Bullies and career-wreckers target professor Joy Karega at Oberlin College
An Open Letter to Marvin Krislov, President of Oberlin College, Following the Suspension of Dr. Joy Karega for Publishing References to Alleged “Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories” on Facebook
10 August, 2016
Dear President Krislov;
I want to include my voice among the many that have chosen to comment on the treatment extended to Dr. Joy Karega, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Oberlin College. Dr. Karega is a promising young Black scholar with a new Ph.D.. She finds herself in her present dilemma employed at an institution that advertises itself as a champion of Black equality ever since Oberlin’s involvement in the anti-slavery struggle before the US Civil War.
A report published in Israel on the simmering Karega-Krislov affair includes the text of a letter said to emanate from 174 Oberlin faculty members. All but a few of those that ratified the statement criticizing Dr. Karega’s controversial Facebook posts chose to remain anonymous. This wish to exact professional retribution by colleagues not willing to accept their own personal and professional accountability for a career-wrecking collective intervention speaks of a serious problem in Oberlin’s academic culture. It also illustrates a more pervasive ethical malady plaguing the halls of North American higher education, a sickness that extends far beyond your school or the scope of the Karega-Krislov affair.
Florida Atlantic University is one of those schools where the collapse of academic integrity is far advanced. Central to this collapse is the demise of the core mission of higher education, namely independent inquiry aimed at distinguishing truth from falsehood no matter how threatening this process might be to the status quo.
Tenured Communication Professor, James Tracy, is engaged in suing FAU in a dispute originating in unsubstantiated accusations treating the academic’s important original research and publications on the Sandy Hook debacle as “conspiracy theories.” The creep of the weaponized term, “conspiracy theory,” into academic useage is a telling marker of the insidious submission of universities to masters intent on suppressing those truths incompatible with their agendas of profit and power.
The terminology of “conspiracism” creates the basis for arbitrary blockage of academic work that might menace entrenched power.
With an eye towards Oberlin’s treatment of alleged “conspiracy theorist” Dr. Karega, Prof. Tracy has written about imposed “strictures” that
characterize and define the modern state of academe and its often gutless approach to today’s most urgent social and political problems. Intellectuals recognize as a right of passage how they must tiptoe around concrete geopolitical and historical realities, lest they draw the ire of today’s thought police and face the potential consequences: financial deprivation and professional ruin. In this way what was once higher education has become yet another racket for high finance.
Where Is the Evidence?
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper has published the text of the Oberlin professors’ letter that is advertised as emanating from a “majority” of faculty members. The supposed majority has opted not to remain silent even as most of its members “tiptoe around concrete geopolitical and historical realities.” Their irresponsible refusal to allow their names to be published amounts to an unwillingness to accept personal accountability for their group action directed at discrediting an academic colleague. The core of the faculty members’ statement is that
Bigotry has no place on the Oberlin campus (or anywhere). It sullies the values of equality and mutual support that are embedded in our institutional DNA as the first coeducational college and the first to admit students of all races as a matter of policy. It undermines our classrooms as places where students and faculty accord each other the deep respect required for the exercise of free and open expression and the development of reasoned analysis grounded in evidence.
Your school’s decision to suspend with pay Dr. Karega’s teaching and advising responsibilities does not seem to me to be in line with the conditions required for “free and open expression and the development of reasoned analysis grounded in evidence.” I have looked long and hard through the considerable volume of information published on this matter on-line to discover that there is not yet much serious discussion of the actual evidence supporting or negating Dr. Karega’s pronouncements in the highlighted Facebook posts.
This neglect of issues of evidence and proof is especially stark in The Tower, an aggressively partisan publication created by “The Israel Project.” I have not been able to find a coherent explanation on-line of what The Israel Project, also referred to as TIP, actually is. The Tower has tended to lead and arguably also to create the Karega-Krislov story.
The Tower’s narrative is then picked up by other larger publications like The New York Times, The New York Post and Haaretz. One Tower headline presented a summary of Dr. Karega’s contested posts, indicating “Oberlin Professor Claims That Israel Was Behind 9/11, ISIS, Charlie Hebdo Attack.” Another biased and sensationalistic headline in a publication entitled Forward proclaims, “Inside the Twisted Anti-Semitic Mind of Oberlin Professor Joy Karega.”
This pattern of condemning Dr. Karega without any proof that she is wrong in her assertions extends to the anonymous Faculty letter and to a similar statement by Oberlin’s Board of Trustees. You yourself, Dr. Krislov, mirror and replicate this propensity. Even before you decided to suspend Dr. Karega’s teaching you introduced your own unsubstantiated assumptions that Dr. Karega is necessarily misguided and unjustified in all her assertions. Why is she wrong? The answer seems to be…. Well she just is. Everyone knows. How does everyone know? Well…. We just do. Where is your evidence to back up your conclusions? Where is the evidence on which to base “reasoned analysis”? Where are proper definitions of the language you deploy like juridical markers of a proven crime?
What do you mean when you associate Dr. Karega with “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories?” What is your theory of conspiracy and of anti-Semitism? Are theories about conspiracies ever legitimate in your view? What are the criteria? How can the mission of the Liberal Arts be accomplished without the development of theories, including those theories that speak to issues of power and how it is exercised? Who can deny that influential interests, entities and individuals sometimes conspire secretly and outside the law to achieve shared goals? Aren’t you guilty of deploying a propaganda term that has been deviously engineered to block, rather than promote, reasoned exchange on subjects of core importance to the future of higher education and of civilization itself?
The Contrasting Experiences of Dr. Kevin Barrett and Dr. Philip Zelikow Post-9/11
Dr. Kevin Barrett has followed closely what he refers to as a witch hunt on Dr. Karega. A Muslim convert himself and a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies, Dr. Barrett is a martyr who was notoriously nailed to the cross of anti-intellectual vigilantism in 2006. Dr. Barrett lost his teaching position as a Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin after Fox News and publicity-seeking politicians succeeded in hounding the custodians of higher education into sabotaging the principles of free speech and academic freedom. Are you giving way to similar intimidation, Dr. Krislov?
Dr. Barrett was fired from the University of Wisconsin for doing his job too conscientiously. He included in his broad-ranging introductory survey course on Islam a new topic highlighting the impact on Muslims of 9/11. To have not incorporated this subject in his curriculum would have been to fail to maintain the contemporary relevance of his course. All people, but especially Muslims the world over, have been profoundly impacted by what happened in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001.
An internal review at the University of Wisconsin found that Dr. Barrett had been conscientious in providing a range of perspectives of the subject of 9/11. Dr. Barrett was at the time a skeptical critic of the government’s account of 9/11 but that did not deter him from presenting various perspectives on the event, including those outlined in 2004 by the Bush government’s highly politicized 9/11 Commission Report.
It should be noted that the conclusions of this investigation, drafted by Prof. Philip Zelikow, were based on supposed “evidence” obtained by the CIA in secret “dark sites” through domestically and internationally outlawed torture. Is the making of public policy based on evidence obtained through torture even legal, let alone ethical? When lawmakers sanction legislation and policy produced by evidence obtained through torture, are they complicit in heinous international crimes? Are there any professional sanctions that should be imposed on Prof. Zelikow, a historian expert in the deployment of public mythology to influence public attitudes and opinion?
Evidence-Based Interpretation or Conspiracy Theory?
Since 2006 Dr. Barrett has established himself in the United States and internationally as a leading expert among the broad constituency that has conducted independent research on 9/11 and related subjects. I make this assessment as a Full Professor of Liberal Education and Globalization Studies at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada.
I have taken some of my leads in my own academic work on 9/11 and related subjects from Dr. Barrett as well as from the writings and talks of professors David Ray Griffin, Graeme MacQueen, Michel Chossudovsky, Peter Dale Scott, Steven E. Jones, John McMurtry, Richard B. Lee, Niels Harritt, Michael Keefer, Richard Falk, Barrie Zwicker and many others. From this starting point of reading the peer-reviewed and journalistic literature, I have conducted my own independent scholarly research on some of the same subjects addressed in Dr. Karega’s media-highlighted Facebook posts.
I have published my findings on these matters in a number of venues including the peer-reviewed volume, Earth into Property: Colonization, Decolonization, and Capitalism. The narrative is a global history from 1492 until the time of publication. It includes my account of the genesis of the 9/11 Truth movement in which Dr. Barrett played a significant part. Published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, Earth into Property was chosen by The Independent in UK as one of the best history books published in the English-speaking world in 2010. The Journal of the American Library Association, Choice, described Earth into Property as “a scholarly tour de force.”
In Earth into Property I outlined my understanding of 9/11 and its outgrowth in the so-called Global War on Terror. I integrated this analysis into an historical interpretation going back to the American Indian Wars and before. Like other imperial assaults on Indigenous peoples the world over, the US invasions of the North American Indian Country were justified in the name of the assumed imperative of “civilization” to ascend over “savagery.” This justification for genocide and land grabs is very similar to the justifications of imperial Israel’s expansionism with massive US military backing, all in the name of “fighting terror.”
The imagery of Islamic jihadists is regularly mainstreamed into the mental environment by many of the same media venues currently attempting to smear Dr. Karega’s reputation with a vengeance. This psychological operation plays on many of the same themes as those deployed by the authors of the US Declaration of Independence who referred to “merciless Indian savages.” America’s founding manifesto racially profiled the victims of the original American genocide much as Muslims collectively are now being profiled in the hate-inciting propaganda of the Zionist-driven Islamophobia Industry.
In the current media-induced environment of psychological paralysis, it is made to seem like the steady flow of violent events in, for instance, Nice, Munich, Orlando, and San Bernardino emanate from the actions of Islamic jihadists acting alone. It is made to seem that their sole motivation is that of religious zealotry and an irrational hatred of “Western freedoms.” This cartoon-like depiction for TV-addicted folks disguises the role in contemporary geopolitics of mercenary proxy armies fighting under Islamic flags. Funded, armed and logistically backed by the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and various other governments and corporations, these mercenary forces give justification to military adventurism of war profiteers abroad, police state and surveillance state incursions at home.
The governments of USA and Israel, the dominant, heavily nuclearized superpowers in this imperial system, do much of their aggression and intrigue through their own network of proxies, puppet governments and corporate clients including Qatar, Canada, UK, France and Exxon Mobil. This imperial coalition is at once backing, while concurrently seeming to fight, the so-called “Islamic State.”
In the effort to overthrow the Assad government of Syria, the inheritors of the Anglo-American empire are openly assisting their intelligence agencies’ offshoot, namely al-Qaeda. A creation of the CIA and Pakistani intelligence in Afghanistan, the very group blamed for 9/11 from the very first hour of the debacle is now declared to be a US ally.
What chain of events led former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barack to pin 9/11 on Osama bin Laden and to call for a “concerted war on terror” at the London studios of the BBC on the morning of 9/11? He laid out this scenario even before the Twin Towers burst into pulverized clouds of dust and vapor. How is it that the very group, al-Qaeda, immediately blamed for 9/11 without any investigation whatsoever, has now morphed into one of the “moderate rebel” groups backed by those seeking to overthrow the government led Bashir al-Assad? What is wrong with this picture? Plenty.
Wikileaks has recently added new evidence in the form of hacked US State Department E-Mails to support the interpretation that the Israeli and US superpowers are primary sponsors of proxy armies regularly depicted in the Western media as Islamic jihadists. It has been widely reported that Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, has been developing a documentary record demonstrating the connections linking Hillary Clinton’s role in the overthrow and mob murder of Muammar Gaddafi to the transfer of armaments to proxy forces fighting under various Islamic flags in Syria and Iraq.
This sequence of connections is now clearly a matter of public record. Nevertheless the evidence of what is actually going on is not reflected in the media campaigns of Israeli-backed propaganda agencies such as those being orchestrated by Rita Katz’s SITE Intelligence, an extension of the Rand Corporation.
The Academic Martyrdom Club
The overwhelming weight of evidence points, therefore, to the conclusion that Dr. Karega’s characterization of the behind-the-scenes genesis of 9/11 and the Islamic State are, at the very least, plausible. Will the lynch mob mentality that is being incited inside and outside Oberlin College be allowed to run its course to strangle the career of a young academic?
As I see it, Dr. Karega’s Facebook posts suggest that this scholar of anti-apartheid and decolonization studies has shown herself strong enough and intellectually capable enough to stroll through, rather than “tiptoe around, concrete geopolitical and historical realities.” Unlike her 174 Oberlin colleagues, most of whom chose to hide their identity rather than take academic responsibility for their professional actions, Dr. Karega is showing a capacity to stand behind what she teaches and publishes no matter how inconvenient to entrenched interests.
Those who assume Dr. Karega to be wrong, including many of her fearful, duck-and-cover colleagues at Oberlin College, must reckon with the reality that a considerable weight of evidence is on the side of the besieged Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition. The position that Dr. Karega is actually closer to the truth than her critics is edified by the dubious resort of many of her detractors to ad hominem attacks and ill-defined propaganda terms like “anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist.”
This kind of weaponized language has everything to do with marginalizing dissenting voices and nothing to do with “according each other the deep respect required for the exercise of free and open expression and the development of reasoned analysis grounded in evidence.”
Better, much better is expected especially of those of us with tenured academic positions. It is during our watch that, as Prof. James Tracy puts it, what was “once higher education is becoming yet another racket for high finance.” What are the forces that are undermining the will or the capacity of faculty with the protection of tenure to rise to the higher level of our professional academic calling?
How many of us have been enticed away from the academic quest for truth as an end in itself to pursue grants and contracts and media engagements? How many of us have sought the rewards of money, fame or professional tranquility by taking the side of power, by veering away from lines of research, publication and teaching that involve the bringing to light of controversial interpretations inconvenient to power?
What is the impact on our colleagues of the examples being set through the persecution of, for instance, Kevin Barrett or James Tracy or Steven Salaita or Ward Churchill or Rabab Abdulhadi or the latest pilloried nominee for the academic martyrdom club, Joy Karega? They are some of the more prominent examples of those that have left the safety of officially-sanctioned narratives to study the deep politics of current configurations of power.
What are we to make of the fact that our Black, Muslim, Palestinian, and Native American colleagues seem to face disproportionately high levels of professional persecution? How can faculty members best address this increasingly blatant failure of the academy to live up to the higher calling of our profession, to transcend intimidation of thought police in order to advance the ideals of truth, justice, equality, peace and ecological sanity?
Patterns of Persecution
The tidal wave of new revelations and disclosures in this age of pervasive digitalized information has vindicated many of the positions that Dr. Barrett began developing in 2006 when the academic career of this promising Muslim scholar was wrongfully sabotaged. Will the same kind of premature rush to judgment in the Barrett case at the University of Wisconsin now extend to the Karega-Krislov matter at Oberlin College? Will the rule of political expediency continue to prevail over the protection of free speech and academic freedom?
Will Oberlin College continue to act in defiance of the traditions it claims to represent? Will your school continue siding with power to further the repression of an important academic voice giving expression to the struggle for justice by those who Frantz Fanon once described as the wretched of the earth? Dr. Karega’s academic work on the liberation struggles of marginalized people is being pushed farther to the margins. Can there be any doubt that her marginalization is further empowering those who have superior access to media, money and political influence?
The smear campaign directed at Dr. Joy Karega is part of a very elaborate effort by thought police targeting free speech and academic freedom on many campuses throughout North America and beyond. The primary objective is to silence criticism of Israel for its imperial policies but especially its malicious and often lethal treatment of Palestinian people. Dr. Karega is one of those that has connected the dots to associate the underlying impetus of the Global War on Terror with a Zionist-driven effort to demonize in the public’s imagination not only Palestinians but Muslim and Arab peoples the world over.
Sociology Professor William I. Robinson has presented a very broad and illuminating overview of the methodology being deployed to constrain free speech and open academic debate on university campuses throughout North America. His analysis emanates from his own professional experience as a target of an effort to purge this senior sociology professor, a Jew himself, from his tenured position at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The attack on Prof. Robinson and his academic work emanated from an elaborate complex of Israel-First Zionist organizations inside and outside the Santa Barbara campus of University of California.
The attacks came after Prof. Robinson was openly critical of the Israeli military assault in 2009 in Operation Cast Lead on the Gaza enclave. Some have described Gaza under Israeli occupation as a prison complex to contain Palestinian inmates. Prof. Robinson describes the tactics of recrimination used against him as follows:
The persecution to which I was subjected involved a litany of harassment, slander, defamation of character and all kinds of threats against the university by outside forces if I was not dismissed, as well as hate mail and death threats from unknown sources. More insidiously, it involved a shameful collaboration between a number of university officials and outside forces from the Israel lobby as the university administration stood by silently, making a mockery of academic freedom.
The disciplinary procedure initiated against me by UCSB officials involved a host of irregularities, violations of the university’s own procedures, breaches of confidentiality, denial of due process, conflicts of interest, failure of disclosure, improper political surveillance, abuses of power and position, unwarranted interference in curriculum and teaching and so on. As I would discover during the course of the ordeal, individuals inside the university and in positions of authority had linked up with agents of the lobby outside the university in setting out to prosecute me.
It seems this same pattern of treatment, one which has been re-enacted frequently with some variations throughout many centers of higher education, is underway now in the Karega-Kristov matter at Oberlin College. One major difference is that, as a younger professor, Dr. Karega is still in the process of establishing herself professionally. Dr. Karega is at a particularly vulnerable stage in her career. As Prof. Robinson observes, “across the country whenever such persecutions are launched the burden falls on those that are targeted to defend themselves, often tying up the individual’s time and life for months and generating great emotional stress.”
The Robinson case attracted much attention nationally and internationally. Many students and professors organized themselves to create a Committee for Academic Freedom. One of the more vocal members of this committee was Prof. Richard Falk, a Professor of International Law at Princeton University and formerly UN Special Rapporteur on Israeli Treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
The effort to pressure the university administration to terminate Prof. Robinson was dropped once the organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, threatened to sue the protagonists seeking recriminations. About the broader context of propaganda and geopolitics surrounding the improper professional assault against him, Prof. Robinson has written,
The Israeli army is the fifth most potent military machine in the world and one that is backed by a propaganda machine that rivals and may well surpass that of the US, a machine that dares to make the ludicrous and obnoxious claim that opposition to the policies and practices of the Israeli state is anti-Semitism. It should be no surprise that a state founded on the negation of a people was one of the principal backers of the apartheid South African state not to mention of the Latin American military dictatorships until those regimes collapsed under mass protest…..
The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement, BDS, in Israel-First Interventions on Campus
One important facet of the worldwide resistance to the Israeli government’s current imperial policies is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, BDS. Prof. Robinson stresses the growing strength of the BDS movement especially among Palestinian-support groups on university campuses. This growing strength is cited as one of the primary reasons why Israel-First organizations in North America are targeting institutions of higher education.
Dr. Karega supports the BDS movement, as do a number of Oberlin students including some Jewish students. I would go so far as to surmise that she sees this global campaign as an important extension of the resistance of people and peoples to the colonizing incursions of those at the commanding heights of power over banking, media, intelligence agencies and armed forces.
Campus Watch, the AMCHA Initiative, the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Campus Outreach, the Zionist Organization of America, Stand With Us, Israel on Campus Coalition, Hillel, the American Jewish Congress, and David Horowitz’s FrontPage are some of the Zionist-directed agencies that are destroying the atmosphere of free, open and respectful discourse in our institutions of higher learning.
One of the most active of the groups is Campus Watch, one of Daniel Pipes’ primary agencies of intervention at universities. Its primary technique for wreaking havoc on campus is to quarterback the proliferation of student complaints as a means of initiating attacks like those directed, for instance, at professors Robinson and Karega. About this method of assaulting academic freedom, Will Youmans has written,
Campus-Watch encourages students to snitch on their professors. It has a whole section dedicated to student reports. Campus-Watch is essentially forming a paramilitary thought police, a private TIPS program for pro-Israeli advocates.
In a Counterpunch article entitled “David Horwitz’s Corrosive Projects” Paul De Rooji observes
The Hasbara Manual, a 131-page propaganda manual, was distributed to US-zionist campus organizations; it lists many techniques to whitewash Israel, and to defuse the message of its critics. Two of its key recommendations are to: (1) “attack the messenger and not the message”, and (2) to “gain points” with the public targets by “manipulating,” and diverting them from “rationality,” “real examination,” and “thinking critically”. Well now, this is a splendid explanation for the role FrontPage and Campus-Watch play in the US today. Much of what these organizations do is smearing and undermining rational discussion of a range of issues…….
FrontPage is not merely a contributor to the “marketplace of ideas,” it is a wrecking operation comparable with the book-burners of yesteryear. It is also a mistaken conception to think that we just encounter a “marketplace of ideas”, but a more accurate understanding of our society is that we are confronted with a “battleground of ideas”, and here there is no room for complacency and neutrality…
Horowitz’s FrontPage rag is the equivalent of the village idiot gaining control of the megaphone.
In their investigation of “The Trial of Israel’s Campus Critics,” in Tikkun magazine, David Theo Goldberg and Sariee Makdisi provide another telling characterization of the notorious Hasbara Handbook. They write
The Hasbara Handbook offers several other propaganda devices, all of which can be seen vividly at play in the coverage of the UCLA Gaza panel and other similar events, including, again, the Robinson affair. “Creating negative connotations by name calling is done to try to get the audience to reject a person or idea on the basis of negative associations, without allowing a real examination of that person or idea,” the handbook states with remarkable bluntness, in advocating that tactic. It also suggests using the opposite of name calling, to defend Israel by what it calls the deployment of “glittering generalities” (words like “freedom,” “civilization,” “democracy”) to describe the country; manipulating the audience’s fears (“listeners are too preoccupied by the threat of terrible things to think critically about the speaker’s message”); and so on. The point of all this is not to use arguments backed by reason and evidence. It is, instead, to manipulate (the handbook’s own term) an audience precisely in order not to examine arguments, not to think critically about what is being said. Which is a rather remarkable approach for a book intended for a university audience.
One of those academics that has faced the full force of this kind of professional harassment described in detail by Prof. Robinson is Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies/Race Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University. Like Dr. Karega and Dr. Barrett, Prof. Abdulhadi has been the target of “ritual defamation.”
Prof. Abdulhadi described in 2014 the nature of the obstacles put in her way to develop research alliances in the Middle East with Palestinian colleagues. She writes:
Baseless accusations of anti-Semitism and support for terrorism have had devastating impacts on me and other members of the university community. Students and faculty have been consumed by defending our right to speak freely. These smear campaigns can affect our future and career opportunities and subject us to unwarranted government scrutiny of our speech activities.
Contextualizing Dr. Kevin Barrett’s Unanswered Letter to the President of Oberlin College
Where does Oberlin reside in the historic struggle between those on the delivering and receiving sides of imperial globalization? I am aware you face criticism from those who allege you have not been active enough in taking the side of those that seem to be prevailing in this test of institutional influence. A headline in the unabashedly Zionist publication, the Tablet, for instance alleges, “How Oberlin Repeatedly Failed to Confront Anti-Semitism on Campus.”
There can be no doubt about where Dr. Kevin Barrett has situated himself in a world where the struggle between the forces of colonization and decolonization are as animated as ever. Since 2008 I have looked to Dr. Barrett as a martyred academic colleague. I became aware of Dr. Barrett through my now-deceased friend and colleague, Splitting The Sky.
STS was a Native American sovereigntist, a Mohawk activist and a remarkable human being. In 2009 Splitting The Sky attempted a citizen’s arrest, for war crimes, of George W. Bush in Calgary, Alberta. This action led to a trial where a group of us attempted to hold the former US president accountable for his war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Splitting The Sky was an avid student of the 9/11 false flag terror event and a regular guest on Dr. Barrett’s Truth jihad radio show. The Mohawk activist insisted I address the evidence of 9/11, initiating a process that led to my current professional interaction with one of the most articulate voices in the 9/11 Truth Movement.
Since 2008 I have collaborated professionally with Dr. Barrett. This collaboration led in late 2015 to my co-hosting with Dr. Barrett a regular survey of contemporary events for No Lies Radio. The program is titled False Flag Weekly News. On FFWN we have covered and will continue to cover Oberlin’s treatment of Dr. Karega and the controversy it is arousing.
I have also contributed essays to Dr. Barrett’s publishing projects including two recent edited books on the two false flag terror events in Paris in 2015. One essay is entitled “Witch Hunt on Terrorism.” The second is entitled “Academic Complicity in the Global War of False Flag Terrorism.”
It will come as no surprise that I share Dr. Barrett’s view of the recent suspension of Dr. Karega at Oberlin College as a witch hunt. The attempt to silence her helps facilitate a massive cover up essential to the continuing operations of the Global War of False Flag Terrorism. Having presented this background I republish below the letter that Dr. Barrett sent you last March on the Karega-Kislov matter. He tells me he is still waiting for an answer from you. Dr. Barrett has explained to you, Dr. Krislov, the following:
You write that you are similarly nonplussed by “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.” Are you referring to the theory that 19 young Semites, led by an older Semite on dialysis in a cave in Afghanistan, blew up the World Trade Center by using box-cutters to kindle minor office fires?
I, too, am outraged by anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Today virtually all of the world’s Semites are the speakers of Arabic. (“Semite” is a linguistic category, not a racial one.) And I am outraged by the way Arabic Semites have been falsely blamed for the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center, the murders of innocents by large white paramilitary professionals in Paris and San Bernadino, and many similar false flag incidents. These false flag public relations stunts have triggered the murder of more than 1.5 million people and the destruction of the homes and lives of tens of millions more. THIS is the real, indisputable and ongoing Holocaust; you and your colleagues are perpetrating it right now with your tax money, your silences and your lies. The blood of more than a million innocents is on your hands.
So while I appreciate your support for academic freedom, I respectfully request that you take the next step and sponsor a debate or symposium on false flags in general and 9/11 and the 2015 Paris attacks in particular. If you or anyone else believes they can defend the 9/11 Commission Report, or the official versions of the Paris attacks, in a debate, they should be not just willing but actually eager to put the “conspiracy theories” to rest.
I will be happy to travel to Oberlin at my own expense to participate in any such debate. Meanwhile, I am sending my three books Questioning the War on Terror, We Are NOT Charlie Hebdo, and ANOTHER French False Flag as a gift to the Oberlin College Library, where faculty and students can refer to them to understand the positions of Professor Karega and the hundreds of millions of people around the world who share her interpretations of current events.
Dr. Kevin Barrett
The Imposed Illusions of Empire versus the Liberating Impulses of Applied Reason
I agree with Dr. Barrett that there is a very real need for some sort of conference to encourage free and open debate about the issues raised to the surface by the Karega-Krislov matter. I would like to see, however, a broader focus than that proposed by Dr. Barrett. I think the time has come for a conference that highlights the problems that are preventing institutions of higher learning from living up to their mission to identify, disseminate and defend truth, but especially inconvenient truths, through the process of education.
Among the issues that are indicative of our educational failures are the following: 1. the marginality and total ineffectiveness of the near-defunct anti-war movement, 2. the disproportionate level of criminalization of minorities as reflected in demography of our penal institutions, 3. the huge and growing economic polarization between haves and have-nots and, 4. the near absence of credible law enforcement when it comes to the rampant criminality of those at the top of our systems of banking, intelligence, militarism, public safety including public health, and mass communications. Should university governance be added to this list?
I think we in the academy should take to heart these appalling trajectories and propensities, these markers of the failure of our educational project. I think it especially important that we respond thoughtfully and proactively to these trends in what you call at Oberlin the Liberal Arts and in what we describe at the University of Lethbridge as Liberal Education. The patterns of decline and deterioration described above point exactly in the opposite direction from everything we claim to stand for in the Liberal Arts/Liberal Education.
The reasons for the breakdown in civility, honesty, equity, due process, and simple sanity in international relations are complex and many faceted. From my perspective, one of the factors in the decline is reflected in the unwillingness of leaders like you to examine the full array of evidence publicly available on core issues like who did 9/11 and who is behind the existence and activities of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh/ “Islamic State.” Once again, where is your evidence that Dr. Karega is wrong in her interpretation of these matters?
Without honestly looking into the deep state intrigues facilitating war-profiteering in the twenty-first century, it is hard to fathom the sheer recklessness of those directing our increasingly militarized society. A fundamental facet of this wanton recklessness is the engineering of hatred towards Muslim people as a key to securing public consent for ramped up militarism especially in the Middle East.
In our running commentary on this story Dr. Barrett and I sometimes meet recriminations similar to those being directed at Dr. Karega. This kind of power-serving antagonism to our public service of offering public education in social media was recently put on display on the front page of my hometown newspaper, the Lethbridge Herald.
In an article entitled “Conspiracy Theories,” a local reporter argued that our interpretations of the news are necessarily unfounded because they do not conform to the dominant narrative disseminated 24/7 by the mainstream media. The Lethbridge Herald’s resort to the uncontextualized condemnation as “conspiracy theories” of our effort to share with the public our analysis as senior and well published practitioners in our fields highlights the growing distance between officialdom’s dominant narrative of deception and evidence-based assessments of humanity’s true conditions.
The disparity between the imposed illusions of empire and the liberating impulses of applied reason offers a key to understanding the depth of the betrayal by our governors of the Enlightenment’s rationalist heritage. With this rejection of evidence-based approaches to interpretation comes our accelerating descent into civilizational chaos. The malevolent intent of the criminals currently dominating old pyramids of power seems to be to plunge the largest part of humanity into a Hobbesian state of a war of all against all.
Much is revealed by the failure of officialdom to address, let alone stop, the unbridled crime wave reigning down growing suffering and angst on average folk the world over. I am far from alone in this perception that we are subject to a massive failure of leadership in places like universities where faculty members should be joining together in solidarity to expose the abundant frauds of the empire of illusion. Where do you fit into this picture Dr. Krislov? What signal do you send as a leader in the academy when you refuse to look at the full body of evidence to consider if there is any truth in any of Dr. Karega’s contentions?
Sir, I respectfully suggest you revisit your initial reactions by giving fair consideration to the evidence supporting how Dr. Karega sees 9/11, or ISIS, or the Charlie Hebdo affair, or the historic role of the Rothschild family in the genesis of the world’s dominant system for creating fiat currency by privately-owned central banks. Can you honestly be sure that there is no merit in how Dr. Karega is interpreting Power’s exercise? Who else shares her views? Can you say for sure your own relationship to Power is not a factor in your judgments so far?
In my view, Dr. Krislov, you confuse the issues by connecting your rejection of Dr. Karega’s positions to your own family history. To explain your relationship to the controversy you have written, “Members of our family were murdered in the Holocaust. As someone who has studied history, I cannot comprehend how any person could or would question its existence, its horrors and the evil which caused it. I feel the same way about anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”
This way of characterizing the context of the controversy over Dr. Karega’s Facebook posts does not serve well the need for objectivity in assessing all sides of this matter.
The memory of Jews killed during the Second World War is too often subject to disrespect by those that abuse their victimhood to cover over and even explain the crimes of the Jewish state. As University of California Professor William I. Robinson has commented, the Israeli response to charges that the Jewish state has “colonized” the Indigenous people and Aboriginal lands of Palestine is often framed in polemics about “righting the wrongs of the holocaust.” Prof. Robinson characterizes this way of justifying genocidal incursions as “a unique system of propaganda and legitimation.”
Since you made the decision to suspend Dr. Karega’s teaching, the onus of proof is on you to demonstrate how you know Dr. Karega is wrong in her contentions. Have you, or have those howling for Dr. Karega’s professional termination, considered the contents of Dr. Barrett’s recent books on false flag terrorism or the extensive literature, including the ten books by Prof. David Ray Griffin, demonstrating that the government’s own conspiracy theory of 9/11 cannot be true?
Will you examine at least some parts of Earth into Property or read Christopher Bollyn’s Solving 9/11? Will you consider the assessment of 9/11 by Dr. Alan Sabrosky whose academic credentials within the US military establishment meet and far exceed the gold standard?
Have you reckoned with the assessment by Dr. Gideon Polya in his article entitled “Zionist-Subverted Oberlin College Trashes Academic Free Speech and Suspends Professor Joy Karega”? Dr. Polya might be considered one of the world’s leading authorities on the demography of war crimes and crimes against humanity. This Australian scientist is proud of his Hungarian Jewish heritage and carries on his family’s tradition of anti-Zionism.
Dr. Polya is unrelenting in his criticism of the deliberate lies spewed throughout media and academic venues. He contrasts this trend with the largely accurate reflection of reality he sees in the posts of Prof. Karega. He writes,
Lying is utterly forbidden in science and in scholarship and academia in general because it subverts rational inquiry. Lying by commission and lying by omission utterly subvert rational risk management that is crucial for societal safety and successively involves (a) accurate information, (b) scientific analysis , and (c) informed systemic change noting that lying by omission is far, far worse than lying by commission because the latter at least admits the possibility of refutation and public debate. Lying by omission is exampled by the Mainstream journalist, politician and academic presstitutes utterly ignoring the ongoing Muslim Holocaust and Muslim Genocide. Lying by commission is exampled by the finding by the US Center for Public Integrity that the Bush Administration told 935 lies between 9-11 and the invasion of Iraq.
Professor Joy Karega’s truth-telling is a notable exception to the dominant Mainstream culture of lying by omission and commission about the ongoing Muslim Holocaust and Muslim Genocide, the ongoing Iraqi Holocaust and Iraqi Genocide, and the ongoing Palestinian Genocide.
In order to contextualize his case study Dr. Polya presents a number of examples of persecution similar to that facing Dr. Karega at Oberlin College. This reference to individual cases should be understood in the context of Prof. Robinson’s comment that “dozens, perhaps hundreds, of professors and student groups have been harassed and persecuted for speaking out against Israeli occupation and apartheid and in support of the Palestinian struggle.” Dr. Polya writes,
The suspension of anti-racist truth-teller Professor Joy Karega by Zionist-subverted Oberlin College is but one further example of racist Zionists attacking Western academic free speech through egregious defamation, subversion, perversion, and institutional suspension or sacking of anti-racist Jewish or non-Jewish academics critical of Apartheid Israel. Thus, for example, outstanding anti-racist Jewish scholar Professor Norman Finkelstein was denied tenure and pressured to leave by a by Zionist-pressured De Paul University. Outstanding anti-racist humanitarian Anul Gandhi (the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi) was pushed out by Zionist pressure from the University of Rochester and the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence he had founded. In slavishly pro-Zionist Apartheid Australia, Professor Jake Lynch and his Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney University have been under concerted attacks from Israeli and Australian Zionists. Anti-racist Middle East scholar Dr Sandra Nasr was censored by the Zionist-pressured UK London School of Economics and defamed and “investigated” by a Zionist-pressured Notre Dame Australia.
Rather than falling back on the canard of “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” how about transcending your own personal prejudices? How about moving to the higher ground of a conscientious academic or jurist that affords fair consideration to all sides in a debate before arriving at conclusions?
Shooting the Messengers with Weaponized Words
In 2014 Kevin Barrett and I and a number of talented investigative journalists attended a conference in Tehran entitled the 2nd New Horizon Conference of Independent Thinkers and Film Makers. The participants in this event came mostly from North America and Europe. In Tehran, we were able to discuss openly the kind of issues before us in an atmosphere of safety, mutuality and respect cultivated by our hosts. We the invited delegates could exchange ideas in a much more relaxed and less paranoid way than would be possible in the intensively policed academic milieus of our own home countries.
In some of our Western countries, including Canada, the constraints against free speech and academic freedom are growing, including through the authoritarian threat of criminal prosecution. Such prosecutions have been visited upon, for instance, my colleague Arthur Topham and his RadicalPress.com.
As I have already discussed, I see very clear connections between the assault on free articulation and the rise of unbridled militarism, the surveillance state, the increasingly transnational police state, financial malfeasance, ecological degradation and toxic contamination of our mental environments. What are our responsibilities in Liberal Arts/Liberal Education to stand up against this onslaught? What can we do as human beings and as faculty members to try to at least slow the erosion of the human condition, indeed the conditions of all life on this planet?
When I returned to Canada from the New Horizon Conference in Iran, I became aware of a press conference that had taken place in New York. There, Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League engaged in harsh defamation of his own. The Anti-Defamation League emerges from the international operations of the B’nai Brith.
Foxman has recently retired from the ADL, an entity with over 400 regular employees and an annual budget of about $40 million. In 2014 Foxman was at the peak of his power in the role he had built up for himself since the 1960s. Over decades as the ADL’s primary mouthpiece, Foxman became one of the most powerful lobbyists and aggressive smear meisters to represent the Israeli government in the United States. Part of his job, it is reputed, was to have engaged in close collaboration with the Israeli secret service agency, the Mossad.
For his frequent attacks predictably targeting as “anti-Semites” a broad array of individuals and groups critical of Israel, Foxman was paid about $700,000 per year. In 2009 the professional assault on Prof. William I. Robinson’s career began when Abraham Foxman secretly visited selected administrators, professors and students at the University of California’s Santa Barbara campus.
Abraham Foxman’s smear of the New Horizon conference in Tehran in 2014 echoed widely throughout the mainstream media. Foxman used the occasion to condemn the whole event as a “hatefest” and its participants as “anti-Semites, conspiracy theorists, and holocaust deniers.” As on other occasions, Foxman referred specifically to “9/11 conspiracy theories”
Seeing these weaponized phrases— conspiracy theorist, 9/11 conspiracy theorist, anti-Semite, and holocaust denier— highlighted and grouped by the ADL, was something of a revelation for me. It caused me to reflect on how these weaponized terms are being malevolently flung about as a package. To be accused of one of the criminal categories is to be accused of them all. No definitions are ever offered when these control words are deployed for ritual defamation. There is never, as far as I can see, any real grappling with evidence to justify what is being asserted. You have demonstrated the consistency of this pattern yourself, Dr. Krislov. You implicitly directed two of these weaponized phrases at Dr. Karega without addressing how you arrived at your defamatory conclusions.
The deployment of the weaponized terms inevitably has the effect of blocking open, evidence-based discussion on fundamentally important issues of history and power. This malicious methodology is aimed, often by paid agents of Israel First organizations, at doing as much professional, personal and financial damage as possible. This process is already well advanced at Oberlin College where Dr. Karega has been pulled from the classroom because some individuals did not like her Facebook posts.
Seeking an Academic Language of Peace to Replace the Sullied Rhetoric of Verbal Warfare
This exercise of power over what gets taught and who does the teaching at a famous American Liberal Arts institution of higher learning does not bode well for the future of society. A very aggressive style of elite bullying is on full display here. Such bullying to assert political influence over the academic life of universities should not be sanctioned nor rewarded.
With all this in mind I propose that the conference we might mount could be entitled
Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories: A Rational or Irrational Phrase in Academic Discourse?
I invite you to work with Dr. Barrett and me in putting together some of the ingredients of this conference. Other possible participants that immediately come to mind are Daniel Pipes, Noam Chomsky, Jonathan Kay, Rita Katz, Alan Sabrosky, Barrie Zwicker, Robert Faurisson, Kevin Ryan, Richard Perle, E. Michael Jones, David Frum, Denis Rancourt, Gearóid Ó Colmáin, Gideon Polya, Cythia McKinney, Catherine Shakdam, Michael Chossudovsky, Alfred Schaefer, Vic Sadot, Janet Stein, Mark Taliano, William I. Robinson, John Baird, Sheldon Adelson, Newt Gingrich, David Naylor, Brian Mulroney, Gareth Porter, Pepe Escobar, Ken O’Keefe, Maisoon Rice, Ursula Haverbeck, James Corbett, Joshua Blakeney, John McMurtry, Christopher Bollyn, James Tracy, Steven Salita, Norman Finkelstein, Jez Turner, Stephen Toope, Elizabeth May, and Nader Talebzadeh.
Perhaps we could invite Dr. Joy Karega to set the tone with the opening address. Has Dr. Karega been offered a proper public platform at Oberlin College or elsewhere to tell her side of the story in a safe and secure academic setting? What arrangements if any is Oberlin College making to protect her person from assault for the alleged crime of publicizing her ideas?
Who might be involved in the institutional backing of this conference? I would like to propose that we invite the participation of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. I completed my Ph.D. at the U of T in 1984. I have written critically about the genesis and activities of the Munk School. I have accused it of isolating itself from scholars and scholarship that do not conform with the configurations of power behind the Munk School’s creation and operation.
To me the history of the Munk School illustrates many of the forces subordinating university life to the merging power of corporate and Zionist influence. A manifestation of this more general tendency is to be seen in attempts to exclude from the intellectual life of the academy contributions by the likes of Dr. Kevin Barrett, Dr. James Tracy and now, it seems, Dr. Joy Karega.
The Munk School of Global Affairs’ founder, Peter Munk, is a businessman who worked with Adan Khashoggi, George H.W. Bush, Brian Mulroney and others to expand the international operations of the Barrick Gold Corporation headquartered in Toronto. This history helps explain the Munk School’s strong political support for government deregulation of international mining operations headquartered in Canada. Another preoccupation of the Munk School is to advance some of the policies of Likudnik Israel including its anti-Iranian positions.
I have exchanged collegial correspondence with Munk School Director, Dr. Stephen Toope. In this process I have sent Dr. Toope publications illuminating subjects and interpretations that I think the Munk School should address to avoid the charge that it is engaged in forms of academic censorship. In particular, I have made the case that the Munk School should be much more open to including in its handling of the Global War on Terror due consideration of scholarship pertaining to false flag terrorism.
I observe that Dr. Toope has co-edited a book of conference papers on the Charlie Hebdo affair in Paris in January of 2015. The conference was sponsored by the Munk School that also partially funded the book entitled, After the Paris Attacks: Responses in Canada, Europe, and Around the Globe (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015). Dr. Karega’s interpretation of the Charlie Hebdo affair is not consistent with any of the interpretations presented in the Munk School’s book. Dr. Karega’s interpretations are consistent with some of the interpretations that appeared in the book on which Dr. Barrett and I worked.
Dr. Barrett specifically refers to We Are Not Charlie Hebdo: Free Thinkers Question the French 9/11 (Lone Rock Wisconsin: Sifting and Winnowing Press, 2015) in both his letters to you. The volume’s 22 contributors include professors, a rabbi, a structural engineer, a former US Congress women, a former White House policy analyst, a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury Department and a Head of State.
This diverse array of public intellectuals has come up with a broad range of interpretations based on many different types of evidence. Most contributors agree, however, that the Charlie Hebdo affair was to some degree engineered covertly by intelligence agencies. Some think that the most likely architects of the false flag terror event have strong attachments to the policies and imperial aspirations of the Israeli government as well as many of its citizens.
Whether or not you agree with this interpretation, Dr. Krislov, it is one that a number of serious thinkers have put forward after conscientious engagement with the available evidence. There should have been some reckoning with this interpretation, even if only to say why it is wrong, in the Munk School’s volume that appeared months after We Are Not Charle Hebdo.
This exclusion of evidence is a small example of a much larger phenomenon of academic censorship, often in collusion with powerful political lobbies. One of the main censored subjects currently is false flag terrorism and the evidence of extensive Israeli deployment of this tactic to generate widespread public hostility towards the enemies of the Jewish state. A good case study of the extent of academic censorship would be to look at the reception, by university faculty members and libraries, of Dr. Barrett’s three recent volumes on false flag terrorism.
To justify ignoring this impressive scholarly achievement simply by uttering the magical hex phrase, “anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist,” or maybe even “Nazi” or “white supremacist,” hardly does justice to our community of scholarship.
Rather than continue our descent into a Hobbesian state of an all-encompassing war of all against all, why not try to move towards a more elevated objective of scholarship that advances peace with justice? Why not join together as peers to take the high road of academic endeavour in the spirit of civility, collegiality and the liberating potential of the Liberal Arts.
Anthony James Hall
Professor of Liberal Education and Globalization Studies
University of Lethbridge
US-backed militias fighting against the Syrian government of Bashar al Assad have broken through the Russian and Syrian government encirclement of their positions inside the war-ravaged northern Syrian city of Aleppo, according to Western media.
During fierce battles over the weekend, the US-backed, Islamist-led militia coalition known as Jaysh al Fateh overran military bases in southwest Aleppo and secured an access road connecting the city to the rest of the country. Russian war planes and Syrian and Iranian ground forces counterattacked Sunday, targeting the anti-Assad forces with aerial bombardments and artillery.
According to Syrian opposition leader Anas al-Abdah, the Islamist offensive has achieved “almost a miracle,” leaving the anti-Assad forces poised to “break the siege and move into a stage where we are talking seriously about liberating the city.” The offensive has carved out a slim corridor linking Aleppo to rebel-held areas, raising the possibility of resupply operations for the desperately besieged Western-backed forces.
The encirclement of Washington’s extremist groups inside Aleppo, who have been reduced to a diminishing pocket in the city’s north and western sectors, in the face of a redoubled Syrian offensive backed by Russian air power and Iranian ground forces, came as a humiliating reversal for US imperialism. Washington has orchestrated a relentless civil war in Syria since 2011, killing hundreds of thousands of Syrians, without achieving its aim of toppling the Damascus regime and installing a neocolonial puppet government.
During the opening phases of the US-NATO orchestrated war, the anti-Assad militias seized control of large areas of the city, which they sought to utilize as a base of operations and object of plunder. Prior to the outbreak of the war, Aleppo’s population numbered between 1 and 2.5 million, according to varying estimates. Today, some 50,000 civilians are estimated to eke out an existence amid the rubble. The city as a whole has been without electricity and running water for more than a year, and entire neighborhoods are completely razed to the ground.
In recent weeks, with the Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan withdrawing support for the rebels, in retaliation for Washington’s involvement in the failed July military coup attempt, the American-backed militias have faced the imminent possibility of defeat.
It is not coincidental that the ferocious US-backed assault is unfolding on the eve of Turkish President Erdogan’s trip to St. Petersburg, for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday. There are well-grounded fears in American ruling circles that Erdogan will reach a broad-based agreement with Putin, one that would close off all remaining supply routes necessary for sustaining the war against Damascus.
The cause of the sudden reversal in the fortunes of the anti-government forces, who, if US media reports can be believed, have seized the initiative from the jaws of total defeat, was quietly acknowledged in reports published by the New York Times on Saturday and Monday, titled “Military Success in Syria Gives Putin Upper Hand in US Proxy War” and “Rebel Offensive in Syria Challenges Government Siege of Aleppo.”
As Saturday’s Times piece noted, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been supplying the Al Qaeda-linked militias with virtually unlimited supplies of sophisticated antitank missiles and other weaponry.
The US-backed rebel coalition, which has been dominated by the Al Nusra Front, “would receive new shipments of the antitank weapons as soon as the missiles were used,” according to comments from a rebel commander made in 2015, and quoted by the Times Saturday.
“We ask for ammunition and missiles, and we get more than we ask for,” the anti-Assad commander said.
In contrast to the Obama administration’s assertions that the shipments were being curtailed and funneled exclusively to “moderate forces,” in reality the CIA has been surging support for the encircled anti-Assad militias in Aleppo, foremost among which are the Al Nusra fighters.
As the Times update on Monday forthrightly acknowledged: “A vital factor in the rebel advance over the weekend was cooperation between mainstream rebel groups, some of which have received covert arms support from the United States, and the jihadist organization formerly known as the Nusra Front, which was affiliated with Al Qaeda.”
The infinite mendacity and hypocrisy of both the Times and the American imperial policy it defends could hardly find sharper expression.
The newspaper presents the change in name and formal disaffiliation of Al Nusra from Al Qaeda as some distant memory, when it was, in fact, announced barely a week and a half earlier. Like most of the Western media, the Times now cheers on the supposed battlefield successes of the so-called “rebels,” who, until the end of July, swore allegiance to Al Qaeda, supposedly the main target of Washington’s 15-year-long “war on terrorism.”
Moreover, in recent weeks, as US intelligence outfitted the surrounded Al Qaeda “rebels” in preparation for a new bloody offensive, America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State John Kerry, has touted steps toward a US-Russian military cooperation pact in Syria, the centerpiece of which would supposedly have been joint strikes against Al Nusra. While Kerry was pledging military cooperation with Moscow, along with joint “counterterrorism” operations, the CIA was giving weapons hand over fist to the Al Qaeda-affiliated forces, dumping fuel on a simmering US-Russian proxy conflict, with the potential to engulf broad areas of the Middle East and Europe in all-out war.
The downing of a Russian Mi-8 transport helicopter over Syria’s Idlib province Monday, which produced the largest single death toll for Russian forces operating in Syria since Moscow launched its intervention last year, grimly illustrated the lethal dynamics being unleashed by American imperialism’s ever more reckless pursuit of unchallenged hegemony over the strategic Levantine nation.
The US media celebrations of the “rebel” victory cannot be taken at face value, and must be weighed against reports from the Syrian government side, which have presented the scope of the rebel counteroffensive in more modest terms. Whatever the true extent of the rebel advances on the ground, it is already clear that the intensified fighting will serve as the political basis for a major military escalation by Washington.
In an interview with Fox News this weekend, Democratic presidential frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, issued bellicose threats against Russia, stating that “the facts raise serious issues about Russian interference in our elections, in our democracy.” Clinton has made clear her intention to pursue a massive escalation of the Syrian war and the broader US war drive against Russia if she wins the White House, saying during last year’s Democratic Party debate, “We have to stand up to his [Putin] bullying and specifically, in Syria.”
While the Obama White House prefers to delay a major escalation until after the elections, the weakness of the American position on the ground is forcing the administration to consider direct strikes against Damascus. Former Obama administration adviser, Dennis Ross, suggested last week that the White House should “begin speaking in a language that Mr. Assad and Mr. Putin can understand,” and employ direct cruise missile and drone strikes against Assad’s military infrastructure.
In the event that the government crushes the rebel attack, powerful factions within the US establishment can be counted on to press for the most aggressive measures against Assad, to be launched in the name of salvaging the American proxy forces, which have been built up at a cost of billions in CIA-supplied cash and weapons.
Even should the Al Qaeda-linked forces complete the breakout, and reassert control over Aleppo and the surrounding region, this will only set the stage for a massive government counterattack, and thus provide a suitable political pretext for further escalation by Washington. Beneath the fog of war in Syria, the only certainty is the constantly growing tendency toward a US-Russian clash that poses the gravest dangers for humanity.
Building on an over five-year, almost entirely fictional narrative about a popular uprising in Syria, recent developments on the ground in Aleppo have triggered a new propaganda blitz complete with a new set of provable lies. The following are ten facts about Aleppo that must be accepted by any objective, informed and rational observer regardless of one’s political views and opinions regarding Syria.
1) Eastern Aleppo was overrun by a foreign-backed, Al-Qaeda-led terrorist alliance in 2012. At that time, approximately 600,000 Aleppans fled eastern Aleppo for the security and safety of western Aleppo where the Syrian government maintained control.
2) Estimates of how many civilians remained in eastern Aleppo vary widely, but official estimates place the number between 100 and 150 thousand. UN estimates of up to 300,000 are almost certainly inflated and politically motivated.
3) Eighty to eighty-five percent of the armed fighters in eastern Aleppo belong to the Jabhat Al-Nusra, the official Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria that just underwent a rebranding, complete with a new name and logo (see image above, top row, second from the left). The remaining fighters belong to twenty-two (there are constant splits, mergers, and rebranding among them) terrorist groups that all share the same jihadi ideology, methods, and objectives as Al-Qaeda.
4) The overwhelming majority of Syrian fighters in eastern Aleppo are not from Aleppo itself, belying the notion that any part of the city rose up against the government.
5) The terrorist groups in Aleppo include a large number of foreign fighters from eighty-one different countries with significant contingents from Turkey, the Gulf Arab states, North Africa, and Russia’s Chechnya and North Caucasus region.
6) Armed groups in eastern Aleppo have been deliberately shelling civilians in western Aleppo. This has led to angry protests against the Syrian government demanding an end to the shelling and the complete extirpation of the terrorist presence in eastern Aleppo.
7) This past week eastern Aleppo was finally completely encircled by the Syrian Army, effectively cutting off the terrorist groups’ supply routes from Turkey.
8) The Syrian government has offered all Syrian fighters in eastern Aleppo amnesty in exchange for laying down their weapons and surrendering to the Syrian authorities.
9) The Syrian military has also established three humanitarian corridors for civilians to exit eastern Aleppo. The Syrian government had prepared 10,000 habitable apartment units in western Aleppo for civilians fleeing in anticipation of a possible final battle. As dozens of families started to exit armed groups immediately began preventing civilians from leaving, prompting speculation they intend to use them as human shields when and if the Syrian Army begins its final entry into the eastern part of the city.
10) After completing the encirclement of eastern Aleppo the Syrian government, in a joint mission with the Russian Air Force based at Hemeimeem Air Base, began a massive humanitarian airlift into eastern Aleppo. The tragic shoot down of the Russian helicopter this week took place as it was returning from a humanitarian aid delivery.
The recent downing of a Russian Mi-8 helicopter and the death of all 5 on board over Al Qaeda-held Idlib province in Syria, represents the unenviable full circle US rhetoric has made surrounding both the Syrian conflict, and the wider “War on Terror.”
It was the United States who first created and used Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1980s to down Russian aircraft and to fight Russian troops. After successfully pushing Russia out of Afghanistan and plunging it into a sociopolitical dark age, the US went on to claiming to be victimized by the monster they themselves created, perhaps most spectacularly on September 11, 2001. Today, the US finds itself back to now fully using Al Qaeda to fight a proxy war against Russia, this time in Syria.
Russian Helicopter Was on Humanitarian Mission Over Al Qaeda Territory
The Russian Mi-8 helicopter was conducting humanitarian operations. This is not according to only Russian or Syrian sources, but even opposition sources including UK-based anti-Syrian government proponent Rami Abdulrahman who refers to himself as the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” (SOHR).
The New York Times in its article, “Russian Military Helicopter Is Shot Down in Syria, Killing 5,” would report that:
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which opposes the Syrian government and tracks the conflict from Britain through contacts in Syria, said the helicopter had crashed near the village of Saraqib in Idlib Province.
The aircraft had recently delivered aid to two Shiite villages nearby that have long been surrounded by Sunni rebels, the group said.
Qatari-state media Al Jazeera, also an admittedly pro-militant voice amid the conflict, would admit that Idlib province, Syria, is held by Al Qaeda.
In its article, “Syria’s civil war: Russian chopper shot down in Idlib,” Al Jazeera would admit:
Idlib is held almost entirely by a powerful coalition of hardline rebel groups, including the former al-Nusra Front, now known as the Fateh al-Sham group after renouncing its status as al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.
Despite Al Jazeera’s attempts to qualify Nusra Front as having “renounced” its Al Qaeda affiliations, it is still recognized by the US, Russia and Syria as a terrorist organization.
Justifying & Celebrating Al Qaeda’s Atrocity
In the immediate aftermath of the helicopter’s downing and now ongoing since, pro-militant pundits from both the public and Western policy centers, celebrated the incident.
Former director of the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center, Salman Shaikh, repeatedly retweeted accusations that Russia’s Mi-8 was not in fact on a humanitarian mission, simply because empty rocket pods were found among the wreckage.
With SOHR insisting indeed the Russian helicopter was on a humanitarian mission, the empty rocket pods were most likely empty upon take off. So far, “experts,” including Atlantic Council’s “Digital Forensic Research Lab Senior Non-Resident Fellow” Eliot Higgins, previously an unemployed British social worker and blogger, have insinuated the Mi-8 was on a military mission, but have yet to provide any evidence.
This attempt to leverage supposed “experts” to justify the downing of a helicopter (and subsequent celebrations) engaged in humanitarian operations even in contradiction to media reports coming from both sides of the conflict, indicates just how far departed Western rhetoric has become from the principles it claims to uphold, particularly in regards to its involvement in the Syrian conflict and its backing of militant groups operating in Al Qaeda-held Idlib province.
US Aspired to Down Russian Aircraft in Syria
The downing of Russia’s Mi-8 over Idlib is not the first. Another Russian helicopter was shot down near Palmyra in early July.
Japan Times in its article, “U.S. missile brought down Russian helicopter in Syria: report,” would report:
Two Russian airmen killed in Syria on Friday were shot down with American weaponry, the Interfax news agency said Sunday, quoting a Russian military source.
It said insurgents from the Islamic State group hit the airmen’s Mi-25 assault helicopter with a U.S.-made TOW heavy anti-tank missile, a weapon that uses guidance from a ground station.
The possibility of terrorist organizations like the Islamic State (IS) ending up with US missiles should be no surprise. It is a “coincidence” it appears many US policymakers wanted to unfold in Syria, if a no-fly zone implemented over Syria by the US directly was not a possibility.
One of those US policymakers is US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who would say in a 2015 interview on Fox News that:
I might do what we did in Afghanistan many years ago, to give those guys the ability to shoot down those planes. That equipment is available.
He would elaborate further by stating:
The Free Syrian Army, just like the Afghans shot down the Russian…
It should be noted that the “guys” Senator McCain is referring to in Afghanistan were Al Qaeda. With the downing of 2 Russian helicopters at the hands of IS and Al Qaeda respectively, it appears very much like Senator McCain has (one way or another) gotten his wish, with Al Qaeda once again serving as the armed intermediary between the US and Russia.
The end result is US foreign policy coming full circle, having created Al Qaeda to fight Russia in the 1980s, then using the terrorist organization as a pretext to extend military interventionism globally, to now once again cheering them on in Syria as they down Russian aircraft amid a struggle to restore peace and stability to both Syria and the wider region.
One wonders if this irony is lost on the American people, who have been asked to sacrifice so much in the name of fighting “terrorism,” only to have those who have done the asking to ally themselves with the very terrorists in a destructive proxy war in the distant lands of the Levant.
By Brandon Turbeville | Activist Post | July 22, 2016
While the United States attempts to back away from its association with terrorist group Nour al-Din al-Zinki, the “moderate” terrorist organization whose members recently videotaped themselves beheading a young boy and discussing whether or not to boil his body afterwards, previous reports coming the from the mainstream media reveal that Obama, Kerry, Clinton and crew will not be able to cover their tracks so easily this time around. That is, if they even care to.
This is because reports coming from Business Insider in 2015 reveal that the United States had indeed supported and armed Nour al-Din al-Zinki in the lead up to the heinous act. What’s even more damning, however, is the fact that the group was considered one of the U.S. “vetted” organizations, a designation that was touted as a sure way to avoid arming “extremist” terrorists like ISIS or al-Qaeda.
The lie of vetting and “moderation” is now thoroughly debunked if, for no other reason, than the public beheading of a child.
But there is more! Not only has the United States “vetted,” endorsed, and armed Nour al-Din al-Zinki, it has armed them with TOW missiles, a type of guided missile that is capable of piercing and damaging tanks, armored personnel carriers, and other forms of vehicles found on the battlefield. These missiles are especially dangerous for a number of reasons including the fact that they can be used from a considerable distance.
As Jeremy Bender wrote for Business Insider in his article, “These CIA-Vetted Syrian Rebel Groups Fighting Assad Are Russia’s Primary Targets,”
Since 2013, the CIA has been training and equipping various moderate rebel elements in the Syrian civil war in an effort to undermine the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and force him to the negotiating table.
Among the range of munitions and supplies that the CIA has funneled to the various brigades of the Free Syrian Army and other moderate groups through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey are TOW anti-tank missiles.
. . . . . .
These weapons have helped decimate Syrian armour and pushed a recent regime offensive against rebel-held territory to a standstill in reported “tank massacres.”
For instance, on October 8, a Syrian armoured offensive suffered massive casualties as, rebels armed “with US-made TOW missiles … [and] other guided rockets … caused the destruction … of over 15 armoured cars, vehicles, and tanks,” according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.
What is striking is just how many CIA-vetted groups now exist throughout Syria receiving TOWs.
According to Syrian observer Hasan Mustafas, no fewer than 42 vetted groups now receive TOWs from a Saudi supply originally provided by the US. These weapons are funneled into Syria through Military Operations Command (MOC) posts in Turkey and Jordan that are co-operated by Western and local intelligence agencies.
The various groups are well documented due to the nature of TOW provisions. Saudi Arabia can not deliver the US-supplied TOWs without prior CIA approval. Additionally, Mustafas notes, the various vetted groups must apply to receive the TOWs. They are then provided with small batches of arms.
Bender provides a list of the groups who received the TOW missiles but, among them, is the name of Nour al-Din al-Zinki, the child beheading and carcass boiling “moderate” rebels that allegedly representing freedom and democracy.
Still, State Department Spokesman Mark Toner is only stating that the beheading of the boy might only cause the United States to “pause” and reflect upon its relationship with the group, meaning arming and supporting it.
At the end of the day, the horrific atrocity that was committed by Nour al-Din al-Zinki was really nothing more than several more pints in a massive ocean of blood created by the United States, Israel, the GCC, and NATO. Still, it stands as yet another example of why this treacherous and immoral war against Syria must be ended immediately.
The list of terrorist organizations “vetted” and provided with TOW missiles as reported by Business Insider is as follows:
13th Division (Forqat 13)
101st Division Infantry (Forqat 101 Masha’a)
Knights of Justice Brigade (Liwa’ Fursan al-Haqq)
Falcons of the Mountain Brigade (Liwa’ Suqour al-Jabal)
Grouping of the Falcons of Al-Ghab (Tajamuu Suqour al-Ghab)
1st Coastal Division (Forqat Awwal al-Sahli)
Gathering of Dignity (Tajammu al-Izza’)
Central Division (Al-Forqat al-Wasti)
46th Division (Forqat 46)
Sultan Murad Brigade (Liwa’ Sultan Murad)
Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, (Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki)
Mujahideen Army/Army of Holy Warriors (Jaish al-Mujahideen)
Revolutionaries of al-Sham Brigades (Kata’eb Thuwar al-Sham)
1st Regiment (Al-Fauj al-Awwal)
Ahmed al-Abdo Martyrs’ Force (Quwwat al-Shaheed Ahmad al-Abdo)
Al-Rahman Legion (Faylaq al-Rahman)
Martyrs of Islam Brigade (Liwa’ Shuhadah al-Islam)
Yarmouk Army (Jaish al-Yarmouk)
Lions of Sunnah Division (Forqat Usood al-Sunnah)
the 18th March Division (Forqat 18 Adhar)
Southern Tawhid Brigade (Liwa’ Tawhid al-Junoub)
Hamza Division (Forqat al-Hamza)
1st Artillery Regiment (Al-Fauj al-Awwal Madfa’a)
Syria Revolutionaries Front — Southern Sector (Jabhat Thuwar Souriya)
The First Corps (Faylaq al-Awwal)
The Dawn of Unity Division (Forqat Fajr al-Tawhid)
Salah al-Din Division (Forqat Salah al-Din)
Omari Brigades (Tajammu Alwiyat al-Omari)
Unity Battalions of Horan Brigade (Liwa’ Tawhid Kata’eb Horan)
Youth of Sunnah Brigade (Liwa’ Shabbab al-Sunnah)
Moataz Billah Brigade (Liwa’ Moataz Billah)
Sword of al-Sham Brigades (Alwiyat Saif al-Sham)
Dawn of Islam Division (Forqat Fajr al-Islam)
Supporters of Sunnah Brigade (Liwa’ Ansar al-Sunnah)
Horan Column Division (Forqat Amoud Horan)
Emigrants and Supporters Brigade (Liwa’ Muhajireen wal Ansar)
Military Council in Quneitra and the Golan
United Sham Front (Jabhat al-Sham Muwahidda)
69th Special Forces Division (Forqat 69 Quwwat al-Khassa)
11th Special Forces Division (Forqat 11 Quwwat al-Khassa)
Partisans of Islam Front (Jabhat Ansar al-Islam)
Al-Furqan Brigades (Alwiyat al-Furqan)
Recently Paul Craig Roberts recounted a conversation he had with James Jesus Angleton, a former head of CIA counterintelligence, in which they discussed strategies that the CIA employs to dupe the American and global public, with a view to perpetrating criminal agendas, cloaked beneath the lie of “national interests”. Angleton explained to Roberts that,
“intelligence services create stories inside stories, each with its carefully constructed trail of evidence, in order to create false trails as diversions. Such painstaking work can serve a variety of purposes … Then if the official story gets into trouble, the backup story can be released in order to deflect attention into a new false story or to support the original story.”
The strategy of “stories within stories”, and using competing narratives to confuse, to distract, and to lead the public down false paths (red herrings) is entirely consistent with the 9/11 crimes, the subsequent “War On Terror”, and the criminal invasion of Syria.
The official stories explaining the 9/11 false flag are bundled with hidden stories, “limited hangouts”, and “distance from accountability” strategies — all serving to daze and confuse North Americans in particular, to the point where we revert to passively accepting the narrative of the day and the overarching lie that supporting the neo-con war agenda is patriotic.
The first 9/11 story – Story A – identified al Qaeda and Bin Laden as the primary perpetrators, but this story is being supplanted by another story – story B – which features Saudi Arabia as the villain. No doubt Saudi Arabia played a role in the crime and the on-going cover-up, but “Story B” is also a “limited hangout” in the sense that only a limited part of the story is “hanging out”. It also serves to provide cover or “distance from accountability” for some of the major villains who are still shielded from the glare of the spotlight. Additionally, it serves to lead us down false trails (red herring) that divert public attention from the hidden agenda of global war and poverty.
The Saudi Arabia limited hangout does beg an important question though: Will the CIA’s Wahhabi mercenary outfits — ISIS, al Qaeda/ al Nursra Front, and all the fraudulently labelled “moderates”, be targeting Saudi Arabia next?
The same strategy of “stories within stories” is occurring with the West’s criminal war of aggression on Syria.
Professor Tim Anderson explains in an interview that,
“Washington’s plan for a New Middle East – with compliant states across the region – is failing. Their Plan B is to partition or otherwise divide Syria and Iraq. Their Plan C will be to withdraw while pretending that they have helped bring peace to the region.”
The original Plan A: to quickly destroy democratic, pluralist, non-sectarian Syria with Western and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) backed terrorist invaders — with a view to setting up a stooge Wahhabi-style dictatorship, is failing. Not only are the terrorists being defeated on the battlefield, but the psy op “strategy of disassociation” is crumbling as well. More and more people are seeing through the lies of the “moderate rebel” story: the Western/GCC – backed “moderates” (all of whom share the same strategic ambitions as ISIS and the West) are at least as bad, maybe worse than their “comrades in arms”, “ISIS”. When U.S State Department spokesperson Mark Toner explained that they might put a “pause” on funding the so-called “moderates”, who publicly and brazenly chopped off the head of a Palestinian boy, the “strategy of disassociation” was beheaded as well.
Plan B is also failing, at least in Syria, since the “balkanization” efforts at creating ethnically or religiously-based enclaves within Syria is hitting the wall of Syria’s longstanding culture of religious freedom and pluralism. Syrians identify themselves first and foremost as Syrians, and not according to their religious affiliations.
Hopefully, Plan C is around the corner. The West will pretend that it has achieved peace, and it will withdraw its disgusting terrorist proxies.
The ugly truth about the genocidal Western designs for Syria – well documented for years by sources including former Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief Michael Flynn, by Generals Dempsey, and Clark, by Vice-President Biden, and by publicly available Defence Intelligence Agency documents, as well as from other open source documents — is increasingly being accepted.
Despite the fake reporting, the fake NGOs, the “stories within stories”, the indolence and criminality of the corporate presstitutes, the ugly truth is imposing itself on Western audiences, whether they like it or not.
Just peace requires this uncomfortable foundation of truth.
Damascus – President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to the Australian SBS TV channel in which he criticized the double standards of the West – openly attacking the Syrian government politically, but continuing to deal with it through back channels-calling for a more humanitarian and less costly solution to the refugee crisis through stopping support to the terrorists.
The following is the full text of the interview:
Journalist: Mr. President, thank you for speaking with SBS Australia.
President Assad: You’re most welcome in Syria.
Question 1: It’s now more than five years since the Syrian crisis began. It’s estimated somewhere around a quarter of a million people have been killed, many of them civilians. There’s an undeniable humanitarian disaster. How far into the crisis do you think you are, and is there an end in sight?
President Assad: Of course, there is an end in sight, and the solution is very clear. It’s simple yet impossible. It’s simple because the solution is very clear, how to make dialogue between the Syrians about the political process, but at the same time fighting the terrorism and the terrorists in Syria. Without fighting terrorists, you cannot have any real solution. It’s impossible because the countries that supported those terrorists, whether Western or regional like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, don’t want to stop sending all kinds of support to those terrorists. So, if we start with stopping this logistical support, and as Syrians go to dialogue, talk about the constitution, about the future of Syria, about the future of the political system, the solution is very near, not far from reach.
Question 2: Much of the reporting in the West at the moment suggests that the demise of the Islamic State is imminent. Do you believe that’s true, and how far away from seizing Raqqa, this very important city of Raqqa, do you believe you are?
President Assad: It’s not a race. Raqqa is as important as Aleppo, as Damascus, as any other city. The danger of those terrorist groups is not about what land do they occupy, because it’s not a traditional war. It’s about how much of their ideology can they instill in the mind of the people in the area that they sit or live in. Indoctrination, this is the most dangerous thing. So, reaching Raqqa is not that difficult militarily, let’s say. It’s a matter of time. We are going in that direction. But the question when you talk about war is about what the other side, let’s say the enemy, could do, and that’s directly related to the effort of Turkey, especially Erdogan, in supporting those groups, because that’s what’s happening since the beginning. If you talk about Syria as an isolated military field, you can reach that area within a few months or a few weeks, let’s say, but without taking into consideration the Turkish effort in supporting the terrorists, any answer would be a far cry from the reality, an un-factual answer.
Question 3: Mr. President, how concerned are you about recent fatal clashes which have been reported between your longtime ally Hezbollah and your own forces?
There is good Syrian-Russian-Iranian coordination on fighting terrorism
President Assad: Fighting between us and Hezbollah? They are not fighting. They support the Syrian Army. They don’t fight against the Syrian Army, they fight with the Syrian Army. The Syrian Army and Hezbollah, with the support of the Russian Air Forces, we are fighting all kinds of terrorist groups, whether ISIS or al-Nusra or other affiliated groups with Al Qaeda that’s affiliated automatically to al-Nusra and ISIS.
Question 4: So, there have been some recent reports of clashes between… are those reports incorrect.
President Assad: No, they are talking not about clashes; about, let’s say, differences and different opinions. That’s not true, and if you look at the meeting that happened recently between the Ministers of Defense in Iran, in Tehran; Syrian, Russian, and Iranian, this means there’s good coordination regarding fighting terrorism.
Question 5: To be clear, do you categorize all opposition groups as terrorists?
President Assad: Definitely not, no. When you talk about an opposition group that adopts the political means, they’re not terrorists. Whenever you hold machineguns or any other armaments and you terrorize people and you attack civilians and you attack public and private properties, you are a terrorist. But if you talk about opposition, when you talk about opposition it must be Syrian opposition. It cannot be a surrogate opposition that works as a proxy to other countries like Saudi Arabia or any other country. It must be a Syrian opposition that’s related to its Syrian grassroots, like in your country. It’s the same, I think.
Question 6: You said recently that the ceasefire offered Syrian people at least a glimmer of hope. How, five months on, do you think that hope is going?
President Assad: Yeah, it is. It’s still working, the ceasefire, but we don’t have to forget that terrorist groups violate this agreement, on a daily basis. But at the same time, we have the right, according to that agreement, to retaliate whenever the terrorists attack our government forces. So, actually you can say it’s still working in most of the areas, but in some areas it’s not.
Question 7: There are various accounts of how the Syrian crisis began. Some say it was children graffiting anti-government slogans and they were dealt with brutally by the government. I understand you don’t accept that narrative. How, in your view, did the crisis begin?
President Assad: It’s a mixture of many things. Some people demonstrated because they needed reform. We cannot deny this, we cannot say “no everybody was a terrorist” or “everyone was a mercenary.” But the majority of those demonstrators – I’m not talking about the genuine demonstrators – were paid by Qatar in order to demonstrate, then later they were paid by Qatar in order to revolt with armaments, and that’s how it started, actually. The story of children being attacked, this is an illusive story. It didn’t happen. Of course, you always have, let’s say, mistakes happening in the practice on the ground, like what happened in the United States recently, during the last year, but this is not a reason for people to hold machineguns and kill policemen and soldiers and so on.
Question 8: You do say that some of these people legitimately needed reform. Was that as a result of any heavy-handedness from your government at all?
President Assad: No, we had reform in Syria. It started mainly after 2000, in the year 2000. Some people think it was slow, some people think it was too fast, this is subjective, not objective, but we were moving in that regard. But the proof that it wasn’t about the reform, because we made all the requested reforms after the crisis started five years ago, and nothing has changed. So, it wasn’t about reform. We changed the constitution, we changed the laws that the opposition asked for, we changed many things, but nothing happened. So, it wasn’t about the reform; it was about money coming from Qatar, and most of the people that genuinely asked for reform at the beginning of the crisis, they don’t demonstrate now, they don’t go against the government, they cooperate with the government. They don’t believe, let’s say, in the political line of this government, and this is their right and that’s natural, but they don’t work against the government or against the state institutions. So, they distinguish themselves from the people who supported the terrorists.
Question 9: How do you respond to the fact that some of your ministers defected and cited brutality as reason?
President Assad: Actually, they defected because they’ve been asked to do so by, some of them, Saudi Arabia, some of them by France, it depends on the country they belong to. And now, they are belonging to that so-called opposition that belongs to those countries, not to the Syrians. They have no values in Syria, so we wouldn’t worry about that. It didn’t change anything. I mean it didn’t affect the fact or the reality in Syria.
Question 10: One of your main backers, Russia, has called for a return to the peace talks. Do you think that’s a good idea?
President Assad: You mean in Geneva?
Geneva negotiations need to have the basic principles in order to be fruitful
President Assad: Yeah, of course, we support every talk with every Syrian party, but in reality those talks haven’t been started yet, and there’s no Syrian-Syrian talks till this moment, because we only made negotiations with the facilitator, which is Mr. de Mistura. Actually, it hasn’t started. So, we support the principle, but in practice you need to have a certain methodology that didn’t exist so far. So, we need to start, but we need to have the basic principles for those negotiations to be fruitful.
Question 11: One thing that intrigues a lot of people about the Syrian crisis is why your close allies Iran and Russia stay so loyal?
By defending Syria, allies are defending their stability and interests
President Assad: Because it wasn’t about the President, it’s not about the person. This is the misinterpretation, or let’s say the misconception in the West, and maybe part of the propaganda, that Russia and Iran supported Assad, or supported the President. It’s not like this. It’s about the whole situation. The chaos in Syria is going to provoke a domino effect in our region, that’s going to affect the neighboring countries, it’s going to affect Iran, it’s going to affect Russia, it’s going to affect Europe, actually. So, when they defend Syria, they defend the stability and they defend their stability, they defend their interest. And at the same time, it’s about the principle. They defend the Syrian people and their right to protect themselves. Because if they defend the President and the Syrian people are not with him and don’t support him, I cannot withstand five years just because Russia and Iran support me. So, it’s not about the President, it’s about the whole situation, the bigger picture, let’s say.
Question 12: Do you have any dialogue either direct or indirectly with the United States?
Western countries are dealing with Syria through back channels
President Assad: At all, nothing at all. Indirect, yes, indirect, through different channels. But if you ask them they will deny it, and we’re going to deny it. But in reality, it exists; the back channels.
Question 13: What are some of those channels?
President Assad: I mean, let’s say, businessmen going and traveling around the world and meeting with the officials in the United States and in Europe, they meet in Europe, and they try to convey certain messages, but there’s nothing serious, because we don’t think the administration, the American administration, is serious about solving the problem in Syria.
Question 14: Well, quite recently, there were reports more than 50 diplomats have called for what they described as “real and effective military strikes” against you, against Syria. Does this in any way concern you, and do you think it signals a more aggressive policy from the United States towards Syria moving forward?
American administrations are famous of creating problems, but they never solve any
President Assad: No, warmongers in every American administration always exist. It’s not something new. But we wouldn’t give a fig, let’s say, about this communique, but it’s not about this communique; it’s about the policy, it’s about the actions. The difference between this administration and the previous one, Bush’s one, is that Bush sent his troops. This one is sending mercenaries, and turned a blind eye to what Saudi Arabia and Turkey and Qatar did, since the beginning of the crisis. So, it’s the same policy. It’s a militaristic policy, but in different ways. So, this communique is not different from the reality on the ground. This is asking for war, and the reality is a war.
Question 15: You referred to the previous government, the Bush government. There are some who say one of the reasons you’ve survived as long as a government has been America’s reluctance to get on the ground in another war in the Middle East. Do you not accept that, based on what you’re saying?
President Assad: Yeah, the American administrations since the 50s are very famous of creating problems but they never solve any problems, and that’s what happened in Iraq. Bush invaded Iraq, in a few weeks he could occupy Iraq, but then what’s next? It’s not about occupying. This is a great power. We’re not a great power. So, it’s not about America occupying Syria. What’s next? What do they want to achieve? They haven’t achieved anything. They failed in Libya, in Iraq, in Yemen, in Syria, everywhere. They only created chaos. So, if the United States wants to create more chaos it can, it can create chaos, but can they solve the problem? No.
Question 16: Do you have a preference who wins the upcoming US election?
President Assad: Actually no, we never bet on any American president, because usually what they say in the campaign is different from their practice after they become president, and Obama is an example, so we don’t have to wait. We have to wait and see what policy they’re going to adopt, whoever wins the elections.
Question 17: So, you can see a circumstance where Syria would work collaboratively with the United States and the West?
We are not against cooperation with the US based on mutual interest
President Assad: We don’t have a problem with the United States, they’re not our enemy, they don’t occupy our land. We have differences, and those differences go back to the 70s and maybe before that, but in many different times, let’s say, and events and circumstances, we had cooperation with the United States. So, we’re not against this cooperation. But, this cooperation means talking about and discussing and working for the mutual interest, not for their interest at the expense of our interest. So, we don’t have a problem.
Question 18: Mr. President, you’ve spent a lot of time yourself, as you’ve just said, in the United Kingdom. Can you see there being any repercussions for Britain’s decision to exit the European Union for Syria and for the Syrian crisis?
British people are revolting against their “second-tier” and “disconnected” politicians
President Assad: I don’t think I can elaborate about that, as it’s a British issue, and I’m not British neither European. But at the same time I can say that this surprising result, maybe, has many different components, whether internal as economic and external as the worry from the terrorism, security issues, refugees, and so on. But this is an indication for us, as those officials who used to give me the advice about how to deal with the crisis in Syria, and say “Assad must go” and “he’s disconnected” proven to be disconnected from reality, otherwise they wouldn’t have asked for this referendum, but I think this is a revolt of the people there against, I would call them sometimes second-tier politicians. They needed special, let’s say, statecraft officials, to deal their country. If another administration came and understands that the issue of refugees and security is related to the problem in our region, this is where you’re going to have a different policy that will affect us positively. But I don’t have now a lot of hope about this. Let’s say we have a slim hope, because we don’t know who’s going to come after Cameron in the UK.
Question 19: Can I ask; Australia is part of the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State. Obviously, that’s one of your goals, so in that instance there’s a shared goal. Do you welcome international intervention when there’s a shared goal like that.
President Assad: Actually, we welcome any effort to fight terrorism in Syria, any effort, but this effort first of all should be genuine, not window-dressing like what’s happening now in northern Syria where 60 countries couldn’t prevent ISIS from expanding. Actually, when the Russian air support started, only at that time when ISIS stopped expanding. So, it needs to be genuine. Second, it needs to be through the Syrian legitimate government, not just because they want to fight terrorism and they can go anywhere in the world. We are a legitimate government and we are a sovereign country. So, only on these two circumstances we welcome any foreign support to fight terrorism.
Question 20: A number of Australians have died fighting for either the Kurdish militia or the Islamic State. Do you have a message for these young people who feel so enraged by what’s taking place in Syria that they travel over here to fight?
President Assad: Again, the same, let’s say, answer. If there are foreigners coming without the permission of the government, they are illegal, whether they want to fight terrorists or want to fight any other one. It is the same. It’s illegal, we can call it.
Question 21: Mr. President, Australian politicians have used very strong language about your role in the crisis, as have other leaders, internationally. Australia’s Prime Minister has referred to you as a “murderous tyrant,” saying that you’re responsible for killing thousands of innocent civilians. Australia’s opposition leader has called you a “butcher.” Yet Australia’s official position is still to work with you toward a peace agreement. How do you reconcile those two very different positions?
Western nations attack Syrian government and yet deal with it under the table
President Assad: Actually, this is the double standard of the West in general. They attack us politically and they send us their officials to deal with us under the table, especially the security, including your government. They all do the same. They don’t want to upset the United States. Actually, most of the Western officials only repeat what the United States wants them to say. This is the reality. So, I think these statements, I just can say they are disconnected from our reality, because I’m fighting terrorists, our army is fighting terrorists, our government is against terrorists, the whole institutions are against terrorists. If you call fighting terrorism butchery, that’s another issue.
Question 22: Australia has agreed to take an additional twelve thousand Syrian refugees; some have already arrived. Do you have a message for these Syrians, many of whom still say they love Syria and they want to return. Do you have a message for those people, as I said, who are in Australia, and other countries around the world?
A more humanitarian and less costly European solution to refugee crisis is stopping support to terrorists
President Assad: Actually, you mentioned a very important point. Most of the refugees that left Syria, they want to come back to Syria. So, any country that helped them enter their new country, let’s say, their new homeland, is welcome as a humanitarian action, but again there is something more humanitarian and less costly: is to help them staying in their country, help them going back by helping the stability in Syria, not to give any umbrella or support to the terrorists. That’s what they want. They want the Western governments to take decisive decisions against what Saudi Arabia and other Western countries, like France and UK, are doing in order to support the terrorists in Syria just to topple the government. Otherwise, those Syrians wouldn’t have left Syria. Most of them, they didn’t leave because they are against the government or with the government; they left because it’s very difficult to live in Syria these days.
Question 23: Do you hope that these people will return and would you facilitate for them to return?
President Assad: Definitely, I mean losing people as refugees is like losing human resources. How can you build a country without human resources? Most of those people are educated, well trained, they have their own businesses in Syria in different domains. You lose all this, of course, we need.
Question 24: The Commission for International Justice and Accountability says there are thousands of government documents which say has proved your government sanctioned mass torture and killings. In the face of that evidence, how do you say that no crimes have taken place, and I point also to other independent organizations, which are critical of deliberate targeting hospitals. Do you concede that some mistakes have been made as you’ve targeted some rebel-held areas?
President Assad: You are talking about two different things. One of them, the first one is the reports. The most important report that’s been financed by Qatar, just to defame the Syrian government, and they have no proof, who took the pictures, who are the victims in those pictures, and so on. Like you can forge anything if you want now on the computer. So, it is not credible at all. Second, talking about attacking hospitals or attacking civilians, the question, the very simple question is: why do we attack hospitals and civilians? I mean the whole issue, the whole problem in Syria started when those terrorists wanted to win the hearts of the Syrians. So, attacking hospitals or attacking civilians is playing into the hands of the terrorists. So, if we put the values aside now for a while, let’s talk about the interests. No government in this situation has any interest in killing civilians or attacking hospitals. Anyway, if you attack hospitals, you can use any building to be a hospital. No, these are an anecdotal claims, mendacious statements I can say; they are not credible at all. We’re still sending vaccines to those areas under the control of the terrorists. So, how can I send vaccines and attack the hospitals? This is a contradiction.
Question 25: Mr. President, as a father and as a man, has there been one anecdote, one story, one image from the crisis, which has affected you personally more than others?
President Assad: Definitely, we are humans, and I am Syrian like the other Syrians. I will be more sympathetic with any Syrian tragedy affecting any person or family, and in this region, we are very emotional people, generally. But as an official, I am not only a person, I am an official. As an official, the first question you ask when you have that feeling is what are you going to do, what are you going to do to protect other Syrians from the same suffering? That’s the most important thing. So, I mean, this feeling, this sad feeling, this painful feeling, is an incentive for me to do more. It’s not only a feeling.
Question 26: What’s your vision for Syria? How do you see things in two to three years?
President Assad: After the crisis or…? Because, the first thing we would like to see is to have Syria stable as it used to be before, because it was one of the most stable countries and secure countries around the world, not only in our region. So, this the first thing. If you have this, you can have other ambitions. Without it you cannot. I mean, if you have this, the other question: how to deal with the new generation that lived the life of killing, that saw the extremism or learned the extremism or indoctrinated by Al Qaeda-affiliated groups, and so on. This is another challenge. The third one is bringing back those human resources that left as refugees in order to rebuild Syria. Rebuilding the country as buildings or infrastructure is very easy; we are capable of doing this as Syrians. The challenge is about the new generation.
Question 27: How do you think history will reflect on your presidency?
President Assad: What I wish is to say that this is the one who saved his country from the terrorists and from the external intervention. That is what I wish about it. Anything else would be left to the judgment of the Syrian people, but this is my only wish.
Journalist: Mr. President, Thank you very much for speaking with SBS Australia.
President Assad: Thank you very much.
By Brandon Turbeville | Activist Post | July 2, 2016
Making quite the circuit on the internet landscape is a new video purporting to show a former CIA agent speaking out against the manner in which the “war on terror” is prosecuted and portrayed to the American public. The video has been shared and discussed thousands of times particularly within the alternative media community as evidence that the “war on terror” is one big snowball of bad decisions and blowback.
The video, is a short clip of an interview conducted by AJ+ with Amaryllis Fox, a former CIA Clandestine Services Officer, who makes a number of claims during the three minute clip that range from the reasonable to the absurd. While many alternative media outlets have hailed Fox’s video as “brave” and Fox herself as a whistleblower, it would be wise to analyze her statements for what they are as opposed to praising them simply because they are being presented as “anti-establishment.”
Fox makes a surprising amount of claims for three minutes and she also manages to conflate issues, concepts, and people in a cleverly designed monologue that is clearly scripted for effect.
Fox begins by saying,
If I learned one lesson from my time with the CIA it is this: everybody believes they are the good guy. I was an officer with the CIA Clandestine Service and worked undercover on counterterrorism and intelligence all around the world for almost ten years. The conversation that’s going on in the United States right now about ISIS and the United States overseas is more oversimplified than ever.
Fair enough. Lower level agents of the CIA and most lower level fighters in terrorist organizations or national militaries believe they are the good guys. The propaganda surrounding the “war on terror” is oversimplified. All of this is true indeed. But Fox moves from information easily verified such as the statement above to much more questionable claims. For instance, she says,
Ask most Americans whether ISIS poses an existential threat to this country and they’ll say yes. That’s where the conversation stops. If you’re walking down the street in Iraq or Syria and ask anybody why America dropped bombs, you get: “They were waging a war on Islam.” And you walk in America and you ask why we were attacked on 9/11, and you get “They hate us because we’re free.” Those are stories, manufactured by a really small number of people on both sides who amass a great deal of power and wealth by convincing the rest of us to keep killing each other.
Fox is correct on the latter part of her statement. Much of these stories are indeed manufactured by a small number of people in order to drum up support for foreign invasions and a police state back at home. But who exactly is Fox talking to on the streets of Syria and Iraq that would respond “a war on Islam” to the question of why the United States is dropping bombs on their country? It certainly isn’t the average Syrian as she tries to portray. In fact, if one were to go to the average Syrian on the street and ask “Why is America dropping bombs?” the answer would almost always be centered around Israel. Almost every researcher is aware of this fact but not one time was the word “Israel” mentioned in Fox’s interview. The “war on Islam” line is typically reserved only for the more fanatical religious zealots who make up the so-called “opposition.” So what is Fox suggesting? Is she suggesting that the average Syrian holds the same belief system as the average al-Qaeda fighter?
Actually, that is exactly what she is doing, regardless of whether or not she states it explicitly or not. She continues,
I think the question we need to be asking, as Americans examining our foreign policy, is whether or not we are pouring kerosene on a candle. The only real way to disarm your enemy is to listen to them. If you hear them out, if you’re brave enough to really listen to their story, you can see that more often than not, you might have made some of the same choices if you’d lived their life instead of yours. An al-Qaeda fighter made a point once during a debriefing. He said all these movies that America makes, like Independence Day, and Hunger Games and Star Wars, they’re all about a small scrappy band of rebels who will do anything in their power with the limited resources available to them to expel and outside, technologically advanced invader. And what you don’t realize, he said, is that to us, to the rest of the world, you are the empire, and we are Luke and Han. You are the aliens and we are Will Smith.
Fox is implying that there was a “fundamentalist al-Qaeda” problem before America’s foreign policy was formed. In other words, that the problem existed and that the United States perhaps acted rashly in dealing with it. But the fact is that the al-Qaeda issue never would have existed in the first place had the United States not invented it. Indeed, al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other related terrorist organizations are entirely creations of the U.S. government and the NATO apparatus. While Fox may be forgiven for not knowing this little detail, not knowing the difference between a fundamentalist al-Qaeda fanatic and an average Syrian is not excusable. That is, assuming that the mistake is actually a mistake and not an intentional attempt to mislead the audience.
Fox also provides questionable analogies when she discusses the al-Qaeda fighters’ interpretation of Hollywood movies. If the fighter was so convinced that the U.S. is the empire (fair point – it is) and al-Qaeda is the equivalent of Luke and Han, why did al-Qaeda attack the Syrian government? Why did they attack the Iraqi government? Why did they attack the Libyan government? This would be the equivalent of Luke and Han attacking the Galactic Republic while claiming to fight the Empire. It doesn’t make sense. Continuing with the Star Wars analogy, Saddam Hussein, Bashar al-Assad, and Muammar Ghaddaffi would represent the Republic and those nations’ militaries along with Iraq’s “insurgents” fighting back against the U.S. would be the true rebels. Fox should know this very well.
Nevertheless, Fox concluded her statements by saying,
But the truth is when you talk to the people who are really fighting on the ground on both sides, and ask them why they’re there, they answer with hopes for their children, specific policies that they think are cruel or unfair. And while it may be easier to dismiss your enemy as evil, hearing them out on policy concerns is actually an amazing thing. Because as long as your enemy is a subhuman psychopath that’s going to attack you no matter what you do, this never ends. But if your enemy is a policy, however complicated, that we can work with.
So, again, the question would be “who is Fox actually talking about?” When she references “the people who are really fighting on the ground on both sides, does she mean U.S. forces and terrorists vs the Syrian military? Does she exclude the U.S. military? Her statements simply do nothing to clarify the reality on the ground, only to confuse it.
One good question for Fox would be how the Syrian government should listen to and hear out a “policy” coming from an organization that crucifies women, beheads “heretics,” and seeks to impose Shariah law on a civilized people? How should Syria simply listen to the “concerns” of the United States after the latter power has funded those “subhuman psychopaths” (yes, it is an accurate description) who have invaded their country? Is it possible that the “policy” of the United States and its proxy terrorists is simply wrong? Is it possible that the other sides might not be so willing to have a couples’ therapy session?
While Fox makes a number of good points regarding the fact that the narrative surrounding al-Qaeda and the situation in Syria and Iraq is indeed manufactured by a small number of people in high places, Fox herself makes an incredibly wrong description of the conflict, equating average Syrians and Iraqis with jihadists in terms of their mindset and suggesting that the upsurge of terrorism is a result of blowback as opposed to outright funding and conspiracy to overthrow sovereign states in search of world hegemony.
Fox’s statements simply serve to continue to drag Americans off into the abyss of misinformation surrounding the crisis in the Middle East while claiming to do otherwise. After watching Fox’s video, (notably produced by AJ+ – al-Jazeera, a Qatari news agency that has long been pro-jihadist), we can safely say that Ms. Fox is either misinformed herself or simply good at her job.
Image Credit: Anthony Freda
A new military cooperation deal on Syria the US has reportedly proposed to Moscow might be only useful for an American faction trying to protect Al-Qaeda in Syria, says Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Executive Director Daniel McAdams.
The US government has reportedly offered to work with Russia in fighting terrorists in Syria.
RT: We still don’t know many details on the proposed agreement. How could it work, in your opinion?
Daniel McAdams: I don’t think it can work, I think it is an absurd agreement. I would call it a neocon trial balloon. Let’s look at the origins of why this came out now. It has been a pretty bad few days for the US in Syria. First, all of these weapons the CIA was sending to the rebels in Syria – were taken, put on the black market, and ended up in the hands of ISIS. Then we saw yet another military construct by the US government, the new Syrian army was sent to its maiden battle close to the Iraqi border. Even with US support they were completely annihilated, they completely failed in their mission. And what happened: a bunch of guns, trucks, satellite equipment – it all ended up in the hands of ISIS. The US is proving to be ISIS’s best line of support in Syria right now. This is a desperate move on the part of the US. Frankly if you look at what it contains, I don’t see what is in it for anyone except possibly the US, that faction of the US that is trying to protect Al-Qaeda in Syria.
RT: We also don’t know the source of the information about this proposal made by the US as the Washington Post cited an unknown administration official. How reliable is this?
DM: Well, this reporter Josh Rogin is a neoconservative; he is very, very tight in with the other neocons in the US government. I would call him more of a stenographer than a reporter. So there is a reason they leaked this. This comes just a week or so after the supposed 51 State Department employees sent a letter to John Kerry saying: “You need to go more aggressively after [Bashar] Assad.” A lot of this has to do with Hillary Clinton and people jogging propositions in the Clinton State Department. I think that is a lot what you’re seeing here.
RT: Under the agreement, the US would not give Russia the exact locations of rebels, but specify areas. Doesn’t this give a chance for terrorists to spread inside those zones and stay safe?
DM: That is exactly it! As I said before with Clinton, this is Clinton’s safe zones; this is a no-fly zone; this is essentially, what it is. The US is telling the Russians: “You know, we’re not going to tell you where they are. They are in the East Aleppo. So don’t bomb anywhere near there.” Then they know exactly where Al-Qaeda is safe. It doesn’t make any sense.
The US has claimed: “Oh, we can’t separate our good, moderate rebels from the Al-Qaeda rebels. Therefore you can’t bomb either of them.” If these are US-backed rebels why could Washington not call them up and say: “Listen, stop fighting with Al-Qaeda; stop being alongside Al-Qaeda, or you will get bombed too.” That seems to be a very effective way to solve the problem. If these people really are not part of Al-Qaeda, then they would separate themselves.
The US and its allies are working inside Lebanon to open a new front in the Syrian conflict. Lebanon has been sedated into a state of limbo by the lack of a government and the postponing of its parliamentary elections. Complicating matters, many institutional figures and military commanders have gone into retirement and the caretaker government is unable to replace them.
Hezbollah’s intervention into the Syrian conflict has given a boost to the Syrian government against the anti-government forces trying to overrun Syria.
This has turned the attention of the US and its allies onto Lebanon as a new arena of battle. Rockets are also being launched by anti-government forces from Syria, and even from inside Lebanon, against Hezbollah’s political strongholds and against Shia Muslim villages. The goal is to ignite the flames of sedition between Shiites and Sunnis inside Lebanon.
Photo Below: Picture of the Hariris adorned with the Future Party’s flag and Al-Qaeda and anti-government Syrian flags by their followers on the way to Sidon. (Photo by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya)
Al-Qaeda in Lebanon
Al-Qaeda’s flag has been flying in Lebanon for years. Driving near the airport in Beirut or on the road to Sidon (Saida) you can see the Al-Qaeda flags flying in black. The same goes for Tripoli (Trablos) and some areas inside Beirut. Since the Syrian conflict you can see the Al-Qaeda flag flying next to the Syrian insurgent’s flag. The US and its allies have actually turned a blind eye to the support that the Future Party of Saad Hariri provides to Al-Qaeda. It is worth noting that the current head of the UN Secretariate’s Department of Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, who was once the US ambassador to Lebanon before he was promoted in the US Department of State, also turned a blind eye to the support for Al-Qaeda by the Hariri family’s Future Party and its March 14 Alliance.
The Hariri family has had a long alliance with the takfiris and Al-Qaeda supporters. They have been political allies with groups in Lebanon that openly revere Osama bin Laden as a great leader. It was the Hariri family and members of their Future Party that also imported the fighters that would become Fatah Al-Islam into Lebanon. The exploitation of takfiri militias inside Lebanon by the Hariri family was intended to crush Hezbollah after Israel failed to do in 2006. Regionally, the same strategy involved the Hariri family’s Saudi patrons and George W. Bush’s administration, which were preparing and arming these militias as tools/weapons against Syria and Iran. The Hariris were furious when Seymour Hersh exposed them and had him publicly rebuked.
Months later Fatah Al-Islam would get out of control. Seymour Hersh would be vindicated. The Hariri-led March 14 Alliance would dishonestly try to blame Syria and the Palestinians for creating and supporting the group that they themselves had created. The fighting in Lebanon between the Lebanese military and Fatah Al-Islam foreshadowed the armies that were amassed for regime change in Libya and Syria by the US and its allies.
Tripoli and Sidon as Extensions of the Syrian Conflict
Lebanon’s second largest city, Tripoli, has seen intense fighting between the Alawite community of Lebanon, which is represented by the Arab Democratic Party, and the Hariri family’s takfiri allies. Hariri’s allies in Tripoli are open supporters of Al-Qaeda and the anti-government forces in Syria; they have smuggled weapons across the Lebanese-Syrian and sent large numbers of fighters into Syria to topple the government in Damascus. The Future Party has been involved in coordinating this also.
Lebanon’s third largest city, Sidon, has also been the scene of fighting and tensions between Ahmed Al-Assir, a Hariri ally, and Hezbollah’s supporters and allies. Al-Assir’s men have even tried to kill one of Sidon’s main Sunni Muslim clerics, Maher Hammoud, because he has constantly been working for Muslim and Lebanese unity and saying that there is an attempt to ignite a Shia-Sunni conflict in Lebanon and the broader region. A contingent from the Lebanese military has had stay in Sidon to keep the peace in the city.
Al-Assir’s men attacked and killed members of the Lebanese military in a village on the outskirts of Sidon for no apparent reason on June 23, 2013. This has ignited a battle in Sidon. Thick smoke from the city can be seen from a far distance. It has been reported that members of the anti-government forces from Syria have also joined them. The Lebanese military has deployed heavy weapons to fight Al-Assir’s group and to restore peace to the Lebanese city.
Photo Below: Lebanese Armed Forces checkpoint in Sidon. (Photo by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya)
The Objective is to Force Hezbollah to Retreat in Syria by Targeting Lebanon
The Lebanese state is now being targeted. There have been an increasing number of attacks against the Lebanese military from the Syrian border since Hezbollah intervened in Syria. There were already attacks on Lebanon even before Hezbollah intervened in the Syrian conflict, but those were mostly intended to provoke Hezbollah.
Those targeting the Lebanese state are now taking advantage of the lack of a functioning government and the leaderless status of several national institutions to create a state of chaos in Lebanon. There have been attacks on both Shiite and Sunni villages in the Bekaa Valley and a cycle of violence has begun. It is clear that the objective is to turn Shiites and Sunnis against one another and the Lebanese military has understood this too. This is why Hezbollah has asked the Shiite clans in Bekaa to stay calm after they have been attacked. Protests have broken out in Lebanon too.
The violence in Sidon is part of a strategy. Al-Assir’s unprovoked attack against the Lebanese military is intended to mount pressure on the Lebanese state and exacerbate Shia-Sunni tensions.
Hezbollah refuses to get embroiled in a sectarian battle inside Lebanon. While the Amal Movement, the Shiite political party that is Hezbollah’s partner, has mobilized its militias and started manning the southern and eastern roads into Sidon, Hezbollah has kept calm. Amal’s media has also been reporting on the incident profusely and even in a sectarian fashion, but Hezbollah’s media have inversely been calm and said little.
Lebanon is being lit up with the aim of forcing Hezbollah to pullout from Syria by turning inwards to fight an internal battle. Essentially, Lebanon is now a second front in the Syrian conflict.
The US and Saudi Arabia have probably asked the Hariri family to prompt their Al-Qaeda affiliated clients to initiate violence in Lebanon and capitalize on the lack of a government and the weakened state of the Lebanese state.
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a sociologist and Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is currently working out of Lebanon. He was in Sidon during the fighting and the deployment of the Lebanese military.
Copyright © Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research, 2013
In an internal “dissent channel cable,” 51 State Department officers called for “targeted military strikes” against the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, a proposal that President Barack Obama has thus far resisted. However, were he to accept the cable’s advice, he would risk a dangerous – possibly catastrophic – confrontation with Russia. And, such a use of military force in Syria would violate U.S. and international law.
While the cable decries “the Russian and Iranian governments’ cynical and destabilizing deployment of significant military power to bolster the Assad regime,” the cable calls for the United States to protect and empower “the moderate Syrian opposition,” seeking to overthrow the Syrian government.
However, Assad’s government is the only legitimate government in Syria and, as the sovereign, has the legal right to seek international support as it has from Russia and Iran. There is no such legal right for the United States and other countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey, to arm Syrian rebels to attack Assad’s government.
The dissent cable advocates what it calls “the judicious use of stand-off and air weapons,” which, the signatories write, “would undergird and drive a more focused and hardnosed US-led diplomatic process.”
Inside Syria, both the United States and Russia are battling the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) as ISIS and other jihadist groups seek to overthrow the Assad government. But while the U.S. is supporting rebel forces (including some fighting ISIS and some fighting Assad), Russia is backing Assad (and waging a broader fight against “terrorists,” including Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front). Reuters reports the U.S. has about 300 special operations forces in Syria for its “counter-terrorism mission against Islamic State militants but is not targeting the Assad government.”
The policy outlined in the dissent cable would change that balance, by having the U.S. military bomb Syrian soldiers who have been at the forefront of the fight against both ISIS and Nusra. But that policy shift “would lead to a war with Russia, would kill greater numbers of civilians, would sunder the Geneva peace process, and would result in greater gains for the radical Sunni ‘rebels’ who are the principal opponents of the Assad regime,” analyst James Carden wrote at Consortiumnews.com.
Journalist Robert Parry added that the authors of the cable came from the State Department’s “den of armchair warriors possessed of imperial delusions,” looking toward a Hillary Clinton administration which will likely pursue “no-fly-zones” and “safe zones” leading to more slaughter in Syria and risking a confrontation with Russia.
As we should have learned from the “no-fly zone” that preceded the Libyan “regime change” that the U.S. government engineered in 2011, a similar strategy in Syria would create a vacuum in which ISIS and Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front would flourish.
Violating U.S. and International Law
The strategy set forth in the cable would also violate both U.S. and international law.
Under the War Powers Resolution (WPR), the President can introduce U.S. troops into hostilities, or into situations “where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances,” only (1) after a Congressional declaration of war, (2) with “specific statutory authorization,” or (3) in “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”
None of three conditions that would allow the president to use military force in Syria is present at this time. First, Congress has not declared war. Second, neither the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which George W. Bush used to invade Afghanistan, nor the 2002 AUMF, which Bush used to invade Iraq would provide a legal basis for an attack on Syria at the present time. Third, there has been no attack on the United States or U.S. armed forces. Thus, an armed attack on Syria would violate the WPR.
Even if a military attack on Syria did not run afoul of the WPR, it would violate the United Nations Charter, a treaty the U.S. has ratified, making it part of U.S. law under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. Article 2(4) of the Charter says that states “shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”
The Charter only allows a military attack on another country in the case of self-defense or when the Security Council authorizes it; neither has occurred in this case. Assad’s government has not attacked the United States, and the Council has not approved military strikes on Syria.
Indeed, Security Council Resolution 2254, to which the cable refers, nowhere authorizes the use of military force, and ends with the words, “[The Security Council] decides to remain actively seized of the matter.” This means that the Council has not delegated the power to attack Syria to any entity other than itself.
If the U.S. were to mount an armed attack on Syria, the Charter would give Assad a valid self-defense claim, and Russia could legally assist Assad in collective self-defense under Article 51 of the Charter. Moreover, forcible “regime change” would violate Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the U.S. has also ratified.
Although it’s true that the “dissent” cable eschews the use of U.S. “ground forces,” its recommendation that the U.S. should bomb Assad’s government would involve U.S. military personnel who would fly the bombers or fire off the missiles. And, such an operation would invariably necessitate at least a limited number of U.S. support troops on the ground.
Opposition to Violent ‘Regime Change’
Many commentators have warned of dangers from a U.S. military attack on Syria, risks that are either ignored or breezily dismissed by the “dissent” cable.
Jean Aziz cautions in Al-Monitor, “the recommendation of military strikes against the Syrian government – no matter how well intentioned – is, in the end, escalatory, and would likely result in more war, killing, refugees, less humanitarian aid reaching civilians, the empowerment of jihadis and so on.”
The United States is already empowering jihadis, “going out of its way to protect the interests of al-Qaeda’s closest and most powerful ally in Syria, Ahrar al-Sham,” Gareth Porter wrote in Truthout. Porter reported that Ahrar al-Sham, which works closely with the Nusra Front, “is believed to be the largest military force seeking to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria, with at least 15,000 troops.”
So, in seeking Assad’s ouster, the U.S. has terrorist bedfellows. So much for the “global war on terror.”
As CIA Director John Brennan recently told the Senate Intelligence Committee, “Our efforts have not reduced [Islamic State’s] terrorism capability and global reach,” adding, “The branch in Libya is probably the most developed and the most dangerous.”
No wonder President Obama told Fox News “the worst mistake” of his presidency was not planning for the aftermath of U.S. regime change in Libya, although he stubbornly maintains that ousting President Muammar Gaddafi was “the right thing to do.”
The Center for Citizen Initiatives, a group of U.S. citizens currently on a delegation to Russia in order to increase understanding and reduce international tension and conflict, issued a statement in strong opposition to the “dissent” cable. Retired Col. Ann Wright, anti-war activist Kathy Kelly and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern are part of the group.
“It is not the right of the USA or any other foreign country to determine who should lead the Syrian government,” the statement says. “That decision should be made by the Syrian people.”
The statement urges the State Department “to seek non-military solutions in conformity with the UN Charter and international law.” It also urges the Obama administration to “stop funding and supplying weapons to armed ‘rebels’ in violation of international law and end the policy of forced ‘regime change’.” Finally, the statement calls for “an urgent nation-wide public debate on the U.S. policy of ‘regime change’.”
This is sage advice in light of the disasters created by the U.S. government’s forcible regime change in Iraq and Libya, which destabilized those countries, facilitating the rise of ISIS and other terrorist groups. There is no reason to believe the situation in Syria would be any different.
Instead of saber-rattling against Assad, Russia and Iran, the Obama administration should include them all in pursuing diplomacy toward a political, non-military settlement to the Syrian crisis.
Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. A member of the national advisory board of Veterans for Peace, Cohn’s latest book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.
Since 1984, the US has been labeling Iran a leading state sponsor of terrorism, a charge that was reiterated last week. However, global events explode Washington’s credibility and denial of reality.
Russia’s Defense Ministry, for example, this week reported that some 270 civilians were killed within 24 hours from shelling of Syria’s second city, Aleppo, by Al-Qaeda-affiliated terror groups.
Moscow said the surge in violence by these groups followed from the curbing of Russian air strikes at the request of Washington – purportedly to spare “moderate rebels” located in the same areas as Al-Qaeda terror brigades.
The latter include Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), both of which are internationally proscribed by the United Nations Security Council.
As noted by former British ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, the risible pretext of protecting “moderates” is a cynical cover for the unavoidable fact that the US is, in effect, siding with Al-Qaeda terrorism in Syria for the overthrow of the Assad government.
It has been reliably documented that the anti-government militia in Syria affiliated with Al-Qaeda, including Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham, are supported materially and politically by the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and NATO-member Turkey – all close allies of Washington.
Also in the news, just as the latest US State Department report came out pillorying Iran over terrorism, the United Nations condemned the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen for inflicting 60 percent of child deaths over the past year in the war-torn country.
The Saudi-led coalition includes the US and Britain which supplies warplanes and logistics for air raids purportedly aimed at defeating Houthi rebels who ousted the US-Saudi-backed regime in early 2015. The latest UN report also condemned the Saudi coalition for destroying hospitals and schools across Yemen, which had already been designated as the Arab region’s poorest country even before the US-Saudi military intervention began in March 2015.
Disgracefully, within days of the report being published UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon buckled under political pressure and removed Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners from a global blacklist of rights violations against children.
Nevertheless, while in Syria the terrorist campaign is being waged by Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups funded and weaponized indirectly by foreign governments. In Yemen a major part of the violence is attributable directly to the military forces of the same foreign governments. By any definition this is terrorism, either state-sponsored or state-directed.
In presenting its latest global terror report, the US State Department devotes the vast majority of its concern to the threat posed by Islamic State (also referred to as ISIL) and related Al-Qaeda franchises, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al Shabaab in Somalia.
“ISIL remain the greatest terrorism threat globally,” said the US State Department, adding: “ISIL-aligned groups have established branches in parts of the Middle East, North Africa, West Africa, the Russian North Caucasus , and South Asia.”
In the US press briefing at least 95 per cent of the content was connected to Al-Qaeda-linked terror groups. Only about five per cent dealt with Iran and its alleged sponsorship of terrorism.
After detailing ISIS terrorism, the State Department then makes the discrepant assertion: “The United States continues to work to disrupt Iran’s support for terrorism. Iran remains the leading state sponsor of terrorism globally.”
If Iran is the “leading terror sponsor globally”, as Washington claims, then why is its latest global terror report preponderantly taken up with Al-Qaeda and various tentacle organizations?
Moreover, in the fleeting details on Iran in its report, the US bases its claim on the rather hackneyed allegation that “Iran continues to provide support to Hizballah [sic], Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Iraq and throughout the Middle East” as well as its support for “the Syrian regime.”
Iran scoffed at the allegations, saying that its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine is a legitimate alliance with liberation movements against US-backed Israeli state oppression.
As for Washington’s claim that Iranian support for Syria constitutes terror sponsorship, if it were a credible assessment then the US should at least be consistent in its logic and thereby should have included Russia in its latest terror report, given that Moscow is supporting the Syrian government militarily.
The US global terror report does not stand up to scrutiny. Its flagrant disconnect with reality betrays the study as having a political, or more bluntly, propaganda purpose.
The fact is that terrorist activity around the world is, by far, greatly more ascribed to Al-Qaeda-type groups. The US State Department says so itself. These groups are funded ideologically and logistically by Washington’s allies, principally Saudi Arabia. That connection of Saudi sponsorship of terror organizations has even been acknowledged previously by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the US Treasury Department, among other senior establishment sources.
Hezbollah’s, and by extension Iran’s, alleged involvement in terrorism is an equally politicized subject fraught with murky claims and counter-claims. The US and Israel designate Hezbollah as “terrorist” but the European Union and several European governments do not. Russia officially views Hezbollah as a legitimate political party, which is a member of Lebanon’s coalition government.
Washington’s antagonism to Hezbollah arises from a litany of alleged terrorist actions, including the bombing of a US marines barracks in Beirut in 1983, which killed 241 American troops – the single greatest US military loss since the Second World War.
Several US courts have convicted Hezbollah and Iran of involvement in the Beirut bomb massacre, as well as other atrocities in Lebanon. Hezbollah and Tehran reject many of these accusations. But even if there were some truth to the American claims, it could be reasonably argued that the actions constitute military combat, not terrorism. The US-backed Israeli invasions of Lebanon in 1982 and again in 2006 were themselves arguably acts of aggression, or state-terrorism.
Another disconnect in the latest US terror report highlighting Iran is the flurry of European trade agreements signed with Tehran since the conclusion of the international nuclear accord last year. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s trip to Finland last week was but the latest in a host of renewed European relations.
If Iran were such a terrorist pariah, as Washington asserts, would European governments really be courting Tehran with evident diplomatic respect?
It is estimated the US owes Iran upwards of $100 billion in assets frozen since the Islamic revolution in 1979. The US is also accused of dragging its feet on implementing sanctions relief under the terms of the P5+1 nuclear accord that came into effect on January 16 this year.
It seems obvious that one way for Washington to procrastinate on implementing the nuclear accord and the financial rewards due to Iran from unfrozen assets and European trade deals would be for the US to maintain its narrative accusing Iran of “sponsoring terrorism”.
Despite Washington’s narrative sounding increasingly hollow and in denial of its own documented links to global terrorism.