Judge: Revised Trump Ban Cannot Be Enforced On Syrian Family

Trump speaking in front of a picture of his own face at the Republican National Convention in July 2016. Photograph Carolyn Kaster-AP

By Todd Richmond for Associated Press – MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A federal judge on Friday blocked President Donald Trump’s administration from enforcing his new travel ban against a Syrian family looking to escape their war-torn homeland by fleeing to Wisconsin. The ruling likely is the first by a judge since Trump issued a revised travel ban on Monday, according to a spokesman for the Washington state attorney general, who has led states challenging the ban. A Syrian Muslim man who was granted asylum and settled in Wisconsin has been working since last year to win U.S. government approval for his wife and 3-year-old daughter to leave the devastated city of Aleppo and join him here…

Newsletter - The Propaganda Of War

No war We say no to war

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. This weekend marks the sixth anniversary of the disaster at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan. An earthquake at sea triggered a large tsunami that overwhelmed the plant and destroyed three of the four reactors on the coast. The cores of two of the reactors melted down and their whereabouts remain unknown. Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds shares photos from his trip last year to the area to document the ongoing radioactive contamination. He writes, “these photos cannot adequately convey the scientific and human impact of the worst industrial cataclysm in the history of the world.” On this anniversary, we face another perilous situation that is brewing. Scientists moved the doomsday clock to 2 and a half minutes from midnight.

Thousands Of US Troops To Fight In Syria, Iraq

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By Jason Ditz for AntiWar.com. Instead of directly deploying thousands of additional ground troops into Iraq or Syria, the sort of precipitous escalation that might get Congress voting on the war, the Trump Administration appears to have decided that the solution is to send thousands of US ground troops to Kuwait, and let the commanders in Iraq and Syria just take what they want. Early reports of this strategy emerged Wednesday, when officials said there were considerations of sending around 1,000 troops into Kuwait for this operation. Just two days later, the figure was up to at least 2,500, with signs that it is continuing to grow all the time. While President Obama was micromanaging the escalations, particularly in Iraq, where every couple of weeks another hundred or two troops would be sent, the Trump Administration appears to be throwing the troops into a big pile and leaving the deployments up to the commanders.

Trump Escalates US War In Syria

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By Nadia Prupis for Common Dreams – Deployment may be signal that Trump administration will give Pentagon more flexibility in calling shots in fight. U.S. marines are in Syria to augment the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) in the battle for Raqqa, the militant group’s de facto capital, having quietly arrived in the country weeks ago, defense officials confirmed to the Washington Post on Wednesday. About 400 new troops have been deployed overall, in addition to the 500 already on the ground. The plan had been in the works “for some time,” according to the Post’s Dan Lamothe and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

International Days of Action Against War & Islamophobia

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By Staff for Hands Off Syria Coalition. We call on all peace loving people throughout the world to unite and take action during the International Days of Action (March 11-19) against U.S. intervention in Syria and throughout the Middle East, against Islamophobia, and against the refugee Travel Ban, e.g. Initiate local actions together with civil rights and peace activists — demonstrations, teach-ins, workshops, panel discussions, video presentations — to oppose War, occupation and Islamophobia, and to reveal their connections; Tell the U.S. President Trump and Congress that you oppose the Travel Ban and that you want the U.S. to pursue peaceful relations with Syria, Iran and all the nations of the Middle East; Ask your Congressional Representatives to support Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s bill, (H.R. 608). Please both call your Congressional Representative’s office directly AND sign the petition in support of STOP ARMING TERRORISTS ACT and more.

Syrian Regime Change In The Context Of US-Syria History

The world is witnessing the largest refugee crisis since the horrors of World War II.  Today there are close to 60 million war refugees, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)—an all-time high, as violence and persecution around the world are on the rise.  CREDIT: UNHCR CREDIT: UNHCR  The Middle East, North Africa, and Western Asia are particularly hard hit. Millions of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Yemen are fleeing violence and war in their countries.  In all of 2014, approximately 219,000 people tried to cross the Mediterranean to seek asylum in Europe. In just the first eight months of 2015, over 300,000 refugees tried to cross the sea, according to the UNHCR. More than 2,500 died.  Human rights organizations warn the Gulf states, Israel, Iran, and Russia—all of which have taken zero refugees—along with the US, Canada, and Europe—which have taken few—are not doing enough to provide refuge to the asylum-seekers.  CREDIT: Sakis Mitrolidis / AFP CREDIT: Sakis Mitrolidis / AFP  The majority of the refugees are from Syria. More than four million Syrian refugees are registered with the UN. Another seven million have been internally displaced. Over half of the entire population of the country has been uprooted since 2011.  Because Syrians comprise the bulk of refugees, the plights of other refugees have scarcely been reported on. Governments are essentially only considering taking asylum-seekers from war-torn Syria, embroiled for over four years now in intense violence.  The Syrian Civil War has resulted in what is often referred to as “the worst refugee crisis of our generation.” Using statistics from the UN, news reports, and the University of California, Berkeley, Statista details how the Syrian refugee crisis compares to other refugee crises in the past few decades:  Credit: Statista Credit: Statista  In terms of sheer scale, the Syrian refugee crisis is significantly worse than those resulting from the US and Soviet wars in Afghanistan, the Gulf War, the genocide in Rwanda, the NATO bombing of Kosovo, and more.  Credit: Middle East Eye Credit: Middle East Eye  Most of the refugees from Syria are youths. Middle East Eye reports 51% of Syrian asylum-seekers are under age 18, and 39% are under age 11. In other words, two out of every five Syrian refugees are children under age 11.  The story that brought much of this suffering to the attention of the Western media was that of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian Kurd refugee whose lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach. The photo of his tiny figure went viral, and has become a symbol of the refugee crisis.  Kurdi’s family say they applied for asylum in Canada, yet the Canadian government denied their application. The immigration ministry says the family’s application “was returned as it was incomplete.”  The crisis has also emboldened racists to be open with their anti-Arab bigotry. German neo-Nazis have attacked refugees and shelters created for asylum-seekers. “Europe responds to desperate refugees with razor wire and racism,” the Washington Post writes.  Here is a guide to the worst refugee crisis since World War II, with information about every country you need to know.  Syria’s Neighbors The vast preponderance of Syrian refugees have been taken by Syria’s neighbors.  CREDIT: Mercy Corps CREDIT: Mercy Corps  Turkey has taken the most, close to 2 million.  The tiny nation of Lebanon has accepted over 1.1 million Syrian refugees, who now comprise almost one-fifth of its entire population.  Jordan has accepted around 630,000. Approximately one in every 13 people in Jordan is a Syrian refugee.  CREDIT: Forbes / Statista CREDIT: Forbes / Statista  Lebanon and Jordan now have the most refugees per capita in the world.  In spite of the war behind waged inside of its borders and the growth of ISIS, Iraq has also taken in almost 250,000 Syrian refugees. Most were welcomed by Iraqi Kurdistan, in the north.  US The US has fueled the conflicts in all five of the Middle Eastern nations from which most refugees are fleeing, and it is directly responsible for the violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.  The US’ over a decade-long war in and occupation of Iraq resulted in the deaths of at least a million people, greatly weakened the government, brought al-Qaeda into the country, and led to the rise of ISIS. Over 3.3 million people in Iraq have been displaced because of ISIS.  In Afghanistan, US occupation is ongoing and the war is escalating, in spite of Obama’s constant insistence that it would end by 2014. There are 2.6 million Afghan refugees, according to the UN.  The US-led NATO bombing of Libya destroyed the government, fomenting chaos that led to the rise of ISIS affiliates in northern Africa. Many thousands of Libyans are now fleeing the country, often on dangerous smuggler boats and rafts. The UN estimates there are over 360,000 displaced Libyans.  A coalition of Middle Eastern nations, led by Saudi Arabia, has pummeled Yemen for half a year, leading to the deaths of over 4,500 people. The US has steadfastly backed the coalition, in spite of human rights organizations accusing it of war crimes, including the intentional targeting of civilians and aid buildings. As a result, the UN says there are over 330,000 displaced Yemenis.  CREDIT: Yannis Behrakis / Reuters CREDIT: Yannis Behrakis / Reuters

By Staff of WashingtonsBlog – The U.S. Carried Out Regime Change In Syria In 1949 … and Tried Again In 1957, 1986, 1991 and 2011-Today. The CIA backed a right-wing coup in Syria in 1949. Douglas Little, Professor, Department of Clark University History professor Douglas Little notes: Recently declassified records… confirm that beginning on November 30, 1948, [CIA operative Stephen] Meade met secretly with Colonel Zaim at least six times to discuss the “possibility [of an] army supported dictatorship.” [“Cold War and Covert Action: The United States and Syria, 1945-1958,” Middle East Journal, Winter 1990, p. 55]

The “White Helmets” Go To Hollywood

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By Rick Sterling for Dissident Voice – The Netflix movie The White Helmets may win an Oscar in the “short documentary” category at the Academy Awards on Sunday February 26. It will not be a surprise, despite the fact that the group is a fraud and the movie is a contrived infomercial. The White Helmets are a “feel good” story like a Disney hero movie: 90% myth and fabrication. Most of what is claimed about the Syrian rescue group is untrue. They are not primarily Syrian; the group was initiated by British military contractor James LeMesurier and has been heavily funded (about $100 million) by the USA, UK and other governments. They are not volunteers; they are paid. This is confirmed in the Al Jazeera video which shows some White Helmet “volunteers’ talking about going on strike if they don’t get paid soon.

Newsletter: The Problem Isn’t Trump, It’s Bigger

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The awakening of mass protests against Donald Trump’s executive orders and appointments could become a real movement, but it must realize a critically important point: Trump is not the problem, the system is. Illusion of Democracy hides oligarchyTrump is a symptom of a long-term trend of a failing democracy that is too closely tied to Wall Street and the war machine. Both the Republican and Democratic parties are part of this failed system that does not represent the people of the United States. We are all working to build a mass movement for economic, racial and environmental justice that is bigger than Donald Trump. As the extremist actions of the Trump administration are put in place we need to remember that extremism for the wealthy, for war and ignoring of environmental catastrophe is consistent with the actions of all recent presidents and the leadership of both corporate parties.

Obama Leaves Office With Record Of War & Expanding Militarism

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By Micah Zenko for Reader Supported News. As President Obama enters the final weeks of his presidency, there will be ample assessments of his foreign military approach, which has focused on reducing U.S. ground combat troops (with the notable exception of the Afghanistan surge), supporting local security partners, and authorizing the expansive use of air power. Whether this strategy “works”—i.e. reduces the threat posed by extremists operating from those countries and improves overall security and governance on the ground—is highly contested. Yet, for better or worse, these are the central tenants of the Obama doctrine. In President Obama’s last year in office, the United States dropped 26,171 bombs in seven countries.

US Was Aware Of ISIS And Sought Regime Change In Syria

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By Mintpress News. WikiLeaks brought renewed attention to an audio recording in which Secretary of State John Kerry admits not only that he supported war in Syria for the purpose of overthrowing the government, but that the United States knew about the strength of terrorist groups in the region and allowed them to grow yet more powerful. Originally leaked to The New York Times in late September and published in its entirety by CNN shortly after, the recording is of a meeting the secretary of state had with Syrian civilians at the Dutch Mission to the United Nations in September. CNN has since removed the audio, but left a description of its contents along with an editor’s note claiming the file had been removed “at the request of some of the participants out of concern for their safety.”

Controlling The Narrative On Syria

An anti-war demonstrator is seen outside the White House before President Photo By Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty

By Louis Allday for MR Zine – Since 2011, the torrent of ill-informed, inaccurate and often entirely dishonest analysis of events in Syria has been unremitting. I have written previously about the dangers of using simplistic explanations to make sense of the conflict, a problem that has surfaced repeatedly over the past five years. However, there is a greater problem at large. The mainstream discourse on Syria has become so toxic, detached from reality and devoid of nuance that anyone who dares to even question the constructed narrative of ongoing ‘revolution’, or opposes the arguments of those who advocate for the imposition of a no-fly zone by the West, can expect swift retribution.

Syria Cease-Fire To Take Effect At Midnight On Dec. 30

GEORGE OURFALIAN VIA GETTY IMAGES
A cease-fire in Syria will begin at midnight on Dec. 30.

By Staff of Reuters – MOSCOW/ANKARA, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a ceasefire between Syrian opposition groups and the Syrian government starting at midnight on Thursday. The parties were also prepared to start peace talks, Putin said, after Moscow, Iran and Turkey expressed readiness to broker a deal to settle the nearly six-year-old Syrian war. The Syrian army announced a nationwide halt to fighting but said Islamic State and ex-Nusra Front militants and all groups linked to them would be excluded from the deal. It did not say which unnamed groups would be excluded. Several rebel officials told Reuters they had agreed to the ceasefire, due to come into effect at 2200 GMT on Thursday.

Rojava Revolution – A Look At Co-Operatives & Assemblies

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By Andrew Flood for Anarchist Writers – As they have driven ISIS back in northern Syria / Rojava the Kurdish YPG and their allies in the SDF have won increasing visibility in western media. While such reports often mention the key role in this fight played by women in the YPJ, there is otherwise little examination of the revolution happening behind the front lines in Rojava. That revolution is why they stood and fought ISIS rather than fleeing. This can be true of a lot of alternative media coverage. In part this is due to the limited amount of information on what this revolution involves. but it’s also in part because photographs of women with guns are judged to be more striking than women workers in a co-operative bakery or a community assembly.

US Criminal Hypocrisy At Work In Syria And Yemen

Syrians comb through the debris of a house reportedly damaged by an airstrike carried out by the U.S.-led coalition in Kfar Derian, a village in northwestern Syria. (photo: Sami Ali/Getty Images)

By William Boardman for Reader Supported News – On December 13, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power offered up yet another stark exercise in imperial deceit, shedding crocodile tears for those suffering in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo, while continuing her strategically amoral silence about much greater suffering in the country of Yemen. The basis for this unconscionable choice is simple. Russia, Syria, and Iran are attacking Aleppo. The carnage in Yemen is led by Saudi Arabia, allied with eight other Sunni Muslim states (supported by another seven countries including Canada, UK, France, and Turkey) – but this 16-state war of aggression would be impossible without the exceptional 17th enemy of Yemen, the US…

Journalist Eva Bartlett Destroys Mainstream Media Over Syria, Aleppo

Eva Bartlett at the UN

By Brandon Turbeville for Activist Post. After having left Syria, Bartlett took part in a press conference organized by the Syrian mission to the United Nations. After giving a brief statement about what she has observed in Syria and how she is aware firsthand of the Western media’s deception in terms of coverage of the crisis, she was questioned by a Norwegian journalist, Christopher Rothenberg, who challenged her claims that the Western media was lying…After having left Syria, Bartlett took part in a press conference organized by the Syrian mission to the United Nations. After giving a brief statement about what she has observed in Syria and how she is aware firsthand of the Western media’s deception in terms of coverage of the crisis, she was questioned by a Norwegian journalist, Christopher Rothenberg, who challenged her claims that the Western media was lying. “You talk the corporate media, the Western media, the lies, and all of this. Could you explain what might be the agenda from us in the Western media and why we should lie,” Rothenberg asked. “Why the international organizations on the ground should lie? Why we shouldn’t believe all these absolutely documentable facts that we see from the ground? These hospitals being bombed. These civilians that are talking about the atrocities that they have been experiencing. How can you justify calling all of us liars?” Bartlett’s epic response can be viewed here: She begins by admitting that there are “certainly honest journalists among the very compromised establishment media.” Bartlett then addresses Rothenberg’s second question first, by asking him to name one international organization on the ground in Eastern Aleppo. Rothenberg, of course, could not answer the question; so, after a long pause of silence, Bartlett proceeded to point out that there are none. She then dismantled the reliability of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (staffed by one man in Coventry, UK on the Internet) and the notorious terrorist support group known as the White Helmets.