. The Syrian army used the most modern military technologies to locate positions and targets accurately.

They last targeted leader of the so called “Ahfad al-Rassoul Brigade” in Damascus countryside. Thus, the armed gangs in Damascus countryside lost the expert field leaders who were well familiar with the region. This caused unbalanced state to the armed militias.

The intense military reinforcement of the Syrian army during the past few days were a clue of the operation start especially in Daria, Duma. Almuadamia, the inside of Eastern Ghuta reaching Daraa and Swaida. The leaders of the operation had a clear list of targets.

In Joubar, the army targeted many gatherings of al-Nusra in crucial areas. One of the most important targeted areas was al-manto market, al-manasher Dora. The army progressed towards Teacher’s Tower building where snipers settled for seven months targeting civilians continuously. A part of this building collapsed. At the same time, the army performed a huge military operation in al-sbena region in Western Ghuta, targeted armed gatherings in Huseinia. The clashed continued at the axis of Gharba neighborhood in Hajerra, Husenia and Zyabia. This is the first time the Syrian army organize its unites to perform operations simultaneously on different axis : al-muazamia, al-Qaboun, Barza specifically in al-mustah tower, Jubar and Erbim.

The Syrian army progress led the armed militia to shell more than 30 mortars over Damascus and its hotspot neighborhoods: Bab Touma, al-kassaam al-abbassien via Joubar, al-Tahrir Square, al-Sadat, al-Tijara, Tishreen park in an attempt to raise morals of their fighters. This is a good clue showing how the army progress heavily influence the morals of the militias.

During the military operations, the analysts were interested in the accuracy of these operations as the Syrian army used very new techniques in observing , tracking in addition to the quality of weaponry, the elite brigades and special forces teams working on ground. A military source has confirmed to al-Ahed website that the Syrian army is still progressing in the depth along with intense fire coverage until the operation in the countryside ends soon. The end point of the operation will be when the army controls the villages of Rankoos, Assal el-ward and their surroundings along boarders with Lebanon.

US photojournalist reveals horrors of being held by Syria armed groups

Al Ahed news

A US photojournalist who escaped from Syrian after seven months in captivity revealed details of his ordeal Friday and spoke of his anguish at leaving a fellow hostage behind.

Matthew Schrier, 35, fled the clutches of an armed group aligned to al-Qaeda in July after being kidnapped while leaving the Syrian city of Aleppo on December 31 last year.

He finally escaped on July 29 after managing to sneak through a tiny opening in a window.

However, another American prisoner being held with Schrier was unable to escape through the gap because he was too big.
“It was one of the hardest things I had to do,” Schrier told CNN, and noted “it’s tough to move on because he’s still there. It hasn’t ended yet 100 percent. I’m not going to have closure until he’s home.”

According to the New York Times, Schrier is one of 15 Westerners who have been kidnapped or who have disappeared this year.

Schrier, who was kidnapped after being betrayed by his taxi driver, said his captors had initially treated him politely. But his situation rapidly deteriorated as he was regularly tortured and ordered to admit he was a CIA spy.

He was stripped and beaten with a metal cable. Schrier’s captors also ran up debts with his credit card and extracted password information for his email accounts.

He said he was moved several times and often held alongside Syrians accused of fighting for the government, and he was also taken for a time by another group, Ahrar al-Sham.

At one place, where he was held in April, a boy as young as 12 was allowed to beat prisoners and use a Taser gun to shock them.

At the end of January, Schrier was transferred to another prison where he was kept with another American “who looked like he had been there for 100 years.”

He was interrogated by three young masked men who spoke perfect English. Schrier said he believed the three men were Canadians.

The two prisoners were tortured after they had been discovered trying to gouge a hole in a wooden door. Schrier had a car tire placed over his legs, was turned around face down and given 115 lashes on the soles of his feet with a metal cable.

He was repeatedly ordered to admit he was a CIA agent. He said on one occasion, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, he was filmed confessing to espionage after the captors coerced them into doing so.

“I sat there and I was like, they’re just going to torture me until I say it,” he told CNN. “You’re going to say what they want you to say. I chose sooner than later.”

Twin blasts hit Lebanon’s Tripoli, kill tens, injure dozens

Twin blasts hit Lebanon’s Tripoli, kill 42, injure dozens

Press TV

At least 42 people have been killed and hundreds more injured in explosions near two mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.

The first blast happened near the al-Taqwa Mosque at the city’s Abu Ali Square as worshippers were leaving the mosque. The mosque is close to the home of outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The second explosion, which occurred about five minutes later, struck the al-Salam Mosque in the Mina district of the city. The mosque is close to the home of former police chief, Ashraf Rifi, a security source said.

The explosions also destroyed many cars and damaged several buildings.

Heavy gunfire was also heard following the explosions…


Hezbollah: Tripoli Blasts Reflect Int’l-Regional Scheme to Plant Sedition

Al Manar

Following the terrorist explosions that rocked the northern Lebanese city on Friday, Hezbollah said that “criminal terrorism refuses only to keep the Lebanese busy counting their martyrs and wounded, through targeting innocent citizens in all Lebanese regions.”

In a statement issued Friday, Hezbollah stressed that “these two terrorist bombings reflect the very criminal scheme aimed at sowing seeds of sedition among the Lebanese and dragging them to the internal fighting under sectarian and confessional titles, to serve the evil regional and international project that wants to break up our region and dump it in seas of blood and fire.”

Moreover, Hezbollah expressed “severe pain” for “our patient people in Tripoli.”
“The crime is continuation of the project to insert Lebanon into the chaos and destruction, as well as an implementation of the devil goals of the Zionist enemy and those who stand behind him,” the statement added.

Hezbollah voiced “the utmost solidarity and unity with our brothers and our people in the beloved city of Tripoli in these tragic moments, where innocent and pure blood is shed in the streets for no reason.”

Hezbollah also called upon the wise men to use the language of mind and consciousness, and “not to get caught behind the rumors and accusations that want to sabotage the country and its people,” expressing deepest condolences to the martyr’s families and praying to Allah Almighty to grant the wounded a speedy recovery.

Two terrorist explosions targeted the peaceful worshipers this afternoon after Friday prayers at Tripoli mosques, north Lebanon…

From Boston to Beirut: A comparison of ’terror’

(Dahiyeh, Lebanon, 15-8-2013)

by Yazan al-Saadi, Al-Akhbar, source The Western media have double standards when it comes to “terrorism.” Within hours after two bombs were detonated at the Boston Marathon last April, many in the media had christened it a “terrorist attack.” Meanwhile, the August 15 bombing in Roueiss that killed at least two dozen is a “blast” that occurred in a “Hizbullah stronghold.” On 15 April 2013, in the middle of the afternoon, two pressure cooker bombs exploded 13 seconds apart near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three spectators were killed, including an 8-year-old boy, and 264 others suffered an array of injuries. The perpetrators were two young American citizens, brothers from a Chechen-Avar background, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Days after the event, they were hunted down by the Boston police. Tamerlan was killed, while his younger brother Dzhokhar was captured and could now face the death penalty. Four months to the day, a car bomb exploded in the early evening at a busy intersection in the heavily populated residential neighborhood of Roueiss in the southern part of Beirut. So far, 27 [and counting] have died, and a further 355 have been injured. A video was posted about an hour after the explosion in which three white-hooded, armed men from the Aisha Brigades for External Missions claimed responsibility. But only of one of these tragic incidents was immediately defined as a “terror attack” by major media agencies in the United Kingdom and United States, while the other is a “car bomb blast”. But only of one of these tragic incidents was immediately defined as a “terror attack” by major media agencies in the United Kingdom and United States, while the other is a “car bomb blast” – represented sub-textually as an unfortunate, but somehow understandable, act of violence. The term “terrorism” is a fluid, politically-loaded term. Who uses it, when it is used, and who it is used against all come into play. Even the historical evolution of the word “terrorism” – born out of the bloodbath conducted by the French Republic after the French Revolution and now used today as a universally ambiguous categorization directed toward non-state actors – is reflective of how potent the term is. When it is used today, there are significant legal and military ramifications that give it compelling potency. There are a number of mostly similar, official definitions by various US governmental and military departments. The US Department of State defines “terrorism” as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” In a similar vein, the US Department of War defines “terrorism” as “the unlawful use of violence or threat of violence to instill fear and coerce governments or societies. Terrorism is often motivated by religious, political, or other ideological beliefs and committed in the pursuit of goals that are usually political.” Across the Atlantic, the United Kingdom states that “terrorism,” as defined in its Terrorism Act 2000, “involves serious violence against a person; involves serious damage to property; endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action; creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public; or is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.” Understanding and being aware of these definitions by the government bodies is important because it informs and shapes how the media in such states categorize and discuss “acts of terror” whenever they occur. After the Boston Marathon bombing, nearly everyone within the major British and American media agencies instantaneously described the attack as an act of “terrorism.” Taking a brief look at the reports on April 15 and the following days is quite telling. As freelance journalist Tanveer Ali, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, noted, both CNN International and the London-based The Guardian did not hesitate to call it a “terror attack” even before the smoke, rubble, and body parts were cleared, and more strikingly even prior to an official categorization of the attack. Other British and American outlets, when not directly calling the Boston bombing a moment of ‘terror’ in the first few days, were either trying to frame the act as part of an international conspiracy, bringing up the tiresome trope of linking Islam to terrorism, or were enraged over US President Barack Obama’s hesitancy in not using the words “act of terror” that day. But the truth of the matter is that the almost knee-jerk insistence by American and British media agencies and political commentators to call the Boston bombing a form of terrorism is a matter of the identity of those who committed it and the identity of the victims. In his critical analysis of the media coverage for The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald explained the crux of the matter succinctly: This is far more than a semantic question. Whether something is or is not ‘terrorism’ has very substantial political implications, and very significant legal consequences as well. The word ‘terrorism’ is, at this point, one of the most potent in our political lexicon: it single-handedly ends debates, ratchets up fear levels, and justifies almost anything the government wants to do in its name. It’s hard not to suspect that the only thing distinguishing the Boston attack from Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook and Columbine [to say nothing of the US “shock and awe” attack on Baghdad and the mass killings in Fallujah] is that the accused Boston attackers are Muslim and the other perpetrators are not. As usual, what terrorism really means in American discourse – its operational meaning – is: violence by Muslims against Americans and their allies.” These are the harsh facts, and they explain the nature of the foreign coverage of the tragedy in southern Beirut on August 15. To put it in perspective, it is akin to describing the Boston Marathon bombing as an attack on a “democrat strong-hold. Despite the fact that the perpetrators and the act itself snugly fit into the legal definition of “terrorism” by the US and UK authorities, the media coverage by British and American media outlets described it as a “bomb blast” from a possible “suicide attack.” More so, as media critic and former editor-at-large of al-Akhbar English Emily Dische-Becker in Berlin observed to the Institute of Public Accuracy, many of the foreign news agencies took great pains to add that the car bomb explosion occurred in a “Hizbullah stronghold.” Virtually all reports on the attack on the residential neighborhood of Roueiss noted the so-called Hizbullah’s military involvement in Syria, therefore subtly inferring that the attack was justifiable despite the fact that the victims were innocent civilians. Those killed will not have the leisure of being named and cared for by extensive human-oriented stories, slick infographics, painful photo galleries, and a barrage of follow-up tales of coping the day after. This “context” was not provided by the mainstream press when it came to the Boston bombing and other similar incidents over the past decade. To put it in perspective, it is akin to describing the Boston Marathon bombing as an attack on a “democrat strong-hold,” possibly linked to the brutal, destructive military invasions and bloody escapades of the Americans and their allies. In both incidents, people have died and been maimed by terrible acts. Yet it seems that only one is an “act of terror,” while the other is merely a fact-of-life. To buttress this point, one only has to read the statement posted on Facebook by the US embassy in Beirut: “US Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly strongly condemns today’s reported bombing in the southern suburbs of Beirut between the neighborhoods of Bir al-Abed and al-Ruwais. She extends the United States’ deepest condolences for the loss of innocent lives. Ambassador Connelly reaffirms the United States’ condemnation in the strongest terms of any violence in Lebanon and calls for all parties to exercise calm and restraint.”

Lebanon: ‘Hariri provides the murderers with political cover’

by Ibrahim al-Amin, Al-Akhbar

Future Party leader Saad Hariri commented on Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah’s speech on Twitter, accusing the party oharirif defining who is a terrorist according to its own interests.

Hariri appears to be calling for a national conference in order to designate what constitutes terrorism and to come to a consensus on the mechanism to fight it. In effect, he’s telling those who are being killed and those who are murdering them to wait a little longer in order for everyone to come to a common understanding.

More dangerously, Hariri is sending a message to the Lebanese authorities – and particularly those over which Future has influence, like some of the Internal Security Forces (ISF) – not to accede to calls for combating terrorism, for the matter requires national consensus.

Not only does Hariri provide radical – groups with political cover, in addition to funding and arming them, he is now declaring that they cannot be touched. This is after Future’s MPs have established a record of incitement against the Lebanese army, going so far as to openly defend Ahmad al-Assir’s gang in Saida after they killed over a dozen soldiers.

Contrary to Hariri’s attempts to portray the – terrorist attacks as a legitimate part of the Syrian conflict and against Hezbollah’s involvement it, such groups have been active in Lebanon for over a decade now and are benefitting from the daily dose of sectarian incitement that Hariri’s team feeds its supporters on a daily basis.

It’s clear that Hariri no longer has any connection with this country.On the point of national consensus, we have to ask Hariri the following:

– Based on what consensus was he able to rob property owners in downtown Beirut to create a real estate monster called Solidere?

– What about the privatization of the mobile phone sector and the embezzlement of millions in funds intended for national reconstruction after the civil war?

– And who was it that accused Syria – and then Hezbollah – of assassinating Rafik Hariri, then establishing an international tribunal partly funded from the national treasury? Did he have national consensus to do all this?

– Do Hariri’s current attempts to carry out Saudi wishes to form a government without Hezbollah and get an extension for President Michel Suleiman have the blessings of the Lebanese people?

It’s clear that Hariri no longer has any connection with this country. His extended presence outside Lebanon has turned him into little more than a subordinate, fulfilling the commands of the Kingdom of Darkness and the West.

The Resistance, for its part, is obligated to defend its people – particularly in those areas where the state is virtually absent. This is not a matter of choice for them.

Iraqi lawmaker says US covers up Saudi plots against Iraq

by Guy Billout

Press TV

A member of Iraq’s Free Iraqiya Party says the United States covers up the Saudi efforts to destabilize Iraq, Press TV reports.

Aliya Nassif told Press TV that Washington is not serious in its claim of intention to provide security for the Iraqi nation.

The Iraqi lawmaker also stated that Saudi Arabia triggers violence and insecurity in the region, particularly in Iraq, by supporting Takfiri terrorists.

Recently, cables were released about a secret memo by Christopher Hill, former US ambassador to Iraq, sent to the US Department of State in September 2009, in which it was mentioned, “Saudi Arabia constitutes the biggest challenge and the problem is more complex in relation to the Iraqi politicians who are trying to form a stable and independent government.”

Hill also said “intelligence sources reported that Saudi Arabia is based in the effort to destabilize the government of [Iraqi] Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.”

The former US envoy added that Riyadh funds attacks by al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Iraq has seen a surge in violence since the beginning of this year. More than 4,000 people have died in terrorist attacks so far in 2013, with Baghdad province being the worst hit.

The United Nations said on August 1 that over 1,000 Iraqis were killed and more than 2,300 people were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in the month of July, making it the deadliest month in Iraq since 2008.

Al-Qaeda attacks Syrian Kurdish town, kills 18

Press TV

At least 18 people have been killed after al-Qaeda militants attacked the Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain in northeastern Syria.

The incident took place after the foreign-backed militants assaulted the strategic border town, clashing with the Kurds in the area, reports said on Saturday.

Most of the dead are militants. The attack forced a large crowd of civilians to flee into villages in the neighboring Turkey.

Al-Qaeda-linked militants started attacks on several Kurdish-majority areas in northern and northeastern Syria on Friday.

In July, Kurdish fighters took control of Ras al-Ain, after expelling al-Qaeda linked militants from the area.

The terrorists have been launching assault on the city and other Kurdish-held areas of Syria.

Elsewhere, the foreign-sponsored militants attacked a checkpoint in a Christian area of the western city of Homs, killing at least 11 people, including six civilians.

“Terrorists today committed a massacre, killing 11 people … in Homs countryside,” the official SANA news agency quoted a Syrian official as saying.

Many Christians escaping the crisis in the city of Homs have settled in Christian villages around the city, where the incident happened.

A recent report said that the militants killed Italian priest, Paolo Dall’Oglio. He was in the city of Raqqa to demand the release of kidnapped people…

Lebanon: More than 21 martyrs, 336 wounded in Dahieh’s terrorist explosion

(Dahiyeh, Lebanon, 15-8-2013)

21 Martyrs, 336 Wounded in Dahieh’s Terrorist Explosion

Al Manar

Lebanese Minister of Health, Ali Hasan Khalil, said the final death toll from the terrorist attack which hit Rouwais – Bir Al-Abed road in the Southern Suburb of Beirut was 21 martyrs and 336 wounded.

For his part, Lebanese President, Michel Suleiman, called for a meeting for the Supreme Defense Council to be held at 10:30 am (Lebanese time) in the Presidential Palance in Baabda.

In the same context, PM Najib Miqati announced that Friday is a day of mourning over the martyrs who fell in the criminal blast, as work would stop from 10:00 am to 11:00 am in the morning.

He further called for five minutes of standing at 11:00 am, as an expression of mourning and condemnation to this crime and rejection to terrorists and terrorism.


The People of the Resistance: An Unbreakable Will

by Fatima Salameh, Al Ahed news

Beirut’s Southern Suburbs Regain Stamina, its people fearless

Here the resistance’s people lies, addicted to the smell of dignity and pride. Here the Dahyieh people lies, filled with unbreakable determination and will. They are the most honorable of people that do not fear explosions nor terrorism. They are the sons of the Dahyieh, Mother of Life.

Beirut’s Southern Suburbs, also known as Dahyieh, was targeted on Thursday in parallel to the anniversary of the divine victory of the July war in 2006. However, the terrorists’ aim was foiled by the lively hearts that beat for the resistance and its leader. Here, in Dahyieh, life once again regained its health.

“Kill us, for our people will be more conscious”. These words uttered by the Leader of the Resistance years ago embedded in the spirit of this dynamic people. These words have become a school for all those who favor dignity over submission.

The impact of the blast that rocked the Roweiss district in the Dahyieh could never strike the faith and persistence of the people of dignity, for the blast only made them more committed to the resistance’s path.

A woman nicknamed Um Hassan quietly went to buy her groceries. This woman, who witnessed the moments of the explosion, stressed that the incident will not drift us from the resistance’s path, but rather makes us love it more.

“We are a people who brought victory, and we will not remain passive and wait for death. If dying in dignity is inevitable, then we welcome it. Our lives will go on,” she said.

“Every time you destroy, we will make the Dahyieh better than before,” Um Hassan proudly added.

Blood from the young Ayman Mohsen still showed in his shop near the site of the explosion, but he said, “We will not give up on the resistance to the last drop of blood.”

He further told al-Ahed News website of the force of the explosion that targeted the Dahyieh on Thursday, reiterating, “This aims at delivering a bloody message to turn the resistance’s people on its leader, but never will that happen.”

Um Ali, a woman in her sixties, stood in front of her damaged house in the explosion site, and said, “No matter how much they destroyed, we are here.”

“We will not fall and nothing will affect our support to the resistance. The leader of the resistance His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah alone protects us,” she added.

“Our will is strong and firm. Some Arabs send us weapons so we fight each other, but we are strong. Hizbullah’s men defend the nation before they defend the South because we are all brothers,” Um Ali reiterated. “We demand the government to face all terrorists and control the borders.”

In the first floor of a building near the explosion site is Dr. Ahmad Safieddine’s dental clinic, who expressed his high spirit.

“We are used to destruction and killing, but we quickly shake off attacks and come back,” Dr. Safieddine stated.

“They want to sow strife and turn us on the resistance that protects us, but we have nothing but love for it,” he added.

As for the other building adjacent to the explosion site, a woman in her fifties that goes by the name of Um Youssef and her family come over and tell us what happened with her.

She highlighted that “our spirits are high and our will is strong. The Dahyieh will remain victorious over all the tyrants of the world.”

“I survived here in the July war despite the destruction and bombing. We are a nation that does not fear terrorism,” Um Youssef said.

In the second floor of the same building, Hajj Hussein recounted the moments of the explosion.

He questioned what guilt the children committed to deserve this explosion.
“My children were playing in the house,” he said.

The Dahyieh today was a landmark for visitors from every corner. Um Ali came to the capital of resistance although she is not from its residents.

“I came in solidarity with the people of this blessed place and its people,” Um Ali commented.

Indeed, these people proved yet again that they will stay in Dahyieh with their hearts beating with the love of the resistance and the slogan “Death to us is a habit, and our reward is martyrdom.”

Beware of Cold War thinking

Terror Alert

by JP SOTTILE, source

Timing is everything.

For the embattled national security state, the fortuitous timing of “pre-9/11-like” chatter portending a large-scale, “potential” terror threat was downright impeccable.

Warnings were given and embassies closed.

Terrifying terror thwarted.

The media dutifully regurgitated andthe conversation changed.

Justifications made.

Mission accomplished?

Frankly, when it comes to justifying the national security state, “potential terror” is almost as good as actual terror. In some ways, it’s better. It keeps Americans on their toes and critics on their heels, but without any unpleasant details. And that detail-free approach has worked quite effectively for well over a decade.

Put bluntly, the War on Terror has been predicated blind trust.

If you don’t want to re-live the terror of 9/11, you will just have to trust us. If you want to preserve “The Homeland” and your family, you will just have to trust us. And if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have no reason not to trust us.

Therein lies the rub.

The national security state relies upon the willingness of the public to trust them without question. Don’t worry about the facts and details—just let us handle the truth. But the public airing of facts and details is also imperative tothe constitutional system the national security state is tasked to preserve.

However, some troublesome facts have disrupted that once-reliable Catch-22.

It’s not just Edward Snowden’s revelatory details about the NSA’s massive, extra-constitutional surveillance infrastructure. And it’s not just that DNI James Clapper lied to Congress. Or that the President and key members of Congresskeep lying to the public. Now newly-released documents show the NSA went so far as to violate orders issued by the ultra-secret rubber-stamping FISA court. Even worse, other governmental agencies covet the NSA’s epic haul of data and, if the DEA’s “Special Operations Division” is any indication, the collection of everything possible can easily metastasize into a massive, classified law enforcement crackdown on the beleaguered denizens of “The Homeland.”

So, after decades of acting with impunity under a veil of relative obscurity, the beating heart of the national security state—the NSA—is enduring an unprecedented level of public scrutiny. Now the “just trust us” phase of the War on Terror is in real jeopardy.

Questions about the veracity and timing of seemingly convenient terror alerts reflect this new reality. Americans know the NSA never “met-a-data” it didn’t like to collect. And their Homeland Security “partners” in the ever-vigilant FBI not only seem to be forcing a merger with the telecom industry, but they’ve also employed hackers who could easily turn your snazzy new TV into a two-way observation mirror.

However, the national security state is so much more than just the data hounds in the NSA, the FBI and the DEA. It is the Pentagon, the National Security Council, the CIA, self-interested members of Congress, military contractors, defense lobbyists, oil executives, public intellectuals and the smarmy think tanks that harbor them.

They are the purveyors of perpetual war, and they have been ever since Senator Arthur Vandenberg infamously told a myopic, compliant haberdasher from Missouri that he’d have to “scare the hell out of the American people” if he wanted to engage in a multi-generational conflict with former allies in the Soviet Union.

On March 12, 1947, “Give ’em Hell Harry” did just that. He gave the “Truman Doctrine” speech that set in motion decades of proxy wars, the scourge of McCarthyism and the still-resonant debacle of Vietnam. In it he warned of an enemy that relied “upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio; fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms.”

It worked. Three years later, on April 14, 1950, the National Security Council codified the multi-generational conflict in a top-secret, innocuously-named “NSC-68” report outlining the strategy of “containment.” That document was the exclamation point at the end of the Cold War sentence written by Truman and the nascent national security state when they dropped the atomic bombs on Japanese civilians.

Then as now, timing is everything.

Although the Japanese signaled their willingness to surrender, Truman and Co. knew the Soviets were coming—ready to turn their victorious army toward their long-standing Japanese competitors in East Asia. Wary of a Soviet presence in America’s growing sphere of influence, the national security state used the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a well-timed demonstration of force to the Soviets and the world. They certainly did nothing to keep the Emperor off the throne, which had been the supposed sticking point keeping the Allies from accepting Japan’s surrender before its civilians were summarily incinerated.

Ironically, it’s been 68 years since the US became the first and only nation to ever use nuclear weapons. Not ironically, it is still the national security state and the mantra of “national security” that trumps everything in American life and politics and business.

That one phrase classifies anything and justifies everything. It answers all questions and ends all discussions. It is the top secret that keeps the secrets of those at the top. That’s what “national security” is and has been—the fail-safe redoubt for a profitable shadow government of elite bureaucrats, military contractors, political salespeople and intelligence interlopers.

“National security” is also why al-Qaeda will never die.

Like the Soviet Union and communism before it, al-Qaeda is the perfect foil as “terror” incarnate. It is the nefarious leader of an international network of terrorists bent on destroying America simply because it hates the American Way of life.

Unlike the Soviet Union, it will be virtually impossible to trust or verify its demise. No matter how many “suspects” are killed or top leaders are felled, these non-state actors will never leave the stage. The mere presence of American power on their soil, hovering in their skies or simply operating behind their scenes will create an endless supply of individual enemies, ad hocorganizations and insurgencies against US-backed regimes.

And now that Osama bin Laden is gone, the national security state fightsenemies it refuses to name. It deploys “suspected drones” to kill “suspected militants” and “suspected al-Qaeda” in Yemen, Pakistan or anywhere “affiliates” and “associates” and “al-Qaeda-linked” groups may pop up. Since drone strikes kill ten times as many civilians than do piloted airstrikes, they will pop up in perpetuity. And America’s global empire of bases, clients and far-flung “national” interests will forever expose Americans to potential harm and inspire domestic fear.

Perhaps the greatest irony is that this latest cocktail of fear and trust is being served at the same time the President criticizes Russia for “slipping back” into Cold War thinking.

The simple fact is that America’s national security state never stopped drinking the Cold War Kool-Aid.

‘Amnesty International, war propaganda, and human rights terrorism’

by Gearóid Ó Colmáin, source

In Jaramana on the outskirts of Damascus on 7 August, 18 civilians were blown to bits. Among the dead were children. The Russian government condemned the crime against humanity. The crime was hardly even reported in the Western press, not to mention the silence of Western governments who are supplying the terrorists with arms. Perhaps the babies murdered in the attack were supporters of Bashar al-Assad and were therefore guilty.

Meanwhile in the “land of human rights”, Parisians sipped coffee reading France’s “journal sérieux” Le monde. The French daily published a story from an organization internationally recognized for its role in defending ‘human rights’: Amnesty International.

Amnesty International was outraged at the violence against civilians in Syria. But there was no mention of the Jaramana massacre. Strangely, they had not heard the news. They were unaware that terrorists had planted a bomb in a crowded civilian area in Jaramana murdering civilians. Instead, the Le Monde article quoted statements made by Donatela Rovera, an Amnesty activist who had spent some time with similar groups to those who had planted the Jaramana bomb.

Rovera was outraged at the Syrian army’s determination to defeat the terrorists. “The regime is using banned weapons” she said. In Rovera’s twisted view, banned weapons would not include car bombs planted in crowded market squares. Banned weapons are the weapons that all national armies fighting to defend their nations use, such as ballistic missiles.

Rovera, our “human rights” activist was forced to admit that some crimes may have been committed by her beloved “rebels” but she, like a true professional, took great care to spin their crimes as collateral damage:

“The war crimes which they commit essentially target members of the government forces and their militia whom the rebels capture, but these groups have also become more visible among the civilian population, upon whom they force their viewpoint.”

Amnesty’s human rights militant doesn’t elaborate on just what that viewpoint is. She makes no mention that her beloved rebels are forcing women in occupied Aleppo to wear the burka, nor does she mention the fact that they are using food as a weapon against the people in an attempt to starve them into submission. No, the message is clear, the rebels are the good guys, although there are some rogues among them.

Is it not astonishing that a government that AIMS to kill as many as possible of its own people, a tyrannical monster that sadistically massacres scores of its own citizens day after day, could manage to stay in power, in spite of the fact that so many of those citizens support the heroic car bombers attacking that government, support the head-hackers opposing that government, cheer on the child soldiers wielding guns they can barely lift against that government, and that such a “popular uprising” could have the full logistical, propaganda, and military support of the most powerful nation the world has ever known, and still after two-and-a-half years of head hacking, cannibalism, and murdering mayhem, the Al-Qaeda “rebels” still can’t bring the “revolution” to a close?

For Amnesty International, the small babies in the Jaramana rubble are obviously “government forces”. If the opinion of Amnesty International were to the contrary, they would have published condemnations of such crimes. They didn’t and are therefore complicit in these crimes. This is what Amnesty International has been doing now for many years and since the start of this war against the Syrian people, Amnesty has been unwaveringly on the side of the aggressors. Their reports of the war have all been based on “activists say” and “according to activists”, “human rights militants” and yet they have condemned the Syrian government on the basis of all these wholly unsubstantiated claims by their so-called “reliable” sources, who have been caught committing crimes and blaming them on the government since unknown snipers opened fire on protestors and police in the town of Deraa in March 17, 2011.

Amnesty International is a war propaganda organization for imperialism. In fact, the majority of the most highly publicized human rights organisations in the West function as ideological indoctrination agencies for neo-colonialism and imperialism. In this respect, they have replaced the Christian missionaries of the 19th century who provided the justification for colonial subjugation on the pretext of spreading “Christian civilization”. Christian value-spreading colonialism has been superseded by human rights promotion.

During the terrorist campaign led by the CIA’s Mujahedeen against the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan during the 1980s, Amnesty International published a report condemning alleged torture and human rights abuse against the Mujahedeen terrorists by the Afghan government, while ignoring the car bombings and atrocities against civilians being committed by Bin Laden and his hoards of drug-dealing thugs, racists, and misogynists.

The mastermind of the ‘Afghan Trap’, designed to provoke a Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, was US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. He is also a former director of Amnesty International. The current director of Amnesty International’s American section is Suzanne Nossel, former US State Department Assistant Secretary for International Organizations. It is time to question not only Amnesty International but the entire ideology of human rights.

Human Rights versus Social Rights

French philosopher Michel Foucault argued that man as an ‘empirico-transcendental doublet’ was essentially an invention of the 18th century, arguing that the notion of individuality conceived as transcendental ego separable from social and historical forces, first appears in Western philosophy during the Enlightenment. Foucault celebrated the “death of man” as human beings began to be conceptualized by structuralists and post-structuralists as decentered points in a vast matrix of power relations, a vision which ultimately deprived the human being of agency. The political consequence of this profoundly Nietzschean conception of man is relativism, nihilism and petty-bourgeois, reactionary leftism, which opposes everything and defends nothing. However, in spite of their rejection of man post-structuralists and postmodernists still defend human rights.

Marxists also reject the notion of human rights due to the fact that it represents a bourgeois conception of the human being. For Marxists, human rights are bourgeois categories that correspond to bourgeois class interests.

Many left-wing activists defend the notion of human rights. There are others, however, who contend that the concept of human rights should be critiqued and rejected; human beings as social entities are what we should be defending; human beings as socially and historically constituted actors, shaped by their environment but also capable of shaping and overcoming that environment; complex social, dialectical beings not abstract egos with rights.

It should not surprise us that human rights agencies would function as the propaganda departments of imperialism. The concept of the rights of man was born with the historical rise of the bourgeoisie and the capitalist mode of production. Therefore, human rights go hand in hand with the rights of property. Human rights are always property rights; the rights of exploiters; the rights of oppressors, of the terrorists.

Instead, we need to defend social rights. Man, as Aristotle argued, is a political animal, that is to say, an animal whose being is inseparable from the polis, the social fabric, the community. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and similar rights-based organizations are the call girls and rent boys of a new type of hyper-individualist imperialism that is threatening the future of human beings’ ability to empathize with the suffering of others. Human rights groups are more interested in “rights” than humans, with titles and deeds than emotions and passions, with being on the “right” side of political correctness than being truthful and honest; with the liberty of the market than the liberty of the human being.

Peace activists should not only denounce, expose, and condemn their lies and manipulation but the very philosophy of human rights itself; for human beings cannot be conceptualized as entities born with inalienable rights but rather as social beings growing and evolving in dynamic communities that impose ineluctable duties, debts and obligations upon them towards their fellow toilers and labourers. Without such complex relations of interdependence there would be no society and consequently no human beings.

We should reject abstract human rights and proclaim concrete social rights; rights to free housing; the right to democratic ownership of means of production; the right to live in peace; the right to a job; the right to privacy; the right to free education, transport and health care; the right to healthy food and water; the right to freedom of expression.

We should not forget that most, if not all, the unspeakable crimes of this war have been committed by the so-called rebels. We should not forget the massacres of Houla, Banias, Hatleh, Aleppo University, among countless others less known, less publicized; and now the massacre of Jaramana. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others, have been complicit in covering up these crimes. They should be held to account. It is not because Amnesty International is a phony human rights organization that it is complicit in the war crimes being committed against the Syrian people; rather, Amnesty’s war propaganda on behalf of imperialism is simply a corollary of the bourgeois ideology adhered to by all human rights groups. The current “humanitarian” wars so zealously defended by human rights fanatics are symptomatic of a deep crisis of civilization.

In the 1960s, France’s Maoist film director Jean-Luc Godard attempted to show in his nightmarishly prescient film Le Weekend how French bourgeois ideology would turn civilized humans into blood-thirsty cannibals. This author has heard numerous commentaries in the French and international press playing down and explaining the cannibalism of some of the Syrian terrorists as a reaction to the unfathomable “brutality” of the “regime”. Cannibals and psychopaths have been converted into Montaigne’s noble savages. This is the ideology of a decadent consumer society where certain atavistic tendencies of hunter-gatherism are re-emerging in the chaos caused by the slow death of technocratic capitalism.

We must document crimes such as the massacre of Jaramana and expose those who attempt to cover for their perpetrators, not because they are violations of human rights but because they are violations of humanity and the social networks that sustain meaningful human relations. We must stand up for the human being and consign human rights to the dustbin of history.

Indictment of Iran for ’94 terror bombing relied on MEK

by Gareth Porter, source

IPS — Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman based his 2006 warrant for the arrest of top Iranian officials in the bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires in 1994 on the claims of representatives of the armed Iranian opposition Mujahedin E Khalq (MEK), the full text of the document reveals.

The central piece of evidence cited in Nisman’s original 900-page arrest warrant against seven senior Iranian leaders is an alleged Aug. 14, 1993 meeting of top Iranian leaders, including both Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and then president Hashemi Rafsanjani, at which Nisman claims the official decision was made to go ahead with the planning of the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA).

But the document, recently available in English for the first time, shows that his only sources for the claim were representatives of the MEK or People’s Mujahideen of Iran. The MEK has an unsavoury history of terrorist bombings against civilian targets in Iran, as well as of serving as an Iraq-based mercenary army for Saddam Hussein’s forces during the Iran-Iraq War.

The organisation was removed from the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist groups last year after a campaign by prominent former U.S. officials who had gotten large payments from pro-MEK groups and individuals to call for its “delisting”.

Nisman’s rambling and repetitious report cites statements by four members of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which is the political arm of the MEK, as the sources for the charge that Iran decided on the AMIA bombing in August 1993.

The primary source is Reza Zakeri Kouchaksaraee, president of the Security and Intelligence Committee of the NCRI. The report quotes Kouchaksaraee as testifying to an Argentine Oral Court in 2003, “The decision was made by the Supreme National Security Council at a meeting that was held on 14 August, 1993. This meeting lasted only two hours from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.”

Nisman also quotes Hadi Roshanravani, a member of the International Affairs Committee of the NCRI, who claimed to know the same exact starting time of the meeting – 4:30 pm – but gave the date as Aug. 12, 1993 rather than Aug. 14.

Roshanravani also claimed to know the precise agenda of the meeting. The NCRI official said that three subjects were discussed: “The progress and assessment of the Palestinian Council; the strategy of exporting fundamentalism throughout the world; and the future of Iraq.” Roshanravani said “the idea for an attack in Argentina” had been discussed “during the dialogue on the second point”.

The NCRI/MEK was claiming that the Rafsanjani government had decided on a terrorist bombing of a Jewish community centre in Argentina as part of a policy of “exporting fundamentalism throughout the world”.

But that MEK propaganda line about the Iranian regime was contradicted by the U.S. intelligence assessment at the time. In its National Intelligence Estimate 34-91 on Iranian foreign policy, completed on Oct. 17, 1991, U.S. intelligence concluded that Rafsanjani had been “gradually turning away from the revolutionary excesses of the past decade…toward more conventional behavior” since taking over as president in 1989.

Ali Reza Ahmadi and Hamid Reza Eshagi, identified as “defectors” who were affiliated with NCRI, offered further corroboration of the testimony by the leading NCRI officials. Ahmadi was said by Nisman to have worked as an Iranian foreign service officer from 1981 to 1985. Eshagi is not otherwise identified.

Nisman quotes Ahmadi and Eshagi, who made only joint statements, as saying, “It was during a meeting held at 4:30 pm in August 1993 that the Supreme National Security Council decided to carry out activities in Argentina.”

Nisman does not cite any non-MEK source as claiming such a meeting took place. He cites court testimony by Abolghassem Mesbahi, a “defector” who had not worked for the Iranian intelligence agency since 1985, according to his own account, but only to the effect that the Iranian government made the decision on AMIA sometime in 1993. Mesbahi offered no evidence to support the claim.

Nisman repeatedly cites the same four NCRI members to document the alleged participation of each of the seven senior Iranians for whom he requested arrest warrants. A review of the entire document shows that Kouchaksaraee is cited by Nisman 29 times, Roshanravani 16 times and Ahmadi and Eshagi 16 times, always together making the same statement for a total of 61 references to their testimony.

Nisman cited no evidence or reason to believe that any of the MEK members were in a position to have known about such a high-level Iranian meeting. Although MEK propaganda has long claimed access to secrets, their information has been at best from low-level functionaries in the regime.

In using the testimony of the most violent opponents of the Iranian regime to accuse the most senior Iranian officials of having decided on the AMIA terrorist bombing, Nisman sought to deny the obvious political aim of all MEK information output of building support in the United States and Europe for the overthrow of the Iranian regime.

“The fact that the individuals are opponents of the Iranian regime does not detract in the least from the significance of their statements,” Nisman declared.

In an effort to lend the group’s testimony credibility, Nisman described their statements as being made “with honesty and rigor in a manner that respects nuances and details while still maintaining a sense of the larger picture”.

The MEK witnesses, Nisman wrote, could be trusted as “completely truthful”.

The record of MEK officials over the years, however, has been one of putting out one communiqué after another that contained information about alleged covert Iranian work on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, nearly all of which turned out to be false when they were investigated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The only significant exception to the MEK’s overall record of false information on the Iranian nuclear programme was its discovery of Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility and its Arak heavy water facility in August 2002.

But even in that case, the MEK official who announced the Natanz discovery, U.S. representative Alireza Jafarzadeh, incorrectly identified it as a “fuel fabrication facility” rather than as an enrichment facility. He also said it was near completion, although it was actually several months from having the equipment necessary to begin enrichment.

Contrary to the MEK claims that it got the information on Natanz from sources in the Iranian government, moreover, the New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh reported, a “senior IAEA official” told him in 2004 that Israeli intelligence had passed their satellite intelligence on Natanz to the MEK.

An adviser to Reza Pahlavi, the heir to the Shah, later told journalist Connie Bruck that the information about Natanz had come from “a friendly government”, which had provided it to both the Pahlavi organisation and the MEK.

Nisman has long been treated in pro-Israel, anti-Iran political circles as the authoritative source on the AMIA bombing case and the broader subject of Iran and terrorism. Last May, Nisman issued a new 500-page report accusing Iran of creating terrorist networks in the Western hemisphere that builds on his indictment of Iran for the 1994 bombing.

But Nisman’s readiness to base the crucial accusation against Iran in the AMIA case solely on MEK sources and his denial of their obvious unreliability highlights the fact that he has been playing a political role on behalf of certain powerful interests rather than uncovering the facts.