Saturday, April 8, 2017

Now President Trump hands his enemies REAL grounds to impeach him

Donald Trump acted illegally and unconstitutionally by ordering the missile strike on Syria giving his opponents legitimate grounds to impeach him. However they won't use them.

Ever since President Trump unexpectedly won the US Presidential election on 8th November 2016 he has faced a concerted attempt by his political opponents first to prevent him from being inaugurated as President and – since the inauguration – to remove him from the Presidency through attempts to impeach him.So far the campaign – though furiously and even hysterically conducted – has been a total failure.  This is because the charge which up to how has been made against the President – that he won the Presidency by colluding against Hillary Clinton with the Russians – is baseless and untrue.
President Trump’s opponents might however now care to note that through his attack on Syria President Trump has actually provided them with legitimate grounds to impeach him.
The attack on Syria was a gross violation of international law.  Chapter VII of the UN Charter makes it crystal clear that the only body authorised under international law to order the sort of attack the US launched on Sharyat base in Syria is the UN Security Council.  The only exception is the one provided under Article 51 of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which permits a state or states which are under attack to take military action in self-defence.
There is no provision in any part of the UN Charter or in international law which permits the US or any other country to engage in a reprisal raid, which is what the US missile attack on Sharyat air base unquestionably was.
What makes the violation of international law in this case especially egregious is that at the US launched its missile attack when the UN Security Council was actually debating the setting up of an investigation to look into the circumstances of what happened during the alleged chemical attack on Khan Shekhoun.  At the time of the attack the UN Security Council actually had two draft Resolutions before it authorising the setting up of such investigation – one drafted by the Western powers, the other drafted by Russia – both of which were to be put to the vote.  In the event the vote which was expected late on Thursday never took place, with the Western powers postponing the discussion indefinitely, so that no decision about setting up an investigation could be taken before the attack on the following day.
Given that no less a person than the President of the United States has now publicly said who he says is the guilty party – President Assad – before the UN Security Council has had any opportunity to look into the issue and set up an investigation, and given that the President has ordered a missile strike on that basis, there would now seem to be no point in setting up an investigation, and I doubt one will be.
At this point I would say that the decision of the Western powers to postpone the UN Security Council vote which was due on Thursday strongly suggests (at least to me) that the heavily unbalanced Western draft Resolution was failing to gain support from the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, creating the hugely embarrassing possibility that it might have failed to win the necessary 9 votes to pass, in which case it would have failed to pass without Russia even needing to exercise a veto.
If so then that would have been something the Western powers would have wanted prevent at all costs. The decision not just to pull the Resolution and postpone the UN Security Council vote but to launch a missile strike on the following day before any vote in the UN Security Council could take place would in that case have been a case of the Western powers going for broke, and acting to close down the whole inquiry of who might actually have been responsible for the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun before it could take place.
Regardless, what is beyond question is that US missile strike which President Trump ordered was – as the Russians say – in legal terms a gross violation of international law and a usurpation of the powers the UN Charter vests exclusively in the UN Security Council.
The missile attack was not however merely a violation of international law.  It was also a violation of US law and of the US Constitution.
Firstly, the US is legally bound by the UN Charter, which is an international treaty (as it happens the single most important international treaty) which the US itself largely drafted.
More to the point, Article 11, Section 8 of the US Constitution vests in Congress not the President the power “to declare war”.
It is generally acknowledged that the President as commander in chief has the power to authorise military action where there is an armed attack on the US or a “clear and present danger” to the US.
Neither of these criteria remotely applies in this case despite the President’s attempt in his statement issued after the missile strike to argue otherwise.   Given that the President himself admitted in the same statement that the strike was intended as a reprisal raid for the alleged chemical weapons attack which he claims the Syrians carried out on their own people and on their own territory, it is impossible to see how the Khan Sheikhoun chemical weapons attack (if it even took place) could possibly constitute a threat to the US justifying immediate action without authorisation from Congress.
There is great uncertainty as to how exactly Congress is supposed to exercise its power “to declare war” so as to authorise military action.  However in this case there can be no doubt.  By his own admission the President not only failed to seek authorisation from Congress before carrying out the missile strike, but he did not even discuss the missile strike with any of the members of Congress before he ordered it.
In summary, given that the President in ordering the missile strike acted illegally and unconstitutionally the President’s opponents now have clearcut grounds to impeach him should they chose to use them.
Of course they won’t.  In the US no President risks impeachment by dealing out death and destruction overseas even if he acts illegally and unconstitutionally when he does it.  The case of the missile strike on Sharyat air base is no different.
In a sense this provides a good example of the warped and unhealthy state of current US politics.  A President and his administration can be put on the rack over entirely fictitious and evidence free allegations like those which have been made in the Russiagate scandal.  However he can violate the law and the Constitution and commit murder and havoc with complete impunity.  It is this fact more than any other which explains why the US political system has become simultaneously so completely dysfunctional and so extraordinarily dangerous to other peoples and countries.

"Missile barrage was not just an assault on Syria but on reason and good sense" Daniel Lazare

Luring Trump into Mideast Wars


Exclusive: After launching a missile strike on Syria, President Trump is basking in praise from his former critics – neocons, Democrats and mainstream media – who want to lure him into more Mideast wars, reports Daniel Lazare.
By Daniel Lazare
Donald Trump entered military terra incognita on Thursday by launching an illegal Tomahawk missile strike on an air base in eastern Syria. Beyond the clear violation of international law, the results are likely to be disastrous, drawing the U.S. deeper into the Syrian quagmire.

For years, near-total unanimity has reigned on Capitol Hill concerning America’s latest villains du jour, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Congressmen, senators, think-tank strategists, and op-ed analysts all have agreed that Putin and Assad are the prime enemies of “peace,” by which is meant global American hegemony, and that therefore the U.S. must stop at nothing to weaken or neutralize them or force them to exit the world stage.
Until recently, in fact, just about the only politically significant dissenter was Trump. Accusing reporters of twisting the news at a tumultuous press conference in late February, he told them, “Now tomorrow, you’ll say, ‘Donald Trump wants to get along with Russia, this is terrible.’ It’s not terrible. It’s good.”
But since getting along with Russia was terrible for America’s perpetually bellicose foreign-policy establishment, Official Washington declared war on Trump, building on Hillary Clinton’s charge during the last presidential debate that he was Putin’s “puppet.” It became the conventional wisdom that Trump was a “Siberian candidate” being inserted in the White House by a satanic Kremlin determined to bend freedom-loving Americans to its will.
As Inauguration Day approached, President Obama’s intelligence chiefs pulled out all stops to persuade the public that (a) Russian intelligence had engineered Clinton’s defeat by hacking the Democratic National Committee’s computers and placing thousands of embarrassing emails in the hands of WikiLeaks and that (b) Trump was somehow complicit in the effort.
The campaign was highly effective. The alleged Putin-Trump relationship was a major feature at the anti-Trump protests surrounding his inauguration and the major U.S. news media pounded on the Russia “scandal” daily.
On Feb. 13, barely four weeks after taking office, Trump crumbled under a mounting barrage of political abuse and gave National Security Adviser Michael Flynn the boot after it was revealed that he had talked with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition, supposedly in violation of the 1799 Logan Act, an absurd piece of ancient legislation that even The New York Times referred to as “a dusty, old law” that should have been repealed generations ago.
Under Media Pressure
A day later, the administration reeled again when the Times charged in a front-page exposé that “members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.”

The article provided no evidence and no names and said nothing about whether such contacts were knowing or unknowing, i.e., whether they involved a John le Carré-style midnight rendezvous or merely an exchange of pleasantries with someone who may or may not have been connected to the FSB, as Russia’s version of the CIA is known.
In a March 6 article entitled “Pause This Presidency,” Times columnist Charles M. Blow called for little less than a coup d’état: “The American people must immediately demand a cessation of all consequential actions by this ‘president’ until we can be assured that Russian efforts to hack our election … did not also include collusion with or cover-up by anyone involved in the Trump campaign and now administration.”
How “the American people” would demand such a cessation or who would provide such assurances was not specified.
On March 31, CNN quoted an unnamed senior administration official saying that Trump’s hopes of a rapprochement with Russia were fading because he “believes in the current atmosphere – with so much media scrutiny and ongoing probes into Trump-Russia ties and election meddling – that it won’t be possible to ‘make a deal.’”
Thus, Trump found himself increasingly boxed in by hostile forces. But he still tried to fulfill his promise to concentrate on defeating terrorists in Syria and Iraq. On March 30, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the U.S. administration “priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out,” but to concentrate on defeating Al Qaeda and ISIS instead.
But the more Trump contemplated his predicament in the following days, the more he realized how untenable it had come. Tuesday’s poison-gas incident in Idlib thus offered a way out regardless of who was actually responsible. The only way for Trump to make peace with the “deep state” in Washington was by waging war on Syria.
Finally, on Thursday, hours before Trump sent a volley of cruise missiles wafting towards Syria, Hillary Clinton taunted him by declaringthat America “should take out his [Assad’s] airfields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people.” The effect was to all but force Trump to show that he was every bit as macho as the former First Lady.
Frog-Marching Trump
Trump is certainly a fool for going ahead with such an attack in clear contravention of international law and entangling the United States more deeply into the complicated Syrian conflict. But the blame also should go to the people who frog-marched him to the precipice and then all but commanded him to step over the edge.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York 
Within hours, all the usual suspects were congratulating one of the most scorned U.S. presidents in history for taking the leap.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described Trump’s missile barrage as “a proportional response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons.”
Republican super-hawks Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, previously as anti-administration as any Democrat, issued a joint statement declaring that Trump “deserves the support of the American people,” while liberal heart-throb Sen. Elizabeth Warren also agreed that “the Syrian regime must be held accountable for this horrific act.”
The Guardian, as fiercely anti-Trump as it is anti-Putin and anti-Assad, conceded that “Donald Trump has made his point” and that the next step would be up to Russia. All in all, Trump had never gotten such good press. It’s clear that Official Washington was pleased with Trump’s handiwork and was eager to encourage him to do more.
But the missile barrage was not just an assault on Syria but on reason and good sense, too. Although the Washington Post’s Adam Taylor tried to make it seem that the only critics of the missile barrage are members of the alt-right “known for espousing racist, anti-Semitic and sexist points of view,” the fact is that criticism flowed in from other quarters.
At Alternet, Vijay Prashad pointed out that there were few independent observers in Khan Shaykhun, the farming town where the April 4 incident occurred, to provide an accurate account. Eyewitnesses “with the densest relationship to the armed opposition,” he wrote, “are the first to claim that this attack was done by the government.”
Consortiumnews’ Robert Parry pointed out that rather than dropping the gas themselves, Syrian or Russian warplanes could well have triggered an outbreak by bombing a facility containing “chemicals that the rebels were planning to use in some future attack.” Parry also noted that Al Qaeda, which controls Idlib province, could have “staged the incident to elicit precisely the international outrage directed at Assad as has occurred.”
[Previously, United Nations investigators have received eyewitness testimony from Syrians about rebels staging an alleged chlorine-bomb attack so it would be pinned on the Assad regime.]
Something similar may well have occurred in August 2013, a sarin-gas missile attack on the outskirts of Damascus that killed hundreds and that appears to have been launched from a rebel-controlled area two kilometers away. The two incidents are curiously parallel.
The August 2013 incident, which horrified the world and brought the Obama administration to the brink of its own attack on the Syrian government, occurred just days after a U.N. team had arrived in Damascus to investigate an alleged chemical attack by rebels against Syrian government troops some four months earlier.
It made little sense for the Assad regime to have invited U.N. investigators in and then launch a more horrific chemical-weapons attack just miles from the investigators’ hotel. It would be a bit like someone inviting a police inspector to dinner and then committing a murder in full view.
Not Making Sense
As one independent analysis noted in 2013, the Assad regime would have to have decided to carry out a large-scale attack “despite (a) making steady gains against rebel positions, (b) receiving a direct threat from the US that the use of chemical weapons would trigger intervention, (c) having constantly assured their Russian allies that they will not use such weapons, (d) prior to the attack, only using non-lethal chemicals and only against military targets.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Assad government would also have had to decide “to (a) send forces into rebel-held area, where they are exposed to sniper fire from multiple directions, (b) use locally manufactured short-range rockets, instead of any of the long-range high quality chemical weapons in their arsenal, and (c) use low quality sarin.”
All of which seems supremely unlikely, but much of the mainstream U.S. media still treats the 2013 sarin-gas attack as the undeniable case of Assad crossing Obama’s “red line” against using chemical weapons. And the highly dubious 2013 incident is cited as a key reason to believe that Assad has done it again. [Recently, The New York Times has quietly backed off the 2013 claims although not explicitly retracting its earlier reporting blaming the attack on the Assad regime.]
Assad would have possibly even stronger reasons not to deploy sarin gas on April 4, 2017. He would have to make a conscious decision to court world opprobrium at a time when the tide of the war was finally turning in his favor with the liberation of Aleppo last December and with most world leaders having concluded that the Assad regime was here to stay.
To have produced and deployed a sarin bomb would have meant deliberately risking military intervention more than three years after Syria reached an agreement with the United Nations to destroy its entire chemical-weapons stockpile so as to avoid … military intervention.
All of which seems supremely unlikely as well. It would be an act of suicide – and after holding off a combined U.S., Saudi, Qatari, and Turkish assault for half a decade or more, one thing that Assad does not appear to be is suicidal.
Although Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “there is no doubt in our mind that the Syrian regime under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad is responsible for this horrific attack,” in reality there is plenty of doubt.
Nevertheless, Trump decided to fire away before the facts were in because the enemy he is most worried about is not the one half a world away in Syria, but the Democratic-neocon alliance in his own backyard. The political warfare in Washington is now generating more agony from real wars in the Middle East.
Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

More strikes on Syria are coming (Video)

Solidarite avec La Syrie

Merci cher ami Pierre Antoine
Cette épreuve qu'endure le peuple syrien depuis plus de 6 ans a démasqué tous les ennemies des peuples et leurs valets....quand les terroristes échouent, ou sont en difficulté,    ce sont leurs maitres qui reprennenet la main ....les USA, Israel et les pays occidentaux ...sont bel et bien les créateurs défenseurs et soutien de Daesh, Annosra et leurs pairs... ,sans parler de l'Arabie Saoudite ou de Qatar ...
Notre lutte  pour sauvegarder notre souveraineté continuera jusqu'au recouvrement du moindre cm2 de notre territoire ....Vive La Syrie 

On Apr 7, 2017 12:35 PM, "P-A Plaquevent" <> wrote:
Chers amis, 

Soyez assuré de notre soutien dans l'épreuve qui s'ouvre pour vous et pour nous. Notre reportage réalisé il y a un mois montrait bien les prémices de ce qui se passe aujourd'hui. Nos moyens sont dérisoires à côté du rouleau compresseur de la machine adverse mais si nous pouvons vous aider au modeste niveau journalistique qui est le nôtre, nous continuerons à le faire.

J'avais fait diffuser notre reportage sur les deux gros sites de réinformation français.

Pierre-Antoine Plaquevent