Despite her best efforts and those of her friends in the corporate media, Hillary Clinton cannot escape her email scandal. In an attempt to comingle her responsibilities as secretary of state with her influence peddling at the Clinton Foundation, she used a private server to conduct all of her official, classified government duties.
Hillary Clinton is quite a liar but she was never a very good one. It was only a matter of time before her use of the private email server came to light. She was fortunate to have Barack Obama let her off the hook. Her only punishment was public criticism from the FBI director who nonetheless said that he would prosecute anyone else who did the same thing.
Yet the story is still highly problematic at this stage in her presidential campaign. So much so that damage control was in order. Clintonite courtier and author Joe Conason volunteered to help by shoving former secretary of state Colin Powell under a bus. Conason coincidentally released excerpts from his soon to be published biography of Bill Clinton at just the right moment. It is interesting that the New York Times uses the passive voice in discussing its role in the saga, “The New York Times received an advance copy.” In the nick of time Conason gave his friends an advance copy of the book to repeat Clinton’s claim that Powell made her do wrong.
The gangsterish “no honor among war criminals” back stabbing shouldn’t make anyone feel badly for Powell. As secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration Powell kidnapped Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and sent him into exile. Colin Powell made the most important public case for invading Iraq and the subsequent killing of one million people.
At a now infamous United Nations presentation he lied to the entire world about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Using nothing but aerial photographs and a laboratory vial as a dramatic prop he claimed to have proof of chemical weapons production. United Nations inspectors had discovered nothing of the kind despite numerous visits to Iraq, but no matter. Powell was the public face of regime change and mass death.
The Conason version of events is also telling in a way that the author may not have intended. Conason and Clinton say that Powell dispensed his sage advice at a dinner party hosted by Madeleine Albright. Not only were Albright, Powell and Clinton in attendance but so were Condoleezza Rice and Henry Kissinger. It was a reunion of war criminals past and present. The gathering is proof that there is always foreign policy continuity from president to president, whether Democrat or Republican.
While millions of people agonize over presidential campaigns and stridently make the case for their choice, foreign policy decisions differ very little no matter which party is in the White House. That much is obvious to anyone who pays attention but the gathering of the in-crowd at Albright’s house ought to get as much attention as Clinton using Powell for cover.
When the story first broke Powell said he had “no recollection” of the conversation. But he is a “made” man in the foreign policy/ruling class mafia and realized he had to stick with the rest of the gang. So he had a different response 24 hours later. He conceded that he told Clinton his limited personal email use “transformed communications” in the State Department. It doesn’t matter because rules became far more strict by the time Clinton took office. Her actions were clearly a violation of the law. The last gasp effort to put Powell’s name in her mess is obviously borne of desperation.
Of course Powell is human and the Clintonian lies still rankle. He was somewhat peevish even after seeming to make peace with the rest of the gangsters. “Her people have been trying to pin it on me,” he whined. “The truth is she was using [the private email server] for a year before I sent her a memo and telling her what I did.” When asked to explain why he was the subject of Hillary’s finger pointing, Powell made an obvious point. “Why do you think?” He then added a lie of his own. “It doesn’t bother me. But it’s OK. I’m free.”
Obviously the blame Colin game does bother him. How could it not? But Colin Powell’s history of his own lies makes it hard for him to be the object of sympathy. Even in giving his version of events he lets his co-criminal off the hook with “her people” pinning the blame. The underlings get Colin’s wrath but the rules of omerta prevent him from mentioning the true culprit by name.
The back and forth between Clinton and Powell is misdirection for the naïve. None of these people are worthy of trust and none of them can ever come out looking very good. The two mass murderers are behaving true to form and Conason represents the corporate media lackeys who always find a powerful person to latch onto. They make connections and money with their high profile patrons and present their collusion as if it were truly journalism.
The public have to thank a right wing organization, Judicial Watch, for keeping Hillary on the hot seat. Their lawsuit resulted in a federal judge ordering Clinton to respond to their questions in writing and the last minute repeat of blaming Powell had to be resurrected.
The fact that a right wing group is bringing the dirt to light shouldn’t dissuade anyone else from using it against Hillary Clinton. If progressives were truly progressive they would have dumped her long ago. Instead she is the meal ticket du jour for NGOs, the black misleadership class of politicians and civil rights organizations and others beholden to Democratic Party success to stay on the gravy train.
To a person, the guests at Albright’s soiree are among the worst people on the planet. All have a horrendous body count on their ledgers. Kissinger killed millions of people in raining destruction upon Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Madeleine Albright said it was “worth it” to kill thousands of Iraqi children through the use of sanctions, Powell has Haiti and Iraq on his bloody resume, Rice was always a true believer in regime change and Hillary Clinton made the case for destroying Libya and then moving on to do the same to Syria.
Of course any of them would use the other to get out of jail free. None of them are worthy of respect or should be thought of in any positive light. The people in charge of American foreign policy are, to a person, killers for hire and should be thought of in the same vein as mob hit men and women. No one should cry for Colin Powell or vote for Hillary Clinton either. The two criminals certainly deserve one another.
Margaret Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.
With immaculate timing, Turkey unrolled its defiant ‘Plan B’ – billed as the Euphrates Shield operation – in northern Syria just as the US Vice President Joe Biden’s aircraft was about to land in Ankara’s Esenboga airport.
This must be one of the biggest diplomatic snubs that the US has suffered in a long while. And it is being administered by a NATO member country.
I had written yesterday in Asia Times that the US was making a monumental error of judgment by underestimating the grit of the Turkish mind to safeguard its supreme national interests at any cost. (See my article Turkey gets its act together on Syria.)
As I explained, the main purpose of the Euphrates Shield operation is to occupy the strategic border town of Jarablus in northern Syria and have a showdown with the Syrian Kurds (supported by US Special Forces and American air cover). The Kurdish militia had crossed the Euphrates river a few months ago and, contrary to American assurances, they are now moving westward to realise their dream of establishing a Kurdistan straddling Turkey’s border, stretching from Iraq to East Mediterranean coast. Turkey’s ‘red line’ has been breached.
A cat-and-mouse game has been going on between Turkey and the US. The latter was calculating that Turkey won’t act on the ground to confront the Syrian Kurds militarily, especially after the recent coup attempt of July 15, which weakened the military, plus the Russian presence in Syria.
President Recep Erdogan has decided to call the American bluff. In the early hours of the morning, Turkish artillery began pounding Jarablus (which is under the control of the Islamic State presently.) After about 2 hours of shelling, Special Forces crossed the border with F-16 jets providing air cover. The latest reports say a column of Turkish tanks is moving into Syrian territory. (Hurriyet )
The stunning part is that the Turkish incursion follows a tacit understanding with Iran (and Syria). Interestingly, Russian jets aren’t visible anywhere in the Syrian skies to stop the Turkish incursion, either. Surely, NATO is rocking, since it is highly improbable that Turkey took the US-led alliance into confidence over the Euphrates Shield operation, which, ironically, aims at destroying America’s best ally on the Syrian chessboard.
A team of Iranian intelligence officials had made a quick dash to Ankara yesterday morning to give the final touch to the concerted Euphrates Shield operation against the Syrian Kurds. The Iranian delegation presumably carried messages from Damascus for the Turkish side and returned to Tehran yesterday evening itself.
According to Iranian media reports, the deputy head of the Turkish intelligence had paid a secret visit to Damascus on Sunday. Prior to that, Turkish Foreign Minister Mavlut Cavusoglu had a stopover in Tehran on Thursday for 5 hours to personally coordinate with the Iranians – avoiding phone conversations that could have been tapped by the American electronic intelligence system. Clearly, we are witnessing the first tangible signs of a super-secret deal between Turkey and Iran to further their common agenda of preventing the emergence of a Syrian Kurdistan backed by the US and Israel connecting the Kurdish homelands between the Iraqi Kurdistan and Eastern Mediterranean. (Asharq Al-Awsat )
Turkey fears that a Syrian Kurdistan will inexorably boost the separatist Kurdish insurgency on its territory. Iran fears that Kurdistan may turn out to be the playpen of American and Israeli intelligence for undertaking subversive activities against it. Equally, Iraq and Syria also stand to lose since the creation of a Kurdistan will be at the cost of their own national unity and territorial integrity. A convergence on the Kurdish problem brings together Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
Indeed, for the first time in the Syrian civil war, government forces have begun attacking Kurds. Last week the US warned Damascus not to launch aerial attacks on the Syrian Kurdish militia on the specious plea that its Special Forces are ‘embedded’ with the Kurds. (Telegraph )
If Biden had hoped for a trade-off with Erdogan over the Turkish concerns regarding Kurds, the latter is literally showing the middle finger. The Euphrates Shield is a stark message to the US that Ankara no longer depends on American goodwill or help.
Erdogan is literally signalling to Biden, ‘No more waffling, Buddy, just send Fetullah Gulen back to us’. Now, that is putting Washington in a fix. Erdogan has repeatedly warned that he will take Gulen’s extradition as the litmus test of US intentions toward Turkey and the raison d’etre of the Turkish-American alliance itself. On the other hand, how can the US possibly allow the extradition of Gulen, who has been the CIA’s longstanding ‘strategic asset’ in Muslim countries?
Biden enjoys a fabulous reputation within America’s political class as wheeler dealer par excellence. His reputation faces an acid test through the coming 12 hours. He’s just about sitting down with the Sultan at Ak Saray (White Palace) — Erdogan’s 1000-room palace in the dark and lovely woods outside Ankara — for a ‘frank’ conversation.
Read today’s column by a dear old friend Ilnur Cevik, a noted Turkish editor, in the pro-government daily Sabah, entitled Welcome to the land of the brave, Mr. Biden.
In civil war situations, such as the conflict in Syria, sides routinely make conflicting claims. It is hard to see who is telling the truth unless you have access to actual intelligence and a front row seat. But it becomes easier to see what is really happening by watching the mainstream news and comparing it to reality.
Let us take the recent Democracy Now interview with Dr. Zaher Sahloul, the former President of the Syrian American Medical Society. This accompanied the global media coverage of the bombed, bloodied and beaten little boy from Aleppo, apparently rescued from what was left of a makeshift refugee camp. At one time Democracy Now was a respected alternative media site. Unfortunately, this article and the circumstances of its writing suggest that it has bought into the system it once stood up to.
Gut ruling head
The article includes this quote, designed to be as emotive as possible:
“I’ve just had to watch a woman lose three of her children, who were killed—OK?—and crying over their dead bodies. Thirty people just got killed not far from here in place called Shaar [inaudible]. We were just there yesterday. In a marketplace, 30 people just got killed. So, we’ve had so many dead bodies. You can hear what’s going on here. So, my dear brothers and sisters … We need to get the message out right now: Hospitals are being targeted; People are being killed. OK? And war crimes are being committed. We need a no-fly zone in Syria. We need everybody to start voting for a no-fly zone. This is a massacre going on. This is genocide.”
These sort of reports are emerging daily from Syria. But the wave of recent killings of children by Saudi forces is overlooked. Why? For the same reason that all these reports don’t mention how the war in Syria started and how the hodgepodge of anti-government fighters and terrorist groups which have escalated are funded.
The article fails to mention why the Syrian government is fighting terrorists in the first place. The questions the doctor is asked are also revealing, as is the use of key terms such as barrel bombs, WMD, no fly zone, UN, etc, which never used to be a hallmark of Democracy Now coverage. Like others, the article is designed to get us so upset that we don’t want to look any further. It uses dead children as a means of stifling any debate about why they are dying: we are expected to get angry at those we are told to get angry at, to prevent us getting angry about anyone else.
This interview raises many flags, firstly in its timing, during the countdown to the US presidential elections, and then in the context of Iran and Russia now closely collaborating in the war on terror. An agreement has recently been reached for Russia to make bombing raids against US-backed terrorists in Syria from Iranian territory. This is what the West says it wants, fight terrorism, but in reality does everything to prevent. Getting us angry about “foreign bombers” killing children is merely another way of trying to prevent the War on Terror, which the US started, ever actually taking place.
Not shooting the messenger
Dr. Zaher Sahloul was a classmate of Bashar al-Assad in medical school but is now a critical care specialist in Chicago. He has visited Aleppo five times since the war began, but is observing the situation from a US vantage point.
This smooth-talking humanitarian seems happy to recount horrific stories of maiming and killing in graphic detail, as long as he can blame Assad and the Russians. Last week he addressed the UN Security Council on the humanitarian crisis in Syria, making the same points. In the US doctors are often scared of making public statements, much less prescribing medicines, for fear of malpractice suits. So if a US doctor makes a public statement someone is watching his back.
Dr. Sahloul works in the US, which has a vested interest in the Syrian conflict. Is it conceivable that he would be called to address the UN Security Council if he wasn’t spouting an agreed line?
Sahloul’s Democracy Now interview was conducted CNN-fashion, meaning that he did not respond to questions posed on the spot but released a carefully scripted text which the questions were adjusted to fit. The details about babies being tossed from incubators in Kuwait, and those not killed by barrel bombs surviving on cat food and grass, are revealed in such a way that they are unlikely to be spontaneous recollections. Nor do these “memories” remind Dr. Sahloul of the beheading of innocent children by the IS, which they might be presumed to do if child welfare was his concern.
If Dr. Sahloul wanted to stop the killings he would question who stands behind this terrorism – the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – but he does not do so. It can be assumed that he is interested in ending all the killings as he has addressed the UN Security Council, which claims a peace promotion remit. But there is no mention anywhere of stopping the terrorists, only of stopping Assad, thus allowing terrorist atrocities against children to continue unabated.
Mouths we are fed
CNN has responded to the Democracy Now interview by claiming that the killing of children in Aleppo was done by a pro-regime militia force made up mostly of Palestinians. It is also CNN which is parading that poor little boy all over the media, apparently in confirmation of Dr. Sahloul’s claims.
We are used to seeing CNN reports exposed as manipulation. Unfortunately for this little boy, these reports appear to be part of this tradition. There is ample evidence that much of the reporting on Syria by “legitimate sources” is carefully manipulated.
For instance, CNN is quoting the Syrian-American Medical Society as claiming that US-trained doctors are being harassed when they return to Syria. This is denied by even the US Embassy, which says there have been no reports of this, and by a Wikileaks cable.
In fact the US medical establishment has continued to support the maintenance of bilateral relations with the Syrian medical community, in spite of the war and this alleged harassment. Dr. Sahloul’s comments, which are entirely consistent with the US political position in that conflict and obscure the humanitarian concerns which emerge from the behaviour of both sides, give us a clue as to why. The US is using this open access attitude of the Assad government as a means of getting MDs into the country to conduct intelligence and PR work. This is borne out by the use of Syrian doctors to obtain evidence of Assad’s use of chemical weapons, as reported by the Guardian.
SAMS claims to be an apolitical, non-profit organisation founded by American medical professionals of Syrian descent. Its alleged objective is to share best medical practices with local hospitals and medical schools and donate medical care to needy Syrians. This work necessarily involves going into secure facilities in conflict zones.
As the work of other US aid agencies has long demonstrated, such aid is ultimately designed to secure allegiance to the US. Providing such aid buys the US a green light for whatever it wants to do, rather than serving its ostensible humanitarian purpose.
According to its own website SAMS is provided with full support by the US State Department, millions of dollars’ worth of it. The website even includes a video by US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers, hailing SAMS as one of her “personal heroes.”
Furthermore, Dr. Sahloul is said by those who know him in Chicago to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood himself. His alleged medical work would be the perfect cover for providing support to terrorist organisations which seek to divide and destroy Syria. All he has done with his Democracy Now interview is confirm that repeating the State Department’s unfounded narratives regarding “barrel bombs” and the use of “chlorine gas” by the Syrian government is a tactic used by the US to further this end.
Assad knows very well that these medics are working for US intelligence. He also knows the headlines that would follow him if he refused them entry. He calculates that whatever the doctors can do will harm him less than denying them access would. This is very embarrassing for the US, as it demonstrates Assad doesn’t have as much to hide as the US wants to think, and so he is happy to continue allowing these “revelations” to take place, while real doctors actually treat the war victims on a daily basis.
What’s in a name?
At least on the surface, Dr. Zaher Sahloul believes in what he is doing. However there is further reason to doubt that his actions are prompted by either medical considerations or support for his native or adopted country.
In 2009, before this war began, Syria embarked on a process of “economic liberalisation,” as favoured by the US, and “previously disallowed businesses” were suddenly permitted and encouraged by the Syrian Government. According to an article published in The National on February 9, 2009 one such business had just been founded by a certain Zhouheir Yassar Sahloul, described as “the most powerful rogue trader in Syria.”
As the head of the country’s largest money changing enterprise, Sahloul was the link between Syria’s struggling, isolated economy and its huge diaspora, which still remits billions of dollars a year to families back home. In a country saddled with strict foreign exchange laws, it was Mr Sahloul’s agents who ensured Syrian merchants were supplied with enough hard currency to do business with partners overseas.
At the same time Yassar Sahloul and Sons were licensed as foreign exchange traders, Dr. Sahloul and his SAMS were building hospitals in Syria, on the basis of the same “regulatory relaxation.” This might explain why Yassar Sahloul also established a more formal mechanism for handling capital inflows, an Islamic bank with a capital base of US$100 million (Dh367m). It also chimes in with his reported ambition to make Yassar Sahloul and Sons the holding company for a diversified concern including “shipping and property investment assets as well as banking and finance,” as hospitals are valuable properties whose worth only increases the more customers they serve.
These two Sahouls may or may not be immediately related. What we know about the one who stayed behind is his present business address, which is in Aleppo, and that in 2006 he was an Informal Financial Intermediary who participated in a “Feasibility Study to develop new options for private sector investment financing in the Syrian Arab Republic”
A Zuher Sahloul Construction Company was active during the lead up to the war in Syria. According to a Wikileaks cable:
“As Washington policy makers consider ways to pressure the regime, one possibility would be to go after President Assad’s money-men. Four individuals Assad uses to make and move money are Zuhair Sahloul, Nabil Kuzbari, Assad’s uncle Mohammad Makhlouf, and his father-in-law, Fawas Akhras. Each is important to Assad and each plays a somewhat different role in facilitating regime graft.”
In short, “(S) Sahloul (AKA Abu Shafic) is the most important black-market money changer in Syria. When the Syrian Pound (SYP) devalued precipitously in the fall of 2005, the SARG gave Sahloul an office in the Central Bank and access to its hard currency reserves so he could intervene in the black market to stabilize the currency. NB: Sahloul was surprisingly effective, and within weeks the SYP appreciated 20 percent, allowing Sahloul in the process a handsome profit for both himself and a handful of regime-insiders. End note.) Sahloul moves Assad’s money using his own network and his access to Hawalis worldwide. A Sahloul intimate bragged to us recently that Sahloul could move ten million dollars anywhere in the world in 24 hours.”
If Washington insiders are dealing with someone called Sahloul, from Syria, who is involved with the regime they have targeted they are not going to let someone else called Sahloul address the UN Security Council, or build hospitals in Syria, without conducting background checks. It is not an unusual surname, but not a very common one either. Whatever the US knows about the good doctor it knows he is not going to compromise its dealings with the other Sahloul, the one in Aleppo. He is, at the very least, a safe person to send to face the press.
End of the line
There is a lot more to the story of the little boy from Aleppo than meets the eye. But we are being encouraged not to look further, and rely on our emotional response. We are led to look for someone to blame, and then, by coincidence, told exactly who without any complications entering the picture.
The victims of Aleppo deserve better than to suffer for the sake of a set up. So does everyone who sees this story. But given that Yassar Sahloul was one of those promoting the protests in Damascus which led to the civil war, is it any wonder things are turning out how they are?
Abu Zubaydah © wikipedia.org
A Guantanamo detainee, who the CIA tortured as a suspected top leader of Al-Qaeda but never officially charged, has made his case for release. Abu Zubaydah appeared in public for the first time in 14 years of his detention.
His first-ever hearing was made via video feed from Washington’s Cuba-based prison and on his behalf. Addressing a Periodic Review Board through a uniformed soldier who read his message, Zubaydah said that he “has no desire or intent to harm the United States or any other country.”
“He has been respectful to us in all of our meetings and dealings with him, and he has come to believe that he might have a chance to leave Guantanamo through this process,” his opening statement reads.
He said he would want “to be reunited with his family” while also “begin the process of recovering from injuries he sustained during his capture” in Pakistan in 2002.
“He has some seed money that could be used to start a business after he is reintegrated into society and is living a peaceful life,” his representative read.
A Saudi-born Palestinian, Zubaydah is one of three men that the CIA has admitted to have waterboarded at an unknown prison in Thailand.
According to the so-called “torture report” released in 2014, Zubaydah was the first prisoner to endure the harsh CIA interrogation program.
After Zubaydah was turned over to US custody, he was subjected to 83 waterboarding sessions, the torture technique that creates the sensation of drowning. He was also placed in a coffin-sized box for a total of 266 hours (11 days, two hours) over a 20-day period. Additionally, he was forced to remain in another small confinement box (21 inches wide, 2.5 feet in length) for 29 hours.
After being brutally interrogated, Zubaydah was transported to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where he remains today.
Two former CIA psychologists, and creators of the CIA torture program, admitted that Zubaydah was also stripped naked, confined and that his cell was lit by halogen lamps 24 hours a day for a period of time.
In the aftermath of 9/11, Washington [alleges to have] falsely believed that Zubaydah was a key Al-Qaeda leader in the lead-up to the attacks. Since then, his status in US documents reportedly changed to a “well-known al-Qaeda facilitator.”
According to his profile, he also “possibly” knew about bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the USS Cole bombing in 2000.
However, despite 14 years passing since his brutal capture, Zubaydah has not been officially charged.
It us up to the Periodic Review Board to decide whether a prisoner would pose a danger if released. The decision on his transfer is expected in about 30 days.
Until this Tuesday’s hearing, Zubaydah has not made a single public appearance and has only been seen by his lawyer.
The open statement in a Pentagon room lasted reportedly for less than 20 minutes and was followed by a classified part of it. Zubaydah decided he did not want a transcript of his secret hearing being publicly released.
Hearings at the Periodic Review Board have been held more often recently as the Obama administration is trying to stand by the president’s pledge to close Guantanamo by the end of this presidential term. Unable to shut down President George W. Bush’s facility due to opposition from Congress and the military, Obama has been pushing to transfer out detainees cleared for release.
Last week saw the largest single release of 15 prisoners, all of whom were sent to the United Arab Emirates.
There are currently 61 captives remaining in the Guantanamo Bay.
The major American news network claims that the FBI is looking toward Russia for hacking into the New York Times and other news organizations. Where CNN got this information is unknown.
Citing only anonymous sources, CNN released a report on Tuesday claiming that the FBI and other US security agencies are investigating a series of cyber breaches at various US media outlets, including the New York Times.
“Investigators so far believe that Russian intelligence is likely behind the attacks and that Russian hackers are targeting news organizations as part of a broader series of hacks that also have focused on Democratic Party organizations,” the report reads, citing, “US officials briefed on the matter.”
The identity of these officials remains unknown, as CNN notes that none of the principals involved have commented. While the FBI declined to comment, the New York Times released a vaguely-worded statement.
“Like most news organizations we are vigilant about guarding against attempts to hack into our systems,” said New York Times Co. spokeswoman Eileen Murphy.
“There are a variety of approaches we take, up to and including working with outside investigators and law enforcement. We won’t comment on any specific attempt to gain unauthorized access to The Times.”
The Russian government has become the scapegoat for a series of cyberattacks in recent months, including hacks into the computer networks of both major US political parties. Most recently, Moscow has been blamed for hacking into the US National Security Agency and stealing cyberweapons.
The accusations are never backed by evidence, and are often contradicted by shreds of inference. In the recent NSA hack, US government hacking tools acquired through the breach were put up for auction, suggesting that the perpetrators were not sponsored by a foreign government.
“A more logical explanation could also be insider theft,” James Bamford writes for Reuters, adding that it appeared the culprits were “more like hacktivists than Russian high command.”
“Rather than the NSA hacking tools being snatched as a result of a sophisticated cyber operation by Russia or some other nation, it seems more likely that an employee stole them.”
There is little evidence that Russia is responsible for the DNC hack that led to the release of internal emails by Wikileaks.
“Intelligence agencies have again pointed the finger at Russia for hacking into these emails,” Bamford says.
“Yet there has been no explanation as to how [Wikileaks founder Julian] Assange obtained them. He told NBC News, ‘There is no proof whatsoever’ that he obtained the emails from Russian intelligence. Moscow has also denied involvement.”
Russian, Chinese, Iranian or other foreign hackers are constantly blamed for online breaches of major US government or private corporation servers. However, despite making bold headlines, these accusations are rarely confirmed by facts and often are later quietly dismissed by intelligence officials and cyberexperts. Which doesn’t stop mainstream media from running with stories attributed to anonymous sources again and again.
The network has a history of jumping to conclusions on hacking stories. In the wake of the hack into Sony Pictures, CNN was quick to pin the blame on the North Korean government, but subsequent investigations have cast doubt on Pyongyang’s role. Similarly, CNN was one of the first to blame Russia for the breach of systems at the White House without any evidence.
The Clinton Foundation needs to return every dollar it received in foreign donations, the Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus said in a Twitter message on Tuesday.
“All of the Clinton Foundation foreign money should never have been accepted and needs to be returned today,” Priebus stated.
The RNC chairman also said he supported Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s call for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the Clinton Foundation.
The Foundation has come under severe scrutiny for donations it accepted from foreign governments and entities during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as US secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
The State Department said last week it was not aware of any actions taken by Hillary Clinton that were influenced by the Clinton Foundation.
Clinton stepped down from the Foundation’s board in April 2015 when she decided to run for US president.
In May 2015, former US President Bill Clinton said the non-profit foundation previously accepted between $10 and $25 million from Saudi Arabia, but now only accepts donations from six western countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
Last week, the Clinton campaign noted the charity would stop accepting corporate and foreign donations if Hillary Clinton is elected president in November.
By Brandon Turbeville – Activist Post – August 22, 2016
As tension between the West and Russia over the Syrian crisis heats up yet again, a combination effort on the part of elements within the United States and the UK are pushing for direct military confrontation with the Syrian military as well as the Russians. Indeed, after a period of time suggesting a major improvement on the ground, it appears that there is now the possibility of renewed vigor on the part of the imperialist Western powers in their goal to destroy Syria, even at the cost of igniting World War 3.
After having violated international law and Syria’s national sovereignty by not only funding and supporting proxy soldiers for the purpose of destroying the secular government of Bashar al-Assad but also by deploying aircraft and troops in the country despite not being invited in by the legitimate government, the U.S. is now warning Russia and Syria against targeting terrorists and Western proxy fighters within Syria’s own territory.
The new U.S. Commander of American troops in Iraq and Syria stated on August 22 that he will “defend” the Special Operations Forces aggressively deployed by the United States to Northern Syria if Syrian warplanes or Syrian artillery again strike areas where U.S. troops are located.
During an interview with CNN, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend stated from his headquarters in Baghdad that “We’ve informed the Russians where we’re at … (they) tell us they’ve informed the Syrians, and I’d just say that we will defend ourselves if we feel threatened.”
The hypocrisy and deception of the United States government on this issue has now reached a staggering level. An accurate translation of what Townsend is saying is that “We have funded proxy terrorists to destroy the Syrian government. Those terrorists started losing so we deployed troops to support them and forge new brigades of terrorism with Kurds. Despite the fact that we deployed these troops against international law, violated Syria’s national sovereignty, as well as the wishes of the majority of the world, we will play the victim if those troops are injured during the course of Syria’s battle with the terrorists we support. We will then attack Syrian planes as a response to attacking terrorists whom our soldiers are assisting in attacking the Syrian government.” In other words, the U.S. position is that “We will attack you whenever we want, however we want, and everyone and everything else in the world be damned. And if you dare respond, we will play the victim, drum up sympathy and good ‘ol fashioned ‘Murican patriotism back home so that we can launch a full-scale war upon your country.”
Essentially, Syria is being threatened with full scale war if it defends itself and a death of a thousand cuts if it does not. This is an epic level of hypocrisy even for the U.S. government but the most surprising element is that it can be carried out so openly. Perhaps Western audiences are now so utterly befuddled as to foreign policy that such overt acts of deception and aggression simply go unnoticed.
Enter the British. Never known to take a backseat in hypocrisy, thirty Labour MP’s are now calling for a “safe zone” in Syria, an obvious and admitted act of war that would initiate the creation of Libya 2.0. The pro-war camp is fully playing up the “spirit of Jo Cox,” the celebrated humanitarian bomber and warmonger who was murdered earlier this year. The campaign to create “safe zones” and “buffer zones” in Syria is being promoted not only by the war hawks in parliament but also by “friends” of Cox and the UK military establishment.
“In life, Jo argued with such passion and eloquence that the UK armed forces could play a role in protecting civilians in Syria by enforcing a ‘no bomb’ zone,” said John Woodstock, friend of Cox. “This is a time for Britain to show the courage and resolve which Jo herself exemplified by taking bolder action to end the horrific bloodshed.”
Translation: a warmongering MP was murdered so let’s pretend to honor her by ensuring that the people she wanted to murder while she was still alive are murdered now that she is dead.
This may be poor logic and poor presentation but, unfortunately, this type of propaganda is effective in the modern day UK.
The former Shadow Minister, Pat McFadden chimed in as well. “The British contribution to attacking Isis strongholds – in which our pilots do everything they can to avoid civilian casualties – is an important part of the effort to free the people of Syria from the brutality of what they have been enduring. The whole approach to Syria has been marked by a reluctance to intervene but telling ourselves that because we didn’t break it we didn’t buy it is of little comfort to the innocent victims of the war.”
Translation: We have been bombing intermittently for some time and that is good but we should just go all in, to hell with civilian casualties and to hell with international law. In fact, to hell with our own population who will pay the price in blood and sacrifice as well as lower living standards back home.
The UK military voice is chiming in as well. As Col. Hamish de Bretton-Gordon said:
There is a military solution here and now is the time to be bold. We aren’t talking about boots on the ground, the very least we can do is place no bomb zones around hospitals. As the Russian government have strenuously denied that they target hospitals there should, in theory, be little danger of the nightmare scenario of a British or US jet shooting down a Russian one.
I have suggested creating a Safe Zone for civilians to go to in North West Syria and protect it otherwise they will remain and die in Aleppo or leave and turn right to Raqqa, where we could see them turn to ISIL. The very least we can do is place no bomb zones around hospitals.
Translation: We have to destroy the Syrian government. I think we can do this without starting thermonuclear World War 3 but it’s just a chance we will have to take. Let’s create a “safe zone” that is, in effect, a refuge for terrorists and an excuse to bomb the Syrian Air Force out of existence. We can use hospitals and civilians as excuses. And if that nuclear world war happens, we will know we made the wrong decision.
According to the Telegraph, sources close to Hillary Clinton have stated that Killary is planning on a “safe zone” approach upon her coronation, er, election.
The idea of establishing a “safe zone” in Syria is, of course, not a new concept. In July, 2015, the agreement being discussed would have effectively created a “buffer zone” that would have spanned from the Turkish border line into Syria. It would have extended from Azaz in the East to Jarablus in the West and as far south as al-Bab. The width of the zone would have been about 68 miles and would have extended around 40 miles deep into Syria, right on the doorstep of Aleppo.
The zone would have much smaller than that which Turkey and the United States have been calling for in the years prior and wouldn’t have necessarily stretched the length of the Turkey-Syria border. But it is a start.
True to form, the US and Turkey attempted to obfuscate the fact that their agreement was the creation of a no-fly zone by renaming it an “ISIL-free zone.” This is the same tactic used when the term “no-fly zone” and “buffer zone” began to draw too much ire from observers only a year ago. Then, the term became “safe zone.”
Semantics have served NATO and the United States well over the years. After all, a simple name change of terrorist organizations has made the Anglo-American powers able to produce “moderate rebels” and the most frightening terrorist organization the world has ever seen while using the same group of terrorists.
The description of the “ISIL-free zone” of 2015 was that it would be a distinguished area in which the Turkish and U.S. military would engage in aggressive operations against ISIS. It was floated that this area would have also functioned as a place where civilians displaced by the Syrian crisis may run to for safe haven and where “moderate rebel” forces can maintain a higher presence free from the battles with ISIS.
“Once the area is cleared, the plan is to give control to as-yet-unidentified moderate Syrian rebel groups. The United States and Turkey have differing interpretations as to which groups can be defined as ‘moderate,’” the Washington Post reported.
The reality, however, is that the “ISIL-free zone” would have been nothing more than a Forward Operating Base deeper into Syrian territory, working under the direct protection of the U.S. military and Turkish air force. That is exactly what the British and the U.S. are arguing for today.
Going further back, public discussion of the implementation of a “buffer zone” began as far back as 2012 when the Brookings Institution, in their memo “Assessing Options For Regime Change” stated
An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.
The Brookings Institution went further, however, describing a possible scenario that mirrors the one currently unfolding in Syria where Turkey, in coordination with Israel, could help overthrow Assad by establishing a “multi-front war” on Syria’s borders. Brookings writes,
In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.
Of course, the establishment of a “No-Fly Zone” is tantamount to a declaration of war. Such has even been admitted by top U.S. Generals when explaining exactly what a No Fly Zone would entail. As General Carter Ham stated,
We should make no bones about it. It first entails killing a lot of people and destroying the Syrian air defenses and those people who are manning those systems. And then it entails destroying the Syrian air force, preferably on the ground, in the air if necessary. This is a violent combat action that results in lots of casualties and increased risk to our own personnel.
General Philip Breedlove also echoed this description when he said,
I know it sounds stark, but what I always tell people when they talk to me about a no-fly zone is . . . it’s basically to start a war with that country because you are going to have to go in and kinetically take out their air defense capability
Regardless of the fact that the Anglo-American empire may very well be risking a direct military confrontation with another nuclear power, the NATO forces are intent on moving forward in their attempt to destroy Syria and its government. The major victories by the Syrian military that have taken place in recent weeks as well as the inability of the West’s terrorists to roll back SAA gains have obviously convinced NATO that more drastic measures are needed and that proxies are simply not enough to defeat a committed military supported by its people.
For a national oligarchy intent on “warning” other countries against defending themselves, we encourage the United States establishment to begin paying attention to warning signs themselves.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President.
Reading through a recent interview with former NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, it becomes clear that his world is one in which US foreign policy has only ever made us all safer and the biggest risk we now face is diminished US power.
The entire premise of his argument throughout the interview is that if the US steps back from playing global policeman, the “bad guys” will win. Simple as that.
The interview, which focuses on Donald Trump, opens with a question about Trump’s views regarding the NATO alliance and how the candidate sees the US’s role in the world. Rasmussen immediately declares he is “not taking sides” in the US election, but his attempt at neutrality goes swiftly out the window moments later when he complains that Trump is undermining “the credibility of the United States” and putting at stake America’s “role as the global superpower”. If Trump were to be elected, he laments, that could usher in “the end of the American-led world order”.
This would be very bad, he says, because if NATO is undermined by a Trump victory, then Vladimir Putin would “open a bottle of champagne” and be “tempted to test” the alliance. This assumes that Putin has simply been waiting in the wings for the 16 years that he has held positions of power for Donald Trump to come along so that he can invade Estonia for no reason. Because Rasmussen doesn’t give us a reason and we’re not supposed to ask. We’re just supposed to assume invading the Baltics is on Putin’s to-do list.
So, keeping with his policy of “not taking sides” Rasmussen then argues that Hillary Clinton would be “more determined to defend” the country’s NATO allies than Trump would. When asked whether eastern European nations are worried about Trump’s take-it-or-leave-it approach to NATO’s Article 5 (principle of collective defense) Rasmussen says they are indeed very concerned, particularly following “Russian aggression” against Ukraine. So concerned in fact, that only five of the 28 alliance members have reached the 2 percent of GDP benchmark that NATO requires. Now, this is either because they aren’t really as terrified of Russia as they claim, or that they’re simply taking the US for a ride — in which case, Trump might actually have a point about getting them to cough up before putting American lives in harm’s way to defend them.
It’s hybrid warfare, stupid!
Next up, Rasmussen is asked whether the threat environment for NATO has changed and how the alliance is dealing with the changes. Rasmussen here employs one of my favorite terms: “hybrid warfare”. It’s not just conventional warfare (tanks rolling across borders etc.) that eastern European nations need to be aware of, he says. It’s a whole load of other stuff, too. Like what? Well, sophisticated “disinformation campaigns” for one thing.
But the great thing about “hybrid warfare” is that when you use the term, you don’t really need to explain what you mean. Even NATO itself published an article about the fact that it can mean everything and nothing at the same time. Pretty nifty, right?
Moving on to Crimea, another victim of hybrid warfare. Trump isn’t too bothered by the fact that Crimea was annexed by/invaded by/reunited with Russia in 2014. That’s Europe’s business, he has said — and it shouldn’t prevent Washington and Moscow from getting along and working together on common threats like international terrorism. You don’t have to be a Trump fan to see the common sense in this, but it’s another no-no for Rasmussen.
Trump also hasn’t been so gung-ho about sending weapons to Ukraine. This is very scary and “disturbing” Rasmussen says, because if the US doesn’t support the government in Kiev, the West “risks losing a democratic Ukraine”.
Democracy and world peace
So, how is “democratic Ukraine” doing, then? Well, a few months ago The Guardian published an op-ed arguing that Ukraine was at risk of becoming not a democracy, but a “failed state”. Since the country’s democratic “revolution” in 2013, living standards have plummeted, as has the value of the country’s currency — and the government, ideologically driven to sever all ties with Russia, has pursued economic policies that “can only be termed suicidal”. But the solution is obviously to send them some new weapons. Regardless of whether you believe Russia has acted aggressively in Ukraine or not, this kind of thinking is simply delusional.
Next Rasmussen is asked about Trump’s “America first” campaign slogan, which he also doesn’t happen to like (surprise!). Using the term “America first” for an American presidential election is “out of touch” he says. How so? Well, of course it comes back to America’s role in the world again. You can’t use the term “America first” when you’re supposed to be “the world’s leader”. I swear, I’m not making this up.
After World War 2, Rasmussen tells us, the US established a “rules-based world order” and it has “served us very well” because “freedom has flourished” and we’ve seen “world peace”. All of this freedom and world peace (really?!) is now at stake… because of Donald Trump (are you sensing the “not taking sides” thing?). Anyway, I could list all of the occasions on which the US decided to flout its own “rules-based” order, but that would take too long.
If the US “retreats and retrenches” now, it will create a power vacuum that will be filled by “the bad guy,” Rasmussen warns. He doesn’t tell us who the bad guy is this time; he’s just there, malevolently waiting for Trump’s election. Trump needs to understand that the US has “special obligations” to “maintain world order” and “promote peace”. Not only this, but it’s the “only power on earth” with such a “destiny”.
Barack Obama has also been a disappointment to Rasmussen. He has been “too reluctant” to use American force around the world. Obama and Trump are proponents of a “less interventionist” movement in the world and this simply won’t do.
By the end, Rasmussen had lavished so much praise on the United States and its role and “destiny” in the world that I had forgotten he was not an American himself, but a Dane. The real kicker was when he dramatically pleaded with the next president: “We need a global policeman, and that policeman should be the United States. We don’t have any other.”
Could he really be so profoundly in awe of Washington and its power, or is this waxing lyrical about American destiny simply, as one writer put it, “the practiced gambit of a con man, who knows flattery is the surest means to success” ?
Decide for yourself.
The Syria Propaganda Campaign
Neocons and Clintonites have launched a major campaign with the goal of direct US military intervention and aggression against Syria, potentially leading to war with Iran and Russia. An early indication emerged as soon as it was clear that Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic Party nominee. Following the California primary, the NY Times reported on State Department diplomats issuing an internal memo “urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al Assad.”
In early August Dennis Ross and Andrew Tabler opined in the NY Times about “The Case for (Finally) Bombing Assad.” Dennis Ross is a favorite Clintonite. In her book Hard Choices, Clinton described how she asked Dennis Ross to come to the State Department to “work on Iran and regional issues”.
NY Times regular Nicholas Kristof made his pitch for war against Syria. According to the self-styled humanitarian, we need “safe zones” as proposed by Clintonite Madeline Albright and retired General James Cartwright. That is risky but “the risks of doing nothing in Syria are even greater”.
PBS broadcast a story titled “Repeatedly targeted by airstrikes, Syrian doctors feel abandoned.” The story features video from the “White Helmets” along with photos from the reported April bombing of Al Quds Hospital.
Currently there is a huge media campaign around the situation in Aleppo. Syrian American doctor Zaher Sahloul, of the Syrian American Medical Society, has been interviewed extensively on corporate media as well as DemocracyNow with widespread promotion in Truthout and other sites.
There has been lots of publicity around a letter to President Obama, supposedly written by 15 doctors in East Aleppo. The letter ends: “We need your action.” The flow and wording of the letter suggests it may have been composed by a marketing company and there has been no verification of the doctors who supposedly signed it.
An online Change petition asks German Chancellor Merkel and President Obama to “save the people of Aleppo.”
The publicly funded Holocaust Memorial Museum has promoted the video #SaveSyria. One of the producers of the video is The Syria Campaign which is the marketing organization which branded the pervasive “White Helmets” as documented in “Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators.”
In parallel with this media campaign, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has introduced HR5732 the “Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act of 2016”. The resolution calls for escalating economic/financial pressure on Syria and “Assessment of potential effectiveness of and requirements for the establishment of safe zones or a no fly zone in Syria”.
Dr. Sahloul, the Syrian American Medical Society doctor / spokesperson says that Obama’s legacy will be defined by whether or not he attacks Syria to impose a “no fly zone”. It seems unlikely that Obama would do that at the end of his term. Instead, the goal is to prepare the public for the new war to begin after Hillary Clinton becomes President.
Falsehoods and Lies of Omission
In his article “The media are misleading the public on Syria,” author Stephen Kinzer recently wrote: “Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.”
Here a few facts about Aleppo which contradict the msm narrative:
* At least 85% of Aleppo’s population is in government controlled area.
* The estimate of 300K civilians in rebel/terrorist controlled east Aleppo is likely a gross exaggeration. In Spring 2015 Martin Chulov of the Guardian visited the area and estimated there were 40K.
* While there are very few doctors serving in the opposition controlled Aleppo, there are thousands of doctors working in the government controlled area.
* The dominant rebel terrorist group in Aleppo is the Syrian version of Al Qaeda.
* The armed groups who invaded Aleppo have been unpopular from the beginning. In the Fall of 2012 James Foley wrote:
Aleppo, a city of about 3 million people, was once the financial heart of Syria. As it continues to deteriorate, many civilians here are losing patience with the increasingly violent and unrecognizable opposition — one that is hampered by infighting and a lack of structure, and deeply infiltrated by both foreign fighters and terrorist groups.
* The rebel-terrorists launch dozens and sometimes hundreds of mortars daily into the government controlled areas causing huge casualties. Western media ignores this destruction and loss of life.
* The much publicized April bombing of the supposed MSF supported “Al Quds Hospital” in Aleppo was full of contradictions and discrepancies. These were highlighted in an Open Letter to MSF. To this date, MSF has not provided corroborating information.
* Much of the video purporting to show bombing effects in Aleppo are stamped with the “White Helmets” logo. White Helmets is a creation of the US and UK and primarily a propaganda tool. The claims they are Syrian, independent and non-partisan are all false.
* Much of the information about Syria comes from “activists” trained and paid by the USA. In her book Hard Choices, Secretary Clinton speaks says the US provided “training for more than a thousand (Syrian) activists, students, and independent journalists” (p464, hardback version). Obviously they are not independent and their reports should be carefully checked.
* In contrast with the ambiguous situation at “Al Quds Hospital”, consider what happened to Aleppo’s “Al Kindi Hospital”. Take three minutes to view the suicide suicide bombing of Al Kindi Hospital. Take two minutes to view what the “rebels” did to Syrian soldiers who had been guarding the hospital.
* Like Richard Engels fake kidnapping, the contrived CNN reports by “Syrian Danny,” the August 21 chemical attack in Ghouta effectively shown to be a staged event intended to force US attack because of the supposedly crossed red line.
* The letter to President Obama was likely written by a paid Syria War propagandist or Washington lobby firm. Read the letter here and judge for yourself. For contrast watch this interview with a real Syrian doctor not mouthing propaganda from K Street Washington DC.
* The latest propaganda tool being used to promote US aggression against Syria is the photograph of little Omran in the orange ambulance seat. The video comes from the Aleppo Media Center “AMC”. Like the White Helmets, AMC is a US creation. The photo of Omran has been widely accepted without scrutiny. The insightful Moon of Alabama, has raised serious questions about the media sensation. Brad Hoff has documented that the main photographer, Mahmoud Raslan, is an ally of the Nour al Din al Zenki rebel terrorists who beheaded a young Palestinian Syrian a few weeks ago. This is confirmed step by step in this short video. Another good short video exposing the propaganda around #Syrianboy is here.
Why the Burst of Propaganda and Calls for US Attack Now?
The Syrian crisis is at a critical point and there is prospect of the collapse of the rebel-terrorists. If they crushed or expelled, it would allow hundreds of thousands of displaced Aleppans to return home as soon as services are restored. This would also allow the Syrian army and allies to focus on attacking ISIS in the east and terrorist groups remaining in Idlib, Hama, the outskirts of Damascus and the south.
The tide is running against the rebel terrorist factions and their supporters. Up until the last year, fanatics and mercenaries were traveling from all parts of the globe into Syria via Turkey. Tens of thousands went to Syria from SE Asia, China, Russia, North Africa, Europe and North America. They were given carte blanche to depart their home countries, arrive in Turkey and be guided into Syria. For example, young Canadians such as Damien Clairmont went and died in Syria. His mother has courageously exposed the fact that Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS) knew about his plans yet did nothing to stop him. Progressive Muslim leaders demanded the government identify and start dealing with the radical recruiters. It was evidently the policy of the cynically named “Friends of Syria” to “look the other way” as their citizens were being brainwashed then recruited to become terrorists attacking Syria.
Now, with terrorist blowback, these same “Friends” are feeling some consequences from their policies. Terror attacks in Britain, France, Belgium and the USA have ended the policy of collusion with Wahhabi terrorists. In the last year, security services have started arresting recruiters and new recruits. In Britain, a long time promoter of ISIS has been convicted. In Belgium, the court has approved the extradition of a suspected French terrorist. Previously Belgium was the Western country with the highest per capita number of citizens joining the terrorist fight in Syria. And now Turkey has started arresting people en route to join ISIS in Syria.
Since the rebel terrorists invaded Aleppo in 2012, they have had a constant pipeline bringing weapons, fighters and supplies into the city. For the past few months the Syrian army has been on the verge of encircling and closing the access routes into rebel terrorist sections of east Aleppo. Western media and governments which support the rebel terrorists are doing all they can to delay or prevent this closure. They are trying to stall or prevent a Syrian victory until someone more hawkish than Barack Obama is in the White House.
Who is Driving the Conflict?
Regional forces supporting the war on Syria include Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Israel has always been deeply involved, contrary to the faulty analysis of some observers. Israel has provided medical and military support to Nusra/Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups operating near the Golan Heights. Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was explicit: “Israel has wanted Assad ousted since Syria war began.”
The USA and western powers are also deeply involved. Working with Saudi Arabia and through Turkey, the US has supplied huge quantities of weapons to the rebel terrorists. Sophisticated weaponry totaling 994 TONS was provided last winter as documented here.
On the other side, Iran and Hezbollah are committed to defending the existing Syrian government. They know that if the Syrian government falls, they will be the next ones under attack. Russia also sees this as a crucial conflict. The USA has expanded NATO up to the Russian eastern border, promoted the 2014 Ukraine coup, and insisted on economic sanctions against Russia. Syria is Russia’s only Arab ally and hosts Russia’s only foreign naval base. Russia probably sees this conflict as a crucial for its own future. In another sign of resistance to US global hegemony, China has indicated it wishes to expand military cooperation with Syria.
Following the US lead, Canada, Australia and West European countries have supported the regime change effort despite it being in clear violation of the UN Charter and international law.
What is at Stake?
Despite five years of tragedy and destruction, the U.S. continues trying to overthrow or destroy the Syrian government. This is not a new US objective. In 2005, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviewed Syrian President Assad and said to him: “Mr. President, you know the rhetoric of regime change is headed towards you from the United States…. They’re talking about isolating you diplomatically and, perhaps, a coup d’etat or your regime crumbling. What are you thinking about that?” Amanpour is not only the CNN host, she is the wife of neocon Clintonite James Rubin.
In 2010 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Syria to stop its support of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, “loosen” its alliance with Iran and sign a treaty with Israel. Significantly, these are Israel’s demands and of much higher importance to the Zionist state than the USA.
The war in Syria is bringing numerous conflicts to a head: sectarian Wahhabism vs secular Islam; the “new American century” with one superpower vs a multilateral world; Zionist dominance and occupation vs Lebanese and Palestinian resistance.
Hillary Clinton is on record criticizing the decision to not bomb Syria in the Fall of 2013. She has continued to promote the idea of a “no fly zone”. She is an avowed Zionist who has said she wants to take the US-Israeli relationship to the ‘next level’.
Zionist Israel is deeply worried by the prospect of a strengthened Syria and Lebanese resistance. In addition, there are many Palestinian refugees and their descendants in Syria and Lebanon. They retain their wish to return home in keeping with international law. Just as Zionist Israeli interests were a major factor in the invasion of Iraq, so they are in continuing the conflict in Syria. In addition, neocons have not given up their goal of a “new American century”.
What Has Been the Role of the Western Left?
The left has been weak in responding and opposing the aggression against Syria. Major factors have included:
– Saudi and US State Dept funded Muslim groups which support the aggression against Syria. This includes the recently famous Dr Zaher Sahloul and the Syrian American Medical Society. SAMS and Zahloul are aligned with Saudi Arabia and receive substantial State Dept funding.
– deluded leftist groups who support a fantasy “revolution” in Syria just as they did in Libya.
– the flooding of social media and the internet by “activists” and Syrian “civil society” groups who are actually paid and trained agents of the west. This is confirmed by Clinton herself in her book Hard Choices.
– uncritical acceptance of major NGOs who are predominately funded by billionaires. These organizations need to be considered with some skepticism. For example, in 1990, Amnesty International mistakenly corroborated the accuracy of the false claim that Iraqi soldiers were stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. In the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Syria, Human Rights Watch did not oppose the invasion and implicitly accepted it by only criticizing the lack of preparation. Physicians for Human Rights, another Soros project, has issued grossly misleading reports on Syria.
– alternative media which is progressive on many issues but echoes NPR and mainstream media on critical foreign policy issues including the Syrian conflict.
Some groups including Arab Americans for Syria, Syrian American Forum, Black Agenda Report, Syria Solidarity Movement, Answer and Workers World Party have actively challenged the disinformation but their budgets and influence are relatively small in comparison with the heavily funded organizations pushing for regime change.
Veterans for Peace, one of the most influential and respected peace organizations, has recently sharpened its understanding and position. Following a recent visit to Syria, the Vice President of Veterans for Peace, Jerry Condon, has said, “Every thing we read about Syria in the US media is wrong . The reality is that the U.S. government is supporting armed extremist groups who are terrorizing the Syrian people and trying to destroy Syria’s secular state. In order to hide that ugly reality and push violent regime change the U.S. is conducting a psychological warfare campaign to demonize Syria’s president, Bashar al Assad. This is a classic tactic that veterans have seen over and over. It is shocking, however, to realize how willingly the media repeat this propaganda, and how many people believe it to be true.”
What Needs to Happen
Neoconservatives including Clintonites are pushing hard for a direct US attack on Syria to prevent the collapse of their regime change project. Claiming that the US and NATO can bring a ‘safe zone’ and ‘protect civilians’ is a grotesque falsehood. If the US tries to impose a “no fly zone” it will result in vastly more deaths and risk escalation into direct conflict between Syria, Russia, Iran and Israel.
Former Acting CIA director Mike Morell recently suggested the killing of Russians and Iranians in Syria to make them “pay a price.” He has endorsed Hillary Clinton as President. This is how dangerous, ignorant and arrogant Washington has become.
There is a clear solution to the Syrian tragedy: the countries who have been supplying tons of weapons and paying tens of thousands of mercenary terrorists should stop. The conflict would soon end. The foreigners would depart with much less fanaticism than what they came with. Many Syrian rebel terrorists would accept reconciliation.
There needs to be a global campaign but there is much responsibility in the US since our government is the greatest threat to peace. Following are specific ideas which are realistic and could help significantly.
1. Bernie Sanders raised expectations when he talked about the need stop the ‘regime change’ foreign policy. Now is when he needs to be clear and unequivocal: US military aggression against Syria will make things worse not better and must not happen. Sanders proved that a progressive policy is popular. If Sanders abandons his core foreign policy position and does not speak out strongly against the drive for aggression, it will be a huge disappointment and failure. He must not be allowed to betray his own message and end up as a porter for Hillary Clinton and the war machine.
2. DemocracyNow and other leading independent media need to start including different analyses. To a sad extent, their coverage of Syria has echoed NPR and CNN. If DemocracyNow is truly an “Exception to the Rulers,” it needs to start including more critical examinations. DN producers should be studying publications such as DissidentVoice, Consortiumnews, Global Research, AntiWar, MoonOfAlabama, Al Masdar News, Al Mayadeen, Counterpunch, American Herald Tribune, 21stCenturyWire, Black Agenda Report, the Canary, RT, PressTV, and TruePublica (not corporate ProPublica). They should be bringing the observations and analysis of journalists such as Sharmine Narwani, Edward Dark, Eva Bartlett, Brad Hoff, Vanessa Beeley, Stephen Sahiounie to name just a few. Syrian academics such as Issa Chaer (UK) and Nour al Kadri (Canada) could be interviewed. Followers of DN have heard Hillary Clinton as Secy of State and other US officials speaking about Syria countless times. Why have Amy and Juan not interviewed the Syrian Ambassador to the UN?
3. This is an opportunity and challenge for Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka of the Green Party. They are clear on this issue. If they can get a mass audience to hear their message, it could be crucial to their winning support and prompting crucial national debate. At the moment there is almost no debate on the life and death issue of war in the Middle East. Instead, the media is filled with propaganda using a boy’s photo to promote more war. The Green Party could play a hugely important role exposing the danger and duplicity of Clinton and Trump. They could play a key role in blocking the Clintonite march to a new war.
4. Veterans for Peace will hopefully play a leading role in changing the perception and ending the demobilization of the US peace movement. There is a lot at stake.
Rick Sterling is a retired aerospace engineer who now does research/writing on international issues. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meryl Streep must be a very intelligent woman to be such a good actress. So it was embarrassing to see her dressed in an American flag playing cheer leader for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic Convention. One must suppose that she is too busy studying for all her varied movie roles to have learned much about the sinister nature of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy. She proclaimed that President Hillary Clinton would be “making history” simply by being a woman. That means symbolic history. The fact that President Hillary Clinton is more likely to make real history by starting another war even more disastrous than those she has already helped get us into seems not to have occurred to Meryl Streep.
Nor does it occur to millions of other American women who share the same illusion.
Those women are thinking too much in terms of symbols and images. They are ignoring the major issue facing the United States: whether to make peace or war. They don’t worry that the imminent conflict with the other major nuclear power, Russia, might affect themselves, their families, the world and the future. They feel that they will somehow personally benefit from the election of a woman to the U.S. Presidency.
The feminist idea behind this illusion is that by becoming President, Hillary will be “shattering the glass ceilings” – the invisible obstacles – that prevent women from rising to the top. Women everywhere will benefit – just as American blacks all benefited from the election of Barack Obama. Oops, wait a minute, did they really? What about the growing black prison population, or the unarmed blacks shot dead in the street by policemen? Never mind, it made many blacks feel good to have a black President, which is understandable given American history. But in concrete terms, it did nothing for the black population as a whole.
Women seek the same feel-good experience. They believe it will be provided by Hillary Clinton when she shatters the glass ceiling – “for you”, as Hillary likes to say.
But wait a minute. If it’s glass, you can’t see it, and to what extent is it really there? What about Christine Lagarde, the French woman who currently heads the International Monetary Fund? What about the fact that the current German Chancellor, the current British Prime Minister, the foreign minister of the European Union, and Meryl Streep herself have all pursued successful careers to the top?
Madeleine Albright, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Loretta Lynch, Michele Flournoy do not seem to be standing in heaps of shattered glass. They have floated to the top with no more opposition than your average ambitious man – and perhaps with less.
In reality, hasn’t the “glass ceiling” preventing women from pursuing successful careers already been shattered, precisely by the current neoliberal world order which favors promoting women and token members of various ethnic groups? Isn’t it part of the strategy of neoliberalism to prove that modern capitalism enables the best to rise to the top, a circumstance that should win the adherence of all “identity groups” – whose self-identification has largely succeeded in wiping the old concept of class consciousness out of people’s minds? Isn’t this a main cause that is being promoted by George Soros’s Open Society Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy all over the world (more about that in another article)? Doesn’t it help win public support for U.S. wars to have women in the front lines, proclaiming their devotion to “human rights”?
For most women, as for most blacks, when wages are low, their wages are low. When good housing or education is too expensive for most people, it’s too expensive for women. When spending for war ruins the economy, it’s their economy too.
The plain fact is that the successful careers of these ceiling breakers do nothing for the majority of women who are nowhere near any ceiling that needs to be broken.
It isn’t Hillary who is changing the system. Rather, it is the change in the system that promotes Hillary.
Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. She can be reached at email@example.com
Man who “ran the CIA” offers an entirely new perspective
On August 5th, Michael Morell, a former acting Director of the CIA, pilloried GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, concluding that he was an “unwitting agent of Russia.” Morell, who entitled his New York Times op-ed “I Ran the CIA and now I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton,” described the process whereby Trump had been so corrupted. According to Morell, Putin, it seems, as a wily ex-career intelligence officer, is “trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities… In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”
I have previously observed how incomprehensible the designation of “unwitting agent” used in a sentence together with “recruited” is, but perhaps I should add something more about Morell that might not be clear to the casual reader. Morell was an Agency analyst, not a spy, who spent nearly his entire career in and around Washington. The high point of his CIA experience consisted of briefing George W. Bush on the President’s Daily Brief (PDB).
Morell was not trained in the arduous CIA operational tradecraft course which agent recruiters and handlers go through. This means that his understanding of intelligence operations and agents is, to put it politely, derivative. If he had gone through the course he would understand that when you recruit an agent you control him and tell him what to do. The agent might not know whom exactly he is really answering to as in a false flag operation, but he cannot be unwitting.
Morell appears to have a tendency to make promises that others will have to deliver on, but perhaps that’s what delegation by senior U.S. government officials is all about. He was also not trained in CIA paramilitary operations, which perhaps should be considered when he drops comments about the desirability of “covertly” killing Russians and Iranians to make a point that they should not oppose U.S. policies in Syria, as he did in a softball interview with Charlie Rose on August 6th.
Morell appears to be oblivious to the possibility that going around assassinating foreigners might be regarded as state sponsored terrorism and could well ignite World War 3. And, as is characteristic of chickenhawks, it is highly unlikely that he was intending that either he or his immediate family should go out and cut the throats or blow the heads off of those foreign devils who seek to derail the Pax Americana. Nor would he expect to be in the firing line when the relatives of those victims seek revenge. Someone else with the proper training would be found to do all that messy stuff and take the consequences.
Be that as it may, Morell was a very senior officer and perhaps we should accept that he might know something that the rest of us have missed, so let’s just assume that he kind of misspoke and give him a pass on the “recruited unwitting agent” expression. Instead let’s look for other American political figures who just might be either deliberately or inadvertently serving the interests of a foreign government, which is presumably actually what Michael Morell meant to convey regarding Trump. To be sure a well-run McCarthy-esque ferreting out of individuals who just might be disloyal provides an excellent opportunity to undertake a purge of those who either by thought, word or deed might be guilty of unacceptable levels of coziness with foreign interests.
So who is guilty of putting the interests of a foreign government ahead of those of the United States? I know there are advocates for any number of foreign states running around loose in Washington but the friends of Israel in government and the media come immediately to mind largely because there are so many of them, they are very much in-your-face and they are both extremely well-funded and very successful. Now deceased former Congressman Tom Lantos and Senator Frank Lautenberg were, respectively, often referred to as the congressman and senator from Israel. And there are many more: Chuck Schumer, Chuck Grassley, Ben Cardin, Bob Menendez, Tom Cotton, Mark Kirk, Nita Lowey, Ted Deutch, Brad Sherman, Ileana-Ros Lehtinen and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to name only a few in the Congress. All are major recipients of Israel related PAC money and all are reliable defenders of Israel no matter what Benjamin Netanyahu does and no matter how it effects the United States.
And then there are the Clintons. One only has to go back to Bill’s one-sided pro-Israeli diplomacy at Camp David in 2000 to discern how the game was played. And then there was the widely condemned January 2001 last minute pardon of Mossad agent Marc Rich, whose wife Denise was a major contributor to the Clintons, to realize that there was always a deference to Israeli interests particularly when money was involved. The only problem is that the Clintons, relying on Morell’s formulation, might more reasonably be described as witting agents of Israel rather than unwitting as they have certainly known what they have been doing and have been actively supporting Israeli policies even when damaging to U.S. interests since they first emerged from the primordial political swamps in Arkansas. If one were completely cynical it might be possible to suggest that they understood from the beginning that pandering to Israel and gaining access to Jewish power and money would be a major component in their rise to political prominence. It certainly has worked out that way.
Trump’s crime, per Morell, is that he is disloyal to the United States because he is not sufficiently hostile to the evil Vladimir Putin, which somehow means that he is being manipulated by the clever Russian. Trump has indeed called for a positive working relationship with Putin to accomplish, among other objectives, the crushing of ISIS. And he is otherwise in favor of leaving Bashar al-Assad of Syria alone while also being disinclined to get involved in any additional military interventions in the Middle East or elsewhere, which pretty much makes him the antithesis of the Clintonian foreign policy promoted by Morell.
In comparison with the deeply and profoundly corrupt Clintons, Trump’s alleged foreign policy perfidy makes him appear to be pretty much a boy scout. To understand the Clintons one might consider the hundreds of millions of dollars, much of it from foreign sources, that have flowed into the Clinton Foundation while Hillary was Secretary of State. And there is the clear email evidence that Hillary exploited her government position to favor both foreign and domestic financial supporters.
The leading individual foreign donor to the Clinton Foundation between 1999 and 2014 was Ukrainian Viktor Pinchuk, who “directed between $10 and $25 million” to its Global Initiative, has let the Clintons use his private jet, attended Bill’s Hollywood 65th birthday celebration and hosted daughter Chelsea and her husband on a trip to Ukraine. Pinchuk is a Jewish oligarch married to the daughter of notoriously corrupt former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma. He is very closely tied to Israel, a supporter of regime change in his country, who was simultaneously donating money and also lobbying in Washington while Hillary was Secretary of State and promoting a similar agenda as part of her $5 billion program to “democratize” Ukraine. Clinton arranged a dozen meetings with substantive State Department officers for Pinchuk.
Hillary and Bill’s predilection for all things Israeli and her promise to do even more in the future is a matter of public record. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz asserted that of all the political candidates in the primaries “Clinton had the longest public record of engagement with Israel, and has spent decades diligently defending the Jewish state.” In a speech to AIPAC in March she promised to take the “U.S.-Israel alliance to the next level.” Hillary’s current principal financial supporter in her presidential run is Haim Saban, an Israeli who has described himself as a “one issue” guy and that issue is Israel.
Hillary Clinton boasts of having “stood with Israel my entire career.” Her website promises to maintain “Israel’s qualitative military edge to ensure the IDF is equipped to deter and defeat aggression from the full spectrum of threats,” “stand up against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS),” and “cut off efforts to unilaterally recognize Palestinian statehood outside of the context of negotiations with Israel.” In a letter to Haim Saban, Hillary declared that “we need to make countering BDS a priority,” which means she is prepared to support laws limiting First Amendment rights in the U.S. in defense of perceived Israeli interests.
As part of the Obama Administration Hillary Clinton at first supported his attempts to pressure Israel over its illegal settlements but has now backed off from that position, only rarely criticizing them as a “problem” but never advocating any steps to persuade Netanyahu to reverse his policy. Notably, she has repeatedly decried terroristic attacks on Israelis but has never acknowledged the brutality of the Israeli occupation of much of the West Bank in spite of the fact that ten Palestinians are killed for each Jewish victim of the ongoing violence.
Clinton supported Israel’s actions in the 2014 Gaza War, which killed more than 500 children, describing them as an appropriate response to a situation that was provoked by Hamas. On the campaign trail recently husband Bill disingenuously defended Hillary’s position on Gaza, saying that “Hamas is really smart. When they decide to rocket Israel they insinuate themselves in the hospitals, in the schools…” placing all the blame for the large number of civilian casualties on the Palestinians, not on the Israelis. When the media began to report on the plight of the civilians trapped in Gaza Hillary dismissed the impending humanitarian catastrophe, saying “They’re trapped by their leadership, unfortunately.”
Earlier, as a Senator from New York, Hillary supported Israel’s building of the separation barrier on Palestinian land and cheer-led a crowd at a pro-Israel rally that praised Israel’s 2006 devastation of Lebanon and Gaza. She nonsensically characterized and justified the bombing campaign as “efforts to send messages to Hamas, Hezbollah, to the Syrians, to the Iranians – to all who seek death and domination instead of life and freedom…” More than nine hundred civilians died in the onslaught and when a vote came up subsequently in Congress to stop the supply of cluster bombs to countries that use them on civilians Hillary voted against the bill together with 69 other pro-Israel senators.
Hillary enjoys a particularly close relationship with Netanyahu, writing in November, “I would also invite the Israeli prime minister to the White House in my first month in office.” She has worked diligently to “reaffirm the unbreakable bond with Israel – and Benjamin Netanyahu.” She has boasted of her being one of the promoters of annual increases in aid to Israel while she was in the Senate and Secretary of State and takes credit for repeatedly using America’s Security Council veto to defend it in the United Nations.
So I think it is pretty clear who is the presidential candidate promoting the interests of a foreign country and it ain’t Trump. Hillary would no doubt argue that Israel is a friend and Russia is not, an interesting point of view as Israel is not in fact an ally and has spied on us and copied our military technology to re-export to countries like China. Indeed, the most damaging spy in U.S. history Jonathan Pollard worked for Israel. In spite of all that Israel continues to tap our treasury for billions of dollars a year while still ignoring Washington when requests are made to moderate policies that damage American interests. Against that, what exactly has Moscow done to harm us since the Cold War ended? And who is advocating even more pressure on Russia and increasing the rewards for Israel, presumably in the completely illogical belief that to do so will somehow bring some benefit to the American people? Hillary Clinton.
A group that campaigns for stricter arms sales controls said on Monday that Western powers were breaking international law by selling vast amounts of weapons to Saudi Arabia that are being used to hit civilians in Yemen.
The Control Arms Coalition said Britain, France and the United States were flouting the 2014 Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which bans exports of conventional weapons that fuel human rights violations or war crimes.
“It is extremely concerning that many transfers are still continuing, in particular the governments of the United States, the UK and France have authorized and are continuing to export very large quantities of weapons, including explosive weapons, bombs which are being used daily against civilians in Yemen,” said Anna MacDonald, director of the Control Arms Coalition.
She was speaking to a news briefing as week-long U.N. negotiations began in Geneva aimed at putting teeth into the ATT which lacks a mandatory public reporting system for the $100 billion global arms trade.
France authorized arms licenses worth $18 billion to Saudi Arabia last year, followed by the United States at $5.9 billion and Britain’s $4 billion, the group said in its latest study.
Nigeria’s ambassador Emmanuel Imohe, who chairs the conference, said: “The allegation is quite grave and it should be of concern to everyone including the ATT secretariat itself.”
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said last week it was evacuating its staff from six hospitals in northern Yemen after a Saudi-led coalition air strike hit one of its hospitals, killing 18 people.
Outcry over civilian casualties has led some members of the US Congress to push for restrictions on arms transfers. The Obama administration this month approved a potential $1.15 billion arms package for Saudi Arabia.
Last week, US Senator Chris Murphy slammed his country’s administration over bombing civilians in Yemen, saying “there is an American Imprint on Every Civilian Life Lost in Yemen.”
In a statement on Friday, the Pentagon cautioned that its support for Saudi Arabia in its campaign was not “a blank check,” however, and said it has pressed the coalition on the “need to minimize civilian casualties.”
Campaigners said arms exports also drove fighting in South Sudan last month that killed hundreds, prompting fears of a return to civil war.
“We think that governments of other countries have fueled this violence by repeatedly authorizing arms transfers to South Sudan,” said Geoffrey Duke, head of South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms. He named China, Ukraine and South Africa as the main suppliers to the Juba government.
To date, 87 countries have ratified the ATT, while another 46 – including the United States – have signed it, leaving important gaps, Imohe said.
“For example, in the Arab world only Mauritania is listed amongst states parties, while Asia Pacific has only three states parties,” he said, referring to Japan, Samoa and Tuvalu.