The US says it is urging China to use all its leverage to help rein in North Korea’s “destabilising” actions.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is in South Korea, where he is expected to call on China to evoke “a sense of urgency” in its talks with the North.

Pyongyang has ratcheted up tensions in the region, threatening nuclear strikes against South Korea and the US.

A leaked US intelligence report has said the North may now be capable of mounting nuclear warheads on a missile.

On Thursday, a US Congressman read out what he said was an unclassified section of a Defense Intelligence Agency study. He said it assessed “with moderate confidence” that the North could fire a nuclear-armed missile, though with “low reliability”.

The North has tested both nuclear weapons and missiles, but it had been thought it had not yet developed a device small enough to be a viable and deliverable weapon.

Such a development would change the past 20 years of diplomacy, says the BBC’s Lucy Williamson in Seoul, all of which has been aimed at stopping North Korea from getting that sort of weapon.

But the Pentagon later denied the report, with spokesman George Little saying it would be “inaccurate to suggest that the North Korean regime has fully tested, developed or demonstrated the kinds of nuclear capabilities referenced in the passage”.

South Korea is currently on a high state of alert amid indications that the North is preparing for a missile test.

Pyongyang has moved two Musudan ballistic missiles to its east coast. Estimates of their range vary, but some suggest the missiles could travel 4,000km (2,500 miles).

That would put US bases on Guam within range, although it is not believed that the Musudan has been tested before.

‘Stake in stability’

Mr Kerry is making his first trip to Asia since becoming secretary of state. He will spend time in Seoul and Tokyo as well as in Beijing, North Korea’s last remaining ally and its major trading partner.

 

A senior administration official told reporters on board Mr Kerry’s plane: “It is no secret that China has most leverage, most influence, with North Korea and I think fundamentally we would want them to use some of that leverage because otherwise it is very destabilising and it threatens the whole region.”

The official added that, although Washington was not privy to conversations between China and North Korea, “we would want China to bring a sense of urgency, the need to stop this escalation, into that debate”.

“China has a huge stake in stability and the continued North Korean pursuit of a nuclear armed missile capability is the enemy of stability. That gives us and the Chinese a very powerful objective in common, namely denuclearisation,” the official said.

US President Barack Obama has urged Pyongyang to end its “belligerent approach… and to try to lower temperatures”.

But he warned that while he preferred to see tensions resolved through diplomatic means, “the United States will take all necessary steps to protect its people”.

China, meanwhile, has denied reports that it is deploying troops along the North Korean border.

A defence ministry official said Beijing was “paying close attention to the development of the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and has always been committed to safeguarding peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” the state Xinhua news agency reports.

Anniversary approaches

 

North Korea has been making threats against South Korea, Japan and US bases in the region

North Korea has increased its warlike rhetoric following fresh UN sanctions imposed after its third nuclear test in February and joint military manoeuvres by the US and South Korea.

The North says it will restart a mothballed nuclear reactor, has shut an emergency military hotline to the South and has urged countries to withdraw diplomatic staff, saying it cannot now guarantee their safety.

However, in the past few days North Korea’s media appear to be in more of a holiday mood, due to the approach of Monday’s celebrations marking the birth of national founder Kim Il-sung – a potential launch date for a new missile test.

On Thursday, foreign ministers from the G8 group of nations condemned in the “strongest possible terms” North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

Following talks in London, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said that if the North conducted another missile launch or nuclear test “we have committed ourselves to take further significant measures”.

Musudan missile

  • The Musudan, also known as the Nodong-B or the Taepodong-X, is an intermediate-range ballistic missile. Its likely targets are Okinawa, Japan, and US bases in the Pacific
  • Range estimates differ dramatically. Israeli intelligence suggests 2,500km, while the US Missile Defense Agency estimates 3,200km; other sources put the upper limit at 4,000km
  • These differences are due in large part to the fact that the missile has never been tested publicly, according to the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Its payload is also unknown

AFTER ADMITTING UN PEACE PLAN WAS A PLOY, BROOKINGS PREDICTABLY SCRAPS IT AND BEGINS PROMOTING EXPANDED MILITARY CONFLICT.

y the US policy think-tank Brookings Institution’s own admission, the Kofi Annan six-point peace plan in Syriawas merely a ploy to buy time to reorganize NATO’s ineffective terrorist proxies and provide them the pretext necessary for establishing NATO protected safe havens from which to carry out their terrorism from. In fact, Brookings actually stated in a recent report, “Assessing Options for Regime Change” (emphasis added):

“An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.” –page 4, Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution.


Image: Also out of the Brookings Institution, Middle East Memo #21 “Assessing Options for Regime Change (.pdf),” makes no secret that the humanitarian “responsibility to protect” is but a pretext for long-planned regime change.

As if to alleviate any lingering doubts, NATO’s “Alliance News Blog” has confirmed that the US is committed not to “peace,” but rather to the overthrow of Syria’s government and is “already committed to helping [President Bashar al-Assad] fall,” but is “merely looking for the least violent, lowest cost way to get there.” The April 9, 2012 blog entry features an op-ed titled, “US ‘already committed to helping Assad fall’,” and fully admits that the US is equipping the so-called “Free Syrian Army” which has received weapons, leadership, and cash from the NATO-backed Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) terrorists led by notorious mass-murderer Abdul Hakim Belhaj.


Image: NATO’s official “Alliance News Blog proudly reports that the US is already committed to helping “Assad fall” and is simply using the lull in fighting brought on by Kofi Annan’s disingenuous “peace plan” to rearm, reorganize, and redeploy their terrorist proxy forces against Assad. The op-ed featured on NATO’s blog was featured in the LA Times and written byCFR member Doyle McManus

And now, the Brookings Institution itself has predictably declared the Annan “peace deal” a failure and states that the time to “stretch” Syria’s military to the breaking point through expanded foreign-backed unrest has come. In an article titled, “Annan’s Mission Impossible: Why is everyone pretending that the U.N. plan in Syria has a prayer of suceeding?” Brookings Doha Center director Salman Shaikh insults the intelligence of his readership while handing out useful talking points surely to be parroted by the corporate-media over the next few days and weeks. Shaikh depicts the ceasefire’s failure as solely the result of the Syrian government’s belligerence and brutality, while mentioning nothing of the Syrian opposition’s documented and even admitted atrocities.

 

Video: Michael Weiss of the Neo-Con “Henry Jackson Society,” openly admits that diplomatic options are being paraded publicly to satisfy public opinion, but ultimately NATO plans to unilaterally intervene militarily in Syria, and will do so with the UN’s purposefully sabotaged “humanitarian operation” as its pretext.

And while portraying the Syrian government as irrationally carrying out a campaign of brutality against the Syrian people, Shaikh admits that the “Free Syrian Army” is operating militarily out of Turkey and that the Syrian National Council (SNC) represents foreign harbored and influenced leadership. While Shaikh portrays Syria’s minorities as “on the sideline,” he declines from explaining why they have not joined the foreign-driven unrest. In reality, these groups have been the hardest hit by rebel atrocities, including Syria’s large Christian communities.


Image: Christians in Syria have been particularly hit hard by what is being described as “ethnic cleansing,” not by Syrian security forces, but by NATO-backed death squads under the banner of the “Free Syrian Army.” The LA Times has been quietly reporting on the tragedy of Syria’s minorities at the hands of the Syrian rebels for months – and indicates that wider genocide will take place, just as it is now in Libya, should Syria’s government collapse under foreign pressure.

Shaikh’s shoddy salesmanship also reveals another truth – when he claims that “opposition leaders inside and outside the country do not have the resources to unite their ranks alone.” Surely any opposition group that represented the vast majority of the Syrian people, as the UN and the corporate-media claim daily, would not have trouble finding the resources inside of Syria “alone.” In reality, the unrest in Syria is driven by a foreign-backed violent minority, carried out by a combination of violent Sunni-extremists from Syria and many foreign fighters brought in from abroad. Many of Syria’s real opposition find the “Free Syrian Army’s” collaboration with foreigners “unacceptable.”

NATO and its proxies’ efforts have failed primarily because the movement’s semi-covert foreign backing is still not enough to turn the tide, and more overt backing is needed, including foreign military intervention. Shaikh’s entire argument hinges on the creation of a “genuine grand opposition coalition ” that currently, admittedly, does not exist.

As the Brookings Institution prepares the next stage of its premeditated escalation against the sovereign nation-state of Syria, and continues framing the violence as one-sided, a torrent of reports even from the corporate-media itself confirms what many geopolitical analysts have been saying for over a year – that the “Free Syrian Army” is conducting a vicious campaign of terrorism leaving Syrian security forces no choice but to continue fighting on to restore order.

In fact, just today, Wednesday May 9, 2012, Syrian rebels attempted to attack a convoy consisting of Kofi Annan’s UN monitors. France inexplicably then blamed the Syrian government for not providing adequate security for the UN monitors, after a year of condemning the government for attempting to restore order in the face of the very growing militant violence the attacks resulted from. And in recent weeks, everything from Human Rights Watch reports, to open admissions from the rebels themselves confirm that they are committing widespread human rights abuses and turning toward indiscriminate bombing tactics. This indicates a threat Syria’s government would be remiss not to counter – and surely a threat the “international community” would be remiss to continue supporting, funding, and even arming.

Now a concerted effort will be made to sabotage the UN peace plan in every shape, form, and manner, especially through increased violence and particularly in cross-border incidents to help sell NATO-backed, Turkey-led incursions into Syria to carve out “safe havens.” From there a steady stream of weapons and fighters from around the world will be funneled in, in an attempt to, as Brookings Shaikh puts it, stretch Syria’s forces “to a breaking point.”


Image: The cover of the CFR’s flattering report on US-Turkey relations, full of empty promises to entice Turkish leaders into falling on their swords for Western ambitions across the Middle East. And of course, the report is written in the context of what Turkey can do for the US in terms of Syria and Iran in particular. Pro-genocide Madeleine Albright chaired the “task force” that produced the report.

To help convince Turkey to “take the plunge” for NATO, the Council on Foreign Relations has recently published a reportattempting to flesh out an improved alliance between the US and Turkey – claiming the new relationship would trump the potential for US cooperation with any BRICS nation (except perhaps India). This patronizing political stunt attempts to fill Turkish leaders with delusions of grandeur, tempting them with “goodies” ahead of falling on their swords for Wall Street and London’s ambitions in Syria and Iran. Turkish leaders might reassess such grandiose claims and remember BRICS’ growth and benefits are based on solidarity and production, avoiding “alliances” with Wall Street, London, and their institutions, while conversely, Wall Street and London’s “benefits” are based on domination, exploitation, betrayal, and unsustainable pyramid schemes.

Syria’s fate rests on both Syria and its allies’ ability to produce a tactical reality on the ground that would make any foreign military incursion a disaster. It also depends on either Turkey’s wisdom or foolishness in considering the elementary ploy and poisoned “goodies” the West is dangling in front of it in exchange for complicity in dividing and destroying neighboring Syria.

The corporate-financiers centered around the capitals of the West have committed to a global war aimed at permanently destroying nation-states and replacing them with a homogeneous administrative system built out of Wall Street and London-funded NGOs, interlocking with the West’s contrived “international institutions.” It is in essence, a World War, currently being fought with 4th generation warfare to build a neo-imperial global government. With overt efforts to destabilize nations around the world, including Russia and China, the West’s hand is revealed and there is no turning back.

The only hope of stopping disaster if either the corporate-financiers succeed or fail (thus turning in and feeding on itself), is to recognize their source of power, and begin undermining it on a daily basis through both boycotting their goods and services, while simultaneously replacing their corporations and institutions with local, genuine alternatives. Syria may seem like an isolated conflict, but is in reality linked to us directly, regardless of where we live. Either we live in a nation that will be next, or a nation who will be further crushed under the hubris, power, and arrogance of an empowered Wall Street and London elite.

T. Cartalucci

AFTER ADMITTING UN PEACE PLAN WAS A PLOY, BROOKINGS PREDICTABLY SCRAPS IT AND BEGINS PROMOTING EXPANDED MILITARY CONFLICT.

y the US policy think-tank Brookings Institution’s own admission, the Kofi Annan six-point peace plan in Syriawas merely a ploy to buy time to reorganize NATO’s ineffective terrorist proxies and provide them the pretext necessary for establishing NATO protected safe havens from which to carry out their terrorism from. In fact, Brookings actually stated in a recent report, “Assessing Options for Regime Change” (emphasis added):

“An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.” –page 4, Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution.


Image: Also out of the Brookings Institution, Middle East Memo #21 “Assessing Options for Regime Change (.pdf),” makes no secret that the humanitarian “responsibility to protect” is but a pretext for long-planned regime change.

As if to alleviate any lingering doubts, NATO’s “Alliance News Blog” has confirmed that the US is committed not to “peace,” but rather to the overthrow of Syria’s government and is “already committed to helping [President Bashar al-Assad] fall,” but is “merely looking for the least violent, lowest cost way to get there.” The April 9, 2012 blog entry features an op-ed titled, “US ‘already committed to helping Assad fall’,” and fully admits that the US is equipping the so-called “Free Syrian Army” which has received weapons, leadership, and cash from the NATO-backed Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) terrorists led by notorious mass-murderer Abdul Hakim Belhaj.


Image: NATO’s official “Alliance News Blog proudly reports that the US is already committed to helping “Assad fall” and is simply using the lull in fighting brought on by Kofi Annan’s disingenuous “peace plan” to rearm, reorganize, and redeploy their terrorist proxy forces against Assad. The op-ed featured on NATO’s blog was featured in the LA Times and written byCFR member Doyle McManus

And now, the Brookings Institution itself has predictably declared the Annan “peace deal” a failure and states that the time to “stretch” Syria’s military to the breaking point through expanded foreign-backed unrest has come. In an article titled, “Annan’s Mission Impossible: Why is everyone pretending that the U.N. plan in Syria has a prayer of suceeding?” Brookings Doha Center director Salman Shaikh insults the intelligence of his readership while handing out useful talking points surely to be parroted by the corporate-media over the next few days and weeks. Shaikh depicts the ceasefire’s failure as solely the result of the Syrian government’s belligerence and brutality, while mentioning nothing of the Syrian opposition’s documented and even admitted atrocities.

 

Video: Michael Weiss of the Neo-Con “Henry Jackson Society,” openly admits that diplomatic options are being paraded publicly to satisfy public opinion, but ultimately NATO plans to unilaterally intervene militarily in Syria, and will do so with the UN’s purposefully sabotaged “humanitarian operation” as its pretext.

And while portraying the Syrian government as irrationally carrying out a campaign of brutality against the Syrian people, Shaikh admits that the “Free Syrian Army” is operating militarily out of Turkey and that the Syrian National Council (SNC) represents foreign harbored and influenced leadership. While Shaikh portrays Syria’s minorities as “on the sideline,” he declines from explaining why they have not joined the foreign-driven unrest. In reality, these groups have been the hardest hit by rebel atrocities, including Syria’s large Christian communities.


Image: Christians in Syria have been particularly hit hard by what is being described as “ethnic cleansing,” not by Syrian security forces, but by NATO-backed death squads under the banner of the “Free Syrian Army.” The LA Times has been quietly reporting on the tragedy of Syria’s minorities at the hands of the Syrian rebels for months – and indicates that wider genocide will take place, just as it is now in Libya, should Syria’s government collapse under foreign pressure.

Shaikh’s shoddy salesmanship also reveals another truth – when he claims that “opposition leaders inside and outside the country do not have the resources to unite their ranks alone.” Surely any opposition group that represented the vast majority of the Syrian people, as the UN and the corporate-media claim daily, would not have trouble finding the resources inside of Syria “alone.” In reality, the unrest in Syria is driven by a foreign-backed violent minority, carried out by a combination of violent Sunni-extremists from Syria and many foreign fighters brought in from abroad. Many of Syria’s real opposition find the “Free Syrian Army’s” collaboration with foreigners “unacceptable.”

NATO and its proxies’ efforts have failed primarily because the movement’s semi-covert foreign backing is still not enough to turn the tide, and more overt backing is needed, including foreign military intervention. Shaikh’s entire argument hinges on the creation of a “genuine grand opposition coalition ” that currently, admittedly, does not exist.

As the Brookings Institution prepares the next stage of its premeditated escalation against the sovereign nation-state of Syria, and continues framing the violence as one-sided, a torrent of reports even from the corporate-media itself confirms what many geopolitical analysts have been saying for over a year – that the “Free Syrian Army” is conducting a vicious campaign of terrorism leaving Syrian security forces no choice but to continue fighting on to restore order.

In fact, just today, Wednesday May 9, 2012, Syrian rebels attempted to attack a convoy consisting of Kofi Annan’s UN monitors. France inexplicably then blamed the Syrian government for not providing adequate security for the UN monitors, after a year of condemning the government for attempting to restore order in the face of the very growing militant violence the attacks resulted from. And in recent weeks, everything from Human Rights Watch reports, to open admissions from the rebels themselves confirm that they are committing widespread human rights abuses and turning toward indiscriminate bombing tactics. This indicates a threat Syria’s government would be remiss not to counter – and surely a threat the “international community” would be remiss to continue supporting, funding, and even arming.

Now a concerted effort will be made to sabotage the UN peace plan in every shape, form, and manner, especially through increased violence and particularly in cross-border incidents to help sell NATO-backed, Turkey-led incursions into Syria to carve out “safe havens.” From there a steady stream of weapons and fighters from around the world will be funneled in, in an attempt to, as Brookings Shaikh puts it, stretch Syria’s forces “to a breaking point.”


Image: The cover of the CFR’s flattering report on US-Turkey relations, full of empty promises to entice Turkish leaders into falling on their swords for Western ambitions across the Middle East. And of course, the report is written in the context of what Turkey can do for the US in terms of Syria and Iran in particular. Pro-genocide Madeleine Albright chaired the “task force” that produced the report.

To help convince Turkey to “take the plunge” for NATO, the Council on Foreign Relations has recently published a reportattempting to flesh out an improved alliance between the US and Turkey – claiming the new relationship would trump the potential for US cooperation with any BRICS nation (except perhaps India). This patronizing political stunt attempts to fill Turkish leaders with delusions of grandeur, tempting them with “goodies” ahead of falling on their swords for Wall Street and London’s ambitions in Syria and Iran. Turkish leaders might reassess such grandiose claims and remember BRICS’ growth and benefits are based on solidarity and production, avoiding “alliances” with Wall Street, London, and their institutions, while conversely, Wall Street and London’s “benefits” are based on domination, exploitation, betrayal, and unsustainable pyramid schemes.

Syria’s fate rests on both Syria and its allies’ ability to produce a tactical reality on the ground that would make any foreign military incursion a disaster. It also depends on either Turkey’s wisdom or foolishness in considering the elementary ploy and poisoned “goodies” the West is dangling in front of it in exchange for complicity in dividing and destroying neighboring Syria.

The corporate-financiers centered around the capitals of the West have committed to a global war aimed at permanently destroying nation-states and replacing them with a homogeneous administrative system built out of Wall Street and London-funded NGOs, interlocking with the West’s contrived “international institutions.” It is in essence, a World War, currently being fought with 4th generation warfare to build a neo-imperial global government. With overt efforts to destabilize nations around the world, including Russia and China, the West’s hand is revealed and there is no turning back.

The only hope of stopping disaster if either the corporate-financiers succeed or fail (thus turning in and feeding on itself), is to recognize their source of power, and begin undermining it on a daily basis through both boycotting their goods and services, while simultaneously replacing their corporations and institutions with local, genuine alternatives. Syria may seem like an isolated conflict, but is in reality linked to us directly, regardless of where we live. Either we live in a nation that will be next, or a nation who will be further crushed under the hubris, power, and arrogance of an empowered Wall Street and London elite.

T. Cartalucci

TURKEY PREPARED TO INVOKE ARTICLE 5 REQUESTING NATO INTERVENTION IN SYRIA

The possibility of invoking the right to military protection of Turkish borders against threats from Syria under Article 5 of the NATO charter is still on Turkey’s agenda, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson has said, Today’s Zaman reported.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Selcuk Unal said during a press briefing on Thursday that Turkey’s expectation from Syria is that it halts the violence as soon as possible to prevent further instability. Unal said: “However, we have many options on the table if this instability deepens. We have to determine these options in accordance with the developments we face. As you know, Article 5 of NATO is related to self-defense. So, this issue was mentioned in the past due to some incidents that occurred [along the Turkish border]. This is, of course, a matter which will remain on the agenda and it will still be assessed.”

Turkey first raised the issue of NATO protection of Turkish borders under Article 5 on April 10, following an incident along Turkey’s border with Syria. Speaking to reporters traveling with him during his official visit to China, Erdogan said Turkey may consider invoking the NATO charter’s fifth article to protect Turkish national security in the face of increasing tension along the Syrian border.

His comments came after four Syrians who fled to Turkey from the violence in Syria were killed by Syrian forces targeting refugees on the Turkish side of the border. Two Turkish nationals and two Syrians were injured during the incident at a refugee camp in Kilis province when Syrian forces fired across the border during clashes with opposition fighters, who had reportedly attempted to seize control of the border gate and then fled to Turkey.

Article 5, known as the collective defense clause, commits NATO states to defend a member state when it comes under attack. Whether or not NATO launches an intervention will be the sole decision of the treaty partners, who will assess the severity of the perceived threat.

Press TV

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara is ready to ask NATO for a military intervention in Syria, Press TV reports.

“I am ready to ask NATO for a military intervention in Syria,” Erdogan was quoted as saying on Monday.

The Turkish premier made the remarks in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, prior to his trip to Italy. He met with Slovenian President Danilo Turk in Ljubljana on Monday.

Erdogan also stated that the turmoil in Syria has to be brought to an end with the cooperation of international powers.

“We have been very patient with Syria issue so far,” he claimed.

The Monday remarks by the Turkish prime minister came as Syria held the first parliamentary elections under a new constitution approved by an overwhelming support of the people in a February referendum.

On May 6, Erdogan also expressed Turkey’s support for the Syrians seeking refuge in Turkey during a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep near the Syrian border.

Over the past few months, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar expressed support for providing weaponry to the armed groups fighting against the Syrian government.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claimed on March 3 that the “international community’s message might be conveyed to the Syrian administration via certain methods including the arming of the Syrian National Council (SNC).”

On April 8, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan had not “submitted written guarantees from the governments of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey on stopping their funding to terrorist groups.”

THE DEEPLY DISTORTED ‘SYRIA DEEPLY’

“Sites like Syria Deeply & Storyful need to be exposed for what they are –minions of an imperial mindset that act as the propaganda arm for the military industrial complex and profit on war & suffering. Any aid group that aligns with this is either deeply delusional or capitalising on obscene atrocities.”

 

SyriaDeeply2

SyriaDeeply1

April 11, 2013,

Lisa Inti, Wrong Kind of Green Critical Thinking Collective

Syria Deeply launched on March 12, 2012. It describes itself as “an independent digital media project led by journalists and technologists, exploring a new model of storytelling around a global crisis.” The word ‘independent’ appears to be a loose and vague term these days. Various members of the Syria Deeply team have been involved in ABC News, Bloomberg Television, the International Herald Tribune, the Business Insider, Monocle Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, ABC and PBS. Deborah Amos, the senior editorial advisor is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations.

ICG LOGOCFR LOGOHRW LOGO

Nadine Apelian Dobbs, the Senior Advisor for Strategy & Outreach for Syria Deeply was also “Assistant Director of Communications at the Council on Foreign Relations and then head of media relations for Foreign Affairs.” Her work has also included: “Chicago Ideas Week, an annual gathering of global thought leaders co-chaired by Groupon founders Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky; the 2012 NATO Summit, where she was a media consultant to The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a member of the city’s NATO Host Committee”.  At the bottom of the main page in the resources section, there are links to the International Crisis Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, Human Rights Watch and others. In short, Syria Deeply is an effort to centralise and promote media in line with US foreign policy. Lara Setrakian, the managing editor & co-founder says as much herself:

“Perhaps the greatest source of Setrakian’s passion for this project stems from her belief that technology can serve as a bridge between journalism and foreign policy: ‘The U.S. suffers for lack of foreign policy literacy–we need to make a quantum leap in how people understand the world and America’s role in it,’ … ‘Technology can help engineer that leap, as it helps us create a new wave of foreign news reporting and insight.’” [http://www.fastcompany.com/3003585/syria-deeply-outsmarts-news-redefines-conflict-coverage]

Just in case they hadn’t made their objective clear enough to readers already, there is another article that is actually titled: “How we’re merging global awareness, foreign policy and education.”  The article details how the organisation intends to expand into schools ‘to infuse U.S. classrooms with foreign policy’. As if children aren’t bombarded with enough propaganda through schooling and television! Clearly, empire is losing its battle for minds and feels it has to step up the efforts substantially. There’s something disturbingly Orwellian about this project with its doublespeak name ‘Teach deeply’.

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[http://beta.syriadeeply.org/op-eds/2013/03/were-merging-global-awareness-foreign-policy-education/#.UWP-vaJOTng]

One feature on Syria Deeply is called Syria Deeply Asks. This is rather like those joke debate panels where all the so-called ‘experts’ say more or less the same answer. Or more to the point, the answers certainly do not oppose US foreign policy. These ‘experts’ are from think-tanks such as the Brookings Institute or Chatham House. Take a look at this as an example: http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2013/03/syria-deeply-asks-best-case-scenario-syria/#.UWQKFqJOTng

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Here is another example question on Syria Deeply Asks: “Should Israel be more concerned about instability in Syria than it is about Iran’s nuclear program?” Does the propaganda implicit in this question need explaining??  Answers from a US state department official, an analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and director of the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affair. I kid you not: http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2013/04/syria-deeply-asks-israel-concerned-instability-syria-irans-nuclear-program/#.UWQRoqJOTng

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There appears to be an increased effort being made to concentrate media to propagandize. LandDestroyer notes another propaganda operation called Storyful: “Storyful is a niche propaganda organization which supplies the Western media monopolies with filtered, pre-packaged biased accounts of world events – including of the ongoing Syria crisis. It boasts that its content, trawled from across the Internet’s various social media platforms, is cited 10′s of thousands of times across the Western media.” (http://landdestroyer.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/storyful-niche-propagandists-work-full.html#more). It is therefore no surprise to find a link to Storyful at the bottom of Syria Deeply’s homepage.

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Be warned: there could be much more of this to come. The author at Fast Company enthusiastically notes: “More Deeply sites dedicated to Iran and Pakistan are already in the works–and Setrakian envisions more story-specific Deeply sites in the future, such as Drug War Deeply or Euro Debt Deeply.”

Setrakian herself is clearly interested in profitability: “Quality journalism is often information good enough to trade on; as you develop deep expertise in beats like Syria, Iran, China, or subject matter areas like oil markets, food security, and extreme weather, that expertise [can] be packaged into syndicated content, specialized premium products, B2B services, and executive education modules,” … pointing to her alma mater Bloomberg News as an example. “We [can] expand beyond the news business and serve the insight industry, which is booming.”

(http://www.fastcompany.com/3003585/syria-deeply-outsmarts-news-redefines-conflict-coverage)

This overt enthusiasm for ‘serving the insight industry’, providing information ‘good enough to trade on’ and infusing schools with US foreign policy is grotesque in the face of horrific realities. The US, its allies & proxies have actively funded, armed and trained groups in order to destabilise Syria and replace the Syrian government with one favourable to the US. This has led to the escalation of war & violence that has left tens of thousands of people dead and the country in a state of ongoing violence and suffering. Syria Deeply has shown itself to be a tool to merge media networks, education & US foreign policy. So what are we to think of the ‘aid’ organisations promoted on the site?  The logical conclusion is that they too are aligned with US foreign policy objectives.

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Cory Morningstar points out: “With each created crisis, comes the orchestrated opportunity for millions more dollars & branding for NGOs.” It is essentially engineered disaster capitalism. Sites like Syria Deeply & Storyful need to be exposed for what they are –minions of an imperial mindset that act as the propaganda arm for the military industrial complex and profit on war & suffering. Any aid group that aligns with this is either deeply delusional or capitalising on obscene atrocities.

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Reconciliation Aside, Israelis Still Staying Away from Turkey

Israeli tourists aren’t rushing back to Turkey’s famed “all inclusive” resorts; 83% of Israelis would not even consider the possibility.

Israel and Turkey may have buried the hatchet, but Israeli tourists aren’t rushing back to Turkey’s famed “all inclusive” resorts. A poll conducted on behalf of Globes daily business newspaper says that 83% of Israelis would not even consider the possibility of a vacation in Turkey this summer – and among those that would consider it, an extremely small percentage have actually reserved spots in Turkish hotels.

 Just a few years ago, the choice of summer vacation for many Israelis was the resort coastal area of Turkey, with resort hotels catering to all their needs for an extremely competitive price – with a full package of lodging, meals, and flight often coming out to less than an equivalent vacation in Eilat. That all ended in 2009, in thewake of Turkey’s criticism of Operation Cast Lead. By summer 2010, after the Mavi Maramara incident, in which 9 Turkish terrorist sympathizers were killed after they tried to murder IDF troops, almost no Israelis were traveling to Turkey, for any purpose – and the situation has remained more or less unchanged since then.

 After last month’s apology by Israel to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara incident, tourist agencies and organizers believed that Israelis would begin considering Turkey for their summer travel plans. But according to the poll published Thursday in Globes, Israelis who have changed their vacation habits are not rushing back to Turkey.

 In fact, even among the 17% of Israelis who said they would consider a Turkish vacation, there seemed to be little practical enthusiasm for the idea. Only 0.2% of Israelis in that group have actually reserved places in a Turkish resort for this summer. Travel industry officials said that it was possible that the percentage could rise, because many people did not make their summer vacation plans until May or June, but admitted that the “bump” from late vacation planners was unlikely to change that percentage significantly.

 Out of the 509 people in the representative sample polled, over 60% have vacationed in Turkey before.

Reconciliation Aside, Israelis Still Staying Away from Turkey

Israel and Turkey may have buried the hatchet, but Israeli tourists aren’t rushing back to Turkey’s famed “all inclusive” resorts. A poll conducted on behalf of Globes daily business newspaper says that 83% of Israelis would not even consider the possibility of a vacation in Turkey this summer – and among those that would consider it, an extremely small percentage have actually reserved spots in Turkish hotels.

 

Just a few years ago, the choice of summer vacation for many Israelis was the resort coastal area of Turkey, with resort hotels catering to all their needs for an extremely competitive price – with a full package of lodging, meals, and flight often coming out to less than an equivalent vacation in Eilat. That all ended in 2009, in thewake of Turkey’s criticism of Operation Cast Lead. By summer 2010, after the Mavi Maramara incident, in which 9 Turkish terrorist sympathizers were killed after they tried to murder IDF troops, almost no Israelis were traveling to Turkey, for any purpose – and the situation has remained more or less unchanged since then.

 After last month’s apology by Israel to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara incident, tourist agencies and organizers believed that Israelis would begin considering Turkey for their summer travel plans. But according to the poll published Thursday in Globes, Israelis who have changed their vacation habits are not rushing back to Turkey.

 

In fact, even among the 17% of Israelis who said they would consider a Turkish vacation, there seemed to be little practical enthusiasm for the idea. Only 0.2% of Israelis in that group have actually reserved places in a Turkish resort for this summer. Travel industry officials said that it was possible that the percentage could rise, because many people did not make their summer vacation plans until May or June, but admitted that the “bump” from late vacation planners was unlikely to change that percentage significantly.

 Out of the 509 people in the representative sample polled, over 60% have vacationed in Turkey before.