Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 16, 2013

No Surprise That No One Wants Syria's Chemical Weapon Stuff

The U.S. is trying to find some country, any other than itself, to take and destroy the precursor materials from Syria's chemical weapon program. It first asked, for mysterious reasons, Norway. There was nothing that would qualify Norway. It never had chemical weapons and has no capacity to handle and destroy the materials in question. It also has no storage facility for the hazardous material that would result from the precursor destruction. Norway rejected the U.S. request.

The next country the U.S. asked was Albania. It probably thought that such a poor and small country could be easily pressed into taking the nasty stuff. But anyone who had some idea of Albania's recent history with chemical weapon destruction, especially U.S. officials, should have known that any such request to Albania would most certainly rejected. It is therefore a bit curious to see the rejection described as a surprise:

The mission to destroy Syria’s poison gas stockpile was dealt a serious blow Friday when Albania refused to host the destruction, but the global chemical weapons watchdog said it is still confident it can eradicate the arsenal outside Syria by the middle of next year.

The surprise refusal by the small and impoverished Balkan country left open the question of where the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons would send Syria’s estimated 1,300-ton arsenal, which includes mustard gas and sarin.

The rejection by Albania and others is not surprising at all. When the U.S. is asking other countries to help with nonproliferation issues it tends to leave them a mess. Albania had a few tons of chemical weapons left over from the cold war. The U.S. offered to pay for their destruction and later hired some private company which destroyed the weapon capability of the chemicals but otherwise left a horrendous mess:

The hazardous waste sat in containers on the concrete pad. The containers started to leak. In late 2007-early 2008, the US hired an environmental remediation firm, Savant Environmental, “who determined the problem was worse than originally thought. Many of the containers were leaking salts of heavy metals, primarily arsenic, lead and mercury. In addition, the conexes were not waterproof, and since contaminated components had not been properly cleaned before being put into the conexes, condensation and water leakage were dissolving some of the contaminants and causing them to leak out onto the ground.”

Savant Environmental repackaged the waste and placed it in 20 shipping containers. There it sits, visible from space. Good for twenty years. Well, fifteen now. Ish.

Those containers are still sitting on the concrete pad, out in the open.

The United States and Russia have both the specialized incineration capabilities to destroy chemical weapons, their precursors and the hazardous waste their neutralization creates. But Albania was left with the mess after it was pressed to destroy the weaponized stuff where a repackaging of the original weaponized chemicals would likely have been a much safer and longer term solution. Albania would have been crazy to accept more dangerous stuff as it is already left with mess the pressed for demilitarization of its own chemical weapons caused.

There are other examples where cooperation in U.S. non-proliferation initiatives leaves countries hung out to dry. Cyprus stored 98 containers of ammunition after the U.S. in 2009 pressed it to stop and confiscated the military load of a ship going from Iran to Syria. Two years later the containers exploded and destroyed a navy base. Several people were killed and half of Cyprus' power supply capacity was taken off the grid.

That no country is willing to take the 1,300 tons of Syrian chemical weapon precursors may turn out to be good for Syria. After those chemicals would be gone there would be a higher chance that the Syrian government, which is winning the war, would be attacked by the U.S. and its allies. As long as those chemicals are still around, watched over by the international inspectors, any attack could result in a reconstitution of Syria's chemical weapons. When the current war on Syria is over the destruction of the precursors could be done in place and in an organized and well planned matter that would leave only a minimal risk of doing more harm than good.

Posted by b on November 16, 2013 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

Comments

As you point out, the US has plenty of expertise in destroying chemical weapons. They have been working on it at glacial speed for 20 years and still have a ways to go.
http://www.hazmatmag.com/news/history-of-chemical-weapons-cleanup/1000109155/

If they agreed to take care of Syria's chemicals, they could also destroy the chemical weapons they left 70 years ago in Panama.
http://rt.com/usa/panama-us-chemical-weapons-951/

Foisting the problem onto Albania is just a cop out.

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 16, 2013 12:50:21 PM | 1


Savant Environmental repackaged the waste and placed it in 20 shipping containers. There it sits, visible from space. Good for twenty years. Well, fifteen now. Ish.Those containers are still sitting on the concrete pad, out in the open.

Savant no less.

At this stage, given what we know about these people like to operate, you'd have to wonder if they just picked that company because they thought the name was an excellent joke to play on the Albanians

Posted by: foff | Nov 16, 2013 1:02:41 PM | 2

best place(s) to get rid of these chem weapons would be in occupied palestine.

many good choices. maale adumim, ariel, tel aviv, most of jerusalem, certain buildings in hebron.

just a few for starters.

Posted by: joe anon 1 | Nov 16, 2013 2:11:16 PM | 3

In addition, the US refused to supply the vehicles needed to move the stuff, the reason being, according to the US, Syria could then use the vehicles to attack the 'rebels'. It's all pretty pathetic really.

Posted by: William Bowles | Nov 16, 2013 4:55:19 PM | 4

man made chemicals and chemists : a boon to mankind?

Posted by: brian | Nov 16, 2013 6:39:59 PM | 5

The is me taking a brief moment to laugh my ass off. **side hurts** **wipes tear** **sigh**

I feel at least as embarrassed to be an American under O as Bush.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Nov 16, 2013 7:02:00 PM | 6

thanks for the fascinating overview on this b.. the obvious place for them to go is the usa, or russia who both know how to deal with them.. how about they split them down the middle as an act of good faith? i suppose there aren't too many acts of good faith anymore, but the usa looks terrible here based on what you've shared..

Posted by: james | Nov 16, 2013 7:13:58 PM | 7

Albania would have been crazy to accept more dangerous stuff as it is already left with mess the pressed for demilitarization of its own chemical weapons caused.

It was crazy for the American government to suggest it in the first place. If you toddle along to here:

Corruption index 2012 from Transparency International: find out how countries compare | News | theguardian.com

And scroll down to 113 in the table provided - there you'll find Albania sitting pretty alongside Ethiopia. Having been to Albania a few times I have to say that it's one of the most corrupt and violent places I've ever been in.

Dubhaltach

Posted by: Dubhaltach | Nov 16, 2013 7:48:37 PM | 8

"....I have to say that it's one of the most corrupt and violent places I've ever been in."

Really!? How violent? What is it what makes what country "very violent and corrupt"? Maybe statistics, if so Albania is ranked as 90th.

Like this: http://www.prisonstudies.org/info/worldbrief/wpb_stats.php?area=all&category=wb_poprate

http://www.thenation.com/blog/177139/why-should-thousands-prisoners-die-behind-bars-nonviolent-crimes

http://www.psmag.com/politics/sentenced-die-prison-stealing-tools-69987/

probably one can find several hundreds of similar links for single one country which is on 1st place.

Transparency International is interesting so-called NGO, I follow then for a while. While their the Board of Directors is diverse, their background isn't, it is very corporate and totalitarian centered and they are coming from the western power structures. Which is what should be expected. Ambiguously called Perception Corruption Index is used when a one's want to ostracize targeted country. Obviously, their methodology (if they have one) isn't scientific one, but an arbitrary. Most likely high and systemic corruption pass by unnoticed while for low-level, of an obscure municipal official is, they ring its bells to the max.

Yes, Albania is "backward" country, but there country in vicinity which was far more advanced and yet, it have been pushed in backwardness (to a level of Albania) thanks to the US and the EU, i.e. barbarians and savages. Just ask Syrians, Libyans, Iraqis list is long.

As for the Albanians, if you managed to gain their trust - you will have the best friend on the world, no such people in so-called first world.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 16, 2013 8:55:33 PM | 9

Syria, along with Libya are probably the most violent places on the Earth.

http://scpr-syria.org/en/S340/War-on-Development-socioeconomic-monitoring-report-of-Syria,-second-quarterly-report-April-–-June-2013

"War on Development: socioeconomic monitoring report of Syria, second quarterly report (April – June 2013)"

The military violence has created a humanitarian calamity of widening proportions. Today, Syrians fleeing the conflict have become the most rapidly growing refugee population globally. While still significantly short of the more than five million Palestine refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, Syrian refugees will soon become the largest contemporary refugee population in the world. (UNHCR 2013)
This tragic humanitarian cost of the armed-conflict is just one dimension of widespread social, cultural and political degeneration, which also includes a catastrophic war on development and economic well-being from which it will take the Syrian economy decades to recover. The ongoing escalation of the conflict has resulted in armed parties destroying the economic and productive assets of the country, while diverting resources from productive to destructive activities. The continuation of such trends throughout 2013 will have calamitous impact on overall development within the country.

This report is written in best tradition of the UN, their vocabulary is coming from the Western political-imperial lexicon. As if "War on Development" is coming from an aliens! Thus, suffer from omissions too. The Report is concerned with reconstruction side of the Syrian state not mentioning human one: killed, missing, refuges. But those are boring themes.

http://www.theguardian.com/law/2013/nov/10/bosnia-syria-victims-of-genocide-dna

Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 16, 2013 9:30:36 PM | 10

Interesting read on US hypocrisy regarding chemical weapons---

"Never mind Israel’s lethal stockpiles, for ever, seemingly, blind eye territory, as apparently is the United States 5,449 metric tons chemical weapons arsenal, which cannot be disposed of until at least 2021 due to the hazards involved (Japan Times, 12th September 2013.)."
http://www.globalresearch.ca/americas-chemical-weapons-hypocrisy-conspiracy-and-a-forgotten-history/5358082

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 16, 2013 10:25:19 PM | 11

@ Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 16, 2013 8:55:33 PM

In my experience the place is violent and corrupt and by corrupt I mean that the organs of state starting with the police and customs service are again in my experience so closely tied to criminal gangs that they are indistinguishable from them. In my experience Albanian officials at all levels expect to be bribed and also in my experience they threaten violence if their demands for bribes are refused.

Thanks for your opinion of how it compares to Greece, or Libya, or Syria, or Irak, how is this relevant to the widespread and endemic corruption in Albania? To the best of my knowledge and belief Albania hasn't been first gutted by sanctions and then invaded by the Americans and its allies and subjected to a vicious occupation as was done to Irak.

It does not at present have a civil war raging on its territory courtesy of the Saudis, the Turks, and the Americans to name but three of the countries fomenting civil war in Syria.

To the best of my knowledge and belief no Albanian government has been overthrown by NATO forces with the USA giving lots of help. I don't recall any YouTube videos of its overthrown head of government being anally raped with a knife either.

It's not in the EU - unlike Greece.

As for your 'first world' comment - got reverse racism much?

Dublhaltach

Posted by: Dubhaltach | Nov 16, 2013 11:56:57 PM | 12

@#9

I think the import of personal trust and the functioning social order are inversely related.

In places where law and order are unreliable and the threat of physical danger is common, the only source of protection you have are "your people," perhaps including your family and broader kin, but also various people with whom you have cultivated relationships of trust--after all, you can't go to the cops, who are all corrupt! And this trusting relationship becomes self sustaining because those who are already in such relationship risk having to be ejected into a dangerous environment all alone, without any protection. So it makes sense that, once you established good relationships, you should trust an Albanian or a Libyan to watch your back... But, getting that far will be difficult process--perhaps even for the locals, or perhaps even harder for the locals, who may well be saddled with their family and other group baggage--and, well, without trusty local allies, making your way around Albania, Libya, or Syria will be indeed fraught with danger.

Posted by: a different anon | Nov 17, 2013 1:31:15 AM | 13

PS: If somebody wants my friendship a large part of the process of developing a friendship consists of them gaining my trust by behaving honestly. If somebody behaves dishonestly by, for example, demanding bribes at every opportunity then their behaviour is dishonest and I'm not even remotely interested in their friendship or indeed in having anything to do with them.

Dubhaltach

Posted by: Dubhaltach | Nov 17, 2013 1:40:33 AM | 14

My impression is that Albania's current regime the ethnic twin of the gangster regime in Kosovo.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 17, 2013 5:05:04 AM | 15

Open your eyes fake lefties, you have nothing too loose but yur internet addictions!

"Here in Russia I have a strong sense of the cynicism of so-called first-world countries towards poorer nations. In my humble opinion, "developed" countries display an exaggerated loyalty towards governments that oppress their citizens and violate their rights. The European and US governments freely collaborate with Russia as it imposes laws from the middle ages and throws opposition politicians in jail. They collaborate with China, where oppression is so bad that my hair stands on end just to think about it. What are the limits of tolerance? And when does tolerance become collaboration, conformism and complicity?

To think, cynically, "let them do what they want in their own country", doesn't work any longer, because Russia and China and countries like them are now part of the global capitalist system." nadezhda tolokonnikova

Posted by: donkeytale | Nov 17, 2013 8:00:26 AM | 16

They jail people in the uk for writing poetry. They jail them for reading magazines online.

In the US they jail them for being charitable to the oppressed, for daring to protest. The US tortures people regularly, murders many in the process, rapes others, refuses them redress. All this is legal, "enhanced" interrogation they call it.

You dare to call others "medieval"?

But quoting the US sponsored fake-musician/political-puppet tolokonikova is the icing on the cake. Says a lot about either your intelligence or your honesty

Posted by: foff | Nov 17, 2013 8:30:40 AM | 17

"In my experience the place is violent and corrupt and by corrupt I mean that the organs of state starting with the police and customs service are again in my experience so closely tied to criminal gangs that they are indistinguishable from them. In my experience Albanian officials at all levels expect to be bribed and also in my experience they threaten violence if their demands for bribes are refused."

I dare to say that no country institutionalized violence more than the U.S. It is a slavery by other means. The Law, legal system and the correctional institutions are used by ruling oligarchy in political purposed, not in social, justice or correctional ones. Somebody noticed that U.S. prison population is larger than the Soviet from the Gulag times, and yes they work for 25 cents and hour.

Albania is usually country that is to be in "transition". It has had misfortune that went from one totalitarian regime into another - neo-liberal/neofascists one. Albania, along with whole the Balkan is perfect example/replica of neo-liberal experiment in real time from early days of the Washington Consensus.

Funny thing is a "corruption" is inevitable followers of capitalism - socialism too bu in far less measure. So if Siemens bribed Greek Gov. what is it, or Boeing or the British weapon concern etc? If the IMF extort money for a states what is it, "Structural reforms"? Political violence which lead to physical. As the state is poorer the worse it gets.

As I said Albania is "backward" society, measure by the Western standards. It is very patriarchal (this is gender related distraction word from the Western lexicon) too, if you will. It is tribal and clannish society. During Hoxha's regime "Vendetta in Blood" almost disappeared by force, nowadays it has resurged again. That's one of those things that "money can not buy". Albanians has long-memory, and I mean very, very long one, they do not forget. Do not mess with them!

@Rowan Berkeley #15

"My impression is that Albania's current regime the ethnic twin of the gangster regime in Kosovo."

Apparently you pick your "knowledge" from the press in society that live in. I read your comments/posts before as a now. At times I visited you site too. I've noticed, you are very sectarian, as British I am not surprised.

donkeytale #19

I do not know who is nadezhda tolokonnikova, but I agree with her. To her lists Iran should be added up too.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 17, 2013 9:50:08 AM | 18

@Dubhaltach #14

Quite contradictory/nonsense statement. You mix up friendship with business or business ethics - if there is such thing.

On the other hand if you "behaving honestly" in U.S. you would be considered a fool, i.e. "brutally honest". It is different when you are dealing with ruling oligarchy, if you are lying to (militarized) police or the court than good luck. It is two-tier system for "them" and for "us".

Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 17, 2013 10:07:53 AM | 19

I find it mildly amusing that the US wants other nations to dispose of chemical weapons all the while dismantling some incredibly expensive infrastructure exclusively built to do just that. from WaPo

Posted by: dan of steele | Nov 17, 2013 11:21:23 AM | 20

donkeytale @19: Liberals should strive to fix other countries' problems...when then get their own fixed. There are a lot of problems to fix at home before messing with others messes.

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 17, 2013 11:37:05 AM | 21

@ Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 17, 2013 9:50:08 AM | 18

Lets go through this nonsense paragraph by paragraph shall we?

I dare to say that no country institutionalized violence more than the U.S. It is a slavery by other means. The Law, legal system and the correctional institutions are used by ruling oligarchy in political purposed, not in social, justice or correctional ones. Somebody noticed that U.S. prison population is larger than the Soviet from the Gulag times, and yes they work for 25 cents and hour.

Not very good attempt at distraction. The topic at hand is the corruption of Albanian officials for monetary gain.

Albania is usually country that is to be in "transition". It has had misfortune that went from one totalitarian regime into another - neo-liberal/neofascists one. Albania, along with whole the Balkan is perfect example/replica of neo-liberal experiment in real time from early days of the Washington Consensus.

And this means that I have to accept shakedowns by thugs in uniform? No.

Funny thing is a "corruption" is inevitable followers of capitalism - socialism too bu in far less measure. So if Siemens bribed Greek Gov. what is it, or Boeing or the British weapon concern etc? If the IMF extort money for a states what is it, "Structural reforms"? Political violence which lead to physical. As the state is poorer the worse it gets.

Funny thing nobody's demanded bribes from me or threatened me with violence in any of the countries normally described under the heading "Wesern capitalist". Again you're tying to divert attention from dishonest and thuggish behaviour in Albania by Albanians which is the topic at hand. If somebody tries to steal from me or from their own people the fact that there are other people who are also dishonest maybe even more dishonest does not as you seem to think excuse their dishonesty.


As I said Albania is "backward" society, measure by the Western standards. It is very patriarchal (this is gender related distraction word from the Western lexicon) too, if you will. It is tribal and clannish society. During Hoxha's regime "Vendetta in Blood" almost disappeared by force, nowadays it has resurged again. That's one of those things that "money can not buy". Albanians has long-memory, and I mean very, very long one, they do not forget. Do not mess with them!

I don't give a damn what their social structure is or how long their memory is stealing is stealing stealing accompanied by threats is robbery with menaces actually carrying out those threats in Aggravated assault all of them are criminal behaviour. That fact that somewhere is 'backward' to use your expression isnt an excuse for blatantly criminal behaviour.

I read your comments/posts before as a now. At times I visited you site too. I've noticed, you are very sectarian, as British I am not surprised.

When I disagree with Rowan Berkeley which I have on occasion I've attacked his arguments not his person. Attacking him because he's British is what's called an ad hominem. It's not an argument it's a fallacy engaged in by people who are incapable of rebutting their opponents' points in any other way. That's equally true of all the red herrings you've tried to introduce as a distraction during this exchange.

Dubhaltach

Posted by: Dubhaltach | Nov 17, 2013 12:29:53 PM | 22

@ Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 17, 2013 10:07:53 AM | 19

Actually you were the one who was waffling on about gaining their friendship. Based on everything else you've written I'm not surprised you're incapable of understanding why honesty is important.

Dubhaltach

Posted by: Dubhaltach | Nov 17, 2013 12:35:44 PM | 23

@ Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 17, 2013 5:05:04 AM | 15

In my experience there's no distinction between the Kosovar gangs and the Albanian government one is the arm of the other. I don't know what the media coverage in the UK has been so I can't on that. I do however note that I haven't had the same type of experience in other Balkan countries.

Not. Even. Once.

Dubhaltach

Posted by: Dubhaltach | Nov 17, 2013 12:39:23 PM | 24

I don't know what the media coverage in the UK has been so I can't [comment] on that... Posted by: Dubhaltach | Nov 17, 2013 12:39:23 PM | 24
The papers here, at least the broadsheets, I can't keep track of the tabloids, are duplicitous in more or less the same way as the US ones are. They will moan on about gangster governments all over the world, but they will never (if they can help it) admit that the reason the gangster governments are there is that the CIA, the Pentagon, Wall Street etc need them there. From time to time there's what's a "limited hangout," a classic example from another region being: Karzai's brother is a gangster, but only his brother.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 17, 2013 1:41:58 PM | 25

@b,
I sincerely doubt that the US will ever dare attack Syria.First because her regional allies(Iran,Hezbollah) will respond obliterating "Israel"and all us bases in the gulf thus igniting a regional war and as Nasrallah remarked recently"you can start a war but you will not be able to contain it nor determine its end",Secondly because the russians and the chinese will respond as well.It seems that the decision was taken at the SCO meeting in 2011.Remember that in Syria too much is at stake as Putin himself said that international relations will be determine by the outcome of the syrian tragedy.

Posted by: Nobody | Nov 17, 2013 3:24:52 PM | 26

How many of you realize that the yellow cake stored at Tuwaitha was actually flown into the USA, over the unsuspecting heads of the ignorant American populace, (who wouldn't know Tuwaitha from Disney Land)???

Sounds to me like this pathetic fraud Obama is just acting in character, trying to make actual policy fit his sound bites. Of course the asshole is punting, because beyond his words he never has a fuckin' game plan. He is the ultimate prick politician, who mouths fantasies that were script written to fit events as they occur. I wouldn't worry too much about how he'll get rid of this witches brew of toxic shit, because by tommorrow we'll have some other DC created horseshit situation to worry about, and this toxic brew will quietly land exactly where it shouldn't, out of the media spotlight. A bunch of unfortunates, in some small corner of the world, will be the victims of this latest fiasco, as thier government is bribed into taking this shit.

Hey, its how we do it. Who cares, anyway? Tits on TV. Thats what matters.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Nov 17, 2013 6:54:56 PM | 27

@ 26.
Best summary of what passes for US Leadership & Foreign & Domestic Policy I've ever read, bar none.
A magician, ducking in and out of the spotlight to pull rabbits out his hat and half-baked lies out of his ass...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 17, 2013 9:02:01 PM | 28

@26
" Sounds to me like this pathetic fraud Obama is just acting in character...."

Really can't disagree with your statement too much. But, hey, don't be too hard on the Brother. Just like his predecessors, he's just fronting what he was bought and paid for to do by the cabal running this country. Being the first elected black US president to bamboozle not only his black voting constituency but also the white liberals enthralled to vote for this first black president has to sting those that voted for him. Got elected to a second term too with the same bull$hit promises.
But look at it from Obama's point of view. The perks of being president sure beats p$mping favors out of some Assemblyman's office in Illinois.

Posted by: curious | Nov 18, 2013 1:39:58 AM | 29

Mother Agnes Mariam was recently forced out of the platform of an anti-war conference in London - but why? http://www.stopwar.org.uk/events/international-antiwar-conference#.Uokl9ifgx1M

one of the opponents is Jeremy Scahill:
Navsteva ‏@Navsteva 7h
Jeremy Scahill can share a stage w/Michael Steele - who called #Iraq War "worth it" - but not Mother Agnes? #Syria pic.twitter.com/KHuZil6XNy


Posted by: brian | Nov 18, 2013 1:46:24 AM | 30

Mother Agnes Mariam was recently forced out of the platform of an anti-war conference in London - but why?
If I interpret her statement (pdf) correctly, it's because she is prepared to talk even to the Jihadi groups, to try to reach some sort of modus vivendi with them, on whatever timescale (temporary or long-term) whereas StopWar.org are not.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 18, 2013 3:18:42 AM | 31

Brown Moses' blog reports of many Bahreini djihadists in addition to another report of more than 600 Saudis (these figures are still less than the Libyan and Tunisian fighters, as those got there directly before the start of events) may very well confirm the initial reports of deals made with prisoners in Saudi jails (and seemingly, Bahrein jails as well) about getting shorter condemnations if they agreed to go for djihad in Syria.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 18, 2013 3:47:37 AM | 32

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 18, 2013 3:18:42 AM | 30

scahill is attacking her for being : pro-assad....and actually she was going ti speak at stopthewar...until Scahill threw a fit:

jeremy scahillVerified account
‏@jeremyscahill
I've informed organizers of @STWuk that I will not participate in their conference if Mother Agnes is on the platform.
https://twitter.com/jeremyscahill/status/401373828107874304

and Mother Agnes decided not to make waves and withdrew

Posted by: brian | Nov 18, 2013 5:51:05 AM | 33

scahill is attacking her for being pro-assad. Posted by: brian | Nov 18, 2013 5:51:05 AM | 32
Ah, OK, sorry. Her statement was very unspecific.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 18, 2013 6:15:50 AM | 34

The Stop the War Coalition announced on Saturday,

Over the last few days a campaign has developed over the invitation we extended to Mother Agnes — a nun from Syria, who leads a campaign called Mussalaha (Reconciliation) — to speak in London at the International Anti-War Conference on 30 November organised by Stop the War Coalition.

Mother Agnes has now withdrawn from speaking at the conference.

In inviting speakers to participate in its events, Stop the War has never sought to endorse all their views. We have always provided a platform for a diversity of opinions within a broad anti-war perspective.
http://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/mother-agnes-withdraws-from-stwc-international-conference-defended-by-socialist-unity/

Posted by: brian | Nov 18, 2013 6:33:20 AM | 35

Marcus Papadopoulos ‏@DrMarcusP 16m
I am absolutely appalled by how Mother Agnes has had to withdraw from speaking at a Stop the War event: http://stopwar.org.uk/mother_agnes.pdf

Marcus Papadopoulos ‏@DrMarcusP 7m
Of all the people who have been invited to speak at the Stop the War event on #Syria, Mother Agnes is the one who knows Syria intimately.

Marcus Papadopoulos ‏@DrMarcusP 4m
It is intolerable that Mother Agnes, who knows first hand what the militants in #Syria are about, isn't able to relay this in Britain.

Posted by: brian | Nov 18, 2013 6:34:10 AM | 36

this one is interesting: he has a quote from Malcolm X on his twitter page, yet tweets: 'dappodan1 ‏@dappodan1 5m
@JohnWight1 @georgegalloway @SeumasMilne @STWuk @AndyD_Newman @NeilClark66 mother Agnes is a fraud and works with Assad intel. #complicit

Posted by: brian | Nov 18, 2013 7:02:47 AM | 37

Mother Agnes and the problem of Jeremy Scahill: the price of being respected?
http://richardedmondson.net/2013/11/17/investigative-journalist-scahill-takes-swipe-at-mother-agnes/

Posted by: brian | Nov 18, 2013 7:07:36 AM | 38

Regarding left fascism : juuannie earlier said I’ve often heard it stated that “we become what we hate the most”

I suspect guest crossed that threshold a long time ago

Posted by: foff | Nov 18, 2013 7:37:07 AM | 39

Wrong thread

Posted by: foff | Nov 18, 2013 7:37:45 AM | 40

Agent of Chaos ‏@blacbloc 10h
You are a VIce President of Stop the War Coalition, How do you feel about the treatment of Mother Agnes? @georgegalloway

George Galloway ‏@georgegalloway 5h
@blacbloc utterly shameful

Posted by: brian | Nov 18, 2013 8:18:44 AM | 41

Stop the War is fucking useless! Essentially it's a Socialist Workers Party creation and pretty much pursues an opportunist position on just about everything really, just like the SWP.

I mean look at the SWP's other 'creation' the Respect Party. No wonder the left is a joke, though it's a pity as the left has a grand tradition behind it, which I fear we are losing.

Posted by: William Bowles | Nov 18, 2013 9:04:06 AM | 42

And re Jeremy Scahill. Who the fuck does he think he is! I think it's outrageous that one person can dictate like that and everybody bows down before him. So he doesn't attend, so fucking what, who cares! It's just another example of how the Western left is imbued with the imperialist 'ethic' and Scahill is once more acting the Big White Man telling the darkies what to do. Fuck Scahill!

Posted by: William Bowles | Nov 18, 2013 9:12:03 AM | 43

@ brian | Nov 18, 2013 1:46:24 AM | 29 etc etc

Thanks for the heads-up on Scahill. I thought I was a fan, until now.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 18, 2013 10:26:34 AM | 44

Mother Agnes and the problem of Jeremy Scahill: the price of being respected? link Posted by: brian | Nov 18, 2013 7:07:36 AM | 38
Edmondson cites Lendman as refuting the NYT article, which is certainly a smear. Lendman does his thing, and cites his own 'Open Letter To The NYT', which doesn't mention Agnes or the article about her. But actually Agnes has been criticised from the other end also, for being prepared to sit down with even the vilest Jihadis. As she says, she'll sit down with anyone, if it helps to save lives. But other people can't understand the supra-political nature of her commitment. I can understand it, without being a Christian myself.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 18, 2013 11:11:40 AM | 45

List of proposed speakers
• Jeremy Scahill
• Tariq Ali
• Tony Benn
• Jonathan Steele
• Owen Jones
• Diane Abbott MP
• Manik Mukherjee
• Lindsey German
• Mitra Qayoom
• Explo Nani-Kofi
• Sami Ramadani
• Edward Horgan
• Joan Humphries
• Seumas Milne
• Jeremy Corbyn MP
• Rachel Shabi
• Chris Nineham
• John Rees
• Andrew Murray


As far as I can tell Sr Agnes would have been one of the few on that list that actually had first-hand experience of the situation in Syria - well done Jeremy Schaill, another win for the imperialists

Posted by: foff | Nov 18, 2013 12:17:18 PM | 46

I'll bet Jeremy Scahill is a fan of Imperialist front-group Human Rights Watch

Posted by: foff | Nov 18, 2013 12:20:35 PM | 47

Re the list: It's the usual suspects. It's de riguer for them to turn up and they'll spout the same old crap about 'human rights' etc. Esp. Tariq Ali who has been calling for Western intervention almost sine the beginning of the tragedy.

Posted by: William Bowles | Nov 18, 2013 12:59:34 PM | 48

while back read scahill's book, 'dirty wars'.

disappointed. if memory serves, was a while ago, scahill was more of an establishment gate keeper.

so many.

i ignore all.

Posted by: joe anon 1 | Nov 18, 2013 2:30:39 PM | 49

while here,

long live president al assad.

he will win syria's presidential election with at least 85% of the legitimate syrian votes.

Posted by: joe anon 1 | Nov 18, 2013 2:33:10 PM | 50

Posted by: foff | Nov 18, 2013 12:17:18 PM | 46


so far Scahill hasnt said what about Assad makes Mother Agnes so distasteful that he'd prefer to share a platform with real war mongers than her. Owen Jones ditto

Posted by: brian | Nov 18, 2013 4:08:32 PM | 51

much of the antiwar crowds mantra is:
'NO to terrorism NO to Assad!

but of course they never say who they want as president of syria, and the whitemans burden suggests they have some right to determine who will be. the zionisy lobby also says NO to Assad. Interesting convergence

NO to Assad automatically means YES to chaos

Posted by: brian | Nov 18, 2013 4:11:54 PM | 52

what Scahill has done is nuked his reputation by attacking respected Mother Agnes! whatever led him to do that? is he that clueless not to see the blowback he will suffer?

also STWuk dosent seem to be the problem...they had invited her and she voluntarily withdrew after Owen Jones and Schill threw hissy fits...a technique used often by zionist lobby to manipulate media and others

Posted by: brian | Nov 18, 2013 4:15:59 PM | 53

Tariq Ali is associated with PULSE media blog...which in 2011 called for NATO war on Libya...
BUT Ali was also a friend of the late Hugo Chavez, also a friend of Gadafi and Assad...so how is it Ali can attack the latter, given Chavez's association? what did he know that Ali seems blind to?

Posted by: brian | Nov 18, 2013 4:22:00 PM | 54

Antiwar crowd can shout till they loose their voice it ISN'T FOR THEM TO DETERMINE WHO THE SYRIAN WANT FOR A PRESIDENT.Once and for all this arm of the empire should understand and all the righteous people that they are NOT to determine who other countries choose to represent them.This is a principle enshrined in international law and the UN charter,the principle of self determination and SOVEREIGNTY.On the other hand what is to be expected from a conference that has Tarek Ali and the rest as speakers? .If they are too dumb and criminals to understand the value of international law they should at least realize that the Syrian question is not their toy to play with...They have lost all decency if they ever had one

Posted by: Nobody | Nov 18, 2013 4:31:57 PM | 55


what Scahill has done is nuked his reputation by attacking respected Mother Agnes! whatever led him to do that?

Is he that clueless not to see the blowback he will suffer?

Posted by: brian | Nov 18, 2013 4:15:59 PM | 53"

whatever led him to do that?
Probably this brian:
"NEW YORK -– Journalists Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras will be working with Glenn Greenwald on a new media venture funded by billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar"

As for blowback? Probably the only blowback he'll have is the annoying sound of billionaire 1%er Pierre's shekels jangling in his pockets.

I went through the names on that list and as far as I can ascertain Agnes really is the only one that could have given an account of what life is like in Syria, from both before and after the war on syria started

So Scahill really has managed to neutralise the only authentic voice from Syria that that conference had as speaker.

What a complete and utter scumbag , he'd rather sit with champagne socialist Brit MP's, members of the Labour party that ruined Iraq, several exSWP members, and bunch of bourgeoius lefty journalists than share a platform with someone that can speak knowledgably about Syria before and after the war started.


Posted by: foff | Nov 18, 2013 9:07:02 PM | 56

the attack on Mother Agnes and Assad seems to be a passtime of may socialisyt bloggers

Dodgy socialists (comrades!)
Thanks to Comrade Coatesy and also Bob from Brockley for drawing this bizarre business to my attention. You don’t need to be a supporter of the Syrian rebels (certainly, neither Coatsey nor us at Shiraz are) to be appalled at people like Newman’s Socialist Unity blog and Rees’ Stop the War pimping for Assad’s fascistic regime. The following comes from Tendance Coatesy:
http://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/stop-the-war-and-mother-agnes-the-strange-case-of-john-rees-and-assads-nun/
More NO to rebels NO to Assad socialists who make socialism less and less a viable option, given what its done to these guys

Posted by: brian | Nov 19, 2013 1:43:06 AM | 57

the likes of Proyect(the self styled UNrepented Marxist) calls Mother Agnes a liar and a warmonger. Now i dont know if Mother Agnes has told any lies: i DO know none of her speeches or talks ive heard has her advocating war!

'Helpfully someone has sent me a post just up from Louis Proyect, a Pulse ally, that rather makes my point about Scahill and Jones’s behaviour. Proyect claims that Mother Agnes’ role “as a liar and a warmonger is so well known” that the conference organisers must have been aware of what they were doing in inviting her.'
http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2013-11-18/bowing-before-the-inquisitors-on-syria/

Proyect tho is both a serial liar and a war monger.He has also appeared at least once on Moonofalabama, so if your reading this Louis SHAME ON YOU!

Posted by: brian | Nov 19, 2013 1:50:46 AM | 58

from beardless soccer player in germany, to bearded islamic terrorist in syria
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=596557853713334&set=a.298390980196691.60683.298382103530912&type=1&theater

'A promising former Germany youth international who reportedly chose radical Islam over football was killed in an aerial attack in Syria last month, German daily Bild reported on Monday.

Burak Karan, who played alongside stars like Sami Khedira and Kevin-Prince Boateng for Germany's under-16 and under-17 sides, died on October 11 in a village near the Turkish border, his brother told the newspaper. According to Mustapha Karan, Burak gave up football in 2008, aged 20.

When civil war erupted in Syria in 2011, he began to raise funds to buy medical supplies for victims of the fighting. "But when some of the supplies didn't turn up he decided to leave with his wife and two sons and organise distribution himself near the Turkish border," Mustapha recalled, adding that his brother had said he "didn't want to fight".

The brothers' sister, Zuhal, told another German paper, Focus, that "Burak only used to talk about Jihad and other crazy war-like stuff". Bild published a photograph of Burak brandishing a Kalashnikov taken from video-sharing site YouTube. "We will check this case but there is no confirmation for the moment," a spokesperson for the German Interior ministry stated.;
http://soccerly.com/article/soccerly/former-german-youth-player-dies-in-syrian-war

converts to islam are esp succeptible to the radical strands of jihad, making thek excellent proxies

Posted by: brian | Nov 19, 2013 3:14:13 AM | 59

"Journalists Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras will be working with Glenn Greenwald on a new media venture funded by billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar" Posted by: foff | Nov 18, 2013 9:07:02 PM | 56
This is interesting because it seems to me that it requires a degree of relativism, or layering, on our part. The Snowden package is actually useful to us, because there is no doubt it weakens the US empire, and sows the seeds of opposition to it in countries like Germany that were formerly loyal imperial clients. To complain that Greenwald is just drip-feeding the Snowden material out in such a niggardly way that it qualifies as nothing more than a limited hangout, as some do, is to misunderstand the damage it does. By drip-feeding it to major, mainstream media, Greenwald is damaging the empire more than if he just dumped it on the web in raw form, as Wikileaks did with the Embassy cables. In fact, moaning about Greenwald's tactics is often a tactic used by imperial stooges in the blogosphere to sow hostility to Greenwald, and the same tactic was used against Assange. What I mean by "relativity or layering on our part" is that we should welcome the activities of Greenwald and Assange, while understanding the limitations inherent in their tactics. We should not waste our time and that of others by complaining that they are what they are, and not something hypothetical that we imagine would do more damage. They are doing plenty of damage by working in their own way, with one foot firmly kept inside the establishment media circuit. From this position we can oppose the posture of Scahill as imperial censor of who should or shouldn't be allowed to appear at conferences, without being forced to condemn Greenwald et al.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 19, 2013 3:15:36 AM | 60

a twit attack on STWuk, Syria andmother Agnes:by the biographer of Tony Blair, prof, columnist and all round bad guy John Rentoul steps in:things are getting serious
John Rentoul ‏@JohnRentoul 1m
Stop the War Coalition is not anti-war; malevolent Leninist front that supports any sufficiently anti-Western tyranny http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2013/11/mother-agnes-has-pulled-out-of-the-stop-the-war-conference-and-yet-she-would-have-fitted-in-so-well/

i guess the key to his tweet is 'antiwestern tyranny'...he may prefer pro-western tyrannies like saudis...tho syria is no tyranny, and he is no investigative journalist

Posted by: brian | Nov 19, 2013 5:28:57 AM | 61

Check out Phil Greaves' take on the Mother Agnes debacle:

Owen Jones & Mother Agnes. A lesson on conciliatory “leftists”

A sample:

The justification for this blatant act of censorship came in the form of a crass campaign of smear and character assassination. One primarily led by outright Israeli/Neo-Conservative propagandist-extraordinaire Michael D. Weiss, a former Director of a now defunct Zionist pressure group called Just Journalism, whose stated goals included focusing on “how Israel and Middle East issues are reported in the UK media.” Weiss, also a former fellow at the Neo-Conservative war-lobby “think-tank” the Henry Jackson Society, is now a lead rebel advocate pimping his “expertise” at Saudi Arabia/Hariri propaganda outlet NOW Lebanon – all whilst writing up US military intervention proposals for the Syrian opposition. It is also no coincidence that Mr. Weiss was a lead proponent of the fairy-tale narratives of one Liz OBagy, an utter fraud sanitizing the image of the rebels on behalf of a US State Department funded rebel lobbying group and the equally hawkish Neo-Conservative PR outlet The Institute for the Study of War. Needless to say, Weiss, and his cabal of pro-rebel Hariri propagandists and Zionist apologists are more than pleased at Jones and Scahill’s somewhat orchestrated decision to pressure Stop the War into dropping Mother Agnes.

'Nuff said I think but overall the Western 'left's' take on Agnes mirrors its position on Libya where it seems they're quite happy to take up the cry of killing Syrians to save them. What depressing state of affairs.

Posted by: William Bowles | Nov 19, 2013 6:30:13 AM | 62

As people here have noted there was simply no Lebanese or Syrians in the list of "Leftists", except for Mother Agnes. Why? Because people who hope for a job (and cannot rely on the successes of Libyan/Egyptian/Lebanese/Iraqi economies in the near future) will never associate their names with "neo-communists", as CNN would call them, as this would simply lock for them the door of any Gulf possibilities.
Why can't journalists ask squarely Hollande and friends if they agree with the extension of the Syrian conflict to Lebanon, since this is the strategy pursued by the armed groups? After all, this is a logical return to where it started and a normal prolongation in the head of djihadists engaged in an apocalyptic war against Shiites they blame for all their problems. But that's not the job of journalists, sure.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 19, 2013 7:03:28 AM | 63

Mark Ames, and Yasha Levine take a closer look a Greenwald-Scahill's new BFF

The Extraordinary Pierre Omidyar

"We ought to be looking at business as a force for good." - Pierre Omidyar

"Like eBay, Omidyar Network harnesses the power of markets to enable people to tap their true potential." - Omidyar Network, "Frequently Asked Questions"

Pierre Omidyar - "damaging" the empire, one day at a time ;-)

Posted by: foff | Nov 19, 2013 7:08:23 AM | 64

As people here have noted there was simply no Lebanese or Syrians in the list of "Leftists", except for Mother Agnes. Why? Because people who hope for a job (and cannot rely on the successes of Libyan/Egyptian/Lebanese/Iraqi economies in the near future) will never associate their names with "neo-communists",

Actually what people noticed was that there WAS one person invited who could speak from both a Lebanese AND Syrian perspective - and Pierre Omidyar's new BFF Jeremy Scahill, along with some bourgeois Lefty "journalist" friends of his, did their best to make sure no one could hear what she might say about the situation.

STW only invited ONE person that could speak from that perspective, and Scahill chose to attack that one person.

Posted by: foff | Nov 19, 2013 8:01:51 AM | 65

Norway was asked because it is a prime player in the “Peace Business.” (It is Switzerland’s direct competitor in this area but that is covered up with circumstantial alliances. CH was not asked I suppose because US-CH relations are in hellish pits at the moment.) Norway is not part of the EU, is neutral - non aligned. Recall it was dubbed ‘the neutral ally’ in WWI. Perfect. Except of course it can’t do the job!

The next choice is the very opposite, tiny, poor, dependent, looking for recognition, etc.

Really, this is just incompetence, it’s hard to accredit behind the stage calculations imho.

sidebar ;) : Here is a TED talk by Rama, the (ex) mayor of Tirana, Take back your city with paint. Esthetically pleasing :)

http://www.ted.com/talks/edi_rama_take_back_your_city_with_paint.html

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 19, 2013 8:41:12 AM | 66

Norway neutral? I think not:

Norway admits it carried out phone surveillance for NSA

Aside from this, Norway is firmly in the Western camp. Excerpt:

Norwegian intelligence says it voluntarily shares the collected data with the Americans in the name of security.

"This is data collection by Norwegian intelligence to support Norwegian military operations in conflict areas abroad, or connected to the fight against terrorism, also abroad," Lieutenant General Kjell Grandhagen, head of the Norwegian Intelligence Service, told a news conference.

Posted by: William Bowles | Nov 19, 2013 10:11:25 AM | 67

proyect is an idiot.

Posted by: joe anon 1 | Nov 19, 2013 12:36:58 PM | 68

Posted by: William Bowles | Nov 19, 2013 10:11:25 AM | 67

the only free independent states are those in latin america, syria, north korea, zimbabwe, russia china...and are recognised that all are under attack to varying degrees by US or its servants

Posted by: brian | Nov 19, 2013 4:35:25 PM | 69

the well oiled unrepentent facist Louis Proyect decides peace in syria is unmarxist: so Mother Agnes and Mairead Maguire feel his rapist wit

http://louisproyect.org/2013/11/03/mairead-maguire-pacification-activist/

Posted by: brian | Nov 19, 2013 11:32:05 PM | 70

No, Pierre Omidyar Does Not Want To Topple The Government

Greenwald, who habitually responded to reasonable criticism of his leak custodianship with lies and verbal abuse is now putting these methods to work on Omidyar’s behalf in relation to PayPal’s Wikileaks blockade. Liliana Segura’s and Jeremy Scahill’s response to reasonable concerns about their patron is evasion and snark worthy of establishment hacks. The self-satisfied insistence on their own incorruptibility is a grim spectacle, not simply because their evasions on Omidyar’s behalf already contradict it, but because of their complete ignorance of how subservience works. Do these people think that most hacks are literally told what to write?

Considering that the ink is barely dry on their contracts, this situation is not likely to improve when at last they get to work. Meanwhile every vaguely left journalist is spit-shining Omidyar and Co’s shoes, instead of calling them all to account, dreaming of one day working for the billionaire themselves. Enough of this degrading farce. The world will turn with or without an upmarket HuffPost, bankrolled with filthy lucre and fashionably scented with Greenwald and Co’s muddled, reformist dissent. Fuck these people.

Posted by: foff | Nov 21, 2013 4:25:27 AM | 71

Maybe, but Greenwald continues to drip the Snowden material into the MSM with what seems to me to be great skill, eg yesterday in the Graun.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 21, 2013 5:10:14 AM | 72

if you don't get it by now Rowan, then you probably never will

Posted by: foff | Nov 21, 2013 5:11:46 AM | 73

Ok Rowan, perhaps my curt reply is a little overly rude and presumptious, so I 'll elaborate

Back in 1999/2000 I spent quite a few hours running a program called traceroute on a cheapo unix box I got for next-to-nothing. At that time my impression of the net was that the english speaking part of it was in the main US based.

In every single traceroute I ran, somewhere in the hops the same few Server IP's kept recurring, time & time again. Further rummaging around revealed that those IP's were all allocated to a mere 2 or 3 companies, companies you've never heard of, not the Verisons or the AT&T's of this world, and all registered in either the State of Maryland or the State of West Virginia.

From this it was easy to conclude that all traffic was being easily monitored through those nodes. Any other conclusion would imo be nonsense.

Several years later, maybe a decade -can't rember exactly, I repeated the process, to see if anything changed.

And it had

No longer was everything routed through the same few nodes. Things were a little more diversified now. And the many many more nodes seemed now to be registered to more recognisable more mainstream companies.

From this I concluded that the monitoring was most likely now taking place either within the companies themselves (i.e. full co-operation) or below the companies (i.e. the fibre itself was being monitored without the companies needing to be implicated)

I ' m no expert, and all i had was a *nix-box with traceroute. Clearly, luckily for me, no real level of genius was required to figure this out.

So none of this is a surprise. So if the establishment mouthpieces like The Grauniad and the NYT are causing a rukus now about this, then imo it's merely entertainment for the rubes.

Google's "we're shocked, simply shocked to discover . . . . " is just more rube-bait, and the likes of Fake-rebel GGreenwald and Mr Anti-War Scahill are nothing but Rube-Baiters-in-Chief

Posted by: foff | Nov 21, 2013 5:49:06 AM | 74

Owen Jones seems to be the New Johann Hari - young, ostensibly left, ostensibly anti-war hack, who despite all the fine-sounding blather, can be relied upon to support "intervention" and imperialist murder when required.

Hopefully he'll implode under the weight of his own contradictions just like the despicable Hari did, but like Hari he'll probably do quite a bit of damage before he does.

I keep imagining a little baby-faced Welsh chap running around with an Uber-Welsh accent going "Hello, I'm Oh-wen Jo-wens"

Posted by: foff | Nov 21, 2013 6:19:24 AM | 75

re 74. Well you're very clever, foff. I don't think the rest of us are necessarily that competent. Did you manage to publicise it at the time?

Posted by: alexno | Nov 21, 2013 7:36:19 AM | 76

Yes, both times, but quickly got tired of the chorus of "tin-foil Hat" comments from the pseuds, the ultra-boring "Serious, Reasonable and Rational Individual"-types one always runs into on political sites.

I don't think the rest of us are necessarily that competent

doesn't take much in the way of competence - the tools are free and easy to use & come pre-installed on all computers , windows Mac etc.

WIKI :

The traceroute command is available on a number of modern operating systems. On Apple Mac OS, it is available by opening 'Network Utilities' then selecting 'Traceroute' tab, as well as by typing the "traceroute" command in the terminal.

On other Unix systems, such as Linux, it is available as a traceroute(8) command in a terminal.

On Microsoft Windows, it is named tracert. Windows NT-based operating systems also provide PathPing, with similar functionality. For Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) the tool sometimes has the name traceroute6 or tracert6.

Posted by: foff | Nov 21, 2013 7:55:05 AM | 77

prior to 99 my only experience of computer OS's was the Mac OS which was not a *nix-based OS and anyway the one I had wasn't even networked let alone connected to the web. Then I heard that Apple was going to release a *nix-based OS so I figured I better go learn something about that, otherwise all the time spent learning the ins-and-outs of the Mac would be simply just a pile of useless knowledge, so I got an old *nix-loaded-clunker which someone was about to dump, which almost drove me nuts trying to figure it out.

Not long after that I realised that OSX was horrible, ditched Apple entirely

Posted by: foff | Nov 21, 2013 8:14:58 AM | 78

But foff, the aim of Greenwald's exercise is not to impress you, it is to impress politicians and their publics - the people you dismiss as "the rubes". That is how you do politics, foff: by impressing the politicians and their publics. Whatever you're doing, foff, politics isn't it.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 21, 2013 8:42:47 AM | 79

We've got a poster here @74 who deviously conflates Google (an appliance of the CIA) with writers like G. Greenwald and J. Skahill. This is submitted at the tail end of a lame and self-lauding little bit, in which this guy styles himself as some kind of computer sleuth. This is a dirty disinformation technique that can only be a source of amusement to readers who have studied much of the writings or doings of Greenwald or Skahill.

The foff is a foffer of hot air.

Posted by: Copeland | Nov 21, 2013 9:03:48 AM | 80

explaining how one goes about learning things is obviously very irritating to some people

Posted by: foff | Nov 21, 2013 9:05:51 AM | 81

"Whatever you're doing, foff, politics isn't it."

Yes Rowan - I'm commenting on a website.

Commenting on a website is not "Doing Politics" - well spotted.

Posted by: foff | Nov 21, 2013 9:07:11 AM | 82

"This is submitted at the tail end of a lame and self-lauding little bit, in which this guy styles himself as some kind of computer sleuth."

this after saying "I ' m no expert, and all i had was a *nix-box with traceroute. Clearly, luckily for me, no real level of genius was required to figure this out." & "doesn't take much in the way of competence "

no pleasing some people

Posted by: foff | Nov 21, 2013 9:15:04 AM | 83

"This is a dirty disinformation technique that can only be a source of amusement to readers who have studied much of the writings or doings of Greenwald or Skahill."

If you had spent a fraction of the time you spend reading/discussing Greenwald learning instead to use the tools you already have to hand, you would not need to rely on Greenwald

Posted by: foff | Nov 21, 2013 9:36:20 AM | 84

What tools we rely on, must be more than the self-referential. There is a problem with the tiresome repetition of stock phrases, that is sometimes seen here. The population explosion of foff's endless comments comes as an example; and naturally readers are not bound to respect the odd slanders, including the infantile shots occasionally fired off against men like Greenwald and Skahill, writers who have proved their intelligence and character, risking their lives in the process.

I hope our dear and patient Bernhard is feeling somewhat better today. My good wishes go out to him, and are passed along in the hope that he isn't depressed while reading niggling comments on a thread, that is ostensibly about Syria. It's good that we can do more in the direction of history, and do it faster, and do it while communicating with many others,--all while sitting in a chair or propped up in our beds.

Posted by: Copeland | Nov 21, 2013 12:02:45 PM | 85

"Greenwald and Skahill, writers who have proved their intelligence and character, risking their lives in the process."

sniff - That's just so effing beautiful, man. If mankind's love for one another was only one-tenth as deep as the fanboy love you and others exhibit for the perfect strangers of the celebrity establishment "hero" class like GG - i.e., billionaire lackey - and Scahill - i.e., nun shunner - then we could all - FINALLY! - join your other comrade Mr. Russell Brand in a world-wide meditative reach-around of pure peace and joy. Keep hope alive, brother!

Posted by: JSorrentine | Nov 21, 2013 12:36:58 PM | 86

My comrade Russell Brand? You're assuming quite a lot, JSorrentine.

But then propaganda is about linking a series of accusations that aren't really linked. Personal attack, false linkage, stock phrases that are meaningless at the core. I would tell you to take something for your nihilism; but it would seem that you have already crossed the Event Horizon. I'm terribly sorry.

Posted by: Copeland | Nov 21, 2013 12:52:09 PM | 87

Jesus. Birds of a feather.
...

Here comes a shitload of speculation and quite a lot of optimism and I don't usually do optimism. But here goes:

The leaks are what they are. Whatever speculation we can make about how or why they have come about - obviously a huge part in how anyone understands them - the exposure has been made and the effects will do what they will to public opinion, on legislation, to international relationships, etc. I don't personally see how something like that could be a "limited hangout" because it's not very ... well, limited. These revelations are explosive and could lead anywhere - despite those who will tell you they are "too slow and not enough" or "we already knew it all" (a line of attack that is so consistently debunked - and yet so consistent - that you have to wonder if it is honest).

It will be interesting to find out more about Snowden. Whatever his motives (and they are less worth speculating on than considering the real effects of the leaks), he chose to deliver the documents to Greenwald and he has not expressed any disappointment with the way the information is being distributed. It is interesting to consider what the choices mean, if anything - why he didn't choose Wikileaks (though they seem to work closely together), why he hasn't been more vocal, where he plans to go next, who will do what in support of him, etc etc. There is much that it is worthwhile to speculate about. The last chapter in Snowden's story obviously hasn't been written yet. The answer to who Snowden is and what his motives are will have to be surmised form his future actions and his relationship with Greenwald going forward.

Greenwald's future, though, will likely be more far-reaching because of the professional opportunities stemming from his involvement with the leaks. He seems to have already eclipsed Snowden, for better or worse, as the face of the leaks and he has benefited hugely in prestige from the revelations - and I don't say this in a negative or positive way, it is what it is. There is no way that he could have avoided becoming the focus of attention - but this wasn't his decision - it was Snowden's.

Greenwald has certainly gained a huge amount of prestige and can potentially become a hugely powerful personality in politics and journalism. It will be interesting and revealing to watch for what kind of push back he faces. Will the US establishment go after him full force, or will he "earn" (either by virtue of being too strong to disregard, or being brow-beaten into submission) the trust of part or all of it? Will he sell out or will he maintain his credibility and fight authoritarianism and US power till the end - perhaps being destroyed in the process or instead having huge success and helping to lead a new movement towards a more civilized US and a less intrusive government at home and around the world? He could either become a sort of I.F. Stone or a carbon copy of Bob Woodward, or anything in between or something else entirely. All would be mere predictions at this point.

He does seems to have weathered the storm of potential arrest and conviction and still maintains his freedom of movement - something Snowden does not have. Greenwald could, with this new found prestige, have made any professional move he liked probably (outside of the United States, of course). The one he has made seems to give him the maximum chance for freedom and the chance to build something form the ground up. I could be wrong but I don't think simple co-option by this Pierre Omidyar will be his fate. I think there no doubt his move of going into business with a billionaire (the guy - though clearly smart enough to know that Greenwald is a force - doesn't seem a particularly a "deep thinker") will put a lot of resources at his command and my guess is that Greenwald will essentially have a free reign within organization, whatever form it takes. It seems that this will be his "baby" though, and from there the problems could stem. He may face the limitations of becoming too big and becoming, in effect, the face of an institution. We won't see him being co-opted, but give it a decade, perhaps we will see him co-opting. It really isn't worth speculating on. How he handles this power though, will ultimately reveal the most about him and make the difference between success and failure.

Ultimately I think he should be judged by the intensity with which he goes after authoritarianism (government AND private) and militarism where it matters most - in the United States, Israel, NATO, and the corporate structure. And there is some reason to hope he will stand up to US power in ways far more radical than today's mainstream media organizations (not that that would be hard). Though the right wingers here will not be heartened by this, Greenwald is clearly associating himself - and building allies with - the sort of "mainstream" US Left (that sort of scattered constellation that sort of orbits around all things DemocracyNow, Occupy and Chomsky). Scahill comes straight out of the center of the that. Greenwald and Scahill have both appeared with Chomsky and both frequent DemocracyNOW. But, more interestingly, there is this alliance with the more technology oriented groups like Wikileaks, the Pirate Parties, and the EFF. There seems to be a powerful coalition building with both some serious claims to respectability and radicalism. If this group can stick together it could be in the best tradition of the sixties movements - civil rights and peace - but with massive resources. Will a truly radical vision finally gain a mainstream audience for its views? And will the US power structure will come to terms with it, continually try to sideline it... or ultimately be changed by it?

As someone says here (Zico?) "Interesting times...". Like the leaks, whatever this organization does will be judged on the effects of its stories. And, if for a few years at least it can break more stories with the impact of the NSA leaks - that will be a pretty fucking big deal.

...


Oh yeah, and I don't want to let my only fan down: NAZIS.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 21, 2013 9:35:46 PM | 88

Greenwald's probably many things, but a nazi?

Thats a little ott, even for you

Posted by: foff | Nov 21, 2013 9:43:04 PM | 89

Wow. tl;dr that one.

Plus, there's that optimism fucking with me.

Scahill IS a dick for attacking Sister Agnes, and Chomsky - though he didn't sign that idiotic petition - has been unimaginably obtuse when it comes to Syria. Which of course makes him 1000x times more right on it than Tariq Ali, who DID sign that idiotic petition. Which makes HIM 1000x more right than that troll Louis Proyect, who has done all an lousy shithead can do to in the service of state terror short of strapping on a suicide vest or beheading a child.

Luckily, as Nobody said, it won't be up to any of them who wins the war in Syria. That will be decided by the Syrian people.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 21, 2013 9:48:39 PM | 90

@89 zip up man, your dumbass is showing.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 21, 2013 9:49:58 PM | 91

- calm down you loon, it was an attempt at humour

Posted by: foff | Nov 22, 2013 6:05:39 AM | 92

Nah I read it - until the last line, it looked like someone else had borrowed your identity in an effort to ensure that at least one SANE comment appeared this week with your name attached - possibly in an attempt at reputation-rehabilitation, integrity-wise i mean.

Posted by: foff | Nov 22, 2013 6:23:12 AM | 93

I'm a fan. I'd even move back to my old realm, Twisting Nether.
Barnone I love this idea, but only if it is optional and available to everyone.

Posted by: jacjasson | Nov 22, 2013 11:30:08 PM | 94

Massive Man-in-the-Middle Attacks Have Been Hijacking Huge Amounts Of Internet Traffic And Almost No One Noticed

Recently, at the debate between former NSA (and CIA) boss Michael Hayden and reporter Barton Gellman, one of the statements Hayden made has stuck with me. He talked about this "wonderful" "accident of history and technology that put most of the world's web traffic inside the United States." He used this to suggest that it was our right and duty to therefore use that traffic to spy on everyone possible. I'm thinking about that statement, because (1) it was no "accident" of history or technology that resulted in that, but rather a concerted effort based on where the internet was first built and (2) because there's no reason why it needs to remain that way. And that second point is extra important when you realize that with a little effort, it's not that hard for determined individuals, organizations or governments to divert that traffic through other countries.

And, it turns out, that's exactly what's happening. Someone (or a group of someones) has been running a number of giant man-in-the-middle attacks, effectively routing a lot of traffic through Belarus and Iceland, as described in great detail by Renesys (and again in slightly more laymen's terms by Arik Hesseldahl).

Whoever is doing it, is almost certainly up to no good. It seems likely that the attacks are for criminal purposes, rather than government espionage, but it certainly could be done either way. Renesys gives a few examples of the hijackings, starting with a brief one in February of this year, in which global traffic was redirected to an ISP in Belarus, where the traffic had no reason to be. Renesys gives a single example of a trace showing a packet supposedly going from Guadalajara, Mexico to Washington, DC... but with quite the detour:

Here’s an example of a trace from Guadalajara, Mexico to Washington, DC that goes through Moscow and Minsk. Mexican provider Alestra hands it to PCCW for transit in Laredo, Texas. PCCW takes it to the Washington, DC metro area, where they would normally hand it to Qwest/Centurylink for delivery.

Instead, however, PCCW gives it to Level3 (previously Global Crossing), who is advertising a false Belarus route, having heard it from Russia’s TransTelecom, who heard it from their customer, Belarus Telecom. Level3 carries the traffic to London, where it delivers it to Transtelecom, who takes it to Moscow and on to Belarus. Beltelecom has a chance to examine the traffic, and then sends it back out on the “clean path” through Russian provider ReTN. ReTN delivers it to Frankfurt and hands it to NTT, who takes it to New York. Finally, NTT hands it off to Qwest/Centurylink in Washington DC, and the traffic is delivered.


This is hardly the only example. I highly recommend reading the entire Renesys report. It notes how this happens, and how this had been a "theoretical concern," but is now happening "fairly regularly." It also notes that these attacks leave a very visible footprint -- and lots of large providers should be monitoring this, but aren't.

Posted by: foff | Nov 23, 2013 8:42:53 AM | 95

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