Abu Zubaydah © wikipedia.org
A Guantanamo detainee, who the CIA tortured as a suspected top leader of Al-Qaeda but never officially charged, has made his case for release. Abu Zubaydah appeared in public for the first time in 14 years of his detention.
His first-ever hearing was made via video feed from Washington’s Cuba-based prison and on his behalf. Addressing a Periodic Review Board through a uniformed soldier who read his message, Zubaydah said that he “has no desire or intent to harm the United States or any other country.”
“He has been respectful to us in all of our meetings and dealings with him, and he has come to believe that he might have a chance to leave Guantanamo through this process,” his opening statement reads.
He said he would want “to be reunited with his family” while also “begin the process of recovering from injuries he sustained during his capture” in Pakistan in 2002.
“He has some seed money that could be used to start a business after he is reintegrated into society and is living a peaceful life,” his representative read.
A Saudi-born Palestinian, Zubaydah is one of three men that the CIA has admitted to have waterboarded at an unknown prison in Thailand.
According to the so-called “torture report” released in 2014, Zubaydah was the first prisoner to endure the harsh CIA interrogation program.
After Zubaydah was turned over to US custody, he was subjected to 83 waterboarding sessions, the torture technique that creates the sensation of drowning. He was also placed in a coffin-sized box for a total of 266 hours (11 days, two hours) over a 20-day period. Additionally, he was forced to remain in another small confinement box (21 inches wide, 2.5 feet in length) for 29 hours.
After being brutally interrogated, Zubaydah was transported to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where he remains today.
Two former CIA psychologists, and creators of the CIA torture program, admitted that Zubaydah was also stripped naked, confined and that his cell was lit by halogen lamps 24 hours a day for a period of time.
In the aftermath of 9/11, Washington [alleges to have] falsely believed that Zubaydah was a key Al-Qaeda leader in the lead-up to the attacks. Since then, his status in US documents reportedly changed to a “well-known al-Qaeda facilitator.”
According to his profile, he also “possibly” knew about bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the USS Cole bombing in 2000.
However, despite 14 years passing since his brutal capture, Zubaydah has not been officially charged.
It us up to the Periodic Review Board to decide whether a prisoner would pose a danger if released. The decision on his transfer is expected in about 30 days.
Until this Tuesday’s hearing, Zubaydah has not made a single public appearance and has only been seen by his lawyer.
The open statement in a Pentagon room lasted reportedly for less than 20 minutes and was followed by a classified part of it. Zubaydah decided he did not want a transcript of his secret hearing being publicly released.
Hearings at the Periodic Review Board have been held more often recently as the Obama administration is trying to stand by the president’s pledge to close Guantanamo by the end of this presidential term. Unable to shut down President George W. Bush’s facility due to opposition from Congress and the military, Obama has been pushing to transfer out detainees cleared for release.
Last week saw the largest single release of 15 prisoners, all of whom were sent to the United Arab Emirates.
There are currently 61 captives remaining in the Guantanamo Bay.
Man who “ran the CIA” offers an entirely new perspective
On August 5th, Michael Morell, a former acting Director of the CIA, pilloried GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, concluding that he was an “unwitting agent of Russia.” Morell, who entitled his New York Times op-ed “I Ran the CIA and now I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton,” described the process whereby Trump had been so corrupted. According to Morell, Putin, it seems, as a wily ex-career intelligence officer, is “trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities… In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”
I have previously observed how incomprehensible the designation of “unwitting agent” used in a sentence together with “recruited” is, but perhaps I should add something more about Morell that might not be clear to the casual reader. Morell was an Agency analyst, not a spy, who spent nearly his entire career in and around Washington. The high point of his CIA experience consisted of briefing George W. Bush on the President’s Daily Brief (PDB).
Morell was not trained in the arduous CIA operational tradecraft course which agent recruiters and handlers go through. This means that his understanding of intelligence operations and agents is, to put it politely, derivative. If he had gone through the course he would understand that when you recruit an agent you control him and tell him what to do. The agent might not know whom exactly he is really answering to as in a false flag operation, but he cannot be unwitting.
Morell appears to have a tendency to make promises that others will have to deliver on, but perhaps that’s what delegation by senior U.S. government officials is all about. He was also not trained in CIA paramilitary operations, which perhaps should be considered when he drops comments about the desirability of “covertly” killing Russians and Iranians to make a point that they should not oppose U.S. policies in Syria, as he did in a softball interview with Charlie Rose on August 6th.
Morell appears to be oblivious to the possibility that going around assassinating foreigners might be regarded as state sponsored terrorism and could well ignite World War 3. And, as is characteristic of chickenhawks, it is highly unlikely that he was intending that either he or his immediate family should go out and cut the throats or blow the heads off of those foreign devils who seek to derail the Pax Americana. Nor would he expect to be in the firing line when the relatives of those victims seek revenge. Someone else with the proper training would be found to do all that messy stuff and take the consequences.
Be that as it may, Morell was a very senior officer and perhaps we should accept that he might know something that the rest of us have missed, so let’s just assume that he kind of misspoke and give him a pass on the “recruited unwitting agent” expression. Instead let’s look for other American political figures who just might be either deliberately or inadvertently serving the interests of a foreign government, which is presumably actually what Michael Morell meant to convey regarding Trump. To be sure a well-run McCarthy-esque ferreting out of individuals who just might be disloyal provides an excellent opportunity to undertake a purge of those who either by thought, word or deed might be guilty of unacceptable levels of coziness with foreign interests.
So who is guilty of putting the interests of a foreign government ahead of those of the United States? I know there are advocates for any number of foreign states running around loose in Washington but the friends of Israel in government and the media come immediately to mind largely because there are so many of them, they are very much in-your-face and they are both extremely well-funded and very successful. Now deceased former Congressman Tom Lantos and Senator Frank Lautenberg were, respectively, often referred to as the congressman and senator from Israel. And there are many more: Chuck Schumer, Chuck Grassley, Ben Cardin, Bob Menendez, Tom Cotton, Mark Kirk, Nita Lowey, Ted Deutch, Brad Sherman, Ileana-Ros Lehtinen and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to name only a few in the Congress. All are major recipients of Israel related PAC money and all are reliable defenders of Israel no matter what Benjamin Netanyahu does and no matter how it effects the United States.
And then there are the Clintons. One only has to go back to Bill’s one-sided pro-Israeli diplomacy at Camp David in 2000 to discern how the game was played. And then there was the widely condemned January 2001 last minute pardon of Mossad agent Marc Rich, whose wife Denise was a major contributor to the Clintons, to realize that there was always a deference to Israeli interests particularly when money was involved. The only problem is that the Clintons, relying on Morell’s formulation, might more reasonably be described as witting agents of Israel rather than unwitting as they have certainly known what they have been doing and have been actively supporting Israeli policies even when damaging to U.S. interests since they first emerged from the primordial political swamps in Arkansas. If one were completely cynical it might be possible to suggest that they understood from the beginning that pandering to Israel and gaining access to Jewish power and money would be a major component in their rise to political prominence. It certainly has worked out that way.
Trump’s crime, per Morell, is that he is disloyal to the United States because he is not sufficiently hostile to the evil Vladimir Putin, which somehow means that he is being manipulated by the clever Russian. Trump has indeed called for a positive working relationship with Putin to accomplish, among other objectives, the crushing of ISIS. And he is otherwise in favor of leaving Bashar al-Assad of Syria alone while also being disinclined to get involved in any additional military interventions in the Middle East or elsewhere, which pretty much makes him the antithesis of the Clintonian foreign policy promoted by Morell.
In comparison with the deeply and profoundly corrupt Clintons, Trump’s alleged foreign policy perfidy makes him appear to be pretty much a boy scout. To understand the Clintons one might consider the hundreds of millions of dollars, much of it from foreign sources, that have flowed into the Clinton Foundation while Hillary was Secretary of State. And there is the clear email evidence that Hillary exploited her government position to favor both foreign and domestic financial supporters.
The leading individual foreign donor to the Clinton Foundation between 1999 and 2014 was Ukrainian Viktor Pinchuk, who “directed between $10 and $25 million” to its Global Initiative, has let the Clintons use his private jet, attended Bill’s Hollywood 65th birthday celebration and hosted daughter Chelsea and her husband on a trip to Ukraine. Pinchuk is a Jewish oligarch married to the daughter of notoriously corrupt former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma. He is very closely tied to Israel, a supporter of regime change in his country, who was simultaneously donating money and also lobbying in Washington while Hillary was Secretary of State and promoting a similar agenda as part of her $5 billion program to “democratize” Ukraine. Clinton arranged a dozen meetings with substantive State Department officers for Pinchuk.
Hillary and Bill’s predilection for all things Israeli and her promise to do even more in the future is a matter of public record. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz asserted that of all the political candidates in the primaries “Clinton had the longest public record of engagement with Israel, and has spent decades diligently defending the Jewish state.” In a speech to AIPAC in March she promised to take the “U.S.-Israel alliance to the next level.” Hillary’s current principal financial supporter in her presidential run is Haim Saban, an Israeli who has described himself as a “one issue” guy and that issue is Israel.
Hillary Clinton boasts of having “stood with Israel my entire career.” Her website promises to maintain “Israel’s qualitative military edge to ensure the IDF is equipped to deter and defeat aggression from the full spectrum of threats,” “stand up against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS),” and “cut off efforts to unilaterally recognize Palestinian statehood outside of the context of negotiations with Israel.” In a letter to Haim Saban, Hillary declared that “we need to make countering BDS a priority,” which means she is prepared to support laws limiting First Amendment rights in the U.S. in defense of perceived Israeli interests.
As part of the Obama Administration Hillary Clinton at first supported his attempts to pressure Israel over its illegal settlements but has now backed off from that position, only rarely criticizing them as a “problem” but never advocating any steps to persuade Netanyahu to reverse his policy. Notably, she has repeatedly decried terroristic attacks on Israelis but has never acknowledged the brutality of the Israeli occupation of much of the West Bank in spite of the fact that ten Palestinians are killed for each Jewish victim of the ongoing violence.
Clinton supported Israel’s actions in the 2014 Gaza War, which killed more than 500 children, describing them as an appropriate response to a situation that was provoked by Hamas. On the campaign trail recently husband Bill disingenuously defended Hillary’s position on Gaza, saying that “Hamas is really smart. When they decide to rocket Israel they insinuate themselves in the hospitals, in the schools…” placing all the blame for the large number of civilian casualties on the Palestinians, not on the Israelis. When the media began to report on the plight of the civilians trapped in Gaza Hillary dismissed the impending humanitarian catastrophe, saying “They’re trapped by their leadership, unfortunately.”
Earlier, as a Senator from New York, Hillary supported Israel’s building of the separation barrier on Palestinian land and cheer-led a crowd at a pro-Israel rally that praised Israel’s 2006 devastation of Lebanon and Gaza. She nonsensically characterized and justified the bombing campaign as “efforts to send messages to Hamas, Hezbollah, to the Syrians, to the Iranians – to all who seek death and domination instead of life and freedom…” More than nine hundred civilians died in the onslaught and when a vote came up subsequently in Congress to stop the supply of cluster bombs to countries that use them on civilians Hillary voted against the bill together with 69 other pro-Israel senators.
Hillary enjoys a particularly close relationship with Netanyahu, writing in November, “I would also invite the Israeli prime minister to the White House in my first month in office.” She has worked diligently to “reaffirm the unbreakable bond with Israel – and Benjamin Netanyahu.” She has boasted of her being one of the promoters of annual increases in aid to Israel while she was in the Senate and Secretary of State and takes credit for repeatedly using America’s Security Council veto to defend it in the United Nations.
So I think it is pretty clear who is the presidential candidate promoting the interests of a foreign country and it ain’t Trump. Hillary would no doubt argue that Israel is a friend and Russia is not, an interesting point of view as Israel is not in fact an ally and has spied on us and copied our military technology to re-export to countries like China. Indeed, the most damaging spy in U.S. history Jonathan Pollard worked for Israel. In spite of all that Israel continues to tap our treasury for billions of dollars a year while still ignoring Washington when requests are made to moderate policies that damage American interests. Against that, what exactly has Moscow done to harm us since the Cold War ended? And who is advocating even more pressure on Russia and increasing the rewards for Israel, presumably in the completely illogical belief that to do so will somehow bring some benefit to the American people? Hillary Clinton.
In recent speeches, including her speech accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for the Presidency, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has declared she would work to eradicate “systemic racism.” Clinton did not present any specific strategy or policy to do this, yet each time she has uttered the two word phrase “systemic racism” there is a large burst of applause from her audience. An article from vox.com claimed that use of this term was “major” because it is a phrase that is “embraced in particular by younger activists.”
In her speech, Clinton could have said she would work to eradicate “discrimination” or “under-representation” of minorities, but instead chose to use the favored buzzword of a specific political milieu to whom Clinton’s campaign seems to be pandering. The phrase is part of a whole vocabulary of what some call “oppression theory.” Young people have learned it from their University professors, namely those who teach Black or Gender Studies. This new lingo is used on various internet forums, especially Tumblr.
When the Democratic Nomination was still up for grabs, the internet was filled with Clinton supporters who referred to Sanders supporters as “Bernie Bros”, arguing that supporting the Presidential campaign of the Senator from Vermont was an expression of “white male privilege.”
Blogs, tweets, and statuses now urge disappointed Sanders supporters to “check their privilege”, consider ramifications of a Trump presidency, and vote for a candidate they despise. If a male Sanders supporter responds to these arguments and defends his decision to support Jill Stein or Gloria La Riva, or any candidate other than Clinton, he is accused of “man-splaining.” As the argument continues, if an opponent of Clinton objects to a personal insult directed toward him, he is “tone-policing.”
Where do these phrases come from? What is this political milieu that the Democratic Nominee has attached herself to? In the public eye it is often identified as the “far left.” This is not completely accurate.
The entity known as the political left can trace its roots to the French Revolution of the 1790s. Since that time, people who identify as “leftists,” revolutionaries, or radicals have used phrases like “liberty” and “solidarity,” they have talked about working toward “emancipation” and “liberation” against “oppression.” They have often used specifically Marxian formulations like “exploitation” and “expropriation” while advocating “power to the working class.” With rhetoric about liberation and opposing injustice, the left has been the traditional home for opponents of racism, sexism, and advocates of social equality.
However, this new milieu that talks of “interconnectedness” and “intersectionality” rather than solidarity, and celebrates global military interventions done for “humanitarian” reasons, while engaging in heated debates about concepts like “cisgender privilege,” accusing its detractors of being “white-splaining” “Bernie bros” who need to “check their privilege” is a new development, that did not arise naturally from within the left milieu.
The Congress for Cultural Freedom
To understand the unique rhetorical style that Clinton has embraced, one must understand what happened at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel back in 1949. Despite the United States being in an anti-communist frenzy, with the House Un-American Activities committee in full swing, and many Communist Party members being sent to federal or state prisons, the Moscow-aligned Communist Party scored a key public relations victory.
On March 25th, 1949 the “Scientific and Cultural Conference for World Peace” opened in New York City, and gave voice to a loud, solid critique of US foreign policy. Albert Einstein, Will Geer, Arthur Miller, Aaron Copeland, Lillian Hellman, Frank Oppenheimer, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Dubois, and many of the most well respected cultural and intellectual figures of the time took the stage at the conference. The speeches not only denounced the military build-up against the Soviet Union, but also defended Soviet military interventions, and presented the USSR as a friendly, socialist society, not the “Iron Curtain” or “Evil Empire” portrayed in US media. The US Central Intelligence Agency watched with anger as images of the Waldorf Peace Conference were distributed by media outlets across the planet, discrediting the United States and raising the prestige of the Soviet Union.
In response, the following year the CIA launched a project called the “Congress for Cultural Freedom.” Still today, the project is considered to be one of the agency’s greatest achievements of the Cold War era. The CIA brags about the project on its website saying it involved: “a cadre of energetic and well-connected staffers willing to experiment with unorthodox ideas and controversial individuals if that was what it took to challenge the Communists at their own game.”
The project involved indirect CIA funding of “cultural leftism.” Across the United States and western Europe, Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, as well as artists, musicians, academics and film-makers started getting CIA money. Many of them were unaware of where this money came from.
The CIA’s website confirms that it subsidized the New York-based Trotskyist magazine called Partisan Review. The magazine presented itself as representing the genuine socialism of Karl Marx, Max Shachtman and Leon Trotsky, while opposing “Stalinism” in the USSR. The CIA also promoted the works of Sidney Hook and other “socialist” college professors.
The project went beyond just political activism, and included funding for art galleries, experimental film-makers, and most especially, left-wing academics. The CIA funded the printing of George Orwell’s writings, as well as concerts by left-wing musicians. A 2014 article from the Chronicle of Higher Education bemoans the impact of CIA funding for the Iowa Writers Workshop, which promoted what was described as stylistic innovations and breakthroughs in literature.
Why Foment “Cultural Leftism?”
It seems strange that at the time of the Cold War, the US government was intentionally funding people who called themselves radical leftists. However, it makes sense for one key reason: all of the artists, activists, academics, and philosophers who received money from the CIA program were staunchly anti-Soviet.
The CIA intentionally promoted “cultural leftists” hoping to divert people with leftist and dissident instincts away from Soviet Communism. A significant political gap between western leftists and the USSR was already developing. Over the course of the 1920s, the Soviet Union grew to be much more socially conservative than during its earliest years. Homosexuality and abortion were outlawed, and the state awarded medals to women who bore more than 10 children.
While western leftists clung to abstract Marxist concepts like “free love” and “the destruction of gender,” the Soviet Union, fighting for its survival amidst blockades, invasions and foreign subversion, needed to tighten up. Facing constant attack, the Soviet Union was forced to become very authoritarian. With its industries rapidly developing within a previously poor and agrarian society, the Soviet economy required strict regulation. As they faced foreign attacks, Soviet leaders invoked not only Marxist-Leninist principles, but also Russian nationalism. Films portrayed medieval Czars not as tyrants but as patriotic idols fighting off foreign invaders. During the Second World War the Russian Orthodox Church was resurrected and allowed to function within Soviet society.
Despite having a centrally planned, non-capitalist economy, achieving what was often described as “economic miracles” by economists, when it came to cultural issues, the USSR simply did not live up to fantasies of many western leftists. Many activists who strove for an egalitarian paradise with “total freedom” were quite disappointed with what the Soviet Union had become.
Yet, even despite the growing divide, the Soviet Union had a huge network of international allies. The Communist International and broader People’s Front of anti-fascists represented a massive global current. After the Second World War, the current got even larger around the world due to the very admirable role played by Communists and the USSR itself during the war.
Starting in 1950 the CIA began working to exploit and expand the gap between western radicals and the Soviet Union, in the hope of isolating and defeating the USSR. From the earliest days, some of the project’s participants were already fantasizing about events similar to the “color revolutions” the CIA would be involved in a few decades later. When the project was being planned, the ex-Communist academic Sidney Hook said: “Give me a hundred million dollars and a thousand dedicated people, and I will guarantee to generate such a wave of democratic unrest among the masses–yes, even among the soldiers–of Stalin’s own empire, that all his problems for a long period of time to come will be internal. I can find the people.”
Regardless of their intentions, in funding and promoting “Cultural Leftism” the CIA ultimately remolded the left-wing of politics in the USA and Western Europe.
Eastern Mysticism, Fascism & The Occult
In Western Europe and the United States, Christianity represented the most prominent religious perspective and was promoted by the most centrist and mainstream elements of the political establishment. The radical left generally promoted philosophical materialism and scientific atheism. The occult, paganism, and eastern mysticism were an obsession of the extreme right.
The Nazis, who considered themselves to be a “party of the right” had glorified Germany’s pre-Christian religions, frequently invoking Oden and Valhalla in their propaganda. The famed Occultist Aleister Crowley who entertained the rich and powerful in Britain often vocally aligned with the Conservative Party and considered leftists to be a dirty crowd of uncultured rabble rousers. As a staunch right-winger the iconic para-normalist said “I hate Christianity as socialists hate soap.”
European fascists often marveled at India’s caste system, seeing it as an antidote to class struggle. Julius Evola, one of the primary Italian far-right intellectuals was also considered an expert on Hinduism and pre-Christian mythology. The Nazis adopted the Swastika as their emblem and called themselves “Aryans” because they identified themselves with the authoritarian structures of ancient India, and believed Germans to genetic descendants of it.
Within India, the caste system, mystical practices that are designed to attract spirits, along with the strict patriarchal family structure have been the main targets of social reformers. Many leftists in India accused the British empire of working to reinforce these things in order to effectively weaken the struggle for independence.
Regardless of left and right norms, following the 1950s, as the “Cultural Left” was re-energized while being re-molded by CIA funding in the United States, it was filled with admirers of traditional Indian culture. Writers like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg used Hindu chants in their writings, which were distributed and promoted at Universities. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, a very conservative and anti-communist sect that worships a Hindu Diety became iconic participants in peace marches.
Similarly, the theocratic and feudal kingdom of Tibet was rewritten into a trendy liberal cause. The Dalai Lama’s regime was considered to be one of the most right-wing, authoritarian and patriarchal kingdoms in the world. The Nazis had been so impressed with the harshly enforced traditional structures of the Kingdom, that they had dispatched many delegations to study it. The Nazis had actively worked with the regime to fight the Nationalist and Communist forces in other parts of China.
In the 1950s, the CIA sponsored a campaign of guerrilla warfare intended to drive the Communist Party of China from the Tibet Autonomous Region and restore feudal theocratic rule. The book “The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet”, published by the Heritage Foundation, tells how the Dalai Lama’s brother led a team of violent insurgents who were airdropped into Tibet with US made weapons.
However, the remolded Cultural Left which Hillary Clinton now embraces, nearly worships the Dalai Lama. The “Free Tibet” movement, which calls for breaking up the People’s Republic of China, is now one of the trendiest “left-wing” causes. One of the favorite books of this “movement” is “Seven Years in Tibet”, written by Heinrich Harrier, a member of Hitler’s SS, who had been dispatched to Tibet during the Second World War.
“Tune in, Turn On, Drop Out”
The political left had long been outspoken opponents of recreational drug use. Many of the early socialists even opposed drinking alcohol and were part of the broader temperance movement of the early 20th century. However, as CIA money flowed in, forging the anti-Soviet “cultural left” this position was also altered.
According to what was revealed by the Church Committee, a commission set up by the US Congress to investigate the CIA in 1975, the CIA had actively distributed drugs to college students and others as part of “Project MKULTRA.” The CIA had involved many professors and academics in its research and distribution of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) also called “acid.”
This hallucinogen had first been synthetically created by Albert Hoffman, a Swiss chemist, in 1938. During the 1950s, the US Central Intelligence Agency had widely experimented with LSD, hoping it could be weaponized and used against the Soviet Union.
Timothy Leary, a Harvard psychology professor, became one of the most well known figures among left-wing students during the 1960s and 70s. He preached “tune in, turn on, and drop out” and loudly encouraged young people who opposed the Vietnam War and racism to use LSD. In 1999, FBI files were released showing that Dr. Timothy Leary had been an FBI informant for much his career.
As the cultural left emerged, there was a strange re-orientation of the mainstream US media. The press backed away from hard line celebrations of capitalism and condemnations of dissent. Instead a large section of popular rock bands, University professors, and TV programs almost celebrated the “New Left,” specifically its cultural manifestations.
During the upsurge of left-wing political activism during the 1960s and 70s, many Communists who took political direction from the Soviet Union, China, or Cuba identified the campus based, drug using, promiscuous, and well funded anti-Soviet “New Left” as problematic. These forces that were organized into disciplined cadre organizations, were a minority, often labelled “Tankies” and “Hardliners” and denounced by iconic New Left figures like Jerry Rubin.
By the mid-1970s, the New Left’s political strength had died down. It remained a kind of small “loyal opposition” in US politics. Peace marches took place, the Green Party was formed, and the New Left functioned as a place that could absorb free thinkers and others with grievances against US society.
While the New Left remained isolated, the US government was ruled by people who espoused Neo-Con formulations about “the greatest country in the world” and called capitalism “the greatest system ever created.” The Ford Foundation, various Rockefeller think tanks, along with projects directed by George Soros funneled money to many who would be considered “left of center,” but they remained a small bloc that was ignored by major political forces.
The New Left Takes Power
The turning point came after the failures of the Bush administration and the 2008 financial crisis dramatically changed the political atmosphere. The USA clearly has big problems now, and the Republican Party’s political message of “my country right or wrong” and “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” would no longer suffice.
Amidst Republican confusion and re-messaging, the Democratic Party has now emerged as the most powerful entity in US politics. In order to maintain its grip on power, the Obama presidency and the Clinton campaign are re-energizing the “Cultural Left.” In 2016, the foot soldiers of the Democratic Party are those who have been trained in NGO funded, University based Cultural Leftism. With the global Communist movement far weaker now, the remnants and descendants of the CIA’s “New Left” have a high level of ideological dominance. What was once considered “counter-culture” has become the mainstream.
Now that opponents of the United States on the global stage are much more socially conservative, the pro-war and imperialistic message of the Cultural Left is far more pronounced. At times, Hillary Clinton’s campaign against Donald Trump sounds almost conservative. The Clinton campaign insinuates that Trump is unpatriotic for avoiding military service during the Vietnam War, and unqualified for the Presidency because he uses “offensive” language. According to Clinton’s supporters, Trump is loyal to the Kremlin and admires “dictators” i.e. regimes that challenge Wall Street dominance.
Hillary Clinton thundered “America is great, because America is good” during her convention speech, dismissing Trump’s “Make America Great Again” as unpatriotic. Many of the attacks leveled against Trump are not condemning him for being bigoted or authoritarian, but rather for being overcritical of US society and embracing “conspiracy theories.”
According to politics extolled by the Clinton-ites and their foot soldiers, being left-wing, fighting for women’s rights, and opposing injustice means carrying out regime change. According to Clinton’s Cultural Left, the battle for “human rights” must continue, and the Pentagon must be utilized to free women, homosexuals, transgender people, and others from “dictators” who do not share their enlightened social perspective. This liberation is to be carried out by arming Islamic extremists, enacting economic sanctions, and firing cruise missiles in order to create chaos and topple regimes deemed to be promoting values contrary to those taught in Race and Gender Studies courses.
Greater confrontation with Russia is considered a good thing because its government is accused of being “homophobic.” Those who point out that Clinton coddles dictators in places like Saudi Arabia, or that US meddling in Syria and Libya has strengthened the menace of ISIL are labelled “conspiracy theorists” who need to “check their privilege” and “stop man-splaining.”
At the same time, pointing out that the US backed anti-government fighters in Syria are actually Wahabbi fanatics who have slaughtered Christians and Alawites is called “Islamophobia.” Consistent with the argumentative style of the campus based “privilege politics” milieu, these facts are never refuted. Rather, one is simply accused of some ideological crime or impurity for pointing them out.
As millions of people are rapidly fleeing both Libya and Syria because NATO interventions have toppled independent nationalist governments and made their lives unlivable, leftists are applauding the situation. Rather than protest these imperialist crimes which created a mass refugee crisis, the bulk of leftists are having parades to “Welcome the Refugees.” Those who point out that NATO destabilizations have caused a crisis of mass migration, and say this is an atrocity that should be opposed, are accused of being bigots and Islamophobes.
The Growing Danger of War
The left that existed prior to the Second World War is something that Clinton-ites would never recognize. Books like “Toward Soviet America” by William Z. Foster in 1932 laid out a blue print for a planned economy in the United States, and called for hungry, unemployed working class people in Kentucky, Ohio, Alabama, and elsewhere to fight back and demand better working conditions.
The mass movements of the 1930s won the creation of social security, unemployment insurance, veterans benefits, and much more. The slogan the Communist Party used was “Don’t Starve, Fight!” Those who were mobilized were not a well educated cultural elite, but industrial workers, unemployed youth, students, and all kinds of other ordinary Americans who were suffering during the economic crisis known as the Great Depression.
The manufactured and recently empowered “cultural left” with which Clinton has aligned herself would look at such people and tell them they deserve to be destitute, because it would help them better understand what people of color have experienced. It would tell them that demanding jobs was a sense of “entitlement” and “white privilege.” It would tell them that they should celebrate the prospects of war with Russia or China because it would be mean toppling leaders portrayed to be “homophobic” or “oppressive of women.”
Now that the “left” has become something miles away from what it once was, it should be no surprise that lots of working class white people are embracing Donald Trump and the “alternative right.” Many white people who are suffering during the economic downturn have come to see the left as a current that seeks to punish and shame them, not improve their living situation. Furthermore, the modern left is perceived as looking down on them for not knowing the appropriate “oppression theory” lingo which is being taught at Universities.
If organizations emerged that actually made economic appeals, and organized against big money interests, in a way that is similar to what was done during the 1930s, the situation could be drastically altered.
However, that is not the case. The “new left,” specifically fostered to counter the influence of global opponents of western capitalism, has now taken the helm of western civilization, staffed with a cadre of loyal crusaders fighting in the name of “diversity” and “intersectionality.” Meanwhile, the economy is getting worse and the danger of a bigger military clash between the United States and Russia or China, the two largest countries on earth, is rapidly growing.
Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College.
On Aug. 17, TV interviewer Charlie Rose gave former acting CIA Director Michael Morell a “mulligan” for an earlier wayward drive on Aug. 8 that sliced deep into the rough and even stirred up some nonviolent animals by advocating the murder of Russians and Iranians. But, alas, Morell duffed the second drive, too.
Morell did so despite Rose’s efforts to tee up the questions as favorably as possible, trying to help Morell explain what he meant about “killing” Russians and Iranians in Syria and bombing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad into submission.
In the earlier interview, Morell said he wanted to “make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. … make the Russians pay a price in Syria.”
Rose: “We make them pay the price by killing Russians?”
Rose: “And killing Iranians?”
Morell: “Yes … You don’t tell the world about it. … But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.”
In the follow-up interview, some of Rose’s fretful comments made it clear that there are still some American non-neocons around who were withholding applause for Morell’s belligerent suggestion.
Rose apparently has some viewers who oppose all terrorism, including the state-sponsored variety that would involve a few assassinations to send a message, and the notion that U.S. bombing Syria to “scare” Assad is somehow okay (as long as the perpetrator is the sole “indispensable” nation in the world).
Rose helped Morell ‘splain that he really did not want to have U.S. Special Forces kill Russians and Iranians. No, he would be satisfied if the U.S.-sponsored “moderate opposition” in Syria did that particular killing. But Morell would not back away from his advocacy of the U.S. Air Force bombing Syrian government targets. That would be “an okay thing” in Morell’s lexicon.
The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” That would seem to cover Morell’s plan.
But Morell seems oblivious to international law and to the vast human suffering already inflicted in Syria over the past five years by government forces, rebels, terrorists and outside nations trying to advance one geopolitical goal or another.
What is needed is a serious commitment to peace talks without unacceptable preconditions, such as outside demands for “regime change.” Instead, the focus should be on creating conditions for Syrians to make that choice themselves through elections or power-sharing negotiations.
Morell prefers to think that a few more U.S.-directed murders and some more aerial-inflicted mayhem should do the trick. Perhaps he thinks that’s the sort of tough-guy/gal talk that will impress a prospective President Hillary Clinton.
A Slight Imprecision?
Charlie Rose begins the “mulligan” segment with the suggestion that Morell might have slightly misspoken: “Tell me what you wanted to say so we understand it … Tell me what you meant to say … perhaps you did not speak as precisely as you should have or I didn’t ask the right questions.”
Morell responded, “No, no, Charlie, you always ask the right questions,” and then he presented his killing plan as a route to peace, albeit one in which the United States dictates “regime change” in Syria: “So there’s not a military solution to this, there is only a political solution. … And that political solution is, in my view, a transition of power from Assad to a, a, a transitional government that represents all of the Syrian people.
“That is only going to happen if Assad wants it to happen, if Russia wants it to happen, if Iran wants it to happen. So … we need to increase our leverage over those … three people and countries, in order to get them more interested in having a conversation about a transition to a new government.
“And sometimes you use military force for military ends. Sometimes you use military force to give you political leverage. … So what I tried to say was, Look, we need to find some ways to put some pressure on Assad, or put some pressure on Russia, and put some pressure on Iran. Now, with regard to Russia and Iran, what I said was, what I wanted to say was: Look, the moderate opposition, which the United States is supporting (everybody knows that, right?), the moderate opposition is already fighting the Syrian government, and they’re already fighting Russians and Iranians. …
“So … the Syrian military, supported by Russia and the Iranians, is fighting the moderate opposition. And the moderate opposition is already killing Iranians and Syrians. What, what I said is that’s an okay thing, right, because it puts pressure on Iran and Russia to try to see some value in ending this thing politically. And what I said is that we should encourage the moderate opposition to continue to do that and perhaps get a lot more aggressive.” (Emphasis added)
Rose: “You weren’t suggesting that the United States should do that, but the moderate forces on the ground.”
Morell: “And I think I came across as saying U.S. Special Forces should go in there and start killing Iranians and Russians. I did not say that. …
“So that’s Russia and Iran. Now, Assad. How do you put some pressure on Assad, right? And here I did argue, Charlie, that the U.S. military itself should take some action, and what I would see as valuable is limited, very, very, very limited U.S. airstrikes against those assets that are extremely important to Assad personally. So, in the middle of the night you destroy one of his offices; you don’t kill anybody, right, zero collateral. … You do this with the same rules of engagement we use against terrorists. … (Emphasis added)
“You take out his presidential aircraft, his presidential helicopters, in the middle of the night, right, just to send him a message and get his attention that, that maybe your days are numbered here, just to put some pressure on him to think about maybe, maybe the need to think about a way out of this.
“Now these issues that I’m talking about here, right, are talked about in the sit room. They’re talked about in national security circles all the time, right. These are debates that people have, and I certainly understand that there are people on the other side of the argument from me, right. But I wasn’t talking about the U.S. starting a major war with Iran and Russia, and I think that was the way people interpreted it.”
Acts of Illegal War
Not to put too fine a point on this, but everything that Morell is advocating here violates international law, the rules that – in other circumstances, i.e. when another government is involved – the U.S. government condemns as “aggression” or as an “invasion” or as “terrorism.”
Remember, after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in February 2014, when Russia intervened to allow Crimea to hold a referendum on splitting away from the new regime in Kiev and rejoining Russia, the U.S. government insisted that there was no excuse for President Vladimir Putin not respecting the sovereignty of the coup regime even if it had illegally ousted an elected president.
However, regarding Syria, the United States and its various “allies,” including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel, have intervened directly and indirectly in supporting various armed groups, including Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, seeking the violent overthrow of Syria’s government.
Without any legal authorization from the United Nations, President Barack Obama has ordered the arming and training of anti-government rebels (including some who have fought under Nusra’s command structure), has carried out airstrikes inside Syria (aimed at Islamic State militants), and has deployed U.S. Special Forces inside Syria with Kurdish rebels.
Now, a former senior U.S. intelligence official is publicly urging bombing of Syrian government targets and the killing of Iranians and Russians who are legally inside Syria at the invitation of the internationally recognized government. In other words, not only does the U.S. government operate with breathtaking hypocrisy in the Syrian crisis, but it functions completely outside international law.
And, Morell says that in attacking Syrian government targets — supposedly without causing any deaths — the United States would employ “the same rules of engagement we use against terrorists,” except those rules of engagement explicitly seek to kill targeted individuals. So, what kind of dangerously muddled thinking do we have here?
One can only imagine the reaction if some Russian version of Morell went on Moscow TV and urged the murder of U.S. military trainers operating inside Ukraine – to send a message to Washington. And then, the Russian Morell would advocate Russia bombing Ukrainian government targets in Kiev with the supposed goal of forcing the U.S.-backed government to accept a “regime change” acceptable to Moscow.
Rather than calls for him to be locked up or at least decisively repudiated, the American Morell was allowed to continue his fawning audition for a possible job in a Hillary Clinton administration by extolling her trustworthiness and “humanity.” – Full article
By Vanessa Beeley | 21st Century Wire | August 20, 2016
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” ~ George Orwell.
The media furore surrounding the now viral image of wounded Syrian child, Omran Daqneesh, in terrorist-held eastern Aleppo, Syria is still raging, while the push back against the tide of western-sponsored anti-Syrian State propaganda reveals itself to be strengthening with each new spike in pro-terrorist hyperbole designed to provoke a knee-jerk foreign policy response that is either advocating a “No Fly Zone”, or some form of escalation foreign military intervention inside of Syria.
Today I had the honour to meet with Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, political and media advisor to Syrian President Bashar al Assad. We discussed many issues including this most recent heart wrenching image that is appearing across all main stream media channels. As we opened the discussion, Dr Shaaban said immediately: “We are paying for this propaganda with our blood.”
Dr Shaaban went on to describe how the “corporate media is distorting reality in Syria,” while also explaining why she was reluctant at the beginning of the NATO member and allies war on Syria, to speak to western mainstream media:
“They came here with accusatory questions, they didn’t come here to know what is going on. They came here to ask me why are you working with a man who is ‘killing his own people.’ What an ugly start for an interview. I said there is no point, they come here to gain credibility but only to re-confirm their own story rather than to find out what is really going on. I didn’t want to be used to ‘re-confirm’ their own story or to give them credibility.”
Dr Shaaban believes that there is a need to ensure voices like hers that resonate with passion for her country and its people, which should be heard across a far wider range of media platforms to counter what might be described as a vast Zionist and Gulf State (GCC) funded media network that is driving the propaganda train though the US and Europe. Dr Shaaban mentioned a weekly column that she is writing in Arabic and suggested that perhaps she should translate it for English media.
What follows is the transcript of Dr Shaaban’s statements on various subjects:
Why is our country being destroyed?
“I wrote that really we are going through a third world war, without naming it a third world war but this time it’s a global war between two projects and two ways of thinking – between western concepts that they want to promote: their own way of life, their own ideology, their own way of thinking even at the expense of other lives and the innocence of our countries while the old civilisations like the Chinese, the Indian, the Arab civilisation are struggling to keep their identity and to pass this identity to their children and grand-children
Personally I no longer believe that the way the system is working in the west has any ‘democracy’ for us, or has any ‘human rights’ for us, or that there is any ‘free press’ for us in their official media system. If you know how we feel now you would be really surprised.
I have two daughters and a son. One daughter is doing a PhD in architecture in London and the other is doing a PhD in the US in international relations and politics. The one in London has a three year old girl, the one in the States has a four year old boy. They have been here for a month, every time they go to the Old City, they come back crying. They say, is it possible that our children cannot live the way we lived, cannot know the Syria we knew, cannot enjoy the Syria we enjoyed? Why?
Why are we being prevented from passing on our experience, our culture, our livelihood to our children? Why are our families being destroyed? Why is our country being destroyed? This is a daily struggle for our children. My children take their children and show them everything because they are afraid that tomorrow this will not be here anymore.
This is a terrible thing to happen to any country, to any people on earth. We have the right to live the way we think, to live our own culture. You might find Paris exciting, I find Damascus the most beautiful place on earth. This is us, this is who we are. I was asked many times to leave as an Ambassador but I cannot leave Damascus, can you believe it? I do not want to live one year out of Damascus, I can never get enough of this city.
So, leave us alone – that is really our message and unfortunately the calculus of politics in the west has no consideration whatsoever for the way people feel or for their aspirations.”
“The problem with the western system is that they think they are superior and they think that they want to “civilize” us and they want us to come up to their “standards”, and I hate when I hear Obama or any US official talking about American exceptionalism. What do they mean American exceptionalism?
God created us as people. We belong to the same humanity, we belong to the same world. In the Quran God spoke about the differences between us and we should understand that we should celebrate and cherish these differences. This idea of supremacy is basically rooted in racism because it believes in the supremacy of one sect, colour or nationality over another.
I feel it is bad for the west too because racism is now producing bad results for western countries especially as there are so many different religions living everywhere in the world. The only salvation for all of us is to say there is one world, one humanity and to apply this rule to everybody. We must truly believe in that not only talk about it in the media and then practice racism in the law. There is a huge area for dialogue but we need people who believe in similar values.
We are fighting a war on the ground but it is also a clash of values.”
Reshaping our world and the problems we face.
“The Gulf States are a huge problem. With the petro dollar they are feeding the arms industry in the US, UK and France and prolonging this conflict. It is going to be a long process, we are living through a transitional stage in world history. It is going to be a long process in order to reshape our world. That is why we all have the obligation to be active so our new world is based on better values, better ethics, better ways of dealing with each other.
To achieve this new world, co-operation between east and west is crucial.
Where are the leaders in the US, or even in Europe, who are visionary and who are thinking about their countries for the next fifty years and who are doing the right thing for the people from an historical perspective? So perhaps we are living through a crisis of leadership.”
The Destruction of the Middle East is to protect Israel. NATO is trying to impose an Islamist extremist state onto Syria’s secular state.
“I think there are two explanations for that. First the west should be embarrassed to be supporting countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar against Syria, Iraq or Sudan. We were the secular republics who produced books, scientists, intellectuals etc. I think there is a reason for that. The reason for what the west is doing, in my opinion as an Arab woman, could be summed up by the Arab-Israeli conflict. I feel that the western support for Israel against the Palestinian people and the destruction of a whole people and their identity by Israel shows that what the west cares about is for Israel to be the powerful state in the region for the next fifty or a hundred years. In order for Israel to be the prevailing force in the Middle East it is necessary to destroy Arabic culture.
Unfortunately, now I can see a union of evil between the Gulf States and Israel and western systems. I use the word systems to divorce this evil from the western people.
I respond as an Arab woman, who grew up knowing that my country was part of Bilad al-Sham, Greater Syria. I do not say this in an aggressive tone, but in a loving tone because Syria was Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and I can’t understand why as a Syrian woman, I cannot visit Al Aqsa. Its very close geographically, yet its impossible for me to get there because Israel has been planted in the Middle East.
Israel is a major focus for western countries and all these wars against Arab countries and what they call the ‘Arab Spring’ is to destroy Arab armies and to prevent any Arab country being able to resist Israel in the future. They do not want us to be able to liberate our Golan Heights, or Palestine, or to simply assure the rights of the Arab people.
By the way, there are at least 50 UN resolutions that give the Palestinians at least half of Palestine and the world is doing nothing about that – on the contrary the US used 37 vetoes in order to prevent the Palestinians getting their rights. Western hypocrisy is amazing.
That is where the supremacy in the west is turned against Arabs because it is the Zionist media that tells the west that the Arabs are ‘backwards’ or primitive. People are persuaded by this propaganda and they treat us as the Zionists wish us to be treated. This is racism against Arabs and emanates from the Zionists.
Hillary Clinton has spoken about working with the Muslim Brotherhood. It is extensively documented that the Muslim Brotherhood has had connections to the CIA since they were created. Even if we read nothing but we apply the western proverb, “who is the beneficiary” – you will find Israel is the beneficiary from all this destruction.
You can see that the army and our intellectuals are the major targets for Israel. They dont want any intellectuals or any army left in our country. They destroyed the Iraqi army. There is a war of attrition against the Syrian army, against the Libyan army, the Sudanese, the Lebanese.
Unfortunately some who call themselves Arab in the Gulf use the petro-dollar in order to serve this project against our culture and our civilization because as a Syrian woman I feel the Gulf has no culture, no history. This is Bilad al-Sham continually inhabited for ten thousand years. The Gulf is forty years old and therefore they have no right to speak in the name of the Arabs
We are the Arabs, we are history, we are civilization.
What they are doing is against our civilization, against our history and against our future but I feel this is a very dangerous project that reminds me of how the American Indians were treated. They have destroyed Palmyra, they have destroyed our history and our culture.
Khaled al-Assad is the only archaeologist in the world who was writing about who was here in the past, in Palmyra. He was proving that the Zionists were never here. They killed him, they burned his library, they burned his books so we have nothing left of his work. From an observers’ perspective, they are focusing on history, material history, cultural history, identity, army. Any power that keeps you as an entire state, or any statesman that represents strength or unity will be demonized and destroyed.
Even Ramadan al Bouti a Sunni scholar who was speaking sense was murdered because they want to destroy anybody who speaks the truth or who is influential and can gather people around him.
What is the significance of President Assad? He is credible, people believe in him, Arab people believe in him. They do not want anybody like that to have influence. I feel there is a huge plan against all of us.
They operate by buying people, Arab people, people in powerful positions who serve the Zionist project against our culture and identity because they can be bought by money.
I am talking to you from experience, I was subjected to a huge amount of pressure by many countries to be bought by money and all the temptations you can think of were offered to me but I am somebody who cannot be bought by money. I am somebody who believes in my country and in my people. Even if I die, I can die for a cause. If I can’t live for it I can die for it.
Most of the defections that happened in Syria were driven by money. None of them has a cause or an ideology or any credibility with our people.
As you said quite rightly, the western people do not see any of this, they only see the shadow. Those people bought by money, they are the shadow state.
Nobody wants to know who we really are.”
The reason nobody knows the real Syria and the real Syrians, is because the western media has routinely lied and deceived us from the very beginning of the war against Syria – led by the US, NATO members and funded by the Gulf states, supported and encouraged by Israel who, as Dr Shaaban states, stands to benefit most from the perpetual chaos being maintained inside their strongest enemy in the region.
After three Americans from the US embassy were accused of espionage and tossed out of Nicaragua, a protest was lodged in Managua against this «unwarranted» decision, and the Nicaraguan government was warned that the relationship between the two countries would suffer inevitable damage in tourism, trade, and investment from the US. The State Department issued notice that Americans might face threats in Nicaragua. The war of propaganda waged against Daniel Ortega’s regime has become so ferocious that political commentators are drawing conclusions about Washington’s plans to «end the dictatorship» in Nicaragua once and for all.
The Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas (IDEA), an international forum, was created in April of 2015 in order to launch attacks on Ortega and other Latin American «populist» leaders, and Washington was responsible for choosing its members: the chosen favorites include – Álvaro Uribe of Colombia, Alejandro Toledo of Peru, Lucio Gutiérrez of Ecuador, Felipe Calderón of Mexico, Óscar Arias of Costa Rica, José María Aznar of Spain, and others. These politicians work closely with the United States and continue to defer to Washington, even after leaving office.
IDEA released a statement in August that was highly critical of Nicaragua and which reads like something out of the Cold War: «The international community finds the violation of the democratic system in Nicaragua so worrisome that the former Ibero-American heads of state and of government have decided to ask the OAS and the EU to maintain critical oversight of these serious violations of democratic and constitutional order». And it goes on to say that statements by the members of IDEA «may be preceded by certain political and diplomatic actions, as provided by international law … in order to defend democracy and reestablish it where it has been compromised, as in the current example of Nicaragua».
In its attacks on the Nicaraguan government, the US National Security Agency uses materials obtained over the course of years of electronic surveillance of President Ortega, as well as his family and inner circle. Its deft use of such materials makes it possible to circulate all sorts of drivel that is designed to defame politicians who have been marked for public retaliation. Almost every «populist bloc» leader in Latin America is currently up against such cheap shots – Inácio Lula da Silva, Dilma Rousseff, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Rafael Correa, Nicolás Maduro, Evo Morales, and others.
Daniel Ortega has led his country for 13 years. He has been elected three times: in 1985, 2006, and 2012, and no one is predicting that he will have any opponents in the upcoming Nov. 6 election. Ortega’s political rivals are feuding amongst themselves. Despite the behind-the-scenes efforts of the US embassy, is has not been possible to consolidate the opposition in the run-up to the election. For this reason, the US has launched a blitzkrieg of propaganda against Daniel Ortega, his wife Rosario Murillo, and their grown children. The leitmotif of these «revelations» is a familiar one – some hogwash about the abuse of power, corruption, multi-million-dollar accounts in overseas banks, and the ownership of foreign real estate. The US continues to harp on the supposed parallels with the family of the dictator Anastasio Somoza; «Somoza García amassed a huge fortune, making him and his family some of the richest people in all of Latin America. By the time of his death in 1956 he left his children $200 million, which they managed to triple within a few years. His son, Anastasio Somoza DeBayle, owned 130 real estate holdings, as well as estates, residences, and tracts of land. He was owner of an airline (Líneas Aéreas de Nicaragua), a television station (Televisora de Nicaragua), the San Uribe and San Albino gold mines, and more».
One might well ask, what does Somoza’s wealth have to do with Ortega and his family? Nevertheless, the author of the article writes: «As is usual for totalitarian regimes of the past, there is no reliable information about the finances of the Nicaraguan president and his wife. That knotty question is top secret». Although there is no «reliable information», he goes on to claim that the family owns the Distribuidora Nicaragüense de Petróleos chain of gas stations, plus media outlets including four TV channels, radio stations, newspapers, websites, etc. In addition, Ortega has control over the project to build a transoceanic canal that would link the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the cost of which is estimated at $50 billion. That mega-project has the backing of the Chinese entrepreneur Wang Jing.
Naturally of course the Chinese-Nicaraguan canal mega-project was met with hostility by Washington. They don’t want anything competing with the updated Panama Canal. And as for the company Distribuidora Nicaragüense de Petróleos, that is a model for energy-sector cooperation between Venezuela and Nicaragua – not some private racket that is allegedly being used by Ortega’s friends for their personal enrichment.
During the years when the Sandinistas were in the opposition, Ortega was constantly faced with the problem of getting access to the media. His attempts to communicate his views to the public invariably ran up against an information boycott. But now the situation has changed drastically. Ortega has turned the tide to his own advantage. The government controls hundreds of Internet websites, as well as the news services Nicaragua Triunfa and Nicaragua Comovamos. Dozens of provincial radio stations work on the side of the government, as do influential national stations like Radio Sandino, La Nueva Radio Ya, Radio Nicaragua, and Radio Primerísima. The work of the government and the president gets favorable coverage by TV channels that are managed by members of the Ortega family – Canal 13, Multinoticias Canal 4, Canal 8, and Telenica Canal 10. The pro-government channels also include Canal 23, Canal Extra Plus, 100 % Noticias, and others. None of the «leftist» Latin American presidents enjoy such an effective mouthpiece for information and propaganda as Ortega.
Yet despite the accusations that it is a dictatorship, the country has no censorship restrictions. The opposition and, consequently, the US embassy have every opportunity to proselytize there. Popular newspapers like La Prensa and El Nuevo Diario and the weekly Confidencial are employed with particular vigor toward this goal. Ortega responds immediately, using fiercely anti-imperialist and anti-American terminology. Nor does he keep silent when Washington directs attacks against Nicaragua’s allies. Ortega’s speeches in support of Russia, Cuba, and friendly governments in Ecuador, Bolivia, and other countries resonate far and wide.
The ideological underpinnings of Ortega’s international policy have remained unchanged throughout recent years: they consist of a fundamental rejection of American hegemony, coupled with patriotism, nationalism, and «socialism with a Nicaraguan face», plus support for the Latin American path to a true people’s democracy. This 70-year-old politician has never altered his revolutionary convictions. That said however, he is a flexible strategist who understands that a superpower can strike at any time and that the US is still unpredictable and dangerous. As the leader of a small country he has no choice but to maneuver, and he manages to do so without compromising his principles.
In December 2015 the CIA launched into yet another act of provocation against Nicaragua. Under the influence of inflammatory media reports about the Obama administration’s possible suspension of the preferential treatment Cuban migrants receive upon entering the US, hundreds rushed to emigrate from that island nation. The route suggested by the «well-wishers» from Miami: first by air from Havana to Ecuador (no visa needed), then by bus across several borders into Mexico, and from there into the US. Nothing to worry about, or so it would seem. However, Nicaraguan counter-intelligence got its hands on some information about CIA plans to use those migrants to stir things up. After arriving in Nicaragua from Costa Rica, their onward path – through Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico – was to be closed, and the Cuban migrants would find themselves stranded in Nicaragua for a long time. As envisioned by the CIA, they were supposed to be the fuse to the ticking bomb of the country’s destabilization. Therefore, Daniel Ortega’s decision was emphatic: there should be no back doors, and the ones who came up with the whole migrant scheme should be the ones to deal with the mess! Demands that the migrants be admitted were hurled at that «inhumane regime» from all manner of human rights organizations patronized by American foundations. The members of the Central American Integration System (SICA) went public with their criticism of Ortega’s decision. The migrants themselves, as if on cue, tried to crash through the Nicaraguan border, with children and pregnant women planted in their forward ranks. The Nicaraguan government needed time to force the fugitives into Costa Rica. Tensions eased by February-March 2016. Ortega’s government refused to be blackmailed, and Washington had to quietly furnish its ally Costa Rica with financial assistance in order to provide for the migrants and evacuate them by air…
As the date of the Nicaraguan presidential election nears, new acts of provocation should be expected from US intelligence agencies and the American embassy. Ambassador Laura Dogu works assiduously with the Nicaraguan business community, persuading them that the ongoing Sandinista administration and its policy of «socialism with a Nicaraguan face» can only hurt their business interests.
The US embassy has conspicuously stepped up its work with the media and activists from NGOs and indigenous organizations, as well as the country’s youth. US intelligence agencies, diplomats, staffers with USAID (which is in reality a branch of the CIA), and Peace Corps volunteers are pinning their main hopes on Nicaragua’s youth, viewing that demographic as the most promising in the struggle against the Nicaraguan regime.
The Constitution offers no barriers to President Ortega’s reelection. He has been accused of taking control of executive, legislative, and judicial power, but the main factor ensuring his re-election is his broad popular support, which Ortega enjoys thanks to the social programs established during his years in office. Despite his socialist, anti-imperialist views, the president has many supporters in the country’s business community.
The November election forecasts don’t look too auspicious for the conspirators in the US embassy: Daniel Ortega is once again going to be elected president.
Coverage of the breakdown of the partial ceasefire in Syria illustrated the main way corporate news media distort public understanding of a major foreign policy story. The problem is not that the key events in the story are entirely unreported, but that they were downplayed and quickly forgotten in the media’s embrace of themes with which they were more comfortable.
In this case, the one key event was the major offensive launched in early April by Al Nusra Front — the Al Qaeda franchise in Syria — alongside U.S.-backed armed opposition groups. This offensive was mentioned in at least two “quality” U.S. newspapers. Their readers, however, would not have read that it was that offensive that broke the back of the partial ceasefire.
On the contrary, they would have gotten the clear impression from following the major newspapers’ coverage that systematic violations by the Assad government doomed the ceasefire from the beginning.
Corporate media heralded the ceasefire agreement when it was negotiated by the United States and Russia in February, with the Los Angeles Times (2/3/16) calling it “the most determined diplomatic push to date aimed at ending the nation’s almost five-year conflict.” The “partial cessation of hostilities” was to apply between the Syrian regime and the non-jihadist forces, but not to the regime’s war with Nusra and with ISIS.
The clear implication was that the U.S.-supported non-jihadist opposition forces would have to separate themselves from Nusra, or else they would be legitimate targets for airstrikes.
But the relationship between the CIA-backed armed opposition to Assad and the jihadist Nusra Front was an issue that major U.S. newspapers had already found very difficult to cover (FAIR.org, 3/21/16).
U.S. Syria policy has been dependent on the military potential of the Nusra Front (and its close ally, Ahrar al Sham) for leverage on the Syrian regime, since the “moderate” opposition was unable to operate in northwest Syria without jihadist support. This central element in U.S. Syria policy, which both the government and the media were unwilling to acknowledge, was a central obstacle to accurate coverage of what happened to the Syrian ceasefire.
Shaping the Story
This problem began shaping the story as soon as the ceasefire agreement was announced. On Feb. 23, New York Times correspondent Neil MacFarquhar wrote a news analysis on the wider tensions between the Obama administration and Russia that pointed to “a gaping loophole” in the Syria ceasefire agreement: the fact that “it permits attacks against the Islamic State and the Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate, to continue.”
MacFarquhar asserted that exempting Nusra from the ceasefire “could work in Moscow’s favor, since many of the anti-Assad groups aligned with the United States fight alongside the Nusra Front.” That meant that Russia could “continue to strike United States-backed rebel groups without fear … of Washington’s doing anything to stop them,” he wrote.
On the same day, Adam Entous of the Wall Street Journal reported that Obama’s “top military and intelligence advisers don’t believe Russia will abide by a just-announced ceasefire in Syria and want to ready plans to increase pressure on Moscow by expanding covert support to rebels fighting the Russia-backed Assad regime.”
For two of the country’s most prominent newspapers, it was thus clear that the primary context of the Syria ceasefire was not its impact on Syria’s population, but how it affected the rivalry between powerful national security officials and Russia.
Contrary to those dark suspicions of Russian intentions to take advantage of the agreement to hit U.S.-supported Syrian opposition groups, however, as soon as the partial ceasefire agreement took effect on Feb. 27, Russia released a map that designated “green zones” where its air forces would not strike.
The green zones, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, corresponded with Syrian opposition groups that had signed on to the ceasefire. Furthermore, Russia stopped bombing the Nusra-controlled areas of northwest Syria, instead focusing on ISIS targets, as Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Davis confirmed on March 14.
Breaking the Ceasefire
But instead of separating themselves from Nusra Front, the U.S.-supported armed opposition joined with Nusra and its jihadist allies in a major offensive aimed at destroying the ceasefire.
Charles Lister, a leading British specialist on the jihadists in Syria, has recounted being told by the commander of a U.S.-backed armed group that around March 20, Nusra officials began a round of meetings with non-jihadist opposition groups from Hama, Latakia and southern Aleppo — including those supported by the United States — to persuade them to participate in a major offensive against the Assad regime, rather than in a ceasefire and political negotiations.
News media did not ignore the offensive launched on April 3 by Nusra Front and its “moderate” allies. The Los Angeles Times (4/4/16) described a “punishing attack” by Nusra and several “so-called moderate rebel factions” on the town of Al Eis, southwest of Aleppo, “overlooking the M5 highway, a vital artery connecting the Syrian capital, Damascus, in the southwest of the country, with the government-held city of Homs, in west-central Syria, and Aleppo in the north.”
Associated Press (4/3/16) reported that Nusra Front’s closest ally, Ahrar al Sham, together with U.S.-supported factions had simultaneously “seized government positions in heavy fighting in northwestern Latakia province.” The story quoted Zakariya Qaytaz of the U.S.-supported Division 13 brigade as telling the agency through Twitter: “The truce is considered over. This battle is a notice to the regime.”
The Nusra-led offensive was a decisive violation of the ceasefire, which effectively frustrated the intention of isolating the jihadists. It led to continued high levels of fighting in the three areas where it had taken place, and Russian planes returned to Nusra Front-controlled territory for the first time in nearly six weeks. Yet after the first reports on the offensive, its very existence vanished from media coverage of Syria.
Disappearing Key Facts
No U.S. newspaper followed up over the next two weeks to analyze its significance in terms of U.S. policy, especially in light of the role of “legitimate” armed opposition groups in trashing the ceasefire.
Wall Street Journal correspondent Sam Dagher (4/4/16) suggested in his initial report on the offensive that it was a response to a Syrian air force airstrike in an opposition-controlled suburb of Damascus two days earlier, which activists said killed 30 civilians. But the offensive was so complex and well-organized that it had obviously been prepared well in advance of that strike.
None of the other papers sought to portray the offensive as the result of a pattern of increasing military pressure on the Nusra Front or its allies. In fact, after the initial reports, all four major newspapers — the New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post — simply ignored the fact that the offensive had been carried out.
On April 19, three separate articles presented three variants of what became the broad media approach to explaining the fate of the ceasefire agreement. The Journal’s Nour Malas and Sam Dagher wrote: “A limited truce in Syria, brokered by the US and Russia in late February, has unraveled in recent weeks, with government forces escalating attacks on several fronts and rebels relaunching operations around the northern city of Aleppo.”
That formulation clearly suggested that either the regime had moved first, or that government and rebels had somehow both taken the offensive at the same moment; the former interpretation was encouraged by the headline, “Syrian Government Steps Up Airstrikes.”
On the same day, New York Times Beirut correspondent Anne Barnard wrote a piece focused mainly on regime airstrikes in two Idlib towns, Maarat al Numan and Kafr Nable, that had killed many as 40 civilians.
Barnard’s piece was headlined, “Ceasefire Crumbles as Bombings Kill Dozens” — suggesting that the airstrikes had somehow led to the “crumbling.” Barnard did refer to an otherwise unidentified “insurgent offensive” that preceded the strikes, but did not draw any causal relationship between it and the bombing.
The article cited the opposition claim that the government had repeatedly violated the partial ceasefire, but didn’t cite a single concrete instance of such a violation. And it appears to contradict that argument by observing that the Idlib airstrikes had ended “the relative respite from airstrikes that had lasted nearly two months” – i.e., from the time the ceasefire had gone into effect.
Yet a third article to appear that day, published by Reuters, explicitly asserted that the regime airstrike on a crowded market by Syrian planes to which Barnard referred was the cause of the failure of the partial ceasefire.
“Syrian peace talks appeared all but doomed on Tuesday,” it said, “after airstrikes killed about 40 people in a crowded vegetable market in rebel territory, with the opposition saying a truce was finished and it would keep out of negotiations indefinitely.”
Wrapping Up the Distortions
Finally, on April 27, Karen DeYoung, associate editor of the Washington Post, wrote a news analysis piece looking back on what happened to the ceasefire. The piece never mentioned the major Nusra Front offensive in which U.S.-supported armed groups had played a key role, passing on instead the distorted explanation of the fate of the ceasefire offered by national security bureaucrats.
“Some Defense Department and intelligence officials,” she wrote, “think Russia and its Syrian government client are clearly violating the ceasefire and provoking the opposition into doing the same.”
Like the three April 19 articles, DeYoung focused entirely on military moves taken by the regime more than two weeks after the joint Nusra/opposition April offensive. She cited the Syrian government bombing of Kafr Nabl and Maarat al Numan the previous week, asserting that the towns were “heavily bombed by Assad after rebel forces threw out Nusra occupiers and civilians took to the streets in anti-Assad demonstrations.”
But that characterization of the situation in the two towns, clearly aimed to support the notion that they were free of Nusra control, was false. In fact, Kafr Nabl had formerly been the home of the U.S.-backed Division 13, but far from having been thrown out, Nusra Front had reasserted its direct control over the towns in mid-March, kicking Division 13 out of its base and seizing its U.S.-supplied weapons after a fight over the larger town Maarat al Numan.
DeYoung went so far as to embrace the CIA/Pentagon bureaucrats’ argument that the United States should not have agreed to allow any attacks on Nusra Front in the ceasefire agreement.
“The Nusra ceasefire exception had already left a hole big enough for the Syrian government and Russia to barrel through,” she wrote, “and they have not hesitated to do so in pursuit of regaining the initiative on the ground for Assad.”
The implication of the argument is that the United States should do nothing to interfere with Nusra’s capacity to strike at the Assad regime. Thus DeYoung quoted an analyst for the Institute for the Study of War, which favors a more belligerent U.S. policy in Syria, dismissing the military collaboration by U.S.-supported groups with Nusra Front as not really significant, because it is only “tactical,” and that Nusra merely offers to help those allies “retaliate” against regime attacks, rather than seeking a military solution to the conflict.
Such arguments are merely shallow rationalizations, however, for the preference of hardliners in Washington for pitting Al Qaeda’s military power against Russia and its Syrian client, enhancing the power position of the U.S. national security state in Syria.
A Simplistic Summary
As more time passes, the media version of why the partial ceasefire failed has become even more simplistic and distorted. On July 12, DeYoung revisited the issue in the context of the Obama administration’s negotiations with Russia on military cooperation against Nusra Front. This time she portrayed the ceasefire quite starkly as the victim of Syrian and Russian bombing:
“Despite a ceasefire ostensibly in effect since February, Syrian planes have kept up a steady bombardment of both civilian and opposition sites — where they have argued that Al Nusra forces, exempt from the truce, are mixed with rebel groups covered by the accord. After observing the early weeks of the ceasefire, Russian planes joined the Syrian forces, including in an offensive last weekend that took over the only remaining supply route for both rebels and civilians hunkered down in the northern city of Aleppo.”
Playing the role of ultimate media arbiter of how the attentive public is to understand the pivotal issue of why the ceasefire failed, DeYoung has deleted from memory the essential facts. In her narrative, there was no Nusra Front plan to destroy the ceasefire, and no April Nusra offensive to seize strategic territory south of Aleppo with the full participation of U.S.-supported opposition groups.
The lesson of the Syrian ceasefire episode is clear: The most influential news media have virtually complete freedom to shape the narrative surrounding a given issue simply by erasing inconvenient facts from the story line. They can do that even when the events or facts have been reported by one or more of those very news media.
In the world of personal access and power inhabited by those who determine what will be published and what won’t, even the most obviously central facts are disposable in the service of a narrative that maintains necessary relationships.
Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell has proposed the US escalate the conflict in Syria by targeting President Bashar Assad’s allies. He added that killing Russians should be done covertly, but in such a way that the Kremlin would get the message.
Morell endorsed Hillary Clinton for US president and is known as a strong critic of Donald Trump.
RT: Russia and Iran are helping the Syrian government fight terrorists. So what would the US achieve by killing Russians and Iranians there?
Annie Machon: I think it would be jeopardizing world peace, to be quite frank. I think this is more like an alarming job application by Morell – so he would love to have a senior post in any Clinton administration, if she were to be elected. He is saying what he thinks she would like to hear about how America should deal with the situation in the Middle East. If indeed this does reflect her own views, then we’ve got to the absurd position, where actually world peace might be in safer hands if Donald Trump were elected president.
RT: Is Clinton running any risks by siding with a man who is proposing such a radical foreign policy move, do you think?
AM: I think this is a general reflection of the American establishment. Ever since the presidency of George W. Bush there has been a hit list of the countries that America has tried to ensure a regime change happens within. This was the list he called ‘the axis of evil’ comprising Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. Now, North Korea is under the patronage of China, so it’s relatively safe; plus it has a nuclear capability. So America can’t really do much about that one. But we’ve seen what they have done in all the other countries.
In fact, back in 2008 America was on the brink of going to war against Iran, as well. The only reason that rush to war was stopped – and this is something Bush has actually acknowledging in his memos – was because of the leaking of the national intelligence estimate of 2008, which is the combined thinking of all 16 US intelligence agencies – about Iran’s nuclear weapons capability and the development thereof. Their assessment then – and it has been re-ratified every year since – is that Iran gave up trying to develop any nuclear capability in 2003, and did not therefore pose a threat to Western interests. That is the only reason Iran is still standing. And we’ve seen all the mess in all the other countries.
RT: How consistent is Clinton’s foreign policy track record?
AM: I think fundamentally consistent with the sort of hawkish neocon approach the American establishment has been taking against many countries in the Middle East – preserve their interest there to prop up some of their close allies like Saudi Arabia and the dictatorships across the Middle East, as well.
But also consistent in trying to provoke reaction from Russia. The US and EU backed coup in Ukraine was an immense provocation. It is because Russia has managed to show a great deal of self-restraint in that area and in the face of provocation with big NATO exercises in the Baltic States and Poland and all the rest of it. That is the only reason that we haven’t seen an escalation into war.
RT: Clinton and her supporters claim Donald Trump is doing Russia a favor. His motto is making America great again. Why would that be perceived as beneficial for the Kremlin?
AM: I think mainly because he has made noises about the fact that he would ratchet down the pressure against Russia. In opposition to what Hillary Clinton has been describing – that the pressure needs to be kept on Russia. She represents the American establishment which is very keen on a unipolar world.
Now, with the resurgence of Russia that monopoly on power that America has enjoyed since the end of the Cold War, they deem to be under threat. Trump himself has said: “We don’t need to think like that. We can focus on building up our own country and let other countries get on with what they want to do, as well.” I think that is an unusually sane comment from the presidential hopeful.
Annie Machon is a former intelligence officer for MI5, the UK Security Service, who resigned in the late 1990s to blow the whistle on the spies’ incompetence and crimes with her ex-partner, David Shayler. Drawing on her varied experiences, she is now a public speaker, writer, media pundit, international tour and event organiser, political campaigner, and PR consultant. She is also now the Director of LEAP, Europe. She has a rare perspective both on the inner workings of governments, intelligence agencies and the media, as well as the wider implications for the need for increased openness and accountability in both public and private sectors.
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.
Unsuspecting citizens are paying for a nexus of interlocking agencies that conspire to create terror, war, and police-state legislation in a War of Deception that serves to devastate humanity.
Without its arsenal of fabricated war pretexts, and its fabricated fear apparatus, the warmongering oligarchy would be denuded and reveal itself as the mass-murdering terrorist entity that it is.
Most recently, in Canada, Justice Catherine Bruce disclosed the true nature of an RCMP terror plot when she overturned terror convictions against two patsies – John Nuttal and Amanda Korody – who were set up by police operatives to commit a terrorist act for which they would otherwise be totally incapable of performing.
Bruce stated the obvious when she observed that,
“Simply put, the world has enough terrorists. We do not need the police to create more out of marginalized people who have neither the capacity nor sufficient motivation to do it themselves.”
- create an atmosphere of fear (aimed at the general public as well as politicians),
- create Islamophobia
- create a false pretext for a War on Terror (translated: illegal imperial invasions using un-Islamic terrorists as proxy armies)
- create a pretext for unconstitutional, fascist, police state legislation (C-51 legislation)
Unsuspecting, otherwise peace-loving citizens, are also being duped into paying for Private Intelligence Contractors (PICS) who receive lucrative government contracts to engage in a full spectrum of activities designed to create and sustain war crimes.
The author writes in “Full Spectrum Dominance”, Private Intelligence Contractors and “Engineered Consent” that,
Science Application International Corporation (SAIC) is likely the largest (and least known) PIC, with a huge staff (about 40,000 in 2007, likely more now), and it is fully integrated into the War Machine.
Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele report in “Washington’s $ Billion Shadow”, that
‘SAIC’s friends in Washington are everywhere, and play on all sides; the connections are tightly interlocked. To cite just one example: Robert M. Gates, the new secretary of defense, whose confirmation hearings lasted all of a day, is a former member of SAIC’s board of directors …’
The U.S. government, through its incestuous relationship with SAIC, effectively created false intelligence – with impunity —as a fabricated pretext to wage the illegal war of aggression against Iraq.
Fake intelligence reports were also used to pin the East Ghouta (false flag) terror event on the Assad government, and to provoke a direct U.S/Coalition military invasion to depose Syria’s democratically-elected President.
A memo from “Veterans intelligence Professionals for Sanity” (VIPS) indicated that,
some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this. In writing this brief report, we choose to assume that you have not been fully informed because your advisers decided to afford you the opportunity for what is commonly known as ‘plausible denial.’
The CIA specializes in the commission of crimes beneath which the protective shield of “plausible deniability” can be invoked should suspicions of CIA complicity be aroused.
Professor Tim Anderson and others also demonstrate, with sustainable evidence, that the East Ghouta gas attack was false flag terrorism.
The Pentagon’s use of PICS to perpetrate war crimes is now becoming normalized. According to Kate Brannen in “Spies-for-Hire Now at War in Syria”, the Pentagon publicly disclosed the terms of a contract with a PIC called Six3 Intelligence Solutions to provide “intelligence analysis services” in a number of countries, but most notably, Syria. The public may not be aware that such an intervention in Syria is illegal, or that Six3 Intelligence Solutions has a proven track record as interrogators at the Abu Ghraib torture chambers, or that it will no doubt offer the CIA plenty of “plausible deniability” to perpetrate crimes with impunity.
Whereas the government and its agencies should be using our tax dollars to “create no harm”, and to further the cause of peace and prosperity, it is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that governing agencies are creating much harm, through stealth and deception, thanks to the steady flow of tax dollars streaming into their coffers.
Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell, who has recently endorsed Hillary Clinton, has caused a firestorm when he said that the United States should covertly kill Russians and Iranians in Syria, with Russian lawmakers denouncing the remarks as “monstrous” and experts saying that he merely confirmed what Washington has secretly been doing.
Vladimir Vasilyev, a senior research fellow at the Moscow-based Institute of US and Canada Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, maintained that Morell’s comments should be taken at face value.
This is “what the United States has secretly and surreptitiously been doing and most importantly what Washington will do if Hillary wins presidential election,” he told RIA Novosti. “Russia should understand who it is dealing with. In fact, Moscow could thank Morell for leaking important information on Washington’s true goals in Syria.”
Russian MP Irina Yarovaya, the head of the State Duma Committee for Security, echoed these sentiments, saying that Morell made “monstrous remarks.” He essentially confirmed that Washington is capable of carrying out “covert killings … to pursue its own devastating plans.”
Yarovaya also noted that Morell’s comments point to a hidden agenda in Washington’s counterterrorism activities. “The US State Department must issue a clear statement on the issue. Otherwise, there are grounds to assume that the former CIA deputy director inadvertently revealed an existing top secret CIA plan.”
Morell’s remarks are meant to “fuel tensions between Russia and the US,” Dmitry Gorovtsov, the deputy chairman of the State Duma’s Committee for Security, told RIA Novosti, adding that such rhetoric is unacceptable. He also called Morell’s plan “extremist” and “akin to fascist ideology.”
Morell “does not understand what he is talking about”
First deputy chairman of the defense and security committee in the Federation Council of Russia Franz Klintsevich referred to Morell’s remarks as “absurd.”
“I think that Michael Morell does not understand what he is talking about. Modern surveillance equipment that covers all Syria renders any ‘covert’ killings impossible,” he said. Russia’s cutting edge technologies allow Moscow to determine the name, the date, the place and the goal of any such activity if it took place.
Moreover, Morell’s advice “would automatically lead to an open confrontation between Russia and the US, which the Americans, as far as I understand, do not need,” Klintsevich added.
On Monday, Michael Morell, who served as CIA’s acting director twice, told talk show host Charlie Rose that the US “must make” Russia and Iran “pay a price” in Syria by “covertly” killing their nationals. “You don’t tell the world about it, right? You don’t stand up at the Pentagon and say, ‘we did this.’ Right? But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran,” he added.
Morell also suggested “scaring” Bashar al-Assad by bombing government offices and presidential guard positions, but added that he did not urge to assassinate the Syrian president.Journalist and political commentator Murtaza Hussain pointed out that the former CIA deputy director championed “efforts that later helped incubate al-Qaeda,” referring to a strategy that the United States employed in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
He also warned that if Morell’s plan is given the green light, it “would entail a massive escalation of American covert military involvement in Syria that would bring the United States much closer to direct confrontation with Russia and Iran.”
In a much-awaited step toward uncovering the historical truth of the U.S.-backed Dirty War in Argentina in the 1970’s and 80’s, the United States has delivered over 1,000 pages of classified documents to the South American country. But critics argue that there are major gaps in the files, including the exclusion of CIA documents, that keep in the dark important details of the extent of human rights violations and the U.S. role in such abuses.
The Argentine government delivered the newly-declassified documents to journalists and human rights organizations on Monday after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented the files to President Mauricio Macri during a state visit last week.
The 1,078 pages from 14 U.S. government agencies and departments are the first in a series of public releases over the next 18 months of declassified documents related to Argentina’s last military dictatorship, including Argentine Country Files, White House staff files, correspondence cables, and other archives, according to a statement from the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The files include grisly descriptions of torture, rape, assassinations, and forced disappearances carried out by the military regime under General Jorge Rafael Videla, installed after the 1976 coup against left-wing President Isabel Peron.
The documents also detail Henry Kissinger’s applause of the Argentine dictatorship and its counterinsurgency strategy, including during a visit to General Videla during the 1978 World Cup. National Security staffer Robert Pastor wrote in 1978 that Kissinger’s “praise for the Argentine government in its campaign against terrorism was the music the Argentine government was longing to hear.”
Argentina’s so-called anti-terrorism policy was in reality a brutal crackdown on political dissidents, human rights defenders, academics, church leaders, students, and other opponents of the right-wing regime. It was also part of the regional U.S.-backed Operation Condor, a state terror operation that carried out assassinations and disappearances in support of South America’s right-wing dictatorships. In Argentina, up to 30,000 people were forcibly disappeared during the Dirty War.
The documents also detail how then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter raised concern over the human rights situation in Argentina, including in a letter to General Videla rather gently urging him to make progress with respect to human rights. At the time, Kissinger reportedly demonstrates a “desire to speak out against the Carter Administration’s human rights policy to Latin America,” according to a memo by National Security’s Pastor.
The further confirmation of Kissinger’s atrocious legacy in Latin America comes as U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton courts an endorsement from Kissinger, widely condemned as a war criminal by human rights groups.
However, despite the revealing details, the batch of documents is also lacking in key archives, the Argentine publication El Destape pointed out. The package does not include files from the CIA or the Defense Intelligence Agency, which specializes in military intelligence.
What’s more, although the documents were expected to cover the period of 1977 to 1982, the latest documents are dated 1981, which means that cables related to the 1982 Malvinas War between Argentina and Britain and the U.S. role in the conflict are not included.
The Macri administration hailed the release of the documents as the result of a “new foreign policy” that has steered the country to rekindle ties with the United States after former Presidents Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez championed anti-imperialist politics for 12 years. But the self-congratulatory government narrative ignores the fact that Argentine human rights organizations have demanded for years that the archives be released in a fight for historical truth that first bore fruit in 2002 with the release of over 4,500 U.S. documents.
Furthermore, Macri has come under fire for undermining investigations into dictatorship-era crimes after his sweeping austerity campaign scrapped departments charged with gathering historical evidence in certain public institutions. The Argentine president has also been criticized over his indirect ties to the military regime, which proved to hugely benefit his family business, the Macri Society, also known as Socma.
U.S. President Obama described the move as a response to the U.S. “responsibility to confront the past with honesty and transparency.” Obama announced plans to release documents related to the Dirty War during a visit with Macri in Argentina in March, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the 1976 military coup.
Obama’s visit was widely criticized by human rights activists over the insensitivity of the timing. Although he announced plans for the United States to “do its part” with respect to uncovering historical truth about the dictatorship period, he did not apologize for the United States’ involvement in human rights abuses and widespread forced disappearance.