Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trick or Treat or Syria

by Jeff Huber

The war party continues to retreat; its skirmishers trail behind the main body to burn bridges, set booby traps, and otherwise harass the advancing Obama phalanx. The Syrian shenanigan is the latest tactical move in the neoconservative right's fight-another-day strategy, both in the fact of it and in the way it has been covered in our polluted mainstream media.

The story broke on October 26. The UK Telegraph reported that "Media reports gave conflicting accounts" of an air strike apparently conducted by U.S. military helicopters on Syrian civilians. The Times article first cited Syrian state television as saying an attack took place "near the Syrian border town of Abu Kamal."

Then it quoted a private Syrian TV channel saying nine people had been killed and 14 wounded when an unknown number of American helicopters attacked the village of Al-Sukkiraya.

Then it referenced and AP story that said seven people were killed and five others wounded when two American helicopters carrying U.S. soldiers raided the village of Hwijeh.

Then it cited a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, Sergeant Brooke Murphy, as saying that commanders were investigating the reports.

The narrative got confusing after that.

I Didn't Tell You This, But…

On October 27 the BBC cited the official Syrian news agency Sana as reporting that four American helicopters had attacked in Sukkiraya--which is presumably the same place as Al-Sukkiraya—killing eight people including four children. The Beeb said that an unidentified "U.S. military spokesman was unable to confirm or deny the reports, saying it was a 'developing situation'." One might reasonably infer that this anonymous military spokesman was senior enough to Sergeant Murphy to know better than to allow his name to be used.

But the Beeb also reported that "later the Associated Press news agency quoted an unnamed US military official in Washington as saying that American special forces had attacked foreign fighters linked to al-Qaeda."

The Beeb also reported that Syria had condemned the strike as a "serious violation" of its territory.

On October 28, Rupert Murdoch's laughably right wing Sky News gave a somewhat different account of Syria's attitude toward the U.S. attack on its soil. The way Sky News told it, Syria secretly gave the "green light" for the raid. Sky based this remarkable interpretation of events on the testimony of a single source: Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman, who has for years been trying to goad the Bush administration into attacking Iran.

Sky News partly cited an interview Bergman gave to the Israeli tabloid Yediot Ahronoth in which he said that the Syrians told the Americans, "If you want to do this, do it. We are going to give you a corridor and carte blanche. We will not harm your troops." You may not be surprised to learn that Bergman's sources were two unnamed "senior American officials." If we graciously assume these senior officials had first hand knowledge of what the Syrians said (and they probably didn't), the Sky News story is anonymously sourced fifth hand hearsay at best.

Before you form the impression that Sky News was the media leper with the least fingers on this story, though, let's take a look at what the newspaper of record had to say.

"American officials" told the New York Times that the raid was carried out by Special Operations forces who "killed an Iraqi militant responsible for running weapons, money and foreign fighters across the border into Iraq." There's no telling if these American officials are the same American officials that supposedly told Bergman the Syrians said it was okay to attack them.

And there's no way to tell if any of the aforementioned American officials are the same ones who told the NYT that "the Bush administration was determined to operate under an expansive definition of self-defense that provided a rationale for strikes on militant targets in sovereign nations without those countries’ consent." Nor can we know which American officials "declined to say whether the emerging application of self-defense could lead to strikes against camps inside Iran."

God only knows which American officials "said the mission had been mounted rapidly over the weekend on orders from the Central Intelligence Agency," or if of one of those American officials was the "United States official" who described the target, Abu Ghadiya, as "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia’s 'most prominent' smuggler of foreign operatives crossing the Syrian border into Iraq."

And only the Almighty has a clue whether Abu Ghadiya was actually in whatever village it was that U.S. Special Forces apparently attacked for the C.I.A., or if he's really a smuggler, prominent or otherwise, of foreign operatives, or if, as yet another (or perhaps the same) American official said, he died in his tent or after he had been taken into custody, or if he died or was taken into custody at all, or if he ever even existed.

But we can be pretty clear about one thing: This monkey business with Syria was the opening volley in young Mr. Bush's third illegal war. Like the cockamamie strikes and raids he's been pulling in Pakistan and Somalia, the attack on Syria was not conducted in accordance with the letter or spirit of the War Powers Act of 1973 or of the Constitution, both of which require a president to get permission from Congress to start a foreign war. Nor was it in keeping with the Standing Rules of Engagement for U.S. Forces, which authorizes pursuit across international borders to "engage hostile forces" only if they "continue to commit hostile acts or exhibit hostile intent."

Retired Army Colonel Pat Lang, author of the celebrated 2004 essay "Drinking the Kool-Aid," said of the Syria raid, "I have a sneaking suspicion that the authority to do this came right out of the White House." I have a sneaking suspicion the authority to raid Syria came straight from the Office of the Vice President.

The Central Command billet has been gapped since March when Admiral William Fallon told young Mr. Bush to take the job and shove it, so there's been no adult influence to keep the spooks and snake eaters from running amok on order of Lord Cheney from Egypt to Kyrgyzstan. A four-star will finally take command on October 31, but the four-star will be David Petraeus, so it looks like it will be trick-or-treat in Southwest Asia from now until January.

Scary, huh kids?

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword . Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now. Also catch Scott Horton's interview with Jeff at Antiwar Radio.

22 comments:

  1. Sure is hard to tell just who is leading this pack of run-amuckers.
    Is it the CIA pulling the V.P.'s string for more out-of-control black ops? Is it the insane wingnuts of the Executive Branch directly ordering these attacks on civilian targets? Is it the suck-ups in the military chain of command doing everything possible to please the Executive Branch - no matter if it's against their own rules?
    Great kugglymoogly! If the war crimes trials ever start, it'll take a hundred thirteen years to complete them (not counting appeal time).

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  2. All the above, Jeg.

    J

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  3. wkmaier9:19 AM

    Isn't is the best etiquette for an outgoing Administration to not eff up things too much for the incoming Administration, at least in the waning months?

    Never mind stupid question...

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  4. LOL. Etiquette? These guys?

    Jeff

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  5. wkmaier10:52 AM

    Maybe that wasn't the right word...

    Professional courtesy? But that presumes, #1, they are professional, which assumes a high level of expertise. ;-)

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  6. Anonymous11:25 AM

    Well Jeff, you've done it again. Reporting the military coup d'etat via "religion" ????

    I say that with tongue-in-cheek, but not really.

    You say it in words that are so sophisticated (reminds me of Jim Lobe) that only the thoughtful, deep, reader, can get it - maybe.

    That's the problem, when someone like Dick Cheney is the defacto US Prez, uh, ummmm, I mean, he is the VP for the defacto PREZ OF THE WORLD (at least he thought he was until his brain atrophied, with age, a notion not considered ... Mr. D.R. "GOTROCKS" ... WORLD DICTATOR? NAH, THE HOLD ON THIS POSITION IS STILL IN THE STATE PURPOSELY CREATED TO RULE, 1947-48).

    The proof is in the pudding, as always, and the UK/GB/EU cultist organization that hand-picked the criminally insane that run this corporation for THEM (who are THEM?) ... AH, I'll get to IT, THE ONES ... OGREs, all of 'em, each and every one plus their zombie-land brain dead criminally insane.

    Check it out: 1945, a date worth considering in this new agenda (ha ha, LOL) of now targeting Syria, et al.

    PLEASE

    The Israeli CIA (Mossad)is a very busy operation and with its partners in crime (USA, et al.) the needs of those who work for THEM, are high. MONEY, but of course, it is always about the money. AND

    SECRETS.

    Oh, this is the best part: all those secrets.

    This brings me to the FIRST STEP, by OBAMA.

    Dispense with the SECRETS, Mr. FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT OF THE US.

    We all can see that OBAMA is NOT WHITE and this is a good thing?

    We get to purchase the BRAND, called CHANGE.

    Begin by changing the secret cult that actually runs the country.

    Of course the DIRECTIVE TO BOMB THE MIDDLE EAST BACK TO THE STONE AGE, came directly from the WH!

    The location of the WH, is what is the true secret and with the new game in town, (Wall Street's controlled demolition to bring in the AMERO with the 2ND AMENDMENT BEING SIGNED AWAY BY OBAMA?, and but of course, the NWO/NAU, etc.

    Secrets are not what this CONSTITUTION based its founding on, as you know, Jeff.

    Here's a great link for everyone to see how OBAMA is viewed by all of us who are READING, very carefully, every word in "cyberspace," that tells the truth, whole and so on.

    Sick to death of the religion dressed up as a political force that wears A BODY OF MILITARY FIRST STRIKE (LIKE A FIRST STEP?), to carefully protect the holdings of corporations who willingly placed their assets in countries that now possess arms, etc. (sold by the same characters who wage wars without end), and do not want to play with the billionaire mobster cultists, anymore.

    George Soros' man who eats his tie on TV (Georgian "PREZ,"), has now been outed by their very own BBC. Uh oh, cracks in the facade.

    Mr. Saack, is a part of the same group of cultists who believe somehow that "others" are not of the same species.

    Mr. Sick, Sick, Sick, and he is THE PRIME EXAMPLE of what these "evildoers" have planned.

    Since the same "handlers" are in control of Mr. Sick, and Mr. BO, then what chance does America have (review the Georgian conflict extremely carefully cause it IS the GAME PLAN, GLOBALLY - super races do not come without ethnically cleansing the countries who are in the FIRST STRIKE MENU),

    AND

    with the US in control of the TRILATERAL CORPORATE DICTATORSHIP, GLOBALLY, the VESTED INTERESTS of all those SHAREHOLDERS, must be kept in the coffers of the families whose entitlement comes with being the bigger culture.

    I'm speaking of the ZIONISTS, who pretend to be JEWS.

    It is time that the HOLOCAUST is exposed and this faux religion masquerading as SUPREME, truly buried, at long last.

    The "others" on the planet are working diligently to expose this fraud that has yoked the whole planet with the silly notion that somehow THEM, THEY, are GOD.

    But, there is HOPE: the money appears to also be drying up, for the global cabal of criminally insane, in their packages of AIDE.

    What a concept, giving "aide" to those who can do the job of killing fields forever.

    Have we had enough of the ZIONIST rulers, stealing all the wealth all the time (well since the early 1900s anyway), and but of course, they are the CULTURED PEARLS of our oyster and therefore, with the gold that they steal, they get to create the RULES!?

    When can we name all the names and even post pics, of THEM?

    Russia is and wow, it is NOT FREE, LIKE WE, USA.

    Here below is reading worth sharing, too ... and KNOW JEFF HUBER ... I also post your writing in every nook and cranny, of THE WORLD TRUTH MOVEMENT.

    Biloxi Marx

    http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/106642-5/

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  7. Anonymous11:42 AM

    postscript: sorry for the long post.

    I'm disgusted with the ADL, having usurped its power through poor little "Mary Phagan"

    http://nnnforum.org/forums/showthread.php?t=70662

    and placed a GAG on the US, which was the true beginning of our loss of free speech.

    When can we debate, honestly, the Zionist's hold on the US!?

    Enough of the secrets and even WHEN (???) Mr. Obama takes the oath, to lead this country, the Zionists must be exposed or they are going to take every dirty secret he has and pull his strings, too, just like with all the sock puppets that are too limp to walk, let alone, lead.

    These people DO NOT DARE to call me "anti-semetic," since my mother's grandmother was cousin to Karl Marx.

    They used him too, to create "communism," when all he was about was and is, equality for the LABORER CLASSES.

    Biloxi Marx!

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  8. At the Los Angeles Times today, Rosa Brooks wrote:

    Ever since Joe Biden suggested that the world would "test" Barack Obama if he becomes president, the McCain campaign has been hoping to make political hay out of the remark. "We don't want a president who invites testing from the world," John McCain warned voters.

    But every new president is "tested" by national security crises, some predictable, some not. And I'm a lot less worried about the tests "the world" may offer Obama than about the national security booby traps the Bush administration is leaving behind for him.

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  9. Rock on Rosa. Thanks for posting this, Russ.

    J

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  10. Cambodia Syria Syria Cambodia. Shit. Deja vu.

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  11. Watching Rachel Maddow interview Barack Obama last night, among other things, on Afghanistan and Pakistan -- I had this small glimmer of hope that maybe if Obama is elected, we won't screw up Afghanistan quite as bad as we have screwed up Iraq.

    When you have an intelligent person (Stanford PhD. Rhodes Scholar) interview another intelligent person (Harvard Law Review) you almost get some reasonably intelligent answers to some very intelligent questions.
    Which, knowing the intelligence of the JtP cross section of America, will probably have no effect at all on pretty much everybody.

    The family that was assassinated in this Syrian mess, probably were goat herders, and/or farmers, and probably couldn't spell Al Queda (either).

    Four More Days.

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  12. conndor9:27 PM

    CDR,

    It's been a while since the TR pleasure cruise,glad to see you have found a home on the web. I am enjoying your writings immensely, keep up the good work, and best of luck to you !!

    Chris (Strike Ops)

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  13. Chris,

    Great to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by, please come back often.

    Best,

    Jeff

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  14. Anonymous4:18 PM

    Commander

    generally I agree with your take on things - but on this, I am torn. Spent a year in Iraq 2004 - 2005. I have first hand knowledge of Syrian provocation and participating in hostilities as non-uniformed and stateless combatants. It used to drive us crazy that we couldn't shut off the rat line at its source. They finally did the operation to clean up the ratline in 2006. This just pushed them further upstream.

    In my mind, the real question is whether the Syrian gov't was backing this guy, or at least letting him do what he was doing. It has happened before that if some jerk was getting under our skin in Syria, he turned up dead shortly thereafter.

    Your point about Rules of Engagement is salient.

    Your point about why they chose such a public route does give pause about their intent.

    SF

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  15. You know, SF, I'm sorry, but "first hand knowledge" from an anonymous source doesn't make much headway with me.

    Nor do I buy that the ratline has to be cut on the Syrian side of the border.

    Jeff

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  16. Anonymous8:32 AM

    Wouldn't expect you to. Nor do I think I would change your mind, even were I to provide specifics. We do have some of the same schooling - on this I will have to disagree with you

    SF

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  17. Not much to change. If everything said about the guy killed and the ratline is true, ROE doesn't let you cross borders for this kind of strike, and we're crossing borders on the say so of a guy who needs permission from Congress and isn't bothering to ask.

    Jeff

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  18. redknight382:16 PM

    Don't you just love mission creep? I suppose these bright fellows are pointing to the raging successes that were the "excursion" into Laos and Cambodia.

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  19. Oh, yeah, mission creep, it's, well, creepy!

    Jeff

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  20. Anonymous9:14 AM

    Hey, Jeff, remember when I left a post and the date 1945?

    Well, here is the MISSION CREEP, old war style with the new world order of clean-up the planet and pretend, yet again, it is just war as always ...

    "The overall picture is that the world economic/credit bubble since 1945 has just burst before our eyes since August 07. That is one huge bubble."

    http://www.financialsense.com/fsu/editorials/laird/2008/1106.html

    It fascinates me, those who choose to think that they are "warriors" and even do missions that get the enemy -- and all the while it is the THINK TANKS that choose the warrior rules of engagement and RAND writes the reports while the UN guides the hand of international pick and choose, too.

    However, it is the usual cast of players and characters and all, who for thousands of years have been doing the same ole same ole.

    Growing the people of the planet into large masses, to then play war games cause it is lucrative and fun, too, for the mass murderers of our species who have decided they're the deciders of earth - just ask them or simply "follow the money."

    Speaking of a new game in town, not.

    OBAMA's guy, his long time Chicago "connection," IMMANUEL, er, I mean Emanuel: this is not a change, but more of the same? Why didn't DEAN get a prime pick cabinet slot?? Did he not create the grass roots connection, a more important tap root than the other TRIBAL offshoot?

    Money does not talk, it screams.

    AND, now that the money game has been lost, globally by the US, we can only begin to imagine what lurks in the minds of those who love to creep for a life of creepiness.

    Begin to prepare for wedding parties in the US, "them" right here, to know the celebrations enjoyed by those who carry weapons and play video games AND take lots of BIG PHARMA magic bullets to feel like creep warriors of the nano-techno THEME PARK - BRAND AMERICA - JINGOISM.

    Just another ISM, the US, under the same dictates of our de facto rulers.

    Study Chertoff's model of Israel. Well, it isn't exactly Chertoff who is credited with the HOMELAND SECURITY MODEL.

    Like Israel, like America? BUT, THE HOMELAND SECURITY MODEL, was first found ... Germany's famous leaders created this IDEA/IMAGE?

    Sigh, our twin BRAND. Just ask OBAMA'S man, Emanuel.

    Best read the article at the link I have provided.

    JUBILEE?

    Not from Israel since the BIBLE is second to the book they have chosen to follow: ask HENRY MAKOW, about the creepiest show on earth as an exposed critical mass mission of creep alright.

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