Preferred Conclusions: The BBC, Syria And Venezuela

Preferred Conclusions: The BBC, Syria And Venezuela
Media Lens

As the late media activist Danny Schechter wrote, when it comes to the corporate broadcast media: ‘The more you watch, the less you know.’

Schechter’s observation only fails in one key respect: ‘mainstream’ output does tell us a lot about which foreign governments are being lined up for regime change.

In 2013, it was remarkable to see the BBC reporting claims from Syria on a daily basis in a way that almost always blamed the Syrian government, and President Assad personally, for horrendous war crimes. But as the New York Times reported last month, the picture was rather less black and white. The US was embroiled in a dirty war that was ‘one of the costliest covert action programs in the history of the C.I.A’, running to ‘more than $1 billion over the life of the program’. Its aim was to support a vast ‘rebel’ army created and armed by the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to overthrow the Syrian government.

The BBC’s relentless headline stories were mostly supplied by ‘activists’ and ‘rebels’ who, in fact, were militants attempting to overthrow Assad, and whose claims could not be verified. Veteran Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn described the problem afflicting virtually all ‘mainstream’ reporting on Syria:

All wars always produce phony atrocity stories – along with real atrocities. But in the Syrian case fabricated news and one-sided reporting have taken over the news agenda to a degree probably not seen since the First World War… The real reason that reporting of the Syrian conflict has been so inadequate is that Western news organisations have almost entirely outsourced their coverage to the rebel side.

There was a simple reason why ‘rebel’ claims were uncontested: they originated from ‘areas controlled by people so dangerous no foreign journalist dare set foot among them’. The additional point being that ‘it has never been plausible that unaffiliated local citizens would be allowed to report freely’.

This was obvious to everyone, doubtless including the BBC, which nevertheless produced a tsunami of ‘rebel’-sourced propaganda. Crucially, these stories were not balanced attempts to explore the various claims; they sought to establish a version of events justifying regime change: ‘rebels’ and ‘activists’ were ‘good’, Assad was ‘bad’ and had to go. Journalist Robert Parry explains:

The job of the media is not to provide as much meaningful information as possible to the people so they can exercise their free judgment; it is to package certain information in a way to guide the people to a preferred conclusion.

The BBC campaign was clearly inspired – whether consciously or otherwise – by a high-level decision to engineer regime change in Syria.

The key moment arrived in August 2013 when the US came very close to launching a major attack against Syrian government forces, supposedly in response to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons in Ghouta, Damascus. Only the UK parliament’s rejection of the case for war and warnings from US generals on doubts about the claims, and likely fallout from regime change, prevented Obama from attacking.

Particularly disturbing was the fact that, as the possibility of a direct US regime change effort faded, so too did the steady flow of BBC atrocity claims. It was as if, with the goal temporarily unattainable, the propaganda tap was simply closed. It was later re-opened ahead of an anticipated, pro-war Clinton presidency, and then as part of an attempt to push president-elect Trump to intensify the Syrian war.

‘Well, Shock, Shock, It’s The Oil!

This year, we have witnessed a comparable BBC propaganda blitz on Venezuela centred around opposition claims that President Maduro has ‘eroded Venezuela’s democratic institutions and mismanaged its economy’.

The BBC campaign has again been characterised by daily reports from Venezuela presenting a black and white picture of the crisis: Maduro ‘bad’, opposition ‘good’. The BBC has again promoted the sense of an escalating crisis that will inevitably and justifiably result in regime change. It is no surprise, then, to learn from the Independent:

The head of the CIA has suggested the agency is working to change the elected government of Venezuela and is collaborating with two countries in the region to do so.

CIA director Mike Pompeo said he was ‘hopeful that there can be a transition in Venezuela and we the CIA is doing its best to understand the dynamic there’.

No eyebrows were raised in a US political culture obsessed with unproven claims of Russian interference in last year’s US presidential elections. Last month, Pompeo’s boss, President Trump, commented on Venezuela:

We don’t talk about it but a military option, a military option is certainly something that we could pursue.

Pompeo’s and Trump’s statements indicate a continuation of US policy that supported a 2002 coup that temporarily overthrew (then) President Chavez and which ‘was closely tied to senior officials in the US government’.

Political analyst Ricardo Vaz notes the ironic fact that ‘many of the opposition leaders’ denouncing Maduro’s alleged attacks on democracy, including Henrique Capriles, Julio Borges, Leopoldo López and Maria Corina Machado, ‘were directly involved in the 2002 coup attempt’.

US interest in Venezuela was explained with admirable candour in a classified US government document from December 12, 1978:

‘OUR FUNDAMENTAL INTERESTS IN VENEZUELA ARE:

1. THAT VENEZUELA CONTINUE TO SUPPLY A SIGNIFICANT PROPORTION OF OUR PETROLEUM IMPORTS AND CONTINUE TO FOLLOW A MODERATE AND RESPONSIBLE OIL PRICE POSITION IN OPEC…’

According to the respected BP ‘Statistical review of world energy’ (June 28, 2015), proven oil reserves in Venezuela are the largest in the world, totalling 297 billion barrels.

The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, naturally shares Trump’s and Pompeo’s view of the country, commenting:

We are evaluating all of our policy options as to what can we do to create a change of conditions where either Maduro decides he doesn’t have a future and wants to leave of his own accord or we can return the government processes back to their constitution. (Our emphasis)

The fact that Tillerson was chairman and chief executive officer of the world’s largest oil company, ExxonMobil, from 2006-2016, having joined the company in 1975, might give cause for pause in considering the ‘change of conditions’ he has in mind. In 2007, the Evening Standard reported:

BP and the other majors are taking a hard line with Chavez, demanding conditions and compensation for [Venezuelan policy changes]… Exxon Mobil chief executive Rex Tillerson said that unless the negotiations produce a profitable proposal, “we won’t be staying”.’1

And, of course, Trump has left us in no doubt about who is the rightful owner of the world’s oil:

I wasn’t a fan of Iraq, I didn’t want to go into Iraq. But I will tell you – when we were in, we got out wrong. And I always said, in addition to that: “Keep the oil!”… So we shoulda kept the oil. But okay, maybe we’ll have another chance… But the fact is: we shoulda kept the oil.

Our search of the Lexis database (August 30, 2017) for UK national press articles mentioning ‘Tillerson’, ‘Exxon’ and ‘Venezuela’ over the seven months since Tillerson was made Secretary of State generated precisely three hits. None of these discussed oil as a possible motive driving US policy – a taboo subject.

Investigative journalist Greg Palast describes why and when Venezuela became an Official Enemy of the West:

Well, shock, shock, it’s the oil! Chavez, back in 2000, 2001, decided that he wasn’t going to give it away anymore… Big US oil companies were paying a royalty for Venezuela’s super-heavy oil of about 1 per cent – 1 per cent! – okay. And for the regular oil, the heavy oil, it was 16 per cent. So the oil companies were keeping 84 per cent, and Chavez said: “You’re going to have to pay 30 per cent, you can only keep 70 per cent of our oil… You gotta split off a bit for the people of Venezuela.” And, of course, that made him enemy number one – not to Americans, but to America’s landlords, the oil companies.

Regional specialist Mark Weisbrot commented recently on the Venezuelan opposition’s US allies:

These right-wing U.S. politicians – with much cooperation from all of the U.S. administrations of the past 15 years – have consistently fought to overthrow the Venezuelan government. This is all they can think about, regardless of the consequences of escalating violence, increased suffering, or even civil war.

Weisbrot’s overly-optimistic conclusion:

The U.S. strategy of “regime change” has contributed to the death of hundreds of thousands of people — mostly civilians — in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. It has also had a hideous history in the Americas. Hopefully something has been learned from these crimes and tragedies.

The BBC’s Propaganda Blitz

In numerous ‘reports’, the BBC has presented damning criticism of the Venezuelan government, often with no or nominal balance. We will sample below from a large number of similar offerings with a few related examples from other corporate media.

On May 6, the BBC published a piece titled: ‘Venezuela protests: Women march against Maduro’. The article reported:

The US has also expressed concern about what UN ambassador Nikki Haley called a “violent crackdown”.

At least 36 people have died and hundreds have been injured in weeks of protests.

This gave the impression that a government ‘crackdown’ was responsible for the deaths. But the truth was more mixed. In July, Venezuela Analysis reported that since violent anti-government protests began on April 4, there had been 14 deaths caused by the authorities and 23 direct victims of opposition political violence, with 61 deaths disputed or unaccounted for.

Like so many BBC articles, this one focused on claims that Venezuela is a ‘dictatorship’:

“The dictatorship is living its last days and Maduro knows it,” former MP Maria Corina Machado told AFP news agency at the women’s march.

The BBC even included a comment presumably intended to remind readers of the infamous toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad (in fact orchestrated by US forces):

Meanwhile video posted on social media purportedly showed the pulling down of a small statue of Hugo Chavez in the western town of Rosario de Perija.

In similar vein, a May 9 BBC piece included the comment:

The secretary general of the Organisation of American States (OAS) likened the country to a dictatorship.

While recognising that the Maduro government certainly merits criticism for mishandling the current situation, ‘both economically and politically’, political analyst Greg Wilpert noted that ‘none of the arguments against the democratic legitimacy of the Maduro government hold much water’. Moreover, ‘polls repeatedly indicate that even though Maduro is fairly unpopular, a majority of Venezuelans want him to finish his term in office, which expires in January 2019’.

Western media devoted intense coverage to Maduro’s decision to hold elections for a Constituent Assembly in July. In response, the Trump administration extended sanctions. Mark Weisbrot commented:

The pretext for the sanctions is that the new Constitutional Assembly will essentially carry out a coup d’etat, abolishing the National Assembly – which the opposition won by a wide margin in December 2015 – and allowing President Nicolas Maduro to cancel presidential elections, which are due next year.

But as Weisbrot noted, such a cancellation ‘will not happen automatically’ as a result of the Constituent Assembly election, and so ‘it does not make sense that the sanctions should be triggered by the election itself’.

On May 11, the BBC published ‘Inside Venezuela’s anti-government protests’. The first comment relayed by the BBC:

There’s no freedom of expression here in Venezuela. There’s no freedom of any kind.

Media analyst Joe Emersberger describes the reality:

The biggest lie told over the past fifteen years about Venezuela is that its media is cowed by the government and that it has rendered the opposition voiceless.

He adds:

In fact the protests and the leading opposition leaders’ take on the protests are being extensively covered on the largest private networks: Venevision, Televen, Globovision. If people abroad sampled Venezuela’s TV media directly, as opposed to judging it by what is said about it by the international media and some big NGOs, they’d be shocked to find the opposition constantly denouncing the government and even making very thinly veiled appeals to the military to oust Maduro.

The BBC’s second quoted opinion:

‘e’re here to put an end to the dictatorship in Venezuela, so that our children can grow up in a free Venezuela.

There was no balance and there have been no similar compilations looking ‘inside’ Venezuela’s pro-government protests. One would hardly guess that Maduro was elected president on April 14, 2013 in a democratic election.

In a May 12 report, ‘Venezuela protests: a week in pictures’, the BBC included two successive photo captions, which read:

People angry with the government of President Nicolas Maduro have been taking to the streets almost daily since the beginning of April.

And:

Many have been injured, and there have been close to 40 protest-related deaths.

This again suggested that people ‘angry with the government’ had been killed. Opposition violence has included bomb attacks on police, grenades thrown at the supreme court building from a helicopter, a government supporter burned alive, shootings, attempted lynchings, and so on. This violence was not mentioned by Paul Mason when he condemned ‘Maduro’s crackdown’ in the Guardian. A New York Times op-ed under the title, ‘Venezuela Needs International Intervention. Now.,’ commented in similar vein:

President Nicolás Maduro has responded with an iron fist. More than 50 people have been killed, 1,000 injured, and 2,700 arrested…

The bomb attack on Venezuelan National Guard soldiers shown in this video, severely injuring several of the soldiers and cheered by people watching, would, of course, have been described by all US-UK media as a ‘terror attack’, if it had happened in the West.

The Guardian published a similar photo gallery of anti-government protestors, but not of pro-government protestors. The compilation came with remarkable captions of this kind:

Drawing inspiration from Ukraine’s 2013-14 revolt, young protesters in Venezuela carry Viking-like shields as they battle government security forces during protests against President Nicolás Maduro

One photo caption read:

‘”Miraflores on fire” is written on the front of this shield. Miraflores Palace is the president’s official workplace’

Another:

The opposition says President Maduro has created a dictatorship. The last parliamentary vote held in 2015 gave the opposition a majority but the government has repeatedly blocked any attempts to oust Maduro

The BBC’s May 16 piece was titled, ‘Venezuela: Teenager killed as mass protests rage’. A May 18 BBC piece maintained the sense of developing crisis: ‘Venezuela: Soldiers sent to quell looting amid protests’. On May 22, a BBC report opened with these words:

“Venezuela is now a dictatorship,” says Luis Ugalde, a Spanish-born Jesuit priest who during his 60 years living in Venezuela has become one of the South American nation’s most well-known political scientists.

The BBC later offered another ‘inside’ look at anti-government protestors: ‘Apathy to activism: Venezuelan students on why they protest.’ Mario Bonucci, rector of the University of the Andes, was quoted:

This is an institution where you can speak your mind freely without fear of repercussion and that’s uncomfortable for this government.

A remark that again ignored the fact that widespread criticism of Maduro’s government is published and broadcast by many Venezuelan media. The BBC offered no balancing comment.

The 2002 Coup: Telling Omissions

On July 9, the BBC wrote of opposition leader Leopoldo López:

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has praised the decision to release from prison one of the country’s main opposition leaders, Leopoldo López…

Mr López was serving a 14-year sentence for inciting violence during anti-government protests in 2014, a charge he has always denied. The Supreme Court said he was released on health grounds.

There is rather more to be said about Lopez. Venezuela Analysis commented:

Lopez is also well known in Venezuela for his active participation in the April 2002 coup against the democratically elected president Hugo Chávez. During the coup, using his authority as Mayor of Chacao, he led the illegal arrest of Minister of Justice Ramón Rodríguez Chacín.

The report continued:

In a joint appeal with Maria Corina Machado, López called on citizens to join his “La Salida” campaign (“The Way Out”), described the government as a “dictatorship” and called on Venezuelans to “rise up” emulating the example of January 23, 1958 (when a popular uprising overthrew the Perez Jimenez dictatorship). The message was clear: Venezuela was a dictatorship, the government had to be overthrown by force.

The Guardian also reported on Lopez:

Security agents have since seized two opposition leaders from their homes after they called for protests against the vote.

Joe Emersberger pointed out some telling omissions:

Umm no. Leopoldo Lopez – while already under house arrest – made a video in which he called for a military coup. Don’t try this while under house arrest in the UK, where you can get put away for Facebook posts advocating a riot (even if you are not under house arrest at the time).

Writing for OffGuardian, Ricardo Vaz asked of corporate media performance:

Why is there never a mention that the opposition leadership is full of protagonists from that US-backed military coup that ultimately failed? Quite simply because it would undermine the entire “democracy vs. dictatorship” propaganda narrative.

Numerous journalists have attempted to use the Venezuelan crisis to also attack Jeremy Corbyn as part of the relentless smear campaign against him. In The Times, David Aaronovitch wrote of the Venezuelan revolution:

I believe we need to know why you [Jeremy Corbyn] think it’s failed.

This from the columnist who has tirelessly backed wars of ‘liberation’ generating mass death and utter disaster in Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Conclusion:  Enforcing “The Truth”

The goal of a mass media propaganda campaign is to create the impression that ‘everybody knows’ that Saddam is a ‘threat’, Gaddafi is ‘about to commit mass murder’, Assad ‘has to go’, Corbyn is ‘destroying the Labour party’, and so on. The picture of the world presented must be clear-cut. The public must be made to feel certain that the ‘good guys’ are basically benevolent, and the ‘bad guys’ are absolutely appalling and must be removed.

This is achieved by relentless repetition of the theme over days, weeks, months and even years. Numerous individuals and organisations are used to give the impression of an informed consensus – there is no doubt! Once this ‘truth’ has been established, anyone contradicting or even questioning it is typically portrayed as a shameful ‘apologist’ in order to deter further dissent and enforce conformity.

A key to countering this propaganda is to ask some simple questions: Why are US-UK governments and corporate media much more concerned about suffering in Venezuela than the far worse horrors afflicting war-torn, famine-stricken Yemen? Why do UK MPs rail against Maduro while rejecting a parliamentary motion to suspend UK arms supplies to their Saudi Arabian allies attacking Yemen? Why is the imperfect state of democracy in Venezuela a source of far greater outrage than outright tyranny in Saudi Arabia? The answers could hardly be more obvious.

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UK Column News converstion with journalist Eva Bartlett, recently returned from North Korea

Mike Robinson and Patrick Henningsen with today’s UK Column News, including a conversation with investigative journalist Eva Bartlett, recently returned from North Korea.


PHOTOS FROM A WEEK IN THE DPRK

Children in Pyongyang Orphanage before performing drumming. August 29, 2017.

From August 24-31, I visited the DPRK (North Korea) as part of a very small delegation interested in hearing from North Koreans themselves about their lives, the US sanctions and incessant war manouevres, their history and more. A sample of photos and videos, with more to follow soon.

Please bear in mind that this country is among the most vilified on earth–along with Syria and formerly (now-destroyed) Libya, to name a few. Western media does not speak of North Korea’s people, nor of the amazing infrastructure, free housing and medical care, impressive agriculture and green energy, and the many things the people of the DPRK have done so well which I’ll elaborate on over the coming days.

Pyongyang, and much of North Korea, was leveled in the 50s by US bombings, with reportedly just one or two low-level buildings standing. After destroying and murdering in DPRK, America slapped sanctions on the country. How the people have continued, and made huge advances, is worthy of respect. The absurdly cartoonish “news” one hears in western media about North Korea is meant to detract from America’s crimes against the Korean people, and to garner support for yet another American-led slaughter of innocent people.

One high school student commented something to the effect: “Why doesn’t anyone put sanctions on America?” Too true.

I’ll be adding more photos to this album as internet and time allow, with hopes of offering a starkly different view than the corporate media rendition of North Korea.

**A few good resources on North Korea and the US aggressions:

1. Michel Chossudovsky’s overview, including citing western media sources acknowledging the US destruction of North Korea:

“After destroying North Korea’s 78 cities and thousands of her villages, and killing countless numbers of her civilians, [General] LeMay remarked,“Over a period of three years or so we killed off – what – twenty percent of the population.” (See War Veteran Brian Willson. Korea and the Axis of Evil, Global Research, April, 2002)

According to Dean Rusk, who later became secretary of state, the US bombed “everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another.”  

It is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8 – 9 million people during the 37-month long “hot” war, 1950 – 1953, perhaps an unprecedented percentage of mortality suffered by one nation due to the belligerence of another.” (See Brian Willson. Korea and the Axis of Evil, Global Research, April, 2002)

Even Newsweek tacitly acknowledges that the US committed extensive war crimes against the Korean people:

Screenshot Newsweek 4 May 2017

While Newsweek in this article is telling the truth, more generally the US media has failed to inform Americans regarding the extensive war crimes committed against the Korean people by successive US administrations.

Collective Memory of the People of North Korea

It is not in America’s collective memory as pointed out by Newsweek, but it is certainly in the collective memory of the people of the DPRK.

There is not a single family in North Korea which has not lost a loved one during 37 months of extensive US carpet bombing (1950-53). Put yourself in their shoes.

Pyongyang capital of North Korea, in 1953, almost entirely destroyed by U.S. bombing during the Korean War.

*

2. Stephen Gowans’ “Washington Considers Military Action Against North Korea to Force Regime Change
“In addition to direct military action from 1950 to 1953 against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the country’s official name), US aggression has included multiple threats of nuclear annihilation, and the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons into South Korea until 1991. Re-deployment is now under consideration in Washington.

Most US nuclear threats against Pyongyang were made before North Korea embarked upon its own nuclear weapons program, and constitute one of the principal reasons it did so. The country’s being declared an original member of the Bush administration’s Axis of Evil, along with Iraq and Iran, provided an additional impetus.

…North Korea has additionally been menaced by annual US-directed war games involving hundreds of thousands of troops, carried out along North Korea’s borders. While US officials describe the twice yearly assembling of significant military forces within striking range of the DPRK as routine and defensive, it is never clear to the North Korean military whether the US–directed maneuvers are defensive exercises or preparations for an invasion. “

*

3. The International Action Center: “U.S. troops have occupied south Korea since 1945; 28,500 are still there. There are 38 U.S. military installations in south Korea, plus one militarized golf course. (lifeinkorea.com) The golf course is the station for the first Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in south Korea, a U.S. radar system opposed by the Korean people, in the north and south, as well as China.

Every year, the U.S. carries out massive war exercises in and around the Korean peninsula. This year’s Operation Key Resolve/Foal Eagle, which began in March and continued until April 24, has involved hundreds of thousands of troops from the U.S. and south Korea.

The south Korean news agency Yonhap reported on March 13: “The U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six will join the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises between the two allies for the first time, along with the Army’s Rangers, Delta Force and Green Berets.” Yonhap quoted an unnamed military official as saying, “A bigger number of and more diverse U.S. special operation forces will take part in this year’s Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises to practice missions to infiltrate into the North, remove the North’s war command and demolition of its key military facilities.”

*

4. Christopher Black’s “North Korea: The Grand Deception Revealed

“In 2003 I had, along with some American lawyers, members of the National Lawyers Guild, the good fortune to be able to travel to North Korea, that is the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, in order to experience first hand that nation, its socialist system and its people. The joint report issued on our return was titled “The Grand Deception Revealed.” That title was chosen because we discovered that the negative western propaganda myth about North Korea is a grand deception designed to blind the peoples of the world to the accomplishments of the Korean people in the north who have successfully created their own circumstances, their own independent socio-economic system, based on socialist principles, free of the domination of the western powers.

At one of our first dinners in Pyongyang our host, Ri Myong Kuk, a lawyer, stated, on behalf of the government, and in passionate terms, that the DPRK’s Nuclear Deterrent Force was necessary in light of US world actions and threats against the DPRK. He stated, and this was repeated to me in a high level meeting with DPRK government officials later on in the trip, that if the Americans would sign a peace treaty and non-aggression agreement with the DPRK, it would de-legitimize the American occupation and lead to reunification. Consequently there would be no need for nuclear weapons. He stated sincerely that, “It’s important that lawyers are gathering to talk about this as lawyers regulate the social interactions within society and within the world,” and added just as sincerely that, “the path to peace requires an open heart.”

It appeared to us then and it is apparent now, in absolute contradiction to the claims of the western media, that the people of the DPRK want peace more than anything else so they can get on with their lives and endeavours without the constant threat of nuclear annihilation by the United States. But annihilation is what they in fact face and whose fault is that? Not theirs.

We were shown American documents captured in the Korean War that are compelling evidence that the US planned an attack on North Korea in 1950. The attack was carried out using American and south Korean forces with the assistance of Japanese Army officers who had invaded and occupied Korea decades before. The North Korean defence and counter-attack was then claimed by the US to be “aggression” which the United States manipulated in the media to get the UN to support a “police operation,” the euphemism they chose to use to carry on what was in fact their war of aggression against North Korea. Three years of war and 3.5 million Korean deaths followed and the US has threatened them with imminent war and annihilation ever since….”

*
Related:

I had an interesting encounter with a Korean man I had met when exiting the flight from DPRK on August 31st. Then we had just exchanged some brief words. Later in Beijing, we met by chance and spoke about North Korea.

As it happens, he had visited 28 years prior, and as it further happens he was born in the south and lived 20 years of his life there before America. He speaks the language and on this recent trip interacted with North Koreans one-on-one.

In sum, he was very impressed with the changes since he’d been there nearly 3 decades ago. And while he was born in the south, and lives in America, he does not support the US rhetoric around the north.

Hopefully we’ll have a proper interview/talk when both back at respective homes.

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أسرار الباصات الخضر

أسرار الباصات الخضر

أغسطس 1, 2017

ناصر قنديل

أسرار الباصات الخضر

السرّ الأول أنّ الذين صعدوا إليها منسحبين من جبهات القتال كانوا قد كتبوا على جدران الأماكن التي قاتلوا فيها حتى انسحبوا، لن تمرّوا إلا على أجسادنا، وسنقاتل حتى آخر نقطة دم، ولكنهم كذبوا فعندما اشتدّت الحرب وحمي الوطيس والتحم الرجال بالرجال والرصاص بالرصاص، قرّروا الرحيل، وتذكّروا أنّ هناك مدنيّين، حتى حيث لا وجود لمدنيّين قرّروا الرحيل، فسقطت عقيدتهم وكذبتهم، وانكشفت حقيقتهم. وها نحن نذكّر جنود الجيش السوري كيف صمدوا تحت حصار قاتل واستشهدوا، لأنهم قرّروا أن يكونوا صادقين في مواقع لا يمكن عسكرياً حمايتها ولا الفوز في الحرب بها، لكننا نذكر أيضاً كيف أنّ التذرّع بالتفوّق الناري أو العددي لا يفسّر نتائج المواجهات في الحروب عندما تحضر العزائم. فالجيش الإسرائيلي بكلّ جبروته وقف عاجزاً عن التقدّم مئات الأمتار في بنت جبيل ومارون الراس وعيتا الشعب وأمامه بضع عشرات من المقاومين.

السرّ الثاني هو أنّ كلّ الذين أنكروا وجود إرهاب في سورية يشكّل السمة العابرة للتشكيلات المسلحة التي قاتلت بوجه الدولة السورية وجيشها، ويتحدثون اليوم عن حرب على الإرهاب، هم منافقون، من الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما وإدارته ووزيرة خارجيته هيلاري كلينتون يومها إلى كلّ حلفائه، وصولاً للفريق اللبناني الذي أدمن الإنكار لكلّ شكل من وجود الإرهاب، وأصرّ على توصيف القتلة والسفاحين حتى يوم اختطاف الجنود اللبنانيين الذين نحتفل بعيد جيشهم اليوم، بأنهم «ثوار» ويمثّلون الشعب السوري، وطالب بعضهم بمنحهم ما يشبه ما حصلت عليه منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية في السبعينيات، واستعمل وصف «النصرة لاند» كاستعارة لصيغة «فتح لاند» في العرقوب بجنوب لبنان، وهؤلاء ليسوا ولم يكونوا يوماً ولن يكونوا شركاء صادقين في حرب على الإرهاب، فهم أدمنوا مع الإنكار لعبة الاستثمار وبعضهم لم يخجل من القول يوماً إنه يريد سلاح الإرهاب لتوازن السلاح بين الطوائف، وبعضهم يقول اليوم إنه يريد حرب الجيش اللبناني على داعش ليس للخلاص من الإرهاب ولا انتصاراً للجيش وثقة به، بل لتوازن مشابه مع إنجاز حزب الله بوجه النصرة.

السرّ الثالث أنّ العدد الذي فاق العشرة آلاف للراغبين بركوب الباصات رحيلاً إما أنه لعناصر النصرة ومسلحيها، وهذه فضيحة للنصرة وهيبتها العسكرية، فيكفي أن يكون منهم آلاف هزموا واستسلموا ليكون الحديث عن قوة تنظيم القاعدة كذبة كبيرة بعد حسم الساعات الذي أنجزه حزب الله، أو أنّ العدد المتضخّم هو للنازحين في المخيمات، ومرة ثانية إما أنّ هذا العدد هو لمناصري النصرة. وهذا يُسكت أصحاب أكذوبة الحديث عن بُعد إنساني خالص لمخيمات النازحين، التي يدّعي بعض اللبنانيين والمنظمات الأممية أنّ الجيش اللبناني وأجهزته الأمنية قد اعتدوا عليها ظلماً، وها هي تُخرج من بين خيمها الآلاف الذين يقرّرون الرحيل، حيث يرحل تنظيم القاعدة، وإما أنهم فعلاً نازحون سئموا حياة النزوح ويتوقون للعودة إلى بلدهم، وفي أيّ ظرف، فهو أفضل من ذلّ النزوح. وهذا يكشف أكذوبة رفض البحث بتنظيم عودة النازحين إلا عندما يُنجز الحلّ السياسي في سورية، ويسقط أكذوبة الحديث عن القلق على أمن العائدين وبعضهم سيعود إلى القلمون، حيث الجيش السوري وبرضاهم.

– كثيرة هي بعدُ الأسرار التي تحفظها الباصات الخضر، وستُدلي بها وقت الحاجة…

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Sanctions against China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. Part of a Global Military Agenda. Pentagon’s World War III Scenario

Global Research, July 29, 2017

Washington announced sweeping sanctions to be imposed on three countries: Russia, Iran and North Korea, following the US House of Representatives vote to impose a three countries’ sanctions “package”.  

While the justifications are diverse and unrelated, all three countries are from a military and geopolitical standpoint on the US nuclear “hit list”. They are considered as de facto rogue states, enemies of America.

The Congressional bill invoked respectively Tehran’s support of terrorism, Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential elections, and North Korea’s ICBM missile tests.

The pretexts with regard to Russia and Iran are largely fabricated. The main sponsor of  Islamic terrorism is US intelligence.

The “package sanctions regime” is intimately related to the Deep State military agenda. Moreover it is worth noting that the legislation included a (rather dangerous) clause to “disapprove of any moves the president makes to end the sanctions… and build a better relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

This clause is visibly intended by the neocon hawks in Washington to constrain the powers of the White House. In the words of Paul Craig Roberts, they are intended to “Put Trump in a box.”

The Congressional bill still requires the endorsement of President Trump, who might exercise his veto.

The China Sanctions Regime

While China was excluded from the Congressional three countries’ “package”, Washington formally intimated in early July that sanctions would also be imposed on China in response to China’s increased bilateral commodity trade with North Korea.

China is described as an ally of North Korea. While the US sanctions regime is not officially directed against the Chinese government, selected Chinese banks and trading companies involved in the financing of China-DPRK commodity trade are potential targets of US reprisals.

Having lost patience with China, the Trump administration is studying new steps to starve North Korea of cash for its nuclear program, including an option that would infuriate Beijing: sanctions on Chinese companies that help keep the North’s economy afloat.

The insinuation is crystal clear: curtail your trade with North Korea, or else…

Washington has visibly opted for a coordinated package of sanctions which is intimately related to its global military agenda. Is this sanctions regime a preamble to military action?

From a US foreign policy perspective, China, Russia and Iran constitute a geopolitical “block”. China and Russia are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement (SCO), allies in the fields of trade, energy as well as military cooperation, Iran is slated to become a full member of the SCO.

Economic sanctions are indelibly tied into military and intelligence planning. In many regards the sanctions “package” (in derogation of international law) constitutes an act of war.

Russia and China have a longstanding comprehensive military cooperation agreement. Ironically, barely acknowledged by the Western media, a month prior to the House of Representatives vote, Beijing and Moscow signed (June 29, 2017) a  so-called roadmap on military cooperation for 2017-2020, which in essence constitutes a rebuttal to US-NATO threats including the US sanctions regime.

Moreover, both China and Russia have economic as well as defense cooperation agreements with North Korea.

Russia signed in November 2015 an “agreement on the prevention of dangerous military activities” with the DPRK, largely directed against the militarization of the Korean peninsula. In turn, China has a bilateral military cooperation agreement with North Korea which is part of the 1979 Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty,

The US sanctions regime is not only directed against those “three plus one” countries, it is also directed against countries which have bilateral trade, investment or military cooperation agreements with China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.

Weakening the European Union

Moreover, the sanctions regime is quite deliberately intended to weaken the European Union, specifically in relation to the sale of Russian natural gas to the EU.

Punitive measures are also envisaged directed against European companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which is used to transport natural gas from North Western Russia to Germany.

What this suggests is that EU member states which enter into trade with Russia would be subjected to sanctions.

France has raised doubts about “the legitimacy of new US sanctions against Iran and Russia, saying they do not conform to international law due to their extraterritorial reach” (Press TV)

The Pentagon’s Military Agenda

This sanctions package directed against four enemies of America is related (and “supportive”) of US and allied military deployments in major regions of the World:

  • Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Balkans (against Russia),
  • Caucasus (against Russia and Iran)
  • Syria and Iraq (against Iran and Russia),
  • Militarization of the Persian Gulf (against Iran)
  • South China Sea (against China as part of the Pivot to Asia)
  • East Asia and the Korean peninsula including the THAAD deployment (against North Korea, China and Russia).

Vigilant Shield 07:

Irmingham [Iran], Nemazee [North Korea], Ruebek [Russia], Churya [China]

From a strategic point of view, the Pentagon’s World War III war “scenarios” which have been conducted on regular basis for more than ten years include these four countries, which are now the object of US sanctions.

The details of these WWIII war games scenarios –which involve the use of nuclear weapons– invariably remain classified. In 2006, the Vigilant Shield 2007 war games involving four fictitious countries were leaked to the Washington  Post in an article by William Arkin

Vigilant Shield exercise (Vigilant Shield 07), which simulated the outbreak of a major war, contemplated four hypothetical enemies: Ruebek (Russia), Churya (China), Irmingham (Iran) and Nemazee (North Korea).

Examine the details below of the World War Scenario (Road to Conflict). Is there a relationship?

Is the US sanctions regime directed against four countries in any way related to the war games and routine World War III scenarios conducted by the Pentagon against these four countries. 

Further analysis is contained in Michel Chossudovsky, Towards a World War III Scenario, The Dangers of Nuclear War, Global Research, (2011) (click cover to order from Global Research)

Irmingham [Iran], Nemazee [North Korea], Ruebek [Russia], Churya [China]

Details and Sequencing: [emphasis added]

“• Road to Conflict (RTC): 11 Sep – 15 Oct 06

 – Initial Irmingham Enrichment I&W [indications and warning]
– Initial Ruebeki & Irmingham Involvement
 – Ruebek I&W, PACFLT [U.S. Pacific Fleet] Sub Deployments
– Initial Nemazee ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] I&W
– Initial MHLD [homeland defense?] I&W
 – Strategic IO [information operations (cyber warfare)] operations (Ruebek & Churya)
– Ruebek & Irmingham Conduct Joint AD [air defense] Exercise

• Phase 1 / Deployment: 4 – 8 Dec 06

 – Rogue LRA [Russian long-range aviation] w/CALCM [conventional air launched cruise missile] Launch
– Continue Monitoring Strategic Situation
– Continue Monitoring Nemazee Situation

  • Possible Nuclear Testing
  • Probable ICBM Preparation

– Continue Monitoring MHLD Situation

• Five VOIs [vessels of interest]
  • Churya Flagged VOI into Dutch Harbor Supports BMDS [ballistic missile defense system] Threat to Ft Greely

 – Continue Monitoring IO Activities
 – Nemazee Conducts SLV [space launch vehicle] Launch – 8 Dec 06

• Phase 2 Minus 42 Days:

 • Additional Nemazee ICBM Shipments to Launch Facilities
• RMOB [Russian main operating bases] Acft Conduct LR Navigation Flights
• AS-15 [nuclear armed cruise missile] Handling at RMOBs

 – Minus 41 Days:
 • Additional Nemazee ICBM Preps at Launch Pad # 2
– Minus 40 Days:
  • Activity at Nemazee Nuclear Test Facilities
– Minus 35 Days:
  • DOS [Department of State] Travel Warning
 – Minus 30 Days:
• Ruebek LRA Deploys Acft to Anadyr & Vorkuta

• Phase 2 Minus 30 Days:

 • Growing International Condemnation of Ruebek
• Ruebek Deploys Submarines

 – Minus 20 Days:
  • Nemazee Recalls Reservists
 – Minus 14 Days:
• DOS Draw-down Sequencing
– Minus 13 Days:
  • Ruebek Closes US Embassy in Washington DC
 – Minus 11 Days:
• Nemazee Conducts Fueling of Additional ICBMs
  • Ruebeki Presidential Statement on Possible US Attack

• Phase 2 Minus 10 Days:

 • POTUS Addresses Congress on War Powers Act

– Minus 6 Days:
  • Ruebek President Calls “Situation Grave”
 – Minus 5 Days:
• CALCM Activity at Anadyr, Vorkuta, and Tiksi
• Ruebeki SS-25 [nuclear armed mobile ICBMs] Conduct out of Garrison Deployments
• Nemazee Assembling ICBM for Probable Launch
– Minus 4 Days:
  • Ruebek Closes US Embassy in Washington DC
  • Ruebek Acft Conduct Outer ADIZ [air defense identification zone] Pentrations
• Mid-Air Collison w/NORAD Acft During ADIZ Penetration

• Phase 2 Minus 4 Days:

 • Nemazee ICBM Launch Azimuth Threatens US

 – Minus 3 Days:
 • NATO Diplomatic Efforts Fail to Diffuse Crisis
 • USAMB to Ruebek Recalled for Consultation
 • POTUS Addresses Nation
 – Minus 2 Days:
 • Nemazee Leadership Movement
 – Minus 1 Day:
 • Ruebek Expels US Mission

• Phase 2 / Execution: 10 – 14 Dec 06

 – Pre-Attack I & W
 – Imminent Terrorist Attack on Pentagon Suggests Pentagon COOP [continuity of operations plan]
– Nemazee Conducts 2 x ICBM Combat Launches Against United States

– Ruebek Conducts Limited Strategic Attack on United States
• Wave 1 – 8 x Bear H Defense Suppression w/CALCM
• Wave 2 – Limited ICBM & SLBM Attack
– 2 x ICBM Launched (1 impacts CMOC [Cheyenne Mountain], 1 malfunctions)
– 2 x SLBM Launched Pierside (1 impacts SITE-R [“Raven Rock” bunker on the Maryland-Pennsylvania border], 1 malfunctions)
– 3 x Bear H from Dispersal Bases w/ALCM (Eielson AFB, CANR, Cold Lake)
– US Conducts Limited Retaliatory Attack on Ruebek
• 1 x ICBM C2 Facility
• 1 x ICBM Against ICBM Launch Location
• Phase 2 / Execution:
 – Ruebek Prepares Additional Attack on United States
• Wave 3 – Prepares for Additional Strategic Attacks
  – 1 x ICBM Movement, NO Launch
– 3 x SLBM PACFLT Pierside Missile Handling Activity (NO Launch)
– 6 x BEAR H (launch & RTB [return to base]) w/6 x ALCM (NO launch)”

 emphasis added

 

They Won’t Tell the Truth About Syria Who is Behind the Push for WW3 2017

Too Much Exceptionalism Hath Made the US Elites Mad

Source

 What kind of person really wants to see relations between the world’s biggest nuclear armed countries deteriorate? Who wants to see the situation between the US and Russia, which has become at least as dangerous as the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, get even worse? Or to put it another way, who would not welcome a genuine dialogue between the leaders of these two great countries? The answer to these questions is of course those who have completely lost their ability to reason.

Given the unprecedented propaganda and irrational absurdities coming out of the US over the past year or so, not even the most optimistic of people could have had very high hopes for the Trump-Putin meeting at the G20 Summit on Friday. The toxic atmosphere in the US, plus the fact that Donald Trump seemed to have capitulated to the Deep State within weeks of his inauguration, meant that any real thawing in relations was highly unlikely.

Yet as it turned out, the meeting was far better than even the biggest pessimist could have imagined. Scheduled to speak for just 30 minutes — which itself was a bad joke, given the urgent need for the leaders of these two nations to have serious and constant communication — they actually went on for over two hours and apparently cordially discussed a broad range of issues.

For any normal person, this would be seen as A VERY GOOD THING. But of course there are many who regard it as A VERY BAD THING.

For instance, on the idea of forming a joint Cyber Security unit so that each country could have a guarantee that the other would not “hack” the others’ election, the plan was met with derision in the US. Senator Marco Rubio, for instance, suggested that such an initiative would be like partnering with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on chemical weapons.

This is a particularly funny retort for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Syrian government’s stockpile of chemical weapons was destroyed by a team of US Army civilians and contractors aboard a US vessel, the Cape Ray, in 2013-14. Secondly, the US still has a stockpile of around 3,000 tons of chemical weapons, despite being a signatory to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, which committed it to the destruction of their entire stockpile of chemical weapons within ten years. The complete destruction of the entire arsenal is now due to be completed around the year 2023. And thirdly, the country that leads the world in cyber-spying, monitoring, election interference and regime change by a wide margin is … none other than the country in which Mr Rubio is a senator. Let’s file his remarks in that fat ‘ole bin marked “Hypocrisy”.

Yet Mr Rubio’s remarks pale into insignificance to those uttered by Nikki Haley, the country’s second most important “diplomat”. Here’s what this “diplomat” had to say after her boss’s boss’s apparently cordial and constructive meeting with Mr Putin:

“We can’t trust Russia, and we won’t ever trust Russia. But you keep those that you don’t trust closer so that you can always keep an eye on them and keep them in check.”

Think about that. Let it sink in. After a period of the worst relations between the two countries since — well since ever — the US President finally got to sit down and talk to his Russian counterpart, and by all accounts it went well. Which would be a cause for any normal person to be thankful. And yet just hours after it finished, the US’s second highest “diplomat” blabs her mouth off that the US will never trust Russia! I shudder to think that when looking for a diplomat, Mr Trump saw Mrs Haley as the best person to represent his country.

It would be pointless to go through all the inanities uttered by the stenographers in the so-called free media. Suffice it to say that predictably, rather than welcoming the potential for a relaxation of tensions, they spent their time chiding Mr Trump for “being soft”, for apparently “being played”, and of Mr Putin “winning”. What is WRONG with these people? Why does everything have to be about winning and losing? Can they not envisage discussions where grown-up people discuss differences and try to work towards resolution without it being about ‘who comes out on top’? Apparently they cannot, for reasons I’ll come to in a moment.

And of course they continued to display the effects of the debilitating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder they’ve been suffering from for almost a year, which compels them to talk incessantly about “hacking” and “meddling”, but without ever asking a single challenging question, such as:

  • Did the 17 intelligence agencies really all agree with a high level of certainty that Russia hacked the election? (Answer: no)
  • Did the FBI actually examine the DNC servers? (Answer: no)
  • Who actually did examine the DNC servers (Crowdstrike) and do they have a reliable track record of such things? (Answer: no)
  • Was there any hard evidence presented of Russian hacking in the January 6th DIA report? (Answer: no)
  • Has the US ever interfered in the elections of other countries, including Russia’s? (Answer: yes — multiple times)

Words almost fail me. Faced with a choice between the two leaders striking up a rapport and finding some common ground, or the two of them squaring up to each other in a confrontation that would only increase tensions and push us closer to a potential nuclear confrontation, many (if not most) leading US politicians, plus their media lackeys, preferred the second option.

Last year, as the United States for the second time broke an agreement that they had signed with Russia to separate the so-called moderate rebels from groups like al-Nusra, the Russian Foreign Minister described the US administration using a word meaning “not agreement capable”. But it now looks far worse than that. It is not just that the US administration is “not capable” of agreement, it appears to be “not rational-thought capable”. Almost the entirety of Congress and the media seem to think that any détente between Mr Trump and Mr Putin, between the US and Russia, between the two biggest nuclear armed countries on the planet is tantamount to treason.

It is abundantly clear that the political and media elites in the United States are out of control. They have long since left the land of rationality, and have driven over the cliff where they are now floundering in the air of unreason before going splat on the rock of total insanity. They have so imbibed the heresy that the United States is “Exceptional” and “Indispensable” that they are now “not rational-thought capable”. They are incapable of conceiving of an agreement which does not either maintain or increase US hegemony. They are incapable of conceiving of talks with another country where their opposite numbers are treated as anything other than subservient. They are incapable of welcoming a thawing of relations between the leaders of two countries that have enough nuclear weapons to wipe out the lives of millions.

And because of their madness, they are driving the US and Russia towards confrontation. Don’t believe it? The Russians do. Here’s what one of their top generals, Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir, said back in April:

“The [US] missile defense system considerably shifts the balance of offensive weapons, allowing the planning of a more efficient pre-emptive strike. Russian military experts believe that the US hopes to gain the capability to strike any region of the world, including Russia and China, with nuclear-tipped missiles with impunity.”

Do you understand what he’s saying and how serious this all is? Unless the leaders of these countries talk to each other, as equals, with a view to reaching tangible agreements, and without their own bureaucracies and media back at home doing all they can to prevent this from happening, then the Russians will continue to view US plans as heading inexorably towards having the capability to launch a pre-emptive strike, with any response neutralised. Only someone that has let the ideology of exceptionalism blind them to what this really means, could fail to welcome the baby steps towards détente that were seen in Hamburg.

In short, too much exceptionalism hath made the US elites mad. They must be stopped.

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