“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

All The Best


I want to thank everyone who participated in the Elephant Bar over the past twelve years. We had millions of visitors from all around the World and you were part of it. Over the past dozen years, two or three times a night, I would open my laptop and some of you were always there. I will miss that.

My plans are to continue my work with technology and architecture. You know my interests and thoughts.

At times, things would get a little rough in the EB. To those of you that I may have offended over the years, I apologize. From all of you, I learned and grew.

An elephant never forgets.
Be well.

Deuce, 21 June 2018

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Syrian rebels, US allies, one and all, execute 51 captured Syrian soldiers and civilians by shooting them in the back of the head. The US allies, vouched for by US Senator, John McCain can be heard screaming what McCain said is the new rebel yell, the Christian equivalent to “Thank God”. McCain is making the case to his new ally, Barack Obama, to provide these freedom loving rebels with big and better US arms, US naval support and US Air Force supplied air cover. God and John McCain really are great.

Brutality of Syrian Rebels Posing Dilemma in West

Syrian Rebels Execute 7 Soldiers: Graphic video footage of Syrian rebels shooting and burying government soldiers in April.

Published: September 5, 2013

The Syrian rebels posed casually, standing over their prisoners with firearms pointed down at the shirtless and terrified men.

The prisoners, seven in all, were captured Syrian soldiers. Five were trussed, their backs marked with red welts. They kept their faces pressed to the dirt as the rebels’ commander recited a bitter revolutionary verse.
“For fifty years, they are companions to corruption,” he said. “We swear to the Lord of the Throne, that this is our oath: We will take revenge.”
The moment the poem ended, the commander, known as “the Uncle,” fired a bullet into the back of the first prisoner’s head. His gunmen followed suit, promptly killing all the men at their feet.
This scene, documented in a video smuggled out of Syria a few days ago by a former rebel who grew disgusted by the killings, offers a dark insight into how many rebels have adopted some of the same brutal and ruthless tactics as the regime they are trying to overthrow.
As the United States debates whether to support the Obama administration’s proposal that Syrian forces should be attacked for using chemical weapons against civilians, this video, shot in April, joins a growing body of evidence of an increasingly criminal environment populated by gangs of highwaymen, kidnappers and killers.
The video also offers a reminder of the foreign policy puzzle the United States faces in finding rebel allies as some members of Congress, including Senator John McCain, press for more robust military support for the opposition.
In the more than two years this civil war has carried on, a large part of the Syrian opposition has formed a loose command structure that has found support from several Arab nations, and, to a more limited degree, the West. Other elements of the opposition have assumed an extremist cast, and openly allied with Al Qaeda.
Across much of Syria, where rebels with Western support live and fight, areas outside of government influence have evolved into a complex guerrilla and criminal landscape.
That has raised the prospect that American military action could inadvertently strengthen Islamic extremists and criminals.
Abdul Samad Issa, 37, the rebel commander leading his fighters through the executions of the captured soldiers, illustrates that very risk.
Known in northern Syria as “the Uncle” because two of his deputies are his nephews, Mr. Issa leads a relatively unknown group of fewer than 300 fighters, one of his former aides said. The former aide, who smuggled the video out of Syria, is not being identified for security reasons.
A trader and livestock herder before the war, Mr. Issa formed a fighting group early in the uprising by using his own money to buy weapons and underwrite the fighters’ expenses.
His motivation, his former aide said, was just as the poem he recited said: revenge.
In Washington on Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the issue of radicalized rebels in an exchange with Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican. Mr. Kerry insisted, “There is a real moderate opposition that exists.”
Mr. Kerry said that there were 70,000 to 100,000 “oppositionists.” Of these, he said, some 15 percent to 20 percent were “bad guys” or extremists.
Mr. McCaul responded by saying he had been told in briefings that half of the opposition fighters were extremists.
Much of the concern among American officials has focused on two groups that acknowledge ties to Al Qaeda. These groups — the Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — have attracted foreign jihadis, used terrorist tactics and vowed to create a society in Syria ruled by their severe interpretation of Islamic law.
They have established a firm presence in parts of Aleppo and Idlib Provinces and in the northern provincial capital of Raqqa and in Deir al-Zour, to the east on the Iraqi border.
While the jihadis claim to be superior fighters, and have collaborated with secular Syrian rebels, some analysts and diplomats also note that they can appear less focused on toppling President Bashar al-Assad. Instead, they said, they focus more on establishing a zone of influence spanning Iraq’s Anbar Province and the desert eastern areas of Syria, and eventually establishing an Islamic territory under their administration.
Other areas are under more secular control, including the suburbs of Damascus. In East Ghouta, for example, the suburbs east of the capital where the chemical attack took place, jihadis are not dominant, according to people who live and work there.
And while the United States has said it seeks policies that would strengthen secular rebels and isolate extremists, the dynamic on the ground, as seen in the execution video from Idlib and in a spate of other documented crimes, is more complicated than a contest between secular and religious groups.
Mr. Issa’s father was opposed to President Hafez al-Assad, the father of Syria’s current president. He disappeared in 1982, according to Mr. Issa’s accounts.
Mr. Issa, the aide said, believes his father was killed during a 27-day government crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood that year, known as the Hama massacre.
By the time he was a young man, Mr. Issa was vocally antigovernment and was arrested and imprisoned twice for a total of nine months, the aide said.
When the uprising against Bashar al-Assad started two and a half years ago, the family saw it as a means to try to settle old scores.
At first, people who know Mr. Issa said, he was a protester, and then he led fighters in small skirmishes. By last year he was running a training camp in the highlands near Turkey.
By this year, the aide said, he was gathering weapons from relatives and Arab businessmen he knew from his work as a trader and, at least once, from the Western-supported Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, the rebel forces.
(Two representatives of the military council declined to comment on the council’s military collaboration or logistical support for Mr. Issa’s group. Mr. Issa could not be reached for comment over two days this week.)
By the spring, his group had taken a resonant name: Jund al-Sham, which it shares with three international terrorist groups, and another group in Syria.
Its relationship — if any — with these other groups is not clear.
Mr. Issa’s former aide and two other men who have met or investigated him said he appears to assume identities of convenience.
But, they said, one of his tactics has been to promise to his fighters what he calls “the extermination” of Alawites — the minority Islamic sect to which the Assad family belongs, and which Mr. Issa blames for Syria’s suffering.
This sentiment may have driven Mr. Issa’s decision to execute his prisoners in the video, his former aide said. The soldiers had been captured when Mr. Issa’s fighters overran a government checkpoint north of Idlib in March.
Their cellphones, the former aide said, had videos of soldiers raping Syrian civilians and looting.
Mr. Issa declared them all criminals, he said, and a revolutionary trial was held. They were found guilty.
Mr. Issa, the former aide said, then arranged for their execution to be videotaped in April so he could show his work against Mr. Assad and his military to donors, and seek more financing.
The video ends abruptly after his fighters dump the soldiers’ broken bodies into a well.
One of the participants, a young man wearing a purple fleece jacket, looks into the camera and smiles.

Karam Shoumali contributed reporting from Antakya, Turkey; Anne Barnard from Beirut, Lebanon; and Michael R. Gordon from Washington.



  1. As I have said all along.

    Islamic Nazis on one side, Nazis that are moslems on the other.

    1. Enjoy your holiday with your family and friends. Peace.

  2. The "who" should fix syria?

    Not the USA, not Israel.

    It's an inter-arab problem.

    The only outside issue? Liberation of Kurdish lands.

  3. But to be honest?

    Syria should be further split up into sectarian city states.

    1. That is for Syria to decide.

    2. WiO has it right.

      From one of Deuce's Certified Jewish Neo-Cons - Horowitz at Front Page Magazine -- (notice pride of place given the first essay)

      No to War in Syria
      By Robert Spencer
      The crowning misjudgment of a presidency that has been alarmingly full of them.
      Read More » | Comments

      share on Twitter Like No to War in Syria on Facebook

      Will Congress Authorize?
      By Arnold Ahlert
      Why approval for a strike on Syria is far from certain.
      Read More » | Comments

      share on Twitter Like Will Congress Authorize? on Facebook

      Al-Qaeda Vows to Slaughter Christians After U.S. ‘Liberates’ Syria
      By Raymond Ibrahim
      The U.S.-assisted genocide that awaits.
      Read More » | Comments

      share on Twitter Like Al-Qaeda Vows to Slaughter Christians After U.S. ‘Liberates’ Syria on Facebook

      Obama’s Shout-Out To Muslim Brotherhood Entity
      By Ryan Mauro
      Sends affectionate video to the Islamic Society of North America.
      Read More » | Comments

      share on Twitter Like Obama’s Shout-Out To Muslim Brotherhood Entity on Facebook

      Europe’s Would-Be Masters
      By Bruce Bawer
      The EU prophets aren't giving up.
      Read More » | Comments

      share on Twitter Like Europe’s Would-Be Masters on Facebook

      Obama on Syria vs. Obama on Iraq
      By Larry Elder
      The hypocrisy of a president exposed.
      Read More » | Comments

      share on Twitter Like Obama on Syria vs. Obama on Iraq on Facebook

      The Left’s Heart of Darkness — on The Glazov Gang
      By Frontpagemag.com
      Why progressives turn their backs on the persecuted peoples under totalitarian regimes.
      Read More » | Comments

    3. WHY should it be for Syria to decide?

      It is in our best interests, Israel's best interests, the world's best interests.

      They very obviously are showing they can't along, right?

      Why should people who want to kill one another to the last man woman child be allowed to decide anything?

      Have you no humanity?

    4. Anonymous, Defender of Empire!
      Advocate of the White Man's Burden

      Advocate for Responsibility to Protect!

      My oh my, Anonymous, he is the real Obama slappy!
      He is the New World Order advocate.

      We are the World?
      Responsible to be our brother's keeper?

      Show it to me in the Constitution, anoni, chapter and verse if you please.
      Because I cannot find where the Federal government was so empowered.

    5. Or is it that now, anoni, you have also come to embrace the concept of a "Living Constitution" one that "grows" through time?

      A Constitution that is effected by changing social standards, not by something so mundane as Amendments.

      You are in favor of an ever expansive US role in the world, 900 military bases and counting, just not enough.

      Anonymous wants the US to rule the world!
      Just don't call it an Empire.

    6. .

      Bobbo, tracks many of the dicks in OZ. Gosh, 'We got to do something, anything, people are dying, turned into refugees.'

      His is merely a simplistic mindset that ignores the unpleasant obvious. Draw some lines on a map, divide Syria into three, easy peasy. Left out of the equation is who draws the map? Who has the right under international law to go into a country and divide it up? Who in Syria would agree to it? What happens to the Christians and Shia and Kurds in the Sunni held country? How many die? How many are displaced? What happens to the Sunnis in the other two countries? Is the country divided mainly on geographic lines or by resources? That is one of the big problems in Iraq, who gets the oil?

      Net result? You end the civil war. Many more thousands die or are turned into refugees. There would also likely be a distribution of chemical weapons. You would have three countries fighting each other rather than turmoil in one.


      The Us could just go in again to stop the fighting.

      Easy peasy.


  4. The New York Times tells us that we in the West have a dilemma about supporting the rebels. I have not met many that share their dilemma. I and most of us here seem to be rather “dilemma free”. McCain and the our rulers and masters in DC, all the usual suspects and the war party, are also dilemma free. We oppose, they dispose.

  5. Hold the line muthrfuckers, we can beat these bastards.

  6. Stockholm: President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that the confrontation with Syria over chemical weapons was not a personal test for him but for Congress, the country and the world as he worked to strengthen support at home and abroad for a punitive strike.

    Opening a three-day trip overseas at a delicate moment for his presidency, Obama challenged lawmakers and allies to stand behind his plans for a cruise missile attack on the government of President Bashar Assad in retaliation for what the Obama administration has concluded was a chemical attack that killed 1,400 in the Damascus suburbs last month.

    "I didn't set a red line," Obama said during a news conference in Stockholm. "The world set a red line."

    He added, "My credibility's not on the line. The international community's credibility's on the line. And America and Congress' credibility's on the line."

    Obama laid blame for the Aug. 21 attack directly on Assad, whose government is known to have enormous stockpiles of banned chemical munitions including sarin gas, a nerve agent that US intelligence has said was deployed in a rebel-held part of the Damascus suburbs.

    US intelligence has not disclosed any evidence that Assad ordered the use of sarin, but the White House has said he remains responsible as the leader of the country and its military. Obama's language Wednesday appeared to go a little further in singling out Assad.

    "We believe very strongly with high confidence that in fact chemical weapons were used and that Mr. Assad was the source," the president said.

    1. It's a Slam Dunk, really, it is.
      General Clapper said he heard he radio transmissions ...

      What's not to believe?

    2. I am sick and tired of people crapping on Clapper, here.

    3. .

      Hey, if the Big O says he believes it 'strongly' and with 'high confidence' what can you say?

      Slam dunk.

      However, when he says "I didn't do nuttin", I still find it easier to believe.


  7. We have anoni, the once and former boobie, supporting Obama and the War Party.
    Marching shoulder to shoulder with him, right down Pennsylvania Avenue.
    All around him are his leaders, his rulers and masters, Rubio, Boehner, McCain, he follows them, while they follow the Maximous Leader known across the land as Barack Hussein Obama.

    Look at anoni's face, it radiates with pride and satisfaction, he thinks they appreciate his efforts to justify the killing of more Syrians, in the cause of stopping the killing of Syrians. When, in all reality, he is just another of the useful idiots they use up and then discard when empty.

    1. You have boobie all wrong. He is for dividing Syria up into parts in the most humane way possible, at a peace table. Lacking that let them divide it up themselves. They are starting out well.

    2. The United States should not intervene in such a manner that one side wins, and one side loses.

      The United States should intervene if one side is about to lose, to shore up that side, so that a stalemate continues.

      And eventually a partition of the country through peace talks or de facto.

      Oddly enough, by degrading Assad's air force the USA may help to accomplish this high and noble goal, as Assad has been making serious gains of late.

      Guiding star: Do that which weakens Islam as a whole, or an Islamic country.

      Alas, instead we have a sunni President born from his mother gibberish.

    3. We have a Jewish President, sprung from the loins of a woman that had a case of Jungle Fever.
      But Jewish, none the less.

      It's the blood that counts.
      Not the religious ideology or sectarian beliefs that matter.

      It's in the blood.

    4. That Sunni and Jew have united, to attack Pagans and Christians in Syria ...

      Just another day in the cauldron that is Middle East.

  8. What red line? Obama and the others have created a red line for the killers. It is a red line that demarcates the boundary preventing rebel defeat.

    The rebels are holding time and hope for the day when Obama comes to their rescue. That hope alone is worth at least another 100,000 dead. But then Obama is all about “Hope”.

    1. It is about domestic politics.
      Fracturing the Republicans, especially in the House over whether they vote to strike or vote to stand down.

      Either way it goes, Obama wins.
      If they vote to strike Syria, the US loses, but Obama wins.
      If they vote to stand down, the US loses, but Obama wins.

      If it was not a "Plan" it certainly was a masterful "blunder", on the domestic political front.

      On the foreign front, Obama has settled the US right between the Israeli and the Saudi.
      Just like the old days, when Charlie Wilson blazed the trail of Israeli, Saudi and Egyptian cooperation in illicit weapons sales and smuggling.

      There is no definition of success, for the US, in Syria.

    2. As for Hope, Obama campaigned on it, Clinton was born there.

      Hope is an amazing place.

    3. As for Hope, Obama campaigned on it, Clinton was born there.

      Hope is an amazing place.

      Gee that's really cute.

    4. Glad you can appreciate it.

      It is part of our total entertainment package.

  9. More Lax Crapper drivel.

    All about domestic politics.

    Heh, who can take this shit seriously?

    No one.

    It's gibberish.

    "There is no definition of success, for the US, in Syria."

    A Syria that is divided into three or four parts and is unable to cause anyone further trouble for a long long time.

    General Lax Crapper has no vision.

    Thinks the whole thing is about domestic politics.

    (he must have read that in Lester Crown's mind or something)

    Lax Crapper is an idiot.

    *****Thanks to 'bob' for first using the term 'Crapper' for rat boy.

    I've read enough of Lax Crapper's crap for today.

    g'nite Ladies, g'nite Gentlemen, nite Crapper

    1. There you go, anoni, your life, your focus, it has become the desert rat.

      Think about that with the remnant of your brain hat still functions.
      Welcome to a new day!
      You are wasting away, ain't it grand?

      Frustration and Petulance, the two forces driving you forward, following your Maximous Leader, Barack Hussein Obama down Pennsylvania Avenue.

      Now that I have pushed you into supporting the abortion of healthy babies, on demand let us further review. It is quite a stunning change from where you stood in 2008 and prior. Quite a long way from your sister's life work. All to escape the charge of racism, of which you are guilty regardless.

      I have pushed you to marching in support of Barack Obama. That, amigo, is even more gratifying.
      To challenge me, you have to embrace Obama and McCain.

      As I have said, the Syria "Crisis" was manufactured, in DC, by the White House to fracture the GOP base in the upcoming 2014 mid-term elections. We can see examples of that, right here on the blog.
      Doug is calling for gruesome primary battles, to eject the GOP leadership in the House.
      Anonymous, the once proud but now lost and forlorn boobie, he is marching in lockstep with Barack Obama and John McCain, denying that that there is any possibility that Obama and McCain could be wrong about Syria, WMDs and Islam, and telling us that the NSA would NEVER provide a falsified work product. That General Clapper is a man of sound judgement and veracity. That a Slam Dunk is guaranteed!

      You are the United States writ small, anoni.
      Disoriented and confused.
      A Christian that has rejected Christ.
      A democrat that rejects the outcomes of free and fair elections.

      A child that just wants to take a nap.

  10. Fantastic. Drudge is screaming about the brutality of our guys, the John McCain endorsed new ally, al Qaeda in Syria.

  11. Who would not want Abbadabba to be the new face of al Qaeda in Washington?

  12. Allahu Oinkbar! At least Rubio didn't stand for this shit.

  13. Well here is a real turd in the punch bowl:

    Rebels have attacked a Christian village in the war torn country of Syria, beheading priests and brutally killing others. Not surprisingly, the rebels have ties to al Qaeda.

    The rebels launched the assault on the ancient Christian village of Maaloula _ which is on a UNESCO list of tentative world heritage sites _ on Wednesday after an al-Nusra fighter blew himself up at a regime checkpoint at the entrance to the mountain village. The village, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Damascus, is home to about 2,000 residents, some of whom still speak a version of Aramaic, the ancient language of biblical times believed to have been spoken by Jesus.

    Heavy clashes between President Bashar Assad's troops and Nusra Front fighters persisted in surrounding mountains Thursday, according to the Observatory, which collects information from a network of anti-regime activists.

    Speaking by phone from a convent in the village, a nun told The Associated Press that the rebels left a mountaintop hotel Thursday after capturing it a day earlier. The nun said the frightened residents expect the Islamic militants to return to the Safir hotel and resume shelling of the community below.

    "It's their home now," the nun said. She spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
    Al Qaeda led rebel force groups have also reportedly vowed to continue their attacks on Christians as soon as the United States "liberates" the country from it's President Bashir al-Assad.

    Yesterday Republican Senator John McCain inserted an amendment into a resolution approving military force in Syria with a goal of shifting the power on the battle field from the Assad regime and to rebel forces.

    OORAH - US foreign policy know-how -We are Number One

    1. Those were not Christians in that village, Deuce, they were NAZIs.
      quot has told us that, repeatedly.

      You remember quot, he is the feller that wants to partition Syria, but not Palestine, in the name of sectarian peacemaking.

      The hypocrisy is palpable.

    2. WIO, it is evident that he's read Chapter 4 of our AIPAC handbook.
      Took that chapter to his heart.

  14. I added the video of the Syrian Catholic Priest being beheaded by our guys, al Qaeda: You will notice the John Abbadabba McCain Christian equivalent chant going on in the background. “Thank god” for John McCain.

    And with all due respect, let’s genuflect and thank John for his service. Avert your eyes, he is a veteran you know.

    1. As well as the Standard Bearer of the Republican Party.
      He deserves our thanks, for the service he provided in both roles.

      Now it is easy to see just what the Republican leadership is.
      What they stand for, who they stand with.
      All in Real Time!

    2. I don't really have anything against Budweiser Distributors.

    3. That is John's wife, doug, Miss Cindy.
      John has nothing to do with that business, but spend the money it earns.

      The level of corruption that was revealed, just by the State granting her father the liquor license to operate, was remarkable. Convicted felons were forbidden by State law from obtaining such a franchise. In the Jim Hensley case though, the law was ignored.

  15. When Dyana Nyad climbed out of the water at Key West,
    did her Cooter smell like fish?

  16. ...with a face like that,
    would you care?

  17. We can see where Mr Obama has been reading the AIPAC handbook, Chapter 4.

    When all else fails compare the adversary to Hitler.

    “Bashar al-Assad now joins the list of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein who have used these weapons in time of war,” Kerry told NBC’s “Face the Nation.” Kerry called the attack an “affront against the decency and sensibilities of the world.”


  18. John “the marksman” Kerry on our allies:

    (Reuters) - Secretary of State John Kerry's public assertions that moderate Syrian opposition groups are growing in influence appear to be at odds with estimates by U.S. and European intelligence sources and nongovernmental experts, who say Islamic extremists remain by far the fiercest and best-organized rebel elements.

  19. Meanwhile, the calm voice of reason against a senseless war in Syria has been thrown under the bus.

    Ron Paul was branded a “conspiracy theorist” by Salon for suggesting that the Syrian chemical attack was a false flag operation designed to get America into another Middle East war.

    Paul pointed to the false intelligence that led to the Iraq War to back up his statement.


    “Just look at how many lies were told us about Saddam Hussein prior to that (Iraq War) build up. More propaganda. It happens all the time,” Paul said. “I think it’s a false flag.”

    Paul then forwarded the single most important question regarding Syria that has been completely ignored by the US mainstream media: “Why are we on the side of the Al Qaeda?”

    Anoni says it is because Obama has determined that al-Qaeda is not a threat, is in fact an ally. All in accordance with the 14SEP2001 AUMF.

    The President can determine who the threat is and act accordingly. al-Qaeda is no longer a threat to US interests in Syria.
    Anonymous and quot both seem to agree with the President and his 2008 electoral foe, John McCain in that regard.

  20. Jay Mohr runs into James Caan in Las Vegas:

    "Why do you walk like that?"


    "I was a professional Bullfighter for eight years."


    "But didn't you ride on top?"


    "Fuck You!"

    ...FUCK YOU!

  21. "RIDER"

    ...so sad to mess that one up.


  22. The Hensley fortune, in fact, is a regional offshoot of the big time bootlegging and rackets empire of the Bronfman dynasty of Canada, founded by Sam Bronfman, an early partner of Meyer Lansky, longtime "chairman of the board" of the international crime syndicate.

    McCain's father-in-law got his start as a top henchman of one Kemper Marley who, for some forty years until his death in 1990 at age 84, was the undisputed behind-the-scenes political boss of Arizona. But Marley was much more: he was also the protege of Lansky's longtime lieutenant, Phoenix gambler Gus Greenbaum.

    In 1941 Greenbaum had set up the Transamerica Publishing and News Ser vice, which operated a national wire service for bookmakers. In 1946 Green baum turned over the day-to-day operations to Marley while Greenbaum focused on building up Lansky-run casinos in Las Vegas, commuting there from his home in Phoe nix. Greenbaum, in fact, was so integral to the Lansky empire that he was the one who took command of Lansky's Las Vegas interests in 1947 after Lansky ordered the execution of his own longtime friend, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, for skimming profits from the new Flamingo Casino.

    Greenbaum and his wife were murdered in a mob "hit" in 1948, their throats cut. The murder set off a series of gangland wars in Phoenix, but Marley survived and prospered

    1. During this time Marley was building up a liquor distribution monopoly in Arizona. The truth is that it was the Bronfman family that set Marley up in business. However, in 1948, some 52 of Marley's employees (including Jim Hensley) went to jail on federal liquor violations -- but not Marley.

      The story in Arizona is that Hensley took the fall for Marley. Upon Hensley's release from prison, Marley paid Hensley back by setting him up in the beer business. That company today, said to be worth $200 million, financed McCain's career. And without Marley's political support McCain could have never even gotten elected dogcatcher.

      But there's more. McCain's father-in-law had also dabbled in the dog racing business and he expanded his family fortune further by selling his dog racing track to an individual connected to the the Buffalo-based Jacobs family.

      The Jacobs were the leading distributors for Bronfman liquor into the United States during Prohibition into the hands of local gangs that were part of the Lansky syndicate. Expanding over the years, the family's enterprises were once described as being "probably the biggest quasi-legitimate cover for organized crime's money-laundering in the United States."

      While John McCain himself can not be held personally responsible for the sins of his father-in-law, the fact is that this "reformer" owes his political and financial fortunes to the good graces of the biggest names in organized crime.

    2. John should wear a "BATF" windbreaker.
      ...and the MSM would beg him for stories about his biggest busts.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. By my standards, graduating from liquor to genuine legal Beer more than meets the test.

  24. General rat Lax Crapper is certainly hard at work this morning, spinning his drug addled web of non sense, misquoting, redefining, making things up - sharing his 'insights' - heh - making a fool of himself as usual.

    1. Chapter and Verse, anoni, chapter and verse.

      Or doesn't your Maximous Leader go for stuff like that?
      Broad claims, unsubstantiated claims, that is the stuff that your accusations are made of.

      Who are you, really?

      Do you even know any more?

      You are blowing in the wind, embracing your Maximous Leader, and calling it good.

  25. The first round at the summit went to Putin as China, the European Union and Pope Francis - in a letter for G20 leaders - aligned themselves more closely with him than with Obama over the possibility and legitimacy of armed intervention.

    "Military action would have a negative impact on the global economy, especially on the oil price - it will cause a hike in the oil price," Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao told a briefing.

    The Pope urged the leaders to "lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution". He has also invited the 1.2 billion Roman Catholics and people of other faiths to join him in a day of prayer and fasting on Saturday to end the civil war.

    European Union leaders, usually strong allies of the United States, described the August 21 attack near Damascus, which killed an estimated 1,400 people, as "abhorrent" but added: "There is no military solution to the Syrian conflict."

    Putin, Assad's most important ally, was isolated on Syria at a Group of Eight meeting in June, the last big meeting of world powers. He could now turn the tables on Obama, who recently likened him to a "bored kid in the back of the classroom."

    Only France, which is preparing to join U.S. military action, rallied behind Obama.

    "We are convinced that if there is no punishment for Mr. Assad, there will be no negotiation," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said before leaving for St. Petersburg.


    1. .

      I find it interesting that the Master of Ennui, Mr. Dithers would refer to Putin as a 'bored kid in the back of the classroom'.


      Well, it doesn't matter, by the time the G-20 is over just like a real life Nathan Thurm, the Big O will be telling the world "I didn't say that. You took my words out of context".


  26. Here's the general sequence of events -



    Just checked in. My Lord rat is running bull shit today.

    Just call it 'the running of the bull shit'.

    1. Thankfully, I'm thick with thins to do today.

      out for awhile

  27. .

    Late last night, I left a post on the previous screen.

    Kerry has indicated exactly 1429 people were killed in the Syrian attack. Doctors without borders have indicated the number is 355. I've heard no one contradict Kerry.

    Has anyone seen it reported as to where he got his 1429 number?


    1. That would have come from General Clapper, Q.


      But where does that number come from–and why is substantially higher than other estimates? As the AP (8/31/13) reported:

      But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an organization that monitors casualties in the country, said it has confirmed 502 deaths, nearly 1,000 fewer than the American intelligence assessment claimed.

      Rami Abdel-Rahman, the head of the organization, said he was not contacted by U.S. officials about his efforts to collect information about the death toll.

      "America works only with one part of the opposition that is deep in propaganda," he said, and urged the Obama administration to release the information its estimate is based on.

      And Hannah Allam and Mark Seibel of the McClatchy news service (9/2/13) noted that substantially lower death tolls were released by Britain (more than 350) and France (281).

      Much of the case the U.S. is making against Syria is based on intelligence that the government is so far unwilling to make public (Washington Post, 9/2/13)–and some of what is available is not terribly convincing

    2. “Our intelligence community has carefully reviewed and re-reviewed information regarding this attack and I will tell you it is more than mindful of the Iraq experience,” Kerry added. “We will not repeat that moment.”

      Read more: http://q13fox.com/2013/08/30/kerry-syria-gas-attack-killed-1429/#ixzz2e2DMIQjr

    3. Yep, it came from General Clapper.


    4. Actually, the article I posted yesterday made direct reference to it:

      "And U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says, with absurd precision, that 1,429 people died, including 426 children, a number apparently plucked from an unreliable Syrian source called the Local Co-ordination Committees."

    5. That may be true, ash, but ...

      Mr Kerry is explicit, his intel comes from ...
      Our intelligence community
      Which ...
      has carefully reviewed and re-reviewed information regarding this attack

      Mr Kerry did not call "Local Co-ordination Committees" and get the number. Nor did they call Mr Kerry on his private line.

      Mr Kerry got the data set from General Clapper, who received it using means and methods that are classified.


    6. I looked at many different sources and it is obvious the Kerry number is a BS number, The number is between 300 and 400, less than the number of woman and children killed in the Bagdad civil defense shelter by two humane US JDAMs.

  28. .

    It's a much more convincing argument when you can say thousands were killed rather than saying hundreds were killed.


  29. This turkey will never survive its brief sojourn into the House of Representatives.

    1. Democrats, as well as Republicans, are appearing on tv citing mail that's running 90+ to 1, Against.

      Not 90 - 10

      90 - 1

    2. How do think it will fare in the Senate?

      Either the version McCain disapproves of, or a heartier mandate for the President to wield.

    3. dunno.

      Probably squeak by, I guess.

  30. .

    It is hard to see how any congressman, even the hawks, could justify approving the presidents proposal before

    1. The evidence that has been cited is explained in detail and the chain of custody as well as the non-edited, full context of any communications captured is made clear.

    2. Exactly what US national security interests would be furthered rather than degraded by the proposed actions.

    3. What is the US' specific strategy with regard to Syria? And how do we achieve it? How do we know if the strategy changes if it is never articulated in the first place?

    4. Is the nature of chem weapons such that it requires a response even if that response results in the death of hundreds or thousands more who while not gassed die or are maimed by our attack anyway?

    Kerry, Hagel, and Dempsey were unable or just didn't try to answer these questions during the hearings. I suspect it was because they didn't know, weren't told, didn't really give a shit, or as loyal soldiers were just doing their job.

    IMO, there is no way to justify a yes vote but there are numerous ways to rationalize it.


    1. 1. Is never going to happen. It would hamper our ongoing intelligence gathering, revealing sources and methods, don't you know.

      2. These will be provided in macro terms. Global security, world leadership, advancing civilization, defeating the next Hitler.

      3. Specifically we will bomb Assad to the negotiating table, just as the French surrender monkey said. We achieve it through cruise missiles, drones and possibly strike aircraft.

      4. The Administration would say ... casualties are not projected be that high ... but, yes. The enhanced global risk to US interests that would occur if the hegemony allowed the use of chemical weapons without "vigorous" response is just to great to allow.

    2. .

      As you know, mr. rat, pure bunkum.

      But, if they lie well and often enough, even if they fail to convince most perhaps they will be able to convince themselves.


  31. Putin has lashed out at the West for considering such airstrikes and most recently called Secretary of State John Kerry a liar over the matter. Putin has demanded proof that the gas attack is the work of Assad's military and not rebels, and claims that the rebellion of Sunni Muslims against Assad is a terrorist insurgency to be crushed.

    The Syrian rebels' "main combat unit is the so-called Al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda unit," Putin said Wednesday. They (the U.S.) are aware of that. … He (Kerry) lied. And he knows that he lied. This is sad."

    Even China, which opposes air strikes on Syria as well, won't go as far as to defend Assad's unprecedented brutality against the rebellion.


  32. Syria crisis: Barack Obama faces growing opposition to airstrikes as he arrives for G20

    President Barack Obama is facing growing international opposition to military intervention in Syria as China, the European Union and the Pope all warned against attacks on the Assad regime.


    1. After the House of Commons last week voted against British involvement in any strikes, Francois Hollande of France is the last world leader still willing and able to support US action with military force.

      Mr Hollande insisted that it was necessary to "punish" the Assad regime over the chemical incident, since only such punishment will cause Damascus to agree a peaceful outcome to the civil war.

      "Punishment will allow negotiation, but obviously it will be difficult," Mr Hollande said.

    2. .

      I though I heard that Holland will now be taking the question to their parliament now that O has kicked it to Congress.


    3. The French debated the policy, yesterday, but held no vote.

      Not sure as to Hollande's intentions now.

      The Telegraph piece is current, 6:50PM BST 05 Sep 2013

  33. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday the use of chemical weapons demanded an urgent answer from the international community but said a response from one member nation would likely be restricted to "a short, targeted, tailored military operation. And for that you don't need the NATO command and control system."

    NATO has already said it would remain a strong defender of Turkey in case the member state was attacked as part of the Syria crisis, and a forum for allies to consult about action.

    Fogh Rasmussen has already said that NATO has no plans to intervene in Syria, which would require the approval of its 28 members.

  34. .

    Rep. Justin Amash is part of the libertarian wing of the GOP and a Tea Party favorite. In December, Boehner and his boys stripped Amash from his Budget Committee assignment for not supporting the leadership on various votes. Three other congressmen were stripped of assignments for the same reason.

    Amash, who proposed the Amash amendment regarding NSA spying, has indicated he might run for the Senate seat of the retiring Carl Levin next year.

    I am moving more and more towards the Tea Party's views on many issues, and while I will need to spend some time seeing where he stands on all the issues, I may just vote for him if he runs. I don't care for Peters, the Dem who will be running, as he is basically just a rubber stamp for the Big O.

    Before the redistricting caused by the last census, Peters was my rep. Now, it's Mike Rogers so I'm right in the middle of it.

    Things are getting interesting again.


    1. I thought ALL of them were dicks? Apparently not in your view.

    2. .

      Had you read it carefully, Ash, you would note that two of the three mentioned are dicks, but knowing little of Amash and his record, I am willing to invest the time needed to investigate both before making a judgment.

      I have merely based my long standing opinion on history and the performance or the residents of OZ. I have even admitted that on any particular issue one or more might actually get it right though in toto they always seem to revert to their dickdom.

      Like Diogenes, I constantly carry my lamp searching for that one honest man. Unfortunately, the fields of OZ have not proven very fruitful.


    3. heh heh, at least there is always hope!

  35. .

    Well, it's almost crunch time for Obamacare and we will soon see how it affects us. And, I am worried.

    On August 1, my insurance sent out new cards with new codes reflecting the move to Obamacare. Concurrent, with that change I received a bill that more than doubled my insurance payments. The company reversed the billing almost immediately and apologized for the error; however, the timing has me worried that the 'error' wasn't just coincidental with the switchover.

    Should be receiving the new rates for 2014 in the next few weeks. We shall see.

    The Big O has said that most people will see no changes under Obamacare. Probably true, he has offered waivers and inducements to big business, small business, selected friends and contributors, Congress, unions, etc. That doesn't leave much left to pick up the tab but the little guy. We knew there was going to be a massive wealth transfer under Obamacare anyway. The Big O told us so. However, I expected it would mostly be from the young to the elderly and the poor. Maybe not.


  36. Judge Napolitano was just on Fox ticking off the four scenarios under which Obama might bomb Syria.

    All perfectly unobtainable (UN resolution) or perfectly illegal, says he.

    Who knows though, O'blunder might inadvertently get it right if he slows Assad down some and the stalemate sticks and Syria finally splits.

    1. He is as worth listening to as Lax Crapper is not worth listening to.

      Difference between a Count and a crazy ass, that is to say.

  37. Obama's 'I didn't set no stinkin' red line' assertion leads to near universal incredulity
    September 5, 2013

    A laughingstock.

    from AT

    Article didn't come up or I'd bless you all with it.

    A laughing stock, just like Lax Crapper.

    What a sad fate.

    1. Poor anoni, still focusing his live on a fictional character.

      Even with all that education he can't tell the difference 'tween fiction and reality.

      But there he is thinkin' about that desert rat, most all the time.
      How he's gonna get 'em!

      A little like Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny, now that I've reflected for a moment.

      The Farmer and the Varmint, those boys at Looney Tunes had it about right.


    2. Hell, now that boobie has sidled on over and entered the Legion of Legendary Postmortem Posters he'll just have to be replaced.

      Yep, his role may well be picked up by Elmer, the legendary farming Fudd.

      I'll have to run that by the editorial committee.

  38. .

    What are we to judge from Kerry's "high confidence.

    From the WaPo.

    In the hearing, after Kerry his remarks on "high confidence", he said that just today he had received an e-mail that was sent to him about a 'general, the minister of defense, a former minister or assistant minister, I forget which, that has now defected and is Turkey'. he pointed out there were many defections as a result of the US action.

    A few minutes later, no doubt the result of another 'e-mail to me' Kerry revised his statement slightly. It didn't come from an e-mail to him but rather from a Reuters story citing an opposition group, a story Reuters is now reporting the Syrian government denies the defection has taken place.

    Kerry followed up with "So who knows whether it has or it hasn't?"

    Who knows?

    Clueless in Oz, the courage of the Lion and the brain of the Scarecrow.


    1. That news came over the internet, Q, so it does not carry the stamp of approval from General Clapper, the man who knows all, tells nothing.

      Mr Kerry's data sets a vouchsafed to him, by General Clapper.


  39. Clueless in Oz, the courage of the Lion and the brain of the Scarecrow.

    : )

  40. World Net Daily broke it first, so there.

    Sources, like cultures, count.

    1. So that Lax Crapper will not misunderstand:

      WND ain't much of source, the reference was mockery.

      Culture counts.

  41. Great post over at Reason:

    It ends like this:

    the elected and appointed political leaders of this country have proven themselves entirely competent to extract the worst possible outcomes from any circumstances. But without such an enormous hammer, the world’s trouble spots might look to them a bit less like nails.

  42. The Case For a Military Too Small for Obama (Or Any President) To Abuse

    If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If politicians have a whole bunch of Tomahawk missiles, they look for places to put craters.

    J.D. Tuccille | September 5, 2013

    An old saying has it that when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. It's probably fair to say that when you have a honking huge military machine, everything looks like...Kosovo? Iraq? Afghanistan? Libya? Syria? Well, a handy target for some expensive ordnance, anyway. If you want everything to stop looking nail-ish, it's a good idea to put that hammer away. And if we want Syria—let alone the next target of opportunity—to stop looking like the latest good place for the U.S. to install new craters, we probably need to reduce our military's ability to reach around the world at will.

    Over the 10 years between 2001 and 2011, acccording to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, annual U.S. military expenditures rose, in constant 2010 dollars, from roughly $385 billion to $690 billion, and from three percent of GDP to 4.8 percent. SIPRI's definition of such expenditures is more inclusive than some governments use, and so perhaps a tad more eye-popping (and honest) than most officials like, since they tend to emphasize "defense budgets" and downplay military aid and the often off-budget costs of actual operations. That means other numbers float around out there, military spending-wise, but these are good numbers with which to start and they can be compared across nations.


  43. {…}

    And what a comparison!

    Stockholm International Peace Research InstituteIn 2012, the United States was responsible for 39 percent of the world's total military expenditures (PDF). That's actually down a hair, percent-wise, since the fall of the Soviet Union left the U.S responsible for more than 40 percent of world military expenditures. Hey, somebody had to fill the vacuum. But it's still more than the next 10 countries combined.

    That kind of spending on guns, planes, missiles, ships and troops buys a huge can of whup-ass, and the U.S. hasn't been reluctant to use it. Granted, 9/11 called for some sort of response against Al Qaeda and its Taliban protectors, so we invaded Afghanistan. Then we invaded Iraq because... Well, apparently because...elusive weapons of mass destruction? Supposed sponsorship of terrorism? General dislike of the local tyrant? Take your pick.

    Eight years later, even the Iraqi puppet government we'd installed had tired of its uninvited guests. It denied legal immunity to the remaining troops, effectively closing the door on the occupation, though only after the deaths of 4,804 coalition (mostly American) troops and a heartbreaking number of Iraqis, though the actual number may never be known.

    Troops remain in Afghanistan, though the Taliban government that sheltered Al Qaeda has long since been replaced with something predictably corrupt, though less threatening to the American people than its predecessor. Coalition forces there have lost 3,371 lives (and counting), about two-thirds of which are American. Civilian casualties in that country rank in the thousands, both from insurgents and from occupation forces.

    Iraq and Afghanistan have occupied most of the public's attention, military action-wise, over the past decade—logically enough, since they've been the primary sources of Americans in body bags—but U.S. military might has had its lethal way elsewhere, too. Notably, American forces, largely in the form of Tomahawk missiles, participated in an international effort to replace Libya's lunatic dictator with whatever is going on in that country now.

    In these image-sensitive days, much U.S. military action is carried out by killer robots raining death from the skies. Fewer body bags come home that way, though there are plenty on the receiving end. Columbia University's Human Rights Clinic estimates that up to 155 Pakistani civilians (PDF) were killed by drones in 2011 alone. CIA drones reportedly stick around after the first hit to blow up whoever shows up to help.

  44. Obama is just trying to back up his sunni buddies.

    Looks like it may go down in the House.

    Then what?

    Can't think of anything quite like this.


  45. {…}

    U.S. ArmyAside from chasing the Taliban and its Al Qaeda buddies out of Afghanistan, sort of, it's difficult to see what the U.S. has gained from all of this invading, shooting and detonating. Well, other than a percentage of the world's population phobic about buzzing noises in the sky, ever-more unkind thoughts about the United States, and a huge burden on U.S. taxpayers who foot the bill for these bloody adventures, that is.

    Those costs, in lives and money, will only go up with any action against Syria. Americans seem to know that, because poll after poll overwhelmingly shows public opposition to military action in that country.

    But all of these military incursions are possible only because an enormous military apparatus begs to be used by the sort of people—politicians—who aren't known for self-restraint. As former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said to then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Colin L. Powell, "What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?"

    You don't have to be a pacifist—in fact, you can still support a perfectly potent defensive capability—to believe that scaling back the military apparatus to something less expensive, dangerous and tempting might be a wise idea. We could probably get by with 10 or 15 percent of the world's total military budget, and still be fully able to clobber anybody who picked a fight wiith us.

    There are no guarantees. The elected and appointed political leaders of this country have proven themselves entirely competent to extract the worst possible outcomes from any circumstances. But without such an enormous hammer, the world's trouble spots might look to them a bit less like nails.

  46. Look at the people that lead us and how they got there.

    An Asteroid converting Washington DC into the sixth great lake, Lake Potomac, would be a thing of beauty.

    1. That's how I got kicked off the Green Frog Blog, or whatever it's called:

      Made public my secret desire that Flight 93 had had no heroes, and made it through to the Capitol where the entire legislature was gathered for some public display of "patriotism."

    2. I just can't keep my fingers quiet when I need to.

    3. "An Asteroid converting Washington DC into the sixth great lake, Lake Potomac, would be a thing of beauty."

      Jeez, Deuce, you're getting serious.

      What about the collateral damage?

      What about the innocent women and children?

      You ain't talkin' no drone strike here.

    4. What about the liquor stores?

    5. For that matter, what about the hookers?

      What have they done wrong?

    6. wrt "collateral damage,"

      We should start a public relations campaign for O'bamies Drone Wars:

      Graphic displays of percentages of collaterals compared to say, Nagasaki or Hiroshima would do nicely, for a start.

    7. It is not about punishment, it is about politics

      Asteroid strikes are not acts of a vengeful God seeking justice.

      It is more a matter of celestial mechanics.

    8. What would we do to achieve that uniquely human warm cuddly feeling we get if it were not for wars?

      ...and soon we won'teven have to send our young men off to fight and die for us.

      We'll be able to gather in our living rooms and cheer on our young patriots as they remotely control our little Flying Freedom Fighters.

    9. You don't know the gods.

      The are arguing it out right now on Olympus as to what will happen.

      'Celestial mechanics' - piddle, piddle, piddle

      It is my belief the argument is going against O'blunder.

      The gods hate incompetence.

    10. Doug has a point, just the collateral damage at Nagasaki was probably of greater magnitude than the entire casualty count credited to all the drone strikes in Afpakistan.

      Which has been my main focus, all along.
      If we are going to prosecute these wars, the smaller the US footprint, the better.

      I would support scaling back on the wars we prosecute. I would support dry docking a few of the carrier battle groups. I would eliminate half of the nine hundred US military bases overseas.

      But until those things gain popular support, well, it is better to send a drone than a cruise missile and better a cruise missile than a B2 or a B52.

      Better to train fifty Syrians than to send five US troops.

      Back to the future, before Special Forces became a SWAT Team.

    11. We need more trade schools to train Celestial Mechanics.

      That'd treat what ails this O'bamie Economy.

    12. Shirley you can't be serious, Rat.

    13. 100,000 dead, wounded or missing, by our own count. ...

      In 1953, a report by the US Strategic Bombing Survey put the number of deaths at 35,000, wounded at 60,000 and 5,000 missing. In 1960, the Japanese put the number of dead at Nagasaki at 20,000 and the number of wounded at 50,000. Later, the Nagasaki Prefectural Office put the figure for deaths alone at 87,000 with 70% of the city's industrial zone destroyed.

    14. Now it turned out, in the mystery of good and evil, that the massive Cathedral was one of two Nagasaki landmarks that the Bock’s Car bombardier had been briefed on, and looking through his bomb site 31,000 feet overhead, he identified the cathedral through a break in the clouds and ordered the drop.

      At 11:02 am, during morning mass, Nagasaki Christianity was boiled, evaporated and carbonized in a scorching radioactive fireball that exploded 500 meters above the cathedral. Ground Zero was the persecuted, vibrant, surviving center of Japanese Christianity.

      The Nagasaki Christian death count

      Since the Cathedral was the epicenter of the blast, most Nagasaki Christians did not survive. 6000 of them died instantly, including all who were at confession that morning. Of the 12,000 church members, 8,500 died as a direct result of the bomb. Three orders of nuns and a Christian girl’s school disappeared into black smoke or chunks of charred remains Tens of thousands of innocent Shinto and Buddhist Japanese also died instantly and hundreds of thousands were mortally wounded, some of whose progeny are still in the process of slowly dying from the trans-generational malignancies and immune deficiencies caused by the deadly plutonium.

      What the Japanese Imperial government could not do in over 200 years of persecution, destroy Japanese Christianity, Americans did in 9 seconds.

    15. http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-bombing-of-nagasaki-august-9-1945-the-un-censored-version/5345274

    16. "innocent Shinto and Buddhist Japanese..."

      Talk about a contradiction in terms.

    17. Lets just count the 8,500 Christians as the collateral damage in Nagasaki.

      Discount the long term health effects, etc, etc.

      8,500 seems low, but it is incontestable.

      Who keeps count of the casualties of the drone war in Afpakistan?

    18. In Afghanistan there is what appears to be pretty solid reporting on the body count
      July 22, 2013 by Chris Woods

      despite research by the Bureau and others suggesting that over 400 civilians may have died in the nine-year campaign.

      The internal document shows Pakistani officials too found that CIA drone strikes were killing a significant number of civilians – and have been aware of those deaths for many years.

      Of 746 people listed as killed in the drone strikes outlined in the document, at least 147 of the dead are clearly stated to be civilian victims, 94 of those are said to be children.

      The confidential 12-page summary paper, titled Details of Attacks by Nato Forces/Predators in FATA was prepared by government officials in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

      Pakistan, total body count from the drone war is 746 as of 22JUL13.

      Lets go look for Afghanistan ...

    19. Afghanistan, as reported by elements within the UN

      In the first six months of 2013, UNAMA documented 15 civilian deaths and seven injuries in seven separate incidents of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)152 or drones targeting Anti-Government Elements.153 In the same period in 2012, UNAMA did not verify any incidents of civilian casualties from UAVs.

      Although civilian deaths and injuries from UAV strikes accounted for less than one per cent of all civilian casualties, UNAMA seeks clarification on the targeting criteria and accountability mechanisms regarding the use of UAVs (and other aerial platforms)154 to carry out air strikes that may be classified as targeted killings.

      15 civilian deaths in six months, even extrapolated at that rate all the way back to 2001, that is under 400 civilians deaths, about the same claimed in Pakistan. Figure the total killed could be about the same 746.

      So we can infer that in the Afpakistan theater of operations, there have been under 2,000 deaths attributed to the drone war.

      Only 25% of just the collateral damage in Nagasaki.

  47. How dare Hillary Clinton. Now she wants to bomb Assad, the very guy she said was a 'reformer'.

    Wait, she also said Egypt was 'stable'.

    She also said.....

    Benghazi was about a video.

    And.......o well, add your own.

  48. Mr. Letta, the Italian prime minister, didn't specify which leaders attending were skeptical of Mr. Obama's plans to strike Syria, and he sidestepped questions about whether Italy would eventually endorse the strikes. Members of the European Union, he noted, are trying to hash out a common position on the matter.

    Mr. Letta said Italy in principle opposed unilateral strikes, lacking a mandate from the United Nations. Relations between Rome and Washington over Syria were in a "delicate phase," Mr. Letta said, adding: "We have different approaches when it comes to this issue."

    The Italian premier said it "seemed" the Assad regime was behind the Aug. 21 attack on the outskirts of Damascus, where Washington says more than 1,400 people died from a chemical arms attack.

    1. Them Euroweenies can hash out whatever they want.

      Next time I'm in Italy, It's Pizza, Baby!

  49. Allahu Sarin Akbar


    Poisoness video and article

    1. The truth?

      Maybe both sides have tossed the stuff around.

  50. al-Qaeda affiliated groups that have long sided with the rebels are worried that the U.S. and its allies might use the pretext of strikes against the regime to degrade their own abilities. According to Ayham Al Hussain, a rebel fighter from the northern city of Raqaa, which was taken over by the al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front in March, the jihadist groups have left their bases and melted into civilian society, fearing a U.S. strike. “The Islamists are so afraid,” he says, using a term that encompasses the Nusra Front as well as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Syria’s al-Qaeda wing. “They have evacuated their positions but are still keeping some of the guards in front of their bases,” he says via Skype, noting that they have even taken down their signature black flags.

    A strike on Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliates is highly unlikely—such a strategy would be difficult to pull off given the complex interlacing of various rebel groups, and nothing of the sort has been publicly discussed as officials in the Administration of U.S. President Barack Obama make their case for punitive attacks against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad

    Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/09/05/al-qaedas-proxies-among-syrias-rebels-scared-by-threat-of-u-s-strikes/#ixzz2e43PERJH

  51. On this day in 1882, the first Labor Day parade took place in Manhattan.

  52. Voice of America is running with the 1,400 killed number

    UNITED NATIONS — U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power declared Thursday that the United States has abandoned efforts to work with the United Nations Security Council on Syria and accused Russia of holding the 15-nation panel "hostage."

    Addressing news media following a briefing of Security Council members on U.S. intelligence regarding an August 21 chemical attack in Damascus that killed 1,400 civilians, Power said she sees "no viable path forward" on the Syria crisis in the Security Council, which has been paralyzed on the issue for more than two years.

    Ms Powers was supposed to be a hostage negotiator, what's up with this?

    Isn't she the lead negotiator for the USS Irresolute?

  53. Of course, after two days of bombing with B2s and B52s, there won't be anywhere NEAR 1,400 dead Syrians, right? Right?

    1. Gotta love the B-52.

      It at least knows how to get a grip on a problem.

  54. The only question is "will Obama defy the will of Congress?"

    Because, the truth is, this thing has no chance in the House of Representatives. Representative after Representative is coming on tv citing Mail, and Phone Calls that are 100 - 1 Negative.

    A Repub Representative that supports this will pay a heavy price in 2014, while a Dem that votes nay will pay no price at all (might even get a positive result.)

    How about that Obamacare, eh?

  55. I honestly don’t see how any member of Congress can be hurt at the polls voting against this. Within the family is a different story.

  56. AIPAC is really beating the war drums.

  57. No Israeli Lobby? It is a call to twist arms:

    AIPAC's Position on the Authorization of Force in Syria
    September 03, 2013

    AIPAC has been closely monitoring the war in Syria for the past two years. We have been deeply concerned about the impact the war has had on American national security interests, the danger it has posed to Israel and regional stability, and the growing influence of Iran. Moreover, we have been appalled by the inhumane actions of the Assad regime.

    The chemical weapons attack by Assad’s forces on August 21 escalated the dangers posed by this conflict to new heights. Secretary Kerry on August 30 announced that Syrian forces poisoned more than 1,400 individuals, including at least 400 children. The use of these weapons poses an extremely serious risk of further mass atrocities.

    Like all Americans, our preference is that the U.S. would never have to commit military power to a conflict. However, President Obama and Congressional leadership have decided that military action in Syria is in America’s national security interests.

    AIPAC will be lobbying in favor of Congress authorizing the President to use military force in Syria. We need your help to persuade members of the Senate and House to join Speaker Boehner, House Majority Leader Cantor, House Democratic Leader Pelosi, House Democratic Whip Hoyer, and many others in both chambers, in support of this bipartisan resolution.

    We believe that Congress’ failure to grant the President this authority would be interpreted as a sign of American weakness, and cast doubt about whether America will act to carry out its commitments in the Middle East – including the President’s and Congress’ pledge to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

    For decades, AIPAC has worked to prevent the spread of these dangerous weapons. Most of these efforts have been focused on pressuring Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program, but we have also consistently warned about the dangers to the United States, Israel and our other allies of the potential employment of all forms of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by hostile countries, including Syria and its proxies. We were instrumental in supporting the Syrian Accountability Act and the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Sanctions Act – both of which targeted Syria’s WMD programs.

    AIPAC continues to believe the world must make every effort to prevent and deter the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction that can threaten us, our values and the safety of our ally Israel.

    Therefore, we strongly believe that Congress should grant the President the authority he has requested to protect America’s national security interests, dissuade Damascus’ further use of these weapons and send a message to Iran about our commitment to preventing the proliferation of WMDs.

    The debate over this decision is one that is worthy of our great democracy, and we understand the reluctance of some members of Congress to take a step that they fear could embroil America in another war. But as the president said on Saturday, “We cannot raise our children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, [and] the values that define us.” Not passing this resolution would be a security risk to America and our allies that we cannot afford to take.

    The stakes here are high. We believe that the world should not tolerate the use of unconventional weapons. We must do everything in our power to prevent any state—be it Assad’s Syria or Khamenei’s Iran—from employing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

    Join me and the AIPAC Board of Directors, and urge your members of Congress to vote in favor of the bipartisan use of force resolution.


    Michael Kassen AIPAC President

  58. When Nancy Pelosi delivered Barack Obama big victories in the House during his first term – from the passage of a sweeping health care law to a controversial cap-and-trade bill, she relied on a band of her top lieutenants to ensure the caucus held together on the tough votes.

    But now, as she tries to rally House Democrats to authorize Obama to strike Syria, her closest allies aren’t squarely in her corner – never mind out shoring up votes.

  59. Nancy Pelosi has voiced support, BUT she Is Not "whipping" it.

    Meanwhile, the Heritage Foundation is not only lobbying against it, they are double-scoring the votes.

  60. Now let’s just watch and see you many Jewish and Pentecostal Christians serve their masters over at AIPAC

    Press Statement on Syria Resolution
    September 03, 2013

    AIPAC urges Congress to grant the President the authority he has requested to protect America’s national security interests and dissuade the Syrian regime's further use of unconventional weapons. The civilized world cannot tolerate the use of these barbaric weapons, particularly against an innocent civilian population including hundreds of children.

    Simply put, barbarism on a mass scale must not be given a free pass.

    This is a critical moment when America must also send a forceful message of resolve to Iran and Hezbollah -- both of whom have provided direct and extensive military support to Assad. The Syrian regime and its Iranian ally have repeatedly demonstrated that they will not respect civilized norms. That is why America must act, and why we must prevent further proliferation of unconventional weapons in this region.

    America's allies and adversaries are closely watching the outcome of this momentous vote. This critical decision comes at a time when Iran is racing toward obtaining nuclear capability. Failure to approve this resolution would weaken our country's credibility to prevent the use and proliferation of unconventional weapons and thereby greatly endanger our country’s security and interests and those of our regional allies. AIPAC maintains that it is imperative to adopt the resolution to authorize the use of force, and take a firm stand that the world’s most dangerous regimes cannot obtain and use the most dangerous weapons.

  61. AIPAC is lobbying against US interests as it is being expressed by the overwhelming majority of all Americans. It is a foreign lobby serving Israeli interests, pure and simple.

  62. AIPAC is powerful, but they can't overcome 100-1 mail.

    1. We will see how out of the mainstream the Israeli lobby in congress really is.

  63. Here is the real AIPAC/Israeli agenda spelled out. It has nothing to do with nerve gas

    U.S. Readies Military Response in Syria; Iran Preparing Thousands of Centrifuges
    August 29, 2013

    Below is a summary of the major news stories developing today, Thursday, August 29, 2013, concerning the United States, Israel and the Middle East.

    U.S. Congressional leaders will receive a briefing on the situation in Syria from senior Obama officials on Thursday, as the United States prepares for possible military action. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons attack on August 21 left more than 1,300 men, women and children dead, to which President Obama responded that “there need to be international consequences.”

    In Israel, IDF soldiers and reservists have been called up to prepare for the possibility of a Syrian attack on Israeli soil if Western powers carry out strikes on Syria. Despite repeated threats toward Israel by the Assad regime, Israeli medics and doctors have been treating hundreds of injured Syrians who quietly make their way across the border and usually arrive wounded or unconscious.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency produced a report that says Iran has prepared more than 1,000 advanced uranium enriching machines. Though Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful, energy-producing purposes, the United States and other countries suspect the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is intended for the advancement of nuclear weapons.

    The organized immigration of Ethiopians to Israel will end this week, capping off a decades-long initiative to bring Jews and their descendants in Ethiopia to the Jewish state. Since 1991, nearly 90,000 Ethiopians Jews have been brought to Israel.

    As Western powers prepare for a potential strike on Syria, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said his country will work with Russia to ward off military action by the U.S. and its allies against Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country is sending two warships to the east Mediterranean, as Syria’s most powerful ally.

    Clashes between Egypt’s military government and Muslim Brotherhood supporters continue to Israel’s south, with native Christian communities facing continual persecution by Islamic extremists. The rise of violence in Egypt’s Sinai is threatening a peacekeeping force there, which plays an integral part in helping to safeguard the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

    Click here to learn more about the situation in Syria and what it means for the region.

  64. AIPAC cannot control itself; from AIPAC web site:

    Editorial: Syria Proves Urgency to Stop Iran
    August 29, 2013

    As the West, led by the United States, evaluates how to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the Israeli government is racing to prepare its citizens for the worst. Israel is rapidly working to ensure its civilians have gas masks and are trained on how to use them in the event of a retaliatory attack by Assad, Iran or Hezbollah on Israeli population centers. The Jewish state is our only ally—and the only country in the world—whose citizens are currently being distributed gas masks en masse.

    The use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime highlights the danger of allowing the world's most dangerous regimes to possess weapons of mass destruction. As Israel prepares its citizens for the possible ramifications of a chemical attack from Syria, the United States must consider potentially catastrophic ramifications if Iran, who is actively backing Assad, acquires a nuclear weapons capability.

    While Assad has already thrust his country into turmoil and instability, the worst possible outcome for the Middle East would be an Iranian regime equipped with the world’s most dangerous weapon. An effective Western response to Assad’s belligerent use of chemical weapons—and any military action to deter him from using them again—would be jeopardized even further by Syria’s dictator operating under the umbrella of a nuclear Iran.

    As we witness unthinkable horror in Syria, the urgency of stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions is paramount. We cannot allow Assad to operate with the support of his greatest ally in Tehran backed by a nuclear weapons capability. The Islamic Republic is already expanding its influence throughout the region, moving military equipment and resources into Syria and Lebanon. Now is the time to increase the pressure on the Iranian regime, and the U.S. must quickly and measurably test Iranian President Rouhani’s determination to bring about a diplomatic solution to the nuclear dispute.

    In July, the House passed the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013 (H.R. 850) by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 400-20, which will strengthen enforcement of current U.S. sanctions on Iran. The new legislation will expand sanctions targeting Iran’s human rights violations, and, for the first time, specifically authorize the president to impose sanctions on any entity that maintains significant commercial ties to Iran.

    When the Senate returns from its recess in September, it should push this bill's counterpart to a vote and increase the pressure on Iran. These efforts offer the best opportunity to peacefully prevent Iran’s nuclear ambitions, safeguard American interests, and strengthen U.S. national security.

  65. All hands on deck- from Jerusalem Post

    Report: AIPAC to mount major lobbying blitz for Obama's Syria strike plan By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
    09/06/2013 04:23

    As Obama faces tough fight in Congress to pass Syria resolution, Politico quotes sources in Israel lobby as saying group will make case to "virtually every member of Congress" that failure to act in Syria will embolden Iran.

    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is set to "mount a major blitz" in support of US President Barack Obama's resolution to take military action in Syria, the Washington-based Politico website quoted officials with the group as saying on Thursday.

    The powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington came out in support of the resolution in a statement issued earlier this week, but was expected to step-up its lobbying efforts, as the measure to attack Syria would lose in the House of Representatives were the vote held today, according to assessments by House Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

    1. Sorry to piss on your parade.

      MANY of us are NOT calling our congressmen to support war on syria..

  66. The New York Times got the memo:

    ‘NYT' Cuts References to AIPAC in Syria Debate

    Greg Mitchell on September 3, 2013 - 10:39 AM ET

    It was startling, though not exactly surprising. Web detectives spotted it fairly easily. I saw it first from M.J. Rosenberg, but perhaps someone else had earlier. The Daily Beast and others referred to the grafs before they were cut. The Boston Globe published it earlier, in picking up The New York Times story, for example, and they still have it online.

    This was cut from the Times’s top story of the day, on their site and in print:

    Administration officials said the influential pro-Israel lobby group Aipac was already at work pressing for military action against the government of Mr. Assad, fearing that if Syria escapes American retribution for its use of chemical weapons, Iran might be emboldened in the future to attack Israel. In the House, the majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, has long worked to challenge Democrats’ traditional base among Jews.

    One administration official, who, like others, declined to be identified discussing White House strategy, called Aipac “the 800-pound gorilla in the room,” and said its allies in Congress had to be saying, “If the White House is not capable of enforcing this red line” against the catastrophic use of chemical weapons, “we’re in trouble.”

    Updates; All of the many changes in the story tracked here. Goldberg talks to Politico about it. As he notes, very “strange”—original article was accurate and no space issues on the Web.…Some dialogue with the Times’s Robert Mackey on Twitter, in which he claims “transparency.” And now: See NYT explanation for cut here (“gorilla” quote had appeared the day before).

    Rosenberg comments:

    Obviously the White House and/or AIPAC did not want to be caught saying that the reason we are attacking Syria is to show AIPAC, the “800 pound gorilla,” that we are serious about the war the lobby really craves: Iran.

    But there it is. Or was.

    AIPAC censorship even applies to the Times. Only in America (not Israel, where AIPAC’s power does not extend to Haaretz).

    Jeffrey Goldberg in tweet to me just now: “I noted, on Twitter, the AIPAC cut early this morning. Trying to get an answer about why it was cut.”

    Brent Sasley at The Daily Beast had commented when he read original story;

    One might, then, expect it to take a public position on the biggest issue of the day, U.S. strikes against the regime’s military assets. And after President Obama announced he was going to Congress for authorization for the attack, observers began wondering—with some claiming more confidently—that AIPAC would become much more active. Apparently White House officials even fear what AIPAC will do. If Obama is seen as not enforcing his red line over Syria, how, one hinted, would this “800-pound gorilla in the room” view the Administration’s Iran policy.

  67. Groundswell on Syria: The people versus AIPAC

    Philip Weiss on September 5, 2013 31

    We’re at a defining moment in the history of the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel. Israel wants a war and the American people don’t– still, American leadership is pressing ahead. This groundswell of American opposition has fostered a willingness on the part of the American media to broach the issue of blind American support for Israel.

    Last night, NBC Nightly News led not with the Senate Foreign Relations committee’s vote to approve military action against Syria, but with the American people– with the “loud and lopsided” opposition across the country to taking a military strike on Syria. In “packed town hall meetings from Connecticut to Oklahoma,” Kelly O’Donnell reported, Americans are voicing opposition to interfering in the Syrian civil war. And she featured Justin Amash, the Michigan freshman Republican, who has Syrian ancestors and opposes a strike, as does nearly everyone at his town halls.

    Senator Bernie Sanders said on MSNBC that the phones are popping off in his office, and “almost unanimously people are opposed to what the president is talking about.” 98 percent of my district says No, Ted Yoho, an emerging Florida Republican congressman, said on the same network.

    “Our foreign policy of the last 30 years has led us into this,” Yoho went on. “It’s Groundhog Day and we need to take foreign policy in a new direction.. We need diplomacy at this point of time.”

    These are all signs of a groundswell in the wings of both parties, challenging the leadership. This is a “very dangerous place for the president to be,” Howard Fineman put it on MSNBC yesterday. Democrats are wondering “how the Democratic Party suddenly became the war party.” Good question.

    For the seven years this site has been around, we have challenged Americans to look at one root of the conflict in the Middle East, and one root of the Democratic war party– in Israel’s occupation and Jim Crow policies that Americans would find objectionable in their own land. If politicians like Yoho are determined to reexamine foreign policy, then blind support for Israel is bound to come under the microscope. He should find support from liberals. Chris Matthews last night repeatedly called out the neocons and “AIPAC” as supporters of the military action– alas without explaining to the general viewer what AIPAC stands for, American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Mentioning the Israel angle is still too radioactive for Matthews.

    The coming political question is a cultural one: whether the rightwing national interest types, caricatured as isolationists, can build a coalition with the leftwing antiwar types. Both sides are corrupted, the Dems by neoliberalism and doctrinal attachment to liberal Zionism, the right by the Tea Party and a legacy of racism. On Hardball, Chris Matthews warmed up to Yoho, even as he subjected him to questions about Obama’s birth certificate.

    I believe these differences can be overcome by the urgency of opposing a Syrian strike and, worse, an attack on Iran that the lobby has in its sights. But this coalition will only be effective if we challenge the orthodoxies of the special relationship–the need to support Israel through one conflict after another, neverending– and look for nonviolent ways out of this morass.

    The presence of non-Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews will be critical to this movement. We demonstrate that opposing the policies of a religious state is not the same as anti-Semitism. No it is a hallmark of American liberalism. And as the agenda of the Israel lobbyists becomes clearer to the American public — one war after another, into the future, because Israel as it is constituted is not accepted by half its population or its neighbors — our own agenda will have to be discussed at last. Sanctions, BDS, nonviolent pressure to transform what Bassam Haddad called a “settler colonial” state on MSNBC the other day. Then mainstream American figures will finally ask, Where is the Israeli de Klerk?

  68. It would be refreshing to have someone tell “The Israeli Lobby" to butt out of US business.

    1. J Street lobbying for Barack Hakim Faisal ibn-Hussein Sefeya al-Obama. Thought I'd never live to see it.

    2. Many of AIPAC members are not lobbying for war on syria.

      Many of us want syria to continue to bleed its'self out

    3. This AIPAC member wants Syria divided up after a good bleed out.

      It would be refreshing to have CAIR and ISNA get out of the White House.

      Good game going on between Baltimore and Denver.

      Major lightning storm here.

    4. Also would like a Natural Born Citizen in the White House, not some sunni MB sympathetic freak from a crazy white mother and a drunken land reforming father, if he was his father.

      Rarely get what I want, however.

  69. Has anyone noticed how diminished, how very Lilliputian, America has become? Great tragic events in the world beyond our borders are parsed here as accountants would parse the finer points of a creative tax deduction.


    Our loss of righteous strength—strength that was once this country’s greatest asset—is now celebrated by many Americans, including those who write for this publication: in tones that are akin to ululation, David Stockman, who once worked for the Reagan White House, celebrates the end of America’s “Imperium,” of the “American warfare state.” As someone who has elected to live in this country by moral choice, I say to Stockman (in echo of Kipling): … what should they know of America who only America know?

    How did we come to this state? I refer not only to the Stockmans (who, mercifully, are of no political consequence), but also to Sen. Rand Paul, who will not do the right thing by innocent Syrians because he wishes to cut Barack Obama not an inch of slack.

    Who Shrunk America?

    1. Interventionism was a 60 year fluke.

    2. Should have intervened in Cuba, in our backyard.

      Instead they've had 50 years of totalitarianism.

    3. Kennedy having crapped out.

    4. .

      Right, the Cubans didn't know how great they had it under Batista.


    5. That's true, Quirk. That's really true.

      In those days they may have been going to Florida, but not on inner-tubes.

      I could go on and on, but you get the point.

      What you say is actually true.

      Many, perhaps even most, revolutions make things worse. This is particularly true of 'Marxist/Leninist' revolutions.

      You got it right there, Quirk, even though you were thoughtlessly mocking.

      Furthermore, you actually realize that you got it right.

    6. Remember when Castro pushed all those prisoners out, and to the USA?

      I knew a guy starting out in the federal Attorneys Office who intervened a lot of those guys.

      They had some tales to tell of their 'crimes'.

      Black Cubans particularly. And gays.

      Whole island was and is a prison.

      It was better under Batista.

    7. Interviewed instead of intervened, maybe there is a little slippage

    8. Thank you, Anon.


    9. .

      You got it right there, Quirk, even though you were thoughtlessly mocking.

      I never thoughtlessly mock. I take mocking very seriously.

      Let's see, Batista took over in '52 through a coup. He cancelled the constitution. Thereafter, elections were rigged under one-party rule. He catered to the rich and took his cut of the pie (accumulating $300 million by the time he went into exile in '58). He had a sweet deal going with Meyer Lansky and other mob figures. He pampered the army and the rich. The poor not so much. While Cuba had some of the best healthcare in the region, the poor couldn't afford to use it. Sugar workers would only work for half a year but they were 'discouraged' from taking other jobs so that they would always be available when the plantation owners needed them. Once the protests against his rule started, he shut down the high schools and universities. There was a curfew. He a his security forces are reported to have killed up to 20,000 of his people (not too shabby for a six year reign).

      Yeah, life was all giggles under Batista.

      In those days they may have been going to Florida, but not on inner-tubes.

      You're right about that, about 180,000 of the well-to-do left Cuba at the same time Batista did and they weren't about to drift about in inner-tubes. One has to wonder how many of these social elites ended up in Florida and how many of them continue to pressure the US to continue the sanctions and the boycott of Cuba.

      So, please Anon-Anon, explain to me why the US continues its 60 year program of sanctions and boycott of Cuba. And make it good. Don't make me intentionally mock you. Again.



  70. The United States government takes a very strong stance on the use of chemical weapons when it is convenient for them and aligned with their own political interests. However, the US government has been involved with many covert operations overseas where they funded groups who used chemical weapons, and propped up dictators who were carrying out genocides.


    As whatreallyhappened.com recently pointed out:

    On February 28, 1993, the BATF raided the church of the Branch Davideans in Waco Texas. This led to an embarrassing stand off which ended when the FBI gassed the church, filled with women and children, with CS gas.

    Rules of Engagement

    1. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a libertarian who has taken on GOP hawks on National Security Agency surveillance and now Syria, tweeted Thursday: “If you’re voting yes on military action in #Syria, might as well start cleaning out your office. Unprecedented level of public opposition.”

      Like 100 to 1 against. And yet, it will still happen, since the neo-cons somehow are still in power, notwithstanding the change of parties.

  71. Syria crisis: al-Qaeda seizes village that still speaks the ancient language of Christ

    A branch of al-Qaeda fighting in the Syrian civil war has seized one of the few remaining villages where the original language of Christ is still spoken, residents say.

    A Syrian rebel vehicle with a heavy machine gun driving in Maaloula.

    A Syrian rebel vehicle with a heavy machine gun driving in Maaloula. Photo: REUTERS
    By Ruth Sherlock, Beirut and Magdy Samaan7:46PM BST 05 Sep 2013

    Fighting raged through the picturesque mountain village of Maaloula, near Damascus, on Thursday, as the regime launched a counter-attack against the rebels.

    "They entered the main square and smashed a statue of the Virgin Mary," said one resident of the area, speaking by phone and too frightened to give his name. "They shelled us from the nearby mountain. Two shells hit the St Thecla convent."

    Maaloula, tucked into the honey-coloured cliffs of a mountain range north of Damascus and on a "tentative" list of applicants for Unesco world heritage status, is associated with the earliest days of Christianity.

    St Thecla, who is supposedly buried in the convent, was a follower of St Paul who fled to the village in Syria to avoid marriage, having taken an oath of chastity. It is said that the cleft of rock in which the convent is placed opened up to allow her to escape her pursuers.

    The inhabitants are mostly Melkite Greek Catholic and Orthodox Christians, but have historically lived peacefully alongside a Sunni Muslim minority. It is one of only three places in the world where Western Aramaic, a dialect of the language spoken by Christ, is still used.

    1. Until recently, the town had managed to remain mostly unaffected by the civil war that has already claimed more than 100,000 lives. A visit by The Daily Telegraph last year found it ringed by government checkpoints but suffering from the lack of pilgrims and tourists who are normally vital to its economy.

      In the early hours of Wednesday morning, rebel groups, a mix of the extremist Jabhat al-Nusra and the more moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA), attacked with full force.

      "First they took a brick factory owned by a Christian guy, who is now missing," said the resident. "Then at around 5.30am, a car bomb detonated at the checkpoint at the entrance to the village.

      "Some of the rebels entered a home near the checkpoint belonging to Yousef Haddad, a Christian. They tried to force him to convert to Islam."

      A nun living in a convent in the village told the Associated press that 27 orphans living in the convent were taken to nearby caves for shelter.

      Video footage posted on YouTube showed rebel fighters on a pick up truck with an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the back firing erratically from inside the mountain town.

      Christians, who make up approximately 10 per cent of Syria's population, have increasingly become targets in the conflict as sectarian-minded foreign jihadists gain influence in the opposition ranks. Almost a third of the Syriac Christian population has fled the rebel-held northern town of Hassakeh after Christians became targets for kidnappings and assassinations.

      Mousab Abu Qatada, a spokesman for the FSA in Damascus and the Damascus suburbs, denied that the attack on Maaloula had been sectarian.

      "We are trying to protect the minorities and the holy sites of Syria. We promise to protect it against the criminal regime," he said.

      Residents said the rebels had been pushed back to Safir hotel in the mountains, where they had been based since March this year.

      The resident said: "They have been annoying the Christian people of the village since then. A Christian farmer cannot go up there to his land unless he is accompanied by a Muslim resident of the village."


    2. WIO has reported to us that those Christians in Syria are just a gang of Nazis.

      There is something wonderful going on and it is the bleeding of Syria.
      We should all hope it continues

    3. We all have noticed that Rat has started to use the "anon" login.


      will innovation never cease?