President Obama’s Speech on Sept. 10, 2013

President Obama delivered the following remarks making the case for a military strike against the Syrian government on Sept. 10, 2013, at the White House.

“The world saw thousands of videos, cell phone pictures, and social media
accounts from the attack, and humanitarian organizations told stories
of hospitals packed with people who had symptoms of poison gas.”

Obama takes Syria case to the public
PRESIDENT OBAMA: My fellow Americans, tonight I want to talk to you about Syria — why it matters, and where we go from here.
Over the past two years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a brutal civil war. Over 100,000 people have been killed.
Millions have fled the country. In that time, America has worked with allies to provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition, and to shape a political settlement. But I have resisted calls for military action, because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force, particularly after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The situation profoundly changed, though, on August 21st, when Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children. The images from this massacre are sickening: Men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas. Others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath. A father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk. On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons, and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off-limits — a crime against humanity, and a violation of the laws of war.
This was not always the case. In World War I, American GIs were among the many thousands killed by deadly gas in the trenches of Europe. In World War II, the Nazis used gas to inflict the horror of the Holocaust. Because these weapons can kill on a mass scale, with no distinction between soldier and infant, the civilized world has spent a century working to ban them.
And in 1997, the United States Senate overwhelmingly approved an international agreement prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, now joined by 189 governments that represent 98 percent of humanity.On August 21st, these basic rules were violated, along with our sense of common humanity. No one disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria.
The world saw thousands of videos, cell phone pictures, and social media accounts from the attack, and humanitarian organizations told stories of hospitals packed with people who had symptoms of poison gas.
Moreover, we know the Assad regime was responsible. In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad’s chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gas masks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighborhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces. Shortly after those rockets landed, the gas spread, and hospitals filled with the dying and the wounded.
We know senior figures in Assad’s military machine reviewed the results of the attack, and the regime increased their shelling of the same neighborhoods in the days that followed.
We’ve also studied samples of blood and hair from people at the site that tested positive for sarin.
When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory. But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied. The question now is what the United States of America, and the international community, is prepared to do about it. Because what happened to those people — to those children — is not only a violation of international law, it’s also a danger to our security.
Let me explain why. If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas, and using them.
Over time, our troops would again face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield. And it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons, and to use them to attack civilians.

If fighting spills beyond Syria’s borders, these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. And a failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction, and embolden Assad’s ally, Iran — which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon, or to take a more peaceful path.
This is not a world we should accept. This is what’s at stake. And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.
The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.
That’s my judgment as Commander-in-Chief. But I’m also the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. So even though I possess the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress. I believe our democracy is stronger when the President acts with the support of Congress. And I believe that America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together.This is especially true after a decade that put more and more war-making power in the hands of the President, and more and more burdens on the shoulders of our troops, while sidelining the people’s representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force.Now, I know that after the terrible toll of Iraq and Afghanistan, the idea of any military action, no matter how limited, is not going to be popular. After all, I’ve spent four and a half years working to end wars, not to start them. Our troops are out of Iraq. Our troops are coming home from Afghanistan. And I know Americans want all of us in Washington

— especially me — to concentrate on the task of building our nation here at home: putting people back to work, educating our kids, growing our middle class.

It’s no wonder, then, that you’re asking hard questions. So let me answer some of the most important questions that I’ve heard from members of Congress, and that I’ve read in letters that you’ve sent to me.First, many of you have asked, won’t this put us on a slippery slope to another war? One man wrote to me that we are “still recovering from our involvement in Iraq.” A veteran put it more bluntly: “This nation is sick and tired of war.”

My answer is simple: I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria.
I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo.
This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective: deterring the use of chemical weapons, and degrading Assad’s capabilities.
Others have asked whether it’s worth acting if we don’t take out Assad. As some members of Congress have said, there’s no point in simply doing a “pinprick” strike in Syria.
Let me make something clear: The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks. Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver. I don’t think we should remove another dictator with force — we learned from Iraq that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next.
But a targeted strike can make Assad, or any other dictator, think twice before using chemical weapons.
Other questions involve the dangers of retaliation. We don’t dismiss any threats, but the Assad regime does not have the ability to seriously threaten our military. Any other retaliation they might seek is in line with threats that we face every day. Neither Assad nor his allies have any interest in escalation that would lead to his demise. And our ally, Israel, can defend itself with overwhelming force, as well as the unshakeable support of the United States of America.
Many of you have asked a broader question: Why should we get involved at all in a place that’s so complicated, and where — as one person wrote to me — “those who come after Assad may be enemies of human rights?”It’s true that some of Assad’s opponents are extremists. But al Qaeda will only draw strength in a more chaotic Syria if people there see the world doing nothing to prevent innocent civilians from being gassed to death.
The majority of the Syrian people — and the Syrian opposition we work with — just want to live in peace, with dignity and freedom. And the day after any military action, we would redouble our efforts to achieve a political solution that strengthens those who reject the forces of tyranny and extremism.
Finally, many of you have asked: Why not leave this to other countries, or seek solutions short of force?
As several people wrote to me, “We should not be the world’s policeman.”I agree, and I have a deeply held preference for peaceful solutions. Over the last two years, my administration has tried diplomacy and sanctions, warning and negotiations — but chemical weapons were still used by the Assad regime.
However, over the last few days, we’ve seen some encouraging signs. In part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action, as well as constructive talks that I had with President Putin, the Russian government has indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons.
The Assad regime has now admitted that it has these weapons, and even said they’d join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits their use.It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments.
But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies.
I have, therefore, asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path.
I’m sending Secretary of State John Kerry to meet his Russian counterpart on Thursday, and I will continue my own discussions with President Putin.
I’ve spoken to the leaders of two of our closest allies, France and the United Kingdom, and we will work together in consultation with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the U.N. Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons, and to ultimately destroy them under international control.
We’ll also give U.N. inspectors the opportunity to report their findings about what happened on August 21st. And we will continue to rally support from allies from Europe to the Americas — from Asia to the Middle East — who agree on the need for action.
Meanwhile, I’ve ordered our military to maintain their current posture to keep the pressure on Assad, and to be in a position to respond if diplomacy fails. And tonight, I give thanks again to our military and their families for their incredible strength and sacrifices.
My fellow Americans, for nearly seven decades, the United States has been the anchor of global security. This has meant doing more than forging international agreements — it has meant enforcing them.
The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world is a better place because we have borne them.
And so, to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America’s military might with a failure to act when a cause is so plainly just.
To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain, and going still on a cold hospital floor. For sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.
Indeed, I’d ask every member of Congress, and those of you watching at home tonight, to view those videos of the attack, and then ask: What kind of world will we live in if the United States of America sees a dictator brazenly violate international law with poison gas, and we choose to look the other way?
Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideals and principles that we have cherished are challenged.”
Our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria, along with our leadership of a world where we seek to ensure that the worst weapons will never be used.
America is not the world’s policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong. But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death, and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Full transcript: Obama’s speech

Transcript provided for commentary here and is available with comments disabled and free of advertisement & comments (Unless you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer).

Transcript courtesy of the White House.


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Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro kills himself in prison

Ariel Castro, the Cleveland kidnapper who held Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Georgina “Gina” De Jesus hostage for almost a decade, took his own life tonight according to a report from CNN.

By Roxanne Cooper
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 0:49 EDT

Ariel Castro Enters Isolation for Own Protection

Saturday, August 03, 2013 9:03:00 AM

Ariel Castro Enters Isolation for Own Protection (via NewsLook)

Video News by NewsLook Ariel Castro has been moved to an Ohio prison where he’ll begin his life prison sentence in isolation.

Continue reading “Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro kills himself in prison”

FREE! – (a correction)


In our article, posted May 7th, 2013, the photo credits and some of the information, incorrectly identified the house in the photo as 2210 Seymour Avenue. The photograph shows the house correctly.

The proper address is 2207 Seymour Avenue

The proper address is 2207 Seymour Avenue, and it has become infamous worldwide, and has a photo circulated by AP of the present condition of the house, with the 10 foot Chain-Link fence, boarded up, etc., etc. condition being quite self-evident.
Ariel Castro’s house at 2207 Seymour Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, is yet to give up many of its secrets.

What lies inside the run-down clapboard house where Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight are said to have spent their captivity?

The house appears to have been the scene of a double life – as Mr Castro’s home and as a kidnap den where he is alleged to have held three women captive for almost a decade.

The two-story building stands right in the middle of a tree-lined street in Cleveland’s West Side neighborhood – a working-class area home to a close-knit community.

Few details have been confirmed about what it contains, but some facts are known.

Mr Castro bought the house in 1992 for $12,000 (£7,750), according to the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s office. In 2012, it was valued at $36,100 (£23,300).

The property currently faces repossession over the non-payment of taxes, with Mr Castro owing some $2,501 (£1,615) in taxes for the period 2010-12.

The property has four bedrooms, a bathroom, a 760sq ft (71sq m) basement, two porches and an attic. There is also a detached garage.

They [the women] had no ability to leave the home or interact with anyone other than each other, the child and the suspect”

US law enforcement official

The continuing investigation and charges of kidnap and rape levelled at Mr Castro centered on what happened to the women while they were in the house.

Ariel Castro’s son, Anthony – who says he visited the house just two weeks ago – told the media that the doors to the basement, the attic and the garage were always padlocked and family members were not allowed to go there.

Anthony Castro described his father as a violent and controlling man, who beat him and nearly killed his mother in the early 1990s.

After years of abuse, his mother decided to move out of the house in 1996, taking him and his three sisters with her, Mr Castro said.

“It’s astonishing to even think… that I was so close to that. That I was physically at the house two weeks ago while that was going on, it’s a lot to grasp,” he said.

What did Ariel Castro’s neighbors know?

Police are yet to release any pictures from the inside of the property, but one law enforcement official has described the conditions there as “abysmal at best”.

“They (the women) had no ability to leave the home or interact with anyone other than each other, the child and the suspect,” the official told the New York Times.

Media reports also suggest that the authorities have discovered chains and tape inside the house allegedly used to restrain the women.

A police report suggests the women were all initially kept chained in the cellar, but eventually allowed to live on the second floor of the house.

One report cites the victims as saying the “big inside door” of the home was usually locked when Mr Castro went out. On Monday, he apparently forgot to lock it as he went to a nearby McDonald’s.

Even so, Amanda Berry was afraid to break open the locked storm door because “she thought Ariel (Castro) was testing her,” said the police report.

Instead, she tried to get the attention of neighbors to help; her screams were heard by Charles Ramsey who lived across the street and came to the rescue.

Police say officers were sent to the house twice, in 2000 and 2004.

In March 2000, Ariel Castro reported a fight on the street – but no arrests were made. In January 2004 police went to the address after Mr Castro, then a school bus driver, reportedly left a child on a bus. No-one appeared to be in the house.

An investigation later found no criminal intent by Mr Castro, police told local news site
Several miscarriages

Rather than celebrating their birthdays, in a bizarre ritual, the captor would apparently give his victims cake to mark their “abduction day”, one victim’s cousin was quoted as telling US media.

In recent years, the kidnapper was occasionally seen walking in the area with a young girl – apparently Jocelyn, whom he fathered with Ms Berry and with whom he also visited relatives, reported the New York Times.

One cousin from Ohio said Mr Castro had visited with a well-presented girl a couple of years ago, whom the suspect had introduced as his granddaughter.

Apparently the suspect had insisted Jocelyn was not told the names of Ms Knight or Ms DeJesus in case she repeated them in public.

None of the victims was allowed to see a doctor during their captivity: A police report suggests Jocelyn was born in a plastic pool and delivered with the assistance of Ms Knight.

Ms Knight had told police her captor had threatened to kill her if the baby died, says the New York Times report.

She said Jocelyn stopped breathing at one stage, but that she had administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to keep her alive.

For her part, Ms Knight was reportedly impregnated by her captor five times – only for him to starve her and repeatedly punch her in the abdomen until she miscarried, added the newspaper.

Ms DeJesus told police she did not think she became pregnant during her captivity.

‘Didn’t look right’

Views of Mr Castro himself are mixed. To some in the area he appeared to be “a regular Joe”, but some locals claim warning signs were always there.

Elsie Cintron spoke of a “naked lady crawling in the backyard”

Mike Kazimore, a local postman, said he visited Mr Castro’s porch virtually everyday for the last 12 years to deliver mail. “It looked like a normal house,” he told the BBC.

Niki Greiner, another resident, said the property was usually “quiet”, although “sometimes you would hear music”.

“But I would never see the man come out of there or hear any noises. It’s just like he was there but not there,” Ms Greiner said.

James King says the house “did not look right” because it had boarded-up windows. “You could not see through,” he says.

A police report says the victims were only ever allowed to leave the house to go into the back garden, where “they had to wear wigs and sunglasses and keep their heads down”.

Local resident Elsie Cintron told the BBC she started to have concerns after her granddaughter told her she had seen a “naked lady crawling in the backyard of his house”.

“That’s when I got sick to my stomach. I told my grandchildren to stay away from there.

“What else got me was a little girl up in the attic window. Where did she come from? Who’s her mother?”

The girl was, apparently, Jocelyn.

Mrs Cintron also says she alerted police at the time – but that authorities did not seem to be interested.

Other residents claim they have made multiple calls to police regarding suspicious activity at the house.

They include sightings of women crying for help, the sound of pounding on the doors and of Mr Castro allegedly taking a small girl for early-morning walks.

Badr told inter…

Badr told interrogators that he took his mother’s knife, travelled to Cairo by train from Kafr El-Sheikh, and went to the US embassy in search of an American citizen to kill, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported on Friday.

Egyptian man who stabbed Stone in Cairo: I hate America – Politics – Egypt – Ahram Online – Mozilla Firefox.


CLEVELAND – Three brothers were in custody Monday night in connection with the kidnapping of three Cleveland women.

All three are Hispanic males, ages 50, 52 and 54, police said. At this time, officers said a search warrant was being executed at 2210 Seymour Avenue. Charges are expected to be filed within the next 36 hours.

“At this time, suspect information regarding the missing persons investigation will not be released. The Cleveland Division of Police remains committed to the thorough investigation of these cases,” police posted online late Monday night.

Read more:

Yaniel Marti's photo.
Yaniel Marti’s photo.

Yaniel Marti’s photo of 2210 Seymour Avenue.

The Exogeny Times Monday March 29th, 2010

The Exogeny Times

Tribute to Oldest Rock N Roll Drummer in the World!

June 4th, 8 – 10 PM, $15

This will be “Spirit” drummer Ed Cassidy’s last performance, Cass turns 87 this month! Please join the tribute to “The Oldest Rock N Roll Drummer In The World” at San Luis Obispo Grange Hall 2880 Broad st., San Luis Obispo, CA

Merrell Fankhauser & Friends featuring Dick Lee of The Brymers and Fapardokly, Ed Cassidy of Spirit and other surprise guests will be performing Friday June 4th. The concert will be videoed in HD for airing on the Tiki Lounge TV show. This will be the kick off for the summer series of concerts at the SLO Grange Hall the first Friday of every month featuring Merrell Fankhauser and a variety of artists and bands!!

Summer Concerts

July 2nd L.A. girl group “Pearl Harbor” and “Merrell And The Tiki Lounge Dancers”.

Aug. 6th Local Hot Rock N Boogie “Dr. Danger Band” and “Merrell”.

Sept. 3rd Instro Surf Night with “North Of Malibu” and “Merrell Fankhauser”.

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