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[Jan 11, 2020] Atomization of workforce as a part of atomization of society under neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness. ..."
"... And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves. ..."
"... The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling. ..."
"... Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation. ..."
"... So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church. ..."
Apr 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
DJG , April 17, 2017 at 11:09 am
Neoliberalism is creating loneliness. That's what's wrenching society apart George Monbiot, Guardian

George Monbiot on human loneliness and its toll. I agree with his observations. I have been cataloguing them in my head for years, especially after a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness.

A couple of recent trips to Rome have made that point ever more obvious to me: Compared to my North Side neighborhood in Chicago, where every other person seems to have a dog, and on weekends Clark Street is awash in dogs (on their way to the dog boutiques and the dog food truck), Rome has few dogs. Rome is much more densely populated, and the Italians still have each other, for good or for ill. And Americans use the dog as an odd means of making human contact, at least with other dog owners.

But Americanization advances: I was surprised to see people bring dogs into the dining room of a fairly upscale restaurant in Turin. I haven't seen that before. (Most Italian cafes and restaurants are just too small to accommodate a dog, and the owners don't have much patience for disruptions.) The dogs barked at each other for while–violating a cardinal rule in Italy that mealtime is sacred and tranquil. Loneliness rules.

And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves.

That's why the comments about March on Everywhere in Harper's, recommended by Lambert, fascinated me. Maybe, to be less lonely, you just have to attend the occasional march, no matter how disorganized (and the Chicago Women's March organizers made a few big logistical mistakes), no matter how incoherent. Safety in numbers? (And as Monbiot points out, overeating at home alone is a sign of loneliness: Another argument for a walk with a placard.)

Katharine , April 17, 2017 at 11:39 am

I particularly liked this point:

In Britain, men who have spent their entire lives in quadrangles – at school, at college, at the bar, in parliament – instruct us to stand on our own two feet.

With different imagery, the same is true in this country. The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling.

DJG , April 17, 2017 at 11:48 am

Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation.

So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church.

[Dec 28, 2019] Senior OPCW Official Busted Leaked Email Exposes Orders To Delete All Traces Of Dissent On Douma

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Imagine millions of government employees paid for by America's tax payer class, involved in covert operations undermining nation states for the benefit of war mongering shadow overlords counting on more never ending chaos feeding their hunger for power. ..."
"... This isn't Orwell's 1984, this Team America on opioids. ..."
"... Senior OPCW official had orders from US/ the Donald. Remember that the Donald bombed Syria based on this fake report , after a false flag done by Al Qaeda's artistic branch, the White Helmets. ..."
"... Pray, do tell where are the consequences for these literal demons that engaged in war crimes? It is quite clear: as long as you are a member of the establishment, you can do whatever the f*ck you want. ..."
"... Third rate script, third rate actors and crooked investigators. TPTB seem to have a plan worked out. Their problem now is that we, the hoi-polloi, have seen it all before, many times, and we can now recognise ******** when it's used to try to influence us. ..."
"... If this is not lamentable enough, the OPCW – whose final report came to more than a hundred pages and which even issued an easy-to-read precis version for journalists – now slams shut its steel doors in the hope of preventing even more information reaching the press. ..."
"... Instead of these pieces concentrating on the whistleblower how about putting a little heat on the 50 lying bastards who initiated the coverup? ..."
"... The destruction of the countries of the Middle East for the sake of a dwarf with giant ambitions is the most stupid thing the United States has done over the past 30 years in its foreign policy. And yes, all the wars in the Middle East were grounded in lies. And the Americans paid for it all from start to finish. When Americans realize that they need to defend their national interests, and not other people's national interests, maybe something in the Middle East will change for the better. True, I am afraid that with the hight level of stupidity and shortsightedness that is common among Americans, the United States is more likely to be destroyed faster. No offense. ..."
"... And I propose to remember the Syrian Christians who were destroyed by the Saudi Wahhabis, hired by the CIA with the money of American taxpayers and at the request of Israel. Until the Americans begin to investigate the activities of the CIA (and this activity causes the United States only harm), the responsibility for this genocide (you heard right) will be on the American nation. It turns out that in the Middle East you are primarily destroying Christians. How interesting, why such zeal. ..."
"... According to whistleblower testimony and leaked documents, OPCW officials raised alarm about the suppression of critical findings that undermine the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. Haddad's editors at Newsweek rejected his attempts to cover the story. "If I don't find another position in journalism because of this, I'm perfectly happy to accept that consequence," Haddad says. "It's not desirable. But there is no way I could have continued in that job knowing that I couldn't report something like this." ..."
"... New leaks continue to expose a cover-up by the OPCW – the world's top chemical weapons watchdog – over a critical event in Syria. Documents, emails, and testimony from OPCW officials have raised major doubts about the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. The leaked OPCW information has been released in pieces by Wikileaks. The latest documents contain a number of significant revelations – including that that about 20 OPCW officials voiced concerns that their scientific findings and on-the-ground evidence was suppressed and excluded. ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Senior OPCW Official Busted: Leaked Email Exposes Orders To "Delete All Traces" Of Dissent On Douma by Tyler Durden Sat, 12/28/2019 - 10:30 0 SHARES

Via AlMasdarNews.com,

Wikileaks has released their fourth set of leaks from the OPCW's Douma investigation, revealing new details about the alleged deletion of important information regarding the fact-finding mission.

RELEASE: OPCW-Douma Docs 4. Four leaked documents from the OPCW reveal that toxicologists ruled out deaths from chlorine exposure and a senior official ordered the deletion of the dissenting engineering report from OPCW's internal repository of documents. https://t.co/ndK4sRikNk

-- WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 27, 2019

"One of the documents is an e-mail exchange dated 27 and 28 February between members of the fact finding mission (FFM) deployed to Douma and the senior officials of the OPCW. It includes an e-mail from Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW , where he instructs that an engineering report from Ian Henderson should be removed from the secure registry of the organisation," WikiLeaks writes. Included in the email is the following directive:

" Please get this document out of DRA [Documents Registry Archive] And please remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever in DRA.'"

According to Wikileaks, the main finding of Henderson, who inspected the sites in Douma, was that two of the cylinders were most likely manually placed at the site, rather than dropped.

"The main finding of Henderson, who inspected the sites in Douma and two cylinders that were found on the site of the alleged attack, was that they were more likely manually placed there than dropped from a plane or helicopter from considerable heights. His findings were omitted from the official final OPCW report on the Douma incident," the Wikileaks report said.

It must be remembered that the U.S. launched an attack on Damascus, Syria on April 14, 2018 over alleged chemical weapons usage by pro-Assad forces at Douma.

AP file image.

Another document released Friday is minutes from a meeting on 6 June 2018 where four staff members of the OPCW had discussions with "three Toxicologists/Clinical pharmacologists, one bioanalytical and toxicological chemist" (all specialists in chemical weapons, according to the minutes).

Minutes from an OPCW meeting with toxicologists specialized in chemical weapons: "the experts were conclusive in their statements that there was
no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure". https://t.co/j5Jgjiz8UY pic.twitter.com/vgPaTtsdQN

-- WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 27, 2019

The purpose of this meeting was two-fold. The first objective was "to solicit expert advice on the value of exhuming suspected victims of the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018". According to the minutes, the OPCW team was advised by the experts that there would be little use in conducting exhumations. The second point was "To elicit expert opinions from the forensic toxicologists regarding the observed and reported symptoms of the alleged victims."

More specifically, " whether the symptoms observed in victims were consistent with exposure to chlorine or other reactive chlorine gas."

According to the minutes leaked Friday: "With respect to the consistency of the observed and reported symptoms of the alleged victims with possible exposure to chlorine gas or similar, the experts were conclusive in their statements that there was no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure ."

The OPCW team members wrote that the key "take-away message" from the meeting was "that the symptoms observed were inconsistent with exposure to chlorine and no other obvious candidate chemical causing the symptoms could be identified".

* * *

See full details at Wikileaks.org


JohnFrodo , 28 minutes ago link

pity the human pawns at the center of this mess.

africoman , 38 minutes ago link

There has been a Newsweek reporter who quite over editorial block of this OPCW case here also another interview by Grayzone

https://youtu.be/qqK8KgxuCPI

The isisrahell have such long hand to pull the plug any stories implicating their crime in progress otherwise they can put out some bs spins as bombshell reporting about US lies in Afghanistan war on their wapo for public for those who read it was nothing important revealed except being a misdirected na

ponyboy99 , 40 minutes ago link

If you want to pay off that student loan you're going to print what they tell you to print. You're going to inject kids with what they tell you to inject them with. You're going to think what they tell you to think or you're going to spend your days in a Prole bar drinking Blatz.

ponyboy99 , 47 minutes ago link

If you go thru life assuming every single thing is a farce and a lie (Roddy Piper) these events can not only be explained, they can be predicted.

Ace006 , 57 minutes ago link

SOMEbody's got to ensure the intergrity of the Documents Registry Archive

Weihan , 58 minutes ago link

The globalist deep-state's reach is legendary.

Nothing , 1 hour ago link

yes, an attack was launched, 50 missiles I believe, after loud warnings that it was coming, and none of them actually hit anything significant ... this is the way the game is played .... the good news is that the missiles cost $50 million, and now they will have to be replaced, by the Pentagon, first borrowing the money through the US Treasury offerings, and then paying for them from new money printed by the Federal Reserve. capische?

Greed is King , 36 minutes ago link

That`s the way it`s always been, it`s the eternal war of good against evil.

And when one evil enemy is defeated, it`s necessary to create a new evil enemy, how else can the Establishment Elite make money from war, death and destruction.

africoman , 16 minutes ago link

It's really very awkward & telling how ***** these bunch of western nations are looking tough on taking out poor defenceless country like Syria on ******** & at the satried to ease real kickass Russian as you described when they launch the attacks

I kind wish the US & their Zionist clown launch such huge attacks on Iran based on false flag

I really wanted these evil aggressive powers to taste what it is like to get bombed back even one they used to throw on multiple weaker nations freely with nothing to fear as retribution etc

Thordoom , 1 hour ago link

This organisations are all set up in Europe and US run by the filthiest filth on earth who still think they have God given right to imperial rule over the world.

British elite is the worst of all.

DCFusor , 1 hour ago link

Your military-industrial-intelligence complex at work, creating justification for more funding, like always - and who cares if people die as a result? Like Soros said, if they didn't do it, someone else would. (do I need /sarc?).

They don't like to be shown to be in charge, just to be in charge. And if you think this is a function of the current admin, you've been slow in the head and deaf and blind for quite some time.

I've watched since Eisenhower, and "it's always something". Doesn't matter what color the clown in chief's tie is.

St. TwinkleToes , 1 hour ago link

Imagine millions of government employees paid for by America's tax payer class, involved in covert operations undermining nation states for the benefit of war mongering shadow overlords counting on more never ending chaos feeding their hunger for power.

This isn't Orwell's 1984, this Team America on opioids.

veritas semper vinces , 2 hours ago link

Senior OPCW official had orders from US/ the Donald. Remember that the Donald bombed Syria based on this fake report , after a false flag done by Al Qaeda's artistic branch, the White Helmets.

holgerdanske , 1 hour ago link

It was May that insisted on this attack. Remember the "poison" attack and the evil Russians?

lwilland1012 , 3 hours ago link

Pray, do tell where are the consequences for these literal demons that engaged in war crimes? It is quite clear: as long as you are a member of the establishment, you can do whatever the f*ck you want. Why do we even follow the law, then? Given the precedent that is being set, we might as well not have any.

ken , 1 hour ago link

Well, they are looking forward to using all those Israeli weapons, er, uh, products, that local law enforcement has purchased...so watch out for Co-Intel Pro elicitation going forward....?

WorkingClassMan , 3 hours ago link

Everybody knows the Golem (USA) does Isn'treal's bidding in Syria and elsewhere in the Near East. Hopefully they keep hammering in the fact that this "gas attack" was an obvious set-up to use as a pretext (flimsy itself on the face of it) to brutalize Assad and Syria on behalf of Isn'treal.

The whole thing is built on ******* lies. Worst part about it is, nothing will happen.

turkey george palmer , 3 hours ago link

Only official news is to believed. You see it and it is a lie. they tell you to believe it. A lot of people casually believe whatever is spoken on TV. They become teachers and are taught in college what is right and wrong. We only have a few years before all the brain dead are in charge and robotically following the message like zombies with no brain

adonisdemilo , 3 hours ago link

Third rate script, third rate actors and crooked investigators. TPTB seem to have a plan worked out. Their problem now is that we, the hoi-polloi, have seen it all before, many times, and we can now recognise ******** when it's used to try to influence us.

johnnycanuck , 3 hours ago link

It is difficult to underestimate the seriousness of this manipulative act by the OPCW. In a response to the conservative author Peter Hitchens, who also writes for the Mail on Sunday – he is of course the brother of the late Christopher Hitchens – the OPCW admits that its so-called technical secretariat "is conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised [sic] release of the document".

Then it adds: "At this time, there is no further public information on this matter and the OPCW is unable to accommodate [sic] requests for interviews". It's a tactic that until now seems to have worked: not a single news media which reported the OPCW's official conclusions has followed up the story of the report which the OPCW suppressed.

And you bet the OPCW is not going to "accommodate" interviews. For here is an institution investigating a war crime in a conflict which has cost hundreds of thousands of lives – yet its only response to an enquiry about the engineers' "secret" assessment is to concentrate on its own witch-hunt for the source of the document it wished to keep secret from the world.

If this is not lamentable enough, the OPCW – whose final report came to more than a hundred pages and which even issued an easy-to-read precis version for journalists – now slams shut its steel doors in the hope of preventing even more information reaching the press.

https://johnmenadue.com/robert-fisk-the-evidence-we-were-never-meant-to-see-about-the-douma-gas-attack-counterpunch-27-may-2019/

5fingerdiscount , 3 hours ago link

Instead of these pieces concentrating on the whistleblower how about putting a little heat on the 50 lying bastards who initiated the coverup?

Helg Saracen , 3 hours ago link

The destruction of the countries of the Middle East for the sake of a dwarf with giant ambitions is the most stupid thing the United States has done over the past 30 years in its foreign policy. And yes, all the wars in the Middle East were grounded in lies. And the Americans paid for it all from start to finish. When Americans realize that they need to defend their national interests, and not other people's national interests, maybe something in the Middle East will change for the better. True, I am afraid that with the hight level of stupidity and shortsightedness that is common among Americans, the United States is more likely to be destroyed faster. No offense.

And I propose to remember the Syrian Christians who were destroyed by the Saudi Wahhabis, hired by the CIA with the money of American taxpayers and at the request of Israel. Until the Americans begin to investigate the activities of the CIA (and this activity causes the United States only harm), the responsibility for this genocide (you heard right) will be on the American nation. It turns out that in the Middle East you are primarily destroying Christians. How interesting, why such zeal.

carbonmutant , 4 hours ago link

You gotta wonder how much the deep state has deleted about their interference in Trump's administration...

dogbert8 , 4 hours ago link

Pretty much everyone with a brain realizes this all was a lie; only the M5M and the DC swamp continue to pretend it wasn't.

Joiningupthedots , 4 hours ago link

Who really made the order though?

ClickNLook , 3 hours ago link

Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW needs to be interrogated to find out.

Condor_0000 , 4 hours ago link

Newsweek Reporter Quits After Editors Block Coverage of OPCW Syria Scandal

December 19, 2019

Aaron Mate

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/12/19/newsweek-reporter-quits-after-editors-block-coverage-of-opcw-syria-scandal/

According to whistleblower testimony and leaked documents, OPCW officials raised alarm about the suppression of critical findings that undermine the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. Haddad's editors at Newsweek rejected his attempts to cover the story. "If I don't find another position in journalism because of this, I'm perfectly happy to accept that consequence," Haddad says. "It's not desirable. But there is no way I could have continued in that job knowing that I couldn't report something like this."

New leaks continue to expose a cover-up by the OPCW – the world's top chemical weapons watchdog – over a critical event in Syria. Documents, emails, and testimony from OPCW officials have raised major doubts about the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. The leaked OPCW information has been released in pieces by Wikileaks. The latest documents contain a number of significant revelations – including that that about 20 OPCW officials voiced concerns that their scientific findings and on-the-ground evidence was suppressed and excluded.

This is, without a doubt, a major global scandal: the OPCW, under reported US pressure, suppressing vital evidence about allegations of chemical weapons. But that very fact exposes another global scandal: with the exception of small outlets like The Grayzone, the mass media has widely ignored or whitewashed this story. And this widespread censorship of the OPCW scandal has just led one journalist to resign. Up until recently, Tareq Haddad was a reporter at Newsweek. But in early December, Tareq announced that he had quit his position after Newsweek refused to publish his story about the OPCW cover up over Syria.

[Dec 21, 2019] Trump comes clean from world s policeman to thug running a global protection racket by Finian Cunningham

Highly recommended!
In any case withdrawal from Syria was a surprising and bold move on the Part of the Trump. You can criticizes Trump for not doing more but before that he bahvaves as a typical neocon, or a typical Republican presidents (which are the same things). And he started on this path just two month after inauguration bombing Syria under false pretences. So this is something
I think the reason of change is that Trump intuitively realized the voters are abandoning him in droves and the sizable faction of his voters who voted for him because of his promises to end foreign wars iether already defected or is ready to defect. So this is a move designed to keep them.
Notable quotes:
"... "America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price," Trump said. ..."
Dec 27, 2018 | www.rt.com

President Trump's big announcement to pull US troops out of Syria and Afghanistan is now emerging less as a peace move, and more a rationalization of American military power in the Middle East. In a surprise visit to US forces in Iraq this week, Trump said he had no intention of withdrawing the troops in that country, who have been there for nearly 15 years since GW Bush invaded back in 2003.

Hinting at private discussions with commanders in Iraq, Trump boasted that US forces would in the future launch attacks from there into Syria if and when needed. Presumably that rapid force deployment would apply to other countries in the region, including Afghanistan.

In other words, in typical business-style transactional thinking, Trump sees the pullout from Syria and Afghanistan as a cost-cutting exercise for US imperialism. Regarding Syria, he has bragged about Turkey being assigned, purportedly, to "finish off" terror groups. That's Trump subcontracting out US interests.

Critics and supporters of Trump are confounded. After his Syria and Afghanistan pullout call, domestic critics and NATO allies have accused him of walking from the alleged "fight against terrorism" and of ceding strategic ground to US adversaries Russia and Iran.

'We're no longer suckers of the world!' Trump says US is respected as nation AGAIN (VIDEO)

Meanwhile, Trump's supporters have viewed his decision in more benign light, cheering the president for "sticking it to" the deep state and military establishment, assuming he's delivering on electoral promises to end overseas wars.

However, neither view gets what is going on. Trump is not scaling back US military power; he is rationalizing it like a cost-benefit analysis, as perhaps only a real-estate-wheeler-dealer-turned president would appreciate. Trump is not snubbing US militarism or NATO allies, nor is he letting loose an inner peace spirit. He is as committed to projecting American military as ruthlessly and as recklessly as any other past occupant of the White House. The difference is Trump wants to do it on the cheap.

Here's what he said to reporters on Air Force One before touching down in Iraq:

"The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world. It's not fair when the burden is all on us, the United States We are spread out all over the world. We are in countries most people haven't even heard about. Frankly, it's ridiculous." He added: "We're no longer the suckers, folks."

Laughably, Trump's griping about US forces "spread all over the world" unwittingly demonstrates the insatiable, monstrous nature of American militarism. But Trump paints this vice as a virtue, which, he complains, Washington gets no thanks for from the 150-plus countries around the globe that its forces are present in.

As US troops greeted him in Iraq, the president made explicit how the new American militarism would henceforth operate.

"America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price," Trump said.

'We give them $4.5bn a year': Israel will still be 'good' after US withdrawal from Syria – Trump

This reiterates a big bugbear for this president in which he views US allies and client regimes as "not pulling their weight" in terms of military deployment. Trump has been browbeating European NATO members to cough up more on military budgets, and he has berated the Saudis and other Gulf Arab regimes to pay more for American interventions.

Notably, however, Trump has never questioned the largesse that US taxpayers fork out every year to Israel in the form of nearly $4 billion in military aid. To be sure, that money is not a gift because much of it goes back to the Pentagon from sales of fighter jets and missile systems.

The long-held notion that the US has served as the "world's policeman" is, of course, a travesty.

Since WWII, all presidents and the Washington establishment have constantly harped on, with self-righteousness, about America's mythical role as guarantor of global security.

Dozens of illegal wars on almost every continent and millions of civilian deaths attest to the real, heinous conduct of American militarism as a weapon to secure US corporate capitalism.

But with US economic power in historic decline amid a national debt now over $22 trillion, Washington can no longer afford its imperialist conduct in the traditional mode of direct US military invasions and occupations.

Perhaps, it takes a cost-cutting, raw-toothed capitalist like Trump to best understand the historic predicament, even if only superficially.

This gives away the real calculation behind his troop pullout from Syria and Afghanistan. Iraq is going to serve as a new regional hub for force projection on a demand-and-supply basis. In addition, more of the dirty work can be contracted out to Washington's clients like Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who will be buying even more US weaponry to prop the military-industrial complex.

'With almost $22 trillion of debt, the US is in no position to attack Iran'

This would explain why Trump made his hurried, unexpected visit to Iraq this week. Significantly, he said : "A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking", regarding his decision on withdrawing forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

Since his troop pullout plan announced on December 19, there has been serious pushback from senior Pentagon figures, hawkish Republicans and Democrats, and the anti-Trump media. The atmosphere is almost seditious against the president. Trump flying off to Iraq on Christmas night was reportedly his first visit to troops in an overseas combat zone since becoming president two years ago.

What Trump seemed to be doing was reassuring the Pentagon and corporate America that he is not going all soft and dovish. Not at all. He is letting them know that he is aiming for a leaner, meaner US military power, which can save money on the number of foreign bases by using rapid reaction forces out of places like Iraq, as well as by subcontracting operations out to regional clients.

Thus, Trump is not coming clean out of any supposed principle when he cuts back US forces overseas. He is merely applying his knack for screwing down costs and doing things on the cheap as a capitalist tycoon overseeing US militarism.

During past decades when American capitalism was relatively robust, US politicians and media could indulge in the fantasy of their military forces going around the world in large-scale formations to selflessly "defend freedom and democracy."

Today, US capitalism is broke. It simply can't sustain its global military empire. Enter Donald Trump with his "business solutions."

But in doing so, this president, with his cheap utilitarianism and transactional exploitative mindset, lets the cat out of the bag. As he says, the US cannot be the world's policeman. Countries are henceforth going to have to pay for "our protection."

Inadvertently, Trump is showing up US power for what it really is: a global thug running a protection racket.

It's always been the case. Except now it's in your face. Trump is no Smedley Butler, the former Marine general who in the 1930s condemned US militarism as a Mafia operation. This president is stupidly revealing the racket, while still thinking it is something virtuous.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

dnm1136

Once again, Cunningham has hit the nail on the head. Trump mistakenly conflates fear with respect. In reality, around the world, the US is feared but generally not respected.

My guess is that the same was true about Trump as a businessman, i.e., he was not respected, only feared due to his willingness to pursue his "deals" by any means that "worked" for him, legal or illegal, moral or immoral, seemingly gracious or mean-spirited.

William Smith

Complaining how the US gets no thanks for its foreign intervention. Kind of like a rapist claiming he should be thanked for "pleasuring" his victim. Precisely the same sentiment expressed by those who believe the American Indians should thank the Whites for "civilising" them.

Phoebe S,

"Washington gets no thanks for from the 150-plus countries around the globe that its forces are present in."

That might mean they don't want you there. Just saying.

ProRussiaPole

None of these wars are working out for the US strategically. All they do is sow chaos. They seem to not be gaining anything, and are just preventing others from gaining anything as well.

Ernie For -> ProRussiaPole

i am a huge Putin fan, so is big Don. Please change your source of info Jerome, Trump is one man against Billions of people and dollars in corruption. He has achieved more in the USA in 2 years than all 5 previous parasites together.

Truthbetold69

It could be a change for a better direction. Time will tell. 'If you do what you've always been doing, you'll get what you've always been getting.'

[Dec 21, 2019] The ruthless neo-colonialists of 21st century

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The destruction of Syria and Libya created massive refugee flows which have proved that the European Union was totally unprepared to deal with such a major issue. On top of that, the latest years, we have witnessed a rapid rise of various terrorist attacks in Western soil, also as a result of the devastating wars in Syria and Libya. ..."
"... Whenever they wanted to blame someone for some serious terrorist attacks, they had a scapegoat ready for them, even if they had evidence that Libya was not behind these attacks. When Gaddafi falsely admitted that he had weapons of mass destruction in order to gain some relief from the Western sanctions, they presented him as a responsible leader who, was ready to cooperate. Of course, his last role was to play again the 'bad guy' who had to be removed. ..."
"... Despite the rise of Donald Trump in power, the neoliberal forces will push further for the expansion of the neoliberal doctrine in the rival field of the Sino-Russian alliance. ..."
"... We see, however, that the Western alliances are entering a period of severe crisis. The US has failed to control the situation in Middle East and Libya. The ruthless neo-colonialists will not hesitate to confront Russia and China directly, if they see that they continue to lose control in the global geopolitical arena. The accumulation of military presence of NATO next to the Russian borders, as well as, the accumulation of military presence of the US in Asia-Pacific, show that this is an undeniable fact. ..."
Apr 09, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

The start of current decade revealed the most ruthless face of a global neo-colonialism. From Syria and Libya to Europe and Latin America, the old colonial powers of the West tried to rebound against an oncoming rival bloc led by Russia and China, which starts to threaten their global domination.

Inside a multi-polar, complex terrain of geopolitical games, the big players start to abandon the old-fashioned, inefficient direct wars. They use today other, various methods like brutal proxy wars , economic wars, financial and constitutional coups, provocative operations, 'color revolutions', etc. In this highly complex and unstable situation, when even traditional allies turn against each other as the global balances change rapidly, the forces unleashed are absolutely destructive. Inevitably, the results are more than evident.

Proxy Wars - Syria/Libya

After the US invasion in Iraq, the gates of hell had opened in the Middle East. Obama continued the Bush legacy of US endless interventions, but he had to change tactics because a direct war would be inefficient, costly and extremely unpopular to the American people and the rest of the world.
The result, however, appeared to be equally (if not more) devastating with the failed US invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US had lost total control of the armed groups directly linked with the ISIS terrorists, failed to topple Assad, and, moreover, instead of eliminating the Russian and Iranian influence in the region, actually managed to increase it. As a result, the US and its allies failed to secure their geopolitical interests around the various pipeline games.

In addition, the US sees Turkey, one of its most important ally, changing direction dangerously, away from the Western bloc. Probably the strongest indication for this, is that Turkey, Iran and Russia decided very recently to proceed in an agreement on Syria without the presence of the US.

Yet, the list of US failures does not end here. The destruction of Syria and Libya created massive refugee flows which have proved that the European Union was totally unprepared to deal with such a major issue. On top of that, the latest years, we have witnessed a rapid rise of various terrorist attacks in Western soil, also as a result of the devastating wars in Syria and Libya.

Evidence from WikiLeaks has shown that the old colonial powers have started a new round of ruthless competition on Libya's resources. The usual story propagated by the Western media, about another tyrant who had to be removed, has now completely collapsed. They don't care neither to topple an 'authoritarian' regime, nor to spread Democracy. All they care about is to secure each country's resources for their big companies.
The Gaddafi case is quite interesting because it shows that the Western hypocrites were using him according to their interests .

Whenever they wanted to blame someone for some serious terrorist attacks, they had a scapegoat ready for them, even if they had evidence that Libya was not behind these attacks. When Gaddafi falsely admitted that he had weapons of mass destruction in order to gain some relief from the Western sanctions, they presented him as a responsible leader who, was ready to cooperate. Of course, his last role was to play again the 'bad guy' who had to be removed.

Economic Wars, Financial Coups – Greece/Eurozone

It would be unthinkable for the neo-colonialists to conduct proxy wars inside European soil, especially against countries which belong to Western institutions like NATO, EU, eurozone, etc. The wave of the US-made major economic crisis hit Greece and Europe at the start of the decade, almost simultaneously with the eruption of the Arab Spring revolutionary wave and the subsequent disaster in Middle East and Libya.

Greece was the easy victim for the global neoliberal dictatorship to impose catastrophic measures in favor of the plutocracy. The Greek experiment enters its seventh year and the plan is to be used as a model for the whole eurozone. Greece has become also the model for the looting of public property, as happened in the past with the East Germany and the Treuhand Operation after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

While Greece was the major victim of an economic war, Germany used its economic power and control of the European Central Bank to impose unprecedented austerity, sado-monetarism and neoliberal destruction through silent financial coups in Ireland , Italy and Cyprus . The Greek political establishment collapsed with the rise of SYRIZA in power, and the ECB was forced to proceed in an open financial coup against Greece when the current PM, Alexis Tsipras, decided to conduct a referendum on the catastrophic measures imposed by the ECB, IMF and the European Commission, through which the Greek people clearly rejected these measures, despite the propaganda of terror inside and outside Greece. Due to the direct threat from Mario Draghi and the ECB, who actually threatened to cut liquidity sinking Greece into a financial chaos, Tsipras finally forced to retreat, signing another catastrophic memorandum.

Through similar financial and political pressure, the Brussels bureaufascists and the German sado-monetarists along with the IMF economic hitmen, imposed neoliberal disaster to other eurozone countries like Portugal, Spain etc. It is remarkable that even the second eurozone economy, France, rushed to impose anti-labor measures midst terrorist attacks, succumbing to a - pre-designed by the elites - neo-Feudalism, under the 'Socialist' François Hollande, despite the intense protests in many French cities.

Germany would never let the United States to lead the neo-colonization in Europe, as it tries (again) to become a major power with its own sphere of influence, expanding throughout eurozone and beyond. As the situation in Europe becomes more and more critical with the ongoing economic and refugee crisis and the rise of the Far-Right and the nationalists, the economic war mostly between the US and the German big capital, creates an even more complicated situation.

The decline of the US-German relations has been exposed initially with the NSA interceptions scandal , yet, progressively, the big picture came on surface, revealing a transatlantic economic war between banking and corporate giants. In times of huge multilevel crises, the big capital always intensifies its efforts to eliminate competitors too. As a consequence, the US has seen another key ally, Germany, trying to gain a certain degree of independence in order to form its own agenda, separate from the US interests.

Note that, both Germany and Turkey are medium powers that, historically, always trying to expand and create their own spheres of influence, seeking independence from the traditional big powers.

Economic Wars, Constitutional Coups, Provocative Operations – Argentina/Brazil/Venezuela

A wave of neoliberal onslaught shakes currently Latin America. While in Argentina, Mauricio Macri allegedly took the power normally, the constitutional coup against Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, as well as, the usual actions of the Right opposition in Venezuela against Nicolás Maduro with the help of the US finger, are far more obvious.
The special weight of these three countries in Latin America is extremely important for the US imperialism to regain ground in the global geopolitical arena. Especially the last ten to fifteen years, each of them developed increasingly autonomous policies away from the US close custody, under Leftist governments, and this was something that alarmed the US imperialism components.

Brazil appears to be the most important among the three, not only due to its size, but also as a member of the BRICS, the team of fast growing economies who threaten the US and generally the Western global dominance. The constitutional coup against Rousseff was rather a sloppy action and reveals the anxiety of the US establishment to regain control through puppet regimes. This is a well-known situation from the past through which the establishment attempts to secure absolute dominance in the US backyard.

The importance of Venezuela due to its oil reserves is also significant. When Maduro tried to approach Russia in order to strengthen the economic cooperation between the two countries, he must had set the alarm for the neocons in the US. Venezuela could find an alternative in Russia and BRICS, in order to breathe from the multiple economic war that was set off by the US. It is characteristic that the economic war against Russia by the US and the Saudis, by keeping the oil prices in historically low levels, had significant impact on the Venezuelan economy too. It is also known that the US organizations are funding the opposition since Chávez era, in order to proceed in provocative operations that could overthrow the Leftist governments.

The case of Venezuela is really interesting. The US imperialists were fiercely trying to overthrow the Leftist governments since Chávez administration. They found now a weaker president, Nicolás Maduro - who certainly does not have the strength and personality of Hugo Chávez - to achieve their goal.

The Western media mouthpieces are doing their job, which is propaganda as usual. The recipe is known. You present the half truth, with a big overdose of exaggeration. The establishment parrots are demonizing Socialism , but they won't ever tell you about the money that the US is spending, feeding the Right-Wing groups and opposition to proceed in provocative operations, in order to create instability. They won't tell you about the financial war conducted through the oil prices, manipulated by the Saudis, the close US ally.

Regarding Argentina, former president, Cristina Kirchner, had also made some important moves towards the stronger cooperation with Russia, which was something unacceptable for Washington's hawks. Not only for geopolitical reasons, but also because Argentina could escape from the vulture funds that sucking its blood since its default. This would give the country an alternative to the neoliberal monopoly of destruction. The US big banks and corporations would never accept such a perspective because the debt-enslaved Argentina is a golden opportunity for a new round of huge profits. It's happening right now in eurozone's debt colony, Greece.

'Color Revolutions' - Ukraine

The events in Ukraine have shown that, the big capital has no hesitation to ally even with the neo-nazis, in order to impose the new world order. This is not something new of course. The connection of Hitler with the German economic oligarchs, but also with other major Western companies, before and during the WWII, is well known.

The most terrifying of all however, is not that the West has silenced in front of the decrees of the new Ukrainian leadership, through which is targeting the minorities, but the fact that the West allied with the neo-nazis, while according to some information has also funded their actions as well as other extreme nationalist groups during the riots in Kiev.

Plenty of indications show that US organizations have 'put their finger' on Ukraine. A video , for example, concerning the situation in Ukraine has been directed by Ben Moses (creator of the movie "Good Morning, Vietnam"), who is connected with American government executives and organizations like National Endowment for Democracy, funded by the US Congress. This video shows a beautiful young female Ukrainian who characterizes the government of the country as "dictatorship" and praise some protesters with the neo-nazi symbols of the fascist Ukranian party Svoboda on them.

The same organizations are behind 'color revolutions' elsewhere, as well as, provocative operations against Leftist governments in Venezuela and other countries.

Ukraine is the perfect place to provoke Putin and tight the noose around Russia. Of course the huge hypocrisy of the West can also be identified in the case of Crimea. While in other cases, the Western officials were 'screaming' for the right of self-determination (like Kosovo, for example), after they destroyed Yugoslavia in a bloodbath, they can't recognize the will of the majority of Crimeans to join Russia.

The war will become wilder

The Western neo-colonial powers are trying to counterattack against the geopolitical upgrade of Russia and the Chinese economic expansionism.

Despite the rise of Donald Trump in power, the neoliberal forces will push further for the expansion of the neoliberal doctrine in the rival field of the Sino-Russian alliance. Besides, Trump has already shown his hostile feelings against China, despite his friendly approach to Russia and Putin.

We see, however, that the Western alliances are entering a period of severe crisis. The US has failed to control the situation in Middle East and Libya. The ruthless neo-colonialists will not hesitate to confront Russia and China directly, if they see that they continue to lose control in the global geopolitical arena. The accumulation of military presence of NATO next to the Russian borders, as well as, the accumulation of military presence of the US in Asia-Pacific, show that this is an undeniable fact.

[Dec 21, 2019] The goal of any war is the redistribution of taxpayer money into the bank accounts of MIC shareholders and executives

Highly recommended!
The USA state of continuous war has been a bipartisan phenomenon starting with Truman in Korea and proceeding with Vietnam, Lebanon,Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and now Syria. It doesn't take a genius to realize that these limited, never ending wars are expensive was to enrich MIC and Wall Street banksters
Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

KC February 15, 2019 at 11:16 pm

The one thing your accurate analysis leaves out is that the goal of US wars is never what the media spouts for its Wall Street masters. The goal of any war is the redistribution of taxpayer money into the bank accounts of MIC shareholders and executives, create more enemies to be fought in future wars, and to provide a rationalization for the continued primacy of the military class in US politics and culture.

Occasionally a country may be sitting on a bunch of oil, and also be threatening to move away from the petrodollar or talking about allowing an "adversary" to build a pipeline across their land.

Otherwise war is a racket unto itself. "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. "
― George Orwell

Also we've always been at war with Oceania .or whatever that quote said.

[Dec 19, 2019] MIC lobbyism (which often is presented as patriotism) is the last refuge of scoundrels

Highly recommended!
Dec 19, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

likbez, December 19, 2019 6:58 pm

Afghan war demonstrated that the USA got into the trap, the Catch 22 situation: it can't stop following an expensive and self-destructive positive feedback loop of threat inflation and larger and large expenditures on MIC, because there is no countervailing force for the MIC since WWII ended. Financial oligarchy is aligned with MIC.

This is the same suicidal grip of MIC on the country that was one of the key factors in the collapse of the USSR means that in this key area the USA does not have two party system, It is a Uniparty: a singe War party with two superficially different factions.

Feeding and care MIC is No.1 task for both. Ordinary Americans wellbeing does matter much for either party. New generation of Americans is punished with crushing debt and low paying jobs. They do not care that people over 50 who lost their jobs are essentially thrown out like a garbage.

"41 Million people in the US suffer from hunger and lack of food security"–US Dept. of Agriculture. FDR addressed the needs of this faction of the population when he delivered his One-Third of a Nation speech for his 2nd Inaugural. About four years later, FDR expanded on that issue in his Four Freedoms speech: 1.Freedom of speech; 2.Freedom of worship; 3.Freedom from want; 4.Freedom from fear.

Items 3 and 4 are probably unachievable under neoliberalism. And fear is artificially instilled to unite the nation against the external scapegoat much like in Orwell 1984. Currently this is Russia, later probably will be China. With regular minutes of hate replaced by Rachel Maddow show ;-)

Derailing Tulsi had shown that in the USA any politician, who try to challenge MIC, will be instantly attacked by MIC lapdogs in MSM and neutered in no time.

One interesting tidbit from Fiona Hill testimony is that neocons who dominate the USA foreign policy establishment make their living off threat inflation. They literally are bought by MIC, which indirectly finance Brookings institution, Atlantic Council and similar think tanks. And this isn't cheap cynicism. It is simply a fact. Rephrasing Samuel Johnson's famous quote, we can say, "MIC lobbyism (which often is presented as patriotism) is the last refuge of scoundrels."

[Dec 02, 2019] Ghouta is Arabic for Reichstag Fire by Publius Tacitus

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The White Helmets' leadership is driven by a pro-interventionist agenda conceived by the Western governments and public relations groups that back them. Anyone who visits the group's website -- which is operated by an opposition-funded PR company known as the Syria Campaign -- will be immediately directed to a request to sign a petition for a no-fly zone to "stop the bombs" in Syria. These sorts of communiques highlight the dual role the White Helmets play as a civil defense organization saving lives while lobbying for a US military campaign that will almost inevitably result in the collapse of Syria's government. ..."
"... While members of the White Helmets have been implicated in atrocities carried out by jihadist rebel groups, the names of many of the firms that supposedly monitor and evaluate their work have been kept secret by USAID on unspecified security grounds. ..."
"... That "Russia will "never be America's friend" is not disputed. What is missing is that "US and Russia cannot afford to be enemies". Nixon understood all of that 30 years ago. ..."
"... I agree that the uncritical and unwavering acceptance of the notion of Assad's chemical attacks on his people is ignorant and dangerous. It shows a true lack of imagination among the jihadis and their supporters. Not one of these attacks have been convincingly attributed to Assad's forces. To the contrary, the propaganda put out by the jihadis appears blatantly staged and bogus. The sooner we're out of Syria, the better. And the sooner Trump realizes unwavering support of the current Israeli regime is a cost center, the better. ..."
Apr 09, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The dominant propaganda meme of the day, as already noted by Colonel Lang, is that Bashar al Assad unleashed chemical weapons on "innocent women and children" in rebel held territory and that Russia and Iran, along with Syria, are responsible. We MUST take action (or so we are told emphatically by morons pretending to be news anchors on the various cable outlets). Few media outlets are willing to report that this information is not only uncorroborated but originates with established liars and rebel partisans--i .e., the White Helmets. Oh, and did you know that the White Helmets are funded largely by the Governments of the UK and the United States?

It is critical to keep the source of funds in mind if you are to understand the true nature of these Islamic scam artists. Ironically, Max Blumenthal, son of the infamous Sid, has been a leader in exposing these fraudsters. Blumenthal wrote, more than three years ago, that :

The White Helmets' leadership is driven by a pro-interventionist agenda conceived by the Western governments and public relations groups that back them. Anyone who visits the group's website -- which is operated by an opposition-funded PR company known as the Syria Campaign -- will be immediately directed to a request to sign a petition for a no-fly zone to "stop the bombs" in Syria. These sorts of communiques highlight the dual role the White Helmets play as a civil defense organization saving lives while lobbying for a US military campaign that will almost inevitably result in the collapse of Syria's government. . . .

The White Helmets were founded in collaboration with USAID's Office of Transitional Initiatives -- the wing that has promoted regime change around the world -- and have been provided with $23 million in funding from the department. USAID supplies the White Helmets through Chemonics, a for-profit contractor based in Washington DC that has become notorious for wasteful aid imbroglios from Haiti to Afghanistan.

While members of the White Helmets have been implicated in atrocities carried out by jihadist rebel groups, the names of many of the firms that supposedly monitor and evaluate their work have been kept secret by USAID on unspecified security grounds.


Anna , 12 hours ago

Nikki Haley: "Russia will "never be America's friend." Moscow can try to behave "like a regular country," but the US will "slap them when we need to," Haley said." ... "Everybody likes to listen to the words. I'm going to tell you – look at the actions," Haley urged. "We expelled 60 Russian diplomats/spies, we have armed Ukraine so that they can defend themselves..." https://www.rt.com/usa/423422-us-russia-stalemate-haley/

The UK has the pottery-boy Gavin Williamson as a Sec. of Defence and the US has a waste-management Nikki Haley as an US envoy to the United Nations. They both are ignoramuses and the eager ziocon tools.

Again, Israel's special relationships with anti-Assad forces and Israel's refusal to ratify the Chemical Arms Treaty make Israel the major suspect in the chemical attacks in Syria: https://www.haaretz.com/.premium-russia-links-syria-chemwar-to-israel-1.5333503

Babak Makkinejad Anna , 6 hours ago
That "Russia will "never be America's friend" is not disputed. What is missing is that "US and Russia cannot afford to be enemies". Nixon understood all of that 30 years ago.
Anna , a day ago
Yes. Has not Israel given orders? - https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/04/urgent-syria-under-attack/
Sid Finster , 2 hours ago
Sociopaths care nothing for logic or morality of they stabs in the way of something they want. Like the Reichstag fire.

I don't understand why people refuse to see that we are run by sociopaths, or, at a minimum, by people indistinguishable from sociopaths.

Kooshy , 9 hours ago
I think Colonel is absolutely right, all signs are, that everybody on both sides are getting ready for a war, how big, and who will participate, nobody knows yet would it be 2 oceans and 3 continents war or just concentrated on Eurasia? Unfortunately, I think DJT' canoe has sunken in the swamp he said he will drain, or IMO he didn't even know what he is talking about, or is dealing with.
TTG , 9 hours ago
I agree that the uncritical and unwavering acceptance of the notion of Assad's chemical attacks on his people is ignorant and dangerous. It shows a true lack of imagination among the jihadis and their supporters. Not one of these attacks have been convincingly attributed to Assad's forces. To the contrary, the propaganda put out by the jihadis appears blatantly staged and bogus. The sooner we're out of Syria, the better. And the sooner Trump realizes unwavering support of the current Israeli regime is a cost center, the better.
Terry , 11 hours ago
Thank you for reopening comments. I missed my tribe of non-conformists thinkers and all the various viewpoints. :-)

The insanity and distortion of reality and facts is getting extreme. Unfortunately tribalism with it's baggage of historical grievances, partisan loyalties, and mob mentalities are growing as our society returns to default human social behaviour while loyalty to the binding myths and ideas of the constitution and the founding of our republic fade. Truth is a casualty. Facts don't matter. Conformity to whatever tribal identity selected is the norm. Science show that there is a real decline in the higher brain functions when mobs form.

A good article on our decline into tribalism -

https://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/09/can-democracy-survive-tribalism.html

SmoothieX12 , 11 hours ago
If the Russians don't respond in some discrete but substantive way, their presence, efforts and international prestige will have vanished by tomorrow morning.

Your "grasp" of air-defense issues, including suggestion of shooting down aircraft in Lebanon's (international) airspace, among many other things clearly shows an armchair "strategist" (no offense, I am one myself) who played, unlike me--I don't play video games, too much video-games and thinks that he knows better than say Russian General Staff. Indeed, what do they know, really--what a bunch of amateurs who do not follow your highly professional suggestion.

robt willmann , 12 hours ago
The Russian Defense Ministry is now saying that 8 missiles were fired at the Syrian T4 airfield and airbase from Israeli airplanes flying inside Lebanon. The report says that 5 of the missiles were knocked down by antiaircraft / missile defense systems and that 3 of them hit the area of the airfield--

https://apnews.com/d965ed6a364f46fd9888acb9001de501/Israel-blamed-for-missile-strike-in-Syria;-14-reported-dead

https://www.rt.com/news/423545-israel-planes-syria-strike/

Anna , 12 hours ago
Agree.
The theater of absurd: Israelis "are shooting with live ammunition at people without guns:" Play Hide
james , 18 hours ago
israel to the rescue... they have to protect isis! and where would they be without regular support from the usa / uk.... white helmets are a pale imitation of israel at this point..
Hood Canal Gardner , 20 hours ago
PT .. thanks for the "outing" of Chemonics .. add Pakistan/HCG got a brick through his Islamabad bedroom window in the early1990s..tucked tail.

"Chemonics, a for-profit contractor based in Washington DC that has become notorious for wasteful aid imbroglios from Haiti to Afghanistan."

Karl Kolchak , 20 hours ago
"...a large number of supposedly intelligent Republicans and Democrats..."

There's no such thing any more. Both parties chased their intelligent leaders out a long time ago. Indeed, this is a repeat of the Cuban Missile Crisis with a bunch of emotional ten-year-olds in charge.

Kathy , 20 hours ago
Slightly OT, but in poking around the SCL/Cambridge Analytica web of intrigue, I found this tantalizing Wikipedia account of Vincent Tchenguiz, the largest shareholder in CA. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Tchenguiz

Some people are truly not fit to walk on this earth.

blue peacock , 20 hours ago
PT

This is getting more and more ridiculous. From the ludicrous novichok caper that May and Boris have made into a Monty Python skit to the yet another theatrical chemical attack performance starring the perennial Syrian villain, Animal Assad and the increasingly heated rhetoric emanating from DC, London, Beijing and Moscow. Of course with all the bugles and trumpets blowing from the hysterical media with the Borg agenda trying to cajole a highly skeptical public.

What do you make of all this? Is the Borg getting really desperate that their gig may be up? That their deceit and duplicity will be uncovered.

We have Brennan, Holder, Yates busy tweeting along with Trump. There is McCabe and his GoFundMe. We have Comey's book tour and even Loretta Lynch is to hit the airwaves. All to spin tales that less people believe unless of course you are a card carrying partisan. Then there is Sessions making announcements of US Attorneys investigating and possibly convening grand juries and supervising document production to Congress around the conspiracy at the highest levels of law enforcement & intelligence in the Obama administration. Is this Reality TV at it's best putting Jerry Springer to shame??

What does your spidy sense tell you?

wisedupearly Ceo , 21 hours ago
I trust the Pentagon warned Israel not to launch cruise missiles from their submarines close to US surface fleet units.
Anna , 21 hours ago
"If the Russians don't respond... their international prestige will have vanished..."
-- What are you implying -- that only deception, perfidy, and bullying deserve "prestige?" Would not it be great if the decent people have finally explained the "prestigious" Nikki Haley that she is an ignoramus and warmonger? And how about sending Gavin Williamson to his familiar proper place where he could resume selling the fine pottery and ceramic countertops instead of being a mockery to his current post of Sec of Defence?

What is so prestigious about the opportunistic Theresa May and Boris Johnson, whose incompetent actions have been highly damaging to the UK reputation? And guess that the criminal (but very pious) Tony Blair fits the definition of "prestige."

There are people whose response is indeed important from the perspective of decency and competence and patriotism – these people are the US brass in the highest echelons of the US military. Do they serve the interests of the US or the interests of Israel? The question is very simple. The answer is yes or no.

Saker asks for patience: http://thesaker.is/missile-strikes-on-syria-tonight-do-not-rush-to-conclusions-please-post-here-what-you-hear/
Comment section: "The Lord Has Risen, and the forces of evil are rabid for more Death and Destruction."

Peter in Toronto , a day ago
Salvos underway.

If the Russians don't respond in some discrete but substantive way, their presence, efforts and international prestige will have vanished by tomorrow morning.

The Beaver , a day ago
T4 -East Homs being hit . Looks like the ISRAELIS are sending missiles
Anna , a day ago
"His master's voice (or how an obedient dog goes to war)": http://thesaker.is/his-masters-voice-or-how-an-obedient-dog-goes-to-war/
"Israeli officials: the "U.S. must strike in Syria" because "Assad is the angel of death, and the world would be better without him."
Ziomedia is willing to report the Skripal nonsense with a straight face After all, if the Russians could use "Novichok and buckwheat" in the UK, why would they not use chemical weapons in Syria? And, no, the fact that neither the Russians nor the Syrians actually have any chemical weapons (both were fully disarmed and certified as such) makes absolutely no difference! "
And what country does not want to declare her chemical weapon? – http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/175032
"The head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Tuesday called on Israel to renounce chemical weapons and join the convention banning them just like Syria did."
Not In Istanbul , a day ago
Cruise missile strikes are currently underway...
Anna , a day ago
"...Owen Matthews' article at The Spectator betrays the kind of factual sloppiness that is typical of the pundit-political-business classes in the West today."
-- In this case it is more than sloppiness: Owen Matthews is an opportunist loaded with the tribal grievances against Russia:
http://www.greanvillepost.com/2017/11/02/re-visiting-russian-counter-propaganda-methods/
"... in his book "Stalin's Children" Matthews clearly takes sides with, endorses and, possibly, even covers up for his Trotskyist Commissar grandfather and that makes him a fair target for criticism"
jjc , a day ago
The constant repetitive referral to "Obama's red line" has been effective in shaping a preferred response to these alleged attacks. Contrary to today's conventional wisdom, Obama did not "fail" to enforce his own line - the administration through its own State Department was quite prepared to rain bombs down on Damascus, but faced political opposition from Congress (as did Cameron's UK government fail to achieve support for the bombing in its Parliament). Congressional opposition was sparked by robust opposition from citizens/ constituents in the form of communications directed to their Congressional offices. This was all reported by the mainstream media at the time, yet a false recounting is predominant today. The "unrelenting information operation" is not possible without the witting collaboration of the supposed "free" media. The ownership and editorial staff of such are as fully responsible for this frightening state of affairs as anyone else.
blowback , a day ago
The SOHR has some pretty solid reporting on what is going on in Douma. They make no mention of any use of chemical weapons in Douma, but instead attribute the deaths to suffocation resulting from the destruction of cellars containing civilians:
And with the death of more citizens, it has increased to 96 at least including 27 children and 16 woman, the number of persons who have been killed since Friday, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation, where reliable sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that some of the casualties and wounded suffocated as a result of the demolition of home basements due to the heavy and intense shelling on Douma city, and the trusted sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory of Rights that the number of injuries today has exceeds 500, including tens of children and tens of women, where more than 70 of them have suffered suffocation as a result of the demolition of home basements over them due to the heavy and intense shelling on the last area beyond the regime forces' control in the Eastern Ghouta , which is the stronghold of Jaysh al-Islam, and the Syrian Observatory published hours ago that 11 people at least including 5 children had suffocated, after bombardment by a warplane on an area near the old cemetery at the northern outskirts of Douma city in the Eastern Ghouta, also the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published that violent clashes taking place between the regime forces and their allied militiamen of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities against Jaish Al-Islam in areas in the vicinity of Douma area, where the regime forces continue their attempts to achieve more advancement in the area after they managed today morning to advance in the farms of Douma from the direction of Al-Raihan area. The regime forces managed to advance in 50 farms in the area following series of ongoing ground and aerial shelling of the regime forces and their warplanes and helicopters, which target the city and its vicinity.


http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=88817
Recent articles from SOHR can be found here:
http://www.syriahr.com/en/?cat=26&paged=2
and here:
http://www.syriahr.com/en/?cat=26

Jaish al-Islam asked for quarter as the SAA appears to have broken Jaish al-Islam's defensive lines making their position in Douma untenable.

Imagine , a day ago
"Murder in the Sun Morgue" by Dr. Denis O'Brien (neuropharmacology expert):

"The primary conclusion of this study, based on a pharmacological analysis of the video and photographic evidence, is that the Ghouta Massacre near Damascus on Aug 21.2013 was not a sarin rocket attack carried out by Assad or his supporters. It was a false-flag stunt carried out by the insurgents using carbon monoxide or cyanide to murder children and use their corpses as bait to lure the Americans into attacking Assad."

288 pp. analysis. Also, some had slit throats:
https://www.scribd.com/document/230748990/Murder-in-the-SunMorgue

Swamp Yankee , a day ago
Thank you for this, Publius Tacitus -- and to you, Colonel Lang, re-opening the comments section here at SST.

I think it's notable that Owen Matthews' article at The Spectator betrays the kind of factual sloppiness that is typical of the pundit-political-business classes in the West today. For of course, "Arsenal of Democracy" is a phrase associated not with Truman but with Franklin Roosevelt.

I was the working-class scholarship kid at one of the elite educational institutions that forms a feeder-conduit to these echelons of media, political, and economic power, and one thing I have remarked is the utter mediocrity and laziness of so many members of our ruling class. As Corey Robin found out when he had an exchange with Chelsea Clinton over Hannah Arendt, and I discovered as an undergrad and in grad school, many of them simply never did the reading. They relied then, and still do today, on group-think and sheep-like intellectual conformity, which, of course, is then magnificently (and munificently!) rewarded. I also discovered that even when they did read something, it made no impression on them, not in any real way, they failed to keep the lessons taught thereby in their head once it was no longer needed for an exam or a paper.

To be led by fools such as these into a world war -- and why? -- is lunacy. That's why I'm grateful for places like this Committee to keep the home-fires of sanity burning. Thanks again, and let's hope that peace prevails, against the devoutly-hoped wishes of the Borg.

Patrick Armstrong , 10 hours ago
An excellent summary, I posted it on FB and VK.

[Nov 03, 2019] How Controlling Syria s Oil Serves Washington s Strategic Objectives by Nauman Sadiq

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Washington's basic purpose in deploying the US forces in oil and natural gas fields of Deir al-Zor governorate is to deny the valuable source of income to its other main rival in the region, Damascus. ..."
Nov 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Nauman Sadiq,

Before the evacuation of 1,000 American troops from northern Syria to western Iraq, the Pentagon had 2,000 US forces in Syria. After the drawdown of US troops at Erdogan's insistence in order for Ankara to mount a ground offensive in northern Syria, the US has still deployed 1,000 troops, mainly in oil-rich eastern Deir al-Zor province and at al-Tanf military base.

Al-Tanf military base is strategically located in southeastern Syria on the border between Syria, Iraq and Jordan, and it straddles on a critically important Damascus-Baghdad highway, which serves as a lifeline for Damascus. Washington has illegally occupied 55-kilometer area around al-Tanf since 2016, and several hundred US Marines have trained several Syrian militant groups there.

It's worth noting that rather than fighting the Islamic State, the purpose of continued presence of the US forces at al-Tanf military base is to address Israel's concerns regarding the expansion of Iran's influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Regarding the oil- and natural gas-rich Deir al-Zor governorate, it's worth pointing out that Syria used to produce modest quantities of oil for domestic needs before the war – roughly 400,000 barrels per day, which isn't much compared to tens of millions barrels daily oil production in the Gulf states.

Although Donald Trump crowed in a characteristic blunt manner in a tweet after the withdrawal of 1,000 American troops from northern Syria that Washington had deployed forces in eastern Syria where there was oil, the purpose of exercising control over Syria's oil is neither to smuggle oil out of Syria nor to deny the valuable source of revenue to the Islamic State.

There is no denying the fact that the remnants of the Islamic State militants are still found in Syria and Iraq but its emirate has been completely dismantled in the region and its leadership is on the run. So much so that the fugitive caliph of the terrorist organization was killed in the bastion of a rival jihadist outfit, al-Nusra Front in Idlib, hundreds of kilometers away from the Islamic State strongholds in eastern Syria.

Much like the "scorched earth" battle strategy of medieval warlords – as in the case of the Islamic State which early in the year burned crops of local farmers while retreating from its former strongholds in eastern Syria – Washington's basic purpose in deploying the US forces in oil and natural gas fields of Deir al-Zor governorate is to deny the valuable source of income to its other main rival in the region, Damascus.

After the devastation caused by eight years of proxy war, the Syrian government is in dire need of tens of billions dollars international assistance to rebuild the country. Not only is Washington hampering efforts to provide international aid to the hapless country, it is in fact squatting over Syria's own resources with the help of its only ally in the region, the Kurds.

Although Donald Trump claimed credit for expropriating Syria's oil wealth, it bears mentioning that "scorched earth" policy is not a business strategy, it is the institutional logic of the deep state. President Trump is known to be a businessman and at least ostensibly follows a non-interventionist ideology; being a novice in the craft of international diplomacy, however, he has time and again been misled by the Pentagon and Washington's national security establishment.

Regarding Washington's interest in propping up the Gulf's autocrats and fighting their wars in regional conflicts, it bears mentioning that in April 2016, the Saudi foreign minister threatened that the Saudi kingdom would sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets if the US Congress passed a bill that would allow Americans to sue the Saudi government in the United States courts for its role in the September 11, 2001 terror attack – though the bill was eventually passed, Saudi authorities have not been held accountable; even though 15 out of 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

Moreover, $750 billion is only the Saudi investment in the United States, if we add its investment in Western Europe and the investments of UAE, Kuwait and Qatar in the Western economies, the sum total would amount to trillions of dollars of Gulf's investments in North America and Western Europe.

Furthermore, in order to bring home the significance of the Persian Gulf's oil in the energy-starved industrialized world, here are a few stats from the OPEC data: Saudi Arabia has the world's largest proven crude oil reserves of 265 billion barrels and its daily oil production exceeds 10 million barrels; Iran and Iraq, each, has 150 billion barrels reserves and has the capacity to produce 5 million barrels per day, each; while UAE and Kuwait, each, has 100 billion barrels reserves and produces 3 million barrels per day, each; thus, all the littoral states of the Persian Gulf, together, hold 788 billion barrels, more than half of world's 1477 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

No wonder then, 36,000 United States troops have currently been deployed in their numerous military bases and aircraft carriers in the oil-rich Persian Gulf in accordance with the Carter Doctrine of 1980, which states: "Let our position be absolutely clear: an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

Additionally, regarding the Western defense production industry's sales of arms to the Gulf Arab States, a report authored by William Hartung of the US-based Center for International Policy found that the Obama administration had offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion in weapons, military equipment and training during its eight-year tenure.

Similarly, the top items in Trump's agenda for his maiden visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017 were: firstly, he threw his weight behind the idea of the Saudi-led "Arab NATO" to counter Iran's influence in the region; and secondly, he announced an unprecedented arms package for Saudi Arabia. The package included between $98 billion and $128 billion in arms sales.

Therefore, keeping the economic dependence of the Western countries on the Gulf Arab States in mind, during the times of global recession when most of manufacturing has been outsourced to China, it is not surprising that when the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia decided to provide training and arms to the Islamic jihadists in the border regions of Turkey and Jordan against the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Obama administration was left with no other choice but to toe the destructive policy of its regional Middle Eastern allies, despite the sectarian nature of the proxy war and its attendant consequences of breeding a new generation of Islamic jihadists who would become a long-term security risk not only to the Middle East but to the Western countries, as well.

Similarly, when King Abdullah's successor King Salman decided, on the whim of the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, to invade Yemen in March 2015, once again the Obama administration had to yield to the dictates of Saudi Arabia and UAE by fully coordinating the Gulf-led military campaign in Yemen not only by providing intelligence, planning and logistical support but also by selling billions of dollars' worth of arms and ammunition to the Gulf Arab States during the conflict.

In this reciprocal relationship, the US provides security to the ruling families of the Gulf Arab states by providing weapons and troops; and in return, the Gulf's petro-sheikhs contribute substantial investments to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars to the Western economies.

Regarding the Pax Americana which is the reality of the contemporary neocolonial order, according to a January 2017 infographic by the New York Times, 210,000 US military personnel were stationed all over the world, including 79,000 in Europe, 45,000 in Japan, 28,500 in South Korea and 36,000 in the Middle East.

Although Donald Trump keeps complaining that NATO must share the cost of deployment of US troops, particularly in Europe where 47,000 American troops are stationed in Germany since the end of the Second World War, 15,000 in Italy and 8,000 in the United Kingdom, fact of the matter is that the cost is already shared between Washington and host countries.

Roughly, European countries pay one-third of the cost for maintaining US military bases in Europe whereas Washington chips in the remaining two-third. In the Far Eastern countries, 75% of the cost for the deployment of American troops is shared by Japan and the remaining 25% by Washington, and in South Korea, 40% cost is shared by the host country and the US contributes the remaining 60%.

Whereas the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar – pay two-third of the cost for maintaining 36,000 US troops in the Persian Gulf where more than half of world's proven oil reserves are located and Washington contributes the remaining one-third.

* * *

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.


ipsprez , 8 minutes ago link

I am always amazed (and amused) at how much smarter "journalists" are than POTUS. If ONLY Mr. Trump would read more and listen to those who OBVIOUSLY are sooo much smarter!!!! Maybe then he wouldn't be cowed and bullied by Erdogan, Xi, Jung-on, Trudeau (OK so maybe that one was too far fetched) to name a few. Please note the sarcasm. Do I really need to go in to the success after success Mr. Trump's foreign policy has enjoyed? Come on Man.

OLD-Pipe , 19 minutes ago link

What a load of BOLOCKS...The ONLY, I mean The Real and True Reason for American Armored presence is one thing,,,,,,,Ready for IT ? ? ? To Steal as much OIL as Possible, AND convert the Booty into Currency, Diamonds or some other intrinsically valuable commodity, Millions of Dollars at a Time......17 Years of Shadows and Ghost Trucks and Tankers Loading and Off-Loading the Black Gold...this is what its all about......M-O-N-E-Y....... Say It With Me.... Mon-nee, Money Money Mo_on_ne_e_ey, ......

Blue Steel 309 , 5 minutes ago link

This is about Israel, not oil.

ombon , 58 minutes ago link

From the sale of US oil in Syria receive 30 million. dollars per month. Image losses are immeasurably greater. The United States put the United States as a robbery bandit. This is American democracy. The longer the troops are in Syria, the more countries will switch to settlements in national currencies.

Pandelis , 28 minutes ago link

yeah well these are mafia guys...

uhland62 , 50 minutes ago link

"Our interests", "strategic interests" is always about money, just a euphemism so it doesn't look as greedy as it is. Another euphemism is "security' ,meaning war preparations.

BobEore , 1 hour ago link

...The military power of the USA put directly in the service of "the original TM" PIRATE STATE. U are the man Norm! But wait... now things get a little hazy... in the classic... 'alt0media fake storyline' fashion!

"President Trump is known to be a businessman and at least ostensibly follows a non-interventionist ideology; being a novice in the craft of international diplomacy, however, he has time and again been misled by the Pentagon and Washington's national security establishment."

Awww! Poor "DUmb as Rocks Donnie" done been fooled agin!

...In the USA... the military men are stirring at last... having been made all too aware that their putative 'boss' has been operating on behalf of foreign powers ever since being [s]elected, that the State Dept of the once Great Republic has been in active cahoots with the jihadis ...

and that those who were sent over there to fight against the headchoppers discovered that the only straight shooters in the whole mess turned out to be the Kurds who AGENT FRIMpf THREW UNDER THE BUS ON INSTRUCTIONS FROM JIHADI HQ!

... ... ...

[Oct 28, 2019] Expert Panel Finds Gaping Plot-Holes In OPCW Report On Alleged Syrian Chemical Attack by Caitlin Johnstone

Highly recommended!
This implicates State Department in the attempt to run a false flag operation. If we add that the State Department is the key organization behind for color revolution against Trump that picture becomes even more disturbing. This is really a neocon vipers nest.
Notable quotes:
"... This was because the public had already been shown that highly suspicious chemical attacks tended to happen when the Trump administration begins pushing for a reversal of standing US Syria policy, as I noted in April 2017 immediately following the alleged attack in Khan Shaykhun. ..."
"... "I was able to predict Douma in 2018 because it happened already almost exactly 1 year prior, at Khan Shaykhun, April 4, 2017," Cox told me on Twitter earlier today. ..."
"... And, like clockwork, on April 7 2018 dozens of civilians in Douma were killed in an incident which was quickly reported as a Syrian government chemical attack by all the usual establishment narrative managers on Syria , with everyone from the White Helmets to Charles Lister to Eliot Higgins to Julian Röpcke loudly flagging it on social media to draw the attention of mainstream news outlets who were slower to pick up the story. ..."
"... Long before any investigation into this suspicious incident could even be begun, much less completed, the US State Department declared it to have been a chemical weapons attack perpetrated by the Syrian government, saying "the Assad regime must be held accountable", and that Russia "ultimately bears responsibility" for the attack. Which was of course mighty convenient for US geostrategic interests. ..."
"... On the 14th of April 2018, the US, UK and France launched an airstrike on the Syrian government as punishment for using chemical weapons, citing secret "intelligence" which the US government claimed gave them "very high confidence that Syria was responsible." The public has to this day never been permitted to see this intelligence. This all happened before any formal international investigation could take place. ..."
"... The OPCW conducted their investigation, and in July 2018 published an interim report saying that "no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties." This ruled out sarin gas, invalidating earlier reports by Syria war pundits like Charles Lister who claimed that sarin had been used, but it didn't rule out chlorine gas. In March of this year the OPCW issued its final report saying forensics were consistent with chlorine gas use and advancing a ballistics report which strongly implicated the Assad government by implying it was an aerial drop (Syrian opposition militias have no air force). The official Twitter account for the UK Delegation to the OPCW tweeted at the time that the report "confirms chemical weapons used, demonstrating the vital importance of OPCW's work. This confirmed chlorine attack was only the latest example of Asad regime's CW attacks on its own population." ..."
"... In May of this year, a leaked internal document from the OPCW investigation was published by the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media which completely contradicts the findings of the official report published in March. The leaked Engineering Assessment said that "observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest there is a higher probability both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft," which would implicate the forces on the ground in the incident rather than the Assad government. ..."
"... The OPCW indirectly confirmed the document's authenticity by telling the press that its release had been "unauthorised". Climate Audit's Stephen McIntyre published an excellent thread breaking down how the document invalidates the OPCW's claims which you can read by clicking here . Establishment narrative managers had a very difficult time spinning the fact that the OPCW had taken it upon itself to hide findings from the public which dissented from its official report on an incident which preceded an international act of war upon a sovereign nation, and all the implications that necessarily has for the legitimacy of the organization's other work. ..."
"... "Based on the whistleblower's extensive presentation, including internal emails, text exchanges and suppressed draft reports, we are unanimous in expressing our alarm over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, near the Syrian capital of Damascus on 7 April 2018. We became convinced by the testimony that key information about chemical analyses, toxicology consultations, ballistics studies, and witness testimonies was suppressed, ostensibly to favor a preordained conclusion ." ..."
"... "The convincing evidence of irregular behaviour in the OPCW investigation of the alleged Douma chemical attack confirms doubts and suspicions I already had. I could make no sense of what I was reading in the international press. Even official reports of investigations seemed incoherent at best. The picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing. " ..."
"... "The interpretation of the environmental analysis results is equally questionable. Many, if not all, of the so-called 'smoking gun' chlorinated organic chemicals claimed to be not naturally present in the environment' (para 2.6) are in fact ubiquitous in the background, either naturally or anthropogenically (wood preservatives, chlorinated water supplies etc). The report, in fact, acknowledges this in Annex 4 para 7, even stating the importance of gathering control samples to measure the background for such chlorinated organic derivatives. Yet, no analysis results for these same control samples (Annex 5), which inspectors on the ground would have gone to great lengths to gather, were reported." ..."
"... "One alternative ascribing the origin of the crater to an explosive device was considered briefly but, despite an almost identical crater (understood to have resulted from a mortar penetrating the roof) being observed on an adjacent rooftop, was dismissed because of ' the absence of primary and secondary fragmentation characteristics'. In contrast, explosive fragmentation characteristics were noted in the leaked study ." ..."
"... "Contrary to what has been publicly stated by the Director General of the OPCW it was evident to the panel that many of the inspectors in the Douma investigation were not involved or consulted in the post-deployment phase or had any contribution to, or knowledge of the content of the final report until it was made public . The panel is particularly troubled by organisational efforts to obfuscate and prevent inspectors from raising legitimate concerns about possible malpractices surrounding the Douma investigation." ..."
Oct 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

The Courage Foundation , an international protection and advocacy group for whistleblowers, has published the findings of a panel it convened last week on the extremely suspicious behavior of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in its investigation of an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria last year. After hearing an extensive presentation from a member of the OPCW's Douma investigation team, the panel's members (including a world-renowned former OPCW Director General) report that they are "unanimous in expressing our alarm over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, near the Syrian capital of Damascus on 7 April 2018."

I'll get to the panel and its findings in a moment, but first I should provide some historical background so that readers who aren't intimately familiar with this ongoing scandal can fully appreciate the significance of this new development.

In late March of last year, President Trump publicly stated that the US military would soon be withdrawing troops from Syria, causing some with an ear to the ground like independent US congressional candidate Steve Cox to predict that there would shortly be a false flag chemical weapons attack in that nation. This was because the public had already been shown that highly suspicious chemical attacks tended to happen when the Trump administration begins pushing for a reversal of standing US Syria policy, as I noted in April 2017 immediately following the alleged attack in Khan Shaykhun.

"I was able to predict Douma in 2018 because it happened already almost exactly 1 year prior, at Khan Shaykhun, April 4, 2017," Cox told me on Twitter earlier today.

"Khan Shaykhun also occurred within days of the Trump Admin saying we're leaving Syria."

And, like clockwork, on April 7 2018 dozens of civilians in Douma were killed in an incident which was quickly reported as a Syrian government chemical attack by all the usual establishment narrative managers on Syria , with everyone from the White Helmets to Charles Lister to Eliot Higgins to Julian Röpcke loudly flagging it on social media to draw the attention of mainstream news outlets who were slower to pick up the story.

There was immediate skepticism, partly because acclaimed journalists like Sy Hersh have been highlighting plot holes in the official story about chemical weapons in Syria since 2013, partly because Assad would stand nothing to gain and everything to lose by using a banned yet highly ineffective weapon in a battle he'd already essentially won in that region, and partly because the people controlling things on the ground in Douma were the Al Qaeda-linked extremist group Jaysh-al Islam and the incredibly shady narrative management operation known as the White Helmets. Those groups, unlike the Assad government, most certainly would stand everything to gain by staging a chemical attack in the desperate hope that it would draw NATO powers into attacking the Syrian government and perhaps saving their necks.

Long before any investigation into this suspicious incident could even be begun, much less completed, the US State Department declared it to have been a chemical weapons attack perpetrated by the Syrian government, saying "the Assad regime must be held accountable", and that Russia "ultimately bears responsibility" for the attack. Which was of course mighty convenient for US geostrategic interests.

On the 14th of April 2018, the US, UK and France launched an airstrike on the Syrian government as punishment for using chemical weapons, citing secret "intelligence" which the US government claimed gave them "very high confidence that Syria was responsible." The public has to this day never been permitted to see this intelligence. This all happened before any formal international investigation could take place.

The OPCW conducted their investigation, and in July 2018 published an interim report saying that "no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties." This ruled out sarin gas, invalidating earlier reports by Syria war pundits like Charles Lister who claimed that sarin had been used, but it didn't rule out chlorine gas. In March of this year the OPCW issued its final report saying forensics were consistent with chlorine gas use and advancing a ballistics report which strongly implicated the Assad government by implying it was an aerial drop (Syrian opposition militias have no air force). The official Twitter account for the UK Delegation to the OPCW tweeted at the time that the report "confirms chemical weapons used, demonstrating the vital importance of OPCW's work. This confirmed chlorine attack was only the latest example of Asad regime's CW attacks on its own population."

In May of this year, a leaked internal document from the OPCW investigation was published by the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media which completely contradicts the findings of the official report published in March. The leaked Engineering Assessment said that "observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest there is a higher probability both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft," which would implicate the forces on the ground in the incident rather than the Assad government.

The OPCW indirectly confirmed the document's authenticity by telling the press that its release had been "unauthorised". Climate Audit's Stephen McIntyre published an excellent thread breaking down how the document invalidates the OPCW's claims which you can read by clicking here . Establishment narrative managers had a very difficult time spinning the fact that the OPCW had taken it upon itself to hide findings from the public which dissented from its official report on an incident which preceded an international act of war upon a sovereign nation, and all the implications that necessarily has for the legitimacy of the organization's other work.

Throughout this time, critical thinkers like myself have been aggressively smeared as deranged conspiracy theorists, war crimes deniers and genocide deniers for expressing skepticism of the establishment-authorized narrative on Douma. Which takes us to today.

The Courage Foundation panel who met with the OPCW whistleblower consists of former OPCW Director General José Bustani (whose highly successful peacemongering once saw the lives of his children threatened by John Bolton during the lead-up to the Iraq invasion in an attempt to remove him from his position), WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson , Professor of International Law Richard Falk , former British Army Major General John Holmes , Dr Helmut Lohrer of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, German professor Dr Guenter Meyer of the Centre for Research on the Arab World, and former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East Elizabeth Murray of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

So these are not scrubs. These are not "conspiracy theorists" or "Russian propagandists". These are highly qualified and reputable professionals expressing deep concerns in the opaque and manipulative way the OPCW appears to have conducted its investigation into the Douma incident. Some highlights from their joint statement and analytical points are quoted below, with my own emphasis added in bold:

"Based on the whistleblower's extensive presentation, including internal emails, text exchanges and suppressed draft reports, we are unanimous in expressing our alarm over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, near the Syrian capital of Damascus on 7 April 2018. We became convinced by the testimony that key information about chemical analyses, toxicology consultations, ballistics studies, and witness testimonies was suppressed, ostensibly to favor a preordained conclusion ."

"The convincing evidence of irregular behaviour in the OPCW investigation of the alleged Douma chemical attack confirms doubts and suspicions I already had. I could make no sense of what I was reading in the international press. Even official reports of investigations seemed incoherent at best. The picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing. "
~ Bustani

"A critical analysis of the final report of the Douma investigation left the panel in little doubt that conclusions drawn from each of the key evidentiary pillars of the investigation (chemical analysis, toxicology, ballistics and witness testimonies,) are flawed and bear little relation to the facts. "

From the section on Chemical Analysis:

"The interpretation of the environmental analysis results is equally questionable. Many, if not all, of the so-called 'smoking gun' chlorinated organic chemicals claimed to be not naturally present in the environment' (para 2.6) are in fact ubiquitous in the background, either naturally or anthropogenically (wood preservatives, chlorinated water supplies etc). The report, in fact, acknowledges this in Annex 4 para 7, even stating the importance of gathering control samples to measure the background for such chlorinated organic derivatives. Yet, no analysis results for these same control samples (Annex 5), which inspectors on the ground would have gone to great lengths to gather, were reported."

"Although the report stresses the 'levels' of the chlorinated organic chemicals as a basis for its conclusions (para 2.6), it never mentions what those levels were -- high, low, trace, sub-trace? Without providing data on the levels of these so-called 'smoking-gun' chemicals either for background or test samples, it is impossible to know if they were not simply due to background presence . In this regard, the panel is disturbed to learn that quantitative results for the levels of 'smoking gun' chemicals in specific samples were available to the investigators but this decisive information was withheld from the report ."

"The final report also acknowledges that the tell-tale chemicals supposedly indicating chlorine use, can also be generated by contact of samples with sodium hypochlorite, the principal ingredient of household bleaching agent (para 8.15). This game-changing hypothesis is, however, dismissed (and as it transpires, incorrectly) by stating no bleaching was observed at the site of investigation. (' At both locations, there were no visible signs of a bleach agent or discoloration due to contact with a bleach agent' ). The panel has been informed that no such observation was recorded during the on-site inspection and in any case dismissing the hypothesis simply by claiming the non -observation of discoloration in an already dusty and scorched environment seems tenuous and unscientific ."

From the section on Toxicology:

"The toxicological studies also reveal inconsistencies, incoherence and possible scientific irregularities. Consultations with toxicologists are reported to have taken place in September and October 2018 (para 8.87 and Annex 3), but no mention is made of what those same experts opined or concluded. Whilst the final toxicological assessment of the authors states ' it is not possible to precisely link the cause of the signs and symptoms to a specific chemical ' (para 9.6) the report nonetheless concludes there were reasonable grounds to believe chlorine gas was the chemical (used as a weapon)."

"More worrying is the fact that the panel viewed documented evidence that showed other toxicologists had been consulted in June 2018 prior to the release of the interim report. Expert opinions on that occasion were that the signs and symptoms observed in videos and from witness accounts were not consistent with exposure to molecular chlorine or any reactive-chlorine-containing chemical. Why no mention of this critical assessment, which contradicts that implied in the final report, was made is unclear and of concern. "

From the section on Ballistic Studies:

"One alternative ascribing the origin of the crater to an explosive device was considered briefly but, despite an almost identical crater (understood to have resulted from a mortar penetrating the roof) being observed on an adjacent rooftop, was dismissed because of ' the absence of primary and secondary fragmentation characteristics'. In contrast, explosive fragmentation characteristics were noted in the leaked study ."

From the section titled "Exclusion of inspectors and attempts to obfuscate":

"Contrary to what has been publicly stated by the Director General of the OPCW it was evident to the panel that many of the inspectors in the Douma investigation were not involved or consulted in the post-deployment phase or had any contribution to, or knowledge of the content of the final report until it was made public . The panel is particularly troubled by organisational efforts to obfuscate and prevent inspectors from raising legitimate concerns about possible malpractices surrounding the Douma investigation."

I'll leave it there for now.

* * *

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[Oct 24, 2019] Joltin' Jack Keane wants your kids to fight Russia and Syria over Syrian oil by Colonel Patrick Lang

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Whilst the are absorbing that part of their country the battle of Iblib will restart. After that they can move their attention south and southeast, al-Tanf and the oilfields. I can't see how the US will be able to stop them but at least they will have time to plan their exit. ..."
"... At the moment the Syrian Government has enough oil, it is getting it from Iran via a steady stream of SUEZMAX tankers. The cost, either in terms of money or quid pro quo, is unknown. ..."
"... For those who have wondered as to why the DC FedRegime would fight over the tiny relative-to-FUKUS's-needs amount of oil in the Syrian oilfields. It is clearly to keep the SAR hobbled, crippled and too impoverished to retake all its territory or even to restore social, civic and economic functionality to the parts it retains. FUKUS is still committed to the policy of FUKUSing Syria. ..."
"... This President appears at times to recognize the reality of nation states and the meaning of national sovereignty. He needs to understand that on principle, not merely on gut instinct. President Trump's press conference today focused in one section on a simple fact -- saving the lives of Americans. Gen. Jack Keane, Sen. Lindsay Graham, and other gamers who think they are running an imperial chessboard where they can use living soldiers as American pawns, are a menace. Thanks Col. Lang for calling out these lunatics. ..."
"... During the 2016 election, Jack Keane and John Bolton were the two people Trump mentioned when asked who he listens to on foreign affairs/military policy. ..."
"... The crumbling apart is apparent. I don't know in what delusional world can conceive that 200 soldiers in the middle of the desert can deny Syria possession of their oil fields or keep the road between Bagdad and Damascus cut. All the West's Decision Makers can do is threaten to blow up the world. ..."
"... Corporate Overlords imposed austerity, outsourced industry and cut taxes to get richer, but the one thing for certain is that they can't keep their wealth without laws, the police and the military to protect them. ..."
"... Latin America is burning too - although the elites here have plundered and imposed structural plunder for too long. No matter where you are it .. Chile poster of the right, or Ecuador, Peru, etc ..."
"... Did you notice the Middle East Monitor article on October 21 reporting that the UAE has released to Iran $700 million in previously frozen funds? ..."
"... Yet in early September, Sigal Mandelker, a senior US Treasury official, was in the UAE pressing CEOs there to tighten the financial screws on Iran. The visit was deemed a success. During this visit she was quoted as saying that the Treasury has issued over 30 rounds of curbs targeting Iran-related entities. That would include targeting shipping companies and banks. ..."
"... It depends on who will be the democratic ticket .. will it mobilize the basis? I think the compromise candidate is Warren, but she looks to me a lot like John Kerry, Al Gore.. representing the professional, college educated segment of society, and that doesn't cut it. ..."
"... Trump is far from consistent. This is the man who attacked Syria twice on the basis of lies so transparent that my youngest housecat would have seen through them, and who tried and failed to leave Syria twice, then said he was "100%" for the continued occupation of Syria. ..."
"... He could have given the order to leave Syria this month, but Trump did not. Instead, he simply ordered withdrawal to a smaller zone of occupation, and that under duress. ..."
"... The Great Trumpian Mystery. I don't pretend to understand but I'm intrigued by his inconsistent inconsistencies. https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/03/17/trump-mysteries-inconsistent-inconsistencies/ ..."
"... It probably should come as no surprise to us that Trump is having small, but not no, success in getting the ship to alter course - too many deeply entrenched interests with no incentive to recognize their failures and every incentive to stay the course by removing, or at least handicapping the President who was elected on a platform of change. ..."
"... Whether the country elected the right man for the job remains to be seen. At times he appears to be his own worst enemy and his appointments are frequently topsy-- turvy to the platform he ran on but he does have his moments of success. He called off the dumb plan to go to war with Iran, albeit at 20 minutes to mid night and he is trying hard against the full might of the Borg to withdraw from Syria in accord with our actual interests. Trumps, alas, assumed office with no political friends, only enemies with varying degrees of Trump hate depending on how they define their political interests. ..."
"... Keane manipulated Trump by aggravating his animosity towards Iran, more specifically, his animosity towards Obama's JCPOA. I doubt Trump can see beyond his personal animus towards Obama and his legacy. He doesn't care about Iran, the Shia Crescent, the oil or even the jihadis any more than he cares about ditching the Kurds. This administration doesn't need a national security advisor, it needs a psychiatrist. ..."
"... IMO Trump cares about what Sheldon Adelson wants and Adelson wants to destroy Iran: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sCW4IasWXc Note the audience applause ..."
"... The difference between the reality that we perceive and the way it is portrayed in the media is so stark that sometimes I am not sure whether it is me who is insane or the world - the MSM and the cool-aid drinking libtards whose animosity against Trump won't let them distinguish black from white. Not that they were ever able to understand the real state of affairs. Discussions with them have always been about them regurgitating the MSM talking points without understanding any of it. ..."
"... "This administration doesn't need a national security advisor, it needs a psychiatrist." I think TTG speaks the truth. ..."
"... On Monday, 21 October, president Trump "authorized $4.5 million in direct support to the Syria Civil Defense (SCD)", a/k/a the White Helmets, who have been discussed here on SST before-- https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-press-secretary-89/ ..."
"... TTG IMO you and the other NEVER Trumpers are confused about the presence in both the permanent and appointed government of people who while they are not loyal to him nevertheless covet access to power. A lot of neocons and Zionists are among them. ..."
"... ANDREW BACEVICH: First of all, I think we should avoid taking anything that he says at any particular moment too seriously. Clearly, he is all over the map on almost any issue that you can name. I found his comment about taking the oil in that part of Syria, as if we are going to decide how to dispose of it, to be striking. And yet of course it sort of harkens back to his campaign statement about the Iraq war, that we ought to have taken Iraq's oil is a way of paying for that war. So I just caution against taking anything he says that seriously. ..."
"... That said, clearly a recurring theme to which he returns over and over and over again, is his determination to end what he calls endless wars. He clearly has no particular strategy or plan for how to do that, but he does seem to be insistent on pursuing that objective. And here I think we begin to get to the real significance of the controversy over Syria in our abandonment of the Kurds ..."
"... the controversy has gotten as big as it is in part because members of the foreign policy establishment in both parties are concerned about what an effort to end endless wars would mean for the larger architecture of U.S. national security policy, which has been based on keeping U.S. troops in hundreds of bases around the world, maintaining the huge military budget, a pattern of interventionism. Trump seems to think that that has been a mistake, particularly in the Middle East. I happen to agree with that critique. And I think that it is a fear that he could somehow engineer a fundamental change in U.S. policy is what really has the foreign policy establishment nervous. ..."
"... we created the problems that exist today through our reckless use of American military power. ..."
"... He let them roll him, just like Obama and so many others. Just a different set of rollers. ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"Joltin" Jack Keane, General (ret.), Fox Business Senior Strategery Analyst, Chairman of the Board of the Kagan run neocon "Institute for the Study of War" (ISW) and Graduate Extraordinaire of Fordham University, was on with Lou Dobbs last night. Dobbs appears to have developed a deep suspicion of this paladin. He stood up to Keane remarkably well. This was refreshing in light of the fawning deference paid to Keane by all the rest of the Fox crew.

In the course of this dialogue Keane let slip the slightly disguised truth that he and the other warmongers want to keep something like 200 US soldiers and airmen in Syria east of the Euphrates so that they can keep Iran or any other "Iranian proxy forces" from crossing the Euphrates from SAG controlled territory to take control of Syrian sovereign territory and the oil and gas deposits that are rightly the property of the Syrian people and their government owned oil company. The map above shows how many of these resources are east of the Euphrates. Pilgrims! It is not a lot of oil and gas judged by global needs and markets, but to Syria and its prospects for reconstruction it is a hell of a lot!

Keane was clear that what he means by "Iranian proxy forces" is the Syrian Arab Army, the national army of that country. If they dare cross the river, to rest in the shade of their own palm trees, then in his opinion the air forces of FUKUS should attack them and any 3rd party air forces (Russia) who support them

This morning, on said Fox Business News with Charles Payne, Keane was even clearer and stated specifically that if "Syria" tries to cross the river they must be fought.

IMO he and Lindsey Graham are raving lunatics brainwashed for years with the Iran obsession and they are a danger to us all. pl

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/military/graham-fox-news-star-showed-trump-map-change-his-mind-n1069901

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_industry_in_Syria


Fred , 23 October 2019 at 04:54 PM

If only General Keane was as willing to defend America and America's oil on the Texas-Mexico border. Or hasn't anyone noticed that Mexico just a lost a battle with the Sinaloa drug cartel?
Harlan Easley , 23 October 2019 at 05:35 PM
I view them as selling their Soul for a dollar. Keane comes across as dense enough to believe his bile but Graham comes across as an opportunist without any real ideology except power.
JohninMK , 23 October 2019 at 05:43 PM
Its probably one step at a time for the Syrians, although the sudden move over the past couple of weeks must have been a bit of a God given opportunity for them.

Whilst the are absorbing that part of their country the battle of Iblib will restart. After that they can move their attention south and southeast, al-Tanf and the oilfields. I can't see how the US will be able to stop them but at least they will have time to plan their exit.

As I posted in the other thread, the Syrian Government is the only real customer for their oil and the Kurds already have a profit share agreement in place, so the US, if they allow any oil out, will effectively be protecting the fields on behalf of Assad. Surely not what Congress wants?

At the moment the Syrian Government has enough oil, it is getting it from Iran via a steady stream of SUEZMAX tankers. The cost, either in terms of money or quid pro quo, is unknown.

walrus , 23 October 2019 at 06:42 PM
I think this might be President Putin's next problem to solve. As far as I know, there is no legal reason for us to be there, not humanitarian, not strategic not even tactical. We simply are playing dog-in-the-manger.

My guess is that we will receive an offer to good to refuse from Putin.

different clue , 23 October 2019 at 06:54 PM
For those who have wondered as to why the DC FedRegime would fight over the tiny relative-to-FUKUS's-needs amount of oil in the Syrian oilfields. It is clearly to keep the SAR hobbled, crippled and too impoverished to retake all its territory or even to restore social, civic and economic functionality to the parts it retains. FUKUS is still committed to the policy of FUKUSing Syria.

Why is the Champs Elise' Regime still committed to putting the F in UKUS?
(I can understand why UKUS would want to keep France involved. Without France, certain nasty people might re-brand UKUS as USUK. And that would be very not nice.)

prawnik said in reply to different clue... , 24 October 2019 at 11:25 AM
Because France wants to be on the good side of the United States, and as you indicate, the United States is in Syria to turn that country into a failed state and for no other reason.
Decameron , 23 October 2019 at 07:03 PM
A good antidote for Joltin' Jack Keane's madness would be for Lou Dobbs and other mainstream media (MSM) to have Col Pat Lang as the commentator for analysis of the Syrian situation. Readers of this blog are undoubtedly aware that Col. Lang's knowledge of the peoples of the region and their customs is a national treasure.

This President appears at times to recognize the reality of nation states and the meaning of national sovereignty. He needs to understand that on principle, not merely on gut instinct. President Trump's press conference today focused in one section on a simple fact -- saving the lives of Americans. Gen. Jack Keane,
Sen. Lindsay Graham, and other gamers who think they are running an imperial chessboard where they can use living soldiers as American pawns, are a menace. Thanks Col. Lang for calling out these lunatics.

Stephanie , 23 October 2019 at 07:06 PM
In WWI millions of soldiers died fighting for imperial designs. They did not know it. They thought they were fighting for democracy, or to stop the spread of evil, or save their country. They were not. Secret treaties signed before the war started stated explicitly what the war was about.

Now "representatives" of the military, up to and including the Commander in Chief say it's about conquest, oil. The cards of the elite are on the table. How do you account for this?

Babak Makkinejad -> Stephanie... , 23 October 2019 at 08:48 PM
Men are quite evidently are in a state of total complete and irretrievable Fall, all the while living that particular Age of Belief.
Jackrabbit , 23 October 2019 at 07:39 PM
During the 2016 election, Jack Keane and John Bolton were the two people Trump mentioned when asked who he listens to on foreign affairs/military policy.
VietnamVet , 23 October 2019 at 07:47 PM
Colonel,

The crumbling apart is apparent. I don't know in what delusional world can conceive that 200 soldiers in the middle of the desert can deny Syria possession of their oil fields or keep the road between Bagdad and Damascus cut. All the West's Decision Makers can do is threaten to blow up the world.

Justin Trudeau was elected Monday in Canada with a minority in Parliament joining the United Kingdom and Israel with governments without a majority's mandate. Donald Trump's impeachment escalates. MbS is nearing a meat hook in Saudi Arabia. This is not a coincidence. The Elites' flushing government down the drain succeeded.

Corporate Overlords imposed austerity, outsourced industry and cut taxes to get richer, but the one thing for certain is that they can't keep their wealth without laws, the police and the military to protect them. Already California electricity is being cut off for a second time due to wildfires and PG&E's corporate looting. The Sinaloa shootout reminds me of the firefight in the first season of "True Detectives" when the outgunned LA cops tried to go after the Cartel. The writing is on the wall, California is next. Who will the lawmen serve and protect? Their people or the rich? Without the law, justice and order, there is chaos.

Mk-ec said in reply to VietnamVet... , 24 October 2019 at 07:40 PM
Latin America is burning too - although the elites here have plundered and imposed structural plunder for too long. No matter where you are it .. Chile poster of the right, or Ecuador, Peru, etc
Harper , 23 October 2019 at 07:49 PM
No doubt that Keane and his ilk want endless war and view Trump as a growing obstacle. Trump is consistent: He wanted out of JCPOA, and after being stalled by his national security advisors, he finally reached the boiling point and left. The advisors who counseled against this are all gone. With Pompeo, Enders and O'Brien as the new key security advisors, I doubt Trump got as much push back. He wanted out of Syria in December 2018 and was slow-walked. Didn't anyone think he'd come back at some point and revive the order to pull out? The talk with Erdogan, the continuing Trump view that Russia, Turkey, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia should bear the burden of sorting out what is left of the Syria war, so long as ISIS does not see a revival, all have been clear for a long time.

My concern is with Lindsey Graham, who is smarter and nastier than Jack Keane. He is also Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and may hold some blackmail leverage over the President. If the House votes up impeachment articles, Graham will be overseeing the Senate trial. A break from Trump by Graham could lead to a GOP Senate stampede for conviction. No one will say this openly, as I am, but it cannot be ignored as a factor for "controlling" Trump and keeping as much of the permanent war machine running as possible.

Thoughts?

Babak Makkinejad -> Harper... , 23 October 2019 at 08:52 PM
Trump has committed the United States to a long war against the Shia Crescent. He has ceded to Turkey on Syrian Kurds, but has continued with his operations against SAR. US needs Turkey, Erdogan knows that. Likewise in regards to Russia, EU, and Iran. Turkey, as is said in Persian, has grown a tail.
Tidewater said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 24 October 2019 at 01:14 PM
Did you notice the Middle East Monitor article on October 21 reporting that the UAE has released to Iran $700 million in previously frozen funds?

Yet in early September, Sigal Mandelker, a senior US Treasury official, was in the UAE pressing CEOs there to tighten the financial screws on Iran. The visit was deemed a success. During this visit she was quoted as saying that the Treasury has issued over 30 rounds of curbs targeting Iran-related entities. That would include targeting shipping companies and banks.

It was also reported in September that in Dubai that recent US Treasury sanctions were beginning to have a devastating effect. Iranian businessmen were being squeezed out. Even leaving the Emirates. Yet only a few days ago--a month later-- there are now reports that Iranian exchange bureaus have suddenly reopened in Dubai after a long period of closure.

Also, billions of dollars in contracts were signed between Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE during Putin's recent visit to the region. It seems to me that this is real news. Something big seems to be happening. It looks to me as if there could be a serious confrontation between the Trump administration and MBZ in the offing.

Do you have an opinion on the Iranian situation in Dubai at the moment?

Lars said in reply to Harper... , 23 October 2019 at 09:10 PM
I have my doubt that Sen. Graham will lead any revolt, but if it starts to look like Trump will lose big next year, there will be a stampede looking like the Nile getting through a cataract.

They will not want to go down the tube with Trump. I still maintain that there is a good reason for him to resign before he loses an election or an impeachment. It will come down to the price.

Jack said in reply to Lars... , 24 October 2019 at 09:30 AM
Lars,

Lose big to whom in the next election? Biden got 300 people to show up for his rally in his hometown of Scranton and he is supposedly the front runner. Bernie got 20,000 to show up at his rally in NY when he was endorsed by The Squad and Michael Moore. Do you think the Dem establishment will allow him to be the nominee?

Trump in contrast routinely can fill up stadiums with 30,000 people. That was the indicator in the last election, not the polls. Recall the NY Times forecasting Hillary with a 95% probability of winning the day before the election.

As Rep. Al Green noted , the only way the Democrats can stop him is for the Senate to convict him in an impeachment trial. Who do you believe are the 20 Republican senators that will vote to convict?

Lars said in reply to Jack... , 24 October 2019 at 02:05 PM
Trump barely won the last time and while he currently has wide support in the GOP, it is not nearly as deep as his cultists believe. When half the country, and growing, want him removed, there is trouble ahead. Republicans are largely herd animals and if spooked, will create a stampede.

You can tell that there are problems when his congressional enablers are not defending him on facts and just using gripes about processes that they themselves have used in the past. In addition to circus acts.

I realize that many do not want to admit that they made a mistake by voting for him. I am not so sure they want to repeat that mistake.

Mk-ec said in reply to Lars... , 24 October 2019 at 08:20 PM
It depends on who will be the democratic ticket .. will it mobilize the basis? I think the compromise candidate is Warren, but she looks to me a lot like John Kerry, Al Gore.. representing the professional, college educated segment of society, and that doesn't cut it.
Jack said in reply to Lars... , 24 October 2019 at 09:29 PM
Lars,

It's not a question if he barely won. The fact is he competed with many other Republican candidates including governors and senators and even one with the name Bush. He was 1% in the polls in the summer of 2016 and went on to win the Republican nomination despite the intense opposition of the Republican establishment. He then goes on to win the general election defeating a well funded Hillary with all her credentials and the full backing of the vast majority of the media. That is an amazing achievement for someone running for public office for the first time. Like him or hate him, you have to give credit where it's due. Winning an election for the presidency is no small feat.

There only two ways to defeat him. First, the Senate convicts him in an impeachment trial which will require at least 20 Republican senators. Who are they? Second, a Democrat in the general election. Who? I can see Bernie with a possibility since he has enthusiastic supporters. But will the Democrat establishment allow him to win the nomination?

Diana C said in reply to Harper... , 24 October 2019 at 08:37 AM
We're no longer having to listen to Yosemite Sam Bolton. His BFF Graham is left to fight on his own. I don't think Trump feels the need to pay that much attention to Graham. He didn't worry about him during the primary when Graham always seemed to be on the verge of crying when he was asked questions.
prawnik said in reply to Harper... , 24 October 2019 at 11:28 AM
Trump is far from consistent. This is the man who attacked Syria twice on the basis of lies so transparent that my youngest housecat would have seen through them, and who tried and failed to leave Syria twice, then said he was "100%" for the continued occupation of Syria.

He could have given the order to leave Syria this month, but Trump did not. Instead, he simply ordered withdrawal to a smaller zone of occupation, and that under duress.

Congratulations are hardly in order here.

Patrick Armstrong -> prawnik... , 24 October 2019 at 05:06 PM
The Great Trumpian Mystery. I don't pretend to understand but I'm intrigued by his inconsistent inconsistencies. https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/03/17/trump-mysteries-inconsistent-inconsistencies/
Flavius said in reply to Harper... , 24 October 2019 at 01:21 PM
What the Colonel calls the Borg is akin to an aircraft carrier that has been steaming at near flank speed for many years too long, gathering mass and momentum since the end of Cold War I.

With the exception of Gulf War I, none of our interventions have gone well, and even the putative peace at the end of GUlf War I wasn't managed well because it eventuated in Gulf War Ii which has been worst than a disaster because the disaster taught the Borg nothing and became midwife to additional disasters.

It probably should come as no surprise to us that Trump is having small, but not no, success in getting the ship to alter course - too many deeply entrenched interests with no incentive to recognize their failures and every incentive to stay the course by removing, or at least handicapping the President who was elected on a platform of change.

Whether the country elected the right man for the job remains to be seen. At times he appears to be his own worst enemy and his appointments are frequently topsy-- turvy to the platform he ran on but he does have his moments of success. He called off the dumb plan to go to war with Iran, albeit at 20 minutes to mid night and he is trying hard against the full might of the Borg to withdraw from Syria in accord with our actual interests. Trumps, alas, assumed office with no political friends, only enemies with varying degrees of Trump hate depending on how they define their political interests.

With that said, I doubt very much whether the Republicans in the Senate will abandon Trump in an impeachment trial. Trump's argument that the process is a political coup is arguably completely true, or certainly true enough that his political base in the electorate will not tolerate his abandonment by Republican politicians inside the Beltway. I think there is even some chance that Trump, were he to be removed from office by what could be credibly portrayed as a political coup, would consider running in 2020 as an independent. The damage that would cause to the Republican Party would be severe, pervasive, and possibly fatal to the Party as such. I doubt Beltway pols would be willing to take that chance.

The Twisted Genius , 23 October 2019 at 11:33 PM
I don't think Keane or Trump are focused on the oil. Keane just used that as a lens to focus Trump on Iran. That's the true sickness. Keane manipulated Trump by aggravating his animosity towards Iran, more specifically, his animosity towards Obama's JCPOA. I doubt Trump can see beyond his personal animus towards Obama and his legacy. He doesn't care about Iran, the Shia Crescent, the oil or even the jihadis any more than he cares about ditching the Kurds. This administration doesn't need a national security advisor, it needs a psychiatrist.
Fourth and Long -> The Twisted Genius ... , 24 October 2019 at 12:01 PM
In case you missed this piece in Newsweek: https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-us-has-plan-send-tanks-troops-secure-syria-oil-fields-amid-withdrawal-1467350

No idea here who the un-named pentagon "official" might be, but sounds as thought Gen Keane may not be all alone in his soup.

Artemesia said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 24 October 2019 at 04:17 PM
IMO Trump cares about what Sheldon Adelson wants and Adelson wants to destroy Iran: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sCW4IasWXc Note the audience applause
Decepiton , 24 October 2019 at 04:40 AM
We massacred two hundred ruskies in the battle of khasham. What can they do.
MSB said in reply to Decepiton... , 24 October 2019 at 03:21 PM
And in response, Russia killed and captured hundreds of US Special forces and PMC's alongside SAS in East Ghouta . It is said that the abrupt russian op on East Ghouta was a response to the Battle of Khasham.

http://freewestmedia.com/2018/04/11/skripal-affair-real-reason-is-capture-of-200-sas-soldiers-in-ghouta/
https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201805211064652345-syrian-army-foreign-military-presence/
http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news--analysis/a-real-h-o-t-war-with-russia-is-underway-right-now

http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news--analysis/confirmation-that-us-uk-special-ops-are-in-syria-some-captured

ancientarcher , 24 October 2019 at 11:19 AM
Colonel, thanks for spelling it out so clearly.

The difference between the reality that we perceive and the way it is portrayed in the media is so stark that sometimes I am not sure whether it is me who is insane or the world - the MSM and the cool-aid drinking libtards whose animosity against Trump won't let them distinguish black from white. Not that they were ever able to understand the real state of affairs. Discussions with them have always been about them regurgitating the MSM talking points without understanding any of it.

While it will always be mystifying to me why so many people on the street blindly support America fighting and dying in the middle east, the support of the MSM and the paid hacks for eternal war is no surprise. I hope they get to send their children and grandchildren to these wars. More than that, I hope we get out of these wars. Trump might be able to put an end to it, and not just in Syria, if he wins a second term, which he will if he is allowed to contest the next election. There is however a chance that the borg will pull the rug from under him and bar him from the elections. Hope that doesn't come to pass.

Larry Kart , 24 October 2019 at 11:39 AM
"This administration doesn't need a national security advisor, it needs a psychiatrist." I think TTG speaks the truth.
David said in reply to Linda... , 24 October 2019 at 04:39 PM
No, they just have to sit there and be an excuse to fly Coalition CAPs that would effectively prevent SAA from crossing the Euphrates in strength. Feasible until the SAA finishes with Idlib and moves some of its new Russian anti-aircraft toys down to Deir Ezzor.
robt willmann , 24 October 2019 at 12:46 PM
On Monday, 21 October, president Trump "authorized $4.5 million in direct support to the Syria Civil Defense (SCD)", a/k/a the White Helmets, who have been discussed here on SST before-- https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-press-secretary-89/
turcopolier , 24 October 2019 at 01:34 PM
TTG IMO you and the other NEVER Trumpers are confused about the presence in both the permanent and appointed government of people who while they are not loyal to him nevertheless covet access to power. A lot of neocons and Zionists are among them.
The Twisted Genius -> turcopolier ... , 24 October 2019 at 02:54 PM
Colonel Lang, I am well aware of the power seekers who gravitate towards Trump or whoever holds power not out of loyalty, but because they covet access to power. The neocons and Zionists flock to Trump because they can manipulate him to do their bidding. That fact certainly doesn't make me feel any better about Trump as President. The man needs help.
turcopolier -> The Twisted Genius ... , 24 October 2019 at 05:15 PM
TTG

you are an experienced clan case officer. You do not know that most people are more than a little mad? Hillary is more than a little nuts. Obama was so desperately neurotically in need of White approval that he let the WP COIN generals talk him into a COIN war in Afghanistan. I was part of that discussion. All that mattered to him was their approval. FDR could not be trusted with SIGINT product and so Marshall never gave him any, etc., George Bush 41 told me that he deliberately mis-pronounced Saddam's name to hurt his feelings. Georgie Junior let the lunatic neocons invade a country that had not attacked us. Trump is no worse than many of our politicians, or politicians anywhere. Britain? The Brexit disaster speaks for itself, And then there is the British monarchy in which a princeling devastated by the sure DNA proof that he is illegitimate is acting like a fool. The list is endless.

The Twisted Genius -> CK... , 24 October 2019 at 05:21 PM
CK, the people surrounding Trump are largely appointees. Keane doesn't have to be let into the WH. His problem is that those who would appeal to his non-neocon tendencies are not people he wants to have around him. Gabbard, for instance, would be perfect for helping Trump get ourselves out of the ME, is a progressive. Non-interventionists are hard to come by. Those who he does surround himself with are using him for their own ideologies, mostly neocon and Zionist.
oldman22 , 24 October 2019 at 01:49 PM
Bacevich interview:
> Andrew Bacevich, can you respond to President Trump pulling the U.S. troops away from this area of northern Syria, though saying he will keep them to guard oil fields?

> ANDREW BACEVICH: First of all, I think we should avoid taking anything that he says at any particular moment too seriously. Clearly, he is all over the map on almost any issue that you can name. I found his comment about taking the oil in that part of Syria, as if we are going to decide how to dispose of it, to be striking. And yet of course it sort of harkens back to his campaign statement about the Iraq war, that we ought to have taken Iraq's oil is a way of paying for that war. So I just caution against taking anything he says that seriously.

> That said, clearly a recurring theme to which he returns over and over and over again, is his determination to end what he calls endless wars. He clearly has no particular strategy or plan for how to do that, but he does seem to be insistent on pursuing that objective. And here I think we begin to get to the real significance of the controversy over Syria in our abandonment of the Kurds.

> Let's stipulate. U.S. abandonment of the Kurds was wrong, it was callous, it was immoral. It was not the first betrayal by the United States in our history, but the fact that there were others certainly doesn't excuse this one. But apart from those concerned about the humanitarian aspect of this crisis -- and not for a second do I question the sincerity of people who are worried about the Kurds -- it seems to me that the controversy has gotten as big as it is in part because members of the foreign policy establishment in both parties are concerned about what an effort to end endless wars would mean for the larger architecture of U.S. national security policy, which has been based on keeping U.S. troops in hundreds of bases around the world, maintaining the huge military budget, a pattern of interventionism. Trump seems to think that that has been a mistake, particularly in the Middle East. I happen to agree with that critique. And I think that it is a fear that he could somehow engineer a fundamental change in U.S. policy is what really has the foreign policy establishment nervous.

> NERMEEN SHAIKH: As you mentioned, Professor Bacevich, Trump has come under bipartisan criticism for this decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was one of the many Republicans to criticize Trump for his decision. In an opinion piece in The Washington Post McConnell writes, quote, "We saw humanitarian disaster and a terrorist free-for-all after we abandoned Afghanistan in the 1990s, laying the groundwork for 9/11. We saw the Islamic State flourish in Iraq after President Barack Obama's retreat. We will see these things anew in Syria and Afghanistan if we abandon our partners and retreat from these conflicts before they are won." He also writes, quote, "As neo-isolationism rears its head on both the left and the right, we can expect to hear more talk of 'endless wars.' But rhetoric cannot change the fact that wars do not just end; wars are won or lost." So Professor Bacevich, could you respond to that, and how accurate you think an assessment of that is? Both what he says about Afghanistan and what is likely to happen now with U.S. withdrawal.

> ANDREW BACEVICH: I think in any discussion of our wars, ongoing wars, it is important to set them in some broader historical context than Senator McConnell will probably entertain. I mean, to a very great extent -- not entirely, but to a very great extent -- we created the problems that exist today through our reckless use of American military power.

> People like McConnell, and I think other members of the political establishment, even members of the mainstream media -- _The New York Times_, The Washington Post -- have yet to reckon with the catastrophic consequences of the U.S. invasion of Iraq back in 2003. And if you focus your attention at that start point -- you could choose another start point, but if you focus your attention at that start point, then it seems to me that leads you to a different conclusion about the crisis that we are dealing with right now. That is to say, people like McConnell want to stay the course. They want to maintain the U.S. presence in Syria. U.S. military presence. But if we look at what the U.S. military presence in that region, not simply Syria, has produced over the course of almost two decades, then you have to ask yourself, how is it that we think that simply staying the course is going to produce any more positive results?

> It is appalling what Turkey has done to Syrian Kurds and the casualties they have inflicted and the number of people that have been displaced. But guess what? The casualties that we inflicted and the number of people that we displaced far outnumbers what Turkey has done over the last week or so. So I think that we need to push back against this tendency to oversimplify the circumstance, because oversimplifying the circumstance doesn't help us fully appreciate the causes of this mess that we're in.

more here, about Tulsi, about Afghanistan, about Trump:
https://www.democracynow.org/2019/10/24/trump_lifts_turkey_sanctions_syrian_kurds

Leith , 24 October 2019 at 01:50 PM
In addition to oil from Iran, Assad also gets oil from the SDF and the Kurds. Supposedly a profit sharing arrangement as commented on by JohninMK in a previous post.

This oil sharing deal was also mentioned by Global Research and Southfront back in June of 2018:

https://www.globalresearch.ca/video-syrian-government-sdf-reach-agreement-on-omar-oil-field/5643086

The Twisted Genius -> turcopolier ... , 24 October 2019 at 05:49 PM
Colonel Lang, the only way to "overthrow" Trump is through impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate. That is a Constitutional process, not a coup. The process is intentionally difficult. Was the impeachment of Clinton an attempted coup?
Stephanie said in reply to turcopolier ... , 24 October 2019 at 09:59 PM
Two things.

In the first place isn't the dissolution of Ukraine and Syria and Iraq and Libya and Yemen exactly what we have wished to achieve, and wouldn't an intelligent observer, such as Vladimir Putin, want to do exactly the same thing to us, and hasn't he come very close to witnessing the achievement of this aim whether he is personally involved or not? What goes around comes around?

But that is relatively unimportant compared to the question whether dissolution of the Union is a bad thing or a good thing. Preserving it cost 600,000 lives the first time. One additional life would be one additional life too many. Ukraine is an excellent example. Western Ukraine has a long history support for Nazi's. Eastern Ukraine is Russian. Must a war be fought to bring them together? Or should they be permitted to go their separate ways?

As Hector said of Helen of Troy, "She is not worth what she doth cost the keeping."

Jane , 24 October 2019 at 05:48 PM
After hanging up from a call to Putin, thanking him for Russia's help with the Turks, YPG leader Mazloum Kobane returned to the Senate hearings in which he alternately reminded his flecless American allies of their failure, not only to protect Rojava from the Turks, but didn't even give them a heads up about what was about to happen and begged an already angry [at Trump] Senate about their urgent need for a continued American presence in the territory.

It seems that some in the USG do not understand that all the land on the east bank of the Euphrates is "Rojava" or somehow is the mandate of the Kurds to continue to control. For a long time, now, the mainly Arab population of that region have been chafing under what is actually Kurdish rule. This could be a a trigger for ISIS or some other jihadis to launch another insurgency, or at the least, low level attacks, especially in Rojava to the north.

To remind, the USG is not using military personnel, but also contracts, about 200 troops in one field and 400 contractors in the other.

There is video of the SAA escorting the Americans to the Iraqi border. PM Abdel Hadi has reiterated that the US cannot keep these troops in Iraq, as they go beyond the agreed upon number. It is quite likely that the anti-Iranian aspect of the border region is NOT something they wish to see.

"Iranian proxies" refers to Hezbollah, the various Shia militia groups from Pakistan and Afghanistan, and of course, others, not the SAA.

oldman22 , 24 October 2019 at 08:29 PM
The US is reportedly planning to deploy tanks and other heavy military hardware to protect oil fields in eastern Syria, in a reversal of Donald Trump's earlier order to withdraw all troops from the country. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/24/us-military-syria-tanks-oil-fields
turcopolier , 24 October 2019 at 09:46 PM
oldman22

He let them roll him, just like Obama and so many others. Just a different set of rollers.

[Oct 24, 2019] Trump is now proven war criminal: WikiLeaks Releases New Documents Questioning Syria Chemical Attack Narrative

Highly recommended!
Objectively this should be a death sentence for Trump reelection -- war criminals should never be reelected: he proved to be yet another MIC stooge. And his government is not that different form Hillarie's: it is the same government of lies by lies for liars (from MIC)...
There is no positives heroes in this story. As Colonel W. Patrick Lang noted raving neocon lunatics in congress brainwashed for years with the Iran obsession are yet another danger to us all. ( Joltin' Jack Keane wants your kids to fight Russia and Syria over Syrian oil. - Sic Semper Tyrannis _
Notable quotes:
"... "Based on the whistleblower's extensive presentation, including internal emails, text exchanges and suppressed draft reports, we are unanimous in expressing our alarm over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma," the experts pointed out. ..."
"... Bustani was quoted as saying he had long held doubts about the alleged attack in Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus. "I could make no sense of what I was reading in the international press. Even official reports of investigations seemed incoherent at best." ..."
"... Some dissenting officials as well as countries like Russia have accused the international chemical watchdog body, which operations in coordination with the UN, of being politically compromised when it comes to Syria. ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

A whistleblower with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), responsible for conducting an independent investigation into the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7, 2018, has presented WikiLeaks with a body of evidence suggesting the chemical weapons watchdog agency manipulated and suppressed evidence .

A prior official OPCW report of the investigation issued last March found "reasonable grounds" for believing a toxic chemical was used against civilians, likely chlorine. Long prior to any independent investigators reaching the site, however, Washington had launched major tomahawk airstrikes against Damascus in retribution for "Assad gassing his own people" .

WikiLeaks published documents based on evidence presented by the internal OPCW whistleblower to an expert review panel on Wednesday. "The panel was presented with evidence that casts doubt on the integrity of the OPCW," WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson wrote.

An official WikiLeaks press release said as follows :

Kristinn Hrafnsson took part in the panel to review the testimony and documents from the OPCW whistleblower. He says: "The panel was presented with evidence that casts doubt on the integrity of the OPCW. Although the whistleblower was not ready to step forward and/or present documents to the public, WikiLeaks believes it is now of utmost interest for the public to see everything that was collected by the Fact Finding Mission on Douma and all scientific reports written in relation to the investigation."

"Based on the whistleblower's extensive presentation, including internal emails, text exchanges and suppressed draft reports, we are unanimous in expressing our alarm over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma," the experts pointed out.

"We became convinced by the testimony that key information about chemical analyses, toxicology consultations, ballistics studies, and witness testimonies was suppressed, ostensibly to favor a preordained conclusion ."

The testimony further revealed "disquieting efforts to exclude some inspectors from the investigation whilst thwarting their attempts to raise legitimate concerns , highlight irregular practices or even to express their differing observations and assessments."

The new information was enough to convince José Bustani, former director-general of the OPCW to conclude there is now "convincing evidence" of irregularities .

According to a summary of the latest controversy to cast doubt on the dominant mainstream narrative related to Douma, Middle East analysis site Al-Bab noted Bustain harbored prior doubts :

Bustani was quoted as saying he had long held doubts about the alleged attack in Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus. "I could make no sense of what I was reading in the international press. Even official reports of investigations seemed incoherent at best."

Some dissenting officials as well as countries like Russia have accused the international chemical watchdog body, which operations in coordination with the UN, of being politically compromised when it comes to Syria.


spam filter , 4 minutes ago link

"Because of my great wisdom as a stable genius, i launched major tomahawk airstrikes against Damascus in retribution for Assad gassing his own people" .

I am Ironman!

Has he lost his mind?

Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all
Or if he moves will he fall?

boattrash , 2 minutes ago link

...to appease the neocons...he killed a total of 3 ground squirrels.

monty42 , 41 seconds ago link

Tell that to the Syrians who were killed, both soldiers and civilians, as well as those having to pay for the lost property that was destroyed. It was thrown out there, purely out of thin air, that nothing of substance was hit and it was just a show by Trump, despite reports by those terrorized by the attacks.

NA X-15 , 6 minutes ago link

It's the same lying neocon **** that cried out "Darfur!"..."Donbass!"...the exact same lying ****. **** them all to hell, I wish I could exterminate their voices forever.

Arising , 12 minutes ago link

I have reposted these wikileaks documents on many different sites, especially the one's where the intelligence agencies are active.

I want them to know that we know.

Chupacabra-322 , 16 minutes ago link

The Gas Lighting, PsyOp & False Flags will continue until the masses are completely Frightened & Brainwashed.

US Interference and Regime Change PsyOp

"Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria."

Regime change is the only reason we or any of our proxies are there. We have NO GOOD REASON being there other than this BS.

I mean C'mon now? These Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Seditious Deep State CIA, MI6, Mossad Psychopaths couldn't write up a different Scripted False Narrative PsyOp to sell to the World & American People.

CHEM ATTACK PART III RETURN OF THE ASSAD.

The Lack of creativity among those in the Pentagram & Deep Staters is downright pathetic.

Bolton was nothing more than a mere Agent of Chaos with his mission the for continuation of the Yinon Plan.

I'd respect them more if they'd just said, "we seeking regime change to secure the better interests of Israel, the US & World Community."

Wink, wink, nod, nod...those better interest are the Qatari Pipeline to provide continued SA & Petro Dollar Hegemony among Vassel States. While simultaneously eliminating Russia's & Gasprom's ability to supply European Oil.

Meximus , 23 minutes ago link

The french are having misgivings in supporting this war crime. They are now talking with russia to normalize relations.

Soon we will go from FUKUS to just UKK (united **** kingdom) .

ebworthen , 49 minutes ago link

People are still believing the chemical attack canard? Seriously?

Assad wears a suit and protects Christians and Jews; as does Russia.

I can't say the same for the U.S.A., other than protecting Christians and Jews connected to Wall Street.

NA X-15 , 51 minutes ago link

From Day One, nobody believed the neocon ******** about the alleged "gassings".

[Sep 22, 2019] US reconnaissance plane operated drones that attacked Hmeymim

Highly recommended!
Oct 01, 2025 | tass.com

Thirteen drones moved according to common combat battle deployment, operated by a single crew Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin © Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defense Ministry's press service/TASS BEIJING, October 25. /TASS/. The drones that attacked Russia's Hmeymim airbase in Syria were operated from the US Poseidon-8 reconnaissance plane, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel General Alexander Fomin said at a plenary session of the Beijing Xiangshan Forum on security on Thursday.

"Thirteen drones moved according to common combat battle deployment, operated by a single crew. During all this time the American Poseidon-8 reconnaissance plane patrolled the Mediterranean Sea area for eight hours," he noted. Read also Three layers of Russian air defense at Hmeymim air base in Syria When the drones met with the electronic countermeasures of the Russian systems, they switched to a manual guidance mode, he said. "Manual guidance is carried out not by some villagers, but by the Poseidon-8, which has modern equipment. It undertook manual control," the deputy defense minister noted.

"When these 13 drones faced our electronic warfare screen, they moved away to some distance, received the corresponding orders and began to be operated out of space and receiving help in finding the so-called holes through which they started penetrating. Then they were destroyed," Fomin reported.

"This should be stopped as well: in order to avoid fighting with the high-technology weapons of terrorists and highly-equipped terrorists it is necessary to stop supplying them with equipment," the deputy defense minister concluded.

The Russian Defense Ministry earlier said that on January 6 militants in Syria first massively used drones in the attack on the Russian Hmeymim airbase and the Russian naval base in Tartus. The attack was successfully repelled: seven drones were downed, and control over six drones was gained through electronic warfare systems. The Russian Defense Ministry stressed that the solutions used by the militants could be received only from a technologically advanced country and warned about the danger of repeating such attacks in any country of the world.

The forum

The eighth Beijing Xiangshan Forum on security will run until October 26 in Beijing. It was organized by the Chinese Ministry of Defense, China Association for Military Science (CAMS) and China Institute for International Strategic Studies (CIISS). Representatives for defense ministries, armed forces and international organizations, as well as former military officials, politicians and scientists from 79 countries are taking part in the forum.

[Sep 17, 2019] The Devolution of US-Russia Relations by Tony Kevin

Highly recommended!
Sep 17, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

A retired Australian diplomat who served in Moscow dissects the emergence of the new Cold War and its dire consequences.

I n 2014, we saw violent U.S.-supported regime change and civil war in Ukraine. In February, after months of increasing tension from the anti-Russian protest movement's sitdown strike in Kiev's Maidan Square, there was a murderous clash between protesters and Ukrainian police, sparked off by hidden shooters (we now know that were expert Georgian snipers) , aiming at police. The elected government collapsed and President Yanukevich fled to Russia, pursued by murder squads.

The new Poroshenko government pledged harsh anti-Russian language laws. Rebels in two Russophone regions in Eastern Ukraine took local control, and appealed for Russian military help. In March, a referendum took place in Russian-speaking Crimea on leaving Ukraine, under Russian military protection. Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia, a request promptly granted by the Russian Parliament and President. Crimea's border with Ukraine was secured against saboteurs. Crimea is prospering under its pro-Russian government, with the economy kick-started by Russian transport infrastructure investment.

In April, Poroshenko ordered full military attack on the separatist provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine. A brutal civil war ensued, with aerial and artillery bombardment bringing massive civilian death and destruction to the separatist region. There was major refugee outflow into Russia and other parts of Ukraine. The shootdown of MH17 took place in July 2014.

Poroshenko: Ordered military attack.

By August 2015, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates, 13,000 people had been killed and 30,000 wounded. 1.4 million Ukrainians had been internally displaced, and 925,000 had fled to neighbouring countries, mostly Russia and to a lesser extent Poland.

There is now a military stalemate, under the stalled Minsk peace process. But random fatal clashes continue, with the Ukrainian Army mostly blamed by UN observers. The UN reported last month that the ongoing war has affected 5.2 million people, leaving 3.5 million of them in need of relief, including 500,000 children. Most Russians blame the West for fomenting Ukrainian enmity towards Russia. This war brings back for older Russians horrible memories of the Nazi invasion in 1941. The Russia-Ukraine border is only 550 kilometres from Moscow.

Flashpoint Syria

Russian forces joined the civil war in Syria in September 2015, at the request of the Syrian Government, faltering under the attacks of Islamist extremist rebel forces reinforced by foreign fighters and advanced weapons. With Russian air and ground support, the tide of war turned. Palmyra and Aleppo were recaptured in 2016. An alleged Syrian Government chemical attack at Khan Shaykhun in April 2017 resulted in a token U.S. missile attack on a Syrian Government airbase: an early decision by President Trump.

NATO, Strategic Balance, Sanctions

An F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron takes off from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, March 6, 2014. The 48th Fighter Wing sent an additional six aircraft and more than 50 personnel to support NATO's air policing mission in Lithuania, at the request of U.S. allies in the Baltics. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emerson Nunez/Released)

Tensions have risen in the Baltic as NATO moves ground forces and battlefield missiles up to the Baltic states' borders with Russia. Both sides' naval and air forces play dangerous brinksmanship games in the Baltic. U.S. short-range, non-nuclear-armed anti-ballistic missiles were stationed in Poland and Romania, allegedly against threat of Iranian attack. They are easily convertible to nuclear-armed missiles aimed at nearby Russia.

Nuclear arms control talks have stalled. The INF intermediate nuclear forces treaty expired in 2019, after both sides accused the other of cheating. In March 2018, Putin announced that Russia has developed new types of intercontinental nuclear missiles using technologies that render U.S. defence systems useless. The West has pretended to ignore this announcement, but we can be sure Western defence ministries have noted it. Nuclear second-strike deterrence has returned, though most people in the West have forgotten what this means. Russians know exactly what it means.

Western economic sanctions against Russia continue to tighten after the 2014 events in Ukraine. The U.S. is still trying to block the nearly completed Nordstream Baltic Sea underwater gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Sanctions are accelerating the division of the world into two trade and payments systems: the old NATO-led world, and the rest of the world led by China, with full Russian support and increasing interest from India, Japan, ROK and ASEAN.

Return to Moscow

In 2013, my children gave me an Ipad. I began to spend several hours a day reading well beyond traditional mainstream Western sources: British and American dissident sites, writers like Craig Murray in UK and in the U.S. Stephen Cohen, and some Russian sites – rt.com, Sputnik, TASS, and the official Foreign Ministry site mid.ru. in English.

In late 2015 I decided to visit Russia independently to write Return to Moscow , a literary travel memoir. I planned to compare my impressions of the Soviet Union, where I had lived and worked as an Australian diplomat in 1969-71, with Russia today. I knew there had been huge changes. I wanted to experience 'Putin's Russia' for myself, to see how it felt to be there as an anonymous visitor in the quiet winter season. I wanted to break out of the familiar one-dimensional hostile political view of Russia that Western mainstream media offer: to take my readers with me on a cultural pilgrimage through the tragedy and grandeur and inspiration of Russian history. As with my earlier book on Spain 'Walking the Camino' , this was not intended to be a political book, and yet somehow it became one.

I was still uncommitted on contemporary Russian politics before going to Russia in January 2016. Using the metaphor of a seesaw, I was still sitting somewhere around the middle.

My book was written in late 2015 – early 2016, expertly edited by UWA Publishing. It was launched in March 2017. By this time my political opinions had moved decisively to the Russian end of the seesaw, on the basis of what I had seen in Russia, and what I had read and thought during the year.

I have been back again twice, in winter 2018 and 2019. My 2018 visit included Crimea, and I happened to see a Navalny-led Sunday demonstration in Moscow. I thoroughly enjoyed all three independent visits: in my opinion, they give my judgements on Russia some depth and authenticity.

Russophobia Becomes Entrenched

Russia was a big talking point in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the initially unlikely Republican candidate Donald Trump's chances improved, anti-Putin and anti-Russian positions hardened in the outgoing Obama administration and in the Democratic Party establishment which backed candidate Hillary Clinton.

Russia and Putin became caught up in the Democratic Party's increasingly obsessive rage and hatred against the victorious Trump. Russophobia became entrenched in Washington and London U.S. and UK political and strategic elites, especially in intelligence circles: think of Pompeo, Brennan, Comey and Clapper. All sense of international protocol and diplomatic propriety towards Russia and its President was abandoned, as this appalling Economist cover from October 2016 shows.

My experience of undeclared political censorship in Australia since four months after publication of 'Return to Moscow' supports the thesis that:

We are now in the thick of a ruthless but mostly covert Anglo-American alliance information war against Russia. In this war, individuals who speak up publicly in the cause of detente with Russia will be discouraged from public discourse.

In the Thick of Information War

When I spoke to you two years ago, I had no idea how far-reaching and ruthless this information war is becoming. I knew that a false negative image of Russia was taking hold in the West, even as Russia was becoming a more admirable and self-confident civil society, moving forward towards greater democracy and higher living standards, while maintaining essential national security. I did not then know why, or how.

I had just had time to add a few final paragraphs in my book about the possible consequences for Russia-West relations of Trump's surprise election victory in November 2016. I was right to be cautious, because since Trump's inauguration we have seen the step-by-step elimination of any serious pro-detente voices in Washington, and the reassertion of control over this haphazard president by the bipartisan imperial U.S. deep state, as personified from April 2018 by Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Adviser Bolton. Bolton has now been thrown from the sleigh as decoy for the wolves: under the smooth-talking Pompeo, the imperial policies remain.

Truth, Trust and False Narratives

Let me now turn to some theory about political reality and perception, and how national communities are persuaded to accept false narratives. Let me acknowledge my debt to the fearless and brilliant Australian independent online journalist, Caitlin Johnstone.

Behavioural scientists have worked in the field of what used to be called propaganda since WW1. England has always excelled in this field. Modern wars are won or lost not just on the battlefield, but in people's minds. Propaganda, or as we now call it information warfare, is as much about influencing people's beliefs within your own national community as it is about trying to demoralise and subvert the enemy population.

The IT revolution of the past few years has exponentially magnified the effectiveness of information warfare. Already in the 1940s, George Orwell understood how easily governments are able to control and shape public perceptions of reality and to suppress dissent. His brilliant books 1984 and Animal Farm are still instruction manuals in principles of information warfare. Their plots tell of the creation by the state of false narratives, with which to control their gullible populations.

The disillusioned Orwell wrote from his experience of real politics. As a volunteer fighter in the Spanish Civil War, he saw how both Spanish sides used false news and propaganda narratives to demonise the enemy. He also saw how the Nazi and Stalinist systems in Germany and Russia used propaganda to support show trials and purges, the concentration camps and the Gulag, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, German master race and Stalinist class enemy ideologies; and hows dissident thought was suppressed in these controlled societies. Orwell tried to warn his readers: all this could happen here too, in our familiar old England. But because the good guys won the war against fascism, his warnings were ignored.

We are now in Britain, U.S. and Australia actually living in an information warfare world that has disturbing echoes of the world that Orwell wrote about. The essence of information control is the effective state management of two elements, trust and fear , to generate and uphold a particular view of truth. Truth, trust and fear : these are the three key elements, now as 100 years ago in WWI Britain.

People who work or have worked close to government – in departments, politics, the armed forces, or top universities – mostly accept whatever they understand at the time to be 'the government view' of truth. Whether for reasons of organisational loyalty, career prudence or intellectual inertia, it is usually this way around governments. It is why moral issues like the Vietnam War and the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq were so distressing for people of conscience working in or close to government and military jobs in Canberra. They were expected to engage in 'doublethink' as Orwell had described it:

Even in Winston's nightmare world, there were still choices – to retreat into the non-political world of the proles, or to think forbidden thoughts and read forbidden books. These choices involved large risks and punishments. It was easier and safer for most people to acquiesce in the fake news they were fed by state-controlled media.

'Trust, Truth and False Narratives'

Fairfax journalist Andrew Clark, in the Australian Financial Review , in an essay optimistically titled "Not fake news: Why truth and trust are still in good shape in Australia", (AFR Dec. 22, 2018), cited Professor William Davies thus:

"Most of the time, the edifice that we refer to as "truth" is really an investment of trust in our structures of politics and public life' 'When trust sinks below a certain point, many people come to view the entire spectacle of politics and public life as a sham."

Here is my main point: Effective information warfare requires the creation of enough public trust to make the public believe that state-supported lies are true.

The key tools are repetition of messages, and diversification of trusted voices. Once a critical mass is created of people believing a false narrative, the lie locks in: its dissemination becomes self-sustaining.

Caitlin Johnstone a few days ago put it this way:

" Power is being able to control what happens. Absolute power is being able to control what people think about what happens. If you can control what happens, you can have power until the public gets sick of your BS and tosses you out on your ass. If you can control what people think about what happens, you can have power forever. As long as you can control how people are interpreting circumstances and events, there's no limit to the evils you can get away with."

The Internet has made propaganda campaigns that used to take weeks or months a matter of hours or even minutes to accomplish. It is about getting in quickly, using large enough clusters of trusted and diverse sources, in order to cement lies in place, to make the lies seem true, to magnify them through social messaging: in other words, to create credible false narratives that will quickly get into the public's bloodstream.

Over the past two years, I have seen this work many times: on issues like framing Russia for the MH17 tragedy; with false allegations of Assad mounting poison gas attacks in Syria; with false allegations of Russian agents using lethal Novichok to try to kill the Skripals in Salisbury; and with the multiple lies of Russiagate.

It is the mind-numbing effect of constant repetition of disinformation by many eminent people and agencies, in hitherto trusted channels like the BBC or ABC or liberal Anglophone print media that gives the system its power to persuade the credulous. For if so many diverse and reputable people repeatedly report such negative news and express such negative judgements about Russia or China or Iran or Syria, surely they must be right?

We have become used to reading in our quality newspapers and hearing on the BBC and ABC and SBS gross assaults on truth, calmly presented as accepted facts. There is no real public debate on important facts in contention any more. There are no venues for dissent outside contrarian social media sites.

Sometimes, false narratives inter-connect. Often a disinformation narrative in one area is used to influence perceptions in other areas. For example, the false Skripals poisoning story was launched by British intelligence in March 2018, just in time to frame Syrian President Assad as the guilty party in a faked chemical weapons attack in Douma the following month.

The Skripals Gambit

The Skripals gambit was also a failed British attempt to blight the Russia –hosted Football World Cup in June 2018. In the event, hundreds of thousands of Western sports fans returned home with the warmest memories of Russian good sportsmanship and hospitality.

How do I know the British Skripals narrative is false? For a start, it is illogical, incoherent, and constantly changes. Allegedly, two visiting Russian FSB agents in March 2018 sprayed or smeared Novichok, a deadly toxin instantly lethal in the most microscopic quantities, on the Skripals' house front doorknob. There is no video footage of the Skripals at their front door on the day. We are told they were found slumped on a park bench, and that is maybe where they had been sprayed with nerve gas? Shortly afterwards, Britain's Head of Army Nursing who happened to be passing by found them, and supervised their hospitalisation and emergency treatment.

Allegedly, much of Salisbury was contaminated by Novichok, and one unfortunate woman mysteriously died weeks later, yet the Skripals somehow did not die, as we are told. But where are they now? We saw a healthy Yulia in a carefully scripted video interview released in May 2018, after an alleged 'one in a million' recovery. We were assured her father had recovered too, but nobody has seen him at all. The Skripals have simply disappeared from sight since 16 months ago. Are they now alive or dead? Are they in voluntary or involuntary British custody?

A month after the poisoning, the UK Government sent biological samples from the Skripals to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons , for testing. The OPCW sent the samples to a trusted OPCW laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland.

Lavrov Spiez BZ claims, April 2018

A few days later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dramatically announced in Moscow that the Spiez lab had found in the samples a temporary-effect nerve agent BZ, used by U.S. and UK but not by Russia, that would have disabled the Skripals for a few days without killing them. He also revealed the Spiez lab had found that the Skripal samples had been twice tampered with while still in UK custody: first soon after the poisoning, and again shortly before passing them to the OPCW. He said the Spiez lab had found a high concentration of Novichok, which he called A- 234, in its original form. This was extremely suspicious as A-234 has high volatility and could not have retained its purity over a two weeks period. The dosage the Spiez lab found in the samples would have surely killed the Skripals. The OPCW under British pressure rejected Lavrov's claim, and suppressed the Spiez lab report.

Let's look finally at the alleged assassins.

'Boshirov and Petrov'

These two FSB operatives who visited Salisbury under the false identities of 'Boshirov' and 'Petrov' did not look or behave like credible assassins. It is more likely that they were sent to negotiate with Sergey Skripal about his rumoured interest in returning to Russia. They needed to apply for UK visas a month in advance of travel: ample time for the British agencies to identify them as FSB operatives, and to construct a false attempted assassination narrative around their visit. This false narrative repeatedly trips over its own lies and contradictions. British social media are full of alternative theories and rebuttals. Russians find the whole British Government Skripal narrative laughable. They have invented comedy skits and video games based on it. Yet it had major impact on Russia-West relations.

The Douma False Narrative

I turn now to the claimed Assad chemical weapons attack in Douma in April 2018.This falsely alleged attack triggered a major NATO air attack on Syrian targets, ordered by Trump. We came close to WWIII in these dangerous days. Thanks to the restraint of the then Secretary of Defence James Mattis and his Russian counterparts, the risk was contained.

The allegation that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used outlawed chemical weapons against his own people was based solely on the evidence of faked video images of child victims, made by the discredited White Helmets, a UK-sponsored rebel-linked 'humanitarian' propaganda organisation with much blood on its hands. Founded in 2013 by a British private security specialist of intelligence background, James Le Mesurier, the White Helmets specialised in making fake videos of alleged Assad regime war crimes against Syrian civilians. It is by now a thoroughly discredited organisation that was prepared to kill its prisoners and then film their bodies as alleged victims of government chemical attacks.

White Helmets

As the town of Douma was about to fall to advancing Syrian Government forces, the White Helmets filled a room with stacked corpses of murdered prisoners, and photographed them as alleged victims of aerial gas attack. They also made a video alleging child victims of this attack being hosed down by White Helmets. A video of a child named Hassan Diab went viral all over the Western world.

Hassan Diab later testified publicly in The Hague that he had been dragged terrified from his family by force, smeared with some sort of grease, and hosed down with water as part of a fake video. He went from hero to zero overnight, as Western governments and media rejected his testimony as Russian and Syrian propaganda.

In a late development, there is proof that the OPCW suppressed its own engineers' report from Douma that the alleged poison gas cylinders could not have possibly been dropped from the air through the roof of the house where one was found, resting on a bed under a convenient hole in the roof.

I could go on discussing the detail of such false narratives all day. No matter how often they are exposed by critics, our politicians and mainstream media go on referencing them as if they are true. Once people have come to believe false narratives, it is hard to refute them.

So it is with the false narrative that Russian internet interference enabled Trump to win the 2016 U.S. presidential elections: a thesis for which no evidence was found by [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller, yet continues to be cited by many U.S. liberal Democratic media as if it were true. So, even, with MH17.

Managing Mass Opinion

This mounting climate of Western Russophobia is not accidental: it is strategically directed, and it is nourished with regular maintenance doses of fresh lies. Each round of lies provides a credible platform for the next round somewhere else. The common thread is a claimed malign Russian origin for whatever goes wrong.

So where is all this disinformation originating? Information technology firms in Washington and London that are closely networked into government elites, often through attending the same establishment schools or colleges like Eton and Yale, have closely studied and tested the science of influencing crowd opinions through mainstream media and online. They know, in a way that Orwell or Goebbels could hardly have dreamt, how to put out and repeat desired media messages. They know what sizes of 'internet attraction nodes' need to be established online, in order to create diverse critical masses of credible Russophobic messaging, which then attracts enough credulous and loyal followers to become self-propagating.

Firms like the SCL Group (formerly Strategic Communication Laboratories) and the now defunct Cambridge Analytica pioneered such work in the UK. There are many similar firms in Washington, all in the business of monitoring, generating and managing mass opinion. It is big business, and it works closely with the national security state.

Starting in November 2018, an enterprising group of unknown hackers in the UK , who go by the name 'Anonymous', opened a remarkable window into this secret world. Over a few weeks, they hacked and dumped online a huge volume of original documents issued by and detailing the activities of the Institute for Statecraft (IfS) and the Integrity initiative (II). Here is the first page of one of their dumps, exposing propaganda against Jeremy Corbyn.

We know from this material that the IfS and II are two secret British disinformation networks operating at arms' length from but funded by the UK security services and broader UK government establishment. They bring together high-ranking military and intelligence personnel, often nominally retired, journalists and academics, to produce and disseminate propaganda that serves the agendas of the UK and its allies.

Stung by these massive leaks, Chris Donnelly, a key figure in IfS and II and a former British Army intelligence officer, made a now famous seven-minute YouTube video in December 2018, artfully filmed in a London kitchen, defending their work.

He argued – quite unconvincingly in my opinion – that IfS and II are simply defending Western societies against disinformation and malign influence, primarily from Russia. He boasted how they have set up in numerous targeted European countries, claimed to be under attack from Russian disinformation, what he called 'clusters of influence' , to 'educate' public opinion and decision-makers in pro-NATO and anti-Russian directions.

Donnelly spoke frankly on how the West is already at war with Russia, a 'new kind of warfare', in which he said 'everything becomes a weapon'. He said that 'disinformation is the issue which unites all the other weapons in this conflict and gives them a third dimension'.

He said the West has to fight back, if it is to defend itself and to prevail.

We can confirm from the Anonymous leaked files the names of many people in Europe being recruited into these clusters of influence. They tend to be significant people in journalism, publishing, universities and foreign policy think-tanks: opinion-shapers. The leaked documents suggest how ideologically suitable candidates are identified: approached for initial screening interviews; and, if invited to join a cluster of influence, sworn to secrecy.

Remarkably, neither the Anonymous disclosures nor the Donnelly response have ever been reported in Australian media. Even in Britain – where evidence that the Integrity Initiative was mounting a campaign against [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn provoked brief media interest. The story quickly disappeared from mainstream media and the BBC. A British under-foreign secretary admitted in Parliamentary Estimates that the UK Foreign Office subsidises the Institute of Statecraft to the tune of nearly 3 million pounds per year. It also gives various other kinds of non-monetary assistance, e.g. providing personnel and office support in Britain's overseas embassies.

This is not about traditional spying or seeking agents of influence close to governments. It is about generating mass disinformation, in order to create mass climates of belief.

In my opinion, such British and American disinformation efforts, using undeclared clusters of influence, through Five Eyes intelligence-sharing, and possibly with the help of British and American diplomatic missions, may have been in operation in Australia for many years.

Such networks may have been used against me since around mid-2017, to limit the commercial outreach of my book and the impact of its dangerous ideas on the need for East-West detente; and efficiently to suppress my voice in Australian public discourse about Russia and the West. Do I have evidence for this? Yes.

It is not coincidence that the Melbourne Writers Festival in August 2017 somehow lost all my sign-and-sell books from my sold-out scheduled speaking event; that a major debate with [Australian writer and foreign policy analyst] Bobo Lo at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne was cancelled by his Australian sponsor, the Lowy institute, two weeks before the advertised date; that my last invitation to any writers festival was 15 months ago, in May 2018; that Return to Moscow was not shortlisted for any Australian book prize, though I entered it in all of them ; that since my book's early promotion ended around August 2017, I have not been invited to join any ABC discussion panels, or to give any talks on Russia in any universities or institutes, apart from the admirable Australian Institute of International Affairs and the ISAA.

My articles and shorter opinion commentaries on Russia and the West have not been published in mainstream media or in reputable online journals like Eureka Street, The Conversation, Inside Story or Australian Book Review . Despite being an ANU Emeritus Fellow, I have not been invited to give a public talk or join any panel in ANU (Australian National University) or any Canberra think tank. In early 2018, I was invited to give a private briefing to a group of senior students travelling on an immersion course to Russia. I was not invited back in 2019, after high-level private advice within ANU that I was regarded as too pro-Putin.

In all these ways – none overt or acknowledged – my voice as an open-minded writer and speaker on Russia-West relations seems to have been quietly but effectively suppressed in Australia. I would like to be proved wrong on this, but the evidence is there.

This may be about "velvet-glove deterrence" of my Russia-sympathetic voice and pen, in order to discourage others, especially those working in or close to government. Nobody is going to put me in jail, unless I am stupid enough to violate Australia's now strict foreign influence laws. This deterrence is about generating fear of consequences for people still in their careers, paying their mortgages, putting kids through school. Nobody wants to miss their next promotion.

There are other indications that Australian national security elite opinion has been indoctrinated prudently to fear and avoid any kind of public discussion of positive engagement with Russia (or indeed, with China).

There are only two kinds of news about Russia now permitted in our mainstream media, including the ABC and SBS: negative news and comment, or silence. Unless a story can be given an anti-Russian sting, it will not be carried at all. Important stories are simply spiked, like last week's Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivistok, chaired by President Putin and attended by Prime Ministers Abe, Mahathir and Modi, among 8500 participants from 65 countries.

The ABC idea of a balanced panel to discuss any Russian political topic was exemplified in an ABC Sunday Extra Roundtable panel chaired by Eleanor Hall on July, 22 2018, soon after the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki. The panel – a former ONA Russia analyst, a professor of Soviet and Russian History at Melbourne University, and a Russian émigré dissident journalist introduced as the 'Washington correspondent for Echo of Moscow radio' spent most of their time sneering at Putin and Trump. There were no other views.

A powerful anti-Russian news narrative is now firmly in place in Australia, on every topic in contention: Ukraine, MH17, Crimea, Syria, the Skripals, Navalny and public protest in Russia. There is ill-informed criticism of Russia, or silence, on the crucial issues of arms control and Russia-China strategic and economic relations as they affect Australia's national security or economy. There is no analysis of the negative impact on Australia of economic sanctions against Russia. There is almost no discussion of how improved relations with China and Russia might contribute to Australia's national security and economic welfare, as American influence in the world and our region declines, and as American reliability as an ally comes more into question. Silence on inconvenient truths is an important part of the disinformation tool kit.

I see two overall conflicting narratives – the prevailing Anglo-American false narrative; and valiant efforts by small groups of dissenters, drawing on sources outside the Anglo-American official narrative, to present another narrative much closer to truth. And this is how most Russians now see it too.

The Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki in July 2018 was damaged by the Skripal and Syria fabrications. Trump left that summit friendless, frightened and humiliated. He soon surrendered to the power of the U.S. imperial state as then represented by [Mike] Pompeo and [John] Bolton, who had both been appointed as Secretary of State and National Security Adviser in April 2018 and who really got into their stride after the Helsinki Summit. Pompeo now smoothly dominates Trump's foreign policy.

Self-Inflicted Wounds

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Gage Skidmore)

Finally, let me review the American political casualties over the past two years – self-inflicted wounds – arising from this secret information war against Russia. Let me list them without prejudging guilt or innocence. Slide 20 – Self-inflicted wounds: casualties of anti-Russian information warfare.

Trump's first National Security Adviser, the highly decorated Michael Flynn lost his job after only three weeks, and soon went to jail. His successor H R McMaster lasted 13 months until replaced by John Bolton. Trump's first Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lasted just 14 months until his replacement by Trump's appointed CIA chief (in January 2017) Mike Pompeo. Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon lasted only seven months. Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is now in jail.

Defence Secretary James Mattis lasted nearly two years as Secretary of Defence, and was an invaluable source of strategic stability. He resigned in December 2018. The highly capable Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman lasted just two years: he is resigning next month. John Kelly lasted 18 months as White House Chief of Staff. Less senior figures like George Papadopoulos and Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen both served jail time. The pattern I see here is that people who may have been trying responsibly as senior U.S. officials to advance Trump's initial wish to explore possibilities for detente with Russia – policies that he had advocated as a candidate – were progressively purged, one after another . The anti-Russian U.S. bipartisan imperial state is now firmly back in control. Trump is safely contained as far as Russia is concerned .

Russians do not believe that any serious detente or arms control negotiations can get under way while cold warriors like Pompeo continue effectively to control Trump. There have been other casualties over the past two years of tightening American Russophobia. Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning come to mind. The naive Maria Butina is a pathetic victim of American judicial rigidity and deep state vindictiveness.

False anti-Russian Government narratives emanating from London and Washington may be laughed at in Moscow , but they are unquestioningly accepted in Canberra. We are the most gullible of audiences. There is no critical review. Important contrary factual information and analysis from and about Russia just does not reach Australian news reporting and commentary, nor – I fear – Australian intelligence assessment. We are prisoners of the false narratives fed to us by our senior Five Eyes partners U.S. and UK.

To conclude: Some people may find what I am saying today difficult to accept. I understand this. I now work off open-source information about Russia with which many people here are unfamiliar, because they prefer not to read the diverse online information sources that I choose to read. The seesaw has tilted for me: I have clearly moved a long way from mainstream Western perceptions on Russia-West relations.

Under Trump and Pompeo, as the Syria and Iran crises show, the present risk of global nuclear war by accident or incompetent Western decision-making is as high as it ever was in the Cold War. The West needs to learn again how to dialogue usefully and in mutually respectful ways with Russia and China. This expert knowledge is dying with our older and wiser former public servants and ex-military chiefs.

These remarks were delivered by Tony Kevin at the Independent Scholars Association of Australia in Canberra, Australia on Wednesday.

Watch Tony Kevin interviewed Friday night on CN Live!

Tony Kevin is a retired Australian diplomat who was posted to Moscow from 1969 to 1971, and was later Australia's ambassador to Poland and Cambodia. His latest book is Return to Moscow, published by UWA Publishing.


Bruce , September 17, 2019 at 08:58

Excellent article. It's very interesting to see how the state and its media lackey set the narrative.

Most of this comment relates to the Skripals but also applies to other matters (the Skripals writing was some of Craig Murray's finest work in my opinion). One of the hallmarks of a hoax is a constantly evolving storyline. I think governments have learned from past "mistakes" with their hoaxes/deception where they've given a description of events and then scientists/engineers/chemists etc have come in and criticised their version of events with details and scientific arguments. Nowadays, governments are very reluctant to commit to a version of events, and instead rely on the media (their propaganda assets) to provide a scattergun set of information to muddy the waters and thoroughly confuse the population. The government is then insulated from some of the more bizarre allegations (the headlines of which are absorbed nonetheless), and can blame it on the media (who would use an anonymous government source naturally). Together with classifying just about everything on national security grounds, they can stonewall for as long as they want.

The British are masters of propaganda. They maintained a global empire for a very long time, and the prevailing view (in the west at least) was probably one of tea-drinking cricket playing colonials/gentlemen. But you don't maintain an empire without being absolutely ruthless and brutal. They've been doing this for a very long time.

When we hear something from the BBC or ABC, we should think "State Media".
That's probably why its got a nice folksy nickname of "aunty" .build up the trust.

Leslie Louis , September 17, 2019 at 04:00

Society is suffering the extreme paradox; there is the potential for everyone to have a voice, but the last vestiges of free speech have been whittled away. Fake news is universal, assisted by the fake "left". It is impossible to get published any challenge to even the most outlandish versions of identity politics. As the experience of Tony Kevin exemplifies, all avenues for dissent against hegemonic orthodoxies are closed off.
Disinformation is now an essential weapon in waging hot and cold wars. Cold War historians are well informed on false flags, "black ops", and other organised dirty tactics. I do not know what happened to the Skripals, and while it is legitimate to bear in mind KGB assassinations, despite the enormous resources at its disposal, the English security state has been unable to construct a credible case. Surely scepticism is provoked by the leading role being played by the notorious Bellingcat outfit.

Zenobia van Dongen , September 17, 2019 at 00:29

Here is part of an eyewitness account:
"After the Orange Revolution which began in Kiev, the country was divided literally into two parts -- the supporters of integration with Russia and the supporters of an independent Ukraine. For almost 100 years belonging to the Soviet Union, the propaganda about the assistance and care from our "big brother" Russia, in Ukraine as a whole and the Donbass in particular has borne fruit. At the end of February 2014, some cities of the Southeast part were boiling with mass social and political protest against the new Ukrainian government in defense of the status of the Russian language, voicing separatist and pro-Russian slogans. The division took place in our city of Sloviansk too. Some people stood for separation from Ukraine, while Ukrainian patriots stood for the unity of our country.
On April 12, 2014 our city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region was seized by Russian mercenaries and local volunteers. From that moment onward, armed assaults on state institutions began. The city police department, the Sloviansk City Hall, the building of the Ukraine Security Service was occupied. Armed militants seized state institutions and confiscated private property. They threatened and beat people, and those who refused to obey were taken away to an unknown destination and people started disappearing. The persecution and abduction of patriotic citizens began."

Michael McNulty , September 16, 2019 at 11:36

Watching Vietnam news coverage as a kid in the '60s I noticed the planes carpet-bombing South East Asia were American, not Russian. And as I only watched the footage and never listened to the commentary (I was waiting for the kids programs that followed) the BS they came out with to explain it all never reached me. I saw with my own eyes what the US really was and is, and always believed growing up they were the belligerent side not Russia. Once the USSR fell it was clear there were no longer any constraints on US excesses.

dean 1000 , September 15, 2019 at 18:17

Doublethink, not to mention doublespeak, is so apt to describe what is happening. If Orwell was writing today it would have to be classified as non-fiction.

Free speech is impossible unless every election district has a radio/TV station where candidates, constituents, and others can debate, discuss and speak to the issues without bending a knee to large campaign contributors or the controllers of corporate or government media. It may start with low-power pirate radio/TV broadcasts. No, the pirate speakers will not have to climb a cell tower to broadcast an opinion to the neighborhood or precinct.
If genuine free speech is going to exist it will start as something unauthorized and unlawful. If it sticks to the facts it will quickly prove its value.

Download a free pdf copy of '1984.' https://www.planetebook.com/free-ebooks/1984.pdf

Njegos , September 15, 2019 at 03:39

Excellent article. The only exhibit missing was reference to Bill Browder's lies. Browder's rubbish has been exposed by intrepid journalists and documentary makers such as Andrei Nekrasov, Sasha Krainer and Lucy Komisar but to read or listen to our media, you'd think BB was some sort of human rights hero. That's because BB's fairy tale fits nicely into the MSM's hatred of Putin and Russia. Debunk Browder and a major pillar of anti-Russia prejudice collapses. Therefore, Browder will never face any serious questions by the MSM.

John A , September 16, 2019 at 09:18

judges of the European Court of Human Rights published a judgement a fortnight ago which utterly exploded the version of events promulgated by Western governments and media in the case of the late Mr Magnitskiy. Yet I can find no truthful report of the judgement in the mainstream media at all.
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/09/the-magnitskiy-myth-exploded/

MSM propaganda by omission. Anything that doesn't fit the government narrative gets zero publicity.

Jim Ingram , September 14, 2019 at 21:12

Well said and needing to be said Tony.

Mr. Dan , September 14, 2019 at 19:41

I have stopped following australian mainstream media including the darlings of the 'left' ABC/SBS over a decade ago, completely. My disgust with their 'coverage' of the 2008 GFC was more than enough. Since 2008-9 things have deteriorated drastically into conspiracy theory propaganda by omission la-la land *it seems*, given I don't tune in at all.

The author has a well supported view. I find it a little naive in him thinking that the MSM has that much power over shaping public opinion in australia.

People who want to be informed do so. The half intelligent conformists on hamster wheel of lifetime mortgage debt have 'careers' to hold onto, so parroting the group think or living in ignorance is much easier. The massive portion of australian racists, inbred bogans and idiots that make up the large LNP, One Nation etc. voting block are completely beyond salvation or ability to process, and critically evaluate any information. The smarter ones drool on about the 'UN Agenda 21' conspiracy at best. Utterly hopeless.

I don't expect things to change as the australian economy is slowly hollowed out by the rich, and the education system (that has always been about conforming, wearing school uniform and regurgitating what the teacher/lecturer says at best) is gutted completely. Welcome to australistan.

Fran Macadam , September 14, 2019 at 19:21

Note that the prohibition against false propaganda to indoctrinate the domestic population by the American government was lifted by President Obama at the tail end of his administration. The Executive Order legalizes all the deceptive behavior Tony itemizes in his article.

Josep , September 17, 2019 at 04:10

I thought it was Reagan who did that by abolishing the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. At least in terms of television and radio (?) broadcasts.

Stephen Morrell , September 14, 2019 at 19:02

Thank you Tony for your thoughtful talk (and interview on CN Live! too).

What's encouraging is this cohort of what might be called 'millennial journalists' coming through willing to do 'shoe-leather' journalism and stand up to smears and flack for revealing uncomfortable facts and truth. They're the online 5th estate holding the 4th to account (to steal Ray McGovern's apt view), and they're congealing against the onslaught.

Some include Max Blumenthal and Rania Kahlek (both now being pilloried by MSM and others for visiting Syrian government held areas and reporting that life isn't hellish as MSM would have everyone believe heaven forbid); Vanessa Bealey who's exposed a lot of White Helmet horrors and false-flag attacks in Syria (and being attacked by all and sundry for exposing the White Helmets in particular); Abby Martin whose Empire Files are excellent and always edifying; Dan Cohen who has written the best expose of the actors behind the Hong Kong rioting and co-authored the best expose of the background of Guaido et al.; Whitney Webb of Mint Press whose series on Epstein is overwhelming and likely a ticking timebomb; Caitlin Johnstone of course; and Aaron 'Buzzsaw' Mate who made his first mark with a wonderful takedown interview of Russiaphobe MI6 shill Luke Harding. Others too of course, with most appearing or having written pieces on CN. John Pilger, Robert Fisk, Greg Palast, et al. won't drop off their twigs disappointed.

This, along with the fact that MSM -- that cowed and compromised fourth estate -- increasingly is held in such laughable contempt by most people under about 50 yr, is highly encouraging indeed. Truth is the new black.

nwwoods , September 15, 2019 at 11:49

The Blogmire is an excellent resource for detailed analysis of the Skripal hoax. The author happens to be a long-time resident of Salisbury, and is intimately familiar with the topography, public services, etc., and a very thorough investigator.

John Wright , September 14, 2019 at 18:35

I'm not surprised that Mr. Kevin is being isolated and shunned by the Australian establishment. Truth and truth tellers are always the first casualties of war. I do hope that his experience will encourage him to increase his resistance to the corrosiveness of mendacious propaganda and those who promulgate it.

Truth is the single best weapon when fighting for a peaceful future.

If Australia is to flourish in the 21st century, it really needs to understand Russia and China, how they relate to each other, and how this key alliance will interface with the rest of the world. Australia and Australians simply cannot afford to get sucked down further by facilitating the machinations of the collapsing Anglo-American Empire. They have served the empire ably and faithfully, but now need to take a cold hard look at reality and realign their long-term interests with the coming global power shift. If not, they could literally find themselves in the middle of an unwinnable and devastating war.

* * *

The first Anglo-American Russian cold war began with the Russian revolution and was only briefly suspended when the West needed the Soviet people to throw themselves in front of the Nazi blitzkrieg in order to save Western Europe. Following their catastrophically costly contribution to the victory on the Continent, the Russians were greeted with an American nuclear salute on their eastern periphery, signalling their return to the diplomatic and economic deep freeze.

While the Anglo-American Empire solidified and extended its hold on the globe, the enlarged but war-ravaged and isolated Soviet Union hunkered down and survived on scraps and sheer will until its collapse in 1989. Declaring the cold war over, and with promises to help their new Russian friends build a prosperous future, the duplicitous West then ransacked their neighbors resources and sold them into debt peonage. The Russians cried foul, the West shrugged and Putin pushed back. Unable to declaw the bear, the west closed the cage door again and the second cold war commenced.

* * *

The first cold war was essentially an offensive war disguised as a defensive war. It enabled the Anglo-American Empire to leverage its post-war advantage and establish near total dominance around the globe through naked violence and monetary hegemony.

Today, with its dominance rapidly slipping away, the Anglo-American Empire is waging a truly defensive cold war. On the home front, they fight to convince their subjects of their eternal exceptionalism with ever more absurd and vile propaganda denigrating their adversaries . Abroad, they disrupt and defraud in a desperate attempt to delay the demise of the PetroDollar ponzi.

The Russians and the Chinese, having both been brutally burned by the Western elites, will not be fooled into abandoning their natural geographic partnership. They are no longer content to sit quietly at the kids' table taking notes. While they may not demand to sit at the head of the table, it is clear that they will insist on a round table, and one that is large enough to include their growing list of friends.

If the Americans don't smash the table, it could be the first of many peaceful pot lucks.

John Read , September 15, 2019 at 02:11

Well said. Great comments. Thanks to Tony Kevin.

Mia , September 14, 2019 at 18:33

Thank you Tony for continuing to shine light on the pathetic propaganda information bubble Australians have been immersed in .. you demonstrate great courage and you are not alone ??

Peter Loeb , September 14, 2019 at 12:58

WITH THANKS TO TONY KEVIN

An excellent article.

There is a lack of comments from some of the common writers upon whose views I often rely.

Personally, I often avoid the very individual responses from websites as I have no way
of checking out previous ideas of theirs. Who funds them? With which organizations are they
affiliated? And so forth and so on.

Peter Loeb, Boston, Massachusetts

Peter Sapo , September 14, 2019 at 10:24

As a fellow Australian, everything Tony Kevin said makes perfect sense. Our mainstream media landscape is designed to distribute propaganda to folk accross the political spectrum. Have you noticed that the ABC regurgitates stories from the BBC? The BBC has a long history (at least since WW2) of supporting government propaganda initiatives. Based on this fact, it is hard to see how ABC and SBS don't do the same when called upon by their minders.

Francis Lee , September 14, 2019 at 09:48

I just wonder where the Anglo-Zionist empire thinks it is going. It should be obvious that any NATO war against Russia involving a nuclear exchange is unwinnable. It seems equally likely the even a conventional war will not necessarily bring the result expected by the assorted 'experts' – nincompoops living in their own fantasy world. The idea that the US can fight a war without the US homeland becoming very much involved basically ended when Putin announced the creation of Russia's set of advanced hypersonic missile system. But this was apparently ignored by the 'defence' establishment. It was not true, it could not possibly be true, or so we were told.

Moreover the cost of such wars involving hundreds of thousands of troops and military hardware are massively expensive and would occasion a massive resistance from the populations affected. It was the wests wars in Korea, and Indo-China that bankrupted the US and led to the US$ being removed from the gold standard. The American military is rapidly consuming the American economy, or at least what is left of it. From a realist foreign policy perspective this is simply madness. Great powers end wars, they don't start them. Great powers are creditor nations, not debtor nations. Such is the realist foreign policy view. But foreign policy realists are few and far between in the Washington Beltway and MIC/NSA Pentagon and US/UK/AUSTRALIAN MSM.

Thus the neo-hubris of the English speaking world is such that if it is followed to its logical conclusion then total annihilation would be the logical outcome. A sad example of not very bright people who face no domestic opposition, believing in their own bullshit:

"American elites proved themselves to be master manipulators of propaganda constructs But the real danger from such manipulations arises not when those manipulations are done out of knowledge of reality, which is distorted for propaganda purposes, but when those who manipulation begin to sincerely believe in their own falsifications and when they buy into their own narrative. They stop being manipulators and they become believers in a narrative. They become manipulated themselves." (Losing Military Supremacy – Andrei, Martyanov)

Or maybe just the whole thing is a bluff. Those policy elites maybe just want to loot the US Treasury for more cash to be put their way.

John Wright , September 15, 2019 at 19:15

The self-serving Israeli Zionists know that the American cow is running dry and their days of freely milking it are coming to an end. They have an historic relationship with Russia and, leveraging their nuclear arsenal, know they can make a deal with the emerging China-Russia-centric global paradigm to extort enough protection to maintain their armed enclave for the foreseeable future. Their no so hidden alliance with the equally sociopathic Saudis will become even more obvious for all to see.

Israel, like China and Russia, knows how to play a long game. Thus, Israel will consolidate its land grab with the just announced expansion into the Jordan Valley and quietly continue as much ethnic cleansing as possible while the rest of the world is preoccupied with the incipient global power shift (True victims of history, the Palestinians have no real friends). While they will bemoan the loss of their muscular American stooge, Israel enjoyed a very lucrative 70 year run and will part with a pile of useful and deadly toys. They're also fully aware that no one else will ever let them take advantage to the degree they've been able to with the U.S.A. (Unlimited Stupidity of Arrogance?)

Eventually, the social schizophrenia that is the state of Israel will catch up with them and they will implode. Let's hope that breakdown doesn't involve the use of their nuclear arsenal.

Yes, the U.S. Treasury will continue to be looted until the last teller turns the lights out or the electricity is shut off, whichever comes first.

The Western transnational financial elites will accept their losses, regroup and make deals with the new bosses where they can; but their days of running the game unopposed are over.

Today is a good day to learn Mandarin (or Russian, if you prefer to live in Europe).

Bill , September 16, 2019 at 03:36

Very well said and I agree with a lot of what you say.

Tiu , September 14, 2019 at 06:01

Won't be too long before writing articles like this will get you busted for "hate-speech" (e.g. anything that is contrary to the official version prescribed by the "democratically elected" government)
https://www.zerohedge.com/political/uk-tony-blair-think-tank-proposes-end-free-speech
Personally I always encourage people to read George Orwell, especially 1984. We're there, and have been for a long time.

geeyp , September 14, 2019 at 01:15

Tony Kevin – Nice rundown of what ails society. You have a fine writing style that gets the point across to the reader. Kudos and cheers.

Michael , September 13, 2019 at 22:34

The 'modernization' of the Smith Mundt Act in 2013 "to authorize the domestic dissemination of information and material [PROPAGANDA] about the United States intended primarily for foreign audiences" was a major nail in the Democracy coffin, consolidating the blatant ruling of the US Police State by our 17 Intelligence Agencies (our betters). The Telecommunications Act of 1996 lead to ownership of (>80%) of our media (the MSM by a handful of owners, all disseminating the same narratives from above (CIA, State Department, FBI etc) and squelching any dissenting views, particularly related to foreign policies.
Tony's article sadly just confirms the depth and breadth of our Global Stasi, with improved, innovative and (mostly) subtle surveillance, and the controlling constant interference with alternate viewpoints and discussions, the real basis for free societies. It is bad enough to be ruled by neoliberal psychopathic hyenas and jackals, soon we won't be able to even bitch about what they are doing.

Tom Kath , September 13, 2019 at 21:42

The most impressive article I have read in a very long time. I congratulate and thank Tony.
I have myself recently addressed the issue of whether it is a virtue to have an "open mind". – The ability to be converted or have your mind changed, or is it the ability to change your own mind ?
Tony Kevin clearly illustrates the difference.

Litchfield , September 13, 2019 at 16:11

Great article.
Please keep writing.
Do start a website, a la Craig Murray.
There are people who are proactively looking for alternative viewpoints and informed analysis.
How about starting a website and publishing some excerpts of your book there?

Or, sell chapters separately by download from your website?
You could also have a discussion blog/forum there.

John Zimmermann , September 13, 2019 at 16:02

Excellent essay. Thanks Mr. Kevin.

rosemerry , September 13, 2019 at 15:37

At least Tony Kevin was an Australian ambassador, not like Mike Morrell and the chosen russop?obes the USA assumes are needed as diplomats!! Now he is treated as Stephen Cohen is- a true expert called "controversial" as he dares to go by real facts and evidence, not prejudice.

If instead of enemies, the West could consider getting to understand those they are wary of, and give them a chance to explain their point of view and actually listen and reflect on it.
(Dmitri Peskov valiantly explained the Russian official response as soon as the "Skripal poisoning" story broke, but it was fully ignored by UK/US media, while all of Theresa May's fanciful imaginings were respectfully relayed to the public).

geeyp , September 14, 2019 at 23:26

As you usually are with your comments, you are spot on again, rosemerry.

Martin - Swedish citizen , September 13, 2019 at 14:46

Excellent article!
I find the mechanics of how the propaganda is spread and the illusion upheld the most important part of this article, since this knowledge is required to counter it.
When (not if) the fraud becomes more common knowledge, our societies are likely to tumble.

Pablo Diablo , September 13, 2019 at 14:45

Whoever controls the media, controls the dialogue.
Whoever controls the dialogue, controls the agenda.

peter mcloughlin , September 13, 2019 at 13:40

' The present risk of global nuclear war is as high as it ever was in the Cold War.' And possibly higher. The Cold War, though dangerous, was the peace. The world has experienced periods of peace (or relative peace) throughout history. The Thirty Years Peace between the two Peloponnesian Wars, Pax Romana, Europe in the 19th century after the Congress of Vienna, to name a few. The Congress System finally collapsed in 1914 with the start of World War One. That conflict was followed by the League of Nations. It did not stop World War Two. That was followed by the United Nations and other post-war institutions. But all the indications are they will not prevent a third world war. The powers that are leading us towards conflagration see this as a re-run of the first Cold War. They are dangerously mistaken.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

Guy , September 13, 2019 at 13:21

With so many believing the lies ,how will this mess ever come to light . I don't reside in Australia but anywhere in the Western world the shakedown is the same .In my own house ,the discussion on world politics descends into absolute stupidity . As one can't get past the constant programming that has settled in the minds of the comfortable with the status quo of lies by our media. There are intelligent sources of news sources but none get past the absolutely complete control of MSM.So the bottom line is ,for now ,the lies and liars are winning the propaganda war.

Anton Antonovich , September 13, 2019 at 13:16

He speaks the truth. Liars and dissemblers have won over the minds and hearts of so many lazy shameful citizens who will not accept the truth Tony Kevin wants to share with the world.

junaid , September 13, 2019 at 13:08

Washington resumes military assistance to Kyiv. According to American lawmakers, Ukraine is fighting one of the main enemies. "Contain Russia": what the US pays for Ukraine

"Contain Russia": what the US pays for Ukraine

Lily , September 13, 2019 at 23:42

The Pentagon is using the Ukrainian territory for experiments on chemical weapons.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3T9ktfz_FfA

John A , September 14, 2019 at 06:55

Anyone or article who spells Kiev as Kyiv can be safely ignored as western anti-Russia propaganda. It's a true tell.

Robert Edwards , September 13, 2019 at 12:53

The Cold war is totally manufacture to keep the dollars flowing into the MIC – what a sham . and a disgrace to humanity.

Cavaleiro Marginal , September 13, 2019 at 12:52

"The key tools are repetition of messages, and diversification of trusted voices. Once a critical mass is created of people believing a false narrative, the lie locks in: its dissemination becomes self-sustaining."

This had occurred in Brazil since the very first day of Lula's presidency. Eleven years late, 2013, a color revolution began. Nobody (and I mean REALLY nobody) could realize a color revolution was happening at that time. In 2016, Dilma Rousseff was kicked from power throughout a ridiculous and illegal coup perpetrated by the parliament. In 2018 Lula was imprisoned in an Orwellian process; illegal, unconstitutional, with nothing (REALLY nothing) proved against him. Then a liar clown was elected to suppress democracy

I knew on the news that in Canada and Australia the police politely (how civilized ) went to some journalist's homes to have a chat this year. Canadians and Aussies, be aware. The fascism's dog is a policial state very well informed by the propaganda they call news.

Robert Fearn , September 13, 2019 at 12:48

As a Canadian author who wrote a book about various tragic American government actions, like Vietnam, I can relate to the difficulties Tony has had with his book. I would mail my book, Amoral America, from Canada to other countries, like the US, and it would never arrive. Book stores would not handle it, etc. etc.

Josep , September 17, 2019 at 05:21

Not to disagree, but some years ago I read about anecdotes of anti-Americanism in Canada, coming from both USians and Canadians, whether it be playful banter or legitimate criticism. I believe it is more concentrated among the people than among the governmental elites (with the exception of the Iraq War era when both the people and the government were against it). And considering what you describe in your book and the difficulty you've faced in distributing it abroad, maybe the said people are on to something.

Stephen , September 13, 2019 at 11:44

This interview by Abby Martin with Mark Ames is a little dated but is a fairly accurate history. I post it to try and counter the nonsense.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7HwvFyMg7A

All the empire wants is to do it all again.

Jeremy Kuzmarov , September 13, 2019 at 10:33

Outstanding article and analysis. Thank you Sir! Jeremy Kuzmarov

Jeff Harrison , September 13, 2019 at 10:17

Thank you, sir. A far better peroration than I could have produced but what I have concluded nonetheless.

Skip Scott , September 13, 2019 at 10:10

Fantastic article. Left unmentioned is the origin of the west's anti-Russia narrative. Russia was being pillaged by the west under Yeltsin, and Russia was to become our newest vassal. Life expectancy dropped a full decade for the average Russian under Yeltsin. The average standard of living dropped dramatically as well. Putin reversed all that, and enjoys massive popular support as a result. The Empire will never tolerate a national leader who works for the benefit of the average citizen. It must be full-on rape, pillage and plunder- OR ELSE. Keep that in mind as we watch the latest theatrical performances by our DNC controlled "Commander in Chief" wannabes.

Realist , September 17, 2019 at 05:48

?The ongoing success of the "Great Lie" (that Washington is protecting the entire world from
anarchy perpetrated by a few bad actors on the global stage) and all of its false narrative subtexts
(including but far from limited to the Maidan, Crimea, Donbass, MH-17, the Skripals, gassing
"one's own people," piracy on the high Mediterranean, etc) just underscores how successful was
the false flag operation known as 9-11, even as the truth of that travesty is slowly being
unraveled by relentless truth-seekers applying logic and the scientific method to the problem.
Most Americans today would gladly concur, if queried, that Osama bin Laden was most certainly
a perfidious tool of Russia and its diabolical leader, Mr. Putin (be sure to call him "Vlad," to
conjure up images of Dracula for effect). The Winston Smith's are rare birds in America or in
any of its reliable vassal states. Never mind that the spooks from Langley (and the late
"chessmaster") concocted and orchestrated all these tales from the crypt.

Lily , September 13, 2019 at 07:54

Great summary of the developement of a new cold war. The narrative of the Mainstream Media is dangerous as well as laughable. I am glad to hear the Russian reaction to this bullshit propaganda. As often the people are so much wiser than their government – at least in the West.

During the Football WM a famous broadcaster of the German State TV channel ARD, who is a giftet propagandist, regrettet publicly the difficulty to convince the stubborn Germans to look at Russia as an enemy because they have started to look at Russia as a friend long ago.

Contrary to the people and the big firms who are completely against the sanctions against Russia and 100 % pro Northstream the German government with Chancelor Merkel is one of the top US vassalles. Even the Green Party which started as an environmental and peace party are now against North Stream and in favour of the filthy US fracking gas thanks to NATO propaganda although Russia has never let them down. Most of "Die Grünen" party have been turned into fervent friends of our American occupants which is very sad.

Thank you Tony Kevin. It has been great to read your article. I cant wait to read your book 'Return to Moscow' and to watch your interview on CN Live.

Godfree Roberts , September 13, 2019 at 07:37

Good summary of the status quo. From my experience of writing similarly about China, precisely the same policies and forces are at work.

The good news is that they are failing.

junaid , September 13, 2019 at 07:15

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the end of the war in Syria and the country's return to a state of peace. "Syria is returning to normal life": Lavrov announced the end of the war

"Syria is returning to normal life": Lavrov announced the end of the war

Gezzah Potts , September 13, 2019 at 05:47

You hit several nails squarely on the head with your excellent article Tony. Thank you for the truth of how the media is in Australia. It is indeed chilling where all this is leading. The blatant lies just spewed out as fact by both ABC and SBS. They, in my opinion are nothing but stenographers for the Empire, of which Australia is a fully subservient vassal state, with no independence.
I try to boycott all Australian presstitutes . Oops, I mean 'media' now. Occasionally, I do slip up and watch SBS or The Drum or News on ABC.
Virtually all my news comes from independent news sites like this one.
I have been accused of being a 'Putin lover', a Russian troll, a conspiracy theorist, while people I know have claimed that "Putin is a monster whose murdered millions of people".
On and on this crap goes. And the end result? Ask Stephen Cohen. Things are very surreal now. Sadly, you've been made an Unperson Tony.

Robyn , September 13, 2019 at 04:08

Bravo, Tony, great article. I enjoyed your book and recommend it to CN readers who haven't yet read it.

The world looks entirely different when one stops reading/watching the MSM and turns to CN, Caitlin Johnstone and many others who are doing a sterling job.

Cascadian , September 13, 2019 at 03:52

I don't know which is worse, to not know what you are (reliably uninformed) and be happy, or to become what you've always wanted to be (reliably informed) and feel alone.

Realist , September 14, 2019 at 00:19

Knowing the truth has always seemed paramount to me, even if it means realising that the entire world and all in it are damned, and deliberately by our own actions. Hope is always the last part of our essence to die, or so they say: maybe we will somehow be redeemed through our own self-immolation as a species.

Deb , September 13, 2019 at 02:54

As an Australian I have no difficulty accepting what Tony Kevin has said here. He should do what Craig Murray has done start a website.

[Jun 27, 2019] 'The Ugly Americans' From Kermit Roosevelt to John Bolton Iran Al Jazeera

Highly recommended!
Jun 27, 2019 | www.aljazeera.com

Sixty-six years later, I am witnessing how another "Ugly American" is walking in the footsteps of Roosevelt. His name is John Bolton, a chief advocate of the disastrous US invasion of Iraq, a nefarious Islamophobe, and former chairman of the far-right anti-Muslim Gatestone Institute. This infamous institution is known for spreading lies about Muslims - claiming there is a looming "jihadist takeover" that can lead to a "Great White Death" - to incite hatred against them and intimidate, silence, and alienate them.

In his diabolical plans to wage war on Iran, Bolton is taking a page from Roosevelt's playbook. Just as the CIA operative used venal Iranian politicians and fake news to incite against the democratically elected Iranian government, today his successor, the US national security adviser, is seeking to spread misinformation on a massive scale and set up a false flag operation with the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), a militant terrorist organisation. Meanwhile, he has also pressed forward with debilitating sanctions that are further worsening the economic crisis in the country and making the lives of ordinary Iranians unbearable.

... ... ...

Bolton is the dreadful residue of the pure violence and wanton cruelty that drive Zionist Christian zealots in their crusades against Muslims. He is the embodiment of the basest and most racist roots of American imperialism.

The regime he serves is the most naked and vulgar face of brutish power, lacking any semblance of legitimacy - a bullying coward flexing its military muscles. At its helm is an arrogant mercantile president, who - faced with the possibility of an impeachment - has no qualms about using the war machine at his disposal to regain political relevance and line his pockets.

But the world must know Americans are not all ugly, they are not all rabid imperialists - Boltons and Roosevelts. What about those countless noble Americans - the sons and daughters of the original nations that graced this land, of the African slaves who were brought to this land in chains, of the millions after millions of immigrants who came to these shores in desperation or hope from the four corners of the earth? Do they not have a claim on this land too - to redefine it and bring it back to the bosom of humanity?

[Jun 19, 2019] Bias bias the inclination to accuse people of bias by James Thompson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Early in any psychology course, students are taught to be very cautious about accepting people's reports. A simple trick is to stage some sort of interruption to the lecture by confederates, and later ask the students to write down what they witnessed. Typically, they will misremember the events, sequences and even the number of people who staged the tableaux. Don't trust witnesses, is the message. ..."
"... The three assumptions -- lack of rationality, stubbornness, and costs -- imply that there is slim chance that people can ever learn or be educated out of their biases; ..."
"... So, are we as hopeless as some psychologists claim we are? In fact, probably not. Not all the initial claims have been substantiated. For example, it seems we are not as loss averse as previously claimed. Does our susceptibility to printed visual illusions show that we lack judgement in real life? ..."
"... Well the sad fact is that there's nobody in the position to protect "governments" from their own biases, and "scientists" from theirs ..."
"... Long ago a lawyer acquaintance, referring to a specific judge, told me that the judge seemed to "make shit up as he was going along". I have long held psychiatry fits that statement very well. ..."
"... Here we have a real scientist fighting the nonsense spreading from (neoclassical) economics into other realms of science/academia. ..."
"... Behavioral economics is a sideline by-product of neoclassical micro-economic theory. It tries to cope with experimental data that is inconsistent with that theory. ..."
"... Everything in neoclassical economics is a travesty. "Rational choice theory" and its application in "micro economics" is false from the ground up. It basically assumes that people are gobbling up resources without plan, meaning or relevant circumstances. Neoclassical micro economic theory is so false and illogical that I would not know where to start in a comment, so I should like to refer to a whole book about it: Keen, Steve: "Debunking economics". ..."
"... As the theory is totally wrong it is really not surprising that countless experiments show that people do not behave the way neoclassical theory predicts. How do economists react to this? Of course they assume that people are "irrational" because they do not behave according to their studied theory. (Why would you ever change your basic theory because of some tedious facts?) ..."
"... The title of the 1st ed. of Keen's book was "Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences" which was simply a perfect title. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Early in any psychology course, students are taught to be very cautious about accepting people's reports. A simple trick is to stage some sort of interruption to the lecture by confederates, and later ask the students to write down what they witnessed. Typically, they will misremember the events, sequences and even the number of people who staged the tableaux. Don't trust witnesses, is the message.

Another approach is to show visual illusions, such as getting estimates of line lengths in the Muller-Lyer illusion, or studying simple line lengths under social pressure, as in the Asch experiment, or trying to solve the Peter Wason logic problems, or the puzzles set by Kahneman and Tversky. All these appear to show severe limitations of human judgment. Psychology is full of cautionary tales about the foibles of common folk.

As a consequence of this softening up, psychology students come to regard themselves and most people as fallible, malleable, unreliable, biased and generally irrational. No wonder psychologists feel superior to the average citizen, since they understand human limitations and, with their superior training, hope to rise above such lowly superstitions.

However, society still functions, people overcome errors and many things work well most of the time. Have psychologists, for one reason or another, misunderstood people, and been too quick to assume that they are incapable of rational thought?

Gerd Gigerenzer thinks so.

https://www.nowpublishers.com/article/OpenAccessDownload/RBE-0092

He is particularly interested in the economic consequences of apparent irrationality, and whether our presumed biases really result in us making bad economic decisions. If so, some argue we need a benign force, say a government, to protect us from our lack of capacity. Perhaps we need a tattoo on our forehead: Diminished Responsibility.

The argument leading from cognitive biases to governmental paternalism -- in short, the irrationality argument -- consists of three assumptions and one conclusion:

1. Lack of rationality. Experiments have shown that people's intuitions are systematically biased.

2. Stubbornness. Like visual illusions, biases are persistent and hardly corrigible by education.

3. Substantial costs. Biases may incur substantial welfare-relevant costs such as lower wealth, health, or happiness.

4. Biases justify governmental paternalism. To protect people from theirbiases, governments should "nudge" the public toward better behavior.

The three assumptions -- lack of rationality, stubbornness, and costs -- imply that there is slim chance that people can ever learn or be educated out of their biases; instead governments need to step in with a policy called libertarian paternalism (Thaler and Sunstein, 2003).

So, are we as hopeless as some psychologists claim we are? In fact, probably not. Not all the initial claims have been substantiated. For example, it seems we are not as loss averse as previously claimed. Does our susceptibility to printed visual illusions show that we lack judgement in real life?

In Shepard's (1990) words, "to fool a visual system that has a full binocular and freely mobile view of a well-illuminated scene is next to impossible" (p. 122). Thus, in psychology, the visual system is seen more as a genius than a fool in making intelligent inferences, and inferences, after all, are necessary for making sense of the images on the retina.

Most crucially, can people make probability judgements? Let us see. Try solving this one:

A disease has a base rate of .1, and a test is performed that has a hit rate of .9 (the conditional probability of a positive test given disease) and a false positive rate of .1 (the conditional probability of a positive test given no disease). What is the probability that a random person with a positive test result actually has the disease?

Most people fail this test, including 79% of gynaecologists giving breast screening tests. Some researchers have drawn the conclusion that people are fundamentally unable to deal with conditional probabilities. On the contrary, there is a way of laying out the problem such that most people have no difficulty with it. Watch what it looks like when presented as natural frequencies:

Among every 100 people, 10 are expected to have a disease. Among those 10, nine are expected to correctly test positive. Among the 90 people without the disease, nine are expected to falsely test positive. What proportion of those who test positive actually have the disease?

In this format the positive test result gives us 9 people with the disease and 9 people without the disease, so the chance that a positive test result shows a real disease is 50/50. Only 13% of gynaecologists fail this presentation.

Summing up the virtues of natural frequencies, Gigerenzer says:

When college students were given a 2-hour course in natural frequencies, the number of correct Bayesian inferences increased from 10% to 90%; most important, this 90% rate was maintained 3 months after training (Sedlmeier and Gigerenzer, 2001). Meta-analyses have also documented the "de-biasing" effect, and natural frequencies are now a technical term in evidence-based medicine (Akiet al., 2011; McDowell and Jacobs, 2017). These results are consistent with a long literature on techniques for successfully teaching statistical reasoning (e.g., Fonget al., 1986). In sum, humans can learn Bayesian inference quickly if the information is presented in natural frequencies.

If the problem is set out in a simple format, almost all of us can all do conditional probabilities.

I taught my medical students about the base rate screening problem in the late 1970s, based on: Robyn Dawes (1962) "A note on base rates and psychometric efficiency". Decades later, alarmed by the positive scan detection of an unexplained mass, I confided my fears to a psychiatrist friend. He did a quick differential diagnosis on bowel cancer, showing I had no relevant symptoms, and reminded me I had lectured him as a student on base rates decades before, so I ought to relax. Indeed, it was false positive.

Here are the relevant figures, set out in terms of natural frequencies

Every test has a false positive rate (every step is being taken to reduce these), and when screening is used for entire populations many patients have to undergo further investigations, sometimes including surgery.

Setting out frequencies in a logical sequence can often prevent misunderstandings. Say a man on trial for having murdered his spouse has previously physically abused her. Should his previous history of abuse not be raised in Court because only 1 woman in 2500 cases of abuse is murdered by her abuser? Of course, whatever a defence lawyer may argue and a Court may accept, this is back to front. OJ Simpson was not on trial for spousal abuse, but for the murder of his former partner. The relevant question is: what is the probability that a man murdered his partner, given that she has been murdered and that he previously battered her.

Accepting the figures used by the defence lawyer, if 1 in 2500 women are murdered every year by their abusive male partners, how many women are murdered by men who did not previously abuse them? Using government figures that 5 women in 100,000 are murdered every year then putting everything onto the same 100,000 population, the frequencies look like this:

So, 40 to 5, it is 8 times more probable that abused women are murdered by their abuser. A relevant issue to raise in Court about the past history of an accused man.

Are people's presumed biases costly, in the sense of making them vulnerable to exploitation, such that they can be turned into a money pump, or is it a case of "once bitten, twice shy"? In fact, there is no evidence that these apparently persistent logical errors actually result in people continually making costly errors. That presumption turns out to be a bias bias.

Gigerenzer goes on to show that people are in fact correct in their understanding of the randomness of short sequences of coin tosses, and Kahneman and Tversky wrong. Elegantly, he also shows that the "hot hand" of successful players in basketball is a real phenomenon, and not a stubborn illusion as claimed.

With equal elegance he disposes of a result I had depended upon since Slovic (1982), which is that people over-estimate the frequency of rare risks and under-estimate the frequency of common risks. This finding has led to the belief that people are no good at estimating risk. Who could doubt that a TV series about Chernobyl will lead citizens to have an exaggerated fear of nuclear power stations?

The original Slovic study was based on 39 college students, not exactly a fair sample of humanity. The conceit of psychologists knows no bounds. Gigerenzer looks at the data and shows that it is yet another example of regression to the mean. This is an apparent effect which arises whenever the predictor is less than perfect (the most common case), an unsystematic error effect, which is already evident when you calculate the correlation coefficient. Parental height and their children's heights are positively but not perfectly correlated at about r = 0.5. Predictions made in either direction will under-predict in either direction, simply because they are not perfect, and do not capture all the variation. Try drawing out the correlation as an ellipse to see the effect of regression, compared to the perfect case of the straight line of r= 1.0

What diminishes in the presence of noise is the variability of the estimates, both the estimates of the height of the sons based on that of their fathers, and vice versa. Regression toward the mean is a result of unsystematic, not systematic error (Stigler,1999).

Gigerenzer also looks at the supposed finding that people are over-confidence in predictions, and finds that it is another regression to the mean problem.

Gigerenzer then goes on to consider that old favourite, that most people think they are better than average, which supposedly cannot be the case, because average people are average.

Consider the finding that most drivers think they drive better than average. If better driving is interpreted as meaning fewer accidents, then most drivers' beliefs are actually true. The number of accidents per person has a skewed distribution, and an analysis of U.S. accident statistics showed that some 80% of drivers have fewer accidents than the average number of accidents (Mousavi and Gigerenzer, 2011)

Then he looks at the classical demonstration of framing, that is to say, the way people appear to be easily swayed by how the same facts are "framed" or presented to the person who has to make a decision.

A patient suffering from a serious heart disease considers high-risk surgery and asks a doctor about its prospects.

The doctor can frame the answer in two ways:

Positive Frame: Five years after surgery, 90% of patients are alive.
Negative Frame: Five years after surgery, 10% of patients are dead.

Should the patient listen to how the doctor frames the answer? Behavioral economists say no because both frames are logically equivalent (Kahneman, 2011). Nevertheless, people do listen. More are willing to agree to a medical procedure if the doctor uses positive framing (90% alive) than if negative framing is used (10% dead) (Moxeyet al., 2003). Framing effects challenge the assumption of stable preferences, leading to preference reversals. Thaler and Sunstein (2008) who presented the above surgery problem, concluded that "framing works because people tend to be somewhat mindless, passive decisionmakers" (p. 40)

Gigerenzer points out that in this particular example, subjects are having to make their judgements without knowing a key fact: how many survive without surgery. If you know that you have a datum which is more influential. These are the sorts of questions patients will often ask about, and discuss with other patients, or with several doctors. Furthermore, you don't have to spin a statistic. You could simply say: "Five years after surgery, 90% of patients are alive and 10% are dead".

Gigerenzer gives an explanation which is very relevant to current discussions about the meaning of intelligence, and about the power of intelligence tests:

In sum, the principle of logical equivalence or "description invariance" is a poor guide to understanding how human intelligence deals with an uncertain world where not everything is stated explicitly. It misses the very nature of intelligence, the ability to go beyond the information given (Bruner, 1973)

The key is to take uncertainty seriously, take heuristics seriously, and beware of the bias bias.

One important conclusion I draw from this entire paper is that the logical puzzles enjoyed by Kahneman, Tversky, Stanovich and others are rightly rejected by psychometricians as usually being poor indicators of real ability. They fail because they are designed to lead people up the garden path, and depend on idiosyncratic interpretations.

For more detail: http://www.unz.com/jthompson/the-tricky-question-of-rationality/

Critics of examinations of either intellectual ability or scholastic attainment are fond of claiming that the items are "arbitrary". Not really. Scholastic tests have to be close to the curriculum in question, but still need to a have question forms which are simple to understand so that the stress lies in how students formulate the answer, not in how they decipher the structure of the question.

Intellectual tests have to avoid particular curricula and restrict themselves to the common ground of what most people in a community understand. Questions have to be super-simple, so that the correct answer follows easily from the question, with minimal ambiguity. Furthermore, in the case of national scholastic tests, and particularly in the case of intelligence tests, legal authorities will pore over the test, looking at each item for suspected biases of a sexual, racial or socio-economic nature. Designing an intelligence test is a difficult and expensive matter. Many putative new tests of intelligence never even get to the legal hurdle, because they flounder on matters of reliability and validity, and reveal themselves to be little better than the current range of assessments.

In conclusion, both in psychology and behavioural economics, some researchers have probably been too keen to allege bias in cases where there are unsystematic errors, or no errors at all. The corrective is to learn about base rates, and to use natural frequencies as a guide to good decision-making.

Don't bother boosting your IQ. Boost your understanding of natural frequencies.


res , says: June 17, 2019 at 3:29 pm GMT

Good concrete advice. Perhaps even more useful for those who need to explain things like this to others than for those seeking to understand for themselves.
ThreeCranes , says: June 17, 2019 at 3:34 pm GMT
"intelligence deals with an uncertain world where not everything is stated explicitly. It misses the very nature of intelligence, the ability to go beyond the information given (Bruner, 1973)"

"The key is to take uncertainty seriously, take heuristics seriously, and beware of the bias bias."

Why I come to Unz.

Tom Welsh , says: June 18, 2019 at 8:36 am GMT
@Cortes Sounds fishy to me.

Actually I think this is an example of an increasingly common genre of malapropism, where the writer gropes for the right word, finds one that is similar, and settles for that. The worst of it is that readers intuitively understand what was intended, and then adopt the marginally incorrect usage themselves. That's perhaps how the world and his dog came to say "literally" when they mean "figuratively". Maybe a topic for a future article?

Biff , says: June 18, 2019 at 10:16 am GMT
In 2009 Google finished engineering a reverse search engine to find out what kind of searches people did most often. Seth Davidowitz and Steven Pinker wrote a very fascinating/entertaining book using the tool called Everybody Lies

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28512671-everybody-lies

Everybody Lies offers fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender, and more, all drawn from the world of big data. What percentage of white voters didn't vote for Barack Obama because he's black? Does where you go to school effect how successful you are in life? Do parents secretly favor boy children over girls? Do violent films affect the crime rate? Can you beat the stock market? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives, and who's more self-conscious about sex, men or women?

Investigating these questions and a host of others, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz offers revelations that can help us understand ourselves and our lives better. Drawing on studies and experiments on how we really live and think, he demonstrates in fascinating and often funny ways the extent to which all the world is indeed a lab. With conclusions ranging from strange-but-true to thought-provoking to disturbing, he explores the power of this digital truth serum and its deeper potential – revealing biases deeply embedded within us, information we can use to change our culture, and the questions we're afraid to ask that might be essential to our health – both emotional and physical. All of us are touched by big data every day, and its influence is multiplying. Everybody Lies challenges us to think differently about how we see it and the world.

dearieme , says: June 18, 2019 at 11:25 am GMT
I shall treat this posting (for which many thanks, doc) as an invitation to sing a much-loved song: everybody should read Gigerenzer's Reckoning with Risk. With great clarity it teaches what everyone ought to know about probability.

(It could also serve as a model for writing in English about technical subjects. Americans and Britons should study the English of this German – he knows how, you know.)

Inspired by "The original Slovic study was based on 39 college students" I shall also sing another favorite song. Much of Psychology is based on what small numbers of American undergraduates report they think they think.

Anon [410] • Disclaimer , says: June 18, 2019 at 3:47 pm GMT
" Gigerenzer points out that in this particular example, subjects are having to make their judgements without knowing a key fact: how many survive without surgery. "

This one reminds of the false dichotomy. The patient has additional options! Like changing diet, and behaviours such as exercise, elimination of occupational stress , etc.

The statistical outcomes for a person change when the person changes their circumstances/conditions.

Cortes , says: June 18, 2019 at 4:14 pm GMT
@Tom Welsh A disposition (conveyance) of an awkwardly shaped chunk out of a vast estate contained reference to "the slither of ground bounded on or towards the north east and extending two hundred and twenty four meters or thereby along a chain link fence " Not poor clients (either side) nor cheap lawyers. And who never erred?

Better than deliberately inserting "errors" to guarantee a stream of tidy up work (not unknown in the "professional" world) in future.

Tom Fix , says: June 18, 2019 at 4:25 pm GMT
Good article. 79% of gynaecologists fail a simple conditional probability test?! Many if not most medical research papers use advanced statistics. Medical doctors must read these papers to fully understand their field. So, if medical doctors don't fully understand them, they are not properly doing their job. Those papers use mathematical expressions, not English. Converting them to another form of English, instead of using the mathematical expressions isn't a solution.
SafeNow , says: June 18, 2019 at 5:49 pm GMT
Regarding witnesses: When that jet crashed into Rockaway several years ago, a high percentage of witnesses said that they saw smoke before the crash. But there was actually no smoke. The witnesses were adjusting what they saw to conform to their past experience of seeing movie and newsreel footage of planes smoking in the air before a crash. Children actually make very good witnesses.

Regarding the chart. Missing, up there in the vicinity of cancer and heart disease. The third-leading cause of death. 250,000 per year, according to a 2016 Hopkins study. Medical negligence.

Anon [724] • Disclaimer , says: June 18, 2019 at 9:48 pm GMT

1. Lack of rationality. Experiments have shown that people's intuitions are systematically biased.

2. Stubbornness. Like visual illusions, biases are persistent and hardly corrigible by education.

3. Substantial costs. Biases may incur substantial welfare-relevant costs such as lower wealth, health, or happiness.

4. Biases justify governmental paternalism. To protect people from theirbiases, governments should "nudge" the public toward better behavior.

Well the sad fact is that there's nobody in the position to protect "governments" from their own biases, and "scientists" from theirs.

So, behind the smoke of all words and rationalisations, the law is unchanged: everyone strives to gain and exert as much power as possible over as many others as possible. Most do that without writing papers to say it is right, others write papers, others books. Anyway, the fundamental law would stay as it is even if all this writing labour was spared, wouldn't it? But then another fundamental law, the law of framing all one's drives as moral and beneffective comes into play the papers and the books are useful, after all.

Curmudgeon , says: June 19, 2019 at 1:42 am GMT
An interesting article. However, I think that the only thing we have to know about how illogical psychiatry is this:

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) asked all members attending its convention to vote on whether they believed homosexuality to be a mental disorder. 5,854 psychiatrists voted to remove homosexuality from the DSM, and 3,810 to retain it.

The APA then compromised, removing homosexuality from the DSM but replacing it, in effect, with "sexual orientation disturbance" for people "in conflict with" their sexual orientation. Not until 1987 did homosexuality completely fall out of the DSM.

(source https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/hide-and-seek/201509/when-homosexuality-stopped-being-mental-disorder )

The article makes no mention of the fact that no "new science" was brought to support the resolution.

It appears that the psychiatrists were voting based on feelings rather than science. Since that time, the now 50+ genders have been accepted as "normal" by the APA. My family has had members in multiple generations suffering from mental illness. None were "cured". I know others with the same circumstances.

How does one conclude that being repulsed by the prime directive of every living organism – reproduce yourself – is "normal"? That is not to say these people are horrible or evil, just not normal. How can someone, who thinks (s)he is a cat be mentally ill, but a grown man thinking he is a female child is not?

Long ago a lawyer acquaintance, referring to a specific judge, told me that the judge seemed to "make shit up as he was going along". I have long held psychiatry fits that statement very well.

Paul2 , says: June 19, 2019 at 8:08 am GMT
Thank you for this article. I find the information about the interpretation of statistical data very interesting. My take on the background of the article is this:

Here we have a real scientist fighting the nonsense spreading from (neoclassical) economics into other realms of science/academia.

Behavioral economics is a sideline by-product of neoclassical micro-economic theory. It tries to cope with experimental data that is inconsistent with that theory.

Everything in neoclassical economics is a travesty. "Rational choice theory" and its application in "micro economics" is false from the ground up. It basically assumes that people are gobbling up resources without plan, meaning or relevant circumstances. Neoclassical micro economic theory is so false and illogical that I would not know where to start in a comment, so I should like to refer to a whole book about it:
Keen, Steve: "Debunking economics".

As the theory is totally wrong it is really not surprising that countless experiments show that people do not behave the way neoclassical theory predicts. How do economists react to this? Of course they assume that people are "irrational" because they do not behave according to their studied theory. (Why would you ever change your basic theory because of some tedious facts?)

We live in a strange world in which such people have control over university faculties, journals, famous prizes. But at least we have some scientists who defend their area of knowledge against the spreading nonsense produced by economists.

The title of the 1st ed. of Keen's book was "Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences" which was simply a perfect title.

Dieter Kief , says: June 19, 2019 at 8:22 am GMT
@Curmudgeon Could it be that you expect psychiatrists in the past to be as rational as you are now?

Would the result have been any different, if members of a 1973 convention of physicists or surgeons would have been asked?

[May 14, 2019] The Propaganda Multiplier How Global News Agencies and Western Media Report on Geopolitics

Highly recommended!
Images omitted.
Important article that shed some light on the methods of disinformation in foreign events used by neoliberal MSM
Notable quotes:
"... However, there is a simple reason why the global agencies, despite their importance, are virtually unknown to the general public. To quote a Swiss media professor: "Radio and television usually do not name their sources, and only specialists can decipher references in magazines." (Blum 1995, P. 9) The motive for this discretion, however, should be clear: news outlets are not particularly keen to let readers know that they haven't researched most of their contributions themselves. ..."
"... Much of our media does not have own foreign correspondents, so they have no choice but to rely completely on global agencies for foreign news. But what about the big daily newspapers and TV stations that have their own international correspondents? In German-speaking countries, for example, these include newspapers such NZZ, FAZ, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Welt, and public broadcasters. ..."
"... Moreover, in war zones, correspondents rarely venture out. On the Syria war, for example, many journalists "reported" from cities such as Istanbul, Beirut, Cairo or even from Cyprus. In addition, many journalists lack the language skills to understand local people and media. ..."
"... How do correspondents under such circumstances know what the "news" is in their region of the world? The main answer is once again: from global agencies. The Dutch Middle East correspondent Joris Luyendijk has impressively described how correspondents work and how they depend on the world agencies in his book "People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East" : ..."
"... The central role of news agencies also explains why, in geopolitical conflicts, most media use the same original sources. In the Syrian war, for example, the "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" – a dubious one-man organization based in London – featured prominently. The media rarely inquired directly at this "Observatory", as its operator was in fact difficult to reach, even for journalists. ..."
"... Ulrich Tilgner, a veteran Middle East correspondent for German and Swiss television, warned in 2003, shortly after the Iraq war, of acts of deception by the military and the role played by the media: ..."
"... What is known to the US military, would not be foreign to US intelligence services. In a remarkable report by British Channel 4, former CIA officials and a Reuters correspondent spoke candidly about the systematic dissemination of propaganda and misinformation in reporting on geopolitical conflicts: ..."
"... "In all press systems, the news media are instruments of those who exercise political and economic power. Newspapers, periodicals, radio and television stations do not act independently, although they have the possibility of independent exercise of power." (Altschull 1984/1995, p. 298) ..."
Jun 01, 2016 | www.globalresearch.ca

By Swiss Propaganda Research Global Research, May 14, 2019 Swiss Propaganda Research Region: Europe , USA Theme: Media Disinformation

This study was originally published in 2016.

Introduction: "Something strange"

"How does the newspaper know what it knows?" The answer to this question is likely to surprise some newspaper readers: "The main source of information is stories from news agencies. The almost anonymously operating news agencies are in a way the key to world events. So what are the names of these agencies, how do they work and who finances them? To judge how well one is informed about events in East and West, one should know the answers to these questions." (Höhne 1977, p. 11)

A Swiss media researcher points out:

"The news agencies are the most important suppliers of material to mass media. No daily media outlet can manage without them. () So the news agencies influence our image of the world; above all, we get to know what they have selected." (Blum 1995, p. 9)

In view of their essential importance, it is all the more astonishing that these agencies are hardly known to the public:

"A large part of society is unaware that news agencies exist at all In fact, they play an enormously important role in the media market. But despite this great importance, little attention has been paid to them in the past." (Schulten-Jaspers 2013, p. 13)

Even the head of a news agency noted:

"There is something strange about news agencies. They are little known to the public. Unlike a newspaper, their activity is not so much in the spotlight, yet they can always be found at the source of the story." (Segbers 2007, p. 9)

"The Invisible Nerve Center of the Media System"

So what are the names of these agencies that are "always at the source of the story"? There are now only three global agencies left:

  1. The American Associated Press ( AP ) with over 4000 employees worldwide. The AP belongs to US media companies and has its main editorial office in New York. AP news is used by around 12,000 international media outlets, reaching more than half of the world's population every day.
  2. The quasi-governmental French Agence France-Presse ( AFP ) based in Paris and with around 4000 employees. The AFP sends over 3000 stories and photos every day to media all over the world.
  3. The British agency Reuters in London, which is privately owned and employs just over 3000 people. Reuters was acquired in 2008 by Canadian media entrepreneur Thomson – one of the 25 richest people in the world – and merged into Thomson Reuters , headquartered in New York.

In addition, many countries run their own news agencies. However, when it comes to international news, these usually rely on the three global agencies and simply copy and translate their reports.

The three global news agencies Reuters, AFP and AP, and the three national agencies of the German-speaking countries of Austria (APA), Germany (DPA) and Switzerland (SDA).

Wolfgang Vyslozil, former managing director of the Austrian APA, described the key role of news agencies with these words:

"News agencies are rarely in the public eye. Yet they are one of the most influential and at the same time one of the least known media types. They are key institutions of substantial importance to any media system. They are the invisible nerve center that connects all parts of this system." (Segbers 2007, p.10)

Small abbreviation, great effect

However, there is a simple reason why the global agencies, despite their importance, are virtually unknown to the general public. To quote a Swiss media professor: "Radio and television usually do not name their sources, and only specialists can decipher references in magazines." (Blum 1995, P. 9) The motive for this discretion, however, should be clear: news outlets are not particularly keen to let readers know that they haven't researched most of their contributions themselves.

The following figure shows some examples of source tagging in popular German-language newspapers. Next to the agency abbreviations we find the initials of editors who have edited the respective agency report.

News agencies as sources in newspaper articles

Occasionally, newspapers use agency material but do not label it at all. A study in 2011 from the Swiss Research Institute for the Public Sphere and Society at the University of Zurich came to the following conclusions (FOEG 2011):

"Agency contributions are exploited integrally without labeling them, or they are partially rewritten to make them appear as an editorial contribution. In addition, there is a practice of 'spicing up' agency reports with little effort; for example, visualization techniques are used: unpublished agency reports are enriched with images and graphics and presented as comprehensive reports."

The agencies play a prominent role not only in the press, but also in private and public broadcasting. This is confirmed by Volker Braeutigam, who worked for the German state broadcaster ARD for ten years and views the dominance of these agencies critically:

"One fundamental problem is that the newsroom at ARD sources its information mainly from three sources: the news agencies DPA/AP, Reuters and AFP: one German/American, one British and one French. () The editor working on a news topic only needs to select a few text passages on the screen that he considers essential, rearrange them and glue them together with a few flourishes."

Swiss Radio and Television (SRF), too, largely bases itself on reports from these agencies. Asked by viewers why a peace march in Ukraine was not reported, the editors said : "To date, we have not received a single report of this march from the independent agencies Reuters, AP and AFP."

In fact, not only the text, but also the images, sound and video recordings that we encounter in our media every day, are mostly from the very same agencies. What the uninitiated audience might think of as contributions from their local newspaper or TV station, are actually copied reports from New York, London and Paris.

Some media have even gone a step further and have, for lack of resources, outsourced their entire foreign editorial office to an agency. Moreover, it is well known that many news portals on the internet mostly publish agency reports (see e.g., Paterson 2007, Johnston 2011, MacGregor 2013).

In the end, this dependency on the global agencies creates a striking similarity in international reporting: from Vienna to Washington, our media often report the same topics, using many of the same phrases – a phenomenon that would otherwise rather be associated with "controlled media" in authoritarian states.

The following graphic shows some examples from German and international publications. As you can see, despite the claimed objectivity, a slight (geo-)political bias sometimes creeps in.

"Putin threatens", "Iran provokes", "NATO concerned", "Assad stronghold": Similarities in content and wording due to reports by global news agencies.

The role of correspondents

Much of our media does not have own foreign correspondents, so they have no choice but to rely completely on global agencies for foreign news. But what about the big daily newspapers and TV stations that have their own international correspondents? In German-speaking countries, for example, these include newspapers such NZZ, FAZ, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Welt, and public broadcasters.

First of all, the size ratios should be kept in mind: while the global agencies have several thousand employees worldwide, even the Swiss newspaper NZZ, known for its international reporting, maintains only 35 foreign correspondents (including their business correspondents). In huge countries such as China or India, only one correspondent is stationed; all of South America is covered by only two journalists, while in even larger Africa no-one is on the ground permanently.

Moreover, in war zones, correspondents rarely venture out. On the Syria war, for example, many journalists "reported" from cities such as Istanbul, Beirut, Cairo or even from Cyprus. In addition, many journalists lack the language skills to understand local people and media.

How do correspondents under such circumstances know what the "news" is in their region of the world? The main answer is once again: from global agencies. The Dutch Middle East correspondent Joris Luyendijk has impressively described how correspondents work and how they depend on the world agencies in his book "People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East" :

"I'd imagined correspondents to be historians-of-the-moment. When something important happened, they'd go after it, find out what was going on, and report on it. But I didn't go off to find out what was going on; that had been done long before. I went along to present an on-the-spot report. ()

The editors in the Netherlands called when something happened, they faxed or emailed the press releases, and I'd retell them in my own words on the radio, or rework them into an article for the newspaper. This was the reason my editors found it more important that I could be reached in the place itself than that I knew what was going on. The news agencies provided enough information for you to be able to write or talk you way through any crisis or summit meeting.

That's why you often come across the same images and stories if you leaf through a few different newspapers or click the news channels.

Our men and women in London, Paris, Berlin and Washington bureaus – all thought that wrong topics were dominating the news and that we were following the standards of the news agencies too slavishly. ()

The common idea about correspondents is that they 'have the story', () but the reality is that the news is a conveyor belt in a bread factory. The correspondents stand at the end of the conveyor belt, pretending we've baked that white loaf ourselves, while in fact all we've done is put it in its wrapping. ()

Afterwards, a friend asked me how I'd managed to answer all the questions during those cross-talks, every hour and without hesitation. When I told him that, like on the TV-news, you knew all the questions in advance, his e-mailed response came packed with expletives. My friend had relalized that, for decades, what he'd been watching and listening to on the news was pure theatre." (Luyendjik 2009, p. 20-22, 76, 189)

In other words, the typical correspondent is in general not able to do independent research, but rather deals with and reinforces those topics that are already prescribed by the news agencies – the notorious "mainstream effect".

In addition, for cost-saving reasons many media outlets nowadays have to share their few foreign correspondents, and within individual media groups, foreign reports are often used by several publications – none of which contributes to diversity in reporting.

"What the agency does not report, does not take place"

The central role of news agencies also explains why, in geopolitical conflicts, most media use the same original sources. In the Syrian war, for example, the "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" – a dubious one-man organization based in London – featured prominently. The media rarely inquired directly at this "Observatory", as its operator was in fact difficult to reach, even for journalists.

Rather, the "Observatory" delivered its stories to global agencies, which then forwarded them to thousands of media outlets, which in turn "informed" hundreds of millions of readers and viewers worldwide. The reason why the agencies, of all places, referred to this strange "Observatory" in their reporting – and who really financed it – is a question that was rarely asked.

The former chief editor of the German news agency DPA, Manfred Steffens, therefore states in his book "The Business of News":

"A news story does not become more correct simply because one is able to provide a source for it. It is indeed rather questionable to trust a news story more just because a source is cited. () Behind the protective shield such a 'source' means for a news story, some people are quite inclined to spread rather adventurous things, even if they themselves have legitimate doubts about their correctness; the responsibility, at least morally, can always be attributed to the cited source." (Steffens 1969, p. 106)

Dependence on global agencies is also a major reason why media coverage of geopolitical conflicts is often superficial and erratic, while historic relationships and background are fragmented or altogether absent. As put by Steffens:

"News agencies receive their impulses almost exclusively from current events and are therefore by their very nature ahistoric. They are reluctant to add any more context than is strictly required." (Steffens 1969, p. 32)

Finally, the dominance of global agencies explains why certain geopolitical issues and events – which often do not fit very well into the US/NATO narrative or are too "unimportant" – are not mentioned in our media at all: if the agencies do not report on something, then most Western media will not be aware of it. As pointed out on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the German DPA: "What the agency does not report, does not take place." (Wilke 2000, p. 1)

America's "Righteous" Russia-gate Censorship. "Russia Bashing All the Time"

"Adding questionable stories"

While some topics do not appear at all in our media, other topics are very prominent – even though they shouldn't actually be: "Often the mass media do not report on reality, but on a constructed or staged reality. () Several studies have shown that the mass media are predominantly determined by PR activities and that passive, receptive attitudes outweigh active-researching ones." (Blum 1995, p. 16)

In fact, due to the rather low journalistic performance of our media and their high dependence on a few news agencies, it is easy for interested parties to spread propaganda and disinformation in a supposedly respectable format to a worldwide audience. DPA editor Steffens warned of this danger:

"The critical sense gets more lulled the more respected the news agency or newspaper is. Someone who wants to introduce a questionable story into the world press only needs to try to put his story in a reasonably reputable agency, to be sure that it then appears a little later in the others. Sometimes it happens that a hoax passes from agency to agency and becomes ever more credible." (Steffens 1969, p. 234)

Among the most active actors in "injecting" questionable geopolitical news are the military and defense ministries. For example, in 2009, the head of the American news agency AP, Tom Curley, made public that the Pentagon employs more than 27,000 PR specialists who, with a budget of nearly $ 5 billion a year, are working the media and circulating targeted manipulations. In addition, high-ranking US generals had threatened that they would "ruin" the AP and him if the journalists reported too critically on the US military.

Despite – or because of? – such threats our media regularly publish dubious stories sourced to some unnamed "informants" from "US defense circles".

Ulrich Tilgner, a veteran Middle East correspondent for German and Swiss television, warned in 2003, shortly after the Iraq war, of acts of deception by the military and the role played by the media:

"With the help of the media, the military determine the public perception and use it for their plans. They manage to stir expectations and spread scenarios and deceptions. In this new kind of war, the PR strategists of the US administration fulfill a similar function as the bomber pilots. The special departments for public relations in the Pentagon and in the secret services have become combatants in the information war. () The US military specifically uses the lack of transparency in media coverage for their deception maneuvers. The way they spread information, which is then picked up and distributed by newspapers and broadcasters, makes it impossible for readers, listeners or viewers to trace the original source. Thus, the audience will fail to recognize the actual intention of the military." (Tilgner 2003, p. 132)

What is known to the US military, would not be foreign to US intelligence services. In a remarkable report by British Channel 4, former CIA officials and a Reuters correspondent spoke candidly about the systematic dissemination of propaganda and misinformation in reporting on geopolitical conflicts:

Former CIA officer and whistleblower John Stockwell said of his work in the Angolan war,

"The basic theme was to make it look like an [enemy] aggression in Angola. So any kind of story that you could write and get into the media anywhere in the world, that pushed that line, we did. One third of my staff in this task force were covert action, were propagandists, whose professional career job was to make up stories and finding ways of getting them into the press. () The editors in most Western newspapers are not too skeptical of messages that conform to general views and prejudices. () So we came up with another story, and it was kept going for weeks. () [But] it was all fiction."

Fred Bridgland looked back on his work as a war correspondent for the Reuters agency: "We based our reports on official communications. It was not until years later that I learned a little CIA disinformation expert had sat in the US embassy, in Lusaka and composed that communiqué, and it bore no relation at all to truth. () Basically, and to put it very crudely, you can publish any old crap and it will get newspaper room."

And former CIA analyst David MacMichael described his work in the Contra War in Nicaragua with these words:

"They said our intelligence of Nicaragua was so good that we could even register when someone flushed a toilet. But I had the feeling that the stories we were giving to the press came straight out of the toilet." (Hird 1985)

Of course, the intelligence services also have a large number of direct contacts in our media, which can be "leaked" information to if necessary. But without the central role of the global news agencies, the worldwide synchronization of propaganda and disinformation would never be so efficient.

Through this "propaganda multiplier", dubious stories from PR experts working for governments, military and intelligence services reach the general public more or less unchecked and unfiltered. The journalists refer to the news agencies and the news agencies refer to their sources. Although they often attempt to point out uncertainties with terms such as "apparent", "alleged" and the like – by then the rumor has long been spread to the world and its effect taken place.

The Propaganda Multiplier: Governments, military and intelligence services using global news agencies to disseminate their messages to a worldwide audience.

As the New York Times reported

In addition to global news agencies, there is another source that is often used by media outlets around the world to report on geopolitical conflicts, namely the major publications in Great Britain and the US.

For example, news outlets like the New York Times or BBC have up to 100 foreign correspondents and other external employees. However, Middle East correspondent Luyendijk points out:

"Dutch news teams, me included, fed on the selection of news made by quality media like CNN, the BBC, and the New York Times . We did that on the assumption that their correspondents understood the Arab world and commanded a view of it – but many of them turned out not to speak Arabic, or at least not enough to be able to have a conversation in it or to follow the local media. Many of the top dogs at CNN, the BBC, the Independent, the Guardian, the New Yorker, and the NYT were more often than not dependent on assistants and translators." (Luyendijk p. 47)

In addition, the sources of these media outlets are often not easy to verify ("military circles", "anonymous government officials", "intelligence officials" and the like) and can therefore also be used for the dissemination of propaganda. In any case, the widespread orientation towards the Anglo-Saxon publications leads to a further convergence in the geopolitical coverage in our media.

The following figure shows some examples of such citation based on the Syria coverage of the largest daily newspaper in Switzerland, Tages-Anzeiger. The articles are all from the first days of October 2015, when Russia for the first time intervened directly in the Syrian war (US/UK sources are highlighted):

Frequent citation of British and US media, exemplified by the Syria war coverage of Swiss daily newspaper Tages-Anzeiger in October 2015.

The desired narrative

But why do journalists in our media not simply try to research and report independently of the global agencies and the Anglo-Saxon media? Middle East correspondent Luyendijk describes his experiences:

"You might suggest that I should have looked for sources I could trust. I did try, but whenever I wanted to write a story without using news agencies, the main Anglo-Saxon media, or talking heads, it fell apart. () Obviously I, as a correspondent, could tell very different stories about one and the same situation. But the media could only present one of them, and often enough, that was exactly the story that confirmed the prevailing image." (Luyendijk p.54ff)

Media researcher Noam Chomsky has described this effect in his essay "What makes the mainstream media mainstream" as follows: "If you leave the official line, if you produce dissenting reports, then you will soon feel this. () There are many ways to get you back in line quickly. If you don't follow the guidelines, you will not keep your job long. This system works pretty well, and it reflects established power structures." (Chomsky 1997)

Nevertheless, some of the leading journalists continue to believe that nobody can tell them what to write. How does this add up? Media researcher Chomsky clarifies the apparent contradiction:

"[T]he point is that they wouldn't be there unless they had already demonstrated that nobody has to tell them what to write because they are going say the right thing. If they had started off at the Metro desk, or something, and had pursued the wrong kind of stories, they never would have made it to the positions where they can now say anything they like. () They have been through the socialization system." (Chomsky 1997)

Ultimately, this "socialization process" leads to a journalism that generally no longer independently researches and critically reports on geopolitical conflicts (and some other topics), but seeks to consolidate the desired narrative through appropriate editorials, commentary, and interviewees.

Conclusion: The "First Law of Journalism"

Former AP journalist Herbert Altschull called it the First Law of Journalism:

"In all press systems, the news media are instruments of those who exercise political and economic power. Newspapers, periodicals, radio and television stations do not act independently, although they have the possibility of independent exercise of power." (Altschull 1984/1995, p. 298)

In that sense, it is logical that our traditional media – which are predominantly financed by advertising or the state – represent the geopolitical interests of the transatlantic alliance, given that both the advertising corporations as well as the states themselves are dependent on the US dominated transatlantic economic and security architecture.

In addition, our leading media and their key people are – in the spirit of Chomsky's "socialization" – often themselves part of the networks of the transatlantic elite. Some of the most important institutions in this regard include the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Bilderberg Group, and the Trilateral Commission (see in-depth study of these networks ).

Indeed, most well-known publications basically may be seen as "establishment media". This is because, in the past, the freedom of the press was rather theoretical, given significant entry barriers such as broadcasting licenses, frequency slots, requirements for financing and technical infrastructure, limited sales channels, dependence on advertising, and other restrictions.

It was only due to the Internet that Altschull's First Law has been broken to some extent. Thus, in recent years a high-quality, reader-funded journalism has emerged, often outperforming traditional media in terms of critical reporting. Some of these "alternative" publications already reach a very large audience, showing that the „mass" does not have to be a problem for the quality of a media outlet.

Nevertheless, up to now the traditional media has been able to attract a solid majority of online visitors, too. This, in turn, is closely linked to the hidden role of news agencies, whose up-to-the-minute reports form the backbone of most news portals.

Will "political and economic power", according to Altschull's Law, retain control over the news, or will "uncontrolled" news change the political and economic power structure? The coming years will show.

Case study: Syria war coverage

As part of a case study, the Syria war coverage of nine leading daily newspapers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland were examined for plurality of viewpoints and reliance on news agencies. The following newspapers were selected:

The investigation period was defined as October 1 to 15, 2015, i.e. the first two weeks after Russia's direct intervention in the Syrian conflict. The entire print and online coverage of these newspapers was taken into account. Any Sunday editions were not taken into account, as not all of the newspapers examined have such. In total, 381 newspaper articles met the stated criteria.

In a first step, the articles were classified according to their properties into the following groups:

  1. Agencies : Reports from news agencies (with agency code)
  2. Mixed : Simple reports (with author names) that are based in whole or in part on agency reports
  3. Reports : Editorial background reports and analyzes
  4. Opinions/Comments : Opinions and guest comments
  5. Interviews : interviews with experts, politicians etc.
  6. Investigative : Investigative research that reveals new information or context

The following Figure 1 shows the composition of the articles for the nine newspapers analyzed in total. As can be seen, 55% of articles were news agency reports; 23% editorial reports based on agency material; 9% background reports; 10% opinions and guest comments; 2% interviews; and 0% based on investigative research.

Figure 1: Types of articles (total; n=381)

The pure agency texts – from short notices to the detailed reports – were mostly on the Internet pages of the daily newspapers: on the one hand, the pressure for breaking news is higher than in the printed edition, on the other hand, there are no space restrictions. Most other types of articles were found in both the online and printed editions; some exclusive interviews and background reports were found only in the printed editions. All items were collected only once for the investigation.

The following Figure 2 shows the same classification on a per newspaper basis. During the observation period (two weeks), most newspapers published between 40 and 50 articles on the Syrian conflict (print and online). In the German newspaper Die Welt there were more (58), in the Basler Zeitung and the Austrian Kurier , however, significantly less (29 or 33).

Depending on which newspaper, the share of agency reports is almost 50% (Welt, Süddeutsche, NZZ, Basler Zeitung), just under 60% (FAZ, Tagesanzeiger), and 60 to 70% (Presse, Standard, Kurier). Together with the agency-based reports, the proportion in most newspapers is between approx. 70% and 80%. These proportions are consistent with previous media studies (e.g., Blum 1995, Johnston 2011, MacGregor 2013, Paterson 2007).

In the background reports, the Swiss newspapers were leading (five to six pieces), followed by Welt , Süddeutsche and Standard (four each) and the other newspapers (one to three). The background reports and analyzes were in particular devoted to the situation and development in the Middle East, as well as to the motives and interests of individual actors (for example Russia, Turkey, the Islamic State).

However, most of the commentaries were to be found in the German newspapers (seven comments each), followed by Standard (five), NZZ and Tagesanzeiger (four each). Basler Zeitung did not publish any commentaries during the observation period, but two interviews. Other interviews were conducted by Standard (three) and Kurier and Presse (one each). Investigative research, however, could not be found in any of the newspapers.

In particular, in the case of the three German newspapers, a journalistically problematic blending of opinion pieces and reports was noted. Reports contained strong expressions of opinion even though they were not marked as commentary. The present study was in any case based on the article labeling by the newspaper.

Figure 2: Types of articles per newspaper

The following Figure 3 shows the breakdown of agency stories (by agency abbreviation) for each news agency, in total and per country. The 211 agency reports carried a total of 277 agency codes (a story may consist of material from more than one agency). In total, 24% of agency reports came from the AFP; about 20% each by the DPA, APA and Reuters; 9% of the SDA; 6% of the AP; and 11% were unknown (no labeling or blanket term "agencies").

In Germany, the DPA, AFP and Reuters each have a share of about one third of the news stories. In Switzerland, the SDA and the AFP are in the lead, and in Austria, the APA and Reuters.

In fact, the shares of the global agencies AFP, AP and Reuters are likely to be even higher, as the Swiss SDA and the Austrian APA obtain their international reports mainly from the global agencies and the German DPA cooperates closely with the American AP.

It should also be noted that, for historical reasons, the global agencies are represented differently in different regions of the world. For events in Asia, Ukraine or Africa, the share of each agency will therefore be different than from events in the Middle East.

Figure 3: Share of news agencies, total (n=277) and per country

In the next step, central statements were used to rate the orientation of editorial opinions (28), guest comments (10) and interview partners (7) (a total of 45 articles). As Figure 4 shows, 82% of the contributions were generally US/NATO friendly, 16% neutral or balanced, and 2% predominantly US/NATO critical.

The only predominantly US/NATO-critical contribution was an op-ed in the Austrian Standard on October 2, 2015, titled: "The strategy of regime change has failed. A distinction between ‚good' and ‚bad' terrorist groups in Syria makes the Western policy untrustworthy."

Figure 4: Orientation of editorial opinions, guest comments, and interviewees (total; n=45).

The following Figure 5 shows the orientation of the contributions, guest comments and interviewees, in turn broken down by individual newspapers. As can be seen, Welt, Süddeutsche Zeitung, NZZ, Zürcher Tagesanzeiger and the Austrian newspaper Kurier presented exclusively US/NATO-friendly opinion and guest contributions; this goes for FAZ too, with the exception of one neutral/balanced contribution. The Standard brought four US/NATO friendly, three balanced/neutral, as well as the already mentioned US/NATO critical opinion contributions.

Presse was the only one of the examined newspapers to predominantly publish neutral/balanced opinions and guest contributions. The Basler Zeitung published one US/NATO-friendly and one balanced contribution. Shortly after the observation period (October 16, 2015), Basler Zeitung also published an interview with the President of the Russian Parliament. This would of course have been counted as a contribution critical of the US/NATO.

Figure 5: Basic orientation of opinion pieces and interviewees per newspaper

In a further analysis, a full-text keyword search for "propaganda" (and word combinations thereof) was used to investigate in which cases the newspapers themselves identified propaganda in one of the two geopolitical conflict sides, USA/NATO or Russia (the participant "IS/ISIS" was not considered). In total, twenty such cases were identified. Figure 6 shows the result: in 85% of the cases, propaganda was identified on the Russian side of the conflict, in 15% the identification was neutral or unstated, and in 0% of the cases propaganda was identified on the USA/NATO side of the conflict.

It should be noted that about half of the cases (nine) were in the Swiss NZZ , which spoke of Russian propaganda quite frequently ("Kremlin propaganda", "Moscow propaganda machine", "propaganda stories", "Russian propaganda apparatus" etc.), followed by German FAZ (three), Welt and Süddeutsche Zeitung (two each) and the Austrian newspaper Kurier (one). The other newspapers did not mention propaganda, or only in a neutral context (or in the context of IS).

Figure 6: Attribution of propaganda to conflict parties (total; n=20).

Conclusion

In this case study, the geopolitical coverage in nine leading daily newspapers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland was examined for diversity and journalistic performance using the example of the Syrian war.

The results confirm the high dependence on the global news agencies (63 to 90%, excluding commentaries and interviews) and the lack of own investigative research, as well as the rather biased commenting on events in favor of the US/NATO side (82% positive; 2% negative), whose stories were not checked by the newspapers for any propaganda.

*

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English translation provided by Terje Maloy.

[May 11, 2019] Leaked USA s Feb 2018 Plan For A Coup In Venezuela

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It was comprehensive -- directing military, diplomatic, and propaganda, policies -- regarding the Trump Administration's planned "Overthrow" of Venezuela's Government. His plan has since guided the Administration's entire operation, including "the capacities of the psychological war," regarding Venezuela. ..."
"... Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises." ... ..."
"... intensifying the undercapitalization of the country, the leaking out of foreign currency and the deterioration of its monetary base, bringing about the application of new inflationary measures." ... ..."
"... Fully obstruct imports, and at the same time discouraging potential foreign investors in order to make the situation more critical for the population." ... compelling him to fall into mistakes that generate greater distrust and rejection domestically" ... ..."
"... To besiege him, to ridicule him and to pose him as symbol of awkwardness and incompetence. To expose him as a puppet of Cuba." ... ..."
"... Structuring a plan to get the profuse desertion of the most qualified professionals from the country, in order 'to leave it with no professionals at all', which will aggravate even more the internal situation and along these lines putting the blame on of Government." ..."
May 05, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Leaked: USA's Feb 2018 Plan For A Coup In Venezuela

by Tyler Durden Sun, 05/05/2019 - 11:20 2 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via Off-Guardian.org,

A detailed plan from "UNITED STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND" dated "23 FEBRUARY 2018" was issued with the title "PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE VENEZUELAN DICTATORSHIP 'MASTERSTROKE'" and is here presented complete.

This document was personally signed by Admiral Kurt W. Tidd , who was the Commander (the chief), at SOUTHCOM , and he was thus the top U.S. military official handling Venezuela. But this was far more than just a military plan.

It was comprehensive -- directing military, diplomatic, and propaganda, policies -- regarding the Trump Administration's planned "Overthrow" of Venezuela's Government. His plan has since guided the Administration's entire operation, including "the capacities of the psychological war," regarding Venezuela.

It instructed SOUTHCOM:

Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises." ...

intensifying the undercapitalization of the country, the leaking out of foreign currency and the deterioration of its monetary base, bringing about the application of new inflationary measures." ...

Fully obstruct imports, and at the same time discouraging potential foreign investors in order to make the situation more critical for the population." ... compelling him to fall into mistakes that generate greater distrust and rejection domestically" ...

To besiege him, to ridicule him and to pose him as symbol of awkwardness and incompetence. To expose him as a puppet of Cuba." ...

Appealing to domestic allies as well as other people inserted from abroad in the national scenario in order to generate protests, riots and insecurity, plunders, thefts, assaults and highjacking of vessels as well as other means of transportation, with the intention of deserting this country in crisis through all borderlands and other possible ways, jeopardizing in such a way the National Security of neighboring frontier nations. Causing victims and holding the Government responsible for them. Magnifying, in front of the world, the humanitarian crisis in which the country has been submitted to."

Structuring a plan to get the profuse desertion of the most qualified professionals from the country, in order 'to leave it with no professionals at all', which will aggravate even more the internal situation and along these lines putting the blame on of Government."

the presence of combat units from the United States of America and the other named countries, under the command of a Joint General Staff led by the USA."

It was posted online at the Voltairenet site , and was first copied to a web archive on 14 May 2018 . So, it has been online since at least that date. However, because the photo in it of the document wasn't made available via software which includes the individual symbols, but presented only the full visual image of the paper document, it still hasn't yet gone viral on the Web.

Here, therefore, is the first appearance, on the Web, of the full document, that's manually copied, character-by-character, so that each phrase in this document becomes, for the first time, web-searchable, and thereby conveniently available for journalists and historians to quote from.

This prophetic document -- the source for what has happened afterward in and to Venezuela -- might therefore finally receive the public attention that it so clearly merits.

The document starts with propaganda against Venezuela's existing Government (and it totally ignores the extent to which the pre-existing U.S. economic sanctions against Venezuela had actually caused these problems ), and it then proceeds to present the U.S. plan to overthrow the 'dictatorship'. (Tidd refers to Maduro only as "the Dictator," except at the very start and very end.

At the end, he commands "the denouncement toward Maduro's regimen" and he also uses the phrase "the enemy" to refer to him -- as if there had been the U.S. Constitutionally required authorization, by the U.S. Congress, of this "war." The close urges "the dispatch of a UNO military force for the imposition of peace, once Nicolas Maduro's corrupt dictatorship is defeated." The U.N. is militarily to "impose" "peace," after the U.S. and its allies have conquered Venezuela.)

Although Tidd placed 100% of the blame for Venezuela's problems upon Maduro, and ignored the crucial extent to which U.S. economic sanctions had caused them, his plan emphasized that the U.S. must actively make things even worse for the Venezuelan public than America's economic sanctions had yet done.

His coup-plan is loaded with such statements, and, in fact, opens with one:

"Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises."

So: he wasn't naive. America's induced suffering upon Venezuelans was part of his plan for Venezuelans, in order to get them to do what the U.S. regime wants them to do -- overthrow Maduro. Furthermore, the United States Government has had extensive successes in previous such operations. One example is that this was how Chile's Salvador Allende was brought down in 1973 (at a time when the U.S. Government's claims to have done it for 'national security' reasons had much more credibility than its current excuse of helping the Venezuelan people does, because the supposedly ideological Cold War was still on).

The only excuse that the perpetrators can come up with, this time around, is "to put an end to the Venezuelan nightmare and the awakening of theirs beloved nation at a luminous dawn, in which the vision of fortune, true peace and tranquility predominate for their fellow citizens."

Impoverish the nation, in order to help Venezuelans attain "true peace and tranquility." That's the plan.

Here is the document's entire text:

SOUTHCOM
TOP SECRET
23 FEB 2018

PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE VENEZUELAN DICTATORSHIP "MASTERSTROKE"

UNITED STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND 23 FEBRUARY 2018

TOP SECRET/20180223

CURRENT SITUATION

The Venezuelan Chavista dictatorship staggers as a result of its frequent internal problems; there is a great shortage of foodstuffs, an exhaustion of the sources of foreign currency and a rampant corruption. The international support, won with petrodollars, becomes scarcer each time and the purchasing power of its national currency is in a constant downfall.

Such scenario is not supposed to change, but the Venezuelan present-day leaders, as they usually do, in their despair to preserve their power, are capable to appeal to new populist measures that perpetuate their positions of privilege; the only mechanism that sustains them obstinate to the struggle to hold on their positions.

Maduro's corrupt regimen will collapse but regrettably, the divided opposing forces, legitimate defenders of democracy and the well-being of their people, do not have power enough to put an end to the Venezuelan nightmare and the awakening of theirs beloved nation at a luminous dawn, in which the vision of fortune, true peace and tranquility predominate for their fellow citizens.

The internal disputes, the supreme particular likings, the corruption similar to the one of their rivals, as well as the scarcity of rooting, do not grant them the opportunity to make the most of this situation and to give the necessary step to overturn the state of penury and precariousness in which the pressure group, that exercises the leftist dictatorship, has submerged the country. We are at the presence of an unprecedented criminal action in Latin America.

This affects the entire region, there is no respect to international right and local political alternatives are unacceptable.

Democracy spreads out in America, continent in which radical populism was intended to take over. Argentina, Ecuador and Brazil are examples of it. The rebirth of democracy has the support of the most valuable determinations, and the conditions in the regions run in its favour.

It is the time for the United States to prove, with concrete actions, that they are implicated in that process, where overthrowing Venezuelan dictatorship will surely mean a continental turning point.

It is the first opportunity of the Trump Administration to bring forward the vision in reference to security and democracy. Showing its active commitment is crucial, not only for the administration, but also for the continent and for the world.

The time has come to

Step to speed up the definite overthrow of Chavismo and the expulsion of its representative:

Undermining the decadent popular support to Government. Securing he the present-day dictator's irreversible deterioration Increasing the internal instability to a critical level. Using the army officers as an alternative of definite solution. Information Strategie

[signature]

K.W. TIDD

Admiral, USN

COMMANDER


WorkingClassMan , 9 minutes ago link

The US military learned their international terrorism activities from the best, the Mossad. This country is run (since at least Lincoln) by terrorists. Money stolen from us every year in the form of taxes used for ******** that destabilizes nations, destroys heritage and expands greater isn'treal.

All this and **** none of us even heard of yet...while our own borders remain wide open and our infrastructure crumbles.

Good use of money you ******* scum.

frankthecrank , 17 minutes ago link

It's fake. The military doesn't engage in such things, the spooks at the CIA do-along with the NSA. Just looking at that pic is humorous -- as if that's what they would title the document.

Gullible people.

fezline , 13 minutes ago link

Who is Gulible now??

https://documents.theblackvault.com/documents/jfk/northwoods.pdf

PeterLong , 9 minutes ago link

https://www.southcom.mil/Portals/7/Documents/Posture%20Statements/SOUTHCOM_2017_posture_statement_FINAL.pdf?ver=2017-04-06-105819-923

Joiningupthedots , 8 minutes ago link

The golden rule of finding yourself in a hole.......

STOP DIGGING!

gdpetti , 26 minutes ago link

BLah, blah, blah... in other words, the usual.... same as always... CIA's Crowley complained about these idiots after he retired... one example is the difference in Bush 1 and Bush Jr....

This plan is just the usual regime change script written about in many books... the only difference is how 'western' it is in targeting the mind of the masses... which only happens in 'democracies'.... real ones make you do that....

Wait till the puppets in DC really get frustrated... .and then see how frustrated their puppet masters get when their plans go awry as well... time is running out for both puppet and its master... Imagine being Putin and having to deal with these freaks.

mailll , 30 minutes ago link

I have a conspiracy theory. Since one of my theories is this: We want to gain control of Venezuela oil in order to secure oil imports coming into the US for when we attack Iran for the sake of Israel. The 22% of imports we get from the middle east, much of which comes from the Persian Gulf region, will be disrupted due to this war. And we would have a shortage here in the US along with skyrocketing oil prices. And we would surely bitch about it. But Venezuela oil will keep the oil coming into the US uninterrupted. And for those of you who believe we are energy independent, we are not. We use about 19 million barrels of oil per day, we produce about 12 million barrels per day, and we import about 6-7 million barrels of oil per day to help feed our craving for oil.

But to add to this conspiracy theory, I believe the window of opportunity is closing and the Zionists have to act quickly. So they will just say, OK, lets take Venezuela with our military and see how the world responds. We will never know until we try, so let's do it. And if it was a bad idea, don't worry boys, we are untouchable. We got away with it in Iraq, so let's do it again. Venezuela today, Iran tomorrow, and Israel always. They pay very well.

But this is just a conspiracy theory of mine, perhaps even a foolish one.

[May 07, 2019] Chris Hedges: The Demonization of Russia is Driven by Defense Contractors

Highly recommended!
Apr 05, 2019 | dandelionsalad.wordpress.com

RT America on Apr 3, 2019

Chris Hedges, host of "On Contact," joins Rick Sanchez to discuss the role of the Democratic establishment in the "Russiagate" media frenzy. He argues that it was an unsustainable narrative given the actions of the White House but that the Democratic elite are unable to face their own role in the economic and social crises for which they are in large part to blame. They also discuss NATO's expansionary tendencies and how profitable it is for US defense contractors.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/VkoH3l7c5cI

From the archives:

Barbara Mullin | April 7, 2019 at 10:29 AM

Years ago I kept hearing from the newsmedia that Russia was the "enemy".

Frontline had a show about "Putin's Brain". Even Free Speech TV shows like Bill Press and "The Nation" authors like Eric Alterman push the Hillary style warmongering and do nothing to expose the outright lies out there.

These are supposed to be thought outside of the corporate mainstream newsmedia. The emphasis only on Trump and Fox News is totally hypocritical.

[Mar 20, 2019] In a remarkable report by British Channel 4, former CIA officials and a Reuters correspondent spoke candidly about the systematic dissemination of propaganda and misinformation in reporting on geopolitical conflicts

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... A study of the Syria war coverage by nine leading European newspapers clearly illustrates these issues: 78% of all articles are based in whole or in part on agency reports, yet 0% on investigative research. Moreover, 82% of all opinion pieces and interviews are in favor of the US and NATO intervention, while propaganda is attributed exclusively to the opposite side... ..."
Mar 07, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

ex-SA , Mar 5, 2019 3:55:53 PM | 13

Thank you! This may well be the most important link I've encountered in my years of lurking here @ MoA and elsewhere.

There is a video linked in the article which may be more important than the article itself. Easily overlooked, so here: https://swprs.org/video-the-cia-and-the-media/

It appears in the article here:

"In a remarkable report by British Channel 4, former CIA officials and a Reuters correspondent spoke candidly about the systematic dissemination of propaganda and misinformation in reporting on geopolitical conflicts:"

Many thanks, and much respect to you Sir for bringing this important piece to my attention.

May I humbly offer in return, https://archive.org/details/publicenemyno1 (don't neglect the 2nd reel)

Desolation Row , Mar 5, 2019 6:41:25 PM | link
I apologize for another somewhat off topic posting, but I have not seen it posted here earlier, and I think that this should be seen by as many eyes as possible.

The Propaganda Multiplier:How Global News Agencies and Western Media Report on Geopolitics

By Swiss Propaganda Research

It is one of the most important aspects of our media system -- and yet hardly known to the public: most of the international news coverage in Western media is provided by only three global news agencies based in New York, London and Paris.

The key role played by these agencies means that Western media often report on the same topics, even using the same wording. In addition, governments, military and intelligence services use these global news agencies as multipliers to spread their messages around the world.

A study of the Syria war coverage by nine leading European newspapers clearly illustrates these issues: 78% of all articles are based in whole or in part on agency reports, yet 0% on investigative research. Moreover, 82% of all opinion pieces and interviews are in favor of the US and NATO intervention, while propaganda is attributed exclusively to the opposite side...

[Mar 18, 2019] The Why are the media playing lapdog and not watchdog – again – on war in Iraq?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children. ..."
"... Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War". ..."
"... The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war. ..."
"... the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces. ..."
"... The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening ..."
"... In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing. ..."
"... The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. ..."
"... Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet. ..."
"... But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day. ..."
Oct 10, 2014 | The Guardian
BradBenson, 10 October 2014 6:14pm
The American Public has gotten exactly what it deserved. They have been dumbed-down in our poor-by-intention school systems. The moronic nonsense that passes for news in this country gets more sensational with each passing day. Over on Fox, they are making the claim that ISIS fighters are bringing Ebola over the Mexican Border, which prompted a reply by the Mexican Embassy that won't be reported on Fox.

We continue to hear and it was even reported in this very fine article by Ms. Benjamin that the American People now support this new war. Really? I'm sorry, but I haven't seen that support anywhere but on the news and I just don't believe it any more.

There is also the little problem of infiltration into key media slots by paid CIA Assets (Scarborough and brainless Mika are two of these double dippers). Others are intermarried. Right-wing Neocon War Criminal Dan Senor is married to "respected" newsperson Campbell Brown who is now involved in privatizing our school system. Victoria Nuland, the slimey State Department Official who was overheard appointing the members of the future Ukrainian Government prior to the Maidan Coup is married to another Neo-Con--Larry Kagan. Even sweet little Andrea Mitchell is actually Mrs. Alan Greenspan.

General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children.

Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War".

Yesterday there was a coordinated action by all of the networks, which was clearly designed to support the idea that the generals want Obama to act and he just won't. The not-so-subtle message was that the generals were right and that the President's "inaction" was somehow out of line-since, after all, the generals have recommended more war. It was as if these people don't remember that the President, sleazy War Criminal that he is, is still the Commander in Chief.

The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war.

Finally, this Sunday every NFL Game will begin with some Patriotic "Honor America" Display, which will include a missing man flyover, flags and fireworks, plenty of uniforms, wounded Vets and soon-to-be-wounded Vets. A giant American Flag will, once again, cover the fields and hundreds of stupid young kids will rush down to their "Military Career Center" right after the game. These are the ones that I pity most.

BaronVonAmericano , 10 October 2014 6:26pm
Let's be frank: powerful interests want war and subsequent puppet regimes in the half dozen nations that the neo-cons have been eyeing (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan). These interests surely include industries like banking, arms and oil-all of whom make a killing on any war, and would stand to do well with friendly governments who could finance more arms purchases and will never nationalize the oil.

So, the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces.

IanB52, 10 October 2014 6:57pm

The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening. When I'm down at the gym they always have CNN on (I can only imagine what FOX is like) which is a pretty much dyed in the wool yellow jingoist station at this point. With all the segments they dedicate to ISIS, a new war, the "imminent" terrorist threat, they seem to favor talking heads who support a full ground war and I have never, not once, heard anyone even speak about the mere possibility of peace. Not ever.

In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing.

I'd imagine that these media companies have a lot stock in and a cozy relationship with the defense contractors.

Damiano Iocovozzi, 10 October 2014 7:04pm

The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. The media doesn't report on anything but relies on repeating manufactured crises, creating manufactured consent & discussing manufactured solutions. Follow the oil, the pipelines & the money. Both R's & D's are left & right cheeks of the same buttock. Thanks to Citizens United & even Hobby Lobby, a compliant Supreme Court, also owned by United States of Corporations, it's a done deal.

ID5868758 , 10 October 2014 10:20pm
Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet.

Let me give you one clear example. A year ago Barack Obama came very close to bombing Syria to kingdom come, the justification used was "Assad gassed his own people", referring to a sarin gas attack near Damascus. Well, it turns out that Assad did not initiate that attack, discovered by research from many sources including the prestigious MIT, it was a false flag attack planned by Turkey and carried out by some of Obama's own "moderate rebels".

But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day.

[Mar 15, 2019] Will Democrats Go Full Hawk by Jack Hunter

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Warren could have easily gone either way, succumbing to the emotive demands of the Never Trump mob. She instead opted to stick to the traditional progressive position on undeclared war, even if it meant siding with the president. ..."
"... Bravo Congressman Khanna. And to those progs who share his sympathies with those of us who have consistently opposed US military adventurism. Howard Dean's comments that American troops should take a bullet in support of "women's rights" in Afghanistan (!) only underscores why he serves as comic relief and really should consider wearing tassels and bells. ..."
"... Trump – and Bernie – put their fingers on the electoral zeitgeist in 2016: the oligarchy is out of control, its servants in Washington have turned their backs on the middle class, and we need to stop getting into stupid, needless wars. ..."
"... "Principles", LOL? What principles? When have Democrats ever not campaigned on a "bring them home, no torture, etc" peace platform and then governed on a deep state neocon foreign policy, with entitlements to drone anyone on earth in Obama's case? At least horrible neocon Republicans are honest enough to say what they believe when they run. ..."
"... Hillary was full hawk. It was Trump who said he was less hawkish. Yeah, he hasn't lived up to that either. But Democrats can't go hawkish in response. They already were the hawks. ..."
Mar 14, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

When President Donald Trump announced in December that he wanted an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, there was more silence and opposition from the Left than approval. The 2016 election's highest-profile progressive, Senator Bernie Sanders, said virtually nothing at the time. The 2018 midterm election's Left celeb, former congressman Beto O'Rourke, kept mum too. The 2004 liberal hero, Howard Dean, came out against troop withdrawals, saying they would damage women's rights in Afghanistan.

The liberal news outlet on which Warren made her statement, MSNBC, which had already been sounding more like Fox News circa 2003, warned that withdrawal from Syria could hurt national security. The left-leaning news channel has even made common cause with Bill Kristol and other neoconservatives in its shared opposition to all things Trump.

Maddow herself has not only vocally opposed the president's decision, but has become arguably more popular than ever with liberal viewers by peddling wild-eyed anti-Trump conspiracy theories worthy of Alex Jones. Reacting to one of her cockamamie theories, progressive journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted , "She is Glenn Beck standing at the chalkboard. Liberals celebrate her (relatively) high ratings as proof that she's right, but Beck himself proved that nothing produces higher cable ratings than feeding deranged partisans unhinged conspiracy theories that flatter their beliefs."

The Trump derangement that has so enveloped the Left on everything, including foreign policy, is precisely what makes Democratic presidential candidate Warren's Syria withdrawal position so noteworthy. One can safely assume that Sanders, O'Rourke, Dean, MSNBC, Maddow, and many of their fellow progressive travelers' silence on or resistance to troop withdrawal is simply them gauging what their liberal audiences currently want or will accept.

Warren could have easily gone either way, succumbing to the emotive demands of the Never Trump mob. She instead opted to stick to the traditional progressive position on undeclared war, even if it meant siding with the president.

... ... ...

Jack Hunter is the former political editor of Rare.us and co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Senator Rand Paul.


WorkingClass March 13, 2019 at 10:36 pm

Only a crushing defeat and massive casualties on the battlefield will cause ANY change in foreign policy by either party.
PAX , says: March 13, 2019 at 10:45 pm
The antiwar movement is not a "liberal" movement. Hundreds of mainly your people addressed the San Francisco board of supervisors asking them to condemn an Israeli full-fledged attack on Gaza. When they were finished, without objection from one single supervisor, the issued was tabled and let sink permanently in the Bay, never to be heard of again. Had the situation been reversed and Israel under attack there most probably would have been a resolution in nanoseconds. Maybe even half the board volunteering to join the IDF? People believed Trump would act more objectively. That is why he got a lot of peace votes. What AIPAC wants there is a high probability our liberal politicians will oblige quickly and willingly. Who really represents America remains a mystery?
Donald , says: March 13, 2019 at 11:40 pm
"That abiding hatred will continue to play an outsized and often illogical role in determining what most Democrats believe about foreign policy."

True, but the prowar tendency with mainstream liberals ( think Clintonites) is older than that. The antiwar movement among mainstream liberals died the instant Obama entered the White House. And even before that Clinton and Kerry and others supported the Iraq War. I think this goes all the way back to Gulf War I, and possibly further. Democrats were still mostly antiwar to some degree after Vietnam and they also opposed Reagan's proxy wars in Central America and Angola. Some opposed the Gulf War, but it seemed a big success at the time and so it became centrist and smart to kick the Vietnam War syndrome and be prowar. Bill Clinton has his little war in Serbia, which was seen as a success and so being prowar became the centrist Dem position. Obama was careful to say he wasn't antiwar, just against dumb wars. Gore opposed going into Iraq, but on technocratic grounds.

And in popular culture, in the West Wing the liberal fantasy President was bombing an imaginary Mideast terrorist country. Showed he was a tough guy, but measured, unlike some of the even more warlike fictitious Republicans in that show. I remember Toby Ziegler, one of the main characters, ranting to his pro diplomacy wife that we needed to go in and civilize those crazy Muslims.

So it isn't just an illogical overreaction to Trump, though that is part of it.

polistra , says: March 14, 2019 at 2:18 am
Won't happen. Gabbard is solid and sincere but she's not Hillary so she won't be the candidate. Hillary is the candidate forever. If Hillary is too drunk to stand up, or too obviously dead, Kamala will serve as Hillary's regent.
ked_x , says: March 14, 2019 at 2:48 am
The problem isn't THAT Trump is pulling the troops out of Syria. The problem is HOW Trump is pulling the troops out of Syria. The Left isn't fighting about 'keeping troops indefinitely in Syria' vs pulling troops out of Syria'. Its a fight over 'pulling troops out in a way that makes it so that we don't have to go back in like Obama and Iraq' vs 'backing the reckless pull out Trump is going to do'.
Kasoy , says: March 14, 2019 at 3:42 am
Will Democrats go full hawk?

For Democrats, everything depends on what the polls say, which issues seem important to get elected. They will say anything, no matter how irrational & outrageously insane if the polls say Democrat voters like them. If American involvement in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan are less important according to the polls, Democratic 2020 hopefuls will not bother to focus on it.

For True Christian conservatives, everything depends on how issues line up to God's laws. Polls do not change what is morally right, & what is morally evil.

Connecticut Farmer , says: March 14, 2019 at 8:47 am
"I am glad Donald Trump is withdrawing troops from Syria. Congress never authorized the intervention."

Bravo Congressman Khanna. And to those progs who share his sympathies with those of us who have consistently opposed US military adventurism. Howard Dean's comments that American troops should take a bullet in support of "women's rights" in Afghanistan (!) only underscores why he serves as comic relief and really should consider wearing tassels and bells.

M. Orban , says: March 14, 2019 at 9:35 am
Having grown up under communism, I learned that it is dangerous but inevitable that propagandists eventually come to believe their own fabrications.
Argon , says: March 14, 2019 at 11:23 am
Kasoy: "For True Christian conservatives, everything depends on how issues line up to God's laws. Polls do not change what is morally right, & what is morally evil."

I think that needs the trademark symbol, i.e True Christians™

What do True Scotsmen do?

Dave , says: March 14, 2019 at 12:53 pm
Recent suggests that more Christian Identity Politics will not keep us out of unwise wars.
Dave , says: March 14, 2019 at 1:19 pm
The Second Coming of Jack Hunter. Given his well-documented views on race, it's no surprise he's all in on Trump. That surely outweighs Trump's massive spending and corruption that most true libertarians oppose.
EarlyBird , says: March 14, 2019 at 3:04 pm
Trump – and Bernie – put their fingers on the electoral zeitgeist in 2016: the oligarchy is out of control, its servants in Washington have turned their backs on the middle class, and we need to stop getting into stupid, needless wars.

Of course, the left would come out against puppies and sunshine if Trump came out for those things.

But if they are smart, they'd recognize that on war, or his lack of interest in starting new wars, even the broken Trump clock has been right twice a day.

Erin , says: March 14, 2019 at 3:11 pm
The flip side of this phenomenon is that so many Republican voters supported Trump's withdrawal from Syria. Had it been Obama withdrawing the troops, I suspect 80-90% of Republicans would have opposed the withdrawal.

This does show that Republicans are listening to Trump more than Lindsey Graham or Marco Rubio on foreign policy. But once Trump leaves office, I fear the party will swing back towards the neocons.

Andrew , says: March 14, 2019 at 5:14 pm
"Principles", LOL? What principles? When have Democrats ever not campaigned on a "bring them home, no torture, etc" peace platform and then governed on a deep state neocon foreign policy, with entitlements to drone anyone on earth in Obama's case? At least horrible neocon Republicans are honest enough to say what they believe when they run.

Dopey Trump campaigned on something different and has now surrounded himself with GOP hawks, probably because he's lazy and doesn't know any better.

Bernie, much like Ron Paul was, 180 degrees away, is the only one who might do different if he got into office, and the rate the left is going he may very well be the nominee.

Mark Thomason , says: March 15, 2019 at 11:23 am
Hillary was full hawk. It was Trump who said he was less hawkish. Yeah, he hasn't lived up to that either. But Democrats can't go hawkish in response. They already were the hawks.

The least bad comment on Democrats is that everyone in DC is a hawk, not just them.

[Feb 19, 2019] Tulsi Gabbard kills New World Order bloodbath in thirty seconds

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Tulsi Gabbard has recently launched a new attack on New World Order agents and ethnic cleansers in the Middle East, and one can see why they would be upset with her ..."
"... Gabbard is smart enough to realize that the Neocon path leads to death, chaos, and destruction. She knows that virtually nothing good has come out of the Israeli narrative in the Middle East -- a narrative which has brought America on the brink of collapse in the Middle East. Therefore, she is asking for a U-turn. ..."
"... The first step for change, she says, is to "stand up against powerful politicians from both parties" who take their orders from the Neocons and war machine. These people don't care about you, me, the average American, the people in the Middle East, or the American economy for that matter. They only care about fulfilling a diabolical ideology in the Middle East and much of the world. These people ought to stop once and for all. Regardless of your political views, you should all agree with Gabbard here. ..."
Feb 19, 2019 | www.veteranstoday.com

Tulsi Gabbard has recently launched a new attack on New World Order agents and ethnic cleansers in the Middle East, and one can see why they would be upset with her. She said:

" We must stand up against powerful politicians from both parties who sit in their ivory towers thinking up new wars to wage, new places for people to die, wasting trillions of our taxpayer dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives and undermining our economy, our security, and destroying our middle class."

It is too early to formulate a complete opinion on Gabbard, but she has said the right thing so far. In fact, her record is better than numerous presidents, both past and present.

As we have documented in the past, Gabbard is an Iraq war veteran, and she knew what happened to her fellow soldiers who died for Israel, the Neocon war machine, and the military industrial complex. She also seems to be aware that the war in Iraq alone will cost American taxpayers at least six trillion dollars. [1] She is almost certainly aware of the fact that at least "360,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans may have suffered brain injuries." [2]

Gabbard is smart enough to realize that the Neocon path leads to death, chaos, and destruction. She knows that virtually nothing good has come out of the Israeli narrative in the Middle East -- a narrative which has brought America on the brink of collapse in the Middle East. Therefore, she is asking for a U-turn.

The first step for change, she says, is to "stand up against powerful politicians from both parties" who take their orders from the Neocons and war machine. These people don't care about you, me, the average American, the people in the Middle East, or the American economy for that matter. They only care about fulfilling a diabolical ideology in the Middle East and much of the world. These people ought to stop once and for all. Regardless of your political views, you should all agree with Gabbard here.


[Feb 19, 2019] Warmongers in their ivory towers - YouTube

Highly recommended!
This is a powerful political statement... Someaht similar to Tucker Carlson stance...
Feb 19, 2019 | www.youtube.com

"We must stand up against powerful politicians from both parties who sit in their ivory towers thinking up new wars to wage, new places for people to die, wasting trillions of our taxpayer dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives and undermining our economy, our security, and destroying our middle class."

[Feb 17, 2019] The goal of any war is the redistribution of taxpayer money into the bank accounts of MIC shareholders and executives

Highly recommended!
The USA state of continuous war has been a bipartisan phenomenon starting with Truman in Korea and proceeding with Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and now Syria. It doesn't take a genius to realize that these limited, never ending wars are expensive was to enrich MIC and Wall Street banksters
Notable quotes:
"... Yes the neocons have a poor track record but they've succeeded at turning our republic into an empire. The mainstream media and elites of practically all western nations are unanimously pro-war. Neither political party has defined a comprehensive platform to rebuild our republic. ..."
Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

KC February 15, 2019 at 11:16 pm

The one thing your accurate analysis leaves out is that the goal of US wars is never what the media spouts for its Wall Street masters. The goal of any war is the redistribution of taxpayer money into the bank accounts of MIC shareholders and executives, create more enemies to be fought in future wars, and to provide a rationalization for the continued primacy of the military class in US politics and culture.

Occasionally a country may be sitting on a bunch of oil, and also be threatening to move away from the petrodollar or talking about allowing an "adversary" to build a pipeline across their land.

Otherwise war is a racket unto itself. "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. "
― George Orwell

Also we've always been at war with Oceania .or whatever that quote said.

Barry F Keane , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:11 pm
Yes the neocons have a poor track record but they've succeeded at turning our republic into an empire. The mainstream media and elites of practically all western nations are unanimously pro-war. Neither political party has defined a comprehensive platform to rebuild our republic.

Even you, Tucker Carlson, mock the efforts of Ilhan Omar for criticizing AIPAC and Elliott Abrams.

I don't personally care for many of her opinions but that's not what matters: if we elect another neocon government we won't last another generation. Like the lady asked Ben Franklin "What kind of government have you bequeathed us?", and Franklin answered "A republic, madam, if you can keep it."

[Dec 21, 2018] Trump End the Syria War Now by Eric Margolis

Highly recommended!
This article written more then a year ago still reads as today analysis of the situation. Bravo !
Notable quotes:
"... That's fine, but the problem is that Trump's track record so far makes it impossible to give him unalloyed credit for this. ..."
"... Who exactly is the US at war against in Syria and why is it going on? http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-u-s-military-bases-in-syria-their-precise-location-is-known/5600527 ..."
"... Trump has decided. Perhaps. But do the CIA and/or Pentagon really care what Trump decides? Thank you for this concise summation of Imperial Washington's war against Syria. ..."
"... The goal of supporting the Kurds is still a priority, to advance Israel's fall back position of partition. It would prefer the chaos of a regime run by jihadi scum (not going to happen thanks to V. Putin) but either way we'll do Israel's bidding. ..."
"... As so often, the weakness of the argument is obvious in the first sentence: "Many Americans voted for Donald Trump because he vowed to end the foreign conflicts in which the US had become entangled". I can't say I recall any such vow. Trump is a master of doubletalk. He says everything and the contrary of everything. ..."
"... Where is the "Special Prosecutor" on this? Assange: 'CIA Not Only Armed Syria's Insurgents -- It Paid Their Salaries' http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=57076 ..."
"... "Pompeo and David B. Rivkin Jr., a senior fellow at the neoconservative think-tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies, argued in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal that "Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed." Pompeo has also suggested that National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden should be executed." ..."
"... ZeroHedge: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-23/five-weird-conspiracy-theories-cia-director-mike-pompeo "Mike Pompeo sounds increasingly unhinged when talking about Russia, Wikileaks and the media" ..."
"... U.S. Special Operations Commander Tony Thomas confirmed Friday that the U.S. had ended its covert program aiding rebel groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad, saying the decision was made after assessing the years-long operation's capabilities and by no means an effort to curry favor with Assad's chief backer, Moscow ..."
"... Lavrov has some pretty direct and well-deserved words for Obama. Thus, Lavrov compares Obama to a small kid unable to comprehend the responsibilities of his position of a President of the US. ..."
"... Oded Yinon in his famous article "proceeds to analyze the weaknesses of Arab countries concluding that Israel should aim to bring about the fragmentation of the Arab world into a mosaic of ethnic and confessional groupings. "Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation," he argued, would prove to be advantageous to Israel in the short term. Ilan Peleg described it as "an authentic mirror of the thinking mode of the Israeli Right at the height of Begin's rule." Chomsky warned against complacency about these fringe ideas since, he argued: "(t)he entire history of Zionism and later that of Israel, particularly since 1967, is one of a gradual shift towards the positions of those formerly regarded as right-wing extremists." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yinon_Plan ..."
"... van Creveld also stated: "We have the capability of taking the world down with us. And I assure you that will happen before Israel goes down." Food for thought! ..."
"... Tucker and Tulsi on Syria vs CIAria https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IGAXJNzPfU ..."
Jul 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

Many Americans voted for Donald Trump because he vowed to end the foreign conflicts in which the US had become entangled. So far, they have been disappointed. But this week a light flashed at the end of the tunnel.

President Trump, according to numerous reliable Washington sources, has decided to end US arms supplies and logistics support to Syria's jihadist rebels that have fuelled the bloody six-year conflict. Washington, and its allies Britain and France, have persistently denied arming Syria's jihadist rebels fighting to bring down the Russian and Iranian-backed government of President Bashar Assad.

Former President George W. Bush actively considered invading Syria around 2008 in collusion with Israel. But the Israelis then pointed out that there were no Western-friendly groups to replace Assad, only extreme militant Sunni Muslim groups. Even the usually reckless Bush called off the invasion of Syria.

By contrast, Barack Obama gave a green light to the CIA to arm, train and logistically support anti-Assad jihadist rebels in Syria. Arms poured in from Lebanon and, later, Turkey, paid for by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates. Small numbers of US, British and French advisors went to Syria to teach the jihadists how to use mortars, explosives, and anti-tank weapons. The media's claim that the fighting in Syria was due to a spontaneous popular uprising was false. The repressive Assad government was widely unpopular but the uprising was another CIA 'color-style' operation.

The object of this operation was to overthrow President Assad and his Shiite-leaning regime, which was supported by Iran, a bogeyman to all the US-backed feudal Arab oil monarchies. Syria was also to be punished because it refused Washington's demands to sever ties with Iran and accept US tutelage.

Then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton championed the covert war against Syria, arranging massive shipments of arms and munitions to the rebels from Kadaffi-era arms stores in Libya, and from Egypt, Croatia, likely Serbia, Bulgaria and Azerbaijan. Once again, the Gulf Arabs paid the bill.

The offensive against Syria was accompanied by a powerful barrage of anti-Assad propaganda from the US and British media. From the background, Israel and its partisans beat the war drum against the Assad government.

The result of the western-engendered carnage in Syria was horrendous: at least 475,000 dead, 5 million Syrian refugees driven into exile in neighboring states (Turkey alone hosts three million), and another 6 million internally displaced. That is, some 11 million Syrians, or 61% of the population, driven from their homes into wretched living conditions and near famine.

Two of Syria's greatest and oldest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, have been pounded into ruins. Jihadist massacres and Russian and American air strikes have ravaged once beautiful, relatively prosperous Syria. Its ancient Christian peoples are fleeing for their lives before US and Saudi takfiri religious fanatics.

Just when it appeared the jihadists were closing in on Damascus, limited but effective Russian military intervention abruptly changed the course of the war. The Syrian Army was able to regain the military initiative and push back the jihadists. Intermixed with so-called 'takfiri' rebels are some 3,000 ISIS jihadists who were originally armed and equipped by US advisors but have now run amok. They are under fierce western air attack in Syria and Iraq and are splintering.

Russia and the US have been inching toward a major war over Syria. In fact, US intervention has been far more extensive than generally believed, as this writer has been reporting for the past five years. Turkish media linked to the government in Ankara has just revealed that the US has at least ten small military bases in northern Syria being used to support rebel jihadist forces.

Meanwhile, the US is now relying almost entirely on Kurdish militias, know in Syria as YPG, to attack ISIS and act in US interests. This has outraged Turkey, which regards YPG as part of the hated Kurdish independence movement, PKK, against which Turkey has fought for two decades. During the 1980's, I covered the Turkish-PKK conflict in eastern Anatolia.

If YPG/PKK emerges victorious from the Syrian conflict, Kurdish demands for an independent state in south eastern Turkey will intensify, threatening the breakup of the Turkish state. Kurds make up some 20% of Turkey's population of 80 million.

For this very important reason, Turkey has been pulling away from US-run NATO, and warming relations with Moscow. Turkey has NATO's second largest armed forces and key airbases that cover the Mideast.

Trump's announced retreat from Syria -- if it turns out to be real -- will mark a major turning point in US-Russian relations. It could well avoid a clash between Russia and the US, both nuclear powers. The US has no real business in Syria and no strategic interests

America's powerful neocons, who have been pressing for war against Russia, will be furious. Expect the media war against Trump to intensify. So too claims that Trump colluded with Moscow to get elected.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2017


Randal , says: July 22, 2017 at 8:58 pm GMT

But this week a light flashed at the end of the tunnel. President Trump, according to numerous reliable Washington sources, has decided to end US arms supplies and logistics support to Syria's jihadist rebels that have fuelled the bloody six-year conflict.

That's fine, but the problem is that Trump's track record so far makes it impossible to give him unalloyed credit for this. At the moment it has to be counted as just another "up" moment in the rollercoaster ride that has been the Trump presidency so far. Will it foreshadow further moves towards sanity in foreign policy? Or will it just be followed by another literally stupid lurch back to the neocon-driven norm?

Looked at optimistically, you can read it as a sign that the underlying sensibleness of the patriotic "America first" noninterventionist approach (as opposed to the usual Israel/Saudi first, or US-uber-alles militarism, or "humanitarian interventionism" approach) is finally prevailing, or at least as a sign of a reduction in the US regime drive towards direct confrontation of Russia.

But looked at pessimistically, it's just an admission of the already obvious failure of one particular interventionist approach and its termination in favour of alternative approaches to the same ends, which will be followed by some idiocy such as another childish murder of Syrian conscripts when Trump is shown some more emotionally manipulative photographs.

Time will tell.

exiled off mainstreet , says: July 23, 2017 at 2:18 am GMT
Kudos to Mr. Margolis for penning an excellent article describing the real facts of the matter against the prevailing propaganda narrative and placing the blame, including by implication war crimes responsibility, where it belongs.
Gg Mo , says: July 23, 2017 at 3:14 am GMT
Why is NO ONE at UNZ covering the UN pay-to-play Corruption/Bribery trial of Ng Lap Seng ? More coming down the pike involving Ban Ki Moon's brother ! Thank Goodness for Mattew Lee at Inner City Press ! https://youtu.be/62YnvqveGYU
UNZ should DEFINITELY carry his reportage as he seems to be the ONLY one at the Pressers w/ Dujarric asking questions about ANYTHING at the UN.

http://www.innercitypress.com/unbribery63uncooperativeun072217.html

Russ , says: July 23, 2017 at 4:08 am GMT
A sidelined John McCain should be a greatly reduced impediment to an exit from Syria.
NoseytheDuke , says: July 23, 2017 at 4:12 am GMT
Who exactly is the US at war against in Syria and why is it going on? http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-u-s-military-bases-in-syria-their-precise-location-is-known/5600527
SND , says: July 23, 2017 at 4:28 am GMT

Former President George W. Bush actively considered invading Syria around 2008 in collusion with Israel. But the Israelis then pointed out that there were no Western-friendly groups to replace Assad, only extreme militant Sunni Muslim groups. Even the usually reckless Bush called off the invasion of Syria.

You mean the Israeli government's desire that the US fragment Middle Eastern Arab states for Israel's hegemonic purposes is actually a concern for "Western-friendly groups?" And the repeated Israeli statements that "ISIS would be better than Assad" means they totally changed their mind since Bush days? Something doesn't smell quite right here.

WorkingClass , says: July 23, 2017 at 4:29 am GMT

President Trump, according to numerous reliable Washington sources, has decided to end US arms supplies and logistics support to Syria's jihadist rebels that have fueled the bloody six-year conflict.

Trump has decided. Perhaps. But do the CIA and/or Pentagon really care what Trump decides? Thank you for this concise summation of Imperial Washington's war against Syria.

jilles dykstra , says: July 23, 2017 at 6:25 am GMT
The great thing resulting from the election of Trump is that it made quite clear how undemocratic the USA is, and how Israel influences, tries to determine, USA foreign policy. Trump and Putin agree on a partial cease fire in Syria, who objects ?: Netanyahu. What media continue accusing Trump on collusion with the enemy, Russia ? CNN, Washpost and NYT. I hope Trump survives the Cold Civil War. Kennedy did not.
Ace , says: July 23, 2017 at 8:47 am GMT
@Randal The goal of supporting the Kurds is still a priority, to advance Israel's fall back position of partition. It would prefer the chaos of a regime run by jihadi scum (not going to happen thanks to V. Putin) but either way we'll do Israel's bidding.

Mr. Margolis is must read for me but I wonder at his embrace of the "repressive," "unpopular" Assad regime view. I don't get that impression and it is certainly not the view of Eva Bartlett or Vanessa Beeley. The chemical weapons stuff is complete garbage as Margolis knows.

Renoman , says: July 23, 2017 at 8:50 am GMT
Trump will be very popular if he pulls this off, war in Syria is not in the US interest and being friends with Russia is a smart move. Go Trump!
Good article Eric!
Miro23 , says: July 23, 2017 at 9:01 am GMT

The result of the western-engendered carnage in Syria was horrendous: at least 475,000 dead, 5 million Syrian refugees driven into exile in neighboring states (Turkey alone hosts three million), and another 6 million internally displaced. That is, some 11 million Syrians, or 61% of the population, driven from their homes into wretched living conditions and near famine.

You can lay all this at the door of Israel, US Neo-cons and their Congressional and MSM collaborators + treasonous leaders like Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Same for the Iraq war (duck shoot) with its WMD lies and the MSM 9/11 trigger "Event". The US as an Israeli colony is a disaster for the people of Iraq, Libya and Syria and it's also the worst news for the 98% of Gentiles in the US who have now lost their country to these Zionist freaks.

Greg Bacon , says: Website July 23, 2017 at 9:08 am GMT
To claim that Israel got Bush the Mad to back off from invading Syria because they were concerned about moderate head choppers being the only ones who would fill the power vacuum is laughable. Israel has supported these thugs many times with medical care, money, shelter in the stolen Golan and most importantly, their MSM buddies printing all those stories about how Assad must go.

Israel had been directing its colony, the formerly free USA, to bust up Syria and murder Assad and that we have been faithfully trying to do, but that damned Putin got in the way, so sic the MSM on him and his buddy Trump.

The illegal war against Syria is far from over, Israel is PO that Syria hasn't been destroyed and they will not take lightly some chump like Trump interfering with their plans.

lavoisier , says: Website July 23, 2017 at 9:40 am GMT
@Russ I think that is a good observation. I also believe his traitorous sidekick Graham will also be a little less vocal about his support for world destruction now that his comrade in stupidity has fallen. These two obviously are bought and paid for by the Zionists. There is no other explanation for their predictable level of malice and stupidity.
jacques sheete , says: July 23, 2017 at 11:17 am GMT
@Russ

A sidelined John McCain should be a greatly reduced impediment to an exit from Syria.

Let's hope so. Unfortunately there is no shortage of crackpots to replace that reeking glob of slime.

Lemurmaniac , says: July 23, 2017 at 11:18 am GMT
All good points but its disgusting how left anti imperialists care more about a foreign people than the colonization and dispossession of the their own group by hordes of 'the other' from the global south under the aegis of neoliberal ideology.
Che Guava , says: July 23, 2017 at 1:15 pm GMT
Well, we non-USA can only be hoping. That order was one of the better, anybody who is reading English is to knowing that the building attack had nothing to do with a consulate, but the consul happened to be there at the time. Sure, probably CIA. The weapons-running operation certainly was.

Hillary was terrible to making 'The Kindness of Muslims' maker the scapegoat, sending him to prison in defiance of his rights, I only saw the short, but it was both apt and funny, if there is a feature-length version, I would love to seeing it. It did exist, it seems, was shown once or twice.

Aah, memory holes.

Michael Kenny , says: July 23, 2017 at 1:28 pm GMT
As so often, the weakness of the argument is obvious in the first sentence: "Many Americans voted for Donald Trump because he vowed to end the foreign conflicts in which the US had become entangled". I can't say I recall any such vow. Trump is a master of doubletalk. He says everything and the contrary of everything.

Mr Margolis, and others, heard what they wanted to hear and believed what they wanted to believe. Quite simply, they fell into the trap Trump set for them. Even if Trump wasn't the most pro-Israel president in US history, the Israel Lobby is there to see that US foreign policy suits Israel's interests. Israel sees Iran as its principal enemy. Putin has snuggled up to Iran and is propping up Iran's "ally", Assad. Israel thus needs to get both Assad and Putin out of Syria. By failing to stand up to Putin in Ukraine, Obama allowed him to discredit the US as Europe's, and by extension, Israel's protector and to discredit NATO as the instrument of that protection. For obvious reasons of geography, there's no way the US can defend Israel without the use of bases in Europe.

Thus, Trump has to restore US and NATO credibility and the only way to do that is to get Putin out of Ukraine and, ideally, out of power. The simplest way to do that is to fight him in Syria, where he's bogged down and cornered and cannot escape unless the US capitulates. Thus, arming or not arming this or that Syrian group is totally irrelevant. It just shows that the US can turn the heat up and down on Putin at will. I can't imagine, therefore, why US neocons would be "furious".

The longer Putin is bogged down in Syria, the better. The last thing Trump needs is to have anything he does, whether in Syria or Ukraine, billed as a "retreat" in regard to Putin. That will simply inflame Russiagate.

DESERT FOX , says: July 23, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT
Trumps word means nothing, and he never said a thing about the pentagram ending their support of Isis aka al ciada, so this is much ado about nothing, the Zionists want war and war they shall have until Zionist Israel destroys America.

Zionist Israel and the U.S. and Britain created isis aka al ciada and anyone who thinks they have given up on regime change and the greater Israel plan in the Mideast is sadly mistaken. America is under Zionist control.

DaveE , says: July 23, 2017 at 3:14 pm GMT
Could it be that Trump is waking up? In spite of all his bluster during the campaign, it's become obvious that Mr. Trump doesn't have the foggiest idea how government and politics actually works. It's just a LITTLE different than running a real-estate operation.

My opinion is that that Trump, being the very insecure egotist that he is, is beginning, just barely, to realize what people actually expect, not what the neocon con-artists and rigged "opinion polls" tell him the story is.

Is Trump, maybe, just kinda sorta maybe, waking up to slimeballs like his dirty little son-in-law he so fervently followed in the past?

Anyway, Trump has been scoring big lately with his chat with Putin and this kick to the neocons' sensitive area.

Let's all write the guy and tell him he's on the right track. I'm sure the "opinion polls" will tell him just the opposite, since they're nothing more than some Jew in an office in Brooklyn telling us what we believe.

Che Guava , says: July 23, 2017 at 3:27 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

You are so clearly a harmful propagandist on so many levels that I need not to pointing it out.

I am knowing that you are to making one or two of good points at times, but only to draw to all of your lies and stupid assumptions. Essentially, to making EU= NATO=zionism is the great thing to you, hate Russia is your cause.

Your 'Michael Kenny' is as much a pseudonym as mine. It is obvious. At least, when I am posting, it is from the heart of the person behind the pseudonym and of goodwill or to informing. Reading yours, it is very difficult to see any good intentions.

Many others here are to having critical faculties. They also will be seeing you for what you are, just a nasty and cheap propagandist, with posts that are always being too long.

Are you on some kind of 'net agent of influence programme? Sure is looking like it.

Joe Hide , says: July 23, 2017 at 3:44 pm GMT
The evidence seems to support the view that an informational war, with some actual murders, is taking place within and between, the CIA, FBI, NSA, other U.S. agencies and institutions. Also this happened in Russia but as Putin survived and consolidated power, it's much less so now. It is probably happening in many countries. I have come to the conclusion that these "hidden wars" within seemingly unified groups is part and parcel of human nature. The bad guy deceivers normally have a huge advantage in that they become much more skilled at deceiving. Their great disadvantage is that they eventually go so obviously nuts that nobody believes them anymore!
Randal , says: July 23, 2017 at 4:30 pm GMT

Their great disadvantage is that they eventually go so obviously nuts that nobody believes them anymore!

And yet John McCain and Lindsey Graham keep on getting re-elected, usually by huge margins.

Bruce Marshall , says: July 23, 2017 at 4:37 pm GMT
Where is the "Special Prosecutor" on this? Assange: 'CIA Not Only Armed Syria's Insurgents -- It Paid Their Salaries' http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=57076
Father Coughlin , says: July 23, 2017 at 4:59 pm GMT
Since the Resistance has relentlessly played the bogus Russia narrative to a point where it is hampering him from getting anything done (thus jeopardizing his reelection, if not some crazy impeachment attempt), Trump's only choice, according to Jiu-Jitsu, is to flip the script and make the Left the pro-War party. Go!
Sean , says: July 23, 2017 at 5:45 pm GMT

http://www.martin-van-creveld.com/disaster-area/
Some years ago I had the pleasure of coming across a book by the aged doyen of "oriental studies," Bernard Lewis. Titled What Went Wrong and first published in 2002, it tried to explain how and why the brilliant civilization of the Middle Ages had declined until, finally, it reached the point where the epithet "Arab" is positive only when applied to a horse.

Though I read it twice, I still do not know.

nsa , says: July 23, 2017 at 7:33 pm GMT
Must be tough typing out a couple thousand word screed re the destruction of the ME without mentioning the vile jooies and their total domination of American foreign policy in the area. The US Knesset on the Potomac is now actually trying to pass a law outlawing any criticism of the bloodthirsty Izzies ..with very stiff fines for offenders. Need any more evidence?
Alden , says: July 23, 2017 at 7:35 pm GMT
@Sean The brilliant Muslim civilization is a myth It never existed.

The Arabs conquered the Middle East and blundered into the legacy of Egypt, Persia Mesopotamia, Greece Rome, and the Byzantine empire. Claiming the Muslim primitive Arabs created the legacy of those civilizations is like saying Walter Raleigh developed tobacco or the Spanish conquerors developed potatoes and corn. Iranians still resent the conquest of their ancient civilization by the barbarian primitive Arabs

It took about 500 years but the Muslim Arabs destroyed those civilization. Morrish Spain? Every one of those great buildings, from architects and engineers to porters were built by European slaves.

It was the numerous Christians and less numerous Jews who kept things going. The Turks wouldn't even hire Muslim Arabs for any kind of government positions in the Arab countries. They used local Christians, Jews and imported slave Europeans.

I've read Bernard Lewis. He's outdated. For a long time in the 19th and early 20th century Jews wrote many of those books extolling the superiority of Muslim Jewish countries over us blue eyed barbarians. Lewis is one of those writers

Greg Bacon , says: Website July 23, 2017 at 7:38 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny For obvious reasons of geography, there's no way the US can defend Israel without the use of bases in Europe.

Why should the USA defend Israel from its horrible choices, especially being an Apartheid nightmare? Why should we defend a nation that has attacked our ships, bases and personnel numerous times? Why should we defend a nation that has control of our economy thru their choke-hold on the FED and Treasury? Why should we defend a nation that acts like a spoiled child anytime it doesn't get it's way and goes on murderous rampages against the world's biggest concentration camp, Gaza? Why should we defend a nation that attacked us on 9/11, then had their MSM whores blame the Muslim world?

http://www.911history.de/aaannxyz_ch01_en.html

Art , says: July 23, 2017 at 8:34 pm GMT
The illness of McCain will give the prospects for cooperation between the US and Russian a big boost. Here is an interesting article on the subject.

Dismantling McCain's Disastrous Legacy Should Now Be Trump's Top Priority

By Tom Luongo

The Arizona senator's absence creates a unique opportunity for President Trump to alter the course of our foreign and domestic policy. From Iraq to Libya, Syria to Afghanistan and right up to Russia's borders in Ukraine, McCain's bloody paw prints are all over more than a decade of American foreign policy blunders.

http://freedom4um.com/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=20873

exiled off mainstreet , says: July 23, 2017 at 9:05 pm GMT
@Greg Bacon The attempted sinking of the USS Liberty in 1967 and the actions of the US government since reveal 50 years of the Israeli tail wagging the yankee dog. It is unprecedented in history for an auxilliary satellite state to so dominate the foreign policy actions of what should be the dominant power. Whether or not 9-11 was a conspiracy is interesting but not dispositive, since whatever its cause, whether or not intentionally planned or simply allowed to happen, as I suspect, the event was used as a Reichstag fire event by the yankee regime and its Israeli patrons to brush aside any remaining opposition to the neocon project. By the way, I am totally convinced that the anthrax attacks occurring in the wake of 9-11 were to secure this result.
annamaria , says: July 23, 2017 at 9:36 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke " ten U.S. bases in the Syrian provinces of Al-Hasakah, Manbij and Raqqa, as well as in the areas of Harab-Isk and Rmeilan The source also reported on the number of the U.S. servicemen deployed at these bases."
Splendid. Illegally, on a territory of the sovereign state of Syria, without any permission from the Syrian government. http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-u-s-military-bases-in-syria-their-precise-location-is-known/5600527
But for the demonizers of Iran and apologists of Kievan junta, the US involvement in Syria is a clear case of bringing the "democracy on the march."
annamaria , says: July 23, 2017 at 9:38 pm GMT
@WorkingClass "But do the CIA and/or Pentagon really care what Trump decides?"
-- You mean, the CIA and/or Pentagon will jump as high as the Lobby tell them to jump?
annamaria , says: July 23, 2017 at 9:42 pm GMT
@Miro23 "The US as an Israeli colony is a disaster for the people of Iraq, Libya, and Syria "
Agree. A minor addition: The US as an Israeli colony is a disaster for the people of the US as well.
utu , says: July 23, 2017 at 9:45 pm GMT
@Alden "in the 19th and early 20th century Jews wrote many of those books extolling the superiority of Muslim Jewish countries over us blue eyed barbarians"

Correct. But in the 2nd half of 20 c. the winds of history shifted with the creation of state of Israel and Jewish historians decided to write the history anew in which Muslims were not so good anymore. Father of Netanyahu was one of them.

Which Jewish historians do you want to believe?

annamaria , says: July 23, 2017 at 9:47 pm GMT
@Greg Bacon "Israel had been directing its colony, the formerly free USA, to bust up Syria and murder Assad and that we have been faithfully trying to do, but that damned Putin got in the way "
This is why the Russain Federation has been suffering the relentless barrage of demonization and economic sanctions, and this why Americans have been suffering the stupidity of the ziocon-promoted Russiangate.
annamaria , says: July 23, 2017 at 10:10 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX " the Zionists want war and war they shall have until Zionist Israel destroys America."

True. The Jewish communities of the EU/US, UK must decide -- now -- whether they are with western civilization or with the mythological and barbarous dream of Eretz Israel. The US, UK, and EU have been a safe harbor for the majority of Jewish people for the last 50 years. However, the Jewish Lobby is not satisfied with such trifles as the peaceful life and security and it wants Eretz Israel; PNAC (ziocons' manifest) has been used as an ideological guise.
There were certain sane Germans who tried to stop Hitler and thus to save Germany. Some of them paid for the attempts with their lives. Where are the Jewish communities of the US, UK, and EU to stop the lunatics, all these Friends of Israel and AIPAC, these pushers towards a worldwide catastrophe? See the ziocon plan in Ukraine, which made the lives of many Jews there intolerable (welcome, neo-Nazi). What is next -- the rise of antisemitism in the tolerant (for now) Europe and US?
If MSM were the honest sources of information, the westerners would have seen already the thousands and thousands of little corpses, the victims of "humanitarian interventions" of NATO/US in Libya and Syria and would already demand to hang the main war profiteers /war criminals to prevent more carnage and more war-profiteering schems.
The ongoing wars in the Middle EAst are an integral part of Eretz Israel project. Give Israel its due.

annamaria , says: July 23, 2017 at 10:15 pm GMT
@Che Guava Agree
annamaria , says: July 23, 2017 at 10:40 pm GMT
@Bruce Marshall This is great: "CIA not only armed Syria's insurgents -- it paid their salaries."
And who are these "insurgents" -- the "moderate" jihadis affiliated with ISIS and Al Qaeda?
The supposedly "manly" CIA director Mike Pompeo comes out as a banal opportunist inclined to hysterics.
Pompeo, "No one has the right to engage in the theft of secrets from America!"
Assange, "What sort of America can be "taken down" by the truth?"

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-14/wikileaks-issues-response-cia-director-mike-pompeo

"Pompeo and David B. Rivkin Jr., a senior fellow at the neoconservative think-tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies, argued in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal that "Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed." Pompeo has also suggested that National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden should be executed."

https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/michael-f-brown/trumps-pro-torture-pro-israel-cia-chief

annamaria , says: July 23, 2017 at 10:50 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny "For obvious reasons of geography, there's no way the US can defend Israel without the use of bases in Europe."
For obvious reasons, the sooner the US disengages from Israel, the better for the whole world.
Pachyderm Pachyderma , says: July 23, 2017 at 11:44 pm GMT
@Greg Bacon Why should you? Because Jesus was a Jew just kidding! But didn't you utter something about a chockhold on the Fed and the Treasury? Well, it may just be me but if I controlled my bitch's purse then she would be dancing to my tune too!
annamaria , says: July 24, 2017 at 1:13 am GMT
Paul Craig Roberts and Stephen Lendman have a word for Pompeo:

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/07/23/trumps-appointees-worse-obamas/

ZeroHedge: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-23/five-weird-conspiracy-theories-cia-director-mike-pompeo "Mike Pompeo sounds increasingly unhinged when talking about Russia, Wikileaks and the media"

anon Disclaimer , says: July 24, 2017 at 1:56 am GMT
Can he ????

Here is one of the many views of this unstable man -- How the Trump regime was manufactured by a war inside the Deep Stat . A systemic crisis in the global Deep System has driven the violent radicalization of a Deep State faction By Nafeez Ahmed

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-trump-regime-was-manufactured-by-a-war-inside-the-deep-state-f9e757071c70

anon Disclaimer , says: July 24, 2017 at 2:02 am GMT
@annamaria http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/21/tony-thomas-syria-secret-program-cia-240818

Top general confirms end to secret U.S. program in Syria

Special Operations commander walked back remarks that appeared to surprise the CIA. ASPEN -- U.S. Special Operations Commander Tony Thomas confirmed Friday that the U.S. had ended its covert program aiding rebel groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad, saying the decision was made after assessing the years-long operation's capabilities and by no means an effort to curry favor with Assad's chief backer, Moscow . The comments appeared to take the CIA -- which declined to comment -- by surprise.

Thomas almost immediately tried to walk back his comments after leaving the stage, telling reporters he hadn't confirmed anything and was referring only to "public reporting."

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/21/tony-thomas-syria-secret-program-cia-240818

anonymous Disclaimer , says: July 24, 2017 at 2:11 am GMT
@jilles dykstra It won't come to that right away. But it will come to that if Trump does not ultimately keep the pressure on the Assad regime, and if he ignores all the drumbeats (and survives the "impeachment").
edNels , says: July 24, 2017 at 2:14 am GMT
@Pachyderm Pachyderma how do you know that Jesus was any such thing? A Jew? Never!
annamaria , says: July 24, 2017 at 2:51 am GMT
@anon Thank you for the interesting post.

Here is a transcript of an interview with S. Lavrov (Russian foreign minister), which should provide a lot of educational moments for the US Congress people and WH press corps (known as the presstitute corps): http://www.mid.ru/en/press_service/video/-/asset_publisher/i6t41cq3VWP6/content/id/2821758

Try to compare Lavrov with a typical US legislator, for example, with Maxine Waters, John McCain, and Chuck Schumer, who represent three main subgroups in the US Congress. The decades of "unnatural selection" in the US government have produced a collection of intellectual and moral pygmies, unfortunately.

Lavrov has some pretty direct and well-deserved words for Obama. Thus, Lavrov compares Obama to a small kid unable to comprehend the responsibilities of his position of a President of the US.

anon Disclaimer , says: July 24, 2017 at 5:23 am GMT
WHATEVER happens, Syria will remain a backward, retarded, Muslim shithole with no freedom, democracy, respect for women, free speech or press and an all around dysfuntional Arab country.
dorkimundo , says: July 24, 2017 at 11:52 am GMT
It it time for the Syrian "Madman' to order another sarin gas attack against the innocent children?
annamaria , says: July 24, 2017 at 1:25 pm GMT
@dorkimundo It is so easy to spot a ziocon thirsty for the US resources, who is eager to see the US to waste the US limb&blood for the barbarious dream of Eretz Israel
annamaria , says: July 24, 2017 at 1:26 pm GMT
@dorkimundo There are hundreds of thousands of innocent children that perished because of the ziocon project in the Middle East
annamaria , says: July 24, 2017 at 1:37 pm GMT
@anon " dysfunctional Arab country."
It is fun to observe how Israelis of Soviet extraction feel superior to other Israelis and to everybody else. Check the level of "democracy, respect for women, free speech or press" in Afghanistan in the 80-s and compare the facts with the disaster brought upon Afghani women by US warriors.
Your bloodthirsty ideologues of Eretz Israel dream nothing more than creating the dysfunctional Arab countries next to Israel (see Oded Yinon plan); hence the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians of all ages in the Middle East. After this holocaust of Arabs, which was designed and promoted by Israelis and Israel-firsters in the US, your apartheid state of Israel will never recover morally. You are doomed.
Gg Mo , says: July 24, 2017 at 1:55 pm GMT
@RobinG He is the LAST Real Journalist at the UN pressers . Him today explain his oust of his office space at the UN and replacement by a FAKE "Egyptian" Newspaper.
Che Guava , says: July 24, 2017 at 4:19 pm GMT
@annamaria Annamaria,

Thanks for it. Interrupted by a friend and tired, am forgetting what else I was wanting to say, but your post 42 in this thread is very good.

IMHO, as USA people say, that man is a three-dollar bill. I don't even know if it was common speech or made up by Phillip Kindred Dick, but 'phoney as a three-dollar bill', it is a great expression!

Sean , says: July 24, 2017 at 6:10 pm GMT
@Alden My point is the Arabs have never been easy to govern and they revolt a lot. Martin van Creveld says

The aftermath of the war [WW1] saw the establishment of the colonies -- which later developed into independent states -- of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, the Gulf, and Trans-Jordan (as it then was). Saudi Arabia, which was never occupied by either Britain or France, became independent by default. [...]

Since then the peace to end all peace, as it has been called, has remained the source of endless trouble. First the British had to cope with Arab uprisings in Palestine and, on a much larger scale, in Iraq. No sooner were those revolts suppressed than trouble broke out on the border between Trans Jordan and Saudi Arabia, an entirely artificial line on the map that the local tribes refused to respect. In 1927-29 it was the turn of the French to cope with what is still remembered as the Great Syrian Revolt. [...]

How to account for all this trouble? Perhaps the most important answer is the extraordinary complexity of the region. A complexity which the new states, lacking firm roots in the population as they did, never succeeded in controlling. There are, of course, Egyptians and Syrians and Iraqis and Saudis and so forth. But there are also Israelis and Palestinians. And Arabs and Kurds. And Egyptian Muslims and Egyptian Copts. There are Sunnis and there are Shi'ites and there are Allawi's, whom some do not recognize as Muslims at all ).

The Kurds' interminable revolts have had help from the US. but really you cannot say the US created the uprising of the Kurds against every state they reside in The last time the US helped Kurds and then abandoned them. Just like the Syrian rebels. Kurds never expected anything different as they have been dumped by the US before. Leaving their erstwhile allies to their fate is something America has a reputation for. So I would not get excited about the US doing it in Syria.

annamaria , says: July 24, 2017 at 8:02 pm GMT
@Sean " the Arabs have never been easy to govern and they revolt a lot."

When "Arabs" is replaced with "Jews", the statement could be from a book on the history of the Jewish Greek wars, "the Jews have never been easy to govern and they revolt a lot:" http://www.onjewishmatters.com/the-jewish-greek-wars/

As for Martin van Creveld, this supremacist barbarian has obtained his fame by promoting the Samson Option. " Van Creveld was quoted in David Hirst's The Gun and the Olive Branch (2003) as saying: " We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samson_Option
Very clear. Also explains the miserable role that the US is currently playing on the orders from the Lobby.

KA , says: July 25, 2017 at 2:33 am GMT
Trump is thinking of doing what Cheney did on the CIA. He is sidelining Tillerson and urging some handpicked guys to give him what he needs not to certify Iran when it is up for agin in 90 days .

"A third source with intimate knowledge of that meeting said Steve Bannon, the White House chief strategist, and Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to the president, were particularly vocal, repeatedly asking Tillerson to explain the U.S. national security benefits of certification. "They repeatedly questioned Rex about why recertifying would be good for U.S. national security, and Rex was unable to answer," the source said. http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/07/21/trump-assigns-white-house-team-to-target-iran-nuclear-deal-sidelining-state-department/

It is not US interests . It is the fact that should guide Bannon , Gorka and Trump. Iran is still in the crosshairs

zzzzzzz , says: July 25, 2017 at 1:38 pm GMT
@Randal Trump knows how to brawl, but the Deep State knows how to box
Sean , says: July 25, 2017 at 2:29 pm GMT
@annamaria Israel has no external threat, Syria was always a military minnow. Israel has an internal threat inasmuch the West Bank Arabs cannot be kept as they are.

The US backs a two state solution and thus in the REALLY IMPORTANT THING America is NOT A TOOL OF ISRAEL.

RobinG , says: July 25, 2017 at 4:35 pm GMT
@annamaria " free access to classified information by a group of the proven blackmailers ." Sounds like you're talking about Debbie and the DNC.
annamaria , says: July 25, 2017 at 4:35 pm GMT
"Israel has no external threat" Israel simply wants a destruction of the functioning neighboring states to proceed with the creation of Eretz Israel. http://www.ahavat-israel.com/eretz/future Not all Jewish people share this view of Eretz Israel but a certain aggressive and loud part of them does. The Likudniks are currently in power.

Oded Yinon in his famous article "proceeds to analyze the weaknesses of Arab countries concluding that Israel should aim to bring about the fragmentation of the Arab world into a mosaic of ethnic and confessional groupings. "Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation," he argued, would prove to be advantageous to Israel in the short term. Ilan Peleg described it as "an authentic mirror of the thinking mode of the Israeli Right at the height of Begin's rule." Chomsky warned against complacency about these fringe ideas since, he argued: "(t)he entire history of Zionism and later that of Israel, particularly since 1967, is one of a gradual shift towards the positions of those formerly regarded as right-wing extremists." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yinon_Plan

One could sympathize with the non-solvable situation for Israel, if not the horrors of the ongoing Middle Eastern wars that have been promoted by neo-& ziocons.

https://www.washingtonreport.me/2015-june-july/neocons-and-the-israel-lobby-are-promoting-war-with-iran-as-they-once-did-with-iraq.html https://thinkprogress.org/the-architects-of-war-where-are-they-now-52ff022f9bfe
Che Guava , says: July 25, 2017 at 4:38 pm GMT
@dorkimundo Alright. thanks for the reply, I would guessing not 'Hungarian' like Soros.

Good humored reply, that is always to being appreciated! I was so irritated by Refuvsky's bs, in a bad temper for that at the time.

Ben Frank , says: July 25, 2017 at 7:33 pm GMT
Is there any evidence that Assad is not the legitimate ruler of Syria? Or that Syria is better off now than before the civil war started? Those poor people deserve peace.
Dan Hayes , says: July 26, 2017 at 1:42 am GMT
@annamaria annamaria,

van Creveld also stated: "We have the capability of taking the world down with us. And I assure you that will happen before Israel goes down." Food for thought!

Priss Factor , says: Website July 26, 2017 at 2:07 am GMT
Tucker and Tulsi on Syria vs CIAria https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IGAXJNzPfU
annamaria , says: July 26, 2017 at 8:02 pm GMT
@Priss Factor It was Israel's active participation in the attempt at regime change in Syria, which has finished the undressing of the "most moral" state of Israel. Currently, the "chosen" are outraged that the CIA could scale down the US support for terrorists. https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/07/26/fear-and-trepidation-in-tel-aviv-is-israel-losing-the-syria-war/

"Despite assurances to the contrary, Israel has always been involved in the Syria conflict. Israel's repeated claims that "it maintains a policy of non-intervention in Syria's civil war," only fools US mainstream media. Not only was Israel involved in the war, it also played no role in the aid efforts, nor did it ever extend a helping hand to Syrian refugees. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have perished in the merciless war; many cities and villages were totally destroyed and millions of Syrians become refugees. While tiny and poor Lebanon has hosted over a million Syrian refugees, every country in the region and many nations around the world have hosted Syrian refugees, as well. Except Israel.

Even a symbolic government proposal to host 100 Syrian orphans was eventually dropped ." ( -- Wait when the Lobby starts squeaking that mentioning this shameful fact is antisemitic.)

Israel has major responsibility for the Syrian tragedy. Astonishingly, Israelis are planning to triple down on the support for ISIS & Co in Syria.
"Since the start of the conflict, Israel wanted to appear as if in control of the situation, at least regarding the conflict in southwestern Syria. It bombed targets in Syria as it saw fit , and casually spoke of maintaining regular contacts with certain opposition groups. In recent comments before European officials, Netanyahu admitted to striking Iranian convoys in Syria [whcih is a sovereign state] "dozens of times." But without a joint Israeli-US plan, Israel is now emerging as a weak party. Making that realization quite belatedly, Israel is becoming increasingly frustrated. Failing to obtain support from newly-elected President Donald Trump, Israel is now attempting to develop its own independent strategy.

On June 18, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israel has been giving "secret aid" to Syrian rebels, in the form of "cash and humanitarian aid ." -- See the US taxpayers' money in actions ($3 billion this year only). The "war on terror" came down to the "cash and humanitarian aid" to terrorists, delivered by Israel directly from the US taxpayers pockets to Israel's favorite head-choppers.

[Nov 11, 2018] Trump's Iran Policy Cannot Succeed Without Allies The National Interest by James Clapper & Thomas Pickering

Highly recommended!
It's interesting that Clapper is against abandoned by Trump Iran deal.
Tramp administration is acting more like Israeli marionette here, because while there a strategic advantage in crushing the Iranian regime for the USA and making a county another Us vassal in the middle East, the cost for the country might be way to high (especially if we count in the cost of additional antagonizing Russia and China). Trump might jump into the second Afghanistan, which would really brake the back of US military -- crushing Iran military is one thing, but occupying such a county is a very costly task. And that might well doom Israel in the long run as settlers policies now created really antagonized, unrecognizable minority with a high birth rate.
Vanishing one-by-one of partners are given due to collapse of neoliberalism as an ideology. Nobody believes that neoliberalism is the future, like many believed in 80th and early 90th. This looks more and more like a repetion of the path of the USSR after 1945, when communist ideology was discredited and communist elite slowly fossilized. In 46 years from its victory in WWII the USSR was dissolved. The same might happen with the USA in 50 years after winning the Cold War.
Notable quotes:
"... a vanishing one by one of American partners who were previously supportive of U.S. leadership in curbing Iran, particularly its nuclear program. ..."
"... The United States risks losing the cooperation of historic and proven allies in the pursuit of other U.S. national security interests around the world, far beyond Iran. ..."
Nov 09, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

Only well calibrated multilateral political, economic and diplomatic pressure brought to bear on Iran with many and diverse partners will produce the results we seek.

"Then there were none" was Agatha Christie's most memorable mystery about a house party in which each guest was killed off one by one. Donald Trump's policy toward Iran has resulted in much the same: a vanishing one by one of American partners who were previously supportive of U.S. leadership in curbing Iran, particularly its nuclear program.

Dozens of states, painstakingly cultivated over decades of American leadership in blocking Iran's nuclear capability, are now simply gone. One of America's three remaining allies on these issues, Saudi Arabia, has become a central player in American strategy throughout the Middle East region. But the Saudis, because of the Jamal Khashoggi killing and other reasons, may have cut itself out of the action. The United Arab Emirates, so close to the Saudis, may also fall away.

Such paucity of international support has left the Trump administration dangerously isolated. "America First" should not mean America alone. The United States risks losing the cooperation of historic and proven allies in the pursuit of other U.S. national security interests around the world, far beyond Iran.

... ... ...

European allies share many of our concerns about Iran's regional activities, but they strongly oppose U.S. reinstitution of secondary sanctions against them. They see the Trump administration's new sanctions as a violation of the nuclear agreement and UN Security Council resolutions and as undermining efforts to influence Iranian behavior. The new sanctions and those applied on November 5 only sap European interest in cooperating to stop Iran.

... ... ...

The United States cannot provoke regime change in Iran any more than it has successfully in other nations in the region. And, drawing on strategies used to topple governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States should be wary of launching or trying to spur a military invasion of Iran.

Lt. Gen. James Clapper (USAF, ret.) is the former Director of National Intelligence. Thomas R. Pickering is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Russia and India.

[Nov 10, 2018] The Reasons for Netanyahu's Panic by Alastair Crooke

Highly recommended!
Looks like time is working against Israelis in general and Netanyahu administration specifically... the nest result of 10`8 is he supply of S300 by Russia, which is a real thereat to Isreli air supremacy, no matter what Israili minister of offence said.
Alastair Crooke: "Belatedly, Israel has understood that it backed the wrong side in Syria -- and it has lost. It is not really in a position to demand anything. It will not get an American enforced buffer zone beyond the Golan armistice line, nor will the Iraqi-Syrian border be closed, or somehow "supervised" on Israel's behalf."
In the next ten years Israel regional position might deteriorate. It antagonized Palestinians to the point of "no reconciliation". And as US faced its own internal difficulties and divisions (and neocons in the USA now are look mostly negatively by wide swats of population), Israel might again face hostile Arab countries on the "never negotiated" borders. To find itself the country without negotiated borders with the hostile encirclement, of a kind Washington tries to create for Russia, is the position that any diplomat would like to avoid.
So it looks like the key idea of Zionism -- colonizing the land and displacing Palestinians much like Indians were displaced in the USA or aborigines in Australia, in retrospect looks not that realistic. A lot of Jewish talent and Western money was spend on a this variation of "Drang nach Osten"
Notable quotes:
"... It will not get an American enforced buffer zone beyond the Golan armistice line, nor will the Iraqi-Syrian border be closed, or somehow "supervised" on Israel's behalf. ..."
"... simply failed ..."
"... Israel's unexpected failure was deeply feared in the West, and in the Gulf too. A small, armed (revolutionary) movement had stood up to Israel -- against overwhelming odds -- and prevailed: it had stood its ground. This precedent was widely perceived to be a potential regional "game changer." The feudal Gulf autocracies sensed in Hizbullah's achievement the latent danger to their own rule from such armed resistance. ..."
"... And the war in Syria started to be mooted as the "corrective strategy" to the 2006 failure (as early as 2007) -- though it was only with the events following 2011 that the "corrective strategy" came to implemented, à outrance ..."
"... Syria -- with indisputable help from its allies -- seems about to prevail: it has stood its ground, against almost unbelievable odds. ..."
"... Syria's "standing its ground" represents a historic turning ..."
"... with each other ..."
"... Netayahu's "near panic" (if that is indeed what occurred) may well be a reflection of this seismic shift taking place in the region. Israel has long backed the losing side -- and now finds itself "alone" and fearing for its near proxies (the Jordanians and the Kurds). The "new" corrective strategy from Tel Aviv, it appears, is to focus on winning Iraq away from Iran, and embedding it into the Israel-U.S.-Saudi alliance. ..."
"... Daniel Levy has written a compelling piece to argue that Israelis generally would not subscribe to what I have written above, but rather: "Netanyahu's lengthy term in office, multiple electoral successes, and ability to hold together a governing coalition [is based on] him having a message that resonates with a broader public. It is a sales pitch that Netanyahu [has] 'brought the state of Israel to the best situation in its history, a rising global force the state of Israel is diplomatically flourishing.' Netanyahu had beaten back what he had called the 'fake-news claim' that without a deal with the Palestinians 'Israel will be isolated, weakened and abandoned' facing a 'diplomatic tsunami.' ..."
"... "Difficult though it is for his political detractors to acknowledge, Netanyahu's claim resonates with the public because it reflects something that is real, and that has shifted the center of gravity of Israeli politics further and further to the right. It is a claim that, if correct and replicable over time, will leave a legacy that lasts well beyond Netanyahu's premiership and any indictment he might face. ..."
"... "And then events took a further turn in Netanyahu's favor with the rise to power in the United States and parts of Central Eastern Europe (and to enhanced prominence elsewhere in Europe and the West) of the very ethno-nationalist trend to which Netanyahu is so committed, working to replace liberal with illiberal democracy. One should not underestimate Israel and Netanyahu's importance as an ideological and practical avant-garde for this trend." ..."
"... And this week, Hassan Nasrallah called on the Lebanese government " to devise a plan and take a sovereign decision to liberate the Shebaa Farms and the Kfarshouba Hills" from Israel. ..."
"... Will ethno-nationalism provide Israel with a new support base? Well, firstly, I do not see Israel's doctrine as "illiberal democracy," but rather an apartheid system intended to subordinate Palestinian political rights. And as the political schism in the West widens, with one "wing" seeking to delegitimize the other by tarnishing them as racists, bigots and Nazis, it is clear that the real ..."
"... The increasingly "not to be" constituency of the Middle East has a simpler word for Netanyahu's "ethnic nationalism." They call it simply Western colonialism. Round one of Chas Freeman's making the Middle East " be ..."
"... For all Netanyahu's bluster about Israel standing stronger, and having beaten back "what he had called the 'fake-news claim' that without a deal with the Palestinians 'Israel will be isolated, weakened and abandoned' facing a 'diplomatic tsunami,'" Netanyahu may have just discovered, in these last two weeks, that he confused facing down the weakened Palestinians with "victory" -- only at the very moment of his apparent triumph, to find himself alone in a new, "New Middle East." ..."
"... [For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com's " The Possible Education of Donald Trump. "] ..."
www.defenddemocracy.press
... ... ...

Belatedly, Israel has understood that it backed the wrong side in Syria – and it has lost. It is not really in a position to demand anything. It will not get an American enforced buffer zone beyond the Golan armistice line, nor will the Iraqi-Syrian border be closed, or somehow "supervised" on Israel's behalf.

Of course, the Syrian aspect is important, but to focus only on that, would be to "miss the forest for the trees." The 2006 war by Israel to destroy Hizbullah (egged on by the U.S., Saudi Arabia -- and even a few Lebanese) was a failure. Symbolically, for the first time in the Middle East, a technologically sophisticated, and lavishly armed, Western nation-state simply failed . What made the failure all the more striking (and painful) was that a Western state was not just bested militarily, it had lost also the electronic and human intelligence war, too -- both spheres in which the West thought their primacy unassailable.

The Fallout from Failure

Israel's unexpected failure was deeply feared in the West, and in the Gulf too. A small, armed (revolutionary) movement had stood up to Israel -- against overwhelming odds -- and prevailed: it had stood its ground. This precedent was widely perceived to be a potential regional "game changer." The feudal Gulf autocracies sensed in Hizbullah's achievement the latent danger to their own rule from such armed resistance.

The reaction was immediate. Hizbullah was quarantined -- as best the full sanctioning powers of America could manage. And the war in Syria started to be mooted as the "corrective strategy" to the 2006 failure (as early as 2007) -- though it was only with the events following 2011 that the "corrective strategy" came to implemented, à outrance .

Against Hizbullah, Israel had thrown its full military force (though Israelis always say, now, that they could have done more). And against Syria, the U.S., Europe, the Gulf States (and Israel in the background) have thrown the kitchen sink: jihadists, al-Qaeda, ISIS (yes), weapons , bribes, sanctions and the most overwhelming information war yet witnessed. Yet Syria -- with indisputable help from its allies -- seems about to prevail: it has stood its ground, against almost unbelievable odds.

Just to be clear: if 2006 marked a key point of inflection, Syria's "standing its ground" represents a historic turning of much greater magnitude . It should be understood that Saudi Arabia's (and Britain's and America's) tool of fired-up, radical Sunnism has been routed. And with it, the Gulf States, but particularly Saudi Arabia are damaged. The latter has relied on the force of Wahabbism since the first foundation of the kingdom: but Wahabbism in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq has been roundly defeated and discredited (even for most Sunni Muslims). It may well be defeated in Yemen too. This defeat will change the face of Sunni Islam.

Already, we see the Gulf Cooperation Council, which originally was founded in 1981 by six Gulf tribal leaders for the sole purpose of preserving their hereditary tribal rule in the Peninsula, now warring with each other , in what is likely to be a protracted and bitter internal fight. The "Arab system," the prolongation of the old Ottoman structures by the complaisant post-World War I victors, Britain and France, seems to be out of its 2013 "remission" (bolstered by the coup in Egypt), and to have resumed its long-term decline.

The Losing Side

Netayahu's "near panic" (if that is indeed what occurred) may well be a reflection of this seismic shift taking place in the region. Israel has long backed the losing side -- and now finds itself "alone" and fearing for its near proxies (the Jordanians and the Kurds). The "new" corrective strategy from Tel Aviv, it appears, is to focus on winning Iraq away from Iran, and embedding it into the Israel-U.S.-Saudi alliance.

If so, Israel and Saudi Arabia are probably too late into the game, and are likely underestimating the visceral hatred engendered among so many Iraqis of all segments of society for the murderous actions of ISIS. Not many believe the improbable (Western) narrative that ISIS suddenly emerged armed, and fully financed, as a result of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's alleged "sectarianism": No, as rule-of-thumb, behind each such well-breached movement -- stands a state .

Daniel Levy has written a compelling piece to argue that Israelis generally would not subscribe to what I have written above, but rather: "Netanyahu's lengthy term in office, multiple electoral successes, and ability to hold together a governing coalition [is based on] him having a message that resonates with a broader public. It is a sales pitch that Netanyahu [has] 'brought the state of Israel to the best situation in its history, a rising global force the state of Israel is diplomatically flourishing.' Netanyahu had beaten back what he had called the 'fake-news claim' that without a deal with the Palestinians 'Israel will be isolated, weakened and abandoned' facing a 'diplomatic tsunami.'

"Difficult though it is for his political detractors to acknowledge, Netanyahu's claim resonates with the public because it reflects something that is real, and that has shifted the center of gravity of Israeli politics further and further to the right. It is a claim that, if correct and replicable over time, will leave a legacy that lasts well beyond Netanyahu's premiership and any indictment he might face.

"Netanyahu's assertion is that he is not merely buying time in Israel's conflict with the Palestinians to improve the terms of an eventual and inevitable compromise. Netanyahu is laying claim to something different -- the possibility of ultimate victory, the permanent and definitive defeat of the Palestinians, their national and collective goals.

"In over a decade as prime minister, Netanyahu has consistently and unequivocally rejected any plans or practical steps that even begin to address Palestinian aspirations. Netanyahu is all about perpetuating and exacerbating the conflict, not about managing it, let alone resolving it [The] message is clear: there will be no Palestinian state because the West Bank and East Jerusalem are simply Greater Israel."

No Palestinian State

Levy continues: "The approach overturns assumptions that have guided peace efforts and American policy for over a quarter of a century: that Israel has no alternative to an eventual territorial withdrawal and acceptance of something sufficiently resembling an independent sovereign Palestinian state broadly along the 1967 lines. It challenges the presumption that the permanent denial of such an outcome is incompatible with how Israel and Israelis perceive themselves as being a democracy. Additionally, it challenges the peace-effort supposition that this denial would in any way be unacceptable to the key allies on which Israel depends

"In more traditional bastions of support for Israel, Netanyahu took a calculated gamble -- would enough American Jewish support continue to stand with an increasingly illiberal and ethno-nationalist Israel, thereby facilitating the perpetuation of the lopsided U.S.-Israel relationship? Netanyahu bet yes, and he was right."

And here is another interesting point that Levy makes:

"And then events took a further turn in Netanyahu's favor with the rise to power in the United States and parts of Central Eastern Europe (and to enhanced prominence elsewhere in Europe and the West) of the very ethno-nationalist trend to which Netanyahu is so committed, working to replace liberal with illiberal democracy. One should not underestimate Israel and Netanyahu's importance as an ideological and practical avant-garde for this trend."

Former U.S. Ambassador and respected political analyst Chas Freeman wrote recently very bluntly: "the central objective of U.S. policy in the Middle East has long been to achieve regional acceptance for the Jewish-settler state in Palestine." Or, in other words, for Washington, its Middle East policy -- and all its actions -- have been determined by "to be, or not to be": "To be" (that is) -- with Israel, or not "to be" (with Israel).

Israel's Lost Ground

The key point now is that the region has just made a seismic shift into the "not to be" camp. Is there much that America can do about that? Israel very much is alone with only a weakened Saudi Arabia at its side, and there are clear limits to what Saudi Arabia can do.

The U.S. calling on Arab states to engage more with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi seems somehow inadequate. Iran is not looking for war with Israel (as a number of Israeli analysts have acknowledged ); but, too, the Syrian President has made clear that his government intends to recover "all Syria" -- and all Syria includes the occupied Golan Heights. And this week, Hassan Nasrallah called on the Lebanese government " to devise a plan and take a sovereign decision to liberate the Shebaa Farms and the Kfarshouba Hills" from Israel.

Read also: Church Leaders Condemn 'Brutal' US-Led Attack on Syria, Praise Gov't Forces

A number Israeli commentators already are saying that the "writing is on the wall" -- and that it would be better for Israel to cede territory unilaterally, rather than risk the loss of hundreds of lives of Israeli servicemen in a futile attempt to retain it. That, though, seems hardly congruent with the Israeli Prime Minister's "not an inch, will we yield" character and recent statements .

Will ethno-nationalism provide Israel with a new support base? Well, firstly, I do not see Israel's doctrine as "illiberal democracy," but rather an apartheid system intended to subordinate Palestinian political rights. And as the political schism in the West widens, with one "wing" seeking to delegitimize the other by tarnishing them as racists, bigots and Nazis, it is clear that the real America First-ers will try, at any price, to distance themselves from the extremists.

Daniel Levy points out that the Alt-Right leader, Richard Spencer, depicts his movement as White Zionism. Is this really likely to build support for Israel? How long before the "globalists" use precisely Netanyahu's "illiberal democracy" meme to taunt the U.S. Right that this is precisely the kind of society for which they too aim: with Mexicans and black Americans treated like Palestinians?

'Ethnic Nationalism'

The increasingly "not to be" constituency of the Middle East has a simpler word for Netanyahu's "ethnic nationalism." They call it simply Western colonialism. Round one of Chas Freeman's making the Middle East " be with Israel" consisted of the shock-and-awe assault on Iraq. Iraq is now allied with Iran, and the Hashad militia (PMU) are becoming a widely mobilized fighting force. The second stage was 2006. Today, Hizbullah is a regional force, and not a just Lebanese one.

The third strike was at Syria. Today, Syria is allied with Russia, Iran, Hizbullah and Iraq. What will comprise the next round in the "to be, or not to be" war?

For all Netanyahu's bluster about Israel standing stronger, and having beaten back "what he had called the 'fake-news claim' that without a deal with the Palestinians 'Israel will be isolated, weakened and abandoned' facing a 'diplomatic tsunami,'" Netanyahu may have just discovered, in these last two weeks, that he confused facing down the weakened Palestinians with "victory" -- only at the very moment of his apparent triumph, to find himself alone in a new, "New Middle East."

Perhaps Pravda was right, and Netanyahu did appear close to panic, during his hurriedly arranged, and urgently called, Sochi summit.

[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com's " The Possible Education of Donald Trump. "]

* Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum.

[Sep 11, 2018] Is Donald Trump Going to Do the Syria Backflip by Publius Tacitus

Highly recommended!
Such an unexpected metamorphose ? Or was it unexpected. See Amazon.com The Truth About Trump eBook Michael D'Antonio
Notable quotes:
"... Trump's new saber rattling against Syria, Russia and Iran goes beyond pure irony and will certainly fuel rumors embraced by critics that he is becoming senile. When Trump was running for the Presidency, he sang a radically different tune: ..."
"... If Vladimir Putin wants to launch airstrikes inside Syria, that's no problem for Donald Trump, who said Wednesday that he believes Russia's military moves in Syria are targeting ISIS and that the United States shouldn't interfere. ( https://www.cnn.com/2015/09/30/politics/donald-trump-syria-don-lemon/index.html ) 1 October 2015 ..."
"... However, Trump did note the complexity of the situation on the ground in Syria, pointing out in reference to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad that Putin "is an Assad person" and "the United States doesn't like Assad". He went on to condemn the Obama administration for "backing people who they don't know who they are", and to warn that rebels backed by the United States "could be Isis" ..."
"... President Donald Trump warned Syria and its allies Russia and Iran on Monday against attacking the last major rebel stronghold of Idlib province in the country's northwest. "President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province," Trump wrote on Twitter. "The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don't let that happen!" ( https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/03/politics/trump-syria-tweet-assad-rebel-idlib/index.html ) 4 September 2018 ..."
"... In a recent discussion about Syria, people familiar with the exchange said, President Trump threatened to conduct a massive attack against Mr. Assad if he carries out a massacre in Idlib, the northwestern province that has become the last refuge for more than three million people and as many as 70,000 opposition fighters that the regime considers to be terrorists. ( https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-says-syria-plans-gas-attack-in-rebel-stronghold-1536535853?mod=mktw ) 9 September 2018 ..."
Sep 11, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Trump's new saber rattling against Syria, Russia and Iran goes beyond pure irony and will certainly fuel rumors embraced by critics that he is becoming senile. When Trump was running for the Presidency, he sang a radically different tune:

Donald Trump accused his Republican presidential rivals on Friday night of wanting to "start World War III over Syria," and suggested that the United States should instead let Russia deal with the problem. ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/09/25/donald-trump-let-russia-fight-the-islamic-state-in-syria/?utm_term=.a3579167cd97 ) 25 September 2015

If Vladimir Putin wants to launch airstrikes inside Syria, that's no problem for Donald Trump, who said Wednesday that he believes Russia's military moves in Syria are targeting ISIS and that the United States shouldn't interfere. ( https://www.cnn.com/2015/09/30/politics/donald-trump-syria-don-lemon/index.html ) 1 October 2015

Addressing Russia's intervention in the Syrian conflict, which has so far disproportionately targeted rebel-held areas with no Isis presence, Trump expressed confidence that Vladimir Putin would eventually target the Islamic State. "He's going to want to bomb Isis because he doesn't want Isis going into Russia and so he's going to want to bomb Isis," Trump said of the Russian president. "Vladimir Putin is going to want to really go after Isis, and if he doesn't it'll be a big shock to everybody."

However, Trump did note the complexity of the situation on the ground in Syria, pointing out in reference to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad that Putin "is an Assad person" and "the United States doesn't like Assad". He went on to condemn the Obama administration for "backing people who they don't know who they are", and to warn that rebels backed by the United States "could be Isis". ( https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/13/donald-trump-foreign-policy-doctrine-nation-building ) 13 October 2015.

That was then. Now Trump is chest thumping and trash talking Syria and Russia like the recently deceased John McCain. He now appears ready to lead the NeoCon Conga line into an escalation of the war in Syria:

President Donald Trump warned Syria and its allies Russia and Iran on Monday against attacking the last major rebel stronghold of Idlib province in the country's northwest. "President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province," Trump wrote on Twitter. "The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don't let that happen!" ( https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/03/politics/trump-syria-tweet-assad-rebel-idlib/index.html ) 4 September 2018

In a recent discussion about Syria, people familiar with the exchange said, President Trump threatened to conduct a massive attack against Mr. Assad if he carries out a massacre in Idlib, the northwestern province that has become the last refuge for more than three million people and as many as 70,000 opposition fighters that the regime considers to be terrorists. ( https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-says-syria-plans-gas-attack-in-rebel-stronghold-1536535853?mod=mktw ) 9 September 2018


The Beaver , 5 hours ago

PT,

The flip-flopper Erdogan is at it again :

In an Op-Ed in WSJ:
https://www.wsj.com/article...
"Moderate rebels played a key role in Turkey's fight against terrorists in Northern #Syria; their assistance and guidance will be crucial in Idlib as well"

Yep wonder where all those moderate rebels aka foreign jihadis came through after landing in IST.
Putin told him off in Tehran and now he is back on the fence or on the FUKUS side.
Guess Qatar must be pushing him to play nice by flooding him with billions .

WSJ is really hoping to get the war going . This is a second article /op-ed two days in a row.

David Optional Guyatt , 8 hours ago
Fisk is an old school journalist who doesn't sport a parting in his tongue. I've found him to be very reliable in his reporting. His latest report reveals that despite considerable searching over a 2 day period, he could find no massed Syrian troops around Idlib ready for the looming ground battle.

It's not like you can miss 100,000 men and all the supporting equipment; armoured vehicles,, kitchens, field hospitals, tent cities etc. No Hezbollah, no Russians.

Which raises the question: are we being played here?

https://www.independent.co....

Don Bacon , 13 hours ago
The US has no more authority to interfere in Syria domestic affairs than Syria has to interfere in US domestic affairs.
>Syrian President Bashar Assad has authorized his forces to use chlorine gas in the assault on the last significant rebel redoubt in the country, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. Who can doubt the Wall Street Journal?
>The Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, usually called the Geneva Protocol, is a treaty prohibiting the use of chemical and biological weapons in international armed conflicts.
> The Protocol was Signed at Geneva June 17, 1925, and Entered into force February 8, 1928, and the convention were ratified by President Ford on January 22, 1975.
>Chlorine itself is not a chemical weapon. It's a toxic industrial chemical that is very useful to purify water. It's really very important to have clean water to avoid water borne diseases. But chlorine is a chemical agent that effects the eyes and the ability to breath. When mixed with water it produces hydrochloride acid. It's not a very efficient chemical weapon because we can sense it when it's not very toxic yet. So you can run away. Using chlorine gas is not prohibited as such, but using chlorine gas as a weapon is prohibited in international armed conflicts.
blue peacock -> Don Bacon , 10 hours ago
"The US has no more authority to interfere in Syria domestic affairs than Syria has to interfere in US domestic affairs."

When has this prevented the US from intervening as it pleases over the last 100 years?

Jack , 14 hours ago
PT,

We can be certain that the jihadi White Helmets will stage an "outrage" event, since Bolton and Nikki have already stated what the US response would be. The media I'm sure have their playbook already figured out and ready to create the necessary media hysteria.

The last two times Trump fired a few missiles and called it a day. Woodward however claims that his "anonymous" sources say that Trump wanted to assassinate Assad and Mattis walked it back to token missile strikes. Woodward also claims that the #Resistance in the White House are doing whatever they want and Trump is for all intents and purposes rather clueless about what they're up to. If this has any credence would it be possible that Bolton and Nikki and the other ziocons in the White House orchestrate a provocation by the jihadis that will then be setup to "we need a muscular response to show who's boss". You know the all too familiar argument that the US needs to act to retain credibility.

All this is coming just before the mid-terms which is a pivotal election for Trump. If he loses the House then he's up shit creek with Dems running all kinds of investigations and Mueller emboldened. How does he calculate the political implications of a deeper military engagement in Syria? IMO, many who supported him in the last election will not be very happy and their enthusiasm may waver which could be the difference in close races. OTOH, there is a perception that his economic team and policies are making a positive difference and that is benefiting the Deplorables.

Obama lost big time in his first mid-terms and did very poorly for the Democrats in both federal and state elections during his term as president. Yet the Democrat establishment has continued to back him. That may not happen with Trump as the GOP establishment will find the opportunity to go back to their traditional ways if Trump can't hold the House.

Biggee Mikeee , 14 hours ago
He told us here, we just didn't listen: Play Hide

[Aug 08, 2018] Ten Bombshell Revelations From Seymour Hersh's New Autobiography

Highly recommended!
Aug 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Here are ten bombshell revelations and fascinating new details to lately come out of both Sy Hersh's new book, Reporter , as well as interviews he's given since publication...

1) On a leaked Bush-era intelligence memo outlining the neocon plan to remake the Middle East

(Note: though previously alluded to only anecdotally by General Wesley Clark in his memoir and in a 2007 speech , the below passage from Seymour Hersh is to our knowledge the first time this highly classified memo has been quoted . Hersh's account appears to corroborate now retired Gen. Clark's assertion that days after 9/11 a classified memo outlining plans to foster regime change in "7 countries in 5 years" was being circulated among intelligence officials.)

From Reporter: A Memoir pg. 306 -- A few months after the invasion of Iraq, during an interview overseas with a general who was director of a foreign intelligence service, I was provided with a copy of a Republican neocon plan for American dominance in the Middle East. The general was an American ally, but one who was very rattled by the Bush/Cheney aggression. I was told that the document leaked to me initially had been obtained by someone in the local CIA station. There was reason to be rattled: The document declared that the war to reshape the Middle East had to begin "with the assault on Iraq. The fundamental reason for this... is that the war will start making the U.S. the hegemon of the Middle East. The correlative reason is to make the region feel in its bones, as it were, the seriousness of American intent and determination." Victory in Iraq would lead to an ultimatum to Damascus, the "defanging" of Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization, and other anti-Israeli groups. America's enemies must understand that "they are fighting for their life: Pax Americana is on its way, which implies their annihilation." I and the foreign general agreed that America's neocons were a menace to civilization.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/nUCwCgthp_E

* * *

2) On early regime change plans in Syria

From Reporter: A Memoir pages 306-307 -- Donald Rumsfeld was also infected with neocon fantasy. Turkey had refused to permit America's Fourth Division to join the attack of Iraq from its territory, and the division, with its twenty-five thousand men and women, did not arrive in force inside Iraq until mid-April, when the initial fighting was essentially over. I learned then that Rumsfeld had asked the American military command in Stuttgart, Germany, which had responsibility for monitoring Europe, including Syria and Lebanon, to begin drawing up an operational plan for an invasion of Syria. A young general assigned to the task refused to do so, thereby winning applause from my friends on the inside and risking his career. The plan was seen by those I knew as especially bizarre because Bashar Assad, the ruler of secular Syria, had responded to 9/11 by sharing with the CIA hundreds of his country's most sensitive intelligence files on the Muslim Brotherhood in Hamburg, where much of the planning for 9/11 was carried out... Rumsfeld eventually came to his senses and back down, I was told...

3) On the Neocon deep state which seized power after 9/11

From Reporter: A Memoir pages 305-306 -- I began to comprehend that eight or nine neoconservatives who were political outsiders in the Clinton years had essentially overthrown the government of the United States -- with ease . It was stunning to realize how fragile our Constitution was. The intellectual leaders of that group -- Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle -- had not hidden their ideology and their belief in the power of the executive but depicted themselves in public with a great calmness and a self-assurance that masked their radicalism . I had spent many hours after 9/11 in conversations with Perle that, luckily for me, helped me understand what was coming. (Perle and I had been chatting about policy since the early 1980s, but he broke off relations in 1993 over an article I did for The New Yorker linking him, a fervent supporter of Israel, to a series of meetings with Saudi businessmen in an attempt to land a multibillion-dollar contract from Saudi Arabia . Perle responded by publicly threatening to sue me and characterizing me as a newspaper terrorist. He did not sue.

Meanwhile, Cheney had emerged as a leader of the neocon pack. From 9/11 on he did all he could to undermine congressional oversight. I learned a great deal from the inside about his primacy in the White House , but once again I was limited in what I would write for fear of betraying my sources...

I came to understand that Cheney's goal was to run his most important military and intelligence operations with as little congressional knowledge, and interference, as possible. I was fascinating and important to learn what I did about Cheney's constant accumulation of power and authority as vice president , but it was impossible to even begin to verify the information without running the risk that Cheney would learn of my questioning and have a good idea from whom I was getting the information.

4) On Russian meddling in the US election

From the recent Independent interview based on his autobiography -- Hersh has vociferously strong opinions on the subject and smells a rat. He states that there is "a great deal of animosity towards Russia. All of that stuff about Russia hacking the election appears to be preposterous." He has been researching the subject but is not ready to go public yet.

Hersh quips that the last time he heard the US defense establishment have high confidence, it was regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He points out that the NSA only has moderate confidence in Russian hacking. It is a point that has been made before; there has been no national intelligence estimate in which all 17 US intelligence agencies would have to sign off. "When the intel community wants to say something they say it High confidence effectively means that they don't know."

5) On the Novichok poisoning

From the recent Independent interview -- Hersh is also on the record as stating that the official version of the Skripal poisoning does not stand up to scrutiny. He tells me: "The story of novichok poisoning has not held up very well. He [Skripal] was most likely talking to British intelligence services about Russian organised crime." The unfortunate turn of events with the contamination of other victims is suggestive, according to Hersh, of organised crime elements rather than state-sponsored actions –though this files in the face of the UK government's position.

Hersh modestly points out that these are just his opinions. Opinions or not, he is scathing on Obama – "a trimmer articulate [but] far from a radical a middleman". During his Goldsmiths talk, he remarks that liberal critics underestimate Trump at their peril.

He ends the Goldsmiths talk with an anecdote about having lunch with his sources in the wake of 9/11 . He vents his anger at the agencies for not sharing information. One of his CIA sources fires back: "Sy you still don't get it after all these years – the FBI catches bank robbers, the CIA robs banks." It is a delicious, if cryptic aphorism.

* * *

6) On the Bush-era 'Redirection' policy of arming Sunni radicals to counter Shia Iran, which in a 2007 New Yorker article Hersh accurately predicted would set off war in Syria

From the Independent interview : [Hersh] tells me it is "amazing how many times that story has been reprinted" . I ask about his argument that US policy was designed to neutralize the Shia sphere extending from Iran to Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon and hence redraw the Sykes-Picot boundaries for the 21st century.

He goes on to say that Bush and Cheney "had it in for Iran", although he denies the idea that Iran was heavily involved in Iraq: "They were providing intel, collecting intel The US did many cross-border hunts to kill ops [with] much more aggression than Iran"...

He believes that the Trump administration has no memory of this approach. I'm sure though that the military-industrial complex has a longer memory...

I press him on the RAND and Stratfor reports including one authored by Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz in which they envisage deliberate ethno-sectarian partitioning of Iraq . Hersh ruefully states that: "The day after 9/11 we should have gone to Russia. We did the one thing that George Kennan warned us never to do – to expand NATO too far."

* * *

7) On the official 9/11 narrative

From the Independent interview : We end up ruminating about 9/11, perhaps because it is another narrative ripe for deconstruction by sceptics. Polling shows that a significant proportion of the American public believes there is more to the truth. These doubts have been reinforced by the declassification of the suppressed 28 pages of the 9/11 commission report last year undermining the version that a group of terrorists acting independently managed to pull off the attacks. The implication is that they may well have been state-sponsored with the Saudis potentially involved.

Hersh tells me: "I don't necessarily buy the story that Bin Laden was responsible for 9/11. We really don't have an ending to the story. I've known people in the [intelligence] community. We don't know anything empirical about who did what" . He continues: "The guy was living in a cave. He really didn't know much English. He was pretty bright and he had a lot of hatred for the US. We respond by attacking the Taliban. Eighteen years later How's it going guys?"

8) On the media and the morality of the powerful

From a recent The Intercept interview and book review -- If Hersh were a superhero, this would be his origin story. Two hundred and seventy-four pages after the Chicago anecdote, he describes his coverage of a massive slaughter of Iraqi troops and civilians by the U.S. in 1991 after a ceasefire had ended the Persian Gulf War. America's indifference to this massacre was, Hersh writes, "a reminder of the Vietnam War's MGR, for Mere Gook Rule: If it's a murdered or raped gook, there is no crime." It was also, he adds, a reminder of something else: "I had learned a domestic version of that rule decades earlier" in Chicago. "Reporter" demonstrates that Hersh has derived three simple lessons from that rule:

  1. The powerful prey mercilessly upon the powerless, up to and including mass murder.
  2. The powerful lie constantly about their predations.
  3. The natural instinct of the media is to let the powerful get away with it.

* * *

... ... ...

[Jun 13, 2018] How False Flag Operations Are Carried Out Today by Philip M. GIRALDI

Highly recommended!
When the media is controlled by people responsible for false flag operation chances to use investigation to discredit this false flag operation, no matter how many evidence they have is close to zero
In other word false flag operation is perfect weapon for the "sole superpower" and due to this status entail very little risks.
Notable quotes:
"... Today's false flag operations are generally carried out by intelligence agencies and non-government actors including terrorist groups, but they are only considered successful if the true attribution of an action remains secret. ..."
"... False flags can be involved in other sorts of activity as well. The past year's two major alleged chemical attacks carried out against Syrian civilians that resulted in President Donald Trump and associates launching 160 cruise missiles are pretty clearly false flag operations carried out by the rebels and terrorist groups that controlled the affected areas at the time. ..."
"... Because the rebels succeeded in convincing much of the world that the Syrian government had carried out the attacks, one might consider their false flag efforts to have been extremely successful. ..."
"... The remedy against false flag operations such as the recent one in Syria is, of course, to avoid taking the bait and instead waiting until a thorough and objective inspection of the evidence has taken place. The United States, Britain and France did not do that, preferring instead to respond to hysterical press reports by "doing something." If the U.N. investigation of the alleged attack turns up nothing, a distinct possibility, it is unlikely that they will apologize for having committed a war crime. ..."
"... The other major false flag that has recently surfaced is the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury England on March 4 th . Russia had no credible motive to carry out the attack and had, in fact, good reasons not to do so. ..."
"... Unfortunately, May proved wrong and the debate ignited over her actions, which included the expulsion of twenty-three Russian diplomats, has done her severe damage. Few now believe that Russia actually carried out the poisoning and there is a growing body of opinion suggesting that it was actually a false flag executed by the British government or even by the CIA. ..."
"... The lesson that should be learned from Syria and Skripal is that if "an incident" looks like it has no obvious motive behind it, there is a high probability that it is a false flag. ..."
Apr 26, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

False Flag is a concept that goes back centuries. It was considered to be a legitimate ploy by the Greeks and Romans, where a military force would pretend to be friendly to get close to an enemy before dropping the pretense and raising its banners to reveal its own affiliation just before launching an attack. In the sea battles of the eighteenth century among Spain, France and Britain hoisting an enemy flag instead of one's own to confuse the opponent was considered to be a legitimate ruse de guerre , but it was only "honorable" if one reverted to one's own flag before engaging in combat.

Today's false flag operations are generally carried out by intelligence agencies and non-government actors including terrorist groups, but they are only considered successful if the true attribution of an action remains secret. There is nothing honorable about them as their intention is to blame an innocent party for something that it did not do. There has been a lot of such activity lately and it was interesting to learn by way of a leak that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has developed a capability to mimic the internet fingerprints of other foreign intelligence services. That means that when the media is trumpeting news reports that the Russians or Chinese hacked into U.S. government websites or the sites of major corporations, it could actually have been the CIA carrying out the intrusion and making it look like it originated in Moscow or Beijing. Given that capability, there has been considerable speculation in the alternative media that it was actually the CIA that interfered in the 2016 national elections in the United States.

False flags can be involved in other sorts of activity as well. The past year's two major alleged chemical attacks carried out against Syrian civilians that resulted in President Donald Trump and associates launching 160 cruise missiles are pretty clearly false flag operations carried out by the rebels and terrorist groups that controlled the affected areas at the time. The most recent reported attack on April 7th might not have occurred at all according to doctors and other witnesses who were actually in Douma. Because the rebels succeeded in convincing much of the world that the Syrian government had carried out the attacks, one might consider their false flag efforts to have been extremely successful.

The remedy against false flag operations such as the recent one in Syria is, of course, to avoid taking the bait and instead waiting until a thorough and objective inspection of the evidence has taken place. The United States, Britain and France did not do that, preferring instead to respond to hysterical press reports by "doing something." If the U.N. investigation of the alleged attack turns up nothing, a distinct possibility, it is unlikely that they will apologize for having committed a war crime.

The other major false flag that has recently surfaced is the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury England on March 4th. Russia had no credible motive to carry out the attack and had, in fact, good reasons not to do so. The allegations made by British Prime Minister Theresa May about the claimed nerve agent being "very likely" Russian in origin have been debunked, in part through examination by the U.K.'s own chemical weapons lab. May, under attack even within her own party, needed a good story and a powerful enemy to solidify her own hold on power so false flagging something to Russia probably appeared to be just the ticket as Moscow would hardly be able to deny the "facts" being invented in London. Unfortunately, May proved wrong and the debate ignited over her actions, which included the expulsion of twenty-three Russian diplomats, has done her severe damage. Few now believe that Russia actually carried out the poisoning and there is a growing body of opinion suggesting that it was actually a false flag executed by the British government or even by the CIA.

The lesson that should be learned from Syria and Skripal is that if "an incident" looks like it has no obvious motive behind it, there is a high probability that it is a false flag. A bit of caution in assigning blame is appropriate given that the alternative would be a precipitate and likely disproportionate response that could easily escalate into a shooting war.

Tags: CIA

[May 31, 2018] Journalists and academics expose UK's criminal actions in the Middle East by Julie Hyland

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The reports delivered during the four-hour meeting provided a devastating exposure of the connection between propaganda and censorship by the media and the warmongering of governments in Britain, the United States and across the world. ..."
"... Professor Piers Robinson (Chair in Politics, Society and Political Journalism) spoke on the rebranding of government propaganda as "public relations." Drawing on his research into the Iraq war, he cited material from the Chilcot Inquiry into the war confirming the systematic manipulation and exaggeration of "intelligence" on Iraq's supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction. This included discussions between the US and British governments over how the 9/11 terror attacks could be used for regime change operations, under the slogan of the "war on terror", which Robinson described as a propaganda slogan for mobilising support for military operations. ..."
"... Stuart gave a presentation on his examination of film recorded by BBC personnel at Atareb Hospital in Aleppo on August 26, 2013 purporting to show the aftermath of a napalm-style bombing by Syrian government forces. The footage was broadcast the same evening that parliament delivered a shock vote against a military attack on Syria. He showed that much of it was staged. Not only did this potentially include the use of military casualty trauma simulations, but BBC personnel were travelling in vehicles displaying ISIS flags and alongside senior members of the western-funded White Helmets. ..."
"... It was impossible to have a functioning democracy without a functioning fourth estate, he said. This had been the gold standard but was no longer the case. Henningsen noted widespread popular opposition to war in the US that successive presidential candidates had sought to manipulate, only to betray once in power -- from George W. Bush to Barack Obama and Donald Trump. ..."
"... The mainstream media have enormous assets and resources but claim democracy is threatened by "fake news", when they are the purveyors of fake news and the real threat to democracy. ..."
May 31, 2018 | www.wsws.org

"Government propaganda and the war on terror from 9/11 to Syria"

Media on Trial held a successful event in Leeds on Sunday, in the face of sustained efforts to prevent the meeting taking place.

The group was formed by Frome Stop War, based in Somerset. Working with academics, investigative journalists and other interested parties and individuals, and drawing on the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, Media on Trial seeks to "cultivate public scepticism when faced with establishment and corporate media's partisan reporting at times of conflict". It held well-attended meetings in Frome and London last year. Its success in exposing the ongoing regime-change operations in Syria, and government/media propaganda to this end, has made its members the subject of an organised media smear campaign, culminating in efforts to silence it altogether.

" Government propaganda and the war on terror from 9/11 to Syria" was booked at Leeds City Museum. But in an assault on free speech, Labour-run Leeds City Council in West Yorkshire cancelled the event .

Sheila Coombes speaking at Media on Trial

Sheila Coombes (Frome Stop War) has reported that the ban, made on May 3 -- World Press Freedom Day -- came after a series of attacks on several of the featured speakers by the Huffington Post , Guardian and Times newspapers as "Assad Apologists".

Among those targeted were Professor Piers Robinson (University of Sheffield), Professor Tim Hayward (University of Edinburgh) -- both of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media (WGSPM) -- and investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley.

Having travelled to Leeds to check out the venue, Coombes was told that Leeds City Council had cancelled the event, suggesting that "security issues" were involved. She was informed that it was a blanket ban and that no other council-run venue would host it.

Less than an hour after she had been informed, the Yorkshire Post ran an online article welcoming the ban, followed by a similar report in the Huffington Post . The speed of publication suggests that these media outlets were aware of the ban before Coombes herself had been informed.

Piers Robinson speaking at the Media on Trial event

Coombes reports that she was in contact with police regarding security arrangements for the event and that she had been informed by the police officer in charge that he had advised Leeds City Council there was "no intelligence to assess a threat". A second alternative private venue was also cancelled.

Media on Trial was forced to keep details of the third venue secret until shortly before it was due to open and restrict entrance to those who had already purchased tickets. The panel was eventually able to go ahead on Sunday at the Baab-ul-llm Islamic education centre, one of the few venues prepared to stand in defiance of this campaign of censorship. Approximately 200 people attended.

The reports delivered during the four-hour meeting provided a devastating exposure of the connection between propaganda and censorship by the media and the warmongering of governments in Britain, the United States and across the world.

Professor Piers Robinson (Chair in Politics, Society and Political Journalism) spoke on the rebranding of government propaganda as "public relations." Drawing on his research into the Iraq war, he cited material from the Chilcot Inquiry into the war confirming the systematic manipulation and exaggeration of "intelligence" on Iraq's supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction. This included discussions between the US and British governments over how the 9/11 terror attacks could be used for regime change operations, under the slogan of the "war on terror", which Robinson described as a propaganda slogan for mobilising support for military operations.

Robert Stuart is an independent researcher whose presentation on the "irregularities" in the BBC Panorama documentary, "Saving Syria's Children," encouraged film producer and writer Victor Lewis-Smith to tear up his BBC contract in disgust.

Robert Stuart speaking at the Media on Trial event

Stuart gave a presentation on his examination of film recorded by BBC personnel at Atareb Hospital in Aleppo on August 26, 2013 purporting to show the aftermath of a napalm-style bombing by Syrian government forces. The footage was broadcast the same evening that parliament delivered a shock vote against a military attack on Syria. He showed that much of it was staged. Not only did this potentially include the use of military casualty trauma simulations, but BBC personnel were travelling in vehicles displaying ISIS flags and alongside senior members of the western-funded White Helmets.

Professor Tim Hayward (Environmental Political Theory) questioned the morality of the media presenting information that was untrue and its implications for democracy and society. He questioned the media's complicity in glorifying jihadi figures, despite this being in contravention of the British governments' own anti-terror laws. He drew attention to broadcasts on Channel 4 that provided flattering accounts of British women signing up for jihad. The media were guilty of inverting the truth and placing a "lockdown" on information that breached the rudiments of journalistic integrity.

American journalist and broadcaster Patrick Henningsen (21st Century Wire), drew attention to the unprecedented conditions in which the meeting was being held, "in secret, in a tent".

It was impossible to have a functioning democracy without a functioning fourth estate, he said. This had been the gold standard but was no longer the case. Henningsen noted widespread popular opposition to war in the US that successive presidential candidates had sought to manipulate, only to betray once in power -- from George W. Bush to Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

The mainstream media have enormous assets and resources but claim democracy is threatened by "fake news", when they are the purveyors of fake news and the real threat to democracy.

Peter Ford is a former UK ambassador to Syria (2003–2006) and now Director of the British Syrian Society. He noted that the government had been forced to convene the Leveson Inquiry into the media after the phone-hacking scandal involving Murdoch's News of the World . But those actions were trivial in comparison with the real charge sheet that needed to be presented against the media: that of "war mongering and aiding and abetting war mongering".

Vanessa Beeley is an international investigative journalist and photographer who had reported from inside Syria (including East Aleppo), Egypt and Palestine. She played an important role in exposing Syria's White Helmets as an arm of western propaganda and regime change operations.

She delivered a moving account of the situation within Syria and the capital Damascus. In addition to detailing the role of the White Helmets and other institutions financed and backed by western governments, Beeley noted that, especially following the Second World War, pro-war propaganda was deemed a threat to peace. The Nuremberg Trials in 1946 characterised propaganda to facilitate war as a serious crime against humanity; one of the gravest that could be committed. Today, those who advocate peace and the defence of international law are smeared and silenced, while those who promote war are being lauded in the media.

In the short time available for questions, contributions were made, including the possibility of practical action against war-mongering.

Julie Hyland, speaking for the World Socialist Web Site , was greeted warmly by the audience for raising that the high point of the international campaign of smears and censorship is the attack on Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who is in grave danger of eviction from the Ecuadorian Embassy and extradition to the United States.

Henningson replied that the embassy had determined to cut Assange's internet access and personal communications while Syria was being targeted for military strikes. "I don't underestimate the influence of Julian Assange at those critical times. His own website was taken offline as the air strike by the US, Britain and France were happening, along with several other web sites". He added, "Julian Assange is being silenced because they don't want someone like him to have a platform".

Video of the Media on Trial Leeds event can be viewed here

[May 09, 2018] Trotskyist Delusions, by Diana Johnstone

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... There could be no eye witnesses to such sadism, and the very extremism sounds very much like war propaganda – Germans carving up Belgian babies. ..."
"... The notion that Assad himself infected the rebellion with Islamic fanaticism is at best a hypothesis concerning not facts but intentions, which are invisible. But it is presented as unchallengeable evidence of Assad's perverse wickedness. ..."
"... a beleaguered state very much at the mercy of a rapacious Western imperialism that was seeking to carve the country up according to the appetites of the US government and the International Monetary Fund ..."
"... In reality, a much more pertinent "framing" of Western intervention, taboo in the mainstream and even in Moscow, is that Western support for armed rebels in Syria was being carried out to help Israel destroy its regional enemies. ..."
"... The Middle East nations attacked by the West – Iraq, Libya and Syria – all just happen to be, or to have been, the last strongholds of secular Arab nationalism and support for Palestinian rights. ..."
"... There are a few alternative hypotheses as to Western motives – oil pipelines, imperialist atavism, desire to arouse Islamic extremism in order to weaken Russia (the Brzezinski gambit) – but none are as coherent as the organic alliance between Israel and the United States, and its NATO sidekicks. ..."
"... No other mention of Israel, which occupies Syrian territory (the Golan Heights) and bombs Syria whenever it wants to. ..."
"... The Trotskyists keep yearning for a new revolution, just like the Bolshevik revolution. Yes, but the Bolshevik revolution ended in Stalinism. Doesn't that tell them something? Isn't it quite possible that their much-desired "revolution" might turn out just as badly in Syria, if not much worse? ..."
"... In our era, the most successful revolutions have been in Third World countries, where national liberation from Western powers was a powerful emotional engine. Successful revolutions have a program that unifies people and leaders who personify the aspirations of broad sectors of the population. Socialism or communism was above all a rallying cry meaning independence and "modernization" – which is indeed what the Bolshevik revolution turned out to be. ..."
"... "In the context of a global neoliberalism, where governments across the board were enacting the most pronounced forms of deregulation and overseeing the carving up of state industries by private capital, the Assad government responded to the heightening contradictions in the Syrian economy by following suit -- by showing the ability to march to the tempo of foreign investment while evincing a willingness to cut subsidies for workers and farmers." The neoliberal turn impoverished people in the countryside, therefore creating a situation that justified "revolution". ..."
"... This is rather amazing, if one thinks about it. Without the alternative Soviet bloc, virtually the whole world has been obliged to conform to anti-social neoliberal policies. Syria included. Does this make Bashar al Assad so much more a villain than every other leader conforming to U.S.-led globalization? ..."
"... One could turn that around. Shouldn't such a Marxist revolutionary be saying: "if we can't defeat the oligarchs in the West, who are responsible for the neoliberal policies imposed on the rest of the world, how can we possibly begin to provide class-struggle leadership in Syria?" ..."
"... The trouble with Trotskyists is that they are always "supporting" other people's more or less imaginary revolutions. They are always telling others what to do. They know it all. The practical result of this verbal agitation is simply to align this brand of Trotskyism with U.S imperialism. The obsession with permanent revolution ends up providing an ideological alibi for permanent war. ..."
May 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

I first encountered Trotskyists in Minnesota half a century ago during the movement against the Vietnam War. I appreciated their skill in organizing anti-war demonstrations and their courage in daring to call themselves "communists" in the United States of America – a profession of faith that did not groom them for the successful careers enjoyed by their intellectual counterparts in France. So I started my political activism with sympathy toward the movement. In those days it was in clear opposition to U.S. imperialism, but that has changed.

The first thing one learns about Trotskyism is that it is split into rival tendencies. Some remain consistent critics of imperialist war, notably those who write for the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS).

Others, however, have translated the Trotskyist slogan of "permanent revolution" into the hope that every minority uprising in the world must be a sign of the long awaited world revolution – especially those that catch the approving eye of mainstream media. More often than deploring U.S. intervention, they join in reproaching Washington for not intervening sooner on behalf of the alleged revolution.

A recent article in the International Socialist Review (issue #108, March 1, 2018) entitled "Revolution and counterrevolution in Syria" indicates so thoroughly how Trotskyism goes wrong that it is worthy of a critique. Since the author, Tony McKenna, writes well and with evident conviction, this is a strong not a weak example of the Trotskyist mindset.

McKenna starts out with a passionate denunciation of the regime of Bashar al Assad, which, he says, responded to a group of children who simply wrote some graffiti on a wall by "beating them, burning them, pulling their fingernails out". The source of this grisly information is not given. There could be no eye witnesses to such sadism, and the very extremism sounds very much like war propaganda – Germans carving up Belgian babies.

But this raises the issue of sources. It is certain that there are many sources of accusations against the Assad regime, on which McKenna liberally draws, indicating that he is writing not from personal observation, any more than I am. Clearly, he is strongly disposed to believe the worst, and even to embroider it somewhat. He accepts and develops without the shadow of a doubt the theory that Assad himself is responsible for spoiling the good revolution by releasing Islamic prisoners who went on to poison it with their extremism. The notion that Assad himself infected the rebellion with Islamic fanaticism is at best a hypothesis concerning not facts but intentions, which are invisible. But it is presented as unchallengeable evidence of Assad's perverse wickedness.

This interpretation of events happens to dovetail neatly with the current Western doctrine on Syria, so that it is impossible to tell them apart. In both versions, the West is no more than a passive onlooker, whereas Assad enjoys the backing of Iran and Russia.

"Much has been made of Western imperial support for the rebels in the early years of the revolution. This has, in fact, been an ideological lynchpin of first the Iranian and then the Russian military interventions as they took the side of the Assad government. Such interventions were framed in the spirit of anticolonial rhetoric in which Iran and Russia purported to come to the aid of a beleaguered state very much at the mercy of a rapacious Western imperialism that was seeking to carve the country up according to the appetites of the US government and the International Monetary Fund ", according to McKenna.

Whose "ideological lynchpin"? Not that of Russia, certainly, whose line in the early stages of its intervention was not to denounce Western imperialism but to appeal to the West and especially to the United States to join in the fight against Islamic extremism.

Neither Russia nor Iran "framed their interventions in the spirit of anticolonial rhetoric" but in terms of the fight against Islamic extremism with Wahhabi roots.

In reality, a much more pertinent "framing" of Western intervention, taboo in the mainstream and even in Moscow, is that Western support for armed rebels in Syria was being carried out to help Israel destroy its regional enemies.

The Middle East nations attacked by the West – Iraq, Libya and Syria – all just happen to be, or to have been, the last strongholds of secular Arab nationalism and support for Palestinian rights.

There are a few alternative hypotheses as to Western motives – oil pipelines, imperialist atavism, desire to arouse Islamic extremism in order to weaken Russia (the Brzezinski gambit) – but none are as coherent as the organic alliance between Israel and the United States, and its NATO sidekicks.

It is remarkable that McKenna's long article (some 12 thousand words) about the war in Syria mentions Israel only once (aside from a footnote citing Israeli national news as a source). And this mention actually equates Israelis and Palestinians as co-victims of Assad propaganda: the Syrian government "used the mass media to slander the protestors, to present the revolution as the chaos orchestrated by subversive international interests (the Israelis and the Palestinians were both implicated in the role of foreign infiltrators)."

No other mention of Israel, which occupies Syrian territory (the Golan Heights) and bombs Syria whenever it wants to.

Only one, innocuous mention of Israel! But this article by a Trotskyist mentions Stalin, Stalinists, Stalinism no less than twenty-two times !

And what about Saudi Arabia, Israel's de facto ally in the effort to destroy Syria in order to weaken Iran? Two mentions, both implicitly denying that notorious fact. The only negative mention is blaming the Saudi family enterprise for investing billions in the Syrian economy in its neoliberal phase. But far from blaming Saudi Arabia for supporting Islamic groups, McKenna portrays the House of Saud as a victim of ISIS hostility.

Clearly, the Trotskyist delusion is to see the Russian Revolution everywhere, forever being repressed by a new Stalin. Assad is likened to Stalin several times.

This article is more about the Trotskyist case against Stalin than it is about Syria.

This repetitive obsession does not lead to a clear grasp of events which are not the Russian revolution. And even on this pet subject, something is wrong.

The Trotskyists keep yearning for a new revolution, just like the Bolshevik revolution. Yes, but the Bolshevik revolution ended in Stalinism. Doesn't that tell them something? Isn't it quite possible that their much-desired "revolution" might turn out just as badly in Syria, if not much worse?

Throughout history, revolts, uprisings, rebellions happen all the time, and usually end in repression. Revolution is very rare. It is more a myth than a reality, especially as Trotskyists tend to imagine it: the people all rising up in one great general strike, chasing their oppressors from power and instituting people's democracy. Has this ever happened?

For the Trotskyists, this seem to be the natural way things should happen and is stopped only by bad guys who spoil it out of meanness.

In our era, the most successful revolutions have been in Third World countries, where national liberation from Western powers was a powerful emotional engine. Successful revolutions have a program that unifies people and leaders who personify the aspirations of broad sectors of the population. Socialism or communism was above all a rallying cry meaning independence and "modernization" – which is indeed what the Bolshevik revolution turned out to be. If the Bolshevik revolution turned Stalinist, maybe it was in part because a strong repressive leader was the only way to save "the revolution" from its internal and external enemies. There is no evidence that, had he defeated Stalin, Trotsky would have been more tender-hearted.

Countries that are deeply divided ideologically and ethnically, such as Syria, are not likely to be "modernized" without a strong rule.

McKenna acknowledges that the beginning of the Assad regime somewhat redeemed its repressive nature by modernization and social reforms. This modernization benefited from Russian aid and trade, which was lost when the Soviet Union collapsed. Yes, there was a Soviet bloc which despite its failure to carry out world revolution as Trotsky advocated, did support the progressive development of newly independent countries.

If Bashar's father Hafez al Assad had some revolutionary legitimacy in McKenna's eyes, there is no excuse for Bashar.

"In the context of a global neoliberalism, where governments across the board were enacting the most pronounced forms of deregulation and overseeing the carving up of state industries by private capital, the Assad government responded to the heightening contradictions in the Syrian economy by following suit -- by showing the ability to march to the tempo of foreign investment while evincing a willingness to cut subsidies for workers and farmers." The neoliberal turn impoverished people in the countryside, therefore creating a situation that justified "revolution".

This is rather amazing, if one thinks about it. Without the alternative Soviet bloc, virtually the whole world has been obliged to conform to anti-social neoliberal policies. Syria included. Does this make Bashar al Assad so much more a villain than every other leader conforming to U.S.-led globalization?

McKenna concludes by quoting Louis Proyect: "If we line up on the wrong side of the barricades in a struggle between the rural poor and oligarchs in Syria, how can we possibly begin to provide a class-struggle leadership in the USA, Britain, or any other advanced capitalist country?"

One could turn that around. Shouldn't such a Marxist revolutionary be saying: "if we can't defeat the oligarchs in the West, who are responsible for the neoliberal policies imposed on the rest of the world, how can we possibly begin to provide class-struggle leadership in Syria?"

The trouble with Trotskyists is that they are always "supporting" other people's more or less imaginary revolutions. They are always telling others what to do. They know it all. The practical result of this verbal agitation is simply to align this brand of Trotskyism with U.S imperialism. The obsession with permanent revolution ends up providing an ideological alibi for permanent war.

For the sake of world peace and progress, both the United States and its inadvertent Trotskyist apologists should go home and mind their own business.

[Apr 22, 2018] The Crisis Is Only In Its Beginning Stages by Paul Craig Roberts

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... This popular question completely misses the point. The US attack on Syria is a clear and indisputable war crime against a sovereign country regardless of whether Syria used a chemical weapon in driving the Washington supported terrorists from Douma. ..."
"... It is unlikely that the UN Security Council will condemn Washington, which pays 25% of the UN's budget. Moreover, the Security Council is loaded up with Washington's vassals, and they will not vote to censure their liegelord. ..."
"... Putin is wasting his time taking the matter to the Security Council, unless his purpose is to prove that every Western institution is completely corrupt. ..."
"... During the entirety of the Cold War no US ambassador to the UN spoke aggressively and disrespectfully to the Soviet representative as Nikki Haley speaks to the Russian ambassador. During the Cold War no American president would have tolerated Nikki Haley. The crazed bitch would have instantly been fired. ..."
"... Until Washington is effectively resisted, Washington's European vassals, the UN Security Council and the OPCW will stand with Washington. ..."
Apr 17, 2018 | www.unz.com

Many, including Russia's President Putin, have asked why the US launched an illegal attack on Syria prior to the chemical weapons inspectors examining the site of the alleged chemical attack.

This popular question completely misses the point. The US attack on Syria is a clear and indisputable war crime against a sovereign country regardless of whether Syria used a chemical weapon in driving the Washington supported terrorists from Douma. No one acted to stop Washington's war crime. Some of Washington's vassals, such as Germany and Italy, refused to participate in Washington's war crime, but no one attempted to block it. The impotent UN Security Council, to which Russia is wasting its time appealing, the EU, NATO, Russia and China themselves did nothing to stop Washington's Nazi era war crime.

Russia said that if Washington's attack harmed its citizens, there would be military consequences, but Russia did not protect its ally Syria from the attack.

Perhaps it doesn't matter as Washington's attack was carefully conducted so as to have no effect except to serve as a face-saver for Trump. Apparently no one was killed and no damage was done to anything real except to a facility in which anti-venom for snake bites was being produced.

On the other hand, it does matter, because of the perception that the American presstitutes have created that it was a great victory for America over the evil Syrian government and the evil Russian government that supports them. This perception, which the presstitutes have created with their fake news, justifies the war crime and will lead to more attacks on Syria.

It is unlikely that the UN Security Council will condemn Washington, which pays 25% of the UN's budget. Moreover, the Security Council is loaded up with Washington's vassals, and they will not vote to censure their liegelord.

Putin is wasting his time taking the matter to the Security Council, unless his purpose is to prove that every Western institution is completely corrupt. As most informed people already know this, I don't understand the point of proving the known. Putin should read Eric Zuesse's article before he puts too much faith in the UN. https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/04/17/how-us-has-virtually-destroyed-un.html

As I have written on a number of occasions, I admire Putin's Christian character of sidestepping the beatings he continuously takes from Washington in order to save the world from the massive deaths of a world war. The problem is that by turning the other cheek, Putin encourages more aggression from Washington. Putin is dealing with neoconservative psychopaths. He is not dealing with common sense.

During the entirety of the Cold War no US ambassador to the UN spoke aggressively and disrespectfully to the Soviet representative as Nikki Haley speaks to the Russian ambassador. During the Cold War no American president would have tolerated Nikki Haley. The crazed bitch would have instantly been fired.

The Russian government is captured by delusion if the Russians believe that the US government, in which Nikki Haley is Trump's choice to be America's spokesperson to the world, in which the crazed neoconservative war monger John Bolton is a principal influence over US military and foreign policy, and in which the President himself is under threat of indictment for wanting to normalize relations with Russia, has any prospect of avoiding war.

The best chance of preventing the oncoming war is Russian-Chinese-Iranian unity and a defeat for American arms in a regional context not worth the Washington psychopaths launching of nuclear weapons. Until Washington is effectively resisted, Washington's European vassals, the UN Security Council and the OPCW will stand with Washington. Once Washington experiences a defeat, NATO will dissolve and with this dissolution Washington's ability to threaten other countries will lose its cover and evaporate.

[Apr 21, 2018] Amazingly BBC newsnight just started preparing viewers for the possibility that there was no sarin attack, and the missile strikes might just have been for show

Highly recommended!
Apr 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Apr 20, 2018 6:56:29 PM | 41


Paul Cockshott , Apr 20, 2018 6:56:29 PM | 41

Amazingly BBC newsnight just started preparing viewers for the possibility that there was no sarin attack, and the missile strikes might just have been for show, i plying Trump did it for political reasons. Narrative changing a bit.
Anonymous , Apr 21, 2018 2:47:25 AM | 57
#Germany's state media senior correspondent (who is in Damascus right now & also visited Douma) on primetime evening news on German television: "#Douma chemical attack is most likely staged. A great many people here seem very convinced."

https://twitter.com/Brasco_Aad/status/987432370595876864

Fran , Apr 21, 2018 2:55:06 AM | 58
Karlofi#35 and frances#18
Michael Quinn on Russia Insider is wondering about the same thing too: Tucker Carlson MIA for 2 Days After Exposing Syria Gas Hoax - Deep State Revenge?

I too hope he will return soon, he seems to be one of the last sane voices of the msm. Hopefully high viewer rates help to bring him back, but he wouldn't be the first one to vanish from the screen, despite high ratings.

[Apr 21, 2018] It s a tough old world and we are certainly capable of a Salisbury set-up and god knows what else in Syria.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It is perfectly possible that the British government manufactured the whole Salisbury thing. We are capable of just as much despicable behavior and murder as the next. ..."
"... Tucker Carlson of Fox News has it nailed down.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M28aYkLRlm0 ..."
"... This "civil war" has been nothing but a war for Syrian resources waged by western proxies. ..."
"... So now, In desperation borne out of their impending defeat, the imperialists have staged a chemical attack in a last throw of the dice to gain popular support for an escalation in military intervention. Like military interventions of the past, it is being justified in the name of humanitarian intervention. ..."
Apr 21, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

wheelbarrow1 , 13 Apr 2018 14:37

Why is the prime minister of the United Kinkdom on the phone discussing whether or not to bomb a Sovereign country with the highly unstable, Donald Trump?

Can she not make up her own mind? Either she thinks it's the right thing to do or it isn't. Hopefully, the person on the other end of the phone was not Trump but someone with at least half a brain.

Proof, let's have some proof. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so. Russia is saying it's all a put up job, show us your facts. We are saying, don't be silly, we're British and besides, you may have done this sort of thing before.

It is perfectly possible that the British government manufactured the whole Salisbury thing. We are capable of just as much despicable behavior and murder as the next.

Part of the Great British act's of bravery and heroism in the second world war is the part played by women agents who were parachuted into France and helped organize local resistance groups. Odette Hallowes, Noor Inayat Khan and Violette Szabo are just a few of the many names but they are the best known. What is not generally know is that many agents when undergoing their training in the UK, were given information about the 'D' day landings, the approx time and place. They were then dropped into France into the hands of the waiting German army who captured and tortured and often executed them.

The double agent, who Winston Churchill met and fully approved of the plan was Henri Dericourt, an officer in the German army and our man on the ground in France. Dericourt organized the time and place for the drop off of the incoming agents, then told the Germans. The information about the 'D' day invasion time and place was false. The British fed the agents (only a small number) into German hands knowing they would be captured and the false information tortured out of them.

Source :- 'A Quiet Courage' Liane Jones.

It's a tough old world and we are certainly capable of a Salisbury set-up and god knows what else in Syria.

I_Wear_Socks , 13 Apr 2018 14:37
From The Guardian articles today that I have read on Syria, it makes absolutely clear that if you in any way question the narrative forwarded here, that you are a stupid conspiracy theorist in line with Richard Spencer and other far-right, American nutcases.

A more traditional form of argument to incline people to their way of thinking would be facts. But social pressure to conform and not be a conspiratorial idiot in line with the far-right obviously work better for most of their readers. My only surprise it that position hasn't been linked with Brexit.

ChairmanMayTseTung , 13 Apr 2018 14:37
Did anyone see the massive canister that was shown on TV repeatedly that was supposed to have been air-dropped and smashed through the window of a house, landed on a bed and failed to go off.

The bed was in remarkable condition with just a few ruffled bedclothes considering it had been hit with a metal object weighing god knows what and dropped from a great height.

MartinSilenus -> ChairmanMayTseTung , 13 Apr 2018 14:36
"More than 40 years after the US sprayed millions of litres of chemical agents to defoliate"

The Defoliant Agent Orange was used to kill jungles, resulting in light getting through to the dark jungle floors & a massive amount of low bush regrowing, making the finding of Vietcong fighters even harder!

It was sprayed even on American troops, it is a horrible stuff. Still compared to Chlorine poison gas, let alone nerve gases, it is much less terrible. Though the long term effects are pretty horrible.

"Some 45 million liters of the poisoned spray was Agent Orange, which contains the toxic compound dioxin"
http://theconversation.com/agent-orange-exposed-how-u-s-chemical-warfare-in-vietnam-unleashed-a-slow-moving-disaster-84572

120Daze , 13 Apr 2018 14:36
Who needs facts when you've got opinions? Non more hypocritical than the British. Its what you get when you lie and distort though a willing press, you get found out and then nobody believes anything you say.anymore. The white helmets are a western funded and founded organisation, they are NOT independent they are NOT volunteers, The UK the US and the Dutch fund them to the tune of over $40 million. They are a propaganda dispensing outlet. The press shouldn't report anything they release because it is utterly unable to substantiate ANY of it, there hasn't been a western journalist in these areas for over 4 years so why do the press expect us to believe anything they print? Combine this with the worst and most incompetent Govt this country has seen for decades and all you have is a massive distraction from massive domestic troubles which the same govt has no answers too.
LiviaDrusilla -> Bangorstu , 13 Apr 2018 14:36
LOL are you having a larf?

The same organisation that receives millions of quid in funding from USAID?

Whose 'executive director' used to work for USAID?

Who have campaigned for 'no fly zones' (ie US bombing)?

Who are affiliated to the Iranian terrorist group MEK?

Who only happen to run hospitals in 'rebel' held areas?

You have a strange idea of 'politically neutral'. Your 'NGO' are fighting for an Islamist state. Enjoy them.

Dominique2 , 13 Apr 2018 14:32
https://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2013/sep/01/winston-churchill-shocking-use-chemical-weapons

""I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes," [Winston Churchill] declared in one secret memorandum."

The current condemnation by the international community and international law is good and needs enforcement. But no virtue signalling where there is none.

CaptTroyTempest -> StoneRoses , 13 Apr 2018 14:27
But we're still awaiting evidence that a chemical attack has been carried out in Douma, aren't we? And if an attack was carried out, by whom. But before these essential points are verified, you feel that a targeted military response is justified. Are you equally keen for some targeted military response for the use of chemical weapons, namely white phosphorus, in Palestine by the Israaeli military? Unlike Douma, the use of these chemical weapons in the occupied territories by the IDF's personnel is well documented. But we haven't attacked them yet. Funny that.
CMYKilla , 13 Apr 2018 14:26
Instead of "chemicals" why not just firebomb them - you know like we did to entire cities full of women and children in WW2?

Hamburg 27 July 1943 - 46,000 civilians killed in a firestorm
Kassel 22 October 1943 - 9,000 civilians killed 24,000 houses destroyed in a firestorm
Darmstadt 11 September 1944 - 8,000 civilians killed in a firestorm
Dresden 13/14th February - 25,000 civilians killed in a firestorm

Obviously we were fighting Nazism and hadn't actually been invaded - and he is fighting Wahhabism and has had major cities overrun...

Maybe if Assad burnt people to death rather than gassing them we would make a statue of him outside Westminster like the one of Bomber Harris?

Tom1982 , 13 Apr 2018 14:24
Remember the tearful Kuwaiti nurse with her heartrending story of Iraqi troops tipping premature babies out of their incubators after the invasion in 1990? The story was published in pretty much every major Western newspaper, massively increased public support for military intervention............................and turned out to be total bullshit.

Is it too much too ask that we try a bit of collective critical thinking and wait for hard evidence before blundering into a military conflict with Assad; and potentially Putin?

BlutoTheBruto , 13 Apr 2018 14:21
Didn't General Mattis quietly admit at there was no evidence for the alleged Sarin attacks last year by Assad?

http://www.newsweek.com/now-mattis-admits-there-was-no-evidence-assad-using-poison-gas-his-people-801542

Hmmmm.... call me skeptical for not believing it this time around.

AwkwardSquad , 13 Apr 2018 14:19
Well, this is the sort of stuff that the Israelis would be gagging for. They want Assad neutralised and they are assisting ISIS terrorists on the Golan Heights. They tend to their wounded and send them back across the border to fight Assad. What better than to drag the Americans, Brits and French into the ring to finish him off. Job done eh?

Are you sure you are not promoting an Israeli agenda here Jonathan?

Incidentantally what did we in the west do when the Iraqis were gassing the Iranians with nerve agents in the marshes of southern Iraq during the Iran Iraq War? Did we intervene then? No, we didn't we allowed it to happen.

I say stay out it.

dannymega -> fripouille , 13 Apr 2018 14:18
Come on frip, you have to admit there was absolutely no motive for Assad's forces to carry out this attack. Why do you think the Guardian and other main stream media outlets are not even considering the possibility the Jihadi rebels staged it to trigger western intervention? I know, I know.. it's all evil Assad killing his own people for no other reason than he likes butchering people... blah blah. The regime change agenda against Syria has been derailed, no amount of false flag attacks can change the facts on the ground.
Preshous , 13 Apr 2018 14:18
Tucker Carlson of Fox News has it nailed down.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M28aYkLRlm0
ChairmanMayTseTung , 13 Apr 2018 14:16
More than 40 years after the US sprayed millions of litres of chemical agents to defoliate vast swathes of Vietnam and in the full knowledge it would be have a catastrophic effect on the health of the inhabitants of those area, Vietnam has by far the highest incidence of liver cancer on the planet.

Then more recently we have the deadly depleted uranium from US shells that innocent Iraqis are inhaling as shrill voices denounce Assad.

CodeNameTwiglet , 13 Apr 2018 14:15
The Syrian people are heroically resisting and defeating western imperialism. This "civil war" has been nothing but a war for Syrian resources waged by western proxies.

So now, In desperation borne out of their impending defeat, the imperialists have staged a chemical attack in a last throw of the dice to gain popular support for an escalation in military intervention. Like military interventions of the past, it is being justified in the name of humanitarian intervention.

But if we have a brief browse of history we can see that US & UK governments have brought only death, misery and destruction on the populations it was supposedly helping. Hands off Syria.

[Apr 20, 2018] Stench of hypocrisy British 'war on terror' strategic ties with radical Islam by John Wight

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... British governments, both Labour and Conservative, have, in pursuing the so-called 'national interest' abroad, colluded for decades with radical Islamic forces, including terrorist organizations. They have connived with them, worked alongside them and sometimes trained and financed them, in order to promote specific foreign policy objectives. Governments have done so in often desperate attempts to maintain Britain's global power in the face of increasing weakness in key regions of the world, being unable to unilaterally impose their will and lacking other local allies. Thus the story is intimately related to that of Britain's imperial decline and the attempt to maintain influence in the world. ..."
"... But whereas Sharif Hussein was a follower of orthodox Sunni Islam, Ibn Saud adhered to the radical doctrine of Wahhabism, which Winston Churchill was moved to describe as " bloodthirsty ..."
"... British support for the mujahideen, married to the huge support provided by Washington, was indispensable in the eventual success of these self-styled 'holy warriors' in taking control of a country that had embraced modernity and turning it into a failed state mired in religious oppression, brutality, backwardness and poverty. ..."
"... Britain, along with the US, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, covertly supported the resistance to defeat the Soviet occupation of the country. Military, financial and diplomatic backing was given to Islamist forces which, while forcing a Soviet withdrawal, soon organized themselves into terrorist networks ready to strike Western targets. ..."
"... Islamic resistance ..."
"... We trust the Western leaders are prepared for the enormous beneficial possibilities that could just possibly open up if the Afghan rebellion were to succeed. ..."
"... Manchester, England is home to the largest Libyan community in Britain, and there is strong evidence to suggest that when the Libyan uprising broke out MI6 facilitated the ability of Libyan Islamists in Britain to travel to Libya to participate in the fighting. Among them was Salman Abedi, who it is thought received military training in the country before being allowed to return to the UK thereafter. ..."
"... This brings us on to Syria and, as with Libya, the question of how so many British Muslims have been able to travel from the UK to Syria via Turkey to take part in the anti-Assad insurgency since 2011? It also brings into sharp focus a policy that has veered between the ludicrous and the reckless. ..."
"... As for the recklessness of Britain's actions in Syria, look no further than the country's recent participation in the illegal missile strikes that were carried out in conjunction with the US and France, justified on the basis of as yet unproven allegations that Syrian government forces had carried out a chemical weapons attack on Douma, just outside Damascus. The only beneficiaries of such actions by the Western powers are Salafi-jihadist groups such as ISIS (whom it was later reported took advantage of the missile strike to mount a short-lived offensive), Al-Nusra and Jaysh al-Islam. ..."
"... The latter of those groups, Jaysh al-Islam, is a Saudi proxy. It was the dominant group in Douma and throughout Eastern Ghouta until the district's liberation by the Syrian Army and its allies with Russian support. ..."
Apr 20, 2018 | www.rt.com

Britain's strategic relationship with radical Islam goes back decades and continues to this day. There is no more foul a stench than the stench of hypocrisy, and there is no more foul a hypocrisy than the British government painting Bashar al-Assad as a monster when in truth he and the Syrian people have been grappling with a twin-headed monster in the shape of Salafi-jihadi terror and Western imperialism. Both are committed to destroying Syria as an independent, non-sectarian state, and both are inextricably linked.

Author and journalist Mark Curtis charts in detail the contours of this history in his book 'Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam':

" British governments, both Labour and Conservative, have, in pursuing the so-called 'national interest' abroad, colluded for decades with radical Islamic forces, including terrorist organizations. They have connived with them, worked alongside them and sometimes trained and financed them, in order to promote specific foreign policy objectives. Governments have done so in often desperate attempts to maintain Britain's global power in the face of increasing weakness in key regions of the world, being unable to unilaterally impose their will and lacking other local allies. Thus the story is intimately related to that of Britain's imperial decline and the attempt to maintain influence in the world. "

As far back as the First World War, when the Middle East began to assume strategic importance in the capitals of Western imperial and colonial powers, the British ruling class went out of its way to identify and recruit loyal local proxies in pursuit of its regional objectives. Britain's relationship with the Arab tribal chief, Ibn Saud, who would go on to establish Saudi Arabia in the early 1930s, began in 1915 with the Darin Pact, demarcating the territory then controlled by Saud as a British protectorate.

The following year, the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans erupted. Begun and inspired by Saud's fierce rival, Sharif Hussein, head of the Hashemite Arab tribe, the revolt was heavily bankrolled and supported by the British – a period immortalized in the exploits of British military agent T E Lawrence, known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia.

But whereas Sharif Hussein was a follower of orthodox Sunni Islam, Ibn Saud adhered to the radical doctrine of Wahhabism, which Winston Churchill was moved to describe as " bloodthirsty " and " intolerant ." Regardless, when it came to its imperial interests there was no tiger upon whose back the British ruling class was not willing to ride during this period, and which, as events have proved, it has not been willing to ride since.

The most egregious example of this policy, one that continues to have ramifications today, was the support provided by the UK to the Afghan mujahideen in the late 1970s and 1980s. The insurgency's objective was the overthrow of Kabul's secular and left-leaning government, whose crime in the eyes of the Islamist insurgency's US and UK sponsors was that it had embraced the social and economic model of Moscow rather than Washington during the first Cold War.

British support for the mujahideen, married to the huge support provided by Washington, was indispensable in the eventual success of these self-styled 'holy warriors' in taking control of a country that had embraced modernity and turning it into a failed state mired in religious oppression, brutality, backwardness and poverty.

Mark Curtis again:

" Britain, along with the US, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, covertly supported the resistance to defeat the Soviet occupation of the country. Military, financial and diplomatic backing was given to Islamist forces which, while forcing a Soviet withdrawal, soon organized themselves into terrorist networks ready to strike Western targets. "

While Washington's primary role in channeling military and financial support to the Afghan mujahideen, known as Operation Cyclone , may until have succeeded in overshadowing London's role in this dirty war, declassified British government cabinet papers which were made public in 2010 and reported in the UK media make grim reading.

They reveal that three weeks after Soviet forces arrived in Afghanistan at the request of the Afghan government in Kabul, struggling to deal with an insurgency that had broken out in the countryside, the Thatcher government was planning to supply military aid to the " Islamic resistance ." A confidential government memo provides a chilling insight into the insanity that passed for official policy: " We trust the Western leaders are prepared for the enormous beneficial possibilities that could just possibly open up if the Afghan rebellion were to succeed. "

It will be recalled that out of the ensuing collapse of Afghanistan emerged the Taliban, under whose rule the country was turned into a vast militant jihadist school and training camp. Many of the most notorious Islamist terrorists began their careers there, fighting the Soviets and then later broadening out their activities to other parts of the region and wider world. In this regard, Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda loom large.

Other notorious names from the world of Salafi-jihadism for whom Afghanistan proved indispensable include the Jordanian Abu al-Zarqawi, who founded Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) during the US-UK occupation, an organization that would over time morph into ISIS.

Abdelhakim Belhaj and other Libyan Islamists cut their jihadist teeth in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Returning to Libya, they formed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in the eastern city of Benghazi. Though the group may have been disbanded in 2010, having failed to topple Gaddafi despite repeated attempts to assassinate the Libyan leader with, it's been claimed , the support of Britain's MI6, former members of the LIFG, including Belhaj, were important actors in the 2011 Libyan uprising.

By way of a reminder, the uprising in Libya started in Benghazi and would not have succeeded without the air support it received from NATO. Britain's then prime minister, David Cameron, was key in pushing for that air support and the sanction of the UN under the auspices of Security Council Resolution 1973. Though protecting civilians was central in wording of this UNSC resolution, it was shamefully distorted to justify regime change, culminating in Gaddafi's murder by the 'rebels.'

Staying with the LIFG, in the wake of the Manchester suicide-bomb attack in May 2017, which left 23 people dead and 500 injured, the fact that the bomber, a young Libyan by the name of Salman Abedi, was the son of a former member of the LIFG, did not receive anything like the media attention it should have at the time.

Manchester, England is home to the largest Libyan community in Britain, and there is strong evidence to suggest that when the Libyan uprising broke out MI6 facilitated the ability of Libyan Islamists in Britain to travel to Libya to participate in the fighting. Among them was Salman Abedi, who it is thought received military training in the country before being allowed to return to the UK thereafter.

This brings us on to Syria and, as with Libya, the question of how so many British Muslims have been able to travel from the UK to Syria via Turkey to take part in the anti-Assad insurgency since 2011? It also brings into sharp focus a policy that has veered between the ludicrous and the reckless.

Emblematic of the former was ex-prime minister David Cameron's claim , which he made during a 2015 Commons debate over whether the Royal Air Force should engage in air strikes against ISIS in Syria, that fighting as part of the Syrian were 70,000 moderates.

As for the recklessness of Britain's actions in Syria, look no further than the country's recent participation in the illegal missile strikes that were carried out in conjunction with the US and France, justified on the basis of as yet unproven allegations that Syrian government forces had carried out a chemical weapons attack on Douma, just outside Damascus. The only beneficiaries of such actions by the Western powers are Salafi-jihadist groups such as ISIS (whom it was later reported took advantage of the missile strike to mount a short-lived offensive), Al-Nusra and Jaysh al-Islam.

The latter of those groups, Jaysh al-Islam, is a Saudi proxy. It was the dominant group in Douma and throughout Eastern Ghouta until the district's liberation by the Syrian Army and its allies with Russian support.

Given the deep and longstanding ties between London and Riyadh; given the fact, reported towards the end of 2017, that British military personnel were embedded in a training role with Saudi forces in Yemen; given the news that a British special forces sergeant was killed in northern Syria at the end of March this year while embedded with the Kurds, revealing for the first time that British troops were operating in the country on the ground – given all that, the question of who else British special forces and military personnel may be embedded with in Syria is legitimate.

In the context of the British state's long and sordid history when it comes to riding the back of radical Islam in pursuit of its strategic objectives, readers will doubtless draw their own conclusions.

Read more

John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1

[Apr 19, 2018] The Neocons Are Selling Koolaid Again! by W. Patrick Lang

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Middle East Policy ..."
"... Such people, then and now, fervently believe in the Manifest Destiny of the United States as mankind's best hope of a utopian future and concomitantly in the responsibility of the United States to lead mankind toward that future. Neocons believe that inside every Iraqi, Filipino or Syrian there is an American waiting to be freed from the bonds of tradition, local culture and general backwardness. ..."
"... Local rulers must be removed as the principal obstacle to popular emulation of Western and especially American culture and political forms. In the run up to the invasion of Iraq I was often told by leading neocon figures that the Muslims and particularly the Iraqis had no culture worth keeping and that once we had created new facts, (a Karl Rove quote) these people would quickly abandon their old ways and beliefs as they sought to become something like Americans. ..."
"... This notion has one major flaw. It is not necessarily correct. Often the natives are willing to fight you long and hard to retain their own ways. In the aftermath of the Spanish-American War the US acquired the Philippine Islands and sought to make the islands American in all things. The result was a terrible war against Filipino nationalists who did not want to follow the example of the "shining city on a hill." No, the "poor fools" wanted to go their own way in their own way. The same thing happened in Iraq after 2003. The Iraqis rejected occupation and American "reform" of their country and a long and bloody war ensued. ..."
"... I am told that the old neocon crew argued as hard as possible for a disabling massive air and missile campaign intended to destroy the Syrian government's ability to fight the mostly jihadi rebels. John Bolton, General (ret.) Jack Keane and many other neocons argued strongly for this campaign as a way to reverse the outcome of the civil war. James Mattis managed to obtain President Trump's approval for a much more limited and largely symbolic strike but Trump was clearly inclined to the neocon side of the argument. What will happen next time? ..."
"... Paul Wolfowitz infamously told the US Senate "we chose to use the fear of nuclear weapons because we knew that would sell." ..."
"... The current US is rather like a cross country trip in bad weather. The vehicle is bogged down in deep mud, giving the driver and occupants two options 1) Look out the windows and say, "We're bogged down in deep mud. What are we going to do?" 2) Refuse to look out the windows and say, "There's something wrong with this vehicle. Can we fix the engine?" ..."
"... Well clearly the US's European satrapies don't share directly in the US updated Manifest Destiny idea, but the US sphere elites in general are fully indoctrinated in the universalist ideology of internationalist social-liberalism and "democracy"-uber-alles (where "democracy" – whether in Republican, constitutional monarchic or other form – is in reality a kind of managed gerrymander to keep the established and US-favoured elites safely in control and ensure "populists" are excluded by any means necessary), and sees itself as on a mission to promote the spread of US style liberal (managed) "democracy" throughout the world (except where it's currently inconvenient to push it too hard for reasons of temporary expedience, such as in places like Saudi Arabia). ..."
"... The current breed of opportunists operating without any kind of responsibility makes the international corps of political whores-in-charge. These politicians look at the Blairs (a $100 million fortune) and Cheney & Bush (both getting richer with every day) and they know that the opportunisms, however criminal, will be rewarded by the "deciders." The incompetent and sycophantic politicians in the EU/UK governments have zero regards for their citizenry. We can be absolutely sure that there are no idealists among the leading UK politicians in power. ..."
"... Short answer, F,UK were the world's leading imperial powers before WWII and seek to leverage American military and financial power to restore some degree of imperial power. The Atlantic Charter and the UN Charter were bitter pills for the old empires. France sought to override the UN Charter by force in Vietnam and Algeria, but lacked the wherewithall. Britain, France, and Israel sought to override it by force in the 1956 Suez Crisis until Daddy Ike told them that it wasn't cool. The umbrella of American power is their best remaining means of re-establishing imperial power. It puts the onus on the US for violations of international law, but promises them some restoration of imperial power in MENA. ..."
"... "Making the world safe for democracy" was the sales pitch for preserving the F, UK empires long before there was Israel. That effort was driven largely by American Blue Blood bankers who had risky investments in the UK war effort. American Jews were suspected of loyalty to the Kaiser because they loathed the Russian Tsar. ..."
Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

In 2004 I published an article in the journal, Middle East Policy that was entitled "Drinking the Koolaid." The article reviewed the process by which the neocon element in the Bush Administration seized control of the process of policy formation and drove the United States in the direction of invasion of Iraq and the destruction of the apparatus of the Iraqi state. They did this through manipulation of the collective mental image Americans had of Iraq and the supposed menace posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Not all the people who participated in this process were neocon in their allegiance but there were enough of them in the Bush Administration to dominate the process. Neoconism as it has evolved in American politics is a close approximation of the imperialist political faction that existed in the time of President William McKinley and the Spanish-American War. Barbara Tuchman described this faction well in "The Proud Tower."

Such people, then and now, fervently believe in the Manifest Destiny of the United States as mankind's best hope of a utopian future and concomitantly in the responsibility of the United States to lead mankind toward that future. Neocons believe that inside every Iraqi, Filipino or Syrian there is an American waiting to be freed from the bonds of tradition, local culture and general backwardness. For people with this mindset the explanation for the continuance of old ways lies in the oppressive and exploitative nature of rulers who block the "progress" that is needed. The solution for the imperialists and neocons is simple. Local rulers must be removed as the principal obstacle to popular emulation of Western and especially American culture and political forms. In the run up to the invasion of Iraq I was often told by leading neocon figures that the Muslims and particularly the Iraqis had no culture worth keeping and that once we had created new facts, (a Karl Rove quote) these people would quickly abandon their old ways and beliefs as they sought to become something like Americans.

This notion has one major flaw. It is not necessarily correct. Often the natives are willing to fight you long and hard to retain their own ways. In the aftermath of the Spanish-American War the US acquired the Philippine Islands and sought to make the islands American in all things. The result was a terrible war against Filipino nationalists who did not want to follow the example of the "shining city on a hill." No, the "poor fools" wanted to go their own way in their own way. The same thing happened in Iraq after 2003. The Iraqis rejected occupation and American "reform" of their country and a long and bloody war ensued.

The neocons believe so strongly that America must lead the world and mankind forward that they accept the idea that the achievement of human progress justifies any means needed to advance that goal. In the case of the Iraq invasion the American people were lectured endlessly about the bestialities of Saddam's government. The bestialities were impressive but the constant media display of these horrors was not enough to persuade the American people to accept war. From the bestialities meme the neocons moved on to the WMD meme. The Iraqi government had a nuclear weapons program before the First Gulf War but that program had been thoroughly destroyed in the inspection regime that followed Iraq's defeat and surrender. This was widely known in the US government because US intelligence agencies had cooperated fully with the international inspectors in Iraq and in fact had sent the inspectors to a long list of locations at which the inspectors destroyed the program. I was instrumental in that process.

After 9/11 the US government knew without any doubt that the Iraqi government did not have a nuclear weapons program, but that mattered not at all to the neocons. As Paul Wolfowitz infamously told the US Senate "we chose to use the fear of nuclear weapons because we knew that would sell." Once that decision was made an endless parade of administration shills appeared on television hyping the supposed menace of Iraqi nuclear weapons. Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were merely the most elevated in position of the many vendors of the image of the "mushroom shaped cloud."

And now we have the case of Syria and its supposed chemical weapons and attacks. After the putative East Gouta chemical attack of 2013, an OPCW program removed all the chemical weapons to be found in Syria and stated its belief that there were no more in the country. In April of 2017 the US-Russian de-confliction process was used to reach agreement on a Syrian Air Force strike in the area of Khan Sheikoon in southern Idlib Province. This was a conventional weapons attack and the USAF had an unarmed reconnaissance drone in the area to watch the strike go in against a storage area. The rebel run media in the area then claimed the government had attacked with the nerve gas Sarin, but no proof was ever offered except film clips broadcast on social media. Some of the film clips from the scene were ludicrous. Municipal public health people were filmed at the supposed scene standing around what was said to be a bomb crater from the "sarin attack." Two public health men were filmed sitting on the lip of the crater with their feet in the hole. If there had been sarin residue in the hole they would have quickly succumbed to the gas. No impartial inspection of the site was ever done, but the Khan Sheikoon "gas attack" has become through endless repetition a "given" in the lore of the "constant Syrian government gas attacks against their own civilians."

On the 4th of April it is claimed that the Syrian Government, then in the process of capturing the town of Douma caused chlorine gas to be dropped on the town killing and wounding many. Chlorine is not much of a war gas. It is usually thought of as an industrial chemical, so evidently to make the story more potent it is now suggested that perhaps sarin was also used.

No proof that such an attack occurred has been made public. None! The Syrian and Russian governments state that they want the site inspected. On the 15th of April US Senator Angus King (I) of Maine told Jake Tapper on SOTU that as of that date the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had not been given any proof by the IC or Trump Administration that such an attack had occurred. "They have asserted that it did" he said.

The US, France and the UK struck Syria with over a hundred cruise missiles in retaliation for this supposed attack but the Administration has not yet provided any proof that the Syrian attack took place.

I am told that the old neocon crew argued as hard as possible for a disabling massive air and missile campaign intended to destroy the Syrian government's ability to fight the mostly jihadi rebels. John Bolton, General (ret.) Jack Keane and many other neocons argued strongly for this campaign as a way to reverse the outcome of the civil war. James Mattis managed to obtain President Trump's approval for a much more limited and largely symbolic strike but Trump was clearly inclined to the neocon side of the argument. What will happen next time?

Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years


Chet Roman , April 19, 2018 at 5:15 am GMT
The most important part of this article on neocons and their policies is what was never mentioned: Israel. While superficially the neocons may claim they believe in the Manifest Destiny of the United States to impose American democracy on other cultures, the truth is that below the superficial is a deep and unquestioning obedience to further Zionist policies and the promotion of Israel über alles. Syria is a prime example of this and any article on U.S. policies regarding regime change or bombing Syria that leaves out a mention of Israeli influence is all foreplay and nothing else and just about as satisfying.
HooperHooper , April 19, 2018 at 5:18 am GMT
@Carlton Meyer

I understand your point, but Col. Lang's statement of acquired is correct. The USA "acquired" the Phillipine islands as a result of the treaty ending the Spanish-American war. There was a following military occupation and war against nationalist rebels, but that doesn't make his wording incorrect.

Wally , April 19, 2018 at 5:25 am GMT
But who are the "Neo-Cons"? Who is their loyalty to?

http://www.codoh.com

joseph51 , April 19, 2018 at 7:04 am GMT
The neocons have a right to their opinion and their desired world order, just like anyone else. What they DO NOT have, is the right to perpetrate WARS OF AGRESSION, which include both War Crimes an Crimes Against Humanity under its purview, to reach those goals. Under our Constitution and system of government ONLY Congress is legally authorized to declare war on another nation. Congress has NOT declared war on the sovereign nation of Syria, there is no self defense issue here and such an attack has not been approved by the United Nations so, IT IS NOT UP TO THE PRESIDENT AND SOME GROUP OF HIS ADVISORS.

Those in the military have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution. You are not obligated to obey obviously criminal orders, in fact you are obligated to defend against all those violating our Constitution. By God, do your duty.

Where is Congress? They should be making sure that these criminals do not exercise authority that is reserved to Congress. By not preventing these crimes the military and Congress become accomplices and accessories to the most heinous crime defined by mankind WAR OF AGRESSION.

Any and all those in authority who ordered past attacks and or order future attacks are guilty of WAGING AGGRESSIVE WAR. Any one who assisted in any way are accomplices, and/or accessories to the crimes and are equally guilty and subject to arrest and prosecution without time limit. The excuse of following orders will not be accepted.

If the neocons actually carry out the criminal act of "a disabling massive air and missile campaign intended to destroy the Syrian government's ability to fight the mostly jihadi rebels," don't be surprised if the Russians and Chinese vaporize the United States.

Ronald Thomas West , Website April 19, 2018 at 7:25 am GMT

the putative East Gouta chemical attack of 2013

I have to wonder why, with the known facts of this 2013 attack in the public domain, our 'other IC' never goes there except with the most vague allusions. Here is the 2013 attack in known detail:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/04/15/what-can-be-known-vs-what-will-be-known/

I'm no fan of 'Realpolitik', let the chips fall as they should. In fact, the reality of 2013 should inform us of the reality of 2018, and where to bring the pressure to pop the abscess – before the abscess becomes WWIII

Randal , April 19, 2018 at 7:44 am GMT
Great to see Colonel Lang added to the list of Unz writers. His direct expertise and experience in ME military and intel matters are unsurpassed, and as someone who has been intentionally excluded from the mainstream media because of his determination to express inconvenient truths that the powerful would prefer remain unsaid, he fits perfectly into the Unz mission statement: "A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media."

After the putative East Gouta chemical attack of 2013, an OPCW program removed all the chemical weapons to be found in Syria and stated its belief that there were no more in the country.

Let's recall whilst considering this point that the OPCW is not some anti-American bureaucracy uninfluenced by US power. Here is what happened to an OPCW leader who crossed the US neocons:

"We can't accept your management style," Bolton told Bustani in 2002, as Bustani recounted to The Intercept.

"You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don't comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you," he reportedly continued. After a pause, Bolton reportedly said, "We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York."

Bustani was taken aback by Bolton's directness, but did not back down, according to The Intercept.

Bustani eventually was forced to step down after the US convinced its allies in the organization to rally against him, according to The Times. He was forced out by a stunning vote of 48 to 7 and 43 abstentions.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/john-bolton-threatened-family-of-brazilian-diplomat-iraq-war-2002-2018-3

If the OPCW appears to be cooperating suspiciously with US objectives on an issue, that's credible. The contrary, not so much.

On that note, let's also recall that the OPCW inspected one of the main targets of the recent US action, claimed by the US and its collaborators to be an active chemical weapons site, the Barzeh research centre, in 2017:

He said it's "totally incorrect" that chemical weapons were being developed there. "The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) visited here and didn't report anything wrong with this place."
.
CBS News looked into the OPCW report from Barzeh and it noted the Syrians had delayed the visit for security concerns, but didn't find any red flags.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/syria-airstrikes-brazeh-complex-damascus-2018-04-14/

Realist , April 19, 2018 at 8:19 am GMT
@WhiteWolf

In the days of dubya at least some effort was put into the false flags.

The shallowness and insouciance of Americans has rendered that superfluous.

Mishra , April 19, 2018 at 8:27 am GMT
While I certainly agree with the gist of this essay, the following quotation is news to me and I'd appreciate a citation–I can't find it anywhere.

Paul Wolfowitz infamously told the US Senate "we chose to use the fear of nuclear weapons because we knew that would sell."

English Outsider , April 19, 2018 at 9:05 am GMT
I have long been a fan of Colonel Lang's stand against the current neocon policy in the Middle East. Here I find the most authoritative account of the thinking behind the Syrian disaster I have seen.

I am still puzzled by the support given by our European and UK politicians to this destructive policy. Is it merely a matter of catching the crumbs from the neocon's table? Our politicians surely can't think they're exceptional too. Though in a way one hopes they might be – I no longer believe that those politicians represent the thinking of the great mass of people in Europe and the UK.

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 9:09 am GMT
@Chet Roman

Lang spelled that out in "Drinking the Koolaid," the 2004 article mentioned in the first sentence.

He wrote:

" . . .single-minded intensity in pursuing his goals was nothing new for [Douglas] Feith. In July 1996, he had been a principal author of a study prepared for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This paper advocated abrogation of the Oslo accords and the launch of a new regional balance-of-power scheme based on American-Israeli military dominance with a subsidiary military role for Turkey and Jordan . The study was produced by the "Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies" (IASPS), a Jerusalem-based Likud-party-linked think tank, and was called "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm." In it, Feith and company wrote,

"Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq -- an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right -- as a means of foiling Syria's regional ambitions."

The study-group leader was Richard Perle . Other members of the team included Charles Fairbanks Jr., a longtime friend of Paul Wolfowitz since their student days together at the University of Chicago; and David Wurmser , an American Enterprise Institute Middle East fellow, and his wife, Meyrav Wurmser , who headed the Washington, DC office of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). Her boss in that group was a retired Israeli intelligence officer, Yigal Carmon.

On July 8, 1996, Richard Perle presented the "Clean Break" document to Netanyahu, who was visiting Washington. Two days later, the Israeli prime minister unveiled the document as his own regional foreign-policy design in a speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

http://www.mepc.org/journal/middle-east-policy-archives/drinking-kool-aid?print

Regulars on Unz forum regularly mention "A Clean Break," but noting the "regional balance-of-power scheme based on American-Israeli military dominance with a subsidiary military role for Turkey and Jordan, " and given the amount of money and military aid US taxpayers provide to Israel, why is this group hiring, training and arming "moderate rebels" to "foil Syria's regional ambitions" rather than carrying out the mission themselves?

Also, and based on comments by US Congressman Steven Russell (R-OK) (among others) in appearances on C Span, where praise is lavished on Jordan's king Abdullah, it appears Jordan is still on board the aging ship Clean Break , tho Turkey is threatening mutiny.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?444201-5/washington-journal-representative-steve-russell-r-ok-discusses-congress-role-syria-conflict

The same actors -- including the sociopathic Michael Ledeen– of this neocon cabal have been reading the same script from the run-up to war with Iraq

to the fulfillment of their obsession with attacking Iran:

Notice that fifteen years on, the neocon criminal gang has added new, younger members, i.e. Richard Goldberg and Michaela Dodge. Goldberg is fanatically pro-Israel from his Jewish day school primary school to his anti-BDS activities in Illinois government and anti-Iran achievements in US senate.

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 9:23 am GMT
@Carlton Meyer

Disagree because Jimmy Dore made a mistake in heaping so much praise on Sache without knowing who he was. In my opinion, Jeffrey Sachs's appearance on MSNBC is a smokescreen, political cover to exonerate the Deep State, banister predators and Israel firsters from complicity in the destruction of Syria. Sachs was a leading actor, together with George Soros, Paul Wolfowitz and Jonathan Bush, brother-in-law of the late, sainted Barbara Bush, in the Rape of Russia in the Yeltsin years.

h/t The Saker, complete w/ transcript: https://thesaker.is/the-rape-of-russia-saker-blog-exclusive-interview/

EliteCommInc. , April 19, 2018 at 10:04 am GMT
Our southern neighbors are the largest threat to the US than any Middle Eastern State.

I will continue to contend to drop the label "neoconservative" because it is inaccurate. What we have are those who desire intervention for political and mercantilism *economic" ambitions -- interventionists.
-- -- -- -- -- -- –

" I was often told by leading neocon figures that the Muslims and particularly the Iraqis had no culture worth keeping and that once we had created new facts, (a Karl Rove quote) these people would quickly abandon their old ways and beliefs as they sought to become something like Americans. This notion has one major flaw. It is not necessarily correct. Often the natives are willing to fight you long and hard to retain their own ways. In the aftermath of the Spanish-American War the US acquired the Philippine Islands and sought to make the islands American in all things."

I am unclear why you are equivocating here. It is entirely incorrect as demonstrated throughout the region repeatedly.

Seamus Padraig , April 19, 2018 at 10:05 am GMT
@Chet Roman

True. I love Col. Lang's blog and have followed it for years now. He's really good at military strategy, and–as a ME specialist–is very helpful in analyzing and predicting events in Syria, Iraq, etc. But the main thing that's missing at his blog ('Sic Semper Tyrannis') is any analysis of Israel's role in this. There's no mention of the Oded Yinon plan, or the Clean Break memo, or the 'Pearl Harbor-type event' paper. And while Lang is very good at pointing out the absurdity of Washington's statements relative to reality, he's not so good at untangling propaganda from what really motivates the highest-level people who are behind all of this . Hint: it's not 'democracy promotion'.

jilles dykstra , April 19, 2018 at 10:12 am GMT
I wonder if the neocons have any idea about forward. Their forward for me is just world domination, that what Franklin Roosevelt already tried, but what failed miserably. In 1946 the Soros then, Bernard Baruch, in vain pleaded for a world government, that is, the USA governing the world. Stalin and Mao tse Tung had other ideas.

We now have Putin, the Chinese government, India, Iran, IS, the other BRICS countries, I think the majority of Muslims, most S and Middle American countries, with other ideas. Even on German sites debate exists on the continuing USA occupation. Soros' conflict with Hungary is there for anyone to see.

Fool Macron states that the EU must have more power, to destroy increasing nationalism. He does not see that with more EU power nationalism rises. Shortly before the Brexit referendum someone in Britain said 'they even interfere with vacuum cleaners'.

Ivan K. , Website April 19, 2018 at 10:18 am GMT
You're just wasting your nerves, and time. Just looking at what is done rather than what is being said, I see the world geopolitically moving in a splendid direction, with practically enlightened leaders in the major three countries. I see a false flag that had cost no lives, Syria becoming invincible to both NATO and Israel – a dream come true, I also see Russia firmly establishing itself on the Med for a first time, a forging of peace between the two Koreas after 60 years. All those are results to which the White House under Trump crucially contributes. (*)

In the rest of the world, we can see improvement in the living conditions in most parts of the world unparalleled in history.

The biggest problem are the European & American chattering and fear-mongering classes, imperialists and anti-imperialists alike. Surprisingly, they look like two sides of a same coin. On his website, Mr. Patrick Lang speaks about Mr. Trump, his president, in the most pejorative terms, while he has the highest praises for Collin Powell, who steadily and with a pronounced servility served the neocons. It was exactly Mr. Lang that, by serving Collin Powell, assisted the neocon dominance in the White House, and, among else, the Iraq disaster. Our greatest enemy demons are those inside ourselves.

(*) Trump's critics want to have their cake and eat it: Trump is wrong because of his stupendous warmongering, and by being such "a moron" as to be disastrous for his mad plans. Occam's Razor applied to those two extraordinary observations points to the solid likelihood they are illusions. Illusion-making would be consistent with what I know about DJT personally anda fine a tit-for-tat to what the msm do to him. When surrounded by open mouths of beasts, throw them a bone or two.

iffen , April 19, 2018 at 11:34 am GMT
@Chet Roman

The most important part of this article on neocons and their policies is what was never mentioned: Israel.

Yeah, one has to willfully ignore the overwhelming historical evidence of the perfidious Jewish cabal dragging TR and his "conscripts" by the nose up San Juan Hill.

Jake , April 19, 2018 at 11:37 am GMT
If the Neocons would follow the example of (atheist or perhaps actual demon worshipping, socialist/Marxist, drug addict, bisexual) Jones and his main female inner circle and its largely black male inner circle of enforcers and also drink the kool-aid and die, then we'd be happy they were making a batch.

The world would become safer and more sane.

iffen , April 19, 2018 at 11:43 am GMT
@Randal

Great to see Colonel Lang added to the list of Unz writers.

Yes, excellent addition.

Seamus Day , April 19, 2018 at 12:20 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Trump has made a complete mess of this and "next time" thus inevitably means something much more solid. He has dug himself deeper into the Russiagate hole and there's only one way out. Since Putin is totally bogged down in Syria, there's no hurry on "next time". All Putin can do is sit and wait for it to happen. Trump will probably have to act before the midterms.

I think this whole charade served another purpose. And Nikki Haley's comments added to it ("we will never be friends with Russia and will we smack Russia whenever we want"). It allowed the Russians to start thinking the unthinkable. Unleashing the nuclear genie and using MAD to end the madness. I believe it will create a ramping up of nuclear forces in Russia. I don't believe the option was really on the table until the false flag and the completely irrational and unhinged response from the West. Preceded by the other ludicrous Skripal affair which the U.S. and other Western countries accepted as true and evicted Russian officials based on it. I think in the final hours before the missile strikes of last Friday it was a somber mood among Russian military planners and there was a a begrudging willingness to consider the unthinkable nuclear option. Now I think it is fully on the table and Russian planners will start thinking and visualizing about scenarios and will make its future use more real and thus much easier to undertake. In fact, merely thinking about and visualizing about scenarios will create an excitement which will animate their future decision. If the Punjabi Clemson accounting major, Nimrata Randhawa, is correct and will not be friends with Russia and smack them whenever "we" want, you'd better get right with God and live your final days virtuously because the end of the world as we know it is at hand.

for-the-record , April 19, 2018 at 12:30 pm GMT
@Randal

Regarding Barzah/Barzeh, here is the actual OPCW document dated 23 March 2018 referring to the November 2017 inspection:

In accordance with paragraph 11 of Council decision EC-83/DEC.5, the second round of inspections at the Barzah and Jamrayah facilities of the SSRC was concluded on 22 November 2017. The results of the inspections were reported as an addendum (EC-87/DG.15/Add.1, dated 28 February 2018) to the report entitled "Status of Implementation of Executive Council Decision EC-83/DEC.5 (dated 11 November 2016)" (EC-87/DG.15, dated 23 February 2018). The analysis of samples taken during the inspections did not indicate the presence of scheduled chemicals in the samples, and the inspection team did not observe any activities inconsistent with obligations under the Convention during the second round of inspections at the Barzah and Jamrayah facilities

https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/EC/88/en/ec88dg01_e_.pdf

Interestingly, this document is not particularly easy to find, for some (no doubt innocent) reason it has not (yet?) been included among the list of "Progress Reports" on the OPCW site:

https://www.opcw.org/special-sections/syria/related-official-documents/

Miro23 , April 19, 2018 at 12:41 pm GMT

Such people, then and now, fervently believe in the Manifest Destiny of the United States as mankind's best hope of a utopian future and concomitantly in the responsibility of the United States to lead mankind toward that future. Neocons believe that inside every Iraqi, Filipino or Syrian there is an American waiting to be freed from the bonds of tradition, local culture and general backwardness.

So the Neocons want to better the lives of Iraqis, Filipinos and Syrians by "introducing" them to the American way of life?? – Such kind and well meaning people.

The current US is rather like a cross country trip in bad weather. The vehicle is bogged down in deep mud, giving the driver and occupants two options 1) Look out the windows and say, "We're bogged down in deep mud. What are we going to do?" 2) Refuse to look out the windows and say, "There's something wrong with this vehicle. Can we fix the engine?"

The US as a society, isn't going anywhere until it can face reality, and have an open and frank public debate about the Israeli/Zionist subversion of US institutions.

Carlton Meyer , Website April 19, 2018 at 12:45 pm GMT
@HooperHooper

Your view is a common myth. Why do people assume the Philippines belonged to Spain, who could give it away? Anyway, by the time the American Army arrived, there was an established Filipino government and a large regular army that was running the nation. Just a few tiny pockets of Spanish troops remained waiting for rescue. After the Americans saved them, they attacked and invaded the Philippines, fighting the regular Army for over a year until it was destroyed, then the resulting insurgency. The US military conquered the Philippines beginning with the bloody "Battle of Manila".

DESERT FOX , April 19, 2018 at 12:48 pm GMT
The fact is that Israel and the dual citizen ziocons aka neocons control the U.S. gov and proof of this is that Israel did the attack on the WTC on 911 and got away with it, and also did the attack on the USS LIBERTY and got away with that, and numerous other subversive things that would take a book to document, and got away with it all.

Israel is destroying America.

Seamus Padraig , April 19, 2018 at 1:05 pm GMT
@Mishra

Lang may have been loosely paraphrasing here. The version I'm familiar with is:

"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason," Wolfowitz was quoted as saying in a Pentagon transcript of an interview with Vanity Fair.

Inter alia: https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2003-05-30-wolfowitz-iraq_x.htm

Z-man , April 19, 2018 at 1:09 pm GMT
@Chet Roman

The Zionist Entity, the great albatross around America's neck. In a way it was fine that W. Patrick Lang did not mention the Zionist Entity by name. It's smart not to mention it all the time as it can be like 'beating a dead horse' among other things . Not mentioning it directly and just saying Neocon deflects the accusation of the anti-'S' label but in a subtle manner associates Zionism with Neocons, which can be a more persuasive way to make the point without screaming, like me (lol), that it's the same thing.

Ozymandias , April 19, 2018 at 1:16 pm GMT
" administration shills appeared on television hyping the supposed menace of Iraqi nuclear weapons. Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "

I propose that international politics would be greatly clarified if we were to place a 'CFR' next to the name of every member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Patrick Lang , Website April 19, 2018 at 1:33 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

Spain ceded the Philippine Islands to the US at the end of the Spanish American War.

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , April 19, 2018 at 2:01 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig

If so, that's awfully sloppy, even for a paraphrase, and in no way a legitimate use of quotation marks.

Mike Whitney , April 19, 2018 at 2:04 pm GMT
I'm very glad to see Colonel Pat Lang writing for the Unz review. His own website–Sic Semper Tyrannis– is one of the best, most informative sites on the internet. It is "must read" for anyone who wants to follow national security issues, Syria, Ukraine and beyond.

Lang doesn't mince words or pull his punches. And his analysis is never short of brilliant. This is really a great addition for the Unz Review. Good work, Ron and a hearty "Welcome" to Colonel Lang!

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 2:52 pm GMT
@Svigor

re:

"This is what you get when you have too much Jewish influence over opinion. Friedlander says "regime change never works," but obviously it does, sometimes, like in Japan and Germany after WWII. "

WWII actions against Japan and Germany were not "regime changes" that "worked," they were total wars of destruction, conquest and genocide of the German people, in the case of Germany, which lost ~10 of its pop. while Japan lost ~5%.

Japan has recovered, to a certain extent, probably because Japan's adversary was not Jews. Germany is still a fully occupied and de-culturalized state. Witness, for example, the Thompson article where Hindemann is compelled to discuss "Nazis" totally out of context.

Wally , April 19, 2018 at 3:06 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

Another hasbarist in disguise has spoken. "To themselves" only after satisfying the demands of "that shitty little country". http://www.codoh.com

anon [228] Disclaimer , April 19, 2018 at 3:38 pm GMT
"I was often told by leading neocon figures that the Muslims and particularly the Iraqis had no culture worth keeping and that once we had created new facts, (a Karl Rove quote) these people would quickly abandon their old ways and beliefs as they sought to become something like Americans. This notion has one major flaw. It is not necessarily correct."

Only the meanest culture -free bastards can get away with this as a policy statement . It is millions times worse when someone condones it by saying " It is not necessarily correct"

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 3:41 pm GMT
@Svigor

That argument rests on assumptions that I consider ugly, a-historical, and counterproductive. What was done to Germany and Japan -- and to the former Ottoman empire as well as Iran -- from ~1907 'til today, was precipitated by some of the world's greatest psychopaths. They are still at large. THAT is the problem, not "HBD."

anon [228] Disclaimer , April 19, 2018 at 3:44 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus

One of the reasons Tom Friedman supplied for his support to Iraq war among many similar excuses, was the support Saddam offered to the suicide bombers. One of the reason the terrorist one day may think is the support given by the Zionists to the bombers attacker gentile politicians .

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 5:16 pm GMT
@Chet Roman

Come to think of it, I mostly agree with this comment: Col. Lang conflated American operating principle of "Manifest Destiny" with the zionist / neoconservative ideology (psychopathology).

imo the process is more subtle: Manifest Destiny/Anglos and zionist/neoconservatives share mythological roots in Abrahamism, which posits that the "chosen" have a lock on truth, morality and god, and that they have the right and obligation to destroy anyone who fails to subscribe to that truth and their overlordship of it -- Evangelical Christians and Anglicans hold this concept fast.

The zionist twist on this is twofold: First, Jews believe they are the ordained by god to be in charge; Jews have been chosen by god to "teach the world ethics, to drag the rest of the world kicking and screaming to behave morally." http://www.aish.com/sp/ph/96037069.html Apparently, some Jews really believe this.

Second, but the larger zionist agenda is to establish Jews as a hegemonic if not global imperial power from a base in Israel, and they are using USA treasure, political and military power as its tool to achieve what are, ultimately, Jewish goals.

To be sure, US policymakers, elites, and tens of thousands of ordinary citizens willingly and/or unwittingly subscribe to a similar predatory and dominating agenda. But if (when?) Jewish zionists achieve their goals, US will be discarded like toilet paper.

It's useful to recognize that the early leaders of the zionist movement -- Herzl, Nordau, Pinsker and others -- recognized early on that Jews needed the support of a major power to achieve their goals, and solicited that support from the German kaiser, the Ottoman sultan, and the British.

When Chaim Weizmann's activities to gain British support were successful, the same zionist Jews who had earlier petitioned Germany and Ottoman turned violently against those same powers and brought about their destruction. Germany's destruction was maneuvered in short order; the destruction of the Ottoman empire successor states has taken longer.

Maybe those Arabs aren't so dumb after all.

EliteCommInc. , April 19, 2018 at 5:43 pm GMT
@Svigor

there are plenty of interventionists on the press for democracy and "capitalism" as cause for stabilizing regions that are not Jews or all that active in Zionists policies.

The desire to regime change in North Korea and parts of Africa are not all that beneficial to Zionist ambitions. I am not all convinced that Israel is a democracy. But it's clear that neither Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan are going to raving democratic capitalist states – every. Muslim faith precludes such a system. even if said states did embrace democracy -- there is no evidence and would in all likelihood not reflect what exists in the US. Because what exists in the US is founded on a particular history and environment and inter-relational dynamics.

The grand narrative they advance would be attractive as policy even minus the existence of Israel.

-- Cutting off nonsense at the pass: I do think Israel has a right to exist. –

Patrick Lang , Website April 19, 2018 at 5:44 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig

Ah, you want me to propagandize for your preferred positions. You want me to scream every day that the JEWS did it. You are supposed to be able to read between the lines and understand the truth of things. You are more of sa simpleton than I had thought. You should stay off my blog.

jilles dykstra , April 19, 2018 at 5:57 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus

There was neither regime change nor unconditional surrender in Japan. Germany was destroyed, physically and politically. Indoctrination of the Germans with their guilt for two world wars, and the murder of six million jews, goes on to this day. But even this indoctrination is crumbling.

Many Germans do not see how the country they live in, that should just have a defensive army, cooperates in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Many Germans see how the poor jews who survived the holocaust treat the Palestinians. Germany now is going to buy Predators:

https://kenfm.de/keine-kampfdrohnen/

Trans 'No drones for battle'.

RobinG , April 19, 2018 at 6:06 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus

Okay, Sachs has corpses in his closet. And yes, Dore is dopey. (Sachs has been on MSNBC many times. It was no mistake.) But, IMO, take gold where you find it . limited hangout or not.

If your adversary speaks some truth, that doesn't make it a lie. Plus, you're not going to get every angle covered n every clip. The fact that he called out US covert fomentation of regime-change in Syria makes this golden.

Here's the clip without Jimmy Dore's interruptions, only 5 min.

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs on Syria

Anon [673] Disclaimer , April 19, 2018 at 6:23 pm GMT
If you split the difference between two extremes, you end up pleasing no one and being attacked by both sides. Democracy is a flower that smells sweet and ends up in the pipe of every crackpot loon in history. In this world, facts and reality matter. Ideology is the shortcut that retards use to move the masses towards easy solutions that make life hard.

Blood and religion form bonds. Ideas just make the stupid angry and the smart embrace theories and abandon reliable methods. New ideas can be beneficial or they can be fair, they rarely can be both. Without winners there are no losers. Unless you benefit from work, there is no incentive to do it.

There are no simple solutions. There are no complex problems. Problems can always be simplified by division and parsing. Solutions can only be simplified to avoid the hard facts and avoid actually solving them.

What has any of this have to do with the subject? These are the things you need to bring to the table.

Discussing this issue will lead to nothing but overly emotional hype and obfuscation. Using the above can stop the endless appeals to emotionalism that carries the masses away from facts.

Patrick Lang , Website April 19, 2018 at 6:24 pm GMT
@Chet Roman

I'll say to you what I say to others. I beat up the Zionists both here and in Israel all the time but I am not going to say that all Jews are responsible for the ills of the world. As for the neocons their agenda is much larger than just Zionism.

Randal , April 19, 2018 at 6:30 pm GMT
@English Outsider

I am still puzzled by the support given by our European and UK politicians to this destructive policy. Is it merely a matter of catching the crumbs from the neocon's table? Our politicians surely can't think they're exceptional too.

Well clearly the US's European satrapies don't share directly in the US updated Manifest Destiny idea, but the US sphere elites in general are fully indoctrinated in the universalist ideology of internationalist social-liberalism and "democracy"-uber-alles (where "democracy" – whether in Republican, constitutional monarchic or other form – is in reality a kind of managed gerrymander to keep the established and US-favoured elites safely in control and ensure "populists" are excluded by any means necessary), and sees itself as on a mission to promote the spread of US style liberal (managed) "democracy" throughout the world (except where it's currently inconvenient to push it too hard for reasons of temporary expedience, such as in places like Saudi Arabia). There might well be a psychological component akin to Stockholm Syndrome, whereby people like Blair, Macron etc see the power of the US and the US exceptionalist ideology over their countries, know they are subordinate to it, and seek to internalise a wider version of it for themselves so that they can tell themselves that when they are serving Washington's objectives and profiting handsomely thereby, they are actually doing it for their own noble ideals.

Then of course, human beings being human, there are also other self-serving motivations underlying the idealist pretext – collaboration for personal gain with the jewish/Israeli lobby that is hugely powerful in the UK and Europe as well as in the US, military-industrial types wanting to boost the status and budgets of the military, etc. These are the real motivations, as opposed to the legitimising pretext that is the supposedly noble ideal of American exceptionalism or internationalist social liberalism.

Lately the British regime's enthusiasm for the interventionist project seems to be greater even than that of the US regime, for instance.

Titus I , Website April 19, 2018 at 6:37 pm GMT
@Chet Roman

The American Empire is facing a historical junction: does become a mercenary putative force for Zionist Israel or Will the USA priorize its own NATIONAL interests over Israeli. The prize of becoming a Zionist surrogate will mean the progressive deterioration of the American empeirein the Middle East, and the world. America faces severe national debt, decaying infrastructure, and internal social fragmentation. On the other hand Israel is poised to become the ENERGY hub for the European, African, Asian economies,without Israeli OIL supply lines all those economies will be paralyzed. Furthermore American blind,almost irrational support for Israel will mean more dangerous terrorists attacks and more frequent..The Trump presidency is in fact a Neocon presidency, the democratic decision making (war) process is dead, and this Syrian war means that it doesn't matter whom iselected president ultimately AIPAC, Israel, make the final decisions.

annamaria , April 19, 2018 at 6:51 pm GMT
@RobinG

More from The Jimmy Dore Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=292&v=_O2TRzA2ezk

kemerd , April 19, 2018 at 7:06 pm GMT
I don't know if anyone outside US believes so called "theoretical background"of the neocons that they think US is the pinnacle of the human civilization that they want to export their model to the other places in the world, etc. This is so absurdly stupid is that it is hard to believe anyone would buy it. All of what they do just talks volumes about what they care for: money and power; the rest, as can be understood from their lousy "philosophy", are just details.

I also think that their affection to Israel is fake. People in the power positions do not have such dispositions. I am sure there is some genuine idiots among US political class who buys what they actually say but most of them just ride the tide while it is useful for them. I am sure that once Israel loses its usefulness for the ones who actually wield power inside US political class, Israel would also be trashed just like Arab countries they destroyed.

RobinG , April 19, 2018 at 7:17 pm GMT
@English Outsider

Don't assume US neocons are calling all the shots. It was Sarkozy (goaded by Zionist Bernard Henri Levy) took the lead to attack Libya. And at least some believe London is still the core of Imperialist aggression.

Yesterday, for the first time, a Russian general pierced this lie on RT when he stated that there was proof that the UK was behind the well-orchestrated and completely staged "gas attacks" in Douma.

Yes, you read that right, he said the UK. Not the US, not Israel, not Saudi Arabia, but the UK. Those of you familiar with my writing know that I am constantly pointing my finger at the City of London for the lies, deception, and wars which dominate the headlines of their propaganda rags."

Crown Bulldog Attacks Syria

https://hendersonlefthook.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/crown-bulldog-attacks-syria/

As fort the "[non] thinking of the great mass of people," since when does that matter?

annamaria , April 19, 2018 at 7:17 pm GMT
@English Outsider

"Is it merely a matter of catching the crumbs from the neocon's table? "

-- Correct. The current breed of opportunists operating without any kind of responsibility makes the international corps of political whores-in-charge. These politicians look at the Blairs (a $100 million fortune) and Cheney & Bush (both getting richer with every day) and they know that the opportunisms, however criminal, will be rewarded by the "deciders." The incompetent and sycophantic politicians in the EU/UK governments have zero regards for their citizenry. We can be absolutely sure that there are no idealists among the leading UK politicians in power.

To believe that American ruling class (which is heavily zionized) has any idealistic motivations instead of a rabid drive for money and power is an illusion. The majority of the US politicians are committed to the criminal enterprises, whether local or global, when the enterprises promise a gesheft, which is the only criterion.

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 8:14 pm GMT
@Svigor

OK. I understand the basic thing you are saying in #69. I don't get your bit about HBD being the reason regime change won't work wrt Arabs.

WHY will regime change "not work w/ Arabs" ? Is it because Arab states have fewer and less complex political structures and institutions? That surely does not apply to Iran, but then Iran is not Arab (tho many Arabs are in the Iranian population. Thus, Iran is already a more complex culture than USA/Europe is willing to be).

I cannot buy the notion that Arabs as Arabs are biologically capable of lesser civilizational attainment -- different, maybe, but it takes an exceptionalist to claim that civilization A is superior to civilization B, for solely biological reasons.

Svigor , April 19, 2018 at 8:27 pm GMT
@RobinG

Reading the Wikipedia article on Timber Sycamore, I'm struck by the significance of Sachs' omission; TS is a US program, but the overall effort it's a part of is more of a Sunni Arab project than an American one. Saudi Arabia is providing more money and weapons, Jordan is hosting the effort, Qatar gives money, etc; it's a US-backed Sunni program.

I'm talking about the moral component; I think our Zionist interventionist policies are stupid, not in American interests, and really only serve Zionist interests. but it's not really "our" mess, as Sachs states, so much as a Sunni/Zionist mess.

SolontoCroesus , April 19, 2018 at 8:39 pm GMT
@Patrick Lang

hmmm.

Glad you made that distinction, between zionists and neocons.

Zionism is just about the most complex -ism on the planet.

Neocons are just what they say they are: Trotskyites in Beltway drag. Trotskyites dominated the Jerusalem Conference in 1979 when GWOT was birthed; G H W Bush did doula duty.

I wonder what the linkage is between Jabotinsky and Trotsky? Both are revolutionaries, both advocate violence. Jabotinsky picked up on that change in Jewish behavior from petitioning from a posture of subservience– shtadlones – to demanding, with arrogance; Netanyahu is his worthy acolyte.

Neocons have some genuine psychopaths among them -- the world would be a better place if an ice axe were wielded in Ledeen's vicinity.
It's consistent with what Ronen Bergman told Brian Williams http://www.nbcnews.com/video/rock-center/46318982#46318982
"Israel has long used assassination against its enemies, "hoping that by taking out individuals, they can alter, change the course of history,"

JerseyJeffersonian , April 19, 2018 at 9:44 pm GMT
@Svigor

Svigor,

It would be really nice if it were possible to "put this tired, tattered old straw man to bed", but it is not likely to happen. The radical Zionists immediately use criticism of Israel to conflate criticism of Zionism with anti-Semitism. This is made far easier for them by the confusion around "Jewishness" that is deliberately (and conveniently, for their purposes) cultivated; is being a Jew a racial thing, a religious thing, a cultural thing regardless of the individual Jew's adherence to and practice of the tenets of Judaism? This ambiguity opens the door for claims that criticisms of the excesses of radical Zionism are at root leveled against all Jews regardless of their actual beliefs, political behaviors, and their self-perception regarding their roles in the life of the nation. Of course, true anti-Semites do in fact hold all Jews responsible for the actions of rabid Zionists, so everybody "wins".

Except for real flesh and blood Jews, who are individuals with their own agency. My oldest friend is a Jew, I work with Jews, I make classical music with Jews. So I will never buy the blanket condemnation of Jews qua Jews. Do I wish that more American Jews would distance themselves from and be more critical of the "professional Jews" who are in leadership roles at radical Zionist organizations? Yes, but I have some sympathy for why this does not happen. As a historically disparaged minority, albeit with some reasons for that status, the reluctance is self-enforcing; there is a disincentive to talk smack on your "community" for fear of the ostracism, and reputational and career damage that might follow (there is no reasoning with one-issue fanatics, after all).

Look at how blacks who lodge criticism of the behaviors of some in their community make out. Not too well, even when the criticisms are justified, and the ills perpetuated by these criticized behaviors work to the detriment not only of individual blacks, but also to the perception of blacks in general in the wider society.

So I think that Col. Lang is justified in his refusal to tar all Jews with the sins and excesses of some portion of that community. This seems to me to be intellectually and morally correct. Certainly it serves to help put the criticisms of NeoConservatism out there while yet insulating him to a degree from the blanket charges of anti-Semitism. And indeed, the NeoCons are not strictly radical Zionists, and some among them have other motivations behind their actions.

Thirdeye , April 19, 2018 at 9:56 pm GMT
@English Outsider

Short answer, F,UK were the world's leading imperial powers before WWII and seek to leverage American military and financial power to restore some degree of imperial power. The Atlantic Charter and the UN Charter were bitter pills for the old empires. France sought to override the UN Charter by force in Vietnam and Algeria, but lacked the wherewithall. Britain, France, and Israel sought to override it by force in the 1956 Suez Crisis until Daddy Ike told them that it wasn't cool. The umbrella of American power is their best remaining means of re-establishing imperial power. It puts the onus on the US for violations of international law, but promises them some restoration of imperial power in MENA.

Looking at the parade of toads that have occupied the White House in recent years, I have more and more respect for Eisenhower's balls in the 1956 crisis. Such a move by an American President seems unimaginable today.

Anon [425] Disclaimer , April 19, 2018 at 10:31 pm GMT
Neocon-run Twitter took out Red Elephants account.

Twitter bans Red Elephants but lets CNN have many accounts. Twitter favors Official Lies of the Conspiratorial Deep State against Speculative Dissent of Free Thinkers. PC is War against ASK SPEECH. We are not supposed to ASK questions of the Globalist Power.

According to Rules of Political Correctness, ASK SPEECH is not FREE SPEECH. Don't you dare ASK Questions. Just accept the Answers provided by Ministry of Propaganda or MSM that colludes with Deep State of NSA, CIA, FBI, Wall Street, and Hollywood. PC says we should Ass-kiss than Ask Questions.

World is divided between Askingers and Ass-Kissers. Those who ask questions of the power and those who ass-kiss the power. Unsurprisingly, most people in power got there by ass-kissing and being ass-kissed. We must ASK WHY.

Thirdeye , April 19, 2018 at 11:00 pm GMT
@Chet Roman

"Making the world safe for democracy" was the sales pitch for preserving the F, UK empires long before there was Israel. That effort was driven largely by American Blue Blood bankers who had risky investments in the UK war effort. American Jews were suspected of loyalty to the Kaiser because they loathed the Russian Tsar.

bjondo , April 20, 2018 at 2:09 am GMT
@RobinG

In addition to corpses in his closet, wonder how much looted Russian loot in his off-shore account(s)?

[Apr 17, 2018] Probable sequence of event in Douma false flag operation

Highly recommended!
Apr 17, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Eric Bloodaxe , Apr 15, 2018 11:22:31 AM | 30

Douma False Flag.

The Russians have in their pocket (filmed I believe) a notable at the Douma (only) hospital (can't remember who) that has described the White Helmets filming as; a bomb destroyed the top floor of the hospital and the film crew moved bodies and kids to the basement and doused them with hoses and sprayed them with Ventolin (asthma inhaler – blue). This provided the film used to justify the Cruise missile attack Fri 13th. 2018.

The Russians have rumbled the Douma false flag and the OECD chemical weapons investigators are on their way to the Douma hospital (basement) to find no chemicals, they report in a few weeks.

Lavrov has said that the British ordered the Douma rebels to make a chemical warfare White Helmets type movie fast, in desperation, since the Russians/SAA forces attack was moving fast and they could obtain support bombing. The whole of East Ghouta has been taken by the SAA.

A decent video exposure on TV, or even a simple web search, completely debunks the 'White Helmets' that filmed the fake gas attack in the Douma hospital in East Ghouta. Re. my earlier email.

May didn't wait (in panic) for parliament approval and went ahead with military action (8 of our missiles wasted at £6.3M).
The 11 'handlers' (said to be officers) are not in the hands of the Russians (who have swopped theirs for ours previously) but are held by the SAA and could well have have spilled the beans. If they are paraded (filmed) and spill the beans things will get ugly for May et al.

Peter AU 1 , Apr 15, 2018 11:54:09 AM | 33

Eric Bloodaxe 30

Two medics from the Douma hospital have been interviewed on video. I ran onto the videos a day or so back, but cannot find them at the moment.

A bombed building collapsed and caught fire, trapping people in the basement who died of smoke and dust inhalation and asphyxiation. Some wounded were taken to the hospital, some with injuries, others needed treatment only for smoke and dust inhalation. This is when the film crew rushed in shouted chemicals and told everyone to douse themselves with water.

There are two videos of the dead. One I think is actually taken where the people died. The frothing around the mouth and other discharges look genuine. These victims were then moved to a different place and videoed to make the 'CW' attack seem more widespread. This is the second video where bodies are obviously dumped and some shaving cream applied.

[Apr 11, 2018] It is long passed the time when any thinking person took Trump tweets seriously

Highly recommended!
Trump became really deranged. For a world leader to behave in such a way is unexcusable. Now even Trump supporters think that he should be removed
But the goal of the USA in Syria is establishing Saudi-friendly Sunni theocracy remains unchanged, since Obama unleashed this war using Libyan weapons and Islamic mercenaries/volunteers They want to compensate with Syria the fact that Iraq now went to Iran sphere of influence instead being a countervailing force during Saddam rein.
Notable quotes:
"... This latest Trump-Tweet about "Russia to be ready for new, smart missiles raining down on Syria" is also a negotiating ploy and to save face. Stock markets, even in this volatile times, have hardly budged, and the gold price is where it has been for the past year. ..."
Apr 11, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Aren Haich , Apr 11, 2018 3:38:48 PM | 141

It is long passed the time when any thinking person took Trump-Tweets seriously. Trump, himself doesn't take them seriously and considers them as 'negotiating tactics'. Remember the tweets: "Fire & Fury the World has Never Seen Before", "Little Rocket Man" and "Bigger Nuclear Button", which then ushered in the prospect of a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un?

This latest Trump-Tweet about "Russia to be ready for new, smart missiles raining down on Syria" is also a negotiating ploy and to save face. Stock markets, even in this volatile times, have hardly budged, and the gold price is where it has been for the past year.

There will probably be a well-restricted cruise missile attack on some Syrian-Iranian base with Russia pre-warned. The long-promised meeting between Trump and Putin will emerge in the news to discuss the future of Syria. Trump's desire to pull out of Syria will then come about naturally and as the result of consultations with Putin.

[Mar 23, 2018] Inglorious end of career of neocon McMaster

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... President Trump congratulated Vladimir Putin to his reelection as president of the Russian Federation. It was a matter of simply courtesy to do so. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (aka the National Security Advisor), three star general McMaster, had advised him to not congratulate Putin. (McMaster now claims differently .) That was bad advice. But it became even worse when McMaster, or someone in his shop, promptly leaked this to the press. The usual Republican nutters like John McCain grumbled and Trump was furious. ..."
Mar 23, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

President Trump congratulated Vladimir Putin to his reelection as president of the Russian Federation. It was a matter of simply courtesy to do so. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (aka the National Security Advisor), three star general McMaster, had advised him to not congratulate Putin. (McMaster now claims differently .) That was bad advice. But it became even worse when McMaster, or someone in his shop, promptly leaked this to the press. The usual Republican nutters like John McCain grumbled and Trump was furious.

Trump decided to fire McMaster the very next day. He had it coming. Both the White House Chief of Staff Kelly as well as the Secretary of Defense Mattis wanted McMaster out. Unfortunately for them Trump chose a replacement that they did not want and will find difficult to live with.

[Feb 20, 2018] Russophobia is a futile bid to conceal US, European demise by Finian Cunningham

Highly recommended!
This is an old method to unite the nation against external enemy. Carnage (with so much oil and gas) needs to be destroyed. And it's working only partially with the major divisions between Trump and Hillary supporters remaining open and unaffected by Russiagate witch hunt.
Notable quotes:
"... It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances. ..."
"... The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media. ..."
"... A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together." ..."
"... He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning." ..."
"... The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law. ..."
"... The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies? ..."
"... The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference". ..."
"... Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV. ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.rt.com

Russophobia - "blame it all on Russia" - is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances

It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union.

But the truth is Western states are challenged by internal problems. Ironically, by denying their own internal democratic challenges, Western authorities are only hastening their institutional demise.

Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances.

The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media.

This narrative has shifted up a gear since the election of Donald Trump to the White House in 2016, with accusations that the Kremlin somehow ran "influence operations" to help get him into office. This outlandish yarn defies common sense. It is also running out of thread to keep spinning.

Paradoxically, even though President Trump has rightly rebuffed such dubious claims of "Russiagate" interference as "fake news", he has at other times undermined himself by subscribing to the notion that Moscow is projecting a campaign of "subversion against the US and its European allies." See for example the National Security Strategy he signed off in December.

Pathetically, it's become indoctrinated belief among the Western political class that "devious Russians" are out to "collapse" Western democracies by "weaponizing disinformation" and spreading "fake news" through Russia-based news outlets like RT and Sputnik.

Totalitarian-like, there seems no room for intelligent dissent among political or media figures.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has chimed in to accuse Moscow of "sowing division;" Dutch state intelligence claim Russia destabilized the US presidential election; the European Union commissioner for security, Sir Julian King, casually lampoons Russian news media as "Kremlin-orchestrated disinformation" to destabilize the 28-nation bloc; CIA chief Mike Pompeo recently warned that Russia is stepping up its efforts to tarnish the Congressional mid-term elections later this year.

On and on goes the narrative that Western states are essentially victims of a nefarious Russian assault to bring about collapse.

A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together."

Congressman Hurd asserts: "Russia has one simple goal: to erode trust in our democratic institutions It has weaponized disinformation to achieve this goal for decades in Eastern and Central Europe; in 2016, Western Europe and America were aggressively targeted as well."

Lamentably, all these claims above are made with scant, or no, verifiable evidence. It is simply a Big Lie technique of relentless repetition transforming itself into "fact" .

It's instructive to follow Congressman Hurd's thought-process a bit further.

He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning."

As a putative solution, Representative Hurd calls for "a national counter-disinformation strategy" against Russian "influence operations" , adding, "Americans must stop contributing to a corrosive political environment".

The latter is a chilling advocacy of uniformity tantamount to a police state whereby any dissent or criticism is a "thought-crime."

It is, however, such anti-democratic and paranoid thinking by Western politicians -- aided and abetted by dutiful media -- that is killing democracy from within, not some supposed foreign enemy.

There is evidently a foreboding sense of demise in authority and legitimacy among Western states, even if the real cause for the demise is ignored or denied. Systems of governance, politicians of all stripes, and institutions like the established media and intelligence services are increasingly held in contempt and distrust by the public.

Whose fault is that loss of political and moral authority? Western governments and institutions need to take a look in the mirror.

The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law.

The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies?

How then can properly informed citizens be expected to have respect for such criminal government policies and the complicit news media covering up for their crimes?

Western public disaffection with governments, politicians and media surely stems also from the grotesque gulf in social inequality and poverty among citizens from slavish adherence to economic policies that enrich the wealthy while consigning the vast majority to unrelenting austerity.

The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference".

Yet the Western media indulge this fantastical "Russiagate" escapism instead of campaigning on real social problems facing ordinary citizens. No wonder such media are then viewed with disdain and distrust. Adding insult to injury, these media want the public to believe Russia is the enemy?

Instead of acknowledging and addressing real threats to citizens: economic insecurity, eroding education and health services, lost career opportunities for future generations, the looming dangers of ecological adversity, wars prompted by Western governments trashing international and diplomacy, and so on -- the Western public is insultingly plied with corny tales of Russia's "malign influence" and "assault on democracy."

Just think of the disproportionate amount of media attention and public resources wasted on the Russiagate scandal over the past year. And now gradually emerging is the real scandal that the American FBI probably colluded with the Obama administration to corrupt the democratic process against Trump.

Again, is there any wonder the public has sheer contempt and distrust for "authorities" that have been lying through their teeth and playing them for fools?

The collapsing state of Western democracies has got nothing to do with Russia. The Russophobia of blaming Russia for the demise of Western institutions is an attempt at scapegoating for the very real problems facing governments and institutions like the news media. Those problems are inherent and wholly owned by these governments owing to chronic anti-democratic functioning, as well as systematic violation of international law in their pursuit of criminal wars and other subterfuges for regime-change objectives.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

[Feb 10, 2018] The generals are not Borgists. They are something worse ...

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The post WW2 promotion process in the armed forces has produced a group at the top with a mentality that typically thinks rigorously but not imaginatively or creatively. ..."
"... These men got to their present ranks and positions by being conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board." ..."
"... If asked at the top, where military command and political interaction intersect, what policy should be they always ask for more money and to be allowed to pursue outcomes that they can understand as victory and self fulfilling with regard to their collective self image as warrior chieftains. ..."
"... In Trump's time his essential disinterest in foreign policy has led to a massive delegation of authority to Mattis and the leadership of the empire's forces. Their reaction to that is to look at their dimwitted guidance from on high (defeat IS, depose Assad and the SAG, triumph in Afghanistan) and to seek to impose their considerable available force to seek accomplishment as they see fit of this guidance in the absence of the kind of restrictions that Obama placed on them. ..."
"... Like the brass, I, too, am a graduate of all those service schools that attend success from the Basic Course to the Army War College. I will tell you again that the people at the top are not good at "the vision thing." They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers ..."
"... Academia reinforces the groupthink. The mavericks are shunned or ostracized. The only ones I have seen with some degree of going against the grain are technology entrepreneurs. ..."
"... "They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I have found this to be the case with 80 to 90% of most professions. A good memory and able to perform meticulously what they have been taught, but little thinking outside that narrow box. Often annoying, but very dangerous in this case. ..."
"... Since Afghanistan and the brass were mentioned in the editorial statement, here is an immodest question -- Where the brass have been while the opium production has been risen dramatically in Afghanistan under the US occupation? "Heroin Addiction in America Spearheaded by the US-led War on Afghanistan" by Paul Craig Roberts: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/06/heroin-addiction-america-spearheaded-us-led-war-afghanistan/ ..."
"... A simple Q: What has been the role of the CENTCOM re the racket? Who has arranged the protection for the opium production and for drug dealers? Roberts suggests that the production of opium in Afghanistan "finances the black operations of the CIA and Western intelligence agencies." -- All while Awan brothers, Alperovitch and such tinker with the US national security? ..."
"... God help the poor people of Syria. ..."
"... thanks pat... it seems like the usa has had a steady group of leaders that have no interest in the world outside of the usa, or only in so far as they can exploit it for their own interest... maybe that sums up the foreign policy of the usa at this point... you say trump is disinterested.. so all the blather from trump about 'why are we even in syria?', or 'why can't we be friends with the russia?' is just smoke up everyone's ass... ..."
"... Predictably there is always someone who says that this group is not different from all others. Unfortunately the military function demands more than the level of mediocrity found in most groups ..."
"... A lot of technology entrepreneurs--especially those active today--are stuck in their own groupthink, inflated by their sense that they are born for greatness and can do no wrong. ..."
"... The kind of grand schemes that the top people at Google, Uber, and Facebook think up to remake the universe in their own idea of "good society" are frightening. That they are cleverer (but not necessarily wiser) than the academics, borgists, or generals, I think, makes them even more dangerous. ..."
"... They [the generals] seem to have deliberately completely ignored the issues and policy positions Trump ran on as President. It isn't a case of ignorance but of wilful disregard. ..."
"... So true and as others commented this is a sad feature of the human race and all human organizations. Herd mentality ties into social learning ..."
"... Our massive cultural heritages are learned by observing and taken in as a whole. This process works within organizations as well. ..."
"... I suspect a small percentage of the human race functions differently than the majority and retains creative thinking and openness along with more emphasis on cognitive thinking than social learning but generally they always face a battle when working to change the group "consensus", i.e. Fulton's folly, scepticism on whether man would ever fly, etc. ..."
"... This is an interesting discussion. The top in organisations (civil and military) are increasingly technocrats and thinking like systems managers. They are unable to innovate because they lack the ability to think out of the box. Usually there is a leader who depends on specialists. Others (including laymen) are often excluding from the decision-making-proces. John Ralston Saul's Voltaires Bastards describes this very well. ..."
"... Because of natural selection (conformist people tend to choose similar people who resemble their own values and ways-of-thinking) organizations have a tendency to become homogeneous (especially the higher management/ranks). ..."
"... In combination with the "dumbing" of people (also of people who have a so-called good education (as described in Richard Sale's Sterile Chit-Chat ) this is a disastrous mix. ..."
"... That's true not only of the US military but of US elites in general across all of the spectra. And because that reality is at odds with the group-think of those within the various elements that make up the spectra it doesn't a hearing. Anyone who tries to bring it up risks being ejected from the group. ..."
"... "The United States spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, according to the former U.S. ambassador to the country. This $12 billion is in addition to the billions more spent to pursue regime change in Syria in the previous three years, after war broke out in 2011." https://goo.gl/8pj5cD ..."
"... "They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I've often pondered that concept. Notice how many of radical extremist leaders were doctors, engineers and such? Narrow and deep. ..."
"... Long ago when I was a professor, I advised my students that "the law is like a pencil sharpener, it sharpens the mind by narrowing it." I tried to encourage them to "think backwards". ..."
"... Col, I think it might help people to think of "the Borg" - as you have defined & applied it - in a broader context. It struck me particularly as you ID'd the launching of our modern military group-think / careerism behavior coming from the watershed of industrialized scale & processes that came out of WWII. ..."
"... We note parallel themes in all significant sectors of our civilization. The ever-expanding security state, the many men in Gray Flannel Suits that inhabit corporate culture, Finance & Banking & Big Health scaling ever larger - all processes aimed to slice the salami thinner & quicker, to the point where meat is moot ... and so it goes. ..."
"... I just finished reading Command & Control (about nuclear weapons policy, systems design & accidents). I am amazed we've made it this far. ..."
Feb 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

(Editorial Statement)

The Borgist foreign policy of the administration has little to do with the generals. To comprehend the generals one must understand their collective mentality and the process that raised them on high as a collective of their own. The post WW2 promotion process in the armed forces has produced a group at the top with a mentality that typically thinks rigorously but not imaginatively or creatively.

These men got to their present ranks and positions by being conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board."

If asked at the top, where military command and political interaction intersect, what policy should be they always ask for more money and to be allowed to pursue outcomes that they can understand as victory and self fulfilling with regard to their collective self image as warrior chieftains.

In Obama's time they were asked what policy should be in Afghanistan and persuaded him to reinforce their dreams in Afghanistan no matter how unlikely it always was that a unified Western oriented nation could be made out of a collection of disparate mutually alien peoples.

In Trump's time his essential disinterest in foreign policy has led to a massive delegation of authority to Mattis and the leadership of the empire's forces. Their reaction to that is to look at their dimwitted guidance from on high (defeat IS, depose Assad and the SAG, triumph in Afghanistan) and to seek to impose their considerable available force to seek accomplishment as they see fit of this guidance in the absence of the kind of restrictions that Obama placed on them.

Like the brass, I, too, am a graduate of all those service schools that attend success from the Basic Course to the Army War College. I will tell you again that the people at the top are not good at "the vision thing." They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers. pl


Jack , 09 February 2018 at 05:42 PM

Sir

IMO, this conformism pervades all institutions. I saw when I worked in banking and finance many moons ago how moving up the ranks in any large organization meant you didn't rock the boat and you conformed to the prevailing groupthink. Even nutty ideas became respectable because they were expedient.

Academia reinforces the groupthink. The mavericks are shunned or ostracized. The only ones I have seen with some degree of going against the grain are technology entrepreneurs.

Fredw , 09 February 2018 at 06:26 PM
You remind me of an old rumination by Thomas Ricks:

Take the example of General George Casey. According to David Cloud and Greg Jaffe's book Four Stars, General Casey, upon learning of his assignment to command U.S. forces in Iraq, received a book from the Army Chief of Staff. The book Counterinsurgency Lessons Learned from Malaya and Vietnam was the first book he ever read about guerilla warfare." This is a damning indictment of the degree of mental preparation for combat by a general. The Army's reward for such lack of preparation: two more four star assignments.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2012/02/07/cmon-man-meathead-generals-and-some-other-things-that-are-driving-me-crazy-about-life-in-this-mans-post-911-army/

Peter AU , 09 February 2018 at 06:37 PM
"They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I have found this to be the case with 80 to 90% of most professions. A good memory and able to perform meticulously what they have been taught, but little thinking outside that narrow box. Often annoying, but very dangerous in this case.
Anna , 09 February 2018 at 06:48 PM
Since Afghanistan and the brass were mentioned in the editorial statement, here is an immodest question -- Where the brass have been while the opium production has been risen dramatically in Afghanistan under the US occupation? "Heroin Addiction in America Spearheaded by the US-led War on Afghanistan" by Paul Craig Roberts: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/06/heroin-addiction-america-spearheaded-us-led-war-afghanistan/

" in 2000-2001 the Taliban government –with the support of the United Nations (UNODC) – implemented a successful ban on poppy cultivation. Opium production which is used to produce grade 4 heroin and its derivatives declined by more than 90 per cent in 2001. The production of opium in 2001 was of the order of a meager 185 tons. It is worth noting that the UNODC congratulated the Taliban Government for its successful opium eradication program. The Taliban government had contributed to literally destabilizing the multibillion dollar Worldwide trade in heroin.

In 2017, the production of opium in Afghanistan under US military occupation reached 9000 metric tons. The production of opium in Afghanistan registered a 49 fold increase since Washington's invasion. Afghanistan under US military occupation produces approximately 90% of the World's illegal supply of opium which is used to produce heroin. Who owns the airplanes and ships that transport heroin from Afghanistan to the US? Who gets the profits?"

---A simple Q: What has been the role of the CENTCOM re the racket? Who has arranged the protection for the opium production and for drug dealers? Roberts suggests that the production of opium in Afghanistan "finances the black operations of the CIA and Western intelligence agencies." -- All while Awan brothers, Alperovitch and such tinker with the US national security?

J , 09 February 2018 at 07:05 PM
Colonel,

There needs to be a 're-education' of the top, all of them need to be required to attend Green Beret think-school, in other words they need to be forced to think outside the box, and to to think on their feet. They need to understand fluid situations where things change at the drop of a hat, be able to dance the two-step and waltz at the same time. In other words they need to be able to walk and chew gum and not trip over their shoe-laces.

By no means are they stupid, but you hit the nail on the head when you said 'narrow thinkers'. Their collective hive mentality that has developed is not a good thing.

divadab , 09 February 2018 at 07:16 PM
God help the poor people of Syria.
james , 09 February 2018 at 07:30 PM
thanks pat... it seems like the usa has had a steady group of leaders that have no interest in the world outside of the usa, or only in so far as they can exploit it for their own interest... maybe that sums up the foreign policy of the usa at this point... you say trump is disinterested.. so all the blather from trump about 'why are we even in syria?', or 'why can't we be friends with the russia?' is just smoke up everyone's ass...

i like what you said here "conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board." - that strikes me as very true - conformist group thinkers... the world needs less of these types and more actual leaders who have a vision for something out of the box and not always on board... i thought for a while trump might fill this bill, but no such luck by the looks of it now..

David E. Solomon , 09 February 2018 at 07:50 PM
Colonel Lang,

Your description of these guys sounds like what we have heard about Soviet era planners. Am I correct in my understanding, or am I missing something?

Regards,

David

DianaLC , 09 February 2018 at 07:56 PM
As a young person in eighth grade, I learned about the "domino theory" in regard to attempts to slow the spread of communism. Then my generation was, in a sense, fractured around the raging battles for and against our involvement in Vietnam.

I won't express my own opinion on that. But I mention it because it seems to be a type of "vision thing."

So, now I ask, what would be your vision for the Syrian situation?

Bill Herschel , 09 February 2018 at 09:11 PM
This has been going on for a long time has it not? Westmoreland? MacArthur?

How did this happen?

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:40 PM
Bill Herschel

Westmoreland certainly, Macarthur certainly not. This all started with the "industrialization" of the armed forces in WW2. we never recovered the sense of profession as opposed to occupation after the massive expansion and retention of so many placeholders. a whole new race of Walmart manager arose and persists. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:48 PM
DianaC

The idea of the Domino Theory came from academia, not the generals of that time. They resisted the idea of a war in east Asia until simply ordered into it by LBJ. After that their instinct for acting according to guidance kicked in and they became committed to the task. Syria? Do you think I should write you an essay on that? SST has a large archive and a search machine. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:55 PM
David E. Solomon

I am talking about flag officers at present, not those beneath them from the mass of whom they emerge. There are exceptions. Martin Dempsey may have been one such. The system creates such people at the top. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:08 PM
elaine,

Your usual animosity for non-left wing authority is showing. A commander like the CENTCOM theater commander (look it up) operates within guidance from Washington, broad guidance. Normally this is the president's guidance as developed in the NSC process. Some presidents like Obama and LBJ intervene selectively and directly in the execution of that guidance. Obama had a "kill list" of jihadis suggested by the IC and condemned by him to die in the GWOT. He approved individual missions against them. LBJ picked individual air targets in NVN. Commanders in the field do not like that . They think that freedom of action within their guidance should be accorded them. This CinC has not been interested thus far in the details and have given the whole military chain of command wide discretion to carry out their guidance. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:12 PM
J

Thank you, but it is real GBs that you like, not the Delta and SEAL door kickers. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:24 PM
Gaikomainaku

"I am not sure that I understand what makes a Borgist different from a military conformist." The Borg and the military leaders are not of the same tribe. they are two different collectives who in the main dislike and distrust each other. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:27 PM
Anna. Their guidance does not include a high priority for eradicating the opium trade. Their guidance has to do with defeating the jihadis and building up the central government. pl
turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:30 PM
Peter AU

Predictably there is always someone who says that this group is not different from all others. Unfortunately the military function demands more than the level of mediocrity found in most groups. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:44 PM
james

Trump would like to better relations with Russia but that is pretty much the limit of his attention to foreign affairs at any level more sophisticated than expecting deference. He is firmly focused on the economy and base solidifying issues like immigration. pl

Peter AU , 09 February 2018 at 11:01 PM
The medical profession comes to mind. GP's and specialists. Many of those working at the leading edge of research seem much wider thinking and are not locked into the small box of what they have been taught.
turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 11:16 PM
Peter AU

The GPs do not rule over a hierarchy of doctors. pl

J -> turcopolier ... , 09 February 2018 at 11:22 PM
Combat Applications Group and SEALS don't even begin to compare, they're not in the same league as 'real deal' GBs. The GBs are thinkers as well as doers, whereas Combat Applications Group and SEALs all they know is breach and clear, breach and clear.

There is more to life than breach and clear. Having worked with all in one manner or another, I'll take GBs any day hands down. It makes a difference when the brain is engaged instead of just the heel.

kao_hsien_chih -> Jack... , 09 February 2018 at 11:22 PM
A lot of technology entrepreneurs--especially those active today--are stuck in their own groupthink, inflated by their sense that they are born for greatness and can do no wrong.

The kind of grand schemes that the top people at Google, Uber, and Facebook think up to remake the universe in their own idea of "good society" are frightening. That they are cleverer (but not necessarily wiser) than the academics, borgists, or generals, I think, makes them even more dangerous.

FB Ali , 09 February 2018 at 11:23 PM
Col Lang,

They are indeed "narrow thinkers", but I think the problem runs deeper. They seem to be stuck in the rut of a past era. When the US was indeed the paramount military power on the globe, and the US military reigned supreme. They can't seem to accept the reality of the world as it is now.

Of course, these policies ensure that they continue to be well-funded, even if the US is bankrupting itself in the process.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 01:03 AM
dogear

He is still the Saudi Mukhtar for the US and most of the generals are still narrow minded. pl

LondonBob , 10 February 2018 at 06:59 AM
They [the generals] seem to have deliberately completely ignored the issues and policy positions Trump ran on as President. It isn't a case of ignorance but of wilful disregard.
turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 07:55 AM
LondonBob

I think that is true but, they were able to talk him into that, thus far. pl

DianaLC said in reply to turcopolier ... , 10 February 2018 at 09:23 AM
I've been reading this blog for some time. My question was facetious and written with the understanding of your statement about the generals not having a good grasp of "the vision thing" on their own.
Terry , 10 February 2018 at 09:25 AM
So true and as others commented this is a sad feature of the human race and all human organizations. Herd mentality ties into social learning. Chimps are on average more creative and have better short term memory than humans. We gave up some short term memory in order to be able to learn quickly by mimicking. If shown how to open a puzzle box but also shown unnecessary extra steps a chimp will ignore the empty steps and open the box with only the required steps. A human will copy what they saw exactly performing the extra steps as if they have some unknown value to the process. Our massive cultural heritages are learned by observing and taken in as a whole. This process works within organizations as well.

I suspect a small percentage of the human race functions differently than the majority and retains creative thinking and openness along with more emphasis on cognitive thinking than social learning but generally they always face a battle when working to change the group "consensus", i.e. Fulton's folly, scepticism on whether man would ever fly, etc.

One nice feature of the internet allows creative thinkers to connect and watch the idiocy of the world unfold around us.

"A natural desire to be part of the 'in crowd' could damage our ability to make the right decisions, a new study has shown."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141216212049.htm

TV , 10 February 2018 at 10:18 AM
The military by definition is a rigid hierarchical structure. It could not function as a collection of individuals. This society can only breed conforming narrow leaders as an "individual" would leave or be forced out.
Barbara Ann , 10 February 2018 at 10:22 AM
That part of our brain responsible for the desire to be part of the 'in crowd' may affect our decision-making process, but it is also the reason we keep chimps in zoos and not the other way around. Or, to put it another way; if chimps had invented Facebook, I might consider them more creative than us.
Babak Makkinejad -> Terry... , 10 February 2018 at 10:30 AM
Do you think chimps are, per the Christian Docrine, in a State of Fall or in a State of Grace?
Adrestia , 10 February 2018 at 10:32 AM
This is an interesting discussion. The top in organisations (civil and military) are increasingly technocrats and thinking like systems managers. They are unable to innovate because they lack the ability to think out of the box. Usually there is a leader who depends on specialists. Others (including laymen) are often excluding from the decision-making-proces. John Ralston Saul's Voltaires Bastards describes this very well.

Because of natural selection (conformist people tend to choose similar people who resemble their own values and ways-of-thinking) organizations have a tendency to become homogeneous (especially the higher management/ranks).

In combination with the "dumbing" of people (also of people who have a so-called good education (as described in Richard Sale's Sterile Chit-Chat ) this is a disastrous mix.

Homogeneity is the main culprit. A specialists tends to try to solve problems with the same knowledge-set that created these.

Not all (parts of) organizations and people suffer this fate. Innovations are usually done by laymen and not by specialists. The organizations are often heterogeneous and the people a-typical and/or eccentric.

(mainly the analytical parts of ) intelligence organizations and investment banks are like that if they are worth anything. Very heterogeneous with a lot of a-typical people. I think Green Berets are also like that. An open mind and genuine interest in others (cultures, way of thinking, religion etc) is essential to understand and to perform and also to prevent costly mistakes (in silver and/or blood).

It is possible to create firewalls against tunnel-vision. The Jester performed such a role. Also think of the Emperors New Clothes . The current trend of people with limited vision and creativity prevents this. Criticism is punished with a lack of promotion, job-loss or even jail (whistle-blowers)

IMO this is why up to a certain rank (colonel or middle management) a certain amount of creativity or alternative thinking is allowed, but conformity is essential to rise higher.

I was very interested in the Colonel's remark on the foreign background of the GB in Vietnam. If you would like to expand on this I would be much obliged? IMO GB are an example of a smart, learning, organization (in deed and not only in word as so many say of themselves, but who usually are at best mediocre)

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg -> gaikokumaniakku... , 10 February 2018 at 11:58 AM
Isn't the "Borg" really The Atlantic Council?
ISL , 10 February 2018 at 12:58 PM
Dear Colonel,

Would you then say that a rising military officer who does have the vision thing faces career impediments? If so, would you say that the vision thing is lost (if it ever was there) at the highest ranks? In any case, the existence of even a few at the top, like Matthis or Shinseki is a blessing.

ex-PFC Chuck said in reply to FB Ali ... , 10 February 2018 at 01:08 PM
FB Ali:
"When the US was indeed the paramount military power on the globe, and the US military reigned supreme. They can't seem to accept the reality of the world as it is now."
That's true not only of the US military but of US elites in general across all of the spectra. And because that reality is at odds with the group-think of those within the various elements that make up the spectra it doesn't a hearing. Anyone who tries to bring it up risks being ejected from the group.
Adrestia , 10 February 2018 at 02:03 PM
I forget an important part. I really miss an edit-button. Comment-boxes are like looking at something through a straw. Its easy to miss the overview.

Innovations and significant new developments are usually made by laymen. IMO mainly because they have a fresh perspective without being bothered by the (mainstream) knowledge that dominates an area of expertise.

By excluding the laymen errors will continue to be repeated. This can be avoided by using development/decision-making frameworks, but these tend to become dogma (and thus become part of the problem)

Much better is allowing laymen and allowing a-typical people. Then listen to them carefully. Less rigid flexible and very valuable.

kooshy , 10 February 2018 at 02:19 PM
Apparently, according to the last US ambassador to Syria Mr. Ford, from 2014-17 US has spent 12 Billion on Regime change in Syria. IMO, combinedly Iran and Russia so far, have spent far less in Syria than 12 billion by US alone, not considering the rest of her so called coalition. This is a war of attrition, and US operations in wars, are usually far more expensive and longer than anybody else's.

"The United States spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, according to the former U.S. ambassador to the country. This $12 billion is in addition to the billions more spent to pursue regime change in Syria in the previous three years, after war broke out in 2011." https://goo.gl/8pj5cD

J , 10 February 2018 at 02:49 PM
Colonel, TTG, PT,

FYI regarding Syria

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/sen-tim-kaine-demands-release-secret-trump-war-powers-memo-n846176

Richardstevenhack -> turcopolier ... , 10 February 2018 at 02:56 PM
It may "demand" it - but does it get it? Soldiers are just as human as everyone else.

I'm reminded of the staff sergeant with the sagging beer belly who informed me, "Stand up straight and look like a soldier..." Or the First Sergeant who was so hung over one morning at inspection that he couldn't remember which direction he was going down the hall to the next room to be inspected. I'm sure you have your own stories of less than competence.

It's a question of intelligence and imagination. And frankly, I don't see the military in any country receiving the "best and brightest" of that country's population, by definition. The fact that someone is patriotic enough to enter the military over a civilian occupation doesn't make them more intelligent or imaginative than the people who decided on the civilian occupation.

Granted, if you fail at accounting, you don't usually die. Death tends to focus the mind, as they say. Nonetheless, we're not talking about the grunts at the level who actually die, still less the relatively limited number of Special Forces. We're talking about the officers and staff at the levels who don't usually die in war - except maybe at their defeat - i.e., most officers over the level of captain.

One can hardly look at this officer crowd in the Pentagon and CENTCOM and say that their personal death concentrates their mind. They are in virtually no danger of that. Only career death faces them - with a nice transition to the board of General Dynamics at ten times the salary.

All in all, I'd have to agree that the military isn't much better at being competent - at many levels above the obvious group of hyper-trained Special Forces - any more than any other profession.

dogear said in reply to Terry... , 10 February 2018 at 02:59 PM
That is well put.most important is the grading system that is designed to fix a person to a particular slot thereby limiting his ability to think "outside the box" and consider the many variables that exist in one particular instant.

Creative thinking allows you to see beyond the storm clouds ahead and realize that the connectedness of different realities both the visible and invisible. For instance the picture of the 2 pairs of korean skaters in the news tells an interesting story on many levels. Some will judge them on their grade of proffiency, while others will see a dance of strategy between 2 foes and a few will know the results in advance and plan accordingly

https://www.google.com.au/amp/www.nbcolympics.com/news/north-south-korean-figure-skating-teams-practice-side-side%3famp?espv=1

Mark Logan said in reply to Peter AU... , 10 February 2018 at 03:30 PM
Peter AU

"They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I've often pondered that concept. Notice how many of radical extremist leaders were doctors, engineers and such? Narrow and deep. STEM is enormously useful to us but seems to be a risky when implanted in shallow earth.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:03 PM
Mark Logan

These narrow "but deep" thinkers were unable to grasp the nature of the Iraq War for the first couple of years. They thought of it as a rear area security problem, a combat in cities problem, anything but a popular rebellion based on xenophobia and anti-colonialism The IED problem? They spent several billion dollars on trying to find a technology fix and never succeeded. I know because they kept asking me to explain the war to them and then could not understand the answers which were outside their narrow thought. pl

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:13 PM
ISL

War College selectees, the national board selected creme de la creme test out as 50% SJs (conformists lacking vision) in Myers-Briggs terms and about 15% NTs (intellectuals). To survive and move upward in a system dominated by SJs, the NTs must pretend to be what they are not. A few succeed. I do not think Mattis is an intellectual merely because he has read a lot. pl

outthere , 10 February 2018 at 05:19 PM
Long ago when I was a professor, I advised my students that "the law is like a pencil sharpener, it sharpens the mind by narrowing it." I tried to encourage them to "think backwards".

My favorite example was a Japanese fisherman who recovered valuable ancient Chinese pottery. Everyone knew where an ancient ship had sunk, but the water was too deep to dive down to the wreck. And everyone knew the cargo included these valuable vases. And the fisherman was the first to figure out how to recover them. He attached a line to an octopus, and lowered it in the area, waited awhile, and pulled it up. Low and behold, the octopus had hidden in an ancient Chinese vase. The fisherman was familiar with trapping octopuses, by lowering a ceramic pot (called "takosubo") into the ocean, waiting awhile, then raising the vase with octopus inside. His brilliance was to think backwards, and use an octopus to catch a vase.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:24 PM
TV

By your calculation people like Joe Stilwell and George Patton should not have existed. pl

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:31 PM
Adrestia

the original GBS were recruited in the 50s to serve in the OSS role with foreign guerrillas behind Soviet lines in th event of war in Europe. Aaron Bank, the founder, recruited several hundred experienced foreign soldiers from the likely countries who wanted to become American. By the time we were in VN these men were a small fraction of GBs but important for their expertise and professionalism. pl

ked , 10 February 2018 at 05:56 PM
Col, I think it might help people to think of "the Borg" - as you have defined & applied it - in a broader context. It struck me particularly as you ID'd the launching of our modern military group-think / careerism behavior coming from the watershed of industrialized scale & processes that came out of WWII.

We note parallel themes in all significant sectors of our civilization. The ever-expanding security state, the many men in Gray Flannel Suits that inhabit corporate culture, Finance & Banking & Big Health scaling ever larger - all processes aimed to slice the salami thinner & quicker, to the point where meat is moot ... and so it goes.

I note many Borgs... Borgism if you will. An organizational behavior that has emerged out of human nature having difficulty adapting to rapidly accelerating complexity that is just too hard to apprehend in a few generations. If (as many commenters on STT seem to...) one wishes to view this in an ideological or spiritual framework only, they may overlook an important truth - that what we are experiencing is a Battle Among Borgs for control over their own space & domination over the other Borgs. How else would we expect any competitive, powerful interest group to act?

In gov & industry these days, we observe some pretty wild outliers... attached to some wild outcomes. Thus the boring behavior of our political industries bringing forth Trump, our promethean technology sector yielding a Musk (& yes, a Zuckerberg).

I find it hard to take very seriously analysts that define their perspective based primarily upon their superior ideals & opposition to others. Isn't every person, every tribe, team or enterprise a borglet-in-becoming? Everybody Wants to Rule the World ... & Everybody Must Get Stoned... messages about how we are grappling with complexity in our times. I just finished reading Command & Control (about nuclear weapons policy, systems design & accidents). I am amazed we've made it this far.

Unfortunately, I would not be amazed if reckless, feckless leaders changed the status quo. I was particularly alarmed hearing Trump in his projection mode; "I would love to be able to bring back our country into a great form of unity, without a major event where people pull together, that's hard to do.

But I would like to do it without that major event because usually that major event is not a good thing." It strikes me that he could be exceptionally willing to risk a Major Event if he felt a form of unity, or self-preservation, was in the offing. I pray (& I do not pray often or easily) that the Generals you have described have enough heart & guts to honor their oath at its most profound level in the event of an Event.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 06:00 PM
babak

As a time traveler from another age, I can only say that for me it means devotion to a set of mores peculiar to a particular profession as opposed to an occupation. pl

Barbara Ann -> outthere... , 10 February 2018 at 06:00 PM
Great example outthere.

Another springs to mind: James Lovelock (of Gaia hypothesis fame) was once part of the NASA team building the first probe to go to Mars to look for signs of life. Lovelock didn't make any friends when he told NASA they were wasting their time, there was none. When asked how he could be so sure, he explained that the composition of the Martian atmosphere made it impossible. "But Martian life may be able to survive under different conditions" was the retort. Lovelock then went on to explain his view that the evolution of microbial life determined the atmospheric composition on Earth, so should be expected to do the same if life had evolved on Mars. Brilliant backwards thinking which ought to have earned him the Nobel prize IMHO (for Gaia). Lovelock, a classic cross-disciplinary scientist, can't be rewarded with such a box-categorized honor, as his idea doesn't fit well into any one.

Another example of cross-disciplinary brilliance was Bitcoin, which has as much to do with its creator's deep knowledge of Anthropology (why people invented & use money) as his expertise in both Economics and Computer Science.

This is they key to creative thinking in my view - familiarity with different fields yields deeper insights.

[Jan 30, 2018] The Unseen Wars of America the Empire The American Conservative

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Like the Romans, we have become an empire, committed to fighting for scores of nations, with troops on every continent and forces in combat operations of which the American people are only vaguely aware. "I didn't know there were 1,000 troops in Niger," said Senator Lindsey Graham when four Green Berets were killed there. "We don't know exactly where we're at in the world, militarily, and what we're doing." ..."
"... Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, ..."
"... . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com. ..."
Jan 30, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Unseen Wars of America the Empire By Patrick J. Buchanan January 30, 2018, 12:01 AM

Forward Operating Base Torkham, in Nangahar Province, Afghanistan (army.mil) If Turkey is not bluffing, U.S. troops in Manbij, Syria, could be under fire by week's end, and NATO engulfed in the worst crisis in its history.

Turkish President Erdogan said Friday his forces will cleanse Manbij of Kurdish fighters, alongside whom U.S. troops are embedded.

Erdogan's foreign minister demanded concrete steps by the United States to end its support of the Kurds, who control the Syrian border with Turkey east of the Euphrates all the way to Iraq.

If the Turks attack Manbij, America will face a choice: stand by our Kurdish allies and resist the Turks, or abandon the Kurds.

Should the U.S. let the Turks drive the Kurds out of Manbij and the entire Syrian border area, as Erdogan threatens, American credibility would suffer a blow from which it would not soon recover.

But to stand with the Kurds and oppose Erdogan's forces could mean a crackup of NATO and a loss of U.S. bases inside Turkey, including the air base at Incirlik.

Turkey also sits astride the Dardanelles entrance to the Black Sea. NATO's loss would thus be a triumph for Vladimir Putin, who gave Ankara the green light to cleanse the Kurds from Afrin.

Yet Syria is but one of many challenges facing U.S. foreign policy.

The Winter Olympics in South Korea may have taken the menace of a North Korean ICBM out of the news, but no one believes that threat is behind us.

Last week, China charged that the USS Hopper, a guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal, a reef in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing, though it is far closer to Luzon in the Philippines. The destroyer, says China, was chased off by one of her frigates. If we continue to contest China's territorial claims with our warships, a clash is inevitable.

In a similar incident Monday, a Russian military jet came within five feet of a U.S. Navy EP-3 Orion surveillance jet in international airspace over the Black Sea, forcing the Navy plane to end its mission.

U.S. relations with Cold War ally Pakistan are at rock bottom. In his first tweet of 2018, President Trump charged Pakistan with being a false friend.

"The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools," Trump declared. "They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!"

As for America's longest war in Afghanistan, now in its 17th year, the end is nowhere on the horizon. A week ago, the International Hotel in Kabul was attacked and held for 13 hours by Taliban gunmen who killed 40. Midweek, a Save the Children facility in Jalalabad was attacked by ISIS, creating panic among aid workers across the country.

Saturday, an ambulance exploded in Kabul, killing 103 people and wounding 235. Monday, Islamic State militants attacked Afghan soldiers guarding a military academy in Kabul. With the fighting season two months off, U.S. troops will not soon be departing. If Pakistan is indeed providing sanctuary for the terrorists of the Haqqani network, how does this war end successfully for the United States? Last week, in a friendly fire incident, the U.S.-led coalition killed 10 Iraqi soldiers. The Iraq war began 15 years ago.

Yet another war, where the humanitarian crisis rivals Syria, continues on the Arabian Peninsula. There, a Saudi air, sea, and land blockade that threatens the Yemeni people with starvation has failed to dislodge Houthi rebels who seized the capital Sanaa three years ago. This weekend brought news that secessionist rebels, backed by the United Arab Emirates, seized power in Yemen's southern port of Aden from the Saudi-backed Hadi regime fighting the Houthis. These rebels seek to split the country, as it was before 1990.

Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE appear to be backing different horses in this tribal-civil-sectarian war into which America has been drawn. There are other wars -- Somalia, Libya, Ukraine -- where the U.S. is taking sides, sending arms, training troops, flying missions.

Like the Romans, we have become an empire, committed to fighting for scores of nations, with troops on every continent and forces in combat operations of which the American people are only vaguely aware. "I didn't know there were 1,000 troops in Niger," said Senator Lindsey Graham when four Green Berets were killed there. "We don't know exactly where we're at in the world, militarily, and what we're doing."

No, we don't, Senator. As in all empires, power is passing to the generals. And what causes the greatest angst today in the imperial city? Fear that a four-page memo worked up in the House Judiciary Committee may discredit Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia-gate.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

[Jan 29, 2018] It is OK for an empire to be hated and feared, it doesn t work so good when Glory slowly fades and he empire instead becomes hated and despised

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... When do they run out of people for this ..."
"... Everyone is assuming this is an anti-American, Russia-backed operation, and Turkey has left the NATO fold, but is it? Wheels within wheels, and it's is not clear what the end result will be. If I was Assad, I would be looking very closely at all this. There seems to be some suggestion that the Kurds are getting reinforcements and supplies shipped via Syrian government areas, which is interesting. ..."
"... If one is set on running an empire, one simply cannot afford to be seen losing to "inferior 3'rd world tribals" very often, if not they, then others will take notice and get ideas. ..."
"... The USA was not designed to be an empire, it was designed to be a Republic for, by and of the People. Our international adventurism will be the death of not just us, but possibly the world. Not a month goes by without a major provocative incident towards Russia. Usually assassinations of Russian diplomats, Oligarchs, or military bellicosity. I wonder if these are in response to disavowed US operatives being killed, or if Russia is exhibiting enormous restraint, because they are the responsible ones who don't want to see the world burn for Israel. ..."
Jan 29, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Leveraged Algorithm Jan 29, 2018 1:22 AM Permalink

When do they run out of people for this...

An Shrubbery Jan 29, 2018 1:28 AM Permalink

So now Turkey's invading Syria, too? Curiouser and curiouser...

Archive_file, Jan 29, 2018 1:31 AM Permalink

Remember Gallipoli!!

Juggernaut x2 -> Archive_file, Jan 29, 2018 2:43 AM Permalink

another fuck-up by Churchill

OverTheHedge -> Archive_file, Jan 29, 2018 2:53 AM Permalink

In what way? The fact that the Turks won? They beat the shit out some very tough British and Anzac troops, who were invading their country. Might be something to consider at this point.

Another point: this little piece of Syria that is being invaded lies between two other little bits of Syria that turkey has already invaded / occupied. If they manage to link up on either side, they will have created a wide buffer on their border. Is this just a bit of "protection" for turkey, or is it part of the US plan to split up, partition and dismember Syria?

Everyone is assuming this is an anti-American, Russia-backed operation, and Turkey has left the NATO fold, but is it? Wheels within wheels, and it's is not clear what the end result will be. If I was Assad, I would be looking very closely at all this. There seems to be some suggestion that the Kurds are getting reinforcements and supplies shipped via Syrian government areas, which is interesting.

fajensen -> OverTheHedge, Jan 29, 2018 5:09 AM Permalink

In what way? The fact that the Turks won?

Yes. It is OK for an empire to be hated and feared, it doesn't work so good when Glory slowly fades and he empire instead becomes hated and despised.

If one is set on running an empire, one simply cannot afford to be seen losing to "inferior 3'rd world tribals" very often, if not they, then others will take notice and get ideas.

Letting one's side down has consequences. Not delivering on the benefits promised for foreigners serving the empire has consequences too.

gougeonit, Jan 29, 2018 1:36 AM Permalink

So is it, The enemy of my enemy is the enemy of my enemy?

Blue Steel 309, Jan 29, 2018 1:41 AM Permalink

The USA was not designed to be an empire, it was designed to be a Republic for, by and of the People. Our international adventurism will be the death of not just us, but possibly the world. Not a month goes by without a major provocative incident towards Russia. Usually assassinations of Russian diplomats, Oligarchs, or military bellicosity. I wonder if these are in response to disavowed US operatives being killed, or if Russia is exhibiting enormous restraint, because they are the responsible ones who don't want to see the world burn for Israel.

Omega_Man Jan 29, 2018 4:17 AM Permalink

so what, mericans killed millions in iraq and syria... you didn't cry then.

Omega_Man Jan 29, 2018 4:18 AM Permalink

hopefully merica and turkey will get into a big war...and not let those mericans off the hook...

SaudiMail Jan 29, 2018 5:26 AM Permalink

I watched 'The Promise' last night, about the Armenian genocide which the Turks still deny to this day.

Seems history is repeating itself in Syria.

[Jan 22, 2018] Trump s Illegal War in Syria by Daniel Larison

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The unauthorized, open-ended commitment in Syria is also a good example of how easily presidents can perpetuate and expand U.S. involvement in foreign conflicts with only minimal resistance at home. ..."
"... Sen. Murphy is right to object, but I fear that illegal presidential wars have become common enough over the last decade that it won't even occur to most of Trump's opponents to question the legality of what he's doing here. The Libyan war, the war on ISIS, and U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen were all similarly unauthorized, but Obama was able to "get away" with all of these for years because most of his domestic opponents didn't care and most in his own party weren't willing to criticize him. ..."
"... More members of Congress could challenge Trump over the illegality of the ongoing U.S. military presence in Syria, but most of them seem content to abdicate all responsibility for these matters in order to minimize their exposure when something goes wrong later. Americans have been conditioned by the last sixteen years of unending war and decades of the cult of the presidency to shrug when the president commits the U.S. to another open-ended military mission in a foreign country that has nothing to do with our security or self-defense. Perhaps now that Trump is the one doing it there will be a stronger reaction. I hope there is, but I wouldn't bet on it. ..."
"... Not only is there zero authorization for Trump to be in Syria, there's zero public support for it. Truth be told of course, it isn't really Trump doing this. Trump is just the creature of his handlers, and his handlers are now mostly lesser-known neocons that have been infiltrating his administration through various cracks and holes. ..."
"... The problem with our fundamentally undemocratic political setup is that you can vote against the Republicans or the Democrats, but you cannot vote against a policy of constant illegal warfare since both parties support it and have for a long time. It is baked into the system of imperialism. ..."
Jan 22, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Paul Pillar comments on the Trump administration's outrageous plan to keep U.S. troops in Syria indefinitely:

The Trump administration is having U.S. troops participate indefinitely in someone else's civil war, for reasons that are quite different from the original stated objective of helping to quash the so-called caliphate of the Islamic State (ISIS). The new reasons do not stand up to scrutiny in terms of defending any threatened U.S. interests. The administration has in effect made a decision to immerse the United States in yet another foreign war.

Keeping U.S. forces in Syria is illegal and unnecessary, as I said last week. Preventing the Syrian government from reestablishing control over its own territory has nothing to do with American security, and there are still no vital American interests at stake in Syria. Putting U.S. forces in harm's way to stop Iran from having influence in the territory of its own ally is as senseless a waste of American resources and manpower as one can imagine, but that is what we have come to expect from an administration irrationally fixated on harming Iran at the expense of everything else.

The unauthorized, open-ended commitment in Syria is also a good example of how easily presidents can perpetuate and expand U.S. involvement in foreign conflicts with only minimal resistance at home. There are some vocal critics of the plan for this very reason:

There is ZERO legal authorization to stay in Syria to fight Iran. If Administration gets away with this, there is no going back – executive branch war making power becomes absolute. https://t.co/xBWLuTmaMN

-- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 18, 2018

Sen. Murphy is right to object, but I fear that illegal presidential wars have become common enough over the last decade that it won't even occur to most of Trump's opponents to question the legality of what he's doing here. The Libyan war, the war on ISIS, and U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen were all similarly unauthorized, but Obama was able to "get away" with all of these for years because most of his domestic opponents didn't care and most in his own party weren't willing to criticize him. Our political culture's abject deference to presidential power on matters of war makes it easy for presidents to get away with these things. When Trump ordered an attack on Syrian government forces last year, he had absolutely no authority to do that and was in direction violation of the U.N. Charter and the Constitution, but instead of being condemned for his flagrantly illegal action he was celebrated and praised for his "leadership."

More members of Congress could challenge Trump over the illegality of the ongoing U.S. military presence in Syria, but most of them seem content to abdicate all responsibility for these matters in order to minimize their exposure when something goes wrong later. Americans have been conditioned by the last sixteen years of unending war and decades of the cult of the presidency to shrug when the president commits the U.S. to another open-ended military mission in a foreign country that has nothing to do with our security or self-defense. Perhaps now that Trump is the one doing it there will be a stronger reaction. I hope there is, but I wouldn't bet on it.


New Lamps For Old January 22, 2018 at 8:58 am

Not only is there zero authorization for Trump to be in Syria, there's zero public support for it. Truth be told of course, it isn't really Trump doing this. Trump is just the creature of his handlers, and his handlers are now mostly lesser-known neocons that have been infiltrating his administration through various cracks and holes.

Expect not just more chaos and bloodshed in Syria involving US troops and clients, but also that Trump will now do what Bibi has been screaming for for years – full-on confrontation with Iran.

I voted for him.

I will never vote for him again.

spite , says: January 22, 2018 at 10:44 am
I do not support this one bit, but by now people who follow such things should see that it does not matter who is president, the same will happen regardless who is president. If Hillary won this would have happened, under Obama this was being put in place. If a president was elected who promised to pull out of Syria and made it his key election talking point, there would be no pull out.
Iron Felix , says: January 22, 2018 at 11:26 am
New Lamps For Old "I will never vote for him again."

The problem with our fundamentally undemocratic political setup is that you can vote against the Republicans or the Democrats, but you cannot vote against a policy of constant illegal warfare since both parties support it and have for a long time. It is baked into the system of imperialism.

rayray , says: January 22, 2018 at 12:00 pm
@New Lamps for Old
Also worth noting, Trump is definitely being played, but he's a hugely easy play. GWB was an easy play by anyone's estimation, but Trump outdoes them all.

You just have to say, "you look a tough man right now as you do this, Mr. President".

[Jan 21, 2018] America Sleepwalks Towards a Clash With the Turks in Syria by Patrick J. Buchanan

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Moreover, the U.S. has announced plans to create a 30,000-man Border Security Force of Kurds and Arabs to keep ISIS out of Syria. Erdogan has branded this BSF a "terror army," and President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has called BSF members "traitors." This U.S. plan to create a BSF inside Syria, Damascus declares, "represents a blatant attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity and unity of Syria, and a flagrant violation of international law." ..."
"... Now that ISIS has been driven out of Raqqa and Syria, by what authority do U.S. forces remain to arm troops to keep the Damascus government from reimposing its authority on its own territory? ..."
"... Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave Syria the news on Wednesday. The U.S. troop commitment to Syria, he said, is now open-ended. Our goals: Guarantee al-Qaeda and ISIS do not return and set up sanctuary, cope with rising Iranian influence in Damascus, and pursue the removal of Assad's ruthless regime. ..."
"... Again and again, the Amrican people have said they do not want to be dragged into Syria's civil war. Donald Trump won the presidency on a promise of no more unnecessary wars. ..."
"... Remarkable: An American-created border army is going to occupy and control long stretches of Syria's borders with Turkey and Iraq, over Syria's objections. And the U.S. military will stand behind the BSF. ..."
"... Are the 2,000 troops in Syria really up to that task, should the Turks decide to cleanse the Syrian border of Kurds, or should the Syrian regime decide to take back territory occupied by the Kurds? ..."
"... As for Syria's Kurds casting their lot with the Americans, one wonders: Did they not observe what happened when their Iraqi cousins, after helping us drive ISIS out of Mosul, were themselves driven out of Kirkuk by the Iraqi army, as their U.S. allies watched? ..."
"... The Israelis and Saudi royals want the United States to keep Iran from securing a land bridge from Tehran to Damascus to Lebanon. The U.S. War Party wants us to smash Iran and remain in the Middle East forever to assure the hegemony of its favorites. Have the generals taking us into Syria told the president how and when, if ever, they plan to get us out? ..."
Jan 19, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The war for dominance in the Middle East, following the destruction of ISIS, appears about to commence in Syria -- with NATO allies America and Turkey on opposing sides. Turkey is moving armor and troops south to Syria's border enclave of Afrin, occupied by the Kurds, to drive them out, and then drive the Syrian Kurds out of Manbij further south as well. Says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, "We will destroy all terror nests, one by one, in Syria, starting from Afrin and Manbij." For Erdogan, the Kurdish YPG, the major U.S. ally in Syria, is an arm of the Kurdish PKK in Turkey, which we and the Turks have designated as a terrorist organization. While the Kurds were our most effective allies against ISIS in Syria, Turkey views them as a mortal peril and intends to deal with that threat. If Erdogan is serious, a clash with the United States is coming, as our Kurdish allies occupy most of Syria's border with Turkey.

Moreover, the U.S. has announced plans to create a 30,000-man Border Security Force of Kurds and Arabs to keep ISIS out of Syria. Erdogan has branded this BSF a "terror army," and President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has called BSF members "traitors." This U.S. plan to create a BSF inside Syria, Damascus declares, "represents a blatant attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity and unity of Syria, and a flagrant violation of international law."

... ... ...

[Jan 02, 2018] Neocon warmongers should be treated as rapists by Andrew J. Bacevich

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... What's puzzling is why that capacity for outrage and demand for accountability doesn't extend to our now well-established penchant for waging war across much of the planet. ..."
"... Compare their culpability to that of the high-ranking officials who have presided over or promoted this country's various military misadventures of the present century. Those wars have, of course, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and will ultimately cost American taxpayers many trillions of dollars. Nor have those costly military efforts eliminated "terrorism," as President George W. Bush promised back when today's G.I.s were still in diapers. ..."
"... Bush told us that, through war, the United States would spread freedom and democracy. Instead, our wars have sown disorder and instability, creating failing or failed states across the Greater Middle East and Africa. In their wake have sprung up ever more, not fewer, jihadist groups, while acts of terror are soaring globally. These are indisputable facts. ..."
"... For starters, there is no "new strategy." Trump's generals, apparently with a nod from their putative boss, are merely modifying the old "strategy," which was itself an outgrowth of previous strategies tried, found wanting, and eventually discarded before being rebranded and eventually recycled. ..."
"... Thus far, Trump's interventionism has been a fragment of what the Hillary campaign promised. ..."
"... This is the center of a world empire. It maintains a gigantic military which virtually never stops fighting wars, none of them having anything to do with defense. It has created an intelligence monstrosity which makes old outfits like Stazi seem almost quaint, and it spies on everyone. Indeed, it maintains seventeen national security establishments, as though you can never have too much of a good thing. And some of these guys, too, are engaged full-time in forms of covert war, from fomenting trouble in other lands and interfering in elections to overthrowing governments. ..."
"... It's unlikely that the USA would be remaining in Afghanistan if its goals were not being attained. So the author has merely shown that the stated goals cannot be the real goals. What then are the real goals? I propose two: 1) establish a permanent military presence on a Russian border; 2) finance it with the heroin trade. Given other actions of the Empire around the globe, the first goal is obvious. The bombing of mud huts containing competitors' drug labs, conjoined with the fact that we do not destroy the actual poppy fields (obvious green targets in an immense ocean of brown) make this goal rather obvious as well. The rest of the article is simply more evidence that the Empire does not include mere human tragedy in its profit calculation. ..."
"... Andrew Bacevich calls for a Weinstein moment without realizing that it already happened more than ten years ago. The 2006 midterm elections were the first Weinstein moment, which saw the American people deliver a huge outpouring of antiwar sentiment that inflicted significant congressional losses on the neocon Republicans of George W. Bush. ..."
Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

What makes a Harvey Weinstein moment? The now-disgraced Hollywood mogul is hardly the first powerful man to stand accused of having abused women. The Harveys who preceded Harvey himself are legion, their prominence matching or exceeding his own and the misdeeds with which they were charged at least as reprehensible.

In the relatively recent past, a roster of prominent offenders would include Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, and, of course, Donald Trump. Throw in various jocks, maestros, senior military officers, members of the professoriate and you end up with quite a list. Yet in virtually all such cases, the alleged transgressions were treated as instances of individual misconduct, egregious perhaps but possessing at best transitory political resonance.

All that, though, was pre-Harvey. As far as male sexual hijinks are concerned, we might compare Weinstein's epic fall from grace to the stock market crash of 1929: one week it's the anything-goes Roaring Twenties, the next we're smack dab in a Great Depression.

How profound is the change? Up here in Massachusetts where I live, we've spent the past year marking John F. Kennedy's 100th birthday. If Kennedy were still around to join in the festivities, it would be as a Class A sex offender. Rarely in American history has the cultural landscape shifted so quickly or so radically.

In our post-Harvey world, men charged with sexual misconduct are guilty until proven innocent, all crimes are capital offenses, and there exists no statute of limitations. Once a largely empty corporate slogan, "zero tolerance" has become a battle cry.

All of this serves as a reminder that, on some matters at least, the American people retain an admirable capacity for outrage. We can distinguish between the tolerable and the intolerable. And we can demand accountability of powerful individuals and institutions.

Everything They Need to Win (Again!)

What's puzzling is why that capacity for outrage and demand for accountability doesn't extend to our now well-established penchant for waging war across much of the planet.

In no way would I wish to minimize the pain, suffering, and humiliation of the women preyed upon by the various reprobates now getting their belated comeuppance. But to judge from published accounts, the women (and in some cases, men) abused by Weinstein, Louis C.K., Mark Halperin, Leon Wieseltier, Kevin Spacey, Al Franken, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor, my West Point classmate Judge Roy Moore, and their compadres at least managed to survive their encounters. None of the perpetrators are charged with having committed murder. No one died.

Compare their culpability to that of the high-ranking officials who have presided over or promoted this country's various military misadventures of the present century. Those wars have, of course, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and will ultimately cost American taxpayers many trillions of dollars. Nor have those costly military efforts eliminated "terrorism," as President George W. Bush promised back when today's G.I.s were still in diapers.

Bush told us that, through war, the United States would spread freedom and democracy. Instead, our wars have sown disorder and instability, creating failing or failed states across the Greater Middle East and Africa. In their wake have sprung up ever more, not fewer, jihadist groups, while acts of terror are soaring globally. These are indisputable facts.

It discomfits me to reiterate this mournful litany of truths. I feel a bit like the doctor telling the lifelong smoker with stage-four lung cancer that an addiction to cigarettes is adversely affecting his health. His mute response: I know and I don't care. Nothing the doc says is going to budge the smoker from his habit. You go through the motions, but wonder why.

In a similar fashion, war has become a habit to which the United States is addicted. Except for the terminally distracted, most of us know that. We also know -- we cannot not know -- that, in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. forces have been unable to accomplish their assigned mission, despite more than 16 years of fighting in the former and more than a decade in the latter.

It's not exactly a good news story, to put it mildly. So forgive me for saying it ( yet again ), but most of us simply don't care, which means that we continue to allow a free hand to those who preside over those wars, while treating with respect the views of pundits and media personalities who persist in promoting them. What's past doesn't count; we prefer to sustain the pretense that tomorrow is pregnant with possibilities. Victory lies just around the corner.

By way of example, consider a recent article in U.S. News and World Report. The headline: "Victory or Failure in Afghanistan: 2018 Will Be the Deciding Year." The title suggests a balance absent from the text that follows, which reads like a Pentagon press release. Here in its entirety is the nut graf (my own emphasis added):

"Armed with a new strategy and renewed support from old allies, the Trump administration now believes it has everything it needs to win the war in Afghanistan. Top military advisers all the way up to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis say they can accomplish what two previous administrations and multiple troop surges could not: the defeat of the Taliban by Western-backed local forces, a negotiated peace and the establishment of a popularly supported government in Kabul capable of keeping the country from once again becoming a haven to any terrorist group."

Now if you buy this, you'll believe that Harvey Weinstein has learned his lesson and can be trusted to interview young actresses while wearing his bathrobe.

For starters, there is no "new strategy." Trump's generals, apparently with a nod from their putative boss, are merely modifying the old "strategy," which was itself an outgrowth of previous strategies tried, found wanting, and eventually discarded before being rebranded and eventually recycled.

Short of using nuclear weapons, U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan over the past decade and a half have experimented with just about every approach imaginable: invasion, regime change, occupation, nation-building, pacification, decapitation, counterterrorism, and counterinsurgency, not to mention various surges , differing in scope and duration. We have had a big troop presence and a smaller one, more bombing and less, restrictive rules of engagement and permissive ones. In the military equivalent of throwing in the kitchen sink, a U.S. Special Operations Command four-engine prop plane recently deposited the largest non-nuclear weapon in the American arsenal on a cave complex in eastern Afghanistan. Although that MOAB made a big boom, no offer of enemy surrender materialized.

$65 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars. And under the circumstances, consider that a mere down payment.

According to General John Nicholson, our 17th commander in Kabul since 2001, the efforts devised and implemented by his many predecessors have resulted in a "stalemate" -- a generous interpretation given that the Taliban presently controls more territory than it has held since the U.S. invasion. Officers no less capable than Nicholson himself, David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal among them, didn't get it done. Nicholson's argument: trust me.

In essence, the "new strategy" devised by Trump's generals, Secretary of Defense Mattis and Nicholson among them, amounts to this: persist a tad longer with a tad more. A modest uptick in the number of U.S. and allied troops on the ground will provide more trainers, advisers, and motivators to work with and accompany their Afghan counterparts in the field. The Mattis/Nicholson plan also envisions an increasing number of air strikes, signaled by the recent use of B-52s to attack illicit Taliban " drug labs ," a scenario that Stanley Kubrick himself would have been hard-pressed to imagine.

Notwithstanding the novelty of using strategic bombers to destroy mud huts, there's not a lot new here. Dating back to 2001, coalition forces have already dropped tens of thousands of bombs in Afghanistan. Almost as soon as the Taliban were ousted from Kabul, coalition efforts to create effective Afghan security forces commenced. So, too, did attempts to reduce the production of the opium that has funded the Taliban insurgency, alas with essentially no effect whatsoever . What Trump's generals want a gullible public (and astonishingly gullible and inattentive members of Congress) to believe is that this time they've somehow devised a formula for getting it right.

Turning the Corner

With his trademark capacity to intuit success, President Trump already sees clear evidence of progress. "We're not fighting anymore to just walk around," he remarked in his Thanksgiving message to the troops. "We're fighting to win. And you people [have] turned it around over the last three to four months like nobody has seen." The president, we may note, has yet to visit Afghanistan.

I'm guessing that the commander-in-chief is oblivious to the fact that, in U.S. military circles, the term winning has acquired notable elasticity. Trump may think that it implies vanquishing the enemy -- white flags and surrender ceremonies on the U.S.S. Missouri . General Nicholson knows better. "Winning," the field commander says , "means delivering a negotiated settlement that reduces the level of violence and protecting the homeland." (Take that definition at face value and we can belatedly move Vietnam into the win column!)

Should we be surprised that Trump's generals, unconsciously imitating General William Westmoreland a half-century ago, claim once again to detect light at the end of the tunnel? Not at all. Mattis and Nicholson (along with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster) are following the Harvey Weinstein playbook: keep doing it until they make you stop. Indeed, with what can only be described as chutzpah, Nicholson himself recently announced that we have " turned the corner " in Afghanistan. In doing so, of course, he is counting on Americans not to recall the various war managers, military and civilian alike, who have made identical claims going back years now, among them Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in 2012 .

From on high, assurances of progress; in the field, results that, year after year, come nowhere near what's promised; on the homefront, an astonishingly credulous public. The war in Afghanistan has long since settled into a melancholy and seemingly permanent rhythm.

The fact is that the individuals entrusted by President Trump to direct U.S. policy believe with iron certainty that difficult political problems will yield to armed might properly employed. That proposition is one to which generals like Mattis and Nicholson have devoted a considerable part of their lives, not just in Afghanistan but across much of the Islamic world. They are no more likely to question the validity of that proposition than the Pope is to entertain second thoughts about the divinity of Jesus Christ.

In Afghanistan, their entire worldview -- not to mention the status and clout of the officer corps they represent -- is at stake. No matter how long the war there lasts, no matter how many " generations " it takes, no matter how much blood is shed to no purpose, and no matter how much money is wasted, they will never admit to failure -- nor will any of the militarists-in-mufti cheering them on from the sidelines in Washington, Donald Trump not the least among them.

Meanwhile, the great majority of the American people, their attention directed elsewhere -- it's the season for holiday shopping, after all -- remain studiously indifferent to the charade being played out before their eyes.

It took a succession of high-profile scandals before Americans truly woke up to the plague of sexual harassment and assault. How long will it take before the public concludes that they have had enough of wars that don't work? Here's hoping it's before our president, in a moment of ill temper, unleashes " fire and fury " on the world.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular , is the author, most recently, of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History .

anonymous , Disclaimer December 11, 2017 at 3:31 am GMT

It's astonishing to see people make the claim that "victory" is possible in Afghanistan. Could they actually believe this or are they lying in order to drag this out even longer and keep the money pit working overtime? These are individuals that are highly placed and so should know better. It's not really a war but an occupation with the native insurgents fighting to oust the foreign occupier. The US has tried every trick there is in trying to tamp down the insurgency. They know what we're trying to do and can thwart us at every step. The US lost even as it began it's invasion there but didn't know it yet in the wake of it's initial success in scattering the Taliban, not even a real army and not even a real state. They live there and we don't; they can resist for the next thirty years or fifty years. When does the multi-billion bill come due and how will we pay it?
Issac , December 12, 2017 at 4:07 am GMT
"How long will it take before the public concludes that they have had enough of wars that don't work?"

It already happened, but Progressives like you failed to note that Republican voters subbed the Bush clan and their various associates for Trump in the Primary season, precisely because he called the Iraq and Afghan wars mistakes. The Americans suffer under a two party establishment that is clearly antagonistic to their interests. As a part of that regime, a dutiful Progressive toad, you continue to peddle the lie that it was the war-weary White Americans who celebrated those wars. In reality, any such support was ginned up from tools like you who wrote puff pieces for their Neocon Progressive masters.

Thus far, Trump's interventionism has been a fragment of what the Hillary campaign promised. Might you count that among your lucky stars? Fat chance. You cretinous Progressive filth have no such spine upon which to base an independent thought. You trot out the same old tiresome tropes week after week fulfilling your designated propagandist duty and then you skulk back to your den of iniquity to prepare another salvo of agitprop. What a miserable existence.

USAMNESIA , December 14, 2017 at 3:32 am GMT
This is the center of a world empire. It maintains a gigantic military which virtually never stops fighting wars, none of them having anything to do with defense. It has created an intelligence monstrosity which makes old outfits like Stazi seem almost quaint, and it spies on everyone. Indeed, it maintains seventeen national security establishments, as though you can never have too much of a good thing. And some of these guys, too, are engaged full-time in forms of covert war, from fomenting trouble in other lands and interfering in elections to overthrowing governments.

Obama ended up killing more people than any dictator or demagogue of this generation on earth you care to name, several hundred thousand of them in his eight years. And he found new ways to kill, too, as by creating the world's first industrial-scale extrajudicial killing operation. Here he signs off on "kill lists," placed in his Oval Office in-box, to murder people he has never seen, people who enjoy no legal rights or protections. His signed orders are carried out by uniformed thugs working at computer screens in secure basements where they proceed to play computer games with real live humans as their targets, again killing or maiming people they have never seen.

If you ever have wondered where all the enabling workers came from in places like Stalin's Gulag or Hitler's concentration camps, well, here is your answer. American itself produces platoons of such people. You could find them working at Guantanamo and in the far-flung string of secret torture facilities the CIA ran for years, and you could find them in places like Fallujah or Samarra or Abu Ghraib, at the CIA's basement game arcade killing centers, and even all over the streets of America dressed as police who shoot unarmed people every day, sometimes in the back.

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/john-chuckman-essay-of-wizards-and-washington-and-the-dreary-unrelenting-reality-of-american-politics-a-raw-and-sometimes-darkly-comic-survey-of-americas-treacherous-political-terrain/

nsa , December 18, 2017 at 5:36 am GMT
ZOG has now asserted the right to kill anyone, anywhere, anytime, for any reason. No trial, no hearing, no witnesses, no defense, no nothing. Is this actually legal? Any constitutional lawyers out there care to comment? Has ZOG now achieved the status of an all-powerful all-knowing deity with the power of life and death over all living things?
Waiting too , December 18, 2017 at 10:36 am GMT
It's unlikely that the USA would be remaining in Afghanistan if its goals were not being attained. So the author has merely shown that the stated goals cannot be the real goals. What then are the real goals? I propose two: 1) establish a permanent military presence on a Russian border; 2) finance it with the heroin trade. Given other actions of the Empire around the globe, the first goal is obvious. The bombing of mud huts containing competitors' drug labs, conjoined with the fact that we do not destroy the actual poppy fields (obvious green targets in an immense ocean of brown) make this goal rather obvious as well. The rest of the article is simply more evidence that the Empire does not include mere human tragedy in its profit calculation.
War for Blair Mountain , December 18, 2017 at 1:09 pm GMT
5.6 TRILLION $$$$$$ FOR GULF WAR 1 AND GULF WAR 2

The Native Born White American Working Class Teenage Male Population used as CANNON FODDER for Congressman Steven Solarz's and Donald Trump's very precious Jewish only Israel .

WAR IS A RACKET!!!! don't you think?

DESERT FOX , December 18, 2017 at 1:43 pm GMT
Israel and the deep state did the attack on 911 and thus set the table for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Syria and the Zionist neocons who control every facet of the U.S. gov and the MSM and the MIC and the FED ie the BANKS set in motion the blood sacrifice for their Zionist god SATAN, that is what they have done.

The Zionist warmongers and Satanists will destroy America.

Michael Kenny , December 18, 2017 at 2:17 pm GMT
It's not so much that America is addicted to war as that the American "business model" makes permanent war inevitable. US global dominance rests on economic domination, in particular, the dollar as world reserve currency. That has allowed the US economy to survive in spite of being hollowed out, financialised and burdened with enormous sovereign debt. Economic dominance derives from political dominance, which, in its turn, flows from military dominance. For that military dominance to be credible, not only must the US have the biggest and best military forces on the planet, it must show itself willing to use those forces to maintain its dominance by actually using them from time to time, in particular, to unequivocally beat off any challenge to its dominance (Putin!). It also, of course, must win, or, more correctly, be able to present the outcome credibly as a win. Failure to maintain military dominance will undermine the position of the dollar, sending its value through the floor. A low dollar means cheap exports (Boeing will sell more planes than Airbus!), but it also means that imports (oil, outsourced goods) will be dear. At that point the hollowed out nature of the US economy will cut in, probably provoking a Soviet-style implosion of the US economy and society and ruining anyone who has holdings denominated in dollars. I call that the Gorbachev conundrum. Gorby believed in the Soviet Union and wanted to reform it. But the Soviet system had become so rigid as to be unreformable. He pulled a threat and the whole system unravelled. But if he hadn't pulled the thread, the whole system would have unravelled anyway. It was a choice between hard landing and harder landing. Similarly, US leaders have to continue down the only road open to them: permanent war. As Thomas Jefferson said of slavery, it's like holding a wolf by the ears. You don't like it but you don't dare let go!
TG , December 18, 2017 at 2:36 pm GMT
"How long will it take before the public concludes that they have had enough of wars that don't work?" Answer: Never.

In Alabama when people would rant about how toxic Roy Moore was, I would politely point out that his opponent for Senate was OK with spending trillions of dollars fighting pointless winless wars on the other side of the planet just so politically connected defense contractors can make a buck, and ask if that should be an issue too? The response, predictably, was as if I was an alien from the planet Skyron in the galaxy of Andromeda.

We are sheep. We are outraged at these sexual transgressions because the corporate press tells us to be outraged. We are not outraged at these stupid foreign wars, because the corporate press does not tell us to be outraged. It's all mass effect, and the comfort of being in a herd and all expressing the same feelings.

Intelligent Dasein , Website December 18, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT
Andrew Bacevich is wrong about a couple of things in this article.

First, he says that the American public is both apathetic and credulous. I agree that we have largely become apathetic towards these imperial wars, but I disagree that we have become credulous. In fact, these two states of mind exclude one another; you cannot be both apathetic and credulous with respect to the same object at the same time. The credulity charge is easy to dismiss because virtually no one today believes anything that comes out of Washington or its mouthpieces in the legacy media. The apathy charge is on point but it needs qualification. The smarter, more informed Americans have seen that their efforts to change the course of American policy have been to no avail, and they've given up in frustration and disgust. The less smart, less informed Americans are constrained by the necessity of getting on with their meager lives; they are an apolitical mass that possesses neither the understanding nor the capacity to make any difference on the policy front whatsoever.

Second, Andrew Bacevich calls for a Weinstein moment without realizing that it already happened more than ten years ago. The 2006 midterm elections were the first Weinstein moment, which saw the American people deliver a huge outpouring of antiwar sentiment that inflicted significant congressional losses on the neocon Republicans of George W. Bush. An echo of that groundswell happened again in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected to office on an explicitly antiwar platform. But Obama turned out to be one of the most pro-war presidents ever, and thus an angry electorate made one final push in the same direction by attempting to clean house with Donald Trump. Now that Donald has shown every sign of having cucked out to the war lobby, we seem to be left with no electoral solutions.

The only thing that's going to work is for the American Imperium to be handed a much-deserved military and financial defeat. The one encouraging fact is that if the top ten percent of our political and financial elite were planed off by a foreign power, the American people would give as few damns about that as they currently do about our imperial wars.

Ilyana_Rozumova , December 18, 2017 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Very good but some little errors. Concerning Russia and China, Russia vent all or nothing. China was much smarter. First they allowed self employment, than small business and long time after they started to sell state enterprises,

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 18, 2017 at 3:17 pm GMT
If Tom's Dispatch continues to be successful, Americans will continue to be asleep.

Masterful propaganda. War, according to our favorite spooks, is necessary to win, but otherwise reprehensible.

Sex is otherwise necessary for human life but Harvey Weinstein is ugly. Hold tightly to your cognitive dissonance, because you're expected to remember John F Kennedy who got it on, but is the expendable martyr you should care about, not that other guy

Let's review: terror attacks are wins. Superior or effective anti-war propaganda comes from the military
itself. They really don't want war, but really they do.

nebulafox , December 18, 2017 at 4:00 pm GMT
@anonymous

We're trying to make Afghanistan not Afghanistan: aka, trying to be a miracle worker. We can throw as much money as we like at that place, and it isn't going to happen, least of all with troops on nine month shifts.

Let Iran and Pakistan squabble over it. Good riddance.

nebulafox , December 18, 2017 at 4:08 pm GMT
@Waiting too

1) doesn't really make much sense, given that Poland and the Baltic States would be more than happy to take all US forces in Europe to give us a presence near Russia in a part of the world that would be far easier to justify to the American public-and to the international community. Afghanistan? Who exactly is Russia going to mess with? Iran is their-for now, longer term, the two have conflicting agendas in the region, but don't expect the geniuses in the Beltway to pick up on that opportunity-ally, and unlike the USSR, the Russians don't want to get involved in the India-Pakistan conflict. Russia's current tilt toward China makes a strategic marriage with India of the kind that you found in the Cold War impossible, but they obviously don't want to tilt toward the basketcase known as Pakistan. The only reason that Russia would want to get involved with Afghanistan beyond having a more preferable status than having American troops there is power projection among ex-Soviet states, and there are far more effective ways to do than muddle about with Afghanistan.

2, on the other hand, given Iran-Contra who knows? The first generation of the Taliban pretty much wiped the heroin trade out as offensive to Islamic sensibilities, but the newer generations have no such qualms.

I think you give America's rulers far too much credit. The truth is probably far scarier: the morons who work in the Beltway honestly believe their own propaganda-that we can make Afghanistan into some magical Western democracy if we throw enough money at it-and combine that with the usual bureaucratic inertia.

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 18, 2017 at 4:28 pm GMT
@Waiting too

Another bonus is that Afghan heroin seeps into Russia and wreaks havoc in the regions bordering Afghanistan -- krokodil and all that.

Art , December 18, 2017 at 4:45 pm GMT
According to General John Nicholson, our 17th commander in Kabul since 2001,

We have been killing these people for 17 years. Now our generals say that if we indiscriminately kill enough men, women, and children who get in the way of our B52s, that they will see the light and make peace. How totally wonderful.

My solution is to gage the Lindsey Grahams for a year.

What will do more good for peace – B52s or shutting up Graham's elk?

Think Peace -- Art

MarkinLA , December 18, 2017 at 5:59 pm GMT
I remember when Trump said he knew more than the generals and was viciously attacked for it. It turns out he did know more than the generals just by knowing it was a waste. Trump was pushed by politics to defer to the generals who always have an answer when it comes to a war – more men, more weapons, more time.
Sollipsist , December 18, 2017 at 6:20 pm GMT
@Intelligent Dasein

"The less smart, less informed Americans are constrained by the necessity of getting on with their meager lives; they are an apolitical mass that possesses neither the understanding nor the capacity to make any difference on the policy front whatsoever."

I wonder if any Abolitionists criticized the slaves for failing to revolt? Probably not; I'm guessing they were mostly convinced that the negro required intervention from outside, whether due to their nature or from overwhelming circumstance.

If the enslaved American public is liberated, I hope we'll know what to do with ourselves afterwards. It'd be a shame to simply end up in another kind of bondage, resentful and subject to whatever oppressive system replaces the current outrage. Perhaps the next one will more persuasively convince us that we're important and essential?

peterAUS , December 18, 2017 at 6:46 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Agree.
Very good post, IMHO.

That phrase "a choice between hard landing and harder landing" is good and can be easily applied to USA today.

Interesting times.

peterAUS , December 18, 2017 at 6:47 pm GMT
@TG

Agree.
This is well written, IMHO:

We are sheep. We are outraged at these sexual transgressions because the corporate press tells us to be outraged. We are not outraged at these stupid foreign wars, because the corporate press does not tell us to be outraged. It's all mass effect, and the comfort of being in a herd and all expressing the same feelings.

Sowhat , December 18, 2017 at 7:29 pm GMT
Thank you, Andrew J. Bacevich, for your words of wisdom and thank you, Mr. Unz, for this post.
This corporation needs to be dissolved. I've read about "the inertia" of Federal Government that has morphed into a cash cow for a century of wasted tax dollars funding the MIIC, now the MIIC. Does our existence have to end in financial ruin or, worse yet, some foreign entity creating havoc on our soil?
The Founders NEVER intended that the US of A become a meddler in other Sovereignty's internal affairs or the destroyer of Nation States that do not espoused our "doctrine." Anyone without poop for brains knows that this is about Imperialism and greed, fueled by money and an insatiable luster for MORE.
This should be easier to change than it appears. Is there no will? After all, it Is our Master's money that lubricates the machinery. So, we continue to provide the lubrication for our Masters like a bunch of imbeciles that allow them to survail our words and movements. Somebody please explain our stupidity.
Delinquent Snail , December 18, 2017 at 8:57 pm GMT
@nebulafox

If americans would just go all in and commit genocide. That would lead to victory.

No afgans, no enemy.

joe webb , December 18, 2017 at 8:58 pm GMT
the folks in the US are sick of the wars, contrary to Bacevich. They simply will vote come next election accordingly. They register their disgust in all the polls.

This article is not very useful. More punditry puff.

No comments on the Next War for Israel being cooked up by the new crop of neocon youngsters, I guess, and Trump who will trump, trump, trump into the next War for the Jews.

How about some political science on Iran, Syria, Hisbollah, Hamas and the US, Arabia, Judenstaat axis of evil?

Joe Webb

Jim Christian , December 18, 2017 at 9:07 pm GMT
Hey Bacevich? When you link to WashPost and NYTimes to make your points, you don't. They block access if you've already read links to those two papers three times each and can no longer, for the month, read there. When folks link to papers that won't let you read, it makes one wonder why.
Simply Simon , December 18, 2017 at 10:26 pm GMT
I believe Americans are damned sick and tired of the stupid, needless war in Afghanistan. But then they should have been sick and tired of stupid , needless wars like Korea, Vietnam and Iraq, and probably most of them were. But it's easy to be complacent when someone else's son is doing the fighting and dying And it's easy to be complacent when your stomach is full and you have plenty of booze and pain killers available. There will be a day of reckoning when the next big economic bust arrives and which may make the Great Depression paltry by comparison. America is a far different place then it was in the 1930s when our population was 140 million. Americans were not so soft and the conveniences we now take for granted not available. When the supermarkets run out of food, watch out. There may not even be any soup lines to stand in.
Joe Franklin , December 18, 2017 at 11:21 pm GMT

In truth, U.S. commanders have quietly shelved any expectations of achieving an actual victory -- traditionally defined as "imposing your will on the enemy" -- in favor of a more modest conception of success.

Your assumptions are wrong about the US goal of the invasion of Afghanistan. Afghanistan and Iraq were not invaded to establish democracy or impose American will whatever that is. Afghanistan and Iraq were invaded to establish a temporary military staging ground for a US invasion of Iran, the designated regional enemy of Israel. As long as the current regime in Iran remains, the US will remain in Iraq and Afghanistan.

... ... ...

Druid , December 19, 2017 at 12:41 am GMT
@Waiting too

And minerals! Eric Prince himself recently tried to sell the idea of having his private militias do the fighting in Afghanistan for the US and finance it by mining said country's minerals, thus making himself even richer.

anno nimus , December 19, 2017 at 1:53 am GMT
"i can live without a friend, but not without an enemy."
Cloak And Dagger , December 19, 2017 at 5:03 am GMT
@SolontoCroesus

I was onboard with Mr. Bacevich, until I got to this:

Almost as soon as the Taliban were ousted from Kabul, coalition efforts to create effective Afghan security forces commenced. So, too, did attempts to reduce the production of the opium that has funded the Taliban insurgency

What utter rubbish! The Taliban was instrumental in shutting down the poppy production until the CIA came along and restarted it to fund their black ops.

http://www.sfaw.org/newswire/2017/03/28/a-conspiracy-theory-that-became-a-conspiracy-fact-the-cia-afghanistans-poppy-fields-and-americas-growing-heroin-epidemic/

We have the reverse Midas touch. Everything we touch (Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc., etc.) turns to shit. We supposedly attack countries to liberate them from their tyrants who are supposedly killing their own people, and end up killing more people than all of them put together. And, oh yes, we have our favorite tyrants (Saudis, Israelis) whom we provide with horrible weapons (like cluster bombs) to help them kill people we hate.

Mr. Bacevich is right about the lack of outrage about our wars, but the current Weinstein explosion consists of hordes of mostly American female victims, mostly white, a (very) few jews, and a few men, who have the stage to complain about their oppressors. What would be the counterpart of that w.r.t. the wars? Millions of brown victims in far away lands that most of us couldn't even find on a map? How likely is that to happen?

So yes, no outrage, and none likely. The last 17 years have proven that.

Joe Wong , December 20, 2017 at 2:25 pm GMT
@anonymous

You don't know the American has been paying everything through monopoly money printed through the thin air since WWI, i.e. a keystroke on the Federal Reserve's computer? No wonder the Americans have been waging reckless wars all over the world on the fabricated phantom WMD allegations as humanitarian intervention relentlessly.

Romans did not stop waging reckless wars until their empire collapsed; the British imitates the Romans and the American is born out of the British, hence the Americans will no stop waging reckless wars until their empire collapsed like the Romans.

[Jan 02, 2018] American exceptionalism extracts a price from common citizens

Highly recommended!
Widespread anti-American sentiment is as stupid and reactionary as any other form of nationalism. It's just another 'divide and rule' ideology to keep ordinary people at each others' throats, rather than see them united against their common enemy, the global so-called 'elite'/ oligarchs.
Notable quotes:
"... For all the haters of us ugly Americans, just remember that we at this blog are suffering in our country standing up for the truth, pitted against our neighbors, coworkers, and friends in the arena of political debate and decrying the massive injustice of our foreign aggression. ..."
"... The world knows the military industrial complex that has worked over years, and year to create the ugly tentacles throughout what was once our government has been usurped. Dollars. All these bastards see is dollars. Not human life. Not the potential of that lost life in science, math, technology. Just dollars. ..."
"... or heavens sakes the voters in Arizona returned the worst of ALL Warmongers to Congress. ..."
"... We can't even get the voters to learn that their votes equal WAR pushed by both Parties they are aligned with. Get real. Our challenge is yours. Help us! ..."
"... I know there are many highly intelligent Americans, who are already today suffering and paying a price. And I agree that (widespread) anti-American sentiment is as stupid and reactionary as any other form of nationalism. It's just another 'divide and rule' ideology to keep ordinary people at each others' throats, rather than see them united against their common enemy, the global so-called 'elite'/ oligarchs. ..."
"... Playing groups of people against one another is the oldest domination trick in the world, but it seems to work every single time...sad! ;-) ..."
"... I'm from California. Technically the USA. My take on things is we United States of Americans are exceptional. Most of us are exceptionally ignorant and violent. That is exceptionally sad. ..."
Jul 01, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

NemesisCalling | Jun 30, 2017 8:21:54 PM | 31

For all the haters of us ugly Americans, just remember that we at this blog are suffering in our country standing up for the truth, pitted against our neighbors, coworkers, and friends in the arena of political debate and decrying the massive injustice of our foreign aggression.

I won't call ya out by name, but lumping us forlorn sacks into your "untouchable" category reeks of reactionary arrogance that is, to pay patrons at this fine blog their due, beneath you.

In the mean time, American issues = issues concerning the empire they we all want to see destroyed. Liberating Americans should also be on your wish list.

lex.talionis | Jun 30, 2017 9:14:01 PM | 36
Amen @31

The world knows the military industrial complex that has worked over years, and year to create the ugly tentacles throughout what was once our government has been usurped. Dollars. All these bastards see is dollars. Not human life. Not the potential of that lost life in science, math, technology. Just dollars.

For heavens sakes the voters in Arizona returned the worst of ALL Warmongers to Congress. And you, the World, think for a moment we, citizens in this colony, have a snowball's chance in hell reeling these creatures in all by ourselves are sorely mistaken.

We can't even get the voters to learn that their votes equal WAR pushed by both Parties they are aligned with. Get real. Our challenge is yours. Help us!

h | Jun 30, 2017 8:38:56 PM | 32

@Nemesis

Well said...!

I know there are many highly intelligent Americans, who are already today suffering and paying a price. And I agree that (widespread) anti-American sentiment is as stupid and reactionary as any other form of nationalism. It's just another 'divide and rule' ideology to keep ordinary people at each others' throats, rather than see them united against their common enemy, the global so-called 'elite'/ oligarchs.

Playing groups of people against one another is the oldest domination trick in the world, but it seems to work every single time...sad! ;-)

smuks | Jun 30, 2017 8:50:51 PM | 35

@ Nemesis and all,

I'm from California. Technically the USA. My take on things is we United States of Americans are exceptional. Most of us are exceptionally ignorant and violent. That is exceptionally sad.

I am very glad to have found MoA and the crew of experts. I have learned so very much.

Big up b! Booyakah as they say in JA. God help us.

[Dec 28, 2017] On your surmise that Putin prefers Trump to Hillary and would thus have incentive to influence the election, I beg to differ. Putin is one smart statesman; he knows very well it makes no difference which candidates gets elected in US elections.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I accept your point that the Democrats and the Republicans are two sides of the same coin, but it's important to understand that Putin is deeply conservative and very risk averse. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton may be a threat to Russia but she knows the "rules" and is very predictable, while Trump doesn't know the rules and appears to act on a whim ..."
"... However, given the problems that Hillary Clinton had to overcome to get elected, backing her against Trump would be risky. So the highly risk averse Putin would logically stay out of the election entirely and all the claims of Russia hacking the election are fake news. ..."
"... As for the alleged media campaign, my response is "so what!". Western media, including state-owned media, interferes around the world all the time so complaining about Russian state-owned media doing the same is pure hypocrisy and should be ignored. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ghost Ship , Dec 27, 2017 10:17:37 AM | 92

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Dec 26, 2017 3:56:16 PM | 35
On your surmise that Putin prefers Trump to Hillary and would thus have incentive to influence the election, I beg to differ. Putin is one smart statesman; he knows very well it makes no difference which candidates gets elected in US elections.

I accept your point that the Democrats and the Republicans are two sides of the same coin, but it's important to understand that Putin is deeply conservative and very risk averse.

Hillary Clinton may be a threat to Russia but she knows the "rules" and is very predictable, while Trump doesn't know the rules and appears to act on a whim , so if Putin were to have interfered in the 2016 presidential election, logic would suggest that he would do so on Hillary Clinton's side. However, given the problems that Hillary Clinton had to overcome to get elected, backing her against Trump would be risky. So the highly risk averse Putin would logically stay out of the election entirely and all the claims of Russia hacking the election are fake news.

As for the alleged media campaign, my response is "so what!". Western media, including state-owned media, interferes around the world all the time so complaining about Russian state-owned media doing the same is pure hypocrisy and should be ignored.

[Dec 21, 2017] The RussiaGate Witch-Hunt Stockman Names Names In The Deep State's Insurance Policy by David Stockman

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Needless to say, the Never Trumpers were eminently correct in their worry that Trump would sully, degrade and weaken the Imperial Presidency. That he has done in spades with his endless tweet storms that consist mainly of petty score settling, self-justification, unseemly boasting and shrill partisanship; and on top of that you can pile his impetuous attacks on friend, foe and bystanders (e.g. NFL kneelers) alike. ..."
Dec 18, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Deep State's "Insurance Policy" Tyler Durden Dec 18, 2017 11:05 PM 0 SHARES Authored by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

There was a sinister plot to meddle in the 2016 election, after all. But it was not orchestrated from the Kremlin; it was an entirely homegrown affair conducted from the inner sanctums---the White House, DOJ, the Hoover Building and Langley----of the Imperial City.

Likewise, the perpetrators didn't speak Russian or write in the Cyrillic script. In fact, they were lifetime beltway insiders occupying the highest positions of power in the US government.

Here are the names and rank of the principal conspirators:

To a person, the participants in this illicit cabal shared the core trait that made Obama such a blight on the nation's well-being. To wit, he never held an honest job outside the halls of government in his entire adult life; and as a careerist agent of the state and practitioner of its purported goods works, he exuded a sanctimonious disdain for everyday citizens who make their living along the capitalist highways and by-ways of America.

The above cast of election-meddlers, of course, comes from the same mold. If Wikipedia is roughly correct, just these 10 named perpetrators have punched in about 300 years of post-graduate employment---and 260 of those years (87%) were on government payrolls or government contractor jobs.

As to whether they shared Obama's political class arrogance, Peter Strzok left nothing to the imagination in his now celebrated texts to his gal-pal, Lisa Page:

"Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support......I LOATHE congress....And F Trump."

You really didn't need the ALL CAPS to get the gist. In a word, the anti-Trump cabal is comprised of creatures of the state.

Their now obvious effort to alter the outcome of the 2016 election was nothing less than the Imperial City's immune system attacking an alien threat, which embodied the very opposite trait: That is, the Donald had never spent one moment on the state's payroll, had been elected to no government office and displayed a spirited contempt for the groupthink and verities of officialdom in the Imperial City.

But it is the vehemence and flagrant transparency of this conspiracy to prevent Trump's ascension to the Oval Office that reveals the profound threat to capitalism and democracy posed by the Deep State and its prosperous elites and fellow travelers domiciled in the Imperial City.

That is to say, Donald Trump was no kind of anti-statist and only a skin-deep populist, at best. His signature anti-immigrant meme was apparently discovered by accident when in the early days of the campaign he went off on Mexican thugs, rapists and murderers----only to find that it resonated strongly among a certain element of the GOP grass roots.

But a harsh line on immigrants, refugees and Muslims would not have incited the Deep State into an attempted coup d'état; it wouldn't have mobilized so overtly against Ted Cruz, for example, whose positions on the ballyhooed terrorist/immigrant threat were not much different.

No, what sent the Imperial City establishment into a fit of apoplexy was exactly two things that struck at the core of its raison d' etre.

First was Trump's stated intentions to seek rapprochement with Putin's Russia and his sensible embrace of a non-interventionist "America First" view of Washington's role in the world. And secondly, and even more importantly, was his very persona.

That is to say, the role of today's president is to function as the suave, reliable maître d' of the Imperial City and the lead spokesman for Washington's purported good works at home and abroad. And for that role the slovenly, loud-mouthed, narcissistic, bombastic, ill-informed and crudely-mannered Donald Trump was utterly unqualified.

Stated differently, welfare statism and warfare statism is the secular religion of the Imperial City and its collaborators in the mainstream media; and the Oval Office is the bully pulpit from which its catechisms, bromides and self-justifications are propagandized to the unwashed masses---the tax-and-debt-slaves of Flyover America who bear the burden of its continuation.

Needless to say, the Never Trumpers were eminently correct in their worry that Trump would sully, degrade and weaken the Imperial Presidency. That he has done in spades with his endless tweet storms that consist mainly of petty score settling, self-justification, unseemly boasting and shrill partisanship; and on top of that you can pile his impetuous attacks on friend, foe and bystanders (e.g. NFL kneelers) alike.

Yet that is exactly what has the Deep State and its media collaborators running scared. To wit, Trump's entire modus operandi is not about governing or a serious policy agenda---and most certainly not about Making America's Economy Great Again. (MAEGA)

By appointing a passel of Keynesian monetary central planners to the Fed and launching an orgy of fiscal recklessness via his massive defense spending and tax-cutting initiatives, the Donald has more than sealed his own doom: There will unavoidably be a massive financial and economic crisis in the years just ahead and the rulers of the Imperial City will most certainly heap the blame upon him with malice aforethought.

In the interim, however, what the Donald is actually doing is sharply polarizing the country and using the Bully Pulpit for the very opposite function assigned to it by Washington's permanent political class. Namely, to discredit and vilify the ruling elites of government and the media and thereby undermine the docility and acquiescence of the unwashed masses upon which the Imperial City's rule and hideous prosperity depend.

It is no wonder, then, that the inner circle of the Obama Administration plotted an "insurance policy". They saw it coming-----that is, an offensive rogue disrupter who was soft on Russia, to boot--- and out of that alarm the entire hoax of RussiaGate was born.

As is now well known from the recent dump of 375 Strzok/Gates text messages, there occurred on August 15, 2016 a meeting in the office of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (who is still there) to kick off the RussiaGate campaign. As Strzok later wrote to Page, who was also at the meeting:

" I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk......It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event that you die before you're 40."

They will try to spin this money quote seven-ways to Sunday, but in the context of everything else now known there is only one possible meaning: The national security and law enforcement machinery of Imperial Washington was being activated then and there in behalf of Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Indeed, the trail of proof is quite clear. At the very time of this August meeting, the FBI was already being fed the initial elements of the Steele dossier, and the latter had nothing to do with any kind of national security investigation.

For crying out loud, it was plain old "oppo research" paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. And the only way that it bore on Russian involvement in the US election was that virtually all of the salacious material and false narratives about Trump emissaries meeting with high level Russian officials was disinformation sourced in Moscow, and was completely untrue.

As former senior FBI official, Andrew McCarthy, neatly summarized the sequence of action recently:

The Clinton campaign generated the Steele dossier through lawyers who retained Fusion GPS. Fusion, in turn, hired Steele, a former British intelligence agent who had FBI contacts from prior collaborative investigations. The dossier was steered into the FBI's hands as it began to be compiled in the summer of 2016. A Fusion Russia expert, Nellie Ohr, worked with Steele on Fusion's anti-Trump research. She is the wife of Bruce Ohr, then the deputy associate attorney general -- the top subordinate of Sally Yates, then Obama's deputy attorney general (later acting AG). Ohr was a direct pipeline to Yates.....

Based on the publication this week of text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the FBI lawyer with whom he was having an extramarital affair, we have learned of a meeting convened in the office of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe...... right around the time the Page FISA warrant was obtained......

Bruce Ohr met personally with Steele. And after Trump was elected, according to Fusion founder Glenn Simpson, he requested and got a meeting with Simpson to, as Simpson told the House Intelligence Committee, "discuss our findings regarding Russia and the election."

This, of course, was the precise time Democrats began peddling the public narrative of Trump-Russia collusion. It is the time frame during which Ohr's boss, Yates, was pushing an absurd Logan Act investigation of Trump transition official Michael Flynn (then slotted to become Trump's national-security adviser) over Flynn's meetings with the Russian ambassador.

Here's the thing. There is almost nothing in the Steele dossiers which is true. At the same time, there is no real alternative evidence based on hard NSA intercepts that show Russian government agents were behind the only two acts----the leaks of the DNC emails and the Podesta emails----that were of even minimal import to the outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign.

As to the veracity of the dossier, the raving anti-Trumper and former CIA interim chief, Michael Morrell, settled the matter. If you are paying ex-FSA agents for information on the back streets of Moscow, the more you pay, the more "information" you will get:

Then I asked myself, why did these guys provide this information, what was their motivation? And I subsequently learned that he paid them. That the intermediaries paid the sources and the intermediaries got the money from Chris. And that kind of worries me a little bit because if you're paying somebody, particularly former [Russian Federal Security Service] officers, they are going to tell you truth and innuendo and rumor, and they're going to call you up and say, 'Hey, let's have another meeting, I have more information for you,' because they want to get paid some more,' Morrell said.

Far from being "verified," the dossier is best described as a pack of lies, gossip, innuendo and irrelevancies. Take, for example, the claim that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen met with Russian Federation Council foreign affairs head Konstantin Kosachev in Prague during August 2016. That claim is verifiably false as proven by Cohen's own passport.

Likewise, the dossier 's claim that Carter Page was offered a giant bribe by the head of Rosneft, the Russian state energy company, in return for lifting the sanctions is downright laughable. That's because Carter Page never had any serious role in the Trump campaign and was one of hundreds of unpaid informal advisors who hung around the basket hoping for some role in a future Trump government.

Like the hapless George Papadopoulos, in fact, Page apparently never met Trump, had no foreign policy credentials and had been drafted onto the campaign's so-called foreign policy advisory committee out of sheer desperation.

That is, because the mainstream GOP foreign policy establishment had so completely boycotted the Trump campaign, the latter was forced to fill its advisory committee essentially from the phone book; and that desperation move in March 2016, in turn, had been undertaken in order to damp-down the media uproar over the Donald's assertion that he got his foreign policy advise from watching TV!

The truth of the matter is that Page was a former Merrill Lynch stockbrokers who had plied his t