Kyril "Ky" Plaskon

 Investigative Reporting Independent Service

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Friday, April 29, 2011

U.S. Funding of Syrian Opposition, "Poorly thought out", "stunt"

(IRIS)-- Syrian opposition leaders harshly criticized a sudden U.S. Government public announcement that it would fund them to the tune of $5 million dollars according to a confidential diplomatic cable from February 21, 2006 released by Wikileaks. The opposition had already been secretly funded for years they said. The leaders were clearly dumbfounded as to why the Bush administration felt a need to make a public announcement that would subject them to scrutiny, arrest, and weaken them.

They said that the U.S. didn't really care about them, no opposition leader would accept the money now and they they were forced to publicly denounced the U.S. and its funding as a meddling in Syrian internal affairs. Only one opposition leader offered praise, but said it was a paltry offering, when the U.S. was spending $75 million funding Iranian opposition.

The opposition contacts said that they felt they were being used as a bargaining "chip in the game." They were clearly were not consulted and called the announcement "harmful" and "nave." Not only that, they said the Syrian government could hijack the funds and drain them further weakening the opposition. Another called it a "stunt," "poorly thought out," one that will weaken the opposition in Syria and also weaken any U.S. strategy for shaking the regime.

Every name in the confidential cable is redacted. While it clearly shows that opposition leaders were  not consulted, they were willing to continuing to work with the U.S. secretly.

But, the public face of those Syrian opposition leaders changed dramatically as a result of the announcement which was made on February 17, 2006. That announcement likely had the extreme opposite of its intended effect and the impact was felt the very next day.

"XXXXXXXXXXXX related that at a February 18 meeting of about twenty Damascus Declaration participants, those assembled had decided to publicly denounce the MEPI (State Department) project because they felt they had to, in order to avoid even more SARG (Syrian intelligence) scrutiny. XXXXXXXXXXXX, said that the general consensus among XXXXXXXXXXXX civil society and opposition colleagues had been that the USG  (U.S. Government) is "not serious about us" and that the public announcement was "just to put pressure on the regime with no regard for the opposition."

So then, in the eyes of the Syrian people, the U.S. Government funding was opposed by the Syrian opposition.

Of the dozens of redacted names in the cable, only "one embassy contact, XXXXXXXXXXXX, offered qualified praise for the initiative, saying that XXXXXXXXXXXX was happy about the funding, but critical of the public way that it was offered. XXXXXXXXXXXX also noted that the USG’s pledge of $75 million to the Iranian opposition largely overshadowed the $5 million for Syrian efforts and raised questions about the US’s commitment to the Syrian opposition cause. XXXXXXXXXXXX was also quick to point out that most activists were afraid to say anything positive about the announcement."

It was clearly a learning experience for the Bush administration. Despite the public denouncement of the U.S. funding, the oppositions leader's fears did become reality. Syrian intelligence more intensely interrogated the opposition leaders about U.S. funding sources (see blog below on secret cable: U.S. "Illegally" Funded Syrian Opposition). What is clear, is that the publicity put added pressure on all sides.

Fri, April 29, 2011 | link          Comments

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Syrian Protestors Face Chemical Weapons

(IRIS) --  As we watch the Syrian government ruthlessly attack its own people  with live ammunition, we wonder how far the violence could go and if the Syrian people could face the governments stockpile of chemical weapons. According to The Syrian Spring, CIA sources say that the government is in possession of numerous chemical weapons that would have to be neutralized. The Syrian arsenal includes large amounts of Sarin in addition to tabun, mustard gas and is reportedly 'producing and weaponizing VX. Exact volumes of weapons in the Syrian stockpile are difficult to know. The CIA estimates the Syrian government has several hundred liters of chemical weapons with hundreds of tons of agents produced annually," according to the site.

Despite the known accumulation of chemical weapons, the United States and other countries have not taken the dramatic steps necessary to eliminate that threat.

Israel did step in to eliminate a serious threat by destroying a Syrian nuclear  weapons facility on September 7, 2007. Syria was trying to build it with the help of North Korea. Luckily, the site was built away from population centers, making it easy to destroy.
 
After that incident, the U.S State Department put together a long list of reasons for Israels action and sent the list to every diplomatic post in the world.

That was an unclassified cable. What did remain a secret was the  U.S. monitoring of Syrias amassing of chemical weapons.

In an urgent secret diplomatic cable sent from the State Department's Office of Chemical and Biological Weapons Threat Reduction program, released by Wikileaks, Director Robert Mikulak requested immediate action based on information it "has obtained."

"The U.S. has obtained information indicating that a Syrian institution with connections to the country’s chemical and biological weapons programs is attempting to acquire Australia Group-controlled glass-lined reactors, heat exchangers and pumps from the Indian firms XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXXXX," Mlkulak wrote on background. "Both firms are believed to have received visits from the Syria institution in the past 3 months and may be close to concluding their respective deals."

It is clear that the U.S. obtained this information through spying in Syria. Following that short background, Director Mikulak gives clear instructions for how to approach the issue with the Indian government. The spying details were deep, including the companies, what they planned to buy, when and where.

"In light of its chemical weapons and other programs of proliferation concern, support to terrorist organizations, and efforts to destabilize other countries in the region, we believe Syria is an unreliable destination for dual-use exports, and Syrian end-user statements or other assurances are neither credible nor trustworthy."

And there was a threat for in-action: "Under INKSNA, sanctions also may be imposed against persons identified in such reports."

The action-request ended with very little room for leeway: "We look forward to the Indian government sharing with us the results of its investigation into this matter.  End talking points."

Sat, April 23, 2011 | link          Comments

Friday, April 22, 2011

U.S. Government 'Illegally' Funded Syrian Opposition

IRIS--As protests are closing in around Damascus, the roots of the demands for democracy were secretly and "illegally" funded by the U.S. Government according to a secret diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks. 

The cables's subject line is "Show us the money! SARG suspects "illega" US Government funding, and their suspicions were correct.

"It is unclear to what extent SARG intelligence services understand how USG (U.S. Government) money enters Syria and through which proxy organizations," wrote Charles Hunter from the American Embassy in Damascus in September 2009.

In the heavily redacted and unusually short cable he wrote that Syrian intelligence were catching on though, detaining civil society and human rights activists and alleging "Illegal" United States Government funding.

"Security agents are increasingly focused on this issue when they interrogate human rights and civil society activists. The information agents are able to frame their questions with more and more specific information and names. XXXXXXXXXXXX suggest the SARG has keyed in on MEPI operations in particular," Hunter wrote.

MEPI is the Middle East Partnership Initiative, a U.S. State Department program that primarily operates in north Africa (including Egypt and Tunisia) where recent protests and toppling of the government has taken place. Now it is focusing on spreading technology with assistance of Microsoft, a powerful ally to be sure.

"interrogators asked specifically about their connections to the U.S. Embassy and the State Department. XXXXXXXXXXXX was questioned about MEPI-funded Democracy Council activities as well as visiting State Department officials."

To say the least, Syrian intelligence was worried, and now those fears are becoming reality.

Fri, April 22, 2011 | link          Comments


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Nation's First Cold War Memorial Groundbreaking & Book Signing

The Forest Service members of the CIA and workers from Area 51 were at Mt. Charleston outside Las Vegas for the groundbreaking of the nation's first Cold War Memorial on Saturday, November 17. This will enhance the regions international recognition for its role in America's victory in the Cold War. The Atomic Testing museum with its hands-on exhibits, the atomic test site with its bomb-ravaged structures and now the cold war memorial honoring America's heroes who lost their lives in America's longest war. Vistors can get a signed first-edition copy of Silent Heroes of the Cold War (Stephen's Press 2008) and learn more at this first public event on a multi-million dollar Forest Service project in the area.

Ky Plaskon's web archive

Children's Health Care (Live)

UNLV's 1st News Director

Artifact Theft (NPR)

Construction Defects (NPR)

Mortgage Fraud on the Rise (APM)

Muslim Radicalism (Voice of America)

Vegas Thirst for Groundwater (Living on Earth)

Computerized Voting Arrives (Voice of America)

Engineering Behind Entertainment (NPR)

Wind-powered Car (KNPR)

Industry of Prisoner Employees (KLAS)

Losing it all in Vegas (KNPR)

High-brow Brothel (KNPR)

Desert Con Had Last Word (KNPR)

Money, Blood & Children (KRNV)

Drug Cartel Kidnaps Kid (CNN)

Racist Vegas I (NPR)

Racist Vegas II (NPR)

Revolutionary Janitor (NPR)

Tax Fraud Publisher Jailed (NPR)

Yucca Mountain Gold Diggers (NPR)

U.S. Artifact Plundering (NPR)

Vegas Limits Water Use (NPR)

Torrential Vegas Floods (NPR)

Vegas Police, Wrongful Death Suit (KLAS)

UNLV President Resigns

Sales of Kyril Plaskon's Silent Heroes of the Cold War supports

National Cold War Memorial

The Impact of Governme Secrecy.
Silent Heroes of the Cold War book cover
Only American Account of Transgenerational War Trauma. Click on the Pic for the title at Amazon

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Ky Plaskon * Phone: (775) 287-0302