Компания Universum обнародовала рейтинг самых привлекательных работодателей в России, составленный на основе опроса, в котором приняли участие свыше 25 тысяч студентов различных отечественных вузов. Первые места в списке заняли «Газпром», «Газпром нефть», Google и «Яндекс», передает РБК. Главным условием для будущих работников является стабильность компании-нанимателя, а наиболее привлекательными отраслями для них стали государственный сектор (18%), IT (16%), а также медиа и реклама (15%). Среди студентов, которые изучают бизнес и «инжиниринг/естественные науки», первое место по популярности среди возможных вариантов трудоустройства занял «Газпром». Кроме того, будущие бизнесмены отдавали предпочтение Google, «Газпром нефти», «Роснефти» и BMW Group. Среди студентов, специализирующихся на IT-сфере, наибольшей популярностью пользуется компания Google, однако опрошенные признались, что скорее отправят резюме в отечественную компанию «Яндекс», чем туда. Студенты со специализацией «гуманитарные науки/образование» предпочитают Google, «Газпром», «Яндекс», L’Oréal Group и Microsoft. При этом, судя по итогам опроса, после окончания вуза и трудоустройства российские студенты рассчитывают зарабатывать в среднем 65 тысяч рублей (мужчины) и 53 тысячи рублей (женщины). Последние, как сочли в Universum, более реалистично оценивают ситуацию на рынке труда и потребности работодателей, а также в большей степени готовы работать «на перспективу» и накапливать опыт. Средний возраст респондентов составил 21,8 года.
Компания Universum представила ежегодный рейтинг «Самые привлекательные работодатели России 2016». В опросе участвовали 25 тыс. российских студентов из 93 вузов по всей стране. В первой тройке работодателей — «Газпром», Google, «Роснефть». В топ-10 вошли BMW Group, «Сбербанк», Microsoft, McKinsey&Company, EY, L'Oréal Group, Volkswagen.В 2011 году в рейтинге первые три строчки занимали «Газпром», ЛУКОЙЛ и «Сбербанк». Отмечалось, что в отличие от россиян, для западных студентов идеальные работодатели — те, которые известны своим творческим подходом: Google, Apple, L`Oreal, LVMH. Российских студентов больше привлекает в работодателях финансовая сила и стабильность, сделали вывод в исследовательской компании.Подробнее о рейтинге читайте в материале «Ъ» «Российские студенты предпочитают инновациям финансовую стабильность».
Sergei Lavrov says he will give evidence to United Nations security council, and describes UN report as biasedThe Russian foreign minister has said he will give the United Nations security council evidence that implicates Syrian rebels in a chemical attack.Sergei Lavrov described a UN report that concluded that the nerve agent sarin was used on the outskirts of Damascus on 21 August as one-sided and biased.He said he will give the security council the evidence, which is being supplied by Syrian officials but which he has not seen as yet.The UN report on the chemical attack did not specifically blame either side in the country's bitter civil war but led to conclusions from the international community that forces loyal to president Bashar al-Assad were responsible.Following the criticism from Russia, the UN said the findings of the report are "indisputable".Lavrov said there was plenty of evidence that pointed to rebel involvement in chemical attacks."We will discuss all this in the security council, together with the report which was submitted by UN experts and which confirms that chemical weapons were used. We will have to find out who did it," he said.Earlier, Lavrov's deputy Sergei Ryabkov said an initial UN security council resolution supporting a deal for Syria to scrap its chemical arms should be limited to that purpose, suggesting Moscow would oppose any threat of force.Speaking in Damascus after meeting Assad, Ryabkov also criticised the UN's report.He accused the investigators of all but ignoring evidence presented by the Syrian government that he said supported rebel culpability."We are disappointed that there is no due attention paid to this evidence in the report which the [UN] group presented in New York earlier this week," he told reporters in Damascus in televised remarks."One cannot be as one-sided and as flawed as we have seen, laying the full [blame for the] incident in Ghouta upon the Syrian government," he said.He said the report was limited in scope and reiterated Russian calls for further investigation that would include accounts from sources including the internet and government evidence of alleged chemical arms use in the days after 12 August.The US-Russia deal, reached on Saturday, calls for Syria to account fully for its chemical weapons within a week and for the removal and destruction of the entire arsenal by mid-2014.Diplomats from the permanent UN security council members – Russia, the United States, Britain, France and China – began talks on Tuesday on a resolution intended to support the deal.Diplomats have said initial western drafts called for giving Syria an ultimatum to give up its chemical weapons or face "necessary measures".Ryabkov said the resolution should support an expected decision by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons' executive council setting out procedures for dealing with the chemical weapons "and nothing more than that" beyond providing an element of security for OPCW activity in Syria.SyriaArab and Middle East unrestMiddle East and North AfricaChemical weaponsRussiaEurope theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Whether or not it is an indication of potential legal troubles over Obama's horizon is unclear, but as Politico reports, the White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, a Georgetown Law graduate who assumed office on June 30, 2011, "has told President Obama she plans to leave by the end of the year" and a search for her replacement has begun. In itself this does not appear to be a novel development: 'Ruemmler had planned to leave at the end of 2012 – and had found a place to live in New York, where she planned to practice – but stayed at the behest of the boss. Ruemmler, known as a blunt, lawyer’s lawyer, was deputy to the previous White House counsel, Bob Bauer, and succeeded him in June of 2011. She came into the White House with close ties to John Brennan and Dennis McDonough from her time at DOJ, where she was principal associate deputy attorney general. Earlier in her career, she prosecuted Enron’s Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. When you walk into her West Wing office, you see the framed headline: “GUILTY.”" It appears that Ruemmler had encountered "recent criticism over her decision not to inform Obama that the IRS had looked into the political activity of nonprofit groups, primarily conservative organizations. Lanny Davis, who served as counsel to Bill Clinton, published an op-ed in The Hill calling on her to resign over the imbroglio." On Wednesday, Davis praised Ruemmler as “an extremely well-regarded and outstanding lawyer,” but also argued that “the White House counsel has to have primarily political and media skills to match legal skills.” In a subsequent article, Politico muses on who may be Ruemmler's succesor: Ron Klain, the former chief of staff to vice presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, is one of the small set of Washington superlawyers garnering buzz as possible candidates to succeed Kathryn Ruemmler as President Barack Obama’s White House counsel... Though White House aides declined to comment on potential successors, Klain, now the president of Case Holdings, and Jeh Johnson, the former top lawyer at the Pentagon, were both mentioned by sources familiar with the tiny universe of elite Washington political lawyers. Johnson and Klain both declined to comment for this story. Klain, 52, worked in the counsel’s office early in the Clinton administration before becoming Attorney General Janet Reno’s chief of staff and later Gore’s top aide. His role fighting for Gore in the Florida recount in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election was popularized by actor Kevin Spacey in an HBO movie. When Biden became vice president, he tapped Klain — his former counsel in the Senate — to lead the staff. Oh well, Saul Goodman is always available: And now, back to watching the next key action by the people who really run the country, and the world, the central planners from the Marriner Eccles building.
Car bomb explodes on Syrian side of Bab al-Hawa crossing, killing at least seven people and wounding 20A car bomb exploded on the Syrian side of the main Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey on Tuesday, killing at least seven people and wounding 20, the Turkish news agency Dogan said. The explosion occurred at a roadblock manned by hardline Islamist fighters at the entrance of the rebel-held crossing, several hundred metres from the Turkish side, activists said. The wounded were rushed to Turkish hospitals. Dogan reported seven people killed – a figure unconfirmed by the Turkish foreign ministry. Pictures taken by activists at the scene showed several burnt and mangled cars. "The casualties are all civilians, people queuing to cross," activist Omar Aref said. No specific group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Suspects include forces loyal to Assad, although tensions have been rising between hardline Islamist groups linked to al-Qaida and more moderate rebel forces, leading to sporadic clashes and killings. The explosion in Bab al-Hawa took place a day after Turkish forces shot down a Syrian helicopter in Turkish airspace. The Syrian army accused the Turkish government, which backs the uprising against Assad, of attempting to escalate tensions along the border. Government air strikes resumed over the weekend, as Washington and Moscow agreed a deal to remove chemical weapons from Syria Video from Lebanon's news channel al-Manar showed soldiers touring empty tunnels in Shabaa dug by rebels, who used them to transport men and arms while under air and artillery attack. Rebels in Damascus say they are regrouping and rethinking their strategies now a foreign strike appears unlikely.SyriaTurkeyMiddle East and North Africa theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Half Of Syrian Rebels Are Jihadists Fighting For Al Qaeda-Linked Groups, British Defense Study Finds
Until now, there was mostly speculation and conjecture that among the Syrian "rebel" parties assisted by the Obama administration and the west in their attempt to overthrow Assad, are various groups either supported or comprising of factions consisting of Al Qaeda, Jihadists and other extremist Islamic group. That speculation is now fact according to extracts from a British defense study published in Monday's Daily Telegraph, according to which Jihadists and members of hardline Islamist groups make up almost half of forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. As AFP reported, the analysis by defense consultancy IHS Jane's, due to be published in full later this week, puts the number of rebel forces at around 100,000. And half of this number are combatants on an ideological crusade against the west, who are partially or fully affiliated with Al Qaeda, and who will always seek a sponsor when carrying out whatever military operation is most profitable at any given moment. With Made In The USA weapons that is. The good news: internal splintering and lack of cohesion has resulted into these fighters splitting into as many as 1,000 bands since violence flared two years ago, the study concluded. Which is also the bad news: as Putin warned in his Op-Ed, various mercenary groups armed with Western weapons can now, or at any point in the future, find a new source of funding, if and when Saudi and Qatari interest in the conflict wanes, and use these same weapons against the very source of aid: the US itself, ultimately resulting in the same snafu that converted Osama bin Laden a "freedom fighter" into the most wanted man in America. More from AFP: Of the rebel forces, IHS Jane's estimates that around 10,000 are jihadists fighting for groups linked to Al-Qaeda and another 30,000 to 35,000 are hardline Islamists, who differ from jihadists in that they are concentrated only on the Syrian conflict, and not on the global Islamist fight. "The insurgency is now dominated by groups which have at least an Islamist viewpoint on the conflict," Charles Lister, author of the analysis, told the British newspaper. "The idea that it is mostly secular groups leading the opposition is just not borne out. "If the West looks as though it is not interested in removing Assad, moderate Islamists are also likely to be pushed further towards extremists," he warned. The study is based on interviews with militants and on intelligence estimates. So the next time Obama takes the podium and makes the case for accelerating the aiding and arming of such mercenary "rebels" who are nothing more than ideological jihadists, perhaps someone can ask how long before US weapons are used against US citizens on US soil? This should also explain why the administration is so very much against using "boots on the ground" - after all why put American soldiers' lives in jeopardy when you can get Al Qaeda to do your fighting for you. If only until they turn on you, of course.
Open letter says Syria is suffering because of attacks on hospitals and 15,000 doctors have fled the countryA group of 55 doctors and medical professionals, including three Nobel Prize winners, will warn this week that Syria's healthcare system is "at breaking point" because of attacks on hospitals, staff being attacked, imprisoned or fleeing the country, and humanitarian organisations being denied access to patients.In an open letter to the Lancet, to be published on Friday, they say that large parts of Syria are completely cut off from any form of medical assistance. The signatories, who span five continents, cite figures suggesting 469 health workers are currently imprisoned and about 15,000 doctors have fled the country. In Syria's largest city, Aleppo, there are just 36 physicians, compared to 5,000 before the civil war began, they say."We are appalled by the lack of access to healthcare for affected civilians, and by the deliberate targeting of medical facilities and personnel," the letter says. "It is our professional, ethical, and moral duty to provide treatment and care to anyone in need. When we cannot do so personally, we are obliged to speak out in support of those risking their lives to provide life-saving assistance."The signatories, although from countries with widely differing views on responsibility for the crisis in Syria, including Russia, China, Brazil, US, and the UK, argue together that the current focus on military intervention, in the wake of the chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs last month, should not detract from the need to help the victims of the conflict.According to the World Health Organisation, 37% of Syrian hospitals have been destroyed and a further 20% severely damaged.The signatories say women are giving birth with no medical assistance, life-saving surgery is being carried out without anaesthetic, children are not being vaccinated and victims of sexual violence have nowhere to turn to. Horrific injuries are going untended while people with chronic illnesses, including cancer, are not receiving any care, according to the letter.There has already been a measles epidemic sweeping through some districts of northern Syria, an alarming increase in cases of acute diarrhoea and an outbreak of cutaneous leishmaniasis, a severe infectious skin disease that can cause serious disability."To alleviate the effect on civilians of this conflict and of the deliberate attacks on the healthcare system, and to support our medical colleagues, we call on the Syrian government and all armed parties to refrain from attacking hospitals, ambulances, medical facilities and supplies, health professionals and patients," the signatories say.They demand access to treatment for patients and for perpetrators of attacks to be held accountable. The letter says governments supporting the opposing sides in the civil war should use their influence to stop the attacks and the UN and international donors must do more to increase support to Syrian medical networks.Signatories include the 2008 and 2011 winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine, Dr Harald zur Hausen, from Germany, and Jules Hoffmann from France, and the former director-general of the World Health Organisation, Gro Harlem Brundtland.While a deal struck on Saturday to disarm President Bashar al-Assad's regime of its chemical weapons has, for now, averted the prospect of western military intervention, which some humanitarian groups have warned would make the situation worse, there was no sign on Sunday that it will help bring about a resolution to the two-and-a-half-year conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people.SyriaMiddle East and North AfricaHealthHospitalsDoctorsWorld Health OrganisationNobel prizesHaroon Siddique theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Secretary of state begins Geneva talks with Russian counterpart and says: 'We do believe there is a way to get this done'The US secretary of state, John Kerry, on Thursday expressed cautious optimism that a deal could be reached to guarantee the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, as he began talks on the issue in Geneva with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.Appearing alongside Lavrov, shortly after the beginning of two days of negotiations, Kerry acknowledged that expectations were high but said: "We do believe there is a way to get this done."As the talks got under way in Geneva, the United Nations announced that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad had signed a legislative decree making his country party to the chemical weapons convention."In their letter, the Syrian authorities have expressed their commitment to observe the obligations entailed by the convention even before its entry into force for Syria," a UN spokesperson said. "Given recent events, he hopes that the current talks in Geneva will lead to speedy agreement on a way forward which will be endorsed and assisted by the international community."Kerry insisted that the threat of military action against Syria, over a chemical weapons attack in the country on 21 August, remained an option. He also rejected Assad's suggestion that he would have 30 days, under the standard terms of the chemical weapons treaty, to declare his stockpiles. "We believe there is nothing standard about this process at this moment because of the way the regime has behaved," Kerry said. "And the words of the Syrian regime, in our judgment, are simply not enough."The joint press conference between Kerry and Lavrov marked the start of an uncomfortable alliance between the US and Russia, after the two countries unexpectedly converged around a proposal to disarm Syria of its chemical stockpiles. Delegations of Russian and American technical experts are in the Swiss capital to discuss the mechanics of the disarmament plan, which would involve Syria identifying the locations of its stockpiles and handing over control to the international community. Washington is seeking to shift responsibility for the success of any weapons destruction programme to Moscow. US officials argue that the plans for dealing with Syria's chemical weapons were put forward by Russia, and says its "prestige" is now at stake. "This is not a game. It has to be real," Kerry said in Geneva.Earlier on Thursday, Assad told Russian television Syria would submit documents to the UN for an agreement governing the handover of its chemical arsenal. "Syria is placing its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia. The US threats did not influence the decision," Interfax said, quoting the state-run Rossiya-24 channel's yet-to-be-aired interview.The White House and State Department both indicated on Thursday that the US was treating Assad's promise with scepticism. In Geneva, Kerry said: "It is too early to tell whether these efforts will succeed, but the technical challenges of trying to do this in the context of the civil war are obviously immense. But despite how difficult this is, with the collaboration of our experts, and only with the compliance of the Assad regime, we do believe there is a way to get this done."A senior state department official accompanying the Kerry delegation said the US and Russia both had technical expertise in chemical weapons destruction because of the two-decade process – which is still ongoing – to destroy cold war-era stockpiles. "We also have experience in doing destruction of chemical weapons in the face of a resistant environment," the official said. "That is Iraq in the 1990s. And we have recent and ongoing experience, successful experience, in the case of a cooperative government. That is Libya, which we expect within the next few months will complete the destruction of its stockpiles left over from the previous regime." The senior official spoke on the condition of anonymity, as occurs routinely in US administration briefings. Kerry said Syrian weapons destruction would need to be credible, comprehensive, verifiable and implemented quickly, and added that there would need to be "consequences" for Assad if he did not comply with his obligations. He did not specify whether such consequences would involve the use of force against Syria. However, he also said that the credible threat of military action had forced Syria into conceding that it possessed chemical weapons and agreeing to their destruction, and maintained that the threat of strikes remained. Lavrov said that the securing of Syria's chemical weapons "will make unnecessary any strike against the Syrian Arab Republic".After Kerry spoke, Lavrorv appeared to admonish him for making political comments. "Diplomacy likes silence," Lavrov said. Kerry did not hear the translation and asked for it to be repeated. Lavrov said in English: "It's okay, John." Kerry laughed and replied: "You want me to take your word for it. It's a little early for that."Aside from the jokes, Kerry adopted softer language than has recently been used by the Obama administration, saying only that "force might be necessary" to deter Assad from using his weapons if the diplomatic route failed.The question over whether force could be authorised, in the event that Syria did not comply with chemical weapons actions, is at the centre of negotiations at the UN in New York, where a possible resolution is being drafted. Lavrov added that Russia's position on Syria had been laid out in president Vladimir Putin's op-ed article in the New York Times. "I am convinced that all of you have read this article," Lavrov said.In the article, Putin welcomed the new diplomatic initiative over Syria but condemned a US tendency toward unilateral "brute force" and sharply criticised America's belief in its own "exceptionalism". The article caused consternation in Washington.The Republican senator John McCain said the article was "an insult to the intelligence of every American", while the Democratic chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, Robert Menendez, said of reading the piece: "I almost wanted to vomit."The US administration chose more diplomatic language. A State Department deputy spokeswoman, Marie Harf, said the time had come for Putin to "put forward actions now, not just words".The White House spokesman Jay Carney said: "The important thing is that both in his op-ed and in his statements and actions, president Putin has invested his credibility in the transfer of Assad's chemical weapons."He added: "[Nevertheless] there's a great irony in the placement of an op-ed like this because it reflects the truly exceptional tradition in this country of freedom of expression – something on the decrease in the last dozen or so years in Russia."Carney said the White House would not tolerate any delay by the Syrian government and would continue to provide military assistance to rebel groups throughout the process.United StatesSyriaChemical weaponsMiddle East and North AfricaUnited NationsUS foreign policyObama administrationJohn KerryRussiaVladimir PutinBashar al-AssadArab and Middle East unrestDan RobertsPaul Lewis theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Rady Ananda Activist Post The latest group to challenge Monsanto is heading to the US Supreme Court, this time to seek a covenant not to sue when their crops become genetically contaminated. The Organic Growers and Seed Traders Assn., et al. filed their petition for writ of certiorari on Sept. 5, appealing a lower court ruling that determined that Monsanto’s website and court statements promising not to sue rendered OSGATA’s action moot. As discussed in Monsanto can still sue farmers for GMO contamination event, Monsanto promised not to sue only if one percent or less of the crops or seeds were contaminated, not a very likely scenario, as the OSGATA plaintiffs reasoned in their Supreme Court petition: However, Petitioners risk being contaminated in amounts much greater than 1%, and thus remain compelled to forgo full use of their land and adopt genetic testing of their seed supplies in order to avoid being accused of patent infringement by Respondents. Jim Gerritsen, an organic seed farmer in Maine and President of OSGATA, said, “We don’t think it’s fair that Monsanto can trespass onto our farm, contaminate and ruin our crops and then sue us for infringing on their patent rights.” Since 2011, OSGATA has led a suite of plaintiffs representing 300,000 individuals and 4,500 farms. They also seek to overturn Monsanto’s patents as invalid on the grounds they cause more harm than good. Daniel Ravicher, Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation and lead counsel for plaintiffs, explains the patent challenge: Monsanto’s patents on genetically engineered seed are invalid because they don’t meet the ‘usefulness’ requirement of patent law. Evidence cited in the plaintiffs’ court filings proves that genetically engineered seed has negative economic and health effects, while the promised benefits of genetically engineered seed – increased production and decreased herbicide use – are false. google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; Therefore, “Monsanto’s transgenic seed patents are all invalid.” A growing body of evidence continues to show that biotech crops require more pesticides than regular crops, after the first few years, because weeds and insects develop resistance. Most recently: University of Washington research scientist Charles Benbrook measured pesticide use since the advent of GM crops, and found that overall pesticide use was 20% higher for the past 16 years than it would have been had farmers not used GM seeds. Pest resistance is so profound now that superweeds are the main topic of study at this week’s American Chemical Society convention, and at last year’s Superweed Summit hosted by the National Academy of Sciences. Numerous studies warn of the impact on animals, including humans, after being exposed to spray. Of course, biotech and their enabling regulators know this, or they wouldn’t wear biohazard suits into the field. The only valid use for transgenic crops is biotech profits. When weighed against all the harm wrought by GM crops, any reasonable and uncorrupted mind would invalidate the patents. If plaintiffs win this claim, all transgenic patents may be invalidated. But, not only will the suit be heard by a Supreme Court stacked with Monsanto lackeys, as we saw in the Geertson Seed case, it’s also being heard in a federal landscape devoted to corporate profits at the expense of everyone else, including the environment. Late last night, the House of Representatives passed a three-month extension for the Monsanto Protection Act, or formally, the Farmer Assurance Provision, which Obama signed into law earlier this year. The Senate is expected to follow along. This rider permits the USDA to override judicial authority and allow the planting of genetically modified seeds, despite any court order to the contrary. Such a law destroys the independent balance among our three branches of government, representing a power grab by the legislative branch to thwart the will of the judicial branch. It does not seem likely the High Court, along with Congress and the Administration, will do anything but promote Monsanto’s profits. No doubt, though, we should support pursuing all legal remedies available to us. Rady Ananda is the creator of Food Freedom News and COTO Report, Rady Ananda's work has appeared in several online and print publications, including four books. With a B.S. in Natural Resources from Ohio State University’s School of Agriculture, Rady tweets @geobear7 and @RadysRant .
Copenhagen cook René Redzepi raises appeal funds for Ahmed Jama, owner of Mogadishu Village eatery blasted by IslamistsTwo more different restaurants are hard to imagine. Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, is an oak-floored oasis of calm and elegance that has thrice been ranked the world's best. The Village in war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia, is a humbler affair and has just been attacked by Islamist militants, with a suicide attacker and car bomb killing at least 18 people.Yet the community of chefs is strong. René Redzepi, the celebrated founder of Noma, was so shocked at the latest outrage that he launched a fundraising drive to help Somali Ahmed Jama rebuild his establishment. In just four days it has raised €12,000 (£10,090), with donations coming from around the world."He's a cook who has a bigger mission than any of us," Redzepi said. "We all cook for ourselves but he has a bigger agenda. We're from Scandinavia where our struggles are not worth mentioning compared to the things he has to deal with."Jama, who studied catering in Solihull, West Midlands, also owns a Somali restaurant called the Village in Hammersmith, west London. He returned to Mogadishu to demonstrate the country could change for the better and opened the Village in 2008. More recently, he opened a $100-a-night beachside hotel.Redzepi first read about Jama in the Guardian last year and invited him to speak at Noma's recent Mad Symposium food festival where his talk was called War zone cuisine: bringing back peace and life to Mogadishu.Via a Somali interpreter, Jama told the gathering of chefs, cooks and farmers: "In 2008 I decided to open a restaurant in Mogadishu and my fellow Somalis in London thought I was crazy: 'how could I open a restaurant in a dangerous area like Mogadishu?' But when I opened the restaurant I made an opportunity for employing many young people and they were very happy, and have attracted many people to come and eat at my restaurant."Jama won over his audience. Redzepi said: "He talked about his decision to leave the safety net of Europe and address the negative perceptions of Somalia. It was a really touching, inspiring story and he did it in a way that wasn't trying to get sympathy. That's why it was so crazy to read the headline about a guy we'd just spent four days with."Two weeks after the symposium, the Village was attacked for the third time in its history by al-Shabaab, a group linked to al-Qaida. Jama survived, having stepped outside five minutes before the bombings, and vowed to rebuild once again.Redzepi expressed admiration for the Somalian's resolve. "It's close to my heart. I totally get him and his dedication to the table. What he fights for is not Michelin stars or being on some list, but a totally different level of dedication."It's mind boggling that he hasn't quit after being bombed so many times. Most people in that situation would have."He set up an appeal fund, tweeting on Monday: "Guys, lets help out chef Ahmed in Somalia rebuild." It attracted donations from nearly a hundred people from countries including the US, Australia, Britain, Denmark and Lebanon, ranging from €10 to €1,000. "We all said we want to help people. That genuine compassion is what makes the world tick."Since al-Shabaab was driven out two years ago there has been some progress in Mogadishu. A president and parliament have been elected, foreign embassies including the British have reopened and events such as TEDxMogadishu have been staged. But in June the rebel group attacked the main UN compound, killing at least 22, and recently Médecins Sans Frontières announced it was pulling out of Somalia after 22 years.On Wednesday, more than 160 Muslim scholars issued a fatwa against al-Shabaab and called on the government to defend its citizens. The scholars said "it was forbidden that anyone join al-Shabaab" as its extreme interpretation of Islam was damaging to the reputation of Muslims.DenmarkSomaliaEuropeChefsDavid Smith theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Secretary of state John Kerry discusses US-Russia talks in Geneva and says: 'This is not a game. It has to be real'Syria took the first formal step towards surrendering its chemical weapons on Thursday, sending the United Nations an application to join the international convention prohibiting the production and use of such arms.The UN secretary general's office confirmed receipt of the letter, hours after the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad, had admitted the existence of the arsenal for the first time, and said he was ready to transfer it to international control.At the same time, talks between the US and Russia on how to implement the transfer got under way in Geneva. John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said at a news conference with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, that both sides were serious about the negotiations despite some differences over the plan. But he warned: "This is not a game. It has to be real."With its letter to the UN, Syria was poised to become the the 190th member of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), leaving a small group of nations outside the treaty: Israel, Burma, Angola, Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan. Syrian membership will take effect 30 days after the delivery of the letter. After that Syria would be legally committed to ridding itself of its chemical arsenal.However, in a Russian television interview, Assad also appeared to put conditions on Syria's chemical disarmament, saying the US would have to reciprocate by ceasing military threats against his government and the arming of "terrorists".Assad's comments emphasised the significant diplomatic obstacles facing US and Russian diplomats and chemical weapons experts as they began meetings in Geneva to discuss Moscow's plan to disarm the Syrian government. According to the Russian Kommersant newspaper, the plan would involve four stages: Syria would sign the CWC, then declare its stockpile and production facilities, invite weapons inspectors in, and cooperate with them in drawing up a plan to destroy the stockpile.That arsenal, according to a French intelligence estimate this month, amounts to more than 1,000 tonnes of chemical agents and precursors, including mustard gas as well as sarin and VX nerve agents.Speaking in Geneva, Kerry acknowledged that there would be "immense technical challenges" in implementing the plan. But he told Lavrov: "We are serious, as you are, about engaging in substantive, meaningful negotiations." He repeated Washington's position that there had to be "consequences" if Syria failed to follow through on its commitments and said that US military assets would remain in place.In an op-ed published in the New York Times on Wednesday night, Russian president Vladimir Putin restated Moscow's claim that the chemical attacks in Damascus on 21 August which triggered the current global crisis were the work of rebel forces, but he did not cite evidence.A UN investigation into the attack is expected to produce a report early next week. The Foreign Policy online magazine quoted a senior western official as saying the report, by Swedish scientist Åke Sellström, would include a "wealth" of evidence pointing at the culpability of the Assad regime. American officials said that they would insist on a brisk timetable to ensure the plan did not become a time-buying ploy.While the diplomats talked in Geneva, the US and Russia continued to build up their naval forces in the Mediterranean. Russia has dispatched a "carrier killer" missile cruiser and other ships to the eastern Mediterranean, in its largest naval deployment since Soviet times.The destroyer Smetlivy left a naval base in Sevastopol, Ukraine, on Tuesday, on a mission to the Syrian coast, a military source told the state news agency Interfax on Thursday. The source said the Smetlivy would travel to the Mediterranean with the amphibious assault ship Nikolai Filchenkov, which left Novorossiysk on Monday carrying unidentified supplies for the Damascus government. The missile cruiser Moskva, the flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet, is also on its way to the Syrian coast to lead the Russian force there. The ship is reportedly known as a "carrier-killer" because it is outfitted with Vulkan missiles, which are designed to destroy large ships.The former Democratic US senator Sam Nunn, who is one of the world's leading arms-control campaigners, said the disarmament process would have a chance of succeeding only if the Syrian army is in charge of the arsenal."We hope that the Syrian army is in control. The US government believes it is. The Russians disagree. If the Russians are right and some of the rebels have control, the nightmare's just started," said Nunn, speaking to The Guardian in Brussels.United StatesSyriaChemical weaponsUnited NationsMiddle East and North AfricaRussiaJohn KerryBashar al-AssadVladimir PutinUS militaryUS foreign policyJulian BorgerAlec LuhnIan Traynor theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Madison Ruppert Activist Post The U.S. government has been delivering weapons, vehicles, sophisticated communications gear and advanced combat medical kits for two weeks via the CIA and State Department, according to a Washington Post report. However, the CIA has played a significant role in arming the rebels for quite some time now as even The New York Times reported in June 2012. The US government has been assisting in the arming of the rebels in other ways as well. There were also reports in August of U.S., Israeli and Jordanian commandos operating on Syrian soil with the rebels. The latest Post report cites unnamed U.S. officials and Syrian figures who say that the CIA’s arms shipments have been “streaming into the country over the past two weeks.” Separate State Department deliveries include the vehicles and other critical equipment. The arms shipments are reportedly “limited to light weapons and other munitions that can be tracked,” but it is impossible to independently verify this claim. google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; The Post points out that the Obama administration said that they would “increase aid to Syrian rebels” months ago, though they noted that efforts were hindered due to logistical issues and “officials’ fears that any assistance could wind up in the hands of jihadists.” However, in April it was reported that a $123 million military aid package was to be given to the rebels by the U.S. and in February the U.S. pledged $60 million in non-lethal aid to the rebels. The lethal aid is reportedly being provided to fighters under the command of Gen. Salim Idriss, commander of the Supreme Military Council, according to anonymous officials. Idriss was one of the rebels that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) met with when he secretly entered Syria in May. Interestingly, Idriss noted in the past that Jabhat al-Nusra has more resources and a tactical ground advantage. Jabhat al-Nusra is made up of the same “jihadists” feared by officials. Idriss also said that the al-Nusra fighters are some of the bravest ever. The Post reports that the U.S. has already earmarked $26.6 million in aid for the Supreme Military Council on top of “a $250 million effort to support moderate factions of the Syrian opposition.” That effort includes building up basic infrastructure in order to counter the influence of groups like Jabhat al-Nusra which are delivering services to the communities that come under rebel control. U.S. officials claim that they are confident that it is “possible to limit aid to select rebel units in a battlefield where thousands of fighters share al-Qaeda’s ideology,” according to the Post. How they actually know where the aid is going goes unexplained. After all, the “moderate” rebels openly defend Jabhat al-Nusra and those like them, with the leader of the U.S.-recognized Syrian National Coalition saying in 2012, “No group fighting Assad should be considered a terrorist organization.” I’d love to hear your opinion, take a look at your story tips and even your original writing if you would like to get it published. I am also available for interviews on radio, television or any other format. Please email me at [email protected] support our work and help us start to pay contributors by doing your shopping through our Amazon link or check out some must-have products at our store. This article first appeared at End the Lie.
Militant also known as Abu Mansoor al-Amriki was on FBI's most wanted list with $5m reward for his captureA rapping jihadist from Alabama who ascended the ranks of Somalia's al-Qaida-linked militant group and was on the FBI's most wanted list with a $5m (£3.2m) reward for his capture was reportedly killed on Thursday in an ambush ordered by the militant group's leader.Omar Hammami, a native of Daphne, Alabama, who was known as Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, or "the American", died in southern Somalia following several months on the run after a falling out with al-Shabaab's top leader, the militants said.Reports of Hammami's death crop up every few months in Somalia, only for him to resurface a short while later. But a US terrorism expert who closely follows the inner workings of al-Shabaab said he thought the current reports of the death were accurate."I think it's very likely true based on the sources I am seeing," said JM Berger, who runs the website Intelwire.com.Militants did not immediately present proof of Hammami's death.A member of al-Shabaab who gave his name as Sheik Abu Mohammed told the Associated Press that Hammami was killed in an ambush in Somalia's southern Bay region. Some of Mohammed's associates carried out the killing, he said.Along with Adam Gadahn in Pakistan – a former Osama bin Laden spokesman – Hammami was one of the two most notorious Americans in jihad groups. He grew up in Daphne, a community of 20,000 outside Mobile, the son of a Christian mother and a Syrian-born Muslim father.His YouTube videos that featured him rapping and his presence on Twitter made him one of the most recognisable and studied US foreign fighters. The US put Hammami on its most wanted terrorist list in March and offered a $5m reward for information leading to his capture.US prosecutors had charged Hammami with providing material support to terrorists.Hammami moved from Alabama to Somalia and joined al-Shabaab in about 2006. He fought alongside al-Shabaab for years until they had a falling out amid signs of increasing tension between Somali and foreign fighters in the group. He first expressed fear for his life in a web video in March 2012 that publicised his rift with al-Shabaab.The first serious attempt on his life was made in April."Just been shot in neck by shabaab assassin. not critical yet," Hammami tweeted after the April attack. He later wrote on Twitter that the leader of al-Shabaab was sending in forces from multiple directions. "we are few but we might get back up. abu zubayr has gone mad. he's starting a civil war," Hammami posted.Hammami accused al-Shabaab's leaders of living extravagant lifestyles with the taxes fighters collected from Somali residents. Another Hammami grievance was that the Somali militant leaders sidelined foreign militants inside al-Shabaab and were concerned only about fighting in Somalia, not globally.The leader of al-Shabaab, Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, is also known as Godane.Berger said Hammami had been "a thorn in the side of al-Shabaab" for more than two years and "one of the few surviving dissenters after Godane's bloody purge over the summer".Militants in Somalia have long hosted foreign fighters in the country. US officials say al-Shabaab, which has been around since about 2006, counts several hundred foreign fighters among its ranks, including several dozen Somali-Americans from Minnesota.Al-Shabaab and al-Qaida announced a formal merger in February 2012, but the Somali militant group maintained a reputation as being hostile to foreign fighters."Hammami brought a lot of unwelcome outside scrutiny on Shabaab from the international jihadist community. His story will likely be a case study on what can go wrong when westerners join jihadist movements," Berger said.SomaliaMiddle East and North AfricaAfricaUnited States theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Submitted by Brandon Smith of Alt-Market blog, “Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.”–Sun Tzu, The Art of War The definition of what makes an “enemy” may vary from person to person. But I would say that, generally, an enemy is one who has an active ability to do irreparable harm to you or your essential values. He is motivated by destruction, the destruction of all that you hold dear. He is capable and unrelenting. He is a legitimate threat. He will not compromise. He will not waver. He will do anything to wound you. He will not stop. He is possessed. Americans have spent the better part of a century being told who their enemies are with very little explanation or substantiation. We have blindly rallied around our patriotic prerogative without knowing the root cause of the conflict or the nature of the target we are told to annihilate. We have been suckered into war after war, conjured by international interests in order to lure us into accepting greater centralization and concentrated globalism. As a culture, I’m sorry to say, we have been used. We are a tool of unmitigated doom. We are the loaded gun in the hand of the devil. This paradigm has done irreparable harm to our standing in the eyes of the peoples of the world. But until recently, it has done very little harm to us as a society. We have allowed ourselves to be used like a bloody club, but we have not yet felt the true pain or the true cost. We have been insulated from consequence. However, this comfortable situation is quickly coming to an end. When one applies the above definition of “the enemy” to Syria, one comes away with very little satisfaction. The Syrian government poses absolutely no immediate threat to the United States. In fact, the civil war that now rages within its borders has been completely fabricated by our own government. The insurgency has been funded, armed, trained and ultimately directed by the U.S. intelligence community. Without U.S. subversion, the civil war in Syria would not exist. So, the question arises: If Syria is not the real enemy, who is? I point back to the core issue. That is to say, I would examine who pose a legitimate threat to our country and our principles. The Syrian government under Bashar Assad clearly has no capability to threaten our freedom, our economic stability, our social stability, or our defensive capabilities. There is, though, a group of people out there who do, in fact, pose a significant threat to the American way of life on every conceivable level. These people do not live on the other side of the world. They do not wear foreign garb or speak another language. Most of them do not have pigmented skin or Asian features. They look just like you and I, and they live in Washington D.C. If the so-called “debate” over a possible military strike in Syria has done anything, it has certainly brought the American public’s true enemies frothing to the surface like so much sewage. Men who posed as liberal proponents of peace not long ago now salivate over the prospect of bloodshed. Men who once posed as fiscal conservatives now clamor for more Federal funding to drive the U.S. war machine. Men who claimed to represent the citizenry now ignore all calls for reason by the public in the pursuit of global dominance. I have warned of the considerable dangers of a war in Syria for years — long before most people knew or cared about the Assad regime. Being in this position has allowed me to view the escalating crisis with a considerable amount of objectivity. In the midst of so much chaos and confusion, if you know who stands to gain and who stands to lose, the progression of events becomes transparent, and the strategy of the actual enemy emerges. So what have I observed so far? If you want to know who has malicious intent toward our Constitutional values, simply move your eyes away from the Mideast and focus on our own capital. The ill will toward liberty held by the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties is obvious in the Congressional support of the banker bailouts, the Patriot Acts, the National Defense Authorization Act, the President’s domestic assassination directives, the hands-off approach to National Security Agency mass surveillance, etc. But even beyond these litmus tests, the Syrian debate has unveiled numerous enemies of the American people within our own government. The catastrophe inherent in a Syrian strike is at least partially known to most of the public. We are fully aware that there will be blowback from any new strike in the Mideast (limited or unlimited), economically as well as internationally. So if the average American with little political experience understands the consequences of such an action, the average politician should be more than educated on the dangers. Any representative who blatantly ignores the calamity ahead is either very stupid or has an agenda. I find it fascinating that politicians and bureaucrats from both sides of the aisle are now coming out of the woodwork to cheerlead alongside each other for war and the state. For those who are predominantly preoccupied with Barack Obama as the source of all our ills, I would gladly point out that Republican leader and House Speaker John Boehner has also thrown his support behind a Syrian strike, even before the U.N. investigative report on Syrian chemical weapons use has been released. In the meantime, self-proclaimed Republican stalwarts like John McCain (R-Ariz.) have argued that Obama’s “limited strike” response is “not enough.” This is the same man, by the way, who has been instrumental in the monetary and military support of Al Qaeda in Syria. McCain has recently called for avid pursuit of the new Russian proposal for chemical disarmament in Syria, not because he wants to find a peaceful solution to the situation, but because he believes the deal can be used as a bargaining chip to convince Congress to VOTE FOR military force, in order to "keep pressure on Assad". Secretary of State John Kerry, who not long ago ran for President on the platform of being an anti-war Democrat, now regularly begs the American people to back further war based on the same dubious evidence for which he once criticized the George W. Bush Administration. In fact, Kerry has made it clear that even if Congress votes “no” against a strike, he believes Obama has the right to set one in motion anyway. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), the man who openly admits in mainstream interviews that he believes the President has the right to indefinitely detain or assassinate American citizens without trial or oversight, has loudly indicated his support for a war on Syria. His criticisms parallel McCain’s in that he believes the Obama Administration should have attacked without Congressional approval or should commit to an all-out military shift into the region. That is to say, he believes the goal of the White House should be invasion and regime change, not just disarmament. Graham consistently fear mongers in the mainstream media, often warning that without a hard, immediate strike against Syria, catastrophe will befall Israel, and chemical and nuclear weapons will rain on America. All I have to say to Graham is, if chemical or nuclear weapons are used against the American people, it will be because the establishment ALLOWED it to happen — just as it has allowed numerous attacks in the past to occur in order to facilitate pretext for a larger war. (The Gulf of Tonkin is a fitting example considering the many similarities between the Syrian debacle and Vietnam, the only difference being that this time the establishment is throwing its support on the side of the insurgency, rather than the prevailing government). For those out there in the movement who are hoping for reason and logic to prevail during a Congressional debate on the Syrian issue, I would suggest that they do not hold their breath. This vote was decided before Obama ever allowed it to go to the Hill. The vote has been cast. The debate is a sideshow designed to make the American people feel as if their system of government still functions as it should. Remember, no Congress in the history of the United States has ever refused the request of a President to make war. The more than 150 Congressmen who demanded a vote on the Syrian crisis did so because they wanted to be included in the process, not because they necessarily opposed a war. That leaves nearly 300 representatives who had NO PROBLEM whatsoever with Obama attacking Syria unilaterally without any checks or balances. The Senate panel that initiated the voting process on the strike plan passed the initiative 10-7. I have no doubt that Obama has the votes to confirm the use of force, even with all the talk of uncertainty in evidence or planning. The Russian offer of organizing chemical disarmament has barely made a dent in the White House's war rhetoric, as was evident in Barack Obama's address to the nation yesterday. When asked in an interview with NBC if he has made up his mind whether or not he will forge ahead with military action if Congress votes his proposal down, Obama stated: "It's fair to say that I haven't decided..." Putting on the airs of a Roman Emperor, Obama's thumb remains in the neutral position over the gladiator pit of Syria, but as he clearly points out, he can give the thumbs down anytime he chooses. If anything, the White House and the elitist machine are simply using the next few weeks (the approximate time being discussed for chemical disarmament) to establish further precedent, or conjure new atrocities, in order to garner a minimal public backing for violent action in the region. And, let's not forget our friendly enemies in the mainstream media. The MSM is in rare form the past week, fabricating numerous arguments as to why the average American "just doesn't get the Syrian situation". The latest disinformation campaigns seem to be revolving around generating alternative motivations for a strike - Obama's "red line" was crossed and we must strike in order to save face amongst our allies. A refusal to strike Syria will "embolden Iran" and lead them to use their own WMD's in terrorist acts (WMD's which are still not proven to exist). And my favorite argument: That refusing to strike would mean "abandoning" the Syrian rebels in their war on Assad. You know, the same rebels permeated with psychopathic Al Qaeda operatives that our government trained and funded. The mainstream media steamroller is barreling forward, searching for ANY talking point that will hook the American populace into rationalizing an attack. I have to say, I don't think I've ever seen so many pencil-necked weaklings call for so much blood. The strategy seems to be an attempt to shift America's attention away from the alleged chemical attack alone, and discombobulate us with multiple sales pitches of death in case Congressional support turns sour (which I doubt). But let’s say Obama does not get his Congressional approval; as stated earlier his office has asserted on numerous occasions that he has the authority to trigger war regardless. A “no” vote in Washington means nothing today due to war powers granted after 9/11. The probable scenario, though, is the most common scenario. Congress will likely authorize the “use of limited military force” without directly declaring war on the Assad regime. This is exactly what Congress did in the wake of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. There was no evidence of an Al Qaeda support structure and no evidence of weapons of mass destruction, but war exploded nonetheless. Congress gave Bush a blank check to do whatever he saw fit, and I believe Congress will do the same for Obama. America is being set up to look like the bad guy or the fool, but why? Our political leadership is devoted to the ideology of globalization, not sovereignty or U.S prosperity. A Syrian strike places the United States in tremendous peril, the likes of which have not been seen since the Cuban missile crisis. Syria itself is a vacuum of suffocating calamity; a black hole swirling in a void of economic and sociological interdependency. Where the United States enters, so follows Iran, so follows Israel, so follows Saudi Arabia, so follows Lebanon, so follows Jordan, so follows Egypt, so follows Russia, so follows China and on and on. In my analysis of Syria over the years, I have exposed this domino effect of war as well as the possible calamities of an economic chain reaction. Escalating conflict in Syria will eventually lead to the end of the dollar’s world reserve status and the collapse of the U.S. financial system. Knowing that this is the ultimate result of a strike in the region, many people would ask WHY the White House and so many prominent figures in Congress would be so hell-bent on setting such wheels in motion. I would stand back from the chaos and ask what I always ask: Who gains the most from the disaster? The demise of American currency dominance and the degradation of the American spirit do indeed benefit a select few. For the most part, central banks and globalists have taken a hands-off approach to the Syrian debacle. Perhaps that’s because doing so makes it easier for them to survey the inevitable collapse from a distance and swoop in later as our “saviors,” ready to rebuild the world according to their own ideals. Having a debased and desperate U.S. populace certainly makes the transition to total globalization and centralization much easier. My original query was: Who is the real enemy? No matter what happens in the coming months and years, never forget that question. Who poses the greatest threat to our freedom: Syria or the political ghouls trying to convince us to decimate Syria? Who claims the power to take everything we have? Who claims the power to take our liberty and our lives at a whim? Who claims the power to kill innocents in our name? Who disregards the checks and balances of Constitutionalism at every turn? Who truly threatens our future and the future of our children? Do not be distracted by stories of foreign monsters far away when the real monsters lurk so quietly under your bed. Even if we can find a successful strategy to pressure Congress into avoiding a Syrian conflict, I say remain vigilant. America is one global hiccup away from oblivion. And if this is what the establishment wants, they will find a way to make it happen. The threat of continuous U.S. catastrophe will only end when the poison is removed from our very veins, and that process of purification begins with the removal of the criminal political structures and banking structures in Washington.
Brandon Smith Activist Post Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate. –Sun Tzu, The Art of WarThe definition of what makes an “enemy” may vary from person to person. But I would say that, generally, an enemy is one who has an active ability to do irreparable harm to you or your essential values. He is motivated by destruction, the destruction of all that you hold dear. He is capable and unrelenting. He is a legitimate threat. He will not compromise. He will not waver. He will do anything to wound you. He will not stop. He is possessed. Americans have spent the better part of a century being told who their enemies are with very little explanation or substantiation. We have blindly rallied around our patriotic prerogative without knowing the root cause of the conflict or the nature of the target we are told to annihilate. We have been suckered into war after war, conjured by international interests in order to lure us into accepting greater centralization and concentrated globalism. As a culture, I’m sorry to say, we have been used. We are a tool of unmitigated doom. We are the loaded gun in the hand of the devil. This paradigm has done irreparable harm to our standing in the eyes of the peoples of the world. But until recently, it has done very little harm to us as a society. We have allowed ourselves to be used like a bloody club, but we have not yet felt the true pain or the true cost. We have been insulated from consequence. However, this comfortable situation is quickly coming to an end. When one applies the above definition of “the enemy” to Syria, one comes away with very little satisfaction. The Syrian government poses absolutely no immediate threat to the United States. In fact, the civil war that now rages within its borders has been completely fabricated by our own government. The insurgency has been funded, armed, trained and ultimately directed by the U.S. intelligence community. Without U.S. subversion, the civil war in Syria would not exist. google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; So, the question arises: If Syria is not the real enemy, who is? I point back to the core issue. That is to say, I would examine who pose a legitimate threat to our country and our principles. The Syrian government under Bashar Assad clearly has no capability to threaten our freedom, our economic stability, our social stability, or our defensive capabilities. There is, though, a group of people out there who do, in fact, pose a significant threat to the American way of life on every conceivable level. These people do not live on the other side of the world. They do not wear foreign garb or speak another language. Most of them do not have pigmented skin or Asian features. They look just like you and I, and they live in Washington D.C. If the so-called “debate” over a possible military strike in Syria has done anything, it has certainly brought the American public’s true enemies frothing to the surface like so much sewage. Men who posed as liberal proponents of peace not long ago now salivate over the prospect of bloodshed. Men who once posed as fiscal conservatives now clamor for more Federal funding to drive the U.S. war machine. Men who claimed to represent the citizenry now ignore all calls for reason by the public in the pursuit of global dominance. I have warned of the considerable dangers of a war in Syria for years — long before most people knew or cared about the Assad regime. Being in this position has allowed me to view the escalating crisis with a considerable amount of objectivity. In the midst of so much chaos and confusion, if you know who stands to gain and who stands to lose, the progression of events becomes transparent, and the strategy of the actual enemy emerges. So what have I observed so far? If you want to know who has malicious intent toward our Constitutional values, simply move your eyes away from the Mideast and focus on our own capital. The ill will toward liberty held by the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties is obvious in the Congressional support of the banker bailouts, the Patriot Acts, the National Defense Authorization Act, the President’s domestic assassination directives, the hands-off approach to National Security Agency mass surveillance, etc. But even beyond these litmus tests, the Syrian debate has unveiled numerous enemies of the American people within our own government. The catastrophe inherent in a Syrian strike is at least partially known to most of the public. We are fully aware that there will be blowback from any new strike in the Mideast (limited or unlimited), economically as well as internationally. So if the average American with little political experience understands the consequences of such an action, the average politician should be more than educated on the dangers. Any representative who blatantly ignores the calamity ahead is either very stupid or has an agenda. I find it fascinating that politicians and bureaucrats from both sides of the aisle are now coming out of the woodwork to cheerlead alongside each other for war and the state. For those who are predominantly preoccupied with Barack Obama as the source of all our ills, I would gladly point out that Republican leader and House Speaker John Boehner has also thrown his support behind a Syrian strike, even before the U.N. investigative report on Syrian chemical weapons use has been released. In the meantime, self-proclaimed Republican stalwarts like John McCain (R-Ariz.) have argued that Obama’s “limited strike” response is “not enough.” This is the same man, by the way, who has been instrumental in the monetary and military support of Al Qaeda in Syria. McCain has recently called for avid pursuit of the new Russian proposal for chemical disarmament in Syria, not because he wants to find a peaceful solution to the situation, but because he believes the deal can be used as a bargaining chip to convince Congress to VOTE FOR military force, in order to "keep pressure on Assad". Secretary of State John Kerry, who not long ago ran for President on the platform of being an anti-war Democrat, now regularly begs the American people to back further war based on the same dubious evidence for which he once criticized the George W. Bush Administration. In fact, Kerry has made it clear that even if Congress votes “no” against a strike, he believes Obama has the right to set one in motion anyway. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), the man who openly admits in mainstream interviews that he believes the President has the right to indefinitely detain or assassinate American citizens without trial or oversight, has loudly indicated his support for a war on Syria. His criticisms parallel McCain’s in that he believes the Obama Administration should have attacked without Congressional approval or should commit to an all-out military shift into the region. That is to say, he believes the goal of the White House should be invasion and regime change, not just disarmament. Graham consistently fear mongers in the mainstream media, often warning that without a hard, immediate strike against Syria, catastrophe will befall Israel, and chemical andnuclear weapons will rain on America. All I have to say to Graham is, if chemical or nuclear weapons are used against the American people, it will be because the establishment ALLOWED it to happen — just as it has allowed numerous attacks in the past to occur in order to facilitate pretext for a larger war. (The Gulf of Tonkin is a fitting example considering the many similarities between the Syrian debacle and Vietnam, the only difference being that this time the establishment is throwing its support on the side of the insurgency, rather than the prevailing government). For those out there in the movement who are hoping for reason and logic to prevail during a Congressional debate on the Syrian issue, I would suggest that they do not hold their breath. This vote was decided before Obama ever allowed it to go to the Hill. The vote has been cast. The debate is a sideshow designed to make the American people feel as if their system of government still functions as it should. Remember, no Congress in the history of the United States has ever refused the request of a President to make war. The more than 150 Congressmen who demanded a vote on the Syrian crisis did so because they wanted to be included in the process, not because they necessarily opposed a war. That leaves nearly 300 representatives who had NO PROBLEM whatsoever with Obama attacking Syria unilaterally without any checks or balances. The Senate panel that initiated the voting process on the strike plan passed the initiative 10-7. I have no doubt that Obama has the votes to confirm the use of force, even with all the talk of uncertainty in evidence or planning. The Russian offer of organizing chemical disarmament has barely made a dent in the White House's war rhetoric, as was evident in Barack Obama's address to the nation yesterday. When asked in an interview with NBC if he has made up his mind whether or not he will forge ahead with military action if Congress votes his proposal down, Obama stated: "It's fair to say that I haven't decided..." Putting on the airs of a Roman Emperor, Obama's thumb remains in the neutral position over the gladiator pit of Syria, but as he clearly points out, he can give the thumbs down anytime he chooses. If anything, the White House and the elitist machine are simply using the next few weeks (the approximate time being discussed for chemical disarmament) to establish further precedent, or conjure new atrocities, in order to garner a minimal public backing for violent action in the region. And, let's not forget our friendly enemies in the mainstream media. The MSM is in rare form the past week, fabricating numerous arguments as to why the average American "just doesn't get the Syrian situation". The latest disinformation campaigns seem to be revolving around generating alternative motivations for a strike - Obama's "red line" was crossed and we must strike in order to save face amongst our allies. A refusal to strike Syria will "embolden Iran" and lead them to use their own WMD's in terrorist acts (WMD's which are still not proven to exist). And my favorite argument: That refusing to strike would mean "abandoning" the Syrian rebelsin their war on Assad. You know, the same rebels permeated with psychopathic Al Qaeda operatives that our government trained and funded. The mainstream media steamroller is barreling forward, searching for ANY talking point that will hook the American populace into rationalizing an attack. I have to say, I don't think I've ever seen so many pencil-necked weaklings call for so much blood. The strategy seems to be an attempt to shift America's attention away from the alleged chemical attack alone, and discombobulate us with multiple sales pitches of death in case Congressional support turns sour (which I doubt). But let’s say Obama does not get his Congressional approval; as stated earlier his office has asserted on numerous occasions that he has the authority to trigger war regardless. A “no” vote in Washington means nothing today due to war powers granted after 9/11. The probable scenario, though, is the most common scenario. Congress will likely authorize the “use of limited military force” without directly declaring war on the Assad regime. This is exactly what Congress did in the wake of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. There was no evidence of an Al Qaeda support structure and no evidence of weapons of mass destruction, but war exploded nonetheless. Congress gave Bush a blank check to do whatever he saw fit, and I believe Congress will do the same for Obama. America is being set up to look like the bad guy or the fool, but why? Our political leadership is devoted to the ideology of globalization, not sovereignty or U.S prosperity. A Syrian strike places the United States in tremendous peril, the likes of which have not been seen since the Cuban missile crisis. Syria itself is a vacuum of suffocating calamity; a black hole swirling in a void of economic and sociological interdependency. Where the United States enters, so follows Iran, so follows Israel, so follows Saudi Arabia, so follows Lebanon, so follows Jordan, so follows Egypt, so follows Russia, so follows China and on and on. In my analysis of Syria over the years, I have exposed this domino effect of war as well as the possible calamities of an economic chain reaction. Escalating conflict in Syria will eventually lead to the end of the dollar’s world reserve status and the collapse of the U.S. financial system. Knowing that this is the ultimate result of a strike in the region, many people would ask WHYthe White House and so many prominent figures in Congress would be so hell-bent on setting such wheels in motion. I would stand back from the chaos and ask what I always ask: Who gains the most from the disaster? The demise of American currency dominance and the degradation of the American spirit do indeed benefit a select few. For the most part, central banks and globalists have taken a hands-off approach to the Syrian debacle. Perhaps that’s because doing so makes it easier for them to survey the inevitable collapse from a distance and swoop in later as our “saviors,” ready to rebuild the world according to their own ideals. Having a debased and desperate U.S. populace certainly makes the transition to total globalization and centralization much easier. My original query was: Who is the real enemy? No matter what happens in the coming months and years, never forget that question. Who poses the greatest threat to our freedom: Syria or the political ghouls trying to convince us to decimate Syria? Who claims the power to take everything we have? Who claims the power to take our liberty and our lives at a whim? Who claims the power to kill innocents in our name? Who disregards the checks and balances of Constitutionalism at every turn? Who truly threatens our future and the future of our children? Do not be distracted by stories of foreign monsters far away when the real monsters lurk so quietly under your bed. Even if we can find a successful strategy to pressure Congress into avoiding a Syrian conflict, I say remain vigilant. America is one global hiccup away from oblivion. And if this is what the establishment wants, they will find a way to make it happen. The threat of continuous U.S. catastrophe will only end when the poison is removed from our very veins, and that process of purification begins with the removal of the criminal political structures and banking structures in Washington. You can contact Brandon Smith at: [email protected] is an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for mutual aid and defense. Join Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the system and build something better.
Aaron Dykes and Melissa Melton Activist Post This is just one example of how our mainstream media constantly censors information and spins or buries the truth. This article on MSNBC changed its headline from “Syria: US strikes would help those who ‘blew up World Trade Center’” to “Obama on Russia’s Syria chemical weapons proposal: ‘Take it with a grain of salt’". And that is how the game is played, folks. The media outlet purposefully buried information about Syria’s Foreign Minister asking why America’s president wants to help out the same exact al Qaeda terrorists that supposedly carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks that devastated America and sunk it into the police state it has become. google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; “We are asking ourselves how Obama can … support those who in their time blew up the World Trade Center in New York,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said during a press conference with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow. Surely mainstream outlets like MSNBC must realize that they have been all-too-complicit in forcing the idea down our throats for the last twelve years that al Qaeda carried out the 9/11 attacks that ended in the deaths of over 3,000 Americans, not to mention culminating in the Department of Homeland Security takeover, the guilty-until-proven-innocent Transportation Security Administration grope downs at airports, the National Defense Authorization Act that basically nullifies parts of our Constitution in claiming Americans suspected of terrorism can be detained indefinitely without official charge or trial, and the creation of supposedly Constitution-free zones 100 miles in from our nation’s borders. To turn around at this late hour and try to rally people behind President Obama that America needs to aid that same terrorist group that propelled our country down a black well of tyranny in 2001 in Syria in 2013 because it fits the White House’s international agenda at the moment is incomprehensible and morally reprehensible at the very least. Aaron and Melissa created TruthstreamMedia.com, where this first appeared, as an outlet to examine the news, place it in a broader context, uncover the deceptions, pierce through the fabric of illusions, grasp the underlying factors, know the real enemy, unshackle from the system, and begin to imagine the path towards taking back our lives, one step at a time, so that one day we might truly be free...
Assad government offers measure as Russia and western powers wrangle at UN over necessity of military threatSyria said on Tuesday night it would sign an international chemical weapons treaty and admit the scale of its chemical weapons stockpile for the first time.The foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, said his country would halt production of chemical arms, disclose the location of its existing arsenal and allow access to UN inspectors in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention.Joining the convention implied a commitment to destroy the poison gases and nerve agents thought to be in Syria's possession, but a battle was looming at the UN over whether the timetable for Syrian disarmament should be enforced by the threat of military action.The US, Britain and France are preparing a hard-edged security council resolution backed by the possible use of force. Russia is proposing a much milder non-binding council declaration. As both sides manoeuvred for tactical advantage, Russia first summoned an emergency council meeting for 4pm on Tuesday then abruptly cancelled it.Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, insisted the disarmament process would work "only if the US and those who support it on this issue pledge to renounce the use of force, because it is difficult to make any country – Syria or any other country in the world – unilaterally disarm if there is military action against it under consideration".Russia proposes to work with the Assad regime and the UN secretariat to lay out a "workable, precise and concrete" disarmament plan with a timetable but no enforcement mechanism.After a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart, the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, admitted: "As I understood, the Russians at this stage were not necessarily enthusiastic – and I'm using a euphemism – to put all that into the framework of a UN binding resolution."The US, UK and France all stressed that they would not allow Russia or Damascus to play for time. The US secretary of state, John Kerry, told a hearing of the House of Representatives armed services committee that the US was waiting for details of the Russian proposal, "but we're not waiting for long".He said: "President Obama will take a hard look at it. But it has to be swift, it has to be real, it has to be verifiable. We have to show Syria, Russia and the world we are not going to fall for stalling tactics."US officials later said that Kerry would meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Thursday for further talks. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Lavrov and Kerry spoke by telephone and the two "agreed to continue contacts, including the possibility of holding a personal meeting in the coming days."David Cameron delivered the same message in Westminster, saying the UK did not want the Russian disarmament proposal to be "some delaying tactic, some ruse to buy time for a regime that must act on chemical weapons".Referring to the planned UN resolution, the prime minister said "there would have to be consequences" if it wasn't done.However, the western powers' tough rhetoric is weakened by the lack of enthusiasm at home for military action. Parliament has ruled out British involvement in punitive strikes, and Barack Obama faces stiff resistance in Congress."I think there is a high risk of another car crash at the security council," said Richard Gowan of the centre for international co-operation at New York University. "It will be very, very difficult for Obama to accept a resolution that doesn't involve a threat to Assad. Putin is daring him to walk away from the UN and go back to Washington, knowing he can't count on support there. The Russians hope that when he's faced with that trap he will climb down."The White House abandoned its earlier plan to seek open-ended authorisation for punitive air strikes in response to the Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons in a civilian massacre in eastern Damascus on 21 August. Instead, the Obama administration was working with a bipartisan group of eight senators to craft a new resolution that would set a deadline for Syrian co-operation with the UN on disarmament, and authorise the use of force if that deadline was broken.The Senate suspended plans to vote on military authorisation after meeting with Obama to discuss the proposed Russian deal. The majority leader, Harry Reid, said "it's important we do this well, not quickly" but called on Syria to show that its offer to hand over chemical weapons to international observers was "not a ploy".A fellow Democrat, Joe Manchin, who has opposed military action, said he was heartened by the meeting and said he would pursue a separate resolution giving the Syrians time to comply.On Tuesday Human Rights Watch said evidence from the massacre of civilians in eastern Damascus last month strongly suggested the Syrian government carried out the chemical weapons attacks.The report based its conclusions on testimony from witnesses and medical staff as well analysis of the armaments used, which HRW said were of a type used only by the Syrian military. The effect on the victims pointed to a nerve agent, "most likely sarin".It said it was impossible so far to give an exact death toll, but noted that the estimate in just one district was over 700 and that Médecins Sans Frontières had reported that at least 3,600 people were treated for symptoms consistent with exposure to neurotoxins.SyriaUnited NationsChemical weaponsRussiaMiddle East and North AfricaEuropeUnited StatesFranceForeign policyUS foreign policyJulian BorgerDan RobertsSpencer AckermanNicholas Watt theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
White House to crush 6m tons of seized ivory as it tries to elevate wildlife trafficking to an urgent national security concernThe Obama administration said on Monday it would destroy all 6m tons of its stocks of seized ivory – potentially millions in contraband – stepping up efforts to crush an illegal trade that has brought wild elephants to the brink of extinction.The ivory destruction, announced at a White House event addressed by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, was part of a broader effort by the administration on Monday to elevate wildlife trafficking from narrow conservation interest to urgent national security concern.Destroying the ivory would signal that Obama was committed to stopping illegal trafficking in wildlife that has devastated species such as elephants and rhinos, and is a growing security threat, officials told the audience."Rising demand for ivory is fuelling a renewed and horrific slaughter of elephants in Africa, threatening remaining populations across the continent," the interior secretary, Sally Jewell, said. "We will continue to work aggressively … to disrupt and prosecute criminals who traffic in ivory, and we encourage other nations to join us in that effort."The destruction – which officials said would be public – was scheduled to take place on 8 October, officials said.Jewell also announced a new advisory council, made up of former administration officials, conservation and business leaders, to help guide the crackdown on the criminal poaching syndicates.Obama has given growing prominence to the dangers posed by wildlife trafficking over the last year amid an explosion of the illegal trade.Jewell said wildlife trafficking had doubled over the past five years into a global trade worth $10bn. Poaching of elephants had risen by a factor of eight in Tanzania. Killing of rhinos for their horns had gone up by a factor of 50, Jewell said.State Department officials now openly refer to wildlife trafficking as a national security crisis.As many as 35,000 African elephants were killed for their tusks last year. That amounted to 96 elephant killed every day, Clinton said."At this rate, African forest elephants will be extinct within 10 years," said Clinton.The profits from the illegal ivory trade were also fuelling extremist groups, including affiliates of al-Qaida in Somalia, she said.A zero-tolerance strategy was the only way to stop wildlife trafficking, Clinton said."You can't be a little bit OK with buying ivory goods, because that opens the floodgates. Therefore we are doing everything we can to stop the trafficking, stop the demand and stop the killing," Clinton said.Most of the demand for trafficked ivory was from Asia, but there are also American buyers. The owners of two Manhattan jewellery shops were convicted last year of selling ivory trinkets.Conservation groups said America's decision to destroy its ivory stocks would hurt the contraband market.A number of other countries – including the Philippines – have also destroyed their stocks of seized ivory.The Philippines crushed 15m tons of seized ivory beneath industrial rollers earlier this year.The stockpiles of contraband ivory were seen as a "time bomb" by conservation groups, creating confusion about governments' seriousness to ban the ivory trade, and keeping prices high for trafficked goods.Officials said the seized US ivory included raw tusks and carved ivory intercepted by the authorities over the past 25 years.The administration was also thinking of introducing harsher penalties for wildlife trafficking."I think the penalties are not significant enough for wildlife trafficking," said David Hayes, a former interior official who was named to the advisory council on Monday."We are not creating the kind of disincentive for wildlife trafficking that this problem deserves."WildlifeAnimalsConservationUnited StatesUS foreign policySuzanne Goldenberg theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room 1:30 P.M. EDT MR. CARNEY: Thank you for being here. We wanted to wait for Ambassador Rice to finish her remarks before starting this briefing. Today I have with me at the top of this briefing the President’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Tony Blinken, whom many of you know. Tony is here today because while many of us were traveling last week with the President, Tony and other senior administration officials were engaged in the effort to provide detailed information to members of Congress about the chemical weapons attack in Syria on August 21st. He was a part of a group that provided classified briefings to I believe 185 members of the House and Senate, and is engaged in the overall outreach effort that so much of the administration is participating in now. So what I’d like to do is ask Tony to provide to you at the top here a summation of the presentation that he’s making, together with other officials. And then he can stay and take a few questions, and then I’ve got to let him go to continue that effort and I’ll take your questions on Syria and other matters after that. With that, here’s Tony Blinken. MR. BLINKEN: Jay, thanks very much. Good afternoon. Since the events of August 21st and this use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against its own people, we reached out almost immediately to members of Congress, who at that point were spread across the country, and we sought their views on what we should do. And we heard different views, as you continue to hear today. But one of the things we heard with near unanimity was a desire by Congress to have its voice heard and its vote counted in this matter. And, of course, the President believes that we’re much stronger and more effective if we can act together, especially on matters of national security. So the President went out and made the announcement about his intent to take action, but also to seek Congress’s authorization to do so. Since then, we’ve been engaged in a very deliberate and detailed process of trying to provide Congress all of the information we have so that they can make the best informed decision possible. And as Jay said, we’ve conducted over the past week or 10 days a series of briefings -- many of them classified, some of them unclassified -- many conversations, as well on an individual basis with members. The classified briefings that I took part in, along with senior officials from the intelligence community, the Defense Department, the State Department, and the Joint Chiefs, I believe had about 185 members -- Republicans and Democrats, both Houses -- take part. And we’ve had individual conversations coming out of those briefings as well. As we were doing that, we, of course, we’re working to build strong international support. The President at the G20 worked on a joint statement on the need to reinforce the prohibition against the use of chemical weapons. At that time, 11 countries, including the United States, signed on. We now have an additional 15 who joined that statement. Secretary Kerry was in Europe as well, working with Europeans and Arabs. And we’ve been working every day at the United Nations and country by country. But in terms of what we’ve provided Congress let me just describe the top lines of the briefings -- obviously I won’t get into the classified part. But the bottom line, as told Congress in these briefings, is that we concluded with high confidence that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons on August 21st with rockets and artillery against its own civilians. We told them that we concluded that well over a thousand have been killed, including hundreds of children. We ran through in detail the intelligence that we have -- intelligence that shows preparation for the attack; intelligence that shows the attack itself and its effects; post-attack observations by key participants; and then more recently, various physiological samples -- blood, skin, as well as soil -- that show that sarin was used. There’s also been, as you all know, an extraordinary body of contemporaneous public information that's come out about this incident -- videos, social media, much of which has been shown recently on television, eyewitness accounts, reports from NGOs, from doctors, from hospitals, from other countries. And all of this taken together, we told Congress, led us to the conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt that Assad had poisoned his own people with gas on August 21st. We made the case that it was very important to stand up for the international prohibition against the use of chemical weapons, a prohibition that I think all of you know has been in place basically since the end of World War I. We saw the terrible effects of poison gas being used on soldiers in World War I. The Geneva Protocol emerged saying you can't do this again. One of the very positive benefits of that is that since World War I, not a single U.S. soldier on the battlefield has been exposed to poison gas. And, of course, we noted for Congress its own strong stances in the recent past on this prohibition -- the Senate overwhelmingly passing the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, both houses of Congress overwhelmingly passing the Syria Accountability Act in 2003. That was motivated in part by concern that Syria had chemical weapons. Now Syria has used them. We made the case that enforcing this prohibition and this norm is profoundly in the national interest, first and foremost, to deter Assad from using these weapons again and making it more difficult for him to do so; to prevent the threshold against use from dropping lower, lower and lower to the point where our own soldiers and citizens could well be exposed; to make a political settlement in Syria more likely, not less likely; and of course to stop the threat to the neighbors, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq, which as Secretary Kerry said about a week ago, are just a stiff breeze away from Syria. And, finally, we made the case because others are watching. Iran is watching what we're doing. North Korea is watching what we're doing. Hezbollah is watching what we're doing. If we don't stand up and enforce this prohibition, they will take the wrong lesson from it. Many members asked how what we proposed to do fit into our larger strategy for Syria. And we explained that as we act to deal with the chemical weapons problem, it's in the context of a broader strategy that we've been pursuing for some time to try and bring the civil war in Syria to an end, to a negotiated political transition. We believe that's the best way to do it because it offers the greatest prospect for their not being a vacuum after Assad leaves that could be filled by things as bad, if not worse, and also the best prospect for keeping the country and its institutions together. And so that broader strategy to deal with the underlying conflict has involved putting pressure on the Assad regime, isolating it, denying it resources. It's involved building up the opposition. It's involved a humanitarian program, the largest in the world by any single country. And it's involved a diplomatic track to get agreement on basically what the principles for a political transition would look like. What we're proposing to do to deal with the use of chemical weapons on August 21st is taking place in the context of that larger strategy. It's separate from it, but it's happening simultaneous to it. And of course, the primary objective of the force that we propose to use is to deter Assad from using the weapons again, is to degrade his ability to do so. But it could also have the additional benefit of advancing the broader strategy of ending the civil war by making it clear to Assad that we can hold at risk things that he holds very dear. Finally, the last two points that we made in our briefings to Congress, along with some of the -- again, the details of the intelligence and some of the military plan that we're looking at, is we thought it was very important to say what this is and what this isn’t, because what we found in our engagement with members is that many of them had just returned from their home states and their home districts, and they were going to state fairs, they were going to town halls, and they were hearing from their constituents. And it is perfectly normal and understandable that when an American hears in the news a headline, or on television hears military action in Syria, they immediately think of the last 10 years. The frame that they process that through is a decade of war -- Iraq, Afghanistan -- 100,000 American troops in one, 150,000 American troops in the other. So we made it very clear to the members of Congress we were engaged with what this is and what this isn’t. What this is, is a limited, tailored, but effective military action to deal with the use of chemical weapons. What it is not is open-ended. It is not boots on the ground. It’s not Iraq. It’s not Afghanistan. It’s not even Libya. Finally, the case we made to members of Congress involved balancing the risks of action against the risks of inaction. We made it clear that there are always risks in taking military action, and we spend many hours trying to game them out, to take steps to prevent them, and to mitigate them. But it’s our judgment that the consequences of inaction are much greater and graver still. If we don’t act, the international norm against the use of chemical weapons would be dangerously weakened. The threshold for the use of these weapons would get lower and lower. The message to Assad would be that he can act with impunity -- and he’ll do it again. It would make a political settlement in Syria less likely. It would send a message to our partners and allies that we don’t mean what we say. And it would send a message to Iran, North Korea, and other groups that it’s safe to pursue and indeed even use these weapons with impunity. So that’s the case we made. And we, of course, asked Congress to support a limited but decisive response to the use of chemical weapons. And let me stop with that. MR. CARNEY: With that, we’ll start with a few questions for Tony. Julie. Q Thank you. Thanks for doing this today. One of the other questions that some lawmakers have is whether the President plans to proceed with a strike regardless of how they vote. They don’t want to take sort of a meaningless vote here. And you said over the weekend that it’s neither the President’s desire, nor his intention to use his authority without congressional backing. Do you stand by that statement that he’s not going to -- he has no intention of striking without congressional authority? MR. BLINKEN: So I think what’s important here is that, again, we heard at the very outset in our earliest consultations with members of Congress that they wanted their voices heard and their votes counted in this. And that’s the reason that the President went to Congress, because he believes we’re stronger when we act together. And we heard clearly from them, including a letter signed by nearly 200 members of Congress early on that they wanted to be in on this debate. I’m not going to jump ahead of the process. I didn't speak very artfully. The President -- it is clearly his desire and intent to secure the support of Congress for this action, but I don't want to get into any hypotheticals about what will or will not happen after the vote. Q So you’re not necessarily standing by that? MR. BLINKEN: I’m saying that there’s no point in jumping ahead of where we are now. Q Tony, as you gather more evidence, this physiological evidence that you said, have you moved passed having simply a high degree of confidence to 100 percent certitude that this happened? MR. BLINKEN: So here’s what’s important to understand. The intelligence community has different levels of confidence that it expresses in any given assessment: low, medium and high. High is as high as they can go. They will not tell you with 100 percent guarantee that anything has happened in terms of the assessment that they make. They put together the facts, and we have certitude in the facts, and you put those facts together and you make an assessment, and then you evaluate that assessment, you grade it. And their grade is “high confidence.” That is well beyond “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is a standard that I think many Americans are familiar with, and that is the standard that we’ve been using. Q Tony, did this decision go all the way up to Assad himself? MR. BLINKEN: Assad, we believe and we have the intelligence and evidence to back this up, is in control of the chemical weapons program and would have -- let me put it this way -- any standing orders to use these weapons would have been issued by Assad. And our colleagues in the intelligence community showed in great detail the different individuals in the chain of command who were engaged in the activities of August 21st. Q Tony, a couple of things. Charlie Rose interviewed President Assad and said several things. I won't go all through them. But among the things he said, there will be repercussions if there is a United States military strike, and that the United States should be fearful of that -- direct and indirect repercussions. He made a couple of veiled references to 9/11. I’d like get your reaction to that. Secondly, today the Syrians and the Russians have announced this concept of international supervision and control of or maintenance of the chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria. Do you have a reaction to that? Or is that something that the administration would regard as a favorable move, or not? And lastly, you’ve had the briefings, but you’ve lost ground in the Senate. There are more Senate Democrats saying they don't want to support this than do. Why are you losing ground? MR. BLINKEN: First question with regard to Assad’s comments, let me just say this. First of all, we take every possible precaution to make sure that we can prevent and defend against anything that might arise from the use of military action, and we've done that and will continue to do that. And it is our judgment that President Assad and Syria would have very little interest in picking a fight with the United States of America. So I don't think that is likely at all. Second, with regard to the reports today about this Russian initiative, we have seen the reports. We want to take a hard look at the proposal. We'll obviously discuss the idea with the Russians. And of course, we would welcome a decision and action by Syria to give up its chemical weapons. The whole point of what we're doing is to stop Syria from using these weapons again. But I think it’s important to keep a few things in mind. First of all, the international community has tried for 20 years to get Syria to sign on to the Chemical Weapons Convention, joining 189 other countries in doing so. Now it is one of only five countries that haven't done it. And just last week President Assad wouldn't even say whether he had chemical weapons despite overwhelming evidence he’s actually used them -- Q Actually, in the interview -- MR. BLINKEN: Well, exactly. And of course, we've also tried to work with the Russians at the United Nations repeatedly on Syria and chemical weapons for months. And until now they have blocked all of our initiatives including simple press statements, never mind a Security Council resolution. So that's the background. It’s also important to note that Syria has one of the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world; it’s spread across the country. It would certainly take time, resources, and probably a peaceful environment to deal with this. All of that said, we're going to take a hard look at this. We'll talk to the Russians about it. But I think it’s very important to note that it’s clear that this proposal comes in the context of the threat of U.S. action and the pressure that the President is exerting. So it’s even more important that we don't take the pressure off and that Congress give the President the authority he’s requested. Finally, in terms of where we are with Congress, my sense is this from all these briefings -- my sense is that when members of Congress have a chance to see the intelligence, to read it, to get the briefings, to ask questions, they come away convinced of two things: Chemical weapons were used on August 21st against civilians in Syria, and the Assad regime is the one that used them. Many, many members have yet to get this classified brief. And now, as they’re coming back today and this week, they’ll have the opportunity to do that. And we have senior officials going out to provide the same briefing we gave last week. And I believe that when they see the evidence, it is compelling, it’s overwhelming. And then it comes down to a pretty basic question: Are we or are we not going to do anything about the fact that Assad poisoned his own people with gas, including hundreds of children? That’s the question before the members of Congress. And when they have the evidence, when they see the facts, I think they’ll come to the right conclusion. Q You said you’re taking a hard look -- the administration is taking a hard look at what the Russians have offered. Does that mean that the Secretary of State, when he mentioned this idea in Britain earlier today, that that was a proposal coming from this administration? MR. BLINKEN: No, no, no -- we literally just heard about this as you did some hours ago. So we haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. We haven’t had a chance to talk to the Russians about it yet. We will. Q But you’re aware that the Secretary said that Assad could turn it over, all of it, without delay. That was not -- I mean, that seemed to set off this -- MR. BLINKEN: No, I think he was speaking -- I believe he was answering questions, speaking hypothetically about what if Assad were to do this. And, of course, we would welcome Assad giving up his chemical weapons, doing it in a verifiable manner, so that we can account for them and destroy them. That’s the whole purpose of what we’re trying to achieve -- to make sure that he can’t use them again. That would be terrific. But, unfortunately, the track record to date, including recent statements by Assad not even acknowledging that he has chemical weapons, doesn’t give you a lot of confidence. But that said, we want to look hard at what the Russians have proposed, and we will. Q I just want to make sure -- so is this an ultimatum coming from this White House to Bashar al-Assad? This is an escape hatch for him? MR. BLINKEN: Again, we will look at what the Russians have proposed. We’ll talk to them about it, and we’ll see where it goes. Q If I can, just within the last hour, Susan Rice said that failing to respond would increase instability in that region. For a lot of Americans, the concern is that the opposite would take place. In fact, if we did respond, that would create further instability in the region. How can you assure Americans and Congress members that that’s not what would take place -- there would be further instability if we took action? MR. BLINKEN: I think the case is very compelling that a failure to take action would produce all sorts of very, very negative consequences in terms of the interests of countries in the region, many of whom are our partners and allies, and in terms of the United States. First and foremost, we know with some degree of certitude that the failure to take action would say to Assad, you can use these weapons again and again and again, and do it with impunity. And the more you have chemical weapons used in Syria, the chances of it spilling over to other countries and affecting them, eventually affecting us, goes higher and higher. Second, as you know, we have a real concern that countries that either have these kinds of weapons or aspire to get them will watch, and if we don’t take action, they’ll conclude that they can seek to acquire them and, indeed, use them with impunity. So all of that adds to the level of risk and danger and threat to the United States. In terms of taking action, again, what we’re talking about, it’s very important to understand: This is limited, it’s focused, but we believe effective in terms of telling Assad, don’t use this again, and also making it more difficult for him to do so in a very practical way. It is not going to war with Syria. It is not Iraq. It is not Afghanistan. It’s not boots on the ground. And so I think the chances of the action we propose to take leading to greater instability are very, very, very small. To the contrary, a failure to act offers the real prospect of greater instability. Q So then for Americans that fear after the first few days of strikes -- these limited, targeted, though effective strikes -- what happens on day four, five, and six? What is the plan in that vacuum that could be created as a result? MR. BLINKEN: So you’ll understand I can’t get into the details or the plan. We’ve had an opportunity to get into this with members of Congress in a classified setting. Ultimately, they have to make a judgment. They’re the people’s representatives. And I wish we could go into more detail with everyone, but that’s why you have elected representatives. That’s their responsibility to make that judgment as well. Q Did Putin discuss this with the President in St. Petersburg -- this idea of international control of the chemical weapons stockpiles? MR. BLINKEN: So I was not in St. Petersburg. I was back home, so I defer that to Jay. MR. CARNEY: Perfect segue. Thank you, Tony. MR. BLINKEN: Thanks very much. MR. CARNEY: Major, in answer to your question, we’ve been having conversations with the Russians for a long time about the chemical weapons in Syria, the threat they pose to the region, especially in an environment as we’ve seen in Syria of civil conflict and war. And this has been an ongoing conversation. I don’t have a specific conversation to -- Q -- in the pull-aside in St. Petersburg? MR. CARNEY: I don’t have any more of a readout of that conversation than we provided so far except to say that Syria was, as it has been for quite some time, a subject of conversation between the two leaders and all the various counterparts who have engaged in conversation between the U.S. and the Russians over these past several weeks and months. Q Tony wouldn’t, but can you explain why the American people should believe -- absent the classified information you’re not going to give us -- that you can effectively persuade Bashar al-Assad not to use chemical weapons again with a military strike without targeting the chemical weapons stockpiles? MR. CARNEY: What we can say, Wendell, is that in a effective but limited way, we can degrade Assad’s capabilities -- specifically his capabilities to deploy again chemical weapons, and make clear to Assad the significant consequences of using those weapons. And I think it’s important, within the context of some of the questions that Tony just answered, that the only reason why we have a dynamic today where the Russians have proffered a proposal and there’s been some response from the Syrians with regards to stockpiles of chemical weapons that they have heretofore not even acknowledged they have is because of the intense pressure being placed on Assad by the prospect of the United States engaging in military force in response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people on August 21st. And that is why it is so important to continue to put that pressure on Assad and to make clear to him that a prohibition that has been in place in many ways for a hundred years should not be violated without consequence. And when you talk about not putting forth classified information -- of course, there is some information that we cannot, but there has been an enormous amount of information put forward to members of Congress and the public, and that is continuing to this day, that demonstrate that chemical weapons were used on August 21st to horrifying effect. I really think it is something that everyone should do -- every adult, certainly, should do who has a concern about this -- to view those images that were shown over the weekend and I believe are available now, that demonstrate the horrific consequences of that attack on civilians and, in particular, children, and then ask themselves if they agree, as every member of Congress who’s had this briefing agrees, that chemical weapons were used on August 21st and that the Assad regime is responsible, and that that is in violation of a longstanding international prohibition -- should we do something about it? Should there be consequences for it? And if not, what the result of that inaction would be. Q If I could follow that. Are you saying, then, that this proposal the Russians have announced to try and pressure Assad to put his chemical weapons under international supervision is a result of the U.S. determination, the U.S. push for military action? And in light of that, how do you respond to -- MR. CARNEY: I think it has very explicitly been stated -- Q If I can finish -- from lawmakers who say that the President got to this too late? MR. CARNEY: The use of chemical weapons on a wide-scale basis occurred on August 21st, a few weeks ago. The President decided that it was entirely appropriate in a circumstance like this to seek authorization from Congress, because we are stronger and more effective when we act in a unified manner. So I do not think that this has been a question of responding too slowly. In fact, in response to, as Tony said, the demands and suggestions of members of Congress that their voices be heard and their votes be counted, the President agreed. And we have engaged in an effort to present facts to members of Congress so that they can make their own assessment about whether or not this international prohibition should be backed up, and that a violation of it should have consequences, because as Tony just said in response to Peter, the alternative is greater instability. If there are no consequences, Assad gets the message that he’s free to use these weapons going forward. And what you have potentially is an unraveling of that international prohibition against the use of chemical weapons with potentially even more devastating consequences in the region and the world. Q And the Russian proposal growing out of this push for military action? MR. CARNEY: I think it has been explicitly stated by Russian officials that this is an effort to avert action being taken by the United States with the support of many nations and hopefully with the support of Congress. And so I think it's explicitly in reaction to the threat of a retaliation for this use of chemical weapons against civilians. Mara, and then Julie. Q Today, John McCain, who’s been one of your real allies in this, joined the kind of chorus of critics of your lobbying effort. And specifically, he took exception to Secretary Kerry's remark that the strike would be "unbelievably small." He said that was "unbelievably unhelpful." Can you explain what Kerry meant by saying it was "unbelievably small"? MR. CARNEY: Certainly. I think that Secretary Kerry clearly was referring to that in the context of what the United States and the American people have experienced over this past 10, 12 years, which includes large-scale, long-term, and as it seemed at least prior to President Obama coming into office, open-ended military engagements with boots on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq. And that is the contrast that Secretary Kerry was making. I don't think that the phrasing reflects some error. It's a fact that by comparison this is certainly much more limited and of a smaller duration and size. Q He wasn't talking about the results with the "unbelievably small." He was talking about the operation itself, right? MR. CARNEY: We said very clearly that if implemented that the action would in important ways degrade Assad's capabilities and certainly deter him from further use of chemical weapons. Q But wait, Jay, are you saying -- does the White House -- MR. CARNEY: Jon, I did call on Julie. And then I'll get to you. Thanks. Q I think we all get that this chemical weapons security proposal from the Russians may be an effort on their part to try to avert military action. But I think the question is, is it also a U.S. effort to try to avert military action? Did John Kerry purposefully raise this possibility this morning as a way to try to find another option here besides a strike? MR. CARNEY: I think you can accept that it is our position, and has been for some time, that the Syrian regime not only should not use but should not possess stockpiles of chemical weapons. And we would welcome any development -- and would have for some time now -- that would result in the international control of and destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile. What I think you're seeing in a very fluid environment is with the threat of military action, Syria and Russia -- which has clearly been an ally of Syria -- coming up with potential proposals that might, if implemented, avert military action. Now, I think it's important to say that we will study this. We will work with the Russians and speak with them. But it is also important to note, of course, that we would have some skepticism about the Assad regime's credibility -- as was noted by Major I think, even as recently as in the last 24 hours Assad has refused to even acknowledge that he possesses chemical weapons, which, of course, the whole world knows that he does. The whole world knows that he uses them. Q Was this a coordinated thing today with Kerry saying this, as far as raising this possibility and then the Russians coming out with a proposal? MR. CARNEY: I’m not going to -- I think what I will only say is that there are ongoing conversations on this matter at the highest levels, and obviously that includes conversations with the Russians. And we will study that proposal that, as Tony said, has just come forward and see if there is action that can be taken upon it. But we have to be mindful of the failure of the Assad regime for so long now, 20 years, to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention; for the last several years to allow for -- or at least the last year -- to allow for U.N. inspectors until the last moment in the wake of the August 21st attack, and only then after they stalled U.N. inspectors for days while they bombarded the neighborhood. So this is not a history of promises being kept. Having said that, we’ll certainly look at this and we’ll certainly discuss it with the Russians. It is important to note, as I’ve said, that we would not be having this conversation, that any positive reaction to the suggestion that they would forsake their chemical weapons by the Syrian government would never have been forthcoming if it weren’t for the fact that there is the credible threat of U.S. military action in response to their use of those weapons. Jon, I think I said, and then Scott. Q All right, so to follow up on both those -- would the administration be willing to delay military action while taking a hard look at this Russian proposal? MR. CARNEY: Well, we’ll have discussions with the Russians. We’ll have discussions with others. I think the Secretary General has made some statements today that are related in the broader sense to this disposition of Syrian chemical weapons. Meanwhile, we are engaged in an effort to discuss and provide information -- discuss with and provide information to lawmakers here in Congress, as many more of them make their way back to Washington, and avail themselves of the kinds of briefings that Tony discussed in our effort to secure authorization from Congress. So this is not -- this effort is ongoing, and I’m sure that on a parallel track, that conversations will take place with Russians and others with regards to this possible proposal. Q So was that a yes, that while you’re having -- would the administration delay military action while taking a hard look at this proposal, while having those discussions you just -- I mean you’re not going to start bombing Syria while you’re negotiating with the Russians, are you? MR. CARNEY: But you’re spinning forward here. We’ve just had a proposal articulated by the Russians with a response of sorts by the Syrian Foreign Minister, as reported anyway, and we’ll engage in conversations about that. But we are -- in terms of military action, we are obviously engaged with Congress at this point. So while we have these discussions with the Russians and others, we will continue in the effort with Congress. I think I said Scott -- Jon and then Scott, yes. Q But is this notion of an “unbelievably small effort” were the words of the Secretary of State -- does the White House stand by that characterization that this would be an unbelievably small effort? MR. CARNEY: I think it’s important here -- and this goes to I think Julie’s first question, too, to Tony Blinken -- that you guys -- we’re spending a lot of time making the case in public and with members of Congress. I think it’s very clear what that case is. You can focus on phrases that a senator might take issue with, but you know exactly what Secretary Kerry was referring to, just as I think Tony made clear what he was referring to in terms of the President’s focus right now. The size and scope of the contemplated military action is small in comparison to what we have been engaged in, in this country for the past dozen years -- large-scale, open-ended military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with enormous costs to military families, enormous sacrifice and bravery and courage, and obviously enormous financial cost. The President committed, when he ran for office, to end the war in Iraq responsibly, and he has done that. He has committed -- after making sure that we focused in an appropriate way on the effort in Afghanistan, and that included plusing up our forces -- to winding down that war, and he is keeping that commitment. This is something quite different. This is a response to the violation of an international prohibition against the use of chemical weapons that would be limited in scope, would involve no boots on the ground -- no American troops serving on the ground in Syria -- in an operation that would be limited in scope and duration, but would have a specific impact on Assad’s capabilities, in response to this abominable violation of the international prohibition against the use of chemical weapons. In the meantime, we would engage with the Russians and with others in the effort to bring about the only possible outcome in Syria in terms of the civil war, and that is a political settlement. Scott. Q Thanks, Jay. You’ve talked about the need to act now to deter future chemical weapons use. Is there regret inside the White House that a swifter, more forceful White House response the last time chemical weapons were used in Syria eight months ago may have deterred this use this time? MR. CARNEY: There is a significant difference in terms of the size and scope and impact of the use that we saw on August 21st and the prior instances that we assessed and the intelligence community assessed with high confidence represented the use of these weapons by the Assad regime. And it is because of the overwhelming scope of this use -- the amount of chemical weapons used, the breadth of the consequences when it comes to civilian casualties -- that it is the President’s view and the view of many others that this must be responded to, that Assad has to be held accountable. And in response to those earlier uses, we obviously took action, as did other members of the international community, in terms of stepping up our assistance to the Syrian opposition, including the military opposition. But this case is obviously far more egregious, as anybody who has seen those videos and other evidence knows. Q But that’s not so much comparing apples to apples. MR. CARNEY: The answer to your question is, no, we obviously took action in response to those much smaller-scale uses of chemical weapons. This is qualitatively, in the most horrific way -- Q It was handled correctly and would not have been able to prevent this no matter how you reacted? MR. CARNEY: I believe that we took appropriate action then. And in seeking congressional authorization for limited military now, we’re doing the right thing. Q You made a slight reference to this earlier. The U.N. Secretary General is thinking about taking this to the Security Council of transferring Syria’s chemical weapons to safe sites where they can be stored and destroyed. Is that something you want? MR. CARNEY: I was just simply responding to the fact that the Secretary General, as I saw on television before I came out here, was also discussing the issue of the disposition of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, to say that these conversations are taking place in the context of the threat of U.S. military action in response to the use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Syria on a massive scale that led to the agonizing deaths of more than 1,400 people, including more than 400 children. How this plays out will obviously depend on the conversations we have with the Russians and the level of seriousness in response to those proposals that the Syrian government brings to the discussions. There’s not a great history here when it comes to Syrian credibility or the Assad regime’s credibility. But we would certainly discuss this with the Russians as well as with the Secretary General. Let me give others -- Major and then I’ll get to the back, Carol. Q Do you want Congress to wait while you assess the credibility of this Russian-Syrian proposal? MR. CARNEY: No. As I think Tony said and others have said even in the last couple of hours, that it’s precisely because of the process we’ve undertaken in enlisting international support and the process we are undertaking in making the case to members of Congress, and the resulting threat of military force that that has produced, we are seeing these proposals, we’re seeing this potential avenue put forward. And it is because that pressure exists that we cannot let up in applying that pressure. And we need to make clear to Assad, as well as the Russians and others, that we’re very serious about the need to respond to the violation of this important prohibition. And we also need to make clear that there are consequences to inaction when it comes to our national security: more instability in the region; the threat of further use of chemical weapons; the threat of proliferation of these weapons around the region and the world; and the signal that failing to hold Assad accountable would send to Tehran and Hezbollah and other potential bad actors when it comes to the use of these kinds of weapons. Q The only reason I ask is, as you know, Senator Manchin and Senator Heitkamp had this proposal -- I asked the President about it in St. Petersburg on Friday -- about a 45-day period to give the Syrians a chance to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention, hand over their chemical weapon stockpiles. These things now appear to be merging in public. Is that an alternative that the administration would support? Or would it prefer the Senate only deal with the authorization before it and consider no other matters? MR. CARNEY: Well, I would refer to specific timetables in the Senate to the Senate Majority Leader’s office. What we are focused on is making the substantive case to lawmakers, as well as to the public -- and we’re engaged in a broad effort from the President on down to do that -- about what happened on August 21st, the incontrovertible fact that weapons were used that night -- chemical weapons were used that night to horrifying effect, and the fact that beyond a reasonable doubt, the Assad regime was responsible for the use of chemical weapons on that night, and we need to -- as a matter of our own national security interest -- take action, with the support of many nations around the world and with the support of Congress. And that’s why we’re making the case. Q One last thing. To the degree you’re aware of it, Charlie Rose had this interview with Assad. Do you have any comment on some of the many things that Assad said about his regime, about his chemical weapons, about other elements of possible repercussions if there are attacks? Has the President been made aware or briefed on the contents? Because it’s kind of -- we haven’t heard from Assad in this kind of extensive format. I wonder if you had any overall assessments or to the degree the President has been briefed. MR. CARNEY: Well, the President, obviously, is being briefed regularly on situations with regard -- with matters with regard to the situation in Syria. And I don’t know specifically what he was briefed on when it came to the Assad interview, but I’m very confident he’s aware of it. What Tony said in terms of the threat of repercussions is what I will echo, which is that we obviously assess what kind of reactions or actions might be taken in response to the kind of action we’re contemplating. I think Tony’s assessment that we do not believe it would be -- that the Assad regime would view it as in their interest to engage in a war with the United States. Q Or Hezbollah. MR. CARNEY: And I think that's true there, too. But we will take every precaution necessary. We are very confident that we are more than capable of responding to or handling any reaction to that action. Carol. Q Last Friday, Samantha Power said that the administration had exhausted all alternatives to military force in regards to Syria. Does the White House believe that the administration has exhausted all alternatives to military force? MR. CARNEY: We have spent the two years that there has been a civil war in Syria engaging the international community, trying to get the United Nations Security Council to act and hold Assad accountable. Russia and China have blocked those efforts. We have worked in a concerted way with the opposition and with many partners around the world in providing support to the moderate opposition, as well as significant humanitarian relief to the Syrian people who have been so horribly affected by this conflict. When it comes to the use of chemical weapons, we have made clear again and again to the Assad regime -- from the President on down -- that there would be consequences. And there must be consequences for the use of chemical weapons. And that was deliberate because it was -- in our view, it would be a terrible thing, a terrible precedent if Assad were to use those weapons in this conflict. Now he has done so, and he has done so on a massive scale with all the horror as a result that we've seen. Now, that is why we are where we are, and that is why the President has been making this case internationally and why he has been making this case domestically. We will obviously, in response to what we've talked about here, assess proposals put forward by the Russians, assess other proposals. But the fact is Assad used these weapons against his own people, murdering more than 1,400 -- including more than 400 children. And if everyone acknowledges that that's the case, as every lawmaker who has had this briefing has acknowledged is the case, then the question only becomes, should there be consequences for that. And that is the question we're asking every lawmaker as they contemplate this vote. Q So the answer is, no, you haven't exhausted all -- MR. CARNEY: I'm not sure. I mean, this is -- Q I mean, if you're reviewing the Russian proposal, then you're essentially saying that -- MR. CARNEY: When she said that, the Russian proposal hadn't been proffered. I think it was proffered in the last couple of hours. Q Right. So what I'm asking is -- I’m asking has that changed. Is your view right now -- the White House's view -- that you have exhausted all other options besides the military force, or you haven't? MR. CARNEY: Well, I think we've answered this question -- because there is now this new statement by the Russians, the Foreign Minister, as well as a response by the Syrian Foreign Minister, and we are going to study it and engage with the Russians and others on it. But we must continue to keep the pressure on the Assad regime with the threat of U.S. military action, because it is precisely that threat that has even led to this kind of proposal. I think that's clear to anybody who is watching this. Emel. Q Nadia. MR. CARNEY: Nadia, sorry. Q Do you see the Syrian government acceptance of the Russian proposal as an admission from the Syrian government they actually have chemical weapons? Because they never admitted it before? And, second, a spokesman for the Syrian opposition dismissed the Russian proposal as a gimmick. And the State Department already says that they have doubts about the Russian proposal. What the White House is saying now is that they're willing to give it a consideration. Is this contradictory? MR. CARNEY: No. I think we've made clear that we're highly skeptical of the credibility of the Syrian regime. And I think that as early as this morning, at least when it was broadcast, and so I think within the last couple of days, Bashar al-Assad would not even acknowledge that his country had stockpiles of chemical weapons, let alone acknowledge that his regime used them on multiple occasions, most significantly on August 21st. So that is just the beginning of a case for why there should be ample skepticism -- and there is. But there is no question, because of the potential for U.S. military action, that we have seen some at least indications of a potential acceptance of this proposal. But this is a very early stage. And we're obviously going to discuss this with the Russians. We're obviously going to study it. But we will do so with a certain amount of skepticism, for obvious reasons. And I think the response that I've seen anyway, the public response that I've seen from the Syrian government, the Assad government, so far falls fairly short of even acknowledging that they have these weapons. Q Jay, just a quick follow-up. The German government seems also to be on board with the Russian proposal. MR. CARNEY: I'm sorry? Q The German government seems to be on board with the Russians in the same proposal that apparently has been discussed during the G20, that actually there is a political solution whereby Assad will exit before 2014 election, which is -- MR. CARNEY: Well, that's separate from -- Q -- to the chemical weapons MR. CARNEY: Right, so you're talking about -- there's the matter of the use of chemical weapons and the disposition of the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile. Separate from that, there is an ongoing effort -- and we work with the Russians on this -- within the context of the Geneva system that has been in place where we are trying to bring about a political resolution to the Syrian conflict. That is the only resolution achievable that would allow for the Syrian state to remain in place, for institutions to remain in place, and that would allow for a semblance of stability in the aftermath of this conflict. And it is our strongly held view that a leader who has massacred his own people, and who has gone so far as to fire chemical weapons -- sarin gas -- and gassed his own people to death has long ago forsaken any opportunity or credibility he might have to continue to lead his people. But that is -- we are absolutely engaged in that process, and we have had that discussion and will continue to have that discussion with the Russians, as well as many other nations that understand that the only resolution to this conflict in the long term has to be through a political negotiation. Alexis, and then Anita. Q Jay, can I just follow up on two things? Can I just clarify -- for those senators who are either unsure right now how they would vote this week, or reluctant to vote for approval based on the resolution they’ve seen so far, and they come and they talk to the administration and they're interested in this potential avenue that you’ve described here that we’ve discussed, what is the White House going to tell them if they say they’d like to know more about the outcome of that potential avenue before they cast a vote this week? What’s the answer? MR. CARNEY: Well, again I think we need to note, as Tony did, that this proposal has only recently been put forward, first of all. And we are going to study it, and we’re going to speak with the Russians, and we’ll speak with others about it and assess it. Two, we will explain to lawmakers -- and I think it a fairly easy case to make -- that the only reason why we are seeing this proposal is because of the threat of U.S. military action in response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Heretofore, the Russians have not been very helpful when it comes to -- at all helpful when it comes to holding Assad accountable for either his use of chemical weapons or his wholesale slaughter of his own people. And certainly, the Assad regime has not been cooperative when it comes to U.N. inspections into their use of chemical weapons or even acknowledging the fact that they have these stockpiles, let alone that they used them. So it is precisely because of this very public discussion and presentation of evidence we’re engaged in, and because of the accumulating international support for action, and the pressure that all of that has brought to bear on Assad and the Russians and others, that we are seeing this. So we will make the case to lawmakers that we need to keep the pressure up for that reason. Q But just to follow up, you would want them to cast their vote without knowing exactly how this plays out? MR. CARNEY: Well, I think to -- yes, because the vote -- the authorization continues to put pressure on Assad and is the only reason why a proposition like this would have any chance of bearing fruit. If Assad believes that there’s no threat of retaliation for his use of chemical weapons, it’s hard to imagine that he will suddenly volunteer to give them up. Q And my second follow-up or question was, in referring to the discussions with the Russians about the potential avenue, I’m not sure -- what would prevent the President of the United States right now issuing an ultimatum of his own to Assad, to the Syrian regime, and saying, here’s what we want to see, do this on this timetable, follow it out, follow it through? MR. CARNEY: That’s a hypothetical. What we’re seeing now is reaction to the possibility of a U.S. military action and a proposal put forward by the Russians, and we will study it and engage with the Russians, as well as others, to see how serious it is and how credible the Syrian reaction is. In the meantime, we need to make sure that we keep the pressure on, through the engagement with the international community that we’ve undertaken and through the case that we’re making to both Congress and the American people about why in a very limited way but an effective way we must respond to the use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians. Anita. Q Can you just talk a little bit about tomorrow’s speech? Obviously, you can’t give us copies yet, but could you just talk about -- there’s been a few polls in the last day or two that show the American people are -- many are opposed, a lot of people not paying attention, not sure what’s going on. The President obviously can’t release classified information, so what can he share with them tomorrow that might help them understand what’s going on? MR. CARNEY: Well, I appreciate the question and I’d say a couple of things. One is, it is entirely understandable that the American people and their representatives would be and are weary and wary of military engagement. They have every reason to be after the sustained military action that this country has taken over the past dozen years. As a starting point, that is an entirely understandable place to be. I think that, while we here in Washington all consume high quantities of the same information all the time, and we hear all of you who cover him, and all of us who work with him and for him hear the President make this case, and think, well, then, everybody has heard it -- the fact is, as you noted, many people haven’t. And they may know only the headline they read or the snippet they heard on the news that President Obama is making the case for a military strike in Syria. And that, understandably, might raise some concern, given where we’ve been over these past 12 years. And that is why it is important, A, to make the case about what happened; about the horrific consequences of the use of chemical weapons on innocent civilians in Syria, including children; about why this is in our national security interest to respond to make sure that this prohibition against chemical weapons use is maintained; and why it’s important to have the Congress join the President in support of that action. So that’s what the American people will hear from the President tomorrow night. It’s what those who heard him in his press conference the other day heard him say, and it’s what, when he gives interviews, they’ll hear him say again. And we understand that we need to make the case and explain the facts more than once, because that’s the only way to reach as many people as we can. So that’s what we’ll be undertaking today, tomorrow and beyond as we engage with Congress and the American public and the international community on this issue. Jen, last one. Q Does the President think it would be legal to launch a military strike in Syria? MR. CARNEY: I think you saw that Kathy Ruemmler addressed this is in an article today. The answer is, yes, in a legitimate response. And what I can tell you is the President believes that congressional authorization enhances the argument; that it’s important in this case, because of the facts based on the assessment given by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs that we can act militarily in a day or a week or a month, as the President said, and have the desired impact that we seek. And, therefore, given that, he felt it was very important to get congressional approval. But he’s also made clear that he believes he has the authority as Commander-in-Chief and President to take action. But we are better and stronger if we, in these circumstances, seek and receive authorization from Congress. Q When you say “legitimate,” you mean legal? MR. CARNEY: Again, I would point you to what White House Counsel said, since she addressed this and others have. Obviously -- I mean, we have a circumstance here, because Assad is a client of the Russians, that we have not been able to achieve action from the United Nations Security Council. And it simply cannot be the case that in a circumstance like that, a violation of a prohibition against chemical weapons use should be ignored with all the consequences of ignoring that. And so the President is making his case. We obviously have received international support for taking action, and that international support continues to increase. And the President is very mindful of and we understand the weariness about this kind of action in the public and in Congress, and that’s why we’re making the case that we’re making. Thanks, all. END 2:24 P.M. EDT