SEPTEMBER 19, 2013
By Tracie Toler Moorman, Overland Park, Kansas
It is difficult to know where to begin when charting the 19-month journey my daughter and family have traveled since she was injured by the Gardasil vaccine in 2012. Maddie, my girl, as I like to call her, was a 15-year old happy, healthy, straight-A, honors/AP high school student. It was easy being her mother; it was a joy to be with her. She lit up the room when she entered. She was a beautiful writer and an amazing guitar player. That was my girl.
In December of 2011, she developed a hormone imbalance. It was rather bothersome but her pediatrician did not seem too concerned. In retrospect, I wonder if this hormone imbalance may have pre-selected her for injury from the vaccine. Perhaps it was genetics. I may never know. Her pediatrician suggested birth control pills to regulate the hormones and I took her to my gynecologist for a second opinion. My doctor concurred. Birth control pills were prescribed and while we were in the office, the gynecologist recommended the vaccine. Her pediatrician had also been recommending it. I trusted both doctors and believed them when they said that Gardasil was safe and the threat of cervical cancer was real.
As her mother, I wanted to protect her from any form of harm so I thought it made sense to begin the three-part vaccine. Maddie had always been tough when receiving vaccines but this one was very different. She described it as similar to being hit in the arm with a baseball bat swung by a professional ball player. It was excruciating pain.
Looking back, Maddie got sick after the first dose of the vaccine, but it was masked by symptoms we attributed to the birth control pills. After five days of headaches and nausea, I called the gynecologist and reported that she was not well. The doctor switched her from one birth control pill to another. The nausea subsided a bit but the headache lingered. She was still able to go about her normal routine most days.
In April of 2012, she got the second dose in the series. She was dreading the pain that she had experienced at the injection site and had the same excruciating pain with this one. After that, her health deteriorated quickly. She was unable to get out of bed. She had a constant migraine headache, unlike anything she had experienced before, and she was extremely sensitive to light and sound. She had no physical energy and no appetite due to severe nausea. Insomnia was a real problem, and when she could sleep, she never felt restored in the morning. She was very, very ill.
This went on for about five days. She returned to school but had difficulty focusing and physically getting through her school day. She would lose track of time. She reported twitching in her hands, feet and chest. Her vision was impacted. She was suffering from never ending, debilitating headaches, chronic fatigue and unexplained pain. Her grades dropped and eventually she was put on a partial homebound schedule due to her extensive absences. Prior to this, she had missed one day of school due to illness. Her health had taken a dramatic turn and continued to spiral out of control. None of us knew what to do.
I had contacted the gynecologist and reported her condition. I made sure that the doctor was aware that my daughter had a very unremarkable health history until now. She had been a healthy child. I asked if her dire situation might possibly be connected to the vaccine. The doctor’s answer was an emphatic no.
After that, I took her to her pediatrician. I mentioned my suspicion surrounding the vaccine but the pediatrician was focused on depression. She viewed the headaches as a symptom of depression. She stated that “50 percent of teenage girls are depressed,” and she prescribed anti-depressants. Deep down, I knew the headaches were the source of the depression rather than the depression being the source of the headaches. My husband and I took turns on “suicide watch,” as suicidal thoughts are a common side effect of anti-depressants when given to teenagers. It was a very dark and scary time for all of us.
Doctors’ appointments, blood tests, MRIs, CT scans, and EEGs filled our days for months on end. Her medical records filled a 3-inch, 3-ring binder. She was approaching the third and final injection of the three-part vaccine. By this time, I knew she had to be suffering a serious adverse event from the Gardasil vaccine. I called and canceled the appointment. I was lectured by the scheduler and told that if she did not complete the series, my insurance company might not pick up the high cost of the vaccine. That was a chance I was willing to take. I had gambled with my daughter’s health and it was becoming clear to me that I had lost.
One anti-depressant after another was introduced and the “suicide watch” dragged on. Nothing provided relief. I finally sought the help of a psychiatrist. He doubled the dose of the current drug and finally added another anti-depressant in conjunction with another drug. We also had a neurologist involved and countless other specialists. All tests came back normal. There was simply no explanation as to why my girl was so sick.
One by one, the specialists admitted that they suspected vaccine injury, although it was always off the record. I asked, “Where do we go from here?” and the answer was horrifying. The doctors did not know. I could barely breathe.
It was at that point that I gave up on traditional medical care. I felt the medical establishment had let us all down. They had no answers. I found a chiropractic internist who treated patients with supplements. This doctor discovered Maddie had developed many food allergies/sensitivities; her immune system was damaged. She had 20 major foods she needed to eliminate. She adopted a strict gluten-free, dairy-free diet. This treatment plan did not resolve the issue but it was a step in the right direction.
We added regular chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage therapy, and Reiki. These alternative methods provided temporary relief but nothing that was long-lasting. We adopted an organic diet. She began meditating and doing yoga. In some ways, she has become an old soul. Her teenage life is so dramatically different from those of her peers.
The next approach was a high level supplement program that was very expensive. I think my daughter was simply too sick to benefit from this form of treatment.
After three months with no improvement, we switched to a homeopathic protocol. This treatment plan addressed heavy metal toxicity, which is very common among the vaccine injured. The doctor indicated that Maddie would most likely get worse before she got better. That proved to be true. This worsened condition persisted for about a week but, after that, she started to improve. Her treatment plan included a detoxification program using homeopathic remedies and foot baths. She also received a chiropractic adjustment at each visit and was seen multiple times per week.
After a few weeks, she had portions of her day with no headache. When the headache returned, it was much less severe. I can honestly say that two years ago, I would have dismissed alternative care altogether but when you are out of options, where do you go?
My hope is that my daughter will continue to improve. Time will be the true test. There are no words to describe what it is like to see a sparkle in her eye again, to see a smile on her face, to hear music drifting from her room or to see her attend school full time. All of those things had been absent from her life when she was in the midst of her health crisis. She missed out on so much. It is simply remarkable to see her participating in her life after so many months of sitting on the sidelines.
While I have had many regrets throughout our ordeal, my biggest regret would be the fact that I did not research this vaccine for myself. Instead, I blindly followed the advice of the doctors.
A simple Internet search sheds light on the fact that Maddie is not alone. Thousands of children in our country have been harmed by this vaccine. Current numbers being reported are 31,148 serious adverse events and 139 deaths following the HPV vaccine.
In my opinion, the risks simply outweigh any perceived benefit and, sadly, the vaccine manufacturer and our government do not seem to be too concerned. Research into why so many are chosen for injury and others are not is imperative but does not appear to be forthcoming.
For the sake of your child, please do your research.
Education conquers fear, and knowledge is power.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Monday, September 9, 2013
By Norma Erickson
Every government in the world has some sort of committee established to provide advice on vaccines and vaccination practices to those who establish vaccination policies. Since the recommendations made by these committees are the first step toward making any vaccine part of public health policy, it is time to take a serious look at the quality of advice being offered by these committees. Just how valuable is it?
Let’s take a recent teleconference held by Israel’s Advisory Committee on Infectious Diseases and Inoculations as a case in point. One of the topics scheduled for discussion at this meeting was the proposed introduction of HPV vaccines into Israel’s school inoculation program targeting 14 year-old girls.
Dr. Ron Dagan is Professor of Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel, and Director of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit at the Soroka University Medical Center, also in Beer-Sheva. An active researcher and international lecturer, Dr. Dagan’s work focuses on new conjugate vaccines. His expert advice to Israel’s Advisory Committee regarding potential HPV vaccine implementation is as follows (translation provided-emphasis added):
We are dealing with injections, some of which given in 3 [separate] doses, which are delivered to teenage girls. Many side effects are to be expected. During the week following the vaccine delivery of the injections many serious events which are not related to the vaccination are expected: fainting, deaths and convulsions/fits. This needs to be taken into account. Even if it is not rational, if these events happen in class they may damage the general reputation of vaccinations. This is happening all over the world all the time. We have already dealt with a similar issue in relation to the delivery of MMR with TD and Polio and we have accepted the nurse’s proposal to split these between grades 1 and 2. The nurses are suitable to make recommendations to the committee in relation to this issue. In relation to the side effects, we need to be prepared in advance and not simply react after the fact. I propose we consult with the English representatives as to how they’ve gone about this. We must prepare for the delivery of the new vaccine. The nurses need to know they are going about this in the way they are most comfortable with (/have the most control over/familiarity with).
Did anyone participating in this teleconference question Professor Dagan’s expert advice? Did the members of this advisory committee fulfill their obligation to the citizens of Israel by providing the best science-based information available to the Ministry of Health and any others who would be involved in making the decision to target 14 year-old girls for HPV vaccinations, or did they simply accept his statements at face value?
Did Israel’s Advisory Committee on Infectious Diseases and Inoculations ask the following questions?
1. Professor Dagan, why are fainting, deaths, convulsions and fits ‘expected’ during the week following HPV vaccinations if they are not linked to the vaccine?
2. Professor Dagan, how was the current rate of these events in 14 year-old girls determined? Can you provide the data on these events for the last year?
3. If a girl experiences one of the adverse events you mentioned within a short time after HPV vaccination, why is it not logical to at least consider the possibility of a defective batch or perhaps improper storage?
4. Professor Dagan, should a girl collapse and die in class why would the primary consideration be protecting the general perception and status of HPV vaccinations? Is it not more important to find out what caused the girl’s death?
5. Professor Dagan, are there any other ‘expected’ adverse events we should look for in the weeks following HPV vaccinations?
6. Considering the fact that Israel has no system in place to track adverse events after vaccinations, and most countries only have passive reporting systems in place, why is it ‘irrational’ to assume an adverse event occurring shortly after HPV vaccination would be linked to the vaccine?
7. Professor Dagan, why is it necessary to prepare in advance for adverse events if these ‘anticipated’ events are not linked to the vaccine?
8. Has Israel had to prepare in advance for adverse events after other vaccines we are currently using?
9. Professor Dagan, how can we know in advance that these ‘expected’ events like fainting, deaths, convulsions and fits are not related to HPV vaccines? Should these types of events not be investigated to prove they are not linked to the vaccines so we can inform the public of what actually caused the incidents?
10. Professor Dagan, are you telling us that ‘English representatives’ prepared in advance for anticipated adverse events after Gardasil and/or Cervarix vaccinations?
Since Professor Ron Dagan is an expert he should be able to answer all of these questions and provide scientific documentation to verify his statements without any problem at all. If he is not able to do so, one should question his ‘expert’ status.
Experts and Conflicts of Interest
Was this committee made aware of the fact that in the past 12 months, Professor Dagan, has received grants/research support from Berna/Crucell, Binax, GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, Merck & Co., Inc., Novartis and Wyeth; consultant fees from Berna/Crucell, GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, Merck & Co., Inc., Novartis and Wyeth; and speaker fees from Berna/Crucell, GlaxoSmithKline and Wyeth? Was the committee informed that Dr. Dagan is a shareholder of Protea/NASVAX?
If the committee was informed of these potential conflicts of interest, did they consider the possibility that these facts could have influenced Professor Dagan’s presentation?
If the committee was not informed of these potential conflicts of interest, what are the implications for medical consumers in Israel?
If Israel’s Advisory Committee on Infectious Diseases and Inoculations made recommendations to the Ministry of Health without obtaining satisfactory answers and scientific documentation to the questions above, how can the Ministry of Health be expected to make a sound decision about HPV vaccines in their country?
How can the Ministry of Health in Israel be expected to live up to their obligation to protect the public health if these questions are left unanswered?
Is advice like that given by Professor Dagan similar to that given by other experts regarding HPV vaccines around the world?
If so, how has the vaccination advisory committee in your country responded?
 Official transcript of Israel’s Advisory Committee on Infectious Diseases and Inoculations, Feb 2013
Calls In India For Legal Action Against US Charity : Study Organizers Firmly Refute Alleged Misconduct In Cervical Cancer Vaccination Project.
An Indian parliamentary committee has recommended legal action against a major US-based NGO that it accuses of violating ethical standards and national law during a study to assess the possibility of launching a cervical cancer vaccination programme in the country.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare said that the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), a non-profit organization based in Seattle, Washington, and several Indian institutions, failed to follow proper procedures, adequately monitor events or obtain informed consent from all participants.
It called the field test of two human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines, stopped after seven vaccinated children died, “very intriguing and fishy”, and asserted, without evidence, that the goal was to generate profits for the pharmaceutical industry.
The charges were firmly rebutted by PATH, with Vivien Tsu, the director of its cervical-cancer prevention project, arguing that the report is “inaccurate in many details and incorrectly implies violations of approved practices”. “PATH is committed to meeting the highest scientific, ethical, and legal standards in our work,” she says.
After breast cancer, cervical cancer caused by HPV is the second most common cancer in women worldwide, with around 500,000 new cases and some 250,000 deaths each year — including an estimated 134,000 new cases and 73,000 deaths in India.
The first HPV vaccine, Gardasil, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006. Two years later, India approved that drug, which is made by Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, as well as Cervarix, another HPV vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, based in London. Both vaccines had been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration before the PATH project began in 2009. The study, which used donations of these vaccines and was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aimed to gather evidence as to how an HPV vaccine might best be widely introduced within the Indian health-care system.
It involved vaccinating 13,000 girls aged 10–14 in the state of Andhra Pradesh with Gardasil and 10,000 with Cervarix in Gujarat, and analysed, for example, how to raise community awareness of HPV, and whether delivering vaccines was best achieved at schools or in health centres.
The study was initially intended to run until 2011, but the Indian government halted the trials in March 2010 after activist groups opposed to the introduction of the vaccine in India alleged safety and ethical violations following the death of seven girls enrolled in the study. An internal government inquiry concluded in 2011 that the deaths were unrelated to the vaccination and that no ethical norms had been infringed.
But the standing committee’s report to the Indian parliament, released on 30 August, maintains that the study violated ethical norms and India’s laws and regulations. As well as PATH, the state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) were also singled out for criticism.
The report argues that the study should have fallen under clinical-trials legislation despite its designation as a demonstration project, that informed consent was not properly obtained from all study participants — many of whom were illiterate — and that adverse events were not adequately monitored or reported.
Tsu says that the study, whose primary goal was to determine how many girls were vaccinated, was in no way a clinical trial and that no clinical outcomes were measured — the project had been delayed to await the vaccines’ approval in India in 2008, she adds. Proper procedures for seeking informed consent and tracking adverse events were also used, she says. In a statement on its website, PATH said: “We strongly disagree with the findings, conclusions and tone of the released report and its disregard of the evidence and facts.”
PATH has similar research programmes in Vietnam, Uganda and Peru as part of a project — begun in 2006 with a US$27.8-million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — that aimed to provide poorer countries with practical data on the feasibility and acceptability of introducing the vaccine, notes Tsu.
This year, the GAVI Alliance, a multibillion-dollar public–private partnership that funds and delivers vaccines to developing countries, began introducing HPV vaccines in eight African countries, and aims to vaccinate 30 million girls in 40 nations by 2020. PATH’s demonstration projects in Peru and Uganda helped to launch national HPV immunization programmes and contributed to the GAVI Alliance’s decision to subsidize HPV vaccines for the world’s poorest countries.
THE SYRIAN ISSUE TODAY SPECIAL REPORT
Advocates of military action against Syria describe the use of force wholly unrealistically, relying on such terms as “narrow,” “proportional” and “surgical.” President Obama says he is considering a “limited, tailored” operation to send “a shot across the bow.” His analogy fails. A shot across the bow is deliberately designed to miss an adversary, intending to send a clear and threatening warning. In contrast, Mr. Obama and his advisers plan to hit and destroy specific military targets in Syria to punish President Bashar Assad for the use of chemical weapons against his own people.
The analogy is not merely a bad one. It misleads the public, and the world, about what the Obama administration wants to do. Presidents need to talk straight to build credibility and public trust. The truth is that Mr. Obama cannot limit the consequences of a military initiative. It will be open-ended and entirely beyond the predictive capacity of his administration to anticipate what comes after the initial attack.
Recall what happened two years ago when President Obama used military action against Moammar Gadhafi. Mr. Obama confidently announced that operations in Libya would be a matter of days, not weeks. They lasted seven months. The military action, as authorized by the U.N. Security Council, had the exclusive purpose of protecting innocent civilians, particularly those in Benghazi. However, cruise missiles, armed drones and aircraft bombings did extensive damage throughout Libya and ended up killing civilians. Initially, the Obama administration said it would not side with rebel forces fighting against Gadhafi. It proceeded to do precisely that. As another step in mission creep, the administration added the goal of regime change, leading to the capture and killing of Gadhafi.
With Syria, the risks of errors, miscalculations and unintended consequences are much, much greater than in Libya. Gadhafi, particularly after the bombings required to create a no-fly zone, had no capacity to respond to U.S. and NATO attacks. That is not true of Syria, which has the means of self-defense. When it reacts to military actions by the United States and its allies, those nations will respond in kind, most likely by escalating the violence. Syria will answer. Mr. Assad is likely to gain public support because his nation is under attack, especially after reports of civilian casualties.
If the Obama administration carries out strikes against Syria, armed combat is likely to spill over into neighboring states, including Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Israel. Russia, Iran, Egypt and other countries will become involved. There can be no risk-free shot across the bow. Mr. Obama can exercise control over the initial military action. He will have scant influence over subsequent developments. The lesson of wars is that they have their own logic and endlessly surprise human actors.
The bill submitted to Congress by the administration is far too broad. It would authorize the president to use armed force “as he determines to be necessary and appropriate” in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction. Nothing in the bill limits the scope and duration of military activity. The door would be wide open for broad and ongoing use of force in the region. It would be great error for lawmakers to mechanically endorse what a president asks for, as they did with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in August 1964 and the Iraq Resolution of October 2002. Both actions produced terrible results. Legislation on Syria risks the same, or even greater, damage.
The Obama administration insists that Mr. Assad must “pay a price” and be held accountable. Why is military force the only choice? The key issue is not Mr. Assad’s personal responsibility for the gas attack or the need to hold him accountable. Rather, it is this: Is a military solution the best course of action? Other options could be more effective and less likely to unleash war throughout the Middle East. Reasonable and sensible nonmilitary methods are available to hold Mr. Assad accountable, including economic sanctions and blocking Syria’s access to military supplies from other countries. There are opportunities to work jointly with other nations, including Russia, to monitor and control Syria’s chemical weapons.
The danger is great that a military response to Syria will backfire, leading to tragedy in the Middle East and another war that we will regret we started. The bill submitted by the administration, advocating military force, needs to be put aside without efforts to amend it. Lawmakers can then hold hearings to seek advice from experts who can recommend how the confrontation with Syria can be handled short of war.
“The regimes in America, Britain and France want you to fixate on a simple question – did the Assad regime use chemical weapons? And they want to convince you that the answer to this question is of purely moral importance to them.
As deeply moral and caring people – and a nobel peace prize winner himself – Mr Obama wants to establish that unlike other people, other ‘regimes’, he and his democratic government, his “Shining City on the Hill” to quote President Reagan’s famous speech, have no grubbier motives, no hidden agenda or real politic policy objectives.
Our enemies, the ‘evil doers’ may have ulterior motives – in fact they always do. We don’t. We are simple moral crusaders – sorry, not crusaders, err.. liberators! Yes, that’s it.”
Those who pay attention at all know the regional domination by NATO nations and oil play enormous roles in this mess but let’s face the two real possible outcomes and it is not simply the possibility that an attack will make the Syrian Civil War worse.
The best we can hope for is that all of bellicosity, preparations and announced widening plan of attack is a replay of the Cuban missile crisis where Vladimir Putin is being manipulated into being the “peace maker” in forcing Assad to the table and into acceptance of a political solution to the Syrian Civil War.
The worst outcome would be that of igniting a major conflagration in the middle east or provoking World War III.
The configuration and confluence of causations and motivations for such are all on the table, social, political, economic and ideological.
The consequences of an action are historic. I am not hopeful.
The President will address the public tomorrow night to attempt to sway a portion of the electorate in support of his position. “Fear” will be the core of that message. The call to morality will be hypocritical as we have been guilty of using and supporting the use of chemical weapons and though Americans don’t like the statement: “We have been as guilty of War Crimes as heinous as any nation you can mention.”
CRS: DOD Estimates ‘Over 75,000 Troops’ Needed to Secure Syria’s Chem Weapons - See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/crs-dod-estimates-over-75000-troops-needed-secure-syria-s-chem#sthash.txqvV7Ba.dpuf
Once again the current rulers of the USA have decided some little dusky-brown skinned people need to be saved from some other dusky-brown skinned people. Once again they’ll be saving them by bombing. Carefully, of course, and with every effort made to kill only the bad brown ones and not the good brown ones, and in a strictly limited numbers. It’s going to be another one of those Shock, Awe and Mutilate humanitarian gestures by a regime which specializes in them. Never, I think, has any regime been so consistently ‘called upon by history’ and its own ‘moral beliefs’ to save so many people so often in such an explosive manner…..More…
The Eternal Truth That Sets America Apart(The type of thought and analysis that will lead to WWIII) There is only one winner in the ongoing shambles of the West’s policy on Syria, and it is not Bashar al-Assad. Mr Assad and his regime are now locked into the familiar slow suicide march of the modern dictatorship which ends eventually in execution or exile.
That will come later rather than sooner because of the shameful political gamesmanship of the countries on which his victims should have been able to rely, but – count on it – it’s just a matter of time.
No, the grand-slam, record-breaking, knock-out winner of the past week has been Vladimir Putin, who graciously thanked the British Parliament on Friday for its support in his quest for global domination.
Surely every British and American politician who declares that military intervention would be acceptable only with the permission of the United Nations must know that he is handing Mr Putin – with his blocking vote on the Security Council – the power to run the world? Or at least, to determine the fate of some of the most oppressed parts of it.
Yes, the broken-backed nation that is post-communist Russia – so degraded in its economic and military stature that many commentators are ready to write it out of the world script altogether – has checkmated the “winners” of the Cold War.
For a defunct power, it is proving remarkably competent at protecting its client states and maintaining its regional influence. Our side may be learning a critical lesson: a dying superpower is more dangerous than it was at its zenith because it has less to lose. Its leaders (particularly the present one) will take wild risks to prove that they are still in the game.
Russia must now be regarded as a potentially unstable, irresponsible rogue state which will fling itself against the might of the West for the sheer bombastic joy of it.
Which brings us to the current clear loser: the West, and all of those who believed in its capacity to defend humane values and the rule of law. Even assuming Barack Obama gets Congress to agree to his minimalist no-regime-change, no-nation-building, in-and-out-in-a-couple-of-days intervention (maybe with a teeny-tiny bit of help from France), what sort of impact will the leader of the free world have made on the criminal Syrian regime?
It is difficult to know precisely what effect he intends his carefully circumscribed and meticulously pre-announced actions to have. Short of providing the precise date and time of his rocket launches, and a map of the exit routes from proposed targets, he could scarcely have been more helpful to the Syrian government in keeping the damage to a minimum. If the White House sees this elaborate warning arrangement as a way of avoiding civilian casualties, then it is very naive: ruthless dictatorships are more likely to plant civilians in the proposed target areas for propaganda purposes, than to remove them to safety.
So what would Mr Obama’s foray into the military assault business – assuming it goes ahead – be designed to accomplish? The President and his spokesmen take a rather different tone from that of Secretary of State John Kerry, who has made very eloquent statements indeed about the abomination of the Assad regime and the moral imperative to prevent further atrocities.
Mr Obama himself speaks as if he were engaged in a public-relations war rather than a shooting one: the US intervention (when it happens) will be all about “sending a signal” to the Syrian government that its use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, blah, blah. Sending a signal?
As I write, the US is lining up its warships: they will be sending missiles, not signals. If they are properly informed and aimed, the missile systems will eliminate stores of chemical weapons and the Syrian government’s capacity to use them: the White House is now describing its plan as a “deter and degrade” mission. So this would be an act of war, not a “signal” or a gambit in a moral debate.
What does the president think he is doing when he talks misleading spin-doctor gobbledegook?
He has clearly been told by his own intelligence advisers that it is absolutely necessary for America to step up and do what it has done before, whether willingly or reluctantly: accept responsibility for being the world power whose role is to defend the idea, as the founding documents say, that all men are born with unalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. As every American schoolchild is taught, those rights are to be regarded as universal and not simply the birthright of one nation.
What would an America be like that did not expect to be called upon to support and defend oppressed people? A haven – within its own borders – for the persecuted and the dispossessed? A land of opportunity for economic migrants? Maybe.
Obama, Assad Go Head-To-Head In US Interview Duel
Presidents Barack Obama and Bashar Al-Assad will go head-to-head in dueling US television interviews Monday, as a crucial week dawns for the US leader's push for air attacks on Syria.
Assad will reportedly deny that he used chemical weapons on civilians, as Obama makes a long-odds push to reverse his nation's mood and win support for punishing the Damascus regime for flouting taboos on the use of such arms.
US Secretary of State John Kerry toiled abroad to build diplomatic support, which appears solid in condemning Assad but is falling short of the kind of broad coalition for military action that Washington had hoped to build.
Assad, fighting a propaganda war as Washington agonizes over whether to attack, gave an interview to veteran CBS and PBS newsman Charlie Rose, which will begin airing at 1100 GMT.
He will insist he was not behind the August 21 gas attack on a Damascus suburb and say he does not know if a US attack would come.
Rose told CBS that Assad would say "there's no evidence that I used chemical weapons against my own people."
And he threatened "some kind of retaliation" if Washington strikes, Rose said.
Obama, credibility on the line as signs point to an uphill battle to win support for strikes in Congress, will give interviews to six US television broadcasters Monday.
He is waging a political offensive of uncharacteristic intensity, after shocking the world by putting air strikes on hold a week ago and seeking support from skeptical lawmakers.
“The German newspaper Bild, however, cited German naval intelligence as saying Assad did not personally approve the August attack.”
WASHINGTON/BAGHDAD - Syrian President Bashar Assad warned that if there was a military strike by the United States on his country, there would be retaliation by those aligned with Syria.
CBS reported Assad's remarks that he made in an interview with Charlie Rose on Sunday on its news program "Face the Nation."
Syria was as prepared as it could be for an attack, Assad said.
Assad denied that he was behind a chemical weapons attack on the Syrian people and said evidence was not conclusive that there had been such an attack.
"There has been no evidence that I used chemical weapons against my own people," CBS reported Assad said in an interview conducted in Damascus.
Meanwhile, Iran's new foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the United States will ignite a fire across the Middle East if it attacks Syria. Zarif made the remarks on a visit to Iraq on Sunday, warning Western powers against warmongering.
After more than two years of civil war, US President Barack Obama is trying to drum up support for limited strikes on Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack that Washington blames on Assad's government.
The Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad has sought to maintain a neutral stance towards the conflict and opposes any Western military intervention in Syria, fearing it will further destabilize Iraq.
"We Are Concerned About Warmongering In This Region," Said Zarif At A News Conference During His First Official Trip Abroad Since Taking Office. "Those Who Are Short-Sighted And Are Beating The Drums Of War Are Starting A Fire That Will Burn Everyone."
Zarif was received by his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari and was also expected to meet Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki later in the day.
The Syrian conflict has widened a fault line between Islam's two main denominations, pitting mainly Sunni rebels, their Gulf Arab sponsors and some Western powers against Assad, whose Alawite sect derives from Shi'ism.
Iraq's own sectarian balance has come under acute strain from the civil war next door, which has given new momentum to Sunni Islamist insurgents who have been striking with a frequency and on a scale not seen in years.
Sunni and Shi'ite militants from Iraq have also crossed into Syria to fight on opposite sides of the conflict, complicating the government's official position of neutrality.
"Interference (in Syria) will affect the neighboring countries maybe directly, including Iraq, which will be affected in terms of security and humanitarian issues," Zebari said at the news conference.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported the United States had intercepted a directive from a senior Iranian official instructing Shi'ite militants in Iraq to attack US interests in Baghdad in the event of a strike.
Alireza Miryousefi, the spokesman for Iran's UN mission in New York, on Saturday denied the allegations and dismissed them as "baseless".
"One should remember that reliance on such intelligence reports from anonymous US officials will lead to another disaster similar to the Iraq tragedy," Miryousefi was quoted as saying by Press TV.
Syria: March to Disaster
By Eric Margolis
September 08, 2013 "Information Clearing House - Recalling the massacres and destruction during the 1820’s Greek war of independence from the Ottoman Empire, then Victor Hugo wrote, “the Turks have passed by here – All is in ruins and mourning.”
Today, the nations in ruins and mourning are Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, and, to a lesser degree, Libya, all dismembered or broken up by the power of the mighty American Raj.
Syria is clearly the next target of the American imperial bulldozer. After two years of brutal rebellion armed and financed by the US and its regional allies, Syria now faces devastation.
A campaign of air-strikes and missiles will crush Syria’s air force, tanks, artillery and communications. Israel stands ready to sweep up the ruins of Syria.
Pure black comedy. Shamelessly stealing Bush administration propaganda, the Obama White House has been actually warning that Syria’s chemical weapons (most of their raw materials came from Europe) pose a dire threat to the United States. Syria acquired chemical weapons to counter Israel’s large arsenal of nuclear weapons, originally supplied by France.
Failure to act will be another Munch appeasement, warns Obama. But the US Congress could not take action because it was still on summer vacation.
President Obama even allowed there was no urgency for action. The important thing he declared was that America’s “credibility” was at stake. Politicians invoke credibility as a excuse after they have made a huge blunder –notably Obama’s foolish “red lines” in Syria that boxed the president into a corner of his own making.
What we are seeing is the latest, 21st century version of the new era of colonialism and imperialism, with a touch of Crusader zeal thrown in.
Today, the favored euphemism is humanitarian intervention, but the song remains the same. Syria is not about poison gas or human rights: it’s about a proxy war against Iran, the only nation now challenging total US and Israel military domination of the Mideast.
For France, it’s about reasserting its former colonial rule in Syria and Lebanon….more…
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Is Syria a Trap?
We regret to inform you that some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this. In writing this brief report, we choose to assume that you have not been fully informed because your advisers decided to afford you the opportunity for what is commonly known as “plausible denial.”
We have been down this road before – with President George W. Bush, to whom we addressed our first VIPS memorandum immediately after Colin Powell’s Feb. 5, 2003 U.N. speech, in which he peddled fraudulent “intelligence” to support attacking Iraq. Then, also, we chose to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt, thinking he was being misled – or, at the least, very poorly advised.
The fraudulent nature of Powell’s speech was a no-brainer. And so, that very afternoon we strongly urged your predecessor to “widen the discussion beyond … the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.” We offer you the same advice today.
Our sources confirm that a chemical incident of some sort did cause fatalities and injuries on August 21 in a suburb of Damascus. They insist, however, that the incident was not the result of an attack by the Syrian Army using military-grade chemical weapons from its arsenal. That is the most salient fact, according to CIA officers working on the Syria issue. They tell us that CIA Director John Brennan is perpetrating a pre-Iraq-War-type fraud on members of Congress, the media, the public – and perhaps even you.
We have observed John Brennan closely over recent years and, sadly, we find what our former colleagues are now telling us easy to believe. Sadder still, this goes in spades for those of us who have worked with him personally; we give him zero credence. And that goes, as well, for his titular boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has admitted he gave “clearly erroneous” sworn testimony to Congress denying NSA eavesdropping on Americans.
Intelligence Summary or Political Ploy?
That Secretary of State John Kerry would invoke Clapper’s name this week in Congressional testimony, in an apparent attempt to enhance the credibility of the four-page “Government Assessment” strikes us as odd. The more so, since it was, for some unexplained reason, not Clapper but the White House that released the “assessment.”
This is not a fine point. We know how these things are done. Although the “Government Assessment” is being sold to the media as an “intelligence summary,” it is a political, not an intelligence document. The drafters, massagers, and fixers avoided presenting essential detail. Moreover, they conceded upfront that, though they pinned “high confidence” on the assessment, it still fell “short of confirmation.”
Déjà Fraud: This brings a flashback to the famous Downing Street Minutes of July 23, 2002, on Iraq, The minutes record the Richard Dearlove, then head of British intelligence, reporting to Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior officials that President Bush had decided to remove Saddam Hussein through military action that would be “justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.” Dearlove had gotten the word from then-CIA Director George Tenet whom he visited at CIA headquarters on July 20.
The discussion that followed centered on the ephemeral nature of the evidence, prompting Dearlove to explain: “But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” We are concerned that this is precisely what has happened with the “intelligence” on Syria.
There is a growing body of evidence from numerous sources in the Middle East — mostly affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters — providing a strong circumstantial case that the August 21 chemical incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters. The aim is reported to have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war.
According to some reports, canisters containing chemical agent were brought into a suburb of Damascus, where they were then opened. Some people in the immediate vicinity died; others were injured.
We are unaware of any reliable evidence that a Syrian military rocket capable of carrying a chemical agent was fired into the area. In fact, we are aware of no reliable physical evidence to support the claim that this was a result of a strike by a Syrian military unit with expertise in chemical weapons.
In addition, we have learned that on August 13-14, 2013, Western-sponsored opposition forces in Turkey started advance preparations for a major, irregular military surge. Initial meetings between senior opposition military commanders and Qatari, Turkish and U.S. intelligence officials took place at the converted Turkish military garrison in Antakya, Hatay Province, now used as the command center and headquarters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and their foreign sponsors.
Senior opposition commanders who came from Istanbul pre-briefed the regional commanders on an imminent escalation in the fighting due to “a war-changing development,” which, in turn, would lead to a U.S.-led bombing of Syria.
At operations coordinating meetings at Antakya, attended by senior Turkish, Qatari and U.S. intelligence officials as well as senior commanders of the Syrian opposition, the Syrians were told that the bombing would start in a few days. Opposition leaders were ordered to prepare their forces quickly to exploit the U.S. bombing, march into Damascus, and remove the Bashar al-Assad government.
The Qatari and Turkish intelligence officials assured the Syrian regional commanders that they would be provided with plenty of weapons for the coming offensive. And they were. A weapons distribution operation unprecedented in scope began in all opposition camps on August 21-23. The weapons were distributed from storehouses controlled by Qatari and Turkish intelligence under the tight supervision of U.S. intelligence officers.
That the various groups trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have ample incentive to get the U.S. more deeply involved in support of that effort is clear. Until now, it has not been quite as clear that the Netanyahu government in Israel has equally powerful incentive to get Washington more deeply engaged in yet another war in the area. But with outspoken urging coming from Israel and those Americans who lobby for Israeli interests, this priority Israeli objective is becoming crystal clear.
Reporter Judi Rudoren, writing from Jerusalem in an important article in Friday’s New York Times addresses Israeli motivation in an uncommonly candid way. Her article, titled “Israel Backs Limited Strike Against Syria,” notes that the Israelis have argued, quietly, that the best outcome for Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome. Rudoren continues:
“For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.
“‘This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,’ said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. ‘Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.’”
We think this is the way Israel’s current leaders look at the situation in Syria, and that deeper U.S. involvement – albeit, initially, by “limited” military strikes – is likely to ensure that there is no early resolution of the conflict in Syria. The longer Sunni and Shia are at each other’s throats in Syria and in the wider region, the safer Israel calculates that it is.
That Syria’s main ally is Iran, with whom it has a mutual defense treaty, also plays a role in Israeli calculations. Iran’s leaders are not likely to be able to have much military impact in Syria, and Israel can highlight that as an embarrassment for Tehran.
Iran can readily be blamed by association and charged with all manner of provocation, real and imagined. Some have seen Israel’s hand in the provenance of the most damaging charges against Assad regarding chemical weapons and our experience suggests to us that such is supremely possible.
Possible also is a false-flag attack by an interested party resulting in the sinking or damaging, say, of one of the five U.S. destroyers now on patrol just west of Syria. Our mainstream media could be counted on to milk that for all it’s worth, and you would find yourself under still more pressure to widen U.S. military involvement in Syria – and perhaps beyond, against Iran.
Iran has joined those who blame the Syrian rebels for the August 21 chemical incident, and has been quick to warn the U.S. not to get more deeply involved. According to the Iranian English-channel Press TV, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javid Zarif has claimed: “The Syria crisis is a trap set by Zionist pressure groups for [the United States].”
Actually, he may be not far off the mark. But we think your advisers may be chary of entertaining this notion. Thus, we see as our continuing responsibility to try to get word to you so as to ensure that you and other decision makers are given the full picture.
We hope your advisers have warned you that retaliation for attacks on Syrian are not a matter of IF, but rather WHERE and WHEN. Retaliation is inevitable. For example, terrorist strikes on U.S. embassies and other installations are likely to make what happened to the U.S. “Mission” in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, look like a minor dust-up by comparison. One of us addressed this key consideration directly a week ago in an article titled “Possible Consequences of a U.S. Military Attack on Syria – Remembering the U.S. Marine Barracks Destruction in Beirut, 1983.”
For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Thomas Drake, Senior Executive, NSA (former)
Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)
Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan
Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)
W. Patrick Lang, Senior Executive and Defense Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.)
David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)
Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)
Todd Pierce, US Army Judge Advocate General (ret.)
Sam Provance, former Sgt., US Army, Iraq
Coleen Rowley, Division Council & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)
“The European race’s last three hundred years of evolutionary progress have all come down to nothing but four words: selfishness, slaughter, shamelessness and corruption.” … Yan Fu …
The “New American Century” proclaimed by the neoconservatives came to an abrupt end on September 6 at the G20 meeting in Russia. The leaders of most of the world’s peoples told Obama that they do not believe him and that it is a violation of international law if the US government attacks Syria without UN authorization.
Putin told the assembled world leaders that the chemical weapons attack was “a provocation on behalf of the armed insurgents in hope of the help from the outside, from the countries which supported them from day one.” In other words, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Washington--the axis of evil.
China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, and Argentina joined Putin in affirming that a leader who commits military aggression without the approval of the UN Security Council puts himself “outside of law.”
In other words, if you defy the world, Obama, you are a war criminal.
The entire world is waiting to see if the Israel Lobby can push obama into the role of war criminal. Many are betting that Israel will prevail over the weak american president, a cipher devoid of all principle. A couple of decades ago before the advent of the american sheeple, one of the last tough Americans, Admiral Tom Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, publicly declared that “no US president can stand up to Israel.” America’s highest ranking military officer could not get an honest investigation of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty.
We are yet to see an american president who can stand up to Israel. Or, for that matter, a Congress that can. Or a media.
The obama regime tried to counter its smashing defeat at the G20 Summit by forcing its puppet states to sign a joint statement condemning Syria. However the puppet states qualified their position by stating that they opposed military action and awaited the UN report. …more …
As we approach the time that Congress will either vote to authorize this President to attack a foreign nation that is no threat to the United States, without being sanctioned through the United Nations Security Council (which is also against International Law), or Congress will take back the authority given to them in the Constitution. Either way, heads will turn.
Understanding that there are those in Government and elsewhere that want to attack Syria for different reasons (many of them monetary), the President is being manipulated to accede to their demands. Calling on Congress to justify a strike on a foreign nation that will most likely have enormous repercussions, not only in the Middle East, but all around the world, this President might just have kicked the can down the road.
If this is his purpose, he well go down as one of our greatest Presidents if he bends to Congress if they vote no. This will be a giant step in dismantling the "Imperial Executive" branch. Giving Congress the power to authorize the use of force will be exactly what this nation (and the World) needs to see. This will also allow President Obama to backtrack out the pickle he has been put in by his "red line" remark.
If the Congress fails to authorize this strike (and that appears likely), the President could emulate the British Prime Minister David Cameron with an "I get it" remark. This would allow him to extricate the United States out of the Middle East where nothing is completely white or black or good or bad. It appears that maybe President Obama is starting to understand that no matter what the United States does or doesn't do in the Middle East, nothing will satisfy everyone.
The nation is tired of these endless military diversions that seem to go on and on forever. The nation is also tired of the military spending that takes up 54% of our discretionary budget. Hundreds of Tomahawk missiles at 1.6 million dollars each is a lot of money. This is money that the defense industry is salivating over. Israel too would love to see Syria (with whom they are technically at war with) turn into a failed state like Iraq and Libya, the two US "client states" that were introduced to democracy over the barrel of a gun. Our actions didn't work then and they won't work now.
The United States needs to learn a hard lesson. We just can't be the arbitrator of every violent conflict in the world. We helped start this mess by supplying the "Syrian" rebels that are, by and large, mercenaries from all over the Arab World. We stand back and wonder how al Nusra and al Qaida got involved and now realize that we are seeing a playback on how the war in Afghanistan got started. The United States government, in its eternal wisdom, recruited and supplied the "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan led by none other than Osama Bin Laden. So how did that work out for the U.S.?
I can only hope that this is what Obama is trying to do. If it is, he is smarter than I give him credit for. If it isn't, and Congress authorizes the strikes and he proceeds to use military force against Syria, or Congress says no and he acts without authorization, he is the dumbest man to ever sit in the oval office.
BY: Alan Grayson, a Democratic representative from Florida, is a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
WASHINGTON — THE documentary record regarding an attack on Syria consists of just two papers: a four-page unclassified summary and a 12-page classified summary. The first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion.
On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was “no.”
The Syria chemical weapons summaries are based on several hundred underlying elements of intelligence information. The unclassified summary cites intercepted telephone calls, “social media” postings and the like, but not one of these is actually quoted or attached — not even clips from YouTube. (As to whether the classified summary is the same, I couldn’t possibly comment, but again, draw your own conclusion.)
Over the last week the administration has run a full-court press on Capitol Hill, lobbying members from both parties in both houses to vote in support of its plan to attack Syria. And yet we members are supposed to accept, without question, that the proponents of a strike on Syria have accurately depicted the underlying evidence, even though the proponents refuse to show any of it to us or to the American public.
In fact, even gaining access to just the classified summary involves a series of unreasonably high hurdles.
We have to descend into the bowels of the Capitol Visitors Center, to a room four levels underground. Per the instructions of the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, note-taking is not allowed.
Once we leave, we are not permitted to discuss the classified summary with the public, the media, our constituents or even other members. Nor are we allowed to do anything to verify the validity of the information that has been provided.
And this is just the classified summary. It is my understanding that the House Intelligence Committee made a formal request for the underlying intelligence reports several days ago. I haven’t heard an answer yet. And frankly, I don’t expect one.
Compare this lack of transparency with the administration’s treatment of the Benghazi attack. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to her credit, made every single relevant classified e-mail, cable and intelligence report available to every member of Congress. (I know this, because I read them all.) Secretary Clinton had nothing to hide.
Her successor, John Kerry, has said repeatedly that this administration isn’t trying to manipulate the intelligence reports the way that the Bush administration did to rationalize its invasion of Iraq.
But by refusing to disclose the underlying data even to members of Congress, the administration is making it impossible for anyone to judge, independently, whether that statement is correct. Perhaps the edict of an earlier administration applies: “Trust, but verify.”
The danger of the administration’s approach was illustrated by a widely read report last week in The Daily Caller, which claimed that the Obama administration had selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes in Syria, with one report “doctored so that it leads a reader to just the opposite conclusion reached by the original report.”
The allegedly doctored report attributes the attack to the Syrian general staff. But according to The Daily Caller, “it was clear that ‘the Syrian general staff were out of their minds with panic that an unauthorized strike had been launched by the 155th Brigade in express defiance of their instructions.’ ”
I don’t know who is right, the administration or The Daily Caller. But for me to make the correct decision on whether to allow an attack, I need to know. And so does the American public.
We have reached the point where the classified information system prevents even trusted members of Congress, who have security clearances, from learning essential facts, and then inhibits them from discussing and debating what they do know. And this extends to matters of war and peace, money and blood. The “security state” is drowning in its own phlegm.
My position is simple: if the administration wants me to vote for war, on this occasion or on any other, then I need to know all the facts. And I’m not the only one who feels that way.
Alan Grayson, a Democratic representative from Florida, is a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Their constituents are against it, their party leaders in Congress are generally for it, and President Obama has declared it a moral imperative — leaving rank-and-file members to sort it all out and take a career-defining vote on whether to authorize military strikes on Syria.
For some, the decision to approve strikes is about international human rights and chemical weapons.
For others, it’s part of a broader war on terrorism that Republicans in particular say Mr. Obama has been losing, and they see a chance for the president to get back on track in confronting radical Islam.
For what appears to be a growing number in Congress, the decision is a referendum on Mr. Obama’s competency: Do they trust him to manage the attack in the limited way he says and not get drawn into the larger Syrian civil war?
The Washington Times spoke with three lawmakers about their decision-making, and what came through in each case was how seriously the members were studying the briefings provided by the administration and working through the pitfalls and possibilities of a strike.