Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari at the UN: “In Golan terrorists get paid ransom by Qatar with the help of Israel”.
Around this time last year, parliamentary records show, the retired property developer and hugely generous Labour party donor, Sir David Garrard, had given a modest £60,000 towards the party’s election campaign for 2015. It came in addition to around half a million he had already given since 2003.
Fast forward to 16 June of this year, Garrard hosts a Labour Friends of Israel event, at which Labour leader Ed Miliband is the main speaker. The prime minister hopeful had, the year before, proclaimed that he was a Zionist. The lobbying group he addressed boasts dozens of Labour peers and MPs amongst its membership, including the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.
Despite the atrocities being committed as Miliband spoke – a few thousand miles away during “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza, he made not one mention of the Palestinian casualties in his speech, though he did take time to note Israel’s own losses. By that point, 172 Palestinian lives had been taken, and over 1,200 were wounded. The newspapers were in outcry, but from Miliband – performing before his party donors – silence.
That same day, the silence was rewarded. Garrard transferred a whopping £630,000 to the Labour party accounts, over ten times his donation from the previous year.
It was a near identical episode to David Cameron speaking in 2009, back when he too was hoping to take office as prime minister.
At a well-attended Conservative Friends of Israel annual fundraising lunch held in London, he again made no mention of the Palestinian lives that had been lost, this time as part of “Operation Cast Lead”. Not one mention. In that war, 1,370 Palestinians had died. At the time, a leading British journalist wrote: “I found it impossible to reconcile the remarks made by the young Conservative leader with the numerous reports of human rights abuses in Gaza. Afterwards I said as much to some Tory MPs. They looked at me as if I was distressingly naive, drawing my attention to the very large number of Tory donors in the audience.”
No other foreign nation is as well represented in the campaign finances of British elections as Israel. In fact, no other nation comes close – and money linked to pro-Israel donors is a single interest influence akin to that of the trade unions (the largest democratic organisations in the country) or indeed the megabucks flowing in from City financiers.
And with that money, war crimes are being glossed over, rules bent, and our hard-won democracy warped by foreign interests.
The money is already pouring in.
In April, the Conservative Branch for Brigg & Goole, the constituency of Andrew Percy MP, received £6,000 from a notable pro-Israel supporter, Lord Stanley Fink. During the recent conflict, Percy attended an Israeli military briefing about the Iron Dome missile defence system – later glibly observing that “Israel acts as we would” in response to the mass civilian casualties being inflicted by the IDF.
Percy is, like 80 per cent of his colleagues, a member of Conservative Friends of Israel.
On the same day, £3,000 dropped into the bank account of the Conservative party in Harrow East. Their MP, Bob Blackman, also visited Israel during “Operation Protective Edge”. The money also came from Lord Fink.
And the pro-Israel peer pulled off a democracy-warping hat-trick that day – £3,000 for the Conservatives in Brighton & Kemptown, home to Conservative Friends of Israel linked Simon Kirby MP.
Over and above his backing of individual MPs, Lord Fink has also contributed over £60,000 to the Conservative Central Party accounts since July last year, and his total donations to the Conservatives over the years are now nearing £3 million.
Lord Fink is a staunch supporter of Israel – telling the Jewish Chronicle in 2009 that he shared similar views to Lord Michael Levy, Tony Blair’s aide who had close ties with Israeli political leaders. Levy’s son, Daniel, served as an assistant to the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and to Knesset member Yossi Beilin.
Elsewhere, Lord Fink has been a “loyal donor” to Just Journalism, a now defunct group organised by the pro-Israeli Westminster think tank the Henry Jackson Society. Just Journalism claimed to be correcting “media bias” against Israel but instead acted as a pro-Israel “flak” group aggressively criticising any British publication who queried Israel’s human rights record, including the Guardian and the London Review of Books. The group folded in 2011.
Lord Fink is also a member of the Jewish Leadership Council (more on their influence later).
In March, the Conservative Branch in Poplar & Limehouse received £3,000 from another pro-Israel funder – Sir Michael Hintze. Hintze was ranked by Forbes in 2014 as the 1,016th richest person in the world, with a net worth of approximately $1.8 billion.
The constituency he has plugged money into is a swing seat; a six per cent change would depose incumbent Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick (a member of both Labour Friends of Israel and Labour Friends of Palestine).
The Conservatives have their own reasons for targeting the seat, using the youthful ex-banker and Tower Hamlets councillor Tim Archer. The Respect party are running George Galloway, and he could split the Labour vote, opening the way for a Conservative win. George Galloway also happens to be the most outspoken critic of Israel in British politics.
British-Australian Hintze is not a man the Conservatives would want to annoy. Since July of last year, he has donated just over £1.5 million to the party (the figure is doubled if you look back to 2002).
Current Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP received nearly £40,000 in 2008 and 2009 directly from Hintze. Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Theresa May MP, David Davis MP and David Willets MP have also been subject to his financial largesse.
But the first politician Hintze backed in the Conservatives was Dr Liam Fox MP, with a £10,000 gift back in January 2007.
Fox then rose to become Secretary of State for Defence, before being disgraced when it was revealed he had allowed his close friend Adam Werrity access to the Ministry of Defence and to travel on official visits (despite not being a government employee).
Hintze was implicated because he had allowed Fox a desk in his London office as part of a £29,000 donation to Fox’s controversial charity – Atlantic Bridge – another pro-Israel lobbying organisation. Hintze served on its Executive Council.
Adam Werrity, who had been best man at Fox’s wedding in 2005, was later appointed UK Executive Director of Atlantic Bridge and played a key role in its operations.
In late 2011, “multiple sources” told the Independent on Sunday that Werrity had used contacts developed through Atlantic Bridge to arrange visits to Iran, meeting with opposition groups in both Washington and London, and had even been debriefed by MI6 about his travels.
The newspaper described the activities as “a freelance foreign policy” with Werrity seemingly “acting as a rogue operator”.
It was also revealed that Werrity was capable of arranging meetings “at the highest levels of the Israeli government”, and that Mossad had, bizarrely, believed Werrity to be Fox’s chief of staff.
The Guardian also raised the possibility that Werrity and Fox could have been operating a “shadow foreign policy,” using Atlantic Bridge as a cover organisation. The charity was investigated by the Charities Commission in 2011 and shut down.
Another patron of Atlantic Bridge, alongside Hintze, was Michael Lewis, ex-chairman of the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM).
That lobbying group describes itself as a “British organisation dedicated to creating a more supportive environment for Israel in Britain”. It was reported that Michael Lewis had paid for some of Werrity’s trips to Israel, charges he later denied.
Fox’s resignation was forced over the scandal – although true to Westminster form – no scandal is too much, in fact, he is already back, having politely refused a role as foreign secretary in July but now planning a new career as a backbencher.
Reviewing the Electoral Commission records for 2014, the pro-Israel donor Michael Lewis has popped up again. In March, he wrote another cheque for £10,000, to none other than Liam Fox.
In the past, Lewis has also backed William Hague – to the tune of £5,000. Hague later became foreign secretary.
According to Peter Oborne, now chief political commentator for the Telegraph, Michael Lewis’s baby BICOM is “Britain’s major pro-Israel lobby”.
In a searing expose for Channel 4 in 2009 and later a pamphlet calling for transparency from the Israel lobby, Oborne showed how BICOM was funded by a Finnish billionaire whose father made a fortune selling Israeli arms.
Chaim “Poju” Zabludowicz, who the Sunday Times ranked as the 57th richest individual in Britain with a net worth of over £1.5 billion, founded BICOM in 2001 and is its chairman.
Zabludowicz is also a member of the United Jewish Israel Appeal, a charity whose website claims it has three strands of work – “Supporting Israel”, “Connecting with Israel” and “Engaging with Israel”.
Since 2009, Zabludowicz has given approximately £125,000 to the Conservative party, either directly to party central, or to the party operating in Finchley and Golders Green, Harlow, Watford or Burton.
Zabludowicz is also a member of the Jewish Leadership Council – primarily concerned with philanthropic and educational matters within the British Jewish community, but who in June 2011 also met with the government to discuss the Middle East (BICOM attended the meeting too), and again in January 2012.
The Jewish Leadership Council, whose members also include pro-Israel Tory funders such as Lord Stanley Fink, and Tony Blair’s controversial man in Israel Lord Michael Levy, have taken it upon themselves to vigorously defend Israeli leaders from the principles of universal jurisdiction – which proves a great example of how influential the lobby is ,how intent the lobby is on insulating Israel from legal redress, and exactly why British voters should be wary of how much money the lobby is pumping into our elections.
In a celebratory post in 2011, on their own website, the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) explained that two years ago, they had “commissioned a legal opinion from Lord Pannick QC which recommended a change in the law. We wanted to protect universal jurisdiction itself, a vital innovation that grew out of the Holocaust, while preventing it from being abused.” (“Preventing it from being abused” roughly translates to “being applied to Israel”).
Following an arrest warrant being issued for Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni, the group said: “We immediately sent our legal opinion to the government and opposition and worked with Conservative Friends of Israel, Labour Friends of Israel and Liberal Democratic Friends of Israel to begin generating support for this law change.”
“Within a few days, Gordon Brown had publicly promised to change the law as soon as possible,” the JLC bragged.
The Conservative party had already placed an advert in the Jewish Chronicle promising to change the law if they were elected. In 2011, the universal jurisdiction laws of the United Kingdom were changed, with arrest warrants now requiring the assent of the Attorney-General before they could be issued for alleged war criminals.
This was just as the pro-Israel lobby wanted. Rather than facing arrest when visiting the UK, Israeli politicians, generals and other war criminals can now feel assured that warrants would first have to pass through the Attorney-General, who is none other than Jeremy Wright MP, who is of course, another member of Conservative Friends of Israel.
Bible thumping and carpet bombing
The really interesting thing about the Junior Senator from Texas is the fact that he demonstrates that anyone who wants it badly enough can become president. It is, of course, something for which there is a precedent, when voters elected an inexperienced and largely unknown Barack Obama. Cruz shares Obama’s lack of preparation for the highest office while he is also something of a throwback to fellow Texan George W. Bush’s tradition of anti-intellectualism and lack of curiosity about how the rest of the world interacts with the United States. This is particularly unfortunate as Cruz, a conventional Republican conservative on all social issues, ironically has chosen to identify differences in foreign policy to distinguish himself from the rest of the Republican pack.
Cruz might rightly be seen by some as a nightmarish incarnation of a narrow minded conservative Christian vision of what the United States is all about, aggressively embracing a world view based on ignorance coupled with the license granted by God endowed “American exceptionalism” from sea to shining sea. His father is an Evangelical preacher and the son has successfully absorbed much of both the blinkered notions of right and wrong as well as the Elmer Gantry style, but that is not to suggest that he is stupid. By all accounts Cruz, a graduate of Princeton and of Harvard Law School, is extremely intelligent and by some accounts endowed with both extraordinary cunning and ambition. He is possessed of excellent political instincts when it comes to appealing to the constituencies in the GOP that he believes to be essential to his success.
Washington has seen presidents who were truly religious in the past but it has rarely experienced the Cruz mixture of demagoguery combined with a Biblically infused sense of righteousness which admits to no error. His Manichean sense of good and evil is constantly on display, but he is most on fire when he is speaking to his fellow conservative Christians, most recently at the gathering of the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Iowa. Cruz was one of a number of GOP speakers, which included potential presidential hopefuls Bobby Jindal and Paul Ryan, who were received tepidly while Cruz was greeted with cheering and a standing ovation before launching into his most recent theme, blaming the White House for not pressuring foreign governments to protect their Christian minorities. The enthusiastic reception was not surprising as Cruz is, after all, the “real thing” speaking “their language” fluently and the Evangelicals know it.
Cruz is intelligent enough to realize that what he is peddling is a type of narrative designed to make himself electable. What he actually believes is somewhat irrelevant except that if he is an actual zealot he might well be immune to viewpoints that run counter to his biases, dangerous in a president. A year ago Cruz grandstanded in leading the GOP dissidents’ attempt to shut down the government over the issue of Obamacare, a move that the party leadership regarded as a major “tactical error.” He was widely condemned for his performance in the media and within his own party but he made points with the constituency he was courting, the Tea Partiers.
The disturbing thing about Cruz is that his foreign policy statements are awash in what must be a willful disregard of reality, but, as with the threatened government shutdown, he apparently knows what will sell with the Bible thumping America first crowd that he is primarily targeting. His latest leitmotif which he has been hammering relentlessly is the worldwide persecution of Christians, with the clear implication that it is uniquely a Muslim problem. It is also a line that is being pursued by the Israeli government and American Jewish groups, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is somehow a protector of Christianity. He opposes negotiations with Iran, for example, because a Christian pastor is in prison there. That several other Americans are also being held by the government in Tehran, including a former US Marine, appears to be of secondary importance and US broader regional interests do not enter into the discussion at all.
As part of his strategy to outflank his competition in the GOP, Cruz is shameless in his promotion of Israel and its interests. He did so recently by telling an audience of beleaguered Middle Eastern Christians that they had “no greater ally than Israel,” a statement so palpably out of sync with the actual experiences of those in the audience that he was booed of the stage. His response: “Those who hate Israel hate America.” Countering conservative critics of his performance Cruz subsequently wrote that “… the only time at least some of these writers seem to care about persecuted Christians is when it furthers an anti-Israel narrative for them.”
Cruz will, of course, find Israel haters wherever he looks as it constitutes a convenient way to dismiss critics without affording them a hearing. He will never concede that Israel discriminates against its Christian minority in spite of the considerable evidence that it does so. That Israel chooses to describe itself as a Jewish State, a designation that Cruz enthusiastically supports, does not ring any bells for him though he is quick to pounce on Iran for calling itself the Islamic Republic.
This willful blindness derives from the fact that Israel is central to Cruz’s foreign policy thinking. He has visited the country three times since becoming Senator. In Des Moines last week he spoke about Israel and he has referred to it from the Senate floor literally thousands of times, according to the Congressional Record. His private Senate office features a large framed photo of himself with Netanyahu. Nearly every speech Cruz makes sooner or later comes around to the issue of “standing for Israel” even when there is no logical reason to make that connection. At the recent Values Voters Summit in Washington he brought the cheering crowd to its feet by shouting “We stand for life. We stand for marriage. We stand for Israel.”
To be sure, part of the Cruz strategy comes from his recognition that no Republican can become a presidential candidate without the endorsement of Israel’s supporters. Cruz has met privately with the leaders of Jewish organizations, including Bill Kristol, editor of the neocon Weekly Standard and founder or board member of the multitude of pro-Israel alphabet soup organizations that seem to spring up spontaneously. The Weekly Standard has, not surprisingly, promoted the Cruz candidacy. Cruz also has his eye on Jewish money. He is seeking the support of Las Vegas casino mega-billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who could single handedly fund his campaign if he should choose to do so, as well as with other potential donors.
Cruz, who apparently believes he has learned something from the Vietnam and Iraq fiascos, describes his foreign policy in simple terms: have a clearly defined objective, use overwhelming force, and then get out. If viewed at face value, the formula is an antidote for prolonged and unsuccessful nation building, which would be good, but it has to be taken in the context of Cruz’s other pronouncements. He describes the world as being “on fire” and his rhetoric is uniformly belligerent. He sees “overwhelming” military intervention by the US as a God given right whenever the policy makers in Washington feel threatened and he also regards the military option as a first resort without any regard for what is going on in the country that is the target. Making a mess and leaving it is a recipe for international anarchy.
In a recent speech Cruz denounced the Administration for talking with Iranian representatives at the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York. He characterized the event as “swilling chardonnay with the Iranian government.” That the United States has very compelling interests to be working with Iran both on ISIS and on nuclear proliferation apparently escaped Cruz’s grasp, so he was left with little more than a cheap shot joke to explain his unwillingness to negotiate with a government that he and Israel have repeatedly demonized.
Regarding Russia, Cruz has called for an expansion of NATO and more sanctions without any explanation of what the strategy might be or any curiosity about where increasing pressure on Moscow might lead. As a Cuban American he is inevitably hostile towards the government in Havana. Regarding Iran, Cruz supports harsher sanctions even though it would mean an end to negotiations over that country’s nuclear program.
Cruz’s foreign policy vision has been reported to be finding a “sweet spot” between the nation building of the Democrats and the reflexive belligerency of some Republican Senators like John McCain and Lindsey Graham who have not apparently realized that the country is weary of war. In reality however, Cruz veers strongly towards McCain-like solutions, accepting military interventions while eschewing the occupation and rebuilding bits only because they are too expensive and prone to misadventure to entertain. Sadly, like other GOP hawks, Cruz does not recognize that Washington has caused many if not most international problems, that foreign nations actually have interests that should be respected or at least considered, that military solutions are rarely sustainable, and that inextricably linking the United States to a rogue nation like Israel might not actually be good policy. But such considerations count for little when a man with a mission is on his way to become President of the United States.
Clashes took place in eastern Lebanon on Sunday afternoon, as a group of militants attacked a Hezbollah checkpoint, the Lebanese National News Agency reported.
There were conflicting media reports on Sunday evening over the number of wounded and killed in the attack in the outskirts of Britel, in the Baalbek region.
According to the NNA, there were several casualties on the side of the armed militants.
News channel LBCI, which identified the militant gunmen as members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, said there were injuries on both sides, while radio station Sawt Lubnaan said at least two Hezbollah fighters had been killed.
Sawt Lubnaan also reported that the army had not intervened until late, and that the clashes had relatively subsided by 5:00 pm.
The NNA also reported clashes outside of Yuneen, and the sound of rockets or bombs near some villages east of Baalbek.
Recently, Twitter was abuzz with its latest agent provocateur tweeting in support of the orcs of our time, ISIS.
I’ve emblazoned the image with the word “Fake” in order to avoid spreading this nonsense unwittingly.
The tweets of this person declaring her undying devotion and love for ISIS from right here within the borders of the United States garnered some pretty ludicrous responses. After all, ignorance only begets ignorance.
On the blogosphere it was much worse. There were serious efforts to locate her and murder her:
In this crazed flurry of suggestions to bomb Mecca and Medina, to kill Muslims, and to even go as far as attempting to find and kill this girl, these folks overlooked a glaring detail that I was able to discern in 5 minutes. “Ahimla Jihada” is fake. Twitter apparently discovered this early on and any attempt to access the Twitter account @ahimla2 will reach this page:
So who is she? First and foremost, the name “Ahimla” doesn’t exist in any language on earth. Google it. All you will get are nutters plotting to kill this phantom or results thinking you misspelled the Indian city “Shimla”.
You won’t find a single person on earth named “Ahimla”. People have all kinds of crazy names. Frank Zappa named his kids Dweezil, Moon Unit, and even —as awesome as it is— Rodan. Ving Rhames named his kid Reignbeau. Yes. Pronounced “Rainbow”. David Duchovny named his kid…well…Kyd. But the twit behind this fake Twitter account had to use the one name that just didn’t exist on planet earth. Finally, the last name “Jihada”? That really took a lot of thought.
As for the picture, herein is something very sad and a lesson in sleuthing fabricated propaganda on the internet. Bookmark the URL https://www.tineye.com/ right now. Using this website you can upload any image and it will search the internet for every instance of the image and even similar images going back for years.
I always use this site whenever I get images over social media allegedly portraying atrocities committed in some crisis point of the world. A majority of the time those pictures end up being lifted from something completely unrelated to what they are purported to represent. Don’t get duped! I hope everyone will start using this site to verify the authenticity of images that make claims with an objective of manipulating public opinion.
In this case I was able to find the source of this poor girl’s image. It was taken on April 1, 2009, five years ago, by a photographer who thought this girl’s infectiously cute smile would make a great picture. It was lifted from his Flickr account. Here’s the link to the original post:
Note, that he titled the picture “Angel Face”. How both ironic and tragic is it that this young girl’s angelic face was used to represent such great evil by someone who can be described as no less than a diabolical liar. Not only is this innocent girl’s life in danger but there are clearly people ready to exact violence upon any girl who even looks like her. That would be any Muslim woman who wears a scarf.
In the end, there are two critical details to be gleaned from this:
First, in the absence of any American-Muslims supporting such terrorist organizations they found the need to fabricate such a person. American-Muslims deserve a pat on the back for this. We have all kinds of crazies just like anyone else, but we should be proud that these incognito Islamophobes couldn’t find a real extremist to retweet. They had to fabricate one.
Second, it should make everyone painfully aware of what we’re up against. There are dubious forces from an increasingly belligerent political Right [is Loonwatch unable to use the word Zionist?] who are out to brainwash, by hook or crook, the American public into hating their fellow citizens of the Muslim faith and to justify a foreign policy in the “10/40 Window” that has tarnished America’s reputation globally and needlessly puts our men and women in uniform in harm’s way. It’s high time we fight misinformation with information.
In late summer 2013, Official Washington was rushing to the judgment that the “evil” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had launched a barrage of missiles tipped with Sarin gas to slaughter hundreds of civilians in rebel-held neighborhoods near Damascus.
It was inconceivable to virtually every person who “mattered” in Washington that there was any other interpretation of the events on Aug. 21, 2013. Washington Post national security columnist David Ignatius even explained the “big picture” reason why President Barack Obama needed to launch punitive bomb strikes against Assad’s government for crossing Obama’s “red line” against using chemical weapons.
“What does the world look like when people begin to doubt the credibility of U.S. power?” Ignatius wrote a week after the Sarin incident. “Unfortunately, we’re finding that out in Syria and other nations where leaders have concluded they can defy a war-weary United States without paying a price.
“Using military power to maintain a nation’s credibility may sound like an antiquated idea, but it’s all too relevant in the real world we inhabit. It has become obvious in recent weeks that President Obama … needs to demonstrate that there are consequences for crossing a U.S. ‘red line.’ Otherwise, the coherence of the global system begins to dissolve.”
At the time, there were only a few of us raising questions about Official Washington’s Sarin-attack “group think,” partly because it made no sense for Assad to have invited United Nations inspectors into Syria to examine chemical weapons attacks that he was blaming on the opposition and then to launch a major Sarin attack just miles from where the inspectors were unpacking at their hotel.
I also was hearing from inside U.S. intelligence that some CIA analysts shared those doubts, suspecting that the supposedly high number of Sarin-laden rockets (which represented the strongest evidence against Assad’s forces) was wildly overstated and that public panic might have exaggerated the scope of the attack.
But perhaps the strongest reason to doubt Official Washington’s hasty conclusion blaming Assad was what had been occurring inside the Syrian rebel movement over the prior two years, i.e., its radicalization into a hyper-violent Sunni jihadist force that was prepared to inflict any brutality on civilians to achieve its goal of ousting the secular Assad and establishing an Islamist state in Damascus.
Blinded by Propaganda
Most Washington’s pols and pundits had not noticed this change because of a geopolitical blindness inflicted by neoconservative propaganda, which insisted that the only acceptable way to view the Syrian civil war was to see Assad as the “bad guy” and the rebels as the “good guys.”
After all, “regime change” in Syria had long been near the top of the neocon agenda as it was for Israel, which wanted Assad out because he was allied with Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Early in the civil war, Assad’s harsh response to what he termed rebel “terrorism” had also rallied the Obama administration’s “liberal interventionists” to the side of “regime change.”
Thus, the notion that some vicious Syrian rebel group might willfully kill innocent civilians as a provocation to get the U.S. military to attack Assad’s defenses – and thus pave the way for a rebel victory – was outside Official Washington’s accepted frame of reference. In August 2013, the rebels were wearing the white hats, as far as U.S. mainstream opinion was concerned.
Over the past year, however, reality has reasserted itself, at least somewhat. The Sarin case against Assad has largely crumbled with a UN report finding Sarin on only one rocket and independent scientists concluding that the one Sarin-laden rocket had a maximum range of only about two kilometers, meaning it could not have come from the suspected Syrian base about nine kilometers away.
Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh also learned from his well-placed sources that inside the U.S. intelligence community suspicion had shifted toward rebel extremists working with hardliners in Turkish intelligence. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Was Turkey Behind Syria-Sarin Attack?”]
But most “important people” in U.S. officialdom, including New York Times and Washington Post editors, still insisted that Assad must have done the Sarin attack. They even report it as flat fact. They are, after all, not the sort of folks who easily admit error.
A Shift in the Paradigm
However, over the past year, the paradigm for understanding the Syrian conflict has begun shifting. In September 2013, many Syrian rebel forces repudiated the political opposition that the Obama administration had organized and instead embraced al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front, an aggressive jihadist force which had emerged as the most effective fighters against Assad.
Then, in February 2014, al-Qaeda’s leadership disavowed an even more brutal jihadist force known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. The Islamic State promoted a strategy of unspeakable brutality as a way of intimidating its rivals and driving Westerners from the Middle East.
ISIS got its start after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 when Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi organized “al-Qaeda in Iraq,” a hyper-violent Sunni militia that targeted Iraq’s Shiites and destroyed their mosques, touching off a vicious sectarian war across Iraq.
After Zarqawi’s death in 2006 – and the alienation of less-extreme Iraqi Sunnis – al-Qaeda in Iraq faded from view before reemerging in Syria’s civil war, refashioned as the Islamic State and crossing back into Iraq with a major offensive last summer.
Amid reports of the Islamic State massacring captives and beheading American and British hostages, it no longer seemed so far-fetched that some Syrian rebel group would be ruthless enough to obtain Sarin and launch an attack near Damascus, killing innocents and hoping that the Assad regime would be blamed.
Even the Post’s Ignatius is looking more skeptically at the Syrian rebel movement and the various U.S.-allied intelligence agencies that have been supplying money, weapons and training – even to fighters associated with the most extreme militias.
Opening the Door
In a column on Friday, Ignatius faulted not only Syria’s squabbling “moderate opposition” but “the foreign nations — such as the United States, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan — that have been funding the chaotic melange of fighters inside Syria. These foreign machinations helped open the door for the terrorist Islamic State group to threaten the region.”
Ignatius acknowledged that the earlier depiction of the Syrian opposition as simply an indigenous movement of idealistic reformers was misleading. He wrote: “From the beginning of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011, Syria has been the scene of a proxy war involving regional powers: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar all wanted to topple Assad, but they competed with each other as regional rivals, too.
“At various points, all three nations provided Sunni rebel groups with money and weapons that ended up in the hands of extremists. … The United States, Saudi Arabia and Jordan joined forces in 2013 to train and arm moderate rebels at a CIA-backed camp in Jordan. But this program was never strong enough to unify the nearly 1,000 brigades scattered across the country. The resulting disorganization helped discredit the rebel alliance known as the Free Syrian Army.
“Syrian rebel commanders deserve some blame for this ragged structure. But the chaos was worsened by foreign powers that treated Syria as a playground for their intelligence services. This cynical intervention recalled similar meddling that helped ravage Lebanon, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq and Libya during their civil wars. …
“The story of how Syria became a cockpit for rival intelligence services was explained to me by sources here [in Istanbul] and in Reyhanli, a rebel staging area on the Turkey-Syria border. Outside efforts to arm and train the Syrian rebels began more than two years ago in Istanbul, where a ‘military operations center’ was created, first in a hotel near the airport.
“A leading figure was a Qatari operative who had helped arm the Libyan rebels who deposed Moammar Gaddafi. Working with the Qataris were senior figures representing Turkish and Saudi intelligence. But unity within the Istanbul operations room frayed when the Turks and Qataris began to support Islamist fighters they thought would be more aggressive.
“These jihadists did emerge as braver, bolder fighters — and their success was a magnet for more support. The Turks and Qataris insist they didn’t intentionally support the extremist group Jabhat al-Nusra or the Islamic State. But weapons and money sent to more moderate Islamist brigades made their way to these terrorist groups, and the Turks and Qataris turned a blind eye.”
Regarding the rise of these radicals, Ignatius quoted one Arab intelligence source who claimed to have “warned a Qatari officer, who answered: ‘I will send weapons to al-Qaeda if it will help’ topple Assad. This determination to remove Assad by any means necessary proved dangerous. ‘The Islamist groups got bigger and stronger, and the FSA day by day got weaker,’ recalls the Arab intelligence source.”
Selling the Sarin Story
Based on such information, the idea of anti-Assad extremists securing Sarin – possibly with the help of Turkish intelligence, as Hersh reported – and launching a provocative attack with the goal of getting the U.S. military to devastate Assad’s army and clear a path for a rebel victory begins to make sense.
After all, back in Washington, the propaganda strategy of blaming Assad could count on the ever-influential neocons who in August 2013 did start pushing the rush-to-war bandwagon and shoved aside any doubters of the Assad-did-it conventional wisdom.
Israel took a similar position on Syria, favoring even the victory of al-Qaeda extremists if necessary to oust Assad and hurt his Iranian allies.
In September 2013, then-Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview that “The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc. … We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.
So, the danger from the Sunni extremists was played down and the focus remained on ousting Assad. No wonder there was such “surprise” among Official Washington’s “group thinkers” when the Islamic State opened a new front inside Iraq and routed the U.S.-trained Iraqi army. Once again, the neocons had made sure that American eyes stayed wide shut to an inconvenient truth.
But the neocons are not through with the Syrian fiasco that they helped create. They are now busy reshaping the narrative – accusing Obama of waiting too long to arm the Syrian rebels and insisting that he switch from bombing Islamic State targets inside Syria to destroying the Syrian air force and creating a no-fly zone so the rebels can march on Damascus.
The recklessness of that strategy should now be obvious. Indeed, if Obama had succumbed to the interventionist demands in summer 2013 and devastated Assad’s military, we could now be seeing either al-Qaeda or the Islamic State in control of Damascus. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Neocons’ Noses into the Syrian Tent.”]
Obama might be wiser to take this opportunity to declassify the U.S. intelligence on the Sarin gas attack of Aug. 21, 2013, including the dissents from CIA analysts who doubted Assad’s responsibility. That information might shed substantial new light on how Turkish and Arab intelligence services — with the help of the neocons — enabled the rise of the Islamic State.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
The following explores a variety of cover-ups and sort of cover-ups…
David Brooks is a prominent and powerful journalist. He is a columnist for the New York Times and a commentator for PBS New Hour and NPR.
Now we learn, through an article in Jewish Journal, that Brooks’ son is in the Israeli military. In other words, he has a profound conflict with impartiality, as the New York Times ethics code calls it, and Brooks, the Times, NPR, etc. have not revealed this to the public.
The Jewish Journal article reports:
One of the more interesting nuggets buried in a long, Hebrew-language interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks in the recent Ha’aretz magazine is the revelation, toward the very end, that Brooks’s oldest son serves in the Israel Defense Forces.
I find it interesting, and disturbing, that Ha’aretz hid this information from its English readers.
(By the way, I have written extensively about numerous journalists having close personal and family ties to the Israeli military – see below.)
Philip Weis has a strong article that tells about Brooks’ reporting, and notes:
“So when David Brooks was commenting favorably on Israel’s onslaught on Gaza this summer on National Public Radio, his son was serving in the Israeli army. Why didn’t NPR tell us?”
It is ironic, then, that Weiss also decides not to tell readers insider information he feels they shouldn’t know:
“This is now the third Times reporter/writer whose son has gone into the Israeli Defense Forces. Famously Ethan Bronner, of course… and a third person I will not identify (I know the individual personally, the beat didn’t involve the Middle East, the son left before long).”
Weiss’s reluctance to share his insider information with others is a bit reminiscent of Ha’aretz. Perhaps it’s ok, since this is a personal friend. But it shows again that some are inside a loop that the rest of us aren’t.
This is also reminiscent of Common Dreams, which exposed an Israel-partisan who posed as an anti-Semite on numerous websites, but refused to disclose his name, thus keeping its insider information away from the rest of us – even though many of our websites may also have been victimized by this infiltrator.
Again, some are in the loop. The rest of us aren’t.
Some of my articles on US journalists’ personal ties to the Israeli military
As part of what appears to be a concerted campaign in the Right-wing and pro-Israeli media outlets in the US against US nuclear negotiations with Iran, which have a consistent theme of portraying the Obama administration as somehow “caving in” to Iranian demands, the Wall Street Journal today goes far out of its way to misrepresent the state of affairs in an article about President Rouhani’s speech at the UN.
The article is entitled “Iran Makes the Rules. Tehran holds firm while the U.S. keeps making nuclear concessions.”
Any reader who has followed the news would at this point wonder what “concessions” the US has been making, since there are none other than not engaging in courses of action (such as bombing Iran) that are illegal anyway. But then the article proceeds to claim,
“[Rouhani] also claimed that Iran had honored its obligations under the interim nuclear agreement. That’s despite a report this month from the International Atomic Energy Agency noting that Tehran continued to stymie its efforts to investigate the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program.”
There are two factual problems here that the Wall Street Journal misrepresents. First of all, the “claim” that Iran has honored its obligations under the Joint Plan of Action, is actually verifiable. In fact, independent arms control organizations have done so, and their conclusion is clearly that Iran has either completed or is complying with each and every one of the requirements of the Joint Plan of Action.
Secondly, what the Wall Street Journal doesn’t tell you is that the timetable for the completion of the requirements of the Joint Plan of Action is separate from the IAEA’s investigation of the so-called “Possible Military Dimensions” issue. So the fact that the IAEA continues to claim that the PMD issue is outstanding, has no bearing on the Joint Plan of Action.
Of course, a bigger issue that the Wall Street Journal leaves out is the fact that the “Possible Military Dimension” (formerly called “Alleged Studies”) are considered even by nuclear experts to be manufactured accusations which have repeatedly been shown to be fraudulent. Formerly, the IAEA had refused to endorse these claims because they were “insufficiently verified.” For that, and because the IAEA Director Elbaradei was accused of “censoring” information pressured by the US (Israel went as far as to accuse him of being “an Iranian agent.”) But after the US-backed Amano was installed as the head of the IAEA, the issue was politicized further as he released the IAEA’s so-called “Secret Annex” which supposedly detailed these “possible military dimensions” to Iran’s nuclear program — allegations which actual nuclear experts even former IAEA weapons inspectors who reviewed the information considered “thin” and shoddy.
Read more about former IAEA director Elbaradei’s views of these allegations in his book, Age of Deception
Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s first Chief of Staff – who also served as Obama’s Israeli Mossad handler – famously said: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
Individuals, groups, whole industries, even nations sometimes take advantage of crises and catastrophes. Big bankers, for example, love war because it forces governments to borrow vast sums of money at compound interest. Arms manufacturers also make huge profits. And the big government always gets bigger during wartime as it confiscates people’s wealth and scales back their rights.
The current ISIL crisis is making certain people very rich. According to LiveLeak.com the US government is spending 200 million dollars per week to bomb Iraq and Syria. If the overall cost of the anti-ISIL campaign reaches its $500 billion projection, LiveLeak estimates that the US would be spending $30 million dollars per member of ISIL. It might be cheaper to simply pay them $20 million each to simply go away.
But it isn’t just bankers, military-industrial complexes, and governments that exploit international crises? One group, above all, has proven its mastery at profiting from crisis: The Zionist movement and “Israel.”
The Zionists took advantage of the first great crisis of the 20th century, World War I, to force the 1917 Balfour Declaration on the British government. That Declaration, which committed the British to the bizarre notion of a “Jewish homeland” in Palestine, was presented to the British as a virtual fait accompli by Lord Rothschild, the world’s wealthiest banker.
Why did the British create so much trouble for themselves by signing the Balfour declaration? Some suggest Lord Balfour did it out of the goodness of his heart. Proponents of this theory insist that Balfour and the British power elite simply felt sorry for the world’s poor, persecuted Jews, and wanted to do something nice for them for no particular reason.
A more realistic interpretation holds that Britain handed Palestine over to Lord Rothschild as part of a quid pro quo: In exchange for Palestine, the Rothschilds and their international banking cartel would help Britain win World War I. How? By using their power over the US press and financial sector to drag America into the war. (If Britain had not won World War I, of course, it would not have been able to steal Palestine from the Ottoman Empire and hand it over to the Rothschilds.)
Had World War I not happened, the Zionists would never have overrun Palestine, and the Jewish State (JS) terrorists would never have ethnically cleansed the Palestinians and created their apartheid occupation regime. “Israel” would not exist.
The same, interestingly enough, is also true of World War II. The first World War was not enough. The Zionists needed another crisis to create a pretext for ethnically cleansing the Palestinians.
World War II was exactly what the Zionists needed. Hitler and the Zionists wanted the same thing: To force European Jews out of Europe. To that end the Zionists cooperated with Hitler. They even offered to fight on behalf of Nazi Germany. (Lenni Brenner’s book 51 Documents includes extensive proof of Zionist-Nazi cooperation before and during World War II.)
World War II killed about sixty million people – a holocaust of unprecedented proportions – but like World War I it played out perfectly for the Zionists. Victors’ justice at Nuremburg, and the demonization of the losing side as the winners wrote history, created the myth that Jews had somehow suffered more than the over 50 million non-Jews who were also murdered during the Second World War. This carefully-crafted wave of postwar propaganda created widespread sympathy for Jews, which the Zionists transmuted into support for their Jewish State terrorist project. Had there been no World War II, no ethnic cleansing of the Jews of Europe, and no sacred holocaust narrative glorifying Jewish suffering, there would have been no ethnic cleansing of Palestine and no Israel.
The only real winners of the two World Wars were the Zionists.
Were both World Wars orchestrated by the Rothschilds and their fellow Zionist bankers? Just asking the question will get you ejected from most Western universities. Voltaire’s dictum “To see who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize” suggests that the taboo on asking such questions stems from their likely answers.
Since September 11, 2001, the Zionists have been profiting from a new global crisis: the so-called War on Terror, more accurately termed the War on Islam. In her book The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein reveals that in early 2001 the Israeli government, which was in dire financial straits, transferred vast amounts of money into nascent anti-terror “security” industries. They hit the jackpot on 9/11 – as did Larry Silverstein, a close friend of Netanyahu, who bought the condemned-for-asbestos World Trade Center shortly before 9/11, doubled the insurance, claimed double indemnity for “two completely separate terrorist attacks” (the two planes) and walked off with billions of dollars in cash profits.
Today, the Zionists are trying to turn the “ISIL crisis” – the rise of the so-called Islamic State – to their own advantage. The Zionist-dominated mainstream media are using the barbarism of Islamic State to smear Islam as a whole, despite the fact that every significant Islamic entity on earth strongly opposes the IS terrorists. Recent IS beheading videos provide such exquisitely perfect islamophobic propaganda, while carrying marks of dubious authenticity, that even al-Jazeera is insinuating that they were probably filmed at a sound stage in Israel.
Along with anti-Islam propaganda, the “ISIL crisis” provides the Zionists with a sectarian vehicle for their attempt to divide-and-conquer the House of Islam and the people of the Middle East. The crazed sectarians of ISIL are mass-murdering Muslims who do not share their warped views. They are also mass-murdering Christians and Yazidis, and providing the Zionists with an excuse to arm Kurdish separatist groups. By splitting Middle Easterners into ethnic and sectarian camps, and setting them at each others’ throats, the “ISIL crisis” is playing right into the Zionists’ hands… and fulfilling the Oded Yinon plan’s vision of splitting Israel’s neighbors up into a mozaic of powerless, balkanized fiefdoms.
The Zionists also hope that the rise of Islamic State will provide the US with an excuse to bomb Syria… and that American bombs will turn against Islamic State’s (and Jewish State’s) enemy, the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Israelis have already shot down a Syrian plane in an apparent effort to provoke the Syrian government into reacting against the American bombers.
Thus far, it seems the Americans are holding to their expressed intention of bombing ISIL and its friends, not the Syrian government. The liberal-Zionist New York Times furiously reacted by editorializing that the US bombing campaign against ISIL is a mistake because it will help Assad.
The Zionists, including Samantha Power, have openly stated that they want to use the US bombing campaign in Syria to overthrow the Syrian government. If they do not get their way, they may be planning even more devious ways to profit from the “ISIL crisis.” The recent breach of the White House by a hostile intruder, like previous breaches (and like the Zionist anti-Obama death threat published a few years ago by Jewish Times editor Andrew Adler) may be a warning to the American President: “Bomb Assad or you will go the way of JFK.”
Worse yet, the Zionists could be planning another shock-and-awe event on the scale of 9/11… or larger. They may imagine that a nuclear explosion in an American city, blamed by Zionist media assets on ISIL, could give them the kind of muscular US action against Israel’s Mideast enemies that they seek.
The people of the world are awakening to the Zionist trick of orchestrating problems – even wars and disasters – to further their agenda. Let us hope and pray that public awareness has risen to the point that the terrorists of Israel will no longer be able to profit from epic-scale destruction.
A prevalent liberal cliché is the “blowback” theory – the theory that ISIS terror attacks, and indeed the group’s very existence, are somehow in retaliation to US/Western/”Israeli” foreign policy actions.
This is a disingenuous theory that is disseminated in order to keep the empire’s citizens on side. Crucially, it distracts from a key truth.
Western and “Israeli” intelligence has historically effected deep infiltration of ‘jihadist’ terror cells throughout the Arab world and the West; these groups are used literally as footsoldiers (see Afghanistan throughout the 1980s) to achieve Western and “Israeli” military and strategic objectives. The “blowback” theory distracts from this key fact.
ISIS aren’t retaliating against Western foreign policy; they are Western foreign policy. These very people were mobilised against Muammar Gaddafi in Libya’s bogus ‘revolution’ of 2011, as with Syria in the same year.
In moving across the Syrian-Iraqi border, ISIS – Zionism’s footsoldiers – underwent a magical media transformation into the ‘bad guys’. The ‘war against ISIS’ is a con, a total scam. It is a pretext for a war against the resistance axis: chiefly Syria, Hizbu’llah, Iran, and the Palestinian resistance. It is a pretext to kick the ‘Yinon plan’ – the plan to balkanise the Arab world to ensure “Israeli” hegemony – into high gear
The WMD lies of 2003 never went away; they simply got re-packaged for the liberal crowd in the post-Bush era.
The costs of the mainstream U.S. media’s wildly anti-Moscow bias in the Ukraine crisis are adding up, as the Obama administration has decided to react to alleged “Russian aggression” by investing as much as $1 trillion in modernizing the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal.
On Monday, a typically slanted New York Times article justified these modernization plans by describing “Russia on the warpath” and adding: “Congress has expressed less interest in atomic reductions than looking tough in Washington’s escalating confrontation with Moscow.”
But the Ukraine crisis has been a textbook case of the U.S. mainstream media misreporting the facts of a foreign confrontation and then misinterpreting the meaning of the events, a classic case of “garbage in, garbage out.” The core of the false mainstream narrative is that Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated the crisis as an excuse to reclaim territory for the Russian Empire.
While that interpretation of events has been the cornerstone of Official Washington’s “group think,” the reality always was that Putin favored maintaining the status quo in Ukraine. He had no plans to “invade” Ukraine and was satisfied with the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Indeed, when the crisis heated up last February, Putin was distracted by the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Rather than Putin’s “warmongering” – as the Times said in the lead-in to another Monday article – the evidence is clear that it was the United States and the European Union that initiated this confrontation in a bid to pull Ukraine out of Russia’s sphere of influence and into the West’s orbit.
This was a scheme long in the making, but the immediate framework for the crisis took shape a year ago when influential U.S. neocons set their sights on Ukraine and Putin after Putin helped defuse a crisis in Syria by persuading President Barack Obama to set aside plans to bomb Syrian government targets over a disputed Sarin gas attack and instead accept Syria’s willingness to surrender its entire chemical weapons arsenal.
But the neocons and their “liberal interventionist” allies had their hearts set on another “shock and awe” campaign with the goal of precipitating another “regime change” against a Middle East government disfavored by Israel. Putin also worked with Obama to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, averting another neocon dream to “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.”
The Despised Putin
So, Putin suddenly rose to the top of the neocons’ “enemies list” and some prominent neocons quickly detected his vulnerability in Ukraine, a historical route for western invasions of Russia and the scene of extraordinarily bloody fighting during World War II.
National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman, one of the top neocon paymasters spreading around $100 million a year in U.S. taxpayers’ money, declared in late September 2013 that Ukraine represented “the biggest prize” but beyond that was an opportunity to put Putin “on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”
The context for Gershman’s excitement was a European Union offer of an association agreement to Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych, but it came with some nasty strings attached, an austerity plan demanded by the International Monetary Fund that would have made the hard lives of the average Ukrainian even harder.
That prompted Yanukovych to seek a better deal from Putin who offered $15 billion in aid without the IMF’s harsh terms. Yet, once Yanukovych rebuffed the EU plan, his government was targeted by a destabilization campaign that involved scores of political and media projects funded by Gershman’s NED and other U.S. agencies.
Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, a neocon holdover who had been an adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, reminded a group of Ukrainian business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion in their “European aspirations.” Nuland, wife of prominent neocon Robert Kagan, also showed up at the Maidan square in Kiev passing out cookies to protesters.
The Maidan protests, reflecting western Ukraine’s desire for closer ties to Europe, also were cheered on by neocon Sen. John McCain, who appeared on a podium with leaders of the far-right Svoboda party under a banner honoring Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. A year earlier, the European Parliament had identified Svoboda as professing “racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views [that] go against the EU’s fundamental values and principles.”
Yet, militants from Svoboda and the even more extreme Right Sektor were emerging as the muscle of the Maidan protests, seizing government buildings and hurling firebombs at police. A well-known Ukrainian neo-Nazi leader, Andriy Parubiy, became the commandant of the Maidan’s “self-defense” forces.
Behind the scenes, Assistant Secretary Nuland was deciding who would take over the Ukrainian government once Yanukovych was ousted. In an intercepted phone call with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland crossed off some potential leaders and announced that “Yats” – or Arseniy Yatsenyuk – was her guy.
On Feb. 20, as the neo-Nazi militias stepped up their attacks on police, a mysterious sniper opened fire on both protesters and police killing scores and bringing the political crisis to a boil. The U.S. news media blamed Yanukovych for the killings though he denied giving such an order and some evidence pointed toward a provocation from the far-right extremists.
As Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said in another intercepted phone call with EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Asthon, “there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition.”
But the sniper shootings led Yanukovych to agree on Feb. 21 to a deal guaranteed by three European countries – France, Germany and Poland – that he would surrender much of his power and move up elections so he could be voted out of office. He also assented to U.S. demands that he pull back his police.
That last move, however, prompted the neo-Nazi militias to overrun the presidential buildings on Feb. 22 and force Yanukovych’s officials to flee for their lives. Then, rather than seeking to enforce the Feb. 21 agreement, the U.S. State Department promptly declared the coup regime “legitimate” and blamed everything on Yanukovych and Putin.
Nuland’s choice, Yatsenyuk, was made prime minister and the neo-Nazis were rewarded for their crucial role by receiving several ministries, including national security headed by Parubiy. The parliament also voted to ban Russian as an official language (though that was later rescinded), and the IMF austerity demands were pushed through by Yatsenyuk. Not surprisingly, ethnic Russians in the south and east, the base of Yanukovych’s support, began resisting what they regarded as the illegitimate coup regime.
To blame this crisis on Putin simply ignores the facts and defies logic. To presume that Putin instigated the ouster of Yanukovych in some convoluted scheme to seize territory requires you to believe that Putin got the EU to make its reckless association offer, organized the mass protests at the Maidan, convinced neo-Nazis from western Ukraine to throw firebombs at police, and manipulated Gershman, Nuland and McCain to coordinate with the coup-makers – all while appearing to support Yanukovych’s idea for new elections within Ukraine’s constitutional structure.
Though such a crazy conspiracy theory would make people in tinfoil hats blush, this certainly is at the heart of what every “smart” person in Official Washington believes. If you dared to suggest that Putin was actually distracted by the Sochi Olympics last February, was caught off guard by the events in Ukraine, and reacted to a Western-inspired crisis on his border (including his acceptance of Crimea’s request to be readmitted to Russia), you would be immediately dismissed as “a stooge of Moscow.”
Such is how mindless “group think” works in Washington. All the people who matter jump on the bandwagon and smirk at anyone who questions how wise it is to be rolling downhill in some disastrous direction.
But the pols and pundits who appear on U.S. television spouting the conventional wisdom are always the winners in this scenario. They get to look tough, standing up to villains like Yanukovych and Putin and siding with the saintly Maidan protesters. The neo-Nazi brown shirts are whited out of the picture and any Ukrainian who objected to the U.S.-backed coup regime finds a black hat firmly glued on his or her head.
For the neocons, there are both financial and ideological benefits. By shattering the fragile alliance that had evolved between Putin and Obama over Syria and Iran, the neocons seized greater control over U.S. policies in the Middle East and revived the prospects for violent “regime change.”
On a more mundane level – by stirring up a new Cold War – the neocons generate more U.S. government money for military contractors who bestow a portion on Washington think tanks that provide cushy jobs for neocons when they are out of government.
The worst losers are the people of Ukraine, most tragically the ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, thousands of whom have died from a combination of heavy artillery fire by the Ukrainian army on residential areas followed by street fighting led by brutal neo-Nazi militias who were incorporated into Kiev’s battle plans. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine’s ‘Romantic’ Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers.”]
The devastation of eastern Ukraine, which has driven an estimated one million Ukrainians out of their homes, has left parts of this industrial region in ruins. Of course, in the U.S. media version, it’s all Putin’s fault for deceiving these ethnic Russians with “propaganda” about neo-Nazis and then inducing these deluded individuals to resist the “legitimate” authorities in Kiev.
Notably, America’s righteous “responsibility to protect” crowd, which demanded that Obama begin airstrikes in Syria a year ago, swallowed its moral whistles when it came to the U.S.-backed Kiev regime butchering ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine (or for that matter, when Israeli forces slaughtered Palestinians in Gaza).
However, beyond the death and destruction in eastern Ukraine, the meddling by Nuland, Gershman and others has pushed all of Ukraine toward financial catastrophe. As “The Business Insider” reported on Sept. 21, “Ukraine Is on the Brink of Total Economic Collapse.”
Author Walter Kurtz wrote:
“Those who have spent any time in Ukraine during the winter know how harsh the weather can get. And at these [current] valuations, hryvnia [Ukraine’s currency] isn’t going to buy much heating fuel from abroad. …
“Inflation rate is running above 14% and will spike sharply from here in the next few months if the currency weakness persists. Real wages are collapsing. … Finally, Ukraine’s fiscal situation is unraveling.”
In other words, the already suffering Ukrainians from the west, east and center of the country can expect to suffer a great deal more. They have been made expendable pawns in a geopolitical chess game played by neocon masters and serving interests far from Lvov, Donetsk and Kiev.
But other victims from these latest machinations by the U.S. political/media elite will include the American taxpayers who will be expected to foot the bill for the new Cold War launched in reaction to Putin’s imaginary scheme to instigate the Ukraine crisis so he could reclaim territory of the Russian Empire.
As nutty as that conspiracy theory is, it is now one of the key reasons why the American people have to spend $1 trillion to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal, rather than scaling back the thousands of U.S. atomic weapons to around 900, as had been planned.
Or as one supposed expert, Gary Samore at Harvard, explained to the New York Times : “The most fundamental game changer is Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. That has made any measure to reduce the stockpile unilaterally politically impossible.”
Thus, you can see how hyperbolic journalism and self-interested punditry can end up costing the American taxpayers vast sums of money and contributing to a more dangerous world.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
If ever there was any need to prove that the US — not just under Bush but also under Obama — is using the “Iranian nuclear threat” as a manufactured pretext and cover for an entirely different policy of imposing regime-change on Iran, one only need remember the Turkey/Brazil nuclear deal with Iran, and how Obama pulled the rug out from under its own allies after they had gotten a “Yes” from Iran to terms that the Obama administration itself had endorsed in a letter just 1 week earlier — thus again moving the goalpost to ensure that the nuclear threat pretext would be kept alive.
This is what IAEA director Elbaradei wrote about that deal in his book, Age of Deception:
On May 17, 2010, in a joint declaration, Iran, Brazil, and Turkey announced they had reached an agreement on a fuel swap. Iran would send twelve hundred kilograms of LEU to Turkey, in a single shipment, to be held in escrow while Iran’s research reactor fuel was being fabricated. It was a leap forward-particularly because it signaled the willingness of new players, Turkey and Brazil, to take an active role in resolving the diplomatic impasse.
But the very next day, in a masterstroke of diplomatic futility, the P-5+1 announced that they had reached agreement on a fourth Security Council resolution to escalate sanctions on Iran for not bringing its enrichment program to a halt. Hillary Clinton called the fuel swap deal with Turkey and Brazil a “transparent ploy” on Iran’s part to avoid new sanctions.
I was dumbstruck and, to say the least, grievously disappointed. Once again, as I noted in an interview with Jornal do Brasil, the West had refused to take yes for an answer. Brazil and Turkey were outraged. Ahmadinejad urged the United States to accept the fuel swap as a move toward openness and dialogue. At the Security Council, Brazil voted against the sanctions-to no avail. The Western powers once more had touched a solution with their fingertips, only to brush it away.
When I had first proposed the fuel swap, Iran had produced about fifteen hundred kilograms of enriched uranium, so the agreement would have removed most of Iran’s inventory from the country. By the time of the agreement with Turkey and Brazil, the stock had risen to about twenty-five hundred kilograms, which of course made the agreement less attractive to the Americans as a diplomatic point of entry, since Iran would be retaining a “significant quantity.” Iran also had not committed, in the agreement, to stop enriching to 20 percent, although Ahmadinejad had hinted that they would do so.
The Western powers were not happy about these aspects of the deal, but it was obvious to me that they could easily and successfully have addressed these issues in the early stages of negotiation. It was incomprehensible and somewhat naïve to ask Iran-or any country, for that matter-to give up everything before the start of talks and expect a positive response. But the pattern was familiar: nothing would satisfy, short of Iran coming to the table completely undressed.
Demanding that Iran give up her rights before entering into negotiations was the same tactic that the Bush administration had been using in order to prevent any peaceful resolution to the standoff. These ‘excess demands’ — including that Iran give up enrichment entirely (“zero enrichment) before any negotiations — are imposed on Iran by the US precisely for that reason. In fact, Iran has long been making compromise offers that would address any real nuclear-weapons concerns, only to see them ignored or deliberately undermined by the US making illegal demands on Iran:
In 2005 Iran was ready to discuss an upper limit for the number of its centrifuges and to maintain its rate of enrichment far below the high levels necessary for weapons. Tehran also expressed its readiness to allow intrusive inspections, even in non-declared sites. But at that time Europe and the US wanted to compel Iran to ditch its enrichment programme entirely.
Iranians assume that this is still the European and US goal, and that for this reason the security council insists on suspension of all Iranian enrichment activities. But the goal of “zero centrifuges operating in Iran, permanently or temporarily” is unrealistic, and has contributed greatly to the present standoff.
Among the justifications provided later for the rejection of the Turkey/Brazil deal by Obama was that since Iran had continued to enrich uranium, the 1200 lbs that were to be exported did not constitute a significant-enough amount of Iran’s stockpile of enriched Uranium.
However, actual nuclear scientists pointed out too that even if Iran had agreed earlier to the same deal, the actual difference in the amount of enriched uranium in its stockpile would not have been significantly different:
“We have calculated just what the differences in the proposed sequences and timing of the swap really amounted to. The answer is: very little… Indeed, if the swap had been agreed when it was first proposed last October, by the time the fuel rods would have been ready the following October, there would be no difference between the two positions.”
“Thus, at very little actual, technical cost, Iran has appeared to make a significant concession. The US and its allies should have beaten Iran to it, but they didn’t. The question now is whether we could accept Iran’s “yes” as an answer.“
Ceasing enrichment was in fact never part of the original conditions to a deal that Obama endorsed just weeks earlier as the Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim pointed out:
“It wasn’t on the agenda. Nobody told us, ‘Hey if you don’t stop 20 percent enrichment, forget the deal.’
In fact Iran would never have accepted such a demand and had consistently refused this precondition on talks for a while. After all, this entire deal was meant to be a “confidence-building” measure, not a permanent end to the standoff, and Iran had been demanding that their enriched uranium go to a third, neutral country to be held in escrow until Iran actually received the promised nuclear fuel in exchange, precisely because it didn’t trust the US to come through on its promises.
Nor was this the first time that the US killed-off a potential peaceful resolution to the standoff: the same happened in the EU-3 negotiations with Iran during the Paris Agreement affair of 2005, in which the Europeans and Iranians were engaged in negotiations to limit Iran’s nuclear program — limits that were supposed to recognize Iran’s right to enrichment — but apparently the EU negotiators themselves didn’t know that the Brits and Americans had already agreed not to recognize Iran’s right to enrichment, regardless of what they had been telling the Iranians.
Ultimately, and Peter Jenkins stated in an interview with Scott Horton in 2012
The Israelis don’t want to see peace between the US and Iran.
And that has not changed. The fact is, the Obama administration can’t make a deal with Iran, even if it wanted, because Obama can’t lift the sanctions on Iran due to the influence of Israel in Congress, and Congressional action would be required to lift the US sanctions on Iran – -without which there can be no deal.