Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Jay Carney

Backers of surveillance program battle a challenge

The White House and congressional backers of the National  Security Agency’s surveillance program warn that ending the massive collection  of phone records from millions of Americans would put the U.S.  at risk from another terrorist attack.

Donna  Cassata published in the Lebanese daily “The Daily Star” this July 24, 2013:

WASHINGTON: With a high-stakes showdown vote looming in the House of Representatives,  White House press secretary Jay Carney issued an unusual, nighttime statement  on the eve of Wednesday’s vote. The measure by Republican Rep. Justin Amash  would end the secret program’s  authority, an action that Carney contended would “hastily dismantle one of our  intelligence community’s counterterrorism tools.”

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 23: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) arrives for a news conference in the Ohio Clock Corridor at the U.S. Capitol July 23, 2013 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) arrives for a news  conference in the Ohio Clock Corridor at the U.S. Capitol July 23, 2013 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP

Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, made a last-minute trip to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to reject the measure in separate, closed-door  sessions with Republicans and Democrats. Seven Republican committee chairmen  issued a similar plea in a widely circulated letter to their colleagues.

An unlikely coalition of libertarian-leaning conservatives and liberal Democrats  says the program amounts to unfettered domestic spying on Americans. Amash and Democratic Rep. John Conyers  are the chief sponsors of an  amendment that would end the ability of the NSA to collect phone records and  metadata under the USA Patriot Act  unless it identifies an  individual under investigation.

Amash said his measure tries to rein in the NSA’s blanket authority.  Responding to the White House statement, the congressman tweeted late Tuesday:  “Pres Obama opposes my #NSA amendment, but American people overwhelmingly  support it. Will your Rep stand with the WH or the Constitution?”

Republican leaders allowed the House to consider Amash’s amendment to a  $598.3 billion defense spending bill for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

The vote on Wednesday would be the first time Congress has weighed in since  former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden  leaked documents that revealed  that the NSA had collected phone records, while a second NSA program forced  major Internet companies to turn over contents of communications to the  government.

“This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open or deliberative  process,” Carney said. “We urge the House to reject the Amash amendment, and  instead move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the  need for a reasoned review of what tools can best secure the nation.”

Proponents of the NSA programs argue that the surveillance operations have  been successful in thwarting potential terrorist attacks, including a 2009 plot  to strike at the New York Stock Exchange.

“This bill would basically turn off our ability to find terrorists trying to  attack us,” said Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the  Intelligence panel.

Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the Intelligence committee, joined other  Republican chairmen in a letter urging lawmakers to reject the Amash  amendment.

“While many members have legitimate questions about the NSA metadata program,  including whether there are sufficient protections for Americans’ civil  liberties, eliminating this program altogether without careful deliberation  would not reflect our duty, under Article I of the Constitution, to provide for  the common defense,” the chairmen wrote.

The debate over privacy and national security has prompted calls and emails  to lawmakers, said Republican Rep. Tom Rooney, a member of the Intelligence  panel who said members of Congress are facing competing pressures.

The overall defense spending bill would provide the Pentagon with $512.5  billion for weapons, personnel, aircraft and ships plus $85.8 billion for the  war in Afghanistan for next budget year. (For how long this war on Afghanistan will siphon billions each year)

The bill is $5.1 billion below current spending and has drawn a veto threat from the White House, which argues that it would force the administration to cut  education, health research and other domestic programs to boost spending for the  Pentagon.

In a leap of faith, the bill assumes that Congress and the administration  will resolve the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that have forced the  Pentagon to furlough workers and cut back on training. The bill projects  spending in the next fiscal year at $28.1 billion above the so-called sequester  level.

In addition to the vote on the Amash amendment, the House also will consider  an amendment prohibiting any U.S. funds for military or paramilitary operations  in Egypt and barring the administration from arming the Syrian rebels without  congressional approval.

On Tuesday the House voted to cut $79 million from the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund, reducing the amount to the current level of $200 million as  projects have been delayed. The House also endorsed the $70.2 million in the  bill to study the feasibility for an East Coast missile defense site.

($85.8 billion for the  war in Afghanistan and cutting down on the $200 million for Afghanistan infrastructure…?)

The overall bill must be reconciled with whatever measure the  Democratic-controlled Senate produces.

Read more: (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

Kidnapping, torturing and swift execution: Is that the law of the land in Syria on both sides?

So what’s the score in Syria?

The regime has recaptured Baba Amro (a suburb of Homs), entered Edlib, Deir El Zour (close to Turkey’s border)…and practically, major military operations are at an end…

The “Opposition Forces” have detonated two vehicles in front of government building in the Mazeh district (Damascus), detonated cars in Aleppo, destroyed a bridge linking the city of Dar3a to the various southern provinces…

Apparently, various factions not related to “Free Syria Army” or the other military branch led by General Mustafa Sheikh are involved in these terror tactics…

Syria’s armed opposition is highly fragmented and many militias do not appear to belong to an organised command structure or to be following SNC orders.

The Iraqi terror style is being applied to Syria, and the US and Israel are very familiar with these operations that they fined-tuned for several years in Iraq…

In the meanwhile, the people in Syria are made to suffer from famine and indignities: Prices of basic foodstuff have increased 60%, and the gas canisters for cooking and heating have more than doubled… Apparently, Greece is dispatching gas canister from a ship off-shore, in order to circumvent the “sanctions” as a gesture of humanitarian aids…

And you wonder: “Whom the US and the Western States want to save and liberate with their economic and financial sanctions? and from what?”

To make things worse, the US sends to Lebanon a Zionist in the name of David Cohen to threaten the Lebanese banks from transacting with Syrian financial institutions, just to keep rubbing it in our face…

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported about 8,000 casualties in the year-long uprising, 10% of the casualties are of kids and women…This is a far better performance than the “collateral damage” statistics of US and Israeli operations that exceeded 60% in children and women…And they keep boasting of their “surgical operations” and “laser targeted  my ass” objectives…

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported from the Syrian activist Mazen that an armed group led by Abu Issa in Taftanaz (by Edlib) had kidnapped Syrian civil servants and tortured them to death.

The New York-based advocacy group condemned the tactics by opposition fighters, who have long accused government troops and loyalists of carrying out similar abuses.

Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW Middle East director, said in an open letter to dissident groups including the official opposition body the Syrian National Council (SNC):

“The Syrian government’s brutal tactics cannot justify abuses by armed opposition groups…The Syrian Opposition need to make it clear that they envision a Syria that turns the page on Assad-era violations and welcomes all – regardless of their religious group or background – without discrimination.”

“Opposition leaders should make it clear to their followers that they must not torture, kidnap or execute under any circumstances,”

HRW cited dozens of YouTube videos in which Syrian security forces or their alleged supporters confessed to crimes, apparently under duress. At least 18 of the videos showed detainees who were bruised, bleeding, or suffering from other signs of physical abuse, the group said.

One video showed a man hanging by his neck from a tree in front of armed fighters, with commentary indicating he was a member of the Shabbiha, feared irregular forces loyal to Assad.

Washington said it would “absolutely denounce” human rights violations by the rebels, but said most of the abuse was being carried out by pro-Assad forces…

White House spokesman Jay Carney said: “Within the context of what’s happening in Syria, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the great preponderance of violence against civilians and innocent people is being perpetrated by forces under the control of the Assad regime…” (Nothing new here emanating from Washington)

Nada Darwish urged the various media, used by the opposition (inside Syria), to circumvent State monopoly on news and the dissemination of information. For example, more than 10 electronic dailies have been circulating. One of them, “Oxygen” was closed as the army entered the city of Zabadani; “News of an infiltrators” stopped as its initiators were caught…

The remaining electronic dailies are “We want to speak and say our opinions”, “In all freedom, non adulterated expressions”, “What we say is our opinion, as Syrians first of all”, “Liberty”, “Syria wants freedom”, “The alternative”, “Our Syria”, “Country grapes“… A few hard copies of these daily news are distributed in different provinces.

The Syrian daily “Our Syria” (Suriatuna), with editor-in -chief Fouad Kobeissi, published a special issue of 44 pages under the major title “The revolution of dignity on its first anniversary: “We won’t be but Free”” contained op-ed of many authors such as Fares Ba7rat, Khoulud Zaghir, Muhammad Dibo, Mahmoud Mahmoud, Ninar Hassan…

Moussa Abd Hak, editor of the daily “Country Grapes” (3enab Baladi) has resumed publishing this daily from the city of Daria in January 19, 2011.

Note: On other eye-witness accounts




June 2023

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