By John Chuckman | Aletho News | September 29, 2016
The one verity going into the first presidential debate, not widely recognized, was that it did not matter how Clinton managed and what she said, although a collapse on the stage clearly would have been a decisive-enough matter.
Her comportment or responses did not matter precisely because she has a record, a long and detailed political record which absolutely tells us the kind of leader she has been and will continue to be, although, given that the position at the very top of the political pile allows more latitude for a person’s attitudes, biases, and quirks, one might reasonably expect an even more extreme version of the unpleasant past.
Clinton could no more change what she has been than she could change the size of her shoe. As a politician, she is fixed in amber much as a prehistoric dragonfly.
Extreme precautions were taken against her fainting or having a spastic event or coughing seizure or having her eye wobble – all of which have previously been observed in her deliberately limited number of public appearances and all of which are solid evidence of a sickness she dishonestly hides from us. She was even ushered in and out of the building through a kind of temporary, custom-built tunnel with Secret Service agents using special lights so that no one might photograph another sudden episode. I’m certain for the debate proper she was pumped with enough drugs to raise a corpse temporarily to life.
Clinton will be Clinton no matter the debating points, and Clinton represents the very darkest heart of a governing establishment many Americans and most of the world are simply sick of, an unresponsive group of privileged people who lie consistently and squander resources doing horrible things. They bomb and destroy and support tyrants in a dozen places, always lying about what they are doing, and they take no interest in the sheer lack of justice and decency at home, unless you count their token words at election time. There is no more perfect representative of this pattern of behavior than Hillary Clinton.
And it was Trump’s task to make that clear to listeners, but he did not do so, and he left the unattractive impression of someone offering nothing new beyond some corporate tax cuts and rental fees for NATO members.
From the viewpoint of those desperate for change, Trump’s debate performance was disheartening. From cybersecurity to ISIS and America’s financial meltdown to Russia, Clinton said things which opened her to the most devastating responses and revealed her inability to anticipate the consequences of pat generalizations, but the responses never came.
She should have been pinned to the backdrop, much like an insect being pinned to a display board in an entomology collection, with reminders of her actual record as well as that of her husband, a dark and questionable figure whom she insisted on dragging in, much like a proud cat entering the house with a nasty-looking dead bird in its mouth. Trump seemed flat on his feet.
And, it must be mentioned, we have a photo of Hillary showing quite clearly she was wearing a communications device similar to what George Bush wore some years ago. I don’t know why the debates are not free of such gimmickry, but clearly they are not.
On the economy, Trump statements were truly disheartening. He has said a couple of pretty interesting things on the campaign trail, especially in his Michigan speech directed to black Americans, but in the debate what we heard was tired old stuff, re-tread notions dating back to Reagan or before, about corporate tax cuts and little else.
On the topic of foreign affairs, a desperate subject and the one area of his greatest hope for many, he said surprisingly little. And how could you help but be disappointed when, out of this vast topic, he chose to mention his meeting with the leader of one of the world’s smallest countries, one designated by the United Nations as having the world’s worst human rights record, and called the bloody man by his affectionate nickname?
Even on the causes of the financial collapse of 2008, Clinton spoke vague nonsense and reflected on Bill’s illusory economic achievements when in office. Well, Trump should have said that some of Bill’s own work contributed, with a time lag, to the 2008 mess. He should also have said that Bush’s lackadaisical attitude towards good regulation, much resembling his attitude and response to Hurricane Katrina, had a direct effect on the financial disaster. And he certainly should have said that Obama, Clinton’s direct boss and political supporter, has in eight years done nothing to correct the regulatory disorder. He told the ugly truth that Obama had done nothing but print money to keep the economy afloat, but he did not articulate it or its implications forcefully, and that should have been his territory.
But what he should have said most of all was that government does not make the economy, a lot of people, including Hillary, talking as though the Oval Office had almost a set of start and go levers for the economy which, if used by an appropriate leader, made things hum. That is a genuinely silly but persistent idea, and it is really time for the American people to have this quasi-religious myth laid to rest. She certainly believes this nonsense as demonstrated by references to her husband’s past success and by her unwelcome and repulsive promise, a while back, to put “Bill in charge of the economy” when she is elected.
Government’s real role is to maintain a national environment favorable to economic activity with fair regulation and taxation and avoidance of frivolous or vexatious legislation, and it must avoid totally counterproductive burdens like wars. It must also avoid favoritism and special interests. It must do what is necessary to maintain the nation’s essential infrastructure from roads and bridges to broadband and airports. And it must assure that education and justice flourish. But the American government for years has done none of these things, and that is what exhausts the American people and much of the world.
Endless, unbelievably costly wars, crumbling infrastructure, injustices to be seen in every corner of the land, poor schools in ten thousand places, poor drinking water, the dominance of special interests and favoritism in government, and more. These are built-in weaknesses, not only impairing the lives of millions of citizens but leading to decline. Changing that is what good government is about, and it’s what people hope for from any candidate who beats the Clinton we all know so tiresomely well.
A good friend, in discussing my disappointment with the debate, did offer an interesting perspective, saying that Trump might have said just enough in generalities to buoy his supporters and would-be supporters, who of course do not all think in the same terms or expect the same details. I hope so. What this world needs more anything is an American leader who is not Clinton, a woman who was recorded saying about the destruction of Libya she helped engineer and direct as Secretary of State and about the assassination of a decent leader who kept his country out of war and supplied his people with everything from free health care to education, “We came, we saw, he died. Ha, ha, ha!”
We indeed have little to lose in giving someone a chance to start at least a few things over again. I am not even certain that is possible, given the heavy shadow of America’s massive, unelected security and military establishments, but it is worth a try. In terms of the hundreds of thousands killed and countries torn apart under Obama and Clinton, the world has a great deal to gain by some change.
And if that is not possible under the American political system, I think the genuinely dark thing America has become, an immensely well-armed bully and thief who lies about every act, is what we are all fated to suffer under until its eventual and inevitable decline. It is the Obamas and Clintons – pretending to liberalism while expending their total energy on killing and destabilizing and pushing others around in hopes of custom-molding the lives of the planet’s many peoples, an activity much resembling the way a psychopath toys with victims before killing them – that quite possibly will bring us to a nuclear holocaust with Russia and/or China.
There are oh so many varieties of Zio-washing: pink-washing, green-washing, Black-washing, even Muslim-washing. Now, there’s another to add to the treasury of hasbara promoted by Israel to the world: nuke-washing. I wrote about a similar domestic effort at cleansing Israel’s nuclear warheads of the stench of potential mass murder.
The IAEA celebrated its 60th anniversary in Vienna, its headquarters, recently. And Israel was there with its very own exhibit featuring the innovations and contributions which Israel’s nuclear program has bestowed on humanity. No mention, of course, of Israel’s 200 nuclear weapons and the legacy that they’ve given the world. No mention, of course, that Israel has refused to join the only international agreement limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the NPT. No mention of the fact that Israel has torpedoed a U.S. and Arab effort to hold a regional conference leading to declaring the Mideast a nuclear-free zone.
Instead, we have Rays of Hope (get it? radiation=rays), Israel’s latest marketing effort to persuade the world to ignore its worst deeds and focus instead on deeds that are marginal at best in their overall impact on Israel or the world. A press release from the prime minister’s office hails this as Israel’s first international exhibit of its accomplishments in the field. Here’s some of the marketing jargon, which is about as revoltingly hypocritical as any political statement can be:
The Israeli pavilion highlights Israel as a master of research innovation in the areas of nuclear use for educational, scientific, and agricultural purposes, and for production of clean energy. Director of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, Brig. Gen. (res.) Zeev Snir told the attendees:
“Israeli developments in the nuclear field have spread Rays of Hope and inspiration to many people. Our scientific achievements permit us to manufacture critical equipment for medical treatment, agriculture, security, and safety throughout the world. Our future in the Middle East must include cooperation and joint responsibility for the health and well-being of the people’s of the region. In the spirit of the IAEA, I call upon our neighbors to join to join us and transform a dream into reality.”
Really? Cooperation? Like Israel’s rejection of the NPT? Responsibility for the health and well-being of the region? Does that include the massive poisoning of the environment surrounding the Dimona nuclear reactor and the hundreds, if not thousands of workers who’ve died of lethal doses of radiation? Does it include the impact that Israel’s 200 warheads might have on the region if even one of them was used, as Moshe Dayan advocated during a bleak moment at the outset of the 1973 War?
More nuke-washing: happy shiny Dimona’s website home page
Some in the West have recently ratcheted up their rhetoric about Russia’s “nuclear saber-rattling” in Europe. Indeed, the USSR did deploy nuclear weapons in the then countries of the Warsaw Pact.
However, it was in response to the deployment of similar US arms in NATO countries, and later the Soviet nukes were completely withdrawn from Europe. Moreover, Russia has reduced its arsenal of non-strategic nuclear weapons (NSNW) by three-quarters, transferred them back home and stored within its own territory.
And what was the US’ answer to such unprecedented operation? Not only have the US continued keeping its NSNW in Europe, but have also engaged actively in their modernization with an eye on expanding their offensive capabilities. American B61 nuclear bombs have obtained a completely new capacity as precision nuclear weapons capable of striking underground targets more effectively.
Under the pretext of limiting the “collateral damage” the capacity of modernized nuclear weapons will be somewhat reduced, which might indicate the intention to use these weapons in densely populated areas. It is also planned to update delivery vehicles in Europe by purchasing new American F-35 fighter jets that are “invisible” to radar systems and capable of striking targets in Russian territory. In general, the modernization would mean a qualitative change in the characteristics of the US nuclear arsenal in Europe that is fraught with a dangerous lowering of the “nuclear threshold.”
As to the so-called NATO’s “joint nuclear missions,” including joint nuclear planning and regular exercises on rehearsing the use of nuclear weapons. These drills involve non-nuclear states providing aircraft carriers, crews, airfields and other ground infrastructure. Such acts flagrantly violate key articles 1 and 2 of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
The NATO Strategic Concept, adopted at the summit in Lisbon in November 2010, consolidates the nuclear backbone of the alliance’s military policy. At the summit in Chicago, in May 2012, NATO officially declared itself a “nuclear alliance”, which will remain so “as long as nuclear weapons exist.” There is no such thing in international law, which recognizes only nuclear states.
The Europeans are subjected to a propaganda campaign over a “Russian nuclear threat”, although the Russian military doctrine clearly states that nuclear weapons can hypothetically be used only in response to an attack with weapons of mass destruction or to a large-scale aggression that would threaten the very existence of our country. None of these scenarios implies any “aggression” on our part. So, who is actually rattling one’s saber in Eastern Europe?
We have been constantly championing for further limitations and reductions of nuclear weapon stockpiles, along with strengthening international arms control and non-proliferation regimes. Unfortunately, what we see now is a far cry from what the international community was striving for. Among other things that affects global stability and deterrence, and the trust between Russia and the West is being eroded. Some of the critical Russian concerns are left unaddressed. At the same time, further dialog on nuclear disarmament could only be successful if the core principle of international security is observed – i.e. that the security of one country should not be strengthened at the expense of others.
Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko
What really happened to TWA flight 800? This documentary displays that truth concerning the mysterious crash of TWA Flight 800 on July 17, 1996. As you will see, Flight 800 was actually destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Every allegation made in this film is backed up with facts-none more dramatic than those that come from the Federal government itself. You’ll learn what the 736 official eyewitnesses actually saw; why aviators reject the CIA “cartoon” explanation; how the Feds criminally suppressed reporting; the critical witness drawings; the rigged NTSB hearings; the damning radar data and documentation; the altered physical evidence; undeniable proof of explosive residue proving a missile strike; the stinging report from the machinist union; and much more!
Producer: pastor Don producer, host, tech., firstname.lastname@example.org 206-440-1938
… When naive individuals suggest that maintaining a large government conspiracy in America is simply impossible because “somebody would have talked” perhaps they should consider the implications of this incident, which occurred so close to the media capital of the world.
And if they ever decide to trust Wikipedia on any remotely controversial topic, they should consult the 10,000 word Wikipedia article on TWA Flight 800, comparing that exhaustive presentation with the simple facts provided in this article, or the wealth of additional information in the numerous books and documentaries upon which my treatment was based. … Read full article
In early September 2016, Donald Trump announced his plan for a vast expansion of the U.S. military, including 90,000 new soldiers for the Army, nearly 75 new ships for the Navy, and dozens of new fighter aircraft for the Air Force. Although the cost of this increase would be substantial–about $90 billion per year–it would be covered, the GOP presidential candidate said, by cutting wasteful government spending.
But where, exactly, is the waste? In fiscal 2015, the federal government engaged in $1.1 trillion of discretionary spending, but relatively small amounts went for things like education (6 percent), veterans’ benefits (6 percent), energy and the environment (4 percent), and transportation (2 percent). The biggest item, by far, in the U.S. budget was military spending: roughly $600 billion (54 percent). If military spending were increased to $690 billion and other areas were cut to fund this increase, the military would receive roughly 63 percent of the U.S. government’s discretionary spending.
Well, you might say, maybe it’s worth it. After all, the armed forces defend the United States from enemy attack. But, in fact, the U.S. government already has far more powerful military forces than any other country. China, the world’s #2 military power, spends only about a third of what the United States does on the military. Russia spends about a ninth. There are, of course, occasional terrorist attacks within American borders. But the vast and expensive U.S. military machine–in the form of missiles, fighter planes, battleships, and bombers–is simply not effective against this kind of danger.
Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Defense certainly leads the way in wasteful behavior. As William Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Project of the Center for International Policy, points out, “the military waste machine is running full speed ahead.” There are the helicopter gears worth $500 each purchased by the Army at $8,000 each, the $2.7 billion spent “on an air surveillance balloon that doesn’t work,” and “the accumulation of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons components that will never be used.” Private companies like Halliburton profited handsomely from Pentagon contracts for their projects in Afghanistan, such as “a multimillion-dollar `highway to nowhere,’” a $43 million gas station in nowhere, a $25 million `state of the art’ headquarters for the U.S. military in Helmand Province . . . that no one ever used, and the payment of actual salaries to countless thousands of no ones aptly labeled `ghost soldiers.’” Last year, Pro Publica created an interactive graphic revealing $17 billion in wasteful U.S. spending uncovered by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction.
Not surprisingly, as Hartung reports, the Pentagon functions without an auditing system. Although, a quarter century ago, Congress mandated that the Pentagon audit itself, it has never managed to do so. Thus, the Defense Department doesn’t know how much equipment it has purchased, how much it has been overcharged, or how many contractors it employs. The Project on Government Oversight maintains that the Pentagon has spent about $6 billion thus far on “fixing” its audit problem. But it has done so, Hartung notes, “with no solution in sight.”
The story of the F-35 jet fighter shows how easily U.S. military spending gets out of hand. Back in 2001, when the cost of this aircraft-building program was considered astronomical, the initial estimate was $233 billion. Today, the price tag has more than quadrupled, with estimates ranging from $1.1 trillion to $1.4 trillion, making it the most expensive weapon in human history. The planes reportedly cost $135 million each, and even the pilots’ helmets run $400,000 apiece. Moreover, the planes remain unusable. Although the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force recently declared their versions of the F-35 combat ready, the Pentagon’s top testing official blasted that assertion in a 16-page memo, deriding them as thoroughly unsuitable for combat. The planes, he reported, had “outstanding performance deficiencies.” His assessment was reinforced in mid-September 2016, when the Air Force grounded 10 of its first F-35 fighters due to problems with their cooling lines.
U.S. wars, of course, are particularly expensive, as they require the deployment of large military forces and hardware to far-flung places, chew up very costly military equipment, and necessitate veterans’ benefits for the survivors. Taking these and other factors into account, a recent study at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs put the cost to U.S. taxpayers of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at nearly $5 trillion thus far. According to the report’s author, Neta Crawford, this figure is “so large as to be almost incomprehensible.”
Even without war, another military expense is likely to create a U.S. budgetary crisis over the course of the next 30 years: $1 trillion for the rebuilding of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, plus the construction of new nuclear missiles, nuclear submarines, and nuclear-armed aircraft. Aside from the vast cost, an obvious problem with this expenditure is that these weapons will either never be used or, if they are used, will destroy the world.
Wasted money, wasted lives, or maybe both. That’s the promise of increased military spending.
Contrary to the incessant grandstanding by US and British politicians that they are committed to promoting freedom, democracy and peace around the world, the evidence proves that the Anglo-American establishment is in the business of war, destabilization and conflict creation. On top of the numerous imperial wars in the Middle East and North Africa that the Anglo-American establishment has spearheaded, the true nature of these two powers is further confirmed by the fact that Britain is now officially the second biggest arms dealer on the planet, second only to the US.
On average over the last decade, Britain has sold more weapons than Russia, China and France, according to the UK Trade and Investment department. Two-thirds of the weapons have been sold to Middle Eastern countries since 2010, fuelling many of the deadly conflicts in the region. Recipients of British weapons include 22 of the 30 countries on the UK governments own human rights watch list, further illustrating the complete hypocrisy of British politicians.
Britain has supplied an array of deplorable powers with military hardware, many of which are involved in committing atrocities with those weapons: including illegally supplying Saudi Arabia with Eurofighter Typhoon jets and missiles that have been used in the abhorrent war on Yemen; supplying Israel with arms that have been used in the IDF’s frequent massacres of Palestinians; in addition to selling shotguns, stun grenades and teargas, to the regime in Bahrain – which have been used to suppress protests in the country.
When the US and Britain are not busy killing Syrian soldiers who are fighting against ISIS, they are flooding the most war-torn region on earth (thanks to Western wars) with weapons. The likes of Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and BAE Systems, have been making a killing off the perennial wars we have seen in the 21st century. The new Western-manufactured Cold War 2.0 has also proved to be beneficial for the war giants, as this is used to justify exorbitant defense/war budgets.
The power and influence of war contractors is nothing new in the West however. In his farewell address to the nation in 1961, the 34th President of the US, Dwight D. Eisenhower, warned the American people of the dangers of this insidious “military-industrial complex:”
“This conjunction, of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry, is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government. We recognise the imperative need for this development, yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications… In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.”
It is clear that Eisenhower’s warning fell on deaf ears, as the nefarious influence of the military-industrial complex has only grown since he made his historic speech. The amount of money the US spends on defence is staggering comparative to the rest of the world, with the 2015 US defense budget more than three times the size of China’s, and more than nine times the size of Russia’s. The American taxpayer has been filling the pockets of the CEOs of the war giants for too long now, with the decade-and-a-half since 9/11 proving to be an immensely profitable period for these immoral contractors.
Russia Now Earns More from Agriculture than Arms
Whilst the US and Britain are leading the world in arms sales, Russia is now earning more from agricultural exports than arms sales. Last year, Russia replaced the US as the largest producer and exporter of wheat, with grain production increasing in Russia over the past six years. Russia has also established herself as one of the main leaders of the organic revolution that we have seen sweep the world in recent years, as the toxicity of GMO becomes blatantly evident for all to see.
Western aggression is, and will continue to be, the most destructive force on earth. The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, have brought nothing but misery and devastation to these countries. The West’s proxy war in Syria brought further destabilization and chaos to the region, as well causing the refugee and migrant crisis that has gripped Europe. The 2013-14 colour revolution in Ukraine and the subsequent war in the country serves as yet another example of the pernicious fruits of Western imperialism. If we add on top of all this carnage, the US-led drone wars and the Anglo-American dominated arms industry, there is no question that the Anglo-American war machine is the greatest impediment to global stability today.
With the Syria ceasefire in tatters, there is a growing possibility that wealthy Gulf states might arm Syrian rebels, looking to shield themselves from Syrian and Russian warplanes, with shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, according to a report.
One US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that Washington has kept high numbers of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), considered to be a threat to low-flying aircraft, out of Syria by uniting Western and Arab allies behind sending training and infantry weapons to moderate opposition groups while the US conducted talks with Russia.
Fed up with dancing to Washington’s tune, Gulf allies or Turkey may sooner or later silently agree to wealthy individuals supplying MANPADS to opposition groups in Syria, another US official said.
“The Saudis have always thought that the way to get the Russians to back off is what worked in Afghanistan 30 years ago – negating their air power by giving MANPADS to the Mujahideen,” an unnamed US official told Reuters.
“So far, we’ve been able to convince them that the risks of that are much higher today because we’re not dealing with a Soviet Union in retreat, but a Russian leader who’s bent on rebuilding Russian power and less likely to flinch,” the official added, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Asked if Washington planned to do “anything other than pursue a diplomatic solution” to halt the violence in Syria, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said anyone pouring more weapons into the conflict will only add more fuel to the fire.
“I think that those who may be deluded into thinking there’s a military solution also have to realize, and we’ve alluded to this before, that there are those – and not the United States – but there are those who back various groups and opposition groups within Syria who also may seek to arm them. And again, what you have as a result is just an escalation in what is already horrific fighting. As I said, things could go from bad to much worse,” Toner said.
Another administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to Reuters, noted, however: “The opposition has a right to defend itself and they will not be left defenseless in the face of this indiscriminate bombardment.”
The official stated that some other US “allies and partners” have been also involved in the US-Russia talks on the conflict in Syria.
“We don’t believe they will take lightly to the kind of outrages we’ve seen in the last 72 hours,” the administration official said, noting that he would not comment on “the specific capability that might be brought into the fight.”
On Monday, the German newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger published an interview with an Al-Nusra commander in Syria, identified as “Abu Al-Ezz,” who said that US allies were providing Al-Nusra with tanks and artillery.
“The Americans are on our side,” Al-Ezz reportedly said, adding that Al-Nusra has allegedly been receiving funding from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, and has obtained tanks and artillery from Libya via Turkey. The group especially appreciated the US-supplied TOW anti-tank missiles, he alleged.
While admitting that its allies in the region may be arming Al-Nusra militants, the US government has categorically denied that it is providing any aid to them.
“That’s complete poppycock. Whatever he’s saying, no.
“We would never provide Nusra with any kind of assistance at all,” State Department spokesman Toner told reporters on Monday.
Asked why the US has been unable to persuade the “moderate opposition” in Syria to separate itself from Al-Nusra, Toner replied that it was the rebels’ responsibility, and that they would need a seven-day ceasefire to do so.
Tensions escalated after US-led coalition jets bombed Syrian government forces’ positions near the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor, killing 62 troops on September 17. The incident dealt a serious blow to the Syrian ceasefire deal, which Moscow and Washington agreed to earlier this month, with the Syrian Army General Command saying the airstrike “paved the way” for Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants.
The bombing was stopped only after the Russian military contacted the US side several times, saying that they were attacking the wrong targets.
Washington acknowledged the airstrike against the Syrian troops and even apologized for the mistake.
The speaker of the People’s Council of Syria said on Monday that Damascus has a recording of conversations between the American military and Islamic State terrorists ahead of the US-led coalition airstrike that hit Syrian troops near Deir ez-Zor.
“The Syrian Army intercepted the communications between the Americans and Daesh [Arabic pejorative for Islamic State] ahead of the attack on Deir ez-Zor,” Hadiya Khalaf Abbas said, as cited by Sputnik Arabic.
During his speech at the UN General Assembly over the weekend, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem also stated that the bombing of Syrian troops by the US-led coalition was a deliberate attack, not a mistake as Washington claims.
On September 19, a humanitarian convoy consisting of 31 trucks was attacked while heading to Aleppo. According to the Red Cross, 20 civilians and one aid worker died as a result. Initial reports by the organization claimed the convoy had been targeted by an airstrike. The US State Department was quick to blame Damascus and Moscow for the attack which led the UN to suspend aid deliveries to Syria. The day after the attack, the UN backtracked on its earlier claims that the convoy was hit by military planes.
The Russian Defense Ministry stated that Russian and Syrian warplanes did not launch airstrikes on the aid convoy that was attacked en route to Aleppo. The ministry added that only militants who control the area had information regarding the location of the convoy.
Al-Nusra Front is a terrorist group and the US will never provide it with any aid, said the State Department, reacting to revelations in a German newspaper – while admitting that unnamed US allies might be backing the jihadist militants in Syria.
On Monday, the German newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger published an interview with an Al-Nusra commander in Syria, identified only as “Abu Al-Ezz.” In the interview, conducted 10 days ago outside of Aleppo, Al-Ezz said that US allies were providing Al-Nusra with tanks and artillery.
“The Americans are on our side,” Al-Ezz reportedly said.
The US government has categorically denied providing any aid to Al-Nusra, while admitting awareness that its allies in the region may be arming the militants.
“That’s complete poppycock,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters at the press briefing Monday. “Whatever he’s saying, no.”
“We would never provide Nusra with any kind of assistance at all,” Toner continued, explaining that the group is a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Asked why the US has been unable to persuade the “moderate opposition” in Syria from separating itself from Al-Nusra, Toner replied it was the rebels’ responsibility, and that they would need a seven-day ceasefire to do so.
He blamed the Syrian government offensive against East Aleppo, which he said would drive “some of those forces, not all of them” into the arms of Al-Nusra. If the Syrian government continues to insist on the military solution, “there are those – not the US – who back various opposition groups in Syria, who might also seek to arm them,” and that would lead to escalation, Toner said.
Asked to clarify if that meant that US allies might be arming Al-Nusra, Toner replied that “countries that support the opposition may want to supply them with assistance.”
Al-Nusra has been receiving funding from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, and has obtained tanks and artillery from Libya via Turkey, according to what the commander, Al-Ezz, told the German newspaper. The group especially appreciated the US-supplied TOW anti-tank missiles.
“The missiles were given directly to us,” he said. “They were delivered to a certain group.”
The issue of Al-Nusra receiving outside aid was brought up by Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, at the special session of the Security Council on Sunday.
“They are armed by tanks, APCs, field artillery, multiple rocket launchers… All of this has been received by them and is still being shipped to them by generous Western backers, with the US, presumably, turning a blind eye,” Churkin said.
“We have to see proof that there is a genuine desire to separate US-allied rebel groups from the Al-Nusra Front, then destroy the Al-Nusra Front and bring the opposition into a political process. Otherwise our suspicions that this was only meant to shield the Al-Nusra Front would only grow stronger,” the Russian envoy added, referring to the ceasefire agreed between Moscow and Washington that collapsed last week.
On Monday, however, the State Department talked about expecting “significant gestures” from Russia or the Syrian government to “restore their credibility” so the talks might continue, suggesting that the Syrian government should stand down its air force and cease the offensive on East Aleppo.
“The ball is somewhat in Russia’s court right now,” said Toner. However, he said the US was not ready to walk away from the talks. “If you’re asking about the legendary Plan B, we’re not there yet.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shrugged off the US rhetoric about Aleppo, however, pointing out that it was the US airstrike against the Syrian Army position besieged by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) that ended the ceasefire.
“I would like to emphasize that the Americans and their Western allies, for one thing, want to distract public attention from what had happened in Deir ez-Zor,” Lavrov told NTV on Monday.
The New York Times’ latest endorsement of Hillary Clinton is, as any reasonable person might assume, and to use Hillary’s favorite new word, deplorable. In the interest of discharging the irritation engendered by reading it, I’ll just briefly highlight some of the Gray Lady’s more outrageous assertions.
First, though, I’d like to applaud them for a rather novel, albeit entirely incoherent, bit of duplicity. Acknowledging in their euphemistic way that Hillary Clinton has achieved nothing of any significance while serving in government (“Mrs. Clinton’s work has been defined more by incremental successes than by moments of transformative change”), the editors contend that this ought to be counted as one of her strengths, for “[i]t shows a determined leader intent on creating opportunity for struggling Americans at a time of economic upheaval and on ensuring that the United States remains a force for good in an often brutal world.”
It’s a total non-sequitur, but at least they tried something wild. It’s sort of like what Robert De Niro’s character in Wag the Dog, Conrad Brean, does when he’s confronted by an intelligence official who says there’s no evidence of a war in Albania.
“Our spy satellites show no secret terrorists training camps in the Albanian hinterland, the border patrol, the FBI, the RCMP report no—repeat, no—untoward activity along our picturesque Canadian border,” the official (William H. Macy) says very sternly. “The Albanian government is screaming its defense; the world is listening. There is no war.”
Brean’s response is a masterclass in obfuscation. After being told again that the spy satellites show no war, he says the following:
“Then what good are they if they show no war? … What good are they if they show nothing? What are they, useless? Are they just broke? If there’s no threat then where are you? Let me go you one more: If there’s no threat what good are you?”
He succeeds in confusing the official into submission, making for one of the film’s funniest scenes. But that’s a film. This is real life, and one would need a very black sense of humor indeed to find the Times‘ doublespeak amusing.
One notes that they managed to squeeze the doctrine of American Exceptionalism—according to which every person we incinerate more or less had it coming to them—into their Breanian logic, taking for granted that the U.S. is a “force for good in an often brutal world.” Yes, such a brutal world; and what would its inhabitants do without the philanthropic United States military? Die of brutality, presumably.
Moving on. As a prime example of Hillary Clinton’s lifelong “record of service to children, women and families,” the Times cites her announcement in 1995 that “women’s rights are human rights”—”one of her boldest acts as first lady.” One wonders whether the good editors have gotten around to interviewing the children, women and families living in Honduras and Libya, whose idyllic circumstances bear the mark of HRC’s world-famous “pragmatism.”
(As I’ve written elsewhere, the idea that Hillary Clinton is a champion of women’s rights is one of the most preposterous, and pernicious, lies being peddled this campaign.)
Hillary’s “unusual capacity to reach across the aisle” (not so mysterious considering her right-wing fanaticism on issues of war and capitalist depredation) is what makes the Times confident that she’ll, you know, get things done as president. She’s even “earned the respect of [warmongering psychos] like John McCain with her determination to master intricate military matters.” And who wouldn’t want respect from those quarters? Such an honor!
The only “black mark” on Hillary’s record as a senator, according to the Times, is her vote in favor of Bush’s criminal war on Iraq (“but, to her credit, she has explained her thinking rather than trying to rewrite that history”—i.e. no big deal). In other words, the Times agrees with her votes in favor of the invasion of Afghanistan, the Patriot Act and the Wall Street bailout. No surprise there.
Which brings us to the Rodham woman’s tenure in the State Department, where “her achievements are substantial.” Among them: leading “efforts to strengthen sanctions against [the people of] Iran” (who, lest you forget, she’s prepared to “totally obliterate”), and helping to “negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas” in 2012, after the IDF had managed to kill over 100 Palestinian civilians in only a week. Needless to say, Hillary didn’t lead efforts to impose any sanctions on Israel.
Next, and this is interesting, Hillary is lauded by the Times for her support of the TPP, “an important trade counterweight to China and a key component of the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia.”
Of course, Hillary has since come out in opposition to the TPP, which only the most gullible of observers believe is sincere. Indeed, after acknowledging that her “reversal on that pact has confused some of her supporters,” the Times emphasizes that Hillary’s “underlying commitment to bolstering trade along with workers’ rights is not in doubt.” So there you have it: the New York Times, in its endorsement of Hillary Clinton, has called bullshit on her current anti-TPP stance. Remember this the next time a Clintonoid tries to use her TPP about face as an example of her progressivism. Remember it also the next time one of your Democrat friends argues that the New York Times is not a purveyor of neoliberal propaganda.
These are Hillary Clinton’s “substantial” achievements as secretary of state, the ones that are supposed to offset the fact that “she bears a share of the responsibility for the Obama administration’s foreign-policy failings, notably in Libya.” Funny how the dissolution of Libyan statehood—a major crime spearheaded by Hillary herself—is worthy only of casual reference. I suppose it’s better than total omission, which is the treatment given to Hillary’s successful efforts to undermine democracy in Honduras, as well as her pro-jihadist policy in Syria.
The Times editorial board proceeds to sum up its own ideology with the following:
“Mrs. Clinton has shown herself to be a realist who believes America cannot simply withdraw behind oceans and walls, but must engage confidently in the world to protect its interests and be true to its values, which include helping others escape poverty and oppression.”
In other words, the rest of the world can rest assured that relief from American imperialism, and all its gory consequences, is nowhere in sight—not if the New York Times has anything to say about it.
We all know by now that the real terrorists (the politicians in the suits and ties and the banksters that pull their strings) are waging their war of terror on multiple fronts for multiple reasons.
Domestically, it rallies the population around the flag, keeping the flock in check. At the same time it justifies the build up of the police state control grid to catch the thought criminals who resist.
It also writes a blank check for the illegal wars of aggression abroad. Simply place your terrorist boogeyman in the square of the chessboard you’re looking to occupy and — hey presto! — you’ve got yourself an excuse to invade. (Even if you “accidentally” end up supporting them, right Uncle Sam?)
But of course the politicians, their string pullers and their fellow travelers benefit from the war of terror in a more straightforward sense. They get to use the terror scares that they themselves create to drum up billions upon billions in the name of fighting the boogeymen.
FULL TRANSCRIPT AND SOURCES: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=19925
If the British Empire was built on the playing fields of Eton, United States world hegemony gets its training in Hollywood studios and advertising agencies. Selling your product, or yourself, by looking sincere is a cultivated American art. Current top U.S. leaders are expert practitioners.
In the space of a few days, Samantha Power, John Kerry, and Barack Obama all turned in war-winning performances.
Three Deadly U.S. Blows to Hopes of Peace In Syria
Last August 8, on that serious think tank the Charlie Rose show, former acting CIA director Michael Morell said that U.S. policy in Syria should be to make Iran and Russia “pay a price”. Russians and Iranians should be killed “covertly, so you don’t tell the world about it”, he said. Morell proposed that U.S. forces begin bombing Syrian government installations, in order to “scare Assad”. Probably angling for a good job next year, he is on record supporting Hillary Clinton as a “highly qualified commander in chief” and a “strong proponent of a more aggressive approach” in Syria.
Act I – An Act of War
Then, on Saturday, September 17, the U.S. Air Force did exactly what that CIA insider had called for. In sustained air strikes, four U.S. jets bombed a key Syrian Army position that had been defending the town of Deir ez-Zor from ISIS/Daech fighters. More than sixty Syrian soldiers were killed and over a hundred wounded. Daesh forces immediately took advantage of the strikes to overrun the government position. In effect, the U.S. Air Force acted as air cover for the Islamic fanatics U.S. to advance against the legitimate army of Syria.
This was not only a violation of the cease-fire painstakingly worked out by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. It was an open military aggression by the United States on the territory of a sovereign state.
The Russians immediately called an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to respond to this deadly violation of the truce supposedly intended to facilitate peace negotiations and humanitarian aid. When Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin took the floor to speak, his American counterpart, Samantha Power, draped in her long red mane, walked out to give a press conference that clearly illustrated the difference between Russian and U.S. diplomacy.
Churkin, like Lavrov a few days later, cited facts and analysed the situation rationally. Samantha Power put on a show of evasion and insults.
Why all the fuss? was her opening theme. After all, we halted the attack when we were informed that “it was possible we might be hitting Syrian regime personnel and vehicles”, she stated, adding that “if” we did so, “that was not our intention”. That should settle the question; who could believe that the United States might deliberately attack the regime their politicians have been saying “must go”?
The best defense is offensive, and Power can be most offensive:
“Even by Russia’s standards, tonight’s stunt – replete with moralism and grandstanding is uniquely cynical and hypocritical”, she declared.
Samantha Power, that conniving arriviste whose carefully constructed career has been built on moralism, grandstanding, cynicism and hypocrisy, had all the nerve in the world to turn these epithets against the prime target of her own habitual moralism, grandstanding, cynicism and hypocrisy.
If the air strikes hadn’t been enough to destroy Russian confidence in dealing with the United States, Samantha Power’s contemptuous reaction was sure to do the trick.
Act II – Change the Subject
Next ploy: change the subject. Our little accidental bombing is nothing, Power implied, compared to the alleged fact that “since 2011 the Assad regime has intentionally been striking civilian targets with horrifying, predictable regularity”. Here is the core of the Samantha Power fraud, containing two elements:
1/ While good-hearted bumbling America occasionally kills a few people by accident, the others do it all the time and above all intentionally.
2/ Killing civilians is what war is all about. War is not about battles between armed forces for control of territory. It is not about geopolitical power struggles. It is about “civilian victims”.
At the close of her stunt, grandstanding and scoring cheap points, Samantha Power exhorted Russia “to stop the cheap point scoring and the grandstanding and the stunts and focus on what matters, which is implementation of something we negotiated in good faith with them.” Good faith? They are supposed to believe we negotiated “in good faith” an agreement which we just flagrantly destroyed?
Lo and behold, only two days after the U.S. bombing of Deie ez-Zor, the subject was definitively changed when an international humanitarian aid convoy was attacked on its way to Aleppo. Twenty aid workers were killed and the aid mission was halted. Without waiting for any evidence, the unanimous cry went up from Washington that “the Russians did it!”
In the U.N. Security Council this time, John Kerry took the stage. Again, the critical point was the contrast between what we certainly did and what they allegedly did. Yes, we committed “a terrible accident”. But what they (allegedly) did was worse.
“I got to tell you, people running around with guns on the ground, from the air, is a very different thing from trucks in a convoy with big UN markings all over them,” Kerry declared. He was implying that the difference was between an understandable accident, whose victims were “running around with guns”, and an attack on civilians. Yes, but in war, attacking soldiers is the whole point. It can make a difference in the outcome. Hitting an aid convoy is “collateral damage”, as the U.S. calls it when the bombs are American. By bombing Deir ez-Zor, the United States was taking part in a war in which Syria is fighting for its life.
It cannot be ruled out that Syrian forces attacked the aid convoy because the truce was already broken at Deir ez-Zor and they believed it concealed weapons being transported to Daesh. Such things happen. Or the attack could have been carried out by rebels as an act of propaganda, a “false flag”, designed precisely to be used to accuse the adversary. Such things also happen.
It has already been established by careful research that the notorious Al Ghouta chemical weapons attack, attributed to Assad, was almost certainly carried out by rebels precisely in order to incite the United States to cross the “red line” set by President Obama and bomb Damascus. The War Party which by now controls the Pentagon, much of the State Department, most of Congress, as well as leading media and think tanks, has been castigating Obama ever since for not having seized that opportunity to wage a full-scale “regime change” war against Syria. The critics have never forgiven Obama for accepting the Russian proposal to use the occasion to rid Syria of its chemical arsenal, instead of overthrowing the Syrian government.
But in recent weeks, as the Hillary Clinton campaign grows more frantic, Obama himself has joined the War Party.
Act III – Wallow in Sentimentality
On September 20, President Obama used a Leaders Summit on Refugees to portray the Syrian episode in what increasingly appears to be World War III as a sentimental children’s story. Obama read the letter from 6-year-old Alex, who lives in Scarsdale, New York, expressing his wish to adopt Omran Daqneesh, the bewildered 5-year-old boy with a mop of dusty hair whose photo sitting in an orange ambulance seat was iconized across the world. The letter, provided to mass media by the White House, with its childish writing but nearly perfect spelling, was full of touching details about butterfly collections and shared toys. Obama read the letter, as people reached for Kleenexes all over the country, and then commented:
“Those are the words of a six-year-old boy – a young child you has not learned to be cynical, or suspicious, or fearful of other people because of where they come from, how they look, or how they pray. We should all be more like Alex. Imagine what the world would look like if we were.”
The little boys are very cute, very sweet. Fortunately, Omran Daneesh’s parents are alive, so there is no need to adopt him. Many other children are dead, notably in Yemen, killed by Washington’s ally Saudi Arabia with arms provided by the United States. Too late to adopt them.
“We should all be more like Alex”, Obama tells his good people. Imagine indeed, if all Americans were as innocent and naïve as six-year-old children. And indeed, that seems to be the goal of government propaganda.
This propagandistic heartstring tugging is aimed at distracting from U.S. involvement in a long-term joint criminal enterprise to overthrow a government that indeed did not discriminate against people because of “how they pray”, and replace it by fanatics who are ready to behead people because of “how they pray”.
An infantilized public will believe that “geopolitics” and “national sovereignty” are just big words that don’t mean anything. An infantilized public will believe that when the United States goes to war, it is all about protecting little children from their bad, mean dictators, whose only aspiration is to “bomb their own people”. They will believe that the world out there is Little Red Riding Hood, threatened by the Big Bad Wolf, and that there really is a Santa Claus.
It will never occur to an infantilized public that the war to destroy Syria has been planned for years – even though someone like General Wesley Clark revealed this years ago. Or that it is carried out to eliminate Israel’s enemies, keep Arabs busy killing each other, and incidentally help Saudi Arabia spread its Wahhabite fanaticism. No, that will never occur to them.
They won’t even notice that the Obama administration has now effectively given up any effort to justify the Nobel Peace Prize so foolishly bestowed on the apprentice president, and is now engaged in a scenario designed to prepare for Hillary’s next successful regime change war in Syria.
And it won’t occur to them that the photo of the little boy in the orange seat was quite deliberately iconized by Western media as part of the campaign promoting the Islamic rebel-connected “White Helmets” for the future Nobel Peace Prize.
Another subtle step in demonizing the “Assad regime” before Hillary takes over to administer the planned coup de grace. The future chuckler-in-chief is looking forward to seeing another head fall. This is called “smart power”.
Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. She can be reached at email@example.com
Allegations regarding the “peace-loving nature of Saudi Arabia and its aspirations amid the so-called fight against terrorism have been recently discussed by political circles across Western countries.
Western officials have unleashed particularly harsh criticism toward Riyadh in connection with its ongoing military operations in Yemen that have claimed civilian lives by the hundreds. For instance, the UN coordinator for the delivery of humanitarian aid to Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, announced on August 30 that the Saudi armed intervention resulted in a civilian death toll of 10,000 people in just 18 months of fighting.
British political and business circles are now questioning the approval of the sale of 3 billion pounds worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia that London approved, similarly such concerns are being voiced in France, with Paris having sold up to 13 billion euros worth of weapons to Riyadh.
This year, Saudi Arabia has been particularly busy purchasing weapons from among the largest arms exporters in the world, including the United States, Germany and Canada. The total worth of all contracts exceeds a staggering sum of 16 billion dollars. A brief analysis of the weapons purchased by the Saudis indicates modernization attempts made in a bid to prepare for a large scale ground conflict.
Last June, Saudi Arabia purchased 419 Canadian LAV-6 lightly-armored infantry fighting vehicles also known as Kodiaks. In August, the United States approved the sale of 153 M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Saudi Arabia, a contract that will earn Washington 1.15 billion dollars. Additionally, Saudi Arabia is expected to purchase 153 .50 caliber heavy machine gun, 266 M240 medium machine guns, smoke grenade launchers and an extensive amount of equipment for field repairs for their new American-made tanks.
Along with the modernization of its ground forces, Riyadh continues to strengthen its naval fleet. In the first quarter of this year Riyadh has purchased 48 patrol ships (TNC-35s and FPB-38s) built in Germany.
The drastic increase in Saudi weapons imports is closely connected with Riyadh’s intervention in Yemen, and its possible confrontation with Iran, the conflict in Syria, and Saudi aspirations to take an active part in the resolution of various geopolitical crises across the Middle East in accordance with its own interests.
According to the The Boston Globe, certain representatives of US political circles opposed vigorously continuous arms shipments to Saudi Arabia. It’s been reported that a total of sixty-four members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter warning that the deal would have ” a deeply troubling effect on civilians“ in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is conducting a fierce military campaign.
The United Nations has estimated that the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing Yemen is responsible for “twice as many civilian casualties as all other forces put together.” Yet the Obama administration wants to sell the Saudis 153 battle tanks made by General Dynamics, some of which are to be used in Yemen.
Since taking office in 2009, President Obama has made 42 arms deals with Saudi Arabia, worth a staggering 115 billion dollars. For some members of the US Congress, the latest deal represents a breaking point, since they are reluctant to send weapons that will be used first in Yemen and then in other conflicts likely to be equally as barbaric, serving Saudi, not American interests. “There is an American imprint on every civilian life lost. in Yemen, “said Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat who is a co-sponsor of the resolution to block the deal. Another co-sponsor, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, called the deal ”a recipe for disaster and an escalation of an ongoing arms race in the region.”
However, despite the attempts made by a number of American politicians to put an end to Saudi war crimes, the Senate voted 71 to 27 to kill legislation that would have stopped the 115 billion deals. The overwhelming vote stopped an effort led by Republican Senator Rand Paul and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy to block the deal over concerns including Saudi Arabia’s role in the 18-month-long war in Yemen and worries that it might fuel an ongoing regional arms race.
It is clear that Riyadh is not going to end its current campaign of regional aggression, leaving few other options other than banning United States arms sales to the Kingdom.
However, the voice of reason has been drowned out by the sheer greed by the pro-war lobby in Congress, providing Riyadh with carte blanche to carry on with its military interventions across the region, unhindered and unopposed. The US political establishment has once again shown its true face, as a willing accomplice, and approving any sort of massacre as long as it can obtain profits from it.