The Repression of Free Inquiry and Academic Debate Concerning 9/11 and Israel/Palestine Relations

By Prof Anthony Hall

Source

Anthony James Hall a7c9c

During the New Horizon Conference in Beirut earlier this autumn, the event’s Chair, Nader Talebzadeh, discussed with Prof. Anthony Hall the trials and tribulations of trying to render public service by contributing to public discussion on controversial topics. In the free-ranging conversation on the Nader Show, references were made to comparisons that can be drawn between the illegal tactics deployed against both discussants. In 2016 the administration of the University of Lethbridge suspended Prof. Hall without any due process whatsoever, even as in 2019 the US Treasury branch designated Dr. Talebzadeh as a “Global Terrorist” for the supposed crime of hosting intellectual exchanges at international conferences.

Both cases demonstrate the widening of the concept of “pre-emptive war” after 9/11. The concept of striking first, worrying about proof and evidence later, is fast being extended into the realm of civil society and international relations. In placing extensive emergency powers in the realm of executive discretion after 9/11, many of the protections attached to the principle that people are have been nullified and withdrawn. The war party is thus strengthened by putting in its hands many new means of unilaterally stifling the voices of its critics.

After 9/11 rights-bearing citizens were transformed into criminal suspects as police state and surveillance state tactics proliferated. The most recent examples of this approach are demonstrated by the imposition of new types of sanctions on Iranian as well as on Lebanese institutions and individuals. The attacks on the economic viability and reputations of the designated targets are advanced through unilateral actions mounted by Zionist cells deep within the US Treasury Department.

The Trump government’s imposition of sanctions without due process or any right of appeal makes a mockery of the United Nations and of international law. The degradation of the international system after 9/11 can be highlighted through the illumination of a telling contrast. Consider the differences between the unilateral impositions amounting to economic warfare on Iran and the thick walls of obstructions put in the way of the imposition of sanctions on Israel through the BDS campaign.

 

US increases funding to White Helmets who are persecuting Syrian Christians in Idlib

By Vanessa Beeley

Source

US President Donald Trump has not only reversed his “withdrawal from Syria” policy, he has recently attempted to revive the flagging credibility of the terrorist-affiliated White Helmets with a $4.5 million cash injection.

This week, the UK Minister for the Middle East Andrew Murrison met the “chairman” of the White Helmets, the extremist-connected Raed Saleh, for a discussion on the situation in Idlib. Murrison highlighted the “massive disinformation campaign” being waged against the White Helmets by Russia and Syria while never addressing the multiple accusations being made by Syrian civilians against the group which include claims of child abduction and organ trafficking.

Andrew Murrison

@AWMurrison

The White Helmets continue to provide life-saving service to the people of Syria. Today I met Chairman @RaedAlSaleh3 to discuss the terrible situation on the ground in Idlib and reiterated the UK’s unwavering support.

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White Helmets’ persecution of Syrian Christians in Idlib

On a recent trip to Latakia, I had the opportunity to interview a former resident of Yakubiyah, a predominantly Syrian Christian (Armenian and Catholic) town located west of Idlib city and around 10km from the Syrian border with Turkey. Aline K (her full name is withheld for her security) was in Lebanon when the armed gangs first entered her hometown in 2012/13 but she decided to return to Yakubiyah to assess the situation.

When Aline returned to her home she found it occupied by a mother and children. Aline asked them to leave but when she came back the next morning, armed militants had taken control of the house and Aline, like so many of her neighbours, was forced to abandon her house. She told me:

The terrorists looted all the houses, they entered houses and checked what’s inside it, another group came and took everything inside, they took everything they could carry, they emptied houses, they emptied them.

Aline described a campaign of desecration of the three churches in Yakubiyah, the removal of the ancient stone crosses and artefacts, the familiar eradication of Christian culture, that has been witnessed across Syria, by the so-called “peaceful revolutionaries” sponsored by the West. Meanwhile the West hypocritically claims to be protecting Christians while financing, arming, and promoting their persecutors. Aline and all the women in Yakubiyah were forced to wear the hijab. Aline spent most of her time in hiding, terrified to go out, fearful of reprisals or punishment. Many of the younger inhabitants fled, leaving behind only the elderly and those who did not have the means to escape.

Aline told me that the White Helmets began to appear alongside the armed groups in 2015.

They established their center in a complex of school and church buildings. When they arrived they were dressed like the terrorists, you couldn’t tell them apart but the White Helmets are a subsidiary of the terrorist groups. Most of the White Helmets were Syrian but the situation was chaotic, we didn’t know who was who, there were many foreigners among them.

According to Aline, the White Helmets were working with and for the terrorist groups. Aid received from outside was distributed first to the armed groups before meagre supplies were handed out to civilians. Aline did not see the White Helmets performing “humanitarian” activities, they were focused on further looting and the destruction of historic buildings, including the churches.

In 2018, “moderate rebel” promoter Charles Lister attempted to claim that the White Helmets were benevolent caretakers of Christian artefacts and communities in Yakubiyah. This cynical remodelling of reality was swiftly exposed by former resident and Syria commentator, Camille Otrakji.

Otrakji went on to ridicule the concept that the White Helmets were protecting or defending the cultural identity of the town’s inhabitants.

Aline also responded to the White Helmet marketing campaign, saying:

They (White Helmets and terrorists) left nothing untouched or unbroken. They were like locusts, they left no tree or building untouched. They stole our livelihood, our trees. They destroyed everything, reduced it to trash, our homes, our buildings, all destroyed.

Aline confirmed that all the White Helmets carried guns and would use them to threaten and intimidate civilians. Aline also described the supply of weapons to the terrorist group’s child soldiers, teenagers under 16, this was carried out by the White Helmets and the armed group leaders. This must raise the question of who is supplying the aid and weapons so liberally distributed to designated terrorist groups like Al Qaeda/Nusra Front present in Yakubiyah?

We should remind ourselves that the UK alone has provided £ 2.81 billion in “humanitarian” aid since 2012. Over the past 18 months alone, the UK government has poured $150 million into Idlib, funds that will be received and managed by groups like the White Helmets.

Aline demonstrated the familiar confusion that I have experienced when interviewing civilians who have lived under the occupation of armed groups and their White Helmet auxiliaries. It is hard for these traumatised individuals to differentiate between the two groups, they are interchangeable, working in lockstep to terrorise communities and individuals they perceive to be ideologically “different” or loyal to the Syrian government. It is this ambiguity over their identity that suggests that one of the many roles of the White Helmets is as a Western proxy benefactor to the armed groups they are intermingled with.

Chemical weapon hoaxes staged by extremist, sectarian White Helmets

Many journalists who have worked to expose the White Helmets perceive that the White Helmet brand has outrun its usefulness yet the billionaires and governments who have promoted and protected this group from reputation loss are still peddling the “humanitarian” image of this US/UK intelligence asset operating alongside some of the most brutal, sectarian armed groups still in Syria.

The White Helmets have been cornered alongside HTS (Hayat Tahrir Al Sham) in the “largest Al Qaeda haven since 9/11” which is Idlib in the north-west of Syria. The White Helmets operate alongside the sectarian, extremist groups and share their ideology which seeks to eliminate or subjugate all sects and minorities in Syria that do not belong to their exclusive, tyrannical club.

The obviously sectarian aspect of the group has been admitted by the British mercenary and founder of the White Helmets, James Le Mesurier, but is never picked up by the colonial media in their relentless defence of the White Helmets.

The REAL Syria Civil Defence (established in Syria in 1953), on the other hand, is made up of volunteers from across all sects and minorities in Syria and represents the pluralism and secular nature of Syrian culture and society.

Perhaps Trump’s relatively small donation of $4.5 million to this failing propaganda construct is a last ditch attempt to secure their performances in a final “chemical weapon” swansong in Idlib. This is a dangerous strategy if that is the case. After the Douma revelations and the undeniable corruption of the OPCW’s independence, I cannot help but feel that a new staged attack in Idlib would be met with more ridicule than outrage and that public consensus would be tipped resolutely in favour of Syrian sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the upholding of international law as opposed to support for further pretexts for FUKUS globalist “banditry” and war crimes in the region.

The White Helmets should be condemned as the parody of humanitarianism they really are but they should also be held publicly accountable for their role in perpetuating misery and bloodshed in Syria. Failure to do so will result in their rebranded appearance in another country and another “humanitarian” war sanctioned by their presence, another heinous crime against humanity, another oil jihad fuelled by the US coalition of terror. It is time to say “enough.”

Former British Ambassador to Syria: UK complicit in Trump’s Syria Oil Grab

By Peter Ford

Source

With the UK Parliament already on alert, how long will it be before Congress wakes up to this scandal-in-the-making?

The cat is out of the bag. The UK is potentially complicit in a war crime. With typical insouciance the U.S. military dropped this bombshell by tweet and apparently without realizing the implications for U.S. partners:

OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III

@OIRSpox

.@USArmy troops in 4-118th Infantry Regiment, @30thabct, @NCNationalGuard attached to the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, @SCNationalGuard, load M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles to support the @CJTFOIR mission in Deir ez Zor, Syria.

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OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III

@OIRSpox

We are repositioning @CJTFOIR forces to Deir ez Zor to continue partnering w/ to defeat ISIS remnants, protect critical infrastructure, & deny ISIS access to revenue sources. Mechanized forces provide infantry, maneuver, and firepower.

OIR is Operation Inherent Resolve, which is the name behind which the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS cloaks its military activities. (Think NATO wearing a thobe.) CJTFOIR is the Combined Joint Task Force for Operation Inherent Resolve.

If, as per the spokesman’s statement, the forces being redeployed to Syria’s oil-producing areas are Inherent Resolve forces, it follows that those troops are doing so in the name and under the aegis of the Coalition. Simple. Ah yes, but awkward for the British government to admit – awkward for practical, political and legal reasons. 

In practice, if this is a Joint Task Force Operation as we are told by the U.S. spokesman, it would be next to impossible for the deployment in Deir Ez Zor province to be taking place without some input from the senior UK officers embedded with the U.S. military in the Coalition Joint Task Force headquarters (the Deputy Commander is a British general) and active in carrying out Operation Inherent Resolve.

Politically this matters because hitherto all the opprobrium leveled at President Trump for allegedly ‘looting’ Syria’s oil has spared other participants in Inherent Resolve, including the UK, France, and Germany. How awkward it might be for Boris Johnson, facing an election, to find himself tarred with yet another Trump brush to put alongside Trump’s alleged grab for the UK National Health Service.

Legally this matters because if Trump puts into practice his promise to seize Syrian oil production, that will constitute, according to authoritative legal experts, a violation of international law against ‘pillaging’ enshrined in the Fourth Geneva Convention and thus constitute a war crime. Any party complicit in pillaging, and that would surely include other parties in the Joint Task Force, even if only headquarters staff and not boots on the ground, could also be culpable. The British government might find itself challenged in a UK court even if no international court could be found willing to act.

A nightmare for British government lawyers

This is the stuff of nightmares for British government lawyers.

Parliament is already alerted. The independent peer Baroness Cox prompted the following exchange with a government minister by putting down a tricky parliamentary question.

UK Parliament Syria inquiry

We can take that as an embarrassed ‘yes’.

Lord Ahmed, an FCO Minister, gave a similarly evasive answer to another question asked by Baroness Cox:

UK Parliament Syria inquiry 2

You can picture Lord Ahmed squirming.

It gets worse.

The British government may soon find itself complicit in harboring and funding terrorists because of Inherent Resolve’s involvement in pillaging Syria’s oil.

The U.S. says it will work with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to ‘safeguard vital infrastructure’ and will route proceeds of oil sales to the SDF to pay for its role, described as being anti-ISIS. What this overlooks is that the oilfields are not in Kurdish areas, which are mainly in the north, near the Turkish border, but in southern Deir Ez Zor province, which is dominated by Sunni Arabs who formed a core constituency for ISIS. This area is not far from Raqqa. The nominally SDF forces in the area, with which the U.S. will have to work, are mainly Arab and notoriously marbled with ISIS fighters. This part of the SDF has been described as ‘SDF by day, ISIS by night’. Not that they will not make excellent guards. These fighters, far from attacking the U.S., will likely be delighted to find the U.S. not only creating a safe haven for them but funding them as well.

Aiding terrorism, committing war crimes: a prospect to make any UK politician gulp. No wonder the parliamentary answers were evasive, even more so than usual with the grand yet nebulous ‘Global Coalition’. (In answer to another awkward question asking how many ISIS the Coalition had killed or detained in Syria in the last two years the FCO claimed implausibly that the government ‘does not hold this information’, no doubt to avoid having to acknowledge that the number is tiny and that the main purpose of the Coalition is to deny territory to Assad.)

With the UK Parliament already on alert, how long will it be before Congress wakes up to this scandal-in-the-making?

THE WHITE HOUSE PLAN TO STRANGLE IRAN

By Philip Giraldi

Source

 

Steven Mnuchin Benjamin Netanyahu 1bc40

There is a certain irony in President Donald Trump’s frequently expressed desire to withdraw from the endless wars that have characterized the so-called “global war on terror” initiated by George W. Bush in 2001. The problem is that Trump has expressed such sentiments both when he was running for office and also as recently as last week without actually doing anything to bring about change. In fact, the greatly ballyhooed “withdrawal” from Syria turned out to be more like a relocation of existing military assets, with soldiers moving from Syria’s northern border to take up new positions to continue control of the Iraqi oil fields in the country’s southeast. Indeed, the number of American soldiers in Syria may have actually been increased with armor units being transferred from their base in Iraq.

The all too characteristic Trumpean flip-flop on Syria may have been due to pressure from congress and the media, who were bleating over how the departure of U.S. troops was a grave mistake, but if that is true it is a tribute to the abysmal ignorance of America’s Solons on the Potomac and the presstitutes who echo their bipartisan myopia. In truth, clinging to the Syrian oil wells makes no sense just as the war in the north served no purpose. The petroleum production is not enough to pay for the occupation, even if the oil is successfully stolen and sold, by no means a certainty as the rest of the world minus Israel regards it as the property of Damascus.

And to be sure, congress-critters know all about winners and losers. The mainstream media has been full of utter nonsense, including claims that Russia, Iran and Syria were all winners due to the American pull-out while neoliberal democracy promotion in the Middle East has suffered a defeat and Israel is now under threat. And, of course, the United States has to its shame betrayed yet another ally in the Kurds while also losing all credibility worldwide.

No one has, of course, examined any of the claims being made by the interventionist crowd. How Russia has won in taking on a client state that it cannot afford, or Iran in maintaining an extraterritorial presence that is regularly bombed by Israel, is by no means clear. President al-Assad meanwhile has the not so enviable task of putting his country back together. Meanwhile the Kurds will manage by cutting their own deal with Syria and Turkey with Russia serving as guarantor of the arrangement.

The real reasons for maintaining a U.S. military presence in Syria all have to do with Israel, which has long supported a fracturing of that country into its constituent parts both to weaken it as an adversary and to enable the Jewish state to steal still more of its land, possibly to include the sparsely populated oil producing region. Israel also wants a robust American military presence in Syria to prevent Iran from turning it into a base for attacks across the border, an unlikely prospect but one that has resonated with the U.S. Congress. Indeed, deterring Iran is the reason most often cited by both Washington and Tel Aviv for American interference in Syria, where it has no other actual interest apart from an apparent demented desire to remove President Bashar al-Assad.

In fact, all of the turmoil about what Trump might or might not do, plus the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has enabled the White House to move quietly ahead with its major foreign policy objective, which is, not surprisingly, destroying Iran. On October 28th, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin was in Israel – of course – where he announced at a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States would increase economic pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, saying that  “We have executed on a maximum pressure campaign for sanctions. They have worked, they are working, they are cutting off the money. We will continue to ramp up, more, more, more …” Turning to Netanyahu he added “I just came from a very productive working lunch with your team. They gave us a bunch of very specific ideas that we will be following up.” Netanyahu responded “So I want to thank you for what you’ve been doing and encourage you, Steve, to do more – more, a lot more.”

Mnuchin the Poodle, who did not seem to know that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, was referring to the latest round of sanctions, announced in Washington three days before, that are clearly intended to make it impossible for Iran to use the international banking system to engage in any commerce at all. To achieve that objective, the Trump administration sought to exclude Iran from the global financial system by declaring that the country is a “jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern.”

The new designation, which comes on top of the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) similar designation for the Iranian Central Bank, requires U.S. banks to conduct “special due diligence” on accounts maintained by foreign banks if those foreign banks themselves hold accounts for Iranian financial institutions. The chain of secondary sanctions means that, in practical terms, U.S. banks will press their foreign correspondents to close any accounts maintained on behalf of Iranian banks so as to eliminate sanctions risk. This will further sever Iran from the global financial system, as Iran’s few remaining non-designated banks will find it increasingly difficult to maintain accounts abroad.

Treasury’s designation of Iran as a primary jurisdiction of money laundering will make it impossible for the few Iranian banks that deal internationally to maintain what limited overseas accounts continue to be available to them. The blocking of those accounts, either held directly by the Iranians or through other banks, will mean that Iranian importers will be unable to pay for medicine or food coming into the country, the so-called humanitarian goods that are normally exempted from sanctions. The new OFAC regulation does provide a framework for banks to continue hold Iranian accounts by filing detailed monthly reports, but the paperwork and other procedures are deliberately onerous and it is likely that few international banks will be interested in making the effort to comply.

That there is a coordinated scheme being pursued to continuously increase the punishment of the Iranian people was also suggested last Wednesday when the Trump administration joined six Persian Gulf nations in sanctioning over two dozen corporations, banks and entities that, it was claimed, are connected to Iranian support of Hezbollah and other groups the Department of State designates as terrorists. In a statement, the Treasury Department announced the sanctions mark the “largest joint designation to date” by the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC) — which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. According to the Treasury Department, several of the companies sanctioned were financially supporting a subsidiary of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the U.S. designated as a terrorist organization earlier this year.

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, on his tour of the Middle East, remarked that “This action demonstrates the unified position of the Gulf nations and the United States that Iran will not be allowed to escalate its malign activity in the region.”

Make no mistake, the United States is conducting an economic war against Iran that is undeniably aimed at making the Iranian people so miserable that they will rise up in revolt. And the punishment being meted out will hurt the poorest and weakest most of all while also hardening support for the regime rather than weakening it. Not only is the White House action directed against Iran immoral, it is also illegal as Iran and the United States are not at war and Iran does not threaten Americans in any way. The whole affair is just one more example of how powerful domestic constituencies, in this case that of Israel, have distorted U.S. foreign policy and driven it in directions that are both shameful and that serve no plausible national interest.

The Real US Mission in Syria

By Stephen Lendman

Source

US involvement in Syria has nothing to do with regional peace, stability and security, nothing to do with combatting ISIS.

It’s all about killing a nation, destroying its sovereignty, partitioning it for easier control, removing its legitimate leadership, installing puppet rule, plundering it, exploiting its people, eliminating an Israeli rival, isolating Iran, and enriching the US military, industrial, security complex from endless aggression.

On Thursday, US war secretary Mark Esper repeated what he said days earlier. Heavily armed Pentagon forces will continue controlling Syrian oil producing areas, on the phony pretext of “deny(ing) their access to ISIS — the scourge created and supported by the US he failed to explain.

During a Thursday joint press conference with his Australian counterpart Linda Reynolds at the Pentagon, Esper said the following:

“Our National Defense Strategy emphasizes that our principal concern is the Indo-Pacific region” — to counter China’s sovereign independence, its growing regional and global influence, it economic, financial, military and technological development, he failed to explain, adding:

“I need to redeploy (Pentagon) forces to the area” to increase the US military footprint in a part of the world not its own.

Asked to comment on Trump’s remark about wanting to take Syrian oil, Esper said the following:

“Yeah, the – the mission is, as – as I’ve spoken to, and I’ve conveyed it to the commander, and that is, we will secure oil fields to deny their access to ISIS and other actors in the region (sic), and to ensure that the SDF has continued access, because those resources are – are important, and so that the SDF can – can do its mission, what it needs to do in the region (sic).”

Asked “(i)s that a new mission, he failed to say it’s part of the overall Pentagon objective to transform Syria into a US vassal state, plunder its resources, and achieve the other aims explained above.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the US is stealing and smuggling $30 million worth of Syrian oil monthly “under the pretext of fighting ISIL.”

Separately, Zakharova explained that US/NATO-supported al-Qaeda-connected White Helmets are planning a new chemical weapons attack to be falsely blame on Damascus, saying:

“New confirmations of the information about the White Helmets’ activities emerge all the time.”

“According to the existing information, which the Syrian government regularly provides to the United Nations, the White Helmets, jointly with terrorists, are preparing new chemical provocations in Syria. They obviously aim at disrupting the peace process in the country,” adding:

They’re working with (US-supported) al-Nusra jihadists in Idlib province, the last major terrorist stronghold in the country — these elements heavily armed with US, other Western, Turkish, and Saudi-supplied weapons.

So-called ceasefire in northern Syria is illusory. On Friday, Russian reconciliation center head General Yuri Borenkov said 14 ceasefire breaches occurred in the last 24 hours alone — in Hama, Idlib, Aleppo, and Latakia provinces, adding:

Syrian forces in “Acre, Tel Rasha and Zuweiqat in Latakia province have been shot at by (US-supported) Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (al-Nusra) and foreign militants.”

On Friday, Southfront reported that “al-Qaeda (and) Turkish-backed radical militants launch(ed) (a) large-scale attack in northern Latakia” province “on Syrian military positions and civilian areas,” adding:

The assault “reportedly (was) led by” (US/Ankara-supported) al-Nusra jihadists, along with “(o)ther factions of the terrorist group and elements of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA).”

“The new attack…coincides with a Turkish offensive on Kurdish-majority areas in northeast Syria. Radical SNA militants are leading the offensive, committing war crimes against civilians in the region.”

The struggle to liberate Syria from foreign occupation and plunder has miles to go because of US, NATO, Turkish, Saudi, and Israeli rage to eliminate the Syrian Arab Republic as it now exists.

Baghdadi Alive or Dead Matters Little: ISIS Remains a US Creation

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Baghdadi Killed b0dac

Like his predecessors, Trump operates as a frontman for the military, industrial, security complex, Wall Street, and other monied interests.

As commander-in-chief, he continues endless US wars of aggression in multiple theaters, along with economic terrorism on Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, and other nations on the US target list for regime change — including China and Russia.

His vow to bring all US troops home from Syria was a mirage. In March 2011, the US preemptively attacked the country for regime change, wanting pro-Western puppet rule replacing its sovereign independence.

Illegal Pentagon/CIA occupation of northern and southern parts of the country continues with no near-term prospect for conflict resolution because dominant bipartisan hardliners in Washington reject restoration of peace and stability to all US war theaters.

Longstanding US policy aims for dominion over planet earth, its resources and populations.

Nations not controlled by the US are vulnerable to preemptive attacks or war by other means — what the scourge of imperialism is all about, humanity’s greatest curse.

On Monday, US war secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Mark Milley held a joint press conference.

Esper repeated Trump’s dubious claim about eliminating alleged ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Like DJT, he provided no evidence of Baghdadi’s death. The remains of whoever US forces reportedly killed were buried at sea so no independent DNA testing or other identity checks could be conducted, clear evidence of deception and coverup.

According to forensic pathologists, positive IDing of human remains can take days or weeks to complete. Trump claimed Baghdadi was killed overnight Saturday — in a remote Syrian location nowhere near a forensic lab.

Yet on Monday, US war secretary Mark Esper dubiously claimed DNA testing showed remains tested were Baghdadi’s — suggesting most likely whoever was killed was someone else.

Baghdadi alive or dead matters little. ISIS remains a US creation, its activities orchestrated and controlled by its Pentagon and CIA handlers.

US officials and establishment media pretend Pentagon forces combatted and destroyed the “caliphate.” Washington actively supports it, along with likeminded terrorist groups, in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere.

Esper’s remarks were an exercise in mass deception, falsely claiming US operations in Syria “enable(d) the enduring defeat of ISIS,” adding:

“(R)epositioning (US) forces within the country is intended to posture us to continue this mission and give the president options, (including) execut(ion) (of) counterterrorism operations.”

The reality on the ground is polar opposite his above deception. Part of the US mission includes controlling and looting Syrian oil — on the phony pretext of protecting it from ISIS, enabling private interests and the CIA to profit from plundering Syrian resources, along with denying them to Damascus to benefit the nation and its people.

Esper: “(W)e will respond with overwhelming military force against” any threat to US occupation of Syrian territory and control of its resources.

Milley made similar remarks, stressing “counterterrorism operations” in Syria and other US war theaters that don’t exist.

During a Q & A session, reporters failed to challenge the US war of aggression and occupation of sovereign Syria threatening no one.

No one questioned Trump’s dubious account of Baghdadi’s alleged elimination or that the remains of whoever was killed were buried at sea to prevent independent DNA checking.

Nothing was asked about the looting of Syrian oil belonging to the nation, not an illegal foreign occupier.

Asked whether Pentagon troops might confront Russian or Syrian forces militarily, Esper curtly responded: “Yes.”

Last week, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov called US plunder of Syrian oil “state-sponsored banditry,” along with denouncing US protection of smugglers involved in looting Syrian resources.

Syria remains an active war theater, its people terrorized by the presence of US forces and jihadist foot soldiers.

As long as total US control of Syria remains unattained, dark forces in Washington rule out the restoration of peace and stability to the nation and its long-suffering people.

What Keeps the Rich Up at Night Should Provide Inspiration to the Poor

By Danny Haiphong

Source

Halloween House 83e6d

Halloween in America is a time to be frightened of horror films, costumes, and the health consequences of consuming too much candy. Horror films and costumes represent a fictionalized terror, one that deeply satisfies and reminds us of our own vulnerability. U.S. imperialism is a centuries-long nightmare that goes bump in the night. The terror of U.S. imperialism is very real and much scarier than anything Halloween has to offer. At the foundation of U.S. imperialism is a broad array of contradictions between the rulers of imperialism and those who suffer from imperial rule. It is only logical, then, that what keeps the rich up at night should provide inspiration and fuel to the cause of the poor and oppressed.

The ruling class in the United States, that .001 percent of the population which owns the means of production, takes on a “god”-like stature in American life. Billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and the rest are largely hidden from public life. Instead, a host of hirelings in the corporate media and in the halls of Washington articulate their ideological and policy interests. Celebrities glorify the lifestyle of billionaires through corporate-controlled distributors of culture also known as the television, film, and music industries. Politicians further normalize the “godliness” of the ruling class by ignoring their influence or defending their rule as a matter of democracy and “national security.” Of course, the deification of class rule would not be possible without the repressive and white supremacist state apparatus which imposes a regime of terror on the most dispossessed and darker hued peoples of the planet.

The United States, as the commander in chief of imperialist plunder, makes it as difficult as possible for poor workers and oppressed peoples to find inspiration from the maladies plaguing the rich. Corporate media and official Washington ignore or demonize those activists and journalists who fight to turn the nightmares of the rich into opportunities for social transformation. In Latin America, for example, millions are standing up to neoliberal rule. Bolivia and Argentina have elected leftist governments in recent weeks. The people of Chile have taken to the streets for over three weeks in opposition to neoliberal austerity. These developments have received little attention and zero positive coverage in the United States.

The surge of leftism in Latin America is not the only nightmare keeping the U.S. ruling class up at night. Imperialism, the system of monopoly and finance capital that the ruling class presides over, is in a state of crisis on several fronts. On the military front, Syria’s resilience in the face of eight years of proxy war has left the U.S. with few options to achieve its ultimate objective of full spectrum dominance in the region. The U.S.’s regime change war in Syria has failed and the head-chopping jihadists that the CIA and the Pentagon empowered are fighting alongside Turkey in a final standoff with the Syrian Arab Army. Trump’s mere signaling toward pulling U.S. troops from occupied Northern Syria has inspired great fear in the Pentagon and the military industrial complex generally. The Pentagon has since convinced Trump to double down on its occupation of Syria to ensure that the vast oil reserves in its northern territory cannot be used for reconstruction and development.

Military expansionism is often thought of a show of strength. However, in the case of the rich, reliance upon military force both at home and abroad help mask the broad decline of imperial rule. U.S. capitalism has become a short-term boon for the few and a long-term burden for the many. The U.S.’ share in the world economy is a fraction of what it was when it became the imperial superpower following World War II. Overall growth is virtually frozen. Workers haven’t seen a pay raise in forty years. Poverty, debt, and precarity are the only guarantees for nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population living under dead-end capitalism. Destroying the lives of whistleblowers like Julian Assange through massive investments in military and surveillance technology helps maintain the rule of the rich in the face of mass misery.

Economic decline and military expansionism are nightmares not because profits aren’t being made, but because the prospect of rebellion and unrest is the most frightening nightmare scenario for the rich. The U.S. capitalist economy is due for a periodic economic crisis on top of the 2007-2008 crash that workers have yet to recover from. Bernie Sanders and the revival of the word “socialism” among young workers are outgrowths of dead-end capitalism. The 2020 election has placed a spotlight on the fissures within the Democratic Party, once known for its iron-clad ability to keep social movements and left politics within the safe and corporate-controlled confines of the electoral arena. Democratic Party and Republican Party lieutenants are no longer seen as legitimate representatives of working-class Americans, which is why Sanders has become the most popular politician in the country and why Donald Trump, a billionaire with no political credentials, will likely win another presidential term should the Democratic Party choose to decapitate the Sanders campaign for a second time in four years.

While the many nightmarish aspects of system decline keep the rich up at night, they should inspire poor and working-class people to rise up against the system. Yet mass uprisings in the United States are not a common occurrence. Bernie Sanders is waging an electorally based movement inside of a corporate-controlled party. Labor unions such as the Chicago Teachers Union have used the weapon of the strike to unite oppressed communities to fight privatization and cutbacks to education. But this model is not the norm across the country. Despite an upsurge in labor unrest, many unions opt for a business model of organization that privileges compromises with the boss over the development of grassroots movements that threaten the entrenched power of capitalist bosses at the point of production. The UAW’s recent agreement that maintains a tiered workforce among other concessions to the bosses show the struggling occurring inside the American labor movement.

This is not to say that the strikes that occurred in Chicago schools and GM plants across the U.S. were not sources of inspiration. It is important, however, to analyze why the crisis of U.S. imperialism has not led to a massive rebellion inside of the United States. The fact remains that the working class in the United States is the most alienated class in human history. White supremacy and corporate power have never been more entrenched anywhere else in the world. Workers not only contend with their bosses, but also the largest military and police-state ever known. Workers not only search for a way to live under a low-wage capitalist system, but also do so in the presence of six corporations which own ninety percent of all media in the United States. There is thus no shortage of despair and distraction to keep workers in the United States from standing up to the powerful and uniting with the powerless.

Just like everything on this planet, systems are subjected to laws of scientific development. Systems rise and then fall due to their own inherent contradictions. The crises described in this article only scratch the surface of the contradictions facing U.S. imperialism at this juncture of history. Many of these contradictions are developing in a manner that should inspire workers and poor people in the U.S. to become agents of history. The people of Chile the people of Bolivia, and the people of Syria are revolting against the same system that is incarcerating, surveilling, and impoverishing workers in the United States. Their example should provide as much inspiration to U.S.-based social justice efforts as they inspire fear and dread in the rich.

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