Palmyra in Syria, ISIS and the CIA


This 2010 video is called Palmyra, Syria.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

The atrocities of ISIS and the US wars of sociocide

26 August 2015

Images posted Tuesday on social media have confirmed the destruction by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) of the 2,000-year-old temple of Baal Shamin in the Syrian city of Palmyra. The images show ISIS fighters planting explosive charges throughout the ancient structure and then detonating them, reducing the temple to rubble.

The willful demolition of this site, one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world and one of the best preserved Greco-Roman ruins in existence, followed the savage murder a week earlier of Professor Khaled Assad. The 82-year-old Syrian archeologist had participated in the excavation and restoration of Palmyra’s ruins and had remained there as the head of antiquities for nearly half a century. He was beheaded for refusing to assist ISIS in looting the site.

UNESCO, the United Nations cultural and educational agency, justifiably denounced these atrocities as “war crimes,” adding that “their perpetrators must be accountable for their actions.”

There is no question that those responsible for these acts and for far bloodier atrocities against the Syrian people are criminals and should be held accountable. The obstacle to bringing to justice those principally responsible, however, is the fact that they are the former and current chief officials in the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA.

It was they who laid waste to one Middle Eastern country after another, while working with the Islamist forces that comprise ISIS to carry out their wars of regime-change against a series of secular Arab governments.

The systematic destruction of a cultural heritage carried out by ISIS has a historical precedent in the crimes carried out by the Pol Pot regime and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. This regime set out to erase the country’s cultural heritage, while carrying out a reign of terror and mass murder against the population.

The similarities between ISIS and the Khmer Rouge do not end with their barbaric assaults on culture and human life. In both cases, the preconditions for these atrocities had been created through the destruction of entire societies by US imperialism.

In Cambodia, a US bombing campaign dropped some 532,000 tons of explosives on the country in four years—more than three times the tonnage dropped on Japan during all of World War II. The resulting death toll is estimated as high as 600,000, while 2 million people out of a population of 7 million were made homeless and economic life was shattered.

ISIS and the current bloodshed across Syria and Iraq are the direct products of similar acts of sociocide on the part of US imperialism. In Iraq, the illegal US invasion of 2003, the subsequent occupation and the systematic destruction of what had been one of the most advanced health and social infrastructures in the Arab world claimed the lives of over 1 million Iraqis, while turning another 5 million into refugees. The divide-and-rule strategy pursued by the Pentagon stoked a sectarian civil war by deliberately manipulating tensions between Iraq’s Shia and Sunni populations.

The ramifications of this policy have long since spilled across national borders, with increasingly catastrophic consequences, all driven by Washington’s resort to militarism to advance its aim of hegemony over the energy-rich regions of the Middle East and Central Asia.

To this end, the US has been involved in wars for over 35 years, beginning with the CIA’s orchestration of the war for regime-change against the Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan, where it allied itself with Islamist forces, including Osama bin Laden and the other founders of Al Qaeda.

Nine months before the last US troops withdrew from Iraq in December 2011, Washington and its NATO allies launched another unprovoked war of aggression to topple the government of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and impose their own puppet regime over the oil-rich North African country. The destruction of the Libyan state and the murder of Gaddafi plunged the country into chaos and bloodshed that continues to this day. Islamist militias used as US proxies in the Libyan war, along with tons of captured Libyan weapons, were subsequently funneled—with the aid of the CIA—into the civil war in Syria, strengthening ISIS and helping create the conditions for it to overrun more than a third of Iraq.

In the name of the never-ending “war on terrorism,” Washington is prosecuting another military campaign in alliance with the Shia-based government in Baghdad against ISIS in the predominately Sunni regions of Iraq, while in Syria it is stepping up military operations in alliance with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Gulf monarchies, while attempting to find “moderate” Sunni Islamists it can utilize as proxies in the war to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The New York Times Tuesday published a lengthy article reflecting an internal debate within the Obama administration over whether to provide more direct US support to Ahrar al-Sham, a Sunni Islamist militia with multiple links to Al Qaeda. The group already receives extensive backing from key US allies Turkey and Qatar.

The horrific consequences of decades of US wars are now spilling into Europe, with the increasingly desperate flight of hundreds of thousands of refugees—in many cases at the cost of their own lives—from homelands that Washington has turned into killing fields.

Politically and morally, the US government and its top officials, starting with Bush and Obama, are totally responsible for all of the crimes, atrocities and human suffering resulting from the multiple wars of aggression they initiated.

None of them have been held to account. Representatives and defenders of an oligarchy of corporate billionaires, they are not, under the present political setup, answerable to the American people, whose opposition to war they routinely defy.

The task of bringing these war criminals to justice and putting an end to the succession of wars and growing threat of a new world war lies with the working class.

Turkish government fights WordPress and Kurds, not ISIS


This video from the USA says about itself:

16 November 2014

Jon Stewart: Turkey: Erdogan helps ISIS at Kobane.

From the Peace in Kurdistan campaign in Britain:

Kurdish message of peace stifled by Turkish censorship

Monday 10th August 2015

The Peace in Kurdistan campaign explains how President Erdogan is more interested in trampling the Kurds than fighting Isis

DAYS ago, the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign’s website was blocked to users in Turkey in the latest government crackdown on Kurdish and pro-Kurdish news and media.

As part of a broad attack on internet freedom, 77 million websites hosted by WordPress.com were temporarily blocked under Turkey’s Internet Law 5651. After WordPress challenged the ban, the Turkish government lifted restrictions on the majority of sites, leaving just five — which included peaceinkurdistancampaign.com and four other pro-Kurdish sites — inaccessible inside Turkey. WordPress’s appeal to the courts regarding our site and the others is still pending.

The move came as the Turkish air force’s heavy bombardment of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) sites in northern Iraq and Rojava, the first such strike since 2011, threatened to put a definitive end to the more than two-year peace process.

Using their participation in the US-led anti-Islamic State (Isis) campaign as cover, the Turkish government has taken the opportunity to wage war not against Isis at all, but against the Kurdish movement, human rights defenders, activists and the peace process by breaking the 10th ceasefire called by the PKK in the last 15 years.

What is especially galling for the Kurds is that this new clampdown on freedom of expression, combined with the renewed offensive against the PKK, comes in the wake of the Suruc massacre of young Kurds who were preparing to take part in a voluntary mission to aid the people of Kobane — the city that became a symbol of Kurdish resistance to Isis.

The massacre, carried out by an Isis-inspired suicide bomber, left 33 youths dead and hundreds more badly injured. The Kurds immediately blamed Turkey because of its complicity in aiding Isis — assistance which has been well documented.

However, Turkey’s AKP government has quite cynically used the outburst of popular anger at the massacre as a pretext for launching its attacks on the Kurdish movement, both within the country and across the border, by systematic bombing of PKK camps in Iraq. Hundreds have since been killed and maimed by indiscriminate bombing, including many civilians, according to reports.

At the same time, the Turkish authorities, steered by an increasingly authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have begun attempts to lift political immunity from pro-Kurdish HDP parliamentarians, which will pave the way for their prosecution and possible disqualification from standing for re-election in the event of the president calling a snap general election. This is likely if coalition negotiations fail.

The latest wave of censorship included a temporary ban on Twitter, a platform used by nearly a third of the country’s population. In total 96 sites have been blocked on the grounds they are publishing “terrorist” propaganda. The vast majority of these were pro-Kurdish or leftist political sites.

This duplicity was mirrored in police raids and air strikes that took place the same week, ostensibly part of Turkey’s fight against Isis. Of the 1,050 arrests that took place across Turkey in nationwide “anti-terrorism operations” last week, 137 were alleged Isis sympathisers while 847 were Kurdish activists suspected of links to the PKK. Similarly, on the day the supposed anti-Isis air strikes began, just one sortie was sent to attack Isis targets, while 75 F-16s and F-4E 2020s dropped around 300 smart bombs onto 400 PKK targets in just two days.

For those us familiar with Turkey’s repressive, vague and draconian anti-terrorism legislation, these acts come as little surprise. Over the years we have campaigned for journalists imprisoned for speaking in support of Kurdish rights and for the reinstatement of media outlets after they were repeatedly banned or taken off the air. One such campaign was for the Kurdish-language broadcaster Roj TV, which, although based in Denmark, was forced from the air after the Turkish government agreed to support former Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s appointment as Nato secretary-general.

We are well aware that we too are working under the suspicious gaze of an integrated surveillance system with global reach. Our peaceful activities that advocate for the inviolable rights of Kurdish people and a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the conflict are still seen as a threat.

For more information see peaceinkurdistancampaign.com.

Under the guise of fighting ISIS, Turkey’s president is re-igniting a bloody war with the Kurds for his own political purposes: here.

NATO war brought ISIS to Libya, Tunisia, Tunisian Prime Minister says


This video from London, England says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn – Emergency Protest – Stop the Bombing of Libya Now! – Stop the War Coalition 20.03.11

From daily The Independent in Britain:

War on Isis: Tunisian PM says Britain has a responsibility to protect nation from militants

Exclusive: Habib Essid blames Western intervention for destabilising Libya

Yasmine Ryan, Ian Johnston

Wednesday 05 August 2015

Britain has a responsibility to stop Isis from infiltrating Tunisia, the country’s Prime Minister has said, because the UK is partly to blame for creating the violent chaos that allowed the extreme Islamist movement to flourish in neighbouring Libya.

In an interview with The Independent, Habib Essid blamed Western intervention in Libya, which helped bring about the downfall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, for destabilising that country and leaving his nation more vulnerable to terrorism.

He spoke as British police said the attack in the Tunisian resort of Sousse in June that left 30 British tourists dead was almost certainly linked to a mass shooting at the Bardo Museum in Tunis in March.

Mr Essid said the UK and France, which led the air campaign against Gaddafi’s forces, were not solely to blame for the current turmoil in Libya, but they had been “part of the problem”. Asked if this meant Britain and France had a responsibility to help Tunisia police its border with Libya, he said: “They have responsibility. Terrorism has no borders.”

However Mr Essid stressed that Tunisia was “against all military intervention in Libya”. “We consider that the current situation is the result of the [2011] intervention, which created chaos. The solution must be a political solution,” he said. …

The Sousse and Bardo shootings, which killed a total of 60 people, have both been claimed by Isis. Commander Richard Walton, of the Metropolitan Police, said there were “strong” links between the two attacks.

See also here.

‘US meddling in Mid-East led to rise of radical extremism’: here.

Investigate ISIS activities in Turkey, MP asks


This video from Turkey says about itself:

1250 wounded ISIS terrorists were hospitalized in Turkey

17 November 2014

Many Turkish physicians and nurses are disgruntled and tired of treating savage Islamist terrorists who are responsible for ultimate brutality and horrible bloodshed in Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

From ANF news agency in Turkey:

HDP submits resolution for the investigation of ‘ISIS activities’ in Turkey

Friday, July 24, 2015 at 12:00 PM

HDP Urfa Parliamentarian Ziya Çalışkan offered a resolution for the investigation of ISIS activities and actions in Turkey.

In his resolution, Çalışkan stated that it has been a necessity to investigate the activities, mobilization efforts, and actions of the terrorist organization ISIS in Turkey. Çalışkan emphasized that the elimination of the murderer gangs had critical importance for the peace, security and well being of Turkey.

‘ISIS ACTIVITIES ENCOURAGED’

Çalışkan touched upon the Suruç massacre and said that the heinous ISIS attack was intertwined with the Turkish state’s policies on Syria. Çalışkan stated that these policies deepen the bloodbath in Syria, make the chaos in the region less predictable and distance Turkey from peace. Noting that Suruç massacre would not be the last ISIS attack, Çalışkan recalled the public criticism of media outlets’ portrayal of ISIS as excusable. Çalışkan said that ISIS activities in Turkey have either been ignored or seen as mundane events, which encouraged the gangs’ actions. Çalışkan emphasized that the government’s defense against ISIS over the past 3 years have been centered around the view that ISIS was not a threat for Turkey.

ISIS ATTACKS

In his resolution, Çalışkan reminded the ISIS attacks in Hatay’s Reyhanlı district (11 May 2013), Niğde (20 March 2014), Mosul Consulate (11 June 2014), Süleyman Şah Tomb (1 October 2014), İstanbul’s Sultanahmet neighborhood (6 January 2015), Süleyman Şah Tomb (22 February 2015), HDP Adana and Mersin headquarters (18 May 2015), and HDP Diyarbakır rally (5 June 2015). Finally, Çalışkan stated that it was inevitable for civilian politics and the parliament to settle old scores with the terrorist organization ISIS that is trying to draw Turkey into the bloodbath and civil war in Syria.

ISIS terrorist on Turkish beach: here.

Turkish government censors truth on ISIS massacre in Suruç


Demonstration in Suruç, Turkey, after Monday's massacre. Photo: EPA

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today, 11:45:

Turkey has blocked access to Twitter. Thus, the authorities want to prevent sharing of photos and videos of the attack in the border town Suruç. Turks also have limited access to Facebook.

Earlier today, a judge ruled that websites and social media are not allowed to display these images. Once all the videos and photos would be removed, the blockade could be lifted.

On Twitter there were also calls to protest against the government. People who posted those messages thought that the government has done too little to prevent the bombing.

The attack in Suruç, near the Syrian border, was on the day before yesterday. 32 people died. There were at least 100 people wounded.

Suruç Bomber Was Known To Turkish Security Services: here.

ISIS massacre in Suruc, Turkey


This 20 July video is about the bloody attack, very probably by ISIS, in Suruc town in Turkey, near the Syrian border. Over 330 young people who wanted to help with reconstruction in Kobani in Syrian Kurdistan after the ISIS attacks on that town, were targeted by a bomb. The young people had gathered at a camp of the SGDF (Federation of Socialist Youth Organisations).

This video says about itself:

Disbelief and determination at funeral for Suruc suicide-bomb victims

21 July 2015

A mass funeral has been held in Gaziantep, southern Turkey for 27 of the victims of the suicide bombing in Suruc.

Most of those who died in the attack were students of university age who had gathered at the hall ahead of a planned trip to help rebuild the neighbouring Syrian town of Kobani.

The feeling among mourners was one of disbelief, but also determination.

“We will not give up, whatever happens,” said one woman. “We will defend peace and brotherhood.”

By the Turkish correspondent of the World Socialist Web Site:

Atrocity sparks calls for Turkish intervention in Syria

22 July 2015

An explosion on Monday outside a cultural center in the Turkish town of Suruç, on the border with Syria, killed at least 28 people and wounded more than 100. The main suspect of the suicide bomb is the Islamic State (IS), however, it has not yet taken responsibility.

The explosion occurred at around noon in front of the Amara Culture Center, as some 300 members of the Socialist Youth Association (SGDF) from İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir and Diyarbakır were issuing a press statement on the reconstruction of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani. SGDF members were preparing to travel to Kobani to help with the reconstruction. Kobani was the scene of fierce battles between Kurdish and IS fighters, and recaptured by Kurdish forces last month.

The terrorist attack in Suruç is a clear provocation, which could trigger ethnic and sectarian clashes within Turkey, while serving as the pretext as well for a Turkish invasion of Syria.

The explosion comes several weeks after the deployment of additional Turkish troops and equipment to its border with Syria. Turkey’s leaders have said they do not plan any unilateral military incursion into Syria, but have also said they will do whatever is necessary to defend the country’s borders. Ankara fears the build-up of a Kurdish-controlled area of northern Syria by the PYD/YPG, an offshoot of the PKK, the Kurdish separatist guerrilla group in Turkey.

The massacre in Suruç is first and foremost a byproduct of the devastating policies of US imperialism, in which Ankara plays an essential role in the Middle East. As everyone knows, the AKP government is the main regional force that fomented the Syrian civil war, supported ISIS for a protracted period, and thus made it possible for the Islamist group to stage terrorist attacks inside Turkey.

ISIS had threatened the Turkish government with attacks after Ankara and Washington exchanged positive signals on the question of using İncirlik Air Base in south-central Turkey for US air strikes against IS. Whether Ankara cuts its covert support to ISIS or not, the AKP government is responsible for dragging Turkey into the bloodbath now taking place in Syria and Iraq.

Some bourgeois politicians and media commentators have already started to say that the government must respond to the terrorist attack in Suruç with the already prepared military intervention into northern Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself declared that now is “the time to act.”

ISIS is only one of dozens of ethnic and sectarian-based proxy organisations in Syria, created by US imperialism and its regional allies like Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Turkish ruling elite, itself, has admitted that there are hundreds of Islamist “sleeper cells” within Turkey, and some 5,000 Turkish militants have joined ISIS. In return, with the exception of few token arrests, the AKP government has not done anything against them. Rather, it has equated ISIS and the PKK-PYD and oriented all its fire against the latter. The so-called “Kurdish policy” of the Turkish government is an inseparable part of its proxy war in Syria, based on fomenting ethnic and sectarian divisions and hostility.

In a written statement following the attack, the Interior Ministry said, “We call on everyone to stand together and remain calm in the face of this terrorist attack which targets the unity of our country.”

Meanwhile, in a hypocritical attempt to whitewash the responsibility of his government in the terrorist attack, Erdoğan condemned those behind it. “Terror has no religion, no ethnicity, no nationality, and no country,” he said. “We always stated that an international struggle should be taken up against terrorism, we continue to express this.”

This video says about itself:

Germany: Thousands march in solidarity with Suruc victims

20 July 2015

Thousands hit the streets of Berlin, Monday, to express their solidarity with the victims of the attack in Suruc that killed dozens earlier in the day. The crowd marched wielding the flag of Rojava as well as placards critical of current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

This video from London, England says about itself:

ISIS flag burns as London Kurds protest deadly Suruc terror attack

21 July 2015

Over 1,500 predominantly Kurdish protesters marched through the streets of North London protesting the alleged Islamic State suicide bombing of Kurdish activists on Monday in the town of Suruc, southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border. At least 30 people were killed and over 100 injured in the explosion.

There will be more on this blog on this horrible crime, and its context. It raises issues like: Why is attention and indignation in the international corporate media about this crime less than for the murders at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, though more people have been killed and injured now? What exactly is ‘terrorism’? What is the ‘war on terror‘? Is it a real war? What makes it different from wars like World War One or the Vietnam war?

London police apologizes for associating Cuba with terrorism


Cuban flag

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Met apologises for Cuban flag T-shirt worn by ‘terrorist’ during mock attack

Cuba Solidarity Campaign welcomes apology for what police describe as ‘regrettable error’ in costume choice for actor in simulated terrorist attack

Duncan Campbell

Friday 10 July 2015 15.46 BST

The Metropolitan police have apologised unreservedly for dressing one of their “terrorists” in a Cuban flag T-shirt during the recent Operation Strong Tower simulation of a terrorist attack in London.

Complaints were made to the police after the officer, who was also wearing a balaclava and carrying a weapon, was shown on national television on 1 July.

Maxine de Brunner, the Met’s deputy assistant commissioner, has written to the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, which raised the issue, to offer an official apology.

“I have viewed the footage which has concerned you and others,” she wrote. “Photographs and film do show one of the role actors wearing a T-shirt under their jacket, which shows the flag of Cuba. This was clearly a regrettable error, which I take full responsibility for.”

She added: “The role actor has been spoken to. He genuinely did not think of the significance and implications of wearing a T-shirt with a national flag on it. The impact has been explained, he is genuinely sorry and states there was no intention to cause offence or associate the Cuban people with terrorism.”

De Brunner offered a “sincere and unreserved apology” and said lessons would be learned for future exercises.

Rob Miller, of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, welcomed the apology. “The cruel irony is that, in fact, the Cuban people themselves have been the victims of numerous terrorist attacks from US-based groups over the last 55 years, which have left 3,478 dead and 2,099 disabled,” he said.

“Too often, the small island of Cuba has suffered misrepresentation and misinformation from the anti-Cuban mass media. This incident could further perpetuate such dominant anti-Cuba smears.”

See also here.