Saturday, September 07, 2013

Western "pacifists" volunteer to become "human shields" for Assad's government

This is the craziest political movement I've seen in many years - western so-called "pacifists" volunteering to go to Syria to defend the Syrian government against possible US airstrikes.
The 'International Human Shields' movement, started by a group of activists in Britain and the US, plans to bring to Syria civilians from countries around the globe, who will try to deter US strikes on the country by staking out potential military targets.

Franklin Lamb, a lawyer recently appointed as the legal adviser for the group said he had been "inundated" with requests from activists including from Canada, France, Italy, the US, and Britain.

The Syrian regime has not yet indicated whether it will allow the group to enter the country, but it raises the prospect of hundreds of pacifists descending on Damascus, as happened in Baghdad before the 2003 Iraq invasion.

Many of those volunteering to go to Syria also took part in the 'Human Shields' movement that travelled to Baghdad, initially to protect hospitals and schools, and later, key government infrastructure sites.
Notice that last line - "government infrastructure sites." The people who went to Baghdad in 2003 were protecting Saddam Hussein's government. They should have been there to protect the people of Baghdad against Saddam's government.

And how can we call these people "pacifists"? They're not anti-war - if they truly were they would already have been in Syria for 2 1/2 years as "human shields" against the government's attack on its own people. They would have been embedded with the citizens of Damascus who were gassed by the government two weeks ago - men, women, and children.

These people are truly those who believe in the "anti-imperialism of fools." They despise anything - anything - the United States does, and their hatred of the US blinds them to the decades of dictatorship in Syria and the atrocities committed both by Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar.
Ken O'Keefe, an ex-US Marine who gave up his American citizenship in disgust at Iraq war and who became a leader of that Human Shields group, told The Daily Telegraph that he has been acting as an adviser for this Syrian-focused movement. "I have been sharing my experience with Mr Lamb. I have a feeling that if the Syrian government allows it, there would be a huge inundation of volunteers," he said. "The policies of Britain and the US make no sense; we are aligning ourselves with the people who we were supposedly fighting in Iraq." 
Andrew, 33, a Canadian pianist, who did not wish to provide his full name, is one of several hundred people who contacted the group to volunteer themselves as human shields. He told the Daily Telegraph that he is willing to fly himself to Damascus and to die there for this cause. 
"I don't want to see Syria turn into another Libya," said Andrew. "If I had a hand big enough to squash the US tanks then I would. Democracy is America's deadliest export, they use it as an excuse to destroy countries."
The Syrian government is already doing a pretty good job at destroying the country. Hasn't he noticed what they've done to the ancient city of Aleppo?
"I think a movement of solidarity on a global scale could grab the attention of a lot of people. I think if there are that many people in the US who are willing to do that it would send a powerful message. Even if people have to die for it".
This particular group is being invited to Syria by a pro-government Syrian group that has stationed itself on a mountain overlooking Damascus where there is a large military base:
The 'human shield' strategy has also been taken up by some Damascenes. A group calling itself 'Over Our Dead Bodies' has established a sit-in at Qassioun, a mountain overlooking Damascus that is home to both a large military base and state television centre. 
"We think the first target might be Syrian state media," said Ozgret Dandashi, the founder of the group. "Even if the American's attack we will stay here."
The state media? No, the military base!
In the past week some high profile Syrian actors, actresses, and sports personalities have joined the stakeout at Qassioun. Video footage showed Omar al-Hassano, a Syrian basketball player standing on the mountainside with the protesters. 
Some demonstrators have brought along their children. Their cheeks painted in the colours of the Syrian flag, they waved posters of Bashar al-Assad and sang patriotic songs. 
Miss Dandashi said that she and other organisers of the Over Our Dead Bodies movement had been lobbying the Syrian government to convince them to allow their foreign compatriots into the country. 
"We are receiving messages from people in Britain, Italy, Germany and all over Europe who want to be human shields with us here but we have a big problem in getting them visas. We are trying to solve this," she said. 
The Syrian government has launched its own propaganda campaign in recent weeks. Posters are everywhere in Damascus, warning civilians to move away from homes near government ministries.
Wise idea. Perhaps the people on the mountain should follow suit. Get away from the probable target, rather than going to it.
Full-page adverts in local papers warn Syrians to look out for "American spies" in their midst and attributing recent news of defections from the Syrian military as nothing more than "psychological warfare" by the US.