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Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

White Helmets are ‘preparing chemical attack false-flag’ in Syria’s Idlib, Russian military tipped off — RT World News

Posted by M. C. on February 4, 2020

True or not…we shall see.

About 15 ‘White Helmets’ were spotted in the town, alongside militants from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) – an Al-Qaeda affiliate previously known as Al-Nusra – said two local residents, adding that two vehicles have delivered about 400 liters (100 gallons) of chemicals to the town.

https://www.rt.com/news/480004-syria-chemical-attack-warning/

Militants affiliated with al-Qaeda and ‘White Helmets’ are preparing to stage a chemical attack in Idlib province as Syrian army continues to advance, the Russian Reconciliation Center said citing a tip from local residents.

Members of the self-styled civil defense group, which operates solely in territories controlled by anti-government militants, were noticed arriving at the town of Ma’arat al-Artik, about 11 kilometers (7 miles) northwest of Aleppo. According to the call that came in on the reconciliation center’s hotline on Monday evening, they were preparing a “provocation with the use of poisonous agents.”

About 15 ‘White Helmets’ were spotted in the town, alongside militants from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) – an Al-Qaeda affiliate previously known as Al-Nusra – said two local residents, adding that two vehicles have delivered about 400 liters (100 gallons) of chemicals to the town.

Some 200 people, including children – mostly family members of HTS militants, which had been evacuated to Idlib from elsewhere in Syria – could be involved in staging the false-flag chemical attacks, the tipsters said.

The Reconciliation Center named the militant commander involved in the plan as Mahi al-Din al-Am, saying it was the same man who helped stage and film the graphic aftermath of the alleged chemical attack at Khan Shaykhun in April 2017.

The center called on the militants to abandon their “criminal plan” and called on Turkey – which recently sent troops into militant-controlled Idlib – to exert “all possible pressure” to prevent a false flag.

 

A number of “chemical attacks” in Syria have been blamed on the government in Damascus over the course of the war, which began in 2011. They happen to take place every time the Syrian army is advancing against the militants, who have tried time and again to attract Western military intervention on their behalf.

Following the 2017 Khan Shaykhun incident, the US launched missiles against Syria; another air and missile attack was launched in April 2018, after an “attack” at Douma near Damascus. Though the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) eventually said the Douma attack may have happened, whistleblowers have recently made public that evidence in the case was doctored to reach that conclusion, while skeptical assessments of OPCW’s in-house experts were ignored.

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Were the Nice Attacks A False Flag Or A Lone Nut?

 

 

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A New Definition of Warfare, by Philip Giraldi – The Unz Review

Posted by M. C. on January 22, 2020

But perhaps the definition of war itself should be expanded. The one area where Trump and his team of narcissistic sociopaths have been most active has been in the imposition of sanctions with lethal intent.

It’s absolutely in [your] interests and the people of Great Britain’s interests to join with President Trump, with the United States, to realign your foreign policy away from Brussels, and to join the maximum pressure campaign to keep all of us safe.”

Ever notice how politicians and armies of sanctioned countries stay in pretty good shape while civilians do not?

https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/a-new-definition-of-warfare/


Supporters of Donald Trump often make the point that he has not started any new wars. One might observe that it has not been for lack of trying, as his cruise missile attacks on Syria based on fabricated evidence and his recent assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani have been indisputably acts of war. Trump also has enhanced troop levels both in the Middle East and in Afghanistan while also increasing the frequency and lethality of armed drone attacks worldwide.

Congress has been somewhat unseriously toying around with a tightening of the war powers act of 1973 to make it more difficult for a president to carry out acts of war without any deliberation by or authorization from the legislature. But perhaps the definition of war itself should be expanded. The one area where Trump and his team of narcissistic sociopaths have been most active has been in the imposition of sanctions with lethal intent. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been explicit in his explanations that the assertion of “extreme pressure” on countries like Iran and Venezuela is intended to make the people suffer to such an extent that they rise up against their governments and bring about “regime change.” In Pompeo’s twisted reckoning that is how places that Washington disapproves of will again become “normal countries.”

The sanctions can kill. Those imposed by the United States are backed up by the U.S. Treasury which is able to block cash transfers going through the dollar denominated international banking system. Banks that do not comply with America’s imposed rules can themselves be sanctioned, meaning that U.S. sanctions are de facto globally applicable, even if foreign banks and governments do not agree with the policies that drive them. It is well documented how sanctions that have an impact on the importation of medicines have killed thousands of Iranians. In Venezuela, the effect of sanctions has been starvation as food imports have been blocked, forcing a large part of the population to flee the country just to survive.

The latest exercise of United States economic warfare has been directed against Iraq. In the space of one week from December 29th to January 3rd, the American military, which operates out of two major bases in Iraq, killed 25 Iraqi militiamen who were part of the Popular Mobilization Units of the Iraqi Army. The militiamen had most recently been engaged in the successful fight against ISIS. It followed up on that attack by killing Soleimani, Iraqi militia general Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and eight other Iraqis in a drone strike near Baghdad International Airport. As the attacks were not approved in any way by the Iraqi government, it was no surprise that rioting followed and the Iraqi Parliament voted to remove all foreign troops from its soil. The decree was signed off on by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, based on the fact that the U.S. military was in Iraq at the invitation of the country’s government and that invitation had just been revoked by parliament.

That Iraq is to say the least unstable is attributable to the ill-advised U.S. invasion of 2003. The persistence of U.S. forces in the country is ostensibly to aid in the fight against ISIS, but the real reason is to serve as a check on Iranian influence in Iraq, which is a strategic demand made by Israel and not responsive to any actual American interest. Indeed, the Iraqi government is probably closer politically to Tehran than to Washington, though the neocon line that the country is dominated by the Iranians is far from true.

Washington’s response to the legitimate Iraqi demand that its troops should be removed consisted of threats. When Prime Minister Mahdi spoke with Pompeo on the phone and asked for discussions and a time table to create a “withdrawal mechanism” the Secretary of State made it clear that there would be no negotiations. A State Department written response entitled “The U.S. Continued Partnership with Iraq” asserted that American troops are in Iraq to serve as a “force for good” in the Middle East and that it is “our right” to maintain “appropriate force posture” in the region.

The Iraqi position also immediately produced presidential threats and tweets about “sanctions like they have never seen,” with the implication that the U.S. was more than willing to wreck the Iraqi economy if it did not get its way. The latest threat to emerge involves blocking Iraq access to its New York federal reserve bank account, where international oil sale revenue is kept, creating a devastating cash crunch in Iraq’s financial system that might indeed destroy the Iraqi economy. If taking steps to ruin a country economically is not considered warfare by other means it is difficult to discern what might fit that description.

After dealing with Iraq, the Trump Administration turned its guns on one of its oldest and closest allies. Great Britain, like most of the other European signatories to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been reluctant to withdraw from the agreement over concern that Iran will as a result decide to develop nuclear weapons. According to the Guardian, a United States representative from the National Security Council named Richard Goldberg, had visited London recently to make clear to the British government that if it does not follow the American lead and withdraw from the JCPOA and reapply sanctions it just might be difficult to work out a trade agreement with Washington post-Brexit. It is a significant threat as part of the pro-Brexit vote clearly was derived from a Trump pledge to make up for some of the anticipated decline in European trade by increasing U.K. access to the U.S. market. Now the quid pro quo is clear: Britain, which normally does in fact follow the Washington lead in foreign policy, will now be expected to be completely on board all of the time and everywhere, particularly in the Middle East.

During his visit, Goldberg told the BBC: “The question for prime minister Johnson is: ‘As you are moving towards Brexit … what are you going to do post-31 January as you come to Washington to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the United States?’ It’s absolutely in [your] interests and the people of Great Britain’s interests to join with President Trump, with the United States, to realign your foreign policy away from Brussels, and to join the maximum pressure campaign to keep all of us safe.”

And there is an interesting back story on Richard Goldberg, a John Bolton protégé anti-Iran hardliner, who threatened the British on behalf of Trump. James Carden, writing at The Nation, posits “Consider the following scenario: A Washington, DC–based, tax-exempt organization that bills itself as a think tank dedicated to the enhancement of a foreign country’s reputation within the United States, funded by billionaires closely aligned with said foreign country, has one of its high-ranking operatives (often referred to as ‘fellows’) embedded within the White House national security staff in order to further the oft-stated agenda of his home organization, which, as it happens, is also paying his salary during his year-long stint there. As it happens, this is exactly what the pro-Israel think tank the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) reportedly achieved in an arrangement brokered by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton.”

The FDD senior adviser in question, who was placed on the National Security Council, was Richard Goldberg. FDD is largely funded by Jewish American billionaires including vulture fund capitalist Paul Singer and Home Depot partner Bernard Marcus. Its officers meet regularly with Israeli government officials and the organization is best known for its unrelenting effort to bring about war with Iran. It has relentlessly pushed for a recklessly militaristic U.S. policy directed against Iran and also more generally in the Middle East. It is a reliable mouthpiece for Israel and, inevitably, it has never been required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.

To be sure, Trump also has other neocons advising him on Iran, including David Wurmser, another Bolton associate, who has the president’s ear and is a consultant to the National Security Council. Wurmser has recently submitted a series of memos to the White House advocating a policy of “regime disruption” with the Islamic Republic that will destabilize it and eventually lead to a change of government. He may have played a key role in giving the green light to the assassination of Soleimani.

The good news, if there is any, is that Goldberg resigned on January 3rd, allegedly because the war against Iran was not developing fast enough to suit him and FDD, but he is symptomatic of the many neoconservative hawks who have infiltrated the Trump Administration at secondary and tertiary levels, where much of the development and implementation of policy actually takes place. It also explains that when it comes to Iran and the irrational continuation of a significant U.S. military presence in the Middle East, it is Israel and its Lobby that are steering the ship of state.

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This starving girl was searching for food to eat. A few ...

 

 

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“Opposing Interventionism In Nation X Means You Love Nation X’s Government!” – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on December 28, 2019

I’ll tell you why: Hollywood.

Obviously war isn’t actually about Good versus Evil; usually it’s nothing more noble than geostrategic agenda versus geostrategic agenda.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/12/27/opposing-interventionism-in-nation-x-means-you-love-nation-xs-government/

Every time you speak out against western imperialism in a given nation or question western propaganda narratives about that nation’s government, you will inevitably be accused of loving that nation’s government by anyone who argues with you.

When I say “inevitably”, I am not exaggerating. If you speak in any public forum for any length of time expressing skepticism of what we’re told to believe about a nation whose government has been targeted by the US-centralized empire, you will with absolute certainty eventually run into someone who accuses you of thinking that that government is awesome and pure and good.

I have never, ever had this fail to occur, even once. If I write an article about the mountain of evidence suggesting we were lied to about a chemical attack in Syria, I get people telling me I think Bashar al-Assad is a girl scout who’s never ever done anything wrong. If I express skepticism of the flimsy narratives we’re being fed in the escalating propaganda war against China, I get “If you love Beijing so much and think Xi is so innocent you should go and move to China!” It’s one of the only completely predictable things about this job.

Which is of course idiotic. Understanding that the US government and its allies lie constantly with the full-throated support of western news media in no way suggests a belief that the targeted government in question is wonderful, and there’s absolutely no legitimate reason to infer such a thing. The indisputable fact that US-led military interventionism is universally disastrous and based on lies has nothing to do with anyone’s level of emotional support for the governments targeted for destruction by the US-centralized empire. Yet everyone reading this who’s ever tried to speak out against US foreign policy has encountered the behavior I’m describing here.

Why is that? Why do establishment loyalists engage in such a weird, nonsensical behavior with such reliable consistency? Why do they literally always accuse anyone who questions any narrative about any empire-targeted government of having positive emotions toward that government, even though there is no rational reason for them to do so?

I’ll tell you why: Hollywood.

Well, not just Hollywood. Really the dynamic we’re about to discuss has been going on for as long as there have been war stories. But the dominant storytellers of today are in Hollywood, and that’s where the dominant war stories are told.

For as long as war stories have been told, those stories have been framed as a battle between good and evil. The good side is the side you identify with, and the evil side is the one you want to lose. You see this in almost all depictions of war coming out of Hollywood today, from movies based on actual wars to sci-fi and fantasy films like Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. Over and over and over again from childhood we are trained to assume that mass military violence must have a Good side and an Evil side, so when we see a war being depicted anywhere we immediately start trying to sort out who are the Good Guys and who are the Bad Guys, usually without even thinking about it.

Obviously war isn’t actually about Good versus Evil; usually it’s nothing more noble than geostrategic agenda versus geostrategic agenda. But because people are conditioned from an early age to overlay any ideas about large-scale conflict with this false Good or Evil dichotomy, there’s an immediate assumption that if you’re suggesting that one side might not be Good, then the other side are the Good Guys. If you say the government pushing regime change in Iran is doing something immoral, then you’re saying they’re the Bad Guys, which means you think the Iranian government are the Good Guys.

Yes, the behavior in question really does boil down to something that stupid. This phenomenon where empire apologists will predictably accuse you of loving an empire-targeted nation just because you oppose imperialist agendas is primarily due to a combination of dumb binary thinking and watching too many Hollywood movies. In other words, it’s due to bad information meeting bad thinking.

All we can really do to address this dynamic is bring consciousness to it. When someone’s acting out the unexamined assumption that because you are critical of western imperialism you must necessarily believe that all of its targets are perfect and wonderful, you can point out the absurdity of this position and invite them to think a little harder about it. Or just link them to this article.

Beyond that, all you can really do is understand what you’re looking at, roll your eyes, and sigh.

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Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Presenting The Syria Deception: Al Qaeda Goes to Hollywood (VIDEO) – Grayzone Project

Posted by M. C. on December 8, 2019

https://grayzoneproject.com/2018/09/15/presenting-the-syria-deception-al-qaeda-goes-to-hollywood-video/

An exclusive Grayzone investigative documentary rips the cover off of the most sophisticated and expensive campaign of humanitarian interventionist propaganda in modern history.

By Dan Cohen

For decades, Western governments, corporate media, and Hollywood have engaged in a project of mass deception to manufacture consent for military interventions. Waged in the name of lofty ideals like freedom, human rights, and democracy, US-led wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya wound up bringing death, destruction and even the return of slavery to the African continent.

As the wounds from those catastrophes festered, Washington embarked on its most ambitious project yet, marketing another war of regime change, this time in Syria.

The following investigative mini-documentary exposes the cynical deceptions and faux humanitarianism behind the campaign to sell the dirty war on Syria.

It also demonstrates the lengths that the US and its allies have gone to develop new ploys to tug at Western heartstrings and convince even liberal minded skeptics of war that a US intervention was necessary — even if it meant empowering Al Qaeda’s largest franchise since 9/11 and its theocratic allies among the insurgency.

Big lies and little children have formed the heart of what is perhaps the most expensive, sophisticated, and shameless propaganda blitz ever conducted. Welcome to The Syria Deception.

Hollywood’s role in promoting war is nothing new. The American film industry has collaborated over the years with the State Department, the Pentagon, and the intelligence services to produce an array of films burnishing the military’s image, revising controversial US actions, and propagating official accounts of critical events through action blockbusters.

See the rest here

New Netflix documentary series explores how Hollywood ...

 

 

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MoA – OPCW Manufactured A Pretext For War By Suppressing Its Own Scientists’ Research

Posted by M. C. on December 2, 2019

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/11/opcw-manufactured-a-pretext-for-war-by-suppressing-its-own-scientists-research.html

Moon of Alabama

OPCW Manufactured A Pretext For War By Suppressing Its Own Scientists’ Research

Leaks from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) prove that the OPCW management ignored or manipulated reports its Fact Finding Mission had written about the April 2018 Douma incident in Syria.

The history of the Douma incident and the OPCW and media manipulation around it is available from the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media under the headline: How the OPCW’s investigation of the Douma incident was nobbled. Our own posts around the incident are linked below.

The OPCW management ignored that the technical, chemical and medical analysis of its own specialists exculpated the Syrian government from the allegation that it poisoned some 40 people in Douma by dropping Chlorine canisters from a helicopter.

The OPCW scientific staff found that dropping the canisters could not have created the damage that was found. Those canisters must have been placed by hand. The amount of chlorinated organic chemicals found at the two scenes was very low and it is very unlikely that they are the result of a reaction with chlorine gas. The medical symptoms of the casualties as was seen in various videos at the time of the incident were inconsistent with death by chlorine inhalation.

The OPCW management twisted the interim and the final OPCW report on the incident to make it look as if the Syrian government was guilty of dropping chlorine canisters. The detailed internal technical analysis was ignored. It was replaced by external analysis from unknown sources who claimed the opposite of what the OPCW engineers and chemists had found. The wording of the report suggests that high levels of chlorinated organic chemicals were found without giving the very low concentrations (in parts per billions) that were actually found. The internal medical analysis was eliminated from the official report.

OPCW emails and documents were leaked and whistleblowers came forward to speak with journalists and international lawyers. Veteran journalist Jonathan Steele, who has spoken with the whistleblowers, wrote an excellent piece on the issues. In the Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens picked up the issue and moved it forward:

New sexed-up dossier furore: Explosive leaked email claims that UN watchdog’s report into alleged poison gas attack by Assad was doctored – so was it to justify British and American missile strikes on Syria?.

The ‘citizen journalists’ of the U.S. government financed Bellingcat propaganda shop made a laughable attempt to refute the claims the whistleblower made. Caitlin Johnstone took it apart.

Hitchens also responded to the Bellingcat scam: Bellingcat or Guard Dog for the Establishment?.

Quoting Bellingcat Peter Hitchens (PH) writes:

Bellingcat:
However, a comparison of the points raised in the letter against the final Douma report makes it amply clear that the OPCW not only addressed these points, but even changed the conclusion of an earlier report to reflect the concerns of said employee.PH:
Apart from the words ‘a’, and ‘the’, everything in the above paragraph is, to put it politely, mistaken. Bellingcat have been so anxious to trash the leak from the OPCW that they have (as many did when the attack was first released) rushed to judgment without waiting for the facts. More is known by the whistleblowers of the OPCW than has yet been released, but verification procedures have slowed down its release. More documents will, I expect, shortly come to light.

One, which I have seen, is very interesting. It is a memorandum of protest, written many months after the e-mail of protest published at the weekend. This was sent to the OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias (there is some doubt about whether it ever reached him) by an OPCW investigator (one of those who actually visited Douma), on 14th March 2019. It has reached me through hitherto reliable sources. This is nearly two weeks *after* the release of the ‘final’ report (on Friday 1st March 2019) which is supposed to have resolved the doubts of the dissenters.

In his discussion of the issue Hitchens also mentions this blog:

[The OPCW report claim] ‘Various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from Locations 2 and 4, along with residues of explosive. These results are reported in Annex 3. Work by the team to establish the significance of these results is ongoing.’ resulted in some quite remarkable media reports. These are explored here:https://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/07/syria-many-media-lie-about-watchdog-report-on-the-chemical-attack-in-douma.html

Bellingcat and its supporters may not like the source, and I do not much like it myself, but it is a unique record, as far as I know, of the initial media response to the issue of the July 6 report. I have in fact checked its claims with Reuters and the BBC and they do not dispute what it says, though they say they later corrected the output.

It is sad, Peter, that you don’t like this blog much but I am afraid I can do nothing about it.

A few hours ago Hitchens published another piece: In defense of journalism – ‘Citizen journalists’ are no such thing. In it he again takes on Bellingcat and other such ‘citizen journalists’ and ‘researchers’ to then reveal that he himself has now talked to an OPCW whistleblower:

Luckily for me I have had the backing of people who know deep down that journalism must take risks to be any good. Someone had to say ‘yes’ to me when I headed off at short notice a few days ago, on my complicated way to a safe house somewhere in a major city on the European continent.Someone had to fork out for my train fares and my cheap station hotels. Someone had to have the guts to let me tell my story about what I found when I got there — which was an honest man in turmoil. His job was to tell the truth and he was being prevented from doing so. So I could help him. In four decades of journalism, I have seldom felt closer to the Holy Grail, truth that had to be told, and truth that would shake power. Here it was. A pretext for war had been manufactured by suppression of research.

The “pretext for war” can not refer to the missile strike F-UK-US launched on April 16 2018, 8 days after the Douma incident and before any OPCW inspectors had visited the site.

Hitchens must refer to an upcoming war that was supposed to be based on the now disgraced OPCW report.

There is indeed a possible path to war…

The OPCW scientists found serious evidence that the Syrian government can NOT be guilty of the Douma incident. Under U.S. pressure the OPCW management suppressed its scientists’ technical reports or replaced them with those from “external experts” to make it look as if the Syrian government caused the incident. The new attribution group at the OPCW will use that manipulated report to find Syria guilty of causing the incident. The U.S. and others could then use that guilty verdict as pretext to launch a war.

We only learned of this plan because courageous scientists and engineers at the OPCW do not want to see their organization abused to find pretexts to wage wars on the innocent. They came forward and told the public what it needs to know. They deserve our gratitude.

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The Small But Brave Cadre of Conservative Anti-War Republicans – The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on November 21, 2019

424 are pro-war, pro-interventionism, anti-peace.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-brave-cadre-of-conservative-anti-war-republicans/

They didn’t put their finger to the political wind when it came to Syria and Yemen.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., speaks to reporters, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A comparative case study has demonstrated that only one political party has a principled (albeit small) contingent of legislators who care more about ending U.S. intervention overseas than partisan positioning.

In February, the House of Representatives voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 37, which directed “the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.” This, along with its complementary senate vote, was the first congressional invocation of the War Powers Act in the law’s history.

Then last month, the House voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 77, a resolution condemning “the decision to end certain United States efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria.” This vote was in opposition to President Donald Trump’s announced withdrawal from the Syrian-Turkish border.

 

Neither U.S. involvement in the Syrian Civil War, nor U.S. material support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen have been authorized by Congress, making them illegal American wars. The Trump administration opposed both resolutions, and stopping House Joint Resolution 37 was only the second veto of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Out of the House’s 435 members, only 11 voted to end both the war in Yemen and to draw down in Syria. They are Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Warren Davidson of Ohio, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Alex Mooney of West Virginia, and Bill Posey of Florida.

Notice anything? They’re all Republicans. But that shouldn’t surprise you.

“There is a long and honorable tradition within the Republican Party of anti-interventionism, of nationalism, what’s sometimes called isolationism, which technically isn’t a friendly or accurate term,” explains historian Jeff Taylor, who chairs the Department of Political Science at Dordt University.

“Back to the Progressive Era, even before the rise of the modern conservative movement, you had an anti-establishment; I would call it a populist-nationalist movement within the Republican Party,” Taylor says. “Back then [it was] led by men such as Robert La Follette in the U.S. senate, and there were others . . . Hiram Johnson of California and William Borah of Idaho.”

“This was a tradition that had eloquent individuals who had fiercely held beliefs, and some of them had positions of power.”

Another example in this lineage is Ohio Senator Robert Taft who opposed U.S. entry into the NATO alliance and called the Korean War unconstitutional. Taft, son of the former president and a three-time national candidate in his own right, was so associated with the GOP and its Midwestern base that he was known as “Mr. Republican.”

In the modern era, this same spirit imbued the presidential campaigns of both Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul—the former in his fight against the Gulf War and George H.W. Bush’s aspirations towards a New World Order, and the latter in his opposition to the War on Terror and its resultant overseas regime changes.

Today, there is an 11-person cadre of Republican congressmen willing to put constitutional devotion, fiscal sanity, and ethical antipathy to feckless wars above political expediency…

Massie is correct. No Democrat voted to continue intervention in Yemen, and simultaneously no Democrat voted to defend withdrawing from northern Syria. Every member automatically took the inverse view of the Trump administration. Democratic opposition to war is partisan, not principled.

Hawaii representative and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard voted in favor of the Yemen resolution in February and did not vote on House Joint Resolution 77 regarding Syria. Her office did not return a request for comment to explain her absence. Gabbard has since introduced her own Syria withdrawal resolution.

Republican-turned-Independent representative from Michigan Justin Amash voted “Present” on both resolutions. Amash’s haughty attitude stems from his contention that such resolutions present a “false choice.” This did not prevent the congressman from calling President Trump a “fraud” for vetoing the same Yemen resolution he refused to support.

Both Republican voters and the broader peace movement ought to be proud that there is a resolute core of House members continuing the non-interventionist legacy of the Old Right. In the words of the late Justin Raimondo, it’s incumbent upon us to continue “reconstructing a conservative philosophy centered around liberty and the authentic American character, rather than a lust for power and an addiction to war.”

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The Hugely Important OPCW Scandal Keeps Unfolding. Here’s Why No One’s Talking About It. – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on November 18, 2019

Investigators experienced pressures against saying anything about their mounting findings that no chemical attack occurred, with Alex calling it “the elephant in the room which no-one dared mention explicitly”.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/11/17/the-hugely-important-opcw-scandal-keeps-unfolding-heres-why-no-ones-talking-about-it/

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is now hemorrhaging evidence that the US and its allies deceived the world once again about yet another military intervention, which should be a front-page story all over the world. Yet if you looked at American news media headlines you’d think the only thing that matters right now is indulging the childish fantasy that Donald Trump might somehow magically be removed from office via supermajority consensus in a majority-Republican Senate.

CounterPunch has published an actual bombshell of a report by journalist Jonathan Steele containing many revelations about the OPCW scandal which were previously unknown to the public. Steele is an award-winning reporter who worked as a senior foreign correspondent for The Guardian back before that outlet was purged of all critical thinkers on western imperialism; he first waded into the OPCW controversy last month with a statement made on the BBC revealing the existence of a second whistleblower on the organisation’s investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria.

If you haven’t been following this story you can click here for a timeline of events to fully appreciate the significance of these new revelations about the Douma incident, but just to quickly recap, in April of last year reports surfaced that dozens of civilians had been killed in that city by chemical weapons used by the Syrian government under President Bashar al-Assad. This immediately drew skepticism from people who’ve been paying attention to the narrative manipulation campaign against Syria, since Assad had already won the battle for Douma and had no strategic reason to employ banned weapons there knowing that there would be a military strike in retaliation from western powers. True to form, a few days later the US, France and the UK launched airstrikes on the Syrian government.

The OPCW released its final report on Douma in March of this year, but that report has been contradicted by two separate whistleblowers from the Douma investigation. The first surfaced in May of this year with a leaked Engineering Assessment claiming the chlorine cylinders found at the crime scene were unlikely to have been dropped from the air, and that it was far more likely that they were manually placed there, i.e. staged, by the occupying opposition forces in Douma. The second whistleblower came forward last month with a day-long presentation in Brussels before a panel of experts assembled by the whistleblowing defense group Courage Foundation, the findings of which were published by WikiLeaks.

This new report by Steele focuses on information provided to him by the second whistleblower, who is going by the pseudonym “Alex” out of fear for his safety. The information provided by Alex has turned out to be far more incendiary even than the leaked Engineering Assessment. Here are seven major highlights (hyperlinks go to the relevant article text they reference):

1- US government officials attempted to pressure OPCW investigators into believing that the Assad government was responsible for the Douma incident. The officials were placed in the same room as the investigators by the OPCW’s then-cabinet chief Bob Fairweather, which the investigators of course felt was a grossly inappropriate breach of the OPCW’s commitment to impartiality. For the record the US government already has a known history of bullying the OPCW, an ostensibly independent and international body, to force it to allow the advancement of pre-existing regime change agendas.

2- Alex reports that internal dissent on the OPCW’s official publications on the Douma incident was far more ubiquitous than previously known, saying “Most of the Douma team felt the two reports on the incident, the Interim Report and the Final Report, were scientifically impoverished, procedurally irregular and possibly fraudulent.”

3- All but one member of the team agreed with the Engineering Assessment that it was far more likely that the chlorine cylinders were manually placed on the scene by people on the ground.

4- Ian Henderson, the South African ballistics expert whose name was signed on the leaked Engineering Assessment, seems to have been responsible for leaking it. The identity of the leaker was not previously known to the public.

5- Investigators experienced pressures against saying anything about their mounting findings that no chemical attack occurred, with Alex calling it “the elephant in the room which no-one dared mention explicitly”.

6- The OPCW’s Final Report on the Douma incident explicitly claimed the investigation found “reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.” Yet according to Alex the levels of chlorinated organic chemicals found on the scene “were no higher than you would expect in any household environment” and were in fact “much lower than what would be expected in environmental samples”, comparable to or even lower than the World Health Organisation’s recommended chlorine levels for drinking water. This extremely crucial fact was actively and repeatedly omitted from the OPCW’s public reporting in a way Alex describes as “deliberate and irregular”.

7- Steele mentioned last month that he’d unsuccessfully reached out to the OPCW for comment on the second OPCW whistleblower’s revelations, and in his new article he confirms that the organisation is still dodging him, with both Fairweather and the OPCW’s media office refusing to respond. La Repubblica‘s Stefania Maurizi has also been reporting that the OPCW is dodging the press on this important matter. The OPCW did respond to press inquiries after the first whistleblower surfaced in May, but it appears that someone has given the order to cease doing so with the claims of this second whistleblower.

If there were any correlation between newsworthiness and actual news coverage, the OPCW scandal would be making front-page international headlines today. Instead, the mounting evidence that the US and its allies committed a war crime based on false information and that a supposedly independent watchdog organisation helped them cover it up barely registers. Why is that?

If you ask Syria narrative managers like The Guardian‘s George Monbiot or The Intercept‘s Mehdi Hasan, this isn’t a big story because even if Assad wasn’t responsible for the Douma incident, it doesn’t matter because he’s still a very bad man. But this is an extremely intellectually dishonest obfuscation on their part, because this has nothing to do with whether or not Bashar al-Assad is a nice person. The OPCW covering up its findings exculpating the Syrian government on Douma wouldn’t be significant because it would mean that Assad is a good person, it would be significant because it would mean the US deceived the world about yet another military intervention. And it would make it much harder for the US to manufacture public support for other military interventions in the future.

Which is of course the real reason the political/media class is ignoring the OPCW scandal. Military violence is the glue that holds the US-centralized empire together, which means it is of utmost strategic importance that that empire retain the ability to manufacture consent for military violence going forward. Because plutocrat-controlled news media outlets are set up in such a way that their employees know their careers depend on protecting the empire upon which the plutocratic class is built, the OPCW scandal is an obvious no-go for anyone who wishes to remain in the business.

The only way this story will get mainstream coverage is if it goes viral without the assistance of the mainstream media, at which point the propagandists will be forced to report on it to save face and begin the near-impossible task of trying to regain control of the narrative. This will only happen if enough of us work together to shove the OPCW scandal into mainstream attention. I think this would end up being a very good thing for the world.

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Uncle Sam’s ‘Moderate Rebels’ Make a Comeback in Syria, But Now They’re the Bad Guys | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on November 16, 2019

However, Turkey’s army is not executing the mission on the ground, instead outsourcing the job to mercenaries. While rebranded from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to the Syrian National Army (SNA) in late 2017, the Turkish-backed force now condemned for its brutal assault on the Kurds is the very same “moderate” Sunni Arab opposition supported and armed by the Obama administration earlier in the conflict. Indeed, the SNA fights under the same “revolutionary flag” flown by the FSA when it served at the pleasure of the United States.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/uncle-sams-moderate-rebels-make-a-comeback-but-now-theyre-the-bad-guys/?fbclid=IwAR2CHyQIQersf_tpJUlJhaGID5Cv9yWjO8rJLrrDY-YIoVSWsjaNU1cf_Og

By

Will Porter

Washington’s former opposition quislings in Syria have been cast in the role of villainous thugs in the corporate press as they take part in Turkey’s cross-border incursion against Kurdish fighters, despite years of fanfare from the Beltway Blob, which hailed the rebels as heroic “moderates.”

Meet the new rebels, same as the old rebels

Initially a crusade to oust President Bashar al-Assad, the American mission in Syria has seen a number of radical revisions over the years, shifting between regime change, defeating the Islamic State, protecting Israel, stopping Iranian arms shipments to Lebanon and now – the pundits say in unison – protecting Kurdish proxies from a Turkish onslaught.

Ankara’s “Operation Peace Spring,” launched October 9 to clear US-backed Kurdish groups from the Syrian-Turkish border, appears to have triggered a partial reshuffling on the battlefield, forcing Washington to vacate Kurdish areas in the northeast which long served as a bastion for US forces and, in some towns, allow the Syrian Arab Army to take its place.

However, Turkey’s army is not executing the mission on the ground, instead outsourcing the job to mercenaries. While rebranded from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to the Syrian National Army (SNA) in late 2017, the Turkish-backed force now condemned for its brutal assault on the Kurds is the very same “moderate” Sunni Arab opposition supported and armed by the Obama administration earlier in the conflict. Indeed, the SNA fights under the same “revolutionary flag” flown by the FSA when it served at the pleasure of the United States.

To the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars – much of that provided by the Saudis – Obama’s CIA carried out operation “Timber Sycamore,” training up rebel fighters and flooding the battlefield with weapons and gear. Turkey, Jordan, the UAE, Qatar, France and the UK also had a hand in the project, transforming the conflict from an internal civil war to a multinational proxy bonanza.

The CIA mission was conducted despite clear signs that the Syrian opposition was lacking in democracy-loving moderates, and lousy with radicals and head-chopping war criminals. A 2012 memo produced by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) sternly warned that a “Salafist principality” – a term synonymous with “Islamic state” – could emerge from the jihadist-dominated opposition in Eastern Syria. Astonishingly, the document deemed that a desirable outcome in terms of the Obama administration’s policy goals, as it might help to “isolate” the Syrian government.

The United States watched as the rebels plunged deeper into insurgency, stoking a conflict in which hundreds of thousands of civilians and combatants were killed on all sides, yet the weapons kept flowing. The most radical factions – including the DIA’s “Salafist Principality,” the Islamic State – were soon awash in American arms, too, as FSA units defected and joined their ranks, or sold their weapons on the black market.

Writing on the wall

Though some analysts in the DIA, not to mention in the alternative media, could see that extremist elements dominated the Syrian opposition from early in the conflict, with the benefit of hindsight that fact is even clearer now to anyone who cares to look.

In the spring of 2013, a video surfaced online underscoring the “moderate” essence of the US-backed opposition. In the clip, rebel commander Abu Sakkar, then with a FSA break-off faction, the al-Farouq Brigades, is seen consuming the heart of a dead Syrian soldier. He then calls on his cohorts to follow his example to strike fear into the apostate Alawites. Farouq, like many of the FSA’s subgroupings, later merged with even more radical factions, and for a time fought alongside the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra).

The War Party is scrambling to keep the game going, clinging to oil fields in Syria’s north and a base in the south, but the US occupation project is suffering convulsions and the conflict is entering an increasingly post-Washington phase…

it becomes clearer by the day that the United States cannot remain in Syria forever, and now simply has no productive role to play there. It never did.

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Syria’s Bashar al-Assad Reflects on Civil War, Oil, Terrorism and America in Rare Interview – Sputnik International

Posted by M. C. on November 12, 2019

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201911111077273037-syrias-bashar-al-assad-reflects-on-civil-war-oil-terrorism-and-america-in-rare-interview/

Having endured a deadly, drawn-out civil war which is gradually drawing to a close, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is facing the daunting task of reuniting and reconstructing a devastated nation, filling in the power vacuum in newly-liberated parts of the country and overcoming a Western-imposed economic blockade.

The Presidential Palace in Damascus overlooks the Syrian capital, but the most troubled parts of the war-ravaged country are out of sight.

The future of those lands, as well as the broader question of how to solve the ongoing political imbroglio and rebuild Syria, are on Bashar al-Assad’s mind as he speaks in his first interview to foreign media in over a year.

The president talks to RT’s Afshin Rattansi about the origins of the conflict that engulfed his country and the role of Western governments in it, and gives his take on the recent and future developments in Syria and elsewhere.

On the interview embargo

Bashar al-Assad, who turned 54 in September, last gave an interview to a foreign news outlet in June 2018. He says he had stopped speaking to Western media completely because of their hunt for a “scoop”, but feels now that “public opinion in the world, and especially in the West, has been shifting during the past few years”.

“They know that their officials have told them so many lies about what’s going on in the region, in the Middle East, in Syria, in Yemen,” he says of the Western public. “They know there is a lie, but they don’t know the truth; so, I think, it’s time to talk about this truth.”…

On chemical attacks

As the fighting intensified, a series of alleged chemical attacks occurred in opposition-held areas in 2013. Damascus and Moscow both suggested that the March attack in Khan al-Assal was a false flag operation by the opposition-aligned militias, which blamed the government in turn.

When UN investigators arrived on the ground to investigate the incident, their visit coincided with an even larger-scale sarin attack in Ghouta on 21 August, which reportedly led to hundreds of casualties. The United States was quick to accuse the Syrian government and was on the brink of a military intervention, averted only when Damascus agreed to surrender all of its chemical weapons…

On the US’ role in terrorist insurgence

The president reiterates a widespread assumption that those terror groups emerged as a direct consequence of the CIA arming the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s as a counterbalance to the Soviet Union.

He says of the American policy: “They invaded Afghanistan, they got nothing. They invaded Iraq, they got nothing, and they started to invade other countries but in different ways.

“The problem with the Unites States now is that they fight a survival war from their point of view because they are losing their hegemony…

On the ‘looting’ of Syria’s oil

During the war, terrorists have captured large swathes of oil-rich territories in northeast Syria; they have since been ousted from there by US-backed Kurdish militias which apparently continue extracting and smuggling out Syria’s oil.

US President Donald Trump has made it clear in recent weeks that “securing” Syria’s oil (i.e. keeping it in the hands of Kurds and away from the Damascus government) is his major priority in Syria. Moscow has recently exposed Washington’s efforts to keep the oil fields under its military control, describing them as “banditry.”…

On Turkey’s invasion

Fighting is still going on in some parts of the country, particularly in the rebel-held north-west province of Idlib and in the north-east, where Turkey recently launched an offensive against Kurdish fighters who it designates as terrorists.

It drove the Syrian Democratic Forces – a Kurdish-led alliance of militias that includes Arab groups – to seek protection from Damascus, whose forces have moved into the areas vacated by American troops and Kurds.

Al-Assad views the Turkish encroachment as a violation of Syria’s sovereignty but refuses to lay the blame on the Turks altogether.

“The Turkish people are our neighbours, and we have a common history, and we cannot make them the enemy,” he says. “The enemy is Erdogan and his policy and his coteries. So, being against those [terrorist] groups in Turkey and in Syria does not mean that we see eye to eye in another aspect, especially after he invaded Syria, publicly and formally.”

On the Kurdish deal

Al-Assad, now probably in a much stronger military position than ever in the past nine years, has ruled out a power-sharing agreement with Kurds. He says the deal with the SDF is intended for the Syrian government to restore “full sovereignty” over the previously Kurdish-held territories and pull the Kurds from the Turkey border in order to “remove the pretext for the Turks to invade Syria.”

He adds he has also invited Kurds to join the government forces; some heeded the call and some did not…

On attacks by Israel

Tel Aviv, which is at loggerheads with Damascus over the Golan Heights, has on many occasions bombed targets in Syria throughout the war that it believes are signs of Iran’s military presence in the country.

Asked if Israel provides a direct support to terrorists, al-Assad says: “Every time the Syrian army advanced against those Al-Nusra terrorists in the south, Israel used to bombard our troops, and whenever we advance somewhere else in Syria, their airplanes started committing air strikes against our army.”

In his opinion, this indicates that there was a “correlation” between the operations of Israel’s army and Syria-based terrorists.

On Iranian tanker arrest

Al-Assad took a back seat over the summer when headlines from the Middle East were mostly dominated by Iran’s stand-off with the US and the UK.

Syria was indirectly implicated in a spat between Tehran and London over a tanker seized by the Royal Marines off Gibraltar on suspicion of shipping Iranian oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

The president strikes a tone similar to that of his allies in Iran, calling Britain’s actions an act of “piracy.” He suggested that the UK “wanted to affect the people in Syria” in “the last-ditch attempt” to turn them against his government…

On rebuilding Syria

Cornered by Syrian troops and Russian airstrikes, the Idlib terrorists are posed to surrender sooner or later. And however preoccupied President al-Assad may be with the restive province, a transition from war to peace will be needed next.

That transition is complicated by international sanctions, but al-Assad is adamant that Syria will be able to overcome it – with a little help from its friends.

“We have the human resources enough to build our country,” the president reassures, “so I would not worry about this embargo, but definitely, the friendly countries like China, Russia and Iran, will have priority in this rebuilding.”

When asked whether the EU member states would be allowed to participate, he answeres flatly: “Every country which stood against Syria will not have a chance to be part of this reconstruction.”

What about Britain?

“Definitely not.”

*Daesh is a terror group banned by Russia, the US, and numerous other states.

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More

Yah, MORE OIL! That’s what I want, MORE OIL!

 

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Media Silent As Nobel Prize Winning OPCW Found “Fixing” Its Own Findings On Syria – Collective Evolution

Posted by M. C. on November 11, 2019

The U.S. also previously forced Bustani from the OPCW in 2002 for contradicting their claims on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration under Secretary of State John Bolton seemingly threatened to kill his family if he did not resign: “You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don’t comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you. We know where your kids live,” John Bolton told him.

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2019/11/09/media-silent-as-nobel-prize-winning-opcw-found-fixing-its-own-findings-on-syria/

This article was written by Alan-Macleod for mintpressnews.com where it was originally published.  Posted here with permission. 

In Brief

  • The Facts:Evidence suggests that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) deliberately suppressed evidence and testimony that contradicted the U.S. and mainstream media narratives regarding chemical weapons attacks in Syria.
  • Reflect On:Why is there so much information manipulation by mainstream media? How much of a stranglehold does mainstream media have on the perception of the masses with regards to various global events?

Douma, Syria, April 2018. Dozens of people die in a suspected chemical weapons attack in the eastern suburb of the capital Damascus. The United States and many European countries immediately identify President Bashar al-Assad as responsible for the attacks, and respond with deadly violence of their own, starting a bombing campaign against his forces. Yet new evidence leaked from whistleblowers suggests that not only is the Western story on shaky ground, but the report into the incident from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) deliberately suppressed evidence and testimony that contradicted the U.S. narrative.

Founded in 1997 to represent the collective position of its 193 member states, the OPCW oversees and verifies adherence to the strict rules that regulate the use of chemical weapons, which it hopes to eliminate.

After its fact-finding mission was complete, the OPCW issued a report on the alleged Douma attack. While far from conclusive or damning (it refused even to speculate on who was responsible for the attacks), it did suggest there was “likely” a chlorine attack carried out by dropping gas canisters from the air. This seems to contradict its interim findings that stated, “No organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties.” Nevertheless, some insinuated that the new report implicated government forces, the only groups likely to possess both the chemicals and the helicopters necessary to carry out such an attack.

But others criticized the findings. Piers Robinson, Co-Director for the Organization for Propaganda Studies and formerly Chair in Politics, Society and Political Journalism at Sheffield University claimed the OPCW report contained “significant anomalies” and was “unpersuasive, to put it mildly”, noting contradictions on analysis of chemicals used, the method of delivery, and more.

Robinson’s fears appear to have been confirmed and on October 15 an OPCW whistleblower met in secret with a panel of international experts, including the first Director-General of the organization, Dr. Jose Bustani. After seeing the evidence provided by the whistleblower, the panel came to the conclusion that the OPCW had suppressed and distorted its data, analysis and conclusions, noting that “key information” about chemical analysis, toxicology, ballistics investigations and witness statements were suppressed, “ostensibly to favor a preordained conclusion.” The panel also expressed alarm at efforts to exclude certain inspectors from the investigation or from allowing them to express differing opinions and observations. Dissenting assessments that concluded that the gas canisters were probably placed in Douma, rather than dropped from aircraft – suggesting an altogether different scenario to the one the U.S. government was presenting – were suppressed

The U.S. also previously forced Bustani from the OPCW in 2002 for contradicting their claims on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration under Secretary of State John Bolton seemingly threatened to kill his family if he did not resign: “You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don’t comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you. We know where your kids live,” John Bolton told him

The Media Demands War

The whistleblower’s testimony goes directly against the way in which corporate media presented the Douma attack. Unquestioningly accepting the Trump administration’s line, media claiming to be the custodians of truth and defenders of democracy, immediately began to clamor for a military response.

Even as the dust in Douma was still settling, the Washington Post’s editorial board claimed that “President Trump will deal another blow to US global leadership if he does not follow through” on bombing the country. The New York Times’ editorial team appeared to be trying to goad him into action, noting, “The president should know by now that tough talk without a coherent strategy or follow-through is dangerous.” In other words, “talk is cheap, it is time for action.” For the Guardian, considered at the left extreme of the mainstream spectrum, even waiting for a report to ascertain what truly happened was “irresponsible obfuscation”; its top foreign affairs commentator and former foreign and U.S. editor, Simon Tisdall insisting that, “After Douma, the West’s response to Syria’s regime must be military…there can be no more excuses.” He also condemned Obama’s hesitance to commit to more U.S. involvement in Syria as “a blot on his record.”

This article was written by Alan-Macleod for mintpressnews.com where it was originally published.  Posted here with permission. 

 

 

 

 

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