Uruguay’s president nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for legalizing cannabis

The president of Uruguay has been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize

This one is fantastic news for all involved. From here:

According to his advocates, José “Pepe” Mujica’s much talked-about marijuana legalization is in fact “a tool for peace and understanding.”

For the second year in a row, the Drugs Peace Institute, which has supported Mujica’s marijuana legalization drive since 2012, insisting that the consumption of marijuana should be protected as a human right, has endorsed his candidacy, along with members of Mujica’s leftwing political party the Frente Amplio, the PlantaTuPlanta (Collective of Uruguayan growers) and the Latin American Coalition of Cannabis Activists (CLAC).

Despite an avalanche of global criticism, in late December Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalize the production and sale of the popular herbal drug. Under the new law, which comes into full effect in early April, Uruguayans will have several options to gain access to it.

The Drugs Peace Institute said that Mujica’s stand against the UN-led prohibition of mind-altering substances is a “symbol of a hand outstretched, of a new era in a divided world.”

“It is a promise to bridge the gap between defiant marijuana consumers and the prohibiting society. Hopefully, the start of the acceptance of this consumption by society and the concomitant development of understanding of its use as a natural medicine, historically used for spiritual liberation, might initiate a process of healing in a world, very confused and deeply divided, over its religious legacy,” the Dutch NGO stated on its website.

The institute pointed out that, unlike coca-based products that reinforce the ego and individual self-esteem, marijuana has the “peculiar quality of diminishing the consumer’s ego.” It pointed out that so far only one government leader has succeeded in challenging the prohibition: “the World’s Poorest President” – Mujica – dubbed so due to his modest lifestyle.

Jose Mujica once said that he’s been looking for god but [hasn’t] found him yet. By legalizing marijuana and opening the doors of spiritual happiness to the young, he might not have found the god of other nations…, but he certainly has followed in the footsteps of Jesus when he said ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these,’” the NGO noted.

“I’m very thankful to these people for honoring me,” Uruguay’s president responded in Havana, as quoted by La Nación Argentine daily. “We are only proposing the right to try another path because the path of repression doesn’t work. We don’t know if we’ll succeed. We ask for support, scientific spirit and to understand that no addiction is a good thing. But our efforts go beyond marijuana – we’re taking aim at the drug traffic”

You certainly get my vote Mr President.

GCHQ DDOS hacktivist group Anonymous

Pot, kettle?

In a document published by NBC here, whistle-blower Edward Snowden has revealed in his latest leak that the UK’s NSA counterpart GCHQ had used one of Anonymous’ own illegal tactics against them and performed a Denial Of Service Attack against their IRC server in 2011.

SONY DSC

GCHQ agents infiltrated various hacktivist groups who were baited into disclosing information over IRC on various cyber attacks they had performed.  This information was later used against them aiding prosecution.  But what is of further significance is the DDOS attacks the GCHQ performed against the hacktivists’ servers.

slide1

silde2As you can see, a planned DDOS attack was carried out against the servers and resulted in a downtime of at least 30 hours.  No matter which way you look at it, this action by GCHQ is illegal, and it would have risked disruption to other services with no connection to Anonymous or its allies.

Dr Steven Murdoch, a security researcher at the University of Cambridge, said:

It’s quite possible that the server was used for other purposes which would have been entirely unrelated to Anonymous.

It’s also likely that most of the chat that was going on about Anonymous was not to do with hacking because the people who join Anonymous are fairly wide-ranging in what they think it is legitimate to do.

Some have gone into criminality but many others just go out and organise protests, letter-writing campaigns and other things that are not criminal.

But what of the legal implications?

Eric King, head of research at Privacy International commented:

There is no legislation that clearly authorises GCHQ to conduct cyber-attacks, so, in the absence of any democratic mechanisms, it appears GCHQ has granted itself the power to carry out the very same offensive attacks politicians have criticised other states for conducting.

The UK government’s Cyber Security Strategy document, (here) says officials should take “proactive measures to disrupt threats to our information security”, but also notes that any such action should be consistent with freedom of expression and privacy rights.

It seems evident to me that GCHQ are in clear violation of laws concerning freedom of expression and privacy, let alone the Computer Misuse Act 1990 which states:

Unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, operation of computer, etc.

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if—

(a)he does any unauthorised act in relation to a computer;

(b)at the time when he does the act he knows that it is unauthorised; and

(c)either subsection (2) or subsection (3) below applies.

(2)This subsection applies if the person intends by doing the act—

(a)to impair the operation of any computer;

(b)to prevent or hinder access to any program or data held in any computer;

(c)to impair the operation of any such program or the reliability of any such data; or

(d)to enable any of the things mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (c) above to be done.

(3)This subsection applies if the person is reckless as to whether the act will do any of the things mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (d) of subsection (2) above.

(4)The intention referred to in subsection (2) above, or the recklessness referred to in subsection (3) above, need not relate to—

(a)any particular computer;

(b)any particular program or data; or

(c)a program or data of any particular kind.

(5)In this section—

(a)a reference to doing an act includes a reference to causing an act to be done;

(b)“act” includes a series of acts;

(c)a reference to impairing, preventing or hindering something includes a reference to doing so temporarily.

(6)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—

(a)on summary conviction in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;

(b)on summary conviction in Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;

(c)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or to a fine or to both.F1]

I wonder if GCHQ are going to receive the same treatment that LulzSec did for carrying out DDOS attacks.  Somehow I doubt it.

UPDATE: Quakenet have released a statement here

EU declares Britain’s benefits system inadequate

As a member of the EU, the UK must legally abide by European Social Charter.  The ESC safeguards a persons right to, amongst other things, an adequate level Social Security provision from their country of residence.

Iain Duncan Smith’s changes to the benefits system under the Welfare Reform Act 2012 were assessed in a report by the Council of Europe here and states the following:

The Committee holds that even if the minimum levels of short term and long term incapacity
benefits, state pension and job seeker’s allowance may satisfy the requirements of the
European Code of Social Security, they are manifestly inadequate in the meaning of Article
12§1 of the Charter as they fall below 40% of the Eurostat median equivalised income.

In order to meet the legally binding requirement to provide adequate social security, Jobseekers Allowance has to be increased from £67 per week to £137. Incapacity Benefits would have to be increased from £71/£94 per week to somewhere in the region of £142/£188 per week for short term and long term respectively.

Iain-Duncan-Smith quotes lunacy

Well, I wouldn’t have expected anything else from such a heartless person.  Why the need for bodyguards to meet with the disabled Mr Smith? Why the need for water canons?  But I digress….

Here’s the quote in context:

This government has made great strides in fixing the welfare system so that spending is brought under control. It’s lunacy for the Council of Europe to suggest welfare payments need to increase when we paid out £204bn in benefits and pensions last year alone.

Fixing?  Whatever you say Iain.

The fact is, the findings are legally binding. Not something that has to be merely taken in to account as the DWP said over the issue.  It matters not how little this government has given to those so dearly in need, when what has been given, falls so far below what has been deemed acceptable.

The report has been met by cries from Smith’s fellow Tories.

Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, said:

The Government can no longer stand by.  They have got to say, “We’re sick to the back teeth of this interference, we’re going to withdraw from the European Convention of Human Rights”.

I find this statement very telling.  Especially considering Mr Cameron’s thoughts on leaving the EU.  You have to ask yourself why he would do such a thing?  You can bet that the erosion of human rights that the EU supposedly offers us has a great deal to do with it.

Whether these legally binding mere recommendations will amount to anything remains to be seen, but hopefully a legal challenge or two is fired at the current government, and we’ll see how it plays out.  The situation is likely to be discussed further in Strassburg and it should be of note that this is not the first ESC report that has criticised the UK’s social security policies. Per the report:

In its previous conclusion the Committee held that the minimum levels of Statutory Sick Pay,
Short Term Incapacity Benefits and contributory Jobseeker’s Allowance for single person were
manifestly inadequate.

This doesn’t give me a great deal of hope that any kind of enforcement action will be taken by ESC against the UK, but you never know.

I leave you with the report’s conclusion:

The Committee concludes that the situation in United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article
12§1 of the Charter on the ground that:

  • The minimum levels of short-term and long-term incapacity benefit is manifestly inadequate;
  • The minimum level of state pension is manifestly inadequate;
  • The minimum level of job seeker’s allowance is manifestly inadequate.

Cannabis in the UK

Whilst giant leaps in freedom and basic human rights are being made in places Like Uruguay, Washington, and Colorado, UK attitudes towards cannabis seem to still be dragging their knuckles through the proverbial stone age.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, cannabis is currently an illegal ‘Class B’ substance and carries sentences of up to 5 years in prison for possession, and up to 14 years for distribution.

Cannabis_Sativa_II_by_xsomething__vaguex

Substance Class
Amphetamines including dexamphetamine (Speed) B
Cannabis B
Synthetic Cannabinoids (Spice/K2) B
Codeine (Prescription Painkiller) B
Methedrone (MCAT/Meow Meow) B
Methylone (bk-MDMA) B
NRG-1, NRG-3, Naphyrone (NRG or Energy) B

The following are statistics of reported drug poisoning deaths from Class B Drugs, as well as some more familiar prescription drugs

Drug Poisoning Deaths 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
           
All amphetamines 99 76 56 62 97
Cannabis 0 0 0 0 0
Methadone 378 408 355 486 414
Other opiate (including Codeine and Dihydrocodeine) 381 418 418 418 348
MDMA/Ecstasy 44 27 8 13 31
PMA / PMMA 0 0 0 1 20
Novel psychoactive substances 25 26 22 29 52
Cathinones 0 0 6 6 18
All benzodiazepines 230 261 307 293 284
Diazepam 133 160 186 179 207
All antidepressants 383 406 381 393 468
Tricyclic antidepressants (BNF 4.3.1) 229 219 194 200 233
Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (BNF 4.3.3) 116 113 136 127 158
Other antidepressants (BNF 4.3.2 and 4.3.4) 50 83 74 84 104
Paracetamol4 260 255 199 207 182
Tramadol 83 87 132 154 175
Other opiate (including Codeine and Dihydrocodeine) 381 418 418 418 348
Helium 12 21 33 42 58
           
  2804 2978 2925 3112 3197

Nobody has ever died as a result of smoking cannabis.  It is not a toxic substance. Something isn’t quite right here…..

What are the true dangers of cannabis and prohibition?

To tell you the truth, the true dangers of cannabis are mostly social.  But before we get in to that, let’s address two common myths often stated as the prime focus for cannabis prohibition.  Psychosis/Schizophrenia and “super strength” weed.

There is absolutely no concrete evidence to support the fact that cannabis causes mental health problems. None.  It is possible however, that cannabis abuse hastens the onset of mental illness in those predisposed to it in much the same way that alcohol does with alcohol induced psychosis but the evidence is not conclusive.  From Wikipedia

Alcohol is a common cause of psychotic disorders or episodes, which may occur through acute intoxication, chronic alcoholism, withdrawal, exacerbation of existing disorders, or acute idiosyncratic reactions.[4] Research has shown that alcohol abuse causes an 8-fold increased risk of psychotic disorders in men and a 3 fold increased risk of psychotic disorders in women.[5][6] While the vast majority of cases are acute and resolve fairly quickly upon treatment and/or abstinence, they can occasionally become chronic and persistent.[4] Alcoholic psychosis is sometimes misdiagnosed as another mental illness such as schizophrenia.[7]

They like to keep that one quiet don’t they?

Furthermore, of all the studies done, none rule out environmental factors. For instance, you are 6 times more likely to develop mental healths problems if you live in a big city, and the bigger the city, the bigger the risk.  None attempt to address any link between personality types, cannabis, and mental illness. Could it be that those who are more likely to have mental health issues are more likely to search for a chemical escape?  The “evidence” is too circumstantial, and too many factors are allowed to weigh in to the conclusion without being acknowledged.  The research is heavily flawed. One might think there was a specific agenda behind such poor research.

Professor David Nutt had this to say

The role of cannabis in causation of schizophrenia is still controversial – the ACMD in their 3rd cannabis review estimated that to stop one case of schizophrenia one would have to stop 5000 young men or 7000 young women from ever smoking cannabis. Some studies are now suggesting cannabis may help patients with schizophrenia.

Super strength weed:

Weed of different strengths has always been available. Always.  Back in the day, Panama Red, Columbia Gold, or Thai Stick was always better (stronger) than any bag of Mexican crap you could pick up.  These days, there is just more variety and stronger weed is easy to get hold of than it was years ago.  THC profiles are not pushing unheard-of  levels.  You had your good stuff that was hard to get hold of and you had your bad, much like you do today.  Today’s Cheese strain for instance, available everywhere, not particularly strong.

That said, so what if you smoke the stronger stuff?  Its like comparing beer with wine.  Just because you drink two pints of beer, does not mean you’re going to drink two pints of wine.  That’s ridiculous. You smoke enough until you’re high and then you stop.  It makes no difference what you are smoking.

david cameron quotes

Incredibly inaccurate that Mr Cameron.  Cannabis is not toxic (poisonous), nor damaging,  nor does it lead to mental health problems. In fact, caffeine is much more toxic than cannabis.

The true dangers of cannabis lie with prohibition itself.  The fact is, it is just plain irresponsible for a modern political system to continue to outlaw cannabis, and I’ll tell you why…

Prohibition is irresponsible

People are going to smoke cannabis no matter what its legal status is, this is a fact evident by the increase in users year on year.  It is quite clearly a law that the majority of people now see as unjust, and if a police force enforces an unjust law, respect for the law goes out of the window.

Prohibition feeds average people in to the criminal justice system, and as more people use cannabis than ever before, so, are we seeing record numbers of people fed in to this system.  A criminal record is for life, Young people who are being fed in to the criminal justice system over an unjust law are having their futures guided by this policy.  Job opportunities are being lost, so are lives, futures, dreams, ambitions, and trust towards authority.

Prohibition can efficiently be seen as a lack of regulation.  Lack of regulation means many things.  It means there is no quality control over the products being sold.  Many of which contain harmful chemicals not flushed from the plant by inexperienced growers.  Much cannabis comes with added glass, as reported here and is a serious health risk. Then there is the gateway drug theory.

Gateway Drug

Cannabis is not a gateway drug. I’ve never heard such nonsense in my entire life. 2,000,000 people in the UK smoke cannabis. 1 in 4 of them, went on to try cocaine, and 1 in 90 of them used it regularly.  The fact is, that whilst cannabis use is on the incline in the UK, class A drug use is on the decline.  If cannabis in itself was a true gateway drug, class A drug use would correlate would it not?  The only ‘gateway’ part about cannabis is its prohibition.  The irresponsible stance that the UK has taken in not regulating cannabis has meant that they are forcing many people who want to smoke cannabis to buy it off a dealer who sells other much more dangerous and truly toxic drugs. (I’m not talking about paracetamol or SSRI’s either).

This puts good money in to bad pockets at an ever increasing rate. It is well known that it is the dealers who push harder drugs on to their customers. A dealer out of cannabis looking to make money of his other wares is going to suggest alternatives to his customers, that’s just common sense. I very much doubt that someone flogging smack for a living would really care about the age of the person wanting to by their goods either.  This is another reason that the criminalization of cannabis is just plain irresponsible. It is the prohibition of cannabis itself that is the gateway.

Medicinal Uses

Cannabis as a medicine has been around in Britain for 100’s if not 1000’s of years. The scale of cultivation was enormous and cannabis is even documented in the surviving text of an early Anglo-Saxon herbal.  Queen Victoria used to get a hemp prescription to alleviate period pain.  It was available in the UK on prescription as late as 1971 (although banned for recreational use since 1928) , yet for some reason the UK’s top politicians will ignore the advice from some of their top scientists and tell you that cannabis has no medicinal value whatsoever.

Interesting then, that numerous studies have shown cannabis could be an effective treatment for the following:

  • Cancer
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Chronic Pain
  • Dementia
  • epilepsy
  • Tourette’s
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Anorexia

There are many, many others. In fact, it has been said that cannabis offers the most amount of treatments per medicine than anything currently on the market.

Still, we’re told cannabis has no medicinal use and as such medical research in to cannabis is being stifled by the law.

Sativex

sativex

Meet Sativex, currently available for prescription in 11 countries including Spain, UK, Italy, Germany, and Canada.  It has also been approved for use in a further 13 countries.

Sativex is described as a ‘cannabinoid based’ medicine.  In actual fact, what it is, is a cannabis tincture. GWPharma in Kent, produce tonnes of indica/sativa hybrid cannabis plants and process the bud using ethanol which is then evaporated leaving behind concentrated cannabis oil.  This oil contains all of the constituent cannabinoids from the cannabis flower without any of the green plant matter. It is then poured in to a pretty little bottle and packaged in to some official medical looking packaging and prescribed for various conditions.  Interestingly, this medication is far more potent than cannabis bud as it is not bulked out by plant matter.

If cannabis has no medical value whatsoever, how do explain this, Mr Cameron?  Your policy on cannabis seems pretty irresponsible from a medical point of view as well.

Environmental uses for cannabis

The hemp plant also has some pretty solid environmental uses too. It can be used to produce:

  • Fibre for rope
  • Clothing
  • Paper
  • Plastic
  • Building materials
  • Cellulose
  • Fuel
  • Food

From hempbasics.com

On an annual basis, 1 acre of hemp will produce as much fiber as 2 to 3 acres of cotton. Hemp fiber is stronger and softer than cotton, lasts twice as long as cotton, and will not mildew.

Cotton grows only in moderate climates and requires more water than hemp; but hemp is frost tolerant, requires only moderate amounts of water, and grows in all 50 states. Cotton requires large quantities of pesticides and herbicides–50% of the world’s pesticides/herbicides are used in the production of cotton. Hemp requires no pesticides, no herbicides, and only moderate amounts of fertilizer.

On an annual basis, 1 acre of hemp will produce as much paper as 2 to 4 acres of trees. From tissue paper to cardboard, all types of paper products can be produced from hemp.

The quality of hemp paper is superior to tree-based paper. Hemp paper will last hundreds of years without degrading, can be recycled many more times than tree-based paper, and requires less toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process than does paper made from trees.

Hemp can be used to produce fiberboard that is stronger and lighter than wood. Substituting hemp fiberboard for timber would further reduce the need to cut down our forests.

Hemp can be used to produce strong, durable and environmentally-friendly plastic substitutes. Thousands of products made from petroleum-based plastics can be produced from hemp-based composites.

It takes years for trees to grow until they can be harvested for paper or wood, but hemp is ready for harvesting only 120 days after it is planted. Hemp can grow on most land suitable for farming, while forests and tree farms require large tracts of land available in few locations. Harvesting hemp rather than trees would also eliminate erosion due to logging, thereby reducing topsoil loss and water pollution caused by soil runoff.

Hemp seeds contain a protein that is more nutritious and more economical to produce than soybean protein. Hemp seeds are not intoxicating. Hemp seed protein can be used to produce virtually any product made from soybean: tofu, veggie burgers, butter, cheese, salad oils, ice cream, milk, etc. Hemp seed can also be ground into a nutritious flour that can be used to produce baked goods such as pasta, cookies, and breads.

Hemp seed oil can be used to produce non-toxic diesel fuel, paint, varnish, detergent, ink and lubricating oil. Because hemp seeds account for up to half the weight of a mature hemp plant, hemp seed is a viable source for these products.

Cannabis prohibition seems pretty irresponsible from an environmental perspective to me, too.

Economics of cannabis prohibition

I’m not going to skirt round the issue.  The UK economy is in the toilet.

The Tory Government are currently spending an estimated £2bn trying (and failing I might add) to police cannabis.  For every 1 cannabis ‘farm’ that gets busted, 4 spring up in its place.  This is probably a direct result of growers getting caught in the first place. No matter what type of business you’re in, it makes sense to protect your investments.  The more operations you have, the less likely you will be to lose them all.

£2,000,000,000 is an awful lot of money that could be better spent. But the plot thickens.  Where cannabis to be legalised, some economists predict that it would generate tax payments alone of over £1.25bn. That’s an extra £3.25bn in the public purse, without the need to ruin lives, and police resources can be used on issues that really matter.

The GDP of the UK is pretty poor, we are no longer a producing nation.  The difference a small change in the law could make to our economy is enormous. Not only would have a massive small business boom for those wanting to trade cannabis, but we would have a fantastic increase in tourism, and sale on all hemp products.

Seems then, that cannabis prohibition is irresponsible for an economic point of view as well.

So just why is cannabis illegal in the UK?

Quite simple really. Money.

In 1928 cannabis became illegal in much of the world.  At a meeting of the League of Nations, as a sort of ‘afterthought’ an Egyptian businessman and timber merchant (supported by Turkey) put forward a proposition to make a new drug from Mexico illegal, and this drug was known as “Marihuana”.  At this time, cannabis was not known as Marijuana and was usually referred to as cannabis or hemp. Not realising the impact this little addition would make, it was added to the list of banned substances.  Cannabis was already banned in Egypt as its use was in contravention to interpretations in Islamic law.

Many timber merchants were struggling with the direct competition that hemp gave them in terms of paper production and they’d been putting politicians under pressure for quite some time to outlaw hemp for their own financial gain.

The issue was never debated in parliament, there was no domestic reason to ban hemp, no lobbying or protest had taken place.  Recreational hemp use was very much acceptable in Britain up until this point. It was still possible to grow industrial hemp for fibre and whatnot but that required a license, and getting one, easier said than done.  The timber industry had succeeded in doing away with their major competitor, the hemp plant.

In 1971, as I mentioned before, cannabis was available on prescription for certain ailments.  Unfortunately two GP’s prescribed cannabis for non-medicinal purposes and this led to complete outlawing of medicinal cannabis. This seems like a mighty overreaction, to completely outlaw a medicine so effective and cheap as cannabis. No doubt the exchange of a big brown envelope was involved. An industry fell to the ground overnight, and big pharma made a lot of money pushing their non-natural alternatives. 

To this day we are under the cosh of timber and big pharma companies, at the expense of our youth, economy, health, and planet.

It’s about time we get things sorted and our government stop being so damned irresponsible. We all smoke weed anyway.

Syria

Such a simple title for a very, very complex situation.  This article is to serve as an introduction for those new to the conflict in Syria, who might now be questioning what’s going on, and also as a platform for further developments and discussion on key areas in the middle east…

How the conflict came to be and the key players

The Syrian population is made up predominantly of different sub-sects of Islam. The majority of the population are Sunni Muslims, and we also have the Shi’ite Muslims, the Alawite Shi’ite’s (a subset of Shiite’s), and some Syrian Kurds.

The current president is Bashar al-Assad

Protests against Assad started in 2011, as the Sunni majority had various political issues over Assad’s Alawite Shi’ite focused policies. As protests tend to do they turned violent. Assad’s handling of the situation was poor to say the least and he ordered his Syrian military to fire on unarmed protesters in an attempt to contain the violence.  A number of military squads refused to do so and broke away from the governments Syrian Army to form the Free Syrian Army, who are now part of the opposition, their core goal is to topple Assad in favour of a more secular Syria. A group of mercenaries named Al-Nusra and ISIS make up the other part of the opposition. Al-Nusra and ISIS are both forks of Al-Quaeda. As you’d expect, the FSA and Al-Nusra/ISIS (Al-Qaeda) don’t exactly see eye to eye and regularly have bloody disagreements. Another party named Hezbollah who are a political and militant group from Lebanon have also entered the equation.

The ongoing conflict has led to a couple of million refugees fleeing Syria in to neighbouring countries.

Who supports who

Neighbouring Iran – Iran have always been allies of Syria, they support the Syrian government and have vowed military support should Syria be attacked by a neighbouring country.

Russia – Russia also support the Syrian Government, and have pledged defensive support

China – China watch on from afar and have condemn use of chemical weapons on either side, they are however, allies of Russia.

Hezbollah – Crossed the border from Lebanon in support of President al-Assad’s Syria

The US – The US claim to have remained neutral (they have not) and they support the opposition, Al-Quaeda (yes that’s right),

The UN – The UN are a sort of independent referee (apparently)

Who controls what

They say a picture paints a thousand words, and this one tells us all we need to know. As you can see, its a bit of a mess.

Something worth noting is that the Government now control Al-Safira.  Last year the Syrian army lost control of Al-Safira to the rebels, and it has a significant stockpile of chemical weapons, as does Aleppo.

Chemical Weapons, the UN, and the US

In August 2013 (while the “opposition” had control of Al-Safira) on the outskirts of Damascus, a chemical weapons attack took place that killed anywhere from 300-1700 civilians as rockets were fired that contained serin gas (a chemical agent that attacks the nervous system). This was an illegal act condemned by the international community.  The US were quick to pounce on the situation claiming that they had intel that suggested the attack came from a government controlled area and namely that Assad was gassing his own people.  Obama also condemned the assault, stating that a red line had been crossed that the international community must not tolerate. The US were ready to mob in to Syria (anyone would think they’d been waiting for an excuse), this caused tensions between the US and Russia who supported Assad as he professed his innocence.  As you’d expect my own country, the US’s little lapdog the UK supported such action and this was voiced by Prime Minister David Cameron. He quickly received fierce backlash for the proposition and soon dropped the idea. The UN were brought in to the area to perform forensic analysis to find out what agent was used, what the attack method was and were it came from.  Assad and Putin (the Russian President) urged the US to await the results of the UN report, and although they did not want to, amid international tensions and a lack of support the US relented and agreed to wait.

The results are now in, and the UN’s report states that the attack was carried out by Syrian rebels. Shock, horror.

But -I hear you ask- where did the chemical weapons come from?  The weapons were manufactured in-house but the chemicals to make such weapons were supplied by the west, who seem to have a habit of supplying nasty weapons (or the means to make them) to nations, and then claiming an “evil regime” has such weapons and should be invaded in the name of peace.

To prevent future attacks of this nature, an agreement was reached between the US and Russia and put forward to the UN that the Syrian Government must hand over all of its chemical weapons in to international hands to be destroyed. A wise move.

It is worth noting that it is widely speculated that the US has been supplying the rebels with small amounts of military aid for some time now, although they are now distancing themselves from the support they once provided to Al-Quadea which I suggest kicked off the whole situation. But, why the distancing? Well, a couple of members of the UN were kidnapped by the US sponsored terrorists and it seemed they were getting out of hand and could no longer be controlled.  Thankfully, nothing came of the kidnapping and the members were swiftly returned. It mattered not to the US, for  groundwork had now been laid and so they could begin to distance themselves from the situation.

More on the US

Why do the US have such an interest in Syria? One word, Iran.

usiran

The US have been attempting to provoke a reaction from Iran for quite some time now, part of their strategy for conquest in the middle east.  The previous Iranian President, Ahmadinejad, did not take the bate.  Knowing Iran’s loyalty to Syria, the US has instigated this civil war off the back of peaceful protests in order to capture the oil of both nations. Though, they have not been able to spark conflict between either nation and it isn’t through a lack of trying. Since diverting their direct efforts away from Iran, the country has had a change in leadership. It was first thought that the US may have a fairly easy ride in obtaining Iran’s oil via Ahmadinejad’s successor President Hassan Rouhani, who’s mandate includes repairing relations with the west.  Thus far, conquest on a political front has not been achieved and it remains to be seen how they are going to enter Iran.  Some false flag terror attack no doubt.  But back to Syria….

UN peace talks

“Peace talks” are set to go ahead this week in the hope of restoring order in the country by introducing a ‘transitional government’.  I’ll let that sink in for a second.  President Obama, backed by the UN are planning to remove Assad from power (it’ll be a step down or we’ll remove you by force job) and install their own government much as they did in Libya. Iran initially had an invitation to attend the talks but the schoolyard bully of nations (the US) threw a wobbler as they say, and their Al-Quadea attack dogs were not happy either.  This led to the UN removing aforementioned invitation much to the anger of Iran.  More provocation.

How significant it is at this point that President Assad plans stand in the new elections I don’t know, and this is because as a Westerner, it is difficult to tell how much public support Assad actually has.  Not that it matters, of course, because the US get what they want eventually.

Come back to my blog from time to time to see how the situation develops.

If you found this story interesting, you may want to bring yourself up to speed on what’s happening with Obama’s drone program in Pakistan, accidentally killing thousands of innocent Pakistani citizens (a large number of these children) as they target the US’s sworn enemy and close friends Al-Qaeda remotely from the air.

obama quote

They gave this man the Nobel Peace Prize, don’t ya know.