Friday, September 6, 2013

Fwd: Demonstrations, meetings planned to oppose war in Syria

"Al Qaeda, which is the most well known of these forces, was created by the CIA and Pakistani intelligence, aided and financed by the Saudi monarchy, during the US-instigated war against the pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan in the 1980s. ...
The impending US aggression against Syria underscores the monumental fraud of Washington's war on terror, aided and abetted by a servile media that deliberately withholds information which runs counter to US war propaganda. The main achievement of this twelve-year "war" has been the toppling of secular Arab regimes--Iraq, Libya and now Syria--that were hostile to Al Qaeda, and the strengthening of the fascistic Islamist terrorist movement, which now serves as US imperialism's proxy army"  from The WSWS 

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From: Socialist Equality Party <>
Date: Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 10:27 AM
Subject: Demonstrations, meetings planned to oppose war in Syria
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Socialist Equality Party Newsletter


IYSSE, SEP to hold demonstrations against war

6 September 2013
The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) are holding demonstrations throughout the country to oppose the drive to war in Syria. Initial demonstrations have been called for Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and in San Diego and Berkeley, California. (To set up a meeting or activity in your area, click here .)

Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, the Obama administration is once again dragging the United States into a war based on lies, with incalculable consequences. The claim that a military strike against Syria would be "limited" is a fraud. In fact, what is being prepared is a much broader war that threatens to explode the entire Middle East and lay the groundwork for a conflict between the major powers.
Opinion polls show that the great majority of the population is against a US military attack in Syria. The past decade of lies and unending war has not been lived in vain. However, the interests and opinions of the great majority of the population find no expression in the political establishment, the two parties of big business, and the corporate controlled media.
As for the pro-Democratic Party organizations that led antiwar demonstrations during the Bush administration, they have now lined up behind the Obama administration, including promoting the US-stoked civil war in Syria.
The fight against war now shifts decisively to the broad mass of the population, the working class. Opposition to war in Syria must develop as a conscious struggle against the Democratic and Republican Parties, and the capitalist system that they defend.
This is not a time for watchful waiting, but conscious political action! There is no time to lose. It is necessary for all those who oppose the war to make their voice heard. This question of war must be taken out of the hands of the ruling elite and its political representatives.
We urge all our readers and supporters to become involved. Click here for more information on meetings and other activities, and to contact the SEP today.
Demonstration details:
Detroit, Michigan
Monday, September 9, 3:00 pm
Wayne State University
Flagpoles at Gullen Mall and Merrick St
Berkeley, California
Tuesday, September 10, Noon
University of California Berkeley
Upper Sproul Plaza
San Diego, California
Tuesday, September 10, Noon
San Diego State University
Hepner Hall (front)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
University of Michigan
Thursday, September 12, Noon
For a full list of meetings and to get involved, click here .

SEP and IYSSE public meetings

The US-Al Qaeda alliance in Syria and the fraud of the war on terror

6 September 2013

Twice during testimony this week before congressional committees on the Obama administration's request for an Authorization for the Use of Military Force resolution backing US aggression against Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry brushed aside questions about the predominant role played by Al Qaeda and its affiliates in the US-instigated civil war in Syria, insisting that the "opposition has increasingly become more defined by its moderation."
For the second time in a decade, US imperialism is preparing to launch a war based on lies about weapons of mass destruction and Al Qaeda. In 2003, Washington invaded Iraq to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein based on the claim that it possessed weapons of mass destruction and was prepared to turn them over to Al Qaeda. No such weapons existed and the Iraqi regime was an enemy of Al Qaeda.
Now, ten-and-a-half years later, the Obama admi nistration is preparing a war against Syria based on a fabricated intelligence report attributing an alleged August 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus to the government of President of Bashar al-Assad, while falsely claiming that the so-called "rebels" are controlled by "moderate democrats," with the Al Qaeda elements representing an insignificant minority. Again, both claims are lies.
There is every reason to believe that the August 21 attack--carried out on the very day that UN weapons inspectors invited to Syria by Assad began their work--was carried out by the "rebels" themselves to provide the pretext for a US attack. On the verge of military defeat by Syrian government forces, they had everything to gain from such a turn of events, while the Assad regime had everything to lose.
As for Kerry's claims about the anti-Assad forces, Reuters news agency felt compelled to contradict the American secre tary of state, reporting September 5 that his "public assertions that moderate Syrian opposition groups are growing in influence appear to be at odds with estimates by US and European intelligence sources and nongovernmental experts, who say Islamic extremists remain by far the fiercest and best-organized rebel elements."
As Kerry was extolling the democratic virtues of the "rebels" on Wednesday, jihadist militias were laying siege to the Christian village of Maalula, north of Damascus, seizing high ground and shelling defenseless civilian neighborhoods and churches and threatening to unleash a sectarian bloodbath.
This is but the latest of countless atrocities carried out by the US-backed Islamist militias, which were funneled into Syria along with arms and funding from Washington and its allies with the aim of toppling the Assad regime and redrawing the political map of the Middle East. The main reason for the rush to direct US military intervention is the disintegration of this effort in the face of defeats on the battlefield as well as mounting popular hostility and revulsion on the part of the Syrian people.
Recent videos posted online have recorded the Islamist fighters' crimes. We caution our readers: you are looking at the handiwork of a depraved organization that functions as an ally of the US government, which is working to bring it to power.
These acts include the roadside execution of three truck drivers for the "crime" of being members of the Alawite minority. (One of the drivers tells the killers, "We're just trying to earn a living.")
They also include the beheading of a Catholic priest. Another video recently smuggled out of Syria by a disgusted defe ctor from the "rebel" camp shows a mass execution of defenseless Syrian soldiers who have been taken prisoner.
These atrocities go largely unreported in the corporate-controlled media, which dedicate their efforts (with decreasing success) to molding public opinion in support of war. When pressed on confirmed atrocities by these "rebels," Kerry and other war supporters insist that only US bombing can prevent "radicalization."
The politicians and media pundits advocating a "humanitarian" attack on Syria all invoke the estimated 100,000 victims of the country's civil war as justification for US bombing. None of them acknowledge that this war was foisted on Syria by the US and other Western powers. They hide the fact that their proxies in this battle for regime-change, the Islamist militias, are responsible for much of the carnage.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-Assad group, fully 40 percent of these casualties are Syrian soldiers and pro-government militiamen. How many civilians these fascist killing squads have murdered is not known, but they are engaged in continuous attacks on Alawites, Christians, Kurds and other minorities, as well as on secular Sunni Muslims.
Why is Kerry compelled to lie about the crimes of these elements? Why does he pretend that the non-existent "moderate opposition" and the empty shell of the "Free Syrian Army" are the real forces fighting the Assad regime?
The lies are aimed at covering up the reality that the US and its intelligence agencies have a close working relationship with Al Qaeda and its affiliates. This is not new. Washington traditionally employed right-wing Islamist groups to suppress left nationalist and socialist movements in the Middle East and beyon d. It utilized such forces in the CIA overthrow of the Mossadegh government in Iran in 1953 and the CIA-backed military coup and mass killings in Indonesia in 1965.
Al Qaeda, which is the most well known of these forces, was created by the CIA and Pakistani intelligence, aided and financed by the Saudi monarchy, during the US-instigated war against the pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
The continuation of these ties--evidenced by the current collaboration in Syria--explains many things. Why, for example, members of Al Qaeda who were well known to US intelligence were able to freely enter and operate within the US in the period leading up to their participation in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Why, as well, Washington evinced a decided lack of zeal in the hunt for Osama bin Laden until well after he had become a spent force, outliving his usefulness.
The impending US aggression against Syria underscores the monumental fraud of Washington's war on terror, aided and abetted by a servile media that deliberately withholds information which runs counter to US war propaganda. The main achievement of this twelve-year "war" has been the toppling of secular Arab regimes--Iraq, Libya and now Syria--that were hostile to Al Qaeda, and the strengthening of the fascistic Islamist terrorist movement, which now serves as US imperialism's proxy army.
In Libya, just as in Syria today, US imperialism and its allies utilized these forces to effect regime-change, arming, training and providing air support for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and similar elements. That intervention, justified, as today in Syria, on "humanitarian" grounds, killed thousands and left the country in ruins.
The way in which these terrorists are used as an instrument of imperialist foreign policy found a crude ex pression in a recent meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prince Bandar Bin-Sultan, the chief of Saudi intelligence and the key link between Washington and Riyadh. According to a leaked transcript of the encounter, in return for Russian acquiescence to regime-change in Syria, Bandar offered not only oil and gas deals, but "a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics" next year in Sochi, Russia from terrorist attacks by Chechen Islamists. Bandar assured Putin that these groups were "controlled by us" and could be instigated or restrained as it suited Saudi and US interests.
The criminal US intervention in Syria, utilizing Al Qaeda, and now the turn to a direct and unprovoked military assault that threatens to ignite a regional and even world war, have exposed the descent of US foreign policy into the depths of criminality under the presidency of Barack Obama.
Bill Van Auken

Syrian war, threat of global conflict dominate G20 summit

By Alex Lantier
6 September 2013
The threat of a major war and deep US-Russian tensions over Syria have overshadowed the St. Petersburg G20 summit of leaders of the world's 20 largest economies. The summit's ostensible main agenda item--crises in "emerging market" economies such as India and Turkey--has been subsumed into discussion of the devastating global economic impact of a new war in the Middle East.
In the hours before the summit, Iranian officials indicated they were prepared to go to war to defend their ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, against a US-Israeli attack. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Washington and its allies "are using [allegations of] chemical weapons use as a pretext ... saying that they want to intervene for humanitarian reasons."
The commander of Iran's Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, issued a statement declar ing: "The aim of the United States is not to protect human rights, but to destroy the front of resistance [against Israel]. We will support Syria to the end."
An account of an August 25 meeting in Tehran between United Nations Undersecretary-General Jeffrey Feltman and Iranian officials leaked to Egypt's Al Ahram newspaper gave more details on Iranian plans. The Iranian officials said they could guarantee that Syria had not used chemical weapons. They indicated that if, however, Israel joined a US attack on Syria, they would go to war to defend Syria.
Israel has already mounted several air strikes on Syrian targets in recent months and has long battled Lebanon's Hezbollah organization, which has been drawn into the fighting on Assad's side. There is a real potential for both Israeli and Iranian intervention in a Syrian war launched by Washington, France and their allies, setting the stage for a broad regional war.
In the opening hours of the G20 summit Thursday, Russian spokesmen reported that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) had warned of the economic effects of a war in Syria. There is particular concern over the impact on the price and supply of oil should a US-Iranian conflict shut down the Persian Gulf oil trade.
Chinese Vice-Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao warned that "military action would definitely have a negative impact on the global economy, especially on oil prices."
BRICS officials also criticized the US Federal Reserve's plans to start winding down its "quantitative easing" money-printing program. They complained that the Federal Reserve was undermining their economies by feeding expectations of higher interest rates in the United States and thereby encouraging investors to pull capital from so-called "developing" economies and invest it in the US to get higher returns. Russian and Brazilian officials called on Washington to coordinate monetary policy with other governments.
During the summit meeting itself, British Prime Minister David Cameron defended his decision to submit the question of Britain's participation in the war to a vote in Parliament. In a stunning defeat for Cameron, the Parliament last week voted against military action as it emerged that Cameron had no evidence to support US, British and French charges that Assad carried out a chemical attack in Ghouta.
Cameron denounced those who opposed his case for war with Syria, saying they failed to take a "stand against the gassing of children" and had to "live with the way they voted."
Russian officials pointed out that Washington had no evidence to support its charges that Assad used chemical weapons. They called on Washington to let the U N conclude its investigation into the attacks.
Several other G20 countries, including Brazil, Mexico and India, called for the UN to oversee investigations and negotiations. South Africa and Brazil stressed that unilateral action against Syria by the United States and its allies--France, Turkey and the Persian Gulf oil sheikhdoms--would be in violation of international law.
The US-led war drive against Syria underscores the collapse of the international legal order and intensifying divisions between the major powers.
With France, due to Cameron's defeat, currently the only European country preparing to participate in a US assault on Syria, the impending war is provoking a diplomatic crisis within the European Union. EU President Herman Van Rompuy issued a statement yesterday calling for the Syria crisis to be addressed "through the UN process." He also declared that "there is n o military solution to the Syrian conflict."
Van Rompuy added, "As to what the European Union's reaction will be if there is a military intervention by France, we do not yet know. We are working on this."
France's conservative daily Le Figaro wrote bitterly that this was a "slap in the face" of French President Fran├žois Hollande and an alignment of the EU with German foreign policy.
Above all, the Syrian war is bringing to the fore the conflict between the US and Syria's main ally, Russia, which views Washington's promotion of Islamist terrorist groups in the Middle East as a threat to its interests in Eurasia and its own internal security. (See: NATO's Afghan draw-down stokes Kremlin's fears of clash with US ).
With the CIA and its European and Arab allies arming the Islamist opposition in Syria, Russia has deployed a naval flotilla off the Syrian coast even as Washington has sent warships to the eastern Mediterranean to prepare missile strikes on Syria. The Kremlin has also sold Assad portions of a high-tech S-300 anti-aircraft defense system.
At the same time, Russian officials have repeatedly signaled their interest in reaching a settlement with Washington. On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he did not rule out supporting US military action against Syria if the UN produced proof that Assad's forces had carried out chemical attacks. He also confirmed that he had frozen delivery of further S-300 parts to Syria.
On Thursday, Russian officials made further conciliatory statements, claiming that Russia's naval deployments in the Mediterranean were primarily intended to evacuate its citizens from Syria. These remarks did nothing to slow Washington's war d rive, however, and the standoff between Russian and US ships in the eastern Mediterranean continues.
Several weeks ago, Obama snubbed Putin, canceling a planned post-G20 summit meeting between the two. The ostensible reason for the diplomatic rebuke was Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden. Tensions over Snowden have now been compounded by Washington's preparations to launch an unprovoked war of aggression against Russia's ally, Syria.
In congressional testimony Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said it was "basically incorrect" to view the Syrian opposition as dominated by Al Qaeda. In making this assertion, Kerry ignored official US findings that Al Qaeda-linked militias have carried out hundreds of terror bombings in Syria.
Putin commented, "We talk to [US officials] and we assume they are decent people, but he is lying and he knows he is lying. This is sad."
These rising diplomatic and military tensions reflect the inability of any government to halt the drive to war, which can be fought only on the basis of the mobilization of the working class in struggle against capitalism. Six years ago, Putin responded to the Bush administration's threats to launch a war with Iran by declaring that such a conflict would lead to World War III. Today, the drive to war against Syria poses the danger of precisely such a conflict.

The Obama administration, public opinion and the drive to war

5 September 2013
A political charade is underway in Washington, with the Obama administration and leading members of both the Democratic and Republican parties engaged in a phony debate in the run-up to war against Syria.
Top government officials, including Obama himself, are utilizing the period preceding a likely congressional vote next week to express their hypocritical outrage over Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons and present "evidence" that consists of lies and unsubstantiated assertions.
The real causes and consequences of aggression against Syria are not discussed openly, with anything considered "sensitive"--i.e., that which must be kept from the population of the United States and the world--confined to closed hearings. All of the Obama administration's premises are accepted as given by the media and both big-business parties, including the lies about chem ical weapons use, the claim that this is the motive behind the drive for war, and the assertion that the upcoming conflict will be "limited" in character.
The sentiments of the population find virtually no reflection in these proceedings. On the contrary, the congressional hearings are part of an operation aimed at browbeating and delegitimizing antiwar sentiment.
The ruling class is well aware of the deep opposition to war among the American people. According to a Washington Post /ABC News poll published yesterday, 59 percent oppose any military strikes, compared to only 36 percent who support them. And this lopsided opposition is in response to a question that presupposes the US government's central propaganda claim, that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to attack civilians, and that the planned strikes are a response to this attack.
There is not a single sector of the population--broken down by age, gender, political affiliation, education, income or region of the country--that supports war. It is significant, however, that opposition to war is higher among poorer Americans than among the wealthy (63 percent opposition among those earning under $50,000, compared to 51 percent among those earning more than $100,000). Young people are more opposed than older Americans (65 percent among 18-39 year olds, compared to 55 percent among those 65 or older).
The gulf between the political establishment and the population is not limited to war. At the height of the vicious government and media campaign against Edward Snowden, polls showed overwhelming popular support for the whistleblower, who continues to reveal government criminality. A pollster noted at the time that public sentiment "goes against almost the unified view of the n ation's political establishment." And so it is with war.
The antiwar sentiment is all the more significant in view of the fact that it follows two solid weeks of non-stop media propaganda, with the vacuous talking heads and agents of the state who function as news broadcasters eschewing any pretext of impartiality, let alone criticism. Syria is denounced as the "enemy," government claims are presented as fact, and the long history of lies used to drag the population into war is ignored.
Any forum where genuine popular sentiment can find any expression reveals the divide that exists. Comments on generally pro-war articles and editorials in the Ne w York Times and other major newspapers are overwhelmingly antiwar, and those most "recommended" by other readers are almost entirely so. Many comments express outrage that neither the political parties nor the media (including the Times itself) are the slightest bit interested in what the population thinks.
It is not necessary to glorify the past to take note of the transformation that has occurred in bourgeois politics. During the Vietnam War, congressional hearings were a serious undertaking. Certain politicians made an appeal to broader popular sentiment, and the media served as a mechanism for exposing government lies and secrets. Prior to the 1991 vote in Iraq there were extensive hearings. Even in 2003, the Bush administration made more of a pretense of establishing a case for war, though based on complete lies, with a lengthy build-up to the invasion of Iraq extending over several months.
Now, a decision to launch a war with incalculable consequences--including the possibility of sparking a civil war throughout the Middle East and a direct conflict between the United States and Russia--is made without any serious public debate. The proceedings on Capitol Hill, which will likely be wrapped up within a week, were staged only after the failure of the vote in the British Parliament last week.
The decay of democratic and political forms is an expression of a social process--above all, the extraordinary growth of social inequality. The state is run by a military and intelligence apparatus, in league with a financial aristocracy, determined to implement deeply unpopular policies at home and abroad. It exists as a permanent conspiracy against the rights and interests of the vast majority.
The Obama administration represents a certain culmination of this process. The "candidate of change," the "transfo rmative" president (as at 2008 statement by the International Socialist Organization put it), is leading the most right-wing government in American history. Elected in large part due to antiwar sentiment, Obama, the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, has overseen an historic expansion of militarism, including an international policy of drone assassinations and wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria.
The pro-Democratic Party organizations representing more privileged sections of the upper-middle class, which organized and led antiwar demonstrations in the early years of the Bush administration, have become pro-war. Supposedly "left" organizations such as the ISO and its international co-thinkers, along with their coterie of "liberal" academics, have prepared over the past two years the ideological justification for war, presenting as a "revolution" a US-engineered civil war that is dominated by Islamic fundamentalists.
Opposition to war now shifts decisively to the broad mass of the people--the working class. That there is general hostility to what is being planned is undeniable. As for those who supported Obama, there is an overwhelming sense that they have been lied to and sold a bill of goods.
This hostility must be given an active and conscious political form. There is no other political force outside of the Socialist Equality Party and the International Committee of the Fourth International that can provide leadership in this struggle. From the beginning, the SEP has explained that the actions of the Obama administration would be dictated not by the hopes of the population, but by the class interests that he and the entire political apparatus represent. The source of war lies in the capitalist system and the financial aristocracy, whose ruthless interests this system serves.
The SEP is fighting to mob ilize opposition throughout the United States and internationally to the impending war. We will be holding meetings and organizing demonstrations wherever we can. We call on all our readers and supporters to take an active role in this fight. The voice of the working class must be heard. Contact and join the SEP today .
Joseph Kishore

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