Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Iran rejects ‘baseless’ UK, US accusations on Yemen missiles

Press TV – April 18, 2018

Iran has firmly rejected fresh US and British allegations of Tehran sending missiles to Yemen, saying the two are seeking to whitewash their “shameful” complicity in the crisis gripping the war-torn country by leveling “false” charges against others.

“The US and UK complicity in Yemen crisis is shameful,” Iran’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations said in a press release on Tuesday.

The Iranian mission was reacting to remarks by the American and British ambassadors to the UN, Nikki Haley and Karen Pierce during a Security Council meeting on Yemen earlier in the day.

Haley claimed that Iran was interfering in the Yemeni affairs and violating the arms embargo on the impoverished state. Pierce also accused Tehran of “non-compliance with Security Council Resolution 2216.”

The Iranian mission, however, said the American and British officials had “repeated their derogatory allegations about Iran to cover up their own role in the disastrous situation created in Yemen. Iran categorically rejects those allegations as baseless propaganda.”

“The fact is that the war of aggression of Saudi Arabia in Yemen is the main underlying reason for the escalation of the crisis. It is regrettable that Saudi Arabia and its warmonger supporters, as the main party responsible for such a catastrophic humanitarian situation, are trying to cover up their shameful crimes by introducing false charges against others or trying to spread the crisis beyond Yemen’s borders,” it added.

“The US and UK are enjoying a blood business in Yemen now” by providing bombs to the Saudi warplanes that are targeting Yemeni civilians, the Iranian mission added.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war in March 2015 in support of Yemen’s former Riyadh-friendly government and against the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which is currently running state affairs.

The military campaign has killed and injured over 600,000 civilians, according to the latest figures released by the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights.

Several Western countries, the US and the UK in particular, are accused of being complicit in the aggression as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment.

April 18, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

North & South Korea may announce official end to war – local media

RT | April 17, 2018

Seoul and Pyongyang are reportedly set to make a huge step in the peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula, as officials from the two states are negotiating a joint statement outlining a formal end to hostilities.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the South’s president, Moon Jae-in, are scheduled to meet at a rare inter-Korean summit on April 27. A local media report indicated that the date could put an end to more than half a century of confrontation.

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in are to meet in the demilitarized zone in the village of Panmunjom, 53km north of Seoul. It will be the third event of its kind in the history of the two nations. Two previous meetings in 2000 and 2007 focused on political and economic issues.

Delegations from the North and the South have been holding meetings prior to the high-level talks to discuss a joint statement. The document may lead to “the end of confrontation,” newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported Tuesday, citing a government official.

War broke out between the two Koreas in 1950, and they formally remain at war despite the de facto end of hostilities in 1953.

The thaw in relations began on the eve of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, when the two nations formed a joint women’s ice-hockey team and agreed to march under a unified banner at the opening ceremony.

On Monday, South Korean envoy to Russia Wu Yun Gin said that Seoul will “do its utmost” to persuade the North to support the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula during the forthcoming talks. North Korea has repeatedly stressed that it is not going to stop its nuclear program until the US abandons its ‘hostile’ policy towards Pyongyang and halts military drills on the country’s doorstep.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , | 3 Comments

Neutral and unbiased? Why ‘think tanks’ lobby for war in Syria

By Danielle Ryan | RT | April 17, 2018

When US President Donald Trump fired a barrage of Tomahawk missiles at Syrian government targets last week, it was a good day for defense contractors, at least.

In the aftermath of the strike, which Trump claimed was in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government, stocks in Tomahawk missile manufacturer Raytheon surged. Raytheon stock has climbed more than 18 percent in 2018 so far. In fact, stocks in defense companies have been climbing in general since Trump entered office promising “historic” increases in military spending.

Almost a year ago to the day, Trump delivered another bump to the defense companies after attacking Syrian government positions for the first time – also in response to an alleged chemical attack, evidence for which remains in question.

After that strike Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics also rose, gaining nearly $5 billion in market value when trading began the next day, even as the wider market slumped.

Later, when Trump appointed the famously militaristic John Bolton as his national security adviser in March, guess what happened? Shares in US energy and defense companies surged yet again. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out: war is profitable. The more missiles Trump fires, the more money these companies make.

But where do the think tanks come in?

There is a pervasive myth that Washington DC ‘think tanks’ are neutral and unbiased players in foreign policy analysis. But where do these centers for foreign policy ‘analysis’ get their money from? You guessed it: defense companies.

There are a few think tanks which dominate in American foreign policy debates. They include the Center For European Policy Analysis (CEPA), the Atlantic Council, the German Marshall Fund (GMF), the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation. All five of them receive generous donations from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Three of them also receive funding from the Boeing Company.

Corporations like Exxon Mobil, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, and Bell Helicopter are also big donors to think tanks. Bell Helicopter is a funder of CEPA, while Exxon funds Brookings, GMF and the Atlantic Council. BAE Systems donates to CEPA, while Northrop Grumman gives to the Atlantic Council. This is not to even mention the money they get directly from US government departments and NATO, which also helps explain their consistently anti-Russian analysis.

Nonetheless, these think tanks enjoy an undue air of independence. Experts who work for these defense contractor-funded institutes are quoted frequently in mainstream newspapers and invited on mainstream channels, where they are presented as independent voices. But those independent voices somehow always seem to be in favor of policies that benefit weapons manufacturers.

War profiteers are filling their coffers in return for ‘analysis’ which promotes military action and massively inflates the threat posed to America by countries like Russia, for example.

A glance at the Twitter feed of CEPA reveals almost obsession-like focus on the so-called threat from Russia. In 2016, the Lockheed and BAE Systems-funded think tank suggested in a report on information warfare that people who have “fallen victim to Kremlin propaganda” should be “deradicalized” in special programs.

The NATO-funded Atlantic Council has consistently lobbied for regime change in Syria. In the days surrounding Trump’s military actions against Syria last week, the Atlantic Council published multiple  pieces of analysis and interviews with a single theme: that Trump did not or would not go far enough with one night of strikes. Earlier, when the alleged chemical attack took place, the think tank argued that Syrian President Bashar Assad was “indulging an addiction” and called on the US to take new military action against him. For some reason, diplomacy does not seem to be high on the Atlantic Council’s agenda.

It seems the more money defense contractors throw at think tanks, the more those think tanks will argue in favor of the military policies that will make those companies the most money. It’s a vicious cycle, but one which doesn’t take much think tank-style ‘analysis’ to  figure out.

The sad thing for the think tank lobbyists, is that the money they make calling for war is nothing in comparison to the money Lockheed, Raytheon, Boeing and the rest make from it. Maybe they should ask for a raise.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trump’s Syria withdrawal plan: Arab occupational force and Arabs will pay for it – report

RT | April 17, 2018

Washington reportedly wants Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar to replace the US in terms of troop deployments and funding in “stabilizing northeastern Syria,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

The US currently has two major points of military presence on the ground in Syria: one on the border with Jordan in the south and one in northeastern Syria in an area controlled by the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Force (SDF). President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw American troops from Syria, apparently dismayed by the cost of the operation. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration wants to shift the burden of occupying northeastern Syria – which is touted as an effort to stabilize the area by the newspaper – to Arab countries.

The WSJ says John Bolton, Trump’s new national security adviser, called Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s acting intelligence chief, to see if the Arab nation with the largest standing army was willing to contribute to the planned changing of guard. Washington also asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to contribute billions of dollars into a buildup in northern Syria and asked to send troops as well.

“The mission of the regional force would be to work with the local Kurdish and Arab fighters the US has been supporting to ensure Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] cannot make a comeback and preclude Iranian-backed forces from moving into former Islamic State territory, US officials say,” according to the newspaper.

The plan is apparently meant as an easy way out for America, which found itself in a perilous situation in Syria, having troops there with no legal ground and balancing amid countering goals and interests. For instance, Washington’s NATO partner Turkey sees America’s Syrian Kurd allies as terrorists and a legitimate target for military action.

However, having the Americans replaced with other foreign troops would entail challenges, too. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are otherwise preoccupied with their stalled military involvement in Yemen and may find it politically awkward to deploy troops alongside Qatar, a nation they accuse of supporting terrorism and of being close to Iran.

Egypt’s troops are busy fighting against jihadist groups in the Sinai Peninsula in the east and securing the lengthy desert border with Libya in the west. Both regions became major security threats after the events of the Arab Spring, during which Libya was reduced with the help of NATO to a patchwork of warring militant groups. Egypt suffered several years of political turmoil and a military coup, after which the supporters of Muslim Brotherhood found themselves under government pressure again.

The willingness of the Kurds to accept foreign Arab troops is far from certain. With some Syrian Kurds already feeling betrayed by the US over Washington’s failure to protect them from Turkey, getting a foreign Arab force deployed near their lands may be too much to swallow. Especially since some of the Islamist groups that the Kurds fought against during the seven-year war were funded and armed by the same Arab countries.

The WSJ also points out that cost reduction expected by the replacement may not be as big as the Trump administration hopes. The Arab expeditionary force would still require air support, logistical supply and possibly at least some presence of US troops among their ranks.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

War, Abuse and Other Peoples: A Personal Account

By Tim Anderson | American Herald Tribune | April 17, 2018

Why support other peoples, especially during conflict? Some explanation seems necessary because wartime debates often degenerate into simplistic clichés, personal abuse and confusion. I am one of many who have been subject to this abuse. Even the sanity of the critics of war is attacked, in attempts to disqualify opposing voices. Confusion is sown through the extreme nature of war propaganda, and its invented pretexts.

In the most recent half dozen Middle East wars, all driven by Washington and its minions, it has become common to dismiss dissenters as ‘apologists’ for this or that enemy. In reality, whatever the virtues or flaws of these ‘regimes’, they are all independent, and targeted precisely for their independence. For this same reason they are branded ‘dictatorships’. Consequently the loyal western corporate and state media, on a war footing, replaces reasonable discussion with abuse and shows little interest in respect for other peoples under attack.

The clichés and abuse replicate the aggression of war mentality. People abandon their normal rules of verbal engagement, reducing discussion to combative point scoring. Having been subject to some of these attacks in recent years, mainly for my defence of Syria, here is a personal account of motives and some of that abuse.

As I see it, human society is founded on cooperation and reinforced by communities determining their own affairs and building their own social structures. We are social beings and our natural human urge is to help others. Social dysfunction comes after social cooperation, and the most toxic of all such dysfunctions is imperialism. Those outside interventions are always disastrous, destructive and tainted with the ambitions of the interveners. That is why uninvited interventions are rightly banned, these days, under international law.

I believe that support for popular self-determination, and the defence of peoples under attack, is an essentially human urge. In my opinion this comes before the pathological drive to dominate. The natural sense of support for other human communities must especially include support for formerly colonised peoples. That is consistent with human values such as respect for others, and not putting one’s voice in the place of others.

At any rate, that is the thinking behind my support for independent peoples under threat or attack. In my experience of recent decades this has included support for the peoples of Cuba, Venezuela, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Palestine, Iraq, Iran and Syria. However I have refused to be part of the multi-billion dollar aid industry, remaining an independent writer, academic and volunteer.

This is not only altruism. Engaging with other peoples in this way is a rewarding learning experience, indeed a privilege. I believe in and remain open to learning from other cultures.

Yet imperial pathology is also a reality. Its demands, the refusal to listen, domineering, interventions and outright war represent a fundamentally anti-social mentality. From that perspective I came to see the wars of the 21st century – propaganda, economic and real wars – as a continuation of the older politics of imperialism, while often adopting the contemporary language of ‘human rights’.

I saw such abuses in my own country’s intervention in neighbouring East Timor, in 2006. There an internal conflict attracted Australian intervention, largely on false pretexts. Australian state media gave prominence to claims that East Timor’s then Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri had killed dozens of political opponents (Jackson 2006). The Prime Minister was deposed, the journalists involved were given awards; but the claims turned out to be quite false (Anderson 2006).

I spent years defending Cuba and Venezuela from a barrage of fake ‘human rights’ propaganda, including from supposedly independent agencies such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International (Anderson 2005; Anderson 2010, Anderson 2013).

Amnesty International, for example, attacked Cuba in 2003 for arresting several dozen US-paid agents (dubbed ‘dissidents’ in the US media), just as Havana anticipated that the mad emperor George W. Bush, having just invaded Iraq, was about to invade Cuba (Amnesty 2003). In fact, Cuba had documented US payments to these people as part of a Washington program to overthrow the Cuban government and its constitution (Elizalde and Baez 2003). There is virtually no state in the world that would not criminalise such activity.

Yet these agents became the ‘Cuban dissidents’ of Amnesty, which used ‘human rights’ as the pretext to back US aggression against its island neighbour (Barahona 2005; Anderson 2008; Lamrani 2014). That same human rights group took several years to say anything about the torture prison President Bush established at an illegally occupied part of Cuba, in Guantanamo Bay (Anderson 2009). The prisoners there (unlike the US agents in Cuba) faced no charges or trial, abuses that used to be the substance of Amnesty International’s activity.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), for its part, made repeated savage political attacks on Venezuela and Cuba, while saying next to nothing about the appalling human rights violations by Washington and its close allies. Many western liberals went along for the ride, but the partisan nature of HRW was obvious to any serious observer. A group of academics and writers assailed HRW over its heavily politicised reports on Venezuela (NACLA 2009). Later several Nobel Prize winners condemned HRW for its refusal to cut ties with the US Government (Alternet 2014).

So when this ‘human rights’ industry (Anderson 2018) turned on Libya and Syria I was half-prepared. I had already written on my own country’s shameful involvement in the aggressions against Afghanistan and Iraq, detailing Australian involvement in war crimes in both countries (Anderson 2005b; Kampmark 2008; Doran and Anderson 2011). [I would go on to document Australian war crimes against Syria (Anderson 2017a).]

However in early 2011 I did not have detailed knowledge about Libya or Syria. In March 2011 I had to look on a map to find Daraa, the border town where the violence in Syria began (Anderson 2013a). Further, I did not then know that the petro-monarchy Qatar – owner of the successful Al Jazeera media network – was funding and arming sectarian Islamist terrorists in both Benghazi (Libya) and Daraa (Syria) (Khalaf and Smith 2013; Dickinson 2014).

Once President Gaddafi was murdered and the state was destroyed, Amnesty International (France) would admit that most of the claims they had made against the Libyan President were baseless (Cockburn 2011). US analysts confirmed the fakery (Kuperman 2015).

The violence in both countries deserved scrutiny, especially when Washington, the main aggressor in the world, was urging ‘regime change’, and most independent countries were urging caution. I wrote a dozen articles against the war on Libya, over the NATO ‘double speak’, ‘regime change’ motives and NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ missile attacks (Anderson 2011a, 2011b). Yet that little country, with the highest living standards in Africa, was rapidly destroyed.

My first article on Syria in May 2011, ‘Understanding the Syrian Violence’, simply urged people to read more widely. The conflict was clearly not just ‘demonstrators v. police’ (Anderson 2011). After that I searched on a wider range of sources, of course including Syrian sources. I began to document the ‘propaganda war’, the deceptive doctrine of ‘humanitarian intervention’, the failures of the western ‘left’, and ‘the lies that fuel regime change’. I shared a detailed list of sources for ‘Reading Syria’ and began to explore several ‘false flag’ massacres (Anderson 2011c, 2012, 2012a, 2012b, 2012c).

There was very little western critical discussion of the conflict in Syria so, in 2012, a number of us, mainly Syrian-Australians, formed the group ‘Hands Off Syria’. Later that year I wrote of a ‘malignant consensus’ which had been created over Syria, one which supported a foreign-backed insurgency and a drive to wider war (Anderson 2012d). It was clear to me that a campaign of lies was afoot, just as there had been with the attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

The official war narrative – from Washington and its minions – was that ‘peaceful protestors’ were being slaughtered by the forces of a ‘brutal dictator’ intent on ‘killing his own people’. This was said to be a ‘civil war’, with no foreign aggression (see Anderson 2016: Chapter 3). It was an extraordinary claim, with little reason, but reliance on jihadist-linked sources and repetition of the claims made it effective, at least amongst western populations.

Yet sectarian Islamist insurrections, linked to the banned Muslim Brotherhood, had a long history in Syria. Since the 1950s such violence had always been backed by Syria’s enemies, particularly Washington and Israel. There was virtually no recognition of this in the loyal western media. Their governments demanded an extreme, fabricated story which could serve as a basis for ‘humanitarian’ intervention.

However the ‘peaceful protestor’ lie was contradicted by independent witnesses and fatally undermined by multiple admissions of US Government officials. The witnesses spoke of sectarian violence from the beginning, which drove political reform rallies off the streets. The leaked documents showed that Washington knew, from the beginning, that extremists were fomenting the violence, with the aim of imposing a religious state.

Regardless, Washington, Israel and the former colonial powers Britain and France armed these extremists, both directly and indirectly, through allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar (Anderson 2016: Chapters 2, 4, 6 and 12). The ‘peaceful protestors v regime’ fiction served as the basis for arming terrorists, while imposing a cruel economic blockade on the entire Syrian nation.

In late 2013 I helped organise an Australian delegation to Syria, to meet with government and non-government people to find out more about Syria and to express solidarity with a people under attack. Most of us stayed on after the official tour to meet new friends, exploring Damascus. On our return we were attacked by much of the Australian state and corporate media, in particular for a meeting we had with President Bashar al Assad, the principal target of mindless western demonization (Worthington 2013). I had expected criticism from those who backed the war, but the Murdoch media made some special efforts.

In January 2014 Christian Kerr from The Australian newspaper rang me up for a very brief interview about the trip. It lasted less than one minute. The next day Kerr published a 1,600 front page article ‘Academic with a murky past stirs fresh controversy with trip to Damascus’ (Kerr 2014). This was mainly a personal attack, with little reference to the actual visit. The reporter dishonestly claimed that I was on “a pilgrimage to honour a dictator”. The hit piece says I was an ‘extremist’ for supporting Cuba, Venezuela and Palestine, for opposing Aboriginal deaths in custody and for writing about the destructive role of the World Bank in the Pacific.

The Murdoch paper called on then then Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, to “remind” universities that they “should be partners” to the government in the goal to “build revenue … by growing the international student market … and ensure that their reputations support rather than hinder that ambition”. This meant that universities should distance themselves from controversy. Pyne presented a nice summary of the commercial imperatives placed by successive Australian governments on universities. These days that same commercialisation is regarded by an overwhelming majority (84%) of academics as at the root of a decline in the quality of Australian tertiary education (Evans 2017).

Soon after that the Channel Seven television program Today Tonight invited me into their studio for an interview with presenter Nick Etchells. However, once there, the Chanel Seven people placed me in a separate room of the same building, so that I could not hear Etchells’ introduction, which was a vicious personal attack on me. They had only pretended an interest in the Syria visit. They cut out any answers they did not like. The Australian and Channel Seven personal attacks show how closed the Australian corporate media was to hearing another side to the war in Syria.

Over 2014-2015 I wrote a book ‘The Dirty War on Syria’ (Anderson 2016), to address the western myths and to begin a documented history of the conflict. The book was published in Canada in January 2016 and, over the next two years, was translated into and published in ten languages (English, Arabic, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Bosnian, Swedish, Farsi and Icelandic). Over 2016-2018 I did an average of 4 or 5 interviews per week, from media in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Korea, Italy, China, Canada, Germany, Russia and the USA. I was invited to speak at conferences in Greece, Iraq and Germany. There was less interest in my own country.

After September 2015, when Russia and Iran began a more direct involvement in the conflict, in defence of Syria, the tide of the war began to turn in Syria’s favour. But the propaganda war remained strong. Personal attacks against me and other prominent defenders of Syria became more organised. Dissident voices were seen as a threat to the war’s legitimacy.

Independent journalists Eva Bartlett (Canada) and Vanessa Beeley (England), in particular, attracted hostile attention for helping expose the grossly distorted western media coverage of the liberation of the city of Aleppo, in late 2016. The UK Guardian for example – a strong backer of the ‘humanitarian war’ against Syria – commissioned a long hit piece from a San Francisco based journalist with no experience in the Middle East (Solon 2017). Britain’s Channel 4 (Worrall 2016) and self-appointed ‘fact checkers’ – like the US family business ‘Snopes’ – pretended to debunk the consistent critical reports from Bartlett and Beeley. The would-be gatekeepers backed the Washington-led ‘humanitarian’ war story on Syria: this was a ‘civil war’ in which ‘we’ had to help the people of Syria overthrow their ‘brutal dictator’.

In early 2017 the new US President Donald Trump ordered a missile attack on Syria’s Shayrat airbase, after a chemical weapon provocation had been carried out by terrorist groups in Khan Sheikhoun (Idlib). This happened just as we were preparing an academic conference on the Syrian conflict at the University of Sydney (CCHS 2017). On social media I called Trump, Obama and Bush ‘the masterminds of terrorism in the Middle East’ (Anderson 2017).

The Murdoch media responded with another personal attack, running front page smears against myself and a colleague. This abuse began with a Daily Telegraph article by Kylar Loussikian (2017), titled ‘Sarin Gasbag: academic claims Trump a terrorist and tyrant Assad didn’t launch chemical attack’, next to a picture of me in Syria. This was a response to my assertions – based on detailed research – that chemical weapons claims against the Syrian Army were baseless (Anderson 2016: Chapter 9). There was not the slightest corporate media interest in evidence over the chemical weapons allegations. When we criticised journalist Loussikian on social media, he ran to university authorities, complaining he was a victim of a ‘personal attack’.

Underlining the absurdity of Trump’s 2017 attack, in 2018 the US Secretary of Defence admitted that, while ‘others’ were saying it, ‘we do not have evidence’ of Syria’s use of sarin gas (Wilkie 2018; Graphic 1). This had been one of the key pretexts for US aggression against Syria, over several years. But war propaganda was never concerned with evidence.

Graphic 1

A similar media attack occurred after I visited North Korea, in July 2017. By this time I had begun studying several countries subject to Washington-led ‘sanctions’. These included Cuba, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Venezuela and North Korea (DPRK). Not that the loyal western media was interested in any such study.

On seeing some social media photos, Murdoch reporter Loussikian penned another smear story, titled ‘Sydney University’s Tim Anderson praises North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a solidarity visit’. An introductory paragraph read:

“A controversial Sydney University lecturer who backed Syria’s murderous al Assad regime has travelled to Pyongyang and pledged “solidarity with the North Korean dictatorship against “aggression” from the west (Loussikian 2017a).

It certainly was a solidarity visit, but the lie behind the headline and its sub-head should have been obvious. There was no quote in Loussikian’s article to justify that claim that I had praised any North Korean leader. I did not even mention them. Nor had I mentioned solidarity with the government (‘dictatorship’). In principle, solidarity is always with peoples.

Further, the night before the article Loussikian had asked me, by email: “It was unclear whether you were expressing concern about warfare … or whether you had a view in supporting the North Korean Government”. Because of his previous dishonesty over Syria I did not reply.

This sort of abuse, mostly launched because of my defence of Syria, also came from some of the western ‘left’; or rather what many of us now call ‘the imperial left’. These are small groups of Trotskyists and Anarchists who swallowed the Washington line that the conflicts in Libya and Syria were popular ‘revolutions’. They repeated the western state and corporate media clichés that the highly internationalised conflict in Syria was a ‘civil war’, and that the fanatical jihadist-terrorists were ‘revolutionaries’ (e.g. Karadjis 2014; and in Norton 2014).

Some of these people – having observed that some extreme right wing figures also questioned the war on Syria, or supported Russia, or opposed Israel – decided to smear me with the lie that I ‘work with’ or am ‘friends’ with fascists. The ‘evidence’ they show for this is that some extremist and right figures attended some of my many public talks; and that those figures and I both attended a funeral wake for the murdered Russian Ambassador to Turkey, at the Russian consulate in Sydney. On that basis I was said to ‘work with Nazis’ (see Graphic 2).

Graphic 2

My first response to this sort of childish abuse was to just ignore it. Now I think there might be some educational value in showing others the worst cases.

Such attacks do not mean much from tiny groups, barely relevant except when they oppose imperial wars. Yet many western liberal-leftists today join with Washington, NATO, the Saudis, Israel – and their fanatical, reactionary mercenaries – against the remaining independent states of the Middle East.

What these left-liberals miss is that the new fascism in the world is precisely that chain of wars aimed at destroying independent African, Arab and other West Asian states. Western cheer squads for these wars are necessary to minimise opposition and keep imperial plans alive.

This century’s military, economic and propaganda wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Libya and Syria have successfully conscripted western liberals, leftists, NGOs and of course the corporate and state media. Very few question the war narrative; and those who do are abused.

But that is not the future. The world is changing. BRICS and other regional groupings and states, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America, are on the rise. In my opinion, support and respect is due to all independent peoples. It is not about whether we agree with everything they do. It is about respect for other peoples. Their self-determination is also our human responsibility.

Sources:

Alternet (2014) ‘Nobel Peace Laureates Slam Human Rights Watch’s Refusal to Cut Ties to U.S. Government’, 8 July, online: https://www.alternet.org/world/nobel-peace-laureates-slam-human-rights-watchs-refusal-cut-ties-us-government

Amnesty International (2003) ‘Cuba: Massive crackdown on dissent’, April, AMR 25/008/2003, online: https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/104000/amr250082003en.pdf

Anderson, Tim (2005) ‘Contesting ‘Transition’: the US plan for a Free Cuba’, Latin American Perspectives, Vol 32, No 6, November, pp.28-46

Anderson, Tim (2005a) ‘Cuba: the propaganda offensive’, Online Opinion, 15 March, online: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=3243&page=0

Anderson, Tim (2005b) ‘Indictment and prosecution of John Winston Howard’, The Guardian, Sydney, 17 August, p.2, online: http://www.cpa.org.au/guardian-pdf/2005/Guardian1241_17-08-2005_screen.pdf

Anderson, Tim (2006) ‘Timor Leste: the second Australian intervention’, Journal of Australian Political Economy, December, pp.62-93

Anderson, Tim (2008) ‘Cuba and the ‘independent journalists’, Green Left Weekly, 24 May, online: https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/cuba-and-independent-journalists

Anderson, Tim (2009) ‘Hypocrisy over Cuba’s ‘political prisoners’, Green left Weekly, 19 September, online: https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/hypocrisy-over-cubas-political-prisoners

Anderson, Tim (2010) ‘How Credible Is Human Rights Watch on Cuba?’, MRonline, 16 February, online: https://mronline.org/2010/02/16/how-credible-is-human-rights-watch-on-cuba/

Anderson, Tim (2011) ‘Understanding the Syrian violence – check your sources’, 7 May, Facebook, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/understanding-the-syrian-violence-check-your-sources/10150186018711234

Anderson, Tim (2011a) ‘The Double Speak on Libya: conflict resolution or regime change?’, Facebook, March 19, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/the-double-speak-on-libya-conflict-resolution-or-regime-change/10150125374666234

Anderson, Tim (2011b) ‘Humanitarian attack on Libya – first volley, 112 tomahawk missiles hit two cities’, Facebook, 20 March, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/humanitarian-attack-on-libya-first-volley-112-tomahawk-misiles-hit-two-cities/10150126117161234

Anderson, Tim (2011c) ‘Propaganda war rages over Syrian violence’, Facebook, 8 August, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/propaganda-war-rages-over-syrian-violence/10150273915031234

Anderson, Tim (2012) ‘Humanitarian Intervention and the Left in Imperial Cultures’, Facebook, 1 March, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/humanitarian-intervention-and-the-left-in-imperial-cultures/10150603967576234

Anderson, Tim (2012a) ‘The lies that fuel intervention and ‘regime change’ – Iraq, Timor Leste, Libya, Syria’, Facebook, 8 May, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/the-lies-that-fuel-intervention-and-regime-change-iraq-timor-leste-libya-syria-/10150806025926234

Anderson, Tim (2012b) ‘Reading Syria’, Facebook, 24 May, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/reading-syria/10150862173381234

Anderson, Tim (2012c) ‘Massacres in Syria: the awful truth’, Facebook, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-anderson/massacres-in-syria-the-awful-truth/10150895942696234

Anderson, Tim (2012d) ‘The malignant consensus on Syria’, The Conversation, 19 September, online: https://theconversation.com/the-malignant-consensus-on-syria-9565

Anderson, Tim (2013) ‘Hugo Chávez, Venezuela and the Corporate Media’, Online Opinion, 9 April, online: http://onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=14882&page=0

Anderson, Tim (2013a) ‘Syria: how the violence began, in Daraa’, OpEd Opinion, 13 May, online: https://www.opednews.com/articles/Syria-how-the-violence-be-by-Tim-Anderson-130513-875.html

Anderson, Tim (2016) The Dirty war on Syria, Global Research, Montreal

Anderson, Tim (2017) ‘Masterminds of terrorism in the Middle East.’, Twitter, 7 April, online: https://twitter.com/timand2037/status/850516689036861440

Anderson, Tim (2017a) ‘Implausible Denials: The Crime at Jabal al Tharda. US-led Air Raid on Behalf of ISIS-Daesh Against Syrian Forces’, Global Research, 17 December, online: https://www.globalresearch.ca/implausible-denials-the-crime-at-jabal-al-tharda-us-led-air-raid-on-behalf-of-isis-daesh-against-syrian-forces/5623056

Anderson, Tim (2018) ‘Syria: the human rights industry in ‘humanitarian war’’, Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies, Research Paper 1/18, online: https://counter-hegemonic-studies.net/humanitarian-war-rp-1-18/

Barahona, Diana (2005) ‘Reporters Without Borders Unmasked’, Counter Punch, 17 May, online: https://www.counterpunch.org/2005/05/17/reporters-without-borders-unmasked/

CCHS (2017) ‘Syria Conference 2017’, online: https://counter-hegemonic-studies.net/category/conf/sc-2017/

Cockburn, Patrick (2011) ‘Amnesty questions claim that Gaddafi ordered rape as weapon of war’, The Independent, 23 June, online: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/amnesty-questions-claim-that-gaddafi-ordered-rape-as-weapon-of-war-2302037.html

Dickinson, Elizabeth (2014) ‘The Case Against Qatar’, Foreign Policy, 30 September, online: http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/09/30/the-case-against-qatar/

Doran, Chris and Tim Anderson (2011) ‘Iraq and the case for Australian war crimes trials’, Crime, Law and Social Change: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 23 August, online: http://www.mapw.org.au/files/downloads/doran-anderson-war-crimes-2011%20%282%29.pdf

Elizalde, Rosa Miriam and Luis Baez (2003) “The Dissidents”, Editora Política, La Habana; partially online here: http://www.redandgreen.org/Cuba/Disidents/index.html

Evans, Michael (2017) ‘State of the Uni Survey: Thousands of uni staff have their say’, NTEU Advocate, online: https://www.nteu.org.au/article/State-of-the-Uni-Survey%3A-Thousands-of-uni-staff-have-their-say-%28Advocate-24-03%29-20157

Jackson, Elizabeth (2006b) ‘E Timor Prime Minister denies new ‘hit squad’ claims’, ABC

Radio, AM, 10 June, online: http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2006/s1660023.htm

Kampmark, Binoy (2008) ‘John Howard and War Crimes’, CounterPunch, 26 June, online: https://www.counterpunch.org/2008/06/26/john-howard-and-war-crimes-2/

Karadjis, Michael (2014) ‘Why the Syrian rebels oppose U.S. air strikes’, Socialist Worker, 6 October, online: https://web.archive.org/web/20161105044008/https://socialistworker.org/2014/10/06/why-syrian-rebels-oppose-us-air-strikes

Kerr, Christian (2014) ‘Academic with a murky past stirs fresh controversy with trip to Damascus’, The Australian, 4 Jan 2014

Khalaf, Roula and Abigail Fielding Smith (2013) ‘Qatar bankrolls Syrian revolt with cash and arms’, FT, 16 May, online: http://ig-legacy.ft.com/content/86e3f28e-be3a-11e2-bb35-00144feab7de#axzz5BBZYAcu2

Kuperman, Alan J. (2015) ‘Obama’s Libya Debacle’, Foreign Affairs, March/April, online: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/libya/obamas-libya-debacle

Lamrani, Salim (2014) Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality, Monthly review Press, New York

Loussikian, Kylar (2017) ‘Sarin Gasbag: academic claims Trump a terrorist and tyrant Assad didn’t launch chemical attack’, Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 10 April

Loussikian, Kylar (2017a) ‘Sydney University’s Tim Anderson praises North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a solidarity visit’, Daily Telegraph, 4 September

NACLA (2009) ‘Critics Respond to Human Rights Watch’s Defense of Venezuela Report’, North American Congress on Latin America, 13 January, online: https://nacla.org/news/critics-respond-human-rights-watchs-defense-venezuela-report

Norton, Ben (2017) ‘Michael Karadjis whitewashes Syrian al-Qaeda as “decent revolutionaries”’, 10 May, online: https://bennorton.com/michael-karadjis-syrian-al-qaeda-jabhat-al-nusra/

Solon, Olivia (2017) ‘How Syria’s White Helmets became victims of an online propaganda machine’, The Guardian, 18 September, online: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/18/syria-white-helmets-conspiracy-theories

Wilkie, Ian (2018) ‘Now Mattis admits there was no evidence Assad used poison gas on his people’, Newsweek, 8 February, online: http://www.newsweek.com/now-mattis-admits-there-was-no-evidence-assad-using-poison-gas-his-people-801542

Worrall, Patrick (2016) ‘Eva Bartlett’s claims about Syrian children’, 20 December, 4 News, online: https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-eva-bartletts-claims-about-syrian-children

Worthington, Kerri (2013) ‘Australian delegation condemned for Syria visit’, SBS, 2 January, online: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australian-delegation-condemned-for-syria-visit

Dr. Tim Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He researches and writes on development, human rights and self-determination in the Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East. He has published dozens of articles and chapters in academic journals and books, as well as essays in a range of online journals. His work includes the areas of agriculture and food security, health systems, regional integration and international cooperation.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work

By John W. Whitehead | Rutherford Institute | April 16, 2018

Let us not mince words.

We are living in an age of war profiteers.

We are living in an age of scoundrels, liars, brutes and thugs. Many of them work for the U.S. government.

We are living in an age of monsters.

Ask Donald Trump. He knows all about monsters.

Any government that leaves “mothers and fathers, infants and children, thrashing in pain and gasping for air” is evil and despicable, said President Trump, justifying his blatantly unconstitutional decision (in the absence of congressional approval or a declaration of war) to launch airstrikes against Syria based on dubious allegations that it had carried out chemical weapons attacks on its own people. “They are crimes of a monster.”

If the Syrian government is a monster for killing innocent civilians, including women and children, the U.S. government must be a monster, too.

In Afghanistan, ten civilians were killed—including three children, one an infant in his mother’s arms—when U.S. warplanes targeted a truck in broad daylight on an open road with women and children riding in the exposed truck bed.

In Syria, at least 80 civilians, including 30 children, were killed when U.S.-led air strikes bombed a school and a packed marketplace.

Then there was a Doctors without Borders hospital in Kunduz that had 12 of its medical staff and 10 of its patients, including three children, killed when a U.S. AC-130 gunship fired on it repeatedly. Some of the patients were burned alive in their hospital beds.

Yes, on this point, President Trump is exactly right: these are, indeed, the crimes of a monster.

Unfortunately, this monster—this hundred-headed gorgon that is the U.S. government and its long line of political puppets (Donald Trump and before him Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc.), who dance to the tune of the military industrial complex—is being funded by you and me.

It is our tax dollars at work here, after all.

Unfortunately, we have no real say in how the government runs, or how our taxpayer funds are used.

We have no real say, but we’re being forced to pay through the nose, anyhow, for endless wars that do more to fund the military industrial complex than protect us, pork barrel projects that produce little to nothing, and a police state that serves only to imprison us within its walls.

Consider: we get taxed on how much we earn, taxed on what we eat, taxed on what we buy, taxed on where we go, taxed on what we drive, and taxed on how much is left of our assets when we die.

Indeed, if there is an absolute maxim by which the federal government seems to operate, it is that the American taxpayer always gets ripped off.

This is true whether you’re talking about taxpayers being forced to fund high-priced weaponry that will be used against us, endless wars that do little for our safety or our freedoms, or bloated government agencies such as the National Security Agency with its secret budgets, covert agendas and clandestine activities. Rubbing salt in the wound, even monetary awards in lawsuits against government officials who are found guilty of wrongdoing are paid by the taxpayer.

Not only are American taxpayers forced to “spend more on state, municipal, and federal taxes than the annual financial burdens of food, clothing, and housing combined,” but we’re also being played as easy marks by hustlers bearing the imprimatur of the government.

With every new tax, fine, fee and law adopted by our so-called representatives, the yoke around the neck of the average American seems to tighten just a little bit more.

Everywhere you go, everything you do, and every which way you look, we’re getting swindled, cheated, conned, robbed, raided, pickpocketed, mugged, deceived, defrauded, double-crossed and fleeced by governmental and corporate shareholders of the American police state out to make a profit at taxpayer expense.

Yet as Ron Paul observed, “The Founding Fathers never intended a nation where citizens would pay nearly half of everything they earn to the government.”

We are now ruled by a government consumed with squeezing every last penny out of the population and seemingly unconcerned if essential freedoms are trampled in the process.

If you have no choice, no voice, and no real options when it comes to the government’s claims on your property and your money, you’re not free.

You’re not free if the government can seize your home and your car (which you’ve bought and paid for) over nonpayment of taxes.

You’re not free if government agents can freeze and seize your bank accounts and other valuables if they merely “suspect” wrongdoing.

And you’re certainly not free if the IRS gets the first cut of your salary to pay for government programs over which you have no say.

Somewhere over the course of the past 240-plus years, democracy has given way to kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves), and representative government has been rejected in favor of a kakistocracy (a government run by the most unprincipled citizens that panders to the worst vices in our nature: greed, violence, hatred, prejudice and war) ruled by career politicians, corporations and thieves—individuals and entities with little regard for the rights of American citizens.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the American kleptocracy continues to suck the American people down a rabbit hole into a parallel universe in which the Constitution is meaningless, the government is all-powerful, and the citizenry is powerless to defend itself against government agents who steal, spy, lie, plunder, kill, abuse and generally inflict mayhem and sow madness on everyone and everything in their sphere.

But what if we didn’t just pull out our pocketbooks and pony up to the federal government’s outrageous demands for more money?

What if we didn’t just dutifully line up to drop our hard-earned dollars into the collection bucket, no questions asked about how it will be spent?

What if, instead of quietly sending in our checks, hoping vainly for some meager return, we did a little calculating of our own and started deducting from our taxes those programs that we refuse to support?

If we don’t have the right to decide what happens to our hard-earned cash, then we don’t have very many rights at all.

If the government can just take from you what they want, when they want, and then use it however they want, you can’t claim to be anything more than a serf in a land they think of as theirs.

April 16, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | 11 Comments

Senseless and Futile Strike Against Syria Achieves Nothing

Photo credit – AFP
By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 16.04.2018

The West’s unity is cracking and the United States’ world leadership is being questioned. The alleged but never proven “chemical attack” in Syria offers an opportunity to become a unifying factor. By striking that country, the US administration pursued the goal of solidifying its image as the world number one leading other nations in an effort to stand up to “evil”. It wanted to display the West’s unity, bolster its standing in the Middle East and boost the president’s approval ratings at home. Russia was portrayed as a rogue state backing the “animal” Assad and allied with Iran to pose a common threat. Has the mission been accomplished?

The world did not rush to display its support. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wants no escalation in Syria. China opposed the use of force. Indonesia expressed concern over the attack not mandated by the UN. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic warned the strikes could lead to a global conflict. Bolivian President Evo Morales slammed the act of aggression.

Formally, NATO approved the strikes but reservations followed regarding the stance on Russia. For instance, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned against demonizing Moscow on April 15 saying that there should be no animosity between the West and Russia amid growing tensions. He insists a dialogue should be maintained. Germany approved the operation but refused to participate.

British opposition Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn criticized the move and said the UK joined the strikes under US pressure. Only a quarter of Britons approve the UK’s participation in the operation. 43% of them disapprove it.

French President Macron has come under criticism from the right as well as from the left for his decision to join the operation. Italy refused to let the allies use its territory for launching the strikes. Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn questioned the legality of the attack. The SYRIZA party, the larger member of Greece’s ruling coalition, condemned the strikes. Finland, Cyprus and Switzerland expressed concern over the use of force against Syria. Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini still believes peace would have a chance in Syria if international law were observed.

There was no unanimous support of the attack inside the US. The move came under harsh criticism from the two sides of the aisle. For instance, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., believes that the attack launched without Congress’s approval is illegal and reckless. This view was backed by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich. Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM., issued a special statement to strongly disagree with the president’s decision to use force. He thinks Donald Trump is dangerously escalating the situation by acting without legal authority. The influential Arms Control Association slammed the strikes as a short-sighted and illegal action, violating domestic legislation and international law.

The largest Arab nations did not approve the strikes. The Iraqi government believes that the strikes marked “a very dangerous development” to give terrorists another opportunity to strengthen their positions. Egypt expressed “deep concern” saying the strikes undermined the prospects for peace in Syria. Algeria condemned the move. Lebanon raised its voice to strongly oppose the act of aggression.

The military one-off operation rather divides than unites the world, including the “collective West”. The British government has failed to rally popular support. Instead, it made its position weaker than it had been. The NATO, as well as EU, backing was mainly vocal. Only three nations actually joined the operation. The contribution of Great Britain and France was very limited. The US administration is in for a lot of questions on its strategy in Syria.

The legality of the act is universally questioned and many governments realize that international law does not protect anyone from US-led attacks and prompts them seek to weapons to defend themselves. As Syria’s experience shows, Russia has a lot to offer not only as arms supplier but also as an alternative pole of power.

The situation in Syria has not changed. Its government retains the capability to continue its successful offensive on all fronts. The strikes have not diminished Moscow’s and Tehran’s unswerving support of Damascus. The air strike has achieved nothing. It only demonstrated how limited is the US ability to influence the events in Syria, putting into question its claims to global leadership.

April 16, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Canada should support peace in Syria, not US missiles

The US has once again flagrantly violated international law. Without UN approval, they launched dozens of airstrikes on Syria.

Ottawa immediately supported the US bombing. In a statement Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people.”

Over the past week the Trudeau government has helped lay the foundation for the US-led attack. Twenty-four hours after the alleged April 7 attack foreign minister Chrystia Freeland put out a statement claiming, “the repeated and morally reprehensible use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in the past has been confirmed by independent international investigators…. Canada condemns the Assad regime—and its backers, Russia and Iran—for its‎ repeated, gross violations of human rights and continued, deliberate targeting of civilians.” Without presenting any evidence of the alleged chemical weapons use in Douma, Freeland said on Friday “when it comes to this use of chemical weapons, it is clear to Canada that chemical weapons were used and that they were used by the Assad regime.”

In her initial statement Freeland expressed Canada’s “admiration for … the White Helmets.” Also known as the Syrian Civil Defence, the White Helmets produced the video purporting to show chemical weapons use in Douma.

On Friday Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov claimed the White Helmets staged the video with help from the UK. Former British ambassador to Syria Peter Ford largely endorsed Moscow’s position.

Credited with rescuing people from bombed out buildings, the White Helmets have long fostered opposition to Assad and promoted western intervention. The White Helmets operated almost entirely in areas of Syria occupied by the Saudi Arabia–Washington backed Al Nusra/Al Qaeda rebels and other jihadist groups. They criticized the Syrian government and disseminated images of its violence while largely ignoring those targeted by the opposition. Their members were repeatedly photographed with Al Qaeda-linked Jihadists and reportedly enabled their executions.

Canada has provided significant support to the White Helmets. Two weeks ago Global Affairs Canada announced they “provided $12 million for groups in Syria, such as the White Helmets, that are saving lives by providing communities with emergency response services and removing explosives.” At that time White Helmet representatives were in Ottawa to meet with government officials and in late 2016 Global Affairs Canada sponsored a five-city White Helmets tour of Canada.

The White Helmets received at least $23 million US from USAID. The British, Dutch, German and French governments have also provided the group with tens of millions of dollars. The White Helmets are closely associated with the Syria Campaign, which was set up by a British billionaire of Syrian descent, Ayman Asfari, actively opposed to the Bashar al-Assad regime.

The conflict in Syria is multilayered and messy. Thousands of US and Turkish troops are in the country in contravention of the UN charter. Similarly, Israel has bombed Syria more than 100 times since the outbreak of the conflict and continues to illegally occupy part of its territory. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have plowed billions of dollars worth of weaponry and other forms of support to opposition rebels while the CIA spent a billion dollars backing anti-Assad groups.

On a number of occasions Ottawa has denounced Iran, Hezbollah and Russia’s substantial support of Assad, but they’ve ignored the significant role the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Israel have played in the conflict. In fact, Ottawa has ramped up arms sales to Saudi Arabia and deepened its ties to Israel and the US in recent years.

Syrians needs an end to fighting. Hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions more displaced over the past seven years of conflict. The US, which unleashed sectarian war in Iraq, bears significant responsibility for the horrors in that country. Syria requires political negotiation, the withdrawal of foreign troops and a real arms embargo, not more bombing and violations of international law.

Canadians should oppose the Trudeau government’s support for the recent US air strikes.

April 14, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

US, allies could stop Syrian conflict within 24 hours if they wanted to – Russian envoy

RT | April 14, 2018

Russia called the strikes that the US, the UK, and France carried out in Syria a “blatant disregard of international law.” Moscow’s envoy to UN said the three countries could have stopped the conflict in Syria within 24 hours.

By acting without any mandate from the UN Security Council, the US and its allies violated the norms and principles of international law, as well as undermining the authority of the UNSC, Russian Envoy to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said, denouncing the strikes against Syria as “an aggression against a sovereign state.”

Nebenzia also called the attack “hooliganism” in international relations, noting that it is not a small one, as nuclear powers are involved. He said that the countries used a well-tried pattern of “provocation-false accusations – false sentence – punishment.”

“Is this the way you want to conduct international affairs?” he said.

“The conflict in Syria could have been stopped within 24 hours. Washington, London and Paris should have told their pocket terrorists to stop fighting the legitimate government of their people,” Nebenzia said.

He said that the two research facilities that were targeted in the strike had been inspected by the OPCW, which didn’t find any traces of chemical weapons.

Just like they did a year ago, the US used a stagedchemical attack against civilians as a pretext for its strikes, Nebenzia said, adding that Russian military experts found no trace of any chemical agent at the scene of the alleged attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma. “In a sign of cynical disdain,” a group of Western countries decided to take military action without waiting for a group of OPCW experts to present the results of an investigation into the incident, according to Nebenzia.

Russia did “everything possible” to convince the US and its allies to refrain from their military plans, which could destabilize not only Syria but the whole Middle East. However, Washington, London, and Paris “preferred to disregard appeals to common sense,” he added.

“The time for talk ended last night,” the US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, said, referring to the coalition airstrikes in Syria. She then added that the US, the UK, and France “acted” not out of “revenge… punishment [or] a symbolic show of force but… to deter the future use of chemical weapons” by holding the Syrian government responsible for what she called “atrocities against humanity.”

She also claimed that the actions of the coalition were “justified, legitimate and proportionate.”

The British representative to the UN, Karen Pierce, called the coalition operation a success, claiming that “none of the British, French or US aircraft or missiles involved in this operation were successfully engaged by the Syrian air defenses.” Pierce also called the UK actions a “humanitarian intervention” aimed at “alleviating overwhelming humanitarian suffering” of the Syrian people.

April 14, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Decades of Lies and War — when will Americans wake up?

Carey Wedler | April 12, 2018

From Vietnam to Syria, if they aren’t lying, they’re grossly incompetent (they’re both). Neither deserves your support.

Find me on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/CareyWedler/
Instagram & Twitter: @CareyWedler

April 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

UK Labour leader Corbyn says MPs should have say on military action in Syria

Press TV – April 12, 2018

The leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, says members of parliament (MPs) should decide if British Prime Minister Theresa May can join the United States in any military action against Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack.

Corbyn, a veteran anti-war campaigner, also demanded a political process for ending the war in Syria and preventing an escalation of the crisis.

US President Donald Trump has warned of imminent military action in Syria in response to the suspected chemical attack near Damascus on Saturday.

“Parliament should always be given a say on military action,” Corbyn told the BBC on Wednesday when asked about Syria.

“Obviously the situation is very serious, obviously there has to be, now, a demand for a political process to end the war in Syria. We cannot risk an escalation even further than it’s gone already.”

Corbyn also said countries involved should get around a negotiating table to find an end to the civil war by political means.

“What happened last weekend was terrible. What we don’t want is bombardment which leads to escalation and leads to a hot war between Russia and America over the skies of Syria,” he said.

May is considering joining the United States in any military action in Syria.

The British premier is not bound by law to seek parliamentary approval for offensive military action, but many now believe lawmakers should always have a vote before the government takes military action.

On Wednesday May accused Syrian authorities of carrying out the alleged chemical attack, and said she was working with allies on how to hold those responsible to account.

Damascus, in a statement released late on Saturday, strongly rejected the allegation of using chemical munitions and said that the so-called Jaish al-Islam Takfiri terrorist group was repeating the false reports.

The Iranian and Russian governments have also rejected the accusations. Russia and Iran have warned against any US military action against the Syrian government.

April 12, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Why military escalation in Syria is not in US interest

By Frederick Kuo | Asia Times | April 11, 2018

The images flooding US news sources are the stuff of nightmares. Children gasping for air, their chests heaving in pain, strange foam flooding from their mouths. This time, the images are coming out of Douma, one of the last strongholds of the opposition rebels resisting the Assad regime’s reconquest of Syrian territory.

Already, as if singing in chorus, shrill cries are flooding throughout all of the mainstream US news outlets and self-righteous rhetoric employed in lengthy articles, all calling in unison for a new war in Syria on the basis of moral outrage with the ultimate goal of regime change.

On Monday, a few days after announcing that the US would be pulling its troops out of the Syrian theater, President Donald Trump castigated the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and its Russian and Iranian allies and promised a swift and powerful military response to this attack.

All this as the offices of his lawyer, Michael Cohen, were raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Meanwhile Israeli jets pounded the T4 airbase used by Syrian and Russian forces as war cries were echoed by France and the United Kingdom.

It is precisely during times like this when the fog of emotion is being deployed so hysterically by powerful political and media forces to build public consent, that it is absolutely critical to step back and analyze the narrative being thrusted upon us Americans and examine precisely our interests in fighting another war in the Middle East.

Deja vu

What is clear is that the sequence of these events nearly mirror the circumstances of previous attacks attributed to Assad back in 2017 in Khan Shaykhun and in 2013 in Ghouta. During each incident, Assad was immediately castigated as the guilty party before any facts were proved and indeed, against all logical motives on his part. Along with this judgment came a loud chorus calling for a massive and immediate military intervention to remove his regime from power.

However, despite the enormous pressure applied on the White House for a hawkish response, both Barack Obama and Trump respectively resisted deepening American involvement in a conflict. Their actions were vindicated months later in each instance by the results of United Nations inspection teams who, in both instances, determined that there did not exist any evidence that Assad had deployed chemical weapons, thus supporting allegations that these attacks were false-flag operations planted by the rebel forces in order to elicit Western military support.

Assad’s regime and his Russian allies have made significant ground in the last few years in winning the long-running Syrian civil war. In Douma, the opposition is surrounded and desperately putting in a last act of resistance before the Syrian government’s impending victory. A chemical attack by Assad at this point, which would only open the door for Western military punishment, would be political suicide and defeat all logical motives.

The voices calling for war completely ignore this simple logic and instead insist on further demonizing Assad. However, even demons would want to win, and a chemical attack by Assad at this time would only threaten his impending victory. There is absolutely no compelling motive for Assad to use chemical weapons.

Today in Washington, we are faced with an unpredictable situation in which an embattled President Trump, who as candidate blasted the very type of military intervention he now purportedly supports, is facing a historically unprecedented challenge to his office by the very government organs in which he supposedly presides over.

Weakened by endless scandals tied to allegations of collusion with the Russians and details of his sordid sexual past, the recent raid on the offices of Michael Cohen and the violation of attorney-client privileges open the gates to his possible impeachment.

These events coincide with the recent elevation of John Bolton, a renowned warmonger obsessed with endless conflict, as the new national security adviser. Thus the ground is set for a prolonged escalation of US military involvement in the Syria theater.

Not in the US interest

This is the moment when every American citizen must ask themselves, what exactly is our interest in a Syria war? Will American security, or indeed, security in the West, be improved with military escalation in Syria?

Clearly, the evidence of years prior when turmoil in Syria created waves of migrants entering Europe at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s behest has proved otherwise. A strong body of evidence from recent history demonstrates that war will only create more refugees, more chaos, more radicalism and more opportunities for terrorism.

Will the removal of Assad’s regime improve peace in the region? Again, the evidence points otherwise. Despite all of his faults, Assad’s regime is a force for secularism in a region where religious extremism is rife.

A Syria without Assad will likely be a theater of chaos where ISIS and other Islamist extremists will fill the power vacuum and turn the country into a training ground for future terrorists – terrorists who may very well come to haunt us within our own shores. We have seen this cycle innumerable times before, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya – let’s not make the same mistake again.

Will an invasion of Syria increase American prosperity? Again, we only need to remind ourselves of the US$6 trillion that was spent in the calamitous debacle known as the Iraq war, likely one of the greatest geopolitical mistakes in recent history.

According to the 2017 US federal budget, spending on Medicare and health totaled $1.17 trillion, transportation was $109 billion, education was $85 billion and science was $32 billion. These numbers are all dwarfed by the amount that we spent on the Iraq war. That amount would have been able to pay for universal medical coverage, a national high-speed-rail system, revamping of our education system and enhanced government support for scientific research many times over.

The hubris of empire

During this period in history where US national debt is soaring past $21 trillion, growing economic insecurity amid ever growing costs of living and unprecedented social and economic divisions are challenging American society, a war in Syria should not even make it to the list of national priorities.

Another war in the Middle East, one in which we depose another secular regime to create a power vacuum for Islamist extremists, will not improve the security of the American public but will endanger it.

Another war in the Middle East will not enhance American prosperity but will only damage it. It will significantly increase American national debt and detract valuable resources away from investing in crucial infrastructure that will be necessary to maintain economic competitiveness.

Another war in the Middle East will bring us face to face to the brink of war with Russia, a major nuclear power, and for what? So we can play judge and kingmaker in the endless geopolitical struggles among Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel in a region that is thousands of kilometers away from our shores?

As any student of history knows, it is through arrogance and hubris that empires fall. It is through the over-extension of power and reckless adventurism, often perpetrated by manipulative elites who use the smokescreens of emotion and anger to fuel public support to further their own goals, that empires are led to the long journey of their own demise.

With the rise of the information age and the vast resource of alternative narratives, there is no excuse for ignorance. There is no excuse for a citizenry to support a national effort that so threatens their own interests.

A war in Syria is clearly not in the American interest, and a major military escalation will only lead to disastrous consequences.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment