Secretary of State John Kerry has engaged in another rush to judgment blaming the Russians for an attack on a United Nations relief convoy in Syria before any thorough investigation could be conducted and thus prejudicing whatever might follow, as he did with the Syrian sarin case in 2013 and the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014.
Eager to go on the propaganda offensive – especially after a U.S. military airstrike last Saturday killed scores of Syrian soldiers who were battling the Islamic State in eastern Syria – Kerry pounced on an initial report that the attack on the convoy on Monday was an airstrike and then insisted that the Russians must have been responsible because one of their jets was supposedly in the area.
But the United Nations – and I’m told CIA analysts – have not ruled out the possibility that the convoy was instead hit by a surface-to-surface missile. On Friday, a source briefed by U.S. intelligence said one fear is that the jihadist group, Ahrar al-Sham, which has fought alongside Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front but is deemed to be part of the “moderate” opposition, may have used a U.S.-supplied TOW missile in the attack.
Ahrar al-Sham, like some other jihadist groups seeking to overthrow the Syrian government, has objected to limited cease-fires arranged by the Russians and the Americans, which still allowed attacks on its ally, the recently rebranded Nusra Front. Ahrar al-Sham thus had a motive for destroying the aid convoy, an act which indeed has upended efforts to negotiate an end to the five-year-old conflict and led to bloody new attacks inside the embattled city of Aleppo on Friday.
Another possibility was that a Syrian government warplane was targeting a rebel artillery piece traveling alongside the convoy and struck the convoy by accident. But the assignment of blame required additional investigation, as other international officials acknowledged.
On Tuesday, a day before Kerry’s outburst, the U.N. revised its initial statement citing an airstrike, with Jens Laerke, a humanitarian affairs representative for the U.N., saying: “We are not in a position to determine whether these were in fact airstrikes. We are in a position to say that the convoy was attacked.” He called the earlier reference to an airstrike a drafting error.
Nevertheless, on Wednesday, Kerry made his high-profile denunciation of the Russians at the U.N. Security Council, the same venue where Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2003 presented a false case against Iraq for possessing hidden stockpiles of WMD. In fiery comments, Kerry accused Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of living “in a parallel universe” in denying Russian responsibility.
“The eyewitnesses will tell you what happened,” Kerry said. “The place turned into hell and fighter jets were in the sky.”
Yet, the two points don’t necessarily connect. Just because there are jets in the sky doesn’t mean they fired the rocket that struck the convoy. They might have, but to determine that – and if so, who was flying the jet that fired the missile – requires more thorough study.
Kerry also sought to excuse the U.S. airstrike near Deir ez-Zor last Saturday that killed some 62 Syrian soldiers, saying: “We did it, a terrible accident. And within moments of it happening, we acknowledged it. … But I got to tell you, people running around with guns on the ground, from the air, is a very different thing from trucks in a convoy with big U.N. markings all over them.”
But what Kerry ignored was the fact that the United States has no legal authority to be conducting military operations inside Syria, attacks supposedly targeting the terrorist Islamic State but lacking the approval of the Syrian government. In other words, under international law, any such U.S. attacks are acts of aggression and thus war crimes.
The mainstream U.S. news media, however, has little regard for international law, at least when the U.S. government is violating it, nor particular care for factual details. Despite the U.N.’s uncertainty about what struck the convoy, The New York Times continued to report the airstrike as a flat fact.
On Thursday, the Times wrote, “a convoy of trucks taking aid to the besieged of Aleppo was destroyed in a deadly airstrike.” Strangely, later in the article, the Times does note that “the United Nations has not confirmed what struck its trucks.”
A History of Prejudgment
Kerry also has a history of jumping ahead of a story and then going silent when further information is developed.
On Aug. 30, 2013, Kerry gave a thunderous speech virtually declaring war on Syria for supposedly launching a sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, that killed hundreds of people. On Aug. 31, however, President Obama pulled the rug out from under Kerry by shelving plans for a retaliatory bombing campaign, in part, because U.S. and British intelligence analysts expressed doubts that the Syrian government was responsible.
Later, evidence built up supporting a counter thesis that the sarin attack was launched by Syrian rebels trying to draw the U.S. military into the conflict on their side. In other words, Kerry almost put the U.S. government in position of aiding Al Qaeda or the Islamic State overrunning Damascus under dubious if not false pretenses. [See Consortiunews.com’s “The Collapsing Syria Sarin Case.”]
But U.N. investigators have remained under intense pressure to give the U.S. government something so it can keep alive the theme of Syria’s government using chemical weapons, even after Syria agreed to surrender all its chemical weapons in 2013. The U.N. did so in late August in blaming the Syrian government for two thinly evidenced cases of jerry-rigged chlorine bombs, after brushing aside witness testimony that rebels were staging such attacks for propaganda purposes.
Regarding the sarin case, the U.S. government never formally recanted Kerry’s rush to judgment allowing the conventional wisdom inside Official Washington (and its compliant mainstream media) to remain that Obama failed to enforce his “red line” against use of chemical weapons.
Kerry was at it again just three days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, insisting that the U.S. government had radar and other conclusive evidence showing exactly where the missile was fired and making clear that Russian-backed rebels were responsible with the Russians also at fault for giving the rebels the anti-aircraft weapon.
However, after CIA and other Western intelligence analysts had more time to review what actually happened – and found that only Ukrainian government forces had anti-aircraft missiles in the area capable of shooting down a plane at 33,000 feet – the U.S. government went silent, refusing to make public its evidence but keeping alive the impression that the Russians were at fault.
With the U.S. government keeping its key evidence secret, the Dutch-led investigations into the crash have floundered. Last October, the Dutch Safety Board could only put the likely missile firing position within a 320-square-kilometer area including land held by both the rebels and the government. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Ever Curiouser MH-17 Case.”]
On Sept. 28, a Dutch-led-but-Ukrainian-dominated Joint Investigation Committee (JIT) is scheduled to release a report that is supposed to finally say where the missile was fired, more than two years after the tragedy. Given the influence of Ukraine’s SBU intelligence service over JIT, the likelihood is that the report will try to keep alive the impression that the ethnic Russian rebels were responsible.
A source who’s been following the investigation said the Dutch have resisted the outright falsification of the findings because many of the 298 victims were Dutch citizens and the victims’ families have been pressing for all sides – the United States, Ukraine and Russia – to supply whatever evidence they can. But the Western demands for propaganda to support the New Cold War with Russia are strong.
Syria has become another battlefield in that information war with tragic events being used as propaganda clubs by the various sides to beat one another, rather than moments for careful review of the evidence and assessment of accountability.
Part of this propaganda overload results from the U.S. government and various Western non-governmental organizations funding and training activists in the art of using social media for propaganda purposes. While these activists report on some real events, they also slant their coverage to advance their agenda of “regime change” in Syria.
The problem is compounded because the Western mainstream media has taken up Syrian “regime change” as a beloved cause rather than a topic for objective reporting. The New York Times and other major news outlets rely credulously on anti-government activists, such as the White Helmets and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, for information about what’s happening on the ground with statements from the Syrian or Russian governments treated with open disdain.
The larger tragedy of exploiting these human tragedies for propaganda purposes – whether the sarin attack, the MH-17 shoot-down or now the convoy bombing – is that these deaths of innocents become just excuses to inflict more deaths and ultimately to push the world closer to a new world war.
Does the failure of the U.S.-backed, major insurgent August “push” on Aleppo – and the terms of the consequent ceasefire, to which some in the U.S. only irascibly agreed – constitute a political defeat for the U.S. and a “win” for Russia?
Yes, in one way: Moscow may, (just may) have cornered America into joint military air attacks on Al Qaeda in Syria, but in another way, one would have to be somewhat cautious in suggesting a Russian “win” (although Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s diplomacy has been indeed tenacious).
Secretary of State John Kerry’s Syria agreement with Lavrov though, has sparked virtual open warfare in Washington. The “Cold War Bloc,” which includes Defense Secretary Ash Carter and House Speaker Paul Ryan, is extremely angry.
The Defense Department is in near open disobedience: when asked in a press teleconference if the military would abide by the terms of the agreement and share information with the Russians after the completion of the seven-day ceasefire, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the commander of the U.S. Air Forces Central Command, which is directing the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria, responded: “I think … it would be premature to say we’re going to jump right into it. And I’m not saying yes or no.”
But President Obama wants to define some sort of a foreign policy historical “legacy” (and so does Kerry). And the President probably suspects (with good cause possibly) that his legacy is set to be trashed by his successor, whomsoever it be – the minute he steps down from office.
In brief, the Establishment’s dirty washing is hanging on the line in plain sight. And it does not look great: Ash Carter, whose Department would have to work jointly with Russia in Syria, last week at Oxford University, accused Russia of having a “clear ambition” to degrade the world order with its military and cyber campaigns.
House Speaker Paul Ryan called Russian President Vladimir Putin an “adversary” and an “aggressor” who does not share U.S. interests. There is a U.S. media blitz in train, with powerful forces behind it, which paints Putin as no possible partner for the U.S.
Only in the coming days will we see whether Obama still has the will and clout to make the Syria ceasefire agreement stick. But the agreement did not appear out of the blue. One parent was the failure of America’s military “Plan B” (itself a response to the failed February ceasefire), and the other “parent” was Kerry’s wringing of a further concession from Damascus: Obama supposedly agreed to the separation of U.S. insurgent proxies from Al Qaeda (the former Nusra Front now called Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), and to their joint targeting, in return “for the what the Obama administration characterized as the ‘grounding’ of the Syrian air force in the current agreement,” as Gareth Porter has reported.
The U.S. and its Gulf allies – in pursuit of Plan B – had invested enormous effort to break Damascus’ operation to relieve Aleppo from the jihadists’ hold in the northeastern part of the city. The two sides, here (Russia and U.S.), were playing for high stakes: the U.S. wanted its Islamist proxies to take Aleppo, and then to use its seizure by the jihadis as political leverage with which to force Russia and Iran to concede President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster. Plan B, in other words, was still all about “regime change.”
Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, has from the outset of this conflict been strategically pivotal – its loss would have pulled the rug from under the Syrian government’s guiding objective of keeping the mass of the urban population of Syria within the state’s orbit.
America’s long-standing objective thus would have been achieved – albeit at an indescribable price paid by the inhabitants of western Aleppo, who would have been overrun by the forces of Al Qaeda. Thus, the Syrian government’s recovery of all Aleppo is a major strategic gain.
In the end, however, the U.S. and its Gulf allies did not succeed: their much vaunted Plan B failed. And in failing, the insurgents have sustained heavy loss of life and equipment. Indeed, such are the losses, it is doubtful whether a “push” on this scale could again be mounted by Qatar or Saudi Arabia (despite the post-Aleppo “push” in Hama) .
In spite of the failure of Plan B, the U.S. was not ready to see Al Qaeda isolated and attacked. It wanted it protected. The U.S. ambiguity towards the jihadists of being “at war with the terrorists”; but always maneuvering to stop Syria and Russia from weakening the jihadists was plain in the letter sent by the U.S. envoy to the Syrian opposition Michael Ratney to opposition groups backed by the United States.
The first letter, sent on Sept. 3, after most of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement had already been hammered out, “makes no reference to any requirement for the armed opposition to move away from their Al Qaeda allies, or even terminate their military relationships, and thus implied that they need not do so,” Porter wrote.
A second letter however, apparently sent on Sept. 10, reverses the message: “We urge the rebels to distance themselves and cut all ties with Fateh al-Sham, formerly Nusra Front, or there will be severe consequences.”
Will it happen? Will the agreement be observed? Well, the Syrian conflict is but one leg of the trifecta that constitutes the “new” Cold War theatre: there is the delicate and unstable situation in Ukraine (another leg), and elsewhere NATO is busy building its forces on the borders of the Baltic Republics (the third leg). Any one of these pillars can be wobbled (intentionally) – and crash the delicate political framework of all the others.
Which brings us to the complex question of the current demonization of Russia by the Cold War Bloc (which includes Hillary Clinton) in the U.S. presidential election campaign.
Gregory R. Copley, editor of Defense & Foreign Affairs has described the situation as one in which the U.S. Establishment is deliberately and intentionally “sacrificing key bilateral relationships in order to win [a] domestic election,” adding “in my 50 odd years covering the US government, I have never seen this level of partisanship within the administration where a sitting president actually regards the opposition party as the enemy of the state.”
In short, the stakes being played here – in demonizing Russia and Putin – go well beyond Syria or Ukraine. They lie at the heart of the struggle for the future of the U.S.
There is practical evidence for such caution – for, three days before the Syrian artillery was scything the ranks of Ahrar al-Sham near Aleppo on Sept. 9 to close the chapter on America’s Plan B – (and four days before Ratney’s letter to the Syrian insurgents telling them to separate from Al Qaeda “or else”), Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in addressing the Ukrainian parliament, the Rada in Kiev, was eviscerating the Minsk II accords, brokered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande as the only possible political solution to the Ukrainian civil war.
“Moreover, in a difficult dialogue,” Poroshenko said (see here and here), “we have convinced our western allies and partners that any political settlement must be preceded by apparent and undeniable progress on security issues: a sustainable ceasefire, withdrawal of Russian troops and equipment from the occupied territories, disarmament of militants and their family – and finally the restoration of our control over our own border” (emphasis added.)
Poroshenko, in other words, unilaterally turned the accord on its head: he reversed its order completely. And just to skewer it further, he told Parliament that any decision would be “exclusively yours” and nothing would be done “without your co-operation” – knowing full well that this Ukrainian parliament never wanted Minsk II in the first place.
And Kiev too is deploying along the entire borders of Donetsk and Lugansk. (A description of the military escalation by Kiev can be seen visually presented here).
Is Poroshenko’s U-turn the American “revenge” for Russia’s “win” in Syria – to heat up Ukraine, in order to drown President Putin in the Ukraine marshes? We do not know.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has boasted: “I think I tend to be in more direct conversation, for longer periods of time with the President [Poroshenko], than with my wife. (Laughter.) I think they both regret that (Laughter).”
Is it possible that Biden was not consulted before Poroshenko made his annual address to the Rada? We do not know, although within 48 hours of Poroshenko’s making his Rada address, Defense Secretary Ash Carter was in London, recommitting to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as he signed a “bilateral partner concept” with the Ukrainian defense minister.
What we do know however, is that this is – and is intended to be – a direct provocation to Russia. And to France and Germany, too. Within a week, however, Poroshenko was backtracking as “coincidentally” a new IMF loan was being floated for Kiev, just as the German and French Foreign ministers insisted on the Minsk formula of “truce – special status – elections in Donbass – control of the border” be respected – and as the Donetsk and Lugansk leadership unexpectedly offered a unilateral ceasefire.
But Poroshenko’s “backtrack” was itself “backtracked” by Sept. 16, when the French and German visiting Foreign Ministers were reportedly told that Ukraine’s government now refused to implement the Minsk accord as it stood, as it now insists that the order be fully reversed: “truce – control of the border – elections.”
The American bitter internal election “civil war” is now shaking the pillars of the tripod on which America’s – and Europe’s – bilateral relations with Russia stand. It would therefore seem a stretch now for Obama to hope to prevail with any “legacy strategy” either in the Middle East or Ukraine that is contingent on cooperation with Russia.
The U.S. Establishment seems to have come to see the very preservation of the global status quo as linked to their ability to paint Trump as President Putin’s instrument for undermining the entire U.S. electoral system and the U.S.-led global order.
To the world outside, it seems as if the U.S. is seized by a collective hysteria (whether genuine, or manufactured for political ends). And it is not clear where the U.S. President now stands in this anti-Russian hysteria having likened Putin to Saddam Hussein, and having accused the Republican nominee of trying to “curry favor” with the Russian president – for having appeared on “Larry King Live” which is now broadcast by Russia Today.
But the bigger question is the longer-term consequence of all this: some in the “Hillary Bloc” still hanker for “regime change” in Moscow, apparently convinced that Putin’s humiliation in either Syria (not so likely now), or in Ukraine, could see him deposed in the March 2018 Russian Presidential elections, for a more Atlanticist, more “acceptable” leader.
It is unadulterated wishful thinking to imagine that Putin could be displaced thus – and more likely, Ukraine (with its prolific ‘kith and kin’ ties to Russians) used as a lever to “humiliate” President Putin will prove counter-productive, serving only to harden antagonism towards the U.S., as ethnic Russians die at the hands of rightist Ukrainian “militia.”
But it is certainly so that this campaign is strengthening the hand of those in Russia who would like to see President Putin taking a less “conciliatory line” towards the West. So, we may be heading towards more troubled waters.
Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, which advocates for engagement between political Islam and the West.
In an interview with Charlie Rose on the 10th of August 2016, CNN’s Middle East “super-correspondent”, Clarissa Ward, said that the Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group, Japhat Al-Nosra (now known as Japhat Fatah Al-Sham) were the only ” heroes” in the mislabeled Syrian Civil War. Ward told Charlie Rose, ” … even though some of these more extremist factions are not hugely popular with everyone living in rebel-held areas, they are also the people who have unfortunately, Charlie, emerged as the so-called heroes in this narrative because they are the ones who have stepped in to fill the void. So the reality is in rebel-held Syria, these Islamist factions have emerged as an important force. Now if the U.S. was to decide to join with Russia to take out those more extremist factions, that would certainly be extremely unpopular with the Syrian people that the U.S. would purportedly be trying to actually help.”
This is not the first time a major Western broadcaster has publicly backed the terrorist group. Since Syria was invaded by foreign mercenaries in 2011, backed by U.S./NATO/Israel, with the objective of breaking up the country according to NATO’s geopolitical interests, the terrorist group are systematically described by the Western corporate press as ‘moderate rebels’. When asked if the Japhat Fatah al-Sham, have really severed their ties with Al-Qaeda, Ward states that it is unlikely as they praised Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri in their recent videos. But she still advocates US support for the terrorist group by describing the Lebanon’s Hezbollah who are supporting Assad as “terrorists”. According to that logic, if Assad is using “terrorists”, so should the U.S! Now, as the battle for Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, heats up, the terrorists are again being marketed by their puppet-masters as ” heroes”.Hezbollah was formed in Lebanon after the Israeli invasion of that country after 1982. The organisation participates fully in the electoral, democratic process and respects the political rights of all Lebanese citizens. To therefore suggest that two law-abiding nation states and a mass democratic organisation of legitimate resistance to colonial rule, are the equivalent to head-choppers, rapists, marauders and mass murderers in the pay of the retrograde regimes such as Saudi Arabia, is another cogent reminder of the moral bankruptcy of the Western military alliance and its media disinformation agencies.
The United States who created Al-Qaeda – a fact admitted by Hillary Clinton – are the puppet-masters of the death squads who have overrun Syria since March 2011. It is claimed that a ‘spontaneous uprising’ against an ‘undemocratic’ regime was met by brutal violence from the security forces. That was the big lie which launched the war on the country. The Syrian government did not repress peaceful protests. I visited Syria two weeks after the violence broke out in 2011. I had the opportunity of witnessing some protests in Karfanbel outside Damascus. The Syrian security forces behaved in an extremely professional and orderly manner. On March 15th in the town of Daraa in the South of the country, snipers opened fire killing several police and protesters. The snipers were in the pay of the Muslim Brotherhood- a terrorist organisation linked to the United States and Israel, Turkey and the Gulf dictatorships. The Western press made no effort to investigate the origin of the violence in Syria. The Syrian government was blamed for repressing ‘peaceful protesters’. Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and subsequently White Helmets, played a key role in the lies and disinformation which the terrorists used as cover for their slaughter of the innocents in Syria.
Only the willingly blind and ignorant could view the U.S./NATO/Israeli role in the destruction of Syria uncritically. Since the arrival of IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL) on the Syrian war theatre in 2014, the intensity of the conflict has escalated. IS – another creation of the United States – was used by NATO as a pretext for a bombing campaign against Syria, when the lies and propaganda campaign against the country failed to provide the Western military alliance with the opportunity to launch a carpet bombing campaign against the Syrian state.
The Western public are being told by corporate media giants like CNN et al, that their freedoms have to be curtailed in order to win the war on Islamist terrorists while the very same terrorists are being openly and unashamedly described as “heroes” when they commit atrocities in Syria. On September 11th every year the same news agencies will remind you about the “threat” of Al-Qaeda and the “heroes” fighting them. They will never tell you who those real heroes are; they are the men and women of Syria who are defending their country against the foreign invaders. They peacefully congregate en masse in public squares to wave the flag of the Syrian Arab Republic and the leader they believe to be an incorruptibly loyal patriot, Dr. Bashar al-Assad. Heroes are motivated by love, not hate. To understand why there is a catastrophic war in Syria, you just need to listen to what hateful people like Clarissa Ward say. And Clarissa Ward has told you that the Syrian rebels are terrorists and that terrorists become heroes when they serve U.S. interests.
Do you understand now?
The Kevin Barrett – Noam Chomsky Dispute in Historical Perspective – Eleventh part of the series titled “9/11 and the Zionist Question” – Read the tenth part here
Jonathan Kay began his literary career in 1998 as a founding member of the editorial board of Canada’s National Post. Kay worked under Conrad Black and his Israeli-American partner, Richard Perle. Perle was an executive member of the advisory board of Black’s Hollinger International, which oversaw one of the world’s largest English-language newspaper chains based in North America, Great Britain and Israel. A main objective of Hollinger Inc.’s Canadian flagship, the National Post, was to push the country’s political culture far enough rightward that the Christian Zionist politician, Stephen Harper, could take the reigns of the federal government. Canadian Prime Minister between 2006 and 2015, Harper swept into power riding the wave of political fervor originating in the 9/11 psychological operation.
Richard Perle is sometimes referred to as the Prince of Darkness. He is a frequent and unabashed proponent of “total war.” Perle was a PNAC member and lead author of the “Clean Break” document that in 1996 encouraged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to move away from negotiations with the Palestinians toward a more militant posture in the Middle East and globally. Quite likely Perle had a significant role in planning the 9/11 event.
After the Bush administration was delivered its new Pearl Harbor on September 11, 2001, Perle renewed his call for “total war.” In advancing this agenda, Perle helped lead the charge resulting in the US and UK-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Along with David Frum, another Canadian neocon spin doctor deeply implicated in the lies and crimes of 9/11, Perle co-authored the propaganda text, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror. One of the book’s key recommendations was for the United States to invade the Islamic Republic of Iran. Going back to his role in the formulation of the “Clean Break” document, Perle had long advocated the invasion of Iran as well as Iraq and Syria in his capacity as an influential adviser within Israel’s Netanyahu government.
In looking back in 2014 at his sixteen years at the National Post, Kay emphasized that his work on 9/11 infused his literary career with a “sense of purpose.” For a lot of “conservative pundits… this was our Spanish Civil War. The fate of Western Civilization was at stake.” Kay continues, “I became obsessed with 9/11. I read the Koran, hoping to gain insights into Osama Bin Laden’s mindset, travelled to conferences in Israel, joined a Washington, D.C.-based think tank devoted to protecting democratic countries from terrorism. [Foundation for the Defense of Democracies] I helped a former Mossad agent [Michael Ross] write his memoir, and then wrote a book about 9/11 conspiracy theories.” 
If Jonathan Kay’s journalistic crusade is conceived as his equivalent to fighting in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939, his position on 9/11 puts him on the side of the Falangists, on the side of Francisco Franco’s right-wing nationalist forces. As clearly displayed in the ultra-Zionist content of Among The Truthers and The Volunteer as well as his frequent columns in the National Post, Kay is an extreme nationalist whose highest priority is to advance the imperial reach of the Jewish state centered in the expansionary polity of Israel. Kay seems surprisingly candid in identifying himself as a partisan journalist spinning propaganda for the Israel First faction that now prevails inside the governing elites that rule Canada, the United States and all the NATO countries.
The Underground Asylum Imagined by Jonathan Kay
The difference between Noam Chomsky and Jonathan Kay in dealing with Kevin Barrett’s 9/11 work helps illuminate the complex dynamics of a many-faceted cover up campaign. Kay’s Among The Truthers, for instance, is based largely on detailed ad hominem attacks on those that do not accept the official narratives he seeks to advance and defend. Chomsky on the other hand avoids any reference to scholarship of those that have critically evaluated the evidence of what did or did not happen on 9/11. This treatment of his intellectual opponents as unworthy even of named recognition is made very clear in his failure to identify Dr. Barrett and his qualifications even as the MIT professor accused the former University of Wisconsin Lecturer of academic wrongdoing.
In Among The Truthers, Kay’s sponsors assigned him the task of developing the primary commemorative text created with an eye to maintaining Zionist control over the MSM discourse that would mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The task given Kay in the prelude to the commemorate events in 2011 was to extend the meme of “9/11 conspiracy theories” into new extremes of deceit and obfuscation through fear mongering, defamation, misrepresentation and guilt-by-association.
The text’s title well encapsulates the core features of the smear campaign that is so central to the strategy of preventing the public from realizing how severely and systematically we have been lied to. Kay’s fervid literary invention of a “Growing Conspiracist Underground of 9/11 Truthers” was meant to invoke connotations of darkness, dementia and concealment. Among the engineered mental pictures conjured up by the literary reference to a “Conspiracist Underground” are concocted media memes of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network supposedly coordinating international havoc from elaborate networks of Eurasian terrorist caves.
Chomsky and Kay and the other 9/11 obfuscators consistently avoid dealing with the evidence. There is never any discussion, for instance, of the US government’s position that a catastrophic failure of intelligence flows, together with a complete breakdown of a whole series of emergency measure procedures, was the main cause of the 9/11 debacle. This narrative line is called into question by the fact that not one of the officials supposedly responsible for this alleged failure of intelligence and national defense was so much as reprimanded let alone fired. If the official narrative was true, why is it that the supposed incompetents actually received promotions?
There is never any effort to address huge anomalies like the fact, for instance, that the black boxes from the weaponized jet planes could not be found and yet passports of the alleged hijackers were miraculously located amidst the debris. There is never any real reckoning on the side of the obfuscators with the ongoing and blatantly illegal destruction of the forensic evidence of the 9/11 crimes.
This process starts under Michael Chertoff in his capacity as the person responsible for the US Justice Department’s criminal investigation of 9/11. Under Chertoff’s guidance this federal “investigation” quickly assumed the character of a federally orchestrated cover up. The destruction of evidence begins with the unseemly haste in the autumn of 2001 to dispose of the steel remnants of the three pulverized WTC towers. The twisted steel girders were quickly removed and sold off to scrap metal customers in China without prior forensic testing for signs of controlled demolitions. The quick destruction of evidence included the removal and destruction of human remains.
The saga of federal destruction of the evidence of the 9/11 crime, including the illegal destruction of the taped evidence of CIA torture in secret black site dungeons, extends to the proceedings currently underway in the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp. There, the military trial being pressed against the supposed “mastermind of 9/11” broke down in May of 2016 because a military judge improperly allowed the destruction of state evidence.
Kay’s excuse for not dealing with the evidence in Among The Truthers is to cite the supposed advice of a supposed New York editor who supposedly cautioned him, “debunking books don’t sell… Conspiracy theorists won’t believe you. And normal people don’t need to be told what you’re telling them. So you have no audience.” The implication here is that somehow “normal people” need not be burdened with knowledge of the evidentiary substance of what really happened. (p.320)
Kay effectively destroys his journalistic credibility with this startling declaration that he ignored the 9/11 evidence due to the marketing advice of his New York editor. From this very compromised position of surrender to the vagaries of media salesmanship, Kay launches into his pop psychology fakery profiling the inhabitants of his imagined underground realm. Those “conspiracists” that the author chooses to highlight are simply wrong because Jonathan Kay declares them to be wrong. No proof required. All those that have developed interpretations that do not conform with the Israeliocentric worldview of Jonathan Kay and his publishers in the Rupert Murdoch media empire are simply swept aside as members of “cults and cult-like movements.” (p.315)
The inhabitants of Kay’s invented realm are pronounced by their Inquisitor to be heretics and worse. Kay declares them to be common victims of an “incurable disease” against which young people require “inoculation” through the introduction of special curricula and programs in schools. In taking on the personae of a public health official charged to protect our youth from the spread of infectious conspiracy theories, is Kay, the self-proclaimed poseur, implicitly prescribing the quarantining of those with whom he disagrees?
You will read “9/11 Crimes and Israel” in the next part.
Dr. Hall is editor in chief of American Herald Tribune. He is currently Professor of Globalization Studies at University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada. He has been a teacher in the Canadian university system since 1982. Dr. Hall, has recently finished a big two-volume publishing project at McGill-Queen’s University Press entitled “The Bowl with One Spoon”.
Second Turkish intervention into Syria; ISIS hands border town of Al-Rai over to Turkish army and affiliated groups
Part two of the theater play that began with the Turkish military’s occupation of Jarablus ten days ago continued today in the small border town of Al-Rai to the west.
Twelve Turkish tanks and a number of armored vehicles led a staged military offensive that began at around 13:30 local time on the afternoon of Saturday, September 3. Ground forces of the Turkish army crossed the border into Syria from Salahan village in Elbeyli district of Kilis province.
Local sources report that there has been no fighting in the town since the beginning of the military operation and that militants of Al-Qaeda affiliated groups also entered the town.
As the Turkish army pretends to be engaged in clashes with ISIS, rockets were earlier fired from the Al-Rai area into the Turkish city of Kilis, located northwest of Al-Rai five km from the Syrian border. Some reports say the rocket attack wounded some civilians [Anadolu Agency’s report on the rockets is here].
A larger target of the Turkish operation is the small city of Al-Bab, to the south of al-Rai. This is part of Turkey’s aim of separating the Kurdish-populated and controlled cantons east of the Euphrates River from the Afrin region in the west.
In mid-August, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced the formation of a military council of Al-Bab in anticipation of a drive to liberate the city from ISIS control. This was to follow the success of the hard battle in July and early August to liberate Manbij from ISIS. Manbij lies halfway between Jarablus and Al-Bab.
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)