Three people have reportedly been killed by security forces across Syria on Wednesday. Bashar Al-Assad has spoken to supporters in Damascus for the second time in the last 24 hours, reiterating his dismissal of calls to step down. He's blaming the ten-month-long unrest in the country on foreign-funded terrorists, promising to crush them with extreme prejudice. The UN says Damascus has stepped up its crackdown on protesters, but Assad claims no order was ever given to fire on civilians. The President's pledged commitment to Democratic reform, promising a referendum on a new constitution by March, and free elections soon after. RT talks to independent news editor James Corbett.
"The unrest in Syria from the beginning was entirely backed by Western corporate-financier interests and part of a long-planned agenda for region-wide regime change. Syria has been slated for regime change since as early as 1991. In 2002, then US Under Secretary of State John Bolton added Syria to the growing "Axis of Evil." It would be later revealed that Bolton's threats against Syria manifested themselves as covert funding and support for opposition groups inside of Syria spanning both the Bush and Obama administrations.
In an April 2011 CNN article, acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner stated, "We're not working to undermine that [Syrian] government. What we are trying to do in Syria, through our civil society support, is to build the kind of democratic institutions, frankly, that we're trying to do in countries around the globe. What's different, I think, in this situation is that the Syrian government perceives this kind of assistance as a threat to its control over the Syrian people."
Toner's remarks came after the Washington Post released cables indicating the US has been funding Syrian opposition groups since at least 2005 and continued until today.
In an April AFP report, Michael Posner, the assistant US Secretary of State for Human Rights and Labor, stated that the "US government has budgeted $50 million in the last two years to develop new technologies to help activists protect themselves from arrest and prosecution by authoritarian governments." The report went on to explain that the US "organized training sessions for 5,000 activists in different parts of the world. A session held in the Middle East about six weeks ago gathered activists from Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon who returned to their countries with the aim of training their colleagues there." Posner would add, "They went back and there's a ripple effect." That ripple effect of course is the "Arab Spring," and in Syria's case, the impetus for the current unrest threatening to unhinge the nation and invite in foreign intervention."