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May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

Syria civil war: attempt of the USA to create Sunny Theocracy instead of secular Assad government

The testing ground for false flag poisonings: White Helmets as a tool for false flag poisonings

News War is racket Recommended Links Downing of IL-20 reconnaaisance plane Israeli support of headchoppers and air raid on Syria military infrastructure Yugoslav wars
False flag poisonings Khan Sheikhoun gas attack Douma gas attack      
White Helmets as a tool for false flag poisonings Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA American Imperialism American Exceptionalism Wolfowitz Doctrine
Media-Military-Industrial Complex New American Militarism Nation under attack meme Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair "F*ck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Cold War II Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Merkel as Soft Cop in Neocon Offensive on Eastern Europe and Russia Madeleine Albright Is Hillary Clinton a war criminal? Samantha Power
Robert Kagan Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Demonization of Putin Predator state National Socialism and Military Keysianism Roots of Reaganolatry 
Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Neo-fascism Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime Power abroad rests on justice and decency at home
The Deep State Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Two Party System as polyarchy Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few Corporatism
Color revolutions Neoliberal Compradors and lumpenelite Neocons Credibility Scam Obama: a yet another Neocon   Conservatives Without Conscience
War is a Racket - Incredible Essay by General Smedley Butler Machiavellism Understanding Mayberry Machiavellis Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Bureaucratic avoidance of responsibility Bureaucratic Collectivism
Media domination strategy Fighting Russophobia Anti-Americanism Torture Politically Incorrect Humor Etc

“Control over the production and distribution of oil is the decisive factor in defining who rules whom in the Middle East.”
Christopher Hitchens, The Quotable Hitchens from Alcohol to Zionism: The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens

“Anthing that can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”
Windsor Mann, The Quotable Hitchens: From Alcohol to Zionism--The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens

The key idea heind unleashing civil war in cyria using Weapons from Libya and jihadist voluteers from several Arab countries is to reverse the geopolitical gift to Iran which Bush Iraq war created.

Installation of fundamentalist government in Syria also is in the best interests of Israel as this is by definitely a weak sectarian government that terrorizes its own population.  That's why they openly supported head choppers during Syrian civil war.  Politics make strange bedfellows: Izreal and Saudi Arabia.

Political Islam emerges are a reaction to colonialism but now it serve as a puppet of neoliberals to weaksen and destroy secular governments in Arab countries and to weaken territorial integrity of Russia.  So Russia in an indirect way is interested in preservation of secur goverment in Syria as cration of another large traning camp for jihadism is not in their best interest.

The problem is that the US elite lost people who participated in WWII who understood the consequnces of WWIII. now the US is represented by chichenhasks such as Trump, Bolton and the whole gallery of female chichenharks (which were floring in Obana administraion) such as Haley.

This generation of the US elite is idoctrinbated is the "sole super[ower" status and has difficulties to adapting to new realities when economically china will be larger then the USA in 2020 and militiary Russia is on par in some major catagories, returing the situation of mutual assured destruction (MAD) that the USA tried to destrowy (and for some suceeded in 1991-2000 due to collapse of the USSR and Yeltsin marionette government ) since Reagan.

Chemical attacks false flag as a standard method of pursuing civil war by West-connected islamists

Poisoning false flag are the  favorite tackits of British intelligence  services and it was important to Syria by MI6 supported organizations such as White Helmets.  They proved to be  perfectly suibale for Islamists barbarians (aka "head choppers")  who do not care much about human cost and can kill children and woman in cold blood to achive their goals.

One of the most interesting features of Syria civil war is the extent of the chemical attacks false flags by islamists to inflict the damage on Assad forces.  They usually resort to it when they are against the wall and need some time to recouperate of scape or surrender on more favoarabel conditions.

In this sense political Islam is a national liberation movement that "took the wrong turn on the road"  and which was co-opted by the neoliberals to serve as their geopolitical ram.  Instead of fighting Western neoliberal neo-imperialism they are helping them.

There were at least three provable false flag operation of this type


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Old News ;-)

[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.

[Sep 15, 2019] Israeli Attacks On Syria Halted After Russia Threatened To Shoot Down Jets

Sep 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

According to reports in both Israeli and Arabic regional media, Israel this past week was preparing to expand major airstrikes against "Iran-backed" targets in Syria, but Moscow imposed its red line. The Independent has published a story describing that Russia's military in Syria threatened to shoot down any invading Israeli warplanes using fighter jets or their S-400 system .

The Jerusalem Post , citing sources in the UK Independent (Arabia) , writes just after the latest meeting in Sochi between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin:

According to the report, Moscow has prevented three Israeli airstrikes on three Syrian outposts recently, and even threatened that any jets attempting such a thing would be shot down, either by Russian jets or by the S400 Anti-aircraft missiles . The source cited in the report claims a similar situation has happened twice, and that during August, Moscow stopped an airstrike on a Syrian outpost in Qasioun, where a S300 missile battery is placed.

Netanyahu's hasty trip to meet with Putin on Thursday - even in the final days before Tuesday's key election - was reportedly with a goal to press the Russian president on essentially ignoring Israel's attacks in Syria.

Image via The Jerusalem Post

Citing further sources in the British-Arabic Independent Arabia , The Jerusalem Post continues :

According to the Russian source, Putin let Netanyahu know that his country will not allow any damage to be done to the Syrian regime's army, or any of the weapons being given to it...

Israel sources cited by the Arabic newspaper described Netanyahu's attempts to persuade Putin as "a failure" . This in spite of Netanyahu telling reporters after the meeting that his relations with Moscow were stronger than ever.

Moscow is said to be particularly resistant given the Israeli military's recent spate of attacks on targets in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria.

me title=

Sources in the report claimed further that Putin in a somewhat unprecedented moment raised the issue of Lebanon :

The Russian source said: "Putin has expressed his dissatisfaction from Israel's latest actions in Lebanon" and even emphasized to Netanyahu that he "Rejects the aggression towards Lebanon's sovereignty" something which has never been heard from him. Putin further stated that someone is cheating him in regards to Syria and Lebanon and that he will not let it go without a response. According to him, Netanyahu was warned not to strike such targets in the future.

It could also be simply that Putin understands that Netanyahu, now desperate to extend his political career to a record fifth term as prime minister as next week's elections loom, could be ready to risk a major and very unnecessary Middle East conflagration in order to continue to appeal to Israeli right wing and nationalist voters.


shortingurass , 24 minutes ago link

Say what you want about Putin, this guy has balls. I wish we had a leader like him. it's been way too long we're being governed by weak zio puppets pussies.

naro , 22 minutes ago link

Putin is a good man and loves the Judean people.

naro , 19 minutes ago link

SUPPORT FROM PUTIN IN SOCHI

Netanyahu traveled to the Black Sea resort to meet the Russian leader – just five days before the election – in a move widely seen as an effort to woo elder Russian-speaking immigrants.

Noob678 , 40 minutes ago link

US, Israel talk about mutual defense treaty – Trump - Trump is anti-establishment ZOG-Rothschild lol

The US and Israel are discussing a mutual defense treaty that would further cement the already "tremendous" alliance between the two countries, President Donald Trump has revealed.

"I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Israel, that would further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries," Trump tweeted.

Wahooo , 37 minutes ago link

OrangeZioPedo at his finest. MIGA!

Brazen Heist II , 36 minutes ago link

The US has become a bad Jewish comedy sketch and kvetch.

petroglyph , 5 minutes ago link

And just two days ago, Israel was caught again places spy devices in Wash. But today the POTUS is going to sign on for sacrificing what's left of our sovereignty to Israel so they can go around MENA pounding their chest and threatening everyone. https://www.israellobbyus.org/transcripts/1.1Grant_Smith.htm

ADB , 45 minutes ago link

Einstein101: "Well, so far the Joos are those who are throwing the punches ..."

Only because you can run to America the moment anyone fights back. Until now.

How does it feel to have the whole Oded Yinon/ Greater Israel project crumbling before your eyes?

I am Groot , 49 minutes ago link

I hope Putin gives Iran one of those Tsar Bomba's to drop on Israel. Or one of those Satan 2's that can wipe out an area the size of Texas.

Et Tu Brute , 46 minutes ago link

Not sure option 2 would be such good idea, with Damascus being only a few kms from the Israeli border and all...

Airstrip1 , 1 hour ago link

Interesting body language/facials -- Nutty still with the smirk, but VVP and background say a grave/serious word has gone out ... similar as the Izzies bend to listen very carefully to the erect and confident-looking Russkies ...

********'s over, Bibi, where it goes from here depends on your nasty little country ... maybe others in your region looking for 70-odd years payback for your murders terrorism land-confiscation cruelty against those weaker than your miserable selves.

Einstein101 , 53 minutes ago link

********'s over, Bibi, where it goes from here depends on your nasty little country

Not so fast, Israel will try not to step on Putin's tows but it can't afford the Iranians to build that ring of missiles around Israel. It's not that Israel does not have leverage too, it can make things complicated for Putin, like one small bomb on Assad's resident in Damascus.

Airstrip1 , 22 minutes ago link

... one small bomb on Assad's resident in Damascus.

You can certainly shoot out the ******** yourself, Einstein.

Surely you must be aware that your namesake condemned the founding of Israel in 1948, which has turned out to be the all-round disaster he predicted. Not alone, many Jewish voices round the world continue to condemn it. How inconvenient for you and your bombs on Assad's house ... lol ...

Airstrip1 , 7 minutes ago link

"I am in favor of Palestine being developed as a Jewish Homeland but not as a separate State. It seems to me a matter for simple common sense that we cannot ask to be given the political rule over Palestine where two thirds of the population are not Jewish. What we can and should ask is a secured bi-national status in Palestine with free immigration. If we ask more we are damaging our own cause and it is difficult for me to grasp that our Zionists are taking such an intransigent position which can only impair our cause," Einstein said in a letter in 1946, according to the Shapell Manuscript Foundation.


Read Newsmax: Israel: 5 Albert Einstein Quotes About Zionism | Newsmax.com

ThomasEdmonds , 1 hour ago link

In as delicate and diplomatic phrasing as I can attempt, Netanyahu needs to go.

[Sep 14, 2019] How The BBC's Quentin Sommerville Created Fairytales Of Underground Hospitals In Syria

Notable quotes:
"... Every terrorist hideout is a hospital so please don't let those mean Russians and Syrian army men hurt them. ..."
"... Someone mentioned the White Helmets. Here's a picture of a White Helmet leader hanging out with "Hong Kong protest figurehead Joshua Wong" and a Ukrainian mayor at a shindig in Berlin. No doubt it was organized and paid for by Uncle Sam and his trillion-dollar-per-year deficit. ..."
"... I wonder if Hong Kong protesters know that Wong is partying in safety and comfort while they are risking their lives by attacking police and getting beat up. ..."
Sep 14, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

How The BBC's Quentin Sommerville Created Fairytales Of Underground Hospitals In Syria

In August 2013 the BBC produced a fake video headlined "Saving Syria's Children" about an alleged chemical weapon attack in Syria which it claimed was caused by the Syrian government. Robert Stuart has since pressed the BBC to admit the obvious fabrication of these scenes .

Today the BBC posted on its website another Syria clip under the title Idlib's secret hospitals hiding from air strikes :

Air strikes have been targeting hospitals in the rebel-held province of Idlib, Syria, despite the fact that it is a war crime. Medics have been forced underground in order to survive.

The UN accuses the Syrian government and allied Russian warplanes of conducting a deadly campaign that appears to target medical facilities.

BBC's Middle East correspondent, Quentin Sommerville, visits one hospital in a secret location.

Sommerville starts with standing next to a destroyed building claiming that it has been a hospital that was bombed. He says: "This is the only building that was targeted here."

It isn't the "only building that was targeted" there. It is the only building that was there. The building is standing within an orchard. There are no other buildings or infrastructure around it. Why would anyone have built a hospital far from a town? There are no signs that building ever was a hospital and is doubtful that it was one.

The next shot has been shown in other TV clips (on Channel 4?). It shows the entrances to some caves but no car, no persons and nothing else is around it.

Suddenly six explosions happen at the very same time. Immediately after the explosions, but not before them, the sound of a passing jet is heard. I have never heard or seen of a jet that manages to release six bombs that land in such a tight pattern and explode all at the very same time. Compare the impact pattern and explosion timing with this recent U.S. carpet bombing (vid) of an island in Iraq. And why please was the camera in place that made such a tight shot of it? This was clearly a stunt made with some buried explosives that were centrally ignited at the same time. The jet noise was later added to the shot. In the next scene two people walk down a concrete stairway within a regular building.

The scene cuts to one filmed at the entrance of roughly dug cave while the reporter insinuates that both are the same.

The reporter claims that the cave is a hospital. He walks further down the stairs into the cave ... and ends up in a well built building with straight painted walls and a nice balustrade. This might be a hospital but there is no sign that it is one. What is certain is that it is not underground or in a cave.

The whole claim of the BBC clip is that the hospitals are underground because they get bombed. But the part that is supposed to prove that is clearly cut from a real building scene to a walk down into a cave scene and back to a real building scene. The sequence is clearly a propaganda fake.

The clip continues with Sommerville talking to some 'doctor' who answers in Arabic.

Then follow scenes from the Atmah Charity Hospital which is a real hospital. It lies north of Idleb city and right next to the Turkish border near the Olive Tree refugee camp near the town of Atmah . It is sponsored by Orient Charity , established by the Syrian anti-Assad businessman Ghassan Aboud who lives in the UAE, and is operated by the Muslim Brotherhood aligned Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). Ghassan Aboud also owns Orient News which is a Jihadist outlet . There follow the typical pictures of injured children which are used to create more hate against the Syrian government and the millions of children it protects from the U.S. sponsored Jihadists attacks.

On his Twitter account Quentin Sommerville posted another version of his Idleb tale. It is longer and the cut differs significantly from the clip on the BBC website.

Some scenes are similar. The 'bombed hospital' is there. The fake 'bombing' of the caves is also in it. The interview scene with the Arabic speaking doctor in the 'underground hospital' is missing in this version but the same person reappears.

Sommerville speaks with the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria about the coordination system for hospitals. The hospitals are supposed to tell the UN there geographic coordinates which the UN then hands to Russia with the request not to bomb those places. The UN's Pomos Moumtzis defends the system. Sommerville claims that 40 such hospitals have been bombed in recent months. Syria's Idleb governorate never had that many hospitals.

What is happening here is that the Jihadis, with whom Sommerville traveled and who he rightly says are seen as terrorist even by the 'west', report the coordinates of their headquarters and weapon depots as hospitals. The UN has no way to check their claims. When the Russian or Syrian airforce then bomb those places the Jihadis claim that their hospitals were hit.

There are more false sequences in the longer clip Sommerville tweeted.

At 4:27 the cameraman rides on the back of a motorcycle through a covered alley or basement into a 'hospital entrance'. More than a dozen motorcycles are parked there and there is professional ventilation.

It is the very same 'underground hospital' and the same Arabic speaking 'doctor' as in the first clip. Notice that the 'doctor' rode his motorcycle through town while wearing his supposedly clean clinic clothes.

Sommerville narrates: "This hospital is very deep out of reach of the bombs. We were told to move fast too."

The above scene cuts to two men running down a basement stairway seemingly from the hospital. It is the same stairway as in the first clip but filmed from a slightly different perspective and in a different take.

Summerville continues: "Even under this solid rock we await the next attack." The scene cuts to two men running down an underground tunnel with rough walls.

It is the same tunnel as in the first clip.

The sequence as a whole makes no sense. If the hospital is 'out of reach of the bombs' why run further down from it?

In the first clip the storyline around the same 'underground hospital' is the opposite of the storyline in the second version. In the first clip the reporter walks first down the stairway and then down the rough tunnel to allegedly reach the 'underground hospital'. In the second longer clip the reporters leave from the 'underground hospital' down the stairway and further down into the rough cut tunnel to be more safe from bombs.

Which is the real sequence Mr. Sommerville? Is the hospital at the lower end of the rough wall tunnel or is it at the upper end? Could you please make up your mind?

At 5:00 min Sommerville says that he travels further south towards the frontline escorted by the Jihadist controlled 'Salvation government'. The scene cuts to a drone shot of a refugee camp insinuating that it is in the same southern area. But the camp is like all refugee camps in Idleb in the north directly at the Turkish border. The border wall which Turkey erected can be clearly seen behind it. The place is far from the frontline.

The two Sommerville videos show how the BBC works. First a politically wanted narrative is created. Scenes are then taken and cut into sequences that fit that narrative. The same or similar scenes can be used to create a different version of the same narrative or even a completely different one. Neither of those narratives needs to be anywhere near the realities on the ground.

Unfortunately many people fall for such cheap propaganda junk.

Posted by b on September 13, 2019 at 19:36 UTC | Permalink


anna , Sep 13 2019 20:08 utc | 1

Underground Idlib Bit long.. https://youtu.be/i_5Cid-Po9k?t=32
Jen , Sep 13 2019 20:32 utc | 4
It seems that in its zeal to keep staffing costs down amid public calls to revoke the compulsory annual BBC licence fee payment required of all UK subjects who own TV sets, and to maintain its relevance, the BBC has told its crime and thriller drama script-writers to write the news plot narratives and gets gullible twats like Somerville to act them out with extras drawn from the Syrian White Helmets Academy of Dramatic Arts. Pyrotechnic effects underwritten by Saudi Arabia and ultimately by British taxpayers who should be asking for their money back: they should not be paying the BBC twice to produce such shoddy garbage.
b , Sep 13 2019 20:48 utc | 5
On yesterday's longer BBC piece not available to an international audience:

Ollie Richardson @O_Rich_

Thread on the @BBC
's latest (12.09.19) edition of propaganda designed to mask the UK's role in arming and financing Al Qaeda in Syria. A BBC broadcast was imposed on me, but I recorded this segment anticipating that a pack of lies was coming. Here is part 1/3 of the skit: ...
alaff , Sep 13 2019 20:49 utc | 6
Sommerville claims that 40 such hospitals have been bombed in recent months. Syria's Idleb governorate never had that many hospitals.

But... But... You forgot a map of hospitals in Idleb. :D

ben , Sep 13 2019 21:19 utc | 7
The disinformation is endless with regards to the Syrian war. Especially from the anti-Assad camp. We all know who are the most prolific bombers of hospitals and civilian infrastructure, and those are the empire and their minions.

http://www.brianwillson.com/the-us-american-way-of-war-intentional-killing-of-civilians-and-civilian-infrastructure/

goldhoarder , Sep 13 2019 21:27 utc | 8
Every terrorist hideout is a hospital so please don't let those mean Russians and Syrian army men hurt them.
Jackrabbit , Sep 13 2019 21:29 utc | 9
Why continue propaganda ops after US claimed to kill the Idlib Jihadi leadership in an airstrike? LOL. High probability that the airstrike was also propaganda so that they can claim that it's the people of Idlib that are resisting SAA+Russians now, not Jihadis.
Cochore , Sep 13 2019 21:53 utc | 10
The cameraman for this fabrication was Darren Conway. He is the same person responsible for the BBC Panorama faux-documentary "Saving Syria's Children" that was broadcast on 30th September, 2013 and which has been exposed as a fake by the tireless work of Robert Stuart. https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/
so , Sep 13 2019 22:10 utc | 11
How do these people live with themselves? Get up every morning and spew lies. Take the kids to school and feed the dog. Not knowing the ramification of their actions and the lives that their actions cost. I guess that's the life you lead when everything is attached to the value of money. So much illness in this world.
Choderlos de Laclos , Sep 13 2019 22:24 utc | 12
BBC is in hot contest for der Spiegel's Claas Relotius prize: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46624297

Keep it up boys!

Robert Stuart , Sep 13 2019 22:38 utc | 13
As noted above, this is basically the 2013 BBC Panorama Saving Syria's Children (SSC) team, with Sommerville substituting for Ian Pannell, who left the BBC in 2017 and now works with ABC, plus SSC cameraman Darren Conway (OBE) and SSC "fixer/translator" Mughira Al Sharif, who is credited with "camera" in the first Sommerville clip (in addition to Conway?), and about whom more here: https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/#Sharif

The SSC crew used then-ISIS partners Ahrar al-Sham for security in 2013 and filmed a vehicle bearing the ISIS flag at comfortably close quarters:
http://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/bbc-panorama-team-embedded-with-islamic-state-partner-group/
https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/bbc-panorama-on-location-with-isis/

Ian , Sep 13 2019 22:40 utc | 14
so @11:
Their actions may not always be driven by money but by an ideology. Getting wealthy in the process would be a bonus.
karlof1 , Sep 14 2019 0:22 utc | 29
Outstanding work, b! This is exactly what's being advocated by Caitlin Johnstone, advocated by many of us barflies, and consistently practiced by you--Destroying the Empire's BigLie Media Narratives. ICYMI, here's her essay on that topic . The following is from a thread about a topic related to American Exceptionalism that as noted is seldom discussed American Privilege :

"American privilege is having your insane culture normalized around the world via Hollywood and other media so that nobody stops and wonders why we're letting this bat shit crazy nation rule our planet, and so no one makes you feel bad about your American privilege."

And before American Privilege there was the British version: The White Man's Burden. We get a taste of what the modern version of British Privilege would be from BBC propaganda. Both intended to globally project their Cultural Imperialism in both an offensive and defensive capacity with the Outlaw US Empire's efforts being the most successful. As shown by the BRICS efforts I posted and linked to, there's an increasing effort to promote a countervailing system of humanist values, which is a component in combating the Hybrid Third World War in which we're all involved .

james , Sep 14 2019 1:17 utc | 30
thanks b... great breakdown on the bbc bullshite... why is the usa-uk-israel-ksa clan paying so many millions for this cheap shit?? you would think with all their connections they could fabricate better bullshit... you link @5 is embarrassing for them.. i guess they figure only dim twats swallow the pablum bbc offers.. thanks for your work...
Anon , Sep 14 2019 1:51 utc | 31
Here's how it works:

You beg the "rebels" to grant you access and then you are escorted around shown that which they want you to see, and then they give you video clips to use and you do the story on their terms. Kind of like the days of Like North Korea where reporters are escorted by a minder and kept on a short leash. It will n North Korea, reporters push the envelope and report only on the oppressiveness of the regime, and never tell their audience things like there is fairly good education, healthcare, and their manufacturing base is sophisticated enough to make their own smart phones. In Syria, reporters never vary from the script the hosts present them. It's not only because they won't be invited back, it's because they will be murdered. Remember the early stages of the war? Remember how many journalists were being killed? What were those journalists reporting? Why the truth of course.

Trailer Trash , Sep 14 2019 2:18 utc | 32
Someone mentioned the White Helmets. Here's a picture of a White Helmet leader hanging out with "Hong Kong protest figurehead Joshua Wong" and a Ukrainian mayor at a shindig in Berlin. No doubt it was organized and paid for by Uncle Sam and his trillion-dollar-per-year deficit.

I wonder if Hong Kong protesters know that Wong is partying in safety and comfort while they are risking their lives by attacking police and getting beat up.

JW , Sep 14 2019 2:23 utc | 33
Don't these propaganda clowns know they the more desperate they are at creating false narratives, the more they are losing credibility? Everyone outside the western circle of sheeple are more wary than ever about the CIA's fingers on just about everything.
psychohistorian , Sep 14 2019 2:31 utc | 34
Thanks for continuing to write truth to power b

The mighty propaganda machine of the West continues to crank out fake news for the Plato's Cave displays of the brainwashed and addicted. Ongoing control and projection of the narrative is necessary to keep the weak holding on for dear life to the Merry-Go-Round of the Western "culture".

Blessings to those that keep trying to throw spanners in the works to make the insanity stop.

Montreal , Sep 14 2019 5:33 utc | 37
In the old days, in London, when I wanted to check current affairs from different angles, I turned to the Guardian, Channel 4 News, and the BBC. People may remember, for example, the fearful row about the BBC's reporting of the Falklands War - because it was trying to be even-handed it was accused by Thatcher's government of helping the Argentinians.

Anyone interested in these things knows that each of those news outlets has - over the last couple of years - been nobbled by the enemy. I don't even know what to call the enemy - NATO? The Neo-Cons? What is shocking is the ruthless, no-expense-spared, fury with which the enemy spreads its lies. They take this propaganda war very seriously indeed.

It is a slight consolation that the BBC is spending its capital - its reputation in the world for fairness and objectivity - at a tremendous rate., if it is fairness and objectivity in current affairs you are looking for, nowadays you don't go.to the BBC.

pppp , Sep 14 2019 6:29 utc | 40
anna@1
Underground Idlib

My first thought was who dug those tunnels and where are these people now. I mean, where are buried. I seriously doubt fighters would dug all that themselves nor they would set witnesses free. Yet reports about forced labor are scarce, which is not that surprising as a couple missing persons would go unnoticed in refugees rush.

As the reference research WW2 German Riese project tunnels, forced labor and killing of laborers when Red Amy approached.

Igor Bundy , Sep 14 2019 6:36 utc | 41
As the video posted by Anna shows, the terrorists had offices and hospitals in caves. Why is a good question since Anna clearly shows that the Russians watch and only bomb places where terrorists store ammo and rockets. Also why the terrorists defenses crumble so fast. Obviously there is no carpet bombing because Russia dont have the planes for it. And for the bombing to be so effective, those must have been stores for equipment. Bombing 40 hospitals wont make the terrorists crumble. But 40 stores of supplies would.

The bigger question is, some of those caves have tiled walls and obviously took great effort. Its like the pyramids of Egypt but without the slave labor of the jews to build it.. Who pays for it??? A few I can understand but there are hundreds of such caves. Obviously a single bomb to the entrance would kill everyone inside no matter how big it is by sucking out all the air and the concussion. The Japanese learnt of this the hard way.. It also leaves the equipment intact for later use by the SAA.

BM , Sep 14 2019 6:44 utc | 42
Has anybody seen a coherent explanation of the real situation on the ground at the Rukban regugee camp near Al Tanf? Especially one that gives a balanced view of the constraints the refugees are under, how UN aid is getting in, and what access the Russians are getting to the area?

This article states that some 17,000 refugees left in August with assistance from the Russian and Syrian governments, but some 25,000 remain:

"Back in August, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy said that over 17,000 civilians had already left the camp with the assistance of Moscow and Damascus.

The Syrian government and the Russian reconciliation centre have been assisting those wishing to leave the camp."

Given that the conditions are so bad, and the refugees are allegedly held against their will by jihadis, why would 25,000 still remain, if 17,000 were able to leave? Are they unable to make up their minds? Are they denied access to a part of the camp the Russians reached to help people get out? Are they actually jihadi families? There is something seriously missing from all the reports I have read.

Maximus , Sep 14 2019 10:35 utc | 50
Interesting from the Jerusalem Post ... interesting pic too...
john , Sep 14 2019 10:55 utc | 51
Compare the impact pattern and explosion timing with this recent carpet bombing (vid) of an island in Iraq

yeah, could these be penultimate eruptions, effete blasts from the man ostensibly on top? the Iraqi officers at 0:35 look kinda horrified to me, or at least a little worried.

....

only a psychotic culture does everything in its power to disrupt the physical and mental well-being of all sentient beings, while simultaneously striving to protect everyone from everything all the time.

Hmpf , Sep 14 2019 12:41 utc | 54
The cave attack, while having some issues, seems to be legit on a preliminary examination. A frame by frame examination shows there's 3 distinct missiles impacting the site. The first hits almost dead center (the missile itself is visible in a frame, its shadow in the following frame), the second one hits to the left at the edge of the compound (clearly visible in 2 frames) and the third one hits closer to the camera (visible in 1 frame), the one creating the expanding dome when exploding.
All warheads go off 4-5 frames after impact which suggests ignition delay of 0.15-0,2 seconds which would be reasonable for such a device.

Video properties of downloaded BBC clip (from Youtube)
1280x720, 25 fps

There's a couple of issues with the clip (some curious artifacts) that might suggests it's been tampered with but, I believe, that would need a qualified person in forensic analysis of such material to determine if this indeed is true.

NotBob , Sep 14 2019 13:14 utc | 56
Another humorous aspect to the BBC is even though they collect the fee from every British TV set, the 'sponsored content' and downright clickbait on each page is up to around 20%, plus the footer 'Why You Can Trust the BBC' .
arby , Sep 14 2019 13:19 utc | 58
A User

"What sort of an a-hole would you have to be to steal trillions from people then delight in keeping them impoverished, oppressed, without access to education, housing or healthcare? "

I have been thinking about that lately and not just the Saud's. Poor, hungry, uneducated, oppressed people are much easier to manipulate and easily bought to do the dirty work of terror, killing and war. Keeping people in that impoverished state is intentional for the elite that do not want to actually do the dirty work.

" I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half." Jay Gould

Canthama , Sep 14 2019 13:57 utc | 60
UK's link to al Qaeda is clear for decades, same link Israel, KSA< Qatar, Turkey and US all have, but the UK is definitively ahead here, very deep ties. By now the whole world knows BBC is UK' regime mouthpiece and made several fake news pretending Syrian & Russian Gov to be committing war crimes, where if fact the UK is actually deep sunk in war crimes or crimes against humanity in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ukraine and most recently in HK. The only way this crimes will stop is to hurt the UK where it hurts the most, their financial industry, hit it hard and the lion will turn into sheep, maybe the recent attacks in Saudi Barbaria's oil facility will do just that, but a game change financial collapse must happen in the City so funds to support global terrorism is stopped.

Thank you b for this compelling piece.

Sam , Sep 14 2019 14:01 utc | 61
I saw this piece on BBC World Report, the free satellite channel, and even without doing any research, it struck me as incredibly weird. Notice even in your screenshot that there's a shot of the "underground" hospital with a window and some people walking around outside in broad daylight(!). Plus the reporter goes on and on about how the tunnels are all "hand-dug" but then they turn the corner and he's inside a very modern-looking facility.

One note - when I saw this on TV, they had captions underneath (black line at the bottom) naming the hospitals as the (perfectly stable, ground-level) footage of them "being blown up" rolled. Didn't see the captions on your screenshots, tho.

Reminds me of all those pure fantasies they used to talk about in 2001 about Osama's multi-level underground super fortress in Afghanistan.

Mishko , Sep 14 2019 14:20 utc | 63
The proof is in the pudding, the propaganda is in the editing. My own cognitive dissonance was such that I used to view Panorama as a flagship
of responsible/respectable journalism. While knowing that the BBC is part of the Westminster pedophile ring and its coverup.
OMG witch-hunt! Must not witch-hunt! Bunch of anti-semitism-tossers, the lot of 'em.
Mishko , Sep 14 2019 14:24 utc | 64
It was a wise man who said:"The truth is in the movies, the lies are in the news."
All too often I find myself agreeing with him.
Hoarsewhisperer , Sep 14 2019 15:11 utc | 65
ABC.net.au broadcast this half-baked BBC tosh on 3 of its 4 TV Channels - ABC 2, ABC News24 and ABC Comedy22.

Forgive the levity but my reaction to having endured it for the third time was: "Whoa! Sour grapes? Much?"

The sleazy Poms haven't looked this frustrated, helpless and stupid since they were the recipients of a very skillful Massacre Lesson in Afghanistan in 1842. One wonders how much arm-twisting was required to persuade the producers of "Pointless" & "Would I Lie To You?" that making stuff up about Assad and Russia might help viewers to forget that Russia and Assad have been shredding the Judeo-Christian Colonial Conspiracy since Russia waded in 48 months ago?

CJ , Sep 14 2019 21:20 utc | 68
Hi,
I thought there was something really odd about this BBC piece. The opening shot shows a `bombed hospital'. So where is all the medical waste, broken equipment, beds, old dressings, gloves, IV sets etc. Even in a simple first aid post the medical waste sure piles up. In an emergency you need a team just to move this stuff and keep things clean and functional. There is nothing to suggest its a hospital or even a clinic. In future they should grab a bag of medical waste a throw it around! I sure am getting pissed off with this propaganda -- everything from WMD, yellow cake, aluminum tubes through to Russia gate-- its cost trillions and wasted so much time.
Arioch , Sep 15 2019 0:41 utc | 69
In a world first, renowned consultant David Nott gave remote instructions via Skype and WhatsApp which allowed doctors to carry out surgery in an underground hospital.

But, after footage was broadcast by the BBC, Mr Nott believes his computer was targeted, allowing hackers to gain the coordinates of the M10 hospital.

Weeks later a "bunker buster" bomb destroyed the M10

Posted by: Arod | Sep 13 2019 23:52 utc

Because, you know, everyone knows, when Russian Hackers want to break into someone's computer they just point their BBC TV remote on screen and preess the red button. And here we go, from TV to the computer filmed. Better than with Harry Potter.

And then, it is all because of Skype. Microsoft keeps broadcasting GPS coordinated (even of deeply underground facilities) of everyone talking by Skype. And Whatsapp too.

UK MSM: Mad Skillz meme meeting Cool Story Bro meme
UK population: target audience that ia worth nothing more reasonable

Sad...

[Sep 13, 2019] The Sacking of John Bolton by Binoy Kampmark

The key question is why Trump hired Bolton in the first place, not why he was sucked...
This guy is a reckless imperialist, staunch neocon and a war criminal. No person who promoted or voted in the Congress for Iraq war can held government or elected position. They are compromised for the rest of their miserable lifes.
Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

"Every time the president, or Pompeo, or anyone in the [Trump] administration came up with an idea, they had to face Dr No."

– Cliff Kupchan, Chairman of the Eurasia Group, The Washington Post , Sep 11, 2011.

[Sep 11, 2019] Better late than never Bolton's firing gives Trump a chance to heed his instincts Ron Paul

This is a bit like rearranging the chairs on the deck of Titanic.
The problem is we do not know who pressed Trump to appoint Bolton., Rumors were that it was Abelson. In this case nothing changed.
The other problem with making Bolton firing a significant move is the presence in White House other neocon warmongers. So one less doe not change the picture. For example Pompeo remains and he is no less warmongering neocon, MIC stooge, and no less subservant to Israel then Bolton.
Notable quotes:
"... Firing National Security Advisor John Bolton gives US President Donald Trump a chance to move foreign policy in a more peaceful direction – as long as he's not replaced with another hawk, former congressman Ron Paul told RT ..."
"... Bolton has "been a monkey-wrench in Donald Trump's policies of trying to back away from some of these conflicts around the world," Paul observed on Tuesday ..."
"... "Every time I think Trump is making progress, Bolton butts in and ruins it," Paul added. Negotiations with Afghanistan and talks with North Korea and Iran have reportedly been scuttled by his aggressive tendencies, with Pyongyang declaring him a "defective human product." ..."
"... "A lot of people here didn't even want his appointment, because he was only able to take a position that did not require Senate approval," Paul said, suggesting that perhaps the "Deep State" pressure had forced the president to keep Bolton around long past his sell-by date. ..."
"... As for whether Bolton's departure would change the White House's policy line significantly, though, Paul was less certain. "I don't think it will change a whole lot," he said, pointing out that "we have no idea" who will replace Bolton. Trump said he would make an announcement next week. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.rt.com

Firing National Security Advisor John Bolton gives US President Donald Trump a chance to move foreign policy in a more peaceful direction – as long as he's not replaced with another hawk, former congressman Ron Paul told RT.

Bolton has "been a monkey-wrench in Donald Trump's policies of trying to back away from some of these conflicts around the world," Paul observed on Tuesday, after news of Bolton's dismissal from the White House. Also on rt.com Bolton out: Trump ditches hawkish adviser he kept for 18 months despite 'disagreements'

"Every time I think Trump is making progress, Bolton butts in and ruins it," Paul added. Negotiations with Afghanistan and talks with North Korea and Iran have reportedly been scuttled by his aggressive tendencies, with Pyongyang declaring him a "defective human product."

Foreign leaders weren't the only ones who had a problem with Trump's notoriously belligerent advisor, either.

"A lot of people here didn't even want his appointment, because he was only able to take a position that did not require Senate approval," Paul said, suggesting that perhaps the "Deep State" pressure had forced the president to keep Bolton around long past his sell-by date.

While the uber-hawk's firing came "later than it should be," Paul hoped it would clear the way for Trump to follow through on the America First, end-the-wars promises that won him so much support in 2016. "Those of us who would like less intervention, we're very happy with it."

Also on rt.com War and whiskers: Freshly-resigned John Bolton gets meme-roasting

As for whether Bolton's departure would change the White House's policy line significantly, though, Paul was less certain. "I don't think it will change a whole lot," he said, pointing out that "we have no idea" who will replace Bolton. Trump said he would make an announcement next week.

[Sep 11, 2019] The Guardian view on John Bolton: good riddance, but the problem is his boss

Notable quotes:
"... However satisfying it may be to see him leave, whoever is picked to succeed him may not be much of an improvement. No one should cheer the chaotic and dysfunctional nature of this administration. Its boss revels in divisions and factionalism among his staff, which allows him to continue governing by his whims, kneejerk reactions and vanity. ..."
"... It is more likely that he was fired because he dented his boss's ego than because his advice was so bad: Mr Trump liked Mr Bolton's bellicose style when he saw it on Fox News, not when it clashed with his own intentions. ..."
"... The national security adviser may have been the most ferocious of the voices urging Mr Trump to turn up the pressure on Iran, but he was certainly not alone . Mr Bolton's presence in the White House was frightening. But its continued occupation by the man who hired him is much more so. ..."
"... As far as Pompeo's "moderation" goes, don't expect anything moderate. But general mailiciousness and opportunism aside, as an evangelical he'll certainly get along perfectly with Pence. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

confusedponderer , 11 September 2019 at 07:11 AM

There is an nice article about his "Being fired by Don Donald / Nope, actually I quit myself" story:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/10/the-guardian-view-on-john-bolton-good-riddance-but-the-problem-is-his-boss

The Guardian view on John Bolton: good riddance, but the problem is his boss

Many will rightly celebrate the departure of the US national security adviser. But however welcome the news, it reflects the deeper problems with this administration

...

However satisfying it may be to see him leave, whoever is picked to succeed him may not be much of an improvement. No one should cheer the chaotic and dysfunctional nature of this administration. Its boss revels in divisions and factionalism among his staff, which allows him to continue governing by his whims, kneejerk reactions and vanity.

It is neither normal nor desirable for the national security adviser to be excluded from meetings about Afghanistan – even if it is a relief, when the individual concerned is (or was) Mr Bolton. It is more likely that he was fired because he dented his boss's ego than because his advice was so bad: Mr Trump liked Mr Bolton's bellicose style when he saw it on Fox News, not when it clashed with his own intentions.

The national security adviser may have been the most ferocious of the voices urging Mr Trump to turn up the pressure on Iran, but he was certainly not alone . Mr Bolton's presence in the White House was frightening. But its continued occupation by the man who hired him is much more so.

I read that the main drivers of getting him kicked or retire himself were Mnuchin and Pompeo, both afflicted by that nasty goofy smile disease. I am always happy when I see Mnuchin's hands on the table, eliminating one explanation for the smile.

There is that reported sentence about Bolton - that there is no problem for which war was not his solution. I read about similar sentence about Pompeo - that he has an IR seeker for Donald's ass.

That written, good riddance indeed. Likely, if Bolton had his way, the US would likely be at war with North Korea and Iran.

When I studied I was at the UNFCCC for a time during Bush Jr. presidency and talked about what Bolton did at the UN with my superior, a 20 year UN veteran.

A 'malicious saboteur arsonist' is a polite summary of what he did there directly and indirectly, and with given his flirt with MEK and regime change in Iran he has likely not changed at all.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/07/world/middleeast/john-bolton-regime-change-iran.html

As far as Pompeo's "moderation" goes, don't expect anything moderate. But general mailiciousness and opportunism aside, as an evangelical he'll certainly get along perfectly with Pence.

[Sep 11, 2019] Let us hope Pence is not consulted on Bolton's successor

Sep 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

catherine , 10 September 2019 at 08:48 PM

I don't usually find much value at the Atlantic but this article (written before Trump even fired Bolton) about Trump's FP timeline (and flip flops) and Bolton who was acting like he was President is very, very good.
It will allow Trump loyalist to more easily support Trump and give everyone else a tad bit of hope that Trump really won't go bonkers and start any wars.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/trump-tries-to-fix-his-foreign-policy-without-bolton/593284/

different clue , 11 September 2019 at 01:08 AM
Since President Trump appears to talk about things and stuff with Tucker Carlson, perhaps he should ask Tucker Carlson to spend a week thinking . . . and then offer the President some names and the reasoning for offering those names.

If the President asks the same Establishment who gave him Bolton, he will just be handed another Bolton. "Establishment" include Pence, who certainly supported Bolton's outlook on things and would certainly recommend another "Bolton" figure if asked. Let us hope Pence is not consulted on Bolton's successor.

confusedponderer said in reply to different clue... , 11 September 2019 at 09:10 AM
different clue,
re "Let us hope Pence is not consulted on Bolton's successor."

Understandable point of view but then, Trump still is Trump. He can just by himself and beyond advice easily find suboptimal solutions of his own.

Today I read that Richard Grenell was mentioned as a potential sucessor.

As far as that goes, go for it. Many people here will be happy when he "who always only sais what the Whitehouse sais" is finally gone.

And with Trump's biggest military budget in the world he can just continue the arms sale pitches that are and were such a substantial part of his job as a US ambassador in Germany.

That said, they were that after blathering a lot about that we should increase our military budget by 2%, 4%, 6% or 10%, buy US arms, now, and of course the blathering about Northstream 1 & 2 and "slavedom to russian oil & gas" and rather buy US frack gas of course.

He could then also take a side job for the fracking industry in that context. And buy frack gas and arms company stocks. Opportunities, opportunities ...

[Sep 10, 2019] Trump Fires John Bolton After Disagreeing Strongly With His Suggestions

Trump whole administration is just a bunch of rabid neocons who will be perfectly at home (and some were) in Bush II administration. So firing of Bolton while a step in the right direction is too little, too late.
Notable quotes:
"... Whatever the reason for Bolton's departure, this means one less warmongering neocon is left in the DC swamp, and is a prudent and long overdue move by Trump, one which even Trump's liberals enemies will have no choice but to applaud. ..."
"... Ending America's longest war would be a welcome rebuttal to Democrats who will, day in and day out, charge that Trump is a fraud. But to do so, he will likely need a national security advisor more in sync with the vision. Among them: Tucker Carlson favorite Douglas Macgregor, Stephen Biegun, the runner-up previously, or the hawkish, but relatively pragmatic retired General Jack Keane. ..."
"... War-mongering Ziocons - 0; Peace-loving Humanity - 1 ..."
Sep 10, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

While there was some feverish speculation as to what an impromptu presser at 1:30pm with US Secretary of State Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and National Security Adviser Bolton would deliver, that was quickly swept aside moments later when Trump unexpectedly announced that he had effectively fired Bolton as National Security Advisor, tweeting that he informed John Bolton "last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House" after " disagreeing strongly with many of his suggestions. "

... ... ...

Whatever the reason for Bolton's departure, this means one less warmongering neocon is left in the DC swamp, and is a prudent and long overdue move by Trump, one which even Trump's liberals enemies will have no choice but to applaud.

While we await more details on this strike by Trump against the military-industrial complex-enabling Deep State, here is a fitting closer from Curt Mills via the American Conservative:

Ending America's longest war would be a welcome rebuttal to Democrats who will, day in and day out, charge that Trump is a fraud. But to do so, he will likely need a national security advisor more in sync with the vision. Among them: Tucker Carlson favorite Douglas Macgregor, Stephen Biegun, the runner-up previously, or the hawkish, but relatively pragmatic retired General Jack Keane.

Bolton seems to be following the well-worn trajectory of dumped Trump deputies. Jeff Sessions, a proto-Trump and the first senator to endorse the mogul, became attorney general and ideological incubator of the new Right's agenda only to become persona non grata in the administration. The formal execution came later. Bannon followed a less dramatic, but no less explosive ebb and flow. James Mattis walked on water until he didn't.

And Bolton appeared the leading light of a neoconservative revival, of sorts, until he didn't.

White Nat , 9 minutes ago link

War-mongering Ziocons - 0; Peace-loving Humanity - 1

[Sep 10, 2019] Is John Bolton's Time Up

Notable quotes:
"... But Bolton coupled the Fox and AEI sinecures with gnarlier associations -- for one, the Gatestone Institute, a, let's say Islam-hostile outfit, associated with the secretive, influential Mercer billionaires. ..."
"... Bolton appeared the leading light of a neoconservative revival, of sorts, until he didn't. ..."
"... It doesn't matter whether Bolton's "time is up" or not, because his departure wouldn't change anything. If he goes, Trump will replace him with some equally slimy neocon interventionist. ..."
"... It won't end until we muck out the White House next year. Dumping Trump is Job One. ..."
"... Oh. Yes. You want to get rid of Trump's partially neocon administration, so that you could replace it with your own, entirely neocon one. Wake me up when the DNC starts allowing people like Tulsi Gabbard to get nominated. But they won't. So your party will just repeat its merry salsa on the same set of rakes as in 2016. ..."
Sep 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

No major politician, not even Barack Obama, excoriated the Iraq war more fiercely than did Trump during the primaries. He did this in front of a scion of the house of Bush and in the deep red state of South Carolina. He nevertheless went on to win that primary, the Republican nomination and the presidency on that antiwar message.

And so, to see Bolton ascend to the commanding heights of the Trump White House shocked many from the time it was first rumored. "I shudder to think what would happen if we had a failed presidency," Scott McConnell, TAC' s founding editor, said in late 2016 at our foreign policy conference, held, opportunely, during the presidential transition. "I mean, John Bolton?"

At the time, Bolton was a candidate for secretary of state, a consideration scuttled in no small part because of the opposition of Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul. As McConnell wrote in November of that year: "Most of the upper-middle-level officials who plotted the Iraq War have retreated quietly into private life, but Bolton has kept their flame alive." Bolton had already been passed over for NSA, losing out early to the doomed Michael Flynn. Rex Tillerson beat him for secretary of state. Bolton was then passed over for the role of Tillerson's deputy. When Flynn flamed out of the White House the following February, Trump chose a general he didn't know at all, H.R. McMaster, to replace him.

Bolton had been trying to make a comeback since late 2006, after failing to hold his job as U.N. ambassador (he had only been a recess appointment). His landing spots including a Fox News contributorship and a post at the vaunted American Enterprise Institute. Even in the early days of the Trump administration, Bolton was around, and accessible. I remember seeing him multiple times in Washington's Connecticut Avenue corridor, decked out in the seersucker he notoriously favors during the summer months. Paired with the familiar mustache, the man is the Mark Twain of regime change.

But Bolton coupled the Fox and AEI sinecures with gnarlier associations -- for one, the Gatestone Institute, a, let's say Islam-hostile outfit, associated with the secretive, influential Mercer billionaires. He also struck a ferocious alliance with the Center for Security Policy, helmed by the infamous Frank Gaffney, and gave paid remarks to the National Council for the Resistance of Iran, the lynchpin organization of the People's Mujahideen of Iran, or MEK. The latter two associations have imbued the spirit of this White House, with Gaffney now one of the most underrated power players in Washington, and the MEK's "peaceful" regime change mantra all but the official line of the administration.

More than any of these gigs, Bolton benefited from two associations that greased the wheels for his joining the Trump administration.

The first was Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist. If you want to understand the administration's Iran policy under Bolton to date, look no further than a piece by the then-retired diplomat in conservative mainstay National Review in August 2017, days after Bannon's departure from the White House: "How to Get Out of the Iran Deal." Bolton wrote the piece at Bannon's urging. Even out of the administration, the former Breitbart honcho was an influential figure.

"We must explain the grave threat to the U.S. and our allies, particularly Israel," said Bolton. "The [Iran Deal's] vague and ambiguous wording; its manifest imbalance in Iran's direction; Iran's significant violations; and its continued, indeed, increasingly, unacceptable conduct at the strategic level internationally demonstrate convincingly that [the Iran deal] is not in the national-security interests of the United States."

Then Bolton, as I documented , embarked on a campaign of a media saturation to make a TV-happy president proud. By May Day the next year, he would have a job, a big one, and one that Senator Paul couldn't deny him: national security advisor. That wasn't the whole story, of course. Bolton's ace in the hole was Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who has helped drive Trump's Israel policy. If Trump finally moves against Bolton, it will likely be because Adelson failed to strenuously object.

So will Trump finally do it? Other than White House chief of staff, a position Mick Mulvaney has filled in an acting capacity for the entire calendar year, national security advisor is the easiest, most senior role to change horses.

A bombshell Washington Post story lays out the dire truth: Bolton is so distrusted on the president's central prerogatives, for instance Afghanistan, that he's not even allowed to see sensitive plans unsupervised.

Bolton has also come into conflict with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to three senior State Department officials. Pompeo is the consummate politician. Though an inveterate hawk, the putative Trump successor does not want to be the Paul Wolfowitz of the Iran war. Bolton is a bureaucratic arsonist, agnostic on the necessity of two of the institutions he served in -- Foggy Bottom and the United Nations. Pompeo, say those around him, is keen to be beloved, or at least tolerated, by career officials in his department, in contrast with Bolton and even Tillerson.

The real danger Bolton poses is to the twin gambit Trump hopes to pull off ahead of, perhaps just ahead of, next November -- a detente deal with China to calm the markets and ending the war in Afghanistan. Over the weekend, the president announced a scuttled meeting with the Taliban at Camp David, which would have been an historic, stunning summit. Bolton was reportedly instrumental in quashing the meet. Still, there is a lot of time between now and next autumn, and the cancellation is likely the latest iteration of the president's showman diplomacy.

Ending America's longest war would be a welcome rebuttal to Democrats who will, day in and day out, charge that Trump is a fraud. But to do so, he will likely need a national security advisor more in sync with the vision. Among them: Tucker Carlson favorite Douglas Macgregor, Stephen Biegun, the runner-up previously, or the hawkish, but relatively pragmatic retired General Jack Keane.

Bolton seems to be following the well-worn trajectory of dumped Trump deputies. Jeff Sessions, a proto-Trump and the first senator to endorse the mogul, became attorney general and ideological incubator of the new Right's agenda only to become persona non grata in the administration. The formal execution came later. Bannon followed a less dramatic, but no less explosive ebb and flow. James Mattis walked on water until he didn't.

And Bolton appeared the leading light of a neoconservative revival, of sorts, until he didn't.

Curt Mills is senior writer


Laurelite a day ago
"Pompeo is the consummate politician."

You confuse "politician" and "liar" here, whereas he is "consummate" at neither politics nor lying. His politicking has been as botched as his diplomacy; his lying has been prodigious but transparent.

Taras77 a day ago
Bolton has been on the way out now for how many months? I will believe this welcome news when I see his sorry ___ out the door.
I think much of America and the world will feel the same way.
Bordentown a day ago
It doesn't matter whether Bolton's "time is up" or not, because his departure wouldn't change anything. If he goes, Trump will replace him with some equally slimy neocon interventionist.

It won't end until we muck out the White House next year. Dumping Trump is Job One.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) Bordentown 19 hours ago • edited
Oh. Yes. You want to get rid of Trump's partially neocon administration, so that you could replace it with your own, entirely neocon one. Wake me up when the DNC starts allowing people like Tulsi Gabbard to get nominated. But they won't. So your party will just repeat its merry salsa on the same set of rakes as in 2016.

[Sep 10, 2019] Bolton mioght be consistent and sincere. But he remains a rabid warmonger, who serves Israeli interests.

Notable quotes:
"... Yeah, consistency may be nice, but what about the actual substance of what Bolton believes and does? ..."
"... Personally, I'm not interested in trying to starve Iran into submission or attack it on behalf of Israel. And I would be interested in actually pursuing a meaningful attempt to resolve the Korea issue. Bolton is not only on the wrong side of these issues, he is in general the principal malign force pushing foreign policy insanity in this administration (as opposed to Adelson et all pushing policy insanity from outside the administration.) ..."
"... Heinrich Himmler also was consistent and sincere. By your logic, that must mean that Himmler was a credit to the Nazi regime. ..."
"... You can't serve a president well if you're constantly at odds with him. The Commander-in-Chief has to have his or her own mind about things, advisors are there to advise. If you want to do one thing but you're being counseled to do otherwise, what purpose does such a relationship serve? ..."
"... It was clearly Adelson and his ilk who got Bolton hired in the first place when Trump had initially been unimpressed. In "Fire and Fury," Steve Bannon allegedly says that Trump didn't think Bolton looked the part of NSA. And it's even more significant that Adelson and others of a similar cast--e.g., Safra Catz, the dual-national CEO of Oracle-- engineered a whispering campaign against McMaster that paved the way for what was effectively his firing. ..."
"... Bolton's ace in the hole was Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who has helped drive Trump's Israel policy ..."
"... Besides, it's not like Bolton was a military man, he openly acknowledges that he didn't want to go and 'die on some rice paddy' in Vietnam. But, he's willing to send other people's kids to fight and die in some pointless show of geopolitical power, If he goes, good riddance. ..."
"... Israel and to a lesser extent Saudi Arabia drive Trump's Iran policy, and Pompeo is their messenger. ..."
Sep 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Steve Smith EliteCommInc. 19 hours ago • edited

"I have to think that NSA Bolton actually believes what he advocates."

There are and have been lots of people who believe what they advocate--Lenin, Trotsky, Mao, Robespierre, and the Neoconservatives in general among them.

Yeah, consistency may be nice, but what about the actual substance of what Bolton believes and does?

Personally, I'm not interested in trying to starve Iran into submission or attack it on behalf of Israel. And I would be interested in actually pursuing a meaningful attempt to resolve the Korea issue. Bolton is not only on the wrong side of these issues, he is in general the principal malign force pushing foreign policy insanity in this administration (as opposed to Adelson et all pushing policy insanity from outside the administration.)

Sorry, but Bolton's "service" sure ain't appreciated by me!

Sid Finster EliteCommInc. 19 hours ago
"He's consistent and sincere!" in that cause of evil, yes.

Heinrich Himmler also was consistent and sincere. By your logic, that must mean that Himmler was a credit to the Nazi regime.

Steve Smith Sid Finster 19 hours ago
We are obviously thinking along the same lines.
EliteCommInc. Sid Finster 8 hours ago
Hyperbole much I see. If you want to honestly assess someone, you might want to avoid that tact. To my knowledge NSA Bolton is not building concentration camps to send undesirables to an early grave.

I would be curious what you know about what his agenda is or why.

EdMan EliteCommInc. 18 hours ago
You can't serve a president well if you're constantly at odds with him. The Commander-in-Chief has to have his or her own mind about things, advisors are there to advise. If you want to do one thing but you're being counseled to do otherwise, what purpose does such a relationship serve?

Bolton was the wrong man for the job.

gdpbull 20 hours ago • edited
Nah, they (Bolton and all the neocons) are celebrating the death of another American soldier killed in a suicide attack just prior to a planned peace summit with the Taliban. The Taliban and the neocons are two sides that deserve each other, but at the cost of many innocents.

Its easy to depose any third world government with our military, but one cannot eradicate an ideology with today's humanitarian standards. So we should just leave and tell the Taliban they can even take power in Afghanistan again, but if they harbor any groups that want to attack our country, we'll be back. It only takes a month or so to depose a third world government. Then we leave again. We can do this over and over again and it'll be way cheaper than leaving troops there and many fewer casualties.

The Rocket Man gdpbull 15 hours ago
I don't think Bolton will be in there for the rest of Trump's presidency. Presidential appointments rarely ever last through the whole administration. Now I'm not when he goes cause anyone's guess is as good as mine. And will policy actually change for the better or remain the same?
Sid Finster 19 hours ago
" If only the Tsar knew how wicked his advisers are! "

We've been hearing of Bolton's imminent demise since the time Trump appointed the unindicted criminal, and to a position that isn't subject to Congressional advice and consent.

Bolton is still in office, still making policy, still stovepiping "intelligence" to Trump, still plotting away like Grima Wormtongue.

If Trump wasn't so close to Bolton, why was he in regular contact with the man before appointing him, and why does he allow Bolton to control what information Trump gets?

And if you read the latest news, it seems that the occupation of Afghanistan isn't going anywhere either. Bolton wins again, but some writers at TAC keep holding out hope for Trump.

Steve Smith 19 hours ago
"If Trump finally moves against Bolton, it will likely be because Adelson failed to strenuously object."

Well, isn't that nice? Trump's decision on whether to keep or fire his national security advisor depends on the whim of the hideous, Israel-uber-alles ideologue Adelson. That sure makes me feel good. (And by the way, Curt Mills, this is called burying the lede.)

Of course it's only logical. It was clearly Adelson and his ilk who got Bolton hired in the first place when Trump had initially been unimpressed. In "Fire and Fury," Steve Bannon allegedly says that Trump didn't think Bolton looked the part of NSA. And it's even more significant that Adelson and others of a similar cast--e.g., Safra Catz, the dual-national CEO of Oracle-- engineered a whispering campaign against McMaster that paved the way for what was effectively his firing.

This piece misses what's important about the Trump administration's foreign/security policy saga and reduces it to a mere matter of personalities and petty politics. File this under the heading of discretion being the better part of valor.

Countee Cullen 18 hours ago
"Bolton's ace in the hole was Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who has helped drive Trump's Israel policy. If Trump finally moves against Bolton, it will likely be because Adelson failed to strenuously object."

So -- Ilhan Omar was right??? I thought she was a vile anti-Semite echoing an ancient slur!!

Carl Jacobson 8 hours ago
If Bolton does leave, I won't be sorry to see him go. Bolton's Hawkish opinions are dangerous to the US' economic health.

Want to go into a deep Recession? Start another long-term foreign war that goes on for decades - and do it on credit, AGAIN.

Besides, it's not like Bolton was a military man, he openly acknowledges that he didn't want to go and 'die on some rice paddy' in Vietnam. But, he's willing to send other people's kids to fight and die in some pointless show of geopolitical power, If he goes, good riddance.

Into Night 6 hours ago
The photo accompanying the article sums it up. Pompeo flanked by an American flag, and both of them dwarfed by a huge projection of the flag of Israel.

Israel and to a lesser extent Saudi Arabia drive Trump's Iran policy, and Pompeo is their messenger.

[Sep 10, 2019] Isreal role in Syria

Sep 10, 2019 | www.unz.com

Dr. E. Black says: September 10, 2019 at 4:29 am GMT

We are Democratic

Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. This Commenter

[Sep 09, 2019] Armed Turkish military vehicles crossed into war-stricken Syria on Sunday to begin joint patrols with U.S. counterparts to establish a high-stakes "safe zone" along a border region controlled by Kurdish forces

Sep 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Sep 8 2019 21:34 utc | 49

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-security-turkey/turkish-military-enters-syria-to-begin-joint-u-s-safe-zone-patrol-idUSKCN1VT05H
"AKCAKALE, Turkey/TAL ABYAD, Syria (Reuters) - Armed Turkish military vehicles crossed into war-stricken Syria on Sunday to begin joint patrols with U.S. counterparts to establish a high-stakes "safe zone" along a border region controlled by Kurdish forces."

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/fuel-tanks-enter-syrian-government-area-sdf-territories-aleppo/
"DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:30 P.M.) – Scores of fuel tanks have entered areas controlled by the Syrian government in northeast Aleppo following agreement with the predominantly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, a monitor group reported.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) released a video showing a convoy of fuel tanks crossing toward areas controlled by the Syrian Army, supposedly coming from SDF-held territories.

The footage was filmed in Manbij crossing located to the southwest of Manbij city, located in northeast Aleppo."

Erdo's doing his bit and pushing the Kurds away from the yanks and back to Syria.

[Sep 06, 2019] Syria air defnece systems

Sep 06, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Krollchem , Sep 6 2019 2:41 utc | 108

SmoothieX12@55

I was just pointing out that the S-300 would be a waste of resources based on the comparative effectiveness of the various Russian made missiles during the April 14th 2018 FUKUS attack on Syria. In this instance, of the 103 missiles launched, the Syrian missile defense forces shot down 71 and the S-300 had the poorest kill ratio of the defensive missiles fired and the Pantsier-S1/S2 had the highest kill ratio. As I remember the BUK-M2 systems came in a close second. Am I incorrect?

I recognized that I should have cited the UNZ.com articles rather than Zero Hedge after I pressed send.

My understanding was that the combined Syrian/Russian defense system includes the following launchers as of mid 2018. Perhaps it is not complete, in which case I would appreciate any corrections.

I also understand that radar tracking systems are what really causes FUKUS to pause in their tracks. Any comments on the Chinese quantum computing detection systems?

S-400 (SA-21) systems:
There are two S-400 complexes guarding Khmeimim consisting of 16 missile launchers per complex (32 launch ready missiles range 350 km)
http://www.janes.com/article/74500/second-russian-s-400-in-syria-confirmed

S-300 (SA-20) systems
Russia has seven S-300VM missile systems defending Tartus and aboard some warships (range 350 km)
http://theiranproject.com/blog/2016/11/16/seven-russian-s-300-air-missile-defense-systems-deployed-syria/

Bastion (K-300P) anti-ship coastal systems (Yakhonts)Russia has deployed perhaps two batteries of 18 launchers at their naval bases (72 launch ready missiles – range 350 km) Russia also has K-300P systems on it Project 11356 frigates
http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/179014/bastion-missile-proves-land-attack-capability-in-syria%3A-tass.html
Syria has two batteries consisting of 18 launchers which carry two 3M55E Yakhont supersonic cruise missiles. (72 launch ready missiles -range 350 km)
http://defense-update.com/20111203_syria-receives-yakhont-missiles.html

Kalibr (SS-N-27 Sizzler)
Russia has Kalibr long range missiles on all their frigates either 3M-54E1/3M-14E: (300 km range) or 3M-54/3M-54T: (660 km range)
http://www.defensereview.com/us-navy-aircraft-carriers-vulnerable-to-ss-n-27b-sizzler-anti-ship-missile/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3M-54_Kalibr

Pantsier
Russia had previously provided 40 Pantsier-1 missile systems to Syria with 12 missiles loaded per system (480 launch ready missiles – range 20 km)
https://www.therussophile.org/russia-delivered-40-pantsir-s1-air-defense-systems-to-syria-state-media.html/

Subsequently, Russia has also deployed an unknown number of Pantsir S2 air defense systems to its Khmeimim airbase in Syria (range of about 40 km)
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/05/31/weapons-tested-syria-russia-pantsir-s2-mobile-air-defense-missile-gun-system.html
The Pantsier-2 may have been upgraded to add four directed sub-rockets to each missile for a total of 48 missiles per Pantsier launcher.
Buk-M2E (SA-11)
Russia has an unknown number of Buk-M2E systems and perhaps the new Buk-M3 in Syria.
Syria has received a total of 48 launchers of Buk-M2 surface-to-air missiles. (192 launch ready missiles – range 40 km). I believe that there is a BUK-M3 variant under development that carries more launch ready missiles per vehicle.
http://www.todaynews24h.com/israel-continued-air-strikes-damascus-buk-m2-of-syria-where/

S-125 (SA-3) (Pechora-2M)
Syria has about 145 Pechora and 12 Pechora-2M each with four missiles per launcher. (628 launch ready missiles- range 32 km).
Same as was used by Yugoslav Army 250th Air Defense Missile Brigade to shoot down a F-117
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-125_Neva/Pechora

S-200 systems (SA-5) (upgraded)
Syria has two S-200 batteries consisting of 44 launchers at Kweires airport (range 350 km). A Syrian S-200 missile was used to shoot down an Israeli F-16.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-200_%28missile%29

Kvadrat (SA-6)
Syria has 195 2K12s systems with three missiles per launcher. (585 launch ready missiles – range 22 km))
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2K12_Kub

Osa (SA-8)
Syria had 14 batteries consisting of 60 launchers with six short range missiles per launcher. (360 launch ready missiles – range 15 km))
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9K33_Osa

Tor-M2E (SA-15D)
Russia has installed both the land based systems (SA-9) and integrated them in their ships at sea (SA-N-9). The launchers come with either 8 or 16 missiles with a range of 16 km

Syria has a number of the older Tor-M1(V) systems with 4-8 launch ready missiles – range 12 km.

Iskander (SS-26)
Russia has at least one Iskander nuclear capable ballistic missile systems in Syria -range 400-500 km. These are ship killers along with the Zircon missiles to take out carriers.
http://defense-update.com/20170106_iskander-in-syria.html
9K35 Strela-10 (SA-13)
Syria has 35 launchers – four missiles per launcher, reload time 3 minutes- range 5 km
http://military.wikia.com/wiki/9K35_Strela-10

[Sep 04, 2019] Veterans Mattis Spent Career Tending the Status Quo The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... But what happens when those "standards of excellence" lead to 20 years of fighting unwinnable wars on the peripheries of the planet? When do habits and practices turn into mental stagnation? ..."
"... You know when it comes to generals, whether they're Marines, whether they're Army, whether they're Mattis who's supposedly this "warrior monk," these guys talk tactics and then claim it's strategy. What they consider to be strategic thinking really is just tactical thinking on a broad scale . I think the biggest problem with all the four-star generals are they're "how" thinkers not "if" thinkers. ..."
"... This inability of America's elites (including its generals) to grapple with strategic concepts is a result of the United States' post-Cold War unipolar moment. When there's only one superpower, geopolitics and the need for international balancing fall by the wayside. ..."
"... Mattis, like virtually all of his four-star peers, is a reactionary, fighting every day against the forces of change in modern warfare ..."
"... "[W]hen you shave it all down, his problem with being the epitome of establishment Washington is that he sees the alliance as the end, not as a means to an end," says Davis. "The means should be to the end of improving American security and supporting our interests." ..."
"... "By clinging to unsustainable military solutions from the distant past, he has condemned future generations of soldiers and marines to repeat disasters like Pickett's Charge," says Macgregor. ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Last week, The Wall Street Journal published a lengthy op-ed written by former secretary of defense James Mattis, his first public statement since his resignation in December. The article is adopted from his forthcoming book, Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead , out this week.

The former Pentagon chief opens a window into his decision making process, explaining that accepting President Trump's nomination was part of his lifelong devotion to public service: "When the president asks you to do something, you don't play Hamlet on the wall, wringing your hands. So long as you are prepared, you say yes." Mattis's two years at DoD capped off 44 years in the Marine Corps, where he gained a popular following as a tough and scholarly leader.

Mattis received widespread praise from the foreign policy establishment when he resigned in protest over President Trump's directive for a full U.S. military withdrawal from Syria and a partial withdrawal from Afghanistan. "When my concrete solutions and strategic advice, especially keeping faith with our allies, no longer resonated, it was time to resign, despite the limitless joy I felt serving alongside our troops in defense of our Constitution," he writes.

But did Mattis really offer "concrete solutions and strategic advice" regarding America's two decades of endless war? spoke with four military experts, all veterans, who painted a very different picture of the man called "Mad Dog."

"I think over time, in General Mattis's case a little over 40 years, if you spend that many years in an institution, it is extremely hard not to get institutionalized," says Gil Barndollar, military fellow-in-residence at the Catholic University of America's Center for the Study of Statesmanship. Barndollar served as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps and deployed twice to Afghanistan. "In my experiences, there are not too many iconoclasts or really outside-the-box people in the higher ranks of the U.S. military."

It's just that sort of institutionalized thinking that makes the political establishment love Mattis. "[A] person with an institutional mind-set has a deep reverence for the organization he has joined and how it was built by those who came before. He understands that institutions pass down certain habits, practices and standards of excellence," wrote David Brooks in a hagiographic New York Times column .

But what happens when those "standards of excellence" lead to 20 years of fighting unwinnable wars on the peripheries of the planet? When do habits and practices turn into mental stagnation?

"The problem is, from at least the one-star the whole way through, for the last two decades, you've seen them do nothing but just repeat the status quo over and over," observes Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis, a senior fellow at Defense Priorities, who served 21 years in the U.S. Army and deployed four times to Iraq and Afghanistan. "I mean every single general that was in charge of Afghanistan said almost the same boilerplate thing every time they came in (which was nearly one a year). You see the same results, nothing changed."

"And if those guys took someone from a major to a two-star general, we'd probably have a lot of better outcomes," he adds.

Major Danny Sjursen, who served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, agrees:

You know when it comes to generals, whether they're Marines, whether they're Army, whether they're Mattis who's supposedly this "warrior monk," these guys talk tactics and then claim it's strategy. What they consider to be strategic thinking really is just tactical thinking on a broad scale . I think the biggest problem with all the four-star generals are they're "how" thinkers not "if" thinkers.

Barndollar says: "The vast majority of military leaders, up to and including generals at the three-, four-star level, are not operating at the strategic level, in terms of what that word means in military doctrine. They're not operating at the level of massive nation-state resources and alliances and things like that. They're at the operational level or often even at the tactical level."

This inability of America's elites (including its generals) to grapple with strategic concepts is a result of the United States' post-Cold War unipolar moment. When there's only one superpower, geopolitics and the need for international balancing fall by the wayside.

The only component of national security policy Mattis discusses in his op-ed is America's system of alliances, which he believes is the key to our preeminence on the world stage. "Returning to a strategic stance that includes the interests of as many nations as we can make common cause with, we can better deal with this imperfect world we occupy together," he writes.

"Mattis, like virtually all of his four-star peers, is a reactionary, fighting every day against the forces of change in modern warfare," counters Colonel Douglas Macgregor, who served 28 years in the U.S. Army. "He lives in denial of the technological breakthroughs that make the World War II force structure (that he as SecDef insisted on funding) an expensive tribute to the past."

Mattis muses that the Department of Defense "budget [is] larger than the GDPs of all but two dozen countries." Yet having acknowledged that disparity, how can such underpowered foreign nations possibly contribute to American security?

"He has that line in there about bringing as many guns as possible to a gun fight. What are those guns?" asked Barndollar. For example, the British Royal Navy is the United States' most significant allied naval force. But the United Kingdom has only seven vessels stationed in the Persian Gulf and they're "stretched to the absolute limit to do that."

"Our problem has been double-edged," says Davis of America's reliance on others. "On the one hand, we try to bludgeon a lot of our allies to do what we want irrespective of their interests as an asset. And then simultaneously, especially in previous administrations, we've almost gone too far [in] the other direction: 'we'll subordinate our interests for yours.'"

"[W]hen you shave it all down, his problem with being the epitome of establishment Washington is that he sees the alliance as the end, not as a means to an end," says Davis. "The means should be to the end of improving American security and supporting our interests."

Sjursen says:

Mattis's view is the old Einstein adage: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity." Well that's all he's proposed. He has no new or creative solutions. For him, it's stay the course, more of the same, stay in place, fight the terrorists, maintain the illegitimate and corrupt governments that we back. That's what he's been talking about for 18 years. It's all the same interventionist dogma that's failed us over and over again since September 12, 2001.

"In the two years he was in office, what did he do that changed anything? He was a caretaker of the status quo. That's the bottom line," says Davis, adding, "you need somebody in that job especially that is willing to take some chances and some risk and is willing to honestly look at 18 consecutive years of failure and say, 'We're not doing that anymore. We're going to do something different.' And that just never happened."

Barndollar is more generous in his estimation of Mattis: "He needs to be lauded for standing for his principles, ultimately walking away when he decided he could no longer execute U.S. national security policy. I give him all the credit for that, for doing it I think in a relatively good manner, and for trying to do his best to stay above the fray and refuse to be dragged in at a partisan level to this point."

Mattis ends his Wall Street Journal op-ed by recounting a vignette from the 2010 Battle of Marjah, where he spoke with two soldiers on the front lines and in good cheer. But his story didn't sit well with Sjursen, who says it encapsulates Mattis' inability to ask the bigger questions: "He never talks about how those charming soldiers with the can-do attitude maybe shouldn't have been there at all. Maybe the mission that they were asked to do was ill-informed, ill-advised, and potentially unwinnable."

All this suggests that a fair evaluation of Mattis is as a soldier who is intelligent but unoriginal. A homegrown patriot, but one who'd like to plant the Stars and Stripes in Central Asia forever. A public servant, but one who would rather resign than serve the cause of restraint.

"By clinging to unsustainable military solutions from the distant past, he has condemned future generations of soldiers and marines to repeat disasters like Pickett's Charge," says Macgregor.

Hunter DeRensis is a reporter for The National Interest . Follow him on Twitter @HunterDeRensis .

[Sep 04, 2019] Military Intervention Isn t Humanitarian by Daniel Larison

Libya war was a pure oil grab. Pretexts always can be found.
Notable quotes:
"... Is intervention likely to impel more violence in the long term? Do policymakers actually know enough about the situation on the ground to make the "right" decisions? Is the American public willing to commit itself to years-long reconstruction efforts? Honest answers here may not sit well with idealism. In many instances, the most moral act is not to act at all. ..."
"... The most telling part of Power's career in government was that she served as ambassador to the U.N. at a time when the U.S. was enabling and supporting the Saudi coalition war on Yemen, and as part of the administration she had nothing to say about the crimes being committed against Yemeni civilians by coalition forces with U.S. military assistance and weapons. ..."
"... As Bessner notes, she doesn't have much to say about the abuses of U.S. clients in her book. She has been eager to advocate for using force against hostile or pariah regimes when they commit atrocities, but when client states use American weapons to commit the same atrocities while enjoying full U.S. backing Power didn't so much as utter a protest. After she left government and Trump became president, Power criticized U.S. support for the war, but when she was in a position to challenge a monstrous policy from inside the administration she apparently said nothing. ..."
"... And no one with enough intellectual honesty to mention that she was among the greatest enablers of Yemenis' suffering yet before the said "Tyrant" (who might be a tyrant to anyone but her social class) entered the office. Profiles in cowardice, all of them. ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Daniel Bessner has written a very interesting review of Sar's memoir, The Education of an Idealist . Here he focuses on her narrow thinking about "humanitarian" intervention:

If you accept Power's premises, then humanitarian intervention boils down to a purely philosophical inquiry: Is it right to save lives if one has the capacity to do so? The answer, of course, is yes. The problem, though, is that intervention is not a thought experiment; it takes place in a world of brutal realities. In particular, humanitarian forces confront radical uncertainty. Is intervention likely to impel more violence in the long term? Do policymakers actually know enough about the situation on the ground to make the "right" decisions? Is the American public willing to commit itself to years-long reconstruction efforts? Honest answers here may not sit well with idealism. In many instances, the most moral act is not to act at all.

Can military intervention ever be humanitarian? It may be possible in theory, but as Bessner notes it doesn't work that way in practice. "Humanitarian" interventionists want the wars they support to be judged by their intentions to save lives and not by the results of ensuing chaos, instability, and violence. Taking sides in foreign conflicts inevitably means deciding that our government should end the lives of some people that have done nothing to us because we have concluded that it is the right thing to do. That takes for granted that our government has the right to act as judge and executioner in other people's wars simply because we have the power to affect the outcome. When we think about "humanitarian" intervention this way, we can see that it is driven by the worst kind of arrogant presumption. The first question we should ask is this: what gives us the authority to interfere in another country's internal conflict? We should also ask ourselves what gives us the right to cast aside international law whenever we deem it necessary. Isn't "humanitarian" intervention in practice little more than international armed vigilantism?

The Libyan war is one example of just such a "good" intervention that pretty clearly caused more harm than it prevented. It also violated most of the requirements of the "responsibility to protect" doctrine that was invoked to justify it. Like more than a few other die-hard Libyan war supporters, Power remains convinced that it was the right decision, because she doesn't ask the questions that would force her to confront the harm that the intervention did to Libya and the surrounding region. Bessner comments:

Power never really asked these questions, because ultimately, as the historian Stephen Wertheim has argued, she considers humanitarian intervention a categorical imperative (as long as it doesn't involve U.S. allies, of course).

That last qualification is an important one, and it gets at the heart of what is wrong with "humanitarian" interventionism in the U.S. and the West. If a government is considered to be on "our" side, it can commit war crimes with impunity, devastate whole countries, and starve tens of millions of people, and the most vocal "humanitarian" interventionists will usually have nothing to say about it. I have remarked on several occasions that "humanitarian" interventionists just ignored the catastrophe in Yemen despite the fact that it was the world's worst man-made humanitarian disaster, and it has only been in the last year or two that any of them have spoken up about it now that it is Trump's policy.

The most telling part of Power's career in government was that she served as ambassador to the U.N. at a time when the U.S. was enabling and supporting the Saudi coalition war on Yemen, and as part of the administration she had nothing to say about the crimes being committed against Yemeni civilians by coalition forces with U.S. military assistance and weapons.

As Bessner notes, she doesn't have much to say about the abuses of U.S. clients in her book. She has been eager to advocate for using force against hostile or pariah regimes when they commit atrocities, but when client states use American weapons to commit the same atrocities while enjoying full U.S. backing Power didn't so much as utter a protest. After she left government and Trump became president, Power criticized U.S. support for the war, but when she was in a position to challenge a monstrous policy from inside the administration she apparently said nothing.

Bessner observes that railing against hostile and pariah states while letting clients off the hook makes no sense if the goal is to minimize the harm to civilians:

Her approach does not make much sense from a pragmatic perspective either: U.S. officials have the highest likelihood of ending human rights abuses in countries that depend on us; there is little point in spending political capital in a mostly quixotic attempt to transform antagonists like North Korea.

Of course, it is much safer politically to denounce the states with which our government has no ties or influence, and it is much easier to remain silent about the crimes of client states that have significant clout in Washington. The point here is not just that Power failed her own test when she served in government, but that the impulse to intervene on "humanitarian" grounds amounts to agitating for war against certain governments while giving U.S. clients a free pass to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity with our government's blessing.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) 5 hours ago

There's yet one more reason to why she wasn't saying anything about Yemen when in office beside the one that it were her guys who directed that war then. Perhaps less phony, but, I'd rather say, more tragic. It's much easier to criticize someone for neglecting his duties than not to neglect those duties when you've got them yourself.

I almost see those lemmings on her Twitter chirping: 'Oh, you're so brave, you're standing up to the Terrible Orange Tyrant.' (Not that the "Tyrant" was even aware that she's standing up to him).

And no one with enough intellectual honesty to mention that she was among the greatest enablers of Yemenis' suffering yet before the said "Tyrant" (who might be a tyrant to anyone but her social class) entered the office. Profiles in cowardice, all of them.

[Aug 31, 2019] Another Operation Idlib Dawn Update - TTG - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Aug 31, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Another Operation Idlib Dawn Update - TTG SAA-Tiger-Forces-in-southern-Raqqa

Things have been going swimmingly for the SAA for the last couple of weeks. Initial SAA operations were characterized by slow going with jihadi counterattacks often succeeding. This was to be expected. The jihadis have been concentrating in the Idlib area for years, replenishing, refitting and preparing defenses. SAA operations were frequently halted by unexplainable ceasefires. But the combined air attacks by Syrian and Russian air assets and SAA indirect fire finally took their toll on the jihadis. The result was the encirclement of Khan Sheikhoun and all the jihadis south of there. The resulting cauldron was quickly reduced leaving the Turkish observation post at Morek surrounded by SAA and Russian troops. I bet the Turks feel silly sitting there. Operation Idlib Dawn continues.

-- -- -- -- --

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies have secured the key town of al-Tamanah in the southeastern countryside of Idlib. In the early hours of August 30, the army was able to besiege the remaining militants inside the town after capturing the northeastern hill of Soukaiyate and the northwestern hill of Sidi Ali. After securing the town, the SAA began a new push in the western direction, capturing the hilltops of Jabal Saghir, Turki and Sidi Jaffar.

Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the al-Qaeda-affiliated Wa Harid al-Muminin operations room and the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL) attempted to hold onto their positions in al-Tamanah and its surroundings with their full strengths.

Pro-government sources are now claiming that the SAA will continue its operation and advance towards the city of Ma`arat al-Nu`man. However, this is yet to be confirmed. (South Front)

-- -- -- -- --

Al Tamanah lies about six miles east of Khan Shaikhoun. Its capture by the SAA secures the recent gains spearheaded by the Tiger Force or I should say the SAA's new 25th Special Forces Division as the Tiger Force is now called. As part of the new name, the 25th is now fully integrated into the SAA command rather than being a militia force affiliated with Syrian Air Force Intelligence. This is a wise move undoubtedly orchestrated by the Russian advisors. There is no change in leadership within the 25th and probably no major organizational changes. What this does is normalize the Tiger Force and improve command/control and logistical support.

The real question is what's next for Operation Idlib Dawn. Will the SAA move to take Kabani and the al Ghaab Plain or will the 25th Division spearhead a drive up the M5 to Ma`arat al-Nu`man? I don't know and neither do the jihadis. That's the way it should be. Slap a violent surprise on those sons of bitches.

Today the Russian Reconciliation Center announced another one sided ceasefire. These are exasperating to this observer. However, there may be a good reason for this. The Khan Sheikhoun cauldron collapsed quickly, perhaps too quickly. I saw no reports of jihadis streaming northward to avoid the encirclement. Perhaps they went to ground in tunnels, caves and among the locals. This hidden enemy must be dug out and exterminated in order to eliminate the possibility of an ugly surprise when the SAA does move north to liberate more of Idlib governorate.

I hope the SAA doesn't move too cautiously, though. The jihadi defenses appear to be rapidly collapsing and their ability to counterattack appears to be near gone. The SAA should not allow them to recover once again. Fortune favors the bold.

TTG

https://southfront.org/syrian-army-secures-al-tamanah-captures-three-new-hilltops-west-of-it-map-photos/

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/tiger-forces-renamed-and-placed-under-command-of-syrian-army/

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/ceasefire-announced-in-northern-syria-after-syrian-army-captures-new-town-in-idlib/


Unhinged Citizen , 31 August 2019 at 12:09 AM

I was waiting for this update!

Footage by ANNA News of the fighting culminating in the capture of KS doesn't really indicate any major resistance by the jihadists groups. It's my suspicion that they were either permitted to slip out of the cauldron or simply did so using seeing the greater operational situation and given several days that the M5 highway remained open to them.

And let's hope the integration of the Tigers gets them into some sort of regular uniform and equipment, because they look like a raggedy-ass militia with their worn down vehicles and technicals.

The Syrian army around Kabani has showed poor, un-inspired leadership and their elements near Kabani have spent months with no progress. Very frustrating.

The Twisted Genius -> Unhinged Citizen... , 31 August 2019 at 09:14 AM
Unhinged, the last thing I want to see is the Tiger Force soldiers saddled with 50 lbs of body armor and battery operated gizmos. That raggedy-ass light infantry working with the thermal sight equipped T-90 tanks and field modified technicals is a deadly combination. I'd be proud to serve with them as they are.
JohninMK said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 31 August 2019 at 10:32 AM
More helmets would seem a prudent move.
Johnb , 31 August 2019 at 02:50 AM
I would guess the ceasefires are to do with the politics of the operation, at some point an awful lot of Jihadi's are logically going to be rounded up, what's to be done with them ? Turkey appears to have closed its borders to any retreat into Turkey. I understand that a significant number of those left are foreign fighters, are they to be sent back whence they came, will the home state be willing to accept them, China might for the ~18k Uigher, or will they. Hard choices, difficult politics.
Ghost Ship , 31 August 2019 at 05:16 AM
As Clausewitz said "war is the mere continuation of politics by other means", now the Russians and Syrians (no Iranians, Hezbollah, Iraqi PMU or Yemeni Houthis) will go back to doing the "politics". Yesterday's protests at the al-Bab Crossing are the start of that. Erdogan has shown he'll cast all the jihadists aside except perhaps for TIP, so they can stay in Idlib and face certain death, they can try going underground in Turkey, or they can establish ratlines and escape back to the whence they came -provided that's not Russia, do the Russians care?
As for the encirclement south of Khan Sheikyhun, leaving the door open for a few days allowed all the jihadists to escape - I seem to recall looking at a map of the conflict before going to work one day and finding that the encirclement had ceased to exist except for the Turkish outpost when I got home that evening. HTS had quite obviously failed to make their promised stand. They have lost in Syria and they know it. Like East Aleppo and Douma, there will be no last minute "miracles" but they'll most likely remember who failed them in the end.
BTW, I bet Erdogan regrets that he allowed that Russian jet to be shot down. The subliminal message, "don't fuck with the Russians".
turcopolier , 31 August 2019 at 09:14 AM
Ghost Ship

It was actually WEST Aleppo that the R+6 re=took from the jihadis. The government never lost control of EAST Aleppo. I remain convinced that the basic motivating factor for Erdo and co. is neo-Ottoman irredentism in Syria and he will settle for what he can get there. If Idlib is not possible, then something less, all the while talking about terrorists. The recent retirement of several Turkish generals who did nt wish to serve in Syria says a lot.

Ghost Ship said in reply to turcopolier ... , 31 August 2019 at 09:58 AM
Aleppo offensive

As for Erdogan, I agree he's suffering a severe case of neo-Ottoman irredentism. I think Putin is supplying suitable medication.

turcopolier , 31 August 2019 at 09:30 AM
johnB

Jihadis captured in Syria? I suggest drum-head courts martial in the field. These creatures wish to face God and abjure the rights of Man. They should be sent to what they imagine will be their reward.

turcopolier , 31 August 2019 at 09:40 AM
TTG

The campaign to re-capture the whole province should continue apace. "A beaten enemy must be pursued." IMO an effort in the Ghaab Plain should be a secondary line of advance with the main effort along the axis of the M5. The government has a lot of militia forces that can be used to clean up behind the spearheads.

JohninMK , 31 August 2019 at 10:35 AM
The reports I saw at the time said that the terrorists were streaming south out of Khan Sheikyhun as the town was cut off, so your assumption that they went to ground could be a good one.
ISL , 31 August 2019 at 10:35 AM
TTG, moon of alabama (b) suggests Turkey has cut off weapons to the idlib jihadi's and is clearly attempting to prevent entry into Turkey (being invited to purchase Su-57s after the US blocked Turkey from joining the F-35 boondoggle seems to have swung the current Turkish allegiance).

Good point of many militia's for cleanup allowing pursuit. Do you think the situation is such that hard pursuit would create a culmination point?

----
Separately, I wonder if the wooing of Turkey was a strategic Russian goal (and thus Syria's by default) that drove the decision to very slowly and cautiously liberate Idlib while busing jihadi's from around the country there as Reconciliation ceasefires - I recall Colonel Lang had recommended speedy liberation of Idlib to block the Turkish land grab.

OTH, the US has certainly done its best to push Turkey away in its (Israeli favored) policy of supporting the Kurds (and ineffectively harassing Assad from the east - ineffective as the US seldom now conducts aerial operations worth braggin' about these months - too much Russian EW.

IMO US strategic mistakes have been to Israel's (short-term) advantage.

[Aug 29, 2019] https://off-guardian.org/2019/08/26/suddenly-western-regime-changes-keep-failing/

Aug 29, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Aiwl

Restricting the freedom of Xinjiang jihadis is a thorn in the backside of the criminals in Washington as they see their ability to brainwash, recruit and train more terrorists from the area is hugely reduced.

One of the cancers that needs to be eliminated is the propaganda device called VOA, voice of america. It needs to be dealt with and eliminated from all Asian countries. Even today, in VietNam, there are brainaltered creatures who listen to VOA and believe that the US is a force for freedom and democracy.

vexarb

Andre: "Suddenly "

You wrote of course "Suddenly" as shorthand for 7 years of blood sweat and tears by the Axis of Resistance (Syria, Hezb'Allah, Iran and Russia). Preceded by decades of individual resistance before these Allies came together in a united front.

"A thousand years is but the blink of an eyelid to The Lord". -- Old Testament

mark
Cue more crocodile tears for "the poor Uighurs" from the same people who killed half a million Iraqi children under 5 in Iraq.
mark
I'm just a suspicious of stories about 6 million moslem Uighurs in concentration camps being turned into lamp soap and shades from the same people who are currently waging a hybrid war against China, and who are obviously so, so concerned about the welfare of moslems.
uncle tungsten
The USA is soooo concerned about theUighurs that it totally forgot to reserve some concern for the Venezuelan people that it is currently starving and denying national wealth to so they can purchase hospitals, expand education services build new infrastructure etc.

The USA has so much concern that even its poodle over the Atlantic at airstrip one has stolen the Venezuelan people's gold so they cannot improve health services, expand education etc etc. The five eyes look on approvingly and should any vassal blink then the USA will simply push up the price of oil as punishment. That increase will not affect the USA as it continues to stripmine the wealth of its future generations to achieve self sufficiency right now.

[Aug 26, 2019] CONFIRMED US Still Training Large Number of Rebels in Southern Syria - 21st Century Wire

Aug 26, 2019 | 21stcenturywire.com

DAMASCUS – The Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) of the US-led international coalition fighting Daesh* has confirmed to Sputnik that the coalition was training the armed rebel group, Maghawir al-Thawra, near Syria's Al-Tanf, stressing that the group was efficient in countering Daesh.

"Coalition partner forces in the vicinity of Al-Tanf, Syria are the Maghawir al-Thawra. The MaT has demonstrated its effectiveness in interdicting Daesh and maintaining security within the Al-Tanf de-confliction zone. We will continue to train and advise coalition forces in the vicinity of Al-Tanf in pursuit of the enduring defeat of Daesh and to set conditions for regional stability", the CJTF-OIR said, commenting on Rudskoy's statement.

The Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, Col. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy, said on Monday that the United States was training 2,700 militants from the Syrian opposition group in the vicinity of the 55-kilometre (34-mile) US-controlled zone around its unauthorised military base in Syria's Al-Tanf .

Rudskoy also stated that the US Air Force was sending some of the militants to the east bank of the Euphrates River upon completing the training.

According to the chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, the militants were tasked with carrying out attacks targeting government forces and also destroying oil and gas infrastructure facilities.

In December of last year, US President Donald Trump stated that he had decided to withdraw troops from Syria promising to bring about 2,000 US servicemen back home. The reason for the move, according to him, was the defeat of the Daesh terrorist group in Syria. However, no exact deadline for the return of the troops has been revealed by US officials yet.


Richard Aahs Michael 22 days ago ,

Yes, and to think we started it.

EmilyEnso Richard Aahs 21 days ago ,

Depressing reading.
Horrific actually
https://www.zerohedge.com/n...

Michael Richard Aahs 22 days ago ,

We have the power to bring peace and prosperity to that region or unleash the dogs of war. We chose the latter while China is choosing the former.
soon China's commercial presence in the Middle East will eclipse America. I hope that happens soon for the good of everyone.

verner 24 days ago • edited ,

typical of the dysfunctional states of A, throwing good money (well well) after bad when it's hard to accept defeat and defeat they will face, in Afghanistan, in Iran and in Syria and in Yemen and in Venezuela. tough to be the party that has a) listed the greatest number of wars and also lists the greatest number of defeats. but, on the other hand, perpetual war is good for shareholders in the mic but not so much for the average tax paying under-educated american.

all they, the washington dc morons, need to do is to let go of the squatters, to tend for themselves and spend half of the pentagon cash at home, in infrastructure projects and health services and education and matters will be rectified in heartbeat. but no, not as long as the washington dc morons have sold out the country to the squatters and their fifth columns, like sheldon adelson and athers of that ilk.

[Aug 25, 2019] Khan Shaykhun and all surrounding villages are now liberated

Aug 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

BM , Aug 25 2019 15:02 utc | 4

Syria - Army Cuts Off Khan Shaykhun - Russia Bombs Turkish Reinforcement

Khan Shaykhun and all surrounding villages are now liberated. There was little resistance left as most of the Jihadis had slipped out of the encirclement before it closed. The Syrian army is now concentrating forces to go further north towards Maarat al-Numan. The preparing bombing campaign is ongoing.

Last night Israel bombed a Hezbullah workshop south of Damascus. Three Hizbullah engineers were killed and two were wounded. Additionally an Israeli short-range drone landed on Hizbullah's media office in Beirut, Lebanon. A second drone, probably sent to destroy the first one, appeared and exploded. No one was hurt. The drone operators must have been relatively nearby, most likely on some boat off Beirut.

Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah addressed Israel in his July 12 speech: "You kill one of our own in Syria and we will respond and respond from Lebanon." Nasrallah, who tends to hold his promises, is due to speak today at 17:00 local time. Expect some fireworks ...

Maj. Danny Sjursen: We're Listening to the Wrong Voices on Syria - TruthDig

August 21 - Anti-China Cult Gets U.S. Government Money - Runs Large Pro-Trump Ad Campaign

August 23 - U.S. Says Israel Bombed Iraq - With Update Elijah Magnier reports that Israel is most likely behind this: Who is Behind Blowing up Ammunition Warehouses in Iraq? Iran is the Target. I still have my doubts about that.

August 24 - U.S. Decoupling From China Forces Others To Decouple From U.S.

The text of Mark Carney's Jackson Hole speech: The Growing Challenges for Monetary Policy in the current International Monetary and Financial System

Khan Shaykhun and all surrounding villages are now liberated. There was little resistance left as most of the Jihadis had slipped out of the encirclement before it closed. The Syrian army is now concentrating forces to go further north towards Maarat al-Numan. The preparing bombing campaign is ongoing.

At the time the cauldron was not yet closed, I think the most natural reflection from outside would be that the SAA wanted to hold as many of the Jihadis in the cauldron as possible and then remove them from the balance sheet of the military equation, as it were. That, if I understand correctly, is how a cauldron would traditionally be used. But seeing as the Jihadis had built up extra-strong defences on their southern boundary (and all the Idleb boundaries?) and were relying heavily on the success of those defences, I would take it that the SAA aim was in fact somewhat different - let the jihadis escape from the cauldron so that the cauldron can be quickly stabilised, and the breach of the defences quickly set is stone so that reserve forces can quickly push northwards from Khan Shaykhun where the defenses are minimal, and thereby quickly roll up a large area of jihadi-occupied territory without problems of remaining jihadis in their rear. The M5 is then simultaneously transport medium for the roll-up, raison de non-être for major defences, transport medium for reinforcements and for defence against re-occupation, and vehicle for the next cauldron - everything to the east of the M5 (up to ... no idea). Expect the next cauldron pretty soon, I say, probably a big one. The reserve forces have been waiting immediately to the south of the first cauldron, I understand, now they will swing into action through Khan Shaykhun.

pppp , Aug 25 2019 15:17 utc | 5

@BM
Yes, it is not the situation where SAA kept a cauldron not fully closed for a couple days. See earlier Idlib campaign. It seems to implement a "golden bridge to escape"

[Aug 21, 2019] Syria - Army Cuts Off Khan Shaykhun - Russia Bombs Turkish Reinforcement

Aug 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Aug 19 2019 23:00 utc | 26

I'm inclined to agree with James @ 21 and some others that President Erdogan would like to cut the takfiris in Idlib province loose, since most of them are not originally Turkish citizens anyway but have come from Central Asia and western China (Xinjiang province) on false Turkish passports and moreover brought their families and are bringing them up in their extremist ways. The foot-dragging delay that Turkey has made over the past year or so in clearing out Idlib, to the extent that the Russians and Syrians must have lost patience with Ankara as far back as last century, could be explained by Turkey's reluctance and inability to take these Central Asians and Uyghurs into its own territory and resettle them without their causing problems for its own people.

Turkey's purchase of the S-400 missile defence systems from Russia probably makes little difference to the situation in Idlib or northern Syria because the systems are designed to defend against NATO weapons, not Russian ones. Also, where have the systems been placed in Turkey? Are they around the capital Ankara or Erdogan's hometown Istanbul or the country's borders? If they are around the city where Erdogan spends most of his time, then he is afraid of another US-made coup against him.

Canthama , Aug 19 2019 23:05 utc | 27

The turkish regime military convoy was roughly for show, no one believe 28 vehicles would change a thing against thousands of SAA soldiers and well equipped, the Turkish regime gambled and lost big time, but on the eyes of their terrorists it may actually worked out, at least to some of them...on the other side, expect terrorists to kill each other as well, the loss of all northern Hama will cost them immensely, this was a frontline built for years, a sort of terrorists' maginot line, which si gone for good, meaning Inside Idlib Province there is no major frontlines, which tends to equate to faster liberation at lower cost by the SAA.

The pincer move was instrumental and well executed by the SAA, forcing the terrorists to flee the cauldron which is exactly what happened today.

The turkish backed terrorists were badly defeated in the past 2-3 days but they are still a dangerous force, equipped by Turkey with thousands of ATGM/TOWs and MANPADS, the offensive will continue, though there is a delay from Kabanah, without controlling Kabanah the SAA can not attempt a larger pincer move...down the hill from Kabanah on the M4 and a new frontline to be open near Saraqib.

God bless the SAA and its heroes, alive or martyred, they are doing a favor to all humanity.

Stever , Aug 19 2019 23:12 utc | 28

ISIS Is Regaining Strength in Iraq and Syria

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/19/us/politics/isis-iraq-syria.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Can anyone make sense of this NYTimes propaganda piece - the usual suspect Eric Schmitt is one of the authors. They really don't want the US to leave.

Perhaps someone here with a NYTimes account can provide a good response if they put comment up?

Hoarsewhisperer , Aug 19 2019 23:27 utc | 30
One imagines that the Yankees squatting on Syria's oil resources will be 'reviewing their options'. It'd be Karmic if Syria's Spook Service could persuade some jihadis to eliminate the Yankee cancer in return for amnesty/ repatriation...
Bobby , Aug 19 2019 23:42 utc | 31
If I am advising Mr President Assad , I will tell him to inform Putin and Iran leaders to help him get all of his lands including Adlib , north eastern Syria by putting pressure on Turkey and the USA . Or he will go and meet with Mr Trump , May be he will get a better deal with a peace with Israel and the USA .
He and the Syrian people will be better off with this scenario unless immediate help from Iran and Russia to do as above and supply the country with petroleum and basic needs .
The Syrian citizens waiting hours to get basic life support including gasoline for their cars and heat for their homes.
Enough is enough , it seems to me that Putin and Khamenei have other interests .
vk , Aug 19 2019 23:51 utc | 32
Turkey's problem (since Erdogan's rise to power) is the same as Germany's: it still thinks it has a viable shot at being an empire (which, in the modern sense of the word would mean one of the "poles" in the new multipolar order).

At least Germany has the Euro Zone and a legacy of a (for now) strong export base in value terms. Turkey is just a neoliberal banana republic a la Brazil who happened to be blessed with what may be the best geopolitical geographic position of our post-war era.

Kadath , Aug 20 2019 0:18 utc | 34
@ Stever #28,

I would say the article is trying to do two things, embarrass Trump by implying that he "failed to destroy Isis" and remind Americans that they must stay in Iraq and Syria forever to "fight" Isis. Imperial thinking and Trump Derangement syndrome have infected the political class completely now, they simply are incapable of thinking of anything except expanding the empire and taking down what Trump represents to his blue collar followers.

durlin , Aug 20 2019 0:24 utc | 35
To Stever, read Operation Gladio, Oded Yinon Plan and Operation Timber Sycamore, this is all for the benefit of Israhell.
Igor Bundy , Aug 20 2019 0:24 utc | 36
Russain aviation terrorize Militants

TANKS- 37 Destroyed, captured, or damaged.

BMPs- 18 Destroyed, captured, or damaged.

TRUCKS- 9 Destroyed, captured, or damaged

APCs- 29 Destroyed, captured, or damaged.

BULLDOZERS- 4 Destroyed, captured, or damaged

MLRS SYSTEMS/VEHICLES- 8 Destroyed, captured, or damaged.

MOTORBIKES- 4 Destroyed, captured, or damaged.

TECHNICALS- 117 Destroyed, captured, or damaged.

UNKNOWN VEHICLES- 12 Destroyed, captured, or damaged. 5 Armored.

PANTERA APCs- 3 Destroyed, captured, or damaged. (correct name provided by u/Woofers_MacBarkFloof)

BVP-1 TYPES- 2 Destroyed, captured, or damaged

2S1 GVOZDIKA- 1 Destroyed, captured, or damaged

LARGE ARTILLERY- 3 Destroyed, captured, or damaged.

HUMVEES- 2 Destroyed, captured, or damaged

O , Aug 20 2019 0:52 utc | 39
"The leader of Faylq al-Sham, a 'Syrian rebel' group controlled by the Turkish intelligence service, was escorting the Turkish army convoy in a technical. He was killed. No Turkish soldiers were harmed. The convoy stopped and will have to return to Turkey. The tanks and the ammunition will not reach the jihadis in Khan Shaykhun."


What comical bullshit was it not just last month Turkey and Russia furthering partnershship were going to "tip the scales in the Middle East?"


"Senators are now urging President Donald Trump to slap sanctions on Turkey. Erdogan "has chosen a perilous partnership
with (Putin) at the expense of Turkey's security, economic prosperity and the integrity of the NATO alliance," four senators, including chairmen of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a bipartisan statement last week."


It seems Jen, James and AtaBrit have brains Erdy letting his hired guns get killed on purpose so he does't have to pay them anymore and keeps his hands cleaned when they are forever removed from the payroll.
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/17/how-us-sanctions-on-turkey-over-russian-s400-deal-could-backfire.html

What Turkey's S-400 missile deal with Russia means for Nato
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48620087

Jen , Aug 20 2019 1:10 utc | 40
Atabrit @ 29:

I must confess I hadn't made the connection you seem to have made - that a second US-made coup against Erdogan would be made by the very takfiris he has cultivated over the years, among others. The purchase of the S-400 missile defence systems might therefore be one part of a strategy Erdogan is creating to protect himself against a hydra monster he helped create.

AtaBrit , Aug 20 2019 1:35 utc | 41
@Jen | 40
Not sure where the S-400s will be placed or whom they'll be used against - might just be a showpiece purchase for Russia - but the issue of the jihadists swarming into Turkey is ooenly discussed in Turkey and is definitely a security threat. (Of course no one in Turkey openly makes the connection that they are indeed Turkey's own proxies!))))
Gerard , Aug 20 2019 1:56 utc | 42
Now that the SAA are making big gains retaking Idlib it's time to use Chemical Weapons so Trump can launch another missile attach.
J Swift , Aug 20 2019 3:23 utc | 43
I concur that Ergodan is the quintessential weasel and will say anything and use anyone if he thinks it will help him gain power (or at this point, hang on to it). I don't believe he wants these radical head choppers in Turkey, he wants them to die while looking like he's "got their back." When I hear that a terrorist leader was killed but not a single Turk, it really smells like this was theater from the start, and the Turkish military may well have tipped off the Russians with all the details of this little excursion, asking them to please take out the lead vehicle but nothing else so that they could go home. This would also explain the presence of RuAF in the attack--normally if there was a risk of accidentally striking Turks, the Russians would probably prefer the SAAF carry out the strike, but if the fix was in, and what was needed was ultra-high precision, you'd want Russian's and their most accurate guided weapons for the strike.

I can't help but notice over and over that the terrorists seem absolutely unable to grasp the concept of defense-in-depth. They fight like the devils they are from their Western-prepared tunnels and front lines, but once broken and relying upon their own skills, they seem to have nothing.

james , Aug 20 2019 3:25 utc | 44
@43 j swift... i concur... same take as mine, lol... erdogan better watch his ass.. mind you, he probably has russia watching it for him..
michaelj72 , Aug 20 2019 5:20 utc | 47
the plot thickens

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/russian-su-35-jets-allegedly-intercepted-turkish-warplanes-over-idlib/

almasdar news reports that 2 Russian fighter jets intercepted and forced to retreat some Turkish war planes from over the southern countryside of the Idlib Governorate , near the action at Khan Sheikhoun - those turks skidaddled from Syria pretty fast.

I don't think these comments about the military re-supply attempt by the turks to the jihadists being a ruse of some sort are not accurate

chu teh , Aug 20 2019 6:00 utc | 50
BM @ 5:57
wiki "A technical is a light improvised fighting vehicle, typically an open-backed civilian pickup truck or four-wheel drive vehicle mounting a heavy weapon, such as a machine gun, anti-aircraft gun, rotary cannon, anti-tank weapon, anti-tank gun, ATGM, mortar, howitzer, multiple rocket launcher, or recoilless rifle, etc"
chu teh , Aug 20 2019 6:05 utc | 51 Grieved , Aug 20 2019 6:14 utc | 52
@46 Jen - "wherewithal to be able to survive or figure out things on their own"

They're not on their own. Officers of the empire are with them, to the extent they can guide them, preserve them and re-deploy them. That extent is not absolute. There will be losses.

It would be useful to see analysis on the strength and demographics of the irregular terrorist forces available for the use of the rich and privileged throughout this world and time. That would make a nice discussion.

Larchmonter over at the Saker says that the US has a quarter of a million terrorist/contractors at its disposal. As we have seen, it tries to save all the fighters it can, but only as a resource for further mayhem. And it seems the impressive logistical capacity of the Pentagon exists in part to move these pawns across the entire board at need. And my thought is that we seem to live in an age where these people will fight because they have nowhere else to go, no matter their previous situation, and no matter how harsh the present terms. So that force cannot be dissipated except by death.

This said, it also seems clear that an indigenous fighting force such as the SAA - aided by its allies with all their various weapons - cannot any longer be overcome by all these contractors, if this is all there are.

If all the world can supply is 250,000 amoral fighters to be brought into fighting shape as an army - and a hunch tells me this is all the world can supply - then all the aggravations can be slapped aside by the locals, such as Hezbollah and the Houthi and the SAA and the PMU of Iraq. Not to mention the IRGC of Iran and the PLA of China and the Russian Armed Forces.

And all these national and indigenous forces are joining together in mutual security pacts.

~~

Frankly, many of us were surprised and overwhelmed by the size of the ISIS force when it first appeared in its Toyota caravan of plunder - because who could have thought a non-state actor such as the CIA could afford such an army? But I think this will not take any of the general staffs of the axis by surprise in the future, and the goal will be to whittle down the numbers of these forces at every chance.

And eventually there will be more dead of these tormented beings than alive.

And there will be the peace.

imo , Aug 20 2019 7:07 utc | 53
@52 "It would be useful to see analysis on the strength and demographics of the irregular terrorist forces available for the use of the rich and privileged throughout this world and time. That would make a nice discussion."

Attended a conference back a decade where at a German professor set out his stats and thesis on the (at the time) ME issues. The major correlation with 'troubles' was to the number of 2nd+ born males. 1st born are kept back to get the 'farm' and continue lineage etc. The remainder are sent off to find their fortune or disappear etc. Sounded plausible at the time and supported by fertility stats. Once 1st son and lineage is at risk then peace magically breaks out. I never followed it up but if would be interesting to see the demographics of the current round of ME and European invasions. Odds-on they are mainly 2nd-3rd sons on the loose etc. Happy to be corrected with facts.

Clueless Joe , Aug 20 2019 8:27 utc | 56
imo - 53
"The major correlation with 'troubles' was to the number of 2nd+ born males. 1st born are kept back to get the 'farm' and continue lineage etc. The remainder are sent off to find their fortune or disappear etc. Sounded plausible at the time and supported by fertility stats. Once 1st son and lineage is at risk then peace magically breaks out."
To an extent, this is what fuelled the crusades back between 1100 and early 1200s - then the toll of both crusades and growing inter-European wars put a stop to it -, and what fuelled Spanish conquest of America (and most possibly previous Reconquista).
Arioch , Aug 20 2019 9:18 utc | 60
I can't help but notice over and over that the terrorists seem absolutely unable to grasp the concept of defense-in-depth.

Posted by: J Swift | Aug 20 2019 3:23 utc

D-i-D is a rather expensive gadget.
Actually they had it, in the prime time of ISIS.
Remember 2015 - many months, after arraiving - Russian AirForce was doing what? Bombing out the depots, the logistic paths, the storngholds. While frontlines were more or less standing still. RAF did not offered air support for gorund offensive. It was just boringly and methodically blasting depots. IOW RuAF was wipoing off that very defense in depth.

Will ISIS pretend a state again and defence into D-i-D infrastructure again - what you would see is probably the same as it was in 2015: frontlines stop moving and "heavy gear" starts flying like Tu-22M, Tu-95 and Kalibr.
Since D-i-D installations does not fight back to the bombs falling from a-high, it would actually a good think to Syria and friends if wakhabi would try to rebuild their D-i-d thingies.

Arioch , Aug 20 2019 9:49 utc | 61
This said, it also seems clear that an indigenous fighting force such as the SAA - aided by its allies with all their various weapons - cannot any longer be overcome by all these contractors, if this is all there are.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 20 2019 6:14 utc

It is not about "any longer", they never could. They are by their origin guerilleros, who can inflict "thousand cuts" but can not claim land control like regular armies do.

It was why US and French army had to war in Libya, destroying Libyan army before "rebels" could take power, calling their invasion "no fly zones".
It was why US invaded Iraq, where Hussein (Baathist like Assad and remnant of the same United Arab Republic dream) and his army never let ISIS (maiden name Al Qaeda in Iraq, before west-helped rebranding) raise their head up, so USA had to destroy that army.
It was why NATO invaded Serbia to gave Kosovo Liberation "Army" air support.
It was why USA and friends did and still occasionally do bomb Syrian army units and installations, and Clinton made war with Russia promise part of her public election interview, using the same fake term from Libyan war.

Insane bloodthirsty headchoppers are good to terrorize civilians and held them captive, and that is what western Army can no do so well because they need to pretend wearing "white gloves". But to do it efficiently they need to be matched agaisnt civilians, not against army. And that is where NATO kicks in, preemptively destroying everyone who would offer resistance to Al Qaeda and co. Then they resupply Al Qaeda on their military bases, like they did in Mosul in summer 2014, when SAA seemed to overcome initial Al Qaeda inroads and started to pushing them outside.

AtaBrit , Aug 20 2019 10:24 utc | 64
@michaelj72 | 47
Turkey is a master of distraction so I'd wait and see what happens. Don't forget that Erodgan creates an entire parallel reality for Turkish consumption- hence complete media control - , this may be part of it. (Remember Bahceli's comment about Erdogan "bombing empty mountains" in NIraq?)

@C I eh? | 18
Interesting point about Erdogan transitioning. We are already seeing signs of another transformation. There was even talk about a new AK Party. Need to remember that he is first and foremost a mafia head. He will protect himself and his own. Also he doesn't have many scapegoat candidates left, but Bahceli himself may be next ...)))

michaelj72 , Aug 20 2019 10:47 utc | 65
yes my sentence @47 should read:

"I don't think these comments about the military re-supply attempt by the turks to the jihadists being a ruse of some sort are accurate"

AtaBrit @64
there certainly are difference between what leaders say for public/domestic consumption and what they then say and then do for real/to other world leaders or in private.

Russia is the cat, and Erdogan is the king of rats ....trying to run around/outsmart or outflank the cat at Khan Shaykhun. I doubt it will work... the Russian and syrian militaries drew the line by bombing that convoy

another source - Aug 19, 2019 13:11:49
https://en.muraselon.com/2019/08/syrian-air-force-strikes-turkish-convoy-in-south-idlib-videos/

"...Muraselon News has learned that a Turkish Army convoy, accompanied by Ankara-backed insurgents, attempting to reach the city of Khan Sheykhun was engaged by the Syrian Air Force as it passed south from Marat al-Numan on the M5 Highway in south Idlib

Sources report that an unspecified number of militants from the Free Syrian Army's Rahman Legion were caught in the strikes by Syrian warplanes and killed. It is unknown if Turkish service personnel were harmed....."


jared , Aug 20 2019 13:55 utc | 82
I thought Turkey's interest in this was in protecting against infiltration by the kurds?
I don't see why they would have interest in harrassing Syria, unless it were to serve interests of U.S.
Though I gather Erdogan is a bit of an opportunist.

Any info re. status of Syrian northeast?
Is that where Syria will move next or is that untouchable for the near term?

[Aug 21, 2019] China warns of next jihadist wave in Syria. Indicates a new wave of groups are being resurrected (as in sleeping cells), to commit crimes.

Aug 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

jordi , Aug 20 2019 14:50 utc | 85

It is important to fix the wrong article title. Russia did not bomb Turkey reinforcement column. According to Syrian sources, it is the Syrian Arab Army's AirForce which "bombed the road" in which a column of vehicles from Turkey was present. Nevertheless Turkey AirForce was also lurking around Idlib. Later followed / intercepted by Russia Su-35 .

Currently huge operations are being conducted. See at: Russian Air Force unleashes large attack on ISIS in eastern Syria . This leads to think, Russia and Syria are willing to break the situation and start cleansing the region of "bad rebels".

It is also curious the following warning: China warns of next jihadist wave in Syria . Indicates a new wave of groups are being resurrected (as in sleeping cells), to commit crimes. Interesting to see how China enters the international arena in openly talking about this in public. Maybe willing to even enter the conflict in Syria to fight a group of "chinese muslims that might be around there". This could put pressure in Turkey, as everybody else is willing to fight "bad rebels", instead of using the conflict [for another purpose?].

[Aug 20, 2019] Idlib and foreign jihadists

Aug 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ghost Ship , Aug 20 2019 17:17 utc | 102

Most powerfully, the SAA demonstrated today with squeezing the Hama salient that when it decides to move there is fuck all that the jihadists can do to stop it. In historical terms this is akin to the Battle of St Quentin Canal back in WW1 where part of the British Fourth Army including British and Australian divisions with two US divisions tore a 17km gap in the strongest part of the Hindenberg Line and demonstrated that the Imperial German Army was fucked, as the western allies could pretty much to what they wanted where and when they decided.

There will be no race to capture Idlib City as that will mean taking a lot of jihadists prisoner and why should the Syrians have to deal with the foreign jihadists? Instead, war will be replaced with politics and the foreign jihadists will be "encouraged" to return to their own countries. Either that or take the war to Turkey because of Erdogan's complete failure to support them. And all the other countries that failed the jihadists will be "remembered" sometime in the future.

As for the Russians, the jihadists will remember that the Russian intervention in Syria was trivial in the scheme of things (less than a hundred aircraft?) and that if the jihadists try to mess with Russia again, will understand what a full-blown intervention by Russia will look like.

There might be some holdouts in Idlib but they will be dealt with, and today the balance of power in the Middle East and also the world tilted notably in favour of "the axis of evil" (yet another example of American projection because the United States and its poodles are the real axis of evil!

[Aug 19, 2019] War Party Hates Putin Loves al-Qaeda by Justin Raimondo

Late Justin Raimondo was an astute analyst of events in Syria... This is his analysys from 2015. It is still cogent as of August 2019.
Notable quotes:
"... "War on terrorism" turns into cold war against Russia ..."
"... By the way, according to the Pentagon's own testimony before a congressional committee, only sixty "vetted" fighters were sent into Syria to take on both Assad and ISIS. And while they denied, at first, that their pet "moderates" betrayed Washington and handed over most of their weapons and other equipment to al-Qaeda in return for "safe passage," the Pentagon later admitted it . ..."
"... [I]t is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade ..."
"... It is equally irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you'll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them. ..."
"... "I'd like to tell those who engage in this: Gentlemen, the people you are dealing with are cruel but they are not dumb. They are as smart as you are. So, it's a big question: who's playing who here? The recent incident where the most 'moderate' opposition group handed over their weapons to terrorists is a vivid example of that. ..."
Oct 02, 2015 | original.antiwar.com

"War on terrorism" turns into cold war against Russia

Posted on August 19, 2019 August 18, 2019 In both Yemen and Syria, the War Party has found an ally that they can get behind, you know, one that really supports our values: al-Qaeda. From time to time they have even managed to get President Trump to go along with this nonsense – presumably due to the baleful influence of John Bolton. (See Ron Paul's recent discussion of recent developments.) It is worth a look back at an earlier high-points in this strange alliance between the West and al-Qaeda against Russia and Syria. Justin's column from four years ago (October 2, 2015) analyzes it in depth.

Originally published October 2, 2015

As Russian fighter jets target al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, the Western media is up in arms – and in denial . They deny the Russians are taking on ISIS – and they are indignant that Putin is targeting al-Qaeda , which is almost never referred to by its actual name, but is instead described as " al-Nusra ," or the more inclusive " Army of Conquest ," which are alternate names for the heirs of Osama bin Laden.

And there are no ideological lines being drawn in this information war: both the left and the right – e.g. the left-liberal Vox and the Fox News network – are utilizing a map put out by the neoconservative "Institute for the Study of War" to "prove" that Putin isn't really attacking ISIS – he's actually only concerned with destroying the "non-ISIS" rebels and propping up the faltering regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The premise behind this kind of propaganda is that there really is some difference between ISIS and the multitude of Islamist groups proliferating like wasps in the region: and that, furthermore, al-Qaeda is "relatively" moderate when compared to the Islamic State. Yes, incredibly, the US and British media are pushing the line that the al-Qaeda fighters in Syria, known as al-Nusra, are really the Good Guys.

Didn't you know that we have always been at war with Eastasia?

There is much whining , this [Thursday] morning, that a supposedly US-"vetted" group known as Tajammu al-Aaza has felt Putin's wrath – but when we get down into the weeds, we discover that this outfit is fighting alongside al-Qaeda:

"Jamil al-Saleh, a defected Syrian army officer who is now the leader of the rebel group Tajammu al-Aaza, told AlSouria.net that the Russian airstrikes targeted his group's base in al-Lataminah, a town in the western Syrian governorate of Hama. That area represents one of the farthest southern points of the rebel advance from the north and is therefore a crucial front line in the war. An alliance of Syrian rebel factions, including both the al Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front and groups considered by Washington to be more moderate, successfully drove Assad regime forces out of the northern governorate of Idlib and are now pushing south into Hama."

By the way, according to the Pentagon's own testimony before a congressional committee, only sixty "vetted" fighters were sent into Syria to take on both Assad and ISIS. And while they denied, at first, that their pet "moderates" betrayed Washington and handed over most of their weapons and other equipment to al-Qaeda in return for "safe passage," the Pentagon later admitted it . Furthermore, we were told that these were the only "vetted" fighters actually in the field, but now we are confronted with "Tajammu al-Aaza," which – it's being reported – is deploying US-supplied missile guidance systems against Syrian government forces.

So a handful of "vetted" fighters suddenly turns into an entire armed force – one which, you'll note, has effectively merged with al-Qaeda.

The lies are coming at us so fast and thick in the first 24 hours of the Russian strikes that we face a veritable blizzard of obfuscation. They range from the egregious – alleged photos of "civilian casualties" that turn out to be fake – to the more subtle: a supposed Free Syrian Army commander is reported killed by a Russian air strike, and yet it appears that very same commander was kidnapped by ISIS last year . We are told that the town of Rastan, the site of Russian strikes, isn't under the control of ISIS – except it was when ISIS was executing gay men there .

The Russians make no bones about their support of Assad: in his speech to the United Nations, Putin stated his position clearly: "We think it's a big mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian authorities and government forces who valiantly fight terrorists on the ground." On the other hand, the objectives of the Western alliance in Syria aren't so clear: on the one hand, Washington claims to be directing the main blow against ISIS, but its claims of success have been greatly exaggerated . Yet we have spent many millions arming and training "vetted" rebels who have been defecting to ISIS and al-Qaeda in droves.

It's almost as if we're keeping ISIS around so as to put pressure on Assad to get out of Dodge. As Putin put it in his UN speech :

" [I]t is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade .

" It is equally irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you'll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them.

"I'd like to tell those who engage in this: Gentlemen, the people you are dealing with are cruel but they are not dumb. They are as smart as you are. So, it's a big question: who's playing who here? The recent incident where the most 'moderate' opposition group handed over their weapons to terrorists is a vivid example of that. "

The reality is that there are no "moderates" in Syria, and certainly not among the rebel Islamist groups: they're all jihadists who want to impose Sharia law, drive out Christians, Alawites, and other minority groups, and set up an Islamic dictatorship. These are our noble "allies" – the very same people who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and against whom our perpetual "war on terrorism" was launched.

[Aug 17, 2019] Operation Idlib Dawn Update - TTG - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Aug 17, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

plantman ,

This fight in the so-called DMZ has been going on for some time. I find it impossible to believe that these Sunni militants are not getting logistical support from outside.(Washington or Ankara??) Otherwise, how could a group of no-account jihadists be able to stave off a conventional military for so long??

And once the zone is cleared of jihadis, then what?? Will Putin support an attack on the Turkish units that are holding territory in North syria?

No way.

Putin has done an admirable job preventing the jihadist alliance (US-Turkey-S Arabia??) from toppling the Assad government and turning the country into another Libya, but the borders in the North and east have already been redrawn by the invaders. It doesn't look to me like that will change. But I could be wrong.

The Twisted Genius -> plantman... , 14 August 2019 at 12:21 PM
Plantman, of course the jihadis are being resupplied, rearmed and reinforced through Turkey. It's been that way since the beginning. Didn't you see the M-16 with night sight captured from the jihadis in the video. There have been many photos of the brand new Turkish APCs filled with jihadis.

I doubt the SAA will attack the Turkish observation posts, but they will choke them out and make the Turks life a living hell if they don't withdraw. It may take a long time, but I'm fairly confident Damascus will eventually regain control over all Syrian territory. Ten towns in Raqqa governorate signed on with Damascus recently. More will follow as the FUKUS alliance proves its fecklessness.

JP Billen , 14 August 2019 at 01:04 PM
Any thoughts on the next cauldron after Khan Sheikoun? I see there have been a lot of airstrikes softening up defenses on secondary roads on the way to Maarat al-Nu'man - parallel to the M5 on its western side. If so, that would put two more Turkish OPs in the pot.

Jihadis are bragging they shot down a Syrian AF Sukhoi near Khan Sheikoun. Sounds like propaganda to compensate for their loss of so much territory there.

JP Billen said in reply to JohninMK... , 16 August 2019 at 11:13 AM
Yes, I finally saw that the Syrian AF has confirmed they lost radar contact with it. There are conflicting reports though from the jihadis about how it was shot down, one said MANPAD, another said HMG.

The SU-22 is a 50+ year old design still flying. And since 2011 the Syrian AF has been flying more sorties with the SU-22 than these aircraft were designed to handle. Many "failed and crashed or simply wore out and had to be grounded."

So I wonder if the one lost just now in Idlib is one of the ten Iranian SU-22s that were gifted to the Syrian AF in early 2015? Those ten were some of the same aircraft that the Iraqi Air Force flew to Iran during the 1991 war for safekeeping. Iran confiscated them as war reparations. And five years ago the IRGC restored ten to operational condition by raiding spares from hangar queens and gave them to the Syrian AF along with spares and maintenance support.

English Outsider , 14 August 2019 at 02:11 PM

Great update, TTG! Seems like the terrorists are leaving Khan Shaykhun fast. So if there's any evidence of the poison gas incident left, or witnesses, they may not have time to remove it or eliminate the witnesses. It would be good to get that incident finally cleared up.

The Russian reconciliation teams are reported to be working out of the airbase, not on the ground. Is that a dud report or are they tackling reconciliation differently in Idlib? Just wonder how the civilian leaders would be getting to the airbase through it all.

Grazhdanochka , 14 August 2019 at 03:05 PM
A SyAAF Su-22 has been lost in South Idlib Area, Pilot Captured by those on the Ground - Hopefully he can be rescued through talks or force. I would not envy his Fate.

What I do wonder is - having taken many losses of late - but having had a long period of relative quiet to refit and reinforce - how serious could those in the 'Cauldron' resist or is it better to leave the Door open for a contested withdrawl through Khan Sheykhun? (with those from Tal Sukayk moving north to At Tamanyah first)

Normally I think the approach best (unless overwhelming means is available) - is to leave the Lid off the Pot, encouraging a withdrawl - that you contest. But Khan Sheykhun has it seems few Elevations near by to guard its approach or exit, and no doubt Civil Traffic will be heavy as Civilians try avoid the likely battle... So mining the exit and attacking light forces is a major Issue...

I just worry how many might be in that Area around Murak etc, that may again slow down the advance of SAA forces that ideally would like to move North into the interior of Enemy Lines.

JP Billen said in reply to Grazhdanochka... , 14 August 2019 at 06:46 PM
Grazhdanochka -

With a Lid on the Pot the TKK troops near Morek would be surrounded. The Turkish government would have to beg the Russians to protect them and help with an evacuation. Assad and many in Damascus would probably love to humiliate Erdogan.

turcopolier , 14 August 2019 at 05:22 PM
All

IMO with the jihadis retreating in disarray the SAA should pursue them north along the M5 corridor, leading with the armored teams and conducting a series of shallow double envelopments as they move north. the important thing is to keep up the pace and the pressure using Syrian and RU air to create a "pont au feu" (bridge of fire) over which the advance can continue. If you will pardon a historical conceit, this would be much like Sherman's advance to Atlanta from north Georgia.

Grazhdanochka said in reply to turcopolier ... , 14 August 2019 at 06:36 PM
Whilst I agree a lot, the Issue with this is two Fold.

Depth of Force - These Forces may already have a good motivation to stay and fight given prexistant positions.. - which if sufficient Number - may reduce that advance we all desire beyond... allowing the bulk to dig in again...

Making sure any advance does not indeed promote them to stand fast as opposed to continual withdrawal - A good part of this depends on the depth of SAA Forces


walrus , 14 August 2019 at 06:32 PM
What happens if a heavily armed Jihadi rump retreats and finds itself with its back on the Syrian-turkish border? Is Erdogan going to let these bastards retreat into Turkish territory with weapons and units intact? I would have thought not because they then could threaten the region if they get loose. There are a lot of European, and American tourists all over Turkey who are potential targets.

I would hope that the Turkish Army would seal the border, providing an anvil against which the jihadis can be crushed.

I also think we are due for a White helmet compassion attack shortly. You know - poison gas/barrel bombing/hospitals/dead children etc. Probably timed for the weekend talk shows.

Barbara Ann -> walrus ... , 15 August 2019 at 10:39 AM
Idlib could yet prove to be Erdogan's nemesis. Will he escalate to protect the TAF forces in the OP's once they start (soon) to be cut off? Russia has surely anticipated this possibility and neutralized the threat. Alternatively, if the jihadis see TAF forces pulling out and realize they have been betrayed, will they let them do so unimpeded, or perhaps look for some hostages to force Turkey's hand?

I can't imagine Erdogan will let the takfiris back into Turkey, for the reasons you set out. But if Turkish forces are used to kill them in order to prevent this, Turkey itself could immediately become Global Jihad enemy #1.

The time bomb of close to 4m Syrian refugees is a third third problem. Hostility towards their guests has been increasing in Turkey and a flood of yet more from Idlib may result in outright violence directed against them and maybe even the government. This would be far from the image of Turkey as Leader of the Islamic World which the Sultan wishes to portray. What a mess.

Turkish press still has almost nothing on Idlib despite the recent advances by the SAA, Syrian column inches are all taken up with speculations about the Safe Zone plans. Previously, Turkish press has played up Turkey's role in protecting the Ummah in Syria. The relative silence now suggests to me that Erdogan will seek to cut his losses in Idlib. Russia has the ability to make this excruciatingly difficult, or not. I'd therefore expect Erdogan to be forced to accept terms dictated by Russia/SAG in due course and the longer he delays the worse those terms will be for Turkish interests in NW Syria.

BraveNewWorld -> walrus ... , 16 August 2019 at 12:36 AM
I suspect if the Jihadis are routed in Turkey they will ether be flown to the new safe zone or flown out of the country, likely to do some work around Libya.
Mathias Alexander -> BraveNewWorld... , 16 August 2019 at 02:15 AM
Likely to be some work in Central Asia destabilizing Iran/ Russia/China.
Unhinged Citizen , 15 August 2019 at 09:11 AM
I hope that the leveled Khan Shaykhoun is paved over and the Syrians erect a 500 m statue of Hafez extending the middle finger in the general direction of Turkey, for its role in the gas attack hoax.
Ishmael Zechariah -> Unhinged Citizen... , 15 August 2019 at 11:56 PM
Unhinged,
The operation to eliminate Assad was not of Turkish origin, even though the current regime took an active and enthusiastic part in it. FYI, the plot is still alive. The FUKUS-I gang is still trying to oust Assad through their PKK/PYG proxies. The game might get even more interesting when/if the SAA finally meets PKK/PYG and their "advisors".
Ishmael Zechariah
Jane , 16 August 2019 at 01:22 AM
It would be useful to know just which groups they are fighting and where. Is HTS heavily involved, Ahrar al Sham or what? Where are the Chechens or other foreign groupings now?
Mathias Alexander -> Jane ... , 16 August 2019 at 02:17 AM
" Where are the Chechens or other foreign groupings now?"
Central Asia?
Jane said in reply to Mathias Alexander... , 16 August 2019 at 11:40 PM
When last heard from, they were in Idlib except for those who fight with ISIS. In Idlib, the Chechen jihadis heard that the Russian MP unit which was tasked with interaction with the civilian populations in areas retaken by the SARG [as they did in Aleppo] was in fact made up of [obviously loyalist] Chechens [and other Muslims from the RF], they went on the attack and the SAA and Russians had to go in and save them.

Neither the Uighurs nor the Central Asians have anywhere to retreat to, which is also the case for the Chechens. I would assume that they would be more inclined to fight alongside the AQ types rather than the "Syrian" groups, but I do not know. From what I recall earlier, these were each separate ethnic units that fought with but not necessarily under the central jihadi organizations.

In the former ISIS-land, the dead RF jihadis left behind many orphans. The RF sent in native speakers of all the Caucasian languages to determine their origin. With the help of DNA, they were able to get many back into their families back home. Where there are living mothers, I don't know if the RF has a systematic policy of what to do with these widows.

The Twisted Genius -> Jane ... , 16 August 2019 at 03:24 PM
Jane, HTS is taking the brunt of the beating in southern Idlib/northern Hama. Turkey is now moving NLF jihadis down from Afrin to reinforce the Khan Sheikhoun front. The NLF is a coalition of jihadis closely aligned with Turkey. The HTS has its roots in Syrian al Qaeda/al Nusra. NLF and HTS jihadis fight each other when they're not fighting the SAA.
Jane said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 16 August 2019 at 11:22 PM
A plague on all their houses.
Philippe Truze , 17 August 2019 at 10:20 AM
The Colonel is mentioning the "FUKUS" alliance in northern Syria, but I am not sure that there is still a willingness to fight the Syrians and the Russians among the French component of this "force". Macron knows that the French public opinion is fed up with this war and does not believe anymore the French mainstream medias reports. Many Frenchs are in favor of getting some sort of agreement with the Russians (if not with Assad) to get rid of the jihadists, especially the 1 to 2 thousands French warriors amongst them. Nobody - not even Macron - want them to be rapatriated in France for trial, preferring the issue to be delt with local (syrian, irakis) authorities, whatever severe would be the punishments. Only the "islamo-gauchistes" (islamo-leftits) are defending this "solution". Sometimes I have the feeling that the French are siding the US in northern Syria only by fidelity to an old ally, rather than to defend some French interests - a part the long time alliance between the the French socialists et the Muslim Brothers, against the secular regimes of Libya, Egypt, and Syria, since the Suez Operation en 1956. Macron and Putin will meet on august 19th, in southern France. We will see if there is an official inflexion of the French policy in this region.
JP Billen said in reply to Philippe Truze... , 17 August 2019 at 12:03 PM
In fairness, it was TTG and Ishmael Zechariah that mentioned FUKUS, and not the Colonel.

There is no "willingness to fight the Syrians and the Russians" in the US and the UK as well as in France. In the past we unfortunately did have that willingness. But only through ill-chosen proxies who have now been either incorporated into the ranks of HTS, or who have fled the country to become refugees, or are dead.

[Aug 14, 2019] Russiagate as a smoke screen for the struggle between two powerful groups of the US elite

Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Apr 1, 2019 5:14:39 PM | 93 ">link

@ bevin #90

But that doesn't bother Trump, Bolton, Pompeo and their mob. They think quarter by quarter. Immediate gratification is the name of their game. They know that "in the long run we are all dead". And they don't care what happens then.

Your viewpoint is the same as that of Jonathon Cook. He says "Russiagate" was a faction fight between two groups of the Power Elites.

One wanted to keep 'putting the lipstick on the pig' which is predatory Capitalism, and the other wants to let it all hang out and rape the planet NOW.

Just as there was a clueless "liberal" cheering group for Mueller, the Looters have a fan club among the "right". Both sets of the applauding groups are just puppets. And of course neither has recognized their true role in the unfolding dramas.

[Aug 13, 2019] The new war is essentially economic; it is a war of sanctions and limiting free movement of ship movements around the globe. It is a war of tankers and oil platforms.

Aug 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Aug 12 2019 3:09 utc | 51

@2 BM

Wow, that is an outstanding tour d'horizon from Magnier you linked. This is a keeper to show others who may be amenable to learning about today's Middle East balance of forces, and how it has been arrived at.

Succinct yet very comprehensive, the piece not only catches up the histories of recent years, but provides an analysis of today and the near-to-mid-term future - both military and geopolitical. It speaks of the various lessons learned along the way, including the lessons being absorbed in real time today as the confrontation between Iran and the US has barely yet begun and yet racked up totally instructive scores.

The new war is essentially economic; it is a war of sanctions and limiting free movement of ship movements around the globe. It is a war of tankers and oil platforms. It is a starvation war where no one can threaten the enemy with a return to the "stone age" because the firepower is now universally available . Yemen is the best example: the threat of bombing Dubai forced the Emirates to seek Iranian mediation to prevent a missile attack against them. The Houthis, despite years of Saudi bombing of Yemen, have also managed to bomb Saudi airports, military bases and oil stations in the heart of Saudi Arabia, using cruise missiles and armed drones. [My emphasis]

And Hezbolllah has cemented its standing with nations in the region, expanded its skill from guerrilla and small-theater to nation-size theater, and this:

It has run intensive courses in the use of its drones, used its precision missiles with accuracy, produced thousands of highly trained Special Forces and it has fought an enemy (al-Qaeda) that is much more motivated to fight to the death than any Israeli Special Forces units. [My emphasis]

Israel is essentially paralyzed. Even to the extent, as Magnier relates, of being careful to warn Hezbollah drivers before bombing its supply trucks, because "Israel wanted to avoid human casualties among Hezbollah officers, fully aware of the price of retaliation. " My emphasis again.

The bad guys have fallen behind - as we know, but as Magnier illustrates so clearly in this appraisal, with his review of the initial western strategies just a few years ago and how they have all been rendered null. Even the US now is an antique target for modern missile and drone technology - and the battle-hardened skill with these weapons definitely resides with the Levant axis rather than with the imperialists and their dogs.

The future? This:

Gaza, along with Beirut, Damascus and Baghdad, are all highly equipped by Tehran with sufficient missiles to inflict real damage on Israel and on US forces deployed in the Middle East. Israel is playing around by targeting various objectives tactically but with no real strategic purpose- only for Netanyahu to keep himself busy and train his Air Force, and to gain publicity in the media. Soon, when Syria recovers and Iraq is stronger, the Israeli promenade will have to cease. Hezbollah in Lebanon may also find a way in the near future to keep its irregular but organised army busy by firing anti-air missiles against Israeli jets and imposing new rules of engagement.

Here's the link again:
From 2006 to 2019: after failures in Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen, war is no longer an option for Israel

Great job, Elijah J. Magnier!

[Aug 12, 2019] Nearly 100 US military arrive in Turkey to create security zone in Syria

Aug 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Aug 12 2019 19:27 utc | 126

@Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 12 2019 18:52 utc | 121
What if Hudson's correct and Trump's trying to demilitarize and greatly reduce the Outlaw US Empire..

Facts do not correlate with that illusory hopes you, and for what it seems Hudson too, still hold..

Nearly 100 US military arrive in Turkey to create security zone in Syria

We all know what is to be expected from a "security zone" secured by both, Turkey and USA, as a sample, Idlib, Al Tanf, Raqqa, and so on...We happen to have the brains to understand, at this heights, the same than for "humanitarian intervention", just the opposite...

Then all the current and agressive intends of "colour revolutions" in the making in HK and Russia does not match with "greatly reduce Outlaw Empire" at all, neither do the former intend of coup d état in Venezuela, looting of all Venezuelan assets, and current blockade for starvation and deprivation of everything, included medical essentials, plus the same in Yemen, and continuing without stop for decades now in Cuba...

Why do you, man, along with quite a bunch of others, after all what we have seen and read, try to again whitewash Trump?
Are you, by any casuality, also one of those beneficiaires, as it is Pat Lang, of the super tax cut The Donald has awarded to the highest incomes?( no need to be a billionaire, like all Trump´s friends, it´s enough with having done about six ciphers/year while in the US military or the MIC...