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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 reconnaissance plane Israeli support of headchoppers and air raid on Syria military infrastructure Yugoslav wars
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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
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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
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  “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

“Anything 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 behind unleashing civil war in Syria using Weapons from Libya and jihadist volunteers 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: Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Political Islam emerges are a reaction to colonialism but now it serve as a puppet of neoliberals to weaken 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 secular government in Syria as creation of another large training 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 consequences of WWIII. now the US is represented by chickenhawks such as Trump, Bolton and the whole gallery of female chickenhawks (which were flourishing in Obama administration) such as Haley.

This generation of the US elite is indoctrinated is the "sole superpower" status and has difficulties to adapting to new realities when economically china will be larger then the USA in 2020 and military Russia is on par in some major categories, returning the situation of mutual assured destruction (MAD) that the USA tried to destroy (and for some succeeded 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 trick used by British intelligence  services and it became an important tool for MI6 supported organizations such as White Helmets.  They proved to be  perfectly suitable for Islamists barbarians (aka "head choppers")  who do not care much about human cost and can kill children and woman in cold blood to achieve 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 prepare a counterattack,  of escape, or surrender on more favorable 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.

Ghouta 2013 This was Aug 21.2013 false flag disguised as a sarin rocket attack carried out by Assad or his supporters. It was a false-flag stunt carried out by the insurgents using carbon monoxide or cyanide to murder children and use their corpses as bait to lure the Americans into attacking Assadsee  "Murder in the Sun Morgue" by Dr. Denis O'Brien (neuropharmacology expert):

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

    288 pp. analysis. Also, some had slit throats:

    https://www.scribd.com/document/230748990/Murder-in-the-SunMorgue


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    [Apr 02, 2021] Between mid- and late March, the American pillaged 112 truckloads of Syria's wheat from this facility

    Apr 02, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

    uncle tungsten , Apr 1 2021 23:33 utc | 62

    Looting is what the USA does everywhere it goes.

    Syrian people need their wheat to just survive but the war criminal repeatedly steals it.

    Starvation via military invasion and looting is a war crime.

    "Though the Biden forces dismantled their illicit military base at the silos, in February, the criminal American troops have returned several times, to empty the grain, so many times that it might be convenient to create a template and just fill in the dates. Between mid- and late March, the American war criminals pillaged 112 truckloads of Syria's wheat from this facility."

    [Mar 22, 2021] In Syria, The War Of Hunger Is Taking Over From The War Of Guns

    Mar 22, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

    Authored by Patrick Cockburn via The Unz Review,

    US sanctions have brought the number of Syrians who are close to starvation to 12.4 million, or 60% of the country...

    Great dollops of hypocrisy invariably accompany expressions of concern by outside powers for the wellbeing of the Syrian people. But even by these low standards, a new record for self-serving dishonesty is being set by the Caesar Civilian Protection Act , the new US law imposing the harshest sanctions in the world on Syria and bringing millions of Syrians to the brink of famine .

    Supposedly aimed at safeguarding ordinary Syrians from violent repression by President Bashar al-Assad , the law is given a humanitarian garnish by naming it after the Syrian military photographer who filmed and smuggled out of the country pictures of thousands of Syrians killed by the government. But instead of protecting Syrians, as it claims, the Caesar Act is a measure of collective punishment that is impoverishing people in government and opposition-held areas alike.

    Bad though the situation in Syria was after 10 years of warfare and a long-standing economic embargo, the crisis has got much worse in the nine months since the law was implemented on 17 June last year. It has raised the number of Syrians who are close to starvation to 12.4 million, or 60 per cent of the population, according to the UN.

    Already, more than half a million children under the age of five are suffering from stunting as the result of chronic malnutrition . As the Syrian currency collapsed and prices rose by 230 per cent over the last year, Syrian families could no longer afford to buy basic foodstuffs such as bread, rice, lentils, oil and sugar.

    "The war of hunger scares me more than the war of guns," says Ghassan Massoud, the Syrian actor famous for playing Saladin in the 2005 Ridley Scott film Kingdom of Heaven . A politically neutral and popular figure in Syria, Massoud is quoted as saying that government employees are earning 50,000 Syrian pounds ($13/£9) a month when they need 800,000 Syrian pounds to survive. "I am a vegetarian but I do not accept that a citizen is not able to eat meat because a kilo costs 20,000 Syrian pounds."

    The Caesar Act threatens sanctions on any person or company that does business with Syria and thereby imposes a tight economic siege on the country . Introduced just as the Covid-19 epidemic made its first onset in Syria last summer and soon after the implosion of the Lebanese economy to which Syria is closely linked, the law has proved the final devastating blow to Syrians who were already ground down by a decade of destruction .

    It was supposedly aimed at Assad and his regime, but there was never any reason to believe that it would destabilize them or compel them to ease repression. Since they hold power, they are well placed to control diminished resources. As with the 13 years of UN sanctions directed against Saddam Hussein between 1990 and 2003, the victims were not the dictator and his family but the civilian population. Iraqi society was shattered, with results that are still with us, and the same is now happening in Syria.

    [Mar 22, 2021] Ten Years On, Syria is Almost Destroyed. Who Is To Blame?"

    Mar 22, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

    jayc , Mar 21 2021 17:09 utc | 19

    Bhadrakumar: "Ten Years On, Syria is Almost Destroyed.Who Is To Blame?"

    https://www.indianpunchline.com/ten-years-on-syria-is-almost-destroyed-whos-to-blame/

    A concise summary. A cold geopolitical decision by arch war criminal Obama, following decades of meddling.
    The destructions of Iraq, Syria, and Libya are the most serious state-led crimes of this century, yet in the western bubble the fingers point to Crimea, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong. Bhadrakumar's "Animal Farm" reference is apt.

    [Mar 12, 2021] Oil Spill Caused By Israeli Attacks On Iranian Oil Bound for Syria

    Mar 12, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Oil Spill Caused By Israeli Attacks On Iranian Oil Bound for Syria Jen , Mar 12 2021 10:39 utc | 5

    The Wall Street Journal reports today:

    Israel has targeted at least a dozen vessels bound for Syria and mostly carrying Iranian oil out of concern that petroleum profits are funding extremism in the Middle East, U.S. and regional officials say, in a new front in the conflict between Israel and Iran.

    Since late 2019, Israel has used weaponry including water mines to strike Iranian vessels or those carrying Iranian cargo as they navigate toward Syria in the Red Sea and in other areas of the region. Iran has continued its oil trade with Syria, shipping millions of barrels and contravening U.S. sanctions against Iran and international sanctions against Syria.

    Some of the naval attacks also have targeted Iranian efforts to move other cargo including weaponry through the region, according to U.S. officials.

    The attacks on the tankers carrying Iranian oil haven't been previously disclosed. Iranian officials have reported some of the attacks earlier and have said they suspect Israeli involvement.

    The 'exclusive' leak to the WSJ , by U.S. officials(!), is designed to damage the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahoo.

    It explains a number of recent incidents which Israel had claimed to be 'Iranian aggressions' but which were caused by Israel itself or were in obvious retaliation for Israeli deeds.

    In mid February oil which had leaked from an unknown tanker damaged the beaches of Palestine :

    Israel closed all its Mediterranean beaches until further notice on Sunday, days after an offshore oil spill deposited tons of tar across more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) of coastline in what officials are calling one of the country's worst ecological disasters.

    Activists began reporting globs of black tar on Israel's coast last week after a heavy storm.
    ...
    The Environmental Protection Ministry and activists estimate that at least 1,000 tons of tar, a product of an oil spill from a ship in the eastern Mediterranean earlier this month, have already washed up on shore. The ministry is trying to determine who is responsible. It declined commenting on details of the investigation because it was ongoing.

    What made this event curious was the unusual Israeli attempt to censor reporting on it :

    Cont. reading: Oil Spill Caused By Israeli Attacks On Iranian Oil Bound for Syria

    Posted by b at 9:17 UTC | Comments (21) Surely one significant aspect of this story is that US govt officials, speaking as they always do "anonymously", informed none other than the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal. Does Rupert Murdoch no longer support Binyamin Netanyahu? Has Netanyahu's appeal dimmed somewhat since the death of US casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson whose newspaper "Israel Hayom" was a big Netanyahu supporter? Is the Biden-soon-to-be-Harris administration tiring of Netanyahu and keen to throw him and his wife Sara under a huge bus?

    Take a gander at this news, MoA barflies!

    Alleged contract with husband 'grants Sara Netanyahu veto over Mossad, IDF '

    "... A former senior official from Israel's Aerospace Industries claims to have first-hand knowledge of the 15-page long legal contract between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, writes The Times of Israel.

    In a video interview, posted on the internet, David Arzi, former vice president of commercial and civil aviation at Israel Aerospace Industries, says he was allowed to read clauses of the contract in 1999, during Netanyahu's first stint as prime minister, by the Prime Minister's lawyer and cousin David Shimron ...

    ...The legal contract signed by the couple, he says, grants Sara Netanyahu (Sara Ben-Artzi prior to her marriage) far-reaching control over their life. Accordingly, she is reportedly allowed to sign off on appointments of the heads of Mossad intelligence agency, Shin Bet domestic security service, and the Israeli military.

    In line with the contract, according to Arzi, the prime minister vows not to take any overnight trip without taking along his wife, by profession an educational and career psychologist, who is also allegedly permitted to take part in top-secret meetings ...

    ... "She authorises the following appointments, the head of the Mossad, the head of the Shin Bet and the IDF chief of staff. And that is in writing, she has to give the authorization in writing, if not, it is a violation of the contract," continues the ex-Aerospace Industries' official.

    He adds in the video that violation of the contract would result in Benjamin Netanyahu "forfeiting all their property to her."

    Regarding finances, the alleged contract stipulates that Sara Netanyahu wields major control as well.

    "There was a very detailed section that she would handle their finances It was written that he would not have credit cards, only she would. And if he needed money she would give it to him," says Arzi in Hebrew, as quoted by the outlet ..."

    Well, talk about Israel being the only democracy in the Middle East when the place seems to be run by wannabe Queen Hatshepsut.


    Mao Cheng Ji , Mar 12 2021 10:50 utc | 6

    @Bemildred 4 "Pres. Biden is, like Trump, a vindictive man, and he does not like Nuttyahoo."

    I don't think this has anything to do with anyone's (and especially Biden's, who probably doesn't remember who Netanyahu is) alleged personality traits. This is not how things are done. An official leak published by WSJ should have a better explanation, imo.

    Stonebird , Mar 12 2021 10:50 utc | 7
    I gather that Israel has made attacks on 12 Iranian tankers. Surprising that there have not been MORE than one "oil spill".
    traducteur , Mar 12 2021 12:48 utc | 8
    Shot themselves in the foot again, have they? The Zios are good at doing that. The day is coming when they will make one misstep too far and go over the edge.
    ! خلاص
    snake , Mar 12 2021 13:24 utc | 9
    U.S. officials then leak the whole scheme to the WSJ to stop Netanyahoo from continuing the self-defeating campaign. USA officials don't release this kind of information without a purpose.

    Jen @ 5 thinks maybe "Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal may no longer support Binyamin Netanyahu?

    <== to jen I add the conspiracy theory that Maybe the official anonymous disclosure reflects wall streets concern that Netanyohoo is a husband victim of something like this which uses marriage contracts to cover for spouse side family control over appointments, to the head of the Mossad, to the head of the Shin Bet and to the IDF chief of staff. I can not imagine any other reason for documents exposed here today to have been written and their terms enforced.

    Why where those documents written is my question? great work B.

    Christian J. Chuba , Mar 12 2021 14:18 utc | 10
    They fall into the pit they dig for others I knew something was up when both the Mossad and Defense Minister went out of their way to disavow the Israeli EPA minister's claim. MoA, I know that you are pining for, and holding a torch for Donald J. Trump, the Insurrector and Chief, but his Administration would NEVER leak this to the press.

    Israel's lesson only attack Iranian tankers in the Red Sea. That will harm their new found friends, the Saudis, Egyptians, and Sudan but I don't think Netanyahu cares about them.

    Tadlak Davidowitsch , Mar 12 2021 14:26 utc | 11
    Bravo, B!
    So many distortioners would have written that these oil spills ravaged "the coasts of Israël". You put tne matter straight through calling entire the stretch of coastline between Egypt and Lebanon "the coast of Palestine. Thank You!
    chola3 , Mar 12 2021 14:32 utc | 12
    the US is unhappy because there is a deal after Iran retaliation for Soleimani:

    Iran Russia and others to go along with the Covid thing so the west and others can reduce petroleum consumption in stages

    (saudi wells are emptying and attempts to loot Russia/Iran has fizzled. Venezuela/Canada stuff too expensive)

    A few naughty stunts are good optics for everyone but Israel will not be allowed to be a loose cannon.

    Sarah Sponda , Mar 12 2021 14:32 utc | 13
    The U.S. might have done this because they want Gantz to win in the upcoming elections so there can finally be a war against Iran.
    Christian J. Chuba , Mar 12 2021 14:37 utc | 15

    Why would Israel pollute their own shores by attacking an Iranian ship in the Mediterranean?

    Please do not say 'false flag'. The most simple explanation is that the Izzies figured that the Iranians (or ship owner) would direct the tanker to the nearest port for repairs, there are several in Egypt. Victimized tankers likely did that before, but in this case, the Capt decided to make a run for Syria.

    the pair , Mar 12 2021 15:52 utc | 19
    the oil is obviously anti-semitic. just look at all the time it spends hanging out with saudis and texans!
    Jackrabbit , Mar 12 2021 15:52 utc | 20
    US Intelligence Reveals Israel Has Bombed "Dozens" Of Iranian Oil Tankers
    ... a new bombshell report in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reveals Israeli intelligence has been waging its own tanker sabotage campaign against the Iranians over the past two years ...

    It also appears part of the Israeli and US campaign to essentially starve the Assad government and bring it to its knees, further amidst near weekly Israeli airstrikes inside the war-torn country. The new report clearly suggests US intelligence officials knew about the covert tanker sabotage campaign in real time, and may have even assisted in some level of the planning or operations ...


    <> <> <> <> <> <>

    Why didn't they tell us about the continuing tanker war when they announced that the Israeli ship was "struck" by an explosion?

    One must wonder if they are revealing this now because Israel's story about the tanker being attacked lacks credibility. They desperately want us to believe that the damage to the ship was NOT a false flag (Israeli sabotage of their own vessel).

    But it gets even better. They also implicitly excuse (depict sympathetically) Israel's attacks on Iranian tankers ... because they oppose Assad and Biden's Iran initiative. Where is the condemnation for such behavior?

    !!

    gottlieb , Mar 12 2021 16:28 utc | 21

    Yes, interesting as to the motives. One hopes this is part of a plan of strategery to 'de-escalate' the wag-the-dog mentality that runs the 'Middle East' foreign policy of the US. War with Iran is insane. Those who foment war with Iran are insane. It is good to walk it all back. Is this what is happening? We'll soon know.

    [Mar 09, 2021] Hal Turner Radio Show - RUSSIA SYRIA BOMB OIL STORAGE FACILITIES BEING USED BY U.S., TURKEY ISRAEL INSIDE SYRIA

    Mar 09, 2021 | halturnerradioshow.com

    The Syrian Arab Army and Russian forces inside that country, fired Tochka Ballistic missiles at Oil Storage Tank Facilities being occupied by and used by the United States, Turkey and Israel, inside Syria. Giant explosions levelled most of the storage tank farms, rendering it impossible for the US, Turkey or Israel to continue STEALING Syrian Oil; something that has been going on for years while the US was allegedly "fighting ISIS."

    ... ... ...

    Images coming out of Syria provide irrefutable proof the missiles used were Russian Tochka, also known in NATO circles as the SS-21.

    The video below comes from a COVERT INTELLIGENCE SOURCE inside Syria, from directly next to the destroyed and burning oil storage tank farm: (Article continues below green subscriber only area below)

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    The missile debris in the second video above makes clear this was a RUSSIAN attack. Initial intelligence estimates are saying Russia intentionally destroyed these Syrian oil storage facilities, likely with the permission of the Syrian government, to put an end to the rampant THEFT of Syrian oil by the United States, Turkey and most recently, Israel.

    Conservative estimates reported that, during it's battle against ISIS, the USA stole $30 Million a month. Later when Turkish troops entered Syria allegedly to contain the Kurds, Turkey began stealing the oil too, raising the amount stolen to about $60 Million a month. Most recently, Israel allegedly joined the theft, and was allegedly stealing another 20-30 Million for themselves each month, causing Syria to lose upwards of $100 Million a month to this theft ring.

    No one knows who is getting all the oil money. Speculation exists that it is greasing the pockets of American military higher-ups, American politicians, and those of similar position in both Turkey and in Israel. Russia just slapped all of them in the face and destroyed their money pipeline. They can't steal the oil anymore because Russia just smashed the needed oil storage facilities from which the oil was being smuggled out of Syria.

    With its free money pipeline cut off, the "Deep State" is likely to go berserk, and thus my former colleagues in the Intel Community tell me the push will be "on" in the Intel and military communities, to drive the US to direct war against Russia inside Syria.

    My former colleagues also told me that the most immediate and likely retaliation will be a major escalation inside eastern Ukraine, as the US and the West strike back to cause big trouble for Russia.

    The most staggering warning from my former colleagues is that "this situation could rapidly escalate to direct warfare, inside Syria, between the US and Russia, with a second front opened against Russia by Europe, with warfare in Ukraine on the continent of Europe."

    We could be seeing the actual outbreak of what history may call World War 3.

    No other mass media outlets are covering this either in the US or in Europe. Both the American people and folks in Europe are blissfully unaware of how badly things have just escalated. If war breaks out, the civilian populations in American and Europe will be caught completely off-guard and with no preparations.

    Prep now. Have emergency food, emergency water, spare supplies of medicines you may need. Spare fuel. Have a way to generate electricity. Have CB or HAM radios for communications.

    If this goes bad, it will go bad fast.

    MORNING UPDATE

    March 6, 2021 - 7:30 AM EST

    The Russian missiles not only struck oil storage tank farms, they also went after the oil smuggling tanker trucks as well. Entire parking areas filled with hundreds of smuggler tanker trucks were hit and destroyed.

    This killed a number of truck drivers, but it also sent a message to every other truck driver: Don't be involved in stealing Syrian Oil for the Americans or anyone else, or YOU can be blown up too.

    In one fell swoop, Russia stabbed the Syria smuggling and oil theft operation, directly in its heart. Even if teh US, Turkey and Israel _wanted_ to continue stealing, no one in his right mind will drive a smuggling truck for them; for fear of being blown to bits by Russia missiles again.

    The "Deep State" has had its illegal oil smuggling cash cow, slaughtered by Russia last night.

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    MORNING UPDATE

    March 6, 2021 - 7:30 AM EST

    The Russian missiles not only struck oil storage tank farms, they also went after the oil smuggling tanker trucks as well. Entire parking areas filled with hundreds of smuggler tanker trucks were hit and destroyed.

    This killed a number of truck drivers, but it also sent a message to every other truck driver: Don't be involved in stealing Syrian Oil for the Americans or anyone else, or YOU can be blown up too.

    In one fell swoop, Russia stabbed the Syria smuggling and oil theft operation, directly in its heart. Even if teh US, Turkey and Israel _wanted_ to continue stealing, no one in his right mind will drive a smuggling truck for them; for fear of being blown to bits by Russia missiles again.

    The "Deep State" has had its illegal oil smuggling cash cow, slaughtered by Russia last night.

    [Mar 06, 2021] The USA goverment has lost control of its mercenary army. I don't assume that "Biden" necessarily knew about it beforehand. All that stuff about civilian control is "exaggerated", that corporate trough is mighty tasty. It's common in a lot of places, almost a norm. The CIA is very fond of taking its own advice too.

    Mar 06, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Bemildred , Mar 6 2021 7:46 utc | 87

    The USAi has lost control of its occupying army. Xerxes had the same problems in his ancient chain of command.

    Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 6 2021 6:02 utc | 82

    Yes. I think it has always been that way with a couple of historical exceptions. So it's what I look for, and why when things happen, I don't assume that "Biden" necessarily knew about it beforehand. All that stuff about civilian control is "exaggerated", that corporate trough is mighty tasty. It's common in a lot of places, almost a norm. The CIA is very fond of taking its own advice too.

    If you want to read "Catch-22" by Joe Heller, he's not kidding about all that.

    Regarding that particular incident I ran into a piece yesterday that framed it just like that, and attempt to get an unconsidered response by some officer with ideas. But they hit the wrong people.

    The Russians and/or Syrians seem to be tearing it up in Northern Aleppo. The Russian military, on the other hand, seems to have its shit unusually well put together these days. I don't think there is anybody else I can say that about. They do much with little.


    Norwegian , Mar 6 2021 7:51 utc | 88

    @uncle tungsten | Mar 6 2021 0:20 utc | 59
    These are not normal people in charge. They have lost their minds.
    I agree with that. It applies especially to the US, but you can include the rest of the western "leaders" with the same diagnosis. In fact there is a huge vacuum of sanity being filled with total insanity, there are no real leaders. They have all been assassinated like Olof Palme in Sweden or totally corrupted like Jens Stoltenberg and Boris Johnson.

    Now these corrupt idiots are getting scared and are doubling down with criminal and insane behavior. We need a Nuremberg style cleanup.

    uncle tungsten , Mar 6 2021 9:53 utc | 90

    Bemildred #87

    The Russians and/or Syrians seem to be tearing it up in Northern Aleppo.


    That oil smuggling bombardment will perhaps awaken Erdoghan. Given the extreme mendacity of Erdoghan and his provocation in Nagorno-Karabakh/Azerbaijan, I expect his entire Syrian playground to be drastically reduced in the next week and the SDF to have its wings clipped.

    Thanks for the Catch 22 reference, read that accurate history lesson in my younger days. Accurate indeed.

    Bluedotterel , Mar 6 2021 10:47 utc | 92
    Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 6 2021 7:45 utc | 86

    Maybe, maybe just a little propaganda from a Turkophobe. That is common enough in the Orthodox world, however, you never know with Erdoğan, and NATO doesn't even have to be in the picture. I suppose, we will find out soon enough where the truth lies. Erdoğan runs his own ship and changes allies depending on the direction of the wind.

    Bemildred , Mar 6 2021 13:56 utc | 93
    Posted by: Bluedotterel | Mar 6 2021 10:47 utc | 92

    I agree, I don't think Erdogan is that stupid. He is a smart politician, and Putin does not want to alienate Turkey, so they play games. The NK situation look unstable, so ...

    But I don't think Erdogan is dumb enough to try to plant jihadis there now. This Aliyev fellow looks like a shifty person though, crooked and ambitious. I see hints that both Russia & Iran are annoyed about what happened there.

    [Mar 06, 2021] Aaron Mate gives a penetrating and documented account of U.S. war crimes by showing clips of Biden and his people admitting their support of Wahabi terrorists and criminal sanctions.

    Mar 06, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

    migueljose , Mar 6 2021 3:42 utc | 76

    The Grayzone is blowing up the D.C. fairy tales.

    Syria: Aaron Mate gives a penetrating and documented account of U.S. war crimes by showing clips of Biden and his people admitting their support of Wahabi terrorists and criminal sanctions. Mate cites Tulsi Gabbard's courageous and consistent positions in support of the Syrian people against the crimes of Obama, Trump and now Biden/Harris. https://thegrayzone.com/2021/03/05/tulsi-gabbard-calls-out-the-us-dirty-war-on-syria-that-biden-aides-admit-to/
    Ecuador:Ben Norton was in Ecuador during and after the first election on Feb. 7. He exposed Yaku Perez as a "woke" fraud. A number of "woke" inteligencia in the U.S. wrote a letter denouncing Norton and this is Norton's response. It is one of the most coherent, well researched, rebuttals I have ever read. In the process he exposes the actions of his accusers and lists their self-serving actions as they cater to the power elites of the globe, particularly, Latin America. Norton also gives a lot of background into Yaku Perez's wife, a French/Brazilian dripping with cutting edge "woke" identity and a consistent supporter of corporate and right wing powers. Norton gives us a multi-faceted look at the face of our "liberal" enemy which peels off especially young idealists and turns them against the true people's movements such as in Bolivia and Ecuador. It's not working there but it's not over.
    https://thegrayzone.com/2021/03/01/academic-letter-censor-grayzone-ecuador-yaku-perez/
    The third piece in this trifecta by Anya Parampil and Max Blumenthal is about "Jimmy" Story, fake U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, stationed in Bogota, Colombia, also a "must read". Gives plenty of Story's history through Obama, Trump and now Biden. Starts with an account of Story's pig barbecue party/meeting at his Bogota home with Colombian and Venezuelan coup plotters to talk more about how to....wait for it... overthrow Maduro. https://thegrayzone.com/2021/03/03/virtual-ambassador-venezuela-hosts-insurrectionist-bidens-guaido/

    The Grayzone has become the best site for investigative journalism by North Americans especially regarding U.S. imperial actions in Latin America. Aaron Mate is the top guy on Russiagate which also leads into many topics; Ukraine, Syria, Euro shenanigans.

    [Feb 27, 2021] Lavrov: Russia Has Information that US Plans to Stay in Syria Forever, Destroy the Country

    Feb 27, 2021 | sputniknews.com

    Lavrov's speech opens the opportunity for me to approach the decline of the American Empire from a more cultural/social point of view.

    During WWII, after suffering its first decisive defeats, Hitler refused to retreat to the old borders, instead opting for a "stay and fight to the death/fight for every piece of land" strategy.

    Sure, this option saved the Wehrmacht from massacres initially, but it would result in catastrophic defeats in the third phase of the war (after Kursk).

    One of the reasons Hitler insisted with this failed strategy to the end was that, besides the "stabbed in the back" mythology of the interwar period, he didn't want to suffer the same humiliating defeat Napoleon did. Napoleon retreated suddenly after he failed to capture the Czarist government in Moscow, suffering heavy losses in the process. In his return home, he was politically dead.

    Analogously, I think there is an element of "we don't want another Vietnam humiliation" in the American Empire nowadays. I think every POTUS after Vietnam has made a point of honor (and of political survival) to never admit defeat and never leave a country it is occupying.

    However, this "stubbornness" is also a sign of decline of the POTUS Office:

    Wage war: Biden blasted for picking a fight in Syria, letting minimum wage slide at home

    The two factors are interlinked: Biden is not able to give his own people what it needs, so he's insisting on an adventure it doesn't need. The more the present and future POTUSes become impotent at home, the more they'll try to solve the Empire's inner contradictions abroad. In this case, the narrative is clear: if you want to get your USD 15.00 minimum wage, you have to invade Syria to get the wealth to back it up.

    ... ... ...

    Posted by: vk | Feb 26 2021 14:17 utc | 3

    Sputnik 's report on Lavrov presser after meeting with Afghanistan's FM vk linked @3, shows Russia's changed attitude toward the EU also extends to the Outlaw Empire. His "new" information could easily be based on all the Outlaw Empire's past post-WW2 occupational behavior. Furthermore, in his remarks prior to media questions , Lavrov mentioned the likely aims of the Outlaw Empire's Terrorist Foreign Legion known as ISIS:

    "We have a common view that ISIS is a serious factor in the deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan. ISIS wants to enhance its influence, including in the northern provinces of Afghanistan, with a view to turning it into a bridgehead for expansion into Central Asia ." [My Emphasis]

    I trust the transcript will be finished later today and include more info.

    In contrast to what we know about Russia's changed attitude toward the EU, we know very little about its new stance aimed at the Outlaw Empire. Lavrov went well beyond repeating the usual lines about the Outlaw Empire's many violations of the UN Charter and charged:

    "they are making the decision to never leave Syria, even to the point of destroying this country."

    Of course, that was the initial plan for which there's plenty of evidence. But IMO, Russia's change in attitude is related to the mission given to ISIS, which it likely knows of thanks to its intel sources. ISIS is clearly the Outlaw Empire's Terrorist Foreign Legion and are only in Afghanistan because they were airlifted from Syraq. Putin just met with the Kyrgyz president and certainly talked about this menace aimed at the CSTO. An emergency meeting of Russia's Security Council was held today ostensibly to "discuss the situation around the Nagorno Karabakh peace settlement," but also surely including the illegal attack in Syria where only 4 minutes of warning were provided. Much of Putin's talk with the FSB two days ago centered on Terrorism, and we know Russia was directly attacked by the Outlaw Empire though its Terrorist Foreign Legion. IMO, those acts have been forgotten by the Outlaw Empire but not at all by Russia, and IMO they carry lots of weight in Russia's decision making. Nor will Russia have forgotten that Biden was involved up to his neck in organizing ISIS and other Terrorist groups to destroy Syria.

    There's more to my assessment than the above; there's also the roots of the conflict to consider that's been ongoing since the mid 1800s and involves the other part of the Outlaw Empire, the UK, for they are the source of the Russophobia that now controls the EU's actions toward Russia as was already known and just reinforced by new revelations. Lavrov's accusation was made in a very public venue and cannot be ignored by the Outlaw Empire, and IMO is exactly the right accusation to make since the initial criminal cabal that launched the war on Syria are back in the saddle.

    Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 26 2021 18:55 utc | 14

    [Feb 26, 2021] The US bombs Syria and ridiculously claims self defense

    Feb 26, 2021 | www.unz.com

    annamaria , says:

    Zarathustra , says: February 26, 2021 at 2:23 pm GMT • 12.3 hours ago

    I do not understand.
    US has no more proxy as Al Nusra. Sunni in the area are all dispersed.
    US can bomb here and there but without boots on the ground he will get nowhere.
    If Biden wants to please Israel than he has to put boots on the Ground.
    Than there will be Americans fighting and dying. That could mean internal discontent in US and even possible revolution. Sunni and Kurds do not trust US anymore.
    So any Biden's moves are only humbug.

    [Feb 26, 2021] Moscow Blasts -Extremely Outrageous- Strike On Syria As Biden Stays Silent - ZeroHedge

    Feb 26, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

    Moscow Blasts "Extremely Outrageous" Strike On Syria As Biden Stays Silent BY TYLER DURDEN FRIDAY, FEB 26, 2021 - 13:15

    As expected Russia has reacted fiercely to the overnight US airstrikes on eastern Syria, which marked the first military action of the Biden presidency, calling out what the Kremlin said is an "extremely outrageous" violation of sovereignty.

    "We strongly condemn such actions and call for Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity to be unconditionally respected," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a press briefing.

    Other Russian officials, including a prominent senator for foreign affairs, Sergei Tsekov, blasted the American aggression as an "extremely outrageous" move, saying further, "Now, if someone struck a blow on U.S. territory, what would that look like? They strike at the territory of a sovereign republic without the consent of Syrian leadership."

    But perhaps the most interesting detail is that Russia's defense ministry was forewarned about the strike shortly before it happened. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed as much - saying the warning came a mere "minutes" before they commenced.

    "This sort of warning -- when strikes are already underway -- gives (us) nothing," Lavrov said according to Moscow Times .

    Given that over the past years since Russia's invitation by the Assad government in 2015 to assist in defeating the jihadist insurgency there's been an increasing number of rival warplanes operating over Syria's skies, the Pentagon and Russia have maintained a military-to-military hotline in order to avoid inadvertent escalations. Presumably the Russians were "warned" via this method of communication.

    While little has ultimately been confirmed, regional media outlets and monitors have cited over 20 killed in the strike , which the US claims was on "Iranian-backed militias" operating in Syria.

    More details of how the strike unfolded have kept rolling in throughout the day Friday...

    https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1365360965076811780&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fmoscow-blasts-extremely-outrageous-strike-syria-biden-stays-silent&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=889aa01%3A1612811843556&width=550px

    "Specifically, the strikes destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kata'ib Hezbollah and Kata'ib Sayyid al Shuhada," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said .

    "The operation sends an unambiguous message; President Biden will act to protect American coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both Eastern Syria and Iraq."

    https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1365276855205580801&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fmoscow-blasts-extremely-outrageous-strike-syria-biden-stays-silent&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=889aa01%3A1612811843556&width=550px

    https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-2&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1365123279476899848&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fmoscow-blasts-extremely-outrageous-strike-syria-biden-stays-silent&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=889aa01%3A1612811843556&width=550px

    But Biden himself has remained silent on the strike , which has angered a handful of Congress members questioning his basis for authorizing the unilateral attack.

    Damascus for its part called the attack "cowardly" and said it will surely "escalate" the crisis in the region. "Syria condemns in the strongest terms the cowardly US aggression on areas in Deir Ez-Zor near the Syrian-Iraqi border, which is inconsistent with international law and the Charter of the United Nations. Syria warns that it [this move] will lead to consequences that will escalate the situation in the region," the country's foreign ministry said, as cited in state-run news agency SANA.

    [Feb 26, 2021] Trump didn't exactly give Syrian land to the Zionist entity. Rather he recognized "Israel's" annexation in violation of international law and possibly US law

    Feb 26, 2021 | www.unz.com

    Sirius , says: February 26, 2021 at 8:51 am GMT • 17.8 hours ago

    @Harold Smith br> Larry Summers (former head of the US Treasury)
    Bill Richardson (former Governor of New Mexico, ex-ambassador to the United Nations and United States Energy Secretary)
    Michael Steinhardt (hedge fund manager)
    Jacob Rothschild
    Mary Landrieu (former United States Senator from Louisiana)

    All of the above are complicit in the violation of international law and can be prosecuted as such one day should anyone have the will to do so, as well as Trump himself.

    Trump's reward for this illegal recognition: his name on an illegal Zionist colony on occupied Syrian territory: "Trump Heights" by none other than Benjamin Mileikowsky (Netanyahu).

    Molip , says: February 26, 2021 at 9:47 am GMT • 16.9 hours ago

    "Respecting the rule of law. And treating every person with dignity. That's the grounding wire of our global policy. Our global power. That's our inexhaustible source of strength," Biden said.

    Seventeen people were murdered in Syria today because the US totally ignores any international law that is in the way. If Biden wanted to send a message to Iran, why murder those 17 who simply signed up to fight ISIS, to do good a thousand kilometers from where the US was attacked in Iraq?

    Biden is going to sanction Russia over Navalny being poisoned even though the US murders its own citizens abroad using drones.

    Nixon recognized China's sovereignty over Taiwan in the Shanghai Declaration 50 years ago. Biden sent warships through the Taiwan Strait in his first month in office.

    It appears that the inexhaustible strength of the US is derived from profound weakness of character.

    Talk about pining for Bernie Sanders.

    [Feb 24, 2021] NYT waives the white flag, admits Assad won the war against the USA-ISIS:

    Feb 24, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

    vk , Feb 23 2021 19:23 utc | 242

    NYT waives the white flag, admits Assad won the war against the USA-ISIS:

    Having Won Syria's War, al-Assad Is Mired in Economic Woes

    schmoe , Feb 24 2021 3:20 utc | 266

    vk @242

    Yes and amazingly the NYT is allowing oomments from people who know the truth of that tragedy. Assad will need considerable foreign aid to survive given their economic woes so I would not say the US/Saudi/Israel have lost yet.

    [Feb 20, 2021] The US and its allies are allegedly committing widespread grain theft and crop destruction in Syria.

    Feb 20, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

    farm ecologist , Feb 17 2021 19:33 utc | 16

    Just when I thought (again) that they couldn't possibly sink any lower, I find that the US and its allies are allegedly committing widespread grain theft and crop destruction in Syria.

    Biden Forces Vacate a 'Wheat Silos Army Base' in Hasakah after Looting it

    Hearing is Not Like Seeing: NATO's Terrorists Burning Syrian Wheat Crops – Video

    Trump Forces Loot Syria's Grains, Smuggle Them to Iraq

    Ambassador Jaafari Issues Formal Complaint on US Burning Wheat Fields

    Turkish Madman Erdogan Stealing Syrian Wheat, Kids Injured by Bomb

    The above articles are all from the same source, which clearly (and very reasonably) has an axe to grind. Does anybody know of reliable corroborating reports? Thanks.

    [Feb 14, 2021] For those confused by American corporate media, here is what the Syrian war is about

    Feb 14, 2021 | www.unz.com

    As telling other nations how to behave backed up by the 101 st Airborne division has become a wonderful indoor board game in this age of Coronavirus-19, my favorite article for the past week has to be the news that Honest Joe Biden has appointed yet another Zionist harpy to his team of war planners in an apparent attempt to keep Nuland, Sherman, Haines, Rice, Power and Neuberger company. Her name is Dana Stroul and she will be running the Pentagon's Middle East Desk, making her the senior policy official focused on that region. Indications are that her eagle eye will be fixed on those major malefactors Iran and Syria.

    Stroul has been whisked away from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), where she has been the Shelly and Michael Kassen Fellow in the Institute's Beth and David Geduld Program on Arab Politics. WINEP is the think tank founded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in an attempt to demonstrate that hatred of all of Israel's enemies in the Middle East is somehow an American vital interest, so it is perhaps odd to consider that the organization would even allow Arabs to have politics. Stroul had worked at the Pentagon and had also co-chaired the Syria Study Group set up by Congress prior to landing at WINEP.

    Stroul, who believes that there is a threat to the U.S. from "Iranian nuclear ambitions and support for terrorist groups throughout the region," also has had some interesting ideas about what should be done to Syria, some of which was laid out in a final report that was presented to Congress in September 2019 by the Syria Study Group.

    The report states that "From the conflict's beginning in 2011 as a peaceful domestic uprising, experts warned that President Bashar al-Assad's brutal response was likely to have serious, negative impacts on U.S. interests. Given Syria's central location in the Middle East, its ruling regime's ties to terrorist groups and to Iran, and the incompatibility of Assad's authoritarian rule with the aspirations of the Syrian people, many worried about the conflict spilling over Syria's borders The threats the conflict in Syria poses -- of terrorism directed against the United States and its allies and partners; of an empowered Iran; of an aggrandized Russia; of large numbers of refugees, displaced persons, and other forms of humanitarian catastrophe; and of the erosion of international norms of war and the Western commitment to them -- are sufficiently serious to merit a determined response from the United States. The United States and its allies retain tools to address those threats and the leverage to promote outcomes that are better for American interests than those that would prevail in the absence of U.S. engagement. The United States underestimated Russia's ability to use Syria as an arena for regional influence. Russia's intervention, beginning in 2015, accomplished its proximate aim -- the preservation of the regime in defiance of U.S. calls for Assad to 'go' -- at a relatively low cost. Russia has enhanced its profile and prestige more broadly in the Middle East."

    One immediately notes the incoherence of the argument being made. To make U.S. presence in Syria palpable to the long-suffering American public, it is necessary to attempt to establish a threat against the United States even though in this case there is none. And the repeated citation of "interests" without credibly explaining what interests might compel invading and occupying a foreign country is completely lacking in any detail. Stroul also several times cites the heavy terrorist threat, ignoring the fact that the existing terrorists are being sustained by Israel and by the United States, while President Bashar al-Assad has the overwhelming support of most of the Syrian people. Reports are that Syrians are returning home after a refugee crisis caused by the United States and its allies. And we all know that the last refuge of a scoundrel is to play the Russian card, which Stroul does, as well as surfacing that perennial demon Iran. U.S. support of Israeli bombing attacks are also just fine in her opinion, even though they are a clear violation of the "international norms of war" that she pretends to defend.

    Stroul inevitably supports U.S. retention and what she curiously refers to as "ownership" of the one third of Syria that is "resource rich." That includes the Syrian oil producing region now occupied by U.S. troops as well as by what she euphemizes as "Syrian Democratic Forces." She observes that it also includes the country's best agricultural land, which, if denied to the government in Damascus, could be used as leverage to bring about regime change. Starving Syrians are not Stroul's concern so she consequently opposes any form of international relief or reconstruction funding for the Syrian people and supports U.S. pressure on international lenders through the worldwide banking system to deny Damascus any money to rebuild.

    LINK BOOKMARK So, the prize for the truly awful story of the week goes to the appointment of this monster daughter of AIPAC to head Pentagon planning for the Middle East, joining a sterling cast of characters at State Department and in the intelligence community. Also, if one includes the account of a diversified U.S. Army where soldiers will now be encouraged to snitch on each other over privately held views, one has to ask "Can it get any worse?" Judging from Joe Biden's list of appointments so far, it will, yes it will.

    Philip Giraldi, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.


    Carlton Meyer , says: Website February 11, 2021 at 11:28 pm GMT • 2.0 days ago

    For those confused by American corporate media, here is what the Syrian war is about:

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/P512QBpjoq4?feature=oembed

    Garliv , says: February 13, 2021 at 6:45 am GMT • 16.8 hours ago
    @Carlton Meyer

    John Kerry proudly states that Qatar, Saudi Arabia would fund US army to invade and topple Syrian President Al Assad. And Israel goad America to fight "for its interests". Words of Major General Smedley Butler that essentially US army is a mercenary unit comes to mind.

    Mulga Mumblebrain , says: February 13, 2021 at 8:09 am GMT • 15.4 hours ago
    @Carlton Meyer

    Or, as Smotrich, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, declared a few years ago on Israeli TV-'Damascus belongs to the Jews'. But what does not?

    [Jan 29, 2021] Unable to achieve complete regime change, the Empire has shifted gears and now is waging a war primarily based on starvation

    Using the short form of trillion, and counting that the Pentagon budget (+ secret ops) was already estimated to be 1'2 trillion about five years back. Which makes $3'287'671'232.88 per day. Three thousand two hundred and eighty two million.. Easier to calculate, (incl US contribution) is that the total NATO budget is x 22 that of Russia.
    Jan 29, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
    Jen , Jan 29 2021 11:01 utc | 1

    No surprise to hear that all of a sudden, and so soon after Joe Biden's inauguration as US President, Syria is coming back into the United States' target sights. The team that used to advise O'Bomber on his Middle East policy must have all come back and are probably also being paid bigger bucks for the next four-year cycle.


    Hoarsewhisperer , Jan 29 2021 20:20 utc | 34

    Is al-Tanf really a launching pad for ISIS attacks in the region?

    This question reminded me of something Putin told Oliver Stone in Episode 1 of The Putin Interviews regarding the Chechen 'uprising'. About 40 minutes in he tells Stone that "The Americans were flying fighters around (inside Russia)."
    Putin complained about this to Bush II. The US response came in the form of a letter from the Director of the CIA which said, in effect: "The CIA reserves the right to engage with Opposition parties and will continue to do so."
    In other words "Go fuck yourself."

    Putin doesn't say what action, if any, Russia took in response to Yankee Chutzpah inside Russia but he's certainly familiar with Yankees throwing their weight around inside other people's countries.

    The foregoing occurred AFTER Russia had moved heaven and earth to help and co-operate with the Yankees in their Fake War in Afghanistan.

    Canadian Cents , Jan 29 2021 22:25 utc | 37

    This article from thesaker site last week relates:

    "Unable to achieve complete regime change, the Empire has shifted gears and now is waging a war primarily based on starvation. Limiting the flow of food and energy in the country may not even succeed in directly impeding military operations, but it can effectively turn Syria into a third world country by grinding civilian life to a halt and starving the population."

    - Deir Ezzor is a Sign of Things to Come

    It ties in how, the US in 2003 "unilaterally disbanded the Iraqi army without pay, despite warnings that this would create a pool of manpower for terrorism. Many of these soldiers later filled the ranks of ISIS."

    It could also have tied in how, in 2011, the US overthrew the stable, peaceful government in Libya and ensured the spread of weaponry to Syria/Iraq/ISIS/AQ/Africa, despite many warnings about that too. So the US deliberately created a pool of manpower for terrorism, then deliberately created a pool and flow of weaponry.

    As stated in a 2014 article , "The states which the US planned to destroy in 2001 (as reported by General Wesley Clark in his memoirs) - Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran and Syria - are now in fact destroyed societies. All but Iran are left with civil war and majority destitution where once they had been relatively prosperous and life secure."

    The people of Syria suffered far less under Trump than under Obama/H.Clinton/Biden, and, unfortunately, just days into the new administration it already looks like they will suffer more again now that Biden has empowered the neocons again.

    rick , Jan 29 2021 22:12 utc | 36

    It's extraordinary that in the current balance of power situation the SAA (Syrian Arab Army) and the Russian Military have to tolerate these clandestine operations in Syria by US and UK Special Forces protected by the threat of US and Israeli air power and invasive US military reaction. These operations have been initiated at the end of the proxy war waged unsuccessfully by the US/UK since 2012 with the aim in the longer term to extend by violence and terror the strength and penetration of Salafist Jihadist terrorism (embracing ISIS remnants etc) into mainland Syria much like the incursions conducted by the Contras in Nicaragua in the eighties to weaken the state and demoralise the people. That there is some confusion as to the role of these occupied Syrian territories despite the covert nature of the US/UK presence is worrying since it must be understood that the US and UK military are now providing direct operational and logistical support in addition to training, financing, resupplying terrorists including ISIS all operating from safe, protected bases inside Syria controlled by the US. It's now obvious that unlike earlier in the Syrian conflict when US/UK involvement was limited by the policy of fronting the proxy war in Syria by Saudi Arabia, Gulf States and Turkey the US has stationed its forces on the front line of this low level proxy war which the US intends to stage manage while economic war is waged against the Syrian people to further weaken their resolve and resistance. This blatant criminal enterprise cannot go unanswered by all anti imperialist forces and organisations in the Middle East and Europe.

    Paul , Jan 29 2021 12:34 utc | 7

    Not only is the US/UK military occupation of Syrian sovereign territory illegal but the 'pillage' of Syrian oil is also illegal and prohibited by the Hague Conventions. This has been customary international law for over one hundred years.

    So much for the fabled 'ruled based international order' a phrase which is recited by rote and trumpeted endlessly by the self same Anglo/Zionists. As if saying the phrase means doing it.

    These war criminals will stop at nothing in the service of bandit state.

    [Jan 29, 2021] Syria - The U.S. Controlled Al-Tanf Serves As 'ISIS' Base - Truth Or Propaganda-

    Jan 29, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Syria - The U.S. Controlled Al-Tanf Serves As 'ISIS' Base - Truth Or Propaganda?

    by Hedwig Kuijpers


    Photo of US soldiers training Maghweer al-Thora forces in the al-Tanf pocket (source: Hammurabi news)
    bigger

    Many questions remain unanswered about the al-Tanf United States base in the Syrian desert, that is called illegal by the Syrian government and Russia. Why is al-Tanf so important to the US? What are the US soldiers still doing there? Who else are hosted in the al-Tanf pocket? Why is ISIS growing again? Is al-Tanf really a launching pad for ISIS attacks in the region?

    Why is the al-Tanf base so important to the US?

    The al-Tanf base is located in the al-Tanf pocket, at about 20km of the al-Tanf border crossing. It's 55 km-deconfliction zone is located along the border with Iraq and Jordan, and cuts off the Baghdad-Damascus highway. By controlling this highway, the United States ensures that Iranian deliveries to the Syrian capital Damascus cannot take place by land. This is of high strategic importance to the US, because Iranian shipments and air deliveries are much easier intercepted, and form an easy target to Israeli airstrikes.

    The US-led coalition forces use al-Tanf as an entrance point to launch operations into Syria. The base can be easily reached from both Baghdad and Jordan. Both the Syrian government and Russian officials have repeatedly stated that the al-Tanf zone are being used by terrorist groups active in the region, as a safe haven and a foothold to carry out attacks on government-held areas and Iranian proxy-groups in the Bukamal area. This 'ISIS rear base' has been actively protected by the forces stationed at al-Tanf, which threaten any deployment of the Syrian Arab Army, Iranian proxy-groups and Russian forces close to the al-Tanf zone. The formal justification given by the US surrounding these actions is that Syrian government troops as well as Iranian-backed forces in Syria pose a threat to US-backed 'less-radical' rebel groups and US troops deployed at the garrison.

    Oil, Rebels, Iran, Chaos and Leverage

    Many allegations exist surrounding the activities of the US soldiers present at al-Tanf, even though the Trump-administration claimed it wanted to pull back troops from Syria and victory had been announced over ISIS.

    One of the reasons is the presence of US-backed 'rebel' groups such as Maghweer al-Thora. According to an OIR inspector general report released Aug. 4. 2020, OIR officials want to want to double the size of US-proxy forces in Syria and finish training a 2,200-man "oilfield guard" unit there.

    The same report also mentions the oil revenues of the area. US-backed forces likely produced at least 30,000 barrels of oil per day, garnering nearly $3 million a day in revenue, until the recent price collapse. "Although US-backed Kurdish forces have "bolstered" their "security presence near major oil and gas fields in northeastern Syria," they have "remained co-located with Coalition forces whose protection SDF leaders still depend on," the IG report also reads, reminding us of the cooperation of a shady US oil company partnering up with the Kurdish-led SDF to refine and sell Syria's oil . The Kurdish-led SDF occupies a great part of the country's wheat fields and the majority of Syria's oilfields, and thus actively threaten Syria's economy. Another reason the US government might utter are 'humanitarian reasons' As there are 10.000 refugees and Bedouins living inside the deconfliction zone, which is heavily infiltrated by ISIS militants and said to be a launching pad for 'ISIS' attacks by Syrian officials . US officials might utter these 'refugees' have been under US protection for years now, and leaving them behind might put them in danger, so they must stay.

    Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East, acknowledged the base's strategic importance in countering the sway of Iran . He was quoted as following: "Al Tanf's location is also central to its role in preventing the Iranians from gaining a firmer foothold in the region. The base sits in the heart of what Iran hopes will be part of a "Shia Crescent," a continuous land bridge linking Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon." US officials have also uttered that their presence at al-Tanf could form leverage in the negotiations on the outcome of the conflict. As Syria, Russia, Turkey and Iran all want the United States to leave Syria, it might give them some leverage when Syria's future will be formed.

    Maghaweer al-Thowra, liberated ISIS prisoners, and the British SAS

    As mentioned earlier, the rebel group "Revolutionary Commando Army" or 'Maghaweer al-Thowra' is hosted in the al-Tanf pocket, they are called 'less-radical' are trained by US soldiers to fight in anti-ISIS operations. Yet, defects of the group have claimed that 'U.S. troops at Al-Tanf base sold weapons to ISIS in Syria' and use the group to hinder operations of the Syrian Arab Army and Iranian proxies in the area instead.

    "American instructors trained them to carry out sabotage at oil and transport infrastructure, as well as for terrorist acts in the Syrian government-controlled territories," state another group of defectors of Maghaweer al-Thowra. In addition to US-backed rebel groups, it is also stated that former ISIS militants are being hosted in the al-Tanf pocket. Though the US forces have not denied that ISIS militants may have infiltrated the refugees there, multiple reports state that ISIS prisoners released by Kurdish officials have been massively transported to the US military base. Western forces are being host in the al-Tanf base as well. The British special forces SAS have been operating alongside US forces and Syrian 'rebels' since 2016 in operations hidden from the public. The British covert operation started as early as 2011 , when the British were assisting the earliest Syrian 'rebels' and assessing their needs to overthrow Syrian president Assad. The SAS began actively training the 'rebels' fighting Assad from bases in Jordan in 2012. At the same time, the SAS also began " slipping into Syria on missions". That the rebels they supported had strong affiliations with ISIS did not matter to them. The Free Syrian Army that was supported in the British operation, was in effect allied to IS until the end of 2013 and was collaborating with it on the battlefield until 2014, despite tensions between the groups. "We have good relations with our brothers in the FSA," ISIS leader Abu Atheer said in 2013, having bought arms from the FSA.

    In 2015, reports started to emerge of SAS fighters dressed as ISIS militants and waving the black flag, while at the same time continuing operations against the Syrian Arab Army.

    Other reports show that the SAS has been actively training and fighting alongside the Kurdish-led SDF. British special forces continue to operate on the ground in Syria in 2019 and are reported to number at least 120 soldiers , as a new cyber unit was announced that 'was created to take on Russian and Chinese battle tech' and 'also track down remaining ISIS commanders'. In 2020, the SAS has continued 'secret manoeuvres' in Syria. They have also fought alongside the Kurdish-led SDF and were clad in Burkas during operations in the area. Reports by British media also state that the forces will also be deployed to hinder Russia's and Iran's covert activities. SAS forces are stationed in Jordan and al-Tanf.


    SAS fighters (source: Pinterest.com)
    bigger

    Why is ISIS growing again?

    Attacks claimed by ISIS in both Iraq and Syria have increased significantly in 2020, demonstrating both a capacity and a willingness on ISIS's part to continue attacks and retake territory, support in the area, and resources. ISIS has led a steady beat of assassinations, ambushes, and bombings in eastern Syria in 2020, and is responsible for the deaths of a number of regime and SDF forces. By August, 126 attacks by ISIS across Syria were reported for 2020 -- compared to 144 in all of 2019. Reasons mentioned for the ISIS resurgence in Syria are to be found in several complex situations. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have released more than 600 ISIS fighters and 15.000 ISIS-supporters from al-Hol camp. In addition, 785 ISIS fighters escaped from Ayn Issa during Turkish shelling, and about 100 hardcore ISIS-militants have reportedly escaped from ISIS-prisons .


    ISIS prisoners in Hasakah (source: Rudaw)

    Another reason for ISIS' opportunity to grow are the flaring tensions between the SDF and tribal forces in Deir ez-Zor, after the assassinations of several powerful Arab tribal leaders. The SDF blamed the Syrian government, Turkey, Iran and their respective local allies of using certain elements in Deir ez-Zor to cause instability. Though in 2019, victory over ISIS was declared after the last ISIS stronghold was retaken in the battle for Baghouz , the amount of ISIS attacks has seemed to have risen. Maps made by Gregory Waters show the exact location of the ISIS attacks, and how the location of the attacks suddenly spread from the al-Tanf/al-Bukamal axis to the Deir ez-Zor-Uqayribat axis (ISIS stronghold that was liberated by the Syrian Arab Army in 2017) in 2020, as well as multiplying and intensifying by orders of magnitude.


    bigger

    bigger

    bigger

    By analyzing these maps, an interesting trend can be seen. ISIS attacks seem to focus on areas that have been recaptured by the Syrian Arab Army, stretching deeply in SAA territory. Other ISIS attacks focus on Iranian proxies from al-Bukamal to Deir ez-Zor. An amount of ISIS attacks also occurred in SDF-held territories, focussing on the Deir ez-Zor region. These attacks conveniently seem to target tribal leaders that oppose the SDF-US oil deal .

    Is al-Tanf really a launching pad for ISIS attacks in the region?

    The controversial al-Tanf base is mentioned as a launching pad for ISIS attacks in the region by many sides. All sides seem to agree that dubious attacks – claimed to be committed by ISIS - seem to be launched from the al-Tanf pocket.

    The al-Tanf pocket hosts ISIS-affiliated refugees and militias like Maghaweer al-Thowra, that have cooperated with ISIS and use quite the same modus operandi. These groups still receive training by US soldiers today.

    It is undeniable that escaped or released ISIS fighters may have rejoined the group. Released jihadists often return to ISIS or similar groups .

    British SAS forces remain operative in the reason, and are stationed in Jordan and al-Tanf, from where they launch operations. Little is known about their activities in Syria, as the SAS is exempt from freedom of information laws and operates under a strict "no comment" policy. Secrecy around the corps is pervasive.

    Statements of defectors, Russian government officials and Syrian government officials, and other signs explained in this article all point in the same direction; that al-Tanf has become the launching pad of dubious activities in the region. They allege US-sponsored ISIS factions, US-backed rebel groups, or secretive SAS operations are behind the attacks.

    Proving these allegations or distinguishing the real perpetrator is very hard, yet all evidence points at al-Tanf. And even if proven, accusations will remain unheard by the larger public. Yet, when arguing about this growing threat, one must take the US military's earlier actions in the Middle East in mind. The US has a long history of state-sponsored terrorism , and cooperation with terrorist- and radical jihadist groups. Proof of these operations often only shows up years after. And I myself will not be surprised if - one day - news about a clandestine ISIS-US cooperation appears in the media through leaks or whistle blowers, books will be written, and documentaries will be made.

    Posted by b on January 29, 2021 at 10:44 UTC | Permalink


    Jen , Jan 29 2021 11:01 utc | 1

    No surprise to hear that all of a sudden, and so soon after Joe Biden's inauguration as US President, Syria is coming back into the United States' target sights. The team that used to advise O'Bomber on his Middle East policy must have all come back and are probably also being paid bigger bucks for the next four-year cycle.
    PavewayIV , Jan 29 2021 11:31 utc | 2
    How can a U.S. citizen even respond? U.S. Intel agency secrets. CENTCOM's treason, the nation's complicity in another eternal war for Israel. It's just too sad to comment about. Maybe voting and the law will fix this mess.
    Johny Conspiranoid , Jan 29 2021 11:47 utc | 3
    " that is called illegal by the Syrian government "
    If the Syrian government say something inside Syria is illegal then that's what it is because they are the Syrian government.

    What's this 'regime' you talk about? Is it the American one?

    Mao Cheng Ji , Jan 29 2021 11:51 utc | 4
    I'm pretty sure one important function of that military base is to block an important road from Iran to Iraq to Lebanon.

    Breaking the so-called Shia Crescent, more or less the main geopolitical purpose of the whole Syrian operation of the last decade. And still ongoing.

    Temporarily Sane , Jan 29 2021 11:53 utc | 5
    "Many questions remain unanswered about the al-Tanf United States base in the Syrian desert, that is called illegal by the Syrian government and Russia. "

    It's probably unintentional but this phrasing is similar to what the NYT and WaPo use when they want to cast doubt on a claim made by US "adversaries."

    The fact is, the al-Tanf base is unquestionably illegal because the US is in Syria without Damascus' consent. It is an occupation force but no war was declared nor did the UN authorize the occupation. This makes it illegal under international law no matter what anyone says or doesn't say about it.

    Et Tu , Jan 29 2021 12:13 utc | 6
    This same article was published on Southfront a day or two ago.

    https://southfront.org/isis-in-al-tanf-propaganda-or-reality/

    It also says "Written by Hedwig Kuijpers exclusively for SouthFront"

    I find it strange MoA makes no mention of Southfront at all?

    Paul , Jan 29 2021 12:34 utc | 7
    Not only is the US/UK military occupation of Syrian sovereign territory illegal but the 'pillage' of Syrian oil is also illegal and prohibited by the Hague Conventions. This has been customary international law for over one hundred years.

    So much for the fabled 'ruled based international order' a phrase which is recited by rote and trumpeted endlessly by the self same Anglo/Zionists. As if saying the phrase means doing it.

    These war criminals will stop at nothing in the service of bandit state.

    Stonebird , Jan 29 2021 13:00 utc | 8
    The SAS ought to be designated publicly as a "terrorist entity" by the Syrians and their backers.

    I note that some of the targets mentioned are tribal leaders. If my memory serves me correctly the Shaihtah* tribe near Al Bukamal-Al Mayadin and whose original territory was on the Eastern side of the river, lost 750 people massacred by ISIS and who have now become (part of?) the SDF. Mainly Women and children of course. It won't change much if Tribal leaders are assassinated, as the tribe as a whole will remember. That is what Tribal afffinities are for.

    * "Shaitah" is an approximative spelling !

    Louis N Proyect , Jan 29 2021 13:04 utc | 9
    Always with the USA and England colluding with ISIS against Assad. Don't you people read outside your comfort zone?

    Under Obama: https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/obama-expands-isis-bombing-campaign-to-fourth-country-media-barely-notices/

    Under Trump: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/1/3/us-intensifies-bombing-in-syria-after-trump-announced-withdrawal

    vk , Jan 29 2021 13:20 utc | 10
    Another reason for ISIS' opportunity to grow are the flaring tensions between the SDF and tribal forces in Deir ez-Zor, after the assassinations of several powerful Arab tribal leaders. The SDF blamed the Syrian government, Turkey, Iran and their respective local allies of using certain elements in Deir ez-Zor to cause instability. Though in 2019, victory over ISIS was declared after the last ISIS stronghold was retaken in the battle for Baghouz, the amount of ISIS attacks has seemed to have risen. Maps made by Gregory Waters show the exact location of the ISIS attacks, and how the location of the attacks suddenly spread from the al-Tanf/al-Bukamal axis to the Deir ez-Zor-Uqayribat axis (ISIS stronghold that was liberated by the Syrian Arab Army in 2017) in 2020, as well as multiplying and intensifying by orders of magnitude.

    One factor may be the direct consequence of the other: ISIS was defeated as a regular force, so now they're scattered around East Syria doing the more traditional terrorist attacks.

    b , Jan 29 2021 13:50 utc | 11
    @Et Tu
    It also says "Written by Hedwig Kuijpers exclusively for SouthFront"

    I find it strange MoA makes no mention of Southfront at all?

    Hedwig had send me the piece two days and asked me to publish it. I did not know that it was on South Front. Nor do I know about anything "exclusive".

    snake , Jan 29 2021 13:52 utc | 12
    How can a U.S. citizen even respond? U.S. Intel agency secrets. CENTCOM's treason, the nation's complicity in another eternal war for Israel. It's just too sad to comment about. Maybe voting and the law will fix this mess.

    Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 29 2021 11:31 utc | 2

    I think maybe its time to rethink is it actually the nation state of Israel, OR is it that the Nation State of Israel is the same as the Nation State of the USA, a warrior, pawn and get it done group that both holds captive its citizens by rule of law and that serves the will and wishes of the Oligarch..

    Oligarchary has gone global. They are in control of the top of nearly all governments and they privately own (92% owned by just 6 entities) the media (the ninth tier in the 9 tier model) At the top and at the bottom they have what it takes to keep divided the populations so the deplorable cannot effectively organize. Until someone comes up with a way to overcome the divided nation,nothing effective is likely to surface. Nation states are the pawns, the war machine (leg breakers) that keep the Oligarch familes wealthy.. forget the nation state as the center of power, the nation state is not, the center of power is invisible, the nation state is just the war machine, and law making machine and the wealth extraction machine the oligarch depend on to keep their wealth and to deny the deplorable their chance at the good life.

    One of the biggest challenges to democracy lay in the copyright and patent monopolies. these monopolies are creatures of the rule of law, without law there can be no privately owned monopolies. as of Oct 1, it is reported that 90% of the balance sheets of the traded companies is either patents or copyrights. that only leaves 10% for physical assets. Rule of law, without effective input from those who are the governed, is the enemy of the deplorable and the supression of Democracy, Independence of mind, thought and deed.

    If you removed the laws that enable copyright and patents, overnight some mighty big corporate enterprises would be broke.

    Christian J. Chuba , Jan 29 2021 13:58 utc | 13
    Who is ISIS attacking the most? according to the NATO funded
    SOHR Syrian Observatory of Human Rights
    "Since 24th of March 2019, SOHR has documented the killing of at least 1,221 regime soldiers [and allies]"

    My question to you is this, how many SDF [Kurdish soldiers] have ISIS killed over that time frame? [not rhetorical, I don't know the answer, I'd like to know]

    A disparity of numbers will tell you who ISIS sees as their biggest enemy.

    [If I ask a rhetorical question, I'll throw in a pompous, 'again I ask' at the end.]

    Nathan Mulcahy , Jan 29 2021 14:16 utc | 14
    "Maybe voting and the law will fix this mess."

    Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 29 2021 11:31 utc | 2

    =======

    Who are you gonna vote for? Tweedledum or tweedledee?

    Christian J. Chuba , Jan 29 2021 14:36 utc | 15
    Slightly OT: conspiracy theories Marjorie Taylor Greene

    1. Parkland shooting was staged to undermine gun rights, 2. laser beam fired from space to help high speed rail in CA

    Why do people so quickly embrace such far fetched explanations?

    1. the theory has to give a conclusion that the listener wants to believe, 'my rights are being threatened by powerful people, bad people'. 2. It only requires plausibility, not proof, or a friends approval.

    Back to this topic earlier, I said that ISIS considers the govt of Syria a bigger enemy than the SDF because they have attacked the SAA thousands of times, and I only see a few against the SDF.

    I did not start with, 'Israel and the U.S. is in an alliance w/ISIS' to explain the same set of facts. I would say that the U.S. and Israel are more interested in hurting the Syrian govt even if it helps ISIS but that does not require a conspiracy.

    I know this is pedantic. But I am fascinated by people who jump off the ledge and I'm trying to understand where the line is or if people have other observations.

    Ian2 , Jan 29 2021 14:51 utc | 16
    Nathan Mulcahy @14:

    PavewayIV wasn't serious.

    William Gruff , Jan 29 2021 15:37 utc | 17
    PavewayIV @2: "Maybe voting and the law will fix this mess."

    That sarcasm is much to dark for this bright and sunny morning.

    Jackrabbit , Jan 29 2021 16:10 utc | 18
    Louis N Proyect @Jan29 13:04 #9 shows up to administer ideological policing to "you people" that think outside of the carefully constructed "comfort zone" of media narratives.

    But moa readers have seen how fake these narratives have been with psyops like the White Helmets. And we have not forgotten the "Obama Administration's" "willful choice" to let ISIS rise after Russia prevented USA from bombing Syria in 2013.

    Furthermore, we have noticed that ISIS never attacks Israel. And we can see that ISIS' continuing existence in Syria is crucial to USA's ability to legally remain in Syria under UN Resolution 2249.

    !!

    Arch Bungle , Jan 29 2021 16:58 utc | 19
    Posted by: Louis N Proyect | Jan 29 2021 13:04 utc | 9

    Always with the USA and England colluding with ISIS against Assad. Don't you people read outside your comfort zone?

    Good to see *you* showing up on MoA to read outside your 'comfort zone' ...

    oldhippie , Jan 29 2021 17:04 utc | 20

    JR @ 18

    2249 does not remotely give USA legal cover. If you read only half the resolution while attempting to reason with the mind of a petulant child you could construct a rationale, but your older brother would see through that rationale in a second.

    Yes, US diplomats often reason like small children. Let us not assist them.

    gottlieb , Jan 29 2021 17:08 utc | 21
    They say the bigger they are the harder they fall. In the end, after the fall, after the 'truth commissions' and investigations, and post-apocalyptic introspection, the citizens of Empire will live in the shame of a humanity that worshiped greed as a religion, and practiced inhumanity to humans as simply another course in a feast. Meanwhile the billions of victims of Empire will dance, sing and rejoice as the current imperial project of the lizard-people sinks beneath the waves to join another in a long line of human empires that misunderstood the meaning of life.
    Dogon Priest , Jan 29 2021 17:09 utc | 22
    Riddlemethis

    How much loot does the US military industrial complex make every 24 hours on the ground?
    Oiligopoly not included....
    Asking for a friend

    karlof1 , Jan 29 2021 17:18 utc | 23
    The acronym ought to be ISUS or USIS. Of course, al-Tanf is a terrorist base, the terrorists primarily being forces of the Outlaw US Empire and its main accomplice. Accepting that as fact, we must then determine WHY? What is the overall aim? If Hudson's correct about the overall geopolitical aims of the Parasitical Neoliberal Fascists running the Outlaw US Empire and its NATO vassals, then we've known the answer for quite awhile. The following is what Hudson has distilled it to:

    "All economic systems seek to internationalize themselves and extend their rule throughout the world. Today's revived Cold War should be understood as a fight between what kind of economic system the world will have . Finance capitalism is fighting against nations that restrict its intrusive dynamics and sponsorship of privatization and dismantling of public regulatory power . Unlike industrial capitalism, the rentier aim is not to become a more productive economy by producing goods and selling them at a lower cost than competitors. Finance capitalism's dynamics are globalist, seeking to use international organizations (the IMF, NATO, the World Bank and U.S.-designed trade and investment sanctions) to overrule national governments that are not controlled by the rentier classes . The aim is to make all economies into finance-capitalist layers of hereditary privilege, imposing anti-labor austerity policies to squeeze a dollarized surplus .

    " Industrial capitalism's resistance to this international pressure is necessarily nationalist , because it needs state subsidy and laws to tax and regulate the FIRE sector . But it is losing the fight to finance capitalism, which is turning to be its nemesis just as industrial capitalism was the nemesis of post-feudal landlordship and predatory banking. Industrial capitalism requires state subsidy and infrastructure investment, along with regulatory and taxing power to check the incursion of finance capital . The resulting global conflict is between socialism (the natural evolution of industrial capitalism) and a pro-rentier fascism, a state-finance-capitalist reaction against socialism's mobilization of state power to roll back the post-feudal rentier interests ." [My Emphasis]

    The situation in Syria and Iraq represent the kinetic edge of what's mostly a Cold War globally. It's noted that some of the Parasitical organizations have powers equal to some nation-states and that the main underlying aim is the weakening of governments's abilities to regulate them. The pandemic has weakened a great many nations while the Parasites have grown stronger as they get massive transfusions from the Fed. Thus it seems very plausible that given their motive, the Parasites spawned the pandemic, not this or that government. We watched as those forces operated independently of Trump by disobeying his orders, and now we have further understanding of why the so-called Forever Wars. We can also understand the real motive for 911 was the destruction of evidence at Building 7 and the Pentagon that would've gravely injured the Parasites while also providing a covering reason for launching the Forever Wars. IMO, the only way the Outlaw US Empire will leave the areas it occupies is if its physically ousted--Korea, Japan, Europe, Afghanistan, Southwest Asia. It ought to be possible to now see how Full Spectrum Domination can be obtained without a military conflict, as well as the real reasons behind the demonization of China and Russia.

    Both Putin and Xi told Davos and the Parasites that they're committed to their development path which is completely at odds with what the Parasites desire. IMO, the global masses would agree with both and join them if they knew what they said. We can also see why the attack on the Ummah, which is the Islamic global collective that adheres to the values that promote the collective, not the Parasites that would feed on it. And we just witnessed how the Parasites are able to quickly counter any concerted effort to disciple them, which also served the purpose of outing Big Tech as an enemy of the collective. Cold War or Class War? The difference between them is close to indistinguishable.

    ld , Jan 29 2021 17:38 utc | 24
    Arch Bungle @19
    No matter how frustrated I may get with some comments.
    I always leave with a smile.
    I always find some point of agreement with every poster.
    I have learned more here than in my entire academic career. I rarely post because I cannot add. I love the tactful and the witty. I do admire those that have come here 'out of their comfort zone'. It all begins somewhere.
    james , Jan 29 2021 17:44 utc | 25
    why? because the usa is servant to israel... that and al- tanf is a terrorist base for usa-israel.... anything else is a lie and what you will read in the msm regularly...

    @ karlof1... thanks again for the hudson article...

    Stonebird , Jan 29 2021 17:49 utc | 26
    Dogon Priest | Jan 29 2021 17:09 utc | 22

    Using the short form of trillion, and counting that the Pentagon budget (+ secret ops) was already estimated to be 1'2 trillion about five years back. Which makes $3'287'671'232.88 per day. Three thousand two hundred and eighty two million, six hundred and seventy one thousand, two hundred and thirty two dollars, and eighty eight cents.

    I wish I had friends like yours, but tell it/them/etc. that I didn't count in the actual sum spent on contracts and procurement. Ask Congress, I think they have "oversight" (overshot?). Pelosi will know.

    Easier to calculate, (incl US contribution) is that the total NATO budget is x 22 that of Russia.
    -----------

    General comment; If ISIS is mainly in the southern part of the desert east of the Euphrates, then it's arms must come from somewhere near. Al-Tanf is the most likely and the Israelis have admitted giving some (earlier) from the Golan heights area.
    ------------
    snake | Jan 29 2021 13:52 utc | 12

    There are supposed to be 655 "families" that control all. The question is; are the corporations (Nouveau rich) and the families the one and the same? I do not think they are, but they use the same methods of control. (Media et al.)

    ------------
    Cheer up. here is a clip of "Putins palace" - the real insider facts. At least you will see why there is less unemployment in Russia.

    https://twitter.com/ValLisitsa/status/1355135339795505163

    Stonebird , Jan 29 2021 17:53 utc | 27
    @26
    Three thousand two hundred and eighty two million

    It should have been ....eighty seven million. But what's five million a day between friends?

    juliania , Jan 29 2021 18:08 utc | 28
    Paaveway @ 2 - here is how Indians are responding to injustice:

    https://ruralindiaonline.org/en/articles/
    the-many-splendoured-sewa-network-at-singhu/

    Willy2 , Jan 29 2021 18:12 utc | 29
    - I see a REAL possibility that these US trained fighters have an agenda of their own that "doesn't align/run parallel" with the plans the US has for Syria & Iraq/Iran.
    Jackrabbit , Jan 29 2021 18:20 utc | 30
    oldhippie @Jan29 17:04 #20

    Yeah, it's a legal fig leaf. But that's enough for a superpower to throw its weight around.

    !!

    juliania , Jan 29 2021 18:23 utc | 31
    snake @12, this is indeed what has been happening, and why b's post on the Wall Street shenanigans is so important. Not only do oligarchs make their billions through monopolies, (thank you Clinton) but also Wall Street has been shown to be oligarchical territory for turning billions into trillions and not any little person can have leverage there.

    Education happens outside the universities and the state run school system these days. The soft spots for the oligarchical/tyrannical system are surely educating many that 'it's a big club and you ain't in it', though I would rephrase that:

    It's a little club, and you ain't in it.

    [Jan 22, 2021] We're Back Baby! Bomb'n Biden says -Come on Man- We're Off to War.......

    Jan 22, 2021 | turcopolier.typepad.com

    Happy Friday America! It's been less than 48 hours and already our brave redacted Commander in Chief has, finished with using 25,000 troops he says he can't trust to ethnicly cleanse the Capital of all Americans, sent troops back to Syria. Come on man, we gotta take on the Roooshans, just like we've been telling you for years. For (check's list) Freedom in the Middle East.

    I guess those four peace treaties the Trump administration helped to get enacted don't matter. Ready or not, here they come:

    That's a brave warrior of Meal Team VI, just finishing protecting Bomb'n Biden from the YUUUGE inaugural crowds.

    You remember when Joe campaigned on bringing the troops home defending Syrians in Syria from Syrians? It was right there in the answer to the question posed by the third circle reporter:

    Ah, what a campaign. Dominionating the Donald. It will go down in infamy history as the most free and fair election ever!. Now, back to war. (Thanks Joe! That's what 80 million voted for.) Here they are, bravely moving forward from where Donald J. Trump ordered them not to be in the first place.

    I'm so glad our officer corps is loyal. Let me pause here to pronounce my loyalty to the man who garnered more votes than Barack, more votes than any president in history. Phew, glad I got that out. I'd hate to be pronoun-ed disloyal the Resistance.

    Russia's response to these troop movements (authorized by Congress of course) via the twitter safety council warning video DANGER on this tweet . Aren't you glad twitter is keeping us safe from videos? Unlike this 21 seconds of How Dare They direspect the CinC . (I'm sure they were just scanning the vast inauguration crowds celebrating the election of Bomb'n Biden, to keep him safe.)

    Meanwhile AMN News reports :

    "A large U.S. military convoy was seen entering northeastern Syria on Thursday, marking the first time since Damascus issued its letter to the United Nations Security Council demanding the immediate withdrawal of American forces from the Arab Republic. "According to a field report from northeastern Syria on Thursday, the U.S. military convoy entered the Al-Hasakah Governorate from neighboring Iraq, as they were observed entering the Arab Republic via the Al-Waleed Crossing." (Apparently that site is currently under a DNS attack. Surprise, surprise.) Thank's Joe. Nothing says unity quite like body bags back from Kabul Baghad NW Syria where we bravely went to do what? Infrastructure, good jobs, Climate Change? Whatever. I'm sure they'll be remembered: Though unlike brain cancer victims they won't get to lie in state in the Senate Rotunda. We're back baby! Bomb's Away! It's the Bomb'n Biden Agenda. 80,000,000 votes. I'm sure that's worth one bomb each? At least the MSM won't be talking about China, FangFang, Corruprtion, The Big Guy's 10%, or even why gas prices are already up 10%.

    [Jan 20, 2021] The UN General Assembly actually affirmed that Israel's continued occupation of the Golan Heights is 'a violation of international law'

    Jan 20, 2021 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

    Northern Star

    November 26, 2018 at 1:48 am
    Occupied but not forgotten
    https://syria360.wordpress.com/2018/11/16/un-general-assembly-votes-overwhelmingly-in-favor-of-resolution-affirming-syrias-sovereignty-over-occupied-golan/
    If Syria can consolidate her sovereign status and territorial integrity she may well be able take back the Golan heights from Israel.
    cartman November 26, 2018 at 3:40 am
    Where Cheney, Murdoch, and the Rothschilds purchased oil concessions.

    Like Like

    Mark Chapman November 26, 2018 at 10:23 am
    Gosh! The UN General Assembly actually affirmed that Israel's continued occupation of the Golan Heights is 'a violation of international law'!! But the USA voted against the resolution. Does that mean the USA supports violations of international law, or that it believes it has the right to decide what does or does not constitute violations thereof?

    My vote is with option B. As others have pointed out, the USA loves to throw the weight of 'international law' about, often when there is no such backing and even more often without getting any more specific than just 'international law'. The supposed annexation of Crimea is a natural example – the USA and Ukraine monotonously refer to the transfer of Crimea to the Russian Federation as such a violation, but do not specify what law was violated, instead bleating about the Budapest Memorandum.

    The latter is not international law, and more importantly, it assumed that conditions which prevailed at the time of signing would endure; no provision was made for a bloody coup right next door, and nobody would be fool enough to sign such an agreement as unconditional. Not to blame it all on the USA and Ukraine, either – the USA's retinue of lickspittles who depend on it for trade and economic reasons are happy to parrot it as a 'violation of international law'.

    That only shows you how easily an action the west routinely lauds as the very essence of democratic principles – a declaration of independence supported by a huge majority of the inhabitants – can be made to seem 'a violation of international law': simply refuse to recognize the decision as the will of the people, and characterize it as a forced decision made under duress. Because America says the Crimean referendum was not legal or proper, Crimea should have been forced against its will to remain a possession of Ukraine – the very and complete polar opposite of the USA's customary prancing and whooping about 'freedom'.

    Mark Chapman November 26, 2018 at 8:30 am
    I wouldn't want to be a Russian in Ukraine now, though. Hysteria will be high, and the nationalists will be looking for an outlet for their frustration and hate.
    Cortes November 26, 2018 at 2:37 pm
    Protests about the lack of heating and hikes in utility prices are going to be kiboshed by the decree.
    Northern Star November 26, 2018 at 10:44 am
    Since a nation's territorial Waters extend 12 miles beyond its coast, doesn't that put the entirety of the Ketch strait in Russian territorial waters ??
    BTW What happens where the 12 mile extensions of two nations overlap???

    Like Like

    Moscow Exile November 26, 2018 at 11:30 am
    In such cases there is usually some sort of convention, as there is as regards the 20.7 mile wide Straits of Dover.

    This matter was brought up in Moon of Alabama :

    The usual anti-Russian subject in "western" political circles use the incident to demand more measures against Russia. Fronting the effort is the weapon industry lobbying group Atlantic Council:

    Anders Åslund, a resident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center, said: "NATO and the United States should send in naval ships in the Sea of Azov to guarantee that it stays open to international shipping."

    Such action, Åslund said, "would be in full compliance with the UN Law of the Sea Convention of 1982 and the Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits of 1936."

    Anders Aslund is listed as member of the "U.S. & Canadian Cluster" of the secret influence operation by the British Foreign Office describe here two days ago. He is obviously unable to read a map, sea chart, or UN convention. The Ukrainian attempt to pass through the Kerch Strait without Russian consent is a breach of Article 7, 19 and 21 of the UN Law of the Sea Convention (pdf):

    Article 7: "Subject to this Convention, ships of all States, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea."

    Article 19-1: "Passage is innocent so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State. Such passage shall take place in conformity with this Convention and with other rules of international law."

    Article 21-4: "Foreign ships exercising the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea shall comply with all such [coastal state] laws and regulations and all generally accepted international regulations relating to the prevention of collisions at sea."

    There will now be again a lot of noise in the media about the 'nefarious Russians' and new demands for even more useless sanctions. But the legal case is clear. It was the Ukrainian navy that willfully attempted to pass from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through Russian territorial waters without regard to the laws and regulations of the coastal state. Russia was within its full rights to prevent the passage and to seize the Ukrainian boats.

    Mark Chapman November 26, 2018 at 12:40 pm
    Dear God; Anders Aslund. Now he's an expert in maritime law. Might as well, I guess; he's a chrome-plated clusterfuck as an economist – good on you, Anders, to make a career change so late in life.

    Anders Aslund is a wooden-head whose sole useful function is to give the veneer of academia to agit-prop.

    Jen November 26, 2018 at 8:32 pm
    The Atlantic Council seems to attract many people who have quite sudden and dramatic mid-life career changes, for example that former women's lingerie salesman turned investigative journalist Eliot Higgins.

    [Jan 15, 2021] It's so crazy how Israel's constant airstrikes on Syria are just background noise that hardly anyone is aware of. Imagine a country in western Europe routinely bombing its neighbor and killing large numbers of people and the public being generally unaware that it's happening because the press barely reports it

    Jan 15, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

    michaelj72 , Jan 15 2021 3:51 utc | 66


    Caitlan makes a point:
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2021/01/14/its-spelled-dead-asshole-not-philanthropist-notes-from-the-edge-of-the-narrative-matrix/

    "...It's so crazy how Israel's constant airstrikes on Syria are just background noise that hardly anyone is aware of. Imagine a country in western Europe routinely bombing its neighbor and killing large numbers of people and the public being generally unaware that it's happening because the press barely reports it..."

    the link in her paragraph above,
    https://news.antiwar.com/2021/01/13/us-assisted-israeli-attacks-in-east-syria-kill-at-least-57/

    with this added paragraph and link in the antiwar.com article

    "....US officials are pointing to their own involvement with this, saying Mike Pompeo provided the intelligence to Mossad. They suggested the intelligence was about Iranian arms. It's not clear why so many troops were killed if warehouses were the target..."

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-official-israel-carried-out-syria-strikes-using-american-intelligence/

    Surely the war against Syria has to rank as one of the greatest wars crimes of the last 50-60 years or more.... But not a liberal in sight. hah.

    Oh I almost forgot that this great crime, along with the complete destruction and destitution of the richest nation in all of Africa, Libya, was all started under Obama-Biden-Clinton-Rice-Power administration. double hah.

    [Jan 10, 2021] Top adviser signals Biden would keep troops in Syria as leverage

    Jan 10, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Passer by , Jan 10 2021 23:21 utc | 64

    Posted by: Circe | Jan 10 2021 23:07 utc | 61

    There you go

    Top adviser signals Biden would keep troops in Syria as leverage

    https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/05/biden-blinken-syria-oil-obama-red-line-kurds-assad.html#ixzz6jBp9f4aY


    Joe Biden hits the president over Syria troop withdrawal in Iowa speech

    https://eu.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/elections/presidential/caucus/2019/10/16/joe-biden-donald-trump-syria-troop-withdrawal-turkey-kurds-foreign-policy-iowa-caucuses-2020/4002281002/

    Biden Says Would Keep Small U.S. Troops Presence In Afghanistan, Iraq

    https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/biden-says-would-keep-small-u-s-troops-presence-in-afghanistan-iraq-/30833114.html

    [Jan 06, 2021] How Trump 'Appeased' Russia

    Jan 06, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Mao Cheng Ji , Jan 6 2021 18:18 utc | 1

    Two years ago we have written about the Trump's relation with Russia:

    Putin Asks And Trump Delivers - A List Of All The Good Things Trump Did For Russia

    Trump obviously wants better diplomatic relations with Russia. He is reluctant to counter its military might. He is doing his best to make it richer. Just consider the headlines below. With all those good things Trump did for Putin, intense suspicions of Russian influence over him is surely justified.

    There followed 34 headlines and links to stories about Trump actions, from closing Russian consulates to U.S. attacks on Russian troops, that were hostile to Russia.

    In fact no other U.S. administration since the cold war has been more aggressive towards Russia than Trump's.

    But some U.S. media continue to claim that Trump's behavior towards Russia has not been hostile at all. Consider this line in Politico about anti-Russian hawks in the incoming Biden administration:

    Nuland and Sherman, who entered academia and the think tank world after leaving the Obama administration, have been outspoken critics of President Donald Trump's foreign policy -- particularly his appeasement of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Where please has Trump 'appeased' Vladimir Putin?

    Here are a number of headlines which appeared in U.S. media since we published our first list two years ago. Which of the described actions were designed to 'appease' Putin or Russia?

    U.S. to withdraw from nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, raising fears of a new arms race - Washington Post, Feb 1 2019

    Putin says U.S.-Russia relations are getting 'worse and worse' - Reuters, Jun 13 2019

    Green Berets train Polish, Latvian resistance units in West Virginia - Army Times, Jul 8 2019

    Trump Adds to Sanctions on Russia Over Skripals - NYT, Aug 1 2019

    INF nuclear treaty: US pulls out of Cold War-era pact with Russia - BBC, Aug 2 2019

    US Slaps New Sanctions on Russia for 2018 Nerve Agent Attack - Daily Signal, Aug 2 2019

    1000 U.S.Troops Are Headed to Poland - National Interest, Sep 29 2019

    U.S. sanctions Russians over attempted interference in 2018 elections - CBS News, Sep 30 2019

    US formally withdraws from Open Skies Treaty that bolstered European security - CNN, Nov 22 2020

    Nord Stream 2: Trump approves sanctions on Russia gas pipeline - BBC, Dec 21 2019

    Trump sanctions Rosneft, Russia's largest oil company, for aiding Maduro in Venezuela - MSN, Feb 19 2020

    Russia Says New U.S. Weapon Threatens Nuclear War - Newsweek, Mar 7 2020

    Trump Continues to Be Exceedingly Tough on Russia - Townhall, Jul 25 2020

    U.S.-Russia Military Tensions Intensify in the Air and on the Ground Worldwide - NYT, Sep 1 2020

    White House rejects Putin's proposal to extend last U.S.-Russia nuclear arms treaty - LA Times, Oct 16 2020

    U.S., Russian Navies Involved In Brief Confrontation At Sea - NPR, Nov 24 2020

    US sanctions NATO ally Turkey over Russian missile defense - AP, Dec 14 2020

    Pompeo accuses Russia of sowing 'chaos' in the Mediterranean - Rawstory, Dec 15 2020

    Exclusive: U.S. preparing new sanctions to impede Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline - Reuters, Dec 23 2020

    As we have written before :

    When one adds up all those actions one can only find that Trump cares more about Russia, than about the U.S. and its NATO allies. Only with Trump being under Putin's influence, knowingly or unwittingly, could he end up doing Russia so many favors.

    Not.

    Posted by b at 18:01 UTC | Comments (3)

    Why, you certainly could view most (if not all) of those actions as favors.

    People feel attacked, unite, rally around the flag. Internal problems are blamed on the external enemy. The sanctions, the sort the West likes to impose, help develop domestic industries. Etc. Yeah, favors.


    arby , Jan 6 2021 18:24 utc | 2

    n one of the comments that I read yesterday some Russian told another one who is sanctioned by the US that that is a badge of honour.

    Tollef Ås/秋涛乐 , Jan 6 2021 18:43 utc | 3

    Point on! Trump was never 'the Russians' bitch'. He was the whore of the Russian émigré mafia that had relocated to the US in south Queens in New York City. A major difference!

    Abe , Jan 6 2021 18:51 utc | 4

    Well, the logic is to destroy or ad least severely weaken Russia. Yet damn Russia is getting stronger and stronger, hence what ever happened under Trump's watch must have been a favor to Russia.

    Competent government would look itself in the mirror and admit it is their own fault and stupidity, but that ship sailed long time ago for US.

    [Jan 01, 2021] Military And Political Trends Of 2020 That Will Shape 2021 - ZeroHedge

    Jan 01, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

    The past year began with the assassination of the Iranian military genius General Qasem Soleimani by the United States, and it ended with the murder of the prominent scholar Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by the Israelis. In early January, Iran, expecting another aggressive action from the West, accidently shot down a Ukrainian civil aircraft that had inexplicably altered its course over Tehran without request nor authorization. Around the same time, Turkey confirmed the deployment of its military in Libya, beginning a new phase of confrontation in the region, and Egypt responding with airstrikes and additional shows of force. The situation in Yemen developed rapidly: taking advantage of the Sunni coalition's moral weakness, Ansar Allah achieved significant progress in forcing the Saudis out of the country in many regions. The state of warfare in northwestern Syria has significantly changed, transforming into the formal delineation of zones of influence of Turkey and the Russian-Iranian-Syrian coalition. This happened amid, and largely due to the weakening of U.S. influence in the region. Ankara is steadily increasing its military presence in the areas under its responsibility and along the contact line. It has taken measures to deter groups linked to Al-Qaeda and other radicals. As a result, the situation in the region is stabilizing, which has allowed Turkey to increasingly exert control over most of Greater Idlib.

    ISIS cells remain active in the eastern and southern Syrian regions. Particular processes are taking place in Quneitra and Daraa provinces, where Russian peace initiatives were inconclusive by virtue of the direct destructive influence of Israel in these areas of Syria. In turn, the assassination of Qasem Soleimaniin resulted in a sharp increase in the targeting of American personnel, military and civil infrastructure in Iraq. The U.S. Army was forced to regroup its forces, effectively abandoning a number of its military installations and concentrating available forces at key bases. At the same time, Washington flatly rejected demands from Baghdad for a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops and promised to respond with full-fledged sanctions if Iraq continued to raise this issue. Afghanistan remains stable in its instability. Disturbing news comes from Latin America. Confrontation between China and India flared this year, resulting in sporadic border clashes. This situation seems far from over, as both countries have reinforced their military posture along the disputed border. The aggressive actions of the Trump administration against China deepen global crises, which has become obvious not only to specialists but also to the general public. The relationship between the collective West and the Russian Federation was re-enshrined in "the Cold War state", which seems to have been resurrected once again.

    The turbulence of the first quarter of 2020 was overshadowed by a new socio-political process – the corona-crisis, the framework of which integrates various phenomena from the Sars-Cov2 epidemic itself and the subsequent exacerbation of the global economic crisis. The disclosure of substantial social differences that have accumulated in modern capitalist society, lead to a series of incessant protests across the globe. The year 2020 was accompanied by fierce clashes between protesters professing various causes and law enforcement forces in numerous countries. Although on the surface these societal clashes with the state appear disassociated, many share related root causes. A growing, immense wealth inequality, corruption of government at all levels, a lack of any meaningful input into political decision making, and the unmasking of massive censorship via big tech corporations and the main stream media all played a part in igniting societal unrest.

    In late 2019 and early 2020 there was little reason for optimistic projections for the near future. However, hardly anyone could anticipate the number of crisis events and developments that had taken place during this year. These phenomena affected every region of the world to some extent.

    Nevertheless, Middle East has remained the main source of instability, due to being an arena where global and regional power interests intertwine and clash. The most important line of confrontation is between US and Israel-led forces on the one hand, and Iran and its so called Axis of Resistance. The opposing sides have been locked in an endless spiral of mutual accusations, sanctions, military incidents, and proxy wars, and recently even crossed the threshold into a limited exchange of strikes due to the worsening state of regional confrontation. Russia and Turkey, the latter of which has been distancing itself from Washington due to growing disagreements with "NATO partners" and changes in global trends, also play an important role in the region without directly entering into the confrontation between pro-Israel forces and Iran.

    As in the recent years, Syria and Iraq remain the greatest hot-spots. The destruction of ISIS as a terrorist state and the apparent killing of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did not end its existence as a terror group. Many ISIS cells and supporting elements actively use regional instability as a chance to preserve the Khalifate's legacy. They remain active mainly along the Syria-Iraq border, and along the eastern bank of the Euphrates in Syria. Camps for the temporary displaced and for the families and relatives of ISIS militants on the territory controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in north-eastern Syria are also breeding grounds for terrorist ideology. Remarkably, these regions are also where there is direct presence of US forces, or, as in the case of SDF camps, presence of forces supported by the US.

    The fertile soil for radicalism also consists of the inability to reach a comprehensive diplomatic solution that would end the Syrian conflict in a way acceptable to all parties. Washington is not interesting in stabilizing Syria because even should Assad leave, it would strengthen the Damascus government that would naturally be allied to Russia and Iran. Opposing Iran and supporting Israel became the cornerstone of US policy during the Trump administration. Consequently, Washington is supporting separatist sentiments of the Kurdish SDF leadership and even allowed it to participate in the plunder of Syrian oil wells in US coalition zone of control in which US firms linked to the Pentagon and US intelligence services are participating. US intelligence also aids Israel in its information and psychological warfare operations, as well as military strikes aimed at undermining Syria and Iranian forces located in the country. In spite of propaganda victories, in practice Israeli efforts had limited success in 2020 as Iran continued to strengthen its positions and military capabilities on its ally's territory. Iran's success in establishing and supporting a land corridor linking Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iraq, plays an important role. Constant expansion of Iran's military presence and infrastructure near the town of al-Bukamal, on the border of Iraq and Syria, demonstrates the importance of the project to Tehran. Tel-Aviv claims that Iran is using that corridor to equip pro-Iranian forces in southern Syria and Lebanon with modern weapons.

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    The Palestinian question is also an important one for Israel's leadership and its lobby in Washington. The highly touted "deal of the century" turned out to be no more than an offer for the Palestinians to abandon their struggle for statehood. As expected, this initiative did not lead to a breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Rather the opposite, it gave an additional stimulus to Palestinian resistance to the demands that were being imposed. At the same time, Trump administration scored a diplomatic success by forcing the UAE and Bahrain to normalize their relations with Israel, and Saudi Arabia to make its collaboration with Israel public. That was a historic victory for US-Israel policy in the Middle East. Public rapprochement of Arab monarchies and Israel strengthened the positions of Iran as the only country which not only declares itself as Palestine's and Islamic world's defender, but actually puts words into practice. Saudi Arabia's leadership will particularly suffer in terms of loss of popularity among its own population, already damaged by the failed war in Yemen and intensifying confrontation with UAE, both of which are already using their neighbor's weakness to lay a claim to leadership on the Arabian Peninsula.

    The list of actors strengthening their positions in the Red Sea includes Russia. In late 2020 it became known that Russia reached an agreement with Sudan on establishing a naval support facility which has every possibility to become a full-blown naval base. This foothold will enable the Russian Navy to increase its presence on key maritime energy supply routes on the Red Sea itself and in the area between Aden and Oman straits. For Russia, which has not had naval infrastructure in that region since USSR's break-up, it is a significant diplomatic breakthrough. For its part. Sudan's leadership apparently views Russia's military presence as a security factor allowing it to balance potential harmful measures by the West.

    During all of 2020, Moscow and Beijing continued collaboration on projects in Africa, gradually pushing out traditional post-colonial powers in several key areas. The presence of Russian military specialists in the Central African Republic where they assist the central government in strengthening its forces, escalation of local conflicts, and ensuring the security of Russian economic sectors, is now a universally known fact. Russian diplomacy and specialists are also active in Libya, where UAE and Egypt which support Field Marshal Khaftar, and Turkey which supports the Tripoli government, are clashing. Under the cover of declarations calling for peace and stability, foreign actors are busily carving up Libya's energy resources. For Egypt there's also the crucial matter of fighting terrorism and the presence of groups affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood which Cairo sees as a direct threat to national security.

    The Sahel and the vicinity of Lake Chad remain areas where terror groups with links to al-Qaeda and ISIS remain highly active. France's limited military mission in the Sahara-Sahel region has been failure and could not ensure sufficient support for regional forces in order to stabilize the situation. ISIS and Boko-Haram continue to spread chaos in the border areas between Niger, Nigeria, Cameroun, and Chad. In spite of all the efforts by the region's governments, terrorists continue to control sizable territories and represent a significant threat to regional security. The renewed conflict in Ethiopia is a separate problem, in which the federal government was drawn into a civil war against the National Front for the Liberation of Tigray controlling that province. The ethno-feudal conflict between federal and regional elites threatens to destabilize the entire country if it continues.

    The explosive situation in Africa shows that post-colonial European powers and the "Global Policeman" which dominated that continent for decades were not interested in addressing the continent's actual problem. Foreign actors were mainly focused on extracting resources and ensuring the interests of a narrow group of politicians and entities affiliated with foreign capitals. Now they are forced to compete with the informal China-Russia bloc which will use a different approach that may be a described as follows: Strengthening of regional stability to protect investments in economic projects. Thus it is no surprise that influential actors are gradually losing to new but more constructive forces.

    Tensions within European countries have been on the rise during the past several years, due to both the crisis of the contemporary economic paradigm and to specific regional problems such as the migration crises and the failure of multiculturalism policies, with subsequent radicalization of society.

    Unpleasant surprises included several countries' health care and social protection networks' inability to cope with the large number of COVID-19 patients. Entire systems of governance in a number of European countries proved incapable of coping with rapidly developing crises. This is true particularly for countries of southern Europe, such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. Among eastern European countries, Hungary's and Romania's economies were particularly badly affected. At the same time, Poland's state institutions and economy showed considerable resilience in the face of crisis. While the Federal Republic of Germany suffered considerable economic damage in the second quarter of 2020, Merkel's government used the situation to inject huge sums of liquidity into the economy, enhanced Germany's position within Europe, and moreover Germany's health care and social protection institutions proved capable and sufficiently resilient.

    Coronavirus and subsequent social developments led to the emergence of the so-called "Macron Doctrine" which amounts to an argument that EU must obtain strategic sovereignty. This is consistent with the aims of a significant portion of German national elites. Nevertheless, Berlin officially criticized Macron's statements and has shown willingness to enter into a strategic partnership with Biden Administration's United States as a junior partner. However, even FRG's current leadership understands the dangers of lack of strategic sovereignty in an era of America's decline as the world policeman. Against the backdrop of a global economic crisis, US-EU relations are ineluctably drifting from a state of partnership to one of competition or even rivalry. In general, the first half of 2020 demonstrated the vital necessity of further development of European institutions.

    The second half of 2020 was marked by fierce mass protests in Germany, France, Great Britain, and other European countries. The level of violence employed by both the protesters and law enforcement was unprecedented and is not comparable to the level of violence seen during protests in Russia, Belarus, and even Kirgizstan. Mainstream media did their best to depreciate and conceal the scale of what was happening. If the situation continues to develop in the same vein, there is every chance that in the future, a reality that can be described as a digital concentration camp may form in Europe.

    World media, for its part, paid particular attention to the situation in Belarus, where protests have entered their fourth month following the August 9, 2020 presidential elections. Belarusian protests have been characterized by their direction from outside the country and choreographed nature. The command center of protest activities is officially located in Poland. This fact is in and of itself unprecedented in Europe's contemporary history. Even during Ukraine's Euromaidan, external forces formally refused to act as puppetmasters.

    Belarus' genuinely existing socio-economic problems have led to a rift within society that is now divided into two irreconcilable camps: proponents of reforms vs. adherents of the current government. Law enforcement forces which are recruited from among President Lukashenko's supporters, have acted forcefully and occasionally harshly. Still, the number of casualties is far lower than, for example, in protests in France or United States.

    Ukraine itself, where Western-backed "democratic forces" have already won, remains the main point of instability in Eastern Europe. The Zelenskiy administration came to power under slogans about the need to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine and rebuild the country. In practice, the new government continued to pursue the policy aimed at maintaining military tension in the region in the interests of its external sponsors and personal enrichment.

    For the United States, 2020 turned out to be a watershed year for both domestic and foreign policy. Events of this year were a reflection of Trump Administration's protectionist foreign policy and a national-oriented approach in domestic and economic policy, which ensured an intense clash with the majority of Washington Establishment acting in the interests of global capital.

    In addition to the unresolved traditional problems, America's problems were made worse by two crises, COVID-19 spread and BLM movement protests. They ensured America's problems reached a state of critical mass.

    One can and should have a critical attitude toward President Trump's actions, but one should not doubt the sincerity of his efforts to turn the slogan Make America Great Again into reality. One should likewise not doubt that his successor will adhere to other values. Whether it's Black Lives Matter or Make Global Moneymen Even Stronger, or Russia Must Be Destroyed, or something even more exotic, it will not change the fact America we've known in the last half century died in 2020. A telling sign of its death throes is the use of "orange revolution" technologies developed against inconvenient political regimes. This demonstrated that currently the United States is ruled not by national elites but by global investors to whom the interests of ordinary Americans are alien.

    This puts the terrifying consequences of COVID-19 in a new light. The disease has struck the most vulnerable layers of US society. According to official statistics, United States has had about 20 million cases and over 330,000 deaths. The vast majority are low-income inhabitants of mega-cities. At the same time, the wealthiest Americans have greatly increased their wealth by exploiting the unfolding crisis for their own personal benefit. The level of polarization of US society has assumed frightening proportions. Conservatives against liberals, blacks against whites, LGBT against traditionalists, everything that used to be within the realm of public debate and peaceful protest has devolved into direct, often violent, clashes. One can observe unprecedented levels of aggression and violence from all sides.

    In foreign policy, United States continued to undermine the international security system based on international treaties. There are now signs that one of the last legal bastions of international security, the New START treaty, is under attack. US international behavior has prompted criticism from NATO allies. There are growing differences of opinion on political matters with France and economic ones with Germany. The dialogue with Eastern Mediterranean's most powerful military actor Turkey periodically showed a sharp clash of interests.

    Against that backdrop, United States spent 2020 continuously increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea basin. Additional US forces and assets were deployed in direct proximity to Russia's borders. The number of offensive military exercises under US leadership or with US participation has considerably increased.

    In the Arctic, the United States is acting as a spoiler, unhappy with the current state of affairs. It aims to extend its control over natural resources in the region, establish permanent presence in other countries' exclusive economic zones (EEZ) through the use of the so-called "freedom of navigation operations" (FONOPs), and continue to encircle Russia with ballistic missile defense (BMD) sites and platforms.

    In view of the urgent and evident US preparations to be able to fight and prevail in a war against a nuclear adversary, by defeating the adversary's nuclear arsenal through the combination of precision non-nuclear strikes, Arctic becomes a key region in this military planning. The 2020 sortie by a force of US Navy BMD-capable AEGIS destroyers into the Barents Sea, the first such mission since the end of the Cold War over two decades ago, shows the interest United States has in projecting BMD capabilities into regions north of Russia's coastline, where they might be able to effect boost-phase interceptions of Russian ballistic missiles that would be launched in retaliatory strikes against the United States. US operational planning for the Arctic in all likelihood resembles that for South China Sea, with only a few corrections for climate.

    In Latin America, the year of 2020 was marked by the intensification Washington efforts aimed at undermining the political regimes that it considered to be in the opposition to the existing world order.

    Venezuela remained one of the main points of the US foreign policy agenda. During the entire year, the government of Nicolas Maduro was experiencing an increasing sanction, political and clandestine pressure. In May, Venezuelan security forces even neutralized a group of US mercenaries that sneaked into the country to stage the coup in the interests of the Washington-controlled opposition and its public leader Juan Guaido. However, despite the recognition of Guaido as the president of Venezuela by the US and its allies, regime-change attempts, and the deep economic crisis, the Maduro government survived.

    This case demonstrated that the decisive leadership together having the support of a notable part of the population and working links with alternative global centers of power could allow any country to resist to globalists' attacks. The US leadership itself claims that instead of surrendering, Venezuela turned itself into a foothold of its geopolitical opponents: China, Russia, Iran and even Hezbollah. While this evaluation of the current situation in Venezuela is at least partly a propaganda exaggeration to demonize the 'anti-democratic regime' of Maduro, it highlights parts of the really existing situation.

    The turbulence in Bolivia ended in a similar manner, when the right wing government that gained power as a result of the coup in 2019 demonstrated its inability to rule the country and lost power in 2020. The expelled president, Evo Morales, returned to the country and the Movement for Socialism secured their dominant position in Bolivia thanks to the wide-scale support from the indigenous population. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that these developments in Venezuela and Bolivia would allow to reverse the general trend towards the destabilization in South America.

    The regional economic and social turbulence is strengthened by the high level of organized crime and the developing global crisis that sharpened the existing contradictions among key global and regional players. This creates conditions for the intensification of existing conflicts. For example, the peace process between the FARC and the federal government is on the brink of the collapse in Colombia. Local sources and media accuse the government and affiliated militias of detentions and killings of leaders of local communities and former FARC members in violation of the existing peace agreement. This violence undermine the fragile peace process and sets conditions for the resumption of the armed struggle by FARC and its supporters. Mexico remains the hub for illegal migration, drug and weapon trafficking just on the border with the United States. Large parts of the country are in the state of chaos and are in fact controlled by violent drug cartels and their mercenaries. Brazil is in the permanent state of political and economic crisis amid the rise of street crime.

    These negative tendencies affect almost all states of the region. The deepening global economic crisis and the coronavirus panic add oil to the flame of instability.

    Countries of South America are not the only one suffering from the crisis. It also shapes relations between global powers. Outcomes of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and the global economic crisis contributed to the hardening of the standoff between the United States and China.

    Washington and Beijing have insoluble contradictions. The main of them is that China has been slowly but steadily winning the race for the economic and technological dominance simultaneously boosting own military capabilities to defend the victory in the case of a military escalation. The sanction, tariff and diplomatic pressure campaign launched by the White House on China since the very start of the Trump Presidency is a result of the understanding of these contradictions by the Trump administration and its efforts to guarantee the leading US position in the face of the global economic recession. The US posture towards the South China Sea issues, the political situation in Hong Kong, human rights issues in Xinjiang, the unprecedented weapon sales to Taiwan, the support of the militarization of Japan and many other questions is a part of the ongoing standoff. Summing up, Washington has been seeking to isolate China through a network of local military alliances and contain its economic expansion through sanction, propaganda and clandestine operations.

    The contradictions between Beijing and Washington regarding North Korea and its nuclear and ballistic missile programs are a part of the same chain of events. Despite the public rhetoric, the United States is not interested in the full settlement of the Korea conflict. Such a scenario that may include the reunion of the North and South will remove the formal justification of the US military buildup. This is why the White House opted to not fulfill its part of the deal with the North once again assuring the North Korean leadership that its decision to develop its nuclear and missile programs and further.

    Statements of Chinese diplomats and top official demonstrate that Beijing fully understands the position of Washington. At the same time, China has proven that it is not going to abandon its policies aimed at gaining the position of the main leading power in the post-unipolar world. Therefore, the conflict between the sides will continue escalating in the coming years regardless the administration in the White House and the composition of the Senate and Congress. Joe Biden and forces behind his rigged victory in the presidential election will likely turn back from Trump's national-oriented economic policy and 'normalize' relations with China once again reconsidering Russia as Enemy #1. This will not help to remove the insoluble contradictions with China and reverse the trend towards the confrontation. However, the Biden administration with help from mainstream media will likely succeed in hiding this fact from the public by fueling the time-honored anti-Russian hysteria.

    As to Russia itself, it ended the year of 2020 in its ordinary manner for the recent years: successful and relatively successful foreign policy actions amid the complicated economic, social and political situation inside the country. The sanction pressure, coronavirus-related restrictions and the global economic crisis slowed down the Russian economy and contributed to the dissatisfaction of the population with internal economic and social policies of the government. The crisis was also used by external actors that carried out a series of provocations and propaganda campaigns aimed at undermining the stability in the country ahead of the legislative election scheduled for September 2021. The trend on the increase of sanction pressure, including tapering large infrastructure projects like the Nord Stream 2, and expansion of public and clandestine destabilization efforts inside Russia was visible during the entire year and will likely increase in 2021. In the event of success, these efforts will not only reverse Russian foreign policy achievements of the previous years, but could also put in danger the existence of the Russian statehood in the current format.

    Among the important foreign policy developments of 2020 underreported by mainstream media is the agreement on the creation of a Russian naval facility on the coast of the Red Sea in Sudan. If this project is fully implemented, this will contribute to the rapid growth of Russian influence in Africa. Russian naval forces will also be able to increase their presence in the Red Sea and in the area between the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman. Both of these areas are the core of the current maritime energy supply routes. The new base will also serve as a foothold of Russia in the case of a standoff with naval forces of NATO member states that actively use their military infrastructure in Djibouti to project power in the region. It is expected that the United States (regardless of the administration in the White House) will try to prevent the Russian expansion in the region at any cost. For an active foreign policy of Russia, the creation of the naval facility in Sudan surpasses all public and clandestine actions in Libya in recent years. From the point of view of protecting Russian national interests in the Global Oceans, this step is even more important than the creation of the permanent air and naval bases in Syria.

    As well as its counterparts in Washington and Beijing, Moscow contributes notable efforts to the modernization of its military capabilities, with special attention to the strategic nuclear forces and hypersonic weapons. The Russians see their ability to inflict unacceptable damage on a potential enemy among the key factors preventing a full-scale military aggression against them from NATO. The United Sates, China and Russia are in fact now involved in the hypersonic weapon race that also includes the development of means and measures to counter a potential strike with hypersonic weapons.

    The new war in Nagorno-Karabakh became an important factor shaping the balance of power in the South Caucasus. The Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc achieved a sweeping victory over Armenian forces and only the involvement of the Russian diplomacy the further deployment of the peacekeepers allowed to put an end to the violence and rescue the vestiges of the self-proclaimed Armenian Republic of Artsakh. Russia successfully played a role of mediator and officially established a military presence on the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan for the next 5 years. The new Karabakh war also gave an additional impulse in the Turkish-Azerbaijani economic and military cooperation, while the pro-Western regime in Armenia that expectedly led the Armenian nation to the tragedy is balancing on the brink of collapse.

    The Central Asia traditionally remained one of the areas of instability around the world with the permanent threat of militancy and humanitarian crisis. Nonetheless, despite forecasts of some analysis, the year of 2020 did not become the year of the creation of ISIS' Caliphate 2.0 in the region. An important role in preventing this was played by the Taliban that additionally to securing its military victories over the US-led coalition and the US-backed Kabul government, was fiercely fighting ISIS cells appearing in Afghanistan. The Taliban, which controls a large part of Afghanistan, was also legalized on the international scene by direct talks with the United States. The role of the Taliban will grow and further with the reduction of the US military presence.

    While some media already branded the year of 2020 as one of the worst in the modern history, there are no indications that the year of 2021 will be any brighter or the global crises and regional instability will magically disappear by themselves. Instead, most likely 2020 was just a prelude for the upcoming global shocks and the acute standoff for markets and resources in the environment of censorship, legalized total surveillance, violations of human rights under 'democratic' and 'social' slogans' and proxy wars.

    The instability in Europe will likely be fueled by the increasing cultural-civilizational conflict and the new wave of newcomers that have acute ideological and cultural differences with the European civilization. The influx of newcomers is expected due to demographic factors and the complicated security, social situation in the Middle East and Africa. Europe will likely try to deal with the influx of newcomers by introducing new movement and border restrictions under the brand of fighting coronavirus. Nonetheless, the expected growth of the migration pressure will likely contribute to the negative tendencies that could blow up Europe from inside.

    The collapse of the international security system, including key treaties limiting the development and deployment of strategic weapons, indicates that the new detente on the global scene will remain an improbable scenario. Instead, the world will likely move further towards the escalation scenario as at least a part of the current global leadership considers a large war a useful tool to overcome the economic crisis and capture new markets. Russia, with its large territories, rich resources, a relatively low population, seems to be a worthwhile target. At the same time, China will likely exploit the escalating conflict between Moscow and the US-led bloc to even further increase its global positions. In these conditions, many will depend on the new global order and main alliances within it that are appearing from the collapsing unipolar system. The United States has already lost its unconditional dominant role on the international scene, but the so-called multipolar world order has not appeared yet. The format of this new multipolar world will likely have a critical impact on the further developments around the globe and positions of key players involved in the never-ending Big Game.

    * * *

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    [Dec 29, 2020] Thoroughly recommend this very significant and totally damning exposure of the beast's lies and unholy war and WhiteHelmets propaganda campaign against Syria from the superb team at the Grayzone

    Dec 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Barrie VV , Dec 29 2020 9:21 utc | 38

    Thoroughly recommend this very significant and totally damning exposure of the beast's lies and unholy war and WhiteHelmets propaganda campaign against Syria from the superb team at the Grayzone: https://thegrayzone.com/2020/12/20/ex-uk-ambassador-war-on-syria-continues-with-us-occupation-sanctions-propaganda/

    migueljose , Dec 29 2020 15:26 utc | 59

    BarrieVV@38
    Totally agree with your positive comment on the Grayzone and Aaron Mate's interview with former British ambassador to Syria: lots of good, accurate history with penetrating insights. B criticized Grayzone head Max Blumenthal for his initial criticism of Assaad's 2011 response to the "color revolution". I think B's arguement has some merit but overall the reports from the Grayzone are very good and I'm hoping B re-visits his position which was critical of Max Blumenthal.
    Blumenthal, Mate and Anya Parampil all have interesting histories intertwined with The Nation, RT, DemocracyNOW, The Intercept and others. They are careful about their criticism of these "leftist" groups and I think their stories are very good: Syria, Europe, Bolivia, Venezuela especially.

    [Dec 20, 2020] The attainment of socioeconomic development goals in Syria is being hindered by the illegal (and even criminal in light of the COVID pandemic) unilateral sanctions adopted against Syria by the United States and some of its allies.

    Dec 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    karlof1 , Dec 18 2020 19:09 utc | 107

    Lavrov welcomed to Moscow Syria's new Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Syrian Arab Republic Faisal Mekdad, who took over after Walid Muallem's passing, and his delegation. The introduction was followed later by a presser that provided some reminders and updates:

    "We confirmed Russia's unchanged stance in favour of unconditional respect for Syria's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence as well as the right of the Syrian nation to determine its own fate and future. All these principles are clearly and unambiguously stated in UN Security Council Resolution 2254. All countries without exception must follow these principles ." [My Emphasis]

    The bolded sentence is yet another direct demand for the Outlaw US Empire to change its ways and cease its illegal behaviors. That was quickly followed thusly:

    "The attainment of socioeconomic development goals in Syria is being hindered by the illegal (and even criminal in light of the COVID pandemic) unilateral sanctions adopted against Syria by the United States and some of its allies.

    "We reaffirm our condemnation of the continued illegal presence of foreign troops in Syria."

    This has made the continuance of the "Astana three" a requirement since "[i]t is the only international assistance mechanism for the Syrian settlement that has actually proved its efficiency and relevance." On Syria's economy, 2021 looks like it will be a huge improvement over 2020:

    "As for economic rehabilitation, in the past few weeks we have adopted a number of very serious decisions, which will greatly enhance Syria's opportunities to organise systemic work in this sphere. We continue providing humanitarian aid. We have delivered 100,000 tonnes of Russian grain. These deliveries will continue. We are discussing practical steps now. A comprehensive strategic programme for economic cooperation is being prepared.

    "A new Syrian co-chair of the intergovernmental commission in trade and economic cooperation has been appointed this month. The commission is preparing for a full-scale meeting early next year, during which all these topics and joint practical actions will be discussed."

    Lastly, Lavrov was asked to comment on Pompeo's most recent series of lies regarding Russia in Libya and the Mediterranean region. His 5 paragraph reply was as close to a tirade as Lavrov gets. Here's the first to give readers a taste:

    "During the past four years of working with the current US administration, we have become used to the United States showing no desire, ability or skill when it comes to discussing their concerns openly and on the basis of facts during direct negotiations. The Americans and their Western allies have developed a trend of publicly accusing others without any facts, making these accusations part of the international agenda and, finally, presenting them as a proved matter. This is what they did and what they are doing regarding the US elections and the recent complaints about hackers. This is what they did in the case of the Skripals, and this is what they are doing in the Navalny case. They have no facts, not a single one, to prove their point."

    Do please read the rest! It should be very clear by now after decades of lies, distortions, and the gamut of other prevarications that nothing uttered by anyone representing the Outlaw US Empire should be believed while also assuming the opposite is most likely true until refuted by genuine facts coming from an unbiased source.

    [Dec 13, 2020] New Documents Show How The British Government Secretly Created 'Regime Change' Protests In Lebanon

    Dec 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Three month ago we reported on documents obtained from of 'Her Majesties Government' in Britain which revealed the intense involvement of the UK government in organizing, financing and propagandizing 'Syrian rebels' since the start of the war on Syria. These programs were coordinated with the CIA's and the Gulf Arab's arming of the various Jihadis:

    Most of the documents are detailed company responses to several solicitations from the Foreign Office for global and local campaigns in support of the 'moderate rebels' who are fighting against the Syrian government and people.

    The documents lay out large scale campaigns which have on-the-ground elements in Syria, training and arming efforts in neighboring countries, command and control elements in Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, as well as global propaganda efforts. These operations were wide spread.
    ...
    Most of the documents are from 2016 to 2019. They detail the organization of such operations and also portray persons involved in these projects. They often refer back to previous campaigns that have been run from 2011/2012 onward. This is where the documents are probably the most interesting. They reveal what an immense effort was and is waged to fill the information space with pro-rebel/pro-Islamist propaganda.

    For any informed person who had watched the development of the war on Syria it was no surprise that such programs existed. But the immense extend of these was really astonishing. Consider what ARK, one of the involved companies run by 'former' British spies, organized as part of a British government 'Strategic Communication' program:

    ARK,as a company that has specialised in Syria programming for more than three years, has access to a wide-range of networks in Syria. ARK has trained over 1,400 beneficiaries representing over 210 beneficiary organisations in more than 130 workshops, and disbursed more than 53,000 individual pieces of equipment. This network reaches into all of Syria's 14 governorates (see map below), including liberated, regime-and extremist-controlled areas, and ranges from the most senior Syrian opposition politicians, to armed groups, civil society organisations and ordinary Syrians. This includes but is not limited to:
    • 61 stringers; 17 teams of distributors;
    • 14 FM radio stations; 11 community magazines; two local TV stations;
    • 17 Civil Defence teams in Aleppo; 16 in Idlib;
    • 58 police stations in Aleppo; 32 in Idlib; eight in Latakia;
    • 10 Syrian field researchers; 60 Syrian researchers who can conduct broad-based population surveys (a survey study in May 2014 reached 1,300 individuals); a focus group database of over 800 individuals; Dozens of Local Councils; judicial courts; documentation centres; and
    • A variety of other organisations.

    bigger

    Keep in mind that these were not social programs for the benefit of Syrians but part of a number of clandestine support measure for a violent international Jihadi movement organized to overthrow the Syrian government.

    While such a program may be rationalized as part of a war it is astonishing to find that very similar measures are also used against 'friendly' governments.

    New documents obtained from the British government and published here and here (complete download here ) reveal an intense British 'Strategic Communications' program that is directed against the government of Lebanon.

    Those who obtained the files, they use the 'Anonymous' label, introduce the new cache:

    Cont. reading: New Documents Show How The British Government Secretly Created 'Regime Change' Protests In Lebanon

    [Dec 13, 2020] The most unfortunate aspect of these large scale disruption and regime change operations exploit actual grievances and truly indigenous civil society reform movements, thereby compromising even the most authentic efforts by the people

    Highly recommended!
    Money quote: "First thing to do when 'unrest rears its ugly head' is shut down external communications and kick out any of the Five Eyes operating an embassy in your country. It happnens so often."
    Dec 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
    Merlin2 , Dec 12 2020 22:35 utc | 15

    The most unfortunate aspect of these large scale disruption and regime change operations exploit actual grievances and truly indigenous civil society reform movements, thereby compromising even the most authentic efforts by the people. Not only that but this casts serious doubt on both authenticity and goals of all kind of demonstrations and civil unrest, even in more developed countries, including ostensibly First World.

    Take the HK demonstrations for example - how much of it was real, genuine unrest caused by this or that more heavy handed China policy? truth is we don't know because by definition, the exploitation of such protest movements - almost always led by supposedly disaffected youth - includes a very sophisticated propaganda handbook that seeks to effectively "erase" the controlling hands behind the scenes.

    Or, even the BLM movement - a lot that happened with these protests seem to jive with the instruction manuals per the ARK. Notice how these could be turned on and off - in this or that city, made to appear organic, when in fact those invisible hands from behind directed much of the action.

    Another aspect that is very noticeable for both the HK and BLM movements is the way they were directed at some very specific issue that most people would have a hard time disagreeing with - on its face. Be it political "freedom", new "rules", new "taxes" and/or police brutality - there are numerous commonalities - too many to dismiss as mere coincidences.

    At the same time, much care seems to have been taken to not allow these protests to be directed at the actual ruling class, the 1%, the elites, big finance and the corporatocracy. I always thought it was kind of funny the way these BLM protesters somehow were not there when Bernie sanders ran his campaign, even though Bernie had their grievances near the top of his list on the official platform (police brutality, uneven criminal justice system and prison reform were huge issues for him). Yes, there were plenty of black youths who voted with the Sanders movement in the primary (the one that was basically a fraudulent one, due to outright vote flipping, as was exposed by several credible analysts). But the BLM protests only came into being following the one GF killing and were directed mostly against police in large cities, and, of course against anything the federal government could try and do.

    Now that Biden is all but declared as 'elect", those protests have died down (except for a few flare-up points like Portland, where they seem to have taken permanent residence). Funny that....must be that the "defund the police" was successful and black people no longer suffer from unequal law enforcement.....so all is well now.....


    david , Dec 12 2020 23:29 utc | 18

    Sometimes I thought something like this happened in Libya. Libyan army cleared this town, that city, next town, moving east to west, then just before Benghazi, we get our consent manufacturing message that Gaddafi said there would be a slaughter in Benghazi. So NATO just had to attack, to save Benghazi.

    After Libya was smashed, turns out a whole gang of British "diplomats & SAS" were in Benghazi.

    james , Dec 12 2020 19:01 utc | 2

    thanks b! informative... this ARK is not noahs or boris's... who is behind this grand scheme?? it seems the idea of keeping lebannon and syria in a state of tension is the goal.. whose purpose does this serve? it seems like an agenda written in tel aviv, or is it washington?? who is behind all this?? it seems clear enough that the goal is to coddle israel... take this money and make sure israel continues to dominate in the middle east and all other countries are destabilized basket cases... these are sick people behind all this.. that much is very clear... who would spend money like this??

    the really shocking thing is the UK gov't is in on it, but don't want it to appear this way.. the people in the UK sure are a weird lot.. i think they are weirder then the people in the USA!

    Jen , Dec 12 2020 19:33 utc | 6

    James @ 2:

    ARK (Analysis Research Knowledge) has a website and its founder, former British diplomat Alistair Harris has a LinkedIn account you can look up on Google or whatever search engine you normally use. The company is based in Dubai.

    Among ARK's various activities in Syria was managing the Facebook page and probably other PR for the White Helmets. The propaganda surrounding Bana Alabed and other Syrian children seems to be of a type similar to White Helmets propaganda - designed to appeal to people's emotions, particularly women's emotions - so there is a possibility all this rubbish was being generated by the same organisation.

    In the end the target audience for all this propaganda is us, as our support is needed to justify an eventual US or NATO invasion of Syria and Lebanon.

    Trauma2000 , Dec 12 2020 19:09 utc | 3

    First thing to do when 'unrest rears its ugly head' is shut down external communications and kick out any of the Five Eyes operating an emmbasy in your country. It happnens so often. Kick Out the Five Eyes (I live in one of them). Media Communications (the industry I work in) is the publicly acceptable term for Information Program, Propaganda, Information Warfare. It's all the same thing, with Event Management being the sister of and information program.

    I've worked in both areas; external media communications programs and event coordination and management , often dovetailing the two and switching between roles in order to 'maximise stakeholder value' for the benefit of the client. Who is the client..? If the client isn't obvious then Follow the money. It is always the person paying the bill. Follow the money people... follow the money and you will understand the objectives of even the most obtuse communications programs.

    As an aside, with all the hundreds of billions of dollars of weapons being pumped into the MENA, 'no one in Government' is able to 'shut down the wars. It's a joke, Government can track your spending down to the last cent and hit you up with a fine for 'incorrect tax return' but they 'can't follow the hundreds of billions of dollars' in weapons that gets flown around the world. Follow the money people. Follow the money and you'll catch the culprit.

    [Nov 30, 2020] Declassify America's Dirty Secrets in Syria to Stop a Biden War Consortiumnews

    Nov 30, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

    Jim Bovard urges Trump to open the files to provide activism ammo for the vast numbers of Americans who vehemently oppose forever wars.

    Sen. Kamala Harris, at left, accepts the Democratic Party's nomination as vice president, Wilmington, Delaware, Aug. 19, 2020. (Lawrence Jackson, Biden for President, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

    By James Bovar d
    The American Conservative

    H ow many Syrians did you vote to kill on Election Day? Thanks to our perverse political system, the answer will be revealed over the next four years if the Biden administration drags the U.S. back into the Syrian Civil War. But there are steps that President Donald Trump can take in his final months in office to deter such follies.

    Syria was not an issue in the presidential campaign and there were no foreign policy questions in the two presidential debates. That won't stop the Biden team from claiming a mandate to spread truth and justice via bombs and bribes any place on the globe.

    The Biden campaign promised to "increase pressure" on Syrian presiden t Bashar al-Assad – presumably by providing more arms and money to his violent opponents. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris declared that the U.S. government "will once again stand with civil society and pro-democracy partners in Syria and help advance a political settlement where the Syrian people have a voice."

    Northeastern University professor Max Abrahms observed, "Every foreign policy 'expert' being floated for Biden's cabinet supported toppling the governments in Iraq, Libya and Syria, helping Al Qaeda and jihadist friends , ravaging the countries, uprooting millions of refugees from their homes."

    Syria policy has long exemplified the depravity of Washington politicians and policymakers and the venality of much of the American media.

    The same "Hitler storyline" that American politicians invoked to justify ravaging Serbia, Iraq and Libya was applied to Assad by Secretary of State John Kerry in 2013. Once a foreign leader is irrevocably tagged with the scarlet H, the U.S. government is automatically entitled to take any action against his nation that would purportedly undermine his regime.

    Every side in the Syrian civil war committed atrocities, but the Obama administration acted as if there was only one bad guy.

    Much of Raqqa, Syria, suffered extensive damage during the battle of June–October 2017. (Mahmoud Bali, Voice of America, Wikimedia Commons)

    Trump attempted to extract the U.S. from the Syrian conflict, but his sporadic, often unfocused efforts were largely thwarted by the permanent bureaucracy in the Pentagon, State Department and other agencies. Considering the likelihood that the Biden administration will rev up the Syrian conflict by targeting Assad, recapping how America got involved in this mess to begin with is worthwhile.

    President Barack Obama promised 16 times that he would never put U.S. "boots on the ground" in the four-sided Syrian civil war. He quietly abandoned that pledge and, starting in 2014, launched more than 5,000 airstrikes that dropped more than 15,000 bombs in Syria.

    Lying and killing are often two sides of the same political coin. The U.S. government provided cash and a massive amount of military weaponry to terrorist groups seeking to topple the Assad regime. The fig leaf for the policy was that the U.S. government was merely arming "moderate" rebels -- which apparently meant groups that opposed Assad but which refrained from making grisly videos of beheadings.

    U.S. policy in Syria became so bollixed that Pentagon-backed Syrian rebels openly battled CIA-backed rebels. The U.S. government spent billions aiding and training Syrian forces who either quickly collapsed on the battlefield or teamed up with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or al-Qaeda-linked forces.

    Federal law prohibiting providing material support to terrorist groups was not permitted to impede Obama's Syrian crusade. Evan McMullin, a 2016 presidential candidate, admitted on Twitter: "My role in the CIA was to go out & convince Al Qaeda operatives to instead work with us."

    https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=765322182054383616&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fconsortiumnews.com%2F2020%2F11%2F25%2Fdeclassify-americas-dirty-secrets-in-syria-to-stop-a-biden-war%2F&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

    Most of the media outlets that shamelessly regurgitated the George W. Bush administration's false claims linking Iraq to Al Qaeda to justify a 2003 invasion ignored how the Obama administration began aiding and abetting terrorist groups. The Intercept's Mehdi Hasan lamented last year that those who warned that the U.S. government "providing money and weapons to such rebels would backfire were smeared as genocide apologists , Assad stooges, Iran supporters."

    A Turkish think tank analyzed the violent groups committing atrocities in Syria after the start of the Turkish invasion in 2019: " Out of the 28 factions , 21 were previously supported by the United States, three of them via the Pentagon's program to combat [ISIS]. Eighteen of these factions were supplied by the CIA."

    American policy in Syria has been incorrigible in part because most of the media coverage of the conflict has been like a fairy tale that sometimes showcased our national goodness. Trump's finest hour, according to the American media, occurred when he launched missile strikes on the Syrian government in April 2017 after allegations that President Bashar al-Assad's forces had used chemical weapons.

    MSNBC host Brian Williams gushed over the video footage of the attacks: "I am guided by the beauty of our weapons." Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan groused that " praise flowed like wedding champagne -- especially on cable news."

    President Donald Trump meeting with advisers at his estate in Mar-a-Lago on April 6, 2017, regarding his decision to launch missile strikes against Syria. Items in the image were altered for security purposes. (White House, Shealah Craighead)

    That wasn't the only time that top-tier media celebrated carnage. Later in 2017, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius proudly cited an estimate from a "knowledgeable official" that "CIA-backed fighters may have killed or wounded 100,000 Syrian soldiers and their allies over the past four years."

    Ignatius did not reveal if his inside source also provided an estimate of how many Syrian women and children had been slaughtered by CIA-backed terrorists.

    Capitol Hill has been worse than useless on Syria. When Trump announced plans to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, the House of Representatives condemned his move by a 354 to 60 vote.

    Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, blathered, "At President Trump's hands, American leadership has been laid low." Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who was elected after lying to voters by claiming he fought in the Vietnam War, said he felt " horror and shame " over Trump's action.

    Congress showed more outrage about a troop pullback than it had shown about the loss of all the American soldiers' lives in pointless conflicts over the past 18 years.

    April 9, 2019: The family of U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan Farmer attend his military funeral. The deceased was killed in Manbij, Syria on Jan. 16, 2019. (Arlington National Cemetery, Flickr)

    Foreign policy "experts" are Washington's most respected con artists . It will be no surprise if Biden appointees repeat the same too-clever-by-half routine of the Obama years, bankrolling terrorists to torment a nation ruled by someone who Washington disapproves of.

    If the Biden administration commences bombing Syria to topple Assad, Americans would be naive to expect to learn the facts from cable news or their morning newspapers. Syrian children who die in U.S. airstrikes will be as invisible as Hunter Biden's laptop in the vast majority of American media coverage. The media will also continue to ignore the slaughter of Syrian Christians, one of the largest and least recognized victims of the civil war.

    The best hope to prevent a new round of mistakes, lies, and atrocities is an epic disclosure of prior U.S. mistakes, lies and crimes in Syria. There is an old saying that sunshine is the best disinfectant. For U.S. policy in Syria, what is needed is an acid burn that permanently sullies the reputations of any government official involved in creating, perpetuating or covering up debacles.

    Any U.S. government official involved in arming the "moderate" rebels deserves to be ridiculed in perpetuity.

    (James Bovard)

    The vast majority of records on U.S. intervention in Syria are likely classified as military or national security secrets. But the president is authorized to disclose as he chooses. Perhaps what is needed is a WikiLeaks -style massive dump of documents with only the names of innocent Syrians redacted.

    Almost 20 years ago, Washingtonians were riveted by the last-minute pardons that Bill Clinton uncorked until almost the final moment of his presidency. Trump could do the same thing with deluges of disclosures on Syria and other quagmires until the moment that Biden leaves his basement for swearing-in.

    If blanket revelations are not possible, then selective disclosures with high entertainment value would include the cozy ties between federal agencies and journalists and think tanks who won official favor by shamelessly recycling official lies.

    Revealing the strings that foreign governments pulled to propel or perpetuate U.S. intervention could vaccinate Americans against similar ploys in the future. The Israeli government admitted last year (after years of denials) that it had long provided military aid to radical Muslim Syrian groups fighting Assad.

    With the Obama administration's approval, the Saudis poured massive amounts of arms and money into the hands of terrorist groups fighting the Assad regime. Both the Israeli and Saudi military aid made the Syrian assignment more perilous for American troops. Other governments helped sow chaos and carnage in Syria while the Obama administration pretended that the main or sole problem was Assad.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir meet on Dec. 14, 2015, at the French Foreign Ministry in Paris before a multinational meeting to discuss the future of Syria. (State Department)

    Sweeping disclosures could also enable Trump to settle scores with appointees who subverted his policies. Trump appointed a Never-Trumper letter signer, Jim Jeffrey, as his special envoy for Syria. Last week, Jeffrey explained how he and others thwarted Trump's efforts to disengage in Syria: "We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there."

    The actual number was far higher than the 200 Trump thought would be left in the country. The charade on troop deployments was a "success story" for Jeffrey, Defense One noted, because it "ended with U.S. troops still operating in Syria, denying Russian and Syrian territorial gains."

    But denying "Syrian territorial gains" to Syrians was not the policy Trump touted. Washington Post reporter Liz Sly savored the charade: "US officials have been lying to Trump – and the American people – about the true number of US troops in Syria in order to deter him from withdrawing them, according to the outgoing Syria envoy. Trump thinks it's 200."

    Sly added two laughing emojis after that line. (No word on whether the Post will add laughing emojis to its "Democracy Dies in Darkness" motto.)

    James F. Jeffrey swears in as special representative for Syria engagement, Aug. 17, 2018. (State Department, Ron Przysucha)

    Opening the files on Syria would provide the ammo for activism by vast numbers of Americans who vehemently oppose new wars. In August 2013, Obama was on the verge of bombing the Assad regime after allegations it had used chemical weapons.

    A vast outcry against intervention, including a dramatic protest outside the White House while Obama was making a Saturday speech on his Syrian plans, temporarily deterred further U.S. escalation (beheading videos were the Aladdin's Lamp for interventionists). There is far more evidence of the folly of U.S. intervening in Syria now than there was in 2013 and probably more folks today ready to raise hell.

    America can no longer afford to cloak its foreign carnage in the shroud of good intentions. There is no transcendent national interest that justifies pointlessly killing more Arabs in Syria or elsewhere. Americans need to scoff at those who portray keeping U.S. boots on foreign necks as a triumph of idealism.

    James Bovard is the author of Lost Rights , Attention Deficit Democracy , and Public Policy Hooligan . He is also a USA Today columnist. Follow him on Twitter @JimBovard .

    This article is from The American Conservative .

    The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.


    Carlton Meyer , November 26, 2020 at 22:50

    None of this is secret if one bothers to search the Internet to find stories such as this, or this short video "The Covert War on Syria".

    hXXps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ours_8ygO0A

    Stephen Verchinski , November 26, 2020 at 18:59

    65,000 new military officers are, with advise and consent of the Senate are beought in every two years. How are these supposed to earn stars and bars without illegal unconstitutional undeclared wars?

    Defund all illegal unconstitutional undeclared wars. U.S. Representatives who fail to do so need removal.

    Ray McGovern , November 25, 2020 at 18:50

    To James Bovard:

    Great idea and, as usual, well presented.

    Only cursory allusion to Israel, though. I find myself wondering if your editors censored what you know so well and what should be an integral part of any attempt to enlighten readers about the main factor driving what the U.S. has been doing in Syria. It is a rather clear case of Washington doing Israel's bidding. Even the NY Times, on one bright shining morning (Sept. 6, 2013), made that clear when its Jerusalem bureau chief reported what she hear from senior Israeli officials about Israeli [and of course, lemmingly, U.S.] objectives in Syria.

    That day the headline of the lead article "Israel Backs Limited Strike Against Syria" provoked little more than a yawn. But those readers who read down the column, and were familiar with NYT usual coverage of Israel, were in for a shock.

    With more dogs of prolonged war about to let slip out of the kennel, Jodi Rudoren, then NYT Jerusalem Bureau Chief -- to her credit -- sought informed views on Israel's objectives for Syria. Rudoren got unusually candid responses from senior Israeli officials, when she asked them about Israel's preferred outcome in Syria. Rudoren minced few words in reporting Israel's view that the best outcome for Syria's civil war was "no outcome".

    She wrote:

    "For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad's government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.

    "'This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don't want one to win -- we'll settle for a tie,' said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. 'Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that's the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there's no real threat from Syria.'"

    Three years later Obama he told journalist Jeffrey Goldberg how proud he was at having resisted strong pressure from virtually all his advisors to launch cruise missiles on Syria in Sept. 2013. Obama waxed eloquent that he had for once not adhered to what he derisively called the "Washington Playbook" (in this context, read "U.S.-Israeli Playbook"). Instead, Obama chose to take advantage of Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer to get the Syrians to surrender their chemical weapons for destruction, verified by the U.N., aboard a U.S. ship configured for such destruction.

    Let's hope Biden remembers all that, AND how it took only five months for the neocons to scuttle the emerging trust between Putin and Obama by mounting the coup in Ukraine and then demonizing Putin for his JFK-Cuban-missile-crisis-type response.

    Regards,

    Ray

    Andy , November 26, 2020 at 09:41

    This is crux of the problem, if you were to speak these truths in the UK you would be called antisemetic.
    I just can't see how things will ever change when AIPAC and other related lobby groups have so much influence
    in Capitol Hill.

    David Otness , November 26, 2020 at 17:12

    Thank you, Ray. That needed saying. This quote too is all-telling of the morality structure of this Israeli-induced quagmire:

    'Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that's the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there's no real threat from Syria.'"

    The above quote illustrates why and how the U.S. and Israel find such ease of comity in the misery they both inflict on mostly innocents.
    Pure Madeline Albright re: the 500,000 murdered by sanctions Iraqi infants and toddlers: "We felt it was worth it."

    Do tell, Maddie, do tell .

    Andrew Peter Nichols , November 25, 2020 at 17:01

    "Once a foreign leader is irrevocably tagged with the scarlet H, the U.S. government is automatically entitled to take any action against his nation that would purportedly undermine his regime."

    ..and sanction anyone or nation who doesnt follow suit

    JOHN CHUCKMAN , November 25, 2020 at 16:30

    Here is good idea that will not happen, just as so many good ideas fail in America.

    Trump has been quite servile towards Israel's interests.

    And what was the Syrian horror really about?

    Bulldozing part of Israel's neighborhood in a 1960s-style "slum clearance" project. Only this project took 600,000 lives and continues taking them.

    it is hardly likely Trump would act against what Israel regards as its interests as he leaves office.

    Please note how he has illegally kept troops in the NE to deprive Syria's government of oil revenue for reconstruction. The US troops are also working on encouraging the local Kurds to fight the national government.

    The US is also very active in discouraging the return of refugees that Russia encourages to help rebuild the country.

    This war was not a civil war. That was a façade for a hybrid war on a beautiful and historic place, one Israel hates.

    jo6pac , November 25, 2020 at 18:57

    Nailed it, this was never a civil war. I thank the Russian Govt. and others that have help the Syrian people in the fight to save their country.

    Sadly biden will continue the endless wars

    Dennis Hanna , November 26, 2020 at 15:26

    The truth must always be kept well hidden.

    Yes, the archaic
    so-called "Military Industrial ( original draft Congressional ) Complex [ modern, current construct: Military, Industrial Surveillance, Security State – M.I.S.S.S. ] did accrue some financial benefit.

    But, that "benefit" was the magician's distraction, deception and misdirection away from the real party and people to whom accrued the benefit.

    The Zionist colonial, settlement entity, Zionists, Christian Zionists, and Neo-conservatives were and are the true beneficiaries of so-called Middle East Policy.

    Always have been and always will be.

    A short history:

    Did it start with:

    "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm"
    First neocon report calling for Iraq invasion. Delivered to Israel in 1996.

    hXXps://zfacts.com/p/139.html
    [ further reading from different perspectives:
    hXXps://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-01/short-history-neocon-clean-break-grand-design-regime-change-disasters-it-has-fostere

    hXXps://mondoweiss.net/2014/06/about-though-israel/amp/ ]

    Did it start with:

    Yinon Plan

    hXXps://youtu.be/0ax3KVr9CQE

    Did it start with:

    "Of course, we say it's our land, the Torah says it, but they (Palestinians & Arabs) don't believe in the Torah. So that's the reason there is not peace." – Senator Chuck Schumer's speech at AIPAC.

    2,079
    8:52 PM – Mar 6, 2018

    Did it start with:

    Wesley Clark 7 counties in 5 years

    Did it start with the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

    "His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

    ( The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government in 1917 during World War I announcing support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a small minority Jewish population. )

    Did it start with:

    The First Zionist Congress was held in Basel (Basle), Switzerland, from August 29 to August 31, 1897.

    Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine. For the attainment of this purpose, the Congress considers the following means serviceable:
    1. The promotion of the settlement of Jewish agriculturists, artisans, and tradesmen in Palestine.
    2. The federation of all Jews into local or general groups, according to the laws of the various countries.
    3. The strengthening of the Jewish feeling and consciousness.
    4. Preparatory steps for the attainment of those governmental grants which are necessary to the achievement of the Zionist purpose.
    1. Israel consisting of the so -called "Biblical" reality of Israel from East bank of the Nile River, including Cairo, to the West Bank it the Euphrates River, South to
    the Red Sea and North to at least all of Lebanon, if not a large part of Turkey and limitless borders as promised by the Hebrew God.
    (References)
    Genesis 15:18-21; Exodus 23:31; Numbers 34:1-15; and Deuteronomy 19:8, which claims limitless borders, "And if the Lord thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers; (K.J.V.)
    -- ?Formula adopted by the First Zionist Congress

    Did it start with:

    Book 5 of the Torah
    Attributed to a Moses
    So-called: Deuteronomy 20:10-17
    King James Version (KJV)

    10 When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.
    11 And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.
    12 And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:
    13 And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:
    14 But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.
    15 Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.
    16 But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
    17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee:

    [ Traditionally understood as the words of a "god" as spoke to a Moses delivered before the conquest of Canaan. ]

    Why am I wrong?
    dennis hanna

    Realist , November 26, 2020 at 07:26

    It might be likened to Washington recruiting, arming and training a bunch of Québec separatists and encouraging them to invade and occupy large swaths of the Maritime provinces and Eastern Ontario because the American deep state recognises that many of the spoils(I mean resources) must be seized (I mean protected), like control of the St. Laurence Seaway, the Grand Banks fisheries and most of the world's production of maple syrup. If the "moderate" Québécoise can't get the job done, Washington could always turn to recruiting from among the hard core psychopaths in its supermax prisons. Mind you, this would only be done out of strict altruistic principles to bring freedom and democracy to the locals. And, if they are ungrateful for our meddling (I mean intercession), they can always migrate to Nunavut and live on the dole. Don't think of it as conquering, ravaging and exploiting another country, consider it more like renovating the place.

    Anne , November 26, 2020 at 09:36

    Oh So True, Mr Chuckman, so barbarically true And equally true is that the vast majority of those among the comfortably off who voted in this latest election (laughingly called democratic) really do not give a bugger about what the US, via any of its MICI arms, does to peoples, cultures, societies, countries across the seas They might as well not exist and then there are those folks who work for the MIC (clearly no consciences) and those whose pension plans benefit nicely from the manufacture and use of all that materiel

    David J Valachovic , November 25, 2020 at 16:26

    Why would anyone think declassifying any Syria documents would make a difference.? The 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency document, inadvertently released, acknowledged that the "opposition to Assad has been driven by Al Qaida" and that it was likely a Salafist state would emerge, something the US favored because "It would be a valuable strategic asset to be used against Assad" was of no consequence whatsoever. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons engineers report that was leaked revealed that the "chemical weapons attack" that precipitated the launching of scores of cruise missiles against Syria was a false flag and the OPCW itself has been corrupted by the United States. That was a story of immense importance that got zero coverage in any of the media sources relied upon by the American public. The US ostensibly has a "free press" but the fact is, it serves as nothing other than the propaganda arm of the US government. Syria's best hope is that the Russians make it plain to the US that further intervention in Syria will be met with resistance.

    Guy , November 25, 2020 at 16:13

    How could anyone disagree with such an article .If reparations for the death of innocents and damage to the country's infrastructure are out of the question for the perpetrators of this totally useless carnage then the least that could be done is bring the troops home and let the country rebuild . The old saying states ,lead,follow or get the hell out of the way .

    Herman Schmidt , November 25, 2020 at 15:55

    The following quote is just one example of the futile battle to stop the juggernaut that drives endless wars.

    "Sweeping disclosures could also enable Trump to settle scores with appointees who subverted his policies. Trump appointed a Never-Trumper letter signer, Jim Jeffrey, as his special envoy for Syria. Last week, Jeffrey explained how he and others thwarted Trump's efforts to disengage in Syria: "We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there."

    Trump is a complex fellow. In some ways he tried to get and keep us out of quagmires, in other like Iran and now China, he appears to fall in line or even make it worse.

    Bovard idea is a great one. Put it all out there. It's worth a try. Maybe Trump is bitter enough to do it. And maybe his drive for nomalization between the Jews and Arabs might result in unintended consequences that are positive, even for the Palesstinians.

    Me my self , November 25, 2020 at 15:17

    "Declassify America's Dirty Secrets"

    I second the notion!

    And while you're at it the clean ones as well.

    Tell the truth so help you god! Because no one else will.

    [Nov 26, 2020] the Israeli/Zionist goal of breaking physical connection between Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. That has surely been the underlying motive for Israeli/Zionist antagonism towards a unified, independent Syria

    Nov 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

    Syd Walker , says: Website November 19, 2020 at 4:25 pm GMT • 7.2 days ago

    Another very interesting read, Israel.

    I did notice what I think is a surprising omission.

    You didn't mention once the Israeli/Zionist goal of breaking physical connection between Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. That has surely been the underlying motive for Israeli/Zionist antagonism towards a unified, independent Syria and has explained worldwide Zionist support for the ongoing foreign-backed assault on Syria that's been underway now for nine years.

    Trump tried to buy Israeli/Zionist support by concessions to Israel such as recognizing annexation of the Golan Heights and moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. But he baulked at taking on Russia in Syria – and indeed indicated his lack of enthusiasm for conflict with Russia as early as the 2016 Primaries. It was one thing that lifted his popularity with voters – and made many more conventional Zionist Republicans distrust him.

    So Trump hasn't really let the Zionists down. They just wanted more. The Golans were a nice snack, but they were already in the pocket. Completing the destruction of independent, unified and anti-Zionist Syria – now that would be something worth switching sides to support. I suspect – and fear – they have reason to believe it more likely that Biden/Harris will deliver their more prized objective.

    [Nov 26, 2020] when considering "GENOCIDE," one must ponder the results

    Nov 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

    Question for Shamir , says: November 19, 2020 at 11:13 am GMT • 7.5 days ago

    A QUESTION FOR MISTER SHAMIR APROPOS THE ARMENIANS AND THE QUESTION OF GENOCIDE:

    Question for Shamir: when will the prophecy be fulfilled? When will Russia liberate Constantinople??? There are certain Holy Elders of the Orthodox Church who prophesied that, when the Tsar returns, a great war will ensue and Constantinople will be liberated

    p.s. "Genocide" is a relative term. One must look at the results. Anatolia was 20% Christian before WWI. Now it is 0.2% Christian. Stalin gave Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan against the will of the local Armenian majority. Compare this to the Balkans. The Balkan Muslims like to adopt victim status in Bosnia and Kosovo and complain of "genocide" at the hands of Serbs and others. But despite the "genocide" in Bosnia, Muslims are 50% of Bosnia, 20% of Montenegro, 3% of Serbia, 60% of Albania, probably up to 5% in Greece, 30% in Macedonia, 8% in Bulgaria, 95% in Kosovo

    Now remember, Israel, these were lands that the native Christian Slavs and Greeks liberated at great cost, centuries of passive and active resistance.

    So when we consider the word "GENOCIDE," think of the results. If the Yugoslavs and Bulgarians and Greeks had adopted the brutal and unscrupulous tactics of the Turks, there would be no Muslims in the Balkans today. Yet, they equal rights, the Mufti of Sandzak is a regular guest on Serbian television. This doesn't exist in Turkey. The Greeks and Armenians in Istanbul are second class citizens. The Greeks in Istanbul cannot even re-open the Halki seminary on the Princes' Islands. The Suriani Christians in Mardin and Midyat live in fear of their lives from Islamist Kurds. 90% have left for Sweden.

    So yes, when considering "GENOCIDE," one must ponder the results. The complete eradication of all Christian communities in Turkey, whether Greek, Suriani, Armenian, versus the persistent presence of strong Muslim minorities in places like Thrace or Montenegro, which suffered centuries of brutal Ottoman occupation.

    [Nov 26, 2020] A Trump win will make Israel more open more reckless more racist and more strongly and vaingloriously a terrorist entity.

    Nov 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

    Anon [241] Disclaimer , says: November 26, 2020 at 1:54 pm GMT • 5.2 hours ago

    @A123 onducting unconventional warfare. That form of combat is defined by the U.S. government's National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 as "activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt or overthrow an occupying power or government by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary or guerrilla force in a denied area" in the pursuit of various security-related strategic objectives.

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-just-admitted-arming-anti-assad-syrian-rebels-big-mistake-1.6894850

    [Nov 15, 2020] "What Syria withdrawal- There was never a Syria withdrawal," Jeffrey said

    Notable quotes:
    "... "Un hombre sin honor." ..."
    Nov 15, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

    "What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal," Jeffrey said.


    " ... even as he praises the president's support of what he describes as a successful "realpolitik" approach to the region, he acknowledges that his team routinely misled senior leaders about troop levels in Syria.

    "We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there," Jeffrey said in an interview. The actual number of troops in northeast Syria is "a lot more than" the roughly two hundred troops Trump initially agreed to leave there in 2019. Defense One

    -------------

    "We?" Who are "We?"

    State Department people? Well, certainly some of those were involved.

    But ... IMO it would not have been possible to deceive or mislead the WH and specifically the Commander in Chief without the active cooperation of CENTCOM, the JCS and OSD.

    If they had not been participating in the lying, it would have been obvious in any number of interactions with President Trump that the president's understanding of troop numbers in Syria was not correct and that he was being deceived by "we." (whoever that was). That revelation evidently did not happen. The NSC staff should have detected the lack of truth in reported numbers. That it did not tells me that at least some of the NSC staff were disloyal to Trump. Obvious? Yes, but that is worth re-stating.

    James Jeffrey is quite proud of his achievement in maintaining a "realpolik" stalemate in Syria, one that stymies both Russia and the Syrian government.

    IMO opinion he is revealed by his own words as a treacherous back stabber. "Un hombre sin honor." pl

    https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2020/11/outgoing-syria-envoy-admits-hiding-us-troop-numbers-praises-trumps-mideast-record/170012/


    Polish Janitor , 14 November 2020 at 10:55 AM

    This is exactly the result of Trump's lack of interest in fulfilling his original promise of ending the "forever wars" in the middle east. This is exactly the result of putting opelny-Democrat Jared Kushner (a lifelong member of Chabad-Lubavich network) and his ilk in charge of the middle east geopolitics.

    It also clearly proves that the State Dep. is a monsterous autonomous entity with its own permanent objectives and agendas, independent of the WH. No matter what Trump wanted to achieve in the ME, the so-called Blob (or as Col. Lang here has coined as the "BORG") do what they will. You have to also remember that back in '17, career diplomats and high-ranking State Dep. officials sounded the alarm that Rex Tillerson was down-sizing the Department so much and that it was contrary to American interests abroad etc...fast forward to today, it would not have mattered how much down-sizing Tillerson actually managed to do, they (people like Jeffries) were still able to pursue their own agenda and undermine Trump's original promise of ending the forever wars in the middle east.

    The liberal elites managed to 'allegedly' manipulate the election against a sitting president in favor of an highly unappealing candidate in Joe Biden. In all honesty, does anyone think the Blob/Borg would NOT undermine the president's agenda and follow their own permanent objectives aboard?

    The Twisted Genius , 14 November 2020 at 11:10 AM

    Trump should be furious about this. He should be firing everyone involved in the deception. Those involved don't belong in ANY administration. Was convincing Trump that he was getting the Syrian oil part of this despicable con? As you mentioned last night, this deception is probably also going on in Afghanistan. This is a clear sign of a totally dysfunctional nation security apparatus... Trump's national security apparatus. Could Trump find no one he could trust to carry out his orders? Or did he just not even care? He certainly wasn't up to the task.

    However, our troop level in Syria has been widely and openly reported to be above the 200 level since Trump's initial announcement of a total pull out in December 2018. I thought it was odd when shortly after that it was announced that more troops were being sent in to facilitate the withdrawal of the 2,000 plus troops already there. We did reduce the level somewhat, but then we brought in mech infantry with their Bradleys to secure the oil fields and later more to counter the Russian patrols in northeast Syria. And isn't counting whatever we have in Tanf.

    Fred , 14 November 2020 at 11:32 AM

    TTG,

    "He should be firing everyone involved in the deception"

    He just fired Esper. "Trump's national security apparatus." You mean America's natonal security apparatus, the one that gave us LTC Vindman and that crew of Ambassadors, and the 'whistlebolower' Chief Justice Robert's wouldn't let any senator name nor ask questions about during the impeachment. You remember all that don't you? I'm sure the same cast of characters Biden would bring back if he succeeds in the rigged election would never do that to him.

    JM Gavin , 14 November 2020 at 11:45 AM

    COL(R) Mark Mitchell stated the following recently, regarding the duties and responsibilities of the SECDEF in response to POTUS directives. The comments were in regard to Acting SECDEF Miller (a longtime friend and colleague of Mitchell), but apply to any Cabinet or sub-Cabinet post:

    "He [POTUS] may make decisions that other people disagree with. They have two options: they can do what he directs them to do, or after they've offered their advice, if they find it illegal, immoral, unethical, unadvisable, they can step down," retired Col. Mark Mitchell, who most recently served in the Pentagon as the principal deputy assistant defense secretary for special operations/low-intensity conflict.

    Mitchell added that he resented the implication at the defense secretary should be expected to stand up to the president, or in his way, as the duly elected commander in chief.

    "You either carry out your lawful orders or you resign," he said. "We don't get the option to 'stand up to him.' "(End of quote)

    Unfortunately, President Trump made many poor personnel decisions, and selected people who believed they had the duty and right to work against the President from within the Administration. This has driven me nuts for the last four years, as I have watched senior civilian and uniformed leaders actively undermining the Commander-in-Chief. They weren't subtle about it. For whatever reason, they mostly got away with it.

    To be clear, I am not writing this as a Trump supporter. As a career military professional, I have a duty to support the Commander-in-Chief, and obey lawful orders from the Commander-in-Chief.

    It is very easy to play shell games with the BOG caps in the war zones.

    JMG

    Deap , 14 November 2020 at 11:53 AM

    Looking forward to a reprise of Trump's former starring role in The Apprentice, and finally uttering yet again his immortal words: You're Fired!

    The final days of Trump's first term are going to be awesome. Banish the Borg. BAMN. Put Biden's fingerprints on any re-hiring.

    Typically a new CEO will ask for everyone's resignation, and select and cull according to new needs and new directions. Something Trump should have done, but he too was the apprentice in this office when his term began.

    Nothing to stop Trump from doing this now in reverse, and finally cleaning out the dross that was dedicated to his administration's destruction. Better late than never. Our country deserves nothing less. These insider traitors deserve to have their termination for cause permanently be part in their career resumes.

    j , 14 November 2020 at 12:33 PM

    It appears that POTUS Trump once his re-election is affirmed, urgently needs to fire a large percentage of top-level ranks at the Pentagon, fire the CENTCOM CC and his staff, fire the JCS, close down the NSC until it's thoroughly bleached, and charge all of them under the UCMJ. Bust them down to slick-sleeves and show them the door. How many back-stabbing Vindman types remain within the NSC? They need to be fired and prosecuted under the UCMJ as well.

    Robert G Spenser , 14 November 2020 at 01:29 PM

    As a citizen I am having great difficulty not concluding that the US is showing all the signs of decline like the late Roman Republic.

    James Jeffrey along with the rest of the herd that have run one agitprop disinformation scheme after another since the 2016 election are like the roman senators that had the intent to save the Republic but fatally weakened it by killing Caesar at its very center, in the Senate.

    Biden's people are openly calling for even more internet censorship and continuing to rush out inherently dangerous mRNA vaccines without proper testing - and may force us to take it. Groups are starting to create a database of Trump supporters to enable censoring them where they work and live - what is this other than terrorism against half the voting population? If just five percent of the 70M that voted for Trump moves together in resistance then the new regime herd will be holding a tiger by is tail and with the election showing the people are split right down the middle I fail to see how we can avoid even much worse chaos the next four years. The American Republic is disintegrating while the herd is having a romp and thinks it is winning while they are its assassins.

    I am sick at heart of this and fear for the future of my children whose standard of living opportunities are in free-fall.

    JM Gavin , 14 November 2020 at 02:34 PM

    Robert G Spenser,

    As the saying goes:

    Good times create soft men.

    Soft men create hard times.

    Hard times create hard men.

    Hard men create good times.

    Rinse, wash, repeat until your civilization starts to outsource the hard men.

    JMG

    Fredw , 14 November 2020 at 04:06 PM

    We are shocked, SHOCKED! that military bureaucrats are acting in the same ways that they always have. Come on now. The job of president is to get all these people to work in concert to an extent adequate for getting things to come out mostly in our favor. None of this is unique to Trump. Nearly every president in my lifetime has had to learn to deal with these aspects of the military. Jimmy Carter trusted them to plan a rescue mission. They used navy pilots for a mission over the desert! With no extra to enable adaptation to events! Ronald Reagan sent a battleship to Lebanon and then found out the brass wouldn't take the risk of actually using it for anything. Not to mention the superbly uncoordinated near simultaneous invasion of Grenada. John Kennedy accepted a duplicitous projection of events for the bay of pigs. Bill Clinton got caught in Somalia. George W. got sucked into a strategically unplanned invasion of Iraq. Obama was told that an 18-month escalation would resolve Afghanistan. He believed it! Boy were they shocked when he actually enforced the deadline. This is not a criticism of any of those presidents. It is normal, however bizarre that may sound. My point is that they mostly get bit once and learn not to trust the military's own estimates of what they can or should do. Then they begin to do the job more adequately. They learn to pay attention to goals and to manage their resources. Trump does not seem capable of this kind of learning. The last months of an administration are not the time to suddenly discover the nature of the organizations you are leading. And in any case, there is no time left for learning how to get actual results.

    Deap , 14 November 2020 at 04:54 PM

    JFK never should have unionized the government workforce.

    Pits existential self-interests against patriotic national interest, should these interests become in conflict. FDR warned against doing this. More attention needs to be paid to this fundamental national turning point.

    What ills were cured by this act (EO) and has the cure become worse than the perceived disease. Must like term limits in California - the cure was 100 times worse than the original disease.

    Entrenched political personalities come and go; entrenched and corrupted political systems are forever, because in the process they learned to self-perpetuate.

    Much like HAL in the movie 2001.

    Deap , 14 November 2020 at 04:57 PM

    Name your favorite EO to strike down with an counter-mand EO, before a sitting president leaves office:
    1. Anchor baby citizenship triggering chain migration
    2. Unionized government workforce

    Deap , 14 November 2020 at 05:27 PM

    2016: Democrat Game Plan:

    1. Use Democrat's standard politics of personal destruction to attack and harass any Trump appointments; make working for the Trump administration so undesirable none dare even ask for consideration.

    2. Tie up the President's time with endless personal attacks, lies and investigations, so Trump has no time as elected Chief Executive to oversee and clean up valid government operations;

    3. Take advantage of Trump's exclusively private sector experience to lull Trump into thinking entrenched government BORGs are loyal government employees, who serve only to help Trump carry out his Executive Office duties;

    4. Leak like crazy; make things up if necessary that ensure the Trump administration narrative appears chaotic and dysfunctional. Claim anonymous sources that undermine positive functioning within Trump administration. Make everyone suspicious of everyone else.

    5. Obliterate any recognition for the remarkable Trump administration accomplishments that occurred, regardless of all of the above.

    6. Pout relentlessly because regardless of the above, the President and the GOP Senate appointed over 200 new federal judge and 3 new SCOTUS members.

    7. In full public view, tear up the SOTU address listing remarkable administration accomplishments mouthing - these are all lies -- laying down the gauntlet for all out war.

    8. Gin up pandemic hysteria to fill in any and all loopholes not yet covered by all of the above.

    Democrat skullduggery may have effectively destroyed an temporal administration, but Trump Judiciary appointments are the equivalent of a very welcomed forever.

    President Trump, you are missed already. But I suspect in short order it is you, who will not miss the office. You are enshrined forever - #45 as President of the United States of America. History will treat you far kinder than your current fellow citizens.

    You broke up the Democrat plantation. You exposed the dark underbelly of the body politic. Mission accomplished. There is no going back.

    J , 14 November 2020 at 07:27 PM

    DHS head Chad Wolf is another anti-Trump in sheep's clothing that Trump needs to get rid of ASAP.

    https://nypost.com/2020/11/13/dhs-boss-chad-wolf-defies-trump-order-to-fire-cyber-chief-chris-krebs/

    james , 14 November 2020 at 08:21 PM

    this sounds like the definition of a traitor to me - jeffery.... on the other hand one could say he is working for wall st and the mil complex and has done a good job... which is it??

    Yeah, Right , 15 November 2020 at 12:24 AM

    I don't understand this. Trump is the Commander in Chief, at any time he could have asked a straight-up question: How. Many. Troops. Do. We. Still. Have. In. Syria?

    I find it astonishing that the military leadership would tell a lie to their Commander in Chief when the question itself leaves no wriggle-room.

    Heck, Trump could has asked for a list of every single one of those brave 200 boys, and even if it included Name, Rank, and Serial Number that would still fit on a single letter-sized printout.

    I can't understand how Jeffrey's and his band of "we's" could get away with this unless Trump wasn't paying any attention at all.

    turcopolier , 15 November 2020 at 12:26 AM

    Yeah, right

    Yes. He trusted people as I would never have done.

    Mike C , 15 November 2020 at 12:33 AM

    Questions for the committee:

    What legal recourse if any is there against Jeffery or his fellow travelers?

    How might Trump "put a kink in the hose" to hobble a potential Biden admin from putting us back into these quagmires?

    I'm not at all surprised to see MSM sniping now at Col. Macgregor.

    [Nov 12, 2020] Are iranian forces in Syria now forces for good?

    Nov 12, 2020 | www.unz.com

    A123 , says: November 11, 2020 at 4:24 pm GMT • 7.3 hours ago

    @Sirius No one believes the absurd cover story about "protecting oil". The incredibly obvious & correct explanation is that Trump has no interest in the Erdogan/Obama "Regime Change" policy.

    The path to peace is straightforward. All non-Russian foreign forces and proxies need to leave – U.S., Turkey, and Iran (including al'Hezbollah and other irregulars). It would be easy for Trump to withdraw from a 100% Iran Free Syria. The sanctions needed to prevent Iranian misappropriation of funds would no longer be needed.

    However, as long as Syria is contaminated and destabilized by sociopath Khameni, both Turkey and the U.S. will stay to counter that deranged menace to regional stability.

    Anonymous [721] Disclaimer , says: November 11, 2020 at 5:11 pm GMT • 6.5 hours ago
    @A123

    Iran's support was requested by the legitimate government of Syria...

    shylockcracy , says: November 11, 2020 at 5:19 pm GMT • 6.4 hours ago
    @A123 anyone from the "Deep State"; Biden even pledged to see Trump's "Operation Warp Speed" through.

    "Israel considers Bashar Al-Assad an enemy, 'he should have been killed': security official"
    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/israel-considers-bashar-al-assad-an-enemy-he-should-have-been-killed-security-official/

    'Trump Heights': Israel names Golan Heights settlement after US president

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/CkBaF4xTx3Q?feature=oembed

    Vice President Joe Biden "I am a Zionist"

    https://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x36nyor

    Majority of One , says: November 11, 2020 at 5:28 pm GMT • 6.2 hours ago
    @A123

    As easy as 123 huh? That poster has repositioned itself as some kinda conservative in a few aspects, but a couple months ago was a rabid Zionist. That position becomes obvious at the very end of the screed when pushing the primary Zionist meme -- hate on Iran, a country that has never engaged in an act of aggressive war in over 200 years.

    Harold Smith , says: November 11, 2020 at 5:35 pm GMT • 6.1 hours ago
    @A123 ote>

    The incredibly obvious & correct explanation is that Trump has no interest in the Erdogan/Obama "Regime Change" policy.

    It's not that he "has no interest in (it)"; it's that with Russia involved his options on the ground are limited, just like Obama's options were limited. This kind of stalemate is no doubt one reason for Trump's nuclear brinkmanship: he and his handlers and enablers apparently "think" they can make Russia back down and retreat from pursuing its legitimate interests (and any other country for that matter e.g. China) if they can achieve nuclear primacy while telegraphing a willingness to go to any extreme to have their way, apparently even including a nuclear first strike.

    [Nov 07, 2020] Tramp role in Syria and Iraq

    Nov 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Jackrabbit , Nov 7 2020 15:08 utc | 56

    RSH's warning that Trump could still start a war should be taken very seriously. Trump has vowed that he will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Will he leave office without ENSURING that they cannot?

    Israel Warns Of Coming War With Iran If Biden Wins As Trump Calls

    I don't think for a minute think that Zionist Biden will do anything to upset Israel. But the election of Biden is a convenient excuse for Trump to start a war (probably based on a false flag of some sort) that Biden (or Kamala-Hillary) will "inherit".

    !!


    Don Bacon , Nov 7 2020 15:14 utc | 57

    @ pnyx #43
    . . .on Biden. Just think of the warmongering role he played for the Iraq war. The Neocons would have an easier time with Biden than with Tronald
    Yes. Biden is a Clintonite, Trump was anti-Clinton.
    The US war in Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom - with its death, destruction and displacement has been rightly called the worst US foreign policy move ever.
    The Clintons started it, and then promoted it with Biden's assistance as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
    President Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act into law on October 31, 1998.
    On December 16, 1998, President Bill Clinton announces he has ordered air strikes against Iraq because it refused to cooperate with United Nations (U.N.) weapons inspectors.
    David , Nov 7 2020 15:35 utc | 66

    Trump's foreign policies were remarkably different? How? He assassinated an Iranian general, which nearly had the US enter into a hot war with Iran, bombed Syria twice, put additional sanctions on Iran, Venezuela, Russia and the DPRK. Trump's State Department has successfully enacted regime change in Zimbabwe, Sudan, El Salvador, Chile, Honduras, Bolivia (Mike Pompeo congratulating Luis Arce on his win -- very suspicious), and is trying regime change in Hong Kong, Belarus, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran, Eritrea, and Zimbabwe again, and as of late, Nigeria.

    You could argue that Trump wants Iran to be somewhat stronger so he can sell more weapons to his MIC buddies and profit that way, therefore he pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, and the weapons import/export sanctions on Iran expired. But that's a different and more brash method of managing Empire. It's different from Biden's "strategic de-escalation" policy with Iran via the Iran nuclear deal, but not that one that necessarily yields better results for Iran in the long term.

    dave , Nov 7 2020 15:35 utc | 67

    Calm down folks, the elected officials in the US have been puppets of the elite for the entire history of the country.
    The problem we're facing is within the elite community and far above any government's control.

    They didn't legalize drone striking "terrorists" any where on the globe by accident.
    This means the elite are terrified of the fact that the internet and Trump both have exposed them for the morally bankrupt, greedy, mass murdering psychopaths they truly are.

    The accidental presidency of Trump made them realize that their useful idiots(elected officials) where more idiots than useful and that they had to use the state sponsored monopolies in the press as well as their privately controlled publicly funded covert community to steer the narrative away from actual reality into their alternative commoditized version of reality.

    Trump was never trying to defend America from the elite for the common man. He was trying to exploit the elite who had rejected him and his father for decades as well as cash in on their predicament in order to pay off his debts and start his own reality TV network.

    I agree Trump was useful and informative but in the end he, like us is just along for the ride.

    Don't do anything rash and don't for one second think a regime change in America is a rare occurrence. Remember the Kennedy's ?

    The only way to win is to not become one of the elite's useful idiots by lashing out against another citizen. Poor and middle class only get the illusion they help decide policy.
    The policy is decided and auctioned off within the billionaire funded think tanks and sent to the useful idiots in DC to be rubber stamped in order to trick you into thinking the legislative branch is legitimate. These people could f*ck up a two car parade and prove it over and over again.

    Stay sane folks, the motives haven't changed in centuries and the elite are far more scared of us than they are the other elite's because they all know they're all cowards.

    David , Nov 7 2020 15:37 utc | 69

    In addition, considering Trump was supposedly a Russian puppet, Congress under his admin passed a bill which allowed the US to arm Ukraine against Russia even more.

    GeorgeV , Nov 7 2020 15:39 utc | 70

    Wonderful and thought provoking analysis of current political affairs b. However I would like to add that Biden and Trump are the products of political trends that have deep roots in modern US and world political affairs that have been ongoing for some 100 years or more. Biden and Trump did not occur in a vacuum. Both are products of the two world wars that were fought in the last century. More recently, the US since 1940 and continuing to the present day, has been actively preparing or fighting a major war somewhere on this planet. This development has in turn created a vast military and civilian bureaucracy that constantly needs to be fed a diet of real or imagined threats in order to survive.

    [Nov 06, 2020] Did the Iraq War Cause the Great Recession?'

    Highly recommended!
    Iran war might be too much for the US economy
    Apr 07, 2013 | marknesop.wordpress.com

    Moscow Exile ,

    April 7, 2013 at 12:46 am
    Western hypocrisy revealed 10 years after the event in today's Independent: "Tony Blair and Iraq: The damning evidence" . And they go on and on about those wicked, evil Russians and their tyrannical leader causing death and destruction Syria by their "support" of the Assad government whilst the West arms the "freedom fighters" there.

    [Nov 02, 2020] Jackrabbit

    Nov 02, 2020 | jackrabbit.blog

    | Nov 1 2020 16:17 utc | 5

    [Oct 26, 2020] Erdogan Is Again Under Pressure And Therefore Likely To Escalate

    Oct 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Moon of Alabama Brecht quote " The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-85 | Main October 26, 2020 Erdogan Is Again Under Pressure And Therefore Likely To Escalate

    Over the last years the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has managed to alienate so many of his countries international partners that it is hard to keep count. He at times did so on purpose to distract his voters from a sinking economy and other local calamities. But there are signs that he has now exceeded the patience of the adversaries he has created. He is now finally receiving the rebukes he has seemed to be seeking.

    While Russia has emphasized friendly relations with Turkey, it is in conflict with it in Syria, Libya and most recently in the war over Nagorny-Karabakh.

    Russia at times has a not-so-subtle way to communicate that its patience has run out. Last Thursday Russian ships in the eastern Mediterranean fired missiles on a oil smuggling center near Jarablus, Syria:

    More than 15 militants from the Turkish-controlled Syrian armed opposition were killed and injured in a missile strike by an unknown military aircraft on a smuggling market for oil products in the city of Jerablus, bordering Turkey, in northern Syria, local sources reported.

    It is noted that the rockets were also fired at two fuel tankers, which were moving along the highway near the village of Kus in the direction of the market. Eyewitnesses reported that at the time of the strikes, several powerful explosions occurred in the border area.

    The oil was smuggled from eastern Syria and was on its way to Turkey.

    Today a Russian air attack on a graduation ceremony of Turkish financed 'Syrian rebels' killed or wounded more than 200 of them.


    bigger

    bigger

    Erdogan's fanboys took note:

    Ömer Özkizilcik @OmerOzkizilcik - 9:31 UTC · Oct 26, 2020

    Russia has attacked the HQ of Faylaq al-Sham, Turkey's favorite armed group in Idlib, and the leading faction of the NLF of the SNA.
    Faylaq al-Sham is also present in the Astana process and the constitutional committee.
    Claims that up to 50 Faylaq members died in the attack.

    After the recent airstrike on the Jarablus oil refinery, this strike is just another demonstration of the growing rift between Russia and Turkey.
    It seems that many in Moscow are angry about the humiliation of the Russian defense industry by Turkey.

    Well, Russia has a real defense industry while the Turkish weapon 'producers' are just assembly lines for parts bought from abroad :

    301 @301_AD - 10:19 UTC · Oct 26, 2020

    The "indigenous" Turkish drone which Turks boast about day and night as the flagship of their military industry is a not so indigenous after all. It's assembled by top notch western components.


    bigger

    Turkey has successfully used the drones to destroy old Russian made air defenses in Nagorny-Karabakh. But as Canada and Austria have now stopped to supply the necessary components the availability of such drones will soon diminish.

    The U.S.also increased the pressure on Turkish proxy forces in Syria:

    The U.S. Army said Thursday it carried out a drone strike against Al-Qaeda leaders in northwestern Syria near the Turkish border, killing 17 jihadists, according to a war monitor.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said five civilians were also among those killed.

    "U.S. Forces conducted a strike against a group of Al-Qaeda in Syria (AQ-S) senior leaders meeting near Idlib, Syria," said Maj. Beth Riordan, the spokeswoman for United States Central Command (CENTCOM).

    It is now likely that Turkey will order its 'Syrian rebel' mercenaries to escalate the war in Idleb. Russia and Syria have been waiting for this and are well prepared.

    Turkish relations with Greece have always been hostile but Turkey currently does its best to increase them :

    Greece said Monday that Turkey plans to carry out a maritime military exercise on Oct. 28, a Greek national holiday, just hours after NATO's secretary general said both Greece and Turkey had called off wargames on each other's national holidays.

    Erdogan has also been busy to add other EU countries to the list of Turkey's enemies:

    France has recalled its ambassador to Turkey after the country's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan questioned the mental health of French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

    Erdoğan questioned Macron's mental condition while criticising the French President's attitude toward Islam and Muslims.

    His remarks at a local party congress were an apparent response to statements Macron made earlier this month about problems created by radical Muslims in France who practice what the French leader termed "Islamist separatism".

    Macron's remarks had come after a Chechen terrorist with connections to militants in the Turkish occupied Idleb had beheaded a French teacher in Paris. Erdogan's remarks were followed by anti-French protests in Turkish occupied areas of Syria during which flags of the Islamic State were raised .

    Despite Russian, French and U.S. attempts to set up a ceasefire in Nagarno-Karabakh Turkey is pressing Azerbaijan to continue the war :

    [I]n the last year, Turkey has violated Israeli, Libyan, Iraqi, Syrian, and Greek sovereignty. The international community has condemned Turkey's territorial encroachments on numerous occasions. A similar scenario is playing out in Nagorno-Karabakh today.

    On October 21, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay pledged to provide full military support for Azerbaijan if necessary. Oktay has also denounced international efforts to quell the conflict's escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh. The OSCE Minsk Group, comprised of the United States, France, and Russia, formed to help mediate the conflict. Turkish officials, however, claim this group is actively supporting Armenia. In a rebuke of Turkey, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement highlighting Ankara's malign involvement in the conflict. He noted Turkish-backed fighters are "providing resources to Azerbaijan, increasing the risk and firepower" that is only fleshing out the fighting.

    A new Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire, negotiated on Friday in Washington DC, was immediately breached by new attacks from Azerbaijani forces.

    In Libya a new ceasefire agreement between the Turkish supported Muslim Brotherhood forces who hold the western part of the country and the eastern forces of General Hafter, supported by the UAE and Russia, stipulates that all foreign forces will have to leave the country within three months. The UN and every involved country but one welcomed the deal:

    But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, which backs the Tripoli government with military support, questioned the viability of the ceasefire.

    "Today's ceasefire agreement was actually not made at the highest level, it was at a lower level. Time will tell whether it will last," Erdogan said. "So it seems to me that it lacks credibility."

    Turkey had attempted to gain control of the eastern oil fields of Libya but failed to do so after Russia countered it. Oil production in Libya has been restarted without any of the profits flowing to Turkey. It will now have to leave the new bases it created or re-escalate that war.

    Pissing off the U.S., the EU and Russia while waging wars against several countries has significant economic costs :

    Since reaching a peak of $951 billion in 2013, Turkey's gross domestic product has reversed its growth trend, falling to $754 billion in 2019 in nominal terms -- a drop of $200 billion, nearly the size of the GDP of Greece, in six years. The lackluster performance of the economy has had a political impact on the AKP's popularity at home. According to the pollster Metropoll, support for the AKP had fallen to 31 percent in August 2020 -- a significant drop from the 43 percent of votes the party received in the 2018 parliamentary elections.
    ...
    A foreign policy that gives priority to combative rhetoric, hard power, and maligning the West can be politically useful in the short term, but remains incompatible with the long-term requirement of stabilizing the economy. And yet it is the country's economic performance that will ultimately determine the fate of the next national political contest when the time comes.

    A year ago 5.75 Turkish Lira were the equivalent of 1 U.S. dollar. Today one needs more than 8 Turkish Lira to buy a dollar.


    bigger

    Turkish companies have taken up lots of loans in foreign currencies. They will have to pay the loans back with 40% more Lira than they had planned to do. Many of them will not survive the drain.

    Saudi Arabia and its allies have launched a boycott of Turkish products. Turkish made pots and pans and Turkish vegetables have been removed from Saudi supermarkets.

    Over the years Turkey had managed to play off the U.S. against Russia and Russia against the EU. But now its relations with all of those parties deteriorate at the very same time. This while its economy has serious problems.

    To better his position Erdogan could retreat from some of the many conflicts he created. But given his previous behavior under pressure he is more likely to go into the opposite direction. I expect him to soon escalate on one or more fronts with Syria being the most likely one.

    Over the last year a lot of Turkish equipment and many Turkish soldiers have been moved to Idelb. But would they be able to withstand an onslaught of Russian air and missile attacks? Would Russia launch those provocative strikes on Turkish proxies forces if it thought so?

    Turkey has in my view overextended itself. It will have to retreat on several of its current fronts and concentrate on its economy. It is otherwise likely to suffer a significant military defeat while its economy will further deteriorate. It would be the end of Erdogan's Neo-Ottoman dreams.

    Posted by b on October 26, 2020 at 16:03 UTC | Permalink


    ATH , Oct 26 2020 16:27 utc | 1

    Looks to me like Turkey is a pawn, or to be more generous a knight, in the political battle Anglo-Americans are waging against part of continental Europe and Russia. Because of this I do not believe it will escalate into any full fledged hot war between Turkey, which no need to emphasize remains part of NATO Central Command structure, and any other opponents. It will remain the proxy war it has been since 10 years or so ago.
    J Swift , Oct 26 2020 16:29 utc | 2
    While everything b says is true, it is difficult to see how Erdogan will be able to reverse his course. That's the big problem with military adventurism. If he tries to quit some or all of those extra-territorial games, and return his troops and mercenaries home to Turkey, he will still have a bad economy, but will have a large contingent of unhappy military and terrorists to deal with, too. The odds of a new coup attempt, but this time a much more serious and widely supported one, would escalate greatly.

    It's similar to the problem the US faces. Decades of screwing with every other country in the world are coming home to roost, and as much as Trump and a few others have at least talked about the wisdom of ceasing overseas meddling, the deep state knows that bringing all those highly trained and pissed-off soldiers home would be a powder keg, even more so that we're already seeing.

    ATH , Oct 26 2020 16:33 utc | 3
    The way I understand it here, Erdogan and Trump are big buddies.
    Ken Garoo , Oct 26 2020 16:44 utc | 4
    Poor old Turdogan has been left holding the bag of takfiris. The last thing he wants is them to be used against him, so he has been shipping them out to Libya and now Azerbaijan. However, his megalomania seems to have gained the upper hand, trying to exploit the opportunity for multiple purposes, possibly failing in all.

    Armenia is just starting to produce so-called 'suicide' drones. They are looking to purchase others (Iranian?) The Azerjaibanis seem to be rather over-extended along the border with Iran, with a cauldron in the making, especially as their drone supply may be drying up.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Klsg7DmiA4

    AtaBrit , Oct 26 2020 16:44 utc | 5
    Great piece 'b'.
    When it is all set out so plainly you have to wonder what the hell Erdogan is thinking ... except about his own future and 2023.

    One point though, there is no mention of the changing attitude of Arab countries towards Turkey. Egypt - supported by Russia - and the UAE especially seem to be taking forward roles in opposing Turkey.
    I posted this article earlier today in the open thread, but here it is again. Far more relevant here.

    UAE vs Turkey: the regional rivalries pitting MBZ against Erdogan FT really impresses at times, I have to say.

    "Where you find Emirati activity you often find Turkish activity directly countering it in a way Iran doesn't," says Michael Stephens, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, a think-tank. "They believe they are up against a Turkey that is very hostile in terms of its nationalism, its power projection and a determination to make sure the UAE doesn't get its own way."

    Et Tu , Oct 26 2020 16:45 utc | 6
    While no doubt directed at Turkey, that airstrike indirectly also gives the US forces 'guarding the oil' a pretty significant middle finger. Good on Russia on that count.

    Let us hope that prick Erdogan gets the lesson he finally deserves and not too many of his countrymen have to pay with their lives for their stupidity in following his corrupt ambitions. Fingers crossed Putin holds his nerve and at the same time doesn't get trapped into a lose-lose scenario either.

    No country that has shown such callous aggression deserves to get away with it. Turkey would be a good place to start on a long list.

    Blue Dotterel , Oct 26 2020 17:15 utc | 7
    Yes, Erdoğan really has never had any sense of foreign policy. Most of this, however, is not really neo-Ottomanism, but trying to deflect attention from his self inflicted economic woes.

    As to France, it isn't just Erdoğan railing at France's gratuitous support of a cartoon slandering Islam, pretending it is "freedom of speech". Pakistan, Kuwait, Qatar and others have done the same, Pakistan even calling in the French ambassador for an explanation. Yes, there really is an Islamophobia promoted by Western politicians as a part of foreign policy.

    So, try not tarring Erdoğan with every little "negative" news item. Sometimes he does take a justified position, even if he handles it poorly

    gary , Oct 26 2020 17:16 utc | 8
    Erdogan is a player and is being played. He attacked syria for the saudies en israeli interest, and defended LNA against the uae and israeli interest. He works well with iran and russia and the people defend him against the gulen/cia coup but only after the downing of the russian jet by gulen forces and the nato backing.
    Playing both sides is very risky but he is a fighting for his survival. And he is breaking loose from the dark side, its take time and a lot of money. Give him some slack and watch your back.
    As long as he is democratically elected he must be supported. Turkey doesn't deserve another fascist western dictator.
    Blue Dotterel , Oct 26 2020 17:24 utc | 9
    It should also be noted that it is France, Britain, the US and, well, the West, that have created and even financed most of these terrorist groups to begin with over the past 40 years. The Chechen's were financed by who, against who? why? Go back to the late 70s for your history lesson.
    ATH , Oct 26 2020 17:36 utc | 10
    One put together several big political events since 10-15 years ago and a trend emerge in the "Western Camp". The promotors of the plan being the Anglo-Americans and the passive-reactive followers being Continental Europe and proxies in the "middle-east". And it looks like we are in the tail-end of such a trend with some ups and down and likely the whole plan being in a shamble now:

    (*) Anglo-Americans destroy the foundation of the "two-state plan" through their proxies, Israel and Saudi

    (*) Continental Europe's main powers sensing trouble prefer having Turkey as an external buffer state and oppose her entry in the EU. They start putting huge administrative hurdles which signal the strategic partnership Turkey is seeking is not for the foreseeable future

    (*) Turkey gradually opts for the burgeoning "Neo-Ottoman" strategic direction (mainly translated into the leadership of the Sunni Muslims) and turns it's ambitions towards East

    (*) Anglo-Americans politically undermine EU, going as far for UK as leaving the strategic partnership

    (*) Continental Europe digs into its "fundamental values" of "secularism" although in a plain hypocritical way

    (*) Proxy powers, including Turkey fall into internal competitions between each other.

    vk , Oct 26 2020 17:40 utc | 11
    I interpret the fall of Turkey as a serious blow to the American Empire, as it is NATO'S second most prized possession (Germany being the first). What a sad end to the "Capitalist counterpart to Cuba" during the Cold War.

    Turkey is suffering from a typical neoliberal crisis: rising debt to keep trade balance afloat, which devalues the currency, which worsens the trade balance again, which balloons the debt even more (from a greater base) and so on, in a vicious cycle that ends in default and "shock therapy" by the IMF. We've already seen this movie in Latin America during the 1990s, Greece in 2011 (against Germany, the EZ) and the Asian Tigers in 1997-1998 (those countries only escaped the fate of Latin America and Greece because China bailed them out of the crisis) and post-USSR in the 1992-1998. The most likely scenario is Erdogan to be murdered in another CIA-backed color revolution and the Turkish people to receive the "Haiti treatment" and put to its knees by an IMF shock doctrine.

    Only this time it is Turkey, not some random shithole in Latin America. This makes all the difference, because Turkey really has an independent geopolitical project, and a long tradition of independence that the Latin American peoples simply don't have. Turkey may break out of the American sphere of influence as it disintegrates (although, in my opinion, the chances for that really happening are low).

    The Americans must be careful with Turkey. Turkey is not Latin America: it really has an option, which is turning East.

    BraveNewWorld , Oct 26 2020 17:59 utc | 12
    Look at what happened whan Turkey shot down the Russian jet in Syria and one of Erdoguan's reptile pets shot the Russian Ambassador. Russia halted trade with Turkey, then the sultan climbed down almost instantly. Don't be surprised to see a repeat if Russia gets ticked of again.
    pat , Oct 26 2020 18:20 utc | 13
    NOAM CHOMSKY: "I've often myself just not bothered to vote when it didn't matter or voted for a third party if it didn't matter. This time is unusual. It matters. A lot. In fact, more than anything ever, literally. So, I therefore think it shouldn't take five seconds for people to recognize we have to vote against Trump. There's only one way to vote against Trump in our two-party system. That's to push the lever for the Democrats. That's voting against Trump. If you decide not to vote against Trump, you're helping him, you're helping him win. We can debate lots of things, but not arithmetic. If you withdraw a vote from Biden, that puts Trump one vote ahead. So, you have essentially two choices on November 3rd. Am I going to vote against Trump or am I going to help him win? I can't imagine how there can be a discussion about that among rational people."
    R Rose , Oct 26 2020 18:25 utc | 14
    b " Last Thursday Russian ships in the eastern Mediterranean fired missiles on a oil smuggling center near Jarablus, Syria:"

    Yet your linked source says it was unidentified aircraft

    " injured in a missile strike by an unknown military aircraft "

    So why would you make the claim you have?

    div> @VK
    For someone who espouses being a Marxist, you sure accommodate reactionary language on the underdeveloped nations of Latin America. Who needs adversaries with 'comrades' such as yourself. One wonders what your thoughts are on the underdeveloped nations in Africa and South East Asia. Does 'shithole' come to mind as well?

    Posted by: dimitrov , Oct 26 2020 18:43 utc | 15

    @VK
    For someone who espouses being a Marxist, you sure accommodate reactionary language on the underdeveloped nations of Latin America. Who needs adversaries with 'comrades' such as yourself. One wonders what your thoughts are on the underdeveloped nations in Africa and South East Asia. Does 'shithole' come to mind as well?

    Posted by: dimitrov | Oct 26 2020 18:43 utc | 15

    c1ue , Oct 26 2020 19:24 utc | 16
    I don't disagree with b's analysis, except that, IMO, b still does not give sufficient credit to the reality that Turkey can con to nice to fan dance with all sides in order to promote its own interests.
    In fact, it is not to Turkeys interest to side too far or permanently with any of the powers around it.
    This certainly has reinforced Erdogan's behavior. Even as he installs S400, he hosts an enormous US base in Incirlik.
    Even as Turkey supports Salafists in Syria, Turkey works with Russia to stranglehold the entry of natural gas from Centra Asia and the Middle East to Europe.
    Chaos is to Erdogan's benefit. By not outright allying to anyone and sowing chaos everywhere, it allows him to hold down the Kurds inside Turkey without a peep of protest from anyone.
    Kadath , Oct 26 2020 19:25 utc | 17
    Re: Pat #13,

    What Chomsky leaves out is how this vote matters? What is the meaningful difference between Trump v Biden. Trump's critics keep calling him a thief, a scam artist and a traitor, well where's the proof they've spent 4 years investigating Trump for everything under the sun, but they didn't find anything they could take to court (and i'm certain they would have leaked anything they found even if it didn't meet the burden to open an investigation). At the end of the day you got to put up or shut up, and Trump's critics never put up anything except a bunch of bland slogans. I perfectly understand why people can dislike or even hate Trump, but if you yourself cant honestly express why you hate Trump while also applying that same moral logic to your preferred candidate then your opinion is just an ideological slogan of no real intellectual value.

    As someone who is well aware of both candidates huge flaws, let me express Biden's massive flaws - 1. he has a history of warmongering, in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, all of which were illegal wars of aggression under international law. 2 Biden is unwaveringly corrupt, from his support of usurious Credit Card company interest rates, Bankruptcy "reform", to Ukraine, China and Russia, Biden has always cut side deals for himself using his sons, his brother and his friends as intermediaries to ensure he gets his cut. 3 Biden served as VP for the what he called the "most progressive" presidency of the post-WW 2 era, but what are his accomplishments that justify rewarding him with the Presidency - NOTHING! Trump was right when he called Biden out on all of his bland platitudes to the American people during the debate, Biden talks a big game - but at the end it's just empty platitudes, he's not going to fight for anything for the American people because he represents the establishment and the establishment is perfectly happy with the too big to fail status quo, hope and change was just more of the same!

    Now many of these things could be said of Trump (just the details change), but that just proves the point, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE between Trump and Biden that justifies voting for Biden over Trump. Well Chomsky is too much of a old man and a coward to tell you the Truth, but I will. The difference is that Trump's election proves that the establishment has utterly utterly failed and has been delegitimatized by these failures to such a monumental level that the "best" and "brightest" that the establishment choses to offer are rejected by the people in favor of a TV game show host! Chomsky, for all of his criticism of the establishment is at the end of the day is, in essence, the "official" gadfly of the establishment, an acceptable outlet for criticism of the establishment but with no power to either change or threaten the establishment. Perhaps in 40 years some hypothetical political leader might cite Chomsky as a reason he cast a decisive vote against a policy. But that is it, Chomsky is not trying to change the establishment or the status quo people live with now, he has never seized the moment and pushed for change because ultimately he serves the current power structure (after all, he became rich and mildly famous under this status quo). Trump's (re)election represents the failure of Chomsky's view of reform, rather than gradually changing the system from within by the base, a radical populist change of the system from the top was an option. An option Chomsky foolishly discounted and discouraged.

    Laguerre , Oct 26 2020 19:34 utc | 18
    I don't much agree with anything said so far. OK Erdogan is a megalomaniac, and a bit of a nutter, which he is. But he has substantial support behind him, and I would say, not unlikely to be re-elected. He is a populist. Quite Trumpish.
    William Gruff , Oct 26 2020 19:39 utc | 19
    Chomsky was infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    It is so sad. That guy used to have a mind. Now he has lost it.

    Laguerre , Oct 26 2020 20:02 utc | 20
    Erdogan's electorate is Anatolian Turkish pro-Sunni and anti-Kurdish. That explains his policy in Syria. The Kurds are a danger for him, and he can support the jihadis in Idlib. It's a mistake in my view; better to let Asad recover control over Syrian territory, and let him keep Kurdish militias in order.

    The Mediterranean conflict with Greece. He's right there. The Greeks have claimed sea areas which aren't theirs, but are defended by the EU, e.g. Macron's statements.

    Libya, I can't see one side as better than the other. Supporting one side at least provides employments for Syrian Turkmens, who he otherwise would like to help.

    Nagorno-Karabakh. Unlike others, I don't see this as Turkish led. It might be, but more likely stimulated by Azerbaijani resentment at the Armenian take-over of part of their territory by the Armenians in the 90s. The Azerbaijanis don't seem to be doing too badly, in spite of the Armenian propaganda, supported by b for no good reason.

    bevin , Oct 26 2020 20:04 utc | 21
    Chomsky is wrong. This is a perfect opportunity for opposition to the duopoly to make its weight and numbers felt by refusing to vote for, their enemy, Biden.
    They would not win the election but they could demonstrate the real and growing support for Socialist policies and ideas.
    If the price to pay for establishing the base of a real opposition is Trump limping back into office, less harm will be done than mandating Biden et al.
    When the Democrats come crawling to request your vote bear in mind that their expectation of the support of the "left" is based upon their vigorous campaigns to keep socialist candidates off the ballot. By supporting them you support your own disenfranchisement and the omnipotence of the tiny anti-social oligarchy which employees Bidens and Trumps alike.
    Jpc , Oct 26 2020 20:12 utc | 22
    Gary 8
    He attacked syria for the saudies en israeli interest, and defended LNA against the uae and israeli interest

    The SA oil money isn't there anymore.
    Hard to keep things going when you haven't someone to pay the bills.

    Darras , Oct 26 2020 20:23 utc | 23
    It's funny, in France we have an expression " tête de Turc"( Turk's head) to designate somebody that everybody like to hate. A kind of expiatory victim.
    Jackrabbit , Oct 26 2020 20:33 utc | 24
    Kadath @Oct26 19:25 #17
    Trump's election proves that the establishment has utterly utterly failed and has been delegitimatized by these failures to such a monumental level that the "best" and "brightest" that the establishment choses to offer are rejected by the people in favor of a TV game show host!

    Sorry Kadath, but this is just not right. Here's why:
    1. Hillary won the popular vote.
    2. It's difficult not-to-notice that the election was rigged:

      • Bernie as sheepdog;
      • Trump as the only MAGA! Nationalist and only populist in the Republican Primary

        Eighteen other smart, seasoned politicians didn't adjust their campaign(s) in any way that could effectively stop Trump which the Republican establishment supposedly hated;

      • Hillary's mistakes that no seasoned candidate would make:
        - screwing progressives;

        - ignoring/alienating the black vote;

        - insulting whites (deplorables!)

        - not campaigning (in the closing weeks) in the 3 states SHE KNEW would decide the election.


    And why was it rigged? Because the Deep State Empire managers need a populist hero/'Glorious Leader' to lead the charge against Russia & China.

    Thucydides Trap!

    !!

    Christian J. Chuba , Oct 26 2020 20:39 utc | 25
    Wouldn't it be sweet if Israel stepped in to keep Azerbaijan supplied with drones, artillery, and cluster bombs to fill any void created by Turkish shortages?

    Pompeo / Trump could take one last shot at threatening Iran and adding more life destroying sanctions because of Iran's highly aggressive deployment of security forces on their northern border.

    JoeG , Oct 26 2020 20:40 utc | 26
    Somewhere in CHappaqua...Hillary is celebrating her birthday...
    Watching Amy Coney Barrett being sworn into the SCOTUS.

    LOLOLOLOLOL

    robin , Oct 26 2020 20:44 utc | 27
    @ Blue Dotterel | Oct 26 2020 17:24 utc | 9

    The irony of a french president condemning "islamist separatism" is certainly quite rich. And following a gruesome beheading no less.

    I suppose it's just another example of that regular cognitive miracle. One where, for years on end, a nation's entire narrative war effort is focused entirely on glorifying the image of what can hardly be described as anything but "islamist separatist". A cognitive miracle indeed when one considers that the french were amongst the most enthusiastic imperial participants who turned the one african country with the highest living standard into the sorry mess of rubble and ash it is today.

    A few years later, when the same wizards turned their attention to the middle east aiming to separate yet another secular nation into war-torn wastelands, considerable expense and effort were invested in building entire armies of bearded meanies.

    The miracle is in the disconnect. The complete absence of empathy for our own victims while we commemorate our relatively tiny national trauma.

    p>

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    [Oct 24, 2020] Syria: Six Million Displaced People Have Returned Home

    Oct 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    arby , Oct 23 2020 13:34 utc | 104

    Syria

    "As the country tries to overcome aggression and sanctions from the U.S. and the European Union, the government plans to create more homes and announces that 11 new artisanal zones were established in Tartous, Quneitra, Homs, and Hama provinces. Also, with China's support is has imported transportation, including buses and 708 vehicles for the cleaning sector."


    Syria: Six Million Displaced People Have Returned Home

    [Oct 24, 2020] Immiration from Syria to Europe as The Trojan Horset of Muslim brothhood

    Oct 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

    Majority of One , says: October 23, 2020 at 5:40 pm GMT

    @RoatanBill slim Brotherhood mania. The MB was founded in the '20's by British intelligence bodies in Egypt in order to form a counter-balance to the growth of Arab nationalism. So we have a bunch of losers who refused to abide in a Syria which the government of that nation wished to remain NOT under sectarian control and remain a home for all the faiths which have lived side-by-side in that land for many centuries.

    The logical destination for that moth-eaten bunch of fanatics and their dupes would be to the lands occupied by the Wahabist Saudi crime clan as well as those of the Gulf Dictatorships. Such brothers in fanaticism should be very welcome at those totally logical destinations.

    [Oct 24, 2020] A small Marine artillery battalion fired more rounds into Ragga than any artillery battalion since Vietnam. Many of the victims are still buried there in the rubble caused by indiscriminate indirect fire.

    Oct 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Don Bacon , Oct 22 2020 21:29 utc | 27

    @ arby 8
    Syria: "Entire neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble. [11]"

    According to news reports, Raqqa was devastated by the U.S.-led airstrikes that accompanied the SDF's four-month offensive to drive out the Islamic State, and a year later the city is still in ruins.
    It's worse than that. The "so-called fight against ISIL" included the US military firing indirect fire weapons (artillery, rockets, mortars) into a civilian-occupied city. Many of the victims are still buried there in the rubble caused by indiscriminate indirect fire.

    Feb 6, 2018 -- A small Marine artillery battalion fired more rounds than any artillery battalion since Vietnam. "They fired more rounds in five months in[to] Raqqa, Syria, than any other Marine artillery battalion, or any Marine or Army battalion, since the Vietnam war," said Army Sgt. Major. John Wayne Troxell, the senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "In five months they fired 35,000 artillery rounds on ISIS targets, killing ISIS fighters by the dozens," Troxell told Marine Corps Times during a roundtable discussion Jan. 23. "We needed them to put pressure on ISIS and we needed them to kill ISIS." . . here

    [Oct 24, 2020] Put me in charge, and I could stop the illegals in a matter of days. One easy policy: -- All fighting age males will be turned over to Assad for conscription as expendable shock troops.

    Oct 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

    A123 , says: October 22, 2020 at 10:21 pm GMT

    @RoatanBill days. One easy policy:

    -- All fighting age males will be turned over to Assad for conscription as expendable shock troops.

    It is a win-win-win.

    With that much additional manpower, Assad would be able to drive Turkish interlopers and Iranian al'Hezbollah terrorists out of his Syria.

    It would open the door to Russia-U.S.-Syria cooperation. Once Iran is 100% gone, Deep State obstructionists in the U.S. establishment would not be able to interfere with Trump pulling troops out of " ahem .. oil field defense " positions.

    Alas, Greek leaders are not willing to go that far. Yet

    PEACE

    [Oct 24, 2020] Wasn't all that long ago when b and many of the barflies were kind of celebrating the fact that the Yankees lost in Syria and were getting the boot. Turns out that is not what has happened at all.

    Oct 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    arby , Oct 22 2020 23:09 utc | 38

    Don Bacon @ 27

    Yes. Wasn't all that long ago when b and many of the barflies were kind of celebrating the fact that the Yankees lost in Syria and were getting the boot.
    Turns out that is not what has happened at all.

    [Oct 24, 2020] Here are the consequences of the war for the people of Syria

    Oct 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    arby , Oct 22 2020 19:00 utc | 8

    "Here are the consequences of the war for the people of Syria.

    The economy has contracted by two-thirds since 2011 [1], the year the United States and its Western allies, along with the Turks, Saudis, Emiratis, and Qataris, assisted by the Israelis, fanned the embers of an Islamist insurgency that has burned since the 1960s into a conflagration.
    Over 80 percent of Syrians now live below the poverty line. [2]
    Once classified as a lower middle income country, the World Bank in 2018 reclassified Syria as a low-income country. [3]
    According to the country's president, Bashar al-Assad, Syrians are trapped "between hunger and poverty and deprivation [created by the long war] on one side and death [from the coronavirus] on the other." [4]
    Food prices have increased more than 23 times over the past decade. [5]
    The World Food Program warns of an impending famine. [6]
    Syria's healthcare system, once one of the finest in the region, is in disarray. The country suffers a dearth of doctors, drugs and medical equipment. [7]
    Dams and oil fields barely function. [8]
    Industrial areas have been completely devastated. [9]
    Schools and hospitals lie in ruins. [10]
    Entire neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble. [11]

    Washington's Long War on Syria: An Update

    [Oct 21, 2020] US Seeks to Prolong Terrorism in Syria, Not Defeat It - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

    Oct 21, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

    Recent attacks on Syrian positions from terrorists of the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" (ISIS) and the release of thousands of prisoners in US-occupied eastern Syria illustrate how Washington is demonstratably prolonging instability in Syria as part of its promise to transform the nation into a "quagmire" for Russia and Iran.

    Newsweek itself, in an article titled , "US Syria Representative Says His Job Is to Make the War a 'Quagmire' for Russia," had admitted earlier this year that:

    The US special representative for Syria has urged continued American deployment to the war torn country in order to keep pressure on US enemies and make the conflict a "quagmire" for Russia.

    The article further elaborated:

    Assad -- who now controls the majority of the country -- is backed by Russia and Iran, both of which the US is trying to undermine. Jeffrey said Tuesday that the US strategy will both weaken America's enemies while avoiding costly mission creep.

    "This isn't Afghanistan, this isn't Vietnam," he explained. "This isn't a quagmire. My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians."

    Toward that end – efforts in US-occupied eastern Syria to properly deal with ISIS prisoners and their family members has been neglected – creating conditions aimed at breeding extremism rather than defusing it. Even the Washington Post – in a recent article titled , "Kurdish-led zone vows to release Syrians from detention camp for ISIS families," would admit:

    Conditions inside al-Hol displacement camp, a sprawl of tents perched in the desert west of Hasakah city, have alarmed humanitarian groups and in some cases aided the radicalization of women and children who spent years under Islamic State rule.

    The "release" is depicted by the Western media as lacking planning – however – if the goal of the US is to compound Syria's crisis rather than help resolve it – releasing thousands of prisoners – many of whom are likely only further radicalized – is the plan.

    US media also reported on a major and recent clash between Syrian forces and ISIS militants requiring the use of Russian airpower to repel.

    How Washington Found Itself in Bed with ISIS

    Western headlines like Defense Post's article , "90 Dead as Syria Govt Forces Clash With IS: Monitor," claimed:

    Clashes in the Syrian Desert between pro-government forces and holdouts of the Islamic State group have killed at least 90 combatants this month, a war monitor said on Wednesday.

    Russian aircraft carried out strikes in support of their Syrian regime ally, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

    The militants are alleged to be based in Syria's desert regions just west of the Euphrates River. However, in order to sustain ISIS' fighting capacity in an otherwise desolate region, weapons and supplies need to be continuously brought in.

    Since it is unlikely the Syrian government is supplying ISIS fighters determined to kill Syrian troops and move westward toward government-held territory – it is the US and its regional allies supplying them instead.

    The combination of the deliberately destructive administration of US-occupied territory in eastern Syria and the continued supply and arming of militants – including those affiliated with ISIS – are clear components of Washington's strategy of creating a "quagmire" for Syria and its allies in addition to the continued US military occupation itself and ongoing efforts to maintain crippling sanctions aimed at Syria's economy.

    The US has made "quagmires" for Russia in the past. This included its support of militants in Afghanistan through the supply of weapons and training via Pakistan.

    The Syrian conflict – since 2011 – has been the result of similar efforts by the US to create, arm, supply, and otherwise back militants attempting to overthrow the government in Damascus. Having failed this primary objective and after having spent whatever credibility the US had upon the international stage – Washington has now moved toward openly obstructing peace and hampering Syria's recovery from the ongoing conflict – admittedly to spite its international competitors including Russia, Iran, and even China.

    When comparing America's "rules-based international order" with the emerging multipolar world presented by nations like Russia and China as an alternative – it is difficult to believe Washington sees its continued destabilization of nations and even entire regions of the world as a selling point for its world view rather than the primary reason nations around the globe should both oppose it and back desperately needed alternatives to it.

    Attempts by Washington to continue depicting itself as a partner for combating global terrorism rather than a source of global terrorism seems to have fully run its course with the US all but admitting its presence in Syria is aimed at prolonging conflict rather than contributing to efforts to end it. This has been repeatedly illustrated by America's confrontation with Russia in Syria – including a recent incident in which US military vehicles unsuccessfully attempted to block a Russian military patrol.

    It was Russia's 2015 entry into the conflict on Syria's behalf that decisively turned the tide of the conflict – using its superior airpower to target ISIS and Al Qaeda supply lines leading out of NATO-member Turkey's territory into Syria, collapsing their respective fighting capacities and allowing Syrian forces to restore order to nearly all major population centers of the country.

    Today, remaining hostilities are centered on both Turkish and US-occupied territory inside Syria – the resolution of which will mark the conclusion of the conflict – a conclusion and resulting peace Ankara and Washington appear opposed to.

    While Western pundits have argued that a US withdrawal would lead to a resurgence of ISIS – it is clear that ISIS thrives everywhere Syrian forces have been prevented from retaking because of America's illegal presence inside the country. A US withdrawal would be the first true step toward eliminating ISIS from both Syria and the region.

    *

    Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

    Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook" where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

    Featured image is from NEO

    The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © Tony Cartalucci , Global Research, 2020

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    [Oct 21, 2020] How Trump Got Played By The Military-Industrial Complex by Akbar Shahid Ahmed

    Highly recommended!
    Tramp was essentially the President from military industrial complex and Israel lobby. So he was not played. That's naive. He followed the instructions.
    Oct 21, 2020 | www.huffpost.com

    On March 20, 2018, President Donald Trump sat beside Saudi crown prince Muhammed bin Salman at the White House and lifted a giant map that said Saudi weapons purchases would support jobs in "key" states -- including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and Ohio, all of which were crucial to Trump's 2016 election victory .

    "Saudi Arabia has been a very great friend and a big purchaser of equipment but if you look, in terms of dollars, $3 billion, $533 million, $525 million -- that's peanuts for you. You should have increased it," Trump said to the prince, who was (and still is) overseeing a military campaign in Yemen that has deployed U.S. weaponry to commit scores of alleged war crimes.

    Trump has used his job as commander-in-chief to be America's arms-dealer-in-chief in a way no other president has since Dwight Eisenhower, as he prepared to leave the presidency, warned in early 1961 of the military-industrial complex's political influence. Trump's posture makes sense personally ― this is a man who regularly fantasizes about violence, usually toward foreigners ― and he and his advisers see it as politically useful, too. The president has repeatedly appeared at weapons production facilities in swing states, promoted the head of Lockheed Martin using White House resources, appointed defense industry employees to top government jobs in an unprecedented way and expanded the Pentagon's budget to near-historic highs ― a guarantee of future income for companies like Lockheed and Boeing.

    Trump is "on steroids in terms of promoting arms sales for his own political benefit," said William Hartung, a scholar at the Center for International Policy who has tracked the defense industry for decades. "It's a targeted strategy to get benefits from workers in key states."

    In courting the billion-dollar industry, Trump has trampled on moral considerations about how buyers like the Saudis misuse American weapons, ethical concerns about conflicts of interest and even part of his own political message, the deceptive claim that he is a peace candidate. He justifies his policy by citing job growth, but data from Hartung , a prominent analyst, shows he exaggerates the impact. And Trump has made clear that a major motivation for his defense strategy is the possible electoral benefit it could have.

    Next month's election will show if the bargain was worth it. As of now, it looks like Trump's bet didn't pay off ― for him, at least. Campaign contribution records, analysts in swing states and polls suggest arms dealers have given the president no significant political boost. The defense contractors, meanwhile, are expected to continue getting richer, as they have in a dramatic way under Trump.

    Playing Corporate Favorites

    Trump has thrice chosen the person who decides how the Defense Department spends its gigantic budget. Each time, he has tapped someone from a business that wants those Pentagon dollars. Mark Esper, the current defense secretary, worked for Raytheon; his predecessor, Pat Shanahan, for Boeing; and Trump's first appointee, Jim Mattis, for General Dynamics, which reappointed him to its board soon after he left the administration.

    Of the senior officials serving under Esper, almost half have connections to military contractors, per the Project on Government Oversight. The administration is now rapidly trying to fill more Pentagon jobs under the guidance of a former Trump campaign worker, Foreign Policy magazine recently revealed ― prioritizing political reasons and loyalty to Trump in choosing people who could help craft policy even under a Joe Biden presidency.

    Such personnel choices are hugely important for defense companies' profit margins and risk creating corruption or the impression of it. Watchdog groups argue Trump's handling of the hiring process is more evidence that lawmakers and future presidents must institute rules to limit the reach of military contractors and other special interests.

    "Given the hundreds of conflicts of interest flouting the rule of law in the Trump administration , certainly these issues have gotten that much more attention and are that much more salient now than they were four years ago," said Aaron Scherb, the director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, a nonpartisan good-government group.

    The theoretical dangers of Trump's approach became a reality last year, when a former employee for the weapons producer Raytheon used his job at the State Department to advocate for a rare emergency declaration allowing the Saudis and their partner the United Arab Emirates to buy $8 billion in arms ― including $2 billion in Raytheon products ― despite congressional objections. As other department employees warned that Saudi Arabia was defying U.S. pressure to behave less brutally in Yemen, former lobbyist Charles Faulkner led a unit that urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to give the kingdom more weapons. Pompeo pushed out Faulkner soon afterward, and earlier this year, the State Department's inspector general criticized the process behind the emergency declaration for the arms.

    Red Crescent medics walk next to bags containing the bodies of victims of Saudi-linked airstrikes on a Houthi detention cente MOHAMED AL-SAYAGHI / REUTERS
    Red Crescent medics walk next to bags containing the bodies of victims of Saudi-linked airstrikes on a Houthi detention center in Yemen on Sept. 1, 2019. The Saudis military campaign in Yemen has relied on U.S. weaponry to commit scores of alleged war crimes.

    Even Trump administration officials not clearly connected to the defense industry have shown an interest in moves that benefit it. In 2017, White House economic advisor Peter Navarro pressured Republican lawmakers to permit exports to Saudi Arabia and Jared Kushner, the president's counselor and son-in-law, personally spoke with Lockheed Martin's chief to iron out a sale to the kingdom, The New York Times found.

    Subscribe to the Politics email. From Washington to the campaign trail, get the latest politics news.

    When Congress gave the Pentagon $1 billion to develop medical supplies as part of this year's coronavirus relief package, most of the money went to defense contractors for projects like jet engine parts instead, a Washington Post investigation showed .

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    "It's a very close relationship and there's no kind of sense that they're supposed to be regulating these people," Hartung said. "It's more like they're allies, standing shoulder to shoulder."

    Seeking Payback

    In June 2019, Lockheed Martin announced that it would close a facility that manufactures helicopters in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and employs more than 450 people. Days later, Trump tweeted that he had asked the company's then-chief executive, Marillyn Hewson, to keep the plant open. And by July 10, Lockheed said it would do so ― attributing the decision to Trump.

    The president has frequently claimed credit for jobs in the defense industry, highlighting the impact on manufacturing in swing states rather than employees like Washington lobbyists, whose numbers have also grown as he has expanded the Pentagon's budget. Lockheed has helped him in his messaging: In one instance in Wisconsin, Hewson announced she was adding at least 45 new positions at a plant directly after Trump spoke there, saying his tax cuts for corporations made that possible.

    Trump is pursuing a strategy that the arms industry uses to insulate itself from political criticism. "They've reached their tentacles into every state and many congressional districts," Scherb of Common Cause said. That makes it hard for elected officials to question their operations or Pentagon spending generally without looking like they are harming their local economy.

    Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat who represents Coatesville, welcomed Lockheed's change of course, though she warned, "This decision is a temporary reprieve. I am concerned that Lockheed Martin and [its subsidiary] Sikorsky are playing politics with the livelihoods of people in my community."

    The political benefit for Trump, though, remains in question, given that as president he has a broad set of responsibilities and is judged in different ways.

    "Do I think it's important to keep jobs? Absolutely," said Marcel Groen, a former Pennsylvania Democratic party chair. "And I think we need to thank the congresswoman and thank the president for it. But it doesn't change my views and I don't think it changes most people's in terms of the state of the nation."

    With polls showing that Trump's disastrous response to the health pandemic dominates voters' thoughts and Biden sustaining a lead in surveys of most swing states , his argument on defense industry jobs seems like a minor factor in this election.

    Hartung of the Center for International Policy drew a parallel to President George H.W. Bush, who during his 1992 reelection campaign promoted plans for Taiwan and Saudi Arabia to purchase fighter jets produced in Missouri and Texas. Bush announced the decisions at events at the General Dynamics facility in Fort Worth, Texas, and the McDonnell Douglas plant in St. Louis that made the planes. That November, as Bill Clinton defeated him, he lost Missouri by the highest margin of any Republican in almost 30 years and won Texas by a slimmer margin than had become the norm for a GOP presidential candidate.

    President Donald Trump greets then-Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson at the Derco Aerospace Inc. plant in Milwaukee on July MANDEL NGAN VIA GETTY IMAGES
    President Donald Trump greets then-Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson at the Derco Aerospace Inc. plant in Milwaukee on July 12, 2019. Trump does not appear to be winning his political bet that increased defense spending would help his political fortunes.

    Checking The Receipts

    The defense industry can't control whether voters buy Trump's arguments about his relationship with it. But it could, if it wanted to, try to help him politically in a more direct way: by donating to his reelection campaign and allied efforts.

    Yet arms manufacturers aren't reciprocating Trump's affection. A HuffPost review of Federal Election Commission records showed that top figures and groups at major industry organizations like the National Defense Industrial Association and the Aerospace Industries Association and at Lockheed, Trump's favorite defense firm, are donating this cycle much as they normally do: giving to both sides of the political aisle, with a slight preference to the party currently wielding the most power, which for now is Republicans. (The few notable exceptions include the chairman of the NDIA's board, Arnold Punaro, who has given more than $58,000 to Trump and others in the GOP.)

    Data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that's the case for contributions from the next three biggest groups of defense industry donors after Lockheed's employees.

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    One smaller defense company, AshBritt Environmental, did donate $500,000 to a political action committee supporting Trump ― prompting a complaint from the Campaign Legal Center, which noted that businesses that take federal dollars are not allowed to make campaign contributions. Its founder told ProPublica he meant to make a personal donation.

    For weapons producers, backing both parties makes sense. The military budget will have increased 29% under Trump by the end of the current fiscal year, per the White House Office of Management and Budget. Biden has said he doesn't see cuts as "inevitable" if he is elected, and his circle of advisers includes many from the national security world who have worked closely with ― and in many cases worked for ― the defense industry.

    And arms manufacturers are "busy pursuing their own interests" in other ways, like trying to get a piece of additional government stimulus legislation, Hartung said ― an effort that's underway as the Pentagon's inspector general investigates how defense contractors got so much of the first coronavirus relief package.

    Meanwhile, defense contractors continue to have an outsize effect on the way policies are designed in Washington through less political means. A recent report from the Center for International Policy found that such companies have given at least $1 billion to the nation's most influential think tanks since 2014 ― potentially spending taxpayer money to influence public opinion. They have also found less obvious ways to maintain support from powerful people, like running the databases that many congressional offices use to connect with constituents, Scherb of Common Cause said.

    "This goes into a much bigger systemic issue about big money in politics and the role of corporations versus the role of Americans," Scherb said.

    Given its reach, the defense industry has little reason to appear overtly partisan. Instead, it's projecting confidence despite the generally dreary state of the global economy: Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun has said he expects similar approaches from either winner of the election, arguing even greater Democratic control and the rise of less conventional lawmakers isn't a huge concern.

    In short, whoever is in the White House, arms dealers tend to do just fine.

    [Oct 20, 2020] US charges six Russian 'intelligence agents' with hacking Ukraine, Georgia, France and 2018 Olympics -- RT USA News

    Oct 20, 2020 | www.rt.com

    Cover up of OPSW fiasco with Douma false flag ?

    US charges six Russian 'intelligence agents' with hacking Ukraine, Georgia, France and 2018 Olympics 19 Oct, 2020 21:24 Get short URL US charges six Russian 'intelligence agents' with hacking Ukraine, Georgia, France and 2018 Olympics FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich announces charges against 'six Russsian intelligence officers' at the Department of Justice, October 19, 2020. © Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS 14 Follow RT on RT The US Justice Department has announced charges against six alleged officers of Russian military intelligence, accusing them of cyber attacks against Georgia, France, the UK, the OPCW, Ukraine and the 2018 Winter Olympics.

    A grand jury in Pennsylvania indicted the six men for "conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and false registration of a domain name," the DOJ announced on Monday, describing them as officers in Unit 74455 of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU.

    The indictment identifies them as Yuriy Sergeyevich Andrienko, Sergey Vladimirovich Detistov, Pavel Valeryevich Frolov, Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev, Artem Valeryevich Ochichenko and Petr Nikolayevich Pliskin.

    https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1318242413597642758&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fusa%2F503953-six-russians-indicted-hacking%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

    According to the charges, they used malware like KillDisk, Industroyer, NotPetya and Olympic Destroyer to attack everything from networks in Ukraine and Georgia to the Olympics held in PyeongChang two years ago – in which Russian athletes were not allowed to participate under their national flag, due to doping allegations made by a disgruntled doctor.

    The six are also accused of undermining "efforts to hold Russia accountable for its use of a weapons-grade nerve agent, Novichok, on foreign soil" – referring to the March 2018 claims by the British government that Russia "highly likely" used the toxin against a former spy and his daughter, an accusation Moscow repeatedly denied.

    Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers has claimed that "No country has weaponized its cyber capabilities as maliciously or irresponsibly as Russia, wantonly causing unprecedented damage to pursue small tactical advantages and to satisfy fits of spite."

    ALSO ON RT.COM 'State actor' behind NotPetya cyberattack, expect 'countermeasures' – NATO experts

    Monday's indictment is hardly a surprise, considering that NATO and US officials have blamed the 2017 NotPetya outbreak on Moscow for years, even though the malware struck numerous Russian companies – from the central bank to the oil giant Rosneft and metal-maker Evraz – as well.

    The October 2019 Georgia attack was "in line with Russian tactics," declared CrowdStrike, the same security company that was tasked with dealing with the 2016 "hack" of the Democratic National Committee. CrowdStrike's president had secretly admitted to Congress that they had no actual evidence of the hack itself.

    The indictment also accuses the "GRU officers" of trying to breach the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The international body faced a scandal after whistleblowers revealed that a report blaming chemical attacks in Syria on the country's government omitted details that did not fall in line with the narrative pushed by the US and the UK.

    https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1318254380555141123&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fusa%2F503953-six-russians-indicted-hacking%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

    In announcing the indictment, the DOJ thanked the authorities in Ukraine, Georgia, New Zealand, South Korea, and UK "intelligence services" – as well as Google, Facebook and Twitter – for "significant cooperation and assistance" with the investigation.

    The same "GRU unit" and Kovalev specifically were previously indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for alleged "meddling" in 2016 US elections. As with Mueller's indictments, Monday's charges have largely symbolic value; the accused are not likely to ever see the inside of a US courtroom. The only indictment that was actually contested in court – against the so-called IRA troll farm – was dropped by the DOJ in March, due to lack of evidence.

    Russia's military intelligence has not gone by the name of GRU since 2010.

    Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

    14

    [Oct 19, 2020] Under Trump it especially cheats its friends, because they are the easiest marks

    Notable quotes:
    "... Of course the quick objection is that Turkey is getting a crap deal on every single aspect mentioned. This is especially true of Erdogan personally, whose true existential need is to win the war against the Kurds he re-started in Turkey. For instance, the US covertly helps Turkey stay in Syria but simultaneously it "supports" Rojava. And so on and so forth. Yes, the US government is a bully and cheats even its friends. Under Trump it especially cheats its friends, because they are the easiest marks. ..."
    Oct 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    steven t johnson , Oct 17 2020 20:58 utc | 54

    james@30 asks "what is the usa offering Turkey here??"

    Offering continued intervention in Syria, de facto in alliance with Turkey, which weakens the Kurds in effect; splitting the Kurds internationally by supporting the KRG; supporting the continued partition of Cyprus; supporting the effective dismantling of NATO, a very important point re Greek relations; neutrality in Libya and the disputes over eastern Mediterranean drilling; deeming Erdogan one of the good Muslims instead of pursuing a virulent regime change campaign; no economic warfare like in Venezuela.

    Of course the quick objection is that Turkey is getting a crap deal on every single aspect mentioned. This is especially true of Erdogan personally, whose true existential need is to win the war against the Kurds he re-started in Turkey. For instance, the US covertly helps Turkey stay in Syria but simultaneously it "supports" Rojava. And so on and so forth. Yes, the US government is a bully and cheats even its friends. Under Trump it especially cheats its friends, because they are the easiest marks.

    The thing is, Russia cannot bring Erdogan either victory over the Kurds or a healthy economy. Nor is it clear to me that Putin has any strategy whatsoever for any endgame.

    Josh , Oct 17 2020 21:36 utc | 59
    https://southfront.org/betrayed-in-west-kiev-regime-tries-to-find-love-in-turkish-arms/

    Wow,

    Cute couple, right???

    Laguerre , Oct 17 2020 21:56 utc | 62
    Re Turkey. Erdogan is a megalomaniac nationalist. He is neither a servant of the US nor of Putin. He does what he thinks is in the interests of Turkey.

    [Oct 15, 2020] How rock star Roger Waters was hung out to dry by Amnesty and Bellingcat for his views on Syrian 'chemical attack' -- RT Op-ed

    Oct 15, 2020 | www.rt.com

    How rock star Roger Waters was hung out to dry by Amnesty and Bellingcat for his views on Syrian 'chemical attack' 14 Oct, 2020 14:38 Get short URL How rock star Roger Waters was hung out to dry by Amnesty and Bellingcat for his views on Syrian 'chemical attack' FILE PHOTO: Roger Waters at the 76th Venice Film Festival - Screening of the documentary "Roger Waters Us + Them" out of competition - Red Carpet Arrivals - Venice, Italy September 6, 2019 © REUTERS / Piroschka van de Wouw 146 Follow RT on RT

    Kit Klarenberg is an investigative journalist. A leaked phone call reveals that outside pressure caused Amnesty to pull its promotion of a webinar featuring Pink Floyd's Roger Waters – a vocal skeptic of the Douma 'chemical attack' that prompted Western powers to bomb Syria.

    In August this year, environmental pressure group Amazon Watch broadcast an online panel discussion in support of Steven Donziger, a crusading attorney who dared try to hold US energy giant Chevron to account for widespread environmental destruction in the Amazon, and was left fighting for his life, livelihood and liberty as a result.

    In February 2011, Chevron was found liable by an Ecuadorian court for contamination resulting from crude oil production in the region by its subsidiary Texaco between 1964 and 1992, in a legal action that was many years in the making and led by Donziger.

    READ MORE 'Where are the headlines?' Roger Waters points to Syria gas attack 'stench' in wake of leaked report 'Where are the headlines?' Roger Waters points to Syria gas attack 'stench' in wake of leaked report

    Chevron is yet to pay a penny of the settlement though, for the landmark ruling was overturned in March 2014 by a US Federal Court on highly dubious grounds – in reaching his decision, presiding Judge Lewis A. Kaplan relied heavily on the evidence of a former Ecuadorian justice who subsequently admitted to fabricating his testimony. Donziger has since been charged with contempt of court and sat under house arrest for over a year awaiting trial.

    Dozinger himself was present on the Amazon Watch webinar that August evening, and was joined by a number of prominent campaigners, including Simon Taylor, founder of NGO Global Witness, and Roger Waters, co-founder of rock institution Pink Floyd.

    The talk was widely promoted in advance by a number of prominent human rights activists, and NGOs, perhaps most prominently Amnesty International.

    However, the organization's endorsement triggered a deluge of criticism on social media from a number of notorious advocates for regime change in Syria. This led to a post advertising the webinar published by Amnesty USA's official Twitter account the day before broadcast to mysteriously disappear without explanation.

    https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1290928644370595845&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fop-ed%2F503461-roger-waters-douma-syria%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

    In response to one critic , Amnesty UK Campaigns Manager Kristyan Benedict said promoting the talk was "not good at all" and confirmed that the offending tweet had "been deleted."

    https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1291000848798056450&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fop-ed%2F503461-roger-waters-douma-syria%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

    A leaked recording of a September 25 phone call between Waters and two senior staffers at Amnesty International USA – Matt Vogel , head of artist relations, and Tamara Draut , chief impact officer – sheds fascinating light on the episode.

    At the start of the conversation, Waters recalls he was not only informed Amnesty would promote the panel discussion on Twitter in advance, but also personally retweeted the endorsement so it reached his circa 375,000 followers at the organization's express request.

    However, an associate informed him just before the webinar began that they couldn't locate the post. When the talk was over, he went about getting to the bottom of the tweet's absence.

    READ MORE Susan Sarandon, Pamela Anderson & Roger Waters question silence on OPCW report on Douma 'attack' Susan Sarandon, Pamela Anderson & Roger Waters question silence on OPCW report on Douma 'attack'

    After conducting "a bit of sleuthing," he determined that the removal followed pressure being brought to bear by a number of individuals, in particular his "old adversary" Eliot Higgins, founder of controversial website Bellingcat, due to Waters' views on the Syrian Civil Defense, aka White Helmets. Seeking answers, he attempted to reach out to Amnesty, but was repeatedly stonewalled before finally being put in touch with Vogel and Draut.

    In response, Draut confirmed that the tweet's removal was indeed prompted by a "difference of opinion" on the White Helmets. "We believe they're really champions for human rights, and have fought for their protection and freedom. When the tweet went up on our end, it wasn't fully vetted as it should've been, and immediately we heard from folks in the White Helmets, asking why we were promoting you, due to comments you've made about them. We also heard from other Syrian human rights activists, who were quite hurt by our support of you " she began, before Waters interrupts, asking what relevance his views on the group has to "the plight of rainforest dwellers in northern Ecuador."

    "People interpreted our promotion of an event at which you were speaking as promoting your position on the White Helmets. I got involved in this process too late, I wouldn't have taken down the tweet, that's not the policy I like to follow, I would've much rather dealt with this openly and honestly..." Draut explains.

    Waters made headlines the world over in April 2018, when he stopped mid-set during a concert in Barcelona to talk about a chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, which had allegedly taken place six days earlier.

    Branding the White Helmets a "fake organization" creating "propaganda for jihadists and terrorists," he suggested that Western public opinion was being manipulated in order that "we would be encouraged to encourage our governments to go and start dropping bombs on people." Mere hours later , his prediction came to pass, as France, the UK and US carried out a series of military strikes against multiple government sites in the country.

    ALSO ON RT.COM 'How do they sleep?' Roger Waters calls out US, UK & France over 'faked' Douma chemical attack

    In May 2019, Waters was again the subject of intense criticism when he claimed on his official Facebook page that a leaked document had vindicated his position. The file in question was an engineering report produced by an Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fact-finding team that visited Douma in the days following the contested strike, which concluded there was a "higher probability" that cylinders found at two locations in Douma, alleged by the White Helmets to have been dropped from Syrian Air Force helicopters, were "manually placed rather than being delivered from aircraft."

    Photos of the cylinders circulated widely in the Western media and on social networks in the wake of the claimed incident. Such images, along with footage of Douma residents being hosed down in hospitals, children seemingly foaming at the mouth, and piles of dead bodies in a housing complex – all produced and disseminated by the White Helmets – were all damning evidence offered in favor of the idea that the Syrian government had targeted civilians with chemical weapons, a notion which in turn provided Paris, London and Washington with a pretext for military intervention.

    The OPCW team's dissenting appraisal was, for reasons unclear, entirely unmentioned in the organization's final report on Douma , published two months prior to Waters' Facebook post.

    Despite making few if any public comments about the White Helmets or the ongoing crisis in Syria since, Waters has nonetheless been subject to an unending deluge of online abuse from their Western supporters.

    Back on the call, an indignant Waters cites a since-deleted tweet from Eliot Higgins, which stated that Amnesty International "needs to explain why Roger Waters is an appropriate person to talk about human rights." Rather than responding constructively to the question, the organization opted to simply yield to critical pressure.

    READ MORE 'Disgusting joke' & mockery of the law: Julian Assange has ZERO chance of fair trial if extradited to US, Roger Waters tells RT 'Disgusting joke' & mockery of the law: Julian Assange has ZERO chance of fair trial if extradited to US, Roger Waters tells RT

    Waters said: "Why am I an appropriate person? Because I've been a great advocate for human rights all my life. The White Helmets were clearly involved in something really dodgy. Amnesty has never come out and said, 'It's been brought to our attention the video the White Helmets made in Douma was absolutely fake.'

    "Doctors there have said not only were there no deaths that we know about that day, but the people in the hospital were complaining of dust inhalation, not being gassed. Do you still believe that video, do you believe that was real?"

    Draut responded: "I appreciate your desire to defend your opinion, I don't think it's productive all I can tell you is you asked why the tweet was taken down, and it was taken down because of the immediate backlash we received, which is in direct opposition to our position on the White Helmets, and is very hurtful the position of Amnesty wasn't that you don't have any right or expertise or commitment to human rights to speak on that panel."

    Waters then countered: "Why didn't you explain why I am an appropriate person, and say you weren't going to delete the tweet, because the webinar was important?!

    "When I was growing up, you pretended to care about human rights – you've demonstrated to me in this conversation that you don't, particularly by refusing to answer my simple question about the video made by the White Helmets in Douma!" he said.

    In response, Vogel hurriedly stepped in, reassuring Waters that Amnesty supports Donziger's "very critical case," and he personally considered the webinar "a very important conversation to have."

    ALSO ON RT.COM Roger Waters: Neoliberal propaganda keeping voters 'asleep' like Orwellian sheep

    "So this is just a blacklisting of me?! This is you blacklisting me on the basis of evidence given by a scumbag like Eliot Higgins! That's what you're telling me now!" Waters contended.

    "You've made a special exception in my case?! To blacklist me, and take a tweet mentioning me down, on the basis of trolls sending in their negative feelings about me – because I don't subscribe to their opinions about regime change in Syria, and the non-existent chemical attack in Douma, Amnesty International will blacklist me and prevent me from acting for the people of Ecuador, in my capacity as a human rights activist. Wow! What a terrible indictment of your organization, if you don't mind me saying!"

    Draut then returns to the conversation, apologizing outright for the tweet's removal, and claiming Waters is "in no way" blacklisted by Amnesty, despite the organization "disagreeing" with his position on the White Helmets.

    Thanking her, Waters asked whether Amnesty was willing to publicly explain how and why its promotion of the webinar was retracted, an act that was "entirely outside the boundaries that Amnesty International pretends to hold sacred," and apologize to Stephen Donziger and the Ecuadorian people. No commitment to do so was forthcoming from either Amnesty representative on the call, and no explanation or apology for the deletion has been offered by the organization as of October 12.

    READ MORE The UK & US alliance brings the UNSC into disrepute by banning Syria chemical weapons briefing from ex-OPCW head The UK & US alliance brings the UNSC into disrepute by banning Syria chemical weapons briefing from ex-OPCW head

    While Waters' public comments in April 2018 have clearly made him a target for public vilification and censorship, a great many documents leaked since then strongly suggest his original suspicions were highly adroit – and the OPCW's conclusions that there were "reasonable grounds" to believe a chemical weapons attack had occurred in Douma, and "the toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine," were directly contrary to the overwhelming majority of the evidence which its investigators collected.

    A vast number of the organization's previously suppressed internal files are now in the public domain, and while they've been universally ignored by mainstream journalists, they tell a damning story.

    For instance, the documents demonstrate that in July 2018, OPCW chiefs secretly removed all staff from the investigation who had actually visited Douma, bar a single paramedic. Responsibility for completing the probe was handed to an entirely separate team, which had instead traveled to Turkey, and exclusively taken witness statements and soil samples hand-picked by the White Helmets, and staff who hadn't participated in either mission.

    The conclusions drawn from this evidence differed sharply from evidence collected in Syria, and this incongruity was repeatedly noted in a draft report – references absent entirely from the version presented to the public.

    Other key facts from the draft also indicate OPCW investigators quickly ruled out that a chemical attack of any kind had taken place. For one, no samples of any nerve agent – which the White Helmets, Syrian American Medical Society, Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations and British and American governments all claimed had been employed in the attack – were found anywhere on the site, and this had been established by June 2018.

    ALSO ON RT.COM OPCW head FALSELY described Syria whistleblower inspectors to discredit them, new documents show

    Moreover, at the OPCW's request, four chemical weapons experts conducted a toxicology review of available evidence from the incident. They concluded that the observed symptoms of alleged victims in Douma, as depicted in White Helmets-provided footage from the incident, "were inconsistent with exposure to chlorine" and "no other obvious candidate chemical causing the symptoms could be identified."

    Further undermining the OPCW's public conclusions, the organization's tests of samples collected in Douma showed that chlorine compounds were detected overwhelmingly at trace quantities , in the parts-per-billion range – a finding referenced in the aforementioned draft, again absent from the version deemed fit for public consumption.

    At a January 2020 meeting of the United Nations Security Council, former OPCW inspection team leader Ian Henderson, an 11-year veteran of the organization who was part of the Douma fact-finding mission's inspection team , testified that the investigation into the alleged incident unambiguously concluded that no chemical attack had taken place, and suggested it was likely staged by the Syrian opposition, in order to trigger Western military intervention.

    That the White Helmets are a Western construct disseminating propaganda to facilitate governments dropping bombs on people, as per Roger Waters' phrase, was amply confirmed by the recent release of internal UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) files by hacktivist collective Anonymous.

    READ MORE 'False and fabricated': Syria slams OPCW report blaming it for 2017 chemical weapons attacks 'False and fabricated': Syria slams OPCW report blaming it for 2017 chemical weapons attacks

    Among other things, the documents expose a vast and extremely well-funded multi-year operation to produce propaganda targeted both at Syrians and Western populations, forging perceptions of a coherent, credible, moderate opposition to the government of Bashar Assad and extremist groups such as Islamic State alike, and to cultivate support for British-facilitated regime change in the country.

    Under the auspices of this project, ARK International – a "conflict transformation and stabilization consultancy" founded by Alistair Harris, a veteran FCO diplomat – developed and ran an "internationally-focused communications campaign designed to raise global awareness" of the White Helmets.

    "ARK created and continues to run a Twitter feed and Facebook page on behalf of the Syrian Civil Defense teams, posting photos and updates on their activities in English throughout the day. This has received high-profile recognition from international websites and commentators New York-based advocacy group, the Syria Campaign, reached out to the civil defenders through their Twitter feed, and following subsequent discussions with ARK, selected the civil defense to front its campaign to keep Syria in the news [emphasis added]," a leaked internal document states.

    Intriguingly, ARK also extensively trained and equipped over 150 "activists" in Syria on "camera handling, lighting, sound, interviewing, filming a story," post-production techniques including "video and sound editing and software, voice-over, scriptwriting," and "graphics and 2D and 3D animation design and software."

    Students were even instructed in practical propaganda theory – namely "target audience identification, qualitative and quantitative techniques, media and media narrative analysis and monitoring,""behavioral identification/understanding," "campaign planning," "behavior, behavioral change, and how communications can influence it [emphasis added]," and more.

    Content produced by trainees was then fed to ARK's "well-established contacts" at media outlets including Al Jazeera, the BBC, CNN, The Guardian, the New York Times and Reuters, in some cases the firm's students were hired directly as on-the-ground 'stringers' by these organizations, producing reports and conducting interviews.

    The files offer no indication that ARK's trainees were further schooled in how to stage chemical weapons attacks for a Western audience. However, the techniques they learned could clearly so easily be used and abused for such a purpose – making the question of whether they did so worthy of intensive further investigation.

    Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

    The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


    NANCY 12 hours ago I have to ask, why is Amnesty International still considered an organization advocating for human rights and political prisoners? They have shown themselves to be hypocritical phonies in the case of Julian Assange and now, the White Helmets and who knows how many other issues. Kudos to Roger Waters for his courage on calling them out. He is a true humanitarian. Reply 103 2 Show 3 previous replies Blue8ball713 NANCY 5 hours ago Amnesty is tainted and hollowed out to be a tool for the war criminals. Reply 24 1 Show 1 more replies Fred Dozer NANCY 7 hours ago They would not let the leader of the WH into the US , to accept an humanitarian documentary award. Why ? His name is on the Terrorist and No_Fly list. Reply 16 1 13Englander 6 hours ago I'm ashamed to say that this is more evidence that the West is now rotten to the core and will pressure any organisation to cooperate in maintaining the fake veneer of decency. It's a sign that the West is desperate for survival. Reply 17 TheRealElDee 9 hours ago There has been a burning desire by the US and UK to get 'boots on the ground' in Syria and for this to result in regime change. Prior to the CIA pushing for and funding this Civil War, Syria was peaceful, stable and able to export it's oil AND have good relations with both US and UK. BUT, Russia uses Syria as a base for it's navy and therefore this (in addition to all that lovely oil) is the premise they can presen to their own people for pushing the Civil War. At every step the public, and many parliaments, have spoke out to prevent war. At every step the US & UK have come up with further premise for going to full out war. 'Barrel Bombs', Chemical Weapons, indiscriminate fire on civilians and hsopitals etc etc. Likewise at every step this has, so far, been debunked - chemical weapons have been shown by our own investigators to have been placed, the inspectors were subsequently removed from being able to report. Previous to that old stock of chemical weapons had been made safe in conjunction with outside help from Russia, the only country that has any right, legally, to be in Syria militarily. The is another part of the jigsaw that wants to restart the Cold War and to close off dialogue whilst having never ending war in the middle east destabilising countries with oil and other assets. There is no other reason for it and that this should be contemplated is criminal - literally.. Reply 18 2 faireymagic 12 hours ago excellent work by Roger Waters, standing up for truth and human decency Reply 73 Tengmo 11 hours ago Amnesty was compromised long ago, so was Greenpeace, Reply 34 shadow1369 12 hours ago Almost all NGOs, originally set up by altruistic people, have been hijacked by NATO regimes. Amnesty is a stooge supporting crimes against humanity. Reply 49 1 Hazmat Fuhrer shadow1369 6 hours ago It's important for the Kremlin to obfuscate it's almost constant attrocities in Syria and those of the Gassad trtr mrdr disaster Reply 1 18 Show 1 more replies Michael Chan shadow1369 9 hours ago Many news media suffered the same fate., They too have been hijacked by the NATO regimes. The most conspicuous of them are Al Jazeera and Asia Times. Both were excellent news sources until they were bought by Western tycoons and turned into propaganda mouthpieces for the NATO regimes. Reply 25 Show 1 more replies GottaBeMe 5 hours ago No further donations to that group from me! I truly believed they were a force for good. I'm with Roger Waters. He has proven time after time that he cares about people. Bellingcat? Never! Reply 12 Wasey Cerner 8 hours ago << ...the documents demonstrate that in July 2018, OPCW chiefs secretly removed all staff from the investigation who had actually visited Douma, bar a single paramedic. Responsibility for completing the probe was handed to an entirely separate team, which had instead traveled to Turkey, AND exclusively taken witness statements and soil samples hand-picked by the White Helmets,... >> Navalny's team followed the same script from the motel to Mass. Reply 8 Sinalco 11 hours ago [1] He was telling the TRUTH [2] Bellingcat is an Establishment Creation, used to push the establishment narrative. [3] Amnesty just swallowed the lies about the White-Helmets - what shame... Reply 29 Blue8ball713 Sinalco 5 hours ago 3 Amnesty is part of this Reply 5 Truthfrees 11 hours ago All those clowns pushing for regime change have no problem with millions killed and multiple nations destroyed for the regime change whim of the day. Cowards that sit in their air conditioned living room pushing for evil destruction on nations and people they know nothing about. Reply 24 frostyboy Truthfrees 3 hours ago Madeleine Albright (born Marie Jana Korbelová) "Yes, we think it was worth it" regarding civilian lives sacrificed during the US invasions of Iraq. Why is it that these people care nothing for innocence, and only crave blood ? Is this tribal ? DavidChu 11 hours ago Let's face it: Amnesty and Human Rights Watch are just too naked tools of Yankee Imperialism and Hegemony! Reply 24 decided 12 hours ago the logic of it, assad used chemical bomb , so to help the people we will bomb their country use all types of bombs and many of them as help, and im to think these politicians are not insane yea ok. Reply 9 Rustofur decided 9 hours ago It's much more humanitarian to blow children to bits than gas them. Reply 4 1 Show 1 more replies Truthfrees decided 11 hours ago Syria is a construction delay for Israel's land expansion projects. They already secured thousands of bulldozers and construction contracts and are losing money every day Syria is not falling. Poor chicken little Israeli leaders and pork project partners. Reply 11 Show 1 more replies UBV76 12 hours ago "Bellingcrap" Funded via HMG to hide-bury the truth and pedal untruths misleading "The Daily Sheep". Higgins just a "Lady's Pantyhose" seller with no experience except for telling lies..! Reply 22 frankfalseflag 9 hours ago L O L . Human Rights Watch, just another outfit, like Greenpeace, with admirable words in its name, whose agenda has been co opted by the US CIA. Another Goody two-shoes organization whose major work is to get on and off the CIA propaganda train when they are told to. You remember in 2013 when Greenpeace boarded the Prirazlomnaya platform in the Arctic? Greenpeace was so concerned about the environmental impact on the Arctic Ocean. That was 2013, before the West - and by the West, I mean Washington DC - realized that they had a vital interest in the Arctic and they would be steaming through there looking to drop anchor and start drilling for oil. Same with Human Rights Watch, who cares very little for the human lives lost in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, etc. Lives that were lost by the murderous invasions of the Lord Defenders of Capitalism. Reply 5 Sancho Panza 10 hours ago White helmets, Brown noses and Black hearts. Reply 9 Carl Cuckproof 10 hours ago he has been a thorn in their side for a long time. the impact of goys like him can never be measured. not just another brick in the wall Reply 8 Tinkerbell_Pan 10 hours ago Thank you and good night, NO MORE MONEY for Amnesty. Reply 7 apothqowejh 7 hours ago Amnesty International is just another sell-out ngo. Reply 5 Midnight10 4 hours ago Sorry Roger, but Amnesty International has become just another tool in the US Administration's propaganda program. Although you were tight about the White Helmets as villagers from the area told the UN regarding the chemical attack, it wasn't in the script Amnesty gets from the US. Just lackeys willing to give up their integrity and the organization's reputation to get their "Atta boys" from Trump. Reply 3 White Elk 12 hours ago Their modern way to execution. Time changes, hypocrisy and envy remain the same. Possessed people at the helm, blind guiding the blind, sure shame and disaster. Reply 4 neeon9 4 hours ago This is, as always, American lies. They think the world is stupid, and blind to the endless garbage spewed forth from Washington! We all know they use torture , we all know they are guilty of war crimes, and are trying to kill Assange by slow emotional torment, for outing them for the callous killers they truly are, and that has only served only to make him a martyr. We all know it was Bush and his cronies, who bombed the twin towers to cover the theft of and 7 trillion off the US tax payers, and make their M.I.C. cohorts, many fortunes off the dead children their endless, lie based wars have killed, after fabricating an enemy, that did not exist, until they murdered their families. We all know that no claim, or attempt to over throw another foreign government, is backed up by nothing more than empirical greed, and the constant nagging fear the US has, that it is slipping into decay, and will loose it's evil grip on the world economy, and it's Ziocorp masters will will stop funding the lunacy that is US domestic politics, and the 'cult of cash' that has poluted the planet. Thank gods there are Ppl like Waters who are still brave enough to call them out for the festering boil they are, on the backside of humanity. As it stands, they are getting what they deserve . The American dream has become the worlds nightmare, and I for one, am happy to see the mourning. Reply 4 Kiro919 5 hours ago Amnesty are worse than compromised these days. Reply 3 dunkie56 8 hours ago They lied now they have to discredit those who would uncover those lies so now they lie to do this and need to lie again to cover up those lies as well and lie again to cover the latest batch of lies.........trick is can they remember the lie that got them here in the first place lying..hmmmm! Reply 4 TrishArch 5 hours ago Amnesty International is Dodgy. Reply 3 fuser 8 hours ago Amnesty and Human Rights, but some humans are more humans than the others. Reply 2 Stranded 1 hour ago Roger is forever my hero for defending Assange Reply 1 frostyboy 3 hours ago Eliot Higgins came from obscurity, and rose into Atlantic Counsel pimphood as a tool to contaminate evidence over MH17. He has only become more discredited since. Higgins is the very last level of State actor puppet - a credulous simp who takes the Kings Shilling and bends over. Reply 1 ahmed nazmy habel 4 hours ago . When the talk was over, he went about getting to the bottom of the tweet's absence Reply 1 1demeneye 7 hours ago From a psychological perspective, you have to wonder what motivates people such as Elliot Higgins. Just money? More money? Is there no point at which people like Higgins have enough money and make a decision to come clean? Has he had his life threatened if he doesn't co-operate? Has he been caught doing something that they are holding over him? Have they threatened to just make stuff up and destroy his life if he tells the truth? Is he just evil? Is he fueled by hate for someone or something? Reply 1 frostyboy 1demeneye 2 hours ago Higgins, as you already appreciate, is a shop window dummy. His 'startup' went from zero to hero under the auspices of the Atlantic Council. Bellingcat is 'trendy' and Hipster-friendly, very much cosmeticized to appeal to anew young adult generation of political naifs. The latte set. The smashed avocado grazers. Higgins is a nobody who parlayed a weak mind into the figurehead of a classic Western propaganda sewerpipe. The damage he did to the honest investigations over MH17 will not be forgotten. Reply 1 Jimbo_jones 3 hours ago Amnesty International is a joke organization controlled by Washington. Always has and always will be, Reply 1 Opus111 5 hours ago Amnesty International is a Fake News bureaucracy controlled by liberal fanatical ruling classes. Reply 2 David9220 4 hours ago follow Money Know Truth Reply 1 Head like a rock 5 hours ago not a huge fan of the music, but Roger makes Bono look like trump Reply MiloDiddlbomb 7 hours ago It still comes down to Waters getting bit by his own dog. You don't follow their rules and say the proper Woke words - seeeeeeeya. They eat their own Reply Richland Yabitches" 13 hours ago Water's being and a Man of his age should've realized by now that his Musical Talent 'Alone' didn't get him to where's he at and in fact he Participated in the Mind Altering of Social Engineering of Zombies, LSD and Dead-Beat Societies which is Awesome for those Lib-miserables, drug/alcohol rehab, mental homes and the likes however, Criticize their Destabilizing Missions and you're fuct" Reply 12 KrautMan Richland Yabitches" 10 hours ago Pretty obvious who the LSD zombie is on this thread, bubba. Reply 5 Show 1 more replies natrep 2 hours ago Just proves that NGO's like amnesty international are fake...

    [Oct 11, 2020] Western Allies Block Ex-OPCW Chief's Explosive Testimony On Syria Chemical Weapons -

    Oct 11, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

    Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com,

    This past Monday at the UN Security Council, the US, the UK, France, and allies blocked testimony from a former director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Jose Bustani is a Brazilian diplomat and was the first director-general of the OPCW, which was formed in 1997.

    Bustani was pushed out of the organization in 2002 by the Bush administration for his efforts to negotiate with Saddam Hussein. The Brazilian was prepared to deliver testimony to the UN Security Council on Monday over the OPCW's investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria , in April 2018.

    https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1313197827712049158&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fwestern-allies-block-ex-opcw-chiefs-explosive-testimony-syria-chemical-weapons&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

    The US, UK, and France responded to the alleged Douma attack with airstrikes on Syrian government targets. After the strike, OPCW inspectors arrived in Douma to investigate.

    Since the OPCW released its final report on the alleged Douma attack in March 2019, a trove of leaked documents have surfaced . The leaks, along with whistleblower testimony, suggest the OPCW suppressed evidence and ignored the findings of senior inspectors to fit the narrative that the Syrian government carried out a chemical attack in Douma.

    In October 2019, Bustani attended a panel hosted by the Courage Foundation that heard testimony from an OPCW whistleblower who presented evidence that the Douma investigation was corrupted. After hearing the evidence, the panel released a statement urging the OPCW to revisit its investigation into the Douma incident.

    The Grayzone published Bustani's prepared statement that he was blocked from delivering at the UN Security Council. In his statement, Bustani urges Fernando Arias, the current OPCW director-general, to hear out the inspectors who were on the ground in Douma and had their findings suppressed:

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZgIDlgD_txM

    https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

    "I would like to make a personal plea to you, Mr Fernando Arias, as Director General of the OPCW. The inspectors are among the Organization's most valuable assets. As scientists and engineers, their specialist knowledge and inputs are essential for good decision making."

    "Most importantly, their views are untainted by politics or national interests. They only rely on the science. The inspectors in the Douma investigation have a simple request – that they be given the opportunity to meet with you to express their concerns to you in person, in a manner that is both transparent and accountable."

    NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST

    ZEROHEDGE DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX

    Receive a daily recap featuring a curated list of must-read stories.

    Read the full transcript of Bustani's testimony here .

    [Sep 29, 2020] Tensions between Turkey and Russia rise in Idlib following failed talks

    Sep 29, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

    ET AL September 27, 2020 at 9:38 am

    Middle East Eye via Antiwar.com : Tensions between Turkey and Russia rise in Idlib following failed talks
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-idlib-tensions-turkey-russia-talks-failed

    Turkish officials are preparing for the worst case scenario as talks in Ankara made clear that Moscow doesn't want a new deal
    ####

    This is a Turkey sympathetic piece but may be one reason for current events between Armenia and Azerbaidjan. As for Syria, Turkey has been claiming to keep the north/Idlib under control which is has until the last few weeks at it has used the previous time to reinforce its military presence ('observation posts') – vis Vinyard the Saker – and now claims it is not reponsible and its not fair that Russia reacts to attacks by its re-dressed (literally) jihadists. Turkey's preference is of course to do nothing despite the all the attacks, and that in itself explains a lot. Turkey is now publicly putting out its argument in advance that it is 'Russia wot broke the agreement' and thus 'we are not responsible for any of the consequences.' Erd O'Grand is due another significant spanking. Would he call NATO to his defense as he did before? Certainly. Will it happen? No. Not to mention his current intreagues around Cyprus and pissing of the French, Greeks and others. Trouble t'mill.

    ET AL September 27, 2020 at 9:48 am

    But here's a much better article again via Antiwar.com

    AL Monitor: Turkey's military deterrence breaks down in Syria's last rebel stronghold
    https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/09/turkey-syria-russia-idlib-escalation-inevitable-m4-highway.html

    Despite Turkey's efforts to maintain the status quo in Idlib, a Russian-backed Syrian assault seems increasingly likely.
    ####

    In short, Turkey has not kept up its side of the deal of bringing the rebels under control and the supposed opening and joint patrols of the M4 & M5 highways has been suspended by Russia because of the attacks by rebadged jihadis. Turkey has clearly used the agreement to simply buy time for another 'cunning plan' and as no interest in fulfiling the agreement with Russia. The latter's patience is almost gone.

    [Sep 28, 2020] No wonder Pompey and his friend Jeffries won't give up on Syria! No wonder

    Highly recommended!
    Notable quotes:
    "... Virtually every aspect of the Syrian opposition was cultivated and marketed by Western government-backed public relations firms, from their political narratives to their branding, from what they said to where they said it. ..."
    Sep 28, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

    "Western government-funded intelligence cutouts trained Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories in media outlets from BBC to Al Jazeera, and ran a cadre of journalists. A trove of leaked documents exposes the propaganda network."

    "Leaked documents show how UK government contractors developed an advanced infrastructure of propaganda to stimulate support in the West for Syria's political and armed opposition.

    Virtually every aspect of the Syrian opposition was cultivated and marketed by Western government-backed public relations firms, from their political narratives to their branding, from what they said to where they said it.

    The leaked files reveal how Western intelligence cutouts played the media like a fiddle, carefully crafting English- and Arabic-language media coverage of the war on Syria to churn out a constant stream of pro-opposition coverage.

    US and European contractors trained and advised Syrian opposition leaders at all levels, from young media activists to the heads of the parallel government-in-exile . These firms also organized interviews for Syrian opposition leaders on mainstream outlets such as BBC and the UK's Channel 4.

    More than half of the stringers used by Al Jazeera in Syria were trained in a joint US-UK government program called Basma, which produced hundreds of Syrian opposition media activists.

    Western government PR firms not only influenced the way the media covered Syria, but as the leaked documents reveal, they produced their own propagandistic pseudo-news for broadcast on major TV networks in the Middle East, including BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and Orient TV .

    These UK-funded firms functioned as full-time PR flacks for the extremist-dominated Syrian armed opposition. One contractor, called InCoStrat, said it was in constant contact with a network of more than 1,600 international journalists and "influencers," and used them to push pro-opposition talking points.

    Another Western government contractor, ARK, crafted a strategy to "re-brand" Syria's Salafi-jihadist armed opposition by "softening its image ." ARK boasted that it provided opposition propaganda that "aired almost every day on" major Arabic-language TV networks."

    "The Western contractor ARK was a central force in launching the White Helmets operation.

    The leaked documents show ARK ran the Twitter and Facebook pages of Syria Civil Defense, known more commonly as the White Helmets.

    ARK took credit for developing "an internationally-focused communications campaign designed to raise global awareness of the (White Helmets) teams and their life saving work."

    ARK also facilitated communications between the White Helmets and The Syria Campaign , a PR firm run out of London and New York that helped popularize the White Helmets in the United States.

    It was apparently "following subsequent discussions with ARK and the teams" that The Syria Campaign "selected civil defence to front its campaign to keep Syria in the news," the firm wrote in a report for the UK Foreign Office." thegreyzone

    --------------

    Using really basic intelligence analytic tools; Occam's Razor, Walks like a duck, Smileyesque back azimuth's, etc. it has been clear that the UK government has been deeply involved in sponsoring and influencing the Syrian/ jihadi opposition in that miserable country. The wide spread British Old Boys network of aspirants to the tradition of imperial manipulation has been visible just below the surface if you had eyes to look and a brain to think.

    A lot of the money for this folly came right out of USAID.

    pl

    https://thegrayzone.com/2020/09/23/syria-leaks-uk-contractors-opposition-media/


    ISL , 27 September 2020 at 04:03 PM

    Dear Colonel agreed.

    I object to the line in the article that they "played the media like a fiddle" - as it implies the mainstream media is a victim as opposed to willing accomplice.

    The American public very strongly told Obama they didn't want another invasion and war in the middle east (red lines or not) so rather ineffective propaganda.

    Moreover, I suspect that given the US public inattention to overseas events that do not involve much US blood (in places they can not find on a map). Today's mess would be where more or less the same if the entire IO had never happened - though maybe with less cynicism of US/UK gov'ts and media.

    OTH, it is curious how well the British Old Boys network (and US) aligns with Israeli interests (and runs counter to US or British interests). Maybe grayzone will investigate that (impressive) IO campaign. I think a small country in the middle east played US and UK elites like a fiddle.

    The Twisted Genius , 27 September 2020 at 04:48 PM

    I've only given this article a cursory reading so far and it is clear that the Brits are going balls to the wall on the PSYOPS/perception management front. This campaign flows naturally from the strong material support for the Syrian "moderate rebels" provided by the US, the Brits and probably others for years. We may still be blowing up IS jihadis, but we're also supporting our own brand of jihadis around Al-Tanf, giving free hand to Erdogan's jihadis along the Turkish-Syrian border and doing our best to stymie R+6 efforts to crush the remaining jihadis and unite Syria.

    The article focuses on the contractors role in PSYOP. I'm not sure if it mentions the British government's role in this. The GCHQ's Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) probably manages most of those contractors. The British Army also has the 77th Brigade. This brigade's slogan is: "behavioural change is our unique selling point". Gordon MacMillan, a reserve officer with the 77th Brigade, is now Twitter's head of editorial operations for the Middle East.
    The 77th was formed in 2015 and subsumed the 15th Psychological Operations Group which was headed by Steve Tathan, who went on to head the defence division of SCL, the now defunct parent of Cambridge Analytica. I'm sure the 77th is capable of managing some of those contractors, as well. I wouldn't be surprised if quite a few of contractors were also reservists in the 77th.

    I bet we're not letting the Brits have all the fun. The CIA Special Activities Center (formerly SAD) includes the Political Action Group for PSYOP, economic warfare and cyberwarfare. That dovetails nicely with what CENTCOM is doing in Syria. I knew some of those guys a while back. I remember scaring them with some of my own anarchist hacker rantings when I was penetrating those hackers.

    Our Army has fours PSYOP groups brigade-sized), two active and 2 reserve. I would think they have advanced their methodology since I took the course at Bragg. For a few years, they were called military information support operations (MISO) groups rather than PSYOP groups. They have since reverted to their PSYOP name although their activities are referred to as MISO. I don't know what the difference is.

    Babak makkinejad , 27 September 2020 at 05:10 PM

    ISL

    No, no, no.

    There is no such small country as you describe in the Near East.

    There is an self-disciplined proxy force masquerading as a state which is mostly funded by the United States to further the religious policies of the WASP Culture Continent.

    It is no accident that in this context, the names of US and UK occur often in the same sentences; one declared a crusade to wrestle control of Plastine from Muslims, and the otber one carried out that crusade and escalated it.

    That is also the reason that US cannot end the war over Palestine or leave Islamdom

    (Oil, Geostrategic considerations, arms sales, Realpolitik are just pseudo-rationications to obscure the real war.)

    Diana Croissant , 28 September 2020 at 07:45 AM

    Where is Candide (aka Voltaire) when we need him?

    BABAK MAKKINEJAD , 28 September 2020 at 09:14 AM

    Ishmael Zechariah

    How WASP-dom has arrived in this crusade is not, in my opinion, as significant as that it has been waging it for more than a hundred years.

    fakebot , 28 September 2020 at 10:43 AM

    "WASP Culture" is into golfing, not crusading. Erik Prince and the religious fundamentalists, maybe, but they don't drive US policy.

    Russia and/or Chinese dominion over Eurasia cannot be permitted. Their means to achieve that would be less ethical, not that the US or UK have been prince among men and salts of the earth, as noted in the article.

    The US has tried in vain to win over hearts and minds. It has been a mostly noble effort to bring countries like Iraq and Afghanistan into the 21st century, but it was always more of a losing game. The problem lies too much in Islam and tribal rivalries.

    [Sep 26, 2020] Galloway- Lying industry may be the only sector of Western economies still in full production TAXPAYERS pay for it

    Highly recommended!
    Sep 26, 2020 | www.rt.com

    If you have ever wondered why Syrian jihadists, or so-called 'moderate opposition', got support from the woke liberal West, a recent leak by Anonymous reveals it's because Western governments funded this propaganda.

    In the end, it is the sheer childishness of the propaganda which amazes me most, not that our rulers lie about other countries – I have always known that. But somehow there was a kernel of truth around which the web of lies was spun, for example about life in the old Soviet Union.

    I began to realise the scope of Western ability to literally invent the most baseless lies only in the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003, and only because I knew more about Iraq than any politician in Britain or America and ten times more than the average made-up telly-dolly chuntering through their auto-cued war propaganda. The women presenters weren't any better.

    This all came flooding back to me when I received an email from Anonymous earlier this week and then read Ben Norton's excellent analysis of it all in The GrayZone.

    If anyone ever wondered how the hordes of head-chopping throat-cutting heart-eating gay-murdering women-hating 'Jihadists' of the Syrian War ever managed to get a fair press in a 'woke' liberal West that gets hot under the lace collar about JK Rowling novels, the answers are all in the Anonymous leak . The principle answer is that you, the taxpayer, paid for it.

    That's right. The blizzard of 'White Helmets' (who made it right up to the Oscars to thank everyone who'd helped them except those that had helped them the most), "chemical-weapons attacks" and all the paraphernalia of a newly "moderate opposition" in Syria – was all paid for by YOU. Millions of pounds of British taxpayers' money was revealed to have been spent secretly on UK support for the throat-cutting coalition of chaos, which for a decade massacred its way across Syria wearing a snow-white Western beard of respectability.

    It would appear that while the US (or rather its milk-cows in the Gulf) was paying for the lethal-weapons, perfidious Albion was doing what it does best – lying through its teeth whilst making those being lied to, pay for the privilege. Now that – thanks to the leaks – we know this, it should put us on guard for the next one. Yet somehow it doesn't, at least not for the purveyors of the news.

    The Lazarus-like resurrection (and photo-shoot) of Russia's opposition figure and Western darling Alexey Navalny after yet another alleged Novichok (believed to be 5-8 times more toxic than VX nerve agent) attack without so much as a tracheostomy to show for it is swallowed whole in yet another anti-Russian public relations offensive.

    ALSO ON RT.COM Caitlin Johnstone: MSM smear merchants target critics of Establishment China narratives

    Grown sane men call my television show to talk about 'concentration camps' in China in which, we are told, "a million Uighur Muslims" are being held and forcibly sterilised. This is despite the allegations being largely based on studies backed by the American government and statements by Western media favourite, German researcher Adrian Zenz. Zenz, who is part of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a US-backed advocacy group, believes that he is "led by God" on his "mission" against China. Meanwhile, according to China's official statistics the Uighur population in Xinjiang province increased by over 25 percent between 2010 and 2018, while the Han Chinese rose by only two percent.

    The lying industry may be the only sector of the Western economies still in full production. No need for furlough or bounce-back loans. The lie-machines never still. No smoke is usually detected from their chimneys, but inside, their pants are well and truly on fire.

    Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

    The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


    [Sep 23, 2020] Mattis Told Intel Chief They May 'Have to Take Collective Action' Against 'Unfit' Trump -- Woodward

    Notable quotes:
    "... Former defense secretary Jim Mattis appears to have been plotting a coup with then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats after growing furious with President Trump for banning transgenders from the military and moving to pull out of Afghanistan and Syria. ..."
    "... Mattis quietly went to Washington National Cathedral [in May 2019] to pray about his concern for the nation's fate under Trump's command and, according to Woodward, told Coats, "There may come a time when we have to take collective action" since Trump is "dangerous. He's unfit." ..."
    "... Translation: we may have to stage a coup to get him out of power. Plenty of Democrats and former and current intelligence officials are working on a Color Revolution come November as we speak . ..."
    Sep 10, 2020 | www.blacklistednews.com

    SOURCE: CHRIS MENAHAN, INFORMATION LIBERATION

    Former defense secretary Jim Mattis appears to have been plotting a coup with then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats after growing furious with President Trump for banning transgenders from the military and moving to pull out of Afghanistan and Syria.

    From The Washington Post :

    Mattis quietly went to Washington National Cathedral [in May 2019] to pray about his concern for the nation's fate under Trump's command and, according to Woodward, told Coats, "There may come a time when we have to take collective action" since Trump is "dangerous. He's unfit."

    Translation: we may have to stage a coup to get him out of power. Plenty of Democrats and former and current intelligence officials are working on a Color Revolution come November as we speak .

    In a separate conversation recounted by Woodward, Mattis told Coats, "The president has no moral compass," to which the director of national intelligence replied: "True. To him, a lie is not a lie. It's just what he thinks. He doesn't know the difference between the truth and a lie."

    Mattis doesn't know the difference between a male and a female. Trump reportedly accurately said his generals were a "bunch of pussies."

    "Not to mention my f**king generals are a bunch of pussies. They care more about their alliances than they do about trade deals," Trump told White House trade adviser Peter Navarro at one point, according to Woodward.

    No lie detected!

    Ann Coulter, who has repeatedly tried to tell Trump today's generals have nothing in common with those of the past like Trump-favorite Gen. George Patton, responded to the news on Wednesday by saying Trump has won her back!

    And he wins me back! https://t.co/7nhtSuC4k9

    -- Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) September 10, 2020

    [Sep 18, 2020] New Documents Reveal Secret British Efforts To Arm, Assist And Propagandize 'Moderate Rebels' In Syria

    Notable quotes:
    "... Integrity Initiative ..."
    "... Integrity Initiative ..."
    "... Moon of Alabama ..."
    "... Integrity Initiative ..."
    "... Integrity Initiative ..."
    "... Moon of Alabama ..."
    Sep 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    New Documents Reveal Secret British Efforts To Arm, Assist And Propagandize 'Moderate Rebels' In Syria

    In November 2018 some anonymous people published a number of documents that had been liberated from a clandestine British propaganda organization, the Integrity Initiative .

    The same group or person who revealed the Integrity Initiative papers has now released several dozens of documents about another 'Strategic Communication' campaign run by the British Foreign Office. The current release reveals a number of train and assist missions for 'Syrian rebels' as well as propaganda operations run in Syria and globally on behalf of the British government.

    Moon of Alabama , as well as other sites , had published a series of pieces about the Integrity Initiative . There were also connections between the Integrity Initiative and the Skripal 'novichok poisoning' affair.

    They newly released documents about British operations in Syria are accessible under:

    All the now published documents archived in one file are available for download under:

    Most of the documents are detailed company responses to several solicitations from the Foreign Office for global and local campaigns in support of the 'moderate rebels' who are fighting against the Syrian government and people.

    The documents lay out large scale campaigns which have on-the-ground elements in Syria, training and arming efforts in neighboring countries, command and control elements in Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, as well as global propaganda efforts. These operations were wide spread.


    bigger

    Most of the documents are from 2016 to 2019. They detail the organization of such operations and also portrait persons involved in these projects. They often refer back to previous campaigns that have been run from 2011/2012 onward. This is where the documents are probably the most interesting. They reveal what an immense effort was and is waged to fill the information space with pro-rebel/pro-Islamist propaganda.

    The documents are not about the 'White Helmets' which were a separate British run Strategic Communication campaign financed by various governments. While the operations described in the new documents were coordinated with U.S. efforts they do not reference the CIA run campaigns in Syria which included similar efforts at a cost of $1 billion per year.

    The various projects and the detailed commercial offers to implement them from various notorious companies are roughly described in the above two links. I will therefore refrain from repeating that here. Some of the documents' content will surely be used in future Moon of Alabama posts. But for now I will let you rummage through the stash.

    Please let us know in the comments of the surprising bits that you might find.

    Posted by b on September 18, 2020 at 15:51 UTC | Permalink


    james , Sep 18 2020 16:22 utc | 1

    thanks b... i will look at them and get back on this..
    Red Ryder , Sep 18 2020 16:32 utc | 2
    Documents the "war crimes industry" of the UK, and others, as expressed in Libya and Syria.

    Assad has indicated he will pursue reparations from the nations that have killed 400,000 citizens, destroyed or stolen his industrial infrastructure (whole factories broken down and trucked into Turkey).

    One reason why the US and UK and France want Assad dead is the tens of billions of dollars they will have to pay the Syrian people for the genocidal war waged for a decade in order to kill Assad and break Syria into pieces.

    vk , Sep 18 2020 16:53 utc | 3
    This confirms the UK has essentially kept the same military doctrine it adopted by necessity in 1945, which is: attach itself to the USA, focus on intelligence, punch above your weight. Ideologically, they rationalize that by attributing themselves the role of the cultured province of the USA; "Greece to the USA's Rome".

    The British were always fascinated with intelligence/paramilitary forces. In their vision, it gives you (a nation) an air of sophistication, a civilizing aspect to the nation that wages this kind of warfare.

    After the Suez fiasco of 1956, the UK gave up direct interventions in the Middle East. It now only intervenes there under the skirt of the USA. Of course, whenever they can, they do that with their weapon of choice, which is intelligence. So, yeah, these documents don't surprise me.

    [Sep 18, 2020] Middle East Peace and Trump's New Art of the Deal by Larry Johnson - Sic Semper Tyrannis

    Notable quotes:
    "... He thinks the Palestinians will accept permanent helot status? Maybe so... But is that something we should relish? ..."
    "... And what of Syria? What of Syria? Evidently Trump considered murdering President Assad two years ago. Is he going to abandon regime change now? is he going to abandon the policy of Pompeo and Jeffries? ..."
    "... My guess is that the acceptability for Helot status of Palestinians will depend on how much worse it is compared to the status of Palestinian equivalents elsewhere. Syria and Lebanon certainly look far less attractive. ..."
    "... Also, from my admittedly limited experience, Palestinians aren't exactly homogenous, Gaza =! West Bank. ..."
    "... If the Israelis are smart (and I think they are), they will continue to exploit Palestinian disunity by not having one helot status but several, with privileges to repress and boss around the lesser helots (perhaps even some less desirable Israelis) awarded to the higher helots. ..."
    "... The neocons have been firmly ensconced in ME policy since Reagan. At least Trump made a little bit of lemonade. Nothing earth shattering IMO but moved the ball forward 10 yds and away from own goals under the so-called experts & strategists of the past decades. ..."
    "... Support for Israel and its maximalist dreams has always been bipartisan. ..."
    "... The colonel has a much more realistic take on this: the intention is to co-opt the Arab states into forcing the Palestinians to accept permanent helot status. Not quite slaves but closes to it. ..."
    "... There would be many ways to describe that, but I suspect "peace plan" would rank amongst the less accurate ones. ..."
    "... I also remember when the Trump admin killed the Gen. Suleimani late last year the same people also touted it a national security success. This is shameful pattern. ..."
    "... Just because Jared Kushner, Berkowitz (Kushner's mini-me), David Friedman and the Zionist anti-American paid shills of Christians United For Israel et.al put Israel's interest first does not make it a success for American interests abroad. Trump does not know two things about the ME. He just obeys orders from this outside 'advisors' when it comes to ME policy. ..."
    "... When I read that " If you look at relatively successful integration/assimilations in history, jointly overcoming something that was threatening to both typically ranked pretty highly as a cause." I think that The Islamic Republic of Iran is what is being offered or used as that cause. ..."
    "... But if the present and future Israelis believe this means that the total advantage is totally theirs to press, then present and future Palestinians will continue searching for ways to make their unhappiness felt. But that outcome would not be Trump's fault. That outcome would be the majority-likudnic Israelis' choice. ..."
    "... the problem with "outside in" strategy is that implies that if conditions are bad enough for the Palestinians, they will agree to any deal Trump can force down their throats. Instead, Palestinians have been offered terrible deals since 2000 (ie., a state that is never going to be a real state with permanent Israeli control over its borders, air space, and water tables ..."
    "... The smarter plan is to acknowledge that the Zionists killed the Two-State Solution, and Palestinians might as well push this into an anti-Apartheid struggle. ..."
    Sep 18, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

    turcopolier , 16 September 2020 at 08:52 AM

    All

    It is clear that the heat has gone away in the fabled "Arab Street" over the issue of Israel. If that were not so, the rulers would not have dared to do this. That being so ... It will be very interesting to see how many people from these two countries go to Israel to visit holy sites like the al-Aqsa Mosque. There have not been many religious tourists from Egypt and Jordan. This is what the Israelis call pilgrims. Trump thinks that he can bring Saudi Arabia into such a deal? Good! Let's see it. He thinks that Iran can be brought into such a deal? Wonderful! Let's see it.

    He thinks the Palestinians will accept permanent helot status? Maybe so... But is that something we should relish?

    And what of Syria? What of Syria? Evidently Trump considered murdering President Assad two years ago. Is he going to abandon regime change now? is he going to abandon the policy of Pompeo and Jeffries?

    I suggest that security should be very tight on airline flights from Bahrein and the UAE.

    eakens , 16 September 2020 at 10:03 AM

    I suspect this has less to do with peace and more to do with lining up a coalition against Iran. He's signing peace deals at the white house the same day he not only threatens Iran for a make believe assassination plot against our South African Ambassador, but admits he wanted to assassinate Assad.

    He's making a big mistake though if he thinks Iranians will behave and respond similarly to the Arabs, and they are certainly not North Koreans.

    He's being frog marched into a war with Iran while his ego is being stroked under the guise of a Nobel peace prize.

    nbsp; tjfxh , 16 September 2020 at 11:17 AM

    What say about Alastair Crooke's "Maintaining Pretence Over Reality: 'Simply Put, the Iranians Outfoxed the U.S. Defence Systems'" at Strategic Culture Foundation?

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/09/14/maintaining-pretence-over-reality-simply-put-iranians-outfoxed-us-defence-systems/

    A.I.S. , 16 September 2020 at 11:49 AM

    @ turcopolier:

    Excellent questions.

    My guess is that the acceptability for Helot status of Palestinians will depend on how much worse it is compared to the status of Palestinian equivalents elsewhere. Syria and Lebanon certainly look far less attractive. The other issue is the degree with which Arab elites can "reroute" Anti Israeli into Anti Iranian sentiments on the Arab street.

    Also, from my admittedly limited experience, Palestinians aren't exactly homogenous, Gaza =! West Bank.

    If the Israelis are smart (and I think they are), they will continue to exploit Palestinian disunity by not having one helot status but several, with privileges to repress and boss around the lesser helots (perhaps even some less desirable Israelis) awarded to the higher helots.

    I think this will be fairly hard though. Various Historical, religion and cultural issues specific to the situation make it quite hard for Arabs to actually assimilate into Israeli society. There is also a lack of a unifying foe to unite against. If you look at relatively successful integration/assimilations in history, jointly overcoming something that was threatening to both typically ranked pretty highly as a cause.

    Leith , 16 September 2020 at 12:01 PM

    "I suggest that security should be very tight on airline flights from Bahrein and the UAE."

    Bingo! I won't be flying on Gulf Air or FlyDubai.

    Jack , 16 September 2020 at 02:12 PM

    The neocons have been firmly ensconced in ME policy since Reagan. At least Trump made a little bit of lemonade. Nothing earth shattering IMO but moved the ball forward 10 yds and away from own goals under the so-called experts & strategists of the past decades.

    The TDS afflicted media couldn't bear that some lemonade was made. Wolf Blitzer interviewing Jared Kushner was all about pandemic nothing about the implications or process to having couple gulf sheikhs recognize Israel. The fact is that these gulf sheikhs only paid lip service to the plight of the Palestinians in any case. This formalizes what was reality. The "Arab Street" have always been a manifestation of whatever were powerful manipulations. The manipulators have been coopted in the current lemonade making. In any case Bibi must be very pleased. He didn't have to give up anything in his difficult domestic political predicament.

    Jack , 16 September 2020 at 02:44 PM

    https://twitter.com/partynxs/status/1306015487273377792?s=21

    Support for Israel and its maximalist dreams has always been bipartisan.

    Serge , 16 September 2020 at 05:18 PM

    The arabs simply do not care anymore, from Morocco to Oman. Their spirit totally broken by the "Arab spring", youth disillusioned and jobless. The only dream left for most is to ape the western lifestyle. The others are fighting in wars.

    I can see one of two futures, a Clean Break: Securing the Realm-style one in which all of the arabs live life as helots under the thumb of a Greater Israel. This would bring relative economic prosperity to most of the helots.

    Yeah, Right , 16 September 2020 at 06:03 PM

    I think I see the flaw in this article: ..."If that turns out to be the case and this maneuver succeeds in ultimately bringing about a two state solution for Israel and the Palestinians,"...

    Surely you don't believe that these maneuvers are intended to bring about a Palestinian state?

    The colonel has a much more realistic take on this: the intention is to co-opt the Arab states into forcing the Palestinians to accept permanent helot status. Not quite slaves but closes to it.

    There would be many ways to describe that, but I suspect "peace plan" would rank amongst the less accurate ones.

    Polish Janitor , 16 September 2020 at 06:14 PM

    One running theme that I have been seeing from the former so-called neocon critics and ME wars opponents (Michael Scheuer comes to mind) is their uncontrollable exhilaration for any terrible so-called F.P. 'success' that the Trump admin achieves in the ME.

    I also remember when the Trump admin killed the Gen. Suleimani late last year the same people also touted it a national security success. This is shameful pattern.

    Just because Jared Kushner, Berkowitz (Kushner's mini-me), David Friedman and the Zionist anti-American paid shills of Christians United For Israel et.al put Israel's interest first does not make it a success for American interests abroad. Trump does not know two things about the ME. He just obeys orders from this outside 'advisors' when it comes to ME policy.

    It it exactly what it is. Israel normalized relations with the most notorious dictatorships and wants to implement Pegasus spying program and wide-scale surveillance (among other nefarious things) in UAE and Bahrain. How is that a success for America? America should stay out of these Israeli-first trouble making schemes and stay neutral or out of there.

    Let me tell you what a F.P. success is, OK? It would have been a huge success if America was able to lure Iran into its orbit to fend of the Chinese communists out of the region and out of our lives and have a stronger alliance with regards to its upcoming Cold War with China.

    It would have been successful for America to balance China out with Iran, India, Turkey and Afghanistan, and not let China to invest billions in Haifa port (close to U.S. military forces there) a major hub of its Belt and Road initiative and a huge blow to U.S. new Cold war effort against China.

    Think about it.

    Allow me to raise a few points: first of all , every single one of these brutal backward Arab dictatorships has had low key but crucial relations with Israel since the Cold War and they just made it open, Big deal! Second, this joyfulness for a hostile anti-american country is quite sad for two reasons:

    1. that Larry touts it as a success for America, which is anything but a success for America. It is a success for Bibi and Trump's evangelical/zionist sugar daddies to cough up some Benjamins for Trump's campaign and his GOP/Likudniks. I guess nowadays our judgement is so clouded and inverted that MAGA and MIGA are considered inseparable.

    2. The delusion that dems are bitterly angry and anti-Israel (because they are anti-Trump) and therefore it automatically becomes an issue of partisan support for Trump and whatever he does. This idea is so absurd that I won't get into it. Dems were the first to congratulate Israel.

    I would like Larry to tell me what he thinks of H.R. 1697 Israel Anti-Boycot Act which punishes American citizens for practicing their god-given 2nd Amendment rights. or the 3.8 billion of aid, or the the gifting of Golan heights to Bibi? Are these big foreign policy success too?

    What the Arab-Israeli normalization means:

    *The U.S. wants out of the ME to focus on China, a wet dream that Israel favors especially post Cold War. It does not want secular, (semi) democratic sovereign states around it, and if anyone pays attention close enough they do whatever they can to prevent any kind of political reform and change of government to occur among Arab nations. Israelis are staunch supporters of Saudi, Bahraini, UAE, Jordanian, and Egyptian dictatorships in the MENA region.

    Israel will now be better positioned to roll-back any kind of grassroots reform in the ME with the help of their now openly pro-Israeli Arab rulers by directing policies to these backward rulers to divest from human development and political reform and instead invest more in security, tech, surveillance.

    This trend also explains Israeli constant opposition to the Iran Deal, which would have had further ramifications for political reform and accelerated weakening of Hardliners in Tehran and a better position for America to pivot to China with the help of a moderated Iran. Israel does not want a powerful democratic nation near its borders, and especially not in Iran. Just take a look at Israel's neighbors and tell me how many of them are democratic and friendly with Israel and how does Israel behave when there are secular Arab democratic states around it?

    • There is a developing coalition of powerful states as a reaction to the Arab-Israeli normalization that observers call "the rejectionists". They are, Turkey, Qatar, Pakistan (impending), Malaysia (impending), Iran, and EU (impending).
    • It is true that Iran has now a target on its back and if it were smart, it would try its best to develop some kind of alliance with the secular democratic humanists in EU to try to remove itself from isolation, save what is left of the Iran Deal, and try to isolate and condemn Israelis, Arab dictators and their cohorts internationally and through diplomacy back portraying them as illiberal and anti-democratic or similar things. Although I am not too hopeful that Iran is be able to do this for a number of obvious reasons.
    • This Arab-Israeli normalization is a MIGA (Make Israel Great Again) vision of very tightly controlled development for the MENA region and extremely' special' attention has been given to the cyber tech development (call it surveillance) to control the 'Arab Street' from social revolt and the prevention of next rounds of Arab Springs, which again goes back to Israel's long-standing regional doctrine of propping pro-U.S. and now pro-Israeli Arab dictatorships in the region.
    John Merryman , 16 September 2020 at 10:17 PM

    In the end, it's all just tribal superstition. Logically a spiritual absolute would be the essence of sentience, from which we rise, not an ideal of wisdom and judgement, from which we fell. The fact we are aware, than the myriad details of which we are aware.

    One of the reasons we can't have a live and let live world is because everyone thinks their own vision should be universal, rather than unique. So the fundamentalists rule.

    The reason nature is so diverse and dense is because it isn't a monoculture. Irrespective of our technology, we are still fairly primitive, in the grand scheme of things.

    different clue , 17 September 2020 at 02:42 AM

    A.I.S.,

    When I read that " If you look at relatively successful integration/assimilations in history, jointly overcoming something that was threatening to both typically ranked pretty highly as a cause." I think that The Islamic Republic of Iran is what is being offered or used as that cause.

    If this all ends up in the longest run leading to today's and tomorrow's Israelis accepting the lesser Israel that Rabin ended up deciding would be necessary for a lesser-but-still-real Palestine to emerge as a real country resigned with both resigned enough to that outcome that they would tolerate eachother's separate independence over the long term, then this will go somewhere good.

    But if the present and future Israelis believe this means that the total advantage is totally theirs to press, then present and future Palestinians will continue searching for ways to make their unhappiness felt. But that outcome would not be Trump's fault. That outcome would be the majority-likudnic Israelis' choice.

    Mathias Alexander , 17 September 2020 at 04:53 AM

    To have a two state solution Israel will have to leave enough of Palestine without Jewish settlement for there to be room for another state. Their actions show that they have no intention of doing that.

    Matthew , 17 September 2020 at 09:26 AM

    Larry: the problem with "outside in" strategy is that implies that if conditions are bad enough for the Palestinians, they will agree to any deal Trump can force down their throats. Instead, Palestinians have been offered terrible deals since 2000 (ie., a state that is never going to be a real state with permanent Israeli control over its borders, air space, and water tables)

    The smarter plan is to acknowledge that the Zionists killed the Two-State Solution, and Palestinians might as well push this into an anti-Apartheid struggle. The gerontocracy that rules the PA will soon pass away. The younger generation of Palestinians are much more sophisticated.

    As a trial lawyer, I see this type of behavior all the time. If you offer someone essentially nothing, they lose nothing by rejecting it. The Arab dictators will not be around forever. And before Camp David, the Palestinians have suffered far worse than they are suffering now.

    BABAK MAKKINEJAD , 17 September 2020 at 09:55 AM

    Matthew:

    For any kind of Peace in Palestine, Jerusalem must revert back to Muslim Sovereignty.

    It is all about who calls the shots there; just as it was 800 years ago.

    Artemesia , 17 September 2020 at 10:35 AM

    Matthew: Your description of Trump's strategy is no different from Vladimir Jabotinsky's 1923 Iron Wall doctrine
    http://www.marxists.de/middleast/ironwall/ironwall.htm
    and
    https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/quot-the-iron-wall-quot

    In short: "We Jews know that Arabs (Palestinians) will never, ever voluntarily give up hope of resisting Jewish demands, and Jews will never stop with Jewish demands: that all of Palestine become Jewish.
    Since 'voluntary' will not work, only force -- an Iron Wall -- will suffice.
    Jabotinsky defines "Iron Wall" as the enforcement capacity of an outside power:

    "we cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel or the Arab countries. Their voluntary agreement is out of the question. Hence those who hold that an agreement with the natives is an essential condition for Zionism can now say "no" and depart from Zionism. Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy.

    Not only must this be so, it is so whether we admit it or not. What does the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate mean for us? It is the fact that a disinterested power committed itself to create such security conditions that the local population would be deterred from interfering with our efforts."

    Be aware that Benjamin Netanyahu's father, Benzion, was Jabotinsky's administrative assistant, then replacement, in New York; that Bibi is very much heir to the ideological fervor of Jabotinsky & of Benzion; and that Benzion and Benjamin laid out the blueprint for the GWOT at the Jerusalem Conference July 4, 1979
    https://www.amazon.com/International-Terrorism-Challenge-Benjamin-Netanyahu/dp/0878558942

    Trump plays only a walk-on role in this carefully scripted 150 year old zionist drama.

    turcopolier , 17 September 2020 at 10:58 AM

    Babak

    To "Muslim Sovereignty?" No. It should be an international city.

    turcopolier , 17 September 2020 at 11:30 AM

    james

    "there isn't a lot of difference between KSA and these fiefdoms of uae and bahrain.." A total crock. you obviously have never been to either of these places.

    BABAK MAKKINEJAD , 17 September 2020 at 11:46 AM

    Col. Lang:

    Who or what Legitimate Authority would administer such an International City?

    None has ever existed.

    Artemesia , 17 September 2020 at 12:00 PM

    Jews can have Jerusalem if they return Washington, DC to full USA sovereignty.

    [Sep 17, 2020] Military desperados and Mattis "military messiah syndrome" by Scott Ritter

    Highly recommended!
    I always assumed that Trump was the candidate of MIC in 2016 elections, while Hillary was the candidate of "Intelligence community." But it looks like US military is infected with desperados like Mattis and Trump was unable fully please them despite all his efforts.
    But it looks like US military is infected with desperados like Mattis and Trump was unable fully please them despite all his efforts. Military desperados are not interested in how many American they deprived of decent standard of living due to outside military expenses. All they want is to dominate the word and maintain the "Full Spectrum Dominance" whatever it costs.
    Sep 16, 2020 | www.rt.com

    ... ... ...

    It is Trump's tortured relationship with the military that stands out the most, especially as told through the eyes of former Secretary of Defense Jim 'Mad Dog' Mattis, a retired marine general. It is clear that Bob Woodward spent hours speaking with Mattis -- the insights, emotions and internal voice captured in the book show a level of intimacy that could only be reached through in-depth interviews, and Woodward has a well-earned reputation for getting people to speak to him.

    The book makes it clear that Mattis viewed Trump as a threat to the US' standing as the defender of a rules-based order -- built on the back of decades-old alliances -- that had been in place since the end of the Second World War.

    It also makes it clear that Mattis and the military officers he oversaw placed defending this order above implementing the will of the American people, as expressed through the free and fair election that elevated Donald Trump to the position of commander-in-chief. In short, Mattis and his coterie of generals knew best, and when the president dared issue an order or instruction that conflicted with their vision of how the world should work, they would do their best to undermine this order, all the while confirming to the president that it was being followed.

    This trend was on display in Woodward's telling of Trump's efforts to forge better relations with North Korea. At every turn, Mattis and his military commanders sought to isolate the president from the reality on the ground, briefing him only on what they thought he needed to know, and keeping him in the dark about what was really going on.

    In a telling passage, Woodward takes us into the mind of Jim Mattis as he contemplates the horrors of a nuclear war with North Korea, and the responsibility he believed he shouldered when it came to making the hard decision as to whether nuclear weapons should be used or not. Constitutionally, the decision was the president's alone to make, something Mattis begrudgingly acknowledges. But in Mattis' world, he, as secretary of defense, would be the one who influenced that decision.

    Mattis, along with the other general officers described by Woodward, is clearly gripped with what can only be described as the 'Military Messiah Syndrome'.

    What defines this 'syndrome' is perhaps best captured in the words of Emma Sky, the female peace activist-turned adviser to General Ray Odierno, the one-time commander of US forces in Iraq. In a frank give-and-take captured by Ms. Sky in her book 'The Unravelling', Odierno spoke of the value he placed on the military's willingness to defend "freedom" anywhere in the world. " There is, " he said, " no one who understands more the importance of liberty and freedom in all its forms than those who travel the world to defend it ."

    Ms. Sky responded in typically direct fashion: " One day, I will have you admit that the [Iraq] war was a bad idea, that the administration was led by a radical neocon program, that the US's standing in the world has gone down greatly, and that we are far less safe than we were before 9/11. "

    Odierno would have nothing of it. " It will never happen while I'm the commander of soldiers in Iraq ."

    " To lead soldiers in battle ," Ms. Sky noted, " a commander had to believe in the cause. " Left unsaid was the obvious: even if the cause was morally and intellectually unsound.

    his, more than anything, is the most dangerous thing about the 'Military Messiah Syndrome' as captured by Bob Woodward -- the fact that the military is trapped in an inherited reality divorced from the present, driven by precepts which have nothing to with what is, but rather by what the military commanders believe should be. The unyielding notion that the US military is a force for good becomes little more than meaningless drivel when juxtaposed with the reality that the mission being executed is inherently wrong.

    The 'Military Messiah Syndrome' lends itself to dishonesty and, worse, to self-delusion. It is one thing to lie; it is another altogether to believe the lie as truth.

    No single general had the courage to tell Trump allegations against Syria were a hoax

    The cruise missile attack on Syria in early April 2017 stands out as a case in point. The attack was ordered in response to allegations that Syria had dropped a bomb containing the sarin nerve agent on a town -- Khan Shaykhun -- that was controlled by Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic militants.

    Trump was led to believe that the 59 cruise missiles launched against Shayrat Airbase -- where the Su-22 aircraft alleged to have dropped the bombs were based -- destroyed Syria's capability to carry out a similar attack in the future. When shown post-strike imagery in which the runways were clearly untouched, Trump was outraged, lashing out at Secretary of Defense Mattis in a conference call. " I can't believe you didn't destroy the runway !", Woodward reports the president shouting.

    " Mr. President ," Mattis responds in the text, " they would rebuild the runway in 24 hours, and it would have little effect on their ability to deploy weapons. We destroyed the capability to deploy weapons " for months, Mattis said.

    " That was the mission the president had approved, " Woodward writes, clearly channeling Mattis, " and they had succeeded ."

    The problem with this passage is that it is a lie. There is no doubt that Bob Woodward has the audio tape of Jim Mattis saying these things. But none of it is true. Mattis knew it when he spoke to Woodward, and Woodward knew it when he wrote the book.

    There was no confirmed use of chemical weapons by Syria at Khan Shaykhun. Indeed, the forensic evidence available about the attack points to the incident being a false flag effort -- a successful one, it turns out -- on the part of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamists to provoke a US military strike against Syria. No targets related to either the production, storage or handling of chemical weapons were hit by the US cruise missiles, if for no other reason than no such targets could exist if Syria did not possess and/or use a chemical weapon against Khan Shaykhun.

    Moreover, the US failed to produce a narrative of causality which provided some underlying logic to the targets that were struck at Khan Shaykhun -- "Here is where the chemical weapons were stored, here is where the chemical weapons were filled, here is where the chemical weapons were loaded onto the aircraft." Instead, 59 cruise missiles struck empty aircraft hangars, destroying derelict aircraft, and killing at least four Syrian soldiers and up to nine civilians.

    The next morning, the same Su-22 aircraft that were alleged to have bombed Khan Shaykhun were once again taking off from Shayrat Air Base -- less than 24 hours after the US cruise missiles struck that facility. President Trump had every reason to be outraged by the results.

    But the President should have been outraged by the processes behind the attack, where military commanders, fully afflicted by 'Military Messiah Syndrome', offered up solutions that solved nothing for problems that did not exist. Not a single general (or admiral) had the courage to tell the president that the allegations against Syria were a hoax, and that a military response was not only not needed, but would be singularly counterproductive.

    But that's not how generals and admirals -- or colonels and lieutenant colonels -- are wired. That kind of introspective honesty cannot happen while they are in command.

    Bob Woodward knows this truth, but he chose not to give it a voice in his book, because to do so would disrupt the pre-scripted narrative that he had constructed, around which he bent and twisted the words of those he interviewed -- including the president and Jim Mattis. As such, 'Rage' is, in effect, a lie built on a lie. It is one thing for politicians and those in power to manipulate the truth to their advantage. It's something altogether different for journalists to report something as true that they know to be a lie.

    On the back cover of 'Rage', the Pulitzer prize-winning historian Robert Caro is quoted from a speech he gave about Bob Woodward. " Bob Woodward ," Caro notes, " a great reporter. What is a great reporter? Someone who never stops trying to get as close to the truth as possible ."

    After reading 'Rage', one cannot help but conclude the opposite -- that Bob Woodward has written a volume which pointedly ignores the truth. Instead, he gives voice to a lie of his own construct, predicated on the flawed accounts of sources inflicted with 'Military Messiah Syndrome', whose words embrace a fantasy world populated by military members fulfilling missions far removed from the common good of their fellow citizens -- and often at conflict with the stated intent and instruction of the civilian leadership they ostensibly serve. In doing so, Woodward is as complicit as the generals and former generals he quotes in misleading the American public about issues of fundamental importance.

    Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

    Scott Ritter

    is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ' SCORPION KING : America's Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.' He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

    See also:

    Whose side are generals on? As Joint Chiefs chairman APOLOGIZES for standing by Trump, Biden confident of military support The military is trapped in an inherited reality divorced from the present

    Caitlin Johnstone: Tens of millions of people displaced by the 'War On Terror', the greatest scam ever invented Misleading the American public


    Jewel Gyn 21 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 12:23 AM

    Whichever construct you want to believe, the fact remains that US has continued to sow instability around the world in the name of defending the liberty and freedom. Which brings to the question how the world can continue to allow a superpower to dictate what's good or bad for a sovereign country.
    Johan le Roux Jewel Gyn 18 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 03:42 AM
    The answer you seek is not in the US's proclaimed vision of 'democracy' ot 'rescuing populations from the clutches of vile dictators.' They just say that to validate their actions which in reality is using their military as a mercenary force to secure and steal the resources of countries.
    Joaquin Montano 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 04:57 PM
    Bob Woodward was enshrined as a great, heroic like journalist by the Hollywood propaganda machine, but reality is he is a US Security agent pretending to be a well informed/connected journalist. And indeed, he is well informed/connected, since he was a Naval intelligence man, part responsible of the demise of the Nixon administration when it fell out of grace with the powerful elites, and the Washington Post being well connected with the CIA, the rest is history. And as they say, once a CIA man, always a CIA man.
    DukeLeo Joaquin Montano 22 hours ago 16 Sep, 2020 11:36 PM
    That is correct. Woodward is a Naval intelligence man. The elite in the US was not happy about Nixon's foreign policy and his detante with the Soviet Union. Watergate was invented, and Nixon had nothing to do with it. However, it brought him down, thank's to Woodward.
    NoJustice Joaquin Montano 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:48 PM
    But he also exposed Trump's lies about Covid-19.
    lectrodectus 17 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 04:45 AM
    Another first class article by ....Scott .. The book makes it clear that Mattis viewed Trump as a threat to the Us' standing as the defender of a " rules -based order -built on the back of decades -old alliances-that had been in place since the end of the second World War". It also makes it clear that " Mattis and the Military officials he oversaw placed defending this order above the implementing the will of the American People " These old Military Dinosaurs simply can't let go of the past, unfortunately for the American people / the World I can't see anything ever changing, it will be business as usual ie, war after War after War.
    Jonny247364 lectrodectus 5 minutes ago 17 Sep, 2020 09:53 PM
    Just because donny signs a dictact it does not equate to the will of the americian people. The americian people did not ask donny to murder Assad.
    neeon9 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:56 PM
    "a threat to the US’ standing as the defender of a rules-based order –" Who made that a thing? who voted for the US to be the policeman of the planet? and who said their "rules" are right? I sure didn't, nor did anyone I know, even my american friends don't know whose idea it was!
    fezzie035fezzm 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:29 PM
    It's interesting to note that every president since J.F.K. has got America into a military conflict, or has turned a minor conflict into a major one. Trump is the exception. Trump inherited conflicts (Afghanistan, Syria etc) but has not started a new one, and he has spent his three years ending or winding down the conflicts he had inherited.
    NoJustice fezzie035fezzm 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:34 PM
    Trump increased military deployment to the Middle East. He increased military spending. He had a foreign general assassinated. He had missiles fired into Syria. He vetoed a bill that would limit his authority to wage war. Trump is not an exception.
    T. Agee Kaye 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 05:59 PM
    Good op ed. 'Rage is built on a lie' applies to many things.
    E_Kaos T. Agee Kaye 7 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 02:46 PM
    True, the beginning of a new narrative and the continuation of an old narrative.
    PYCb988 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 07:25 PM
    Something's amiss here. Mattis was openly telling the press that there was no evidence against Assad. Just Google: Mattis Newsweek Assad.
    erniedouglas 12 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 09:14 AM
    What was Watergate? Even bet says there were tapes of a private relationship between Nixon and BB Rebozo.
    allan Kaplan 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:03 PM
    Continuation of a highly organized and tightly controlled disinformation campaign to do one singularly the most significant and historically one of the most illegal act of American betrayal... overthrow American elections at any and all costs to install one of the most deranged, demoralized sold out brain dead Biden and his equally brown nosing Harris only to unseat a legally and democratically elected US president according to our Constitution! Will their evil acts against America work? I doubt it! But at a price that America has never before seen. Let's sit back and watch this Rose Bowl parade of America's dirtiest of the dirty politics!
    E_Kaos allan Kaplan 7 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 02:49 PM
    "brown nosing harris", how apropos with the play on words.
    Bill Spence allan Kaplan 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:29 PM
    Both parties and their politicians are totally corrupt. Why would anyone support one side over the other? Is that because you believe the promises and lies?
    custos125 17 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 04:35 AM
    Is there any evidence that both Mattis and Woodward knew that the allegations of a Syrian use of chemical weapons by plane were not true, a false flag? On the assumption of this use, the capacity to fly such attack and deploy such weapons was destroyed for some time. I recommend reading of Rage, it is quite interesting, even if some people will not like it and try to keep people away from the book.
    E_Kaos custos125 7 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 02:58 PM
    My observations were: 1 - where were the bomb fragments 2 - why use rusted gas cylinders 3 - how do you attach a rusted gas cylinder to a plane 4 - were the rusted gas cylinders tossed out of a plane 5 - how did the rusted gas cylinders land so close to each other My conclusion - False Flag Incident
    neeon9 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:58 PM
    The is only one threat to peace in the world, and it's the US/Israeli M.I.C.. War mongering children, who actually believe, against all reason, that they are the most worthy and entitled race on earth! they are not. The US has been responsible for more misery in the world than any other state, which isn't surprising given how many Nazi's were resettled there by the Jews. They are also the only Ppl on the planet who think a nuclear war is winnable! How strange is that!
    NoJustice 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:22 PM
    So everything is a lie because Woodward didn't mention that there was no evidence found that linked the Syrian government to the chemical attack?
    Strongbo50 6 minutes ago 17 Sep, 2020 09:58 PM
    The left is firing up the Russian Interference narrative again, how Russia is trying to take the election. The real truth is in plain sight, The main stream media is trying to deliver Biden a win, along with google yahoo msn facebook and twitter. I say, come on Russia, if you can help stem that tide of lies please Mr Putin help. That's a joke but the media is real. And Woodward in his old age wants one more trophy on his mantle.
    CuttySark 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 05:41 PM
    Trump has become the great white whale. Seems like there are Ahab's everywhere willing to shoot their hearts upon the beast to bring it down whatever the cost. I think it was this kind of rage and attitude that got Adolf off to a good start.
    NoJustice CuttySark 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 05:44 PM
    He's an easy target because he keeps screwing up.
    Gryphon_ 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:59 PM
    The Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Never in my life have I seen a newspaper that lies as much as the post. Bob Woodward works for the post.

    [Sep 11, 2020] MSM's attempts to spin Trump's attacks on senseless wars as disrespect for military at large are a dismal distortion of reality -- RT Op-ed

    Notable quotes:
    "... By Tony Cox , a US journalist who has written or edited for Bloomberg and several major daily newspapers. ..."
    "... "Trump has lost the right and authority to be commander in chief," ..."
    "... "despicable comments" ..."
    "... "Killing generals could get to be a habit with me." ..."
    "... "right and authority" ..."
    "... "when it's required for national security and a last resort." ..."
    "... "pattern of public statements ..."
    "... Like this story? Share it with a friend! ..."
    Sep 11, 2020 | www.rt.com

    MSM's attempts to spin Trump's attacks on senseless wars as disrespect for military at large are a dismal distortion of reality 11 Sep, 2020 12:06 Get short URL © Getty Images / David Dee Delgado 29 Follow RT on RT

    By Tony Cox , a US journalist who has written or edited for Bloomberg and several major daily newspapers. The New York Times and CNN are desperate to paint Donald Trump as an enemy of the military, due to his desire not to get involved in pointless wars. But this is simply not true, and Trump has the backing of many soldiers.

    Someone should tell the New York Times, CNN and other mainstream media outlets that soldiers don't actually like getting killed or maimed for no good reason. Nor do they like generals and presidents who spill their blood in vain.

    Alas, ignorance of these obvious truths probably isn't the issue. This is likely just another case of the biggest names in news pretending to not get the point so they can take the rest of us along for a ride in their confidence game of alternative reality.

    The latest example is the New York Times spinning President Donald Trump's critique this week of Pentagon leadership and the military industrial complex as disrespect for the military at large. "Trump has lost the right and authority to be commander in chief," the Times quoted retired US Marines General Anthony Zinni as saying. Zinni cited Trump's alleged "despicable comments" about the nation's war dead – reported last week by The Atlantic , citing anonymous sources – as one of the reasons Trump "must go."

    ALSO ON RT.COM After Trump helps crush ISIS, end Korea nuke tests and avoid new wars, Republican haters warn he 'imperiled America's security'

    Never mind that Trump and all on-the-record administration sources denied The Atlantic's report. The Times couldn't resist when the pieces seemed to fit so well together for the military's latest propaganda campaign against Trump. First the president disses the troops, calling them "losers" and "suckers," then he has the temerity to say Pentagon leaders want to fight wars to keep defense contractors happy.

    Except the pieces don't fit. The many people who occupy so-called boots on the ground don't have the same interests as the few people who send them to war. In fact, combat troops are given reason to hate the generals who send them to die when there's not a legitimate national security reason for the war they're fighting. And the US has fought a long line of wars that didn't serve the nation's national security interests. Even when a war is justified, the interests of top brass and front-line soldiers often clash.

    Remember that great 1967 war movie, ' The Dirty Dozen' ? A group of 12 soldiers who were condemned to long prison sentences or execution in military prison for their crimes were sent on a 1944 suicide mission to kill high-ranking German officers at a heavily defended chateau far behind enemy lines. After succeeding in the mission and escaping the Germans, the lone surviving convict, played by tough-guy actor Charles Bronson, told the mission leader, "Killing generals could get to be a habit with me."

    ALSO ON RT.COM NATO cannot survive a second Trump term

    So no, New York Times, speaking out against ill-advised wars does not equal bashing the military. And sorry, General Zinni, but generals, defense contractors and their media mouthpieces don't get to decide who has the "right and authority" to be commander in chief. The voters decided that already, and they expressed clearly that they don't want senseless and endless wars and foreign interventions.

    The Times cited General James McConville, the Army's chief of staff, as saying Pentagon leaders would only recommend sending troops to combat "when it's required for national security and a last resort." And no, it wasn't a comedy skit. What's the last US war or combat intervention that measured up to that standard? Let's just say the late Bronson, who died in 2003 at the age of 81, was a young man the last time that happened.

    CNN tried a similar ploy on Sunday, while trying to sell the "losers" and "suckers" story in an interview with US Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie. Host Dana Bash said the allegations fit a "pattern of public statements " by the president because Trump called US Senator John McCain a "loser" in 2015 and said McCain shouldn't be considered a hero for being captured in the Vietnam War. She repeatedly suggested to Wilkie, who didn't take the bait, that Trump's attacks on McCain, who died in 2018, showed disrespect for the troops.

    https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1302611067995074561&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fop-ed%2F500455-trump-military-media-lies%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

    Apparently, this follows the same line of propagandist thought which told us that saying there are rapists among the illegal aliens entering the US from Mexico – which is undeniably true – equals saying all Mexicans are rapists. In CNN land, a bad word about McCain is a bad word about all soldiers.

    McCain was a warmonger who didn't mind getting US troops killed or backing terrorist groups in Syria. If he had his way , many more GIs would be dead or disabled, because the intervention in Syria would have been escalated and the US might be at war with Iran. Soldiers wouldn't want their lives wasted in such conflicts.

    https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=339455679800700928&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fop-ed%2F500455-trump-military-media-lies%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

    All wars are hard on the people who have to fight them, but senseless wars are spirit-crushing. An average of about 17 veterans commit suicide each day in the US, according to Veterans Administration data . Veterans account for 11 percent of the US adult population but more than 18 percent of suicides.

    The media's deceiving technique of trying to pretend that ruling-class chieftains and front-line grunts are in the same boat reflects a broader campaign of top-down revolution against populism. The military is just one of several pro-Trump segments of the population that must be turned against the president. Other pro-Trump segments, such as police , are demonized and attacked.

    Trump has managed to keep the US out of new wars and has drawn down deployments to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan – despite Pentagon opposition. His rival, Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, can be expected to rev up the war machine if he takes charge. His foreign policy adviser, Antony Blinken, lamented in a May interview with CBS News that Trump had given up US "leverage" in Syria.

    Trump also has turned around the VA hospital system, ending decades of neglect that left many veterans to die on waiting lists.

    Like past campaigns to oust Trump, the notion that he's not sufficiently devoted to the troops might be a tough sell. No matter how good their words may sound, the people who promote endless wars without clear objectives aren't true supporters of the rank and file.

    Like this story? Share it with a friend!

    [Sep 01, 2020] Are We Deliberately Trying to Provoke a Military Crisis With Russia by Ted Galen Carpenter

    Highly recommended!
    Notable quotes:
    "... There has been a long string of U.S. provocations toward Russia. The first one came in the late 1990s and the initial years of the twenty-first century when Washington violated tacit promises given to Mikhail Gorbachev and other Soviet leaders that if Moscow accepted a united Germany within NATO, the Alliance would not seek to move farther east. Instead of abiding by that bargain, the Clinton and Bush administrations successfully pushed NATO to admit multiple new members from Central and Eastern Europe, bringing that powerful military association directly to Russia's western border. In addition, the United States initiated "rotational" deployments of its forces to the new members so that the U.S. military presence in those countries became permanent in all but name. Even Robert M. Gates, who served as secretary of defense under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, was uneasy about those deployments and conceded that he should have warned Bush in 2007 that they might be unnecessarily provocative. ..."
    "... Such provocative political steps, though, are now overshadowed by worrisome U.S. and NATO military moves. Weeks before the formal announcement on July 29, the Trump administration touted its plan to relocate some U.S. forces stationed in Germany. When Secretary of Defense Mike Esper finally made the announcement, the media's focus was largely on the point that 11,900 troops would leave that country. ..."
    "... Among other developments, there already has been a surge of alarming incidents between U.S. and Russian military aircraft in that region. Most of the cases involve U.S. spy planes flying near the Russian coast -- supposedly in international airspace. On July 30, a Russian Su-27 jet fighter intercepted two American surveillance aircraft; according to Russian officials, it was the fourth time in the final week of July that they caught U.S. planes in that sector approaching the Russian coast. Yet another interception occurred on August 5, again involving two U.S. spy planes. Still others have taken place throughout mid-August. It is a reckless practice that easily could escalate into a broader, very dangerous confrontation. ..."
    "... The growing number of such incidents is a manifestation of the surging U.S. military presence along Russia's border, especially in the Black Sea . They are taking place on Russia's doorstep, thousands of miles away from the American homeland. Americans should consider how the United States would react if Russia decided to establish a major naval and air presence in the Gulf of Mexico, operating out of bases in such allied countries as Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. ..."
    "... I think this has been bipartisan policy since at least 1947. Unlikely to change anytime soon, even with realists gaining ground. Perhaps expanding NATO east, sending support to Ukraine, and intervening in Syria (despite attempts to leave, the best we can get at this point are small troop reductions that most likely are redeployed to neighboring countries) aren't the best idea after all? ..."
    "... they think Russia is a weak state and can do nothing therefore they are free to do as they please. ..."
    "... the US leadership wants ether country to take a shot at some thing US. Then then can scream and stomp their feet that no one on earth is allowed to trade with ether country and the US can block all trade with ether country. ..."
    "... The other thing at play is Americans love it when their leaders act like gangsters. That's why leaders do it. Nothing will get you votes faster in the US than saying your going to kill people. I see US citizens try that non-sense about it's all Washington we don't want that. But you keep voting for people that are going to give you the next war fix. When you stop they will stop. ..."
    "... if people are convinced that Russia is a weak state -- then it is easier to approve adventures abroad -- including ringing Russia. ..."
    "... Please explain to me, a Russian person, what kind of anti-American policy Russia is spreading in countries? If we exclude acts of counteraction against American expansion and aggression against Russia? ..."
    "... The only people that are destroying Americans are within our borders, wielding power to fulfill their mission -- enrich themselves, keep the borders open, and our military all over the globe. ..."
    "... I think there is a third option besides escalation and deescalation - exhaustion. Projecting power across the globe is expensive, it is a slow but steady drain on US resources, which are needed elsewhere (for example to quell the riots in major US cities). ..."
    "... I see it as exhaustion by corruption. The US military is increasingly bureaucratic, political and ineffectual. Our weapons are gold-plated, hyper-tech focused and require highly-skilled people to maintain them, which means we can't quickly train new people up. The weapons themselves are so complex and expensive that there is no way to manufacture them at scale quickly. ..."
    "... Read Jean Lartegy's "The Centurions." That is the direction where the tactically brilliant, but strategically incompetent US military leadership is headed. ..."
    "... Stop focusing on what Trump says and look at what his administration does. Troops in Poland and Eastern Europe, Nord Stream 2, intrusive US reconnaissance flights along Russia's borders, support of Ukraine, interference with Russian patrols in Syria, the continuing attempt to destabilize Assad in Syria, the destruction of JCPOA, global sanctions campaign on Russia among others, withdrawal from arms control treaties, accusation that Russia was cheating on INF treaty, hiring dozens of anti-Russia hardliners, etc, etc. ..."
    "... I don't think US-Russian cooperation is doable at this point--or any time soon. Given how erratic US policy is--yawing violently from one direction to another--Russia has no reason to accept the damage to its relationship with China that shifting to a strategic arrangement with the US would entail. The risk is too high and the potential rewards too uncertain. ..."
    "... We have pretty much alienated the Russian state under Putin, and now we're trying to wait him out, with the expectation that there is no one of his capabilities to maintain the strategic autonomy of the Russian state in the longer term and that once he exits the scene, some Yeltsin-like stooge will present himself. ..."
    "... Everyone is focusing on Russia because of the Russia hoax. Dems started a new cold war based on an irrational fear that Russia was threatening our democracy. ..."
    "... The foreign policy elite dislikes Russia, always has, and will do anything to keep this "adversary" front and center because their prospects for prestige, power and position depend upon the presence of an enemy. As an example see Strobe Talbot and Michael McFaul. ..."
    Aug 28, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

    Tensions are becoming dangerous in Syria and on Russia's back doorstep. US soldiers stand near US and Russian military vehicles in the northeastern Syrian town of al-Malikiyah (Derik) at the border with Turkey, on June 3, 2020. (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

    A dangerous vehicle collision between U.S and Russian soldiers in Northeastern Syria on Aug. 24 highlights the fragility of the relationship and the broader test of wills between the two major powers.

    According to White House reports and a Russian video that went viral this week, it appeared that as the two sides were racing down a highway in armored vehicles, the Russians sideswiped the Americans, leaving four U.S. soldiers injured. It is but the latest clash as both sides continue their patrols in the volatile area. But it speaks of bigger problems with U.S. provocations on Russia's backdoor in Eastern Europe.

    A sober examination of U.S. policy toward Russia since the disintegration of the Soviet Union leads to two possible conclusions. One is that U.S. leaders, in both Republican and Democratic administrations, have been utterly tone-deaf to how Washington's actions are perceived in Moscow. The other possibility is that those leaders adopted a policy of maximum jingoistic swagger intended to intimidate Russia, even if it meant obliterating a constructive bilateral relationship and eventually risking a dangerous showdown. Washington's latest military moves, especially in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea, are stoking alarming tensions.

    There has been a long string of U.S. provocations toward Russia. The first one came in the late 1990s and the initial years of the twenty-first century when Washington violated tacit promises given to Mikhail Gorbachev and other Soviet leaders that if Moscow accepted a united Germany within NATO, the Alliance would not seek to move farther east. Instead of abiding by that bargain, the Clinton and Bush administrations successfully pushed NATO to admit multiple new members from Central and Eastern Europe, bringing that powerful military association directly to Russia's western border. In addition, the United States initiated "rotational" deployments of its forces to the new members so that the U.S. military presence in those countries became permanent in all but name. Even Robert M. Gates, who served as secretary of defense under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, was uneasy about those deployments and conceded that he should have warned Bush in 2007 that they might be unnecessarily provocative.

    As if such steps were not antagonistic enough, both Bush and Obama sought to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. The latter country is not only within what Russia regards as its legitimate sphere of influence, but within its core security zone. Even key European members of NATO, especially France and Germany, believed that such a move was unwise and blocked Washington's ambitions. That resistance, however, did not inhibit a Western effort to meddle in Ukraine's internal affairs to help demonstrators unseat Ukraine's elected, pro-Russia president and install a new, pro-NATO government in 2014.

    Such provocative political steps, though, are now overshadowed by worrisome U.S. and NATO military moves. Weeks before the formal announcement on July 29, the Trump administration touted its plan to relocate some U.S. forces stationed in Germany. When Secretary of Defense Mike Esper finally made the announcement, the media's focus was largely on the point that 11,900 troops would leave that country.

    However, Esper made it clear that only 6,400 would return to the United States; the other nearly 5,600 would be redeployed to other NATO members in Europe. Indeed, of the 6,400 coming back to the United States, "many of these or similar units will begin conducting rotational deployments back to Europe." Worse, of the 5,600 staying in Europe, it turns out that at least 1,000 are going to Poland's eastern border with Russia.

    Another result of the redeployment will be to boost U.S. military power in the Black Sea. Esper confirmed that various units would "begin continuous rotations farther east in the Black Sea region, giving us a more enduring presence to enhance deterrence and reassure allies along NATO's southeastern flank." Moscow is certain to regard that measure as another on a growing list of Black Sea provocations by the United States.

    Among other developments, there already has been a surge of alarming incidents between U.S. and Russian military aircraft in that region. Most of the cases involve U.S. spy planes flying near the Russian coast -- supposedly in international airspace. On July 30, a Russian Su-27 jet fighter intercepted two American surveillance aircraft; according to Russian officials, it was the fourth time in the final week of July that they caught U.S. planes in that sector approaching the Russian coast. Yet another interception occurred on August 5, again involving two U.S. spy planes. Still others have taken place throughout mid-August. It is a reckless practice that easily could escalate into a broader, very dangerous confrontation.

    The growing number of such incidents is a manifestation of the surging U.S. military presence along Russia's border, especially in the Black Sea . They are taking place on Russia's doorstep, thousands of miles away from the American homeland. Americans should consider how the United States would react if Russia decided to establish a major naval and air presence in the Gulf of Mexico, operating out of bases in such allied countries as Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

    The undeniable reality is that the United States and its NATO allies are crowding Russia; Russia is not crowding the United States. Washington's bumptious policies already have wrecked a once-promising bilateral relationship and created a needless new cold war with Moscow. If more prudent U.S. policies are not adopted soon, that cold war might well turn hot.

    Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at The American Conservative, is the author of 12 books and more than 850 articles on international affairs. His latest book is NATO: The Dangerous Dinosaur (2019).


    Tradcon 5 days ago • edited

    I mean, I think this has been bipartisan policy since at least 1947. Unlikely to change anytime soon, even with realists gaining ground. Perhaps expanding NATO east, sending support to Ukraine, and intervening in Syria (despite attempts to leave, the best we can get at this point are small troop reductions that most likely are redeployed to neighboring countries) aren't the best idea after all?

    Mike P Tradcon 4 days ago

    This is a very anti American article! Patriots know that where the U.S. gives political or economic ground Russia and other adversaries will fill the vacum with policies intended to destroy American peoeple. So no, it is not a bad idea to be involved in Syria and Ukraine in fact it is a very good idea.

    northernobserver Mike P 4 days ago

    The entire framing of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood as "pro American" and those who oppose them as "anti American" is delusional.
    Russia is a weak state trying to maintain its natural spheres of influence along the Curzon line. Why has the State Department/ Pentagon decided to try and roll this back? How the F to they expect Russia to react. How would America react if a foreign power tried to turn Mexico into a strategic asset. So why is it ok to make Ukraine into a Nato member? It's reckless and ultimately it is pointless. Weakening Russia further serves little strategic purpose and potentially threatens to destabilize the Balkans and mid east with Turkish adventurism. What will America do if the Turks seize Rhodes under some pretext?

    Syria is another case of State Department midwits not understanding the results of their regime change. What purpose does it serve to put a Sunni extremist government in Damascus. How hateful do you have to be to subject Syria's minorities to genocide at the hands of an ISIS sympathetic government? How do you delude yourself that such a regime will serve America's interests in the long run? So you can own Iran before the election? You are trading victory today for permanent loss tomorrow. It's insane.

    Aen Elle northernobserver 4 days ago
    How the F to they expect Russia to react.

    Just like you, they think Russia is a weak state and can do nothing therefore they are free to do as they please. Also, since Turkey is a NATO member and as such an ally to the U.S. shouldn't you be cheering in good faith for Turkey and against Russia?

    Bianca Aen Elle a day ago

    You got that one. Because Turkey is a thorn in NATO side. It has massive economic interests in Russia, China and the rest of Asia. The "adventure" in Syria is coordinated with Russia to the last detail, while playacting tensions. US problem in Syria is not Russia or Turkey, but Russia AND Turkey.

    As US is frowning at Egypt Al-Sisi , or Saudi MBS -- it is because they frown at Egypt AND Russia, as well as Saudi Arabia AND Russia.
    Basically, countries nominally counted in OUR camp are frowned upon when collaborating with the ENEMY countries.
    Our foreign policy is stuck in Middle East -- and cannot get unstuck. Cannot be better illustrated then Pompeo addressing Republican convention from Jerusalem.

    The only way Russia can challenge encirclement is by challenging US in its home away from home -- Middle East. And creating new realities in the ground by collaborating with the countries in the region -- undermining monopoly.

    And as the entire world is hurting from epidemic related economic setbacks, Russia and China are economies that are moving forward. And nobody in the Middle East can afford to ignore it.

    J Villain northernobserver 4 days ago

    I agree with you with the exception of Russia being weak. One day the US which has never seen any thing in advance will push Russia one time to many and find the Russian Army in Poland and Romania. That is if China doesn't take out some thing precious to the US in the mean time like a U2, aircraft carrier etc.

    There are two things at play here. The first is the US leadership wants ether country to take a shot at some thing US. Then then can scream and stomp their feet that no one on earth is allowed to trade with ether country and the US can block all trade with ether country.

    The other thing at play is Americans love it when their leaders act like gangsters. That's why leaders do it. Nothing will get you votes faster in the US than saying your going to kill people. I see US citizens try that non-sense about it's all Washington we don't want that. But you keep voting for people that are going to give you the next war fix. When you stop they will stop.

    PJ London J Villain a day ago

    I agree with your assessment except Russia will not put troops into any country without the express request from the legitimate government. They are not going into Poland and especially not Romania (Transnistria maybe) why would they? The countries do not have any resources that Russia wants. The only reason to put troops into Belarus is to maintain a distance between Poland and the borders.

    Russia needs nothing from the rest of the world except trade. Un-coerced, free trade. This drives the US corporations crazy as no one will trade with the US anymore without coercion.

    PS the same goes for China with the proviso that Taiwan is part of China and needs to be reabsorbed into the mainstream. It will take +20 years but China just keeps the pressure on until there will be no viable alternative.

    Bianca northernobserver a day ago

    It has never meant to serve American interests. Ever. Once you put it in perspective, it makes sense.

    But if people are convinced that Russia is a weak state -- then it is easier to approve adventures abroad -- including ringing Russia.

    The problem for never satiated Zealots is the following -- regional powers in the Middle East are hitching their wagons to Eurasian economic engine. That is definitely true of Turkey, Egypt and even Saudi Arabia. The tales of Moslem Brotherhood are here to interpret something today from the iconography from the past. And to explain today what an entirely different set of leaders did -- be that few years ago or one hundred years ago. Same goes for iconography of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Communism, Socialism, authoritarianism, and other ISMS.

    Those icons serve the same purpose as icons in religion or in cyber-space. You look at them, or you click -- and the story and explanation is ready made for your consumption. Time to watch actions -- not media iconography to tell us what is going on.

    Tradcon Mike P 4 days ago

    If we're being purely ideological here those with an overtly internationalist disposition (barring leftists) are those who want to be involved overseas, hardly ones to go on about national interest or pride. Its been a common stance associated with American Nationalism and Paleoconservatives to be anti-intervention, these people (of which I consider myself a part) can hardly be bashed for holding unpatriotic views.)

    Russia has a declining population, and an economy smaller than that of Spain. Its hardly a threat and our involvement in Eastern Europe was relatively limited pre-2014 and even so the overall international balance of power hasn't shifted after Russian annexation of Crimea, and the Ukrainians proved quite capable of defending their nation (though not so capable as to end retake separatist strongholds.

    Alexandr Kosenkov Mike P 3 days ago

    Please explain to me, a Russian person, what kind of anti-American policy Russia is spreading in countries? If we exclude acts of counteraction against American expansion and aggression against Russia? What ideological foundations does Russia have after 1991? Isn't Russia's actions a guerrilla war on the communications of the self-proclaimed "Empire of Good", which is pursuing a tough offensive policy? And is it not because the Russians support a significant part of Putin's initiatives (despite a number of Putin's obvious shortcomings) precisely because they have experience of cooperation with the "Empire of Good" in the 90s: give loans, corrupt officials and deputies, put Russian firms under control big American companies, and then just give orders from the White House.
    PS. I beg your pardon my google english

    Bianca Mike P a day ago

    Another Zealot in Patriot garb. The only people that are destroying Americans are within our borders, wielding power to fulfill their mission -- enrich themselves, keep the borders open, and our military all over the globe.

    kouroi 4 days ago • edited

    It would be interesting to read the minds of the US pilots engaged in these activities. My guess is that the cognitive dissonance energy in those heads is equivalent to the biggest nuclear bomb ever exploded...

    Vhailor 4 days ago

    Hmmm... I think there is a third option besides escalation and deescalation - exhaustion. Projecting power across the globe is expensive, it is a slow but steady drain on US resources, which are needed elsewhere (for example to quell the riots in major US cities).

    In a major crisis this could lead to a breaking point. What if some US adversary decides to double down and attack (directly or by proxy) US troops and the US will not be able to respond? A humiliating defeat combined with an exhausted public decidedly set against military adventures abroad could cause a rapid retrenchment and global withdrawal.

    Kent Vhailor 4 days ago

    I see it as exhaustion by corruption. The US military is increasingly bureaucratic, political and ineffectual. Our weapons are gold-plated, hyper-tech focused and require highly-skilled people to maintain them, which means we can't quickly train new people up. The weapons themselves are so complex and expensive that there is no way to manufacture them at scale quickly.

    The DOD today is only about personal political position, and grubbing tax-payer dollars for self-aggrandizement. In any real war with a real adversary, we wouldn't stand a chance.

    Vhailor Kent 4 days ago

    I wouldn't be so pessimistic regarding US military capabilities and I'm neither a US citizen or a fan of US global hegemony.

    The US armed forces are made up of professionals. There are some universal advantages and disadvantages of such forces. A professional army is good at fighting wars but bad at controlling territory because of its limited size and higher costs-per-soldier. In order to control territory you need "boots on the ground" in great numbers, standing at checkpoints and patrolling the countryside. They didn't have to be trained to the level of Navy SEALS, for them it is enough if they can shoot straight and won't be scared from some fireworks and the US lacks such forces.

    kouroi Vhailor 4 days ago

    So how is one going to get the millions of manpower to fulfill these tasks? Pauperize the masses so that joining the army becomes the only viable solution? Introduce the Draft? Provide a pathway for US citizenship for any foreigner that joins, establishing a US Foreign Legion?

    And then, how you'll have enough boots on the ground to pacify Russia or China. It took more than a month to establish and secure the beach heads in Bretagne in France in 1944. How do you think you can even get those boots to land in Russia or China, when you know that the ICBMs are going to start flying towards the continental US if something like this will ever happen?

    Vhailor kouroi 4 days ago

    So how is one going to get the millions of manpower to fulfill these tasks? Pauperize the masses so that joining the army becomes the only viable solution? Introduce the Draft?

    It is no longer possible to introduce the draft in the US - even mentioning it would lead to social unrests.

    Baruch Dreamstalker Vhailor 4 days ago

    The idea of a soft-mandatory year of service with a military option has been floated. It generates neither unrest nor interest.

    alan Vhailor 21 hours ago

    Read Jean Lartegy's "The Centurions." That is the direction where the tactically brilliant, but strategically incompetent US military leadership is headed.

    Scaathor Kent 4 days ago

    In addition, those gold-plated weapon systems often do not work as advertised. Look how the multi-billion IADS of the Saudis couldn't protect their refinery complex from a cruise missile attack from Yemen. Look at the embarrassing failures of the LCS and Zumwalt ship classes, and the endless problems with the Ford CVN. The F35 is proving a ginormous boondoggle that will massively enrich LM shareholders but will do squat for US military capabilities.

    kouroi Vhailor 4 days ago

    It will go on as long as the US is able to benefit of its present ability to print money and have the world use that money...

    Baruch Dreamstalker William Toffan 15 hours ago

    The alternative is an incumbent who runs against the condition of his own country as an outsider. It take an idiot to support that.

    PJ London Feral Finster a day ago

    He already did and the Military ignored him.
    He backtracked with endless excuses and conditionals.
    https://www.nbcnews.com/new...
    **
    Bill Clinton once reportedly told senior White House reporter Sarah McClendon, "Sarah, there's a government inside the government, and I don't control it."
    **
    Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organised, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.
    – Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States (1856-1924)
    **
    Do you really think that the adults with so much to lose would allow an idiot like Trump (or Clinton or Obama or Bush) to actually run things?

    Feral Finster PJ London a day ago

    And then, like the cuck he is, Trump knuckled under. "I like oil!"

    Dan Greene bumbershoot 3 days ago

    Stop focusing on what Trump says and look at what his administration does. Troops in Poland and Eastern Europe, Nord Stream 2, intrusive US reconnaissance flights along Russia's borders, support of Ukraine, interference with Russian patrols in Syria, the continuing attempt to destabilize Assad in Syria, the destruction of JCPOA, global sanctions campaign on Russia among others, withdrawal from arms control treaties, accusation that Russia was cheating on INF treaty, hiring dozens of anti-Russia hardliners, etc, etc.

    I'll repeat: Focus on what Trump does, not what he says, and then total up the pro-Russia and anti-Russia actions of this administration and see what that reveals.

    peter mcloughlin 4 days ago

    A danger with this "new Cold War" is the assumption it will end like the first one – peacefully. If this is the thinking among policy-makers we are in a very perilous situation. History shows that fatal miscalculations contributed to the First World War, and as a consequence the second. Today there is no room for miscalculation, which will set off unstoppable escalation into a third.
    https://www.ghostsofhistory...

    I Don't Matter 4 days ago

    Russians deliberately repeatedly ram an American vehicle, but I'm sure it's all our fault. Shouldn't have worn that skirt I guess.
    Before y'all armchair Putin experts say all your loving things: you have nothing to contribute unless you speak fluent Russian. I watched the video taken and published by the Russians and it was pretty clear what they were doing.

    Feral Finster I Don't Matter 4 days ago

    The United States is not invited in Syria or wanted. Russian troops are in Syria at the invitation of the legitimate and recognized government.

    Whatever happens to American troops there is deserved.

    dba12123 . I Don't Matter 3 days ago • edited

    Something critical is being missed entirely. The United States has invaded Syria without a mandate from the UN. Its' president has explicitly stated that it is the intention of the US to take Syria's oil. Both are violations of international law. Any hostile action taken against the illegal US presence in Syria is justifiable as self defense. While the US presence in Syria is illegal, Russia's presence is not. Russia was invited into Syria by the UN recognized Syrian government to assist it in defending against the US regime change by Al Qaeda proxy operation..

    hooly 4 days ago

    establish a major naval and air presence in the Gulf of Mexico, operating out of bases in such allied countries as Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

    What would happen if China or Russia established bases in the Caribbean and Latin America? Trump joked about selling Puerto Rico, what if the Chinese bought it?

    L RNY 4 days ago

    If the Israeli's have a problem with Russia being in Syria then Israel should deal with it. Its not our problem and Russia is not our enemy. Infact India is bringing closer relations between Russia and Japan. Which do you want? Russian antagonism because Israel doesn't want Russians in Syria or Russian partnership with India, Japan, Australia and the US dealing with China? Remember....you could spend 1000 years in the middle east and not make a dent in the animosities between peoples there...so one is a futile endeaver...while the other has great benefit.

    Carlton Meyer 4 days ago

    Note that Russian soldiers are in Syria at the request of its government to help fend off foreign invaders. The American troops are there illegally, with no UN or even Congressional authorization.

    Also note the USA risks another Cuban missile crisis by withdrawing from the INF treaty after illegally building missile launch complexes in Romania and Poland that can hit Russia with nuclear cruise missiles.

    The USA did much more than "meddle" in Ukraine. The Obama/Biden team openly organized a coup to overthrow its elected President because he didn't want to join NATO and the EU.

    https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FnW7lNABfDVk%3Ffeature%3Doembed&display_name=YouTube&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DnW7lNABfDVk&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FnW7lNABfDVk%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=21d07d84db7f4d66a55297735025d6d1&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtube

    Hrant Carlton Meyer 4 days ago

    Is that guy in the middle of the left seated Vlad Klitschko? I great boxer no doubt, but also known for his stunning stupidity. Is he part of the new Ukrainian political elite? Poor Ukraine.

    Aen Elle Hrant 4 days ago

    Klichko has been the mayor of Ukrainian capital city Kiev since the victory of Euromaidan in 2014 until present day.

    longlance 4 days ago

    Russia has been threatened & attacked by military powers to its West, East & South for 1000 years. Russia is now lean & mean, but still standing.

    Baruch Dreamstalker 4 days ago • edited

    A Russian vehicle sideswipes an American vehicle, injuring two US soldiers, and that's an American provocation? An American spy plane claims to be in international waters, and you tack in a "supposedly" in that sentence? "Violating" a tacit promise, really? Russia aggression against Georgia and Crimea is OK because Sphere of Influence? This article is loaded with Blame America First crap usually associated with the Left (much to this liberal's disgust). Never expected to find it here.

    Yes, the expansion of NATO east must have looked to Russia like something coming at their borders entirely too fast. I thought it was a terrible idea at the time, and wrote it off to the wheels of a fifty-year-old bureaucracy not knowing how to slow down. Your eye-straining gaze at the tea-leaves for Deeper State motives is unpersuasive, even without your odious prejudices.

    kouroi Baruch Dreamstalker 4 days ago

    Maybe some play of Rashomon would be in order here. That is your perspective.

    Now your honor, what I have seen is that Georgia attacked first and hoped to occupy a certain area that Russian Federation was protecting, As a side comment, I have to point to an Orwellian use of the word "aggressive" and "attack". It seems that anything that the US cannot wantonly control or bomb is inherently aggressive and attacking either directly or indirectly the "rules based order".

    Crimea had Russian assets that became endangered. Crimea was part of Russia until 1954, when was donated in an unsanctioned manner to Ukraine. The majority Russian population in Crimea has been persecuted by the Ukrainian state since at least 1994. The Euromaidan would have exacerbated that. A referendum was carried on and just considering ethnic lines, Russians won in their desire to re-unite with the Russian Federation. There aren't many legal arguments against that referendum and that process, if one looks for them...

    So the above perspectives have nothing to do with just "sphere of influence" but with direct core interests of the Russian state and its core security...

    The deep state is a tool that is trying to fulfill one objective: integration of Russian economy under the control of US and its Oligarchy. Otherwise it will always be a threat. A Nationalist, democratic (but not oligarchic) and sovereign Russia will always be considered an enemy of the world hegemon...

    And the provocation is the actual presence in Syria of US troops. Ramming the US military vehicle is not a provocation from Russians, it is a simple eviction notification. End of story!

    Hannibal Jubal 4 days ago

    Isn't it just amazing how this writer gets to turn an incident of provocation by Russian soldiers into a story of persistent provocation by America. That is remarkable dexterity even for this paper. I am used to them suggesting that we should leave the people of Eastern Europe to the tender mercies of the whims and wishes of a dictator in Moscow - because they are in his backyard. But to be able to switch from that incident to their regular theme is an achievement one can recognize, though not respect. The people of those countries should have a choice about who they associate, and they certainly have a right not to align with people they fear. Calling us for not respecting he rights of other people to decide their fates is right and proper. I enthusiastically support this paper when they do. But when they turn right around and castigate us for not respecting Russia's right to do it - I am flabbergasted.

    Dan Greene Hannibal Jubal 3 days ago

    "Isn't it just amazing how this writer gets to turn an incident of provocation by Russian soldiers into a story of persistent provocation by America."

    How do you know it's an incident of provocation by Russian soldiers? It almost certainly is almost the exact opposite.

    Dan Greene 3 days ago • edited

    This piece spends too much time re-hashing everything Russia-US since 1990 and fails to focus on the key current issues.

    The vehicle incidents in Syria are distinct from the European issue -- see below in this post -- that is generating some of the other tensions the author lists. Syria is really part of the larger Middle East issue.

    His brief summary of the latest Syria mishap is inadequate to convey what actually happened.

    If you actually look at the video, it does NOT appear to be the case that a Russian vehicle simply "sideswiped" a US vehicle. It appears that the US was maintaining a checkpoint on a road that in effect blocked Russian passage. Given the terrain, the Russians could of course bypass such a checkpoint, which is what they appear to have done. Then, however, other US vehicles left the checkpoint and attempted to block and turn back the Russian bypass movement, and this led to the collision. So the incident is part of a larger US policy to impede Russian operations in NE Syria.

    Almost two years ago, Trump ordered US forces out of Syria, and Russia, in agreement with that plan, sent patrols to the NE to ensure that provisions of an stability agreement with Turkey and the Kurds were maintained. But then Trump was almost immediately convinced--by whom is not clear, but ultimately Israel in all probability--to do a 180 and keep US forces in NE Syria, the superficial rationale being to take control of oil, the kind of pirate operation that Trump likes. In fact, the goal of those who influence Trump is to keep Syria weak and unable to rebuild with the expectation that Assad can still be overthrown at some future point. This is the desire of Israel and its operatives in the US.

    Trump's zag after the zig of planned withdrawal left the US-Russian understanding in chaos. Now both the US AND the Russians were operating in NE Syria. And over time the US has become more and more aggressive about impeding Russian operations. The Russians claim--credibly--that we are demanding that they, in moving their patrols up to the area of the Syria-Turkey border area not use the M4 highway, the main and direct route and instead follow a secondary route that circuitously follows the border. The Russians don't accept that demand. And the vehicle incidents that we are seeing are the outcome of that disagreement. The Russians are driving up Highway 4 and when they get to the US checkpoint are bypassing and then continuing up the highway. We are aggressively trying to deter them from that route choice.

    Not sure why this article does not go into detail on this issue in order to clarify it.

    Much of the other stuff the author is talking about here--intrusive air ops in the Black Sea, etc--is really a separate, European issue. The US is highly concerned about the economic interactions between Russia and Europe--especially the big economies of Western Europe and most especially Germany. We are worried that over time Russian-European economic integration will erode our strategic control and dominance over Europe in general.

    Hence, we are making common cause with the anti-Russian elements in "the New Europe," i.e., Eastern Europe to try, in essence, to place a barrier between Russia and Western Europe, playing off Poland, the Baltics and Romania, among others, against Russia, Germany, France et al. Moving more US forces into Poland and the so-called "Black Sea Region"; impeding Nord Stream 2 and other Russian pipeline initiatives; indulging in recurrent anti-German propaganda for not maintaining a more robust anti-Russian military posture; fomenting (behind the scenes) the recent disturbances in Belarus; and promotion of the so-called "Three Seas Initiative" intended to weld Eastern and Central Europe together into a reliable tool of US policy are all part of this plan to retain US strategic control of Europe over the long term.

    That's what the heightened tensions in Europe are about.

    As I said, the Syria issue, part of the larger Middle East struggle, is separate from the parallel struggle for mastery in Europe.

    It's all an important topic, but this article doesn't really capture the salient points.

    Dan Greene Hannibal Jubal 3 days ago • edited

    You're living in a dreamland.

    And you're playing word games. Syria's oil is effectively under US control. Yes, we are deriving strategic benefit from it in that we are denying it to the Syrian government in order to further destabilize it. It's not a good policy, but the policy does benefit from denying Syria its oil.

    The problem is that most of the oil is on Arab land, not Kurdish land, and the Arabs of the Northeast are now realigning themselves with Assad, so holding on to the oil is likely to get more difficult in the future.

    I have no idea what you mean by "slander." Guess that means truths you find inconvenient. Sorry--not in the business of coddling the faint of heart. Trump likes the idea of taking resources which he imagines to be payment for services we have rendered--like leaving the country in a state of ruin. He talked about Iraqi oil that way too, but taking that would be much harder.

    Time for you to stop dismissing every reality you don't like as unpatriotic.

    dba12123 . Hannibal Jubal 3 days ago

    The "Assad regime" is the UN recognized government of Syria. That is the only entity entitled to the country's resources. How is it "the property of the Syrian nation" if the Syrian government and its people no longer have access to it? To whom is the oil being sold? Who is receiving the proceeds of the oil sales?

    Here are some of Trump's own words with respect to Syria's oil. "I like oil. We are keeping the oil." 4/11/2019. "The US is in Syria solely for the oil." "We are keeping the oil. We have the oil. The oil is secure. We left troops behind only for oil." "The US military is in Syria only for oil." What part of Trump's public assertion that "We are keeping the oil" are you having difficulty in understanding? How can you say the US "did not take possession of the oil" when Trump could not have been more explicit in saying precisely the opposite? Do you not comprehend that the US presence in Syria has no mandate either from the UN or from the US Congress. Do you not understand that the US presence in Syria is illegal under international law? Do you not understand that "Keeping the oil" is a violation of international law? Your post is one of the most ridiculous I have even read.

    Dan Greene Hannibal Jubal 2 days ago • edited

    1. It's quite clear from the video that the US had set up a checkpoint on the road at left in the video. (Indeed, we are open about the fact that we are doing so in general in NE Syria.) And it's equally clear that Russian vehicles are seen bypassing those checkpoints. The encounter between US and Russian vehicles takes place off the road. There is only one logical interpretation of what happened. What is your alternative explanation?

    2. "No one reading this can believe that Eastern Europeans have genuine cause to fear Russia, or that these countries continually request more military and political involvement than we are willing to provide or that we are not inducing them to do anything or manipulating them."

    First of all, there are no current indications of any Russian intent to do anything in regard to Eastern Europe. Yes, one can understand the history, which is why there is anti-Russian sentiment in Eastern Europe, but aside perhaps from the Baltic states in their unique geographic position, there is no country that has any basis in reality to worry about Russian aggression in the present.

    Of course, this does not stop the Poles from doing exactly that. And perhaps the Romanians to a much lesser extent. So yes, there is fear in a few key countries based on past history, Poland being the keystone of the whole thing, and yes, we are indeed manipulating that fear in an attempt to block/undermine any economic integration between Germany and Russia. We are also trying to use the "Three Seas Initiative" to block Chinese commercial and tech penetration of Eastern Europe--5G and their plan to rebuild the port of Trieste to service Central and NE Europe.

    Do you actually believe Russia, which has lately been cutting its defense budget, is actually going to invade Europe? That really is a fantasy. The only military operations they will take are to prevent further expansion of NATO into Ukraine and Belarus. The real game today is commercial and tech competition. Putin knows it would be disastrous for Russia to start a war with NATO. Not sure why that's hard for you to see.

    Your notion of the Russian threat--as it exists today--is wildly exaggerated.

    Dr.Diprospan 3 days ago

    Once President Putin remarked that there are forces in the United States trying to use Russia for internal political struggle. He added that we will nevertheless try not to be drawn into these confrontations.

    A scene from a Hollywood action movie rises before my eyes, when two heroes of the film are fighting and a circular saw is spinning nearby, and each of the heroes is trying to shove a part of the enemy's body under this saw.

    The relationship between Russian and American servicemen, I would compare with two hockey teams, when the tough behavior of the players on the ice does not mean that the players of one team would be happy with the death of the entire opposing team, say in some kind of plane crash, since the presence of a strong opponent is a necessary condition for getting a good salary.

    Still, I would not completely deny the possibility of a "hot war".

    Since the times of the Roman Empire, the West of Europe has been trying to take control of the territory of Europe, Eurasia, and Eurasia, in turn, dreams of mastering the technologies of the West.

    The defeat of the 3rd Reich provided the Soviet Union with a breakthrough in the nuclear industry and space...

    It's hard to imagine that Russia is capable of defeating NATO, but I can imagine that in the current situation, President Putin can offer China to build military bases in western Russia for a million Chinese servicemen, for 100 thousand on the Chukchi Peninsula, for 500 thousand on Sakhalin...

    The extra money for renting military bases in a coronavirus crisis will not hurt anyone.

    stevek9 3 days ago • edited

    Of all the things about Hillary Clinton to despise, her selfish attempt to explain her loss, and to attack the President (to whom she never conceded the election!) by blaming Russia, is at the top of the list. To generate a completely unnecessary conflict with a nuclear super-power that could burn this country to ashes in minutes, out of personal vindictiveness, ... is lower than it can get.

    Denmark002 3 days ago

    We are totally messing with fire... we will need Europe but Russia as well to defeat the Chinese.

    Dan Greene LostForWords 2 days ago • edited

    I don't think US-Russian cooperation is doable at this point--or any time soon. Given how erratic US policy is--yawing violently from one direction to another--Russia has no reason to accept the damage to its relationship with China that shifting to a strategic arrangement with the US would entail. The risk is too high and the potential rewards too uncertain.

    We have pretty much alienated the Russian state under Putin, and now we're trying to wait him out, with the expectation that there is no one of his capabilities to maintain the strategic autonomy of the Russian state in the longer term and that once he exits the scene, some Yeltsin-like stooge will present himself.

    We thought we were dealing with the main threats to our global hegemony sequentially--Russia "defeated" in the Cold War, and then on to a defeat of "militant Islam" in the Greater Middle East and finally to a showdown with China. But now, the sequencing has fallen apart, and we're trying to prosecute all three simultaneously.

    We're in serious trouble.

    Ram2017 LostForWords a day ago

    Hizbollah arose as a defensive militia because of an Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It is not a terrorist group even though labelled so by the US.

    William H Warrick III MD a day ago

    You have inverted the facts. The video evidence shows the Americans side-swiped the Russian vehicle and claimed "American soldiers had 'concussions'". A concussion requires loss of consciousness or significant changes in mental function. In football, you have your "Bell rung". You can't add 2+2 correctly. There is no evidence to support that.

    Mark Thomason a day ago

    No, we are just trying to outdo each other with "Putin-under-the-bed" and all-powerful-Putin causing all the world's evils.

    Jamie a day ago

    Everyone is focusing on Russia because of the Russia hoax. Dems started a new cold war based on an irrational fear that Russia was threatening our democracy.

    Along with Dems, I also blame Putin; he bribed Hillary millions for uranium -- that doesn't lend to good relations.

    alan a day ago

    The foreign policy elite dislikes Russia, always has, and will do anything to keep this "adversary" front and center because their prospects for prestige, power and position depend upon the presence of an enemy. As an example see Strobe Talbot and Michael McFaul.

    [Aug 29, 2020] To Capture and Subdue- America's Theft of Syrian Oil Has Very Little To Do With Money by Steven Chovanec

    Aug 29, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org


    undefined

    Near the end of July, one of the most important recent developments in US foreign policy was quietly disclosed during a US Senate hearing. Not surprisingly, hardly anybody talked about it and most are still completely unaware that it happened.

    Answering questions from Senator Lindsey Graham, Secretary of State Pompeo confirmed that the State Department had awarded an American company, Delta Crescent Energy, with a contract to begin extracting oil in northeast Syria. The area is nominally controlled by the Kurds, yet their military force, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), was formed under US auspices and relies on an American military presence to secure its territory. That military presence will now be charged with protecting an American firm from the government of the country that it is operating within.

    Pompeo confirmed that the plans for implanting the firm into the US-held territory are "now in implementation" and that they could potentially be "very powerful." This is quite a momentous event given its nature as a blatant example of neocolonial extraction, or, as Stephen Kinzer puts it writing for the Boston Globe, "This is a vivid throwback to earlier imperial eras, when conquerors felt free to loot the resources of any territory they could capture and subdue."

    Indeed, the history of how the US came to be in a position to "capture and subdue" these resources is a sordid, yet informative tale that by itself arguably even rivals other such colonial adventures.

    To capture and subdue

    When a legitimate protest movement developed organically in Syria in early 2011, the US saw an opportunity to destabilize, and potentially overthrow, the government of a country that had long pushed back against its efforts for greater control in the region.

    Syria had maintained itself outside of the orbit of US influence and had frustratingly prevented American corporations from penetrating its economy to access its markets and resources.

    As the foremost academic expert on Middle East affairs, Christopher Davidson, wrote in his seminal work, "Shadow Wars, The Secret Struggle for the Middle East," discussing both Syria and Libya's strategic importance, "the fact remained that these two regimes, sitting astride vast natural resources and in command of key ports, rivers, and borders, were still significant obstacles that had long frustrated the ambitions of Western governments and their constituent corporations to gain greater access."

    " With Syria ," Davidson wrote, "having long proven antagonistic to Western interests a golden opportunity had presented itself in 2011 to oust [this] administration once and for all under the pretext of humanitarian and even democratic causes."

    The US, therefore, began organizing and overseeing a militarization of the uprising early on , and soon co-opted the movement along with allied states Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar. Writing at the end of 2011, Columbia University's Joseph Massad explained how there was no longer any doubt that "the Syrian popular struggle for democracy [has] already been hijacked," given that "the Arab League and imperial powers have taken over and assumed the leadership of their struggle."

    Soon, through the sponsoring of extremist elements, the insurgency was dominated by Salafists of the al-Qaeda variety.

    According to the DIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff , by 2013 "there was no viable 'moderate' opposition to Assad" and "the US was arming extremists." Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed that "although many in the American intelligence community were aware that the Syrian opposition was dominated by extremists," still "the CIA-sponsored weapons kept coming."

    When ISIS split off from al-Qaeda and formed its own Caliphate, the US continued pumping money and weapons into the insurgency, even though it was known that this aid was going into the hands of ISIS and other jihadists. US allies directly supported ISIS.

    US officials admitted that they saw the rise of ISIS as a beneficial development that could help pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to give in to America's demands.

    Leaked audio of then-Secretary of State John Kerry revealed that "we were watching and we know that this [ISIS] was growing We saw that Daesh was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, we could probably manage -- that Assad would then negotiate." As ISIS was bearing down on the capital city of Damascus, the US was pressing Assad to step down to a US-approved government.

    Then, however, Russia intervened with its air force to prevent an ISIS takeover of the country and shifted the balance of forces against the jihadist group. ISIS' viability as a tool to pressure the government was spent.

    The arsonist and the firefighter

    So, a new strategy was implemented: instead of allowing Russia and Syria to take back the territories that ISIS captured throughout the war, the US would use the ISIS threat as an excuse to take those territories before they were able to. Like an arsonist who comes to put out the fire, the US would now charge itself with the task of stamping out the Islamist scourge and thereby legitimize its own seizure of Syrian land. The US partnered with the Kurdish militias who acted as their "boots on the ground" in this endeavor and supported them with airstrikes.

    The strategy of how these areas were taken was very specific. It was designed primarily to allow ISIS to escape and redirect itself back into the fight against Syria and Russia. This was done through leaving " an escape route for militants " or through deals that were made where ISIS voluntarily agreed to cede its territory. The militants were then able to escape and go wreak havoc against America's enemies in Syria.

    Interestingly, in terms of the oil fields now being handed off to an American corporation, the US barely even fought ISIS to gain control over them; ISIS simply handed them over .

    Syria and Russia were quickly closing in on the then-ISIS controlled oilfields, so the US oversaw a deal between the Kurds and ISIS to give up control of the city. According to veteran Middle East war correspondent Elijah Magnier, "US-backed forces advanced in north-eastern areas under ISIS control, with little or no military engagement: ISIS pulled out from more than 28 villages and oil and gas fields east of the Euphrates River, surrendering these to the Kurdish-US forces following an understanding these reached with the terrorist group."

    Sources quoted by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that ISIS preferred seeing the fields in the hands of the US and the Kurds rather than the Syrian government.

    The rationale behind this occupation was best described by Syria expert Joshua Landis, who wrote that the areas of northern Syria under control of the Kurds are the US' "main instrument in gaining leverage" over the government. By "denying Damascus access to North Syria" and "controlling half of Syria's energy resources" "the US will be able to keep Syria poor and under-resources." So, by "promoting Kurdish nationalism in Syria" the US "hopes to deny Iran and Russia the fruits of their victory," while "keeping Damascus weak and divided," this serving "no purpose other than to stop trade" and to "beggar Assad and keep Syria divided, weak and poor."

    Or, in the words of Jim Jeffrey, the Trump administrations special representative for Syria who is charged with overseeing US policy, the intent is to "make life as miserable as possible for that flopping cadaver of a regime and let the Russians and Iranians, who made this mess, get out of it."

    Anchoring American troops in Syria

    This is the history by which an American firm was able to secure a contract to extract oil in Syria. And while the actual resources gained will not be of much value (Syria has only 0.1% of the world's oil reserves), the presence of an American company will likely serve as a justification to maintain a US military presence in the region. "It is a fiendishly clever maneuver aimed at anchoring American troops in Syria for a long time," Stephen Kinzer explains , one that will aid the policymakers who hold "the view that the United States must remain militarily dominant in the Middle East."

    This analysis corroborates the extensive scholarship of people like Mason Gaffney, professor of economics emeritus at the University of California, who, writing in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, sums up his thesis that throughout its history "US military spending has been largely devoted to protecting the overseas assets of multinational corporations that are based in the United States The US military provides its services by supporting compliant political leaders in developing countries and by punishing or deposing regimes that threaten the interests of US-based corporations."

    In essence, by protecting this "global 'sprawl' of extractive companies" the US Department of Defense "provides a giant subsidy to companies operating overseas," one that is paid for by the taxpayer, not the corporate beneficiaries. It is hard to estimate the exact amount of money the US has invested into the Syria effort, though it likely is near the trillion dollar figure . The US taxpayer doesn't get anything out of that, but companies that are awarded oil contracts do.

    What is perhaps most important about this lesson however is that this is just a singular example of a common occurrence that happens all over the world. A primary function of US foreign policy is to " make the world safe for American businesses ," and the upwards of a thousand military bases the US has stationed across the globe are set up to help protect those corporate investments. While this history is unique to Syria, similar kinds of histories are responsible for US corporation's extractive activities in other global arenas.

    So, next time you see headlines about Exxon being in some kind of legal dispute with, say, Venezuela, ask yourself how was it that those companies became involved with the resources of that part of the world? More often than not, the answer will be similar to how this US company got involved in Syria.

    Given all of this, it perhaps might seem to be too mild of a critique to simply say that this Syria enterprise harkens back to older imperial eras where conquerors simply took what they wished: the sophistication of colonialism has indeed improved by leaps and bounds since then.

    Reprinted with permission from Mint Press News .


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    [Aug 09, 2020] NYT as an amplifier for the mislabeled US 'Intelligence' Agencies rumor and baseless claims about foreign interferences in US elections

    The first and the most important fact that there will no elections in November -- both candidates represent the same oligarchy, just slightly different factions of it.
    Look like NYT is controlled by Bolton faction of CIA. They really want to overturn the results of 2020 elections and using Russia as a bogeyman is a perfect opportunity to achieve this goal.
    Neocons understand very well that it is MIC who better their bread, so amplifying rumors the simplify getting additional budget money for intelligence agencies (which are a part of MIC) is always the most desirable goal.
    Notable quotes:
    "... But a new assessment says China would prefer to see the president defeated, though it is not clear Beijing is doing much to meddle in the 2020 campaign to help Joseph R. Biden Jr. ..."
    "... The statement then claims: "Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process." ..."
    "... But how do the 'intelligence' agencies know that foreign states want to "sway preferences", "increase discord" or "undermine confidence" in elections? ..."
    "... But ascribing motive and intent is a tricky business, because perceived impact is often mistaken for true intent. [...] Where is the evidence that Russia actually wants to bring down the liberal world order and watch the United States burn? ..."
    "... Well there is none. And that is why the 'intelligence' agencies do not present any evidence. ..."
    "... Is there a secret policy paper by the Russian government that says it should "increase discord" in the United States? Is there some Chinese think tank report which says that undermining U.S. people's confidence in their democratic process would be good for China? ..."
    "... If the 'intelligence' people have copies of those papers why not publish them? ..."
    "... Let me guess. The 'intelligence' agencies have nothing, zero, nada. They are just making wild-ass guesses about 'intentions' of perceived enemies to impress the people who sign off their budget. ..."
    "... Nowadays that seems to be their main purpose. ..."
    Aug 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
    No Evidence Of Foreign Interference In U.S. Elections, U.S. Intelligence Says

    Yesterday the mislabeled U.S. 'Intelligence' Agencies trotted out more nonsense claims about foreign interferences in U.S. elections.

    The New York Times sensationally headlines:

    Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says
    But a new assessment says China would prefer to see the president defeated, though it is not clear Beijing is doing much to meddle in the 2020 campaign to help Joseph R. Biden Jr.

    But when one reads the piece itself one finds no fact that would support the 'Russia Continues Interfering' statement:

    Russia is using a range of techniques to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr., American intelligence officials said Friday in their first public assessment that Moscow continues to try to interfere in the 2020 campaign to help President Trump.

    At the same time, the officials said China preferred that Mr. Trump be defeated in November and was weighing whether to take more aggressive action in the election.

    But officials briefed on the intelligence said that Russia was the far graver, and more immediate, threat. While China seeks to gain influence in American politics, its leaders have not yet decided to wade directly into the presidential contest, however much they may dislike Mr. Trump, the officials said.

    The assessment, included in a statement released by William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, suggested the intelligence community was treading carefully, reflecting the political heat generated by previous findings.

    The authors emphasize the scaremongering hearsay from "officials briefed on the intelligence" - i.e. Democratic congress members - about Russia but have nothing to back it up.

    When one reads the statement by Evanina one finds nothing in it about Russian attempts to interfere in the U.S. elections. Here is the only 'evidence' that is noted:

    For example, pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption – including through publicizing leaked phone calls – to undermine former Vice President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party. Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television.

    After a request from Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, a Ukrainian parliamentarian published Ukrainian evidence of Biden's very real interference in the Ukraine. Also: Some guest of a Russian TV show had an opinion. How is either of those two items 'evidence' of Russian interference in U.S. elections?

    The statement then claims: "Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process."

    But how do the 'intelligence' agencies know that foreign states want to "sway preferences", "increase discord" or "undermine confidence" in elections?

    As a recent piece in Foreign Affairs noted :

    The mainstream view in the U.S. media and government holds that the Kremlin is waging a long-haul campaign to undermine and destabilize American democracy. Putin wants to see the United States burn, and contentious elections offer a ready-made opportunity to fan the flames.

    But ascribing motive and intent is a tricky business, because perceived impact is often mistaken for true intent. [...] Where is the evidence that Russia actually wants to bring down the liberal world order and watch the United States burn?

    Well there is none. And that is why the 'intelligence' agencies do not present any evidence.

    Even the NYT writers have to admit that there is nothing there:

    The release on Friday was short on specifics, ...

    and

    Intelligence agencies focus their work on the intentions of foreign governments, and steer clear of assessing if those efforts have had an effect on American voters.

    How do 'intelligence' agencies know Russian, Chinese or Iranian 'intentions'. Is there a secret policy paper by the Russian government that says it should "increase discord" in the United States? Is there some Chinese think tank report which says that undermining U.S. people's confidence in their democratic process would be good for China?

    If the 'intelligence' people have copies of those papers why not publish them?

    Let me guess. The 'intelligence' agencies have nothing, zero, nada. They are just making wild-ass guesses about 'intentions' of perceived enemies to impress the people who sign off their budget.

    Nowadays that seems to be their main purpose.

    Posted by b on August 8, 2020 at 18:08 UTC | Permalink

    [Aug 08, 2020] -No Difference Between John Bolton, Brian Hook Or Elliott Abrams-- Iran FM -

    Aug 08, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

    "No Difference Between John Bolton, Brian Hook Or Elliott Abrams": Iran FM


    by Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 22:45 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

    "There's no difference between John Bolton, Brian Hook or Elliott Abrams," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet with the hashtag #BankruptUSPolicy on Friday.

    "When U.S. policy concerns Iran, American officials have been biting off more than they can chew. This applies to Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump and their successors," Mousavi added.

    Indeed in perhaps one of the greatest symbols or representations of the contradictions and absurdity inherent in US foreign policy of the past few decades, and a supreme irony that can't be emphasized enough: the new US envoy to Iran who will oversee Pompeo's 'maximum pressure' campaign remains the most publicly visible face of the 1980's Iran-Contra affair .

    Elliott Abrams has been named to the position after Brian Hook stepping down. This means the man who will continue to push for the extension of a UN arms embargo against Iran once himself was deeply involved in illegally selling weapons to Iran and covering it up .

    Most famously, or we should say infamously, Abrams pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 1991 following years of the Iran-Contra scandal engulfing the Reagan administration; however, he was also pardoned by outgoing president George H.W. Bush at around the same time.

    "Pardoned by George H.W. Bush in 1992, Abrams was a pivotal figure in the foreign-policy scandal that shook the Reagan administration, lying to Congress about his knowledge of the plot to covertly sell weapons to the Khomeini government and use the proceeds to illegally fund the right-wing Contras rebel group in Nicaragua ," NY Mag reviews.

    Some are noting this heightens the chances that Washington could get dragged into a war involving Israel and Iran.

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    Recall too that Abrams has been Trump's point man for ousting Maduro from Venezuela, and it appears he'll remain in the post of special envoy for Venezuela as well.

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    The Grayzone journalist, Anya Parampil, who has frequently reported from Venezuela, alleged this week that Abrams will "try and destroy Venezuela and Iran at the same time".

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    Wild Bill Steamcock , 14 hours ago

    Abrams is a disgrace. This Administration should be dying in it's own shame bringing this swine back into government.

    He's a leach. He's about lining his own pockets. He can't even own a .22 single shot, yet he's shaping international policy.

    This country is dead. And the fact Trump has democrat and zionist Kushner as advisor, bringing in guys like Bolton and Abrams, Reince Priebus, H.R. McMaster and that Ukranian pet goblin of his, in not firing Comey et. al day 1 means he's not the answer. Face it.

    And to be fair, it doesn't matter anymore who is POTUS. It hasn't really mattered in quite some time. The Plan rolls along.

    Kinskian , 15 hours ago

    Trump is a clumsy and transparent Zionist stooge.

    PT , 14 hours ago

    Gotta admit, if you're going to have a Zionist stooge then you are better off having a clumsy and transparent one.

    Dank fur Kopf , 14 hours ago

    Elliott Abrams is a moron. He's been running the exact same stupid coup strategy for decades, and can't conceive of a world where the enemy has worked out how to defeat that.

    Venezuela was set to be US foreign policies most embarrassing failure--but maybe Iran will be worse.

    Dank fur Kopf , 14 hours ago

    Let's predict what Abrams will attempt:

    Running out of the US/UK embassies, Abrams will attempt to identify a potential alternative leader who is corrupt and controllable. They'll throw political support behind this false leader, and try and find enough military to support him. Then, protests in the streets, and the small faction of the military--supported by foreign forces--will attempt to establish control.

    Counter: China and Russia will import anti-coup specialists. Individuals in the Iranian military will pretend to be on board claiming to have thousands at call, and when the false leader gives the call, they won't answer. All the conspirators will be caught out on the street, and have to flee to embassies for political asylum. Like what happened in Venezuela recently, and Turkey in 2016. This will allow Iran to do a purge of all the real threats (remembering that Iran has the death penalty for sedition), and give them enough justification to end diplomatic missions in the country that are being used as launch pads.

    [Aug 02, 2020] The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria signed a deal to market oil to US-based Delta Crescent Energy LLC "with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House."

    Aug 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Peter AU1 , Aug 2 2020 14:35 utc | 2

    I put these comments on the open thread about the same time b started this one

    https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/1289724554982629377
    The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria signed a deal to market oil to US-based Delta Crescent Energy LLC "with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House."

    Trump a few months back "We've kept the oil". Well, he hasn't had a problem hanging onto it and getting an American company involved.

    Delta Crescent Energy. Formed beginning of 2019 and nothing else on it. I guess Trump and a few mates divvying up the spoils.
    https://www.bizapedia.com/de/delta-crescent-energy-llc.html

    Laguerre , Aug 2 2020 15:00 utc | 6

    The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria signed a deal to market oil to US-based Delta Crescent Energy LLC "with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House."

    Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 2 2020 14:35 utc | 2

    Very likely the Kurds were under pressure from Trump, and the act wasn't voluntary. It's not even the Kurds' oil to sign a deal on (except one well). We'll see whether the operation actually succeeds. At the moment, everybody is waiting to see whether Trump is re-elected in November. Signing a piece of paper now is of no significance.

    [Aug 02, 2020] The only reason the US hasn't attacked Syria is because Putin out-maneuvered the US six times: 3 times in the UNSC and 3 times on the ground during Obama

    Aug 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Richard Steven Hack , Aug 2 2020 0:13 utc | 140

    Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 1 2020 16:47 utc | 121 The United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons
    states that are party to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations.

    Which is precisely my point: the US had to say this because if they did it the geopolitical heat would be to great.

    I've had further thoughts:

    1) The only reason the US hasn't attacked Syria is because Putin out-maneuvered the US six times: 3 times in the UNSC and 3 times on the ground during Obama. The third time Russia explicitly said that anyone attacking Syrian military would be shot down. The reason that held was because Russia troops were *already* on the ground in Syria with the capability to do just that. Obama recognized that was a non-starter for him and he backed down from his contemplated "no-fly zone".

    And when Trump launched his cruise missiles, that's exactly what Russia did - they used their ECM to degrade or down most of those missiles.

    2) Now, if Putin were to figure out some way to *actually* threaten the US with nuclear retaliation - whether directly or *implied* (more so than anything you've quoted so far), that might actually work as a deterrent. The best way to do that would be what Putin did in Syria - put Russian boots on the ground. If Putin could work a deal with Iran that put a significant number of Russian forces on the ground inside Iran, thus making any US or Israeli attack on important Iranian assets an attack on Russian forces, that would likely be a deterrent.

    The problem is that Iran didn't even want Russian planes based in Iran for use in Syria (except one time IIRC). No country wants someone else's military inside their borders, especially in large numbers, so Iran is unlikely to agree to basing large numbers of Russian troops inside Iran. A few nuclear technicians wouldn't be enough of a deterrent - it would require significant Russian assets. I don't see it happening, but it is possible.

    3) Putin's responses to the US Nuclear Posture Review relate to Russia and the former Soviet states. Apparently no one can figure out that the word "ally" has more significant meanings depending on context, and as I've said before, nothing Putin has said has put that context in military alliance terms with regard to Iran.

    4) Apparently, as US and Israeli provocations against Iran continue to grow, signaling a continuing intent to get a war started, everyone's cognitive dissonance has apparently grown with it, so now everyone is hiding behind the notion that Putin will launch WWIII over Iran as an excuse to believe that an Iran war is "impossible".

    Dream on. We'll see. As I've said elsewhere many times, once the Iran war starts, I expect to see abject apologies from everyone who doubted the possibility.

    [Aug 01, 2020] Did MI6 created White Helmets?

    Notable quotes:
    "... Perhaps he was even the initiator of the White Helmets? My take away from those reports is that Cummings and Johnson have commenced a transition strategy within the UK and that the future of Integrity Initiative and its bogan crew may be limited. ..."
    "... They have also restrained the MI6 manipulators that would conspire and contrive the overt 'Hate Russia' policy. Not that Bojo and Cummings will necessarily change anything other than a superficial rearrangement in their favour (for a month or two anyway). ..."
    "... Caitlin Johnston has recently posted an astute analysis of the current distraction politics and why we should not be distracted by Covid19 rants from seeing the immediate rendition of the great game. ..."
    "... I guess the UK will be less overt re Russia but expect the Libyan war to escalate as UKUSAI use Turkey in Libya to push back against Russia and even Sisi in Egypt. ..."
    "... The UK could stage yet another 'Suez incident' with this mendacious confluence of opportunities. ..."
    "... The USA has become the patsy for these thugs, when will they rise? ..."
    Aug 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    uncle tungsten , Aug 1 2020 0:39 utc | 39

    Jackrabbut #3

    Thank you for those John Helmer reports. I note that the new head of MI6 is a lover of all fine Turkish things including Erdoghan. "Richard Moore, currently a third-ranking official of the Foreign Office, an ex-Ambassador to Turkey; an ex-MI6 agent; and a Harvard graduate".

    Perhaps he was even the initiator of the White Helmets? My take away from those reports is that Cummings and Johnson have commenced a transition strategy within the UK and that the future of Integrity Initiative and its bogan crew may be limited.

    They have also restrained the MI6 manipulators that would conspire and contrive the overt 'Hate Russia' policy. Not that Bojo and Cummings will necessarily change anything other than a superficial rearrangement in their favour (for a month or two anyway).

    AtaBrit #9 includes an excellent link to a National Interest report on Turkey and is worth the read in this context of the rise and rise of Richard Moore. Thank you AtaBrit.

    Caitlin Johnston has recently posted an astute analysis of the current distraction politics and why we should not be distracted by Covid19 rants from seeing the immediate rendition of the great game.

    I guess the UK will be less overt re Russia but expect the Libyan war to escalate as UKUSAI use Turkey in Libya to push back against Russia and even Sisi in Egypt. They have a willing US president now and likely continuing in the next few years (be it Trump or Biden). The UK could stage yet another 'Suez incident' with this mendacious confluence of opportunities.

    The USA has become the patsy for these thugs, when will they rise?

    [Aug 01, 2020] Syrian Army Uncovers Organ Trading Hub Of Turkish-Backed Militants In Southern Idlib -

    Aug 01, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

    Syrian Army Uncovers Organ Trading Hub Of Turkish-Backed Militants In Southern Idlib by Tyler Durden Sat, 08/01/2020 - 19:00 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

    Submitted by South Front,

    The joint Russian-Turkish patrol set to be held in southern Idlib on July 29 was delayed due to increased military tensions and the inability of Ankara to ensure the security of the patrol in its area of responsibility. And the situation does not seem to be improving.

    According to pro-militant sources, on the evening of July 29th and morning of July 30th, the Syrian Army launched over 500 shells at militants' positions in the Zawiya Mount area, including Kansafra, al-Bara, Kafar Aweed, Fatterah and Erinah. In response, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies struck Syrian Army checkpoints at Kafr Nabl, As Safa, Hakoura and in nearby areas.

    https://southfront.org/wp-content/plugins/fwduvp/content/video.php?path=https%3A%2F%2Fsouthfront.org%2Fsyrian-army-uncovers-organ-trading-hub%2F&pid=1995

    me title=

    https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.400.1_en.html#goog_1616854260

    In the last few days, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Turkistan Islamic Party reinforced their positions on the contact line with the Syrian Army, south of the M4 highway. Their forces reportedly remain on high alert. Pro-government sources say that the inability of Ankara to secure another joint patrol in southern Idlib is a signal that the militants are preparing for offensive actions there.

    Meanwhile, the Syrian Army uncovered a hideout that had been used by militants working as organ traders in the village of al-Ghadfah in southern Idlib. According to Syria's state-run news agency SANA, government forces found human organs, including hearts, livers and heads in the hideout. The organs were preserved in jars with chloroform. The jars carried the names of the victims. Personal IDs of the victims, men and women, were also found in the hideout.

    The hideout included a room designated for religious studies with radical ideological publications. This indicates that the site had belonged to one of the multiple militant groups that still operate in Greater Idlib thanks to the Turkish opposition to counter-terrorism operations there.

    Al-Ghadfah is located in the vicinity of the city of Maarat al-Numan and for a long time it has been controlled by Turkey's main partner in Idlib – Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. The town was liberated by the Syrian Army and its allies in January 2020.

    Lt. Sharif al-Nazzal of the Syrian Military Intelligence Directorate (MID) was assassinated in the town of Sahem al-Golan in western Daraa on July 29. The lieutenant was with another intelligence officer known as "Abu Haider", when they were attacked by unidentified gunmen. Both officers were shot dead on the spot.

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    Opposition sources claimed that al-Nazzal, a native of Sahem al-Golan, was close to Lebanon's Hezbollah and Iranian forces. The officer headed a detachment of the MID in the western Daraa countryside. No group has claimed responsibility for the assassination. Nonetheless, in previous stages of the conflict Israel was extensively supporting militant groups in southern Syria. It is possible that Tel Aviv may have access to cells of these groups for support with particular operations.

    Two members of the US-backed Revolutionary Commando Army militant group based in al-Tanf were detained by the Syrian Army near the US-controlled zone. The detained persons were moving on a motorcycle and possessed assault rifles and night-vision goggles. They were reportedly involved in an information gathering operation about civilian and military facilities in the Homs desert.

    In the past, Damascus has repeatedly claimed that the US was planning to use its proxies in al-Tanf for destabilizing operations in the government-controlled area.

    [Aug 01, 2020] Executed Turkish general exposed misuse of Qatari funds for Syria extremists- Report - Al Arabiya English

    Highly recommended!
    Aug 01, 2020 | english.alarabiya.net

    Executed Turkish general exposed misuse of Qatari funds for Syria extremists: Report Semih Terzi, a general within the Turkish army, was executed on the night of the 2016 Turkish coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Photo via the stockholmcf) Ismaeel Naar, Al Arabiya English Friday 31 July 2020 Text size A A A

    me title=

    The Turkish army executed a senior general within its ranks after he had discovered the embezzlement of illicit Qatari funding for extremists in Syria by public officials, according to a 2019 court testimony unveiled in a report by the Nordic Monitor.

    Semih Terzi, a general within the Turkish army, was executed on the night of the 2016 Turkish coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

    The new allegations unveiled in court testimonies from a hearing March 20, 2019at Ankara 17th High Criminal Court were made by Col. Fırat Alakuş, an army officer working within Turkey's Special Forces Command's intelligence section.

    According to the Nordic Monitor, Terzi is said to have been executed after discovering that Lt. Gen. Zekai Aksakallı, in charge of the Special Forces Command at the time, was working covertly with Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MIT) "in running illegal and clandestine operations in Syria for personal gain while dragging Turkey deeper into the Syrian civil war."

    Read more:

    Qatar, Turkey, Muslim Brotherhood leading campaign to 'vilify' UAE: Gargash

    Turkey leans on Qatar for $15 billion deal as economy stutters amid coronavirus

    Syrian refugees file law suit against Qatar's Doha Bank for terror funding

    "[Terzi] knew how much of the funding delivered [to Turkey] by Qatar for the purpose of purchasing weapons and ammunition for the opposition was actually used for that and how much of it was actually used by public officials, how much was embezzled," Col. Alakuş was quoted as saying by the Nordic Monitor via his court testimony.

    The Nordic Monitor said in its report published on Friday that Alakuş testified that Aksakallı had run a gang outside of the chain of command within the Turkish intelligence that was involved in illicit activities.

    The report further alleged that Terzi was aware of public officials involved in oil-smuggling operations with ISIS from Syria.

    "[Terzi] was aware of who in the government was involved in an oil-smuggling operation from Syria, how the profits were shared, and what activities they were involved in," Alakuş said in his testimony.

    [Jul 30, 2020] Bolton is a typical crazy neocon who wants to dominate the world

    Jul 30, 2020 | www.amazon.com

    Pseudo D 3.0 out of 5 stars , June 24, 2020

    superhawk

    Ambassador John Bolton hinted that he doesn't like being called a hawk, since foreign policy labels are simplistic.

    But first of all, he labeled libertarian Sen. Rand Paul an isolationist, rather than say, a non- interventionist. And after nearly 500 pages (all but the epilogue), what you will absorb is absolutely the worldview of a geopolitical hawk. He is not technically a neoconservative (like, say, Paul Wolfowitz) because the latter were more focused on nation building and spreading democracy. Bolton sees what he's promoting as defense, but it requires a constant offense.

    Bolton is very bright, as Jim Baker noted decades ago, and very well-read, even endorsing his fellow Baltimorean and my teacher Steve Vicchio's book on Lincoln's faith. But his intelligence is all put into an ideological reading of situations. As Aristotle would put it, the problem is not lack of theoretical wisdom, but the deficiency in practical wisdom and prudential judgment. Certainly there are bad actors in the world, and vigilance is required. But when is aggressive action called for, and when is it better to go with diplomacy? In this book, I find few cases of such restraint. For Bolton, it seems that the goal of peace and security requires the constant threat of war and presence on every continent. All this intervention around the world requires troops, soldiers, real men and women and their lives and those of their families, requiring lots of sacrifice. At times, his theorizing seems distant from these realities on the ground.

    So Bolton is critical of the "axis of adults" in the Trump administration, the "generals", but not Kelly and not much on his predecessor McMaster, much less the eccentric Flynn. So his beef is with Mattis, another fine student of history. Bolton says he went by the rules, as James Baker had said that Bush 41 was "the one who got the votes". He tried to influence Trump within the rules, while Mattis, Tillerson and Haley pursued their own foreign policy. I'm sure that Mattis was sometimes right and sometimes wrong, but I would trust his prudential judgment above that of the equally bright Bolton, because of his life experience, being the one on the ground and knowing what war is like.

    When Bolton was considered for secretary state right after the 2016 election, I said, well I don't care for the guy, but at least I've heard of him and we know what we're dealing with. His opponent in GOP foreign policy is the libertarian and non-interventionist Sen. Rand Paul. What does Bolton say about the big players in the Trump administration? Nikki Haley is dismissed as a lightweight who was posing for her political future. Well, that's basically what Trump, "the one that got the votes", put her there for. But it's interesting that Bolton is so anti-Haley, when she was for Rubio and the more hawkish platform.

    Tillerson's successor Mike Pompeo had sort of a love-hate relationship with Bolton.

    Steve Mnuchin is the epitome of the globalist establishment, along with Javanka. Jared Kushner is dismissed as no Kissinger, but when it comes to China, his soft stance is blamed on Kissinger! While Bolton didn't testify in the impeachment, Fiona Hill is mentioned only with respect in this book.

    Everybody's flaw, from Bolton's point of view, is being less belligerent than Bolton. (Even in the Bush administration, the only name I can think of would be Michael Ledeen). He even defends the concept of Middle Eastern "endless wars" on the grounds that we didn't start them and can't dictate when they end. Obama was a dove, but in 2016 the GOP marked a shift, with Trump, Paul, Ben Carson and even Ted Cruz opposing the "invade every country on earth" philosophy that this book promotes. It's true that Trump is not an ideologue and thinks in terms of individual transactions. But the movement I see is a dialectic of alternating between aggression and diplomacy, or as he sees it, friendly relationship among leaders.

    Bolton is a superhawk on North Korea and Iran throughout, while China and Russia are our hostile rivals. Other matters are Syria, Iraq and ISIS, Venezuela, Afghanistan and finally Ukraine, which by the end of the book I had almost forgotten. If Bolton is dovish anywhere, it's on the Saudis, the rivals with Iran in the Sunni-Shiite dispute chronicled recently in the book "Black Wave".

    You can learn a lot from this book, but just keep in mind that it's filtered through the mind of a strong ideologue, so other people's faults are seen through that lens. But he has great knowledge of the details of policy. Bolton would like to be an inter-generational guru like Henry Kissinger or Dean Acheson, but both parties have turned away from the "endless wars" philosophy.

    If you are looking for anti-Trump material, I don't really see the point of investing this time and intellectual effort. The more sensational parts have been reported-the exchanges involving Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un, and to a lesser extent Erdogan. As most reviewers have said, it's about 100 pages too long, but Bolton is looking for a scholarly work like Kissinger's Diplomacy or World Order, and this is the one that he hopes people will read.

    C Wm (Andy) Anderson

    Not Only is Bolton's Take on Trump Being Dangerous; Bolton Himself is a Danger to America

    #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER 3.0 out of 5 stars Not Only is Bolton's Take on Trump Being Dangerous; Bolton Himself is a Danger to America Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2020 Verified Purchase Two reviewers did better at explaining why this book is not rated by me as a must-read. Linda Galella and gammyjill. Bolton laid out some truly explosive allegations but let his own ego cloud his message.

    John Bolton, on some fundamental level, is a brilliant, dedicated conservative intent on improving the future of the country he and I love. THAT similarity is probably the only point we share.

    I wanted to love this book, because I knew it would be jam-packed with juicy tidbits that justify me derision of the biggest failure ever to assume the office of POTUS. Instead, quite early on, I realized the reason Trump became President was the enormous ineptitude of those otherwise brilliant people who, in short, simply felt that somebody opposing those the person they despise, on principle, was better for America than the other guy or gal.

    Throughout this book, Bolton reminds us of Trump's inability to focus attention on the information provided by his handlers. Yes, Trump is naive and intellectually lazy. Yes, so, too, are many of those aiding and abetting Mr. Trump. But, yes, Mr. Bolton also suffers from gross naïveté, and, is just plain foolish. His ego led him to join the Trump Administration, as he admits in "The Room Where It Happened."

    Bolton's greatest error, however, was in refusing to tell the country what he chose to sell to the public through this book.

    The writing is, mechanically, quite good. But, Bolton comes across as thinking he is the only person of intelligence. That becomes clear by page two, and never changes, except for his insight that he was wrong about Trump.

    Unfortunately, Bolton also was wrong about Bolton.

    Whoa. Hold on. Just about everyone in both political parties is no better than Bolton. A few exceptions would be Former governor John Kasick and Utah Senator Mitt Romney. Oh, and former Vice President Joe Biden, I believe. Yet, to be honest, I need to see him prove me right. I would hate to make the same mistake regarding Biden as Bolton did regarding Trump.

    Americans need to take a good, hard look at how we are governed and at those whom we support.

    BOTTOM LINE

    Writing quality, passable. But don't expect to gain a great deal of new knowledge.

    Three stars out of five.

    [Jul 28, 2020] Turkey On The Warpath

    Putin decision to save Erdogan from the coup in retrospect looks like a blunder...
    Jul 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

    Authored by Uzay Bulut via The Gatestone Institute,

    Turkey is currently involved in quite a few international military conflicts -- both against its own neighbors such as Greece, Armenia, Iraq, Syria and Cyprus, and against other nations such as Libya and Yemen. These actions by Turkey suggest that Turkey's foreign policy is increasingly destabilizing not only several nations, but the region as well.

    In addition, the Erdogan regime has been militarily targeting Syria and Iraq, sending its Syrian mercenaries to Libya to seize Libyan oil and continuing, as usual, to bully Greece. Turkey's regime is also now provoking ongoing violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

    me title=

    https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.398.1_en.html#goog_750179333

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    Erdogan leads first Muslim prayer after Hagia Sophia mosque reconversion

    Istanbul's Hagia Sophia reconversion to a mosque, 'provocation to civilised world', Greece says

    Turkish top court revokes Hagia Sophia's museum status, 'tourists should still be allowed in'

    Erdogan: Interference over Hagia Sophia 'direct attack on our sovereignty'

    Libya's GNA says Egypt's warning on Sirte offensive a 'declaration of war'

    Erdogan says 'agreements' reached with Trump on Libya

    What Turkish Election Results Mean for the Lira

    Erdogan Sparks Democracy Concerns in Push for Istanbul Vote Rerun

    Since July 12, Azerbaijan has launched a series of cross-border attacks against Armenia's northern Tavush region in skirmishes that have resulted in the deaths of at least four Armenian soldiers and 12 Azerbaijani ones. After Azerbaijan threatened to launch missile attacks on Armenia's Metsamor nuclear plant on July 16, Turkey offered military assistance to Azerbaijan.

    "Our armed unmanned aerial vehicles, ammunition and missiles with our experience, technology and capabilities are at Azerbaijan's service," said İsmail Demir, the head of Presidency of Defense Industries, an affiliate of the Turkish Presidency.

    One of Turkey's main targets also seems to be Greece. The Turkish military is targeting Greek territorial waters yet again. The Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported :

    "There have been concerns over a possible Turkish intervention in the East Med in a bid to prevent an agreement on the delineation of an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between Greece and Egypt which is currently being discussed between officials of the two countries."

    Turkey's choice of names for its gas exploration ships are also a giveaway. The name of the main ship that Turkey is using for seismic "surveys" of the Greek continental shelf is Oruç Reis , (1474-1518), an admiral of the Ottoman Empire who often raided the coasts of Italy and the islands of the Mediterranean that were still controlled by Christian powers. Other exploration and drilling vessels Turkey uses or is planning to use in Greece's territorial waters are named after Ottoman sultans who targeted Cyprus and Greece in bloody military invasions. These include the drilling ship Fatih "the conqueror" or Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, who invaded Constantinople in 1453; the drilling ship Yavuz , "the resolute", or Sultan Selim I, who headed the Ottoman Empire during the invasion of Cyprus in 1571; and Kanuni , "the lawgiver" or Sultan Suleiman, who invaded parts of eastern Europe as well as the Greek island of Rhodes.

    Turkey's move in the Eastern Mediterranean came in early July, shortly after the country had turned Hagia Sophia, once the world's greatest Greek Cathedral, into a mosque. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then linked Hagia Sophia's conversion to a pledge to "liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque" in Jerusalem.

    https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

    On July 21, the tensions arose again following Turkey's announcement that it plans to conduct seismic research in parts of the Greek continental shelf in an area of sea between Cyprus and Crete in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.

    "Turkey's plan is seen in Athens as a dangerous escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, prompting Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to warn that European Union sanctions could follow if Ankara continues to challenge Greek sovereignty," Kathimerini reported on July 21.

    Here is a short list of other countries where Turkey is also militarily involved:

    In Libya , Turkey has been increasingly involved in the country's civil war. Associated Press reported on July 18:

    "Turkey sent between 3,500 and 3,800 paid Syrian fighters to Libya over the first three months of the year, the U.S. Defense Department's inspector general concluded in a new report, its first to detail Turkish deployments that helped change the course of Libya's war.

    "The report comes as the conflict in oil-rich Libya has escalated into a regional proxy war fueled by foreign powers pouring weapons and mercenaries into the country."

    Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when an armed revolt during the "Arab Spring" led to the ouster and murder of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Political power in the country, the current population of which is around 6.5 million, has been split between two rival governments. The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), has been led by Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj. Its rival, the Libyan National Army (LNA), has been led by Libyan military officer, Khalifa Haftar.

    Backed by Turkey, the GNA said on July 18 that it would recapture Sirte, a gateway to Libya's main oil terminals, as well as an LNA airbase at Jufra.

    Egypt, which backs the LNA, announced , however, that if the GNA and Turkish forces tried to seize Sirte, it would send troops into Libya. On July 20, the Egyptian parliament gave approval to a possible deployment of troops beyond its borders "to defend Egyptian national security against criminal armed militias and foreign terrorist elements."

    Yemen is another country on which Turkey has apparently set its sights. In a recent video , Turkey-backed Syrian mercenaries fighting on behalf of the GNA in Libya, and aided by local Islamist groups, are seen saying, "We are just getting started. The target is going to be Gaza." They also state that they want to take on Egyptian President Sisi and to go to Yemen.

    "Turkey's growing presence in Yemen," The Arab Weekly reported on May 9, "especially in the restive southern region, is fuelling concern across the region over security in the Gulf of Aden and the Bab al-Mandeb.

    "These concerns are further heightened by reports indicating that Turkey's agenda in Yemen is being financed and supported by Qatar via some Yemeni political and tribal figures affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood."

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    In Syria , Turkey-backed jihadists continue occupying the northern parts of the country. On July 21, Erdogan announced that Turkey's military presence in Syria would continue. "Nowadays they are holding an election, a so-called election," Erdogan said of a parliamentary election on July 19 in Syria's government-controlled regions, after nearly a decade of civil war. "Until the Syrian people are free, peaceful and safe, we will remain in this country."

    Additionally, Turkey's incursion into the Syrian city of Afrin, created a particularly grim situation for the local Yazidi population:

    "As a result of the Turkish incursion to Afrin," the Yazda organization reported on May 29, "thousands of Yazidis have fled from 22 villages they inhabited prior to the conflict into other parts of Syria, or have migrated to Lebanon, Europe, or the Kurdistan Region of Iraq... "

    "Due to their religious identity, Yazidis in Afrin are suffering from targeted harassment and persecution by Turkish-backed militant groups. Crimes committed against Yazidis include forced conversion to Islam, rape of women and girls, humiliation and torture, arbitrary incarceration, and forced displacement. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its 2020 annual report confirmed that Yazidis and Christians face persecution and marginalization in Afrin.

    "Additionally, nearly 80 percent of Yazidi religious sites in Syria have been looted, desecrated, or destroyed, and Yazidi cemeteries have been defiled and bulldozed."

    In Iraq , Turkey has been carrying out military operations for years. The last one was started in mid-June. Turkey's Defense Ministry announced on June 17 that the country had "launched a military operation against the PKK" (Kurdistan Workers' Party) in northern Iraq after carrying out a series of airstrikes. Turkey has named its assaults "Operation Claw-Eagle" and "Operation Claw-Tiger".

    The Yazidi, Assyrian Christian and Kurdish civilians have been terrorized by the bombings. At least five civilians have been killed in the air raids, according to media reports . Human Rights Watch has also issued a report , noting that a Turkish airstrike in Iraq "disregards civilian loss."

    Given Turkey's military aggression in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Armenia, among others, and its continued occupation of northern Cyprus, further aggression, especially against Greece, would not be unrealistic. Turkey's desire to invade Greece is not exactly a secret. Since at least 2018, both the Turkish government and opposition parties have openly been calling for capturing the Greek islands in the Aegean, which they falsely claim belong to Turkey.

    If such an attack took place, would the West abandon Greece?


    Gaius Konstantine , 10 hours ago

    If such an attack took place, it will get real messy, real fast. The Turkish military is only partially adept at fighting irregular forces that lack heavy weaponry while Turkey has absolute control of the sky. Even then, the recent performance of Turkish forces has been lacklustre for "the 2nd largest Army in NATO".

    Turkey should understand that a fight with Greece will mean that the advantages she enjoyed in her recent adventures will not be there. Nor should Turkey look to the past and expect an easy victory, the Greek Army will not be marching deep into Anatolia this time, (which was the wrong type of war for Greece).

    So what happens if they actually take it to war?

    The larger Greek islands are well defended, they won't be taken, but defending the smaller ones is hard and Turkey will probably grab some of those. The Greeks, who have absolute control and dominance in the Aegean will do several things. Turkish naval and air bases along the Aegean coastline will be attacked as will the bosphorus bridges, (those bridges WILL go down). The Greek army, which is positioned well, will blitz into eastern Thrace and stop outside Istanbul where they will dig in and shell the city, thereby causing the civilians to flee and clogging up the tunnels to restrict military re-enforcement.

    That's Greece acting alone, a position will be achieved where any captured islands will be traded for eastern Thrace. Should the French intervene, (even if it's just air and naval forces), it gets a lot more interesting.

    The mighty Turkish fleet was just met by the entire Greek navy in the latest stand-off, it was enough to cause Turkey to reconsider her options. There will be no Ottoman empire 2.0

    OliverAnd , 9 hours ago

    The Greeks need their navy for surgically precise attacks against Turkey's navy. Every island, especially the large ones are unsinkable aircraft carriers. No one has mentioned in any article that Turkey's navy is functioning with less than minimum required personnel. No one has mentioned that their air force is flying with Pakistani pilots. The only way Turks will land on Greek uninhabited islands is only if they are ship wrecked and that for a very very short period of time. Turkey's population is composed of 25% Kurds... that will also be very interesting to see once they awaken from their hibernation and realize their great and holy goal of Kurdistan. Egypt will not waste the opportunity to join in to devastate whatever Turkish navy remains. Serbian patriots will not allow the opportunity to go to waste and will attack Kosovo and indirectly Albania composed primarily of Turkish descendants... realize the coverage lately of how the US did wrong for supporting these degenerate Muslim Albanians.

    I have no doubt Greeks will make it to Aghia Sophia but will not pass Bosporus. The result will be a Treaty that is a hybrid of the Treaty of Lausanne and the Treaty of Sevron. If the Albanians decide to support the Turks by attacking Greeks in the North and in Northern Epeirus they should expect annexation of Northern Epeirus to Greece. Erdogan bases his bullying on Trump's incompetences and false friendship. This is why America is non existent in any of these regions. If Trump wins the election it will be a long war and very destabilized for the region. If Trump loses the war will be much much quicker. The outcome will remain the same. The Russians will not allow Turkey to dictate in the area. Israel will not allow Turkey to dictate in the area. Egypt will not allow Turkey to dictate in the area. Not even European Union. UK is the questionable.

    bobcatz , 2 hours ago

    And the US in the Middle East is not????????

    ALL MidEast terrorism, shenanigans, and warmongering are for APARTHEID Israhell.

    Joy Division , 7 hours ago

    The West has Turkey's back otherwise the Turkish currency the Turkish Lira would have collapsed by now under attacks from the City of London Freemasonic Talmudic bankers.

    Remember what happened to the Russian Rouble when Russia annexed Crimea?

    The Fed and the ECB in cahoots with the usual Talmudic interests, are supporting the Turkish Lira and propping up the Erdogan regime.

    There is NO OTHER explanation.

    The Turks have NO foreign currency reserves, no net positive euro nor dollar reserves. Their tourism industry and main hard currency generator has COLLAPSED (hotels are 95 percent empty). The Turkish central bank has resorted to STEALING Turkish citizens' dollar-denominated bank accounts via raising Turkish Banks' foreign currency reserve requirements which the Turkish central bank SPENDS upon receipt to buy TLs and prop up the Turkish Lira.

    This is utter MADNESS and FRAUD and LARCENY.

    London-based currency traders would be all over the Turkish Lira and/or Turkish bonds and stocks by now UNLESS they had been instructed by the Fed and the ECB or the Talmudic bankers that own and control both, to lay off the Turkish Lira.

    Despite the noise on TV or the press,

    BY DEFINITION,

    Erdogan and the Turks are only doing the bidding of the TRIBE hence Erdogan has the blessing and the protection of the people ZH censors the name.

    BUT

    You know how those parasites treat their host and what the inevitable outcome is, right?

    Indeed,

    Erdogan and the Turks are being set up to be thrown under the proverbial bus at the appropriate time.

    The Neo-Ottoman Sultan has inadvertently set up his (ill begotten) country for eventual destruction and partition. The Kurds will get a piece of it. Who knows, maybe even the Armenians will be able to recover some bits of their ancient homeland.

    Greeks in Constantinople? Nothing is impossible thanks to the hubris and chutzpah of Erdogan who is purported to have "Amish" blood himself.

    Know thyself , 5 hours ago

    Good for the UK that they have left the EU.

    Apart from the Greeks, who would be fighting for their lives and homeland, the only EU forces capable of acting are the French. German does not have an operative army or navy; Italy, Spain and Portugal have neglected their armed forces for many years, and the Baltic and Eastern Nations are unlikely to want to get involved. The Netherlands have very good forces but not many of them.

    MPJones , 7 hours ago

    We can live in hope. Erdogan certainly seems to need external enemies to hold the country together. Let us also hope that Erdogan's adventurism finally wakes up Europe to the reality of the ongoing Muslim invasion so that the necessary Muslim repatriation can get going without the bloodshed which Islam's current strategy in Europe will otherwise inevitably lead to.

    Know thyself , 5 hours ago

    The Turkish army is a conscript army. They will need to be whipped up with religious fervour to perform. Otherwise they will look after their own skins.

    But remember that the Turks put up a good defence in the Dardanelles in the First World War.

    HorseBuggy , 9 hours ago

    What do you expect? He killed Russian fighter pilots and he survived, this empowers terrorists like him. Those pilots were the only ones at that time fighting ISIS. May they RIP.

    Max.Power , 9 hours ago

    Turkey is in a "proud" group of failed empires surrounded by nations they severely abused less than 100 years ago.

    Other two are Germany and Japan. Any military aggression from their side will be met with rage by a coalition of nations.

    US position will be irrelevant at this point, because local historical grievances will overweight anything else.

    monty42 , 10 hours ago

    "Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when an armed revolt during the "Arab Spring" led to the ouster and murder of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Political power in the country..."

    Kinda gave yourself away there. The coordinated assault on Libya by the US, Britain, France, and their Al-CiA-da allies on the ground resulted in the torture, sodomizing, and murder of Gaddafi, as well as his son and grandchildren killed in bombings by the US.

    Also, let's not forget that Turkey is still in NATO, and their actions in Syria were alongside the US regime and terrorist proxies labeled "moderate rebels". The same terrorists originally used in Libya, then shipped to destroy Syria, now flown back to Libya. The attempt to paint all of those things as Turkey's actions alone is not honest.

    When Turkey isn't in NATO anymore, let me know.

    TheZeitgeist , 10 hours ago

    Don't forget that Hiftar guy Turks are fighting in Libya was a CIA toadie living in Virginia for a decade before they gave him his "chance" to among other things become a client of the Russians apparently. Flustercluck of the 1st order everywhere one looks.

    monty42 , 10 hours ago

    Then they put on this whole production where it's the CIA guy or the terrorist puppet regime they installed, so that the rulers win regardless of the outcome. The victims are those caught up in their sick game.

    GalustGulbenkyan , 9 hours ago

    Turkish population has been recently getting ****** due to the economic contractions and devaluation of the Lira. Once Turkey starts fighting against a real army the Turks will realize that they are going to be ****** by larger dildos. In 1990's they sent thousands of volunteers to Nagorno Karabagh to fight against irregular Armenian forces and we know how that ended for them. Greeks and Egyptians are not the Kurds. Erdogan is a lot of hot air and empty threats. You can't win wars with Modern drones which even Armenians have learned how to jam and shoot down with old 1970's soviet tech.

    Guentzburgh , 5 hours ago

    Greece should be aligned with Russia, EU and USA are a bad choice that Greece will regret.

    Greece needs to pivot towards Russia which will open huge opportunities for both countries

    KoalaWalla , 6 hours ago

    Greeks are bitter and prideful - they would not only defend themselves if attacked but would counter attack to reclaim land they've lost. But, I don't know that Erdogan is clever enough to realize this.

    60s Man , 9 hours ago

    Turkey is America's Mini Me.

    currency , 3 hours ago

    Erdogan is in Trouble at home declining economy and his radical conservative/Thug type policies. Turks are moving away from him except the hard core radicals and conservatives. He and his family are Corrupt - they rule with threats and use of THUGS. Sense his constant wars may be over stretched Time for a Turkish Spring.

    Time for US, Nato and etc. to say goodbye to this THUG

    OrazioGentile , 7 hours ago

    Turkey seems to be on a warpath to imploding from within. Erdogan looks like a desperate despot with a failing economy, failing political clout, and failing modernization of his Country. Like any despot, he has to rally the troops or he will literally be a dead man walking.

    HorseBuggy , 9 hours ago

    The world fears loud obnoxious tyrants and Erdogan is the loudest tyrant since Hitler. Remember how countries pandered to Hitler early on? Same thing is happening with Erdogan.

    This terrorist will do a lot more damage than he has already before the world wakes up.

    By the time Hitler was done, 70 million people were dead, what will Erdogan cause?

    OliverAnd , 9 hours ago

    Turkey is not Germany. Not by far. Erdogan may be a bigger lunatic than Hitler, but Turkey is not Germany of the 30's. Without military equipment/parts from Germany, Italy, Spain, France, USA, and UK he cannot even build a nail. Economies are very integrated; he will be disposed of very very quickly. He has been warned. He is running out of lives.

    NewNeo , 9 hours ago

    You should research a lot more. Turkey is a lot more power thank Nazi Germany of the 1930's. Turkey currently have brand new US made equipment. It even houses the nuclear arsenal of NATO.

    You should probably look at information from stratfor and George Friedman to give you a better understanding.

    The failed coupe a few years ago was because the lunatic had gone off the reservation and was seen as a threat to the region. Obviously the bankers thought it in their benefit to keep him going and tipped him off.

    OliverAnd , 8 hours ago

    Clearly the lockdown has hindered your already illiteracy. Turkey has modern US equipment. Germany did not need US equipment. They made their own equipment; in fact both the US and USSR used Grrman old tech to develop future tech.

    The coup was designed by Erdogan to bring himself to full power. When this is all done he will be responsible for millions of Turkish lives; after all he is not a Turk but a Muslim Pontian.

    [Jul 20, 2020] The above link exhaustively details how the fraud was perpetrated and how the White Helmets were funded. The most disturbing facts were the murder of captive Syrian civilians including children for use as props for Western media.

    Jul 20, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

    A former British officer and gentleman, no less!

    PATIENT OBSERVER July 19, 2020 at 11:29 am

    http://syriapropagandamedia.org/james-le-mesurier-a-reconstruction-of-his-business-activities-and-covert-role

    The above link exhaustively details how the fraud was perpetrated and how the White Helmets were funded. The most disturbing facts were the murder of captive Syrian civilians including children for use as props for Western media. There is little doubt in my mind that these murders were viewed as standard business practice with the only concern being related to complication from being caught. Of course, being "caught" was a minor inconvenience that the MSM could easily manage into oblivion.

    Mr. Le Mesurier may have been killed as the White Helmets no longer had value and dead men rarely talk:

    https://www.dailysabah.com/investigations/2019/12/10/british-spy-le-mesurier-was-likely-running-away-from-someone-before-his-death

    His wife was not very helpful in the investigation having changed her story several times.

    Winberg said she looked for her husband inside the house and saw his lifeless body when she looked out of the window. Police are investigating now how she was able to wake up about half an hour after she took a sleeping pill and why she stacked a large amount of money inside the house into bags immediately after Le Mesurier's body was found.
    Among questions that are needed to be addressed in the case is why Le Mesurier, who intended to sleep, did not change his clothes, did not even loosen his belt or remove his watch. It is also not known why he did not choose a definitive suicidal action to kill himself, instead of jumping from a relatively low height and why he chose to walk along the roof, passing around the air conditioning devices on the roof, instead of jumping to the street directly from the section of the roof closer to his window.

    Mr. Le Mesurier was previously active in Kosovo.

    [Jul 17, 2020] There is no honor among propagandists: White Helmets co-founder stole aid money destined for Syria

    Jul 17, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

    MOSCOWEXILE July 17, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Well waddya know!

    White Helmets co-founder stole aid money destined for Syria – report

    A former British officer and gentleman, no less!

    https://www.rt.com/news/495092-white-helmets-founder-fraud/

    MARK CHAPMAN July 17, 2020 at 9:29 am

    Honour among thieves – he says he didn't mean to steal, it was a mistake, and they conduct an investigation on the down-low so the press doesn't get wind of it, or is warned that it should not. The same cooperative that solemnly preaches western morality, and screeches 'Russia!!!' as soon as anything happens before it can be attributed to someone else. I think I understand Russia a little better every time something like this happens – it's a honour to be hated by such a crooked and wretched entity, and approbation by the same would be an implication that one has as little a sense of values.

    [Jul 15, 2020] Erdogan never ceases to amaze. He's the weakest standing strongmen who can barely cling on to power domestically yet he still makes big dawg moves in Syria and Egypt.

    Jul 15, 2020 | www.unz.com

    Gorgeous George , says: July 15, 2020 at 6:37 am GMT

    Erdogan never ceases to amaze. He's the weakest standing strongmen, the midget giant on glass legs. He can barely cling on to power domestically yet he still makes big dawg moves in Syria and Egypt. He needed this Hagia Sophia conversion like he needed a bullet to his head.

    On one level I'm sure that he's aware of all this, which just means that his ego is of galactic proportions.
    Also I don't see him allowing a peaceful power transfer to happen, he knows that anyone that defeats him in election will do so not only on the merits he might have as a candidate, but also because of anti-Erdo sentiments that grow. So someone will run on "lock him up" platform and win, maybe not this year but soon, and when that happens there will be blood.

    [Jul 11, 2020] Pounding to nothing - Patrick Porter - The Critic Magazine

    Jul 11, 2020 | thecritic.co.uk

    Pounding to nothing

    Patrick Porter reviews The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, by John Bolton ARTILLERY ROW BOOKS 4 July, 2020

    By

    Share

    P resident Donald Trump's third National Security Advisor opens his memoir with this quote from the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo: 'Hard Pounding, this, gentlemen. Let's see who will pound the longest.' And pound for pound, that's the (nearly) 500 page memoir in a nutshell. Unremitting pounding is both the theme and the style. As John Bolton urged the White House to take a 'harder line" on Iran and North Korea, Trump's chief of staff "urged me to keep pounding away in public, which I assured him I would.' China 'pounded away during my tenure, sensing weakness at the top.' As with Bolton's mission, so too with America's statecraft, that must 'keep moving and keep firing, like a big grey battleship.'

    From his infamous unsubtle moustache to his bellicosity, Bolton traffics on a self-image of straight shooter who sprints towards gunfire. He does not set out to offer a meditation on a complex inner life. This image is also slightly misleading. For all the barrage, Bolton turns out to be a more conflicted figure, especially when his supporting fire is most called upon.

    The Room Where it Happened is Bolton's account of his part in the power struggles within Trump's almost medieval court, his attempt to steer the executive branch towards the right course, unmasked supremacy everywhere, and his failure and disillusion with Trump's chaotic, self-serving and showbiz-driven presidency.

    The room where it happened: A White House memoir, by John Bolton

    The memoir itself is a non-trivial political event. Other reviewers have assailed it for being turgid. Bolton, though, has at least done the state some service by habitually recording and recounting every meeting. This is an important record of an important eighteen months packed with the escalating brinksmanship with Iran, an impeachment inquest, the return of great power competition and a fierce struggle to control the policy levers in Washington itself. For that detail, especially when contrasted with the exhausting melodrama of the era, Bolton deserves a little credit. The Trump administration's determined effort to suppress it on the grounds of classified information suggests there is substance to Bolton's allegations of corruption and turmoil at the heart of government.

    It is also, though, a work of self-vindication. Bolton's life is an adversarial one. A former attorney, he became a policy advocate and a Republican Party institution, consistently taking the hardest of lines. He was ever drawn to aggressive combatants – like Hillary Clinton, in his formative years he supported Barry Goldwater. He interned for Vice-President Spiro Agnew, the "number one hawk." As a measure of Bolton's faith that war works and that co-existence with "rogue states" is impossible, he advocated attacking a heavily (and nuclear)-armed North Korea in 2018, an adversary that lies in artillery range of Seoul and thousands of Americans as effective hostages, and offered up a best-case scenario in doing so.

    Bolton brought to government a world view that was dug-in and entrenched. For Bolton, the world is hostile, and to survive America must be strong (wielding and brandishing overwhelming force) at all times. Enemy regimes cannot be bargained with or even co-existed with on anything less than maximalist terms dictated by Washington. The US never gives an inch, and must demand everything. And if those regimes do not capitulate, America must topple or destroy them: Iran, Syria, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba, Yemen and North Korea, and must combat them on multiple fronts at once. In doing so, America itself must remain unfettered with an absolutely free hand, not nodding even hypocritically to law or custom or bargaining.

    If Bolton's thoughts add up to anything, it is a general hostility, if not to talking, certainly to diplomacy – the art of giving coherence and shape to different instruments and activities, above all through compromise and a recognition of limits. The final straw for Bolton was Trump's cancelling an airstrike on Iran after it shot down a drone. An odd hill to die on, given the graver acts of corruption he as witness alleges, but fitting that the failure to pull the trigger for him was Trump's most shocking misdemeanour.

    What is intended to be personal strength and clarity comes over as unreflective bluster

    This worldview is as personal as it is geopolitical. Importantly for Bolton, in the end he fights alone, bravely against the herd. He fights against other courtiers, even fellow hawks, who Bolton treats with dismissive contempt – Nikki Haley, Steve Mnuchin, Mike Pompeo, or James Mattis who like Bolton, champions strategic commitments and views Iran as a dangerous enemy, but is more selective about when to reach for the gun. The press is little more than an "hysterical" crowd. Allies like South Korea, who must live as neighbours with one of the regimes Bolton earmarks for execution, and who try conciliatory diplomacy occasionally, earn slight regard. Critics, opponents or those who disagree are 'lazy,' 'howling' or 'feckless.'

    For a lengthy work that distils a lifetime's experience, it is remarkably thin regarding the big questions of security, power and order. The hostile world for him contains few real limits other than failures of will. He embraces every rivalry and every commitment, but explanations are few and banal. 'While foreign policy labels are unhelpful except to the intellectually lazy,' he says, 'if pressed, I like to say my policy was "pro-American".' Who is lazy, here?

    The purpose of foreign policy, too, is largely absent. Armed supremacy abroad, and power-maximisation, seems to be the end in itself, regardless of what is has wrought at home. This makes his disdain for Trump's authoritarian ways especially obtuse: what does he think made possible an imperial presidency in the first place?

    There's little room for principled or reasonable disagreement. What is intended to be personal strength and clarity comes over as unreflective bluster, in a town where horse-trading and agility matter. Unintentionally, it is a warning to anyone who seeks to be effective as well as right, and to those of us who debate these questions.

    The most provocative part of the book comes at the end, and points to a man more conflicted than his self-image of the straight shooter. Bolton issues an extended, uneasy defence of his decision not to appear as a witness before the House impeachment inquiry against a president he believed to be corrupt. Having celebrated the need to "pound away" with inexhaustible energy, it turned out his ammunition was low. 'I was content to bide my time. I believed throughout, as the line in Hamilton goes, that "I am not throwing away my shot".' Drawing on a characteristic claim to certainty, 'it would have made no significant difference in the Senate outcome.' How can he know this? And even if the odds were long, was there not – for once – a compelling basis in civic virtue to be that relentless grey battleship, pounding away? He now hopes "history" will remember Trump as a one-term president. History needs willing agents.

    Other reviews have honed in on Bolton's decision to delay his revelations for a book pay-day. But consider another theme – the war-hawk who is in fact torn and agonised around combat when it comes to himself. It echoes his retrospective rationale for not fighting in Vietnam, a war he supported, and (as he has recorded) the detailed efforts he made to avoid service in that tragic theatre after being drafted. It was, he decided, bound to fail given that the anti-war Democrats would undermine the cause, a justification he later sheepishly regretted.

    So twice the advocate of forceful confrontation refused the call to show up, generously awarding to himself a rationale for non-intervention that relieves him of commitment. He refuses to extend that same exonerating, prudential logic to his country, when it debates whether to wade in to conflict abroad. Neither does he extend it to other Americans who think the nation, like Bolton, might be better off sometimes holding its fire, biding its time, dividing its enemies, and keeping its powder dry.

    Given that Bolton failed in the end to attend the "room where it happened", his title is unwittingly ironic. In his favour, Bolton's testy defence of his absence at least suggests something. In contrast with the front cover of another forthcoming, Trump-era memoir , he retains a modest capacity for embarrassment.

    [Jul 06, 2020] Bolton Changes Tune- Now Refuses To Answer 'Russian Bounties' Questions After Stoking The 'Scandal' -

    Jul 06, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

    By middle of last week we observed of the Russian bounties to kill American troops in Afghanistan story that "at this point this non-story looks to be dead by the weekend as it's already unraveled."

    Indeed by Thursday and Friday, as more Congressional leaders received closed door intelligence briefings on the allegations which originated with an anonymously sourced NY Times report claiming Trump supposedly ignored the Russian op to target Americans, the very Democrat and Republican lawmakers previously hyping it as a 'major scandal' went conspicuously silent .

    Recall too that John Bolton, busy with a media blitz promoting his book, emerged to strongly suggest he had personal knowledge that Trump was briefed on the matter . The former national security adviser called the Trump denial of being briefed "remarkable". Well, look who is now appearing to sing a different tune. A week ago Bolton was all too wiling to voluntarily say Trump had "likely" been briefed and that was a big scandal. The whole story was indeed dead by the weekend:

    NOW PLAYING

    Other reports said Bolton has been telling people he had personally briefed the president :

    Former national security adviser John Bolton told colleagues that he personally briefed President Donald Trump about intelligence that Russia offered Afghan militants bounties to kill American troops , U.S. officials told the Associated Press .

    Bolton briefed Trump on the matter in March of 2019, according to the report, a year earlier than previously reported by The New York Times . The information was also included in at least one presidential Daily Brief, according to the AP, CNN and The Times . The AP earlier reported that it was also included in a second presidential Daily Brief earlier this year and that current national security adviser Robert O'Brien discussed the matter with Trump.

    His Sunday refusal to even address the question - again after he was all too willing to speak to the issue a week ago when it was driving headlines - speaks volumes.

    Via The Daily Mail

    Now that even The Washington Post awkwardly walked back the substance of much of its reporting on the 'Russian bounties' story, Bolton has conveniently gone silent .


    [Jul 06, 2020] US claim of 'Russian Bounty' plot in Afghanistan is dubious and dangerous - The Grayzone

    Highly recommended!
    Notable quotes:
    "... the essential backdrop for the timing of this story. It really reveals how completely decayed mainstream media is as an institution, that none of these reporters protested the story, didn't see fit to do any independent investigation into it. At best they would print a Russian denial which counts for nothing in the US, or a Taliban denial which counts for nothing in the US. And then and this gets into the domestic political angle because so much of Russiagate, while it's been crafted by former or current intelligence officials, depends on the Democratic Party and it punditocracy, MSNBC and mainstream media as a projection megaphone, as its Mighty Wurlitzer. ..."
    "... That took place in this case because, according to this story, Donald Trump had been briefed on Putin paying bounties to the Taliban and he chose to do nothing. Which, of course Trump denies, but that counts for nothing as well. But, again, there's been no independent confirmation of any of this. And now we get into the domestic part, which is that this new Republican anti-Trump operation, The Lincoln Project, had a flashy ad ready to go almost minutes after the story dropped. ..."
    "... They're just, like, on meth at Steve Schmidt's political Batcave, just churning this material out. But I feel like they had an inkling, like this story was coming. It just the coordination and timing was impeccable. ..."
    "... And The Lincoln Project is something that James Carville, the veteran Democratic consultant, has said is doing more than any Democrat or any Democratic consultant to elect Joe Biden. ..."
    "... the Carter Administration, at the urging of national security chief Zbigniew Brzezinski, had enacted what would become Operation Cyclone under Reagan, an arm-and-equip program to arm the Afghan mujahideen. The Saudis put up a matching fund which helped bring the so-called Services Bureau into the field where Osama bin Laden became a recruiter for international jihadists to join the battlefield. And, you know, the goal was, in the words of Brzezinski, as he later admitted to a French publication, was to force the Red Army, the Soviet Red Army, to intervene to protect the pro-Soviet government in Kabul, which they proceeded to do. ..."
    "... What he means is by basically paying bounties, which the US was literally doing along with its Gulf allies, to exact the toll on the allies of Assad, Russia. So, let's just say it's true, according to your question, let's just say this is all true. It would be a retaliation for what the United States has done to Russia in areas where it was actually legally invited in by the governments in charge, either in Kabul or Damascus. And that's, I think, the kind of ironic subtext that can hardly be understated when you see someone like Dan Rather wag his finger at Putin for paying the Taliban as proxies. But, I mean, it's such a ridiculous story that it's just hard to even fathom that it's real. ..."
    "... just kind of neocon resistance mind-explosion, where first John Bolton was hailed as this hero and truthteller about Trump. ..."
    "... And then you have this and it, you know, today as you pointed out, Chuck Todd, "Chuck Toddler", welcomes on Meet the Press John Bolton as this wise voice to comment on Donald Trump's slavish devotion to Vladimir Putin and how we need to escalate. ..."
    "... This is what Russiagate has done. It's taken one of the most Strangelovian, psychotic, dangerous, bloodthirsty, sadistic monsters in US foreign policy circles and turned him into a sober-minded, even heroic, truthteller. ..."
    Jul 06, 2020 | thegrayzone.com

    US claim of 'Russian Bounty' plot in Afghanistan is dubious and dangerous

    Max Blumenthal breaks down the "Russian bounty" story's flaws and how it aims to prolong the war in Afghanistan -- and uses Russiagate tactics to continue pushing the Democratic Party to the right

    Multiple US media outlets, citing anonymous intelligence officials, are claiming that Russia offered bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan, and that President Trump has taken no action.

    Others are contesting that claim. "Officials said there was disagreement among intelligence officials about the strength of the evidence about the suspected Russian plot," the New York Times reports. "Notably, the National Security Agency, which specializes in hacking and electronic surveillance, has been more skeptical."

    "The constant flow of Russiagate disinformation into the bloodstream of the Democratic Party and its base is moving that party constantly to the right, while pushing the US deeper into this Cold War," Blumenthal says.

    Guest: Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone and author of several books, including his latest "The Management of Savagery."

    TRANSCRIPT

    AARON MATÉ: Welcome to Pushback, I'm Aaron Maté. There is a new supposed Trump-Russia bombshell. The New York Times and other outlets reporting that Russia has been paying bounties to Afghan militants to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan. Trump and the White House were allegedly briefed on this information but have taken no action.

    Now, the story has obvious holes, like many other Russiagate bombshells. It is sourced to anonymous intelligence officials. The New York Times says that the claim comes from Afghan detainees. And it also has some logical holes. The Taliban have been fighting the US and Afghanistan for nearly two decades and never needed Russian payments before to kill the Americans that they were fighting; [this] amongst other questions are raised about this story. But that has not stopped the usual chorus from whipping up a frenzy.

    RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Vladimir Putin is offering bounties for the scalps of American soldiers in Afghanistan. Not only offering, offering money [to] the people who kill Americans, but some of the bounties that Putin has offered have been collected, meaning the Russians at least believe that their offering cash to kill Americans has actually worked to get some Americans killed.

    FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin. He had has [sic] this information according to The Times, and yet he offered to host Putin in the United States and sought to invite Russia to rejoin the G7. He's in his entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale.

    CHUCK TODD, NBC: Let me ask you this. Do you think that part of the that the president is afraid to make Putin mad because maybe Putin did help him win the election and he doesn't want to make him mad for 2020?

    SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER: I was not briefed on the Russian military intelligence, but it shows that we need in this coming defense bill, which we're debating this week, tough sanctions against Russia, which thus far Mitch McConnell has resisted.

    Joining me now is Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone, author of The Management of Savagery . Max, welcome to Pushback. What is your reaction to this story?

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: I mean, it just feels like so many other episodes that we've witnessed over the past three or four years, where American intelligence officials basically plant a story in one outlet, The New York Times , which functions as the media wing of the Central Intelligence Agency. Then no reporting takes place whatsoever, but six reporters, or three to six reporters are assigned to the piece to make it look like it was some last-minute scramble to confirm this bombshell story. And then the story is confirmed again by The Washington Post because their reporters, their three to six reporters in, you know, capitals around the world with different beats spoke to the same intelligence officials, or they were furnished different officials who fed them the same story. And, of course, the story advances a narrative that the United States is under siege by Russia and that we have to escalate against Russia just ahead of another peace summit or some kind of international dialogue.

    This has sort of been the general framework for these Russiagate bombshells, and of course they can there's always an anti-Trump angle. And because, you know, liberal pundits and the, you know, Democratic Party operatives see this as a means to undermine Trump as the election heats up. They don't care if it's true or not. They don't care what the consequences are. They're just gonna completely roll with it. And it's really changed, I think, not just US foreign policy, but it's changed the Democratic Party in an almost irreversible way, to have these constant "quote-unquote" bombshells that are really generated by the Central Intelligence Agency and by other US intelligence operations in order to turn up the heat to crank up the Cold War, to use these different media organs which no longer believe in reporting, which see Operation Mockingbird as a kind of blueprint for how to do journalism, to turn them into keys on the CIA's Mighty Wurlitzer. That's what happened here.

    AARON MATÉ: What do you make of the logic of this story? This idea that the Taliban would need Russian money to kill Americans when the Taliban's been fighting the US for nearly two decades now. And the sourcing for the story, the same old playbook: anonymous intelligence officials who are citing vague claims about apparently what was said by Afghan detainees.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: This story has, as I said, it relies on zero reporting. The only source is anonymous American intelligence officials. And I tweeted out a clip of a former CIA operations officer who managed the CIA's operation in Angola, when the US was actually fighting on the side of apartheid South Africa against a Marxist government that was backed up by Cuban troops. His name was John Stockwell. And Stockwell talked about how one-third of his covert operations staff were propagandists, and that they would feed imaginary stories about Cuban barbarism that were completely false to reporters who were either CIA assets directly or who were just unwitting dupes who would hang on a line waiting for American intelligence officials to feed them stories. And one out of every five stories was completely false, as Stockwell said. We could play some of that clip now; it's pretty remarkable to watch it in light of this latest fake bombshell.

    JOHN STOCKWELL: Another thing is to disseminate propaganda to influence people's minds, and this is a major function of the CIA. And unfortunately, of course, it overlaps into the gathering of information. You, you have contact with a journalist, you will give him true stories, you'll get information from him, you'll also give him false stories.

    OFF-CAMERA REPORTER: Can you do this with responsible reporters?

    JOHN STOCKWELL: Yes, the Church Committee brought it out in 1975. And then Woodward and Bernstein put an article in Rolling Stone a couple of years later. Four hundred journalists cooperating with the CIA, including some of the biggest names in the business.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: So, basically, I mean, you get the flavor of what someone who was in the CIA at the height of the Cold War I mean, he did the same thing in Vietnam. And the playbook is absolutely the same today. These this story was dumped on Friday in The New York Times by "quote-unquote" American intelligence officials, as a breakthrough had been made in Afghan peace talks and a conference was finally set for Doha, Qatar, that would involve the Taliban, which had been seizing massive amounts of territory.

    Now, it's my understanding, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the Taliban had been fighting one of the most epic examples of an occupying army in modern history, just absolutely chewing away at one of the most powerful militaries in human history in their country for the last 19 years, without bounties from Vladimir Putin or private-hotdog-salesman-and-Saint-Petersburg-troll-farm-owner Yevgeny Prigozhin , who always comes up in these stories. It's always the hotdog guy who's doing everything bad from, like, you know, fake Facebook ads to poisoning Sergei Skripal or whatever.

    But I just don't see where the Taliban needs encouragement from Putin to do that. It's their country. They want the US out and they have succeeded in seizing large amounts of territory. Donald Trump has come into office with a pledge to remove US troops from Afghanistan and ink this deal. And along comes this story as the peace process begins to advance.

    And what is the end-result? We haven't gotten into the domestic politics yet, but the end-result is you have supposedly progressive senators like Chris Murphy of Connecticut attacking Trump for not fighting Russia in Afghanistan. I mean, they want a straight-up proxy war for not escalating. You have Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, someone who's aligned with the Democratic Party, who supported the war in Iraq and, you know, supports just endless war, demanding that the US turn up the heat not just in Afghanistan but in Syria. So, you know, the escalatory rhetoric is at a fever pitch right now, and it's obviously going to impact that peace conference.

    Let's remember that three days before Trump's summit with Putin was when Mueller chose to release the indictment of the GRU agents for supposedly hacking the DNC servers. Let's remember that a day before the UN the United Nations Geneva peace talks opened on Syria in 2014 was when US intelligence chose to feed these shady Caesar photos, supposedly showing industrial slaughter of Syrian prisoners, to The New York Times in an investigation that had been funded by Qatar. Like, so many shady intelligence dumps have taken place ahead of peace summits to disrupt them, because the US doesn't feel like it has enough skin in the game or it just simply doesn't want peace in these areas.

    So, that's what happened here. That's really, I think, the essential backdrop for the timing of this story. It really reveals how completely decayed mainstream media is as an institution, that none of these reporters protested the story, didn't see fit to do any independent investigation into it. At best they would print a Russian denial which counts for nothing in the US, or a Taliban denial which counts for nothing in the US. And then and this gets into the domestic political angle because so much of Russiagate, while it's been crafted by former or current intelligence officials, depends on the Democratic Party and it punditocracy, MSNBC and mainstream media as a projection megaphone, as its Mighty Wurlitzer.

    That took place in this case because, according to this story, Donald Trump had been briefed on Putin paying bounties to the Taliban and he chose to do nothing. Which, of course Trump denies, but that counts for nothing as well. But, again, there's been no independent confirmation of any of this. And now we get into the domestic part, which is that this new Republican anti-Trump operation, The Lincoln Project, had a flashy ad ready to go almost minutes after the story dropped.

    THE LINCOLN PROJECT AD: Now we know Vladimir Putin pays a bounty for the murder of American soldiers. Donald Trump knows, too, and does nothing. Putin pays the Taliban cash to slaughter our men and women in uniform and Trump is silent, weak, controlled. Instead of condemnation he insists Russia be treated as our equal.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: I mean, maybe they're just really good editors and brilliant politicians who work overtime. They're just, like, on meth at Steve Schmidt's political Batcave, just churning this material out. But I feel like they had an inkling, like this story was coming. It just the coordination and timing was impeccable.

    And The Lincoln Project is something that James Carville, the veteran Democratic consultant, has said is doing more than any Democrat or any Democratic consultant to elect Joe Biden. They're always out there doing the hard work. Who are they? Well, Steve Schmidt is a former campaign manager for John McCain 2008. And you look at the various personnel affiliated with it, they're all McCain former McCain aides or people who worked on the Jeb and George W. Bush campaigns, going back to Texas and Florida. This is sort of the corporate wing of the Republican Party, the white-glove-country-club-patrician Republicans who are very pro-war, who hate Donald Trump.

    And by doing this, by them really taking the lead on this attack, as you pointed out, Aaron, number one, they are sucking the oxygen out of the more progressive anti-Trump initiatives that are taking place, including in the streets of American cities. They're taking the wind out of anti-Trump more progressive anti-Trump critiques. For example, I think it's actually more powerful to attack Trump over the fact that he used, basically, chemical weapons on American peaceful protesters to do a fascistic photo-op. I don't know why there wasn't some call for congressional investigations on that. And they are getting skin in the game on the Biden campaign. It really feels to me like this Lincoln campaign operation, this moderate Republican operation which is also sort of a venue for neocons, will have more influence after events like this than the Bernie Sanders campaign, which has an enormous amount of delegates.

    So, that's what I think the domestic repercussion is. It's just this constant it's the constant flow of Russiagate disinformation into the bloodstream of the Democratic Party and its base that's moving that party constantly to the right, while pushing the US deeper into this Cold War that only serves, you know, people who are associated with the national security state who need to justify their paycheck and the budget of the institutions that employ them.

    AARON MATÉ: Let's assume for a second that the allegation is true, although, you know, you've laid out some of the reasons why it's not. Can you talk about the history here, starting with Afghanistan, something you cover a lot in your book, The Management of Savagery, where the US aim was to kill Russians, going right on through to Syria, where just recently the US envoy for the coalition against ISIS, James Jeffery, who handles Syria, said that his job now is to basically put the Russians in a quagmire in Syria.

    JAMES JEFFREY: This isn't Afghanistan. This isn't Vietnam. This isn't a quagmire. My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, I mean, it feels like a giant act of psychological and political projection to accuse Russia of using an Islamist militia in Afghanistan as a proxy against the US to bleed the US into leaving, because that's been the US playbook in Central Asia and the Middle East since at least 1979. I just tweeted a photo of Dan Rather in Afghanistan, just crossing the Pakistani border and going to meet with some of the Mujahideen in 1980. Dan Rather was panned in The New York in The Washington Post by Tom Toles [Tom Shales], who was the media critic at the time, as "Gunga Dan," because he was so gung-ho for the Afghan mujahideen. In his reports he would complain about how weak their weaponry was, you know, how they needed more how they needed more funding. I mean, you could call it bounties, but it was really just CIA funding.

    DAN RATHER: These are the best weapons you have, huh? They only have about twenty rounds for this?

    TRANSLATOR: That's all. They have twenty rounds. Yes, and they know that these are all old weapons and they really aren't up to doing anything to the Russian weaponry that's around. But that's all they have, and this is why they want help. And he is saying that America seems to be asleep. It doesn't seem to realize that if Afghanistan goes and the Russians go over to the Gulf, that in a very short time it's going to be the turn of the United States as well.

    DAN RATHER: But I'm sure he knows that in Vietnam we got our fingers burned. Indeed, we got our whole hands burned when we tried to help in this kind of situation.

    TRANSLATOR [translating to the Afghan man and then his reply]: Your hands were burned in Vietnam, but if you don't agree to help us, if you don't ally yourself with us, then all of you, your whole body will be burnt eventually, because there is no one in the world who can really fight and resist as well as the as much and as well as the Afghans are.

    DAN RATHER: But no American mother wants to send her son to Afghanistan.

    TRANSLATOR [translating to the Afghan man and then his reply]: We don't need anybody's soldiers here to help us, but we are being constantly accused that the Americans are helping us with weapons. What we need, actually, are the American weapons. We don't need or want American soldiers. We can do the fighting ourselves.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: And a year or several months before, the Carter Administration, at the urging of national security chief Zbigniew Brzezinski, had enacted what would become Operation Cyclone under Reagan, an arm-and-equip program to arm the Afghan mujahideen. The Saudis put up a matching fund which helped bring the so-called Services Bureau into the field where Osama bin Laden became a recruiter for international jihadists to join the battlefield. And, you know, the goal was, in the words of Brzezinski, as he later admitted to a French publication, was to force the Red Army, the Soviet Red Army, to intervene to protect the pro-Soviet government in Kabul, which they proceeded to do.

    And then with the introduction of the Stinger missile, the Afghan mujahideen, hailed as freedom fighters in Washington, were able to destroy Russian supply lines, exact a heavy toll, and forced the Red Army to leave in retreat. They helped create what's considered the Soviet Union's Vietnam.

    So that was really but the blueprint for what Russian for what Russia is being accused of now, and that same model was transferred over to Syria. It was also actually proposed for Iraq in the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998. Then Senate Foreign Relations chair Jesse Helms actually said that the Afghan mujahideen should be our model for supporting the Iraqi resistance. So, this kind of proxy war was always on the table. Then the US did it in Syria, when one out of every $13 in the CIA budget went to arm the so-called "moderate rebels" in Syria, who we later found out were 31 flavors of jihadi, who were aligned with al-Qaeda's local affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and helped give rise to ISIS. Michael Morell, I tweeted some video of him on Charlie Rose back in, I think, 2016. He's the former acting director for the CIA, longtime deputy director. He said, you know, the reason that we're in Syria, what we should be doing is causing Iran and Russia, the two allies of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, to pay a heavy price.

    MICHAEL MORELL: We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. We need to make the Russians pay a price. The other thing

    CHARLIE ROSE: We make them pay the price by killing killing Russians?

    MICHAEL MORELL: Yes.

    CHARLIE ROSE: And killing Iranians.

    MICHAEL MORELL: Yes, covertly. You don't tell the world about it, right? You don't stand up at the Pentagon and say we did this, right? But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: What he means is by basically paying bounties, which the US was literally doing along with its Gulf allies, to exact the toll on the allies of Assad, Russia. So, let's just say it's true, according to your question, let's just say this is all true. It would be a retaliation for what the United States has done to Russia in areas where it was actually legally invited in by the governments in charge, either in Kabul or Damascus. And that's, I think, the kind of ironic subtext that can hardly be understated when you see someone like Dan Rather wag his finger at Putin for paying the Taliban as proxies. But, I mean, it's such a ridiculous story that it's just hard to even fathom that it's real.

    AARON MATÉ: Let me read Dan Rather's tweet, because it's so it speaks to just how pervasive Russiagate culture is now. People have learned absolutely nothing from it.

    Rather says, "Reporters are trained to look for patterns that are suspicious, and time and again one stands out with Donald Trump. Why is he so slavishly devoted to Putin? There is a spectrum of possible answers ranging from craven to treasonous. One day I hope and suspect we will find out."

    It's like he forgot, perhaps, that Robert Mueller and his team spent three years investigating this very issue and came up with absolutely nothing. But the narrative has taken hold, and it's, as you talked about before, it's been the narrative we've been presented as the vehicle for understanding and opposing Donald Trump, so it cannot be questioned. And now it's like it's a matter of, what else is there to find out about Trump and Russia after Robert Mueller and the US intelligence agencies looked for everything they could and found nothing? They're still presented as if it's some kind of mystery that has to be unraveled.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: And it was after, like, a week of just kind of neocon resistance mind-explosion, where first John Bolton was hailed as this hero and truthteller about Trump. Then Dick Cheney was welcomed into the resistance, you know, because he said, "Wear a mask." I mean, you know, his mask was strangely not spattered with the blood of Iraqi children. But, you know, it was just amazing like that. Of course, it was the Lincoln project who hijacked the minds of the resistance, but basically people who used to work on Cheney's campaign said, "Dick Cheney, welcome to the resistance." I mean, that was remarkable. And then you have this and it, you know, today as you pointed out, Chuck Todd, "Chuck Toddler", welcomes on Meet the Press John Bolton as this wise voice to comment on Donald Trump's slavish devotion to Vladimir Putin and how we need to escalate.

    CHUCK TODD, NBC: Let me ask you this. Do you think that part of the that the president is afraid to make Putin mad because maybe Putin did help him win the election and he doesn't want to make him mad for 2020?

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: I mean, just a few years ago, maybe it was two years ago, before Bolton was brought into the Trump NSC, he was considered just an absolute marginal crank who was a contributor to Fox News. He'd been forgotten. He was widely hated by Democrats. Now here he is as a sage voice to tell us how dangerous this moment is. And, you know, he's not being even brought on just to promote his book; he's being brought on as just a sober-minded foreign policy expert on Meet the Press . That's where we're at right now.

    AARON MATÉ: Yeah, and when his critique of Trump is basically that Trump was not hawkish enough. Bolton's most the biggest critique Bolton has of Trump is, as he writes about in his book, is when Trump declined to bomb Iran after Iran shot down a drone over its territory. And Bolton said that to him was the most irrational thing he's ever seen a president do.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, Bolton was mad that Trump confused body bags with missiles, because he said Trump thought that there would be 150 dead Iranians, and I said, "No, Donald, you're confused. It will be 150 missiles that we're firing into Iran." Like that's better! Like, "Oh, okay, that makes everything all right," that we fire a hundred missiles for one drone and maybe that wouldn't that kill possibly more than 150 people?

    Well, in Bolton's world this was just another stupid move by Trump. If Bolton were, I mean, just, just watch all the interviews with Bolton. Watch him on The View where the only pushback he received was from Meghan McCain complaining that he ripped off a Hamilton song for his book The Room Where It Happened , and she asked, "Don't you have any apology to offer to Hamilton fans?" That was the pushback that Bolton received. Just watch all of these interviews with Bolton and try to find the pushback. It's not there. This is what Russiagate has done. It's taken one of the most Strangelovian, psychotic, dangerous, bloodthirsty, sadistic monsters in US foreign policy circles and turned him into a sober-minded, even heroic, truthteller.

    AARON MATÉ: And inevitably the only long-term consequence that I can see here is ultimately helping Trump, because, if history is a pattern, these Russiagate supposed bombshells always either go nowhere or they get debunked. So, if this one gets forcefully debunked, because I think it's quite possible, because Trump has said that he was never briefed on this and they'll have to prove that he's lying, you know. It should be easy to do. Someone could come out and say that. If they can't prove that he's lying, then this one, I think, will blow up in their face. And all they will have done is, at a time when Trump is vulnerable over the pandemic with over a hundred thousand people dead on his watch, all these people did was ultimately try to bring the focus back to the same thing that failed for basically the entirety of Trump's presidency, which is Russiagate and Trump's supposed―and non-existent in reality―subservience to Vladimir Putin.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: But have you ever really confronted one of your liberal friends who maybe doesn't follow these stories as closely as you do? You know, well-intentioned liberal friend who just has this sense that Russia controls Trump, and asked them to really defend that and provide the receipts and really explain where the Trump administration has just handed the store to Russia? Because what we've seen is unprecedented since the height of the Cold War, an unprecedented deterioration of US-Russia relations with new sanctions on Russia every few months. You ask them to do that. They can't do it. It's just a sense they get, it's a feeling they get. And that's because these bombshells drop, they get reported on the front pages under banners of papers that declare that "democracy dies in darkness," whose brand is something that everybody trusts, The New York Times , The Washington Post , Woodward and Bernstein, and everybody repeats the story again and again and again. And then, if and when it gets debunked, discredited or just sort of disappears, a few days later everybody forgets about it. And those people who are not just, like, 24/7 media consumers but critical-minded media consumers, they're left with that sense that Russia actually controls us and that we must do something to escalate with Russia. So, that's the point of these: by the time the disinformation is discredited, the damage has already been done. And that same tactic was employed against Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, to the point where so many people were left with the sense that he must be an antisemite, although not one allegation was ever proven.

    AARON MATÉ: Yeah, and now to the point where, in the Labour Party―we should touch on this for a second―where you had a Labour Party member retweet an article recently that mentioned some criticism of Israel and for that she was expelled from her position in the shadow cabinet.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, well, you know, as a Jew I was really threatened by that retweet [laughter]. I don't know about you.

    I mean, this is Rebecca Long Bailey. She's one of the few Corbynites left in a high position in Labour who hasn't been effectively burned at the stake for being a, you know, Jew hater who wants to throw us all in gas chambers because she retweets an interview with some celebrity I'd never heard of before, who didn't even say anything that extreme. But it really shows how the Thought Police have taken control of the Labour Party through Sir Keir Starmer, who is someone who has deep links to the national security state through the Crown Prosecution Service, which he used to head, where he was involved in the prosecution of Julian Assange. And he has worked with The Times of London, which is a, you know, favorite paper of the national security state and the MI5 in the UK, for planting stories against Jeremy Corbyn. He was intimately involved in that campaign, and now he's at the head of the Labour Party for a very good reason. I really would recommend everyone watching this, if you're interested more in who Keir Starmer really is, read "Five Questions for [New Labour Leader] Sir Keir Starmer" by Matt Kennard at The Grayzone. It really lays it out and shows you what's happening.

    We're just in this kind of hyper-managed atmosphere, where everything feels so much more controlled than it's ever been. And even though every sane rational person that I know seems to understand what's happening, they feel like they're not allowed to say it, at least not in any official capacity.

    AARON MATÉ: From the US to Britain, everything is being co-opted. In the US it's, you know, genuine resistance to Trump, in opposition to Trump, it gets co-opted by the right. Same thing in Britain. People get manipulated into believing that Jeremy Corbyn, this lifelong anti-racist is somehow an antisemite. It's all in the service of the same agenda, and I have to say we're one of the few outlets that are pushing back on it. Everyone else is getting swept up on it and it's a scary time.

    We're gonna wrap. Max, your final comment.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, yeah, we're pushing back. And I saw today Mint Press [News], which is another outlet that has pushed back, their Twitter account was just briefly removed for no reason, without explanation. Ollie Vargas, who's an independent journalist who's doing some of the most important work in the English language from Bolivia, reporting on the post-coup landscape and the repressive environment that's been created by the junta installed with US help under Jeanine Áñez, his account has been taken away on Twitter. The social media platforms are basically under the control of the national security state. There's been a merger between the national security state and Silicon Valley, and the space for these kinds of discussions is rapidly shrinking. So, I think, you know, it's more important than ever to support alternative media and also to really have a clear understanding of what's taking place. I'm really worried there just won't be any space for us to have these conversations in the near future.

    AARON MATÉ: Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone, author of The Management of Savagery , thanks a lot.

    MAX BLUMENTHAL: Thanks for having me.

    [Jul 04, 2020] It's Time to Stop Defending the Status Quo of Foreign Policy Failure by Daniel L. Davis

    Notable quotes:
    "... These failures have not been merely "policy mistakes" but have had profound consequences for our country, both in terms of blood unnecessarily wasted and trillions of dollars irretrievably lost. The very last thing we should do is defend a failed status quo and subvert new thinking. McMaster does both in his essay. ..."
    "... We had won all that was militarily winnable on the ground in Afghanistan by the summer of 2002 and we should have withdrawn. Instead, we have refused to accept reality for eighteen additional years and we have lost thousands of American service members and trillions of American tax dollars to finance permanent failure. ..."
    "... our interests are far better served by being an exemplar to the world rather than trying to force it to behave a certain way. ..."
    "... The time has come to admit our foreign policy theories of the past two decades have utterly failed in their objective. We have not been made safer because of them and the price continually imposed on our service members is unnecessary and unacceptably high. ..."
    Jul 04, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

    In February 1991 I fought as a green 2 nd Lieutenant under then-Captain H.R. McMaster, who would go on to win combat fame in 2005 Iraq and as Trump's National Security Advisor. I watched McMaster provide exceptional leadership of our unit prior to war and watched him perform brilliantly under fire during combat. It gives me no pleasure, therefore, to note that his most recent work in Foreign Affairs has to be one of the most flawed analyses I've ever seen.

    McMaster's essay, " The Retrenchment Syndrome ," is an attempted take-down of a growing number of experts who argue American foreign policy has become addicted to the employment of military power. I, and other likeminded advocates, argue this military-first foreign policy does not increase America's security, but perversely undercuts it.

    We advocate a foreign policy that elevates diplomacy, promotes the maintenance of a powerful military that can defend America globally, and seeks to expand U.S. economic opportunity abroad. This perspective takes the world as it is, soberly assesses America's policy successes and failures of the past decades, and recommends sane policies going forward that have the best chance to achieve outcomes beneficial to our country.

    Adopting this new foreign policy mentality, however, requires an honest recognition that our existing approach -- especially since 9/11 -- has at times been catastrophically bad for America. The status quo has to be jettisoned for us to turn failure into success.

    These failures have not been merely "policy mistakes" but have had profound consequences for our country, both in terms of blood unnecessarily wasted and trillions of dollars irretrievably lost. The very last thing we should do is defend a failed status quo and subvert new thinking. McMaster does both in his essay.

    McMaster grievously mischaracterizes the positions of those who advocate for a sane, rational foreign policy. He tries to pin a pejorative moniker on restraint-oriented viewpoints via the term "retrenchment syndrome."

    Advocates for a restrained foreign policy, he says, "subscribe to the romantic view that restraint abroad is almost always an unmitigated good." McMaster claims Obama's 2011 intervention in Libya failed not because it destabilized the country but because Washington didn't "shape Libya's political environment in the wake of Qaddafi's demise." And he claims Trump's desire to withdraw from Afghanistan "will allow the Taliban, al Qaeda, and various other jihadi terrorists to claim victory."

    In other words, the only policy option is to keep doing what has manifestly failed for the past two decades. Just do it harder, faster, and deeper.

    But the reality of the situation is rather different.

    We had won all that was militarily winnable on the ground in Afghanistan by the summer of 2002 and we should have withdrawn. Instead, we have refused to accept reality for eighteen additional years and we have lost thousands of American service members and trillions of American tax dollars to finance permanent failure.

    We should never have invaded Iraq in 2003. But once we realized the justification for the war had been wrong, we should have rapidly withdrawn our combat troops and diplomatically helped facilitate the establishment of an Iraqi-led state. Instead, we refused to acknowledge our mistake, fought a pointless eight-year insurgency, and then instead of allowing Iraq to solve its own problems when ISIS arose in 2014, unnecessarily went back to help Baghdad fight its battles.

    Likewise, the U.S. continues to fight or support never-ending combat actions in Syria, Libya, Somalia, Niger, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and other lesser-known locations. There is no risk to American national security in any of these locations that engaging in routine and perpetual combat operations will solve.

    Lastly, large portions of the American public -- and even greater percentages of service members who have served in forever-wars -- are against the continuation of these wars and do not believe they keep us safer. What would make the country more secure, however, is adopting a realistic foreign policy that recognizes the world as it truly is, acknowledges that the reason we maintain a world-class military is to deter our enemies without having to fight, and recognizing that our interests are far better served by being an exemplar to the world rather than trying to force it to behave a certain way.

    The time has come to admit our foreign policy theories of the past two decades have utterly failed in their objective. We have not been made safer because of them and the price continually imposed on our service members is unnecessary and unacceptably high. It is time to abandon the status quo and adopt a new policy that is based on a realistic view of the world, an honest recognition of our genuinely powerful military, and realize that there are better ways to assure our security and prosperity.

    Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who retired in 2015 after 21 years, including four combat deployments. Follow him @DanielLDavis1.

    [Jul 03, 2020] Podcast- Empire Has No Clothes, Episode 9, Foreign Policy Dissent Is Patriotic by DANIEL LARISON

    Bolton is just "yet another MIC puppet", who has complete vacuum in his head as for morality and decency. In other words he is a typical Washington psychopath. Like many sociopaths he is a compulsive liar, undeniable careerist and self-promoter.
    Jul 02, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

    This week on Empire Has No Clothes, we spoke with Elizabeth Shackelford, a former Foreign Service Officer and author of The Dissent Channel: American Diplomacy in a Dishonest Age . Kelley Vlahos, Matt Purple and I talked about demoralization in the department, the reasons for her resignation, U.S. policy in South Sudan and Africa, and the need for greater accountability in our foreign policy. We also covered John Bolton's new book, his outdated foreign policy views, and whether anything he says can be trusted.

    Listen to the episode in the player below, or click the links beneath it to subscribe using your favorite podcast app. If you like what you hear, please give us a rating or review on iTunes or Stitcher, which will really help us climb the rankings, allowing more people to find the show.

    [Jul 01, 2020] Three Glaring Problems with the Russian Taliban Bounty Story by Barbara Boland

    Highly recommended!
    This is an attempt to move Trump in the direction of more harsher politics toward Russia. So not Bolton's but Obama ears are protruding above this dirty provocation.
    Notable quotes:
    "... According to the anonymous sources that spoke with the paper's reporters, the White House and President Trump were briefed on a range of potential responses to Moscow's provocations, including sanctions, but the White House had authorized no further action. ..."
    "... Bolton is one of the only sources named in the New York Times article. Currently on a book tour, Bolton has said that he witnessed foreign policy malfeasance by Trump that dwarfs the Ukraine scandal that was the subject of the House impeachment hearings. But Bolton's credibility has been called into question since he declined to appear before the House committee. ..."
    "... "Who can forget how 'successful' interrogators can be in getting desired answers?" writes Ray McGovern, who served as a CIA analyst for 27 years. Under the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques," Khalid Sheik Mohammed famously made at least 31 confessions, many of which were completely false. ..."
    "... This story is "WMD [all over] again," said McGovern, who in the 1980s chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President's Daily Brief. He believes the stories seek to preempt DOJ findings on the origins of the Russiagate probe. ..."
    "... The bungled media response and resulting negative press could also lead Trump to contemplate harsher steps towards Russia in order to prove that he is "tough," which may have motivated the leakers. It's certainly a policy goal with which Bolton, one of the only named sources in the New York Times piece, wholeheartedly approves. ..."
    "... Not only did CIA et al.'s leak get even with Trump for years of insults and ignoring their reports (Trump is politically wounded by this story), but it also achieved their primary objective of keeping Putin out of the G7 and muzzling Trump's threats to withdraw from NATO because Russia is our friend (well his, anyway). ..."
    "... Point 4: the whole point of the Talibans is to fight to the death whichever country tries to control and invade Afghanistan. They didn't need the Russians to tell them to fight the US Army, did they? ..."
    "... Point 5: Russia tried to organise a mediation process between the Afghan government and the Talibans already in 2018 - so why would they be at the same time trying to fuel the conflict? A stable Afghanistan is more convenient to them, given the geographical position of the country. ..."
    "... As much as I love to see everyone pile on trump, this is another example of a really awful policy having bad outcomes. If Bush, Obama, trump, or anyone at the pentagon gave a crap about the troops, they wouldn't have kept them in Afghanistan and lied about the fact they were losing the whole time. ..."
    "... the idea is stupid. Russia doesn't need to do anything to motivate Afghans to want to boot the invaders out of their country, and would want to attract negative attention in doing so. ..."
    "... Contrast with the CIA motivations for this absurd narrative. Chuck Schumer famously commented that the intelligence agencies had ways of getting back at you, and it looks like you took the bait, hook, line and sinker. ..."
    "... And a fourth CIA goal: it undermines Trump's relationship with the military. ..."
    "... Having failed in its Russia "collusion" and "Russia stole the election" campaigns to oust Trump, this is just the latest effort by the Deep State and mass media to use unhinged Russophobia to try to boost Biden and damage Trump. ..."
    "... The contemporary left hate Russia , because Russia is carving out it own sphere of influence and keeping the Americans out, because it saved Assad from the western backed sunni head choppers (that the left cheered on, as they killed native Orthodox, and Catholic Christians). The Contempary left hate Russia because it cracks down on LGBT propaganda, banned porn hub, and return property to the Church , which the leftist Bolsheviks stole, the Contempaty left hate Russia because it cracked down on it western backed oligarchs who plundered Russia in the 90's. ..."
    Jul 01, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

    Bombshell report published by The New York Times Friday alleges that Russia paid dollar bounties to the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill U.S troops. Obscured by an extremely bungled White House press response, there are at least three serious flaws with the reporting.

    The article alleges that GRU, a top-secret unit of Russian military intelligence, offered the bounty in payment for every U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan, and that at least one member of the U.S. military was alleged to have been killed in exchange for the bounties. According to the paper, U.S. intelligence concluded months ago that the Russian unit involved in the bounties was also linked to poisonings, assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe. The Times reports that United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan came to this conclusion about Russian bounties some time in 2019.

    According to the anonymous sources that spoke with the paper's reporters, the White House and President Trump were briefed on a range of potential responses to Moscow's provocations, including sanctions, but the White House had authorized no further action.

    Immediately after the news broke Friday, the Trump administration denied the report -- or rather, they denied that the President was briefed, depending on which of the frenetic, contradictory White House responses you read.

    Traditionally, the President of the United States receives unconfirmed, and sometimes even raw intelligence, in the President's Daily Brief, or PDB. Trump notoriously does not read his PDB, according to reports.

    Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in a statement Saturday night that neither Trump nor Vice President Pence "were ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the New York Times in its reporting yesterday."

    On Sunday night, Trump tweeted that not only was he not told about the alleged intelligence, but that it was not credible."Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP" Pence, Trump wrote Sunday night on Twitter.

    Ousted National Security Advisor John Bolton said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Trump was probably claiming ignorance in order to justify his administration's lack of response.

    "He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it," said Bolton.

    Bolton is one of the only sources named in the New York Times article. Currently on a book tour, Bolton has said that he witnessed foreign policy malfeasance by Trump that dwarfs the Ukraine scandal that was the subject of the House impeachment hearings. But Bolton's credibility has been called into question since he declined to appear before the House committee.

    The explanations for what exactly happened, and who was briefed, continued to shift Monday.

    White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany followed Trump's blanket denial with a statement that the intelligence concerning Russian bounty information was "unconfirmed." She didn't say the intelligence wasn't credible, like Trump had said the day before, only that there was "no consensus" and that the "veracity of the underlying allegations continue to be evaluated," which happens to almost completely match the Sunday night statement from the White House's National Security Council.

    Instead of saying that the sources for the Russian bounty story were not credible and the story was false, or likely false, McEnany then said that Trump had "not been briefed on the matter."

    "He was not personally briefed on the matter," she said. "That is all I can share with you today."

    It's difficult to see how the White House thought McEnany's statement would help, and a bungled press response like this is communications malpractice, according to sources who spoke to The American Conservative.

    Let's take a deeper dive into some of the problems with the reporting here:

    1. Anonymous U.S. and Taliban sources?

    The Times article repeatedly cites unnamed "American intelligence officials." The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal articles "confirming" the original Times story merely restate the allegations of the anonymous officials, along with caveats like "if true" or "if confirmed."

    Furthermore, the unnamed intelligence sources who spoke with the Times say that their assessment is based "on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals."

    That's a red flag, said John Kiriakou, a former analyst and case officer for the CIA who led the team that captured senior al-Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002. "When you capture a prisoner, and you're interrogating him, the prisoner is going to tell you what he thinks you want to hear," he said in an interview with The American Conservative . "There's no evidence here, there's no proof."

    "Who can forget how 'successful' interrogators can be in getting desired answers?" writes Ray McGovern, who served as a CIA analyst for 27 years. Under the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques," Khalid Sheik Mohammed famously made at least 31 confessions, many of which were completely false.

    Kiriakou believes that the sources behind the report hold important clues on how the government viewed its credibility.

    "We don't know who the source is for this. We don't know if they've been vetted, polygraphed; were they a walk-in; were they a captured prisoner?"

    If the sources were suspect, as they appear to be here, then Trump would not have been briefed on this at all.

    With this story, it's important to start at the "intelligence collection," said Kiriakou. "This information appeared in the [CIA World Intelligence Review] Wire, which goes to hundreds of people inside the government, mostly at the State Department and the Pentagon. The most sensitive information isn't put in the Wire; it goes only in the PDB."

    "If this was from a single source intelligence, it wouldn't have been briefed to Trump. It's not vetted, and it's not important enough. If you caught a Russian who said this, for example, that would make it important enough. But some Taliban detainees saying it to an interrogator, that does not rise to the threshold."

    2. What purpose would bounties serve?

    Everyone and their mother knows Trump wants to pull the troops out of Afghanistan, said Kiriakou.

    "He ran on it and he has said it hundreds of times," he said. "So why would the Russians bother putting a bounty on U.S. troops if we're about to leave Afghanistan shortly anyway?"

    That's leaving aside Russia's own experience with the futility of Afghanistan campaigns, learned during its grueling 9-year war there in the 1980s.

    If this bounty campaign is real, it would not appear to be very effective, as only eight U.S. military members were killed in Afghanistan in 2020. The New York Times could not verify that even one U.S. military member was killed due to an alleged Russian bounty.

    The Taliban denies it accepted bounties from Russian intelligence.

    "These kinds of deals with the Russian intelligence agency are baseless -- our target killings and assassinations were ongoing in years before, and we did it on our own resources," Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, told The New York Times . "That changed after our deal with the Americans, and their lives are secure and we don't attack them."

    The Russian Embassy in the United States called the reporting "fake news."

    While the Russians are ruthless, "it's hard to fathom what their motivations could be" here, said Paul Pillar, an academic and 28-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, in an interview with The American Conservative. "What would they be retaliating for? Some use of force in Syria recently? I don't know. I can't string together a particular sequence that makes sense at this time. I'm not saying that to cast doubt on reports the Russians were doing this sort of thing."

    3. Why is this story being leaked now?

    According to U.S. officials quoted by the AP, top officials in the White House "were aware of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans" in early 2019. So why is this story just coming out now?

    This story is "WMD [all over] again," said McGovern, who in the 1980s chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President's Daily Brief. He believes the stories seek to preempt DOJ findings on the origins of the Russiagate probe.

    The NYT story serves to bolster the narrative that Trump sides with Russia, and against our intelligence community estimates and our own soldiers lives.

    The stories "are likely to remain indelible in the minds of credulous Americans -- which seems to have been the main objective," writes McGovern. "There [Trump] goes again -- not believing our 'intelligence community; siding, rather, with Putin.'"

    "I don't believe this story and I think it was leaked to embarrass the President," said Kiriakou. "Trump is on the ropes in the polls; Biden is ahead in all the battleground states."

    If these anonymous sources had spoken up during the impeachment hearings, their statements could have changed history.

    But the timing here, "kicking a man when he is down, is extremely like the Washington establishment. A leaked story like this now, embarrasses and weakens Trump," he said. "It was obvious that Trump would blow the media response, which he did."

    The bungled media response and resulting negative press could also lead Trump to contemplate harsher steps towards Russia in order to prove that he is "tough," which may have motivated the leakers. It's certainly a policy goal with which Bolton, one of the only named sources in the New York Times piece, wholeheartedly approves.

    Barbara Boland is TAC's foreign policy and national security reporter. Previously, she worked as an editor for the Washington Examiner and for CNS News. She is the author of Patton Uncovered , a book about General George Patton in World War II, and her work has appeared on Fox News, The Hill , UK Spectator , and elsewhere. Boland is a graduate from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC .


    Tomonthebeach 9 hours ago • edited

    Caitlin Johnstone was the first journalist to question this NYT expose' several days ago in her blog. After looking into it, I had to agree with her that the story was junk reporting by a news source eager to stick it to Trump for his daily insults. NYT must love the irony of a "fake news" story catching fire and burning Trump politically. After all, paying people to kill their own enemies? That is a "tip," not a bounty. It is more of an intel footnote than the game-changer in international relations as asserted by Speaker Pelosi on TV as she grabbed her pearls beneath her stylish COVID mask.

    I was surprised that Ms. Boland could not think of any motivation for leaking the story right now given recent grousing on the Hill about Trump's inviting Putin to G7 over the objections of Merkel and several other NATO heads of state. I even posted a congratulatory message in Defense One yesterday to the US Intel community for mission accomplished.

    Not only did CIA et al.'s leak get even with Trump for years of insults and ignoring their reports (Trump is politically wounded by this story), but it also achieved their primary objective of keeping Putin out of the G7 and muzzling Trump's threats to withdraw from NATO because Russia is our friend (well his, anyway).

    Connecticut Farmer Tomonthebeach 3 hours ago

    That "bounty" story never passed the smell test, even to my admittedly untrained nose. My real problem is that it's a story in the first place, given that Trump campaigned on a platform that included bringing the boys home from sand hills like Afghanistan; yet here we are, four years later, and we're still there.

    Lavinia 6 hours ago

    Point 4: the whole point of the Talibans is to fight to the death whichever country tries to control and invade Afghanistan. They didn't need the Russians to tell them to fight the US Army, did they?

    Point 5: Russia tried to organise a mediation process between the Afghan government and the Talibans already in 2018 - so why would they be at the same time trying to fuel the conflict? A stable Afghanistan is more convenient to them, given the geographical position of the country.

    This whole story is completely ridiculous. Totally bogus.

    Wally 5 hours ago

    As much as I love to see everyone pile on trump, this is another example of a really awful policy having bad outcomes. If Bush, Obama, trump, or anyone at the pentagon gave a crap about the troops, they wouldn't have kept them in Afghanistan and lied about the fact they were losing the whole time.

    Of course people are trying to kill US military in Afghanistan. If I lived in Afghanistan, I'd probably hate them too. And let's not forget that just a few weeks ago the 82nd airborne was ready to kill American civilians in DC. The military is our enemy too!

    If you are in the US military today, please quit.