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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 reconnaaisance plane Israeli support of headchoppers and air raid on Syria military infrastructure Yugoslav wars
False flag poisonings Khan Sheikhoun gas attack Douma gas attack      
White Helmets as a tool for false flag poisonings Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA American Imperialism American Exceptionalism Wolfowitz Doctrine
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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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[Jun 15, 2019] WATCH US economist urges covert violence to provoke war with Iran

Notable quotes:
"... The appeasers would include the US who fully supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, who provided him with chemical weapons and logistical help in using those weapons, which killed around 50,000 Iranian troops and Kurdish civilians. The same appeasers armed and funded the Taliban (Mujahideen) against the Soviets. The US are the single largest force for terrorism the World has ever seen. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | off-guardian.org

WATCH: US economist urges covert violence to provoke war with Iran "I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down – someday one of them might not come up." Admin

https://www.youtube.com/embed/TzSjPDaSNMQ

Many believe war with the Islamic Republic of Iran has been the dream of some hardcore neocons in Washington since at least 2001. Back in 2012 former employee of the IMF and current economist for the World Bank, Patrick Clawson , provided fuel for this belief when he was videoed obliquely advocating using covert violence so that the US president "can get to war with Iran."

In a startlingly frank speech, Clawson makes it clear he believes (and apparently approves) that the US has a history of seeking war for profit, and of using provocations to goad its perceived enemies into starting such wars. Clawson highlights in particular the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in 1861 , which, he says, was deliberately engineered by president Lincoln in pursuit of an excuse to launch a war on the Southern secessionist states.

In light of the recent alleged attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, timed to coincide with the visit of the Japanese prime minister to Iran, and in light of Secretary of State Capone Pompeo's precipitate and predictable claim the attacks were likely perpetrated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, this is an apposite time to recall this telling little incident.

Below see the transcript of Mr Clawson's remarks

Transcript

"I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough and it's very hard for me to see how the United States president can get us to war with Iran which leads me to conclude that if in fact compromise is not coming that the traditional way of America gets to war is what would be best for US interests

Some people might think that mr. Roosevelt wanted to get us in to the World War two as David mentioned. You may recall we had to wait for Pearl Harbor.

Some people might think mr. Wilson wanted to get us into World War One. You may recall he had to wait for the Lusitania episode

Some people might think that mr. Johnson wanted to send troops to Vietnam. You may recall they had to wait for the Gulf of Tonkin episode.

We didn't go to war with Spain until the USS Maine exploded, and may I point out that mr. Lincoln did not feel he could call off the federal army until Fort Sumter was attacked which is why he ordered the commander at Fort Sumter to do exactly that thing which the South Carolinians had said would cause an attack.

So if in fact the Iranians aren't going to compromise it would be best if somebody else started the war

But I would just like to suggest that one can combine other means of pressure with sanctions. I mentioned that explosion on August 17th. We could step up the pressure. I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down – someday one of them
might not come up.

Who would know why?

We can do a variety of things if we wish to increase the pressure. I'm not advocating that but I'm just suggesting that a it's this is not a either-or proposition of, you know, it's just sanctions has to be has to succeed or other things.


DunGroanin

Always follow the money they made lots instantly from the firework display, it aint rocket science!

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-14/senators-switched-key-votes-bill-gulf-arms-ban-hours-after-tanker-attacks

mark
What do you expect from a Zionist Front like WINEP? They've been inciting wars for Israel for decades. "Getting the stupid goys to fight Israel's wars for decades."
Jen
If Patrick Clawson is typical of the kind of economist employed at the IMF and then promoted to a leading position at the World Bank, I dread to think of the calibre of people who also applied for his job in the past and were rejected. His speech is so garbled and full of unconscious slip-ups.
andyoldlabour
The US has convinced itself of its own so called "exceptionalism", where they can say anything out in the open, reveal their greatest desires, their unholy plans. There must be some "good" Americans who can stop this madness, or have they all become inflicted/infected with some hate virus?
Milton
Interesting that this Israeli-First traitor Clawson mentions Lincoln and Ft. Sumter. He finally admits what genuine historians of the Civil War long knew: Lincoln was a warmonger and tyrant, not an emancipator. The Civil war was fought to eliminate true freedom and equality in this country and it has been downhill ever since. The working class and soldier-class in America today are slaves in every sense of the word. Slaves to Zion. No wonder the certified warmonger and racist Lincoln is worshiped equally by Left and Right today, whilst genuine American patriots like Robert E. Lee have their legacy torn down. Lincoln was the proto-Neocon. Tom Dilorenzo summed up the real Lincoln when he wrote in Lincoln Unmasked:

"Imagine that California seceded from the union and an American president responded with the carpet bombing of Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco that destroyed 90 percent of those cities. Such was the case with General Sherman's bombardment of Atlanta; a naval blockade; a blocking off of virtually all trade; the eviction of thousands of residents from their homes (as occurred in Atlanta in 1864); the destruction of most industries and farms; massive looting of private property by a marauding army; and the killing of one out of four males of military age while maiming for life more than double that number. Would such an American president be considered a 'great statesman' or a war criminal? The answer is obvious.

A statesman would have recognized the state's right to secede, as enshrined in the Tenth Amendment, among other places, and then worked diligently to persuade the seceded state that a reunion was in its best interest. Agreat statesman, or even a modest one, would not have impulsively plunged the entire nation into a bloody war.

Lincoln's warmongering belligerence and his invasion of all the Southern states in response to Fort Sumter (where no one was harmed or killed) caused the upper South -- Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas -- to secede after originally voting to remain in the Union. He refused to meet with Confederate commissioners to discuss peace and even declined a meeting with Napoleon III of France, who offered to broker a peace agreement. No genuine statesman would have behaved in such a way.

After Fort Sumter, Lincoln thanked naval commander Gustavus Fox for assisting him in manipulating the South Carolinians into firing at Fort Sumter. A great statesman does not manipulate his own people into starting one of the bloodiest wars in human history."

mathias alexand
Here's a man who holds a press conference to announce a secret plan. Only in America.
Gezzah Potts
False flags here, false flags there, false flags everywhere. All too further the aims of the 'masters of the universe'. We know who was responsible for the tanker attacks. Who are the 3 countries absolutely desperate to take Iran down and install a completely pliant puppet regime answerable to Washington, Tel Aviv and to a lesser extent Riyadh. And creatures like Clawson, and all the other vermin can only see $$$$. Thats all they care about. Opening up more markets to further enrich themselves. I echo the other commenters also. The evil men stoop to for greed, power and control. Psychopaths.
harry law
The Foreign Office issued a statement saying: "It is almost certain that a branch of the Iranian military – the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – attacked the two tankers on 13 June. No other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible."
Unbelievable, The UK vassal will use this to as one more reason to evade their responsibilities in implementing the JCPOA.
William HBonney
A Riyadh/Tel Aviv conspiracy. Genius!
Gezzah Potts
Er . just a rough guess Bill going on the belligerent foaming at the mouth by people in those places along with the likes of Bolton and Pompeo. In fact, you can probably go all the way back to about 1980 or so.
mark
I think the real giveaway was when all three rogue states openly stated their intention of doing this 1,000 times over the past 10 years. That was the crucial clue Sherlock Holmes was looking for.
Wilmers31
And who funds the Washington Institute? Last time I looked the International Crisis Group existed thanks to Soros and is usually treated like a serious organisation.

Many Europeans are not in love with the idea of war with Iran, just to achieve obedience to the US. 90 million people is bigger than Germany.

wardropper
These are the shysters, the spivs and the con men of bygone times. They are the ones who lurked at street corners, waiting for someone to come along who was gullible enough to buy the Moon from them.
But, for some reason, they are all in politics today.
Now how could that be?

Only because there are people whom it currently suits to use shysters, spivs and con men in order to create enough chaos for us to want to give up and just let those people have their way.

I agree with Rhys below. There is no more disgusting example of sub-humanity to be found on earth than these warmongers.
To deal with them, however, we will have to realize that their "philosophy", if you can call it that, runs very deep. It didn't just enter their heads last week.
They are reared and trained in it.

It will be a tough battle.

wardropper
I should add that, in bygone times, the police and the law were usually able to deal with the shysters, spivs and con men, since their lack of conscience often gave them away.
The modern version, however, which has moved into politics, was shrewd enough to use a few decades of bribery and threats in order to build around itself a nice little shell, through which the law simply cannot penetrate, except on special occasions, mainly for show.
Rhys Jaggar
There is a big cabal of warmongers who stoke the fuel but never see action. I find those people more disgusting than anyone on earth.

Draft dodgers, academics, 'historians' etc etc.

Ball-less pricks is what I call them .

mark
All fully paid up members of the Bill Clinton Light Infantry.
andyoldlabour
The appeasers would include the US who fully supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, who provided him with chemical weapons and logistical help in using those weapons, which killed around 50,000 Iranian troops and Kurdish civilians.
The same appeasers armed and funded the Taliban (Mujahideen) against the Soviets.
The US are the single largest force for terrorism the World has ever seen.
William HBonney
The easiest, and perhaps best metric by which to judge a country, is 'do people aspire to live there? '.

I see you admire the Soviet Union, but at its dissolution, people were queuing to leave. And yet the US, and the UK, according to you, iniquitous places of tyranny, are oversubscribed. Could it be, that for all your implied erudition, you are merely a bellend?

BigB
Well, even as a pacifist: if that is his sentiment – I hope he has sons or daughters in the military stationed in CENTCOM in Qatar. I bet he hasn't, though.
Rhisiart Gwilym
He should be right there on the frontline himself. That would straighten the disgusting creep's ideas out about the 'usefulness' of deliberately provoking war

[Jun 08, 2019] McMaster and 'Nuclear Blackmail' The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Even more depressing, McMaster is author of the excellent book, "Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam". Now he's retailing lies of his own in pursuit of another war. ..."
"... The "Foundation for the Defense of Democracies" subsists on donations intended to advance the foreign policy agendas of countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia. Those are the kind of "democracies" they want America to "defend" ..."
Jun 08, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Daniel DePetris follows up on McMaster's crazy North Korea comments :

McMaster then proceeds to mount a hypothetical -- nuclear blackmail. "This regime could say [if U.S. forces] don't go off the Korean Peninsula, we're going to threaten the use of nuclear weapons," the retired general explained. And yet this, too, is riddled with nonsense, the biggest objection being that making such an ultimatum would court the very military confrontation with the United States he wants to avoid.

When McMaster was in the Trump administration, he floated many of the same arguments about why attacking North Korea should be an option. Those arguments didn't make any sense when he made them as National Security Advisor, and they haven't improved now that he has migrated to the inaccurately named Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). McMaster's latest statements confirm that his preventive war talk wasn't just empty rhetoric on his part when he worked for Trump. He was apparently deadly serious about entertaining a U.S. attack on North Korea, and he continues to talk about it as though it were a reasonable and legitimate policy option. The reporting that he and others in the administration had a "messianic fervor" about this seems to have been right.

It can't be stressed enough that launching an attack on North Korea would an outrageous act of aggression. It would put the U.S. in clear violation of the U.N. Charter and make our government an illegal aggressor just like North Korea was in 1950. McMaster was and still is promoting the idea that the U.S. should be willing to commit a massive crime against another country. Unfortunately, talk of preventive war against certain states is not just tolerated in Washington, but it is actively encouraged and embraced by many other hard-liners, including the current National Security Advisor, who is also in favor of launching an attack on North Korea. These hard-liners dismiss the possibility of deterring these states so that they can have an excuse to attack, but invariably the behavior they cite as evidence that a state can't be deterred is proof that they desire self-preservation and regime security above all else.

Hard-liners also like to warn about "nuclear blackmail" from other states, but they can't ever produce an example of a nuclear weapons state that has successfully engaged in such blackmail to extract concessions from others. It makes even less sense when we consider what would happen to the blackmailing state if it followed through on the threat. Threatening to launch a nuclear first strike to gain concessions from other governments wouldn't get that government what it wants, and carrying out the threat would result in the state's certain annihilation. There is no upside to engaging in "nuclear blackmail" and a huge downside. If "nuclear blackmail" worked, there would likely have been a lot more blackmail attempts by nuclear weapons state over the last seventy-four years, and more states would want to acquire nuclear weapons for this purpose. In reality, just about the only use that nuclear weapons have is to deter attacks from others, and that is pretty clearly why North Korea built their nuclear arsenal. Threatening them with attack just confirms them in their view that they have to retain them, and actually attacking them would be the only thing that is likely to prompt them to use them.


Corwin , says: June 5, 2019 at 2:05 pm

There's a scene in the movie Dr. Strangelove where all the powerful men were sitting in the war room discussing the possible state of the world after the nuclear attack. They start by lamenting the deaths of tens of millions of Americans, and that they might be the only leaders left to rebuild America. They then worked their way to moving to a bunker to make sure they were safe, then bringing in women who could help repopulate the country, and then making sure the women were beautiful and that there would be enough to get started on having lots of children right away. So in less than 2 minutes, they go from the end of civilization to having a harem for each of them. When powerful people can see a disaster as a chance to gain even more power, they will take it regardless of the consequences to anyone else. That's who they are.
Fran Macadam , says: June 5, 2019 at 3:30 pm
I must have missed when our own official policy renounced nuclear first strike. As far as I know, it's still "one of the options on the table." And now with the latest "low yield nuke" deployments in the pipeline, it gives the illusion that nuclear war can be a winning option to defend the heartland or expand the empire's overseas power.
Alan Vanneman , says: June 5, 2019 at 3:58 pm
Even more depressing, McMaster is author of the excellent book, "Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam". Now he's retailing lies of his own in pursuit of another war.
Basic Training , says: June 5, 2019 at 4:50 pm
"the inaccurately named Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD)"

That name is a sick joke. The "Foundation for the Defense of Democracies" subsists on donations intended to advance the foreign policy agendas of countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia. Those are the kind of "democracies" they want America to "defend".

Taras 77 , says: June 5, 2019 at 5:07 pm
McMaster has literally gone off the edge since he was named as the head of a group over at the FDD group of warmongers -- they literally on a daily basis call for more war, attacks on Iran, and NK -- more tragically, they have access and influence with Bolton and Pompeo.
Sick beyond belief but that is where their money comes into play.

https://spectator.us/mcmaster-disaster/

Tony , says: June 6, 2019 at 8:38 am
The 'nuclear blackmail' argument is totally bogus. The United States had some 32,000 nuclear weapons when it was defeated in Indochina.

The Soviet Union also had many nuclear weapons when it left Afghanistan.

rayray , says: June 6, 2019 at 11:33 am
@Corwin

Loved that. Kubrick, George, and Southern just nailed it. I'm waiting for a writer brilliant and angry enough to do the same for today.

[Jun 05, 2019] US Remains in Denial About How Many Civilians They Killed in Iraq and Syria

Jun 05, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Originally from: commondreams.org

The U.S.-led coalition that launched airstrikes against Iraq and Syria against ISIS admitted Friday that those attacks killed civilians, but the number they reported -- 1,302 deaths in a nearly five-year period -- was immediately dismissed as too low by the human rights organization Amnesty International.

"While all admissions of responsibility by the U.S.-led coalition for civilian casualties are welcome, the coalition remains deeply in denial about the devastating scale of the civilian casualties caused by their operations in both Iraq and Syria," the group's senior crisis response advisor, Donatella Rovera, said in a statement.

The coalition, in a statement announcing the findings of its internal review, said that of the "34,502 strikes between August 2014 and the end of April 2019" it found that "at least 1,302 civilians have been unintentionally killed by coalition strikes."

That number, while 1,302 people too many, is still far below projections from other organizations over the past.

"Even in cases where the coalition has admitted responsibility this has only happened after civilian deaths were investigated and brought to its attention by organizations such as Amnesty International and Airwars," said Rovera.

In April, a study by Amnesty and Airwars projected that 1,600 civilians died in coalition airstrikes in the Syrian city of Raqqa alone from June to October 2017, a number that, in four months, is higher than the coalition's total findings for over four years across two countries.

"We hope to finally see an honest assessment of the devastating impact that U.S. lethal strikes have had on the civilians in Raqqa," Daphne Eviatar, director of Amnesty's Security with Human Rights program, said at the time. "The public deserves to know how many civilian casualties our government is responsible for, and the survivors deserve acknowledgement, reparations, where appropriate, and meaningful assistance to rebuild their lives."

Friday's report indicates that despite calls for more detailed analysis and investigation, an honest assessment may not be a priority for the coalition.

[Jun 03, 2019] Bolton Brazenly Lies About Iran Again by DANIEL LARISON

Notable quotes:
"... From what I have read, including excerpts of JCPOA, it seems that Iran's move to restart some low level enrichment is captured in the agreement as something that Iran could do if the other party(ies) are in breach of the agreement. And at this time, the US is not a party any longer and the EU is in breach by stopping any economic intercourse with Iran. ..."
"... This should be reiterated again and again, because just mentioning that Iran unilaterally is starting enrichment puts a target on their back especially in the United States of Amnesia, while they are still just doing only what is prescribed by the JCPOA. ..."
"... Bolton's lying goes with his broad contempt for the American people. He treats us like contemptible sheep, he lies to us, and then he tries to manipulate Trump into sending our sons and daughters to fight wars for his foreign buddies. ..."
"... It is indeed remarkable in a very bad way that Bolton has any credibility to speak on issues. He has a very long track record of lie after lie after lie, going back to the build up for Iraq war. Indeed, he has never acknowledged that Iraq war a monumental tragedy. ..."
May 29, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

John Bolton repeats one of the Trump administration's biggest and most important lies:

Donald Trump's national security adviser said Wednesday there was "no reason" for Iran to back out of its nuclear deal with world powers other than to seek atomic weapons, a year after the U.S. president unilaterally withdrew America from the accord.

Bolton and other administration officials have promoted the lie that Iran seeks nuclear weapons for months. Unfortunately, members of Congress and the press have largely failed to call out these lies for what they are. There is no evidence to support the administration's claims, and there is overwhelming evidence that they are wrong, but if they can get away with saying these things without being challenged they may not need evidence to get the crisis that Bolton and others like him want.

In this case, the AP story just relays Bolton's false and misleading statements as if they should be taken seriously, and their headline trumpets Bolton's dishonest insinuations as if they were credible. This is an unfortunate case of choosing the sensationalist, eye-catching headline that misinforms the public on a very important issue. Bolton's latest remarks are especially pernicious because they use Iran's modest reactions to Trump administration sanctions as evidence of Iran's imaginary intent to acquire weapons. The U.S. has been trying to push Iran to abandon the deal for more than a year, and at the first sign that Iran begins to reduce its compliance in order to push back against the administration's outrageous economic warfare Bolton tries to misrepresent it as proof that they seek nuclear weapons. Don't fall for it, and don't trust anything Bolton says. Not only does he have a record of distorting and manipulating intelligence to suit his purposes, but his longstanding desire for regime change and his ties to the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) make him an exceptionally unreliable person when it comes to any and all claims about the Iranian government.

The story provides some context, but still fails to challenge Bolton's assertions:

Bolton said that without more nuclear power plants, it made no sense for Iran to stockpile more low-enriched uranium as it now plans to do. But the U.S. also earlier cut off Iran's ability to sell its uranium to Russia in exchange for unprocessed yellow-cake uranium [bold mine-DK].

Iran has set a July 7 deadline for Europe to offer better terms to the unraveling nuclear deal, otherwise it will resume enrichment closer to weapons level. Bolton declined to say what the U.S. would do in response to that.

"There's no reason for them to do (higher enrichment) unless it is to reduce the breakout time to nuclear weapons," Bolton said.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration ended the sanctions waivers that enabled Iran to ship its excess low-enriched uranium out of the country. They made it practically impossible for Iran to do what they have been reliably doing for years, and now Bolton blames Iran for the consequences of administration actions. The administration has deliberately put Iran in a bind so that they either give up the enrichment that they are entitled to do under the JCPOA or exceed the restrictions on their stockpile so that the U.S. can then accuse them of a violation. Left out in all of this is that the U.S. is no longer a party to the deal and violated all of its commitments more than a year ago. Iran has patiently remained in compliance while the only party to breach the agreement desperately hunts for a pretext to accuse them of some minor infraction.

Iran's record of full compliance with the JCPOA for more than three years hasn't mattered to Bolton and his allies in the slightest, and they have had no problem reneging on U.S. commitments, but now the same ideologues that have wanted to destroy the deal from the start insist on treating the deal's restrictions as sacrosanct. These same people have worked to engineer a situation in which Iran may end up stockpiling more low-enriched uranium than they are supposed to have, and then seize on the situation they created to spread lies about Iran's desire for nukes. It's all so obviously being done in bad faith, but then that is what we have come to expect from Iran hawks and opponents of the nuclear deal. Don't let them get away with it.

The reason that Iran is threatening to enrich its uranium to a higher level is that the U.S. has been relentlessly sanctioning them despite their total compliance with the terms of the JCPOA. The Trump administration has done all it could to deny Iran the benefits of the deal, and then Bolton has the gall to say that they have no other reason to reduce their compliance. Of course Iran does have another reason, and that is to put pressure on the other remaining parties to the deal to find a way to get Iran the benefits it was promised. It is a small step taken in response to the administration's own destructive policy, and it is not evidence of anything else. Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons, and it is grossly irresponsible to treat unfounded administration claims about this as anything other than propaganda and lies.


Kouros, says: May 29, 2019 at 10:58 am

From what I have read, including excerpts of JCPOA, it seems that Iran's move to restart some low level enrichment is captured in the agreement as something that Iran could do if the other party(ies) are in breach of the agreement. And at this time, the US is not a party any longer and the EU is in breach by stopping any economic intercourse with Iran.

This should be reiterated again and again, because just mentioning that Iran unilaterally is starting enrichment puts a target on their back especially in the United States of Amnesia, while they are still just doing only what is prescribed by the JCPOA.

Braced , says: May 29, 2019 at 3:24 pm

Bolton's lying goes with his broad contempt for the American people. He treats us like contemptible sheep, he lies to us, and then he tries to manipulate Trump into sending our sons and daughters to fight wars for his foreign buddies.

Taras 77 , says: May 29, 2019 at 3:56 pm

It is indeed remarkable in a very bad way that Bolton has any credibility to speak on issues. He has a very long track record of lie after lie after lie, going back to the build up for Iraq war. Indeed, he has never acknowledged that Iraq war a monumental tragedy.

I think NK has it right to assert that Bolton is a defective human product.

But there he is stacking intell in trump's ear.

[Jun 01, 2019] Grenfell, Windrush Skripal -- Theresa May's Tainted Legacy by Johanna Ross

Notable quotes:
"... However, Williamson was not alone in his anti-Russian stance. It was under May's leadership that the controversial government-funded Integrity Initiative program really began to flourish. Designed to "counteract Russian propaganda" it instead deceptively engaged in spreading disinformation about Russia and even the UK Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, by hiring journalists, academics and commentators who would all sing from the same hymn sheet when it came to discourse about Russia in the press. ..."
"... What was most chilling about the revelations in the Integrity Initiative hacked documents was the extent to which policy makers within the inner workings of the establishment are apparently obsessed about an imminent "Russian threat" and are prepared to go to considerable lengths to persuade the British population of this. ..."
"... Even more unnerving was the discussion that there was need for some event to be staged in order to heighten the U.K. population's awareness of a Russian threat. The timing was uncanny: this was not long before the poisoning took place of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, which has, along with multiple discrepancies in the British narrative, led some analysts to ask whether the whole incident was indeed orchestrated by British secret services. ..."
"... Staged or not, May's handling of the Skripal incident left much to be desired. Even her experience of handling the Litvinenko affair as home secretary hadn't taught her a great deal. Before any concrete evidence was produced to implicate the Russian government in the poisoning, May was already issuing ultimatums to the Russian president. Her infamous phrase that the government concluded it was "highly likely" Russia was responsible for the poisoning even entered itself into the Russian vocabulary and became something of a household joke in Russia. ..."
"... So what can we expect from the next prime minister of the not-so-Great Britain? Whoever it is has their work cut out not only to unite the Conservative party, but the country. In terms of improving relations with Russia -- as long as the Tories remain in power, and the "deep state" or civil service continues to push its aggressive anti-Russian agenda -- , we are unlikely to see any significant change in policy. ..."
"... The UK under May has continued to serve as a “coalition partner” in the US-Saudi-Israeli Axis engineered and perpetuated dirty war against the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies. Let’s not forget Theresa May’s well practiced phrase, “like the United States, we believe”: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-39591476 . May has consistently believed US claims about the April 2017 Khan Shaykhoun incident, the April 2018 Douma incident, and other alleged chemical “attacks” in Syria. ..."
"... The UK under May also has remained the base for two leading disinformation operations supporting the the assault against Syrian government: Rami Abdulrahman’s Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Eliot Higgins’ Bellingcat. ..."
"... As of 31 March 2018, the British government had provided £38.4m in funding to the Al Qaeda allied White Helmets propaganda organization. In April 2018 the Trump administration suspended funding of the White Helmets. The US had provided more than $33 million to support the group since 2013. ..."
"... The British government remains a primary funder of the White Helmets propaganda organization. Posing as an impartial rescue force, the White Helmets work exclusively side-by-side armed militants including US State Department, UN, and EU designated foreign terrorist organizations. Their primary function is not “rescuing” anyone, but to manage a public relations campaign aimed at swaying public and political opinion, leveraging “humanitarian” sympathy worldwide ..."
"... In November 2016, video showed two White Helmets members staging a rescue operation for the Mannequin Challenge meme. In May 2017, video showed White Helmets members removing a man’s body following his execution by armed militants in Daraa. In June 2017, a member of the White Helmets was suspended indefinitely for assisting armed militants in the burial of mutilated corpses of Syrian government soldiers. ..."
"... Apropos, the last two paras about the Civil Service in Britain; Up until the last 2 decades or so, some of the brightest and best talents entered the Civil Service, good pay, good career prospects and good pension. Then this was hollowed out, everything ‘public sector’ was vilified and privatized and starved of funding. ..."
"... The race to the bottom is keenly contested. ..."
"... Without Russian money they are certainly not the world’s 6th largest economy and it appears that unless they want to side with China against the USA which is improbable, no impossible, they will lose Chinese Capital as well after Brexit. ..."
"... And again, a Mr. Jim Mellon a for real billionaire, several times over I should think, the same guy who carpetbagged Russia after the collapse of the CCCP. His gleanings were called “privatization”… of poor mother Russia. ..."
"... The US has it’s own deep state problem of civil servants, especially alphabet soup agencies who are accustomed to operating in the dark and think that they, not the political appointees make policy ..."
Jun 01, 2019 | consortiumnews.com


InfoRos

UK Prime Minister Theresa May's political career officially ended in tears last Friday, as the woman who declared that she would provide "strong and stable" leadership when she came to power three years ago, but who proved in the end to be not quite so strong or stable as she broke down in front of the press outside 10 Downing Street.

She had in fact, arguably one of the most disastrous records of a UK prime minister to date. A total of 50 cabinet resignations since she took office , far more than any of her recent predecessors; together with scandals such as the Grenfell Tower disaster , Windrush scandal , hostile environment policy and record levels of homelessness and poverty. And that's not to mention her inability to deliver Brexit, which effectively led to her demise.

Indeed however tempting it may be to feel sorry for May -- she has been surrounded by political vultures all vying for her position for months now -- one is minded of the words of British political commentator Owen Jones who, when asked recently if he felt sorry for the prime minister, noted that May's tears were simply those of self-pity and were absent at times when they would have been appropriate, such as in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed 72 lives.

'Permanent Crisis'

One may be inclined to think that if she was so unsuccessful on the domestic front, then perhaps in the area of foreign policy May could have had a better record. No such luck. We only have to look at the considerable deterioration in relations with Russia to understand that under her leadership, Britain's standing in the world has diminished. Prominent British journalist Patrick Cockburn has even gone as far to say that Britain is now "entering a period of permanent crisis not seen since the 17th century."

But arguably back in the 17th century the U.K. was more competent in the art of diplomacy than it is now. May's defense minister, Gavin Williamson, with his comment that Russia should "go away and shut up" epitomized the extraordinary lack of finesse and savoir-faire the May government had when dealing with Russia.

His bellicose tone unfortunately went hand-in-hand with a completely misplaced notion of Russia presenting to the UK some kind of genuine threat, as he argued earlier this year that the UK had to "enhance its lethality" against such well-resourced states, as opposed to concentrating its energies on Islamic terror groups. He was then accused by fellow politicians of "sabre-rattling" in what were widely seen as misguided and provocative statements.

However, Williamson was not alone in his anti-Russian stance. It was under May's leadership that the controversial government-funded Integrity Initiative program really began to flourish. Designed to "counteract Russian propaganda" it instead deceptively engaged in spreading disinformation about Russia and even the UK Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, by hiring journalists, academics and commentators who would all sing from the same hymn sheet when it came to discourse about Russia in the press.

What was most chilling about the revelations in the Integrity Initiative hacked documents was the extent to which policy makers within the inner workings of the establishment are apparently obsessed about an imminent "Russian threat" and are prepared to go to considerable lengths to persuade the British population of this.

May with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hangzhou, China, 2016. (Wikimedia Commons)

Uncanny Timing

Even more unnerving was the discussion that there was need for some event to be staged in order to heighten the U.K. population's awareness of a Russian threat. The timing was uncanny: this was not long before the poisoning took place of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, which has, along with multiple discrepancies in the British narrative, led some analysts to ask whether the whole incident was indeed orchestrated by British secret services.

Staged or not, May's handling of the Skripal incident left much to be desired. Even her experience of handling the Litvinenko affair as home secretary hadn't taught her a great deal. Before any concrete evidence was produced to implicate the Russian government in the poisoning, May was already issuing ultimatums to the Russian president. Her infamous phrase that the government concluded it was "highly likely" Russia was responsible for the poisoning even entered itself into the Russian vocabulary and became something of a household joke in Russia.

The decision to publicly accuse another state of attempting murder on British soil with evidence that only amounted to "a nerve agent of a type produced by Russia," was utterly reckless, not only deeply harming relations with Russia, but undermining the credibility of the U.K. as a whole. And despite it being an attempt to bolster the PM's position at a time when desperately needed to generate support for her upcoming Brexit white paper – this itself, given a delayed Brexit and divided country, proved fruitless.

So what can we expect from the next prime minister of the not-so-Great Britain? Whoever it is has their work cut out not only to unite the Conservative party, but the country. In terms of improving relations with Russia -- as long as the Tories remain in power, and the "deep state" or civil service continues to push its aggressive anti-Russian agenda -- , we are unlikely to see any significant change in policy.

One could hope that a certain Boris Johnson, himself named after a Russian émigré, and the leading candidate to replace May, could seek to build bridges in this regard, but his record on the Skripal case leaves room for doubt. The PM is after all a figurehead, and the UK civil service remains a driving force of policy-making.

As former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair once said: "You cannot underestimate how much they [the civil service] believe it's their job to actually run the country and to resist the changes put forward by people they dismiss as 'here today, gone tomorrow' politicians. They genuinely see themselves as the true guardians of the national interest, and think that their job is simply to wear you down and wait you out." Says it all really .

This article originally appeared on InfoRos .

Johanna Ross is a freelance journalist based in the United Kingdom.

Tags: Brexit Johanna Ross Russia Russia-gate Sergei Skripal Theresa May Tony Blair


one , May 31, 2019 at 15:41

As one reads this article it is primarily remarkably how closely it resembles America’s past, present and future. Of course, England has long been known as Washington’s lap dog. Unsurprisingly, what we seem to be best at is sales and PR. The UK is far from the only “ally” we have that has followed us off the cliff.

And as the various publics look down and see the snake pit into which our style of “democracy” and Winners Take All capitalism actually means they want out. Unfortunately, the winners and our leaders have taken all already, including not only the money, but the power. The shameful scams of NATO and politicizing the EU turned out to be new ways to suck the lifeblood out of the earths “Others,” both in our countries and in the “Others” in Africa, Asia, and everything above and below our borders.

So how do we get out of this? We don’t. Every empire from Cyrus To Babylon, Alexander’s to The Pharaohs’ and Heraclius, the Spanish, Portuguese, and British have collapsed in the dust and led to long periods of darkness, inhabited by The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse.

If you look around us, still mostly living in luxury unknown to the ancient non-winners, all of the signs are there. In the multiple-party system in most of “free” Europe or our Two-party system there’s but decline. Boris won’t save England and none of the truly potentially electable quacks in our Democrats list are going to get us out of this. Clinton didn’t, Obama didn’t and what’s up won’t. No one but Tulsi Gabbard even talks about or has a foreign policy beyond being for peace and plenty for all. Sure. Dumb.

I hate to sound gloomy-doomy, because I’m not. I’m a writer and a writer is an observer. Watching all of this, including my own 2008 economic demise, is fascinating. Gabbard isn’t going to be elected. We’ll get our own Mrs. May maybe, or more Trump, Bolt-on or the fat guy who will initiate some wars that we’ll win like we did with Vietnam and Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. ad nauseum. I’m not saying be dumb; I’m saying be realistic, analytical, interested, and vocal, but come the collapse, be physically and psychologically prepared (everything that Hillary wasn’t, for example.)

Abe , May 31, 2019 at 12:51

The UK under May has continued to serve as a “coalition partner” in the US-Saudi-Israeli Axis engineered and perpetuated dirty war against the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies. Let’s not forget Theresa May’s well practiced phrase, “like the United States, we believe”: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-39591476 . May has consistently believed US claims about the April 2017 Khan Shaykhoun incident, the April 2018 Douma incident, and other alleged chemical “attacks” in Syria.

The UK under May also has remained the base for two leading disinformation operations supporting the the assault against Syrian government: Rami Abdulrahman’s Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Eliot Higgins’ Bellingcat.

As of 31 March 2018, the British government had provided £38.4m in funding to the Al Qaeda allied White Helmets propaganda organization. In April 2018 the Trump administration suspended funding of the White Helmets. The US had provided more than $33 million to support the group since 2013.

The British government remains a primary funder of the White Helmets propaganda organization. Posing as an impartial rescue force, the White Helmets work exclusively side-by-side armed militants including US State Department, UN, and EU designated foreign terrorist organizations. Their primary function is not “rescuing” anyone, but to manage a public relations campaign aimed at swaying public and political opinion, leveraging “humanitarian” sympathy worldwide.

As of 31 March 2018, the British government had provided £38.4m in funding to the White Helmets. In April 2018 the Trump administration suspended funding of the White Helmets. The US had provided more than $33 million to support the group since 2013.

In November 2016, video showed two White Helmets members staging a rescue operation for the Mannequin Challenge meme. In May 2017, video showed White Helmets members removing a man’s body following his execution by armed militants in Daraa. In June 2017, a member of the White Helmets was suspended indefinitely for assisting armed militants in the burial of mutilated corpses of Syrian government soldiers.

On the night of 21 July 2018, Israel allowed 422 people – 98 White Helmet volunteers and their family members – to cross the Israeli annexed Syrian Golan Heights and into Jordan. A Syrian government official condemned the evacuation of White Helmets as a “criminal operation” that had revealed “the terrorist nature” of the group. In September 2018, the UK granted asylum to about 100 White Helmet staff and relatives that had been evacuated to Jordan.

AnneR , May 31, 2019 at 09:22

Good Riddance to very Bad Rubbish (mind you that also applies to the whole of the Tory lot plus the Blairites).

Yes May’s government has much to make amends for – and not just for and to the survivors of Grenfell Towers, the Windrush Generation families, but also to: the Yemenis, the Chagossians, the Syrians. It would have behooved her to have a smaller wardrobe and a larger, effective compassion for those the (imperialist) British have done over numerous times up to and including today. Even small gestures of real compassion, of real recognition of the ugliness of Britian’s imperial past wrongdoings by way of simple apology are apparently beyond her and her government (including the Civil Service).

As for Britain’s “standing” – it is about bloody time that this small island off the western Eurasian coast put up and shut up and retired. Why on earth should it have any *standing*? What *good* has it ever done? (And I ask this as someone born there, whose father was in the army helping to maintain the Raj – much to my much later disgust, though, disgracefully, not his.)

Bob of Bonsall , May 31, 2019 at 05:11

To be fair, and as much as it pains me to do so, I must point out that the Grenfell tragedy and Windrush fiasco were as much due to Labour decisions as they were to Tory incompetence.

John A , May 31, 2019 at 03:01

Apropos, the last two paras about the Civil Service in Britain; Up until the last 2 decades or so, some of the brightest and best talents entered the Civil Service, good pay, good career prospects and good pension. Then this was hollowed out, everything ‘public sector’ was vilified and privatized and starved of funding.

For these reasons, most of the ‘brightest and best’ now shun the Civil Service for a career in casino banking and similar avenues instead. The calibre of Civil Service advice has nose-dived accordingly.

As with everything else in Britain post Thatcher, everything is for sale, get rich quick, plod along with little or no pay increases and less and less job security, or starve homeless on the streets are the options available these days.

Zhu , May 31, 2019 at 04:51

Sounds like the USA!

Douglas Turnbull , May 30, 2019 at 22:20

The continuing barbaric capitalist nightmare and its sad psychopathic 1% and the destructive antics of its sycophants...

Tom Kath , May 30, 2019 at 20:13

“Something rotten” is not restricted to the state of Denmark, Britain, or USA. It is not even restricted to the “West”, so we must seek more fundamentally for the source of this world’s abject immoral disgustingness. The race to the bottom is keenly contested.

KiwiAntz , May 30, 2019 at 20:09

At last, for the long suffering Brits? The Maybot has finally danced her “Robotic Dance” off the World scene to the cheers & high fives of most of the British people, who have thoroughly had a gutsful of her duplicitous behaviour & disastrous mishandling of Brexit!

And the article lists her shameful record during the period she was Prime Minister, especially the Glenfell Tower tragedy & her pathetic response along with the criminal culpability of the disgusting Conservative Tory Party & its role in this travesty?

Their murderous Policies & austerity directly led to this disgrace? So its good riddance to a contemptible woman, a abject failure & a loser who was good for absolutely nothing except walking on stages & doing really bad dance moves!

LJ , May 30, 2019 at 18:39

She was all the Tories could come up with to keep Corbyn out of the office of Prime Minister. There should certainly have been a General Election after David Cameron crashed the ship of state with Brexit.

Boris Johnson would certainly complete that job so someone else will have to play dartboard until the next election. Despite what the Guardian and BBC and the rest say. And in spite of the Zionist attack on Corbyn he will be Prime Minister. Long Overdue. Britain is Great no more.

Without Russian money they are certainly not the world’s 6th largest economy and it appears that unless they want to side with China against the USA which is improbable, no impossible, they will lose Chinese Capital as well after Brexit.

Good. I hope Scotland votes for Independence. Wales should as well. Britain deserves to go to hell after their history as an Empire. London is 41% foreign born. Just who are they anyway? The British? We here in the USA, or rather younger people here in the USA should take a good look at what happens over the next 5 years there and put it your memory banks.

elmerfudzie , May 30, 2019 at 17:37

Tainted tenure indeed! No one asks the right questions anymore. For example, where did all that Brexit cash come from? As I commented previously at CONSORTIUMNEWS and it is redacted here; “The Panama Papers signaled a need for radical change(s) in the EU banking laws. Hiding money, legit or not from, fair and open taxation, has become increasingly difficult for the upper crust….”

The BREXIT cash originated, no surprise folks, from a Gibraltar based firm, where a Mr Arron Banks (big bucks Banks) a guy with money to burn, with corporate holdings in the Isle of Man and too, one of his buddies, an Alan Kentish of the STM group specializing in, oh you’ll love this, offshore wealth preservation! LOL

And again, a Mr. Jim Mellon a for real billionaire, several times over I should think, the same guy who carpetbagged Russia after the collapse of the CCCP. His gleanings were called “privatization”… of poor mother Russia. Well, to make a long story short, Mr Kentish, the original pro-BREXITeer was arrested in Gibraltar under the UK’s Crime Act for such suspicious money funneling(s). My oh my Ms May, what strange political bedfellows you seem to have!

Jeff Harrison , May 30, 2019 at 17:37

Here today, gone to lunch as the late Douglas Adams put it. The US has it’s own deep state problem of civil servants, especially alphabet soup agencies who are accustomed to operating in the dark and think that they, not the political appointees make policy. Their thinking is bolstered by Congresses who stonewall and delay approving personnel for leadership positions in the civil service.

[May 31, 2019] "US Coalition Attacks Syrian Oil Transport Boats On Euphrates River"

May 31, 2019 | www.unz.com

Johnny Walker Read , says: May 31, 2019 at 7:10 pm GMT

And so it begins

"US Coalition Attacks Syrian Oil Transport Boats On Euphrates River"
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-31/us-coalition-attacks-syrian-oil-tankers-euphrates-river

[May 31, 2019] Europe's mercenaries to Syria

May 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mina , May 31, 2019 6:39:11 AM | 61

Europe's mercenaries to Syria (and their "joy divisions") and how to wash their hands with it
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48444604

[May 31, 2019] Comments on Official Response by OPCW to the Engineering Assessment on Douma

OPSW proved to be a gang of a despicable, completely bought by the USA bottomfeeders. Looks like they are now a part of "Intergity Initiative"
At this point credibility of the USA and UK experts on the topic is not zero, it is negative: they systematically generate false flags.
Truth be told after Skripals affair the level of credibility of the UK government and expects is far below zero in any case. This is just a gang of despicable warmongers.
Notable quotes:
"... If SST readers are confused by OPCW's constantly shifting explanations for why the Final Report on the Douma incident excluded the Engineering Assessment, they're not the only ones. ..."
"... Unfortunately for whoever thought up this defence, it is explicitly contradicted by both the Interim Report (published last July) and the Final Report, which state that the objective of the engineering studies was to evaluate how the cylinders arrived in position. ..."
May 29, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Comments on official response to the release of the Engineering Assessment of the Douma cylinders Paul McKeigue, David Miller, Jake Mason, Piers Robinson

Members of Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media 1 Introduction

This post comments on the response to our release of the Executive Summary of the Engineering Assessment of the Douma cylinders on 13 May 2018. All emphases in quoted passages are added by us. After OPCW had confirmed the document to be genuine, the story was covered extensively by Russian media.

An informed commentary by Professor Hiroyuki Aoyama in Tokyo has been published on Yahoo News's Japanese site. The only coverage in western corporate media has been by Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday , Robert Fisk in the Independent and Tucker Carlson on Fox .

Other journalists who have been in touch with us have told us that their stories were spiked by editors. As expected, the story has reached much larger numbers through websites and videos that have disseminated it.

2 OPCW's response to the release of the document

2.1 Official response

In an email dated 11 May and shown to us, Deepti Choubey, the head of OPCW Public Affairs, wrote:

Thank you for reaching out to us. It is exclusively through the Fact-Finding Mission, set up in 2014, that the OPCW establishes facts surrounding allegations of use of toxic chemicals for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic. On 1 March 2019, the OPCW has issued its final and only valid official report, signed by the Director-General, regarding the incident that took place in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, on 7 April 2018. The document you shared with us is not part of any of the material produced by the FFM. The individual mentioned in the document has never been a member of the FFM .

A subsequent email on 16 May stated:

The OPCW establishes facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic through the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), which was set up in 2014. The OPCW Technical Secretariat reaffirms that the FFM complies with established methodologies and practices to ensure the integrity of its findings. The FFM takes into account all available, relevant, and reliable information and analysis within the scope of its mandate to determine its findings. Per standard practice, the FFM draws expertise from different divisions across the Technical Secretariat as needed. All information was taken into account, deliberated, and weighed when formulating the final report regarding the incident in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, on 7 April 2018. On 1 March 2019, the OPCW issued its final report on this incident, signed by the Director-General.

Per OPCW rules and regulations, and in order to ensure the privacy, safety, and security of personnel, the OPCW does not provide information about individual staff members of the Technical Secretariat. Pursuant to its established policies and practices, the OPCW Technical Secretariat is conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised release of the document in question. At this time, there is no further public information on this matter and the OPCW is unable to accommodate requests for interviews.

This was taken as confirmation that the document was genuine.

2.2 Unofficial briefings

Following OPCW's confirmation on 16 May that the document we had released was genuine, two individuals in the UK whose communications have supported UK government policy on Syria favoring regime change – Professor Scott Lucas of Birmingham University, and the former Guardian journalist Brian Whitaker – began reporting that they had inside information on how the Engineering Assessment had been excluded from the Final Report.

2.2.1 Lucas

On 16 May Lucas reported that:

Henderson was writing what was, in effect, a dissenting assessment from that of most of the OPCW's team and consultant experts. His findings were considered but were a minority opinion as final report was written.

He followed this with a remarkably indiscreet tweet asserting that "I know how OPCW review process was conducted and what place Henderson's assessment had in it." When challenged to explain his connection to OPCW, Lucas did not answer. Hitchens reported on 24 May that OPCW Public Affairs had refused to comment on whether Lucas was receiving authorised briefings from OPCW.

2.2.2 Whitaker

Whitaker was at first more circumspect about his sources, reporting on 16 May that:

One story circulating in the chemical weapons community (though not confirmed) is that Henderson had wanted to join the FFM and got rebuffed but was then given permission to do some investigating on the sidelines of the FFM.

Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat extended Whitaker's version with:

This reporting by @Brian_Whit on the leaked Douma report that the conspiracy theorists and chemical weapon denialists are so excited about is consistent with what I'm hearing . Looks like they all got played by a disgruntled OPCW employee.

In an article posted on 24 May, Whitaker was more explicit in reporting the spin of "an informed source" on the Engineering Assessment.

an informed source has now shed some light on it. The key point here is the FFM's terms of reference. Its basic role was to establish facts about the alleged attack, and it was not allowed to apportion blame -- that is the job of the OPCW's newly-created Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). Although the FFM determined that the cylinders were probably dropped from the air, the published report (in line with its mandate) omitted any mention of the obvious implication that they had been dropped by regime aircraft. According to the informed source, when Henderson's assessment was reviewed there were concerns that it came too close to attributing responsibility, and thus fell outside the scope of the FFM's mandate. Whether or not that was the right decision, there was no doubt that Henderson's assessment did fall within the mandate of the new Investigation and Identification Team. For that reason, according to the source, he was advised to pass it to the IIT instead -- and he did so.

Unless this account was entirely fabricated, it could only have come from someone with close knowledge of how the Final Report had been prepared. A subsequent tweet from Whitaker on 25 May, presumably channelling the same source, confirmed that "Henderson and others" had been in Douma:

Henderson and others did go to Douma to provide temporary support to the FFM, but they were not official members of the FFM.

2.3 What the channelling of off-the-record briefings tells us

It is likely that (at least on this occasion) Lucas and Whitaker are telling the truth, and that they have been briefed by someone with close knowledge of how the FFM Final Report was prepared. If these briefings had not been authorised, OPCW Public Affairs could easily have responded to Hitchens's question with a standard statement reiterating that "there is no further public information on this matter" and that this extended to off-the-record briefings. We would expect OPCW press officers to be reluctant to issue further statements that could subsequently be shown to be false.

Like cellular biologists who perturb a complex system and measure its outputs, we can infer from these observations the existence of a pathway. This pathway connects the production of OPCW reports on alleged chemical attacks in Syria with a network of communicators in the UK who in different ways have promoted the cause of regime change in Syria since 2012. It is evident that Lucas and Whitaker are output nodes of this pathway. From August 2012, Whitaker as the Guardian's Middle East editor promoted Higgins from obscure beginnings as a blogger to become a widely-cited source on the Syrian conflict. Whitaker was the first journalist to devote an article to attacking the Working Group, in February 2018 when its only collective output had been a brief blog post.

It is of course possible that OPCW management for some procedural reason was unable to provide further information on the record, and sought to disseminate an accurate version of events via off-the-record briefings. But the choice of such highly partisan commentators as Lucas and Whitaker as channels inevitably calls into question the good faith of whoever provided these briefings, and undermines any remaining pretence to impartiality on the part of OPCW management.

2.4 Discrepancies between versions of OPCW's response

An established method in investigative journalism is to compare official versions and to infer from discrepancies what they are trying to hide. On 11 May OPCW Public Affairs stated that "The document you shared with us is not part of any of the material produced by the FFM. The individual mentioned in the document has never been a member of the FFM". After we pointed out that these two statements were provably false – the external collaboration on the engineering assessment of the Douma cylinders must have been authorised by OPCW, and Henderson could hardly have been in Damascus on a tourist visa – they were not repeated on the record. By 16 May OPCW Public Affairs had formulated a new policy: "Per OPCW rules and regulations the OPCW does not provide information about individual staff members of the Technical Secretariat." A more subtle version of Henderson's role was then channelled through Lucas and Whitaker: "minority opinion", "on the sidelines" and elaborated by Higgins as "disgruntled OPCW employee"'. Between 16 May and 25 May the story channelled through Whitaker changed from "Henderson had wanted to join the FFM and got rebuffed but was then given permission to do some investigating on the sidelines of the FFM." to admitting that "Henderson and others" were in Douma "to provide temporary support to the FFM".

On 24 May Whitaker's informed source admits that "Henderson's assessment was reviewed" for the Final Report, no longer attempting to maintain that the Engineering Assessment was not part of the FFM's process. If we strip away the flannel from this latest story, it appears to be accurate. The "informed source" tells us that the Engineering Assessment was excluded from the Final Report not because its technical analysis had been rebutted, but because the conclusion that the cylinders had been placed in position rather than dropped from the air would necessarily have attributed responsibility for the incident to the opposition .

The argument that the mandate of the FFM prevented it from endorsing the Engineering Assessment's conclusion is easily refuted as a matter of logic. Announcing the release of the Final Report, OPCW stated that "The FFM's mandate is to determine whether chemical weapons or toxic chemicals as weapons have been used in Syria." In Douma this could be reduced to deciding between two alternatives: (1) the gas cylinders were dropped from the air, implying that they were used as chemical weapons; (2) the cylinders were placed in position, implying that the incident was staged and that no chemical attack had occurred. Although to conclude that alternative (2) was correct would implicate the opposition, this would not be attribution of blame for a chemical attack but rather a determination that chemical weapons had not been used.

Clearly a verdict that the alleged chemical attack had been staged would have been unacceptable to the French government, which had joined in the US-led missile attack on 14 April 2018. We can surmise that the Chief of Cabinet of OPCW, Sébastien Braha, who (according to his Linkedin profile ) is still in post as a French diplomat, would have been in a difficult position if he had allowed the FFM to release a report that reached this conclusion. He would be in an even more difficult position if he were to allow the newly-established Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), which also reports to him, to overturn the conclusions of the Final Report and report that the alleged chemical attack was staged. Even if Braha's failure to update his online profile with the date of leaving his diplomatic post is an oversight, this would still be a conflict of interest based on the OECD definition of what "a reasonable person, knowing the relevant facts, would conclude". As we have noted, OPCW appears to have no arrangements for managing conflicts of interest. Until the governance and working practices of OPCW are radically reformed, it is hard to see how neutral observers can have confidence in the impartiality of the FFM or the IIT.

3 Government responses to an alleged chlorine attack on 19 May 3.1 Reports of the alleged attack

Possible allusions to the release of the Engineering Assessment on 13 May can be discerned in government responses to a report of an alleged chlorine attack in Idlib on 19 May. The earliest report , mentioning three missiles or shells loaded with chlorine was from an Arabic-language website named ebaa.news at 11.01 am Syrian time. The location was given as Kubina Hill in Kabbana village, on the border with Lattakia. At 12.46 am Syrian time Hamish de Bretton-Gordon (HdBG) tweeted

Appears to be a chlorine attack from Regime artillery shells in Jose Al Shugour village - 4 casualties being evacuated for treatment

"Jose Al Shugour village" is presumably the town of Jisr Al-Shughour. Rami Abdulrahman's Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on 22 May that four fighters were treated in hospital after they "suffocated in the intense and violent shelling by the regime forces, within caves and trenches" but did not endorse the claims of a chlorine attack, noting that the source of this story was "the Media platform of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham". The story was elaborated in a Fox News report on 23 May that quoted a "Dr Ahmad" from Idlib, who reported that he had treated the casualties. Fox News also quoted Nidal Shikhani of the Chemical Violations Documentation Centre Syria (CVDCS).

A possible match for the identity of "Dr Ahmad" is Dr Ahmad al-Dbis, quoted by Reuters on 4 May 2019 as Safety and Security Manager for the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM), describing airstrikes on Idlib and northern Hama. Since 2016 both HdBG and the CBRN Task Force that he set up in 2013 have been affiliated to UOSSM. A report from 2014 quotes a "Dr Ahmad" described as a medic trained by HdBG for the CBRN Task Force. CVDCS is an NGO that has worked closely with the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission since 2015 to provide purported eyewitnesses for interview in Syria, originally established in 2012 as the Office of Documentation of the Chemical File in Syria , and later registered in Brussels as a non-profit company named Same Justice. This company never complied with the legal requirement to file accounts, and went into liquidation on 27 February 2019.

The ebaa.news site appears to be closely linked to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), frequently quoting HTS spokesmen and sometimes reporting exclusive stories obtained from HTS. On 31 May 2018 HTS was designated by the US Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The Coordinator for Counterterrorism noted that this designation "serves notice that the United States is not fooled by this al-Qa'ida affiliate's attempt to rebrand itself." In conclusion, the provenance of this story of a chemical attack on 19 May is dubious, and the extent to which the sources are independent of one another is not clear.

3.2 UK response

On 22 May John Woodcock MP asked at Prime Minister's Questions :

British experts are this morning investigating a suspected chlorine attack by al-Assad in Idlib. If it is proved, will she lead the international response against the return of this indiscriminate evil?

As expected, the Prime Minister gave a bellicose answer, but made no reference to OPCW.

We of course acted in Syria, with France and the United States, when we saw chemical weapons being used there. We are in close contact with the United States and are monitoring the situation closely, and if any use of chemical weapons is confirmed, we will respond appropriately.

Woodcock's "British experts" appear to have included HdBG, who had suggested in a tweet the day before that Woodcock should ask the Prime Minister about Idlib, though not about a chemical attack. In a subsequent tweet Woodcock stated that his experts were "on the ground in Syria".

3.3 French response

The daily press from the French foreign ministry on 22 May responded to a question on the alleged chemical attack on 19 May with:

We have noted with concern these allegations which must be investigated. We have full confidence in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons .

3.4 US response

A press statement from State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus on 21 May dealt with the alleged chemical attack two days earlier:

Unfortunately, we continue to see signs that the Assad regime may be renewing its use of chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack in northwest Syria on the morning of May 19, 2019. We are still gathering information on this incident, but we repeat our warning that if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, the United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately.

She mentioned a " continuing disinformation campaign " to "create the false narrative that others are to blame for chemical weapons attacks that the Assad regime itself is conducting". The following day Mr James Jeffrey, the State Department's special representative to Syria, testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that "So far we cannot confirm [the reports of chemical weapons use] but we're watching it". The New York Times reported this to be a "carefully worded recalibration" of the announcement by Morgan Ortagus the day before, and that American military officials had "expressed surprise over the State Department's strong statement". 4 Comparison of the Engineering Assessment with the published Final Report

A comparison of the Engineering Assessment and the Final Report have been reported in outline form by McIntyre . As Larson has noted , there are indications in the Final Report that whoever drafted it had access to an earlier version of the Engineering Assessment (the released version dated 27 February 2019 is marked Rev 1) and was attempting to rebut it without overtly mentioning it. For instance the Engineering Assessment lists five points supporting the opinion of experts that the crater at location 2 had been created by a the explosion of a mortar round or artillery rocket rather than an impact from a falling object. These points included:

"an (unusually elevated, but possible) fragmentation pattern on upper walls"

"(whilst it was observed that a fire had been created in the corner of the room) black scorching on the crater underside and ceiling."

The Final Report states falsely that a fragmentation pattern, visible in open-source images, was absent:

The FFM analysed the damage on the rooftop terrace and below the crater in order to determine if it had been created by an explosive device. However, this hypothesis is unlikely given the absence of primary and secondary fragmentation characteristic of an explosion that may have created the crater and the damage surrounding it.

This is followed by a paragraph that notes the blackening of the ceiling and attributes it to the fire set in the room. The Final Report's allusion to the possibility of an explosive device, with mention of fragmentation pattern and the setting of a fire in the room appears to be an attempt to explain away the argument made in the Engineering Assessment.

We note that several of the key findings of the Engineering Assessment are based only on examination of the cylinders. For instance the Engineering Assessment reports that the cylinder at Location 2 bears no markings that would be consistent with the frame with fins (lying on the balcony) ever having been attached to it, let alone the markings that would be expected if the frame had been stripped off by impact. The Final Report records that the Syrian government insisted on retaining custody of the cylinders for criminal investigation purposes. Accordingly:

On 4 June, FFM team members tagged and sealed the cylinders from Locations 2 and 4, and documented the procedure.

A useful way to take forward the investigation of the Douma incident would now be for the Syrian government to invite an international team of neutral experts to examine the cylinders, to assess whether the observations support the findings of the Engineering Assessment or the conclusions of the published FFM Final Report, and to publish their findings in a form that allows peer review and reproducibility of results from data. The next step would be a criminal investigation of this incident, focusing on where, how and by whom were the 35 victims seen in images at Location 2 killed.

Posted at 02:37 AM in government , History , Syria , The Military Art , weapons | Permalink

Castellio , 29 May 2019 at 12:05 PM

Thank you for pursuing this issue in depth and with rigour.

Paul McKeigue , 29 May 2019 at 12:05 PM

If SST readers are confused by OPCW's constantly shifting explanations for why the Final Report on the Douma incident excluded the Engineering Assessment, they're not the only ones.

Yesterday OPCW released its official response (dated 21 May) to Russian criticisms (dated 26 April) of the Final Report of the Fact-Finding Mission on the Douma incident. In this response OPCW made, officially and on the record, the same argument as that made by Whitaker's "informed source: that to assess how the cylinders arrived in their positions was outside the mandate of the FFM.

Unfortunately for whoever thought up this defence, it is explicitly contradicted by both the Interim Report (published last July) and the Final Report, which state that the objective of the engineering studies was to evaluate how the cylinders arrived in position.

Peter Hitchens is on the case, and has listed these contradictions and requested an explanation from OPCW.

https://t.co/siF2D4yita

[May 31, 2019] One Man's Quest To Expose A Fake BBC Video About Syria

Notable quotes:
"... If you support Robert Stuart's efforts, go to this crowdfunding website. There you can learn more and contribute to this important effort to reveal whether the BBC video 'Saving Syria's Children' showed true or staged events. Was the alleged "napalm" attack real or was it staged propaganda? The project needs a large number of small donors and a few substantial ones to meet the June 7 deadline ..."
"... By the way, I recommend watching the 3 minute video at the crowd funding site: ..."
May 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

librul , May 30, 2019 1:31:34 PM | 3

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-29/one-mans-quest-expose-fake-bbc-video-about-syria


It's a David vs Goliath story. A former local newspaper reporter, Robert Stuart, is taking on the British Broadcasting Corporation. Stuart believes that a sensational video story about an alleged atrocity in Syria "was largely, if not entirely, staged." The BBC would like it all to just go away. But like David, Stuart will not back down or let it go. It has been proposed that the BBC could settle the issue by releasing the raw footage from the event, but they refuse to do this. Why?

...


Robert Stuart is not quitting. He hopes the next step will be a documentary film dramatically showing what he has discovered and further investigating important yet unexplored angles.

The highly experienced film producer Victor Lewis-Smith, who tore up his BBC contract, has stepped forward to help make this happen.

But to produce a high quality documentary including some travel takes funding. After devoting almost six years to this effort, Robert Stuart's resources are exhausted. The project needs support from concerned members of the public.

If you support Robert Stuart's efforts, go to this crowdfunding website. There you can learn more and contribute to this important effort to reveal whether the BBC video 'Saving Syria's Children' showed true or staged events. Was the alleged "napalm" attack real or was it staged propaganda? The project needs a large number of small donors and a few substantial ones to meet the June 7 deadline.

My main point of posting

They are looking for crowd funding to produce a documentary. I have not contributed thru crowd funding before.
1) is it safe and secure? input please
2) will my contribution be a matter of public record?
3) anything else you want to say, thx

By the way, I recommend watching the 3 minute video at the crowd funding site:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/saving-syria-s-children-did-the-bbc-lie#/

[May 27, 2019] The Pathology of John Bolton by Joe Lauria

In short Bolton is a neofascist.
Notable quotes:
"... Most diplomats, officials, and journalists were shocked that Bolton (evading confirmation with a recess appointment) had actually become the U.S. representative, given his long, public disdain for the UN ..."
"... It's been the strategy of Republican administrations to appoint the fiercest critic to head an agency or institution in order to weaken it, perhaps even fatally. ..."
"... Bolton possesses an abiding self-righteousness rooted in what seems a sincere belief in the myth of American greatness, mixed with deep personal failings hidden from public view. ..."
"... It is more than an ideology. It's fanaticism. Bolton believes America is exceptional and indispensible and superior to all other nations and isn't afraid to say so. ..."
"... Bolton's all too willing to make his bullying personal on behalf of the state. He implicitly threatened the children of José Bustani, who Vice President Dick Cheney wanted out of his job as head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons because Bustani had gotten Iraq to agree to join the chemical weapons protocol, thereby making it harder for the U.S. to invade Iraq. ..."
"... We saw a pattern of Mr. Bolton trying to manipulate intelligence to justify his views. If it had happened once, maybe. But it came up multiple times, and always it was the same underlying issue: he would stake out a position, and then, if the intelligence didn't support it, he would try to exaggerate the intelligence and marginalize the officials who had produced it." ..."
"... Bolton is no fan of democracy if things don't go his way. He is a vociferous instigator of the so-far failed U.S. coup in Venezuela and of course Bolton organized the "Brooks Brothers riot" that disrupted the recounting of votes in Florida in the disputed 2000 presidential election ..."
"... This is a common ruling class tactic in the U.S. to portray disobedient leaders ripe for overthrow as Hitler. Saddam was Hitler, Milosevic was Hitler, Noriega was Hitler and Hillary Clinton called Putin Hitler. It is a false revival of U.S. glory from World War II to paint foreign adventures as moral crusades, rather than naked aggression in pursuit of profits and power. ..."
"... Bolton is the distillation of the pathology of American power. He is unique only in the purity of this pathology. ..."
"... Two months after Bolton was appointed national security adviser, in June 2018, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the six-nation deal that has seen Tehran curtail its nuclear enrichment program in exchange for relaxation of U.S. and international sanctions. ..."
"... Both Israel and Saudi Arabia, lacking the military firepower of the United States, have long tried to get the U.S. to fight its wars, and one no more important than against its common enemy. ..."
"... It is the typical provocation of a bully: threaten someone with a cruise missile and the moment they pick up a knife in self-defense you attack, conveniently leaving the initial threat out of the story. It then becomes: "Iran picked up a knife. We have to blow them away with cruise missiles." ..."
"... The New York Times that day reported : "Privately, several European officials described Mr. Bolton and Mr. Pompeo as pushing an unsuspecting Mr. Trump through a series of steps that could put the United States on a course to war before the president realizes it." ..."
"... Pompeo told a radio interviewer after the briefing that the U.S. had still not determined who attacked two Saudi, a Norwegian and an Emirati oil tanker in the Gulf last week, which bore the hallmarks of a provocation. Pompeo said "it seems like it's quite possible that Iran was behind" the attacks. ..."
"... But also last Sunday he told Fox News that the "military-industrial complex" is real and "they do like war" and they "went nuts" when he said he wanted to withdraw troops from Syria. Trump said he didn't want war with Iran, here possibly reflecting Israel's views. ..."
"... Joe, nice piece of work covering the psycho-pathology of America's leading nazi! ..."
"... To correct one of your statements: Trump DID NOT appoint him National Security Adviser, but Adelson and Mercer did. Trump is a brain-dead, blackmailed puppet who fancies himself as POTUS ..."
"... Everybody I know who is following the Washington Beltway histrionics of Trump et al know full-well that a certain intelligence agency of a small Middle East domiciled country have THE definitive dossier on Trump and have been building it for the last five decades. ..."
"... The Bolton-Pompeo-Pence presidency is destined to go down in history as one of infamy and treason. Trump? dead-man walking, more than likely by a stroke-heart attack when he's popping out one of his idiotic and manic tweets! ..."
"... John Bolton is a psychopath, He should be dismissed immediately, but I think that he should be institutionalized. ..."
"... Yeah Joe, it wasn't just you and other reporters who were stunned by Bolton's recess appt to the UN by W -- - many of us were staggered by the jaw-dropping inappropriateness of it, ..."
"... But, as you accurately mentioned, the Republicans had long-ago (I recall first hearing about it during Nixon's reign, with Earl Butz) used that gambit to effectively sabotage regulatory agencies & depts. Rather than try to dissolve an agency that most people want, they can neutralize it by appointing some hack or lobbyist for the entity being regulated so that nothing meaningful gets done, AND it has the 'beneficial' effect of discrediting the agency involved, and government in general, which is what many libertarian-inclined Republicans like. ..."
"... Israel doesnt want the US to attack Iran Well that is BS! Israel and its Fifth Column in the US have agitated for the US to attack Iran for years .we've all seen and heard it .and now they want to try to wipe our memories of their war mongering with their typical hasbara in the NYT and Netanyahu claiming .'oh we have nothing to do with it." ..."
"... Bolton is a psychopath but he is Sheldon Adelson's errand boy .who Bolton met with in Las Vegas the week before Trump appointed him and Adelson is the Orange carnival barker's 100 million dollar donor. ..."
"... Trump's incoherent mixture of neoconservative & isolationism almost make him a Bush! ..."
"... I assume Trump knows what a 'neocon' but is so indebted to Israel and intoxicated by Islamophobic rhetoric that he cannot free himself from his addiction to surrounding himself with more neo-cons ..."
"... The progression from Flynn to McMaster to Bolton was just selecting between neocon flavors for his National Security Advisers. What a joke of a nation! ..."
"... I appreciate the article, but it doesn't mention Israel, which is the fountainhead of the agenda to take out Iran, Iraq, and Syria. ..."
"... "Overall, 28 sitting senators have received sizable contributions from John Bolton PAC during the election cycle, as have nine representatives on the House defense, foreign affairs, and homeland security subcommittees." ..."
"... Don't forget who told Donald Trump to hire John Bolton. It was Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes. ..."
"... They like Bolton because he is "incapable of empathy and good on Israel." ..."
"... The NYT has indeed supported wars but it is not alone nor is this a recent trend. There is a very old trend of the commercial news establishments becoming war hawks and regurtitators of official propaganda whenever the USA wants to pick a fight. It goes back to the period after the establishment of the nation when expansionism set its roots down and what grew out of that is pretty much the same kind of nationalistic propaganda we see today. ..."
May 23, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Special to Consortium News 129 Comments

John Bolton has been saying for years he wants the Iranian government overthrown, and now he's made his move. But this time he may have gone too far, writes Joe Lauria.

I knew John Bolton and interacted with him on a nearly daily basis with my colleagues in the press corps at United Nations headquarters in New York when Bolton was the United States ambassador there from August 2005 to December 2006.

Most diplomats, officials, and journalists were shocked that Bolton (evading confirmation with a recess appointment) had actually become the U.S. representative, given his long, public disdain for the UN. But that turned out to be the point. It's been the strategy of Republican administrations to appoint the fiercest critic to head an agency or institution in order to weaken it, perhaps even fatally.

Bolton's most infamous quote about the UN followed him into the building. In 1994 he had said : "The Secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If it lost ten stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

But a more telling comment in that same 1994 conference was when he said that no matter what the UN decides the U.S. will do whatever it wants:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/VOINBs8eOdk?feature=oembed

Bolton sees such frank admissions as signs of strength, not alarm.

He is a humorless man, who at the UN at least, seemed to always think he was the smartest person in the room. He once gave a lecture in 2006 at the U.S. mission to UN correspondents, replete with a chalk board, on how nuclear enrichment worked. His aim, of course, was to convince us that Iran was close to a bomb, even though a 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate being prepared at the time said Tehran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

I thought I'd challenge him one day at the press stakeout outside the Security Council chamber, where Bolton often stopped to lecture journalists on what they should write. "If the United States and Britain had not overthrown a democratically elected government in Iran in 1953 would the United States be today faced with a revolutionary government enriching uranium?' I asked him.

"That's an interesting question," he told me, "but for another time and another place." It was a time and a place, of course, that never came.

More Than an Ideology

Bolton possesses an abiding self-righteousness rooted in what seems a sincere belief in the myth of American greatness, mixed with deep personal failings hidden from public view.

He seemed perpetually angry and it wasn't clear whether it was over some personal or diplomatic feud. He seems to take personally nations standing up to America, binding his sense of personal power with that of the United States.

It is more than an ideology. It's fanaticism. Bolton believes America is exceptional and indispensible and superior to all other nations and isn't afraid to say so. He'd have been better off perhaps in the McKinley administration, before the days of PR-sugarcoating of imperial aggression. He's not your typical passive-aggressive government official. He's aggressive-aggressive.

And now Bolton is ordering 120,000 troops to get ready and an aircraft carrier to steam towards Iran.

Bolton's all too willing to make his bullying personal on behalf of the state. He implicitly threatened the children of José Bustani, who Vice President Dick Cheney wanted out of his job as head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons because Bustani had gotten Iraq to agree to join the chemical weapons protocol, thereby making it harder for the U.S. to invade Iraq.

After Bolton's failed 2005 confirmation hearings, Tony Blinken, the then staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told The New Yorker 's Dexter Filkins:

"We saw a pattern of Mr. Bolton trying to manipulate intelligence to justify his views. If it had happened once, maybe. But it came up multiple times, and always it was the same underlying issue: he would stake out a position, and then, if the intelligence didn't support it, he would try to exaggerate the intelligence and marginalize the officials who had produced it."

Bolton is no fan of democracy if things don't go his way. He is a vociferous instigator of the so-far failed U.S. coup in Venezuela and of course Bolton organized the "Brooks Brothers riot" that disrupted the recounting of votes in Florida in the disputed 2000 presidential election.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/MbVtROU9J_E?feature=oembed

What is alarming about the above video is not so much that he justifies lying, but the example he gives: lying to cover up military plans like the invasion of Normandy. This is a common ruling class tactic in the U.S. to portray disobedient leaders ripe for overthrow as Hitler. Saddam was Hitler, Milosevic was Hitler, Noriega was Hitler and Hillary Clinton called Putin Hitler. It is a false revival of U.S. glory from World War II to paint foreign adventures as moral crusades, rather than naked aggression in pursuit of profits and power.

Bolton is the distillation of the pathology of American power. He is unique only in the purity of this pathology.

Regime Change for Iran

The U.S. national security adviser has been saying for years he wants the Iranian government overthrown, and now he's made his move. But this time John Bolton may have flown too high.

He was chosen for his post by a president with limited understanding of international affairs -- if real estate is not involved -- and one who loves to be sucked up to. Trump is Bolton's perfect cover.

But hubris may have finally bested Bolton. He had never before maneuvered himself into such a position of power, though he'd left a trail of chaos at lower levels of government. Sitting opposite the Resolute desk on a daily basis has presented a chance to implement his plans.

At the top of that agenda has been Bolton's stated aim for years: to bomb and topple the Iranian government.

Thus Bolton was the driving force to get a carrier strike force sent to the Persian Gulf and, according to The New York Times, on May 14 , it was he who "ordered" a Pentagon plan to prepare 120,000 U.S. troops for the Gulf. These were to be deployed "if Iran attacked American forces or accelerated its work on nuclear weapons."

Two months after Bolton was appointed national security adviser, in June 2018, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the six-nation deal that has seen Tehran curtail its nuclear enrichment program in exchange for relaxation of U.S. and international sanctions.

At the time of Bolton's appointment in April 2018, Tom Countryman, who had been undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, as had Bolton, predicted to The Intercept that if Iran resumed enrichment after the U.S. left the deal, it "would be the kind of excuse that a person like Bolton would look to to create a military provocation or direct attack on Iran."

In response to ever tightening sanctions, Iran said on May 5 (May 6 in Tehran) that it would indeed restart partial nuclear enrichment. On the same day, Bolton announced the carrier strike group was headed to the Gulf.

Bolton Faces Resistance

If this were a normally functioning White House, in which imperial moves are normally made, a president would order military action, and not a national security adviser.

"I don't think Trump is smart enough to realize what Bolton and [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo are doing to him,"

former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel told RT's Afshin Rattansi this week.

"They have manipulated him. When you get the national security adviser who claims that he ordered an aircraft carrier flotilla to go into the Persian Gulf, we've never seen that. In the days of Henry Kissinger, who really brought sway, he never ordered this, and if it was ordered it was done behind closed doors."

Bolton claimed he acted on intelligence that Iran was poised to attack U.S. interests close to Iran.

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia, lacking the military firepower of the United States, have long tried to get the U.S. to fight its wars, and one no more important than against its common enemy. An editorial on May 16 in the Saudi English-language news outlet, Arab News , called for a U.S. "surgical strike" on Iran. But The New York Times reported on the same day that though Israel was behind Bolton's "intelligence" about an Iranian threat, Israel does not want the U.S. to attack Iran causing a full-scale war.

The intelligence alleged Iran was fitting missiles on fishing boats in the Gulf. Imagine a government targeted by the most powerful military force in history wanting to defend itself in its own waters.

Bolton also said Iran was threatening Western interests in Iraq, which led eventually to non-essential U.S. diplomatic staff leaving Baghdad and Erbil.

It is the typical provocation of a bully: threaten someone with a cruise missile and the moment they pick up a knife in self-defense you attack, conveniently leaving the initial threat out of the story. It then becomes: "Iran picked up a knife. We have to blow them away with cruise missiles."

But this time the bully is being challenged. Federica Mogherini, the EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, resisted the U.S. on Iran when she met Pompeo in Brussels on May 13.

"It's always better to talk, rather than not to, and especially when tensions arise Mike Pompeo heard that very clearly today from us," said Mogherini. "We are living in a crucial, delicate moment where the most relevant attitude to take – the most responsible attitude to take – is and we believe should be, that of maximum restraint and avoiding any escalation on the military side."

The New York Times that day reported : "Privately, several European officials described Mr. Bolton and Mr. Pompeo as pushing an unsuspecting Mr. Trump through a series of steps that could put the United States on a course to war before the president realizes it."

Ghika: No new threat from Iran. (YouTube)

British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika then said on May 14: "There has been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq or Syria." Ghika was rebuked by U.S. Central Command, whose spokesman said, "Recent comments from OIR's Deputy Commander run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian-backed forces in the region."

A day later it was Trump himself, however, who was said to be resisting Bolton. On May 15 The Washington Post reported:

"President Trump is frustrated with some of his top advisers, who he thinks could rush the United States into a military confrontation with Iran and shatter his long-standing pledge to withdraw from costly foreign wars, according to several U.S. officials. Trump prefers a diplomatic approach to resolving tensions and wants to speak directly with Iran's leaders."

The Times reported the next day:

"President Trump has told his acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, that he does not want to go to war with Iran, according to several administration officials, in a message to his hawkish aides that an intensifying American pressure campaign against the clerical-led government in Tehran must not escalate into open conflict."

Then it was the Democrats who stood up to Bolton. On Tuesday Pompeo and Shanahan briefed senators and representatives behind closed doors on Capitol Hill regarding the administration's case for confronting Iran.

"Are they (Iran) reacting to us, or are we doing these things in reaction to them? That is a major question I have, that I still have," Sen. Angus King told reporters after the briefing. "What we view as defensive, they view as provocative. Or vice versa."

Democratic Representative Ruben Gallego told reporters after the briefing: "I believe there is a certain level of escalation of both sides that could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The feedback loop tells us they're escalating for war, but they could just be escalating because we're escalating."

Pompeo told a radio interviewer after the briefing that the U.S. had still not determined who attacked two Saudi, a Norwegian and an Emirati oil tanker in the Gulf last week, which bore the hallmarks of a provocation. Pompeo said "it seems like it's quite possible that Iran was behind" the attacks.

Bolton was conspicuously absent from the closed-door briefing.

It's Up to Trump

Trump has pinballed all over the place on Iran. He called the Times and Post stories about him resisting Bolton "fake news."

"The Fake News Media is hurting our Country with its fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran. It is scattershot, poorly sourced (made up), and DANGEROUS. At least Iran doesn't know what to think, which at this point may very well be a good thing!" Trump tweeted on May 17.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

The Fake News Media is hurting our Country with its fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran. It is scattershot, poorly sourced (made up), and DANGEROUS. At least Iran doesn't know what to think, which at this point may very well be a good thing!

77.7K 9:44 AM - May 17, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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Then he threatened what could be construed as genocide against Iran. "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!" he tweeted on Sunday.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!

239K 4:25 PM - May 19, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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But also last Sunday he told Fox News that the "military-industrial complex" is real and "they do like war" and they "went nuts" when he said he wanted to withdraw troops from Syria. Trump said he didn't want war with Iran, here possibly reflecting Israel's views.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/vc4vYWJfJnE?feature=oembed

On Monday he implied that the crisis has been drummed up to get Iran to negotiate.

"The Fake News put out a typically false statement, without any knowledge that the United States was trying to set up a negotiation with Iran. This is a false report ."

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

The Fake News put out a typically false statement, without any knowledge that the United States was trying to set up a negotiation with Iran. This is a false report....

80.8K 1:30 PM - May 20, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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John Bolton must be stopped before he gets his war. It is beyond troubling that the man we have to count on to do it is Donald Trump.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for T he Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe , Sunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe .


Jym Allyn , May 26, 2019 at 19:27

Or as Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is US." As in the lies that created the Vietnam war and the waste of 58,000 American soldiers and thousand of Vietnamese. Or the lie that Iran is our enemy when we funded and encouraged Saddam to attack them and destroyed their attempt to have a secular government.

Or the lie of the WMD's and the 9/11 attack which was funded by Saudi Arabia, and run by Saudis and NOT Iraq.

Or the lies of Afghanistan which was economically and culturally better off when it was controlled by the USSR...

John Hawk , May 26, 2019 at 16:56

Joe, nice piece of work covering the psycho-pathology of America's leading nazi!

To correct one of your statements: Trump DID NOT appoint him National Security Adviser, but Adelson and Mercer did. Trump is a brain-dead, blackmailed puppet who fancies himself as POTUS.

It can't get any more delusional than this. Everybody I know who is following the Washington Beltway histrionics of Trump et al know full-well that a certain intelligence agency of a small Middle East domiciled country have THE definitive dossier on Trump and have been building it for the last five decades.

After all, deception is their game and they use it liberally, like feeding their agenda to Bolton as 'intelligence' info of the highest order. The Bolton-Pompeo-Pence presidency is destined to go down in history as one of infamy and treason. Trump? dead-man walking, more than likely by a stroke-heart attack when he's popping out one of his idiotic and manic tweets!

Zhu , May 26, 2019 at 03:20

If Bolton were struck by lightning tomorrow morning, would anything change much? I doubt it. We Americans are as warlike as the ancient Assyrian. We've been slaughtering Indians, Koreans, SE Asians, Central Americans, and multiple Middle Eastern people for a looong time. It is flattering to blame this individual or th t country, but no. We, as a community, are all responsible to some degree. Even me, on the far side of the world.

Alex , May 25, 2019 at 21:50

Bolton's choosing destroyed IRAN but staying friends with Saudi Arabia it's so contradicting, and so obvious that he is influenced to behave this way is because Israelies influence. Saudy Kingdom using Bolton to get IRAN so Saudy will be only country promote Extreme version of Wahhabi Islam which is didn't existed In Islam's history.

So Bolton's obsession with destruction of Iran is ignorance as its best. September 11th suspects were most of them Saudy nationals, yet nobody wanted to talk about it, because there is irony that, George W Bush was and probably still doing business with Saudy. So how can you explain that to American people? No you can not.

Perhaps collectively hypnotism !

OlyaPola , May 26, 2019 at 02:58

" So how can you explain that to American people?"

Given that useful fools are useful, why would you want to?

" No you can not."

An illustration of the benefits of dumbing down do not accrue solely to those actively engaged in dumbing down, facilitating the minimising of blowback during implementation of strategies based on "How to drown a drowning man with the minimum of blowback", given that many believe that critical mass is a function of linear notions of 50% +1 and above; a further conflation of quantity with quality to which the opponents are prone.

William , May 25, 2019 at 19:06

John Bolton is a psychopath, He should be dismissed immediately, but I think that he should be institutionalized. Put him in a strait jacket and keep him in a padded cell. He poses a threat to millions of people.

Eddie S , May 25, 2019 at 11:26

Yeah Joe, it wasn't just you and other reporters who were stunned by Bolton's recess appt to the UN by W -- - many of us were staggered by the jaw-dropping inappropriateness of it, IF it was assessed from a pro-peace perspective.

But, as you accurately mentioned, the Republicans had long-ago (I recall first hearing about it during Nixon's reign, with Earl Butz) used that gambit to effectively sabotage regulatory agencies & depts. Rather than try to dissolve an agency that most people want, they can neutralize it by appointing some hack or lobbyist for the entity being regulated so that nothing meaningful gets done, AND it has the 'beneficial' effect of discrediting the agency involved, and government in general, which is what many libertarian-inclined Republicans like.

Good article about a reprehensible politician.

renfro , May 25, 2019 at 11:18

"But The New York Times reported on the same day that though Israel was behind Bolton's "intelligence" about an Iranian threat, Israel does not want the U.S. to attack Iran causing a full-scale war. "
________________________________

Israel doesnt want the US to attack Iran Well that is BS!
Israel and its Fifth Column in the US have agitated for the US to attack Iran for years .we've all seen and heard it .and now they want to try to wipe our memories of their war mongering with their typical hasbara in the NYT and Netanyahu claiming .'oh we have nothing to do with it."

Bolton is a psychopath but he is Sheldon Adelson's errand boy .who Bolton met with in Las Vegas the week before Trump appointed him and Adelson is the Orange carnival barker's 100 million dollar donor.

Seriously, how stupid do they think we are? If we attack Iran it will be for the Zionist and Saudis and we all know it.

Luther Bliss , May 25, 2019 at 10:57

Trump's incoherent mixture of neoconservative & isolationism almost make him a Bush!

Remember it wasn't until Bush JR's second term that he asked his father, "What's A Neocon?" to which Pappy Bush replied, "Israel."

I assume Trump knows what a 'neocon' but is so indebted to Israel and intoxicated by Islamophobic rhetoric that he cannot free himself from his addiction to surrounding himself with more neo-cons.

The progression from Flynn to McMaster to Bolton was just selecting between neocon flavors for his National Security Advisers. What a joke of a nation!

Mark , May 25, 2019 at 02:30

I appreciate the article, but it doesn't mention Israel, which is the fountainhead of the agenda to take out Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Bolton stands out for his extremity among extremists, but he's a means rather than the end. The agenda is something into which he bought, passionately by all indications, but which a paucity of other people created strictly to advance their own, tiny, exclusive clan, not for the benefit of the United States.

Hank , May 25, 2019 at 09:43

To think that this administration campaigned on a promise to restrict future wasteful and needless interventions and then hired this dinosaur of a warmonger makes my blood curl! Everyone with half a brain knows what Bolton's agenda is yet here he is leading the USA into a war at the behest of a foreign nation led by a felon and terrorist! The American people who want peace and their tax dollars invested into improving the USA have once again been stabbed in the back by a conniving administration. Will this cycle of non-democracy ever end? Until it does, future administrations will continue on just like previous ones- kowtowing to special interests, in particular the military/industrial mafia and the apartheid criminal state of Israel! All this massive business of holding "elections" in the USA, all the talk about "Russian collusion" and the REAL collusion is right there in front of us all- the US administration has once again COLLUDED to go back on a campaign promise and once again open the money trough for the military/industrialist pigs!

Mark , May 26, 2019 at 05:31

I get the idea, but it's necessary to look 'behind' back-stabbing, conniving, colluding administrations, and Bolton, and the military/industrial complex, and to bring Israel and some barely known U.S. history, at least back to World War I, explicitly to the fore for public scrutiny. That's a monumental task, to say the least, owing to American attention spans and the contrary interests of the powers that be.

Taras77 , May 24, 2019 at 20:24

Bolton has his own well funded PAC, from which he is free to "contribute" (bribe) sychophant congress individuals. What a situation for the fix for war.

https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2019/05/interests-pushing-for-hard-line-against-iran/

"Overall, 28 sitting senators have received sizable contributions from John Bolton PAC during the election cycle, as have nine representatives on the House defense, foreign affairs, and homeland security subcommittees."

ricardo2000 , May 24, 2019 at 17:29

By far the most productive, and most verifiable, way to eliminate weapons is at a negotiating table. The easiest way to start a war is with ignorant blather.

O Society , May 24, 2019 at 16:09

Don't forget who told Donald Trump to hire John Bolton. It was Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes.

They like Bolton because he is "incapable of empathy and good on Israel."

Trump initially declined on Bolton because "he doesn't like Bolton's moustache."

Kool Aid drinkers and idiots. We're being lead by a cult of morons who worship the bombs, money, and a white separatist state.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/01/michael-wolff-fire-and-fury-book-donald-trump.html?gtm=bottom

Truth First , May 24, 2019 at 11:40

They don't call him, 'Bonkers' Bolton for nothin'.

Pedro Masculino Ghirotti , May 24, 2019 at 10:53

Nice piece Joe, but you just forgot to mention who Bolton actually works for, the Israelis.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , May 24, 2019 at 07:11

"Pathology." That's exactly the right word. But I think it has a wider application. See:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2019/05/11/john-chuckman-comment-why-trump-doesnt-rein-in-bolton-dismal-bolton-pompeo-and-abrams-are-part-of-the-price-trump-paid-for-political-support-against-threats-he-felt-and-getting-a-big-pile-of-ca/

old geezer , May 26, 2019 at 13:08

an accurate, concise review.

i doubt the iranians will test a nuke until after djt is out of office. after that you might wake up one morning and everything you knew before becomes quite obsolete.

my guess is israel has stealth cruise missiles with h bombs. it would be very foolish of them to not have them. those descendants of egyptian slaves are anything but foolish.

Sam , May 27, 2019 at 00:33

@ CitizenOne: Thank you for your long comment. I agree with much of what you wrote, but would like to know why you claimed, "Iran is surely guilty of vowing the destruction of Israel " . According to what I've read, Iran has not initiated hostilities with any nation for over a century – a clear, peaceful contrast to the rogue states of Israel & the U.S. Are you referring to the long-ago-debunked claim that Iran claimed to 'wipe Israel off the map'?
(See https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2006/jun/14/post155 ? "So there we have it. Starting with Juan Cole, and going via the New York Times' experts through MEMRI to the BBC's monitors, the consensus is that Ahmadinejad did not talk about any maps. He was, as I insisted in my original piece, offering a vague wish for the future.

"A very last point. The fact that he compared his desired option – the elimination of "the regime occupying Jerusalem" – with the fall of the Shah's regime in Iran makes it crystal clear that he is talking about regime change, not the end of Israel. ")

Or perhaps you're referring to Revolutionary Guard deputy leader Hossein Salami's warning that if Israel starts an aggressive war against Iran, it 'will end with {Israel's} elimination from the global political map'? IMHO, warning an extremely aggressive, self-obsessed, Apartheid-practicing rogue state against trying to attack your nation is wise ;-) .

I look forward to your response. Thanks very much.

Sam F , May 27, 2019 at 06:12

Sam: please use an identifier initial as I do, to prevent confusion.
I have asked you twice before; perhaps not the same person.
It is unfair to expect others to make the clarification, and easy to prevent.

O Society , May 23, 2019 at 21:15

Neoconservative war pigs riding the bomb and the belligerence of Empire

http://opensociet.org/2019/05/23/the-belligerence-of-empire/

mike k , May 23, 2019 at 18:55

How is it that crazies like Bolton can end up high in our government hierarchy? It is because the whole damned government is crazy through and through

Joe , May 23, 2019 at 20:48

His Dad probably made a huge donation to Yale just like Bush's Dad. That's what happens when the system is gamed.

Art Thomas , May 25, 2019 at 09:22

Yes, in my opinion. The state stripped of patriotic rhetoric and other obfuscations that keep us devoted to it is nothing more than a criminal gang that hides behind the law.

Some basic examples. 1. The law: taxation, the crime: theft. 2. The law: monetary credit expansion, i.e. debt financing, the crime: counterfeiting, i.e. creating money out of thin air. 3. The invasion of countries not a threat to the invading state. Etc. etc.

Tiu , May 23, 2019 at 18:30

If the US "political establishment" was working for America's benefit, things would look very different.
They are instead working on the "globalist" agenda, which will, if successful, destroy all nations as we know them today and what remains will be ruled over by a bunch of sociopaths who are the same group that has inflicted John Bolton on the world.
Bolton's a tool, a bit like a hammer, to get their project done. The Democrats have equivalent tools e.g. H R Clinton.

Mark Thomason , May 23, 2019 at 18:04

The problem is if he hasn't gone too far. If he gets his war.

Vonu , May 23, 2019 at 16:53

John Bolton should get to ride the missile in the remake of Dr. Strangelove.

evelync , May 23, 2019 at 19:53

hah hah hah

I loved that movie :)

and yes Bolton is a perfect caricature of Slim Pickens AKA Dr Strangelove.

I also refer to him as Yosemite Sam

one difference for our current real life war monger is that the movie character was simply insane and didn't justify his craziness with explanations.

Bolton, OTOH, blames "national Security" and "the national interests" of this country .say what????

if we look at the horrific human costs and the enormous financial costs of the wars that were fought for U.S. "national interests" one would want to ask, once the rubble had cleared, what "interests" were actually served and whose "security" did they actually improve?
The answers always take us back to Eisenhower's MIC and Ray McGovern's MICIMATT (maybe I got a couple of these letters wrong?).
Whoever profited from the mayhem don't represent either our "national interest' or our "national security" IMO and yet those two phrases are used to shut down any discussion or criticism in the lead up .

whew

Mork D , May 25, 2019 at 01:20

Strictly about the movie – Slim Pickens plays the ranking officer on the B-52 (I think?) which is actually dropping the bomb. Dr Strangelove is a totally different character, one of a few played by Peter Sellers in that movie, and is a (mostly!) wheelchair-bound German scientist.

Jym Allyn , May 26, 2019 at 19:17

And the wheelchair bound psychopathic scientist of Dr. Strangelove was inspired by Kubrick meeting Henry Kissinger at a cocktail party and recognizing that Kissinger was the most evil person on this planet because he looked and sounded so responsible and rational.
Now that Saddam, bin Laden, Pol Pot, Stalin, and Hitler are dead, Kissinger holds the record of the person still alive who has needlessly killed more people, both Americans and non-Americans, than any other person on this planet.
Hillary's idea of destabilizing Libya and creating a political vacuum there was from her training when working for Kissinger.

Abe , May 23, 2019 at 16:51

The Pathology:

John Bolton
Senior fellow at American Enterprise Institute (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
Chairman of Gatestone Institute (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
Former board member of Project for the New American Century (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
Former Adviser to Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
https://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/john-bolton/

Richard Goldberg – Aide to John Bolton at NSC (2019 – )
Former Senior Adviser at Foundation for Defense of Democracies (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
https://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/richard-goldberg/

Frederick Fleitz – Bolton's Former Chief of Staff at NSC (2018)
CEO of Center for Security Policy ( (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
https://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/frederick-fleitz/

Abe , May 23, 2019 at 19:32

The Pathology, Part Duh:

Mike Pompeo
Christian Zionist: "We will continue to fight these battles, it is a never ending struggle until the Rapture."
Associate of Center for Security Policy (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
Sponsor of ACT! for America (pro-Israel Lobby organization)
https://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/mike-pompeo/

Sam , May 27, 2019 at 00:38

@ Abe: Thanks for the info!

Litchfield , May 23, 2019 at 16:42

John Bolton is obviously a very sick puppy.
This is patently obvious to any observer with the least desgree of psyhological sophistication and insight.
If he lived on your block and made such statements about his neighbors, or a woman living nearby, he would be looking at restraining orders.
He is an out-of-control abusive pig who belongs in an institution where a course of shock therapy might actually help him. I reckon any basic psychological test would find that he has a least borderline personality and at worst is actually insane and incapable of taking responsibility for the consequences of his action.
Bolton has permanent termporary insanity.
Letting this tortured, psychopathic individual run the military is itself an enormous crime, one of murderous negligence, one for which Trump truly should and could be impeached. Congress must take all possible steps to get this man out of the Executive Branch.

Threaten Trump with impeachment if he doesn't fire Bolton.
His appointment of Bolton is reckless negligence and endangers this country.

James , May 23, 2019 at 19:09

I wonder how good American politicians of the past, if there were any, would react to the appointment of this psychopath as what he is now. Whom should be blamed for it? Donald Trump? The pro-Israeli lobbies? Or the American nation? A glance at the man's face is enough to realize that he is deeply sick. To me, he doesn't look like a human being at all! He looks like a monkey out of a stuffy room. Why don't psychotherapists do anything about him? Shouldn't he be hospitalized for the safety/security of the world population? By the way, I wonder where Netanyahu, the psychopath's provoker, is. He has been very quiet for about a month or so. Maybe he is waiting for the war to ignite without getting himself directly involved in it. Let Americans and Iranians kill one another while he waits to pick up the fruit in the end.

Mork D , May 25, 2019 at 01:27

Where does the blame lie? Who hired him? Who's the chief of the executive branch? Who's a person who could actually fire him (as he's so famous for doing on reality TV shows) instead of wringing his hands on friendly TV networks declaring he doesn't want to actually go to war, but if he's 'forced' to, he'll erase Iran from the map?

Druid , May 26, 2019 at 03:16

He would have to get permission from Adelson and the Mercers first.

CitizenOne , May 24, 2019 at 20:52

Bolton and Pompeo are the only things keeping him from impeachment. As long as Trump satisfies the bloodthirsty war mongers and the insatiable appetite of the MIC and the Pro Israel lobby and the Oil Lobby or Koch Industries he cannot lose. So far Trump is bangin on all cylinders. I really think he knows what he needs to do to survive. All this impeachment talk is just fantasy by the left dreaming about getting him out of office "somehow".

bjd , May 23, 2019 at 16:13

That the mono-maniacal psychopath Bolton is a walking exhibit of the Dunning–Kruger effect is no surprise to me. It is extra frightening though.

Realist , May 23, 2019 at 16:00

What was Bolton's day job before he started mucking around in politics and foreign policy? Master waterboarder or testicular electrificator in extraordinary renditions for the CIA? He seems the sort to have spent much time at Abu Ghraib, and not just to take notes. Honestly, his major goals seem to be the eradication of entire cultures and societies, which will somehow redound to the magnificence of the United States of America. Clearly a sociopathic personality. A lot in common with Cheney.

Jimmy G , May 23, 2019 at 15:57

Again the panic is stirred by .. The NYT! (The source of such good info regarding Russia gate) .
The statement regarding Bolton " ordering" anything is just one more example of the media and the intel bureaucrats trying to put the President in a jam politically . (Remember how a month ago we were invading Venezuela?)

Bolton is doing nothing more than getting enough rope to hang himself, and the military intelligence service, congressional and media Trumpophobes are willing to stir this to the very edge, and we all know Congress could (if it could act in good Constitutional faith, rather than pretending to be the judicial branch) unite for the good of this country and Trump would be amenable to whatever they came up with. Trump is far less of a warmonger than any POTUS we've had in a very long time.

Realist , May 23, 2019 at 16:18

If Congress is the only branch of government with the constitutional power to declare a war, surely it has the power to FORBID the executive branch from fomenting such a war against their judgement.

In fact, wasn't the Boland Amendment such a legislative act passed with the intent of preventing the Reagan administration from pursuing military action in Central America, most notably Nicaragua and El Salvador?

What's to prevent the Congress, if it were so inclined (which I doubt it is) to instruct the president (especially if he seems trigger-happy) to refrain from initiating any unprovoked attacks upon Iran, Venezuela, North Korea or any other country, for that matter?

Vonu , May 23, 2019 at 16:56

Ollie North worked for Reagan, didn't he?

RnM , May 25, 2019 at 17:27

Trump is very aware that 'Stache Bolton and Mike "Mumbles" Pompeo are significant threats to his re-election. Would not be surprised to see them removed before January.

CitizenOne , May 25, 2019 at 21:02

The NYT has indeed supported wars but it is not alone nor is this a recent trend. There is a very old trend of the commercial news establishments becoming war hawks and regurtitators of official propaganda whenever the USA wants to pick a fight. It goes back to the period after the establishment of the nation when expansionism set its roots down and what grew out of that is pretty much the same kind of nationalistic propaganda we see today.

I agree with your statement that Trump is far less vulnerable based on his history but I am sure that the war planners are always concocting special information diets that are carefully prepared to appeal to the particular tastes of the leader of the day. Whatever Trumps opinion is he will be surrounded by the hand picked lunatics of the day who will entice and enjoin him to agree with plans for war based on their carefully prepared menu of propaganda specifically designed to be appealing to the palate of whoever is in charge.

It is less certain that Trump's long history of opposing military action will have real staying power as he is served up courses of a sumptuous meal prepared specially for his palate designed to engage him in support for military action all over the World.

Trump is particularly susceptible to flattery and appeals to his greatness and his very stable genius. He wants to be the great leader and for that he needs a plan to deal with the geopolitical situation in many countries.

Trump is a man who knows what to do too.

He advised Germany that it was a puppet of Russia until he didn't
He advised Teresa May how to do Brexit the right way until he didn't
He announced to the World he had forged deep connections with North Korea until he didn't
He had high hopes for an alliance with Russia until he didn't.
He specified the right type of fire fighting to be used to fight the Notre Dame Cathedral fire until he didn't
He wanted to walk away from the fight in Syria until he didn't
He wanted to walk away from the war in Syria again until he didn't
He wanted to cut the military budget until he didn't

Ordinarily if we were in the middle of a democratic presidency the press would be raising the "flip flopper" argument every second of their available airtime.

Democrats are the flip floppers but never a republican even when he is. It all depends on the way the flips and the flops land. If they land on conservative positions then a flop or a flip never occurred. With republicans, flip flopping is just a corrective action to realign the president on the correct course. If it is a democrat then their hypocrisy and flip flopping are broadcast 24/7 and are portrayed a fundamentally disqualifying events which demonstrate a fundamental lack of principles and weakness of character deserving of condemnation. When errant republicans flip flop over to the "correct" vision they are welcomed with open arms into the fold.

Trump wants to be accepted so badly that the democrats hounding him are in fact herding him into the fold of the conservatives who will shelter him and support him at all costs and the media will never ever ever never call this flip flopping.

In short, if a political candidate shifts to the left his integrity will be destroyed as his character will be portrayed as weak and built on shifting sands. He will be deemed not to be trusted like some loose cannon.

On the other hand, if a political candidate shifts to the right he will be greeted as a prodigal son returning to the fold and will be welcomed with open arms.

So I am not as sure as you that Trump's background will be any indicator of his future ideas about how to succeed in the environment he is in where both democrats by their antagonism and republicans by their defense of him both push him over to the right.

He may once have been far less of a war hawk but politicians on both sides of the aisle are pushing him further to the right every day.

Consortium News editor Joe Lauria may wish to contribute a follow up series of articles detailing the purity of pro-Israel Lobby pathology exemplified by Bolton, Pompeo, and the beyond troubling Trump preferably before the next war.

Litchfield , May 23, 2019 at 19:33

"the wider extent of pro-Israel Lobby pathology in the US government. "

That's it in a nutshell.

KiwiAntz , May 24, 2019 at 18:46

Thanks Joe for the great article. Bolton (aka the moustache) truly is a humourless, warmongering, depraved psycho? This is a cowardly man who dodged the Vietnam draft as he didn't want to die in some foreign patty field! But this lunatic has no qualms to send other peoples sons & daughters into a Iranian war zone as cannon fodder to satisfy his deluded & perverted bloodlust to destroy Iran? If "the moustache" wants a War with Iran he should be forced to fight on the frontlines with his troops along with POTUS Bonespurs Trump, another cowardly draft dodger? Let the moustache & the Dotard make a stand, like Jon Snow in the Battle of the bastards, sword in hand, facing down the so called Iranian, bogeyman enemy, but this would never happen as cowards & bastards like Bolton & Trump don't personally fight in the battles they start, they hide in safety in a Washington situation room, as far away from any War zone as possible! If Bolton gets his War with Iran, Trump will pay the price for this suicide mission because he would be blamed for the fallout of any Military defeat! America's already sorry record of Military humiliation & defeat in Regime change operations around the Globe would reach a crescendo if they ever dared to try to attack & overthrow Iran as it would be the endgame of the US Empire!

mark , May 23, 2019 at 22:28

Trump is just Israel's bitch.

incontinent reader , May 24, 2019 at 01:08

Good comment, Abe. We've missed you. Keep posting more of the same.

Zhu , May 25, 2019 at 01:37

We Americans were bloodthirsty long before Israel existed.

anon , May 25, 2019 at 06:35

What an absurd zionist troll post. Try it with someone dumb, Zhu.

Michael Steger , May 23, 2019 at 15:17

First Joe, McKinley did not implement American submission to British Imperialism, though it began with the end of Grant's administration as with the twice elected Groucher Cleveland, but it's confirmation as US policy began with Teddy Roosevelt. The Roosevelt Corollary destroyed JQA's Community of Principle in the Americas which should be known as the true Monroe Doctrine, contrary to popular opinion today which has incorrectly replaced the Monroe Doctrine with the Roosevelt Corollary (as Bolton is especially want to do). TR signalled the end of the Lincoln Era of American industrial development and global cooperation, which was best represented by Grant, the most overlooked of great Presidents (and perhaps we see similarities of Grant to Trump today). Bolton indeed is Captain Kangaroo, presiding over his Court as the Queen of No Hearts would in Alice's confrontation with British rule once she penetrates behind the facade of British Lockean empiricism. With insight only equalled to Lincoln's, who said "We can't fight two wars at once, so first the Confederacy and then the British," Trump has identified the fascist nexus within our government as that same British foe, a nexus led by Brennan, Rice, Clapper, Jarrett, et al, which works on behalf of what Eisenhower (another overlooked great President and General) called the Military Industrial Complex. The MIC is a British Intelligence deployment to fundamentally undermine our Constitution and put the US into a state of perpetual war and police surveillance. It is now over 70 years in the making, and is enforcing a new Cold War and attempted coup of our elected Government, and yet, it may have finally found its match, not just in Trump, but in Trump's intended cooperation with Putin of Russia and Xi of China. These three nations, along with Modi of India (just reelected) are a true threat to this rotten British system, from Fabian liberals to Bolton chickenhawks, the true enemy is this British System. If we move on that effectively, we may just have a chance to win this revolutionary moment now unfolding throughout the trans-Atlantic world. Let us return to JQA's community of principle for the entire world. Let us work with Trump to end this fascist British nexus. Let us celebrate our true heritage as Americans!

Litchfield , May 23, 2019 at 16:51

Your comments read with interesting and well taken.
BUT: The bottom line is that Trump hired Bolton (and Pompeo) and has wound him up and set him loose goosewalking across the globe.
Why?
The buck for Bolton's suicidal buffonery stops with Trump.
So, I can't see him as a genuine foe of the Deep State-MIC as you describe.

Michael Steger , May 23, 2019 at 18:10

Bolton is loyal to Trump, even though he is a failed chickenhawk. Look at McMaster, at the leaking, and outright betrayal of the President. Same with Tillerson, betrayal. Pompeo and Bolton have ridiculous views and bloated war rhetoric, but they're personally loyal, perhaps opportunistically, and even temporarily, but nonetheless right now they are, and when they're not, I bet they're gone. But Trump does control the policy. Look at North Korea, any war? Media said there would be, then worked to undermine a deal. Venezuela, war? They're talking in Norway now, how'd that happen? Syria, troops out? MIC, Dems and Media opposed, and Trump called them out for the first time since Eisenhower! Pompeo to Sochi to see Putin, progress. How'd that happen? Trump is fighting the MIC and too many good Americans are spinning so fast from the propaganda machine they can't see straight.

anon4d2 , May 24, 2019 at 18:40

Interesting, but it is easy for a president to fight the MIC: simply fire and arrest anyone who acts against efforts to control them. He could send any federal enforcement agency, FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, reserves, national guard, or even the Coast Guard, Secret Service, DC police, or private guards to arrest them and prosecute any resisters as traitors. It is not one man against the MIC.

And they cannot assassinate him once he has announced that intention, without exposing their hand and unleashing a generation of purges and strict controls. If he is surrounded by traitors, he has only to say that and fire the lot of them. He could leak that anonymously to Wikileaks or tweet it and they would be terrified.

Mork D , May 25, 2019 at 01:48

Bolton has been working DC bureaucracy like a pro for decades. He's using Trump like a marionette while he runs circles around the amateur. He was helping orchestrate foreign wars of choice back when Trump was still playing a pretend boss on TV. Bolton has no loyalty except as a facade for those he needs to suck up to.

Your examples of non-wars are terrific. Trump is amazing! – because he's running the government so badly that the State Dept doesn't know what the Pentagon is doing doesn't know and vice versa. He chose to ignore the Iran nuclear deal, which had prevented Iran from developing nuclear weapons. So now, the Iranians declare (out of self defense) that they're now going to pursue nuclear weapons. Trump then says that he doesn't want to attack Iran, but they must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. This is a circular argument exactly of the type the MIC uses to engage in war. Pompeo then indicates that laughable, ineffectual attempts at sabotage are most likely Iranian. This grave threat to our nation can't even do enough damage to an oil tanker to make it take on water.

Just because someone fails to do something doesn't mean that they were against it the whole time. Maybe they're just awful at it. Sure, Trump says some things that are heartening to the anti-war and anti-interventionist crowd. But the next day he'll say something heartening to rabid neocons. He needs to grow a spine, but it's far too late. He's a dandy, a spoiled rich kid fop who's never had to answer for his mishaps, because why, when you have inherited money and a stout legal team?

anon4d2 , May 24, 2019 at 19:06

The idea that "the MIC is a British Intelligence deployment" is fantastical, as the US MIC is several times the size of UK's entire MIC, and such a secret could never be kept. The US MIC has engaged UK secret agencies to subvert the US Constitution by serving as agents to pass intercepted US communications back to the US to pretend that the MIC didn't do it, or that it was foreign intel. But that is a long way from UK controlling the US MIC.

There are certainly confluences of interests between the US and UK oligarchies, but I see no basis for the contention that "American submission to British Imperialism began with the end of Grant's administration" when the US prosecuted Britain for building the Alabama etc. to break the Union blockade, and was outraged that Britain considered recognition of the Confederacy until it lost at Gettysburg. The US under TR was not submitting to anyone when it sent the Great White Fleet on tour, or when it seized Cuba and the Philippines. Nor under Wilson when it stayed out of WWI until very late in the war, despite the Lusitania loss. Nor under FDR when it stayed out of WWII until attacked, despite the passionate pleas of Churchill.

Some detailed argument with credible references would be needed to support those assertions.

Zhu , May 25, 2019 at 01:44

Scapegoating is real popular with lefties & rughties alike. American Exceptionalism forbids we ever accept respobility for what we've done.

Zhu , May 25, 2019 at 01:45

No, the rest of humanity is not any better.

anon4d2 , May 25, 2019 at 06:48

The commenter was searching for causes, and some UK conspiracy is simply too far from any available evidence. In fact it much appears to be a wild attempt to distract from the obvious causes including zionism, which you pretend is "scapegoating." No, zionism is a principle corrupting factor in US politics, especially foreign policy.

If you don't see that, you must start learning the evidence, rather than relying on the presumption that it is mere scapegoating. Otherwise you are serving their wrongful and racist tribal purposes, and others will presume that you know that.

Oscar Shank , May 26, 2019 at 07:24

Zhu knows it.

Vera Gottlieb , May 23, 2019 at 14:56

How much more peaceful the life on our entire planet would be if the Americans weren't around.

Vonu , May 23, 2019 at 16:58

Extend that to all humans, and the head of PETA would support the project.

David G. Horsman , May 23, 2019 at 17:16

I doubt that. Nature hates a void.

Bethany , May 24, 2019 at 17:50

Exactly. Very well put.

Abe , May 23, 2019 at 14:19

Brazilian diplomat Jose Bustani, the first director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), only served about one year of his second term.

Bustani was forced out by the U.S. government in April 2002 because he wanted international chemical weapons monitors inside Iraq and thus was seen as impeding the US push for war against Iraq. The US accused Bustani of "advocacy of inappropriate roles for the OPCW".

Since 2011, the United Nations has stood by a US-Saudi-Israeli Axis financed and armed the mercenary terrorist forces attacked Syria. In addition to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, major support for terrorist mercenaries has provided via NATO-member state Turkey, as well as Jordan. Israel has launched repeated air attacks and provided direct support for terrorist forces in Syria.

From July 2010 to 2018, the Director-General of the OPCW was Turkish career diplomat Ahmet Uzumcu. Uzumcu served ambassador to Israel from 1999 to 2002, and as the Permanent Representative of Turkey to NATO between 2002 and 2004.

Turkey has been the primary channel for mercenary terrorist forces assaulting the Syrian state. The remaining terrorist forces in the Idlib Governorate continue to be supplied through Syria.

Since Uzumcu announced the creation of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria on 29 April 2014, not a single OPCW report has acknowledged these basic facts concerning the conflict in Syria.

Following a consensus recommendation by the OPCW Executive Council in October 2017. Spanish career diplomat Fernando Arias was appointed to replace Uzumcu as Director-General of the OPCW. Previously, Arias served as Ambassador of Spain to the Netherlands and the Permanent Representative of Spain to the OPCW. He also has served as Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations in New York.

Uzumcu, and now Bustani, obviously understand that the appropriate role of the OPCW is to provide propaganda support for "regime change" operations, and to say nothing contrary to the "narrative" endorsed by the US-Saudi-Israeli Axis.

David G. Horsman , May 23, 2019 at 17:52

The OPCW has certainly disgraced themselves in Syria. What a sham.

Randal Marlin , May 23, 2019 at 13:48

John Bolton's questioner in the second clip should have made the distinction between deception used to lead the country into war, and deception used to pursue a war already constitutionally declared and already underway.
In the first case there is a violation of democratic principle. When the people are the ultimate sovereign, they need to be properly informed. They can agree to deception, like where and when D-Day will occur, during war; but not in the case of leading the people into war. Lying to Congress is always unacceptable, and those who do lie to Congress should be made to suffer serious penalties.

zhenry , May 24, 2019 at 02:13

I read a report that the aircraft carrier strike force and preparation of 120,000 US troops, to Persian Gulf was ordered sometime ago and that Bolton took advantage of that fact to make it look that 'Bolton ordered it'?

vinnieoh , May 24, 2019 at 10:54

What I'd read is that the carrier strike force and bomber detachment were previously scheduled: there had been a previous drawdown and this deployment represents a return to a level similar to the end of the Iraq war, and that does sound like Bolton/Pompeo opportunism. The 120,000 troops plan sounds like something Bolton prodded pentagon scribes to produce. How to interpret when Bolton says that then Trump denies it, and then a new troop deployment (1% of the previous) is announced/suggested/leaked? I see it as Trump taking his dogs out for a walk to snarl at the neighbors.

David G , May 23, 2019 at 13:07

"Thus Bolton was the driving force to get a carrier strike force sent to the Persian Gulf and, according to The New York Times, on May 14, it was he who 'ordered' a Pentagon plan to prepare 120,000 U.S. troops for the Gulf."

That the National Security Advisor, irrespective of whether the job is currently held by a lunatic like Bolton, may be giving such orders should in and of itself be a subject of serious inquiry by Congress and the media.

The National Security Advisor is, as the title states, merely an advisor – not confirmed by the Senate, and therefore not, in constitutional terms, an "officer of the United States" with the authority to carry out the policy of the government. Other than his assistant fetching him lunch, nobody in government should be following Bolton's orders at all while he holds this job.

But this is nothing new. I had the same concern, on an even larger scale, during the first Bush Jr. administration when Cheney was running around reshaping the government in his own warped image. Despite the Vice President's elected status, he has no executive power under the Constitution – no power at all, in fact, except when sitting as President of the Senate. There was a time when everyone knew that.

With all the perennial crowing we see about the greatness of the Constitution, and the mewling about how Trump is degrading it, it would be nice if Congress and the media could spare a moment to care about whether the people giving orders to the world's largest military and covert/intelligence apparatus are legally empowered to do so.

Ash , May 23, 2019 at 17:17

> That the National Security Advisor, irrespective of whether the job is currently held by a lunatic like Bolton,
> may be giving such orders should in and of itself be a subject of serious inquiry by Congress and the media.

It does kind of have an Alexander Haig flavor to it, doesn't it?

David G , May 23, 2019 at 22:08

When Bolton gets up and says "I'm in control here", I'm definitely finding a rock to hide under.

Zenobia van Dongen , May 23, 2019 at 13:06

The question that Joe Lauria asked of John Bolton, i.e. "If the United States and Britain had not overthrown a democratically elected government in Iran in 1953 would the United States be today faced with a revolutionary government enriching uranium?" seems to imply that Iran seeks revenge against the US for the CIA's 1953 coup d'état against prime minister Mohammed Mossadeq.
However the current leaders of Iran are not entitled to consider themselves the heirs of Mossadeq, nor are they morally justified in avenging him, since the CIA coup relied largely on support from the very same clerical establishment that now rules Iran. As a matter of fact in the 1950s and 60s Shia clerics in Iran were routinely considered CIA agents. Consequently the Iranian elite's pretense of carrying on Mossadeq's anti-imperialist struggle is profoundly hypocritical. I grant that the current reactionary clique that governs Iran defends Iran's sovereignty against US imperialism as Mossadeq did. But the underlying concept of the Iranian nation is profoundly different. The present régime has no respect for the principles of democracy and popular sovereignty that pervaded Iran's anti-imperialist struggle in the 1950s and was derived from the democratic ideals of the Persian constitutionalist revolution of 1909.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persian_Constitutional_Revolution
Indeed, Iran has no hesitation in crushing underfoot the aspirations to independence of other nations. It ruthlessly conducts ethnic cleansing in Syria, commits assassinations in South America, and in general behaves with imperialist ruthlessness that is moreover unmitigated by any concern for human rights or international law.

vinnieoh , May 23, 2019 at 14:27

As to your last paragraph please provide proof for your allegations. As to your second paragraph you assume to know the meaning behind the question Mr. Lauria asked. Could it be possible (this I believe is more likely) that what Mr. Lauria meant or realizes that absent the '53 coup would there now be an Islamic theocracy ruling Iran?

Again making the disclaimer that I'm no expert on the region or Iran particularly I have followed many leads of reading and investigation to understand the ramifications of that seminal event (the '53 coup.) What I believe I've understood is that Iran prior to and until the '53 coup was on its own unique trajectory of reclaiming its sovereignty and rejecting its status as a (UK) colonial vassal. There seemed to be a somewhat fluid acceptance of the rising democratic movement of Mosaddeq et. al., a fading nod to the former royal house, and an acceptance of Shiite religiosity of some considerable social legitimacy.

So, three centers of power and influence working its unique way to an unique Iranian future.

With the US/UK engineered coup the imperialists destroyed the legitimate democratic evolution happening there. With the re-installation of the Shah Reza Pahlavi as the puppet ruler of the US, that traditional center of power and legitimacy was likewise forever delegitimized in the eyes of most Iranians. That sentiment was cemented with the creation of SAVAK by the US, UK, and Israel to be the iron fist of the Shah and his new imperial master.

That left only one center of power or authority which retained legitimacy in the eyes of Iranians – the Shiite theocrats, and that is why when Iranians kicked the US out it was the Islamic theocracy doing the booting. You are correct that there was at least one Shiite cleric (I've forgotten his name,) jealous and fearful of the rising influence of democratic governance, who is a known and recorded collaborator with the US/UK machinations of the coup. Without the help of the US/UK his part in the affair would probably have been inconsequential.

It is not Iran that is funding and establishing Islamic madrasses in Pakistan, India, China, Indonesia, Africa and elsewhere. It is the Wahhabist Sunnis and they preach intolerance and violent jihad. Furthermore, of the total global population of adherents of Islam, 75% are Sunni affiliated, and 25% are Shiite affiliated. Those percentages hold true in the immediate region of the ME as well. The repeated claims of Iranian desires of empire are a shibboleth emanating from KSA and UAE.

Nick , May 23, 2019 at 15:36

The leaders of the Islamic Revolution used Mossadegh's image to help get people on board against the Shah, The National Front was allowed to be a party again for a short time, and a Street in Tehran was renamed post-revolution for Mohammad Mossadegh. This was a cynical ploy by the Mullahs to get people on board with their revolution and make people believe that they were indeed the true heirs of Mossadegh and committed to democracy. It was all a sham. The National Front was made illegal again at some point in the 80s, and the street named for Mossadegh was renamed around the same time. These people are the heirs of the Shah whether they like it or not.

anon4d2 , May 23, 2019 at 16:59

Joe's question points out that, had the US not overthrown Mossadegh, there would have been a secular democratic government. That is true throughout the Mideast, where in the 1950s-70s the US supported radical Islamic movements that suppressed secular movements and overthrew secular governments, pretending that the USSR was moving in. There was no evidence of USSR interest there, as it was preoccupied with such factions in its central Asian republics, and apparently only some arms from the USSR in Egypt were ever found as "evidence."

Similar US actions have continued to date, almost 30 years after the collapse of the USSR, the US always supporting fanatics against moderates like Assad and Ghaddafi, and pretending to support "democracy."

Compare the US support of Saudi Arabia, a fanatical fundamentalist monarchy engaged in terrorism throughout the region, including against their only neighbor that defends minority rights, Syria. Again falsely claiming the need to protect oil supply, which it can buy anywhere without bombing anyone, like any other oil buyer. Again falsely claiming to support democracy which it overthrows everywhere at the pleasure of its own oligarchy, always to "protect Israel" or attack socialism, which is always to get political bribes.

There is no evidence of any "ethnic cleansing" by Iran in Syria or elsewhere. Where do you get that idea? Iran is majority Shiah, defending the majority Sunni population of Syria from Sunni fundamentalists. You certainly have no evidence that Iran "commits assassinations in South America" or opposes "aspirations to independence of other nations" and made that up to deceive others. Your comments on this site have been knowingly false.

zhenry , May 24, 2019 at 03:44

The above, re the current Iranian religious govt, very informative, thankyou.
Re Joe's article I cannot take seriously that Trump is against war and the Deep State.
If Trumps rhetoric during his electioneering, supporting the middle class (deeply deprived after the US corporations abandoned them for low paid Chinese labour) was in any way honest he would not have chosen the cabinet he did (and keeps on choosing).
Trump has not chosen one cabinet member that would support that supposed sympathy for the middle class.
Reporting that assumes Trump is fighting for moderation (against his own cabinet) and to establish policies in the direction of that sympathy, is without evidence, it seems to me, regardless of what he might suggest to Fox News.

Vonu , May 23, 2019 at 17:00

"The present régime has no respect for the principles of democracy and popular sovereignty that pervaded Iran's anti-imperialist struggle in the 1950s and was derived from the democratic ideals of the Persian constitutionalist revolution of 1909."
And the American government has equal respect for the Constitution.

David , May 23, 2019 at 12:56

Bolton didn't order a carrier group to the Persian Gulf. He doesn't have the authority. The carrier group left because of the deployment was already planned. Bolton does not have the power that has been ascribed to him. He is a grandiose clown who knows how to play the press. I don't think he will have his job six months from now.

David G , May 23, 2019 at 12:16

"At the time of Bolton's appointment in April 2018, Tom Countryman predicted to The Intercept that if Iran resumed enrichment after the U.S. left the deal, it 'would be the kind of excuse that a person like Bolton would look to to create a military provocation or direct attack on Iran.' In response to ever tightening sanctions, Iran said that it would indeed restart partial nuclear enrichment."

Two problems with this part of the article:

• The link in the main text here goes to an Intercept article about Bolton, but it has no mention of Tom Countryman, or even of Iran.

• It isn't accurate to say that Iran may now, or is saying it will, "resume" or "restart" nuclear enrichment, since it never ceased, nor did it ever commit to cease, such activity. The JCPOA merely imposed strict *limits* and monitoring on nuclear enrichment and stockpiling, some of which Iran is saying it will now depart from.

I also disagree with the imputation elsewhere in the article that Donald Trump has a good understanding of real estate. His disastrous, decades-long record in that business suggests otherwise. But I suppose some people will always believe what they see on TV.

lou e , May 23, 2019 at 12:06

Creeping fascism works like fishing with a rod and reel. You hook the fish and it runs off 100 ft of line . You reel in 50 ft and the fish takes 30 feet back. Do the Math! Some times burning down the village IS the only way to get rid of the infestation. Bit hard on the USSA, but as Ben Franklin put it you have a democratic republic IF ypu can Keep It.

Herman , May 23, 2019 at 11:56

Remember at an earlier time with Bolton, someone described him as a kiss up kick down kind of guy, i.e., a real jerk. I defended Trump against Russiagate because it was a threat to the office of the president. Unless, he gets his head straight, his "political" moves in the Middle East and Southwest Asia can spin out of control. He is not negotiating a new deal with some city to build another hotel, and his rhetoric makes him sound like that is the way he thinks he should act with other countries.

One can defend him by saying maybe it will work, but then maybe not and it is not a matter of your target taking his papers and leaving the room.

Great article, Mr. Lauria. Have you posted your resume on your site? Interested in your confrontation with Bolton.

Trump wants to be reelected more that being the President but in his defense we know what he will face if he decides to enter into honest negotiations. He's going to have a heck of a time finding people to cover his back. He can count on one presidential aspirant, Tulsi Gabbard but she's on the other side.

Jeff Harrison , May 23, 2019 at 11:42

If we have to rely on Thump for anything other than social controls, we're screwed.

David G , May 23, 2019 at 11:40

These personal reminiscences of Bolton at the U.N. by Joe Lauria unfortunately only confirm the man's very public record. The fact that such a creature has been accepted for so long in the heart of U.S. foreign "policy" is yet more evidence that the country's crisis of political culture started long before Trump came on the scene.

I don't quite accept the slight comfort implied in the formulations here that this time Bolton has "gone too far", or "flown too high", since to me they imply that there is some moral or rational bedrock that he has struck beneath which the establishment is not willing to go.

I don't think that's true, as a general proposition. For example, the U.S. continues less noisily but inexorably on its long-term collision course with China, which will be even more catastrophic than war with Iran, not to mention the ultimate one with the planet's environmental limits.

For me it's enough that, for a number of contingent reasons, Bolton's (and MBS's and Netanyahu's) lunge at Iran has fallen flat with both U.S. and European policy and media elites – for now, and I hope forever.

jessika , May 23, 2019 at 11:26

I just called WH 202-456-1111 to tell President Trump that Bolton should be fired; had to wait 8 min to talk. Trump certainly has lots of problems, but he'll have plenty more if he starts a war! Pox Americana!

Litchfield , May 23, 2019 at 16:58

Great idea.
I'll do the same.

vinnieoh , May 23, 2019 at 11:04

Thank you Mr. Lauria. I'm tending to believe that not only has Bolton flown too high, but Trump's predictable method of trying to get what he wants was completely miscalculated wrt Iran. There is no better treaty or deal to be had concerning keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. The failures of the JCPOA that Trump is probably griping about all have to do with matters of Iran's necessary and legitimate right to security and self-defense. No sane nation would willingly give in to this bullying. Thanks again.

vinnieoh , May 23, 2019 at 11:44

Also, wrt Trump's predictable patterns, note that little if anything has changed regarding the US and the DPRK, so if he is a crafty and effective negotiator I'm having a hard time seeing it.

David G. Horsman , May 23, 2019 at 18:22

Good example Vinnieoh. NK and SK are reaching out and (more importantly) shoving out the US. More winning.

I love Trump. He is useful. Fascism, NAFTA, generic racism you name it, he really shines a light on issues.

Here again. (Currently) SA, GAZA, Israel, Syria and of course Iran. Hell, the entire region. What a train wreck he is.

What about the dollar? The EU? Yikes.

By gosh this man could single handedly take down an empire! MAGA!

O Society , May 23, 2019 at 10:47

Well done, Joe Lauria. Of course our dilemma is Donald Trump says one thing and contradicts himself 5 minutes later. You could say he "changes his mind" but I do not think his mind is stable to begin with. He's far too nuts to put any faith in for "doing the right thing,"

Bolton and his neoconservative pox on the world serve the interests of the war machine and fossil fuel corporations. When will be rid of them? When We the People grow a set of testicles and throw them all into prison. Trump isn't going to save us, but he might let Bolton get us all killed.

Time for the people to rise.

http://opensociet.org/2019/05/19/the-interlocking-crises-of-war-climate-chaos

Piotr Berman , May 23, 2019 at 11:31

Seems that Trump is so small minded that what we observe cannot be explained mechanistically, we need quantum mechanics. Rather that a particular state of mind we have a stochastic distribution, wave patterns and spin.

Marc R Hapke , May 23, 2019 at 14:34

Great analogy

O Society , May 23, 2019 at 12:39

The expert says what's going on in Trump's mind is solipsism and I agree with him:

https://opensociet.org/2018/07/07/assault-on-reality-solipsism-whats-wrong-with-donald-trump-part-1/

Sam F , May 23, 2019 at 13:12

Yes, Joe Lauria has presented the problem very well.

A major factor is certainly the persuasiveness of the NSC and other MIC entities which surround the president, and comprise much of official DC. Try persuading anyone in the MIC that war is ever inappropriate: they are all full of extreme scorn and false accusations, and have endless "evidence" of threats behind every tree, and rationales to attack this or at least that, just to make "statements" and "warnings" to invisible foreign monsters. The MIC is a completely and permanently logic-proof subculture of bullying, which bullies every member of its own tribe to line up behind tyrants like Bolton and a million other puerile bullies devoid of humanity.

No doubt you know that this was all well understood by the founders of the US, who restricted federal military powers to repelling invasions and knew that any standing military was a threat to democracy. The Federalist Papers should be required reading in the US. All of those understandings were gradually lost after the War of 1812 and the 1820s, as the founders died off. As the US became confident that it could repel any invasion, it lost the sense of the necessity of unity and cooperation of regions, and Congress degenerated into a battle of intransigent factions leading to the completely unnecessary Civil War. With the ebullient emergence of the middle class, no effort was made to correct the defects of the Constitution in failing to protect the institutions of democracy from the rising power of economic concentrations. With WWI and WWII, the power of oligarchy over mass media was consolidated, and by WWII the oligarchy and MIC effectively controlled elections, mass media, and the judiciary, the tools of democracy. Democracy has been a facade ever since.

The US has zero security problems that the MIC has not created, and could at any time re-purpose 80% of the MIC to developing infrastructure in the poorest nations with positive effects upon its security. Had it done so since WWII, we would have rescued the poorest half of humanity from poverty, ignorance, malnutrition, and disease, and would have had a true American Century. Instead we have killed over 20 million innocents and mortgaged the lives of our children to serve the infantile psychopaths of the MIC.

The solution is not only to eliminate the 2000-member NSC, cut the military by at least 80 percent, prohibit acts of war or surveillance by the executive branch, tax the rich so that no one has income above upper middle class, and demand amendments to the Constitution restricting funding of the mass media and elections to limited and registered individual donations. We also desperately need a fourth branch of federal government, which I am calling the College of Policy Debate, to conduct moderated textual debates of policy issues in all regions, protecting and representing every viewpoint, in which all views are challenged and must respond, and all parties must come to common terms. The CPD should produce commented debate summaries available to the public with mini-quizzes and discussion groups. Without that rational analysis and access to the core debates, we do not have a democracy at all, we are all no more than the fools and pawns of these oligarchy scammers, who must be actively excluded from all government capacities.

Sorry for the lecture.

Linda Wood , May 24, 2019 at 01:59

Please don't apologize, Sam F. Your brilliant and humane words give me hope at a time in which I am in shock at the blatancy of fascism in our government.

Doggrotter , May 23, 2019 at 10:33

Where is a drone strike when you need one?

OlyaPola , May 23, 2019 at 10:23

" seemed to always think he was the smartest person in the room."

Useful fools are often most useful when they are believers that they are not fools.

Once upon a time there was a discussion of which of the opponents' should be proposed for the Nobel Peace Prize – the list being relatively long.

After extensive analysis and discussion the short-list consisted of two opponents in alphabetical order Mr. John Bolton and Mr. Karl Rove.

However in light of the notion "Do you think your opponents are as stupid as you are? " the proposal question was left in abeyance, not only as a function of decorum but also through understanding that "Useful fools are often most useful when they are believers that they are not fools." and that even small dogs can seem tall when you are lying on your stomach.

OlyaPola , May 24, 2019 at 17:33

Since omniscience can't exist perhaps Mr. Bolton was/is subject to misrepresentation and misunderstanding?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l6vqPUM_FE&list=RDXIOSOlqMaj8&index=17

bobzz , May 23, 2019 at 10:12

"Pompeo told a radio interviewer after the briefing that the U.S. had still not determined who attacked two Saudi, a Norwegian and an Emirati oil tanker in the Gulf last week, which bore the hallmarks of a provocation. Pompeo said "it seems like it's quite possible that Iran was behind" the attacks."

What possible advantage could accrue to Iran from putting a few dents in the ships? Smells of another false flag.

Piotr Berman , May 23, 2019 at 11:46

I would not be so sure. A delicate signal that Iran has more capabilities concerning stopping in-out-Gulf traffic than naive people like Bolton realize has a sobering potential. By the way of contrast, what kind of black flag it is if it is instantly put in doubt, "we do not know" etc. When there were "chemical incidents" in Syria, no one in Washington claimed the need for more facts, uncertainty etc.

Instead, UAE initially denied that it happened at all, subsequently, together with KSA, they did not have any "certain knowledge". Somehow no government appears to promote the incident. Even USA.

BTW, the allegation that Iran is placing missiles on fishing boats staggers the mind. First of all, "missile boats" of which Iran has plenty are small ships, BUT NOT VERY small, ca. 500-800 tons, which are fast, 40 kt, but not as fast as their predecessors, torpedo boats (200-300 tons, 50-60 kt). They are still faster than any of the larger naval vessels, can trail them, and attack from small distance in the case of start of hostilities. That Iran places missiles on such boats can be learned from videos proudly provided by PressTV.ir.

Using "fishing boats" for that purpose is dubious, and the largest question mark would be: WHY? The reason that missile boats are larger and heavier than torpedo boats is that you need more stability to launch missiles than torpedoes. Then you need a radar etc. Placing missiles on fishing boats would be a waste of missiles. Hardly an escalation.

OlyaPola , May 23, 2019 at 12:47

"Hardly an escalation."

Perhaps you are being deflected by framing?

One of the escalations is the escalation of belief in, requirement of, and resort to, the dumbed-downess of the "target audience".

One of the salient questions being deflected is why, and as ever investigation requires some knowledge of Mr. Heisenberg and his principles.

mark , May 23, 2019 at 22:34

Perhaps the Iranians are putting missiles on fishing boats to stun the fish and catch them that way. Fishing boats aren't exactly very fast.

Thomas , May 23, 2019 at 12:21

Anyone who actually believes the oil tanker incidents were carried by Iran should seek an immediate consultation with their doctor. These blatant false flags clearly are the work of fools and Iranians are not fools.

Brian , May 23, 2019 at 17:22

Exactly. According navel personnel, Iran has been using fishing boats to transfer rockets from land to it's vessels for years, supposedly because the gulf is too shallow. I don't have hydrographic maps of the area, anyone know if this is true?

Piotr Berman , May 23, 2019 at 23:33

Clearly, Persian Gulf has routes for the largest ships on Earth, but the supply bases for missiles may be away from ports, and it would make sense to place them so they are not easily accessible to a big ship navy, and in general, to disperse them.

Tim , May 26, 2019 at 06:43

"Thomas"

> These blatant false flags clearly are the work of fools

Since neither you nor I know who did it, and there are a whole slew of plausible suspects, we don't know why they did it, either. So it is silly to claim they are fools.

Since the Saudis and UAE are in the midst of waging war on Yemen, the most obvious suspects are their enemies there, al-Ansara.

(And by the way, contrary to what another commentator claimed, it was not a "few dents", but a gaping hole in the hull just below the waterline. And since the local authorities spoke of an impact by an unidentified object, these were presumably torpedo strikes.)

OlyaPola , May 26, 2019 at 07:58

"What possible advantage could accrue to Iran from putting a few dents in the ships?"

Quite a few including but not limited to further data on the opponents' perception of what constitutes plausible belief for the opponents' target audience, and the opponents' increasing resort to, amplitude, scope and velocity of "misrepresentations".

As is the case with the benefits of dumbing down not accruing solely to those actively engaged in dumbing down, the benefits of creation and implementation of "false flags" do not accrue solely to those engaged in "false flags", and are enhanced when the creators and implementers of "false flags" are immersed in amalga of projection and notions of sole/prime agency, facilitating potential benefits to many others not restricted to Iran.

[May 20, 2019] Venezuela Exposes the Myth of John Bolton's "Genius" by Martin Sieff

May 20, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

The fiasco of the latest obviously unsuccessful US attempt to topple twice democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro made a laughing stock of the US government throughout the world and is now exposing new splits in the Trump administration in Washington. It is also exposing a dangerous but also ridiculous myth that Washington has credulously swallowed for generations – the idea that National Security Adviser John Bolton is actually competent.

No one among the carefully trained castrated geldings of the US mainstream news media and their pseudo-liberal and libertarian outliers has ever dared to ask how able Bolton actually is. He is held in awe and even fear for his supposed brilliant intellect and for his undoubted energy and relentless determination to push the policies he supports with tunnel vision and fanatical relentlessness as hard as he can.

Yet given such undeniable "qualities" what is truly astonishing is how useless Bolton has been in pursuing his own primary foreign policy goals for more than 40 years. He failed to prevent the first president to take him seriously, Ronald Reagan to conduct sweeping nuclear arms reductions with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and to push ahead with Gorbachev to dismantle the Cold War. These policies were anathema to Bolton who prophesied – falsely – that war and catastrophe would flow from them. But Reagan ignored him and pushed them through anyway.

Now Bolton has destroyed Reagan's legacy of peace by convincing current President Donald Trump to scrap one of Reagan's greatest achievement, the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

He succeeded in helping provoke the US invasion, conquest and occupation of Iraq under President George W. Bush in 2003 but failed to persuade even Bush, Junior and his top foreign policy adviser, National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to pull out of any arms control treaties whatsoever.

Then, the Iraq misadventure was so appallingly bungled that Bolton failed to get any traction whatsoever for his priority project of toppling the government of Iran, even if it took a full scale war to do it.

In Washington, even Bolton's greatest critics among libertarians and paleo-conservatives have spoken for decades with awe of his supposed brilliant intellect, command of all details, endless energy and ability to read and keep track of everything. But now, the latest failed coup in Venezuela instead reveals an ignorant, simplistic rash adventurer and gambler who charges head on into dangerous situations and who relies on bullying and bluster alone to get his way.

Bolton showed none of the ruthless, devious subtlety of a Dwight D. Eisenhower in masterminding a coup and fragrant breach of international law without appearing to have anything to do with it (a skill which Ronald Reagan, though far less masterful than the revered Eisenhower also attempted in Iran-Contra).

Bolton's fingerprints were all over the hard-charging policy of propping up ridiculous Juan Guiado as America's cardboard cutout puppet to run Venezuela, even though he had no credibility whatsoever.

Bolton is in fact is an awesomely bad judge of choosing his own allies in other countries. His combination of recklessness and vanity means he is always a sucker for whatever smooth-talking sociopath can worm his way into his presence.

This explains how the late, unlamented Ahmed Chalabi was able to convince Bolton and his neocon friends that he (Chalabi)) would be welcomed by tens of millions of Iraqis as soon the US armed forces invaded ("liberated" was the politically approved term) his country and how Zalmay Khalizad, a catastrophic clown, was acclaimed as an infallible guru on Afghanistan.

Bolton is widely known to have no small talk, private interests, charm or social skills whatsoever. Far from confirming his "genius", as his many worshipful courtiers claim, this only confirms his haplessness.

If Bolton played poker he would be skinned alive. He cannot read people and being an obsessive courtier and flatterer himself, he always falls flat on his face for the flattery of others. The arch-manipulator is in reality the easiest of figures to manipulate.

Once the strange miasma of worshipful myth is stripped from Bolton, all the confusions and bungles of the April 30 Coup That Never Was in Venezuela become clear.

[May 19, 2019] The OPCW, Douma, The Skripals

Notable quotes:
"... The neocon faction in the US is usually (and reasonably) regarded as the motivator behind much of the western aggression in the Middle East. ..."
"... Granted the US has been looking for excuses to intervene ever more overtly in Syria since 2013, and in that sense this Douma "initiative" is a continuation of their longterm policy. It's also true Russia was warning just such a false flag would be attempted in early March. But in the intervening month the situation on the ground has changed so radically that such an attempt no longer made any sense. ..."
"... A false flag in early March, while pockets of the US proxy army were still holding ground in Ghouta would have enabled a possible offensive in their support which would prevent Ghouta falling entirely into government hands and thereby also maintain the pressure on Damascus. A false flag in early April is all but useless because the US proxy army in the region was completely vanquished and nothing would be gained by an offensive in that place at that time. ..."
"... The US media has been similarly, and uncharacteristically divided and apparently unsure. Tucker Carlson railed against the stupidity of attacking Syria. Commentators on MSNBC were also expressing intense scepticism of the US intent and fear about possible escalation. ..."
"... The official story is a hot mess of proven falsehoods, contradictions, implausible conspiracy theories, more falsehoods and inexplicable silences were cricket chirps tell us all we need to know. ..."
"... The UK government has lied and evaded on every key aspect. ..."
"... Indeed if current claims by Russian FM Lavrov turn out to be true, a "novichok" (whatever that precisely means in this case) may not have been the only substance found in those samples, and a compound called "BZ", a non-lethal agent developed in Europe and America, has been discovered and suppressed in the OPCW report (more about that later). ..."
"... The Skripals themselves were announced to be alive and out of danger mere days after claims they were all but certain to die. Yulia, soon thereafter, apparently called her cousin Viktoria only to subsequently announce, indirectly through the helpful agency of the Metropolitan Police, that she didn't want to talk to her cousin – or anyone else – at all. ..."
"... She is now allegedly discharged from hospital and has "specially trained officers helping to take care of" her in an undisclosed location. A form or words so creepily sinister it's hard to imagine how they were ever permitted the light of day. ..."
"... If a false flag chemical attack had taken place in Syria at the time Russia predicted, just a week or two after the Skripal poisoning, a lot of the attention that's been paid to the Skripals over the last month would likely have been diverted. Many of the questions being asked by Russia and in the alt media may never have been asked as the focus of the world turned to a possible superpower stand-off in the Middle East. ..."
"... So, could it be the Skripal event was never intended to last so long in the public eye? Could it be that it was indeed a false flag, or a fake event, as many have alleged, planned as a sketchy prelude to, or warm up act for a bigger chemical attack in Syria, scheduled for a week or so later in mid-March – just around the time Russia was warning of such a possibility? ..."
"... This would explain why the UK may have been pushing for the false flag to happen (as claimed by Russia) even after it could no longer serve much useful purpose on the ground, and why the Douma "attack" seems to have been so sketchily done by a gang on the run. The UK needed the second part to happen in order to distract from the first. ..."
"... If this is true, Theresa May and her cabinet are currently way out on a limb even by cynical UK standards. Not only have they lied about the Skripal event, but in order to cover up that lie they have promoted a false flag in Syria, and "responded" to it by a flagrant breach of international and domestic law. Worst of all, if the Russians aren't bluffing, they have some evidence to prove some of the most egregious parts of this. ..."
"... But even if some or all of our speculation proves false, and even if the Russian claims of UK collusion with terrorists in Syria prove unfounded, May is still guilty of multiple lies and has still waged war without parliamentary approval. ..."
"... The UK were the most vocal about Syria, and desperately tried to drum up support over Skripal, but it all came to nothing much in the end. ..."
"... Theresa May's political career still hangs by a thread, and her "Falklands moment", at best, staved off the inevitable for a few months. A washout in the EU elections, a very real threat from Farage's Brexit party, and rumblings inside her own party, make her position as unstable as ever. ..."
"... In the US, generally speaking, it seems that the Trump admin – or at least whichever interested parties currently have control of the wheels of government – have called time on war in Syria. Instead, they've moved on to projects in Venezuela and North Korea, and even war with Iran. ..."
"... The failure of the Douma false flag to cause the war it was meant to cause, and the vast collection of evidence that suggests it was a false flag, should be spread far and wide. Not just because it's a truth which vindicates the smeared minority in the alternate media. ..."
May 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Via Off-Guardian.org,

In view of the latest revelations from the leaked report, which seem to prove that at least some elements of the Douma "chemical attack" were entirely staged, we want to take look back at the chaotic events of Spring 2018.

The following is an extract from an article by Catte originally published April 14th last year, which takes on a greater weight in light of certain evidence – not only that the Douma attack was faked, but that the OPCW is compromised.

You can read the whole article here .

* * *

PRIMARILY UK INITIATIVE?

The neocon faction in the US is usually (and reasonably) regarded as the motivator behind much of the western aggression in the Middle East.

Since at least 2001 and the launch of the "War on Terror" the US has led the way in finding or creating facile excuses to fight oil wars and hegemonic wars and proxy wars in the region. But this time the dynamics look a little different.

This time it really looks as if the UK has been setting the pace of the "response".

The fact (as stated above) that Mattis was apparently telegraphing his own private doubts a)about the verifiability of the attacks, and b)about the dangers of a military response suggests he was a far from enthusiastic partaker in this adventure.

Trump's attitude is harder to gauge. His tweets veered wildly between unhinged threats and apparent efforts at conciliation. But he must have known he would lose (and seemingly has lost) a great part of his natural voter base (who elected him on a no-more-war mandate) by an act of open aggression that threatened confrontation with Russia on the flimsiest of pretexts.

Granted the US has been looking for excuses to intervene ever more overtly in Syria since 2013, and in that sense this Douma "initiative" is a continuation of their longterm policy. It's also true Russia was warning just such a false flag would be attempted in early March. But in the intervening month the situation on the ground has changed so radically that such an attempt no longer made any sense.

A false flag in early March, while pockets of the US proxy army were still holding ground in Ghouta would have enabled a possible offensive in their support which would prevent Ghouta falling entirely into government hands and thereby also maintain the pressure on Damascus. A false flag in early April is all but useless because the US proxy army in the region was completely vanquished and nothing would be gained by an offensive in that place at that time.

You can see why Mattis and others in the administration might be reluctant to take part in the false flag/punitive air strike narrative if they saw nothing currently to be gained to repay the risk. They may have preferred to wait for developments and plan for a more productive way of playing the R2P card in the future.

The US media has been similarly, and uncharacteristically divided and apparently unsure. Tucker Carlson railed against the stupidity of attacking Syria. Commentators on MSNBC were also expressing intense scepticism of the US intent and fear about possible escalation.

The UK govt and media on the other hand has been much more homogeneous in advocating for action. No doubts of the type expressed by Mattis have been heard from the lips of an UK government minister. Even May, a cowardly PM, has been (under how much pressure?) voicing sterling certitude in public that action HAD to be taken.

Couple this with the – as yet unverified – claims by Russia of direct UK involvement in arranging the Douma "attack", and the claims by Syria that the perps are in their custody, and a tentative storyline emerges. It's possible this time there were other considerations in the mix beside the usual need to "be seen to do something" and Trump's perpetual requirement to appease the liberal Russiagaters and lunatic warmongers at home. Maybe this time it was also about helping the UK out of a sticky problem.

THE SKRIPAL CONSIDERATION

Probably the only thing we can all broadly agree on about the Skripal narrative is that it manifestly did not go according to plan. However it was intended to play out, it wasn't this way. Since some time in mid to late March it's been clear the entire thing has become little more than an exercise in damage-limitation, leak-plugging and general containment.

The official story is a hot mess of proven falsehoods, contradictions, implausible conspiracy theories, more falsehoods and inexplicable silences were cricket chirps tell us all we need to know.

The UK government has lied and evaded on every key aspect.

  1. It lied again and again about the information Porton Down had given it
  2. Its lawyers all but lied to Mr Justice Robinson about whether or not the Skripals had relatives in Russia in an unscrupulous attempt to maintain total control of them, or at least of the narrative.
  3. It is not publishing the OPCW report on the chemical analyses, and the summary of that report reads like an exercise in allusion and weasel-wording. Even the name of the "toxic substance" found in the Skripals' blood is omitted, and the only thing tying it to the UK government's public claims of "novichok" is association by inference and proximity.

Indeed if current claims by Russian FM Lavrov turn out to be true, a "novichok" (whatever that precisely means in this case) may not have been the only substance found in those samples, and a compound called "BZ", a non-lethal agent developed in Europe and America, has been discovered and suppressed in the OPCW report (more about that later).

None of the alleged victims of this alleged attack has been seen in public even in passing since the event. There is no film or photographs of DS Bailey leaving the hospital, no film or photographs of his wife or family members doing the same. No interviews with Bailey, no interviews with his wife, family, distant relatives, work colleagues.

The Skripals themselves were announced to be alive and out of danger mere days after claims they were all but certain to die. Yulia, soon thereafter, apparently called her cousin Viktoria only to subsequently announce, indirectly through the helpful agency of the Metropolitan Police, that she didn't want to talk to her cousin – or anyone else – at all.

She is now allegedly discharged from hospital and has "specially trained officers helping to take care of" her in an undisclosed location. A form or words so creepily sinister it's hard to imagine how they were ever permitted the light of day.

Very little of this bizarre, self-defeating, embarrassing, hysterical story makes any sense other than as a random narrative, snaking wildly in response to events the narrative-makers can't completely control.

Why? What went wrong? Why has the UK government got itself into this mess? And how much did the Douma "gas attack" and subsequent drive for a concerted western "response" have to do with trying to fix that?

IS THIS WHAT HAPPENED?

If a false flag chemical attack had taken place in Syria at the time Russia predicted, just a week or two after the Skripal poisoning, a lot of the attention that's been paid to the Skripals over the last month would likely have been diverted. Many of the questions being asked by Russia and in the alt media may never have been asked as the focus of the world turned to a possible superpower stand-off in the Middle East.

So, could it be the Skripal event was never intended to last so long in the public eye? Could it be that it was indeed a false flag, or a fake event, as many have alleged, planned as a sketchy prelude to, or warm up act for a bigger chemical attack in Syria, scheduled for a week or so later in mid-March – just around the time Russia was warning of such a possibility?

Could it be this planned event was unexpectedly canceled by the leading players in the drama (the US) when the Russians called them out and the rapid and unexpected fall of Ghouta meant any such intervention became pointless at least for the moment?

Did this cancelation leave the UK swinging in the wind, with a fantastical story that was never intended to withstand close scrutiny, and no second act for distraction?

So, did they push on with the now virtually useless "chemical attack", botch it (again), leaving a clear evidence trail leading back to them? Did they then further insist on an allied "response" to their botched false flag in order to provide yet more distraction and hopefully destroy some of that evidence?

This would explain why the UK may have been pushing for the false flag to happen (as claimed by Russia) even after it could no longer serve much useful purpose on the ground, and why the Douma "attack" seems to have been so sketchily done by a gang on the run. The UK needed the second part to happen in order to distract from the first.

It would explain why the US has been less than enthused by the idea of reprisals. Because while killing Syrians to further geo-strategic interests is not a problem, killing Syrians (and risking escalation with Russia) in order to rescue an embarrassed UK government is less appealing.

And it would explain why the "reprisals" when they came were so half-hearted.

If this is true, Theresa May and her cabinet are currently way out on a limb even by cynical UK standards. Not only have they lied about the Skripal event, but in order to cover up that lie they have promoted a false flag in Syria, and "responded" to it by a flagrant breach of international and domestic law. Worst of all, if the Russians aren't bluffing, they have some evidence to prove some of the most egregious parts of this.

This is very bad.

But even if some or all of our speculation proves false, and even if the Russian claims of UK collusion with terrorists in Syria prove unfounded, May is still guilty of multiple lies and has still waged war without parliamentary approval.

This is a major issue. She and her government should resign. But it's unlikely that will happen.

So what next? There is a sense this is a watershed for many of the parties involved and for the citizens of the countries drawn into this.

Will the usual suspects try to avoid paying for their crimes and misadventures by more rhetoric, more false flags, more "reprisals"? Or will this signal some other change in direction?

We'll all know soon enough.

* * *

Back to today...

...and while things have moved on, we're still puzzling over all the same issues.

All these questions stand, and are important, but more important than all of that is the lesson: They tried it before, and just because it didn't work doesn't mean they won't try it again.

Last spring, the Western powers showed they will deploy a false flag if they need too, for domestic or international motives. And they have the motives right now.

The UK were the most vocal about Syria, and desperately tried to drum up support over Skripal, but it all came to nothing much in the end.

Theresa May's political career still hangs by a thread, and her "Falklands moment", at best, staved off the inevitable for a few months. A washout in the EU elections, a very real threat from Farage's Brexit party, and rumblings inside her own party, make her position as unstable as ever.

Britain had the most to gain, of all NATO countries, and that is still true. We don't know what they might do.

This time they might even receive greater support from France this time around – since Macron is facing a revolution at home and would kill (possibly literally) for a nice international distraction.

In the US, generally speaking, it seems that the Trump admin – or at least whichever interested parties currently have control of the wheels of government – have called time on war in Syria. Instead, they've moved on to projects in Venezuela and North Korea, and even war with Iran.

That's not to say Syria is safe, far from it. They are always just one carefully place false-flag away from all-out war. Last year, Mattis (or whoever) decided war with Syria was not an option – that it was too risky or complicated. That might not happen next time.

Clearly, the US hasn't totally seen sense in terms of stoking conflict with Russia – as seen by the decision to pull out of the INF Treaty late last year. And further demonstrated by their attempts to overthrow Russia's ally Nicolas Maduro. Another ripe candidate for a false flag.

The failure of the Douma false flag to cause the war it was meant to cause, and the vast collection of evidence that suggests it was a false flag, should be spread far and wide. Not just because it's a truth which vindicates the smeared minority in the alternate media.

But because recognising what they were trying to do last time , is the best defense when they try it again next time .

[May 18, 2019] Is John Bolton the most dangerous man in the world? by Ben Armbruster

May 18, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

The US is closer to war with Iran than it has been since the Bush years, or perhaps ever. And Bolton is largely to blame

But Bolton is on a fast track, seemingly aware that Trump's time in office may be limited.' Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton wants the United States to go to war with Iran .

We know this because he has been saying it for nearly two decades .

And everything that the Trump administration has done over its Iran policy, particularly since Bolton became Trump's top foreign policy adviser in April of 2018, must be viewed through this lens, including the alarming US military posturing in the Middle East of the past two weeks.

Just after one month on the job, Bolton gave Trump the final push he needed to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, which at the time was (and still is, for now) successfully boxing in Iran's nuclear program and blocking all pathways for Iran to build a bomb. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – as the Iran deal is formally known – was the biggest obstacle to Bolton's drive for a regime change war, because it eliminated a helpful pretext that served so useful to sell the war in Iraq 17 years ago.

Since walking away from the deal, the Trump administration has claimed that with a "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran, it can achieve a "better deal" that magically turns Iran into a Jeffersonian democracy bowing to every and any American wish. But this has always been a fantastically bad-faith argument meant to obscure the actual goal (regime change) and provide cover for the incremental steps – the crushing sanctions, bellicose rhetoric, and antagonizing military maneuvers – that have now put the United States closer to war with Iran than it has been since at least the latter half of the Bush administration, or perhaps ever.

And Bolton has no qualms about manipulating or outright ignoring intelligence to advance his agenda, which is exactly what's happening right now.

In his White House statement 10 days ago announcing (an already pre-planned) carrier and bomber deployment to the Middle East, Bolton cited "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings" from Iran to justify the bolstered US military presence. But multiple sources who have seen the same intelligence have since said that Bolton and the Trump administration blew it "out of proportion, characterizing the threat as more significant than it actually was". Even a British general operating in the region pushed back this week, saying he has seen no evidence of an increased Iranian threat.

What's even more worrying is that Bolton knows what he's doing. He's "a seasoned bureaucratic infighter who has the skills to press forcefully for his views" – and he has a long history of using those skills to undermine American diplomacy and work toward killing arms control agreements.

As a senior official in the George W Bush administration, he played key role in the collapse of the Agreed Framework, the Clinton-era deal that froze North Korea's plutonium nuclear program (the North Koreans tested their first bomb four years later).

He said he "felt like a kid on Christmas day" after he orchestrated the US withdrawal from the international criminal court in 2002. And now as a senior official in the Trump administration, he pushed for the US to withdrawal from a crucial nuclear arms treaty with Russia.

While it's unclear how much of a role he played in scuttling Trump's negotiations with Kim Jong-un in Hanoi last year, he publicly called for the so-called "Libya model" with the North Koreans (in other words, regime change by force). Just months before joining the administration, he tried to make the legal case for a preventive war against Pyongyang. And if you think he cares about the aftermath of war with North Korea, he doesn't. Bolton was reportedly "unmoved" by a presentation during his time in the Bush administration of the catastrophic consequences of such a war. "I don't do war. I do policy," he said then.

So far, Bolton has been successful in moving the United States toward his desired outcome with Iran – if getting the Pentagon to draw up plans to send 120,000 US troops to the region to confront Iran is any indication. There are hopeful signs that we can avoid war, as US officials and our European allies, seemingly alarmed by what Bolton is up to, are sounding the alarm about the Trump administration skewing intelligence on Iran.

But Bolton is on a fast track, seemingly aware that Trump's time in office may be limited. The question, ultimately, is whether the president can stick to his instincts of avoiding more military conflict, or acquiesce to a man hellbent on boxing him into a corner with no way out other than war with Iran.

Ben Armbruster is the communications director for Win Without War and previously served as National Security Editor at ThinkProgress

[May 14, 2019] Leaked Document Pokes More Holes In Establishment Syria Narrative

Notable quotes:
"... The assessment says more thoroughly and technically what I argued in an article last year , that the physics of the air-dropped cylinder narrative make no sense whatsoever. This is a problem, because the reason we were given for the US, UK and France launching airstrikes on Syrian government targets in April of 2018 was that two cylinders full of poison gas had been dropped from aircraft by the Syrian air force and killed dozens of civilians. ..."
"... Just as interesting as this new report has been the response of the usual establishment Syria narrative managers to it, or rather the lack thereof. NATO narrative management firm Bellingcat , which normally jumps all over these kinds of revelations in an attempt to discredit them, has been maintaining radio silence as of this writing. Its founder, Eliot Higgins, has had nothing to say on the matter other than to retweet a pathetic rebuttal by his mini-me Scott Lucas and take a few childish jabs at me for highlighting this fact. ..."
"... We are being lied to about Syria . Anyone who believes unproven assertions about governments targeted for toppling by the US-centralized empire has failed to learn the lessons of history. The Syrian government had literally nothing to gain strategically from using chemical weapons in Douma, a battle it had already won, and knew full well that doing so would provoke an attack from the empire. Douma was occupied by the Al Qaeda-linked Jaysh Al-Islam, who had at that point nothing to lose and everything to gain by staging a false flag attack in a last-ditch attempt to get NATO powers to function as its air force. ..."
"... If you still believe at this point that the Syrian government dropped poison gas on Douma last year, then I've got some Iraqi WMDs to sell you. ..."
"... Did the OPCW withhold the results of the simulations? Yes. Could the cylinders have broken through the reinforced concrete slabs without being destroyed? No. ..."
"... And not one outlet in the Western MSM raised the slightest question of this. They were all cheering the public towards war. Alex Jones and InfoWars raised questions about the possibility of a false flag, but he was of course painted as a dangerous "conspiracy theorist" for saying so. ..."
"... General Wesley Clark: Wars Were Planned - Seven Countries In Five Years https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw (2:12) ..."
"... Remember that Russia called it a false flag soon after and even took residents of Douma to testify to the OPCW that it was indeed a false flag. Everyone at the time said Russia and Assad were lying. ..."
"... Remember that the US & UK at the UN have called for giving EXTENDED power to the OPCW to "assign blame" in such incidents. The OPCW ALREADY DID THAT and it was ALL LIES. As USUAL it is the US & CO who LIE AND MURDER INNOCENTS for their political/geopolitical aims. ..."
May 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

"It is hard to overstate the significance of this revelation," tweets former British MP George Galloway of a new report by the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media (WGSPM).

" The war-machine has now been caught red-handed in a staged chemical weapons attack for the purposes of deceiving our democracies into what could have turned into a full-scale war amongst the great-powers."

"An important #Douma #Syria 'Assad chemical weapon attack' development and yet more evidence to suggest the 'attack' was staged, as it's now revealed that @OPCW suppressed expert engineers report that found the cylinders were likely not dropped from the air ," tweets former Scotland Yard detective and counterterrorism intelligence officer Charles Shoebridge.

"The engineering assessment confirms our earlier conclusion," the excellent Moon of Alabama blog writes .

" The whole scene as depicted by 'rebels' and propaganda organs was staged. The more than 34 dead on the scene were murdered elsewhere under unknown circumstances."

An important #Douma #Syria 'Assad chemical weapon attack' development and yet more evidence to suggest the 'attack' was staged, as it's now revealed that @OPCW suppressed expert engineers report that found the cylinders were likely not dropped from the air https://t.co/hZCP2Ujlbk

-- Charles Shoebridge (@ShoebridgeC) May 13, 2019

The report has grabbed the attention of those who've expressed skepticism of establishment Syria narratives because it casts serious doubts on the official story we've been told to believe about an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria in April of last year. A document titled "Engineering Assessment of two cylinders observed at the Douma incident" has been leaked to the WGSPM which reveals that an engineering sub-team of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fact-finding mission in Douma came to conclusions which differ wildly from the OPCW's official findings on the Douma incident, yet we the public were never permitted to see this assessment.

The assessment's findings, which you can locate on pages five through eight of the document , put forward multiple hypothetical scenarios in which two gas cylinders could have wound up in the locations(Location 2 and Location 4) that they were photographed and video recorded as having been found after the alleged attack. The assessment concludes that "The dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders, and the surrounding scene of the incidents, were inconsistent with what would have been expected in the case of either cylinder being delivered from an aircraft. In each case the alternative hypothesis produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene."

The assessment says more thoroughly and technically what I argued in an article last year , that the physics of the air-dropped cylinder narrative make no sense whatsoever. This is a problem, because the reason we were given for the US, UK and France launching airstrikes on Syrian government targets in April of 2018 was that two cylinders full of poison gas had been dropped from aircraft by the Syrian air force and killed dozens of civilians.

The assessment is signed by Ian Henderson, who the WGSPM were able to verify as a longtime OPCW-trained inspection team leader. The OPCW reportedly denied that Henderson was involved in its Douma fact-finding mission, but the WGSPM counters that "This statement is false. The engineering sub-team could not have been carrying out studies in Douma at Locations 2 and 4 unless they had been notified by OPCW to the Syrian National Authority (the body that oversees compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention) as FFM inspectors: it is unlikely that Henderson arrived on a tourist visa."

So far this is the establishment narrative management machine's only attempt at refuting the latest revelations indicating that the #Douma attack last year was staged. It basically boils down to "They're conspiracy theorists and the official narrative disagrees with them." https://t.co/04iFa24do8

-- Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) May 13, 2019

Just as interesting as this new report has been the response of the usual establishment Syria narrative managers to it, or rather the lack thereof. NATO narrative management firm Bellingcat , which normally jumps all over these kinds of revelations in an attempt to discredit them, has been maintaining radio silence as of this writing. Its founder, Eliot Higgins, has had nothing to say on the matter other than to retweet a pathetic rebuttal by his mini-me Scott Lucas and take a few childish jabs at me for highlighting this fact.

Scott Lucas' Facebook post on the WGSPM report remains as of this writing the only attempt from the Syria narrative management machine to address it, and it boils down to nothing more than assertions that the report contradicts the official OPCW narrative (duh) and that the WGSPM are conspiracy theorists. Lucas may have thought it a good idea to author this post believing that he had a more substantial argument than he actually had, but it was pointed out shortly after publication that his claim about Henderson refusing to consider other possible scenarios in his assessment is directly contradicted by the words that are in the assessment, and Lucas was forced to make a hasty revision .

There will be other counter-narratives released by the Syria narrative management machine, to be sure, but the fact that this report has been out for the better part of the day with nary a peep from that lot reveals a great deal about the difficulties they're having with this one.

We are being lied to about Syria . Anyone who believes unproven assertions about governments targeted for toppling by the US-centralized empire has failed to learn the lessons of history. The Syrian government had literally nothing to gain strategically from using chemical weapons in Douma, a battle it had already won, and knew full well that doing so would provoke an attack from the empire. Douma was occupied by the Al Qaeda-linked Jaysh Al-Islam, who had at that point nothing to lose and everything to gain by staging a false flag attack in a last-ditch attempt to get NATO powers to function as its air force.

If you still believe at this point that the Syrian government dropped poison gas on Douma last year, then I've got some Iraqi WMDs to sell you.

* * *

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Tunga , 45 minutes ago link

The assessment was generated using photos taken by the OPCW Fact Finding Mission ( FFM) and the use of finite element computer modeling.

There is no reason to accuse the OPCW of lying about the Inspector not being in Douma. He could have produced the report from anywhere that had the computer power and software as well as access to the FFM photos several of which appear in the March 1st 2019 OPCW final report.

Did the OPCW withhold the results of the simulations? Yes. Could the cylinders have broken through the reinforced concrete slabs without being destroyed? No.

The software;

"Abaqus/Explicit is a finite element analysis product that is particularly well-suited to simulate brief transient dynamic events such as consumer electronics drop testing, automotive crashworthiness, and ballistic impact. The ability of Abaqus/Explicit to effectively handle severely nonlinear behavior such as contact makes it very attractive for the simulation of many quasi-static events, such as rolling of hot metal and slow crushing of energy absorbing devices. Abaqus/Explicit is designed for production environments, so ease of use, reliability, and efficiency are key ingredients in its architecture. Abaqus/Explicit is supported within the Abaqus/CAE modeling environment for all common pre- and postprocessing needs."

https://www.3ds.com/products-services/simulia/products/abaqus/abaqusexplicit/

Dassault Systems.

vienna_proxy , 1 hour ago link

obama and hillary still need to be executed for creating isis and the moderate rebel terrorists

Reaper , 1 hour ago link

There are no punishments for false flagers.

Dr. Acula , 1 hour ago link

Reminder that Mossad did 9/11 and tried to blow up the Mexican Congress and blamed Muslims.

Since they control the pedophiles in US's government, it makes sense that US would lie about the Syria gassings. Trump is part of this with his crazy "gas attack animal Assad" tweets.

Velocitor , 1 hour ago link

And not one outlet in the Western MSM raised the slightest question of this. They were all cheering the public towards war. Alex Jones and InfoWars raised questions about the possibility of a false flag, but he was of course painted as a dangerous "conspiracy theorist" for saying so.

And now he's being deplatformed, so we won't have any pesky voices of reason raising questions, the next time.

prymythirdeye , 1 hour ago link

EVERYTHING IS FAKE, STAGED FRAUD. We are being told more lies than truths these days.

Oliver Klozoff , 1 hour ago link

Everything about obama was faked, staged, phony. That's why all the dimms love him. Strange there's no comic book figure of him for hollyjewood to make movies of.

beemasters , 1 hour ago link

Everything about US government is faked. staged, phony. FIFY.

Goldilocks , 1 hour ago link

General Wesley Clark: Wars Were Planned - Seven Countries In Five Years https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw (2:12)

beemasters , 1 hour ago link

It's becoming too easy. Precedents after precedents have made events like this unusual if not staged, a false flag or hoax.

BGO , 2 hours ago link

A couple of women have for years been exposing the *** stooge fraud in Syria. I won't sully their good names by posting them here, but I will say that if the fraud committed in Syria is a revelation to anyone in the US, the same should wrap their lips around the business end of a 12 gauge and blow.

Gonzogal , 2 hours ago link

Remember that Russia called it a false flag soon after and even took residents of Douma to testify to the OPCW that it was indeed a false flag. Everyone at the time said Russia and Assad were lying.

Remember that the US & UK at the UN have called for giving EXTENDED power to the OPCW to "assign blame" in such incidents. The OPCW ALREADY DID THAT and it was ALL LIES. As USUAL it is the US & CO who LIE AND MURDER INNOCENTS for their political/geopolitical aims.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/431595-opcw-chemical-syria-blame/

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201806281065865144-ex-uk-envoy-syria-opcw-nato/

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201804111063421210-usa-syria-un-response-analysis/

kimsarah , 2 hours ago link

All the more reason to be skeptical about Iranian "attacks" on Saudi oil ships.

Kafir Goyim , 2 hours ago link

I assume that's why this leak is happening now. I think it's too little, too late, but I applaud the effort.

The widespread knowledge by the populace of our owners contempt for the truth and usage of false flags as standard procedure to provide cover for their wars, is about the only thing, at this point, that will derail a war with Iran caused by an "Iranian attack on a tanker".

Gonzogal , 2 hours ago link

The widespread knowledge by the populace of our owners contempt for the truth and usage of false flags as standard procedure to provide cover for their wars, is about the only thing, at this point, that will derail a war with Iran caused by an "Iranian attack on a tanker".

Unfortunately I would not bet on that. Since when did the US regime or any other "Western Partners" listen to reason or their citizens....PLUS I have NOT seen any Americans protesting against their regimes actions in the world and the silence from them will once again be deafening in the attempts to start a war with Iran!

Kafir Goyim , 2 hours ago link

That was the beauty of a draft. It made wars so much more personal for the average person. All volunteer military allows the populace to tune out completely from any foreign adventures their owners may be engaged in.

Gonzogal , 1 hour ago link

That is a VERY sad commentary on the state of America, if the ONLY thing that will make Americans protest against their regimes wars world-wide is if it re-institutes the draft!

BarnacleBill , 2 hours ago link

Caitlin Johnstone is worth her weight in gold.

chunga , 2 hours ago link

Being skeptical going forward is not the result of any "derangement syndrome". Its the result of things like this.

Kafir Goyim , 2 hours ago link

Since these things occurred for that last 20 years, (55 years-Tonkin) and from more than one country, "derangement syndrome" would indeed be an incorrect reason to be skeptical. What is disappointing to non TDS sufferers is that the last two years matched the previous 18.

chunga , 2 hours ago link

The pattern is well established so there is no excuse for repeating the same mistakes and right now the pipeline is full of the same mistakes.

MRob , 49 minutes ago link

20 years? 55 years??!

Pfft....

Lets start with the Spanish American war of 1898...

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

(Corbett Report)

HedgeJunkie , 38 minutes ago link

First thing I thought of...

https://www.thoughtco.com/spanish-american-war-uss-maine-explodes-2361193

teharr , 2 hours ago link

No way! A false flag? CONSPIRACY!!!!!!!

Disclosure is slow for those that suspected a false flag the minute it happened. Waking up the sheep is so tedious.

It is all ******** folks, all of it.

Captain Nemo de Erehwon , 2 hours ago link

So who can sue OPCW in the ICCJ for war crimes in terms of knowingly promoting false narratives that lead to massive losses of life? Will at least twitter ban related accounts for false fear-mongering endangering public safety? These people are deeply corrupt. But then information has started to leak out.

Badsamm , 2 hours ago link

Time to check those Saudi tankers that were "attacked".

3nd7ime8oogie , 2 hours ago link

Commercial chlorine cylinders, cheap. But most people couldn't tell the difference between a nerve agent (Sarin/VX), a simple WWI burn agent (Chlorine) & a spicey curry. The feels of supposed invisible clouds choking out children overwhems any rational analysis thus carring the narrative.

Wahooo , 2 hours ago link

Trump's a war criminal and needs to be tried.

insanelysane , 1 hour ago link

By staying out of wars??? Ahhh, Peace is War!

MR166 , 2 hours ago link

Trump threw a giant monkey wrench into the Deep State operations by getting elected. Imagine where we would be today if Killary got elected.

44magnum , 2 hours ago link

Same ******* place or worse. Remember that for the next vote and the next and the next,etc. Because it will always be same ******* place or worse.

Algo Rhythm , 2 hours ago link

Color me shocked.... just kiddin'

We knew this was BS all along and government does nothing but kill humanity.

Kreator , 2 hours ago link

Does this mean White Helmets will have to return Oscar for their heartbreaking story where they pull "dead" kids from ruble, and then couple of months later they pull same kids that "died" again from ruble?

beemasters , 1 hour ago link

Only if the White House apologizes to Syrians for "mistaking" fiction for fact. If not, the Oscar stays.

haruspicio , 2 hours ago link

People of America, your government is LYING TO YOU. Pretty much on every issue. Do not believe anything you read, see or hear, but ask searching questions about how this stuff is down, who benefits etc etc

Why on earth would Assad, every time he is gaining ground and winning, gas people. It doesn't;t make any sense at all. Who benefits? Why Isis, al Qaeda and the terrorists who are supported by your government. Your taxes go to support the folks that bombed the WTC on 9/11.

Chupacabra-322 , 2 hours ago link

Who benefits?

IsRaHell.

SybilDefense , 2 hours ago link

Not sure why it's "acceptable" that many of our "US" leaders are dual passport/citizen "them".

Wonder what one day would look like if politicians were forced to speak the truth?

Jesus must be packing his bags, as we are surely in need of another visit.

Goldilocks , 2 hours ago link

Government and MSM complicity regarding 9/11, set a dangerous precedent...

"What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes" - Harry Houdini

07 - The Key
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rml2TL5N8ds (45:05)
CollinAlexander - May 29, 2012

The key to solving 9/11 is something called a "key". Understanding video compositing technology, both its capabilities AND limitations, proves no planes, and therefore proves demolition.

WhiteOakQueen , 1 hour ago link

Before 9/11 Oklahoma City Bombing watch A Noble Lie on Amazon Prime

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

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

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

This study was originally published in 2016.

Introduction: "Something strange"

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

A Swiss media researcher points out:

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

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

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

Even the head of a news agency noted:

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

"The Invisible Nerve Center of the Media System"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small abbreviation, great effect

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

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

News agencies as sources in newspaper articles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The role of correspondents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Adding questionable stories"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As the New York Times reported

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

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

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

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

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

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

The desired narrative

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion: The "First Law of Journalism"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Case study: Syria war coverage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Figure 2: Types of articles per newspaper

The following Figure 3 shows the breakdown of agency stories (by