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Boland Amendment Redux

by Stephen Lendman Thursday, Jun. 28, 2012 at 4:15 AM


Boland Amendment Redux

by Stephen Lendman

In 1982, the House passed the Boland Amendment. It was attached as a rider to the 1983 Defense Appropriations Act.

It cut off CIA and other covert Contra funding. Washington backed them against Daniel Ortega's Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). He led a popular uprising against the hated US-backed Somoza dictatorship.

Bipartisan support backed Boland. Party leaders were outraged about waging covert war without notifying congressional oversight committees as required.

Nonetheless, Reagan ordered the National Security Council to "keep the Contras together, body and soul." Oliver North got operational responsibility. He established a secret network to keep arms flowing.

Dozens of former CIA operatives and retired military personnel were recruited. Evading congressional oversight was planned. CIA head William Casey organized an "off the shelf" scheme. Congress got wind of it. The Iran/Contra scandal followed.

Boland had the right idea. It's again deja vu. Ron Paul is today's Boland. This time it's with little congressional backing.

On June 21, he introduced HR 5993: The Syria Non-Intervention Act of 2012.

It "prohibit(s) the use of funds available to the Department of Defense or an element of the intelligence community for the purpose or which would have the effect of supporting, directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Syria by any nation, group, organization, movement, or individual."

Rep. John Campbell (R. CA) is his only co-sponsor. The measure was referred to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and Armed Services Committee. No further action so far was taken.

Addressing House members, Paul said:

"The Administration is marching toward another war in the Middle East, this time against Syria. As with the president's war against Libya, Congress has been frozen out of the process."

"The Constitution, which grants Congress and only Congress the authority to declare war, is once again being completely ignored."

Attacking Syria "makes no sense. (It's) not in our interest. (It'll) make matters worse."

Yet the administration is arming insurgents and "indicated that its plans for an actual invasion are complete."

Reports say CIA operatives are "distributing assault rifles, anti-tank rocket launchers, and other ammunition to the Syrian opposition."

"These are acts of war by the United States government. But where is the authority for the president to commit acts of war against Syria? There is no authority. The president is acting on his own."

Paul's bill prohibits direct or covert use of funds for anti-Assad operations. The bill is simple, he said. Without congressional authorization, it forbids supporting Syrian military or paramilitary operations.

Congress is obligated "to exercise oversight of the president's foreign policy actions and to protect its constitutional prerogatives. This legislation will achieve both important functions."

"(T)he last thing this country needs is yet another war particularly in the Middle East. Even worse is the president once again ignoring the Legislative Branch and going to war on his own."

Paul urged his colleagues to join him "in standing up for our Constitutional authority and resisting what will be another disastrous war in the Middle East."

He expressed concern about CIA and US special forces recruiting, funding, and arming Al Qaeda and other extremist groups. Last year's war on Gaddafi is being replicated.

Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) elements were enlisted to topple him. In 2007, the State Department said "Libyans associated with the LIFG are part of a broader international terrorist movement."

"The LIFG is one of the groups believed to have planned the Casablanca suicide bombings in May 2003....The LIFG constitutes a serious threat to US interests and personnel."

Washington strategically uses Al Qaeda, LIFG, and similar groups as allies and enemies. The pattern is repeating now in Syria.

In February, Hillary Clinton admitted that Al Qaeda and other extremist groups were used against Assad.

"We have a very dangerous set of actors in the region," she said. They include "Al Qaeda, Hamas, and those who are on our terror list, to be sure, supporting - claiming to support the opposition" in Syria.

Since conflict erupted in March 2011, Washington enlisted extremist groups to conduct Syrian terror attacks. They murder noncombatant men, women and children.

They commit targeted killings, bombings, summary executions, kidnappings, torture, rapes, and other atrocities. Homs burial brigade elements are involved. No crime too gruesome is avoided.

Hillary Clinton acknowledged Washington's role in backing them. She, Obama, and other administration officials bear direct responsibility for ravaging another country.

Paul wants it ended. Few in Congress support him. Violence rages out-of-control. Full-scale war assures ravaging Syria like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

On June 5, London Guardian contributor Seumas Milne headlined "In Syria, foreign intervention will only shed more blood," saying:

Washington, key NATO partners, and "Gulf allies are already fueling sectarian conflict in their proxy war with Iran. The fallout could be disastrous."

Pressure builds "for yet another western military intervention in the Arab world...."

Washington's UN envoy Susan Rice threatens it "outside (Security Council) authority." Hillary Clinton "says the case for intervention is getting stronger 'every day' while" insurgents spurn peace talks for conflict.

"The reality is that intervention in Syria by the US and its allies has already begun." Plans were finalized long ago. NATO partners agreed. So did Gulf states and Israel.

"(W)hile paying lip service to the Annan plan....they are making sure it won't succeed."

Full-scale belligerence could "set the region on fire and draw the outside world into a devastating conflict....Right now, lower-level intervention is bleeding Syria in a war of attrition."

Give peace a chance, urged Seumas. The potential for disaster otherwise "would be incalculable."

On June 26, the Mossad-connect DEBKAfile (DF) said "(u)nconfirmed first reports from British, French and Turkish sources says British special operations forces crossed from Turkey into northern Syria Tuesday, May 26, and advanced up to 10 kilometers inside the country."

"The same sources report heavy fighting around the Presidential Guards compound on the outskirts of Damascus."

On June 26, Russia Today (RT.com) ran a similar story. It discussed clashes in two Damascus suburbs and overnight area shelling.

Reuters said "Damascus suburbs were gripped by the worst fighting the capital has seen since the uprising against Assad began 16 months ago."

RT's Maria Finoshina said artillery fire could be heard. It was the first time it sounded heavy. "There was no sound of aircraft" overhead.

Shelling appeared to come from one of Assad's presidential compounds. RT cited also cited DF's report.

It said "Gulf military sources confirmed the presence of British special forces in Syria." It claimed they're trying to establish safe zones along the Syrian-Turkish border. Further Western incursions would follow.

At the same time, Vladimir Putin's in the region meeting with Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian leaders. He and other Russian officials warned they won't tolerate military intervention.They'll try to prevent it. So will Iran.

Russia and China both have strategic regional interests. How far they'll go to protect them remains unknown.

A Final Comment

Former President Jimmy Carter expressed great concern about US lawlessness.

In a New York Times commentary headlined "A Cruel and Unusual Record," he urged "concerned citizens (to) persuade Washington to reverse course and regain moral leadership according to international human rights norms...."

Instead of "making the world safer," America's abusive human rights violations "abets our enemies and alienates our friends."

America's permanent war agenda makes things worse. Ravaging the world one country at a time threatens humanity. What's more important than rallying support against it before it's too late.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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