Parasites Which Take Over Their Hosts

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The fact that Israel receives billions each year from the US taxpayer as our politicians in Washington endlessly pledge their devotion to the “special relationship,”  has led many observers to liken the pro-Israel lobby in America to a parasite that has invaded a host.

It’s a powerful analogy, so much so that even books have been published expounding at length upon the idea.

Most of us, when we hear the word “parasite,” think of such creatures as ticks, tapeworms, or giardia, which, upon gaining a foothold, may feed upon a host’s blood or gastrointestinal microbiota.

But within the world of parasitology, we come across the phenomenon of parasites that literally take over the host, compelling it into certain acts and behaviors that it otherwise would not exhibit. In many cases these actions can be quite pronouncedly detrimental to the host’s own interests.

In other words, there are certain parasites that can, strictly speaking, literally take control of the host’s mind.

Examples of this in the biological world can be found herehere, and here.

One such example is a microbial creature known as Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that infects rats and mice. Upon ingestion, it produces a condition known as toxoplasmosis, the main symptom of which is that the rodent is drawn to cats, losing its natural fear of them. This occurs because the rodent, under the influence of the parasite, becomes sexually attracted to a pheromone in cat urine.

In inducing this effect, the Toxoplasma gondii is clearly acting in its own interests rather than the mouse’s. The parasite’s goal is to get inside a cat’s stomach–because cats are the only medium in which the parasite can sexually reproduce. But of course it produces a pattern of behavior in the rodent that eventually leads to the latter’s own destruction.

Another example is the Glyptapanteles, a genus of wasp that is classified as a parasitoid, a parasite that kills its own host. This wasp will single out a baby caterpillar and lay its eggs upon the rather hapless creature, and as the caterpillar grows, so do the eggs–inside the caterpillar.

When the eggs, or larvae, reach a certain stage of development, they will emerge from the caterpillar, literally boring through its skin, to reach the outside, and once out of the caterpillar they then settle nearby and begin pupation, i.e. the metamorphic transformation from a pupa to an adult insect.

It is at this point that the caterpillar becomes the protector of the wasp pupae. It covers them with silk in order to protect them until they reach maturity. It refuses to eat until they hatch, and if another insect approaches it will fight it away with violent head swings. Eventually, after the adult wasps emerge from their pupae, it dies.

The photo I’ve posted above shows such an enslaved caterpillar–one that has become obsessed with protecting the wasp pupae. The video below shows a similarly-situated caterpillar in action–basically fighting wars on the wasp’s behalf:

It’s of course one way of looking at America’s endless wars on behalf of Israel, particularly the war now taking place in Syria.

In a post yesterday I included a video which featured an edition of the RT program “Cross Talk.” One of the guests on the program is Mohammed Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran.  I usually find Marandi’s commentaries interesting, and his February 15 appearance on Cross Talk was no exception. In one segment of the show, he commented how “everything that the United States does in this region is about Israel.”

In a later segment in the same show, Marandi commented that “one wonders who is in charge in the United States.” He could perhaps just as easily have contemplated the question of who is in charge–the host or the parasite:

A bit earlier I alluded to a type of parasite known as a “parasitoid.” This is a parasitic organism that kills its own host. If we think of Israel and its lobby as a parasite, the question might leave us wondering, then, if the calamitous effects we are seeing in our country today are a result of the deleterious actions of a parasitoid.

Or maybe to put it another way: will the fighting of needless wars abroad and the seemingly endless attacks on the First Amendment here at home eventually do us in completely–much like the mice running up to befriend the cats or the caterpillars banging their heads on behalf of the Glyptapanteles wasp?

If you look at the caterpillars infected with the Glyptapanteles, the mice infected with the Toxoplasma gondii, or numerous other animals vitiated and contaminated by parasitoids, it is, as Marandi puts it, hard to know “who is in charge.”

This is something all Americans need to think about. Our own survival could be at stake.

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Falsehoods and Lies: Inciting War Is a War Crime

Falsehoods and Lies: Inciting War Is a War Crime

EDITORIAL | 16.02.2018

Falsehoods and Lies: Inciting War Is a War Crime

The torrent of reckless false accusations against Russia made by the US and its NATO allies is hitting warp speed.

This week saw more baseless allegations of Russian cyber attacks on American elections and British industries.

There were also crass claims by US officials that Russia was behind so-called sonic attacks on American diplomats in Cuba.

Then a Dutch foreign minister was forced to resign after he finally admitted telling lies for the past two years over alleged Russian plans for regional aggression.

Elsewhere, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed this week during a tour of the Middle East that “the primary goal” of his nation’s involvement in Syria is “to defeat” Islamic State (Daesh) terrorism.

This is patently false given that the US forces illegally occupying parts of Syria are launching lethal attacks on Syrian armed forces who are actually fighting Islamic State and their myriad terrorist affiliates.

Meanwhile, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Russia of blocking peace efforts in Syria – another audacious falsehood to add to her thick compendium of calumny.

Perhaps the most barefaced falsehood transpired this week when French President Emmanuel Macron candidly admitted that his government did not have any proof of chemical weapons being used in Syria.

“Today, our agencies, our armed forces have not established that chemical weapons, as set out in treaties, have been used against the civilian population,” said Macron to media in Paris.

His admission follows that of US Defense Secretary James Mattis who also fessed up earlier this month to having no evidence of chemical weapons being deployed in Syria.

“We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used,” said Mattis to reporters at the Pentagon. “We do not have evidence of it.”

Yet, only a few weeks ago, the French and US government were condemning Syrian President Assad for alleged use of chemical weapons by his forces. France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also accused Russia of bearing responsibility because of its alliance with Damascus.

But now we are told that the French and US governments do not, in fact, have any evidence concerning chemical weapons in Syria.

This is in spite of US President Donald Trump unleashing over 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles on the Arab country last April in purported reprisal for the “Syrian regime” dropping chemical munitions on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province on April 4 2o17.

Macron went on to make the absurd declaration this week that “if” chemical weapons were found to be used then he would order military strikes on Syria.

Both Syria and Russia have categorically and repeatedly rejected claims of using chemical weapons, pointing out that Syria’s stockpile was eliminated back in 2014 under a UN-brokered deal.

When Mattis said “we have reports from the battlefield” he was referring to groups like the CIA covertly-sponsored terrorist outfit Al Nusra Front and their media outlet, the so-called White Helmets.

Western news media footage over the past two weeks seemingly depicting Syrian and Russian air strikes on civilian areas is sourced from the White Helmets. This group is embedded with Al Nusra.

The same warped narrative claiming Syrian and Russian violations during the liberation of Aleppo from the terrorists at the end of 2016 is being played out again in East Ghouta and Idlib. And again the Western news media are amplifying the dubious propaganda from the likes of the White Helmets as if it is independent, verified information.

This week in Paris Abdulrahman Almawwas, the so-called vice president of the White Helmets, which also go by the name of Syria Civil Defense, told the Reuters news agency that France and other NATO powers must intervene in Syria.

“It’s time to take real action and not just talk about red lines,” said Almawwas, who was clearly disappointed after hearing Macron’s admission of no evidence for chemical weapons.

Tellingly, the White Helmets’ envoy was hosted by senior French government officials while in Paris, including Macron’s chief diplomatic advisor, according to Reuters.

He also went on to complain – unwittingly – that the White Helmets have received less funding from foreign governments this year compared with last year.

Reuters reported: “Almawwas said the group’s financing for 2018 from foreign governments [sic] had dropped to $12 million from $18 million a year earlier.”

According to the White Helmets’ own website, the foreign governments whom they receive financing from include: the United States, Britain, France, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Canada, among others.

In other words, this so-called humanitarian relief organization is a NATO-sponsored entity, which evidently operates freely in areas of Syria controlled by Al Nusra and other internationally proscribed terror groups.

And this is the same “source” which has been used by the NATO governments and Western news media to disseminate claims about Syrian state forces using chemical weapons against civilians – claims which senior US and French officials are now belatedly negating.

What we have here is demonstrable peddling of falsehoods and lies by Western governments and their news media.

Not just with regard to the war in Syria, but on a range of other international incendiary issues, as noted above.

Accusing Russia of aggression, nuclear threats, sabotaging elections, targeting civilian infrastructure which could  “kill thousands and thousands” (British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson last month), or any number of other wild allegations, is symptomatic of sociopathic lying by Western governments.

The reckless falsehoods and lies espoused by the US and its European allies are made possible because of the reprehensible servility of Western media not holding to account the wild claims that they willfully disseminate.

This relentless propagation of lies is an appalling incitement to tensions, conflict and war.

Engaging in war fever is not only irresponsible. It is in fact a war crime, according to Nuremberg legal standards.

INTERVIEW ON PRESS TV: EVA BARTLETT: EVERYTHING YOU’VE BEEN TOLD ABOUT SYRIA IS A LIE

In Gaza

Published on Feb 15, 2018

 Independent journalist Eva Bartlett explains how the mainstream media lies about events in Syria.
RELATED LINKS:

Lulwa Kasawat:

“No one is listening Eva!! I told many people how the demonstrators under my house would scream and shout and the army would not respond, then they would throw rocks at them, and still they would not respond. One soldier got his head injured and blood burst and they rushed him away, but still they did not respond, until a shot was fired from the crowd, or elsewhere…and they the army rushed off and brought extra help.

Once it started from the other side again, it really started. Many a time the news (al Jazeera) would be stating that there is a big demonstration in Kudseiyeh (where I live) in the square (where my house overlooks) and that there is shooting and bombing of the army against innocent civilians, and I would look at the window and no sound and no gatherings. Shortly after, in an hour, some 15-20 young men, would gather chanting against the regime…but the army would not do anything, they wouldn’t even be there.

I went back to Syria when this started as I wanted to be with my family, so I stayed there from June 2011 to Sept 2012. My house was in Kudseiyeh and that is a troubled area, from the start, they were trying to get it in the equation, however the residents resisted despite all attempts. Then lots of outsiders came in, and they brainwashed the younger generation of that town, at one point I had to leave my house as it was very bad. The rebels kept shooting and telling everyone to flee because the army was going to bomb us.

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*photo Lulwa Kawasat

I got a missile in my house, it came from below, up through the children’s bedroom, up through the roof. Thank God it did not explode. We weren’t there at the time but we have the shell. If it was the army it would have come from above. It is still unstable there. But they have signed a truce, which the rebels keep breaking…

-Channel 4 News’ Krishnan Guru Murthy refused to “get into history” over his lies, much less to acknowledge that the “moderates” he propagated about were Al-Nusra.
-MintPress Meets The Father Of Iconic Aleppo Boy, Who Says Media Lied About His Son, June 9, 2017, MintPress News
-Exploitation of children in propaganda war against Syria continues, Jun 19, 2017, RT.com
-Meet Aylan & Omran: Child victims used for Syrian war propaganda, June 12, 2017, RT Op-Edge
-Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda, Nov 2, 2017, RT Op Edge
-Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria, Oct 10, 2015, Dissident Voice
-Syria Dispatch: Most Syrians Support Assad, Reject Phony Foreign ‘Revolution’, Mar 7, 2016, SOTT.net

-Western media ignoring reality on the ground in Syria: terrorism and anti-Syria sanctions which help terrorists, Mar 3, 2016, Russia Today

-The Children of Kafarya and Foua are Crying in the Dark, Sep 6, 2016, 21st Century Wire

-Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors, Aug 14, 2016, SOTT.net

-UN covers up war crimes in Syria, citing U.S. backed Al-Qaeda propagandists, Oct 29, 2016, The Duran

-On Nov 3 2016 terrorist bombings, and Nov 4 terrorist shelling of humanitarian corridor. Aleppo: How US & Saudi-Backed Rebels Target ‘Every Syrian’, Nov 29, 2016, MintPressNews

-Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution”, Jul 8, 2014, Inter Press ServicesIn Gaza

-Madaya: Syria War Diary: Order Returns To Western Cities, Civilians Recount Horrors Of “Rebel” Rule, September 26th, 2017, Mint Press News

-On the White Helmets:

-On the DPRK:

Interview With Christine Hong: What’s Happening on the Korean Peninsula, Feb 2018

Gregory Elich On The DPRK

“Eva Bartlett in North Korea – Going Behind the Media Iron Curtain”–The Taylor Report & 21st Century Wire

Interview With The Makers of “The Haircut (2017) A North Korean Adventure”

What We Saw in North Korea Goes against Everything Western Media Wants Us to Believe

Photo-Report: The North Korea Neither Trump Nor Western Media Wants The World To See,  October 20th, 2017, Mint Press News

Selected Articles: Fake News, Massive Media Disinformation

Corporate Crime: Federal Penalties Imposed on Largest Corporations Plunged During Trump’s First Year

By Good Jobs First, February 14, 2018

Federal penalties imposed on the largest U.S. companies for all kinds of misconduct fell sharply during the first 12 months of the Trump administration, with combined fines and settlements dropping to a fraction of the levels seen during the Obama Administrations. The Fortune 100 list of the very largest publicly traded U.S. corporations paid $1.1 billion in penalties to federal regulatory agencies and the Justice Department during Trump’s first year, compared to an annual average of more than $17 billion during the Obama years.

“US Foreign Policy Is the Greatest Crime Since WWII,” Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark

By Jay Janson, February 14, 2018

The US Secretary of State’s criminally insane back handed remarks favoring a civil war, with all the probable loss of lives a civil war would bring, seems to fit as appropriate within a US foreign policy of world domination.  Human suffering has never been of any  consequence to the financial interests of that 1/10 of 1 per cent of Americans who, to one degree or another, rule us all.

Trump’s Neoliberal War Budget

By Stephen Lendman, February 14, 2018

Trump’s FY 2019 budget is all about benefiting Wall Street, the Pentagon, war-profiteers and other corporate predators at the expense of social justice.

It’s part of his scheme to help pay for the great GOP tax cut heist – outrageously calling for $1.7 trillion in social program cuts over the next decade.

U.S. Supports the Influx of ISIS Terrorists into Afghanistan. Massive U.S. Bombings Directed against the Taliban

By Masud Wadan, February 13, 2018

Afghanistan is now living under a precarious situation. Major shifts in US war plans are unfolding. The deadly suicide blasts of the last month in the capital Kabul that invoked international condemnation were followed by US-led retaliatory bombings of the Taliban sanctuaries in several parts of Afghanistan.

Who is Behind Fake News? The Brussels Terror Attacks: Fake Videos and Images. “The Man in the Hat”

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, February 13, 2018

Read this April 20, 2016 Global Research report on the MSM coverage of the March 2016 Brussels terror attacks. The corporate media routinely use fake images and videos with a view to misleading the public in its coverage of controversial events including the “war on terrorism”.

What US News Reports on Syria’s War Hide

What US News Reports on Syria’s War Hide

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 11.02.2018

Eric ZUESSE

What’s being hidden from the public by the U.S. news-media’s reports on Syria’s war is that, ever since 2012, the U.S. Government has been trying to overthrow Syria’s Government by supporting, training and arming, in Syria, the many jihadist groups who were being led by Al Qaeda in Syria — jihadist groups which unanimously accept Al Qaeda’s leadership there. Without Al Qaeda in Syria, the U.S. effort to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad (who was elected in 2014 to a new Presidential term in an internationally monitored democratic election, winning 89% of the vote) wouldn’t have come anywhere close to succeeding; but, with Al Qaeda’s help, it almost did succeed. America, even as late as late 2016, was demanding Russia to stop its bombing of Al Qaeda and of their allied jihadist groups in Syria, but Russia refused; this was a major hang-up in the years-long Kerry-Lavrov (U.S.-Russia) negotiations for a ceasefire in Syria. Kerry couldn’t get President Obama to go along with Russia’s (Putin’s) insistence upon continued bombing both of ISIS and of Al Qaeda; Obama insisted: No bombing of Al Qaeda.

More recently, after the effort to overthrow Syria’s Government failed during 2016, the U.S. goal (since nearly the very end of Obama’s Administration) has become assisting Kurds in Syria’s northeast who want to establish there a Kurdistan, which would be beholden to Washington and would cooperate with U.S. oil companies and their contractors such as Halliburton to extract Syria’s oil and to construct pipelines for both oil and gas from mainly three U.S. allies — Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar — into the world’s largest energy-market, the EU, to enable the U.S. and those fundamentalist-Sunni allies to displace Russia from that market, where Russia currently is the largest energy-supplier.

This hiding, which is done in order to block the public’s understanding of what’s going on, is well-exemplified in the slick February 9th front-page New York Times headline news-report, titled “It’s Hard to Believe, but Syria’s War Is Getting Even Worse,” which is headlined online as instead “Far From Winding Down, Syria’s War Escalates on Multiple Fronts”. This half-fictional potboiler opens like any war-potbiler generally does, not by explaining anything, but instead with the typical slick-journalism device, of an anecdote (the bloodier and more-obviously outrageous, the better, in order to whip-up the interest and attention of the gullible mass of readers), “Half a dozen newborns, blinking and arching their backs, were carried from a burning hospital hit by airstrikes. A bombed apartment house collapsed, burying families.” Anyone will, of course, have sympathy for babies, and their families, in a hospital that gets hit by a bomb in a war. Everything that follows this slick opening is designed to anger readers against Syria’s Government — that being the propagandistic objective of virtually all U.S. ‘news’-coverage of this war.

The article leaves the reader totally confused as to why what is happening is happening. But it’s accompanied by yet another article, “Why Is the Syrian War Still Raging?” That piece says, “Each of the major conflicts has its own underlying logic that sustains the fighting” and then it goes on to consider, in turn, what it identifies as “the major conflicts,” which it alleges to be the following three (as being answers to consider, for the article’s title-question, “Why Is the Syrian War Still Raging?” — which means why the war is still raging, even after ISIS in Syria has been defeated and when the task that everyone had been expecting to remain now would be to kill the few ISIS and the other jihadists who still are there, and then to restore the country fully to peace without any jihadists):

“1. Assad versus rebels”

“2. The battle against ISIS”

“3. Turkey versus the Kurds”

They ignore altogether the actual reason “Why Is the Syrian War Still Raging?”:

“4. U.S. versus Syria”

That’s what the Times leaves out — hides.

The U.S. went into Syria lying to say that its main goal was to eliminate ISIS there, but didn’t do anything to ISIS in Syria, until after Russia was invited into the war on 30 September 2015 and promptly started to bomb the oil-tanker-trucks that were carrying Syrian oil from ISIS-controlled areas into Turkey for export and income to ISIS (and Turkey). America had been committed ever since 2012 to overthrow Syria’s Government, but now (under Trump) it’s trying to break up Syria and to steal its oil and at least enough of its territory, so as to destroy Syria even further, and to cripple Russia in its main foreign market.

However, this isn’t a criticism of the New York Times especially, but of all ‘news’reporting in the U.S. and its allied countries. For example, the BBC did a one-year retrospective on the first anniversary of Russia’s 30 September 2015 start of its bombing of what the U.S. regime calls ‘the rebels’ in Syria, and, under the headline “Syria war: How Moscow’s bombing campaign has paid off for Putin” quoted a supposed reliable authority as saying, “Moscow had sought to steadily destroy the moderate Syrian opposition on the battlefield, leaving only jihadist forces in play, and lock the US into a political framework of negotiations that would serve beyond the shelf-life of this administration.” This is basically upside-down: The myth that there had been any substantial non-jihadist or “moderate” Syrian opposition, and that Washington’s operation in Syria relies upon such “moderates,” is an essential lie, in which all of the mainstream, and well over 90% of the “alternative news” media, must participate, if they’re to be allowed to continue. Billionaires have lots of clout. There’s talk about “manufactured consent,” and this is the way it is “manufactured.” It is manufactured by incessant lying, not only by the Government, but by the press.

A good rule is to distrust everything you read, and to click onto at least a sampling  of its sources and examine them yourself to see whether they support the allegations that they allegedly support; and to evaluate whether those sources are themselves trustworthy — and to ignore any ‘news’medium that doesn’t link to its sources (doesn’t conveniently let you check out its truth or falsehood), which includes especially TV, radio, and print media. Only online news can even qualify to be considered by an intelligent reader; but if it’s online print, like for example the New York Times, then it can be taken only on trust, which certainly isn’t earned by any record of carefulness to report the truth and only the truth. This is why I always link to my sources, either directly, or via articles that do link directly to them but that additionally place them into their essential context so that they can be accurately understood.

No news-report can be any more reliable than its sources are. Most ‘news’ is sourced to propagandists. The key thing for any educational system is to teach people how to be intelligently skeptical of everything; but no regime wants such an educational system. Honest news-coverage is therefore rare. Any assumption that it’s not rare is blatantly false.

As George Monbiot, the Guardian columnist, said in an extraordinary burst of honesty:

“I work in a profoundly corrupt industry, and I hate it. … There are some really great journalists out there, but they live in a country under occupation — that’s how it feels. The industry is a really hostile place for good journalism, for journalism which seeks to hold power to account, which in my view is what journalism is all about — that’s the point of it. .. [But the reality of journalism is] it’s about actually reinforcing the messages of power … persuading people that what the billionaires want is what the rest of us should want”

US Massacre Of Syrian Troops Threatens To Unleash Wider War

By Bill Van Auken

February 09, 2018 “Information Clearing House” – US warplanes and artillery batteries carried out an unprovoked massacre of up to 100 pro-government troops in the northeastern province of Deir Ezzor Wednesday, signaling the initiation of a new and far more dangerous stage in the more than three-year-old direct US military intervention in Syria.

The Syrian government denounced the attack as a “war crime” and “direct support to terrorism,” insisting that its forces came under US attack as they were carrying out an operation against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) elements between the villages of Khasham and al-Tabiya on the eastern side of the Euphrates River.

While the Pentagon proudly claimed to have killed 100 pro-government fighters, Damascus allowed that the US strikes claimed “the lives of dozens, injuring many others and causing massive damage in the area.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, said it had confirmed only 20 dead among the pro-government forces.

Whatever the precise number of casualties—the Pentagon’s figures are suspect given that the bombings and artillery barrages were not followed up by any ground attack—the incident marks a major escalation of US aggression against Syria, eclipsing the firing of 59 US cruise missiles last April in response to an unsubstantiated allegation of a chemical weapons attack in Idlib province.

The only previous US attack resulting in comparable bloodshed was the September 17, 2016 US airstrike against a Syrian army position near the Deir Ezzor airport, which killed 62 soldiers and wounded some 100 more. The Pentagon claimed that attack was the result of an “unintentional, regrettable error.”

This time around, the US military said that it was exercising its “inherent right of self-defense” in attacking the forces of a government whose territory American troops are occupying without either its consent or any mandate from the United Nations.

The official story from the Pentagon is that a column of 500 pro-government fighters, including tanks and artillery, had attempted to take control of territory east of the Euphrates River that had been seized by the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the US proxy ground force that is overwhelmingly dominated by the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. It accused the government forces of launching “an unprovoked attack on a well-established SDF position,” where US Special Forces “advisors” who direct the Kurdish fighters were deployed.

Pentagon officials speaking on condition of anonymity told the media that they believed Russian military contractors operating with the Syrian government forces were among the dead.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported that it had no military personnel in the area. It also said it was aware only of 25 Syrian militia members having been wounded in the US strikes.

Russia’s Defense Ministry added in a statement that the American attack once “again showed that the US is maintaining its illegal presence in Syria not to fight the Daesh group [ISIS], but to seize and hold Syrian economic assets.”

The area where the fighting took place is a center of Syria’s oil and gas fields. The village of al-Tabiya is the site of the Conoco gas plant, which was previously run by ConocoPhillips until the energy corporation turned it over to the Syrian government in 2005. After the area fell under ISIS control, the Islamist militia used gas and oil exports to secure much of its financing.

Washington is determined to deny the Syrian government control over these resources and to that end has sought to carve out a US zone of control covering roughly 30 percent of the country, while cutting off its borders with Turkey and Iraq.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry raised pointed questions about the US version of events, particularly the vast disparity between the claim of 100 Syrian government troops killed and, on the other side, a total of one SDF fighter wounded.

“First of all, how could a 500-strong unit attack a headquarters with tank and artillery support and, as a result, inflict an injury on one counter-attacker?” asked Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova. “How could those who were in that headquarters remain in those conditions for the half hour or more needed to call in and ensure air support?”

“How, within such a short period of time, could a decision have been made to open massive fire for effect on Syrian armed forces?” she continued. “To clarify all these questions, and to get a full picture of what happened, relevant information is now being gathered, both through our military experts and through the Foreign Ministry.”

Despite the words of protest from Moscow, the Pentagon reported that it had used its “deconfliction line” with the Russian military to provide advance notice of its strike on the Syrian government forces and remained in contact during and after the attack. “We had a very productive conversation,” said Pentagon spokesperson Dana White. “…we told them, they knew what was happening. They agreed not to attack Coalition forces. So, from that respect, it was successful.”

The attack on Deir Ezzor is part of a steady ratcheting up of the multisided conflict in Syria, provoked overwhelmingly by Washington’s announced decision to maintain a permanent US military occupation of the country and pursue a “post-ISIS” policy centered on the original US objectives of Syrian regime change and rolling back Iranian and Russian influence in the region. Until launching the anti-ISIS campaign in 2014, Washington had sought the ouster of the government of President Bashar al-Assad by means of supporting and arming the Al Qaeda-linked militias out of which ISIS itself emerged. This sparked the bloody seven-year-long war that has claimed the lives of some 350,000 Syrians, while displacing millions of others.

Since invading the country over three years ago, the US military has relied primarily on the Kurdish YPG as its proxy ground force, but it also continues to arm and train Islamist militia groups. During the US-backed siege of Raqqa and other formerly ISIS-occupied towns, the US military and its Kurdish proxies organized the evacuation of large numbers of ISIS fighters and their redeployment to Deir Ezzor in order to turn them against the Syrian government forces advancing on the province’s strategically vital oil and gas fields.

To the west, the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin, which came in response to US plans to organize a 30,000-strong “border security force” based largely on the Kurdish YPG and create what Ankara sees as a de facto Kurdish state on its border, threatens to escalate into a direct conflict between the US and Turkey, ostensible NATO allies.

On Wednesday, the top US commander in Syria and Iraq, Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, visited Manbij, the Syrian city on the western side of the Euphrates that has been occupied by the YPG and its US Special Forces handlers. The visit came just one day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that the American forces withdraw from Manbij, vowing that the Turkish military would extend its offensive into the city.

Asked if he was worried about the Turkish threat, Gen. Funk responded, “It’s not in my job description to worry; my job is to fight.”

Meanwhile, both the US and French governments have issued condemnations of Damascus over bombings in Idlib province and Eastern Ghouta, as well as unverified allegations of using chlorine gas against civilian populations. The State Department issued a statement saying that the bombings “must stop now.”

The hypocritical Western media, which went largely silent as the US killed tens of thousands of civilians and razed entire cities to the ground in last year’s sieges of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, has suddenly woken up to report the civilian casualties resulting from the bombardments by Syrian and Russian warplanes. Once again they are churning out propaganda to prepare for a military escalation that has the potential of triggering a direct military confrontation between the world’s two major nuclear powers, the US and Russia.

This article was originally published by “WSWS” –

Copyright © 1998-2018 World Socialist Web Site

AJAMU BARAKA ON CAMPAIGN TO SHUT DOWN US FOREIGN MILITARY BASES

In Gaza

On January 22, 2018, I had the opportunity to speak with the well-respected, highly-informed, longtime rights activist and writer, Ajamu Baraka.

A human rights defender whose experience spans four decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles. Please see his extended bio on his website.

He was the 2016 Green Party vice presidential candidate, and is a lead organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace. Mr. Baraka is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report, and also publishes at Black Commentator, Commondreams, Pambazuka, and Dissident Voice.

Related Links

http://noforeignbases.org
https://blackagendareport.com/peace-requires-social-transformation
https://twitter.com/i/web/status/954098699189346305
https://blackagendareport.com/peace-requires-social-transformation
https://twitter.com/ajamubaraka/status/955471891019550720
https://twitter.com/ajamubaraka/status/953314222775169025
https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2018/01/20/a-personal-reply-to-the-fact-challenged-smears-of-terrorist-whitewashing-channel-4-snopes-and-la-presse/

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