On 9/11/2001, Donald Trump did a live phone interview with New York’s WWOR. Digging this up 15 years later, Politico and Mother Jones pointed out how Trump bragged about the new status of his 71-story Trump Tower, “40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually, before the World Trade Center, was the tallest—and then, when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second-tallest. And now it’s the tallest.”
It was a small dig at Trump’s huge vanity. A much more interesting bit from the interview was passed over, however. TruthMakesPeace finally broadcast it on 9/16/16. Trump:
“It wasn’t architectural defect. The World Trade Center was always known as a very, very strong building. Don’t forget that took a big bomb in the basement [in 1993]. Now, the basement is the most vulnerable place because that’s your foundation, and it withstood that, and I got to see that area about three or four days after it took place because one of my structural engineers actually took me for a tour, because he did the building, and I said, ‘I can’t believe it.’ The building was standing solid and half of the columns were blown out, so this was an unbelievably powerful building. If you don’t know anything about structure, it was one of the first buildings that was built from the outside. The steel, the reason the World Trade Center had such narrow windows is that in between all the windows, you had the steel on the outside, so you had the steel on the outside of the building. That’s why when I first looked, and you had these big heavy I-beams, when I first looked at it, I couldn’t believe it because there was a hole in the steel, and this is steel that was… You remember the width of the windows of the World Trade Center, folks. I think you know if you were ever up there, they were quite narrow and in between was this heavy steel. I said how could a plane, even a plane, even a 767 or 747 or whatever it might have been, how could it possibly go through this steel? I happen to think that they had not only a plane, but they had bombs that exploded almost simultaneously, because I just can’t imagine anything being able to go through that wall. Most buildings are built with the steel on the inside around the elevator shaft. This one was built from the outside, which is the strongest structure you can have, and it was almost just like a can of soup.
“I just think that there was a plane with more than just fuel. I think, obviously, they were very big planes. They were going very rapidly, because I was also watching where the plane seemed to be not only going fast, it seemed to be coming down into the building. So it’s getting the speed from going down hill, so to speak. It just seemed to me that to do that kind of destruction is even more than a big plane, because you’re talking about taking out steel, the heaviest caliber steel that was used on the building. Well, these buildings were rock-solid, and you know it’s just an amazing, amazing thing. This country is different today and it’s going to be different than it ever was for many years to come.”
Since there was no official version of what had happened, Trump was not refuting anything, but merely giving his seasoned opinions based on two decades of overseeing skyscrapers being built. Knowing the Twin Towers, Trump couldn’t believe a plane could pierce them, much less bring them down.
Though Trump the builder gave us a frank take on 9/11, Trump the politician has gone full retard with the official version that 19 Muslims somehow did it. More tellingly, the mainstream media have not pressed Trump on this discrepancy. The reason should be obvious. They don’t want you to be swayed by Trump’s expert insights, spoken plainly, on that day.
Instead, the mainstream media have taken Trump to task for each of his 9/11 blunders, real or imagined. A Daily Beast article, “15 Years of Donald Trump’s 9/11 Lies, Insults, and Slights,” faults Trump for not showing enough emotion at the September 11 Memorial and Museum, “Trump proceeded past the faces with no manifest interest. He breezed by a haunting photo of a woman standing at the edge of the monstrous charred hole that an airliner had punched in the uptown side of the North Tower.”
CNN headlined a malapropism, “Donald Trump mixes up ‘9/11’ with ‘7/11.’”
The New Republic and many others mocked Trump for claiming to see, from more than four miles away, “Many people jumped and I witnessed it, I watched that. I have a view—a view in my apartment that was specifically aimed at the World Trade Center.”
They chastised Trump for falsely claiming that thousands of Muslims cheered 9/11 in Jersey City.
Though scrutinizing Trump on 9/11, they stay clear of his preemptive rebuttal of the government’s farcical explanation. Trump himself won’t dig it up, of course, since he’s angling to be the face of this criminal outfit.
Speaking to AIPAC in March of 2016, Trump proudly declared, “I speak to you today as a lifelong supporter and true friend of Israel. I am a newcomer to politics, but not to backing the Jewish state.”
Trump spoke of 9/11 as “perpetrated by the Islamic fundamentalists,” and Palestinians as hating Jews for no apparent reason, “In Palestinian society, the heroes are those who murder Jews. We can’t let this continue. We can’t let this happen any longer. You cannot achieve peace if terrorists are treated as martyrs. Glorifying terrorists is a tremendous barrier to peace. It is a horrible, horrible way to think. It’s a barrier that can’t be broken. That will end and it’ll end soon, believe me.”
When people have their land stolen, their love ones killed and their way of life destroyed, they will fight back, Donald, but you can’t make sense as you’re pandering. Thus, Israel is America’s “cultural brother,” “the only Democracy in the Middle East” and “there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally.”
A most reliable ally in what? Sowing global terror, bankrupting Americans and turning Washington DC into a whorehouse?
Trump the politician couldn’t have brown-nosed Israel more abjectly, “I love the people in this room. I love Israel. I love Israel. I’ve been with Israel so long in terms of I’ve received some of my greatest honors from Israel, my father before me, incredible. My daughter, Ivanka, is about to have a beautiful Jewish baby.”
Though knowing that the War on Terror was a farce from the beginning, Trump is going along with the Muslim blame game. Craving to be president, Trump must kowtow to the Jewish neo-cons and Israel. Far from being an America-first nativist, Trump will continue that Beltway tradition of destroying America financially, politically and even spiritually, all to prop up Israel.
Reconstruction of TWA Flight 800. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Some years ago as I became increasingly aware of the severe dishonesty of our mainstream media on all sorts of controversial topics, I began telling a joke to a few of my friends.
Suppose, I would say, that I happened to be out walking one pleasant afternoon in Palo Alto, and suddenly heard a gigantic explosion in the general direction of Mountain View, soon followed by a huge pillar of smoke rising towards the sky. Being busy with my own work, I might have no time to bother investigating, and merely wondered what surprising story the front pages of my morning newspapers would reveal as the cause behind those dramatic events. But when I eagerly opened those papers the following day, mention of the explosion was nowhere to be found, either on Page One or anywhere else, even in my own local San Jose Mercury News. So unless I somehow persuaded myself that I had simply imagined the whole thing, I would henceforth stop believing anything I read—or failed to read—in my once-trusted news outlets.
I thought my allegorical fable rather amusing, and repeated it on a number of occasions. But quite recently I came across a rough counterpart in real life, a remarkable tale that had almost completely escaped my attention for over twenty years.
When I used to recall the leading events of 1996, what came to mind was Bill Clinton’s triumphant reelection campaign in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing and political overreach by Newt Gingrich’s Congressional Republicans. Perhaps there had also been some sort of plane crash on the East Coast, though none of the details were sharp or memorable in my mind. But in fact, the sudden mid-air explosion of TWA Flight 800 on a New York to Paris route was actually voted the top national news story of that year, ranking above the presidential campaign, while the 230 fatalities made it by far New York’s worst disaster of the twentieth century, and the second worst airline tragedy in American history to that date. Indeed, some journalists at the time suggested that the resulting media coverage had eclipsed that of any other transportation calamity since the sinking of the Titanic almost a century earlier.
I had almost forgotten the story of that doomed airliner when I opened my morning edition of the New York Times in mid-July 2013 and read a short review in the Arts Section, favorably discussing a new television documentary presenting the “conspiracy theory” that the plane had been destroyed by a missile rather than by an accidental fuel tank explosion as the government investigation had firmly concluded at the time, a verdict strongly affirmed by both the news and editorial pages of the Times. I had recently published “Our American Pravda” and an eminent mainstream academic who appreciated my piece soon dropped me a note pointing to a website discussion of the details of the plane crash, about which I knew nothing. Being preoccupied with other matters, I could only glance at the material, which shocked me, but now that I’ve gone back and spent some time on the topic, the story turns out to be a truly remarkable one.
The outline of facts is hardly complicated. Soon after taking off from New York’s JFK Airport on July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800 suddenly exploded in the air just off Long Island. So enormous a loss of life naturally produced an immediate scrambling of numerous federal agencies to investigate the cause, and with widespread fears of terrorism, the FBI launched the largest, most complex investigation in its entire history, deploying some 500 field agents to the area. The investigators soon gathered a copious quantity of seemingly consistent evidence.
Large numbers of local witnesses were immediately interviewed by the swarm of federal agents, with 278 of them reporting that they saw a streak of light, much like a missile, shoot up into the sky in the direction of the aircraft just before the huge explosion. Employees at the local FAA radar installation immediately reported to the government that they had seen what appeared to be a missile closing with the airliner just before it exploded, and other installations produced similar radar records. When tests were eventually performed on the plane wreckage, traces of explosive chemicals were found, exactly the sort used in the warhead of a missile, as well as some reddish-orange chemical residue that a laboratory later identified as likely missile exhaust propellant. An enormous effort was made to locate every possible piece of the wreckage, and for many of these, the contours of the damage indicated an initial explosion external to the plane. Almost immediately after the disaster, a bidding-war allegedly broke out between the national television networks for an amateur home-video showing a missile striking and destroying TWA 800, with the tape eventually being sold for more than $50,000 and briefly broadcast on the MSNBC cable news channel before reportedly being seized as evidence by FBI agents. In addition, a local resident provided a still photo taken at the time showing what seemed to be a missile rising toward the aircraft.
Based on all this initial evidence, many of the early news stories reported that the plane had probably been destroyed by a missile, with widespread speculation about whether the calamity was due to terrorist action or instead accidental “friendly fire” from one of the U.S. naval warships operating in the vicinity. Given the extreme sensitivity of the topic, government officials urged the media to keep an open mind until the full investigation was completed. However, the public debate sometimes turned rancorous, with some individuals soon alleging that a government cover-up was in the works. Eventually, the CIA was brought into the investigation, given its tremendous expertise in certain matters.
After more than a year of detailed research, the government investigation finally concluded that no missile could possibly have been involved, with all the eyewitnesses having been misled by what amounted to an optical illusion caused by the explosion of the aircraft. That explosion itself had been entirely spontaneous, probably caused by a random spark igniting one of the gas tanks. Given the controversy in the case, the CIA helpfully produced a computer animation showing the official reconstruction of the events, which was endlessly broadcast by our news media to explain the disaster to the public. The simulation showed the jetliner spontaneously exploding in mid-air, with no external cause, and just to further clarify matters, the CIA animators also inserted an explanatory message in large text: “There Was No Missile.” The New York Times, and nearly all our other mainstream media repeatedly echoed this same simple conclusion in all their stories and headlines.
The vast majority of our sheep-like population absorbed the simple media message “No Missile” and went back to watching their football games and celebrity music videos, being greatly relieved to know that well-maintained 747 jumbo jets flown by leading national airlines can occasionally explode in mid-air without any external cause.
However, various disgruntled “conspiracy theorists” refused to accept these conclusions, and returned to their “crazy missile conspiracy theories,” thereby earning the hearty ridicule of the entire mainstream media, led by the New York Times. These conspiratorial suspicions even extended to the U.S. navy, which had apparently been staging military exercises in the near vicinity of the calamity, exercises that some claimed including the test-firing of anti-aircraft missiles. Indeed, a local resident later provided a home video clearly showing a missile being fired in that exact same area a few days earlier during previous naval exercises.
The entire remarkable history of this incident is persuasively set forth in a excellent twentieth-anniversary book published earlier this year by investigative journalist Jack Cashill, who has been following the case since the late 1990s, having co-authored a previous book in 2003 and also produced an earlier 2001 television documentary Silenced, now available in its entirely on YouTube.
In addition, the 2013 television documentary by a former CBS producer, whose favorable review by the New York Times marked my first introduction to the topic, was discussed at length and substantially excerpted by NPR‘s Amy Goodman at Democracy Now!
Cashill is strongly affiliated with conservative publications, while someone like Goodman clearly leans toward the left, but the question of whether an American jetliner was destroyed by a missile, and the facts then covered up by the government is a non-ideological matter, so their perspectives seem almost identical.
For anyone having less than absolute faith in the official pronouncements of our government and our media, the likely reality of what happened is hardly difficult to guess, and for those who currently maintain such naivete, I suspect it will quickly dissipate if they choose to watch the documentaries or read the books. But the loss of TWA Flight 800 is surely of no great importance to our country. Accidents do happen. A large and energetic military, eager to test its latest missile weapons, perhaps carelessly and fatally crossed paths with hundreds of unlucky travelers on their way to Paris. Some 30,000 Americans die each year in fatal car crashes, and risks are inevitable in our modern industrial society.
However, from a broader perspective, I believe that the truly horrifying aspect of the incident is the tremendous ease with which our government and its lapdog media managed to so utterly suppress the reality of what had happened—an American jumbo jet shot down by a missile—and did so although this occurred not in some obscure, faraway foreign land, but within the very sight of Steven Spielberg’s home in the exclusive Hamptons, on a flight that had just departed New York City, and despite such overwhelming physical evidence and hundreds of direct eye-witnesses. The successful cover-up is the important story constitutes a central subtext in all of the books and documentaries on the disaster
Given the eyewitness testimony and other factors, it is hardly surprising that many of the initial media stories either directly referred to a missile strike or at least mentioned it as one of the main possibilities, and indeed there is some evidence that top government leaders initially assumed a terrorist attack. But President Bill Clinton was locked in the middle of his reelection campaign, and while the slaughter of Americans by terrorists might unify a nation, disasters brought about by careless military action would surely have had the opposite political impact. So it seems likely that once terrorism was ruled out and the American military believed responsible, a direct order quickly came down from the highest levels to make the missile and all evidence supporting it disappear, with all our supposedly independent federal agencies, especially the FBI, bowing to that primary directive.
As part of the standard investigation, all the debris were gathered and stored at a hangar for examination, but FBI agents were discovered spiriting away some of the most tell-tale pieces, or even caught in the wee hours of the morning hammering them into a shape that would suggest an internal rather than an external explosion. The amateur video showing the missile strike was only briefly broadcast by a cable news channel before being seized by government agents. When an investigative journalist acquired debris containing apparent missile residue and passed it along to a producer at CBS News, the evidence was quickly confiscated, with the journalist and his wife even being arrested, prosecuted, and convicted for violating an obscure law enacted to prohibit bystanders from removing souvenirs from the scene of a disaster; the veteran CBS producer who accepted the material was vilified as a “conspiracy theorist” and soon forced out of her job, her career destroyed. The written FBI reports of 278 eyewitness statements describing the missile attack were completely ignored, and in a number of cases, later statements were actually fabricated, falsely suggesting that crucial witnesses had revised or recanted their earlier testimony.
These particular examples only scratch the surface of the massive amount of coordinated government fraud and deception that was marshalled to make a missile strike seen by hundreds of witnesses officially disappear from the historical record, and transform the destruction of TWA Flight 800 into a rather mysterious and spontaneous mid-air explosion. The New York Times in particular became the primary mouthpiece of the official “See No Missile” party-line, repeatedly denigrating and ridiculing all those who resisted this total rewriting of the facts and history.
This gatekeeper role of the Times in the cover-up became particularly crucial once the high-profile figure of Pierre Salinger entered the controversy. Salinger ranked as a full-fledged member of the political-media establishment elite, having served as President Kennedy’s press secretary and one of the most visible public figures in Camelot, then briefly as an appointed U.S. Senator from California before becoming a prize-winning journalist and the Paris Bureau Chief for ABC News. Himself half-French by birth, he had many connections to the leadership of that country, which was galvanized by the large number of French victims on the flight. French intelligence became involved, quickly acquiring some of the same voluminous missile-related evidence suppressed by its US counterpart, and passed him the information. Cashill notes that Salinger was a loyal Democrat, and perhaps as a consequence he sat on the story until after Clinton was safely reelected in November, then attempted to break it, publishing a long expose in Paris Match, one of France’s highest-circulation popular magazines.
If Salinger had hoped his prestigious standing and long journalistic record would insulate him from attacks, he was sorely mistaken, and instead the threat his stature and credibility posed to the cover-up unleashed an unprecedented barrage of insult, ridicule, and invective, with the New York Times running 18 consecutive articles attacking him, and America’s leading news magazines, Time and Newsweek adding their own denunciations. Such remarkable vilification may have partly been aimed at dissuading any other prominent figures from similarly breaking ranks and following Salinger’s lead in exposing the true facts, and if so, the effort succeeded and the cover-up held.
Prior to Salinger’s regime disloyalty, he had regularly appeared on leading American television news broadcasts and his opinions were treated with the great deference accorded to a highly-respected elder statesman; afterward he was purged and blacklisted, shunned by our elite media as a “conspiracy nut.” Indeed, upon his death a few years later, the disloyalty he had shown to his establishment colleagues seriously tainted his NYT obituary, which closed by describing the “strange turn” he had taken in advocating theories based upon “discredited” evidence.
I don’t doubt that numerous other prominent figures quietly took the lesson of Salinger’s defenestration to heart, much as high-ranking Soviet leaders noted the dire implications of questioning Stalin’s pronouncements. Indeed, I personally know of at least a couple of individuals prominently situated in our current elite establishment whose private views on various controversial topics would surely rank as “utterly conspiratorial” but who remain extremely reluctant to have those views become generally known.
Or take another example, even closer to me. My old friend Bill Odom, the three-star general who had run the NSA for Ronald Reagan, clearly ranked in the upper reaches of the DC national security establishment in the early 2000s, serving as Director of National Security Policies at the Hudson Institute and an adjunct professor at Yale. Yet his strongly discordant views on the Bush response to 9/11 and the preparations for the Iraq War caused him to be totally blacklisted from major media access, reduced to publishing his dissenting opinions on an obscure website or in the pages of small, socialistic quarterlies.
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.
The old Soviet Union was notoriously reluctant to ever acknowledge serious government errors, but its propaganda machinery was of mediocre quality, routinely ridiculed both in the West and among its own citizens. Surely, their Politburo members and Pravda editors would have been green with envy at how easily our own American Regime and its media minions suppressed the true story of TWA Flight 800, shot down by a missile just twelve minutes after it departed JFK Airport in New York City.
© nationaltheatret beklager / YouTube
Tel Aviv has urged the National Theatre of Norway to deny links to and remove a video in which a fake theater official called for a boycott of Israel and its HaBima Theater. The Norwegian theater denied its part but stopped short of criticizing the clip.
While the theater apparently had no role in producing the video, the Israeli Foreign Ministry demanded that it should “clearly and immediately repudiate” the clip, as well as take “necessary measures to have the video removed from every site.”
It went on to compare the video to “the works of the Reich Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, or the Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl,” adding that it is “actively pursuing the matter with all involved parties.”
In response, the National Theater of Norway wrote in a statement published on its website that it was in no way part of making the video, and does not engage in boycotts.
“The article and video are not made by The National Theater of Norway – and do not represent The National Theater of Norway’s attitude – they are an expression of artistic freedom. The National Theater of Norway still has greater faith in collaboration with artists across national borders and from regimes we are critical to, than boycotts and silence,” it wrote.
Although the six-minute video claims to be from the National Theater of Norway, it was actually created by a group of actors from the art project “Monsters of Reality,” which is part of the 2016 International Ibsen Festival.
In the video, a person claiming to be a spokesperson for the theater lashes out against Israel and its occupation of Palestinian territories. She apologizes on behalf of the playhouse, for collaborating with Israel’s HaBima Theater between 2013 and 2015.
“This is a great day for the National Theater of Norway. It is the day when we publicly apologize for our shameful collaboration with HaBima, the national theater of Israel…” the spokesperson says.
She goes on to state that when the theatre agreed to collaborate with Israel, it did not know “what a powerful role HaBima and other Israeli art institutions play in normalizing the Israeli occupation,” calling Israeli art a “tool” for building an image of “a humanistic nation” instead of an “apartheid state.”
She claims the two theatres were collaborating as Israel “executed its horrific bombing over the Gaza strip,” and that the Norwegian one was unaware of HaBima’s alleged role because it did not do “one single piece of research…we didn’t bother to find out.”
“Five-hundred Palestinian children lost their lives while HaBima was busy entertaining Israeli soldiers,” she says.
In conclusion, the woman posing as spokesperson makes three promises on behalf of the theatre. The first is that it will fully support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) of Israel, and cancel its membership with the “politically irresponsible” European Theatre Union.
Next, the spokesperson claims the theatre will dedicate all means of production to “work with the situation in the Middle East” from 2017 to 2019. She even promises that the facility’s director will give 50 percent of her salary to Palestinian theatre in the West Bank and Gaza.
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to “end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law,” according to the Palestinian BDS National Committee’s website.
BDS ‘new face of terrorism’ – Israeli minister
‘Striking similarities between UN definition of genocide and Israeli policies in Palestine’ – Israeli rights activist
Damascus – President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to Associated Press published Thursday, following is the full text:
Journalist: President Assad, thank you very much for this opportunity to be interviewed by the Associated Press.
President Assad: You are most welcome in Syria.
Question 1: I will start by talking about the ceasefire in Syria. Russia, the US, and several countries say a ceasefire could be revived despite the recent violence and the recrimination. Do you agree, and are you prepared to try again?
President Assad: We announced that we are ready to be committed to any halt of operations, or if you want to call it ceasefire, but it’s not about Syria or Russia; it’s about the United States and the terrorist groups that have been affiliated to ISIS and al-Nusra and Al Qaeda, and to the United States and to Turkey and to Saudi Arabia. They announced publicly that they are not committed, and this is not the first attempt to have a halt of operations in Syria. The first attempt was in last February, and didn’t work, I think, because of the United States, and I believe that the United States is not genuine regarding having a cessation of violence in Syria.
Question 2: Do you believe there could ever be a joint US-Russian military partnership against the militants, as outlined in the deal?
President Assad: Again, practically, yes, but in reality, no, because the United States doesn’t have the will to work against al-Nusra or even ISIS, because they believe that this is a card they can use for their own agenda. If they attack al-Nusra or ISIS, they will lose a very important card regarding the situation in Syria. So, I don’t believe the United States will be ready to join Russia in fighting terrorists in Syria.
Question 3: This week, the US has said the coalition attack on Syrian troops was an accident. Do you accept that explanation?
President Assad: No, no. It’s not, because it wasn’t an accident by one airplane for once, let’s say. It was four airplanes that kept attacking the position of the Syrian troops for nearly one hour, or a little bit more than one hour. You don’t commit a mistake for more than one hour. This is first. Second, they weren’t attacking a building in a quartier; they were attacking a huge place constituted of many hills, and there was not terrorist adjacent to the Syrian troops there. At the same time, the ISIS troops or the ISIS militants attacked right away after the American strike. How could they know that the Americans are going to attack that position in order to gather their militants to attack right away and to capture it one hour after the strike? So it was definitely intentional, not unintentional as they claimed.
Question 4: Did Syria or Russia launch the attack on the Red Crescent convoy this week, and should Moscow be held responsible, as the White House has said?
President Assad: No, first of all, there have been tens, maybe, of convoys from different organizations around the world, coming to different areas in Syria for the last few years. It has never happened before, so why to happen now, either by the Russians or the Syrians? No, it’s a claim. And regarding the claim of the White House yesterday, accusing either the Syrians or the Russians. In that regard, I would say whatever the American officials said about the conflicts in Syria in general has no credibility. Whatever they say, it’s just lies and, let’s say, bubbles, has no foundation on the ground.
Question 5: So what happened to the convoy? Who should be held responsible?
President Assad: Those convoys were in the area of the militants, the area under the control of the terrorists. That’s what they should accuse first: the people or the militants, the terrorists who are responsible for the security of this convoy. So, we don’t have any idea about what happened. The only thing that we saw was a video of a burnt car, destroyed trucks, nothing else.
Question 6: Several eyewitnesses have told AP that 20 missiles were launched against the convoy. There is footage of torn bodies. This does not seem as though it would be anything but an attack from the air. Eyewitnesses are also talking about barrel bombs, and as you are aware, your administration has been accused of using barrel bombs in some circumstances. You still think this was an attack from the ground by rebels?
President Assad: Yeah, first of all, even the United Nations said that there were no airstrikes against that convoy. That was yesterday. Second, at the same time of that event, the terrorists were attacking the Syrian troops by missiles. They launched missile attacks, we didn’t respond. Third, you cannot talk about eyewitnesses for such judgment or accusation. What are the credibility of those eyewitnesses, who are they? We don’t know.
Question 7: We have eyewitnesses that were relatives, we have the White Helmets, we have many people saying that they witnessed helicopters in the air. Now, only the Syrians and the Russians have helicopters. Are you saying this is just invented?
President Assad: Those witnesses only appear when there’s an accusation against the Syrian Army or the Russian, but when the terrorists commit a crime or massacre or anything, you don’t see any witnesses, and you don’t hear about those White Helmets. So, what a coincidence. No, actually, we don’t have any interest in doing so for one reason: because if we attack any convoy that’s going to the civilians, we are working for the interest of the terrorists, that will play into their hands directly, in that regard we are pushing the civilians toward the terrorists, we put them in their laps, and we are providing the terrorists with a good incubator, something we wouldn’t do. This is first. Second, we are, as a government, as officials, we are committed morally toward the Syrian people, morally, constitutionally, and legally, to help them in every aspect to have the basic needs for their livelihood.
Question 8: Your administration has denied the use of chemical weapons, of barrel bombs, despite testimony and video and the results of a UN investigation. We also are hearing similar denials about airstrikes on civilians and medical workers. Can this all be false allegations by your opponents?
President Assad: First of all, the first incident of gas use in Syria was in Aleppo about more than three years ago, and we were the ones who invited the United Nations to send a delegation for investigations about the use of chemical weapons, and the United States objected and opposed that action for one reason; because if there’s investigations, they’re going to discover that the terrorists used gas, not the Syrian Army. In that regard, in that case, the United States won’t be able to accuse Syria. That’s why they were opposing that delegation. In every incident, we asked the United Nations to send a delegation, and we are still insisting on that position, that they have to send delegations to make investigation, but the United States is opposing. So, actually, if we’ve been using that, we wouldn’t ask for investigation.
Question 9: To the international community, it seems as though none of the charges or accusations stick, that everything is denied, everything here is ok, by your administration. Do you not feel that that undermines the credibility? In other instances, the Americans for example admitted the attack on the Syrian military was a mistake. Now, you don’t accept that, but from the Syrian administration, all the international community hears is denial.
President Assad: Regarding which issue?
Question 10: Regarding the accusations of violations of human rights, of barrel bombs…
President Assad: Look, if you want to talk about mistakes, every country has mistakes, every government has mistakes, every person has mistakes. When you have a war, you have more mistakes. That’s the natural thing. But the accusations have no foundation regarding Syria. When they talk about barrel bombs, what are barrel bombs?
It’s just a title they use in order to show something which is very evil that could kill people indiscriminately, and as I said, because in the media “when it bleeds, it leads.” They don’t talk about bombs; they call it barrel bombs. A bomb is a bomb, what’s the difference between different kinds of bombs? All bombs are to kill, but it’s about how to use it. When you use an armament, you use it to defend the civilians. You kill terrorists in order to defend civilians. That’s the natural role of any army in the world. When you have terrorists, you don’t throw at them balloons or you don’t use rubber sticks, for example. You have to use armaments. So, it’s not about what the kind of armament, it’s about how to use it, and they want to use it that time to accuse the Syrian Army of killing civilians. We don’t kill civilians, because we don’t have the moral incentive, we don’t have the interest to kill civilians. It’s our people, who support us. If you want to kill the Syrian people, who’s going to support us as a government, as officials? No one. So, in reality, you cannot withstand for five years and more against all those countries, the West, and the Gulf states, the petrodollars, and all this propaganda, the strongest media corporations around the world, if you don’t have the support of your own people. That’s against the reality. So, no, we don’t use it. I wouldn’t say that we don’t have mistakes. Again, that many mistakes that have been committed by individuals, but there’s a difference between a mistake or even a crime that’s been committed by an individual, and between a policy of crime that’s been implemented or adopted by a government. We don’t have such a policy.
Question 11: And yet the hundreds of thousands of Syrians who are fleeing the country, many drowning on the way, many of them say they are fleeing your forces. What exactly are they fleeing if this campaign doesn’t exist, if this campaign of violence, indiscriminate against them…?
President Assad: You have to look at the reality in Syria. Whenever we liberate any city or village from the terrorists, the civilians will go back to the city, while they flee that city when the terrorists attack that area, the opposite. So, they flee, first of all, the war itself; they flee the area under the control of the terrorists, they flee the difficult situation because of the embargo by the West on Syria. So, many people, they flee not the war itself, but the consequences of the war, because they want to live, they want to have the basic needs for their livelihood, they don’t have it. They have to flee these circumstances, not necessarily the security situation itself. So, you have different reasons for the people or the refugees to leave Syria. Many many of them supported the government in the recent elections, the presidential elections, in different countries. So, that’s not true that they left Syria because of the government, and those accusations mean that the government is killing the people, while the terrorists, mainly Al Qaeda and al-Nusra and other Al Qaeda-affiliated organizations or groups protected the civilians. Is that the accusation? No-one can believe it, actually.
Question 12: Let’s turn our attention to the people that can’t flee, the people who are in besieged cities around Syria. For example, Aleppo. To go back to the ceasefire agreement, aid was supposed to get into the city, but you did not hold up your end of the agreement. Why was that, and how can you really justify withholding aid to cities?
President Assad: Again, if we talk about the last few years, many aid convoys came to different cities, so why does the Syrian government prevent a convoy from coming to Aleppo for example, while allowing the others to reach other areas? This is contradiction, you cannot explain it, it’s not palatable. This is first. Second, if you look at the others areas under the control of the terrorists, we’re still sending vaccines from the Syrian government’s budget, we’re still sending salaries to the employees from the Syrian government’s budget. So, how can we do this and at the same time push the people toward starvation in other areas? More importantly, the terrorists who left liberated areas under what you call reconciliation or certain agreements in different areas, they left to fight with other terrorists in Syria while they send their families to live under the supervision of the government. Why didn’t we put those families to starvation? So, this is contradicting, I mean what you’re talking about is contradicting the reality, and we don’t contradict ourselves.
Question 13: But the world saw the reality of Aleppo. There were UN convoys of aid that were not allowed into the city. Are you denying that that was the case?
President Assad: The situation has been like this for years now. If there’s really a siege around the city of Aleppo, people would have been dead by now. This is first. Second, more importantly, they’ve been shelling the neighboring areas and the positions of the Syrian Army for years, non-stop shelling of mortars and different kinds of lethal bombs. How could they be starving while at the same time they can have armaments? How can we prevent the food and the medical aid from reaching that area and we cannot stop the armaments form reaching that area, which is not logical?
Question 14: So what is your message to the people to Aleppo, who are saying the opposite, that they are hungry, that they are suffering malnutrition, that there are no doctors, that doctors have been targeted and killed in airstrikes, that they are under siege and they are dying? What is your message to them?
President Assad: You can’t say “the people of Aleppo” because the majority of the people of Aleppo are living in the area under the control of the government, so you cannot talk about the people of Aleppo. If you want to talk about some who allegedly are claiming this, we tell them how could you still be alive? Why don’t you have, for example, an epidemic, if you don’t have doctors? How could you say that we attacked, they accuse Syria of attacking hospitals, so you have hospitals and you have doctors and you have everything. How could you have them? How could you have armaments? That’s the question. How can you get armaments to your people, if you claim that you have people and grassroots while you don’t have food? They have to explain; I don’t have to explain. The reality is telling.
Question 15: Yet, they say the opposite. They say they are surviving on whatever they can, on meager means, and they are a city under siege. You do not accept that Aleppo is a city under siege with people starving and hungry?
President Assad: Again, how can I prevent the food, and not prevent the armament? Logically, how? If I can prevent food, I should be able to prevent armaments. If I don’t prevent armaments, that means everything else will pass to Aleppo.
Question 16: Have you been to Aleppo recently? Will you go to Aleppo?
President Assad: Of course I will go.
Question 17: And how does it feel for you to see the devastation in parts of what was known as the jewel of Syria?
President Assad: Devastation is painful, of course, but we can rebuild our country. We’re going to do that. Someday the war will stop. The most painful is the devastation of the society, the killing, the blood-shedding, something we live with every hour and every day. But how would I think? I think when I see those pictures how would Western officials feel when they look at this devastation and these killing pictures and they know that their hands are stained with their blood, that they committed the crime directly in killing those people and destroying our civilization. That’s what I think about.
Question 18: Yet, to the outside world, it feels as though the end justifies any means in your war on terror. Do you accept that?
President Assad: They don’t have morals, of course. This is a Machiavellian principle; the end justifies the means. We don’t accept it, no. Your policy should be a mixture between your interests and how you reach your ends, but based on values. It cannot be only the end justifies the means, because for the criminals, ends justify the means, for thieves, for every illegal and immoral action, the end justifies the means. That’s exactly what you mentioned in your question, this is the base, the foundation of the Western policy around the world these days.
Question 19: What is your message to the Syrians who have fled the country? Some of them didn’t make it, others did. Do you call on them to come back, do you expect them to come back?
President Assad: Of course. It’s a loss, it’s a great loss. The worst loss for any country is not the infrastructure or the buildings or the material loss; actually, it’s the human resources loss, something we want to see coming back to Syria, and I’m sure that the majority of those Syrians who left Syria, they will go back when the security and when the life goes back to its normality and the minimal requirements for livelihood will be affordable to them, they will go back. I am not worried about this.
Question 20: Do you have any expectation of when that will happen, when Syria will be pacified to some degree that they can come back?
President Assad: If we look at it according to the internal Syrian factors, I would say it’s very soon, a few months, and I’m sure about that, I’m not exaggerating, but when you talk about it as part of a global conflict and a regional conflict, when you have many external factors that you don’t control, it’s going to drag on and no-one in this world can tell you when but the countries, the governments, the officials who support directly the terrorists. Only they know, because they know when they’re going to stop supporting those terrorists, and this is where the situation in Syria is going to be solved without any real obstacles.
Question 21: So, let’s just dwell on that point for a moment. Do you believe that within a couple of months the situation in Syria will have dramatically changed in your favor to the point that refugees can come back?
President Assad: No, because I don’t believe that in a couple of months Erdogan and the United States regime, and the Western regimes in general, and of course Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are going to stop the support of the terrorists. I don’t see it in the next two months.
Question 22: So how can you really incite Syrians to come back in two months as you said?
President Assad: I said if there are no external factors. I said if you look at it as an isolated case, as a Syrian case, which is theoretical, I mean, this is where you can say that in few months you can solve it. But now you’re talking about an arena which is part of the international and regional arena, not isolated. So, this is why I said no-one has the answer when will it end.
Question 23: It’s now one year since Russia got involved in the war. Before the intervention you were losing territory and control. Did you ever feel like you were losing the war?
President Assad: We didn’t look at it that way, to lose the war, because whenever you have Syrians working with the terrorists, it’s a loss. How to lose the war, this is hypothetical question, to be frank. It’s not about your feeling; it’s about the reality. In the war, you lose areas, but you recapture another area. So, it is difficult to tell whether you are losing or gaining or it was a standstill. No-one has this answer. But definitely, after the Russian intervention and supporting the Syrian Army, legally of course, we felt much much better. We captured many main cities, many main positions at the expense of the terrorists’ areas.
Question 24: Even if you were to win the war, what would be left of your country and Syrian society? Will you have to think again about the prospect of a partition in Syria?
President Assad: No, we never thought about it, and the majority in Syria don’t believe in this, and I don’t think the reality, in spite of this savage war, has created the atmosphere for such partition. Actually, in many areas, the social situation is much better, because when you want to talk about partition you need to find these borders between the social communities. You cannot have partition only on political bases or geographic bases. It should be social first of all when the communities do not live with each other. As a result of the war, many Syrians understand that the only way to protect your country is to live with each other with integration, not only in coexistence, which is actually more precise to call cohabitation, when people interact and integrate with each other on daily basis in every detail. So, I think in this regard I am more assured that Syria will be more unified. So, the only problem now that we face is not the partition, but terrorism.
Question 25: And yet you are not seen as a unifying force in Syria; people think that the society is torn apart. Just to use one example, on a personal level, you trained as a doctor and yet your administration stands accused of targeting medical and rescue workers as they race to save lives. How do you make peace with this?
And is this a society that, after suffering such consequences, can really just forget the past and move on?
President Assad: I cannot answer that question while it’s filled with misinformation. Let us correct it first. We don’t attack any hospital. Again, as I said, this is against our interests. If you put aside the morals, that we do not do it morally, if I put it aside, I am talking about now, let’s say, the ends justify the means, if I want to use it, we don’t have interest. This is how we can help the terrorists if we attack hospitals, schools, and things like this. Of course, whenever you have a war, the civilians and the innocents will pay the price. That’s in any war, any war is a bad war. There is no good war. In any war, people will pay the price, but I’m talking about the policy of the government, of the army; we don’t attack any hospital. We don’t have any interest in attacking hospitals. So, what is the other part of the question? Sorry, to remind me.
Question 26: That’s ok, that fits into the general question, but I would like to follow up with: others say the opposite, including medical workers and including the Syrian White Helmets. If you value their work, racing to the scene of whatever it may, to try and save lives, does that mean you would support the recent nomination of the White Helmets for a Nobel Peace Prize?
President Assad: It is not about the White Helmets, whether they are credible or not, because some organizations are politicized, but they use different humanitarian masks and umbrellas just to implement certain agenda. But, generally if you want to talk about the humanitarian support, how can I attack hospitals while I am sending vaccines, for example? Just explain it. You tell me two different things, two contradicting things; one that I am talking about is reality, because everybody knows that we are sending vaccines, the other one is that we are attacking hospitals. They do not match.
Question 27: Would you support them for a Nobel Peace Prize?
President Assad: Who?
Question 28: The White Helmets.
President Assad: What did they achieve in Syria? And how un-politicized is the Nobel Prize? That’s the other question. So, if I get an answer to these two questions, I can answer you. But I would only give a prize to whoever works for the peace in Syria, first of all by stopping the terrorists from flowing towards Syria, only.
Question 29: My last question: The US election is now just a few weeks away. How do you expect that a Clinton or Trump presidency would differ in terms of US policy towards Syria, and specifically towards you?
President Assad: The problem with every American candidate regarding the presidency, I am not talking only about this campaign or elections, but generally, that they say something during the campaign and they do the opposite after the campaign. As we see now the American officials, they say something in the morning and they do the opposite in the evening. So, you cannot judge those people according to what they say. You cannot take them at their words, to be frank. We don’t listen to their statements, we don’t care about it, we don’t believe it. We have to wait till they become presidents, we have to watch their policy and their actions and their behaviors. We do not have a lot of expectations, we never had. We have hopes that we can see rational American presidents; fair, obey the international law, deal with other countries according to mutual respect, parity, etc., but we all know that this is only wishful thinking and fantasy.
Journalist: Thank very much, President Assad.
President Assad: Thank you.