Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Turkey exercises a “decisive influence” on the so-called opposition group High Negotiations Committee (HNC) which is in peace talks with the Damascus government.
Lavrov made the remarks on Monday while commenting on the progress of the latest round of negotiations between the Syrian government and HNC, which began in Geneva on April 13.
Syria peace talks are going on despite the absence of the Saudi-backed opposition as the group’s leaders left the talks on April 19 to protest at what they called escalating violence and restrictions on humanitarian access in Syria.
A ceasefire, brokered by Russia and the US, went into effect on February 27 across Syria. Fighting, however, picked up and left the truce in tatters. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council has agreed on a six-month deadline for drafting a new constitution for the Arab country in line with the proposal of the International Syria Support Group.
“In order to come to terms over six months it is necessary not to slam the door and dig in heels, as several delegates of the so-called Riyadh group have done, Lavrov said, adding that “it’s no secret” that Turkey has a “decisive influence” on them.
“So one should not come for talks with ultimatums but should sit down at the negotiating table and reach an agreement,” Lavrov added, noting that the situation at the UN-brokered talks could have been better if HNC had not left Geneva.
The top Russian diplomat also said that Moscow was preparing a report for the UN Security Council to extend the list of terrorist groups in Syria.
“We are currently collecting information that Jebhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front) subjugates groups that seemed to have declared truce and readiness to join ceasefire,” Lavrov said, adding, “We will summarize facts and present them to [the] UN Security Council to adjust terrorist lists.”
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Damascus says Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar are the main supporters of the militants fighting the government forces.
According to UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, some 400,000 people have lost their lives as a result of over five years of conflict in Syria.
Regime change, the term hundreds of millions hear on the nightly news is rendered innocuous by the sheer repetitiveness. But regime change is almost always accompanied by death and destruction, and after effects that affect us all, no matter where in the world it occurs. The overthrow of Libya’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 by an American president and co-conspirators is truly a case for an international tribunal. Here’s a starting lineup for an international war crimes double header.
Every time I think of Barack Obama’s former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, images of her gloating and bragging over Libya flood into my mind’s eye. Then my mind races cognitively, to a culvert in a ditch near the town of Sirte, to a bruised and bloodied figure, staring up and fearful of his captors, just before they kicked and beat him, then riddled his body with bullets, Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al- Gaddafi’s life surely passed before his eyes. In the blink of a US drone electronic eye, the most powerful man in Africa was dethroned, and the Middle East was set on fire. History will inquire, “Who was it that set a whole people adrift in the world?” Well I have history’s answer.
Exhibit A: A US President Misleads His People
On March 28th, 2011 the Obama White House issued this transcript of the American president’s address to the people he swore to lead and protect. Within this insulting and misleading address, there are many lies and reversals of fact, but there are also great truths as well. For instance, the nations complicit in the violent coup d’é·tat in Libya were named by Obama, they were: the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and Qatar along with the United Arab Emirates. Each of these nation’s geo-political interests in Libya and Gaddafi can be traced directly to big business or US surrogacy, this is irrevocable and irreconcilable. The involvement of US, UK and European agents inside Libya, the levers put in place to unseat the standing Libyan government, are just now coming into the daylight. I’ll shine more light on these further on, but right now characterizing the unmitigated audacity of Barack Obama is important. Not only did the US president mislead the American people on March 28th, 2011, his character would not allow him to pass up the opportunity to brag about how swiftly and decisively he had acted. On the mandate for unseating Gaddafi, the president said:
“It’s true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right. In this particular country -– Libya — at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale.”
This statement is key for understanding the truth of not only Libya, but Syria, Ukraine, and even for policies as far back as the NATO agenda in Bosnia. In a caveat to this, Obama also frames a hidden strategy beneath by discussing what we now know as the larger European tragedy. The president claims “our interests” were served by preventing:
“A massacre (that) would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya’s borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful –- yet fragile -– transitions in Egypt and Tunisia.”
Not only did Barack Obama and his administration sell this lie to the American people, he also committed one of his worst political mistakes ever.
“Of course, there is no question that Libya -– and the world –- would be better off with Qaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.”
This was 2011, take note of this. The Obama team now openly professed a US and coalition plan to take down Gaddafi, they foretold of a larger scheme, the Arab Spring and western expansionism that grips the world today. Violence on a horrific scale, instigated by the Bush and Obama administrations. The refugee crises, which are clearly “ordained” in the quotes above as “warnings”, these were in fact part of a regional plan of destabilization.
Exhibit B: Obama – the Little Big Man 2016
Russian President Vladimir Putin is not often wrong, but his statement last week about Barack Obama being “strong” enough to admit the mistake of Libya, it’s dead wrong. Barack Obama is not at all strong. He’s a decent actor, and can read a teleprompter like nobody’s business. Being strong in the Putin sense, it means serving the people, and not the hidden masters of the policy universe. In a now famous interview with Fox News anchor, Chris Wallace, Obama admits not planning for the aftermath of the ousting of Gaddafi was his biggest mistake as president. Obama says (via the transcript) on being asked “Worst mistake?”, by Wallace:
“Probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya.”
This is not the statement of a strong president, it is weak and pitiful in so many respects. The man cannot even come to grips with a truth, let alone take responsibility. “Probably”, the “right thing to do”, “think” – the whole snippet hints at lying or misdirect. Wallace never returns to the issue, the “central issue”, as it were, for America’s role in world terror and upheaval. The “facts” of Barack Obama’s regime change agenda contravene any suggestion Libya was simply an error. Most Americans are completely unaware of the battle in the US Congress to forestall this coup.
“Despite its failure to obtain legal approval from Congress, the Obama administration continued to provide the bulk of the military support for the NATO operation until the overthrow of Gadaffi in October. Before the official termination of Operation Unified Protector, US Permanent Representative to NATO Ivo Daalder said that “the United States led in this operation… It led in the planning of the operation, it led in getting the mandate for the operation, and it led in the execution of the operation… the United States conducted more sorties than any other country in this operation, twenty six percent.”
Barack Obama, with the adamant support of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Neocons like Arizona’s Sen. John McCain, and military industrial complex lap dog, Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, ousted Gaddafi circumvented the people of the United States of America. For those wondering at my vehemence here, General Dynamics and the US Navy will name a new destroyer after Levin, just in case any out there are reticent in disbelief of my assertions. The arrogance, the insolence of these people staggers the imagination, but I must frame another constituent’s part in America’s export of revolution. Obama was not owning up to a mistake in Libya, he was sliding past a question by a sellout Fox reporter. The only reason for him even answering the question was to insert a tenant of plausible deniability later on.
Accept Open Society or Else
No one reading this report will be surprised to hear George Soros’ Open Society Foundations is neck deep in this regime change. The man who essentially got Obama elected in the first place, he and his NGO have been implicated in many political machinations. This Arizona Daily Independent opinion piece casts a blistering light on John McCain, the aforementioned Levin, and a neocon system of levers most are aware of, but know not how to confront. I’ve not the space to go into McCain’s shady past here, but his face on crisis has been adequately established. It was the Soros connection to the defense spending champion that caught my eye.
George Soros’ gift of $100 million dollars to Human Rights Watch did not make big news back in 2010. Human Rights Watch was thrilled though. A few months later, Human Rights Watch reported on the International Criminal Court (ICC) charging both Muammar Gaddafi, and his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi with crimes against humanity. Human Rights Watch’s position in this strategy was to validate and provide presidents for a tribunal, at least in my view. This quote from the report by HRW is telling:
“Should the court issue an arrest warrant for Gaddafi, it would not be the first warrant for a sitting head of state by an international court. In 1999, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia issued its first indictment against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo.”
Almost immediately after ICC head prosecutor Moreno Ocampo issued an arrest warrant for the Gaddafis on 7 June 2011, 30 nations recognized the Libyan rebels of the NTC as the legitimate government of the country. A key in understanding how collusion and influence parlay uprisings is in understanding how the Open Society Foundations grants and meetups operate. Central to the legitimacy of Gadaffi’s overthrow, was the notion he was a tyrant and a killer. Legitimacy for the White House agenda comes in many forms.
Legality: The Ultimate Lie
In December of 2005 the Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor was part of a Soros backed roundtable series, which was an initiative of OSI and the Security and Peace Initiative, which is a joint initiative of the Center for American Progress and an interesting think tank, The Century Foundation. The goals of these organizers, was ostensibly described in the title of published essays by these think tank elites, “Restoring American Leadership: 13 Steps to Improve Global Cooperation.” I believe it was the purpose of these meetings to establish Moreno Campo’s legitimacy and position within the greater scheme of things. After these meetings, and the associated United Nations meetups back then, the ICC played an ever-increasing and interesting role. Please remember, the Center for America Progress is funded by not only Soros, but Bill and Melinda Gates, huge corporations, and even the government of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE should ring bells for their part in the coalition to overthrow Gadaffi.
Subsequent Open Society Foundations rhetoric and policy showed us the ICC’s mission. First in Uganda, then in the crucial case of Sudan, the ICC allegedly became the tool of Soros and the people behind him. While I do not always agree with the controversial activist Lyndon LaRouche, there’s no denying his insight and investigations often bear fruit. In this report from 2008, the implications are black and white in this press release:
“The Soros organization also directly funded another agency at the Hague, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which prosecuted and judicially murdered Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.”
Yugoslavia rises from the mist once again. I’ve drummed on the notion of “templates” enacted by western leadership, on think tanks and their roles, and Yugoslavia in the Clinton era was a crucial turning point. The “legality” in all this, the big lie of democracy’s validity as a new quasi-religious crusade, this is where Soros funding, American leadership role playing, and regime-policy change meet globally. Gadaffi was essentially assassinated. His son is now under a death sentence in Libya, and the old school Cold War warriors want to install a king in his place. It’s all illegality made to look legal, Soros the Nazi sympathizer transformed into the philanthropist. It’s Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the biggest killer of innocent civilians since Idi Amin.
In conclusion, the question I began with remains; “Who was it that set a whole people adrift in the world?” Why the very people swearing oaths to protect us, that’s who. The champions of industry, the philanthropist, their paid for brain trusts, the money has bought out the entire democratic system of governance. The world has the true war criminals by the scruff of the neck now. But the wrong men and women will die, just as sure as I am writing this. The mission of Soros, his NGO, and the elites in power in the west is the eradication of the idea of the sovereign state. Killing Gaddafi was central to this goal.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe.
Lebanon cannot stand on its feet anymore. It is overwhelmed, frightened and broke.
It stands at the frontline, facing Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL) in the east and north, hostile Israel in the south and the deep blue sea in the west. One and a half million (mostly Syrian) refugees are dispersed all over its tiny territory. Its economy is collapsing and the infrastructure crumbling. ISIS is right on the border with Syria, literally next door, or even with one foot inside Lebanon, periodically invading, and setting up countless “dormant cells” in all the Lebanese cities and all over the countryside. Hezbollah is fighting ISIS, but the West and Saudi Arabia apparently consider Hezbollah, not ISIS, to be the major menace to their geopolitical interests. The Lebanese army is relatively well trained but badly armed, and as the entire country, it is notoriously cash-strapped.
These days, on the streets of Beirut, one can often hear: “Just a little bit more; one more push, and the entire country will collapse, go up in smoke.”
Is this what the West and its regional allies really want?
One top foreign dignitary after another is now visiting Lebanon: the UN chief Ban Ki-moon, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. All the foreign visitors are predictably and abstractly expressing “deep concern” about the proximity of ISIS, and about the fate of the 1.5 million Syrian refugees now living in Lebanon. “The war in neighboring Syria is having a deep impact on tiny Lebanon”, they all admit.
Who triggered this war is never addressed.
And not much gets resolved. Only very few concrete promises are being made. And what is promised is not being delivered.
One of my sources who attended a closed-door meeting of Ban Ki-moon, Jim Yong Kim and the heads of the UN agencies in Beirut, commented: “almost nothing new, concrete or inspiring was discussed there.”
The so-called international community is showing very little desire to rescue Lebanon from its deep and ongoing crises. In fact, several countries and organizations are constantly at Lebanon’s throat, accusing it of “human rights violations” and of having weak and ineffective government. What seems to irritate them the most, though, is that Hezbollah (an organization that is placed by many Western countries and their allies in the Arab world on the “terrorist list”) is at least to some extent allowed to participate in running the country.
But Hezbollah appears to be the only military force capable of effectively fighting against ISIS – in the northeast of the country, on the border with Syria, and elsewhere. It is also the only organization providing a reliable social net to those hundreds of thousands of poor Lebanese citizens. In this nation deeply divided along sectarian lines, it extends its hand to the ‘others’, forging coalitions with both Muslim and Christian parties and movements.
Why so much fuss over Hezbollah?
It is because it is predominantly Shia, and Shia Muslims are being antagonized and targeted by almost all the West’s allies in the Arab world. Targeted and sometimes even directly liquidated.
Hezbollah is seen as the right hand of Iran, and Iran is Shia and it stands against Western imperialism determinately, alongside Russia, China and much of Latin America – countries that are demonized and provoked by the ‘Empire’ and its client states.
Hezbollah is closely allied with both Iran and Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria. It combats Israel whenever Israel invades Lebanon, and it wins most of the battles that it is forced to fight. It is openly hostile towards the expansionist policies of the West, Israel and Saudi Arabia; its leaders are extremely outspoken.
“So what?” many people in the region would say, including those living in Lebanon.
Angie Tibbs is the owner and senior editor of Dissident Voice who has been closely watching events in the Middle East in recent years. She believes a brief comparison between events of 2005 and today is essential for understanding complexity of the situation:
“In a country where, since the end of civil wars in 1990, outward civility masks a still seething underbelly wherein old wounds, old wrongs, real and imagined, have not been forgotten or forgiven, the military and political success of Hezbollah has been the most stabilizing influence. Back in 2005, following the bomb explosion that killed former Premier Rafiq al Hariri and 20 others, the US and Israel proclaimed loudly that “Syria did it” without producing a shred of evidence. The Syrian army, in Lebanon at the request of the Lebanese government, was ordered out by the US, and UN Resolution 1559 stated in part that all Lebanese militias must be disarmed. The plan was clear. With Syrian forces gone, and an unarmed Hezbollah, we had two moves which would leave Lebanon’s southern border completely vulnerable, and then – well, what would prevent Israel from barging in and taking over?”
Ms Tibbs is also convinced the so-called international community is leaving Lebanon defenseless on purpose:
“A similar devious scenario is unfolding today. Hezbollah is busy fighting ISIS in Syria; the Lebanese army, though well trained, is poorly armed. Arms deals are being cancelled, the UN and IMF, and, in fact, the world community of nations are not providing any assistance, and little Lebanon is gasping under the weight of a million plus Syrian refugees. It’s a perfect opportunity for ISIS, the proxy army of Israel and the West, to move in and Lebanon’s sovereignty be damned.”
Indignant, several Lebanese leaders snapped back. The Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil refused to meet with Ban Ki-moon during his two-day visit of Beirut and the Bekaa Valley.
One of Lebanon’s major newspapers, the Daily Star, reported on March 26, 2016:
“Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil Saturday accused the international community of approaching the Syrian refugee crisis with a double standard; hours after UN chief Ban Ki-moon departed Beirut following a two-day visit. ‘They create war, and then call on others to host refugees in line with human rights treaties,’ he said in a televised news conference from his residence in Batroun.”
Lebanon is collapsing. Even its once lavish capital Beirut is experiencing constant blackouts, water shortages and garbage-collection dramas. Economically the country is in a sharp decline.
Dr. Salim Chahine, Professor of Finance, at the American University of Beirut, is usually at least moderately upbeat about the country. Recent developments have worn down his optimism.
“Although the Coincident Indicator issued by the Lebanese Central Bank, BDL, has recently suggested a slight enhancement in economic activity, several officials are sending clear warnings about further deterioration in the situation. The regional geopolitical tensions, the civil conflict in Syria, as well as their implications internally have impacted tourism, trade, and the real estate sectors. According to HSBC, deposits from Lebanon’s largest expatriate population – that usually provide the necessary liquidity for government borrowing – may grow at a slower rate in the near future given the worsening conditions in the Gulf. As the country enters into its sixth year of economic slump, HSBC remains skeptical about a short-term recovery. The public deficit is currently rising by around 20 percent per year, and the GDP growth rate is close to zero.”
Yayoi Segi, an educationalist and the Senior Program Specialist for UNESCO’s Arab Regional Office based in Beirut, works intensively in both Syria and Lebanon. The education sector is, according to her, struggling:
“The public education sector is very small in terms of its coverage in the country, reaching only about 35 percent of the school age population. The state allocation to education is less than 10 percent while the world average or benchmark is 18-20 percent. The situation is further compounded by the current ongoing crisis in the region whereby Lebanon has had to accommodate a large influx of refugees. The public provision of education has expanded and continues to expand. However, it is impacting on quality and contributes to an increasing number of vulnerable Lebanese students dropping out of school, while it can only reach 50 percent of Syrian refugee children.”
Nadine Georges Gholam (not her real name), working for one of the UN agencies, says that lately she feels phlegmatic, even hopeless:
“What has been happening to Lebanon particularly these past five years is really depressing. I used to actively take part in protests to voice my anger and frustration. But now I don’t know if they make any difference or change anything at all. There is no functioning government in sight. Three hundred thousand tons of unprocessed trash accumulated in just eight months. There is sectarian infighting. Regional conflicts… What else? Lebanon can’t withstand such pressure, anymore. All is going down the drain, collapsing…”
“But worse is yet to come. Recently, Saudi Arabia cancelled a $4 billion aid package for Lebanon. It was supposed to finance a massive purchase of modern weapons from France, something urgently needed and totally overdue. That is, if both the West and the KSA are serious about fighting ISIS.”
“The KSA “punished” Lebanon for having representatives of Hezbollah in the government, for refusing to support the West’s allies in the Arab League (who define Hezbollah as a terrorist group), and for still holding a Saudi prince in custody, after he attempted to smuggle two tons of narcotics from Rafic Hariri International Airport outside Beirut.”
These are of course the most dangerous times for this tiny but proud nation. Syrian forces, with great help of Russia, are liberating one Syrian city after another from ISIS and other terrorist groups supported by Turkey, KSA, Qatar and other of the West’s allies.
ISIS may try to move into Iraq, to join its cohorts there, but the Iraqi government is trying to get its act together, and is now ready to fight. It is also talking to Moscow, while studying the great success Russia is having in Syria.
For ISIS or al-Nusra, to move to weaken and almost bankrupt Lebanon would be the most logical step. And the West, Saudi Arabia and others are clearly aware of it.
In fact, ISIS is already there; it has infiltrated virtually all the cities and towns of Lebanon, as well the countryside. Whenever it feels like it, it carries out attacks against the Shia, military and other targets. Both ISIS and al-Nusra do. And the dream of ISIS is blatant: a caliphate with access to the sea, one that would cover at least the northern part of Lebanon.
If the West and its allies do nothing to prevent these plans, it is because they simply don’t want to.
Tiny Lebanon is finding itself in the middle of a whirlwind of a political and military storm that is consuming virtually the entire Middle East and the Gulf.
In recent decades, Lebanon has suffered immensely. This time, if the West and its allies do not change their minds, it may soon cease to exist altogether. It is becoming obvious that in order to survive, it would have to forge much closer ties with the Syrian government, as well as with Iran, Russia and China.
Would it dare to do it? There is no united front inside Lebanon’s leadership. Pro-Western and pro-Saudi fractions would oppose an alliance with those countries that are defying Western interests.
But time is running out. Just recently, the Syrian city of Palmyra was liberated from ISIS. Paradoxically, the great Lebanese historic cities of Baalbek and Byblos may fall soon.
Sometimes even to the most towering cynic, American hypocrisy is more than breathtaking.
As they lambast their latest “despot”, Syria’s President al-Assad — a man so popular in his country and the region that the US Embassy in Damascu had, by the end of 2006, devised a plan to oust him — arms sales to countries where human rights are not even a glimmer on the horizon have for the US (and UK) become an eye watering bonanza.
The latest jaw dropper, as Saudi Arabia continues to bombard Yemen with US and UK armaments dropped by US and UK-made aircraft, is sales worth $33 Billion in just eleven months to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) according to Defense News.
The GCC, a political and economic alliance of six Middle East countries, comprises of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. It was established in the Saudi Capital, Riyadh, in May 1981.
Weapons sold to the alliance since May 2015 have included: “… ballistic missile defense capabilities, attack helicopters, advanced frigates and anti-armor missiles, according to David McKeeby, a spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.”
“In addition, the U.S. government and industry also delivered 4,500 precision-guided munitions to the GCC countries in 2015, including 1,500 taken directly from U.S. military stocks – a significant action given our military’s own needs,” he added, stressing: “that the US government would like to continue to strengthen partnerships with Kuwait and Qatar through defense sales and other security cooperation activities.”
A metaphor for our times that “partnerships” are “strengthened” with lethal weapons, not in trade of goods, foods, medical, educational or intellectual exchanges.
A fly or two in the oil of the wheels of the US arms trade is the two year delay in approval of sales 40 F/A-18 Super Hornets to Kuwait and Qatar and also 72 F-15 Silent Eagles to Qatar.
Suspicion has been voiced that this has something to do with a pending US-Israel military financing deal, a suggestion emphatically denied by Washington.
In the meantime as Yemen continues to be blitzed, with the UN stating that eighty percent of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance, 2-4 million are displaced and approaching four thousand dead.
It seems Saudi and its allies have more than enough ordinance to continue the slaughter and more than enough US and UK military advisors to help them in the decimation.
Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been Senior Researcher for two Award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger’s Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland.)
The Western media has quietly ignored an unexpected collaboration between Washington, Google, and “independent” Al Jazeera aimed at helping to overthrow Syria’s Bashar Assad. Would they be as oblivious to a similar cozy “partnership” involving Russia?
Last Monday, WikiLeaks lifted the lid on a correspondence between Jared Cohen, the President of ‘Google Ideas,’ and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s staff in the summer of 2012. In his July 25, 2012 email to top State Department’s officials, Cohen pitched his about-to-be-launched “tool” to Clinton’s inner circle, asking it to “keep close hold” of it.
The leak revealing the project, which would seem to be an outrageous scandal to some, has actually been quite difficult to spot in the news. Since WikiLeaks released the latest batch of Clinton’s emails on March 21, a Google news search spits back about 30 web sources related to the story.
Of those, only two – The Independent and Daily Mail – could arguably be considered major mainstream media outlets. That means there were slim chances that the eye of an average newsreader would catch wind of the State Department’s teamwork with the US’ biggest tech giant, Google, and Arab media outlet Al Jazeera.
According to what Cohen wrote, it appears that Google’s innovative visualizer worked to “publicly track and map the defections in Syria and which parts of the government they are coming from.”
“Our logic behind this is that while many people are tracking the atrocities, nobody is visually representing and mapping the defections, which we believe are important in encouraging more to defect and giving confidence to the opposition,” he said.
Google also collaborated with Al Jazeera, which took primary ownership over the tool, because of “how hard” it was to get information out of Syria.
At the State Department, the idea was lauded and passed on to Clinton via her private email by deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan as “a pretty cool idea.”
RT asked media expert Lionel why the revelations failed to receive much attention in the Western media.
“I don’t expect a reaction from Western media because Western media hasn’t even read this, has no idea about this,” Lionel told RT. “But can you imagine if the same set of facts were involved with the different countries, different corporations around the world depending upon your frame of reference. This would either be an outrage or ‘well, maybe this is a delightful and benign cooperation, an independent tech giant… and all for the common good of liberty’ and whatever. It depends upon your perspective.”
Another curious aspect is the fact that the WikiLeaks release directly involved Clinton’s email, which has been a hot topic tainting her presidential campaign for a year now. Clinton’s opponents as well as the US media have been taking nearly every opportunity to poke her for her “careless” misdeed – with the notable exception of this story.
The three parties in this collaboration did not end up together by chance, either.
Funded by the Qatari government, Al Jazeera portrays itself as “the first independent news channel in the Arab world” and “one of the world’s most influential news networks,” whose main goal is it to give “a global audience an alternative voice.”
Qatar has been largely supporting the rebels in the Syrian conflict, along with Washington and other anti-Assad powers that even mulled launching a direct military intervention on Syrian soil last October.
It turned out that Google’s Syrian Defector Tracking was a good fit for Al Jazeera. It even ended up winning the channel a prestigious Online Media Award for “Best technical innovation.”
“This is going to show you very fascinating aspects of the new warfare – how media, and corporations and various platforms are merging together. We are not sure who the military is, who is the government,” Lionel said.
He suggested that the State Department’s reluctance to release Clinton’s emails could be explained by the intention to hide “the conflation of allegedly private industry with the government.”
“We have this new world here. We have the government and we have the Pentagon, DAPRA and defense advanced research program agency, we have private industry, we have these various platforms. We have this new introduction of mercenary groups and private contacting teams. [But] our country [the US] has had a very strict barrier, Posse Comitatus, that separates private law enforcement from military,” Lionel said. “There have always been distinctions and barriers and jurisdiction alliance. In this new world, these barriers are being eliminated, dissolved.”
As Lionel says, the collaboration between Google and the US government only seems to be “innocent” if there is a bias towards “who you like… and the information that’s being propagated.”
When contacted by RT, Google declined to comment on the situation, yet did not hesitate to proudly stress Al Jazeera’s achievement.
“No comment, but pointing out that this data visualization project was very public, Al Jazeera won a journalism award for it,” the tech giant said in an email.
Given these circumstances, it would not hurt to wonder what the Western media’s reaction might have been if the same collaboration had occurred across the ocean and involved, let’s say, the Russian government, a well-known media outlet, and a Russian internet giant.
Since its inception in 2005, RT has often been labeled as anything ranging from a “Russian propaganda machine” to a “propaganda bullhorn” by high-profile Western officials and politicians.
“If RT wanted PR in American media, this is exactly the move it should make. You would never hear the end of that on American media,” Ted Rall, a political cartoonist and author, told RT. “You really don’t have a right to call anyone a propaganda if you yourself is doing the same thing.”
As for Al Jazeera’s prize winning tool, it appears to be currently defunct for unspecified reasons.
The Kuwaiti government has deported 11 Lebanese and three Iraqis on charges of having links to Lebanon’s resistance movement, Hezbollah, a report says.
The Kuwaiti Arabic daily al-Qabas quoted a security source as saying on Monday that the 14 people had been expelled on the order of the state security service.
The move came nearly three weeks after the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC), under the influence of the Saudi regime, declared Hezbollah a “terrorist” organization. Arab League foreign ministers, except those of Iraq and Lebanon, later followed suit.
The [P]GCC – comprising Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait – however, did not provide any evidence for its allegation. This comes as the first three monarchies themselves stand accused of supporting extremists and terrorists in the region.
Describing the [P]GCC decision as “reckless and hostile,” Hezbollah blamed it on Saudi Arabia.
Elsewhere in its report, Qabas said that Kuwaiti security officials have prepared a list of “unwanted” Lebanese and Iraqi people, including advisers to big companies, to be expelled for “the public interest.”
The people will not be allowed to enter the [P]GCC member states after their deportation, the daily said.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, says the Arab member states of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC), which recently listed the resistance group as terrorists, do not have the interests of Lebanon in mind.
During a live televised speech on Sunday, Nasrallah said those who assume that the Arab regimes will protect Lebanon have “pinned their hopes on a fantasy.”
Had Lebanon waited for a unified Arab strategy in the face of Israel instead of opting to resist against the occupying regime, “then the fate of this territory would have been the same as the fate of the territories Israel has taken control of,” he said.
On Wednesday, the six-nation Arab bloc issued a statement labeling Hezbollah a terrorist organization. The [P]GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“Many of these Arab countries today, who designate us as terrorists, what do they have to do with this resistance and these victories and these achievements?” Nasrallah said.
Israel unleashed an all-out offensive on Lebanon 10 years ago under the pretext of releasing Israeli soldiers allegedly captured by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. The invasion claimed the lives of nearly 1,200 Lebanese people, most of them civilians.
The Tel Aviv regime was, however, forced to retreat without achieving any of its objectives after Hezbollah fighters displayed heavy resistance against the Israeli military.
“Back then, we said to them (the Arab countries) ‘we don’t want anything from you… Today, we also say to them, to these regimes, ‘We don’t want anything from you. We don’t want money, nor do we want weapons, nor do we want support or blessing,” he said. “Just leave this resistance alone, leave this country alone, and leave this people alone.”
He blamed some Arab regimes for conspiring against anyone standing against Israel.
Nasrallah also underlined the assistance provided by the resistance group to the Iraqi government in its fight against the Takfiri terror group Daesh and reminded that Hezbollah did not wait for any orders to initiate its anti-terror fight in Syria and only fulfilled its religious commitment.
The secretary general of Hezbollah also addressed the tension that has been bubbling up between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, causing the former to take a raft of hostile measures against the latter.
“If it’s angry with us, it has the right to. I understand Saudi Arabia’s anger. Why? Because when one fails, at the very least he will be angry,” Nasrallah said.
He went on to explain that the Saudi rage has emanated from the kingdom’s failures in Yemen and Syria.
“In Syria, there’s a very great Saudi anger because what they had calculated in Syria [was that] in two or three months, ‘Syria would fall into our hands,’” Nasrallah said.
Hezbollah has been successfully aiding the Syrian military against foreign-backed militant groups.
“He, who confronts Saudi Arabia in Syria is the real defender of the Lebanese national interests,” Nasrallah said.
“The same goes for Yemen. The estimations of the new Saudi leadership was that ‘we will decide the battle in Yemen. We will teach a lesson to all the Arab countries and the Arab world… and we will impose ourselves on the Arab world,’” he said.
Saudi Arabia launched a campaign of military aggression against Yemen in late March last year in a bid to bring fugitive former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a Riyadh ally, back to power and undermine Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement.
Riyadh has, however, failed in accomplishing either of the two objectives, and has become entangled in a prolonged expensive war, whose adverse economic impacts—along with economic mismanagement—have gradually been giving rise to domestic discontent inside Saudi Arabia.
A 30 page investigative report on the “Caesar Torture Photos” has been released and is available online here. The following is a condensed version of the report. Readers who are especially interested are advised to get the full report which includes additional details, photographs, sources and recommendations.
There is a pattern of sensational but untrue reports that lead to public acceptance of US and Western military intervention in countries around the world:
* In Gulf War 1, there were reports of Iraqi troops stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. Relying on the testimony of a Red Crescent doctor, Amnesty Interenational ‘verified’ the false claims.
* Ten years later, there were reports of yellow cake uranium going to Iraq for development of weapons of mass destruction.
* One decade later, there were reports of Libyan soldiers drugged on viagra and raping women as they advanced.
* In 2012, NBC broadcaster Richard Engel was supposedly kidnapped by pro-Assad Syrian militia but luckily freed by Syrian opposition fighters, the “Free Syrian Army”.
All these reports were later confirmed to be fabrications and lies. They all had the goal of manipulating public opinion and they all succeeded in one way or another. Despite the consequences, which were often disastrous, none of the perpetrators were punished or paid any price.
It has been famously said “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” This report is a critical review of the “Caesar Torture Photos” story. As will be shown, there is strong evidence the accusations are entirely or substantially false.
Overview of ‘Caesar Torture Photos’
On 20 January 2014, two days before negotiations about the Syrian conflict were scheduled to begin in Switzerland, a sensational report burst onto television and front pages around the world. The story was that a former Syrian army photographer had 55,000 photographs documenting the torture and killing of 11,000 detainees by the Syrian security establishment.
The Syrian photographer was given the code-name ‘Caesar’. The story became known as the “Caesar Torture Photos”. A team of lawyers plus digital and forensic experts were hired by the Carter-Ruck law firm, on contract to Qatar, to go to the Middle East and check the veracity of “Caesar” and his story. They concluded that “Caesar” was truthful and the photographs indicated “industrial scale killing”. CNN, London’s Guardian and LeMonde broke the story which was subsequently broadcast in news reports around the world. The Caesar photo accusations were announced as negotiations began in Switzerland. With the opposition demanding the resignation of the Syrian government, negotiations quickly broke down.
For the past two years the story has been preserved with occasional bursts of publicity and supposedly corroborating reports. Most recently, in December 2015 Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report titled “If the Dead Could Speak” with significant focus on the Caesar accusations.
Following are 12 significant problems with the ‘Caesar torture photos’ story.
1. Almost half the photos show the opposite of the allegations.
The Carter Ruck Inquiry Team claimed there were about 55,000 photos total with about half of them taken by ‘Caesar’ and the other half by other photographers. The Carter Ruck team claimed the photos were all ‘similar’. Together they are all known as ‘Caesar’s Torture Photos’.
The photographs are in the custody of an opposition organization called the Syrian Association for Missing and Conscience Detainees (SAFMCD). In 2015, they allowed Human Rights Watch (HRW) to study all the photographs which have otherwise been secret. In December 2015, HRW released their report titled “If the Dead Could Speak”. The biggest revelation is that over 46% of the photographs (24,568) do not show people ‘tortured to death” by the Syrian government. On the contrary, they show dead Syrian soldiers and victims of car bombs and other violence (HRW pp2-3). Thus, nearly half the photos show the opposite of what was alleged. These photos, never revealed to the public, confirm that the opposition is violent and has killed large numbers of Syrian security forces and civilians.
2. The claim that other photos only show ‘tortured detainees’ is exaggerated or false.
The Carter Ruck report says ‘Caesar’ only photographed bodies brought from Syrian government detention centers. In their December 2015 report, HRW said, “The largest category of photographs, 28,707 images, are photographs Human Rights Watch understands to have died in government custody, either in one of several detention facilities or after being transferred to a military hospital.” They estimate 6,786 dead individuals in the set.
The photos and the deceased are real, but how they died and the circumstances are unclear. There is strong evidence some died in conflict. Others died in the hospital. Others died and their bodies were decomposing before they were picked up. These photographs seem to document a war time situation where many combatants and civilians are killed. It seems the military hospital was doing what it had always done: maintaining a photographic and documentary record of the deceased. Bodies were picked up by different military or intelligence branches. While some may have died in detention; the great majority probably died in the conflict zones. The accusations by ‘Caesar’, the Carter Ruck report and HRW that these are all victims of “death in detention” or “death by torture” or death in ‘government custody” are almost certainly false.
3. The true identity of “Caesar” is probably not as claimed.
The Carter Ruck Report says “This witness who defected from Syria and who had been working for the Syrian government was given the code-name ‘Caesar’ by the inquiry team to protect the witness and members of his family.” (CRR p12) However if his story is true, it would be easy for the Syrian government to determine who he really is. After all, how many military photographers took photos at Tishreen and Military 601 Hospitals during those years and then disappeared? According to the Carter Ruck report, Caesar’s family left Syria around the same time. Considering this, why is “Caesar” keeping his identity secret from the western audience? Why does “Caesar” refuse to meet even with highly sympathetic journalists or researchers?
The fact that 46% of the total photographic set is substantially the opposite of what was claimed indicates two possibilities:
* Caesar and his promoters knew the contents but lied about them expecting nobody to look.
* Caesar and his promoters did not know the contents and falsely assumed they were like the others.
The latter seems more likely which supports the theory that Caesar is not who he claims to be.
4. The Carter Ruck Inquiry was faulty, rushed and politically biased.
The credibility of the “Caesar” story has been substantially based on the Carter-Ruck Inquiry Team which “verified” the defecting photographer and his photographs. The following facts suggest the team was biased with a political motive:
* the investigation was financed by the government of Qatar which is a major supporter of the armed opposition.
* the contracted law firm, Carter Ruck and Co, has previously represented Turkey’s President Erdogan, also known for his avid support of the armed opposition.
* the American on the legal inquiry team, Prof David M. Crane, has a long history working for U.S. Dept of Defense and Defense Intelligence Agency. The U.S. Government has been deeply involved in the attempt at ‘regime change’ with demands that ‘Assad must go’ beginning in summer 2011 and continuing until recently.
* Prof Crane is personally partisan in the conflict. He has campaigned for a Syrian War Crimes Tribunal and testified before Congress in October 2013, three months before the Caesar revelations.
* by their own admission, the inquiry team was under “time constraints” (CRR, p11).
* by their own admission, the inquiry team did not even survey most of the photographs
* the inquiry team was either ignorant of the content or intentionally lied about the 46% showing dead Syrian soldiers and attack victims.
* the inquiry team did their last interview with “Caesar” on January 18, quickly finalized a report and rushed it into the media on January 20, two days prior to the start of UN sponsored negotiations.
The self-proclaimed “rigor” of the Carter Ruck investigation is without foundation. The claims to a ‘scientific’ investigation are similarly without substance and verging on the ludicrous.
5. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is involved.
In an interview on France24, Prof. David Crane of the inquiry team describes how ‘Caesar’ was brought to meet them by “his handler, his case officer”. The expression ‘case officer’ usually refers to the CIA. This would be a common expression for Prof. Crane who previously worked in the Defense Intelligence Agency. The involvement of the CIA additionally makes sense since there was a CIA budget of $1Billion for Syria operations in 2013.
Prof. Crane’s “Syria Accountability Project” is based at Syracuse University where the CIA actively recruits new officers despite student resistance.
Why does it matter if the CIA is connected to the ‘Caesar’ story? Because the CIA has a long history of disinformation campaigns. In 2011, false reports of viagra fueled rape by Libyan soldiers were widely broadcast in western media as the U.S. pushed for a military mandate. Decades earlier, the world was shocked to hear about Cuban troops fighting in Angola raping Angolan women. The CIA chief of station for Angola, John Stockwell, later described how they invented the false report and spread it round the world. The CIA was very proud of that disinformation achievement. Stockwell’s book, “In Search of Enemies” is still relevant.
6. The prosecutors portray simple administrative procedures as mysterious and sinister.
The Carter Ruck inquiry team falsely claimed there were about 11,000 tortured and killed detainees. They then posed the question: Why would the Syrian government photograph and document the people they just killed? The Carter Ruck Report speculates that the military hospital photographed the dead to prove that the “orders to kill” had been followed. The “orders to kill” are assumed.
A more logical explanation is that dead bodies were photographed as part of normal hospital / morgue procedure to maintain a file of the deceased who were received or treated at the hospital.
The same applies to the body labeling / numbering system. The Carter Ruck report suggests there is something mysterious and possibly sinister in the coded tagging system. But all morgues need to have a tagging and identification system.
7. The photos have been manipulated.
Many of the photos at the SAFMCD website have been manipulated. The information card and tape identity are covered over and sections of documents are obscured. It must have been very time consuming to do this for thousands of photos. The explanation that they are doing this to ‘protect identity’ is not credible since the faces of victims are visible. What are they hiding?
8. The Photo Catalog has duplicates and other errors.
There are numerous errors and anomalies in the photo catalog as presented at the SAFMCD website.
For example, some deceased persons are shown twice with different case numbers and dates.
There are other errors where different individuals are given the same identity number.
Researcher Adam Larson at A Closer Look at Syria website has done detailed investigation which reveals more errors and curious error patterns in the SAFMCD photo catalog.
9. With few exceptions, Western media uncritically accepted and promoted the story.
The Carter Ruck report was labeled “Confidential” but distributed to CNN, the Guardian and LeMonde.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour gushed the story as she interviewed three of the inquiry team under the headline “EXCLUSIVE: Gruesome Syria photos may prove torture by Assad regime”. Critical journalism was replaced by leading questions and affirmation. David Crane said “This is a smoking gun”. Desmond de Silva “likened the images to those of holocaust survivors”.
The Guardian report was titled “Syrian regime document trove shows evidence of ‘industrial scale’ killing of detainees” with subtitle “Senior war crimes prosecutors say photographs and documents provide ‘clear evidence’ of systematic killing of 11,000 detainees”
One of the very few skeptical reports was by Dan Murphy in the Christian Science Monitor. Murphy echoed standard accusations about Syria but went on to say incisively, “the report itself is nowhere near as credible as it makes out and should be viewed for what it is: A well-timed propaganda exercise funded by Qatar, a regime opponent who has funded rebels fighting Assad who have committed war crimes of their own.”
Unfortunately that was one of very few critical reports in the mainstream media.
In 2012, foreign affairs journalist Jonathan Steele wrote an article describing the overall media bias on Syria.. His article was titled “Most Syrians back Assad but you’d never know from western media”. The media campaign and propaganda has continued without stop. It was in this context that the Carter Ruck Report was delivered and widely accepted without question.
10. Politicians have used the Caesar story to push for more US/NATO aggression.
Politicians seeking direct US intervention for ‘regime change’ in Syria were quick to accept and broadcast the ‘Caesar’ story. They used it to demonize the Assad government and argue that the US must act so as to prevent “another holocaust’, ‘another Rwanda’, ‘another Cambodia’.
When Caesar’s photos were displayed at the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Congress, Chairman Ed Royce said “It is far past time that the world act…. It is far past time for the United States to say there is going to be a safe zone across this area in northern Syria.”
The top ranking Democrat in the House Foreign Affairs Committee is Eliot Engel. In November 2015 he said “We’re reminded of the photographer, known as Caesar, who sat in this room a year ago, showing us in searing, graphic detail what Assad has done to his own people.” Engel went on to advocate for a new authorization for the use of military force.
Rep Adam Kinzinger is another advocate for aggression against Syria. At an event at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in July 2015 he said, “If we want to destroy ISIS we have to destroy the incubator of ISIS, Bashar al-Assad.”
The irony and hypocrisy is doubly profound since Rep Kinzinger has met and coordinated with opposition leader Okaidi who is a confirmed ally of ISIS. In contrast with Kinzinger’s false claims, it is widely known that ISIS ideology and initial funding came from Saudi Arabia and much of its recent wealth from oil sales via Turkey. The Syrian Army has fought huge battles against ISIS, winning some but losing others with horrific scenes of mass beheading.
11. The Human Rights Watch assessment is biased.
HRW has been very active around Syria. After the chemical attacks in greater Damascus on August 21, 2013, HRW rushed a report which concluded that, based on a vector analysis of incoming projectiles, the source of the sarin carrying rockets must have been Syrian government territory. This analysis was later debunked as a “junk heap of bad evidence” by highly respected investigative journalist Robert Parry. HRW’s assumption about the chemical weapon rocket flight distance was faulty. Additionally it was unrealistic to think you could determine rocket trajectory with 1% accuracy from a canister on the ground. To think you could determine flight trajectory from a canister on the ground that had deflected off a building wall was preposterous.
In spite of this, HRW stuck by its analysis which blamed the Assad government. HRW Director Ken Roth publicly indicated dissatisfaction when an agreement to remove Syrian chemical weapons was reached. Mr. Roth wanted more than a ‘symbolic’ attack.
In light of the preceding, we note the December 2015 HRW report addressing the claims of Caesar.
HRW seems to be the only non-governmental organization to receive the full set of photo files from the custodian. To its credit, HRW acknowledged that nearly half the photos do not show what has been claimed for two years: they show dead Syrian soldiers and militia along with scenes from crime scenes, car bombings, etc…
But HRW’s bias is clearly shown in how they handle this huge contradiction. Amazingly, they suggest the incorrectly identified photographs support the overall claim. They say, “This report focuses on deaths in detention. However other types of photographs are also important. From an evidentiary perspective, they reinforce the credibility of the claims of Caesar about his role as a forensic photographer of the Syrian security forces or at least with someone who has access to their photographs.” (HRW, p31) This seems like saying if someone lies to you half the time that proves they are truthful.
The files disprove the assertion that the files all show tortured and killed. The photographs show a wide range of deceased persons, from Syrian soldiers to Syrian militia members to opposition fighters to civilians trapped in conflict zones to regular deaths in the military hospital. There may be some photos of detainees who died in custody after being tortured, or who were simply executed. We know that this happened in Iraqi detention centers under U.S. occupation. Ugly and brutal things happen in war times. But the facts strongly suggest that the ‘Caesar’ account is basically untrue or a gross exaggeration.
It is striking that the HRW report has no acknowledgment of the war conditions and circumstances in Syria. There is no acknowledgment that the government and Syrian Arab Army have been under attack by tens of thousands of weaponized fighters openly funded and supported by many of the wealthiest countries in the world.
There is no hint at the huge loss of life suffered by the Syrian army and supporters defending their country. The current estimates indicate from eighty to one hundred and twenty thousand Syrian soldiers, militia and allies having died in the conflict. During the three years 2011 – 2013, including the period covered by Caesar photos, it is estimated that over 52,000 Syrian soldiers and civilian militia died versus 29,000 anti-government forces.
HRW had access to the full set of photographs including the Syrian army and civilian militia members killed in the conflict. Why did they not list the number of Syrian soldiers and security forces they identified? Why did they not show a single image of those victims?
HRW goes beyond endorsing the falsehoods in the ‘Caesar’ story; they suggest it is a partial listing. On page 5 the report says, “Therefore, the number of bodies from detention facilities that appear in the Caesar photographs represent only a part of those who died in detention in Damascus.”
On the contrary, the Caesar photographs seem to mostly show victims who died in a variety of ways in the armed conflict. The HRW assertions seem to be biased and inaccurate.
12. The legal accusations are biased and ignore the supreme crime of aggression.
The Christian Science Monitor journalist Dan Murphy gave an apt warning in his article on the Carter Ruck report about ‘Caesar’. While many journalists treated the prosecutors with uncritical deference, he said, “Association with war crime prosecutions is no guarantor of credibility – far from it. Just consider Luis Moreno Ocampo’s absurd claims about Viagra and mass rape in Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya in 2011. War crimes prosecutors have, unsurprisingly, a bias towards wanting to bolster cases against people they consider war criminals (like Assad or Qaddafi) and so should be treated with caution. They also frequently favor, as a class, humanitarian interventions.”
The Carter Ruck legal team demonstrated how accurate those cautions were. They were eager to accuse the Syrian government of “crimes against humanity” but the evidence of “industrial killing”, “mass killing”, “torturing to kill” is dubious and much of the hard evidence shows something else.
In contrast, there is clear and solid evidence that a “Crime against Peace” is being committed against Syria. It is public knowledge that the “armed opposition” in Syria has been funded, supplied and supported in myriad ways by various outside governments. Most of the fighters, both Syrian and foreign, receive salaries from one or another outside power. Their supplies, weapons and necessary equipment are all supplied to them. Like the “Contras” in Nicaragua in the 1980’s, the use of such proxy armies is a violation of customary international law.
It is also a violation of the UN Charter which says “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other matter inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”.
The government of Qatar has been a major supporter of the mercenaries and fanatics attacking the sovereign state of Syria. Given that fact, isn’t it hugely ironic to hear the legal contractors for Qatar accusing the Syrian government of “crimes against humanity”?
Isn’t it time for the United Nations to make reforms so that it can start living up to its purposes? That will require demanding and enforcing compliance with the UN Charter and International Law.
As soon as the Gulf Cooperation Council blacklisted the Lebanese party of Resistance – Hezbollah – on Wednesday, Zionist mass media welcomed the resolution, considering it “critical and serious,” reflecting a great relief among Israelis who have been seeking to fight Hezbollah from the Arab gate.
Former Zionist foreign minister Tzipi Livni hailed the GCC resolution as “an important step, while Zionist daily Maariv stated that “blacklisting Hezbollah is an achievement that serves Israel.”
Moreover, the entity’s mass media correlated the GCC resolution against Hezbollah with “the ongoing coordination between Saudi Arabia, Israel” which has recently emerged to public through exchanging visits between both parties.
“Arab world is approaching closer to Israel’s stances, which has been revealed through the Saudi delegations’ visit to Israel, as well as when Saudi Arabia decided to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization,” the presenter of Tonight at Six talk show for Zionist Channel 1 said.
“It is very important and dramatic development,” he added.
For his part, Yoval King, an expert of Arab affairs, said that “it is an important resolution,” recalling that it is not the first time that Gulf states blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
“They had labeled him as ‘militia’, and announced that violence and provocations he is carrying out in Syria, Yemen and Iraq contradicts with the moral and humanitarian values,” King said.
The Saudi-Zionist coordination witnessed a major shift on the Syrian arena in the face of axis of Resistance, as Zionist sources revealed discussions took place between the armed groups operating in Syria on one hand, and Riyadh and Tel Aviv on the other, about the Syrian developments following the ongoing truce.
“Syrian opposition groups, funded by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel are meeting with their sponsors and discussing with them whether they can make gains in the meantime,” Shmerit Maeir, a Zionist analyst of Arab affairs, said during an interview on the Jewish Channel 2.
“Israel needs a key chair on this table whether through the American players or others, because the bases will now determine whether Hezbollah is allowed to do what the ISIL and Al-Nusra Front are banned from doing. If this really is to happen, we will be facing a major catastrophe,” Maeir stressed.
The Zionist position was symmetrical to the Saudi’s, as it doesn’t rule out the possibility of communicating with the armed groups, like Al-Nusra Front and ISIL in order to coordinate for later steps in Syria.
The GCC, which has been committing a genocide in Yemen since March 2015, held a meeting on Monday during which it blacklisted all Hezbollah affiliated institutions.
The Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf have declared Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, which has been fighting terrorist groups in Syria and Israeli occupation, a “terrorist group.”
The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council officially added Hezbollah and all groups affiliated to its so-called list of “terrorist” organizations on Wednesday.
In a statement, GCC’s Secretary General Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayan accused Hezbollah and associated groups of committing “acts of aggression”, recruiting “youth” inside the Persian Gulf littoral states, smuggling “weapons and explosives”, sowing “sedition” and instigating “chaos and violence.”
The bloc, however, did not provide any evidence for its allegations.
The GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.
The move by the six-member bloc is the latest measure against Hezbollah, which is fighting terrorists in Syria.
In 2000 and 2006, when Israel launched two wars on Lebanon, Hezbollah fighters gave befitting responses to the Tel Aviv regime’s acts of aggression, forcing Israeli military to retreat without achieving any of its objectives.
The GCC have taken a series of measures against Hezbollah since Saudi Arabia last month halted a $4- billion aid pledge to Lebanon’s security forces.
The aid suspension came after Beirut did not follow Riyadh’s lead and refused to endorse joint anti-Iran statements at separate meetings held in Cairo and Jeddah.
On February 26, Saudi Arabia blacklisted four Lebanese firms and three individuals over alleged affiliation to Hezbollah, and imposed sanctions on them. The kingdom also ordered its citizens not to travel to Lebanon, and is poised to expel the Lebanese citizens working on its territory.
On Tuesday, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah said Saudi propaganda against Hezbollah has led to a political conflict in Lebanon, and advised the Lebanese youth against playing into the hands of Saudi Arabia, which he said spreads lies about Hezbollah and wrongly accuses the resistance movement of sowing sectarian strife between Shias and Sunnis.
He also denounced the Arab world’s silence in the face of Riyadh’s aggression on Yemen, where over 8,000 people have lost their lives since the Saudi onslaught began in late March last year.
Nasrallah warned that there are some Lebanese groups hoping to see a war in Lebanon just like the one Riyadh has waged against Yemen.
This comes as the Persian Gulf monarchies themselves stand accused of supporting extremists and terrorists in the region.
I met Dr. Kevin Barrett as planned at a small bookstore near the Notre Dame Cathedral landmark in Paris France. On that day, December 11, 2015, the Paris bookstore was the site of a significant academic conference entitled “Islamophobia and the Erosion of Civil Society.”
Hours earlier I had exited the last class of the fall term in my third-year Globalization Studies course at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada. I had driven to Calgary, hopped a flight to Dallas, and then transferred onto a big American Airlines 777 for the trans-Atlantic flight to the City of Lights now under martial law.
For the second time in 2015 Paris had been rocked by violent episodes attributed to the independent actions of Islamic terrorists. After the first event last January, Dr. Barrett had coordinated the emergency responses of a team of analytic observers, myself included.
Together we uncovered the outlines of an outlandish fraud of an externally-engineered false flag terror event. Dr. Barrett assembled the revelations in his edited book entitled We Are Not Charlie Hebdo. Now a sequel volume was in the making as Kevin and I met up in the Paris bookstore where the inner workings of the “Islamophobia Industry” were the subject of scholarly investigation.
The majority of contributors to Dr. Barrett’s book on the first Paris shooter event of 2015 concluded that the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo cartoon office and on the customers of a Jewish Deli were not as they were made to seem in the mainstream media. The evidence pointed to a continuation of the same type of state-manufactured violence directed at civilian populations in Western Europe during the Cold War by the NATO’s overseers of Project Gladio.
The aim of Project Gladio was to discredit the politics of progressive reform by misrepresenting the nature of NATO-concocted episodes of seemingly arbitrary violence directed at civilian populations.
Violent events were engineered by right-wing agents of NATO’s occupation of Western Europe to make it appear that left-wing progressives were subject to the control of psychopathic extremists intent on foisting their will on society through coercive methods.
A new wave of false flag terrorism is underway with the objective of turning public opinion against groups slated for state-sanctioned assaults, including aggressive warfare.
As demonstrated by the deep state politics of Project Gladio, false flag terrorism has long been a standard psy-op deployed by the Western intelligence and counter-intelligence agencies to affect public perception, attitude, and behaviour.
The deployment of false flag terrorism to bring history’s course into conformity with the objectives sought by strategic planners has become the particular specialty of the Israeli deep state.
The most ambitious false flag terror episode ever occurred on September 11, 2001 in the orchestrated strikes on three World Trade Center Towers, on the Pentagon and on the remnants of integrity in our governing structures. The overwhelming weight of evidence derived from these events points squarely at those in charge of the powerful networks of global influence aligned with the expansionary aspirations of Likudnik Israel.
The lies and crimes of 9/11 provided the pretext for the transition from Cold War’s demonization of socialism, as manifest in the engineered terrorism of Project Gladio, to the demonization of Muslims through what might most accurately be described as the Global War of False Flag Terrorism (GWOFFT).
The 9/11 strikes were central episodes that created the core narrative and imagery for a multi-faceted psychological operation that continues yet. This 9/11 psychological operation has been frequently characterized as a global coup d’état. The 9/11 global coup d’état was engineered to entrench neoconservative agendas aimed at concentrating more power in the world’s dominant banking, military, media and academic cartels together with the plutocrats that control them.
In the Global War of False Flag Terrorism, ruling elites everywhere have attempted to entrench their regimes of fraud and corruption by characterizing their critics and opponents as terrorists, as potential terrorists or as terrorist sympathizers.
Without a doubt it is the Jewish state of Israel that gained most from replacing anti-communism with anti-terrorism as the primary purpose and preoccupation of the world’s dominant military-industrial complex. The key to manufacturing consent for this shift has been the incitement and political exploitation of hatred towards Muslims. This engineered hatred of Muslims is often described as Islamophobia.
Convening in Paris to Shed Light on the Islamophobia
The study of Islamophobia brought together scholars from Europe and North America at the conference in the Paris bookstore. This convention of scholars was organized under the auspices of the Race and Gender Studies Center at the University of California in Berkeley.
The Chair was Prof. Hatem Bazian, Professor of Islamic Law and Theology at Zaytuna College in Berkeley. Part of the U of C, Zaytuna College is the first Muslim liberal arts institution of higher learning in the United States.
Prof. Bazian had assembled about a dozen scholars at various stages in their movement through the academic procedures of tenure and promotion. Generally speaking the assembled scholars have taken on some of the most difficult and fraught subjects covered in our university curricula. To study the institutional workings of the cynical business of purposely turning public attitudes against Muslims is an especially difficult academic mission in the poisoned atmosphere of these times.
In spite of our criticism of their work, the dozen or so colleagues who gathered at the Paris bookstore on December 11 deserve much respect and recognition. These colleagues have persisted in following a very contentious line of investigation in spite of the serious professional recriminations often thrown their way by critics who think nothing of destroying academic careers to advance political agendas.
Kevin Barrett and I took part in the proceedings with the anticipation that we would co-host our own alternative conference the following day at a hotel near the Charles De Gaulle Airport.
This plan was a response to the rejection of Dr. Barrett’s paper that was originally accepted as part of their conference.
Dr. Barrett’s proposed contribution highlighted the frequent exclusion of Muslim perspectives from officialdom’s accounts of the originating events triggering the 9/11 wars.
Dr. Barrett’s academic credentials in the subject matter of the conference are of course very strong as evidenced by the initial warm welcome extended to his offer to contribute to the conference’s scholarly proceedings.
Then came the events of Friday November 13th 2015, when the world was told Islamic terrorists had murdered over a hundred victims at a concert at the Bataclan music venue, at the Stade de France and at other Paris locations. In the wake of this development Dr. Barrett was informed by Professor Bazian,
“Due to state of emergency in France and the on-going active operations, the organizing committee is not able to accommodate your paper at this point in time. Our supporters on the ground are under extreme emergency conditions and the whole program is under stress due to it.”
In spite of the declared state of emergency in Paris the organizers had pressed ahead with the conference minus the contribution of Dr. Barrett. No explanation was given of why it was deemed alright to go forward with the other presentations but not the one containing Dr. Barrett’s interpretation of Islamophobia. The exclusion of Dr. Barrett, a Muslim himself with advanced degrees and many publications in Islamic Studies, could be seen as an expression of the very same forces that the Paris event had been convened to identify and analyse.
Rather than step aside without a protest, Dr. Barrett took part in the proceedings. I had joined him with the expectation that the next day we would try to put right the lapse that unfortunately seemed indicative of a more general failure of the academy.
How is it that, generally speaking, professors in our institutions of higher learning have failed so conspicuously to sort out truth from falsehood, accurate reporting from fraud, when it comes to explaining the origins and ongoing impetuses of the 9/11 wars?
Why have we in the academy mostly failed to rise to the responsibility of our higher calling when it comes to the vital job of identifying the thick web of lies and misrepresentations used to justify the post-9/11 surge of aggressive warfare abroad, the betrayal of human rights and civil liberties at home?
How has this treason of the intellectuals been transacted at the very moment society is most in need of evidence-based research to sort out fact from fiction when assessing the claims and assertions of the permanent war economy’s primary protagonists?
Through efforts like those of Dr. Barrett’s in his personal and public truthjihad, there have been significant breakthroughs in illuminating fraudulent reporting by presstitutes that often disseminate the disinformation essential to realizing the subversive agendas of false flag terrorism. Less has been done, however, to highlight the failures of academy to identify the lies and crimes entailed in the wholesale smearing of Muslims essential to the dark objectives of the Global War of False Flag Terrorism.
Islamophobia is the essential mental ingredient in the atmosphere of fear produced by the psychological geo-engineers pushing forward the Global War of False Flag Terrorism. In the words of Prof. Bazian, Islamophobia has to do with “the construction of an imagined and staged world rooted in the mind.”
The dissemination of the imagery of self-directed, self-financing Islamic terrorists acting autonomously out of no other motivation than their own religious zealotry constitutes the core lie of this malevolent psychological operation. The demonization of Muslim people, Muslim religion, Muslim cultures and Muslim countries forms the basis of the scaffolding on which a global and unbridled police state is being constructed.
This background helps explain how it is that Dr. Barrett and I had converged at the Paris bookstore on the eve of our effort to host our own conference of world-class thinkers expert in deciphering the inner workings of the Global War of False Terrorism. In taking on this responsibility we were moving into the vacuum of truth telling that the academic community has created, for the time being at least, by failing to come up with a viable evidence-based explanation of the origins and ongoing genesis of the 9/11 wars.
On December 11, 2015, the effort to go beyond the issues explored by the academics assembled in the Paris bookstore would take form the next day in a four-hour event entitled “False Flag Islamophobia” broadcast live on No Lies Radio. This event, in turn, helped encourage and hearten some of the contributors to Dr. Barrett’s new book.
Introducing the Islamophobia Industry
Sociology Professor David Miller of the University of Bath in Great Britain was one of the senior contributors to the conference at the Paris bookstore. Miller is a prolific scholar whose work on Islamophobia emerges from his important investigations into the relationship between corporate power and public relations as pioneered by the so-called father of media spin, Edward Bernays.
This approach permeates Miller’s Spinwatch website and his co-authored volume published in 2008, A Century of Spin: How Public Relations Became the Cutting Edge of Corporate Power.
In 2011 I had seen Professor Miller offer up a very interesting presentation in the Westminster Parliament in London England. His address in the Mother of All Parliaments helped give rise to his co-authored publication, The Cold War on British Muslims.
Professor Miller’s presentation in Paris on 11 December 2015 continued the development of themes that have brought on significant wrath from elements of the Jewish-Israeli lobby in Great Britain.
For instance the website of the pro-Zionist Gatestone Institute criticized Professor Miller for his work showing the “covert propaganda operations” of several Jewish organizations with preferential access to high-profile media venues. http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/6677/david-miller-hilary-aked-kevin-macdonald.
Along with Professor Bazian, Miller has been prominent in identifying the financing and workings of an interlinked complex of agencies that Nathan Lean and others have dubbed the “The Islamophobia Industry.”
According to the Legislating Fear report of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the dozens of agencies that make up this hate-inciting industry are funded to the tune of several hundreds of millions of dollars. In the words of Bazian, the aim of the well-funded endeavour is “to use fear and hate-mongering to lull our intellect to sleep” and “to implant negative and racist ideas about Muslims and Islam in our collective consciousness.”
Prominent among the core institutions of the trans-Atlantic Islamophobia Industry are the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, the Henry Jackson Society, the Quilliam Foundation, the Gladstone Institute, Daniel Pipe’s Middle East Forum, Campus Watch, Islamist Watch, Pam Geller’s Atlas Shrugs, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin’s AMCHA Initiative, the Clarion Project, the David Horowitz Freedom Center and CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting.
These and many other agencies whose mission is to incite Islamophobia, derive their funding from a variety of sources including the family foundations of the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Sarah Scaife, Harry Bradley, Irving Moskowitz and Canada’s Bronfman dynasty. As noted above, the Gladstone Institute has made the work of Professor David Miller, including the content of his website Spinwatch, a particular target of its pro-Zionist defense of the Islamophobia Industry.
Much of the work of David Miller and his colleagues in exposing the pro-Zionist activities of the anti-Muslim hate purveyors involves tracing the money fuelling the Islamophobia Industry. This follow-the-money approach could very easily extend to tracking down the sources of financing for the staging of expensive false flag terror events.
Throughout the academic presentations I witnessed at the Paris bookstore, there was a persistent resistance by all the presenters to engage in some sort of reckoning with the anti-Muslim thrust of the false flag terrorism currently imposed upon us.
In every presentation there was the same conspicuous absence of interest in investigating the primary engine of contemporary Islamophobia, namely the engineering of false flag terror events to be blamed on Muslim fundamentalists said to be acting alone for no other reason than their religious extremism.
According to Kevin Barrett’s record of the event, when it came time for questions and answers I posed my query as follows:
“This is all very interesting, but I’m not hearing any of you get to the root of why there is all this Islamophobia. There is now a huge literature on the fact that these big terror attacks are contrived. It was 9/11 and all of the subsequent events that have created the wave of Islamophobia. I know it’s not a good career move, but: Why can’t we talk about this? Why can’t we –”
I emphasized in my question the observation that the dominant forces animating Islamophobia lie in the extravagant media misrepresentations of false flag terror events. Again and again these episodes of false flag terror are presented as the independent, self-directed work of Islamic extremists acting exclusively out of religious zealotry rather than the actions of mercenaries paid to create the political currency of fear necessary for the maintenance of the permanent war economy.
These misrepresentations form the very core of the activities of the Islamophobia Industry as composed by agencies such as the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. An outgrowth of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the FDD was created a mere two days after the events of 9/11.
It fell to Professor Miller to respond to my question. He began by taking exception to my suggestion that some “psychopaths” might be involved as “assets” in the execution of false flag terrorism. Miller indicated that, in his estimation, Islamic terror events were by and large the product of considered actions on the part of alienated Muslims who had experienced devastating consequences from various forms of hostile invasion into the lives of their own families, communities, and nations.
Their violent responses, he indicated, were often the product of long reflection and preparation by mostly intelligent individuals prone to be especially sensitive to the gross abuses of human rights directed at Islamic populations both within the West and on its resource frontiers.
In retrospect Miller’s response was a classic illustration of the “blowback theory” of 9/11. Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire is the name of an iconographic text by a former CIA analyst, Chalmers Johnson.
Although Johnson’s Blowback was first published in 1999, the volume became a bestseller after the events of September 11, 2001. Johnson believed the United States was imperiled by the flood of recriminations that would almost inevitably arise from those most negatively affected by the secret incursions of American empire.
Many seized on the central argument of Blowback to explain what had transpired on 9/11. I include myself in that category. Until my friend and colleague, the late Mohawk activist Splitting The Sky, insisted in 2008 that I look into the evidence of what did and did not happen on 9/11, I adhered to the blowback theory.
I mistakenly believed that the 9/11 attacks were the work of Indigenous peoples resisting repeated rounds of imperial assault on their lands, their persons and their ways of life. I recall it was difficult for me to put this interpretation aside once I began looking at the overwhelming evidence that the various agencies charged to protect us were in fact deeply involved in perpetrating the lies and crimes of 9/11.
The response of Professor Miller to my question seemed to demonstrate the continuing allure of the Blowback theory of 9/11 in spite of the conclusions that have emerged from the elaborate citizens’ inquiry into the events of September 11, 2001. The outcome of the citizens’ inquiry demonstrated long ago that the evidence does not support the thesis that all the destruction on 9/11 can be traced back to the independent actions of 19 Saudi jihadists acting to realize a plan hatched by Osama bin Laden.
I found it very instructive to witness how a group of otherwise courageous and conscientious scholars skated around any direct engagement with the origins and genesis of the Global War of False Flag Terrorism. Our collective failure to force on our governments and institutions some basic reckoning with the lies and crimes of 9/11 have made our societies vulnerable to a seemingly endless repetition of the same scenario of manipulation through the incitement of fear towards Muslims. The key to creating these fears lies in the parade of recent false flag terror events in, for instance, London, Madrid, Bali, Ottawa, Paris and San Bernardino to mention only a few.
The event at the Paris bookstore might be characterized as a frontier zone marking the boundary between permitted and prohibited academic discourse. Their proceedings therefore provided an instructive window illuminating the more general failure of the academy to deal in deep and systematic ways with the full extent of the travesty. The potential of humanity is grossly undermined by the absurdity of a never-ending war being waged “on Terror”. The War on Truth is the most essential feature of the Global War of False Flag Terrorism.
The Islamophobia Industry and the Deep State Operations of the False Flag Terror Industry
I have learned a lot at the Paris conference and in my subsequent research into the leads provided by the scholars who participated. Professor Miller and others called my attention to, for instance, the dual preoccupations of the same funders and lobby groups that simultaneously instigate hatred to Muslims even as they invest in and promote Jewish settlements on the expansionary frontiers of the Israeli warrior state.
I found particular value in the content of a report by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network entitled, The Business of Backlash: The Attack on the Palestinian Movement and Other Movements of Justice. The document explains in detail the financial, ideological and political community of interests wedding the arms and media industries in the United States to the military and security establishment of Israel.
The channeling of vast treasuries of public funds from the USA to Israel has the effect of creating huge slush funds that end in the coffers of American politicians and in the corporate proprietorships of war profiteers.
The authors go on to explain that this coalition of shared interests is pointed against all manner of progressive movements including environmental groups as well as the decolonization struggles of Blacks, Latinos and Indigenous peoples. It seems the same techniques deployed to cast an aura of criminality over the freedom movement of oppressed Palestinians is being applied more broadly.
Accordingly, the demonization of whole populations by practitioners of the Islamophobia Industry casts a very broad shadow. The hate inciting smear campaigns support oppressive structures of top-down power running contrary to the exercise of even the most fundamental principles of universal human rights.
The Islamophobia Industry’s assault on human rights extended to an attack on the academic freedom of Professor Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, one of the more prominent participants in the proceedings at the Paris bookstore. Abdulhadi is Director of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Initiative at San Francisco State University in California. Recently she has was targeted by a formidable array of Islamophobes led by Tammi Rossman-Benjamin’s AMCHA Initiative.
The attack on Professor Abdulhadi was discussed in The Business of Backlash. Her Zionist detractors accused the Palestinian-American academic of being “a terrorist supporter as well as a supporter of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.” She was said to embody “all that is wrong with radical elements of academia who have all but hijacked the social science and humanities fields. Her obsessive focus on Israel and monomaniacal demonization of the Mideast’s only democracy betray a troubling pattern of Judeophobia and overt anti-Semitism.” http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/222457/terrorists-campus-ari-lieberman
A formidable coalition of academic colleagues and civil rights organizations rallied to the defense of Professor Abdulhadi who was represented by the lawyers of the Palestinian Solidarity Legal Support network. Abdulhadi’s participation in the Paris conference as a working professor attests to their success in persuading the administration of San Francisco State University to fend off the malicious attempt to end this important scholar’s academic career.
It seems very strange that those who participated in the academic conference in Paris, like those who authored The Business of Backlash, could make themselves so expert on the relationships between the Islamophobia Industry, Jewish Settlements on the West Bank and the deep state machinations of the Israeli-American power elite but not extend their investigations further.
The evidence has become overwhelming that what is portrayed in the media as self-motivated, self-financing, self-directed Islamic terrorism is rather the outcome of a complex network of connections linking intelligence agencies, paid assets, mercenaries and other private sector contractors connected to the operations and objectives of the pro-Zionist Islamophobia Industry.
As my reading on the Islamophobia Industry progressed I came to see the most visible agencies of public hate mongering towards Muslims as but the tip of the iceberg of far larger structures of deceit and corruption. Beneath the overt activities of the Muslim-bashing agencies lie the covert deep state entities devoted to generating the false flag terror events on which the parasitic Islamophobia Industry feeds.
This connection can be well illustrated in the reincarnation after 9/11 of the Project for the New American Century as the pro-Zionist, anti-Muslim Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
The basic aim of this whole sordid complex of deep state and public agencies is to transform Israel’s Arab and predominantly Muslim regional enemies, the Palestinians, into one element of a larger global entity presented as the antithesis of the West’s self-proclaimed “freedoms.”
Composed of the worldwide community of Muslims, the ommah was instrumentalized in public mythology as the aberrant “other” to be guarded against, pacified and sometimes vanquished. The wholesale demonization of Muslims served the purpose of providing the war machine with a new enemy to replace the defunct enemy of the Soviet Union.
The Memes, Symbols and Demonology Deployed in Generating Hatred Towards Muslims
The same banking-military-media establishment that benefited most from the permanent war economy on the capitalist side of the Cold War was reborn, re-energized and refinanced with the launching of the Global War of False Flag Terrorism. In this fashion a degree of continuity was maintained as the same national security establishment created to fight communism was re-deployed in a very strange operation involving both the creation of, and opposition to, Islamic terrorism.
In the decade and a half since 9/11 a powerful Islamophobia Industry has set the tone for the entire mainstream media. In the process, the imagery of Islamic jihad has been rendered an essential part of the visual vocabulary of popular culture. The project of generating fear of Muslims in mainstream media draws on many tried and true techniques of the Public Relations Industry.
The integration of Islamophobia into popular culture often invokes archetypes and symbols from religious mythology like, for instance, the stereotypical demonology of witchcraft and devil worship. Resort is made to mental imagery rooted in children’s fables such as Peter and the Wolf.
To convey these messages, instant-made-for-TV “terrorist” experts regularly conjure up terms such as “Lone Wolf Terrorist” even as they warn us against the “Homegrown Terrorists” said to be lurking amongst us. In such theatres of normalized hate speech, whole populations are wedged, divided and turned against each other to grease the gears of fear and distrust as primary lubricants for political and commercial exploitation.
The lies and crimes of 9/11 lie at the origins of a Great Transformation for the worse. To fail to deal with what did or did not happen in the Mother of All False Flag Terror Events is to give credence to the interpretation that the saga of misrepresentation essential to the Global War on Terror’s genesis did not begin until 2003.
According to that gatekeepers version of reality, the administration of George W. Bush was an innocent victim of Islamic attacks until the executive branch began floating the lie that the government of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Much of the responsibility for publicizing the false assertions that Saddam Hussein’s government possessed weapons of mass destruction has been laid at the doorstep of the New York Times and the work of its star reporter Judith Miller.
Miller’s primary sources on this story included Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Douglas Feith, all prominent Israeli-American members of the Project for a New American Century.
In a major report in 2000, PNAC anticipated the events of 9/11 by proclaiming that the realization of their neoconservative agenda could not be achieved “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event– like a new Pearl Harbour.”
Is it credible that a handful of Saudi Muslims led by Osama bin Laden, armed with nothing but box cutters, a smattering of flight training and intense jihadist zeal, acted independently to bring about the elaborate high-tech crime that took place on 9/11?
Is it credible that the neocon cabal controlling both the Israeli government and the Bush White House was fortuitously presented by self-directed jihadists with precisely the catalytic event it needed to institute its ambitious agenda of police repression at home and military expansion abroad.
Is it credible that the neocon establishment was only a respondent to, rather than an author of, the cataclysmic events of 9/11? If the events of 9/11 were indeed a surprise attack on power symbols of American prowess in warfare and commerce, why was no one responsible for such a stupendous breach of national security fired for such a spectacular failure? How is it that so many of those who accuse the Bush-Cheney regime of lying about so many subjects refuse to explore the extent of the lies whose effect is to protect the actual perpetrators of the 9/11 crimes?
Part of the problem in the official cover story of 9/11 is that the custodians of the fable keep on changing it to suit the changing currents of political expediency. In the early days following 9/11, the culprits were said to be Osama bin Laden and his coterie of Islamic extremists in al-Qaeda.
Then the demonology of 9/11 shifted so that somehow Saddam Hussein and his Iraqi government were made to epitomize the jihadist extremes of Islamic terror. Once Saddam was captured and executed the world was briefly introduced to a person or persons identified by the name Khalid Sheik Mohammed. For a time it seemed that the US executive branch would conduct a show trial in New York of Khalid, the supposed “mastermind of 9/11” to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the infamous day.
The plan to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed for war crimes was abandoned. This prisoner remains jailed in the US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay on the island of Cuba. There he has been tortured through water boarding many dozens of times in order to elicit all manner of confessions including some that found their way into the 9/11 Commission report in the United States.
The creation of an official government report, whose conclusions are drawn from supposed evidence obtained from illegal torture, is itself a war crime. Accordingly, those academics, jurists, politicians, journalists, and other public intellectuals who accept the 9/11 Commission report as accurate and satisfactory are rendered complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Instead of conducting a show trial, the government of US President Barack Obama opted to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by announcing that US Navy Seals had hunted down and killed Osama bin Laden at a compound near Abbottabad Pakistan.
In this fashion bin Laden was posthumously returned to the role assigned him by the White House and media agencies within hours of the 9/11 strikes without any formal investigation whatsoever.
According to Seymour Hersh, the White House’s story on bin Laden’s elimination “might have been written by Lewis Carroll.” Bin Laden was supposedly buried at sea. What sense would it make simply to execute the man that would be far and away the world’s foremost authority on international jihadism if the mythological demonology attending the 9/11 psychological operation was actually true.
The elimination by the Democratic Party President of the Republican Party President’s initial 9/11 patsy cleared the way for a new phase in the Global War of False Flag Terrorism overseen by Barack Obama.
This Democratic Party version of the neocon plan for global domination restored al-Qaeda to a role something like it had played in the 1980s as a part of the mujahadeen proxy army army serving US geopolitical strategies. Where al-Qaeda helped overthrow the US-backed puppet regime in Afghanistan in the 1980s, in the second decade of the twenty-first century al-Qaeda was reborn as a mercenary instrument of NATO’s assault on the Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi.
The instrumentalization of mercenary armies paid to fight under the banner of Islamic religion has grown in scope so that this historical trajectory lies at the very heart of the international showdown for control of the lands and resources of Syria. Under heavy Israeli pressure, the US government with backing from the governments of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar has built up al-Qaeda’s successor, Jabhat al-Nusra. The aim of this sponsorship of Islamic theocrats hostile to Bashir al-Assad’s more secular and pluralistic Russian-backed Syrian government is to balkanize the region and possibly to prepare the ground for the eastward and northward expansion of Israel.
This US backing of al-Qaeda-related fighters was spun as support for a “moderate opposition” to the Assad government. This scenario unfolded concurrently with the rise, in Iraq and Syria, of the entity known variously as the Islamic State in the Levant, ISIL, ISIS, and more recently Daesh.
The evidence has become overwhelming that this fighting force is financed, armed and organized in part to embody the memes of hatred and extremism essential to the operations of the Islamophobia Industry and the main protagonists of the Global War of False Flag Terrorism.
The close connection in the international oil business linking governments of Turkey, Israel and the non-state entity dubbed the Islamic State, highlight the many layers of complicity in a very strange operation. The US government presents itself publicly as the world’s leading opponent of Islamic terror while it cultivates, assists and facilitates the very forces it says it is fighting.
In a recent post on his website, Voltairenet, Thierry Meyssen has described the prevalent blindness to what has been really taking place in the region of Syria and Iraq. He lays bare the dynamics of a dangerous game that involves “pretending, like NATO, that these [Islamic fighting] groups are independent formations which have suddenly materialised from the void, with all their salaries, armament and spare parts. More seriously, the jihadists are in fact mercenaries in the service of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar…. to which we must add certain multinationals like Academi, KKR and Exxon-Mobil.”
A Reversion to Old Styles of Imperialism in the Name of Anti-Terrorism?
Since bin Laden was supposedly buried at sea by the US Armed Forces in 2010 the role once assigned to al-Qaeda as the all-purpose boogyman of Islamic terrorism has now been re-assigned to the non-state entity dubbed the Islamic State. When acts of false flag terrorism take place as in Ottawa in October 2014, or in Paris in November of 2015, or in San Bernardino a month later, the authorities in charge of pseudo-investigations are prone to announce almost immediately a connection to ISIS/ISIL Daesh.
The criminal law is thereby put aside and the violent events are immediately elevated to “acts of war” justifying quick retaliation by Armed Forces. Within hours of the Friday the 13th Paris event, for instance, French President Francois Hollande was ordering the French Air Force to intervene in Syria.
While the supposed target was ISIS/ISIL/Daesh encampments and strongholds, there is reason to see the real objective of the supposed anti-terror attacks as the overthrow of the Assad government. This French military intervention could thus be interpreted as a resort to France’s old imperial role in the part of the Middle East assigned it by the Eurocentric Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.
The point of this foray into the recent history of the Global War of False Flag Terrorism is to encourage colleagues in the academy to address, document and explain the unfolding patterns of deception so integral to the process of enlarging the unaccountable powers of the covert deep state, diminishing the overt role of the public state. I extend this encouragement especially to the colleagues that Dr. Barrett and I met in the Paris bookstore at the event entitled “Islamophobia and the Erosion of Civil Society”.
These colleagues and their networks of academic collaborators have made a good start in identifying the institutionalization of hate mongering in the Islamophobia Industry. The time has come, however, to connect the visible workings of this Zionist enterprise of anti-Muslim provocation to the deep state operations in the ongoing Global War of False Flag Terrorism.
Dr. Hall is editor in chief of American Herald Tribune. He is currently Professor of Globalization Studies at University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada. He has been a teacher in the Canadian university system since 1982. Dr. Hall, has recently finished a big two-volume publishing project at McGill-Queen’s University Press entitled “The Bowl with One Spoon”.
CIA-linked private “security” companies are fighting in Yemen for the US-backed Saudi military campaign. Al-Qaeda-affiliated mercenaries are also being deployed. Melding private firms with terror outfits should not surprise. It’s all part of illegal war making.
Western news media scarcely report on the conflict in Yemen, let alone the heavy deployment of Western mercenaries in the fighting there. In the occasional Western report on Al-Qaeda and related terror groups in Yemen, it is usually in the context of intermittent drone strikes carried out by the US, or with the narrative that these militants are “taking advantage” of the chaos “to expand” their presence in the Arabian Peninsula, as reported here by the Washington Post.
This bifurcated Western media view of Yemen belies a more accurate and meaningful perspective, which is that the US-backed Saudi bombing campaign is actually coordinated with an on-the-ground military force that comprises regular troops, private security firms and Al-Qaeda type mercenaries redeployed from Syria.
There can be little doubt in Syria – despite Western denials – that the so-called Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL)) jihadists and related Al-Qaeda brigades in Jabhat al-Nusra, Jaish al-Fateh, Ahrar ash-Sham and so on, have been infiltrated, weaponized and deployed for the objective of regime-change by the US and its allies. If that is true for Syria, then it is also true for Yemen. Indeed, the covert connection becomes even more apparent in Yemen.
Last November, the New York Times confirmed what many Yemeni sources had long been saying. That the US-backed Saudi military coalition trying to defeat a popular uprising was relying on mercenaries supplied by private security firms tightly associated with the Pentagon and the CIA.
The mercenaries were recruited by companies linked to Erik Prince, the former US Special Forces commando-turned businessman, who set up Blackwater Worldwide. The latter and its re-branded incarnations, Xe Services and Academi, remain a top private security contractor for the Pentagon, despite employees being convicted for massacring civilians while on duty in Iraq in 2007. In 2010, for example, the Obama administration awarded the contractor more than $200 million in security and CIA work.
Erik Prince, who is based primarily in Virginia where he runs other military training centers, set up a mercenary hub in the United Arab Emirates five years ago with full support from the royal rulers of the oil-rich state. The UAE Company took the name Reflex Responses or R2. The NY Times reported that some 400 mercenaries were dispatched from the Emirates’ training camps to take up assignment in Yemen. Hundreds more are being trained up back in the UAE for the same deployment.
This is just one stream of several “soldiers of fortune” going into Yemen to fight against the uprising led by Houthi rebels, who are in alliance with remnants of the national army. That insurgency succeeded in kicking out the US and Saudi-backed president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in early 2015. Hadi has been described as a foreign puppet, who presided over a corrupt regime of cronyism and vicious repression.
Since last March, the Saudis and other Persian Gulf Arab states have been bombing Yemen on a daily basis in order to overthrow the Houthi-led rebellion and reinstall the exiled Hadi.
Washington and Britain have supplied warplanes and missiles, as well as logistics, in the Saudi-led campaign, which has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths. The involvement of Blackwater-type mercenaries – closely associated with the Pentagon – can also be seen as another form of American contribution to the Saudi-led campaign.
The mercenaries sent from the UAE to Yemen are fighting alongside other mercenaries that the Saudis have reportedly enlisted from Sudan, Eritrea and Morocco. Most are former soldiers, who are paid up to $1,000 a week while serving in Yemen. Many of the Blackwater-connected fighters from the UAE are recruited from Latin America: El Salvador, Panama and primarily Colombia, which is considered to have good experience in counter-insurgency combat.
Also among the mercenaries are American, British, French and Australian nationals. They are reportedly deployed in formations along with regular troops from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE.
In recent months, the Houthi rebels (also known as Ansarullah) and their allies from the Yemeni army – who formed a united front called the Popular Committees – have inflicted heavy casualties on the US-Saudi coalition. Hundreds of troops have been reportedly killed in gun battles in the Yemeni provinces of Marib, in the east, and Taiz, to the west. The rebels’ use of Tochka ballistic missiles has had particularly devastating results.
So much so that it is reported that the Blackwater-affiliated mercenaries have “abandoned the Taiz front” after suffering heavy casualties over the last two months. “Most of the Blackwater operatives killed in Yemen were believed to be from Colombia and Argentina; however, there were also casualties from the United States, Australia and France,” Masdar News reports.
Into this murky mix are added extremist Sunni militants who have been dispatched to Yemen from Syria. They can be said to be closely related, if not fully integrated, with Al-Qaeda or IS in that they profess allegiance to a “caliphate” based on a fundamentalist Wahhabi, or Takfiri, ideology.
These militants began arriving in Yemen in large numbers within weeks of Russia’s military intervention in Syria beginning at the end of September, according to Yemeni Army spokesman Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman. Russian air power immediately began inflicting severe losses on the extremists there. Senior Yemeni military sources said that hundreds of IS-affiliated fighters were flown into Yemen’s southern port city of Aden onboard commercial aircraft belonging to Turkey, Qatar and the UAE.
Soon after the militants arrived, Aden residents said the city had descended into a reign of terror. The integrated relationship with the US-Saudi coalition can be deduced from the fact that Aden has served as a key forwarding military base for the coalition. Indeed, it was claimed by Yemen military sources that the newly arrived Takfiri militants were thence dispatched to the front lines in Taiz and Marib, where the Pentagon-affiliated mercenaries and Saudi troops were also assigned.
It is true that the Pentagon at times wages war on Al-Qaeda-related terrorists. The US airstrike in Libya on Friday, which killed some 40 IS operatives at an alleged training camp, is being trumpeted by Washington as a major blow against terrorism. And in Yemen since 2011, the CIA and Pentagon have killed many Al-Qaeda cadres in drone strikes, with the group’s leader being reportedly assassinated last June in a US operation.
Nevertheless, as the broader US-Saudi campaign in Yemen illustrates, the outsourcing of military services to private mercenaries in conjunction with terrorist militia is evidently an arm of covert force for Washington.
This is consistent with how the same groups have been deployed in Syria for the purpose of regime change there.
The blurring of lines between regular military, private security contractors with plush offices in Virginia and Abu Dhabi, and out-and-out terror groups is also appropriate. Given the nature of the illegal wars being waged, it all boils down to state-sponsored terrorism in the end.
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.